Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Crystal Vase by Dan Cardoza

Art is magic delivered from the lie of being truth– Theodor W. Adorno

The flowers I clutch are not so much an enigma, 
at least to me. It is my crystal-clear vocation.

I stand as open as an affirmation, with an 
entrusted capacity for emotion, witnessed through 
a crystal lens of equal proportion of antiquities, 
art of science, science of art, Yen & Yang.

If your palette is to bloom joy, say a wedding or 
birth, then I will gladly articulate my choice. Of 
course, long stem red roses will do. They bode 
longevity of life, but may soon be forgotten after 
their allure and dazzle.

Conversely, yet not so effortlessly abandoned, the 
hypnotic orchid should prove a good choice. Say 
in matters of beauty and de mort. Here there 
exists no enigma of apportionment.

Hands down, it is the orchid’s dark peloria 
that can be entrusted to subdue deaths exquisite grief, 
at least for a day or two.

Dan Cardoza has a MS Degree in Education from UC, Sacramento, Calif.  He is the author of four poetry chapbooks and a new book of flash fiction, Second Stories. Recent credits: Adelaide, Cabinet of Heed, California Quarterly, Coffin Bell, Dime Show Review, Door=Jar, Entropy, Esthetic Apostle, Frogmore, Foxglove, Gravel, New Flash Fiction Review, Peeking Cat, Poetry Northwest, Poppy Road Review, Quail Bell, Rabid Oak, Riggwelter, Spelk, and The Stray Branch.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Visiting the Dead by Michael Keshigian

He contemplated writing a poem
about death, not in regards
to actual, personal loss,
but the public act of paying homage
especially to those he never knew,
never visited, some who never existed
until this final exit,
shuffled off to wakes and funerals
as a child, lifted to view
the corpse asleep (as it was explained),
at times, forced to touch, pray
and even kiss the hand
of strangers he, at the moment, just met.
So stunned, as he thinks back,
that he was subjected
and never had a choice,
that he now frowns upon the process
even for some he met earlier in life.
What was the point
since life had ceased to coax their paths
to crisscross, better to visit
the living than the dead
and that had not occurred.
But a suitable resolution was unattainable,
the repetitive childhood experience
manifested guilt in the adult
as he attempted
to set the words to paper,
but sensed feelings of conflict.
The sentences melted, ultimately,
upon the page, and dripped onto his desk,
shallow puddles wetting his sleeves,
the poem, a collection of damp paper towels.

Michael Keshigian’s thirteenth poetry collection, The Garden Of Summer was released April, 2019 by Flutter Press. He has been widely published in numerous national and international journals, recently including Red River Review, Wild Violet Magazine, Bluepepper, Muddy River Review, Smoky Quartz and has appeared as feature writer in over twenty publications with 6 Pushcart Prize and 2 Best Of The Net nominations. (michaelkeshigian.com)

Friday, June 7, 2019

The Packrat by Michael L. Newell

No never no never no
never again cried the bent man to the wind--
never again will I dance to the fiddle
that filled my spring days with leaps, shouts, and laughter;
my back crooks, a question mark
shaped like life, my fumbling life
that stumbles through alleys, down piers,
beneath rotting bridges where children's voices
peal out: look at the funny fat gray bearded man
tripping over his bellbottoms, his seedy old bellbottoms;
I  pass lovers, my hungry eyes averted from their shrinking;
I pass lovers, my ears keen for every sound of passion,
scraps to feed on as darkness falls, as I creep under bushes
or trash bins, as my voice fondles swatches of melody
from boyhood, when the wind sang of flight into perpetual sun
and the moon and stars were a gem-studded shawl;
I pass lovers and stuff the pockets of my  heart
with others' dreams to be sorted through greedily--
I know somewhere in these volumes I cart about
is a life I might have lived;
now even fresh fallen snow blackens beneath my swollen feet
wrapped in rags discarded by the profligate young;
to see only others, or the past, is my motto
as I huddle in the undemanding company of broken bottles,
tin cans, and the mind's ashes…

* First published in Poetry/La (1989)

Michael L. Newell is a retired English/Theatre teacher and long time expatriate.  He is widely published.  His most recent book is Meditation of an Old Man Standing on a Bridge (Bellowing Ark Press, 2018).

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Spiking the Line by DS Maolalai

the rain is gentle as dandelion seeds
but around me
umbrellas still snap
like the wings of birds in flight. mist:
weather settling
as old furniture settles,
sinking as trees sink,
and mossy branches,
dipping their leaves
in water. I walk
with rain on my face
and everything a beautiful
grey, sky grey, trees pale grey, the roofs of each house
on the street a slate grey, peaking
against a light grey sky, running ahead
and on and endlessly, perspective running into itself,
spiking the line. as if the street
were one long sawblade,
the houses teeth;
the sky
fresh timber
and expecting
to be cut.

DS Maolalai has been nominated for Best of the Web and twice for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, "Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden" (Encircle Press, 2016) and "Sad Havoc Among the Birds" (Turas Press, 2019).

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Unspeakable by Martin Willitts Jr.

There will be a day, an unspeakable day, 
when I will not wake up to see the world 
or the blue jay, and they will all go on without me.

That day is nearing. I hear it, crunching 
fallen, dead leaves encircling me.
Although more of the world vanishes each day.

I kiss and hug my wife often: 
as if there is no tomorrow, and who knows,
maybe there will be no more.

And, I would miss it all — driving into the country
to see the pumpkin patches; or shoveling snow;
or male blue jays warning about cats; or slow streams

tumbling over small rocks, or mountains, or sleet
clattering on windshields like tap dancers, or
heartaches of seeing everything going extinct.

Martin Willitts Jr is a retired Librarian. He has over 20 chapbooks, plus 15 full-length collections.  His most recent chapbook is "You Enter, and It All Falls Apart" (Flutter Press, 2019). 

Friday, May 31, 2019

Hollowing by Catherine Zickgraf

Sleet tapping glass 
unsealed a manor, shattered out bubbles,
and mixed wind within window openings.  

A widow has crocheted yarn around wire 
hangers.  They rock now in empty closets.  
Above rusted curtain rods, a socket swings 
bulbless where hands unswitched the light. 

She tries to escape her paperweight, though
most folks will glow then blow away—her 
shadows still walk the halls in the evenings.

Breath sweeps up the dust. Seasons chisel 
paint like peeling pages, like leaves falling 
from her wooden walls.

Catherine Zickgraf’s main jobs are to hang out with her family and write poetry. Her work has appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Pank, Victorian Violet Press and The Grief Diaries. Her recent chapbook, Soul Full of Eye, is published through Aldrich Press. 

Read and watch her at caththegreat.blogspot.com

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

For Daginne

~ Yesterday, I was saddened to learn of the passing of poet Daginne Aignend in December 2018.  I had no idea that she had passed until I came across the message on another poetry site.  She was a kind, caring, creative woman who I had the pleasure to know when she submitted her poetry here.  I published some of her poems and will always remember our friendly interactions through email. I'm grateful to have known her. She left this world much too soon.