Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tired of winter? There's hope: A poem from Lylanne Musselman

Winter Noise
by Lylanne Musselman

Listen to the echoes
in the heart of winter: snow
shovels scrape concrete,
tires roll over brittle ice,
arthritic tree branches
pop and crack as they move
in the whistling breeze.

Canada geese
trumpet their flight across
the crisp bright sky, and
like parachutists
smaller feathered friends
drop in at full feeders, chirp
delight while seeds shuffle
onto frozen ground.

One unexpected day,
after months of muffled noise
suffered under too much snowfall,
you will hear the constant dripping
of shiny icicles —
winter’s suicidal melt,
drumming in spring sounds.

Lylanne Musselman is a native Hoosier with many family, friendship, and poetry ties that keep her returning often. An award-winning artist and poet, she has been published in many literary journals and anthologies. She’s authored three chapbooks, and co-authored Company of Women: New and Selected Poems (Chatter House Press, 2013) with Jayne Marek and Mary Sexson. Although, in 2011, she moved to Toledo, Ohio, she continues teaching online writing classes for Ivy Tech Community College, Indianapolis.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Two memories: Poetry from John Sherman and Robin Lovelace

Fall Creek Parkway Indianapolis 1959
by John Sherman

I know just where she was
along fall creek parkway
south of the marott apartments
that I now drive by every week 

how often I glance at the sidewalk
that I have designated the very spot where
she was in full stride on her way to school
when a young white boy cried out at her
from the yellow bus that rushed into her life
and pushed on through heavy traffic
before she could hear our collective gasp
and our own words of anger at an unseemly act 

a frozen series of moments remembered:
the back of the girl’s head
the long gray coat
the shoulders bent over an armful of books
a second or two before
his sudden leap across the bus
to get to the window 

his word
our reaction 

as adults we remember most clearly
the split-second joyful and
hurtful intensities of childhood:
the boy’s sudden leap into the air
the jerk of our heads in his direction
the open mouthed face protruding 
into such a calm morning  

Bio: John Sherman has published three books of poetry. His poems have appeared in many literary journals and anthologies. One of his poems was selected to appear on an Indianapolis Cultural Trail bus stop. Another was selected for the poet-quilter collaboration, Poetry in Free Motion. He is the recipient of a Creative Renewal Artist Fellowship and Individual Arts Program grants for his writing.


Street School
by Robin Lovelace

My sister and me in 1970.
Mulattoes with wavy hair and golden skin.
Skinny young mules with smooth faces and long colt legs, coming from
       the Dairy Queen.
We pass a black man on the sidewalk. He looks us up and down, smiles
       and we smile back, from behind our melting ice cream cones.
Unwise in the ways of black men, other than our weekend father, grateful
       to see one in our cottony white neighborhood.
He yells it. “Niggers.”
Wants to remind us of what we are.
Frightened. Stunned. 
It was not the last time we were called that name. 

Bio: Robin Lovelace was born and raised in Indianapolis, lived in Evansville for a few years and now lives in Plainfield with her husband and her dog. She has been writing stories on and off for at least 30 years. Three short stories were published in various literary magazines in the 1990s, and she won second place in the Ohio Valley Fiction Contest in 2000. She self-published a novel as an e-book in October 2013. Robin is currently working on a science fiction story set in Memphis. About the poem: “I rarely write poetry, but this memory came to mind when I was at the Plainfield Dairy Queen a few weeks ago.”




Friday, January 10, 2014

Dark Side of the Moon, by Bryn Marlow

Change is possible. From under my skin I know this. From inside out I know this. By the fire that burns white hot in the dark place I know this. Change comes at night. Change comes as Maiden Moon mothers Crone. Change comes. Change.
Come, change. Come.
And in the chant, in the pale light of the Crone it comes, it comes. The cool damp of cold wet walls comforts me, quiets me. I drop song, all sound, blouse, bra, pants, panties. Naked now I stand, ready, open, willing. Energy rises. It warms from within, erupts on the skin of my arms, my legs, my belly. The hair grows long, longer, shags the floor. Fingers meld, face morphs, whiskers sprout, tail spindles. I pad to the door, stretch all four feet, slip into the night.
I lift snout and howl my desire to you, Dark Lady. Distance keeps him alive. Would that he were closer. I would sniff him out as he sleeps, open his neck, rend and tear with teeth his pale white flesh. Then would they be safe, my children, my future. Out of his reach, away from his influence. Would I could sprout wings, fly to his side, correct the curse of his existence. But bound we are by what we are, by what we may become.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Two poems about the cold from Jayne Marek

Alphabetics of the Comforters
by Jayne Marek 

Folded, bedclothes rise in crests toward the storms.
One side of night pressed down, invisible, the other
Inescapable, a cradle of waiting.
Hours of minuscule cat footsteps cross the floor
To listen at black walls.
Hard to believe anyone might have hidden
Something precious under the pillow
Where it could easily wrap the mind’s eye
In scarves that never rest, that
Unfold their hunger,
Pointing toward the wind’s escape,
Shaping the hieroglyphic
Of a name in a forgotten alphabet
One is required to know.

Cold Promise
by Jayne Marek

So rare to have the windows open in autumn
    On a day when the dry leaves click together
        Stirred by a robin’s foot. Still here, bird?
You’ll be sorry if you linger too long
    Among patches of thinning grass.

Beetle buzz, bark scents waft in,
    On damp weedy air. It’s morning,
        Time for the lawn to decide: rot or parch?
Irregular patches of light fall
    Timidly from the east, disbelieving

And with good reason. By nightfall, wind
    Will steady its stream across these surfaces,
        The scoured house walls, the shivering glass,
Whistling shingles, all the early promise
    Shoved away by stiff arms.

Bio: Jayne Marek’s poetry has appeared in publications such as Lantern Journal, Siren, Spillway, Driftwood Bay, Tipton Poetry Journal, Isthmus, The Occasional Reader, Wisconsin Academy Review, and Windless Orchard and in several anthologies. In 2013, Finishing Line Press published her first chapbook and Chatter House Press brought out a book of poems she co-authored with Lylanne Musselman and Mary Sexson.

Friday, January 3, 2014

First Flying Island post: A poem from Tracy Mishkin

A Bird of Prey Always Has the Last Word
by Tracy Mishkin
for Sherry Chandler

I. Letter from Hawk on Christmas Day

Thank you for filling the feeder
and luring the cardinal down.
I was hungry, perched in a pine
and waiting. Fat target. Easy prey.
I suppose you sought beauty: red bird,
evergreens, fresh snow.
I thought only of meat.

II. Reply to Hawk 

The Currier & Ives notecard
was a lovely touch. I know
you have to eat. Why rub it in?
Today I bought every can and box
on sale, all for the food bank.
When the season of warmth and giving
is over, donations drop. Like you,
the children have to eat.
They are not sentimental
about their food.

III. Hawk Drops One Last Note 
A donation in my honor?
Precious. When I have children
I cannot feed, they shrivel
in the nest and I watch them die.

Bio: Tracy Mishkin is a career immigrant. Born in academia, she taught in Georgia and published two books on African-American literature, then disappeared, resurfacing in the land of non-profits with the Bureau of Jewish Education in Indianapolis. Three years later, she was spotted across the border working retail at the Uniform House before she immigrated to the corporate world, where she resolves insurance problems at Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. Finishing Line Press will publish her chapbook I Almost Didn’t Make It to McDonald’s in 2014. Her work is also forthcoming in the Reckless Writing Poetry Anthology 2013 and has appeared in Tipton Poetry Journal, Flying Island, Poetica, and in the Focus 9-11 section of