Dwelling, Here – a poem by M.J. Iuppa

Dwelling, Here


At evening, in the lush cornfield alongside our farmhouse, the mask 
of light becomes another shade of indigo, and those green tongues 
 
begin to stir, whispering loud, and louder still, like a crowd of people 
standing too close to each other. The loneliness of this hour, even
 
among unison, among luster, makes me inch closer to this immensity
that could swallow me whole if I walked inside my shoes, inside my
 
skin, without pushing my way through the tasseled corn that swells
with an intoxicating smell that could make me fall unconscious if
 
I breath too deeply, like the corn itself, breathing in shadows,
surrounding me in height, hiding me from any world that isn’t
 
this world— this other world that dreams of a life raised up
to this deepening light, this soothing light, this light of dwelling.

M.J. Iuppa’s fourth poetry collection is This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017). For the past 31 years, she has lived on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Check out her blog: mjiuppa.blogspot.com for her musings on writing, sustainability & life’s stew.

Affinity – a poem by Janet Krauss

Affinity
 
Lately I listen to the wind sleep at night.
Its stillness outside my window helps
me slip unawares into the lap  of oblivion.
 
The earth stretches towards the moon
but cannot reach it. The earth
is always spinning while the moon
circles around  and helps the tides 
keep the faith-- recede  and return 
to give us something to depend upon.
 
Crabs wait for moonlight to expand
over the sand so they can hurry 
as if they were trying to hide a secret
but  didn’t care, hurry to the edge 
of the water to lay their eggs, then 
scurry back unnoticed to the swamp.
 
Lately I listen for the smile that appears
unawares when I read a poem that needs
no light to leave its message.
 

Janet Krauss, who has two books of poetry published, “Borrowed Scenery,” Yuganta Press, and “Through the Trees of Autumn,” Spartina Press, has recently retired from teaching English at Fairfield University. Her mission is to help and guide Bridgeport’s  young children through her teaching creative writing, leading book clubs and reading to and engaging a kindergarten class. As a poet, she co-directs the poetry program of the Black Rock Art Guild

Saint Boniface – a poem by John Muro

Saint Boniface 
 
Sometimes at night, freed from penance,
I close my eyes and drift towards sleep
Awaiting the slow spirals of stardust 
And droplets of light that emerge from 
Darkness and coalesce to form 
Crenellations above some ornate,
Oriel window, inset with leaded 
Panes of carmine, Pyrenees green 
And chalice yellow. Colors settle 
Then soon abandon glass and dissolve 
Beneath a gilded asp, blending with
Air and into body now rising beyond
The plane of altar, the velvet nest of 
Tabernacle and the furrowed pews 
Worn to the hue of brown harness 
As I watch a younger self cradled 
In prayer and sowed with sorrow 
Waiting on the brighter hope and 
Splendor of sun piercing plumes 
Of incense and illuminating
The arched, stained-glass window 
Depicting a solitary child in a field 
Necklaced by a brook and a gnarled 
Tree twisting up towards heaven, 
Blue leaves dripping, sky still bearing 
The sacred scars of falling stars.
 

A life-long resident of Connecticut, John Muro is a graduate of Trinity College. He has also earned advanced degrees from Wesleyan University and the University of Connecticut. His first volume of poems, “In the Lilac Hour,” was published in October 2020 by Antrim House, and the book is available on Amazon. He has spent most of his professional career serving as an executive and volunteer in the fields of environmental stewardship and conservation.  John currently lives on the Connecticut shoreline with his wife, Debra Ann.

Psalms in Darkness – a poem by Dennis Daly

Psalms in Darkness
 
I.
Down the ethereal ocean, the fall
Unnerved the princes of heaven. Their power
Diminished to deep unsubstantial dust,
A feral den to lodge their pride.
No, they were not ashamed. They trusted
The magnificence of You, You who now
Hide your face, who forgive the darkening
Clouds that veil the molten center,
Who forgive the vanity of words. 
Must you forswear the unforgivable?
 
II.
In song our prayers do not ascend
Your mighty battlement of space
And time. They cringe with incredulity,
They crawl aside to little rooms
Where love becomes mere artifice.
Alone they loll unconsummated,
Futile. Their sorrow too keen, too lavish.
Contrite to a final fault, they sink
Without aspiring to their mission’s courage.
They sink, forever loosed, they sink.
 
