Wednesday, 5 November 2014

POETRY PACIFIC (3.3): Cover Page


POETRY PACIFIC

[Autumn Issue 2014]




Moon Altar  Oil Painting by Carolyn Kleefeld

Editorial Notes

dear PP Friends,

we hope this finds you all well and happy! - just to release this autumn issue, changming returned to vancouver yesterday from his sojourn at his native home in china, where he was hospitalized for a week and could not even do any googling, let alone maintaining blogsites.

the most important announcement to make here is that we have nominated 6 poets for the pushcart prize for the year of 2014 - see our nomination page for more details. The nominating process is very simple: while the poets have been the most page-viewed respectively for each issue released over the past publication year, the poems are selected because they are found to be the poets' better shorter pieces, with the only exception of one written response to our interview questions. based on the reader's choices as well as our understanding of what the 'better' poetry is even if there is no 'best,' we believe this process is fair and well-grounded. 

in this issue, we are honoured to feature 2 visual artists and 58 poetry writers.

thank you again for your continuing interest, and enjoy reading!

-PP editorial team

Poetry Pacific: Pushcart Nominations -2014


the following are the poets and poems we have nominated for 
the Pushcart Prize for 2014::


Wendy Chin-Tanner: Free (2.3)

Ray Hsu: Interview with Ray Hsu (2.3)

Ram Krishna Singh: Body (2.4)

Allen Qing Yuan: Reality Recreated (2.4)

Stewart Donovan: The Sea Air at Middlehead (3.1)

JoyAnne O'Donnell: Autumn Leaves (3.2)



CONGRATULATIONS!!!



2 Poems by John Roth

Escaping the labyrinth 

Dangerous intersect.
The exit sign directs you
    to go left             but you stop,            pivot
your foot,                 and turn right
into a dead-end.
Back up,            retrace your steps.      These walls
are the color of old bones           and the gleaming red trail
           you leave behind             keeps spooling
     like wet thread wrapped            around your stone-cut          heels.
                   The shadows pace            alongside you,          guide you
through this upturned sky;           black wings that spread
       over the white column      of your spine.        Chew on
a cold ball of wax        and spit              feathered pulp.
    A bird                flies overhead,                 you get
     an idea:                                      Now you soar.


Perpetual locomotion

Somewhere, an ice block melts
in a hot box.  The railroad spikes
uproot themselves from the track
as a train shoots by at full speed,
coal-fed, with its metallic
vibrato and rattling smokestack.
A blue chink of sky runs parallel
between hitched freight cars.
The hard click-clack of wheels
grind, spark, then come to a reckless
halt.  The busy-body passengers
spill onto the station platform,
driven on and off like livestock.
The passing wind knocks over
an empty trashcan in frustration.
No one bothers to pick it up.    

Bionote

John Roth's daily writing ritual consists of furiously jabbing at his keyboard and hoping for the best.  His poems have appeared in Red Fez, Red Booth Review, and Red River Review.  He likes the color red.  See some awesome artwork at artofdroth.com


5 Poems by Dean Baltesson

Duet For Piano And Evergreen 

How much has the sky yielded
to these tremendous forests
as they learned to grow.
How much sun has reached
the porous roots
to warm the wood, turn the sap,
and what weather frost and fire
will sing with string and hammer
in the hidden heritage of the soundboard.


Ethereal Lament 

If I remembered your touch.
where we met,
how we died,
would you retreat
with me in mortal embrace?

And what if your voice
met music again,
with the moonlight
at my sleeping ears.
Could I invite reasons,
as you invented rain,
so we might again
enjoy the pleasure of shelter.


A Particular Wind 

I know the wind
that traces the figure
of early mornings,
the contours
of a somber map,

wind that is awake,
unknown to dreamers
or those who
sleep well,

a wind subtle
as the insistent movement
of a fragile thing
in a subtle wind,

a wind subtle
as shadows of branches
touching her adobe,
subtle as the discreet
light of the clay,

subtle as my
soundless footsteps.


Heat 

In the heat of the tropics
a man will do what he must to survive.
If you observe closely,
you will witness the beleaguered male
actually using the coldness of his
wife to try to beat the heat,
cooling himself with her disapproval.


Duet For Violin And Precipitation 

The courage
of the violin
ascends
a crescendo
of peaks
and drops
in high cold cascades
of sound,
collides with
a garden of thunder
and falls,
unbound,
with soft,
humid notes
onto lenient slopes,
weeping.

Bionote

Dean Baltesson lives in Victoria BC, Canada, where he composes music and poetry. He has published poems in local journals such as “Island Writer” and “Blue Buffalo”, and in a variety of online publications. Please visit www.deanbaltesson.com for more.

2 Poems by Gershon Ben-Avraham

The Obituary

Last night I took the short way home,
Walking the path that cuts across
The corner of your father’s field.

At a spot you may remember,
Where for many years the leafy boughs
Of an old elm tree crossed the path, I paused.

A “Lover’s Bower” we called it.
Now nothing of the tree remains,
Save its massive trunk.

From the earth rose scents of summer afternoons,
Of days filled with memories of you - the two of us,
Sitting here in the shade of the tree, covered with its lace of light,
Sitting here in the shade of the tree, talking - laughing - dreaming.

