Streaming by Victoria Crawford

 

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Streams sweat, viscous, vicious
like jet gems
of Victorian mourning jewelry
turned fluid
blood of war and wounds
circulate the Persian Gulf body
oil well trees blown to leak dark sap
clumps on shore, washed up
black jellyfish
the sand shivers under my feet

Back page photo in my thin newspaper
features half a manatee
his silly whiskered face
lost somewhere
could have been whirling swords
of tanker
or propellers of a rich man’s yacht
and he may have been the last
dugong on this Gulf edge
but the report claims a few hundred
still hide around Qatar

Bahraini BBC documentary
of inlets and outlets of Oman
streaming across my screen
tonight with a green turtle
swimming by a tube coral
whose feet wave farewell

Poet Victoria Crawford plunges into the waters of culture and nature from her Monterey home to points East in Asia and the Middle East. Poems of hers have appeared in Canary, Windfall, Ekphrastic Review, The Lyric, and Hawaii Pacific Review.

 

Artwork by Jenn Zed

Le chant du Styrène (Yellow) by James Miller

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This morning in the kitchen,
as I swallowed the last inch
of a near-soft
banana

I heard a neighbor’s cry,
wordless and brutal
as Babylon.

I asked my wife, deodorizing
in the bath, what she heard.
A cat, mewling, crushed
by a wheel?

Driving to campus,
I passed the remnants
of the old hospital.

With that bulk
wiped clean, you can see
the burnoff at the plants
across the bay—

throb of pale gas flare,
blurred and rippled
in a smear of heat.

 

 

James Miller is a native of Houston, Texas. Recent publications include Cold Mountain Review, The Maine Review, Lunch Ticket, Gravel, Main Street Rag, Verdad and Juked. Upcoming publications include 2 Bridges, The Write Launch, Menacing Hedge, Thin Air, The Shore, Plainsongs and The Atlanta Review.

 

Artwork by Jenn Zed

What We Could Do by Taylor Graham

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An old coyote hunts the field released
to daylight by the death of trees –
tall pines that edged the pond, victims
of bark beetle. We couldn’t save the trees,
but reconstructed the old village
in image of where tribes would meet
by woods and meadow, cedar-bark tepees
and lean-to, a circle for sitting, dancing,
drumming. Hear the beat in your pulse,
your footstep, or is that the wind?
The people lived until they passed.
There was a burning to release spirit,
a long cry. No burial a bear can plunder,
as miners plundered rock till it bled.
Once you touched a broken stone
still standing, and it fell away in your
hand. A chasm or a healing.
Grizzly is gone from the land, Raven
stays to tell the stories. An old Coyote
hunts the margins we’ve left him,
a leaf fallen between pages
of history and myth, unwritten spaces
for releasing the question,
the lament, a poem, a story in song.

 

 

Taylor Graham has been a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler for
many years, and served as El Dorado County’s inaugural poet laureate
(2016-2018). Married to a forester/wildlife biologist (Hatch, retired
now), she helped with his bird conservation projects and was a
volunteer wilderness ranger, with her search dog, for two summers on
the Mokelumne. She lives with Hatch, dog Loki and cat Latches on five
acres on the outskirts of Rescue. She’s included in the anthologies
Villanelles (Everyman’s Library) and California Poetry: From the Gold
Rush to the Present (Santa Clara University/Heyday Books). Her latest
book is Windows of Time and Place: poems of El Dorado (Cold River
Press, 2019).

 

Original photograph by Btcgeek.

#Mountains: Women Are Mountains Scattered by Wren Tuatha

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Red pill/green pocket/squire, asks then takes anyway,
can you see me or the planet from a crag in Arkansas?
Gynic peaks pull the moon in you by a string.

What do you orbit? How do you know when to alight if land
and women are mountains scattered, grounded but shifting
unfinished? You and Mohammed, playing pipes at mountains.

