John Grey

WHEN MOUNTAIN MEN VISIT THE CITY

They never shake the sight of mountains,

retain their awe for that immaculate

merge of peak and cloud and sky,

even in sitting rooms, cross-legged

on a chair discussing cows or some such,

or in the bathroom, rubbing fingers

over stubble, or in a shop trying on

last year’s clothes. Sure they fit a

body. But a mountain…

They’re awkward. They speak with

such a twang, folks look to their

flannelled chests for sub-titles.

A drop of phlegm is never far

from every word they speak.

They count their change a hundred

times, have no faith in city folk.

But mountains…if there were no God,

then mountains would be God.

They stay in the cheapest hotel on the street.

What do they care that there’s no air-conditioning

or that bathrooms are shared. They don’t bother

looking out the windows. Or care enough

that the sheets are clean. Outside, there’s plenty

of noise but nothing to dig your fingers in

and scale. Main Street sure does hustle

and bustle but it hasn’t rise enough for even a foothill.

Fact is they’re anxious to get back to their

promised land. Sure they speak to the man

from the co-op, go to the auctions, the bank,

even catch a movie at the Avalon. But colored

light on a dirty blank screen doesn’t thrill

the blood the way a mountain can. What’s the

point of not knowing what will happen next?

A range would never demean itself to be

a valley one day, a river the next.

 

They leave as soon as their business is done,

pile into the old truck that hacks and coughs

its way to finally humming. They don’t look back

at the women in their Sunday finery,

the men in tailored suits. The tallest of these city

folk is just a tip of the hat over six feet.

If it’s not a mile high, if a hawk can’t swoon

ascending to the top of it, if it don’t gush

in snow-melt waterfalls in spring,

if a second cousin hasn’t tumbled off it

trying to climb its western slope, then it

may as well be underground.

A mountain’s heritage. It’s parentage.

It’s birthright and destiny. It won’t lend a man

a dime but it won’t call in his debts either.

It doesn’t feed the livestock but nor does it cry out

to be fed. Men think they’re as hard as

a rock but it really is as hard as a rock.

And a mountain would never lie to you.

It was the truth before there even was a name for it.

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Michael Ceraolo Returns

from Eighty Days

July 4, 1881

Garfield:

I am in no shape to make a speech

of the length usually given on this day,

and “cannon roaring and guns cracking . . .

have no particular charms for me”

Given my condition I won’t be one

of those “shouting independence who are slaves

to their appetites and passions and sins”

Nor today will “Crete and I read the children

100 pages of the Arabian Nights”

Nor will anyone engage me in

“a long conversation about Shakespeare”

No, while recuperating I will reflect on

“the remarkable courage and wisdom of or Fathers

who ventured on the great experiment of Independence”

more than one hundred years ago today

Guiteau:

Despite it being the holiday,

the district attorney and my own counsel

came to interview me

During the interview I reminded them

that the Vice-President, soon to be President,

was “a particular friend of mine”

July 31, 1881

Garfield:

A few years ago around this date

there occurred a solar eclipse

It wasn’t total here in Washington,

though it was still interesting viewing

I plan to ring in the year 1889

by traveling to the western states

to view the total eclipse on that

New Year’s Day

Guiteau:

Since I believe

Christ has already come again

back in 70 A.D.

I don’t consider eclipses and such

to herald the beginning of the end

as many Christians believe

But I do deem them to be harbingers

of my great deeds

August 2, 1881

Garfield:

“Doctor, how soon do you think

we can take our wives and go to Mentor?”

He didn’t answer me directly,

but with another drainage tube

surgically inserted today

it will be awhile

Guiteau:

I once had a wife,

but

she made baseless accusations against me,

so I am well rid of her

I will be looking to find a new wife

when I am out of jail

August 4, 1881

Garfield:

“I love to believe that

no heroic sacrifice is ever lost,

that the characters of men are moulded

and inspired by what their fathers have done”

Guiteau:

“My mother was dead and my father

was a father and a mother to me”

“I drank in this fanaticism from him for years

He used to talk it day after day”

August 5, 1881

Garfield:

The doctors decided today

to stop giving me morphine,

but they are still feeding me

rum and brandy

I don’t like the brandy,

but I suppose it is necessary

Guiteau:

I have never been under the influence

of alcohol or any other narcotic

And I never will be

 

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Nancy Scott-McBride

INTROVERT

My husband and I were having lunch one day at a family restaurant, seated next to a window that overlooked a play area. A group of children all about the same age were lining up to climb into, and then crawl through, a tunnel that would take them to a chute they would slide down,

ending up where they began.

