On this page: poems by Domenico Capilongo, Diane Frank, David Fraser, Davi Walders, Dan Savery-Raz, Breindel Kasher, Birgit Talmon, Bill Gainer, Asim Anwer Ansari, Andrea Moriah, A.D. Winans, Dawn Draayer Thibodeau, Paul Averill Liebow, Susan Adams, Liu Hong-ping, John M. Marshall
Domenico Capilongo has had work published in several literary magazines including Descant and Geist. He also won honourable mention in the 2004 Toronto Star Poetry Contest, was nominated for the Journey Prize for fiction (2005) and was shortlisted for both the Lichen “Tracking A Serial Poet” contest (2006) and the GritLit Poetry Contest (2009). His first poetry collection, I thought elvis was italian was published with Wolsak and Wynn in the Spring of 2008 and his second, jazz-inspired collection will be out in the Fall with Quattro Books. He lives in Toronto, Canada, and teaches high school alternative education and creative writing.
dizzy on the bandstand
like a blow fish
his head about to burst open
the be-bop pops
the night into a string of stars
jitterbug contest about to start
he jumps down
takes the hand of the girl beside me
goes and wins the thing
just like that
and they ask him. stop him on his way to the piano mumbling to himself. I didn’t believe it till I saw it. the mumbling. “thelonius,” they say, “mr. monk you often wear different hats when you play.” and you can see it. his eyes acknowledging the camera like it was some alien. see the way he sort of fidgets? he’d rather be at the piano. his body turned off to the side too big for the bench feet moving uncomfortable in his own skin. “do you think the hats have an effect on the music?” you can hear the pause between notes. his brain composing an off-beat melody minutes before twelve. he mumbles something and then you can almost hear him say, “what the fuck, man? it’s just a fucking hat. listen to me play. listen to the damn music. let it fill you up.” he shrugs his shoulders like he’s trying to let his jacket fall. says something like, “I don’t know, maybe.” his breath trailing, contemplating the nuance of every note of the question. watch it. listen. see for yourself.
the true eventual story of buddy bolden
“His mind became the street.” Michael Ondaatje
man could play the horn in syncopated loud clear liquid notes. seeping, pouring into the corners of the mid-afternoon streets of storyville. people would stop fucking just to let the sound wash over them. a blue rain of hearbeats.
buddy heard voices in his head. heard notes. heard armstrong. heard dizzy and miles in his bones. heard them deep in the cranium of time. before it folds into the saturated future. the jasmine scent of everything to come. heard his mind march into the endless night like a sweet lie until the air fell apart.
in the parade sun beating down. I could hear the street under my shoes. I heard her voice. what she said to me and I blew my horn. I blew louder than a man would dare. I heard and I listened and that’s when I inhaled. I pulled the world in through that horn. I sucked up colour. sucked up the memory of long summer grass. pulled it in. the note played through my body came out my toes the top of my head. I felt it in the pits of my eyes. I sucked that horn whole and followed the sound away.
how to scat
“Scat doesn't mean anything but just something to give a song a flavor.” Jelly Roll Morton
forget syllables of meaning
sounds strung together in the hieroglyphs of words
become the horn
transform into trombone
melt into a clarinet
suck the saxophone
sex the piano forte
get a big pot
fill ¾ with water
sink a trumpet or coronet slowly into it
boil for ten minutes
or until it stops its bubble of blues riffs
pour into a bowl
slurp loudly while standing
bibbity bat bat
walk like jazz
in the afternoon
slip through blades of grass
eating an orange
peeling it slowly
with a flick of the wrist
fill the day with citrus
breathe like jazz
in slow syncopated exhalations
the riffed rhythm of punctuated air
hangs heavy telling the world
that you have something important to say
step up to the microphone
into the spotlight
choose your words without thinking
say whatever pops into your head
scat out a eulogy
an oxymoronic oration
smile like jazz
start slowly at the edge of your mouth
make them believe it could go either way
then as if you just thought of it
show them your teeth
make them believe
you could give a shit what they think
like a man in a new suit
who has places to go
Diane Frank is an award-winning poet and author of five books of poems, including Entering the Word Temple and The Winter Life of Shooting Stars. Her friends describe her as a harem of seven women in one very small body. She lives in San Francisco – where she dances, plays cello, and creates her life as an art form. Diane teaches at San Francisco State University, Dominican University in San Rafael, leads workshops for young writers as a Poet in the School, and directs the Blue Light Press On-line Poetry Workshop. Blackberries in the Dream House, her first novel, won the Chelson Award for Fiction and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and her second novel is going to press later this year. Her website: www.dianefrank.net.
You play piano,
run through shoulder high
field of summer corn,
disappear inside a wind tunnel.
Sunlight sprays across the room
in feathers of light.
Trills, the silver wings
of a calliope hummingbird
in a green rush of feathers
from a hidden place.
It is morning or evening,
a soft pink light
lifting through an expanding sky.
Her dance –
the music of mystery,
a swan swimming through
a streak of rippled water.
makes the walls transparent,
and the sounds of the world
start rushing in.
Ring of Fire
At the edge of the continent,
fires are everywhere.
Lightning strike at Point Arena.
Then a wide band of fire
traveling northeast on a summer wind.
Hundreds of lightning strikes
inside a ring of fire
torching the solstice night.
In the Mendocino Woodlands,
echoes of stellar jays,
a family of pheasants,
a mountain lion stalking in the meadow.
In the distance, burning mountains.
Images of the enigma
weaving themselves together
inside a larger vision.
For some reason I don’t understand,
my mother decided to walk
back from the edge –
unable to leap at this time
through the ring of fire.
This is for my mother,
the older version of the three-year-old
who stood on the piano bench
and belted out radio tunes
and folk songs from the old country
when her relatives said in Yiddish,
Sing Mamale, Sing Little Mama.
in the middle of the continent
peonies in full bloom
now filling the still warm nights
with their sticky fragrance.
while the rest of us are
a meeting with her Guardian angels,
planning how long she will stay
and the next adventure on her soul’s journey.
you’ll probably burn a path of fire
through the sky,
and wherever the meteorites and snow angels
take you next,
I hope it is glorious!
In the middle of the redwood forest,
I feel you singing
inside the spirit of the trees.
Walking through coastal fog
the next morning
by pelicans, swans and seagulls,
a woman sweeping leaves off the pavement
as I walk towards
my usual world.
The shoes I wore when we danced
flat foot clogging
on city streets now,
heat and your music inside
the red dress I wore in your dream.
Somewhere inside a melody
I am still dancing with you,
the colors of sea anemones
speaking to me in mermaid language.
On the streetcar, a woman
holds her daughter and reads
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.
This is my world now, climbing
the rhythm of an Appalachian
Amazing to feel this intensity
inside my body, my womb
curving ocean moonshell
and it feels like home.
David Fraser is the founder and editor of Ascent Aspirations Magazine since 1997 http://www.ascentaspirations.ca/. His poetry and short fiction have appeared in over 50 journals including Three Candles, Regina Weese, Ardent, Quills and Ygdrasil. Recently David has been accepted in Rocksalt, a new Anthology of Contemporary BC Poets to be launched in the fall of 2008. He has published a collection of his poetry, Going to the Well (2004), a collection of short fiction, The Dark Side of the Billboard (2006 ) and a second collection of poetry, Running Down the Wind that appeared in 2007 David is currently the Federation of BC Writers Regional Director for The Islands Region.
I am not feeling blue, I’m blue,
essence of the colour,
blue music, late at night
soft sonorous from a saxophone,
like ice, cold and deep as a crevasse,
blue like Edward Munch, his Scream,
Picasso’s circus creatures
at the beach, the dark sky of Vincent
on a starry night,
Blue Velvet with David Lynch,
something quite quirky,
off the centre of normal things.
I’m blue like turquoise water
in a jungle Karst topography,
cenote blue before the Mayan virgins,
all adorned, jumped to their death.
