Born at Durgapur, West Bengal, Deeya Bhattacharya - a PG in English Literature and a Graduate in Education from the University of Burdwan. Her poems and articles have appeared in several National and International journals, websites, E-zine, besides several anthologies. Member of Poets International, Life Member of Tagore’s Nikhil Bharat Bangya Sahitya Sanmelan and CONTEMPORARY VIBES (CHANDIGARH). She has read her poetry at quite a few fests. She teaches English and Poetry at a State Government High School.
She sleeps in Autumnal beauty
oh look! Her hairs a toast to the plumage
her skin a chiseled golden honey
she sleeps in a valley
her slip, trance a mystery
against a backdrop of neutral tones
she harbours innocence
a glance in a once, she stole
She sleeps in what hidden passion
one not knows
beneath her chin, a little bit
the colour ashen grows
She sleeps intense
her ochre hairs
encircle the womb of earth
cherubian beauty engraved
upon her livid pallors
constitute the Fall in dearth
Baby birds nestle against
her lucid skin
the tawny moon, a pale orb
illuminates the backdrop
and a cluster of stars decked
in a string of pearls
in refulgence crop
Unmindfully, the Diana
halo encircled ………………
while the hunter stalks his prey
the stag, hyena, cheetah
in array, she knows not
‘ coz her sleep easeful as the
strokes petite……… of a painter
An Intriguing Face
For how many hundreds of centuries
have I not seen
the image of your face
nor searched for it
The search for the face
by the dust-settled window panes
in the gold rimmed orb
of the scorching sun, went on
the flittering gaze
of a blue-bottle fly like
from here to there
The aroma in those
lost tragedies, over-arched
in rainbow-hued glass panes
surprisingly, short lived
raw mangoes in oil like
sharp and salty with a twang
Those memories never rested
from toil-sauntering in
the brisk sun-adding to the
plight of an incessant thirst.
Hunger in the Night
The night in our garden
is intense but fragile
the misty moon atop the dew
ceaselessly flows into each other
The night in our garden
is full of longing
sucking up the vortex of thoughts
flowing like river
The river in our garden
is full of silky fragrance
severed like cubes of ice
perch on our hunger
The hunger of the wind
on moss, ferns and potted plants
in tales of lost love
On hungry nights like these
in our lit-up porches
we cook consciousness
which bind our thoughts
to skin and sylvan pitfalls.
under your eyes
burn like midnight blues
under water currents
check the flow of dunes
shifting in your eyes
long black lashes
so poignant, at times
brush strokes of a maddening hand
but discreet; like
the midnight strokes
of a prolific act.
Shaping a Poem
Words inky spelt all over
the diaphanous page
of a crumbled notebook
signs in blue , black, red
cryptic gestures like
wilted like a withered shrub
the shrubs of ignorance
which I try to bury
under my pillows of
many insomniac nights
they haunt on me still
till I rearrange them
into an essay of quietitude.
DJ Tyrer is the person behind Atlantean Publishing, was placed second in the 2015 Data Dump Award for Genre Poetry, and has been widely published in anthologies and magazines in the UK, USA and elsewhere, including issues ofCyaegha, Carillon, Frostfire Worlds, Handshake, Illumen, The Pen, Scifaikuest, Sirens Call, Tigershark and Anthology 29, and online on Staxtes English Wednesdays, Poetry Bulawayo, Poetry Pacific, and The Muse, as well as releasing several chapbooks, including the critically acclaimed Our Story.
DJ Tyrer's website is at http://djtyrer.blogspot.co.uk/
The Atlantean Publishing website is at http://atlanteanpublishing.blogspot.co.uk/
Crime scene: Blood splattered and bone fragmented
Crime Scene Investigators act blasé
As the victim sleeps the sleep of the dead
They listen to what she has to say
No words spoken by victim or killer
Yet a dialogue of clues proceeds
Revealing who it was who killed her
Each crime scene a record of his deeds
The hunt closes in, the killer is sought
A fortune in the manhunt invested
It’s inevitable he will be caught
Surrounded, apprehended, arrested
There are no loved ones to weep him goodbye
Convicted, he is destined to die
Smoke and mirrors
Working in silence
There must be an easier way
To keep an eye on your spouse
The formerly-grey waters glitter
As wave-crests catch the sunlight
Bringing the estuary waters alive
With an intense beauty
Like a blazing mirror
Reflecting the glories of Heaven
Sharp outgrowths from plant
Gouging and slicing your skin
Crimson blood berries
The world itself is so unkind
Such is the truth that one can find
Then there is the truth that lurks behind
A truth of a very different kind
A truth that is so seldom signed
Unless yellowed thoughts should fill your mind
"Claudine Nash's poetry collections include her full-length book Parts per Trillion (Aldrich Press, 2016) and her chapbook The Problem with Loving Ghosts (Finishing Line Press, 2014). Her poems have won prizes from Avalon Literary Review and Eye on Life Magazine and have appeared in numerous publications including Asimov's Science Fiction, Cloudbank, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal and Yellow Chair Review amongst others. She also has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Website: www.claudinenashpoetry.com."
