Sunday, March 20, 2022



I wish I had a poem for you

one that was lyrical and sweet 

A poem filled with love and joy 

that blossoms like flowers in Spring 

A poem not of fantasy woven 

spun half truths to make you fill whole 

A poem rich and hearty that sticks 

to your bones after you digest it 

I wish I could write of blissful memories 

dancing the ballet of tenacious gratitude 

A poem that’s layered and laced 

with graceful poignant words

A poem which paints like Monet in your mind 

across the canvas of this page

A poem with more than tragic memories

spewed out from my gut

I wish there was more to my story 

than grief and trauma – but then, I wouldn’t be me

Ukrainian soldiers and rescue officers search for bodies in the debris at a military school in Mykolaiv on Saturday. Russian rockets hit the school the day before.

Bulent Kilic/AFP via Getty Images

Its Spring! 

A time of bliss, blossoming flowers, 

and fruitful harvest

Birds sing melodies of new beginnings – 

a time of prosperity 

As the seedling lives of 109 children 

became planted strollers on Lviv’s historic square

Spring lost the sweet perfume of hope in the Ukraine

some 36 years ago in Chernobyl 

The Steel Sculptured Third Angel heralding heartache,

grief, loss, and sacrifice

While bombs continuing dropping

will some brave soul still ring the bell of memory 

April 25th draws near – I place my hand on my throat,

the cancer that may leak by a madman’s lust for dominance 

The Avenue of the Exclusion Zone 

adorned with the signs of every evacuated village

This new road of blood and bone paved by the brave lives lost 

for the survivors of this war what will they call it 

Will Ukrainians once again dance 850°c from the surface of the sun

radiating a fantasy of living a life free from eradicated desolance 

In the Ukraine they don’t pick flowers in Spring 

they dig through the rubble 

Picking out bodies that withered like weeds 

from the poisonous blast of greed 

image from npr article dated March 19th here is a link to the article

Clint Johnson AKA Saint Ice


Please Baby Please

I need you as I need air to breathe

like a blind man needs Braille to read

I need you as soil as I am planting my seed

I desire to touch your innermost parts

I need you to send the oxygen into my heart

you best believe it's you that I need

come to me sweetie and soon you will see

I need you as the earth needs the universe

I need you that bad; no, even worse

I need you like a kitten needs milk

like a worm spin silk as that and

that's the way we are built

You best believe it's you that I need

come on sweetie and soon you will see

I'm feeling you like a tiger feels his stripes

as a scented candle lighting the night

I need your smile so warm and bright

I need you like a body needs skin

I need you to be my abyss so I can fall deep within

You best believe it's you that I need

come to me sweetie and soon you will see

Aldonia R Bailey

Artwork by Regina Higgins

The Beat Goes On And On 

So many cuts like a diamond. 

Am I Screwed?

So many cuts and corners grooves and curves,

so many joints 

So many crooked and straight lines growing  veins and vines, time after time

Pumping and thumping 

fluctuating and rotating

Fluently through the cycle, eliminating the waste 

without any haste. 

The mind don't mine a shot of Dopamine,  endorphins,serotonin 

A cellular level so high you feel so fly and the beats go on.

Plasticity sparks of energy bursts in the nooks and crannies of the cerebral cord pockets of thoughts.

Circulating tantalizing, exiting,  Vibrating  my amenities at large,  I want iiii need iiii 

My identity my life divinity like the computer hard wire, super fired 4-5 g energized freely connected to the juice for protection.

I  want to be free, no illness or covid you see. 

Let me live in peace, survive, and thrive in abundance; no lack, no fear.

Hope and faith that's my gear, live let live my dear. 

And the beat goes on and on and on

Joseph Nicks

Street Face by Dig Wayne 

Springtime for Putin

Russia was in trouble, a third rate first-world power

Needed a new Kruschev to make other nations cower

Not a pussy Gorbachev of Soviet disunion

They staged a coup for me and you

No ballots to slog through

‘Cuz now it’s

Springtime for Putin’s Sovietry

Stand up to that bully Ukraine

Liberate millions of refugees

Make them all pay for such luxuries

As medicine, shelter, and food

Springtime for Putin in harmony

With terrorists, fascists, and czars

Nuking The New World and NATOists

‘Til all that’s left standing is ours

Springtime and dancing in Putingrad

Republicans jealous as hell – 




I’m not gonna waste a whole page here

tryin’ to compete with Mel Brooks,

even though I sorta just did

ain’t a goddam thing funny about any of this – 

this fucker is easily the second stupidest

world leader we’ve seen in the last half decade

and it would be funny as hell, just like it used to be 

in America, watching someone as dumbassedly

incompetent as he is narcissistic and conscienceless

it would be, that is, if hundreds of innocent and

beleaguered people weren’t being killed every day

look, there isn’t even really a poem here – 

how can this kind of shit inspire anything poetic?

how can it elicit any response but abject rage

to watch the whole world watching

and wringing their helpless hands

while another outnumbered outgunned underdog

is pounded within inches of its life?

anyway, I’m outa here – 

I got nothin’ to say that y’all ain’t already

thinkin’ and feelin’ yourselves, so

good night, and good luck...

Anna C Broome

The Tornado

A tornado 

Has no intent

Not to lay waste

To land

To reduce house

To ground

Not to spiral

Out of control

A man’s fears



As the storm nears


The scream of cylindrical 

Wind destroy

What he can’t 


A tornado

Just is

Never pretends

To be a friend


Or in the end

To make amends

For its destruction

It can’t transcend

As retribution 

For crime

Or corruption

An electric chair

Without either an


Or a prisoner

Doesn’t exist

to cross off 

Its list

The crime

Or the criminal

Or the best


A tornado

Can’t live in the mind

Of a wife

With her head

In the oven

In her hand

A knife

Serving a mandatory


For losing a 

Husband, more

A bystander,

Without any sense

Than a lover

To a coven

For  reason

a man

Can’t comprehend

Can’t defend




Passed down

from woman

To woman

A tornado

On the surface

Not justice

Not a spell 


To suspend

Life and death

To pretend

There is a healing

To extend

But in reality

A female’s

Return to sanity

Is never met

With profanity

But with a penalty

For not being male


Saturday, March 19, 2022

R A Ruadh

from the Kingfisher archive

Second coming

Spring does not exist

Oh it winks and flirts all right

But if you are looking for reality

Forget about it

Spring is smoke and mirrors

For a couple of days the sap runs

Then there is a week or two

Of frostbitten days and snowy nights

The lily sprouts have poked back under the dirt

Perhaps the crows joined the snowbirds

For southern sunny gossip

Leaving northern ears empty

At last comes the equinox

The resurrection

Longer days of seedling promise

It’s all about faith

I don’t know where the groundhog went

There are no paw prints

In April


Thom Garzone

from the Kingfisher archive

Pondering Aimee

I fell asleep dreaming of Aimee

fantasizing I was in love,

harmonizing a frail depth of dawn,

its enigmatic answer

I wondered while sleeping

counting the sheep of other colors,

in the playground of my mind

remembering my bizarre glimpses of madness

I awoke thinking of Aimee

recalling I haven’t had a companion

since the nineties,

a sharp void within my sexual confusion,

my lost days and decades I’ve squandered

like a greedy merchant in markets of time

I made breakfast visualizing Aimee

in my grilled eggs and sausage

reflecting from the plates and silverware,

recollecting echoes when we saw Twelfth Night;

hence, to greet this grave soul

only with a redemption for passion

I wished I had made love to Aimee

thinking, dreaming, feeling her limbs

entwined with mine, my soul joined with hers

linked forever by some uncanny irony

from the Kingfisher archive

Solo Trek in June

A highway opens, barren, free, but useful

Time inherits me, Idaho’s son

driving east on I-84

listening only to the silence of my soul

watching desert’s bugs splatter against my windshield

I pass one town where once taking refuge

it had towered upon a delivered height,

and I recall when it led to crags braced before

an earthly yet heavenly domain

Below me, the meandering Snake River

follows my brain with its release

Horses, mules, bulls, goats, and the

landscape that flows with crops

moors me to its power

Nature brings me to my destination

as I slow down for towns & their low speed limits

till then I find the oasis sunken

in a wondrous glow of horizon’s end I seek

from the Kingfisher archive

The Yard and the Myth

Thoughts and memories of softball fields, feeling as high as
a nine or ten-year old could feel kids weave
in and out, en mass
all confused by religion
wondering about the universe
waiting to find love
Your yard played with paradise ever-changing
field of fantasy, crowded with strange faces who had orange
or straight black, oily hair, raspy voices, neighbors but distant in urban borders
As two boys we still resonate in my senses
who’d hang upside down from trees letting blood rush to our heads
scraped & scuffed up at the knees as though medals of honor
or lost in the hours we’d squander on the Catholic school parking lot
Hints of your family dynamic existed long before we officially met
I had known of your blended Irish blood, and the Brennans from the schoolyard
Your sister often chased me over your moist lawn, and under mid-Atlantic
rain, you and I questioned when the Cubs would win the World Series
and hoped the Yanks would be next
Our introduction was like taking a course, Friendship 101,
you, a consummate professor of trust, unbroken in bonds, while I based
my future narratives on the remembrances of the avenues we played upon

Years later I’d see you in a dream puzzled & recalling
‘71 or ‘72 when we’d hide below the foundation of your house
in the stealth shaft, smelling of the structure’s stale underbelly
restricted only by the images out of our own breath
we dreamed aloud sharing secrets like trading baseball cards
telling tall tales, childhood fables, inhaling the putrescent
dust beneath Bradley Avenue
So there lies the question of where had you vanished to
after moving to Virginia Had you become a farmer or
miner, laboring all day long with both our images in your mind?
Can you recollect my mother’s savory chocolate chip cookies
and her baking that melted on your palate many a time?
Truth be told, every lie I spewed never matched yours,
not my delusions, nor fiction I may admit my creations
harbored in those fibs of boyhood that nurtured me as a storyteller
who often rambles with dreamy myths born from reality
Have you procreated an army of Irish children
all crimson-haired with freckles and buck teeth?
Did you ever try out for shortstop on the Yankees or joined the
Navy like you had wanted? Or had it only been a dream?

Lori Wall-Holloway

Photo by Donna Hilbert

Along the Highway

Trees clothed in spring

leaves sway back 

and forth in unison

along the highway

Do they move because of wind

created by speeding cars?

Or does God’s sweet breath 

push them to dance to nature’s 


I wonder while I strain to see 

branches wave to me as I pass 

Photo by Donna Hilbert

Fresh View

Dark, grey mists 
hug sky blocking the sun
Winter struggle creates insecurity 
and I am unsure what will be
as I watch chapters of my life turn
while previous seasons drift away

But do they really leave
or do they converge
into something else?
A foggy view causes questioning 
of past moments in my life
as I wrestle with myself

Slowly, a clearing comes into focus
I come out of a time of darkness
and stop to reflect before
building an altar of memories 
to pass down lessons learned 
to generations following 

An illuminated freshly made 
path points to an unknown place
My trust in God leads me to step
into a spring of newness
where I believe a greater faith
will emerge and sprout
with buds of new growth

Photo by Donna Hilbert

Spring Delight

What great joy to plant
seeds of knowledge deep in minds
of loving children 
Water with care and trust they
blossom with understanding

Linda Neal

Photo by Donna Hilbert



I wish I could believe in spring

in newness and grass. I wish I could trust

god’s ventriloquism.

But I have seen too much rain

too many mudslides

and felt my own skin

rippled and scarred.

I’ve seen a scuttle fish in the mirror

in spite of a shower

that’s supposed to clean and renew me.

I am a lump of flesh

with a limited life, so Easter holds no

promise for me, no safe place

or day, because all of my life

borders unknown lands

and the white-crested waves

at the beach where I walk.

Photo by Donna Hilbert

Spring Fire

Spring is a season and a prison where desires burn 

unbidden. I hose down the brick patio, feel bad, 

using water this way, but if I stop, dog shit sticks 

to the bricks, with flies and maggots on the surface,

so I turn the jet on full force. Overspray beats

the night's dreams into a rainbow of water around

my feet, and I beat my way into the rhythm of the garden,

wet drop by wet drop. I remember the cadence of our days 

together, lounging our way out of sex, you lean

and watery, picture of spring music, an unforgettable

season, yourself. How you loved bare walls, bare trees, our

bare limbs intertwined. Now, the labile sky changes, 

cloud by cloud, rose bushes ruffle their petticoats, doves sing 

a song I don't understand, and finches build nests 

high in the bamboo. Iris bulbs push their leaves through 

the soil beneath the plumeria, and the purple pansy in its pot 

on the garden table raises its head in the breeze. I'm on fire — 

all this color, all these birds, a single ridged shell 

from a summer ago sitting on the edge of the fountain,

the ocean pounding against the sand in the distance.

I feel the same desire I did when you were a season, 

and I was Spring.

Photo by Donna Hilbert

Poems That Come in Spring

Poems that come in spring

are not hot like summer swimmers;

they don't bask in the sun

and some people would say

they are temperate, no kelvin scale in their skin.

They barely remember risky dives under water,

the time they kicked dead leaves on a sidewalk 

or stood on top of a snow-covered mountain

on a couple of skinny boards.

They don't like to swim

they don't like pumpkins or Halloween

and they don't like ice-slick sidewalks.

They are happy to sit by a stream

count the bubbles on the surface

listen to fish gulp and smell wet grass. 

Poems that come in spring are lonely.

Everything they know has blown away

or melted, or hasn't come yet.

Judy Barrat

Photo by Donna Hilbert

The Arrival

Too many days when the chill 

is too much to bear 

gray clouds fill the sky

sidewalks are snow-covered

much of life has succumbed to gloom

A tiny crocus pushes its little 

yellow head through the snow 

creates an unexpected light

a smile in the midst of sadness

a prelude to coming Spring


Lion and lamb reconcile 

chrysalis morphs into butterfly

despair into rhapsody of joy

and hope and in an instant

darkness becomes light

The dreary world is a symphony 

of red, white, gold and green 

as what seems overnight 

trees and flowers birth new life  

in a blaze of color and fragrance

Bears bats chipmunks squirrels

come out of winter hideaways

to find mates and proceed

as Mother Nature has directed

Love is everywhere

Spring has arrived!

