the rain inside
they left this
in the desert he finds this
in the desert he wanders, brings
this home brings refuse of Eros he
gives life again to them he
brings the rain into the museum in a college-town he
busks for liberty he searches finds liberty an artifact
in the desert he lets the tiny bells ring
drop and ring
he suffers us to hear the shots
draining us he grants us a calm observation
of desperation fruiting the metal plane
secures us views of the flag falling
suffers us to hear the wood iron nylon water
hands clasped behind our backs
he lets us consider costs
in the soft patter
the rain inside
that left them
Brian A. Salmons
Brian A. Salmons is a poet and translator from Orlando, Florida. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Eyedrum Periodically, NonBinary Review, Poets Reading the News, The Light Ekphrastic, Eratio, and others, including anthologies from YellowJacket Press and TL;DR Press.
When Cypress Weep
Aged cypress stand tall atop a hill outside our village.
They guard the graves of those we have loved.
My mother, my brother, my son.
With each new death pallbearers,
caskets heavy on their shoulders,
lead us over cobblestone streets.
Our steps resound a communal dirge,
the scent of mourning walks with us.
As I follow in my neighbour’s funerey,
the beads on my son’s christening cap,
held close in my pocket, become my rosary.
From the church we wind through town.
As we pass, all join in the procession,
and we climb the hill together.
The journey is long,
it gives us time to grieve.
Melissa Rendlen is a pseudo retired urgent care physician who finally moved to her beloved Northwoods of Wisconsin last year. She now enjoys hiking, snow shoeing, kayaking and writing poetry. She has had work in The Missing Slate, Underfoot Poetry, Poets Reading the News, Synkroniciti, Lephemere, Nixes Mate Review and anthology to name a few.
Drifting into Moonrise over Hernandez, NM
After Ansel Adams, October 31, 1941
A clutch of crosses incandescent in the dark light, like words of a single syllable chanted
in the murmurs of bushes and slats, churches, workhouses, trailers, the lone and level
shrubs humming loud and far and away. Fear. Grit. Drift. Woe. Hope.
So much happens above the murmur—the stones in relief against the dark,
the roughened snowbelt, the firm wind towing the mountain shadows from the sky, an
oblique moon shining its minor light.
The moon glow grazes tiny crosses huddled below, standing for those whose grit lit the
way, whose hands dug them home, whose faith reached high,
Draped in borrowed luminescence.
Dr. Mary Adler
Dr. Mary Adler is a professor of English at California State University Channel Islands, where she teaches writing and literature. She has published two books for teachers, most recently Writers at Play: Making the Space for Adolescents to Balance Imagination and Craft (Heinemann, 2009). She is a fellow of the National Writing Projects at UCLA and UCSB.
for Monika Pisniak
Exposed to the whispers
of a gazillion constellations,
as the sea reflects the tranquility
of the crimson moon tonight,
the back and forth play
of the waves continues,
and a dozen sea shells
converse with the toes
of my bare feet
cradled in the bosom of sand:
“how many sound years
before you may be reached?”
Immersed in the centripetal
and centrifugal of reminiscing,
I cannot resist returning,
for the serenity of the scenery
is too compelling:
inquisitive blue eyes,
cherry red lips,
our favourite Spanish wine,
folklores from favourite places,
sun bathed souls,
We were poles apart,
and you wished for me
to retreat to Tatras with you.
I could only send a love letter:
up there, out there,
when wrapped in the white dust,
under the mesmerising shower
of shooting stars
—initiated by the muse,
wishing for the wishes
to be grander than the wishes--
blow wind a whisper,
sprinkle it with star dust,
and let the hissing wind
entice our senses,
and I will know
you are here.
You could only send a lover letter:
your scent on my skin,
it doesn’t wear off.
If I could only hold you,
I would tell you
how much you mean to me.
Near me, there aren’t many,
who I can relate to
—reflect and extend myself to--
I’ve found you,
but you’re so far away,
as if in a different universe.
I wish you were
only a thought, a word, an echo away.
Beyond rectification now.
I should’ve abandoned this town
a long time ago.
Saad Ali was born in Okara, Pakistan in 1980 C.E. He has been brought up in the UK and Pakistan. He holds a BSc and MSc in Management from the University of Leicester, UK. He is an existential philosopher-poet, and has published three books of poems (so far) i.e. Ephemeral Echoes (AuthorHouse, 2018), Metamorphoses: Poetic Discourses (AuthorHouse, 2019) and Ekphrases: Book One (AuthorHouse, 2020). By profession, he is a Lecturer, Consultant and Trainer/Mentor. Some of his influences include: Vyasa, Homer, Ovid, Attar, Rumi, Nietzsche, and Tagore. He is fond of the Chinese, Greek and Arabic cuisine. He likes learning different languages, travelling by train and exploring cities on foot. To learn more about his work, please visit www.saadalipoetry.com.
