I dream of warm beds and wonderful blankets


If Time was water, 
I'd nestle shallow above it. 
I'd flick the sand from my hand, 
feel the wind upon me descend; 
In the gentle ebb and flow, 
warm and comfortable. 
I'd even remain content 
with the precise ticking 
of a punctual hand, 
unmoved and unassuming, 
never inclined to stay behind; 
with its pesky nudge and splash,
I'd still count the minutes I can spare; 
and the wet sand - 
sifting swiftly through my hand, 
dissolving


                                                    Edgar Bagayan





Dead Cat Poem

You cannot write a poem
about a dead cat, he said.
But I disagreed,
because its rigid resting
stretched out in the gutter
had struck me:
white bellied, back striped
like the last grey and angry tiger;
lips curled back
in one final warning hiss;
eyes rolled glass,
in one unending final stare;
a thick but solitary
riverlet of blood
a black exclamation,
to mark that he had passed.

You cannot write a poem
about a dead cat, he said.
But I disagreed,
because the sight
stalked my night
like he might have walked
to hunt and couple and howl,
with tail erect and proud,
a-prowl to do whatever cats do
when we their keepers
are out of view.

You cannot write a poem
about a dead cat, he said.
But I disagreed,
because that cat
was a man like me.
 
                                                      Clive Birnie












The Worst Thing in the World that could have happened

 
We’re not so unique, there are words like this

spilling into letters in other countries, you know. 

They write sorry and goodbye and don’t stop.

There are things happening everywhere 

and everyone’s sorrow is as true as mine, their hearts 

as red and full of pumping blood. My words spill 

out of my head so full of the things you’ve said 

and the ways there are to die or make it die. 

These are the things I work with, like clay 

or like stone, these are the bits of electricity 

that knock my body against the fireplace on an opposite wall.

They spell out a hot blue bruise on my hand, a man’s voice, 

pages and pages of broken bones and wet pavement.

I build with words and your words threw me like words

move through me and out and crash against the worst thing

in the world that could have happened and nothing changes.


                                                           

                                                                       Christine Brandel









Language of Moths

They flutter in spangles of sun beneath eastern hemlocks
their shadows tag ripples on water,
daredevils
nearly dip their dusted wings,
and only ten feet downstream
winter's melt falls hard over the edge onto the flat rock below
that holes have formed,
one perfect for plunging our bodies and
we do, over and over,
a little less startled by the cold each time
the water is warmed slightly by our play,
while our eyes level with the slippery moss.
Above us, the small cloud of moths gathers
in this time we call September,
in clusters four-leafed clovers, bleached, and small
as the sky divers in white at the air shows we watched at the shore.
From cocoon to the first open wing of July
the white lichen moths seem to know nothing of what they are not.
I would catch them with my eyes as they darted like a game of survival
in and out under ledges of bluestone along the bank,
four or five, way below the shade of hardwoods
that gives the conifers life.
Alone, the last moth would vanish,
like sleight of hand,
in the measured closing of the day.


 


Garden's Light
 
From dust-laden glances
fallen to Earth
I watch a lifeless leaf
whither to the Soil's tangled hair
dead of a stroke,
where a handful of Dragonflies
set-sail in their unbound light
and zoom
through the swoo
of the wind
dodging rapid Flies 
and Spiderweb hugs
and Butterflies who batter
their wings, tripping over
the waves in the air
tripping themselves to death
their motion weak with the dawn
 
The early summer swallows
in my dreams
and whitens the trees
and days to oblivion
and then my dreams
become the Butterfly's,
motion humid, fallen
to its end.


 


Hawks

 

The sharp-eyed birds circle in the black desert heat,

Far below, a mottled array of black and smoking warts

Stain the rolling, rippled tissue,

And mark out the coming feast.

 

‘Hawks’ they call them:

A misnomer and slight on a gracious bird

For such an ignoble pursuit.

 

It feels like an enormous weight of thoughtlessness,

A great building mass, devoid of empathy

Progressing irresistibly to its pitiless terminal.

Is this finally that rough beast

Slouching toward its untimely birth?

 

Beneath the petty squabbles of the older vultures,

In the midst of their high-minded scavengery,

Lies a broken body.

Not one being fought over;

A long forgotten figure,

Curled up into a lonely, wistful repose,

Her alabaster sheen blemished in crimson fissures.

