Friday, June 3, 2011

June 2011 Poetry Page

"The father who would taste 
the essence of his fatherhood 
...from the plane of his experience, 
take with him the fruits of his journey 
and begin again beside his child, 
marching step by step over the same old road.”

- Angelo Patri



by James Piatt

The old dean sat amid the early flowers of spring,
Oranges, vermilions, yellows, whites, and azure blues,
All gleaming with the remnants of yesterday’s drizzle;
He glanced at the cerulean sky as white clouds floated above,
Swirled and condensed in the warm afternoon sun.
Large Cirrus and Cumulous clouds gently hovered then sped
Over the sea green lush mountains to the northeast,
Some clouds still had their dark cores, but were trying
To release moisture from the weight they carried, like men
Striving to rid themselves of their dark centers of worry pain and fear:
A small blue bird landed nearby, one eye cocked for intruders,
The other on the water tap that was gently dripping life's nectar
Into a small rock basin below. Its tiny beak dipped gently into the basin
Then stretched to pull the water down its tiny throat. The sun suddenly
Leapt from behind the clouds, and warm-beams streamed earthward,
Warming the man’s weary mind and body. His mind wandered
To opportunities lost, and successes gained. Then it traveled
To all the days that could have been, and finally, to days
That would never be. Questions, like dark umbrae, appeared and
Disappeared. He realized he had had many chances, but, had not taken
Many of the options offered, and in some cases, took the chance
And guessed wrongly. He mused upon the enigma, had he lost or gained?
Only time would unfold the barren truth, the present was too painful
To see future reality, and present reality was too depressing to acknowledge.
Sadness crawled inside his being holding hands with hopelessness,
His mind was brought back to the present as he heard voices.
People were laughing, discussing flowers, smiling contently, and
Enthusiastically, at the beauty that existed around them.
He realized, at that moment, that how one reacted to the calamities
Found in the world, was probably, far more important than
The calamities themselves. He realized, that some minds were
Too sensitive to live amidst the world's darker, and more abusive side,
Too sensitive to fight back the dark centered clouds that always hovered
Over man’s destiny. Too sensitive to make sense out of the pain and hurt,
Intentionally inflicted by those who wielded power, and malicious control
Over the lives of others. The sun suddenly vanished behind the
Dark centered clouds again, he sighed heavily as he realized
Lunchtime was over, and the beauty that had surrounded him,
Protected him, thrust him into a more gentle world had disappeared.
It was time to face his personal demons again, his dark centered clouds,
And especially his personal and malicious tormentor.
He got up from the wooden bench, and left the flowers,
And the beautiful gaudy birds behind. He shrugged sadly,
And left the beautiful garden. Some men are too gentle
To live among ugliness, it damages their souls.
The old Dean was one of those men.

JAMES PIATT earned his BS and MA from California State Polytechnic University, and his doctorate from Brigham Young University. He is retired and spends his summers along the river, reading, writing, and penning poetry. Two relatives, John James Piatt & Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt, were prolific poets who wrote poetry in the 1800's. Contemporary American Voices (featured poet), Word Catalyst Magazine (featured poet), Apollo’s Lyre, Caper Journal, Vox Poetica, Shadow Poetry Anthology, The Penwood Review, Wilderness House Review, Front Porch Review, A Handful of Stones, Autumn Leaves, and Hanging Moss Journal, have published or will be publishing his poetry. Contact  



by Joseph Wade

Shadows stretch under the doorway
where light gave way to night.
into this split world,
into my arms,
my precious son.
your charm enchants me.

You laid on your stomach,
on the doctor’s cold, white table,
and simply lifted your infant head.
My chest swelled like a great ocean wave,
it was so simple, so magnificent.

You bopped and giggled
When you said it. You clapped your hands
and smiled, just at me,
that big, open, toothless grin,
stuffed between two fat baby cheeks.

She left us like a thief running after shadows,
I fell and slid down the wall, along with my sobs, 
my tears, and my fears.
what would become of you,
your crib, your home, your little white dog?
The scribbled picture of Mommy, Daddy, and Ethan,
disappeared in shadows,
held by the laughing, bony hand of fate.

Months later, she stole you away
and stood on a wall of justice.
She sat in the lady’s lap,
and toyed with the scales,
while she whispered in her ears.

Our last week together, we played in the sand.
I held you by your arms as the waves crashed.
You laughed brilliantly—like the sun
sparkling off rapid green waves.

We argued. You said, “up,” but you meant down.
You meant, “Let me crash with them.”
Okay, I let you think you are a big boy.
My arms encircled you like angel’s wings.
The wave came, massive to you,
not to me—but yes—to me.
Panic crashed as the wave came,
but I caught you.
I paused.
You laughed against my beating chest 
and flailed in delight.
Then we chased birds and threw sand.
We had dinner out with the guys,
just men being men.

