#Mountains: Reign of Ash by Michael H. Brownstein

12992_Hawaii-Volcanoes-National-Park-web

This is one of those nights you never dream,
The sky not on fire, but burning.
Falling ash and ember. An orange cantaloupe moon. Nosebleeds. Diarrhea.

The volcano dome collapses, a sudden cloud, and night is hyphenated.
A rain of black ash
And all of the stars drop from sight in bundles.

The people come out of their homes and stand on their verandas,
A people of the long knife and volcanic dust,
Skin hard with ash, hair ash-poisoned, ash sweat stew.

Spirits roam the roads and pathways, find life in the old ones,
The village’s simple center crowded into the hill,
Welcomes the voices of the dead.

Later island rescue comes with breathing masks,
A church opens its doors early to pray for rain,
Goats come from their hiding places to shake themselves free.

All day dust clouds landscape and window.
The mountain sacrifices itself to lahars and spirit people.
Everything, every leaf, every iguana, every ghost wrapped in ash.

 

 

Michael H. Brownstein is on the roof of his old house, the roof in serious disrepair, and he walks on it as if he’s on a boardwalk – a squirrel falls through where he just stood – what is left to do but go to all fours, tread carefully until he’s on safe ground, call the roofers (he can’t fix this), and write a poem.

He’s walking across a great field, firecrackers exploding. He swats away at dozens of mosquitoes. Near where he teaches, the security guard tackles him and points out a sniper who has been shooting at him as he crossed. There is nothing else to do but conduct a poetry workshop in his algebra class.

He goes camping, and a rattlesnake crawls into his sleeping bag. Prayer and poetry – they really do go together.

On and on. Take a break. Write a poem.

#Mountains: Mountain Ants by Tamara Madison

photo by Davidi. Mountain Ants Tamara Madison

Up here the sky
is a thin blue skirt
the dusty summer sunlight
smells of woodsmoke
and pine
and ants grow big
and black as berries.

I watch them follow
their secret trails
in the fine mountain dust,
envy them their purpose
and their path, wonder
at their sturdy black bodies,
imagine a breakfast
of ant jam.

 

First published in Wild Domestic, by Pearl Editions.

 

 

Tamara Madison is the author of the chapbook The Belly Remembers, and two full-length volumes of poetry, Wild Domestic and Moraine, all published by Pearl Editions. Her work has appeared in Chiron Review, Your Daily Poem, A Year of Being Here, Nerve Cowboy, the Writer’s Almanac and other publications. She is thrilled to have just retired from teaching English and French in a Los Angeles high school.

 

Photograph by Dawidi.

Crescent Smile by Victoria Crawford

BattleofIssusDetail Albrecht Altdorfer Victoria Crawford Crescent

The Moon smiling
Cheshire cat grin,
dimpled star chin
twinkles below.

Alice questions
to stay or go;
the Moon may show
her mysteries.

 

 

Victoria Crawford is a poet from Monterey, California, currently living in Thailand where nature explodes in the serious season of rain and sun called the monsoon. Holy days are governed by the fullness of the moon not the sun calendar.

 

Detail of painting, Battle of Issus, by Albrecht Altdorfer.

Three Poems by Kala Ramesh

meghduta-k2aE--621x414@LiveMint

trying to merge
with twilight’s oneness: but
those monkeys
go nonstop
inside my chattering mind

 

on a forest trail
as leaves change colour
I admire
the walking meditation
of insects

 

forest bathing
I tune in
to the trees

 

forest bathing was first published in Holden Arboretum Haiku Path.

 

 

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 andhaikuSTAGE – 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 Unseen 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).

Trees Tell Our Future by Wren Tuatha

dead tree wall crop
The bark beetle blight burns
across Nimshew Ridge
and every other slope

on the coast. Nimshew,
little water in the language
of the people who are gone

from here. The drought weakens.
The Roundup weakens.
Three acres behind my cabin

become a Union battlefield
in the time of Trump.
the fallen stacked, crisscrossed,

fifty score. Open blasting blue.
Exposure, some lid lifted.
This place will not be woods

again in our time. Ponderosas
are prognosticators. Township
to cul de sac, people will fall

to the blight they brought.
They bought it at the mall,
stacking containers and dust

collectors, widgets to plug
in that blink or smell.
Trappings made in Turkey

for holidays of distraction.
Let us be thankful.

 

First published in The Bees Are Dead.

Wren Tuatha’s poetry has appeared in The Cafe Review, Canary, Peacock Journal, Coachella Review, Baltimore Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Loch Raven Review, Clover, Lavender Review and others. She’s editor of Califragile. Her chapbook Thistle and Brilliant was a semi-finalist in the 2018 New Women’s Voices Contest and is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Wren and her partner, author/activist C.T. Lawrence Butler, herd skeptical goats on a mountain in California.

Photograph by Wren Tuatha. 

Baritone Body by Daniel B. Summerhill

shaping-of-black-america.jpg!Large

Body-
breaking, 
		     black bodies
bodies	        breaking
	besides gurneys 
news,
	    breaking news!

A bodies been broke,

		Black
		Boy
		Bad
		  Broken
		  Bronzed
		  Bucked
		Brazen
		Baritone

		Eulogy-	Black
			Boy
			Bad
		Broken
		Bronzed
		Bucked
			Brazen
			Baritone

			Broken

		Breaking

			Bodies

 

 

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.

 

Artwork, Shaping of Black America, by Charles Wilbert White.

#Mountains: Burlington Airport by Joe Cottonwood

Burlington Airport Joe Cottonwood photo by Anlace

Two men in T-shirts are sun-roughened,
muscular in the non-gym way.
They know physical work.

On the window glass with a smudgy finger
the older man sketches a map from memory.
They speak of a trickling spring.
A field cleared by hand, a fence of stone.
Twin graves on a hill.

The younger man says, “That little mountain,
every time I set foot on it, I felt hugged.”
Embarrassed, they each look away
to the tarmac where jets are rolling.
Newark. Chicago. Some city. Now boarding.

 

 

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 Anlace.