Fig Tree, by Michael Lee Johnson
Fig tree, fruit to all those
come and gone,
stare down your branches
with your human eyes:
God give us this day;
our distressed fathers,
children chatter on sidewalks,
In the forest, construction men
cut the wood, make naked landscapes:
strong men, strong lives.
We all stop to contemplate
Michael Lee Johnson is a poet and freelance writer from Itasca, Illinois. He is heavy influenced by: Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Irving Layton, Leonard Cohen, and Allen Ginsberg. His new poetry chapbook with pictures, titled From Which Place the Morning Rises, and his new photo version of The Lost American: from Exile to Freedom are available at: http://stores.lulu.com/promomanusa. The original version of The Lost American: from Exile to Freedom, can be found at: http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?isbn=0-595-46091-7. He also has 2 previous chapbooks available at: http://stores.lulu.com/poetryboy.
Michael has been published in over 23 countries. He is also editor/publisher of four poetry sites, all open for submission, which can be found at his Web site: http://poetryman.mysite.com.
Spotlight, by William Harfosh
Your trail bridged
Properly manicured, set up for prosper
A path to glory
Free from horror thoughts
That water boarded your mind
Now, free to live out days
In modest movement
Happily itching for another morning
Lead to talk
That leads to complacency
Check your silly ideas at the great divide
Sick sunken dreams
First and foremost
One must have experiences
That lead to observation
That finally becomes reflection
Reverse learned behavior
The joker spotlight
On you now
Bones, by Jackson Frenot
In a barren battlefield not too far away, scaly pieces of shrapnel lie embedded
in bones, while half dead dripping marrow oozes out like
the wintry sap. The carcass though cannot be found. Flies and vultures
had their fill that evening.
Binoculars exposed this strange occurrence to me.
I, perched above in my lair, suspended from the trees like a
I, immersed in the view, the now brittle bones became extensions of
me. Rotted, decayed, and smelling of a fiery death were
the morsels that remained.
The air had become stale and night had fallen. And one could sense the presence of evil accompanying
like Abel's brother. I resigned my head in melancholy, while bucolic
notions of peace washed over my demeanor as I prayed.
The winds picked up under the heavy burden of the full moon,
carrying with it the sands and leaves of dried seas and trees.
It was on omen that the mission had been carried through.
But in the morning there would be more. More bones, more marrow,
more teeth. More mute quivering spectacles to behold. Each at the eternal price
of a brazen soul.
Searching for Meaning in the Darkness of Night, by Jason Ford
In the darkness of this night,
I see two images of me
which clash like weapons which strike
without any kind of warning.
As I see the image of me which
claims to be a conqueror of creatures,
a part of me turns away from this form
of pride while another image that is
barely recognizable calls out to me.
“Who am I? Where am I?”
These questions are recurring in my mind
until a dark mist settles over my vision
as I try to find meaning in my life
with eyes that can barely see this world
and where I could belong within it.
Untitled poem, by Simon Perchik
A single charm and the air
slows though what you breathe in
is clustered with stones
falling into stones - even here
you use the ruined
to anchor between one miracle
and another - shoulder to shoulder
with no place to go these graves
are opened for stars
half coming back, half
the way your breath covers the dirt
takes hold and lifts from under.
Untitled poem, by Simon Perchik
Dragging one leg you dust
the way sunlight changes colors
once it touches down and this rag
spreading out along the limp
that carries you away
wiping off weeds, winds
and those webs spiders are taught
to listen with just their shadow
for distances -you smother
as if one death would point
where the others let you
and cover the Earth
with mouths that never close
though you tug, taking root
in wobble, losing hold
strutting into these corners
pulled by a closeness
that is not dirt or moving.
Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review,
The New Yorker, and elsewhere. For more information, including his essay
“Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” and a complete bibliography, please
visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.
Scherzando Passage, by Sy Roth
A scherzando passage,
lively, playful piece, made of soaring hawks
swooping and diving on the wind.
It lifts, presses and pushes them in an air ballet.
It paints a hawk’s darkening eyes,
chases a frightened field mouse
that plies to the scherzandos
hearing the winged feathers tsking in the wind above.
Winged baton glides gleefully downward.
Fair warning of morbidity,
it skitters from one a hidey-hole to another.
The field mouse squeaks flutishly.
The conductor waves his hawkish arms
undulates playfully through the air,
an arousing crescendo to an anticipatory quarter-note hush.
The hawk, a tenor bassoon, playfully sated.
Chasing Rainbows Made of Lead, by A. J. Huffman
There is no light in my mind. Nothing
moves me. I wander absently through tunnels
of half-formed thoughts. Broken
is the echo of my footsteps. I stumble
around puddles of ink. Like blood,
it stains my palms. But impressions on nothing.
I scrape my knuckles against the sky.
But it is dry. Or they are. And I am
numb to the s[t]inging of silver. Lined clouds
hide from my eyes. Those dreams
are for sissies. I require a different spark.
I click my heels and wait for the crash.
Three times lightening equals surrender.
(Or silence.) Slumber is the real quest. Maybe
tomorrow I will fall.
A.J. Huffman is a poet and freelance writer in Daytona Beach, Florida. She has previously published six collections of poetry all available on Amazon.com. She has also published her work in numerous national and international literary journals. Most recently, she has accepted the position as editor for four online poetry journals for
Kind of a Hurricane Press. Find more about A.J. Huffman, including additional information and links to her work at Facebook
The Griffin, by Thomas Piekarski
If you collected the teeth of all the people
who have made this planet home,
piled them into a mountain as high
as the naked eye could see; and if you
chopped down a thousand cherry trees,
hosed the driveway, and told your child
a bedtime story every night, only then
would you be prepared to face
the hoary griffin who appears
from under your bed
exhaling lightning flames into thin air.
As the griffin sprayed those flames
the air would ossify--you’d breathe
volcanic dust and intererstellar debris.
You might be frightened by this,
but never mind the everlasting abyss
for the griffin would only be visiting,
with no intention of dragging you
as a panther does its prey
way down to where
Zombies prance on Mothers Day.
So just as well you’d give in to grace,
and reward with a handshake
the toothless griffin then growling
in your bowels like a bulldog.
Alternating currents would surf
as the griffin fed on your innards.
The nutrients there could last it eons:
so many neutrons and quarks to eat.
You could harbor him there forever--
the griffin in no hurry to leave.
It forages in the gardens of imaginings
that once manifested are as boundless
as tales of swashbuckling Arabian Knights.
It would take the most futuristic sky pilot
to reach the fringes of the griffin’s grief,
which is gain. And not even the sky pilot
could ride the waves of dark matter
far and long enough to touch
the face of the griffin’s grisly flame.
Thomas Piekarski is a former editor of the California State Poetry Quarterly. His theater and restaurant reviews have been published in various newspapers, with poetry and interviews appearing in numerous national journals, among them Portland Review, Kestrel, Cream City Review, Nimrod, New Plains Review, Poetry Quarterly, and Clockhouse Review. He has published a travel guide, Best Choices in Northern California (Gable & Gray), and Time Lines (Nimbus Press), a book of poems. He works as a fine art salesman in Carmel-By-The-Sea, California.