Archives for posts with tag: poetry

the-anniversary-accessories-scarf-with-evening-purse-orchid-corsage-and-glove-1971 
What Are The Odds?
by Sylvia Riojas Vaughn

The day Braniff Air
went bankrupt,
fleet grounded,
radio bulletins said
other carriers
would help.
And I,
stuck with a ticket,
lost my wallet.
I pulled into McDonald’s
on the way to the airport,
fumbled for my billfold.
Gone?
I dumped out my purse,
flung clothes
from my bag.
Gone!
I thumped my forehead —
I’d left it on the car roof
while packing!
The wingless leather clutch
had flown away.
I pictured skid marks
on my family photos,
a stranger whipping out
my Discover card,
the boarding pass
muddied mush.
Two weeks later,
a trucker called.
He’d collected everything
strewn along an overpass.
He smiled at my reward —
a bear hug, coffee and pie.

IMAGE: “Accessories” by Joan Brown (1971).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The inspiration for this poem is true. My husband and I were on our way to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport in a rainstorm the day Braniff grounded its fleet. We were going to see about changing our tickets to Kansas City, Missouri, to another airline. This was before iPhones, etc. Unfortunately, my husband remembered he’d placed his wallet on the roof of the car as we packed. It flew off, and we had to turn back, because one couldn’t fly without one’s driver’s license. Some weeks later, a man called and said he’d found everything!

Vaughn

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sylvia Riojas Vaughn is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. She has been selected as a Houston Poetry Fest Juried Poet three times.  She belongs to the Dallas Poets Community. Her work appears in The Arachneed Journal, Red River Review, Triadæ, HOUSEBOAT, Diálogo, Desde Hong Kong: Poets in conversation with Octavio Paz, Bearing the Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems (Dos Gatos Press, 2016), and anthologies and journals in the U.S. and abroad. Find her on LinkedIn.

the-charmer-1911-2.jpg!Large (1)

Circle Round
by Angela Cannon=Crothers

The Appalachian Trail in Vermont. My first child was born in Vermont. I was married in Vermont, on a hill top. A simple ceremony: Justice of the Peace, a witness, two gold rings. Six years later I am the mother of two and freshly fleshed from divorce, trail guiding back in Vermont. Not much pay, but a much needed vacation. Days in, after huffing up mountains carrying group gear, extra gear for those unable, and brewing Earl Gray for our elder hiker each morning, I was gifted a late afternoon respite at Stratton Pond. I sat out on a log over the water, discovering half hidden newts with finny tails and red bellies, like gems, swimming below. Newts transform twice in their lifetimes, from water to land, and back again. Like me. Shimmer of sun. Cold skinny dip in clear water. After, I was rummaging deep within my backpack for a bandanna to dry off with, when I felt it. My wedding ring. Having thought it was lost and gone for good I nearly laughed out loud at the pure coincidence of finding it here, back in Vermont. I rolled the dull gold around my fingers, memories circling. Pulling my arm behind, with great force, I threw the ring out toward the center of Stratton Pond. Here it would settle to the weedy bottom, a play thing for bright bellied newts and sparkling water. There it would always be. This, at least, would never be lost again.

IMAGE: “The Charmer” by John William Waterhouse (1911).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This piece of prose for the “Lost and Found” Series came from a 4,000-word chapter in my unpublished memoir on the spirit of place. The ending is still, essentially, the same.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Angela Cannon-Crothers is a writer, naturalist, environmental educator, and college instructor in environmental science and writing. She was a finalist for the AROHO Orlando Prize for Nonfiction in 2011. Her work includes a book, Our Voices, Our Wisdom; An Herb Haven Year, a children’s book: Grape Pie Season, and a novel: The Wildcrafter. Her articles and essays have appeared in Orion, Northern Woodlands, Life in the Finger Lakes, BackHome, and the literary journal Stone Canoe. She lives on a small farm, in a bermed house, in the Finger Lakes of New York, while she finishes raising her youngest teenager daughter. She thinks that someday soon she may try a wilder, more wanderlust, life again.

public-pool-for-daytime-swimming-1984.jpg!Large
The Gold Amulet
by Pallabi Roy

It was not just a pricey yellow metal
that still berates my soul
for not holding on to it.
It was rather to me an empyrean that housed
an angel sent by you, Ma,
to ward off all the evils around me.

I deplore losing it,
not for its elegant and antique design,
but your prayers etched on its surface,
not for the sparkles and glitters,
but your blessings shining through it.
I could not treasure it, Ma!
When it hanged around my neck
like a buckler in a war.

Ma, it was a legacy of love
bequeathed to you by Grandma
that you had hoped to live on.
But it could not cling to my heart
like I always did to its.

That gold amulet
broke up with me,
and taught me a lesson.
Losing is not about ruing when it is gone,
it is about cherishing when it is our own.

IMAGE: “Public Pool for Daytime Swimming” by Joyce Kozloff (1984).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The subject of the poem is a gold amulet, passed on from many generations of my mother’s family. I lost it during an aquatic meet in my college days. When it was with me, I considered it just a piece of jewelry. Only after losing the amulet did I realize how much I should have valued it to keep the good luck flowing in.

Roy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Based in New Delhi, India, Pallabi Roy is a technical communicator by profession and a creative writer by passion. She has penned numerous flash fictions and poems in English and Assamese, and her work has appeared in The Assam Tribune, Prantik, The Sentinel, and other publications. When she veers from her writing schedule, she is either traveling through water (a former competitive swimmer!) or trekking through some hills in North India.

PHOTO: The author during a recent trekking trip to Ooty, Tamil Nadu.

naureckas photo 3
Two Rings
by Kathleen Naureckas

I almost lost my engagement ring in
the big bowl of candy I had filled
for trick-or-treaters one Halloween.
I’d recently dropped a lot of weight;
I thought about having the ring resized
but didn’t, even after I almost
lost it in the candy bowl. I didn’t
lose it then because I saw it fall and
rescued it. Then I lost it, really lost
it, somewhere in the house where I
no longer live. I thought I lost it in
the bedroom, and that’s where I spent
the most time looking for it. I hoped it
would turn up under the bed or dresser
when I moved, but it remained lost,
unless the new owners found it.

I lost my engagement ring, although I
never lost the wedding ring I wore on
the same finger. To keep it company
I got a new diamond ring, another
solitaire. I chose it by myself, but
my husband went with me to pick it up
after it was sized. We used his credit
card to pay the balance so it would seem
more like a real engagement ring. He didn’t
drop to one knee to give it to me, though.
He was using a wheelchair by then.

The first ring had a third-of-a-carat
diamond, but the jeweler my husband-
to-be bought it from told him it was
almost flawless. The new diamond was not
much bigger—barely half a carat—and
no one said anything about flaws.

By the time I moved to the house where I
live now, my husband was dead. I offered
the ring to my granddaughter when she
became engaged. She and her fiancé
had it reset, surrounding the lone original
stone with other, smaller ones. Her ring
looks nothing like either one of mine.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My granddaughter Caitlin showing off her ring (not the granddaughter in the poem).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The poem was inspired by the LOST & FOUND call for submissions.

naureckas photo 4

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kathleen Naureckas is a retired journalist whose poems have appeared in a variety of journals, including Bluestem, Light, Measure, and Willow Review. Her poem “Pie Crust” appeared in the Silver Birch Press “My Sweet Word” Series. Finishing Line Press published her chapbook, For the Duration, in 2012. Visit her chapbook’s Facebook page.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My husband, Ed Naureckas, and me in the house where we lived at the time I lost the engagement ring.

jeanne-hebuterne-with-necklace-1917.jpg!Large
My Stupid Lost Necklace
by Susan W. Goldstein

I lose things. Quite often. I have this terrible habit of throwing possessions into any old drawer that I pass by. It drives my husband crazy, because nothing is ever in the same place twice. And it can be extremely annoying. For example, I knew that I had been holding the car keys before breakfast: how could they be missing now, a mere 20 minutes later? This adds a degree of stress to my life that I really fail to enjoy. I become obsessed, a crazy woman tearing the house apart until I remember that I had stuffed the keys into my pocket. But let’s not dwell on that.

The following items are currently Missing in Action: a pearl and Austrian crystal necklace; a favorite blouse; a special photo of my sons. This really bothers me. I would say that the house is inhabited by a playful poltergeist, but we have moved at least three times while these items remained missing. Unless ghosts move with you?

I had a special event and wanted to wear the necklace, mentioned above. I was determined to find it, so I upended my jewelry box; I emptied my underwear drawer (like I said: I put things in the strangest places); I inspected the house inch by inch. I could not find it anywhere. Finally, I had no choice but to drive to the mall to find a replacement. I reached into my glove compartment for my GPS and . . . in a flash, remembered that three years ago, I had taken the necklace and thrown it in said glove compartment because it was too heavy on my neck. And there it was, a tangled jumble just waiting to be found! My stupid necklace.

IMAGE: “Jeanne Hebuterne with Necklace” by Amedeo Modigliani (1917).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The words “lost” and “found” conjure up my peripatetic set of car keys, which I am constantly misplacing. My husband has gotten used to my hysterical outbursts when yet another prized possession goes missing. And then he is the recipient of the requisite apology for my bad behavior, after the prized possession is found. I know, I know: I should follow his advice and put things back where I found them. But that is just too easy.

goldstein

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Susan W. Goldstein
 has relocated over 15 times in her lifetime; it is False News that she is in the Witness Protection Program. She has, however, found paradise in Delray Beach, Florida, with her husband and his dog (when said dog pukes on the carpet) and her dog (when said dog is being cute). She was first published in Silver Birch Press (!!!), followed by Mothers Always Write, Mamalode, JustBe Parenting, Lunch Ticket and, soon, Parent Co. Follow her blog at very-seriously.com.

views

Some time in May 2017, the Silver Birch Press blog will reach a significant milestone — one million total views! As of today — April 27, 2017 — we have hit 990,090 views! Thanks so much to our daily followers, readers, and all of our contributors for this amazing accomplishment! We started the blog on June 24, 2012 — and it’s been a great five-year ride! Our deepest thanks to all of our supporters! Onward!

0-lake_hopatcong
Into the Lake
by Penny Harter

Gone now the fading pink plastic
drinking cup, slowly degrading at
the bottom of Lake Hopatcong,

the very cup Nana had used, the one
that lived on a wooden shelf below the
mirror above the pitted bathroom sink.

The cup was atop a laden paper bag,
and I accidentally knocked it from the raft
taking us and my newly grieving Poppy

to an island where the family cottage
roosted among dark pines. I lost the cup
overboard, and Poppy screamed.

His anguish echoes even now, a glissando
running up and down the keys of the
out-of-tune upright piano that sat in

the parlor of his brown-shingled house
on a tree-lined suburban street.
And in the house’s ample pantry,

another pitted porcelain sink, and the
lingering scent of almost burnt toast
redeemed by cinnamon and liberal sugar.

Once, my husband and I revisited
that past. I mounted the peeling steps
to knock on the door, then peered into

the living-room window looking for Nana
and Poppy, for my mother, and for
the stained-glass window blessing the

landing at the foot of the stairs. Thank
God it was still there, still prisming sunlight
into radiant dust, but the rest had long gone

one-by-one into the lake, settling like years
of layered silt, though sometimes rising
to cloud the reedy bottom.

SOURCE: Previously published online in Visual Arts Collective.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Losing that pink cup is one of the enduring memories from my childhood. I was around 12 when my grandmother died. Witnessing my grandfather’s grief doubled my own, and the cup loss became symbolic. Then, while writing about that loss, I found myself revisiting my grandparents’ house in South Orange, New Jersey, also feeling the loss of time and place. But one can’t “go home again” except, perhaps, in the reliving that comes with writing about the past.

harter1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Penny Harter’s recent books include The Resonance Around Us (2013); One Bowl  (2012); and Recycling Starlight (2010; reprint 2017). Recent work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in a number of journals, including Adanna, Persimmon Tree, Rattle, Tiferet, and Tattoo Highway, as well as in numerous anthologies. A featured reader at both the first (1985) and the 2010 Dodge Poetry Festivals, she has won three fellowships from the NJSCA; the Mary Carolyn Davies Award from the PSA; and two residencies from VCCA ( January 2011; March 2015). She lives in the southern New Jersey shore area.

