Friday 5 May 2017

POETRY PACIFIC (6.1): COVER PAGE


POETRY PACIFIC

[spring issue 2017]




Coverart: Locke Duane

Editor's Notes

dear PP Friends,


we are happy to report that since the release of our last issue on november 5, 2016, our total pageviews have increased from 207,411 to 275,555 (as of right now): our average monthly pageviews used to be about 6,000 between 2014 and 2016, but for the past six months, this number has hit 11,357, a new record high rate, representing almost 50% increase over the previous publication season. needless to say, this growth rate is impressive, because it's not only quite dramatic but also absolutely natural, since we have made no particular promotional effort.

to promote our poets previously published in Poetry Pacific, we will start next month to feature one poet on a weekly basis on our 5,000 strong facebook site. the criterion is very simple: we will choose those poets who have received more pageviews than others in each issue.

in this issue, we are honoured to showcase 3 visual artists and 65 poetry composers. 

again, thanks so very much, dear PP readers and contributors, for your continuing support of our Magazine, and happy reading/writing!

-PP editorial team

PP's CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES


WARRANTY & AGREEMENT 

By submitting to PP, the submitter warrants that 
s/he alone has created the work s/he is submitting and that 
s/he owns all rights to it. The submitter will indemnify and 
hold PP and its staff harmless from and against any and all loss,
 damage, costs and other expenses arising out of claims, 
whatever their nature, resulting directly or indirectly 
from breach of this warranty. At the same time, 
the submitter/contributor agrees that PP can use 
part or all of his/her accepted material, including responses 
to PP's interview questions, on its Facebook and/or 
other similar social networking vehicles for promotional purposes.


* All poetic and photographic works are carefully read/viewed 
year round on a rolling basis for PP's spring or autumn issue, 
to be released respectively on 5 May/November;

* Multiple and simultaneous submissions, as well as previously published work, 
are all equally welcome insofar as you still hold the copy/publishing rights;

* We wish to pay our poets and buy certain rights from them,
 but there is no money exchange involved, 
except a genuine shared love for art and wisdom;

Please send up to 5 of your best shorter poems each time 
by pasting them all together with a brief 3rd person bio note
within the body of your email
to editors.pp@gmail.com, 
or visual artworks as individually separate attachments. 
Before acceptance, we will NOT open any attachments/files
 for virus/spam-related concerns, but we may ask you 
to send the accepted work as an attachment;

*  Please feel welcome to send us a query if, for instance, 
your accepted work does not appear as scheduled;

* All submitted poems or responses to interviews may be posted on our facebook 
or other networking vehicles for promotional purposes;

* Our response-time is 6-8 weeks at latest, usually shorter than 4 weeks: 
since we never give anyone any 'rejection notice,' please feel free 
to do whatever you want to with your submission
 if you do not get any response/acceptance from PP within two months
 after you send it over to us. In other words: 
only those accepted will get a reply.

Once accepted by PP, please allow at least one year
before submitting new work to us again

- Many thanks for your kind support of PP & Gooooodluuuuck!

********

book/chapbook manuscript submissions closed until further notice




4 Ekphrastic Poems by Denny Kolakowski




April Buffalo
11” x 14”
Oil on Canvas
by
Bud Gibbons
from the collection of Denny & Vickie Kolakowski

April Buffalo
  
Buffalo Creek explodes April
with the power to make you ask yourself,
Is this now?

Trout hug the bottom
at transcendental depth,
water skippers disappear,
kayaks rest on roof racks.
Moss tears from rock
 and drunken limbs dive reckless
over crayfish that hunker down
under granite garden.
Fly rods sleep,
Stepping stones drown,
Mallards scan the shore line
and kazoo in protest.

All is contagious here
along streams that make thunder
out of midnight rain,
Delivering me
to shake hands with the invisible
and kiss
all that is unknown.


Back Bay
9” x 12”
Oil on Canvas
by
Bud Gibbons
from the collection of Denny & Vickie Kolakowski


The ocean has its salt
and say
while some of us cling
to the back bays.

I’ve been too practical,
too careful
to step into muck,
to touch floating algae,
to inhale the sun
simmering over stagnant pools
of skunk cabbage.

The love of my life
reaches
where I retreat
like a washed up clam.

Maybe today will be my day
to dance upon the lily pads
even with snapping turtles
chewing at the edges.

Today
maybe we will both
rise from our marsh
like great blue herons
and wing back
to the heart
of the sea.


Shadows of Blackstone Hollow
24” x 30”
Oil on Canvas
by
Bud Gibbons
from the collection of Denny & Vickie Kolakowski

Shadows of Blackstone Hollow

Glacier tracks scatter
under oak and hemlock,
Volumes gray as the Confederacy
in solemn truth
  nod with fern
hushed in lichen, root
and wine scent.

Minnows
bubble at the feet of shadows
that suck summer
into terrestrial.

Plowed by ice
that eradicated dinosaurs,
this woodland crease
now of screech owl effervescence
ripe in spore and honeybee
offers:
Everyone is as perfect
as you, 
And time is not made,
only spent
mercifully lost,
forgotten in the fantasy
of growing old
without John Lennon.



Mantra
10”x 14”
 Watercolor on Paper
by
Bud Gibbons
from the collection of Denny & Vickie Kolakowski

Mantra

When my dad got dementia
I started grinding my teeth
and clinching my jaw
all the time
until my face got numb,
then he died.

How can anyone live without
Post-It notes?
People like that are too smart
to know anything,
They dwell inside the memory
of rivers and trees,
Where every second is life-changing,
Where all anger is lost,
Where they don’t worry about things
that won’t happen,
And they know damn well
we’re all just renting.

Uncle Leonard was a medic killed in World War Two
and everything I know about him
lives in my mother
who he adored,

He still looks dashing in his uniform
in the photograph on the bookshelf
which hasn’t moved in my lifetime.
He stares at me with a slight smirk
like he knew he’d never meet me,
like he knew his Hollywood pose
would be the only thing left of him
one day.

The mantra of my dad and uncle
in the flow beyond the branches
prove
there is no need
for closure.


Bionote

Dennis R. Kolakowski - These poems are a recent resumed effort, with short stories, essays and poetry published in outdoor magazines, literary journals, and periodicals throughout the 70’s and 80’s.  Writing throughout the past ten years has included screenplays currently in pre-production and development.  A member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association and a mechanical engineering graduate of Pennsylvania State University, I’ve served as operations manager for the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, the University of Pittsburgh Applied Research Center and the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office.  Please see www.sleepingdragonproductions.com.


Artist Statement 

Assume nothing/consider everything, stand back and look close – Every time I remember, it rewards. Sometimes makes it to the page.

Professor Emeritus Charles W. "Bud" Gibbons, III - Please see www.budgibbons.com.



2 Poems by George Moore

How We Are Saved

We can be saved by the fallen.
Their need drags us back into life.

Their deaths are our memories;
their lives link with what we have left.

Injured after hunting season,
men in orange retired to the boats,

the doe was stuck to her belly in a sinkhole,
a thin bone leg lanced deep into the mud.

I lifted her, heavy as she was, light
breaking through the open wood.

She let me hold her, close around her flank,
eye bright or frightened as a black marble

on the chalky winter’s sky. But that leg
would not hold her. I sacrificed

my run, stopped to catch a breath,
slid into the mud to my knees.

Believe, we have to believe, she would
walk, shaky but straight, take a few struts

and bolt into the wood. Those selves
we trade for a moment’s reprieve

from poor weather and long mornings.
Nothing really moves, the film

is a cheat, a fabrication of the strong
need to find meaning in our efforts.

Exhaustion competes with visions
of success, until together our breathing

staggers, survivors of a season, ghosts,
cousins, sacrificed for our beliefs.


Journey Out

I started out
walking.  It was
June I think
and the year
uncertain,

year one
someplace other
than were I was
as the shore
changed

sand sucked out
from beneath me,
decay in tide
pools, time
depleted.

Clown faced
urchins feast
on Shi Shi beach
beneath a
Wellsian moon.

Those who write
of the sea
are lost. Time
machines in the
ecology.

Post-apocalyptic
edge of a dream-
soaked poem.
Coming to
a complete stop

would be
an answer
a gear in the sayings
that welcome darkness.
Shore littered with

carcasses.  Sea lion
eyes given up
to hungry gulls
near the dunes
a glass bubble

strands of searope
cargo boxes
broken open
hydrogen molecules
crashing into

earth’s oxides.
Mantles newly formed.
Sea dump from
a cataclysmic sky.
No time

but that present
past now, formed of
this great body suckling
earth. I go back
the way I have come.


Bionote

George Moore lives on the south shore of Nova Scotia. His poetry collections include Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FutureCycle 2016) and Children's Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry 2015). His study of Gertrude Stein’s novel, The Making of Americans: Repetition and the Emergence of Modernism, was published by Peter Lang, Inc. Nominated for six Pushcart Prizes, and a finalist for the National Poetry Series and the Brittingham Poetry Award, his work has appeared  in  Arc, Fiddlehead, Antigonish Review, Queen’s Quarterly, and The Atlantic.

5 Poems by Allen Qing Yuan

Ventis: Wielder of the Philosopher’s Stone

Under the star-lit night sky
The boy picks up a petty pebble
Aims at a tree
And tosses it
The petty pebble weakly lands onto the dirt

The boy picks up a great rock
Aims at the menacing moon
And chucks it
The great rock heavily crashes over the tree

The bold white circle shoots a spotlight onto the boy
A young aspiring alchemist in the vast land of Aeria
Ventis gathers his belongings and turns back
To his hometown, where there is terrorizing fire

A civilization engulfed in its own creation
Only Ventis can save the day
With his created rock, a rock of creation

Running past the crowd
Ventis breaks onto the scene
With a clench of the Philosopher’s stone
The fire is dissipated and transformed into smoke

But from within the smoke,
A homunculus appears,
A creation not divine
A creation feared by God

But rocks have always been Ventis’ obsession
In his right hand he clenches a hard round rock
In the other he holds a smooth & slippery pebble

With magic the stones bend into weapons
Ventis fights and fights
And the homunculus falls and falls
Only to never rise again

He then reconstructs the fallen buildings
Making them bigger and better than before

After a rejuvenating night’s sleep
Ventis awakens to another fine day

Venturing back out to his usual spot by the river,
Ventis reaches into his plush pockets
For the special rock
For which is not there

No matter: he will create it again
Just like how he created homes,
How he created dreams,
How he created his name

The wind picks up the words and carries them away

Under the sun-lit blue sky
The boy throws the pebble
The boy chucks the rock

The common one falls into the strong tide
While the right one makes it to the other side



Introduction to Quantum Superposition

Certainly you cannot be in different places
At once, nor can you have different true
Selves in the same place, but the Monkey King
Can do both on his journey to the west (supposedly
In quest for the authentic Buddhist scriptures): simply
By pulling a thread of hair from behind his ear
Chewing it, and then blowing the broken
Pieces out, they will become as many

Monkey kings. Got the idea? Few of us understand
Quantum superposition, nor do we all
Really need to, but aren’t we all evolved
From monkeys? So we can chew our inner beings
And attain many identical versions of our selves:

As a quantum state, it can be represented
As a sum of multiple other distinct states; otherwise

Just choose another self on the stem cell of your mind
And you will see what you can never imagine seeing


Swinging

Push. Up there you saw
The horizon above your childhood
As wide as your vision

Pull. You faced backwards
Close to the playground with
Footprints messy on the sand

Push again. Higher up you hope
To fly like a kite with a
String held in a human hand

Pull again. Your mind became
Confused as if everything could
Be withdrawn beneath your body


 La Lutte Finale Or Last Trial

All rise [les damnés de la terre?]
Oyez, Oyez, Oyez

With neither jury nor audience
Who is to win man’s case

Nature or God? [ L'Internationale
Sera le genre humain!]


No Medusa

Ignoring a name call during the return is like
Ignoring a flirtation from Fox Spirit in Pu Songling’s tales is like
Ignoring the chase of a Frankenstein is like
Ignoring the whim of a Faust is like
Ignoring the challenge of a Pushkin for a duel is like
Ignoring the declaration from a George Bush is like
Ignoring the request from a Revenue Canada is like
Ignoring the invitation from a University of Saskatchewan is like
Ignoring the rejection from a New Yorker is like
Ignoring the ignorance by a Helen is like
Ignoring the notice from a Vancouver Library is like
Ignoring the judgement from a being above


Bionote

Allen Qing Yuan (born in Vancouver in 1995), author of Traffic Light, is a 2-time Pushcart nominee and one-time Best of the Net nominee. A former co-editor of Poetry Pacific, Allen is currently working as an intern for CRA. Since grade 10, Allen has had poetry appear in more than 70 literary publications across 16 countries, which include Cordite Poetry Review, Literary Review of Canada, Poetry Scotland, Shampoo and Spillway.
Allen is also the co-founder of a popular clothing brand Above the Movement. For more information, please visit his websites:: www.facebook.com/Above.The.Movement ;  www.abovethemovement.com ; Twitter: @ATMovement

4 Poems by George Wallace

LOVE IS A JUNKYARD FALLACY

love is a junkyard
fallacy, like sunlight,
rain or laughter, it's
an unplanned thing
it just happens, one
day the genie in the
bottle wakes up &
takes a walk through
your beat old heart,
I mean when you least
expect it a tornado
wearing a violent
crown and a constant
smile roars like a vacuum
cleaner through your
auto wreck of a life,
picking up bits & pieces,
the twisted ruins of another
impossible american highway
disaster & presto, there you
have it, that's all it takes – ready
for your driving pleasure,
a brand new Cadillac



DEATH BLOWS KISSES IN THE MYSTIC DARK

death is beautiful, death is a woman,
death blows kisses in the mystic dark.
the number of guys I kiss, said death,
doesn't matter. my bedsprings shook,
my head started spinning like an ocean
of beer. I’m taking you to a place you’ve
never been before said death, covering
my eyelids and mouth with worried kisses.


EASY 

how easy to admire sunsets
migrating birds and the flower
vendor wreathed in yellow light --
this city is safe from a safe distance
you said, buying yourself a longstem
rose for the long ride home, and kissed
me under the canopy -- it was after midnight
the air was cold you had raindrops in your
hair the smoke of centuries wreathed us
both in a delicate envelope of rain –

you took my hand and smiled at the homeless man balancing the world on metal crutches at the bottom of the subway stairs

how easy it is, you said, to be a little kind
dropping a few coins into his paper cup



YOU HAVE SPOKEN TO ME

yes, you have spoken to me, as in a dream
i mean, like a flock of starlings speaks to the
wind, as the wind speaks the inevitability of
oceans to trees, as a grove of trees gives it
all back to the wind, patternweaver, dream-
speaker, poem of the endless air, endlessly
green, your voice also, sea hillock and wave,
bleating, mad as thistle, yet comforting and
green and green, your sweet dampness, the
mysterious vowels of your flight, coordinated
beyond measure, poured like black wine, your
metaphor of going and going and coming back,
dancing dark as a winter cloud of starlings --
over grass and tree, over the green sea of me


Bionote

George Wallace is writer in residence at the Walt Whitman Birthplace (2011-present), laureate of the Beat Poetry Festival, and author of 31 chapbooks of poetry, including Poppin' Johnny and Smashing Rock And Straight As Razors (Blue Light Press, '17). He is editor of Poetrybay and co-editor of Great Weather for Media, and tours nationally to read, lecture and present workshops, from his base of operations among the poets of New York City.

5 Poems by William V. Ray

April Morning

I relish this silence
Of the wide window,
And the sun's pale exertion
through the magnolia tree.

But can verse, schooled,
Raise the scent of these
New England shutters,
April's fists of flowers?

Nearby a pair of students
 will curve their bed
With the insistence
that's sent the river
Against our boots on the trim lawn.

Will they be brought to justice?
Yes, and maybe those clouds are
Distinguishable after all
From the rutting magnolia bursts.

Flames are gone from prim fireplaces;
We are in this smooth shell of a day
That enters, with notions, by my door.



Patio Argument

Light, shadow show different by minute
Under the pale black leaves
and the ten bold strokes on warm bricks
from who knows where

.means nothing.

So, trellis with gentian flowers of a similar day
nearer the ocean --
There's no moment.  of
time standing at the beck of shade jumping in sun
and a lifting air breeze.

There's a camera, pushing
Into a long alley
blue, large names



My Dream

No doubt banal
stairs up one side
doors
rooms
something floor following

Meaningless labyrinth
blackened eyes

Down another
always trapped by
locational question
A matter of duty:

Where's work?
It's late!
So late!

Back through.
threading a room
peopled, sexed, gendered

But no exit
but exit and flow


Nude

This is better than light!  It pulls at your jaw.  Unlaces your bone-white arms.
Flings your thin summer wrapper.  into the hurly-burly sea.

This is no oil painting.  It’s not Proust.  Or some "rite of passage."
It’s a ditch dug in fury.  A shot heard down the meadow.

You can sketch it.  Hum it.  Carry it along.
It will be with you.


Blow Ye Winds

Simple
the cloth waving outthrough
  the white cross window
Subtle
this blowing on stunted legs

  the blank tapestry of their curtain


Bionote

William V. Ray is a retired English teacher who has also been a textbook editor, freelance writer, and, of late, a café owner. His published work includes textbooks as well as poetry and poetic prose.  He is the editor of the online journal The Courtship of Winds <www.thecourtshipofwinds.org>.  He lives outside Boston, Massachusetts.  For more detail, please visit his page at LinkedIn: <https://www.linkedin.com/in/williamvray>

3 Poems by Steve Klepetar

Sleepers on the Sea

We, the somnambulists, set out on a calm sea
with stars mapping our route to the west.
We travel with eyes open, but see nothing.
We paddle and row and sometimes capture
the wind as our sails fill and billow, but no
matter how far we go, we remain netted
in dreams. They tell us we wander fearlessly
on the waves, that we pass unharmed
through cloud and rain, that our hands
remain busy all through our long night’s sleep.
Dolphins follow in our wake; whales breach
and their lonesome songs wrap us in mystery.
Along the way we have become deaf to human
sounds. Sometimes, they say, we rise from
the deck as seabirds, shrieking our hunger
to the open air as we skim the surface of the sea.
Who knows, it may be true, all these tales
we hear when we wake in our beds, soaked
and cold, with only shadows to offer from
the dark land from which they tell us we returned.


The Island of Giants

There may have been giants here once.
Could those be their great footprints
nearby, where the cliff’s edge knifes
toward empty air above a gray, grinding
sea? In early morning, if you listen, just
below the seabirds’ cries, their breath
still rises and sinks around the island’s
crust. What a sight it must have been,
those men and women tall as ancient
trees. Shaggy heads obscured a smear
of sun as they strode toward oblivion,
huge hands opening and closing again
as if everything they made had turned
to dust and blown off in merciless wind.


Horses of the Sun

Everyday that pounding from
East to West, a single track
dug deeper and deeper in the sky
road, a long circle that turns

out, in the end, to be just another
straight line. How the god with
his gleaming hair and horses
with manes of fire must hope

for another foolish boy, a son
filled with his own shining pride,
vitality oozing from him like sweat
on a racing stallion’s flank

to take hold the reins, that burning
leather which must score his smooth
hands, red-hot tackle glowing
as he falls toward ocean’s cooling arms.


Bionote

Steve Klepetar’s work has appeared widely. His poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems, both from Flutter Press, and Family Reunion, forthcoming from Big Table Publishing.



2 Poems by Christine Haverington

Hold On

Hold on                                  where you are is here
Welcome the sights               of living eyes
Prepare the way                    for those to come
Against the pain                   despite the doubt
Instead of fear                       working your way
Like a worm                          through the clay
Of blind existence
Til your guts churn              stone into loam.

       
          The Lake

          The branches are like ghosts.
          Flat surface of the lake
          gives me nothing I say
          the dark pines also hold back.
          And I feel I should know
          what the secret is.


Bionote

Christine’s poetry is inspired by nurturance, destruction, relationships, misconnections, beauty and the unknown. Christine has a bachelor’s degree in English from Williams College and a doctorate in English literature from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She holds a certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from the University of Toronto. She teaches ancient and contemporary literature, philosophy and writing. She has published books and articles on a variety of topics including: Chaucerian Tragedy; Post-Jungian feminist archetypal theory; medieval mystics; radical naturalist literary theory; Sophoclean irony; and medievalist Fantasy and Science Fiction. She also creates meditative ink paintings. Christine and her partner, sculptor Stephen Federico, live on Aquidneck Island in Rhode Island.

4 Poems by Chad M. Horn

PROBLEM(S) WITH GLOVES

Once fit like a glove
- glove doesn't fit, must acquit -
hands swell, or wither

or gloves shrink, or stretch
or crack, or tear, or catch fire
or fall in toilets

or catch a disease
or catch an Artist's paint drops
or catch a bullet

or drop the ball (twice)
or lose their grip on the bat
or signal a walk

or smack the wrong face
or remove your fingerprints
or suffer rope burns

or irritate hands
or become separated
or one unravels


intoxication? or imagination?

i.

infatuation

ii.

intimidating
individual

iii.

injections in joints
interconnection anoints
inspection/ viewpoints


SNOOZE BUTTON BROKEN

stab me with clockhands
cut deep furrows in forehead
erasing smile lines

stroke away sparkle
wrinkle smooth facial canvas
ignoring alarm

internal springs sprung
no second-hand salvation
facial tic(k) tells tales

numbers fast fading
awaiting unwinding hour
embracing alarm


SECOND TIME AROUND AGAIN

Time to disillusion her allusion

Time to include myself in exclusion
Time to pass my gaseous diffusion
Time for a caffeinated transfusion!

