Sleep Harbored by Wren Tuatha

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(after The Accidental Tourist)

You think there’s a traffic rule, if you see a sign
for an airport you have to pull in and get on a plane.
It isn’t on my way and I don’t have the fare.

I sit in my driveway and read your articles from Lima,
Belfast, Shanghai. Weather and lights. Unexpected place
settings and traffic patterns.

I picture your skill at packing a suitcase, adjusting
to time differences with pills and naps, cafe
conversations.

If you are to birth a new beginning you must be judicious
as to the articles you pack, only versatile, lightweight things.
Belongings you won’t miss if lost.

But even lost things chance upon new lives with random
finders. The umbrella, the apple core. A quarter. The picture
of her you pack.

A plane flies over my garden near the airport
as I bury what you discarded in the cover crop and leaf litter,
compost.

If you travel here, will you push away vines and mushrooms
to recognize what grows where you left me standing?
Will you profile it as a point of interest?

Sleep harbored.
Random finders can claim you, too.

 

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.

 

Painting, What We Leave Behind, by Jenn Zed

The Rose by Patricia Nelson

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—After Dante: Paradiso

i.
How, but by forgetting, can I leave
the yellow brightness of the center,
the white rose raveling beauty?

I who grew brighter even in its shadow
must turn earthward now,
cooling like a cloud.

That white, lost flower rests in my skin
like a shape on the distorted, moving water,
which the water does not see.

ii.
The shape and noise of the world returns:
the calls, the changes like a thudding of stairs.
After radiant stars, the eloquent hardness of a wall.

I touch it with blank, soft hands,
the sounds in the underlying wood
like a creaking of bridges.

The night lifts its black and crooked sigh.
The old confusion is above me, close as a clamor of beaks,
its meanness striving like a windmill.

iii.
What used to comfort with its distance, its lack of odor
or a shadow, its yaw of unkempt stories—
now is real. More real after my nearness to the light.

The light of the earth is to the left and small
as I go forward, and I must
love that cold which reaches out to me.

Though I am colder here, and dimmer,
I will stand, a beast with the moon around him
hitting the ground like bird strikes, with a dead light.

I will tell them the symmetrical story
with stinging and struggle, a beauty with noise
and falling. And I will love them as I tell it.

 

 

Patricia Nelson is a former attorney who now volunteers with an environmental organization. She worked for many years with the “Activist” group of poets in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

Artwork, Isolated, by Jenn Zed.

Everyone knows a poem about sex is also a poem about death, by Shannon Phillips

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after BH

Every hour begs to be inhabited,
known, not recorded. What if every
particle in an hourglass were a consonant,
a vowel in a poem written above
and unwritten down the center, made
and unmade, like love, like a bed,
like the shapes she makes
under his hands.

Remember that song and how it
curled around the moment,
a tongue unfurled, letting go
of words so to taste the sweetness
of what is fleeting. Exquisite pleasure
is wedded to pain.

Remember that time even if
no picture exists; no poem, no picture
could convince death to be gentle,
but a good kiss just might.

 

 

Shannon Phillips is the founding editor of Picture Show Press. Her most recent chapbook, Body Parts, was published by dancing girl press in 2017. After teaching ESL for 3 years, she decided to study Arabic and hopes to one day work in the field of translation.

 

Artwork by Jenn Zed

The Emigrant’s Address To America. By Rosanna Eleanor Leprohon

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All hail to thee, noble and generous Land!
With thy prairies boundless and wide,
Thy mountains that tower like sentinels grand,
Thy lakes and thy rivers of pride!

Thy forests that hide in their dim haunted shades
New flowers of loveliness rare –
Thy fairy like dells and thy bright golden glades,
Thy warm skies as Italy’s fair.

Here Plenty has lovingly smiled on the soil,
And ‘neath her sweet, merciful reign
The brave and long suff’ring children of toil
Need labor no longer in vain.

I ask of thee shelter from lawless harm,
Food – raiment – and promise thee now,
In return, the toil of a stalwart arm,
And the sweat of an honest brow.

But think not, I pray, that this heart is bereft
Of fond recollections of home;
That I e’er can forget the dear land I have left
In the new one to which I have come.

Oh no! far away in my own sunny isle
Is a spot my affection worth,
And though dear are the scenes that around me now smile,
More dear is the place of my birth!

There hedges of hawthorn scent the sweet air,
And, thick as the stars of the night,
The daisy and primrose, with flow’rets as fair,
Gem that soil of soft verdurous light.

And there points the spire of my own village church,
That long has braved time’s iron power,
With its bright glitt’ring cross and ivy wreathed porch –
Sure refuge in sorrow’s dark hour!

Whilst memory lasts think not e’er from this breast
Can pass the fond thoughts of my home:
No! I ne’er can forget the land I have left
In the new one to which I have come!

 

Rosanna Eleanor Leprohon, 1829-1879.

 

Artwork by Jenn Zed

#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.

When We Glint by George Cassidy Payne

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When we glint
we are back in time,
and the road groans
like an oncoming
British squadron.

Wounded. We feel
witnessed by time-
by 200 years of war,

a theater of bitter
clouds and the noon
day sun conniving.

When we glint we
sail through the carnage-

hurtling outward toward
an uncertain future. A
breeze rippling the surface.

 

 

George Cassidy Payne is an independent writer, domestic violence social worker, adjunct professor of philosophy at Finger Lakes Community College, and a student of religion. He has degrees in the subject from St. John Fisher College, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and Emory University. He lives and works in Rochester, NY.

 

Painting by Jenn Zed.