From the archives – The Morning of My Madness Waking by Jim Zola

The Morning of My Madness Waking

What’s left? Maybe some trees
on a hillside, the sudden
tufts of seedy grass.
Broadleaf grin, burred twig
dance, maker of saplings,
what’s left? Some trees, a hillside.
No philosophizing, please.
Vodka is given us to be drunk,
sturgeon to be eaten,
women to be visited.
Snow to be walked upon.

For one evening anyway,
I want to forget you are the ring
in my ear, the morning’s cough,
the dense flour of deepest sleep.
I wake and call for you. You
are the new crease in my right palm,
the itch below my knee, the world
turned inside out, my reckless heart.
I pull on socks, shoes. Beneath
each layer is another.
Madness wears the thinnest veil.
Dying. Singing. Some trees.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, May 22, 2017 — by Jim Zola.

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

Japanese Peach Blossom Festival by Bob Bradshaw

Japanese Peach Blossom Festival

We wait for your friend
from a small footbridge–
the pond’s koi gazing up
with brightly painted faces.

A 93 year old woman
in a kimono laughs
as I greet her, a kokyu
in her arms.

She wanders with us
past flying windsocks
and pink clouds
of flowering peach and plum,

to a small auditorium
where you lean into a mic
and play a song about winter,
your flute sounds pure
and free in the rich,
fruit scented air,

I stand as the song ends
applauding wildly.
You are the first girl I kissed,
my heart leaping like waves
over a sea wall.
Who knew that fifty years
would pass by like
an overnight
storm?

by Bob Bradshaw

 

Editor’s Note: The beauty of the imagery in this poem seems almost too simple, but sometimes the best verse is quiet and beautiful.

Counselors in Fryeberg, Maine, 1965 by Carol A. Amato

Counselors in Fryeberg, Maine, 1965

Along the trail to our cabins
night was a pitch-black penetrable
wall us tripping over roots like leggy
limbs wrapped wantonly around one
another no foothold of ground between
them us slipping breathless in the drama
to stay up our eyes searching for a
cabin’s lamp glow to guide us ‘though
it was lights out for the campers.

On clear nights the moon was swallowed
by towering pine’s needle arms touching
one another, grown close and conspiratorial
as thieves enveloping us with their sharp
scent like strong menthol drops piercing
the nose and throat with each intake of
cold August night air

far more pungent
than Caroline’s pine tree hanging from her
car mirror on days off joyful to be able to
smoke freely heading to Conway and once
even Kennebunkport over the speed limit
and the welcome of the bright lights of
the highway heading back.

The next day, drawing en plein air with them
their congregations of pines Crayola Forest Green,
Laser Lemon slants of light piercing the Sepia earth
full of our young selves that almost end of summer
just before fall with all its extravagant dying and us
facing unpredictable perhaps outrageous changes

the pines, in dark and light, shedding needles
when they must, still green and steadfast.

by Carol A. Amato

Editor’s Note: The idyllic wonder detailed in this poem evokes nostalgia for a moment in time that we can only hope will endure as we go through life.

On A Film Clip Of New York City From 1911 by Christine Potter

On A Film Clip Of New York City From 1911

Most people are slender. The air is bright and thick
behind them: men walk in dark suits, women
often in white, waists nipped tight, black parasols.

Overheated children squint from roofless autos
that share the avenues with trolleys and horses.
Horse poop, in fact, is everywhere. No one drives

around it. Smoke and steam rise from the chimneys
of boats and buildings. A wall of ivy shimmers
on a church. Chinese grocers, a remembered smell

of ripe peaches and dill weed: fifty years from then,
fifty years before now. (In the shade of a shop with
my grandmother, a hot afternoon, dollars counted

into her hand, chicken breasts, salad. The black
sheen of my grandfather’s car.) Edwardian high
windows, the brickwork around them not sooty yet.

(The train home carrying me past those tenements,
the news in my lap, during Watergate.) No one’s still
alive, but a riverside breeze moves the trees. I smell

creosote and the distant ocean. Walking across
Brooklyn Bridge, two teenaged boys—one white,
one black—hold hands, turn to smile at the camera.

by Christine Potter

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Amazon Author Page

Editor’s Note: The meticulous punctuation of this poem emphasizes its careful narrative. The slow movement from past to present is almost unnoticed until the last line drops into view.

What You Wish For by Joan Kantor

What You Wish For

The morning air
is heavy with heat.
Not even a leaf is stirring.
Beneath a blanket of grey,
emerald and evergreen
silently watch
the murky brown river
flow by.
In the distance,
mowers drone,
then slow to a halt,
as guzzling workers
wipe sweat from their brows,
those workers
who months ago plowed
while dreaming of summer.

by Joan Kantor

Editor’s Note: The title of this poem complements its clear imagery with hidden depth.

Preparing to See the Shaman by Diane Elayne Dees

Preparing to See the Shaman

Should I fast and pray and drink a lot of water,
or ask for dreams? By nature, I’m a planner,
though I’ve never sought assistance in this manner.
Yet, late in life, I’m still the wounded daughter
who’s missing parts that others take for granted;
specifically, the parts that make me feel
alive and whole, a woman who is real,
and not a she-ghost, fragmented and haunted.
I wonder if the lost parts can be found,
or if they have an interest in returning.
I pray that they rejoice upon learning
I plan to keep them healthy, safe and sound.
A shaman travels light, yet fully guided—
I hope she finds the path more smooth than I did.

by Diane Elayne Dees

Twitter: @WomenWhoServe

Editor’s Note: This Australian sonnet opens with a question, and by the end, the answer isn’t at all obvious (though what dreams are?), which suits the subject of the narrative.

From the archives – May 30th by Patricia Wallace Jones

May 30th

A year ago I wrote to you
of temple bells, about the silk-tassels,
how they grow like weeds, shimmer
in the wind beneath my window.

After a mild dry winter,
scant spring rain, you sing to me
of homemade tortillas, the sweet
heady taste of vine-ripe tomatoes.

Out of step with your seasons,
these cool windy mornings
my catkins dance early, grey faster,
fall even softer this year than the last.

And to think—
before you came
with this uncommon friendship,
the remarkable beauty
in distant correspondence,
I would have missed this day,
used it for a calendar, a decoration
for my wall if I noted it at all.

 

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, May 30, 2017 — by Patricia Wallace Jones

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim