Saturday, November 28, 2015

A closing

photo by rose mary boehm

A closing
by Rose Mary Boehm

On the other side of you
there is a no place,

where silences build
bridges across hidden waters,

where Pirandello’s actors
are searching for a stage,
lost for a script.

Concrete begets concrete,
and the heart can no longer
accommodate love, or perhaps

it just dies,
of negligence.

~ first published in Ann Arbor Review

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

At Bus Stops on Thanksgiving Day

artwork: ralph murre

At Bus Stops on Thanksgiving Day
by Donal Mahoney

Before dawn, people
who work on Thanksgiving Day 
wait in the wind for a bus
to arrive or maybe not.
It's too cold to talk 
so the people stand
like minutemen and plan
a revolution that would shock 
nice families who drive by later,
children tucked in scarves
and mittens, laughing
all the way to Nana's house 
for turkey, gravy, stuffing
and later in the day
a ballerina of whipped cream
twirling on pumpkin pie.
Thanksgiving is the day
America asks for seconds
and sorts its servers
from the served.

~ first published in Eye on Life Magazine

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Connoisseur of Canoes

artwork: ralph murre

The Connoisseur of Canoes 
by Jimmy Pappas

Nursing a drink in my right
hand, I enter the boathouse
and wonder how long I can
pretend to be sipping the few
drops I have left. The group
forms a circle shoulder to
shoulder in my peripheral
vision. Occasionally, someone
glances my way and turns
back quickly to avoid eye
contact, while I stop at a boat
and touch the varnish with
one finger from my left hand.
I pretend to be a connoisseur
of canoes, an aficionado of
aquatic vehicles, all the while
wishing the ice in my glass
would melt faster so I could
take another sip. Until it does,
I stare at my reflection and
wonder if people had it wrong
about Narcissus, that he
didn’t fall in love with
himself, just out of love
with the rest of the world.

~ previously published in Atticus Review

Monday, November 16, 2015

Seeing Mountains

photo: sharon auberle

by M.J. Iuppa

Seeing Mountains

in shades of amber, an ecology of ash
& aspens, their expansive reach to a cloud
chasing sky casts a spell  over me . . .
 I look up into heights I rarely perceive
from a farm whose land was once smoothed
by the press of a glacier’s hand.

                                                      And so, I slide
into the pool of my shadow & sit there quietly
waiting for the windless explosion of monarch

wings or a thousand  leaves  tumbling like loose
coins tossed into autumn’s sunlight to take
 my breath away.

~ first published in Blue Heron Review

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


artwork: ralph murre

by Michael L. Newell

A hat properly aged
releases the fisherman
cast inside a steel worker,

the dancer shimmering
in an accountant's figures,
the sailor deep

inside a coal miner,
the woodsman wandering
in a priest.


A hat aged properly,
stiffness mellowed into character,
smells of salt water

brine pickling skin, rain
streaming through Douglas Fir, firewood
kindling friendships, pipes

lit from embers
warming conversation, contains
sun, earth, tree, fire, rain, and moon.

~ first published in Bellowing Ark

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Water Sign

artwork: ralph murre

Water Sign
by Margaret Hasse

Two-year-old Charlie loves water,

loves the force of water 
in gutters, pipes, the second hose
bought to keep peace between brothers
who spray tomatoes with the intensity
of fire fighters at a five alarm fire,

loves the sources of water:
faucet, penis, rain, spit.

He longs like a pilgrim for wet places
where his worship is
complete submersion:
bathtub, swim pool, lake.

To praise water,
he secludes himself in the bathroom.
Ascending a stepping stool to the sink,
he opens valves to an endless rush
of new pressure in copper pipes.

So much water, why not share it?
Give it away until it seeps
through the floorboards,
showers into the kitchen,
fills the bowls on the table,
flows on the heads
of his amazed mother and brother
who do not immediately recognize
that grace might descend like this –
inconveniently –
from a complete enthusiast
who needs to be forgiven
for being generous
with whatever he loves.

~ previously published in Milk and Tides (Nodin Press)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

So, This is What Living Means

artwork:ralph murre

So, This is What Living Means
by Angela Consolo Mankiewicz

What a relief, to finally know
what living means:
an extra skate key
stashed under a garbage can,
on the right side of the stoop.

Years ago, I tried to ponder all
the great questions.  I read Nietzsche
and Dostoyevsky and fell in love
with a bulge-eyed Frenchman.
I tried to do what was expected
of a working class kid in a state college:
think, read, talk the big questions;
prove your mother right.

But I was a fake.  Friends read N and D too,
and understood them.  They were impressed
by my love for the bulge-eyed Frenchman,
my facile quotes delivered with meaningful
pauses.  They didn't know I yawned through N
and read D because he told a good story.

Marriage and a real job distracted, just in time.
I had things to do and need not ponder
what living means.  I stopped reading N
and fell out of love.  But kept D by my bedside.

Later on, with divorce behind me and poetry on my mind,
I watched my cat play with a terrified lizard;
I looked at rain; I choked on hot winds scorching
my tomato plants and began to ponder again,
but nothing happened.

I read N again and the bulge-eyed Frenchman, but I
didn't fall in love.

I understood better this time, but I was still
shaky on details and settled down with D
to forget myself.

"Why" is a good word, a solid word that can
occupy a lifetime.  But an answer to why isn't meaning.

"Is" is a good word too.  Something of substance.
Like an extra skate key stashed under a garbage can,
on the right side of the stoop, just in case,
just in time.

~ originally published on