the lake has shrunk under the watch of cricket song looming past the treeline they chirp and merry lullabies floating through the shadows rain lurks in the recent past puddles linger splashing shoes rubber heels but the sock feels soggy splattering the leggings hoop unused rests with pines gate open, garage door rumbles wet shoes taken off before the doors one glass one solid one pair remain on the feet tracking the downpour through a well kept home boxes newspapers mail scatter on the table a wife lonely throat and body sore alert on the couch its dark in the basement some lamps dimmed glow ambience for the screens eyes fixed or wandering Kubrick dances between the background and center stage and music fills the vast emptiness of space a few scribbles forgotten beyond these howling beasts and then the moon looms closer and you already know how the story goes until the infinite is out of sight the road back lined with trees and houses all neat and tidy and the wet grass misplaced longing too unspoken unsure of itself dispelled as tired steps slow in front of the door new but glass and wood the house is dark except for the light left on near the couch flicked off and she makes her way to her bed time seeps away through the open window bird song replaces far gone crickets the world awakes and she sleeps
Everywhere I look, I see suffering…
…I see signs where they are not
I make constellations where there are only
I wreak havoc on idle tides
To tear the stones from under
Adorned, in sainthood’s golden
Hairshirt’s whitewashed guilt, you too
Must confess those sins of…
To those crystalline eyes, each one a
Chandelier slip-of-the-tongue down to
Bedside, yours, that I creep to at dawn
Foggy mouthed wide eyed tired
As I neell and whisper in our mother’s-
Forgive me mother for I have forgiven
Mine father for I
Forgive yourself, for I have not forgiven—
I whisper to them in mother’s-tongue and
Seethe the sacrament; only pocket
Everywhere I look starvations sees
And I suckle the coffers of the mother-
Ever more I bring more to the father’s-last
With bread crumbs and wine for the hunch
(judas you have not done enough…
I’ve kelled for recindence of thirty years,
Like the Jew
Like the child I’ve begged for years,
Slighted forgiveness for mirrors
I’ve birthed the suffering of each day of which:
‘The silence and emptiness is so great
I do not see
I pray and do not hear’ ;
Only emptiness; his free hands
- Mother Teresa (1990)
enumerations of a gaze
beyond the black mirrored
a frozen star
we will have already met:
lingers on the streetpath
menagerie of our former faces
in the skyline
that oversees sleep
until the door frames an escape:
to deserted remembrance
slumber through the vacancies that streets map
voices in the ruins of silence
nothing lost, all sequestered to strangers
the impenetrable stillness of mannequins:
a witness to everyone
and says nothing
bedrooms transpired through the windowpane
eclipsed my body
hidden fingertips: I trembled as I tread in desolation
of your comfort
I am reminded
not spoken: evading words immersed in distances
the farther the voices utter the familiar they are
have crossed daylight
as quiet as statues
to stare itself
a gaze in meditations
by the echo of a hurricane
an ellipsis my eyes pursue
vapor trails of a glance eluding its distance
false awakenings imprint exposures of a blur
walking too far for home too close to sleep
at the anonymous
the circumference of returning
shattered emptiness exhumed:
lamplight embalms its scattered
withheld by sunglasses
following the transit lines through the terminal:
they have forgotten what I said...
my voice secured in an unusable payphone
the names it carries entombed
in static silhouettes
traversed all that has passed
effaced by departure
night encumbers the tinkering mirrors
of the wine trove
of the glass bell
nurturing our dormant voices
A train glimmering, rising from
the pedestrian light;
a dance in the weighted
song of work.
If we link
exchange to promise,
would we unfurl
or a bright marquee
Between the head and the heart,
the weight of bright grid iron,
stands the gate to a still, blue bay
and bright, animate air ashine
in the trellis where feelings,
thoughts ensnare in the crisp wind
from the world at each height.
and gold moment’s monument;
sunlight plugs its change and charm.
What is beyond creation?
What few emancipations
anoint moments of seeing?
Find your own breast; you have found
quixotic Spains of patterns.
Still, beyond, all you have hoped:
The city’s gleaming stitches,
the way each structure evokes
a need to cross the water,
then eases down into dream.
Water, the cross-roads, the bridge:
all underlie the planning,
the meaning and need,
the meeting of tribes,
traders who bring seashells
and immaculate gems,
the sacks of ripening seed
and fruit, the dressed, dried corpses:
these sinews mark the bridges to meetings,
thinking, reaching a bargain, spirited
air of concourse, the flesh and soul
uniting in this compact
of mud, water, the hard rock,
the refinement of iron,
the lifting over the bright bay
into the crenellated sunset
of the city rising
from destruction and creation,
the dance of impermanence
held still enough this moment.
