from east to west: bicoastal verse
Table of Contents: p. 3 p. 14 p. 22 p. 39 p. 47 p. 55
chicken bone mojo – poetry, Mark Hartenbach, & art, Jeff Filipski cellophane rain – art & poetry by Eve Anthony Hanninen word gardens – various poets & photography by Cheryl A. Townsend praise the turning world – poetry, Michael Macklin & art, Jenny McGee Dougherty every beer, bud and cigarette – poetry, Bart Solarczyk & art, Ron Davis Contributors
edited by PJ Nights and Ray Sweatman cover art by Pamela Perkins all works © 2009 by each individual poet and artist
poetry by Mark Hartenbach & art by Jeff Filipski a mind-boggling nom-de-plume is in stitches naivetĂŠ kicked it up to even less sophisticated sold as nostalgia after quick coat of paint as an heirloom after a good shellacking given a catchy new slogan, another sound bite leaving perfectly matching plates with the exception of a few enamel stains that couldnâ€™t be scrubbed off an inability to untie the knots which dim the sun which give permission to pour lemon juice & grain alcohol in the summertime blues a bracelet that belonged to a girl i never knew only her name was engraved, in a jittery script that suggested there was something important at stake in the transaction, possibly one last chance to spell it like it sounds, if she were standing there or rhyme it with a word for beautiful while february melts under shy tongues a chest cavity form-fitted to give it that extra ambience that can double your money in a heartbeat or maybe it was innocence when i get shook up like this grammatical errors are inevitable find myself submitting to whatever name comes up a plastic i.d. wristband has taken her place i need to correspond in some way express my undying love, pierce the veils but all the screaming in the world will never make it out of purgatory if only we were birds, perfect little metaphors than we could go quietly, without incident trading personas back & forth giggling at how ridiculous we look
Mark Hartenbach, Jeff Filipski meditation on the value of seemingly nothing a rhythmic restoration is in the works asphalt steaming signaling tempting curvature glittering like a migraine in early afternoon sun every moment must be accounted for not understanding the importance of silence to any composition, thelonious monk was a master, as was franz kline stockpiling samples to be laid on thick like a teenage boy willing to say anything in order to get into a sweet little something though sum of parts is often much less than the itching to overwhelm grand finale sixty-four tracks to cover all bases all reactions, all emotions but if it takes that many shots perhaps it’s time to reconsider methods maybe it’s not worth saying splitting headache, despite ingesting 350 milligrams of gray spackle already which hasn’t cut the pain at all instead of closing eyes, laying back quietly insisting on headphones jumping my neck cramped from staring down at a notebook for two hours attempting to catch my racing thoughts suffering for my art would be a nice wrap up however, it doesn’t ring true to me the only audience i write for slivers of light taunt me too thin to slide a piece of paper through yet i can’t patch them quickly enough
Mark Hartenbach, Jeff Filipski portrait of the artist making love to the red flower goddess your eyelids are heavy with poppy, & dream softly on my forehead -georg trakl even thick mascara eyes give away true nature of goddesses who speak neither greek nor italian, but with a hillbilly patois a guitar string snaps & must be restrained until the numbers can be jimmied back to normal a stain which could pass for a miracle in a perfect world or maybe an alternate universe, which doesn’t seem as far-fetched not even steel-wool elbow grease can remove or maybe a reminder in my dresser which i no longer wear, but it makes me smile to reminder the last time i did an abstract-expressionist period piece created one night on her couch, riding me to completion while telling her son might come home any time which only heightened the excitement for me caught by surprise at time of the month white t-shirt now a work of art a bach sonata played in cut & paste arrangement a counter punch that tastes like a kiss, & doesn’t feel like a warning that i should step back & rethink my strategy dosed with a faith i’ve never felt that no matter how many milligrams before which had never conjured up visions of maybe i underestimated her power over me a couple hours of everlasting love not a misnomer, but packed so tightly an imploded light the size of a fist never leave us waving frantically to our angels to not leave so soon, it’s still early that disappear as quickly as they appeared an ejaculation that kicks both our heads backward though i asked her to keep eye contact when i came but that can wait till next time never can be extinguished, regenerated by the very acts they produce fueled by perpetual motion & unconditional love disregarding any greased-palm legislation which says circular logic isn’t valid tachometer gave up the ghost, tie rod cracked no way to steer so-called delusional thought to safer ground which is nothing but a mock-up of the valley of death 5
Mark Hartenbach, Jeff Filipski quarter moon plywood purgatory spooked barely lit brittle wintery branches, only cranky silhouettes an unforgiving scene designed to put the fear of god in us which is nothing but fear of ourselves fear we can’t harness what comes naturally a postcard from florida, see you in the spring as in blooming eternal we wonder, or should we take it literally no distinction when it’s this juicy, this ripe, this ready when there’s no fucking question what we’re feeling & isn’t it arrogant to expect god to always come to us no matter how deep in the pocket we happen to be
Mark Hartenbach, Jeff Filipski a rampaging ad infinitum not interested in shock value as lucid as i’m capable of coughing up knocked off rapid-fire suggestions is probably as close as you’ll get to seeing me as i am, in the moment, in the act of improvisation even then mistaking my poetry for demands or eight miles high, a perfunctorily nod rambunctious, playful seen as unfocused purposely leaking information as misleading all boils down to another’s perception multiplied by how quickly you blow past the world which means if your inclination is spontaneous riffing people will give you a lot of leeway then close ranks the minute you pass through dragging a life raft across the red sea or sinking the eight ball on the break wild ride or impossible to harness behavior depends on what textbook you’ve been reading ornette coleman or home on the range shoenberg or you are my sunshine captain beefheart or hush little baby an easy touch or an authentic silk kimono is it necessary to tag it an issue why not take it all as it comes push it against the wall, kiss it hard on the lips slide palm down belly, undo top button rotate fingers in opposite direction of lip service black & white sit-com kitten purring yes though she has no idea what you’re talking about but loves the way you say it
Mark Hartenbach, Jeff Filipski portrait of the artist from ground control i will not know my own death-gregory corso intercepting signals i’m sure are meant for someone else because they make no sense whatsoever to me i have no clue who they’re intended for or i would gladly pass them along my economic situation prevents me from moving to another location where the reception is less clear in the meantime, i deflect them the best i can though there’s a nagging uncertainty concerning how much my mind is absorbing by osmosis possibly instilling a stranger’s strengths & weaknesses into my own psyche, more so, because lately i’ve been exposed to little external stimulation old silver fillings would be the most obvious culprit that alone is enough reason to rule them out demonic possession is possible, but improbable since my personal demons hit & run are gone before i can ask for absolution power of suggestion seeping through my headphones part of a corporate conspiracy, which seems unlikely since i’m listening to a compilation of the shagri-las which a friend burned for me today far-fetched, though they were the queens of melodrama another suggestion could be swimming through the fluid where my brain bobs, to get to any solid gray matter which is still firing on a regular basis often they’re bad ideas which i can blow off rather easily but they’re never commands from an alleged higher power or seductive demands teasing me closer so they’re not holding a gun to my head only a potentially grave error in transmission which shouldn’t reflect poorly on me though this can be difficult to determine since i don’t always immediately recognize who’s staring back at me with those frightened eyes
Mark Hartenbach, Jeff Filipski
Mark Hartenbach, Jeff Filipski
Mark Hartenbach, Jeff Filipski a poem which crashed before i could finish it a freakish curiosity wheeled through the back door to applause at minimalist intervals which can best be described as apprehensive though if you hold on, we’ll see what we can do unless one is familiar with lamonte young or terry riley the moment suspended in a vacuum, flailing about unable to touch genuinely another time approval ratings aren’t consulted—it’s too far out there a soundtrack of free-period coltrane & albert ayler played at almost imperceptible muzak level which makes it quite disconcerting like a shotgun blast at point blank range less than a second to grasp the reality of the situation no time to turn it over to see if it means less than nothing spiritually speaking, it’s zero gravity which can’t be dubbed in later only elaborated on after forty years or a thousand years, or ten thousand according to moses, nils bohr or lao tzu never breaking the surface, if there is a surface it’s all speculation at this point all points in between imagination, without reservation & a very special psychotic episode sprinkled about liberally after disinfected & air-brushed until it appears to have been varnished several times though it tastes like sugar-coated hard facts barker builds to the wrath of god then takes it back down to a harmless prank an audible sigh brushes through the crowd though a perfect ending isn’t necessarily a happy ending
Mark Hartenbach, Jeff Filipski a favorite song which skips in the same place every time or at least it feels like the equivalent of something i may have lost memories are sometimes too democratic for their own good, & more importantly yours an identical modus operandi pulled from a group of strangers by a woman who swears she knows me not only knows but understands it’s not a pickup line, she honestly believes it or else she’s an incredible actress i would think i’d remember but i can’t say with certainty she asks me if i’ll buy her a drink i wonder if she remembers what i don’t if so, then shouldn’t it be on her dime but i’ll shell out the cash though i’m aware the cost could easily escalate out of hand i could find myself in a place i feel i should remember though i’ll swear it’s my first time
Mark Hartenbach, Jeff Filipski an insatiable hunger for that which is open to all possibilities a chicken bone mojo caught in my throat while another shyster with hand in my pocket renders my confessions null & void in flowery language a monkey wearing a tuxedo, draped in affluence which looks ridiculous on any primate whether deftly making circus catches or all thumbs a hallelujah destructs without fear of restitution after all, certain words can get away with murder no counterclaim with any validity can change this there’s nothing in this stain glass to induce devotion to wrap our head around, no beads of sweat or blood or a cheap pasted pearls of wisdom hanging above is a bubblegum card of the holy madonna surrounded by saintly skulls grinning madness a troubled cast of characters cleaned up for consumption gathered together for what seems to be my benefit though i’m delusional, & have never taken charity so it’s highly unlikely, but not entirely impossible
art & poetry by Eve Anthony Hanninen Procrastination Push it back from whence it came, that tiny urge to face the great horned owl with its conch-curved beak and talons curled, a rude rat-cage. Stand your ground as it swoops down to prey on all that’s yet undone — from unendurable sloth to tasty litter of mewling incomplete — on all that’s diffident and disdaining and that scurries along the fence-rail with intent to become but shadow, blending form with space and desperate squeals about injustice. Push it back, quell its quavering face, shove it down beneath the sighing guilt, the soughing duties; it’s just a storm of feathers, burdens beaten aloft — a field of rodent femurs, half-eaten corpses strewn, unburied and forgot: your tasks and worries, the torsos of malformed thoughts you abandoned in pursuit of ease. Thrust it all away, niggling offal beneath your notice; it will remain, gristle, down and ragged sinew, a frisson on the plain of someone else’s expectation.
