All posts by Sharon Ackerman

Sparrows by Bill Glose

gray and white sparrow perched in reeds
 

When baby sparrows tumbled from our eaves onto soft clover, my sisters and I rescued the brown dollops fragile as fluff we blew from dandelions to make a wish. ………………….Pale downy plumage of the black-throated sparrow ………………….reflects harsh light of the desert sun while ………………….grassland sparrows—sharp-tailed and seaside— ………………….skulk through marshland thickets, choosing ………………….to hide from prying eyes. Sparrows adapt ………………….to any environment, some living entire lives inside ………………….warehouses or in coal mines half-a-mile underground. Eyes closed, heartbeats visible through velvet skin, hungry beaks gaping for milk-soaked bread. We eye-droppered food and swaddled a shoebox … Continue reading Sparrows by Bill Glose

Standard Oil by Gary Duehr

Old Standard Oil service station with two men standing out front
 

There’s nothing here to see. Relax. Beside a Coke machine, a guy who acts As if he’s in a movie Puffs on a Marlboro Light. It’s moody; Nothing’s happening except For blue sky, gas pumps, asphalt. Here’s the precept: “Nothing comes from nothing” (Lear) If there’s no plot, no drama here, Then what is there to witness Other than the act of witnessing? Unless: Like Ruscha’s oil of LA’s County Museum on fire, His Standard Station goes up as well, higher And higher the orangish flames, the pall of smoke— A kind of art world … Continue reading Standard Oil by Gary Duehr

Meet Your Local Poets: Spotlight on Mary McCue


 

Meet Your Local Poets: Spotlight on Mary McCue Ivy resident poet Mary McCue is originally from Norfolk, Virginia. For many years she focused on her beloved violin and played in chamber ensembles. When hand surgery took her ability to play professionally, she moved to Charlottesville and studied poetry through coursework by teachers such as Charles Wright and Gregory Orr. Q: Tell us how you began writing poetry. Mary:  I wrote poems in the beginning to describe pleasure or gratitude. I remember writing one to my dentist as thanks for never hurting me. My family loved … Continue reading Meet Your Local Poets: Spotlight on Mary McCue

The Only Version by Michael Olenick

A tram speeding down a blurred narrow street
 

The only version of us that remains are the nightly replicas that appear randomly as my sole consolation prize. Last night we visited a country that was a cross between Costa Rica and Switzerland. After a walk through the banana forests of Zurich, we could not remember where the car was parked, and as we searched, the streets got narrower and narrower and through a sunlit slash at the end of the road we saw our children on a passing tram. They were somehow older than us, and were trying to brush Lindt off a … Continue reading The Only Version by Michael Olenick

Dead Men Missing Women by Nate Braeuer

Man and Woman from the knees down, striped cat between them.
 

Men in oiled slacks come shuffling down the mount in droves. Combed in purple milk the sky rolls up like bad reception                                       quaking clear from gaveled hits. Dead to hover sun-gray deserts. Hardened skins that settle in the darker crease of echoed canyons.              Dusting fields in phantom scrimmage.              Threading creeks up meadow’s twilight.              Wingtips rippling through the surface. … Continue reading Dead Men Missing Women by Nate Braeuer

Where Does Sorrow Take You? and Barred, 2 poems by Martha Snell

Two chairs at dusk overlooking a dark mountain range
 

Where Does Sorrow Take You? Three of us sprawled on the carpet aisle six of Barnes and Noble, Self-Help section after Religion, before Psychology. To my side a shopping bag of new dresses nestled in black. We are looking for an atlas, a guide to where one goes when the father dies, when a husband’s suddenly gone. No maps here. Neither in Travel. We sit closer on this journey than in recent years. We look into each other’s faces, we listen without interruption. Between us there is comfort, there are answers. Barred She arrives in … Continue reading Where Does Sorrow Take You? and Barred, 2 poems by Martha Snell

To Plane by Jacqueline Henry

old 1900 photograph of a boy planing a piece of wood
 

I think about the word plane as my daughter sands the picnic table, a task she takes on every summer, earbuds in, goggles on, the sander whizzing as it strips off layers of stain. A plane flies overhead. Biplane. Some words and sounds put me into other places, her planing wood, the biplane planing the sky mowing through layers of space and time as she orbits the wood, navigating deeper into another place—another plane—of existence beneath the sawdust, banking and gliding as the globe turns, her body mirroring the motion in the sky. Jacqueline Henry … Continue reading To Plane by Jacqueline Henry

WEIGHT FOR ME by Claire Scott

rough sketch of woman in grotesque posture
 

A national obsession, a billion dollar industry and here I am participating no pushups or planks, no pills or prayers have helped, though Lord knows I have tried haven’t I, O Lord Not losing weight to bypass diabetes or cancer certainly not be more seductive at Stone’s Throw Tavern sipping Margaritas in skin tight pants or stuffed into size zero to impress my friends or, let’s face it, my barely there anorectic sister At seventy-five who cares, crepe paper skin drooping derriere, boobs flop at my waist, feet fatter and flatter, growing shorter by the … Continue reading WEIGHT FOR ME by Claire Scott

A Few Thoughts on Imagery by Sharon Ackerman

large lavender and light filled circle with a tiny moon at its center
 

I have no idea where the images in my poems lived before they made it to the page. I’ve received ample chiding during poetry critiques on my tendency to “raid the unconscious.” Sometimes an image is found just by walking out into the world and finding an object with an emotional or psychological correlate. Other times, the image surfaces through a bedrock of shared human experience. Hard to trace. Around the turn of the twentieth century there was an interesting shift in poetry that involved imagery. The Imagist movement originated as a turn away from … Continue reading A Few Thoughts on Imagery by Sharon Ackerman

SESTINA: SNOW ANGEL by Saramanda Swigart

large snow angel
 

Walking in Queens, I stop, make a snow angel in a quiet lawn, flakes coiling like crystal— Above my head trembles a black bough I start: from the house, an eruption of singing two girls, a mother, a father with a cognac this yard, I see, belongs to a family I’m outside in the dark, concocting a family, in the window two girls dressed up like angels school pageant costumes, mother pouring cognac, a lush amber river, in a snifter of crystal she smiles at the girls in their reverie of singing overhead a snarling … Continue reading SESTINA: SNOW ANGEL by Saramanda Swigart