Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Not The Bright Banners by David Michael Nixon

David Michael Nixon 
Not The Bright Banners

Not the march, not even
the vigil, though it be
long, never the fast that
starves to save, but the long,
slow, steady walk, day by
day:  cooking, washing the
dishes, the clothes, working,
shopping, holding dying
hands, speaking in pain as
both lives go, one before
the other.  Not the bright
banners, but the plain flag
of the thinning hair bent
over the sick cat in
the grey hours before
clouded dawn.  The same tasks
done so many times, though
you know death has undone
so many.  Sometimes a
mild complaint, but mostly
the steady lifting of
lead straws, as though, by a
calm persistence, the long,
unwieldy weight of death
and suffering could be
lifted, as though one more,
one more small task could make
love out of a round of
endless duties, as though
fire would break loose from
one last glass of water
and free us all.

    ---David Michael Nixon

First appeared in The Comstock Review 

Steve Tills, from LIFE SENTENCES 2018

Steve Tills, from LIFE SENTENCES 2018

LS 05-07-2018

Logan represented the new formalist
conservative genre, perhaps The New
Agrarian, that came to be known
in contemporary times (pick a decade)
as “Reality TV Criticism and Poe.”
The lone wolf hardly perplexed anyone.
Dimestore heirs come and go throughout
industrial literary ages. The standard
deduction 24,000 in 2018. More than
half a year’s income for most folks
filing joint income returns. “Wasted”
on two Yeungling Black and Tans
not acceptable language for poetry
written by alcoholics of better station
and the University ensconced. For this
condition, his was the rose of France
or the pose of facs or the prose of mucks.
He made a living in advance of dying
to live some days.  He stopped for nine
deer on the way to the nursing home
to see his dear father who was not
inebriated on just two beers or any.
The hospital lobby on the first floor
a fantasy of quiet shy of solitude
on the way down the contagious elevator.
Not quite right in the head seeing
in real time the several empty wheelchairs
awaiting father time and other time
in another fantasy of another day. The
first night to remember the man’s lovely
father lying fetal under Yankee blanket.

Cloudburst Poems by Scott Williams

The Kings Garden

Once there was a king whose daughter was beautiful.
He loved her very deeply and he wished to have more.

So he cut her into pieces, and each was an astonishing daughter.
Still he wished more and he cut those pieces into pieces,
and again each was a stunning girl.

He loved these so, that he cut the pieces of the pieces into pieces
and he loved each of the pieces of the pieces of the pieces so he induced.

When he was all done, with love he threw all the scattered remains
into the air so very high that when they fell to earth,
 rainbowed flowers bloomed and cantored at his feet.

Appeared in Peach Mag (2016) under a different title


                  Continuation Senryu for Basho

Meditation gong –

I can hear its ring for hours.

Against physics? Good!

“Continuation” appeared in Bonvibre Haiku (CWP Press 2017)

poems by Scott Williams

Or, at the Gell Center, before west-facing hill, La Resolana, poem by John Roche

La Resolana
—John Roche

The sun shining on everything and everybody is seeing everything as it is at the same time.
— O’odham elder quoted by Tomás Atencio in Resolana: Emerging Chicano Dialogues
on Community and Globalization (2009)

or reconciled to our folly
we seek
year after year
La Resolana
the place where the sun shines
the south-facing wall
where, in northern New Mexico
(El Norteño)
villagers gather to talk out issues

Or, at the Gell Center, before west-facing hill
usually bathed by spring rains
or walking streams full of frogspawn
hoping something will jell besides tadpoles and mosquitoes
our poems so much flotsam and jetsam
but what else is there to speak
send forth on the pollen-laden breeze

The only way we pay our rent (resolutus) on this planet, dissolve
the impediments blocking acequias’ lifewater, keeping
each man or woman hidden from the other, the secrets
poisoning the polis
must be voiced, somehow antidote found
uranium tailings and sacred objects reburied
the fracking stopped
No poem stopped at the Border

Monday, May 14, 2018



Fri. May 18, 2018

noon-2:00     Early Bird Registration (enjoy the site)
2:00-2:10      Opening Ceremony (meet at entrance to lodge): John Berry
2:15-3:00      Nature Walk: haiku moments: Michael Czarnecki
                       (an outdoor ramble of roadside, fields and woods at Gell Center)
3:00-6:00       Registration ongoing in Main Lodge
3:30-4:30       Beginning Poetry Circle (one poem from each poet)
4:30-4:40       Poetry reading: Alan Casline
4:40-4:50       Poetry reading:  Stephen Lewandowski
4:50-5:00       Poetry Reading: John Roche
5:00-6:30       Light Dinner Served
6:30-6:40       Poetry reading: Therese Broderick
6:40-6:50       Poetry reading: Charlie Rossiter
6:50-7:00       Poetry reading: Martha Treicher
7:00-7:10       Poetry reading: ryki zuckerman
7:10-7:20       Poetry reading: Nick Eckerson
7:20-8:20       Panel: Retracing Our Steps (John Roche, Scott Williams, Celeste Lawson)           
8:20-8:35      Cloudburst thoughts and evening wrap-up: Martha Deed and ryki zuckerman
8:35-8:45       Friday Night Closing Ceremony: Marge Merrill
8:45               Party 

 Sat. May 19, 2018

 8:30 Breakfast Served 
         Breakfast will be continuously served.
9:20-9:30          Saturday Opening Ceremony: Alan Casline
9:30-10:30        Remembering Friends, Heroes, Legends (Poetry Round-Robin)
                          Sharing poems written by departed friends, admired and historic poets.
                          Bring some poems of beforementioned to share.
10:30-10:40       Poetry Reading: Bob McDonough
10:40-10:50       Poetry Reading: Michael Czarnecki
10:50-11:00       Poetry Reading:  Jane Sadowsky
11:00-11:10       Poetry Reading:  Gwen Zimmerman
11:10-11:20       Poetry Reading:  Martha Deed
11:20-11:30       Poetry Reading:  John Berry
11:30-11:40       Break
11:40-11:50       Break
11:50-12:50       Panel: Migration, Immigration and Language (Tamar Samuel-Siegel, Therese Broderick,
                                                                                                           Judith Kerman, Steve Tills)
12:50 -1:00        Poetry Reading: Mark O’Brien
1:00-1:10           Poetry Reading: Judith Kerman

 1:15 Lunch Served
 Open Time 1:15 – 4:00

Tour in Finger Lakes Watershed with Steve Lewandowski (optional)
Steven Lewandowski will lead an expedition to Site of Seneca Emergence or a place closer depending on weather

Workshop: For those not on exploration in the same time slot workshop in the main lodge (optional)
                    A Simple Handmade Poetry Mini-Booklet led by ryki zimmerman (sign-up with ryki)

Keeping Still: Find a spot and stop. Sit still for at least 15 min. but do not check the time (optional)

4:00-4:40        Panel: Ecstatic Poets with Martin Willitts, Jr. and Linda Griggs 
4:40-4:50        Poetry Reading: Tom Nicotera
4:50-5:00        Poetry Reading: Leah Zazulyer
5:00-5:10        Poetry Reading: Celeste Lawson
5:10-5:20        Poetry Reading: Marge Merrill
5:20-5:30        Poetry Reading:  David Landrey
5:30-5:40:       Poetry Reading:  Helen Ruggieri
5:40-5:50:       Poetry Reading:  Patrica Tansey
5:50-6:00        Poetry Reading:  Dwain Wilder
6:00-7:00        Dinner        
7:00-7:10           Poetry Reading: Scott Williams
7:10-7:20           Poetry Reading: Steve Tills
7:20-7:30            Poetry Reading: Michele Brown
7:30-7:40            Poetry Reading: David Michael Nixon
7:40-7:50            Poetry Reading:  Leslie Gerber
7:50-8:00            Poetry Reading:  Maril Nowak
8:00-8:10            Poetry Reading   Tamar Samuel-Siegel

 8:30-10:00         Open Mic hosted by John Roche (by sign-up)
10-10:10             Wrap-up John Roche
10:15                   Saturday Closing Ceremony: Charlie Rossiter and Tom Nicotera
10:20- 12:00       Party
12:00-?                 Midnight open mic until we run out of poems

 Sunday May 20, 2018

9:30-11:00          Brunch (like Saturday Breakfast )
10:20-10:30        Sunday Opening Ceremony: Therese Broderick       
9:30-ongoing      Trade Fair
10:30-10:40        Poetry Reading:  Stephen Baraban 
10:40-10:50        Poetry Reading: Martin Willitts, Jr.
10:50-11:00        Poetry Reading: Linda Griggs
11:00-11:10        Break
11:10-12:10        Looking Outward  (Michael Czarnecki, David Landrey, Gwen Zimmerman, Helen Ruggieri)
12:10–1:00         Further: Round-Robin of Poetry.  (Might be time for second poem)
1:00-10:10          Closing Ceremony: Jane Sadowsky

cloudburst poem by Martin Willitts, Jr.


Tender Moments

There is much to love in this world,
and much I’ve never seen, but can guess
easily has to be spectacular —

between two large stones and nowhere else,
opening green mouths like fledglings
these tongues of blue-purple violets.

The news occupies itself with danger
and terrible weather and leaders lying
straight-faced. You can have all of that.

