Thursday, July 30, 2015

Woman . . . Man . . . Fish . . . Bicycle

photoart: sharon auberle

by Sylvia Cavanaugh

Perfectly round ova
nested within
were formed along with the rest of the body
in the shelter of a mother’s space
from her own singular orb
round eggs round the chain of
life it clicks along
propels a forward tide

while men burrow down in furrows of
clone technologies make their
swimming cells redundant
whiplash tails
accidents of evolution
all come down to our bodies
our brains
and our inventions

like this red and gleaming two-wheeled frame
perfect fit between two legs
propulsion honed to hip and knee
press of foot and ankle flex

thumb and bell cry
we are coming
we are coming
self-satisfied we
cruise a moist planet
her many trails

~ first published in The Camel Saloon

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Handyman (RE / VERSE post #600)

artwork: ralph murre

by William Schmidtkunz

Warren calls . . .
something about the door,
something about a leak,

something about something else.

Next morning,
Marcie greets me at the door
with a German Shepherd and a can of beer.

Warren points to a chair, winks.
I love this man.

His week laid out
one med at a time.
Today’s rainbow is Wednesday.

For a while it’s the weather,
and then it’s the kids.
But it’s never the work.

It’s always the something about the something else.

~ previously published in Home (Red Horse Press)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Raising Windmills

artwork: ralph murre

Raising Windmills
by Mary Wehner

Against a calculated wing swing
in the parsed-out fields
the rolling hills cease their rolling.

Cattle hunch, geese scatter,
the polished white shadows
like spinning armies march and pulse.

It was in the winter months
the strangers came, sat at the farmer’s
kitchen table, laying out their cards,

a few extra bucks in a hard clay world,
a little help for the worried. No one loses
they said and shook hands. A done deal.

There’s clean power for the folks in Chicago,
some left over for the Wisconsin neighbors now
awake most nights counting the timed red flickers.

~ first published in Verse Wisconsin

Monday, July 20, 2015


artwork: william marr

    by William Marr

too far from home
eventually all become


~ first published in New World Poetry Bimonthly

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Tres por Uno, Pablo

artwork: ralph murre

Talking to Neruda's Ghost
by Sharon Auberle

So Pablo, how is it,
over there where you are?
I want you to know
we miss you here,
miss your glorious gusto,
your fragrance of ink,
sea and flowers.
We miss your odes
to plain things:
salt, artichokes,

Do you remember your ode
to watermelon?
I dream of licking the rivers
of juice from your lips, Pablo.
And your socks, Pablo,
I would have learned, gladly,
to darn them, though
I am a woman who hates to sew.

I think I could have loved you.
Yes, there was Matilde,
your sun and moon,
your beloved, without whom,
you said, you would die.

I can live with that.

But Pablo, please,
say we go on, say
that you and Matilde
are out there tonight,
hands filled with clay and words,

    you are shaping
          poems into stars
              to fling across the sky.

by Sharmagne Leland-St. John

Did she slake your thirst
and fill your poet's heart
with flowery words
to spill across the empty page,
a river of green ink,

Did you see the rainbows
in her eyes and pray
she'd never leave you,
as you had left the others?

Did you watch with wonder
when she twined the blossoms
of the bougainvillea
into tangled locks
and feel your soul
was laughing at the moon?

Did you listen for her footsteps
on the spiral stair,
waiting for her return
so you could breathe again?

Did you ever think
someone could love you
so completely?

How I Met Pablo Neruda
by Estella Lauter

It was by accident.
Walking in Mexico City
I saw a poster about a reading
at the National Stadium.   
A tribute to Pablo Neruda. 
Like something that might
happen in a Greek ruin
not in North America.
I had to bear witness.  

My Cuban friend guessed
from their dress and speech
that people came from all over
Mexico and South America,
and they knew their man.
When the readers spoke his lines
a steady whisper surrounded us
as if the poems were a rosary.   

Suddenly from the center came a chant,
Neruda esta aquiNeruda esta aqui.

In New York, Security would have dragged
the visionaries out of there in minutes. 
But no.  The readers waited.  People wept quietly.  
When the voices hushed, the program resumed.   

No one was frightened by this spirit. 
Neruda was there.  He was expected. 
We were glad for him.
Esta bien.

~ "Talking to Neruda's Ghost" and "Matilde" have previously appeared in Quill & Parchment; "How I Met Pablo Neruda" was first published in Wisconsin People & Ideas

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Utopian Studies

photo: ralph murre

Utopian Studies
 by Sandra Lindow

Utopia means no place, reflecting
the impossibility of perfection.
Resources are limited; life, short,
and the correlation between
desire and fulfillment, sloppy at best.
What with wars, epidemics and mass starvations
dystopia is upon us, but today
eating breakfast on my front porch
hearing chickadees in the cottonwood,
and seeing an irrepressible joy of July sunshine
spun like cotton candy between Tiger lily
and Monarch, I reconsider.
A hummingbird hovers in the Bee Balm,
its tiny tongue of life outwitting the dark.
The hydrangea and the spirea
are out of control, charging 
like unleashed dogs across the lawn.
I have planted mugwort
and am learning spells for the perfect crumpet.
The garlic is ready for harvest.
Utopia is what I make it: here, now.

~ first published in Red Cedar Journal

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Henry's Last Dream Song

artwork: ralph murre

Henry's Last Dream Song
   (In Honor of John Berryman)
by Jimmy Pappas

Suicides always try to cheat death
by dying: Sylvia chose the warm oven
despite the different buzz
in her ear, the tingling sensation of life's breath
trying to reach the dulled mind. Everyone
followed in rapid succession,

leaving poor Henry at the end of the race,
wondering if his turn would ever come
& shouting 'Wait for me!'
So Henry, hot shit, him no fool,
him leave his Inner Resources all ova da place
for da cops to pick up.

And what I want to know is what went on
in Henry's mind as he fell like a man
in an unstoppable dream
clutches blankets struggling hard to yell.
Tell me, Mr. Bones, was he surprised
by the loudness of his scream?

~ previously published in Goodreads and
    subsequently in Dead Snakes

Friday, July 3, 2015

When Stars Collide

digital art: ralph murre

When Stars Collide                                  
by Marilyn Fleming

I knew it was you
at the lakefront on the 4th
boats lined up at shore
you looked  at me the way
blindness walks through a crowd
one piece of a cloth

we were younger then
fireworks everyday
before the graying
only black and white
idealistic fast track

I sit on the curb
count the dull repetitions
echoing starbursts
circuitous sulfur vapors
crimson shattered glass

elbows on knees    chin in hand
I watch the platform empty

old pain knocks gently
enters     hangs about
intends to stay    says nothing           
won’t  go away

~ first appeared in Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar