The Loose Connections


John Grey
( Providence, Rhode Island )
In Somewhereville

A sedan rots in the tall reeds                                         
behind the shack.
Sparrows made nest in it
but a copperhead ate the eggs.
Andy smashed that snake's skull
with the blade of a shovel.
Crows made off with its meat
before he had a chance to skin it.
Bobby picked off those pesky black birds
with a BB gun,
a present from Andy last Christmas.
Their bodies plopped out of the sky,
smacked against the roof of that sedan,
dropped down into the tall reeds.

Reid Mitchell
( Hong Kong, China )
Paper Carnation

Remember that night I told you I was a boy
and you laughed and bought more drinks
but kissed chastecheeked good night?

Maybe I lied.

If you come again, I will go with you to your hotel
and break all the lights, even the television screen,
and block windows with sheets from your bought bed.

Tell me when you plan to come. I will meet you at
Suvarnabumi Airport.

You will see me, biting the nail of my little finger,
long-limbed, smooth-legged, slender.

Joanne Faries
( Bedford, Texas )

peel thin string
attached to cellophane 
flip box lid 
tear open shiny wrapper
tap box  
shake out 
single white stick
rub under nose
between two fingers
curl, not squeeze
bring to puckered lips
pause, tongue tease
teeth tidbit
tilt head
linger, remove 
sidelong glance
smoke wafts, dissipates
Dad’s post-dinner Camel
my dessert candy cigarette 

Barbara Hendryson
( San Francisco, California )
Green Bowl with Clementines
– for N.S.

The information’s all orange . . .
but rewards travel with loose

Therefore, sachets of delay 
follow the kitchen’s scented

And what of green? 
See the potter’s
hands . . .

How the concentric
corrugated surface

David McLean
( Stockholm, Sweden )
a solitary crow

it sits sole crow
descrying every suicide
tonight, patient observer
and fallen angel
falling still, feathers
ruffled by no love’s
clumsiness, he is
the oblivious eye of night
shared with us, lunatics
that listen to him

the song he sings
forgets us, each sin
against the flesh
in the nothingness
that dresses him in black
and the hunger in his blood
does not need us just
as meat for decay’s
pampered palate –
rather the palliative omission,
neglected carrion
persisting in living,
all the “not yet”s
falling from night’s
formless fingers
forgotten already

dying a difficulty
for every coward heart
closing crow’s lonely door,
entropy’s gormless
whores in time’s
tender war, rendering
our blood to the grave crow
that sits above us
in our obliging chains below,
a trophy to Sisyphean futility
this loathsome meat, crow’s
protein on which a future
feeds, the moving beak
that writes in us and, having writ,
never stays to read

Marge Piercy, Two Poems
( Wellfleet, Massachusetts )
The truncated training

My father through my childhood
was constantly challenging me.
He called me coward at eight
when I didn’t want to climb the leaning
ladder to the choked roof gutter.

When I feared walking on grey ice
over the frozen lake like a false
meadow to the ice fishing shacks,
coward again. It wasn’t till years
past his death, I realized that he

was the eldest son, now replicating
his father’s taunts, a stern task
master who built railroad bridges
by day, carved tombstones for fun
at night, while thundering at his meek

Welsh wife, rattling the sword of his
swift temper at nine offspring.
My father tried to mold me into some
fierce stoic boy until at puberty
he abandoned the task and me.

My spilled blood set me free.

Who’s blushing now?

Alba roses, old roses of white
flushed into pink, perfumed
delicately but sufficiently, arching
foliage touched with blue, sturdy
way into northern Vermont:

what do we read into roses?
One Alba was named in France
Cuisse d’une nymph emue – thigh
of an aroused nymph – yet
in English, Maiden's Blush.

Whoever can gaze into a full
rose, red, pink, salmon, even
white and not think of cunt –
they have the heart of a nun.
The sexual organs of a bush,

they leak their sensual fragrance
across the beds toward our
bed. The full heat of summer
laps across our flesh and we too 
let our petals loll open.

Terri Kirby Erickson
( Lewisville, North Carolina )
Sleeping Alone

I hate to sleep alone.
The bed looks 

like Antarctica, cold 
and white.  

There’s no one 
around for miles.  

Every sound 
is magnified—

ice tumbling 
in the freezer, 

the wind bashing 
its fist against 

the window, the drip, 
drip, of a leaky

faucet.  If only I 
could mold my 

body to your 
familiar shape,

breathe you in, 
like anesthesia.

Tree Riesener
( Wayne, Pennsylvania )

to let wind and rain
have their way 
with walls and roof,

our crowbars
do not let the floor miscarry, 
as roots 
work into the foundation.

No more
old receipts, plumber’s bills, 
love letters fluttering
as wind rasps 
through the ravaged frame.

We are not let 
to linger 
as the last window shatters
from the breath of a dove’s wings.

Barricaded from us,
battered bricks and bones
yield air space
to new birth,

even angels and chimneys
no longer left 

tombstones amidst Queen Anne’s lace. 

Martin Willitts, Jr.
( Norwich, New York )
Perceptions of Light and Color
As if I touched the wires of a battery
         Emerson about clarity of seeing nature

His phantom-like light is cold of touch,
lyrical as a bird calling a mate,

this is not another way to perceive light,
it is another way to see the world,

not only in the illuminated hills or faces,
it is also in the things in nature,

what Emerson called the transparent eyeball,
the subjectivity necessary to really see things

as they are, not what we want them to be,
to go beyond realism to magnified intensity,

this is the true poetry of things,
all things have their own movement,

nature is a smooth mirror barely touched, 
so direct and immediate, it is already gone.

Note: Based on the painting, “Eaton's Neck, Long Island” an example of Illuminist art John K. Kensett

Richard Lighthouse
( Pasadena, Texas )
mean ing

you will never know
why this poem means.  
that it does.

it will stalk you tomorrow.
hunt you in dreams.
curse you for not knowing.
and remain un known.

it will say
forget it,
then wake you at 3am
demanding answers.

you have none.

it will telephone.
send letters.
whisper at night,
do you know?

and still, you 
will not.  

you will contrive,
pretend, falsify
meanings.  in the end,

falling asleep
each night.
knowing only   –
you do
not know.

Barbara A. Taylor
( Australia )
Today’s Special

past present and future
up for grabs 

I find it difficult to pass by a piano without the need to tap on keys. When the shop owner
asked if I cared to play the polished upright Wűrlitzer, I replied, “Yes, please.” Dulcet
tones drowned through his jumbled rows of secondhand wares and antique furniture.
I stopped. He applauded. “You can have it at a bargain price.” He told me the piano
belonged to an elderly lady who’d recently been moved into a retirement home. The
matron there insists that piano playing is too loud, disruptive in their recreational area.
“She’s giving away all her sheet music, eighty years’ worth,” he prompted, hoping I
could see it for the steal it was. “That threadbare piano stool comes free.”

I - Into the Shelter of Dark Caves
II - This Bend of Quiet
III - Silhouette of a Plume

Review: Desi Di Nardo

Featured Poet - Melissa Buckheit

Current Issue - Fall 2008