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The Woodsman

Rooted in black soil, a forest of bodies;
standing desiccate and barren.
Their wrinkled, black charred faces staring at me.
Outstretched limbs clawing; scraping at my skin.

From a clearing, the echo of timber cracking.
The song of swinging steel.
It is the hand of the woodsman;
the redeemer, hacking their trunks.
I scream into the autumn wind;

Encore! Encore!

—Mark Massey

i am the rain

i am the rain.
my finger is poised on the button of rain.
i am no one if nothing but rain.
my droplets are drums, a tin-pan beat—
the curbs, riverbanks, my rivers are streets—
i pull the cork from the drain.
i am rain.

i am the snow.
my breathing is blown into flurries of snow.
if nothing is frozen then nothing is snow.
my snowflakes are cotton, spinning a loom—
wind-drifted lace, white-curtained room—
i say which way she will blow.
i am snow.

i am, perhaps, spring.
my temple is built on the altar of spring.
if there is no birth there can be no spring.
my morning is dew: cold, wet, lust—
the sapling, the stamen, the pistil, the thrust—
i tell the earth when to sing.
i am spring.

i am, in fact, the sun.
my being is born in the eye of the sun.
if there is no light, there is no sun.
my waking is life, rising over your roof—
my horizon love, look east for your proof—
i make slaves of you all and masters of none.
i am the rain and the snow and the spring
and the sun.

—Jeffrey Aaron Schmidt

When Ramon Met Christopher in Valhalla

On Friday, October 29, 2005, the Department of Defense confirmed, in a
precise military
The death of Acevedoaponte, Ramon A., 51, Sgt. First Class, Army, from
It, the DOD, also confirmed the death of one Monroe, Christopher T.,
19, Specialist,
Army Reserve, from Kendallville, Indiana.

As it turns out, Sergeant Acevedoaponte was a grunt from the Third
Infantry Division
And Chris Monroe was from the 785th Military Police Battalion.

Now they are both dead forever and are in no particular military contingent.

Perhaps, if Valhalla really exists, they will meet or have already met.
Five other Americans were killed on the same day
Marine, Regular Army, and Reservists.
But these two surely would have gravitated towards one another, now dead,
They should have a lot to say to one another,
Though for entirely opposite reasons.

Ramon, 51, with half or more of a normally lived life behind him and
no life at all in front of him would have been drawn to Chris’s
extreme youth,
The Specialist not yet 20.
The younger soldier would surely want to know from one of the oldest men
He’d ever seen in a military uniform,
“What now, Sarge? How in the world do we get out of this fuck-up?”

(Later Chris would almost certainly want to know under what
circumstances he could now expect to lose his briefly held virginity.)

For his part Sergeant Acevedoaponte (“You can call me Ramon,” cutting
some slack to Specialist Monroe) couldn’t help ask Chris, rather
“How in the world did you permit yourself to die so young? What in
God’s name were
you thinking?”
The younger man was quick to justify himself with words about building
democracy, fighting terrorism there instead of here, making Iraq safe
from the crazies, and so on.

None of which Ramon to the slightest degree took seriously.

—Peter Scheckner

After Grazing Rock

the hull punctures and water
soothes across the fiberglass,
giving caught trout new breath:

they flap as if possessed
with electric blood.

we stuff the hole
with a balled sweater
and loll, wind-wisped

current shifting the boat
here there,
sliding sets of eyes

watching us.

—Nicholas Ripatrazone

Frozen Release
pigeon-toed she
sits in brown knit
boots at the edge of this
bench on this
porch alone with the
world on her
the only
noise is the music
playing in her
heart and the
movement of
smoke from her
—Amy Beth Barton

To the Former Lover of the Reader

I once saw you and the reader
near the station by the waterfront,
walking, hands bound by
hands holding the scent
of yellowed pages. I saw an oriole
beak that scent, and take off
landing later that night
near Vassar College, singing,
voice trapped by the
voices pinning the sight of serifs
between dimpled cheeks.
You remember the first time?
The reader’s moan?
The touch of your sweat and fluid and
the sound of skin against shoulders.

You feel as a typewriter thrown
from a 38th-floor window.

It’s a Hard Return.

—Jeffrey Paggi

False Villanelle

Like the sharp, bright eyes of a hound,
He stops, and only then does he remember
Me, on a trail, in the ascending November.

Autumnal Ashes, crimson ground
the Mountain Man watches, face steeped in the sun’s amber
with the sharp, bright eyes of a hound.

Laughter fleeing as I slip from each log,
Echoes off the memory of October
Me, on a trail, in the ascending November.

He aches with my every sound,
but fails to blow out our last ember
burning like the sharp bright eyes of a hound.

Kneeled down in Awosting fog,
faith that he will forget the smell of me by December,
Me, on a trail, in the ascending November.

Losing the nights we had found,
Mountain Man begins to dismember
with the sharp bright eyes of a hound,
Me, on a trail, in the ascending November.

—Lauren Tamraz Judson

Even When You Wilt

Even when you wilt,
the distance you create is dignified
and exempts you from the common grass
as a tall thin blade,
which rises up despite the wind,
and reaches toward the sun as it browns on its sides.

I want to water you, to fill your cells with strength,
to push against the walls and sustain the height of your form.
I want you to bend toward the light,
to feed from the rays
as they seep through your coat
and lift the smallest of particles.

You will bud and flower and seed with me.
I can grow things.
I can pull out the weeds and stake you up,
prune and pluck off aphids.
You will fruit and root and winter with me,
and I will drink you as soup and feel you inside me.
You will nurture me and I will grow too.

—Kim Barke

Superpharmacy of a Quick Moving Sale and Holy Ritual (Junk E-mail Poem #2)

O Lord of Heavenly Blue,
When the Going Gets Tough,
the Tough Go Dancing.
This is a corrupt and well-subsidized thought.

Lord, I do not want wealth,
nor children, nor learning.
What then? you asked.
I want:
a Complimentary, Brand Name Laptop Computer ($1800 Value)
a bigger gun with more ammo
A Strong Erection Naturally
And to Delight in Goodness.

Convincingly Real or Strangely Artificial,
Here you can Send books direct2YouR prisoners,
Obtain a repossessed Buddha,
And Expedite your transformation with no sideeffects.
To exempt those suffering into endless debt,
Päy much less for Originally Pure Dream Time.

It is selfish desire and anger, arising from the
appetites and evils which threaten a person in this life.
For example, oil filter for garbage can indicates that a food stamp
knows cough syrup is near Jennifer’s pointy nipples.
Banish the folly of rebirth thus beholding a $500 Shopping Spree waiting for
The very purpose of our life is happiness,
the very motion of our lives is toward High Truth, unyielding Order,
and Complimentary sheriff/county repossessed Dream homes.

Remove here the satellite of the frightened.

—Michael Hunt

Modern Crush


No desires.
In the rain,
in my red coat.

You are there,
in leather.
So unimpressed.

Feast your eyes on me, stranger

I’m unimpressed too.

—Erin Buttner


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