ASPECTS OF LOVE ISSUE
Ceó Ruaírc * Karla Linn Merrifield * Eileen Sateriale * David Kitchel * Ruth Hoberman * Anna Mark * Elisabeth Harrahy * Kirsty A Niven * Tobi Alfier * Neil Creighton * Mary Goehring * Mike Lewis-Beck * Julia Kennedy * James P Roberts * Joseph Murphy * Lynne Carol Austin * Christopher Stolle * Lynn White * Joe Cottonwood * Mary Beth Hines * Lois Roma-Deeley * Patricia Carney * Marjie G Giffin * Jim Landwehr * Tom Richter * Joseph Nardoni * Mikayla Davis * Jane-Marie Bahr * Susan Martell Huebner * Kenneth Pobo * Mary C McCarthy * Stephanie K Merrill * Laura Johnson * David B Prather * Joan Mazza * Keith MacNider * Rachel Dacus * Donna H DiCello * Liz Rhodebeck * Steve Bucher * Lynne Burnett * PD Lietz
Jocelyn Duke (cover artist) * Lou Nicksic * Gail Goepfert * Jon Baucom * Kurt J Huebner * Diana Creighton * Paul Holden * Anna May Shaffer * Karen A VandenBos * PD Lietz * David Seth Smith
Your secrets softly whisper in the dawn
as swiftly bats inscribe a spiral way
then satisfied return to roost by day
while here I curl up like a sleeping fawn
where Bracken Ferns unfurl I stretch and yawn
sweet little Shrew surprised scurries away
Pacific Wren sings praises of the day
as Pygmy Owl grows silent and is gone
now drenched in scent of Cedar citrus green
with glowing beauty here in worlds unseen
see ghostly Moths shudder to shake the night
beneath the Sitka Spruce like Faery Queens
they spread their pearly wings and take to flight
Ceó Ruaírc writes from wild places, inspired by the wonder of the natural world.
KARLA LINN MERRIFIELD
In the higher elevations of hope
picture me slumped, daydreaming in a red canvas chair
in a walled New Mexican garden, warm adobe
against violet shadows cast by ancient aspen,
me in the Taos sun beneath empyrean’s cerulean
blue of blues, I gather an imaginary June bouquet for you:
orange poppies, indigo bachelor buttons frequented
by bees, yellowest columbines, and flourishing hollyhock
racemes’ swollen green buds—then, as if through a gate
of wooden slats painted turquoise, lifting its cast-iron
latch, I quickly flit like a rainbow-making magpie home to you.
At Casa Encantada, just shy of Solstice, this too is possible.
Karla Linn Merrifield, a nine-time Pushcart-Prize nominee and National Park Artist-in-Residence, has had 600+ poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has 12 books to her credit, the newest of which is Bunchberries, More Poems of Canada, a sequel to Godwit: Poems of Canada (FootHills), which received the Eiseman Award for Poetry. Forthcoming this fall is Psyche’s Scroll, a full-length poem, published by The Poetry Box Selects. She is assistant editor and poetry book reviewer for The Centrifugal Eye. Visit her blog, Vagabond Poe Redux, at http://karlalinn.blogspot.com. Google her name to learn more; Tweet @LinnMerrifiel; https://www.facebook.com/karlalinn.merrifield.
In Hawaii, the hula girls sway
in the tepid breezes under the palm trees.
I know you are not like those women
who have bronzed, perfectly shaped bodies,
but I know your skin cries out
for crystalline blue water.
You abandon the rigidness of city life,
wade out of the last five painful years,
the water tickling your ankles,
splashing your knees.
You abandon yourself,
your arms beating like pelican wings.
Smiling, you immerse yourself
in the ocean’s warm water,
rinsing the smell of our sadness out of you.
You stand, so refreshed, shaking
the drops off your wrinkled body.
Your eyes focus on the line
of the aquatic horizon.
You see heaven’s paradise
and dive into the ocean
like a dolphin.
Eileen Sateriale is a Federal Government Analyst who writes poetry in her spare time. She has had poetry, short stories, and travel articles published in on-line and print media. She lives with her husband in Methuen, Massachusetts.
In the Ballpark
The young men make their beautiful bodies move in ways that make the old men at once envious and happy. Happy in a proud and nostalgic way—and sad because they know what’s going to happen. The mothers love all the dreams floating around. A moth lands next to me in the stands—third base side, top row—becomes a tiny, colored keystone, while my son bounces a pitch in the dirt. I watch him gather himself, glad my words no longer matter. The brown wings, with cream spots and orange piping, open. Up into the humid, purpling sky they lift the almost weightless, vanishing body.
David Kitchel’s most recent poems have appeared in Calamaro, The Galway Review, Banshee, and Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel. He’s been caught using an ink pen to write in a journal and reportedly owns a book by Philip Larkin. David lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife, a known librarian, and their two sons.
There’s labor in this long-shared ritual
of waking, you at the stove stirring oatmeal
as I page through the Times. Your appetite
feeds mine, you say, pouring blueberries
into white bowls. I’m a thread unspooled,
a silent hive, a glass turned upside down.
Are you the water or the thirst? Easily
I could abandon hunger. But for your sake
I right myself, wind selves into a skein,
and hum. For your sake,
I pull my lips from the dark and eat.
Ruth Hoberman is a writer living in Chicago. Her poems have appeared in various journals, including PANK, Iron Horse Literary Review, and Natural Bridge. She has poems forthcoming in Calyx and The Healing Muse.
Before I Knew the Dream
Before I knew it symbolically,
or what it meant to him,
I asked him to tea; before I knew
what it meant for a person
to be un arbre, I called it forth
and it claimed me, a rapturous air.
Before I knew what a flower was,
what a bridge, what a horse,
what an eagle, what a shadow,
or what it meant to love him, exactly,
it was just there, all pouring
out of me, naturally.
And now, I am learning to the depths
about things like tea and flowers,
windows and curtains, gods and angels;
I’ll never forget the moon I swallowed
like an oyster in the sea, pearl
of many pearls, the night.
I can’t decide which I prefer,
the glorious spring fountain that came first,
or this deep well I lower my urn into
and draw upwards through darkness,
but knowingly, cautiously. Before
I knew the dream I dreamed it aloud,
and then the real I knew pixelated
into a real I didn’t recognize, couldn’t make
sense of. But now I know the direction
of my steps before I walk, as though
projecting ghosts, the direction of a thought,
even why I loved him, why the ardor.
A wider awareness, perhaps, has come.
Are these meanings cold? Do they rain
like sharp hail? I am wiser, and my heart?
It still bears a question, or something like one,
I know it by how it feels — open and foolish,
vulnerable, like a child’s glee.
Anna Mark is a teacher who lives in Ontario with her husband and two daughters. Her poetry has been published in online journals and anthologies.
Things Forgotten, Things Remembered
After my first daughter was born
I took thousands of photos
kept locks of her hair
recorded each new tooth
and every milestone
wrote ten pages about the day she was born
and fifty more on her first year of life
and of course
put together a beautiful baby book
Hell, I even kept a journal through the whole pregnancy
When my second daughter was born
I kept no journal
(understandable, given her two-year old sibling)
took hundreds of photos
let her hair grow wild
recorded her first tooth
and kept sticky notes of things to be sure to record
in the baby book that sits empty
When my third daughter came along
well, you can guess how that went
let’s just say someday
a bit of creative writing
will be necessary
to complete the baby book
she is sure to ask for
But as a writer with a great eye for detail
I find it especially disturbing
that I did not record
all those big important moments
when I said, “I should really write that down.”
