Monday, March 25, 2019

Drawn to Night, a poem by Lylanne Musselman

Drawn to Night
by Lylanne Musselman

I’m thinking of Hopper
and how I love
his painting Nighthawks,
how I love the contrast
of light and dark,
and how I’ve always
been drawn to realism,
of how I enjoy diners,
and sometimes take
pleasure in eating alone,
and how no matter
what time I must rise
the next day—I am always
a night owl.

Lylanne Musselman is an award-winning poet, playwright, and artist, living in Indiana. Her work has appeared in Pank, Flying Island, Tipton Poetry Journal, The New Verse News, and The Ekphrastic Review, among others, and many anthologies. Musselman is the author of five chapbooks, including the recent Red Mare 16 (Red Mare Press, 2018), a co-author of the volume of poetry, Company of Women New and Selected Poems, (Chatter House Press, 2013) and author of the new full-length poetry collection, It’s Not Love, Unfortunately (Chatter House Press, 2018).

Monday, March 18, 2019

Shikata ga Nai (Let It Be), a poem by Hiromi Yosihida

Shikata ga Nai (Let It Be)
by Hiromi Yoshida

Stoic acceptance

                    --not passive acquiescence
                    --not dumb cattle herded into packed boxcars
                    --not subservient Japs (as

                                          though truncation diminishes self-esteem)—

swallowing the bitter spittle
of outrage re. E.O. 9066
like green tea without the usual
ceremony. Heavy steps,

                         overstuffed duffel bags—

all that two arms can carry
(all that the heart can carry)

Shikata ga nai. Swallow, lunge forward

gravel crunch [toxic gaman]

tubular chrysanthemum stems drop
                   overripe heads with the weight of
                                apology [mōshi wake nai] for being

Japanese Americans at the wrong time (as

                            though there were a right time for these porous hybrid
                                                                                                             many-petaled things)—

The skies above Manzanar were sheets of motheaten kimono silk—
         taut with anxiety, mottled with unanswered questions, pinpricked with cruel stars;

The lacquered bento boxes
The sake cups
The porcelain rice bowls
The spoons, the chopsticks,
         the obi sashes matchless with lost kimono pieces and the children
                          without their corresponding dolls—

cucumbers and      plums pickled in formaldehyde     jars

Shikata ga nai.

Bio: Hiromi Yoshida teaches American Literature for the award-winning VITAL program at the Monroe County Public Library. Her poems have been published in such literary magazines and journals as Indiana Voice Journal, The Asian American Literary Review, Evergreen Review, and The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Every Night My Sparrow Flies, a poem by Doris Lynch

Every Night My Sparrow Flies
by Doris Lynch

On cloudy nights I don wings
and follow her—it feels like dancing

our bodies so close, sometimes they brush.
At each turn we swerve apart then curve

together again. To urge allegiance I place
her head at my elbow, her beak becomes

the tiny bow of a miniature boat
as it prows our world.
Doris Lynch has recent work in Tipton Poetry Review, Frogpond, Haibun Today, and in the Flying Island. In 2017, she won the Genjuan International Haibun contest.

Hummingbird II, by Celia Latz

Hummingbird II
by Celia Latz
Astonished by an omen
When I thought
Hummingbirds were precious,
Avian unicorns,
one flew into my open door
But I did not know the pettiness
Of the hummingbird
Until after hanging a feeder
Filled with nectar
I saw greed and violence
In their little lives.
With plenty for all
One pushed another to the ground
Pinning it with her tiny

Celia Latz is a native Hoosier who has lived and worked in Venice, Italy, 35 years producing and marketing hand painted textiles and fashion. "I currently live in the historic German Village in Columbus, Ohio. After years of working in the visual arts, I realize my true passion is writing with an emphasis on the energy exerted to overcome barriers and repel negativity- energy that often goes unnoticed. The Hummingbird poems are a part of my collection of poems and short stories titled Ordinary Miracles."

A Generation of Bird Watchers, a poem by Becky Laurenzana

A Generation of Bird Watchers
by Becky Laurenzana

The distant dove cries
The cardinal the color of blood rests on a worn fence
Fluttering wings like eyelashes
Opening to this complicated world
Through a torn screen
Damage left from a raging storm from tumultuous seasons past
Yet the beauty is beyond the screen
It is in the generation of bird watchers
Each spring we perch
In distant cities
In distant countrysides
In different spaces of time
When I come to this window the pitter-patter of my heart connects
A little boy staring at his grandpa’s bird books
A grandpa holding his granddaughters hand walking through quiet pastures
Only the bird’s song connects
The man packing combat fatigues listening to the chirp amidst the scream of city sirens
The suburban woman staring through the screen
Eye-lids fluttering in harmony with bird wings
Yet the beauty is beyond the screen
It is in the generation of bird watchers

From Becky Laurenzana: I hold a B.A. in English from Franklin College in Franklin, Indiana, where I studied poetry and creative writing. In recent years, I’ve studied creative nonfiction with writer editor Julianna Thibodeaux at the Indiana Writers Center. I’m a yoga teacher by day and writer by night. Much of my inspiration for poetry comes from the quiet moments on my mat in nature. I reside in Greenwood, Indiana.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Heading South, a poem by Jeffrey Owen Pearson

Heading South
by Jeffrey Owen Pearson

As the plane skirts the coast heading south
to Ft. Lauderdale, I fool myself into seeing a marlin
leap from the ocean and, for a moment,
look me in the eye as if something holy.
Because all things are holy.
From this height I see the blurring of sea and land.

Of a place where people struggle for footholds.
I know who loses this game.
Because we all always lose in the end.

When my feet hit the tarmac I already feel
foreign. Like a soldier who retreats from death
or will be swallowed.

I have come to claim the dead. Whose atoms
will soon mingle into the fire of a last sunset.
How odd the familiarity of gray streets

moaning in the rising mist after a rain shower.
The tangle of unusual trees and boulevard names.
The unfriendly neighborhood facades

with no one I know. Easy in, easy out,
they say. Except the way grief sticks everywhere.
Like gum stuck on the pavement, cooking

in the sun. Sweet but spit out for the only reason
I know. I’ve become too accustomed to its taste.

From Jeffrey Owen Pearson: “I began writing a tribute to Jay Zimmerman, who grew up in Florida, but the poem kept turning to my son, who died there. 'Heading South' is heavy with both.”

Friday, March 1, 2019

The Reading Owl Kingdom, a poem by Norbert Krapf

Editor's Note: Today, March 1, is Read Across America Day.

The Reading Owl Kingdom
by Norbert Krapf

Once there was an owl
who after cataract surgery
instead of going on the prowl
would read books in his tree.

This reading owl would sit on high
and read and devour book after book
and believe you me this is no lie
they called his corner The Book Nook.

Other critters who didn’t sleep at night
would crawl, scamper, or fly on over
to see a reading owl so very bright
he would read books cover to cover.

Pretty soon all the denizens of those woods
came to be known for the legendary wisdom
that brought others into their neighborhood
to witness the wise old reading owl’s kingdom.

Norbert Krapf, former Indiana Poet Laureate, has recently published his 12th poetry collection, The Return of Sunshine, about his Colombian-German-American grandson. He is completing a collection of poems for children and a prose memoir about his writing life, Homecomings.