Looking in the eye of Santa
the vista all behind the orb,
feathery landscape of trees
the fault is mine, not his
I see no farther.
In the snowpalace
his red suit waits;
the deer outside
move gently in the cold;
food is no gift.
From the nose of Claus
the rosy delicate color
to the cheeks;
his pink ears,
open as porches,
give insights to the
insides of chimneys,
Gifts, in the eye of
Santa, become pledges
that a good king makes;
bounty that makes men
feel the burden
and its law.
Give, says the pelican;
love thy brood;
suffer the beak’s
So Santa sows;
from the ramparts,
twin suns warming,
oversee the harvest.
Jack D. Harvey has been writing poetry since he was sixteen. He lives in a small town near Albany, N.Y. He is retired from doing whatever he was doing before he retired. Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, Mind In Motion, The Comstock Review, The Antioch Review, Bay Area Poets’ Coalition, The University of Texas Review and a number of other on-line and in print poetry magazines over the years, many of which are probably kaput by now, given the high mortality rate of poetry magazines.
The earth is motionless
And poised in space …
A great bird resting in its flight
Between the alleys of the stars.
It is the wind’s hour off ….
The wind has nestled down among the corn ….
The two speak privately together,
Awaiting the whirr of wings.
(Lola Ridge, 1873-1941.)
Composit photograph by NASA.
Gary Galvin sits at the desk in front of me
Mr. Schwartz writes dates on the blackboard
Gary reaches a hand back
and shimmies it up my leg
I stand, extend my left arm like an eagle in flight
Hook its talons into Gary’s left cheek
Just as Mr. Schwartz turns around
to see history reversing itself
I am not called into the principal’s office
But into a flock of women with machismo
Ellaraine Lockie is widely published and awarded as a poet, nonfiction book author and essayist. Tripping with the Top Down is her thirteenth chapbook. Earlier collections have won Poetry Forum’s Chapbook Contest Prize, San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival Chapbook Competition, Encircle Publications Chapbook Contest, Best Individual Poetry Collection Award from Purple Patch magazine in England Competition, and The Aurorean’s Chapbook Choice Award. Ellaraine teaches writing workshops and serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, Lilipoh.
Mar 21, 2016
—a fast walk—follow circles—around the park—a big hawk nest—mother gingko—look away—playground and basketball—melancholic clouds—if he gets his way—Hillary says—it will be bully Christmas in the Kremlin—just an excuse—to hawk steaks and wine—one hundred sheep—huddle in a circle—under a blue light—low and breathy—Daymé Arocena sings—you knew before—you knew before—what could have been— Avenue A to 7th Street—stand still—one hand over the other—over your heart—in Brussels—more than thirty pounds—of explosives—over the East River, a full moon—
Apr 23, 2016
—along the Hudson river—children—on a merry go round—screaming and peddling—swivels and swoops—not quite enough rain—to say rain—CNN will stream—the so-called debate—a new digital device—for a rapid stream of single words—one after the other—a red ferry glides back and forth—yellow cabs now and then—just past noon, the sun, a woman—in a brown coat strolling along—with notebook—stops, looks—under black sunglasses—jots down something—perhaps a poet—perhaps a journalist—in Arizona—or Michigan or Long Island—at a bully rally—Look dad!—says the little boy—snipers!—our American dream—a walled-in community—with smaller walled-in homes—as the jagged hills and walls—recede into the distance—in Battery Park—a little girl swings—back and forth—scooping up the air—
May 15, 2016
—when Tunick shoots a large group of naked people— no surprise—no news— standing in a kitchen—dreaming—Alter Rd near the Detroit River—naked, holding a kitchen towel over my crotch—the chubby new wife—in an apron—shocked—when oxygen is low—naked mole rats—flip a switch to survive—metabolic—now it’s her apartment—my body parts—I try to explain—cooking—she’s cooking—a one man militia in the bedroom—rushes through the hallway—angry —skedaddle out of there—then again—in the living room—just in time—to stumble down the aisle—he’s holding—something yellow—a flower—in a bombed hospital in Afghanistan—I’m dying—a doctor with one leg torn off—talks into a cell phone—take care of the children—from now on—to the men in the militia—we will call you Donald—
Dec 30, 2016