Funny what we are left with
those oddball memories
of goofy exchanges like,
“Hey Daddy, there’s a clown!
Wait—maybe that’s just
someone dressed up
like a clown.”
Or, “What is that you’re playing with? A booger?”
“Yes it is, it’s a booger.”
“No, Daddy, it’s not a booger.”
“You’re telling me that didn’t come from your nose?”
it’s from my ear.”
It’s these things that stick in my mind
cemented by frequent retelling
at the dinner table
while the rest seem to leak on through
like shiny flecks of gold through the miner’s sieve
leaving behind these clunky chunks
that aren’t so pretty
But oh how they return
memories of the real life-changing moments
like a final encore before the curtain closes
one last time
My mother-in-law looking up at me
from her wheelchair
asking, “Please, sergeant, may I come in to the dance? Please, sir?”
dying of breast cancer
her ravaged brain suddenly filled
with visions of that summer dance on the Navy base
where she would meet her husband
My aunt turning her head toward me
saying, “Take me with you, Daddy.
I want to go camping, too,”
as she maneuvered her shaky fingers
through the bars of her hospital bed
hoping to grasp the hand
of her dead father
the most precious moments
are never really lost—
or rather, put away for safe keeping
until that day
when we can see clearly
the ones who’ve gone before us
And those memories running through our heads
like favorite movie scenes
we’d somehow forgotten
one last glorious picture show
Memories raining down
like final blessings
Elisabeth Harrahy is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where she teaches courses in ecology and conducts research on the effects of contaminants on aquatic ecosystems. Her poems have appeared in Slightly West and Phoebe: Journal of Gender and Cultural Critiques (now called Praxis: Journal of Gender and Cultural Critiques). She was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters’ Statewide Writing Contest for her poem, “The Suitcase,” which was published in Wisconsin People & Ideas.
KIRSTY A NIVEN
Left of Windyghoul Road
Abandoned shrapnel of the sun –
the road colourless under its crescent shape.
A photograph in negative.
Your smile a light-bulb, a torch to guide our lips.
A car trespasses, its two-pronged glare
exposing our position – a Colditz reveal.
The bench quivers beneath our tangled knot,
preparing for its role as Best Man –
The witness to every obstacle,
every mapped mistake that led here.
Fields so sleepy lie before us,
the eyed hills having sung their lullaby.
Your arms curl around my awed form,
merging our souls once more.
The silence binds us as the lilac heavens
scoop up the bench with a welcoming hand.
Kirsty A Niven is from Dundee, Scotland where she lives with her husband and two cats. Her poetry has appeared in a number of places including Artificial Womb, The Dawntreader, Dundee Writes, Cicada Magazine and Laldy.
Candlelight chased me down the hall
just like you did that early evening
the day after the clocks changed,
time as confused as we were
on a rainy April in spring,
friends gathered below for drinks.
Shadows from the staircase
played out a gothic romance
on walls, wood to the hips,
then covered with old-fashioned paper—
calm little finches on branches
in teal-blue sky,
up to the textured ceiling,
the gray-pale color of any season.
Why did I say no, I always say
let’s be quick…this time I met
your eyes, pushed you teasingly away,
sashayed down the stairs
to find a glass of champagne
and take my place on a couch,
our private love-seat when just us two.
Tonight the clocks change again.
Twice each year I remember that night,
remember the next time we assembled
was to bid you goodbye. It wasn’t my fault,
wasn’t anyone’s. My white ruffled blouse,
pink heels, matching lipstick and mama’s
handkerchief should have been just for you.
One last time. Silently I ask the little finches
why did I push you away, not pull you toward me.
Tobi Alfier (Cogswell) is a multiple Pushcart nominee and multiple Best of the Net nominee. Her chapbook Down Anstruther Way (Scotland poems) was published by FutureCycle Press. Her full-length collection Somewhere, Anywhere, Doesn’t Matter Where is recently out from Kelsay Books. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (www.bluehorsepress.com).
We pause for a quiet moment
beside the weatherboard house
that she lived in as a girl.
She carries a small plastic bag.
We walk beside a narrow path
and descend on steps cut into a steep bank.
Mum used to maintain these, she says.
They were only dirt then.
At the bottom is a stony beach
and the Derwent, hundreds of metres wide.
I built a little safe pool out of rocks for Susan here.
She loved it so much.
She always cried when we left.
Mum could hear us returning.
A brief, complex blend of emotions suddenly rushes in,
joy and love, a sense of pride that I know her,
that I have lived my adult life with her,
but loss too, a regretful sense of passing time.
I see her as a girl, slender, dark-haired,
carrying her baby sister home
up the steep bank to their waiting mother,
or playing on these rocks, naming them,
laughing with childish delight,
plunging into the cold water.
She points to two of the larger rocks.
That one is Biggie. That’s Flattie.
She takes off her shoes, walks to Flattie,
kneels, undoes the plastic bag
and empties a little into the water.
The wind catches the finer particles.
She pauses then empties the rest.
A cloud appears in the water and briefly spreads.
The waves come in again, slap on the rock and suck back.
The cloud spreads a little more then it is gone.
This great earth, giver and nurturer of life,
absorbs the remains of one
who lived so passionately,
loved so fiercely,
whose beauty was a light,
who was uncompromisingly upright,
who like all who tread the earth
had strengths and weaknesses, triumphs and losses
but who loved and was loved in return.
Earth and wind and water now have her.
She is at one with countless billions
whose life has been given and taken back.
We hug briefly. No need for words.
We climb the earthen steps.
At the top blackberries grow wild.
They carry both flowers and fruit.
Most of the fruit is red but some are black.
We pick a few and taste them.
They’re still a bit bitter, she says,
as we turn and walk slowly away…
Neil Creighton’s work as a teacher of English and Drama brings him into close contact with thousands of young lives, most happy and triumphant but too many tragically filled with neglect. It also makes him intensely aware of how opportunity is so unequally proportioned and his work reflects strong interest in social justice. Recent publications include Poetry Quarterly, Poeming Pigeon, Silver Birch Press, Rat’s Ass Review, Praxis Magazine Online, Social Justice Poetry, and Verse Virtual. He blogs at windofflowers.blogspot.com.au
I Carried Him
I carried him to the car to drive him home
to the stroller to take him for walks
to the kitchen table for early baths
and to the tub when he got older
I carried him downstairs in the laundry basket
and carried him in a sling against my chest while I vacuumed
and endless hours I carried him walking
to help him get to sleep.
I carried teaspoons of cough syrup
in the middle of the night
and glasses of water and cool towels
to place on his fevered brow
I carried plates of food to the table
and boxes of blocks to play with
and books to read him
at night before he went to sleep
Yet I did not carry him from conception to birth
I did not push him through the birth canal
I did not let him go to be raised by another
and someday he will search for the one who did
And my love will carry him even then
And my love will carry him still.
Mary “Ray” Goehring was born and raised in Wisconsin, travelled extensively, worked a variety of jobs and feels like she has always been writing poetry. She has had poems published in Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ Museletter and poetry calendars, Steam Ticket Vol 19 Spring 2016, Art Wisconsin, Round Top Poetry Festival Anthology 2013, Brick Street Poetry, Inc. “Words & Other Wild Things” Nov 2016, and various newsletters and poetry trails. She is retired and now spends summer on her Central Wisconsin prairie and winters in the East Texas Pineywoods.
