Farm Near a Bend in River Tummel

“A Marsh Farm” Peter Henry Emerson (1886) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

 

Farm Near a Bend in River Tummel

By Jeffrey Alfier

 

Farm Near a Bend in River Tummel

There was a shed here once. If you look close,
you can see grass ghosting its outline.

Any tool the day required could be found here.
Tack, as well: bits, bridles, a harness or two.

Never mind weather; some days I think decades
of dad’s swearing finally brought it down,

his voice burning beams like fire. Rust crumbling
from the ledges didn’t help. Neither did I,

backing the Landini loader against its worst wall.
My brother and I once set a drowned ewe inside—

it was our fault—we’d left a gate open. Never told
dad. He found out, of course. But that was the day

he got word his father died up north, a fall down
stone stairs along a Stornoway quay.

Look: there’s two planks left from the door.
You can still make out where the lock used to be.

 

(from The Red Stag at Carrbridge: Scotland Poems Aldrich Press, 2016)

 

About the Author: Jeffrey Alfier is 2018 winner of the Angela Consolo Manckiewick Poetry Prize, from Lummox Press. In 2014 he won the Kithara Book Prize, judged by Dennis Maloney. Publication credits include Crab Orchard ReviewSouthern Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, Copper NickelEmerson ReviewIron Horse Literary ReviewKestrelHotel AmerikaMidwest QuarterlyPoetry Ireland Review and South Carolina Review. He is author of The Wolf YearlingIdyll for a Vanishing RiverFugue for a Desert MountainAnthem for Pacific Avenue: California PoemsSouthbound Express to Bayhead: New Jersey PoemsThe Red Stag at Carrbridge: Scotland PoemsBleak Music – a photo and poetry collaboration with poet Larry D. Thomas and The Storm Petrel: Poems of Ireland. He is founder and co-editor at Blue Horse Press and San Pedro River Review. An Air Force veteran, he is a member of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

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Possession Sound, Whidbey Island, Washington

 

Possession Sound, Whidbey Island, Washington

By Tobi Alfier

 

Possession Sound, Whidbey Island, Washington

The canyon water ran black,
the driftwood ran gray
on a day when
sky blended into sea
a seamless bone.

Slivered ancient trees.
Lines around the eyes
of wizened faces of locals
nearly worn away.
Old timber,

sharp to the touch,
piled at random
discovered at the end
of an uneven spider-webbed
path.

The lapping of tiny waves
announces a boat.
A fisherman, a net
all the same soft
icy hue.

Memory of an air-mail letter,
an atlas traced with music
softly playing behind
in pale yellow rooms.
Light candles,

listen to the drone
of seaplanes, shorebirds
hopping with schedules
we do not know.
Send books

to houses covered
with ancient vines, the
purpleness of ground
reflected in rot and neglected
beams.

You don’t have to tell
her you love her. All
this gray quiet splintered
silence tells her as if the sea
could spell

and you made this place
just for her.

.

(This poem original was published in the book Surface Effects in Winter Wind)

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About the Author: Tobi Alfier (Cogswell) is a multiple Pushcart nominee and multiple Best of the Net nominee.  Her chapbook “Down Anstruther Way” (Scotland poems) was published by FutureCycle Press. Her full-length collection “Somewhere, Anywhere, Doesn’t Matter Where” is recently out from Kelsay Books. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (www.bluehorsepress.com).

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Ballers 2, the Star’s Monologue 3

from The Meaning of Relativity by Albert Einstein

 

Ballers 2, the Star’s Monologue 3

By Tim Peeler

 

Ballers 2, the Star’s Monologue 3

So he puts X=6 on the board,
says I’m gonna show you
how to figure out this problem
and then starts drawing
all this other number stuff;
then pretty soon he’s back
to X=6 at the bottom.
So math is like this I think;
you remember when the kids
all went cruising,
into the downtown,
around the courthouse,
you know, back before the mall.
Now when they stopped at a light,
they would all get out,
run around the car
screaming and laughing,
get back in
when the light turned green.
They would of course be
in different seats,
but it would be
the same damn kids in the car;
that’s how math works.

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About the Author: A past winner of the Jim Harrison Award for contributions to baseball literature, Tim Peeler has also twice been a Casey Award Finalist (baseball book of the year) and a finalist for the SIBA Award. He lives with his wife, Penny in Hickory, North Carolina, where he directs the academic assistance programs at Catawba Valley Community College. He has published close to a thousand poems, stories, essays, and reviews in magazines, journals, and anthologies and has written sixteen books and three chapbooks. He has five books in the permanent collection at the Baseball Hall of Fame Library in Cooperstown, NY. His recent books include Rough Beast, an Appalachian verse novel about a southern gangster named Larry Ledbetter, Henry River: An American Ruin, poems about an abandoned mill town and film site for The Hunger Games, and Wild in the Strike Zone: Baseball Poems, his third volume of baseball-related poems.

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Pollock Paints Reflection Of The Big Dipper

“Reflection of the Big Dipper” By Jackson Pollock (1947)

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Pollock Paints Reflection Of The Big Dipper

By John Sweet

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pollock paints reflection of the big dipper


the sun too bright on saturday afternoon
and nothing i say worth
believing

listen

i love you

i’m afraid

all of these ideas
that become empty shells

the air cold where it
touches my fingers

shadows curved sharply up
the sides of houses
and down all of the meaningless streets
i’ve ever lived on

and what happens when every country
has been carefully defined?

why do we care if
certain babies are left to die in
windowless rooms?

i’ve got fences to build

holes to dig and nails to hammer

entire days to waste
holding objects in my scraped
and bleeding hands

and does it matter if the war is lost
when it’s fought 5000 miles away?

there are those who claim it does

there are instances when
i’m mistaken for my father

when all i can taste are his ashes

the phone ringing in
another part of the house while i
stumble drunkenly across the
bedroom

my friends dead or disappeared

my letters returned unopened

notebook after notebook
filled with words scribbled down and
then crossed out

not poems but prayers

not god but religion

small moments of illumination
that mean nothing in the end

.

About the Author: john sweet, b 1968, still numbered among the living.  A believer in writing as catharsis. Opposed to all organized religion and political parties.  His latest collections include APPROXIMATE WILDERNESS (2016 Flutter Press), BASTARD FAITH (2017 Scars Publications) and the limited edition HEATHEN TONGUE (2018 Kendra Steiner Editions).  All pertinent facts about his life are buried somewhere in his writing.

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SATURDAY POETRY SERIES PRESENTS: ERRIC EMERSON

By Erric Emerson:


MOTHERLESS

If I try eyes-shut hard;
recall the misty likeness of a stretcher
and air mask, a trailer lined with
ice-fangs in Napanoch, a red ball
I worshipped at three years old.

How your legacy sits in two boxes.
Poor math, crayoned stick-people,
tidy poems you wrote in the 80’s
             That are all
                                 formatted
                                                  like this.

Pour upon the wording, to have
known you. I scrounge your experiences
to exonerate my own.
The exactness of your malady, father’s
a How-To guide on being in one’s cups.

You get dry in centers and rooms,
found something God-like,
pressed petals between pages,
all piecemealed at my fingertips.

I’m faint praise as a pushing thirty
dry spell. Oh how our quenching throats beg,
didn’t and don’t they?

Pour upon the wording, to
know how. Yet, I’ll remain séance-less.
I’ve found something myself.

                                         How to speak.


TURNCOAT

I put my head on pillow
and wake up with the birds.

When I dream:

I’m adrift in a flowing sea
of rainbow-flavored liquor,
in a boat made from cheap cigarette
cartons, next to a whopper of an impression
of her, who loved my wrong,
who reminds me it’s 2007,
and promises I don’t have
to work tomorrow
or do anything else
ever again.



Today’s poems appear here today with permission from the poet.

Erric Emersony is a poet residing in South Philly, PA. He is a founding member of Duende literary journal for which he also served as poetry editor for the inaugural issue. He’s currently guest editor at Aji literary journal. Erric is a graduate of Goddard College’s Bachelor of Fine Arts Creative Writing program. His first collection, Counting Days, was published in December of 2017. He has published 40+ poems in 20+ magazines including: TL;DR, Crab Fat, The Black Napkin, The Disconnect, FIVE:2:ONE, Beautiful Losers, Prairie Margins, Neon, The Hungry Chimera, Control, Mead: Literature & Libations, Angry Old Man, Rat’s Ass Review, Gingerbread House, Willawaw, and Visitant.

