From the archives – The Shapes of Clouds by John L. Stanizzi

The Shapes of Clouds

. . . . . . . . . . . . .Childhood is far away.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .War is near. Amen.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Yehuda Amichai
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Songs of continuity, land mines and graves #5

i

the lovers sit still along the broad river
. . . . . . . .clouds in passage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .massive cities
colossal animals. . . . . . . . .fictive worlds above
. . . . . . . .roiling transfiguration unnoticed mostly
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .except on long drives when you were a child
and someone played a game to pass. . . . . . . . . . . .the time

. . . . . . . .there’s a castle
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .there’s an elephant. . . .a king. . . .a dog
a tank. . . . . . . . .a ghost
and…..I don’t know what. . . .that is

ii

now there is war. . . . . . . . .in the air
. . . . . . . .indistinguishable. . . . . . . . .shapeless

it is spring. . . . . . . . .the cottonwoods have snowed

the lovers are old
. . . . . . . .grandchildren play along the broad river

they are in danger

we are all in danger

look. . . .look. . . .look at that cloud. . . .a child says
. . . . . . . .it’s in the shape of a. . . .…of a. . . . . . . . . . . .of…

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, May 4, 2016 — by John L. Stanizzi

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

From the archives – Explain That Again by Neil Flatman

Explain That Again

The part where we run down Box Hill
hand in hand, lose control of our legs
until all we are are footprints in grass
rebounding ’til we can’t be traced.
And the weight of the colors, like opening
hall doors silently at night, not to wake
the dark. How that’s terrifying and beautiful.
How the roots of the tree by your window
worm their way through the earth
through brick, make supple your house.
Tell me how you dreamed this alone;
a half moon by daylight, only you can see.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, May 10, 2016 — by Neil Flatman

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim.

From the archives – What Still Matters by Johanna Ely

What Still Matters

The water stain
on the dining room table
still remains,
a perfect circle left
from the vase of irises
I received on my fortieth birthday.
That, and the table,
lined and scratched
like an old man’s face,
remind me
there is a beauty to aging.
All these millions of years,
water tumbling over riverbeds,
the ragged rocks thin and clean,
smoothed into glass stones,
scarab green,
or wind howling in the crevices
of ocean cliffs,
how it erodes and softens them,
dunes of bone white sand, rising.
All that once came
kicking and screaming
into this nascent world,
weakened to a whisper-
the veneer chipped,
worn to a thin gold band,
takes on its own polished patina.
While a voice low, far away,
murmurs what still matters-
how the purple tongued
irises turned
a deeper indigo
in the waning light.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, May 13, 2016 — by Johanna Ely.

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

From the archives – Xanthippe by Beate Sigriddaughter

Xanthippe

Today the light of daisies is exuberant.
I saw three goslings in the sea. I am
in love—this world: The lilacs are almost
done. The poppies have begun. The veils
of willows, sun-drenched, billow over grass.
Without the bats and the lupines, truth is
expensive and irrelevant. The blue bells
will prevail, the foxes. I forgive you,
Socrates, for choosing hemlock.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, May 30, 2016 — by Beate Sigriddaughter

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

From the archives – Purple Rain by Alex Stolis

Purple Rain

It’s pouring. It’s the dark bone chilling lonely
un-regal kind of rain. I want to believe in this

imaginary life. Where the bluest expectations
of the sky meet a honeyed sadness balanced

over the horizon. I remember knee scrapes on
Hennepin Ave, faint whiff of weed in her smile

when she kissed me. Oh man, the rain was neon
full color. It was salvation, sex, revolution falling

from on high. The thump thump thump of bass,
the staccato siren-whoop of reluctant cop cars

crawling through the crowd. They had no clue
we were drenched reborn; sanctified, immortal.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, April 29, 2016 — by Alex Stolis

 

From the archives – What Remains by Sally Houtman

What Remains

There is a knocking in the eaves tonight,
an earthly sound that buckles over distance,
echoes through this room of straight-backed
chairs and shadows where I lie atop the blankets,
shoes and glasses on. For I know, outside,
not far beyond the darkened field and sturdy
oaks, the watchman waits, leaning on his spade.
But before he takes me, before the breathing stops
and I lay naked as when mother-born, in the shallow
end of nowhere where nothing blooms or grows
and the water is no longer blue, I tell you I will
have the final say. For these long eighty years of life
rough-cast, what have I now to show? Nothing
but to work and work, to remember what is lost,
the squandered years, the gaps I’ve muscled through.
But I tell you, at this waning hour I would tongue
the devil’s ear to have them back. For here I wait,
night on night, staring at the coal-face
of another hundred midnights, maybe more,
and I am tired. I have seen decay, the way a thing
grows fallow, goes yellow in the margins,
closing in its grief of memory, fingerprints
and breath caught between the pages and yes,
this too shall pass, they say, but what of what remains?
Am I to offer up this body, wings outstretched
and pinned, in hopes that it goes quick? Or
should I wait, and in so waiting thus prolong
the stuttering decay? I ask each sly,
unticking moment just how much more
this life can take from me—this slow
unravelling, the body doing what it will,
beginning with the hands then moving
inward, and what goes next? The eyes,
the hair and teeth and then the heart,
the lungs no longer whistling mighty sleep,
and next the mind, a’slur with words unmoored,
sounds drifting, sliding in the one good ear.
The vision blurs, fingers swell, a damp cloud
settles in the bones until at last the pulse is dimmed,
flesh chewed to pulpy marrow and flayed remains.
What more is there to say? No belligerent madness,
no crying out will stop these hours driving forward
to an elsewhere I can neither cheat nor comprehend.
And so I pour a shot, and then two more, and raise my glass,
a toast to words remembered—The cup unfilled is of no use!
because tonight it is the whiskey chorus that will turn
this grief to gladness, lift rage to exaltation—
what relief it is to slip aside this pain!

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, April 25, 2016 — by Sally Houtman

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

From the archives – Self Portrait With Fruit & Implement by Sara Balsom

Self Portrait With Fruit & Implement

Some things I have I wish I didn’t,
silver plates, soft oranges, birds inert and patient,
the blue dress that’s too blue, the hot aqua sky.
I used to unwrap grapes one at a time
with my tongue and teeth — that is the ugly kind
of joy I have forgotten. In the mirror, whorls
of flesh. Light appears wanting to cross-hatch
and accidentally illuminates everything.
Today, I chide myself for thinking “flesh.”
If you ask me to undress I will undress,
because what else is there to do? talk about it?
I cross my legs and put one hand in my lap.
In this equation, the other hand could hold anything —
silver, or steel. A girl was killed by the sun in a hot room
because she didn’t move. Here is me going from place to place by bus,
and now by train. In this diagram, I am something like alive.
In the room, by the curtain, I stand with one hand on my silver,
and one against my face. The passion fruit I hold
doesn’t fit this pose. Neither does the knife.
If I cut the fruit, the world comes sliding out.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, April 14, 2016 — by Sara Balsom

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim