Archives for posts with tag: Maine

fall break
by Jonathan Chan

at dusk the eyes begin to glaze, hemmed in by
the dense shroud of an unlit highway, no glimmer
in the mirrors left, right, or rear, faltering in the
stubborn stream of light and the passing flit of
strip after strip, brilliant flash of orange and red
fading in the last high beam of an endless road,
across the signs of stolen presence announcing

Bangor, Belfast, and Brighton, every leaf and rock,
each rising tide leaving only dregs of foam announcing
this form, processual and inchoate, seen at the cusp
of daybreak, a single mom-and-pop for miles and
miles, the tip of a lighthouse announcing a fortitude
closest to old worlds, and a riding back on the winds,
hands over metal bars stapled into stoic rock, hands

over each crag, photographs making known the
touristry of conquest, expanse of mountain and
forest held in ocular weight, the breath of something
old, something new, exhalations of awe so many
times over before the streaming from a beehive, or
another trail, where the land’s bones are never out
of joint and its heart is never frigid like wax.

PAINTING: Lighthouse and Buildings, Portland Head, Cape Elizabeth, Maine by Edward Hopper (1927).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In October 2021, while in graduate school, several of my friends and I decided to take a road trip from New Haven, Connecticut, up to Acadia National Park in Maine. The colours of fall were just beginning to descend upon New England and we shared the desire to behold the grand swathes of orange, red, and yellow along the highways and from the peaks of mountains. None of us had been to Acadia and we relished the opportunity to pass through Massachusetts and New Hampshire on our way up. The trip up involved the longest continuous periods I’d ever had to drive and pay attention to the road. I remember noticing the names of the smaller towns in Maine with some curiosity, each reflecting the name of somewhere else in the United Kingdom. The poem begins with our time on the road, moves through our time in Portland and Penobscot, and culminates with the grandeur we witnessed at Acadia. The trip provided a distinctive and singular memory, a time of wonder and relief from the pressures of school, one that I continue to hold close when I think back to my time as a graduate student.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jonathan Chan is a writer and editor of poems and essays. Born in New York to a Malaysian father and South Korean mother, he was raised in Singapore and educated at Cambridge and Yale Universities. He is the author of the poetry collection going home (Landmark, 2022). He has recently been moved by the work of Kevin Young, R. F. Kuang, and Alfian Sa’at. More of his writing can be found at and on Instagram at @fivefoundings.

licensed demerzel21
The Observatory at Penobscot Narrows
by Susanna Baird

The only tower of its kind in the country. The tallest tower of its kind in the world.

I step into the elevator alone, am the most and least of everything as I rise until I stop, until I step towards thick glass to look over miles at sights the signs say I see that I can’t see through the drizzle.

With sunlight, the views might be cinematic: the river town, the granite foothills explosively disrupted to introduce the holiday road, the trees and the trees and the trees, the mountains I can’t find for the fog. The most favorite thing I can’t see is the restaurant the guard shows me used to be right down there, in that pressed dirt half circle that looks like a driveway. Can you see where it was?

There the camera people paused, ate lobster rolls for dinner, drank an extra bottle of beer, signed postcards with the waitress’s pen. But for time they are me, distinguished in this place for not being home, for driving through blasted rock, for stopping short of a bridge just shy of a town, hoping for ground clouds to scatter.

