Open Mic (A – C)

Please
by Millicent Borges Accardi

May we not apologize for the earth’s bleeding
Nor try to stupidly explain about cars and roads
And the endless highway of Americans needing
To drive. May we learn to get from place to place
More gracefully like the dolphins or the starfish.
May love carry the oil spill on its back and inside
Its sorrow. This day, I send to you, an address,
A blessing, dear fish and dolphins and sea creatures
Who understand the ways of man all too well.
A blessing more than we will ever–
And yet probably you know, I am sorry.
I love you. Please forgive us. These words, may they
Form clear oceans and blue silky water and safe
Havens to feed and nest and grow. By envisioning this,
May there be a change in the molecules, a shift
In the palace. I am hoping to affect a miracle.
May you forgive us in this dear
Life of a planet. Please. We’re sorry. We love you.

–Millicent Borges Accardi has received poetry fellowships from the NEA, the California Arts Council, the Barbara Deming Foundation. Her work has appeared in over 50 literary publications including Nimrod, Tampa Review, New Letters and Wallace Stevens Journal as well as a in Boomer Girls (Iowa Press), To Honor a Teacher (Andrews McMeel), and ClockPunchers (Partisan Press) anthologies. She lives in Topanga , CA and telecommutes as a technical writer.

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Siren Song
by John Adams
 
The heart without faith has no place to hold
mystery. They speared little treachery
of the waves and ride his ribs for sport. Old
Leviathan, his roar stilled, they bury
within a steam bed, to mine for wisdom.
A plow walks in yonder paths of the sea,
seeking Founder’s wealth. They hunt a kingdom

that they may know the void, to their glory.

So we fled to deep shadows, where their greed

would blind them to the presence of monsters

unfathomed. They struck Kraken, made him bleed

for profit, but his rebellion covers

the waters with ink. Why, how, they must learn:

they look, their torches light us, and we burn.

John Adams is originally from Virginia and reads newspapers for a media monitoring company in Omaha, NE.

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Oil
by Liz Adams

the sea is sick it coughs oil back to the sand
& I understand the need for commerce in a world
where money replaces the soul even light has a cost
turtles burn horrific halos stutter cooked slowly
through the steaming black a net casts over pelicans can no longer
tell the sky from the sea death hushes them in apathetic waves
in America people watch men telling them that money
and crime can be clinical that they will blast golf balls into the ocean fill it up
stuff it with synthetics over the wound that is bleeding blackly

in another street spilling from the wound
a car hunched over itself crippling metallic resists the nature of its chosen
form the mould is empty producing more in another factory down town and I wonder
if the same accident in the same car will happen again in another future that is unravelling
like a seatbelt holding him suspended midnight he is punctured with stars and sirens that swirl
accordingly while a mother in a boxed house plans her wedding speaking to
the child in the highchair with a pet voice and the flowers on the windowsill resemble cartwheels
she did as a girl trying to make friends a wedding to plan
a man that goes out to work a woman that stays at home
feeding the baby alone

they move through the streets blowing bubbles pop like lava
in a shopping mall with cotton candy picket gated buy and sell
whatever they can a can of sugared liquid can fetch more than a dollar
a pound in a collapsing market soon our houses will be made of tin cans
and we will be happier without these restrictions we’ll get on a train a boat a ship
start over like our grandparents did another oil spill
will take us back another nuclear blow up will boom us back to the beginning
where we will mean nothing and fly away on ashy wings crumble as they did before Icarus
& after Icarus they’ll be wax dripping down our spines as we rise through the oil

–Liz Adams lives in London. Her work has appeared in Iota Fiction, The Frogmore Papers, morphrog, and is forthcoming in Stand. Her first collection of poems, Green Dobermans, will be published by Lazy Gramophone Press in 2011.

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Safety
By Nina Adel

While the polar ice cap melts,
I worry about my son.

He is the boy who dreams
while awake,
of exploring black holes,
the pencil, the worksheet
the teacher is required to assign
both untouched
on his small desk.

The earth is warming
at an alarming rate
while my son floats alone
on an ocean
of children, well-meaning adults and test papers
He knows
that if he could only grasp and explain
the essence of a black hole,
everyone would listen
and want to play with him.
He is as sure of it as anything.

My daughter, light for her age,
would like to ride next to me
in the front seat of the car
Not heavy enough for the front
say the regulations
meant to keep her safe
in a car moving
amidst others in motion.

She’s embarrassed
in the back seat
outside her school
so I ponder
bending the rules.

I’m worried for her safety.
It’s my job, isn’t it, to keep my children safe?

The irreversible disappearance
of the four thousand, five hundred-year old
Northern Arctic ice shelves
is accelerating
imperiling the very balance of our planet
and in this immediate place and time I inhabit
I worry about my daughter’s safety
and send her
to the back seat of my car.

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DUCK AT THE GULF OIL SPILL
by Austin Alexis

I should not feel vulnerable.

Something or someone with my poise,

my fine-tuned confidence

should cruise the waterway

and own it.

Instead, I fret and pose,

a static pieta,

myself and my son

stricken with a substance

inescapable as sundown.

Doomed to never fly again

the two of us wobble,

attempting to lurch across

sand, tattered sand,

an expanse of sand deranged

into a diseased image of itself.

Surveying it, we witness

an echo of ourselves:

once majestic, now pathetic.

Weak as shredded seaweed

we await hands to squeeze us,

to drain oil off our slick sides,

our gooey tummies,

our stuck beaks,

our immobile wings.

We drop pride

as we once shed feathers.

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THE EARTH, OUR HOME, SPEAKING TO US:
by Wendy Allison

“Please stop the oiling, the soiling,
my guts are torn out, I spew forth and shout..
you’ve now gone too deep, the cost is too steep,
what should be kept hidden is gushing forth unbidden.
Wildlife is dying and who now is lying?
My soul is calling:
volcanoes are venting, ash is ascending,
earthquakes are ripping, jagged cracks devouring,
drought dust is rising, dryness desiccating,
flood waters are rising, descending, destroying,
tsunamis are roaring, terrifying, swallowing.
How many more warnings do you all need.
TO HEED?
The balance has been tipped, reality not gripped.
Greed is not a need, and lust, (for ever more)
can only bring us both to dust.
When will you learn that less is more…
Can not THAT become your LORE?”
Let us heed her call with our all,
turn off our lights and get on our bikes,
let thermostats adjust, it’s now a must.
Let’s step up and out and be about
the care of our home and not be alone,
call our neighbors and friends and make amends.
Support everything green, live respectfully and lean
stand up and speak and not be weak;
finding a new way of seeing, and being
a force and a source,
moving forward, forever together…….

–WENDY ALLISON is originally from Cape Town, South Africa and now resides in Charleston, S.C. She has always been a storyteller and as a Travel Agency owner, had the opportunity to travel extensively and
then narrate the stories of her adventures on a travelogue aired on the local CBS affiliate and a travel update program on radio. She has since continued her graduate studies and now has a private practice in NLP and Energy Medicine. Through the practice of Shamanic Journeying and meditation she finds the inspiration for her poetry.

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Passive Voice
By Emily May Anderson

The garden was planted in May
a month after the spill. Seeds were placed
into earth, covered, watered, then I
flew away on a fuel-powered jet.
When I returned in June, the plants were growing,
nodding in the sun, fighting the weeds,
oil was still flowing into the Gulf, and every day
the hose was dragged across the grass
to water the garden, before I retreated
into my air-conditioned home.
And now July has arrived, and the fruits
of my sowing, and I sit in the sun
and wait for someone else to do something.

– Emily May Anderson is a graduate of Bowling Green State University and is currently a student in the MFA program at Penn State University where she has the privilege of teaching composition and creative writing as well as being a student herself. Her poems have been published by Prairie Margins, Silenced Press, and Qarrtsiluni. She grew up in rural Ohio and has lived near lakes and rivers throughout most of her life; water is very important to her, and she believes that we all must take responsibility for our own roles in this current oil-obsessed society.

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HEALING
By Scott Edward Anderson

“Healing, not saving.” Gary Snyder

“Healing, not saving,” for healing
indicates corrective, reclaiming
restoring the earth to its bounty,
to right placement and meaning–
Forward thinking, making things new
or better or, at least, bringing back
from the edge. The way
bulbs are nestled in earth,
starting to heal again–
the way a wound heals.
Keep warm. Sun following
rain; rain following drought.
Perhaps we have come far enough
along in this world to start
healing, protecting from harm,
from our disjunctive lives.
The way the skin repairs with a scab,
injury mediated by mindfulness.
The bark of the “tree of blood”
heals wounds we cannot see.
Deliver us from the time of trial
and save us from ourselves.

– Scott Edward Anderson’s poetry received the Nebraska Review Award in 1997 and won the Aldrich Emerging Poets Award in 1998. In 2002, he was a Concordia Fellow at the Millay Colony for the Arts. Anderson’s work has appeared in the Alaska Quarterly Review, American Poetry Review, Blueline, The Cortland Review, Cross Connect, Earth’s Daughters, Isotope, River Oak Review, Slant and Terrain: A Journal of the Built and Natural Environments. He writes thegreenskeptic.com and an eponymous poetry blog at http://seapoetry.wordpress.com.

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Bears on the Beach
by Jan Godown Annino

The Panhandle beach is dark under in a new moon/
She- bear pads along the shore/

She stops/
Lifts wet snout into salted air/
Moves on/

She repeats this testing/
Until the sniffing satisfies/

She pads to a sandy place on feet/
Strong as cypress trunks/

She digs/
Sand and shell bits plume skyward/
To snow down on thick fur/

She digs/
She stops/
Shoves her snout into a mound of round white balls/

Tears the soft gift from the sea/
An uncovered treasure chest/

Buried by a sea turtle mother/
Slashed and slurped by this land mother/

–In collaboration with visual artist Lisa Desimini and poet Moses Jumper, Jr., Jan G. Annino in 2010 created the children’s biography She Sang Promise (for National Geographic Childrens Books.) After 25 years writing for newspapers, Jan enjoys photography, poetry, and writing for children. She is also studying children’s literature through Hollins University. Find Jan on facebook at She Sang Promise: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole Tribal Leader. She has held hands in two hands across the sands events in Florida.

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What Might Be Horizon
By Judith Arcana

When I walk onto the beach
I won’t look out at the water
until my feet touch wet sand.

Then I stand on the swash
eyes open, scanning the tide
letting the waves come at me.

The clear light of their hearts
falls into glistening fans
and the long sky deepens.

Boats disappear at what might be
horizon, down over the curving
edge of the earth, past what I know
while gulls scream over my head
when I shade my eyes, searching
for what I can’t see as the waves
come at me, opening the beach
right under my feet, capturing me
in the swirling tide-quickened sand.

–Judith Arcana’s books include Grace Paley’s Life Stories, A Literary Biography, the poetry collection What if your mother, and 4th Period English, a chapbook of poems about immigration. Her poems, stories and essays appear in many journals and anthologies. In 2010, she invented the ZAP Writing Workshop and the Locally Grown Poetry series for the Hollywood Farmers Market in Portland, Oregon. Visit her website: juditharcana.com.

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Visitors
By Bob Arnold

The river for weeks is low

Visitors arrive

Call it a creek

We know better

Say nothing

Next month in a downpour

Bridges wash out

Trees go down

Days of mud

No one visits

–Bob Arnold lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont where he has long made his living as a builder, stonemason, and bookseller. His many books of poetry and prose include Where Rivers Meet, Once In Vermont, On Stone, American Train Letters, Hiking Down From A Hillside Sky, and most recently from Norway Dream Come True. Since 1971, with Susan Arnold, he has edited books, anthologies, and journals from Longhouse. His ongoing “A Longhouse Birdhouse” series may be seen online at: http://longhousepoetryandpublishers.blogspot

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OUTRAGE
by Sharon Auberle

Damn you, British Petroleum.
Damn your greedy souls

to the blackest, hottest reaches
of Dante’s hell. But wait…

until my carbon footprint
is as tiny as the claw

of this baby owl
I found in the forest tonight,

I have no right to curse you.
At least the owlet

died a natural death,
in the way of all creatures.

Not so the dolphins,
the sea turtles beginning

to wash up on beaches,
dead by the unnatural

hand of us. You and me.
Soon it will be whales.

Imagine, if you can,
the mighty grieving then.

– Sharon Auberle is a Pushcart Prize Nominee, who has been published in numerous print and on-line magazines, as well as many anthologies. She is the author of two recently published books, and her poems, photos and artwork maybe found on her blog: Mimi’s Golightly Café at http://sharonauberle.blogspot.com

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Consolidated Oil and Gas
by Geer Austin

Black gold spews from
a hole in the ocean’s floor.
It looks more like black
diarrhea or a black plume
of smoke rising from an incinerator
exhaust pipe in New York City
before the city banned incinerators.

Black oil and natural gas
mix and boil in the Gulf of Mexico.

On the shore, birds await their slick.
It’s not a nice bath,
their oil bath. Black gold in their eyes,
clogging the tiny air holes above their beaks,
gumming their plumage.

Plumes are supposed to be pretty.
Plumes on a hat plucked from a back.

And fish in the Gulf made inedible,
not fit for mankind,
not to mention fishkind.
All because we need to drive our SUVs
and heat our McMansions.

Mankind is kind.
Mankind is carefree.
Mankind is careless.

It’s not only BP who is at fault.
It’s every one of us who lives
a fat pampered life
and sucks up oil
like an internal combustion engine,
then acts like a shorebird

surprised by impending doom.

–Geer Austin’s poetry and fiction has appeared in MiPOesias, Colere, Big Bridge, Potomac Review and other journals and anthologies.  Geer leads a creative writing workshop for homeless LGBT youth through the New York Writers’ Coalition and was the editor of a chapbook of their work.  He also was the editor of NYB, a journal of the arts formerly published in New York and Berlin.  He lives in New York City.

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MURKY WINDOWS
by Peggy Aylsworth

In the wake of Katrina’s killer storm
Mississippi’s new casinos
fatten on poached land,
the poor once more unhoused, bereft
as public funds slip into greasy hands.

Inside the narrow space
voices push and shove,
brought here to hollow boxes,
a trailer city, threatened lives.

There’s no room for tree-lined
streets. She fingers memory,
a place with hallways
long enough for choice.

Memory peels the oranges.
She had once reached
for mornings with clear
windows, unsealed rooms,

without sharp edges cutting
through the walls, dirty water
dripping in her sink. If the nights
were cold she knew the moon

would not provide, but there were
possibilities back then before
the deluge. Would the ark
bring shelter? Not if the door

was torn. She looks through
the murky glass. Her eyes
have nowhere to go, and
her voice has a dislocated sound

– Peggy Aylsworth

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Our Future’s Wake
by Catherine Baker

whatever form is taking life
the cross it has to bear
there’s not a loss of killing sprees
or splitting mother’s hairs
there’s no loss of history
our future’s wake is passing by
riding on her mysteries
with every single tide
whatever shall we worship
pierced with nails her feet and hands
there’s no such solar idol
left upon her blackened lands

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The Measure of Things
By KB Ballentine

Morning chill surprises this late May –
dawn trembles behind clouds pebbling
the sky, moon a dimming scythe.

Across the country the Gulf spits oil,
tunnels a black spiral, diffuses into the widening
tide. Nightmares of the past fester Louisiana
streets as waves crest and crash to shore.

Gulls, slick and gray, founder in the reeds, preen
until their throats coat with black clots. Fish
drift sideways, scales blinking at water’s edge,
a rusty foam spilling over clumps of sand.

But here, irises purple field’s edge, grasses
wrinkling in the north wind. Squirrels tag branches,
each other as birches lean into pines, robins
pouting by empty feeders.

Sun pricks haze, shadows lingering.

– Published in Bent Pin, MO: Writings from the River, Apocalypse, Touchstone, and others, KB Ballentine shares her work in various poetry groups. A finalist for the 2007 Ruth Stone Prize in Poetry and the 2006 Joy Harjo Poetry Award, she was awarded monies from the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Fund in 2006 and 2007. In February 2008, Celtic Cat Publishing debuted KB’s first collection of poetry Gathering Stones and in 2009 released her second collection Fragments of Light.

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Mother, Forgive Us. . .
(May 4, 2010)
by Gail Barker

If I could run away today
from the noise and the news,
I’d get in my car and head west
on 26, lift slowly up into the mist
of the mystical coast range.

There, near the summit, just before
the saline promise of the Pacific,
I’d stop and get out of the car.
I’d walk with reverence into
the deep forest green, dark with
sparse sunlight striping through.

There, I’d curl up fetal
in the lap of the ferns and soft
springy moss, breathe in
the wet earth fragrance of
our sweet, forgiving mother.

I would not think about
the chain saw chunks gouged
from her hills like mange. I would
not think about the gasping gulf coast
gull, with oil slick feathers, a terrible
question behind his gasoline eyes.

After a long detour, Gail Barker has returned to writing poetry as if her life depended on it. She is active in her local city-sponsored poetry series, The Milwaukie Poetry Series, and has read at several open mics.

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Ghazal for the Gulf Coast Tragedy
by Amy Barlow Liberatore

We watch the deadly ebony flow
Fossil fuels in free-form flow

At first, the movement seemed so slow
Relentless, hostile man-made flow

As more is learned, we’re shocked to know
that one part could have stopped the flow

One switch, and costing not much dough
Compared with damage from the flow

Big Oil lobbyists, strictly pro
Primed Congress’ campaign flow

Regulations were tailored so
that BP had their profit flow

Now shadows blot out coral’s glow
And wildlife chokes from crude oil flow

For every time the Gulf winds blow
Disaster follows with the flow

This sharp little pencil writes, although
I’d give my soul to staunch the flow

Amy Barlow Liberatore is a poet and jazz and gospel singer/songwriter. Her work has been published online in melisma and The Pink Chameleon; three of her works recently appeared in The Awakenings Review. Her blog can be found at http://amybarlowpoetry.blogspot.com.

Amy and her husband, Rev. Lex Liberatore, are longtime activists for racial and social justice, the environment, LGBT equality, and health care for all. They live in the Village of Attica, NY.

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Deepwater
By Jon Barrows

There’s blood in the water,
thick and black,
the horizon is on fire
and consumed with spreading darkness
all at once. And the air acts
like the sun never sets.

Danger is among us,
can you hear it?

B l o – od,B l o – od,

Still we dive into the water,
oblivious to the shadow menace
circling in the waters, circling.

The more acute watch in horror
as we did when Jaws first
circled the screen, mesmerized
by the pattern of impending doom,
two haunting notes: E leading to F.

There is blo-od, blo-od in the water,
the music is playing,
and sharks are circling

The
tempo
is rising,
the ocean rising,
the temperature rising,

but we’re still acting like the audience
thinking ourselves safe in our theatre seats—
a crude joke to be sure—
except we’re the ones in the water now

and we’ve turned a blind eye and a deaf ear
to our Chief Brody on the beach
waving his hands and shouting:

“Get out of the water!”

But we’re too thick and black,
covered in blood, slick
desperately treading water,
dorsal fin slicing the water’s surface,
a reflection of the shadow below:

Panic.
Churn of water.
Gnash of teeth.
Crimson fate,

inevitable.

Once the score starts,
it’s already too late.

– I live in Washington, DC, and work for a youth environmental group focused on empowering young leaders and climate advocacy; I work with a number of youth form the Gulf coast. I grew up in a small town on the coast of Penobscot Bay in Maine.

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Gulf Oil Spill: Day Negative One
By Ryan Bayless

At the drop of dawn
more than twenty gulls
fan out and fly west
ahead of the sun.

Upon a sandbar
way out past the pier
a pair of turtles
pass the endless time.

Casting out against
the surf, a single
boat sails the vastness
of a vacant sea.

–Ryan Bayless lives in Austin, Texas and teaches writing at Texas State University and Fine Arts courses at Texas A&M-Central Texas. His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Hawk & Whippoorwill, Alba, Willows Wept Review, and Right Hand Pointing.

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May I Be Water
by Christopher Bear Beam
The murmuring fountain in the garden
Rings a soft tone
Peace bubbles on a late afternoon.

May I be water very soon.
It always runs down to
The lowest place, not the highest.

Water’s liquid suppleness is best
Fluid soft to touch—no salt–
Only silk—over years, water carves out stone.

May I be water, cushioning bone
of seventy percent of all
A human is, and can be.

Come with me and see
My individual droplets
That turn into one solid wall.
Come and see my favorite haunts.

As you stand by a fall
Of water, running glass over falls,
One individual sheet, it calls.

May I be water, shining H2O balls
Nurturing all life, even moon’s,
Bubbles pop up releasing emptiness.