III.
One seraph stayed its will,
A spirit lifted high above
The pit of tenuity’s realm,
Encompassed then by urgings,
By loyalty to mulish origins, always
There to issue life’s rules,
Feathered structures drawn to numbers,
Numbers that connect truth to truth,
That resist the coal and brimstone tempest,
Waiting for you, Lord, the face of light.
 
IV.
Rage not against me, shake not my parts,
My bones, Lord, that house
Coursing hate. Free my heart from haunt,
Let my hands calm the world,
The chaos before me. Let my fallen 
Self find joy again in justice.
Let me turn the sly nod, the sneer,
The hungry look. Let me caress
With written words, create a stillness
That fends off fitful noise with beauty.
 
V.
I would be spared. Oh, airy Lord,
Spurned by heaven’s obstinate rule,
Release me from perpetual torture.
Show hell’s mercy, then bridge each gap
I face with liberating reason,
With lust for resplendent beauty.
As I hold my head up, doling out
A knowledge that repeats in many beings
And many places. I bless my equals,
Who worship truth and possibility.
 
VI.
My signature bleeds, multiplies
One hundred times, one thousand times,
Ten million times, an infinite quagmire I sink into.
Mea culpa, Mea culpa, Mea Maximus culpa.
Is one’s blood so sacred? A scratch,
A momentary flow. Nothing more.
Circling me, the red riot of letters
Remembers that written certainty
Grown bigger than the life I’ve lived,
Bigger than the death I’ll die.
 
VII.
Witness all that I have become.
I am torn within a tempest
Torn by beaks of preying birds
Tumbling with me, fiend to fiend.
What dynamo of wind whirls
Me, blends me with faithless things?
My world envisioned into being,
An eternal hell so deserved,
Without doubt my doing, a conjuration
Oppressing me. Yet I ask for nothing.
 
VIII.
Breathers of shadows fly through chambers
Of stalled sentences and grammar that conjures
Each day. Here perceptions and plots
Beget dreams that beget more dreams,
All within the mortal eggshell,
A universe of disquiet and doubt,
An apprehension that solidifies
Belief before blown through
The pinhole toward eternity’s
Blustery beginnings and tepid ends.
 

Dennis Daly has published seven books of poetry and poetic translations. He writes reviews regularly for The Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene and on occasion for the Notre Dame Review, Ibbetson Street, Wilderness House, and the Somerville Times. He occasionally reads his poetry at various venues. Please see his blog at dennisfdaly.blogspot.com.

A Minute Before Heaven – a poem by Kathryn de Leon

A MINUTE BEFORE HEAVEN
 
 
I.  
 
Decades ago in college I learned that
all the water on the earth
is the same water
that existed aeons ago
so that Shakespeare could have bathed
or washed his hands in the water
I shower in.
 
Nothing new,
every raindrop a repeat.
In summer we let the sea
throw used waves
at our faces and bare legs
but it’s okay.
 
Even clouds posing
in animal or people shapes
moving regally in the wind
are not originals,
copies or copies of copies,
diluted versions of real clouds
lost long ago.
 
 
 
II.
 
I’m wondering if today’s early-summer sky
is the same sky that offered me my first blue
the day I was born.
Is it a used blue I see today
or does the sky change its blue regularly
like a soiled shirt?
 
Is it the same sky 
that will attend me the day I die
or will a new sky glide in
a minute before Heaven,
take over with a fresh supply of blue
and see me out?
 
 
 

Kathryn de Leon is from Los Angeles, California but has been living in England for ten years. Her poems have appeared in several magazines in the US including Calliope, Aaduna, and Black Fox, and several in the UK including The Blue Nib, Snakeskin, Trouvaille Review, and The High Window where she was the Featured American Poet.

Forming the Universe – a poem by Mary Ellen Shaughan

Forming the Universe
 
 
I am reading about astro-physics and 
listening to books on astro-physics.
I am intrigued; I want to know more.
I stumble over words like 
quark, lepton and boson, 
but the image I get is that 
of a tight-fisted god who, 
more than a kajillion years ago, 
opened one fist, then another, 
much as a farmer might cast seeds,
though in this case particles of matter
were flung out, spewing forth, 
and in the process separating
at the yet incomprehensible speed of light, 
filling the vast empty spaces with stardust,
stardust that became, among other things,
you and me.
 