Warning: This memory may be habit forming. Abrupt discontinuation may lead to blunt appraisals of current life circumstances and a rebound of empty mood states. Prolonged exposure to this memory may result in rumination and habitual efforts at reenactment. Do not attempt complex mental operations while contemplating this memory as it has been known to twist once linear thought processes into spinning loops and circles. This memory may leave you washed in infinite need. Listlessness and aimless daydreams are common side effects of this recollection. Seek immediate medical attention should you experience persistent swelling of the heart lasting longer than reasonably expected for an otherwise rational being who indulges in reminiscence. In rare but serious cases sadly warped perceptions of reality have occurred after replaying this memory. Pursue distraction until you can taper yourself from this memory and tuck it back into a less intrusive or entirely overlooked recess.
Allow me to wash this
day from your skin;
with my fingers and
soapy palms wipe away
the moment you were so
swap out the doubt that
leaks into the murky bath
for promise. Take this
spot where I kneel and
note the exquisite arcs
and angles of your mind. I
would spill this notion
sloppily onto the floor ten
thousand times over,
watch those who subdued
the spark in you slip by
as you bound brightly
off the curve. Let me empty
cup by cup this false
concept of you, pour it
into a moonless field,
onto a heap of stones
waiting to be scattered.
“How to Come Full Circle in Five Steps, More or Less”
1. Return to the place
where you started
and feel hope rise
again like heat.
2. Though this spot
seemed so lost to you,
slip back seamlessly
into its loop. See how
its arc suits you,
how it fits and fills
the gaps and breaks,
all the empty inches
3. Now summon the day
the wind blew the musts
and shoulds, the can’ts
and won’ts away
from you. This is the
moment that marks
4. Lean forward and
draw on the past.
Make sure to send
yourself this message
over and again,
on a rolled slip affixed
to tired carrier pigeon
or through the mint
leaves that swirl
through your cup.
5. Spin three sixty and
soak in the stunning cuts
of light that bound
about this sight. Throw
open your eyes
and find yourself in this
changed, the same,
“To the Moon”
May these second thoughts
be launched into
in a pocket
of pure silence.
their babble will
finally fall mute,
they will stop tying
my mind in circles.
Let them drift towards
a band of unnamed stars,
be lost between
May they find their tanks
emptied of oxygen
before they finish
their last sentence.
“A Kinder Suit”
This year I want
for nothing but
a kinder cloth
to shield me against
I wish to shed
the thoughts I wear
as hair shirts,
toss on layers
of linen and
silks and lenient
run my fingers
along each thread
then feel my mind
By next season
I will allow the wind
to loosen the beliefs
I will reach,
wrap around me
Mark J. Mitchell studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver, George Hitchcock and Barbara Hull. His work has appeared in various periodicals over the last thirty five years, as well as the anthologies Good Poems, American Places, Hunger Enough, Retail Woes and Line Drives. It has also been nominated for both Pushcart Prizes and The Best of the Net. He is the author of two full-length collections, Lent 1999 (Leaf Garden Press) and Soren Kierkegaard Witnesses an Execution (Local Gems) and two chapbooks, Three Visitors (Negative Capability Press) and Artifacts and Relics, (Folded Word). His novel, Knight Prisoner, is available from Vagabondage Press and two more novels are forthcoming: A Book of Lost Songs (Wild Child Publishing) and The Magic War (Loose Leaves). He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the documentarian and filmmaker Joan Juster.
