by DS Maolalai
the road from the river
up to stoneybatter village
is bluff, bare and healthy as an arm
and a bicep, a shoulder in a wifebeater
t-shirt, sunburned and freckled
flipping burgers in july. up stoneybatter
village birds are everywhere,
and couples my age walk
with toddlers and dogs.
afternoons are things which hang
languid like a hand
with a cigarette on an armrest
on a deck on the same
july evening. on my balcony
there's a seagull that's been getting
every time we open
the window. past there
you can see, on the river, two swans
moving like envelopes
slowly through the mail.
Bio: DS Maolalai has received several Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations, has been featured by RTE and has appeared in such publications as The Stinging Fly, Queens Quarterly, The Phoenix, Paris Lit Up, The North Dakota Quarterly, The Poetry New Zealand Yearbook, Ariel Chart and Grub Street, among many others. His work has also been released in three collections; “Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden” (Encircle Press, 2016), “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” (Turas Press, 2019) and “Noble Rot” (Turas Press, 2022)
by Sheila E. Murphy
I used to be invisible, if loud.
You could find me between pitches
in the green backyard on Oak Ridge Drive
yelling at people to stand by
their bases and pay the pitcher
mind. My mother whispered,
"Modulate your tones."
Wide oak trees held their place
above us, made a place for
robins, bluebirds, cardinals
glimmering and making song.
We likely took for granted
the majesty and long lives
of these weighty trees,
the overarching atmosphere.
When it rained we went in
and looked back out on the sturdy trunks
and perfumed branches.
I dreamed myself into those trees
whose roots owned the land.
Meanwhile, jittery humans itched to seize
pale shreds of authority ill-deserved that they might
direct breath and nature in some direction.
Years later, quiet at last, I look out
on palm and olive trees with different birds in them.
I hear another music, rich and accidental,
with dark strands of melody. I sing, too,
finding threads of tune when I walk beyond
the clay and brush and watch the ducklings and
young roadrunners skittering across pathways,
competing with their intentional tiny feet and legs
with all other life forms, enjoined with
the comfort and complexity of us all.
Sheila E. Murphy. Upcoming from BlazeVOX Books is Permission to Relax. Murphy’s most recent books are October Sequence: Sections 1-51 (mOnocle-Lash Anti-Press, 2023), Sostenuto (Luna Bisonte Prods (2023) and Golden Milk (Luna Bisonte Prods, 2020). Murphy is the recipient of the Gertrude Stein Award for her book Letters to Unfinished J. (Green Integer Press, 2003). Murphy's book titled Reporting Live from You Know Where (2018) won the Hay(na)Ku Poetry Book Prize Competition from Meritage Press (U.S.A.) and xPress(ed) (Finland). Her Wikipedia page can be found at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheila_Murphy