Starry night over the Rhone, by Jonathan Beale

Starry night over the Rhone
by Jonathan Beale

The clock is now sleeping….
Time is absent here. That uninvited guest, is away.
Socrates sits in silence, on a distant bank
(Invisible to you and, I) unable to fathom.
What or why is going on.
his sophisticated words: now dumb.
He can reason not the need.
I paint in a joy from my window’s frame.
As they experience their human pleasure of
Touch, they feel each other mingled with the night.
The city distant city: blind and far enough away –
Those wedding guests who stay too long.
Encapsulating a beauty of its own (hopper never pasted this way)
As the light dances a demonic reel
The bluest blueness projects the mood
As only black can everywhere else.
The sodden waters edge’s
Handed over from the mornings
Silver woven tidal cloth
…of what, what are they doing, or have done.
A quiet dyad under the stars – becoming…something enchanting.
Momentarily awakening to this…
strange trinity of which I’m an invisible fraction.
the gentle ripple of the tide
cradling the delicate dinghies
time is absent there, but not here
a moment grabbed before, before, before…
they can feel, touch and be one, once more
can I capture that moment of joy?
time will awake again soon….

Starry_Night_Over_the_Rhone

By Vincent Van Gogh Sept 1st, 1888

Jonathan Beale is published in numerous journals around the globe he is most recently published in Bluepepper, mad swirl and ygrilsil. He has one volume of poetry the destinations of Raxiera published by Hammer and Anvil. He lives in Surrey U.K.

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After Goya, by Jonathan Beale

After Goya
by Jonathan Beale

From still life: ‘Pieces of rib, loin, and a head of mutton.’
Francisco de Goya. Musée du Louvre.

The once learnt: now gone.
Deeds are done and form to dust –
That “when” – when youth is too young
Led easily by any anthems dream
Ringing out a hollow heartless tune.
Their always beating black hearts at work
They live between the lines.
Behind the actions dead weight:
Now this deadweight leaving life for the few –
Still steering freight for the butchers block.

They find this tripartite game
Impossible from field to abattoir to butcher
As the weighted cleavers chops the blood and bone –
The pure rain so easily washes this unholy mixture away.

still-life-of-sheeps-ribs-and-head-francisco-jose-de-goya-y-lucientes

Jonathan Beale is published in numerous journals around the globe he is most recently published in Bluepepper, mad swirl and ygrilsil. He has one volume of poetry the destinations of Raxiera published by Hammer and Anvil. He lives in Surrey U.K.

The Dead Sing Brokedown Palace for Ken Kesey (May 8, 1984), by Alan Walowitz

The Dead Sing Brokedown Palace for Ken Kesey (May 8, 1984)
by Alan Walowitz

The last we ever saw the Chief—
after he took good care of McMurphy,
broke his neck a couple of places
and broke out into the night—
one hand was latched to the bumper of that chicken van
the other hitched to a tree to keep the wrestling team inside
from sliding off the cliff in the worst snowstorm
the Cascades had seen since ’58.
But by then the Big Injun was getting small again,
worn down and laid waste by the high-talking hucksters,
and pickpockets, and card-sharps,
but along with it came this hard-won but unspeakable wisdom:
Ain’t nothing we can do to make things right.

Still, Kesey, he’s gotta live with the death of his wrestler-son,
another twenty-one years, a sentence he could never do sober or sane–
till one night in Eugene, Kesey sitting in a box over the stage
with the smoke wafting off the rafters in waves
the Dead turned to him–for all their shambling harmony,
close as they ever got to as-one–and sang:

         Fare you well, fare you well
         I love you more than words can tell
         Listen to the river sing sweet songs
         to rock my soul

The Deadheads were stone-silent as if there were ghosts in the bleachers
and the silence enveloped Kesey like an embrace.
Then–finally–he knew: Art needn’t be a fist to the face.
In fact, maybe he’d been wrong about everything,
and maybe, just maybe, and against his better judgment,
he might begin some merry madness all over again.

Process note: This story is legendary and, like most legends, I don’t know how true: How Ken Kesey, the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, found some peace when the Grateful Dead played “Brokedown Palace” for him after the death of his son who had been a collegiate wrestler. I guess the reader can decide how true this sounds, though I like to believe it.

Alan Walowitz (www.alanwalowitz.com) has been published various places on the web and off. He’s a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry. His chapbook, Exactly Like Love, is available from Osedax Press, and his full-length book,The Story of the Milkman and other poems, will appear soon from Truth Serum Press.