The leaves, I take their color from the hills
as I walk down Main to buy a paper
at Sterling’s Market, something to do, now
I’m back in the Kingdom.
Sun-soaked—yellows, reds and browns—
like they were that fall
Robin and I were here,
swooning in the purple love the rain made
then, and not made since,
not in thirty-seven years.
I stop and talk to Chipper
who tells me it’s too dry—
today will set a heat record—
in this town the rain made purple love.
Mike Lewis-Beck writes and works in Iowa City. He has pieces in Alexandria Quarterly, Apalachee Review, Cortland Review, Chariton Review, Pilgrimage, Iowa Review, Rootstalk, Seminary Ridge Review, Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art, and Wapsipinicon Almanac, among other venues. His short story, “Delivery in Göteborg,” received a Finalist prize from Chariton Review, 2015. His essay, “My Cherry Orchard in Iowa,” received recognition as one of the ‘Notable Essays’ in Best American Essays of 2011. His poetry book manuscript, Wry Encounters, was a Finalist for the 42 Miles Press Poetry Award 2016.
Your Mother Is in the Wind
Wind is pressure
the way confidence
within each of us
full to empty.
feared she was not
enough, a worry
we didn’t know
about each other.
Hours after her death,
I walked in the bluster of a bright
had slept on a mattress
that night in her kitchen,
awoke at 2 to her silence,
stared by her side
looking for breath.
Finally, I reached a hand out
for her chest. It was still.
Then held a last, daring hand
close to her mouth.
When I felt no breath,
well. That was the end.
Your mother is in the wind,
the woman with the border collie
and Joan Didion glasses said,
the one I saw on my walks
to get away from the nurses,
the bed, the vials of morphine.
You’re going to miss her,
but she’ll speak to you.
My husband talks to me
in the wind.
I moved on,
letting the wind toss my hair.
Its cold stung my face
with inevitable tears,
while out in the expanse
once all bottled up
now tearing, tearing
around that Gettysburg battlefield
like one of her childhood horses
Months later, Saturday morning
just awake, I stretched my head
toward the window by the bed.
The wind pushed
lilacs and grass across my face.
A bird’s wing whipped out of view.
It kept coming, this wind,
like waves at lake’s shore,
child of warm and cold air collisions,
tide carrying the scent of all
the unmoving things it passed over,
the facts of petals opening,
of tiny roots clutching soil,
so they wouldn’t fly away
with the wind.
Julia Kennedy is a freelance writer and teacher in the Boston area. Her work has appeared in Red Fez, Sediments Literary Journal, and Raven’s Perch. She is author of the blog Hidden Stories (https://hiddenstories.blog/) and has a Master’s Degree in English from University of Massachusetts Boston.
JAMES P ROBERTS
One Hundred Breaths
is how long our kiss lasted.
I counted each breath
measuring time against the beat
of your heart.
When our lips finally parted,
a giant exhalation caught
in my throat: I remembered
the taste of warm cherries.
Such palatable softness
awakened echoes, small vibrations
like the ancient songs
of sounding whales
under the sea. Your body
shifted back to sleep
and I dream now of
one hundred slow breath kisses
hoping when I awaken
sunlight will fall
across the room
lighting your opening mouth.
James P Roberts is the author of four previous collections of poetry. Recent work has been published in Mirror Dance, Gathering Storm, Bamboo Hut, and Solitary Plover. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin where he hosts a radio poetry show and has a passion for women’s flat-track roller derby.
This candle weaves a shadow
Like the best of summer moons
Lets me watch her sleeping
Curl the mound of blankets
I see us both as rising
Lifting through the breath of sparrows
As through our lips
We reach for grace
She so young and ageless
In her womb
Her body spinning
Soft with milk
Any golden shade is for her
Any shade at all
Joseph Murphy has been published in a number of journals, including The Ann Arbor Review, Northwind, and The Sugar House Review. He recently had a collection of poems published, Crafting Wings (Scars Publications, 2017); and a second collection, Having Lived, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books (2018). He is senior poetry editor for an online literary publication, Halfway Down the Stairs, established 2006.
LYNNE CAROL AUSTIN
As You Begin…
If I were to speak of patience
it is the clam that comes to mind
For a single irritant of sand
plants itself inaccessible
Yet is refined—layer after layer
Polishing the annoyance
into a pearl of forbearance
If I were to speak of giving
it is the sheep who grows his wool coat
not as a sacrifice but as an offering
to be sheared—woven and sewn
So that you might come to know
the true warmth of sharing
is often the unexpected open hand
If I were to speak of passion
it is the daisy—Yes, the daisy!
Whose face is pitched to the sky
in glorious openness, ready to receive
Passion is not only about what happens in the bedroom
But it’s showing up for life whether it’s cloudy or sunny
Opening to all possibilities with fervency
If I were to speak of entrenched patterns
it is the achievement of the caterpillar
For in his cleverness he goes within the chrysalis
of self-reflection and transforms
what was into the beauty of what can be
Then gracefully collects the nectar of transmutation
to present lovingly with uncovered wings
If I were to speak of conflict
it is the wisdom of the owl—Who-who-who-whooo!
Who do you want to be?
The one that says, Who can I blame?
Or the one with keen ears who listens
to the hurt under your lover’s words
and with wide eyes sees that you both may be right
If I were to speak of forgiveness
it is the grace of the willow
sweeping—with gentle caresses
across the face of the earth
Touching her cheek in reverence
as if to smooth away
any trace of wrong-doing
Love is composed of these
each modeled by nature
the unassuming teacher who
swirls in and out of consciousness
ready to awaken your senses
to bring you the breath of love
in this as you begin
Lynne Carol Austin’s articles have been published in a variety of professional Wisconsin magazines, including The Inner Voice online magazine. She wrote a feature chapter in the book, The New Healers Minds and Hands in Complementary Medicine, by Dr. Barbara Stevens Barnum. Short stories in Main Street Rag Literary Magazine. She has a story-telling C.D. called Earth Spirituality-Spiritual Storytelling (2000), two children’s books, Edith Ann Marie The Sun is in My Heart (2010), and Francine and Hazel (2015), published by Wise Wind Press. A third children’s book and her other two novels published by Black Rose Writing, Tell Me A Story, Mama-Little Berry and Mama Bear (2015), and novels, Ten of Swords (2014), and Gull Soup (2018). This is Austin’s first published poem. Find out more about this author: www.lynnecarolaustin.com
Requiem for My Father
A Dissected Paean to Elegies
I didn’t dare touch you.
I thought you might
crumble under my fingers.
You fell in love with gravity.
I needed to help you
feel grounded again.
Someone switched our script.
This isn’t how anyone would
have written this scene.
I tried to pull you up.
My grip kept slipping
from your handles.
We could do no more.
I gently shook your foot
and swallowed my goodbye.
Christopher Stolle’s writing has appeared most recently in Tipton Poetry Journal, Flying Island, Edify Fiction, Contour, The New Southern Fugitives, The Gambler, Gravel, The Light Ekphrastic, Sheepshead Review, and Plath Poetry Project. He works as an acquisitions and development editor for Penguin Random House, and he lives in Richmond, Indiana.
