The Hawk is Hunting / Bob Ambrose

A shadow glides the gentle land
beyond the blacktop, bordered
by ditches and daisies 
down packed dirt driveways
past tin-roof farmhouses
and one room churches
to fenced-in cows and free-range mice –
now soaring over grace and lies
the hawk is hunting summer skies.

A raptor circles arid plains
its pilot half a world away
a mug of Starbucks in one hand
while focused on his wary prey
a fighter striding toward his fate
as protocols somewhere are met
a mouse is clicked, new smoke plumes rise
in distant fields a young man dies –
the hawk is hunting summer skies.

Ghostly circuits take to clouds
to conjure up a techno-shroud
that reinforces human pride
as algorithms churn inside
spinning truths submerged in lies
and soaring dreams descend to doubts
just who the raptor, who the mouse
when cell phones stalk unwary lives –
the hawk is hunting summer skies.

At twilight hawks return to nest
but techno-servants never rest
they serve their masters faithfully
from Faust to Frankenstein they grow
ignore for now the final toll
relax, embrace your YouTube soul
let comfort salve the silent fright
as spirit reapers take to flight
and hunt the haunted summer night.

Two Poems by Alx Johns

Sand Dollar Assault

The beach was theirs,
their radial bodies
all over it for
as far as human eyes could see.

Like those on D-day
piling up the shore.

They made their plan
mad as hell at us men,
for who knows what?
Pouring plastics and petroleum into their world, perhaps,
dredging the seafloor.

Stupid Echinarachnius Parma,
What'd you think you were going to do,
climb up our legs and into our throats?
Lodge in our feet and cause an infection?

No, there you are, bleaching white,
lining the shore like
skulls of coins.

The mermaids and the people of Atlantis are now in an economic
It's their dead money all lining the land of the living.

Finding Bigfoot

When I discovered, silence
was the thing to be sought,

not evidence, but still
I stayed in the woods,

waited for nothing
to to step out,

he arrived,

sloped up and sat down,
reached out his long arm.

No fear between us.
Of course he'd seen airplanes

highways even
where the earth bled metal
through hard arteries.

He'd heard the sounds.


his lineage had seen it all coming
and departed to the bestial spaces

to barely be,

to become the myth.

The Alphabet by Karl Shapiro

The letters of the Jews as strict as flames
Or little terrible flowers lean
Stubbornly upwards through the perfect ages,
Singing through solid stone the sacred names.
The letters of the Jews are black and clean
And lie in chain-line over Christian pages.
The chosen letters bristle like barbed wire
That hedge the flesh of man,
Twisting and tightening the book that warns.
These words, this burning bush, this flickering pyre
Unsacrifices the bled son of man
Yet plaits his crown of thorns.

Where go the tipsy idols of the Roman
Past synagogues of patient time,
Where go the sisters of the Gothic rose,
Where go the blue eyes of the Polish women
Past the almost natural crime,
Past the still speaking embers of ghettos,
There rise the tinder flowers of the Jews.
The letters of the Jews are dancing knives
That carve the heart of darkness seven ways.
These are the letters that all men refuse
And will refuse until the king arrives
And will refuse until the death of time
And all is rolled back in the book of days.

Empty Spaces / Emily Gundlach

This one is for the tired.
I’m not angry anymore.
I have learned emptiness is just space for God
And I have buildings and towns inside me,
Waiting for this new occupant

I’m not angry anymore.
I have learned that life is a river
With a mighty current, and it’s not your fault
You were swept away.
Who can fight nature?
And now I have a space ready for God to live in
Now I have many spaces – I think some will remain empty

This one is for the tired, the ones with mounds of dishes
To wash, laundry to wash, an early morning coffee, a long day
A hard day, working, working and a TV at night to sit with.
I know this life, I built this town inside me that now

When the rains came, with the flood behind it, I knew
Our infrastructure would not hold.
Our buildings lacked foundation, this town was built on dreams,
These roads were paved with wishes, these houses weren’t built to
     weather a storm
I knew, I grieved before the current swept it away, I knew
I knew loss would make a place for itself in my heart.
But even loss was only a visitor there. 
My heart is no home, just an apartment for transient visitors,
Just a motel, a quiet get-away,
But no one can stay on vacation forever.

I’m not angry anymore.
The flood came and went.
The current took you.
The town I built stood vacant.
But I learned that what can be built can be torn down
And my hands are tired now
And my body is aching now, but I have more to place myself in after
     a long day
Than just a couch and a sizzling TV and all those things to wash and
I have all these empty spaces and all these open skies
And I am waiting for God.

A poem by Ali Edwards

I know your pretty shoes
and the brute by your side.
I know your unnoticed coif
done up just right beneath
your bonny bonnet matching
your shoes again, and then,
just so, I know.

I know your lost eyes
seeing nothing
but that no one sees you,
and those green bubbles before you,
when they’re gone,
how you won’t care,
or maybe even remember,
how little you loved,
this place by his side,
with your cup always full,
and your swishy bustle
rough rustled,
at the end of the night.
Frills unmentioned.