 

                                                                   Noam Baruch






Burning Happiness


I love the feeling of my skin changing

the way the sun sears against my flesh

pigments changing color

deepening in protest

that I so relish
 

It isn't the pain

but the beauty that I feel

like something inside is moving

dark brown shows the war

that is fought beneath the surface

and I just enjoy the end of the fight
 

It is an odd thing to love

that somewhat stinging feeling

as the light from above shines

and the milk of my skin

cries out and curdles

but I just inhale

enjoying the feeling
 

The warmth that slides across my unwilling body

and passes inside as the fortress falls

it is a battle

nothing more

and the fighter in me laughs

as the outcome is already decided

sundrenched and drunk on life

my sullen skin shows its anger

to spite it

I love what it destroyed








Cracks in the Sidewalk


There are cracks in the sidewalk

They run like rivers

Under bare feet

And are scampered over

Unseen
 

They feel like abysses

Under toes

But all they are

Are cracks in the sidewalk

Running away
 
Forever and forever

These cracks stretch

Maybe yearning for something more

Than forgetfulness

And old chewing gum
 

Yes

There are cracks in the sidewalk 

With fingers tracing patterns

And delving deep inside

Learning hushed secrets
 
There is a lot to learn

From cracks in the sidewalk

Years had made them

Youth have found them

Cracks in the sidewalk




                                        Rachel Flynn





  The Arena 


A lemonade walk, a giddy explosion of 

Taste buds, red lips and blackberry teeth. 

We trotted and wound a hot tarmac path. 

Up along long sleeve hill, where the thorn bushes 

Bite you and scratch. 

Sunday’s for searching in old Apple Jacks’ dump. 

For cardboard, four by twos, old dusty shoes behind 

A lemonade crate. 

Just at the end of the field you could smell  dead fish . 

We called it Killybeg’s pit. 

Hopping through the footpaths of cod, 

Black eyes that crept through the bed 

Of my sleep I’d thank God it was day 

And not night. 

Steaming through the valley 

Deeply scarred by the hands of machines. 

Towards a sun that cracked a pastel blue sky 

Screaming little Indians. 

As we zig-zagged passed the big yellow teeth 

Stumbling on surprises, things that stand and fall 

With the clip of a foot. 

We tugged and heaved, crack bang clatter 

As hundred sea gulls flapped. 

Little hands pulling and heaving, as screeching 

Rust echoed. The beat of broken pallets. 

We built our Arena. 

Round and round against a strawberry sky 

We jumped and danced. 

Up over a three legged chair, to a plastic 

River moat, forty faults for a rattle sixty for a fall. 

Hand shakes congratulations 

For little victories. 

Even when the sun said goodbye 

We didn’t stop till the search party arrived. 

Crowbars’ mammy dragged us home 

C’mon 

Just another day at the Arena. 


  
                                                               Robert Furness

 





Ballad

You and I cry sometimes, when times get rough and ready, and these unsteady lines remind me why flying things with wings have danger signs. And we laugh sometimes too, me and you, it’s true, because brewing tears takes work, gotta laugh it off, you jerk, irking me with quirk after quirk, I wrote this one for you. In lieu of together-time, I’ll use feathers, mimes, treasures, lines, and sign language (once I learn it) to tell you stories, the glories of writing are like fighting, for me, (because I’m lame), and so I will write-fight for you till I lose my pen behind my ear again, then I’ll stab my notebook (don’t look) until its pages are battered and I’ve gone mad-hattered crazy. For you. This is me topping off your ink-drink (say when), refills are free, bills, well, we could avoid them for awhile if that would make you smile (say when), problems piling up? Don’t sigh. My idea is that it’s all about redefining why problems can’t be assets. I sit and set myself up for failure, and failing at that I might just work up the nerve to say (when, now?) I love you.




 


 

A Q-Tip Grievance


I never complain—

in fact it’s great

when he lets the yellow build up,

I horde it like sticky bumblebee gold

and build walls

until he barges in and swab-robs me

with his cotton-tipped stick

 

the fleshy modern-art façade always

flapping and perking at people

is just a veneer,

all my actual work is

handled by internal affairs

intimately supervising his

rumbling       grumbling       thoughts—

considering both sides of the argument

 

the monotonous drone of logic marching

persistently onwards (left…left…left)

and the melodic undulations of creativity

harmonizing beautifully in reply:

the grating duet of intelligence

 

it takes some conforming, but the

contemplation vibrations become soothing

(after a while) and the problem

is he’s addicted to decibels—

he devours them like blueberries

overdosing as policy

and if there’s good music out there

he can’t find it

 

permanent hiatus isn’t out of the question

it’s been done but it takes practice

and hey,          

I never complain—

so for now, all I can do in revenge

is move fluid around and swell things,

he’s not so fond of the drums then.

