From the archives – On Watch by Neil Flatman

On Watch

Il Paretaio, Tuscany 2004

Felt the hard stone of the window’s lip
against my hand, its age, the permanence
of walls. Night breathed in
the dark and swung a pocket watch
over the hills and winding roads
until they slept and in the olive grove below
fireflies swam in whirlpools in the trees
where a nightingale sang:

For god’s sake hold me or I’ll drown.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, September 29, 2015 — by Neil Flatman

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

From the archives – A Letter from the Soul to the Body by Irene Vazquez

A Letter from the Soul to the Body

Dear body,

You spoke today into being.
That’s half the battle won.

You are tempestuous, afro in a rain storm,
lightning bolt cutters.

YOU ARE LOUD.
You are heard.
You are RESISTANCE.

You are feeling EVERYTHING.
You are taking up space, and better for it.
You are the ant that makes its presence known
the elephant that sees life on a flower
you are universal.

Darling,

Demand life from yourself.

You are broken arm rainbows,
eight shades of chipped beauty–the profit of life’s nonsense,
you are not going gentle into that good night, you burn white-hot, you are light,
you are not a child.
You are the art of never running
on empty,
you are all the days that led up to today, the hot, the cold:
you are a place beyond infinity—a place beyond words.

Dearest body,
Dearest love of my life,
Dear only one I have,

You are not on your own.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, June 30, 2015 — by Irene Vazquez

photo by Terry Lim

From the archives – The Girl Who Collected Fishbones by Karen J. Weyant

The Girl Who Collected Fishbones

In late April, the water was still too cold for wading,
so I clung to the edge of Bill Gardener’s Pond,

looking for bones of black crappie and bluegill
caught in brown grass or the winter slivered cattails.

I discovered the local creeks held more promise:
with the tip of my shoes, I nudged aside stones,

and wrestled fish heads and rotting fins from
the shallow pools where locals gutted their catch.

Once, I caught an old fishing hook in the ball
of my finger, rinsed my hand in the water,

and watched the red disappear from my skin.
At home, I lined up my collection on the porch banister,

sure that every ripple spoke through the bones,
that a brook trout would announce that

the water was cold but clear, that the perch
would murmur shallow like a hushed sigh.

Muffled whispers of the water drowned out
the way everyone around me laughed.

When later that summer, thousands of dead carp
floated to the shores of the local reservoir,

their bones sharp, eye sockets empty but staring,
so much that local residents swore they dreamed

of dead fish in their sleep, I wanted to say
See, You Should Have Been Listening.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, Febrary 13, 2015 — by Karen J. Weyant

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

From the archives – The Miles Before Sleep by Mary Alexandra Agner

The Miles Before Sleep

inspired by the title of a Martin Willitts Jr. poem

Country singers say they go by truck wheels,
rubber tumbling, lost in Patsy Cline,
and poets, with debated metaphor, and rhyme,
get lost in snow and near forget their horse.
The rest of us walk crosswalks, train tracks, asphalt
between the lot and daycare, food store, work.
Unlike the lyrics, sneakers leave no footprint,
except on melting days we’d just as soon forget,
indeed all roads are laid with just that goal:
to go on without notice of the ones
who go on them, whose tread, tires or tired
feet the only thing which keeps the count:
miles to go before I sleep
recorded one by one in bones, in cracks,
invisible—and numberless as breath.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, May 16, 2017 — by Mary Alexandra Agner

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

From the archives – The Cabin by Ed Granger

The Cabin

Skip down the ladder from the loft
where yesterday’s last feverish kiss
of heat mothered you overnight.
Wrench open the stove door screeching
like an old iron safe, embers banked
in one corner like dreams awaiting
their next breath. You’re here, dead center
of nowhere, Nova Scotia. You came expecting
insight of some kind. You were mistaken.
The molten seethe of pine logs as they snap
latent sap up the black iron pipe
back into these baffling woods
tells you nothing. Dreams of your father
alive again, upstairs, shaving,
have followed you here. Of course
you told him you loved him,
even through purple lesions as he
whispered something about a Jesus
he’d never believed in. Feed brittle bits
of moss to the feeble orange glow, scraped
from the roof so they won’t claim renegade
sparks. Finesse the vents for a sense
of control. Your coffee is barely potable.
Your father was rarely approachable.
Lace up your boots, head out. Your father
was killed because he tried to pound
a square-peg self into this life until
his round-peg 9-to-5 metastasized. You
came here seeking liberation, found
this new routine. Today, maybe hike
to the logging camp where saws
weep dry crocodile tears. Stay available.
Reconcile yourself to this place.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, May 29, 2017 — by Ed Granger

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

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

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

From the archives – Poem Only Half About Myself by J. Rod Pannek

Poem Only Half About Myself

I can smell
the melancholia in the bedsheets,
Rumpled feelings all around,
Everyone looking down at mouth.
The dog still licks her wound,
Hidden in the shadow of the desk.
There is no sense of release,
Yet we look around and hope.

“Go in fear of abstractions” of course, but what then?
I can’t expect the clock to stop as if it were my father’s heart.
The hedgerow stands with its roots unearthed,
Somewhere my mother calls and I bring my shovel.
I expect I will still rebel long after I cover them.

I expect I will still obey them.
Everything that happens to me happens to my friends.
After all that, we sit back and wonder
What the doctor will say about our liver
Or some other piece of the infernal apparatus
That wasn’t even hurting when we walked in.

The doctor still walks through the door,
Your mother’s hand, venial and soothing,
Comforts you and the tendencies of middle-age
Yet after a while she tears at your shirt
And you become her Confessor.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, April 4, 2017 — by J. Rod Pannek

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

From the archives – Losing the Art of Love (2017) by Ralph La Rosa

Losing the Art of Love (2017)

There was a time when poets sang of love
without embarrassment, when versifiers
happy at their trade were gracious liars
in measured sonnets. They’d imitate a dove,
an owl, perhaps a dawn-drawn bird above,
who sighting human beauty soon desires
to mate his heavenly might with earthly fires
of passion: begets a paradox of love.

But tapping keys that text or tweet romantic
notes is so archaic, old-school, stilted
that songs of love, once tender or ecstatic,
are elegies about the lost or jilted.
Raving in rhyme about a love that’s new?
Postmodern ironies evaded you.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, April 24, 2017 — by Ralph La Rosa

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim