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
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 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.
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 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 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.
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’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.
Quand j’étais jeune
The leaves sprang bright and
Green from every branch
Sparkling in the spring sun
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
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
Like an irritated crow
The femme squawks
And flies away
Quand j’étais jeune
My head was full of dreams
There is only the menace of silence
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.
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.