Time to repent, (pardon my intrusion)

Time to draw myself out of seclusion
Time to draw an alternate conclusion


Bionote

Chad M. Horn is one of only two living recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Elizabeth Madox Roberts Society, (the other being fellow Kentuckian Wendell Berry). Chad serves as perennial emcee of Kentucky Writer's Day Events held throughout Kentucky.

**** **** **** ****

3 Poems by Darren C. Demaree

EMILY AS THE SHADOW IN THE CURVE

Perhaps the thousands
of bare acres
between Emily

& my views of Emily
provide no crop
& no cover

from any descending
hawk, because it’s up
to me to earn

the presence
of the light as it bends
to find her,

as it travels to be
curved, to be cupped
by her subtle warmth

& since that process,
like all processes
is seasonal,

there will always be
times like this,
where I can only

dream of Emily,
the stalk of her
reaching towards

what I always imagine
to be me as her
common, loving cue.


EMILY AS THE FIRE BURNS THE WALL

Tucked to combust
between

the floor
& the wall, I don’t

remember
the red I followed

to the gasoline
I followed to get here,

nose to nose with the arson
of my muddy,

urban heart,
but I do remember

she wore a yellow dress
that danced

while she stood still
enough to

be taken in a light wind
that I could swear

was singing my name.


EMILY AS SHE LEAVES THE SAME

It’s different to lie
down

& wait to be loved
by a person

that likes to drink
when she leaves

the house,
because she can’t

drink when she’s in
the house

& because she wants
to be a good person

that helps other people
in their recovery

she can’t bring herself
to touch the body

of the recovering
when she returns

from drinking, which
is what she

always does when
she leaves the house

& when she returns
there cannot be love,

because people
that want to be good

people never double
down on their mistakes

& she knows that if
she rubs tequila breath

into my thick flank
or her incredible breasts

that she’s spilled craft
beer on all over me I will cum

in a way that makes me
wish she would have

never asked me to quit
drinking in the first place.


Bionote

My poems have appeared, or are scheduled to appear in numerous magazines/journals, including the South Dakota Review, Meridian, New Letters, Diagram, and the Colorado Review.

I am the author of six poetry collections, most recently "Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly" (2016, 8th House Publishing). I am the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry.

I am currently living and writing in Columbus, Ohio with my wife and children.

"Darren is a dangerous dreamer, concocting love poems to his home state, and pastorals to his true love. Bu...



2 Poems by Monika John

Banyan Time
            (Rishi Valley, India)

Time is neither day nor night
not hours or measure of man.

It is uncounted birds
singing in the banyan’s shade.

It is the seasons’ winds
rushing through its leaves.

It is another vine
rooting in the ground.

It is ten thousand moons
reflecting in its crowns...

            and to dangle my feet
            from tall stone benches

             in the shelter of an old banyan tree
            is to relive a time when I was small

             and the dome of a cathedral
            was as close and as far away as God.


Yellow Flower
            (Huangshan Mountain, China)

A frail stem clings
to barren rock.
Bright petals shimmer
like sunrays -
            joy in foggy gloom.



Bionote

Monika John is a writer and, lawyer and world traveler living in the Pacific Northwest.

3 Poems by Farouk Asvat

 [] A PERFECT DAY TO KILL MYSELF 


I prayed to god:
take me
from my place of oppression and turmoil
to my place of peace and tranquility

so He took me

to a place where
earthquakes and volcanoes
hurricanes and tsunamis
come with the frequency of a breath.

     ●
     The sun slotted in
     slowly
suddenly
     into the ocean;
     the moon was full,
     the sea gentle,
     and the crabs uneasy

     It was the perfect night
     and I had no one to live for

          ●
          The tsunami
          gently wrapped itself around the island
          withdrew deep into the deep ocean
          came back with a gentle wave
          and silently passed us by

          It was a perfect day
          and I had no one to die for


               And still I sail upon the water


[] PAPAYA SUNSET 

Papayas splashed across the horizon
Raspberries sailing under apricot clouds
Orange juice dripping from heaven
Snowy egrets dancing across strawberry clouds
Powder blue patches where the sky isn't bleeding
And blueberries cruising in upon the evening waves


[] NOW THAT I KNOW  

Now that I know who God is
I have to find myself
(again)

Now that I know what love is
I wait for love to find me
(again)


Bionote

[] FAROUK ASVAT was banned by the South African regime between 1973 and 1978; and nominated an Amnesty International "Prisoner of Conscience".  He has received numerous death threats for his views and his writings.  He won the Vita Literary Award for his anthology, A Celebration of Flames.  He was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship to the University of California at Berkeley; the EOC Scholarship to the Vrije Universiteit in the Netherlands; the Kwanzaa Honors Certificate by the Africa Network in the United States; and his poem was selected to represent South Africa in the International Portland Review.  His writings have been published in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Turkey, Switzerland, Netherlands, France, Germany, England & South Africa; and been translated into French, Dutch, Portuguese and Turkish.

