140,000,000 Miles Away, by Alan Toltzis

140,000,000 Miles Away
by Alan Toltzis

Towards the summit a thousand times taller
than anything it climbed before,
Spirit trudged upward

hurtling data home for sols on end
where it assembled into landscapes—
postcards from a world I’ll never enter.

It shifts into reverse
converting its stuck wheel
from anchor to harrow.

A track becomes a furrow
revealing a stripe of white and yellow crystals
gleaming a few inches below red dirt.

Once upon a time
they dissolved
in water that overflowed lakebeds

or meandered through
banked and deep river valleys.
Water ran swiftly etching the bedrock.

Here the task is harder:
look deeply and learn
the true nature of trees,

judge the strength
and weakness of people,
feel the promise of the land,

while squinting into the glare
of proximity
just beyond the horizon.

Process note: Sometimes it’s easier to explore dispassionately without bringing your self in. The poem compares the experience of the Mars Rover, Spirit to our own experience closer to home. The word “sol” (pronounced “soul”) is a Martian day, which is little longer than a day on Earth.

Alan Toltzis lives and writes in Bucks County, PA where he is working on a book of poems that are modern expressions of our relationship with God and the world around us. His poems have been published in print and online publications including Focus Midwest, Burningword Literary Journal, The Jewish Literary Journal, Soul-Lit, and the upcoming issue of Poetica.

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Noah, by Alan Toltzis

Noah
by Alan Toltzis

It was a sublime deal
sealed with a rainbow
flexed across the sky and through the clouds.
No pressure, but what’s next?
Noah got drunk.

Because, how do you get up,
scratch yourself, piss,
make coffee, kiss
the wife and kids and
just get on with it?

While nature continues, nonplussed,
we are left with just
the ordinary,
unrelenting, pick-up-a-loaf-of-bread,
grind-it-out, and don’t-forget-the-milk kind of stuff.

As sure as that 6:52
sunrise
bestows the tragedy of another everyday sorrow
upon us,
we brace ourselves,
ready again to be heroes.

Process note: The ancient Greeks knew audiences needed a release after the intensity of drama and their playwrights wrote plays as a 4-part series: a dramatic trilogy and then a fourth play—the tragic-comic satyr play. But that need for release after heroic and tragic events can be traced much earlier, to the story of Noah. My poem looks at the Biblical even that happens immediately after the flood and how that connects with modern day life.

Alan Toltzis lives and writes in Bucks County, PA where he is working on a book of poems that are modern expressions of our relationship with God and the world around us. His poems have been published in print and online publications including Focus Midwest, Burningword Literary Journal, The Jewish Literary Journal, Soul-Lit, and the upcoming issue of Poetica.

Release of Spring 2015 Issue 5 (PDF edition)

herecomesthesun2

We’re pleased to announce that the Spring 2015 Issue 5 can be downloaded here.

Red Wolf Journal Spring 2015 v2

The poets with work in this edition are:

Vivienne Blake
Marilyn Braendeholm
Bobbi Buchanan
Alan Catlin
Amitabh Vikram Dwivedi
Christopher Hileman
A J Huffman
Ron. Lavalette
Alan Toltzis
Martin Willitts Jr
Barbara Young

Irene Toh and Tawnya Smith
Spring 2015 Editors