My Sister Maud
I had a sister once.
Her name was Maud.
I never knew her,
never even knew of her.
No one said.
Not our father,
or his son,
not my mother,
No one spoke.
All were mute for Maud.
She never grew old,
never even grew up.
And her little life
became engulfed in silence.
My father cried
when she died,
I know it now
more than eighty years later
I know it.
When there’s no one living
who knew her.
When there is no one left
to tell me her favourite games,
her hopes, her dreams.
All are gone.
I know it now.
I even have a photograph
so that I can see her,
picture her as she was.
And I won’t forget her,
won’t forget that
I had a sister once.
Her name was Maud.
Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. Her poem “A Rose For Gaza” was shortlisted for the Theatre Cloud “War Poetry for Today” competition 2014. This and many other poems, have been widely published in recent anthologies such as – Alice In Wonderland by Silver Birch Press, The Border Crossed Us and Rise from Vagabond Press and journals such as Apogee, Firewords, Pilcrow & Dagger, Indie Soleil, Light, and Snapdragon. Find Lynn at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lynn-White-Poetry/1603675983213077?fref=ts and lynnwhitepoetry.blogspot.com
Call of Nature
Past midnight, no light,
we’re in bed when to our ears
two owls sing outside the window
huh-hoo, hoo, hoo
among the oaks, by starshine.
A duet, art, they are surely aware.
Harmony is no accident
a matter of constant adjustment
by minds with intent.
Side by side we lie. I call to you huh-hoo
and you respond to me hoo-hoo.
Huh-huh-huh-huh hoo, hoo, hoo.
You laugh, we embrace, bed creaks. Then silence.
We spooked them.
Face to face, we wait. Scarcely breathe. No sound.
Perhaps, like us, together they press.
Perhaps they nest.
After minutes, softly from outside:
Huh-hoo, hoo, hoo.
One calls, one responds,
then voices blend, girl and boy,
Joe Cottonwood is a carpenter by day, writer by night. Self-taught in each, he has repaired houses from East to West while scattering poems all over the internet. His most recent book is Foggy Dog: Poems of the Pacific Coast.
MARY BETH HINES
A Thousand Miles from Dead Dog Beach
Wilma still dreams about the tangled
thicket of weeds, sand crackling in sun,
clouds of buzzing flies that marked
the place where she was born scrabbling
for her mother’s teat, guzzling air like kibble.
As a puppy, Wilma was quick and ferocious,
ripping into the legs of men on the beach
who sometimes fed her but more often kicked her.
She was nearly full-grown when she tried to flee,
snarling and snapping, from the Sato rescue team.
She slipped her leash the first week home,
darted into traffic. Her new mothers chased her
into the shriek of horns, calling her unfamiliar
name – scooped her up, carried her back –
so much smaller than she thought she was.
It took them years to settle her, to soothe
her cowering, full-body growling.
But they sang to her; they let her crawl, quaking,
into bed between them during thunderstorms
while outside clouds tumbled and burned.
Mornings, she stares the two of them awake.
They groan and stir. When they open their eyes,
she tramples their warm bodies, muzzles them
out of bed and into the kitchen for food,
water, sun filtering through windows.
They scratch behind her ears and rub her belly
and she bounds about, circling, jumping, barking,
barking, barking, until they shoo her into the yard,
unleashed, to snuffle out chipmunks, choke down
ants, roll in stinkweed, tear open another day.
Mary Beth Hines lives and writes in Massachusetts. She studied at the College of the Holy Cross, had a long career in human resources and project management, and is now an active participant in Boston-area writing workshops. An emerging poet, her work was recently published in MassPoetry’s newsletter and on their website. She lives near Boston with her inspiring, literature-loving husband and son, and spends as much time as possible in Central Massachusetts with her daughter, son-in-law, and their growing family.
Like a Road Rising High Above the Sea
Marianne has seen me study
the seduction of early winter—the rivulets of ice crystals
cracking along the window panes,
and how the snow shadows fall
onto the gables of my neighbor’s roof—
this coldness, she knows, beguiles me.
I have told my friend a quiet life
is like a road which rises high above the sea.
But she won’t let me go. And so
somewhere between two continents, not lost,
but simply far beyond belief, my friend travels to me.
Together we sit in a pale blue room
on a paisley sofa, drawing near to the roaring fire. And we drink
glass after glass of plum wine and eat with our fingers
from bowls of sliced apples and purple figs.
Lois Roma-Deeley is the author of four full-length books of poetry including, The Short List of Certainties, winner of the Jacopone da Todi Book Prize (Franciscan University Press). She is the author of three previous collections of poetry: Rules of Hunger, northSight, and High Notes—a Paterson Poetry Prize Finalist. Roma-Deeley’s poems have been featured in numerous literary journals and anthologies, nationally and internationally. She serves as Associate Editor of the poetry journal Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry. www.loisroma-deeley.com/
Before dawn still giddy from gaudy
display of neon greens and yellows
of Aurora Borealis over polar horizon;
we could not leave this night display
and waited out dawn. Overwhelming
this horizon, a different light display
not of neon, but an authentic, alluring,
awesome light more ardent than
aurora. So glamorous our horizon, we
found a patch of greening moss to wait
out the dawn now fully entranced
under deep orange, then pink, to buttery
cream and meanwhile the black night
giving way to light blue sky with some
dimming switch focusing the color to
fuller deeper blue while a Beaufort two
blew through the dawn and moved the
perfumed air throughout the morn while
songbirds called out to their mates to
welcome this new day, and we held hands
overawed by this enchantingly amorous
display of fresh day in songbird season
encased by an atmosphere and honesty
of dawn. We left without words to ponder
our amorous spell cast by Aurora Borealis.
Patricia Carney lives along the shores of Lake Michigan in Cudahy, WI, holds a B.A. in English from UW-Milwaukee and a JD from Marquette U., is a member of WFOP, published poems have been included in Bramble, Poetry in the Prairie, and Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar of WFOP. Carney published the chapbook, Birdbrains, for a project with the Milwaukee Division of the Audubon Society, Birds & Bards, presented in Sheridan Park and Cudahy Family Library during the summer of 2017.
MARJIE G GIFFIN
Back in ’73
Back in ’73, he was “killing me softly
with his song,” and I was longing
to be his bride. With car idling
by the lake, old motor humming,
he crooned and stroked my cheek
and promised me the moon
would beam down on us forever.
I traced continents all across his back,
and he found hints of the sea
in the green flecks in my eyes.
We traveled sitting still, slept and
awakened, wondering at the expanse
of places that neither of us
had ever before seen.
The hush of the woods
enveloped us, and we were alone
in our vast but secluded world.
We vowed always to be explorers,
always to probe finger and toe
all those regions yet unknown
to our most tender touch.
Like an unspoken promise,
the honeyed stillness lulled us
into a thrill for the uncharted
and a faith in our own magic
to conquer ocean, plain, and sky.
Time was a blur, and we let loose
our dreams, and for one
singing moment, we believed.
Marjie G Giffin is a Midwestern poet and playwright who lives and works in Indianapolis. Some of her poems have recently appeared in Flying Island, Poetry Quarterly, the Kurt Vonnegut Literary Journal, Snapdragon, and Saint Katherine Review. A recent play was produced at the IndyFringe Short Play Festival.
