August Issue- Week 4

August 20, 2012

‘Fire’

Alice Humphrys resides in Florence, Texas on the family ranch helping brand and manage their horses along with dogs, sheep, and many other livestock.

*******

Way Back

Snow in an empty field hovers like a thick layer of fog
over dull green and brown grass in need
of the sun’s restoration. Rivers of snow
collect, the rest of the field brown, bare.
Another field is white, the snow’s covering
sporadic, choosing the places it touches.
Tomorrow it might be gone. For now it lingers
with months of refuse—plastic bags hooked
on corn stubble, boxes that were buried by snow.
Water, high in ditches, currents strong,
sounds like rustling bags. She removes
her white hood, frees
her long brown hair, unzips her jacket,
lets it flap when her horse gallops.
Hoof prints indent the malleable ground, leave
a new trail beside the old.
She is a torn bag left in an abandoned
field, miles from home,
trusting a weary horse to help her
find her way back.

Dawn Schout’s poetry has appeared in more than two dozen publications, including *Fogged Clarity*, *Glass: A Journal of Poetry*, *Muscle & Blood Literary Journal*, *Pemmican*, *Poetry Quarterly*, *Red River Review*, and *Tipton Poetry Journal*. She won the B.J. Rolfzen Memorial Dylan Days Writing Contest, the Lucidity Poetry Journal Contest, and the Academy of American Poets’ Free Verse Project. She lives near Lake Michigan.

*******

Driftwood

Driftwood is a sane representation of the human condition.
Its withered flow speaks to us of the ‘ragged glory of time’.
We’re dull, grey, and smoothed out, as the driftwood, made
to solemnly wash up on anonymous shores;
a sage artifact of the ‘general passage’
that delivered us.

Dan Hedges
teaches English in the Sir Wilfred Laurier School Board of Quebec. He has also taught at Sedbergh School, and the Celtic International School. He has lived in international locales, including Spain and Mexico. His writing has appears or is forthcoming in The Monarch Review: Seattle’s Literary and Arts Magazine, Ditch Poetry, The Maynard, The Camel Saloon, Wildflower Magazine, Rigormortus, Fortunates, Inertia, Crack the Spine, Short-Fast-and-Deadly, Coatlism Press, Whole Beast Rag, Marco Polo Arts Magazine, Kenning Journal, The Rusty Nail, Wilderness House Literary Journal, Retort Magazine, Certain Circuits, Touch Poetry, Poetic Diversity, Haggard and Halloo Publications, Jones Avenue Quarterly, Blink Ink, Greensilk Journal, Literary Chaos, Subtopian Magazine, The Euonia Review, Undertow Magazine, The View from Here, Nazar Look, The Apeiron Review, and Mad Swirl. Dan is the editor of a literary collective called Humanimalz.

August Issue- Week 3

August 12, 2012

THE PIONEER SONG

You hid the rum bottle in the shed east of the outhouse.
Since sixteen her waist — narrowest in the township — widened with her anger
Five boys surly budding whiskers could till this Ohio dirt without you
She tells you so daily.
Sharp yellow faced wasps that chew weathered boards of the outhouse
To build above your bottle’s nest
Sting not so sharply as her tongue.
You can no longer sip young buck rum
Under lush palms and succulent vines
Immersed in blossoming laughter of great black ladies
Lacing the Kingston night
The Ohio river dreams west
Forgotten freedom flowing on water
Westward lies a Wyoming, gold in Dixie, Idaho, vast Montana skies
Never real unless you touch them.
Old Thaddeus cut your graying hair
Shave the Amish beard dress a bit of the dandy
Ringo or Liberty or Bat will disembark the Cincinnati packet boat in St. Louis
Childless widower on a wagon train westward
Into a yarn tempered with campfire flickers
Burnt whiskey brown in the unshaded sun
On a plain whose trail flows beyond sight—unswallowed in lush green forests.
Fancy made flesh to stride tall into dusky saloons
Meanwhile back at the ranch
A mythfinity in
The big bang from a silent and singular farewell.

Tyson West is a traditional western poet whose aesthetic continually shape shifts. He watches the Northwest with veiled and hooded lynx eyes, broods among the conifers and quarrels with Coyote. He has a degree in history, but writes a variety of poetry styles, and has written a series of poems around Spokane Garry who is our local magical Indian. One of Tyson’s Western poems was published in Spoke Magazine called “Floorshow”, which is based on a picture of a 1922 floorshow in the Davenport Hotel which photo you can find on line. He lives in the middle of Eastern Washington, which is definitely cowboy country. There are two Washingtons, Eastern and Western, and they are as different as a Mocah Mint Latte with organic goats milk and black boiled coffee at a chuck wagon fire.

August Issue- Week 2

August 6, 2012

Landscapes

Never did I dare to dream of deserts,
how they, too, collect things
and arrange them into collages:
Red pebbles mistaken for grass,
cacti growing in hardened earth
not on big box store shelves,
brazen palms touching the sky
without a sea in sight,

and trees I could never name
more glorious than magnolia and pine
who dare to show winter what it means
to be alive.

Telly McGaha is a native Kentuckian who fell in love with the Southwest after visiting Texas and Arizona. His work has appeared in Assaracus, Vox Poetica, Referential Magazine, and Vwa: Poems for Ayiti. His flash fiction, Patches, was the 2008 Hayward Fault Line Competition winner and appeared in Doorknobs & Body Paint.

***

Picket

He saw someone
do this in a movie. Wants
to try. She obliges.
Saddle shifts to the left
when he pulls
himself up onto the horse.
She hands him his guitar.
He strums,
looking intently at the strings,
pudgy fingers lost
in them. She stays
on the ground. Even the horse
seems confused, reins
draped at his sides.
Lowers his neck to graze.

She gave
him what he wanted.
All he sees
is the old, plain
guitar he doesn’t know
how to play.
It’s like she’s not there anymore.

She walks to the barn,
climbs to the hay bale closest
to the rafters,
her hair just below
spider webs, ideas weaving
in her head.
He’s not there anymore.
There are horses, acres
of lush, green pastures, picket
fences to keep crazy men out.

Dawn Schout’s poetry has appeared in more than two dozen publications, including *Fogged Clarity*, *Glass: A Journal of Poetry*, *Muscle & Blood Literary Journal*, *Pemmican*, *Poetry Quarterly*, *Red River Review*, and *Tipton Poetry Journal*. She won the B.J. Rolfzen Memorial Dylan Days Writing Contest, the Lucidity Poetry Journal Contest, and the Academy of American Poets’ Free Verse Project. She lives near Lake Michigan.

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Western short stories, heritage and trail recipes.

The Blank Page

Confronting Writer's Block