“dreams that are not mine”
Loud bridges crossed
These waters that were set on fire
Wheels driven off
Course left with
Each ride carried expired dreams
Arriving at the same time
Of common grief
Of this fire
Burning rubber tied to streets
Made to break spirits
Let souls die all while the
Sun turns its eyes to be brought
To principles that were not
Of heaven or mine
I left the crying out of silence on
Bridges that yelled
What were dreams for
If they were not mine
John did not say much and I do not think
It’s because of the conditions that brought him here
But that he had conditions on what he would say to anyone
Painting broad horizons with ease and focus of his eyes
Examining each movement that passed him by
Dedicated to the exit and the clock,
his mind was somewhere his body did not want
and his mind agreed on this reasoning
Groups were more like quiet time at a day care
When his turn came round
He would not even try to utter a response
Yet he was paying attention the whole time
He would just look off into the ways in which we
All would sit in a herd with horror filled minds
With excess spit from the medications side effects
Always rubbing his hands against his legs
I thought with enough friction he might start a fire
And burn them off and be better off
One day he sat by me and opened his mind
In physical recognition then asked why I spoke
Up so much in group they do nothing he said
I said because I have nothing to say actually
We both laughed and I felt his soul echo back at me
Until his silence called him to come along he got up
And touched my hand and lit it on fire
With the friction of his words only spoken to a few
“wishful winds of a sparrow”
Around days where if being human fits
It would fail leaving a state seemingly like anything but dry leaves
Where any friction can set it into flames
Wanting to be bagged up and tamed so full of shame
Hard to contain its lifeless form only moving when
The wind forcefully moves it along with time
Crumbled by lawnmowers who needs rakes
Felt in the tips of fallen branches
Visible like the sores in the mouth wide opened
Struck like a spot on the clock the hours
Have forgotten about life that was once there
Fresh in spring and drenching with sweat in the summer blaze
On trees hung strong for years, decades, even centuries
But not the leaves they resemble the low tides
in the off season of oceans with
waves toasting to match the skies with
The wind questioning the sparrow’s
intent and direction with time ill spent
The wind wonders where and when
will the sparrow get the weathers hint
The seasons are changing
off on a limb a sparrow lifts its chin
To the wind and resides where it began as an egg
In hopes of seeing its mother again
As leaves drift from branches and
fall to the ground like ashes
loses its home
along with anything that it can hold
“burnt out spots in a confused mind”
Bringing down thoughtful riots that are muted on occasion
Their intentions are to destroy
these mental pearls revolting inside of me
Burn this rebellion in the essences of my being down
In need of more assessment
They gather around me
like a pack of wolves one by one
Observing me like the next meal
To them either way I was a meal ticket
No different than the fees earned
for every head counted in the jails at night
Lazy with one of my eyes
Fighting constant injections round
the clock filled with their legal dope
Maybe with my sedation they can
find an answer to my equation
Locked in a rhythm less thought process
My jar is dropped, with a mouth
full of liquid from my body
Falling onto a pool that looks
like my chest is
Unable to get up dropped on the ground
layered with patients before me stories
my mind swung into a direction
That failed to mention that as young as I am
I would be better off with dementia as a diagnosis
For I do not even remember the hours I had before
Realizing again I was in the same place
Before all this occurred
Begging to exist beyond these walls
Fighting for better days I lay in horrid nights
With the sounds of broken arrows aimed at my heart
stumbles mid air and falls apart to a harden ground
in the nurse’s and doctor’s chart but I am still caged here
Still Marked as another target,
my bed remains a coffin
for any thoughts once flowing
I was alive only to breathe their medically induced air
“give in or let go”
Rather than coming too soon
He laid late and stubborn stuck at noon
Staying in blasted peace
Should have given in or finally let go
Children yelled for the revolution
Adults cried for their future
While the aftermath rested
In graves of deserted evolutions
Cushions that held borrowed bodies
Used as toy soldiers in wars
No one could find a use for
He broke me, left me
Flying below whatever I was above
The love left in a stove
Past dinner time where it remained
Burnt by his stubbornness
Questioning whether to give in or let go
We always take the furthest spot, eager to walk
the flat expanse of Sloan Kettering’s parking lot.
On occasion he smiles in these first days
swollen with hope,
late June sunshine on his shoulders,
the Dogwood just in bloom
browning white petals kiss pavement.
Hot, he waves a limp wrist
motioning me to park nearer.
The tree is laden with green leaves now,
people walk, wipe sweat from eyes.