Guest Editor’s Note: Erric Emerson’s poems build mood, feeling, and context by selecting precise details that tell deeply personal and emotional stories. In “Motherless,” Emerson combines distant memories–“the misty likeness of a stretcher / an air mask, a trailer with / ice fangs in Napanoch, a red ball”–with immediate sensations–“how our quenching throats beg”–to link a mother and son. Fragmented recollections from a harsh past and present connect mother and son without resorting to blame or sentimentality, creating a portrait of the two and their relationship both decades ago and today. “Turncoat” recreates a moment of waking when dream and reality combine in a guided wish for unconditional love from “her, who loves my wrong” with the need to escape–“promises I don’t have to / work tomorrow / or do anything else / ever again.” These poems and others in Counting Days are filled with fresh language and harsh realities that create moments and stories filled with deep emotion and angst.

Want to read more by and about Erric Emerson?
Buy Counting Days: Poems on Amazon
“Follow Suit” in Willawaw Journal
“Day One (Zero)” in The Black Napkin, Issue 6
“My Go-To’s” in Visitant


Guest Editor Alan Toltzis is the author of The Last Commandment. Recent work has appeared in print and online publications including Hummingbird, Right Hand Pointing, IthacaLit, r.k.v.r.y. Quarterly, and Cold Noon. Find him online at alantoltzis.com.

A NOTE FROM THE MANAGING EDITOR:

After nearly ten years as Contributing Editor of this series, it is an honor and a unique opportunity to share this space with a number of guest editors, including the editor featured here today. I am thrilled to usher in an era of new voices in poetry as the Managing Editor of this series.

Viva la poesia!
Sivan, Managing Editor
Saturday Poetry Series, AIOTB


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Standard Time

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Standard Time

By Stephen Roger Powers

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Standard Time

The highway to work was longer than usual
the first Monday after turning back the clocks.

My watch suggested I slow down.
You are not late enough, it said. Daydream some more.

Hood up, hands in his pockets, a boy waited
at the end of a driveway by a mailbox.

His jowly fawn boxer sat in charge
of watching the other direction for the school

bus, its muzzle and underbelly
white as a fence post.

My super vision cut a hole, like a glass on biscuit
dough, in the boy’s bag sagging at his feet.

His math homework wore a corsage
of purple jelly

thumb prints above the first story problem.
If you are traveling fifty miles per hour,

my watch said, and work is fourteen miles away
racing toward you a hundred kilometers per hour,

when and where will the train derail?
How long does it take the bullet to exit the barrel?

My eyes met the boy’s through the windshield
as I passed. He yawned contagiously.

The boxer’s little docked tail
bustled up leaves that matched its coat.

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About the Author: Stephen Roger Powers started writing poetry almost twenty years ago to pass time in the middle of the night when he was too energized to sleep after coming off the stage in comedy clubs around the Midwest. He is the author of The Followers Tale and Hello, Stephen, both published by Salmon Poetry. Other work has appeared in 32 Poems, Shenandoah, The Southern Poetry Anthology Volume V: Georgia, Rabbit Ears: TV Poems, and Stone, River, Sky: An Anthology of Georgia Poems. He hasnt done stand-up in a long time, but every once in a while he finds avenues for the performer he was born to be. He was an extra in Joyful Noise with Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton, and he can be seen if you know just where to look.

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A Murder

close up from “Fish Crow” by John James Audubon

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A Murder

By Ruth Bavetta

 

A Murder

Crescendo of crows, sinister
as black umbrellas preening

around an open grave, conclave
of shadows, damascene of dark.

Where gilded flickers filled the air,
there is only this enormous darkness.

Trees no longer brimmed
with tanagers or thrashers.

The hills have burned. Quail
and mockingbirds

have not returned. Soon
night will be the only color.

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About the Author: Ruth Bavetta writes at a messy desk overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Her poems have appeared in Rattle, Nimrod, Tar River Review, North American Review and many other journals and anthologies. Her books are Fugitive Pigments (FutureCycle Press, 2013) Embers on the Stairs (Moontide Press, 2014,) Flour Water Salt (FutureCycle Press, 2016.) and No Longer at This Address (Aldritch Books 2017.) She likes the light on November afternoons, the music of Stravinsky, the smell of the ocean. She hates pretense, fundamentalism and sauerkraut.

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