Tomorrow’s Street Fair

by Andrea Auten

It dawns later
seeing bustling strangers
tinseled in tourist trappings.
Neon vested workers spray paint
booth numbers for tomorrow’s Fair.

Pork verde with tortilla and a small sweet
street easy people sauntering—
not a normal weekend crowd—
around the coffee huts and our
floral shop.

Toothless women, large
lumbering calves, big as thighs.
Skinny ones, quick-stepped, tatted,
prancing in and out of storefronts stopping
to survey the grand-opened Inn.

Gunmetal moist glinting sidewalks
reflect a grey sky. Upturned leaves,
a clove aroma of earth and autumn mush,
make rainy mud pie
offerings for boot treads.

Vendors walk the beat, pre-game day
girding up for three am shifts. A rest before
roasted nuts, macramé belts, wooden stick furniture
polish made from almond oil, cloth bags and
drums, dancing hallelujah.

They will arrive, all kinds.
Human contact bumping each other, high spirits,
no car street walk, savoring the smell of mingled cultures.
Lemon shake-up, curry, patchouli and body odor, colors of skin enmeshed.
Unite us new and pure in this gathering.

The Wide Changes of Season

by J. E. Cook

A tribute to Eudora Welty

The smell of the river drifts through the woods,
Cool breezes with a mystic aroma drifting among
The wildlife residing inside the corpus of plants.
Mingling vines with flowering brush,
As I walk on the paths inside the wilderness,
I notice the changing of time,
Old man winter will come soon.
The Hickory trees will turn their color to yellow,
A Sweet-gum tree becomes red, as the Sycamore yellows,
And the Oak and Magnolia never die.
Nuts dropping like raindrops and squirrels gathering
And hiding for winter meals.
October skies with a gold sun,
The trees, the sky, and the water mirror that beautiful hue,
Everything changes and looks like it is made of
Precious metals.
Shining Willow trees bend towards the golden threads
Of the narrow streams,
Torrents of waves in someone’s dream,
Transparent light becomes the paraphernalia in
The whirl of the water.

Death in a Moment

by Adrienne Crowder

The doves sang
The cats meowed
The woodpecker pecked and pecked

Then night fell
And tires squealed
Just few doors from home
Everything changed
When my drunk cousin crashed and hit chrome

Feel the shame
The sheriffs came
No lights and camera-free
They killed him dead in the dark
They thought no one would see

YOU can’t believe,
The sheriffs could be
Like the one who killed the lion Cecil
He thirsted for blood, no fear of a judge or of the people
Add leave with a few weeks of pay
The kill is a big trophy day

Damn it all, is this really the law?
That in twenty fifteen
With his gun, his mace, his partner, and taser
The Sheriff is seen
As the one who is in danger

I question why the killer of nine
Could survive for arrest and evaluation
While my cousin was killed
For hitting a car
Without a jury or explanation

Sitting by the Window at Raimunda’s Kitchen

by Carlos Raúl Dufflar
8/1/15

The very poem that I sent thee beholds the verses of my heart
a common laughter and a passion into a universal chant
from the past to the present the art of learning.
The beginning of my studies inside of Raimunda’s kitchen
on a Saturday morning, we will sit by the table with a taza de café
and some biscuits, guava, and goat cheese.
Facing the window as the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad passes us
by a wonderful gift and a rhythmic sound of Leocadia
my great-grandmother, poetry in a high-flowing language
that Pachamama is in hardship and we need to change
our living heart for harmony and respect for Mother Earth.
And now we may find ourself at home, beneath the shadows of a tree
where the birds sing for hours arranged on the branches
while I circle the Hopewell Mound and pour some water at the spring
as a ritual of passage at Glen Helen besides Livermore.
At an Antioch reunion honors 37 years and in the tradition of Yellow Springs
by Xenia and Limestone, everybody is talking about the bridge of
peace and justice now.
And at Horace Mann’s monument, like an echo of an ancient sentiment
of my pledge that poetry is a way of my life.
And on this beautiful month of August, the family celebrates:
Angel has returned to the sources to become a PhD
like a drum sound of Ray Barretto roaming over the universe.
And when I read this poem from my book, which gives me
what the soul speaks from the heart for the past 50 years.
My heart has taught me to give to my voice
and spread the very word of Love Supreme
within the circle of the elders.

Auden’s Spit

by Shawn Young

He rides in his car and thinks of her smell,
his mind awash with candy-cake memories,
with horrid back-grabbles, with disquiet
preambles. The mangled, shorn digits of
breath.

Seldom does a day run away that he
isn’t held tight in her wicked clasp.
The anger, too much for him,
for this, that, this, that, this, that…
everything.

Alone, the road, his thoughts, her face,
the last moment, the ire, the phone call,
the blame, the tragedy, the gun. Back-peddling
away. To the nameless shadow, the skewed vision,
banked.

It wasn’t the same, the conjured image of
magical journeys, atop the hill of fantasy,
surrounded by dancing, cackling flowers,
shrieking in anger at the moon, brilliantly
disguised.

Seemed like a lifetime ago, he thought
in cliche. A lifetime of want, of fangs,
of echos in the everyday, of coal cars,
expertly leveled, the overpass with the graffiti,
rising.

Even when the wind blew spikes, pelting him,
his attention returned to her in a hospital gown,
the ringing in his ears, the promise of safety,
that last, wooded argument of contempt, all
lies.

Shot in the head. Self-inflicted. Lies. Whose
hands? Who rocks the swing, hard-nosed?
Now he recites Auden when we drives. “If I
could tell you.” But he can’t. Because time told him
so.

Sins of Omission

by Joan Harris

The eternal pause
Following the final beat
Of an innocent heart

Bellows of grief
Borne into the wind
Bound inside the soul

Tears rain down
Ashes return to ashes
And dust to dust

Carpeted footsteps
Saints in stained glass
A creaking kneeler

Forgive me, Father
Not for what I’ve done
But what I’ve failed to do

Perpetuating injustice
Through willful blindness
And complicit silence