A Hard Spring by Antoni Ooto

A Hard Spring
The trees held their place year after year;
until the ice storm, with its bitter night,
the sound of cracking that went on for hours—
And, they began giving themselves up—one by one.
Morning brought a quiet sun
shining on places where light never fell
through the window we stared,
like refugees of an undeclared war;
recalling our trust in nature—
the leafy canopy of trees.
Antoni Ooto has had poems published in Amethyst Review, The BeZine, North of Oxford, The Poet Magazine, The Front Porch Review, and many other journals and anthologies.

Fetus in Fetu by P.C. Scheponik

Fetus in Fetu
They began, two delicate orbs adrift
in an amniotic galaxy,
twin stars who silently collide,
one engorging the other,
the way Kronos swallowed his young,
the smaller brother, in the belly of the larger,
A Jonah child whose song will never be sung,
the whale’s mouth, permanently sealed.
He will grow more slowly, sinking inward,
half of him never revealed,
as if God stopped knitting.
While the larger son rises, floating toward the light,
a slice of horizon at the end of darkness.
The smaller one, tucked tight inside of him,
glowing like an unfinished dream,
legs and arms in motion that seem to move
of their own will, but no upper body.
Still this being thrives without hearing, without seeing,
strives to live his hidden half life deep inside darkness,
the pulsations of his umbilical,
 breathing the sweet, sanguine air,
 buried in his brother, become his wife, become his mother.
He lies there, the mystery of unbeing.
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P.C. Scheponik is lifelong poet who lives by the sea with his wife, Shirley, and their shizon, Bella. His writing celebrates nature, the human condition, and the metaphysical mysteries of life. He has published six collections of poems: His work has appeared in numerous literary journals.

carry by S.M. Moore

I think I hear the music you’ve been telling me about.
I’ve been looking for it for a long while,
but it seems like every time I hear it,
it moves further into the distance.
Every time I get close,
I can hear it moving away
faster than I can move.
But every once in a while,
I hear the notes ring out from between brick buildings.
I don’t know the city well like you do.
It is easy for me to get lost in these streets,
and even easier for you to hide.
I hear your music though.
And sometimes I wonder;
do you want me to find you?
Loud are the horns,
but the streets are convoluted.
Maybe I could find you if you came towards me,
but you go the other way.
You go the other way when you hear me singing.
S.M. Moore has published a section of a novel he co-authored in a small newspaper based out of Bates College. Moore is also a regular writer for the Portland, Maine newspaper, Up Portland. His poetry is published or forthcoming in Down in the Dirt, Flora Fiction, and Literary Yard, among others.