If love were a spirit
it would haunt even those
that didn’t believe
If love were a spirit
it would live in the
thin places of
those now gone
who return it
when we are in need.
Yes, if love were a spirit
I would hold a séance
and channel it
to all the hurting
that once felt it
but now it is lost.
If love were a spirit
I would exorcise it
into a foster child,
a pending divorce,
or racial disunity.
I think love is a spirit
and it lives in
the vapor of our being
a whispered emotion
blown from one another
by the Santa Ana winds
of our hearts.
Jim Landwehr has two poetry collections, Reciting from Memory and Written Life. He has a forthcoming chapbook, On a Road, which releases on 10/21/2018. Jim also has two nonfiction books, Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir and The Portland House: A ’70s Memoir. His non-fiction stories have been published in Main Street Rag, Prairie Rose Publications, Steam Ticket, and others. His poetry has been featured in Torrid Literature Journal, Portage Magazine, Blue Heron Review, and many others. He enjoys fishing, kayaking, biking and camping with his kids in the remote regions of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Jim is poet laureate for the Village of Wales, Wisconsin.
If you go with me
there will be bridges
needing to be crossed by night
there will be beauty by day
songs sung by heartbeat
my ear pressed to your breast
where a songbird has always lived
to sing in sweet sharing
that could be joy
that could be the opening salvo
of hello of letting go
of closing arms in a hug
or the rain of kisses in a storm
like a release of lovebirds
the wheels will roll under foot
to the destination of our lives
to homes by lake and sea
but there will be bridges
bridges to cross by night
Tom Richter is a singer/songwriter currently residing in Portsmouth, NH and Chaumont, NY. His unique arrangements on fretted strings combines nicely with his lyrics forming wonderful “tone poems.” He can be found on CDBaby.com with projects as Tom Richter, as well as his fictional character, Homer Scroot.
What I Have Meant to Say
your kisses fall on me
like rain on new corn,
slaking my spirit that lay
parched so long in aloneness
before I knew you
I no longer knew it was dry.
Now I feel new roots
inching through the hard,
cracked earth of my soul,
and the unfinished fruits of my life,
strewn about my past, sprout
unexpected shoots of hope from every
overripe chore I peel from my list.
Your fertile belief in me
becomes intimate conviction,
lingers in my heart
like the lilac scent of your
hair on our pillows,
another way for you to say so easily
that which I have meant to say,
muse stuck in my throat
these past six years
like arid soil in the bottom of
an empty pot,
the right mix
for the ghost writer’s
ineffable scent of cut
flowers dying for you,
or some Cyrano’s
words on fine cardboard
I have left on the buffet for you—
and as I lie awake next to you,
this night before our anniversary,
remembering those dry
times while the soft
susurrus of your breath
caresses my name,
with the pure
delight of a child
taking his first run
down a smooth, granite
slide into a mountain stream,
how it was not so
foolish for Don Quixote to tilt at windmills.
How much more than that
can I do tomorrow,
fed with my love
returned when I kiss
go off to work,
your damp touch
lingering on my lips
like rich earth in a farmer’s hands?
Joseph Nardoni is a poet and professor of English and Creative Writing at Middlesex Community College, in Lowell, Massachusetts. He has had his poems published in Memoryhouse, The Syzygy Poetry Journal, and the anthology, Vagabonds: An Anthology of the Mad, by Weasel Press. He designed the Creative Writing Concentration at Middlesex Community College, a program of study designed to help both traditional and returning learners build a foundational understanding of what writers do when they write. He is one of the faculty founding editors of Dead River Review, the online magazine of MCC, whose first issue was released in May, 2015, on WordPress.
You taught me to read a map of the stars
by skipping songs in a playlist
so we listened to the same one
like striking stars from black
sky so the moon was ours only
and its ghost light ignited skin
from every angle
an album of glow
lingering in the hallow spaces
of our throbbing hearts
a connect-the-dots of constellations
linking us into a full picture
of lyrics that remind you of us
three beats and it’s a belt
the world turns and it’s out
and you send me songs that gravitate
in the orbit of my brain
feel their deliberate pull
measured and steady
hovering just above the surface
like breath between the chorus
and I send moonbeams arching
up into empty space
Mikayla Davis is an MFA candidate from the University of Central Arkansas, where she currently teaches Introduction to Creative Writing. She has a BA in English from Eastern Washington University and has poems published in Railtown Almanac, The Wire Harp, CandleLit, Gold Dust, and others.
You, my husband, have stepped into eternity.
Yet, I mark this day with three pink-tinted,
I put them into an etched glass vase.
One rose for each decade of our marriage.
It feels good to do so.
At the cemetery earlier, I watered your plant.
I intuit one truth: Love is timeless.
It is whispered in caressing summer breezes,
in the soft light of dawn.
It echoes in the song of the whippoorwill.
Thoughts of our love carry me into my destiny;
I bless each day knowing its sureness.
Jane-Marie Bahr lives on the edge of a marsh in western Wisconsin. She delights in seeing pheasants, cardinals, gold finches, and bluebirds in her yard. When not reading or writing, she tends to her late husband’s perennial box gardens. Her poems have been published in Red Cedar, Verse Wisconsin, Wisconsin People and Ideas, Hummingbird, Free Verse, Poetry Motel, Wallpaper Broadsides Series, Poesy, the Museletter, Wisconsin Poets’ Calendars, and Poetry Out of Wisconsin. Bahr earned an MST degree from UW-Whitewater and taught English at Whitewater High School and Eau Claire Memorial High School. She is a recipient of a Wisconsin Arts Board Travel Grant and a WRWA Soar Scholarship.
SUSAN MARTELL HUEBNER
(with gratitude for Billy Collins’s “The Night House”)
The Soul is in it for
the love of the game
It knows burning
for a magic wand
is a misuse of imagination
Deep in the night
it stares out over the town
sees soft orange lamps
glowing in the nurseries
stands at grief’s deep well
acknowledges despair and its
three coats of clouds
relaxes and pours a glass of milk
sprinkles cinnamon and cloves
plays horseshoes and hide-and-seek
eats candy hearts
knows Time as both loose change and jewel
practices homemade happiness
Susan Martell Huebner lives and writes in Mukwonago, WI. Her chapbook, Reality Changes With the Willy Nilly Wind (2018), was recently published by Finishing Line Press. Her novel, She Thought the Door Was Locked (2017), is available on Amazon and from Cawing Crow Press.
When Aunt Stokesia Died
I remembered I had forgotten
to ever tell her I loved her.
I had thanked her for gifts,
for jokes about her sisters
who were both well off
while she cramped her life into a flat
with Dickey the parakeet. Love?
A word that sticks like a foot
in a too tight boot. I couldn’t say it.
Or wouldn’t. In the casket cousin Lee
said she looked like an angel. How
she’d have hated that! She called angels
snoopy ghosts, would’ve preferred
if someone said she looked like a race car
just turned off. She worshipped
NASCAR, her own idling religion. I leaned
over her body dressed in something vaguely
pink that I didn’t think she’d approve of.
And still I couldn’t say it. Still
the words hung like wet paper towels
she left to dry from her curtain rod.
Heading home, my Kia coughed,
unruly headlights loping
all the way to the garage.
Kenneth Pobo had a book of poems out in 2017 from Circling Rivers called, Loplop in a Red City. Forthcoming from Clare Songbirds Press is a book of prose poems called, The Antlantis Hit Parade.
