Editor’s Choice poem "The Accident" by Abigail George reminds us of the underlying theme concerning the arrival of spring. Her lines offer hope even in the wake of a tragedy trumpeting the death of a young accident victim.
"In life — I have discovered
The only solution for a broken heart is
To fall in love again and that it is only through
A news bulletin that our own empathy becomes visible."
Something else just as uplifting as springtime and its thoughts of love becomes visible in April, when National Poetry Month is celebrated in the United States.
A "news bulletin" plays no part in the expressions of love, empathy and compassion. Rather, poetry reigns for a month, and readers can dance to its music knowing that one-twelfth of the year promises not to break their hearts.
What a wonderful time to be in love.
Charles H. Johnson
A poem by Marc Cianni
As I reach for a sip of tea from unfamiliar porcelain, A slideshow projects onto the backdrop of my weathered mind. Images unravel one after the other To create the episodes that earned me my aluminium throne. Marigolds, her chin, the view from the cottage. I had talent, comeliness and sabre-toothed dreams. I had a belt with “Vince” on the buckle Warning others that I was a big deal. Breakups, morning breath, crosswalk tragedies. Emptiness used to be a friend of mine. Now it picks at my layers in mobs of invisible vultures, Snacking mostly on dreams that I tossed to the side. Sonatas, cocktail waitresses, running upstairs. I am content to watch my seeping tea laze in its saucer, While steam rises into shapes of consequential nothings. I drift into frequencies unknown And my gaze seems worthwhile.
Marc Cianni — firstname.lastname@example.org — lives in Geneva, Switzerland, was born in Canada where he attended a French high school for the performing arts, majoring in theater and music. He earned a BAA in Information Management from Ryerson University in Toronto. He is a member of the Geneva Writer’s Group.
A DAY BUSY WITH INDECISION
A poem by Derek Pollard
The comb, the toothpaste, the hand Mirror, all in dim, watery light This is our life together Cigar smoke, blue as the bicycles We rode through Tucson Heavy as the sangria Gregor made Today the raspberries are little Brown pods waiting for rain And the rain streaks the sky To the east like hammered tin It is cold in this place, and my jeans Chaff the skin of my thighs The fruit is a dream we hold to Small, and new, and alive to us The rain moves over Kalamazoo Startlingly warm, bringing With it a pair of robins that dart Between the oaks and the sudden Greenness This is our life together Quiet, and aimless, and full
Derek Pollard – Derek@photocolleen.com — lives in New Jersey and is an associate editor at New Issues Poetry & Prose and a contributing editor at Barrow Street. He has poems and reviews appearing or forthcoming in Ambit (UK), Caketrain, Colorado Review, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, Diagram, Hawai’i Review, iota (UK), Pleiades, PoetLore, Prairie Schooner, Quarterly West, Shade, and Zone 3.
The following three poems come from our featured poet, L. Ward Abel…
A JANIST RESOLVED
There are lady bugs all in this house. Every time that I feel like swatting or crushing one as it lands on a sill, or countertop, or coffee cup, I am halted by thoughts of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Piedmont, whose presence disperses all spectres that huddle on my lawn in eternal twilight, not to be confused with the ancestors that take forms, that watch over me, wearing the same orange veils. I dare not stain my walls with their broken carotene. I think it would be baddamned luck.
“Naked again,” someone whispers. I look down at myself, and of course I am. I am awakened from sleep with the taste of blood in my mouth, with a very real feeling that something is about to happen. Half-lit, the room is reluctant to give away time of day. My features dim at the prospect of night. A night without me.
MEMORY AND ARCHITECTURE
Scar tissue, it speaks many languages like the truth, is always there when morning comes. I stand in the dining room early, through windows the rise in the east shoots the grove, my eyes blink but adjust. It is all there in what has fallen from oaks: I’ve seen pictures of fossilized leaves, they retain a memory but have gone away somehow.
L. Ward Abel — email@example.com — lives in rural Georgia and
is a life-long poet, composer of music and spoken-word performer.
