The Sonnet by Ed Hack

The Sonnet

Can the little baize box of the sonnet bear such cargo?
—William Wilborn

The sonnet can bear anything. It bears
the anguish of the heart, the need of soul
to understand the why of why Love tears
shy hope to shreds that wanted to feel whole.
It bears the weather from the dawn to dark,
the ocean’s vast indifference, the grave-
yard of its crushing depths, the silver sparks
of sun on leaves, the miracle of days.
It bears our history of savagery,
the art we’ve left that shows our spirits’ needs,
our efforts, through myopia, to see
the deeper, simpler truths beyond our greed.
It is the scrap you find that wind has brought,
a map of lands you’d no idea you sought.

by Ed Hack

Editor’s Note: This sonnet perfectly encapsulates the purpose of a poem.

The Picture by Sydney Lea

The Picture

––for our oldest daughter Erika

I found it in a box I sifted through
as I cleaned my office. How clear in mind, the time
you drew it nearly forty years ago.

From dawn to dark, a sort of dusk had prevailed,
the nightbirds up all hours. I’ve stumbled on
signs of ruthless slaughter on such a day,

intinction of snow and blood. I’ve pictured talons.
Not knowing what I felt, still I have sensed
some intricate change –without my witness– had happened.

Snow of course can offer other signs:
sweep of a grouse’s wing where it flushed and flew,
the raptor’s errant jabs mere blots to the side,

no blatancy of red on the cold white cover.
In any case, it was that kind of day when you held
the blue-green crayon as gently as a mother

might her child, your hand so small I could cry.
You frowned, and carefully drew three sides of a square,
and then, above, a pair of slanting lines,

to roof your house. Then swatches of sky. You glanced
sidelong at me: did I approve or not?
I knew that this was what you meant to ask.

I chuckled and hugged you. Forgive me: that was all.
Look at you since! A mother twice at once,
then once again in a home on a leafy knoll.

I consider these parallelograms you drew,
each with a cross inside, to form two windows,
which, you said, were there for me and you,

“For looking down the road.” The road was made
of lines as well, which, not quite parallel,
ran right from the doorway off the edge of the page.

I clutch you tight in mind as I did so far
back down that road, your picture done for then.
I pray your children’s dreams and landscapes are

as clean and sweet as you seemed to me that day,
a perfect figure underneath those Vs
–those harmless birds, or bird-abstractions– high

above the house in their lambent blue-green sky.

by Sydney Lea

Editor’s Note: This lovely narrative poem tells a story that every parent will understand.

A short prayer by Drew Pisarra

A short prayer

There must be things to break.
There must be plates.
There must be jelly jars and hearts.
There must be bread.

There must be things to crack.
There must be eggs.
There must be wheat.
There must be knuckles and the mind.

There must be things to punch.
There must be walls of brick and walls of plaster,
clocks and bags and sparring partners.
There must be fucking fists.
There must be more.
There must be movement.

Let there be that as well.
Let there be that as well.

Let there be a full refrigerator,
with its freezer overflowing frozen goods.
Let there be a warm bed,
an occupied bed.
Let there be bodies
to slip into like so many pairs of stockings.
Let there be no runs.
Let there be
in each man’s hand
and every woman’s clutch
an open-dated one-way ticket out.

There must be that as well.
There must be.

by Drew Pisarra, previously published in Untitled & Other Poems

Drew on Facebook

Twitter: @mistermysterio

Editor’s Note: After the punch of the first line, the repetition in this poem can lull the reader into complacency, but this prayer is more complicated than that, as the closing lines demonstrate.

Owls by Christine Potter

Owls

I was talking to the owls again tonight.
It was like scrolling on social media—
hoo-HOO, hoo-HOO—and they liked it.

It was warmer today. The air felt more
like a friend.The creek sounded serious
and steady. I’d been inside until dusk.

I spoke with the owls, which my father
said flew off with unruly children: one
specific owl, actually: The Owl. We both

knew that wasn’t true. His mother (tiny,
superstitious, Irish) used it to scare him.
Except he knew I’d be too smart to fool.

I was. I’m still angry at my father, but
not about that. Sometimes winter lets up
just a little and I miss him: hoo-HOO,

hoo-HOO. I talk to the owls. They answer
me back, outside with night just pulling
itself together, a few stars poking through.

by Christine Potter

Christine on Facebook

Amazon Author Page

Editor’s Note: This poem leads the reader onto a meandering path, and it isn’t until the very end that one realizes that the heart of it is right in the center, but it’s a bit too painful to touch. One can only arrive at grief and joy and anger and memory indirectly.

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.