PHOTO: The Penobscot Narrows Bridge (Maine) by Demerzel21, used by permission.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Penobscot Narrows Bridge is a 2,120-foot cable-stayed bridge that carries US 1/SR 3 over the Penobscot River and connects Verona Island, Maine, to the town of Prospect. The bridge is home to the Penobscot Narrows Observatory, the first bridge observation tower in the United States and the tallest public bridge observatory in the world, with a tower 420 feet high.  Located on the Maine coast, 20 miles south of Bangor, Penobscot Narrows Observatory opened to the general public in May 2007. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’m afraid of heights, and often need to tackle height-related activities alone. When my family visited this impressive tower, on a bridge spanning Maine’s Penobscot River, I waited until my husband and daughter went up and came down, then fought fear as I rode alone in the elevator. The view up top was reduced due to a fog, but I still felt grateful for having made the trip, and for that particular headspace you enter when you are apart from “real” life, when you feel deeply impressed by “only” and “tallest” in a way you don’t when enmeshed in your everyday. The best part came when the guard told me about the restaurant that wasn’t there anymore. It was a small, lovely gift, the moment that most remains with me from that experience. This summer, I am missing being a tourist farther from home, but enjoying local day trips I never before took the time to make.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susanna Baird lives in the tourist town of Salem, Massachusetts, and is fascinated by tourist headspace. She serves as administrative editor of Talking Writing and as co-chair of the Authors Committee of the Salem Literary Festival, and leads a fiction and memoir writing group. She also helps run The Clothing Connection, a small nonprofit getting clothes to Salem kids who need them. When not writing or reading, she likes hiking with her dog, napping with her cat, and goofing off with her family. Find Susanna online at (check out her occasional microblog, x100!) and on Twitter @susannabaird.

Photogenic at any Age
by Rosemary Marshall Staples

Stars shine, lights glow,
cameras flash.
Daily photo shoots.
Her beauty remains unfading.
No model can pose as well.
She is timeless,
mysterious and stunning.
Elegant and natural
she captures us.
We can’t keep our eyes off her.
She leaves us all
intoxicated and intrigued.
We have no choice but to return
time and again for another look.
More famous than a painting,
a century old, yet new every day.
Poised on a pedestal of rock.
Nubble Lighthouse is calling
to waves, to wanderers, to shutterbugs,
to look, gaze, breathe, rest and return.

PHOTO: “Cape Neddick Nubble Lighthouse” by Joel Bailey,
Hidden Fox Photography (2017).

staples 1 copy

Rosemary Marshall Staples is a poet and songwriter. Her work has appeared in Spotlight magazine, Poet’s Touchstone, and Piscataqua Poems. Featured at Maine venues with her poetry and music, she is a member of The Poetry Society of New Hampshire and The Writers in the Round at Star Island. Her poem “Photogenic at any Age” is about Nubble Lighthouse in York, Maine. The poem appears on the placemat at Fox’s Lobster House located at Sohier Park, adjacent to the parking lot overlooking Nubble Lighthouse. Since childhood, she has visited this landmark, which holds many memories of family and friends.

Valentine to Ogunquit
by Tricia Marcella Cimera

I love you,
     O-gunquit by the o-cean,
place of my heart.
     The moment I leave you,
I want to return.
     On this last day,
saying goodbye again,
     I wish a great wave
would rise up
     and pull me in,
pull me under.
     I wish time would stop
and let me stay.
     I would sing
as a Siren
     in the bottomless sea.
I would swim
     as a ghost fish
through the primal blue.
     I would float
on the ancient waves
     as a glass bottle,
with a message inside
     that would say,
Ogunquit, I love you.
      I love you.
      I love you.

PHOTOGRAPH:  The author on Ogunquit Beach, Maine (2011).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I have been visiting Ogunquit, a little town and artist’s colony on the Southern coast of Maine, since 2004. Words really can’t express how much I love this “place of my heart,” but I tried.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tricia Marcella Cimera is an obsessed reader and lover of words. Her work has appeared in Silver Birch Press, Reverie Fair, Prairie Light Review, and Downtown Auroran Magazine.  She volunteers, believes strongly in the ideology of Think Globally, Act Locally, and wants you to Support Local Art. If you find yourself in Ogunquit, Maine, she highly recommends visiting the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, a gem of a museum overlooking the ocean. Tricia lives with Rob, her husband, Sinder the Cat, and Gray the African Gray parrot in St. Charles, Illinois.