Mother wraps fragility in tender strength.
Her terror reveals tremendous power:
alas eternal, not corporeal.
If her glance were as effective as The Lord’s
on the pursuing Egyptians in the Red Sea,
Herod’s henchmen would have exploded into flames.
In the final embrace
she silences the cry
that will nonetheless echo
in the eviscerated space between her arms
until her last exhale
Sheila Murphy, BM, MA, lives in coastal Maine and works in ministry and mental health. Her creative work features cross-fertilization between nature, poetry, photography, prayer and retreat leadership and musical performance. Balance is maintained by fiddling in a weekly Irish Session at the local pub.
An Ancient Fantasy
sold in 2011 for 4,750 GBP
Outside his burrow, a hermit breaks
from tending herbs and cabbages,
and leans on his staff with a Psalter.
Purple iris bend to listen.
On the soft ground, two artichokes
pray chop them into soup, change them
into flesh by the gardener’s thanks.
Distant mountains shoulder heavy
sunbeams, turn a venerable teal.
They nurse at their feet a tinseled stream
with trout and minnow. Evangelists
(one could believe) appear as off-
shore birds. On Mt. Pispir, the saint
savors his ruminant poverty,
though a canvas drizzled with paint might,
in another world, sell for millions.
Anna Evas: "Published internationally in literary journals such as Irises (The University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize), Long Poem Magazine (English), and Michigan Quarterly Review, I work as a lyricist, recording artist, and composer."
Here lies Uncle Griff Owen,
who was once a Desert Rat
and always a Welshman to the core.
He taught art at the local school,
loved the hills of his country,
and sang strong in the choir.
He helped me make toy trains
when I was young, and when he was gone
I carried him into the church on my shoulder.
Here also lies Thomas Bladon,
the artist from the Midlands,
who made Snowdonia his home.
Henry Bladon is a writer and art lover based in Somerset in the UK. He writes all types of fiction. He has a PhD in creative writing and runs a writing support group for people with mental health issues. His work can be seen in Writers’ Forum, Microfiction Monday, Friday Flash Fiction, the drabble, entropy 2, and 50-Word Stories, amongst other place
"For when I am in the presence either of father or mother, whether I speak, keep silence, sit, stand or go, eat, drink, be merry or sad, be sewing, playing, dancing, or doing anything else, I must do it as it were in such weight, measure and number, even so perfectly as God made the world; or else I am so sharply taunted, so cruelly threatened, yea presently sometimes with pinches, nips and bobs and other ways (which I will not name for the honour I bear them) ... that I think myself in hell."
Lady Jane Grey, reported by Roger Ascham who visited her family when she was a young child.
Ives, Eric (2009). Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery. Wiley-Blackwell.
They lead you, blindfold, through the maze,
and leave you there, lost and alone –
and whisper as they walk away;
then later, to an injured throne
you neither spurn nor wish to claim,
as rival families, and Rome
and Cranmer play their deadly game;
at last, they lead you to the dark,
your eyes wrapped in a fold again.
The giant axeman stands apart
until the drumbeat sounds, and prays
for kind precision in his task;
as unkind Delaroche betrays,
and – licensed by your mask – defiles
you with a practised, coward’s gaze,
caressing you with brushstrokes, while
your unlearned searching hands reveal
a nine days queen, and still a child.
Phil lives in Kent in the UK. He works as an advisor on peacebuilding and international development. His poems have been published in numerous magazines, journals and websites, and been shortlisted in competitions. A micro-collection, This Quieter Shore, was published in 2019 by Hedgehog Poetry Press, and a full collection Poetry After Auschwitz, is due this year from Sentinel. Some of his published work can be found on his website www.philvernon.net/category/poetry.
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She comes from the dark bearing
gifts from behind a heavy curtain
whose soft folds echo her smile.
Red and russet apples balance
on a white plate held before her:
an offering to the God of still life.
Broad hands give us confidence
that nothing will slip from this
delicate yet perfect arrangement.
Her white shawl caresses her with light
bright as herself. Her eyes and lips
make three perfect almonds bracketed
by the calligraphy of her eyebrows
and chin. She looks down to her left
confident in the fruition of all things.
Moontide full she knows the touch
of brush, the smell of paint, the crunch
of apple, the repose of hidden seeds.
Colin Pink has two collections of poetry: Acrobats of Sound and The Ventriloquist Dummy’s Lament. New poems are forthcoming in South Bank Poetry, Magma and Under the Radar magazines.
The Ekphrastic Review
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