Sunday, December 18, 2016

Expressionism

by Sneha Subramanian Kanta

how you eat the fallen figs
your body full of soil scents –
arm clutched to my side,
bare bodies of autumn’s pride.

your fingers, opening a map –
nail pointing eastward
moving subtly, then all at once
over the body of the large Pacific.

how your mouth, partly open
devours my mouth, in exploration –
then, like ancient forest-dwellers
sing ourselves to sleep, meditating.

how chants, escape your tongue,
lick my senses into molten clay –
how, in a world of immigrants,
we find – a land unknown, to stay.


Repeater

by Denny E. Marshall

Dust bowl of the 30’s
After hundred years
Of raping Nebraska aquifer
Dust bowl of the 30’s

Nightly Eye Shine

by Suzanne Cottrell

Night
cold grass
green eye shine,
Carolina Wolf Spiders
hunting crickets.

a small end
(for Martha Landman)

by James Bell

see the red click beetle
crawl over a log      choose
that one for the wood stove
instead of others on the stack
sit to feel some heat
with a modicum of guilt
about what made you make
that choice      listen for a pop
some kind of     cry
only the regular    click
of  the stove as it warms
the log bursts into flames

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Feeding

by Subhra Bhattacharya

The school of fish
feed on the dead baby octopus
one leg at a time
in bites and chunks
till all that is left
is a gelatinous blob
shaking in the water.

You didn't get there on time
to grill it
serve it on a platter.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Listening to a Crow Lecture

by Don Thompson

Clinging to the old oak
as if tenured, a crow
has been holding a seminar.

Three or four students listen,
compelled, powerless to resist
nihilism: Nothing is good,

according to that harsh caw,
not at all hard to translate
into human sentiments.

I’d take notes myself,
but keep being distracted by
how eager the leaves seem,

motionless in dead air, to dance
as soon as the breeze comes up.
And it will.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Lines

by Marilyn Ward

shadows
in the orange orange pyracantha
blackbirds

Lines

by Nancy Scott McBride

glow behind the mountain
full moon rising

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Droughtland Smoothie

by Elizabeth Kuelbs

Beat sun up. Blend 2 cups fresh
ash, 1 billow smoke, 1/4 manzanita
bone, 1 heat-scarred flight feather, hawk
or owl, 2 tablespoons doomy noon
twilight, 1 chlorinated
bee, ice.

Drink.

Hairline to navel (ignore sunburn tenderness) unzip skin.

Wait
for lush tumble
of mist, of river, of willow, wait
for singing oak canopy, for poppy, for mallow, for
coyote mint. Wait in the dark
for rain.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Old Gods

by Ed Hack

The old gods of the fields, of wheat and corn,
of rye, of vegetables, are dying back
into the earth. The autumn's silver horn
of knife-edge light rings out the time of lack,
of ice as pitiless as life can be,
of frozen ground entombing old spent earth
that sleeps exhausted as the naked trees
that wait, like ice-bound earth, for their spring birth.
The shriveled tassels of the corn are brown
and limp, tied to the bridge to celebrate
the harvesting of Time. The river sounds
like all that crashes to its end to sate
the hungers of its life. A rush. A roar.
And then an evening as it spreads out
and leaves the falls behind. Now less is more
as water calms, a mind without a doubt.
The old gods do not say a thing. They wait.
They know that Time's another word for Fate.

Lines

by Deborah P Kolodji

morning gray
the black and white flash
of a willet’s wings

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Spare a thought for the red click beetle
(for James Bell)

by Martha Landman

by nightfall there is stillness in the forest
of beetle-larva-beetle-larva
extend their lifecycle in a relay
lying limp in the dirt
groove along sunbeams
high-jump off their backs
their way through a rotten log
blood-red beetles click-click
winter at its edge
the pine trees are down

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Fall

by Ed Hack

Late in the day the falls look like alum-
inum, sun blazing out a sheen like shields
upon an ancient field where men are numb
with bloody death, yet all refuse to yield.
Odd thought this autumn day with summer heat
as couples chat outside a coffee bar
at tables right across the way and treat
themselves to ease. The river travels far
to plunge with its low roar and glow
like metal tempered by the sun. Old folk
who're bent with Time amid the leaves that blow
and tumble in the silver light like hope
deferred as yellow shines from inside out.
This world is falling down--just look about.

Aleppo

by Laughing Waters

temperature
suddenly drops
red camelia's flowers
covering ground
fresh snow


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Lines

by Carl Mayfield

two roadrunners
in the orchard--
one less peach

Reflections

by Ginny Short

Uncertainty riding west
The sky clear
The ridge         the south side of lightning
Find and gather self    before noon

Red earth rocks branding the intersection
Of sun, sky and earth  Time moves slowly
Forgotten

Long wet trails up Wolf Creek Canyon
An eternity      Urging the distance

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Mask of Rain

by Tim Staley

There is a mask of rain
over the canyon
and over the sun.

Scarlet light
sprays from the eyes
and teeth.

The liquid tongue
laps up the canyon
and the sun.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Arrival & Ascent of Autumn Immigrants

by Terrence Sykes

I am an immigrant
I am not from here
I don't own this piece of land
This small piece of Quartz
Grasped from the sandy soil
Taken in my hand
From beneath this canopy of
These PawPaw trees
These were not here
When I discovered & claimed
This as my own solitude
This enclaved fifty acres or more
Have kept my sanity from urban chaos
Who or What brought the first seed for
This clonal gathering must be content
A late frost prevented progenies
That pungent aroma of fallen ripened
Fruit upon the forest floor

Those silent shiso plants
Seeding again to scatter ascendants
Remind me of the Korean women who
Were at odds with me when gathering
Wild greens that grew
Upon the banks of this creek
Bitter greens of their own where rooted
Flourished in the swamp
Waxed then waned
Like a lunar eclipse
Their departure
Before the arrival of this shiso
Reluctantly then revealing
Established itself amongst
Others unlike themselves

These touch-me-nots
They too were not here when I came
Gems of orange fleck with gold
Emigrate me home
Remembrance of my hometown
Memories of my grandmother
I always think of her
A rose herself
Her garden of
Irises
Hydrangeas

Amongst flora & fauna
Here I have seen women
From all over the world
From where and when
In their native garments
Colorful & brilliant
As autumnal flowers
Today I walk alone
Along these paths
Who will  scatter the next seed
I am not from here
I am an immigrant

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

November in Rattlesnake Valley

by Jesse Bier

Cold fog is thick but mobile, streaming long coils
in draws, raveling gulches, strangling clumps
of young dim fir trees: moils
the air, heaves and slumps
over unseen ground, boils
spooky comfort, wallows ravines, clamps
bare corn fields, thins to mist, congeals,
smothering home and hill, with no reason spares a camp.
Where it goes is hap and hazard. Hit or miss,
this is no longer fall but winter’s start,
the drear of it, and almost the hiss
where it moves of slithercloud, gripping hearth and heart,
only easing, letting swiftly and helplessly go,
under the instant scatter magic—of first snow.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Walking Stick

by Bob Petras

This thing called walking stick
drawn by four-year-old God
shimmies on a blade of grass
phasmid of all limbs
on Ohio island shore.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Late Summer Song

by Lori Gravley

Underneath the electric hum and traffic noise
a smaller sound. You have to strain
to hear it, the way you must
squint to see the shadow
of a water strider traveling across the river
or the antenna of crayfish waving into current.
Say it’s a whir, but whir is fan, cool air
and the air here stifles.  A buzz, maybe?
Struggle to find the word that calls sound
to your ear. Not the sound of cicadas
dropping heavy through leaves
but the soft sound that laps
at your feet in small waves:
cricket, woods, late summer.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Lines

by Nancy Scott McBride

brush fire on the mountain
sunset lasts until dawn-
hot dry autumn

Lines

by James Babb

summer day
crows fight over spilled popcorn
convenient store parking lot

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Foot Prints

Stefanie Bennett

Bringing the outside in;
The crimson
Rosella.

Summit

by Chris Butler

Toes over the summit
of mount never rest,
the unadvised advise
to plummet.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Labor Day

by Al Ortolani

At summer’s
end, the humming-
bird appears
like an after-
thought, a (  )
between worlds,
a bit of earth
and spirit combined,
small bird
bound by gravity,
hollow bone and
feather, as much
weightless as
hope itself. Wings,
transparent in
flight, race
a scuff heavier
than sunlight.

Carousing

by M.J. Iuppa

Around & around, throaty
trills & secret pleasures, finding
an entrance to a mulberry’s
cache of berries, boasting
its bottomless lure that
most goldfinches
can’t resist.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Lines

by Terrence Sykes

goldfinch sings softly
amongst leaning sunflowers
harvest ecru seeds

On Myrtle Beach

by Robert Gillette

ocean breeze
can't overwhelm
the smell of coconut oil

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Lines

by Marilyn Ward

sheltered from the wind
in granite fissures
coltsfoot

Parched Fields

by Suzanne Cottrell

Stunted, spindly corn stocks
Of the Berry's Farm
On Old Whitewater Road
Browned, brittle husks
Underdeveloped kernels
Lost crop except for silage

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Bad-Ass

by E. Margareta Griffith

Yeah, okay, I'm in an air-conditioned box,
hurtling down a smooth road,
with hundreds of my kind,
toward a paved hole in the hills.

