Archives for category: ONE GOOD MEMORY

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Fishing Trip
by Tom Lagasse

Packed and wearing our best behavior we take flight in our fern-colored Buick Skylark.

‘Look for a dirt opening,’ my father says, as he points to the river side of the road. There
is no sign to greet you when arriving at Satan’s Kingdom.

Carrying fishing gear, blankets, and a picnic lunch, we careen through a narrow path, as though through an eye of needle, that leads us to a clearing along the river.

The air, moist and sweet, is released from the steady current that sluices over glacial rocks and fallen trees. It caresses us as though welcoming us home.

We breathe deeply and give our tension to the river.

My sister and mother unfold thin blankets and spread them over packed dirt. My father and I bring the fishing gear to the river’s edge.

Like always, my mother sacrifices the most for this day to be possible. She prefers
the safety of four walls and the predictability of Top 40 radio to the outdoors.

Quickly, birdsong and our laughter open her heart like her favorite song.

My father, this was all he ever wanted: to pull his family close and be free
of his sisters, his work, the honey-do list, and his past.

The insouciant river washes over him until he is a trout lifting from the water to find a world existed beyond his own.

Our home is intact, although my sister and I are often divided by specific gender roles.
This was an androgynous day.

She proves to be the better son when she cast her line into the heart
of the river and reels in a trout as she shrieks with delight.

And me? There is no peace that needs to be brokered that day. We eat
bologna sandwiches and watch a metaphor-free river flow.

We never return.

In the half century since, time has stretched this day in all directions,
and I float along it. Unable to help myself, I nibble at this sweet bait.

PAINTING: Two Trout & Reflection by Neil Welliver (1994).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: For over half my life now, I try to write at least five days a week. Inspiration may be immediate whether it’s at a desk or driving, come from responding to poems I read, or ideas that take time to develop and craft. I tend to keep notes and ideas. While I may not use them, it keeps me in a creative frame of mind.

Lagasse

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tom Lagasse’s poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies and publications, including three Silver Birch Series. Most recently, a poem appeared in the New Generation Beats Anthology  By day, he writes.  By night, he works with spice. He lives in Bristol, Connecticut. Visit him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as well as his website, tlagasse.com.

maxim shishkanov
Dying in a Cloud of Perfume
by Catfish McDaris

I always kept a secret smile and a
bankroll in my front pocket

Alexandra sprayed expensive perfume into the air
then nonchalantly walked into the cloud
with a glamorous style

Living in her fire was like committing
the eighth deadly sin, sleep was
on vacation until you woke up dead

I shadowboxed with Diablo every time
her name crossed my lips sometimes words
can illuminate a path when you feel like
giving up the ghost.

Photo by Maxim Shishkanov.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is a poem about my first American lady, after being in the army overseas for three years. I don’t know if  I got away or she did.

McDaris Photo 2 for Henry

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Catfish McDaris’ most infamous chapbook, Prying with Jack Micheline and Charles Bukowski from 1997, has just been rereleased. He’s from Albuquerque and Milwaukee. His newest books are Ghosts of the War Elephants and Meat Grinder.

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Sliding Towards Home
by Thomas Zampino

the alpine slide up north
was the first time we released you.
we watched as your curly
brown hair flit side-to-side in the
opposite direction of your body.
the toboggan jolted, then slid down
the long winding path until you
disappeared from our view.

yesterday we watched you two
hold hands several paces ahead
and we saw your long brown
hair bouncing from side-to-side
in tandem with his movement.
and for the second time we
released you, as you began
sliding towards home.

IMAGE: A Girl on a Toboggan Sledding Down a Hill (A. L. Foster & Co.). Prints available at art.com.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was drawn to poetry late in life. Most of my writings relate to family or simply to things that have become more obvious to me as I get older. “Sliding Towards Home” was inspired by watching my oldest with her beloved, months before their marriage, and finally coming to terms with the notion that a parent’s most important responsibility is in the releasing – and realizing that’s something that sometimes must happen more than once.

Zampino

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Thomas Zampino, a Manhattan attorney for over 35 years, started writing poetry only recently. Some of his work has appeared in The University of Chicago’s Memoryhouse Magazine, Silver Birch Press (twice), Bard’s Annual (2019, 2020, and 2021), Trees in a Garden of Ashes, Otherwise Engaged, Chaos, A Poetry Vortex, Nassau County Voices in Verse, and No Distance Between Us. A video enactment of his poem “Precise Moment” was produced by Brazilian director and actor Gui Agustini. His first book of poetry, Precise Moment, was released in 2021. Visit him at gracepending.wordpress.com.

Jose Camilo Lopez
Over Earth My Distant Fingerprint
by Craig Thompson

My hair feels so much better washed clean
after all that work, I probably stink less
with a good shower and the miracle of soap,
now the dogs will stop cozying up to me,
showing their bellies, rolling on the scent
of chicken and steer manure, compost, dirt
irresistible to the canine persuasion
licking my face, afternoon into evening.
I saw the International Space Station
after midnight, its wings caught the sun,
orbit skirted the atmosphere on gravity,
solar panels lit up, clipping along
in the dark sky crossing Orion’s belt
right fast between Rigel and Betelgeuse.