Two peaks, one in Africa, the other Appalachia, pour
water that makes the moonbow, marrying light and vapor.
Only two places on Earth does the moon lay this lyric.

Mountains in Nepal listen to gunfire. In Kentucky they
lay down for clean coal, rebranded. Lung forests in Sierras
truck downhill. Peaks in Switzerland take the breath away,

rare oxygen. Do you see me on the planet from Alps, Everest
or Kilimanjaro? Rice terraces and the perfect elevation
for quinoa. Who are you feeding? Who comes to the table?

Not women. When restless we erupt, rebranding, renewing.
We sway slow on our plates. My skin has regrown after lavas.
Sit down. Your babbling is corrosive, a tune in smoke while women

chisel, turn spokes. Narcissus drowning and other irrelevant kings.
No matter your heights, a king convinced of his wings and his view
brought us to this ledge.

 

First published in Thistle and Brilliant, Finishing Line Press. 

 

 

Califragile founding editor 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 pursuing her MFA at Goddard College.  Her chapbooks, Thistle and Brilliant and the forthcoming Skeptical Goats, are from Finishing Line Press. Wren and her partner, author/activist C.T. Butler, herd rescue goats in the Camp Fire burn zone of California.

A Flamingo Always Has One Leg Up, Ready to Fly If It Needs To by Martin Willitts Jr

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the weight of life is trembling down the night
shaking curtains made out of rocks

a blink will un-do this world
fumbling with the way-it-used-to-be

overhead near-perfect rain breaks the heat

it is quiet without you
rain is writing this down

 

 

Martin Willitts Jr has twenty-four chapbooks including the winner of the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, The Wire Fence Holding Back the World (Flowstone Press, 2017), plus 16 full-length collections, The Uncertain Lover and Coming Home Celebration. Forthcoming books include Harvest Time (Deerbrook Press) and the Blue Light Award winner The Temporary World. He is an editor for Comstock Review.

 

Painting by Jenn Zed.

Soapbox by Bill Arnott

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Bergy bits and growlers
float into the bay
chunks of Greenland
set adrift, temporary
floating homes
that wait
naive as snowmen
meanwhile fridges, freezers
air conditioners
heat the rest

We go see it while it’s there
speeding its demise
talk of preservation
need for care
lectures from the ignorant
on upturned soapbox podiums
spilling phosphate residue –
take your message to the world
on private jet, Air Hypocrite
No, no, no, white wine goes in the other fridge – the one beside the green bin

 

 

Vancouver author, poet, songwriter Bill Arnott is the bestselling nonfiction author of Wonderful Magical Words and Dromomania. His poetry is in the League of Canadian Poets Heartwood and Paper Dart Press UK PLAY anthologies. Bill’s poems, reviews and articles also appear online.

 

Photograph by Christine Zenino.

Fake News by Bruce McRae

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This is your reporter. We take you live
to the scene of multiple tomorrows.
There are cloudbanks in every room
and a noxious gas is fording our borders.
Cherubim fall like milk poured from a lip-red sky.
Notice the turmoil of lawns and gardens,
the way the earth eventually gives up her dead.
Listen to witnesses as they recoil
from an overabundance of weather.
See the void that’s opened, like a crack in the light.
Like lovers parting during wartime.
Like fingers crossing a heart
and every cemetery is filled with rosewater.

 

 

Bruce McRae, a Canadian musician currently residing on Salt Spring Island BC, is a multiple Pushcart nominee with well over a thousand poems published internationally in magazines such as Poetry, Rattle and the North American Review. His books are ‘The So-Called Sonnets (Silenced Press), ‘An Unbecoming Fit Of Frenzy’ (Cawing Crow Press) and ‘Like As If” (Pskis Porch), Hearsay (The Poet’s Haven).

 

Photograph of Peter Fonda’s “Captain America” flag patch from Easy Rider, by Heritage Auction Galleries of Dallas, Texas.