I was suddenly free from the military, no job here.
A promise was 1,200 miles away.
Money for the scales of justice.
Those papers weigh so much.
She promised me summers and holidays.

Summer came with steam from hell.
Oh, how I longed for you.
My soul ached and flamed.
I came to find a judge’s gavel
could build a magic wall of nothing
and everything.
My strength shattered against it.

Chains wrapped around my ankles,
and they fastened a big heavy ball.
They bled me.
They made me weak.
My beating, bloody, red heart was torn to pieces
By pointed shadows lunging from all directions.

I see your face and cry. I know it’s changed so.
Your toddler steps are buried in sand.
I still hear you laughing through the
whirlwind, spun by the clock’s hands.
My heart is stitched together like a Frankenstein.

Now, I have all the green sheets with time
Written in block—black and bold.
I will place them all on the scales.
God! Please break them!

JOSEPH WADE is a sophomore at Harrisburg Area Community College and will transfer to Brooklyn College as a creative writing major in the fall. He is a freelance writer for the Lebanon Daily News, and has been published in the Fourth Estate, ShowCaseNow!, Lebanon NonSequitor, Dark Gothic Magazine, and Write Right On.  He has writing under contract with Grey Sparrow Review and Telling Our Stories Press. Joseph’s favorite writing is prose, but he is starting to break into poetry. Contact


by Cathy Quaglia

Through Ulalena rains
night riders show at twilight
in golden red mist

CATHY QUAGLIA grew up in New York and moved to Killington,Vermont in 1975, establishing Aspen East Ski Shop with her husband, Lee. With the emergence of snowboarding, they started Surf the Earth Snowboards, and continue to run their retail
and online stores together. During this time, she was a certified professional ski instructor and resort real estate broker. She has hosted many events at the shop, including book signings with best-selling authors, Linda Greenlaw, Reeve Lindbergh, Karen Lorentz
and Wendy Clinch, and The Ski Channel’s movie THE STORY to a large audience at The Summit Lodge in January 2011. She created WATERCOLOR WORDS, a collaboration with fellow Killington Arts Guild member, artist Alice Sciore, combining Cathy’s
poems, “ODE TO SKIING," "REFLECTIONS ON SNOW,” and “MOUNTAIN HOME” with watercolor paintings that Alice created for them, which are now available for sale as art prints. She is working on a book of poetry and images called LIGHT ON LIFE.  Contact


by Susan K. Bernhardt

I wake up early in the morning,

and go outside to greet the dawn.
The grass is covered
with tiny diamonds sparkling in the sun.
It is a joyous day!
The air is filled with warmth.
I soak in it.
I wash my face with the first morning dew,
and taste its sweet freshness.

Today is the summer solstice,
There is regrowth,
the earth is green.
Nature has truly come alive
in the buzzing bees, 
the blooming flowers and trees,
in the black ants climbing up my pole beans.

I don't take myself so seriously today.
I twirl a few times
among the trees and flowers of my backyard.
The birds sing their songs
in the celebration of the day.
I can hear the laughter of the summer.

SUSAN K. BERNHARDT is a retired Public Health Nurse. A member of Sisters in Crime, she keeps busy writing and attending various writing workshops. Susan is currently writing a mystery book, which takes place in a small Mid Western farming town. She is a past contributor to Long Story Short. Contact 


by Nell Berry

Our home is still not established, 
but West Virginia we're here to stay. 
We came in humble obedience 
to seek His will and way. 
Our son is called to ministry 
in service to our Lord. 
But we've been blessed abundantly, 
we give thanks and praise to God. 
The mountains are so majestic, 
so awesome and now so green. 
No other state, no other place 
is more beautiful, that I have seen. 
I love the beauty of the spring, 
the clean, fresh air of fall, 
there's beauty in everything, 
West Virginia we love it all. 
The snow peaked mountains of winter, 
when even dry limbs of the trees, 
with snow piled high on its branches, 
so picturesque, one rarely sees. 
I must confess, I've fallen in love, 
I humbly ask my God, 
to let me live the rest of my days, 
in West Virginia, created by our Lord.

