"This is (one year later)" 
- Ciera Durden

"This is (one year later)" 
- Ciera Durden
(for Ellen)

This is 
You have come into my home
After all the locks have been eaten
And all the dogs run off.
This is 
I am still hungry and the windows are open—
Come here. 

This is still a promise
And it still waits, a year stronger,
A much louder howl—
If the villagers weren’t scared before,
They sure are now.  
This is a fearsome, mighty thing
Cradled in good, rough hands and in the belly of the witch,
Fed on laughter, smoke, river water, and chasing feet, 
But it is also a tender, gentle thing: 
Charmed, kept, 

Sweet spirit,
Come here.

That is:
Touch me and I will grasp you.
A year later, this is still dangerous 
And even more raw.  
But we are older women for all our youth,
And I still want you in a rain storm, 
Make a specter lightning streak out of this and 
Let every ghost and shock make their mark.

Haunt me— 
I am not afraid.
We know what we are doing. 

This is 
I have circled our promise with torch fire
And you have sang away every dark threat,
This is 
You are my jade and every other precious thing. 

This is 
We have traded a thousand mile dance 
For a stumble across the kitchen floor,
And I am incredibly grateful for your scent in my sheets and your laughter in my ear,
Come here,
Make me the coyote at night and the old woman in the morning,
I am always ready for the next kiss and the next ravage, 
Every corner of your body,
Come here, 
The door knob has been eaten too,
Every twist and curse rattle swallowed 
And I am still starving,    
And a staunch atheist 
And some wild mystic once agreed on the power of intention—
What a hungry energy.

This is twelve months and two voices 
And three hundred ways
And more than three days.

This is tired and triumphant fever, 
Hard hours and good work.

Is a love letter
And a thank you note.

[art by Charley Seagraves]

"My mouth is dry" - Emmanuel Brahmstein

"My mouth is dry" - Emmanuel Brahmstein

My mouth is dry
My stomach turns
The world turns from gold to green, red to black
I cannot quench my thirst
Sweat running from my brow lets me know my heart is working
A decorative array of bottles keeps me company
At any given time I collapse
Emotion suffers because of devotion
Devotion to misery and pain, loss and not letting go

Will I wither in this place?
My mind drowned out by music and alcohol
My soul trying to vacate my body
I wish it would
I wish there were 12 platforms to find

But I have been a failure
I haven’t been me
Who am I?
What a cliché of existentialism
But seriously who am I
Others see in me more than I see in myself
Yet I’m here with fresh materials to start again

There are so few people in the world who can cause you to salivate
To moisten your mouth, throat, and body
They can come in any size, shape, and so on
But we rarely recognize and hold on to them
Time befriends us momentarily until the end
That moment where slits in the wrist must be made
Where thoughts collide against one another
Where the heart weakens with a-fibrillation
Where the stomach begins to turn towards nausea

There is no drug or substance to escape the one that held you most
It’s hold is forever binding
It’s intoxication flows through the bloodstream infecting every part of you
And when it’s gone the dehydration of the heart and soul begin again
Sweat now accompanies panic
Asphyxiation grows
And one can only hope that perhaps this time it is for real
That the soul can be released through the miracle of a heart attack
Since that’s what it is.
Better to part on good terms than on questionable ones

But I have no luck. I have only the misfortune of living every time
My eyes open and I hear the silence

Another failure, so I must try to fail again, even better
Such a mobius trip of irony, ailing, and thirst

More poetry and other writing is at Emmanuel Brahmstein's site. The cityscape is by Jeremy Mann.

"For the Oates" - Jay Morris

"For the Oates" - Jay Morris

Haiku One

The crippled phoenix
Stumbles toward resurrection
Breathing future ash.

Haiku Two

Tower of bone white
Hold in the sins of eons
Babylon is sand

Haiku Three

The pervasive tongue
Speaks in the bright alchemy
Of coalesced dreams

Haiku Four

Do you know the Oates?
Engineer of drunken birds?
Haiku mastermind.