I woke from seeing long and level sands
stretched taut over fragments of stone almost
grains themselves. A forgotten face is lost
to light: Nose, eyes, beard, crown—gone. What began
in ruin has gone past ruin: Cool dune ghost
under footnoted moonlight. A thin trail
of commentary leads me past three failed
exams. Answers erased themselves. Uncrossed
eyes and teacups circle a past tense smile.
There are no creatures patrolling these grounds.
My hand escapes the sheets, groping around
for nothing at all. Do I make a sound?
Space is deserted. A broken line stands
Behind a statue’s tooth. It won’t be found.
They don’t get used
to this sky:
as a pregnant virgin--
with reluctant moisture--
sparks snap off street cars
forget how to fly.
They file onto buses--
without paying their fare--
just to hide from it.
It’s simple to forget morning
already absent from rear-view mirrors.
Afternoons have no voice,
unless baseball is played below the sun.
A littered table is all that’s left
this evening—names escape lightly
as butterflies. Dreams are scattered
like pennies from a child’s broken bank.
Because I’ve missed you so long I won’t say
I miss you. Whenever I see my face
refracted through whisky—then I miss you.
I’ll tune my guitar and miss you. Through years
without you—I miss you. I can’t undo
anything now. Lent passes. Easter nears
and I remember white nights and pub crawls.
I see your small shape through a long shadow
when the spring sun rises and the moon falls.
I remember you crowing while you show
me some new-drawn myth (ignoring my
small victories with a smile). And we would do
the great dance of drinking, of drugs and lies
and collapse and laugh and oh, I miss you.
She says her husband
smelled smoke and left.
She never knew what kind
of smoke—tobacco, sulfur
oak or hickory--
just that he smelled it
and went out
like a candle.
Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He's had over a hundred thirty poems and stories published so far, and two books.
Our clothes tatter, our shoes smell,
our wood decays, our paper brittles,
our marble chips, our silver tarnishes,
our drives corrupt, our food rots,
our steel rusts, our wine sours.
Flawed and failed
Some things are nice, some necessary
Some liked, some lusted after
Some longer lived, some longer liked.
Some adored, some abused,
Some displayed, some defaced.
Donated and discarded
Yet some things of no value
are close, are comfort,
are talismans, are touchstones,
are emblems, are ensigns,
are memorials, are monuments.
Kindred and kept.
These we will not part with,
these we have no buyers for,
these we touch with reverence,
these we hide from other eyes,
these we see ourselves in,
honored and haunted.
A bronze medallion faces me,
a fat man perched on sacks.
a god of prosperity,
a promise of well being,
a wish in my decline.
Tarnished and treasured
The scuffed wallet rests in my drawer,
the lone dollar enfolded.
the day he killed himself.
The leather urn holds friendship,
lost but lingering.
Two legged beings,
floating until birth,
bed-bound for sleep,
legless for eating and work,
prone again for sex,
littered for sickness,
kneeling for defeat,
death-bedded for departure.
And in between
My fears crouch in hiding
just beyond my senses.
Creeping through the thicket
in slow and certain stalks.
No use to run and hide,
or propose another victim.
The prey has been selected
and they'll charge as I falter.
To deny them is a folly,
to embrace them is a sin.
So I wait for them to pounce,
And know my listless grazing
just incites the beasts.
Faces blur, dates are forgotten,
and stories grow fabulous,
but names abide, and feelings
Emotions hold true
about those who were,
about their absence.
and decorate our beings
like votive lights.
A life is not things chosen,
it is the things declined.
The paths not trod,
the partners not pursued,
the help not given,
the toil not done.
A life is burnt in by omissions
whose only traces are ash.
Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. Her poem 'A Rose For Gaza' was shortlisted for the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition 2014. This and many other poems, have recently been published in anthologies including - Stacey Savage’s ‘We Are Poetry, an Anthology of Love poems’; Community Arts Ink’s ‘Reclaiming Our Voices’; Vagabond Press’s, ‘The Border Crossed Us’; ‘Degenerates - Voices For Peace’, ‘Civilised Beasts’ and ‘Vagabonds: Anthology of the Mad Ones’ from Weasel Press; ‘Alice In Wonderland’ by Silver Birch Press, and a number of rather excellent on line and print journals.
My Father’s Son
I never knew
my father’s son.
I met him once,
or maybe twice,
I never knew him.
And then I met
in a net.
Held on to him
And, I found
that he hadn’t left early,
my father’s son.
He’d waited for me,
for a long time.
And so I found him,
my father’s son.
When he was
just ninety six,
I found him.
But I was too late
to know him.
At ninety five,
he was already dead.
So I never knew him,
my father’s son.
I saw him flapping around in the grass,
one wing at an improbable angle.
I chased him,
in my cerise and navy school scarf.
Jack, jack, jacko..
Then it was a bus ride to the charity vet
who set the broken wing,
a heavy pot.
He was subdued on the bus home,
but still managed to greet my mother,
Jack, jack, jacko.
He perked up later after tea
and explored the living room
placing bits of straw artistically
and decorating them with pooh.
Which was why
he had to live
only for weekends.
Jack, jack jacko!
But he enjoyed bus journeys now
and greeted all the passengers,
hopping from shoulder to shoulder,
waking them up with a wang from his pot,
nibbling an ear here and a nostril there.
He was close to becoming
the only jackdaw to be banned
from public transport.
Jack, jack, jacko!!
And then disaster!
the wing had not healed.
There was decay
and the trimming
of his lovely long feathers
to balance him.
No more hopping
from shoulder to shoulder,
well, maybe later
But no more
prospects of a wild life
Jack, jack, jacko...
And no more home with me
said my mum as the school holidays
Jack, jack, jacko.....
But nearby the vet,
a budgie had died
and it’s owner,
had a need and
it was love at first sight
for both her and Jacko.
Jack, jack, jacko!!
There were photos
in the press.
He was famous!
A local hero!
Jack, jack, jacko!!!
Standing in the Andorra snow
shivering in our Barcelona sandals.
Glad of a lift down to Foix
as darkness was falling.
And the driver knew a hotel,
Hotel du Centre.
of people looking down
But the driver knew the owner
who was a kind man,
a nice man.
So we shouldn't worry
about the cost, he said.
A lovely room
and in the morning,
We must eat
the owner said.
Warm bread and jam.
Coffee with hot milk
which tasted sour.
But I don't like
the taste of milk,
so most likely
it was sweet.
And then the bill.
But there was no bill.
Save it for the journey,
the owner said.
A kind man,
a nice man,
the driver's story,
whatever it was.
A few years later,
we returned to Foix
and went to find
Hotel du Centre.
But it wasn't there.
No one knew it.
It didn't exist.
Did it ever exist?
Did any of it happen?
Or did we somehow
Ripples of time
Working up to the wave
that crashed into me,
propelled me forward
and now sucks me back.
To a place beyond my imagining,
so tidy now after the crash.
in my father’s time.
There was beer mixed mud
and crowding children.
And smells of horses
Fire and metal work.
would leave behind
for the dust
For the city grime.
Streets and factories.
More fire and metal.
And what then?
What secrets lie in those ripples
washing over me now.
After The End
The sideboard was full of magazines.
Not whole magazines but
pages torn from them.
Pages of recipes.
Meals never eaten.
Exotic desserts never attempted.
Guest never invited or entertained.
At least the furniture had been used,
had had many years of use.
The clothes had been worn,
the pictures admired and enjoyed.
But the recipes were the saddest thing.
So many of them
for so many people
who never came.
Sean Lynch is a poet who lives along the Delaware River in Camden, NJ. He is the editor of Whirlwind Magazine. You can find more of his work on www.swlynch.com
"Multitudes of Lost"
All the bodies.
Not just human beings
different kinds of bones
different kinds of dirt,
rocks, roots, and remains.
All the lost
and non-existence ̶
melts into collective
memory through forgotten
principalities of shared pain.
All the missing water.
Life giving liquid
the living in streams.
All the lost
Dr. Piatt has had poems nominated for Pushcart and Best of Web awards, and published in The 100 Best Poems Anthologies. He has published 3 poetry books “The Silent Pond” (2012), “Ancient Rhythms,”
(2014), and “LIGHT” (2016), 3 novels, 35 short stories, 7 essays, and over 865 poems. He earned his BS and MA from California Polytechnic University and his doctorate from BYU. His poetry books are available on Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.
