Oct 2010

How the City Is

Life in the Big City, Delinda Chapman

providing shelter for all
ceding harbor to no one
reaches far and yet
gives up nothing of value

damp and pallid night
permits barely discernible
streetlight shimmer
eked out by hard pavement

its dingy reflection
tenuously glowing
within inky sea of ambiguity
offers only dull, shadowy outcome

this is how the city is
making no promises
it exists for its own end
leaving you to make your way

when the sun cautiously rises
incinerating vague reflections
of another night gone by
the city appears changeless

individual agents persevere
attempting to bring modest refinement
driven by incendiary desire
through stiff, worn soles on ebony asphalt                     

Mark Russillo

Let the Circle Be Broken
A Few Non-Closures, Gary Grove

You say, “Just close it now, and let it go.”
Your eyes, two windows shuttered on the night.
How will the flower find a way to grow

And struggle upwards into morning’s glow,
Torn from the depths that hold both dark and light?
You say, “Just close it now, and let it go

“Into the past, don’t hold on to the woe,
Don’t let old shadows dim tomorrow’s sight.”
How will the flower find a way to grow?

This closing interrupts the lifeblood’s flow
And stops the heart.  By what imperious right
You say, “Just close it now and let it go,”

I cannot fathom.  What is it you know
Of sorrow’s secret workings, and its might?
How will the flower find a way to grow?

Stone walls rise up around me, row on row,
The echo comes more faintly from the height.
You say, “Just close it now and let it go.”
How will the flower find a way to grow? 

Liz Huck 

Blue Blooded, Felicia Olin
El Silencio de Sangre AzuL
(Blue-Blooded Silence)

The thought of breathing in this life
without you, makes me sigh so deeply
I swallow the morning sky.

Blue seeps into my veins, my heart explodes
toward my head, and all that’s left is naught
y mi sangre azul, this blue blood and trails of sadness.

Your disease poisoned my mind enough that I grieve
all stages of you: driving your car, limping across the floor
the wall, the walker, the wheelchair…

…now as you snore beside me, back from the hospital.
With one eye in heaven, cielo
and the other in a book, su libro

my feet rest between purgatory and
where you once tried to stand and write out your pain.
Without you, I am constantly within me, the wound

coated with pages of poems y mi amor.
Words– my only crown, lasting amigos
they surround me like dust in sunlight

or I honor them on paper
though I’m a blind man painting rain.
I remain a laconic muchacha, a bird out of formation

suffocating with the ink before it fully dries.
Sigo invicto pero en silencio.
I remain unconquered but silent. Silent in the hum of poetry.

I am not afraid of silence, only of not feeling.
Te amo como una pluma ama del viento.
I love you like a feather loves the wind. 

Anita Stienstra


Hold ancient Greeks on pedestals
That believed in concepts we reject
Through Plato's iris
Socrates comes off arrogant sometimes
In his glory of thinkatude
Sagas all reflect through generations
Mozart a Justin Timberlake
A lesson in history
Kernel hard candy 
Burst forth crunchy delicacy in a POP of culture
Pop culture can become our classics
Quips, status updates, mirrors
Profile pic prison
How can one struggle to skip rocks?
Ripple water in this time?
Have we become lions in this
Harvard elite made coliseum
Ripping fleshy dreams from
Boxes of matrices
This shouldn't really offend you
Because it's not status updated
Who really paid for Hester Prynn's sins?
And that's the question
She's running somewhere
Tall prairie grass
Concrete scraped knee
With a chunk of flesh torn out.

Lindsey Buis

Blues Jazz Cat, Linda Post Lucas
Jazz Cat Scat

I only left a minute,
Suky sauntered sad, alone.
I only left a minute,
and now that I’m back home
there’s something sparklin’ in the dark place,
where I used to find my throne.

Skit, scat,
movin’ on,

Blue paisley was your fav’rite,
softly patterned up my tail.
Blue paisley in the moonlight
‘neath your widow I will wail
‘til the blues bewitch this hour,
and I discard my jezebel.

Now, green and glitz and glitter
push the red notes high.
But green and glitz and glitter
won’t warm your feet this nigh.
Sing the blues alone now lady;
you’ll miss your Suky bye and bye.

Skit, scat,
pretty pitty,

Pam Miller

Black and White Pose, David Cain
Captured in Black and White

Imagination captured with his lens,
washes out flaws, hides the imperfection
she sees in each strand of hair, arch of brow.
Black and white beautiful scares and enthralls;
she watches herself look at you watch her.

