XVI:1, February, 2001

A Journal for Linking Poets 

FOOTNOTES TO NOAH by Edward Baranosky; THERMAL SPRINGS by Tony Beyer;  FIVE TANKA by
Debra Woolard Bender;  VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY
Marjorie Buettner;
Marjorie Buettner; THE PRESENCE OF ABSENCE by
Marjorie Buettner; AT THE BOTTOM OF CLEAR LAKE by David Livingstone Clink; INDELIBLE David Livingstone Clink; SNOW by David Livingstone Clink; FOR PAT VIDIKSIS by
Gerard J. Conforti; ORIGINS by Melissa Dixon; NEWSPAPER by
Betty Kaplan; SPINNING THE GLOBE by Hatsue Kawamura
Hans Reddingius; HIM by Jane Reichhold; MAIDUGURI TANKA
Richard Stevenson  AMONG THE PERIWINKLES by
Linda Jeannette Ward ; IN A TURKISH GARDEN by Bill West

TANKA by John Barlow, Richard Cody , dennis dutton, Sanford Goldstein, Lorraine E. Harr, Momi Kam Holifield, Ruth Holzer, Elizabeth Howard, Jean Jorgensen, Kirsty Karkow,Christopher Patchel, Francine Porad, Alexis K. Rotella,  R. K. Singh,Marc Thompson, Karen Weisman , Bill West, Jane E. Wilson

SIJO by Elizabeth St Jacques, THREE SIJO by Debra Woolard Bender;


(Excerpts from The Doryman)
Edward Baranosky

Still in the bleak nights
Moonless memory rises
As a candle fades.
Waking dreams seem to flow
Into this storm of enigma.

A nameless helmsman
Paces, his ears narrowing
Toward the streams of sound
To rein in the grim voices
Of haunted seabirds.

Winds dive circling
Waters dark atop strange decks,
Sail-less, direction-less,
Bearings charted only
Into the wake of spindrift.

A lone osprey soars
Steep over crumbling crags
And an empty wreck,
Provoking children's surprise
Torn from carefree adventures.

Rising through salt haze
Heavy ocean swells thunder
Below an arch bow -
Faded edge of a mirage
Pulsing with skeins of light.


Tony Beyer

the sandbar
there to prevent
the sea rushing the river
the river
piercing the sea

appear and
disappear at will
over dotterel-
coloured sand

clear water
nearest the shore
soon loses the race
with the deep
green channel

at the resort
attempt to splash
all of the water
out of the pool

for a moment
on the sea wall
holding the ghosts
of my parent's hands

twice shy
the theme
of the single's dance
coming up
at the resort hotel

display dives
of native pigeons
sometimes compromised
by the intervention
of traffic

the sky
finishes off the hillside
on which there is
nothing else

around the corkscrew slide
and movie pool
little of the smell
from under the earth

between one tide
and the next
all summer
the sandbar
alters its shape


a cool breeze
running down
chestnut hill
both of us
hog the duvet


first of december
and not too much for the songbirds
to sing about
the scrape of a jay
from the old sycamore


a quiet moment
to myself ...
my shadow plays
slow shadow bass
on the back wall


all these poems
and barely a single one
about death
how the fascination fades
as the reality creeps closer


from somewhere
across these potato fields
the smells of harvest
I wish I could sack off work
for one last backbreaking summer


one of those days
when the sky looks denser
than the earth
yet but for your attitude
my heart would be soaring

John Barlow 


Debra Woolard Bender

It happened, reading
tanka from another time
my heart stretched, broke -
across a salt sea of words,
the sun had stopped 'til that day.

If only I, too
could be like these autumn trees
losing their beauty;
In showers their last color
now flowers on withered earth.

drawing nearer
magnolia blossoms
slowly vanished
my sweet illusions
are sunlit leaves

night garden
white camellias brush, catch
my tangled hair
against the moon's fullness
your fingers undo me

after the crescendo's peak
where am I?
how my small, empty room
floods suddenly with dawn


Debra Woolard Bender

Salt-sea conforms to sandy beach
while earth dissolves into her tides.

Husbands and wives become each other
...slowly they merge and change.

I search our children's faces
for traces of lost tribes

Boy, you left innocence
As someone's secret in her youth;

Married to a stranger,
all passion drained through intimacy.

Did you expect to find true love
lying around in a motel room?

Tell me nothing unless it is true,
the essence of being.

Did you paint that lotus flower?
What a lie you have invented!

A few lines so deceptive,
they capture the eternal.


Marjorie Buettner

"What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery and without it all the rest are not only useless but disastrous." Thomas Merton

In all my voyages, my travels from here to there and back again, there have been shed layers of skin which could have, at one time or another, defined me. Now, lost to this shedding, I no longer know who or what I am, stripping off, more than once, this skin of daughter, sister, this skin of mother, wife...I am left a shrink-packaged inner core that I do not recognize and that sits nightly staring out the window, or faces me in dreams from the back of a mirror. It is then that I begin to write, trying to recognize and rediscover what I have become, what I have begun, this shedding, this sloughing off of skins. Are you writing again they all ask, as if I am wasting time. I can only admit my ignorance, telling them, again and again, or not telling them, that this pen in my hand is really a soup spoon, a broom, a wash rag cleaning up the mess. This pen that I hold in my hand is invisible yet always it scribbles down through the layers of skin that block me from myself, that keep me from learning what it is I need to learn. And all of it may not, does not make sense, but this is living in the flesh, isn't it? So all I can do is feel the silky weight of this flesh that remains, speaking to the stars as if to a lost brother or mother, or a father I never knew, or the sister that looks just like me without knowing it, or a lover who waits. And in this dialect of the stars, this music, we find that we speak the very same language and that we are related after all.

deep woods at midnight
this stream of starshine streaking
the ancient sky
leaving another harbor
what part have I left behind


Marjorie Buettner

The lunar bone-white pearl of a tooth sits in a glass bowl by the window, waiting; uprooted, it lies in a new, rarefied air all its own and asks nothing from us. Later, it will join the others - all chipped now, owners unknown, grown - still hidden in a black lacquer box at the top of the medicine chest. In the night-light those displaced teeth radiate an opalescent glow and, when touched, sound like prayer beads rubbed together in response to a question asked long ago but never forgotten.

my daughter's loose tooth
with the blood flow memories
and time leaking
right between my fingers
like falling stars through the sky


Marjorie Buettner

The house - empty of children for the weekend - is suddenly full of odd creaks and groans I have not heard before. The cats seem restless, too, wandering from room to room. Objects have that look of neglect. They have remained stationary for over 48 hours - something of a strange miracle in my household - but it is an empty blessing since those hands which have once explored and dislodged them are not here. It is called stasis: things remain untouched and left alone. For my ten year old (who invented chaos) leaving things alone is an impossibility; however, my twelve year old likes to have her things arranged in her way and only her way. I open their bedroom door and peer in thinking that I can still hear them, but the room screams empty - an absence louder than presence - and I can see right into the future at a time without them. Suddenly feeling a chill, I shut the door and go to the kitchen and watch the squirrels race around in the back yard, missing my children with all of my heart while feeling the early coolness of summer's end drift into the open window. Perhaps, I think, when they return I won't mind picking up after them for a little while longer...

in the park alone
my holding hand suddenly
how quickly the summer blooms
and fades right before my eyes


David Livingstone Clink

The lake is called "Clear Lake"
there are only a few spots where you can't see bottom.

Rain on the beach is like the loss of a loved one,
the sky opens up, tells me her secrets.

Most kids take to the water like they can breathe it,
try to swim to the raft, underwater.

Last year a man and woman drowned -
one followed the other to the bottom

at the deepest part of Clear Lake,
far from Cutter's Cove.

Water at the cottage is always too cold,
and the raft is always out too far.

Children crack open a void by splashing -
parents warn them not to go out too far.

A couple sunbathe at the end of the dock
their backs to the lake, canoeists, kids.

Motorboats ripple still surfaces
and waves bring smiles to shore.

Two teenage boys go out in a canoe
and try to look to the bottom.

