Search results for: "anne born"

02011103 - Version 7
by Derek Kannemeyer

There’s a photograph of me at the beach:
I’m four or five, skulking in a nook of rock
with one arm flung across my midriff
to prevent the lascivious exposure of my navel.
Where did it come from, this modesty my parents hooted at,
in sunny South Africa, on the frolicsome Cape sands?
The panic caught on my face can’t be coy, surely;
surely I can’t believe I’ve anything much to protect?
It’s terrible to be born so private and so self-involved,
to be so modest and so immodest, as if anybody even cares
about the flaws or the perfections of one’s ordinary person.
How much longer must I hole up so, for the indifferent world
to not gawp at, holding this same shy, brazen pose?
Still stricken so with wonder at my terrible, terrible bellybutton;
still singing, “Don’t look at me! Don’t look at me!”

PHOTO: Three Kannemeyers on the rocks, circa 1954, Western Cape, South Africa.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The poem that appears here was written to announce an upcoming reading. In the few years since I wrote it, the photograph that inspired it seems to have utterly disappeared. Mmh. But I’ll offer another one, from the same year, I believe, in which you will notice that I am the only one of the subjects who remains decently clad. And unlike my brother and my father, I have my eyes closed: to draw attention, it may be conjectured, to my renunciation of all this unsavory (and yet poetic? rather charming?) self-flaunting of the exposed self.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Derek Kannemeyer was born in Cape Town, South Africa, raised in London, England, and teaches in Richmond, Virginia. His writing has appeared in a few dozen print and online journals.

Lucy and I Watch Star Trek
by Derek Kannemeyer

What tickled us was never the boldly going. Any fool can boldly go; we      had
the bruises to prove it. It was the Universal Translator. Oh, to know
any and every language! To understand, to be understood!

Peter had brought some Dada to rehearsal: L’Amiral cherche une maison      à louer.
Such glorious nonsense! Lucy wondered if we might subvert the UT with      it—
if the device turned gobbledygook lucid, or it went haywire trying.

So remember, dear Lucy, how we beamed over to the Tate to check out      Dada art?
Or took the tube maybe, I forget? And on the way, began to chat in      tongues—
my gutturals; your long, liquid vowels—riding the joke from Mile End
to Charing Cross, till it took off into lunacies of joy? And its noise
into an ur-tongue—in which we told all, faked all, grasped all:
text, pretext, and subtext; gasp, grunt, groan, and chortle!

Once at the gallery, since now we’d “things” to say, we switched to      English,
but soon fell into a black hole of teen ignorance. The same banalities
the guards had to tune out daily. And so you turned with a sigh,
to board your escape pod of burble, impenetrably desolate.

In comforting Derek, I clucked and kyorr’ked to you.
With a ululoohaloo you beamed back from the void. Oh Lucy, such
dilithium we had, then—to power us into the brillig wabe. To boldly go
gigglegabgoo at anyone. King Herod, the Borg, a coatrack, your toes, the      stars.

IMAGE: Captain Kirk (William Shattner) and Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) listening to Universal Translators in a scene from Star Trek. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Even now, when I forget the words of a song, I’ll sometimes sing in my private glossolalic language, and I’m always gratified when people ask what language, and how come I know the lyrics in it. If I could choose my superpower, it might well be the ability to speak and understand every language. But this poem is about teenage friendship. In which the ability to communicate does sometimes feel like a superpower—even if you’re not actually saying much. There’s this astonished glee of mutual attunement. This belief, for a while (until you learn how much you’ve been losing in translation), that there’s someone else in the world on your wavelength.

Kannemeyer bio shot

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Derek Kannemeyer was born in Cape Town, South Africa, raised in London, and lives and teaches in Richmond, VA. His writing has appeared in a few dozen online and print journals.

AUTHOR PHOTO: The writer in his World Languages classroom, 2013.

