Ocean City I’m on a fifth-storyhotel balconyat the crack of dawn staring past a row of rental propertiestoward vast waters beyond, as I wonderwhat ghosts lieon the hungover streets below. What sort of jukebox jiveor inebriated highdid that last breeze carry through? It’s a mid-summer den,a damn hotbed,of debauchery and sin on this morning after […]Read more "Ocean City"
Grasping at Straws “The thing is, unless you change, nothing changes.”— Jose Mujica Cordano “It’s easy,” you tell your niece, showing her how to managethe simplest task, baby steps and all that, perhaps how to formher first question, her first double-u, perhaps how to maintainthe fire in the grate, perhaps later to count out her […]Read more "Grasping at Straws"
The Field Guide to Nothing The Field Guide to Nothing, kepton a nightstand never gets read, too muchof every thing in life still in need of getting done. No day goes by without the hope ofdigging in, imagining what it might be liketo finally be finished with it all — and certainly, there have been […]Read more "The Field Guide to Nothing"
Witch Who said a witch need beas tall as me? I met a witchthinner than my fingerwho flew on moth wings. I asked her one or two things.She said her task was findingseeds to replant trees after wildfires I asked what is your name?She said she could not tellthose two words in her spell.She said I could […]Read more "Witch"
After The Party I do my rounds,collect the glasses,some emptied to the last drop,others with anything froma finger of whiskey,a solitary olive,to half a tumbler of flat beer. A couple are rimmedwith lipstickwhile others may bearthe weight of aftershaveor float a littleon a schooner of perfume. I’m no forensic scientist.I can’t identifythe individual drinkers.But I […]Read more "After The Party"
Grant’s Tomb From its roof, pigeons explode, their wingsthrumming like playing cards, clothespinnedto our bike spokes when we were kids. A jogger briskly thuds through growingpiles of leaves. One snags on a straywisp of her hair before it zag- zigs through the air. Sword-crossing spans,one dappled pair soar out beyondthe traffic’s flow. Through clouds of […]Read more "Grant’s Tomb"
I would rather put a chainsaw to my legs Tips of branches turn yellow;needles float down as from heaven.My heaven is a redwood forest. I clear duff from the roof with a leaf blower,from the deck with a snow shovel,mounds upon mounds rumpling earthlike rough blankets and then always comes rain,a season of rot. Seems […]Read more "I would rather put a chainsaw to my legs"
No More Flat Screens! Bring back the cathode-ray tubeto bedazzle us anewwith blizzards of orphaned electronspelting helter-skelteragainst the hard opaque backsideof awareness. And no more programming either!No more ambient laughterwhile wedding guests keen for their sinsand heroes go questing for the road less devouredand sidekicks turn toxic with spiteand speeding shibboleths slam into each otherand […]Read more "No More Flat Screens!"