It lets us enjoy the view.
Trace the contours of a moment,
read the sighs.
Hold intuitively knowing
not to read too quickly too
often a sigh is just a sigh.
There is no rush with the new sun
to the white heat of winter's
its afterlife breathes in, pulling dust
to the treetops. leaflike
apparitions crest until the cold air catches –
There are many such sighs.
To assume that one would signal some end,
some permission to enjoy
those things that in their lack
we convinced ourselves useless,
is to gamble. we wait
By the time the contours are traced, the moment
Perhaps you are still holding when the tenderness tilts. and after
when you clutch for that strange headstatic
you find no comfort in wringing your lover.
closer. You writhe
here, wishing. If only it were tomorrow! you long knowing
it is too early to remember the static, too late
to be intoxicated any more
under its influence.
as if we live our own seasons
when we love. winter's charm
wears thin around its edges.
wonderfully articulate silences
between two parties
don't make the same
the two seasons of a moment
there is silence. you feel claustrophobic
because you are now so with yourself
that you have forgotten you are still holding
someone that is not yourself. so much
that sweat lines where your bodies meet
and you are both appropriately embarrassed.
you have forgotten about the sigh wondering
if you should fill the silence whose presence
you now question. it is now a presence.
it is shadowed and its shadow weighs.
you are now so yourself
and this is not what you wanted. it is what you wanted
to escape. you want to escape. you wanted to escape
seeing everything's shadow and this is not what you wanted.
you fear you have forgotten the contours. worse you fear
you have mistraced them. the sun has gone down and you fear
you have wasted it. worse you fear there is nothing to keep your eyes
closed. your cold skin tells you the air has not caught its last wind and finally your lover asks you Shall we go inside? and you have forgotten everything's shadow and gotten some glimpse
of bare desire to not be only yourself. you remind yourself not to make a shadow of this as the cold air reminds you where you have held.
you concoct a mythos that is half asleep. probably
you can't see the ghosts from out the window tonight.
still you swear the dust in daylight looks just like leaves.
in your head at least. your lover entertains this and suggests
that the moon is why you are both restless. it waxes night
after night and each time appears full. they insist that
it puts on this show each time the clouds disappear
to make way for spring. this is much more sensible
than your theory of dust apparitions,
but you do not make this known. together you map out:
SPRING comes with the final sigh of winter. after
the final sigh of winter. is the inhalation. is the breathing-in
that draws the thawing trodden leaves from their restingplace
to the bare branches on which they were born.
momentarily. they are ghosts now. they are dust.
this is spring's promise. it is unclear whether this
is a promise to the trees or to the leaves.
SPRING comes with the clearing of the sky. after
the clearing of the sky. is the moon in the cloudless sky.
is signaled by as much. is the performance of a moon
that never wanes but remains steadfast in its duty to carry
distant light to us. seeing as though we are on the crust
of a star ourselves. a star that has lost its light. it doubles
down on its efforts. this is spring's promise. it is quite clear
that this is a promise to us.
despite fear you remember this
and work backwards. it is tomorrow,
but you have forgotten
that you had longed for tomorrow.
you still lie next to your lover.
they are in a restless morning sleep
so you do not move. the shadow
crosses you only as the shadow of
pleasure. the fear punctuating desire.
trying to sully it. you remember it
as passing. in the embrace of the
recurring static you do not move
and so fall back again. through the
squint of a shadow the sun paints
white your eyelids and you wake.
you have never been so aware
of your wrinkled clothing.
your lover is patting yesterday
from goodwill rags now looking
out the window. You were right
about the dust, they say and you
rise to see. your vision fixes
on the falling moon now pale, hanging
there to be seen. Oh, they say,
You've just missed it. What luck!
and you mention the moon at least
makes up for this absence.
but there is no moon and it is midday.
and there is no dust in the still air.
and there is no spring yet.
3 22 19
Two beetles that look like ladybugs, stretched
Red and spotted, but gaunt and elegant like
Very wealthy ladies from a big city
Their extra long antennae flexing, unable to be still
Though they move nothing else.
Buds covered in hair which seems like fuzz if I am not looking at the bugs
Through a magnifying glass so my perspective shifts
Hard for me to say if they will open into flowers,
Or leaves, or perhaps they have already failed to develop,
This shape their full destiny before an eventual fall.
This is where the wasp lands.
Aphids. Maybe. Something small and herding.
The crowd and silence feels domesticated
And therefore dulled in comparison.
A jumping thing that looks like the aphids,
It comes and goes, skittish
So perhaps it does not count.