—“Tuck in youuuur bellieees”—sings the teacher—on Sunday night television—reenact history—the aristocracy and their servants—Bono says—capitalism is better a servant—than master—an abandoned boat—crossing the Mediterranean—crammed full—of migrants—capsized—the bully boasts—of groping women—so many women care less—watch out—if you critique him, you’ll get sued—do the dishes—take a hot bath—the planet’s hotter—this year—old racial hatreds—on a floating platform—beside melting glaciers—Mr. Einaudi plays piano—I calm myself—by reading Sebald—in some dreamy place between living and dying—take a walk along the park—scarf, hat, little flats—slow snow melting—on my shoulders—and the cement—young people—smoking—between one bar and another—I was once young, too—walking along this same block—sometimes smoking—on 7th Street—from Avenue A to B—waiting for Michael at the Horseshoe Bar—
Jan 4, 2017
—Queen Elizabeth to her guard—a momentary assassin—that’s quite all right—next time I’ll ring beforehand—so you don’t have to shoot me—in Cucina de Pese—reach into my bag for my cell—shoot—left it home—pick up a flier and write on the back—pen sliding over paper—no news, no texts—January 4, 1960—today is my mother’s death date—a voice at another table—I was 14 and my brother was nine when my mother died—even though we were in prep school—I looked after him—we went to public school—I was the babysitter—tastee bread and campbell bean sandwiches—56 years later—we vote for the bully—I put my face in my hands—contemplate breaking away—to woo voters—a gospel concert in Richmond—sponsored by the Koch brothers—hurray for the oil industry—when they pay—we dance and sing—
Barbara Henning is the author of several collections of poetry, her most recent A Day Like Today (Negative Capability Press 2015). Other recents include A Swift Passage (Quale Press), Cities and Memory (Chax Press) and a collection of object-sonnets, My Autobiography (United Artists). She has published three novels, Thirty Miles to Rosebud, You Me and the Insects and Black Lace, and she is the editor of Looking Up Harryette Mullen and The Collected Prose of Bobbie Louise Hawkins. Born in Detroit, Barbara lives in Brooklyn and teaches for Long Island University, as well as writers.com. http://barbarahenning.com
The old dog
to the meat
with a whumph
I have fooled
and feel bad—
in the singular,
but in the aggregate
as he knows it.
Devon Balwit teaches in Portland, OR. She has six chapbooks and two collections out or forthcoming: How the Blessed Travel (Maverick Duck Press); Forms Most Marvelous (dancing girl press); In Front of the Elements (Grey Borders Books), Where You Were Going Never Was (Grey Borders Books); The Bow Must Bear the Brunt (Red Flag Poetry); We are Procession, Seismograph (Nixes Mate Books), Risk Being/ Complicated (with the Canadian artist Lorette C. Luzajic), and Motes at Play in the Halls of Light (Kelsay Books). Her individual poems can be found or are upcoming in Cordite, The Cincinnati Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Fifth Wednesday, The Ekphrastic Review, Red Earth Review, The Fourth River, The Free State Review, Rattle, Posit, and more.
An occasion for a plate, an occasional resource is in buying and how soon does washing enable a selection of the same thing neater. If the party is small a clever song is in order.
Plates and a dinner set of colored china. Pack together a string and enough with it to protect the centre, cause a considerable haste and gather more as it is cooling, collect more trembling and not any even trembling, cause a whole thing to be a church.
A sad size a size that is not sad is blue as every bit of blue is precocious. A kind of green a game in green and nothing flat nothing quite flat and more round, nothing a particular color strangely, nothing breaking the losing of no little piece.
A splendid address a really splendid address is not shown by giving a flower freely, it is not shown by a mark or by wetting.
Cut cut in white, cut in white so lately. Cut more than any other and show it. Show it in the stem and in starting and in evening coming complication.
A lamp is not the only sign of glass. The lamp and the cake are not the only sign of stone. The lamp and the cake and the cover are not the only necessity altogether.
A plan a hearty plan, a compressed disease and no coffee, not even a card or a change to incline each way, a plan that has that excess and that break is the one that shows filling.
(Gertrude Stein, 1874 – 1946. A Plate from Tender Buttons, 1914.)
I like the way you sing apocalyptic hymns at sunset.
Maybe I’ll learn that habit. I’ll chant mantras at dusk
the way a Persian soldier drank poison
to ensure his body
be killed by it.
I’ll keep this shoebox, with its hidden pistol
under the bed where you can touch it
for reassurance like a fifth of vodka;
open it when you need it most,
or run into the woods on wakening and
pretend nothing’s wrong.
That never fails–like your hand in my hair
sets it on fire, every time.
There’s a chance too, the day will close quietly,
and the moon will rise over a barn.
Trish Saunders divides her time between Seattle and Honolulu. Her poems are published or forthcoming in Snapping Twig, Gnarled Oak, Busted Dharma, Blast Furnace Press, Off the Coast, Poets and Poetry, and Here/There Poetry.