Gypsy Blood by Wesley Scott McMasters

Gypsy Blood
            for my father
I wear shoes that are worn out
            soles worn thin
            leather cracked
            creases clear
           sometimes even a gap through which
            I can feel rain or snow
I wear shoes that I don’t wash or shine
            I let them soak in the shit in the city streets
            feel the ocean water
            or the Gulf of Mexico
                        a place my father dreams about
                        even when he is there
I dig these shoes out from the back of my closet
            like pulling bones from a grave
            blowing the dust off
            stepping in piss
            in a corner of Venice
            where as a kid
I always dreamed of going
            finally walking those streets
            wearing jeans that made me
look like my gypsy ancestors
the Romani who still live
outside of the city
            a purple button down
            blazer bleached from Italian sun
            and shoes
            that will never forget why
            the soles are worn thin
            and the leather
            is cracked
            or the moment when she kissed me
for the first time
            in ten years
            or ten days
            or the moment when I hugged my father
            for the first time
            in ten years
            or ten days
            maybe the first time I ever saw him cry
            and definitely the first time
            I cried with him
            as I watched my grandfather’s body
            weak and frail
            carried out to be burned
                        to be made into dust
            my father told me
during a call to him
from a diner
in Poughkeepsie
that we have gypsy blood
            like my grandfather
            and my great grandfather
maybe this is why
my leather lasts
soaked in blood
my blood
my father’s blood
gypsy blood
Wesley Scott McMasters is a poet and professor in the eastern part of Tennessee, near the Smoky Mountains, where he lives with his dog, Poet (who came with the name, he swears).

The Forge by John D. Robinson

The Forge
Afterwards we lay quiet,
catching our breath,
although we’d done
nothing wrong, we both
felt guilty for some
reason and we could
not let go of this
feeling but we knew
we had to,
there would be plenty
more to feel guilty
I didn’t seek the life
I’ve led, it happened
along the way, I began
with no plans and as
we held onto one
another as youthful
lovers , we knew
life would be closing
in on us and forge us
into becoming
johnd d
John D. Robinson is a poet from the U.K.

Time takes pawns like a short game of chess by DS Maolalai

cup and saucer
Time takes pawns like a short game of chess
corner-shop flowers
gone rotten
as vinegar,
like dead fish
and scattering ashen petals
on varnished tablewood.
blown up from the sea
and cast in cornered piles
against our castles,
to be gone in the morning,
with spring rain.
everyone leaves.
they don’t have to choose to,
but they
do it.
everyone leaves.
with wings like eagles
and spiders
with legs
that bounce like bent paperclips.
a cup and saucer
in your mothers house,
kept whole for 20 years,
and then dropped
and cracked
and thrown away.
DS Maolalai has been released in two collections, “Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden” (Encircle Press, 2016) and “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” (Turas Press, 2019)

Tree by Louis Gallo

I am watching men in hard hats and chain saws
amputate limb by limb, before they destroy
the trunk, a most magnificent oak tree
across the street—for no apparent reason.
I have admired this tree for decades, the
tallest in the neighborhood, even the city,
and no doubt hundreds of years old.
It must surely rise over three hundred feet,
though I am not much at guessing distance.
It’s wide as a massive ziggurat, and who knows
how deeply its roots burrow into the earth.
I imagine it reaching into the sky to touch
Orion, that it is in fact a sublunary Orion
itself, an Orion being butchered
for no reason, for no reason, for no reason.
But this is the way it goes with the sacred.
Two volumes of Louis Gallo’s poetry, Crash and Clearing the Attic, will be published by Adelaide in the near future. A third, Archaeology, has been published by Kelsay Books; Kelsay will also publish a fourth volume, Scherzo Furiant, in the near future. He teaches at Radford University in Radford, Virginia.