 


                                                       Ben Gehrels

 

Izzy



head like a poached egg settled deep in the neck: rings of wrinkles 

bury it,

eyelids closed and opening again like the automatic doors separating

the sidewalk from the produce section. I wonder if the skin

would be that shade of blue—a glow stick before it’s cracked—

if the WHITE ELECTRIC bulbs did not run the length of the tank.

she must sense the difference between filtered fluorescence and 

sunlight

floating through specks of sand.


the black rough splotches like leaked oil on a concrete lot dapple

every coursing foot—you’ve woken up, bubbles cling to the

tubule nose, to the pointed mouth—and the water gets pushed 

around.

my purple-polished finger gets you going following turning the eyes

to catch the next movement and I think, so elegant and so 

smart—that shell

merely covers one of those vacuuming robots that move about 

sensing

turns, edges, chair legs—but


You’ve charged me.

The mouth opens rubs against the glass flashing

A moment of no teeth just pink tongue—

Reminding me of an infant’s round toe.



Strawberry



A bitten-lip-red skin studded with seeds

Is bumpy smoothness when in contact with the tongue,

Detecting the sweetness of the point

Of the conical fruit once a small bite is taken.

Not to be gobbled down, but nibbled slowly,

Relishing the growing tart sensation as it sheds

Its red color, the white ring around the head of the berry

Steals attention away from the ridged leaves—relegating them

Merely to sparse, short handle. The addition of sugar

Is wasted; the sourness at the end of the sweet is meant

To remind us.

 

 

                                                                                                       Michele K Johnson







Summer 1962


 
That blistering summer that Aunt Bertha’s blueberry crunch pie

finished fourth in the national semifinal,

the one your brother threw down that ditch

just because.  Hot arid afternoons spent with Tom’s aging beagle

taunting that kid in a wheelchair,

combing in Paul’s Perfect Pomade in an effort to appear dapper
 

for the ladies.  While the sweat stained your dapper

white Hanes and you contemplated how pi

would actually affect your life, you rode the back of that wheelchair

during the boxcar derby semifinal,

the droopy-lidded beagle

nipping at your ankles.  That dirty ditch-
 

your first tits.  That dirty ditch-

dreams were made, bodies were snatched, panties were hung 

delicately by Dapper

Dave, the black aviators covering his beagle-

eyed gaze, the scent of chicken pot pie

perfuming the air over the din of the crickets.  It was your semifinal-

e, the almost-but-not-quite crowning achievement, next to stealing 

the cripple kid’s wheelchair.
 

You were so proud to possess that wheelchair

converting it to your easy chair while you ditch-

ed your friends during the semifinal.

“Donald Duck was never so dapper,”

a giggle and a smile, a taste of the cherry pie,

lavender and honey-vanilla in her hair, the coarse fur of the beagle

 
grazing her fingertips.  The soft pink beagle

tongue tasting her toes as they draped off the wheelchair

and the two of you discovered the mysteries of pi,

the romantic enclosure of the branches above the ditch

creating the perfect pristine moment.  You forgot your efforts to be 

dapper

as her soft skin and vanilla tresses tickled your tongue in the last 

round of the semifinal.
 

She motioned for you to take it slowly; “this is only the semifinal”

and so you take a breather, motioning for Johnson to take his beagle 

for a walk.  You comb your hair, straighten your collar while Dapper

Dave’s panties blow in the wind.  She straightens herself in the 

wheelchair

noticing the growing audience in your ditch,

Tommy Nelson eating the remnants of the sticky cherry pie.
 

And there it is: her loveliness against the harsh glare of the 

wheelchair,

the noise and crowd in the ditch

as the sun goes down with the sweet scent of pie.



                                                            Samantha Knapp





                        John Brown 
 
__________________________________________
 
76/5 Wood Street, Dublin, 1st April, 1901
 
 
A piece of leather held in his two hands

Would make the uppers of two boots.

He pulled at its edges, stretching it gently,

Rubbing the smooth hide with his thumbs, 

His forefingers feeling the velvet.

The honeyed fumes of his wooden workshop filled him;

Strips and patches of golden skin breathing still.

The polished steel head of his little anvil caught the morning sun;

His hammers hanging on nails above the workbench.

 

They were still asleep upstairs.

He had a picture of Bridget in his heart;

The day they married in County Clare,

Her soft voice and eyes echoing, 

The lace she wore, down to her buttoned boots.

He kissed her lips like they were plums.
 

The kettle came to the boil and he lifted it from the stove. 

