The Hearthside Poems by Michael R. Burch

Something

for the children of the Holocaust and the Nakba

Something inescapable is lost—
lost like a pale vapor curling up into shafts of moonlight,
vanishing in a gust of wind toward an expanse of stars
immeasurable and void.

Something uncapturable is gone—
gone with the spent leaves and illuminations of autumn,
scattered into a haze with the faint rustle of parched grass
and remembrance.

Something unforgettable is past—
blown from a glimmer into nothingness, or less,
which finality has swept into a corner ... where it lies
in dust and cobwebs and silence.


Styx

Black waters—deep and dark and still.
All men have passed this way, or will.


Spring Was Delayed

Winter came early:
the driving snows,
the delicate frosts
that crystallize

all we forget
or refuse to know,
all we regret
that makes us wise.

Spring was delayed:
the nubile rose,
the tentative sun,
the wind’s soft sighs,

all we omit
or refuse to show,
whatever we shield
behind guarded eyes.

 
Infinity

for Beth

Have you tasted the bitterness of tears of despair?
Have you watched the sun sink through such pale, balmless air
that your soul sought its shell like a crab on a beach,
then scuttled inside to be safe, out of reach?

Might I lift you tonight from earth’s wreckage and damage
on these waves gently rising to pay the moon homage?
Or better, perhaps, let me say that I, too,
have dreamed of infinity . . . windswept and blue.


Hearthside

“When you are old and grey and full of sleep...”  — W.  B.  Yeats

For all that we professed of love, we knew
this night would come, that we would bend alone
to tend wan fires’ dimming bars—the moan
of wind cruel as the Trumpet, gelid dew
an eerie presence on encrusted logs
we hoard like jewels, embrittled so ourselves.

The books that line these close, familiar shelves
loom down like dreary chaperones. Wild dogs,
too old for mates, cringe furtive in the park,
as, toothless now, I frame this parchment kiss.

I do not know the words for easy bliss
and so my shriveled fingers clutch this stark,
long-unenamored pen and will it: Move.
I loved you more than words, so let words prove.


Love Has a Southern Flavor

Love has a Southern flavor: honeydew,
ripe cantaloupe, the honeysuckle’s spout
we tilt to basking faces to breathe out
the ordinary, and inhale perfume ...

Love’s Dixieland-rambunctious: tangled vines,
wild clematis, the gold-brocaded leaves
that will not keep their order in the trees,
unmentionables that peek from dancing lines ...

Love cannot be contained, like Southern nights:
the constellations’ dying mysteries,
the fireflies that hum to light, each tree’s
resplendent autumn cape, a genteel sight ...

Love also is as wild, as sprawling-sweet,
as decadent as the wet leaves at our feet.


Remembering Not to Call

a villanelle permitting mourning, for my mother, Christine Ena Burch

The hardest thing of all,
after telling her everything,
is remembering not to call.

Now the phone hanging on the wall
will never announce her ring:
the hardest thing of all
for children, however tall.

And the hardest thing this spring
will be remembering not to call
the one who was everything.

That the songbirds will nevermore sing
is the hardest thing of all
for those who once listened, in thrall,
and welcomed the message they bring,
since they won’t remember to call.

And the hardest thing this fall
will be a number with no one to ring.

No, the hardest thing of all
is remembering not to call.


Sunset

for my grandfather, George Edwin Hurt Sr.

Between the prophecies of morning
and twilight’s revelations of wonder,
the sky is ripped asunder.

The moon lurks in the clouds,
waiting, as if to plunder
the dusk of its lilac iridescence,
                                                                                    
and in the bright-tentacled sunset
we imagine a presence
full of the fury of lost innocence.

What we find within strange whorls of drifting flame,
brief patterns mauling winds deform and maim,
we recognize at once, but cannot name.

 

Michael R. Burch is an American poet who lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Beth and two incredibly spoiled puppies. He has over 6,000 publications, including poems that have gone viral. His poems, translations, essays, articles, letters, epigrams, jokes and puns have been published by TIME, USA Today, BBC Radio 3, Writer’s Digest–The Year’s Best Writing and hundreds of literary journals. His poetry has been translated into 14 languages, taught in high schools and colleges, and set to music by 23 composers, including two potential operas if the money ever materializes. He also edits www.thehypertexts.com, has served as editor of international poetry and translations for Better Than Starbucks, is on the board of Borderless Journal, an international literary journal, and has judged a number of poetry contests over the years.

Gin Rummies & The Fiddler. Poems by E M Schorb.

GIN RUMMIES

		To find a friend one must close one eye.
		To keep him—two.
				        —Norman Douglas
					
		for Rodney Formon


Friday nights, a fry-cook, 
arms scarred by sizzling fat, 
Rodney bangs on my door.
We like to drink together,
shoot the breeze, and laugh.
Drunk enough, we sing!
It’s karaoke with CDs scattered 
on the table, improvisational
shandygaffs and combinations
you can’t enjoy with your relations.

It’s good to have a drinking buddy.
I’ve used up two already—
one who fell down a flight of stairs
and one, who was much older, 
who died of his warrior life.
But now I’ve got Rodney,
who is very different from the others.

The other two were quite and somewhat
intellectual, and where the one
could talk history or science, art,
music, or just about any subject
in just about any language and come back,
being polyglot, and polymath,
even polymorphic, after hooch;
the other was a man of action,
a war hero with many medals
tucked away in drawers locked
by indifference, but still would tell of
weapons, arms and the man, and such
with fervor—my Heraclitus—
and also with disgust, with
fatalism, believing nothing
changes in man’s fighting nature,
disposed to think the worst;
but enthusiastic over chess,
which he played in earnest
as if he were at war again.

But Rodney is another sort:
He knows I write but will not read
a word I write, nor much else either,
but likes the Internet so much
he slides crabwise in thought,
toward what depth of cyberspace
I often cannot fathom until zing
I see it for myself, or am I drunk?

I see with Rodney that the other two,
complimented first my young and then 
my middle-aged delusions 
of a deeper self-knowledge
than available to most.  Yes, Rodney
shows me to myself, or shows me 
to my youthful ghosts, as ego-fed,
but did and does this unintentionally,
whose wonderful indifference makes me shrink
like a cock in the cold, and chug my drink.

 
THE FIDDLER
  
                       An Appalachian Tale              


Played the devil’s fiddle, stomping to it, shaking it out,
   full of corned blood, his boot down down down!    
Days before the corn, his old bitch Lucy lay by his piston heel.
   Said later she smelled it, stayed by it, waiting
for the meaty bone; said later never done him no harm at all;
   said later not even a ghost of evil but Lucy got it,
old bloodhound bitch like red clay, wrinkled old lady hanging
   from her own bones—could make her moon-howl,
pointing his wild bow—do that at dances.  Devil in a Baptist,
   playing the fiddle.   Gradual as the mountains,  
he found out how the devil got in.  Fiddle under his spiked,
   gray chin, corn jug thumb-hooked and cradled on top
his elbow—capful for Lucy—then stomp stomp stomp: music
   through Blue Ridge pines!   Could choo choo it
so’s you see smoke and steam, hear that wheezy accordion whistle;
   could conjure with it up a trainload of places
or turn you back home to the station of pines and blue smoke
   mountains, bring musical rain, or put the devil
in your heart, winking and drinking and stomping.  Everybody loved
   him and his Lucy, including said devil, as the corn dropped
down into his right big toe.  Said it hurt to stomp.  But it don’t
   stop the fiddler.  Don’t nothing stop the fiddler!  He was
one thing else than music; he was a man.  Take more’n corn going
   through, dropping down in my right big toe, says at
the May dance, everybody seeing him stomp, ouch ouch ouch on
   his big red gray spiked old corned face.  Devil 
got in through the corn, slick as silk; got down in my boot,
   but I’ll stomp him out; give old Satan a head-
ache—stomp stomp stomp!  But that corn went to killing him.
   His bow was flying!  Went on like this, folks say,
a tad’s five year, him stomping the devil in the corn and the devil
   stomping back.  Said now he couldn’t play no more if
he don’t get rid o’ that old devil.  Takes him a broad wood chisel
   out back on a stump, sets his right foot up, sets
that chisel to his toe, and strikes down with a good hefty hammer.
   When he pulls back his foot, that devil in the corned toe
stays on the stump, says looka me, I’m off!  Has brought him 
   some fireplace soot and some gingham.  Sticks that foot
in that black soot, to staunch the blood, and wraps it in gingham
   rags.  Said never done him no harm again, quiet as a bone,
and he goes back to stomping in peace, rid of the devil.  But 
   first, he throws that old corned toe to Lucy.  Says:
I knowed you always wanted it.  Now mind the nail, Lucy; don’t let
   the devil get you, you drunk old droop-skinned hound
bitch, cuz I love you.  And Lucy goes to lickin’ that toe, pops
   it in, and goes to grinding up that devil in her old ground down
chops.  And next time we see them,  the fiddler and his drunk bitch,
   they both full of corn, and ready, now, for the dance! 

 

 

Schorb’s work has appeared in Agenda (UK), The American Scholar, The Carolina Quarterly, The Hudson Review, The Southern Review, Stand (UK), The Sewanee Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The North American Review, Poetry Salzburg Review (AU), The Yale Review, and Oxford Poetry (UK), among others.

His collection, Murderer’s Day, was awarded the Verna Emery Poetry Prize and published by Purdue University Press, and a subsequent collection, Time and Fevers, was the recipient of the Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Award for Poetry and also an Eric Hoffer Award.

Most recently, his novel R&R a Sex Comedy was awarded the Beverly Hills Book Award for Humor.

Evergreen into Ivory White Poems by Julia Webster


Tread Softly

      
      Tread softly for the night is but
      a prelude to the day
      And all that lives must die
      For thus it is as we've heard say
      So many times before.
      Before? the end of the beginning
      Which itself is only spinning to Infinity
      Divinity is but a name for good thought
      Transferred into deeds
      Where one man counts the cost
      The other's praying for his needs
      Stop!..A thought
      Listen!...A bird is singing somewhere
                                             in the Universe.
      Poor thoughts, poor empty thoughts.
      How can I say ' I love you?'
      What's in a word?
      Just frailty.

      One, two ,three, four, five ,six ,seven
      All good people go to Heaven
      But I think otherwise and I'd advise that 
      You do too
      Wouldn't you advise someone that
      Hell's by far a better place
      And that a misplaced feeling of                      disgrace is relatively unimportant
      Oughtn't one to think so?
      No I suppose you wouldn't, couldn't
      I like to think a little differently
      Not follow in the crowd , eh?
      Tread softly, you may say,
      Have it your way.


       A devil, black and smoky,
       Breathing fumes of concentrated            orange juice through cold-pudding     nostrils                
       What's wrong with that?
       Don't tell me you don't like him
       None of that!
       I suppose you'd paint a better?
       Fetter him in garlic, would you
       Could you?    

        Tread softly 
        For the night has come and dying is
        Out of tune
        And all the people on the earth are                Gazing at the moon
        For soon her light will out
        And shouts of anguish then will spill
        the air
        And everywhere will be a place too                small
        And anywhere will be the devil's fool
        And stars will burst and thirst
        for more good deeds to fill up History
        And soft bright eyes will dim
        And then the earth will lose its spin
        And fighting chaos raging for a                                                                          decade
         Will streak the skies with noble deeds
         And stars will burst and thirst for                   More good deeds to fill up History
         And then....only Time
         Not space but Time
         Running, walking ,speeding
         Slowing ,
         Straight, bent, Lent.
         Time without space
         And nothing more.

          A drop of sun upon a leaf
          Warm rays spraying silver on the seas
          A fan of light beating colours into                  flowers
          And hours upon hours upon hours..
          Tread softly....tread softly...    
         