War of Elements by Akshaya Pawaskar

War of Elements
Who is fighting in this war?
It’s not a war between
countries or continents.
It’s not a war between
armies and insurgents.
It’s between elements.
It’s between humors.
It’s between the air and water
with its stratagems of winds
with its velocities
and pressures,
with its whirls
and whorls in which
we are mere civilians
flying round and
round on a carousel
of the drunk thunderstorms.
It’s a war between
land and the seas
dams and rivers,
nation of trees against
Guerilla of fire,
with the forests breathing out poison
as they burn with centuries of
rage and felling
to clear a land for the new ending
which is as old as the first man
himself digging his grave.
It’s a war between
a glacier and it’s strong mind
to stay solid and its
giving in to melt
to meld into the ocean
usurping the shores,
infiltrating the hinterlands.
It’s between the deserts
and the rain.
Between the seething belly
and the silent mouth
of a mountain.
It is a breakdown in the
face of heat of
boiling earth
of thinning skin of Ozone
of hardening hide of
Carbon dioxide.
Tears of fossil fuels
Tears of earth.
The long and the short of it is,
we are not the collateral damage
that we are not
the helpless slaves,
that we are not
the mute victims.
It’s a war between humankind
and platoons of nature.
It’s a war between
the creator and the creature.
Akshaya Pawaskar is a doctor practicing in India and poetry is her passion. Her poems have been published in Tipton Poetry journal, the punch magazine, Efiction India, Ink drift, The blue nib, North of oxford, Indian rumination, Rock and sling and Awake in the world anthology by Riverfeet press.

This Land is Full of Noises by Robert Nisbet

preseli hills
This Land is Full of Noises
Ours being a small and rural region,
much of our noise will be ripples and shifts,
quirks, half-mutes and ghostly sounds.
Yes, traffic certainly, a few loud racers,
the odd blasting exhaust, but get a mile away
from the small towns and it’s more a grumble.
The jets to America are too high to be heard.
There’s the now-and-again light aircraft drone
and the gliders, lower, hinting at a wind’s rush.
The sheep’s bleat can sometimes reach crescendo
but is often more a token of a stolid self.
The cow’s low is placid, stays short of the mournful.
The coastal winds can rise to a shriek, a pounding,
which can quickly drift on down to stillness
and soon to the sinking hiss of sea on sand.
Two sets of footsteps, trudging a Preseli peak,
just a slight crunching, faintest puffs of breath,
then the one flurry of the spoken …
Just .. well..  just want to say .. sorry ..
Few other sounds, just a slower breathing,
one long sigh, words of a kind ..  ah .. well .. yes ..
and above, just the piping of the buzzard.
a photo robert nisbet col
Robert Nisbet is a poet from rural Wales, about as far West of London as you can go. His work has been published widely in Britain and the USA, including regular appearances in San Pedro River Review and Panoply.  

Perspective by Robbi Nester

sycamore seed
Sometimes in winter, I sit on the red bench
under the sycamore, remembering spring,
the faint green florescence of the earliest leaves,
almost a rumor, then the brash unfolding,
the tree sifting sunlight through its branches,
hoarding its riches in the roots. Though it
cannot be discerned, all trees, crowned
with moonlight, grow toward the brightest stars.
In autumn, the seeds come coptering to the ground
in their hundreds, where they send out cautious roots.
In this cold season, the bench too remembers
that before the shaved planks, sweet smell
of sawdust, it once was a tree, holding sunlight
deep underground, awaiting its next incarnation.
Robbi Nester is an elected member of the Academy of American Poets. She is the author of four books of poetry–a chapbook, Balance (White Violet, 2012) and three collections: A Likely Story (Moon Tide, 2014), Other-Wise (Kelsay, 2017), and Narrow Bridge (Main Street Rag, 2019). She has edited two anthologies of poetry: The Liberal Media Made Me Do It! (Nine Toes, 2014) and an ekphrastic e-book published as a special issue of Poemeleon Poetry Journal)–Over the Moon: Birds, Beasts, and Trees–celebrating the photography of Beth Moon. Her poetry, reviews, articles, and essays have appeared widely in journals and anthologies, most recently in Is it Hot in Here, or is it Just me?, an anthology, Pirene’s Fountain’s Culinary Poems, Lady Liberty, Tiferet, and Rhino.