Archives for posts with tag: Poems

gorlov
Cleaning Miller Pond
by Merrill Oliver Douglas

Puzzle: how to nudge this boat
among trailing vines and branches,
squeeze through the one bare space,
poke the reeds with the paddle
and pluck out the Coke can?

Then figure the best wrist action
for flipping a taco wrapper
from beneath the snarl of algae
that streams off the paddle
like hair from a corpse.

The bag between my knees
grows lumpy with Styrofoam
bait buckets, beer cans, a slack-faced
soccer ball, glass and plastic
bottles sloshing grainy water.

Puzzle: why is the world so filled
with slobs? And why,
on a mild spring morning
in downtown Elmira,
does all this garbage
beckon like carnival prizes?

Originally published in Eunoia Review (January 27, 2016).

Photo by Gorlov.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem after helping to pick trash out of three ponds in Elmira, New York, during a volunteer cleanup event. I was in my kayak, out with friends on a lovely day, poking around at the edges of things, enjoying the trees and water weeds and doing my small part to leave the place better than we’d found it.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Merrill Oliver Douglas is the author of the poetry chapbook Parking Meters into Mermaids (Finishing Line Press, 2020). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Baltimore Review, Barrow Street, Tar River Poetry, Stone Canoe, Little Patuxent Review, and Whale Road Review, among others. She lives near Binghamton, New York.

anna cherepanova corn
Corn on the Cob
by Linda McCauley Freeman

An emblem of summer, a day
when my dad, a white chef hat jaunty on his head,
hauled out the greasy grill and dumped in charcoal
from the big bag he kept in the garage,
the same charcoal he liked to put in our Christmas stockings
long after the joke wore off.

But in summer, he’d say, “Stand back!” douse
them with lighter fluid, strike a match, as
my brothers and I jumped breathlessly
at the poof of flames that singed our eyelashes,
for we were never far enough and eyeball level
with the grill, and my mom
would bring out a tray of raw meat
she’d pounded into patties and my sister
trailing her with lemonade and then
we’d all sit together husking the corn,
revealing the bright yellow kernels,
peeling the silk strings of summer.

Photo by Anna Cherepanova. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Linda McCauley Freeman is the author of the full-length poetry collection The Family Plot (Backroom Window Press, 2022) and has been widely published in international journals, including in a Chinese translation. In 2022, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Recently, she was the featured poet in The Poet Magazine, and appeared in Delta Poetry ReviewAmsterdam Quarterly, and won Grand Prize in StoriArts’ Maya Angelou poetry contest. The recipient of a grant from Arts MidHudson, she was selected for Poets Respond to Art 2020, 2021, and 2022 shows. A three-time winner in the Talespinners Short Story contest judged by Michael Korda, she has an MFA from Bennington College and is the former poet-in-residence of the Putnam Arts Council. She lives in the Hudson Valley, New York. Visit her at  LindaMcCauleyFreeman.com for upcoming events and follow her on Twitter@LindaMccFreeman and Facebook@LindaMcCauleyFreeman. Family Plot is available on Amazon.

rehoboth beach de postcard
Rehoboth Beach
by Beverly M. Collins

Sand crabs tried to hide themselves
from capture in the palm of my hand.
Like all of us, they carried home on their back.
The splash sounds of the ocean mixed well
with the welcome smell of salt water.
My sisters and cousins laughed at each
other’s newness-reactions.
Awkward is fun when you love who
you laugh at, the humor felt like safety.
Sand and water gave in to our imaginations.
We buried our pirate uncle up to his chest as
a joint project and worked together to build a
sand castle that the evening tide quickly
washed away. Joy was simple as sunset, sand,
breeze with more sunset, sand and breeze.

IMAGE: Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, beach scene, available at Lantern Press.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: For this particular poem, I wanted to recall my deeper memories of our extended family’s time at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, when I was a child. I was born in Delaware and raised in New Jersey. Some of my fondest childhood memories were our visits in the summer with our family members that were still located there. I wanted to include the sights, feelings, sounds, and smells that impressed me most at that time. This was one of my favorite beaches in Delaware.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Beverly M. Collins is author of the books Quiet Observations: Diary Thought, Whimsy and Rhyme and Mud in Magic. Her poems and short stories have appeared in publications based in USA, England, Ireland, Australia, India, Germany, and Canada both in print and online. Winner of a 2019 Naji Naaman Literary prize in Creativity (Lebanon), she was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and is a prize winner for the California State Poetry Society. Born in Delaware and raised in New Jersey (USA), her photography can be found on Fine Art America products, Shutterstock, iStock/Getty images, Adobe Stock, and other sites. Visit her at beverlym-collins.pixels.com, and on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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A Day’s Journey, Thanksgiving 1960
by Jone Rush MacCulloch

Dad shines the 1958 Gold Chevy and fills it with gas
Mom ushers us into the car, brother behind Dad,
me behind her, my fingers petting the interior cloth
fuzzy like my stuffed bear of the same color.

