Untitled, by Margarita Serafimova

Untitled
by Margarita Serafimova

The plenitude of sunset seas
was forever you.
Who was time to speak of an ending?

*

I was seeing the sunset through tall waves, lucent, golden.
My love was letting me go.
I was going East.

*

Donousa stood in its seas, its white cape –
frozen in light as their reflections.
You were there.

Margarita Serafimova has published two poetry collections in the Bulgarian, Animals and Other Gods (2016) and Demons and World (2017). In English, her work is forthcoming in Agenda, Trafika Europe, The Journal, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Futures Trading, Poetic Diversity, TAYO Literary Magazine, The Punch Magazine, Aaduna, Three Drops from a Cauldron, SurVision, and appears in London Grip New Poetry, A-Minor Magazine, Minor Literatures, Noble/ Gas Quarterly, The Birds We Piled Loosely, Obra/ Artifact, Ginosko Literary Journal, Dark Matter Journal, Window Quarterly/ Patient Sounds, Peacock Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, In Between Hangovers, MockingHeart Review, Renegade Rant and Rave, Tales From The Forest, Misty Mountain Review, Outsider Poetry, Heavy Athletics, The Voices Project, Cent Magazine. Some of her work: https://www.facebook.com/MargaritaISerafimova/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel.

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Med Flight, by Candelin Wahl

Med Flight
       Madison, Wisconsin
by Candelin Wahl

Badger-red metal dragonfly
zeroes into sight
tail up in descent
big white 2 painted on its belly
eggbeater wings tread thin air
vast hospital roof a shimmering
pond below the hover bug.
It’s not for me to see from this angle
what trauma they treat
blocked heartery
or crash victim
please no overdose.
A New Englander passing through
I whisper a Samaritan’s prayer
into the arms of white lilacs.
They crowd the sidewalk
in gaudy dress like southern girls
whose only worry is Friday night,
which leaves me – one woman speck
to inhale the breath of life
respire
repeat

Candelin Wahl is an emerging poet who recently shed her business attire. She is Poetry Co-Editor of the Mud Season Review and has been published in the 2017 Best of the Burlington Writer’s Workshop. She lives with her husband in St. Albans, Vermont.

Say This In A Whisper, by Dah

dah gauguin cover1

Dah’s poetry collection, Say This In A Whisper, should perhaps come with an advisory: there are sexually charged poems such as “How To Love A Lover”, “Summer, Ocean”, “Pulsar” and “Underwater, Still Breathing”.

Their nexus is the relationship between lovers which leaves you in no doubt about where the potency lies. “Summer, Ocean” carves out physical intensity in an almost predictable way yet doesn’t strike you as being facile:

“You, the matador
drinking the bull’s blood
Me, the bull goring you into ecstasy
until we lay finished off
our bodies trembling
smelling of ocean summers”

The collection’s first poem, “Oceans Of Rain”, sets a kind of framework by disavowing religion. The speaker is “an old inmate” with the gravitas of age:

“Now, I’ve seasoned
to this gray winter
an old inmate
waiting for light
to reap darkness
waiting for darkness
to bear down

Dah writes with disarming physical candor in his love poems. There is so much light and shadow in them, that it’s most certainly spiritual while being physical. But after the ecstasy comes the agony. The lover’s absence leaves the speaker emotionally stranded. The poems segue to a requiem. Every poem shines a different light on the grieving process of remembering. There is savagery in “you were the feathers/plucked from my mouth” (“A Missing Story”) to distraction where “we drink wine each night/to reach that neon glow/in the dark of a cloistered room” (“Pictures of You”).

Sure, there’s pathos there, but someone has said, if you haven’t loved deeply enough, haven’t had that kind of physical experience, you don’t know anything much. Such pathos may be another path to transcendence, if not through religion. Why, to speak of eternity as “a strange fracture/always breaking/before one reaches the line/the mood variations, another farewell” in “Another Picture of You” to the discernment of trees in “Pulsar”:

“I look through the grille
of bare trees
through the mineshafts
of shadows”

A tender, riveting read for all lovers!

Download the collection here.

Say This In A Whisper by Dah

New Site!
Red Wolf Journal’s digital collections has a dedicated new site
at Red Wolf Editions here.