We Lived on Monmouth Time
by Richard L. Levesque

Rt. 495 from Amesbury, MA to Portsmouth, NH
Rt. 95 from Portsmouth, NH to Lewiston, ME
Rt. 202 from Lewiston, ME to the town of Monmouth, ME

lines drawn in asphalt
my father traveled
without a compass or map

his strong hands steering a bus
more black primer coat and rust
than machine

my mother sipping coffee
at a plywood table
that would fold into a bed

my sister and I tucked into bunk beds
forged from two-by-fours,
beer, and sweat

we would travel this way
120 miles
before the sun ever thought of rising

and come to rest
a mile off the main road
beside Annabessacook Lake

the night air seeping pine scent
through the window screens
as a soft breeze lulled us to sleep

we would wake in the morning,
my aunt and uncle greeting us warmly
with coffee and eggs

and The Munsters on a small television,
rabbit ears plucking signals out of the sky
as the campground birds paid homage to another day

then it was time to feed the fish at the dock,
my cousins and I skipping Trix cereal off the water
and dangling pieces of hotdog between our toes

or swim at the cove
where you could walk out for yards
and the water would magically never go past your waist

the afternoons were for exploring
the abandoned cabin of a five and dime dynasty
left to overgrown ruin beyond a stone wall

inside, magazines of four boys when they were Fab
were the only markers of time
as the mounted heads of forest game stared at us blankly

at night we would return to our bus
mother, father, sister, brother
and say goodnight to each other in the spirit of The Waltons

we all lived simply back in those days,
traveling through our moments with youthful steps
like ageless wheels on a long road

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: No photographs exist of us on vacation in Monmouth, Maine, but we seem to have plenty of the bus that took us there. This photo was taken in Amesbury, Massachusetts. The date stamped on the back is September 1977.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: If you were part of a working-class family back in the day, you didn’t take trips to Disneyland. That was never in the cards financially. So you made do. My father traded in a full-size bus for the mini bus he wound up renovating and painting himself. In addition to the folding bed/table, he built bunk beds, cabinets, and a sink. We also had a portable toilet, a VCR hooked up to a car battery, and a Coleman stove. If you threw in a cooler, you had all you needed to take a few days off and head to Maine. And those were our vacations. We just went to my Aunt Therese and Uncle Bill’s cabin and parked in their driveway. It was every bit as good as Disneyland to us because that’s all we ever knew.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Richard L. Levesque has been writing and publishing poetry since 1991. He is the author of two chapbooks, Bone-Break Psychobilly Stew and Fetal Graceland. He is currently working on a third chapbook, Carriagetown Frogs, about his life growing up in Amesbury, Massachusetts. He currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana, with his wife Lorrie.

by Sonja Johanson

Everyone knows where it is, it’s right
out the back of town. The families that
live up there have kept the view clear.
You can take a nice walk after dinner,
summer evenings.

After you pass the Chadbourne’s barn,
all board and batten, the Longfellows
stretch north as far as the light
will show them. The Presidentials
rise to the south, first hunter green,
then navy, then smoke. At the top
is the burying grounds, set about
with an iron railing and five-needle
pines. You can bet the hill will never
go to condos, what with the best sites
already taken by the dead.

It isn’t like Height of Land, which any fool
could find by accident, driving around
state roads. You have to go past what
looks to be important, and the way
gets kind of hinky. That keeps it mostly
for the locals, so no one bothers
the highway department to go fixing
the potholes. Sometimes, the summer
people see the street sign, and ask why
it’s called Paradise. We just look at them.

IMAGE: “Autumn Sunrise, Paradise Hill” (Bethel, Maine) by Sara Gray as seen in Yankee Magazine. Visit the photographer at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sonja Johanson attended College of the Atlantic, in Bar Harbor, ME., and currently serves as the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator for the Massachusetts Master Gardener Association. She has recent work appearing in The Albatross, Off the Coast, and Out of Sequence: The Sonnets Remixed, and was a participating writer in FPR’s 2014 Oulipost Project. Sonja divides her time between work in Massachusetts and her home in the mountains of western Maine.

By Denis Dunn

sleet against the windowpane
or maybe a mouse in the wall…
I listen…
but silence knows no direction
heavy pine boughs,
deep in the woods
so quiet, so still
a deer steps
inside, warm, 
the sound of a cat’s paw
disturbs very little
as it hunts in a dream
silent as sleet

PHOTO: Wednzday01



By Denis Dunn

sleet against the windowpane

or maybe a mouse in the wall…

I listen…

but silence knows no direction


heavy pine boughs,

deep in the woods

so quiet, so still

a deer steps

inside, warm, 

the sound of a cat’s paw

disturbs very little

as it hunts in a dream

silent as sleet

PHOTO: Wednzday01