Eve Hanninen Farewell, Amergin, Hallo, Mabinogion A Requiem of Atmospheric Condition Not likely that a stroll in the misted mornâ€™s pasture will kick over lost dobbie stones, with their smoothed hollows for offerings, though the milk flows aplenty in the dairy barn and red clover nectar stirs the bees to euphoria in the east parcel. West points the way to Sumas River and the turbulent flow of your emotions, so says the Celtic shaman of my woolgathering, he who would read the half-buried divining stones if they turned up, scorched by firedrakes, scuffled by the bullâ€™s hooves. But itâ€™s far to the south, past maples in flame, where the grieved bard-poet voices marrow and spleen, masters the elements of rain and heat by weaving their prevailing notes in a dirge, doing honor to her own feelings, this time and finally, over yours.
Eve Hanninen Marshfield Lost several rolls of film beneath the cramped seats of flight 301: cranberry bogs like Merlot lakes, canary lichens crowning ivory granite against lapis skies and guardian-druid white pines frowning over new roads along Puddlewharf Lane. Lostâ€”trembling Lindsey from Boston Aquarium and her slivered smiles of Bridle Shiner, of Minnow, the rustle of her quill-thin fingers scratching ciphers into my (also lost) sweater pockets, the quiver of her hoped-for confessions and salvation flowing away in the jet-stream.
Eve Hanninen Still Running Back to Spring, before you, before the hawk flew by, back to two cups black tea, one cup red and hours spent, either safely scribbling homage to clean thoughts, or in chaste domesticity where Austin heat and Tampa salt are distant charms, the medallions you wear in the photographs hidden between old maps and letters.
Eve Hanninen Burro’s Tails and Other Stigmas Mr. Rupert writes about Time. Or is it Tim? Tim with a veneer and a metaphor of loss saddled to his behind. In this depressing way, Rupert shines his dildo-sized flashlight on our shortcomings; we students all fiddle with pens, retractable, fountain, felt, some chew tenderly on the tangy metal caps covering ink erasers. Time was, Tim was the joy of my flat, fingering his maidenhairs and burro’s tails, keeps on Rupert, watering weekly with his long-snouted can, but by then I have lost the pathetic whine in Rupe’s remembrance to another noise, busy poking about my own bushes for dirt. If any had left me, as time left him, I’ve forgotten their eyes, their excuses, their pieces de resistance: I’m seeing someone else. No, none of them have names. It’s the others, named but now unmemorable— I left them all and I’m not sorry anymore. They each may recall when, time was, I was aphrodisiac, their summer harvest, lychnis to their fertile gardens, passion’s seedheads popping. I was the flickering candle perched on a clawfoot tub, and the burr of washcloth on their backs. Might still wonder why I’m gone, but not a one has ever asked what they have left me to remember about them.
Eve Hanninen Lummi Princess on Moses Lake â€”for Malcolm Late evenings after sun has eased its gently broken yolk over Alpine Lakes, after its yellow spills and pools over the Cascades and onto Skykomish roofs, your trawler washes aâ€™dock, the mess of bluegills urging a quick clean of guts and fluids, a not-so-gentle break of scaled skin, fine arc of bones splaying like sails.
Eve Hanninen Still Life with Carrots and Balm I buried my dear Calico along the fence rail in the stretch where only stunted umbels fan, squat lace-kerchiefs draped atop rosettes of whorling, feathered leaves. Daucus carota, the wee diced darlings of Mirepoix. 10th-Century treats from Asia and Afghanistan. Anthocyanin purples or carotene orange for your carrot-honey pleasure, for carrot jam. Neither shallots nor potatoes grow in this crust which must embrace holly roots, chicken wire and dull grey stones like dead teeth spit from a grumpy earth golem. Near the gate live still the tenacious few: spritely lemon balm and blue catmint, Russian comfrey, allâ€” loving a dry wit. They mock a dig deep enough to strike soil rich again and ready to bring life to the surface full of sugary sediment and teeming as a Chantenayâ€™s broad core.