He has been widely published in poetry journals in America and Europe,
including Texas Poetry Journal, Open Wide, The Pedestal, White Pelican
Review, Versal, others, and presently performs and records with
his band Abel, Rawls and Hayes. His chapbook, Peach Box and Verge,
has been published by Little Poem Press. His new book of poems,
Jonesing For Byzantium, will be published this year at UK Authors
Press (Bristol, UK). Website:
A poem by Abigail George
There has been a death A drowning in a river A crowd has gathered to pay their respects Emergency services are doing an effortless, bold drawing Of printing a memory and identity On the child’s body. Circling, signalling and issuing warnings that this is what will happen to you in life this is what will happen to you If you cease to pay attention. Your forehead will cease To bulge in concentration There will no longer be A glimmer of a smile regarded As shyness or wariness Towards the kindness of strangers Your soul will be invisible Your body: a sum of parts. My heart takes flight. The rubbish heaped at the water’s edge - Elegant waste nonetheless there is a Purity about the shape of the child’s head Dirt under the fingernails is proof of evidence Leaves and grass scribble randomly on the surface Dust settles in the remainder of shadows, nooks and crannies – A shower giving rise to a flutter of a thousand things They could not find your shoes, little one The young mother was cradled By the arms of other young mothers and Other residents of the community In love, who is king and who is the slave? How many times in a day Does this role reversal take place? In life – I have discovered The only solution for a broken heart is To fall in love again and that it is only through A news bulletin that our own empathy becomes visible.
Abigail George — firstname.lastname@example.org — lives in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. She has had poetry published in Upbeat, Tribute, Sun Belly Press, New Contrast, Echoes Literary Journal and Carapace.
DAY 13, 622
A poem by Rosemarie S. Sprouls
Sit, eat: grind, swallow. Eat, grunt. Swallow water. “Grunt.” Feed, water. Muck feed. Breath muck; sneeze. Breath dust; sneeze. Wipe dust, mold; wipe face. Mold smile; face sleep. Smile. Sigh. Sleep: snore. Sigh: grind. Snort, sit...... eat.....grind.....swallow.
Rosemarie S. Sprouls – kevinsprouls.comcast.net – is an adjunct English instructor at Richard Stockton College in New Jersey and a Celtic harpist. She has an MFA in poetry from Brooklyn College. Her poetry has appeared in Stockpot, Rewrites, Lunch, Muse Pie, The Little Magazine, Lips,and Junction.
By Mathew Spano
empty stringers— the old man pulls a rainbow out of the fog
the ancient cherry blossoms
on the old man's blueprint
Mathew V. Spano – email@example.com — teaches World Literature and Mythology in Literature at Middlesex County College in Edison, N.J. He earned his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. His poems have appeared in the leading haiku journals Modern Haiku and Frogpond. His poems have also been published in Cicada, The Piedmont Literary Review, Solares Hill, and Nor’Easter. His poems were selected for inclusion in an upcoming international anthology of baseball haiku to be published by W.W. Norton and Co. in 2006.
A VERY SORT OF DAY
A poem by Christopher Mulrooney
the most wanted poster in the entire post office is the one that says you are an entire food supply an acre of bottomland the tide has covered over in the Springtime well the discourses are held at the seminars and the briefings in various offices you can listen in on all that if you are of a mind to the lectures in common halls and television studios and book chat and wonderment all over the radio flogging this and that substantial alternative product line he hears over the hedge and profits in all this who hasn't a dime worth of clue beyond the common wording of Troy and the discourse of sea lanes in the Middle Earth and you may say what you like subject to these considerations and others unnamed as well barring an effort at attention it doesn't play well if it plays and if so it's just playing
Christopher Mulrooney –firstname.lastname@example.org — lives in Los Angeles, Calif., and has written poems and translations in The Tiny, The Blind Man’s Rainbow, Indefinite Space and Eclipse, criticism in Pyramid, The Film Journal and Parameter, and a volume of verse, notebook and sheaves (AmErica House, 2002).
