One Poem by Edward Alport

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Next Time Round

Long step after long step,
A long and stony path.
Stony, and as steep as stairs
And somewhere, between Now and There,
My sense of wonder disappeared.

Now it’s water gushing through a mill,
Wheels churning down the road,
Paper pushing pen across the ink,
And a cold rhythm of season after season.
Even Spring has lost its passion.

Wake up! I need the cockerel
Farting a fanfare in my ear.
I need the stolid, pious indignation
Of pigs denied their morning feed.
I need the ginger sprouting from its rhizome
And the mosquito slapped against my screen.

 

Edward is a lecturer and writer, mostly on business and politics. He often posts twittaku (double haiku in 140 characters) on Twitter, plus the occasional political limerick.

One Poem by Felix Purat

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Menagerie Falls

Those who walk past
Menagerie Falls
Where the red mill creaks
And the wet birds cheep
Where the black wolf slinks
And the lanky lynx drinks
And a whole new Noah’s arc
Of species tumble forth
From the cascade of froth
Alpine or Apennine
Urban vs. pristine
Charcoal and gangrene
Merge and mate
Mammalian memes
Fluctuate online
They flash past my green eyes
Shade after shade
Convincing the hotties
Under Sagittarius
Who seek to pull arrows
Unveil gastric juices
From punctured stomachs
Strolling to the bathroom
As Tom Ze fills the room
With triassictropicalia
So goes the flow of the polyglots
May their languages flow strong.

 

Felix hails from Berkeley, CA but lives in the Czech Republic and travels frequently. In addition to four micro-chapbooks (all published by the Origami Poems Project), Felix has been published in numerous outlets and magazines and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His poems have also been translated into Slovak. His webpage is: beyondnorcal.wordpress.com

Two Poems by Annie Stenzel

My meals are mostly solo nowadays

and thus breakfast this morning
was a bowl of rue, topped
with slices of remorse.

At lunch, went to the buffet
table, chose a slab of pain
served open-faced. Sometimes

I assemble a side salad
from the many varieties of contrition—
green-leafed, frisée, bitter.

If I want a snack to punctuate
the afternoon, I’ll pick a globe
of bleak from the tree that groans outside.

And for dinner, a simple plate of guilt,
drizzled with a stream of sadness, thin
and steady, straight from the infinite source.


Watercolor words

To talk about the tinges wrought by ripples
moving over rocks of sundry sizes at the bottom
of a creek that races through a summer’s day—
language stalls on the tongue but the eyes are wild

with their desire to speak of these unlikely hues: five separate
shades of green impressed on flickers of dark grey
then passed to brown where the sun seeps
down as the current stirs the water.

No doubt there is an ideal palette for the portrait
of a stream whose bed is filled with colors coaxed
by light out of rocks and water. Oh, box of paints!
if only you held ability, rather than mere potential.

 

Annie Stenzel was born in Illinois, but currently lives within sight of the San Francisco Bay. Her book-length collection is The First Home Air After Absence (Big Table Publishing). Her poems appear in many print and online journals in the U.S. and the U.K., including Chestnut Review, Gargoyle, SWWIM, The Ekphrastic Review, The Lake, and Unlost. For more, visit anniestenzel[dot]com.

One Poem by Jordan Trethewey

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Juxtapose

Let deer drink
while birds hide behind
a tumbling, liquid aviary.

This is where The Plan
deviates from geometrical
left-brain patterns.

Nature doesn’t shout,
LOOK AT ME —
claim industriousness.

It’s conciliatory,
co-exists,
adapts to remain

pieces in a puzzle —
all in it
together.

 

Jordan Trethewey is a writer and editor living in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. His frightening book of verse, Spirits for Sale, is available on Amazon from Pskis Porch Publishing. Some of his work found a home here, and in other publications such as Burning House Press, Visual Verse, Claifragile, CarpeArte Journal, Fishbowl Press, The Blue Nib, Red Fez, Spillwords and Fudoki Magazine. Jordan is also an editor at https://www.redfez.net/, and https://openartsforum.com/. His poetry has been translated in Vietnamese and Farsi. To see more of his work go to:  https://jordantretheweywriter.wordpress.com.

One Poem by Alun Robert

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Spring 1913 Premonition of the Blue Rider

Winter snowmelt descending at pace
driving wheels of rustic mills, the roar
like a Kamchatka geyser is music in my life

after surviving the trauma of raptors
en pursuit of our fragile souls
from fall through to spring
in aerial attrition, the battle played out

with the pungent taste of death
the disembowelled bodies of the weak
all being is flaming agony, lost

high above the water, I recall
while preening my blue regalia
to contemplate our fragile future
in migration back, back to the Baltic

on our historic route north
to rediscover our breeding grounds
in temperate Nordic climes, the peace

hence we recharge our reservoirs
of fodder and water
for our long journey from the Bewitched Mill
in genetic repatriation

over high snow-capped mountains
across the plains of Europe
on through the Somme, then past Flanders

yet I have a premonition
most horrible and shattering
that some time in the future, or closer
raptor red blood will infiltrate our route

when all being becomes flaming agony
watched by a murder of crow
carking from dead trees, ready to swoop

on life and its meaning
through the destiny of this blue rider
and the fate of our flock
from the waters of enchantment.

 

Alun Robert is a prolific creator of lyrical verse. Of late, he has achieved success in poetry competitions and featured in international literary magazines, anthologies and on the web. He particularly enjoys ekphrastic challenges. In 2019, he was a Featured Writer of the Federation of Writers Scotland.

One Poem by Judith Wozniak

Intensive Care

Found poem: quotes from critical care

What has blindsided us
is the speed.
On the imaging system,
speckled whiteness,
akin to powdered glass.

The creeping, pricking fear.
It is here, on the screen,
and spreading
in my hospital,
in my city.

We are all worried
for our young families,
our elderly parents.
We will carry this disease
home to loved ones.

The usual grumbles
and disagreements
set aside.
Soon we will bury
our colleagues.

 

Judith Wozniak spent her working life as a GP and has just completed an MA in Writing Poetry at the Poetry School. She has had poems published in Reach, Poetry24, Sideways, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Hippocrates Prize Anthology 2019 and the NHS Poetry Anthology ‘These are the Hands’ 2020.

One Poem by Jan Harris

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Arcadia in Merano

after The Enchanted Mill, Franz Marc, 1913

A mill in the crook of the town’s arm
where birds bathe in the cascade
that drives a crimson water wheel.

Spray mutes the trill of plumage
but where a pool gathers, a boar
armoured in bold black brushstrokes

drinks alongside a red fox
which shape-shifts into deer or cat
with each altered perspective.

White harmonises the palette,
the fall that bisects the scene,
tall houses pointing to the high castle.

Beyond the town, the Alps
draw jagged lines on sky’s canvas
where golden eagles strike and soar

and footpaths wend past a lynx’s
hidden eyes, bears’ deserted lairs.
Always, the threat of avalanche.

 

Jan Harris’s poems have appeared in various journals including Acumen, Envoi, Snakeskin, and The French Literary Review, and in several anthologies, including For the Silent, (Indigo Dreams Publishing). Jan was awarded third place in the Wales Poetry Award, 2019. Her first collection, Mute Swans on the Cam, is due for publication in 2020.

One Poem by Geoffrey Aitken

reciprocity

the universe
remains unread
by earth’s great minds
though its music
and elusive songs
mesmerize from remote corners
seducing scientific entrepreneurs
to continue lifelong searches
for undiscovered quotients
while the poet
awaits that chance meeting
with eternal fire
to summon word spell baptismals
for aching readers
conjuring possibility
to unlock ancestral human delight
while weaving dreams and rhapsody
to fill the cosmos
so that astronomers may never rest

 

Geoffrey Aitken is regarded as an emerging poet in his home State of South Australia and writes pithy poetry (after a time of poor mentals). He does not dwell. He is older. Recently published in “Flashes of Brilliance” (US x 2), “Aesthetica” (UK).

One Poem by Julie Anne Gilligan

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Facets of Now

Inspired by The Enchanted Mill by Franz Marc

Colours muted, soft as pre-dawn,
not quite in neat focus.
Song birds pause, cat-cautious,
the hunter poised mid-prowl
waits for unlocked limbs.
Water falls frozen in its own space
pure as deep midwinter
on hold for a breaking spell.
The mill wheel strains, stopped mid-turn,
its creaks near audible. Full circle
remains a dream. Meanwhile,
beyond enchantment
life has crept out into the future,
the past now a myth, another dimension:
facets of imagination gathered, apart.

 

Julie Anne Gilligan’s poems have been published in anthologies, e-zines and her first collection The Thickness of Blood. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from The Open University, is an active member of the OU Poetry Society and of Poets Abroad, an international collaborative group. She lives in Essex.

One Poem by MJ Iuppa

Seeking the Self, Beyond the Self

Our backyard feeders swing full of seed and suet.
Everywhere — this morning’s air swells with so many wings
scissoring shadows, allowing a flash of light to slice
through this cloudy day. . .

What spills to the ground — millet, milo, cracked
corn are discarded choices — a waste, lying on the matted grass,
still visible to sparrows willing to glean what they can
before signs and wonders, before one looming silhouette
scares them off this small parcel.

While preparing supper, I look out upon the empty
yard, and wonder where life has gone as I pour water
into the stockpot that I’ve had most of my life, and I
think picking the potatoes, onions, carrots is a grand
gesture, like the birds, I’m nervous of ineffable ticks
where resolutions appear to be just out of reach. . .

 

M.J. Iuppa’s fourth poetry collection is This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017). For the past 31 years, she has lived on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Check out her blog: mjiuppa.blogspot.com for her musings on writing, sustainability & life’s stew.