Red stones touch blue sky,
reaching from sunrise-gray rocks molded by wind and dynamite,
by no means an eternal flame, but close enough to fool my ephemeral kind.

The minerals will be there when our children are no longer our species.
The wind will tend the landscape when the highway is nothing more than travel-crumbs.
Water will smooth and crack the rocks without us to guide rivers or acidify rain.

Stones treat us gently, despite our violent adjustments,
to them we're mere newborns.
their bad-ass old age shows us up to be frail amateurs.

Our tantrums may spell the end of our toddlerhood,
or not.
The benevolent stones are unworried.

Badlands

by Eric Lohman

Pinnacle
Butte
Spire

Ochre
Coal
Fire

Silt
Clay
Stone

Whisper their witness

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Dryness acrostic middle

by Clinton Siegle

I am the dry years turned to beauty
dried plants turned ashes of grass and trees to desert beauty
rain not forthcoming waterlessness area's deserted beauty
yearly no rains creating the areas to beauty
non open clouds draining plant's beauty
ever forever a parched beauty
season of a dryness beauty
season of whether desert beauty.
Never changing beauty.

Blue Heron

by Steven K. Smith

A great blue heron is more gray than blue.
As it stands shadowed by trees lining the bank
hunting frogs and minnows while
balanced on one leg, crouched, waiting,
anyone can see that blue is wrong.

Unless you see one in full sunlight
near noon, when the sun's vertical rays
pierce the gap in the tree canopy at full power,
and it takes off in your face as you
leave the forest near the stream's bank.

Then it's a deep shade of blue, somewhere
between cobalt and steel,
as wings climb air's stairway
up from the water's spruce
to the sky's chicory.

Nature Spills into Vandals

by Clifford Brooks

One chameleon takes tentative steps
from a potted plant.  Hummingbirds glint
like blades.

Opossums adore trash. Last night they
squalled and hissed over apple cores.  A bear arrived.
The bandits avoided each other.

In the early hours,
mountains pour out bearded vandals.  Before work begins,
they regroup and vanish.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Dry Country

by David Chorlton

The vultures claim their portion of the sky
each day, and surrender it
with grace when the pines on the mountain
draw light through their roots
and a glow
spreads from inside.
You can see them from the porch
of an old house, built before convenience
when the miners arrived thirsty
and left without finding
what they came for. The roads
they used have outlived them,
still winding up and around
to where a shaft begins
its descent into darkness, still turning
to the dust a truck kicks out
on a day when the light is so dry
you can peel it away from the suede
colored slopes and watch
Whitetail Canyon erode.

Rain Dance

by Wayne Scheer

they do rain dances
but  have no rhythm

they sing songs
but chant off key

I offer what they need
so the rivers flow

still, they dance and sing
wanting more or less

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Afternoon with Closed Windows

by Olga Moskvina

Today the house burned down with me in it.
The smoke smelled like incense or something
far away, and I went back to sleep,
though it was afternoon and avocados
were rotting idly on the counter,
while fans turned like skeletal sunflowers
toward bottles of warm beer.

Were those the objects I was secretly waiting for,
trying to close suitcase after suitcase
to protect myself from them? The past tense
with avocados comes naturally,
and I no longer need to open windows
that are no longer there.

Virago on the Ocean

by Clifford Brooks

A virago enjoys smooth indigo.
To contain her knack
to knee-jerk push back,
she wears heavy boots.

Not unhealthy or unwise,
she is seasoned.
Four unquestionable words
cement the good news
she’s signed with the crew:
I believe in you.

There’s good business
in smart romance.
Sailing without an argumentative tide,
Costa Rica ripples off
the starboard side; two twisting in love,
now listing
toward mankind.

They get close enough
to smell the sand, then
muscle beyond it
to a valley that splays open
an orchard of olive,
fig, and apple trees.

It’s too soon for tourists,
shrieking children,
and souvenirs.  Tomorrow
will be all about sneaking out
for skinny dipping.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

the faithful almanack

by Richard Thompson
                     
old laws
did not obtain:
that year
frost came
before the snow—
the fragile blossoms
with no frozen blankets
froze.

the sky
betrayed us:
rain burned
the leaves
black
as the looming sun

Morning Mist

by Ed Hack

The sun burns off the mist--no mystery,
but still. . .I wake up into morning mist;
the sun is softly radiant in trees
enmeshed in glowing gems, the dawn's last gift
before the clarity of day. Each gain
means loss, the basic mathematics of
our lives. You see. It leaves. The light explains
the rules. The worlds below, the worlds above,
the worlds inside, delirious with need,
arise like dawn, mature through afternoons,
demand the rest of night where dream exceeds
the reach of thought to ply the deep mind's loom.
Like mist our dreams with their peculiar skills
burned off by day. No mystery, but still.

Succession

by Laurinda Lind

Two hours south, it is not as dry and the grass
in the median of the interstate is actually green
or something like it. It is the same in the overflow
parking lot next to the funeral home, chlorophyll
coming through and even water scattering from
the sky and across the windshield. But behind
the back walk between the lot and the building,
the Little Salmon River has turned into a mud
meander with a pond at one end where every
thing alive in there must have come to coexist
in the same way we who just parked are about
to be alive together in a room with a dead cousin.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Drink the Ramen

by David Lohrey

It rains every day but there is no water.

In Chitose-Funabashi, the puddles are fine and the river runs wide,
But showers are on timers.

Take the wrappers off the bottles, keep the lettuce in the larder,
The neighbors eye our bin.

This summer, lightning strikes harder but the rains lose heart.

Locals don’t taste the noodles, the flavor’s in the broth.

It rains every day but there is no water.

Slater (Woodlouse)

by Alice Tarbuck

Behind the small white house
An elephant
Crests the alps.

Invasive Species Part 6

by Carla Schwartz

Trim the fire bushes, before they bloom,
before they flame.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Mourning rose

by Mercedes Webb-Pullman                    

Her letter said 'Your yellow rose
covered the end of the shed
and climbed up onto the roof.

The dark red scented one near the drive
ran down the fence to the street.
Best rose season in years.”

All through the drought I'd kept them alive,
rationed water carefully, caught shower waste
and turned my skin to petals.

When I left, the rain started.

It hasn't stopped yet.

Salty Wounds

by Chris Butler

Pour the rain upon me,
cook the dragon in the spoon.
Pour the brown into the shot glass,
and don’t wake me before noon.

The salty water around me
seeps into the wounds,
penetrating my nerve endings,
but don’t wake me before you.

I’m swimming
with the great whites,
I’m swinging
within the a rope tire,
I’m flipping
on a shore of carbon dioxide.

Pour it all upon me,
the world and its monsoons,
let me drown above ground
when the levees break through
walls built to fail.

Succession

by Laurinda Lind

Two hours south, it is not as dry and the grass
in the median of the interstate is actually green
or something like it. It is the same in the overflow
parking lot next to the funeral home, chlorophyll
coming through and even water scattering from
the sky and across the windshield. But behind
the back walk between the lot and the building,
the Little Salmon River has turned into a mud
meander with a pond at one end where every
thing alive in there must have come to coexist
in the same way we who just parked are about
to be alive together in a room with a dead cousin.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Doppler Farms

by Todd Mercer

They dance to make rain, seed clouds with silver iodide. They pray
over cracks in the field, summon up a freelance climatologist,
but saturated air won’t condense to drops to save the crops. The loan looms
like a scythe overhanging the end of October. They skirt the sharp edge of it,
kick up dust that was topsoil. Before. Water—they pack it by buckets
from the well-head to mist the crop rows. The brute labor,
his and hers, passes days quickly, but the drought holds on.
The green-screened TV rain-man lacks answers. He’s primed
to evaporate, dissolve into the atmosphere, where farmers
can’t find him. Like them he’s losing precious sweat
at the mercy of the Fates, the Guy Upstairs,
and the Southern Oscillation.

Curve Wind

by Joe Hess

The devil’s latest commitment
to global warning is a strange ocean
concoction with a cocktail

umbrella the size of Texas
growing in the Pacific. It’s been
pretty impolite to suggest the devil

is anything but a sweet and sexy
taboo artist, ever since
Rita Hayworth first suggested

in the forties to: “Put the Blame
on Mame,” as she peeled one
white, satin glove down her arm.

Now mother nature pays
for our seductive game of chicken
with the Mr. Big—in blood

as his final event horizon creeps
like a curving zephyr
through our half-tapped

wilderness, touched irrevocably,
profanely naked, and all
the sacred veils are falling away.

Harsh Realities

by Patricia Tyrer

Predators lazily waiting atop the bluff, patiently alert to harsh realities
hanging over unseen life too small to notice and of no use to coyotes.
Ragged brush covering narrow paths amidst the rocks,
righteous in its authority to squeeze out the slighter undergrowth.

Cowering mesquite waiting for the un-initiated vulnerable to its razor-like spurs.
Secretive flora and fauna ready to entangle the unwary.
Sudden bursts from ragged skies swallow lesser creatures foolishly sunning in the dusty burn. The creek a red running miasma giving, taking.

Sun slipping off the western sky leaving its reddened breath
Shadows barely dimming the high plains
still saturated with dense heat.
Insects rush against the evening skies.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

On One More Drought Day

by John Grey

Wind whispers why the rain won't come
to brown wheat,
to bony cattle,
to falling fence posts.

In the sweltering bar,
beer, underwear crackle,
random hugs eschew the feral hormone smell.