Jeffry Michael Jensen

Springtime for Visceral Nonsense with Pictures


I caught up with her outside of the dining room

before I could be seen by others invited for this unmasking occasion.

She was not alone and talking was going to be difficult at best.

She is never alone—she doesn’t do alone at any time of the day or night.

I’ve called most of the men and women in her life to have been my friends for the most part.

I’m not fond of sitting next to friends who know how to yank my chain.

So many of those arriving have illustrious anarchist roots that go way back.

I would rather listen to vintage “Burns & Allen”on the radio sitting in my Kia Sportage.

I’m good at keeping my head down in the parking lot

with bewilderment turning into comic madness at the drop of a hat.

The disposable crowd was bumping against my patience with great fervor.

Probably, I was going to have to find a seat at the able and play

Valley games that only neurotic poets have any idea how to play.

I was carrying a marked-up poetry manuscript under my right arm

that she had taken the time to make frightful suggestions.

But if I wanted her to stay around, I had to live with her digging at my word choices.

Maybe I should turn into some random fantasy character who doesn’t give a flying fajita.

Yes, that strategy would definitely turn down the heat.

Should I go for the Invisible Man, Frankenstein’s monster, or maybe something more obscure.

I opened the next door I came to—not always very smart—and I fell

into a North African desert or it could be the desert from the movie Dune.

I say “absurd,” while someone else goes with “certifiable”—but it all gets us

nowhere closer to having a ham sandwich for lunch,that is it looks like

we all have taken the plunge into the nonsensical springtime vapor

that hangs over the Valley on most weekdays and sometimes Saturday if it drizzles.

Rick Leddy

Sunflower Trio by Michelle Angelini


It is Spring

And sunflowers cowl, 

waiting to exhale bright and large

above hate-scorched earth

It is Spring

The soil sown red and wet

Inhaling last breaths

Burying muffled moans 

Absorbing the lost light of a generation

It is Spring 

Eclipsed by shadow of murderous intent

Showers hurtling cold and distant fire

Tendril-arms reaching sunward

Praying from buried concrete fear

Grasping hands now carved with thick, dark lifelines

It is Spring

A triumphant fantasy

trampled under thick, muddy boots

Teardrops watering the blooms

of never-ending winters

Life's end by Michelle Angelini

Simple Bouquet

They were buying flowers

For their daughter

It was a simple bouquet

Of yellow flowers 

Small, delicate suns peeking amid a soft vermillion sky 

of leaves speckled with white baby’s breath

It reminded me of the days to come

The whispered promise of hope

Of long shadows and bright tomorrows

They were buying flowers

For their daughter

To lay at her grave

The child they had lost to pandemic

And I didn’t know what to say

“I’m so sorry. I really am,” I said

But, it was feeble and lost 

Just a scream in a hurricane

As they nodded and smiled sadly

Taking a dozen yellow suns

To share with their daughter

On this lovely Spring day

Friday, March 18, 2022

Erick Harmon


Dean Okamura

"Flowering tree" Befunky, watercolor dlx 1, warmer tones 3 (2022)

A fantasy spring


                        A fantasy 


        out of      reach 

                                Grabs hold 


                my attention. 

                                            I wonder, 



        always there?      Present? 



                inside      struggling 



                        my belief. 

                                            I wonder, 



       always there?      A spring 



                deep in      the ground 



                        my soul. 

                                            I wonder, 

                        Why did I 


        accept      these graces? 

                                        Why did I 


                        my silly ambitions?

"Nightingale in field of sunflowers" (2022)

Pure fantasy


The bear performed poésie argumentative 

filled with scenes of female intimacies. 

A protest of violation, gross unfair treatment 

that no man could challenge without broaching offense. 

His schemes hidden 

beneath layered skirts of feminine privacy. 

Bears, he said, 

Must roam vast fields of sunflowers. 

Then emphasized 

green traditional lands of far eastern bears. 

Next, these scholars 

listened to a tiny nightingale. 

They expected a cheerful song of spring, 

yet the young bird could not embody the melody. 

Simple feelings said little bird, 

Mister bear never mentioned love. 

Simple wishes sang little bird,  

Let me tell you a secret. 

The male scholars followed 

the child’s advice. 

They resigned their seats to — 

Loving mommies. 

"Existence drifts" (figurine by Hiroko Igeta) (2022)


Can a fiery dream take you away? 

                            You lose your mind. 

                                 Your body still functions. 

                            Your soul explores secret, unspeakable worlds. 

                     The heart beats, lungs fill with air, stomach digests food, 

               nutrients replenish, micro-operations at every level continue. 

                              Lungs breathe out, colon empties, bladder releases, 

                your body’s pilgrimage treks through imaginary landscapes. 

                                     Or maybe it doesn’t travel but stays stationary 

                                         to retain its two-meter space in the universe. 

