From the archives — Ramble of the Bygone Mind by James Uppstad

Ramble of the Bygone Mind

So we see more partings
than returns. So we are old. So the wrinkles do not make
a workman, but a crippling,
a reed or weed on lawn. So cattails bend, unbend, at this lean
hour. It means nothing
but the wind is strong today. I shuffle by marsh-
mires: here no reed
stand strong to take hold of and lift me, dirty but just-
dry against the wind, that
which beats me. Clouds cross like ships, fire ammo
the sound of
thunder and shape of lightning. My clothes swell
in the wind and in the rain
that shape it into breathings, shapes without shape.
I haven’t told of the dream
in which a Greek boy hunched beneath the shelter of trees,
but he dripped and shivered
like me. In the wind, by daybreak, each leaf a grape
pulled up by the stem,
as from somewhere a force had come, they rustled
and bowed like that
as the cattails bend, unbend, at this lean hour.

by James Uppstad

from Autumn Sky Poetry, Number 7, December 2007

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

From the archives — Carnations by Guy Kettelhack

Carnations

And now into the viscous dark –
that blacker than imaginable heart
of things – I go to undergo new throes

of recollection – transformation. My
mother loved carnations – their peculiar
sweet timidity – I remember their

strange scent and hold on her and
on the hollow casket (she was nowhere
to be found in it) where they bestowed

their blushing and their bloom: riding
off the sides, they filled the room
with dissonance and odd perfume.

Three years ago, approximately
today, she started sliding on
the way to die the first week in July.

And now against the viscous dark –
that blacker than imaginable heart
of my unknowing – I imagine pink arising –

growing: redolently weird – its power
blasts the past and future into now –
enigmatic blossom of eternity: her flower.

by Guy Kettelhack

from Autumn Sky Poetry, Number 2, September 2006

From the archives — Sonnenizio on a Line from Neruda by Michaela A. Gabriel

Sonnenizio on a Line from Neruda

The night turns on its invisible wheels.
The stars are gone; first sunlight splinters
in the branches of black trees, drips onto

tired earth. And so a shadow falls on us,
on our love. I want to rub, to brush it off.
I want to strike a match, turn on another

light, grow my own sun, a wonderland
where waving wands is all it takes to forge
and reforge bonds, where nothing breaks

forever. Place your hand on my hot cheek
again, breathe life into my eyes, connect
the freckles on my back to spell out: Yes.

Write on my skin: We want. We can. We will.
Let me respond with sighs. Then let’s be still.

(First line from Pablo Neruda’s Sonnet LXXXI)

by Michaela A. Gabriel

from Autumn Sky Poetry, Number 5, June 2007

From the archives — Walking Home by Neil Flatman

Walking Home

Somehow I knew this would be how it began.
So easy to say, the coral fire of sunset;
the bright hand of a god at the end of the world. You

just have to be there. Try not to picture it.
A lens can’t capture a moment the way
the eye sees. Cliché

And that this stanza would consider
how you pass a finger through a candle’s flame
without burning, or, at most, with a little pain. Trial

and error. Some know better
than to linger long, others come to love
then need, the sting.

Now I can only tell you
how it is I love
the way she often laughs so hard her body heaves

loose the strings. Convulsions in the waves
that reach her feet and beat a jig
no mermaid could dance.

It’s like trying to stand
on the horizon, the corner of a canvas
but this is soon, I can’t see

more than shade at the periphery, how
gears change in the dark, turn
down the sun.

by Neil Flatman

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, July 27, 2015

From the archives — Intuition by Risa Denenberg

Intuition

As I entered my eighth month
of pregnancy, my grandmother, timeworn
and ripened, exited our line.

Far from home, I received the news
in a whoosh of air, as a warbler trilled
a melody I suddenly understood.

And though there was much to fear,
the awareness settled in me like a deep stream.
She companioned me for the lying-in.

A feral cat crept into the room and stayed
during the long hours of my labor. She
howled as my son crowned, cries louder

than my own, then disappeared. And, just
before he emerged, I reached inside and felt
black curls protecting his fragile skull.

At that moment, I received her blessing and saw
his face, still curled in his confinement, and knew,
as a mare knows, it was time to bear down.

by Risa Denenberg

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, July 7, 2017

From the archives — Aunt Viola by Bob Bradshaw

Aunt Viola

She paid five bucks a month to have a star
named after her.
She would point to the sky’s crush of stars
and say there it is.

This is the same Viola whose creditors
took away her furniture every quarter
as if her house were a stage set.

Viola, who used to pay me
to pull Spanish moss from her oaks
as she lay in a lounge chair,
the bachelors in the apartment complex
eyeing her through binoculars.

Viola, whose husband came home one night
and threw her lover naked
into the street.
Viola,
who reprimanded her husband
for not trusting her, demanding an apology.

Viola, who I learned today
died several years ago. Viola,
who I suddenly miss. I squint up
at the night sky. I wonder how many times, Viola,

your star has been renamed? It’s missing,
as if you didn’t keep up the payments.

Like you, reclaimed by your creditors.

by Bob Bradshaw

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, June 24, 2016

From the archives — June Twenty-First by Bruce Guernsey

June Twenty-First

My mother’s cigarette flares and fades,
the steady pulse of a firefly,
on the patio under the chestnut.

The next door neighbors are over.
My father, still slender, is telling a joke:
laughter jiggles in everyone’s drinks.

On his hour’s reprieve from sleep,
my little brother dances
in the sprinkler’s circle of water.

At fourteen, I’m too old
to run naked with my brother,
too young to laugh with my father.

I stand there with my hands in my pockets.
The sun refuses to set,
bright as a penny in a loafer.

by Bruce Guernsey

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, June 22, 2016

From the archives — Offline by Charles Carr

Offline

The sound of morning
steps down a mountain,
not really a noise,
more the eyes explain
the sun walks
on water
to the other senses.
If it is Saturday
I sit in a chair that rocks
and overlooks the role
of the river,
how it holds a heron
in place by the ankles
until its long neck
forms the bones
at the end of hush
to let loose
such a wingspan
no amount of highway
is necessary
to know which direction
the day is going

by Charles Carr

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, June 26, 2018

From the archives — But Skin Is Different by Rajani Radhakrishnan

But Skin Is Different

There are indentations in the blue
porcelain like impressions on soft
wax where it was held softly, when

the tea was warm, for a while, and it
would not stop raining. We leave marks
on things that least expect it, on a passing

wing, on yellow afternoons, on the serrated
silhouette of leaves against a midnight
moon, on time standing on one leg, back

against the far wall, waiting. Truth is a
collage of careless fingerprints, the rain can
draw your picture from the way your hand

caressed the clouds, but skin is different,
naked skin can be cleansed, memory carries
the deliberate guilt of sieved pain. This tea is

cold, a level certainty in an imperfect cup, it
is only mid-June, the sun flattens like an
unleavened candle, and it will not stop raining.

by Rajani Radhakrishnan

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, June 20, 2018

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.

by Patricia Wallace Jones

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, May 30, 2017