You see power lines and I see twilight But you follow me everywhere, even when I sail across seas, live in other countries, speak foreign languages. Especially when I speak foreign languages. They remind me of your many tongues, fingers in my mouth, body like a map revealing unknowns that make me all at once prepared and still afraid.Read more "This Wasn’t Supposed to Be About You"
Near the pressed powder next to the mascara the one packaged in pink she looks for Raspberry Rush. The cylinder brightens by the liner becomes beacon beside the blush where the concealer hides as the tweezers glisten atop 20x mirror. She removes the cap turns the case— ah, the scent of fruit and flower lanolin aluminum lake.Read more "She Applies Imagination in Times of Uncertainty"
Hand held eyes head unencumbered telepathic, no need for speech hovering instead of walking how many babies? How many pets? photosynthetic? Photovoltaic?Read more "Upgrade"
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 beanRead more "The Demon Bean"
She is not alone. Half that grows in her is half what grew in me, lack of blood on my lips oiled hormonal wheels that germinate holinessRead more "Ode to My Ex-Husband’s Pregnant Girlfriend"
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.Read more "Papilio"
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.Read more "Impossible Sunrise"
In case of headache or mental exhaustion, one cannot rely on the fizzy, caffeinated sweetness of Coca-Cola. But rather, than dwell on its lack of restorative properties, take a sip.Read more "Esteemed Brain Tonic and Intellectual Beverage"
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.Read more "Enterprise"
You see power lines and I see twilight clinging to itself. You see a cardinal and call it a representative and I say visitant and eventually we agree on angel.Read more "The Theory of Electromagnetism"
Remember the loons on Henneman Lake. Together, we paddle along the shoreline. We hear a song trio, juvenile plus mates. It’s a pristine setting, natural not fake, where lily pads float and clear water shines. Remember the loons on Henneman Lake.Read more "Remember the Loons, a Villanelle"
Much must. Old nut bearers, leaf returners. Old man forest and his just sprung wife. I have faith in those wild orange day lilies and forsythia, but Black-eyed Susans and stargazers have fooled me before.Read more "What Will Winter Over?"
The sea mist condenses in the chill of pre-dawn Now rain streams down the roof, pocking the sand Yet the sea washes evenly its morning tide coming in Its white caps brilliant in this yet-nightRead more "Before the Lightening"
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.Read more "Lights"
How can you describe a place called Dottie a land of statistics, a land of probability a country rooted in elegant traditions traffic running wild, traffic running widdershins green terrain shutting down completely perchance of rain confounding new arrivals with postings and signs, signs shedding slogans, making promises directing the journeyRead more "Invisible Countries: Countries and Signs"
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.Read more "Mockingbird"
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.Read more "Learning from Asiatic Lily"
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 towelsRead more "Morning"
For thrum of yellow through sycamores and slant of sunlight through milk jug’s rounded edges. For gold-ignited summer and star-spangled boneweed on the road.Read more "Thanksgiving in Hometowns"
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.Read more "Pig Farm"
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.Read more "small hands"
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 greenRead more "My Pumpkin Pie Recipe"
Annie Dillard’s Weasel contemplates the umwelt of John Lennon. Having seized its last muskrat the weasel rides to heaven on a trail of half-eaten flesh and bones. Once arrived, its esteem for wildness fades and its true nature is revealed.Read more "Annie Dillard’s Weasel"
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.Read more "North"
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 […]Read more "Muskrat"
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 […]Read more "Little Town"
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 […]Read more "Meteor Shower"
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 […]Read more "Along the Seine"
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 […]Read more "Tuna Meow Meow 10¢ Off"
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. […]Read more "Bill of Delights"
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"
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"