A proper ladybug, round, spots semi-symmetrical
As in almost, but not quite
If you look close, similar to someone both
Near-sighted and profoundly nearsighted
Each eye troubling the face distinctly
It follows the red veins of the leaf
Unhurriedly, but unwilling to trespass
On the field of green.
The first set of beetles, now fucking,
If that’s what insects do,
Atop the buds that have not opened.
The milkweed, too, unfurls into summer
That will explode on the winds by fall
In the closeup recountenance, context obscured
Island of the miraculous and unloved,
The corner lot next to the Rite Aid.
Shana Ross is a poet and playwright with a BA and MBA from Yale University. She bought her first computer working the graveyard shift in a wind chime factory. Her writing career went dormant for years, for reasons both practical and best discussed in therapy, but she makes a respectable living as a consultant, executive coach, and global leadership expert. In 2018 she dyed her hair purple and is starting to turn all that around. This decade her work has been published in or is forthcoming from Anapest Journal, Anatolios Magazine, Apricity Press, Chautauqua Journal, Ghost City Review, The Hellebore, Indolent Press’ What Rough Beast project, Mad Scientist Journal, metafore, SHANTIH Journal, Street Light Press, The Sunlight Press, Voice of Eve, and Writers Resist.
A song sung by the house dust.
A song to the spider’s laborious thread.
A song in the tread of the emperor’s carriage.
The mother weeping
over dishes in a kitchen melodrama –
she hears it, clearly.
The mercenary, cutting thick necks –
he hears it too.
The song of the blue chord.
The song of December transposed into June.
Of the wrong-headed angel.
Music plays on a stone adze.
It slips beneath the arctic waters.
It sits very quietly at the back of a classroom,
counting its glass beads and saints’ knuckles.
Adjusting its badges and straps.
Accumulating dark knowledge.
You see the heart is an instrument.
The soul is a drum and a hand
pounding on the gates of a glassy heaven.
You see. The song is singing itself
in a night-stained doorway.
From out of the roof of your mouth.
A song about razors and cranberries.
A little song about a meteor shower,
about the rise and fall of dew.
The one we all sing, like wind under a rainbow
or chorus of doubt.
Space Between the Lies
Inane moon, maddened stars, cross-eyed planets,
Earth’s bell ringing in the salt and pepper lunacy,
the first night being also the last night,
existence circular in nature.
I’m on the light-path, one of the dark races.
I’m loving myself in a black mirror,
Deimos gesticulating, Phobos running not far behind,
Andromeda rattling her leg-irons,
gravity imposing its letter of the law,
atoms warring, space closing
like a door or an eye,
the ultimate silence thickening its broth.
My synapses sparkle and spar, mind delighted
with itself, its own divine machinations,
the universe a dull cliché, cosmos waterworn,
the Big Bang quaint in comparison –
like a cute little croft on Mare Frigoris,
say, or the red star of Christmas.
The space between the spaces expands,
while I gather in the far-off moments.
The infinite and eternal are wrestling quietly,
God in his heaven, or so I’m told,
a little brownstone bungalow
on the back steps of beyond.
All else, the miracle deepens.
A River Running Underground
In my mind is a paper mountain.
God shrugged, and that was my mind
separating one water from another water.
My mind imagined other minds.
It manufactured an idle daydream.
It made shadows after dark,
creatures without substance and form,
glass cities, ethereal fogginess,
the most beautiful of all the monsters.
In my mind is a sun weeping light.
Sparks star off an iron spike
while my mind paints jungle flowers,
highways of ice, celestial filaments,
an army of children crying:
“Toys and snowfall at Christmas!”
A vortex of quiescence,
and my mind is resting by a calm lake.
A storm’s fury and human furor
and my mind is wandering in a thick forest.
The universe is a single great thought,
my mind asleep on its downy pillow.
Where nothing, and no one, may wake it.
The weather promises to change
from man to animal.
Today’s forecast is absence,
with a chance of longing.
In the east, flying horses
and a scattering of flowers.
From the west, incursions,
barbarous hordes, black ice.
The weather changes its mind,
abandons its principles,
is forced to choose between
darkness and light.
They’re predicting tons
of tons and long cold showers.
They say it might break,
but we’re in for a hard spell.
Today’s weather is being
brought to you by sponsors
who’d rather you didn’t
put their names around.
Listener, the sea is rising
up out of its empty shell.
For all its talk of courage,
the wind is turning.
