Saturday, November 29, 2014


digitally derived from artwork by W.H. Bartlett

by Marjorie Stamm Rosenfeld

Beneath the Holy Land,
where even water wars are fought,
the troubled springs run deep.
And water, which has properties
to wear on stone, has split the rock.
                                    Lord . . .
                                                my shepherd.  
About suffering, Stefan Grass said,
“Suffering is like salt, bitter in a glass.
Become a lake instead—then sip the water. 
You’ll see how sweet it tastes,
with hardly any hint of bitterness.”

(The Jaffa oranges are sweet
and bigger than grenades. 
We’ve moved our fences farther in.
Our neighbors claim the land we left,
then ours.)

                                     Beside the still waters. . .
Sbarro Pizza,
where a young man opens up his coat,
says to the girl behind the counter,
Know what this is?
so like the exhibitionist
who bares his misused, misplaced
instrument of love
                                    He maketh me to lie down . . .
                                    In green pastures
tents of Palestinians
are buffeted by angry winds,
their throats are parched.
The houses of the Palestinians collapse. 

                                     In the house of the Lord,
another scene:  From one side
comes a swarthy man and from the other,
one more swarthy man—
sons of the same father.
They face off, raise their instruments,
and aim.  Which will give ground?
Which strike the other first?
Raging thirst propels them.
Nearby the only lake
that’s fresh and clear
is Lake Tiberius,
called the Sea of Galilee.
It, too, is troubled water.
Further south, the sea is dead 
and full of salt.  How many 
Abrahamic sons must fall?

(Bombs bloom. 
The wolves that used to roam
the Russian Steppes
are here.)

                       Through the valley of the shadow,
a great tree arches over the River Jordan.
It is the tree of the Jewish people.
It is the tree of the Palestinian people.
Its leaves shudder in the wind,
on every leaf a name.

~ first published in MidEastWeb

* Tzama is Hebrew for "thirst"

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Another Time, Maybe

artwork: ralph murre

Another Time, Maybe
by Ralph Murre

Wasn’t there a time when it all seemed o.k.?
Mantel clocks faithfully wound, maternity wards
thriving, Montgomery Wards thriving,
a Ford in the garage? An occasional world war
or mob lynching, the atomic removal
of a couple of cities far away,
a case of Schlitz in the cellar?

Wasn’t there this background music,
a bearded man conducting a thousand strings
and Dinah Shore and a summer of cicadas
in a Hollywood Bowl of Cherries?
Wasn’t it just swell? And didn’t you get
that orange box of Wheaties with Eddie Matthews
when your dad got the job at the gas station
after striking for a couple of years at Kohler?

Didn’t you shine your little shoes and put on
your little suit and snap your bow-tie
on the white collar and look up
the skirt of the angel costume on the stepladder?
And how hard was it to swipe a pack of Luckies?
Wasn’t there a time when feeling-up the Schmidt
girl in her pointy little bra was pretty good?

And wasn’t it great to go to art school
and draw nude models and swipe packs
of Gauloises at the Knickerbocker? And
wasn’t it great when your brother
let you come along to a park and build
a fort with his buddies and then
that old guy drove up and was real nice
and wanted to see your . . .
touch your . . . Oh, that’s right,
you can’t remember that, can you?

And wasn’t it fun the time you and Billy
put sand in the fuel tank of that bulldozer
and busted the windows out of that cabin?
And wasn’t it cool when you didn’t get drafted
and got to mess around with chicks
who burnt their pointy little bras?

And wasn’t it nice when Ike, in his gray suit,
and Mamie, in her navy blue dress
with the little white dots looked up from golf
and told us everything would be o.k.?
Wasn’t that nice?
And weren’t her gloves just so white?

~ first published in the Peninsula Pulse

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Lune Morte

photoart: ralph murre

Lune Morte
by Virginie Colline

The dead moon stares at us
In the garden of nettles
Behind the wall
A derelict church
Hides its secret dust

~ first appeared in Oberon's Law

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mona Lisa

artwork: william marr

Mona Lisa
by William Marr

There must be some d-e--e---p

Staring at her smile
a man tilts his head left and right
Beside him a painted woman
wears a wide grin

~ previously published in Between Heaven and Earth

Friday, November 7, 2014


artwork: ralph murre

by Karen Stromberg

We catch poems

the way fishermen catch fish:

by sitting alone for hours

in the little boat of ourselves,

nothing much going on,

just a finger

on the filament

that leads

to the anguished worm

~ first published in The Ever Dancing Muse (1999)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Berlin Sky

artwork: ralph murre

Berlin Sky
by Thomas J. Erickson

When daybreak surprised us that morning
in your hotel room, the Berlin sky was
the color of a healing bruise.

In my pocket were the chips of mortar I had
scratched out of the remnants of the Gestapo
headquarters.  The mortar was turning
to sand by the hour--free at last
to disintegrate for all time.

I asked you to think of all the people
who had looked into that sky awaiting
the knock of the Gestapo or the Stasi,
the concussions of the Allied bombs,
or the signal to escape from East to West.

We were too drunk and happy, though,
to confront the city and its past--safely
distanced, as we were, from divorce 
or the second thoughts of the newly married.

It was easy to look at the sky and write
our histories on the window pane
before passing into our Lethean sleep.

~ first published Mad Poets Review

Monday, November 3, 2014


photo - patricia williams

by Patricia Williams
Vivid autumn courses, bringing unwelcome news
of unknown but compelling forces
shrouded in time and season,
a world where myth and reason collide,
the magnetic pull of frost and fog,
bleak landscapes where gothic heroes speak.

A timeworn house and desolate downs, set amid
the rushing and moaning of the wind, 
hear tortured souls howling from parchment pages.
November bites, draws in the chill of winter,
overnight frost and snow settle and fall,
thoughts and feelings call and clash along the way.

Those most encumbered ones of Haworth,
all slumbered before their thirty-eighth summer,
unconventional, unwell, grave and quiet,
living in a limbo close to hell, clinging to one other,
happiness not brought about by change
on the bleak moors of Yorkshire.

Walk in the wilderness, the featureless and solitary
that haunts with hints of the extraordinary.
Pictures frozen in time, every twist having a turn,
each hillock of heather with scent sublime,
like elusive thoughts during sleep.
Those coldest pine for Haworth’s beloved heath.

~ first published in Middlebrow Magazine