Pecking A pigeon pecking its tail clean on a shady tenement fire escape gives me pause to feel, in its twisting instinct, the fact of life after death— not an afterlife of mine, but of its spawning species after my demise, each bird in each generation curled and tucked toward its tail, each making a soft, gray, feathery circle surrounding—as if protecting— its heart, its presence in my lost paradise. Nature Walk The windblown side of a tree trunk stands drenched, its opposing side dry, the sky— half blue, half clouded— also … Continue reading Pecking and Nature Walk, 2 poems by Mark Belair
Where I First Was Happy The twilight was never silver, but the trees were Russian olives. I was the only thing that bloomed there. Grandma’s petunias back by the house were really white, And the pair of white horses never lay down. The rest was grey: barns and fence posts In matching dust, fine and smooth as refined flour. Stirred up it could hang and fade like fog. Now I feel like dust dispersed in air, Settling over hours, days, taking the shape Of what it touches, to move through high desert On Grandad’s … Continue reading Where I First Was Happy by Brian Koester
Poets and writers of fiction and nonfiction write with a sense of specific place in all languages. Once place is introduced in the piece, emotions are evoked, and a lot of things can happen in that place. In poetry, place provides an outer structure and a vehicle to contain and carry a poem into memory, reflection and ideas. Description of place not only offers knowledge of a geographical space, it allows readers into the poet’s intimate experience. Various theories exist as to why writers use place, including that the poet may seek to write about … Continue reading Poetry of Place by Roselyn Elliott
Flood Small hands pull a mud-stained pillowcase across wet ground, prized possessions, blessings still bound, boxes filled with half-spilled lives, lugged uphill. Hear the river roar: I take all I take all from those who look back. Listen I came here to count the bells that live upon the surface of the sea… “Here” by Pablo Neruda Now on this turquoise sea glitter a million silver reflections of the morning sun. And I think they make no sound at all— Still, I listen. Judith Grissmer has been published in The Alembic, Burningword, … Continue reading Flood; Listen by Judith Grissmer
I Have I have never been so tired in my whole life. The mountains run across the river—pointing like a knife. Forlorn boathouses perched out on rotting piers. Empty lots of naked scrub. A water tower. A column of fire. The lattice of clouds make sparkling fishmouth, the intervening atmosphere, twinkling distant lights. Crepuscular, this stand of trees. In my hands, a paperback— its yellowing leaves. Everything I have and everything I need. Home It may not be as surprising to you as it was surprising to me to learn that a … Continue reading I Have; Home by Benjamin Harnett
Joshua Trees They are repetitive across the hills for hours, stillness in the space around them. As for the sky, one dark cloud drawn out as if between two hands and me underneath, held together by skin, scrutinizing the world for severity, for intention, for final episodes. The other cars seem lost, but the road is even, the pavement, newly blackened and unbroken. Destinations and departures, resolutions of the human creature—they all soar past like blackbirds and hawks. It is the piercing alertness of the lizards that stays with me. I know they are … Continue reading Joshua Trees by Carla McGill
Thank you to Trudy Hale and the Streetlight Magazine editors for choosing me to be your new poetry editor. I’m excited and grateful to be part of this ever developing and stimulating home for “exceptional talent, both new and established.” As I begin reviewing the poetry submissions we receive, I see several which come very close, but are not quite ready for publication. I can’t help but imagine that poets and writers and readers of Streetlight Magazine are wondering, “Who is she?” and “What is she looking for in my poems?” Poetry in which the … Continue reading What is She Looking For?
Letter to the Body If only you were the pure self, we would not have to bargain or pray, offer up good deeds for relief of pain, or apologies for spasms and expectorations. The cells could absorb and discharge at leisure. Whatever waste washes ashore in the brain or in the heart, would, without shame, increase the one being. No struggle to justify, no explaining we’re really much better than our hunched back, our protuberances, just the material presence, occupying space, insular and detaching, floating away for a day on the sea’s silver face, … Continue reading Letter to the Body by Roselyn Elliott