Beneath the rickety bridge,
old shoes ride brown current
to the death.

Weatherman flutters about
on a storefront television,
paints the screen a torrid red.

Wind whistles through
the silence of the cop
steering his car in circles.
July thickens his brow
with gluey sweat.

On melting sidewalks,
by dried up marshlands
and burnt-out gardens,
old men, heads buried in each other's,
whisper the past into better shape
than the searing present.

Daybreak, Drought

by Joe Cottonwood

Sun rises in a dry sky,
we walk a dirt road,
the dog and I.
Rounding a bend
little Mickey halts,
one paw lifted.

Three deer—a buck, a doe, a fawn—
senses ablaze with the twitch of ear,
quiver of nose, blink of eye
take our measure.

The buck has a handsome rack
but I can see ribs, count the bones.
I once saw a doe maul an Aussie shepherd, cracking
the skull with her forelegs to protect a fawn.
Mickey with uncommon good judgment
stays frozen by my ankle.

A moment, mild,
of silent negotiation,
the domestic and the wild.
With such hunger the fawn, at least,
might eat from my hand
before the buck spears me.

The doe breaks first, up a hillside so vertical
her hooves can’t hold. She slides back,
then on a switchback leaps again
followed quickly by the fawn
as the buck remains, impassive and supreme,
gentleman and protector,
what you wish in your own father, frankly,
and then he follows with that head-bobbing walk
balancing antlers into the parched brush
holding our gaze until vanished.

Last Night's Storm

by Ed Hack

Day dawns with mist and meadow soaked with rain
and sun across a swath of grass as crows
are barking loudly through the air. The train
is rumbling, speeding by, its horn a low,
long, mournful note that ribbons out like smoke.
A rabbit hops into the brush away
from hunger's eyes that circle in the cloak
of distances of sky, weak blue, not gray
that shattered into rain's strange mystery,
exploding air and what the crazed world flings,
hysteria of fire broken free,
the world seen by the flash of angels' wings.
There're diamonds glinting in the grass from last
night's storm, perfected by its lightning blasts.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Crane

by Laughing Waters

This haiku it is very dear to my heart story. My father always wanted a boy but I came to this world and when my sister was born they find out that they can't have no more children so he become very close to me because I was a wild one in the family, tree climbing, bugs, mud rides, risque homeless animals and I was bringing in the house anything I could find.

autumn sky
absorbing
last scream
of the crane

Once late September he took me fishing on the lake and it was early winter, cold nights and short days. Birds was gathering and they was ready to fly South for winter. Cranes love that lake and one of them get hurt, his wing was injured so he couldn't fly so that early morning they took off and he was left behind he was calling for them and they would answer, but far they fly he would scream louder and louder but they keep on going south. And if you ever hear crane screaming you will never forget that I promise you, this sound so desperate it will chill your blood and make your heart skip the beat. I will never forget that scream. 

autumn sky
absorbing
last scream
of the crane

Years later I was visiting Big Easy aka New Orleans me and girl friends was walking late right before sunrise and it was time when finally everyone went to sleep. Trash was everywhere and wind was blowing it around few love couples and it was so quiet and to our surprise we heard scream "Amanda, Amanda please come back to me" it was a man very well dressed and he was standing on the balcony, holding champagne bottle and he was keep on calling her. For some reason I remembered my favorite series Frazier. And main character was Dr. Frazier Crane. He has everything in his life, money, fame but no love. So all this create this haiku. Birds and humans we alike we love and we want to be loved. 

autumn sky
absorbing
last scream
of the crane

As for bird me and my daddy catch him with my daddy's jacket he was doctored and released back to the wilderness in the Spring.  

Rain Comes in the Fourth Year

by Laura Hogan

Drought-flamed leaves wake
in bewilderment under
the unfamiliar caress of
liquid mercy,
a strange drenching of hope.

Sugar maple fingers drip
myrrh, precious dew
persimmons gather courage,
gasping pepper trees and
wasting cottontails revive.

Roots remember
Elijah casting prayer
over the sea long ago;
changed hearts
watered the dust of Carmel.

Every living thing
drinks, colors deepen,
darken with wet blessing.
The collective breath draws damp,
sighs relief.

At last you have turned your face
to us, wreathed in cloud.
Your gentle rain
quiet as the prayer
of our very cells.

And the towhees and larks,
darting acrobats
in air washed
clean
of the dry multitude of regrets,
pierce the sky with
reaching cascades of joy.

Landing A Steelhead

by Lee Seese

Thigh-deep in the Queets in wool and waders on St. Patrick's Day,
I stand below a tailout, the water dark and still as Jacob's dream.
In drizzled dawn, drawled and drawn, the ceiling low,
I am sodden, stiff, half-asleep even after coffee. And yet,
my appetite is keened for the electric instant when the trout’s life
courses through my fingertips. I watch the bobber drift the surface,
walking speed. Fifteen feet below, a roe sack bumps along the bed.

Now it strikes! The jagged current courses down the line.
I give a flick to set the hook. Long before the sixteen pounds of
fight has left the fish, before the photo shot with mossy backdrop
highlights iridescent silver shining from its flank, I feel the spooling out,
the conscience-bothered sense, that it is wrong for only one of us
to end this day at home.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Lines

by Martha Magenta

missing
from May
cuckoo's song

Lines

by Ali Znaidi

desert sun…
even scorpions
chase the mirage

Lines

by Carl Mayfield

dead sycamore tree
   glistening
      in the rain

Sunday, August 28, 2016

thanatos

by Lee Seese

in the driest season
anyone around here can remember

embers under fallen cedars
inch up needle-bedded rills

on the cusp of conflagration as
a chiggering itch in all of us

half-despairs half-hopes
to find release

Drought

by Diane Lee Moomey

You could, fed up
with red and blue flashing lights
and sickened by the siren howls
of human misery that never stop, could
slip through any window and follow
the thread back to Narnia.

You could
backtrack your own trail
and know that, had you turned north
in 1981 instead of west, she might
have said “yes” and you might now
be sitting in a different chair.

Or not.
Or you could, reflecting upon lawns
and empty lakes and on the vanishings
of certain birds, either slide into a glass
with ice, or, ranting, take to the streets
and by now, both those roads will lead
to the same place.

It’s been such a long drought. So many
things were never born.


The Summer of Heat

by Michael H. Brownstein

A shallot of cloud
silver gray
braised oyster
lucid.

What happened
to the rain?
The liner notes
of cloud?
The hiding place
for wind and weather?

Nightfall
the moon onion shaped
the darkening sky
silverback and empty.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Untitled

by Stephen A. Rozwenc

through the open temple door
a jade Buddha glints
like an emerald jelly fish
swimming the ocean
of benign munificence

the intrepid rapscallion
peers down
down down
all the way down
to where foolish attachment
lets go
of its chattering monkey self

Lines

by Carl Mayfield

a line in the sand--
       whip snake
  easing under the gate

A Golden Thread

by Julie Ramon

Only the people that live on the outskirts
of town, down long roads littered with
shadows and cows understand when you’re
mid-recipe and need an egg, you can’t leave
to buy one. Instead, you walk through fields
and listen to the sound of drought crunch and notice
the way grasshoppers lead the way. And, neighbors
know the squeak of their gate opening at the end
of the drive. They meet you half way and ask
what you’re making, and you return home
egg in fist, following the step you made before,
the parts through grass. You, the thread
that weaves from one place to another
always headed home to finish what you started.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Dry Spell
(Northern Territory: Australia)

by Stefanie Bennett

Waiting on the inevitable...
The purple plain
Recycles its dust
Into the Sky Spirit’s
Blue-firestar starlight –and
The Summertime
Cut-out whirlwind.

There are no crop circles
Here. No stone-washed
Galaxy. Just
Gondwanaland’s nomadic
Electrons gathering
(I warn you!) The oldest
Of Old Souls.

Lines

by Joyce Lorenson

ending drought
rivulets running
between corn rows

The Drought Close to Home

by Marianne Szlyk

So close to the sea, the Scituate reservoir
contracts to shards of clouds and sky.
Smashed on thick mud, these shards
shrink from the tree trunks and stones
rising where water once flowed.
Humid air promises rain but does not
release it.  Blue sky persists
though towering clouds form.
No storms arise,
even rumors of thunder
off the coast.
Afternoon sun
grinds the shards to dust.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Lines

by Joanna M. Weston

dry grass
in the river-bed
summer wind

In the clouds

by Martha Landman

See that woman, lying on her back
chin up, dressed in grey-white fluff.
Long slow strands of mist float upwards
from underneath her,
changes her shape,
arches her back.
Now she’s Freud,
looking in the opposite
direction, stone-faced.
A baby sitting on his forehead
softens his Hitler nose and moustache.
Now his arms drift away from his body.
The silver-blue halo looks out of place.
His laughter, thick and thundery,
drones through the sky.

Native Climate

by Karla Linn Merrifield

On Dominica rain proves
rainforest abundance.
Giant tree ferns bow with weight
of sheets of rainfall.
Fringe of moss gathers rain droplets to one by one
drop into rain rivulets running
leaf litter routes to rain-full streams
streaming into gullies through volcanic
valleys gorging on rain flowing
into the island’s rivers of rain,
one rain-swollen river for year’s each day.