Flight of the Dove
            
            The tree stands in the lonely field.
            It is raining in sleep- filled rivers.
            Do not hate, do not love.

            beyond hope or caring, sleep or                      sloth
            Dreams deride the thing which is
            Whole world's subside and we,
            Who think we know what suffering                                                                         is
            Cannot abide the murmuring of the                                                              dove.
            We who do not hate, we who do not                                                                     love.
            For us the barren fields are soaked
                                                            in  blood.
            Send up the cry!   God is dead!
            Only beware the fleeing of the dove.

            Have you seen her?
            Flashing blue across the river?
            Did you call out to her?
            Splash of film over the river.
            Catching sight of her wings of taut                                                                   gold
            Did your heart of a sudden grow                                                                             old?
            As she sliced the sun into pale-                                                  white ivory stalks
            By the water's edge, disrupting the
                                            moor-hen's song,
            Belong, belong! belong, Belong!

             
            But what are you doing here,old                                                                     man
            Fouling the greenways?
            Mouth of pomegranate, stench of 
                                     tears gone sour,
            How could you have tasted the                      Forbidden fruit
            At this ungodlike hour?
            You were cast in too strange a                                                                 mould
            A million years of shadow have                      Trespassed behind your eyes
            How could you taste the light
                                              of your eyes?
             Rains you heed not, nor the                                                           wind's outrage,
              But poach at ease beside the                                                  blood-lit streams
             Not hating, not loving
             But tell me, what will you do
             When she comes, robed in mist?
             At the first hint of dawn,
             Will you see her, even in                                                                  dreams?
             Will you stay silent as she drops
             To her pale death in the foam
             Jagged rock of white mist,                               Plummeting down through
             the air's crystal streams
             Lost to the sunrise
             Staining the day with new gold
             As the sun's rivers melt her                                                                      through
             Will she touch you?
             You who are so old?
             Will you reach out to feel that                         Warm rush of feathers
             Blue-green-scarlet-gold?
             Or are you too old, too old?
             As the waters reflect back her                                                 causeless song
             Will you trace those pyramids of 
                                                                light
             Treading sapphire rings
                                                  into the mud?
    
         

Ode to a Drug Addict
         
       
        The great scape of Heaven

       Is tortured with images of Death
   
       And the night sky.


       Owls swoop in the twilight world 

       Where Keats went mad

       For Beauty 's treacherous eye. 


       Ode to a fool 

       Transfixed by the painting 

       Of some great pig of a man

       Eating a fly.


       Tempestuous nights and dawns of 

        Eclipses 

        Fighting the otherwhere and the

        Why.

        I

        Screech at you from the rooftops 

        Over the bridge,  driven wild

        Inside my head


        Hammer the bed into white sheets

        Grasp cold on 

        Nothing

        Outstare the stars to white lead. 


       And running,

       Hand you the piece of dust 

       From which I fled. 
    


       Evergreen into Ivory white



Evergreen into ivory white
The curlew calls
The morbid manufacturers of day
Attend the passing funeral
Of those who decay
Slowly with time.
The bird rustles in the hedgerow
Hear its mating call
At close of day
the flight of swallows return
No matter where.

The passing shepherd summons the sheepdog
The daffodils burst out in gold
My lover's out there in the cold

The short mist comes
The gap between heaven and earth
And all obscurity
No greater love than this
Will
You
Grant
Me
A
Short
Space 
For
Breath

The galleon ship enshrouded in mist
White walls surround the drowned sailor
Shipwrecked
In white water
On the turf of dreams

The bird flying calls 
The seamen look up 
It is not a white albatross
It is I turning about
Into this white pool
The shoreline crinkles into powder
Tiny and remote
Flying high, the day recedes
Into this ivory-white 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
Julia Webster studied English & Drama at Exeter University then later studied Integrated Health Sciences at Westminster. Her first play written in 1972 entitled “The Object of the Game” was performed at The Little Theatre, Barbican , Plymouth and was likened by the well known Harvey Crane critic of the South West to works by Pinter and Ionesco. She began writing puppet plays for children and performed at various Albion fairs throughout the U.K. and was selected to attend The Children’s Festival in Austria by Arabella Churchill. She also wrote poetry since her teens and has composed many songs for voice guitar, violin and piano accompaniment which have been performed in various venues across the U.K. and also in India. In 1979 she met her teacher Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rimpoche and has been a student of his and Dzogchen teachings since then. She currently lives in West London with her family and teaches piano and also practices cranio sacral therapy.

Teetering Toward Sattva & Further Poems by Kalpita Pathak

Teetering Toward Sattva

My friend’s mother would tell him, I created 
you and I can destroy you, as though, like Parvati
with Ganesh, she had literally made him
from a mixture of earth and her perspiration, brought
him to life with her breath. Śaivasampradāyaḥ believe 
Shiva is the creator, preserver, and destroyer
of the cosmos. Does that mean mothers

are his avatāra and children their miniature
multiverses? I wouldn’t know. I’m not a mother. Mine
may have been a god to me when I was little
(it’s likely she was) but I remember her 
as my universe. One I destroyed over and over
with the choices I made, huddled and weeping
and bereft, my days-old sweat a blend of scotch

and cigarettes and dirt from the alleys where I
crouched for decades. Now those years have passed
and so has she. Neither creator nor destroyer,
she preserved her dreams for/in me and I live them 
with her hands, callused, dry-darkened
at the knuckles, soft, cool. They wash away the grime
so I can live for today. So I can live for us both. 
So I can live.


Anteyesti
to Anay


Your body burns
as your mother weeps
her son into a letter.
I read it, edges 
fluttering in the summer 
wind like wings, like the ashes 
we scatter
in the canyon’s river. She asks
why you wanted to melt
into memory, fleeting 
desert snow beneath
the sun of our hot grief.
And in that brutal 
light, she begs 
for rain to swoop down
and flood her cracked earth.


(… As We Know It)
  Reset: Kritayuga Begins Again


When the apocalypse
comes what becomes
of the astronaut who floats
in the space station and sees
the sun as it really is – a silvery
white flare, incandescent
as fireworks arching over
our greening blue Earth? 

Kalpita Pathak is an autistic poet, novelist, and advocate with a passion for research and sensory-rich details. Her work tends to explore the perseverance of hope in a sometimes despairing world, with a little dark humor and magic added to the mix. She received the James Michener Fellowship for her MFA in creative writing and has taught at both the college level and in school programs for kids from three to eighteen. She has recently been published in Mediterranean Poetry.  

Mini Poems from Bekah Steimel

Sheep Dreams

My sheep stumble down the plank
  and jump ship
crashing into waters whisking with every shark
that ever detected the drunken cologne
  of my blood

PLACE SETTING

Where you live when you are not where you are living, and by living, I mean residing.  
And by live, I’m referencing the space constructed of memory and curiosity.  And by curiosity, 
I speak of the galaxy where dead wishes can’t be piled like bodies. They float seamlessly, 
snag your eyes with a twinkle of a wink. A location as unattainable as those aspirations you 
gifted pulse and game plan. Then suffocated, ripped to portions, and ingested slowly. Well, shit.

The setting of a play, a place, the actors are not all actors, you are writer, director, knowing 
it will never be produced.

       FIN

Ghosted

I ghosted myself
or am I a ghost to myself?
Haunting my leftovers, haunted by what
I left over in a geography
without space or proof.

Hushing Heroes

I’ve been reading my heroes wrong
I’ve been reading my heroes bedtime stories
A collection of heroes 
is a herd of one’s own insecurities
I’m rocking both to sleep  

bekahsteimel
 

Bekah Steimel is an internationally published poetic person who was “mostly dead, slightly alive” on VV ECMO life support in 2019 from double lung failure (get your flu shot! And, COVID vaccine as well!). An artist reporting back from the other side. Developing Chance Books LLC. She can be found online at bekahsteimel.com and followed @BekahSteimel.

The Rain-Wet Rats. More Poems from RW.Haynes

1]
The Rain-Wet Rats
 
She bathed in cold fire which softly sterilized
Her fitful thoughts circling constantly
Back to what gets lost, what set free, 
Gently startled, but not at all surprised.
The cold front rattles in with peevish rain
Concealed by darkness in the morning chill
But nudging at the mind as hostile specters will,
Cold drops rattling like a fatal chain.
 
Can she be easy regulating the fates
Of two dozen dirty peasants with staring eyes
And rusty pitchforks, furious at lies,
Shrieking in the rain outside her gates?
 
Is risk or safety the best choice to make?
The rain outside keeps rattling like a snake.
 
The rafters of civilization broke that day,
And all the rain-wet rats nimbly raced
Away like greyhounds, all order displaced,
And she ducked aside to hide out of the way.
Thunder crashed, as it were, and she
Smiled secretly and thought of my face
Aping consternation ludicrously.
 
2]
Symbolist Gunslinger Purges His Vocabulary
 
Lovely ladies, decked with smiles and flowers,
Dissolve all war and ugliness generously,
Gently repudiating suspicion, hostility,
Disarming all the cowboys’ macho powers.
Let sunshine warm where desert heat once dried.
Let kindness soothe the pain of outraged minds
And cool the excessive heat that burns and blinds.
Let understanding leave rough men satisfied.
For this is a magic, a witchcraft you yield,
Medea, Medusa, Miranda, Antigone,
Criseyde, Duessa, at times ferociously,
And Judith, and the fair witch I once met
Upon the meads, whose ring I wear within
My blood-curdled heart, and will wear when
Chariots descend to collect my fatal debt.
Lovely ladies, let the world spin away
Its grief, let conflict fire our blessed sunlight,
Let the right simplicity be ours today,
And the right words bless our witless dreams tonight.
 
3]
Jukebox Catullus Hums and Strums
 
I can’t stop playing Banquo’s ghost,
And blood runs everywhere each time I twitch,
And somewhere my corpse is bleeding in a ditch,
And you’re still indifferent to who loves you most
Despite this commitment, this dramatic dedication
Here on these boards where happy endings hide
From murdered noblemen with broken hearts inside
And no luck in erotic conversation.
May I venture an aside, though I should leave the stage?
Let no ghost be dishonored, or his staring eyes
Will plunder your heart in midnight surprise.
Enough.  The mad Queen calms the murderer’s rage.
The curtain never falls for the players in this trade;
We wait to spring the traps the poet made.
 
4]
The Right Reply for Second-Hand Fear
“Now time’s Andromeda on this rock rude…”
			--Hopkins
 
A delicate matter prevented her revenge:
Madame Alving was, at that time, at least,
(Delicious pause) Andromeda waiting for the beast,
Long-legged bait a gate to unhinge,
A passage of a champion of the stage,
Sic semper tyrannis the cry of the day,
Cooing doves flapping wings to fly away,
And the old monster’s dilapidated rage,
Bursts forth though in need of upholstery,
Roaring his regrettably wheezy roar
To remind us what monsters are onstage for,
And everyone fake-quakes, all but she,
For she smiles somewhat palely with that fire in her eyes,
And waves a hand defensively without fear,
For she knows who and what is scary here
And what is God’s truth and what the Devil’s lies.
That steady fire grows, its intensity stays,
However much your maudlin monster weighs.

 

 
R. W. Haynes, Professor of English at Texas A&M International University, has published poetry in many journals in the United States and in other countries. As an academic scholar, he specializes in British Renaissance literature, and he has also taught extensively in such areas as medieval thought, Southern literature, classical poetry, and writing. Since 1992, he has offered regular graduate and undergraduate courses in Shakespeare, as well as seminars in Ibsen, Chaucer, Spenser, rhetoric, and other topics. In 2004, Haynes met Texas playwright/screenwriter Horton Foote and has since become a leading scholar of that author’s remarkable oeuvre, publishing a book on Foote’s plays in 2010 and editing a collection of essays on his works in 2016. Haynes also writes plays and fiction. In 2016, he received the SCMLA Poetry Award ($500) at the South Central Modern Language Association Conference In 2019, two collections of his poetry were published, Laredo Light (Cyberwit) and Let the Whales Escape (Finishing Line Press).

Living with the Elephant. A Poem by Cynthia Bernard

Living with the Elephant


I guess the fog has little cat feet 
sometimes, but around here 
it dances with the wind,
wild and fierce,
especially at dawn.
Howling across the ocean, up the hill,
gusting my robe against me,
sloshing coffee into my face as I try for a sip.

I guess aging is gradual 
sometimes, but around here
it’s a tempest, arising suddenly,
wild and fierce 
and relentless.
Wrenching my days apart
into a before that can never be found 
again -- and a very different now.

I guess one could fight it
sometimes, hair color, face cream, 
supplements and potions,
exercises, affirmations,
denial.

I guess one could simply accept it
sometimes, but around here
arthritis has swept in on elephant feet,
fierce and relentless,
and no pill, no potion,
no affirmation, no meditation,
can sweep it out again.

I guess one could handle things gracefully 
and sometimes I do,
but around here there are other times, too,
when everything seems to hurt
and I want to stay under a quilt
for whatever part of forever
I get to see.


And then again, there are
yet other times, sometimes,
the majesty of the ocean at first light,
the sweetness of love found late,
my hand sliding into his.
New buds on the camellia,
rain on the roof, deer in the yard,
granddaughter’s smile,
or a nothing-special-time
in the exquisiteness of the now.

And I find that 
sometimes, increasingly often,
I welcome it all:
the cat’s feet and the elephant,
things wild and fierce,
quiet moments and raging ones,
lines on my softening face, 
creaky joints and aching bones,
wind in my hair,
full heart,
fog over the ocean at dawn.



(This poem was originally published in Multiplicity Magazine) 

Bio: Cynthia Bernard is a woman in her late 60’s who is finding her voice as a poet after many decades of silence. A long-time classroom teacher and a spiritual mentor, she lives and writes on a hill overlooking the ocean, about 20 miles south of San Francisco.
Publication history: Her poetry has been published in Multiplicity Magazine, The MockingOwl Roost, The Vita Brevis Press Poetry Anthology, Last Leaves Literary Magazine, Flora Fiction, fws: a journal of literature and art, and Open Door Magazine, and will appear in upcoming issues of Passager Journal and The Fresh Words Magazine Anthology: Contemporary Poems 2022.

:x, webster’s, fischschuessel. 3 Poems by Jessica Skyfield

:x.


but it's not just that.

permanence and impermanence.

lasting legacy of what and for how long?

stability defined as: x

the leaning tower of pisa rights.

perception is reality. 

and people leap to their deaths in the virtual world.

but where is the line? and more importantly, who drew it?

i kant do that.

and our collective reality mimics meatloaf,

minimizing magnified metamega for milieu,

because what is it all worth/about/settled for/done for/answered by anyways? 


*




webster's


goblin mode, 2022.

ok then...

fragments of my metaverse. 

blaming my ennui on my gravity disorder.

starseedblahblahblah.

i'm genetically predisposed to lighter climes. 

it's my woo-niverse.

and the typing cat fervently, feverishly paws out:

the weight of it all, unbearable.


*


fischschuessel


enjoy the fragmented figments.

flashes of light. 

flashbulbs of fame.

reasoning, that recognition fails, fleets, flounders, flops, flippantly flying

from rear-end fenders.

and when does the wordplay stop?

einhalten an alles. 

und alle einsteigen. 

zack. sagt die stutzstaffel.

protection from what?! 


*

Jessica Skyfield is currently a teacher. She has been a scientist, a mother, will always be a student, and worn other hats, too. Her poems seek to bring light to our struggle with our awareness of our humanity: the juxtaposition of the smallness of ourselves when viewed universally and yet the large impact each of our individual actions can have.  

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