Hidden in the Open

Paul Stilwell

What endless teeming in creation, hints
the limitlessness in the limits. You watch
one black and green field-bounder, bounder
of the blades and poles of straw, watch, intent, [Read more...]

Half-Light and Whispers

Gabriel Olearnik

Twilight is the most beautiful season of the day
Where heavy light clots like milk across the seams
Of stones warmed by the touch of sun
Shapes and shadows fray and spill and run
Spreading orange moons across the pavement
And ashed, reverent dust betrays itself
To cautious breath from incensed city rises. [Read more...]

Twist My Words

Michael Lee Johnson

I see the spring dance all over your face in green
you were arrogant before you viewed my willow tree
outside my balcony.
Now you wave at me
with green fingers
and lime smiles.
You twist my words,
Harvard collegiate style,
right where you want them to be-
lime green, willow tree, and
dark skinned branches.

Michael Lee Johnson is a poet and freelance writer from Itasca, IL. He is the author of The Lost American: From Exile to Freedom. He has also published two chapbooks of poetry. His poems have been published in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, Fuji, Nigeria, India, and the United Kingdom.

Reaching to the Choir

R.S. Mitchell

For all the symphonic splendor,
how quickly we up and render
a coterie into a crowd
(bumptious, brazen, and very loud)
before the maestro leaves the stage,
despite the blaring program page,
which pleads in large, bold, roman font
PLEASE DO NOT. For it is our wont
to bustle on our breathless routes,
a trodden troop of resolutes,
hacking, feverish, ill at ease,
resolved to hear no melodies
upon this dark atonal night,
no tunes that can’t be heard on sight. [Read more...]

A Timeless Embrace

John A. Di Camillo

Unfettered spontaneity of the escalating breeze
Whistling wisps of tingling excitement
Flying clouds of rapid torsion tying tighter
Azure world now clear, once gray, now white, now black
Shimmering splatters of weightless power
Pulling, pushing, twirling, hurling, lifting, soaring—CRACK!
A slice of chaotic light.
An instant.
A distant rumble groaning briefly.
Soaked and startled earth now cools with fading winds.
Blackened sky now gray, once white, now clear azure.
Caprice of the stratosphere. [Read more...]

Teresa

Sarah DeCorla-Souza

You called yourself a pencil in the hand
of God. You were slick like an arrow, sharp,
poignant with truth. Like Mary to our Martha,
you chose the better part, washing the sick and half-
dead, even when your prayers seemed to crumble
like ash, and your God turned blank and silent. [Read more...]

Faith

Jeremiah Webster

I dig the hole, claw soil, cut roots
with the knife until there is room
for the ring box we placed you in.
You are buried, the size of a pearl,
by the river where ten years ago
we decided marriage and children
were worth it. What is her name?
I ask above the current. Faith, your
Mother says, It was always a girl.

Joy

J.B. Toner

And when I lift my blinking gaze to You,
   Your Resurrection I begin to share—
   In seconds all that’s desolate turns fair,
The louring skies flash instantly to blue,
I sprint, leap, fly, all tireless, through the globe,
   On zephyrs with my brother birds I ride,
   And dance on soaring crests of foaming tides,
Restored by just one touch, Lord, of Your robe.
 I am not meant, perhaps, to comprehend
   Why rue-smoke palls the sunlight half the time;
 But goodness is so good, such strength it lends,
   That I can still believe some plan divine
 Will someday somehow make us whole again—
   For now it is enough Your sun still shines.

[Read more...]

Of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

Amanda Glass

I think our passage cannot be more plain
to eyes not earthly; and I think they smile
in ways which need no lips, when we attain
our little heights of thought, and pause, beguiled
by glimpses of far brighter realms beyond.
Like children in strange countryside, we cling
together, all-confiding, close and fond,
and with the grace of youth and joy we fling
our baubles—pealing laughter, glances clear
and heady, sweet air-kisses born of souls
which meet from shining eyes. For here
and now we can be lavish—time’s grim tolls
have not yet wrecked our readiness to give
ourselves without reserve. [Read more...]

To the Reader

James Matthew Wilson

Others taunt me with fleeing reality;
I find in wells, most often, something more
Than white dumb stones numbed to eternity.

When I write verse on the heart’s or mind’s core,
I take it that there’s something there to find
Beyond the pulp on the material floor,

Though to speak of it seem sunlight to the blind.
Is Order just to caulk wood boats with pitch,
As if a sea-fit craft were false design?

To gloat in chaos, spite the native itch
To cut through mobbed obscurity and grasp
The rational sense waiting within; to stitch

An ugly patch-work shawl with broken clasps
Instead of learning skilled embroidery
That make a fine and useful coat to last

Beyond the hour: such cynical strategies
Seem opium for anxious but weak minds.
Baudelaire writes that Nature’s company

Has commerce with the intellect, which winds
Through that expansion des choses infinies.
For him, the senses were a means to find

Where things and their ideas meet ethically.
But to detail the truth in decadence
Is not the only task—or shouldn’t be.

He swooned in details, and died in consequence,
Unwilling to hear the lesson in his words.
One ought to note and weigh the relevance

Of those undying shades signaled in words,
Taking them both as beauties and as guides,
Rowing the ship of heart and mind with words.

Good fortune has not blown me to collide
With the toothed rocks of which some poets sing.
And though it costs, I refuse to elide

A reasonable world, whole and discrete,
Or let the only language I compose
Mumble the bitch that “things aren’t always neat.”

With humble hand, I’ve set here words in rows,
Printed such lines in the effort to entice
The reader see the world an ordered rose.

If this gets called in turn “genteel” or “nice,”
“It lacks the flavor of burnt toast and shoe strings,”
Know all I’d meant to do was be precise.

We cannot learn from drugged hues, violent spewings;
Or wrestle truth ensnared in proud confusion,
Where doggerels arrogant and obese go strewing

The talkative forest limbs in hysteric ruin.
I’ve said this world makes perfect sense to me.
And if my ghostly ancestors-in-allusion

May show their numbered knowledge, then we’ll see
If, having learned their pattern, you don’t agree.