Like the Dancing Horse by Jenny McBride

If they were fully aware
          the invested misery,
          the scathing abuse
          and the bludgeoning of perfection
Would they renounce their gilded ease,
          their snappy playthings,
          hypnotic tomorrows?
If we could show
          the privileged marauders
          who have never seen their own footprint
          the toll and mortgage of
          their artificial lifestyle,
          all the stock they’ve bought in climate change,
Would they shriek and flee
          or gaze unapologetically
          like an audience that watches
          a live bear
          slowly lowered into the boiling water?


Jenny McBride’s writing has appeared in The California Quarterly, Tidal Echoes, Green Social Thought, Star 82 Review and other journals.  She makes her home in the rainforest of southeast Alaska.

Stop The Clock by Bruce McRae

I remember,
you were pointing a stick
at the moon.
It was the day before
the wolf bit you.
Near to that incident
with the toothpick.
You were with a girl
who rubbed brass for a living.
I remember,
you had a signed edition
of a box of bags
and were dating an ex-nun.
Around the time
of the break out.
Sure, and as I recall,
you were studying wych elm,
or was it moonwort?
Either way,
that was the same summer
they moved the graveyard
into the secret forest.
Remember?
You had that awful sunburn
and a lung had collapsed;
the very same day
as the mudslide . . .
Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
Makes you think
real hard.

Bruce McRae, a Canadian musician, is a Pushcart nominee with over a thousand poems published internationally in magazines such as Poetry, Rattle and the North American Review. His latest book out now, ‘An Unbecoming Fit Of Frenzy’ is available on Amazon and through Cawing Crow Press, while in September of this year, another book of poems, ‘Like As If’, will be published by Pskis Porch. His poems on video can be viewed on YouTube’s ‘BruceMcRaePoetry’

 

 

 

Sternum Words by Melissa Hobbs

Sternum Words
for Tom C.

I sit at your feet listening.
A torch of earth-core liquefies
and low pitches spray
from your mouth.
You, the tight-throated volcano
pump mineral ash to sprinkle
my glacial snow pages.

I stretch to catch
what doesn’t freeze
or burn my hands.
My baby volcano smolders.

With sternum words
you set me on fire.
I nod, not knowing how
to use your power to powder
my charcoal for words.

I have your fire stones
cooking in my basket
of ground grain.
Do I stir you
with mother’s walnut spoon
or silver tongs?


Melissa Hobbs’ passion revitalizes hearts in her writing. Retiring from regular work freed writing to fly from high-rises. She retrieves new writing after coaching high school freshmen, and working with Bhutanese refugee children. Her feet often return to Ohio’s rural paths, where she earned a degree at Kent State University.

Guardian by Penelope Scambly Schott

A veiled woman stands tall
among stars. Every night
she rotates the shining sky.
Some of her stars are old,
others are not yet visible.
She’s been busy tending to stars
since before the beginning of counting.

On earth she has four children
and each child is beloved:
water for spilling through channels,
air for hugging shapes,
loose dirt for its grit,
and fire for lighting the sky.
Her name is Do not despair.

In her netted veil she watches
as a mama skunk drinks
from a stream that ripples over rocks,
the kits safe in their burrow
under the luster of stars.
The skunk’s white stripe
might be the Milky Way.


Penelope Scambly Schott’s most recent book is HOW I BECAME AN HISTORIAN.  She lives in Portland and Dufur, Oregon where she teaches an annual poetry workshop.

Jetman by Jonathan Travelstead

I rebuffer the YouTube video of Swiss ex-fighter pilot Yves Rossi
& watch this man-cum-black wing let go the rails & bail out of the helicopter
like a Navy SEAL, whirligig in a tailspun freefall until his aelerons
& helmet’s rudder lock in, tilting into clean air.

I think of birds’ aerobatics. How the swift hatchling- plummeting
from the nest for the first time, remembers flight just in time. I see his manouevers
named in the comments. Falling leaf. Chandelle. Afterburners quilled
with kerosene for feathers, I watch him jockey in high definition

a wide, blue field & wish it were me barrel rolling the Alps with a ballerina’s
easy pirouette over shards of coal-dusted ice. I can’t see it enough,
the dream every generations’ boy dreams- whether Iron Man, or an eagle,
all of us wishing to attempt the split s. On replay I consider

his skull’s declension from the slab of black wing,
& the moment’s precipice where he submits to some higher plane of physics
that to the rest of us is only dark art. Shoulders camber forward then
he dives, puncturing cirrus, then cumulous cloud, contrails twisting

at a moment past the last believable one when he cranes his head & body
in a half pitch skyward once more, a cough of flame as he cuts power,
pulls the ripcord on a ballooned parachute which lowers him
to the ground in a landing he- incredibly, survives.


Jonathan Travelstead served in the Air Force National Guard for six years as a firefighter and currently works as a full-time firefighter for the city of Murphysboro, and also as co-editor for Cobalt Review. Having finished his MFA at Southern Illinois University of Carbondale, he now works on an old dirt-bike he hopes will one day get him to the salt flats of Bolivia. He has published work in The Iowa Review, on Poetrydaily.com, and has work forthcoming in The Crab Orchard Review, among others. His first collection “How We Bury Our Dead” by Cobalt Press was released in March, 2015, and his “Conflict Tours” is forthcoming in Spring of 2017.

In Memoriam by Sharon Scholl

I feel the sigh of thinking
about you, breath
carving out a riverbed of memory.

Cool in the shadow
of my passing through,
scenes flicker – you standing

in a door three summers
tall. I’m trying to find
your form, assemble love
from the labyrinth of places
that contained us, the web
of words that passed for truth.

Your pulse is made of ashes.
Your being is a whirlpool
in the ripples of my brain.


Sharon Scholl is professor emerita from Jacksonville University (Fl)  where she taught humanities and non-western studies.  Her chapbook, Summer’s Child, is new from Finishing Line Press.  Individual poems are current in Adanna, Caesura and, Rat’s Ass Review.

Paint On Pasteboard by Peter Goodwin

I was about to chuck it, in a push to clear space
but the image, painted on pasteboard, looked vaguely
familiar, a winding river, wandering through lush woods,
triggering a memory of a long ago summer,
of picnics on a bluff, smiling women flirting,
the slow gentle current taking us, like driftwood,
floating along its curving meandering path, while
he set up his easel to capture the Ukrainian light.

So much seemed possible, bathed in summer days
when Perestroika loosened the cold grip of communism,
who could have imagined that the regime would collapse,
Ukraine become independent and fritter its freedom,
imperial Russia return and that pristine river valley,
so close to Donetsk would become a battlefield,
the river washing away blood and pleasure, beauty lost
and almost forgotten, but for paint on pasteboard.