#poem – a poem by Yevgeniya Przhebelskaya

#poem


a poem

a poem 
whispered as a prayer

a poem 
whispered as prayer,
clutched by the fingers of a starry-eyed MFA student

a poem
whispered as a prayer
clutched by the fingers of a starry-eyed MFA student
tapped in cigarette dish of an overcaffeinated adjunct professor 

a poem
whispered as a prayer
clutched by the fingers of a starry-eyed MFA student
tapped in cigarette dish of an overcaffeinated adjunct professor
folded into the Möbius strip of a teaching contract

a poem
whispered as a prayer
clutched by the fingers of a starry-eyed MFA student
tapped in cigarette dish of an overcaffeinated adjunct professor
folded into the Möbius strip of a teaching contract
revived for a year

a poem
whispered as a prayer
clutched by the fingers of a starry-eyed MFA student
tapped in cigarette dish of an overcaffeinated adjunct professor
folded into the Möbius strip of a teaching contract
revived for a year
revived for a year

Yevgeniya Przhebelskaya is a bilingual poet, educator and caregiver. She draws inspiration from the Bible, Russian literature, modern American poetry, and her recent parenting experiences. Yevgeniya’s poems have been published in Amethyst Review, Ekstasis, Trouvaille Review and many other publications, and were nominated for the Pushcart Prize two times. Check out her blog at ypoetry.weebly.com

Soliloquy of the Soul to the Self – a poem by Catherine Gonick

Soliloquy of the Soul to the Self


already a couple of years down the road
	I first notice 
myself through your knowing

realize
I have been looked and listened for
all this time by my companion

I who look and speak
       only through
your mouth and eyes 

and at that moment it is difficult to 
imagine     yet I do

the distance we might walk 
together 

through your growing up
   aging and then dying
your continuing

all the while to want to know 
    when I am holding
your warm hand 

which I can’t feel any more
than myself 

even in the melt of
moments when we two 

twine into one
    inside another

world
and I still
   	wonder

no matter
how deep      our woods
magic    our mountain			

if the day you leave
I will remember

myself before
knowing you

and how I will know
myself after


Catherine Gonick’s poetry has appeared in publications including Soul-Lit, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Live Encounters, Notre Dame Review, New Verse News, Sukoon, and Forge, and in anthologies including in plein air, Grabbed, and Dead of Winter 2021.  She works in a company that combats the effects of global warming. 

River Hymn – a poem by Michael Sandler

River Hymn



Where I grew up, the river was a concrete trough; 
to the citizens, a profane improvement—
perhaps why I’m drawn to wilder rivers:

their glinting in sunlight and choppy pewter
after a storm; ferrying an intelligence  
of clouds, sinuous, homing to the sea.

Artery between these inland thoughts
and ocean’s vastness—each spill and gush
catholic, dismissive of state, of sect.

Unquenched by civil icons, I have faith
in river water—to wade into… and drink.
Within its surface sky, ripples, the deep—

you can fathom why the ancients worshiped water gods: 
an aqueous caprice fluid/clear/opaque,
now mirroring, now blotting out my face,

raging over banks to flood innocent domains, 
spume of an angry immanence…
Hours later, all languor and veiled current.

Proteus, the alias of a flow I step into.
Even its burble ever-shifting, yet familiar.
A hymn if I’m attentive. A water psalm

recited when I plug my ears and listen
to grotto whispers, a summons 
not skyward, but to a tributary within.

Michael Sandler is the author of a poetry collection, The Lamps of History (FutureCycle Press 2021) that Kirkus Reviews described as a “complex, electric work of erudite poems.” His work has appeared in scores of journals, including recently in Arts & Letters, Literary Imagination, and Smartish Pace. Michael lives near Seattle; his website is www.sandlerpoetry.com.

Dark Night – a poem by Jeffrey Hanson

Dark Night
—for Mark Halliday


We know. He’s a poet who presses flowers: 
Sweet Rhodora and Lady’s Tress—
still white, still nodding. 

And he’s famous for saying: What’s “good 
for the soul is the work of the soul.”
But no poem? No poem. 

The storm knocks his door tonight.
Maples toss the dark wind from their leaves 
while Walden’s waters argue black and white.

Even so, muses must meet between page
and pen to tell us the beautiful thing. 
We know. 

What’s “good for the soul is the work of the soul” 
and a man makes “advances confidently in the 
direction of his dreams.”

But writing the beautiful and the pert is tough 
and the storm pleads the worst of prospects
after all.

And prayer begs when the wrong God rules
and a poem about being without itself is nonsense. 
So tonight, no begging. No God.

A sack of beans and a hoe in the corner are earthly 
nodes that promise possibility. The cabin, the hearth, 
the table and the lamp, the flame and the fire.

We know. To find the thing that must be found
the thing that makes the senses sing, the poet 
must do battle. 

We know he must stick close to possibilities
but raise a sword as well to abet the storm 
that nudges nature to crack itself open, for us.