A poem by Lynn Strongin
Blake’s Jove wielding his compass mane flowing, a lion. There’s a new strange bird on the porch. Dark salt stands around. Magnetic “healing” words on the fridge. We have corruptible prayers incorruptible ones: Some tarnish like silver salt cellars: Sodium darkens a pillar rising in the half-light. A valentine shaped magnifier on the bureau of old oak. A soldier in my dream strikes a matchflame on a mannequin’s hip. Parallel train tracks in London mesmerize me: Was I a train-spotter in a former incarnation?
Lynn Strongin – email@example.com — was born in New York City, grew up there and in parts of the South, and now lives in Victoria, British Columbia. Poet and editor for The Sorrow Psalms and guest reviewer for New Works Review, she has published nine books of poems, has work in more than 30 anthologies and 55 on-line and print journals. Her anthology The Sorrow Psalms: A Book of Twentieth Century Elegy will be published by the University of Iowa Press in the spring of 2006. Her work was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
A poem by Kenneth Slaathaug
Fourteen innocents sit before Big Brother Fighting the illiteracy, unlike father or mother Sitting in the pokey for selling the meth Or drowning slowly in an alcoholic death One youngster can't see the screen before his eyes Some of the others almost wanted to cry They click the mouse, place in the right word Sadly, they may not distinguish between a noun and a verb Nobody finished that long-winded assessment It just proved that they were deep in the basement Poverty and history have hindered them from the start Here come the teachers with the gigantic hearts There, time after time, helping the students increase their skills Not in the number of TV hours or video game kills Human interaction is what children crave the most Yet, some of them might end up making coffee and toast The session suddenly ends, the playing field still skewed But the spark of learning in somebody may be renewed The student empowered to strike out on their own Another soul saved, not another loss to bemoan There's enough sob stories to mix up a witches' brew But, somebody succeeding is a rarity out on Highway 22
Kenneth Slaathaug – firstname.lastname@example.org — is a math teacher who lives and works on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in west-central North Dakota. He has poetry posted at Poetry.com.
A poem by Gladys Goldberg
1. Relentless moon -- as if a siege a smacking glare will not spare the ocean water's catapulting rush toward the British beachhead like a chauvinist froth Time soon will wrap the new moon in the continent's cap Strange armada brewing Dunkirk - dinghies not destroyers the pall of night then orange light spitting as mortar fire cuts dinosaur bites in the retreating swarms 2. Stars in June's high darkness that witness the countdown when war dressed men in helmeted fear hauling them in barges to a French coast misted in artillery's flak and smoke -- scud of the beachhead at Normandy the climb the bloody waves Later it was said like an anti-climax: death drove away the moon
Gladys Goldberg’ – Ggold01@aol.com — has had work appear in Paterson Literary Review, Laurel Review, the new renaissance, and the anthology, Poetic Reflections of Monmouth County, among others.
A poem by Janet K. Brennan
Tables lean left Cobblestones, unforgiving at café Michelle Le Pont Neuf, gently lit reflects as river glass on the Seine Beaujolais tips the edge Spilling red on white linen ~~~They are here Each night, the same Elicit kisses, embraces secret Perfume bold Mixed with passion’ breath Her leg slips over his Bare breasts catch each heartbeat He gently removes a leaf from her tangled hair They glance Sweet intrusion, my soul lonely as I raise my goblet In pregnant salute
Janet K. Brennan – email@example.com — is a writer and poet who lives in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque, N.M., with her husband, Arthur and a great gray cat named Amos. Her short stories and poetry have been published around the world. Most recently, “Taj Mahal Review,” December, 2004, and June, 2005. She attended the University of New Hampshire, Hesser Business College and has a legal certification from the University of New Mexico. She is currently working on her laureate in poetry.
