Taking The Chance, by Christopher Hileman

Taking The Chance
by Christopher Hileman

“Marry me,” I say,
casting all wisdom aside.

You look like a cat
looks to an entrapped
mouse and I change my whistle
from tenor to shrill
in that sudden squall
from a flensed and open heart.

I stand by my words.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 305.

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.

Closed Circle, by Salvatore Buttaci

Closed Circle
by Salvatore Buttaci

The bargains I made with life were games played
without rules or prior preparation.
I aimed for what greed dictated, fudged efforts
to reach goals, trying hard to climb each rung,
patted myself on the shoulder when I won;
kicked myself in the rear when I lost.

Life was a game of seasons. I watched flowers
grow, bargained with the wind, then sadly
watched them die in autumn. I marveled
at the floral cycle of life,
but never wondered about my own,
how the flight of time hardened the soft face

of youth, bent the bones, clouded the mind
and blurred the advent of my winter.
Like the drooping rose, I wait the clank
of shovel, the pings of clumped dirt,
a new spring, a new life, a circle closed.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 304.

Salvatore Buttaci won the $500 Cyber-wit Poetry Award in 2007. His story collections, Flashing My Shorts and 200 Shorts, were published by All Things That Matter Press. His work has appeared in such publications as The New York Times and The Writer. He and his wife Sharon reside in West Virginia.

No Regrets, by Salvatore Buttaci

No Regrets
by Salvatore Buttaci

Naysayers insisted I’d rue the day
I married a woman much younger than I,
but time has vindicated me of their folly
because not once have I ever regretted
taking Sharon for my loved and loving wife.
Love demands courage, a risking of the heart,
a deep plunge into unknown waters.

To not take the chance invites the pain of
loneliness, unshared light and darkness,
a heart crusted with sadness, an emptiness.
The only day we shall rue will be the closing
of our together life, but even then,
in our sorrow we’ll keep the faith alive:
Love never dies. We are forever.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 302.

Salvatore Buttaci won the $500 Cyber-wit Poetry Award in 2007. His story collections, Flashing My Shorts and 200 Shorts, were published by All Things That Matter Press. His work has appeared in such publications as The New York Times and The Writer. He and his wife Sharon reside in West Virginia.

Shadows of Memory, by Debi Swim

Shadows of Memory
by Debi Swim

We dwell in
a river of time
of eddies and currents
sharp rock and soft silt
beneath our feet
and the water flows,
trickles, rushes, floods
passing behind
as we stand in this moment
watching the water
flowing toward us
an eternity,
we hope, of spill.
Then that moment is gone
yet it is still now.
Soon you’ll be gone.
Soon, I’ll be gone.
Then we’ll just be
shadows of memory
wavering in the stream.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 300.

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

The Muldoon, by Salvatore Buttaci

The Muldoon
by Salvatore Buttaci

Worst place you can drop a melancholic boozer
Is some dew drop inn or Cliff’s Hangout or Saloon.
The muldoon can go from sober to fried-to-the-gills
quicker then you can say, “Make mine Bud,” and he often
does, socking steins away like a brewery fills
barrels. Don’t expect him to try something new.
St.Pauli’s Girl, Tuborg, even Miller. He’s a muldoon,
meaning he’s staunchly opposed to changing his mind.
The hour doesn’t matter. He’s got a lifetime to spit at time.
When the beer level suds up behind bloodshot eyes,
he starts singing old songs like “Heart of Gold,”
not that he has one, or “Maggy May” he never knew,
or “Hotel California” he couldn’t afford.
Besides, he hates the beach, those pesky flies, sand grains
in his sandwich or weighing down the foam
in his canned beer. “Last one,” says the bartender.
We’re closing up.” The Muldoon can hardly stand
but he orders two Buds, one for now,
the other for the road.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 298.

Salvatore Buttaci won the $500 Cyber-wit Poetry Award in 2007. His story collections, Flashing My Shorts and 200 Shorts, were published by All Things That Matter Press. His work has appeared in such publications as The New York Times and The Writer. He and his wife Sharon reside in West Virginia.

Foggy Dawn, by Christopher Hileman

Foggy Dawn
by Christopher Hileman

She said there’s room for
some kind of flash in the pan,
some flare up of hope,
some change in the shape
of slithery things to come
once the sun rises…

if the sun rises
on this latest weird damn day
of all the long days

that trail behind us
and are still rolling over
our crushed and shattered
arrangements and poise

(we had no right to them all)

as we lay them down
with the feathers shed
in our summer’s latest molt,

We call as swans do.
our bodies newly pink
and utterly bare.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 299.

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.

Picking Time, by Josh Medsker

Picking Time
by Josh Medsker

Hands purple with blackberries,
staining the rubber handles
on my primer blue Redline. We go

tearing down the hill, plumes fanning out
behind us in distant gravel.

Calves aching,
we find the new jumping place
behind Gladys Wood,
and spend the afternoon flying
and failing and flying higher
than we could have hoped,
groaning at dusk,
on the trudge back up home.

I feel the purple on my hands again
in my backyard garden
crushing the years between my worn knuckles
sending sweet fruit and memory to the wind.

Josh Medsker is a New Jersey poet, originally from Alaska. His work has appeared in many publications in the U.S. and abroad. For a full biography of Mr. Medsker, please visit his website http://www.joshmedsker.com

A Line In The Sand, by Debi Swim

A Line In The Sand
by Debi Swim

I look at earth, sea, air and all things therein. The detail, design, intricacy, variety, purpose, how things work together and it is a sign to me of something supernatural… other than. I see in all peoples a bent toward worship, service, and some acknowledgement of God that interprets itself into a religion. The very few who eschew the concept of a creator have rejected one God for another. They become their own god living for their own ends, gratified in their ability to shape their own lives, and answer to no one but their own conscience. It is all a choice. That I choose one over the other doesn’t make me more enlightened – or less so. I speak for myself, not for you. I’ve drawn a line between what I believe and what I can’t believe and those things I will take on shaky faith.

In this universe
immense and mysterious
there’s room for magic.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 289.

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

Alone Not Lonely, by Debi Swim

Alone Not Lonely
by Debi Swim

I didn’t choose solitude;
solitude chose me.
Hurry, bustle, noise
of the world bruised
my soul till I could not
hear the song of the lark,
the music of the wind,
the wisdom of the clouds,
the slow, steady pulse
of the earth’s heart
so I began to withdraw
to the subtle call of quiet.
She soothes my spirit
with whispers, calm,
colors of rich, luscious
hues of marigold sun
and turquoise skies
goose grey of storms
that toss the static and
spark of strife away.
Even this room from which
I write is so quiet I can hear
a faint hum, a strum of OM
nothing distracts. Solitude
chose me.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 294.

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

a child walks in the dark, by Darren Demaree

a child walks in the dark
by Darren Demaree

[what pleasure]

i told my children what pleasure is to you will dictate how much flesh of the bloom you pull out of your teeth what if i can swallow it whole what if i can swallow it whole what if i can swallow it whole they asked and i told them both that was boring and fascist but good for them i suppose

*

[an orange fruit bowl]

i told my daughter an orange fruit bowl is useless if there is no fruit in the bowl and she told me that was exactly what was wrong with boys

*

[drinking where the animals drink]

i told my son drinking where the animals drink is a lovely picture but once you’re with the deer you’re with the deer forever i know this as i am with the deer

Darren C. Demaree is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly (2016, 8th House Publishing). He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. He is currently living and writing in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.