Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Photographer

“Say ‘cheese’,” he calls,
as she stands before the camera
looking pensive.
Be happy with your
housewife-in-an-apron world.
Smile.  Say “cheese,”
and join the world of make-believe.


© Peg Latham,  1997

Picture of a "traditional" housewife
by JosephineRN28
on Wikimedia Commons 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

I Will Stay

The gully leads the land to the water table
For the water’s sake as a young man
Would lay his coat in mud for the queen

The branch flows all summer gathering
Grasses and birches skirts all billowing
Because the pastures kindly tilt this way

This farm’s eight acres inclined to the sea
Sending water down and down even after
The trees have lifted so much to the sky

All last year I built sacred fires in caves
As high as I could find but in this watershed
The fire circle goes down behind the branch

And I still don’t know how it is I got here
Or why water behaves this particular way
But some love has roped me, and I will stay.


© Bill Prindle, 2018

Sprout Creek
Photo by Julian Colton
from Wikimedia Commons



Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Near the End of a Meeting of the Live Poets Society

A black clock
Was what I saw,
With white numbers
That were really planets,
Which ticked around
The round void.
We saw it all
Upon our wall,
And now we waited
As it commanded.
But one of us wanted
To say one more poem,
Not stopped by the clock,
Though the meeting had ended.
The poem would be sung,
Unafraid of time,
Unabashed, clear,
As it took a ride
On the white numbers
That were actually planets,
Forming a ring
In a void not inimical.
So the song did go down;
The song did go up
On a Ferris Wheel,
Measureless, 
Whose fun stops
Only to fearlessly
Start again--
Its turning renewed,
Slightly improved,
Surprisingly dependable,
Our glee unreproved.
But can a song be free
From clock and void?
Are we allowed to see
Our glee go free?


      © Stephen Margulies, 2018

Eye on the Bay, Bridlington ~ Yorkshire, England
Photo by Paul Glazzard
from the Geograph Project
on Wikimedia Commons



Monday, June 4, 2018

Dad's First Car

Somewhere in the ‘20s that would have been,
when a man learned about magnetos and mudholes,
when he took care not to break an elbow or thumb
when twirling a crank, carried a cake of soap
for a squeaky fan belt and a pinch of oatmeal
to seal a radiator leak, knew that somewhere
on a back road he’d borrow a fence rail for a jack,
have to back up the steepest hills
when the engine was starved for gas—

small bits of lore from a time long gone,
as he is, but strong in his memory
as he is in mine, lips still moving in some silent language,
still telling me stories I really want to hear.


              © David Black, 2018

Woman hand cranking the car to start it on a rainy day, August 1926
Photo by Infrogmation of New Orleans
from Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Water

Your first bath —
a midwife cleans you up.
You don't have fun.
Then come
the sprinkles of holy water in church,
the tepid water of the nursery,
the ardor of rain water,
the predatoriness of ocean water,
the ice water after you make love,
swallow fire or juggle clubs.
You drink that water in one gulp.

Motes of dust stuck to furniture,
your eyes are red,
but the tears dried up.
Left here alone for weeks on end
with waterlogged images
to ponder in thick gray clouds,
you play hide-and-seek
with memories of the March sky
in patches of meat and mustard,
with a carpet of bold spring flowers,
with a blue outline of mountains.
The fated assault of the time,
dark shadows around the eyes,
the hair unwashed and tattered,
promises written in water
form a puddle of bitter tears.
Your life is water under the bridge.

The last bath.

Bridge over the South Yuba River ~ Nevada City, California
Photo by Kelly M. Grow, Calif. Dept. of Water Resources
from Wikimedia Commons 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Song of the Wind and the Night

The wind and the night
The wind and the night and warped mirrors
The wind and the night
And abortion on the stairs
The wind and the night and hearts
That can no longer love
The wind and the night and nervous fingers

All we can say of desire and time
All we can say disinherits
And remembers

Song of rain
Song of false moons
Song of emptiness and terror
Song of the wind stirring lashes
Song of the wind and the night and dark lovers

All we can say of the sea and the sky
And stars that burn like thirst
All we can say of gardens and lost pleasures
All we can say distorts and destructs

Song of the wind and the night and lights
From lonely windows
Song of the wind slashing wrists
Song of stone and crumbling faces
Song of the wind and the night and hearts
That can no longer love


© Phillip Marlin, 2018

"Windy Night"
scratchboard by Reene
fromWikimedia Commons




Monday, May 7, 2018

How to Hide

for J.P.

Get out of bed and find the good
scissors. The red ones.
Go out to the porch.
Take down all of the wind-
chimes. Dismember them.
Go back inside. Open
the closets. Bring out
all the jackets and shoes.
Tie up every lace and string
until there are only perfect
bows. Put it all away
and pry open the pendulum
clock. Remove the weights.
They'll make good bookends. 
Go to the window. Let down
the blinds and then snip off 
the extra cord. Do this in every room.
Consider buying darker curtains,
not because you no longer love
light, but because you never know
what will cast a swinging shadow.

             Ellie White, 2018


(First published by Melancholy Hyperbole, 2014)
The Addams Family home
Photo by Karl Kuntz
Source: The Addams Family
Otterbein University Theater and Dance
from Wikimedia Commons