NELL BERRY resides in West Virginia and has been married to Louis B. Berry for sixty years. She is a mother of four, grandmother of nine and great grandmother of soon to be eleven grandchildren.  Her hobbies include cooking, sewing, crocheting and writing. She is a published author of one book, GROWING UP IN MISSOURI AND OTHER SHORT STORIES about her growing up years. She is a Christian who writes all inspirational poetry, song lyrics and short stories. Contact


by Michael Lee Johnson

Idols are what idols appear to be.
Idols are men that idols are.
They’re the sleep walkers,
the self-styled hobo's,
saints in small villages
people living alone.
Birthright of saviors, railroad men, famous poets.
Birthright of little places, big hearts,
speakers of cold skillets and dainty bedrooms.
Folk songs fall, black and white,
divided cracks celebrated brick streets.
They form modest communities,
quiet spaces, momentous churches
named by denominations and breed-
rail tracks divide their ideologies, brands
of beer, run down shacks divide their lives.
Property vultures, ex-Maytag mongrels’
Maytag treason, traders of trade, traitors to Mexico,
walk simple steps away.
Jobbers walk and jobs move away.
Streets quiet lights, slate deserted
house shacks of many races abandoned, colors
form rows PMS color charts leading to his birthplace;
folk songs, Swedish heritage, Remembrance Rock,
savior of a poetic dream born in a slum.
Just a roadside museum,
mile and a half walk from downtown,
summer sweat, drenching summer heat,
Galesburg railroad days June 2010, ending-
beginning humidity, snippets of beer bottles
tossed around, Saturday night drunks
lie in flush untailored grass.
A three room shack, half pint bedroom,
curtains merge the window with sun rays,
more summer heat.
Idols grow as children, their ambitions-
toss them away.
Idols are what idols appear to be.
Idols are men that idols are.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This poem is based on a real travel experience to Galesburg, Illinois in June 2010. The poem was developed from the vivid pictures and images taken by Carol Marcus, a devoted friend of many years. 

Michael’s hero, Carl Sandburg - Credit: Public Domain

Carl Sandburg’s childhood home kitchen

Remembrance Rock: Carl Sandburg grave at Sandburg Birthplace, Galesburg, Illinois
"I am the grass; I cover all" quote from one of Carl Sandburg’s poems.

MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON is a poet, freelance writer and small business owner of custom imprinted promotional products and apparel at from Itasca, Illinois. He is heavily influenced by Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Irving Layton, Leonard Cohen, and Allen Ginsberg. His new poetry chapbook with pictures, entitled FROM WHICH PLACE THE MORNING RISES, and his new photo version of THE LOST AMERICAN: FROM EXILE TO FREEDOM are available at The original version of THE LOST AMERICAN: FROM EXILE TO FREEDOM and his new chapbook CHALLENGE OF NIGHT AND DAY, AND CHICAGO POEMS are available. His two previous chapbooks are available at Michael has been published in over 23 countries. He is also the editor/publisher of four poetry sites, all open for submission which can be found on his website. All of his books are now available on, and Borders. Audio MP3 poems are available and Michael is open to interviews. Contact You-Tube You-Tube


by Brett Devlin

Morning mist, like the soft breath of sleep
Caresses me, speaks to me
Its kisses moist on my skin
the air is still
the power of being unseen
tranquil silence
the faint hum of the
alive beneath my feet

BRETT DEVLIN is a forty-one year old stay-at-home mom who has been writing since childhood. She has only recently begun to send some of her work out for review as she now has the time to do so. She writes about all subjects in various forms and loves to experiment with words. Contact


by Bob McHeffey

I was a failure at swim lessons. 
My strokes are fine, 
I can tread water and hold my breath, 
But put me on my back 
No hands supporting me 
And I sink, 
First my legs 
Then my hips 
Until I am desperately holding my chin 
Above the water line 
And I am forced to either waterwing my arms 
Or go under. 

My friend, a parish priest, 
Told me, 
“Some people don’t have floatability. 
Their bodies aren’t built to be buoyant. 
It has nothing to do with fat or muscle 
They just need someone else’s hands 
To hold them up 
Or they gradually sink.” 
He paused for a second, smiled, 
And then told me, 
“I don’t have floatability, either.”

BOB MCHEFFEY is a writer, high school English teacher and girls basketball coach in suburban Southern California who juggles moderately well. Most of his poems get workshopped through his high school creative writing classes, so they can get practice in looking objectively at the craft of writing. Contact 


by John Tzikas

Moldy mulligans
muddled miniscule milk mugs
melting Matt’s measles

JOHN TZIKAS is a Toronto, Canada based poet, lyricist, and free verse writer with a passion for classic literature and history. His poems have appeared in Long Story Short, Midwest Literary Magazine, Word Salad, Quill's, Ditch Poetry Magazine, Mused- the Bella Online, Hudson View Poetry Digest and Wordbridge Magazine. He has performed readings for more than five years in small coffee house settings, while living in Guelph and Kitchener, Ontario. Contact


by Bill Roberts

The little guys come all the way
from Palisade on the Western Slope
to purvey a basket of apricots
at a price to make hair stand on end.

Farmers' market Saturday mornings
is full of them, from all over the state
except here because here is too expensive
rich earth covered with infertile asphalt.