I’m blue, bruised, but still bright
as a summer sky, smoky, back in the bar
late at night with music
from a sad guitar.
Jazz and Blues
Jazz, Blues hang in air,
hornets searching in among
passion vines, coiling spirals
looping arcs, runs of notes
particles and waves in space
strident chords, slingshot
spirals of a satellite
far out, flung around
a planet further out,
pale blues, purple flower notes
dusty yellow stamens,
on the strings, naked, raw,
twitching with their suffering
in shadow with the buzz and
fly of things.
Davi Walders' poetry and prose have appeared in more than 200 anthologies and journals, including The American Scholar, JAMA, Washington Woman, Seneca Review, Potomac Review, Travelers’ Tales, and elsewhere. She developed and directs the Vital Signs Writing Project at NIH in Bethesda, MD which was funded by The Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry. Gifts, her third collection of poetry, was commissioned by the Milton Murray Foundation for Philanthropy. She has received a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant, a Puffin Foundation Grant, a Maryland State Artist Grant in Poetry, a Luce Foundation Grant, and fellowships to Ragdale Foundation, Blue Mountain Center, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts for her writing. Her work has been choreographed and performed in NYC and elsewhere, read by Garrison Keillor on Writer’s Almanac, and nominated for Pushcart Prizes.
On Listening to Bloch
To truly hear Bloch, you must seat
yourself close to the cellist's chair
allowing nothing to block your view.
You must watch the young face—
brow creasing, lips tightening
and releasing. You must catch
his fingers pulsing the strings, his bow
stroking the cello's throat. You must
notice the artist bending over golden-
brown wood, the swirled incisions
carved into shiny spruce, the delicate
balance of the cello on its end pin.
And the eyes of a musician after
years of practice, opening to gaze
above, his body rising as though
in pain or passion. You must hear
the agitated soul of a composer,
the chords calling for justice, the echo
of voices in the wilderness,
and the rhapsody of two souls united.
You must let minor keys open locked
places, let yearning enter as a flood
of sunlight and allow the cellist's strings
to sing with every tension you are letting go.
* Ernst Bloch: (1880-1959) masterly composer of music for strings
Copland's Sextet Once at Spoleto
Slightly west of palmettos and buttery
beach flowers, above crushed velvet seats,
chords crash and leap, snapping Dock Street
Theater's cool dark air. The cellist's knees
whiten, hugging the curved wood beneath her bow,
the pianist's hair flies above the gleaming grand.
A red tie whips the clarinet's keys; the violinist's
cheek streaks into green silk. Too disturbing for
his second symphony--orchestras routinely refused--
Copland finally freed the sextet to fill a sunny
spring afternoon alone, still thorny, knotty,
acid as a lemony tart. Six bodies strain, seeking
each other on waves of sound and memory, answering
with eyes and nods, leaning, careening, supple
muscles filled with the breath of anticipation,
the practice of flesh. Led by a pianist's wrist,
fingers demand passion from ivory, blaze across
taut strings, force the clarinet's keys.
Six young musicians in the full heat of spring,
wild-eyed, wild-haired in Copland's ecstatic
staccato, naked in the body's need to sing.
Ladino Concert at Spoleto
Lute, flute, rebec, psaltery,
Ladino melodies plucked from history
in a language almost forgotten.
"Alta Es La Luna"--love and sorrow
float again through alleyways
of the Juderia, where Sephardim
welcomed the Sabbath between
mosques and cathedrals. Gentle elegies
that sweetened the Golden Age,
before the terror and torture,
the masks and forced becoming
We lean into the melody hungering
for what was—a long-ago language,
a sweet life. A people of so many
diasporas who learned to hide,
to disappear at dusk taking only
the scent of vineyards, love songs,
and loss. Now the hush of hundreds
sitting, standing, hugging sanctuary walls,
spilling into a hot synagogue garden
half a millennium later, listening
to the whisper of those who carried
their melodies and stories into the night.