Bruce McRae, a Canadian musician currently residing on Salt Spring Island, BC, is a multiple Pushcart nominee with well over a thousand poems published internationally in magazines such as Poetry, Rattle and the North American Review. His books are The So-Called Sonnets (Silenced Press), An Unbecoming Fit Of Frenzy (Cawing Crow Press), Like As If (Pski’s Porch), and Hearsay (The Poet’s Haven).
we are the few
yet we are the most perplexed
we are the ones who find ourselves falling asleep in mirrors
caught up in the world of pines
we called our home
pricked by the corners of stars
as we sink in water
and find mountains have grown
on our bones
all because we found a crystal like clearness
to the things we haven’t seen
or may never see
the paradox with which
we are faced is astounding
skipping along in different dimensions
a tie fails to exist
as our knot is transparent
the scissors are vital
but the cutting excessive
division brings us closer than never before
this modern glitch shows symmetry
and though your face shows geometry
it does not show empathy
those loose fabrications twisting themselves together
i see the pattern before my eyes
i am at a whim
to fleeting nostalgia
lost in alternate settings
like the pictures on a screen
faceless but moving
they say there is always hope
but at the same time hope is always fleeting
my struggle was never to prove to you that you were wrong
but rather that nothing is right
i’m in an ocean and i’m drowning
but there is no water in my lungs
i’m on fire
but my skin doesn’t have any burns
that doesn’t mean i’ve never been hurt
transparent divisions surround me with
sweet shimmering nothings
i pass through air and get lost in other places
managing to shatter the glass in my lungs
i let my eyes blur over
for it’s a terrible storm in my mind
and when reality blends with daydreams
like the colors morphing in a sunset
i constantly feel as if i am sleepwalking
(Long Cove, ME.)
Flat water, no demarcation
always undulating, o undines
sky? sea? A thin scrim
measureless depths, mermaids more limited
to paint on, not vapor; canvas.
than thought, nacreous slippers
This \/ represents flight.
flipped from the feet of strange princesses
This oblong is land.
here is richness, treasure past counting
This dot: . is: You Are Here.
life goes about her own program
Hang this on your bedroom wall.
the surf's violence to our soft flesh
is freshness to the winkles, the whelks,
the rockweed and bladder-wrack.
The Coldest Part of the Coldest Time of the Year
January dawn darkness.
Ponderosa pines blessed with precipitation,
the fine edge between frost and snow, and
lodgepole pine's every needle
articulated by delicate white.
Aspen branches silvered
by intricate ice
suspend a waning moon
in their clutches.
Independent of it,
Venus, a planet;
to us, a star.
I hate that I love this,
that I feel an affinity to beauty,
deadly at this time of year.
Detachment is not in my nature
but it seems to be my path,
the only way out is through
and the only way through
is step after step,
ice-bit, like lint,
like errant feathers,
adoring this world I repudiate.
Denying the despair
that is legitimate but useless.
Holding and letting go,
embracing the loveliness continually
as I continually remove it from its hold on me.
You are a lattice, a template.
We send up spindly strings of green
from that six inches of topsoil
that yields all our earth's life,
we shoot ourselves up towards you
and cling fast.
We project, we pray.
We infiltrate. The vine of us
thickens and deepens, splays out
in all directions simultaneously,
we are logorithmic,
we are exponential.
We lace out like cathedral windows,
like butterfly wings.
We grow all over you and, strong
and replete with sunlight, begin to bud.
Oh! The blossoms we burst out!
Oh purple and deepest blue!
Oh delicacy of fragrance!
Oh what fruit will come from this!
You are not there.
But now we are.
Bridge of green and flower,
sturdy as a city.
You are a problem of language
and this is where language stops.
This, this: life.
The Faces Carved on the Harbor Pilings
Bemused or mournful, the waning tide reveals them.
They regard the busted harbor and the gulls perched on them.
Thier wood is soft as fur from years of salt and turbulence,
their hood-folds and face lines are encrusted by barnacles.
Medieval, these monk-faces dream their double lives,
the air that slowly covers them in the waning tide,
their other wet element that inches up in the waxing tide,
that slowly and quickly nudges their bearing, fingers their grain.
At high tide they disappear to the Ocean Museum,
at home among sea stars, irish moss, and urchins.
Huge roots reach for water through boulders.
Wind suffuses but does not move.
Such graceful strength,
tensile, and taking
nothing from the living.
Luxuriant there in dirt and sun.
Resin essence anoints the restless air.
Maria Berardi’s work has appeared in local and national magazines and online (13 Magazine, Voca Femina, Mothering, The Opiate, getborn and most recently Twyckenham Notes and forthcoming in Luna Luna). Her first collection, Cassandra Gifts, was published in 2013 by Turkey Buzzard Press, and she is currently at work on her second, entitled Pagan. She lives in the Front Range foothills west of Denver at precisely 8,888 feet above sea level.
Her process is one of listening for transmissions from the cosmic radio and trying to catch them on paper before they dissipate: the glimpse, the complicated knowledge.