He made a pot of tea, heating two white tin mugs.

Climbing the stairs he could hear the girls stirring,

Richard mumbling something in his sleep.
 
                                                                                       


                
                                    Matthew Dowling

_____________________________________________________

 

39 St Martin’s Terrace, Chapelizod, Sunday 31st March, 1901

 

Bridget pulled the stool in closer to the square piano
Broadwood, supplied by J.B. Logier of Sackville Street
Fixing herself and turning the page over and back twice
She knew the piece well but these little rituals helped everyone settle down

Mathew turned down the wick on the second lamp
Checking with his raised eyebrows if her mother was all right
Mrs Gorman patted her lap with both hands
He gave his handlebars a little twist at their extremities
Tugged on his waistcoat and sat back into the chair by the fire

'Silent Oh Moyle be the roar of thy water'
They loved that one
The little key change at the end of the first line
It was such a sad little song, but so Irish
Lir’s lovely daughters or was it his lonely daughters?

He poked the fire and put another log on
The sparks were dancing now to Love’s old Sweet Song
‘Once in the dear dead days beyond recall’
He flipped the cover on his pocket watch
I’ll stretch my legs I think, he said
What do you think William?
Pulling the silver-topped cane out of the hallstand
They could hear his heels on the cream and wine tiles
Pulling the door of thirty nine behind him
Making his way to the Tap, for just the one

 

 
                                   John Drake
 
________________________________________
 
 
            Castleknock, County Dublin, 1st April 1901
 
 
 
The geraniums in the front porch were cut back to their bare bones
John Drake’s pig was huffing and puffing, trying to get comfortable
Mary Kate’s navy pinafore was hanging over a chair
Her boots parked neatly under her bed
The Stable Man was dreaming that a man and a boy had walked through his terraced cottage
In the front door and out the back, without as much as a word
They climbed with purpose out over the back fence, to pick wild mushrooms
 





                                                              Hay Machine (e)
 




Cat Knowledge

 
These whiskers are conductors,

a tuning fork in each spoke.

Music is sensed in the stillest

still.

From this windows’  the blue beads 

veils lift for the wondrous glimpse:

"moksha" the gift

of those distant robins,

their mahogany bellies

telling of the frail, 

the indestructible.

 

In response

these feline synesthetes

purr color back, such sherbet

bubbles in those consonants.

Purple, purple 

is their favorite mantra

to chant for the aura of what

is good.
 

All is, and true, their furred

triangle faces resting on a paw

in mesmerism

the way one might cup the chin

of a lover, the way a God

we only know in mystery

cups what we call home or Earth.
 

Behold that palette,

the changeable clay orb

despite all which is merciless.
 

Surely there is innocence

beyond the demonic eyes of gold.
 
 
                                                 Stephen E. Mead





You Are Sitting in Your  Room Again 
 
 
Your head is
Upside-down on
Your neck, yet
 
Out the open window
Behind you the railroad
Tracks recede
 
Neatly to their
Vanishing point
In the clouds.
 
You grasp a knife
And it’s clear
You’re not above
 
Anything that others
Might consider
Dirty tricks.  You
 
Gaze here and there
Through peepholes
In the frame
 
Of night, while
Out the door
A clear day takes
 
Different paths
To the same
Destination.
 


                                            Laura  Eileen Merleau


For Selwyn
 
Saw him quietly in the corner
of his train seat
coughing once in awhile
a burp now and then.
 
Later on I looked beyond his 
shuffle, the way 
he cradled his hand. 
 
A stroke? the boldness
of my question.
 
Yes, he answered shyly. 
I had one too, and 
our friendship began.
 
Off to Toronto, he says
words tumbling quickly,
to my son’s wedding. I’m from 
Yorkshire. 
Great country, Canada 
and 18 years later still  
huge to travel it all.
 
Tiredness soon captures 
his chatty voice, 
got to rest he says 
as the attendant approached. 
 
Selwyn orders a pillow 
and winks, good for hiding 
beer farts in the night. Know 
something? He’s right.
 


 
   

Tongue of my youth              
 
is a photo-copier of memory
remembers the taste of porridge, 
and cod liver oil, spinach too 
then corn flakes arrives, scrub ball 
in the backyard, even 
swimming in leech-filled lakes
 
now I am subdued in a fast 
lane of an Indiana 500 world, 
racing kites no longer an option
nor hurrying my canoe
through the slap of summer’s storm.
 
In the domain of aging years  
I am like a voyeur astride roads,
slower in the seasons of life. I am a 
trickle of the greater one 
I once was. 


                                                                       

                                                    Richard L. Provencher



            

     Letter to My Long-Term Husband

                   Written at a writing conference and never sent.

 

I want you to wait under our Oak trees,
water my tomato plants, pick the last peony
and miss me like Donald Hall misses Jane.

I want you to remember
this isn’t the first time I have left you
And, Honey, remember the body that carried your children,
the breasts that no one else has touched in thirty some years,
my office with its piles of papers
never to be sorted in the way you think  right,
my purple clematis brought from the old house,
my grandmother’s thimble,
your mother’s wedding ring in my drawer,
her ashes in the gold and green box on your closet shelf,
the children we almost has, our children,
my hair in the sink, on your brush, your pillow,
the Christmas cactus that was my mother’s,
O, visit my mother she forgot my name Thursday.

Remember the room where we first made love,
the tangled sheets, the slant of sun,
my body young as yours-- remember

I want you to remember, because
if you block my sun again;
I will leave you with the ashes and Oak trees.
This time I really will.


                                                   Linda Leedy Schneider



Previously published in:

 

Not A Muse, The Inner Lives of WomenA World Poetry Anthology (Haven Books, 2009)




And grandma, what sharp teeth you have...


How will you gather your food today;
If you threw a spear in the fridge
Would it hit anything worthwhile?

Have you wondered
What it might be like to wear woad
Into work this week,
And drink mead from the hollowed hoof of a reindeer?

Are those really your friends;
Would you eat the weakest one in winter
And throw their bones to your dog,
If it came to that?

When was the last time
You picked up the phone for joy,
Or felt truly afraid?
If the lights went out for good
What kind of parent would you be then?
What kind of man?
(Could you find your morals in the dark?)

Inside you is another -
Sharper of tooth,
With muscles that twitch -
If you had the will,
You could be at the front of the queue
Right now.



Apples


The voice that bubbled up from deep
Surprised me,
And I had to keep
Blinking at the apples
To make sure they were there.

Fingers roughly took my arm,
Itched a bit to do me harm,
And I had to keep calm by
Blinking at the apples
To make sure they were there.

‘We’re closing up, you’re going home.’
No room for waiting in his tone,
Yet I yearned to be alone,
Blinking at the apples
To make sure they were there.

I felt that
If I moved my feet away
From all the perfect neat
Apples
They would disappear,
And I felt they felt this, too,
And kept me near.

                                               Sid Sherwin

Re-minded


I’m reminded to write what
happens to me.
It happens to be
Bernadette
reminding me from her
book of sonnets written
       far and
               long ago.
Sounds like a song
blowing in, and because the wind is
calm I hear it
and because the sun is
tempered by leaves
I stay to listen
because the neighbor’s dog stopped
barking to be petted,
being like the rest of us
       only more so, or what’s this
sound my pen makes
if not
       loving barks?
I question mark.
I scribble sounds
my mind decides on, my mind
the judge
I trust.
Don’t let me down, mind,
I hear my mind
tell me to say,
and I obey.





Home


Why after reading the phrase
“going home” did I
picture a wet, uneven
sidewalk—
       that back street
south of the hotel the night
after a rain we
       ended up . . .
                       where?

The rest of the evening’s
               forgotten.
Only those moments walking
       carefully
to avoid slipping
in the dark, our
arms linked,
               excited
to be alive together in a
foreign city
       with no sure
destination, no one
whom we knew,
       ourselves only
       to rely on—

like the first time we
found each other
and discovered,
       finally,
we were
comfortable in the world.





Dream   Walk   Return


In this recurring dream—dream

of a dream, or dreaming

that I dreamt—I’m

leaving here, you, this night, having

decided I will walk

to Chicago, across, first, empty fields but,

then, at a cliff’s edge overlooking

water, no place to

step but through a kitchen,

apologizing to the people whose

children show me their kittens, eyes

still not open; then, continue

through the living room and

out to where there’s

space, finally, a street,

but then remember that it’s

night, moon glistening on dark water,

a canal I need to cross near

oil tanks, tiny lights on top and

refinery metallic superstructures

like in New Jersey childhood, try to

remember how I crossed it last time—

(was there a narrow bridge?)   because past

the canal and beyond oil tanks are

city lights, Chicago, though where, what

street, which dim-lit building with steps

climbing to the door—knowing

I don’t live here any more yet

confident that walking long enough

along enough apartments, alleys, streets I’ll

find a door I’ll know is

right to enter.

 


 

We haven’t been to the woods lately


Around the bend where two stumps across

from each other

wait for us to come and sit.


