Sunday, February 22, 2015

Shadows and Reflections

artwork: ralph murre

Shadows and Reflections
       by Nancy Haskett

My mother’s face and voice,
once as familiar
as my own signature
or the soothing sound of rain,
have become mere memories yellowed with age,
like lace and appliques on the gown
she sewed for my wedding,
dimmed like old photographs
no longer vibrant with color,
her aspects eluding me even as
I run my fingers down the surface
of an oil painting,
searching for the softness of her hand
that created it.

Today, in this year that divides
our thirty-two years together
from thirty-two years apart,
I look for traces of her in my own reflection,
catching a glimpse, sometimes,
in the gray of my hair,
the slight swell of my belly,
but more often seeing shadows of my father
in the set of my jaw
the turn of my mouth,
and I worry she is lost to me
until I find her again,
just for a moment

in my daughter’s smile

~ first published in Penumbra

Monday, February 16, 2015

You said I should write more love poems . .

photo: ralph murre

by Steve Tomasko

You said I should write more love poems and
I said, I’m sorry, but I’ve been thinking about
sloths. Well, actually, the moths that live
on sloths. Nestle into their fur, take the slow,
slow ride through the rain forest. Once a week
the sloth descends to the forest floor. Defecates.
Female moths leap off; lay their eggs on the fresh
feces; jump back on. Their caterpillars nourish
themselves on the fetid feast, metamorphose
into moths, fly up into the canopy to find
their own sloths. They prefer the three-toed
over the two-toed. Who can figure attraction?
The algae-covered sloth fur is the only home
the sloth moths know. The only place they live.
I know it’s a Darwinian thing but fidelity
comes to mind. Commitment.  Patience.
The world writes love poems all the time.

~ previously published in The Fiddlehead

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Book of Synonyms, p. 997

photoart: sharon auberle

Book of Synonyms, p. 997
by Jeanie Tomasko

valentine, n. 1. This morning when the cardinal
broke my sleep, I started thinking Corvette, 
cherries, Russian Revolution. 2. This morning
when the cardinal sang on, I thought of beets
and roses and relentless. 3. This morning
when the cardinal wouldn’t stop, I said out loud
I want to be reckless with desire. 4. I decided
not to spend the day cutting hearts out of paper
to spread here on your pillow. 5. Love,
instead I am going to fledge a thousand
cabernet-colored feathers to cover my own
small beating heart. 6. It’s the middle of winter,
who cares if we don’t last the night?

~ previously published in Sharp as Want
   (Little Eagle Press)   

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


artwork: william marr

by William Marr

It’s still there
for me to

Looming from the distant childhood
my father’s


~  first published in Autumn Window ( Arbor Hill Press)

Sunday, February 8, 2015


artwork: ralph murre

by Ellaraine Lockie

I like the not knowing
The span of time
that suspends in exquisite tension
When possibilities are endless
and optimism animates ambition
without ignorance deceived as denial

I like the not knowing
The span of time
after submissions are sent
And suspense is delivered
daily by the mailman
Dreams of literary immortality
that stay alive in his empty hands

I like the not knowing
The span of time
since failing the mammogram exam
When statistics leave space for faith
Between fresh appreciation  
for perfectly balanced breasts
And the scalpel that slices
symmetry into grave reality

I like the not knowing
The span of time
where you live luminous in my mind
Wishful thinking and what ifs
with fairy tale endings
Before facts dim the delusion
or convention devours us

I like that span of time
The not knowing

~ previously published in California Quarterly

Thursday, February 5, 2015

one from ~ Haiku Page

translation: jq zheng

by Jeffrey Winke

spilled moonlight
on a near-calm lake
I bathe in her touch

~ previously published in row of pine
   and translated for Haiku Page

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Primo, Secundo

oil painting: l. da. vinci / digital image: r. murre

Primo, Secundo
by Margot Peters

So long we've played duets,
hips spreading on piano bench,
now merging, you Humpty
me Dumpty, making music together.

