Friday, September 26, 2014

Lake Songs

photo: patricia wellingham-jones

Lake Songs   
 by Patricia Wellingham-Jones

On our usual bench
by Lake Almanor, we listen
to ravens croak among pines
and grebes call in the middle of the lake.
With our own words winding down
small water sounds emerge:
tiny slap of wavelets against a stony shore,
the rise of wind pushing its blue path
and the faint splash as ducks dive
beneath the sparkling surface.
Loon-song haunts a distant cove,
carries us somewhere
we never knew.

~ first published in Brevities

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Trip to Seoul . . .

detail of photo courtesy norman j. olson

A Trip to Seoul September 23 to 25, 2011
by Norman J. Olson

I traveled
from the intricate
branches of an oak tree
against a rainy blue/gray sky,
to an auditorium filled
with Picasso and his
millions of

I walked on old cobblestones
and rode on shiny steel rails

everyone was polite
enough not to laugh
a fat old American
artistic pretensions… I had no use
for the condom on the dresser,
but it did
remind me that love
is everywhere
can take many

~ first published in Sketchbook

Sunday, September 21, 2014

90-proof angels

photo: ralph murre

90-proof angels
by t. kilgore splake

     child’s tiny fingers letting go,

     bottles smashing against concrete sidewalk squares,
shiny glass shards flying,

     hard vacant stare, taut sun-bronzed skin,
rigid “don’t hurt” posture,

     angels falling to earth early this sunday
morning, wings shattering,

     absent for saving other, pious church-going

     smug narrow personas, already so damn sure.

~ previously published in winter river flowing (Presa Press)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Swan Lake

photoart - murre

Swan Lake
by Angie Trudell Vasquez

Girls in gossamer gowns
flit across the stage
little ballerinas in the making
before age and race add weight,
pink tights
light leather shoes strapped
on small feet,
before toe before
they are conscious
of limitations,
they all think they are
beautiful against the heat
of the mirror and balance bar
the instructor plays Swan Lake
and says imagine you are
nestled in white feathers
and draped tight in white silk
now see yourself soar
across the stage and jump
and leap and spin, see how
pretty and thin your shoulder blades,
now open your eyes and begin,
and all twenty girls run and leap
from one end to another
thinking, yes, yes
this must be how it is
to press against the sky and fly.

~ first published in Verse Wisconsin

Monday, September 15, 2014

Indian Summer, Denial

photo: jude genereaux

Indian Summer, Denial
by Jude Genereaux

What does it take
to bring Summer to an end?

In the month of shortened days
a moment of new light
casts shadows in wrong places;

I put the lawn chairs away
lower the deck umbrella
notice the first red leaf … turncoat maples!
A flyer advertising "School Supplies"
blows across the drive.

What does it take?
to redirect one’s heart to autumn …
I reach for my woolrich plaid
walk darkening roads,
shift the campfire to the woodstove.

~ first published in “Seeding the Snow”
(Chicago Journal )

Friday, September 12, 2014


artwork: ralph murre

by John Flynn

Nomad flocks flood pale skies like
stippled notes scored, scoured, and
spilt from some sequestered staff.

Roadside orchards dapple
with ten thousand shimmering
wings. Their eagle hearts,

un-bated breath, endure
like a seabird soars
from shore.

~ first published at

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Varda, Train Station

photo: x bonnie woods

Varda, Train Station
by Donna Pucciani

No use crying for what used to be,
a station full of people
with someplace to go—
a grandmother in Croatia, a business lunch
in Budapest, the city of all longing.

Cracked windowpanes stare sightless
at the tracks’ blind sweep.
They tell a story in a lost language,
with tongues of dust and weeds,
abandoned farms, the cemetery
overgrown, the church splintered
by lightning, its belfry fallen through
the tinderbox roof.

We said our goodbyes long ago
amid the shorn hayfields,
the pens of spotted pigs,
the gnarled elms and tin-roofed sheds.
Goodbye, little village of unhappy accidents.

I saved a stone from the road out.
It shines like glass when held to the sun,
like crystal when cupped by the moon.
No station left, but a long-winded whistle,
the screech of brakes on steel. Together they call,
“We are the way out. Come.”

~ photo and poem previously appeared in Shutterverse2

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Crossing Guard

photo: ralph murre

Crossing Guard
by Marilyn Annucci

I drive toward her—
crossing guard who scowls into traffic.
So butch she might have been

an inventor of steam shovels.
Stop me! I pray. She steps out
Stronger than Steel.

Kids in knit hats,
nylon jackets, straggle before my car.

I want to rev my engine.

I want to stall out.

She eyes me, turns away.  Oh
to be crossed! She lowers
the brim of her cap, waves us on—

us, not just me.  You’re no one
special, her strut says

                       ~ previously published in Love & Lust: An Anthology
                          (Parallel Press)