PHOTO: Stars in the night sky and trails of the International Space Station by Jose Camilo Lopez Perez.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In my freeform sonnets, I often balance pieces from different times and settings. Here, after a deep dive of winter gardening, I was swarmed by my dog, Bud, and his visiting best friend, Otto. They turned on another memory, when I saw the International Space Station one night. I worked on a project for Boeing that contributed to the ISS, and witnessing it in flight was as joyful as those two dogs. This is the lead off piece in A Singular Bestiary, a now 160-page sonnet sequence that is a novel of sorts, though interspersed with pieces, like this one, grounded in my life. Some of my work gets pretty dark, so I try to make sure there’s a balance.

Thompson

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Craig Thompson lives with spouse Ariel, feline Pixie, and Bud the Wonder Dog. Recently published poems are in Terror House, The Locust Review, Spread, and Pontoon Poetry. His artwork has appeared in Surreal Salon/The Baton Rouge Gallery and Mind Maze/Gallery 118. Craig has received Seattle’s prestigious Denny Award and other civic honors for the Jungle Project, a public safety and environmental program he’s led since 2005.

tatyana tomsickova photo
A Moment
by Deborah Pope

My sons, four and seven, in yellow slickers,
were coming down the long, gravel drive
in the rain, carrying the morning paper.
Their black umbrellas crazily swayed
and jaunted above them. I could see only
their legs until they tilted their awkward
awnings back like the Morton Salt girl.
Their joy brimmed over every puddle,
every emphatic stomp of their soaked-through
shoes. They paused, waved to where
I stood at the kitchen window,
in the ache of that ancient longing—
a child’s approach, return.

Previously published in the author’s collection, Take Nothing (Carnegie-Mellon Press, 2020).

Photo by Tatyana Tomsickova.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In this poem I have tried to capture the brief immediacy of a “moment” between a mother (me) and her children. I also see something timeless in the moment, prefiguring as it does how mothers across time have wished and waited for their children, no matter how grown, to return home from their journeys, no matter how small.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Deborah Pope has published four books of poetry—Fanatic Heart, Mortal WorldFalling Out of the Sky, and Take Nothing. Her newest, Wild Liar, is forthcoming in 2023 from Carnegie-Mellon Press. Her work has appeared in Poetry, Threepenny Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Southern Review, EPOCH, Birmingham Poetry Review, and Poetry Northwest, among others. She has also been awarded the Robinson Jeffers Prize.

Author photo by by Les Todd ©Duke University Photography.

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Of Hammers, Stars, and Memories
by Ken Gierke

Our work finished after adding
the final touch to the barn we’ve built
over the past week, a horse stall
for Lori’s Morgan, we wash for dinner.
Our bellies full, we place kindling
and split logs into the firepit
on the hillside below the house.

Daylight slowly fading, we sit before
the open fire and our gaze turns
to the horizon as twilight reveals
an expanse that darkens to reveal
the marvelous sight of the Milky Way.

We talk of work that’s done
and left to do as the moon rises
and the flames recede to leave
glowing embers that send sparks
skyward to remind us of the reward
for a day well spent.

Long after you are gone,
I look back on my many visits
to help make your home
such a welcoming place
and realize that every moment,
from swinging a hammer
to gazing at the night sky
as I talked with you beside the fire,
will stay with me forever.

PHOTO: Barn and Milky Way by Dreamstime.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: For many years, we traveled to my parents’ retirement home in Fillmore, New York, south of Buffalo, and on many of those weekends I helped my father with his many projects, from raising a ham radio antenna to building a pavilion for family gatherings to building the barn mentioned in this poem. That 70-mile trip was worth it every time, for the chance to maintain a close relationship over “long” distance with the two people who meant so much to me. Except for in the dead of winter, sitting beside an open fire was a part of every weekend visit.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ken Gierke has lived in Missouri since 2012, when he moved from Western New York, where the Niagara River fostered a love for nature. He writes primarily in free verse and haiku, often inspired by hiking and kayaking, while his fondness for love poetry may be explained by the fact that he moved to Missouri to be with the woman he eventually married. His poetry has appeared as a micro-chapbook from Origami Poems Project, as well as in several print anthologies, including three from Vita Brevis Press and another edited by d. ellis phelps. He also has been featured online by Amethyst Review, Silver Birch Press, and the Ekphrastic Review. Visit him at rivrvlogr.com.

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Bodega Bay
by Sheila Sondik

The dunes changed shape every year
and every year the change surprised us.
We flew kites, snapped bull kelp like whips.
The giant shrub ate our shuttlecocks and wiffle balls.

We found an LP of Just So Stories in a closet
and played it for our daughters.
The great, gray-green, greasy Limpopo River,
all set about with fever-trees…

We’d sit in the tiny, whitewashed porch,
and watch the broad creek riffle in the breeze.
Only here, we indulged in saltwater
taffy and 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles.

Great blue herons stalked Salmon Creek
while ospreys dive-bombed for their dinner.

Next door, a mysterious round structure
gave off a counterculture scent.
Lines of pelicans back from the brink
coasted over the surly gray-green Pacific.

Farther up the dunes, I poured sand
from plastic bucket to sandmill
and watched the spinning paddlewheel
with a dumb joy I still can’t fathom.

Previously published in Williwaw Journal Issue 3 (Spring, 2018).

PAINTING: Bodega Bay by ClaudiaSavageArt. Prints available at etsy.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sheila Sondik is a poet and printmaker in Bellingham, Washington. Her poetry has appeared in CALYX, Kettle Blue Review, The Raven Chronicles, Floating Bridge Review, frogpond, and many other journals. She has degrees from Harvard College and California College of the Arts. Egress Studio Press published her chapbook Fishing a Familiar Pond: Found Poetry from The Yearling in 2013. Her artwork and links to her poetry are available at sheilasondik.com

igor batenev
A Bee Will Visit 5,000 Flowers a Day
by Ranney Campbell

that sweet year’s rare drench stirred
tiny bright yellow petals so delicate
not the color
               named for, wild mustard,

and sticky invasive cane tangled
every bit of hills devoid defense
natural enemies and bees followed

come
to collect pollen and lie on my back
on granite, inundated in ten-thousand

buzzes unlike another experience
ever in my head vibrating a magnetic
moment
                 in knowing they might
over and over
with home all those miles away
had gone alone so far
                                    off trail

swelled between stems whirling
                         the air black slashed
yellow
core droned

                              eyes closed

they would know I meant no harm

or that at least whatever inflicted
would leave me
with just a number of red welts
of venom
that soon enough would settle

PHOTO: Bee on wild mustard by Igor Batanev.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ranney Campbell is from St. Louis, Missouri, but lives in Southern California. Her chapbook, Pimp, is published by Arroyo Seco Press, and other work has appeared in Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Hummingbird: Magazine of the Short Poem, Third Wednesday, Eastern Iowa Review, ONE ART, Storm Cellar (forthcoming), and elsewhere.

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Piano
by Anita Howard

In the early days
before forced marching took over,
they brought me to see
the place where I would go to school.

I stood on a polished, wooden floor
and was shown the piano,
the mechanism of music without choice.

A white-headed woman,
her kind smile not to be our fate,
turned upon a padded stool
and shimmered the heavy keys
to emit a few juddering notes.

“It sounds like a lioness,” I said,
my thoughts back to the zoo,
and the laughter nearly knocked me down.
No harm to find my roar
before the place revealed its demons.

©Anita Howard

PHOTO: Two lionesses (Chobe National Park, Botswana, 2017). Photo by Geran de Klerk on Unsplash. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The poem was inspired by an early memory of childhood.

Anita Howard image

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anita Howard is a writer, storyteller, and actor living in Passage West, County Cork, Ireland. Her work has appeared in HeadStuff, Poetica Review, Bluepepper, JA Books Magazine, Written Tales, and the Don’t Get Caught! anthology by Write In 4 Charity, Leicester, as well as the Zooanthology by Sweetycat Press and the Querencia Fall 22 Anthology. She is on Twitter as @AnitaHowardSto1.

olga tarakanova
Growing Faster Than Swamp Bamboo,
My Mother Liked to Say
by Jackie Craven

August turned our lake into a gloomy puddle
where minnows sank from the weight
of their own bodies and grownup voices
drifted on smoke from sad little charcoal fires
which made me wish for a cigarette—
a cloud of sin I could hold in my lungs
and no one would guess the darkness
inside me—or a secret tattoo
like a dragonfly or a message written in code—
impossible to decipher as I waded into the deepest
green. The water used to reach my chin but now
my legs were so much longer—
Even out by the rusty buoy
my feet touched bottom and mud pushed
between my toes. Above the din of lovelorn frogs
I heard her call and call.

Previously published in Secret Formulas & Techniques of the Masters by Jackie Craven, Brick Road Poetry Press, 2018.

IMAGE: Bamboo with leaves (watercolor) by Olga Tarakanova.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: During the summer months, my family used to go camping at Lake Sherando in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Oh, the frogs and minnows, so fat and easy to catch. Oh, the nights lit by campfires and fireflies. As I entered my teens, the enchantment mingled with a desperate need for detachment . . . and a longing to hold on.

PHOTO: The author, age 11, at Lake Sherando (Virginia).

Author Jackie Craven in red turtleneck shirt and dark red glasses.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jackie Craven has recent poems in AGNI, The Massachusetts Review, New Ohio Review, Pleiades, Ploughshares, River Styx, and other journals and anthologies. She’s the author of Secret Formulas & Techniques of the Masters (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2018) and two chapbooks, Cyborg Sister (Headmistress Press, 2022) and  Our Lives Became Unmanageable (Omnidawn, 2016), winner of the Omnidawn Fabulist Fiction Award. After earning a Doctor of Arts in Writing from the University at Albany, New York, she worked for many years as a journalist covering architecture, visual art, and travel. Find her at JackieCraven.com.