Thursday, April 17, 2014


photoart: ralph murre

by Marc J. Frazier

…for everything flowers from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness…
Galway Kinnell

In the endless mall of Florida—a French patisserie run by French people. 
Birds flit for crumbs. 
Sherbet umbrellas beckon Town Cars of the aged to dock nearby. 
Scents of hibiscus, sunset-hued blossoms of tropical vines blend with that of yeast, humid asphalt, and Estée Lauder. 
There is no one left to love. 
Sometimes the evidence is overwhelming. 
Sometimes I wish a gull will miss landing on its piling. 
The real truth is that nothing mitigates. 
Lonely birds call through a pink dusk. 
If I could name the flora and fauna, I could cope with uncertainty.
I could walk outside to a gator in the pool. 
Surprising things happen. 
A double murderer was just arrested in Chicago where he’d lived as a poet for twenty years.
I have to write so many words just to survive. 
How many will it take to endure?  To be happy? 
The many places I’ve been make me like every place less. 
I love the romantic excess of Spanish explorers: cities of gold, fountain of youth. 
Here the old grow younger or think they do. 
Who am I to shadow conquerors? 
Sometimes a clean, well-lighted place is fine. 
Sometimes nothing is enough. 
Always that restlessness in the stalls. 
The need to be touched. 
The need to be reminded of my loveliness. 
As if I am one of the few who are chosen. 
Carlos Fuentes described Frida Kahlo with her jangling jewelry and intensity as her own opera. 
At times I am so tame I wonder if even the trained can prepare me for a return to the wild. 
At times the Leo in me sees the world as collateral. 
A woman in a poem hopes in the growth of two dozen seeds. 
The man thinks she expects too much: “To grow her a whole new life.” 
What can I expect here beside the ocean?
I do not ponder the damage done—a cul de sac of regret. 
Not everything happens for a reason. 
I hear orchids grow in wet seclusion. 
Stones are silent by choice. 
Water builds only to lose itself. 
Blue calms my tendency to wander, to see other sides. 
Life, like anything, is a habit, can be found almost anywhere, can happen to anyone.

~ first published in Rhino

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Only after telling her . . .

photo: amy murre klemm

by Jeffrey Winke

Only after telling her…

…in a hasty cell call that he’s at a bar called NEPO does he realize that he read the neon window sign backwards.

long day
      a memory becomes
               today’s worry

~ first published in Modern Haiku   

Monday, April 14, 2014


photo: ralph murre

by Jude Genereaux

The house stood dark through winter’s snow
her name on the mail box
bannered life within
                 but the house stayed dark
through cold and ice and springtime rain 
‘til hyacinths
        daffodils announced renewal;
but the house stayed dark.

Come June, strange cars lined the drive
a great green steel bin appeared     quiet
people walked to it, discarding
broken bits of the past
tossing old chairs, spindly legs askew
sticking straight up (a signal for rescue?)
tables unworthy of saving, relics and 
furniture no longer wanted
into the bin
         while the house stayed dark.

Crackling with heat in the pre-summer sun
smoke plumed from a barrel as
people (her family?) relentlessly
fed the flames; fire devoured
the stuff of a quiet life

Discarded papers, shopping lists?
books and old journals?      (love letters?)
the air thick with the sweet incense of musty
words of love?    lust and longing?
O! the hidden lives languishing in boxes
old desks and cupboards filled with words
crackling in the fires of Absolution
honeyed smoke fragranced by life;
Just … trash.

Your secrets are safe old woman
                   they have saved you
no one will ever know your life
Your honor              and theirs
And the house stays dark.

~ previously published in There Is More Than One Door
   (The Looner Press)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Goddess Danced

photo: robert lee haycock

Goddess Danced
by Robert Lee Haycock

Goddess danced
Her everlasting dance
Bangles, beads
Went spinning from her skirts
Off they flew
Into the fecund dark
Growing there
Planted in fields of night
Stars, planets
And you, my Love, and me

~ first published in Medusa’s Kitchen

Friday, April 11, 2014

EVE # 9

detail: collaborative artwork by At the Well members

EVE #9
by Sharon Auberle

Aged as she is,
even now Eve
sees no reason
to stop

Her favorite spot
is under the apple tree,
where the old snake
has been watching
her for years,

shedding one skin
after another,
his eyes
like diamonds
in the grass.

~ previously published in EVErywoman
   (Seven Islands Press)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Pair of Shoes

17th century drawing, artist unknown

A Pair of Shoes
by Jan Oskar Hansen

She was nine years old wore a cotton dress, barefoot and had her
picture taken. Her mother had bought her a pair of new shoes,
and the shoes were so lovely she didn´t want to put them on yet.
Her mother relented the photograph was taken the girl holding
the shoes firmly in her little hands.

She looked into the camera with intense seriousness seeing into
a future she was not yet aware of, perhaps she was but couldn´t
articulate it, hence holding on to her shoes a symbol of the losses
she would suffer.

She married a farmer in Congo they had cattle and coconut trees.
Then came the revolution and since they had the wrong colour, not
black not white had to flee when crazed soldiers came, freedom
was for the masses, who took over the farm ate the milking cows, but
neglected to till the land. She ended up in a foreign land, but she
didn´t mind that so much her children had prospered and survived,
but she was always thrifty never threw away a thing.

~ Previously published in A Poet’s Almanac (cyberwit)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


artwork: ralph murre

by Tony Gloeggler

The kind of town we stopped
for gas and asked directions
to that hillside inn ten years ago
When it rained and rained
and we stayed in bed, lost count
of the times we came and came

Kind of town you now live in
with your second husband, split
level home, road side mail box

Town you called from late last night
to tell me about the sharp pains
the red shredded things
that dropped into the water
as you sat on the toilet stool
forty years old, wanting your first child

~ first published in Mudfish

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Unsterile Environment

artwork: carl larsson (from an old print)

Unsterile Environment       
 by Patricia Wellingham-Jones

Around the globe the wind swirls
in soft gusts and monsoons carrying particles
of the quick and the dead
to our lungs, into our cells,
making us all, as long as we live—
and thereafter—part of each other.

We all breathe—no exceptions—recycled air:
nomad’s sweat swept on a desert wind, bull elks
panting in the clash of rut, the last squawk
of a chicken caught in owl talons, a sick
old man’s groan. And star jasmine wafting
on a summer night, pine branches broken under snow,
a packed-diapered baby’s howl of rage.

I smile at the new mother
who wraps her infant against the warm breeze,
double-boils his bottles of water,
wards off big family kisses,
as if the baby weren’t already
inhaling the second-hand breath of the world.

~ first published in Moondance

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Laying of Hands

digital art: ralph murre

The Laying of Hands
by Stephen Anderson         
After the cutting,
After the slide under the microscope,
The herringbone stitches to the open flesh come

In a dutiful, meticulous sewing
Of the cancer-vacated crater in my temple,
Hybrid birth-child now of Nature and surgeon’s handiwork

Setting as right as possible all that had gone
So terribly wrong in a matter of mere decades,
Now hand-stitched and shiny like a fine, leather shoe.

~ first published in The Foundling Review

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Why I Can't Be Your Lover

artwork: ralph murre

Why I Can’t Be Your Lover
by Susan Tepper

It was about the long stretch 
of body—
and rumpled sheets

Bodies on sheets, mine shorter
on top of your long body—

the milk caressing the pitcher

and traffic and the outside
rushing past high draped windows 

over-stuffed chair, a dresser,
a floor lamp bent at the odd angle

~ first published in The Somerville News

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Early Work

photoart: ralph murre

Early Work
by Max Garland

My father’s milk truck bounces
the county roads, as much a part
of the jangle of future as dawn.

His shirt is white as God to me,
I get to ride along sometimes.
the smell of the cooler

is the rubbery cold where
nothing spoils, where rows
of bottles ride like music

before the choir wakes up,
or the pigeons tear loose
from silos and steeples.

