Friday, October 30, 2015

A Case for Ghosts

digital photoart: ralph murre

A Case for Ghosts
by Sara Clancy

Though you think otherwise
I am aware of an intrusion into the day
that feels like any afternoon in reverse
where conversation is complete
recollection plays the radio
and we are all present.

To arrive here you need nothing
like faith. Though I believe in memory
don't you? These dubious apparitions
insist on clarity, if only the relief
of your forehead glimpsed against
the steady shade of my hand.

In the end I will trade the familiar
cold spot with all its calibrations of doubt
for evidence of your dazzling absence
in the instant you cool your coffee,
your inexplicable breath
warm and expired.

~ previously published in Houseboat

Monday, October 26, 2015


photo: ralph murre

by Bruce Dethlefsen

these people
these place
these time of day

these breeze oh ain’t they sweet
these air to breathe
these sun wet world
these whole big blue green deal

and then these night
these children moon
these stars on strings
these stars
these twang of things


~ previously published in Unexpected Shiny Things
   Cowfeather Press

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Recipe for Autumn

artwork: ralph murre

Recipe for Autumn
by Joan Wiese Johannes

You do not need a recipe.

All you need has gathered
in your freezer, on your doorstep,
and on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator
where the bunch of celery, minus
the thin stalk the cookbook called for,
begs you to let it flavor soup.

You do not need to leave home.

In the freezer there are ham hocks boiled
when the price was low
and corn on the cob bought from the farmer
who crumpled your money
into the pocket of his overalls,
making himself richer, making you richer too.

You do not need the market.

Use the potatoes that appeared at the office
next to the sign, Help Yourself,
tomatoes from the picnic table
where your neighbor puts produce
she wants to share,
the purple beans the poet brought you,
and the stray peppers left on your porch.

You do not need to wait.

Even the catsup to thicken and brighten
your broth has settled in the plastic bowl
where your husband poured it after he
knocked the bottle off the pantry shelf.

You do not need a recipe;
all you need is here.

  ~ first published in Wisconsin Trails

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Cezanne Jelly and Paper Kites

artwork: paul cezanne

Cezanne Jelly and Paper Kites
by Albert DeGenova

in our Cezanne season when reason was treason
blue was the color for days and nights
jelly on crackers the Tao of our Zen

the then of amen again and again
undulating shadows red lava light
that Cezanne season when reason was treason

sunshine like thunder begun and undone
purple and yellow crepe paper kites
jelly on crackers the Tao of our Zen

you were the one the one the one
to bless the black cat with child sight
a Cezanne season when reason was treason

I painted poems with naked pen
to remember black coffee mornings and nights
jelly on crackers the Tao of our Zen

and now our cold toes touch almost like then
when we danced in crackling firelight
that was our season when reason was treason
jelly on crackers the Tao of our Zen

~ previously published in The Blueing Hours
   (Virtual Artists Collective)

Thursday, October 15, 2015


photo and scarecrow by ralph murre

By Shoshauna Shy ---

at a Citgo station.
I am still married
and neither of us suspects
I will become my husband’s ex,
then Bill’s live-in girlfriend.
Next I’m his almost-fiancee
till drunken hijinks
with his best friend
gets me pregnant.
As things go, I miscarry;
Bill forgives me; we get
back together; we break up.
This goes on for years
while he travels to Key West
and dates someone else’s wife.
Meanwhile, I give birth
to a couple of his kids;
we get a license;
we have a wedding,
but before I know it
all hell breaks loose

and I’m his ex, Bill’s very own ex.
I figured I was olly olly in free
but as Bill says, guy reaches 40,
he’s bound to have an ex;
maybe even two.
This makes for a handy excuse
when my successor, a pretty
wanna-be-Mrs named Alyssa
prepares to present her case.
Bill can shake his head
and damn if that’s not all it takes
for her to know she should get real
or get gone - It won’t get
any better than this.

~ first published in stoneboat

Friday, October 9, 2015

Pan's Lament

artwork: ralph murre

Pan’s Lament
by Rose Mary Boehm

Grandmothers wore sadness wrapped in black.
Pan’s duduk no longer moved their feet in dance.
The young wore rape and shame like the end
of a world where their lives had been broken.
Sons and lovers, husbands and brothers,
their blood running over the heavy stones of betrayal.

When I left my
Armenia and my mother
like a thief in the night, the outcast, the coward,
I saw my father’s face ripped away by a Turkish bullet
before I stole away, and all I felt was hot pee
running down my stockings, smelling of fear.
I had reached the bottom of my chasm,
the six-year old could not climb up.

What do I remember? Not my father’s face.
Nor can I recall my mother’s. Pourasdan, my sister,
was full of life, her skirts whirling to Pan’s
enchantment. That was before. The only
one left to receive me, I found an old woman
with dead eyes. Who am I?

I have climbed to the highest peak around
my village. Across the valley a mountain top has chosen
to be dressed in virgin white. Give us back our innocence,
so we can dance again. Pan’s lament
is floating up on the evening mist, haunting
my memories, weaving bereavement, singing my chasm
where I now find a wistful symmetry.
I will not be sad in this world.

~ first published in Poetry Quarterly (2011)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

When The Rooster Crows

photo: marilyn fleming

When The Rooster Crows
by Marilyn Fleming
I linger bedside—
the cry of a killdeer
on my tongue

birds rustle
at the water’s edge
his teeth in a jar

the milk house dark
—flash of a cat

his last words  
‘there’s nothing left of me
—sell the farm’

fallowed land
from the mouth of a cave
his rattled breath

big brown hands
of cold dry clay—
a smell of twigs

raw earth shivers
threads the seed—claims him
—winter wheat

when the rooster crows
no one will remember
his face—his name

who will feed the cat
the old farmhouse stands alone
–on the river flows

~ first published in the An Ariel Anthology 2014

Thursday, October 1, 2015


artwork: william marr

            --New Orleans, August 2005

by William Marr

With such a name
of course she had to be
a wild dancer

A slight swing of her wide skirt
instantly sent all watchers
into a daze
not able to escape
nor to tell
if what engulfed the city
was water from the ruptured levees
or tears from their eyes

On the turbid water's surface
there were bloated bodies
querying the sky
with outstretched arms

~ previously published in Beyond Katrina
   (Arts & Healthcare Press)