Rain for farm fields. Rain for ships’ holds.
Rain.  Raining.  Rainbow. Rain again.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

August Journal: Monday, August 5, 2013

by Donald Mager

Afternoon pants uncontrollably.
Scummed over with mosquito larvae,
its water dish is low.  As okras’
spear-tipped fingers stiffly beckon to
monarchs and chameleons, heat hangs in
harsh layers.  The stream is almost dry.
Sluggish pools, shadowed below tree roots
dangling their thick calves over the bank,
swarm with black darts of frog spawn.  The heat
paw-pads around and around the dirt
radius of its ten foot rusty
chain.  It thirsts for shade and whimpers a
somnolent dirge.  Dirt’s baked adobe
wears thin cracks of fine heirloom china.

We Came Back

by Tammy Stone

A prior world of raucous sounds we
Made, riots of clanging bells but also

Hushed caress.  Where each tenderness
Melted like snow a river gone by, anger

Whipped loud, and everything that could,
Happened.  But it still wasn’t enough, so

Here we are, marking our cold re-entry in
Soundless, everlasting space, coursing

Through the warring bits, all of it a kind
Of alchemy we’re not here to understand.

We’re here to listen, though we don’t.
It can only start from here, the beating

Heart. The rhythm of palpation, how we
Wandered for years to get here.  Times

I rest in that pause, shivering, bone dry,
Waiting for an outstretched hand. This is

How I learned music can be touched. The
Sweet sounds that have made us and the

Ache of memories trailing through Time.
We are ruffled and ravaged. The world as

Sonorous Remembrance, reverberating in a
Thousand ways a feared, desired emptiness.

I try as hard as I can to listen to each note,
Devastating, beautiful, inchoate and true.

Gray Hope

by Tricia Knoll

I fold back our bed sheets this morning
to match the rolls of cloud billows
sliding like pillows into the naked hot sky.

My feet slip to the tuck at the mattress
to test the cool slickness that may be rain
on a horizon of gray hope

this drought might end.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sangres Morning

by Maury Grimm

Sun, curling up from the Sangres, the red blood of morning

Nature Being Natural

by Patricia Williams
                             
Sky, sallow yellow and ominous –
     a radio voice warns,
     sirens scream,
warm moist draft, cool dry gust –
     no sparrow chirps,
     the dog doesn’t bark,
     no leaves undulate –
          mortuary stillness

The Rain in Spain

by Terrence Sykes
 
The gracious yet unknowing Spanish rains
Carelessly lay across the barren parched landscape of my desolate secular soul
Fragile - fractured - faded clay earthen tiles peel - crack - roll
Bordering on the dusty receded river banks
From & Of a future by gone era - of today - the unknown present - tense unperfected
Liken to the thirsty desperate soil longing to be drenched
The thoughts of latent seeds - the seeds of laden thought
In a precious gift from a band of seemingly approving gods - above - while - below
Fear - Desire to be frantically - helplessly drowning
In my saline sea of tears - torment - despair
A solitary man shipwrecked on an enchanted isle
Yet without sweet water to quench the hungering thirst
Yet liken to a solitaire ecru flower in the arid scorched desert
I desire to bloom - blossom forth with grand - great expectations
Like a strutting peacock with his feathers aplomb
I held a glimmering - brief vision from the afar - but where
Multitude rainbow colored roses in the blinding snow
While scaling the craggy withering heights
of the Pyrenees - d’hiver - in winter
Lingering traces of the last breath (com)mingle and rise
Rise forth - forward - toward
The awaiting patient heavens on high - above
In simple - silent - sacred - sarcastic exaltation
But the brief yet acidic - sweet waters pass for the barren isolated desert island
Uncharted topography - unknown sands of time - my raspy skin
Too dry - faithless - barren - bitter to accept the rare - perhaps divine gift
To quench the thirst of desire - or perhaps even doubt
Migrating clouds disburse - dissipate - traveling without rhyme or reason
Unknown parallel latitude on the horizontal longitude
Aimlessly following the meandering wayward wind
The revealing harsh light of reality prevailingly returns
With it - my lot of misfortune - misery - daily burden
A gift - a curse - predestination - my oath
In the drudgery of my existence - scorched - rutted tracks I drown
The gracious yet unknowing Spanish rains

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Kanaka Valley

by Taylor Graham

A kink in the road, kind of a dog-leg
kicking east. A snag whose hanging tip
fell unheard in storm. The folks who
settled here would dive into rivers,
pick up nuggets – gold. Seems they
picked the place parched-dry. No well,
no cabin, no hearth. Corridors of oak
and pine. Clouds, a bit of breeze
to stir the hunger of this land, secrets
weightier than gold in the pan.

A Bite Out of September
Trout Lake, Washington

by Tricia Knoll

Last night gorge wind blustered down and shook the barn,
frantic wind to follow up weeks of droughted summer.

Crunchy hard fall pears, some call them winter pears, plunked
down into golden grass. We still hoped wind brought rain.

We got mist. Floaty fog, a sky-lifting mid-morning
curtain opening on foothills but not Mt. Adams. A gauziness

that did not water. The golden lab grabbed a knocked-down
tennis ball-green pear, tossed it as if it might bounce.

She took bites, one, then another and another,
one bite per fruit, the pears I’d hoped to poach.

Those pears with white, oxidizing-brown bites,
gouges the shape of fallen angels.

A Private Ceremony

by Tom Sheehan          

It was underfoot all the time,
under the sprawling pines, clutch
of alders in their secret weeping,
under bank and half scrutinies,
under an oft-remembered scum
of yellow residuals and blatant ash,
under booming barrage of business
and turmoil gone amuck inland,
this river coming back from the dead.

One strike of trout, silver in slashing,
its quick upstream knifing as if bowed
outward from a grand archer, a slight
speckling of oddly hurried hues
gathered loosely on bright scaling,
announced the comeback ceremony.

Twelve years since the other trout,
thick in the middle, hungry, hurried,
slammed into my hook in river’s gut;
twelve years’ surface garbage, underwater
death in the quick and quiet reign,
the dread reach for root and soft gill
too tender and slow to be refused;
twelve years of idle Saturdays,
dawns spent over lusterless bait
and the image of a river buried
in another time. By the golf course,
where the banks curved under grass
overhangs lush as ever, on April
Nineteenth for thirteen years,
I caught my limit less and hour of sun.

The drought came, the dozen years
between the two trout, the gangrenous
river sore all the way to its falls,
winter-tied flies bouncing hitless
and superficially off crested surface,
targetless, taking the low fly-by
for nothing, soft whiplash of flight
whirring into fast silence of dawn.
A river’s dying aches into Earth’s heart,
begins upstream, inland, begins with us
who envy its freedom, its plunge to seas,
its long passage feeding the mother of all,
we, upright and erect, we inheritors
of all we deposit on Earth, at sea.

And so this rite began, underfoot,
below my waders’ light green refraction
in the clearer waters, began the notion
of the comeback, the ritual dues paid
out over the lost years, the way clear
upstream for one lone trout at history,
the spawning germ buried behind his eyes,
a drum beating upon the silver scales,
the whole vast Atlantic pushing him home,
the clockwise spin of Earth driving inland
this new adventurer, this white water
daredevil banging at my boot, moving on.

I celebrated, hurling back into the dream
the capture of my hook, silver champion
of the return, ghost of the missing years
rushing under the soldered and pewtered
wrestling of waters becoming Atlantican,
this voyager on the prowl, this river mouth,
this wide-angled thrasher at work,
this ceremonial fact of coming clean
upriver, a new glistening gone at large
where my boots stumbled where they trod.

I vow now to free all my taking, to loose
any celebrator on this bright passage,
and if I should halt the harbinger
with the crook of my hook, its corruptible
barb buried in his mouth as deeply
as memory allows the undertaking,
I will loose my hand on the hallowed rod,
I will feed the river with itself.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Like Everything In Time

by Ed Hack

Dull day. The light's an afterthought, mere sheen,
not shine, a something left behind, a used-
to-be whose smoke has thinned, what's almost seen
like half-remembered dreams you cannot lose
because they linger in your bones. But just
like that a streak of sun and dullness lifts,
it vanishes like hopes you couldn't trust.
And then, like everything in Time, clouds shift
and light that seems a shadow of itself
returns, a mirror in an empty room
that waits to be fulfilled, an empty shell
upon a beach where mindless ocean booms.
And now, again, the sun, and all it brings--
the glow of things, as if the light was wings.

Bill Hook

by Peter Branson

Bill’s working hazel coppice, cropped
before the sap’s inspired to rise,
a five year cycle, each bald swathe
twin chains, the wood a furlong wide.

Hand grinding fines the whining edge
to razorblade, the ultimate
design, hooked like an eagle tooth
‘n’ claw, part sickle, hatchet, knife.

A slashing tool, one blow’s enough
for most, a kinder cut, the coup
de grace, held back for bolder staves.

No snarling power saw for him;
no goggles, helmet, gloves, gnarled fist
burl-oak, arm sculpted, leather-bound;
in shadow of his jaunty wide-
brimmed hat, face weathered-conker brown.

Shoots bolt, each season adding size,
like contour lines, man-made, contrived.