Water is substance, and at best
Evaporates away into the west.
May I be water, turning to blood
In each breathing chest,
There to breathe, vanishing in the north of west.

-Christopher Bear Beam is a poet and spoken word artist who lives in Austin, TX. Prior to Sept 13, 2008, he was a resident of Galveston, TX. He has a social work background, and prior to the onslaught of Hurricane Ike, he was working for The Gulf Coast Center (Galveston) with families, children and individuals who had been dislocated from their homes by Hurricane Katrina.

He never would have imagined that in Sept, 2008, his partner and himself would find themselves faced with the same dilemma as others faced with Katrina. They were dislocated from their home, and moved to Austin, TX to live and start over. A natural disaster has so many physical, mental, financial, emotional and spiritual consequences, and they’ve experienced all of these to one degree or another.

The main therapeutic support for him has been his poetry, and active participation in the poetry scene in Austin. He wrote a published book of poetry called Mi Tormentia that was his story and feelings in words; poetry has allowed him to discharge the feelings, the hopelessness of being unable to return, and the sometimes futility of transitioning to a new community as an evacuee.

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Denial is Cheaper
by Gary Beck

Relatively barren stretches
of the Atlantic ocean
and the Pacific ocean,
have recently expanded,
matching the warming trend
in the same regions.

This duplicates a pattern
that scientists predict
occurs in global warming,
when warm surface waters
tend to block upswellings
of nutrient-filled water
necessary to support
plankton and other marine life.

Corporations and government
won’t allocate the cash
to repair our damaged seas,
blind to the threat to life.
It’s easier to deny
the harmful effects
of global warming
than to lose profits
saving the fishes,
saving the oceans,
saving the earth.

– Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director and worked as an art dealer when he couldn’t earn a living in the theater. He has also been a tennis pro, a ditch digger and a salvage diver. His chapbook ‘Remembrance’ was published by Origami Condom Press, ‘The Conquest of Somalia’ was published by Cervena Barva Press, ‘The Dance of Hate’ was published by Calliope Nerve Media, ‘Mutilated Girls’ is being published by Bedouin Press, ‘Material Questions’ is being published by Silkworms Ink and ‘Dispossessed’ is being published by Medulla Press. A collection of his poetry ‘Days of Destruction’ was published by Skive Press. Another collection ‘Expectations’ was published by Rogue Scholars Press. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway and toured colleges and outdoor performance venues. His poetry has appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City .

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Not Being Able To Speak
By Linda Benninghoff

The worse tragedy was being born,
Then not being able to speak about
The life of fish
Sun shining on scales
Life of pelicans,
Wings coated with whiteness.
If the ocean took
All these lives together
And held them
Like a mother,
The sun might tick like a clock
With eagerness to shine.
Night sky would bring peace.
But because I cannot speak
And someone did not value them,
All these lives are going,
Silent shining fish,
Pale pelican.
Grasses undulate beneath waves.

–Linda Benninghoff has published five chapbooks, one of them winning a contest at Kritya, in India. She have work published in Agenda, Ocho and Poets and Artists

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And Then There Were None? The Florida Manatee
by Charles Berkoff

Four little manatees
Near Siesta Key.
Too little habitat
And then there were three.

Three little manatees
Struggling anew.
Oil spills got one
And then there were two.

Two little manatees
Grazing not yet done.
Along came a speedboat
And then there was one.

One little manatee
Threatened by a yacht.
Nudged it. Sank it.
Is that sweet – or what?!

–Charles Berkoff was born a cockney in London, England, before being educated to respectability at Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine of the University of London (PhD, Chemistry).He is currently President & CEO of CEBRAL, Inc., a Sarasota-based pharmaceutical/biotechnology consulting group specializing in drug discovery and development. Charles has published some 50 scientific papers in international journals, 20 patents, and two dozen or so off-beat articles; the latter, humorous writings typically sprinkled with wordplay, have taken him into the worlds of science, technology, medicine, tennis, fairy tales, travel and, Florida wildlife.

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American Beach, American Beech
by Jeffery Berg

In the cold Gagosian
I take in Monet’s L’Allee de Rosiers.
In the cluster of paint:
BP’s spill. Blue plumage
overtaking the lily pads.
Tilda Swinton observes.
She is nymphishly beautiful, lost
in a baggy black dress.
I walk back out into the hot day
past Tilda’s black car—
the engine running,
her black driver at rest.
On the news we watched
women sunbathing by patches
of oil on sand— on the sole
of a little girl’s foot
a mother rubbing Goo Gone.
I take the train to Brooklyn’s
Botanical Gardens, lily pads
on a cloudy brown pond.
In the shade, I take in
an American beech—
up into the light
between its branches,
and at the silver-gray bark
where people have carved
their names—
like the bridge of Giverny
in Monet’s mind—
curved and abiding.

– Jeffery Berg received an MFA from New York University. His work is forthcoming or has been featured in Gay & Lesbian Review, Harpur Palate, Hiram Poetry Review, Inertia Magazine and Softblow. He lives in New York and co-edit the online journal Clementine.

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SEDIMENT
By Mike Berger

The roar of the diesel engine sears
you; billows of black smoke gag
The at dredge announces, look out;
with a beep beep beep.

Black goo, filled with a thousand
empty beer cans is piled on the shore.
This would be a dumpster diver’s delight.
Fumes from the diesel engine perfume
Sting your eyes. Scraping against
bedrock the bucket sends chills down
your spine.

The dirty black hole laden with silt
begins to clear as the pile of muck
continues to grow. Ripples of flowing
water appear; the stream is no longer
a cesspool. The swampy smell begins
to fade.

– Mike Berger, PhD. holds a doctorate in psychology. He is now retired and writing poetry full time. He has only been writing for a year.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Alternate Apocalypse #3
by Kristin Berkey-Abbott
We expected mushroom clouds and radiation.
We didn’t anticipate a plume on the ocean floor,
an unstoppable gusher.
We thought we would run out of oil.
We didn’t anticipate a plume on the ocean floor.
We assumed precautions had been taken.
We thought we would run out of oil.
Now we worry the flow will never stop.

We assumed precautions had been taken.
We thought there was an emergency plan.
Now we worry the flow will never stop.
We face a future of oily seas.

We thought there was an emergency plan.
We thought they cared about the environment.
We face a future of oily seas,
a fishless existence our fate.

We thought they cared about the environment.
Now we watch migratory birds slicked with petroleum.
A fishless future our fate,
we cry over lost treasures.

Now we watch migratory birds slicked with petroleum.
We hear the stories of generations living on the water.
We cry over lost treasures,
marine animals, an ecosystem, an ocean, a planet.

We hear the stories of generations living on the water.
All these cultures will evaporate:
marine animals, an ecosystem, an ocean, a planet.
We expected mushroom clouds and radiation.

–Kristin Berkey-Abbott has published widely in a broad variety of journals, and in 2004, Pudding House Press published her chapbook, Whistling Past the Graveyard. She teaches English and Creative Writing at the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale, where she also serves as Chair of General Education. Additional details about her various publications and her professional life can be found at her website: http://www.kristinberkey-abbott.com.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Conversation With the Sea
By James Berkowitz

Have you ever engaged in a conversation with the sea?
Where all thoughts transacted flowed with ease.
Understanding is mutual and done in grace
as light passages illuminate through the running waves.
Deep
Alluring
Turquoise view
Reminiscing muses of a world sinew;
with a spiritual elevation, only the towers of love can reach.
While crashing waves of delight
sparkle across the silver beach.
Pebbles recede in a shaken rain stick song;
and seashells echo over and beyond…
Love
Love
Love is the way
A salt water transfusion relieving minds that hate.
Listen
Listen
Listen to my words
I am the ocean your friend on a constant course;
sharing and giving soul cleansing ways
to a universal power above the sun beaming rays.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Grand Isle under the Sunny Vale
by Thomas R. Besch

Grand Isle under the Sunny Vale
Delphins swimming unabashed
Of their naked skins
Delphins now coated, death
Surrounding

Grand Isle is my naked skin
French and American poo’ boy
Loved in the Carolinas’
Brought in the Americas’

Grand Isle, where is my naked skin?
Purple oil of disaster
Dis’asteroïds will smash your purity
Fall, season of hurricanes
Dismember me
 
Thomas R. Besch, “taught Latin at UL Lafayette, experienced consciousness agility in Alta Bates, Berkeley, CA, love Christ and my wife, lost all.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Something metallic and harsh
by Jenny Billings

“Accidents happen…”
The other day, able
to plant your feet.
Right now,
far out there, the oil
rig blew up
gallons
you can breathe in –
sappy turns to angry.

Drill, baby, drill.

Explosion, tar balls
wash up
bizarre solutions
hair, hay, pantyhose
disaster.
Chemical seas,
oil befouling
the long term effects
won’t be pretty.

Repeat the mantra
Without reservation:

Drill, baby, drill.

Jenny Billings has a MFA in Creative Writing in Poetry from Queens University of Charlotte and a BA of English from Wake Forest University . She lives in Charlotte , NC currently and is getting married on Halloween of this year. Poem, “Love at the Movies” published at Referential Magazine in March 2010.

~~~~~~~~~~

DEGRADATION OF THE PLUME
by Bonnie Bishop

La plume: de ma tante,
delicate quill in the hand
of a lady, her fine Gallic nose
tilted down, lips pursed,
hair gathered in a chignon.
She’s writing, perhaps, a
billet-doux in flawless French.

*

Plume: vivid lavender spray
that flounces on the head
of a circus pony; the bouquet
of ostrich feathers that wafts
across the torso of Sally Rand,
that famous Fan Dancer my father
saw once and never forgot.

*

Plume: smoke from the stacks
of the waste disposal plant,
yellow as buttermilk, thick as icing,
roiling, spoiling, stinking, revised
by the breeze to a puff of peony,
a basket of baseballs or flock
of snowy egrets taking off.

*

Plume: billowing sheen,
moiré of swirling rainbow
ribbon and orange clots
on the loose, out of control,
smearing the margin
of the marshes with
careless, slick graffiti.

–Bonnie Bishop lives north of Boston on a peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. Her first book of poetry, Local Habitation, came out through Every Other Thursday Press in November, 2009. She has had appear poems in numerous magazines, including The Sow’s Ear, Diner, English Journal, South Boston Literary Gazette and others.