                        Existence drifts 





                                               The body sleeps, waiting for your return. 

                                                                         The return of your mind. 

                                              The end of the dream that took you away. 

It started when you blew out your first birthday candle. 

                           The fumes of particles disappeared into the sky. 

                              Not gone forever, but came back spark of ash, 

                           becoming parts of the candle again. 

We eagerly await the candle’s renaissance. 

     We do. 

We wait. 

Yet, no one has seen the wonderful candle 


untouched by fire. 

Marsha Grieco



Charles Harmon

March Madness Manic Moodday

Nothing like a Spring fantasy to give your heart wings,

to put a spring in your step and set your mind flying!

Springtime awakens the hearts and souls of Poets

and lovers and romantics everywhere. Even in La La Land!

But it coincides with March Madness, the NCAA College

Division 1 men’s basketball tournament in which 68 teams

compete until the Final Four for the national championship.

But I don’t know anything about college basketball, although

I used to take Dad to UCLA games because he had played ball

at Kansas and taught teachers how to teach ESL at UCLA.

But most of us could not play college sports—we are Poets!

So, as they are changing rules to let men compete against women,

we're changing the rules to let poets play against basketballers,

and we might as well go large or go home and take on the Pros!

And we get to use our secret weapons and super powers,

for the pen is mightier than the sword!


So, the All Star Poets team lineup faces off against pro legends.

First there is the poetry King, Kingfisher, facing off against

Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt the Stilt is famous not only for scoring

thousands of points on the court, but also for scoring thousands 

of times in the bedroom. But romantic poet Kingfisher is the king of

romantic poetry, and once he recites some love verses, Wilt slinks

off in embarrassment to console himself at a “Dunkin’ Donuts.”


Next up is a face off between Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 

and GT “Good Trouble” (or is it “Good Times”), 

the Poetry King of humor. GT recites verses so funny

that Kareem doubles over in laughter, allowing GT

to slam dunk with a 48 inch jump shot a la Spud Webb. 

Next up Poet “Jackie C” faces off against Le Brawny

“King James,” who laughs so hard at the sight of the

petite poet that he falls on the floor. He demands a

second chance, so JC changes tactics and speaks so

profoundly beautiful a love poem that Brawny J

sinks crying to the floor, overcome with emotion 

while the poet tosses in a three pointer from mid court.


Shaquille O’Neal might seem invincible with his massive

size and physical advantages, but Thelma the Poetry Queen

is serious competition for the big guy. For one thing, her

husband was a coach as well as a math teacher, so she knows

all the angles and how to calculate the odds. Her Shaq attack

of beautiful verses causes O’Neal to roll away like a wheel. 

Kobe may be in basketball heaven, but he is one of the

Immortals, so of course the Mamba Man can stage a comeback.

But so can CaLokie the Poet and you know it! And he shows it!

He recites his poem, “An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind,” 

and sure enough it works and makes Kobie temporarily blind, 

so Cal runs circles around Ko and sinks a dozen three pointers.


Then there’s Larry Bird, the self-described “Hick from French Lick.” 

Thus proving he’s not only a great basketball player but also

a pretty good poet for an athlete. So, who can beat the Bird Bard?

Well, if he’s gonna cheat by recitin’ with white lightnin’, then Poets

gonna cheat by triple teaming him. So the two Beverly Hills join up 

with Lori for glory and sing a sound in a round to surround 

Larry the Legend until he’s too dizzy to jump or shoot. Poetry wins again!

But who can possibly shoot down “Air” Jordan, the Raging Bull?

It would have to be double teaming by “Jumpin’ Josh” combined

with Rad Radomir, the “Miracle Man.” These virtuosi of the verbal

make words take flight and fly high in the sky even beyond the reach

of MJ “Rare Air,” “It’s gotta be the shoes!”  Another win for the Poets! 

But the Ballers have unleashed their secret weapons, Pavel Podkolzin, 

the tallest player in the league, their secret weapon from Russia.

But he does not come from Russia with love! He seems to be sent 

as a special envoy from Stalin, I mean Putin. Of this there's no dis-Putin!

He is joined by Yao Ming from Beijing, another Commie sent from Xi Jin Ping!

They stand athwart the hoop and block the goal so the Poets can score no more.

But wait! Something's happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear. 

There's a boxer run out on the court wearing nothing but his boxer shorts,

but he's not here to play basketball--he's here to help the Poets!

It's Muhammad Ali, the Greatest, who also is a poet. He recites:

    "Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, 

    the hands can't hit what the eyes can't see!" 

And he's joined by another boxer/poet, Mike Tyson, the haiku poet, who declaims:


    everybody has a plan

    until you get punched 

    in the mouth

Together the boxer poets put their words into action until the big men retreat

from the goal, allowing the Poets team to continue shooting their words in. 

But no one can stand beside Magic Johnson unmasked without holding their breath, 

so how can poets defeat him without speaking? Hmmm. 

