visitors’ contributions

each day is a new one

by J.D.

Each day is a new one

Made special by me.

I breathe deeper, dream harder, look closer.

It’s all here right now,

All that I need or want it to

be.

 

I’ve no time for playing

Earth Mother, Hecate or Crone.

I’ve found out the mystery—

My wise woman’s alive

Every minute inside me.

on the occasion of my 60th birthday (and pending financial poverty)

by j.d.

I practice a hundred frugalities

I eat my toast without jam

I shut off each light I’m not using

I try to live small as I can.

But, music keeps playing inside me

My mind sings a million new tunes

My-self is a universe unfolding

I’m a river that will not be damned

I run into mornings with laughter

Little Goddesses dance on my windowsills.

 

Perchance a bleak future awaits me

Living does take what it can

and

Death may be an added adventure

Yet, to living I answer

I am!!!!!

wondering

by Josette Davison

Wandering…

Through fields of tiny flowers

Mindful not to tread on them

I wonder…does God hear me?

Hear my prayer?

 

Why am I here?

Stumbling over stones

His answer comes

In a trinity of bright violets

Blooming midst the rocks

 

In the whisper of trees

In bird song — in scented air

He speaks to me

Answers my prayer

I hear — I care —

a prayer

by Josette Davison

Lord, let me not be bitter

For bitterness crawls into itself

And awaits a shrunken death

But let this raw heart

Stand back from its wound

Accepting and knowing

That love is its healing

homage to the goddess

homage to the goddess
homage to the goddess

 

 

by judy cassidy

For thirty years, this exotic immigrant from the tropics has been part of our family. She’s irresistibly sexy, sassy, her feathered, outstretched arms poised in dance. Her head gracefully tilts to accommodate her regal eight-foot height to an intrusive ceiling. She coos evergreen to her tree children, who gather close to her spindly trunk, growing under her protective canopy.

We attend her. In warmer seasons we move her to the deck where she sunbathes and is replenished by storms and gentle rains. We bring her inside in frosty weather.

Our children have known only She for holy days. As the winter solstice nears, when all else is dark and barren, she announces the coming year in splendid regalia, festooned in a holiday robe generations in the making. Her lighted undergarments gleam red, yellow, green, and blue. Following tradition, ornaments adorn her: framed photos of the young ones, sparkling pipe cleaner dream catchers and spirals from the granddaughters, sprightly Santas of red pipe cleaner Grandma Mommie Lemm conceived during the Depression; yarn and popsicle stick weavings by one of our boys, a bell ringer by the other; our daughter’s fluffy cotton snowman. Friends contributed crocheted Morton House wreathes and snowflakes, a British gentleman with a light bulb head and proper collar; a simple star of dry reeds.

Too heavy for her delicate limbs, some ripened fruits settle easily around the goddess, surrounding her on the coffee table, windowsills, banister, lamps, rims of hanging pots: Mom’s home-made golden globe studded with sparkling beads and sequins, Bruce and Maggie’s Mexican nativity; Aunt Francis’s music box topped with a choir of cherubs; fragrant candles with gaily flickering flames.

Wind chimes carol outside the east window. Cedars scent the path. Blue spruce, now sixty feet tall, stretch skyward, were once lugged into the house for the winter solstice in pots bigger than they were. Now they wear cranberry and popcorn garlands for the birds.

We are replenished by what we offer.

traci barr shares her creative process

traci barr

The poem “Seeing” popped into my head while I was reflecting upon the way I felt about a man who told me he loved me…and then who chose to not act upon his feelings.

I eventually came to believe that he said he was in love with me just for the “thrill” of it and in order to stroke his own ego.

Because he speaks a lot about the subject of love, I wrote this poem in response to what, I thought, was his hypocrisy. In the relatively brief interaction I had with him, my own ideas about love changed quite a lot, and I began to think of him as a used-car salesman.

Sometimes an idea for a poem will start rattling around in my head in a way that becomes very, very distracting.

The only way to make the rattling go away is for me to…write the poem.

seeing

by Traci Barr

 

You look at me and see

everything you fear:

every truth,

every lie,

every puddle,

every apple,

every brick in the wall.

 

I look at you and see

the sample boy

in a wool factory.

 

And that is the difference

between us.

psalm

by Meta Marie Griffin

 

I will not ask for relief;
only for stamina to make it through the night.
I cannot ask for a convenient belief,
instead an enigmatic mosaic full of darkness and light.
 
I do not desire magic in a bottle.
but the need to pay attention
to the miracle of butterflies and flight,
and all the life around me that is so often unseen.
 