THE COST OF SILENCE
A poem by Juanita Torrence-Thompson
Is the game of cat and mouse or one-upmanship worth the cost of human life? What if you'd thought that by keeping mum about the presence of Al Qaida terrorists here before 9/11 it could've snuffed out your spouse, children, your extended family and friends? What if you'd deigned to consider the obvious -- that our oceans can't protect us forever? It's the law of averages. What if you'd read Nostradamus and his predictions or been less cavalier about the invulnerability of America? If you'd simply used common sense and put 2 and 2 together and been less territorial, perhaps arrests could have been made then and maybe, just maybe nearly 3,000 souls would have gone home on 9/11 to have dinner with their loved ones.
Juanita Torrence-Thompson — firstname.lastname@example.org — is editor/publisher of MOBIUS:THE POETRY MAGAZINE. She writes newspaper poetry columns in New York and Massachusetts. Her poetry collections include Celebrating a Tapestry of Life, Spanning the Years and Wings Span to Eternity.
THE INTELLECT CAN ONLY TALK ABOUT WISDOM
A poem by Katy Lederer
You have never shed leaves, but you leave. You are treelike, a long-deranged stump, you grow giant. Your arms splayed, Your arrow-sharp head in the God-hole. In your thick trunk a pump. Your tongue spitless, your millions of follicle eyes Glaring barren and useless. You are spiteful in sunlight, While at night, in the profligate face of the moon, you bask cold and majestic, Your silhouette cracking the sky. I wonder if you know of pain. O Svelte One, without you, what this terrible sun Beaming plentifully over the world!
Katy Lederer — email@example.com — is the author of the poetry collection Winter Sex (Verse Press, 2002) and the memoir Poker Face: A Girlhood Among Gamblers (Crown, 2003). She currently lives in Manhattan, where she works for a quantitative trading firm.
A poem by Judson Hamilton
I will build a boat in Lodz And we’ll sail up the Odra to Gdansk Where I will settle down to learning The craft of ship building Up to my ankles in wood shavings staring out at the Baltic While at night I will carouse with the locals Learning sea shanties In a foreign tongue While you make various hearty stews with a wooden ladle and the entrails of As-yet-unamed sea crustaceans After a score of months we’ll set sail for a small village in the far north of Norway Just beyond the cusp of the Arctic Circle Where I will have procured a post at the local secondary school As a teacher of Geometry and woodshop I’ll continue to hone my craft on weekends Learning from people with names like Thor and Sigmund While you, In our houseboat, on an ice floe In too-large-mittens Will stir the makings of a celebratory regal cake In a confectionist’s bowl (Icy steam issuing from your mouth in bursts) an annual two-tiered cake to mark the king’s birth bigger each year and oh so majestic
Judson Hamilton — firstname.lastname@example.org — was born in Texas. He lived in Montpellier. He then lived in Seattle. He now lives in Wroclaw, Poland.
A poem by Andrea N. Richesin
For my sister, Wendy Richesin-Dodd
My great Aunt Vandetta fondly recalls a late summer memory of my baby sister and her muscadine the low crackle and gravel of her voice as she recounts tears of mirth stream down her face each time mispronouncing “muscadine” with an “m” instead of an “n” like the coin: a musca-dime My sister crouches low over the galvanized bucket fierce and focused, her breath slow with concentration little drops of moisture form on her downy upper lip in the sunlight, a split-rail fence supports her haunches Heat hums like a hive as she delicately unfurls her palm, delighted by her ability and the lurid purply green sheen of its flesh. Then tracing its smooth surface with index finger, she savagely bites until juice squirts on her pinafore, pours down her face and hands, and races to form trails of tears on her dusty legs to snodgrass below. My great grandmother’s backyard becomes our whole world to explore- its rose hip, honey-suckled air alive with heat, birdcall, and rain.
Andrea N. Richesin — email@example.com — is editor of the anthology The May Queen (Tarcher/2006). She has worked for Thomson Publishing in London, the technology business magazine, Red Herring, and the George Lucas Educational Foundation’s magazine Edutopia. She has also been a tutor with the Marin Literacy Program for the past four years. A native of Maryville, Tenn., Andrea lives with her husband and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area.