His clammy hand clenches the bag he still carries
relentless Jersey humidity further stifles his breath .
hip, kidney, bone.
The cane hobbles him from car to front door
where a lobby is filled with mums and pumpkins.
His wool cap fits loosely now, his face still beautiful-
chiseled, sunken. His sweater
slips off his back, a skinny boy
in daddy’s clothes.
The wheels on his chair thin, snow deep.
His final infusion -
a mere crucifixion, we
are met by his Simon of Cyrene, sipping
coffee, laughing with security as
I recline the seat and
writhe him out of our car
like burnt bread, fallen too deep
into the toaster.
LAST FIRST NIGHT
I pose we smoke
(the pleasure we can
still partake in)
7 becomes 8
8 becomes 9
and you are still
on the other side
of the locked door,
ursus in hibernation.
So I mark time
mull red wine
and lemon peel
pour the spirit
teacups and pass
to my teenage children
on a summer night.
At 11:55 you appear
your once strong body
fading with the year
you hobble a few steps
in striped pajamas
that Jew from Treblinka
watching Anderson Cooper.
I graze your shoulder,
your silver hair-
too weak to inhale
you peck me instead
with chapped lips as
your last year begins.
William Ruleman retired last year from college teaching to devote himself to writing, painting, translation, and (when possible) travel. His newest book is Black Forest Poems, and individual poems of his have appeared most recently in The Amethyst Review, Mused: The BellaOnline Literary Review, NatureWriting, The Pangolin Review, and Words for the Wild. More can be found out about him at www.williamruleman.com.
APPLE TREES IN AUTUMN, BREITENBERG
AUTUMN NEAR BREITENBERG
From all the strife that plagues my native land:
The bitter bickering on every hand,
The snares that will not let a body be.
There are forests I still long to see
And where I would not have to take a stand
On some "hot" issue I find trite and bland.
I wish the world would stay away from me.
But Earth replies: "I'm waiting for you, child.
All you ever sought in life is here,
But you must leave the wicked World behind
And live with me in nature, weird and wild,
Free from cities and their hate and fear,
Once more to find serenity of mind.”
IN WHAT OTHERWISE WOULD BE EDEN,
HE LONGS FOR HIS LOVE,
WITH AUTUMN NEAR
Outside my bedroom window—there
In chill and certain autumn air--
The apple tree is all aglow,
And here I could be frothy, froh
If not for sobering things I know.
For solemn thoughts at moments shroud
My joy in puffs of gloomy cloud
Against the blue (I'm wistfully blue,
For blue, my love, your favorite hue,
Sends my thoughts again toward you.)
THE RIDE FROM BAD WILDBAD TO BIETIGHEIM
to my love
The sky was blue that day; the air was chill.
Walter parked the car at Wildbad so that we
Could take our bikes to see what we could see,
Negotiating every turn and hill
Through woods and villages, past farm and field
Along the river Enz to Bietigheim,
Although we stopped and spent a little time
At a roadside inn whose looking-glass revealed
That I had cut my head and left a gash
When I had gathered speed going down a slope,
Too heady in my aging fellow’s hope
Of recapturing youth to see that I would crash.
The whole world glided past our bikes that day.
How many times I longed to stop and rest!
And most of all, I think of that glad fest
We passed in a dream, it seemed, along the way
And where—in the midst of children, dogs, and men--
Beside the river on the village green
Appeared the loveliest girl I’d ever seen,
And all the more enchanting to me then
While I was lost in longing thoughts of you,
That day two lonely men became old friends
Riding bikes along the River Enz:
A day of timbered towns unreal but true
That took me back into an ideal time
Far from my own . . . Or might it just be so
That my own spirit lived so long ago
And for that reason pens this simple rhyme?
Other memories of that day return,
But this goddess with her copper hair
And flowing arms shines brightest there
Amid that festive scene for which I yearn.
With time the memory has only grown.
The tents and banners of that merry scene
Beside the river on the village green
Comfort me when I feel sad, alone.
For it was a vision, I will dare to say,
Of centuries past but also those to come:
Eternal bliss in that eternal home,
That paradise for which I sometimes pray.
David McLintock lives in the North-West of England. He has published poetry intermittently since the early 1990s, in small-press and online. His life is based on notebooks, lists, and peculiar encounters with people. He believes you can make poetry out of the mundane trash of the city. He likes making words do things they weren't invented for.
The Man Who Got One
Who admitted to me once
That when he was a child
He’d been fascinated by life
And that now he’d grown up into a man
This fascination hadn’t gone away
And that whatever it took
He was determined
To get one for himself.