The cords of muscle in his arms,
the pulsing star of cigarette,
the jump on the walking world we get

as we navigate the deep blue
stutter of washboard roads,
help lift the day onto the calendar.

First light arrives, slow as a wage
I don’t yet know the meaning of, though
I feel the glow of usefulness

as I lug the empties back to the truck
where the sun has started
to brighten the fenders and latches,

the chrome of the hubcaps like coins
for the road where dark is spent
and wealth is milk at every door.

~ first published in Prairie Schooner

Thursday, March 27, 2014

House Homicide

from a photo by james landwehr

House Homicide
by Jim Landwehr

Born in 1907 to a family of others
A generation away
It was nothin’ special to anyone but they
            Who made the beds
            And slept in them

Wood, brick and mortar are all it was
Hulking like a middle class mansion
It was nothin’ special to anyone but those
            Who swept the floors
            And walked on them

Kitchen warmed by electric stove
One bath to serve all seven
It was nothin’ special to anyone but us
            Who painted the walls
            And lived within them

New tenants brought boxes of neglect and blight
Slumming the mansion to size
It was nothin’ special to anyone, especially them
            Who killed the house
            And moved along

~ first published in Heavy Bear

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


artwork: ralph murre

by Maureen Hand

The sun’s crisp rays crawl through that pane of dust
and dreams and point straight at the glaring glue
stuck on the green and gold wallpapered wall.
I remember when it first unfurled some
years ago, and I thought I could restick
it. With the grace of a gazelle, I climbed
to the top of the ladder. I spread the
glue, caressed the wound, and coaxed, but it would
not adhere, and you announced, “It’s too late,”
as glue oozed out like blood, and you just shook
your head. I should have known when it first pulled
away. I should have known it would be hard
to fix. I should have known some rips tear for
a reason. Now, that glitter of glue smirks
like a scar that is no longer bleeding.

~ first published in FLUTTER POETRY REVIEW

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Three from Bay View

digital photoart: ralph murre

by Gary C. Busha

I now realize
what is not said has meaning
and sends an echo.

This early morning
the old man who was a boy
tries to remember.

It is best to go
to the water to write about
what catching fish is.

~ previously published in Bay View Spiders (Wolfsong Publications)

Sunday, March 23, 2014


digital photoart: ralph murre

by Cristina M.R. Norcross

Branches were cut,
before I could touch
the new, green leaves –
velvet flesh.

I no longer wish for
a brightly colored streamer
to appear,
while I dance into the night.
The air is thick
with choices.

This is time enough.
Rug fibers softened by living,
The carved, wooden legs
of Aunt Mary’s side table,
and the chipped place setting
from our wedding,
that didn’t quite make it to England.

When I place my finger
on the table by lamplight,
a message in dust appears.
This is the life
you always wanted.
You just don’t know it yet.

~ first published in Verse & Vision (Q Gallery) 

Thursday, March 20, 2014


artwork: william marr

by William Marr

There was something
I wanted to tell the flower
Blooming before my window
she brought me spring

This morning
full of warm gratitude
I finally gathered up courage
and began
You sure are ...

When a pair of scissors
snipped both my words
and her

~previously published in DuPage Arts Life 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Note Posted . . .

artwork: vincent van gogh (from old postcard reproduction)

Note Posted Under the Lost Pet Notices
by Joan Wiese Johannes

You probably don’t remember me, but I am wondering
why you no longer do your laundry on Friday nights.
You are the guy in your thirties who wore nice shirts,
usually plaid, suggesting that you came here from work,
which is good because I like men who work.

Your shirts were wrinkled, so I figured you were single.
And since you didn’t wash your sheets every week,
I surmised that you weren’t getting a lot, which is good
because a girl can’t be too careful these days.

Your underwear impressed me; briefs are unpretentious,
and you replace them before they go gray or the elastic dies.
I also liked the way you rolled your socks into little balls
before tossing them into your bag.  You never missed,
which is good because I like men who athletic.