Nestorides, 1972-1973

Red, White, and Blue Swimsuit
by Maria Nestorides

Weston-Super-Mare. Beach. Stretches and stretches of it. And bathers by the thousands. I’m wearing my red, white and blue swimsuit. It’s a one piece, and the white part is a frilly skirt. I absolutely adore it. My sister’s is similar, except it doesn’t have a skirt but has four military-style gold buttons down the front. I like mine better and as I play in the sand, I love that my frilly white skirt flaps up and down. I think my sister likes mine better too, but I manage to persuade her that the gold buttons on hers are really glam.

Where is she? We’re supposed to be making a sandcastle. I ask my mum and I see her eyes dart to and fro trying to pinpoint her. My father, always the more laid back of the two, wrinkles his brow but doesn’t say a word as my mother’s stream of worried Greek gushes towards me.

And then I hear it over the loudspeakers. “We have a little girl here wearing a red white and blue swimsuit with four gold buttons on it. Please could her parents pick her up from the ‘Lost and Found’?”

“Dad,” I say, and tug at my dad’s hand. “The man just said they’ve found her.” We rush to the makeshift ‘Lost and Found’ desk in the middle of the beach and there sitting on top of it, waiting, is my sister. She’s not crying as I’d thought she’d be. Instead she smiles when she sees me. My mum buries her in kisses, barely containing herself, I think, from walloping her one for the sheer fright she has just put her through. But the day has been saved and she has been returned safely to us, red white, and blue swimsuit, gold glam buttons and all.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The photo is one of me on the trampolines at Weston-Super-Mare, circa 1972, age four.

NESTORIDES

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Maria Nestorides
 was born in London, England, in the swinging sixties, but her whole family relocated to the Arabian Gulf when she was just seven years old. She now lives in Cyprus with her two teenage children and her husband. Several of her short stories have appeared on Inkitt and on The Story Shack, and she has also contributed a six-word memoir to the book Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak: by Writers Famous and Obscure, by Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser (Jan 6, 2009).

Evans
Backpack, from Mont Ventoux Journal
by Judson Evans

1.

“weary from my ancient bundle…” (Petrarch)

Spasmed to the tugged cords of my scapulae, antibody backpack triggering spider web alarms at each slackening — daily bundle of scrap and sundries for various moody weathers of the mountain — sunglasses, knit wool cap, gloves, sweatshirt, maps, French dictionary, notebook — core samples, and exempla. Later, down from the heights, it would gather a set of antique keys from Arles. A vague plan for a wind chime or mobile —  dangling from bonsai wire, four keys to guard the compass points — four celestial kings or protective deities. Then, the Avignon bookstore the beautifully worn bilingual edition (French and Japanese) of Basho’s Oko no Hosomichi.

first edition−
black marker dedication
bleeding through the flyleaf

2.

Receiving the transmission through my body — distant pings of a sunken aircraft, the book with his inscription sending its black box message. Throughout the night in a fever of words I ripped off t-shirt after sweat-soaked t-shirt grabbed from the stack in the partly packed suitcase. Had I dreamed the book, had the book existed? The passionate dedication of one man to another. I stood in the bookstore trying to translate : for my friend –or was it lover — in poetry and insomnia….? A whole cherry orchard burned. Graffiti heart pierced by three black daggers. Lost coordinates neither in nor out, above / below, the way the laurel torn from its once human branch can’t be grafted — phantom limb….

idly broken off
in the toast
            stem of the wine glass

SOURCE: Journeys 2017: An Anthology of International Haibun, Edited by Angelee Deodhar (CreateSpace, March 2017).

PHOTO: The author in Avignon, France, a few days before losing the used copy of Basho on the Metro in Paris.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Mont Ventoux Journal results from a collaboration with the videographer Ray Klimek. The poems engage with the origin of “landscape” as a concept and as a genre in the arts, and with the world of Francesco Petrarch and his famous climb of a mountain in southern France — Mont Ventoux. This climb and its documentation in a prose text by the poet have been cited as the first example in western culture of an appreciation of “landscape.” The climb is caught up, too, in Petrarch’s complex relationship with his love and inspiration Laura — for whom he wrote the 366 poems of the Canzonieri — and set the motifs (and clichés) of love poetry up to contemporary pop songs . . .

