December 2020


View Issue vol. 11, no. 9
ISSN 2369-6516 (Print)
ISSN 2369-6524 (Online)

Scroll down to read all poems, or select the poem title to go directly to that poem. Select the author’s name to view a short biography (if supplied) and all poems by that author.

Georgia AtkinIn the Long Nights

Rick BrisonGood Trouble

Marilyn ChallisHaiku to Winter Season

Harry GarrisonShakespearean

Jari-Matti HelppiThat Street

Scot JamiesonChristmas, 2019

Scott Lynchan afternoon with Jadis

David Mac EachernA Happening

Mike McFetridgeThe Religious Pray

P. MinutiaeVirgin Ground

Memel PoundFulmination

Nathaniel S. RoundsAs Long as It’s Swingin’

Rod StewartWinter is Coming

Mary Ellen SullivanLinda, In Many Skins

Elzy TaramangalamWandering Thoughts

LeeAnn Wallage BrownReturn

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In the Long Nights

Poem by Georgia Atkin

A faint hum, unpractised.

Then a louder note,
emerging in the silence

In spite of everything,
my lungs still take in air
and offer music in return,
the bellows of my body
transforming oxygen
into stalwart vowels and consonants
that catch the wind
and carry me on;

each soft sweep of melody
unfolds its wings around me
and rises, winding its way
towards stars
in the winter sky.

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Good Trouble

Poem by Rick Brison

Children play on the beach
I watch the crashing waves
With some alarm as
They roll up on the shore
Aggressively noisily rudely
Bouncing boisterously
Across the sand
Only to fall back again and
Leave most of that great
Effort undone sure
All that energy
Must be destructive
Dangerous fun but
Totally undiscouraged
Again here they come
And every time they do
Another inch of ground is won
Children play on the beach
I watch the waves some more

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Virgin Ground

Poem by P. Minutiae

The first to be buried in the graveyard
A lone Explorer of the underlying

before Its arrival
The ground had known but daisies and the like
Never flesh

Some grounds know flesh
And the forms in which it comes
They’ve held it for some time

This ground is hosting It
Like the newness of the unknown
And alone It rests to be discovered

Until It is joined by another
who, when it comes, will be more known

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Sonnet by Harry Garrison

Here’s a question: to be or not to be?
Romans, et cetera, lend me your ears!
Briefly put, the soul of wit is brevity.
The fault is in myself, not in my stars.

There’s more things in Heaven and Earth.
The world’s just a stage on which I play.
I overstate that I doth protest too much.
Shall I compare myself to a Summer’s day?

Brave new world with such creatures in it!
I am forever to my own self true.
Love is love, no impediments I admit.
The course of true love never ran smooth.

Juliet, why the heck art thou ‘Juliet?’
Goodnight! Parting is sorrow so sweet!

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A Happening

Poem by David Mac Eachern

Rapid eye movement, fact or fiction mode
Deep resting mind’s relief displays a scene
A sleep revealed mystery in subconscious code
Caught in the action, not getting theme

Profound message, leaving impact on waking life
Maybe a story, though without word
Caught in the feelings which so excited
As with pictured thought, though never heard

Meant to be expressed, love’s flowing lotion
Acceptance by an invite, a welcoming surge
A heartfelt connection, devotion calmly in motion
Constancy of the inspiration, beauty to merge

Wanting what is real to be found
There shineth full composure, combined in persistence
Looking deeply into hearts, love making sound
Together now fully from dream into existence

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an afternoon with Jadis

Poem by Scott Lynch

first cog railway in the world, 1869
our guide proclaimed
Switzerland was second
sighting a frock, rock frog
we smiled in ascending
trestles carried us further still
the Appalachian Trail, or 10 feet of it
anyway, we found between frozen cairns
detraining we were accosted by 70mph
winds and a grounded Junco exhausted
and unable to fly
extreme was the catch phrase
and late season too
highest recorded winds 231mph here
atop Mt Washington at 6288 ft
three hours we waited detailing
the elderly, infants, the under dressed
crocs and shorts the toque less
oompa loompa hats and angst
pacing constantly consuming all available
food as darkness fell we waited
ice and gusting winds had derailed
an earlier attempt to rescue us
then came the announcement of boarding
and Jadis led us to ‘carriage C’
we would be first down the precipice
first to attempt the 37.4% slope
our dark cabin quiet as death on decent
rattled and bumped ‘till shouts of ecstasy
heralded our arrival announcement
striking her best
‘come hither bad boy’ pose
we’ll not soon forget the striking image
of our white witch

Why I Wrote this Poem

At the mercy of the elements and the early onset of winter… Unprepared for a night descent and fearing for my life, thinking of Narnia, good and evil, and Jadis – she began the Long Winter, magically forcing Narnia into a hundred-year state of frozen snow and ice, thus earning her the title “the White Witch”. Juncos are often called “Snowbirds,” because many people believe their return from their northern breeding grounds foretells the return of cold and snowy weather. Based on my real Mt Washington summit adventure, fall 2018, where I was stranded with about a hundred fellow travelers.

