Black Shawl

A Poem by John Swain

Sun and hillside become
the same drought color
in the coastal morning.
Two snakes lie entwined,
one killed the other
as I awake to my purpose.
I try to find a stream of water
like your black shawl
flowing under the railing.
When I return
from below the omens
you left the essence
of lavender and sandalwood
as we diffuse.
A bird on your tongue
flew through the center
of your skull
into a summoning eye.

PEOPLE VS. EBOLA

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”
- Nelson Mandela

What we choose to live for, risk for, give ourselves to, is the thing that gives our lives meaning. When it’s children, we create a family. And when it’s our fellow human beings, we create a much bigger family. Those threatened by Ebola are calling for our help. Do we swallow our fear and answer? In this moment, we choose. And by our choice, create the world we dream of, one where every one of us is a precious member of one people, one human family.

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/ebola_volunteers_thank_you_3/

Swords

A Poem by Cory Adamson


The poet
strikes against paper
            like a sword.


Swings, sings out
and ends time for one.
            One movement.


One beauty,
A union of two
            strangers who


Looked but could
 not find each other.
            So one wrote.


And one found.
One movement ended
            The other’s


days. For swords
end lives and pens make ends
            for swordsmen.


The poet does both
and an end shall come
       swifter than any sword


HEARTLAND-HOMECOMING

A Poem by Stefanie Bennett

–after Monsanto & Dow Chemicals

Pick them up, the raw percentages
I’ve no longer any wish to carry.
These days I wrestle with the absolute.

Much is left over. The titan
Impersonating Zeus’ loss.
The white witch who sells

Found fortunes at the half hour.
The sack-clothed singer
With the cracked voice and sad accordion.

New league missionaries. Bionic bards.
Assurance satirists. I’d bagged
The lot in some begotten springtime.

It was the evening my brother
Returned from the war.
Quarter mooned – unlike himself

But with the sameness of quaint indolence.
Quieter than
Our mother’s grave. Speech therapy

Would put a fix to that. It never did.
Years viced his silence
… Lent me mine. I learned

Communication’s a game fit to kill,
Squander, maim – or
Tell untruths when amnesia wills.

Our sanatorium Sunday walks avoid
What it is that’s left over.
In the distance I see them

Impersonating posthumously those they’ll
Not become. Raw percentages
Crying still to be
Lifted up!