~~~~~~~~~~

Spilling Oil
By Timothy Black

There is something wet, black and nasty
by the guardrail of a bridge on 90
just before the country nursery. It looks oil
drenched, as if it were foraging too-near
a gusher. When the mustachioed man in his 40s
opened the door back in highschool
I was holding flowers—the way Mom had taught me.
I was totally dumbfounded, dazzled by his response
to my request to date his youngest daughter.
There was oil on my skin once. I unscrewed
a bolt from the pan beneath my Chevy, and it came
out in a rush, as if I had opened up a vein, and burned.
It’s amazing how something so viscous
can ignite the body’s hate so quickly.

– Timothy Black’s first poetic novella, Connecticut Shade, is in its second printing through WSC Press. He teaches poetry at Wayne State College, and is a Cave Canem Fellow. He lives in Wakefield, Nebraska with his wife and two sons. Timothy’s work has appeared in the anthologies The Logan House Anthology of 21st Century American Poetry, The Great American Roadshow, and Words Like Rain. He has been published in The Platte Valley Review and at bringtheink.com, and has won an Academy of American Poets prize for his poem Heavy Freight.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Dreams from Your Father, #4
by Craig Blais
 

Your conception was heralded by signs. An explosion in the middle of the sea. Eleven grown men combusted simultaneously. Unbreakable things broke. Colorful birds once loved for their gift of flight and song became slick and brown—their heads sad, heavy, bowed. Powerful men rolled up their sleeves and stood on our shores for weeks, pointing fingers at each other and boasting about how hard they were working. Wet sand stuck to the bottom of their loafers. Hi-tech underwater cameras were lowered to the ocean floor, satellites relayed images from outer space. Low grade web cams were turned on the common computer owner’s face, showing an expression as captivated and impotent as normal, but now with an outrage that placed them on the edge of awareness. Panels of experts used every tool at their deposal to analyze why this happened, and how it could be stopped. But they just talked in circles, powerless to end your steady improvement of the womb. During commercial breaks, interns stepped from the shadows to powder the pundits’ cheeks and dab sweat from their foreheads.

Craig Blais’s first-book manuscript About Crows was named as a finalist for the Walt Whitman Award and semifinalist for Sarabande’s Kathryn A. Morton Prize. His poems have appeared in Best New Poets, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Pinch, Bellingham Review, and Sentence, among other places. This fall, he will start the PhD program at Florida State University.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Sweet Thames
by Vivienne Blake
The river says escape to me and freedom:
dreamy days in the dinghy,
moored to an ancient pollard willow
amid the sour, damp aroma of mud
and riffles of breeze in the leaves,
I am fearful of discovery
yet lethargic, content,
until, entranced in my book,
inner gurgles remind me of food,
forcing me to untie and row home
on the slow-moving current.
Dad is waiting to scold.
I flee, jumping the flower bed
to avoid his angry hand.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Oily Water
By Joe Blanda

I went skiing on oily water.
The question of drinkability kept popping up,
but the rapid air gagged it in a second
and nothing ever came of it.

I’m not a bonehead anymore
Oily water’s ain’t so easy to ignore

While still a young stone, I was startled into grief
by the brainstorm beauty of an innocent river,
where I skied for my life on oily water—
just too slick for its own good.

I’m not so wanton and wasteful anymore
Oily water ain’t so easy to ignore

So, I dreamed myself a healing prayer
of protection from the fetid air
rising slowly, ghostlike, from that body of
water dying right under my skies.

I’m no longer blind to being born
Oily water ain’t so easy to ignore

When we talk, the noise resembles nightmares.
The oily words cannot be gathered without gloves
or a strong spirit. Yet, talk we do, if for no other reason
than to counter the effect of the chemicals.

I don’t swim with the fallen angels anymore
Oily water ain’t so easy to ignore

Timid skiers won’t go near it—
at arm’s length,
skiing just out of reach
so the oily water won’t stain their skies.

–Joe Blanda lives in Austin, where he makes his living as a technical editor and musician. His poems have been published most recently in Borderlands, Ardent!, The Texas Poetry Calendar, The Enigmatist, and Di-Verse-City (anth. of the Austin International Poetry Festival).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Magic
by Siobhan Bledsoe
When the sky snorts the sea clouds come to be, and other magic

“Hello, sea, are you there?”
asks the child, a shell to his ear.
Crabs and coral, turtles and trout!
In chorus she musters a soft shout:
“Soon, there will be no magic.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

We Had Heat
by Alex O. Bleecker
We had what we thought

was control, but control goes beyond

what we had, which we learned

was concealed. Geneticists say

we had heat, measured

in millions, long enough

to cause. Pushed along the sea,

a single family has risen. A preterist

collects nests and is obsessed

with controlling it just before it happens

to end. A smart part to play. The clock

has a face and is the one

that watches. A small price

you are. A closet tumor

becomes the closest rumor

you keep. In a drawer

of your chest a knitted sac

holds a weakened heart,

helping it pump blood.

It ticks—it shifts—a beat. Crude,

the most painful way

to drill.

–Alex Bleecker, 33, is the youngest retired New York City public school teacher vested in the pension fund. He spent most of last year abroad writing online pro-Tibetan independence propaganda for The Tibet Post International, and just being a falang in southeast Asia. He currently lives in Seattle.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Poem
by Stacy Blint
birds bathed black
feathers
flight
snuffed heritage
whole generations
missing verses

people have showered in gasoline
sat cross legged in the middle of the street
lit a match for less than this

somebody please protest

–Stacy Blint is an artist and writer living in Wisconsin. She spends
plenty of time near, on, or in the waters of Lake Kegonsa and can’t
imagine life without it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A PATCH OF COLLOQUIES
By Ken Boe

Colloquies Knotweed is common in the small towns,
like cheap opinions,
it grows from one neighbors yard to the next.

A wild Doggerel which rhymes its way around the fence
jumping from the hedge to the present progressive tense.

It comes down and enters your mind
and you become it.

Your front yard is a prosody of colloquialisms.
Your back yard is down and dirty,
the root structures a confabulation.
Oh, those quaint flowers like the little blue ducks
lacing the curtains you bought at Walmart,
then tried to re-sell at your garage sale for more,
they have become soiled at the hands of the wind,
who took them down.

A patch of Colloquies
fed from a leak in the spigot,
they linger in an anthology
until seen as the words of a bigot.
Time changes the gardens diary,
Climate changes alter the seeding
like the back rows of the public library
where the racist is given the weeding.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Brevis Missa pro Oceano
by Elizabeth Bodien
Kyrie eleison, have mercy upon us,
we the gluttons, the arrogant species.

Ocean, I cry for you,
my tears so small, your waters immense.
Is it true that you weep,
that you wail as you suffocate?

Billions of creatures live in your depths,
are they gasping now as blackness descends,
as deadly blankets drift down towards your bed?
Life forms scuttle and shake, no way to escape.
Sharks, confused, turn circles in terror.
Gulls, sticky with sludge, flail their weak feathers.

Gloria! Gloria! Oh, glorious world –
this lustrous, this wondrous, this blue-green spinning planet!

Ocean, we’re sorry.
How did we come to this?
How did things go so very wrong?
Is the damage we’ve done forever and ever?

Qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
You who take away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.

Plankton, we’re sorry.
Let currents carry you far from the scourge.
Nekton, we’re sorry.
Swim, if you can, away to safe water.
Neuston, forgive us, your death at our hands.
Before long, your death will be our death, too.

Suscipe deprecationem nostrum.
Hear now our prayer.

Benthos, we beg you,
who live in dark seabeds,
you who devour what sinks down from above,
please help us now.

Sanctus, sanctus. Holy, holy, your waters.
Sanctus, sanctus. Waters teeming with life.

Holy the circlefish, spidercrab, giant kelp.
Holy the loggerhead turtle, the pelican.
Holy the osprey, the orca, and octopus.
Holy sea cucumbers, barnacles, starfish.

Holy the stilts, and lobsters, and urchins.
Holy the blue-footed booby, the clams.
Holy the seals, sea fans, and sharks.
Holy egret, potfish, spotted bumblebee shrimp.

Oh holy sailfish, sturgeon, and shad.
Holy the zebra worms, flatworms, and prawns.
Holy the humpbacks, dolphins, and squid.
Holy the coral, krill, crabs and cormorants.

Holy the herons, the geese, and the gulls.
Holy the driftfish, bonefish, and ballyhoo.
Holy mullet, monkfish, marlin, and tuna.
Holy holy all life who make water their home.

Benedictus, benedictus. Blessed are those
who are meek, who make peace.

Ocean, I cry for you,
my tears so small, your waters immense.
Is it true that you sigh
as your life forms all suffocate?

How will it end?
Will the peace be alive or the peace of the dead?
My prayer joins the others.
Dona nobis pacem in oceanus.
Dona nobis pacem in terra.

Please give us peace in ocean, on earth.

-Elizabeth Bodien, Kempton, Pennsylvania, USA, lives in the Ontelaunee River watershed near Hawk Mountain. No longer teaching cultural anthropology at Northampton Community College, she enters the world of poetry, rediscovering its music and mysteries. Her award-winning collection, Plumb Lines, was published by Plan B Press (2008). Her recent collection, Rough Terrain: Notes of an Undutiful Daughter, is published by FootHills Publishing (2010).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Wetland
by Patricia A. Boutilier

We have no mountains
rising to the sun
the eye arcs north and south
across a river of grass,
the palm trees and mangroves
sluicing the sky
as we drive the Tamiami Trail.

Over and over, the children ride
the dragon coaster
at the Everglades fair
unknowing that beneath them rides
the vouivre , a coiled serpent
of telluric currents
full of the earth’s energy.

Our watery world floats
on shell mounds
left by the Calusa centuries before
and one perfect storm
might erase us, too.
The wet center is endless
and may not hold.
– Patricia A. Boutilier lives on the Gulf Coast in Naples, Florida and feels a reverence and connection to all the waters of the earth. She is a nurse, Reiki master, poet, but most importantly a mother and grandmother. http://ridinghhood.writing.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Gone
By Nancy Bowman Ballard

The crabs and oysters
gone,
muddy red sludge
invades the cycle of life
of an ever-fading dream,
ships are still
and lives are torn,
broken beyond repair,
it’s hard to bear our days,
our shells written with our hopes
hit the sand
with a thud,
The way of life,
kidnapped, beaten
beyond repair
as the sun
hits the choking sheen
on the water,
we cry.