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Winter is Coming

Poem by Rod Stewart

Autumnal glory now spent,
All days tarnished dull
In maroon and ochre,
As elder spoken whispers
Steeped fragrant as earthen tea,
Boiled and burned dry,
Bitter and biting
To naked quivering lips,
Licking their calloused cracks,
That plead desperately
For sweet evening balm
Of cinnamon and cider,
Ever weeping scarlet,
Cursing against the face
Of wolfen nor’westers,
Breaking only for thought
Of those other lips,
Of a moist nocturnal nature.
All days now drawn deeper,
Into shadows and dreams.
And hopes buried forgotten
Like chestnuts folded away,
Into our Mother’s womb

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Wandering Thoughts

Poem by Elzy Taramangalam

Fallen leaves on grass
Knowing all, shy smiling ask
Is my country yours?
The seditious part of the heart
Refuses to accept
This bedlam democracy.
Eyes covered, lips sewed
Hands folded, knees bend
Mind filled with dark dread
Fervently tasking for day break.
Stamped – marked freedom unbound
For saints, sinners, people of the mind
Folks of the field
And every child on land
Living on the hinges of history
That makes the world one.

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Christmas, 2019

Poem by Scot Jamieson

The occasional anonymous snowflakes were
going about their business of falling,
moving competently about,
like wait staff place-setting before
a banquet. The great banquet of the snow
was to be held that evening,
with all the guest cars and trucks seated
in their front-row locations on the roads.
A pedestrian poet walked to his house
and opened the door to a hair-salon waft
of air from the newly-sprayed wreath
of holly and berries. He went up to
his apartment, heard a clock-like ticking
from the new plastic solar Santa shimmying
slowly by the gray-sky window.
No huggable wife in sight – out, likely.
There were boxes around of decorations
to hang, unopened so far, but he looked at
the light on the boxes and felt too
happy to want to change anything
at that time . . . “not just yet.”

Why I Wrote this Poem

Christmas 2019 is a self-explanatory poem, telling its story, first metaphorically then plainly. It looks back before all the changes of 2020 kicked in, all of them adverse, to at least one night when it felt good to be a man on a street. One good piece of news I discovered in 2020 is that new J. D. Salinger books are now overdue to be published! Could I ever appreciate one about now! He didn’t want them to be published in his lifetime, but he died in 2010. Being happy in a room reminds me of Salinger . . .

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Haiku to Winter Season

by Marilyn Challis

Frigid North winds nip,
Jack Frost smiles round the corner,
Embrace Wintertime.

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As Long as It’s Swingin’

Poem by Nathaniel S. Rounds

I, the snapping turtle
crossing the highway,
have a certain aversion for said highway,
but cross it nonetheless
as my lake was poisoned
thanks to the small mouth bass
and its insatiable gentrification.
I am fearful of 18 wheelers and curious coyotes
but await the sweet soul music
of a new stream.

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Poem by LeeAnn Wallage Brown

A core twisted and bruised.
Echo a song of pain.
For a bleeding heart to be soothed.
Listen, For the voices that echo.
Through mute ears,
Once warm.
Misses a soft touch.
Missing the beautiful hues of blue.
Without waves.
To carry me,
Back towards you.
Pleading, one more time.
Awaiting the journey,
Back home.

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Poem by Memel Pound

Like antonyms in air
The fronts collide in
Spectacular derangement
Of ions ripped that
Tripped the switch
And sparked the
Pent potential
Of the fair air
We breathe.
Who would harness the bolt,
Would covet the power.

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Linda, In Many Skins

For Linda Clark

Poem by Mary Ellen Sullivan

I wear many skins, each a tale.
One thin, fragile, patched, when my mother cries.
Another for the mystery symptoms
with their fractured surface of shame.
Taut surface of an escaped balloon
rising beyond the ninth floor.
I take it for a good omen.

Layered stories of surgery. One withheld.
Skin of burnt flesh, ragged breaths.

Knitting together a guilt-burdened recovery.
(Why should I still be thinking about it?)
Rippling layer of heart-deep laughter.
The contoured layer of a purple dress, butterflies…

My brain dances with stories.
Minus the colloid cyst
That life-threatening life-changer.
I imagine slipping a silk skin over the cyst
when it emerges.
I must thank it for the stories.

Why I Wrote this Poem

Linda Clarke is a fascinating person – a clinical ethicist and professional story-teller, she’s worked with Dal Med students to tell their stories. After years suffering severe headaches, she was finally referred to a neurosurgeon and diagnosed with a colloid cyst in her brain. She and her neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Cusimano wrote a book alternating their experiences: In Two Voices. Linda refers to her stories as skins, like the shame she felt being in hospital so long, the shock of learning much later that she had been in a coma. My question is, was it worth having the cyst, given all the experiences and stories she had?

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That Street

Poem by Jari-Matti Helppi

The cold north does bestow upon
the wonton winter’s leaven strong.
The hearthful comfort of the blast,
that comes from Hades smaller fast,
and sits warming smolder’s chilly will,
like cold souls wined on frilly fill.
There, as all and words do tend
to set a mood and then defend
the ones who’ll gutter up repeat;
like those old ones met upon that street.

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The Religious Pray

Poem by Mike McFetridge

The religious pray;
The heathens stray;
The adventurous explore;
The greedy want more;
The realists squirm;
The educated learn;
The pious preach;
The teachers teach;
The politicians lie;
The workers try;
The writers write;
The fighters fight;
And the down-trodden poor
Knock upon the door…

And life goes on

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