Haiku Five

Poetry bridges
The gap between our ages
Peer, mentor, and friend.

"For the Oates" is part of a series of poems by Athens poets about other poets. 

"Bag of Light | Heart of Love" - Ciera Durden

"Bag of Light | Heart of Love" - Ciera Durden
(for Patrick)

For the New Years, I want to give you a bag of light strung tight with laughter:
The cloth good and worn, burlap, coffee-stained, heavy with old rain and the smell of
Grateful smoke cleaving to the air.
I want to maybe not give it today --
Let it be thrown on your porch in the bad hours,
Thudding a single heartbeat against your window during the dark night,
Miracle wonder of starlight wanting to fly up and kiss your cheeks,
Bring all your goodness back to you,
Weave silver promise-garlands into the roots of your hair that for
Every gold song you've strung out,
Every poem which placed its hand on the listener's chest,
Every cup of warmth you offered freely,
You will get all the love and light a thousand times over in return,
You will be made what the stars feel,
Glorious in the glow of karma,
Of good intentions weaving a circle constellation,
Your soul deserving and bright as the moon.

Part of a week-long series of poems by Athens poets about other poets.

"The Sound of Time (for Bob Ambrose)" - David Noah

"The Sound of Time (for Bob Ambrose)" -  David Noah

Seconds keen as they trickle through fingers.
Minutes sound like rain, each one a lone drop
plopping on earth or flesh until the mob
arrives, overthrowing an afternoon
with the noise of a million tiny boots.
Hours knock and turn away like polite
missionaries canvassing every door.
Impossible not to listen unless
we can attend to what never passes,
what never shakes the air. The unceasing
tinnitus of time distracts from the song
we ache to hear, the slow music that sounds
like nothing perhaps but the hiss and slap
of waves folding themselves into the sea.

Poems by poets about poets: "The Sound of Time (for Bob Ambrose)" by David Noah begins a week-long series.

"God bored" - Eugene C. Bianchi

Gene under Flags

"God bored" - Eugene C. Bianchi

Does the Lord get bored with religion?

She likes good deeds but it's the other stuff

the preening prayer and fluff

the same old same old groans

in liturgies and preacher tones:

make it rain make it shine

favor me favor mine

now and then a sincere sigh

for suffering that makes her cry

but mostly stale ideas frozen in time

pinned on her without reason or rhyme.

Snap the incantations

let the pope call a square dance for thousands in St. Peter's

“Swing your partner, come round right…”

or flood the piazza

for ice skating on New Year's Eve

gliding under confetti in his skimobile

bless you children one and all

or watch a supernova burst and shine

over pasta putanescha and strong wine.

He lifts a jovial bread and dances the unmasked ball

a sweating pontiff down to his pantalone and Gucci reds

circles arm in arm with stellar remnants

as his own last light dims in joy.

Alleluia thunderclap
Some festival that. 
"God Bored" appeared online at Eugene Bianchi's website. His latest collection is Chewing Down My Barn: Poem from the Carpenter Bees.[Photo by David Noah]

"Silent Night" - Emily Katherine

"Silent Night" - Emily Katherine

Silence is wrapped in swathes of Van Gogh’s Starry Night
Your breath is in my hair spread across the pillow
waves of love surrounding this bed like an ocean
and I can hear the distant tide thumping rhythmically against my shore
like a heartbeat, like loyalty,
I can smell Christmas and winter snow on your breath
multitudes of bright stars and dancing musical notes
and for the first time I want to be unwrapped like a Christmas gift
on a child’s first remembered Christmas morning
For now I lay still and hopeful
For now I lay still and faithful
Listening to the tide,
In and out
Listening to the sound of forever
Over and over
Breathing in the scent of pine needles crushed on snow
and candles, tapered and white
and thinking this must be the holiest of nights.