poem22 Dec 2019 05:12 pm
Department of the Interior. Patent Office. 1849-1925
Artificial Christmas Tree
6 July 1911

David C Kopaska-Merkel

The office-party planners,
not in the mood to waste
a perfectly good plastic tree,
Didn’t take it down post-Christmas.

They repurposed it for Valentine’s Day,
using heart-shaped lights and beads
and red decorative balls.

For St. Patrick's day the tree
wore a green sequined hat,
rainbow fringe, and individualized elves,
bearing the faces of the office staff.

Next, for Graduation,
they made miniature caps and gowns,
and improbable resumes;
my favorite work experience
was Orca groomer.

Independence Day, a fire hazard,
had to be canceled,
but Thanksgiving was a hit,
with construction-paper hand turkeys
favorite recipes, food pix cut from magazines,
and real chocolate-chip cookies.

The tree was not taken down until 2036,
and then only because
of the predatory mutant fungus.

But by the time they burned the tree,
it was far too late.
poem08 Dec 2019 02:53 pm
Die Gartenlaube (1856) 

Marge Simon

Once upon a time,
a child is given a snow globe
by an aunt or an uncle,
he can't remember which.
Inside the globe,
a little man sits on a bench
looking at a little woman
with silver slippers,
her arms are outstretched
as if to embrace the sky.
When he shakes it
the world inside
becomes alive.
He thinks it’s magic,
but he doesn't know for sure,
he is only a child.
His conscience, a cornucopia of hopes. On this night, he shares it with the graceful woman in

silver slippers. He takes her hand, for he has much to say. She listens attentively, but she
already knows what it will be. She loves the way his hair fall across the small scar on his
cheek. The way he smiles before a sentence, as if to be sure she is following him. He has so
much to tell her, but the snowing always ends too soon. There's never enough time.

Tomorrow, she says, we’ll stretch our arms farther across the infinite, to be born again

within the past. Skirts whirling, she turns round and round. Her slippers dissolve in a slivery

blur. A snowfall of stars descends.

The child is sleepy.
He stops shaking the globe,
places it carefully on his dresser.
But before climbing in bed,
he looks again at the snow globe.
Just for an instant, it seems
the little man is waving
as if to say goodbye.

poem24 Nov 2019 05:17 pm
Selene by Albert Aublet, 1880

Sara Backer

At twilight, my dogs run ahead on slopes of scree
while I walk the train tracks. The ties are spaced to thwart
my gait: too close for one step, too far apart for two.

Between two pines, the full moon reflects the dark side
of the sun. Parallel rails echo moonlight—twin silver serpents.
Hypnotized, I travel into my past.

I am again a young virgin hunting love
alone at night, believing in Keats’ magic hand of chance
and some unknown good destiny resulting from my twisted path.

Again, an insecure flirt, dressed to dance
with men who twirl me once or twice,
failing to find romance.

A crone with an aura of frizzled silver hair appears,
neck and brow splotched and wrinkled, glad for the silent
awareness of tending two retrievers.

My convoluted path turns into a track so straight and strong
the rails bear the weight of trains. I understand the hazard
of navigating by the moon, meandering like flotsam.

I whisper to my former selves:
use the sextant, do the math,
the stars will steer you safely!

But I can’t listen to my self, bedazzled by illusion
that makes this huge white cratered orb
seem close enough to kiss.

Uncategorized11 Nov 2019 07:25 am
Remigius van Haanen (1812-1894) – Faggot Gatherers in Winter Landscape

David C. Kopaska-Merkel

It comes from the forest
and winds about your limbs,
a scent you shouldn’t recognize,
but you turn, like a windsock;
the campfire at your back,
you stumble toward the shadows
waiting beneath the trees.

Hands clutch,
drag you back,
set you down by the fire,
voices, urgent voices, beset you,
senseless as the calls of birds.
Eventually, you sleep.

You dream of running, of leaping,
of soaring above tall brown boles,
green mantles ashiver.
Stars beckon from the inky reaches,
their ringing voices call you home.

