August 2012 (warning; strong image)
1. Of Lemons and Lemon Tea
Oh frosty sunrise, if you please
refill my cup of lemon tea
warm pungent sip of citrus scent
that wakes me up and sets me free…
Transplanted here, an errant seed
that thrives among the evergreen
within your bounties rain and shine
welcomed home with open arms
although I lean toward sunny skies
among the rows of those I know
from many years of growing close…
Across the steepest mountain sides
like evergreen of northern climes
keen southern sister citrus climbed
up verdant hillsides far and wide
blossoms bloomed and fruit arrived
but many groves did not survive
the building booms and other trials…
Who’s early sunrise, if you please
refills my cup of lemon tea
which port of call did you traverse
to slake this thirst that sets me free?
Note - “Many years ago, my Aunt Joanne and Uncle George Blair owned acres and acres of citrus groves in the Redlands area of Southern California. Like everyone else involved in agriculture, they went through good times and bad times in the citrus business. The last time I visited the area, I found that almost all of their groves had been replaced by industrial warehouses and acres of paved parking lots”
He is always losing something,
His iPod, his license,
His bank card, his hat, his work-shirt.
Honey, have you seen the keys…where did those directions go?
When I was pregnant with my daughter he put
The keys in my purse, and promptly
We had to call my sister-in-law down from New Hampshire.
For years, it drove me nuts.
I would set up key hooks, we tried a bowl-
Nothing I could do,
No habit to ingrain, no trick I could teach,
No job I could assign could stop him from losing his shit.
Then, one day it just,
Dawned on me,
In one of those freeing moments,
-where a chunk of that chip on your shoulder falls away
and you breathe deeper than you thought possible-
Things like that just happen to him,
It’s part of who he is.
Loving him does not include
Saving him from all pain and aggravation,
And I shouldn’t expect him to change who he is.
In surrendering that I noticed something amazing-
He always finds what he thought was lost.
♦Evelyn Adams is 34 years old and still a girl. She is writing to stay alive, discovering herself accidentally and losing herself on purpose. A reader and a writer, she loves craft, creativity, inspiration and words. She has been published in On the Brink, Vol 2, an Anthology, and Tuck Magazine. Find her at Filling a Hole and on twitter @E_Fillingahole.♦
3. Love’s last opportunity
Let us go back for a moment,
hand-in-hand as we were, you and I,
the year we first built our castles of sand,
first saw the ocean rise in its fury,
first talked of abroad.
How you shone like early light on the sea!
How you shimmered with glee!
Back then was some happy,
and all the happy there was
was between us.
How could we know that our ocean,
the ocean we said we would cross
together, was also between us, the crossing not pleasure,
but a dream to be chosen or not,
the choice strictly ours, now laid out between
the ocean and happy?
Why did we choose as we did?
Don’t look: we are back for this moment together,
face to face and across
the landscape remembered, dragged out from the ocean of time,
unexpectedly brought here together,
waves cutting us off from our prime.
We may never again
be now or be then to unsing the song of that time
or give ear to the song that remains in the waves,
tumbled and turned and churned against cliffs
that will crumble to dust in the foam and its mist.
You said you would fly -
Look! There is the swing where I pushed you
so high! And you laughed. Then:
Throw me beyond the horizon! you called
as some engine somewhere that drove us was stalled
and nothing was left of us then but the words:
words in their thousands, words more than the stars
words that we’d strung to infinity, words
not making sense. Something to trip on, to break arm or neck.
A trap, a disaster, a threat, total wreck.
Let’s pick up the pieces, clear up the beach -
and see what we left and is still within reach.
♦David King is a Special Needs Education teacher who lives in Surrey, England. He is retired and blogs at Pics and Poems
Titirangi Storyteller - “…And if a shipwrecked sailor drifted upon my shore I would be in heaven. Would I rather sit on the island? Or on the sailor sitting on the island?…”http://titirangistoryteller.wordpress.com♦
4. The Fallen Heroes
Sound of the bugle
Their legs rise and fall like side rods on a steam train
They have bid goodbyes and kisses to loved ones
Motherland needs them more than us
Fueled with hatred for the opposition
March to protect
March to destroy
March to serve
But who is the winner?
The bullet shall decide
The number of caskets shall decide
The number of fallen heroes shall decide
Tears of mothers shall decide
Yearning of a widow shall decide.
someone chucked a pinhole camera
out an oblong overhead
it turned into a firefly-
all the light that had been trapped inside-
trees grew hungry tentacles
there was darkness again
and shadows went eavesdropping
♦Mohana Das is a writer from Kolkata, India. The Acoustic Ink describes her as “a mender of words”. Her poetry has been published, or is upcoming in a number of anthologies and vox poetica, Vayavya, The River Journal, Open City 360 blog and The Brinks Gallery. She blogs at http://insanebloom.wordpress.com♦
hid with mice till the wounds
and began to dance
♦Joy Ann Jones (this poem) is a retired relic of the Sixties living in the American Dust Bowl, with her spouse of sixteen years and two dogs. She has been writing poetry since high school and blogs at Verse Escape♦
7. Power of a song
Sometimes, after a day of correcting, of disciplining and instructing,
of guiding and showing,
this hawk’s wings are laden with mud from too many days of rain,
from too much time on the ground.
I become still. I listen-
to Sarah’s songs, to Susan’s melodies, to violins and mountain ballads,
to Native flutes, wind in the grass, birds in the trees,
to water and penny whistles.
The sludge looses its power, slips from my wings
and I feel the breeze, the lift.
Always, it is the music that gives me wings.
♦Appalachian poet, Darlene Franklin-Campbell is the 2012 recepient of the Mary Ballard Chapbook Poetry Contest winner. Her work often benefits cancer patients and her poetic voice is a stand against Mountaintop Removal. You may visit her website at http://darlenefranklincampbell.com/chippie to learn more about her and her work♦
8. The Closet
Overpowering perfume (rose)
lingers, crushes, blends with mold.
Hangers, scattered on the floor,
some padded with purple velour,
once held cashmere sweaters.
The door of the safe is ajar,
as it has been for years,
the combination hidden too well.
Heavy chains of gold entangle
with a strand of perfect pearls
and a locket that holds a black
and white tattered photo
of her youngest daughter
and a dent from a tiny tooth.
Shelves of shoeboxes overflow—
twenty years worth of receipts,
silent witnesses to money tossed
at frivolity. In my memory I hear
angry words hurled in defense
of wanton spending.
Bell bottoms cavort with
shoulder pads. Browns and beige,
no color. No prints. Just tepid tan and
one black knit suit.
I finger the smoothness
of silk and satin, the texture
of brocades and polyester.
In the far corner a cane leans
against a walker.
The week after she died I moved in.
♦After many years working as a nurse in the fields of death and dying, Victoria C. Slotto chose fiction and poetry as a second career. Her first novel, “Winter is Past,” was recently published by Lucky Bat Books. She lives with her husband and two dogs in Reno, Nevada and Palm Desert, California. Pay her a visit at http://victoriacslotto.com/♦
9. We Could Get Air
They paved the streets last summer
And the whir of my bike’s tires
On the smooth blacktop
Was like a one note song
Roy, Mr. Hammond’s bulldog
Came barreling around the side
Of the house as I sped past
A spark of fear slithered up my spin
And the hair on my head seemed to tingle
I looked over my shoulder
But I could see he was barking
Furious, and daring me to try that again
I crossed Baseline Road
Without even a thought about traffic
And a dust cloud spewed out behind me
As I hit the well-worn trail
We’d carved through the vacant lot
We even piled dirt in places
To make jumps where we could get air
And I pedaled furiously
As I came to the first of them
I hit the small mound of packed dirt
Jerked back on my handle bars
In those few brief and wonderful seconds
I felt a freedom that was complete and real
And I wished with all my young heart
I could just keep on climbing into the sky
And disappear forever
HOG Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:
They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I
have seen your painted women under the gas lamps
luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it
is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the
faces of women and children I have seen the marks
of wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who
sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer
and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing
so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on
job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the
little soft cities;
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning
as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has
never lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse.
and under his ribs the heart of the people,
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of
Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog
Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with
Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.