It’s not the urban world any longer—

exhaust fumes, buildings, the noise of people.

It’s just us and the trees, the trail, barely marked, curving

deeper into the pine and aspen that crowd out the sky and

give off an intimacy—in the silence

and stillness.

If our blood coursed slowly enough to enable us to

sit for years, we might absorb the stillness

the way our clothes take on the scent of

pine needles and moss.

We might become as silent

as those birds whose movements high up in the

canopy can be detected only

peripherally.

 

                                                     

 

Minimally


Sitting here with music, slippers
off, and the coaster of Goya’s
“maja desnuda”
on the coffee table.
Windy outside, though sunny.
Jill went away, but just a while.
I’ve seen hardly any friends
lately.  Time just
passes, and you notice.
The sheet music
on the piano
       open and ready
to have someone play,
the way the day
passes, looking bright and pretty for
anyone
               to notice.
Even at night it’s
pleasant on the eyes, though
bright only under streetlights
or those rows of
       Christmas lights
outside some restaurants, such as the fancy
burger place where you got fixings
for yourself
               but has now become
Italian, and so
we don’t like it—
although some things do
stay the same, the look
out the window,
for example—blue
past the junipers and parts of
roofs and walls
   of houses.  Sometimes
a car passes, adding
motion.  People need so little
to make life
worthwhile.


                                                 Joseph Somoza

Kicking Sand in the Face of Indolence


 
It sits, like a wet cotton ball.
Covered with dust, hair,
and false starts.
 
Hours have dropped from the clock,
the insolent wind has carried them away.
But time still goes, and goes, and goes.
 
The cotton ball? It lies, it lies,
it stays put. Festered. Festering.
Willful, but left without device.
 
What’s been muddied in the mind of it?
How many tires have squealed by
and yet it does not flinch?
 
It is restless, waiting for a wave to crash,
to wash away the washed-up rhetoric
which convinced it it had nothing left to say.
 
To leave its dead crab countenance
on the shore of this black-ink sea—
And my brand new feet come by
 
and kick on it the white sands.
To cover it. To bury it.
To see it dead, and something new arise.
 
 
                                                              Jason Sturner


           Warning (or The Martian Chronicles
          He came in a metal thing that glittered in the sun.
                                ~Ray Bradbury 
 

Not ice storms. Not thunderstorms. 

Not monsoons, tornadoes, or snowstorms.

Solar storms, they don’t bother me.
 

Maybe it’s because the radio says buy

water in jugs or cans of baked beans

and THIS IS A WARNING FROM YOUR…
 
Sirens circle every fifteen minutes 

but nothing ever touches down.

The red banner announces: no work, 

no school, the city has surrendered 
 

to the chaos of snowflakes and ice.

River water climbs into fields, roads, 

a university. All of us swallowed by rain.
 

Maybe I should shudder or sob 

or carry cyanide in a hollow tooth

or get in the car real quick and drive 
 

for that one thing I’m going to need

when the electric lines loop through the garden

and drape on the neighbor’s swing-set.
 

Even now I watch the trees gutter

and the wind tongues the house.

I can almost hear the words, something like:

The Martians have landed. You’re free.




After Watching a Martian Marathon on Cable

 
I don’t know what Martians eat. They might eat

potatoes or human caviar. I don’t know 
 

what they wear to dances or how they move 

their limbs in gravity or if beats propel them 
 

to sway, gyrate, and touch. I don’t know 

what I’d do if Martians arrived at my door 
 

or melted through the walls or crawled inside 

me, turning me into a them. If they called, 

 
I’d probably not answer because of the number,

thinking it was that automated voice
 

to tell me, again, my warrantee is about to expire,

when I know my 1991 car doesn’t even start.
 

If area 51 and Roswell are big lies, I don’t know,

or Devil’s Tower or boys on bicycles who fly
 

mid-air with one in a crate. I don’t know 

if they abduct us to cut into our inner worlds. 



The Trouble with Martians is They Don’t Fit In

 
On the playground, they’re the ones in the sandbox

full of cat turds. In the office, no birthday cards
 

decorate their cubicles, and at lunch, they sit alone

by the microwave. At parties, they’re not spaced-out
 

wallflowers. They’re the cluster of green bodies

gyrating ahead or behind the beat. They’re in line 
 

for the cash bar and clasp half drunk domestics.

They’re the few who sidle up and make small talk
 

with the neurotic seven grade school teacher

or the nurse who covers the nightshift at the ER.
 
The problem is, wherever they congregate, the humans
disperse like roaches caught in 5 AM kitchen light.




