All posts by Fred Wilbur

Mandarinas by Linda Laino

Photo of small yellow flowers

The night was so quiet I could almost hear the stars, that place laden with pines. Your eyes hard to read across the air between us, air you swallowed whole with I’m sorry, I need more room. But I believe in gestures, in the plate of mandarinas served at dawn, when you knew I needed feeding. Linda Laino is a visual artist and writer who has been making art in one form or another for over forty-five years.She received two years of fellowship awards from the Virginia Museum in pursuit of an MFA from Virginia … Continue reading Mandarinas by Linda Laino

In The River of Poetry: Contest Winners

Photo of train pulling into station

Frankly, readers, Sharon and I were flabbergasted and at the same time gratified that Streetlight Magazine received one-hundred and nine entries to this year’s Poetry Contest. Talk about (early) summer reading! The average number of entries for the last four years (2020-2023) is sixty-one. I wonder why there were about three-quarters more poems this year than this average: we have added to the prize pot, have changed the time of year to open the submissions window, and we are beyond the angst of the pandemic panic. And maybe our reputation and readership are expanding. At … Continue reading In The River of Poetry: Contest Winners

Where to Begin Again by Claire Scott

Photo of designed grate

I have discarded the gods like leftover tuna sandwiches stacks of them stuffed in the recycling including Odin, Shiva, Baal, Sango and Amaterasu bitter ends of unanswered prayers to pastel angels, scraps of saints and multi-armed goddesses all bling and blang no way to bargain with refractory gods no way to seduce them with hymns and chants dharanis and tallits and offerings of ghee hours spent on arthritic knees under overrated stars muttering useless nostrums my list of needs multiplying like dandelions in my lamentable lawn my granddaughter dances past her sequined skirt all rinsed … Continue reading Where to Begin Again by Claire Scott

Flipping the Switch in Georgia by Gary Grossman

Photo of fence with flowered vine crawling up it

Did the G-d of the South finally begin perspiring and give that little knob a flick, mid-September or if lucky, August 22nd? Now the wind is an aloe blanket, remedy for a stove-burned arm—a refrigerator door held open for three cooling minutes; humidity an afterimage on my retina of summer. And sunlight glows like maple icing on a cake baked daily. Autumn resurrects every annual cycle, but peeling off the dried glue of August, I comprehend that redemption and renewal are all books to be read again and again. Gary Grossman’s work appears in forty-four … Continue reading Flipping the Switch in Georgia by Gary Grossman

Portrait of My Father the Photographer as a Dying Man by Bobby Parrott

Photo of tall weeds

Does her dimpled-cheek delirium still thrill          you? Or her death escalate as you try to focus, cataracts pixilating her image, static of hail          in late-day snow? Do her eyes ring almonds of tender memory? Times I wrestled your camera          away so you’d stand with her. Mom’s little-girl smile, head on your chest you contain her, blue-sweatered, small          in your bulky leather-jacketed arms. She secretly hated your obsession. Told me so, yet smiled dutifully,          willed your Kodak to break open, admit its blindness, thirsty glass eye hiding yours. These mounted prints—          all you’ve had of her … Continue reading Portrait of My Father the Photographer as a Dying Man by Bobby Parrott

Last Words: Mysteries of Life by Richard Weaver

Close up photo of ivy

for Nana Pansy “Give these to Weaver,” you said. The books that saw you through sleeplessness. “I’m done with reading.” You already knew how it ended. You were done with Who Done Its. “Give these back to Weaver.” Like a good sergeant you gave me the case, the tough one called Life after you. I’m on it, Nana, like a small dog who’s just unearthed a dinosaur’s femur. A passable conundrum, but not one you expect me to solve. We both know the pleasure’s in the chase, the day-to-day details, not the inevitable solution. We … Continue reading Last Words: Mysteries of Life by Richard Weaver

To Solve America by Fred Wilbur

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                                                         I got to have it (just a little bit)                                                       A little respect (just a little bit). Otis Redding, as sung by Aretha Franklin   As Memorial Day approaches and graduation season is in full tilt, there will be many inspiring speeches: some will have a few humorous lines thank goodness, some will be overloaded with platitudes and sound bites, a few with creative insight in reading our times accurately. A rare few may have prognostications which are useful, inspiring, and come to pass. One meaningful and heartwarming event, though perhaps not unique, … Continue reading To Solve America by Fred Wilbur

Apology for Ralph’s Mule by Joyce Compton Brown

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 Joyce Compton Brown is the 3rd place winner of Streetlight‘s 2023 Poetry Contest Apology for Ralph’s Mule       …and before them went the mules: and ever upward,          downward, sideward, and aslant they fared.                                          The Iliad   II.23.93 You stood there in mud and dung, your little streetside lot hardly big enough for a good stretch, a kick. I’d stop sometimes, Ralph’s Mule, think about the muck on your hooves, how it must feel, you standing in the mud, mired in that nasty mess. I never knew your name. Your … Continue reading Apology for Ralph’s Mule by Joyce Compton Brown

Considering My Last Carbon Footprint by Patricia Hemminger

Photo of copse of trees with light shining through

 Patricia Hemminger is the 2nd place winner of Streetlight’s 2023 Poetry Contest Considering My Last Carbon Footprint New York Governor Legalizes Human Composting, ⎯The Guardian, January 23, 2023 I’ve been composting for years. It’s very satisfying, potato peels, broccoli stalks, tumbled with dried leaves decompose, enrich the garden soil each spring. I wonder whether to make a will that requests my family do the same with me cocoon my body in wood chips and straw for a month or more. It’s legal now and carbon neutral when sun powers the rotation. They could plant a tree … Continue reading Considering My Last Carbon Footprint by Patricia Hemminger

Digging by Linda Parsons

Photo of lots of white potatoes

Linda Parsons is the 1st place winner of Streetlight‘s 2023 Poetry Contest Digging Dirt peppers the sink as I roll palm to palm these golds heaved from the ground with heft and pitchfork, this egglike clutch for soup, stew, hash, roasted, smashed in fall’s coming. I roll them lightly, thin skinned, perfect and misshapen, knobby knuckled. Dirt becomes dust filming my hands I am loath to wash, for here in the grit of new potatoes I am one with the garden, back bent, salt sweat, my own stew of becoming. And I think what else I’ve … Continue reading Digging by Linda Parsons