“Love Lost In The River Bank” by Roz Levine

She dreamed memories
Of such love lost
In that river bank
How it had flourished
In pacific waters
With flesh against flesh
Creating a frisson
Of two firebirds
Flaunting nakedness
Along muddy banks
Where tongues licked
To bright light
Under moon slivers
Where they entered
An inner sanctum
Of the skin
Of the other
Of the one
Reaching heights
For holy roller words
To springboard them
To such passion burn
With love hickeys
Imbedded in skin cells
Only climate change
Channeled novel ways
To disgorge those knots
Tossed bodies to tree trunks
Dried out
Ruined by a wash out
With no water
To wave them
On the dry
Of such land
Where their bones
Cleansed and white
No longer touched
Not even the fingertips
After such sweet love

Roz Levine

Photo by VC Ferry

© 2010


“The Corsage of Courage” by M.C. Lubow


It’s been a while since I wore a corsage.
How I loved the special feeling
that someone thought to honor me
with fragrant flowers.

Today I woke up crying.
Today I wear my courage
in a corsage on my chest.

I confront myself. I search within,
for multicolored petals of strength,
to face a Goliath, whose passion for deprivation,
seeks to conquer all my personal territory,
every inch of me.

Today I woke up crying.
Today I wear my corsage
of courage on my chest.

Shall I surrender yet again,
lacking resolve to stand on my own?
I enter my own garden at the home
I still love, because it is my shelter.
I diagramed all the sprinklers’ spray, observed
where holy water should be conserved.
I fired the gardener last week. He didn’t listen.

Today I woke up crying.
Today I wear my courage
in a corsage on my chest.

Am I listening to my own heartbeat,
or that of Goliath?
I tried to synchronize our rhythms
on Sunday,
but our breaths fall at different rates.

Today I woke up crying.
Today I wear my corsage
of courage on my chest.

M.C. Lubow

© 2010

“PHOTO OP” by Adesh Kaur

Tender in their natures, unfolding young soul’s
bliss in shades. Resplendent in potent male cool,
he guards her.
Full surrender, melting into his shoulder, she smiles.
Death comes not between my mommy & daddy
in a boat

upon the lake. Heave my heart into my mouth!
Sex. O yes. Sex. O, sex she has just had, no less.
I can feel it.
Snap! Wrong to think that about your parents.
Parents as people. People long before you were born
and a bittling after.

Parents enduring storms over the lake, coving under
each other’s armor, sucking breath. Private dancing,
just the twain.
Let thy fierce dog’s truth be told; he loved her
too much to stay half-dead & killed himself
in refrain.

Adesh Kaur

All Rights Reserved

© 2010

“Once More” by Roz Levine

The last time my eyes saw his

He twinkled with mischief

Croaked how he’d shared his bed

With such a good old friend

The one who’d lost her breasts

The one with a heart as big as the Pacific

The one who breathed fire on him

His words whispered from a voice

On the low down of this battle

The big boom sound of yesteryears

Silenced by ALS creeping up his body

He whispered how his wife

Couldn’t bear to touch his flesh

Was she repulsed by the disease

Afraid of his coming death

Fearful of a life alone

He didn’t say what or why

Just whispered the beautiful

How it was to be close to skin once more

To feel a woman’s heat once more

To know he was still alive once more

Loved by someone

Desired by someone

Some place on this earth

Roz Levine

Photo by VC Ferry

© 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

“Exit Softly” by Julie Dolcemaschio

I drew breath the night she took her last
And vibrated with her passing
I waxed as she waned
And I told her it was alright to leave

I pushed between the spaces of my living
And for every breath she took, I gave her more of mine
Hoping that it would give me a few more minutes
Yet hoping it wouldn’t

She hurt enough
She suffered enough
She endured enough

In her last breath the good daughter urged her on
And in her final moments a single tear traced the lines of her face
Now taut over structure bones no longer needed in this life
She told me once that a life lived full was all that was required
And that passing the test required only a smile

I watched her exit softly in the late night quiet
Reverence for the passing of royalty
And as that final tear caressed her cheek
I saw God, and I asked him to hold her hand

She was a bit unsteady
And had a fear of falling

Julie Dolcemaschio

Photo by VC Ferry

All Rights Reserved

© 2010

“Heir To The Throne” by Julie Dolcemaschio

I mourn your loss as you search for peace
You’re alone now, digging deep for home
And I am left wondering how I will survive being alone

Do you know I am here, waiting for you to free yourself
Dreading the moment
Yet wanting it for you like a mother wants pink cakes and prom dates for her child

I will know it the moment you set yourself free
And that is when I will beg for another minute, another hour
Another 46 years

How will I tell my children what an extraordinary woman their grandmother was
When it is only daughters who are privileged to know
How will I retell the stories that made me what I became

A reflection of you

You are in their eyes now
In their smiles
In their laughter

And I will never know another one like you

So rare is a person who touches so many

And I cannot imagine surviving your loss

I am heir to the throne

And I am not ready

Julie Dolcemaschio

All Rights Reserved

© 2010

“Haze” by Alex Bledsoe

I walk through the cloud of exhaust visible on this cold morning, younger son buckled into his car seat, his brother awaiting my help. For an instant the carbon monoxide surrounds me and I’m reminded it was the last thing that helped my big brother the night he decided his little brother didn’t need him.

Photo & Poem by Alex Bledsoe

(author, novelist)

All Rights Reserved

© 2010