No Degree of Separation, by Debi Swim

No Degree of Separation
by Debi Swim

Ah, sweet sorrow that accompanies me
in waking hours and in night’s sad dreams.
That you should give such pleasure and such pain
is a curious thing to me, burden
and yet, a comfort. You show me all the
places we have been, point out a stranger’s
shy smile and how it dimples just as his
and in my dreams that feel so tangible
I’d swear I felt the weight of his tender
touch, exquisite sweetness, exquisite sting.
Mind and body so entwined that thoughts, thoughts
could make the heart ache, the eyes tear, torture
the lungs with air withheld. Oh, sweet sorrow
that transcends transient time to weave her
paths from mind to the very core of life.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 254.

Debi Swim is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.

Nine Minutes, by Walter J. Wojtanik

Nine Minutes
by Walter J. Wojtanik

You come and stay for hours,
amidst the psychedelic flowers
and impossible scenarios.
Running past streets and barrios
with Joses and Marios, looking
for solace in a nightful of frightful
turns and plot twists. You’ve wished you
can finish a complete thought,
but your REM cycle keeps running out of gas.
In the foggy distance, a wail. It never fails.
It seems just when you get
to the good part of your dreams you have to depart,
trying to restart every nine minutes for an hour
until your snooze alarm comes back to call.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 253.

Walter J. Wojtanik is a poet, composer, playwright, story teller, and carpenter. Yes, he is adept at woods and words. He had been named the Poet Laureate of the Writer’s Digest.com/Poetic Asides 2010 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. Somewhat of a poetic nomad, his work can be found all over this great big world wide web! His poetry collection in three parts, his Dead Poet Once Removed trilogy is his happiest achievement as of now. He continues to work at his craft with so much more to learn.

Sweet Heritage, by Edilson Afonso Ferreira

Sweet Heritage
by Edilson Afonso Ferreira

I surely know they are lost on the brumes
of a magic almost surreal past time, but
we are always, mainly at longing nights,
pushing away the mists and remembering
so sterling old days, when we did not know
how happy we were.
Surrounded at home by family,
guests commonly stared at us
admiration and ecstasy glances,
yet envious and jealous ones.
People cannot ever dream all the joy we have
on remembering those glorious unique days,
for so little affordable.
Although sorrowful we feel,
doubtful of current and coming times,
the bliss of our past still shines, being
proud pledge for the rest of our lives.

Mr. Ferreira, 73, is a Brazilian poet who writes in English rather than Portuguese, having been published in venues like Right Hand Pointing, The Lake, Spirit Fire Review, Red Wolf Journal, Indiana Voice Journal, Creative Talents Unleashed, Algebra of Owls and some others. Ferreira lives in a small town (Formiga (MG) with wife, three sons and a granddaughter and, unhurried, is trying to publish his first Poetry Book. He began to write at age 67, after retirement as a Bank Manager. Has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize 2016.

Collateral Damage, by Debi Swim

Collateral Damage
by Debi Swim

grief did not ask if it could come.
nor beg my leave. nor was civil
in any respect of civility…barged
in, she did and changed my life
again. Beside the thin ghostly
lines marked in rows over my heart
she, with surgeon’s precision, scalpel’s
keenness cut the wound with one swift
straight slice removed another part
of my heart, daubed the blood, and sewed
with the finest measure and skilled hand
the daintiest seam that would in time
leave the faintest trace of white. But, I
disappear one small piece at a time
leave behind the rasp of withering husk.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 250.

Debi Swim is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.
georgeplace@suddenlink.net
Poets Parlor – https://fmeoformyeyesonly.wordpress.com/

Keeping Warm, by Christopher Hileman

Keeping Warm
by Christopher Hileman

It turns out after
all the pleading and squirming
that I have partners
in robbing the store.

It turns out after vespers
I have a halo
of sorts and nubbins
where either pimples or wings
might erupt and soon
reveal how to hold
my tangled life. I hope to
keep it warm with love.

Thank the Goddess please –
and all the trueheart bastards
who sing near Her throne.

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.

The Voice In My Head, by Debi Swim

The Voice In My Head
by Debi Swim

This poem doesn’t want to be written.
Its voice taunts me that I don’t know
enough. It shouts that I am not a poet,
for goodness sakes, who do I think I am?
Well, obviously, I’m not a Poet with a
capital P but I do write something I call
poetry and what does it matter if I’m
not published or well known or whatever,
my voice trails off softer and softer.

The voice snickers.
All the great poems, she says, have been
penned, all the great topics taken. All the
glorious words, lissome phrases, perfect
forms used. You, she sneered, are too late
to this hallowed task. Just a want to be.

Well, but we can’t all be a Dickinson, a Heany,
an Oliver, or a Pardlo. Besides when they first
got those itchy fingers and those emotions
clamoring to be thrown up like yellow bile,
and hurt that throbbed like an abscessed tooth,
well, did it all come out ready for publication
or did it all come out in a rush of whooeeee
I needed that. I needed to say that. I NEEDED
to hear myself say that.

Okay, so answer me that, voice. But, voice had
left. Voice had no more sneer or snuff left. And
I thought, humph, well, and so. I am going to
write me some words. I’m going to let these
words speak for themselves and if, if, IF, they want
to tumble into a poem, well, okay, then. Like, I
have anything to do with it. When the words want
to come, when they are ready to be born, when that
head crowns, baby, you got yourself a lusty cry of life.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 248.

Debi Swim is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.

Coffee, by Alan Toltzis

Coffee
by Alan Toltzis

On this exceptional
cream and sugar day—

not black
not bitter

nor some sorrowful residue
settling to the bottom of the pot

reducing
thickening

until the last drop of hope
evaporates and scalds itself

leaving a stain of
pungent neglect—

drink endlessly
of joy unchained.

Alan Toltzis, the author of The Last Commandment, grew up in Philadelphia and now lives and writes in Bucks County. Recent work has appeared in print and online publications including Right Hand Pointing, Provo Canyon Review, IthacaLit, Hummingbird, r.k.v.r.y. Quarterly, and Burningword Literary Journal. Find him online at alantoltzis.com.

Restoration, by Alan Toltzis

Restoration
by Alan Toltzis

Did I wear you out?
Did I leave you spent,
tattered, cut, bruised?

And when,
O weary, weary soul,
you left me again last night,

barely able to fill
and empty my lungs,
I waited for morning,

my body
and my heart
awash with you again.

Today will be different.
Today will be pure.

Today will be
a waxing crescent
moon at dawn.

Alan Toltzis, the author of The Last Commandment, grew up in Philadelphia and now lives and writes in Bucks County. Recent work has appeared in print and online publications including Right Hand Pointing, Provo Canyon Review, IthacaLit, Hummingbird, r.k.v.r.y. Quarterly, and Burningword Literary Journal. Find him online at alantoltzis.com.

Picturing You, by Debi Swim

Picturing You
by Debi Swim

Old photographs and 8mm home movies
boxed and stored away waiting for a
rainy day of perusal and the usual
smiles, embarrassed grins, tears and yens
for those old days, gone days, nevermore days.

Christmases, birthdays, picnics, family reunions,
graduations, weddings, babies, toddlers and teens,
the years fly by like a dream, a stream of poignant
memories and faces no longer seen. Alive then,
long time gone now, just a hiccup, an interrupt

in the continuum of life. And the rain pours down,
peters out, the sun comes blaring through the clouds
and the seconds fly by and here am I wondering
who’ll be next. Someday, on another rainy day,
who will be looking for my face?

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

Coming And Going Colors Of Life, by Debi Swim

Coming And Going Colors Of life
by Debi Swim

I began in righteous redness
knitted like yarn into a
recognizable thing. I grew
in darkness, inky onyx,
warm and snug in my fleshy bed.
I came wailing and kicking
purple-tinged, red-faced,
mottled mess of blood and vernix
into the afterbirth of turbulence…
and still I struggle to become,
probably always will, and yet
I’ve made a little progress
toward the coming end when
in hues of blue and parchment,
I’ll close my eyes against the bloody,
mottled mess I leave behind,
and snuggle into the inky onyx darkness
of my alabaster marble rest.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 246.

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