Monday, October 16, 2017

We Fought No War This Time

We fought no war this time to find a time
Without the likes of you who even though Cuba
Is no longer the place you hide your face
And live the life that led to Castro

While we crawled neath our desks and
Received the request to be good Dullian 
Citizens who hate what they create
And anyone they suspect to blame

For the fear of the cloud we brought aloud
In sirens that went off every Wednesday at noon
And warned that soon we would be taken over
By godless Catholics, Baptists, or blacks

In a storm of equality falsely defined in identity
Not in being equal in the eyes of God and law 
With lies and rewrites, you cover yours and others
Eyes with the grey shroud of false wisdom. 

But you don’t care, as you stand right there,
In casinos, liquor, prostitution, and dirty money
As we fight no war this time to find a time
Without the likes of you.  
Without the likes of you. 

Without the likes of you.


© Dennis Wright, 2017

Snowy egret at Key Largo
Photo by William H. Majoros
from Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

My Lagging Heart

... beats in an uncertain, puzzled rhythm, 
slow to change, never in unison 
with the requests of its host.

Trapped in turbulence, my gut, 
shaken by heart’s dizziness, cycles endlessly from wet
to dry – from predictable to random, 
from motility to functionless churning.

My body’s sense of personal posture and location 
cannot itself be found.
Limb and trunk muscles exhaust themselves, 
each battling for supremacy, while my brain, 
fighting protein invaders, forgets to fuel the engines of movement.  
Inexorably, the machinery of life deteriorates, 
quietly losing 
a function here, a movement there.

My eyes miss bits of landscape, busily constructing 
what isn’t there from what is. 
My sleeper’s mind breaks out of its dream-cage and hijacks
the late-night hours with its own mad dance.

A sailor in a stormy sea, my spirit sags.  My soul prepares 
for eventual flight.  Sleepless, unhappy, 
trapped in a fool’s errand of untouchable symptoms
and unlikely treatments, I fall, then crawl 
towards the lamp that Hope lights 
at the far end of a dark tunnel.


© George Phillips, 2017

A light at the end of the tunnel
Photo by Thomas Quine
Kuching, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia ~ 2015
from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, October 2, 2017

BESIDE THE WATER’S EDGE

HOW GOOD IT IS
TO STOP BESIDE THE WATER’S EDGE!

I CAN’T FEEL WHAT DAY THIS IS.

I ONLY KNOW THE SUN UPON MY FACE
AND THAT EVERY TIME I RETURN TO THIS PLACE,
RIVER LOW OR HIGH, THAT
I AM ONLY I.

BARBED WIRE HAS BEEN DEVOURED 
BY THIS RIVERTREE--

WILL IT BE SO 
WITH OLD BOUNDARIES AND ME?

WILL IT BE SO WITH OLD ANGER?

ONLY LOVE SHOULD BE GUARANTEED
THE HONOR OF ETERNITY--

NOTHING ELSE COULD MATTER!


© Gerry Sackett, 2017

Entrapment, Oak, Wire, and Mist
Photo by Bob Embleton
from Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Weeds Don’t Cry

Weeds don’t cry.
They stand stalwart 
in fields of corn,
in precise gardens of boxwood and lavender,
in chummy closeness with thyme and sage.
Then someone will shout:
“Pull up those damn weeds,”
and hands of all ages 
will strain against the  strength 
of those orphans of wildness and 
pull, pull, pull, 
or put foot to spade and
slice down to clear the root. 

In my salad days,
I pulled up sheaves of five foot tall
lamb's quarters to feed the breeder pigs. 
Lamb’s quarters, dandelion, amaranth, clover -
they grew between the crops and the rocks,
nourishing the pigs till the corn came in.

Someone once told me
that I was a weed - 
resilient, strong, able to flourish
in adverse conditions.
And I carried that thought 
throughout my life,
and felt proud ….
For when someone tells you that,
you never forget it. 

After years of garden work,
here’s how I feel about weeds:
I love them.
Kneeling in the middle
of  my tomato plants, 
I am contemplative and peaceful
as my reedy hands pull and pull and pull,
piling up the weeds of my past,
each a remembrance, 
an homage to enduring.