David Livingstone Clink

Alone, walking after midnight, the entrance to the subway
offers warmth. The sound of a train comes up the stone steps

like the screaming of a premature baby in an incubator.
I listened when you said, "Never look back,"

now I contemplate the night sky, scrappy from the city -
the stars constant and incomplete when seen from downtown.

People are always going somewhere, from somewhere,
and we used to make up stories about them, what they left behind,

how they got from there to here, what was driving them to leave
their homes, even if it was only to the store around the corner.

I always imagined we would grow old together
and rail against the new music, the new fashions.

You said, "Wisdom is never a fair exchange for getting older."
It was a mystery you didn't want to unravel, the changes

that take us far afield, all ultimately going in the same direction.
I remember you telling my sick plants, "You will live," and,

"Don't die on me." That is why I don't turn away, now.
Cars pass more frequently here than twenty years ago -

people are always going somewhere, from somewhere,
and we used to make up stories about them, and what they left behind.

David Livingstone Clink

I know, it has been a long time,
it is amazing how the weather changes so quickly.

I was always happiest walking on your street,
seeing the houses pass me, an imprinted pattern

that stayed despite the green, red, white, and wet
of seasons changing beneath my tired feet.

I needed four seasons more than I needed you,
and I wonder if it is snowing where you are, now?

I try to catch messages in songs -
songs that speak to me, that strike a chord.

Warm thoughts stay the cold, the joy in the familiar -
dog prints, yellow snow, the sounds of traffic.

A new apartment, a new street, a new girlfriend,
how familiar all this is, bringing memories of

the day you made a pot of tea for me,
the day I caught more than snow on my tongue.


California coast,
windswept pines bow to the sea -
blue sky, emptiness. . .
The presence of man betrayed,
a pile of rusted cans.

rain so soft
didn’t know it was falling
'till I glanced
by chance
through window

A flock of pigeons
turns as one, gray wings flapping,
punctuating air -
a moment of perfect grace.
Then they light on a roof, stare. . .

There beside the road
a tiny memorial ­
cardboard cross, roses.
In the bus I pass too fast
to see the words written there.

Richard Cody 

Gerard J. Conforti

the furious winds
rip through the swaying pines
as the stars
gaze peacefully in the sky
a glint of tears in their light

oh, sweet memories
the years alone in rooming houses
writing verse
to the one I truly loved
the loneliness tearing at my heart

the maple leaves
are blowing down the street
in the roaring winds
is what chaos is about
in the autumn of our lives

Melissa Dixon

from a clear sky
a tiny cloud appears
before my eyes...
as white unfolds how poignant
the loss of heavenly blue!

from a calm ocean
the sudden undulation
of approaching waves
what ship dared to sweep you here
to wash away our footprints?

from your first cry
I held you to ease your heart
circles of years turn
to ashes - how can they sink
so swiftly into the sea?


Grasses bend
with the weight of snow,
The young woman I love
is in the capitol today.


"Good for Nothing"-
that should be my name;
only you and poetry
can move me when snow
falls like this.


Snow has covered
the bulbs we planted
Would that we too
could lie in bed till spring.


Have I forgotten
To love you is a sin
unless I come to also love
not having you.

dennis dutton


precious friend
these eight long years
is my Sea of Japan,
sometimes blue and sometimes green
as I walk its long-gone shores


a soulmate figure
in a distant eastern world
walks solitary,
his battered straw hat tilted,
camera-clicking the small


fish for a thousand yen
and woolen sweaters
and nuts and women
this is Ueno afternoon


Mokichi, today I know
how you observed from a height
these commonplace lives,
selling and bartering wares
in the heat of midsummer

Sanford Goldstein


Clouds meander the sky
butterflies meander the meadow
even thoughts meander
I should know, for mine
wander ceaselessly


First overnight snow
and they're all out shoveling
paths to their mailboxes
for a letter from you
I too would shovel drifts of snow


After the gunshot
wild geese gabble in flight
over the marsh grass
suddenly one wobbles
and plummets to earth


Darkening clouds
hang low on the horizon
obscure the fading sun
once more the thought of evening
brings this grieving for the past

Lorraine E. Harr


after rain - pruning
a brown red clover blossom
black portion drops off
it's a bumble bee heading
towards another blossom


behind a closed door
my neighbor's rottweiler barks
i am using
the incinerator
in our high-rise lobby


(in memory of Sarah Fleming)

at the last
choral rehearsal
i did not
recognize Sarah
not knowing she was dying

Momi Kam Holifield


heart-shaped leaf
so like a heart, plant
it anywhere
dirt water air
it takes root


bringing plants inside -
verbena and lavender,
jade, hardy in cold -
too late for pale coleus
cast down, bruised eyes


had I known
the nature of the trip
I would have let that
Lackawanna cowcatcher
hurl me through the fifties, stop


tumbling crows
acrobats of air
random patterns against
emptiness of dawn sky
my thoughts without focus

Ruth Holzer


viewing the mountain -
season after season
two lawn chairs
sit under the sugar maple
in the overgrown yard


after the windburst
Grandmother's laundry tub
full of locust blossoms -
how her soap bubbles
frothed and perished


after the rains
a line of mushrooms -
Hansel and Gretel's
homeward path
of white pebbles


through the hay window
of the forsaken barn
a giant golden sun
in a purple sky,
a mourning dove flying


migrant killdeers
sweep over the meadow,
scores of metallic wings
curving upward -
an M. C. Escher graphic


park playground
father instructs toddler
to pee on the tree
first lesson
in surviving the wild

Elizabeth Howard


elderly mother's
devastated look
after so many years
did she really believe
her girlhood sweetheart hadn't changed ?


If I could
bring these fragrant white lilacs
to your door . . . I would
but you've  gone so far away
only bones beneath this gravestone 


another visit
with your aged father
sun down at 4
as we share a pot of tea
. . . discuss weather and times gone by


as the snow fall
colored lights flash
in the newborn's eyes
ignored: the gift wrap in piles
dirty dishes stacked high

Jean Jorgensen


Betty Kaplan

My father came from Russia. When my younger sister was born, he was left with five little girls to bring up.

her name was Flora
I was told
she loved lilacs
the mother
I never knew

When papa would set the table, he would first put down a sheet of newspaper.

dishes set out
a black and white newspaper
covers the white table
my sisters and I watch and wait
papa's potato pancakes

One day I invited a friend over for lunch. I put down the newspaper. She asked "where is the table cloth?" I was so embarrassed. I did not know of table cloths.

Many years later, I was watching a movie about Russian immigrants. They were expecting cousins for dinner. The mother covered the table with a newspaper.

There was my childhood. It was not that papa did not know what to do. It was the way of the immigrants at that time.

a holiday table
with bone china and silver
set on fine linen
my heart remembers love placed
on a sheet of newspaper


december snowfall
covers the ground for winter's
hibernation time
but on a rotted oak stump
green lichen bears red trumpets


puddles form
then rivulets to the sea
in steady rain
tears stream down the pale cheeks
of my sick friend's daughter


greedy squirrels cram
and blue jays gulp acorns
almost choking,
laughter, as we recognize
these all too human habits


studying shapes
of tumultuous clouds -
of moods that drift across
my personal landscape


the fog thins enough
to see the channel marker -
we decide to sail
out between the rocks and shoals
departing from safe harbor


around the boat
a halo of clarity -
in summer fog
ripples in the water tell
which way the wind is blowing


glints of sun
touch the tops of dark waves
in difficult seas
my shoulders ache from hours
of sailing this boat home

Kirsty Karkow 


Hatsue Kawamura
trans. by Amelia Fielden

rarely do we
exchange phone calls,
our nuclear family
in America, Canada,
and also Japan

sparing of subjects
the Japanese language
is as soft
as a single-petalled wild rose
lightly stirring

it's not so strange
that for no special reason
there are nights
the phone rings often
and nights it does not ring at all

in the newspaper
the word "massacre"
leaps out at me -
trying to find out where
I spin the globe

the nightmare
Nanking incident,
the holocaust,
further and further
into the heart of darkness


Gary LeBel

This I know: we ate cucumbers fresh from his garden under the burning wind of an August sun and after tasting the bitter worm in the loam of its skin, hiked down the old path behind the barn to the river, and it was there that I first saw them, the eighty summers of grass as he turned to look back at me following slowly behind him, sunken down in a sea of locusts, a boy of ten, still tasting the dirt of the garden on my lips.

