Daydreaming instead of walking by Christine Klocek-Lim

Daydreaming instead of walking

The tiles feel like smooth stones beneath my feet.
And that old hall carpet has soft reeds so tired
from years of tread they barely speak.
The skin of my heels is old too,
but still somewhat working nonetheless.
It’s over fifty years now
since I learned to walk.

And the trees outside are the same.
The sky and the flowers.
I’ve learned how to feel the earth
through my toes. Sometimes the ground
moves so hard I can barely stand. Sometimes
my body doesn’t remember how to stand upright.
Sometimes I don’t quite understand
that the map won’t always lead home,
but I go out, nonetheless.

The infinite ocean feels cold. Too cold.
And the sand is hot as hell. In the deep woods,
such extremes are impossible, so I prefer
it there. I walk on moss-soft rocks when I can,
whispering to the snakes about waves
and dunes and impossible skies
they’ll never see.

But I’ve broken bones like this. Daydreaming
instead of walking. I’ve gone down into the pain
and back out again, though imperfectly.
Everything about life is like that: the tiles—
cracked and crooked, the fraying reed rug,
the startling chill of the dark forest.
The quiet moss, dew-wet and alive
over stones long dead.

This is how one goes from youth to old age—
one step into another. Repeat.
And then from old age into the next age,
where the world of souls is constructed
of trees and stones. Where the moss
is deep as an ocean and just as impenetrable.
Where the sand is warm as an old reed rug
and we can all lay down together,
give our feet a rest.

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).

Love Affairs: A Villanelle by Paul Van Peenen

Love Affairs: A Villanelle

Who among us would choose to weep?
But isn’t that precisely what we choose?
These couplings almost always end in grief.

We don’t just fall in love, we leap.
We lose our minds, our shirts, our shoes.
Who among us would choose to weep?

Blind to a fault, we’re bold as thieves.
Endorphins obfuscate, confuse.
These couplings almost always end in grief.

The cliché holds: what you sow, you reap
And like aging fruit we bruise.
Who among us would choose to weep?

Our hearts go south, we lose belief.
We repeat our vows but it’s just a ruse.
These couplings almost always end in grief.

We wipe our noses on dirty sleeves,
Blubber how we were born to lose.
Who among us would choose to weep?
These couplings almost always end in grief.

by Paul Van Peenen

Editor’s Note: The repetition of this villanelle lends itself beautifully to the question of insanity—why would anyone choose a love affair? The answer lies within the lines.

From the archives – The Ring — Christine Yurick

Borgau

We are staying in that little apartment above the pizzeria
and have been roaming the dry mountains like goats. It did not rain
for almost a month and we are both dark from all of that sun
and high from the fresh air and lazy from all of the beauty.
The waves hit the brown-orange cliff.
The sheer blue curtain billows in the wind
brushing my cheek in the room where we make love.
The waves come in and go out again.

by Christine Yurick

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, March 27, 2018

At the End of the Day and Other Poems is now available from Kelsay Books

Submission Guidelines & FAQ Recap

Dear poets, when submitting reprints, please remember to include the previous publication in your submission so that appropriate “first appeared” credit can be given. As a small journal editor, I feel it’s important to be open and inclusive toward the wider poetry community. I also enjoy introducing my readers to other poetic venues. I’ve updated my guidelines to reflect this change.

Submissions Guidelines:

1. Send ONE poem in the body of an email to autumnskypoetryeditor@gmail.com with SUBMISSION in subject heading (no cover letter).

2. Response time is one week via publication. If your poem doesn’t appear online within one week, consider it rejected.

No formal acceptance or rejection (email, paper airplane, aural hallucination) will be sent. Read Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY for one week from the date of your submission and you will find out if your poem was chosen for publication when it either does or doesn’t appear online.

3. Include links to your website, Facebook, Instagram, etc. (please, no bio).

4. Reprints and previously published poems are welcome. Please mention that your poem has been previously published and where so that proper credit can be posted with the poem.

5. Poets retain copyright. Poems remain online indefinitely.

6. Simultaneous submissions are accepted.

7. There is no payment for contributors.

8. If submitting a formal poem, please feel free to include the name of the form (sestina, sonnet, prose poem, etc.).

9. I do NOT accept art submissions. Occasionally I will solicit artwork if I’m feeling inspired.

FAQ:

1. No formal acceptance or rejection? Seriously? That’s rude!

It may be rude, but it greatly simplifies my life and makes running a daily poetry journal possible. If I had to reply to every submission I received, I’d probably lock myself in a closet and cry until I passed out. This also persuades (*cough* tricks *cough*) more readers to check out the published poetry, so really, it’s a win-win situation.

2. You published my poem but it has a typo/error/glaring hideous mistake! Why don’t you send out proofs? How do I get this fixed?

Easy: send me an email and I’ll fix it. I don’t do proofs because this is a daily and I don’t have time to do the whole sending out proofs thing and still have a life.

3. You published my poem and tagged it as free verse, but it’s actually a formal poem.

Whoops! Send me an email and I’ll re-tag the poem correctly.

4. This is supposed to be a daily, but there is no poem today? What happened?

It’s the weekend, I’m on vacation, or no good poems crossed my email desk. I won’t post a poem unless I receive something worth sharing. Occasionally, I will go on a long hiatus, too.

5. Why no cover letter? Why no bio?

Who you are doesn’t matter. If you write a great poem, I will publish it.

6. You published someone’s art and this is a poetry daily! What gives?

Every once in a while I’m going to veer to the side and publish artwork. I do not accept art submissions. However, if I happen across something beautiful, I may contact you for permission to publish your work.

7. There are typos/errors/glaring grammar mistakes on your website!

Don’t panic! Just send me an email and I’ll fix it.

8. How much does it cost to run this thing?

Around $60 USD a year for the website domain and various other things. This cost may go up as I’m using a “retired” version of software and I need to update things, probably in 2023. Submitting poems is free and will always remain free, as will reading the poetry and email subscriptions. I pay for the site and general costs via sales of my art and novels.

9. Why aren’t you paying poets for their poems?

I truly wish I could, because I firmly believe that artists should be paid for their work, but unfortunately, this is a non-profit venture and most poetry doesn’t sell (unless you’re Robert Frost). At the very least, I can promise submitting and reading will always remain free.

Shower of Sparks by Nicole Michaels

Shower of Sparks

“Emperor Domitian held gladiator bouts at nighttime by torchlight, sometimes pitting women against dwarfs as well as each other.” – Did Women Fight as Gladiators in Ancient Rome? —History.com

The old green Ford is giving us trouble again,
and it’s far too cold to mechanic.

There isn’t a female gladiator or a dwarf in sight,
but I am indeed holding a torch so that you have

enough light to work by. Next year,
we’ll be set up better, get the yard wired.

You are laughing and gripping a wrench
that gleams with the fire in my hand,

fire I have single-handedly wrestled there,
having torn it off the edge of the winter moon

as if the moon were a flint and I alone
had ladder enough to reach its quartz.

Truth be told,

my hand must be the wettest place on earth by now,
and still you burn in it, lighting us both like caves that

have run together,
underground streams with high walls

decorated in primitive paintings,
buffalo running, mock early representations

of our original nature,
before anyone told us it was wrong to be that way.

I sink into you a little more each day.

“She will start,” you say, victorious,

catching the snow
on the rough side of your tongue.

by Nicole Michaels

Editor’s Note: The imagery in this poem, sharp yet beautiful, skillfully emphasizes the strength of the characters and their joy in existing in this moment.

Also, Always by Emily Laubham

Also, Always

Here, I dig a grave for songbirds
beheaded by a hawk. The hawk
blots out the sun above me –
hello, harbinger of doom.

Elsewhere, my shadow spells misfortune
for those below. On earth, above, or buried;
Known and unknown in known and unknown places,
keeping score.

Step in spectral dog vomit, invent a new omen.
Lose a sock to atmosphere, devise a way to die.
Trip on phantom particles, curse myself Queen
of the Everywhere.