–Her poetry credits include the Lynch Award from the Poetry Society of Texas for her poem, “Waiting”, and another poem, “Quiet Hills” recently published in the Dec/Jan issue of Pennine Ink Magazine, UK. Also, “Of The Night” will be published in the Spring 2010 issue of miller’s pond poetry e-zine magazine as well as winning honorable mention in the Poetree Contest, with publication in a chapbook that will be sold and all proceeds go to AncientTree .org..”Modernity” and “The Other Side” will be published respectively in July and August 2010 issues of Long Story Short. Other writing credits include second place in the People’s Choice Awards for a short story in The Storyteller Magazine, as well as a short story and essay published by Redrosebush Press.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

The Laughing Gull
by Paul Branson

Don’t separate the bottle from the cork
if you’re not certain you can put it back.
What it comes down to, see, essentially,
is this: the limbs frail rigging from an old
shipwreck, the body sculpted to bats’ wings
and shrouded by black sludge that mauls the beach,
prints shadows in the shifting sand beneath
our feet. Not laughing any more, these scant
remains, set like the skeletal outline
of dinosaur we’ve chiselled from hard rock,
dead stuff deposited in salt lagoons
before the world we know was shaped and chased.
Our lust for oil part justifies their shame,
so we must bear some portion of the blame.

Paul Branson’s first collection, “The Accidental Tourist”, was published in May 2008. A second collection was published at the beginning of this year by Caparison Press for ‘The Recusant’. More recently a pamphlet has been issued (May 7th) by ‘Silkworms Ink’. A third collection has been accepted for publication by Salmon Press, EIRE.

~~~~~~~~~~

Sky is Warm Now Sky is Warm
by A.M. Brant

The sea is still burning
and it’s been days been
hundreds of birds been
thousands of fish of sea
creatures of billions of
dollars. Let’s get in
the car and go for a drive
nothing between us
and ocean but ground.

– A. M. Brant is a current MFA candidate at the University of Pittsburgh where she is on the staff of Hot Metal Bridge. Originally from Indiana, she also worked on Southern Indiana Review. Her work has recently appeared in Invisible City, Sawbuck, and is forthcoming in Rougarou.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Morons in Charge of Nothing…
by Peter Bray

Morons in charge of nothing,
ultimately responsible for nothing,
well-versed in the skulking art(s) of corporate BS
and dodging the arrows of media-inattention and adversity,
now soaking up the coast of the Gulf of Mexico
with oily glurp ’til not even the brown pelicans can burp
up their existence through that oily crap…

Watch the moguls escape prosecution,
dispersing themselves in Congressional after-effects,
a three-ring circus of morons, chubby-cheeked looseners of regulations,
now finger-pointing at the greed-soaked corporate cuffs
weighted down with after-tax profits,
side-show freaks, who regulates these jerks?
Provides the perks to their lobbyists?
Buys their wine, their time, their lunchboxes of megamillions,
while greedy oilers and right-wing nutcases chant “Drill, Baby, Drill?”

We are morons all, needing to drive our alabaster-covered gashogs to
the market place…such a disgrace…nothing was learned from the Exxon-Valdez,
except to excuse the walrus trying to sneeze through the last man-made, oil catastrophe…

Way to go, US, we are all smelling foul like excess oil, everywhere…
Give me a solar, wind-powered car, houseboat, cat-powered litter box…
I’ve had enough of Big Oil’s TRIPE! TRIPE! TRIPE!

Peter Bray is a 67 year old handyman, poet/writer, and columnist living in Benicia, CA

~~~~~~~~~~

Imperial Water Walkers
By Jason Brenham
These imperial water walkers have taken us
Beyond the Horizon and into the abyss

of the Deep Sea where it’s black and cold
against Nature unable to mold

the lie into truth by casting dispersions
of the power in the word

“Corexit”
“Corrects it?”

These sorcerers’ puppet went wayward
Unable to make it right with subtleness

Either man is doomed to pay the price
of blissful ignorance to the source of life

drowning in blood and blind eyes to the dying
cajuns of the marshlands heart surviving

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Sludge of Greedby Logan Brendt

The sludge of greed
In these oceanic waters
Lays within our path
Obstacles that we see
And ones we can not see now.

But, step outside the veil.
It encloses around our energy
And pulls us under
Into disorder.

But we go on to ignore it,
Forgetting about it on the weekend–
Involved in our selfish tasks.

Full potential retrogrades
Just like Mercury when
It exploded.

These beautiful waters
Are darkened deeply
And hurt us to breathe.
But what can be done
Except for nothing
As we spiral out of control
And wait
Until we feel it.

But don’t we already?

Dark and disastrous,
It’s weighing us down.
We must part
From our dependence.
It’s making us sick.

But you’re so in love
With your greed
And the ego it feeds.
You let the stringy like fingers
Choke our life’s support.

We had a chance
To grow and learn
From our past mistakes.
But you never learned.
Will you ever?
It’s already the start of it being too late.

–I am a female from the Chicago area, pursuing work as a writer and artist. I would be pleased to have my poem published on the Poets for Living Waters website (poetsforlivingwaters.com), as I feel it would be the best outlet to present it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Earthquake
by Michele Brenton

The beach was beautiful,
tucked away, secret.
Few knew the path
hidden in the brush,
leading to steps
carved by the weather
out of the rock.
Four shelves of stone,
steep but safe enough.
A tiny cove of pebbles.
Clear salt water lapping,
pooling, samphire springing
from craggy outcrops,
out of reach to all but
those either very tall or good
at climbing with one hand full.
And now it’s gone.
Rocky piles of jagged stone
instead of cove and steps and beach.
The earth shuddered,
shrugged and groaned,
and in a night
re-made itself.
In other places
other people
find the earth
has done the same
and changed their
world forever.

– Michele Brenton was born and brought up in Swansea, South Wales, UK and now lives on the Greek island of Kefalonia with her husband and son. Her three paperbacks Alternative Poetry Books: Yellow edition, Alternative Poetry Books – Pink edition and Alternative Poetry Books – Blue edition are published by Endaxi Press. The Yellow edition reached number 31 in the UK Amazon Poetry Bestseller’s List in December 2009. Her serious poetry can be found at http://poems-2-share.blog.co.uk Her funny poetry is at http://poetry4fun.blog.co.uk

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Oil sonnet
by Jack Bresette-Mills

This blackness in the Gulf of Mexico
It bends my mind how easily we spoil
With exxon, bp, shell and texico
This living, breathing world by spilling oil

We generally go oops and shrug it off
Though some of us are angrier than most
We tend to choose what makes us wheeze and cough
And end up being like critters on a host

Is this what our religion’s given us
This strange ability to kill and smile
We beings who have invented calculus
Are walking contradictions, great and vile

I don’t know how this world keeps blooming Spring
Our place in it seems past all reasoning

–Jack Bresette-Mills from Austin, TX., started writing monthly sonnets in April. This is his third. He is a technician, tutor, and beekeeper. He has been married 19 years, and just is happy being alive. He just turned 51.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 


swallowing air
by Robert Lee Brewer
destroy the farms
without killing
the animals–
that dead oil
drill still bleeding
across the gulf

we knew it was
too good to be
here forever

like holding air
our surrender–
a motorbike

look at that farm–
that factory–
that firm handshake

empty billboards
advertising
their emptiness

-Robert Lee Brewer is the editor of Poet’s Market and maintains the Poetic Asides blog at http://blog.writersdigest.com/poeticasides. Voted Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere for 2010 on Blogging Poet.com (along with Sina Queyras), his poetry has been published in several print and online publications, including Otoliths, OCHO, DMQ Review, and Barn Owl Review. He has four boys and an amazing wife in Tammy Foster Brewer, who is also an amazing poet. Robert can be contacted via e-mail at robertleebrewer@gmail.com.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We Are One
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
I am the ocean, mighty, wild, and free
and I am being poisoned with oil.
From a hole humans drilled into the earth’s skin
flows a stream I cannot stop, threatening all I shelter.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am a worker who died when the BP oil rig exploded.
I was trying to support my family
and supply a needed resource to my country.
Now I will never see my family and friends again.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am a worker injured in the Deep Horizon explosion
and I worry about the safety of the oil industry.
I want to know why the regulations and procedures
that were supposed to protect us failed.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am part of the crew cleaning up this mess.
I am tired and frustrated that the leak is not stopped.
I feel sick from the fumes of the oil and
the chemicals used to disperse it.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am a charter boat captain on the Gulf Coast.
I love to take people out to see the ocean’s beauties.
Nowadays nobody wants to go out for fear of the oil,
and I may lose my boat because I can’t pay my bills.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am a fisherman and I worry about my livelihood.
Vast areas of the ocean are closed to fishing, and
now oil is creeping into the estuaries and marshlands
that serve as fish and shrimp nurseries.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am an executive from British Petroleum (or
Transocean or Halliburton) called to explain
to Congress how this disaster could have happened,
and I want to blame it on someone else.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am the CEO of BP and I am willing to publicly take
responsibility for the oil spill but I also want
to protect my company from liability and
the huge costs of the cleanup.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am President Obama and I grew up in Hawaii
where the ocean is known to be sacred.
I am angry over the oil spill and concerned that
people think the government is not doing enough.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am a wildlife rescue person and I want to save
the lives of as many innocent creatures as I can.
I am heartbroken at what I am seeing in the Gulf
and hope the affected populations can recover.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am a dolphin used to swimming freely around
the ocean oil rigs, but now when I dive
and surface I must go through layers of oil.
My pod and I cannot get away from it.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am a pelican in the Breton National Wildlife Refuge
that is no longer safe for me to raise my family.
My feathers are completely covered with oil,
and I cannot clean them by myself.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am a sea turtle and the sea I swim in and
the beaches I frequent are saturated with oil.
I wonder how my kind can survive this calamity.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am a fish (or a crab or a shrimp).
My environment has turned into a toxic soup
of oil and chemical dispersants, and I am
having trouble breathing in the waters I call home.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am just a tiny organism in the deep sea plankton,
an important part of the food chain for sea creatures.
I am being smothered by oil and dispersant droplets
sinking to the bottom of the ocean.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am a user of oil and petroleum products.
I know I should reduce my consumption
and live more lightly upon the Earth, but
I resist owning up to my responsibility for the oil spill.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

I am an inhabitant of the Earth.
I want things to change and change begins with me.
This deep-sea oil spill is for me both a painful tragedy
and a teachable moment.
Breath to breath, body to body, we are One.
So be it.

– Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat are the co-directors of SpiritualityandPractice.com, a multifaith website providing resources for spiritual journeys. They are also the co-authors of Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life (Scribner, 1996) and Spiritual Rx: Prescriptions for Living a Meaningful Life (Hyperion, 1999). They have a practice of writing “I am” poems in times of national and global crisis in order to affirm Oneness.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Beyond Pity (it ain’t pretty)
by David Clayson Brydges

there is a gulf between truth and slick lies
drowning in public relations spin disguise
take it from a poet give it some extra fizz
but please do tell it straight like it really is
those phony mantra media victory phrases
junk stop and top kill were failed disgraces
try once swallowing that bitter reality pill
techno-gods couldn’t seal the muddy spill
stop worshipping the deceptive democracy
Obama is political savior of hyper hypocrisy
Two months before this ecological disaster
you helped oil companies exploit even faster
lifted a 20 year freeze on offshore exploration
how do you explain this ironic contradiction?
Mr. president walking alone on an oily beach
to choreographed photo-op we must beseech
hundreds of new cleanup workers appeared
after the media left they quickly disappeared
you had a fundraiser dinner that very night
leaving behind a darkening gulf coast plight
Obama and BP are good using educated skills
chasing after those sweet Yankee dollar bills
The purest heartbeat of this eco-catastrophe
is an eternal truth someday setting us all free
drilling inside the hearts core to truly know
fathom the harmony of only a natural flow
mother earth is bleeding deep brown blood
the brightest scientific brains are a big dud
her soul hemorrhages as she cries
before your video camera robot eyes
Our TV mind watches CNN in vain
give us a sign beyond this digital pain
it’s a deeper wound we gotta soon cap
far past a technological time bomb trap
seeing the sickly Louisiana coastal marsh
innocent carnage of wildlife is quite harsh
a vibrant sea habitant is our deepest wish
for sea gulls dolphins innocent dying fish
How could we earth human’s engineer
such a daily nightmare of enraged fear?
industrialization of nature is profound
paradise wasn’t lost, it was never found

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

To BP corporate headquarters…a memo
By Mara Buck

(A short poem from a small person to a giant corporation. )

I file my claim as a citizen of the planet.
I file my claim as a resident of the universe.
I file my claim as a species dependent upon water,
Dependent upon oxygen,
Dependent upon the food chain,
Dependent upon beauty.
I file my claim as a small human who cannot sleep nights.
I file my claim as an empath for wildlife.
I file my claim as a child of the blue-collar.
I file my claim as myself.

I file my claim.
–Mara Buck is an artist and writer who lives in the Maine woods within a self-built sanctuary. Her latest published poem appeared in the anthology “Vwa: Poems for Haiti.” Her video “Autonomic Drawing 9/11” comprised of her artwork and poetry can be seen on the site for the World Trade Center Museum. Her art has been featured in solo exhibitions in Mexico and the US and appears in public and private collections.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Gulf Coast Oil Spill
By Nina Buck

“I’ve been having this half-wakeful dream,” says Simon of the Death Metal t-shirt, “in which two sides of my brain, sort of gothic, both cloaked in darkness, argue with each other.”

“One side says, all is lost. And then the other side says, all is not lost.”

Like a little girl picking petals from a dandelion, except in a deep baritone.

“All is lost.”

“All is not lost.”

–Nina Buck is an actress, writer, and surfer. Her work has recently appeared in Bear Creek Haiku, A handful of stones, and Spooky Boyfriend, among others. She has poetry forthcoming in bottlerockets and was nominated for a Pushcart. She mostly lives in Hawaii.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

We Didn’t Want To Name It
by Jamie Buehner

: how
adorable,
how timely.

How relevant,
how charged,
how

political. How
characteristic
to gaze

backwards at life
like a train rolling
through us

: thunder,
then silence.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Let Us Flood Them Back
By Brenda Bunting

Back flood the crude
the selfish the thoughtless
the blind the stupid
the foulness the craving
their laughter and raging with more
I watch my grandbabies crawl our floor
my mother great grand who laughs
we pick up the little busy bodies
hugging them closely
ready to fight
for how will they take flight
in heavy drowning oil
it pollutes and soils
as waves after waves
of high soaring birds wash
wasted upon beach shores.
Back flood them great
if greatness be in you
Don’t let this escape
and fear prevent you
from demanding the change
that is necessary to be
powered but fuel and oil free
the answers are out there
we hear them everyday
Back flood the crude
choke it back on itself
until strangulation
is the ultimate result
it dribbles bubbling back
into earthen hollows
deep and resting
and greedy hopeless men
will lick the dust in vain
give no sympathy to their pain
for such a turn
will only benefit us all
hear the poets call
Let us flood them back

-Brenda Bunting grew up in Neptune, NJ and lived in Lexington, KY and currently resides in Silver Spring Maryland. She is a Life member of the Kentucky Poetry Society. She has published writings and poetry. She has been a featured poet at readings and participated in poetry events in Lexington for many years.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 
slave ships today
by Sean Burn

chants of cowries
howlings of beads
ululations of urine
susurrations of gin
the contrary mirror

tobacco dried to
back-whipped
in crack n strip
lash prior journeyings
sing the broken masks
sung rope mouths
coral of and over
your ankles eyes
run cowrie run

shango blue
thunderbolted
in beat and slay
the lightning
bleat and sway
wraiths tremble
all that’s left
silvery-grey

take fire for a walk
explosions fine-judged
undoing petrols tread
undo snaking, out
drummings, the over-ache
blood spatter, bead
stutter, feather litter
cowries replacing eyes

and all ways
and in all ways
headache red strapped
to white thorn caress
the point of surface
tensed breakages
another globed
crimson
beautifulling

song beads heart sea
in double-headed axe
swift and balanced
oshe rule in justice
our planetary throat
skin still colour
colours of petrol
slave-ships today

Sean Burn is a writer, performer and outsider artist with a growing international reputation. his twenty five poetry films have received many screenings worldwide. the third of his spoken word cd’s is speaksong with musician gareth mitchell. skrev press (www.skrevpress.com) recently published a third full-length collection of his – wings are giving out – (isbn 978-1-904646-56-3).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Crude Behaviour
by Philip Burton
Crude oil is just that, isn’t it? Crude.

A mix of so many chemicals we can’t take it in

nor scrub it from a simple sea-bird’s wing.

We wouldn’t sanction it for vandal paint

and yet we cart it through the sea

and then it coats the coast of Brittany

and The Vendee,

and they listen in vain for a gannet song

from Belle Isle-en-mer to les Sables d’Olonne

and then it Clots The Galapagos,

and there’s neither Stormy petrel

nor Lava gull from Ecuador to San Cristobal,

and it happens again

and the limpid sea is a foul gel

from Cocon, in Spain, to Corcubion

and when BP floods the sea

engulfs the Gulf of Mexico

we say “Weren’t me, guv, honest”

and wash our hands and think,

“Just as long as I’ve oil under the bonnet”.

Yes, crude we become. Like sump-oil. Calm

as waters that should be troubled.

–Philip Burton, aka Pip The Poet, a retired head teacher, is widely published in literary magazines, and in anthologies for children. He is a 2005 Lancaster, England, litfest winner, and was short-listed in 2009 for The Kent and Sussex, England, Poetry Competition.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

WAKE
by Edward Byrne

I

The skyline opens under early sunshine.
      Amid slightest shift of a mild breeze,

slender shoots of marsh grass provide
      a border for the shoreline. Every blade

wavers above waters hiding its roots.
      Stains remain from the nightly rise

of a high tide, as dawn light brightens
      a seascape painted with fresh strokes.

II

New hues deepen from blue to black.
      Along the shoal one last boat slowly

passes toward that vast morning sky.
      Somewhere closer to a shore already

spotted with dark clots, each swirl
      of oil floats near the beach. A sheen

smears the surface of these shallows,
      stirring in the littlest waves of a wake.

-Edward Byrne is the author of six collections of poetry, including _Seeded Light_ (Turning Point Books, 2010) and _Tidal Air_ (Pecan Grove Press, 2002). A seventh book of poems, _Tinted Distances_ will be released in 2011. His poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies. He is a professor at Valparaiso University, where he teaches creative writing and environmental literature. Edward Byrne is also the editor of _Valparaiso Poetry Review_.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

CATASTROPHE
By Paula Camacho

In the flames of an oil rig
fear and foreboding rise like smoke.

Anxiety and anger cannot be contained
as plumes spread like a plague
through gulf waters.

Fingers of orange reach toward land,
choke pelicans, ducks, turtles.

Hate rises with each escaping barrel.

For eleven families love and joy
is stifled by the insanity of disaster.

Buddha might say there is a purpose for everything
but now there is only time to react.

– Paula Camacho is the moderator of the Farmingdale Poetry Group. She has published Hidden Between Branches, Choice and two chapbooks. Her poems have been published in magazines and anthologies. She has worked on establishing a Poet Laureate for Nassau County.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 
In Gulf
by Michelle Campbell

As you toddle like a buoy,
greedy girls scoop shells by the bucketful
and I lie on the sand, blending in.
The cicadas scream in the moss-dripping trees
as Winter clatters in her pool.
Tomorrow the black will ink everything out.
–Michelle Campbell is a 26 year old stay at home mom and unpublished poet. I recently started a blog, Scribbled Black Ink, to showcase my poetry.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
 To my Wife, Upset About the Oil SpillYou came home talking about gasping turtles
so I Googled “oil spill animals,”
a dangerous search for a depressive;
the birds’ bent necks,their weighted beaks.

I Googled “oil spill animals”
and found out, without divine intervention
for the birds’ bent necks and weighted beaks
the oil enters the wetlands tonight.

We’re not interventions, who are we
to suffocate nests and strand dolphins
to paint the beach in dead fish and globules?
The oil enters the wetlands tonight.

We suffocate nests and strand dolphins–
they swim like consciences beneath the grit.
We paint the beach in dead fish and globules
spell out “Paradise Lost” in humans and surfboards.

They swim like consciences beneath the grit.
She washes out a turtle’s mouth.
They spell out “Paradise Lost” in receipts and jokes
fast forward the SNL sketch, too sad.

She washes out a turtle’s mouth.
He reaches in brown mud to save a crab.
Fast-forward the SNL sketch, too sad.
(What’s so familiar, this halfhearted rescue?)