He’d always been old for as long as I could remember, and he smelled like the eighteenth century house he lived in, a flannel-smell mixed in with the colonial dust he kept oddly clean. He was my great uncle and had lived alone for all of his adult life; he’d been variously a farmer, an iceman, a builder of roads, a caretaker. I was spending part of the summer with him.

the grunts and groans
of an old man
rising from his bed;
the jagged caws of a crow
at dawn

In his house, it was as if all the clocks had stopped on one appointed day, and from that time on had allowed nothing to change. The Franklin stove, an elephant of usefulness, blazed all through the day, winter or summer, and I think now it was the woody smell he was after.

outside the window,
poplar leaves shimmer
in the summer wind -
through even the glass
its lilting hush comes

At the black slate kitchen sink there was a tall window whose view of the back of the house was distorted by the colonial glazier’s imperfections. Everything would undulate as you moved your head. It’s strange to say it, but I was completely captivated by this window, swallowed by it in fact, as a snake devours its prey all in one piece. I remember standing there, gazing through it as a boy, just as I stand here today, though I couldn’t describe exactly what I saw or felt, at least not in the way a photograph could render a dry detail.

Yet through this window a broad vista of fields and woodlands was somehow magically transformed, distance became infinite and time stood still. It was as if the silence of the old house as its agent had changed the ordinary into something far deeper and richer in meaning, something so saturated in energy that it seemed to take on an existence apart from the veneer of the casement. All I knew was that this glass, molding and sash seemed to be much more than simply a window. Was it ethereal evidence of the countless others who’d lived and died in that house, who’d stood before this same window gazing out on the landscape of their own time? Had they created a "presence" somehow beyond the faces of clocks, an essence torn from the very fabric of space-time itself?

having gazed
through this window
for so many silent years,
are both sides of the glass
now one and the same?

One afternoon, challenging its magic, I went outside to the back of the house to look again at what I'd seen from inside the window, but the landscape had already become ordinary again, beautiful, yes, but still suffused with a rather commonplace beauty. But from within the kitchen, the light that flowed in through this window, which I could only describe as a god’s limpid shadow on the world, drew you in from every room in the house.

ancient tools
hang silently in orderly rows,
their handles worn down
by the touch
of one hand

The outhouse in the barn had a heavy urine smell and the seat was so large I thought I’d fall through it. Swallows nesting above in the rafters would stir when doors were opened, squeaking with nervous alarm, but they’d quickly settle back to their roosts, as noise in this place was but a momentary fissure in the dense quiet that pervaded it, not as it is these days, the other way around.

His workshop was his favorite place to spend his days, and although I could touch anything I liked, I enjoyed looking at his tools more as he’d arranged them; for each tool, a ten-penny nail to hang it; for saws, two to hold them safely, blades up. The bench top was rounded over and shiny from use the way handrails in public buildings are worn. He explained the job of each tool as he pointed to it, and while he talked I remembered vividly a relative wondering aloud at a family gathering once about what would become of these antiques when he’d "passed on".

in the evening
we wash vegetables together
in the black slate sink-
the colors of them, cucumbers,
tomatoes, summer squash

He’d cook us a meal of steamed vegetables and potatoes and we’d eat there on the red-checkered tablecloth with hardly a word spoken. At times he’d ask me a question about something we’d done that day. Evening light would pour in through the thin white curtains becoming pale but heavy as it bathed our hands and faces in half-light amid the slight rustle of forks scraping china.

Against the west side of the plaster and lath kitchen wall, he’d store two round-backed wooden chairs he’d painted in thick red strokes which I could always see from my place at the dining room table. These he’d always position precisely parallel to one another and the wall, and never would they be left askew. This seemed a fitting metaphor for the order in which each aspect of an old bachelor’s life was contained. To this day, I later found out, the two red chairs are always returned to their familiar place beside the wall.

