Phil Innes

No more black nights on

Forgotten promontories

Other vigilance

Whither the Storm?

Todd Vincent Crosby

When warmth gives way to bracing wind

and sun’s fair gaze has turned away,

gather the net, prepare to fend the

craft from Triton’s chilling fray.

Starboard, windward, port or lee?

Which quarter now commands our gaze?

Shall turbulence deny us now

deliberate passage of the days?

Trade comfort of the stoney heath

for chance among the rolling fetch,

Free of tender love and restless grief

Hope and hunger a ceaseless catch

Autumn’s veil conceals not fear nor sorrow

yet cleanses away a soul's dark night,

That dawn deliver on the morrow

a crescendo… winter’s blinding light!

75 at tea

Todd Vincent Crosby

a fine grit covers this shabby old couch

pouffing up as i plop my fat ass down on it

its grey green canvas, dusty as my skin now

replete with the troughs of old age

i lean my head back finding that old familiar indentation

And you are there before me,

infinite in your youth, tangled hair a mess

energetic, so full of life‘s timeless beauty.

we whisper sun dappled oaths barefoot in the orchard,

a full moon and its crickets bearing us good fortune.

whatever the future would withhold from us

it could never deny us laughter

Yet all too soon mischievous minstrels found willing ears

to woo us 

with promises of hotter tropics 

and bluer seas.

But how could the skies have been

bluer than those we had reveled beneath? 

or another ocean 

contain the immensity of our joy?

Indeed these long years, laughter was not denied me

echoing off these farmhouse walls

evening, morning, noon and night

the laughter of children… of family… of friends.

What wouldn’t i give to walk again with you

dottering down this misty country lane, leaning in close

sharing a knowing glance 

a chuckle at some private, distant joke. 

Under the moody November twilight

your blue teapot perched on my plant stand

a steaming, fat, blue parrot

Miles and Coltrane suspended in vapor

I hope that life has brought laughter

to your house… upon your loves

and that you have not lived with desire

to rewrite the drama of life’s final act.

Such a sweet melancholy to see you again in all your glory,

before i knew you were to be gone so soon.

i smile, assured that if that moon, and those crickets 

had spoken true,

you would have loved living in this old house

peaceful and solid,

infused with scents of leather and bergamot

with me savoring the chilly evening that once left me shuttering

an opportune moment for a steamy cup of tea!

Walking… Thinking… Talking… Singing…

playing with my dog

even if the dust has gotten 

a tiny bit out of hand.

All souls’ elegy

Charles Monette

unbearable dreams… all the departed were present

wild and wanton, their spirits gasping the air

the eve of All Souls’ Day, dreaded beliefs recurring

as mirrors imitate the wintry grey of bones

passing graveyards dark silhouette

death’s acceptance rejected anew

wandering souls searching the wind

disrespect running deep in the ground

to be thus remembered under a gloomy November moon

rain falling, rituals’ rabble rife

dry water’s life splattered o’er remains

meaning gone from the garden’s grow

genteel blathering clouding memories…

yet a distant time, a distant place draws near

moans of the dying congeal sedulously

muffling the striking of a pitch-black clock

years passed along with days

troubled souls seeking marigolds, the sweet bread of the dead

unsettled aching in the hereafter

a patch of pain, regret… why, why, why

tonight…walk the road’s center… beware of encouraging the dust

of disturbing phantoms’ shadows resting alongside

for peripheral chills will envelop one’s spine… raising hackles 

flashing terror’s mischief, a spur to run

eerie echoes, otherworldly rattles lack relevance… yet

add to the scare of the chase… catching up… falling behind

running off, outracing grown up ghosts

traditions slipping, screaming for a delicate plain

daring in daylight

hurrying back to bury somebody at the cemetery’s edge

perhaps a priest’s prayer will banish ghostly faces

exhorting them to their place… to await midnight’s exhumation

lopsided red-streaked-gray marble, water and a candle

an oblong tombstone’s engraving chiseled out

nameless as an unknown soldier’s

epitaph shrouded in secrets

stumbling bones stuck in mud’s asylum

hungry ghosts grabbing, unwrapping life’s promise once more

disappointments’ confusion leaving the marrow of emptiness

as if fine one moment and dead the next

[A note on the image]

Aladar Korosfoi-Kriesch

All Souls' Day --1910 Oil on canvas, 51,5 x 72,5 cm

Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

(It is a Hungarian tradition to go to cemeteries to honor the dead)

You cancelled your vacation

Charles Monette

you cancelled your vacation, said it was a waste of time

you didn’t ask me to come along, so I didn’t cancel mine

said you’d rather go to the carbon conference

though a governor on your pedal slowed deliverance

a pick-up artist curing smelly compost on the curb

you lost your drive, now drive less… unperturbed

two times a week buys pricey green organic groceries

take a bean, walk a block… second hand store sells ivories

recycle that glass… that plastic… redeem it like never before

hey reuse it, refuse it, metamorphose into a see-through door

all that garbage… all that trash… all that shit galore

soon be floating… polluting… Cousteau’s ocean floor

take your time, saunter slinky as you walk away

look back once, close your eyes as if to say

a shake, a shrug, a pissed off tattoo demeanor

should’ve fought to hold you, found two words, ‘I love Lena’

