He Leaned, by Nancy Iannucci

He Leaned
by Nancy Iannucci

unnamed

Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, 1969, Unknown photographer

He leaned elegantly against a viscid wooden beam as all suave men did at the Post House back in 1966, flipped on the winning bait like he was flinging pizza margarita dough six feet into the air catching it dexterously with one hand. His Neapolitan accent & Sal Mineo looks reeled them in on Saturday nights, but tonight he was determined to win this one; he had been tracking her with stealth ornithologist skill through marshes of people, tables, and empty Schlitz & Lambrusco bottles. He finally made his Mediterranean move.

“You looka lika Brigitte Bardot,” he said, as he leaned against this auburn-feathered bird whose lipstick was the shade of ghost that had the death drained out of it. She laughed & sardonically lifted a penciled eyebrow to an adjacent friend. She knew he was full of shit; Bardot’s hair was blond but she gave him the benefit of the doubt induced by his Plato-Rebel-Without-a-Cause innocence, and she later learned his name was, coincidentally, Sal.

The Yardbirds rescued his broken English; “For Your Love” shook her up like an electric shock and they found themselves on the dance floor. He shadowed her groove for his gallant mannerisms ebbed as fast as a tsunami; dancing made him feel nervous.

They continued to pull each other out of their comfort zones for the next three years until one spring morning he left her for Vietnam.

Months of silent nothingness drifted like a specter until a photograph arrived addressed “To Brigitte.” She went hazy like the image and could feel the oppressive heat and perilous unknown emanating in her hands but was comforted to see his Plato smile as he leaned alongside a lone palm tree that stood rooted at the edge of Cam Ranh Bay.

“That lean, the Post House lean,” she whispered, reminiscing.

He was still leaning for her, still watching her, longing to make his move in the midst of jungle chaos.

Process notes: I never knew this photograph of my father existed until just two weeks ago. It was taken by an unknown photographer who was documenting American soldiers stationed at Cam Ranh Bay during the Vietnam War, so naturally I was taken by this never-before-seen photo of my dad, and so started writing.

Nancy Iannucci is a historian who teaches history and lives poetry in Troy, NY. She has always been entranced by the mysticism of life and the fine line that exists between our world and the mystical. She feels, at times, like she inhabits some place in the middle and expresses herself through writing trying to reconcile her own existence in between these two realms; her work has been published by Performance Poets Association, Three Line Poetry, Red Wolf Journal, and Faerie Magazine (photography). ​

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Botero’s Dreamy Dance, by Debi Swim

Botero’s Dreamy Dance
by Debi Swim

couple-dancing.jpg!Blog

Fernando Botero, Couple Dancing

The lady in red, she in the chile con carne red
and he, dapper with a neat pencil moustache
danced with their eyes closed tight
and the music played and they happily swayed
long into the carefree night

and for a short time this lady in red
danced with a Carmen Amaya air
and the man of the neat moustache
and dapperly dressed
was the dashing Fred Astaire.

First line from Dancer by Carl Sandburg

Editor’s note: Written in response to Prompt 41, Red Wolf Poems.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy poet from West Virgina.

Lost Among Wonders, by Tom Montag

Lost Among Wonders
by Tom Montag

The storms roll through.
One day. Another.

Against the front
edge of summer.

Against the trees,
their leaves. Blossoms

of flowers. The bees,
the noisy birds.

The poet is lost
among wonders.

Will he ever
find his way home?

Tom Montag is most recently the author of In This Place: Selected Poems 1982-2013. In 2015 he was the featured poet at Atticus Review (April) and Contemporary American Voices (August), with other poems at Hamilton Stone Review, The Homestead Review, Little Patuxent Review, Mud Season Review, Poetry Quarterly, Provo Canyon Review, Third Wednesday, and elsewhere.

Every Poem, by Tom Montag

Every Poem
by Tom Montag

Every poem worth its salt
has in it a red-tail hawk,
or the idea of a red-tail,
or the memory.

                           Or the sound
the hawk makes before it drops
down, before something small is
taken, is lifted into heaven.

Tom Montag is most recently the author of In This Place: Selected Poems 1982-2013. In 2015 he was the featured poet at Atticus Review (April) and Contemporary American Voices (August), with other poems at Hamilton Stone Review, The Homestead Review, Little Patuxent Review, Mud Season Review, Poetry Quarterly, Provo Canyon Review, Third Wednesday, and elsewhere.

In The Darkness, by Tom Montag

In The Darkness
by Tom Montag

a flailing
motion,

the awk-
ward gesture,

searching all
night for this,

the last word.

Tom Montag is most recently the author of In This Place: Selected Poems 1982-2013. In 2015 he was the featured poet at Atticus Review (April) and Contemporary American Voices (August), with other poems at Hamilton Stone Review, The Homestead Review, Little Patuxent Review, Mud Season Review, Poetry Quarterly, Provo Canyon Review, Third Wednesday, and elsewhere.