I was staggered,
He didn’t seem the type,
But despite my protests
From then on
He spent the better part of each day
Devoted to this task,
However detrimental it was
To anything else.
A few years later,
Having drifted apart
Some while before,
Him not having the time
For the things he’d used to,
Me not caring to push it any longer,
I was surprised to get a call,
And to hear his urgent voice on the other end
Telling me to come over,
Cos he’d got one.
I asked where he lived now,
Not expecting him to answer
That he was still in the same place,
But I put my coat and boots on
And made my way across town
Wondering if the area
Had improved without me knowing.
If anything, it was worse.
I found his house
And it looked a bit rundown,
The garden was a bit weedy if anything.
The car on the drive didn't look that much either.
In fact, it took nothing to notice the rear-left wheel was off it.
He answered the doorbell quickly, smiling.
Inside was as I remembered it
Only 10 years older.
But he seemed really happy,
And started showing me round,
Pointing out things that really weren't worth pointing out.
I wondered whether he had been ill, to be honest.
It turned out he was single, too.
“What do you think of that?"
He finally said, waving his arms
Like some kind of evangelist.
“Isn’t it fantastic?”
I looked around, I didn’t know what he was on about,
And finally I told him,
“What? I can’t see anything?”
He paused, looked at me, puzzled,
Asked if I was sure.
I said I was.
He looked at me again, sadly I thought.
“It’s so strange,” he said.
“All of you say the same.”
As I walked back across town
I kicked some stones down the road
And found myself crying a little bit,
To do this day I don't know why.
I multiplied together 2 nine-digit numbers …
No-one wondered how I did it,
No-one wanted to check my answer.
A computer programmer,
A social worker,
An international shipping merchant,
And an English teacher.
And not one of them was at all impressed.
The computer programmer asked:
I looked at him as if he was the strange one.
“Because I can” I answered,
And repeated it 9 times, quietly.
The Prettiest Girl Who Ever Saw Time
Who ever saw time
Knocked around up on the river
Next to my old father’s place,
And he wooed her with his boat,
And wondered at her,
Her line lolling in the water,
Her bare toes paddling,
Idle as a child,
And the only thing she caught
And he had nothing to give her
But his failings and himself,
His cabin with the door
And meshed windows,
His rattly truck that barely
Beat the ruts,
And she left,
But then came briefly back
To give him me,
Which he took, unwillingly,
And lived with a look
Out of his eyes
For the moment
I too would leave,
As if he could will it,
Till I did,
Which maybe is a day
He has not forgotten,
Or he may have, or he may
Not be there anymore,
Or he may have a look
Out of his eyes
From all of his past,
Something akin to wonder,
Or akin to something
He knows he never
Something like a boat,
Something like a river,
Something like a woman,
Something like a child.
The poet has nowhere to hide …
Has nowhere to rest, nurse hate,
Rock forth, nowhere dried,
Packed, ready-sealed, to elate
In opening late, versing
As key goes in door, wallet
To floor, assured cursing -
As muse of nicht pour gullet -
Will not go between his mantra
Of world-love, all-love, and lord-love:
His larder's stocked, true tantra -
Approving spice, seed, and stove.
I pity my restful foe,
His non-gnomic con-me's, his lasty
Resistant eyes, his all-know
All-gone, his hair hashy,
His fear, overbearing as was,
Now sub-Socratic, bleakered,
Barely worth tongue, fosse
Frazzed; a harlequin sneakered,
Smashed on a sprung-through sofa,
Gouting largesse, loud-wording
Gauds, bits of him a knifer
Still, most an idiocy boarding.
Not for I must I pity,
Nor for I can, but for the joy,
For the mockery, treachery, for the smarty
Gleam, the sheerness, for the coy
Sly slippery side
Of self undoing all good,
Knuckling well back at pride,
Handily gainsaying that prude,
Slapping that Lancelot's back,
Burping that sucker, unshucking
That constabularying schmuck,
Offing that cuckooing, that clucking.
For there are things must be done
And them I shall do. No
Small poet frying his pan
Of lines need I now
To go for feeding from to.
I have my own bubbling.
Some boil gloop, some glue.
I've no trouble dribbling.
I sooner spend my turbulent
Roubles quibbling info
Ilka, who's noo Boss Rant?
Than grinder cuisinist curio.
Once I saw him in his pots,
Underneath the worktop,
Clawing at them, clats
And slams, all tempered, lop
To his eyes. When he looked
Up, at me laughing down,
His cheeks tightly in-sucked,
Hollowing strangely, a frown
Drew across his brow,
In three deep waved lines,
He formed a smile, then a low
Sound, a haiku of bent fork-tine.
Forcibly, ignobly, with
Sniggered, up at my standing life,
It was as if he and I was one
And he knew it first, and knowing first,
Threw me off my track, and won,
Left me tired, racked with thirst,
Raising my fist at him heading
Ahead to a storming victory
Taking with him my due rewarding
And with that everything left of me.
I'd rolled a cigarette ...
pouch and rizlas safely down in a pocket
and rummaged through several other pockets until
I'd found my lighter tangled in my hankie
and unwrapped it and stepped outside the pub
to light one up. The rain had stopped, its wetness
still glinted off the pavement. Flash red fuchsia
heads fallen from the hanging pots
on the pub wall lay wet and squashed on the kerb,
floated round an algae-scummed puddle
teetering to the mouth of a roadside drain.
I stared at them as I inhaled. I paced
idly back and forth along the pavement,
never venturing too far from the pub front,
as if, to move too far might invoke banishment,
or as if, someone might come and take
my place, and in taking my place, might take me.
Shepherd's purse sprouted from cracks along the road,
across the pavement, little white flowers content
with any space they could find. I puckered my cheeks
to take in a lungful of smoke, and was content.
From a carpark across the road, a pair of 4
by 4s followed each other out, growling.
I noticed the mud-spatters up the sides of each,
and wondered how many walkers they'd taken out.
A cyclist came along on the pavement, wrapped
in waterproofs, and as he passed he waved,
because we knew each other some years ago.
I held my cigarette up waving back,
but he'd already cycled down the street
and around the corner. I really should be getting
around the corner too, I thought, considering
the time, and how the shops would soon shut
and I'd nothing in my cupboards. I finished my smoke,
and stubbed the butt on the pavement under my heel,
just next to a particularly blood-red fuchsia
flower. Then I went back into the pub.
Cry the Engineer
through the bottom of his glass.
“Well built,” he thought, well inspected.
Someone listened somewhere.
But the engineer trusted in the system.
The tracks remained clear,
even if the skies had not.
but still others loomed above him.
He knew structure and mass
both from schooling and politic.
but he knew the bridges and turns.
He knew what the snow and ice brought
and the weight of getting to the station safe.
and no matter the gravity of the situation,
nothing could persuade save a higher price
that no oversight could track.
speed high but safe to move through the storm.
But then the engineer saw what waited,
a bridge mangled, angled into the abyss.
The next winter should be its last.
But they pushed him aside, satisfied that what worked before
would work on. Oh what great engineering!
Nothing short of a miracle would bring a stop.
But he tried, oh how he tried.
Profanity and prayers, cried the engineer.
now late running from Denver.
Heads would roll in the coming days.
There was nothing he could do. So cried the engineer.
Sonnet #3 – Even as She Sleeps
land and space between us makes no matter.
Shatter any expectations of
love taking a second chair to all others.
Brothers! Sisters! Learn this lesson captured.
Enraptured I find myself, this flower.
Cower? I dare not, for I must behold,
told before by lovers past, loss – risk not!
Blot out worry of an unworthy self.
Wealth is measured not in image or fame.
Tame? Not her want for closeness nor passion.
Fashion me a love stronger than her heart.
Art and song may fill her dreams but its I,
high above, she’s chosen to believe in.
Orange in a House of Lions
as the heinous sun oft beat upon him
The lion toiled
An orange fruit he’d take home
for his loving pride oft sat beside him
The lion lived
forgets to mentions a possible
oncoming train; tunnels, illuminated
by artificial bulbs, are beneath the
surface. Energy powers our control
over darkness. Can we switch tracks
so imminent disaster is avoided?
Can a back-up generator keep
underground passages lit?
Might I direct what light
filters in, and what
darkness to accept?
my country 'tis of thee
Moments with mumps, measles.
Fiery throat from tonsils
Too terrible to keep.
Eye exams, hearing tests,
Braces on teeth, broken
Nose nursed to new.
Quiet talks, tempers tingling,
Explored, spoken, soothed.
Love directed to help
Cope with a future
He never saw.
©1991 Green's Educational Publication (Canada)
reprinted spring 2010 “Shemom”
Though I had no place
To sit while I
Spoke to you.
I was quite alone
Yet talked in
I selected a smooth
Pebble and placed it on
Will the birds
Notice you had
©1977 The Writer
reprinted Winter 2015 Shemom
Government Health Care
ills which were
destined at union
Skills and mind won't heal
destruction which Nature
Will maintaining me
be the 'cure' to cling
to until I cease?