Ladino: a mixture of Spanish and Hebrew spoken by Jews in Spain and Portugal before the Inquisition
The Joffrey Prepares for the Nutcracker
Every city and day, every muscle,
sinew, and space. Turned-out hips,
bodies bending, sweating at the mirror.
The structured sameness--barre
to center, adagio to allegro,
demi-pointe, pointe, lift. Arch
and arc, assemble, develope.
Leotards and leg warmers, tights,
the tie and scratch of pink shoes.
An accompanist raises a wrist.
The teacher nods. A Baldwin
responds, the sprung floor gives.
Dancers stretch in tatters
and tee shirts--orange, maroon,
black. Schubert. Backs arch,
necks elongate. Plie, demi-plie.
Schumann. Fingers find the air,
graze the floor reaching for form.
Debussy. Passe, passe, battement
tendu, passe, battement tendu.
Layers are tossed. Vivaldi.
Pulse, jete, pulse, jete.
Submission and defiance, making
by moving. The joy of knowing
young what is loved, bringing
the fire up, making what is not
possible, possible. Accepting
the loss, dancing into the gift.
Bodies becoming leaf, tree,
nymph. Adoration, ache, injury,
and always the desire for perfection.
Dan Savery-Raz is a professional journalist with over six years' writing experience, has written for Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post and co-authored the Lonely Planet Israel guide book. Aside from journalism, he also organizes the 'Stanza' poetry readings in Tel Aviv for university students and graduates of Bar Ilan and Tel Aviv universities.
In London I lost myself,
my shyness, inhibitions, the stupid
town that held me back. I lost my past,
the teeth knocked out of my mouth so fast
by bored brats who smoked too much weed,
those suburban anti-artists will never succeed.
In London I lost my luggage,
that invisible weight I carried on my shoulders,
I lost the hatred that ran in my veins,
I remember reading M.K Gandhi on trains,
thinking this world’s not always insane,
suffering leads to inspiration again.
In London I found my voice,
while hundreds of people passed me by,
on the pavement outside Angel tube station,
freezing winter days were my revelation.
In London I found my song,
the African drum that goes on and on.
In London parks I walked alone,
from Oxford Street to Chalk Farm home,
I cried on a park bench in Golders Green,
my friends, my family, my life unseen.
It was all too little, it was all too much,
So long London, (I’ll be in touch).
Children of Babies
Babies of the baby boomers,
of the flower children, the rock n' rollers,
those who remember JFK,
John and Yoko, yesterday.
I'm talking 'bout that generation,
who could not get no satisfaction,
I guess the times they were a-changin'
while in Vietnam the war was raging.
Ginsberg was howlin', the wind was blowin'
words were flowin' like Lenny Cohen.
2001 was a mere space odyssey,
man on the moon was satellite TV.
Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground,
were riders on the storm of a new sound.
Hendrix played Woodstock at break of dawn,
but the dream died before it was even born.
On a balcony one night stood MLK,
the cops or someone blew him away.
We shall overcome they all once sang,
but that was before they heard the bang.
Hard rain's gonna fall and fell it did,
heroine flowed through the ghetto kids.
Marvin Gaye asked 'what's happening bro?'
Maybe our children will one day know.
Apocalypse Now, loathing and fear,
All you need is love and a 50K career.
Generation X and Generation Y,
travel the globe to kiss the sky.
You could call us the mobile generation,
or cyborgs with imagination.
We are the searchers surfing through time,
looking for something to mellow our minds.
Indigo memory, indigo song
Indigo distance, floating indigo jazz
trumpet, bluer than blue, beyond the beyond,
The last stop on the bus, the turning point.
Indigo you, indigo soul,
Indigo dancer, sweeping indigo moon,
Silent indigo triumph, down indigo down,
Indigo go go, indigo go – transcend your color.
Oh indigo cloud, indigo shroud.
Indigo woman sing for me
on record, sing for me in stereo,
Light fills the mist, indigo hissed
on summer lawns, blissed indigo fruit.
When I close my eyes – indigo, you are there,
Being who you are – true and strong –
A rack of old bones.