He reaches in brown mud to save a crab.
She uses a tube to hydrate a pelican.
What’s so familiar, this halfhearted rescue,
this apathy of reeds and water?

She uses a tube to hydrate a pelican.
He updates the drowning tallies.
This apathy of reeds and water,
muddy TV news, the constant background.

Drownings in the background,
fires in the foreground.
You can see the video of gushing.
(I won’t Google “video of gushing.”)

Fires in the foreground, burn it off,
runaway carbon news, the constant background.
I won’t Google “video of gushing.”
I never watched An Inconvenient Truth.

Runaway carbon, the climate of Venus,
we learned this in astronomy class.
I never watched An Inconvenient Truth,
and never wanted to live on other planets.

We learned this in Astronomy class.
The otters, the dragonfly with oil on its wing
never wanted to live on other planets.
If the carcasses zombify, will we react then?

The dragonfly flaps its oil wing,
an asphyxiated otter flicks its whisker.
If they zombify and come for us, will we notice them?
Will we react when the movie comes out?

An asphyxiated otter flicks its whisker,
a human flicks the “share” button.
An invite to pray for the gulf and I’m livid,
zombified by grief.

A human flicks the “share” button,
a dangerous search for a depressive.
When the movie comes out, I’ll remember
you came home talking about gasping turtles.

Jane Cassady recently ended two years of AmeriCorps service in Philadelphia public schools and enjoyed a brief lacuna before returning to her preferred life as full-time poet and teaching artist. She is the Slam Mistress of the Philadelphia Poetry Slam. She has appeared in The November 3rd Club, The Comstock Review, Valley of the Contemporary Poets, and other journals. She has performed at such venues as LouderArts in New York City, Valley Contemporary Poets in Los Angeles, and The Encyclopedia Show in Chicago.

~~~~~~~~~~

The Most Important Task
By Tina Celio

The stuff of life bores you. Let go and let god
custodiate: apply boom, pile driver, as is his wont.
The big man is bound to cut your emissions,
bring about a bottom. Your disaster keeps flowing
undersea. In general, the weather has not been kind.
You’ve misjudged the severity, allowed one thing
and another, and now this slick, this massive pollution.
Years uncapped. The boss doesn’t sugar coat
what it takes, a kind of untested funnel, heaving
harness for mucked wreck. You stand by the road, wait
for yours to be set back, kept at sea, safety
to fly the waters. You keep your fingers crossed,
hope for the best, let it go.

– Tina Celio received her B.A. in English/Creative Writing from UC Irvine. She lives and works in Orange County, CA.
She is currently writing a collection of poems based on religious bumper stickers.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

‘Spill Of National Significance’ Declared Over Gulf Oil Spill-Huffington Post, April 29, 2010
by Lisa Cheby

I cough, drip tears, unable to spew slicks that spout like post-nasal mucus,
       oil surging from the seabed
flows the wrong way, lured by greedy allergens,

minuscule on my skin, like ants under their feet. They drill, prod, feed
on my blood, rare as theirs, pulsing through my earthy veins, until they gag on fear:
      crept to within 12 miles of the coast.

Such a wound on one of them would be quick death.
As if they know my body, triage teams swarm,
employing booms, skimmers, chemical dispersants and controlled burns,
doctors reviving the dead to appease the living:

There is no controlling my rage. Burn my blood. Shiver with my fever.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When the Great Abyss Opened
by Laura A. Ciraolo
Water boiled over all boundaries
in a torrent of foam and whirlpool,
the world going down a drain.
Those with wings took to the air
skimming the surface in vain for purchase.
Meteors streaked the sky.
As portents they were late
and could not land but sea.
Those with eyes could see
what they built torn down to the ground.

I stood on the shore
and touched the shell in my hand,
ivory cream, violet and burnt umber,
tracing its fragile swirls and smooth
mouth, then put it to my ear until the shore was no more.

Laura A. Ciraolo has poems in Agenda (UK), the New York Quarterly, the Long Island Quarterly, iota (UK), The Centrifugal Eye, MiPOesias, The Comstock Review and Orbis Quarterly International Literary Journal (UK) among many others. She has poems forthcoming in the New York Quarterly #67 and Caper Literary Journal. She lives and works in NYC.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pelican Briefly
By Mimi Cirillo

Spent my days ‘long the coastal ways
Fishing, crabbing, scooping through sand.
Placed my feet where the waters meet,
Caught the wind from the Lord’s own hand.
I’m a pelican..see me.

Sea erupted, beach destructed
Bill can’t scoop in the blackened sand.
Dragged my feet to a soiled seat,
But can’t sit down on the oil band.
I’m a pelican…help me.

I don’t know what “barrel” means.
But I know I can’t raise my wings
Why is my Gulf crying black?
Oh, Lord, I can’t move anything.

Wings won’t fly, voice can’t cry,
Feathers sink on the poisoned beach
Webbed feet sore, tortured pores,
Can’t catch anything in my reach.
…Peli…can …can’t …be.

I don’t know what “barrel” means.
But I know I can’t raise my wings
Why is my Gulf crying black?
Oh, Lord, I can’t move anything.

I’d shed a tear for my dying friends
But my eyes have drowned in the spreading ink.
I can’t swim with the pipe still in,
Family, heart and soul all sink.
…pelican briefly.

I don’t know what “barrel” means.
But I know I can’t raise my wings
Why is my Gulf crying black?
Oh, Lord, I can’t move anything.

– Mimi Cirillo is just a librarian and an animal lover.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Brown Dominion
By Hal C Clark

A sonant seashore in Gulf waters
Peaceful, restful, welcoming
No More.
Tiny tar balls wash on
Pristine shores.
A sheen of long brown streamers lies
Across a liquid saline bed.

Fightless birds with flightless wings
And lifeless eggs
Shrouded in the heavy brown of greed.

A delicate estuary, draped in toxic goo.
A nursery of shrimp and crabs
Destroyed.
Unknowing creatures, unwilling victims
Of a need for higher dividends

We live on a tiny blue ball,
A speck in the universe
With only a thin candy shell
For air, a drop of fresh water.
The only home where we can live.

What is this force that comes
To take without remorse?
He comes as a tyrant in the night,
Seduces our young daughter
And takes from her
That fragile bloom
That is only hers to give
And give but once.
He says only “It was what I wanted.”
As if that justifies the act.
And when it is gone and cannot be returned,
What can we do?

–Hal C Clark is a retired elementary teacher. He currently publishes a blog, usually containing poetry. http://halcclark.wordpress.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Vacation Diary, I
by Kenneth Clark

Mother, there is oil at the beach
and we had to swim in the pool,
but at night Grandma let us walk
down and watch the moonlight
glance off the tar balls—speckles
of color that look like marbles
lit from the inside by magic.

She said not to touch them
because our fingers would fall
off before we became old
enough to drive, and that
the oil would be there all
vacation. How we are lucky
that our drinking water doesn’t
catch fire, and that without
the platforms in the gulf
my uncle would be home
getting drunk and yelling
at the television.

After cocktails she speaks how
there’s grace in everything, and
each day begins as yesterday—
and after she falls slumped asleep
on the chair with one sandal on
and the other held on by a toe,
we cat-walk back outside where
people are gathered loosely along
the shore. The crude night smells
like a school bus. somebody smokes
a cigarette. Someone falls in love
and we think that bats swooped
down and chased the lovers off—
the oil searching the earth
for anything to cling against.

–Kenneth Clark writes poetry and micro-fiction. A book of poems, “The Collected Histories Of Water” is available. His work has appeared in Night Train, Greatest Uncommon Denominator, and Poor Mojo’s Almanac among others. “Eggs of American Songbirds” is forthcoming Fall 2010.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

POSEIDON’S LAMENT
by Will Connelly

Witness the morn in receding tide
as the sun pulls up unto the sky,
whilst passing there along the coast
another face of once befitted known

going shapeless now, lost of all its splendor.

Wash the shapeless face in the mirror,
mix silhouette and contour to see
yet another gesture of a countryman
forgotten by his country. The sail is up
and what is a raft but a cradle to the land of lore?

Bath in the ocean’s salt, rise with oil rigs,
forget most of which is the face of Poseidon
lest he spend his days alone or caught in undertow
betwixt the molten floor and remains of a mastodon;

there once were explanations, now only lies.

So some faceless head appears in t.v. flats
answering questions never asked,
never answering questions asked,
questioning the given answer with a laugh.

So the punks roll up something dirty,
some scheme to rid humanity
to liberate the dolphins and octopi;
“Let us go then, you and I,
scuttling across the floors of silent seas.”

Escape this land-bound penitentiary
to explore the depths of our ancestry;
bend backwards the thumbs of working men,
break bread and their feet and tell them then
that the path of least resistance is a multitude of
holy brotherly saintly selfless humans
living out the lord’s command

and command they do those jihadists
like their ancestral inquisitors
and the praised Phoenicians,
excavating the ocean floor
for Murex of vanity.

Oh brother, spare me your sweet serenity,
for in this hour of great calamity,
all but the brother is spared
as the whole of oceanic life
pray to Amphitrite for
a genocide of humanity.

Poseidon, Poseidon the fire’s lit,
the war is on and yet your army
lays burnt upon the bed of the sea;
none of the tears you cry will ever mend.
From your waters drew some feet
which sprouted minds to give
your face a name and your army nomenclature.
And as those eyes in front of minds
watch all but their egos collapse,
the catastrophic magnitude of ignorance
comes spewing 80 million and some odd
gallons of famine to death.

Poor, poor Poseidon, your faceless name
doesn’t carry as much gun as our pistol whip
to your cranium, the ocean floor,
so weep till there is no more,
none other than
some water
and the sun
and a raft to lore.

Poseidon pull the trigger,
give fire to the seas;
let us taste your sweet anarchy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dream 6/6/10
By James Cook

Some brutal ugly fucker
brought his two
beautiful kids
to the seaside every night
at midnight
where he made them
beat each other
into pulp. Blood
all in the water.
My cellphone
won’t work…

–James Cook lives in upstate NY. Previous publications include a chapbook, Kingfishers Catch Fire (Foothills, 2003) & poems appearing in The Cortland Review, Realpoetik & BlazeVOX. He is currently working on a vast hymn to & prayer for Amerika in the year 2010, called The Croatoan Songbook. His first full-length, Moments At Point Light is in manuscript.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

GULF
by Jack Cooper

Can’t sleep.
Can’t stop the gusher in the Gulf.
Can’t warn the creatures
to take another route.
Can’t stop using oil.
It’s nothing new for me
this sleeplessness
usually some kind of bank problem
the central bank, sperm bank, blood bank
but never oil,
never the dying planet.
That would be someone else’s nightmare
Rachel Carson, Barry Commoner, Al Gore.
We do our best
never knowing what our best is.
Consider GE
and its beautiful electric car.
In Hawaii
I swam with dolphins and turtles.
I flew United.
I wore Spandex.
The animals welcomed us
into their blue world.
They showed us their babies.

Jack Cooper’s first formal collection of poetry, Across My Silence, was published by World Audience Publishers, Inc., New York, NY, 2007. His poem, “Transitory Endings,” published in The Georgetown Review, was nominated for a 2008 Pushcart Prize. His work has also appeared in Argestes, The Evansville Review, Tundra, Runes, The MacGuffin and many other publications.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

a dismal crusade
by Marc Copeland

The innocent walk though the woods,
a well-worn path.

So the slip was unexpected,
like the jagged granite
hidden ‘neath the dead damp leaves
that cushioned my fall.

Face up,
senseless ‘cept for sight,
eyes locked by shock,
staring at sharp shadows
shifting slowly
as the cloudless day passed
with ease,
its deep blue fading.

The sun headed west:
through a wide gap
in the bent bare branches
a lone black dot
floated in the high sky,
swaying back and forth.

More gathered as the day dragged on.

By mid-afternoon,
dozens were near tree top level
riding concealed currents,
swirling together
marking my spot.

The dying sunlight cast a golden glow
on the silken black feathers of the under wings
and accented the blood red flesh
capping their crooked necks,
angels in disguise.

Cold,
atop
my bed
o’ rocks,
waiting
for numbing darkness
to descend
and the feast
to begin.

–Marc Copeland is a new artist in residence at Crossroads Art Center in Richmond, Virginia. He is essentially a self-taught photographic artist, in the process of transitioning from an executive public service position to photography full-time. For poetry, flash fiction and personal commentary, visit www.theelusiverendering.blogspot.com.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Living by the Sea
by Nancy Correro

We walked the shoreline every day
when we lived by the sea.
On hay-colored sand dunes, sea oats waved.

Nautilus, abalone, and scallop shells
tumbled onto the sand, then retreated.
We walked the shoreline every day

and before us, ghost crabs scurried away.
The gulls would cry and the wind stirred the sea.
On hay-colored sand dunes, sea oats waved.

Even on days when it was tempest and gray,
we ditched the wind in alcoves serene
and watched the shoreline those days,

but every day the sea washed evidence of us away.
Sandpiper and crab trails were wiped clean.
On hay-colored sand dunes, sea oats waved.

The undertow takes all into its wake
and the sea’s swallow is deep.
I walk the shoreline every day.
On hay-colored sand dunes, sea oats wave.

– Nancy Correro is currently in her 2nd year at McNeese State University studying poetry in the MFA program. She is also a graduate assistant teaching Freshmen Composition. She enjoys playing her trumpet and writing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Mothers’ Night
by Laurie Corzett
cascading shards
uneasy
echoes falling
“It’s our calling.”

Rape of Earth,
hot spurts of words
savage knives
Abiding Mothers,
sacred and mundane
twist into harridan
cold stars

wail, hurtling waves
Sad, old, crust of ages
sliced, screwed, carved up for profit
“It’s not the color of the skin,
the culture of the smile”

the scent of danger,
the inborn stranger –
all excuses for Us (superior)
and Them (inferior)
“They are not like we;
but lower curs.”
we may harm with unfettered glee

Cursed to be cut to our requirement.
Borders clear
“Here, fear fences in
our livelihood and wives.”
Leave THEM to putrid pits
cunning jabs,
our pleasure.

Thus, all treasure that might regale,
heal, reveal true worth,
of man and Earth
sold for pittance of potash
to dance a weary jig

-Laurie Corzett/libramoon is seeking outlet for those crazy thoughtstreams, is always moving into new (or resurrected) projects, including Emerging Visions visionary art ‘zine: http://emergingvisions.blogspot.com ; Seers and Seekers Yahoo Group; The Healing Dance Network Yahoo Group; Visionary Arts and Minds Tribe; anthologies of her writings; an experimental metafiction, working title: Something Sacred http://caelastory.blogspot.com/; a (envisioned as) graphic novel (anyone want to do the graphics?), Acts of Desolation: http://www.gather.com/aod; as well as her Utopian Flash Fiction Project — series of flash fiction pieces around a federation of diverse villages each working out their methods of community life — little dramatic impacts illustrating creative solutions to social problems:

http://tribes.tribe.net/uff.

check out her book: Words from the Sky: http://www.lulu.com/libramoon ; then,
there’s lunar ramblings: http://lunaramble.blogspot.com
email: libramoon42@mindspring.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ocean Breeze
Anna Maria Island

By Hubert Crowell

Ocean breeze, please come again and keep me cool.
Evening showers, don’t delay, bring the rain and soon!

Dive for sand dollars in holes off the beach.
Dry them in the sun, and soak in bleach.

Sea oats blowing in the wind, sand pipers on the run.
Butterflies among the reeds, chasing and having fun.

At night when its quiet, an owl may screech.
If you listen to him, he may even preach.

Ocean breeze from the west, seems to be the best.
Land breeze from the east, bring us all the pests.

We will leave the Gulf with waves, wind, and rain.
And pray that oil will not leave a stain.

Pack and clean, its almost time to go back home.
Beach was great, friends were fun, beach house was awesome.

Beach house on the Gulf, or cabin on the river.
The Gulf shines like gold, the river like silver.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Winter Sea 

The ocean’s grey today, like someone’s dingy laundry,

the flop and slosh of sudsy waves agitate on the sand,

and the sky’s the inside of an ashtray at some salty dive.

I don’t care. When I took my morning walk, the blonde

grasses bowed low in the wind but did not break, and I found

a small flash of happiness in the margins, where a scrabble

of bayberry, goldenrod, pearly everlasting and milkweed

clumped together, their dried leaves and seedpods still

hanging on, no matter how hard the wind tried to knock

them down. Reduced and diminished, they remained

themselves, in spite of the elements. The way we

keep on walking each morning, as we throw off

the covers of the night, stride out on the boardwalk,

arms swinging. Yesterday at sunset, the sun’s last

razzle turned the water to liquid aquamarine, jewels

I wanted to scoop up and wear at my wrists and neck.

Earlier, the sea had been true blue, the color I imagine

blood might be, as it runs in my veins with the tide

of the heart. Anchor me to this world, God of spindrift,

God of spume and salt spray, God of sand. Too often,

I have let myself listen to the other voices, the ones

like Iceland gulls that shout can’t can’t can’t. Right now,

fishing trawlers hang on the edge of the horizon, straight

as a clothesline, the edge you might fall over. But which,

the closer you approach, whether by sailboat, dinghy, or skiff,

is never reachable. Always, there is more.

 

The Winter Sea first appeared in Green Mountains Review.

Barbara Crooker is the author of the book, More (C&R Press, 2010)