Crapshoot, by Candelin Wahl

Crapshoot
      for Bill Ainsworth
by Candelin Wahl

Buttoned into his white pharmacy coat
he didn’t notice the switch broom
in the corner by the back door
ready to sweep his brain under the knife
retire him like a spent racehorse

He wears a baseball cap at breakfast
not to shock friends, his scalp
a desert of scars, dry rivulets
sagebrush tufts of hair
same twinkle eyes under the brim.

After omelets and a mountain of pills
he grips the table edge. We watch him
shuffle the hardwood abyss
determined to stay upright
every step a roll of the dice.

Riding a hot streak
he pours a second cup of coffee
not asking his wife for help
too aware of the long odds
in this crapshoot.

Candelin Wahl is an emerging poet who recently shed her business attire. She is Poetry Co-Editor of the Mud Season Review and has been published in the 2017 Best of the Burlington Writer’s Workshop. She lives with her husband in St. Albans, Vermont.

The New Oz, by Candelin Wahl

The New Oz
by Candelin Wahl

Mighty Lake Erie maker of millionaires
did you weep when they bulldozed
your canal a century ago, scarring
the hem of the Buffalo skyline

did you sing from your great blue cradle
when town fathers undid their mistake
history excavated rebuilt as Canalside
festivals! farmer’s markets! kayaks!

          no sign of child-led mules
          pull of barges lock to lock
          no acrid smell of engine oil,
          damp bales of wheat bound
          for millers in Albany

Mighty Lake Erie − bestower of bounty
I swear I hear you chuckle at the pop-up spires
as yellow-slickered yeomen raise tents
weekend white castles in a new Oz
its armies of blue portalets braced for waste

Candelin Wahl is an emerging poet who recently shed her business attire. She is Poetry Co-Editor of the Mud Season Review and has been published in the 2017 Best of the Burlington Writer’s Workshop. She lives with her husband in St. Albans, Vermont.

clouds and alstromeria, by Wendy Bourke

clouds and alstromeria
by Wendy Bourke

the window had been left open
and the room was cold, although,
as fresh as a flower …

I felt light headed and lay down
on the half-made bed, where
the fragrance of laundered cotton
stirred to mind a slumbering memory,
of the sheets that mother and I
would hang on the clothesline …

in winter, they were so stiff
we would fold them like cardboard
when we took them down …
she’d iron them completely dry
and perfectly pressed,

smelling – so clean –
the way, I imagined,
fluffy clouds would smell
if you could bury your face in them …

and then, today, as I rested quietly,
it came back to me and fell
in delicate heart-shaped petals
flecked with crimson drops in icy mists:
white alstroemeria – delivered – unsigned,
in flurries of snow and billowing sheet sails …

I remember carrying the little bouquet
to my mother as she lay, on her bed
– silent and tear-stained –

I felt closer to her, in that moment,
than I ever had or would, again

though, to this day, I don’t know why she cried
– it would forever remain, for me –
a mystery, she took with her to her grave

Wendy Bourke lives in Vancouver, Canada where she writes, goes on long rambling walks gathering photos and inspiration – and hangs out with her family (especially her two young grandsons). After a life loving words and scribbling poetry lines on pizza boxes and used envelopes, Wendy finally got down to writing “in earnest” six years ago. She received first prize in the Ontario Poetry Society’s Sparkle and Shine contest in 2014 and her poems have appeared in dozens of anthologies, journals and chapbooks.

where the phantoms gather (in tanka sequence), by Wendy Bourke

where the phantoms gather (in tanka sequence)
by Wendy Bourke

walking with memories
in forest solitude …
everywhere I pass
twigs beneath my feet
snap like holiday crackers

ghosts of those
who have gone before me
haunt the trail – so real –
I come upon apple cores …
perhaps some seeds will take root

atop the hill
I look down on the picnic spot –
lake scent and bird song
on whiffle winds … a spirit place
where the phantoms gather

Wendy Bourke lives in Vancouver, Canada where she writes, goes on long rambling walks gathering photos and inspiration – and hangs out with her family (especially her two young grandsons). After a life loving words and scribbling poetry lines on pizza boxes and used envelopes, Wendy finally got down to writing “in earnest” six years ago. She received first prize in the Ontario Poetry Society’s Sparkle and Shine contest in 2014 and her poems have appeared in dozens of anthologies, journals and chapbooks.