I do not desire a throng of friends,
help me to find love in my own skin
so that when we meet,
you will recognize my face.
 
I will not wish for a cure.
I only need the strength to take that next step
and when I reach the top I will wait for you there.
I will leave behind this little prayer.

pretty please

by: carolyn c. rice

 

he said my hair was
the color of honey.
his lay in soft
shiny-black commas behind
his ears against
the smooth, brown skin of his neck.

I looked into his
dark eyes, a little tilted,
like Pan.
he said, careful
fingers unbuttoning the top two
buttons of my blouse,
may I see?

so polite.
so unassuming.
who could say no?

 

“Pretty Please” first appeared in The Petigru Review.

strawberry pleasures

by: carolyn c. rice


Skin heating

Noon’s caress
Hands busy, leaves
haired, thick springing
Fingers stalk kneading
teasing top ruddy glowing

Mouth filled – flesh,
juice overflowing
Nectarous
Stinging kisses, touched,
releasing perfume –
earthy balm

 

“Strawberry Pleasures” first appeared in Horizons.

 

peacock display

by: carolyn c. rice

 

lift and fan
fluff and smooth
brush brush brush
artlessly proud
humorously vain

red changing to green –
one last preen and
satisfied glance at his
hair in his rearview mirror
before driving away

“Peacock Display” first appeared in Horizons.

lost

by: carolyn c. rice


It’s been too long since I’ve been lost.
I don’t mean the common or mall variety of lost,
though I do that too.
I don’t mean the scary nighttime Oh my God I’m running out of gas kind of lost,
though I do that too.
I don’t even mean the middle of the night in my own house lost.
No, I mean a full of myself lost,
a secret mischief lost,
an I can do anything hide and watch me lost.
Myself, lost and found.

I mean the kind of lost I was in New York City on foot
when I went out the wrong exit of the Museum of Modern Art,
wandered clueless as a cloud, and ran right smack dab into a Shoe Museum.
A SHOE museum!
Fifteenth Century Venetian noblewoman’s shoes,
medieval peasant clogs,
Judy Garland’s Wizard of Oz slipper.
You could have a fit a shoe in my smile.

I drove down to New Orleans for the King Tut exhibit.
I got lost.
Round and round humid, shady streets,
past wrought-iron balconies and bougainvillea,
back and forth on the bridge over Lake Ponchartrain,
until the warm wet air blowing in my car window,
spicy as Cajun sausage,
smelling of mildew, oil refineries, and heated swamp,
became familiar again,
scents of childhood.

I flew to Holland for my sister’s wedding.
After the wedding I took a train to Amsterdam.
I ended up in The Hague.
I met three college students
who took me to the Madurodam,
through village streets no wider than my shoe,
by church steeples no high than my knee,
alongside a solemn procession of altar boys, Lilliputians.

On the island of Hydra in the Saronic Gulf off the cost of Greece,
only a few steeply-climbing streets and one long dusty road.
I got lost anyway.
Flame-blue sky pressing the noonday heat onto the white stone walls.
Houses, their bright-painted windows tight-shuttered,
keeping out the sun and strangers.
I followed a dog
to the fish market.
Bins of squid, lobster, shrimp,
pans of whole anchovies,
pushcart grill, man cooking octopus,
tiny tables filled with men drinking ouzo
who helped me get back to the ship.

My straight-arrow cousin from Texas came to visit me.
I took her to Asheville, and, of course,
I got lost.
She was outraged.
She needed guidebooks, compass, maps,
paper security,
blue and red lines weaving a safety net,
pathfinders to follow down a narrow, hard-paved road.
She was so angry that I let her drive my new car.
She drove it backwards down a freeway entry ramp.

I do use guidebooks to plan my treks,
each historic site safe recorded on my written plan.
But … I turn the wrong way at a corner.
I see an alleyway, a gate, a door.
I find an old woman sitting on her doorstep making lace,
her gnarled fingers moving swift as swallows’ flight.
Her wise old eyes nested in wrinkles watch me watching her.
Spindles, stacks of slender pylons, frame her lap.
Wings of fine threads, secured to a solid body of pins
on a runway of red and blue cloth.
Above, clouds, constellations of lace.

One day soon I will find myself again
wandering
down an unexplored street, driving
along an unknown highway, a sojourner
beneath unfamiliar skies, a striver struggling
up a steep hill and across the wide ocean,
even in and around my own home place, an explorer.
Somewhere in this strange and magical universe,
I will be lost again.