Nina Simone, Indigo blue.
Breindel Lieba Kasher is a published poet and a documentary film maker. As an independent film maker, she traveled through out Eastern Europe for over a decade, recording the last fragments of Jewish life, quickly fading. From her work she wrote three books and conducted countless interviews. Her latest work in progress is a new book of poetry entitled, Portrait Paintings. She lives in Israel, near Jerusalem.
Hey Mr. Tambourine Man
Helicopters circling, day and night.
Israel is on high alert, testing,
just in case.......................
Tomorrow at 11,
sirens sounds all around the country.
We, the people of Israel,
are to run into shelters.
I won't, what for, really?
The 443, our road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,
will, once again, reopen to Palestinians.
It closed after too many bombings and shootings.
Sounds like the wild west but it’s the Middle East.
I can't tell you how tiring,
Man keeps playing those war games.
My friend in Warsaw says he prepares to evacuate.
Vistula River, I crossed over,
your bridge in Krakow,
to the Jewish ghetto
where our people, weary,
returning from a day of slave labor,
were beaten and thrown into your dark water.
Vistula, now overflowing.
I find myself wondering,
how much water would it take
to clean your blood stained earth, Poland?
Dylan on Feigie's i pod,
" Mr. Tambourine man" makes me teary.
How I longed for Mr. Tambourine man to take me…
It was long ago,
American girl in a beige trench coat,
a cigarette, hair parted, long earrings dangling,
romantic, bohemian, a dark figure,
young, and sure I could make a difference.
I am here now, wearing an apron.
The cover makes me feel like
I am holding down the fort,
Now it is Van singing,
"Lord if I ever needed someone, I need you."
My kids love 60's music.
They call it, music from "my time,"
as if I don’t exist now.
I am reading Aviva Zornberg,
"Genesis," in the beginning.
I am in a place, like a cross road
that sometimes feels like a dead end.
Jerusalem, I bought vegetables in the market,
thankful that I could.
How we paint our portrait,
year after year, outlining borders.
It makes jumping out so difficult.
I got a haircut.
The guy who washed my long hair was gentle.
I thanked him. He said, "You deserve it."
I asked if he told that to all the girls.
"No," he said, " you seem so tired."
The hair cutter took this wretched year’s growth
between his fingers, said, "It's dead!"
and snipped it.
I asked Feigie,
" How do you get out of a hard life?"
She said, "it is in the head, let it go!"
The fridge is full
and that's not nothing..........
Keep your chin up, I forget why,
I want to write about love,
I want to put it in capitals,
Once I was a lover,
I rode the subway
With my book of
Reducing everything to
A common denominator, passion.
What takes passion’s place?
A dull embrace turns brittle,
Like old toe nails.
Dancing in a Krakow disco,
A silver ball limping,
The music man slurring,
Kept the rhythm machine
Going, loud and clean,
The locals dancing
To a 50's beat.
Is it time?
The wind picks up
Stretching her hand
Into an open sky
A horse drawn carriage
I want to write about love
I want to put it in capitals
A horse drawn
Dancing in Krakow
In a disco
A silver ball limping
The music man slurring
Kept the rhythm machine
Going, loud and clean
The locals were dancing
Like the 60's never happened
The wind picks up
She stretches her hand
In an open sky
I am a professor of
Like the Eskimo
100 ways to say snow
Once I was a lover
I sat on the subway
With sensual dogma
Everything reduced to
A common denominator
What takes passion’s place?
A dull embrace turns brittle,
Like old toe nails
Birgit Talmon is Danish-born. Works as a translator: Danish, English and Hebrew. Has studied prose and poetry with eminent writers in Israel and writes in the above mentioned languages. Has served on Voices Israel Editorial Board. Her works are published on her website www.btalmon.com .She publishes poetry and short stories in all three languages in anthologies and literary magazines in Israel and abroad.
Cozy in their plushy car seat
Air heavy with splashes
Of ‘Amor Amor’
Neatly manicured lady hands
Calmly rest on festive attire
Next to their man.
