Category Archives: Poetry

As Briefly as Salmon by Wulf Losee

rainbow prism in a spray of water
 

As Briefly as Salmon   clouds part we drive on rain-slicks of light cars before us trailing little rainbows in tire sprays fountains from the road up the shoreline under the shadow of rain we release the sun from our sight that our bodies can trap and hold that light for the flesh of an instant as briefly as salmon that leap fully into the air we hang for a moment on arcs water falling trails of quicksilver immortal for a moment the vision’s released Wulf Losee lives and works in the San Francisco Bay … Continue reading As Briefly as Salmon by Wulf Losee

Because by Charles Kell

swirl of orange sparkler light in a dark tunnel
 

Because For Yannis Ritsos Because the watcher wrote red on the shop’s wall, because the half-candle was stolen & sold for fuel, because the innocent got hit with a cold, wet branch, because the town is divided by a line of blood in the sand, because the drug you bought was dropped in the ditch, because the sky is burnished with orange not unlike a lockman’s smile, because this rusty box houses a severed finger from an unknown hand, because the woman you saw walking in the market carried a purse made of flies, because … Continue reading Because by Charles Kell

Pecking and Nature Walk, 2 poems by Mark Belair

monochromatic image of pigeon preening feathers
 

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 by Brian Koester

dust in Nevada desert
 

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

Thirty-Three; Now to Discover by Joan Mazza

vinyl record
 

Thirty-Three   The number of vertebrae in the human spine when coccyx bones are counted individually. The temperature at which water boils on the Newton scale. In Fahrenheit, just above freezing. It’s a not-so-secret symbol for the KKK, where each K is the 11th letter of the alphabet, times three. Who died at 33? Perhaps Alexander the Great. Yes, and Eva Braun, Hitler’s lover, was a suicide. Sam Cooke’s age, when he was murdered at the Hacienda Motel. John Belushi overdosed. Jesus the Christ was crucified at 33, after 33 miracles. Count them yourself, if … Continue reading Thirty-Three; Now to Discover by Joan Mazza

Flood; Listen by Judith Grissmer

flooding river waters
 

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; Home by Benjamin Harnett

cut tree trunk
 

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 by Carla McGill

Joshua Tree National Park
 

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

Beatitude by Sam Barbee

daffodils in snow
 

Beatitude   It is winter. It is cold. Meek sky offers no color. Hardwood skeletons assemble along the treeline. Roots knuckle up through blizzard’s encumbrance, grasping at sunrise. Rhododendrons sag, iced-over leaves weighted like bats roosting through chill’s clutch. Snow frosts the cedars’ dulled-blue berries and skulks backside shadows as along dark edges of the moon. I scuff out among other tracks across frost to seize prioritized news. Daffodils sprout behind liriope, fractures splitting freeze, peaceful blessings to scatter any frost, virtuous blooms declaring along the garden’s brink. Green shoots shame wisdom of the wise … Continue reading Beatitude by Sam Barbee

2 Poems by Tom Montag & Julia Travers

Ursa Major
 

The Bear’s Back   Last night I dreamt of a bear who carries us through the forest on his back. He goes through the mud, we cling to his fur, he wants to bury us in a storyteller’s throat. Julia Travers is a poet, author, artist and journalist. Her creative writing appears with OnBeing, The Mindfulness Bell and Heron Tree Poetry Journal, among other publications. She holds a BA in Literary and Cultural Studies from The College of William and Mary and a BFA in Art Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is on Twitter … Continue reading 2 Poems by Tom Montag & Julia Travers