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.

Discovery! by Patricia McGoldrick

Discovery!
by Patricia McGoldrick

Music of ancestors and Irish descendants—
That’s what I learned in grade 3
When Mrs. G. taught us to sing I’se the bye.

So many years later
on a summer family vacation
I met the people who sang these songs
From the west coast to the northern tip

I discovered
Newfoundland’s
Wildflowers and whales
Melt-in-your-mouth pastry
Partridge berries
Bakeapple jars of jam
Seafood chowder
Catfish and codfish
Kitchen parties
Viking settlements
Magma on Gros Morne Mountain
Former fijords at Western Brook Pond.

It is all digitized now on the machine* but in that summer
We learned about the loss of the cod fishery from a son who showed us
The lobster traps and the nets and the old shacks
We saw and felt and touched the artifacts of days gone by
Near green mountains with spots of snow
Rippling waters
Misty hazy foggy weather over bogs
nestling practically perfect pitcher plants,
Growing there, in the rich peat soil of Newfoundland,
With not so purple flowers, in the real.

*machine—Newfoundland slang for a computer

Patricia McGoldrick is a Kitchener, ON, Canada poet writer who is inspired by the everyday. Patricia is a member of The Ontario Poetry Society and the League of Canadian Poets. Visit her blog at patriciamcgoldrickdotcom or on Twitter @pmcgoldrick27.

Choking Out the Present, by Iris J. Arenson-Fuller

Choking Out the Present
by Iris J. Arenson-Fuller

In the City, where space
is a sought-after treasure
all living things seek out
corners or cracks to fill up
with prized possessions
or worthless clutter.

even the sidewalk cracks that were
once jumped over while singing rhymes,
have found their spaces filled with
migrant weeds escaping from
harsh confinement elsewhere.

their scraggly green heads pop up
to greet your beautiful feet as you
tiptoe around the dog mess, dodging
bold pigeons that scamper for bits
of stale New York pizza crust left by
Hansel and Gretel or a homeless dude.

now the rain teases our heads, foreplay
for the deluge that soon pours like
sorrows from my overflowing heart
as we kiss, then run for shelter, nodding
to the lions in front of the library who watch
me shake off the wet from my red shawl.

in my dreams, these memories pack tightly
into dusty old rooms I never knew existed,
soaking up tears, expanding like soggy bread,
they swell, they choke me into corners
where I crouch, crying the old grief away till
a new day wakes me again to reality.

your ghost still shows up after all these years,
spinning in white circles around my old body,
that you once loved, laughing, crunching leaves,
dancing me into a golden trance with your
hazel eyes and their subtle orange flecks,
that send me stumbling through the groundfog.

I wake and glue together the blurry pictures,
the far-away hum of ancient words that make
new mornings sticky with honeyed confusion,
wondering which memories are worthless clutter
in dusty frames, weeds choking out the present
without mercy.

Old Sorrows, New Poppies, by Iris J. Arenson-Fuller

Old Sorrows, New Poppies
by Iris J. Arenson-Fuller

Who doesn’t want springtime?
Whose bones are not in a state
of perpetual cold stiffness, yet moving
because we hold an imaginary whip
to make them creak or groan aloud?

Who doesn’t need brightness and warmth
to seduce us slowly, till we stretch
and sigh with almost-forgotten pleasure?
I know I want springtime, but maybe
you’re not ready to make the old sorrows
drip with the syrup of new life.

We watch through swirly window designs
painted by the black dog’s wet nose.
How soon will we spot the poppies
gone for decades after grief slammed us,
but that now revisit us in spring?

Grief covered our house, dark slimy algae.
We hostages looked out over barren yard,
scanned it with our eyes, mildly hopeful
in spite of it all, but no poppies chose
to fight a path out of earth to find the sun.

During sleep, some of you may dream
of red corn poppies, faces tipped up
to sultry afternoon sun, red balloons
of hope, symbols of new life emerging,
of abundance, and scary second chances.

Some people have dreams of black poppies,
opium poppies, symbols of death and doom.
I can tell you, though, that genus papaver,
much like us, returns only when ready
and not sooner, with an array of colors
and ways of showing up in the world.

If too many trees darken poppy potential,
they may hide their unrealized brightness
within the cold ground till nature signals
the all-clear, removing any obstacles.
and like us, they are resilient, even
when they don’t seem to know it.

If you’re not ready for spring,
won’t allow your bitter sorrows
to sweeten even one puny drop,
poppies may sprout unseen by you.
You must want to heal, want springtime,
want pain to leave without goodbyes.

You have to want all bare trees left behind,
with frozen door locks, slippery ice patches,
and with those cold, weary bones.
I know I want springtime, but maybe
you’re not ready to make the old sorrows
drip with the syrup of new life.

Iris J. Arenson-Fuller is a poet, mom, grandmother, credentialed life coach, and founder and former director of Thursday’s Child Adoption Agency for about 30 years. She has written poetry since the age of three, has been published in a variety of on line and print publications and a couple of anthologies. She gives poetry readings in her home State of CT. Her life and loss transformation coaching website’s here.

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