“Fool’s Gold” by Chanel Brenner

I found the surprise

You left for me

In my journal

While I was in one of your

favorite restaurants

The place with the

cheesy eggs and cookies

shaped like hearts

I stumbled across it

While searching for

words like fool’s gold

In a river, sifting and sifting

and there it was

A golden nugget

A treasure

You would have called it

Your name  written backwards

YELIR, a trident for a Y

And a picture you drew

of yourself

your right arm up in the air

as if to say goodbye or hello.

Chanel Brenner

Dedicated In Loving Memory to

Riley Brenner

July 28th, 2004 – March 7th, 2011

© 2011

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“MY TURN” by Gary Seiden

Is there a finite amount of grief in this world,

that when fully felt by one, becomes available

for use by another? It seems to be

endless, but always dissipating,

even from the very beginning.

So perhaps,

like so many other things, we are only

guardians of this grief for a given amount of

time, and then someone

else

shoulders the burden.

Otherwise I think we’d go

(quite) mad with the constant sorrow, and

never allow the sun to shine again,

or love to reappear, as it always,

eventually

does.

Gary Seiden

Photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher

All Rights Reserved

© 2009

In loving memory…rest in peace Gary

“Stampede Of Presence” by Vicki Batkin

His spirit dances into my semi-conscious mind,
while I’m under the influence of the needles.
I feel peace.
“Did you relax?” she says,
as she enters the room,
to extract the thin sharp stainless steel from my body
Yes, I reply with my bones feeling heavy.
Gingerly, I sit up,
and notice a bright orange shoe-horn,
clinging to the coat-hanger.
It’s the only color
in this small, pale room.
And, it’s over a foot long.
I did not notice that when I arrived.
Through the dust from the stampede,
I wipe my eyes and look again.
He used a shoe-horn.
Orange
and long.
“For Christ-sake, use a shoe-horn”
He would say, over and over
“You can’t ruin the integrity of the shoe”
“And the sock will suffer as well”.
Of course, I thought,
wearing a baby’s brain
with an old man’s heart.
I don’t need knowledge
when I found wisdom
And…
Sometimes Good is better than Clever
I promise to never ruin the integrity of the shoe
I promise the sock will not suffer
And…
I promise to use a shoe-horn.
If you promise to keep showing up

Vicki Batkin

© 2011

“Paris, 2003” by Susan Hayden


for Chris

Flushed with the energy of art and alliance,
the rocket science of materia prima,
he takes me by the hand to wisteria and secrets,
steals my breath and kisses me
like I’m his new mistress, not his old wife.

This is our life and love is earned,
sealed with an alchemist’s loyalty
and candle wax
from sticky long nights of burning.

Singular as a field holler,
a worn-out blues tune written for us alone
yet universal in skin and bone;

his attendance, his inscription,
a hermetic cabinet of curiosities

called home.

The Boulevard glows with our footprints,
stable and so slippery.
Walking on ice has never been this easy.
Hang on.
Husband, man of the house, best friend.
Any minute this could end.

Susan Hayden

© 2011

“SKIN DEEP” by Keven Bellows

 

The top of maroon cotton pajamas,
embroidered dragon, frog closings,
is all I have left that touched
his skin–lovely back, strong arms.
It was in the hamper, safe from
my helpful children,
as they blew through his closet
like a March wind, boxing Armani suits,
cashmere sweaters, Turnbull& /Asher shirts,
giving them all away just days
after he died.

When my father died in his bed,
fifty years ago, I arrived home,
raced upstairs to smell his sheets,
but the bed had been changed.
Wild for some lingering scent of him
I leapt into his closet, sat on his shoes,
hugged his beautiful suits.

On assignment, the fashion editor brought
those pajamas to Jim from Hong Kong.
He was moved by the gift
but didn’t wear pajamas, until
frail and cold with age
when his fingers couldn’t work the corded knots.

He’d sit on the edge of the bed, struggling.
I’d get up, go ‘round to help him,
saying again, ”Why do you wear these?”
Exasperated. And he’d put his arms around
my waist as I fumbled with the loops.

Keven Bellows

© 2011

Charles Bukowski “As The Sparrow”

To give life you must take life,
and as our grief falls flat and hollow
upon the billion-blooded sea
I pass upon serious inward-breaking shoals rimmed
with white-legged, white-bellied rotting creatures
lengthily dead and rioting against surrounding scenes.
Dear child, I only did to you what the sparrow
did to you; I am old when it is fashionable to be
young; I cry when it is fashionable to laugh.
I hated you when it would have taken less courage
to love.

Charles Bukowski

“Wolf Song” by Vida Vierra

Fresh prints appear on the snows of my remembering

The erupting silence awakens me from hibernation.

I rise to track you through the Milky Way only to tumble back to earth-

You shape shift in the darkness

My pounding heart chases after you into the shadows

Ancestors could call on you once upon a memory. They knew your songs.

This wayward daughter has forgotten the old ways, instincts dulled by abuse

Your golden gaze quiets the breath of this lonely hunter.

Your Sister Moon descends; her light fills my empty belly.

I surrender my arrows, confess my broken vows

I weep my relief into your midnight fur.

You force me to the highest ground, we enter the Spirit Dance

Alive

Vida Vierra

Print by Ian Sexton – © 2007

© 2010

“Between Worlds” by Vida Vierra

“The moment I faced the inevitable loss of my Father…”

Despite the freshness of this warm
New England morning, I cannot take a deep
breath. The cleansing winds and morning dew fail to penetrate into that realm of the bardo I am traversing.

It is day four of the Hostage Crisis. Francis Xavier, having been captured by Parkinson’s, is now enduring the torture of dementia. He had once remarked to his children “this disease is my prison”. Now sentenced, he lays helpless on the over starched sheets, behind the metal bars of the bed made by fate. Faded flowered smocks press up against his face as rubber gloved hands administer protocols masquerading as “Care”. Through my shallow breath I must gather my courage to once again press that buzzer and enter the security doors of this Purgatory.

After these last three days, I now understand why a guard is necessary.
My heart aches with an unnameable grief.
For three days I have been cursed as a stranger, a threatening shadow being who kisses his trembling hands. I feel like a hungry ghost, longing for the days when we feasted on politics, mystics, and laughter.
Where is the “How to” book for this unprepared moment of Now? Dear God, how can such a giant evaporate before a daughter’s eyes? Hail Mary, can your Grace open a new passage way through this labyrinth? As I turn the corner of these dim lit walls I hover, suspended between heaven and earth. I dare not breathe in the inevitable.

The only sunlit window revealing life as we know it on earth is at the end of his hallway. I chase away the image of the clear, white light. My palms now sweating, I steady my legs unsure if I can withstand another day of rejection. Once again I cross the threshold of his dark, gray room lit only by the blue light of “Jeopardy”.

As I enter the gate for this race against time I summon a deep breath as if I am about to push in labor. I will overcome my life long vertigo. I will jump off that bridge between this world and the next. With my brightest daughter’s smile that

was always his, I dive.

Vida Vierra

Photo by VC Ferry

All Rights Reserved

© 2010

“Take” by L. K. Thayer

-take one-

fat chance meeting
high heels, lipstick
just right
for the night.

-take two-

fast and frenzied
the beast was on
locked in
shoulda known better
in that tight sweater.

-take three-

took a tumble
down the deep well
of grief,
(too many grapes will
do that to you.)
the seeds are always
there,

waiting
to awaken
the
wrath.

cut.

L. K. Thayer

All Rights Reserved

© 2009