Eve Hanninen Through Cellophane Rain Oily drops spatter between cherry petals shocked into falling by the impertinent cold breath of early Spring. You want a warm kiss, but these tentative mornings reel in the gelid aftermath of vitreous nights. You have closed the blinds against new life â€” scarlet tulips crook to light and away from shuttered windows. You sleep as if no sun would heal you, and I donâ€™t wake you anymore.
various poets, photography by Cheryl Townsend Flowers I awoke to morning, or was it evening with a rose? The sun became itself suddenly as the mists cleared and blossomed. Well, that's it, I said, nothing more can happen between then and now, but you came, and the day has become lilies in amber. ~Lewis Turco
â€œgardenâ€? poets, Cheryl Townsend a poem for jack did you know, we have no fireflies? they're gone, the way of brown trout, safe to eat, hooked off a pole without a reel, dipped into the icy water of lake ontario in june and pulled up from the black rocks by the pier the fish, caught and twisting in the half light of the evening, the time when the sun is pulled down, swamped by the tide of a purple gray sky in carolina, the pines stand so straight, chapel walls holding up the vaulted ceiling of its nave but here, the trees grow in whorls, twisted and cracked open by winter ice, dense as grasslands on the high plains of the front range a great burst of riotous power when they all bloom pink, white, lavender for a small time of days or hours who can tell? not i with my daily constitutional of sorrow when I watch my love
now a lost soul trailing in a wilderness of partial light, diminished light
this is a old tale, age which once was supple as well worked leather now brittle as the thinnest crystal glassware blown blue no, make that now a candle burning out, still sputtering in protest, still hot with melted wax.
â€œgardenâ€? poets, Cheryl Townsend Shaking It Off Today I pulled scalps of sod from the drift where the plow had tumbled them, broke up chunks of rutted ice in the driveway working shivery, shirtless, in the April sun. On the crusted lawn no grass shows yet, robins scavenge the barberry bush, the daphne blooms and sends exquisite sweetness on the air, the burning bush, exposed, unbends upward, and the forsythia is yellow in the kitchen. Seven ranks of winter-cut maple, split and stacked, flank the woodshed. We hang suet, scatter seed for doves, jays, finches. One woodpecker taps in the woods, and our terrier curls on the porch. We are shaking off winter, slowly breaking loose. ~Tom Moore
â€œgardenâ€? poets, Cheryl Townsend Tiptoes of Rain I am an apple in the pocket of this old coat of yours. Honest and round, you feel me blindly with rough hands. You dare take me out and examine me-the deep wine bruises, the garnet wounds. What green is left reddens quickly in your palm. You twist the stem between your fingers until it snaps then lay me down on the pine table. Split me open with your sharpest knife. Your tongue draws out each seed-dark eyes that want to grow in you. Place this slice between your lips. One bite to remember an orchard. This sweet crunch knows the rain. ~Lois P. Jones
â€œgardenâ€? poets, Cheryl Townsend The Gardener In spring the blooms began shooting up patch by patch as he had planned around the sunken 'water feature' an old bath tub and the shooting up snowdropsandsunflowers sitting side by side kept growing and were surrounded by a careful combination of fuschias, geraniums and dandelions. They told me that he loved his garden, he loved gardening, yet he decorated it with sunken baths, muddy green plastic chairs and one of those parousels which pubs used to use; (until they realised they looked like shit). In summer there were sometimes dancing flowers, Peeping over our fence that wasn't a fence, Their heavy heads drooping and dropping, Off Like headless nightmares he tended them Sunken bathwater for breakfastlunchtea. A hardy ambition made him splint them, stroke them, sing to them? He loves all the flowers, from sunflower stalks to dancing orchids. Yet he surrounded them with tin can rockeries. At night he danced with the orchids. On the last day of autumn, when the jungle turned barren He wept into his tin bath, Filled it with tears and grew a new garden. ~Bethan Townsend
â€œgardenâ€? poets, Cheryl Townsend under stars The wind has lost the smell of dusk. Dawn is out of sight and out of mind. Rhododendron blossoms Gather under arbors; So many flesh-soft castoffs Adding their accent To the musk of the wood And the piquant leaf. Running is natural. Hooves spike a pliant loam, Avoiding every root or buried stone. Water scent fluoresces its presence As dotted lines of hooks and bounds; Connected by delicate kinematics : Hydraulic power and four place precision. How beautiful I am! The trees of me, my graceful arms. Winding through their whispers My antlers never tangle; Guarded by cloud cover And driven by earth spin. The taste of tongue and teeth Fed on the sweet herb. The bright berry sees my eye And winking offers up its life; So are we satisfied. All told the tale Is greater than we know : My hills, my creeks. Our shared silences and joys Repeated and forgotten. Never worn in the wearing Each night Under stars. ~Neil C. Leach, Jr.
â€œgardenâ€? poets, Cheryl Townsend Ache My neighbor has invited me To pick tomatoes growing around his deck. It's drizzling as I approach The wooden terrace. Plants flourish red as Monet's poppies. I walk toward the vines with an umbrella in hand. The artist let his wife trail the flowers, a parasol overhead and a boy's shadow imprinting her skirt. I envy Camille, the design of a son's frolic on her dress, mine is strapless cotton soaking up rain. You might say a shroud draping a body over-ripe from dreaming too much of sunlight and summer fruit. ~Wendy Howe
â€œgardenâ€? poets, Cheryl Townsend beneath the green take a turn in an REM ramble, one step up onto a plateau between all asleep and all awake. no need to move quickly no need for haste. walk with eyes closed, ears alert, nose fully engaged. fragrance is ripe with untamed familiarity. mist on the skin cools and calms. the isolation is subterranean. the foreignness is submarine. an undeniable life says that all is well; walk as you will and enjoy. stop at leisure and stand. fingers move toward anticipation; met by tree-skin, press palm against it. the faintest vibration hums in the bark. both hands now, arms at full length, embrace a vibrant girth. cheek meets the mighty texture, and here is something for the ear. touch and smell add their intuition. and there it is scarce louder than the heartbeat in the ear; another heartbeat incredibly slow, and moving massive volumes. delighted, but not surprised; stay awhile and drink in all that awes. this awe without electric excitement, far deeper and much more sure.
â€œgardenâ€? poets, Cheryl Townsend breathing now in perfect rhythm; from within sight branches up and down. each fingertip now ends in leaves, and legs far underground stretch forth to find the touch of others in the forest. ~Neil C. Leach, Jr.
“garden” poets, Cheryl Townsend Cuba Out Back It’s unhappy in Pennsylvania , so I water my Cuban hibiscus, sing, dance the Macarena as I weed, get a few blossoms, like red brooms sweeping a floor made of bee’s wings. But mostly she just stands, a security guard for a dead Tropicana rose. Maybe she dreams of Havana . Or feels cramped by waves of petunias creeping too close. When winter nears, morning frost etches her leaves. By late afternoon she shines in deep sun. I could dig her up, place her on the overcrowded bay window, a cactus to the left, a Calamondin to the right-six creaky months, weakening light. Or should I let winter’s sharp claws set her free? She can’t speak. Like a sick cat, unable to say what’s wrong. ~Kenneth Pobo
â€œgardenâ€? poets, Cheryl Townsend Orchard The blond apples feel moist and smooth. Her hand rubs each one as if to touch the skin of a ripened womb. Along the grass, her dress floats like cream just separated from the fog; and she kneels thinking both season and girl shine unblemished in this orchard north of the river and coal mines. ~Wendy Howe
â€œgardenâ€? poets, Cheryl Townsend Digging In Suddenly I realize that this is the last time I will do certain things, years before I expected. Today, a new digging fork to replace one with a broken handle and tines bent moving too-heavy rocks, one that lasted twenty-five years, even when occasionally neglected and ill-used. Am I going to be buying one at seventy-six? Not likely. My hope is to still be strong enough to use this one a few hours each spring, just to remember the smell of soil moist from just-released frost, to catch sight of worms moving deeper into their burrows, to pull a few feet of quackgrass roots intact in the never-ending contest of the years. But buy another digging fork? No, probably not for me. But for others, yes, so they too can lift a forkful of life and see how it coheres, how the microscopic pieces hold together even as it slides off the tines and shatters on the ground. ~Russell Libby
â€œgardenâ€? poets, Cheryl Townsend Gardens Having desired nothing, Or very little, as the west wind Sank homing into the sunset, I thought of all that Had not been thought of Until that moment, And in the gardens All over the city Little things were happening That I haven't thought of still And likely never shall, Though not because one hasn't tried. ~Lewis Turco
“garden” poets, Cheryl Townsend Blue Himalayan Poppy Your logic won’t impede me this year--I’m ordering a blue Himalayan poppy which you say will surely die here in sweaty Pennsylvania . What if this blue Lazarus resurrects to provide even a single blossom? Sure, it would prefer living in the Pacific Northwest . So would we, but we can’t drop our jobs off like a stork dropping a bundle on Washington . So, I’m getting one, and it’s final. Blue petal waves will find our yard’s shoreline, break and break all spring long. ~Kenneth Pobo
“garden” poets, Cheryl Townsend Amusement Park You are lost in a faraway land Of your own stupidity. You want her to know it’s not about Your erection. It’s just middle age, that old Roller coaster, the standing in line, The waiting for a thrill That comes ever more Infrequently. The family You never had. A boy, a little girl, The nubile young wife. Playing with them over and over At the beach. Building Sand castles with bits of broken shells And sharp pieces of driftwood Mixed into the parapets. But you sit in the same old Ferris wheel, watching another Young girl Take off her clothes, not really Listening to you. It’s raining But she had no umbrella To shield her on the way To your hotel room, And her mascara is running Down the long drop Of her cheeks, smearing The moment. You lie There naked, your mountain Falling and rising with the tide Of your own anxiety, floating, A butterfly in the air over a shrine At a Japanese garden.
