Offering envelope stuck to day-old gum,
hypocrisy between the pews
I accomplished this for fun
during the break
of the choir director's direction
Beside me, the sound a sinner makes
Gold-plated cufflinks anchor the hands
that left my sister's neck blanched
one night prior
His immense voice
and carefully rehearsed tongue
yielding the dialects he praises in-
Sometimes, Oh Happy Day,
when he washed
the blood away from his hands
just before palms become fist
and he sends invocation
Each song, a tithe
envelope I stick to the gum
between the pews
Daniel B. Summerhill is a poet and performance artist from Oakland, CA. Currently an MFA candidate at Boston’s Pine Manor College, Daniel has performed and taught guest workshops and lectures throughout the U.S, Europe, and South Africa. He has published two collections of poems, Crafted and Brown Boys on Stoops, and has been asked to perform at Ted Talk and Def Jam Poetry with Danny Simmons. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Pine Hills Review, Cosmonauts Avenue and The Voice among others.
Painting, After Church, by Romare Bearden.
The roads aren’t meant for lyric
here. They ride slow through
the swampland air, witness to trees
like fingers of a drowning titan
straining to clutch fistfuls of satin
in full view of the moon. Bayou dusk
hangs heavy in the corners of a phantom
landscape, bloodies the river quiet
save for mosquitoes and crane flies.
It is the world out there, the world
you dare venture into and call by name,
though it live namelessly in stanzas
unwritten, forgotten after their first
recitation, as the roads remind you
what belongs here and what does not.
Nolan Meditz was born and raised on Long Island, where he received his MFA at Hofstra University in 2014. He received a Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2018 and will begin teaching writing at Southwestern Oklahoma State University this fall. His poetry has appeared in Roanoke Review, AMP: Journal of Digital Literature, Mockingheart Review and The Wild Word among other publications.
Photograph by Frank Relle. Used by permission.
Wren discusses her poetry beginnings at her childhood community center: “I… wrote something with words I could spell, like sky, trees, grass. I remember feeling transdimensional, as if I had healed all diseases by extolling the beauty of sky, trees and grass.”
She discusses her influences, from Robert Duncan to “Yoko Ono. Not her writing but her performance art. She taught me that the audience is the canvas. This has informed everything I do in art and education.”
What advice does she offer other emerging poets? Read her thoughts about matching your goals to your poetic activities. “Here’s a morsel I learned in the editing trenches: Don’t put Best of the Net nominations in your bio. This causes an editor eye-roll like you would not believe. When you win, put it in.”
Read the full interview here.
an uncut rock
under the banyan
One day in December, a frail man, almost eighty years of age — JK as he’s affectionately called — sits with his eyes closed under the famed banyan tree in his residence. There’s pin-drop silence as people wait for the master to speak … birds returning to their nests go in and out of song. Forty-five minutes later he looks up smilingly and says, “the birds have said everything I wanted to say today.”
breathless across the river the moon where I began
First published in Modern Haiku.
Kala Ramesh – Poet, editor, anthologist, Kala’s initiatives culminated in founding INhaiku
to bring Indian haiku poets under one umbrella in 2013. She has taught haiku and allied genres at Symbiosis International University and the Katha National Writers Workshop since 2013. To bring haiku into everyday spaces, Kala initiated HaikuWALL, haikuTRAIL, haikuTALK, haikuWORKSHOP, haikuYOUTH, haikuUTSAV, haikuDHYANA
– a weaving together of art forms. SAMVAAD :: the open sky
— a dialogue to bring writers of different poetic genres together is her latest venture. She is the editor of four haiku, tanka and haibun journals. Kala has been a speaker at several national and international literary festivals.
Kala co-edited the award winning Naad Anunaad: an Anthology of Contemporary World Haiku (Vishwakarma Publication 2016, Pune), Wishbone Moon (Jacar Press 2018, USA) and EquiVerse SPACE (Notion Press 2018, Mumbai), co-authored with Marlene Mountain the e-book one-line twos (Bones Journal 2016, Denmark), authored a tanka e-chapbook Uunseen Arc (Snapshot Press 2017, UK) and two print books: Haiku and the Companion Activity Book (Katha Books 2010, reprint 2017, New Delhi) and Beyond the Horizon Beyond Haiku & Haibun (Vishwakarma Publication 2017, Pune).
Banyan tree photograph by Kiran Gobi.
Otto paints his house again,
with his changing love of colors.
The blue and green are high with hopsack edges,
the stops of yellow clear and low.
As if something is recited and a mark made
where each mistake is swallowed by another.
No one color ever makes it
to the sky-colored end of the job.
Each daub taller, brighter than his eye or word,
his loud and undistinguished singing.
Someday, one color, one light
uniting all the eyes.
Patricia Nelson is a retired attorney who has worked with the Activist group of poets in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her most recent book is Spokes of Dream or Bird, Poetic Matrix Press.
Detail of photograph by David Yarnall, The Heidelberg Project – Penny Car.
Heidelberg Project Mission & Vision, from their website:
The Heidelberg Project (“HP”) is an outdoor art environment in the heart of an urban area and a Detroit based community organization with a mission to improve the lives of people and neighborhoods through art.
The theory of change for the Heidelberg Project begins with the belief that all citizens, from all cultures, have the right to grow and flourish in their communities. The HP believes that a community can re-develop and sustain itself, from the inside out, by embracing its diverse cultures and artistic attributes as the essential building blocks for a fulfilling and economically viable way of life.
You made it. Hell of a drive.
Now in the cabin you’re shivery, raw.
Branches pelt the roof.
Rain blows under the door.
Phone? Lamp? Radio?
All wires, dead.
Power will be out for days.
You fetch wood,
build a fire, heat water,
light lanterns named Aladdin.
Play guitar, help the neighbor start her car.
Clinging to this mountain
your cabin is a spot of warm
in a dark storm.
You are power.
Joe Cottonwood has built or repaired hundreds of houses in his day job as carpenter/contractor. Nights, he writes. His latest book is Foggy Dog: Poems of the Pacific Coast.
Photograph by Joseph.
On the Q
—to Manhattan—through the slit—between my eyelids—an almost empty car—two women dozing—one leans forward—hair cropped—ear level—mid sixties—freckles—arms crossed—head bobbing—as the train jerks—“little brown bag”—on her lap—the other woman—one leg crossed—over the other—shoulder length—glistening black hair—leaning to the side—head against rail—dozing—trading relatively quiet today—investors returning—from Thanksgiving vacation—the car quiet—climbs over—the Manhattan bridge—behind the ropes and rails—the Brooklyn Bridge—dark scattered clouds—the western sun—a golden hue—a six foot three inch—Justinian cross—over the World Trade center—young adults—brought here as children—soon sent—to places they never knew—underground we go—the conductor says—this is Canal Street—Chinatown—the older woman—stands up—head still bowed—doors open—and then she’s gone— (28 Nov 2016)
First published in The Journal of Poetics Research.
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 andBlack 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
Photograph by Mtattrain.