Cusp by Melanie Braverman

If the heron comes in low over the marshes, if it shadows the car as you drive
west toward the sea, breakwater holding the lip of the coming tide
at bay while the autumn sun cast one gold and pink sheen over the grasses
like a spell, like all the secrets you tell
yourself while driving; if the heron comes in low, great wings beating the air
slowly as a woman beats rugs on a line, having pulled them from the basement
readying the house for winter (it is a fine, warm day but she is not fooled,
having lived her whole life here she knows what’s just beyond the cusp
of October); if you stop the car and, getting out, watch the bird hover and dip
and disappear below the horizon of the tall grass, wait then, just wait:
before the sky loses its light for good, and your hands grow unusually chill
in the new air, the head of the heron will bob like a buoy back out of the grass
again, as if it had always been there, still as a road sign, and there
it will remain, unfazed, patient and voracious
in this splendid world.

by Melanie Braverman
from her book Red

Glossy Ibis - Cheyenne Bottoms

Photo by Anita, on flickr akr67042

Ultrasound by A.E. Stallings

13 weeks

What butterfly—
Brain, soul, or both—
Unfurls here, pallid
As a moth?

(Listen, here’s
Another ticker,
Counting under
Mine, and quicker.)

In this cave
What flickers fall,
Adumbrated
On the wall?

Spine like beads
Strung on a wire,
Abacus
Of our desire,

Moon-face where
Two shadows rhyme,
Two moving hands
That tell the time.I am the room
The future owns,
The darkness where
It grows its bones.

written by A.E. Stallings
published in 32 Poems

Insomnia by Elizabeth Bishop

The moon in the bureau mirror
looks out a million miles
(and perhaps with pride, at herself,
but she never, never smiles)
far and away beyond sleep, or
perhaps she’s a daytime sleeper.

By the Universe deserted,
she’d tell it to go to hell,
and she’d find a body of water,
or a mirror, on which to dwell.
So wrap up care in a cobweb
and drop it down the well

into that world inverted
where left is always right,
where the shadows are really the body,
where we stay awake all night,
where the heavens are shallow as the sea
is now deep, and you love me.

by Elizabeth Bishop

The Soul Within Woman by Rachel M Simon

Her voice deep ash and age

throaty backstroke

Years after the wandering uterus

nailed and stapled

I drew a Canadian map

guidebook loaned out

To scrape away the windshield’s ice

thumbtack sculpture

This cave unspelunkable

vocal dreamland

Melodies unmerry indigo plump

curling tumbler

Exact reminders of large mistakes

adoption farce

Padded envelope too large for mailbox

grainy photo

Ample embouchure for hammy carols

private key brace

I have grown remarkably since

Myrtle’s puppet

Post-polio smoking lessons

Saskatoon sky

Big-lipped canyon ladies

by Rachel M Simon

poem published in H_NGM_N

photograph originally uploaded to flickr by Hk-l.

I am Made by Claire Hero

I AM MADE of many doors:
………— water
falling through water

………— white arrows
on painted lichen

………—tracks in snow –
pine marten? squirrel?

little snow hands

(Can I say they are
“like” my hands?
”   “my” hands
……….       .

. . . . . . .

: Skeins of wool
fall through my fingers
I knit a sheep house, I knit
a sheep house for my body

beautiful body

entered, entering

by Claire Hero

published in Sous Rature

The Forest of Sadness by Jason Bredle

Found bigfoot

Titling something I’ve Always Wanted to Title Something
The Forest of Sadness is one thing but titling
something I’ve Always Wanted to Title Something
I’ve Always Wanted to Title Something
The Forest of Sadness is just too much.
In the film based on the musical titled The Forest
of Sadness which is based on the book I’ve Always Wanted
to Title Something The Forest of Sadness, a group
of sex-crazed teenagers descend upon the forest
to document the existence of Bigfoot for their science
project and hopefully have sex with each other.
The forest is sad because of mosquitoes and because
it’s on fire and bears are frightened and running away
and I do something so ridiculously selfish
to the girl I love that I’m not going to tell you
what it is I do. This is what we talk about
when we talk about an artist who doesn’t always
respect his own medium. I’ve always wanted
to title something I’ve Always Wanted to Title
Something I’ve Always Wanted to Title Something
The Forest of Sadness, but is the forest ever really sad?
Hell yeah it is! Chipmunks and raccoons
die like the rest of us and that makes me sad!
And I think that’s enough to say, yes, a forest
can be sad. In the film based on the musical
titled The Forest of Sadness which is based on the book
I’ve Always Wanted to Title Something The Forest
of Sadness which is titled Hotpants Party
Forest of Spring Break Sadness, the screenwriter took a lot
of liberties with the original because the producer,
Jerry Bruckheimer, thought the original wouldn’t appeal
to a mass audience. Not that I’m saying the forest has to be
sad, or is always sad, not at all.
For instance, trying to portage an aluminum canoe
can lead to some pretty comical dialogue, as can having
a lizard slap you in the face with his tail or a chickling
squirrel throw a bunch of nuts at your head.
I’m just saying I couldn’t care less
about a teenage keg party in the middle of a forest.
I want to see teenagers interact with Bigfoot in ways
I’ve never imagined! We all know having oral sex
on top of the grave of a dead Bigfoot is only going to lead
to problems. And sure enough, Spencer goes missing.
And sure enough, Ben Affleck finds Spencer
impaled atop a fir tree thirty minutes later.
In the original The Forest of Sadness, all these wonderful
things happen to the characters but the audience knows
things the characters don’t, so while you may
hear a loon in the distance, you don’t hear
one teenager breaking another teenager’s heart.
I mean, yeah, he did have a weird thing
about knowing a little too much about Bigfoot to be normal,
but was that a reason to break his heart?
Is there a reason to break someone’s heart?
I remember walking in circles through the forest of sadness
with the girl I love, mostly because the trails
were poorly marked and I stupidly left the map
and mosquito repellant in the car, and yeah, things
got heated because we were lost and my chest
was bleeding which is too complicated to explain why
but my favorite shirt was ruined. If Hotpants Party
Forest of Spring Break Sadness has taught me
anything, it’s to not have oral sex
on the grave of a dead Bigfoot, because a living Bigfoot
will not like that, it’s disrespectful,
and the living Bigfoot will probably impale you on a fir tree,
and Ben Affleck will probably find you and drop
to his knees crying, but if you don’t have sex
on the grave of a dead Bigfoot, the living Bigfoot
will allow you to videotape him for your science project,
which you’ll later use to frame your science teacher
because he thought your Bigfoot stories were childish
and inane. If the forest of sadness has taught me anything,
it’s that the oak of insurrection grows from the acorn
of treachery. I’m kidding, that’s something I saw
in a Viking documentary. If the forest of sadness
has taught me anything, it’s that broken hearts may
be mended, even if you don’t go to the casino afterwards.
An action news team may arrive and a frazzled
teenager may yell something into a crowded auditorium,
but yes, broken hearts may be mended and ruined t-shirts
may be replaced the following week at Sears.

by Jason Bredle

published by poemeleon

Hell, acc. to Jason Bredle

I wouldn’t be surprised if some oratorical
dynamo were to describe Hell as a place where
your favorite television program is pre-
empted by baseball every week
and you wind up passed out on the floor
after a night of watching cat documentaries
on four different channels
simultaneously, or a region where you
end up in one of the area’s
top five romantic restaurants blowing a
fourth of your week’s salary on food
whose only desire it seems at the time
is to be rolled up in the complementary
bread and eaten like a burrito. The next
thing you know you’re walking out
of the concert like you’re escaping the bad smell
of Terre Haute or a girl who stalked you
from Terre Haute and find yourself in a bar
where some woman in a poorly fitted, extremely
troublesome sweater hands you a cocktail napkin
with her phone number and the words carpe diem
scrawled across it. So you walk fourteen blocks to a party
only to be cornered most of the night by a Chinese
lawyer instead of that quintessential babe
you’d been hoping for, which in turn sends
you home where you stand in front of the sink
scraping dog excrement from the bottom of your shoe
with a butter knife before crawling into bed
and crying yourself to sleep. Yeah, it could
be that. Or it could be the place where
you find yourself helplessly watching
a seventy-year-old, white-haired woman
tumble down a hill toward a river.
She could be your grandmother. It could be
this movie theater where you see Rhubarb
and his swirly arm at the popcorn stand
waving his moose poem at you, making
incoherent references to snack cakes, you could be
gnawing at the delicious grasshoppers when in
walks the woman you love with your old college
roommate—you know, the guy who enjoyed
wrestling llamas and throwing ham radios
and tackleboxes out the window—telling you all
about the amazing sex they just had
in the storeroom of the Country Junction.
It’s possible it could involve remembering
your father’s birthday was yesterday while Tim
O’Brien reads and repeats how he’s
from Minnesota in front of the home repair
section of the local bookstore while this guy
next to you is completely soused
and bumping into you every twenty
seconds. It could be a lot of things. Poems
that begin with long sentences and end with shorter
ones. Metapoemas of the Golden Age.
Getting stuck with Canadian money. Having
your wallet stolen at Space Camp. Being
trapped in Nepal with horrifying diarrhea
while a tiger circles the outhouse. Losing
your virginity on the hood of a Pontiac like Tim
O’Brien. Feeling the need to dominate your pets like
the cat documentaries say males tend
to do. Hell could be all these things
wadded into a pink box and delivered to you
by an old man with goggles riding a bicycle
from the fifties, but most likely it involves
driving down the highway being repeatedly
bitten by a mosquito with “Pike County Breakdown”
blaring from the stereo, altogether disbelieving
the existence of love.


by Jason Bredle

published in Standing in Line for the Beast, New Issues Poetry & Prose

and then again in Verse Daily

Mirabeau Bridge by Guillaume Apollinaire

Under Mirabeau Bridge the river slips away

       And lovers

     Must I be reminded

Joy came always after pain

       The night is a clock chiming

       The days go by not I

We’re face to face and hand in hand

       While under the bridges

     Of embrace expire

Eternal tired tidal eyes

       The night is a clock chiming

       The days go by not I

Love elapses like the river

       Love goes by

     Poor life is indolent

And expectation always violent

       The night is a clock chiming

       The days go by not I

The days and equally the weeks elapse

       The past remains the past

     Love remains lost

Under Mirabeau Bridge the river slips away

       The night is a clock chiming

       The days go by not I

poem by Guillaume Apollinaire
translated by Donald Revell