He bundles poles, above twelve foot
for hurdles, less for thatching pins;
trails brush on boles to shield new sprouts
from deer; relights old fires, that fresh
bread smell, a role for faggots in
his youth, the baker’s famished pyre.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sasazuka Night, After Rain

by David Eves

Buildings rub shoulders.
Streetlight blots the moon's hue, rusts
gullible puddles

Untitled

by Miriam Sagan

out to the west
something burning
pillar of smoke
on the long plains
how can I remember
before this world
started burning
even
an unscorched
Lama Mountain

Lines

by JS Absher

short night
the pinch-waist wasps
sleeping upside down

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Of Sahara

by Andrea Wyatt

Of the bow and the clearing                                                
of the granary and the spear

of Sahara
    in naked beauty more adorned

with bark and resin
with hide and horn
move across the primal rock
the ancient and eroded tableland
of our heart

we are on the rim of the desert                                  
   a barren waste and wild of sand

looking
(not the american vision east to west)
but southerly
from the encircling shore of dunes
to the rim of Sahel
the dry zone

hide and horn, blood and bone of cattle
dug deep into the small scratched fields
of sorghum and millet
of cotton, rice and yams

quickly planted and harvested
in the shrinking seasons
down through the rainforests
of orchids and baboons
down across the savannah
the endless herds of antelopes and zebra
the tectonic plunge
down into our dream selves
a resonance of sound
we cannot hear
pitched high and keen
across the vast lands
of flat plains
caught tight
in the burn of youth

Creation

by Sarah Henry

Human life did not crawl
out of a swamp
It began with Adam and Eve.
Plants and animals watched
the apple cut their teeth.

Man soon lived in harmony
with nature. Zebra prints
decorated the throw
pillows of beauty shops.
Trees grew daggers and
initials on their bark.
Fireplaces burned fake logs.
A man wore cargo shorts
in advance of the flood.

After the Burn

by Taylor Graham

A moonscape – mid-Sierra forest
since the fire. River runs clear again
after winter storms. Familiar switchbacks.
Ash and char. On both sides of the road
stand ponderosa snags like splints
to hold the mountain together. But here,
peavine binds the hillside in vibrant
pink like sunrise after a dark night.
And fireweed – first to come back after
inferno – a whole blooming meadow
of flaming spikes, the lobes
of each corolla open like a blessing.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Lines

JS Absher

dry pond
the cattle are gazing
at the moonlight

Vancouver in April

by Changming Yuan

Don’t even think of
Trying to pretend, but
Just show your most natural
Charm and grace; stand straight
Amidst the greening maple trees
Hold all the blooming cherry flowers
Closer to your heart; face towards
The bluest sky above the pacific
Move a bit more forward
Before the grouse mountain
Shake off the rain drops of last long winter
On your hair, and

Say cheese, you vancouver in april

Coltrane’s Reign

by Catfish McDaris

Fat folks will suffer,
Cedrick yelled on the dock,
we unloaded mail

Sweating animals
in the Brew City post office
Coltrane blasting loud

Quiet men like jazz,
black clouds bursting with thunder
no rain no refrain.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

No Place Special

by M.J. Iuppa

The seam between night &
day is a bluish crease

that splits without a sound, with-
out  having the hook of  a sickle

moon to hold onto— we slip out
of life’s fickle temperament &

vanish for one hundred days of
summer— this hush-hush life-

style— you & I, sinking in-
to soil’s soft crumble.

Blight

by Sarah Henry  

A sullen man trims his hedge
unevenly with many false
starts and unhappy endings
He could be doing something
else. He stops pruning and
rakes away the scattered
clippings. A few brown leaves
do not impress him.

The man shrugs and
walks toward his house.
He goes inside,
closes the door, and
more leaves darken.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Wilderness

by ae reiff

I will tell the wilderness
beneath a bear.

The tail is cedar,
the bones are subway tubes

of glistening bronze.
Come and pierce the nose.

Open its mouth,
lie down upon a row of shields.

Put its tongue on a leash for girls,
that head harpoon you mountaineers,

a well-worn wake of undersides
as deep as hair.

Pigeon

by Chantal Gaudiano

A pigeon with deformed legs
Scuttles across tiled cement
At the train station.
It rests on the
'Mind the Gap' studded white steel border
That warns of the rail line's edge.
Texas summer sun heats bird and metal.
Whistle blows, and metal vibrates.
Train approaches, and pigeon
Flies.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

June Journal: Wednesday, June 5, 2013

by Donald Mager

Humping along in tandem sleek black pairs,
six Starlings glean the fresh mown lawn.  They
harvest  ants and seeds.  Dusk-lit grass glows
in jade shadows.  Onyx feathers gleam.
Bobbing beaks flash yellow stabs and pricks
like toy machines.  In a parallel
with the Starlings’ now, with different laws
another now presides.  Ankle-high
moist tang of hay teems with conclaves of
mosquitoes gathering to ply their
trade in thirst and blood.   They too know how
best to stab and prick.  Their now hungers
too. Each shape of now is as supple
as who observes—what stands where—and why.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Lines

by Nancy Scott McBride

finches in the knotweed
hungry hawk watching from
the tall pine tree

Sign

by ae reiff

There was a sign
when sun emerged
from fingers tips and rain.

A language fell above the breast.
I don’t know if lips were moving
but the hands spoke.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

June Journal: Sunday, June 2, 2013

by Donald Mager

Night’s shrinking band of sky sets up shop
between the tree-lined horizon and
the tent-top shelf of clouds.  The oblique
triangle of Venus, Jupiter
and speck-white Mercury drift behind
the northwest mound of trees.  Applause
ends.  The sky’s silence steps forward in
black.  Behind the cloud tarp, the sequin
gown of stars hides.  Binoculars sit
abandoned on the deck table. The
show is over.  The bedroom door slides
and snaps its lock.  Clouds ooze farther down
across the slice of sky and slowly
inundate what’s left of memory.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Krishnochura

by Sayeeda T Ahmad

Krishnochura blossom across Bangladesh in the spring,
rows of Krishnochura trees on crimson fire, crimson petals
scattered throughout the village grounds and fields,
scattered throughout the footpaths and city streets
of Dhaka, Sylhet, Chittagong, Rajshahi,
cover every district town,
melt like crimson droplets in the rain.
They are a yearly reminder
of the blood of its people in 1971
drenching the village grounds and fields,
drenching the footpaths and city streets,
and rows of Krishnochura trees on fire.
Krishnochura petals still burn memories,
still leave crimson bloodstains on the ground.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Global Warming as Evidenced by Coral on the Beach at Heron Island

by P. J. Wren

we walk with
naked soles across
the brittled staghorn

touch of salt water
intake of breath
thin red stream

Lines

by Carl Mayfield

afternoon sun
the lizard
once again

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Mutts of Dhaka are Survivors

by Sayeeda T Ahmad

These mutts lap up spilled tea or snack crumbles on the footpath,
curl up in a spot of sun near a streetside tong,
till the tong owner kicks them away
for disturbing his customers.
These mutts trot down every alley and road they know,
next to and through piles of rotting refuse,
till nearly or fully run over by careless chauffeurs,
driving their owners’ to the next NGO meeting.
These mutts scramble under empty pull carts in the rain,
till chased away by goons or street kids
intent on cutting off their tails for kicks.
Just another nonentity, infested with fleas and welts.
Just another beggar with no bowl.
Just another carcass among the millions.

Call for Clean Water

by Ingrid Bruck

The lit upper levels
of the world’s oceans 
produce most of the oxygen 
earth needs for life. 

Water is holy, blessing optional. Life began in water. Come quench your thirst at the open faucet, drink mouthfuls of water straight from the tap. Dawn braids a sparkling rope of light from sun to sea to shore, the setting sun a pale mirror on the ocean. 

Wet uninhabitable deserts grow, 
five great sea patches of desolation,
405 dead zones,
the whale-path littered with plastic that whales choke on. 

The surface crackles, white flames dance on lit upper levels of the world’s oceans. Whales sing  joy for the light show, a lung deep hum, a pulse that spirals and echoes between each other under water. 

Dirty water smothers
algae, diatoms, plankton,
fowl, flowers and fish 
gasp for air. 

A fish gets caught on a hook, mouth open agape, lungs on fire, a silent scream for clean water. He can’t pull oxygen-rich water through his mouth and pump it over his gills so he can breathe. Lidless black eyes spark terror. The color of the ocean echoes a silver scaled sky on a stormy day.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The After-Light

by Ed Hack

The after-light, late afternoon, a spill
of silvered glow as clear as ice that holds
the world before light leaves. The tree is still
as breath when something mortal has been told,
or beauty has just caught you by surprise--
a red, thin Cheshire Moon in early spring,
or Dogwood ghostly as the evening sighs
before the world goes black and stars can sing
their silver song of Time more quietly
than snow. You blink. You can't believe
your eyes. This is a kind of piety,
this haunted glow that cannot last, reprieve
from change's avalanche that pours and roars
each second's tick on life's storm-pounded shores.

LInes

by Joanna M. Weston

the intricate beauty
of this tumour -
an unfolding rose

Monday, June 20, 2016

Lines

Joanna M. Weston

the wheel trapped
in its shadow -
solstice

Sunday, June 19, 2016

April

by Sayeeda T Ahmad

The perfect time to hike the trails of the Bandarbans,
“dam of monkeys” in Bangla.
Be wary of capped leaf monkeys, and capped langur,
as you clamber up the grassy peaks of Keokaradong and Saka Haphong.
Goat on nimble feet,
thickset branch clasped in one hand,
instinct in the fingertips of the other.
You must know to skip past the rotting leaves,
hiding python or king cobra princelings beneath,
on your way down to Sangu River, and back on the trail.
Thin spirals of smoke linger in the air as the jhum chaash goes on,
slash and burn, slash and burn.
Better to hike now, climb now in the dryness,
than let the monsoon mudslide kill you next season.