He never knew it, nor did I at the time, but I was slowly learning that silence was the natural abode of life and that there was comfort in it, serenity even, though most people would learn to mistrust it, to loath it, to fear it. This was his great gift to me and only as I write these lines have I begun to fully measure it. That I was shaped by it is undeniable.

on the summer breeze,
the searing cries of locusts -
an old man on his hands and knees
arranges flowers
on his brother’s grave

I watched him kneel down, grumbling in pain as the eighty summers of grass touched the grass of that day. At times he’d smile to himself in a private communion I knew he’d enjoyed for many an afternoon. With each of his precise movements that flowed so naturally they seemed rehearsed, grasshoppers would fly up all around him out of the cool grass, shaded as we were from the hot sun by the massive oak that grew just outside our family cemetery.

With an unspoken gesture of the palm, he’d bid me to choose a grave and do the same, though I felt uncomfortable kneeling head to head with the lichen-clad stones that bore the names of ancestors I didn’t know; this communion wasn’t mine, but the grass was soft and the air fragrant with the scent of the dark woods when the wind blew just right. He did this each day I stayed with him.

parting the river
at the edge of the meadow
into two great streams
is the island of wild deer
we’ve come to see

We walked for what seemed several hours through vineyards, meadows and woods though it was probably not more than a mile or two. I remember the overgrown grapes that trellised the hillside were small and tasted bitter, the flavor of returning wildness.

The old tractor path we were following, once used for access to the lower hayfields, ended in brambles close to the river’s edge and the foot-paths through them were barely discernible except to him.

Reaching the banks of the river at last, I noticed I’d begun to smell it long before we arrived. Its rust-colored sediments rushed swiftly by in brown eddies and whirlpools. I was awed by its breadth and felt uneasy about peering out over a steep ledge to see it.

He then led me upriver to where we could glimpse the island. It was a state sanctuary for deer he said. Looking at a distance from across the river, we could see the deer amble slowly about its ramparts without fear or hurry, and in the strong grace of their slow, lithesome movements, coats that were thin and sleek from summer shedding.

resting his old bones
by the river,
I could hear in the fields
that lonely sound of the wind
blowing eighty summers of grass

That river-walk would be my last with him. In the evening, I went out alone to look at the stars. The dark lawn was cold on my bare feet and I could hear the wind running its invisible fingers through the poplar trees by the road. Occasionally a car passed by and its headlights would bore into the flank of trees that lined the domain of his fields, giving them a luminous appearance. And after its tail lights had faded into oblivion, only the darkness and the night remained.

constellations of stars
shine here
as they do at my home,
yet how the night sky of this place
goes on forever!

Leaving the house today some thirty years later, I look down with astonishment to see it’s still there,

even after all these years,
the tiny nest he’d placed
in a jar by the door,
his evidence of a god
that still preferred to fly

In Memoriam
Orrin Perkins
Dresden, Maine


Sheila E. Murphy

For a while symmetrical young neighborhoods seemed less planned than curfews. Just before the posse went away in search of feathers rumored to be null and void and vaporous. The wheat fields glistened playthings on the threshold of emergent tact. One combed one’s own pressed hair, ridding the daylights of infraction. Trills were white or clear. A rumination recently included portent after clotted wheels of grief cheese flaring through the tin tones fresh with what resumed indifference. Imagine speech as you have heard it spayed. Ecstasy need not have been rehearsed. One mered one’s way to the upholstery, awaiting standstill mention of the Grail. Omnipotence seemed for the breathless free, home to the bracken. Now listless firearm handlers start to veer away. It’s ceasing to appear cold as a framed deception. Last on our list of vestibules were several close-ups full of use. Each homonym incinerates a spree of facts recited to these not-very-deliberate ounces of catastrophe.

Streetwise, pungent, half in tune with breadline sass, imagine each of various bouquets of roles were all still you

Sheila E. Murphy

She was heard / to have declared / her version of adhesive beauty. The recent clippings held her face and functioned as the main segue to femme fatale primordial indulgence. Plush few hairs of carpet ceased to glow when curvature defrayed this almost once. She would rather have inferred the cost of immanence. It isn’t always like this, chapters versified. "And you, my darling," she was quoted as having said before she strayed, attending to the leisure swirl just infantly as calling tamed our nether hearts.

Swaying to cement breeze stowed away in precious and reciprocal derived night

Sheila E. Murphy 

Here is every flower you ever purred. Here is lamplight. Here are chairs. The crowd is passing you in see-through weigh station injustice, just as you’ve equated commerce with infallibility. One able to make a stab at playthings comes across as tethering the mainstay in a cyclical earned file of swayback flings. The apparatus I was hoping to receive has since been polished to a shrill new finder’s fee. Norms swish while we sway. Each curled zoo becomes a set of quarters. Famished looking creatures brave the atmosphere. In time, the animosity will stray its way back to deplorable indifference. For now the whirl seems satisfactory. There once seemed fur and that remains impounded. Caricatures glisten while they sway to breezes left inside the music. -Ectomies are always brief the way described, the opposite of felt.

"Come close to me," the nattered just before our clasped hands braced themselves for swirls of sleep


ghost of a sun
half hidden in cloud
an inspiration
that will not come
and will not go away

Christopher Patchel


instinctively, he
reaches out to comfort me
hand on my shoulder . . .
the white violet's
second blooming

Francine Porad


Hans Reddingius

tired from the flight
back again in 'the Indies'
flowers and becaks

our room is air conditioned
the shower works as at home

loud roll of drums -
the Malayan dancer
moves her fingers

we see the mosque, the palace
then it's on to the long road

the large Dutch tourists
tour the small Batak village -
both sides curious

paradise on earth
with roads full of potholes

a stop for photos:
ploughing water buffaloes -
the sky is wide

the world in reverse:
warm outside, cool indoors

souvenirs, merchandise,
ah, the mountains of old
concealed by mist

the suitcases get more full
the landscape stays behind

bronze from the earth
bamboo from air and wind
music like water

the muezzins now roar
mechanically through loudspeakers

all those tourists
climb up to the Buddha
and take photographs

everywhere the murmuring water
my tears of recognition

boarding the aircraft
tired from touring "the Indies"
half a world away


Jane Reichhold

when stage lights dim, two crooked wheels spin
in the quietness of night everyone recognizes him

what my aunt was saying, the man had broken
into her apartment, doing the job himself

hoisting his body by ropes to scale the steep wall
only years later was he lost in the Himalayas

singing every day to the family in heaven
winged angels came in answer to his hymn

reckless edge to another room the bowl
no longer interests Jane who is a hymnodist


Christmas feast -
the crystal chandelier
in my ruby port;
I keep it
to myself.


Family reunion -
again the same aunt
says she was
going to bake
her black walnut cake.


From the first day
we moved in
the couple next door
scowling because
we did not procreate.

Alexis K. Rotella


What colors do predictions make? 
What sounds in their forming?
How sad are plumes that droop dark gray; how still songbirds' broken wings
Praise mouths warm that flower dreams 
to unfurl gold symphonies.

Elizabeth St Jacques

I'm no river
flowing toward the sea:
I must find my way
asking strangers in strange places
sensing soul, using insight


The heat inside will
reduce with the flow of blood
and cactus may bloom
in desert of flesh again
the heart may feel the green wave


Waiting for the remains
of the sacrifice vultures
on the temple tree
stink with humans and goddess
on the river's bank

R. K. Singh


Richard Stevenson

Same sentence for rape
as for smoking goes at school
the principal says.
The victims are only girls;
their place is working at home.

Gasoline shortage ...
pump jockey sucks a liter
from the wreck out back.
"Don't want you to think bad things
about my country," he says.

Daheru's cagey,
has a lucrative business
selling my water.
Peasants line up with yokes, cans,
fill up at my outside tap.

Forgive me, madam.
I didn't think my ice cubes
would scare you so much.
I wished to cool the water
not make eyes big as the fridge.

This chameleon ...
Adams Family toy bank's
detached wind-up hand
makes a quick grab for the coin
and hand that feeds it.

Quel kuti? I ask.
How much for crocodile teeth?
( a gift for my friend
who sculpts in rare ivories )
Kai! I must buy the whole head?!