Two Poems by Carl Kaucher

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Pond Scum
Henry David Thoreau made pencils.
I don’t know who made telephone poles.
I feel like an endangered species
looking for a habitat to survive in.
I was once born again on a dead end
but the details remain fuzzy
though my soul, my heart and my mind
feel pretty good about it.
I’ve been sermonizing my salvation
with each step I take.
The sidewalks are like scripture to me
each block unfolding like a new chapter
and the promise of a new beginning
is always at the next intersection
where I might muse about macadam
ponder the potholes
and contemplate the beauty
of concrete curbs and crosswalks.
I’m not interested
in the middle of nowhere,
I’m more fond of the edge.
I am hoping this train of thought
leads me down the tracks
to the stream of consciousness
where I might step in twice,
but very lightly
for there are slippery rocks.
I was wondering of the place
where form existed before the idea
but it was just a thought
I found in an old book of Greek philosophy
and I got lost in it
although if I keep rubbing words together
eventually I will spark a fire
and burn.
Eventually, even the most beautiful
flower will wilt and fall asleep
and if I find it lying mangled in the street
I might use it as a line in this poem.
If life is God’s music
will the chorus end with a round of applause
for a song well sung
or will there just be silence?
An ocean of silence
permeates a dream
in perspectives of wave
like a spastic swell erupting
from a bubbling cauldron
caressed by silvery moonlight
reflective upon the dark waters
of wisdom
I am floating within the waves
amidst one sea of many currents
that whips turbulent furies
of white foam upon gales spray
so that I can’t even speak
of sometimes ascending to crest
or brutally plunging to a crash
smashed upon a rocky shore
Then arising
in consciousness once more
amidst swarms of jellyfish
sea birds punctuate my phrases
with a deep dive
God help me, I’m alive
but breaking up again
yet, it is only then
that I become free
free to be – just a sea
Though my tidal drift
awakens slow
my current spirals
whirlpools to far below
into the inky darkness
among antediluvian caves
where all the lost waves
eventually go
sage of the late night college radio
haunting midnight vespers static free
all wise on high fidelity at 91.3
you made morning dew for the suffering
stones who stumbled about the lost years
guided only by the faintest melody
as yesterdays children danced
in the blue, blue light of midnight
the sacred rituals, rights of passage
the words you spoke, songs you played
the writing on the wall in the hall
a sweet litany of wildness
beyond the path beaten to your door
where we always found the answer
to be spontaneous, tribal and free
for each one of us manifested a shaman
bopping in subliminal drunken dance
to the primal beat and rhythm
so sad though, I never really knew you
in the dust and the poem of time
I only used you for this verse
for these modern rags I wear
I filled whole notebooks of nothing
just trying to be something more than I took
I was a young euphemism of rebellion
looking for a metaphor of God
in a bong load of dependency but not friendship
we were just free verse passersby
intersecting in an eternal high
years after they used to call you Heidi-O
I only remember you as Elaine
as a gold dolphin and a rolling rock
I don’t remember your major at school
or your philosophy on album covers
close to the edge at terrapin station
the metaphysics cut from the rock of truth
enlightening the semantics of our youth
for you were the lost flower who blazed the path
and I thank you for the generosity
I thank you for putting up with me
for disposing the flames of conformity
for inspiring the miracles
so necessary for my emancipation
that was only then beginning to arrive
Carl Kaucher is a poet, photographer, and urban explorer who lives in Temple, Pa. He is the author of two chap books, “Sideways Blues ( Irish mountain and beyond )”and most recently “Postpoemed” His work has appeared in numerous publications and on line. The writing explores his experiences wandering urban spaces near his home and throughout Pennsylvania. Using his photography and writing, Carl has been exploring the overlooked places and documenting the chance occurrences that happen to him and by doing so gives us the opportunity to reflect upon those similar events happening in our lives also. More info can be found at https://www.facebook.com/CarlKaucher/  and on instagram @Carlkaucher.

Endsheet by M.J. Arcangelini

On the last blank page of a used, mail-order paperback I find a careful pencil drawing of two people, a man and a woman, seen from behind in an airplane or bus.
The man is seated on the aisle, his short sleeve reveals tattoos rendered in fine detail. He holds a cell phone in that hand. There is a chain from his back pocket to his belt loop, each link distinct.
There is less to see of the woman, the side of her head, a dangling earing. The only feature visible on her face is a small mole midway between her invisible eye and her ear. She, too, holds a cell phone.
The artist captured her mole, the stubble on the man’s cheek, hints at a border between hair and hat, differentiating without defining, allowing ambiguity a chance to undermine presumption.
M.J. Arcangelini (b.1952 in Pennsylvania) has resided in northern California since 1979. His work has been published in print magazines, online journals, (including The James White Review, Rusty Truck, The Ekphrastic Review, The Gasconade Review, As It Ought To Be) & over a dozen anthologies.  The most recent of his five collections are: “What the Night Keeps,” (2019) Stubborn Mule Press and “A Quiet Ghost,” (2020) Luchador Press.

Situ by Judy DeCroce

Today, the wind carries ocean but is gentle.
Were you?
Your bench tells me so little.
For three days now, we have watched the waves…
                                                                              while sitting on Situ.
When you walked, The Depression hovered…
                                                                        and then the stubborn war.
Mornings or afternoons here, may have soothed
where you watched this same ocean.
Your footsteps linger under others, from now.
All I know of you is that you were well loved – “always”.
Your bench plate tells me that.
Judy DeCroce, is a internationally published poet, flash fiction writer, educator, and professional storyteller whose works have been published by The BeZINE, The Front Porch Review, North of Oxford, The Poet Magazine, Amethyst Review, OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters, and many other journals and anthologies.