A show of confidence hidden behind
the shadows of color and shades of grey
pierce the subconscious until you can see
everything she does; hinting at a smile,
lowering her gaze before looking straight

into your eyes, stating the obvious –
I am more than you see in Black and White.


October Country, Jennifer Davis
October Country:
The Photograph

Pumpkins, no less than oranges,
Hold the rain of spring,
The sunshine of summer
In their flesh.

Entwined, the vines
Tangle, the dirt
Presses into the rind.

The overcast sky
Reminds that winter
Will arrive, yes,
“The frost is on the pumpkin,”
Not today, but soon.

In the October country
Of middle age
It dawns on us that we, too,
Are ripening toward a harvest.

Lola Lucas

Sugar Creek Covered Bridge

Hovering green angel wings fan
Sugar Creek covered bridge
as it stands hot, red in the sky.
Feathers peek from behind a pylon-
Kickapoo Chief’s weeping eyes
Sugar Creek Covered Bridge, Roland Folse
meet mine, he disappears in time,
I pass through a hexagonal door.

Inside, ear presses sugar maple
wall: livestock’s snort/moo,
horses’ clipity-clop,
storytelling by weary settlers,   
dogs barking at heels and hooves.
Squeaks of buggy wheels wearing ruts
into wood plank floor.
Squeals of children peering through
spaces between, daring brown
Sugar Creek to rise and tickle their toes
- and mine.

Comes a dark silhouette:
astride galloping stallion, Parson,
flat wide-brimmed hat pulled over
ears, jacket tails flapping in wind. Late
for churchy or dinner.
“Dodge or be trampled!”

Hard I rub my hands over rough-hewn
architecture/artistry - arches, trusses;
wood beams with lovers initials carved
like jagged lace by pocket knife.
A .L. plus M. T. Could it be?
Gladly shall I wear
sweet blood-splinters of 1880
in my soft 2010 palms.

Jean Staff


Flicks his tongue to learn about this world.
Pot Heat w/ Lizard, Kathy Adams
Small eye—onyx bead that just reflects my curiosity.
Not tooled for contemplation but for reaction.

Can re-grow a tail without pride, shame, joy,
Or awareness of death.
A quick colorful automaton—
Possesses nothing, knows nothing.

Chumash say when the gods
Were designing men to inhabit the earth,
Sky-Coyote insisted their hands be like his.
But silent and watchful Lizard leapt quickly to the sacred stone
And pressed his hand into it.
So we have fingers now, not paws.

Tells of the great battle of Sinh A Gad
Where Maratha warriors of Tanaji
Scale the forbidding walls of a mighty fortress
By aid of the giant lizard Yesh Wanti
With a rope tied round his waist.

Flicks his tongue to learn about this world,
Yet informs no personal history.
He is most like this jar upon which he sits,
If that jar has a beating heart.
We lend him our voice, our myths, our fears—
To make him less unknowable.

In the book of Exodus God speaks to Moses
And says, “I Am that I Am.”
Perfect Lizard declaration!

Hugh Moore

Black Rocket

Black Rocket, Michael Berk
My father owned a '56
Bel Aire Sports Sedan --
a Chevy for the kid in him and for a family man.

Chrome polished mercury bright,
fenders shiny as wet jet,
a sleek machine with white walls Clorox clean,
a dash that screamed I'm goin' places -- fast.

If he could he would have slept in her;
instead we saw the U.S.A.
round hairpin curves, and up Pikes Peak,
and once a week
he hosed her down
and buffed her till she gleamed.

Somewhere in the nether world
on that highway in the sky,
he has that V-8 opened up
and speeds right by the exit sign --
the one marked Paradise.

His heaven was and is to drive.

Corrine Frisch

In the Beginning, god said...

Orient Point Lighthouse, Rebecca McVay
Let there be light. Through light alone

the solid world earns every shape

without which we'd hone no earthly line.

Piercing, from above, the darkest drenching

drape like liquid god, its fingering beams,

once deemed divine, flow out and down,

manipulating for our humble eyes

commandments gleaned of its realities;

or forged by human hands to focused forms

for tousled masses heaving in their storms

to lead who follows from the foaming seas

like rays of hope once sought in deities.


How Many Years, John Hartleroad

Beachtown of My Dreams, Toni Freeson

Check back to read the poem by Job Conger.

October Afternoon, Bob Gordon
Check back to read the poem by Thea Chesley (pictured).

Check back to read the poem by Sandy Baksys.

Atterberry Evening, Kate Worman-Becker

Check back to read the poem by Kat Corrigan.

Welcome to Highgate, Jennifer Davis

Check back to read the poem by Ethan Lewis.