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.

John H. Dromey was born in northeast Missouri. He’s had a byline (for brief, humorous items) in over one-hundred different newspapers and magazines. Once upon a time he had light verse published in Grit, Hoofs and Horns, Light, the Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. His cartoons have appeared in Bowhunter and Farm Antiques News (no longer published).

WORDS SPOKEN BY SPOKANE GARRY
AT THE DEDICATION OF HIS MONUMENT
SPOKANE, WA August 25, 2011

Proud am I that you
Children of my children
Stand here today honoring
Our stiff necked resolution
To fancy dance and wail to pounding drums
Carry our feathers and totems
Against the white fangs of Mickey Mouse and Barbie.
You have not forgotten bones of our ancestors
Line trails from the northwest.
Buffalo soldiers following yellow haired men with shoulder straps
Hanged a few of our braves
Who died like warriors – slaughtered our horses
These slaps were nothing
To crude tribes of peasants fiercely fleeing
Dandy dukes and counts and princes
To ravage and reshape our mother
Dam up her rivers withhold the red ocean fish
And turn the canyon where I died into 18 smooth grassy stretches for a German farmer’s son
To chase a hard white rubber ball
In a put put cart
Smiling whiskey on his breath.
May this construct of basalt pillars and metal work magic medicine
Reserve our dry ground
Cold swift rivers so we may
Breath cool mountain air
Over tongues speaking Salish words that
Ancestors entrusted to us.

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.

June 2012- Week 3

June 19, 2012

JOHN TWOGUNS’ MEDICINE

When my people come I will rise up,
hard eyed, hard armed, hard bellied,
in the colors of war,
in the markings of a warrior,
with the weapons of a man.

The sun has set in my eyes.
Winter has settled in my hair.
My belly hangs over my belt
like a crest of old snow.
I smoke white cigarettes
and cling to my plastic cane.

But, I have seen my people come.
And I have risen up,
hard eyed, hard armed, hard bellied,
in the colors of war,
in the markings of a warrior,
with the weapons of a man.

Edna Running Elk wakes me,
her thin arm across my chest,
her brown eyes shadowed by sleep,
murmuring, “It was only a dream, John.
Only a dream. A dream…”

H. Edgar Hix is a Minnesota poet who has been publishing poetry for around 40 years. His work has appeared in over 100 journals, including recent appearances in bear creek haiku, Waterways, Time of Singing, Priscilla Papers, Crack the Spine, Mutuality, FutureCycle, and Vine Leaves Literary Journal . He has published one poetry chapbook, The Saint Cloud Café and Motor Inn . You can also find his flash fiction ‘Mary Had A Big, Bad Wolf’ in Z-composition, April 2012 Issue.

The Trials Of The Messenger

If you follow the canyon trail down,
the blunderbusses will pick you off.
There is absolutely no cover
save for a few pomegranate bushes.
All is visible through the branches.
If the pragmatic blasts
can reach across this divide,
you’re connected to your apprehension.
Any litter you’ve collected won’t save you.

Colin James has poems forthcoming in Pyrokinection, Nazar Look and Eudice. He has a chapbook of poems
available from Thunderclap Press. Formally of the UK, he now resides in Massachusetts.


THE EARTH WITCH

It is the right time of year to search for the Earth Witch. I once found her lair. It is past the subdivision with its orbit of builders’ waste and tires. Past a ring where teens throw beer cans and cats abandon litters. Past a fisherman’s trail, where two old lawn chairs face each other, holding conversation in the woods. Beyond the green briars curling from the soil like cruel whips. At the lakeshore,
you get the feeling of being watched. Time is remote–you can feel the swell of the earth. I once spotted tall figures walking along the far shore. It was the Crane People. I watched them awhile silently, until early darkness surprised me. Then I cut across the thickest part of the woods, parting the vines with a stick. The forest opened up ahead. Before me, an ancient oak stood covered in ciphers.
A zigzag arrow: snake. Eight-rayed circle: spider. Many Xs and markings I can no longer recall. Hanging from the branches were knotted cords of small skulls– opossum, rabbit, skunk. I crossed a circle of stones blackened by ceremonial fire. Stepping quiet, knowing an Earth Witch received her visions here–once, long ago.