This sounds like a job for a magical poetry circle. 

So, all of the afore named Poets form a circle around Magic and chant poetry at him. 

Even the Magic Man cannot resist the magical poetic words, and

he cannot jump over them or break on through to the other side, 

so Magic is overthrown, and the Poets win this contest 

just in time for National Poetry Month and the NBA playoffs can wait until Summer. 

But that's another poem.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Michelle Smith

Peppermint petals

Camellias in winter bloom

It's spring in February 

Tish Eastman

The Gardener

I was a Pansy-shy Wallflower

My eyes lowered to cool earth

Then you came, Marigolden-haired

Corn Cockle bold

Snap Dragon brazen

Your Tulips dripped promises with sweet Baby’s Breath

Irises reflected my longing

You wooed your pink Naked Lady

With coiled Trumpet Vine embraces

I was singing Morning Glory, Sweet William!

Then you left, uttering 

Forget Me Not, My Flower of an Hour

Deep Violet remorse

He loves me not he loves me not he loves me not 

Daisy plucked bare

In time I stood again, blazing, Torch Ginger-emboldened

My eyes upraised to Wild Rose tomorrows

So come back, my Calla Lily lover, so I may tell you 

What I have learned 

About soil and fertility

And what you can do 

With your Aster and a Red Hot Poker. 



Jacarandas in purple

Like a procession of kings

Draped in rich ostentation

But dynasties fail

Unappreciated blooms

Drift on Sleeping Toyotas

There Is A Season

The final train hissed into the station
the red-lacquered engine
reaching its last destination 

I stepped onto the platform, alone  

The Summer Palace was nearly empty
women allowed their children to play 
in a garden newly fragrant with Spring
as if there had been no war

In the kitchen a feast from long-ago Autumn
had been abandoned in panicked haste
dusty mounds of gray-green mold
tossed out, the waste regrettable 

We worked as strangers, in silence
a Chinese woman hefted an iron pot 
glaring at me, unsmiling
I backed away, ashamed of my fear 

But I had seen such atrocities 
it would be long before I trusted again
I was called three times, before I would return 

by an ancient man who outlived many wars

Later we few sat together
around the freshly scrubbed wood table
savoring fragrant half-filled rice bowls

as we planned how we might survive 
the coming Winters

Maria A Arana

Artwork by Regina Higgins

Spring Fantasy


you see a locking-glass lake

I see the other side to the end


you see the tranquil rocks sunbathing for eternity’s sake

I see the crushed skeleton of what once was


you see the flock of birds inviting you to join their dance high above the tallest trees

I see their escape from a world dying


and the breeze passes gently on our shoulders

as we realize

the world whispers that we’re strangers once again




Artwork by Regina Higgins

it’s like a picture being erased


moments together


words spoken


strolls along the waterfall



it’s not a goal to forget

            but a necessity


often I wonder the days

it would take

to pluck the thoughts

from my head

but as the mantra is forgotten

so is the transition




Artwork by Regina Higgins

the murmur



nature always hands

one minute

dragon blood

the next



a future longing

ready to steal 

Alicia Viguer-Espert

Photo by Michelle Smith

Spring Showers

Calm and balmy the afternoon settles on its haunches,

only a few tulips leaning on a vase’s edge tremble.

Above a window, clouds’ chorus singing rain smell

of earth not damp yet, perfectly hardened by the sun.

Thirty years ago, we were together holding guitar’s

colored ribbons, tying them around our hearts,

I wanted you to know my country, as I know yours,

now, it’s too late, ruined by broken parts flying away,

still my heart dances everywhere, here with you in LA, 

in Spain with my sisters, in Aix-en-Provence’s lavender fields,

a colored ping pong ball, small, playfully bouncing 

with delight in my mind’s Mediterranean nourishing light.

The unstoppable night coaxed the rain to deliver its melody

of drops gladdening not only frogs but bees, and pollen.


Identical drops sprinkle sky, sea, the light-colored night,

while an iridescent moon searches for herself in broken puddles.  

Previously Published in Spectrum, Special Edition

Ten Poets to Watch in 2018

Photo by Michelle Smith

Spring by the Shore

Crystal from ancient Roman vases fills the air,

on my hands, a glass of jasmine tea already cooled

reflects the edge of waves

rolling over golden silica.  

Small children take their clothes off

before drawing with a weathered stick 

names on the sand inscribing them for eternity.

The breeze carries scents of iodine and fried calamary,

the sky, a Virgin Mary’s blue mantle invites 

the mind to distill cosmic dreams.

There’s a reason why Easter beckons

to rejoice kissing, rope jumping, kite flying,

expand our lungs with songs of renaissance

while flowers open up infinite doors


in the heart of the earth.

Photo by Michelle Smith

Spring Water

Water flowing from the creek splatters 

trails, pilgrims, the hem of dresses.

The hour, biblical in its light, romantic

in its hues, illuminates roots from saplings

tender as fruit just peeled by a young 

hand working on the fields, soft smile

on her lips as she licks running juice 

down her chin, and looks straight

at you sitting on the moss-cold stone

mesmerized at the sight of her beauty,

the particular fragrance of this water

so unlike yours down the city.

Every town has its own sweet water,

herb-bitter in taste, transparent in color,

icy to the touch, persistent in its way 

of softening rocks, grabbing pebbles,

cleaning the earth until everything

smells green, refreshed, present,

until the tip of your tongue yearns

to touch it again as it flees mountains.

Perhaps, one day you’ll return to the brook,

drink from it, taste the young girl smelling

of orange blossoms and harvested hay,

fill your canteen, then, write about it.   


Shih-Fang Wang

Sketch by Geoffrey Levitt

Spring is Getting Old

Spring always comes back

No matter how old I am

Somehow each returning spring 

Seems older than the previous 

Though every spring is fresh and new

Reflected from my eyes

Its luster is getting dimmer

Perhaps my failing sight is to blame

For aging the season

As when spring comes back

It still chases away winter chill

But days are warming up too soon

Where is the freshness of the vernal breeze

The sweetness of the spring air 

And what about the spring rains 

They used to moisten the earth 

Bring back green grass and colorful flowers

Promise good harvests for crops

Look at the dry cracked lands 

They used to be lush fields 

Weaving spring fantasy

Now they are like Earth’s aged skin

Full of wrinkles

Oh! spring is getting old

Sketch by Geoffrey Levitt


She hated all 

Her daughter 

Who brought her here

Those strangers surrounding her

In this place

She missed her home

Where she raised her children

All grown up and left

Where frustrations and fantasies 

Were woven into her life in days of yore

Only memories left 

But they are slowly evading her 

Just like her failing strength 

Leading to her many falls

And loss of her independence

Though she refused to accept 

This place as her home 

Insidiously her resistance

was yielding inch by inch

The nurses’ tender care

Gradually softened her heart 

And expelled her aversion

Unknown since when 

She has started

To call this place her home


Painting by Geoffrey Levitt

Spring Lost 

It’s time for spring to return

En route it got lost

Its view is obscured by gun smoke

Its returning path bombed

Spring can’t find a detour 

Roads are occupied

By miles of the invader’s tanks 

And trucks loaded with ammunitions

Spring is deeply saddened

Lands are scorched by fireballs of bombs

No trees or grass left to be awakened

No flowers will bloom under rubbles

So many homes were blasted by enemies

Millions of people fleeing in panic

No laughter will be heard  

When snow thaws, days turn warm

Spring is wailing helplessly

It is going to be strangled

Single-handed by the barbaric warlord

Desperately it is screaming for help 

Mark A Fisher

from the Kingfisher archive


spring ain’t here yet

she’s dancing up the hillsides

to the beat of birdsong

pouring wildflowers

across a greening canvas

spring ain’t here yet

with snow still forecast

coming in for a moment

to close the town down

but merely for a day

of deserted slushy streets

spring ain’t here yet

the neighbor’s fruit trees

have already bloomed

and bees are buzzing

‘round my rosemary

still bent from the last snow

spring ain’t here yet

I see heron’s bill flowers

wilting in pulled piles of weeds

while raven’s croak pick-up-lines

and do their sexy dance

‘neath the tree they’ll nest

spring ain’t here yet

the other day I saw a swallow

as winter’s grip loosens

while the sun moves on north

and the constellations change

much like in ancient days

but — spring ain’t here — yet

from the Kingfisher archive

Zzyzx Road

I-15 right before Baker ending at Soda Springs

where Mojave Tui Chub swim the salty water

flowed through sand to reach the surface and sun

lizards lie still in rocky washes themselves to sun

as young desert bighorn in abandon spring

on hillsides far away from the smell of water

seldom here come storms to water

wildflower seeds waiting beneath the desert sun

for when everywhere the vernal bloom springs

to wash like water suddenly springing

against the rocky shore below a kinder sun

Monday, March 14, 2022

Scott C Kaestner

Glitch photo by Robert Wilson

Spring Showers

Let’s grow weird together

hold hands

stroll through fields of tulips

                    in the rain

our fate serenaded by thunder

                                      a ray of light

peeking through the cloudscapes

we are together

tangled in the web of what could be

                            we are a dream

soaking up the showers of Spring. 

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Marianne Szlyk

Painting by Geoffrey Levitt

Respite in the City of Fog

After Hung Ju Kan, Density Versus Emptiness-20-9, 2021 

and Density Versus Emptiness-20-8, 2020

Wearing a mask on the spring Saturday 

when everything’s opening up again,

he wanders through the park he calls nameless.

He knows some would ask the old men who stare

from windows and porches.  Some would Google.

