Tomcat’s Sermon – a poem by Tamara Miles

Tomcat’s Sermon

Thus spake the prophet Tomcat, who had come to warn the people but got caught up in the sound of a whippoorwill whom he found to be quite lovely. He gave up prophecy for evangelism.

“And so it shall be that the Exodus will come to pass if the people fail to change. They must fall in love with the earth immediately. They must praise her all the day long. They must build temples in her honor.”

At one time, the Nile was worshiped as a god, and the poets glorified her.

Langston Hughes: “I’ve known rivers.”

Melissa Steffy: “The Choptank River is a living river,
thousands swim, fish and crab in her depths.”

The sun was adored, as well, and written and sung about.
Andrew Park: “A glorious orb is the sun. Who shall describe his flame?”

“I shall describe his flame,” said Tomcat the evangelist and true poet, (a fellow with a sketchy past in which he might have referred to a woman as “some dame” and promptly forgotten her name, but now there is this whippoorwill, and he can’t get the song out of his head but he must preach anyway.)

The flame of the sun starts in a distant green country. It never bows to anything or anyone.

The flame of the sun erupts in fertile lava as a result of his lovemaking.

The flame of the sun catapults energy southward and inward, and falls on altars and burns them up.

The flame of the sun is a supreme priest and a pharaoh bent on making history.

The flame of the sun says, “She is smoke and ash, fire and brimstone, and I love her.”

The flame of the sun kisses the feet of the earth and unbinds them, and bids them walk.

The flame of the sun illuminates Tutankhamun’s tomb, and unwraps him so that his gold face gleams and he becomes a god.

The flame of the sun puts everyone in the Middle Kingdom, with lion, crocodile, and hippopotamus.

The flame of the sun enlightens a culture, and impregnates poems.

The flame of the sun survives in art and architecture, and makes every day holy.

The flame of the sun is rekindled in community, with the candle-keepers, in monasteries and bars and creativity salons.

The flame of the sun is cyclical and harmonious and perfectly in tune every time.

Thus said Tomcat, also known as ka and ba, a person’s double, a spiritual ram, a spiritual entity, to his Whipporwill, who grew silent to enjoy the reading.

Tamara Miles teaches English and Humanities at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College in South Carolina. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of publications including Fall Lines; Pantheon; Tishman Review; Animal; Obra/Artifact; Rush; Apricity; Snapdragon; Cenacle; RiverSedge; and Oyster River Pages. She was a 2016 contributor at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and a resident at Rivendell Writers Colony in August, 2017. She hosts an audio poetry journal/radio show at SpiritPlantsRadio.com called “Where the Most Light Falls.”

The Blaze – a poem by Seth Jani

The Blaze

I built my temple in the place
Where the biologists claim
“Dead Matter,” “Bits of vanished tissue,”
“Evolution’s failed lot.”
In-breath, out-breath,
And the reception changes.
I become myself
Despite the verdict of obsoletion,
Of mechanical absolutes.
The spirit is not lodged
Here or there. It can be missed
But not dissected.
There’s no getting out of the world,
Even in death.
You vanish almost completely
But arise again.
It takes a little rain
Falling in other centuries,
A roll of the die.
That troubled spot you can’t move past
Is where you built something holy once before.
You don’t remember, but the fire was dear to you.
It helped you love your losses.
It taught you to rebuild.

Seth Jani currently resides in Seattle, WA and is the founder of Seven CirclePress (www.sevencirclepress.com). His own work has been published widely in such places as The Chiron ReviewPretty Owl Poetry, Psaltery & LyreThe Hamilton Stone ReviewVAYAVYA, Gingerbread HouseGravel and Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry. Visit him at www.sethjani.com.

On the Creation of the World – a poem by Steve Broidy

On the Creation of the World

Today, on the radio, I heard a man tell of a time
he had lived without testosterone. Some freakish
siphon of circumstance had all but drained
that hormone from his loins.

He said: I changed, became alive without feeling;
an observer, attentive and cold. The facts were clear:
that is a window, and here a chair; across the room sits
a man with no hair on his head.

He said: I looked at all and saw that it was
beautiful. And beauty was a sentient thing:
I did not judge, but, all dispassionate, came to know.
God would see it so.

Steve Broidy is Emeritus Professor of Education at Wittenberg University. He is editor and contributor to From the Tower: Poetry in Honor of Conrad Balliet (Main Street Rag Publishing Co. 2016), and has published in The Midwest Quarterly, Dark Matter, The Resurrectionist, and Allegro Poetry Magazine.

Interrupted View – a poem by Jane R Rogers

Interrupted View

She is crouched,
elegant, in the tulip flowerbed.
From the silk edges
of wide kimono sleeves
her small ink-drawn fingers point,
invite me to gaze
along her rows of tulips.

As she interrogates
a scarlet bud, could it be
that something in her sketched eyes
is alive. Do her pupils dilate.
Does something of the world
slide away inside her.

Maybe she feels it, that
song of a flower,
that supernatural bend
of a bird note,
that sensation
of lava dancing in the universe.

But in complicity, her silence, it blinks
on my curious eye.
Things she could have meant
are impenetrable –
her language, her landscape
seem hooked
to her stillness. And I admit

I have used up
my feelings here,
I must move on to another image and
aah! my mouth opens like a
guppy choking for air.

Jane R Rogers has been writing poetry for seven years and is a member of the Greenwich Poetry Workshop. Jane’s poems have been published in print and online – appearing in Atrium, Prole, Ink Sweat & Tears, Long Exposure Magazine, Obsessed with Pipework, and in the Tate Gallery Website poetry anthology 2012. Jane lives in London but misses the West Country.