Morning breaks
over the tiny camp,
your cold and empty tent;
friends follow your tracks
miles through the snow,
farther and farther apart they come,
till at last they vanish
under an endless sky.

poem28 Oct 2019 08:00 am
By Unknown – Popular Bible Encyclopedia of Archimandrite Nicephorus (1892) RSL, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=67647037

F. J. Bergmann

We had become convinced
of their existence, as one who,
without opening his eyes, feels
the weight of the gigantic
arachnid on his paralyzed breast. More
than human. Or possibly something less.

They sent no advance notification
of their arrival or intentions:
telephones rang with a hush
on the other end of impulse;
intransigent monitors and speakers
flared with oily white noise.

We had been unable to sleep
for countless nights, due to uninvited
nightmares. At least, they had the heads
of horses, but the bodies of huge
female spiders with sleek ebony pelts,
weaving their own milk-white silk

adhesive saddlecloths strewn
desultorily about the sleeping-chamber
(nor were our fatigue-induced waking
hallucinations any more pleasant),
gauzy as the opalescent haze
manifesting among the ghostly astilbe

at the bottom of the frozen garden.
Certainly they must have been there,
as animate vapors in the chilly mist
subliming from the rime-laden lawn.
A nacreous quality in the haze
gave the lie to their deceptive absence.

We met them again as vibrations—
compressions and rarefactions of dank air
spiraling outward from condensation
that splashed into shadow wells
far below ruins overarching
the craters where we stood.

With our eyes firmly shut, we believed
we heard them enacting rites performed
at an ancient temple now indicated
only by broken curves of marble
and melted, mangled pipework coils
from which the wine no longer gushed.

Perhaps they might have spoken
one of the legions of languages we had
lost. Possibly, if we had employed
those devices rumored to have been
developed for military malfeasance,
they could have been persuaded

to materialize in tangible form. Maybe
we could have evolved receptors
capable of detecting their emanations,
given time. They made their final,
ostensible contact with us as creatures
indistinguishable from dead leaves.

The flock rose up in a storm-driven gust,
fleetingly brushing our cheeks and lips
with their crisp tendernesses, whispering
what we took to be their goodbyes.
For hours they streamed upward,
onward, into a steadily darkening sky.

poem21 Oct 2019 08:00 am
The Love Potion by Evelyn de Morgan

Mary Soon Lee

Chose this path,
the barred doors,
her father's face averted
as she left the village.

Cast herself out
to the hut in the wood,
the cold corpse of the crone
who was witch before her.

Hard hours digging a grave,
the earth iron with frost;
hard work, a hard price
so that no man would own her.

Hunched at the hut's hearth,
chilled beyond bone;
back, fingers, arms aching
from her grim labor.

A blackness darker
than the shadowed shelves
slipped loose, edged its way
to an empty bowl. Cat.

Cat's accusing stare
as quietly, slowly,
trying not to startle it,
she offered it food.

Cat's small softness
beside her when she woke,
a gentler, older magic
than any she learned after.
poem07 Oct 2019 06:00 am

Ken Poynter

We hit it off from the start,
Cinderella and I.
At first boot, one light’s length after her
Self-diagnostic, she began
To map everything she could of me,
To sort and prioritize her dataset about my proclivities
Better than my own memory could muster
Using its own rounded pictures of my past.  Events
Which make me who I am, and which
I have long since forgotten,
She has in binary instantly fixed.
She completes me.  Within days
She understood my many appetites,
Knew the signals not even I expected
For silence, conversation, solitude or sex.
Perfect on the outside, it’s the miles and miles,
Rack after rack after rack
Of programming, that I fell in love with.  Our initial
Two weeks together were the best two weeks
Of my little life, so far; but, when we get
Slung at last out of this Earth’s gravity
To begin in full our journeyman’s trek to
Andromeda, I will happily unpack each element of her,
Begin to enhance my primitive biological,
Sweat and sweet life ever thunderously more
With countless crossing subroutines,
And the microcode of cozily programmed joy.
poem30 Sep 2019 08:00 pm