They did this over and over in a more or less orderly fashion, squealing with delight when they had completed the maneuver.

All except one little girl who repeatedly tried to go in the opposite direction, then gave up and hid under the contraption until her mother called her out. I felt an instant bond with her and mentioned it to my husband.

He nodded. “Introvert,” he said.

“Exactly,” I said.

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John Grey

PROJECTION

I dreamed her again last night,

the French woman on the cruise ship,

the one traveling alone with a small child,

hair long and brown, eyes green as grapes,

sitting on the deck, the two under a blanket,

taking in the rugged Alaskan coastline,

while paying the price of a chilly sea-breeze

that knifed the cheeks and whipped the flags around.

The most beautiful woman I have ever seen

but the rest of whom she was, regretfully only imagined,

my fantasies applying warmth to her reined-in smile,

knowledge to that seamless pure-bred brow.

In fact, whoever it was I dreamed, it wasn’t her,

for my subconscious made no allowances

for the irritable, the cold, the angry, the nasty,

the rumpled look of first thing in the morning,

the headache-filled traumas of last thing at night.

No gossip, no unkindness toward others or small animals.

No hint of jealousy, or mistrust, or moodiness.

I drained the self from her, replaced it with my fantasies.

What chance did she have of being a normal, everyday person

once my capricious mind reconstructed her

with nothing to go on but surfaces.

If she could see into my head, she wouldn’t recognize herself.

But what could she expect. I’m no mirror.

That is, unless I am the one looking into it.

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Megha Sood Debuts

 Joy

 Joy is sudden, gradual, elusive

and sometimes downright grotesque

it can creep up to you

when you least expect it and

or can exist in the residual amount

when you want it in abundance

Joy is unexpected when a sudden rush of warm feeling

fills you from within

in the middle of a eulogy

and you picture her perfectly

in her auburn hair standing on the porch

braving the harsh sun

which is burning her bare shoulders

and the air is doused

with apple tinged perfume

Joy is perfunctory

when you exchanging

those smiles

tightly tucked between your teeth

as you walk slowly with

steps measured in equal proportion

heading towards the

wheel of life

Joy is that sudden urge

which lights up your skittish heart

like the strides of the Aurora Borealis

and with is grandeur

mesmerizes you

and within a speck of a second

takes you back to the

banality of lies

Joy is many flavors of awe

just like the million flavors

in that ice cream shop and

you are mesmerized

like a child

standing there

meditating

/in fact/

for a moment

Joys are crotched of memories

which we pick up and unspool in private

running it incessantly on the

spokes of time

Joy is unattainable

uncertain;

untenable;

unsustainable

and everything in betweenBio :

Bio

Megha Rani lives in Jersey City, New Jersey. She is also a contributing author at GoDogGO Cafe, Candles Online, FVR Publishing, Whisper and the Roar and Poets Corner.

Her works have been featured in GoDogGoCafe, Whisper and the Roar, Duane Poetree, Visual Verse, Vita Brevis, Poets Corner, Modern poetry, Spillwords Press, Indian periodicals, Literary heist, Little Rose Magazine, The Quiet Corner, Writer’s Cafe Magazine, and coming up in Modern Literature,KOAN(Paragon Press), Dime Show review and many more.

She recently won the 1st prize in NAMI NJ Dara Axelrod Mental Health Poetry contest. She blogs at https://meghasworldsite.wordpress.com/.

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Laura Zucca-Scott

Road Intersection

A green sign to the Interstate

North to Springfield, IL

South to Saint Louis, MO

 

A quiet sunset

Orange sweet and bitter

Colors of last summer days

 

Clouds so soft you could almost touch

Images playing in your eyes

Of other sunsets

Of other days

The places I have seen

The places I cannot go back to

 

I lost my direction

Tired enough to sleep

Curious to see new roads

New days with you

I am wandering

In perpetual hesitations

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Nancy Scott McBride

MILLENIAL MAMA

Wearing a blue bikini and

whizzing around the lawn on a

riding mower, she deftly steers with

one strong arm while the other holds

her naked baby boy on her lap.

A modern-day madonna and child

making circles and figure-eights

under the glorious halo of the sun.

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