Fillmore Sutra – a poem by Mark J. Mitchell

Fillmore Sutra

Buddha is black and laughing.
From my fire escape
I overhear her fire sermon.
This wanting nothing,
it says,
wants practice.

Buddha is black and crying
for bass mantras
that boom from cars,
for children bound
in vests and ties,
for a poet on a fire escape.

Buddha is black and laughing:
On the street
she chooses to see me
and asks for change.

Mark J. Mitchell’s latest novel, The Magic War just appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing. He studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. His work has appeared in the several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. Three of his chapbooks— Three Visitors;  Lent, 1999, and Artifacts and Relics—and the novel, Knight Prisoner are available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. He lives with his wife Joan Juster and makes a living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco.

Augustino Vineyards – a poem by Barbara A Meier

Augustino Vineyards

The smoke plume gracing the mountain peak,
puffs, thins, spreads, across the western horizon.
The verdant green of the valley of the grapes,
blushing lavender to purple, the richness of a pinot noir,
a king’s crown and cape, on rusty rocky soil.
Vines strung between wires, crucified tension of dead and alive.
Dead dry grace for rodents running through blue porta potties,
while lifelines of water turned to wine,
amidst breaking firelines, making runs
up slopes, spotting hillsides across the river.
Fire and water fermenting baptismal grace.

Barbara A Meier is really just a farm girl from Kansas who now looks at Pacific waves instead of waves of grain. She teaches Kindergarten in Gold Beach, Or. She has been published in Metonym, Birds-Highland Park Poetry, Nature Writing, Poetry Pacific, The Poeming Pigeon, and Cacti Fur. Click here to visit Barbara at her blog.

 

Grove – a poem by Julie Sampson

Grove

Imagine you’re driving east from Bow toward North Tawton,
there, on a parallel trajectory
a massive army of shining swords,
tramp tramp of a legion on their way.

They came from the East,
we were watching
winter solstice sun
set on Cosdon to the west.

Cymbals crashed with lyres
cossetting air
before owls began to chant
and stars came out.

Nemetona, goddess of our grove,
white florals wreath your stones
red berries strewn on earth,

white bones drying beneath
our sacred ash,
the chipped axe of flint.

Their songs were steel
razing our sweet sanctuary
with blinding knife-light,
our men, mowed grass beneath scythe.

In this night we women are Ledas
and looking north on the horizon tangled roots
of winter’s blackened trees crossing our paths,
shuffle back toward us from futurity.

Seeded, deep in veined history,
they caress our feet,
wombs no longer rattling pods,
bulging,
mother-blood.

Julie Sampson‘s poetry is widely published, most recently, or forthcoming, in ShearsmanMolly Bloom, Allegro, Dawntreader, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Journal, Noon , Poetry Space, Algebra of Owls and The Lake. Her poetry collection Tessitura was published in 2014 (Shearsman).See https://www.juliesampson.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perfect Stack – a poem by Ion Corcos

 

Perfect Stack

One by one, the old man carefully stacks books on the table. He crouches to check that they are aligned, straight as a high-rise building. The owner walks towards him, stops, shakes his head. The old man fumbles as he takes another book from the box on the floor. He places it squarely on the stack. Again, he crouches, this time for longer, checks that it is even.  He looks at the owner. The owner shakes his head.  Frustrated, the old man slams the next book on top of the stack. It sits askew. He stands in silence, stares at the stack. “Good,” says the owner, “straight as a tree.”

Ion Corcos has been published in Grey Sparrow Journal, Clear Poetry, Communion, The High Window and other journals. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee. Ion is a nature lover and a supporter of animal rights. He is currently travelling indefinitely with his partner, Lisa. Ion’s website is www.ioncorcos.wordpress.com and he tweets at @IonCorcos

Arise – a poem by Catherine Zickgraf

Arise

Sometimes
she’s still afraid
blood-lava waves will
suffocate her shadow wraith,

but says the sanctified will surely rise
through the dark, through a window in the sky,
cloaked in divine wind that blows the cloud curtains
across the pearl of Heaven’s floor, opening fortress doors.

Catherine Zickgraf performed her poetry in Madrid, San Juan and three dozen other cities. But she’s differently-abled now—walking with a cane and flying in her sleep—so her main jobs are to hang out with her family and write more poetry. Watch/read her at caththegreat.blogspot.com and run/jump while you are able.

Twinkle, Twinkle – a poem by Matthew Friday

Twinkle, Twinkle

Maybe it’s the word twinkle,
a relic of your Teddy Bear
days when Nursery Rhymes

knew the truth. Too busy
being adult, a being of work,
bills, brain dulled by looking

down at the twinkling screens
instead of up at the twittering
sky. Look again, feel your face

unfolding in wonderment:
stars are unimaginably far away,
but your childhood so close.

Imagine. Just some solar orbits,
a few calories of effort to raise
your index finger, point up

towards the cosmos-crossing
light that took millions of years
to reach earth, photons bumped

by the atmosphere in the final
seconds, causing the twinkling
magic that illuminates your eye,

fires electrons, burns in your
mind, resurrects memories,
connects to space forgotten.

 

Matthew James Friday has had over 60 poems published in many UK and worldwide magazines and journals, including, recently: The Brasilia Review (Brazil), Dawntreader (UK), New Contrast (South Africa), Sheila Na-Gig (USA) and Poetry Salzburg (Austria). A mini-chapbook titled All the Ways to Love is forthcoming with the Origami Poems Project (USA).

Website:      http://matthewfriday.weebly.com/