Too Late?

Albert     did you really say

science without religion is lame

 

Did you repose under constellations

hour-less nights     no calculations     no formulas

knowing infinity lives in cosmic sparkle     hoping

to stir eons of wonderment

 

When in deep contemplation     did a welling-up

ferry you into timeless paradise     priests call heaven

 

I ask you if this sacramental suspension

could be a black hole     final grave     consuming us

 

Tonight      blackness swallows me

 

Imbibed by inky abyss     turned inside out

reshaped     silent

 

I wonder of my finality    earth’s extinction

the fate of pondering

 

When you reveled under constellations

hour-less nights     did you implore God

that this luxury      not be something

time forced you leave behind

 

Did you write a verse     incant an intercession

invite tempus fugit back     over and over?

 

 

Conversation with Albert Einstein

 

Marianne Lyon

Marianne has been a music teacher for 43 years. After teaching in Hong Kong, she returned to the Napa Valley and has been published in various literary magazines and reviews including Ravens Perch, TWJM Magazine, Earth Daughters and Indiana Voice Journal. She was nominated for the Pushcart prize in 2017. She is a member of the California Writers Club and an Adjunct Professor at Touro University in California.

Nonagenarian+ Role Model Not Racked With Concerns

Dearest Friends,

I wanted to inform you of the cats and my disposition to move from San Francisco to Palm Springs in about three weeks, living out remaining time in an easier quieter environment.

Serving on non-profit boards plus having a half-century’s active social scene has just become more than we can handle.

I’ll try to adapt to a different existence, and hope to stay in touch with everybody — but I do ask that you be patient, not push too hard – there will be a lot to adjust to plus everything takes extra time at this stage of the game.

I plan on maintaining current email address/ mobile number, will advise you of new home address/ local landline number once have settled in hopefully beginning of March.

I’m so very grateful to have wonderful chums who shower me with love along with support.

Much as I would like to see everyone prior to leaving, it’s impossible. Your understanding is appreciated.

Escape the cold, come to visit next winter during the desert’s wildflower blooming as well as January’s Film Festival if not sooner!

Particularly with my life’s partner passed, I’m missing each of you already.

Gerard Sarnat

Gerard Sarnat won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, and has been nominated for a handful of recent Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards. Gerry is widely published in academic-related journals (e.g., University Chicago, Stanford, Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Harvard, Pomona, Johns Hopkins, Wesleyan, University of San Francisco) plus national (e.g., Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, MiPOesias, American Journal Of Poetry, Clementine, pamplemousse, Deluge, Poetry Quarterly, Hypnopomp, Free State Review, Poetry Circle, Poets And War, Cliterature, Qommunicate, Indolent Books, Pandemonium Press, Texas Review, San Antonio Review, Brooklyn Review, San Francisco Magazine, The Los Angeles Review and The New York Times) and international publications (e.g., Review Berlin and New Ulster). He’s authored the collections Homeless Chronicles (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014), Melting the Ice King (2016). Gerry is a physician who’s built and staffed clinics for the marginalized as well as a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO. Currently he is devoting energy/ resources to deal with global warming. Gerry’s been married since 1969 with three kids plus six grandsons, and is looking forward to future granddaughters.

Pegasus Teaches Unicorn the Value of the Hereafter

            (Pegasus Constellation – Winged Horse)

 

You ask me the difference between Pegasi

and unicorns as embers of fire complete

burned circles four feet in front of our feet.

Our town hankers for a time

when fire and hunger were rare,

when wings or horns were inconsequential,

when hearts waltzed woozy with pixelated promise.

Now wings and horns are all we have. One fantasy

after another. Men lament their learned helplessness.

Women work to recall the struggle to overcome it.

Unicorns all glitter magic until they impale our throats

with singular horns. Shame shows itself as hemorrhage,

detectible only by internal scan. What the world

sees as magic you see as disgrace. A dearth of grace.

Our blood fertilizes our flowers, blooming toward the cloud

cover of heaven. Pegasus uplifts the dead.

Unicorn=death and death and death.

Pegasus=angel on which the soul floats into whisper.

 

Amy Strauss Friedman

Amy Strauss Friedman is the author of the poetry collection The Eggshell Skull Rule (Kelsay Books, 2018) and the chapbook Gathered Bones are Known to Wander (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2016). Amy’s poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and her work has appeared in Pleiades, Rust + Moth, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Her work can be found at amystraussfriedman.com.

Phillip Sterling

As Much to Speak of Weather

I do not write of my father because he loved me, a truth I have come to believe in for its obviousness—no less obvious that is to say than the way one speaks of rain, its beauty and betrayal. Today’s rain is preemptory, a windless gravitas:  what a speaker of political mindset might refer to as bi-partisan, claiming a democracy of garden and glass. How parental! (How paradoxical, both bound and torn asunder!) To speak of my father’s love, then, is as much to speak of weather as if weather is all there is to speak of. My father—who has since taken his words to the grave—has nonetheless left me with rain, another season’s first chill of rain.

Words Frequently Confused: Historicism, Histrionics

If you don’t know the width of the forest when you enter it, how will you know when you’re on the way out? Or do you mean to settle there, to burrow under the dry root of a defeated tree and stay, an abundance of honeybees and berries nearby, a small clear stream? Haven’t you notified the children already, sold every earthly possession, signed up online for Your Majesty’s benefit? Come on, Columbus, isn’t that the way of forests? Aren’t you lost before you know it? Aren’t you penalized half the distance to the goal?

Phillip Sterling

Phillip Sterling’s books include two poetry collections, And Then Snow and Mutual Shores, two collections of short fiction, In Which Brief Stories Are Told and Amateur Husbandry, and four chapbook-length series of poems (Significant Others, Abeyance, Quatrains, and And For All This: Poems from Isle Royale). A fifth series, Short on Days, will be released in 2020.

And Now

Quand j’étais jeune

The leaves sprang bright and

Green from every branch

Sparkling in the spring sun

 

Et maintenant

The leaves fall red, yellow

And museum blue

From each knotty limb

 

Quand j’étais jeune

Dashing like a gazelle

Across the trafficked boulevard

Catching the bus as it paused

 

Et maintenant

Waving a cane of oak

Cursing the huffing diesel

Standing behind and alone

 

Quand j’étais jeune

The femme avec les yeux

Smiled like an amused cat

Purred and waited

 

Et maintenant

Like an irritated crow

The femme squawks

And flies away

 

Quand j’étais jeune

My head was full of dreams

Et maintenant

There is only the menace of silence

 

Phillip Periman

Phillip Periman was born in 1938 in Memphis, Texas, grew up in Amarillo. He received a BA in history from Yale University and his M.D. from Washington University School of Medicine. He has had poems published by the Black Mountain Press in their anthology, “The Sixty-Four” (Best Poets of 2018) and by Unstamatic. He writes about aging, retirement, his life, and the world as he finds it—always in an attempt to acknowledge the real.

Flight

When I’d walked away

from my beloved house

the new owner called: to say

she’d found a ring

and a feather

stuck into the beam

above the bedroom:

had I forgotten?

 

She’d saved the ring

but she’d lost the feather

I told her to keep it the ring

part of the house

I had its mate

broken in three pieces

in a little tin box

one broken circle enough

 

I brought her a new feather

left it in her mailbox

a long brown feather with

a blue tip and white edges

I’d let her decide

the name of the bird

 

Kelley Jean White

Pediatrician Kelley White has worked in inner city Philadelphia and rural New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA. Her recent books are TOXIC ENVIRONMENT (Boston Poet Press) and TWO BIRDS IN FLAME (Beech River Books.) She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.

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