Mom lights a cigarette; this is the sign
our trip will be longer than to the grocery store.
A few puffs and she hands it to Dad.
Brother starts a foot fight with me. He doesn’t win.

After the palm tree lined streets of Rancho Cucamonga
the road turns into a snake winding through
San Bernardino Mountain Pass, the up and down
makes my stomach feel like a roller coaster.

I need to go potty. Dad raises his eyebrows
in the rearview mirror, slows and pulls over.
The car door provides little privacy
as vehicles whoosh by in a hurry.

The dustiness of sage takes over
the acrid tobacco smell. The spiky heads
of Joshua trees appear, signaling
we are almost there, the “white castle.”

The car slows turning onto the gravel driveway,
eucalyptus and castor trees nod welcome.
Uncle lumbers out to greet us with hugs.
Auntie is busy ricing the potatoes.

Bone china and good silver grace the table.
The blessing said as the mantle clock chimes.
The grownups catch up. I ask for a second helping
of cauliflower-bleu-cheese-tomato casserole.

After dinner, after pumpkin pie, and clearing the dishes,
I rock back and forth on the porch swing. Brother looks for lizards.
Soon we pile into the car, and wave goodbyes
until the starlit fairy lights debut on the black damask sky.

© 2022 Jone Rush Macculloch

ARTWORK: “Visiting the Relatives” by Jone  Rush MacCulloch (mixed media: family photos, collage, painted papers, and paint).

Adelanto Thanksgiving

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My great aunt and uncle lived with their daughter in the high desert of California. Our holidays consisted of them coming to us or us traveling to them as my grandmothers and other cousins lived on the East Coast. I loved the “white castle” house that really was a just masonry building common for the area. Memory is funny.  In my mind’s eye of memory, they had eucalyptus trees and castor bean trees but were they? Visiting my extended family was always a treat (especially the cauliflower-bleu-cheese-tomato soup casserole, a Thanksgiving must-have this dish — my brother would disagree, though).

PHOTO: The house where the author and her family enjoyed Thanksgiving Day in the California desert.

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RECIPE FOR CAULIFLOWER-BLEU-CHEESE-TOMATO CASSEROLE

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is a guess-and-by-golly recipe. I only have the ingredients, not exact amounts. My great aunt never had a recipe written down.

Ingredients:
1 Cauliflower head
1 Can of tomato soup
1 Can of water
About 8 ounces of bleu cheese, or to taste

Directions
1) Set oven at 350 degrees.
2) Steam the cauliflower until almost tender.
3) Drain cauliflower and put into a casserole dish.
4) Sprinkle in the bleu cheese.
5) Mix together the soup and water. Pour over the cauliflower and bleu cheese.
6) Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, until the soup and cheese are bubbly.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jone Rush MacCulloch’s poems have been included in several children’s collections such as Imperfect II (History House Publishers, 2022), Things We Do (Pomelo Books, 2021), Hop To It (Pomelo Books 2020) — winner of the Kids’ Book Choice Award for Best Books of Facts. Her haiku and photography are also found in New Bridges: a haiku anthology edited by Jacob Slazer. She’s  been published in the Haiku Society of America’s publications, VoiceCatcher, as well as The Poeming Pigeon. In August 2022, she won two awards for poetry at the Oregon State Fair. She still loves traveling the world, most recently to Ireland and Scotland. When not writing, you can find her reading, creating mixed media, or with her camera in hand. Visit her at jonerushmacculloch.com.

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Gift
by Erina Booker

There it was
among the ruffled violets,
a little head
with black beady eyes
prominent within surrounding
white feathers

I drew back behind
the wall so as not
to frighten it, then
slowly moved forwards
approached, and
crouched down level
with it, this injured
chick, this Sacred Kingfisher
cushioned in the flowers

my favourite bird had known
exactly where to land

I picked it up and
stroked its back, it was
content in the cup
of my hand, but so as
not to overheat it
I placed it in a cardboard box
lined with a towel of its own
colour: essential Teal Blue

Wildlife Rescue collected it
healed it and released it
into its homeland bushland

it stays with me, this
piece of my heart,
this piece of the rainbow
snapped off between
Blue and Green,
this gem of joy
this pleasure,
treasure
this bird which bloomed
in my garden.