Jeffrey Hanson received a Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing from Ohio University. He lives with his wife, Marilyn, in Bellingham, Washington. Despite fears, anxieties, and feelings of helplessness, we must remember that the Buddha was correct to say: “All is well.” That knowledge is a gift

Thinking About What is Useless – a poem by George Freek

Thinking About What is Useless (After Mei Yao Chen) 


Things of the night crawl
from their frightening holes,
as snow begins to fall.
Flowers and men are buried
in their earthly graves,
forever to stay that way.
Why we exist is a mystery,
I’ll never solve.
The stars are beacons,
but give little light.
I pour a cup of tea.
Questions without answers
will disappear
with the early morning light.

George Freek‘s poetry has appeared in numerous Journals and Reviews. His poem “Written At Blue Lake” was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Sunday Morning – a haibun by Keith Polette

Sunday Morning

Bananas slouch in the fruit bowl next to apples that loll like beached buoys.  An aspen tree rattles in the wind.  Sparrows settle in the yard like curled leaves, while the sun, defrocked of clouds, dangles like the bottom of a banjo after being played.  A faint moon, that ventriloquist of light, slowly fades, turning its gaze back to the dark.  

	sunflower burst
	the kettle singing atop
	petals of flame

Down the hill and past the field, as if it had been birthed in gravel, a train unhooks itself from silence and blows its horn, heaving the freight of its two-note chant into the day.  The incense of diesel lingers in the air.  A cicada, out of season, is fixed fast in its genuflection upon a tree.  On the riverbank, turtles, like the beads of a rosary, bask in untamed light.  The porcelain bowl inside the house waits to spill its secrets . . . 

	empty turtle shell
	a hand-carved chalice
	waiting for wine  

If only the spider pulsing in the woodshed web would recite its single sin.  

	beneath the desert 
	a host of red-spotted toads
	ready to rise



Keith Polette has published poems in both print and online journals.  His book of haibun, pilgrimage, received the Haiku Society of America’s Merit Book Award in 2021.

A Little Less to Cut – a poem by Edward Alport

A Little Less to Cut


I know where I will lie,
Down where the hawthorn and the blackthorn
Hide the water and the sea,
And keep the goats at bay.

I may not know how many times
I’ll cut the grass and trim back the hedge.
Every year a little less to cut,
Another patch to weave the mower round,

Another friend of mine, named in stone
Another face who knew me as a kid.
They all wait for me, and to them
I’ll always be the kid, and always was.

I know where I will lie.
Part of the village memory.
A name. A place, ordered in a record book.
‘Wasn’t he the poet?’ That’s what’s left of me.



Edward Alport is a retired teacher and proud Essex Boy. He occupies his time as a poet, gardener and writer for children. He has had poetry, stories and articles published in a variety of webzines and magazines. He sometimes posts snarky micropoems on Twitter as @cross_mouse.

Life Labyrinths – a poem by Mark D. Stucky


Life Labyrinths



Nothing frightful lurks in sacred labyrinths.
No Minotaur inside waits to devour us.
No complex branches exist to confuse us.

Only a single, circular path,
winding back and forth,
silently invites us.
A path sketched on the ground.
A path for prayerful healing
of any monsters in our minds.
A path intended for mindfulness,
peace, and private pilgrimage
toward contemplative centeredness.

As in life, our path curves
and endures sudden detours
and substantial reversals.
Our goal comes closer to us
but then recedes from us
over and over again.
But we can be certain
we’ll eventually enter
that elusive center.

Mark D. Stucky has degrees in religious studies, pastoral ministry, and communications. After being a pastor, he moved into communications and has been a technical and freelance writer. During his day job, he has documented diverse technical products. In free time, he has written articles, stories, and poems on a variety of topics. He has received over three dozen writing and publication awards. For more information, see linkedin.com/in/markstucky and cinemaspirit.info.

Upland – a poem by Edward Alport

Upland


Why do you come to the moor?
Where the paths are mere skinny tattoos on the beast’s skin 
Drawn from memory of sweating herds and flocks and swearing men.

Why do you look for silence?
Where the steady breath of the beast heaves in its sleep 
And incurious sheep rip at its hair with vindictive lips?

Why do you grind at its wounds?
Where your cleated boots gash the tattoos on its sleeping flank
And the mud weeps, glistening and red, puddled on its skin.

Would you care for the beast to stir?
It’s many years, and many, so many years more 
Since the moor was ripped from the dry bone bed
And writhed and thrashed and bended and bled
And was tamed by the work and the patterns of men.
You came for the silence.
You came for the blood.
Do you want to wake it again?

Edward Alport is a retired teacher and proud Essex Boy. He occupies his time as a poet, gardener and writer for children. He has had poetry, stories and articles published in a variety of webzines and magazines. He sometimes posts snarky micropoems on Twitter as @cross_mouse.

The Seas Ring – a poem by Tom Bauer

The Seas Ring

I never thought about it, but hear it now;
the omniworld of clicks and surges, barks
and pops of blaring fishes as they sing.
And are those sirens chuckling down below?
I need to know, following chirps and squeaks
through murky depths of night. Gliding past cliffs
into the deeper sea, faint veils and wisps
of bubble thread expire on lichened rocks.
A pressure bulb blossoms in jellied water,
expels a spray of sounds from hidden depths.
Is there no place that doesn’t blast a note?
The dense formless everything, choired in light,
crashes musically in frothy waves ashore.
It’s everywhere, the ocean’s full of song.

Tom Bauer is an old coot who did a bunch of university and stuff. He 
lives in Montreal and plays board games.