Gerri Leen

You, tin soldier
Who are lauded
For your immobility
You, who stood and stared
As if I didn't already get enough
Of that from Jack
You, who fell for me
With no words, no laughter
I'm paper, dainty as air
I'm made to dance
To stir, to flit, to fly
And you're made to stay,
To plant, to squat and guard
And never let me go

I was happy when Jack
Pushed you out the window
Him, I knew how to manage
Your creeping solidity
Terrified me far more
Than his black dust
But then you returned
Stinking of fish
Your flat, dead eyes
Triumphant as if you
Had done something—anything
Nothing, you do nothing
And they call that steadfast

I thank whatever deity
Protects paper creatures
Grateful that you don't burn
You melt, like snow and ice
Things that ruin a dance
As your body turned into a
Choking metal heart
I was freed in a burst of flame
They make paperweights out
Of such things as you are now
While I am a wisp of ash
A cinder, dancing on the wind

poem23 Sep 2019 08:00 pm
By Victor Ion Popa – Șt. Petruțiu, Ion V. Drăguleț, Victor Haiduc, Victor Ion Popa, Mironosițele. Nu-i pentru cine se pregătește. Eu tac, tu taci, el tace… ea vorbește. Bucharest: Fndația Culturală Regală Principele Carol, 1938., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58181310

Cameron N. Coulter

The ghost of the Carmelite convent never really wanted to be a nun. She had never made a 
vow of silence either, almost most people assumed she had. She had wanted to do what she
was put on Earth to do, she wanted to share her soul while whispering under the starlight, but
the other nuns were bad listeners. The priest cut her off during confession. One time, he fell

The ghost of the Carmelite convent was a perfectly chatty soul, to be honest. It's just, no one

ever stopped to listen. Folks always leaned across the room into another conversation. Even
before she was a ghost, people found it remarkably easy to look right through her.

When the ghost of the Carmelite convent became a ghost, no one noticed. She had been

dead for six cold days before they discovered the body. The truth is, she had been a ghost
long before her heart stopped beating. No one paid attention at the funeral, and the rest of
the day continued business as usual.

I hear she still haunts the benches and bell towers of the convent, just waiting for someone to

speak with. Once you get used to the cold spots, I hear she's really very sweet. You will go
talk with her, won't you?
poem16 Sep 2019 08:00 pm

Anthony DeGregorio

Ghosts in the windows of apartment buildings
Along the Metro North Harlem Railroad Line
No longer look up or scramble to spread the curtains
For a better view with every rumble of each passing train,
Or to scare a weary commuter, or the 
Weekend passengers heading to the city 
For a play and dinner perhaps, maybe just a stroll
Through Times Square to observe lives and sights
They would never see back home in Valhalla, NY,
An hour north of the city, who may casually glance
Upward in the darkened direction of a broken window, through its
Spiderweb of cracks, and into a sagging cobweb of time-
Infested silence, catching a hollow eye socket or two 
Of the lonely apparitions.  
They have grown bored with life they no longer possess,
And remain suspended before TVs
Tuned to seventy-year-old movies
Whose stars are as dead as they are.
Translucent couch potatoes, their
Skinless feathery fingers 
Attached to complex remote controls
In futile attempts to depress the proper buttons,
As they drop Princess Leia vinyl wine glasses of Scotch, or
Neon-red Elmo Sippy Cups of vitamin-rich carrot juice
They’ve forgotten how to grasp or even drink from,
Struggling with anything tangible in the urban morning darkness
Of abandoned rooms and vacant lofts.  An orange aura of 
Juice-infused mist veils the simmering air.  A warm carotene pulp oozes, 
Puddles on the floor, condenses where their feet once felt the plush carpets and 
Stained hardwood of the living.  Exasperated, they head to windowless bathrooms 
To squat and rise repeatedly upon sinks and wicker hampers, their vacuousness 
Twerking to the moist drone of lavatory Muzak from ventilation fans.  They 
Long for an assumption into the fetid rapture of humidity’s exhaust 
Before finally giving up after unsuccessfully trying to flush themselves 
Down high efficiency toilets, and squeeze through hair & scum-clogged 
Drains, sadly unnoticed amid the uncanny melancholy of afterlife.

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