Night Watering

by Stephen Jarrell Williams

Yet firm
Soil saturated

Roots engorged
Lifting again in morning sun

Bent down by rain
Grasslands.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Taking Place

by Stefanie Bennett

 ... Babble along
 With
 The mendican
 Brook
 And look how
 Eccentric
 The risen sun
 Shines.

For the Raven

by David Chorlton

The stone light on a slow road
runs straight past a raven
who bounces from a fence post
with a bone held shining in his beak.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The yard is full of ice

by Sarah Henry

when the hail storm comes.
Ice bounces hard on the grass.
They say an oak feels pain
when another falls in the forest.
Both trees collapse, screaming.
In the spruce, a nest like spun
glass holds an uneasy finch.
Songbirds navigate by radar
and the stars at night.
The storm was all
a big mistake.
The yard is full of ice.

Mother Earth, am I your daughter?

by Emily Ramser

Mother, just before I fall asleep each night,
I can almost see
your rivers beneath my skin
rippling with each breath I take
and your rushes swaying
on my boney banks,
their roots entangled with my veins
and the backs of your silver
fish flashing as they swim amongst
my blood cells and antibodies,
and Mother, I can almost see
your wheat growing
in my skin between the blonde hairs,
waving back and forth
in the light breeze
that tickles my goosebumps.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

May Day Hook-up

by Jan Hamlett

Dressed in mousy brown,
she perches confidently on the cable
and raises her tail feathers.
The fiery male cardinal swoops down
to share the swinging wire.
Facing her, he begins his dance.
He hops over her,
first one side, then the other,
and back again.
Furiously flapping his wings,
he is above her.
In less than a heartbeat, it's over.
She flies east; he flies west.

Mother Owl

by Kel McNeal

Universally solitary
Til her beak locks his
Monogamously mating
Epitomizing gender dichotomy
She lays and waits
         For him
Fiercely protecting
What is theirs

Sunday, June 5, 2016

That’s Actually Oregano

by Todd Mercer

Some people know what thyme it is—lemony or savory.
Most take a guess or else they generalize.
Eagle-eyed forestry scholars can name each species of tree—
Latin terms or popular. Others lose the Linneaen distinctions
at level of class or phylum. They’re content to know
a leaf-dropper from an evergreen. Adam (no last name),
busy crafting Genesis myth, made a word for every creature.
They probably appreciated it, new titles.
His average descendant can’t remember
what they ate for breakfast or where their keys are.
They couldn’t tell you where they’ve been.
since the Garden closed for maintenance.
Some know a grouse from a mourning dove.
If it flies, most people just say, bird.

Pine Pollen

by Michael Friedman

Yellow dust from yellow pines
wring loose
and mist across a paved road.
The intense strain of immobile
copulation. Unbridled from
from cones, not pumped and spilled,
but shaken forth,
smeared onto the lips of another.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Twilight Brings The Renaissance

by Narendra Kumar Arya

Beside my house
Flows a river
In the nights it has cold
At the noons it has fever.

There are trees
that are unfamiliar to me
And I ask the botanist
And they say, we?
Too much old, Very tall,
Teaching me lessons in recent history.

And twilight brings the Renaissance
About the nests and birds
Of too many tongues,
Which are dying for lack of many
I yearned I were Salim Ali
They sing, I observe
Clouds rush following
Each other’s cacophony.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Lines

by Nancy Scott McBride

vixen in the clearing-
her turf
where the strip-mall’s going up

Lines

by Theresa A. Cancro

low sunset –
a red fox skims
the grass

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Home for World's Clouds

by Narendra Kumar Arya

Last month I travelled a place
Said home to world's clouds
Floating there in measures unknown
In forms and feature so versatile
As if they had their proper names.

Sometimes they appeared from the next turn of road
And like a sweet stranger asked to share the space
We were three people in the car,
Many a times they walked like neighbors
And after long walk said, " dear let us return,
It seems heavy rains
Want our company;
But oh! we have forgotten to bring parasols."

It was cold and it started raining
And when the trees started shivering
Clouds brought their thick blankets closer
Wrapping the trees as if children innocent
Drenched in waters from heavens
Lest they fall ill
Tomorrow they might have to attend schools.

Sometimes they ascended like airplanes
From green grassy valleys
As if they have to travel to other lands
Where people might be waiting to see
Relatives from distant lands
Full of tears.

In the place called clouds' abode I knew
Clouds are moving mind of Nature.
Sometimes these lovely creatures retained ugly memories
Inflicted by invisible wounds
When they cried to say goodbye
I felt it was not tears
It was gasoline on my face
Mucked with Middle East's airs.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Who Killed the Honeybees?

by Ingrid Bruck

grass no longer hums
flowers don’t buzz
and you stop looking down
when you walk barefoot in clover

the sting of silence

each third mouthful of food
depends on bees for pollination,
they sustain the food chain
and are dying

the sting of silence

when bees starve for lack of flowers
or get lost going home and vanish,
when thirty countries ban American food
and GMOs enter our DNA

the sting of silence

when bees rain down in a parking lot at Walmart,
red wing blackbirds fall from the sky on highways,
and a million fish die in the Arkansas River,
when captive dolphins and whales turn killers

the sting of silence

half the world’s animals have perished since the 70s,
six gulls in a flock, instead of wheeling hundreds,
when only one Monarch visits your garden in a  year
and few bats rake insects on the currents of night

the sting of silence

oceans turn to deserts, fishermen left jobless,
acid rain drains life out of lakes and rivers.
only a quarter of the frogs are left
to croak a night song of coming death

kill-offs, die-offs, honeybees vanished

the sting

Sunday, May 22, 2016

In May the Santa Fe River is Alive

by Carl Mayfield

In the month of melting snow
the burgeoning river gathers itself
west of Baldy, flowing past fir
and spruce to ponderosa pines,
to gambel oaks, locust trees with thorns
to die for, the sound of moving water
muted once it reaches town, a steady
downslope all the way to Cochiti Pueblo
where no one even listens any more
to the dry stories of what was left behind.

In the Garden in May

by g emil reutter

It is a dreary day in May as rain has fallen for days but today
is a day to visit the garden under cloudy skies that do not drip.
Squirrels scamper up the face of the dogwood that drops pink
blossoms onto the damp lawn. Around the old stump of mimosa
peonies sprout from the soil. Stalks of Tiger Lilies, Day Lilies fill
the bed as velvet blue flowers of Irises bend and bow. Neat pinks
and reds of Azalea are joined by dazzling purple of Rhododendron.
Thick leaves of Black Eyed Susan lift off mulch, grand basal leaves
of Hosta unfold and within prepare the racemes of white and violet.
Full blossoms of red peak out through thick leaves of Camellia as
roses bloom along the fence line where just below blue bells sway
silently in breeze. . Just past the green of Forsythia in pots along
the steps, Snap Dragons, Geraniums bloom in reds, pinks, whites
and yellows.  Within the colors of this beautiful display those rascally
squirrels dig in soil for bulbs of tulips and hyacinth, robins pull worms
from the soaked lawn never noticing the hawk gliding, hunting from
above.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

First Anniversaty Special Edition

Dear Patrons:

Plum Tree Tavern celebrates its first anniversary today.   

To commemorate and celebrate the anniversary, I have chosen to produce a "Best Of" special edition—36 pieces by 33 authors, my picks of the May'15  to April '16 crop.  It is a very small slice of the total body of work, and I left out much fine work.  I hope to follow this next year with another selection; please contribute to submit.  Without further preface, I invite all contributors to view the work at the direct link here: 

It is also listed under the section Editor's Picks above the tip jar in the right hand column of the Plum Tree Tavern site.

Here’s the list:

Andrea Wyatt   A Farmer Collects Plants for Louis XVI
Bruce Harris   The Blue Marble
Bubba Chambers   Autumn Treasure
Catfish McDaris   Loons and Cranes
Chris Butler   Highs and Lows
David Chorlton   A Willcox Moment
Don Mager   February Journal: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Don Thompson    West Side Canal, Freeborn Intake
Donal Mahoney   Nature Boy
Ed Hack   Niwa, The Garden (for NT)
Emily Ramser   I asked a cow if she wanted depression meds
Helen Moore   Tears I Shed Yesterday Have Become Rain Trees for Life, Dundreggan
Ion Corcos   Black-headed Ibis
Joe Cottonwood   Catamount, Late Summer
Julie Ramon   A Trip to the Ocean
Karla Linn Merrifield   Swamp Psalm of the Water Sprite
Linda Golden   A Word
Matthew David Manning   Black Mountain
Maureen Kingston   The Buck’s Baksheesh
Maury Grimm   A Hard Rain
Maury Grimm   What I Hear Late Summer 2014
Patricia Williams    No Photosynthesis Occurs
Peter Branson   Hays Coppices
Ryan Harper   The Clearing
Sage Borja   The Last Frontier
Sandy Hiortdahl   Lines
Sarah Frances Moran   Earth Day 2015
Stefanie Bennett   Journal Entry
Susan Summers   Heat Advisory
Taufiq Abdul Khalid   A Promised Meeting by the Riverbank
Taylor Graham   Descent
Taylor Graham   Schneider Valley, September
Terrence Sykes   Ancient Ash
Tom Sheehan   Burial for Seamen
Tom Sheehan   Saugus, Embassy of the Second Muse
Tricia Knoll   The Word Nursery at New Year’s

All best, and many thanks,

Russell Streur
Barkeep

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Misty Morning

by Ed Hack

It's all quite still in mist--the distant pines,
full-grown and dark, the bare, thin dying tree,
the purplish winter brush en masse, a line
behind the still-wet grass. The day's decree
is gray, again, light shrouded in a veil
spring trees glow through, banked fires that seem to purr
through misted air. White dogwoods float as pale
as ghosts; around them nothing wants to stir.
This silence is as deep as Time, a gap
between that doesn't need a single thing.
This is a land for which there is no map,
and what it gives is only what you bring.
Two pair of geese fly low, fly side-by-side,
honk twice, are gone. Their echoes quickly die.

Gestalt: Landlocked

by Karla Linn Merrifield

Sagemothsavor
batsilence
owllight
coyotenight

If I am not among
the all-consumed,
I will become
a rogue ocean wave.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Lines

by Denny E. Marshall

lands body and hands
wrapped tightly with barbed wire
of roads and bridges

Untitled

by Stephen A. Rozwenc

brick after brick
sown in harkened earth
by anonymous monks
this stairwell of silent prayers
ascends straight up
the puckered mountainside

where unutterable genius
envelopes the highest peak
in palpable mist
a gold leaved temple
beholds the green valley far below
bluer than the simple ability
to accept love
without the paraplegic futility
of desire

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Double Helix

by Mark Danowsky

two red tails lock
in spiral descent
after a crow chase
fall with the sun
glinting off feather

A Lizard

by Taylor Graham

Under chickweed, foxtail, thistle bursting
green between rocks where I cut a path, trying
to clear defensible-space around my house
against wildfire – a glimpse of silver
wrinkles fast away from the spin of my weed-
eater, a flash of darting dark that disappears
into uncut grass, safety; invisible now.
I’ll leave a wide wild swath in my mowing,
to remind how uncertain and ragged
is the world we share, alligator lizard and I,
between fire and the clearing line.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Avian and the Cetacean
for Beau Cutts

by Karla Linn Merrifield

He is the wandering albatross flying
every thermal of my great heart
in ceaseless flight, effortlessly driving

on great wingèd beats this steady rhythm
I pulse with him, his humpback;
he is the bird; I am the whale.

We are pelagic creatures of synchronicity,
at one with the sea and the sky.
It is a scientific fact; it is a myth.

Sand Harbor, Nevada

by Stefanie Bennett

When nobody’s shore-
Watching
The unspoken
Stones
Wing it
And sing...

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Summer Fun

by Jimmy Pappas

The neighborhood
children scurry

down the sidewalk
to see tiny crabs

emptied from
a toy pail

clatter around
searching for the ocean.

Lines

by Joyce Lorenson

summer sea splash
puffins preen
at Eastern Egg Rock

Seascape

by Ed Higgins

Eased by this rising moon,
the tide’s darkening stain surges
onto wet waiting sand. Thrust inward
toward the yielding reluctant shore.

Tentative, at first, this receding/inflowing
discourse of wave, sand, and cleft-split rock.

The ambiguous edge barely perceptible
now against the sea’s widening urge.

The surf out there like a quickened pulse
to the heart.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Origins

by Stefanie Bennett

Mohave Shadow-Land’s
Kinship depth
Is nothing less
Than
       A full
       Moon
In the rose
Window –.

Reality Check at Sea

by Karla Linn Merrifield

To learn
wild stories,
their old calculus?
The gyre teaches ancient cold truths.
Listen.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

That Leucistic Alligator

by  KJ Hannah Greenberg

That leucistic alligator, all scaly coruscation,
Brought, among ladies taking afternoon tea,
Syncope of the worst kind.

I heard their cries, while parked in a commode,
At Randy’s, the neighboring bar & grill;
A stomach virus had unfastened me.

While I’ve shrugged off romantic love, preferring
Mundane synching up to flowers and candy,
Their shrilling fetched memories.

You were no rare reptile, but a common beast,
Habituated to painful biting, swallowing whole,
Gulping the most intimate morsels.

I mistook your beautiful eyes, your special colors,
As signifying rare, emotional limpidness.
All along, I missed your guile.

Crocodilians don’t think on duplicity; they naturally
Graze on muskrats, coypu, plus broken hearts.
Solipsists seemingly smile.


High Noon

by Tricia Knoll

Fantasies will end,
even swollen dream seeds
the red bird dropped
into your lusty loam.

Come a high spring sun,
let warmth pull forward
a green uneasy sprout
you never imagined.



Sunday, April 24, 2016

Whispers of sacred dusk

by Diane Sahms-Guarnieri

1.
Meadow’s leaf-beats of heart’s red maple radiance
falling, one by one, upon earth’s deeply rooted love;
yellow ginkgoes double-winged fans falling like
Tree Yellow butterflies of Singapore fluttering;
along leaf strewn pathways vibrant burgundy oaks
slick as vinyl shine among all the faded and
forgotten, as if each existence only
a whisper or droplet in which the swift moving
seasonal flow rides it over the edge
the holding on, before the letting go.

2.  
Together dressed alike from caps, thermals,
jackets to Timberlands, we easily
step into natural rhythm with the
same solitude and freedom once felt as
children wandering inside woodlands. Old
warrior wind swords through trees; blue fire flame
of sky’s arms encircling; butterscotch sun
slowly dissolving; autumn elms yield, glide
as we hike inclines and declines, then the
sudden brilliance in blue jays’ blades cutting
the air, flashing; and goldfinches flickering
in and out-of  vision before resting
in nakedness of old limbs reaching, always
reaching toward the dizzying heavens.

3.
Long red rays of once lived days setting.
Deer’s night eyes stare into our restful steps –
white tails flickering as candles glowing.
Moon’s white underwing of protection,
as we cross over evening’s bridge,
hand inside hand, whispers of sacred dusk.

Found poem: Through this red haze
Source- John Updike’s Rabbit at Rest

by Laurie Kolp

The sea is a vague sudden
fall impinging nature
sun unseen over moon.

Three stony feet, rotten mulch
a wheel’s hedge: yew shoulders
spread through crabgrass.

Weeds, the missing teeth,
muffle dry bark
as ominous as chicory.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Bewildered

by M.J. Iuppa

I doubt that Canada goose
wandering, then holding still
among the cornfield’s blind
of crushed stalks, is caught in
a moment of forgetfulness
or despair— the way it lifts
it head upwards, just above
the zigzag of the row’s ruin
to see what it’s missing,
(which might be everything
at this instant, who knows?)
it looks and looks without
 moving— yet I am, moving
without answers, thinking
about this— silly goose.

The Future

by David Chorlton

This is the bellowing, whimpering
world with stripes and dark spots
that appear in the snow
when it sparkles and crunches
beneath a firm paw. This is the world
whose wingspan is wide,
where a wolf chills the dark
and light is a drop on an ocelot’s eye.
It has tufts on its ears, a ruff
and a fin, and a dangerous glow
in a dart frog’s skin. This is
the chattering, whispering world
with canyons and caves,
snow around its edges
and fire in its deepest parts.
From saber-toothed centuries on
through jungles of steam, down rivers
that crested and soaked
into memory, by high tide and low,
wildfire and drought, its bright
feathers shone and the sea turtle’s shell
bore the weight of time
through distance and days
to the mysterious night
when she pulls herself ashore
to lay the future’s eggs in sand.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Black Mountain

by Matthew David Manning

It's called Black Mountain,
because of how it looked at night:
a void you could climb
and look out at the city
mirrored by still water.

Some made the mountain home.
Their houses filled with the dark,
slipcovered in moonshadow.
Young couples drove access roads
up the mountain in the evening

to speak, listen, and understand.
Their favorite songs glowed soft
on their faces. Sometimes, in winter,
when they could see their breath,
people from the bottom swore
they saw ghosts finding each other.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Untitled

by Stephen A. Rozwenc

The dust-billed motorbike path
that leads to the end of suffering
may well slither
out of this emerald green rice field
like a defanged cobra

once sorrow
is accepted as permanence

Three Haiku


Eyes slightly open,
Fog lying across the field-
Goosebumps on my arm

          -- Yvette Galicia


Drip, drip, no chirps heard
Look out through the door’s holes
Gentle breeze caress

          -- Alejandra Oregon


Ghosts of her giggles
linger frozen in the air
In the bitter frost

          --Sarah Garcia

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Remnants

by Ion Corcos

Seaweed scattered,
browns and rots to wrinkled skin;
flesh shed on the high tide.

Sand worn down by the constant thrust,
the ocean surges, rushes to reclaim

prints of paws and long gone feet,
fractured sticks and relics
herded ruthless in a heap.

Colourless shells smashed on rocks,
tangled in stems;

only shells soaked in brine
show signs of life, then fade,
as the sea returns to itself.

Seagulls screech, waste time;
they have time to waste.

They scavenge among remnants,
threads of seagrass, a dead fish,
frail reminders of the deep.