A Whiter Shade Of Pale, by Debi Swim

A Whiter Shade of Pale
by Debi Swim

Waiting for the end of day
waiting for the dreams to come
waiting for I don’t know what
everything is going
slowly going
everything is going
away
And is this the way my world ends
one losing at a time
one giving up at a time
one concession
one desire
one usefulness
after another
waiting for that
whiter shade of pale
Someone tell me
what has it all been for
the striving
the trying
the working
the playing
the cursing
the praying…
the opening of my eyes
the closing at the end
what was all that
in between?

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet. Blog: https://poetrybydebi.wordpress.com/

Ten, by Misky Braendeholm

Ten
by Misky Braendeholm

All the sky and albino clouds,
and pale constellations watch her
like poetry.
She’s a marigold bath
on the beach,

a honed curator
of her own shining shore.
A sunbathing iridescent.
Like a sacrifice. Lain.
Laid. Lying. Talking

softly in your ear, softly, softly,
so you must lean in to hear her
golden pleasures, to hear her
one perfect scoring ten.
And the sun sinks behind her,

sinks behind her sweeping eyelids,
and she blooms. Adorns
the sand like old charms.
Shines gold and pearled
as a firefly in July.

Then she sighs like a surprise,
and apologises for her beauty.

(inspired by the movie “Ten” 1979)

Misky Braendeholm’s work is regularly published in monthly issues of Waterways Poetry in the Mainstream, and Ten Penny Players.

Marilyn’s poem was submitted for the Fall 2019 Edition. You may submit your work for this edition at redwolfeditions AT gmail DOT COM. Submission guidelines here.

Release of Spring/Summer 2018: Coming Home

spring summer 2018 cover

We are pleased to announce the release of the Spring/Summer 2018 Issue.

The poets with work in this edition are:

Kimmy Alan
Robert James Berry
Daniel Birnbaum
Marilyn Braendeholm
Holly Day
Joseph M. Felser
Gary Glauber
Penny Harter
Christopher Hileman
Diane Jackman
LindaAnn LoSchiavo
Betsy Mars
Michael Minassian
Arthur Mitchell
Felicia Mitchell
Laurel S. Peterson
Nanette Rayman
Sheikha A., Home
Tawnya Smith
Debi Swim
Anna Schoenbach
Alan Toltzis
Alan Walowitz
Robert Walton
Martin Willitts Jr
Irene Toh

You may download a copy of the PDF release here.

Red Wolf Journal spring summer 2018 Issue 13

With the release of this issue, Red Wolf Journal will be taking a break. It has been gratifying to put together the work of the fine poets in this issue, who’ve in their own way contributed thoughtful points of view on the idea of home. Mostly it has been an honor to be given this task, and in a most personal way you might not have realized, we’ve been made to feel that we’ve found our tribe. That too felt like home.

With pleasure,
Irene Toh & Tawnya Smith
Spring/Summer 2018 Editors

Home, As a Series of Outbreaks, by Sheikha A.

Home, As a Series of Outbreaks
by Sheikha A.

There are mountains rising from four-leaf clovers;
that was the dream of seeing my beheading

on a guillotine, and some ethereal proclamation
of having been purified spoke in the soft steps of a tornado

before full motion assault; it was the word shaheed
that was used in the same aghast timbre as one of

a woman prohibited from jihad. Someone
caught my armpits, then declared themselves

on a piece of paper. The only sensation
that prevailed after was a jabbing ache. Ironic how

a love for anywhere or anything begins from
secrets, and how the start of every journey

begins with dreams. I was told to follow the trail
of each outbreak at midnights, the waking in

cold sweat, and arm reaching outwards to
grab a closing door’s edge, before it slid into

the vacuum meant to cradle its frame. Home is
an elusive junction where an asylum awaits;

it will encounter you civilly, offer you a hope
as practical and documented as your time

of birth; and then, it will offer you a dream –
conditional, like the dreams of sleep,

anything from anywhere, anyone from any way
can walk over every astral limit in the universe

and enter your space. The stars will break
as all things nearing their end do. And the pull

that prevents all things floating from falling
will guide their descent into the eyes that sleep,

composing as homes – a series of nights on
the verge of a pinnacle – heightened to nowhere.

Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. She has been published in various literary venues, both print and online. More can be found at sheikha82.wordpress.com

The Ears Gone Bye, by Gary Glauber

The Ears Gone Bye
by Gary Glauber

Even after our relationship fell to pieces,
we still shared an eclectic taste in music.
Still it had been years since last
we’d last been in touch.
So when your proposed playlist
for my upcoming wedding
arrived out of nowhere,
I didn’t know what to expect.
Who had told you? How did you find me?
Who even knew you anymore?
Yet I downloaded it immediately,
put headphones on & pressed play.

Nice to start it out with the techno vibe
of Epigraph’s “Parade of Colors,”
right into the sweet harmonies of
“One if By Sea” by The Polemics.
Who would ever imagine that kind of mix?
Only you. Who would even know
that Rhododendron Downer’s “Tree of Levers”
perfectly fades into the starting notes
of Sound of Cubists’ “Barely Mentioned?”
Genius. I was overcome by strange memories.

That summer in the desert attending Roasted Ear,
when I first spotted you, dancing atop some
bearded guy’s shoulders, when Gabriel & the Hellhounds
played their monster hit, “Dirty Whispers;”
it caught my attention. Your beautiful voice
stood out from the crowd, & when you sang along
to French Equation’s “Hybrid Mattress”
I couldn’t believe your lyrical prowess.
You didn’t miss a syllable of those
sixty-fourth note words. You were a marvel.
I vowed to get to know you better.

You told me about your stint as a backup singer
on The Blatant Lies’ phenomenal “Mexican Goddess.”
You knew every song by my favorite obscure bands:
“Garden of Rascals” by Cascading Marauders, “
“Whenever You Bait the Switch” by Psychotic Episode,
even knew that when you held the debut album cover
of “The Flimsy Assertions” up to a mirror, you could
find clues as to how Frankie Pixel drowned in the pool
of that famous billionaire’s Parisian palace.
When Luke & The Two Thieves announced their breakup,
we made sure to be there for their final appearance
at The Stereophonic Club, front row center.

That was at least a few lifetimes ago.
We were loud, brash, opinionated, & stubborn,
all traits not conducive to a healthy relationship.
We argued between the notes of musical agreement;
it got ugly fast & never recovered.

Now I am a changed man, sporting what might
be any mild enthusiast’s Spotify playlist.
Gone are the eclectic sounds of Pansy Principle,
One-Act Festival, & Long Throw from Third.
My fiancé wouldn’t know any of these bands,
but music isn’t her thing. To be honest,
it isn’t much my thing either anymore.
Those abstruse bands of yore no longer
form the soundtrack to my life. Now I collect
formulae & spreadsheets, listening to the
musical equivalent of white noise as I
study important trends & track necessary data.

When your last song started playing,
Hakuna Lambada’s “Centennial Exhibition,”
I admit it did touch me a bit, made me nostalgic
for those younger, crazier times.

Don’t think I don’t appreciate the effort you put
into meticulously crafting this musical collage
for me and my intended. I do.
But that list was for someone that you used to know,
whose song no longer remains the same.

Author’s note: None of the music mentioned in the poem exists.

Gary Glauber is a poet, fiction writer, teacher, and former music journalist. His works have received multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. His two collections, Small Consolations (Aldrich Press) and Worth the Candle (Five Oaks Press), and a chapbook, Memory Marries Desire (Finishing Line Press), are available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and directly from the publishers.

Individual Humor, by Marilyn Braendeholm

Individual Humor
by Marilyn Braendeholm

I heard your voice
deep in the swirl
of a nautilus shell,

heard you laughing
in a language I
didn’t understand,

as if humor
was breath and blood.
A priest’s liturgy.

I often wonder which words
leave you humorless.
Which mantra unwraps you
like God’s gift.

It should be a birthright,
humor, like ears. Toes.
Feet have such a sad
sense, don’t you think.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Prompt 412.

Marilyn (aka Misky) Braendeholm’s work is regularly published in monthly issues of Waterways Poetry in the Mainstream, and Ten Penny Players.

Climbers Homeward Bound, by Robert Walton

Climbers Homeward Bound
by Robert Walton

Like friends parting
For uncertain journeys,
Clouds clasp hands on
An autumn moon.

The lake below muses,
On snow’s return,
Its black waters
Deeper than space.

What games we play
With mute mountains,
With moonlit clouds,
With puckish stars.

Check the anchor,
Clip to the rope,
And step into
Night’s granite belly.

 

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Photo: Climbing partner Dave Gregory took it of me some years back.

Process notes: I’ve been caught by night up high a number of times. I try in this poem to convey the mixed feelings this predicament inspires.

Robert Walton is a retired teacher, a lifelong rock climber and mountaineer. His writing about climbing has appeared in the Sierra Club’s Ascent. His novel, Dawn Drums, won the 2014 Tony Hillerman prize. http://chaosgatebook.wordpress.com/