Lesson Here’s where you work. On this table the chisels lie. Twenty-six. Some have grown blunt with the efforts of carvers before you. In time, tools fail. You work in stone. Cutting on the bias, you strike imperceptibly until something gives. Maybe the stone cries. Once there was lymph, slightly aquamarine. On this bench rests […]Read more "Lesson"
Spring Laying in the long grass I am on the frontier! Thumbing my way Through the old growth forest On the banks of the Allagash The whisper of the wind Feels like an ocean I spot a cloud shaped Like the old homestead I am lost In the North Country Swarmed in a psychosis of […]Read more "Spring"
The resemblance another existential morning and I’m having a coffee peering through the blinds at the chittering sparrows surveying the camellia bush at the centre of my lawn which the gardener has shaped into a giant ball dotted with blooms pink buds quivering like sea-anemone in the mild April breeze then it strikes me in […]Read more "The resemblance"
August Garden Overgrown, ravaged with insects, humming incessant sun, the lot of it buckles, sucks, sags and slumps toward autumn — all bursting, come to fruition, seeking divisions between sex and sex and death — breathing last breaths, heaving its seed toward next season. Stephen Jackson [he/him] lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest. His […]Read more "August Garden"
Prescience The sky’s a graveyard full of ghosts and fossils. No one’s dared to bury barley; it hasn’t rained in thirty days. Neither almanac nor bible tells how to predict an ending. I thought I understood the lifespan of a star, but I was wrong: their deaths are expanding, infinite; I’m the thing inconsequential, impermanent. […]Read more "Prescience"
September This month cuts its own hair, the trees’ dream of going bald and old roses sport candelabras. The mosses cannot hold on as tightly as they did in June. The forsythia droops like a girl’s braids at the end of the first day of school. Black-eyed Susans flirt over the heads of dead-headed daisies. […]Read more "September"
Noting the Excessives We are the feeble, living on an oily, zit faced, nicotine stained bowling ball, the one spinning and hurling in the gut of a steel cobalt blue sky. We are the jolly simpletons stuck babysitting ourselves with the keys to the asylum tucked neatly beneath our slick and lying tongues. We are […]Read more "Noting the Excessives"
Unstoppable The silence fills the crowded hall The warlord standing tall As prisons swell and graveyards sprawl The people hear his call The peasants, merchants, nobles all To please, make themselves small Save one who looks on high and cries “This tyrant’s reign must fall!” Randy Lee is a graduate student at the University of […]Read more "Unstoppable"
The Ballerina’s Tale Each night inside that dead-end bar on the same stool without fail, she’d wait until the jukebox played “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” Those barroom gallants jeered as they quickly gathered around, to cheer each time she’d pirouette until she tumbled down. While from a corner booth, dead set, his bloodred eyes […]Read more "The Ballerina’s Tale"
Williams I stole a book or two in my time— from a room where it bided unread winter and winter came Williams, came that greeny asphodel; unknown then to me in my darkness, how it bloomed when I brought it out, modestly, continuously, met me long years away with waves of renewed waking, a kind […]Read more "Williams"
The High Place How many winters gone And how many remain? I’ve seen seedlings Grow to be masts of great ships Felled by men with rum-warmed Bellies Into gentle beds of Evergreen boughs How many more times Will the tamarack fade into A golden amber bouquet That reminds me of the many Sorrows of being […]Read more "The High Place"
Border Stones Even death is just a concept we put on the bare facts of things. Alluvium and sunlight, names for the annealing world, the dough that turns into bread. I forfeit opinions because I want the startled wings without the assumption of the bird. In the forest, I’m simply dazzled. My heart may hurt, […]Read more "Border Stones"
Wilderness You call to me and I go. I leave my compass; I know North. I leave my rosary; my faith is in your Aurora Borealis. I’ll follow your light through the foothills. The spines of leaves shiver, emerald pools show me the way. I pray. For you, I’d catch a fish in my teeth. […]Read more "Wilderness"
Note for Note Lovers always know their doom. ― Lynette Roberts The shadows from the past don’t sleep for long. They wake when least expected, as note for note, an old piano plays an unwritten song. Your double spies a long-lost love you wronged, waiting on a pier. All that’s now rote. Such shadows from […]Read more "Note for Note"