Drip Torch

by Matthew David Manning

The scent of crop fires filled the car.
Kansas land always gave a slow blink.
Smoke rose in patches like freckles.
The lake was far, but sky stayed her eyes
like two index fingers by her temples
almost touching almost touching.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Untitled

by Stephen A. Rozwenc

4 unfair arguments
with nirvana
imprisoned in metaphysical hedonism
pea pods

Lines

by Terrence Sykes

hydrangea leaves
clinging in vain
knife cutting frost

Roses

by Carl Mayfield

Yellow and white flowers,
each one shaped like itself,
espaliered against the house,
neither host nor prisoner
to any mind, taking root
where the earth still lives.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Lines

by Hayden Bunker

Mercury glows red
as a coal banked in the stars—
rubbing cicadas.

Lines

Kelley J. White

late March
clothesline sagging with
melting snow

Corta Brunita

by Fiona Pitt-Kethley

A row of broken houses by the road,
a village of the damned, marks where it lies.
The path winds downwards to a jade green lake,
soft toxic sands gilded with pyrite dust,
marked with the footprints of the last who past. .
They planted trees here years ago…They died.
The withered saplings still have plastic wraps
This soil, it seems, will not rejuvenate.
Yet one thing “grows” here in this barren land,
small crystal sceptres springing from the rocks.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Etch

by Alia Hussain Vancrown

A barking pack of coyotes, cacophonous precision
nine distinct yups of the fox that answers me
when wandering the dead of night is an exhaustion
of darker questions.

Frogs overwhelm the swamps
that surround the house and emerge earlier each year
as the planet threatens to boil.

Too much physics to untangle, too much umbilical
to unwind.

Here is a broken thing, here I shape it beautiful
here is a dead brother, here I avoid bones and soil.

Savoring green apples, what sinks gets seeded so deep
gets swallowed, and sprouts—

what lightning does to a willow
how evening rain undoes morning sun
what birds do to their own reflection, here is

something chiseled, here is sound pollution
the erasure
of stone.

What word exists for when the ocean moves us
standing still, for miles, across continents
that are colonized by none other than a soul

what word exists to replace soul with a thing so biological
you can prick its vein and donate platelets
count the leaves, count the loves

what word exists for when the names you scream are names
too raw to be sung at divine, reverberating decibels?

He points out every new hawk that arcs in circles
and now there are twelve, and the clock is rigid
symmetrical, and life goes on, windswept chimes
jangling, noticed in the unnoticing.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Rare Morning

by Ed Hack

A chatty, misty morning for the birds
between the dawn and brighter light, a kind
of pause before real day begins, disturbs
this balanced and exquisite fragile time.
And here's the gold patina that ignites
the tree, but softly through the mist. A dove
repeats its hooting, dying call as light
clicks up one notch. This is what morning does.
But still no sharpness in the air, no edge
that shows this moment's passed--the day preserves
its gentleness as if this is a sketch
of paradise, which some few might deserve.
Another click, the light is plainer still.
The noise is coming soon. Now, peace, distilled.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Bay Rises

by Casey FitzSimons

The trains were first to go, then
the freeway hum.

What I’d expected
was a flood: water’s raucous breach
of coast defenses, the sound of its
incursion on the land. I’d expected
people running from a tsunami
whose surges came at intervals, occasioning
fear and flight, violent and desperate acts.
I’d envisioned familiar establishments
submerged to their transoms, their names
still legible on signs and marquees.

What did happen
was more orderly: discussions
over dinner, debates
in the houses of supposed wisdom
about property ownership, the Magna Carta,
theories of legal performance.

Businesses closed before the water
rose around them, some dismantled
behind plywood panels in tidy
deconstruction sites. There were no
floating palettes, sodden sofas, or gyres
of random debris. What might have become
flotsam and jetsam had already been moved inland,
traded, repurposed, re-situated.

What has happened
is a calm tide of smooth water, seemingly
at my eye level. It is a marsh marked off
by telephone poles and a few pitched roofs
of red tiles surrounded by heaving
unmoored islands of grass and peat. Oil slicks
have given way to marine stench, swooping gulls,
and the dinghies of treasure seekers.

Last to go was the racket of city streets. Quiet
has risen with the water level.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Lines

by Jonathan Tu

Hard wind blowing fast,
Leaves falling off the old trees,
Drifting with the wind.

No Haiku

by Darrell Petska

countless
floating
yellow
bellies

ancient
river

mouth choking
on moonlight

toxic
torpedo

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Apple Tree

by Gareth Writer-Davies

the original still stands

bent over now
upon staves

a thousand cuts
have spread the arse-shaped apples

into common crumbles
and king sized tarts

bitter
the wild tempered whip

green
the merry kisses of May

red
the soft sweet fruit of grace

enough
for wasps and beasts

Clywedog Trail

by David Subacchi

From Minera’s dark lead mines to Kings Mills
Nine miles of footpath for relaxation
To be followed without hesitation
Along the river, through the North Wales hills.
Here where sweet birdsong the countryside fills
Iron was once made, first in the nation
When John Wilkinson was at his station
Forging his great girders, hammers and drills.

Now at Nant Mill ancient woodland stands
With later planted beech and sycamore
And on Erddig’s gardens a white dove lands
Undisturbed by the fiery furnace roar
Now we walk Clywedog Trail in silence
Free from dark smoke and industrial violence.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Price

by Ed Hack

A smear of broken glass is what the ice
is now. It's here because it's in the shade.
The wind-kill twigs, the torn oak leaves, the price
the cold exacts so earth can be remade.
Small bits of night with wings, five black birds land,
make tiny storms of leaves to find some seed
then launch themselves away. The world's unplanned,
except it's not, for need must answer need.
And therein is the paradox of this
catastrophe, this cross-eyed gift of life.
A squirrel ransacks the leaves, the loaves and fish
of all that's left behind the winter's strife.
An atom casts a shadow too. No grist
too small for life, for nothing can't exist.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Catamount, Late Summer

by Joe Cottonwood

Come with me. Here’s
the secret trail. At the edge
of the potato field, crouch through
the barbed wire fence. Pass the stone
foundation of an old homestead.
Enter the maple forest, the green oven.
Bake, slowly rise like a gingerbread figure.
Follow, it’s fine (there’s no witch).
Release rivulets of sweat.
This is nothing, the foothill.

Listen: the purr, the burble, the rush,
the small canyon of Catamount
Creek. Remove boots, splash yourself.
Splash me. Cup water in hands
to pour over the face. Let water dribble
inside the shirt, drip to the shorts.
Relish the shock of cold
against hot parts.

Work uphill now, at last
out of the trees into the land of
wild blueberry. Pluck, taste
tiny tight nut-like explosions of blue,
so intense, so different from store-bought.
Gorge, let fingers and tongue
turn garish. Fill pockets.

Climb with me now among rocky
outcrops like stair steps to the Funnel,
a crevice where from below
you push my bottom, then from above
I pull your hand. Emerge to a view
of valley, farmland, wrinkles of mountains
like folds of flesh. How far we’ve come.
This is the false top.

Catch your breath, embrace the vista,
then join me in a scramble up bare granite,
farther than you’d think, no trail marked
on the endless stone but simply
navigate toward the opposite of gravity,
upward, to at last a bald dome
chilled by blasts of breeze.

At the top, sit with me, our backs against
the windbreak of a boulder.
Empty your pockets of blueberries. Nibble,
share — above the rivers,
above the lakes, above the hawks,
among the blue chain of peaks
beyond your outstretched tired feet.
Appreciate your muscles
in exhaustion and exhilaration.
We have made love to this mountain.

Hear a sound like a sigh from waves of
alpine grass in the fading warmth
of a lowering sun. Rest.
After this, the return
is so easy.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

American Beeches

by Ryan Harper

Walking with purpose to the wood’s heart
I have come to consider the pure stand,
set off from the trailhead (so help me god,
I would have stayed).  Through congeries
of maple and poplar, through purple flowers
oned-and-manyed into catkins,
through burs and knots of what will be
raspberries, I have come to assume the American
beeches in spectral, undifferentiated mode.
I would have stayed, so help me god.

Under the sawtooth canopy, off white barks tight
on trunks—flexed thighs—the light limes;
aglow in this tract I turn round
a single hulk and find carved
the initials: RH

under the knife the mirror of nature

What uses a species whose skin stays smooth
into old age—cotton-batted,
vivisected to a specimen:
unlobed planetree, eyeless aspen,
swabbed, flush for the marking,
cheap for the practicing omniscient—
hewed arbography, spanning
aureoles—arcade, catalogue,
reliquary of the sacred roundels?

Start and stop your measure at the sought
design and any stand is pure: the first
and last maples, outside by definition; measures
focused until even the lone American
beech dwelling elsewhere in the poplars
grows to exclave; measures taken
until at last there is no elsewhere,
no exclave, only interruptions in the pure stand.
Again I turn round the notched hulk

What is this Titan that has possession of me

missionary of the alien work,
who after the uncircumferenced mandala
compresses properties beyond old native lines
dislocates the unmarkable growths.
What befalls the namer in the woods,

the marker of logs, who esthesic
and aching from a native fever
initializes a singular species: American
beech, surely related to European beech?
We can only say “the same” if we think difference
The day is getting on; the limelight bends—
yellow and green repartitioned in the deepening
shade.  O Abendland, arcade
of the burnished hour, reclassify what you will:
considering the stand I take

leave among the maples and poplars,
burs and knots, a  little embrowned;
I did not start here, by god—
I will not stop, without intent.