ELAINE WEBSTER – BORDERLINE

Borderline

 

Quiet along the border,

Stars and moon reflect on water,

Who would have guessed the effect Power had,

On woman, man, and beast?

 

Six hundred fifty miles,

Not long enough to stop the mix,

Of peoples, of places, of life.

Must build stronger and longer,

Wider and higher until the heavens can’t see,

The love of a boy and girl,

Divided at the Borderline.

 

Katrina learned early to be silent,

When asked about family.

She joked about her father wolf,

Uncle coyote and mother earth.

Shy smiles and giggles hid the fears,

That invaded her nighttime dreams.

 

Dash worked cattle and lived to ranch.

He’d seen them take the water,

From here and put it there.

The Power knew nothing

Of natural flows and the thirst,

The thirst of creation.

 

“Buenos Dias,” she said one morning,

To a pickup and a cowboy hat.

Kat knew better than to smile big,

The way he did, with such swag.

 

“Good morning,” he boasted,

Chest out and head high.

“Dash and Kat have a good ring,

Don’t you know?”

They met at sunset in a cabin,

In the shade of the Borderline.

The morning brought a sense of place.

Kat spied a wolf couple and two pups,

Through the pane-less window.

“Dash, that will be us,” she whispered.

“Kat, then let it be,” he answered.

 

Bingo came under a full moon,

His eyes filled with shooting stars.

No wonder he grew so tall,

So fast; to see beyond the Borderline.

 

The night the ICE-men came for Kat,

Dash and Bingo had no choice.

They stood back as the van took their own,

And howled in despair.

 

Soon many joined the pack,

Peering through the wall of fences.

At the Borderline both sides ran the gamut,

Back and forth in emotional and physical despair.

 

The wall extended further,

By the decree of Power.

Families divided—couldn’t get through.

Except to touch snouts or fingers,

Before the Borderline militia threatened,

With freedom denied or death.

 

“There have been walls like this,

Built to deny and control,” said Dash.

“Yes, I know and they did not last,” Bingo pondered,

With the strategy bouncing in his head.

“We will bring Kat and Los Lobos home,

On the next full moon.”

 

The Power ordered a cover-up,

Of how a Dreamer could be deported.

Kat faced the Press from her refuge,

In the church near the Borderline.

She could see the wall of fences,

From the pain-filled window of her soul.

 

Dash and Bingo gambled all they had,

To spread the word of wrongs to be righted.

Their travels took them places,

Where anyone would listen to the pleas of families divided.

No one knows how it happened,

How a Wolf Pack and a Mujer came to Power.

The Press swarmed the White House lawn,

To report the confrontation between Ruler and Ruled.

Bingo led the Mass of People—

Until they filled the World with new understanding.

He stood tall and saw Beyond the Borderline.

~

Find Elaine online here. 

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CALLING ALL POETS BORN IN NEW MEXICO

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

Grandma Moses Press will be publishing a poetry anthology containing only poets born in New Mexico. Lots of writers call New Mexico home, but for this project, we’re only interested in poets who were born here.

If you were born in New Mexico (you don’t have to show us your papers), and you would like a shot at being included in this unique chapbook, please send up to 5 poems to: grandmamosespress@gmail.com

Your poems don’t have to be related to New Mexico, but if they are it will help your poem’s chances of being included in this anthology.

Of course we can’t offer you any money for your poems. If you want money for your poems please contact Penguin Publishing and take it up with them. They can be reached at 1-800-733-3000 between the hours of 8:30 AM and 6:30 PM Eastern.

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2 POEMS – RICKY WINTERS

“#24”
A single mind
Over crowded with different colored emotions
Divided by the even and odds of the feeling
For bravery can’t be without fear and sadness without happiness
But the fear and sadness have switched themselves into a pair
A pair that’s making you push that EMERGENCY EXIT

“Dysphoria”

mother, forgive me for i have sinned i am the monster who will slaughter your daughter and parade her corpse around

I will mutilate her skin, form her a new friend

i will poison her blood, with poisonous T

i will eliminate these lumps, flat chested dreams will someday come true

So open your mind before your mouth

It’s my time to shine, my imprisoning time has been done

I am your son.