Affirmation #207 This is the time When you understand That no one is coming. There is no horse in the distance. No woman dressed like she’s in a mystery novel, lurking in the final train car, about to turn your life into a hero’s journey with an ash of her cigarette. This is also the […]Read more "Affirmation #207"
hold true no reason to know kiss the ground as it shakes everything goes away a continuing sequence of holding on and letting go infinite in its finality; love has many names and none of them can ever be ours to keep. Edward L. Canavan is an American poet whose work has been published in […]Read more "hold true"
August It is no easier to escape August than January – late summer lassitude bows the asters, curls the sunflowers just as the blizzard quiets winter. My hammock is my sled hurtling with frogs in first fall of alder leaves, swinging over plums fried on the patio, watching the squirrel choose soft figs over peanuts. […]Read more "August"
Turning Point when the caterpillar digests itself or orange leaves erode with dry veins. the Dagger Moth appears a pile of mold plastered in a corner, shed of its fur. when the rings of a tree seem lost because they are no longer cut open by lumberjacks when …. hold on. hold on to… like […]Read more "Turning Point"
House Dust is skin cells shrouding the broom that once gathered them, draping it now in gray; his blind calico’s brown eyelashes; pearl fibers sloughed off thread she strung through buttons two nights before they buried him in his white church shirt; pollen the daisies he gave her exhale from their kitchen jars. They form […]Read more "House Dust"
Wrapped Tight Ball of string wrapped tight and tidy yearns to fling itself in a direction to unravel massiveness into feathery strand beckoning in wind for more length to discover more paths no worries of finding way back or to dangle like trapeze swinging back and forth inviting acrobats to fly unlike ball of string […]Read more "Wrapped Tight"
Paper Lanterns The self was invented after it was discovered that rocks plummet back to earth when tossed towards the sky, and that all laws are the same whether inside or out. But this is assuming that the self should be like a stone and not a bird or flower, a petal-light charm drifting casually […]Read more "Paper Lanterns"
Brother, Can You Spare The Time? To be fully present for the sensation of a moment where you can discover what lies behind the human masquerade, and have the chance to make everything in your life new again. You’ll uncover grief, sorrow and passion in the sensing of the body armor. The tragic spiritual mediocrity […]Read more "Brother, Can You Spare The Time?"
Instructions for My Proper Burial When I die, don’t you dare put me in a box, And don’t you dare put me in a yard with other deadboxed. Don’t you dare. When I die, separate me into the humors. Sort me into my constructive pieces like the Egyptians did. Cut my feet at the ankles […]Read more "Instructions for My Proper Burial"
Rescue By the gas station rust dumpsters, against wavelengths of fence links, she tucks in legs, sucks her menthol, a kid unknown to the hour-rush home. She senses the halo around gas pumps, under canopy’s down-shining underside. It lures a luna moth, green as lime leaves, baited like she is to these fluorescent oases. As […]Read more "Rescue"
Haircut in Summer, South India My sister-in-law cut my niece’s hair— a strand, then a chunk, for each drop of sweat that taunted and whispered fever— until long black locks were shoulder high— then chin— then cut close to the head. A boy’s cut, she said would make the fever go away. Jennifer Jeremiah is […]Read more "Haircut in Summer, South India"
A Master What if A Master could teach my son to fly over the cornfields of any countryside a person might wish or dream to see. This Master would dress like a carnival barker. My son, who long ago stopped minding my rules, would kick off his tennis shoes and take flight. People would see […]Read more "A Master"
Chairs Rest Like old married couple almost holding hands two lawn chairs rest at lake’s edge. Arms spread in anticipation of sunset each evening before frogs launch into serenade, and waves lap against shore; sound of kissing. Diane Webster‘s goal is to remain open to poetry ideas in everyday life, nature or an overheard phrase […]Read more "Chairs Rest"
Delta Mouth Moon pull swift tide bringing arrowheads quiver dropped loosened skirt strings tight arm and notch to bow dead elks bloat in the shore foam Moon swift pushing so saturnine up a slick and bawdy ship hull up a sickly girl-thigh on a naked shoreline Moon full drip ink on a violet dry notches […]Read more "Delta Mouth"