Publications:
Sadness In The House Of Love (novel)
The Gathering Of The Storm (novel)
I Dream In Long Sentences (poetry)
The Wind Still Sings Sad Songs (poetry)
A Celebration Of Flames (poetry)
The Time Of Our Lives (poetry)
Bra Frooks … (poetry,)
Weapons Of Words (literary criticism)
[all his books are published by amazon on paperback & kindle]


2 Poems by Steven Sher

FOR MY MOTHER, FIVE YEARS AFTER
MY FATHER’S DEATH

The bed’s empty half tended each night:
a second pillow neatly paired beside her own,
the lamp upon his stand still lit
for him to step from his hot bath.

How long he’ll be—she can’t imagine.
The night is pacing to the brink
of blame and back. She finds
an unobstructed view from which to wave.


CONSTRUCTION CRANES
OVER JERUSALEM
         
Great wingless birds
migrate from dreams,

alight to feed
on stone and steel.


Bionote

Steven Sher is a native of New York who lived in the Pacific Northwest for 20 years and has lived in Jerusalem since 2012, He is the author of 14 books including, most recently, The House of Washing Hands (Pecan Grove Press, 2014) and Grazing on Stars: Selected Poems (Presa Press, 2012). He has taught (universities, workshops) and his work has appeared widely since the 1970s. He continues to lead workshops and lecture in the U.S. and Israel, and currently co-edits an Israeli literary journal (arc). More can be found at stevensher.net.

2 Poems by Antony Johae

Holiday

It is Sunday.
We have washed.
You kiss my cheeks
I kiss yours.
I pull up the shutter
with one hand
and the light comes in.
I feel You in it.


High Tension

A wire lay next to me
bare at the end and connected up.
Pushing it away
it clung to me
taking it by the neck
it stung me.
I held it tight in a horrible grip
and out of my ears popped plugs.


Bionote

Antony Johae is a freelance writer who divides his time between Lebanon and the UK. His Poems of the East came out in 2015. The submitted poems come from an unpublished collection, Changes.

2 Poems by Devon Balwit

Hello / It’s Me Again

I
it’s morning and I must
stitch myself back
together

II
easiest to grab what
remains from the
day before

III
one sleeve then the other
no surprises
all well worn

IV
the mirror helps me thread
face to face lines
familiar

V
I open the door to
memories in
they tumble

VI
that I invent a few
shouldn’t offend
it helps me

VII
as the new day buffets
tugs at the seams
of selfhood

VIII
I reassure myself
of who I am
through each poem


What Floats

It’s the time of year
            when small ants

invade the cupboards,
            marching from outside

in files as if underscoring
            the encroaching weather.

All night, rain
            burbles in the gutters,

rustling as it falls
            with TV static.

I expect to step from bed
            into knee-deep water,

but the only pool
            is in my head,

a catchment of decades,
            ever-rising.

Some days, I fish out
            the dead, others,

whatever floats
            from watery darkness,

wrung from the world
            by its turning.


Bionote

Devon Balwit is a poet writing in Portland, OR.  Her recent work has appeared in many journals, among them:  The Journal of Applied Poetics, Red Paint Review, The Serving House, Timberline Review, The Sow's Ear Poetry Review, Lalitamba, and the Free State Review.

3 Poems by Ian Allaby

Bullet

there's a bullet coming at me, dunno when it’s gunna hit
it’s been coming since the Big Bang, gunna be a perfect fit
it’s coming so slow, i got lotsa time to think
it’s coming so fast, be over in a blink
could be right here in front of my nose a nanosecond away
the sun is bright, the sky is blue, this could be the day


why all this way?

why all this way via Kuala Lumpur via Singapore
why all this odyssey over mountain and sea
via foundering ship, via sploshing ashore
via dragging your tail thru refugee sheds
via pleading and lying and constant conniving
and finally arriving
here in this money-grubbing burg
on this proletarian conformist street
in this windowless room
why why why all this way
just to tear my heart to shreds?


Never thinking of you

Fact is I never think of you
There’s too much running round to do
Like when I wake up in a starlet’s bed
And she’s kissing the curls upon my head
But I’ve got to run off to a meeting instead
And with drama and crises the whole day through
There’s hardly a moment to think of you

My time is too pricey to think about you
The available minutes are terribly few
Like when I demolish the management team
Exposing the lies in their pension scheme
Then getting the company back on beam —
On days like that it’s undeniably true
There’s never an instant to think about you

I have to admit it’s my genuine view
I’m super busy all day and all night too
Attending the Save-the-World soirée
Then off to an upscale cabaret
Surrounded by cover girls eager to play —
Yes, in times like that it’s obviously true
I would never ever think of you.


Bionote

Ian Allaby is publisher of www.spadinaliteraryreview.com.

2 Poems by David Leo

Rain, After

Night, morose
Distilled into silence

Trees, still
Wet having wept

Unsympathetic street lamps expose the naked pavement
Crying to be covered, longing for morning
Feet, paws and dirt

The street, never more solitary
Than in the deep night

Than after the rain
Knowing abandonment

And I, looking out, always sad
Mourning a loss


The Smell of Grass

The smell of grass, freshly shorn
For some a glass of wine
     from the Rhine

Perhaps, Friday at the pub

Me, inebriate
In sweat
In my garden


Bionote

David Leo has published four books of poetry: Somewhere A Tiny Voice; One Journey, Many Rivers; Identity; Ubin Dreaming (You've Been Dreaming). He also writes fiction.

2 Poems by Lynn White

End of the Season

The season of wrinkles
and over ripeness
has arrived
too soon.
Shriveled buds.
Fruits bursting open,
their seeds drying out,
beginning to crinkle
and wrinkle.
Beginning to split
and break.
Beginning to moulder
and dribble with damp.
Their past spring
a distant dream.
Or not remembered at all.
Faded
away
like the fresh shoots
of hopeful green growth.