With each grain
In the hourglass
His grip tightens
On the steering wheel
As the tailback
First honk signals
The beginning of
To a modern piece
For horn honkers
Steam venting masses.
Amidst blazing disharmonies
Echoing between dwellings
A miracle appears
In the shape of a
Blessed parking space.
Like flick knives
From under nail varnish
Lashing out at others’ thrust
Towards very same goal.
Music having the charms
To tame the savage breast
Inside the concert hall
Lifts his baton.
Bill Gainer is recognized as one of the founding contributors to the modern movement of "After Hours Poetry." He has contributed to the literary scene as a writer, editor, promoter, publicist, publisher and poet. Gainer has a long standing love of the short poem, but is often more recognized for his longer pieces. He continues to read and work with a wide range of poets and writers, including readings on KUSF radio, S.F. with Punk-Rocker Patti Smith and performances with California's Poet Laureate, Al Young. Gainer is nationally published and remains a sought after reader. He can be previewed at billgainer.com.
Dancing to Cowboy Love Songs
She stands on her tiptoes
and presses her check
softly to yours.
is scented with romance,
and her breath drips warm invitations
down the side of your neck,
and as you dance
is too tight
to hold her
to cowboy love songs.
They sing about tumbleweeds,
loves gone wrong,
and gunfights that no one wins.
And when they get to the place –
where the cowboy lies dying
you know it’s about over,
and you want to say,
“I love you,”
“thanks for the dance,”
and hopes she doesn’t hear
of your heartbreak,
as she dances from you,
cowboy’s love song.
A Patron of the Art
You wouldn’t think
and a harmonica
would go together –
The cardboard sign
hanging around his neck
“Anything would help.”
as you reach into your
winks when you drop
a couple of coins
into the can
at his feet,
keeps right on playing
as you walk off,
of the arts…
“The Book of Love”
Thought about writing
“The Book of Love,”
like the song –
titling the chapters
after the women
It would be a short book.
I’d only have to use
Asim Anwer Ansari
Asim Anwer Ansari, aged 22 yrs, an Indian by origin and a student-going-to-be-pharmacist, is currently living and studying n New Delhi. He loves literature, especially poetry, and Nature as well. He is fond of both reading and writing.
The Bagpiper Bearer
Concealed through in
He arrives accompanying the local-band
working on classic Indian tunes
in marriages, in eves, in dreams
Seems- he is the revival!
Listening to his passion I recall-
the stellar notes of the fairy tales
or the vintage of the year song;
Up the scale or down over it
covers so smooth-
only he is playing the band!
Every bit of air rushes
every bindi dances, sings
over the notes set apart
'Ye verb knows the atittude
to cheer the rich or destitute;
A toast to ye bagpiper bearer!
A toast to what all ye do!'
Andrea Moriah was born and raised in the great Midwest of the United States and now lives in the rolling hills outside of Jerusalem with her husband, Avner, a painter (and their dogs MeJulie and Blue). They have two grown sons, Nir and Tal, and a daughter Michal, who is a commander in the Israel Defense Forces.
Last Outdoor Concert of Summer
She sits beneath an open window
across from her broken daughter;
positions the girl's head just right
to catch the music from the outdoor concert.
If she could attach strings to her limbs and make her dance,
She caresses her daughter's limp hand;
notices the polish she'd painted on her nails has chipped;
softly asks if she wants something tasty to eat.
Say, "Yes", darling. Say, "Ye-esss." Say, "Ye-esss."
The girl opens her toothless mouth but there is no sound.
The music threads through the dew and the moonlight,
the tart smell of hillside sheep,
the over-sweet of night-blooming jasmine.
The mother peers into the eyes of her child;
sees only colored glass flecked with dead memories,
tilts her head toward the window, breathes in the rich air,
and taps her foot to the beat.
Located at West 44th
between 8th and 9th Avenues.
That's where we're walking
in Manhattan in the snow.
Slush really. And ice.
New Yorkers pay it no never mind.