                             Enemy Mine

 
Though the film isn’t set on Mars, the Martians tremble.

They ask, why the humans shoot missiles at enemy ships,

 
why the explosion of a vessel promotes cheers, why

the only woman of color in the whole movie incinerates 
 

within the first five minutes. They fidget over death scenes, 

over crash landings, over the pistol, knife, and laser gun. 
 

They ooh and ahh at the crescent moons, the meteor showers,

at the landscape of red. They whisper to each other, Home.  


 

The Martians Order 
 
new shoes. Six pairs 

of sandals arrive 

in pastel and brass 

 
with cork foot beds.

Their three-toed feet 

slip inside to test 
 

the hallway catwalk. 

Galoshes appear

in another box. 
 

Rubber knee-highs 

that suction 

to the linoleum. 

 
The Martians giggle,

and dash into the rain

to puddle jump 
 

slugs and night crawlers

aligned on the sidewalk 

like trails of falling stars. 


                                                         Laura  Madeline Wiseman
                  


              




Noam Baruch lives in San Francisco, CA. He is currently attending the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in the Creative Writing program. 


Clive Birnie lives in Portishead in SW England. He has recently had poems published in Popshot and Snakeskin Magazines.


Christine Brandel is a British-American writer from the East Midlands and the Midwest. She currently teaches writing at a community college in Indiana. She believes that Everyone Needs an Algonquin.

Edgar  Bagayan was born in Yerevan, Armenia in November of 1984.  He moved near Burbank studios over by Toluca Lake at a young age, and has since then, for better or for worse, remained there.  As a raw youth, he enjoyed reading the Russians and the French.  Nevsky Prospect lingered in his dreams but for a more practical option he majored in English at The University.  He's not sure but he thinks he should read 1984 all over again.   His poetry has appeared in a couple online anthologies, which he later found out were scams.  He currently spends his time playing chess, watching films set in the underbelly of Copenhagen, and hopes to one day work up the nerve to skydive.

Rachel Flynn
  is 18 years old and at Colby-Sawyer College for creative writing. She has been writing for most of her life and has gone to writing conferences (including the Iowa Young Writer's Studio) to help with her writing. Though she likes mostly fiction, she loves poetry and have been published in her high school's literary magazine and on teenink.com. 

Robert Furness is a poet, living in London. He is 43 years of age and works as a Primary School Teacher. He likes to write about themes related to childhood, specifically those that relate to his own in Ireland.

Ben Gehrels writes to make writing matter. He has been published in magazines such as All Rights Reservedditch, and The Antigonish Review. He is a graduate of St. Francis Xavier University, and edits The Writers Block on an ongoing basis. He gets irritated when other writers write (whine) about the difficulty of writing.

Michele K. Johnson  will be entering her senior year at St. Mary's College of Maryland in Southern Maryland. Another poem of her poems will be published in the forthcoming fifth volume of the Ampersand Review. Michele loves writing about things in a way that surprises people and helps them to look at something familiar in a different way. Besides writing, she loves rock climbing and cooking. Michele is currently mulling over pursuing an advanced degree in creative writing.


Samantha Knapp is a student at Hofstra University, graduating this May.  She is an English-Literature and Creative Writing major, with a poetry concentration and have been writing for over ten years.  Samantha's work was featured in Hofstra's literary magazine, Font, and as a featured poet on "Calliope's Corner" radio program.  She is taking next year off to contemplate her future and decide between academia or law.  

Stephen Mead is a published artist, writer, and maker of short collage-films living in NY.  His latest Amazon.com release, “Our Book of Common Faith”, a poetry/art hybrid which explores world cultures and religions in hopes of finding what bonds humanity as opposed to divides.

Laura Aileen Merleau was born and grew up in the Kansas City area and received a doctoral degree in American Literature from the University of Kansas in 2000.  Her novella Little Fugue was published by Woodley Memorial Press in 1992.  Her poetry has recently been accepted for publication in Rougarou, Poppyseed Kolache, and Ragazine.   An excerpt from Laura Aileen's novel Blood Sugar Jezebel has been accepted for publication with The Survivor Chronicles.

Ron Ogilvie is a member of the Deal Writers Group in Kent. Ron is a Scot by birth but has been out of Scotland since 1984. He is a husband and father and trained as a scientist. He now works in the pharmaceutical industry. Ron has been writing poetry since he was a lad and has grown in confidence since joining the group in Deal in 2008. 'Horses' is a recent piece, written on Islay in the Hebrides in August 2009.