© Evie Safran, 2017

Men with picks and hoes clearing weeds in a field
Pullenvale, 1889
Photo held by John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland
Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Gravity

The footway we walk sketches brown 
lines on green fields that seem to hover 
over the Irish Sea. All around us sheep 
and cows hold their mouths to grass, 
unmindful of heaven. This perpetual path 
traces cliffs, cuts into rock, curdles to mud, 
descends onto beaches of rock draped in 
laver fronds, home to codling and flounder. 
Kelp, clams, fishermen, children who 
splash and swim, all know the sea’s routine. 
Even Annie the cab driver knows the tidal 
ways: in out in out days nights unending. 
It’s the far away sun and the pale moon.

We are new to this isle, walk the age-old 
ring around it, study a chart of days in May 
till we know the minute sea rise hits 
its highest, sinks to its lowest on the shores 
of Moelfre, Cemaes, Red Wharf Bay, and 
Puffin Island where rats have captured the roost.
Under May’s full moon water surges 23 feet, 
then falls away, a film rewound to its start.  
When the shore goes dry, tide pools become
small seas. People throw sticks, dogs bound out 
on a shimmering beach. Boats sit askew with
nothing to do. We walk the expanse of sand, 
sink into rivulets still flowing back to the sea. 

It’s the far away sun and the pale moon,
silence of unseen forces,
unremitting.


© Marti Snell, 2017

Traeth Mawr begins to emerge as the waters ebb
Photo by Eric Jones
from Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Conversation with a Hermit Thrush

A hermit thrush sang 
on the 12th of March,
off stage,
twenty-five feet into the woods.
An introductory note, 
softly drawn
and then,
dismissing gravity,
he tossed little bells 
in an upward cascade 
into the needles of the pine
where they dissolved.

Hey, Thrush, I heard that.
That’s your spring song. 
You sang too early.
Your part starts in April.
What are your fellow-choristers
to think?
You’ll notice 
that the pine warbler came in 
exactly on the proper beat –
the first of March.
From high in the pine grove,
his disciplined trill 
introduced the whole piece.
And following a few measures later
on the second of March - 
or was it the third -
the phoebe entered on cue, 
raspy, 
as though a miniature wire brush were lodged in his throat.

So, Thrush,
what do you think you’re doing?
You can’t just start singing
whenever you want.
Can’t you hear you’re out of sync?
You come in 
when your part blends with all the other singers -
when the red-eyed vireo’s lilting voice teases from the treetops,
when the rose-breasted grosbeak,
in full blossom, 
gargles with a throat of liquid sunshine. 
You enter
just a few measures before your cousin, the wood thrush, 
returns to its summer haunts. 
Your voice can hardly compete with the arpeggios and trills
that the summer thrush flings throughout the forest. 
That’s your cue to fly north.

Why then, Thrush, do you sing out of turn in early March?
Is it because you need to ripple, massage, stretch, empower
the cords that will give life to your music?
Does this send a shiver through your body 
that casts off the chill of winter,
and readies you for your moment six weeks hence? 
Does this affirm that you are a singer,
a splendid singer, a yearning singer,
and that you know your time is coming?

I can understand that.



  © Jennifer Gaden, 2017

Hermit Thrush
Photo by CheepShot
from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, August 28, 2017

Math for Girls Counts

Before they were great, great grandmothers, they stood 
in lines for singular equality, for one scale blind 
to gender, creed or color. But, their right 

to vote was delayed until 1920 – 144 years after
propertied White men, 51 years after Black men,
as if women were mere household amenities
used as conveniences.

The vote hoped to move the line closer 
to a public voice in fiscal and sexual values,  
but it took sixteen more years to change 
birth control info from obscene 

to legal mail (hidden in plain brown envelopes)
to head-of-the-household husbands,
a married man the only 
Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. 

Connecticut’s 1965 defeat freed the pill 
only for the sanctified wedded. I remember 
unmarried, pregnant girls, 
shamed and blamed for bad choices, 
while the boys were just being boys. 

The 1982 ERA defeat subtracted sixty years 
of female rights. One hundred years since suffrage,
fifteen states still have not ratified ERA,
now a dusty museum piece. 

Defeat meant I had no credit, no bank account, 
no property without my husband’s name, addressed as 
Mrs. John Doe, my first name unimportant,
a nondescript dustpan beneath spousal steps.

Reduced fraction of 1973’s Roe vs. Wade, reproductive rights 
are not in the corporate equation that controls
choice as newly-deemed religious bodies, 
a catch-22 where working women have zero say. 

Despite the centuries-old male monopoly, women have 
done the math – equal means equal, not less than.


© Patsy AsunciĆ³n, 2017

"The Awakening" by Henry Mayer, 1915
Restoration copyright by Adam Cuerden
from Wikimedia Commons