Starry Night Over The Asylum, By Debi Swim

Starry Night Over The Asylum
By Debi Swim

Is anyone in the village below awake?
It is late, late, sleepers in houses dark and quiet.
How can they rest when overhead there is a riot?

Stars and worlds ringing like church bells,
moon ablaze throbbing in hi-hat jumps
a galaxy of milky white tambourine thumps

I cover my ears against the dissonance.
Why aren’t there people in the streets
wailing in anger for the noise to cease?

Oh, starry night. Oh, raucous, strident, starry night,
your beauty bellows in discordant din
and I, I fall to my knees in your poignant orbital spin.

800px-Van_Gogh_-_Starry_Night_-_Google_Art_Project

Vincent Van Gogh, The Starry Night

Process notes: I’ve admired the beauty of this picture many times and written about it but as I looked this time, I thought, this scene is LOUD. A cacophony of sounds, like each member of an orchestra tuning up individually before the start of the concert and I imagined Van Gogh with his hands over his ears. Written in response to Prompt 30, Red Wolf Poems.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy poet.

At The Beach, by Christopher Hileman

stern, bert
Image by Bert Stern

At The Beach
by Christopher Hileman

In those days I thought
maybe I could still keep you,
at least for a while.

I schemed and worked up
snares for your soul, so I hoped.
I thought I needed
you so near I could
feel your breath in my fey ear.

Then you got too hot
and you rose up off
the blanket, shook off the last
of the sand, put out
your hand to them all
and they led you far away
despite what I said.

Christopher Hileman moved to Oregon in 1973. He has retired to live on the volcanic bluff overlooking Willamette Falls in Oregon City, Oregon. He ascends the stairs from his basement digs to improvise on his Yamaha keyboard or the house Playel grand when the calico cat releases him from below. The part-Irish Wolfhound here likes him.

Summer Love, by Christopher Hileman

sowa michael a-summer-night

Michael Sowa, A Midsummer Night’s Melancholy

Summer Love
by Christopher Hileman

It’s become awkward
and muggy besides, cobber.
(That’s Aussie for pal.)

The dog wants a friend.
The cat has what it wants now.
And your painting shows
a late afternoon
but you have called it a night,
a hot summer’s night.

And me? I sit here
in my basement writing you
this aside on love.

Christopher Hileman moved to Oregon in 1973. He has retired to live on the volcanic bluff overlooking Willamette Falls in Oregon City, Oregon. He ascends the stairs from his basement digs to improvise on his Yamaha keyboard or the house Playel grand when the calico cat releases him from below. The part-Irish Wolfhound here likes him.

A Tangle of Sleeping Beauties, by Marilyn Braendeholm

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Jan Davidsz de Heem, Still Life with Oysters and Lemon

A Tangle of Sleeping Beauties
by Marilyn Braendeholm

There on the table is a tangle of fruit,
a jeweller’s asset of sleeping beauties.
They lay broad across cottons and fine
wool, set right toward void, as a crow flies.

It’s a world wrapped up in itself, moonish
grapes and bracelets of peel, sweet citrus
circling the sun – such a deadened world
it must be, all for want of air to breathe.

And framed of gilt they watch but never
hear a rush of larger worlds nearby. Nor
even slightest hope have they for a knight
to wake them from their deeply tangled sleep.

Process note: Inspired by an image prompt at Red Wolf Poems, also the cover art for Red Wolf Journal’s Fall 2015 Issue 7.

Marilyn ‘Misky’ Braendeholm lives in the UK surrounded by flowers, grapevines, bubbling pots of sourdough starter, and always keeps dog biscuits in her pocket for her blind Springer Spaniel. She never buys clothing without pockets. Blogs at The Chalk Hills Journal.

The Courage of Shadows, by Marilyn Braendeholm

The Courage of Shadows
by Marilyn Braendeholm

We shadowed clouds
like passing thunder,
and tucked ourselves
under its darkest rim.
Once so bright,
we’re now swept
so dim, departed
with the glow of day.

That light that comes
from the breaking sea,
that light that comes
from long hills grassy,
pouring down from sky.
And then you asked me,

the wind stealing words
from our lips, How can
deserts change to lakes
and mountains
pour with rain, and
are our noble-hearted
shadows brave enough
to always follow us?

Process note: Exploring shadows based on the changeable nature of light. Inspired by Victor Hugo, “Les Orientales” and an image prompt, Persephone, at Red Wolf Poems.

Marilyn ‘Misky’ Braendeholm lives in the UK surrounded by flowers, grapevines, bubbling pots of sourdough starter, and always keeps dog biscuits in her pocket for her blind Springer Spaniel. She never buys clothing without pockets. Blogs at The Chalk Hills Journal.