©Erina Booker

PHOTO: Kingfisher by Ralph Klein.

Sacred kingfisher chick

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I have always adored kingfishers. Chance sightings of them always give me a profound sense of great fortune. I am stunned when I see one, and the world stops while I watch. Paintings, prints, and a weaving of kingfishers adorn two walls in my lounge room. To have had a Sacred Kingfisher chick land in my garden was a supreme highlight of my life. I have rescued many birds and chicks, over time, but to rescue a kingfisher chick was a pinnacle event. The subject of this Series, ONE GOOD MEMORY, was the perfect opportunity to write this poem.

PHOTO: Sacred Kingfisher chick by Erina Booker.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Erina Booker is a poet based in Sydney, Australia. Her life revolves around poetry, from publishing books, contributing to journals and anthologies, as well as editing. Her work has appeared in many journals, including those that publish the Japanese forms of haiku and tanka. Erina regularly recites her poetry at public events and enjoys conducting seminars. She contributes ekphrastic poems to art galleries, works regularly with artists and craftspeople, and actively supports poetry within her local community. Her work can be found on Amazon, Lulu Press, and InHouse Publishing. Her qualifications include a major in Literature within her Bachelor of Arts degree and a Post-graduate degree in Counseling. Erina knows the value of words and the pauses between them.

skydiver freefall
Free Fall at Seventy
by Julene Tripp Weaver

On fire to sky dive, to find a new self—a birthday
appointment is made to dare to drop, to find wings
like a bird in flight, to fly free—
we sign our lives away, with a concession, to jump

into a one hundred-eighty-thousand terminal
velocity wind chamber, equivalent to a plane fourteen
thousand feet high. A guide teaches us hand signals,
instructs: legs straight, toes pointed, chin up, arms

and hands open, elbows bent. We suit up: ear plugs,
helmet, a full body suit, loose with handles on the back,
shoelaces double knotted. Round one: Dropzone altitudes
without oxygen—we enter Barotrauma—

I fall forward belly down, give way to float, my arms
tremble in the wind. Reminded, I bend my elbows, relax.
My legs hold sturdy, my muscles taunt, tense with exertion—
heated I sweat inside my suit. Such stamina

to float: I am doing this. The wind a cloud cushion
without scenic view. My body, a trembling leaf, this bird-glide
in space, a slow minute and a half. Back into gravity, hands rise
we high-five, witness courage, commitment to live.

This gift a reminder, despite my age I am strong—I held steady
suspended—and Yes, I Up my reservation—to fly in the next round,
craving grand adventure. Free fall through the door, a full body
twist, the guide elevates parallel holding my handles

he circles me up and up into the wind tunnel—three, then, Yes,
four times suspended, bird knowledge to lift into sky,
to glide, to dream, to dare. Grateful to this body’s
core strength that holds me resilient.

PAINTING: Skydiver free fall (watercolor print), available at etsy.com.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I learned about iFly I added it to my bucket list, which I started after age sixty. Somehow I thought iFly had an age limit of seventy, so I was determined to “fly” before it was too late. It was a thrilling experience that really has no age limit, but there are health considerations and limitations determined by weight.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julene Tripp Weaver is a psychotherapist and writer in Seattle, Washington. Her third poetry collection, truth be bold—Serenading Life & Death in the Age of AIDS, was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards and won the Bisexual Book Award. Recent publications include: Oddball Magazine, HEAL, Autumn Sky Poetry, Poetry Super Highway, As it Ought To Be, Feels Blind; and in the anthology Poets Speaking to Poets: Echoes and Tributes. Find her at julenetrippweaver.com, on Twitter @trippweavepoet, and on Instagram @julenet.weaver

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Fabulous Buffet
by Marilyn Zelke Windau

Six drawers and two doors it had.
When I got to be the same height as it,
I went exploring.

The drawers were heavy to pull out.
No real surprises there:
tablecloths folded in thirds,
napkins stacked six high,
thin wooden trays used for appetizers,
or health-providing foods when ailing.

The two top drawers held the service ware.
Forks and knives and spoons—
fish course forks, rounded soup spoons,
small dessert spoons, and tiny ones for tea.
It had all been my Aunt Evie’s—
silverware passed on after she did.

But it was those doors that drew me
to the fabulous buffet.
Empty keyholes lured my skinny fingers to poke.
They opened to the real treasures!

China figurines of a pony, a puppy,
elephant, goldfish, a brown bear—
a zoo silently chatting on a shelf.

Spherical glass balls of color were housed
in a gleaming silver bowl.
I held them each to the light
streaming in from the leaded glass windows.

One was facetted with a daisy,
carved on a squared side.
A spectrum of reds and yellows,
blues and greens flickered the walls.
I knew for sure it was Tinkerbell.

Many were the visits, many the discoveries,
quietly, carefully, secretly made
to the fabulous buffet.

PHOTO: Alice in Wonderland Credenza by Gypsy Queen, available at society6.com.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I am a second child, a second daughter, not a firstborn and not the boy. I found myself getting into lots of trouble as a child, the proverbial second child syndrome. I ripped pages out of first edition books, jumped out of the bathtub to run down the street naked, picked all the neighbors’ tulips one spring. I loved exploring closets and cupboards secretly. Hence, the prompt for this poem.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marilyn Zelke Windau  started writing poems at age 13. A former art teacher, she has written four books of poetry, one self-illustrated, published: Adventures in Paradise (Finishing Line Press), Momentary Ordinary (Pebblebrook Press), Owning Shadows (Kelsay Books), Hiccups Haunt Wilson Avenue ((Kelsay Books). An award-winning author, her work may be found in many journals and anthologies. She includes her maiden name to honor her father, who was also a writer.

Gloria and I
Dressed Alike
by Margaret Duda

Gloria resembled me with dark hair,
softly curled on a wig of mohair,
realistic dark glass eyes that blinked,
and a composition head and limbs
made of sawdust, glue and cornstarch
attached to a soft, stuffed cloth torso.

Mama decided we would surprise
Papa for his birthday and sewed
matching dresses of dark gold satin
for Gloria and me on her treadle machine.
Each dress had a wide gathered collar
and puffy short sleeves and we wore
matching patent leather shoes. Mama
called them our go to meeting outfits.

Excitement started as soon as we took
our padded seats on the train
and others passed us in the aisle.
Women stopped to stare at us
and all took time to comment.

Oh, look, she is dressed like her doll.
I love the matching dresses.
You are a very lucky little girl
to have such a clever Mama.
You and your doll are so pretty.

Matching. Lucky. Clever.
I soaked up the new words,
asking Mama the meaning of each,
as I slowly learned more English
every weekend on the hissing train,
bucking us forward on rapid stops.

When we arrived, Papa was waiting
on the platform. The door opened,
and Gloria and I ran into his arms.
“You both look beautiful,” Papa said.
“I have a clever Mama,” I told him,
showing off new linguistic skills
“Yes, you do, Mancika,” Papa agreed,
smiling at Mama with appreciation.

PHOTO: The author with her beloved doll and traveling companion, Gloria.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In 1946, when we lived in Watertown, New York, my father took a better job in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Since I was in kindergarten, my mother said we could join him when I finished the school year. My father took the train to see us every other weekend and on alternate weekends, we took the train to Bridgeport. Since my parents immigrated from Hungary in the 1920s, we spoke Hungarian at home as we lived near Hungarian friends and relatives. My mother taught me English six months before I started school, and by the second half of the year, I spoke and read it well for a five-year-old, but learned new words every other week on the train. I always took Gloria, my favorite doll, with me, and my mother made us matching dresses to surprise my father on his birthday and gave him a photo of me in the dress. Seventy-five years later, I found Gloria tucked away safely in one of my closets. Her curls were gone from all the brushing and small cracks could be seen on her composition face and limbs, but she still wore the go-to-meeting dress and reminded me of the English words I’d learned on the train. I learned to love traveling on those trips and traveled to more than 40 countries as a travel photographer and studied six languages later in life. I had to smile when the American Girl doll with matching clothes for a little girl came out and bought a doll and a matching dress for the four granddaughters I had then.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This is a photo of me and four of my six granddaughters (two were yet to be born) with the American Girl dolls I bought, as I remembered how much I’d loved the matching dresses my mother had made. To show how long ago this photo was taken, the granddaughter to my left just graduated from law school and the one on the right is in her second year of dental school, the one on the lower left is doing an MFA in creative writing at Columbia, and the one on the lower right is studying cognitive science in college.  How time does fly!

Mancika 1 in dress

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This is the “go to meeting dress” that my mother made. She gave my father this photo of me — I was then known as Mancika — to keep while he was working in Connecticut. I don’t have a photo of myself and Gloria in the matching dresses.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: As a poet, Margaret Duda has had numerous poems published during the past year in Silver Birch Press, THE  POET (UK) anthology entitled Friends and Friendships (Vol. 1), the anthology Around the World: Landscapes and Cityscapes, A Love Letter (or Poem) to... anthology, several poems on Connections and Creativity in Challenging Times, and three poems in Viral Imaginations: Covid-19. As a short story writer, she has had her work published in The Kansas Quarterly, the University Review, the Michigan Quarterly Review, the South Carolina Review, Fine Arts Discovery, Crosscurrents, Venture, Green River Review, and other journals. One of her short stories made the Distinctive List of Best American Short Stories. She has written five books of nonfiction, the latest are Four Centuries of Silver and Traditional Chinese Toggles: Counterweights and Charms. Listed in Who’s Who of Emerging Writers 2021, she is currently working on the final draft of an immigrant family saga novel set in a steel mill town from 1910 to 1920.

