Omri Kadim

Sometime Too Natural Shapes
 

Four vultures sit in silent conference

It’s been observed they will not land

To pick clean

A carcass whose blood was let

In the shape of a spiral.

We should follow their example,

Being scavengers.

 

Constellations of Necessity
 

As children

We mapped the stars with peerless confidence

Charting elephants, turtles

And long-tailed snarling dragons

 

I’ve found, living in the city

I can do this with the lit squares of dim office spaces

Though the animals I conjure

Are altogether less inspired

 

But There are Dragons in this City

I may even be a part of someone else’s

I keep the lights turned bright for them

In hopes I’ll be its eye

 

Omri Kadim

Omri Kadim was born in London and has since lived in Paris, Tel Aviv, Athens, Vienna and New York. He writes both poetry and dramatic works, with several plays having been produced in New York and a recent short film he co-wrote having been accepted into the Cannes Short Film Corner 2016. His poems follow Pound’s dictum, “Fundamental accuracy of statement is the sole morality of writing’ and thus are often Spartan in their composition.

Cage

Here, this darker map of sand. Piss

and otherwise. There, your steel bowls—

water and dry food. The tarp

blocks the sun’s worst,

 

but you keep to the shadows

of your house. You’re a brooder—

no pacing, no bark, bite indeterminate.

From dark oblong of doorway,

 

yellow eyes give away nothing.

Sometimes you emerge, pad across

cage to watch the children

howling and wild. No tail wag,

 

no expectation, perhaps a longing

forgotten. Shepherd, pastor alemán.

Your master whistles past,

garden artichokes, sheets fresh off the line,

 

passes two fingers through links

for a quick scratch of forehead

and thick fur. From the balcony

of the ancient farmhouse, between

 

hills a tease of glowing sea,

blue promise. You can’t see that from

here, where days are numbered.

 

Gaylord Brewer

Gaylord Brewer is a professor at Middle Tennessee State University, where he founded and for more than 20 years edited the journal Poems & Plays. His most recent book is the cookbook-memoir The Poet’s Guide to Food, Drink, & Desire (Stephen F. Austin, 2015). His tenth collection of poetry, The Feral Condition, is forthcoming from Negative Capability Press.

Train at Night in the Desert

Georgia O’Keefe, 1916

 

Georgia, it’s been one hundred years

since you stood in the dark Texas dawn

and marveled at the multicolored haze

clouding toward you down the track.

You thought the rest of your life

would unspool from Canyon, Texas.

You wrote Alfred Stieglitz that you saw

the train, thought of him, and blazed.

You had never even been to New Mexico.

I think of you, so young out on the stark

gray sand, the oncoming train glittering

alive and black, its light fixed upon you

like a sun, like an eye

seeing what no one else can see.

 

Amie Sharp

Amie Sharp’s poems have appeared in Atticus Review, Badlands, the Bellevue Literary Review, New Plains Review, and Tar River Poetry, among others. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and her manuscript Flare was a semifinalist for the Crab Orchard First Book Award. She lives in Colorado.

Karla Linn Merrifield

Mind Double

 

DNA is my totem pole, I shall not want.

It leadeth me to lie down amid terrapins at low tide:

It leadeth me beside coiled anacondas.

It restoreth my limbic brain:

It leadeth me on the tao of evolution for no one’s sake.

 

Yea, though I walk through the herpetological vestiges

of primal fear, I will fear no amphibian or reptile,

for thou, deoxyribonucleic acid, are within me.

The helices of thy spiral of immanence guide me.

Thou preparest a swampscape in the presence

of my kindred spirits; thou anointest my mind

with imagery; imagination runneth over.

 

Surely turtles and tortoises shall follow me all

the dreams of human life, and I will dwell

in the burrow of oroboros forever.

 

Six Mile Cypress Slough après Howard Hodgkin

 

This is a poem in black and white

like a black-and-white warbler

in the black-and-white of midday

sun spots and spotting shadows

of wax myrtle sweet bay red maple

bald cypress in green stillness

 

this is a poem turning the greens

of spring in the slough into strap-fern

green green of alligator flag green of water

hyacinth in algae-green water swamp-lettuce

green green of my envy for the green camouflage

of an orb-weaver’s web empty of spider and prey

 

this poem swerves into the red

eye of ibis red eye of black-crowned

night heron red in the voice of cardinals

red on the marginal scutes and carapace

of turtles heating up with the day

red my blood red my blood red blood

 

                        for Colleen North

 

 

Karla Linn Merrifield 

Karla Linn Merrifield, a nine-time Pushcart-Prize nominee and National Park Artist-in-Residence, has had 600+ poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has 12 books to her credit, the newest of which is Bunchberries, More Poems of Canada, a sequel to Godwit: Poems of Canada (FootHills), which received the Eiseman Award for Poetry. She is assistant editor and poetry book reviewer for The Centrifugal Eye (based in Vancouver, BC), a member of Just Poets (Rochester, NY), the Florida State Poetry Society, and The Author’s Guild. She is currently at work on three manuscripts and seeking a home for The Comfort of Commas, a quirky chapbook that pays tribute to punctuation. Visit her woefully outdated, soon-to-be-resurrected blog, Vagabond Poet, at http://karlalinn.blogspot.com.

Resurrection

die

just once

while you are still breathing

here

this moment

where your skin is submerged

and there is nothing to be

owned

bought

lost

or gained

now

omnipotence

holding highest joy

and utter despair

one

without preference

stop

everything and

notice the flow of your life

continues without

pushing and pulling

perhaps in spite of it

die

and wake

to taste your exquisite life

 

Matthew Mumber

Matthew Mumber MD is a practicing, board certified radiation oncologist with the Harbin Clinic in Rome, Georgia. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Virginia and completed his radiation oncology residency at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine. He graduated from the 2002 Associate Fellowship Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona and is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Living School for Action and Contemplation through the Rohr Institute. Matt founded Cancer Navigators Inc. in 2002, a 501c3 corporation which provides nurse, education and service navigation for those touched by cancer. He continues to facilitate residential retreats and groups for cancer patients and physicians. Matt took poetry writing classes under Debra Nystrom while at UVA and has continued to write, and just recently has begun to seek publication of his poems. He has published two health and wellness books.

Lowell Jaeger, Featured Author

Sugar-White Beaches

Such a never-ending winter, these months

of snow and ice and gloom.  We’ve lost

long hours again today, pushing back

last night’s leaden blanket of wet white,

mounding piles shoulder-high, towering

till they avalanche as if to mock our labors.

The wind whips our cheekbones red

and wet and raw, my wife and I,

our shovels lufting slush, lungs puffing

huffs and grunts . . . when, within a waking dream,

she says, That sugar-white beach

in Isla Mujeres, remember? I nod,

a touch of warmth, a blush, floods over me,

a smile.  Side-by-side we replay these memories,

wordlessly, relishing not just the mind’s rescue

but something bone-deep having bubbled up

like steaming waters from the earth’s core.

And I remember, as a kid, that same sensation,

a resurrection out of the depths of near hopelessness,

our schoolyard in late March beginning to thaw.

One brown patch of lawn opened where snows had receded,

and we gathered there all recess, huddled in awe.

 

The Bubbles

Jet-lagged, we snugged the covers over our ears

to muffle las campanas de la catedral, tolling.

Stepped into the midday sun, blinded by how far

the day had progressed without us.  Hungry

enough to settle for a vendor’s cart menu,

plastic tables and worn umbrellas, across from the plaza

where someone had switched on

fountains of spray hissing skyward and falling,

sizzling on the hot streets like rain.

Not a fountain, really, but jets

or nozzles embedded in the cobbles and brickwork,

firing at random for the simple screams

of barefoot niňos dashing to soak

their camisetas y pantelones for the joy of what

dazzle might rise on a Sunday afternoon.

And did I mention the children blowing bubbles?

Not blowing them, really, but throwing them

from homemade coat-hanger wands dipped

in pails of sudsy dish soap.  Huge soap balloons

taking shape as the children twirled and laughed.

Families cheering the bubbles as each rose toward the sun,

undulating liquid rainbows.  Kaleidoscopic rainbows!

As my wife and I held hands across the table,

glad to be in love amidst the bustle,

this world’s wondrous and baffling extravagance,

thousands of miles from home.

Three Cathedrals

Our strategy for this day: don’t waste it

roaming the cobbles in the aimless manner

we’d diddled away the hours yesterday —

my customary druthers when accustoming myself

to a foreign locale.  I like to simply set out walking,

let each new intersection dictate which way to go.

But this day at breakfast, a sunlit street-side café,

you opened the guidebook and made plans.  We’d locate

the burial site of the young peasant, a revolutionary.  The one

who gave his life — or so the story alleges —

not for his flag, but for the welfare of his wife and children.

You passed the map across the table, without speaking,

and pointed to our destination, tapping gently with one finger

on the exact coordinates of your chosen goal.

All morning we searched street names, asking directions,

straining to comprehend a few words of a language

not our own, charging this way and that,

until past noon we stopped for a glass of wine,

conceding we were lost.  Something between us,

lost.  I couldn’t guess what it was.  Except that our son

and daughters were grown and gone.  And when we rose

to go again, we had nowhere particular in mind, meandering

across the plaza, stepping recklessly through traffic,

lured by cathedral doors thrown wide.

In the darkness inside, I studied the carved-wood altar.

Someone might have mistaken my mumbling as a prayer.

You lit a votive and set it reverently beside dozens

of strangers’ wishes flaming.  Three cathedrals

we explored that afternoon — their spires rising on the skyline,

easy to find.  This day I now recall in its vaulted ceilings.

And a sadness in you, hushed at depths I’d scarcely divined.

You, slipping pesos into the slotted donation box.  You,

igniting brightness.  I’d give my life for you

and the children, I thought.  You, your face aglow

amidst a thousand flickering shadows.

I’d never loved you more.

We’d Planned

to pull the blinds,

uncork champagne,

jitterbug naked

— your mother and I —

inside the empty nest.

You slammed the hatch

on your Subaru, its bursting load

of fantasies and mysteries boxed,

pillowcases stuffed

with plush bears.

Smiled, waved, honked,

and sped away.  Our last,

at last

college-bound.

We stood at the window

— your mother and I —

and breathed silence.

She simmered a Mexican stew

later that afternoon, which

side-by-side across from your place

at the table, we sipped

spoon by spoon.

Lowell Jaeger

Lowell Jaeger (Montana Poet Laureate 2017-2019) is founding editor of Many Voices Press, author of seven collections of poems, recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Montana Arts Council, and winner of the Grolier Poetry Peace Prize. Most recently Jaeger was awarded the Montana Governor’s Humanities Award for his work in promoting thoughtful civic discourse.

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