MARY C MCCARTHY
(Inspired by Gustav Klimt’s, “The Kiss”)
Transfigured by rapture
our ordinary flesh, like lead
in this alchemist’s alembic,
turning to gold
each sense refined
into a dream
of spangled light
each touch another layer
of gold leaf
until we are paved
with shifting tiles
a fall of gemstones
woven of moonlight
and the million tiny fires
threading our nerves
with a fine embroidery
each bright stitch
part of a tapestry
reflecting all our heat
back to us
a perfect mirror
of our sumptuous desire
Mary C McCarthy has always been a writer, but spent most of her working life as a registered nurse. She has had work appear in many on-line and print journals, including, Gnarled Oak, Verse Virtual, Third Wednesday, and Earth’s Daughters, and has an electronic chapbook, Things I Was Told Not to Think About, available as a free download from Praxis magazine online.
STEPHANIE K MERRILL
The Tao of Remembrance
The next time we meet may be in your grandmother’s garden
she so proud of her hydrangeas as big as dinner plates as blue as a Texas sky.
In an instant you will remember joy in the earth
when we paddled a canoe on the clear lakes of Canada.
Or maybe the next time we meet you will be driving your car
with the guitar of Carlos Santana screaming.
The little gods that live inside song will step outside
leading you home because the circle knows where to find you.
I like to think that when we sleep we transform
into angels in the watery fugue of dreams.
We convene there in reunion cheering each other on
doubled over in laughter at some joke we share
or maybe sobbing in sorrow huddled around a campfire.
Either way, we journey through our tender nights together.
During the days we seem to move farther and farther apart
but never quite vanishing.
Everything good between us is written in the sanctity of now.
We meet where snow falls from the sky like papier-mâché, a blanket for old trees.
We meet in the eyes of a dying cat who has found comfort
in a pile of dirty laundry in the dark of the closet.
We meet where light slivers the night and says trust me.
We gather in love’s DNA
which is The Universe
more learned than
the holy sutras of winter
and greener than all
bright days in June.
Together we have built this place among us.
It is a fortress.
A whole quarry.
Because we are here.
Stephanie K Merrill taught writing to teenagers for many years, and has recently retired as English faculty at Elgin Academy, a liberal arts school outside of Chicago. Currently she lives in Austin, Texas.
After They Leave
It’s too quiet.
I should not be able to hear
the rattle and hum of the air conditioner
or the ticking of the clock,
but I hear them above the echoes
of forks on plates, and ice in glasses,
chair legs squawking on the kitchen floor,
the opening and closing of doors,
the perpetual clinking and swooshing of dishes in the sink—
Mom erasing remnants of the messes we made—
and voices as familiar as my childhood.
The banter and laughter of my sister and mother are now only echoes;
and as they return to their own spots in the universe,
all is so quiet, I can hear the rhythmic rattle of my heart.
Laura Johnson is an English/ESOL teacher at Fayette County High School in Georgia. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University in 2017, and her work has been published in Time of Singing, Blue Heron Review, Snakeskin, Peeking Cat Poetry, The New Southern Fugitives, and others. Her first book of poetry, Not Yet, will be released next year by Kelsay Books.
DAVID B PRATHER
Remember the body―
the body’s capacity to touch and devour
the world. To let the raging sky in
through the sheen of the eyes,
rest a while in the turbulent liquids of thought
before the air is spoken, turned
into a labyrinth of words. Words
are everything and nothing―
the only paradox that matters.
We can’t even take them into our hands,
though we can touch
the lips that say them,
and the tongue that shades the sound of the throat.
It’s called a kiss, each word
tangled at the mouth, each utterance a confession
that, yes, we love the world
despite the careless way we find each other.
Think of the body, the feminine legs
uncovered and given to the heavens’
stippled night, the twin stars
Castor and Pollux, begging the gods
once again to be released, begging again
to pull on the skin, to capture the senses,
to know the intimate winter wind passion
along city streets,
to trust the fingertips’ translation of the ankle’s
which is pivot and motion. Think of that
motion, or, rather, every motion―
mating birds in flight, throwing themselves at clouds,
the supple salamanders’ entanglement,
a sensuous battle, the pressure of lips;
the slow, celestial land snail wandering,
its spiral shell reminiscent of a galaxy
spinning along an axis, bursting
with new stars, the language
endemic to planets and moons and unlikely satellites.
That language. That motion. Think of the body,
it’s language, its motion, its place
in that galaxy―the arms reach out and encircle
another body, a system within a system, a word
within a word. How little we have to know of each other
to know this. Slowly, people disappear.
Within each other they disappear.
And the sound is excruciating, a joy that sparks
every nerve ending and shuts down the brain, a joy
that lingers in the abdomen, that complicates
the groin, that creates its own code
bit by corpuscular bit. Think of the blood,
each cell a denizen from the heart
rushing in, rushing out, rushing in
because this is home, where some measure of truth is dispensed,
where the flesh’s cosmic pattern is spoken
two syllables at a time―and think of the heart,
a little off-center.
Remember its position in the prison of the chest.
Remember the word that describes this,
the way we say it so that all the world begs
to be taken in.
David B Prather received his MFA in creative writing from Warren Wilson College. His poetry has appeared in many journals, including: Colorado Review, Seneca Review, Prairie Schooner, The American Journal of Poetry, American Literary Review, Poet Lore, South Florida Poetry Journal, ucity review, Kestrel, Sheila-Na-Gig, and others. His work was also selected for one of Naomi Shihab Nye’s anthologies, what have you lost? Currently, David spends his time as an actor and a director at a local theater in Parkersburg, WV.
Praise Song for the Life I’ve Made
Retired from microbiology, psychotherapy,
no longer handling poop or sorting it out
with troubled families, I do as I please
from day to day, move from whim
to whim. I write in my head, read in bed,
give away the TV, all tapes and CDs.
I play with the dog, or pet and brush
the cats, photograph birds and flowers.
I have time for slow cooking: stews
with pearl barley, fermenting sourdough,
hours to bake muffins and cheesecakes
to give away. In the silence of my rooms,
I can allow my thoughts to wander toward
belated insights about chronic complaints,
reacquaint myself with passion for fabrics
and threads, shift my focus from old resentments
to new contentments I still have time to cultivate.
In the early hours, hinted at by my childhood
circadian rhythm when I was not in charge,
I sort fancy papers, make get well and happy
birthday cards, and leave some blank
for hand-written notes now so rare.
This life isn’t leisure or burden, but filled
with tasks I’ve taken on by choice. Today
tomato sauce simmers with beef and pork,
bread dough rises, all my laundry is folded
and put away. My bills are paid. The trees
are green again. I’m on my feet.
Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, seminar leader, and has been a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. Author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam), her poetry has appeared in Rattle, Kestrel, The MacGuffin, Mezzo Cammin, Potomac Review, and The Nation. She ran away from the hurricanes of South Florida to be surprised by the earthquakes and tornadoes of rural central Virginia, where she writes poetry and does fabric and paper art. www.JoanMazza.com
The moon’s light visits us this evening.
We feel a presence like the silt of an
ancient cave and yet lightening so that
we both smile and sigh at much the
same time. Even the dog looks up
as if poised on the edge of discovery.
Perhaps the axis of our relationship
is moving, tilting into another, closer
phase, a swimming under the surface
of a Minoan pool, greened and rippling.
