Spurlock – by Jessica Bentley
I spy glimpses of your silver strands,
as you lay white linens on the sloped lawn,
billowed sails in the breeze,
as shuck beans dry for Sunday supper.
The vegetables canned from the year before,
are marched out in proud succession.
The dirt cellar had done its work.
You stroll down the lavender lined path to the main house.
You swept that path yourself and sweep it still,
after breakfast of the latest kill and brown eggs,
you gathered up in your flour dusted apron.
After the morning dishes you step off the slanted gray porch.
The sunrise strains to peek up over the rising cedars.
You take in the burnt sienna as you brush away the earth,
with the hemp broom he weaved for you.
His blue eyes gleam,
hands tremoring from years of the plow.
He rocks as the oak cradles his stooped frame,
a cherry pipe in his teeth,
taking in the fog as the dawn burns it from the holler.
RECREATION / by Marta Dorton
husband likes to fish
packs simple gear
plastic container of meal worms reel
knife nylon rope tools of immediate
work tools of hope
husband drives to solitude
occasional great blue
heron water rolls over rocks
casts his line into the deeps
to see what may return
waits for bobber to dip below
jump to surface then under
quick yank of filament fish resists
slow steady pull the eventual
drag into air and light
husband fishes for relief
appointments with family doctors
and pain management centers shares
his history of back pain and heavy
work doctors nod scribble their plan
onto pastel green prescription
pads meds soon acquired he ingests
before driving away in a bit balm
arrives but never
lasts long enough
husband fishes for reprieve
at friends with extra
pills and those that sell
their parents supply
i fish for husband
leave son at home drive
to known suppliers look
for his truck
mad if i find
it mad if not
reel in empty hook
barb slices deep
Navigation – Marta Dorton
while loved ones are still
here to retrieve me if i can’t
make it back i must do this i walk
alone down the front steps click open
my car door i sit scoot seat back tilt
steering wheel adjust left mirror
right mirror rearview too shift into
reverse down to the street
has it only been four days i stop look
up the road and back right left behind
back into the street auburn leaves shower
me as i drive away people walk dogs
mow lawns scurry with errands i glare
at them are they not crushed to dust too
drive slow check every inch of this nine
minute trip gratitude for guidance
of drivers ahead who obey proper speed
position of lanes yellow lights
make familiar turns return half-read
library books unwatched shawshank
redemption drive to post office push
bills into blue horizontal slot head home
with heavy sigh walk up my concrete steps
my singlehood begins maybe i can do this
Girl in the River by A. Riel Regan
The trees whistle as the wind
rips through them
and barren branches stand vigil
for brothers taken by the water.
Her hand extends into the tadpole kingdom,
disturbing clouds of river muck
and they accept her.
Auburn hair and floral Easter dress billow in the steady water.
Gray clouds roll across the sky, reflecting on river mirror.
Girl rests in peace.
Flood has come and gone.
To make a bird, not a cage – Manny Grimaldi
To make a bird, not a cage
I fail to have fun regularly, so
I work looking backwards, so
I know nothing of flying, so
Let us pray
There are instructions none the simpler than these:
1) attend to festivity, gather turkey feathers, glue a baby ostrich to my rear, paint the Mona
Lisa with a full length beard
2) render with blue ink from a well (never
pencil) and tissue parchment (never paper),
compose in the rain
3) blindfold in windstorms, paddle in ponds,
catch breathless fish with my mouth and
throw them back in
4) eschew constitutions, declarations,
solemnity, and panic. walk into turbines.
make love to disagreement
Sit on a branch, may it blossom.
Peel the fruit, let it not bruise. Amen.
Concerning the day my wife and children left me – Manny Grimaldi
He scribbles his fantastic symphony, a fresh sight of light-spinning
sunflowers fluttering through a guillotine—a woman’s hands wringing
at the scene, the disheveled man on his lonesome knees—and running
the fields, as pack horses don blinders to pass over tracks made
for the new carnival way, his memory sweetens on jeweled Indian
elephants there, and the scent of spun cotton candy, and so, anesthetized,
his neck drops, desirous of rainbow-promises of a sudden stay
of execution, hands tied back in a bow—
the painting: a dead man stretched on a scaffold in the heat.
“WE ARE WEIGHED DOWN, EVERY MOMENT, BY THE CONCEPTION AND THE SENSATION
OF TIME,” SAID CHARLES BAUDELAIRE (Or, THE HELLO, I’M KATHY ACKER POEM…):
– David Earl Williams
And there was that once
I was 6 years old
I threw my sisters stuffed dog in the inflatable pool
Which made her cry real tears and scream for blood
And I ran around the outside of the house so fast
I turned into the Marquis de Sade in the Bastille writing porno
away up high
N my mommy come out w/ her switch n sed,
Derwood D’Woody, jr….
“The completest submissiveness is your lot,
and that is all”….
And I answered her, I said,
” Either kill me or take me as I am,
because I’ll be damned if I ever change!”
And my sister began crying tears of hope
to match her tears of grief
And the switch swished through the air
swish swish swish on my bare back n legs
as the dear sister howled for her justifiable revenge
And the blood flowed
and the welts were raised across my back and ribs and legs
n I danced
O, I dance dance danced in a circle
she had me by the arm
n I could not escape —
For, “Destruction, hence, like creation,
is one of Nature’s mandates.”
but, I did learn n
I was never to run
from love ever again
when I was in that house.
nor did I ever
write porno in the Bastille
while there nor
take a blow
unless repaid, in some way, for, as you know,
“Nature has endowed each of us with a capacity for kindly feelings:
let us not squander them on others.”
The West Was Won —!
(…Or, at least,
that’s what I say
when I’m Kathy Acker
n they say it is BLOOD
it is all blood blood blood—
blood is everything—
my face in the mirror
my tribe, my role …
and Kathy Acker whispers in my ear.)
Ascension – John Muro
A winter day near-done
and the fire draws me in
like a hurried breath,
and I’m soon spiraling
up and through a flue
narrowed by creosote
towards a sky of wax-
wing gray, gliding past
the roofline and a land-
scape of glazed boughs
and jeweled undergrowth
then entwined with wisps
of snow silently advancing
across a frozen brook before
wind gusts cradle and carry
me further from ground with
no hope of finding my way
back to the spark that birthed
combustion – destined to
expire in the earth-shine
splatter that sits between
a radiant horizon and a dark
and desolate heaven.
Waiting – Katie Hughbanks
In a parking space
at the nursing home
I sit in the driver’s seat
waiting for the hospice lady
to come and meet me,
permit me to
sign away my mother’s future,
for comfort care.
I sit and stare
at the cars speeding past
then notice the sting
a tiny zing
from a paper cut
on my hand
sliced thinly while retrieving
Mother’s POA forms,
the skin still bleeding
A February afternoon of
rare winter sun squints,
making my eyes,
so much like my mother’s,
Will she call soon?
Is it time?
I guess I’m fine,
but it sure feels like
is going to kill me.