I didn’t speak to you the first time I saw you because
I was wearing old, green sweatpants.
The next week, not expecting to see you again,
I wore my glasses and my hair was dirty.
Once I introduced you to Bounce when your towel stuck
to your tee shirt but was too shy to introduce myself.

Now I miss our meetings and hope you have just changed
your laundry schedule and haven’t lost your job, moved,
or found someone to iron your shirts.

~ first published in Free Verse

Monday, March 17, 2014

On St. Patrick's Day . . .

photo: sharon auberle

On St. Patrick’s Day, a True Confession
by Marilyn L. Taylor

Oh Lord, how I’d love to be Irish!
The Irish are nothing but hot,
and they’ve gotten incredibly stylish—
but Irish is what I am not.
My name doesn’t translate to Irish,
nor start with a “Mc” or an “O”,
so no matter how Molly Maguire-ish
I’m feeling, it’s hopeless, I know.

But I’m dying to fib just a little
for maybe a day or a week,
and pound the bodhran, play the fiddle,
and break into brogue when I speak;
I’d tipple with Nuala and Dylan,
I’d blather with Eamon and Shaun,
and then (if the spirit is willin’)
go guzzle more Guinness till dawn!

Of course it’s a little bit sneaky;
in fact, I would feel like a dork
neglecting to mention Milwaukee,
pretending that I was from Cork
But Lord, how I’d love to be Irish,
be one of those glamorous Celts—
now that everything Emerald Isle-ish
Is cooler than anything else!

~ first published in the Irish American Post

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Moroccan Leather Briefcase

artwork: ralph murre

The Moroccan Leather Briefcase
by Jackie Langetieg
What I really wanted that day,
handling the soft Moroccan leather,
was to be a person who went to Morocco
or Egypt, or Kashmir—someplace exotic,
where a man in a white flowing burnoose
with black and silver ropes would see I was lost
and offer to lead me back to my people and
on the way, we stop at a dark café, sip
strong coffee poured from a long-handled carafe
into small brass cups filigreed with whirls
of romantic Arabic, and tell each other our mysteries.
His robes flow over his body. His
lean brown fingers stroke my hand; I quiver
as desire pools in my belly. His neat black beard raises
tiny hairs on my neck; then his lips begin at the crevice
of my scapula skip down to my clavicle, around
my breasts, and slowly trace an untraceable path
to my navel. Clothes frantically tossed
onto a rattan chair, bodies
clasped together . . . what!
Do I want to buy the briefcase?
Yes, yes, yes.

~ first published in Confetti in a Silent City

Thursday, March 13, 2014

On Not Knowing

photo: sharon auberle

On Not Knowing
by Jeffrey Johannes

When I was young, I watched
a Chinese monk brush characters
of red lacquer on a door
the color of spoiled plums;
no matter what his message,
I felt the impatience of not knowing
and something changed in my heart.

And here lies the struggle,
the uncertainty in wondering
if there is anything
more certain than losing my hat
when I leaned into sunset
sighting a humpback whale,
the weight of its bones
bearing hard to lee,
stunning in aptitude and joy,
its molecules speaking a language
I did not understand.

~ first published in Nimrod

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


photo:sharon auberle


by Cathryn Cofell

In my fantasy: 
Tuesday afternoon,
blinds drawn, covers kicked
to the floor, you and I
slick with sweat and oil,
bodies tight as earth and root.
I write secret words
on the sole of your left foot:
flame and temple and tether,
your hurricane face washed in genius,
your eyes wild on me,
your red, red lips on
the answers I long to hear.

In your fantasy:
morning birds peck
in an empty bath outside,
blinds wide open,
kitchen table, papers raked
to the floor, you and I
tumbling like rusty locks.
Words grind in your head:
flash and peacock and passport,
still fall into lines of pure genius
even as we steam the windows,
even as you bathe my long
pale body with lamplight and seed.

~ poem previously appeared in Sweet Curdle (Marsh River Editions)
   photo, in EVErywoman (Seven Islands Press)