Find a penny in my armpit, create a new religion.
Wake up where I left you, build a statue for the sand.
Land somewhere familiar, crown myself Queen
of the Everywhere

There I am,
the dog, the vomit, and the doom.
A statue, sock, crown, and Queen.
I am pennies. I am particles. I am sand.
I am my own religion, songbirds on their way to Where.
And I am also, always,
the hawk.

by Emily Laubham

Emily on Facebook
Twitter: @Laubham

Editor’s Note: While seemingly chaotic on the surface, the repetition of this poem’s central imagery is the thread that a reader can use to unravel its emotional framework of persistence.

Sixty Years Ago by Jerry Krajnak

Sixty Years Ago

“I often wonder if she would have died by suicide if she’d had a good live-in nanny during the winter of 1963.”Amanda Montei

Time broke in and murdered Sylvia Plath,
grinned as she resisted its Gordian twists.
Demanding a place in two incompatible worlds,
art and family, she was granted neither.
Her Ted was no Alexander, carried no sword,
and she’d had enough of blades already. She chose
the gas that she had breathed into her poems.

Was it to be her personal final solution,
or did she think she’d wake again to curse
the morning light? Whatever her intent,
Time chose once more to smite the brave and strong,
depriving a world she left of her future art,
her children of mother’s love, while it patiently knit
an intractable choice and embroidered Sylvia’s noose.

by Jerry Krajnak

Editor’s Note: This sonnet ponders the “what if” question surrounding Plath’s death with blank verse and startling imagery.

Time Zones by Laura Sobbott Ross

Time Zones

Caretaker, guardian,
.. . . . . .not a label I thought I’d have at this age.
Of a baby, at any rate.
Already two generations apart,
.. . . . . .I’ve flown six time zones away.
You, eight months old,
.. . . . . .and me, on an eleven-day journey.
I can feel you here—
.. . . .your baby cheeks and newly tactile fingers,
.. . . . . .your cloud of black curls.

In Norway, everything is electric.
I mean that in terms of transport,
.. . . . . .but also, as in being in another world—
Viking fjords in ice blue,
.. . . .glacier-cast mountains that thumbed up
.. . . . . .and swallowed portions of the sky.
We leave you video messages from overlooks and trains.

There’s already a chill in the air, but the light is still
long and glowing while we sleep, pale lager in our veins.
.. . . .Leaves on the aspen trees going golden.
.. . . . . .They twirl and sputter like windchimes,

channeling current—
.. . . . . .the onset of autumn. Cyclical,
a word that might be used to describe anything,
little one, my namesake back home.

Since we’ve been gone,
.. . . .two teeth have pebbled up to landmark
.. . . . . .another stage of your infancy,
while metamorphic inclines and brightly painted houses
.. . . .fly by our windows in gasps.
The horizon, kinetic and thrumming us forward.

by Laura Sobbott Ross

Editor’s Note: The metaphor of time and travel is beautifully apt in this poem as the speaker’s yearning for connection weaves through the lines much as time weaves through our lives as we travel from one heart-place to the next.

From the archives – Paris — Leah Browning

Paris

Every day now we wake
in an unexpected hotel room.

Will this be the afternoon
in Paris, with birds singing

in the courtyard
below our window?

Or, more likely, will we find ourselves
somewhere else entirely. Most days,

the room is either too hot
or too cold, or an unsettling

combination of both;
the sun angles in through

ill-fitting curtains, or
we’ve been woken in the night

by loud, frightening noises:
fists pounding on a door, sirens.

It’s too late or too early,
and we’ve traveled too long;

it’s the night I was pregnant
and we were moving cross-country,

or the morning after any sleepless,
swollen night. The headache

won’t go away, or we’re back in
Toronto, in the hotel with the

wedding reception down the hall
from our room, the blaring music

and the fight that went on so long
that someone called the police.

There are so many bad days.
Every morning, though, I wake up

hoping for just one more golden afternoon
(so lovely and heartbreaking),

for sunlight in the courtyard
and birdsong.

by Leah Browning

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, June 3, 2015
When the Sun Comes Out After Three Days of Rain is now available from Kelsay Books