Becoming Eve My mother wanted me baptized with the middle name of Eve. It was 1953. The priest would not hear of it. In a covert nod to Church authority, she settled on the diminutive of “Evelyn.” I can’t recall exactly when she shared this anecdote with me. I do know I was old enough […]Read more "Becoming Eve"
Reviews of Crime Novels from the First Half of This Year A night unsettled, creepy with rumbled omens. Lightning! Counting to the slam of sky collisions. Beneath a cone of lamplight, I turn the page to the solstice reviewer who tots up semi-annual sales pitches and slams of stories: mercenaries, billboard illustrators, rotting heiresses in […]Read more "Reviews of Crime Novels from the First Half of This Year"
Talking in Waves Dispense with the stubborn, cynical pride, evident in even the most casual aside, about which, much has already been said and many tears have been shed, she pleads. Please. What becomes of us gathers, remains and flows from every word and deed. And so, chastened, his tongue abides, cankered from flagrant use […]Read more "Talking in Waves"
The following is an excerpt chapter from Ms. Never (published November 1, 2019) by Colin Dodds, whose poetry was previously published here at Visitant. The most recent description of Ms. Never: Ms. Never is the story of a woman with apocalyptic depression, and a man who buys human souls using the terms of service in […]Read more "Ms. Never | Joel’s Last Night, First Night – A Short Story"
Out to Find Ourselves we do you at the foot of a precipice skirting the brink this abyss I ahead of a glacier ahead of the curve And the crevice doesn’t move unless the earth beneath it moves it doesn’t shift unless the landmass shifts The glacier moves albeit slowly as the tectonic plates upon […]Read more "Out to Find Ourselves"
The Secret Lives of Things I want to learn from slime molds How they take the shape Of tapioca or icicles or pretzels Pink toothpaste, brown cigars Sucking nutrients From rotting leaves and wood And then become blue crusts Yellow splotches, tawny curlicues And vanish. Their weird diversity and transience Speak to me of beauty […]Read more "The Secret Lives of Things"
Night, Cyan Young woman, come and sit with us ghosts of wisdom on the veranda under the shelter of a night sky that is cyan and purple in color. Forget the shadows of his arms Instead feel the darkness of a summer night as crickets in their chorus begin to share with you all the […]Read more "Night, Cyan"
Dark Raisin The drinking glasses stay in bed Tight and dry in a shadow chest Light invades the belly-hole She’s been trying to cleanse for weeks Walls will harden under harsh neglect Violent piety will crack riverbeds Our Lady of Guadalupe lives in a candle jar Who told her a belly glow would placate her […]Read more "Dark Raisin"
Your friends are not your friends Your friends are not your friends. There is no such thing as a friend. The wasp devours the honeybee on his dutiful search For the final flower. The flower stagnates, smelling sweet for no one. If it’s true that you kill the things you love Then she loved me […]Read more "Your friends are not your friends"
Between Grief and Joy The beaten path is nondescript, a right of way through pristine lawns and tree-lined streets of gracious homes, well-shaded in the heat of day and sound as caves on winter nights, with mantled fires burning low to warm the dens of hibernating souls. You head due south beyond the park and […]Read more "Between Grief and Joy"
Husband: All Earth I. Led Zeppelin on Spotify, movie posters on walls, Coors Light and Old Spice, here she dove softly into cool dust. At home, it was canyons and dirt, long showers after boring sex. Her husband: all earth. Here, they were all bodies, purple Gatorade, no sleep. II. Third Eye Blind on Spotify, […]Read more "Husband: All Earth"
Political Harvest Toward the east Through back porch screen Clouds are forming their ranks Against the sun A crow’s distant cawing Gives voice to solitude Worn like a thorny cloak And mocks that final promise Hope and lifeline once Now become more lethal Than foreign shrapnel Pines murmured all night In their high, strange tongue […]Read more "Political Harvest "
Praise for a June Morning At half-dawn the male cardinal slams his beak against my bedroom window, time and again only to retreat every few minutes to trill his maleness. The mourning dove coo ooh oohs in the woods as a smooth breeze invites maple-greens to ride its flush – to suggest fresh is how […]Read more "Praise for a June Morning"
The Stick Dawn is doing dawn, breaking its yolk. At the bank of the Trinity there is oneness. It is in small part, about the destiny of a conifer branch, cracked in an early winter’s wind. At the shoreline, its rhythm laps at the graveled bank, bald as a drumstick, thick as a child’s innocent […]Read more "The Stick"