All posts by Fred Wilbur

Here is a Paring Knife, Here is the Metaphor and Not that I am Desperate, 2 poems by Michael Milligan

Photo of watermelon slice and knife
 

Here Is the Paring Knife, Here Is the Metaphor to cut the damaged parts away. So bruised and all. Peeling the flesh of the torturer you become of yourself. Here is the skin off your hand. The skin off your back. The delaminated rind of your life. Have you noticed how we tend to avoid poetic mention of these things by their names: Birth. Life. Love. Death. Pile up a few metaphors, that’s the standard prescription. A glimpse for a moment before the blinds are drawn. Pretending to look at the sun, at the face … Continue reading Here is a Paring Knife, Here is the Metaphor and Not that I am Desperate, 2 poems by Michael Milligan

Incandescence and I am an Onion, 2 poems by Priscilla Melchior

Photo of blurred hanging lights
 

Incandescence Few will understand. Light bulbs, for heaven’s sake. But I was awash the night I found spares waiting to meet my need and remembered when need was swallowed by the dark. My little stash of lumens in flimsy boxes leaned in tilted testament to the day shadow vanished from my life and I fairly danced to the lamp to replace the dead gray globe and twirl in luminescent grace. Even now, I rejoice anew not when a light dims, but when I reach out knowing another waits to shine. I am an onion but … Continue reading Incandescence and I am an Onion, 2 poems by Priscilla Melchior

On Marriage to a Statue by Emily Bornstein

Photo of statue
 

I could have stayed married to David if he wasn’t so unwaveringly chiseled. If his deceptively supple face wasn’t so perfectly defined. If Michelangelo could have given me a dress that was low-cut, a dress that would force David’s undulating cliffs of eternal gray hair to turn and fly rebelliously (momentarily) from the craggy sides of his head. Alas, I have no such dress (but rather, baggy plaid pajama pants that some dancers shot off the stage at a bar mitzvah) and I figure that even a silvery ball gown couldn’t turn me tamed and … Continue reading On Marriage to a Statue by Emily Bornstein

Philosophical Poetry by Fred Wilbur

Photo of cracked asphalt
 

  In a recent batch of ‘reviews’ from an online magazine, I was struck by the variety of descriptive words used to evaluate the thirty-five or so poems. They ranged from “funny,” “strong,” and “moving” to “masterful,” “cinematic,” and “sardonic.” These superlatives were illustrated by a phrase or line which purportedly was the essence of the work; the impressive image, at least. Clearly, there was little effort to delve into the subject, the art or mechanics of the pieces. I wonder, would readers just pick out the “exhilarating,” the “charming,” the “delightful” in hopes of … Continue reading Philosophical Poetry by Fred Wilbur

History Lesson by Susan Muse

Photo of bell in hole in wall
 

  Clouds flatten against a gray sky and cover what had once been the color of bluebonnets only a moment ago. Suddenly rain begins washing the windshield as we turn and head for Houston. Earlier, in San Antonio the sun squatted down to squeeze the breath from my chest, like smoking my first Luck Strike at 10. We had hidden from it in the quiet cool of the mission and ran our hands over rough rock, cracked like old bones or parched earth. its Spanish tiles were the color of canyons and hills that round … Continue reading History Lesson by Susan Muse

Beehive Hut Near Dingle by Wendy Jean MacLean

Photo of stone wall
 

Wendy Jean MacLean is the 3rd place winner of Streetlight’s 2020 Poetry Contest   Fenced in by the property owner the beehive hut of an Irish monk still stands as it has for fourteen centuries. Three euros will get you in through the gate with the added bonus a pen of baby lambs you can fondle for photos. (Behold! The lamb of God!) Inside the hut the owner has stored his gas tank and his electric sander. (Behold! Sins worn down on demand!) The sharp cliffs and fierce waves have not changed over the centuries. … Continue reading Beehive Hut Near Dingle by Wendy Jean MacLean

Elegy for a Young Copperhead by Charlotte Rea

Photo of jade dragon
 

Charlotte Rea is the 2nd place winner of Streetlight’s 2020 Poetry Contest So proud you must be, atop the fence rail, its flat black the perfect matte for your copper. Your telltale yellow tail-tip aglow under the vines,I’ve come to clip gloveless, blind to your sinuous stretch just a strike from my fingertips. Who is frightened more by our fateful brush with peril? You given no chance to respond as the shovel severs your tender neck–death quick as your tiny hourglasses bleed out time. Your climb is all hope you remember, synched dance of scale … Continue reading Elegy for a Young Copperhead by Charlotte Rea

Library Skulls by Fred Wilbur

Photo of stuffed bookcase
 

When insomnia provokes my wife or I to walk the footprint of our house, we sometimes end up at our bookroom. Bookroom is an idiosyncratic idiom of our family as my grandparents used the term, logically enough, for their room filled with books.  When I was a kid it was the quiet room (Shssssh) with glass-doored cases, walls of tooled leather, slag glass lamps, and ‘oriental’ rugs.  Our bookroom is not so different, though let’s substitute open shelves that, aggravatingly, are un-adjustable, walls of pine paneling, bright LED lights with inexpensive shades, and bare board … Continue reading Library Skulls by Fred Wilbur

Renegade by Susan Muse

Photo of pea pods
 

Susan Muse is the 1st place winner of Streetlight’s 2020 Poetry Contest Peas are on. The kitchen smells of fatback and cornbread rising in a rush of heat from the stove, unfurling around me like those green stalks in the south field bent over with a want for picking. Earlier I sat in the swing on the shaded porch popping a mess of purple hull peas into a colander, abandoning the shells haphazardly in a ripped-open bag spread brown on my lap. Each one, its freedom echoing against the metal sides of the blue speckled … Continue reading Renegade by Susan Muse

Portraiture and Man’s Man, 2 poems by Arnie Yasinski

Two girls, covering each other's eyes
 

PORTRAITURE Our dinner ends with watching Portrait Artist of the Year. For Adele likeness is all, while I focus on the how of its attainment. Beginnings proliferate and lead on to ever more various results. Yellow ochre ground and raw ochre outline of head and face; detailed sketches in pencil; a renaissance grid filled in from a polite iPad closeup. After the basics, most build slowly. I admire the painterly souls who stand back for each stroke, loading the brush then contemplating placement for long moments before leaning in with deliberateness and intention not mine. … Continue reading Portraiture and Man’s Man, 2 poems by Arnie Yasinski