A robin touches down, hopping across
the grass, not afraid of me.
This is a tender moment.

If you care to look for these moments,
sense a blush of sunrise; lilacs odors;
rain falling just enough, not more,

not less; a crow cocking its head
suspicious of the silence; or
violets returning every year.

                        --- Martin Willitts, Jr 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Celeste Lawson On Being Certain

On Being Certain

When traveling the uncertain path
of being absolutely certain
of just about everything 
It is certainly likely that you will encounter
a moment of uncertainty
that is certainly a moment un-reconciled
Certain to create doubt on all
that you were certain about
You will stand at the threshold
of all your uncertainties
that are certainly known now
and try to be resolute in your life of resolutions
Yet to be resolved

            Celeste Lawson

2001 ©

Poem of Resoluteness by Mark O'Brien

"His quiet nature was blown about enough for silence."


Meanwhile, in the Outback of Beyond:
Slowly salvaging the daylight hours
as the night acquires October
you battle this unexpected censure
struggle to come once more out of the anyhow
throwing punches at the wind.

With no recent measure of a quiet cautionary tale
you begin to worry the bones and throw the teeth.
Perhaps you didn't notice this when you first stepped in.
Maybe you thought, it will surely come back
for all the silent reasons after only a quiet and hallowed time.

Maybe, you didn't want to know
didn't care to see across the deep of idleness
where sorrows resolve in the wide eternity
of the present on your hands.

But bleak hearts and devious fools of idleness
can become soldiers of the dark
bolder and bleaker
tendering no information
taking no messages.

It is not for want of banging your head
against the windy and the ragged after all.
Not for want of leering and looming
buffeted by the beyond.

But slowly, slowly, without your knowing
idleness savages the daylight hours
as the Prince of Night gathers October.
In the end finally, you must always remember
there is the Bean-Sìdhe after all.

Graced and serene, pale and contrasting in the night
her eyes red from centuries of crying
and wringing her hands, mourning at your idleness.
She was ever washing your poetry bones, stroking them lovingly
cleansing their limbs 'till they were shriven.

Then, nightly she paced the hills of your dreams and sorrows with unearthly care
Weeping, wailing, clasping her hands, and beating her breasts.
Piercing the night, her notes rise and fall with the years
begging you to resolve your writers block!

begging you to come back to the anyhow once more
to the wide eternity of the present on your hands
before your bleak heart becomes a soldier
a soldier to the Dark of October.

                             ---Mark O'Brien

Stephen Lewandowski Poems Before CLOUDBURST 2018


Over ten billion House sparrows served

At noon, around the cars in the back parking lot
flutters a flock of evolved sparrows.
They use a small fleet of parked grocery carts
and dumpsters as their clubhouse.
After all, why hunt when you can served?
The sparrows are industriously picking
flying bugs off the grills of the parked cars,
venturing as far under the hood as the radiator
where the bugs are not only thick but toasted.
In such an ecological niche, their exposure
to predators like rough-legged hawk hovering overhead
is minimal, and with new cars arriving
the lunch is served fast and hot.

                                    --Stephen Lewandowski


It may be that all intelligence
like all cognition
like all creation
gets fuzzy out
towards its edges
y’know like Albert Einstein
before conditioning rinses.

                      --Stephen Lewandowski


Hopping from stone to stone
clinging to crumbling shale banks,
washed in cool air draining from the crevice,
big hemlocks skinned and polished
in their tumbling descent through gravel,
exposing whorl and gnarl.
Hepatica, trillium (still shut), bloodroot,
Dutchman’s breeches and a fern new
to me, with elongated leaves bearing
root tips seeking a hold in shale wall niche.
Bluets and arbutus, we scramble
on all fours nearly straight up,
don’t look down, on a final burst
of nervous energy.

Walking back from the top
on roads, the long way around,
through woods’ understory
white with toothwort retracing
a difficult birth struggling up
out of the womb, walking
away in sun.

                       ---Stephen Lewandowski

Poem: her insignificance in the great scheme of things was only matched by his inflated presumption of his own greatness for CLOUDBURST COUNCIL 2018 ryki zuckerman

her insignificance in the great scheme of things
was only matched by his inflated presumption of his own greatness

his favorite four letter words are gold
and golf and fake
while mine are give and find and love.

his preferred three letter words are oil 
and gas and gun
while mine are all and sky and fun.

his only pronoun is me, and sometimes he
while i lean towards we and she.

too often monosyllabic or incoherent,
he has difficulty chewing his words
and spits them out
in little chunks of vitriol
and streams of vileness.

it's getting late.
before we get beyond
to where we can't turn back,
let's go for it.

ready for a duel –
my thesaurus is packed.

                  --ryki zuckerman