Every summer they show up with crops -
younger, wild-eyed with hope you won't
notice their hike in prices, holes in hides
because they've gone strictly organic.

If I didn't know better I'd think they
were opera novices auditioning for
"La Boheme" - but how on earth are we
going to keep them down on the farm?

BILL ROBERTS writes at least one poem a day in fifteen minutes, coaches others on how to do it too, then prepare poems to go to market. He has been nominated both for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and currently does readings with friends on "Strong Voices, Strong Women: A Celebration of Women Poets." He, a wife of 53 years and two restless dogs live quietly in Broomfield, Colorado. Contact Website


by Michael Ceraolo

When most I sign, then the batters best see;
The opponents, they view things unsuspected
Because they don't know which sign is the key,
After which one or more is directed
To the hitter to signal our team's plans.
The tics, flicks, and tugs form a happy show
For the TV audience and the fans;
Unseeing eyes try to guess what is so.
And the other team strains to do likewise,
As all on the bench and some in the skies
Try to decode the signal unspoken.
From me to the plate it stays unbroken:
All days are nights until you see the key,
And nights bright days when you see that from me.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This poem is part of a project called “Baseball a la Shakespeare,” a re-writing of all 154 sonnets and selected soliloquies with baseball themes.

MICHAEL CERAOLO is a fifty-one year old civil servant/poet who is interested in, and writes about the past, present, and future. Contact


by Twixt

Molecules and their partners in ripples
making examples of ex-amples fat
with float.

TWIXT is the mononym-onym of Peter Specker. He is a writer who lives in Ithaca, New York. His poetry has been published in MARGIE, The Indiana Review, Amelia, California State Quarterly, RE:AL, Pegasus, First Class, Pot-pourri, Art Times, The Iconoclast, Epicenter, Subtropics, and Quest. Contact 


by Reem Khondakar

Your shoulders slouch
with the familiar weight of scrutiny
and judged by the breath, by the blink,
you step lightly
treading the sands of a vast open desert
scared of drowning.

REEM KHONDAKAR was born in England and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She is an eleventh grade high student at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. Her poetry has appeared in The Poet’s Art, Write On, and The Acorn. Contact


by Cathy Quaglia

Against brisk tradewinds
rocky cliffs stand strong and still
my palms dancing hula

CATHY QUAGLIA grew up in New York and moved to Killington,Vermont in 1975, establishing Aspen East Ski Shop with her husband, Lee. With the emergence of snowboarding, they started Surf the Earth Snowboards, and continue to run their retail
and online stores together. During this time, she was a certified professional ski instructor and resort real estate broker. She has hosted many events at the shop, including book signings with best-selling authors, Linda Greenlaw, Reeve Lindbergh, Karen Lorentz
and Wendy Clinch, and The Ski Channel’s movie THE STORY to a large audience at The Summit Lodge in January 2011. She created WATERCOLOR WORDS, a collaboration with fellow Killington Arts Guild member, artist Alice Sciore, combining Cathy’s
poems, “ODE TO SKIING,”“REFLECTIONS ON SNOW,” and “MOUNTAIN HOME” with watercolor paintings that Alice created for them, which are now available for sale as art prints. She is working on a book of poetry and images called LIGHT ON LIFE.  Contact


by Patricia Wellingham-Jones

Basking in front of the woodstove
we watch the flames leap and crackle,
glance out at the draft horses in the field,
wind riffling their feathered fetlocks.

The camellias I brought
glow pink in their vase,
we speak gently
of many things.

You in your new life, slow now,
after illness collapsed the old.
I in the cycle from three years ago
when my love died.

We agree our connections have loosened,
our kite strings are rubbed threadbare.
And how it’s all right, any day, any time,
if we float on air currents, drift away.
PATRICIA WELLINGHAM-JONES has a longtime interest in 'healing writing' and the benefits people gain from writing and reading their work together. Her poems, stories and articles are widely published. Her chapbooks include “Don’t Turn Away: Poems About Breast Cancer,” “Voices on the Land,” and “End-Cycle: Poems about Caregiving.” Contact


june celebrity poet

Edgar A. Guest 
(1881 – 1959)

nationality: english

Edgar A. Guest – Credit: Public Domain

Only A Dad

Only a dad with a tired face, 
Coming home from the daily race, 
Bringing little of gold or fame, 
To show how well he has played the game, 
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice 
To see him come and to hear his voice. 

Only a dad with a brood of four, 
One of ten million men or more. 
Plodding along in the daily strife, 
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life, 
With never a whimper of pain or hate, 
For the sake of those who at home await. 

Read the entire poem at: 

For the poet’s biography, see: 

Quoted for educational purposes only.
All work the copyright of the respective authors.





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