“Egg” by Nilotpal Sarmah

Drop the moon in the boiling sea of thoughts.
Let it harden in the bubbling fluid;
Allow its lore-blooded yolk to trickle
and thicken into nostalgic, silver streams.
Pour the fluid into the darkening horizon.
Leave the steaming egg to cool.
Pick it up with your dusty hands

and
Let the peeling begin.

Drool as its craterous surface gets speckled
with its solidified yolk, like fossilized memories.
Time to eat your breakfast, O dusk!
The shadowy meal is all set.
The digestive courtship of
silence and slumber is for dessert.

 

 

Nilotpal Sarmah resides in the city of Guwahati in Assam, India. Inspired by his home state’s landscapes, he turned poetry into his passion and hopes to have a published volume of his works some day.

“I Want to Speak Norwegian” by Linda Ferguson

For Gilbert Torgersen Grimes, who immigrated to Newberg, Oregon
from Søndre Land, Oppland, Norway

I want to speak Norwegian,
to conjure frost and salt and juicy pieces
of white fish – Great-grandfather and his brow
resting on folded hands, suspenders stretched
under the wide warmth of his wool plaid –
Great-grandfather who built his house out of vinegar
and apples, out of a mule’s breath and
weathered fence planks and buckets of splintered dew
he gathered from depths of morning grass –
Great-grandfather who grew love from the silence
of the deer’s hooves that stitched dainty trails
through the wood ferns and from the dusty maps
worn on cow’s backs –
Great-grandfather who traveled here in a boat woven with birch
and willow and oak, who sang to us of smooth milky rocks
that fit in our palms and of leaning gravestones
with chiseled names softened by raindrops, snow and moss
and of pointed brown beaks tapping tiny odes
into the grooves of pine trunks –
Great-grandfather who still swings his scythe and feeds us
bread and filberts with his fingers and teaches us
(without words or voice)
to embrace røyk, tillit and gnagsår
(smoke, faith and blisters)
even though ocean waves and a star’s light
separate our births from his last breath.

 

 

Linda Ferguson is an award-winning, Pushcart-nominated writer of poetry, essays, and fiction. Her poetry chapbook, Baila Conmigo, was published by Dancing Girl Press. As a writing teacher, she has a passion for helping students find their voice and explore new territory.

“self” by Stephen House

i had anticipated
my decline into poverty
would be worse than is

typhoon of failure
washing over me
could disintegrate ability
stifling me
into almost non-existence

fortunately
i have found the contrary

from my financial decimation
associated shame
abandonment by some deemed near
and messy complication of nil self-worth
the splendid has emerged

on this empty beach
sheltering from winter
in tent and car i now call home
acceptance
nurtures me more each day

i embrace it
aware
this unwelcome lesson
in letting go
is a disguised gift
to be cherished
forever

privileged man i am
in silent reflection
by endless sea

alone
with nature
and self

finally free
from whatever i was
before

 

This poem, “self,” was commended in The Eyre Writing Awards and published in The Lincoln Times newspaper.

 

 

Stephen House has won two Awgie Awards (Australian Writers Guild), the Rhonda Jancovic Poetry Award for Social Justice, and the Goolwa Poetry Cup. He’s been shortlisted for the Overland Fair Australia Fiction Prize, Patrick White Playwright, Queensland Premier’s Drama, Tom Collins Poetry & Greenroom Acting Awards and many other writing prizes. He’s received international literary residencies to Canada, Ireland and the USA, and an Asialink literature residency to India. He’s been published and performed often and widely. Stephen continues to tour his acclaimed monologues. His chapbook of poetry, real and unreal, was recently published by ICOE Press Australia.

 

 

Athenian Epitaphs by Michael R. Burch

Mariner, do not ask whose tomb this may be,
but go with good fortune: I wish you a kinder sea.

—Michael R. Burch, after Plato (?)

 

Does my soul abide in heaven, or hell?
Only the sea gulls
in their high, lonely circuits may tell.

—Michael R. Burch, after Glaucus

 

Passerby,
tell the Spartans we lie
here, dead at their word,
obedient to their command.
Have they heard?
Do they understand?

