by Anne Whitehouse
Across the flooded path
in the gray December dusk,
I saw the raccoon
at the same time that it saw me.
Startled, we stopped, and stood utterly still,
each taking the measure of the other,
its clown face funny and sad,
a mask in the mist.
I let out a breath; it dissolved,
and I felt lightened at last
of workday pressures that count
each minute and make them all pay.
A space opened in my life,
and the animal stepped in,
alien, mysterious, yet inexpressibly close.
I felt the world calling to me,
place of my origin and my destiny,
my sister! and my soul’s habitation.
The moment expanded and contracted;
the raccoon turned, and waddled away.
It was gone in a flash, like a vision
that leaves its spectral imprint on the mind.
Bio: Anne Whitehouse is the author of the poetry collections THE SURVEYOR'S HAND, BLESSINGS AND CURSES, and BEAR IN MIND, and the novel FALL LOVE, now available free as an ebook from Feedbooks and Smashwords. She was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, and lives in New York City. www.annewhitehouse.com
Living Bird Loose
by Nathaniel S. Rounds
She paddles and thrusts and prods and curses the washtub over scorched
Blood does indeed mix
She dead reckons
With a Coyote’s tail
Knotted and ending
In a thigh bone
One good eye
Searches out fine fruit
Bondmaid Dina Voederbiet
Of 3663 Sunset Trail
Circumnavigates from the belly of a cast iron washtub
Meet wheelbarrow tires
The vessel’s captain is a
Knock-kneed crabapple dumpling
Suffers confinement inside
Eaton’s finest figure former corselet
Feet in waders tread
Rain water turned to rhubarb punch
Mossberg 12 gauge
Is used as a paddle
Fingernails drip black and white
If blows were books
Dina is a well-read woman
Where the Schulte farm house used to stand
An old Chrysler combination ambulance and hearse
Gathers dust and rust and seats on very quiet driver
Billy “Slobber Box” Schulte
He was the only man in Cumberland County
To have made a million- and- a- half dollars selling blueberries
And still wear the same pair of coveralls
Mighty 100-proof Oedipus Complex clogged the cornmeal mash
between his ears
Billy defiled the rakers
Hoarded junk cars
Buried cats alive
His own fate was sealed
With a bag and a twist tie
Dina’s glass eye keeps vigil
Over the Chrysler Mausoleum
She has burned, burned
And burned these fields again and again
Fifty-nine acres of low bush blueberries
Minus the inventory
But Dina can still see them
Sometimes painted black like a cloud-covered
Sky at midnight
Sometimes a foggy blue-gray
Or a solid blue like her baby’s cotton blanket
She stops her vessel when she spies some untouched berries
These ripe ones defy season’s passing
She drops her 12 gauge in the tub and gets out to investigate
The berries pass from her hand to a small baby rattle and driftwood marker
A stone’s throw from Billy
the marker has the name “Blue Boy” on it
and some plastic lace and a glass eye
A blackbird settles on a nearby branch
It warbles pook-pook-pook
and flits off with the north wind
Bio: Nathaniel S. Rounds is a graduate of art and photography studies. His work has appeared in Scrivener,
Scottish Poetry Review, and Trillium Literary Journal, to name but a few.
by Vivekanand Jha
Till in the nostril air
My heart would keep on beating
With your heart in unison
Till the time we both hyperventilate
In resonance and fall as sleep
Out of exhaust and tiredness.
Till in me energy and vigour
I would keep on striking
And raining into you
Like the spring from the mountain
On the surface of the earth.
Till in the eyes tears
I would keep on shedding
In your loving and repining memory
As leaves shed milky tears
When they are subjected to
Injury and separation
By persistent division,
Cut, break or scratch.
Till on your cheeks and lips,
Rose is smeared
My lips and nose would keep on
Hovering and humming
Like a bee for honey.
Till in the eyes, images appear
I would keep on listening
The music and magic of your eyes
Like a snake to the charmer.