You play above middle C
hands darting like finches
over the green field of my bass.
I drive the bus below, striving to set
the tempo.

We clap earmuffs on Mozart's bust
to spare him the bad notes.
Schubert throbs on your vintage Steinway,
Ravel falters on my Yamaha grand.

You said to me yesterday: "I've always
wanted to play secundo."

Conductor lowers his baton
Orchestra scrapes back its chairs.

Truly, have we been making music
for thirty-five years, you wanting secundo?

Do I know you, friend?

~ first published in Free Verse

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Paz Usted y Yo

artwork: ralph murre

Paz Usted y Yo
by Bruce Dethlefsen

of all the words
the only three
you ever need to know
paz usted y yo
peace and you and me

~ previously published in small talk (Little Eagle Press) 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


artwork: ralph murre

E. Poland
January 27, 1945

   by Ethel Mortensen Davis

Deep January
never felt so warm--
when the strong arms
of the Red Army
picked up
the skeleton-like people
and set them
on blankets in the snow.

The evil snake
had reached down
deep into their bodies
and tried to snatch
their very souls,

but the soldiers
gathered them
like sick dogs
in their arms
and set them
into the sunshine.

Libertacja was like
the swinging
of a thousand swings
up into the air--
a day when poetry
began to be written.

~ first published in Gallup Journey Arts Edition (2011)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

2 O'CLOCK . . .

artwork: ralph murre

by Shoshauna Shy

His cousin arranged this                                                                  
so he agreed to show up
to find that the 30+ woman
seated beside the ficus plant
has a head of amber curls
which gives her face a spritely
flourish, and he likes how
her sweater sleeves are pushed
to the elbows signifying
a take-charge demeanor.
The woman sees his thick crop
of sun-streaked hair and dark
lashes, but would trade either
for another eight inches in height. 
Even six.
Still, his jacket with the loosened
hip buckles and stylish cuffs
makes up for it.

He figures he could excuse
the lack of cleavage if she listens
to Duke Ellington or drives
a newer car.
And after she orders a second
almond steamer, he bets it
could become endearing
the way she pronounces the “t”
in “often.”
She gives him the benefit
of the doubt that he doesn’t
always tap table tops or rock
a knee (he is simply nervous
as is she), and thinks it charming
the way he tests his latte
with his tongue.

He surmises he could adapt
to the smell of strawberry
shower gel if she enjoys
spending hours in a kitchen.
She hopes his broad palms
indicate an affinity for shovels
and bandsaws, though an aptitude
for engines would be equally
She wishes he had left his ex-wife
instead of the other way around
for the name Krissy  has cropped up
more than is pleasing,
and she estimates that 40% of his tone
is regret and 60% relief,
but it’s rather tricky to determine.
She is not convinced she wants
a dinner date to follow

and he has no idea that the only way
a dinner date will follow
is if he harnesses his impulse
to suggest it, then doesn’t contact her
again till Thursday.

When their mugs are near-empty,
the badminton birdie exhausted
between them, and she has given
him a shy little wave outside
before hopping onto a bicycle,
he decides that if it turns out
she is partial to Star Trek reruns
and never votes Republican,
he could forgive
the thick ankles.

~ previously published by Milk Sugar Literary Journal

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Bullfight With Hemingway

artwork: pablo picasso

Bullfight With Hemingway
by F.J. Bergmann

Tell Ernest that I am quite willing
to attend the corrida
as long as they promise, if the bull wins,
to give me the ears
of the matador.

~ first appeared in Right Hand Pointing

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Last Poem

Last Poem
                        (for Jim Hazard)
by Charles Rossiter

Could this be Jim's last poem
here in the Calendar?
Oh Boy Is It Snowing,
a poem full of energy
with a touch of humor,
so like him
complete with an exclamation point!
And there are parentheses,
in fact two parentheses,
or is that called two pairs of parentheses?
I'm not sure, and a couple of
Emily Dickinson-style dashes
in the final stanza.  He often
mentioned Emily.  I like to think
he'd be glad somebody noticed.