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4 POEMS – DAVE SLAGLE

Forecast

Another rain prediction
while the alfalfa turns blue.
Hurricane moving toward Baja.
Fronts shifting.

I found more photos
showing what I missed.
But none of divorces
or the miscarriage
or the two bouts with lymphoma.
Just beautiful Marianna
with her smile owning
the light and everyone.

Albums arrayed as they were.
My worries now
from the future,
while I feel the tug
of an anchor’s rope.

Cardboard Box

I’m careful with the sides,
coming unglued,
and the warped shape,
water damaged and
no longer perfect.

It holds the twigs
that start my late fire
to which I add bigger wood
keeping the box well away
as flames absorb grief
venting into summer.

If only these feelings would
recycle back to those evenings
when we were teens in Tucson
smoking and talking
on the edge of change.

It was a time like this box,
in need of care.
And I left it out
in August rain.
Wet cardboard
never again smooth and virgin.

Shop Tree

A weather measure
comes from clouds
behind the big shop tree.
Where are they going?
Are they fast or heavy?

One has to stare
because today they are slow
and not going
yesterday’s way.
A soft mantras

calming and true.
Keep looking,
be patient,
and from distraction,
their new form

will carry you
into the future
the sweetness here now
the surprises
you’ll never guess.

Meteors

Would this meteor shower
make me cry?
Because it will be so beautiful
and really far away.

Finding some kleenex
in Marianna’s purse,
breathing in the closeness.
And remembering through decades

to a time, on my bicycle
riding home
after Marianna
and more than i deserved,
stunned by a celestial
streak that wouldn’t end.

Amazement light years away.
My bicycle noisy in desert dirt.
Elevating my heart
to an unfortunate level
I’d never forget.

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The Mundanity of Chronic Illness – Lindsay Ballew

The Mundanity of Chronic Illness

when i say that i don’t want to live like this, it’s not an idle suicide threat

it’s just that i’m tired of my life exploding

little explosions and big explosions

not just my life, but my brain
my kidneys are fine for now, thank you
because someone (hollywood?) must think bipolar is so exciting
not the days when you can’t string three words together but go to work anyways with the other ten stuck in the cosmos
not the evenings alone at the kitchen table because you have alienated the other three
not the tremor or dizziness or running into walls or the stupid snakes

that aren’t snakes but (my doctor says) might be a tumor but it isn’t a tumor because I’ve been dealing with this shit too long
not the fear that the only things that have worked are not working
the scars on my body are not exciting
the incompetence is not exciting
the ways i’ve let everyone down – still not exciting

yesterday the phlebotomist told me her mom is taking such a high dose she doesn’t know if it’s still her mom

i didn’t say that maybe she is more herself

i didn’t say that there are no angels

no demons

no self, just

ions, synapses, protein

codes that don’t get screwed up, just passed down

which is unbelievably pointless

i want to open my brain from the base of my skull and pull out the snakes

hollywood would love it

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JOHNNY HUERTA – 2 POEMS

THE RED HOT COILS

the fan sitting on

a window sill

was gently blowing

the curtains on to

a radiator heater

the phone rang and rang

water boiling in a kettle

steam whistling out as if

it were a toy locomotive

circling the red hot

coils on a portable

electric range

plugged in to a

bloodstained wall

water overflowing in

the old clawfoot bathtub

Randy Travis blaring on

a portable FM radio

from an empty living room

~

DRYING OUT

Drying out

An army cot

Above the Taos

Fire station

Is not an ideal spot

But the cool breeze

Coming through

The window

Sure feels

Nice

~

Purchase Jon Huerta’s debut collection of poetry and moonshine recipes HERE

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JOHN GREY – 2 POEMS

THE EDGE

So there I was

standing at the edge of the cliff with Angela

and we made this vow,

like a wedding vow almost

but with the land dropping away at our feet

and bitter sea-wind blowing in our faces.

It was a pledge to be faithful until death.

I’d known Angela since childhood.