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With Redwoods
by Carole Johnston

It’s dark by the
time we enter Humboldt
Forest enveloped

by redwood trees
we can’t even see but
we feel them

we hear thumping on
the car roof while Robin
tells stories about

a hitchhiking witch
she and Barney picked up
here once late at night

old woman muttered
they would see her again
as they dropped her

off on a lonely
road leading who knew
where… but tall trees

breathing
in the dark so we hum
a forest tune

we knock awake
the B&B host and he
leads us to our

one room
I open a window, push
my cot next to it

stick my head out
and watch the moon glide
by… then sleep

with all three
daughters shivering in
the precious night

PHOTO: Redwood forest (California) by David at pixabay.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “With Redwoods” is a favorite memory of time spent with my three grown daughters in the redwood forests of California. I hope to capture the haunting ambiance of the forest at night, as well as satisfaction of a day filled with love and adventure.

CAROLE JOHNSTON

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carole Johnston primarily writes Japanese short-form poetry. She has published poems in numerous journals, including Cattails, Ribbons, and Frog Pond. Her publications also include three books of poetry: Journeys: Getting Lost (Finishing Line Press), Manic Dawn (Wildflower Poetry Press), and Purple Ink: A Childhood in Tanka (Finishing Line Press). Before retiring, Carole taught in the creative writing program at the School for The Creative and Performing Arts at Lafayette High School in Lexington, Kentucky. Currently, she teaches poetry and fantasy writing to children at the Carnegie Center for Literacy in Lexington.

Fielder
Fielder Farm in August
Huntington, Vermont
by Tricia Knoll

As I drove there, the sun rose with clarity.
I ceded to it a new day’s optimism despite the radio’s
grim announcements of displacement, loss, and panic
in Afghanistan. I relish the Abenaki meaning of Dawnland
for this land of clean sky, green woods, goldenrod’s bloom,
and silage corn spurting up in rolled fields.

Here, six pregnant Jersey cows see me and trot
down the pastured hill to an electric fence. Number 1892
offers her head for a scratch then heads to the tub of waters.
Chickens cluck-stir out from the hen house
into shadow.

This place of blueberries, eggs and plums is a clearing
in a forest of pines, sugar maples and birch
rooted in ancient bedrock’s endurance.
Day lilies maintain blooms beside the pond,
a human touch. A path for power poles cuts through
brush. Solar panels lean on the lawn toward dawnland.

People come here to read of wrongs and justice
and write poetry in community. So much
of the world slides into dwindles. We hear crickets
sing and note when they stop. We watch dragonflies
sip. A moth hides in the wheel well of a pickup. Nothing ruffles
the pond. Still thoughts and peace are not aimless.

Refuge where we find it. The Tervuren crunches ice cubes.
For this lonely woman, a walk around the pond.
Vermont’s poet laureate reads Wordsworth’s
     “Independence and Resolution.”
If I cannot let go of the people in fear in the Kabul airport,
that too is not aimless. Wishes may not bring them relief.
Nor does poetry. Perhaps hope that every dawnland

consoles with a new sun, a new day.

PHOTO: View of Fielder Farm, Huntington, Vermont. Found at fielderfarmvermont.com.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was one of the Vermont poets who drove out of the Huntington Valley and into the foothills on the western side of prominent Camel’s Hump to attend a day-long poetry retreat. We read poems to each other, listened to remarks from local poets and publishers, walked around the pond on the farm, petted the cows. The day started early – for me the sun was still coming up over cornfields as I found my way to the farm.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tricia Knoll’s poetry appears widely in journals, anthologies, and five collections of poetry. How I Learned To Be White received the 2018 Human Relations Indie Book Award for Motivational Poetry. Checkered Mates came out from Kelsay Books (2021) exploring relationships that work and some that don’t. Let’s Hear It for the Horses (The Poetry Box, 2022) placed third in the press’s annual chapbook competition. Two more books – One Bent Twig (Future Cycle Press) and Wild Apples (Fernwood Press) are scheduled for publication in early 2023. Visit her at triciaknoll.com and on Twitter.