M.V. Montgomery is a professor at Life University in Atlanta. His third book of poems, What We Did With Old Moons, will be released by Winter Goose Publishing this November.

Week One-

[click on image to enlarge]

‘In The Saddle’

Scott Welch is a living breathing Texas cowboy and rancher who works his land before and after he works a full-time job. This photo was taken while Scott was out riding one afternoon; it’s the perfect example of a birds eye view of the cowboy on the trail.

***

THE GALVESTON FLOOD

My grandfather went hand-over-hand
on a barbed-wire fence
with a table tied to his waist
and my grandmother tied to the table
because she couldn’t swim.

Hand-over-hand, man.
That’s Texas.

H. Edgar Hix is a Minnesota poet who has been publishing poetry for around 40 years. His work has appeared in over 100 journals, including recent appearances in bear creek haiku, Waterways, Time of Singing, Priscilla Papers, Crack the Spine, Mutuality, FutureCycle, and Vine Leaves Literary Journal . He has published one poetry chapbook, The Saint Cloud Café and Motor Inn . You can also find his flash fiction ‘Mary Had A Big, Bad Wolf’ in Z-composition, April 2012 Issue.

***

[click on image to enlarge]

John H. Dromey was born in northeast Missouri. He’s had a byline (for brief, humorous items) in over one-hundred different newspapers and magazines. Once upon a time he had light verse published in Grit, Hoofs and Horns, Light, the Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. His cartoons have appeared in Bowhunter and Farm Antiques News (no longer published).

***

ANIMAL MYTHS

Crows fly in unwavering lines,
snakes eventually go blind,
and elephants trot off to die.

Fish can shut their eyes to sleep
crocodiles forlornly weep
and moles can sort of see.

The eel has two beating hearts
barn mice grow up into rats
and birds listen for worms.

Worms turn into lightning bugs
bears give suffocating hugs,
and hippos sweat real blood.

Running horses stay aground,
honest men could once be found
who’d never put another down.

M.V. Montgomery is a professor at Life University in Atlanta. His third book of poems, What We Did With Old Moons, will be released by Winter Goose Publishing this November.

***

All the Pretty Horses
—for Cormac Mc Carthy

June 1st and it finally stopped
snowing. It’s been a month
since I’ve seen a bluer than blue
cornflower sky stretching
overhead between mountain tops
whose rent valley gloves
still show fingers of snow
pointing downwards.

I drive past the Hi Ute Ranch
on the Kilby Road
where all the pretty horses
graze and I have to stop the car
to watch as they frolic,
running with the wind
and I can’t help but think
of Cormac Mc Carthy’s novel,
and I sigh with remembrance
at his pensive and provocative prose.
His use of Spanish without translations.

The horses are pastured behind a split
rail fence near a strong runoff
stream of rushing water—
snow melt tumbling and falling,
rushing and frothing from higher
up the valley forming a creek
with a little falls, and then
pooling into a good-sized pond.

I want to write about the west,
about horses and tycoons, gamblers,
cowboys, river men, trappers,
gold diggers, and the Plains Indians,
the nomadic tribes of the Arapaho,
Cheyenne, Crow, Gros Ventre, Kiowa,
Nez Perce, Coeur d’Alene,
Sioux and Shoshone.
Most of all what I’d have loved being:
a rancher, homesteading
cattle country in Colorado
at the end of the 19th century.

But when I set pen to paper
all ideas vanish
like smoke signals
trailing upwards,
which makes me wonder
if these internal images
and feelings shouldn’t stay inside,
once you’ve already lived them.

Nina Romano earned an M.A. from Adelphi University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Florida International University. She is the author of two poetry collections: *Cooking Lessons** by Rock Press, and Coffeehouse Meditations,** from Kitsune Books. She has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She *is the co-author of *Writing in a Changing World. *Her latest poetry collection, *She Wouldn’t Sing at My Wedding,* is forthcoming,from Bridle Path Press. Her short story collection*, The Other Side of the Gates, *will be published by Kitsune Books early 2013.
More about the author here: http://www.ninaromano.com

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