Keith MacNider has been closely involved with Druidry since 1989. His work has been published in Australia, the UK, the US, and Canada. He lives in coastal South Australia where the Otherworldly presence is very strong.
Once I prayed that someone would hear me,
and in silence at last I felt a listening.
For long years I prayed to hear a word
and at last love came wrapped in beauty, singing.
For long years I prayed to sing
and sang and sang, trying to harmonize
with every note that rang in brilliant light.
At last love began to sing with me.
Suddenly I was no longer singing
to love or love to me. I was embraced,
swept off my feet and carried—and now
love has made away with me.
I grew up in shadows and corners.
I never believed in the sun of joy,
but I have been kidnapped by ecstasy.
My life has ended where love’s work begins.
The One who is all-love has tucked me
under his arm, and carries me like a rag
or a whisk from task to task. I did not seek
for such a rapture of usefulness,
but I would trade a mere million more lives
to be a broom or a pen or a pot in such hands.
Rachel Dacus is the author of The Renaissance Club, a time travel romantic novel involving the great Italian sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini, which has been called “Enchanting, rich and romantic…a poetic journey through the folds of time.” Dacus’ book Gods of Water and Air is a collection of poetry, prose, and drama. Her other poetry collections are Earth Lessons and Femme au Chapeau. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Atlanta Review, Boulevard, Prairie Schooner, The Pedestal, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. Her fourth poetry collection, Arabesque, is forthcoming in August 2018 from FutureCycle Press. Find out more about this author at: https://racheldacus.net
DONNA H DICELLO
(inspired by Andrea Sawyer’s painting with the same title)
I hang softly in
your night room,
a small blue heart
blazoned between clouds
and moments of time,
light slanting first morning
tentacles of gold. I mark
the sand with burnt sienna,
cadmium red—you took first steps
toward a helix of a life here,
on this crook of land, softly
falling into love and other
dwellings. I am a reminder
of that vista you saw
so long ago, when morning
offered promise, your
warp and weft, ebb and
flow, pledging that the
sea would sustain you.
Donna H DiCello is a clinical psychologist whose first loves have always been the mind and the shape, sound, and meaning of words. She has had poems published with Blue Heron Review, Cold Noon, The MOON Magazine, Minerva Rising Press, Greensilk Journal, and Kind of a Hurricane Press. Along with her co-author, Lorraine Mangione, she has had a non-fiction release with New Harbinger/Impact Publishers, Inc. titled Daughters, Dads, and the Path Through Grief: Tales from Italian America, which was a finalist in the 2014 Foreword Reviews INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards in the category of grief, as well as a finalist for the USA Book News Awards for 2014 in the Health: Death and Dying category. She continues to work on a series of poems about Iceland. Donna lives in Connecticut but considers Provincetown, MA and Iceland to be her heart homes.
He knows in which compartment
I keep my tweezers in the bathroom
and I know where he keeps his
extra shoelaces in the dresser,
not that I put them there
or snooped through his drawers —
it’s just we know these little things,
unconscious observances of home and habit
like a cross-exam where the lawyer
extracts details from your memory
you didn’t know you knew.
It’s not everything, of course;
I wouldn’t know which tool
is a wrench or a socket, or the difference
between a washer and wingnut, just that
his tools are tidily arranged
in the garage; any more than he
would know a bobbin from a bodkin
in my sewing box in the spare
bedroom closet, but at least
we both are aware of each
other’s domain, the bits and pieces
that make up who we are, just like
the cigar box of his father’s old coins in his desk
or my high school pottery on the window ledge,
the stories we’ve yet to tell each other.
Liz Rhodebeck is a freelance writer and poet from Menomonee Falls, WI. Her poetry has recently appeared in An Ariel Anthology, The Remembered Arts Journal, Bards Against Hunger Anthology 5, Postcard Poems & Prose, Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, and others. She is the author of three chapbooks, Here the Water is Deep, What I Learned in Kansas, and Benthos, and was editor of Hear My Voice: Poems of the Unheard Girls From the House of Love, a collection by teen girls in foster care. Liz also performs inspirational programs with Grace River Poets and is active in her church. Find out more about this author at: www.waterwriter.com
The long night’s
Rippling through farmhouse windows
And folds of amaranth
Onto feathered white
Drawing me from dream
To moonlit clarity
And quiet solitude
Single notes struck soft
In a minor key
In pristine peace
Your dark hair splayed
Across the limning pale
Your quiet light
Steve Bucher lives and writes poetry in the Virginia Piedmont. He is an active member of the Poetry Society of Virginia. His poetry appears in the Blue Heron Review, Glass: Facets of Poetry, the Journal of Inventive Literature, the California Quarterly, the Way to My Heart anthology, the deLuge Journal, Artemis, NoVa Bards, Calliope Magazine, and the Smoky Blue Literary and Arts Magazine.
Lovers in the Lobby
A man rides the down escalator.
A woman stands at the bottom, looking up.
Their eyes meet. In that marriage
does he keep riding into her? Deeper, further –
as if he couldn’t, by himself, stop?
And does she tip love’s bucket,
drinking only from the well of his eyes?
He holds out a hand. She takes it,
brings him close. In the marriage of
that moment, love urges their lips
to speak in any language they know,
unravelling time and space
to travel in a kiss
the silent fathomless depths between stars,
and I bask in their evident arrival.
I want them to make it there
every time and not
for all of us who are lovers,
whatever, whomever we love.
Around them rolls the low thunder
of conversation. People and their luggage
bustle by. The door keeps opening and
winter shudders in. How quickly the new
face flushes and the flung snow melts!
And still they stand there,
holy ghosts of love, on call,
privileged by memory to help
the radiance of old starlight
reach me now.
Lynne Burnett lives in the Pacific Northwest. Recent publications include Blue Heron Review, IthacaLit, Mockingheart Review, New Millennium Writings, Tamsen, Taos Journal of Poetry and Art, Best of Kindness 2017 Anthology, and a Tupelo Press chapbook anthology. The 2016 winner of the Lauren K. Alleyne Difficult Fruit Poetry Prize, in 2017 she had two poems shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, was nominated for Best of the Net, and received honorable mention in the River Styx International Poetry Contest and special merit in Comstock Review’s Muriel Craft Bailey Prize. Her chapbook, Irresistible, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press, spring of 2018.
Vulnerability of Self
On the stage worn
with the choreographic
demands of society
mired in notes of blue
allowing nothing out
worse allowing nothing in.
Earth’s rhythmic swells
and swaddles her within
the soothing lullaby of life.
Lub dub lub dub.
With no will of her own
her body undulates
with the life force of being,
with a wisp of trepidation
she falters and hesitates,
lub dub lub dub persistent.
At her feet she lays down
the crushing cloak sewn
with clever hooks and binding.
Unrestricted she unfurls
in confidence and is dynamic
in her vulnerability of self.
Lord how she dances.
