The White Tree Peony

Maria Ligos

Like waves lapping the surf,
ruffled white petals
of brush strokes converge
at the core, where luminous
lavender radiates outward.

Its youth will last,
glistening in oil,
unlike the peony outside my window
which will slowly brown
and bow to the ground.Maria Ligos’ work has appeared in The Mad Poets Review, Philadelphia Poets, & will be published in the Spring, 2005 issue of The Mid America Poetry Review.

Midsummer Afternoon

Maria Ligos

Two doors down
Tom Doyle mulches his garden
his wife works inside
dusting and vacuuming. His motorcycle
sits silent. In imagination
I take the bike for a ride. I drive
through the country roads in South Jersey
past the antique store
with the red, white, and blue
Open banner flapping in the breeze.
I pass the produce stands
advertising fresh strawberries
and asparagus. I pass the mare
and her colt, munching
on clover by the fence post,
then, I stop at the bay
where the salty breeze soothes
and solitude is pleasing.
Tom Doyle
finishes his yard work
his wife, her dusting.
They sit on the patio
while the sun glazes everything orange.
They feast on burgers from the grill
maybe an ear of corn, a bottle
of draft and sit silently
until the sun fades
and darkness spreads across the sky.Maria Ligos’ work has appeared in The Mad Poets Review, Philadelphia Poets, & will be published in the Spring, 2005 issue of The Mid America Poetry Review.

Fat in the Can

Liz Dolan

On the shady back porch of his summer home,
Uncle Dan, even and easy like my mother,
constructs a lamp from wooden matchsticks.
Calls me Crisco. Aunt Mary cuts chunks
of gelatinous lard into the flour
in the vermilion bowl. I am eleven,
in t-shirt and shorts, and click my Wrigley’s.
I cringe and shrink from him. Nine years later,
as I take the novice’s white veil,
he stands proudly next to me,
my starved body swallowed in the folds
of a lily-colored linen gown and scapular,
my thick hair shorn, face pallid as a scone.

At five the Sisters chose me to crown the Virgin
Queen of the May. She was elegant,
imperially slim, unlike my full-breasted mother,
whisking the stir-about, mewling babies on each hip,
Her brother Dan, still single, reading The Daily News,
slurps cereal and sips from a china cup
the tea she brewed for him. She was a slave.
Each day in school the Virgin loomed above us
her exquisite hands outstretched, index finger
beckoning me.
One by one we dropped our daisies–
her perfected foot crushing the head of the serpent. Liz Dolan is a wife, mother, grandmother, and retired English teacher. She is most proud of the alternative school she ran in the Bronx. Liz has published poems, memoir and short stories in New Delta Review, Nidus, Dream Streets, Rattle, Literary Mama, Canadian Woman Studies, Small Spiral Notebook, and many more. She is currently implementing a grant by organizing a traveling exhibit of her fellow poets’s poetry throughout southern Delaware.

Late Summer

Christine Cavalier

I can’t call you: it rained.
you, far off deep dearth space
my voice trailing
left in the birdless wire
washed through and leaking onto them
onto the honeysuckled road
where the freckle-braided girl drips
her sweet hummingbird water
onto the backfence-met boy.
quiet dawn cotton-dressed market run
denim dusted south field ride
piston-pluck, raised tongue
bee-stung lips and
arms full of promise.
he kisses her in apple quilted patterns
under dripping phone lines,
old love stolen in every drop.
No, I’ll wait for the rain change
summer thunder fade,
early morning secrets rust and
wet dew breath noonday dried.
I’ll call when that nectar harvest ends,
when those syrup taps are shut
and the coast is clear
of young lovers.Christine is a fiction writer and member of Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Writer’s Group. After living in the Rittenhouse Square area for several years, she moved to Delaware County, where she lives with her husband, daughter, one saintly cat and one very lucky fish. According to Poconos-raised Christine, the suburbs are definitely the weirdest place she’s ever lived.

Nocturne: on the first day of standard time

Deborah Burnham

A poem about the night should offer
solace at the end, and, on the way, a list
of images the dark assembles
for our pleasure: the drowsy swallows, light
fading on brick and granite, the passing
rain, the slow calming of the mind. So logically,
this poem should celebrate the early dark
our clocks insist on, shoving nature toward
its longest shadow, sending us indoors.
But I spend this Sabbath cursing shadows
that bleach the garden’s brightness, cursing crows
that quit their yammering at dusk — even
the solitary singer cruising 34th
Street, falsetto swirling "This Little Light
of Mine" then a segue to "When Night
Comes Down" syncopating hymn and lovesong
into one, drowning the distant sirens,
calming our angry minds that see death’s footprints
through the gold fans the gingkos spread across
the concrete, though he can’t know this
and likely wouldn’t care.Deborah Burnham has lived in Powelton Village for about 30 years, and has taught at Penn for about the same length of time. Her poetry has appeared in American Poetry Review and Poetry, among other places.

Among Poets

Janice Wilson Stridick

A sixteen-foot blowfish stuck her spiny yellow claws into my arm
Then planted her fuschia balloon lips on my chest

The shiny seven-foot dolphin offered a smoke.

Through gray-green dune grass and sprays of cold salt
I had plunged, faithless, into the sea.

Called down,
Away from the anesthesia of oxygen,
To breathe through water and call it home.

My virgin voyage to Poesy

Where nobody has a mother.

Tourette Poem #14

Anthony DiFiore

I’ve burdened my son with this now.
He misses strides, kisses the silence,
twists himself into a wretched mess.

A guest in his own body,
he is uncomfortable with the gaze
of strangers.

Too young to be so cautious,
too innocent to grapple with the whims
of that body gone haywire,

he stands at the edge of a narrow morning,
hoping that what is his prison
will someday be his palace.

“Daddy,” he said, “what disguise
do you wear to fool yourself?” or

“Can you taste on your tongue
the slow way mountains move?”

 


Anthony DiFiore has been writing poetry for thirty years. For the last several years he has been writing poems about Tourette’s and the Bible. Currently, he manages a thrift store that uses its profits to aid abused women and their children.

Waiting

Janice Wilson Stridick

We sit in an airless room surrounded by windows
Blue-black sky, towering neighbors
Wheelchair heaven.

You describe your dream:
Recurring images of chemo-stallions racing across your night sky
Towing starched lines that abruptly plunge to earth.

Lilacs hang daintily on the shower-rings of
New age transfusions,
Shamelessly spilling the scent of spring.

You take an old picture frame,
Plucked from the attic of your mind
And work to bring it all together.
It doesn’t fit.

Smell the lilacs
Feel the power of the stallion’s haunches
See the blue, blue sky without interpretation.

Enjoy this day, this view.
It is all you.

 

The Piano Chord Most Adjacent to the Inexpressible

Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore

The piano chord most adjacent to the inexpressible is the
one that dissolves into flocks of flying birds

The tree as it moves through the breeze most
adjacent to conducting the sonorous
filaments of the air stands as tall as a
doorman to an entranceway to the eternal mysteries

The desert most adjacent to spiritual enlightenment is the
one whose dunes yesterday don’t resemble its
dunes today and whose dunes today
have slopes and dips totally ocean-like and unlike any of its
dunes tomorrow

The rain is finally falling after a month of drought
little earth-lips opening to drink in each drop
and the song each water-drinking element sings
resembles the chorus of an ancient opera sung among
cataclysmic rocks above tumultuous seas

There are no people in this poem
they are either asleep or haven’t been born yet
but the sound in the landscape most adjacent to the
deep heartfelt human voice
is the night-cricket seeming to long for a mate wherever
it may happen to hear its lament repeated
incessantly but melodiously through the dark

So like us
in catastrophe or anti-catastrophe
calling out to space from our centrifugal loneliness
with a voice most adjacent to the
silent nuzzling feeler to feeler of ants meeting from
opposite directions
and lights beaming from north and south and brightly
blending somewhere over the
Arctic in a purple and scarlet shivering aurora borealis
whose ripples are most adjacent to the
music of the spheres hanging down into the
visible from the invisible heavens whose
radiant flowing draperies curving through the folding air
they are

 


Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore was born in 1940 in Oakland, California. His first book of poems, Dawn Visions, was published by Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Books, San Francisco, in 1964. He became a Muslim/Sufi in 1970, performed the Hajj in 1972, and lived in Morocco, Spain, Algeria and Nigeria. In 1996 he published The Ramadan Sonnets, and in 2001 a new book of poems, The Blind Beekeeper.

The Decade I Longed To Be Grown

Penny Dickerson

I wanted to talk jive.
I wanted to be funky
like the white boy who sang
psychedelic slang
& give birth
to a new dance trend
called disco.

I wanted to be
a kaleidoscope
big as an afro-shaped-globe,
spinning my own tempo
under black light dust.
I’d be a lava-lamp chick
— stone-cold bumping
my have-mercy hips—
& do the hustle
in mommy’s platform heels.

I wanted to be cool.
I wanted to cruise
with my own fly-dude
& steer
the turntable wheels.
We’d groove
What’s Going On?
in daddy’s brown El Camino,
pose mean gangsta leans
in neon-fur-smothered-bucket-seats,
& watch

Lucy’s Sky Diamonds
dangle & dance
like brilliant erotic dice.

 


Penny Dickerson is a 1988 graduate of Temple University where she earned a B.A. degree in Journalism and is currently a M.F.A. candidate in the Lesley University Creative Writing Program (Low Residency) in Cambridge, Mass. (Graduation: January 2005). She has additionally taken a continuing education poetry writing course at University of the Arts under the tutelage of Donna Wolf-Palacio and was once a “Suppose an Eye” participant at the Kelly Writer’s House and looks forward to her parenting scheduling and graduate school time to allowing her to come back. Previous poetry works and journalism have been published in the anthology, Azure and Amber, the Florida Times-Union and her poem, “A Conscious Statement” won first place winner in the Ritz Theatre’s poetry contest in Jacksonville, Florida. Penny will serve as Poet-in-Residence at Andrew Jackson Elementary School (K-8), this fall as a final graduation interdisciplinary project.