~~~~~~~~~~

 

poem

by Jason Crowson

steam rising off the snake’s back
vapors from yesterday’s snow

deep blue heaven
tinting the horizon

the warm brush of the sun
painting a reflection of all she sees

the viper’s silver
red
black and blue scales
glint with thawing sunlight

its smooth belly is a hissing oil-slick path

eve considers
the convictions
of the apple
the appeal
of the serpent

slowly but certainly
mewling atonement
opens her mouth
just wide enough
to accept the scaly pate
lips slipping gently over flinty eyes

the serpent’s sinews pulse
burrowing deeper
till its tail flicks the corners of her mouth

she does not seem to notice or mind

she imbibes the warm sun
marvels the melting remains
of yesterday’s snow

glows with satisfaction
blissfully ignorant of the madrassa
the snake has found
deep in her soft belly
laying its eggs
in the warm
slick
oil

march 20, 2010, the snaking highways of america

Jason Crowson has poems published in the Austin AmericanStatesman (under the name, John Cutaia), the Australian magazine Dissent (pen name Glosso Babel), and in The Austin Chronicle.

~~~~~~~~~~

 
Blacklisted: The Horizon
By Meri Culp

Between my toes
A squint-eyed sun rise:
the horizon.

Water color waving,
the ocean curls into the sky:
a blurred blue jigsaw.

Morning opens,
a seagull’s dip, the turn of tide,
the slow crawl of a green turtle, then a message,

undertow bottled, night’s turbulence.
Black pearls strung, oil rich, strewn:
deception, a black and blue blend

of choking expanse, shallow water breathing,
huddled horizon, a sputtering omen looming:
Oil and water do not mix.

Tonight, the black waters will not sleep with the gray clouds.
A line will be drawn, not in the sand, but in that meeting place,
that wished upon vista that once held sea and sky, together.

–Meri Culp has been published in various literary journals, including BOMB, The Southeast Review, Apalachee Review, Snug, Nomads, The Northeast Chronicle, and Sweet: A Literary Confection and the anthologies North of Wakulla and Think: Poems for Aretha Franklin’s Inauguration Day Hat. Online, her poems have appeared in USA Today and True/Slant.

~~~~~~~~~~

NUMBER FIVE
by Doug Curry
Bleached and stiffened
by salt sea air and relentless sun
a leathery work glove bobs …
strafed by gulls
nibbled at by inquisitive fish
bobbing to the rhythm of
roiling currents far below.
A bridled tern perches atop preening,
floating aimlessly on gentle seas.
Preserved within, a gloved finger,
just the tip with coarse nail
pickled by briny sea and sun,
last remnants of NUMBER FIVE
of the FORGOTTEN ELEVEN,
those who never saw the clean-up
never heard the debate
only heard a siren,
and never had a chance.

Doug Curry is a resident of Rochester, NY, a native of Harlem. He is a graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University. He has written poetry since 2008, but prior to that and since then have published columns and articles for local and regional magazines and periodicals, as well as various e-zines. Some work may be seen at http://www.centerstagemag.com, http://www.takingthejourney.com, and http://mythseed.tumblr.com/. Since 1982, he has been the weekly host of ‘BLACKS & BLUES,’ heard weekly at http://www.wrur.org ( heard Fridays from 9pm to midnight, Eastern time).

 

2 thoughts on “Open Mic (A – C)

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