“garden” poets, Cheryl Townsend After a while she lifts her head In a huff, says “Is there anything special you want Me to do?” but big boys Don’t cry. Your mother Told you that when she died. She was … thirty-six, You Were twelve, old enough To know her laughter was all foam. Old enough to know that sperm On a bed sheet solves nothing. You look down at the girl, her lovely Scrawny ass swaying, hands grasping At straws. And tears form, But you left your umbrella At home. ~T. Birch
â€œgardenâ€? poets, Cheryl Townsend Quiet as evening Quiet as evening slows the day the mock orange fills the yard with hundred foot circle of sweetness hummingbird chooses pink of red clover blossoms for day's last energy, not purple-red of weigela scarlet tanager checks cherries for ripeness small berry-seeds of serviceberry draw a flock of cedar waxwings (which perch on the maple betwixt food) flickers nesting in broken-top poplar more flickers nesting in ancient maple stub parents busy feeding chattering continues after they're fed quiet as evening slows the day ~Russell Libby
poetry by Michael Macklin, art by Jenny McGee Dougherty How It Dawns On Us The sun leaves its coat in the closet, stumbles to the door. Outside, the smallest birds, chickadees and sparrows begin the heavy lifting, tugging a reluctant day over dark hills past the fading stars. The young light has no mittens, rubs its palms until the wind sings us from our rumpled beds. Oh, tired eyes, open. There is a blue here who should not be forgotten.
Michael Macklin, Jenny McGee Dougherty Shopping for a Map I think I am not looking for god only a place in me where divine beginnings live. In the crowded aisles of a Kmart Saturday I find myself looking through plastic containers with locking tops for something large enough to hold all my leftovers, but find instead a child busily opening and closing Gladware, happy with the snapping lids and a bowl of nothingness.
Michael Macklin, Jenny McGee Dougherty Eighty Acres Lewieâ€™s father bought the farm to escape the clatter and slash of city life, not that that was living. The farm owned Lewie from the first touch of crumbled earth, the first morning mist kissing his forehead. He fell into a love deeper than the bogs in the northeast corner field. He sweat days together turning dirt into grasses, following cows across the face of the pasture that became his lover, holding him from sun up to moonrise, singing him to sleep filling him with the loamy smell of furrows where he planted himself again and again.
Michael Macklin, Jenny McGee Dougherty Before the Iron Age It must have been so quiet that if you forget the honks of migrating geese, the collective sighs of woods at wind-rise, the snores of flea-infested couples exhausted after hunting and mating, any of those living noises that are not mind-shattering, do not become an incessant din of iron on iron or manifold screams of belts and pulleys that tear at our now bleeding ears, that leave no room for the soothing voice of the world, how softly she sang before we entered. Where is the small oak chest containing those notes and silences hidden so that we might never forget? The cave that holds them all?
Michael Macklin, Jenny McGee Dougherty Stealing the Names Before Dark I participate in the good breathing of the worldâ€Ś where tree and man mix. G. Bachelard
Outside Koberce, farms, dark water under light snow, fallen limbs on frozen rivers, a narrow path along the water . Gray day colored by sweaters stiff on their iced lines flashing as if caught struggling to flee, the small brick barn waiting quietly for the whisper of the passing train. Trebova huddled by the track, a woman sweeps onto the train in fur. Small orange lamps of the dining car push feebly against the weight of clouds. At the next station a man pulls a wooden cart. Nothing is automatic here, empty cars on the siding become grafitti galleries for the night artists.. Near Opatov the day and the fields widen, whiten toward the black pines where blue bicycles shiver in their rusting racks, the train barely slows. Even the lonely highway moves like a winding meditation toward Svitavy, Brezova, Letovice, Bilovice, Brno, Malomerice, Bratislava. Small garden cottages line the strip of land between the track and town as though it were the final frontier, the last truly green place before the concrete.
Michael Macklin, Jenny McGee Dougherty Vines hold solitary grapes in November. Pears, apples, cherries, vatted and hidden brandy themselves into winter. Dark Slovakia, broad and open-faced but for the orchards and cypress-lined lanes to far off granaries rising, dragging the small towns to their feet. A black- winged hawk passesI do not know its name or recognize its plumage, see only a dark flame in the skyhunger rising above the field.
Michael Macklin, Jenny McGee Dougherty Voice From under the fallen churches, the rubble of quaking towns, From behind white crosses at the high sides of sharp curves, all the rows of stones under mothering oaks and the featureless hummocks flowering with prairie grasses, it comes. Up from clanking wells of memory, the upturned lips of craters, from the shadows of former houses, from the vapors of Hiroshima, it comes. Out of the photos at Begunje, between the eternal bars of Dachau, all the plagues, wars, accidents, incidental reports of local papers, it comes. Though the howling has worn paper thin, there is a whisper at the waterâ€™s edge, mumbling behind locked doors, an accumulation of ash-dusted voices coming as a low, hollow chant to lift me above this bloody, stone-bound world into the star-splattered night. It is coming to remind me how full my life is, how deep the night becomes beyond the light of flares and gunfire. The round mouth of hope is opening. Listen.