all this, by Wendy Bourke

all this
by Wendy Bourke

on a whim: I had treated myself to
the purchase of a fat buttercup yellow candle,
that smells more citrus than floral,
as it turns out – and yet –
often, when I light it, in early evening glow,
I think of him, and of a wonderful ramble we’d taken
… not so many short years ago

we had tromped, for some time,
in the direction of a far off horizon
that we didn’t have a hope of reaching
– in the last, full-gleam of the afternoon idyll –
and had come to a pleasant pair
of commodious flat-topped boulders –
ringed with golden buttercups:
a peaceful place to sit and rest a bit
and admire the rolling hills unrolling
as we, wordlessly, picked a perch
and began to unpack the hastily-gathered snack,
we had brought with us

‘kalamata olives and lemon jelly beans, yum’ –
he remarked, arching a quizzical eyebrow
that vanished a dozen or more years …
‘and buttercups blooming at our tired, old feet’,
he concluded, cheerfully

‘all this’, I added, opening my arms wide

sweet breezes were turning chilly – fast –
and flapped at the saran enfolded repast
so tenaciously that nibbling gave way
to running after and retrieving the silver sails
launching into the pacific yonder …
signalling the end of a lovely day – and though,
I ached to say something, the words never came

instead, I placed a single buttercup
in a buttonhole on his shirt
and looking into the beautiful face of
the one I had journeyed with for half a century,
I whispered: ‘all this’

Wendy Bourke lives in Vancouver, Canada where she writes, goes on long rambling walks gathering photos and inspiration – and hangs out with her family (especially her two young grandsons). After a life loving words and scribbling poetry lines on pizza boxes and used envelopes, Wendy finally got down to writing “in earnest” six years ago. She received first prize in the Ontario Poetry Society’s Sparkle and Shine contest in 2014 and her poems have appeared in dozens of anthologies, journals and chapbooks.

Waking Up In Buenos Aires, by Jared M. Gadsby

Waking in Buenos Aires
      (and remembering Carver)

by Jared M. Gadsby

Only after a week
do I remember
that this city
was one of the last places
that Carver called home.

It seems he loved it here –
even thought about writing a novel
before his Chekhovian sensibilities
sounded too strongly.

Or – perhaps – he simply ran
out of time.
Whatever the reason,
he had his.

The strangeness of life
really pressed upon him here,
which does not surprise me.
This feeling has pressed
against me like the warmth
of a beloved dog still remembered.

I wonder, did Ray
ever wake before Tess,
pad into the living room
to put on yesterday’s pants,
and just sigh with gratitude?

I am sure that
at least once he awoke by himself,
brewed a pot of coffee and lit a cigarette,
and watched as the sun
rose over this strange city.

Jared M. Gadsby lives in Lima, Peru and teaches writing and literature courses at a local university for one of Broward College’s international centers. He holds an MA from SUNY Oswego and finds time to write the occasional poem between teaching responsibilities and travel opportunities.

For Bob Borchard, by John Aylesworth

For Bob Borchard
by John Aylesworth

In Guysville, the old hotel he converted
into a house frowned and shuddered
and I hope he haunts it, with laughter
and music and sketches of the hills around.
He taught art, celebrated the world each Spring
when the country bloomed and the birds came home,
opened his studio to anyone.

A painting he made of a ship
in a storm crashing outside Buffalo
reminds me of 1969
when we lived there, not knowing each other,
and I found poetry and dance classes
and a woman who never believed in me.

Thirty years later, I met Bob
when we were waltzing with other women
in a place where memories like shipwrecks
are sunk in the mud and sand of the past
but tonight are as near as an old house
with fields and a river and Spring beside it.

Process notes: The poem was prompted by the death of a man I knew more through friends than personally, although we had more experiences in common than I knew. He was always kind and generous when we saw each other in recent years: perhaps because we did have much in common.

John Aylesworth teaches kids who can’t go to public school for reasons such as severe handicaps or for punching the principal. When he graduated from Ohio University with an M.A. in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Comparative Arts, he stayed in Southeast Ohio and raised a family. He’s had poems and stories published a number of journals in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia.