Latest Poems

Illumination

There is an industrial sky and the wind
is a little too strong, a little too cool
to blow like this through the still leafless
branches of the trees on this two-flat street.

You asked, inside, the lamps lit at 4 o’clock,
if my mother read my poetry and I said no,
why would my mother read my poetry?
And I thought of one she’d found, put
on the wall of her pharmaceutical company office:

“We are all homeless,” it began somewhat dramatically,
and I suppose she was, a passed around orphan
in 1950s Northern Ohio: plains without expanses
and the canned laughter out of the tinny speakers
of new televisions: the fakers pretending
to be just like you and me. She told me she used
to go to the Akron airport to watch the planes
on Saturday afternoons and when heaven came
on Sunday morning she felt a similar awe,
with the rosary beads like pebbles
in her fingers and the candles lit and the thick smell
of the church clinging to her clothes the rest of the day,
like an importance carried even that far
from the faraway cathedrals in Europe
with the same Latin calling down the same God.

In that same poem I talked of the ballgames
at dusk and how the air felt against our forearms
as the sun was replaced by the night
and all the voices of our parents calling us in
and they were much younger too.

Later, everybody around our patio
with the grilling and the conversations
and I would sneak off into the corner
of the shared yard and the crickets
with their sound of the rhythm of the earth
seemed like a permanence in the summer
and not a vesperal hum announcing
any of these auroras of autumn.

I would kneel down to hear them closer,
sometimes I would get a jar
and all night, I would hear that song
and it was quieter than silence to me.
I am remembering this now,
it is the part of the poem that was never written.

 

Andrew Decker

Hairdresser

The hairdresser asks me to wait a moment outside.

I´m clearly the first customer of the day.

He rouses three guys who have been sleeping inside the worn salon.

I sit on a tiny plastic stool in the street, waiting for my turn.

Peter Köhler

Front door

My dad tells me about a dream he had shortly after I was born.

He´s in the hallway walking past by the front door. It´s ajar.

Reaching out to close it he spots a man with a drawn gun

standing right outside.

Peter Köhler

Kite King

An old man stands in the square outside the museums. He’s flying a kite that looks like a big black bird and he’s awesome!

Every time the kite looks like it is going to crash he lets out some string from his big spool and yanks a little at it.

Soon the kite is a little dot against the smoggy skyscrapers in the background again.

After a while another kite flyer shows up. He’s at least as elderly as the first one and brings the same kind of kite. A great big black bird.

It crashes right away!

Peter Köhler

Hofnarfjördur

On the wall in the hallway between our bedroom and the kitchen is a pair of

Gnome-sized knitted socks.

Later I read in a tourist leaflet about guided tours

to the kingdom of the Little people, among the volcanic rock

a stone´s throw away.

Peter Köhler

Peach Garden

The peach garden is a quiet place without many visitors.

I’m suddenly pleased to find a nice statue of a giant peach.

It’s the size of a small truck.

The paintwork grades from white to a pinky orange.

Next to it is a brownish black deer with a glassy stare.

Peter Köhler

Minnesota Summers

It began with bats as

sometimes, it does.

Bat claws scratching. Bat voices

chirping. Bat families

squeezed between the stairs

and the attic door.

 

————

 

Evening, only street, Crow River.

 

Pickup truck after

pickup truck; dirt roads, tall browning grass,

weeds in the irrigation ditch.

 

One dusktime walk a pheasant

burst up, scared the shit

out of the dog.

 

————

 

Bat thwap landing

on my mother’s bare thigh.

Midnight. Hot sticky summer.

Bat. Thwap. Thwap.

Fuck.

 

————

 

Swimming in a t-shirt in the

river overflowing, afternoon downpour

everything green

everything grey.

 

Huddled on the screened in front-porch;

my grandfather’s glass of

powder-made lemonade. The game,

dummy-rummy, Swedish and

Norwegian flags flapping

in rain kick-back wind.

 

————

 

Bat hunters—

mother, grandmother, grandfather.

Bat hunting—

tennis racket, frying pan, broom.

 

Elusive bats. Multitude of bats.

Bats on bats on bats.

 

————

 

Matching kitchen and bathroom

linoleum, black and white

like Italy, red walls.

 

Well-traveled whole-life couple

whose friends don’t like when

he cooks

she talks at the dinner table,

their daughter

whose daughter

doesn’t wear skirts.

 

————

 

My grandfather’s burn pile,

writhing brown paper bags

he carried out

one at a time, three a day,

bats.

 

————

 

Because corn stalks cut skin

when you run too fast between them:

a Minnesota summer

but the stray cat they call Capote

the house cat, Truman.

 

Neighbor in a one-piece

on an ATV with a shotgun

three kids

one target:

neighborhood woodchuck.

 

Same neighbor, other summer:

her kids’ black and white rabbit released.

 

All the rabbits are cow-rabbits

in Crow River now.

 

————

 

Burning bat bodies

isn’t illegal but

bat murder is.

 

————

 

Hang buckets of water under the eaves

so bats fall in and drown—

bat assisted-suicide.

Bat vulnerability.

 

It ended with bats,

with bat endings.

Bats on bats on bats.

 

Carly Taylor

The Color of Love

Touch reveals colors only the blind can see.
Flushed cheeks blush in morning sunlight.
A flashover arc hoists our blue and yellow flags
that merge in green.
Saffron warms the prism of our blue light of ice.
We shiver and shake in a kaleidoscopic
hologram of wordless love on a Borealis night.

 

Milton P. Ehrlich

The Graveyard Shift

A still night.
No hand was needed to cover my lighter.
Flick.
Pull.
Sigh.
Smoke.
Across the street, a bent lamp leaned obtusely.
I looked forward to seeing it
And wondering how it got like that
Every night for only fifteen minutes.
 
 

J.A. Salimbene

Copse

Standing straight against the frozen sky
Your skeletons are the exquisite calligraphy
Of the season

Your name is writ

Not in water
But with wind
 
 

Yuan Changming

The Suicidal Pie

the pie sat there
sweet and quiet
but I knew the truth
all it wanted was to die

a small
thing that no one
suspected of being anything
but slightly cooled
with strawberries on top

 

Rachel VanCuren

Sweet-natured

You are a
             young raspberry vine.
Your small red berries taste
             sour,
                       free,
                                happy.
And I chew them up and swallow—
I’ve taken so many berries from you.
 
 

Dominic Shaw

Domingos

That smile, small and butter yellow, seemed tacked up on walnut eyes that peered out in uneven lines. The kind of decorum they sell at roadside stands along green highways in the south; the kind that makes you feel at home if you grew up poor—like those plaques with bad quotes that get hung up in the kitchen, the only thing drawn to them is the airborne grease from home-style recipes. And a year down the line, these signs grow gray with heavy dust like the color of the bags under those walnut eyes. The color of wear, like it must have been a second-hand stand. Like he must have been passed around before.
 
 

Dominic Shaw

Borrowed Mattress

I grabbed her hips—
she bit my lip hard enough
to make me squirm, but soft
enough to leave no trace
of herself on my skin.
Heavy breath poured from
young lungs and twisted up—
intertwined—following suit, our
legs buried beneath the sheets.
It was that time of night, the time
when I like to be sound
asleep; the time when she’d have
thought about it too.
Not my hands or her teeth
or the mess of our legs,
it was just that time. And we’d had this
same night, three nights in a row,
and I had to say it before she
had to leave for good. Maybe
it was because of the way I like my books—
with clean pages and clean endings.
This weekend, our weekend,
deserved the same.
 