Michael Macklin, Jenny McGee Dougherty Gift Deep in the wood a cellar hole, tumbled stone. An ancient lilac with one blooming limb. We could mourn the lives that passed through the fallen gate or sit nearby on a sun-warmed stone resting in silence and the skitter of squirrels among the spring-tender leaves new to this place as ourselves. All of us rising like the sun to greet the sentinel posts then passing through into some wide clearing drawn to the growing light. Place a small pebble at the post. Praise the covering grasses. Praise the permission of gates. Praise the passing through. Praise the turning world.
poetry by Bart Solarczyk & art by Ron Davis If I Fell If I fell into a poem would you read down to the bottom or abandon me half-stanza as I break against each word to tumble hard & fast to bleed & still be lonely when a nod, a simple yes can give an oaf wings.
Bart Solarczyk, Ron Davis Love Dreams A Dream Sunrise scrambles me cracks the shell & stirs I lift like fog & find you in my beard.
Bart Solarczyk, Ron Davis How We Come To Speak Poetry Every beer, bud & cigarette a part of the story blood given & blood drawn fantasies & sometimes sex dreams counted on abandoned an alphabet that lies & salt we lick like beasts to clean our tongues.
Bart Solarczyk, Ron Davis Walt Whitman's Watching We sweat & we wipe work the world's rhythm sway with the grass & leaves we drink the day's end ignore the astronomer gazing the stars in our cups we speak what we will across cyberspace bold water, flesh & air so snuggle up take off your clothes let me write a poem on you. ~first published in Lilliput Review
Bart Solarczyk, Ron Davis Pickled Tongue It's a random universe but something plopped us here why wait for love when an ugly kiss will do?
Bart Solarczyk, Ron Davis I Met This Poem I met this poem she had good dope I bought the beer we started in I wrote her down she said I had her all wrong we hit it harder nothing worked someone had to go a man dies anyway but the right poem is a shadow of forever.
~first published in Meat
Bart Solarczyk, Ron Davis Miracle On 14th Street The sun broke like a bloody egg we watched through pin prick eyes Sister Peter saw the Blessed Virgin I saw everything they didn't want me to.
Bart Solarczyk, Ron Davis With Soft Footprints I was born I grew big in a space that grew small I kicked outside & ran the dream close enough to bite but we all get tired the wheels fall off so much works to break us now I'm shrinking walking backwards with soft footprints almost home.
Eve Anthony Hanninen is an American poet, writer, editor, and illustrator who resides
in the weather-lashed, Kaien Island harbor-town of Prince Rupert, BC, Canada. Her writing often typifies her observations of how environment impacts human experience, and explores the combined results in poetic form. Recent publications include 3 poems in the new anthology edited by Lynn Strongin: Crazed by the Sun (2008); another appeared in Trim: The Mannequin Envy Anthology (2007). Poems may be found in Sein und Werden (print and online), Moondance, Wicked Alice, Origami Condom, Shit Creek Review, The Barefoot Muse, and The HyperTexts, among numerous journals. A limited artist's-edition chapbook, as well as a collection of poems under 15 lines are both in the works. Eve's latest bookjacket illustrations adorn Ellaraine Lockie's Blue Ribbons at the County Fair, and Patrick Carrington's Hard Blessings. Artwork was also contributed to Lana Ayers' Late Blooms Postcard Series. Eve is Editor of The Centrifugal Eye Poetry Journal.
Mark Hartenbach battles intellectual confusion, existential malaise & clinical demons-mostly to a standstill. he lives in a dying rust belt town along the Ohio river where barges slice silently through the debris & trains wail in f minor.
Michael Macklin works as a carpenter to feed his body and as a poet to fee his soul.
He is an associate editor for The CafĂŠ Review. He published his first chapbook, Driftland, with Moon Pie Press and has had work in Animus, The CafĂŠ Review, Rattle and other journals and various anthologies. He holds an MFA from Vermont College. He is supported in his writing by his wife, Donna, and his yellow dog, Murphy. There is no better lunch than a new poem on rye with mayo.
Bart Solarczyk lives in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife, dog and three cats. He has been publishing poetry in various small press mags & anthologies the past 26 years including eight chapbooks. His most recent, Walt Whitman's Watching, is available at www.puddinghouse.com or from him (mailto:email@example.com).
Ron Davis is a native of Louisville Kentucky currently sharing a home with Toby Press author, Crystal Wilkinson in "Historic Midway"—America's favorite one-traffic-light town. He is a graphic designer by trade who applies those learned skills thru his craft as a visual artist. He's designed chapbooks and cd covers for various artists and has exhibited in solo and group showings in Cincinatti, Louisville, Lexington, Clarksville and other cities, having received a merit award recognition at the African American art exhibit at Louisville's Actors’ Theatre. If you are interested in purchasing artwork or are in need of his graphic design services, then contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jenny McGee Dougherty is a visual artist who has planted her roots in Portland, Maine. She is fascinated by the displaced, decaying and disappointing elements of her environment. Pieces of rusted metal, a neon fiber resting in the mute grass, the death of an organism, her work investigates these subtle narratives. Within these narratives emerge traces of traditional textile weaving patterns, Buddhist adornments, third world shanty towns and urban landscapes. Her work calls attention to ideas of progression and its effect on an environment or a people. You may see more of her work at jennymcgeed.com.
Jeff Filipski has been writing and painting for thirty-five years. Throughout this time his work has appeared in several venues from the Jazz Poetry ensemble of E.B.M.A in Buffalo New York, to independent small presses such as The Hold, Mipo, Oranges and Sardines., Thunder Sandwich, Impetus, Lucid moon, rank stranger, non compos mentos, pure light, Fubbles press, In word out, and others. Some of his paintings have made it internationally. He is currently Unemployed and defying foreclosure
Cheryl A. Townsend is a poet and avid photographer. She is the co-founder of the Women’s Art Recognition Movement (W.A.R.M.) and keeps active in the local arts scene. In her own work, she looks for the unseen, the overlooked and the ignored to evoke an appreciation for the not-so-accepted beauty, be that a spent bloom, a rusty slab of metal or the blur of one’s imagination. She hopes in doing so, trash will truly become treasures and recycling/reusing the status quo.
Pamela Perkins has spent her entire life working in the arts, primarily in administration and marketing. An avid beachcomber, she has made many, many pieces of art using materials found on the Maine and Massachusetts coastlines. In 2003, she was inspired by a pile of old windows headed for the dump. Since then, she has concentrated on what she calls "recycled glass collage," expanding her materials to include leftover shards of flat glass and exploded blown glass from a local studio, among other found objects. She says her work is about recycling, regeneration and renewal...presenting the public with a kind of history of trash from several centuries. Although her work has been exhibited, and several pieces reside in private collections, she is proudest of publicly installed work in healing environments. One of her larger pieces resides in the Patient Education Room at the North Shore Cancer Center in MA. She is delighted to be a part of the Spring 2009 issue of from east to west. If you would like to contact her or join her mailing list, please email her at email@example.com. â€œgardenâ€? poets
T. Birch began writing poetry in 2001 after retiring from work due to a disability. Her
poems have been published online in various poetry journals over the past eight years, including from east to west for which she is very grateful.
Wendy Howe is an English teacher and free lance writer who lives with her life partner and teenage stepdaughter in Southern California.
Lois P. Jones was raised in Chicago, IL, home of primo baseball and blues. She discovered poetry in Geneva Switzerland in the very best way--from a Frenchman who broke her heart. Her work has been published in Rose & Thorn, The California Quarterly, Kyoto Journal, Prism Review and other print and on-line journals in the U.S. and abroad. She is co-editor of A Chaos of Angels (Word Walker Press) with Alice Pero and a recent documentarist of Argentina's wine industry. In 2008, she was the recipient of IBPC's first prize honor judged by Fleda Brown. You can find her as co-host at Moonday's monthly poetry reading in Pacific Palisades, California and hear her as guest host on 90.7 KPFK's Poet's Cafe. She is the Associate Poetry Editor of Kyoto Journal.
Neil C. Leach, Jr. began writing poetry October 6, 2002. Neil is 55 and has been married to Denise most wonderfully for 28 years. While writing almost exclusively for his own pleasure, Neil has written for/about Denise, his Mom, his Dad, his stepMom and stepDad, his sons Marshall, Andrew and Darin, his friends at the PROJX, his friend PJ Nights and his cats. The driving force behind Neil's writing and his hope for every potential reader is "Have a good time. Write when you can ." Neil is retired and lives with Denise and nine cats in sleepy Charlotte, North Carolina.
Russell Libby writes
from Three Sisters Farm in Mount Vernon, Maine, where he's been planting seeds for the past 25 years. His first book of poetry, Balance, A Late Pastoral, was published by Blackberry Press in 2007.
Tom Moore lives in Brooksville, Maine. His poems have appeared in Worcester Review, College English, Gob, and Ribbons. He has poems forthcoming in Wolf Moon Press Journal and Bangor Metro. His essays have appeared recently in The Ellsworth American, The Bangor Daily News, Maine Times, and NEATE's The Leaflet. He was a finalist in the 1975 Worcester Review poetrycontest, and received an Honorable Mention in the 2009 Maine Writers Contest.
Kenneth Pobo had a new book of poems published in 2008 from WordTech Press called Glass Garden . Also, his online chapbook, Crazy Cakes, was published and can be accessed at scars.tv. Catch Ken's radio show, "Obscure Oldies," each Saturday from 6-8pm EST at WDNR.com.
Bethan Townsend is 21 and plans to stay that way for the rest of her life. She is still (unfortunately) a student but doesn't like to admit this and in an ideal world she'd be based in Ireland writing for a living. Her favourite writers have been Allen Ginsberg and Dylan Thomas for a very long time, but Charles Bukowski is rapidly catching up.
Lewis Turco's most recent books are The Museum of Ordinary People and Other Stories, published in the fall of 2008, and Satan’s Scourge: A Narrative of the Age of Witchcraft in England and New England 1580-1697, May 2009, both published by http://www.StarCloudPress.com of Scottsdale, Arizona. He lives in Dresden, Maine.