Richard L. Provencher was born in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec. His writing combines a love of the outdoors with contemporary issues. Many years ago, his dad once said, ‘Don’t spend so much time in the woods, you’ll turn into a tree.’ Richard believes writing is a global adventure in a land without borders. He has work in Hudson View, Short Story Library, Ottawa Arts Review, and others. Richard and his wife, Esther, live in Truro, Nova Scotia. 

Joseph Somoza was born in Spain and grew up in New Jersey and Chicago.  He received an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers Workshop in 1973 and moved to New Mexico the same year, where he taught at New Mexico State and was poetry editor for PUERTO DEL SOL.  He's published 4 chapbooks and 4 full books of poetry, the most recent book being SHOCK OF WHITE HAIR (Sin Fronteras Press, 2007).  He lives in Las Cruces with wife Jill, a painter.

Linda Leedy Schneider  is a poetry and writing mentor, writing workshop leader, psychotherapist in private practice, and recipient of a Pushcart nomination.  She has taught at Aquinas College and Kendall College of Art and Design. Her poetry has been published in over 200 literary magazines including Rattle Magazine, The Spoon River Poetry Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Perigee, and The Ambassador Poetry Project. She has written five collections of poetry including Through My Window: Poetry of a Psychotherapist and edited two collections of poetry by writers she has mentored, Mentor’s Bouquet by Finishing Line Press and Poems From 84th Street forthcoming from Pudding House Publications.  

Linda gives readings often and was recently featured at The Saturn Poetry Series, East Village NYC. The Back Fence, NYC, The Bowery Poetry Club, NYC, Peter Chelnik’s Prairie Fire Series, NYC and The Print Gallery, Southfield Michigan sponsored by Springfed Arts: Detroit Metro Writers. Linda believes that a regular writing ritual leads to authenticity, personal growth and even JOY.

Sid Sherwin has worked at thirty jobs in the last fifteen years but the writing is the glue that holds it all together. He has nearly finished first novel but is primarily a poet who also likes to perform. He lives in rural Dorset  which is not all bucolic and lamb-lovely (but it suits him).

Geoff Stevens was born on the 4th June, 1942, at West Bromwich, in the industrial midlands of England that is known as The Black Country. It was at that time a mixture of industrial, post-industrial, and countryside in minature, a unique rich admixture.

He was initially a successful pupil at school, but his later schooling was for boys only, operated six days a week, and was both constrictive and restrictive, and he rebelled against it.

On leaving, he got a job as an industrial chemist and studied part-time for academic qualifications. Chemistry was to be his occupation until 1995, and he worked in the chemical manufacturing, paint making, electroplating, bicycle, and closure industries.

Local history and custom was also an interest and he began to write about those and on other subjects for journals and newspapers, and also became Director of Industrial Archaeology for The Black Country Society.

In the 1970's, inspired by local versifiers, and then by reading Dylan Thomas, he began to write poetry and to submit it to magazines, until he was eventually succesful in getting it published. He also began a long interest in reading poetry in public

1976 saw the inception of his own poetry magazine, Purple Patch, which passed its 100th. edition in June 2001 and celebrated its 30th. year in 2006

Other magazines he has edited are Purple Pastiche (poetry and art), S-Fest Ltd. (U.K. Editor of U.S.Lit mag.), Micropress Midlands Poetry, and one guest issue of South magazine. 

He was a founder member of Spouting Forth poetry performance and publication group in the 90's and, with Brendan Hawthorne, started the Poetry Wednesbury group of poets in 2002.

Jason Sturner was born in Harvey, Illinois, and raised in the western suburbs of Chicago. He has published four books of poetry: Kairos, 10 Love Poems, Selected Poems 2004-2007, and Collected Poems. He resides in Wheaton, Illinois and works as a botanist at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. Website: www.jasonsturner.blogspot.com

Laura Madeline Wiseman is a doctoral candidate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she teaches English. Her chapbook My Imaginary (Dancing Girl Press, 2010) was a finalist in four national contests. She is also the author of Ghost Girl, a chapbook forthcoming from Pudding House. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in MARGIE, Feminist Studies, and The Spoon River Poetry Review, and prose in Prairie Schooner, Arts & Letters, and 13th Moon. She has received an Academy of American Poets Award, the Mari Sandoz fiction Award, and the Stuff Memorial Fellowship, Grants from the Center for Great Plains Studies and the KimmelHarding Nelson Center, and five Pushcart Prize nominations. She is co-editor (with Christine Stewart-Nunez) of the forthcoming anthology Women Write Resistance: Poets Fight Gender Violence (Finishing Line Press).