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Judson Evans is Director of the Liberal Arts department at The Boston Conservatory, where he teaches a range of courses including poetry workshops. He was an editor and founding member of Off the Park Press, and published work in each of its three anthologies of poems responding to provocative contemporary painters: New Smoke: an Anthology of Poetry Inspired by Neo Rauch (2009); Viva la Difference: Poetry Inspired by the Painting of Peter Saul (2010); The Triumph of Poverty: Poetry Inspired by the Painting of Nicole Eisenman (2011). His most recent work has been published in (print journals) Volt; 1913: a journal of forms; Third Coast; and Green Mountains Review, and (online journals) White Whale Review and Arsenic Amethyst. He won The Phillip Booth Poetry Award from Salt Hill Review in 2013. He has collaborated often with actors, dancers, and musicians in Boston.

writing-2005 zhang
Lost Poetry
by Udo Hintze

I was once on a “hell well” –
a job that had a lot of problems
constantly but it was okay –
because I got a lot of writing done.
It was like a writer’s retreat
out there on Lake Calcasieu.
I began using a new five subject spiral notebook.
It was an encyclopedia
of new and old poems; many
molded into near finished shape.
I had poems about Anne Sexton,
Napoleon’s exile on Elba,
the 1960s Batman,
country music, alligators, and mosquitoes.

During those three months, I got
to know the rig crew pretty well.
I got used to their Cajun
accents thick as molasses.
I got fluent enough where
I could understand them
over the intercom and
in person.

We didn’t have much in common though;
I was a city boy who
stayed indoors and wrote poems.
They were country boys who
On their days off went out hunting
for deer with shotguns and rode
their ATVs in the backwoods,
complained about the black people that moved in
to the neighborhood after the tornadoes.
And regardless of age, they
always referred to their girlfriends
and their wives as their “old lady.”

After eighty-seven days,
We were released; we finished the well.
I packed my things, drove home and went to sleep.
Refreshed, I woke up ready to type up
All my new poems and send them out to
the non-oilfield world.
I opened my duffel bag
and it wasn’t there. I started
fast-walking back and forth between
my backpack and my duffel bag.
I even started looking in
ridiculous places.
I still couldn’t find it and
It made me mad.
I called Herb, the Hawaiian cook,
asked him to check in my bunk bed.
He said he couldn’t find it
but he’d watch out for it.
I thought about my poems, frozen in pencil
still waiting to be saved and printed
out into their final form
Instead they were lost,
somewhere in literary
Limbo.

It’s been over a year and a half–
I still haven’t found my notebook.
I still think about it sometimes.
And it makes me mad.
But I wonder if it isn’t out there
on the rig somewhere, some roughneck
in his hiding spot, away from
the toolpusher and the driller,
splattered with mud freckles on
his face and hard-hat,
my notebook in his tired, greasy, muddy hands
reading and finding something
cool, clear and fresh
like water.
And it makes me happy,
I think maybe
there is hope for lost
poetry after all.

IMAGE: “Writing” by Zhang Xiaogang (2005).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I try to write every day but sometimes at work I don’t have time. I like to write in my notebook before going to computer. I was really upset by the loss of my notebook. It was still new and had lots of blank pages left. I don’t know where it got lost but I learned the importance of updating my files and I got to write a poem about it. This poem has been revised but was originally published during Tiferet Journal’s 2014 Poem-A-Thon.

HINTZE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Udo Hintze first began writing poetry his senior year of high school. He won the 1999 Words Alive! Contest for Houston International Festival.  His poems have been published in The 21st Century, Bewildering Stories, The Criterion, Tiferet, and Inkling. He is a member of Phi Theta Kappa. He works as a mudlogger. His website is mudloggersdream.wordpress.com.

AUTHOR PHOTO: Lake Calcasieu, Louisiana, 2014.