Upgrade

Hand held eyes head unencumbered telepathic, no need for speech hovering instead of walking how many babies? How many pets? photosynthetic? Photovoltaic?

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The Demon Bean

Coffee Unctuous First sip, last drip, scrumptious No drink can comfort, the parched dry mouth Recover from mornings, the sentient self Quite like the demon bean Devilishly moreish, whoreish even as I sip her wares With cinnamon toast for company Not love, nor utopia compares Arabica, I shout, the cavernous yawn expectant Smells the roast, hears the china cup And like magic the corpse is resurrectant Then with a thank you God and a splash of cream I do baptize the demon bean

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Papilio

Lemon-brushed, she has one last trip to make across pastureland to the wild cherry tree. Last meal on a frivolous zinnia, torn chiffon at her wing’s end amber and black turn to bisque on grey appalachiensis.

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Impossible Sunrise

As if this city, composed of skeletal pink coral, arose from the basin of a dried-out ocean swept by desert-spanning wind and now echoes through my sleeplessness again, a speechlessness ripped apart by joyriding motorcycles.

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Enterprise

Heavy blooms expose their fleshy bodies in such enterprise among the dunes—as mine to yours. Such immeasurable delight: the pale lips of the iris curling to the listless sky.

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Lights

I cradle an ornament that holds infinity in my hand a small blue angel carved out of wood meticulously painted in a life lived long ago. Scents of Bavarian pine, black forests that are silent, darkly deep with the residue of Rosstal.

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Mockingbird

As it often does moving by memory, your body finds mine, fits puzzled into angles and curves in those hushed hours—were it not for the mockingbird screaming into the moonlit, slate-grey sky.

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Learning from Asiatic Lily

As red lick of sunrise brightens the air you stand near sheets of greenery pause beside pillows of hosta / moss witness / where love lands to kiss lilium lips. Slick with dew / petals glow as tongued bowls greet wasp answer beetle / respond in kind. You / too / were once kissed warmed in morning light.

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Morning

On the street behind barriers squealing kids follow mum and dad along the boardwalk joggers jostle walkers among handholding couples. Shore spume sprints to the tideline. Sand shifts and settles unhindered by human feet and towels

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Pig Farm

Nine years ago swine flu kissed the farm, Obliging Virginia Hambone to stand firm Against the public use of mucky troughs Which was causing the trots and coughs.

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small hands

We were frozen stumbling and bumbling your hand on my thigh my leg on yours holding tight as we hurled down that hillside on a rustic red slide not knowing we would have this moment to savor for so many walks to come before full time work and grad school one, two, then three bundles of infinite intensity.

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My Pumpkin Pie Recipe

The singing ingredient (two parts aria) is for the pumpkins, the gratitude moment when the seeds go in, the months cajoling vines up the pyramid of lath, celebrating bees in the fluted yellow flower, waiting for slow golding of the green

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North

For a moment in the calm, between gusts of wind: the faint push of air beneath wing. The northern harrier drifts above a flowering field of yellow mustard. Bobbing among the eddies, the murre learn centuries of the waterwork and currents, driven unthinking by what we cannot know.

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Muskrat

Muskrat She walks past the pond, up the road,toward illuminated shape—sunshineorbits its body, an auburn luster. Behind oak, near maple, she cloaksits remains with autumn’s leavings,honors its life. At bedtime, she smooths her grandmother’scoat, the mink repurposed into coverlet.Its plushness weeps with needless death. Animals have covered us long enough. Jeannie E. Roberts has authored four […]

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Little Town

Little Town Money almost enough.Sanity but not quite.Mellow mostly.Bowel movements plentiful.Hunger at times.Pain where expected.Growls and groans,grins and laughter,in proportion.Lambs and lions,about 50-50.Much more copperthan gold.Sex and sickness.Holiness and one barber’s pole.Hardware store.Movie house.Tractors – second hand.But much machineryin general.More than booksand places for a band to play.Scant art.Little style.A lot of unmarried virgins.A few […]

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Meteor Shower

Meteor Shower Canvas blackthe eternal oil spill galacticdark matterspeckled waves of crystaldiamond skyruby, emerald, sapphirelightspeedsilent night brightterminal velocityeyes focusstraining in the dark timeas seconds, minutes, eonsstretch galaxiesinto small handsthat even rain cannotfeelfor in feelingwe begin to fallheadlong into nightriding the meteorsof our pastknowing the showersof our futurewill smotherthose small handssomeday Mark Hammerschick writes poetry and […]

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Along the Seine

Not doing much but composing a poem in my head—which might be somethingif the poem is consummated,turning out to be good. Sunlight steps easy on the waterall the way to Quay Bercyand a new first line—that’s better.Lush, green leaves on the trees, a cat chases plump birds,a couple on the roof of a houseboatkiss and […]

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Tuna Meow Meow 10¢ Off

Tuna Meow Meow 10¢ Off Checkout behind befuddled womanwho places one can Turkey & Giblets Cat Foodon counter, watches the scan,selects a Price Chopper couponthumbing through a stack in her fist.Cashier shakes her head: “Coupon’s forthe small size, honey, you’ve got the large,”tosses the can in a reject bag white plasticwhile Ms. Befuddle lifts a […]

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Bill of Delights

Bill of Delights …bosun wharf.  That corduroy anorak  molded you…       *  …al dente.  Gash eggplant.  Trickle…       *  …kite-flying matinee idol.  The accessory…       *  …gravel rash.  We zigzagged  in fairyground…  Christmas 2001, The Northern Cultural Skills Partnership sponsored Christopher Barnes to be mentored by Andy Croft in conjunction with New Writing North.  […]

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Ocean City

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 […]

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Grasping at Straws

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 […]

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The Field Guide to Nothing

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 […]

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Witch

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 […]

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After The Party

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 […]

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Grant’s Tomb

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 […]

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No More Flat Screens!

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 […]

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Lesson

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 […]

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Spring

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 […]

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The resemblance

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 […]

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August Garden

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 […]

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Prescience

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. […]

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September

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. […]

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Noting the Excessives

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 […]

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Unstoppable

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 […]

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The Ballerina’s Tale

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 […]

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The High Place

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 […]

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Border Stones

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, […]

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