PD Lietz is a widely published artist from Canada. Her writing, art, and illustrations have appeared in, and as covers of, many publications: Naugatuck River Review (Summer 2011 & Winter 2013), MaINtENaNT: Journal of Contemporary DADA Writing and Art (#4, 5, & 6), Visions, Voices and Verses, Sunrise From Blue Thunder, DoveTales “Occupied” an International Journal of the Arts, Uncoil A Night, Beautiful Women an anthology, Origami Poetry Project, Songs of Sandy, When Women Waken, to name a few. She is also artist-in-residence for Writers for Peace. Links: http://www.pdlietzphotography.com; http://writingforpeace.org/artist-in-residence; http://saintjulianpress.com/index.html; https://twitter.com/Paula_d_Lietz; http://madswirl.com
JOCELYN DUKE (cover artist) ~ Jocelyn Duke was born and raised in Louisville, KY. She has been blessed to be able to live in two different worlds her entire life, Athletics and Arts. Since elementary school, art has been her first love, with her first poem being, “The Sand,” and constantly drawing time machines. She first became involved with basketball in middle school and played at the collegiate level, at Austin Peay State University. Following graduation, she began competing in bodybuilding, became involved with personal training, and started coaching woman’s basketball. She was fortunate enough to coach basketball from high school to the collegiate level; however, she decided to pursue her passion in art which has always been there. She loves working with different genres of art; drawing, painting, writing, and photography. She has also begun a clothing line. Please take a moment to view her different pieces of art and her clothing line on her website at: theartistimagery.com
LOU NICKSIC ~ Lou Nicksic is a Wildlife/Landscape Photographer based in the Pacific Northwest. With an abundance of mountains, islands, waterfronts, and hundreds of amazing bird species, the availability of photographic subject matter is endless. What makes Lou’s bird images special, is that he tries to capture unique positions during flight, landing, or while the birds are preening in contortion-like poses. On occasion, the birds get into an almost human-like pose, adding a humorous flavor to his images. Lou considers outdoor nature photography to be a spiritual experience for him, and that a one-of-a-kind image is a wonderful gift worth cherishing. For those interested in licensing his images, or obtaining prints, please contact him at his website: www.loupho.com. He welcomes your feedback and will happily answer any questions that you might have. “Through Art and Photography, one gains entrance into the arena of contemplating meanings…”
GAIL GOEPFERT ~ Gail Goepfert has three passions—poetry, photography, and teaching—hard to nail down a favorite. She is an associate editor of RHINO Poetry. Her first chapbook, A Mind on Pain, was released by Finishing Line Press early in 2015, and a second book, Tapping Roots, was released spring 2018. Her first full-length book of poems, Get Up Said the World, will be published in 2019 by Červená Barva Press. Recent publications include Kudzu House, Stone Boat Review, The Penn Review, Postcard Poems and Prose, and Beloit Poetry Review. More information about this poet at www.gailgoepfert.com
JON BAUCOM ~ Since the early 1990’s, Jon Baucom has been capturing award-winning photographs from locations all over the world. His interest in photography began while in high school, and he earned a BFA in Photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design. As a professional photographer, Jon has focused his lenses on active wildlife, beautiful landscapes, engaging portraits and action-packed sporting events. His photography has been published internationally through many printed magazines and websites. Jon has created dynamic photographs for many well-known commercial brands such as Ford Motor Company, General Electric, Churchill Downs, Markers Mark Bourbon, Hayes Performance Group, Marriott Hotels, and many more. In additional to his professional work, Jon always makes time to continually refine his portfolio of personal work. Find out more about this photographer at: www.jonbaucomphotography.com
KURT JOHN HUEBNER ~ Kurt J Huebner is an amateur photographer who lives in the Mukwonago area of SE Wisconsin along with his supportive poet and author wife, Susan. A lifelong love of nature and science, in general, evolved in a strong photographic interest in close-up and macrophotography. He is very interested in the dragonflies and damselflies of Wisconsin and is making an effort to study and photograph as many species as possible — 95 species to date. Hunting dragonflies also allows him to come into contact with and image: butterflies, insects, wildflowers, birds, mammals, and the occasional landscape. Being in the woods, meadows, streams, lakes and marshes seems to compliment his introversion and settles his ever-curious brain to a calm focus. He states he prefers nature photography because, “The bugs don’t complain about how they look in an image.” Kurt recently won Best of Show for the Wisconsin Camera Club Associated photography contest for an image of a dragonfly posed on Borage. His photograph was chosen from a total of 650 submissions and was chosen to be submitted to a Photographic Society of America contest.
DIANA CREIGHTON ~ Diana Creighton’s commitment to issues of environment and equity is both idealistic and practical. For twenty-five years she worked as a teacher-librarian in one of the most disadvantaged socio-economic regions of Sydney, Australia. When asked why she never accepted any of the many opportunities she had to move to more middle-class schools, she replied with typical directness, “These students need good teachers too.”
PAUL HOLDEN ~ Paul Holden is a life-long resident of Sparta, New Jersey who has a passion for the outdoors and travel. During Paul’s exploration of the world, he has captured images inspired by the beauty of nature. He continues to hone his skills as an amateur photographer and is always looking for that moment when Mother Nature provides her moments of brilliance. A majority of his collection was photographed in Northwestern, New Jersey, in the rolling hills of the Kittatinny Mountains, as well as select locations in Europe and North America.
ANNA MAY SHAFFER ~ Anna May Shaffer loves to do craft work and has done so all of her life. She has tried many different types of crafts. She now lives in a retirement village where they have classes of different types of art and other crafts. In early 2014, she decided to try a new art form, called Zentangle. She started the classes and enjoyed them. She found Zentangle to be a very relaxing form of art. You can Zentangle almost any kind of subject: animal, plant, scenery, seasonal themes, letters. Zentangled art can be done in many types of designs and patterns. Several people may do the same picture, but each person’s picture will look different, because of the shapes and patterns they use and how they place them. Anna May’s favorite subjects are animals, birds, and different types of nature. She Zentangles just for the joy of doing it and sometimes gives her Zentangled pictures to friends as gifts. There are many books published about Zentangle art. It was originally started by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas.
KAREN A VANDENBOS ~ From the time she read her first story book as a young girl, to her high school years of being active in journalism and editor of the student writing & art magazine, Tabard, Karen A VandenBos has always known she has the heart of a creative spirit. Being a seeker by nature, Karen’s curiosity led her to explore many interests. Some let her follow her muse, like having a few of her poems published locally, while others steered her way off course. In 2008, Karen completed a PhD in Holistic Health. One of the courses was about Shamanism which influenced her to write her dissertation on the healing power of nature and the importance of finding one’s totem animal(s). Just three years ago, photography connected Karen to her spiritual path. While she has always dabbled in photography, this time taking photos has become her passion. It is nature that speaks to her heart, and Karen’s photographs showcase this connection.
PD LIETZ ~ Pd Lietz is a widely published artist from Canada. Her writing, art, and illustrations have appeared in, and as covers of, many publications: Naugatuck River Review (Summer 2011 & Winter 2013), MaINtENaNT: Journal of Contemporary DADA Writing and Art (#4, 5, & 6), Visions, Voices and Verses, Sunrise From Blue Thunder, DoveTales “Occupied” an International Journal of the Arts, Uncoil A Night, Beautiful Women an anthology, Origami Poetry Project, Songs of Sandy, When Women Waken, to name a few. She is also artist-in-residence for Writers for Peace. Links: http://www.pdlietzphotography.com; http://writingforpeace.org/artist-in-residence; http://saintjulianpress.com/index.html; https://twitter.com/Paula_d_Lietz; http://madswirl.com
DAVID SETH SMITH ~ David Seth Smith is a poet, photographer and digital artist. He is a resident writer, contributor and editor at BlogNostics.net.
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