out of this world, you were trippin out my world

neither differences genteel, non commutable…nor easily unfurled

Cape bikin, Maine coast traipsin,… old friends lyin on a windswept beach

hot sands’ blain, hidin out in Cockaigne… never within reach

dancing-dizzy, spinning, whirli-gigging love’s confusion

falsetto-falling, famished on brink’s recision

white flag surrender comes to you wide-open

as in a gray love story filmed by Bergman

Malvern Hill

Charles Monette

It was the sixth and last of seven days

The battle for Malvern Hill, July 1st, 1862

McClellan and Lee locked horns in Herrico County

Virginia… up a piece from Poindexter’s farm

Disjointed assaults on the nearly impregnable Union position

Yanks up on Malvern Hill, the favorable ground

Slopes cleared of lumber, greater visibility downhill

Lee orders attacks directly… instead of flanking…

Artillery would clear the way…

Tragic miscalculation

Deadly fire rained thunder down on the Confederates,

Slaughtering them in their charge

5,300 rebel casualties without gaining an inch of ground

Blue bled too… 8,500 in all

Despite the victory, McClellan withdrew

To Harrison’s landing on the James River

Gunboats now protected his army

Malvern Hill lay soaked in blood, pockmarked

Bodies lying there still

[The image: Watercolor by Sneden]

Cicero's Hands

Mike Murray

A man of letters, a man of riches

He didn't have to burn those bridges

He lived and played with the men who held the sword

There was safety, but there was right

And in the stillness of the night

In the troubled times, his hands held only words







Asma's poem defied the danger

She warned, "Why mind this stranger?"

The stranger claimed to speak God's voice alone

Then the voice commanded slaughter

"Who will rid me of Marwan's daughter?"

When it's time to speak your mind, think of Asma's poem

There's big payback to check out

You're gonna end up sticking your neck out

When your life is on the line, you're all alone

When you call for folks to ponder

The crimes of those they honor

When you turn that bridge to burn think of Asma's poem


In their hearts, your words rings true

But they'll still come for you

When they hear the big man say you ought to be banned

All those battles to be won

Will they mean much when you're gone?

When you turn, that bridge to burn think of Cicero's hands


When it's your turn, your bridge to burn think of Cicero's hands

When it's time to speak your mind, think of Cicero's hands

When it's your turn, your bridge to burn, think of Cicero's hands

published with permission, copyright 2017 Mike Murray

overflowingly so

Charles Monette

thoughts dying in clouds

focus within reach

abruptly pushed over edge

thoughts wander, wonder over water

never landing

burning out

cosmic relatedness

all relates to all after all

random stirrings of memory

mind soaring, soaring beyond

imagination gliding

a splash of color scalds the earth

inspiration’s shaking foundations

stirring up rough dirt

far flung falling… an abysmal feeling

unreliable winds pelting exalted thoughts

blowing tree tops… life’s fluctuating fray

jump startled by thunder’s explosive cracks

vaulting over reckless danger

assiduously revised

I come to you… a spur to writing

Other voices

Charles Monette

March winds have quieted

Too soggy to blow

They sigh away to churn the sea

Listening for words of beauty

Some never heard before

Looking, hearing for a different way

Forsythia’s early yellow

Bell-shaped flowers, shrubs of an Olive family

Offer easy to appreciate full throttled blooms

Counting on spring to lift the gloom

Renew assurance with each green grass blade

It’s a young loving time of year

Moody moods’ last brood dissipates

To a chickadee’s call

Rivers swell muddy with snow’s last white

Something to remember me by

Winter’s baton passes grudgingly

Robins perch proudly, atomic tangerine

Did we expect any other?

Coming down with the rain

Wet showers circling… soaking a tree

Lichen brighten, stamp okay

Blue purple crocus open to day

This spring’s beauty ever slightly unlike

Ice floes slow

Charles Monette

Ice floes slow, a meditative pace

snow fringed, white edged circled upon the river

some big as all outdoors… shaped like continents adrift

melting atop… daystar’s penetrating rays also deeply felt

currently moving down river

till finally vanishing, becoming one with the waterway

smaller chunks, little snowbergs slip by… side by side

slandering in the sun

seemingly moving to end faster, to add to the deep

begun perhaps as ice shockles way up north

or frozen on a neighborhood bank

southwardly… slowly flowing southwardly, a push pull to the sea

look… an ice raft rafting, broke loose from the shore

reminders of  Arctic collapsing firns,

neve no longer, never more to be

earth’s frozen waters flowing precipitously

I watch sipping coffee, an uneasy tranquil stare

pleased to see them moving, knowing Spring will soon be here

Venus Smiled

Charles Monette

3 straight years, Earth is getting hotter

3 records set in a row

NOAA cooking the books

NO Antartic, Artic melting away

Chinese plot… I think not… do they want waterproof?

feel the swelter, helter skelter… Phalodi… Africa 123.8 degrees

drought, starvation,… no water to grow to drink

emissions of heat trapping gases, greenhouse gases

carbon monoxide

planetary warning planetary warming

threat to the natural world

El Nino swoops in… hot energy, water vapors release

2016 the hottest year 3 straight records in a row

trouncing past records, rising temperatures warm the globe

our constantly changing planet

Artic oceans 20-30 degrees above normal last Fall

seas ice sunset

startlingly rapid coastal erosion

some connectivity… an accelerated era

hot data records 3rd straight in a row

do you feel it?


cold water, hot water, no water, high waters, waterboarding

water color, waterfowl, waterway, waterworks, waterlogged

water pollution, waterproof, waterfront, waterfall

watertight, water under the bridge, water cannon

water wiping out the bridge Waterloo, water,

water everywhere, nary a drop to drink 

war-uh, watery, water



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Monkey’s Cloak