Getting there is the thing.
To catch a flurry of jazz --
played fresh and cool
like it was put together
phrase by phrase.
A.D. Winans is a graduate of San Francisco State. His poetry, prose and photography have appeared internationally in numerous literary magazines and anthologies, including American Poetry Review (article on Bob Kaufman), Rattle, Confrontation, Poetry Now, City Lights Journal, Poetry Australia, the New York Quarterly, and the Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. In 2004 a song poem of his was performed at Tully Hall. In 2006 he was awarded a PEN Josephine Miles award for literary excellence. In 2007 Presa Press published a book of his selected poems.
Poem For The Jazz Man At The Both End Club
they say he's burned out
but no one has told him
his saxophone still ignites
a spark across the room
his lips work pure magic
each note attacking the heartstrings
of the soul
and for one brief moment
he loses sight of the bubbling spoon
the waiting needle
each note a burst of machinegun fire
just like he used to do
before the angel of death
took him on a straight line to hell
Poem For Charlie Parker
he played the nerve ends
like a skilled violinist
losing himself in sightless sound
playing deep down from the gut
all the way to the balls
he played as if death
was playing tag with his shadow
each note bathed in blood
leaving you with those
chalk scraping against
the blackboard gut wrenching
intense convoluted horn solo
old Diz filling the room
with his raging truth
Miles Davis and his lyric savagery
cutting deep to the bone
slicing its way to the center
force of gravity
lubricating the gears of my mind
whose pigments of indigo disguised
as blue float through the blue haze air
echoing latitudes of motionless motion
Duke Ellington concert
Sophisticated lady/Moon Indigo
and "A Train" painting everyone
with Picasso blue.
Riding each sound to the
end of the line
lightning notes shimmering
up and down my spine
like a blind man tapping
into raw emotion
Dawn Draayer-Thibodeau works as a psychotherapist in the Twin Cities. She has been a grateful and passionate resident of the worlds of music and literature all her life.
For Chopin and Sand
Sallow, cold cheek
laid upon the keys,
death fingers extol the bel canto
laced with consumptive rasps of air.
The nightingale flickers, rouses,
entangled in it’s wrap of azure gauze.
Flight is stripped, so it sings where it lies
and nocturne’s rubato awakens
the moonlit colors.
Atonal Lieder (for Arnold Schoenberg)
Tender sky liberates its killing power,
slashing our tether to expected events.
The rose smashed to a pointillistic abstraction
of superstitious, mathematical perversity.
This distended dissonance of a previous idiom,
the heart blood of a stranger prophet.
Muted sonority of the compressed Gospel sigh
encased in thorns, “and they would not accept him…”
Paul Averill Liebow
Paul Averill Liebow of Bucksport, Maine, has played with poetry for 20 years, after waiting 40 years to feel like he had something worth saying. He is the son of Averill Abraham Liebow, who fled the Nazis with just the shirt on his back and visited Germany on behalf of the USAF 20 years later with the protocol rank of 2nd star general, after writing Encounter with Disaster about the medical effects of the atom on Hisroshima. Paul is a committed Natural Resources Council of Maine and National Wildlife Federation environmental advocate, Maine EMS physician, and board member of Maine Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Penobscot Salmon Homing II
How do you come, at the end of numbered days,
Across the great blue Ocean’s rolling highways?
From ablutions halfway round the teeming Earth,
Find strength and solace in waters of your birth?
Is it that polarized sunlight fiercely lies
Deep in the green fire of your eyes?
The dappled Moon that proudly smiles
Down on all your journey’s driven miles?
Is it the lateral lines paired on your sides
That sing your magnetic song across the tides?
Do the angled rays of crepuscular Sun
Tell you that you your journey’s almost done?
What then is the final mystery clue
That turns your run inland from deeper blue?
Orion chasing Weeping Pleiades up the sky,
That you set your soulful compass by?
And what are the ancient shining dreams
Driving you upriver to your natal streams?
Do more deeply shaded waters draw you forth,
Into more deeply graveled streams up North?
Is it the musky smell of seeping ledges’ blood,
Structural memories from early childhood’s flood,
Which your brain now plays in reverse,
Guiding you back through The Universe?
May you swim in synch with river and ocean tribes-
Continue forever your fabled run against the tides.
We’ll help you yet to save your genetic load,
Written so deeply in DNA’s magic code!!
Dr Susan Adams is an Australian poet who lives in Sydney where she is a Research Scientist in Human Reproduction at the University of Sydney. She has been published in anthologies, E-zines, and hard copy journals both in Australia and internationally. She has been read on ABC Radio National 'Poetica'.
A bird sat on the table of my breath
fluttering. I swallowed it
to shut it up
now thoughts tango in my idle mouth
without music for expression
I write each day from a palate of plain
it took the colour with it,
thin soup cannot dream the song
cold rooms cannot stroke the hem
Ears litter sound on our behalf
I hear what I hear,
trains work in circles
in and out of tunnels
Day moves into its swell.
A lottery, we are
clowns at a fair with open mouths
swallow fortune cookie forecasts.
We fullstop the end,
wait the tomorrows for one we can win
You roll me to your piano
tell me it is not your tune
play me to a lullaby
so that we can begin
We cry and look for reasons
but the road is straight and clean
the emptiness of time is ours
to take our time to fill
With music we are the tune.
Liu Hong-ping is a Chinese poet whose CV includes teaching English, interpreting and translating English and French, and marketing management in an international environment. She was born in Chongqing City, majored in English at Sichuan International Studies University and has lived in France for several years.
The River of Life
Born in icy highland
At the sound of spring thunders
I’ve taken to the road
I’ve opened rocks
And gushed out
Flowing between mountains
As well as into ravines
Through gorges and jungles
I reach the hilltops
Falling down without wavering
A soul-stirring music
With greeting of birds
And whispers of the wind
Has come into being
My journey is long and far
I have no time to mind
The mirrored views in my waves
I have no way to stay in love
With reflected lights on my bosom
I am the child of icy mountains
Shouldering my mother’s hope
Hills cannot block my running steps
Sceneries cannot stay my undulating heart
If you know my ambitions
You would forgive my indifference
If you understand my duty
Please accept my generosity
Suring forward is my life
And also the commitment I've only made to you
John M. Marshall
John M. Marshall is the founder and editor of Epiphany Arts and Cape Fear Poetry Society. His poetry and short stories have been published widely in the US, Canada, Wales, Romania, England, Scotland and Israel.
Below Red Towers
Poised at the dawn of an ancient age,
poised at the brink of a full moon’s tide,
waiting for the water, waiting for the wind
two ships strain at the slumbering earth.
While their sails gasp for breath,
two clans gather before their hearth
offering prayers to God to save
the Song Of The Sea and the Dance Of The Wave.
Two great oceans reel and roll,
two vast waters born of sky,
two fast rivers whose blood runs cold,
as history hides in its tides’ pure pulse.
Two tribes gather before their fires;
families linger beside the flames
offering prayers to God to save
the Song Of The Sea and the Dance Of The Wave.
In perilous quest the two boats brave
the rain soaked storms and icy gales,
to journey beyond the rustic realms
of lenient hearts and loving hands.
Below the masts and thrashing sails
pilgrims gather along the rails
offering prayers to God to save
the Song Of The Sea and the Dance Of The Wave.
To barrier islands and wind carved coasts
these were the vessels that carried our creed,
arks of courage and barks of hope
with bows of oak inscribed with our deed.
Through the fawn forests and across the plaid plains
these were the cauldrons that carried our fire,
the past and the future travelling together
to forge the bellows where dreams respire.
Below red towers, upon a white bridge
we cling to the words of our ancestors’ pledge:
… to breech the borders of doubt and fear;
to give love freely; and to love give care.
Below the plumed pillars of the stars’ wispy ridge
we stand and stare at Eternity’s edge
knowing our souls forever will crave
the Song Of The Sea and the Dance Of The Wave.