Oh World, by Debi Swim

Oh World
by Debi Swim

Have I seen enough sunsets,
enough pale dawns, ample
waves rushing to shore?
Have I listened to sufficient
hoots, trills, sweet melodies
and followed the flight of
hawks and geese and stars?
Oh, world, tell me true will
I rue these days of visits with you
or will I more regret those times
I bent dutifully to my tasks not noting
the honeysuckled scent of summer breezes,
the way it teases butterflies and bees.

Then, at the day of reckoning
will I, sated, sigh that I
have lived to full balance
of work and rest, blessed
with memories for eternity
of all creation’s glories?
Will I, world? Will I?

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Prompt 343.

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

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Choke, hold, by Joseph Felser

Choke, hold
by Joseph Felser

I wrestle
with you
angel
bless me
please
last time
you left
me
for dead
laid out
on a
stone cold
slab
of cruel
lies
this time
I won’t
let go
until
you
smile

Joseph M. Felser, Ph.D. received his doctorate in philosophy from The University of Chicago. He is is on the faculty at Kingsborough Community College/CUNY in Brooklyn, New York, where he has taught since 1997. The author of numerous published articles and reviews, as well as two books, The Way Back to Paradise (2004) and The Myth of the Great Ending (2011), he also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of The Monroe Institute in Faber, Virginia. He recently began writing poetry, which has appeared in both print and online journals, including Whatever Our Souls, Wildflower Muse, Ordinary Madness, Joey and the Black Boots ReBoot, Red Wolf Journal, Ariel Chart, and The Mystic Blue Review.

Mementos Of Love, by Debi Swim

Mementos Of Love
by Debi Swim

Two short bits of rough wood
nailed together and presented
to me with love and pride, works
of art on my fridge in crayon or
finger paints, thank you cards
printed in huge letters that
course in downward slants,
nose and fingerprints on windows,
hazard lights flashing, wipers flapping,
radio blaring, heater cranked to the
highest speed when I start the car
after you have pretended to drive.
These things speak to me of the past
and of the future. They bring a smile
even when I pack them away or wash
them off or reset things to normal.
Oh, my disheveled grandmotherly life
I love each slobbery, messy, riotous
moment between the passages of
sedate and pristine clean.
Relief when you leave and
exhilaration at your coming.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Prompt 342.

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

Blessed Are the Peacemakers, by Debi Swim

Blessed Are the Peacemakers
by Debi Swim

Praise to the mild mannered ones
who don’t succumb to fits of ire
who plod through the fray of
rainy days, delays, missteps, upsets
and suffer the fools of the world
with lips upcurled. Praise to the ones
who are slow to wrath, pick a path
of peace, throw a fleece of agreeability
over the shoulders of the rabble-rouser
and be a douser of incivility. Praise,
oh, praise the mild mannered ones.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Prompt 341.

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

Reparations, by Joseph Felser

Reparations
by Joseph Felser

With each
smile
frown
pout
burning question
passionate opinion
you sabotaged
my defenses
ancient walls
crumbled
to dust
and I
surrendered
to your
entreaties
you conquered
me
you entered
victorious
the lost
citadel
of my
heart
then
only then
you looted
the treasury
stole the
crown jewels
made off
with the
golden fleece
sacked and
burned
the city
to the
ground
where I
wait
covered
in dust
and ashes
to hear
from you
a hint
of regret

Joseph M. Felser, Ph.D. received his doctorate in philosophy from The University of Chicago. He is is on the faculty at Kingsborough Community College/CUNY in Brooklyn, New York, where he has taught since 1997. The author of numerous published articles and reviews, as well as two books, The Way Back to Paradise (2004) and The Myth of the Great Ending (2011), he also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of The Monroe Institute in Faber, Virginia. He recently began writing poetry, which has appeared in both print and online journals, including Whatever Our Souls, Wildflower Muse, Ordinary Madness, Joey and the Black Boots ReBoot, Red Wolf Journal, Ariel Chart, and The Mystic Blue Review.

Flat Line, by Debi Swim

Flat Line
by Debi Swim

       The cursor blinks
              patiently
     steadily
          impartially
between words, between thoughts
waiting. for words. to appear.
waiting.
Sometimes, I get up. Walk around.
hoping for inspiration, direction,
not even considering that it blinks.
like a heart, like a pulse, keeping
me alive. I take it for granted, like
my heart. How many beats left
before the end? How many blinks
till it is over? No more poems?
     No more inspiration?
That will be a kind of death.
     Breathless. Wordless.
        Straight line.
               Scream.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Prompt 338.

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

Getting Away, by Christopher Hileman

Getting Away
by Christopher Hileman

Things evolve, she said.
Makes me want to peek under
rocks and seek causes.
Or else get away
quickly, ducking low and tight.

I hoped to head out
by now – on the asphalt road
only so long as
is necessary –
then across the ripe wheat fields
to the south of town.
But I keep going
back for stuff I think I want
knowing all the while
I’ll dump half of it
in the heat of the damn day
and the wheaten dust.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Prompt 330.

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.

Computer Chess, by Jared Pearce

Computer Chess
by Jared Pearce

I keep clicking undo
to trace my losing
streak, to find out

All my mistakes.
If I go another way,
if I had allowed my brother

To tag along more often,
or if I had not lied to my friends
to protect my embarrassment,

Or if I had been more subtle
or more striking, would the children
be happy then? And with her,

What could I have done
better to love? I’m not sure
I can find my way past those bishops

Of self-deceit or the surprising leap
from revelatory knights
to hold that Queen

So she’ll see me and want me.
I’m always back at the game’s beginning,
fretting over the pawns of diet

And so many hours slept, holding
dear to my rooks for the endgame—
the end that comes no matter

How far back I go or how
much I can erase of where
I started or how I got here.

Some of Jared Pearce’s poems have recently been or will soon be shared in Marathon, Peacock, Poetic Diversity, DIAGRAM, and Red Fez. His first collection is forthcoming from Aubade Press next year. He lives in Iowa.

Cutting, by Jared Pearce

Cutting
by Jared Pearce

One would have her leg
hacked off, another an arm—
such appendages seem easy
to divide. But others went
for fashion: buttocks
and trim the thighs, or my head
must be ten percent my body
mass. And some for bits to cheat
loss by removing every other toe,
one ear, the incisors, hair.

Until she said her
too big breasts, worthless
lobes, too in-the-way,
too defining, the two great balls
chaining me to womanhood,
making me a sex—these stones
strapping me in a drowning
when what I want is to be held
with a light grace, apart
from what I am or am not.

Some of Jared Pearce’s poems have recently been or will soon be shared in Marathon, Peacock, Poetic Diversity, DIAGRAM, and Red Fez. His first collection is forthcoming from Aubade Press next year. He lives in Iowa.

Portals, by Jared Pearce

Portals
by Jared Pearce

The contractor came to see about
where I wanted a hole punched
in the back brick wall to make
a closet and keep the pantry.

We measured, we bartered,
we shook hands, until on the front path
he told me both his parents died
within a month of each other:

He hadn’t shed a tear, he said,
though his pastor encouraged his grief;
He’s been having trouble getting back
to work, he said, he can’t handle

The somewhere revving saw
to cut into a lighted room from
a darkened passage, a blueprint
showing where the load and stress

Should be anchored to rest.
There’s no point in crying,
he said; now that they’re gone,
what tears could cut like diamonds?

Some of Jared Pearce’s poems have recently been or will soon be shared in Marathon, Peacock, Poetic Diversity, DIAGRAM, and Red Fez. His first collection is forthcoming from Aubade Press next year. He lives in Iowa.