The two small peach trees out back
Are dressed with a thickness sprayed green
And their limbs bountiful weighed with fruit
So they seem to be like weary mothers, overlong for birth
Making a path ponderously through the yard,
Waddling in their fat, glorious splendor,
As we, animated dancing fools
Celebrate the coming harvest.
So richly blessed with bushels, we laugh
While their overload, sighing, breaks branches.
Limbs worn weary, sigh again,
Will this be done with soon?
Properly done, excess fruit should be shorn
Early delight of twelve billion buds overwhelmed us
No farmer’s wisdom nor books of bloom graced our yard
Enthused delusions let them grow. Unruly child. With abandon.
A Collaboration From Reka Jellema
Valedicition Without Central Metaphor
You were my coup de foudre, my love at first sight.
In French, this means stroke of lightning—electricity
running through my stunned body from crown to sole.
Love, you were blind. From birth, your eye muscles
twitched, your deep nearsightedness strained beyond
correction—much less cure--by any surgery or lens.
Congenital vertical nystagmus—life sentence
to magnified text, to voice synth, to print pressed
close to your gorgeous face. A petal between pages
I shut to keep blooming somehow. A wing’s shadow.
All the sad songs that make blindness a metaphor
for failure, unperceived fortune, letting me/you go,
I must redact, skipping at that phrase—scratched
record, heart’s needle jumping and moving on. Love,
I tried to say goodbye without leaving, but no--
the radiance of your presence receded from my flesh.
Once we walked hand in hand, pressure of small
fingers on sinuous palm affectionate and directional.
I cherished everything about you—your monocular
scanning street signs, a steampunk periscope. The cane
you hated, albino spider crouched folded by the wall.
Love, oh careless love—the quiver of your mood-ring eyes,
darkening to blue, drew me to your sky, both canopy
and ground for coupling. Shaken by the foreplay of desire.
Read the poetry of Angele Ellis
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My little round sleepers with
lots of coats on, mud huggers
with a tribal bottom
perfectly lined up at the
bus stop of spring, soft under
the cold loam, a miracle
despite the banality of hidden
numbers; time to drink tea as
I wait in a cooling garden
old is the smell of lavender,
washed faces, the dust brown
of waxed furniture, bouquets
of veined hands that hide pearls
in indian boxes, alongside cameras
that fled across years, heavy-eyed
then there is you, the way you change,
you are half of these years, not just
the ebb, but a wave never slight
Read the poetry of Leslie Philibert
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Worlds Within a World
Asleep on the subway steps
With her tattered heart
And broken spirit
Token dish with a few carelessly tossed offerings
Who were you in the other world
Before you crashed and burned in this one?
Remnants of your hippie past
To which you cling so desperately
Love bead longings
No longer relevant for anyone
Plugged into your music
While the rest of the city
But you don’t care
It’s all about your own beat
Conference call chic
With boardroom blues
Can you pencil in a moment from your
Long enough to notice anyone else?
Honky tonk cowboy
With a guitar on your back
The concrete jungle
Seems a long way
From your home-on-the-range life
Ivy league wishes
With elitist strides
Of dissertation dilemma
And classroom confusion
They are us
And we are them
Each of us living in our own worlds
While trying to get by in this one
Read the poetry of Jill Lapin-Zell
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Never since has a scent been as strong
wild roses in front of the cottage
the sea’s salt breath
on the petals
my mother’s complexion
her suntan lotion
& I without knowing it then
was opening like a rose
like mother’s mouth
when she said good morning
like the sea when it revealed
the shadow of a fish
that there was besides my flesh
that asked me to travel it
with gentleness and caring
to honour it with my eyes
then much later
Read the poetry of Mark Gordon
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The Dying Delta
After a Southern dream
of a young woman in a white dress
sprinting across the lawn of an antebellum mansion,
chased by some bearded guy with a gun
waving the flag of the great disorder,
I get down to sadness in a cypress swamp.
Landscapes suffer and who knows a delta's needs,
a blue sky in brown water,
a marshland getting by on luck
and the dutiful splendor of the merest forms of life.
In sweaty khakis and heavy boots,
I trudge through the swill clouds of a lowly heaven
where egrets are angels
and the alligator is god.
Time to pray, I'm thinking. Time to pray.
There are laws of nature
that are not themselves anymore.
Yet their small print holds me up
though knowing it's the likes of me
who made them what they are -
shrinking waters, ghost trees,
decaying mangroves and a vanishing frog.
Your killers once ordered slaves into the fields
to the great whip of heat
and called them songbirds.
That's how they abandon their true history.
Now you are nothing but the lie behind the legend -
an estuary of a once mighty river,
a waif abandoned to the homes and highways,
and we all know what charity that brings.
Read the poetry of John Grey
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Ode to the Outlaw
~ “Where have you gone my…”
Blessed be the outlaw the
Lone man lost, but
Found on mountains too
Wild, too free
To be tamed. This outlaw
This wild man wild
Like winds that blow
Through trees that cannot
Be found… somewhere, lost,
On the sides of distant
Wanderer, this cowboy
Of plains and places
That cannot be found on
Any maps. Where the
Hawk sits. Where the stream falls
Down from snows that tumble
Down from skies which were dark once,
So long ago. This wanderer, this
Outlaw of songs that whisper
Through pines and that knock
On doors in mountain towns but
Once answered… once answered the
Door opens to aspen songs and
Freedom and winds that crest the
Hills and fall back to words sung once
So long ago… so long
Ago that I think of a man
Straightening a picture once and
Gazing back, gazing back with
Wild eyes of plains and mountains and
Nights spent by open fires beneath open
Stars that smelled of…
Such sublime, sweet,
Read the poetry of matthew Henningsen
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