It was here, over fifty years ago, that we stopped,
Coming home late from the party of a friend.
Slowing my pace, I took your hand, and
Turning my face to yours confessed my love.

Looking down, you turned away.
I understood.

This morning I learned of your death.
I read of it in a paper, casually pushed across the table by a friend.
He asked if I knew you.
A little, I replied. A little.

I read of your life, your family, your loves.
I did not find my name in the list of your survivors.
Indeed, it should not be.

I died before you.

A half century ago, I buried my heart,
Beside an elm along the path that cuts across
The corner of your father’s field.


By the Window

By the window I see you. Standing.
Etched in sunlight by the autumn afternoon.
Your shadow reaches across the room,
Touching me, joining the two of us.

We are ignorant of time as the slowly setting sun moves,
Erasing the image it had cast, and in our now unlit room,
Night covers us with its own dark, seamless, shadow.

We sleep as one, soul-by-soul,
Sharing, unknown to us, visions,
Mysterious images, in a common dream.

Rain, falling lightly against our bedroom window,
Wakens me. Sensing your form beside me,
I hold out my hand gently, and find you,
Aware of me, though still in sleep.

Bionote

Gershon Ben-Avraham lives with his wife Beth, various children, and their collie Kulfi [Hindi for 'ice cream'] in Merion Station, Pennsylvania. His work has appeared in Apollos' Lyre, Bolts of Silk, Bird’s Eye reView, Numinous: Spiritual Poetry, Poetica Magazine, and Both Sides Now.

6 Poems by by Mel Waldman

INSIDE THE BLIZZARD 


Inside the blizzard, I stare at white space, and soon I discover who I am, a prisoner of the flesh-eating storm;

& almost blind, my snow-covered eyes swirling in a snow devil,

& bare and empty for the tempest strips and shatters my soul, I am a phantom in the bestial storm.

Without skin or spirit, I vanish inside the blizzard, the cannibal that devours my raw emptiness and ancient trauma,

& after the storm crushes my monstrous ego, we become one, and in this union, the ghost of a ghost permeates the whirling whiteness,

& we become pure energy melting in the omnipotent heat of the Source, from which all life is born with a cosmic breath .


THE LETTERS OF CREATION

Aleph is the 1st,
Tav is the final one,

22 divine letters
dancing around the unformed universe,

&
completing the circle of creation;

22 sacred spheres of energy
swirling and whirling

in cosmic oneness,
emerging from the Source-

the Ultimate Nothingness-
the Without End,

where Aleph merges with Tav,
and Tav returns to the womb of Aleph,

&
begins the holy process of tikkun,

the repair of the broken universe,
the mending of our shattered world,

restoring the oneness of Aleph


BEHIND ME

A voyeur,
I observe the vastness behind me,
the ancient flow,
the vanishing,
of

old dreams buried in the deep snow,
a white coffin of the mind,
&
the life I led, the phantom rhapsody
dissolving in my brain;

the vanishing,
of
a future overflowing with multicolored
fruits plucked from the
Tree of Life
&
the glorious lights and sparks
of
divinity
dancing and flowing through the
R & B
of
my Being & Becoming;

the vanishing,
of
the life I lost,
the fierce
&
fated
vanishing
&
soon,
even the memory of the vastness behind me
will disappear
&
what
is
before me
I shall wait to discover and know


THE WIDOWER IN THE OLD MANSION

Inside the old mansion, he lies in a king-size bed in a mammoth room, too vast for a mournful widower.

&
when the red sun dies and the ruins of the night arrive, the darkness lingers too long, perhaps, forever, and it cuts his soul, a broken shell bereft of celestial glitter and divine sparks, inside the maze inside his mind; and it kills.

&
he wanders across the winding labyrinth of the ancient mansion, a mourner’s abyss that drops suddenly like the red sphere of the setting sun; and above and below and in all directions he searches for his dead wife, and the sweet scent of her, the illusory sensuous smell of his lovely angel, perhaps, the fanciful fragrance of pink, purple, and white lilacs.

He can’t find her. He never will. Yet he searches perpetually for the woman he still loves and the luscious perfume of her phantom soul.


THE SILENCE

OF

THE

NIGHT

IS

A

SCHIZOPHRENIC LADY


My day begins at night when I sit with the silence, an old shrunken woman who stares blankly into space.

&
to free my caged soul, I imagine the Queen of the Galaxy is outside my tiny cell where she dreams of seducing me.

She wears a tiara above her pulchritudinous face and a white diaphanous gown that flows across the cosmos, and when her turquoise eyes gaze at me, I am naked and loved.

But still, I am buried in the coffin-like isolation room of my railroad apartment, an elongated sarcophagus, and the chimerical queen hides in the vast ruins of my meandrous mind.

&
here I am with the schizophrenic lady, frozen and fixed in a catatonic stare, and she is my silence, the face I see when I look into my emptiness, the death inside me that never ends in the labyrinth of the elongated night.


THE MISSING LETTER OF CREATION

Open the ancient book,
The Sefer Yetzirah, The Book of Creation,

&
discover how our unknowable G-d,
the Source of all life,

formed
the
universe
with
the 22 letters of creation.

From Aleph to Tav,
He spoke the sacred letters and created the universe.

Close the ancient book,
read the Sefer Ha-Temunah, The Book of the Image,

&
learn about the missing letter of creation.

Once, it existed,
on the holy tablets of the 10 commandments.

But when they shattered,
the sacred letters sailed away from the broken tablets

&
soared to Heaven.

&
the 23rd letter never returned to our world.


Our sages say
that the absence of this divine letter
explains all the ineffable evil and all other sins  and

imperfections of our world.
They tell us the missing letter
is the cause of our flaws and lack and incompleteness.

What miracles shall we witness when the 23rd letter is revealed?
What new worlds will the missing letter create?


Bionote 

Mel Waldman, Ph. D., is a psychologist, poet, and writer whose stories have appeared in numerous magazines including HARDBOILED DETECTIVE, ESPIONAGE, THE SAINT, DOWN IN THE DIRT, CC&D, PULP METAL MAGAZINE, INNER SINS, YELLOW MAMA, and AUDIENCE.  His poems have been widely published in magazines and books including LIQUID IMAGINATION, THE BROOKLYN LITERARY REVIEW, BRICKPLIGHT, SKIVE MAGAZINE, ODDBALL MAGAZINE, POETRY PACIFIC, POETICA, RED FEZ, SQUAWK BACK, SWEET ANNIE & SWEET PEA REVIEW, THE JEWISH LITERARY JOURNAL, THE JEWISH PRESS, THE JERUSALEM POST, HOTMETAL PRESS, MAD SWIRL, HAGGARD & HALLOO, ASCENT ASPIRATIONS, and NAMASTE FIJI: THE INTERNATIONAL ANTHOLOGY OF POETRY. A past winner of the literary GRADIVA AWARD in Psychoanalysis, he was nominated for a PUSHCART PRIZE in literature and is the author of 11 books. He recently completed an experimental mystery novel inspired by one of Freud’s case studies. He has been inspired for decades by his patients and their heroic stories of trauma and survival.
mwaldman18@optimum.net; mwaldman18@earthlink.net

3 Poems by Matt Larrimore

A Conjuring of Light

plays along the mist
of the overcast summer evening,
golds, blues, and grays
reveal the rutted, furrowed underside
of cloud cover that stretches
horizon
to horizon
curtaining valley and peaks.

The evening breeze
evokes the scent of rain
as people in the crowded
parking lot look up to watch
the breath taking
end-of-day light show in the sky.

For one moment
the cars, plastic bags,
and shopping carts disappear
as the audience is mesmerized. 

Camera phones appear,
pics are taken
never to be seen again.
The spell is broken.


Cat Watching

It seemed an age as we watched the tiger
put a bystander under his claws,
like a scene from the Coliseum,
sending Christians running for exits.
A single shot severed the spinal cord.

The celeb-utantes were the first from the scene
They never get dead no matter their age.
Looked and leered upon, they bring their goons
for show and tell, bang and batter each other.
Many are moonstruck by their beauty.

Their hair silvers like moonlight.
All the greats vie for the key to their images.
They blanch at the thought of age gone by.

At the end of the age they look
for hell’s dark sun, glittering like a jar
of jam, a poisoned dagger poised to drop.

The Skydome, nothing more or less
than a tent, I watched as its age ended,
imagining  spectators running from the blue
lumps of ice that came crashing like satin sheets
of glass dropping to the field below.



[“Cat Watching” previous published in Aproposthearts.com, January 2012]

Florissant

Out of crystalline arching skies crowded with gathering cumulus clouds, the wind blows over this high ancient ground. It flows in waves down the mottled green heaving hills of Florissant. Pressing through the ruddy brown ponderosas, it carries the soft sweet scent of pine. Over the high prairie, once an ancient lake, it bobs the golden yellow crowned white heads of simple mountain flowers. It whirls above the fifteen feet of ashen flow that buries redwoods of stone preserved from time untold to time un-guessed. It whispers something in my ear. Something, I do not understand about finding a place in the world.

[“Florissant” previously published in The Crucible, April 2010]

4 Poems by Michelle Hartman

communion

she read the poem
          about a dangerous girl
tattoos and moonlight
an answering poem epiphany
regarding snow and soldiers leaving

like birds cawing to one another
dropping nourishment in up-turned beaks
poets communicate


The house reeked of turned meat

              that you fried and left for the ghosts to eat.

The ghosts were stoned
craving carbs, the meat
attracting only blowflies.
And I marooned here, favorite
sex worker jailed, bandersnatch

fumerous yet again.
As jabberwocky flaps
his jaws and scratches his crotch.

A lowering sense of dis-ease brings
a need for prophecy: tracing
dampened creases in your underwear
in a sort of alternative phrenology.


Perspective #6

Paintings on velvet aside
dogs cannot play poker
their faces pristine mirrors
of their souls. Joy, anguish
and puzzlement as clearly visible
as fiery sky messages from God.
Now Cats can have your house
car and first born
and you will never see a tell.


Perspective #4
             pol·i·tics  ˈpäləˌtiks/ noun

I see a hearty back slap, you a carved hilt
sprouting between shoulder blade and spine.
I am privileged to see surprise, terror, grief
resignation and wonder;
an entire Bergman film in five seconds.
You witness a blossoming blood stain.
Now I think we both should run.

Bionote

I have been published in Spillway, Plainsongs, Crannog, Poetry Quarterly, The Pedestal Magazine, Raleigh Review, San Pedro River Review, Pacific Review, Concho River Review, and RiverSedge, as well as over sixty other journals and twenty anthologies. My work also appears overseas in Ireland, Germany, Australia, Canada and Nepal as well as a being a multiple Pushcart Nominee. My poetry book, Disenchanted and Disgruntled, from Lamar University Press is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Besides the above publishing credits, I am the editor for the online journal, Red River Review and hold a BS in Political Science-Pre Law.


3 Poems by Jeremiah Walton

Songs of Human

The Poet caught
Apollo inside
Dionysus
and vice versa.

The bed broke.


Haunting

When people no longer
crave poltergeists,
exercise their
possessions

revolution will come.

Social conventions
are not natural

they are acquired laws,
ready and waiting
to exit cocoon.


The Moon & The Sun

You wouldn't be so cocky
if you knew what the moon and I
have going on

Her light hits a bottle
beautifully.

Your shadow
allows us to fuck
like jack rabbits jumping under diesel trucks.

Can you see shotgun in our relationship?
It's hidden where no light
will ever touch.

You're just another star,
but the moon
is aftermath of a massive asteroid
smashing Earth
a new bruise,

and she stuck around after
to observe the healing.

You are screwing 9
different planets right now,
you whore.
Well, 8,
I forgot you dumped Pluto.

The Moon and I first kissed in a stranger's car I broke into

My first time skinny dipping was with her and Merrimack River.

She never said she loved me,
and I only told her in poems she never read.

Our actions were more valued
than we could have said.

Sun,
stop soliciting me.

I see your opportunity,
I see eyes you illuminate
You bring others joy,
a tempting beckoning,
but Moon is the only mistress
I allow to white crab dance my blood
and fry brain cells
like birds caught
on faulty wiring.

Smell their black flesh in damp grass of twilight
and whistle a tune
for me and the moon.

I am telling you, Sun,
you are beautiful
beautiful like taking first breath
after a deep 100 years dive
in black water.


The moon is beautiful
like cuckoos smoking blunts.

Bionote

Jeremiah Walton graduated High School the spring of 2013, and hit the road hitchhiking the following fall. Jeremiah is founder of Nostrovia! Poetry, an indepednent publisher, and Books & Shovels, a cross country mobile bookstore focusing on poetry and creative arts.  He is author of Gatsby's Abandoned Children, Witch-hunting Gatsby's Children, and Sadness Does Not Require An Ambulance.
jeremiahwalton@nostroviatowriting.com

3 Poems by Matt Margo

verisimilitude

cozy darfur yawns
with ghana like

a vendetta stood by me
like from a plane film

swimming
like a boater

for you to have maybe anymore
you’ve got no morning like

can we maybe
like my me party?

the line time watching
like may been have done good in time

posit itches from flight
its stand not drawn less we like

watching films and worry yawns
like a spent swimmer

china anymore…
like morning heartbreaks strayed



had

this big ol’ baby bastard
been today a daily rebel
the rebel of all rainbows
withal pregnant with all
of their theres and thens
and whens and watches

the watchdog whimpering
as it is at the shop window
will not so-on nor so-forth
holding out for what ought
to go about the roundabout
so-and-so or such-and-such

the intentions aside or else otherwise
the dirtiness and distance between us
where what is done does have its day
and every watchdog downs its dawn
barking bold and blessed by beamer
for the dog be god and god be gotten



photophilia

a sheet of point-blank paper grazes
the edgeless combustion engine
fueling this merry-go-sorry carousel
with its moribund horses many-where

sweetmeat shoplifters bark at the motion
while one gat-toothed butcher suckles up
the remains of the she-wolf’s small intestine
slithering so slippery in all its eelhood

and an oyster packed with porcelain pearls
bar-brawls with her craftless crimson shadow
every one of its snide sniggers amplified
by the audacity of the talkboy’s playback

Bionote

Matt Margo is the author of the book-length poem When Empurpled: An Elegy (Pteron Press, 2013) and the poetry collection Child of Tree (white sky ebooks, 2012), among other works. He edits the literary blog experiential-experimental- literature and the online poetry magazine Zoomoozophone Review . A full catalog of his publications can be found at http://matt-margo.blogspot.com . 


2 Poems by Michael Caylo-Baradi

I hold evenings in your hands

I hold evenings in your hands, edged
with curves that round their ends. They
shade patterns on the ground,
dense as thoughts that fog the coast.

Breezes flood approaching waves, unraveling
the air that tests our pulse. It’s the pattern
of possessions leaving the sun,
fading like objects before sleep.

Sounds of birds that haunt the cliff
stretch premonitions on our palms.
We clutter footprints on the sand, frantic as
thumbprints clashing into the night.


Bloom

Petals crumble without sound,
mute as constellations in a dream.
This is how winters choke
the fog, or vague perditions
in our guilt. The fulcrum
we call sky has tilted once again,
in maps that monitor
the edges of our eyes.
Roads accelerate through
hills and clouds, dense as
nerves that
thread our days.

Bionote

Michael Caylo-Baradi lives in California. His work has appeared in BlazeVOX, Blue Fifth Review, Eclectica, Ink Sweat & Tears (UK), Latin American Review of Books (UK), Metazen, MiPOesias, Our Own Voice, Prick of the Spindle, The Common, and elsewhere. He is a reviewer at NewPages.



3 Poems by Jefferson Hansen

GIVEN

       t.
     r.
       i.
          p.
  out the spasti
                       c
rips in the social
   rev
        el
            ry
   & catch the rim
shot at the mo
                      m
                          ent
  of sheer collision
of positive election
         give
            n

Awry

It’s too hot to think
& the dogs appear out of nowhere
today.
It could be any day, but it’s
not, it’s this day, simply
too hot for most anything,
& something tells me the dogs
are neither friendly nor unfriendly.
They are scrawny, desperate
sniffing under cars & dumpsters,
bobbing around for food.
Only desperation could drive
a dog to search in this heat:
the asphalt seems to shimmer.
A distant train whistle makes me
wonder
if the friction of wheels on rail
could ignite. But
I don’t wonder too hard,
it’s too hot;
the border between wonder
& thought, though porous,
must be maintained. Thought
I think
has direction, momentum, impetus
while wonder meanders,
loses itself in its very play,
luxuriates in where it is now.
Dogs think, but they might
not wonder.
It could be our defining characteristic,
a specifically human type of play:
a luxuriously wandering mind.
Or I might
be trying too hard. The distinction
between humans & animals may
not be so firm: a dog I know
likes to lie with its head
on its forelegs, napping or relaxing,
just as we do, when we grow
tired and lean
over a table or desk, resting
on our forearms,
maybe going completely blank. 
Even the plans of nature can go awry.


City Center

My knowledge of birdcalls is hardly developed. In the park
in city center this morning I heard first one type of bird,
and then another. I don’t think they were communicating.
I could only discern the vast difference in timbre and harmony.

The timbre and harmony of the two calls signified a gulf.
I didn’t know, in any important way, one call from another.
I was in a park in City Center, a neighborhood where action occurs.
I think that they were neither communicating nor noticing the other.

At least, not in my world. In my world there was a gap.
The birds each sang for an absent other of the same species.
They did not sing for each other, I insist. They sang for an absence.
I insist. Yes I do. It was morning. I first heard a bird. Then another.

The second was of a different species, and I relaxed into the call,
sinking into my red lawn chair, as a runner hopped and waddled
by on a sidewalk in the distance and a little car horn barely beeped:
The clock at City Center chimed eleven times, bidding away the morning.

I was at City Center this morning. I listened to two birds, each
singing differently, each singing to another’s absence. Perhaps
the absences heard, perhaps they didn’t. I did not care. I could
care now, but I don’t. Birds don’t know what they are doing.

Birds have small brains and can cry out into nothing. When we humans
do this, we usually cramp up at some point in some way. This is
fine. It marks us as us. Don’t you like being human?


Bionote

Jefferson Hansen is the author, most recently, of the short story collection Cruelty (BlazeVox). His selected poems appear in Jazz Forms (Blue Lion). He lives in Minneapolis. 

1 Poem by Dah Helmer

Naked Cry


I awoke in April
light
morning
color of snow and leaves

an angel
pulled from sky to earth
ether to breath
cloud to gift
molded out of
human seeds

First without sound
nobody knew me
my voice
fixed firmly inside
and in spanking fresh skin
I waited
to be heard waited to cry
my naked cry

It was late morning
there was cold there was hunger
my wings were gone
and a voice called out
my new name and
another voice called

Quickly my lungs unglued
and I cried
my naked cry

Bionote

Dah’s poetry has appeared, most recently, in The Sandy River Review, Stone Voices Magazine, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Orion headless, River & South Review, The Muse, and Miracle Magazine, and is forthcoming in Eunoia Review, Perfume River Review, and Literature Today. The author of two collections of poetry from Stillpoint Books, his third collection is due for publication in 2014, also from Stillpoint. Dah lives in Berkeley, California, where he is currently working on the manuscript for his fourth book.



3 Poems by Benjamin Blake

Fields

Desolate remnants
A tattered ragdoll
Snared in a barbed-wire maw
Dried lipstick on the rim of a broken root beer bottle
Shards scattered amongst half-buried bricks
It’s here where I sunk to my knees in desperation
Clutching a fading photograph of my father
Beneath the dead oak tree
I prayed
To a god that was too busy to listen


The Patron Saint of the Hopelessly Lost

Endless miles
Barren fields are all I see
Long dead trees
Faded tattoos serve as reminders
Of whom I used to be

It’s too dark
To read the welcome sign
Only warnings
The dashboard is flashing like an ambulance
I am filled with a sudden sense of dread

Saint Christopher never left me
Until I lost his medallion


False Dawn

Dreaming of vast plains
Step by exhausted step
I make my way toward the light
That faintly hangs in the eastern sky
It is not wise for one to try and calculate distance and time
This could well be an impossible quest
What you seek stays too far away
If it even exists at all

Too far now to turn back
The journey’s all I've known since I set out as a young, eager man
All that's left to do
Is just keep taking step by exhausted step
And hope that someday I may reach my questionable destination
With my heart intact

Bionote

Benjamin Blake was born in the July of 1985, and grew up in the small town of Eltham, New Zealand. He is the author of the poetry collection, A Prayer for Late October, published by Hammer & Anvil Books. Find more of his work (and photography) at www.benjaminblake.com

2 Poems by Jason Sturner

Stopwatch

Everyone is dead.
Slumped against steering wheels,
on the floors of kitchens and bedrooms,
face down in swimming pools.

Bodies litter the malls,
the halls of prestigious universities,
they're in hospitals and sports bars,
at desks in corporate offices.

In the center of the oval office
lays the body of our president,
maggots crawl out
from beneath her eyelids.

The rats beneath the streets
lift their heads and twitch their noses.
Vultures fly off trees
into waves of decay.

Remnants of humanity crumble,
are buried, eroded and grown over.
We are dust and fossils; we are history.
The planet is lush and productive.

Out in an unnamed ocean
a new breed of dolphin is born,
its flippers more like modified claws.
One day, it will use them to grasp the shoreline.


The Pace of Waiting

The sunflowers grow tall
in fields we don’t know,
leaning over the broken bodies

of men younger than the day
of men wiser
than night.

Soldiers      inhaling
the light of sunset;
a reveille to the angels.

These men        chivalrous,
sanguine; anxious to make proud
their transfigured fathers.

Unaware, it would seem,
of the world’s way of forgetting
and not forgiving.

These men . . . a man, dreaming
in black and blue. Wondering if the
blood, the pain, is a gift for his god.

Hoping invisible hands
will gather all his relevant pieces
and let his hour be peaceful.

That those he loves most
will conquer this distance
sit alongside him,
and carry him home.

Bionote

Jason Sturner grew up along the Fox River in northern Illinois. He is of European and Native American descent. Of his many jobs, those he most enjoyed were naturalist and botanist. His stories and poems have appeared in Space and Time Magazine, Liquid Imagination, Every Day Poets, Mad Swirl, and Sein und Werden, among others. He currently lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, near the Great Smoky Mountains. Website: www.jasonsturner.blogspot.com

1 Poem by Rochelle Mass

The right time
In our family time was measured by watches and clocks
my father repaired.  He oiled, re-set and rewound
returned precision to people's lives
at his shop on 4th Avenue - called Clifford's Jewellers.
He was from the old school, no batteries or digital readings
he worked at a cluttered wooden bench
where he renewed clocks
that had gathered dust in basements
restored pocket watches, changed staffs
repaired pendulums
replaced crystals, traded worn leather straps
for gleaming expansion bracelets.
My father brought minutes of the day
back to where they belong.
He believed in time
believed in the power time brought to life
I carried home the small wooden clock
my father kept by his bed - wound it every night
before he slept and every morning when he woke. 
"I feel time moving," he would say.
A month or so ago
my father took off his gold watch
heavy now for the thin person he had become. 
"This fancy closure bothers me
I need a regular strap, nothing exclusive
just a watch for an old man with a cane."
My father died a month ago
he was 97.
Bionote

Rochelle Mass, Canadian born in Winnipeg, family moved to Vancouver when she was 18 months old, she grew up between the majesty of the mountains and the drama of the ocean.  Totems were the first art she experienced.  In 1973 she moved to Israel with her husband and 2 young daughters, they lived on a kibbutz in the Jezreel valley for 25 years, now live in a village crawling up the Gilboa mountain, overlooking that valley. She has received 2 Pushcart Prize nominations and other honors and publications including three poetry collections, most recent The Startled Land, Wind River Press. This year she was appointed judge of 2 poetry contests. A painter and sculptor, Rochelle is currently preparing for 2 large exhibits.

5 Poems by Elio Lomas

Deliverance in grace

I journeyed down to the camps;
the sordid estate of revolution.

I asked some men if they were hungry
they said no, they were past that.
Concentric with starvation and solitude,
awed by their own spinal mountain range,
forgone landscapes sculpted anew until death declare it finished.
But art is never finished.

There was one man, his age I could not distinguish.
Though he himself discoursed
define not by age
but by my deliverance in grace.
Concentrate not on the tomb I face,
for there I will not be alone,
rather glance upon the wombs that encase
and know that they too are prone.


Carbonic phrase
for Tristin Tzara

Sea, you boon, please, your brine(ness)
to corpse ants, slugs and mites
-let them in their keeled verse
summate
 “no pardon, you sardon”
                <a s s e z   d o u x>

to bring upon prosodic sun
that shines in three four, seven eight,
lacerate, perennial
shout for fennel “grow you herbaceous astrocyte, grow up‘til grazer greets”


Municipal plains 
for Corso

This is where we forge our crime
by the library steps ‘neath the city lights
-tucked in alcoves, preaching to the pipeline;
the ghetto’s grapevine.

Stray dogs, cadence cats and alley rats;
the dialectic core of outskirt spores
serenading eastward formations and escapes.

Upon the beat paved stone- voyeurs to the stars
thoroughfare over radio waves-
turn to harmonise with the carnal cosmos because perpetuation is the parlance of our kind.


Comfort in chronicling

Wailing throat’s fighting fresh, powering flesh;
laughter called jazz an old friend.

Singing scrawlings, flash remedies,
theories truck dumbstruck and infinitely filtering
lines through poets through and through
arriving at unsolved means.

Though voice and words;
neurons beside bullets,
shot across longitudes, lacing latitudes with new life
-a conjunction no more jarring to unify the angel and the boar.


Kindred filament 

Invertebrate imprint
-paleo parterre
found formed, broken, burrowed
-soil, stone or sand
hermetically squared, circled, sealed from beaks and grunts, from hand.

Fortuning through nowhere and back
-left behind, some mutated thoughts and sounds
from creatures unknown, unfound
-that they should hold particulars in their hollow sack
how billions are one and where they are bound.

Bionote

Elio Lomas is the editor of Ikleftiko poetry journal. He currently studies creative writing in the United Kingdom. Elio is a musician and a fiction writer who is currently working on a collection of poetry.

2 Poems by Patrick Theron Erickson

Sometimes a man meets his destiny
on the path he takes to avoid it

the path of least resistance

It is revealed to him
at the crossroads

It is the path least taken
and he revels in it

Sometimes a man meets himself
going and coming

And it is a detour
not just the fork in the road

And he's crossed the Rubicon
before he knows it

and no man's land

He meets himself
coming and going

No more detours!


With a hungry heart

and a heavy palate
I keep my feathers preened

A bird of paradise
in my pocket

a lovebird
my ticket out of here
my one-way ticket home

With a heavy heart
and a hungry palate
and roving minutes

you'll never roam alone!

Bionote

With this submission Patrick's avocation goes without saying. As for vocation, he is a parish pastor, a shepherd of sheep, a small flock with no sheep dog and no hang-dog expression.  Or he is the sheep dog, a small dog, with the hang-dog expression. Secretariat is his mentor, though he has never been an over-achiever and has never gained on the competition.  He resonates to a friend's definition of change:  change coming at us a lot faster because you can punch a whole lot more, a whole lot faster down digital broadband "glass" fiber than an old copper co-axial landline cable.

P.S. Of late Patrick's work has appeared or is forthcoming in Assisi; Calliope Poets; A Clean, Well-Lighted Place; Poetry Super Highway; Wilderness House Literary Review; Prairie Wolf Press Review; Poetry Quarterly; Breakwater Review; Cobalt Review.

1 Poem by Michael D. Amitin

boatman’s elegy

her hand cold with the death of romance
obligatory touch
we watched it erode like a mountain chipped away by cheap winds
irretrievably sad
but still the flowers roll out, the cards keep coming
the quick peck kisses and morning goodbyes
the syringe shooting shared history into nostalgic veins

dark radio rains throw branches against our chopin windowpanes

forever stuck in this merry mad dog affair
nightfall- sleep cascades death valley summer selling brooklyn bridge coffins that could fill mystery oceans in the space that lay between us
in this long forgotten sunken ship bed

so forget that fake candelight dinner
that wasted lingerie
we’re old war buddies now
likely bound to stay that way

Bionote

Michael D. Amitin, a poet, journalist and musician originally from Southern California now living in Paris France, has had features published in New Times L.A., Clamor, Discoveries, Dirty Linen and Relix Magazine and served as a Contributing Writer with the Pasadena Weekly. His poems have appeared in Black Magnolias, Bewildering Stories, IndigoRising Magazine and Snow Monkey. Amitin’s songs have been coved by David Ruffin (The Temptations), Natalie Cole, Johnny Rodriguez, he’s co-written and played on the album “First Fire” released on RCA Records, and self-produced the album’s “ Seaspiders” and “Jemima Puddleduck.”

2 Poems by James Grabill

No One Lives Alone

Because the past and future leave little room for the present, money can end up spending its people on a few thrills in Monaco. Hypnotized by the roar from the empty stadium, autonomous money in the present can be looking from a car window at medieval man.

But then not many who’ve opened a slow front door could take a next step without carrying along everyone who had a hand in making the door, without walking into the wind with everyone they have known or descended from.

Because ignorance has been so damn hungry for what it doesn’t know, it follows what might pop up, going where anger leads, barking up a nearby tree, fighting a next war as if it were the last.

Lonely and unnatural reasons must exist when possible pasts and futures that envelope the present are mailing it out instantaneously to request donations to preserve waterways or charismatic mammals, to assist the impoverished or underfunded public education, as the present ice face slips faster into the sea.


Origin

Mouse and man share 99% genetic similarity - including the genes to make a tail.
75% of our genetic make-up is the same as a pumpkin - 57% the same as a cabbage.

                                                                              - The Human Genome

            First there was nothing going on for so long it would have been forever. Nothing would have been there. and yet not, not even nothing.

It couldn’t have been the point of universal silence, when the whole audience looks up and sees nothing. It couldn’t have been an era when silence was deafening.

            With nothing aglow, not even a vast absence of anything, what followed seems to have been an impossible bone-roaring burst of decimation flushing all chords through sieves at all points beyond semblance, scouring out space for matter.

            So there was nothing that could but couldn’t have been, from which ultra-solar irrepressible incinerations many scales of ten brighter than blinding light erupted in a flash splashing through every nuclear pore.

When this slipped into lower gear growling out groans of shrill contrabass it must have been, cataclysmic foundations shattered into raw spectra. Deathly collisions of full-frontal concentrates reacted so hot as to never cool off through orbiting that insinuates and proves it exists.