Crowning Glory
by Joanne Corey

“The silver-haired head is a crown of glory…” Proverbs 16:31*

Friends recognize me
in a crowded theater
down the street
across the restaurant
among the congregation

Strangers comment
how beautiful
how they wish
theirs looked the same

I smile
remember the first silver
that appeared
among the brown
before I was in high school
multiplied after my daughters were born
until at fifty just a bit
of brown was left

Then I let it grow
past my shoulders
down my back
in silver waves

*Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

PHOTO: A sunny Sunday morning in the backyard, February 2015.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: For years, my hairstylist tried to convince me to dye my hair to cover the silver that was becoming noticeable in my twenties and accelerated through my thirties and forties, but I always declined. I am not the type to fuss with hair and makeup and I loved the silver color that was replacing the dark brown. She said that while men with graying hair look distinguished, women just look old, but I appreciated looking older. After I graduated from college, I was working in music ministry, assisting the organist/choirmaster. When I would be among the treble choir, whose members were in elementary and middle school, people would mistake me for one of them. I appreciated that a touch of silver at my temples might keep me from being confused with 12-year-olds. Times have changed. Now, one of the hottest shades for young women to color their hair is silver. Will I begin to be mistaken for a younger woman again?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joanne Corey lives and writes in Vestal, New York, where she is active with the Binghamton Poetry Project, Bunn Hill Poets, and Sappho’s Circle. She is pleased to return to the Silver Birch Press blog in 2016 after appearing in five series in 2015. She invites you to visit her eclectic blog, Top of JC’s Mind.

Becoming Joanne
by Joanne Corey

If my grandfather Giovanni
had not fled the Old Country
before the Great War,
I might have been Giovanna
or piccola Giovanina.
Born in 1960s New England,
I was Joanne —
one word —
small a —
with an e —
to avoid confusion with four classmates
who answered to that common name.

When I was eighteen,
my Latin teacher derived and gave
meaning to my name:
Joanne —
feminine of John —
from Hebrew –
variously translated as
God is gracious- —
Gift of God —
God’s gracious gift.
A daunting aspiration
as I began adulthood.

After decades of striving
to fulfill the promise,
to be worthy of my name,
in my sixth decade,
wisdom dawns.
God freely gifts grace.
have always been,
will always be
Joanne —
God’s gracious gift —
living out a universal call.

PHOTOGRAPH: The author’s visiting her daughter in Honolulu for Mother’s Day (May 11, 2014).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joanne Corey lives in Broome County, New York, where she spends her time writing, blogging, caring for family, volunteering, and tilting at windmills for various environmental and social justice causes. Recent publications include the spring 2015 anthology of the Binghamton Poetry Project and the anthology Candles of Hope (GWL Publishing – UK), her first international print publication. She invites you to visit her eclectic blog:

Meadow of Grace
by Lee Anne G. Hall

A name with meaning
Seemingly so simply harvested
From the family tree
From her,
From her grandfather before her
From my aunt,
From her aunt before her
His side, her side
Two small apples
From different branches

Four letters, two syllables
Each resonant across the world
Spoken in many languages
With different meanings
For different cultures
Two, wee names,
Attached in that
Southernly way we like them here
Lee Anne (Meadow of Grace)

She chose so well,
My Blue Ridge born mama
Family names with broader sense
Intentionally drawn
In homage to the home
She always missed
Where her story began
Meadows of Dan, Virginia

And so I stand
With my sister, Virginia
With my brother, Dan
Me, Lee Anne (Meadow of Grace)
To honor our mother
And the way she wove
The roots of her beginning
Into the fruit of ours

PHOTOGRAPH: The author as a child with her mother Karen (Greeneville, Tennessee, 1965).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem has swirled in my head for years, just waiting an excuse to land on paper. It is for my mother I carry this name, and it is for my mother I wrote this poem. She named my siblings in the same way — a bit from this side, a bit from that side, always speaking of home. Sometimes all we need is a reason to tell a story.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lee Anne G. Hall is an almost lifelong but mostly unheard poet now considering entertaining options after raising children for 24 years. She thinks of herself as unpublished, although one of her poems won the 2015 Lonesome Pine Poetry Contest held in conjunction with the John Fox, Jr., Literary Festival. She is unsure if the booklet handed out at the festival counts as published, but her husband is rather proud of it. Lee Anne is from East Tennessee, and is a graduate of Tusculum College.

The Vines of East Rockville
by Marianne Szlyk

According to Celtic astrology, the vine is
indecisive, fickle,
born in the transition to fall
as the air loses its heat
and sunlight disappears
into the dark crimson
and purple of early evenings.

Many vines grow
in my neighborhood
some with flowers,
some with leaves like hearts,
others with tiny needles,
most on chain-link fences.

Even the house with scented roses,
a teacup terrier, and peonies
has its vines.

The family next door plants
vines with purple flowers
and thick-skinned peapods.
These fuse with the fence,
green and silver links together.
Once an Italian family raised grapes,
green leaves and purple fruit twining around
the arbor where an old man now sits.

Up the street a profusion
of leaves tangle with the links.
Purple flowers and red berries
and yellow leaves
show up among the green.
Young trees, too young
to bend the fence,
spring up like vines,
for now, protecting
the abandoned
house until it falls.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was originally published in the Fall 2014 issue of The Greensilk Journal. At one point, I revised this poem into unrhymed quatrains, but I like this free verse version best. It fits the nature of vines to ramble. Quatrains probably suit poems about roses or boxwood more anyway.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Vines of East Rockville, Maryland” by Marianne Szlyk.

better picture of marianne and front room

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marianne Szlyk recently published her first chapbook, Listening to Electric Cambodia, Looking Up at Trees of Heaven, at Kind of a Hurricane Press. Her poem “Walking Past Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Winter” was nominated for the 2014 Best of the Net. Individual poems have appeared in print and online, most recently in Poppy Road Review, Black Poppy Review, Carcinogenic Poetry, bird’s thumb, The Flutter Journal, Of/with, Walking Is Still Honest, and Literature Today as well as Kind of a Hurricane’s anthologies, most recently Switch (the Difference).  She edits a poetry blog-zine at and hopes that you will consider submitting a poem there or voting in one of its contests.

Channeling Charon
by Anggo Genorga

The ferryman was adamant;
he knew I was confused about whether to stay or leave.
He downplayed the monkey bleeding me to death
as unimpressive and pretentious. With sarcasm, he pointed out
that the hurting brought about by
my romanticizing death was
of childish inclination.

So he told me of the obolos coin I would bring
when the due time comes
and if I ever chicken out, I can frequent the same empty streets
dreaming of narcotics. He said there I’ll find the same kind of haunting
in the upper world of Akheron
if I ever wander thru it
as ghost

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was into mythology at an early age, with Hercules as starting point, and I always had a picture in mind of reading poetry or stories based on myths matched by art with a touch of surrealism. Of course, the fascination of putting oneself in those stories never fails to spark the creative imagination or reimagining, as with the case of my poem, “Channeling Charon,” where me and the ferryman of death had a sort of chat about dying. My mother died of cancer a month ago, so I guess my recent writings cannot help but reek of death. Nevertheless, I’ve always perceived Charon as an underappreciated mythical figure, probably because of the symbolism it represents.

IMAGE: “Charon’s Boat” by José Benlliure Y Gil (1858-1937)

pix for mythic poetry series

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anggo Genorga was born and raised in the Philippines, and is currently juggling numbers and sales figures on a telemarketing gig in Dubai. After 20 years of scribbling poetry and keeping it to himself, his work has been published during the past two years.  Some of his poems are featured in Boston Poetry Magazine, Empty Mirror, Hash & Pumpkins, Mad Swirl, Ppigpenn, Screech Owl, and the book for benefit Verses Typhoon Yolanda : A Storm Of Filipino Poets by Meritage Press.

by Suzanne O’Connell

Once out of me mouth I just rolled into it.
I’ll never be an old man smoking and fighting.
I’ve been like this all me life.
Despised, blinking fits,
a complicated loser.
In a nutshell,
I was born on the concrete flats.
I was an offhand thought.

But now it’s all right.
It’s a new morning.
I’m no bullshit for once.
I used to expect too much.
Now it’s all about me.
Once out of me mouth, it’s secure.
Once I realized that
the bigger the pain,
the more god you look for,
I rolled into it.
Now, it’s all right.

