by Ute Carson
Lub dup, lub dup, lub dup.
Muscles flex, soundwaves murmur
day by day, year after year.
You’ve never let me down.
Loves flowed freely in and out of
your crimson chambers as welcome guests.
When they departed there were hugs
and sometimes tears
but you never missed a beat.
You were ageless then.
There are fewer guests now.
Your walls have thinned,
your rhythms slowed, your beats labored.
Still, you cling to one lifelong love
with every tenuous sinew,
anxious that you might shut down
should that guest ever leave.
Be brave, old heart.
Let even your most precious love
come and go
as if you were still young
with nothing to fear,
as if the beat could never stop.
Bio: A writer from youth, German-born Ute Carson has published three novels, a novella, three collections of poetry and numerous essays and short stories. She resides in Austin, Texas with her husband. They have three daughters, six grandchildren, a horse and a number of cats. Please visit her website www.utecarson.com
by James B. Nicola
Celibacy is not sterility.
It’s just that I must be a hummingbird
when you would have a songbird. Although we
have traded ecstasies—for you have heard
my hum as I have sipped your nectar—I
have hovered when you would have had me fly.
Had I but been a flower to your flower
or you a creature wont to be unrooted
could we have passed a more enthralling hour?
Could an attraction have been more unsuited?
Say mismatched—but don’t say unnatural!
Hummingbirds, like most birds, come back each spring;
and there are others like the eagle and hawk,
who don’t exactly sing
but sort of squawk.
So what is so unconscionable that I hum?
At least, wherever you are, my unrequited,
whether you’ve invited or not invited
me, I am attracted, flap, and come.
Bio: James B. Nicola’s poems have appeared in Greensilk, the Antioch, Southwest and Atlanta Reviews, Rattle, and Poetry East. His nonfiction book Playing the Audience won a Choice award. His two poetry collections, published by Word Poetry, are Manhattan Plaza (2014) and Stage to Page: Poems from the Theater (2016). He won a Dana Literary Award, a People's Choice award (from Storyteller) and a Willow Review award; was nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize and once for a Rhysling Award; and was featured poet at New Formalist. A Yale graduate, James has been giving both theater and poetry workshops at libraries, literary festivals, schools, and community centers all over the country. He is also a director, composer, lyricist, and playwright; his children’s musical Chimes: A Christmas Vaudeville premiered in Fairbanks, Alaska, where Santa Claus was rumored to be in attendance on opening night. More at sites.google.com/site/jamesbnicola.
For the Length That Green Leaves Go
by Kim Hazelwood
If I had it all to do over again,
Less would most certainly have been more,
A fantasy of different beginnings of starting over
But I waltzed a rain dance
And giggled for days,
In the fallout from the floodgates.
Less is considerably more
Between beats and spaces and silences,
Just before the singer takes a breath, before an artist
Strums a stroke,
Sweet moment light catcher,
Of not knowing anything,
Of not saying anything,
The deepest shadows of sorrows,
Of sad, pithy pearls in private places.
But outside just beyond the deck of daybreak,
It is wild and wondrous ,
And willowy ; winter-less.
Emerald lush climbing foliage fingering impossible colors,
And winding and thriving in the tiniest of places
Grand heart spaces
For the lengths that thousands of green leaves go
Continuing to spread
The lace of love
That someone so richly imagines.
Is less more?
Go tell that to April,
Go tell that to May,
Go tell that to the gloss of a lovely June day.