Even the memories of the
florid, blowzy summer’s blooms
are fading.
Fading fast
and faster.

Perhaps this season of dry
dampness
has been here a while
and I haven’t noticed.
It’s been approaching
a long time.
Slow at first
imperceptible.
Speeding up, then
quickening.
But still
imperceptible
almost
unnoticeable
as everything
slows down
quickly.
So quickly
now.

I think that winter has arrived.
Darkness returned.
The season is over,
finished
lost
beyond returning.

First published in Writers Ezine, December 2015


Turning to Ice

Snowflakes lit by sunbeams
blowing gently,
fragile as shadows
making rainbows in the sun.
Smiling in the soft light.
So soft.
So soft.
Catch them quickly in your hair
to melt them.
Time has past and
they're already harder now,
even though the sun
is still shining and smiling.
Blindingly bright.
Crunchy crystals.
Jewels
glistening still.
Shining like diamonds,
but harsh
in the sunlight
while it lasts
Cooler now as
the light starts fading.
The surface is melting.
Shiny where the sun
still catches,
but fading,
giving way to ice.
Losing it's smile.
And we're skidding, sliding
beyond control.
slipping away,
blinded by tears of ice.

First published in Metaphor Issue 4 2015


Bionote

Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. Her poem 'A Rose For Gaza' was shortlisted for the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition 2014. This and many other poems, have been published in recent anthologies including - Stacey Savage’s ‘We Are Poetry, an Anthology of Love poems’; Community Arts Ink’s ‘Reclaiming Our Voices’; Vagabond Press’s, ‘The Border Crossed Us’; ‘Degenerates - Voices For Peace’, ‘Civilised Beasts’ and ‘Vagabonds: Anthology of the Mad Ones’ from Weasel Press; ‘Alice In Wonderland’ by Silver Birch Press, and many rather excellent  on line and print journals.

5 Poems by Michael Meyerhofer

JESUS RETURNS TO THE WORLD WITH AMNESIA AND TRIES TO LIVE A NORMAL LIFE

I gave up bread and strong wine,
but still I feel a strange sickness
whenever the sun gilds a new
interstate or a pasture of dark-eyed
cattle silently flipping their tails,
the poor dears, like fallen gods.

At the gym, a pretty college girl
on the elliptical looked like
she had not eaten in forty days,
ribs straining underneath
a rainbow leotard, bronze skin
stretched over bags of silicone.

I could not bear her painted eyes,
the feeling when she smiled at me
or afterwards, when I got home,
how my computer had been hijacked
by pop-ups for diet pills, offers
to add more girth to my manhood.

Later, I wonder was it ever easier
as my wife wheels out our new baby
boy from the hospital with thick
dark stitches in place of his foreskin,
joking that now, she’ll have less
to cringe over when changing him.

Dear Lord, it’s getting hard to care
that dreams burn up like paper cranes,
that my wrists ache when it hails
and I wonder what kind of terrible age
we’ve all been cast into—but no,
I think, it has always been like this.


ELEGY FOR A HORSE’S ASS

Once, when my father was driving
through thick, rural darkness
down a ribbon of highway south of St. Paul,
a retired Clydesdale strayed
from its pasture of hay and clover,
right into the blind spot
of a teenage girl air-drying her Porsche.
My father saw the whole thing—
how the windshield broke like applause,
how a helicopter lifted her to Mayo
in a lattice of white straps.
How men had to chainsaw the horse
just to reach her. Afterwards,
the pieces shoved off
like the soggy halves of a tuna melt.
A cop with a flashlight beckoning traffic.
The horse’s hind quarters
rumping the ditch-weed, like it started
to burrow underground
then got stuck. Couldn’t back up.
Hell of a sight, my father says.
I don’t tell him I feel this way too
when I write, like a humanized ostrich
or, if you prefer, a horse’s ass
tunneling between worlds
while strangers gawk,
streaming past, honking in tongues.


LIMBIC SELF-LOATHING, POST EMPEROR’S CHICKEN

I almost forgot about the stone penguin
left under my bed after the tornado,
which you gave me after my father and I
sought shelter in your storm cellar,
rappelling down a cable into the darkness.
And since this was the dream-world,
it made sense that I’d see you again, Lisa,
whom I haven’t thought about in years
and was never, I think, in love with
although in my dream, I was disarmed
by your charitable grin, waving
in your Future Farmers of America tee,
during what it took for my neural firestorm
to shock me back up to consciousness.
We were driving along Iowa back-roads
when the tornado touched down
on the barren gravel, spared us by looking,
then I saw you in the distance
and pled shelter into your storm cellar.
So you gave me a stone penguin
to remember you by, which I then kept
under my bed for reasons that made sense
at the time. I’ll also say, since readers
of poetry are either lovers or haters
of Freud, that the penguin’s bill
was erect as a cavalryman’s saber,
that I had trouble rappelling down your cellar
which was, in turns out, a swamped pit,
that your ex-marine father did not approve
but your mother found me charming,
and that you—that girl I’d forgotten
until I dreamt about her—chose another.


ALBERT EINSTEIN EATS A SNOW CONE ON THE 14,000,000,000TH BIRTHDAY OF THE KNOWN UNIVERSE

If I could go back, I’d warn God
how long he’d have to spend flushing
the white nostrils of stars,
powdering the bottoms of nebulae,
burping galaxies like bean-spit
down his own clean, blank bib. Really,
how could any omniscient
understand, before black holes,
what a bright, sorry mess he’d made?