He could ask the leaves but prefers not to. 

Elsewhere maskless people parade up and

down streets past restaurants and stores they once

frequented, once worked in, once aspired to.

But today is a day of respite.  Sea-

green fog reaches for sunlight that will push

it away soon.  Thick, olive leaves promise

scented shade for when the sun becomes strong.

Red roses flicker.  Young butterflies bless

leaves, twigs, grass, empty Red Bull cans, and

the artist who imagines she wanders 

through an old painting she once glimpsed in school,

through the painting she will begin soon. 

Originally published in MacQueen’s Quinterly, August 2021

Painting by Geoffrey Levitt

Music in a Spring of Wind and Rain

Piano notes and drumbeats flow,

a waterfall contained in a courtyard.

I imagine a friend, a jazz poet, listening to this 

while his lizard-like mountains bask in fierce sunlight.

The music he heard at their feet was smoke and ash,

rising from parched ground, permeating hair and skin.

Words drifted through like trash or tumbleweed

while smoke hovered over parched ground.

Fountains had been shut down.

Only pennies remained.

Outside the courtyard where I sit, 

rain plunges down the hotel’s façade,

overflowing the sidewalk’s fountains. 

Everything I hear is water.

Originally published in Poetry en Plein Air (Pony One Dog Press, 2020)

Painting by Geoffrey Levitt

In Which the Stream Reappears

This spring, its sky the gray of cobwebs,

we learn to walk in almost-rain. 

Today the stream once dwindled to damp dirt 

has returned to bustle through the swamp,

burst over small banks, flood muddy flats, only stopping 

where a robin coolly extracts a worm.

This spring, its scent hidden in cold rain and low clouds,

in bright, cemetery flowers, the fear of touch,

we learn to learn from what we can see

again and again and again and again.

Originally published in Eos: The Creative Context, 2020

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Angelina Saenz


A woman who was like memories...

Te lo mereces

Pasos azules

Hedy Habra

Photo by Donna Hilbert

On the Sargasso Sea

The Sargass Sea Bishop by Yacek Yerka

Think of a houseboat floating over a sea of foaming moss so thick it seems anchored in green dunes despite its full-blown drift though it’s only a contrivance and whoever lives in it is obsessed with the passing of time: an alarm clock by the bed, a cuckoo at the entrance, a sundial at the threshold, a timer by the stove, a wooden clock on the dining table, an hourglass cresting the wall, a bell by the water clock, and let us not forget the telescope placed between the bottle of wine and the grapes, stalking the movement of stars. Grains of sand fall, a rhythm espousing the ticking of clocks: chimes and bells oscillate, muffled by surrounding haze, and there’s no room for fantasy: its dweller watches coffee drip drop by drop, is aware how long it takes to read each line on a page, successive seconds pervade his sleep, even his daydreams, nothing’s left to chance, only he knows deep inside he has become a clock within a clock, afraid of losing track; lost in that sea of moss, he’d still feel the thump of his own heartbeat.

First published by Poet Lore

From Under Brushstrokes (Press 53 2015)


Photo by Donna Hilbert

Skin Flashing Where the Garment Gapes 

After Richard E. Miller’s The Bather

A water sculpture, a spring erect in the shape of a woman, fluid as a mirror held to the awakening sycamores, soothing their albescent knots and twisted joints under shedding flakes of bark. Can’t you feel the moisture in her curves? At first glance you might think her about to bathe in the clear pool by the blue stones, but truly she is made of water and rose from it, a teaser slowly dropping an illusion of a wraparound garment that is really a sheet of water, still unable to break down and become woman, she projects her image over the young man lying down on the smooth rocks, face leaning on his bent elbow, he watches her appear and disappear, the sheets of water vanishing into mist in the early hours, stares at her skin flashing where the garment gapes, oscillating between life and death.

First published by Blue Fifth Review

From Under Brushstrokes (Press 53 2015) 

Photo by Donna Hilbert

The Colors of Dawn

a pantoum for peace

Spring rains wash out tears and winter fears

Doves dip their wings in the colors of dawn

Children gather fallen petals, feather and down

Let’s weave a tapestry with a thousand petals!

Doves dip their wings in the colors of dawn 

Cherry blossoms cover the veined branches

Let’s weave a tapestry with a thousand petals 

Invent a new alphabet to record our dreams!

Cherry blossoms cover the veined branches

Let’s paint windows and doors on stonewalls

Invent a new alphabet to record our dreams

Fingers string beads carved-out of olive pits! 

Let’s paint windows and doors on stonewalls

Hang rosaries on the highest limbs and towers

Fingers string beads carved-out of olive pits 

Small hands gather pebbles to erase borders!

First published by Life and Legends 

From The Taste of the Earth (Press 53 2019)


Epiphany I wish I had a poem for you one that was lyrical and sweet  A poem filled with love and joy  that blossoms like flowers in Spring  ...