From the archives – Tomorrow Will Be Cold by S. Thomas Summers

Tomorrow Will Be Cold

At least, that’s what the weatherman said.
The temperature will drop like a brick hurled
off a mountain’s peak, like a falcon that’s tucked
its wings close, diving to nab a rabbit that darts

about the forest floor, searching for a few more ribbons
of dead grass to line its burrow before curling
into its heartbeat, clenching all the warmth it can.
Wind will sweep over the hills, weave through trees,

straining the spines of elm and oak, exciting the chimes
that dangle from my backyard birch into panic;
they’ll ding and clang, shiver discordant songs
above the neighborhood stray, a gray cat, that, I assume,

will find its spot among branches of Holly,
tangled arms collecting silence and shadow.
I’ll peer out the window, wrapped in a sweater,
my hands curled around a hot mug of coffee

as steam rises from its mouth as it would a cauldron circled
by witches, weird sisters, stirring a foul concoction,
chanting, rhyming strange words, each sound
meant to make thick the blood of all who find breath

where fires flare and hearths are warm.
That’s what the weatherman said.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, February 23, 2016 — by S. Thomas Summers

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

This Rain by Johanna Ely

This Rain

What’s extraordinary is this rain-
after years of
dry, cracked soil,
dead lawns,
and drooping tomato plants,
I don’t complain,
a prayer has been answered.
It arrives like a two thousand year old miracle,
translucent seeds falling from heaven.
The maple tree’s old fingers shake and quiver,
straining to catch the steady drops
that spill from a slate sky.
Children slip and slide across town,
happy little fish swimming upstream.
I don’t complain that the sun and moon
have run off together behind a curtain of clouds,
I wish them well!
I open my mouth and guzzle down raindrops,
content as an old drunk tossing back a shot.
Camellias lay scattered in my front yard,
as pink as Monet’s waterlilies.
What’s extraordinary is this rain,
and how this wet morning light
smells of dark muddy ground,
with all who slept
or dreamed of death,
waking.

by Johanna Ely

Editor’s Note: This poem’s vitality (imagery as sharp as a photo) suits it subject—life after drought. [apologies for the double-post today… typos are the devil]

Ode to a Cheap Blue Guitar by James Brush

Ode to a Cheap Blue Guitar

Give you twenty bucks
for that old Ko-RE-an thang,
the pawn shop man drawled.

Horrified, I walked out. Tried to
hold tight to you, beautiful
blue first love stratclone guitar.

But the Ford’s tires were flat,
the bills were due, and you
never sang in my hands.

We just never connected
like I would with others, later,
with lower actions whose necks

felt better in my fumbling
hands. But beauty stutters
the lips, and you were ocean

midnight neon airport lights,
the color of the sounds I wanted.
But those thintread tires needed

changing. We said goodbye.
Sometimes I still try to find you.
We’ll reconnect on eBay, maybe

Craigslist. I poke my head
in some south Austin pawn shop
hoping you’re still around twenty

years later, that headstock nick
from the ceiling fan a story
only you and I will ever know.

by James Brush

literary journal: Gnarled Oak
twitter: @jdbrush
books: Birds Nobody Loves, A Place Without a Postcard

Editor’s note: Imagery and personification give the guitar in this ode a rich life. This line, “the color of the sounds I wanted,” is the center of this poem for me.

Valentine’s Day by Bob Bradshaw

Valentine’s Day

Shy, the thought of firing love darts
like the garden snail

has its appeal. The idea
of banging heads

like big horn sheep
for your love? No thanks.

Elephant seals bumping chests
for the title of beachmaster

and my own harem, well,
that’s tempting

but I’m more of a romantic.
I prefer to compete

in a more subtle way
–like the Mexican molly.

The dude with the most
impressive mustache

wins the girl. Imagine me
sporting a Salvador Dali

with its bike-like handles.
Impossible. My ability to grow

facial hair is like
a tortoise’s.

No, I’ll need to impress you
in other ways.

Do you like hiking trails
of clematis and monkey flowers?

I could be your guide,
through the pinkish fields

of Lonicera hispidula,
the striped fashions in vogue

among the pipe vines,
lavender dresses favored

by the morning glories,
and as you bend to their scents

my heart rate racing
like a hummingbird’s
in love

by Bob Bradshaw

 

Editor’s Note: Metaphors shape the heart of this poem, where saying “I love” feels like a race to the edge of a precipice.

Faucet by Emilio Aguilera

Faucet

Sometimes it pours out,
a scream, the band aid for
the cut finger,
a tunnel of tub bubbles
and its train whistle.

If I listen hard enough
when the hot water runs,
I hear the chill in mother’s voice
freezing me to the lid
of the cookie jar.

Childhood
is the language of father’s belt
telling the story at bedtime.

And still it pours,
the Lucky Charm dinners,
the teddy bear tears,
the lost Legos.

Everything but solace.

And closure starts
with the next drowning
of barley and hops,
their seductive fields
taking a lifetime to dry.

by Emilio Aguilera

Editor’s Note: Surreal imagery carefully reprises difficult childhood memories, and leads the reader from past to present. The ending is a killer.

From the archives – Earth-bound by Rosemary Badcoe

Earth-bound

Tonight we’re waxing gibbous, giddy
with our arms out-flung in late-night light from stores
that stock their windows high. We sow distraction,
lope in doorways, carve our immortality
in bus shelters and benches. Here’s where hares
shovelled starlight on the recreation ground,
the mound like broken glass flinging reflections of our feet
up to a sky boxed in by banks of tenements.

Like leverets we’re born in shallow scrapes, eyes wide –
no chance to set a burrow where there’s space to grow.
We sling the stones that burst the lighted panes.
The hares pursue the moon into the sky
and squat there, pestles pounding rice cakes,
faces turned away.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, February 24, 2016 — by Rosemary Badcoe

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

My Valparaiso by Clark Holtzman

My Valparaiso
Or, The Fish
. . . . . . . .—for Carlos, Camila, Claudia & Ryan at the Neruda house, Valparaiso, Chile

This Pacific could not be bluer
if we waved a wand, or
this snail’s shell more green
or more certain of its greenness.
This stair could not labor so sensibly
up the hill of the poet’s dream
or these windows carry us
farther to paradise.

A minute here passes
like the cargo ships on the bay,
eternally, at ease, like the cat
licking itself in strong sunlight
on the funky garden bench.
I am caught by it, a fish in time,
surprised by the hook, the sharp,
startling wound of happiness.

by Clark Holtzman

Editor’s Note: This poem calls to mind the intense imagery of Jack Gilbert’s work—emotion is a tricky narrative to tread, but the close of this poem steps carefully and well.