© 1990 Green's Educational Publication (Canada)
Studying my face
the young photographer
noted contours of lips
and eyes. Exacting a
pose, he positioned
lights, scanned jowls,
furrows. As the
shutter snapped, he
“I’ll bet you were
©2001 Green’s Educational Pub. (Canada)
Carl Scharwath, has appeared globally with 150+ journals selecting his poetry, short stories, interviews, essays, drama or art photography.Two poetry books 'Journey To Become Forgotten' (Kind of a Hurricane Press).and 'Abandoned' (ScarsTv) have been published. Carl is the art editor for Minute Magazine, a dedicated runner and 2nd degree black- belt in Taekwondo.
ASH WEDNESDAY IN DRESDEN (Aschermittwoch in Dresden)
red and green imprints.
The Florence of the Elbe
awaited its charcoal nightmare.
Sirens proclaimed a terror, embraced
by formations of flying steel.
The first incendiary firestorm
rained seismic waves of heat.
Body parts and liquid flesh
christened the sidewalks in drips.
Like a grotesque summer
melting ice cream cone.
Trampled, no oxygen
a death dance in the street.
The dance floor reflected
adults the size of children.
Burnt, screaming and gesticulated
in a mad frenzy to escape.
The cultural city morphed into
an aberrant, surrealistic landscape.
A German mother covered her babies
with kisses and wet blankets
and whispered silent prayers
on a Dresden Ash Wednesday evening.
An American City
withers and dies.
While the living
in open streets.
To a new renaissance.
floating down the river
like a colorful leaf
on splattered sunshine.
Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in Plainsongs, The Long Islander, and The Nashwaak Review. Her newest poetry collections are In This Place, She Is Her Own (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), A Wall to Protect Your Eyes (Pski’s Porch Publishing), Folios of Dried Flowers and Pressed Birds (Cyberwit.net), Where We Went Wrong (Clare Songbirds Publishing), and Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press) .
The Night Out
drag the rope
make a circle
to keep the snakes out. stake down the tent
roll out the sleeping bags, set
the camp stove
on low, make soup.
the children’s eyes glow
in the dying
light of the setting sun, cheeks
pink with anticipation
of sleeping under the stars. moonlight
makes the shadows creep
far across the desert and up into
my head against
my husband’s chest and dream.
in a bright show
of marital bliss, smile for
the outside world
to see. no reflection of nightly
rituals of blood
and bone, of skin against metal
the room with a
drain in the floor. her smile is
carefully controlled, quiet
years of hiding
a mouth full of
chipped, dying teeth, lips rouged to hide the hairline
splits in her flesh, the way the
in too many directions
when she tries to speak. he shelters her with
his body in public, banishing questions from
friends and family who ask
why she never calls anymore.
The Wooden Man
than a man made of flesh, a man with knotted arms
coarse flesh, rough bark, rooted to the ground
unable to leave. I imagine the women
of those long ago forests carrying
new babies in their arms, determined to forget
who the single sperm on that single night
came from, I see those women
holding their babies up to the best trees
the old, tall ones with birds in their crowns
squirrels in their crooks, rabbits under their roots
saying, “This is your father, ” spinning elaborate
but believable tales of strong, beautiful, dependable dryads
visiting sleeping children during the night, planting
dew-damp and sap-scented kisses on tow-framed foreheads
whispering the secrets of the forest in their tiny
sleeping ears, and how the tree outside your door
is the thing that makes this home.
there’s no more rain
follows me out to the porch.
I miss you, keep waking
to dreams where you
are here but
you don’t want
don’t need me anymore.
I have cats
that sleep with me now.
I could talk
to them like I talk
to you. I have
here for you, things
you’d like if you’d
just come home.
I’ll keep them safe.
of being on board myself, imagine all of
the places the passengers must be going,
all of the places I could go if I was on the train:
perhaps seated next to some dusty child
a photograph of some far-off relative tucked into
her pocket, or perhaps, more adventurously
a well-dressed spy pretending to sleep, or just
someone going to the store. I still wave at trains
as they rumble by, imagine
it’s my face pressed to the glass, watching
someone just like me.
ABDUL MALIK MANDANI
EG TED DAVIS
ERICA MICHAELS HOLLANDER
GEORGE CASSIDY PAYNE
JACOB M. APPEL
JEFFREY PENN MAY
KYLE BRANDON LEE
LOIS GREENE STONE
MARK F. LINDSEY
STACEY Z LAWRENCE
WAYNE J. KEELEY