 

Mary Ellen Shaughan lives in Western Massachusetts with her beagle, Zeke, who sleeps through the printing of dozens of poems and short stories. Her first collection of poetry, Home Grown, is available on Amazon. 

Greet the Day – a poem by Emily Strauss

Greet the Day

Greet the sun

ya-hai-wa
ah-how-wi

face the sun
as it tops the ridge
speak to it

ya-hai-wa
ah-how-wi

say its name
invoke its light
its power
the rays pouring
on your bare head

ya-hai-wa
ah-how-wi

make a chant
a song
bring in the day
the long dawn
turning brighter
over sand or snow

ya-hai-wa
ah-how-wi

over a still lake
saguaro-filled arroyo
down to the salt flats
rounded alfalfa fields
sleeping ranches

ya-hai-wa
ah-how-wi

praise the silent forms
cattle, coyote, deer
brother, sister, setting moon
greet the day

.

Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry, which she has written since college. Over 500 of her poems appear in a wide variety of online venues and in anthologies, in the U.S. and abroad. She is a Best of the Net and twice a Pushcart nominee. She is interested in the American West and the narratives of people and places around her. She is a retired teacher living in Oregon.

Ringing of Bells – a poem by Debasis Tripathy

 Ringing of Bells
 
You enter the temple, you ring the brass bell.
The sacred belief to alert God before entering 
his house. No one wants to intrude upon privacy
preserved for him. Who wants to incur the wrath?
The result is a rigour, relentless in ringing―
high-pitched music repeating Aum, Aum, Aum ... 
It is this rigour that I love. The repetition
of an ordinary act producing an extraordinary
acoustical event. Common men & women transforming 
into anthropomorphic forms of the divine. The wonder
of rigour. I search for God sometimes, mostly 
outside of where he regularly resides. When 
I go to a temple, it's here outside, on the steps,
I like the most. I see the divine in the eyes
of seekers, depending on their devotion 
to someone I never got to see. It is logical 
for me to be an atheist or even an agnostic,
but I am a firm believer in shapes & sounds,
sanity & simplicity. I believe because I want 
to be happy. I want my heart to be open 
like my ears, open to the ringing of bells.

Debasis Tripathy works for an IT Company in Bangalore. He also writes – poems and short fiction.  His recent work has been featured in Squawk Back, Collidescope, Turnpike, Adelaide Magazine, Kitaab , Punch Magazine & elsewhere.  Occasionally, he tweets at @d_basis

On Death. – a poem by Riley Bounds

On Death.
 
In the space
where life
either bleeds
through linen
and strings
on tile 
or faces
melt
through tables,
or in the space
where life
simply
leaves,
vagabond
through zodiacal
clouds
and dust,
there’s no place
left for messengers.

Riley Bounds’ work has appeared or is forthcoming in Ekstasis MagazineHeart of Flesh Literary JournalThis Present Former Glory: An Anthology of Honest Spiritual Literature, and Saccharine Poetry, among others.  He is Editor of Solum Literary Press and Solum Journal.  He lives in La Mirada, California.

SCRABBLE© – a poem by Mark J. Mitchell

SCRABBLE©
 
            Brothers, do not make collections of words
—Zen Master Hengchuan (1222-1289)
 
 
 
 
                                    He played on screens
                                    like everyone else.
 
                                    Still, around the house,
                                    in jars that once held fruit
 
                                    preserved from fall, pickled
                                    eggs to last through winter,
 
                                    he kept ancient wooden
                                    tiles, unsorted. From time
 
                                    to time, but every day,
                                    he filled his right hand
 
                                    with letters. Worried them
                                    like rosary beads. Sure
 
                                    that runes would give up
                                    meaning and form themselves
 
                                    into that one, perfect score:
                                    The misplaced name of God.
 
 

Mark J. Mitchell was born in Chicago and grew up in southern California. His latest poetry collection, Roshi San Francisco, was just published by Norfolk Publishing. Starting from Tu Fu  was recently published by Encircle Publications. A new collection is due out in December from Cherry Grove.He is very fond of baseball, Louis Aragon, Miles Davis, Kafka and Dante. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the activist and documentarian, Joan Juster where he made his marginal living pointing out pretty things. Now, like everyone else, he’s unemployed.He has published 2 novels and three chapbooks and two full length collections so far.