"Don't spit!" the signs say -
not that I considered it
in an airport mall.
Then the fast of Ramadan
my students will not swallow.


rain-streaked tombstones
fill the crooked churchyard
Monday morning
the road to the village
through mist-enshrouded trees

a mourning dove
stands softly by the window
an hour past sunrise
I breathe in the rhythm
of your beating heart

a hundred miles south
of the wildlife preserve
wild turkeys
gather at the lakeside
in the heat of the summer

a wind-worn flag
gusts above the fishing camp
empty jonboats
dissolve slowly into rust
and stain the Susquehanna

on a Sunday night
at the end of the summer
an outdoor choir
sings the praises of Jesus
and longs for the end of the world

the summer before
the world ended as we knew it
her family
journeyed across the mountains
just to say good-bye

the college students
in the back of the coffeehouse
discuss Hitler
how many testicles
does one need to be a man?

at 6 AM
above the Lucky Lady
a radio
fills the empty Juneau streets
waking winos and gulls

cranberry relish
stains the linen tablecloth
on Thanksgiving Day
a man wearing garbage bags
carries bundles through the rain

in the front of the room
a teacher draws a diagram
in the back
poring over his notebook
a student writes a poem

Marc Thompson 


Linda Jeannette Ward

Mother's mind
unexpectedly clear
after months of confusion
my surprise
how old conflicts persevere

longing for her to be
otherwise, I never knew
Mother wanted me to be
the woman she wished
her mother to be

white star lilies
shining new by the pond
in the dark of night
the telephone
with news of Mother's demise

condolence mums wilted now
I tell Father Mother
has died - after all these years
his tears as he explains
their divorce

against an ash-dark sky
two mourning doves draw near -
how did you know, my friend
to keep silence with my grief?

March picnic
among the periwinkles
grown over her grave
the flutter
of white paper napkins


Seven a.m.
in the kitchen
you reach for my breasts -
the scent of fried eggs

Karen Weisman 


Against the ochre
wall, the twining purple vine's
blue shadows, setting
off giant magenta blooms,
deeply nuzzle chartreuse throats.


The blueberries have
ripened at last and show now
their dusky blue skins
against their green leaves and stems -
hairy, hiding mosquitoes.


My heart feels burnt out.
Will I be able to feel
life fully again?
The lightning sets the prairie
afire; in spring, it flowers

Bill West

Bill West

We're in our party clothes and in a party mood.
Let's carry on, so that our hosts get sued.

We party in an autumn garden under far off stars.
A neighbor sticks his nose up like a stuck-up prude.

The garden walls serve as sentries to hold our glad world in.
With the coming cold - we'll be in kösk - the tender plants be moved.

Through the thinning branches, the roundest moon looks cold.
The reed flute hazily mirrors the harvest moon. Blind bats search for food.

Your face, open against the blowing night clouds,
Your sugar lips lie waiting to be wooed.

The fountain's pool's deep black with yellow.
The wispy cypress enfolds the nightingale, its song just lightly lewd.

A swan's neck - the curve of your back, my arms around your hips,
in my wide-open mind's eye, you're nude.

The down on your cheeks, the black mole to one side -
wine cups in the rose garden reflect the stinging thorns! Oh, let's get stewed.

Look, out of the parrot's yellow beak dangles a bleeding worm -
erp - was that my burp? Bill's getting drunk. How rude!


My anxious friend:
don't guard yourself so closely.
Let the chilled winds of autumn
blow steadily
into your face and mine.


You said you didn't want
to build a fire.
So we sat in silence
above the earth's molten core,
the cold depths of space
filling the air.


The expanding universe . . .
planets, stars and galaxies
moving farther apart.
You see it, too
this separation is inevitable.

Jane E. Wilson


  Submission Procedures 

Who We Are

Deadline for next issue is May. 1, 2001.

  Poems Copyright © by Designated Authors 2001.
Page Copyright ©Jane Reichhold 2001.

Table of Contents for this issue.

Find out more about Renga, Sijo, Tanka, Ghazal.
Check out the previous issues of 
LYNX XV-2 June, 2000
LYNX XV-3 October, 2000