SOURCE: “The Rolling Stone Interview: John Lennon, Part I” by Jann S. Wenner,  Rolling Stone  (January 21, 1971).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Why John Lennon? I have always felt he was a kindred spirit. Loved his music and who he was.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Suzanne O’Connell lives in Los Angeles, where she is a poet and a clinical social worker. Her work can be found in Forge, Atlanta Review, G.W. Review, Reed Magazine, Permafrost, Mas Tequila Review, The Round, The Griffin, Sanskrit, Foliate Oak, Talking River, Organs of Vision and Speech Literary Magazine, Willow Review, The Tower Journal, Thin Air Magazine, The Manhattanville Review, The Evansville Review, Serving House Journal, Schuylkill Valley Journal, and Licking River Review. She was a recipient of Willow Review’s annual award for 2014 for her poem “Purple Summers.” She is a member of Jack Grapes’ L.A. Poets and Writers Collective.

ImageToday we celebrate the birth of one of the all-time greatest of the great writers — Flannery O’Connor, born in Savannah, Georgia, on March 25, 1925. Author of two novels — Wise Blood (1952), which she holds on her lap in the photo above, and The Violent Bear It Away (1960) — and 32 short stories, O’Connor created a lasting body of work in her short life (she died 50 years ago — in 1964 at age 39).

Kurt Vonnegut said of her, “The greatest American short story writer of my generation was Flannery O’Connor. She broke practically every one of my [writing] rules but the first. Great writers tend to do that.” (For the record, Vonnegut’s first rule of writing is: “Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.” Read the complete list at this link.)

Here’s a favorite Flannery O’Connor quote: “I often ask myself what makes a story work, and what makes it hold up as a story, and I have decided that it is probably some action, some gesture of a character that is unlike any other in the story, one which indicates where the real heart of the story lies. This would have to be an action or a gesture which was both totally right and totally unexpected; it would have to be one that was both in character and beyond character; it would have to suggest both time and eternity.”

by Ruth Moon Kempher

My Gramma knew the names of all the field
flowers, but I didn’t always listen.  The lavender
lilac was French, she said, which I knew was far off
where there was war, which wasn’t fitting.  Peace—
there were Peace roses in her garden, and Ramblers—
that made sense somehow, since everybody went out
somewhere, but could come home.  Three-Star flag
in her window for three boys, one was for my Dad—
Lily-of-the-Valley and Mock Orange by the porch.
Too long in the south now, where it hardly
grows anything without stickers or violent smell
my favorites were Queen Anne’s Lace and
Dutchman’s Breeches, sometimes called, if I
remember rightly, Butter and Eggs, in lots miscalled
“vacant,” where grasses congregate—bugs
and milkweed pods, oozing moths and butterflies—
the moths that drift, white over dry rows of pea vines
like early snow.  Summer was the best time, then.
Carrot smell, vague, of Queen Anne’s lace
embroidered my days, easy.  Looking up under
its umbrella, kaleidoscope curds, white knurls
on green spokes, turned slowly—Summer
was for hiding then, mostly, looking up.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ruth Moon Kempher, an ex-navy brat who was born in Red Bank, New Jersey, has had her poetry and short prose appear in journals and other periodical publications since 1958, and has published many other people’s work since 1994 through her Kings Estate Press in St. Augustine, Florida. She is retired from owning a tavern and from teaching—first for Flagler College while attaining her BA and graduating with the college’s first class; and later, after achieving her MA at Emory University in Atlanta, in the English Department of St. Johns River Community College. The latest of her thirty-three (mostly small) collections is Key West Papers (Casa de Cinco Hermanos Press, Pueblo, Colorado). Her poetry, including “Queen Anne’s Lace,” will appear in the Silver Birch Press SUMMER ANTHOLOGY (June 21, 2013), a collection of poetry and prose written by over 70 authors from the U.S., Canada, U.K., Europe, and Africa.

PHOTO: “Queen Anne’s Lace” by LupenGrainne — prints are available at