Current Issue

Contributors to the Winter 2021 Edition

C. B. Anderson
Sondr Audin Armer
Michael Bourgo
Margaret Brinton
Catherine Savage Brosman
Michael Burch 
John Byrne
Kristen Clark
Michael T. Corrigan
Rob Crisell
Dave Crocco
Max Roland Ekstrom
Irwin Flescher
Daniel Galef
David Alan Goldstein
Bill Guest
Rick Hall
Derek Healy
Flora Higgins
David Horowitz
Page Hudson
Betsy M. Hughes
M. T. Jamieson
Vadim Kagan
Ross Lehman
Dorrith Leipziger
Naomi Levine
Robert P. Lewis
Stephen S. Madsen
Bob Moore
Sandy Morningstar
Thomas Donovan Murphy
Chidinma Opaigbeogu
Maggie Palmer
Royal Rhodes
Frank Salvidio
John W. Steele
David Stephenson
Joanne Stokkink
Susan St. Martin
Paula Walker
Paul Willis
Jessica Wood

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SAMPLE POEMS FROM WINTER 2021 ISSUE

THE DOLLMAKER OF NAGORA, by Betsy M. Hughes

I know young people have no chances here.
They left our mountain hamlet years ago.
I could not watch them simply disappear.

They sought employment in an urban sphere,
where they could make a modern living, grow.
I know young people have no chances here.

As children’s schools were closed, I lost my cheer,
and while I almost yielded to my woe,
I could not watch them simply disappear.

And so I have become a puppeteer,
creating life size dolls for real tableaux.
I know young people have no chances here.

For sports day, their undokai souvenir,
my dolls play ball—a posed scenario.
I could not watch them simply disappear.

My figures are the youth of yesteryear,
alive again, embodied in this show.
I know young people have no chances here.
I could not watch them simply disappear.

Note: Tsukimi Ayano and her friends have made some 350 dolls, which outnumber human residents by more than ten to one.

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FISHING, by Dorrith Leipziger

I used to go sailing
In wild windy seas
Casting my line
For shark and for villanelles
Bass and sestinas.
I’d stand knee-deep
In rushing rivers
Trolling for trout and sonnets.
Now that I’m older
I fish less often
I catch the occasional
Flounder and little odes
Too small or slight
To stimulate interest.
I throw them back.
The few that are keepers
Rest in stored files
Waiting as bait
For a better new haul.
The point seems to be
Finding my viable self
In catching a poem.

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ON FIRST LOOKING INTO SEAMUS HEANEY’S Beowulf, by Robert P. Lewis

Hulking verses hewn from the sea-heave
roar over rocks into salt runnels,
scoring the strand with canticles of sorrow.
In sober tones the scop* tallies
the chronic surge of human striving–
to draw from death’s grip a dower of virtue:
to fashion from fate a sculpted fame;
to inflame the heart to high friendship.
But dread ever dogs joyous days
with midnight stealth that maims and sickens.
Dragon breath mutes the mead-hall’s music,
and the hero’s heart feeds the funeral hearth.
Staunch rhyme steels us in mail of stark wisdom,
and bare words will us a burnished world.

*Anglo-Saxon bard or poet

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ROSAMUND TO THE SKULL OF CUNIMUND, by Daniel Galef
(which Alboin had commanded be fashioned into a drinking goblet)

Drink merrily with me, father!—To our land!—

Our raked and ravished land.  May who oppose
Our righteous vengeance fall, like all our foes.
For Alboin gulped too gluttonously—and
Now Alboin’s rule is ended.  Still I stand.
Beneath the veil he found the world-rose.
Blind, canna-mad, he raised it to his nose,
The thorn that stuck him clutched in his own hand.
Like withered petals I slipped from his bed:
The poison thought I spat into your head
Soon, like a mad-stone working, fizzed and swirled.
So drink! King’s madness, like a scroll unfurled
Enfolds my brain.  My fire shall span the world.
How could I die—when Alboin is dead?

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I HATE NY, by Vadim Kagan

I hate New York.  I deeply hate New York.
Where gods and people mingle and despair.
If not for masochism of our work,
Then only few would ever travel there.

You never-sated, always hungry beast,
You never sleep; you never let us sleep;
You dirty glowing temple of the east,
We are your knights, your priests, your food, your sheep.

You lure us in with tales of gold and value;
Forever running, we could never stop.
We justify whatever price we pay you
By legends of the heavens up on top.

We watch our dreams and spirits fade to black.
Good-bye, New York.  I hate you.  I’ll be back.

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SNOW GLOBE, by David Stephenson

Beneath a two-piece plastic clamshell dome
With painted sunbeams and a trapped air bubble,
A row of flattened people make their home.
Heavy snowstorms cause them endless trouble,

Since periodically their whole world shakes
And their sloshing, liquid atmosphere
Fills with swarms of basketball-scale flakes
Which fall and drift, but never disappear,

Half burying their not-to-scale skyline
And the lumpish boats on their mirror lake
And their Greetings From Milwaukee sign.
The stress and pressure seem too much to take

Yet they maintain a sunny attitude,
A smile on each injection-molded face;
I’m tempted to admire their fortitude,
But it’s not courage if you’re glued in place.

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CLUMSY DANCER, by Bill Guest

Please give me one more chance
to prove that I can dance.
I promise that I won’t abuse your feet.
Although you might suppose
I’m partial to your toes,
it’s all the rest of you I want to meet.

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OPEN WINDOW, by Susan St. Martin

open window
let the wind flow in
caress my face
inflate my space
billowing my curtain lace

open window
let sounds waves undulate
the crickets’
heart monitor machine
the musical’s
big birdsong scene
and the chorus frogs
the tree frogs
jiggling their tiny tambourines.

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A DREAD OF ROBINS, by Ross Lehman
–I dreaded that first Robin, so…”– Emily Dickinson

In white sleep when I was Hoar,
the crystal self, content,
I ignored the glistening bracken
and the creaking trees, bent

above the subtle shifts of ground.
I didn’t hear the stream beds tick,
nor pines shake off their powder burden,
the lake gathering sheets, thick

with signs.  And then, too late I fell
into the quickening maw
of rumbling Spring.  All too soon
began the awful Tug of Thaw.

Now I am Want: A tickling fern
plunges into rose-tinged grass.
Try to mute the bird song echos.
Try to freeze one frame, alas,

no sap or salve uncracks this fettle.
I fracture like unsteady beams
spilling indigo before me,
as tender as the Crocus seems.

Where I used to loll in frost
now I am the Satyr’s dancer.
I roll on moss, bury seeds,
and press the Earth for Answer.

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