You’ve seen the pattern—
first, spangles spread like field grain,
then galaxies spun by the bushel
until one day, they'll find out
even universes bloom on stalks.
Even radiation can, incomitatus,
yield matter at ten trillion Kelvin.

I am tired of living as a solid.
I want to be water again. Without facade,
able by sheer force of will
to seep from this tarnished bassinet,
these bones like walking sticks.

Pablo Neruda was weary of chickens,
but I am weary of prophets,
metaphysicians in their lab coats.
We are fooling ourselves,
all of us, if we believe
better divinity couldn’t exist right here,
right now, at room temperature.


PORTRAIT OF A MIDWESTERN EXILE ON WHEELS

It was a ninety minute drive to work
the summer after my mother died.
I rose at five upon the third snooze strike
to shower where her heart burst—
same room, same hour—minus the sound
of water pattering a gray wash rag.

My job was to test for faulty seals
on factory-made ice machines,
my only tool a set of cracked water hoses,
my station on the line slightly lowered
so that I more or less worked
in a breeding hole for mosquitoes.

I rose even before my father did,
the house still midnight blue,
the coffee still dry in its dark cupboard.
Sydney, our friendly mop of a cat,
had been dirt-blossom for years,
our stairwell shadows just shadows.

This was long before poetry.
I wore a kind of hymen on my sleeve,
mouthing the names of beautiful women
who understandably wanted
nothing to do with my tape deck,
its loose wiring to two busted speakers.

I drove east with my time card,
a dry shirt, my dreams and copper tithe
for the factory’s vending machines.
I’d stopped believing in God,
but not the myth of Eden. For that,
I still drive headlong into the burning sky.


Bionote

Michael Meyerhofer’s fourth book, What To Do If You're Buried Alive, was published by Split Lip Press. He is also the author of a fantasy series and the Poetry Editor of Atticus Review. His work has appeared in Hayden's Ferry, Rattle, Brevity, Tupelo Quarterly, Ploughshares, and many other journals. For more information and an embarrassing childhood photo, visit www.troublewithhammers.com.

1 Poem by Michael H. Brownstein

SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO SEE THE WORLD IN COLOR 

I’m sorry. Nothing is left.

                        The skipping stone. The two inch blade.
Grass lifting its seed to wind.

Is there nothing to say?

                        A fluid of stone, cascade, a palisade .
Water straining in ice.
                        Tumbleweed, a dessert rock.

Skim off the fat. Let go of the jacket.

                        This far at sea the water
Cold
Edible within scale and shell.

So this is how everything comes

To an end?

That is what I wish to know.

Look into the door of this future.
                     
The hallway of portraits and cracks.
Tears in sheetrock and molding.
                        Winter stains in ceiling tiles.
Bite marks of mice and termite.

We are left with possibility.


Bionote

Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses. His work has appeared in The Café Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Free Lunch, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, Poetrysuperhighway.com and others. In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks including The Shooting Gallery (Samidat Press, 1987), Poems from the Body Bag (Ommation Press, 1988), A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), What Stone Is (Fractal Edge Press, 2005), I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011), Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012), The Possibility of Sky and Hell: From My Suicide Book (White Knuckle Press, 2013) and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100 Degrees Outside and Other Poems (Kind of Hurricane Press, 2013). He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).

5 Poems by Yuan Changming

Listening to the Mountain Murmuring 

Twenty minimeters of pink petals.

Twenty minimetres of stretch and reach
Floral foil, twenty minimeters
Of soil, grass, dew, bush

Sitting in green meditation about

The balance between yin and yang

Myriad of leaves,
Falling down with mists

Of last night approaching – twenty minimeters

Of ethereal presence, kissing
The thick ridges – is the soul

The melody of equanimity?
Insects sloughing off

In chameleon-rhythms.
You stopped as you heard them

Twenty minimeters of dandelions rolling against
The vastness of sky and mountain


Hook 

Just how, you were thrown into the water
Under the current and close to a snag

You can’t feel the sun light
Without being reflected

When a fish swims by here
You run into a nasty urchin, tantalizing

As we are all being tantalized
For a tiny catch


Way to Epiphany  

With a storm
With a gull
With your breath

Goes the thought
With a vague vision
Beyond the bogland

With your heart
Hawking aloud in the wild
With dripping blood

An unformed concept
A shoal of consciousness
Bubbling with feeling

With a photon
With a quantum
With your mind concentrated
On a twisted other


Towards Taoism

To/To
Seek/Balance
Yang/Yin
From/With
Yin/Yang
     Is/Isn’t
The same/The same
    As/As
To/To
Seek/Balance
Yin/Yang
From/With
Yang/Yin
Before/Unless
We/You
                          Zigzag/Zagzig
Our Path/Your Way
With/Without
A thought/Any feeling
About/Towards
Nature/God


Brief Bio of a Leaf

Whitening to recall a snowy day

Greening to promote spring

Yellowing to store summer sunlight

Oranging to reflect a morning glow

Reddening to catch the smile of a setting sun

Purpling to flirt with evening winds

Blackening to return to the root at night

A full spectrum of the sunlight
A full spectrum of the season


Bionote

Changming Yuan, 9-time Pushcart and one-time Best of Net nominee, started to learn English in Shanghai at age 19 and published monographs on translation before moving out of China. With a Canadian PhD in English, Yuan currently edits Poetry Pacific in Vancouver; publication credits include Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Poetry in Voice, Threepenny Review and 1289 others across 39 countries.