Saturday, March 26, 2011

March 2011


here are our selected March poems. Poet Michelle Brandt joined us to jury our submissions. Of the many poignant poems on Japan's devastation, we felt most strongly about new contributor Glen Snyder's aching, oblique love letter.

First March Selection

From the gold realm she smiles,

That mental mirror, warm, unchanging

Paradise where she has always lived.

They know her, even though her name has changed

From time to time. Now the candle light

Reveals her like themselves when young,

Holding in hope the baby who might not survive,

The son who soon enough will go

About his father’s business, war or

Just in charge. Hail semper virgo, she

The burning bush, some essence in themselves

They long to cling to even as the shadows lengthen,

As they labor at the loom and stove,

As they bottle blood today for wine tomorrow.

O dulcis, clemens, pia: bear with us,

Et macula non est in te.

--Patrick Mizelle

2nd and 3rd March Selections

wind chimes gently sound

rain splashes

thick clouds blanket the sky

--Bob Flannery

Bay St. Louis Triptych (Mississippi)

daredevil seagulls
dive into saltwater
mercury Gulf

mud-orange oil at the waterline
flies on catfish

ocean morning
turning sideways to the wind
the great rushing recedes

--Ellen Skagerberg

Fourth March Selection

If you are there right now
please offer incense
and pay homage
to Benzaiten
goddess of art
wisdom, and knowledge
then crouch down low
on the edge of Shinobazu Pond
and clap your hands
three fat claps
and when the
orange and white splotched
koi responds to you
feed her bread crumbs
from your pockets.
If so inclined,
In the evening
spread out flattened
cardboard boxes
and a blanket
on the edge of the walk
in between the red
Kannon temple
and the waters
of Shinobazu
Sit down beneath
the cherry blossoms
amongst dear friends
you may have never met,
The sake, other spirits
and the bento box
are optional.
Sit all night long
beneath the extended
silhouettes of cherry branches
and under the perigee moon,
saying nothing the whole time.
If you are fortunate
in a flurry of petals
the wind
may finally speak to you .

--Glen Snyder

Fifth March Selection


In the morning I look out the window.

The juncos are busy in the rain and the wet grass.

It breaks my heart.

I bite into green onions;

their cool sharp taste breaks my heart.

All these things:

the sound of an unseen mandolin, strummed.

It is raining, the sun comes, two crows fly across the sky.

My friend, knowing I am coming to his house, to welcome me, has bought me a gift, a


I am sick and miss meeting with my childhood friends; the next week I am well and they

smile when I enter the room.

My children are so beautiful that to think of them breaks my heart.

I send you a note, I send you something I wrote long ago,

I am saying I love you, you have broken my heart, I am thanking you.

I have asked Coyote about this (on that day a woman named Marie.)

"When the silence descends, my heart is broken.... am I doing something wrong?"

I tell you how She locked on my eyes, fierce, penetrating.

She said, "Amos! How can you be awake in this world and not be broken-hearted!"

You understand: it broke my heart to hear this; it breaks my heart to remember.

Look, I am set free. I become crow growing distant in the sky against the ragged grey clouds.

You see my footprints.

In the cafe a mother is telling her child a story;

"The dog ate the mop, the cat's in a hurry, the hen's in a flurry.”

The boy is wearing a red coat,

the boy laughs.

--Amos Clifford