Alchemy

Submitted by Gary Glauber

This tenuous flirtation,
the costs of acting coy,
whispering as if volume
could shout denial,
yet nothing cancels out.
This poverty of reason
subverted by emotion
converts thought to fantasy,
to smattering cacophony
of nasty scenario.
He, convinced he has
willed her into existence,
conjured from prior thought
into flesh & hot blood,
believes the impossible,
through mundane messages
read over & over to
yield hidden meanings.
This pitiful desperate
grandeur of delusion
is exercise in modern futility,
sugar-coated by platitudes
& a string of complex emojis.
This ego massage lasts only so long,
then rubs the wrong way,
dead bouquet in graveyard,
strewn by strong winds
& sotto voce goodbye.


 

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Photo Credit: René Magritte – The Lovers

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Poor Players

Submitted by Jane Dougherty

To stop the final turning of the year,
Sunset bringing night, no morning after,
We strut beneath the over-arching sky,
Rant upon this stage and shake our puny fists
At the hapless clouds and retching sea,
As if all are to blame but the players.
This journey almost over, river-run,
We feel the bone-cold rise from misty ground,
Where light seeps into water, dusty pearls,
And nothing is what we hoped; no rounded dreams,
Nothing recalls the tang of unseen seas,
The lush and velvet scent of hot night skin,
The arrogant cry, gold-plumed and sun-struck flight,
Of the tumultuous firebird of youth.

 


 

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Photo Credit: Hubert Roestenburg –  s’hertogenbosch

Our Own Flanders Fields

Submitted by Gary Glauber

Even though forecast calls for rain,
another stalled tropical depression,
humble parade continues unabated
as ominous clouds loom gray to the west.

Little girls wearing daisy & brownie smocks
march beside bicyclists decked out in flag colors,
& then community’s staunch veterans
amble forward behind color guard,
uniforms that denote long ago campaigns,
units in service, camouflage, & camaraderie.
Firemen in shiny trucks & boy scouts
complete local ragtag procession.

After following circuitous maze of blocked off roads,
short pageant concludes at village green,
where reverend opens with convocation,
first two verses of “America the Beautiful.”
Soon hired band plays somber bugled “Taps,”
& all join in singing national anthem.

Town supervisor addresses fallen heroes,
& homegrown veteran recants distant memory
for all to reflect upon. This is small-town pride,
tributes to those who never made it out of uniform,
heritage of familiar tradition preserved & celebrated,
unassuming community recognizing
freedoms fought for & maintained
to make this annual event possible.


 

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Photo Credit: Frederick Hassam – The Avenue in the Rain

Clouds of War

Submitted by Shaun Clamp

Dense nuclear plumes
towered in the dry, hot sky.
Stark expressions: the power of war.

Later by the window, a cracking
The first shell,
then the slew of ammunition
battering the roof, glancing off glass,
dousing the parched white walls; ceramic sheen
reflecting vaguely the sky.

And green trees dripped
And the white carcass of a spider suckled in vain
At a drop that was stuck the other side of the pane,
And harder it rained,
And darker it became.


 

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Photo credit: Gassed – John Singer Sargent

Ghosts at the Pond

Submitted by Jane Dougherty

In the winter pond, the ghosts
of trees are caught in milky moon
light, pale as smoke and pearly
as the dawn that makes the ice
a glacier sky of frozen stars.

Do fish still sweep and curve beneath
the silk smooth surface of the moon,
the mirror glass of space and time?

Deer cracks the glass from side to side
with dainty hoof and scatters stars
into the watery firmament.

Winter, the sound cracks, gunshot-
sharp, like ice on pearly moonlit ponds,
like falling stars, a dainty hoof, pale
smoke recedes between the ghostly trees.


 

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Photo Credit: The Lake and Town of Brienz – JMW Turner

Family Portrait

Submitted by Ronald E. Shields

Strange
This hatred of factories.
I have never been in one.
Thirty years my father labored in a factory making film.
There is no evidence he ever took a picture.
There is a family portrait
taken by a neighbor I suppose.
My father is looking away from the camera,
his gaze focused somewhere the camera cannot see,
none of us can see.
He could be watching birds fly south
or waiting for the ice to break.
It is ten years since the factory closed,
my father gone seven.
As I look at the portrait now I try to follow his gaze.
I can see the river running around the locks,
through the arches beneath the bridge,
past the dark bones of the factories,
out to a hungry sea.


 

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Photo Credit: Old factory on the Somme – Frits Thaulow

Gravitational Waves–Again

Submitted by Merril D. Smith

Then—
two stars danced
collapsing into one another
creating ripples,
waves tumbling through space,
bending time. . .

Now—
in a folded origami universe,
they reach us,
echoes of the past gently rocking our world,
ghostly whispers and secret sighs
speak of a former life unknown– yet somehow familiar–
calling out. . .
traces of stardust
recalling what once was and now is


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Photo Credit: An Old Star Map