 

Dominic Shaw

The square sun

the square sun
in its magnetic silence
lies stretched out
in the fertile bed
of the land
waiting there
for the hand
which will drop the seed
of the day in her womb

the bird
the trotting horse
legs wide apart
yet waits
with a laugh
on its dark face
 
 

Anthonie Sas

for Tonnie

the red light comes about desolately
and he is doomed to stay
he longs for what connects him
and he imagines the sun

desire persists and
his feet stride
towards what belongs to him

slowly is happening what he had feared

chimeras populate the earth
and backwards he fulfils the tenderness
bestial sounds are also going
to where he was just now
and there is the booted
his dick disappears in his mouth
only heavenward there is space

he knows but is not desirous to come about
and bites the prankcoach
which slows down
now that the horses are put backwards
rattlesnakes and strange chaps
stick their heads outside
the mountains echo their jolly

he was lost again
and tried to catch up with who he had been
once again he has failed
but not in vain
for amidst what he perceives
there is the calf he ate
when he was younger
and more lovely too
but not to dance with

again something moves between his legs
– just trot little horse
when you get tired
I’ll put you down in the moonlight –

he spies to all sides
and finds what he found: saliva

wearied he goes on
softened by so much luck

o wondrous fierce humiliation
 
 

Anthonie Sas

Triptych

I

Encounter

On the road to the town where the fire had raged
I met the one who spoke to me:
come, go with me,
be my friend and let me
lead you through the narrow streets of this black
town.

We walked for half an hour, speaking to each other, keeping silence,
watching the black remnants of the houses.

Then he, who brought me there, stood still:
“look at me, look me right in the eyes.”

When I looked I did not see him but a bird:
his wings more black than the charcoaled rests
around us,
his eyes more red than the devastating fire.

Yet his mouth spoke.
And the words he spoke were my words
and the wings which were black were my black
wings
and the eyes staring at me were my eyes,
but the fire in his eyes was not my fire.

II

Intermezzo

Daring to live in eyes
red, even the yellowest
blacker than white
four times
once more the last
come
just go now

daring to believe in eyes floating
in eyes
come
just go with me now

no, not the last, oh no, not the last
daring to look
the wings broken
sacks full of rain
painting rain
sacks full of wet halfheavy nomore
let us look
come, let us look at sacks full of rain
with wet halfheavy nomore

yet starting to florish again
just getting up again as the first one
living again pure like rain
giving still more, still more
or…………………..
come go with me now.

III

Apotheosis

In your eyes only
is hidden
what awakes me

the year passes away
and each thing is dreamed up

remembrance remains
and waits
unpronounceable

sublimity accuses me
and puts me down
full of madness
I perpetrate time and again
the sweet deeds
that torment me
until today

audacity
I praise you

thinner than threads I draw
divides
what binds me
dreamed up I pass away
in another time
fulfilled I split.
 
 

Anthonie Sas

This too

this too would be there
and yet more
much more
but the water is full
and the floating drops
tremble in the light
along veiled roads
dead stories
are coming
and behind each new face
she hides the dead face
 
 

Anthonie Sas

The summer

The summer lies like shackled music
waiting
until the sun
metallic sky and wind
and sea of source and deserted
end
goes down amidst me and my
singing

I do not wish for more than this
the joy of life
the wild passion
and the song meant for her
are dead
I lie subdued and stare
at stones
that laugh slithery glistering
in the sun

only once I shall leave me alive
and further than the extremest sound
disappear
in the light
that white and yawning
surrounds the words of my voice.
 
 

Anthonie Sas

Yield to Stroller

Fedex

My son Jiro loves city buses and any bus-like vehicle. When we stop at an intersection to cross the street, he kicks his arms and legs from his stroller and yelps in delight at a Fedex truck. Its driver waves back and holds up traffic to let us cross. When a cab behind him honks in protest, the truck driver leans out his window, “yo! it’s a f*cking baby.”
 
 
BBB

On our daily coffee run I hurry across the street with the stroller, crossing in front of a cyclist who has to slow down. He turns his head as he passes and I prepare to be scolded for jaywalking with a child.

“Babies before bikes,” he says with a smile and rides on.
 
 
Red Socks

On vacation in San Francisco, we push Jiro up and down the hilly streets. A laid-back California guy stops his car and calls out, “A man with red socks always has the right of way.”

 

Kerry D. Martin