She read books, even difficult ones.

She loved to listen to music.

Her taste extended to jazz.

And she was drawn to the sea.

Not so much to be splashing around in it.

But to observe from a distance,

to feel its power not its playfulness.

The vow was more her idea than mine.

In fact, I was a little uneasy

standing in such a precarious position

on a chilly Fall day.

But she had grown into such a cute teenage girl.

And I loved the touch of her fingers.

And, oh yes, her breath on the back of my neck.

But, after we had repeated our affection so solemnly,

I could detect a certain sadness in her eyes.

It was as if she was saying, “Now what.”

As if dreams end by coming true.

Or a cliff, like the one we peered down from,

offered no opportunities to go any higher.

Or the sea was so vast, so deep,

it could only be indifferent

to two fifteen-year-olds trying to act older.

It was a week later, and in a less perilous setting,

when, with a tear or two, she released me from that vow.

I would have done the same but she beat me to it.

We were not a couple bonded for all time.

But we’d been exposed to the perils of such bondage…

not only bone-shaking and blustery

but at the very edge.

~

A HOUSEFLY REVISITS SYLVIA PLATH

I press against

the curve of glass,

peer out at my world

of linoleum, formica

and stainless steel.

Will I never sip

on the sugar crumbs again

or trot across the good china.

nibbling food-scraps

as I go?

I’m in this bell-jar –

yes, that’s right,

just like Sylvia Plath,

beating my wings,

buzzing loudly.

Well we know

what good that did

for her.

Soon enough,

the oxygen in here

will dissipate

until there’s not enough

to support the likes of me.

Sylvia, I know how

it was for you.

Someone trapped

you in their grip,

popped you into a container,

screwed the lid tight,

left you to choke

on your own imprisonment.

Just like you,

I’ll fall to the bottom eventually.

And yet I’m curious to see

what you have written there.

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Jack D. Harvey – BOMBING VIETNAM

Bombing Vietnam

Good old Joe,
a hell of a pilot you were.
You was my friend,
you was a big child,
all heart, stupid as paint, sure,
but the feel in your talented fingers,
your far-seeing blue eyes;
you and that plane united to kill
every goddamned gook down there
living in that green placid land.

I thought of you,
bombing airstrips, roads,
buildings, villages, factories,
the whole place;
it sickened me and
was I ever up your
big face and down,
looking for tears,
for remorse?

I’m sorry, Joe,
best friend,
I gave you love and respect
with full conveyor belts,
encouraged you
to blow this green land
to hell and gone,
so it’s me and you,
doing a lot of death.

Now you’re dead, too,
burned to a crisp
in your crashed B-52.

He was Joe from Muncie,
a bull’s eye,
a real true soul
who didn’t think much,
an O.K. guy, a
stamper on
American roads,
and now he’s gone.

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AMANDA VAN VEEN – SUNDAY AT VILLAGE INN

Sunday at Village Inn

Sunday morning at Village Inn,

coffee or orange juice? I am asked.

Every time, every day, those two drinks.

What if I want a milkshake for breakfast?

No, that is for dinner with your

chicken, bacon, ranch sandwich and french fries.

Always the same. Each. Time

 

is a constant, or is it

really? The clock always ticks at the same

rate – sixty beats per minute. A

metronome keeping the pace –

the pace of a walker, a jogger, a runner, a marcher?

Trumpets play too quickly, their egos

force it. Flutes play too slowly, their fingers

ache. What are the drums even doing?

 

Marching

at different rates, in different shoes, but still

to the same, old tune. Never

updating the song that plays when

the sports team scores their ball in the endzone

or the pep rally begins with the batons in the air.

Until that day that

 

The band director came.

The one that took the repeating

notes of the sheet music and switched them up.

The one that took that old song,

burned it to ash, then like

The Phoenix,

morphed them into a

New show to bring the audience to their knees.

 

Yet, in the end,

when the trophy is given

and the players celebrate their first place banner,

What do they do?

Have their milkshakes and

chicken, bacon, ranch sandwich with french fries,

at Village Inn, on a Sunday afternoon.

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