Bio: Vivekanand Jha is a poet and research scholar from Darbhanga, Bihar, India. He has a Diploma in Electronics, Certificate in Computer Hardware and Networking, MA in English, and is also working on a Ph. D on the poetry of the noted Indian English poet Jayanta Mahapatra from Lalit Narayan Mithila University Darbhanga. He is son of noted professor, poet and award winning translator Dr. Rajanand Jha (Crowned with Sahitya Akademi Award, New Delhi). He is the author of four books of poetry: Hands heave to harm and hamper, Spam: A Satire on E-Sex, Songs of Innocence and Adolescence, My Poems Falter and Fall and Time Moves Clockwise Only. His works have been widely published in the magazine round the world like Pagan Imagination, P & W (Poetry and Writing), Danse Macabre, Vox Poetica, Writing Raw, Whisper publication, Tribal Soul Kitchen, Winamop, Literature India, Mother Bird, Retort Magazine, Holy Rose Review(HRR), Munyori Poetry Journal, Flutter Literary Journal, Taylor: Prose & Poetry, The Fullosia Press, Eclectica Magazine, Write Between the Lines, The Adirondack Review, Eudaimonia Poetry Review, Nagaland Post, World Audience Publishers, The Morung Express, Fresh Literary Magazine, Maverick Magazine, Cliterature, Spoken War, Inclement Poetry Magazine, World Salad Poetry Magazine, South Jersey Underground, Mississippi Crow Magazine, Pink Mouse, Censored Poets, Reflections, Future Earth Magazine, Pandora’s Imagination, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, CANTARAVILLE Quarterly Magazine, Locust Magazine, Carpe Articulum Literary Review, Bonny Berries. Apart from that he got his poems published in the following anthologies: The War Against War Anthology, Ed by Prince Kwasi Mensah ( Mensa Press, USA), Anthology of Canadian Stories IV, Edited by Ed Janzen(Canada), Anthology on the theme of America Ed by Vernon McVety Jr., We come from one place, an anthology edited by Prince Kwasi Mensah ( Mensa Press, USA), Savant 2010 Anthology, Ed by Rose And Alan (England) and Anthology of Science Poetry, Ed by Neil and Zara(Canada) and Poetry Anthology Ed by Dr. Ram Sharma(India).
CHALCEDONY'S SONG SIX
by Clive Matson
Do you think every time we make love
the moon is full?
And magnolias bloom white and mauve?
Stars make triangles across stippled black
and Venus sinks
slowly into her velvet sea?
Oh my sisters and brothers!
We make love
when leaves thickly carpet the ground
and cushion our bones!
We make love when oak leaves
blow away and bare earth
When windows crack and streak
with unknown and frosty slobber,
when shades lower so far our parents'
bounce off plate glass
and they can't find us!
My sisters and brothers,
this love river flows
when wedding cake frosting sags
and reverts to sugar, food coloring,
and emulsifiers. When flies crawl around
the plates' rims in myriad
and suck sweet.
Salt on a welder's lip is froth on the rapids.
Aches in a cleaning lady's knees
and trucks with shiny fenders and sticky
vinyl are froth also.
Do we need bigger holes for our eyes?
Do these eyes need holes?
Did Romeo need a single rose
when he whispered "Juliet"?
Did Cleopatra need her cobra in heat
when she crooned "Caesar"?
Did Abelard need his stars read before he
threw pebbles at Heloise's window?
Before I pick up the phone
do numbers need to chime?
Oh my sisters and brothers!
This love flows when it flows.
When archetypes stroke our veins
numbers chime continuously
and they're no respecters
of time, place, or appropriate perfumes.
They scatter bare shoulders
and coy glances all around
and my nerves
know these confetti seductions
before they travel to billboards,
magazines, TV, the internet.
press through your every gesture
and tilt toward
action every second or two.
Does a clown need face paint to elicit smiles?
Does a bulb need glass to ignite?
Five seconds equals half an eternity
and when I touch
the magnolia's at finest full fragrant white
and its petals have already wilted and gone
and new branches sprout anew
when I touch you again.
Our spirits take less than
any second to come close
and touch and the touch morphs
into an old man's scrotum and back
into a cherub six years old. The caress
I place on your cheek is
loving you with both her hands.
Bio: Clive Matson (MFA Columbia University) has published poetry since 1964.
He has taught more than 3,000 workshops nationwide, and his how-to book,
“Let the Crazy Child Write” (New World Library, 1998) honoring the creative
unconscious, is being used by a number of groups around the world.