May 14, 2019

Song of an Old Widow by Michael L. Newell

A breeze streaming light
wafts through an open door;
roses wave in the yard; 
a hummingbird feeder
does its job for an afternoon
stream of visiting birds,
and I rock in the living
room and remember days
when you sat on the porch
whittling animals from 
basswood following the grain
to creations (bear, salmon,
fox, and wolf) that breathed
as they sat on the mantle;
I imagine your slow moving
body entering our home
one final time, draped 
in late afternoon light.

Michael L. Newell taught abroad for twenty years in ten countries.  He is now retired and living on the south-central Oregon coast.  His most recent book of poems is Meditation of an Old Man Standing on a Bridge (Bellowing Ark Press, 2018).

May 13, 2019

The Body's Only Life by Steve Klepetar

Standing here on this solid floor,
here where wind outside
rages and leaves fly, here
where rain has fallen for days,
this is the body’s only life.
You come to me in a dream
again and again
you say your name, a spell
to bring you back to your bones
and flesh. Your anger burns
as if I’ve neglected something
important or left it behind
in my careless way.
Waking is no comfort though,
even with the scent of coffee,
eggs frying on the stove.
Rain lashes the windows
and on the street, headlights glare.

Steve Klepetar lives in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. His work has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. Klepetar is the author of fourteen poetry collections, the most recent of which are A Landscape in Hell (Flutter Press) and Why Glass Shatters (One Sentence Chaps).

May 9, 2019

Chalk Horse by Diane Jackman

Carved by men in times past,
the chalk horse sleeps under
sparse grass on the heath.

Winds pass over, cut like a knife,
ripple the heather and bring
to life the horse on The Ling.

At night he knows no bounds
The moon rides up into the sky.
That is his moment to rise,

shake free his mane, his white tail ,
to gallop over the land,
unseen, unheard, unremembered.

*White horses cut out of the chalk landscape are well-known in South and West England.
This horse was recorded in the Breckland 200 years ago.

Diane Jackman’s poetry has appeared in small press magazines and anthologies, and has won or placed in several competition. Starting as a children’s writer she now concentrates on poetry. She is passionately interested in medieval rabbit warrens and Anglo-Saxon literature. She runs a poetry cafĂ© in Brandon in the heart of the Breckland, England’s desert.

May 6, 2019

By a Stream by Carol Louise Moon

Are dreams from water?
A man counts four river rocks.

Where is a young wife?
Four cats sleeping in a barn;
newly washed rags for bedding.

His hands are burl wood;
whittling tools are by his side.
His hair is graying;
old coveralls of denim.
She sings him her heart
as wind blows through cabin cracks.

Where do her thoughts go
that he should search through thistle?
Her apron is snug,
her black hair wrapped in a bun.
The woman is hard to please.

Walnut wood is shaped,
honed--gut strings attached.
The gift of music?
A right-handed instrument
might be played using both hands.

Who needs weeds, or love--
star-thistle, or a young wife?
The man strives with both.

Carol Louise Moon is a Simulated Client Actor, and a poet who has work published in Suisun Valley Review (CA), California Quarterly, Everything Stops and Listens (Ohio), Time of Singing (PA), Peeking Cat Poetry Mag (UK) and Sacramento Voices Anthologies.

May 5, 2019

Deception by Joan McNerney

Traces of lace cover walkways.
Snow so white it almost blinds us.
You came with a spectacular glow.
I became awed by this splendor. 

Everyone was so captivated
by your charm, wit, words.
We wondered if the sun rose
and fell under that magic.

Pure white snow turns gray
from exhaust fumes.
Hardening on roadsides, icy
frost plunge cars into ditches.

Deceived by your wicked smile
and simmering blue eyes.
Tricked by razzmatazz.  Only mud
and freezing rain lies underneath.

Some thought the fault was mine.
How could this have happened?
There must be something else.
Something I have hidden away.

Caught in claw of memories now,
regretting the trust given to you.
But I will never be betrayed again
even if hell freezes over.

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, Blueline, and Halcyon Days.  Four Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Review Journals, and numerous Kind of A Hurricane Press Publications have accepted her work.  Her latest title is Having Lunch with the Sky and she has four Best of the Net nominations.  

April 30, 2019

By a Window, mid Fall by James Walton

Sunday always has that gamey flavour
a secret tilt of baking dish, the table spoon
of flour. My arm in redoubt against a raiding fork,
the last of the potatoes, salty crisp top of mouth.
Toddlers falling off the soft chocolate of family,
lips fat with mutton, mashed peas for chins.
Mint by the gulley trap in a mauve furze of hope,
turned sweet and sour alight in a crystal jug.
The shank bone boiled to briny float
somehow the first glimpse of fallow sea.

James Walton was a librarian, a farm labourer, and mostly a public sector union official. He is published in many newspapers, journals, and anthologies. James is the author of three collections of poetry. 

April 29, 2019

Defeated by Martin Willitts Jr.

He tried to fight the wind blowing him back.
He had an urgency to get somewhere
and lost, cursing like an artesian,
the language of failure.
Every wish he’d ever had was taken,
torn down, blasted, shotgunned —
every brilliant idea, tossed into a ravine.

He could take a survey of his life and find
nothing but debris, the knife edges of insults,
to degrees of separation, the longing
always returning like a plague.

Every failure was razor-sharp —
the steel mill closed, windows rock-smashed
and turning blind eyes; the stillborn
he had no money to bury properly;
the calico blotches found in his chest x-ray.

He couldn’t keep this up.
He’d done this for far too long.

When he went into the bar, he wanted to fight,
be stomped on, bleed out, and maybe,
just maybe, then, the pain would end.

There was so much sadness wherever he looked.

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).