Confession:  a Song of Love to the Artist, Modigliani by Maria Keane

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Confession:  a Song of Love to the Artist, Modigliani
Do I dare tell you of my love?
Your self-portrait looks pained, tired, bored, out of touch.
Perhaps my presence will lighten the shade of paint,
your choice for desire in your eyes.
I want you to carelessly smear your paints on
the swan like neck of your model, Jeanne.
She tilts her head toward you and
makes promises she will never keep.
I want her to leave.
You hardly wait to dab the auburn of her tight braid.
It curls and winds upon the bare of her shoulder, a snake
ready to seduce the presence of her lover. She writhes beneath your touch.
Please allow her dismissal so that I may yield to your charm.
I beg your indulgence and strive to satisfy your whims.
 I wish to please. I will gladly succumb to your desire and
elongate my body to your caress.
Maria Keane, published poet and visual artist, served as Professor of Fine Arts Wilmington University, New Castle Delaware from 1984-2009.   Her volume, Heroines and Housewives: Themes of Inspiration in Selected Art was published in1994, by the University of Delaware. Her visual art was awarded a Professional Fellowship in Works on Paper in 1997 by the DDOA and the NEA. Keane’s poetry, has been the recipient of several residency awards by the Delaware Division of Arts.  Her poetry received national honors by the National League of American Pen Women. A book of poetry, Being There (includes illustrations by the author) was published in October, 2018.  It was awarded a First in the Creative verse/ book award by the Delaware Press Organization.  A second book of poetry, Being Present: Personal Spaces published in May 2020 was also a recipient of a First in Creative verse/book award.

Be in Front of All Parting by J.C. Todd

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Be in Front of All Parting
                          Be in front of all parting, as though it were already
                          behind you, like the winter just gone by.
                                                –Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus
When you told me, I wept
on the sofa whose flowered
brocade pressed into my cheek
and replayed Johnny Mathis
singing “When Sunny Gets Blue”
until my roommate lifted
the needle from the vinyl.
Now I have seen more winters
pass than you did, yet a line
from Rilke returns me to
that girl beoming motherless,
grieving for herself, unable
to imagine you living
with pain she could not bear.
The parting was to come, but
there was nothing beyond your face
in hers in the mirror,
one cheek printed with roses.
Todd, JC
J. C. Todd is author of five books of poetry, including Beyond Repair, forthcoming in September 2021 as a special selection in the Able Muse Press contest, and The Damages of Morning, a 2019 Eric Hoffer Award finalist. Winner of the Rita Dove Prize in Poetry and twice a finalist for Poetry Society of America annual awards, she has held fellowships from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts among others. Her work has been published in the American Poetry Review, Baltimore Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Paris Review and elsewhere.

Welsh Coast by Robert Nisbet

Welsh Coast
“In the sweet shire of Cardigan”
                          (William Wordsworth)
Today, we’ll drive in a curve North-east, and later
arc North-west. To our left, much of the morning,
the bay, sea-swathes, twinkling (in sunshine now)
in changing shades of turquoise. Louring later.
The small towns, Cardigan and Aberaeron, Borth.
Here, the farms and a language’s mild consonants
have mingled in time with liberals and shopkeepers,
and the course of business in the streets is quiet.
The prom in Aberystwyth has a cable car one end,
at the other, the Old College buildings, where once
those earnest, frowning nineteenth century boys
(and a few staid girls) were sent by miners’ subs.
For now the village green in Tal-y-bont, and here
two pubs adjoin, the White Lion and the Black Lion.
Suddenly, two swifts are skimming overhead, silent,
shimmering with speed, in a still blue sky.
Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet whose work has appeared in the USA in San Pedro River Review, Main Street Rag, Third Wednesday, Burningword Literary Journal and many others.