            Nuclear gaseous clouds of nativity soon enough proved more vast than the mind stretches, while spinning unthinkably beyond that.

Left with the question of who anyone thinks we are alongside black ants and the hexagonal fervor of honeybees, the mind achieving autonomy like a fish in water tends to forget its own conditions, the matter with which it interdepends.

The severity and quickness of subsequent birthing appear to have flooded vastness with mirrors that electrically arc between fractal immensity and the largely unnoticed infinitesimal in molecular blazes of common genome.

Bionote

Since the ‘70s, James Grabill’s poems have appeared in periodicals such as Harvard Review, Terrain, Seneca Review, Weber: The Contemporary West, Urthona (UK), Shenandoah, The Oxonian Review (UK), Stand (UK), East West Journal, and The Common Review. His books include An Indigo Scent after the Rain and Poem Rising Out of the Earth. He teaches "systems thinking" relative to sustainability.


2 Poems by Pearse Murray

And From the Cliff

The straining stray light out of the stars
dances onto the bay.
Dawn dandles on waves into day.

The dunes fringe marrum-green gold.
The overnight ferry horns the air.
 The traffic grows into steady hums of lace.

These comings and goings stir.
An untidy sky makes an untidy sea of
grey, silver, and sun-shaft through a milk horizon.

Time now brews up winds, scatterings and
flousy-tremblings, wave punching wave,
glaucousing, overlapping, swashing.

Then a soft breeze buffs the bay into mirrored silk.
Sand-light lightly calms the air.
The gulls yaw and feather at the shore.

Boy and dog run, stamping, shadowing,
sloughing sand grains on the sand floor and
into this mystery of on-going mind-still.

I gasp at this stitching of the now
And the grasp that I try to sustain of
this thingness, of this now-oneness, of memory, of

a city, a bay, a day
imprinting and imprinted to
assure me this will continue to distill.


Sciagraphy

Shadows project on double curves
Shapes come into being, and on to my eyes

These eyes shed pearl tears onto
my compound curved cheeks

And these waters falling on these shadows
are for the falling words within our lives

Too bright a life might obscure what is in the shadows

Bionote

Pearse Murray has had poems and short stories published in a variety of journals, anthologies and on-line sites. He is a native of Dublin, Ireland and lives in upstate New York.

8 Oil Paintings by Carolyn Mary Kleefeld

Soul grotto
rhapsody of the elements
oracle caves

inner cathedral

dream of ithaca

Cerulean Shorelines

Moon Pond

neptunes playground






1 Poem by Neal Whitman

this cold evening
I took a walk in the park
my thoughts my own
hanging on a tree limb
a man's shirt, extra large

* The cinquain, inspired by the Japanese tanka, was invented by Adelaide Crapsey (1878-1914) and uses a syllable count of 2/4/6/8/2.

Bionote

Neal Whitman writes to be read, and, to that effect, has published over 200 Western form poems and 500 Japanese haiku and tanka. In public recital with his wife, Elaine, Neal combines his poetry with her photography and her playing of the Native American flute.

2 Poems by Bruce Dale Wise

Near Noon in Naselle, Washington, 23 July 2011, After Du Fu

Beside green grasses,
motionless in the warm calm,
the sun beats down on
where I sit alone today.

There are no clouds up
in the bright, wide, pure azure.
A faint, white half-moon
floats along this vast highway.

Among the poets
living now I have no name.
Official ranking
leaves me out despite my health.

I'm drifting, and yet,
really, what more am I than
a single swallow
here between the sky and earth?


Lady Wei's Pupil

His writing was as light as floating clouds,
as vigorous as a startled dragon
across the paper, on the silken shrouds,
or dipping ink slabs down into Ink Pond,
where he would watch the geese go gliding by
upon the tiny wavelets in the mist,
or swimming when the sun was in the sky;
the way they moved their necks he moved his wrist.
He took the brush, the ink stick and ink stone
and penetrated to three-quarters of
the wood. His Preface reached right to the bone
of Emperor Taizong. He wrote in love,
this General of the Right Army, he,
the Censor of K'uaichi, Wang Xizhi.

The Painting of Wu Li (circa 1632-1718), Spring Comes to the Lake.

Along Lake Dibian it blows vertically
down from the mountain peaks, down to its southern shore,
caressing spring breeze Fuliu, ah, breathlessly,
past grassy slopes to willows growing at the floor.
Here Wu Li's fine brush stroke and light green tones and shade
create a most remarkable and lovely core.
Along that sweeping curve, the harmony conveyed
includes small swallows, sparrows, geese and egrets, rest-
ing or in flight, and leafed trees elegantly made.
The peacefulness everywhere arrayed and blessed,
breathtaking in meticulous simplicity,
perhaps shows earliest some traces from the West.

Bionote

WU "SACRED BEE"LI is a mild-mannered poet and literary critic of old-style Chinese literature. His influences include T'ao Y ü an-ming, T'ang poetry, and landscape painter/calligraphy poet Wu Li. He likes Chinese food, and, although he likes so many cuisines, like dim-sum dishes taken in yum-sha style, because of his nature, he particularly likes Zhejiang dishes which are not greasy, have fresh, soft flavors, and possess fine, mellow fragrances.