—Michael R. Burch, after Simonides

 

He lies in state tonight: great is his Monument!
Yet Ares cares not, neither does War relent.

—Michael R. Burch, after Anacreon

 

 

These are taken from epitaphs placed on gravestones and monuments by the ancient Greeks in remembrance of their dead. The first two selections were previously published by Brief Poems.

 

 

Michael R. Burch, founder of The HyperTexts, lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Beth, their son Jeremy, and three outrageously spoiled puppies. His poems, epigrams, translations, essays, articles, reviews, short stories, puns, jokes and letters have appeared more than 5,000 times in publications which include TIME, USA Today, The Hindu, BBC Radio 3, CNN.com, Daily Kos, The Washington Post, Light Quarterly, The Lyric, Measure, Writer’s DigestThe Year’s Best Writing, The Best of the Eclectic Muse, Unlikely Stories and hundreds of other literary journals, websites and blogs. He has two published books, Violets for Beth (White Violet Press, 2012) and O, Terrible Angel (Ancient Cypress Press, 2013).

“Solar Flare” by Kersten Christianson

-Riffing Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese”

You do not have to be engaged.
You do not have to sit
in the front row
nodding your head
in approval,
affirmation
to the uninspired.
You only have to represent
the clickety-clack of your heart,
tap-dancing rain gutters,
solar panels.
Tell me where you’d rather be,
and I’ll draw an X
marking my spot, too.
Meanwhile, the day slugs on.
Meanwhile the sun rides the sky
in a hunched back slouch, filters
60 watts through alder leaves
hanging by a thread.
Whoever you once were,
or will yet become,
the world will bend
to your intensity.

 

 

Kersten Christianson is a raven-watching, moon-gazing Alaskan. When not exploring the summer lands and dark winter of the Yukon, she lives in Sitka, Alaska. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing (University of Alaska Anchorage).  Kersten is the author of two books of poetry:  What Caught Raven’s Eye (Petroglyph Press, 2018) and Something Yet to Be Named (Aldrich Press, 2017).  She is also the poetry editor of the quarterly journal, Alaska Women Speak.  www.kerstenchristianson.com

“Return” by Ray Ball

After García Lorca

A cool breeze – so welcome
after hot days in Andalucía
enters my body, helps
stretch the folded accordian

of my spine. I will look
the rose bush in its face
past all the obsessive gnats,
the bees bumping in orgiastic gratitude.

Why does a sepulcher
of the past haunt me even here?
The art of dying requires
heaps of human skulls

in the same way that the sky
assassinates itself over
and over again, somehow hoping
each time, it will be different.

 

 

Ray Ball grew up in a house full of snakes. She is a history professor, a Best of the Net and Pushcart-nominated poet, and an editor at Alaska Women Speak. Her chapbook Tithe of Salt came out with Louisiana Literature Press in the spring of 2019, and she has recent publications in Human/Kind Journal, Rivet, and SWWIM Every Day. You can find her in the classroom, in the archives, or on Twitter @ProfessorBall.

“The Storyteller Within the Blue Latitudes” by Linda Imbler

My mind is sharp, and oddly enough,
I can see in all directions at the same time.
People’s mouths move, but there is no sound.
I rather enjoy not having to breathe.
The air seems, well, cleaner somehow.

After all the illness and pain,
I’ve taken a turn for the better,
and I’m doing quite well.

My unblinking eyes are easy on the lenses.
The memory of what is overhead is fading rapidly.
I stroll through my thoughts;
my body chooses to remain still inside this vault.

Being dead is a solitary exercise,
and I do so relish my solitude.

The firmament becomes obscured,
and I repose in state happily ever after.

 

 

Linda Imbler is a Kansas-based Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. Linda’s poetry and a listing of publications can be found at lindaspoetryblog.blogspot.com. She’s an avid reader, classical guitar player, and a practitioner of both Yoga and Tai Chi. In addition, she helps her husband, a Luthier, build acoustic guitars.  Linda enjoys her 200-gallon saltwater reef tank. Linda believes that poetry truly adds to the beauty of the world.  Much of this beauty she feels can be found in the night sky and, on warm nights, her telescope serves as inspiration for this belief.