Sky Chronicles by Monique Gagnon German

I’ve got blues
that surpass navy,
cerulean, sapphire,
cornflower, turquoise,
iridescent, eggshell
and cobalt, baby.
I know loneliness,
the length of days
and nights as they move
through me,
molecule by molecule
cataloguing the sun’s face
while it flirts
with the moon
in broad day
and I examine you
with tips of space,
tendrils upon
your trees,
chimneys,
sidewalks,
freeways,
unable to feel anything
but shapes,
blowing on you
like candles
like dandelion fodder
without wishes
for your sake.
So, don’t look
to me for answers
about the track
the ballgame
your love life
your suffering.
And when you climb
to get above me,
expect me to slap
your face.
I am best,
above your head
out the window,
picturesque
split by clouds
birds, storms,
shuttles and airplanes.
So, keep me there
at that distance
that inspires science
and faith but away
from birthday wishes
demands and property deeds.
You can’t see, can’t reach,
can’t know me,
the keeper
of the smooth
blue notes
that conduct
your weather or fate
as you stroll along
day upon day
beneath the eyes
of giant hurricanes.

 

 

Monique Gagnon German is a graduate of Northeastern and Northern Arizona Universities. She is a wife, mother, a former Copy Editor of Ragazine (www.ragazine.cc), and former Technical Writer for a laser manufacturer in San Diego, CA. Currently, Monique works as a Content Developer and document QA Specialist for a small veteran owned company in TX while continuing to write poetry and stories in CO. Her poems have appeared in over 30 journals/anthologies including Rosebud, California Quarterly, Tampa Review, Off the Coast, and The Wayfarer. Her micro-flash, flash, and short stories have been featured in Kalliope, A Journal of Women’s Literature & Art, The MacGuffin, and Adelaide Literary Review. In October 2017, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for poetry so she is actively crossing her fingers as you read this. Website for Monique: http://www.moniquegagnongerman-com.webs.com/

 

Art: Starry Night, Vincent VanGogh

College Park by Margaret Young

Front yards lacked sidewalks and curbs,
backyards flowed together with no boundary
marks but stripes in grass from lawnmowers dads rode,
and looming shrubs to hide under
and sycamore and black walnut
shedding their furry or smelly fruits
so we all ran everywhere except
Miss Howe’s, her Dalmatian
Pepper chained to the garage.

Breakfast was orange juice we squeezed
half-thawed and glistening from cardboard tubes
(add three of water, stir with the longest spoon)
and cereal poured from boxes with toys inside
and once a Jackson Five record right on
the box, we cut out the disk with them
smiling in candy-bright jumpsuits,
played high-voiced songs on the turntable
pulled from its shadowed cabinet,
the smell of Sugar Smacks mixed in.

 

 

Margaret Young’s poetry collections are Willow From the Willow (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2002) and Almond Town (Bright Hill Press, 2011), plus a chapbook Blight Summer just out from Finishing Line Press. She is translating the work of Sergio Inestrosa (Mexico) and Débora Benacot (Argentina). Young is on the faculty of the Global Center for Advanced Studies and Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Those Two Spiders Died Loving Each Other by Anthony DiPietro

The poets go to bed like nuns to their cells: narrow rooms in the boarding school dorm: some, like me, awake, playing with sediment left after workshop: suddenly through the deep-woods facing window: a primal scream: a man’s: then deep shrieks of pain: like an animal’s: poets scatter to the four directions: then return to the middle: I join them: tell them Nathan’s missing: my dorm-mate: he’s gone to stalk the dark before: to feel damp dirt on his feet: to wound wind with a frightened face: he went at sunset while we sat for the reading: we listened: the voice of an eight-year-old girl: her innocence stolen by the neighbor-boy: listened: the song of a countertenor nuzzled in the hollow left by a lover: dead of a vicious disease: that first night, Nathan and I took turns asking each other questions: What was your worst sex: Give me grotesque: nastier than politics: Who on this flailing blue orb are you closest to: he’s thirteen years younger: we spoke of my fear of thirteen: Judas phobia: he draws Tarot cards each morning: today, for me, the Empress: tonight small schools of poets shine flashlights: murmur his name: Nathan creeps in shadow: now emerges to his bed: arms crossed over his chest like a saint in the making: he assures the seminar director he’s found a stay for what caused the scream: I won’t hurt myself again tonight: we agree I’ll keep watch: alone again, Nathan and I declare the light too brutal: Why don’t we remove some bulbs: we climb two chairs: unscrew the platter-like fixture: inside, a spider the size of my thumbnail entombed: only Nathan looks closer to count: sixteen legs, copulation: and he says: Those two spiders died loving each other.

 

 

Anthony DiPietro is a Rhode Island native who worked for 12 years in community-based organizations that addressed issues such as violence, abuse, and income inequality. In 2016, he moved to New York to join Stony Brook University as a candidate for a creative writing MFA and now teaches undergraduate courses. A graduate of Brown University with honors in creative writing, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, Anomaly, Assaracus, The Good Men Project, Helen, Rogue Agent, The Southampton Review, Talking River, and The Woman Inc. His website is AnthonyWriter.com.

Image by Comfreak. 

While Jean Doesn’t Write by Wren Tuatha

While Jean doesn’t write, seditious phrases make their escape
to parallel dimensions where mothman aliens hunt and gather them,
eat them silently and then look through at us knowingly.
This phenomenon is entirely Jean’s fault.

While Jean doesn’t write, seventeen wars that we know of continue
like a second day of rain, race relations in America harden
into pre-1970’s pessimism and 2/3 of her neighbors fail to recycle.
Indeed, for every day that Jean doesn’t write,
another Republican actor runs for office.

While Jean doesn’t write, her lifelong friends don’t change.
Her adult children do what they will.

 

 

First published in Five:2:One Magazine. 

 

 

Wren Tuatha (Califragile Editor). Wren’s poetry has appeared or is upcoming in The Cafe Review, Canary, Poetry Pacific, Peacock Journal, Coachella Review, Arsenic Lobster, Baltimore Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Loch Raven Review, Clover, Lavender Review, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, and Bangalore Review. She’s also an editor at PoetryCircle.com. Wren and her partner, author/activist C.T. Lawrence Butler, herd skeptical goats on a mountain in California.

Facing West From California’s Shores By Walt Whitman

Facing west, from California’s shores,
Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound,
I, a child, very old, over waves, towards the house of maternity, the land of migrations, look afar,
Look off the shores of my Western Sea–the circle almost circled;
For, starting westward from Hindustan, from the vales of Kashmere,
From Asia–from the north–from the God, the sage, and the hero,
From the south–from the flowery peninsulas, and the spice islands;
Long having wander’d since–round the earth having wander’d,
Now I face home again–very pleas’d and joyous;
(But where is what I started for, so long ago?
And why is it yet unfound?)

Three Poems by Catherine McGuire

Catching a Swarm

Despite variations, they all advise:
spray the clump with sugar water
so they can’t fly, then cut or shake
that living burl into your box –
a hive is best, a basket or cardboard box
will do. Get the Queen.
Always the key. You must capture
the heart of the hive, a tiny Persephone
descending to the dark of your desire.
If she’s there, the others – the ones you missed –
will queue up to enter
as the sonneteers flash their butts and wings
in a strange Rockettes-line at the door,
telling the rest of the group:
Come inside. We’re all here.

And experts say don’t worry about stragglers.
Get the clump and move the hive to the proper spot.
They would howl to see me pick up every twitching bee,
from grass or cloth or twig,
sweep or carry each one to the entrance.
No bee left behind.

 

Persistence

Everything wears at everything else –
breeze rubs pollen, scatters seed; water smooths rock.
The tumbling sands slowly change the coastline.
Even mountains can’t claim eternity.

We carry our edges into the world
and they are rubbed smooth, or raw.

But look! Above my head, a broken, moss-furred twig
balances in holly
the whole summer.

 

(untitled)

A January fog hangs in the holly –
red berries dot shiny spiked green.
The ice tiaras have slipped down
the limbs, buds unsheathed.
Throughout the sodden garden
calendula, lavender, thyme, kale
huddle in sparse straw. Gophers raid
and favorites vanish – dirt mounds like graves
dot the yard. There is no peace
in the pieces – plans seem audacious,
premature. Seasons unreasonable now –
we have no guide; the past unhelpful.
Where will this new climate lead?
Comfrey and borage, their prickly furred leaves blackened,
will come back as surely as the gophers.
Birds swoop and scavenge as always –
they have no almanac; they do their best.
Below the mulch, slugs curl around their eggs,
the caterpillar army sleeps, unaware
that their ancient targets are stuttering, lulled
by weather as willful as any jihad.
They will wake too late,
or too early; they will hump along strange leaves,
searching for scents and shapes
that define their survival.
And our own.

 

 

Catherine McGuire is a writer and artist with a deep concern for our planet’s future. She has three decades of published poetry, four poetry chapbooks and a full-length poetry book, Elegy for the 21st Century (FutureCycle Press). A deindustrial science fiction novel Lifeline was just released by Founders House Publishing. Find her at http://www.cathymcguire.com.

 

Photograph: Rock Bees, Anamalai Hills, India, by T.R. Shankar Raman. 

Three Poems by Maurice Devitt

Sixteenth of September
after René Magritte

The oak tree marks the mid-point
of my run. There and back.
A collector and dispenser
of breath, branches clustered
like alveoli
against the autumn grey.

The relief of tagging,
turning and not looking back.

I never witness the leaves
parting to reveal a nascent moon,
this mere sliver of a thing,
cradled and fattened with light,
later to be craned
into a meaningless sky.

 

A View of the Lake

Maybe you came across this poem
in a small journal
you had never read before, encouraged
to pick up a copy by a friend,
whose poem is featured on page 57
and, as you skimmed through the pages
looking for his poem, were struck
by this title, reminded of a place
you used to swim as a child.
Maybe you started to read it,
wondering would it be any good
or would it be one of those modern poems
that don’t seem to make any sense.
I’m so glad I triggered
the memory, though conscious
that no words I would ever write,
could equal that feeling
of you dipping your toes in the water.

 

Property Bubble

Five years ago I bought this house
and only recently I noticed
that, as the price increased,
the rooms got smaller,
until I found myself stooping
when I stepped through the doorway,
sitting with my knees pressed
up to my chin and watching
television through the kitchen window.
I called a man who knows about
these things, he measured the rooms
with an ever-decreasing tape,
lifted the floorboards to check the pipes,
then declared, You’ve got a leak,
there’s air escaping, nothing
you can’t fix with a basin of soapy water,
just be careful what you tell the neighbours.

 

 

Maurice Devitt was runner-up in The Interpreter’s House Poetry Competition in 2017, he was winner of the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Competition in 2015 and has been placed or shortlisted in many competitions including the Patrick Kavanagh Award, Listowel Collection Competition, Over the Edge New Writer Competition, Cuirt New Writing Award, Cork Literary Review and the Doire Press International Chapbook Competition. He has had poems published in Ireland, England, Scotland, the US, Mexico, Romania, India and Australia, runs the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site and has a debut collection upcoming in 2018 with Doire Press.

 

Photograph by Linda Bartlett.