Darkness Into Light
In the winter’s icy wind…
My mind struggled
Darkness invaded my complacency:
I traveled across a river and into the woods,
Down to a meadow and across a Stream,
I floated in golden dreams hidden in my fading mind…
Swam fearfully in the rip tides
Of my finiteness:
Light faded into my
As I escaped into the woodland,
I heard the silence of granite stones Sitting on pebbly paths…
Discovered a calmness
In beautiful images
Of trees and flowers:
My soul emerged
To a place
Where a translucent pond
Quietly covered dark memories,
On violin legs of tin
In metallic chords
Accompanied by basso voices
Of bullfrogs croaking
Melodious mating songs:
Before my eyes
Downy birds appeared,
Singing in soprano voices,
Songs of serenity
And happiness… and
I found my soul at ease.
Do You Hear It?
Do you hear it?
The sad movement of refugees,
Scratching in the souls of negligent nations…
Do you hear it?
The iron-fixed notions of ideologists,
Scratching in the pages of absurd texts…
Do you hear it?
The retching tears of sad children
Scratching in the bellies of the homeless…
Do you hear it?
The grating of plastic cards
In wallets of those who don’t give a damn…
Do you hear it?
The scratching of the sharp talons of death
Waiting for us all…
Please Do Not Tell Me
Please do not tell me…
That the pomegranate sun
Will not paint the hills with a pink haze
In the early hours of each morn,
Or the wrinkled ocean’s waves
Will not drift happy memories onto the
Heated sand, on sunny afternoons,
Or the crinkled shell of the conch
Will not echo tales into my ears, of
Lost ships, and ancient journeys,
Or the aroma of a red, red rose
Will not reach my yearning senses,
And, bring a calm to my daily hours,
Or the rhythmic songs of birds,
Will not paint the sky with happy music,
To erase the darkness in my heart,
Or the balmy breeze,
Will not waft poems into my mind,
Which, will rejuvenate my day,
Or the sand on the seashore,
Will not tell me briny stories and
Restore long forgotten memories,
Or the flowing brook
Will not refresh my mind, and
Bring a new serenity to my life,
Or my love,
Will not be there when I awake
In the early morning of each day,
For these beliefs are all that
Sustain my life.
Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school teacher (remember the hormonally-challenged?) living in Southern California. He believes in the succinct, that the small becomes large; and, like the Transcendentalists and William Blake, that the instant contains eternity. Given his “druthers,” if he’s not writing, Rick would rather still be tailing plywood in a mill in Oregon. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Gamboling in a breeze as if before the caliph,
caparisoned with numbers and foreign names,
gambling to be first among the many at the start,
A seraglio of sloops vie for favor on the bay,
from which I wish that I could choose
the homeliest among them for my own.
(But I am left alone on shore with only dreams
to fill the day and stay my melancholy memories.)
From mark to mark they tack for best position,
each houri displays herself to best advantage,
then they round the weather mark to dance,
Erotically swaying downwind with parti-colored
spinnakers set, snapped open like the oriental fans
of tremulous virgins fluttering in aromatic zephyrs.
(Yet I am left alone on shore with only dreams
to fill the day and stay my melancholy memories.)
The committee boat lies alee at anchor
and like the chief eunuch of the chamber
selects one maiden for the honors of the night.
After this day’s decision all the sloops run for shore
to undress and bathe and with naked limbs lie naked
in the yard awaiting next weekend to tantalize again.
(I am left alone again to fill weekdays with
melancholy memories of the houris’ dance.)
Hurricanes, cyclones, tornados bring
Death, cataclysm and annihilation in
High skies, deep seas, feeding ravenously.
Desert dust devils arise in dead calm,
Scoot across high plateaus until swallowed
Into themselves, disappear to emerge miles away.
Hard to comprehend births from nothingness,
Fed, like yeast rising, with the heat randomly
Spread through yucca, sage, sand – dull yellows.
Small whirlwinds, short lives borne to travel, then
Expire: entropic universe, from nothingness to nullity,
Reappearing randomly, bursting from unexpectedness.
Sand pyres geneses, autobiographies of formidable lives,
Silently disappearing like Wonderland’s Cheshire Cat,
To appear elsewhere with whispered possibilities.
El Niño, La Niña,
tornados in Florida
and California, too;
calendar turned topsy-turvy,
hurricanes in January in both oceans,
temperatures reversed across the continent.
Heated thunderheads congeal above the peaks,
chemical reaction overflowing its beaker;
wrong season, wrong direction,
inversion layers subverted,
creating out of sequence,
And still arguments rage
like caged animals snarling
at each other while responsibility
continues to be debated irresponsibly;
you’d think storm deaths should be deemed
civil action lawsuits, yet how do you sue yourself?
Climate damages are irrefutable,
change is inevitable, and yet
Gaia groans under stresses.
Her self-healing may take
many millions of years –
and billions of lives.
Howard Richard Debs is a poet, writer, photographer, sometime artist, musician, singer/songwriter. At age 19 he received a University of Colorado Poetry Prize; after some 50 years in the field of communications with recognitions including a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Educational Press Association of America, he resumed his creative pursuits. A finalist and recipient of the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards, his latest work appears in Yellow Chair Review, Crack The Spine, Syzygy Poetry Journal, Silver Birch Press, InkStain Press, Clear Poetry Magazine 2015 Anthology, among others, and On Being online in which appears his ekphrastic Holocaust poetry series “Terezin: Trilogy Of Names” and also in On Being online his essay "The Poetry of Bearing Witness." His background in photography goes back many years, both creative and technical, and his photography will be found in select publications, including in Rattle online as “Ekphrastic Challenge" artist and guest editor. Born and bred in Chicago, he now lives in sunny South Florida with his wife of 50 years Sheila, where they spend considerable time spoiling their four grandchildren.
Listing in Poets & Writers Directory: https://www.pw.org/content/howard_debs
The Dead In Me, A Dirge
When I go I want to go suddenly.
They will say he lived ‘til the end.
Today the news reports
a 38 year old
zookeeper named Stacey
was killed by a tiger, not
her own species.
Not one of the 1300 statistics
say will be killed today in
this world by someone
who walks upright.
My life has been
wrenched from my
own hands by the horror
of it, I brood constantly
especially at those times of year I say
the Yizkor prayers of remembrance
for so many murdered souls: my grandparents,
aunts and uncles, cousins all perished
during the Holocaust.
I feel them in my heart,
but have an urging to hear
even just a word from any of
them, all the more to have
the privilege of a question or two
perhaps, with their presence
gracing what would be
such a special moment.
My nephew was
just six during my visit
almost ten years ago,
when I came into his room as
he was talking, so it
appeared, to himself.
He could not say
who was there.
Then just the other day
my own precious little tyke
was found in conversation
with no one in the
living room. A few
weeks went by, when
sorting through a
stack of old photos, while
looking at one of grandpa Samuel,
in whose memory I am named,
my son said, “we talk.”
How significant would be at least
some sign for his namesake.
Perhaps it is a matter of merit.
I will work harder.
Dear Daughter Mine
I know you now live near Washington D.C. far away
from me. I know we keep in touch with phone texts and such
sharing on Facebook virtually. I’m really writing to say
we had a great time, mom and I when you spent
a few days with your husband and
the twins who had their seventh birthday just a while back
yet seem so much older now than when last you came.
I asked them what they liked best, having left here
where they were born, for a more northern clime.
They answered that after it snows and they go sledding
mommy makes hot cocoa. Anyway, the weather
here in Florida is not like there of course this time of year,
you’ve had your first taste of winter that’s for sure.
I know you thought that part of visiting
was fine even on the very breezy day
we all went to the beach to play in the sand,
to squish our toes and feet in the ocean’s
foaming surf, the water aquamarine
like Key West you said, the most
special thing was flying those kites;
first time for the kids, what a sight, they holding
the lines so tight, the flapping flimsy frames
taking the torment of the swirling seaside winds
the news said 20 miles an hour with gusts of more.
So we triumphed there to say the least and I became
grandpa hero once again. Our hootenanny
was lots of fun. One playing a slide whistle the other
the kazoo dancing and prancing around while
I plucked out a banjo tune to Five Foot Two
and Muffin Man before the big finale surprising mom
with Burl Ives’ Big Rock Candy Mountain which her
father sang to her when she was young.
I never learned the song before that night,
It was like my gift to her, I hope she thought so too.
Then the morning that you left, heading back to life
from nine to five, I clicked the PBS website and played
Mr. Rodgers’ You Are Special for the twins; they never
heard it before if you didn’t know so I gave them
copies to practice for our next big show and
I’m really writing to say: “If there ever comes a day
when we can’t be together keep me in your heart, I’ll stay
there forever” which is a quote from Winnie the Pooh, love you, dad.
A More Perfect Union:
Excerpts From A Summer Journal*
(Reading a book in which appear Lincoln’s words given at Gettysburg. That the new nation was brought forth and dedicated to the proposition that all are created equal. He said: “We can not dedicate – we can not consecrate – we can not hallow,” those who struggled here have.)
Charleston, June 28th
Arrived on Friday
with church bells
ringing for Carolina Day
sponsored by the
first celebrated in 1777
they say to a year and
six days removed from
The guide, Miss Sara, in her
long cotton dress, a true
southern belle. Her auburn
hair tied up inside her wide brimmed
hat with its yellow ribbon trailing behind
sitting in wicker on the veranda
of the plantation house
drinking sweet tea
a concoction laden with
enough sugar to ensure no
bitter taste from a bygone era.
Walked Slave Street,
euphemistically named compared to
the row of nine original ramshackle
brick shanties where lived in squalor
the great house servants.
Later the United Daughters
of the Confederacy will participate
in a wreath-laying ceremony at
White Point Gardens honoring
the fallen from a fateful day in not
the Civil but Revolutionary War.
New York, July 22nd
Arrived on Saturday.
Across from the hotel
in Manhattan workers are loading
a big red van with the mover’s
name Moishe’s Worldwide
Moving emblazoned proudly on the side
in billboard size white letters
for all the world to see.
The message on hotel stationery
lay on the nightstand in the room:
From Concierge, Vladimir – I was
informed that the majority of the
shops on Orchard Street will be
open on Sunday.
The Lower East Side: A.W. Kaufman lingerie;
Ziontalis, Judaica Department Store since
1920; Kadouri Import, Israeli produce;
Gertel’s Bakery; and there at 97 Orchard Street,
as mentioned in the guidebook,
The Tenement Museum.
The docent was of Italian descent,
with thick Brooklyn accent, and black olive eyes.
He told of his ancestors as so many now
inscribed on the Wall Of Honor erected there,
enduring steerage, and the gauntlet of the gateway, Ellis Island.
He told of Nathalie Gumpertz a German Jewish
seamstress, in 1874 she became the sole support of her
four young children after her husband disappeared.
He told of the hunger, the sweatshops,
the firebrand labor organizers, rabble-rousers
some say, they took to the street,
many were struck down but they won
hard fought victories on that battleground.
Washington D.C., August 30th
Arrived on Sunday. Staying in Georgetown.
It is all very quaint. Walked along the towpath of
the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, like much before
and since the water highway no longer the new way
replaced by the rise of the railway.
Visited the National Gallery of Art,
saw the American Collection,
The White House, the Washington Monument.
There adjacent to the National Mall, stands the
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Somber faced people go in
and come out chastened.
Identification Cards given at the entrance
tell the stories of victims; on each cover
the statement, apt for all time, “For the dead
and the living we must bear witness.”
Across from the Lincoln Memorial is the
Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a long, slow-rising
wall bearing the names of almost 60,000
Americans who died or remain missing.
It is all chronological, from the
first listed casualty in 1959 to the last in 1975.
The visitors’ grim faces reflect in
the shiny black granite. Many
look for their loved ones’ names--
summer days end amid such sad searches
urging in pleas unvoiced for a more perfect Union. *in homage to Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
The unknown sphere, more real than I dreamed,
more direct, darts awakening rays about me--
Walt Whitman, Leaves Of Grass, 1860 ed.
Turning, staring out the window
the light in the room shows its
reflection in the glass, blades
of light, so the view is a blend
of what’s inside and outside
at the same time. What is outside?
A man on a stroll walks by the window
A woman pulling a dog on a leash
two young children running past
it all happened so fast the revolving
red lights spinning around, the sirens
making an awful sound, the police cars
all showing up, the one with the jacket
and tie must be a detective pointing
across the street where the body lie.
Then the girl appeared like a ghost
in white, she opened the door of her toppled car
crawled out and tottered over to the officers in blue who
waved at her with hard fists, and other officers,
as the crowd gathered, motioning them away
the crime scene tape macabrely festooned
the roadway from side to side where
skid marks tellingly showed the braking and the speed.
The mother of the child on the ground cried.
It was a sad scene, an awakening, far too late.
The Buddhists have an awakening in their view,
the way to the end of suffering, achieved
by overturning false belief, not a vehicle
would that the tragedy witnessed itself be false not true,
follow the Eightfold Path to Nirvana it is urged, but surely
the path leads not down this highway.