 

“Lost” first appeared in Earth’s Daughters.

defining box

by: carolyn c. rice

his father painted the nursery walls
pouring the paint back and forth between two containers to mix it,
dreaming of the six spaces on a baseball diamond where a batter,
the coaches, the pitcher, and the catcher stand,
dreaming of him – striding onto the field, ear deep in hysterical adulation,

except that birthdays came and went
unbatted and ungloved, not even a hope of a home run.
on his fourteenth birthday he clamored for
a guitar, a lipstick-red Rickenbacker as seen on TV –
himself the androgynous wild man on the stage,
adored by hundreds and hundreds of screaming girls.

for Christmas his grandmother gave him an acoustic guitar, which
she said was less destructive to the hearing, and at her house,
after all the turkey and dressing and cranberry sauce and pies,
he unearthed an old record player and some records, among them
a few dusty 78 rpms, miraculously unbroken,
that Grandma said had belonged to her father, and he heard

for the first time
the stuttering guitar and melancholy yowls of
Blind Lemon Jefferson performing Black Snake Moan.
next came Robert Johnson playing slip-sliding chords as thin as
a knife blade, his voice sharper than the broken neck of a whiskey bottle.
Son House, Lonnie Johnson – he played them, all of them, over and over.
he had discovered the blues.

he refused to go to college, instead
working temporary jobs here and there, becoming
an inadvertent expert at topiary – trimming and training shrubs into
dryads and dragons, unicorns and umbrellas.
in summer he drove a carriage all over Charleston,
posing on the driver’s seat for tourists.

he took up travelling over the years, naming
the 32 points of the compass in their order,
his guitar his only companion –
chasing the blues while
his parents’ anniversaries and his
grandmother’s funeral were held without him.

he came at last to his end in an old theater, expiring in
one of the small compartments for spectators, and was moved to
an even smaller compartment under the ground –
just big enough for himself, his guitar – and the blues.

 

“Defining Box” first appeared in SCWW’s Quill.

in the beginning

By: Josette Williams Davison

 Once upon a time there came to the earth a very great man. And the great man possessed all the words that ever were, or ever would be. But the great man was lonely surrounded by all his wonderful words, and he wished to share them with others. So he built a great city on a hill and in the midst of the city, he created a beautiful building of glass and silver and gold to house his words. And the words were enclosed in a single book. His spirit aglow with his plan, the great man opened and placed his book on a table for all to see and to read. And he invited everyone passing by his huge display window to pause and read the words.

But the people, in weather foul or fair, rushed by the window without stopping, heedless to what they were missing. Disappointed, the great man called upon his angels and asked them to bring more books, and to turn the pages endlessly. “Add to that,” he said, “thousands of words floating in the air so that those who wish to may capture the words and fashion them into books of their own.” Soon, fascinated by the word floating in the air and fluttering pages, the people began to stop and read, and to stuff their pockets with words from the air.

Some of the words covered dancing sheets of music, and could barely stay on the pages they were so full of life and longing. Flying overhead were more words bound in richly engraved covers and written by great philosophers such as Aristotle and Kierkegaard. Still more were written by poets like Emily Dickenson, or playwrights named Shakespeare and Arthur Miller, and authors like Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte and Mark Twain.

One day, an old woman, bent and faltering, clothed in rags, her hair gray and uncombed, paused to read, and was wrapped in a golden cloak of words set to music. And she became, once again, just who she was and had been—beautiful and fragile, and a singer of songs. The familiar words of her old ballads filled her with light, and sent her twirling about in front of the window in ecstasy. Children and adults, seeing her transformation, rushed to the window to see what they might be missing.

Presently, a richly dressed man shoved through the curious children and adults, blustering: “Out of my way. I was here first! Do you know who I am? I am a very important person, and you, .you are of little consequence.” Peering closely at the largest book in the window, the man read these words: ‘Take heed, for I look on the heart, not on the person.’ Stomping away, the man tripped over his pearl handled cane and cursed the sidewalk. Then, those who had been pushed aside, allowing the startled children to go first, stepped forward to read the words meant just for them. And some went away troubled, while others were strengthened and uplifted.

But the possessor of all the words found his deepest pleasure in the delight of children who came to read the words made just for storybooks and painted with bright pictures. And their laughter rang in the great man’s ears like tiny silver bells.

Still, there remained one dark figure, who passed by the window every day, his head bowed, his eyes fixed on the ground.

And though the great man knew the man walking in darkness was free to choose, sad at heart, he begged of his angels, “What can I do?

“Try again,” sang all the angels in chorus, and so he did, again and again forever.