~ prev. published in Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar

Monday, January 5, 2015

Carpe Diem

photoart - patricia williams

Carpe Diem - Seize the Day
by Patricia Williams

I want to run away and be a Las Vegas showgirl ― the  
glamor, the fun and excitement, that’s an enticement
what would my in-laws, the book club, the church-ladies say?
Carpe diem - seize the day 

I’d hire a maid flee the cleaning, treat my skin with
French-milled soap, no more harsh detergent then there’s
the kids that’s urgent  but I’ll let those matters lay.
Carpe diem - seize the day

There I’d be, wrapped in a white feather boa nothing else. 
My husband, stunned, the audience clamoring for more.
I’m a star, have fame galore with rich admirers at bay.
Carpe diem - seize the day 

My bubble burst, glimpsed me in the mirror.  All that’s left
of my sweet revere is a white feather floating in the breeze
escaped my pillow when I made the bed guess a feather’s
as close as I’ll ever be.  Hummm maybe I’ll dye my hair red!
Carpe diem - seize the day. 

~ first published in Lake City Lights

Saturday, January 3, 2015


artwork: ralph murre

by James Reiss

The painters began work on the house,
wielding their brushes like wings.
By noon they took off their caps
and blotted their brows with tan rags,
then lit cigarettes by striking wooden
matches on their boots in long slow arcs.

The roof took on the color of the sun
as it broke yolk-like on the weather vane.
They did not see it splatter.
Bronze in their five-o’clock shadows,
they slapped one last gold stroke
and lowered their scaffold and stretched.

    ~ first published in Esquire

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve 2-for-1 Special

photoart: ralph murre

by Peggy Trojan

New Year's Eve
nine days before I was twelve
Tommy, visiting next door
came to visit me, baby sitting.
At midnight
he sat on the arm of the chair
and leaned to kiss me.
That's all.
No embrace,
no meaningless words.
Nearly seventy years later
I remember our surprise,
the silence,
how warm his lips were
and how soft.

~ first published in Boston Literary Magazine

photoart: ralph murre

by Bobbie Krinsky

Heading out under a moon
as luminous as last year’s Solstice,

my old dog and I ramble
into the raw country wind:

Two old bitches taking  a stroll
beneath the stars,
minutes before New Years  Eve,   2003.

While I plunge through snow hushed  fields
flooded with silver, 
my girl prances like a pup

and paws through shadows
of winter’s trees splayed across  midnight’s
ice blue light.

 ~ first published in The Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar

Friday, December 19, 2014

Slowed-down Christmas

photo: ralph murre

Slowed-down Christmas
by Patricia Wellingham - Jones   

This year
   due to ‘circumstances
beyond our control’
   Christmas is simpler than ever

Decorations four
   a tiny tree with lights and Santas
my sister’s ancient ribbon wreath
   nesting Santas lined up on the mantel
and the big red bow from the door
   decks your new walker

Presents few
   things we can eat or drink
use up in six weeks
   and never dust

Friends seldom
   but cherished
especially when
   they don’t stay too long

Old friends and the big dinner
   packaged or boxed or potluck
but the wine flows
   candles flicker
love swoops around the room
   like doves with wings of angel hair
and light

~ previously published in Lunarosity (2006)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

This Family Called Apple

detail: apple family II: georgia o'keeffe

This Family Called Apple
by M.J. Iuppa
                            after Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting Apple Family–2

Plumped up and pinched,
rosy-cheeks of a kind,

ample curves, breasts
and buttocks nestled

side by side, silent
picture of health,

not knowing
what could be growing

wrong on the inside. When
lost in thought in the orchard

I plucked  their glossy bodies–
let them fall into my canvas

apron– ignoring your warnings–
invisible bruises show up after

the snap of leaf and stem. Now
which will go first?  Taut

skin resists, shines
against the bite

that changed paradise–
sudden waters, flesh, seeds,

unlocked stars– the secrets
of many in this chaste household.

~ first published in Language of Color: Writers Respond to the Paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe (Big Pencil Press)