Saturday, June 27, 2015


artwork: ralph murre

          by Ava Collopy

Sitting by the creek splashing water
   Playing with a litter of black silky puppies
How many I can’t remember
   As they grew I was
Not much bigger than them at two
   They were an incarnation of joy
We were too poor to keep them

My dad gated in the driveway
   With a makeshift fence
Our mother directed the happenings
   As they and my sister, brother, and I
Handed our babies to strangers
   Hoped for the best
And never knew

~ first published in The Sandy Review

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Going Back

photoart: ralph murre

Going Back
by Marc J. Frazier

Can a chair hand made from poplar make me whole?

We scour for the one-of-a-kind, crafted with the visionarys eye.  
Spirits reach out in Lick Creek, Nauvoo, New Harmony.

At dusk, we join deer drawn by trust into open fields—
no moment more vulnerable than when one stares, waiting.  

I scent out a psychic, who will know me as placeless, know me by smell.  
None materializes as we dodge bats outside our cabin, 
many versions at home in us.  

We drive deeper into summer.  Signs along dirt lanes: 
Half Day Hollow, Quarry Heart, Clover Dell.  
Time has gutted roads, our memory—that farmhouse on Inverness Road?  
I join your search for a long-ago lovers home.  
Each looks at me like the Tarantula Arms where Blanche lured her prey.  

Between fields of corn and beans, it is easy to forget—
mind blank as the anonymous face of an Amish doll.  
In this country, now and then are the same, 
women so calm I want to lie down, sleep like a baby 
before them, sit and work something with my hands, 
eyes grazing prairie, until it and myself are perfect.

~ first published in Spoon River Poetry Review

Monday, June 22, 2015


artwork: ralph murre

 by Jefferson Carter                         
Sometimes, in conversation,
he’ll look away & say
I don’t want to talk about it.               
I respect that.  I really do
but like some nosy Homeric hero
I can feel the words piling up
behind my teeth’s barrier:
tell me, godammit!  Tell me
everything so we can be friends!                 

I like to imagine the real        
oral tradition, the lost passages
of The Iliad, those Myrmidons                                                          
all sitting around their cook fires,
gossiping, trading recipes, even
consoling one another as they
mend the horsehair plumes,
the helmets heavy in their laps.

~ previously published in Get Serious (Chax Press)

Sunday, June 21, 2015


digital re-imagining of photo by marilyn fleming

by Marilyn Fleming

by the summer solstice
only a transparent skeleton
stands amidst the fallen needles
the unexpected dying
seemed almost sudden

when there was certainty
the arborist in harness climbs up
with slow deliberate spurred steps
he pierces and tests the bark
a chain saw hangs from his waist
branches drop as the belt notches higher
stabs continue the walk up the trunk
now walking down a lop off the stub  
another cut until boots touch ground
left behind a heap of bones
a giant spruce toppled   

the unexpected legacy      
an expanded view of the lake
a fire pit in place of the stump
cords of stacked wood
numerous tracks and droppings   
a nocturnal gathering place

born to eternal life date unknown
cremation services held graveside
eulogies invited     bring your own beer
Aldo Leopold benches provided

~ first published in the Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


cropped and digitally modified from photo found at

by Michael L. Newell

When you say, "I'm leaving,"
and begin to sob,

I feel a strange elation,
not for your departure,
but for your crumpled face.

I say, "Stay, stay,"
and press you tight;
I am a child squeezing
hot laundry to his face.


Amputees still feel
severed limbs--

how long will my left arm
remember your weight?

~ originally published in Poetry/LA (1984)

Monday, June 15, 2015


photo: ralph murre

by Michael Gessner

After the carnivorous business
was completed out on the savannah
or in elegant suburban bedrooms,
after this, all this
memory forgot, forgave itself once more
as though wantonness & other acts
were sudden rends, small distortions
to say this never really occurred,
to conceal a family disagreement
so the other conversation could continue
like a pair of lovers among ruins
on a wine-colored evening
when all is agreeable & everything
said is certain.

~ first published in Wisconsin Review
  and subsequently in Beast Book (BlazeVOX)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Bookmobile

digital art from uncredited news photo

The Bookmobile
by Mary Jo Balistreri

Every two weeks, we’d search the horizon
for a distant cloud of dust. It never failed us.

Into the dry dirt lot the bookmobile rolled toward
a long line of small bodies baking in South Dakota heat.

Finally, finally when the door to the trailer opened,
the bookmobile lady in wire-rimmed glasses appeared,

her face a text of perception. Black hair swept high on her head,
she stood in her crisp white blouse.

One by one she handed us a towel to wipe sweaty hands
before allowing us to cross her threshold.

Inside, a fan blew cool air, and we felt it a holy place
so different from our homes.

I thumbed through pages of Scarlet O’Hara, but Nancy Drew proved
more exciting in her blue roadster as did the flying flanks
of The Black Stallion and Flame, manes streaming free.

But it was Francie who changed my life.

Like the tree of heaven that sprouted between cracked cement
outside her Brooklyn tenement,

she encouraged me to push ever upward, to rise from my own dirt lot,
and to grow, grow green and alive.

~ previously published on Your Daily Poem

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Just Before Sunset

artwork: ralph murre

by Eric Burke ~

Just Before Sunset

A nuthatch
walks down
our tree.

As we watch,

our supper.

~  first published in miller’s pond poetry magazine

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Come Closer

digital art: ralph murre

Come Closer
by Joan Wiese Johannes

Heavy air wanders
around the corner of the barn
bends into evening
and staggers through the peonies

to meet me under the porch light
where dizzy moths flit
and midges swarm
around the naked bulb.

Tonight I wonder why
I once thought love darkens
too soon in June
when days are too long

and nights too eagerly late,
when  stems grow spindly
weak from
too much  too fast too soon.

A night-blooming blossom
luminous as the moon
reminds me of something
I should have done

~ previously appeared in Poetry Dispatch

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

De Colores

public sculpture in buenos aires / photoart: ralph murre

De Colores
by Angie Trudell Vasquez

Language and borders,
skin color and barriers,
love knows no lines.
Boundaries are drawn
on the shifting sands of time,
war spoils to the victors,
heartache for the people
living there.

The land remains
but the people come and go
different groups fight on foreign lands,
plow the fields, plant the crops,
clear trees for new homes.

This is one blue planet
circling around the sun.
One sun shines down on us all
makes everything grow,
crops flow with the pulse
of a million hands
who put fingertips to soil,
plant seeds, water them
with sweat from their brow,
and feed the world
with their exhale.

There are millions of bent heads
at schools, in office cubicles,
grocery stores and factories
across this vast continent.
People marching for change
seen just over the horizon,
de colores of the sky,
that signify a shift
is about to come for you and I,
and for all living in the shadows.

The time is ripe for us to take our place
at the table and say we’re here,
we have always been here,
and we are not going anywhere.
This is our home.

Change is the only constant,
the ebb and flow of tongues,
cultures, bloodlines, loves.

I believe some day
we will sing about
how it used to be
how we feared
those we loved most
would be taken away from us
walking down the street, driving.

Today we are closer,
but we’re not there yet.
We can see justice
flickering in the distance,
and what has been given
can’t be taken away so easy.
The door is open and it is time
to walk through the day of light,
to stand in the sunshine,
say, I am here, and
I want to contribute.

I believe.
I believe.
I believe.

~ first published by Woodland Pattern