Did you glance into your eyes tonight
just for a moment, right
before you placed that little pearl
into your unkissed ear and
hope it might be different?
Did you hail Diana,
or pray Degas to paint
you out into the streets
racing grey chapeau falling beauty
gusting on your own wind
wild on and ever on faster
to what end no matter nor master 
rushing eyes now brightening
breathless in glad madness,
thighs robust bounding
with the thrilled quiver
of a freed beast towards
that pearly wanting moon?

Perhaps tomorrow night
you might
but know this trick,
tomorrow is the farthest distance
from that moon and won’t,
it won’t come soon.

Summer, 2012 / Mark Pentecost

                    For Jane, my companion in so many revisions

I’m not in a good place. I want out so
I open the door. The heat collapses on top of me
like a sledgehammered ox,
legs splayed across the compass.
Lost in its entrails are the auguries
I’d hoped to hear myself  announce,
but my ears are asphyxiating.
Sunlight drowns everything out.
The yard looks the same: same grass bushes trees,
same bricks flowers stones, same chairs,
drawn now like a comic book,
humid black lines on every edge.
The heat’s concentration is absolute;
my thoughts stampede in panic—
wanton boys have set their tails on fire:
needles twitching against red backgrounds,
calm voices counting down,
snakes rolling in the dust like donkies.
Sharp reports of bells and the peal of Glocks,
redistribution of rage a new entitlement program,
the university of  muzzle velocity,
promise of rebirth in washing machines and tax refunds.
My father’s dismay to find himself still living,
inside a supercomputer on the frizz.
Wolves prowl the sewers. Between shifts,
assassins and murderers crack cold ones;
their college rings gleam in the long afternoon.
Are there more things now
to hate? Which hemisphere is
responsible for this? To minds
bristling with questions, whatever
catches in its quills will smell
like an answer. Watching tv
is easier than whistling, but
there’s no turning away, or back, or inward
from an entire planet immolating itself in protest
of our radiant, our most resplendant shadow.
My head is hooded in falling brightness.
You could fry an egg on my retina.
Born here, I’ll never get used to it.

The bathroom is far and the lawn is mine,
so I piss on it. A little logic at last. My urine is thick
and amber and departs my body
in a feckless stutter: not enough fluids.
Prick and two balls generate form
of trefoil: carbon and two oxygen,
tiny cathedral window,
biohazard (like there’s any other kind).
I need to sit down.

My latest angel is picking at my rolled-up sleeve,
one of those big, insouciant crows,
feathers the color of burnt, burnt skin. “You know,”
he confides, “poetry’s fixing to wash you off its hands.
Free associations aren’t such a bargain anymore,
everyone’s a shaman.” I’m bummed.
I’ve been working on this poem since I was born,
pimping my urchin sorrow to the great world’s woe.
 “It’s not fair,” I say, out of habit. “I looked up to you!”
“No. You didn’t. You thought you were my totem.”
He’s on my shoulder, cawing softly, laughing.
“What a critter is man!  
                                 reality cannot bear
so much human being. You’ve broken and twisted it
on your wheels, then used it to lace your boots.
Fair? Forget justice, try for mercy.”
He cocks his head, losing interest.
“I’ll be glad when you people stop
                                looking  me
                                             in the eye,”
and like a firecracker he’s gone.

In the age of peak twilight
the sky is tanned and crosshatched,
sinking toward sepia, ready to be archived.
Bark leaf petal pistil stamen stomata:
everything comes out of nowhere; it’s time to go home.
Creation is loosening its syntax, relaxing its grammar,
punctuation damp spots soon dried up,
then it will all run together,
In my throat the oceans are rising, slowly,
acidly, implacably, reflux of Gaia’s last meal.
Power evaporates off my tongue, collects in secret pools
           Perhaps in the bottom of your glass.
Hope for autumn.

Haiku for Cedric by Susan Timberlake

With a glint of his eye,
he could say
a thousand words,
and he did,
but only those that

Two Poems by Dana Wildsmith

One Good Hand

Most days I work my jobs with one good hand.
My other hand keeps busy wringing itself.
This morning's work of cutting and killing the privet
was another poem not written, and lesson plans
won't grow from winter garlic I've planted.
I kneel to grub up bulbs, and syllables
mark out their rows in my head; they shift
from foot to foot, waiting to be transplanted.

I have the too-much-to-do blues this week.
You know the words.  Join my chorus
of worth through weariness in a wary land
suspicious of time spent lazily.
Between us, we can sing a hundred verses
while I take time to rest my one good hand.

English as Second Language

"Maestra, is Spanish backward, or is English?"
Back home in Zapogan, Luis wore
sneakers white, but here (aqui) color
asserts itself, comes first (primero).

"Depends on where you are."  My answer
(mi repuesta) is the truest I can give,
based on all I've learned of fitting in,
which isn't much.  Nada mas than this:

as some are emigrants of country,
so I'm an emigrant of my soul.
I never speak the half of what I know
(that language is each culture's shadow)

but teach descriptive form compliantly.
Luis, the world we see is it, not we.
In naming names, there is no posesivo.
Lo tengo por seguro.