Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY is on hiatus until December 3, 2021

Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY is going on a month’s hiatus and is CLOSED to submissions until December 3, 2021. Thank you for your patience this year with my many closures. It’s been one of those years.

Despite the many closures, this year was still the best one for brilliant poems and number of views/visits in Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY’s history, stretching back to 2006 (the previous iteration of this poetry journal). Views averaged 5000-7500 per month, with 2500 unique visitors per month. So far this year, Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY has had 44.5K views and 18.2K visitors, topping out the previous best year of 2016’s 42.8K views and 14.8K visitors.

Thank you so much for your support. I truly believe 2022 will be even better!

About Angels by Christine Klocek-Lim

About Angels

If I’d had my way, I wouldn’t have been born so
female. So human. Instead, I’d have emerged
from the world with wings lifting out
behind me like armor, each feather sharp
as confidence. Bright as conviction.
I would not have had to fight for my right to be
smart. To be certain. To be stubborn. To be choosy.
To be alive.

Angels exist as if there are no boundaries.
There are no gates along their ocean. No waves jailed
against their shores. There are no trees maimed
before all their leaves have reached the sky.
No branches broken in a violent wind.
No storms strike them down for speaking
too loud, too much, too fast. They haven’t fallen,
because they are already higher than the atmosphere.
Dirt can’t touch them. Dirt is unimportant.
They are not stupid, not mercurial, not difficult,
not hysterical, not invisible.

Angels do not hate themselves.
They don’t regret their past, or their hunger,
or their tomorrow.
They don’t wish upon a star.
The stars are their playthings.
Their playground is bigger than the world.
Bigger than the galaxy. Their universe is infinite.
Had I been born in a different universe I wouldn’t have been
lost. I wouldn’t be at war. I wouldn’t crave armor or wings
or stories about angels. I wouldn’t need permission
to be anything at all.

by Christine Klocek-Lim.

Editor’s Note: As an editor, I feel it’s important to avoid indiscriminate self-publishing, but on one day a year, perhaps you will forgive me (yes, it’s my birthday).

From the archives – No Place Like by Laurel K. Dodge

No Place Like

Don’t say that my heart is the moon;
you aren’t the earth and my love is not a distant

satellite, pulled. My heart isn’t that sharp curve,
a scythe that rises only under cover of darkness.

My heart is not that hole when the moon
is new and its light, absent. My heart is not full;

it does not call to wolves or signal harvest.
My heart is a witch. My heart is a dog

My heart is a brick. My heart is a tornado,
a wind spinning back on itself. My heart can tear

a house apart. Don’t you get it? My love is oil
and straw. My love is a fear-filled roar. My love

is the red field that lulls. My love is heels. My love
is the road. My love is the impossible journey home.

from Autumn Sky Poetry Number 4, March 2007— by Laurel K. Dodge

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

Pushcart 2021 Nominations

Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY is delighted to announce the following poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2021:

Kabul by Greg Watson

Love Under Threat of Cancer by Larina Warnock

Sheena’s Sestina by Jake Sauls

Drowning Stroke by Ciaran Parkes

Boats Sailing in Uncharted Territory by Martin Willitts Jr.

When My Mother Forgets the Word for Dahlia by Robin Turner

My Wife’s Back by Sydney Lea

My Wife’s Back

All naked but for a strap, it traps my gaze
As we paddle: the dear familiar nubs
Of spine-bone punctuating that sun-warmed swath,

The slender muscles that trouble the same sweet surface.
We’ve watched and smiled as green herons flushed
And hopped ahead at every bend, and we’ve looked up

At a redtail tracing open script on a sky
So clear and deep we might believe
It’s autumn, no matter it’s August still. Another fall

Will be on us before we know it. Of course we adore
That commotion of color, but it seems to come
Again as soon as it’s gone away. They all do now.

We’re neither young anymore, to put matters plainly.
My love for you over thirty years
Extends in all directions, but now to your back as we drift

And paddle down the tranquil Connecticut River.
We’ve seen a mink scratch fleas on a mudflat.
We’ve seen an osprey start to dive but seeing us,

Think better of it. Two phoebes wagged on an ash limb.
Your torso is long. I can’t see your legs
But they’re longer, I know. Phoebe, osprey, heron, hawk:

Marvels under Black Mountain, but I am fixed
On your back, indifferent to other wonders:
Bright minnows that flared in the shallows,

the gleam off that poor mink’s coat,
even the fleas in its fur, the various birds
–the lust of creatures just to survive.

But I watch your back. Never have I wished more not to die.

by Sydney Lea

Editor’s Note: The sharp longing of the last line focuses the clear imagery of this poem into a difficult realization that any reader who loves and has loved will understand.

A Day Mirrors Itself by Martin Willitts Jr.

A Day Mirrors Itself

1.

It is exactly one minute after midnight; a new day
crawls out the last day like a snail pulling darkness,
after leaving its shell. The town rolls up
sidewalks, the streetlights yawn, fighting sleep,
and the curious dandruff of snow filters the stilled,
patient air. Everyone fidgets with cabin fever.
At eleven, a teenager races to beat curfew.
I sit in a dark room, developing daily snapshots, rising
out of printer’s emulsion of memory. Snow cakewalks
in its finest attire. The music of silence falls on bare branches
like a waitress tips of a few pennies. The clock drags its feet.
Sleep eludes me. Silence teaches me about listening,
and I am a terrible student. Although it feels like an hour,
it is still the same minute of stillness and intention to detail.

2.

It is still the same minute of stillness and intention to detail,
and I am a terrible student. Although it feels like an hour,
sleep eludes me. Silence teaches me about listening,
like a waitress tips of a few pennies. The clock drags its feet
in its finest attire. The music of silence falls on bare branches
out of printer’s emulsion of memory. Snow cakewalks.
I sit in a dark room, developing daily snapshots, rising
at eleven. A teenager races to beat curfew.
Patient air. Everyone fidgets with cabin fever,
and the curious dandruff of snow filters the stilled
sidewalks. The streetlights yawn, fighting sleep,
after leaving its shell. The town rolls up,
crawls out the last day like a snail pulling darkness.
It is exactly one minute after midnight; a new day.

by Martin Willitts Jr.

Martin on Facebook

Editor’s Note: Beautiful imagery drives the repetition in this poem, offering the reader subtly different views of the speaker’s life.

Name by Mir Yashar Seyedbagheri

Name

I slink through stores
and the narrowest of country roads
my name butchered and battered
carried upon my back
they ask from whence it comes
in starched smiling tones

but what do they mean?

sometimes, I proclaim myself tsar
an imperial majesty to my name
and I imagine the questioners genuflecting
each bow graceful and easy
while Tchaikovsky booms with bombast
over vast marbled floors

they say they’re just curious
it’s so exotic, a name they’ve never heard
am I an Arab? A Greek? An Israeli?
I smile while they guess and try to look beneath their words
is there a grimace there, while they butcher it again?
or am I just imagining?

Of course, they blow up and shoot tsars
but I just want to hold onto that word for a night
or two
tsar, a sharp edge
and speak not of questions or laws, but of edicts, orders
striding not slinking, a beatific smile rising from neat-trimmed beard

I want to speak that word one last time
before I slink down another country road
questioners battering my name

I want to waltz one last waltz
before my back breaks

by Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri

Editor’s Note: The “exotic” name in this narrative poem is an excellent metaphor for racism, highlighting the inescapable frustration and emotional burden the speaker feels.

Bewildered by Susan McLean

Bewildered

The lilacs are confused. They don’t remember:
has winter come and gone now? No, a drought
has crisped their leaves like piecrust. Some, in doubt,
hold out flambeaux of blossom in September.

Their swoony fragrance pierces like remorse.
Did we not let them frizzle in the sun?
And now they’ve come deliriously undone,
throwing bouquets out as a last recourse.

The bees, too, seem bedazzled. A fall swarm
has settled on our pine. To leave their hive
this late means they’re unlikely to survive
the winter. Hurriedly, while it’s still warm,

we call a beekeeper, who nabs their queen
and lures them to a nucleus box. He’ll bring
it home and feed them sugar till next spring.
They’d die if someone didn’t intervene.

And us? The patterns change and we’re dismayed.
As glaciers melt, lakes dry, and species die,
we flinch and look away from reasons why,
trapped in a minefield we ourselves have laid.

by Susan McLean

Editor’s Note: This poem is an interesting blend of beautiful imagery and sonics and grim narrative. It’s odd how humans can create such beauty amidst destruction.

Revenant Etudes by Stephen Bunch

Revenant Etudes

She plays piano in an upper room
in the only unhaunted house in town.
Her calloused fingertips caress
the flats and sharps, the keys
like knife blades arrayed before her,
the dried blood long worn off
by hours of arpeggios, staccatos, and trills.

Sometimes she sings, but usually
she listens, mimics with fingers spread
the sound of the oak’s shadow pressing
the window, or the soft turning
of her husband in sleep.

As she plays she works
to see stars through the ceiling,
to reproduce the faces
of her grandchildren behind
the walls of other houses
in other towns, to hit

the note exactly
as the telephone rings,

and when it doesn’t ring, to pause
precisely and sustain.

With hands crossed, she can make
the sun rise, again and again,
never the same, panta rhei,
with the soft hammering of thumbs,
the interval between then and now.
In the angle of her wrists
the pulse of an ovation,
but she continues to play,
refusing to take a bow.

by Stephen Bunch

Editor’s Note: This poem highlights that moment all artists crave—zen, flow, being in the zone—while also delicately speaking of the danger of its call.

From the archives – Details by Ayesha Chatterjee

Details

I have lost you in the clutter
of such ordinary things: bones
picked clean, piled neatly
in the November sun,
pennies recounted like thoughts
on the kitchen counter,
the flutter of electric bulbs
across continents.

I can recall the exact
colour of your eyes, the taste
of your breath, the lope of your stride
and feel my heart
beat whole and strong and separate
as though you never were.

from Autumn Sky Poetry Number 2, September 2006— by Ayesha Chatterjee

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim