The 30/30 Project: January 2021

Welcome to the 30/30 Project, an extraordinary challenge and fundraiser for Tupelo Press, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) literary press. Each month, volunteer poets run the equivalent of a “poetry marathon,” writing 30 poems in 30 days, while the rest of us “sponsor” and encourage them every step of the way.

Donate to 30/30

The volunteers for January 2021 are Marilynn Eguchi, Doug Luman, Jennifer Met, Jamie O’Halloran, Ron Palmer, Rachel Esther Parsan, Juan Pérez, Aline Soules, and David Wright. Read their full bios here.

If you’d like to volunteer for a 30/30 Project month, please fill out our application here and warm up your pen!

Poem 21 / Day 21

Untitled / by Marilynn Eguchi

there’s an excitement and a stress in the urgency
of tonight’s meeting and i’m trying to hold space 
for that while i pick at the nerves around my nailbeds
learning to deal with the discomfort of public discourse.
under the right conditions even solids convect, 
but how do we organize to that goal and how do we feel 
about dirty hands? there are so many questions 
the consensus is uncertainty which is fine as long 
as everyone is comfortable expressing dissent. 
today of all days we celebrate harm reduction 
over victory, but in light of the potential for evolution 
start by determining where pressure needs to be applied first.

Untitled / by Doug Luman

Lately you’ve been playing you take up space
you lay on the floor for many hours & take on
different pieces of furniture & today you try
a table & yesterday you were an empty pantry
the only rules are that you have four feet & must
be useful so right now if anyone asks you questions
you have your five-letter answer ready: table
you’ve been here for 10 hours already & no one has
come by & if you were to tell anyone about it
you’d no longer be a table so that’s not possible
& you think maybe next time I’ll use cloth napkins
instead of paper ones & you should do something
with the plate & heap of bread you’ve decided to
take on & you could’ve been a levee but you lack
both a storm & sand so you start to think that
someone needs a table & eventually come along
to lay some cards out to see what they spell or
put you closer to the window so people can see
what a good table you are when evening comes
imagine how many people are eating alone tonight
& how many people are just like you occupying space
waiting to be so moved


Sourced from:
Withers, Carl. A Treasury of Games. Grosset & Dunlap (1964).

Embedded / by Jennifer Met

I am embedded roots,
surfacing for water only
to knuckle into soles

or poke goose eggs
through a slip & slide’s
banana yellow. Torn,

my bark polishes free
as if breaking a trail to be
hiked to a familiar step.

Yet, you wanted me gone.
You, tender as a law
holding your baby boy

from the dirt, the rocks.
All perfection
carved out of him.

XI. / by Jamie O’Halloran

Promises of another spring, a summer without bounds,
Persist. That early daffodil missed its December launch.
This morning, though, its sheath of green suggested yellow,
So it should bloom by St. Brigit’s Day. The blackcurrant
Cuttings show signs of survival. The hedge that holds
Dormant dog rose, fuchsia, and blackberry will again be
Pink and white against a buttery backdrop of furze. Seeking
Calamity continues to be rewarded with desecrations
Of the human heart, but sweet box blossoms. There is
The patch where hyacinth will stand up and where the creamy
Parasols of wild carrot will pop open. Shutters will be fastened
Against midsummer twilight, not the cold. Already birdsong

Rings Angelus loud and lusty woodpigeons clap their wings.
We’ll surrender that shed to the ivy where robins tend to nest.

Linguistical Tennis / by Ron Palmer

I serve a mouthful of semantics 
which usually works for me 
but my opponent surprises me 
with a whack of etymology 
scoring the first point. 

I then try a platitude 
and see it returned with a spin. 
Being behind, Philosophy/devotion 
irks my spirit and I start playing chaotic 
sending over synonyms which my opponent scores by returning antonyms

The school bell / by Rachel Esther Parsan

At 7.45 am
The school bell rings
No instructions needed
children, teachers, and principal assemble in the schoolyard
One child raises the flag as the national anthem sounds sung by 300 middle schoolers 
Their beautiful little voices carry far as the words sound :
God zij met ons Suriname 

A year since the words sounded in the yard, the building misses the children 
Silent classrooms and empty chairs
Pristine blackboards
No running in the halls and no recess 
The swings in the little playground are still, 
A brown dove built a nest in one of the climbing racks , unbothered she can now prepare her eggs will soon hatch
Little brown and green lizards run around, no little feet to scare them off 

12.45 pm and still the school bell does not ring 
The yard stands empty, save for a flock of birds flying overhead
The flag is still raised. 
Green , white, red and yellow wave in the air

TYA: 21 / by Juan Pérez

Thirty years ago, a funny story
I’m not saying that it happened to me
I’m not saying that it happened at all
someone smoked a camel in the desert
lit it up despite the ordered blackout
what’s so amusing about that you ask?
two night-watchmen hear some nearing footsteps
then demand the assigned, nightly password
nothing responds as the sounds come closer
three-spurt rounds, then something falls to the ground
apparently, camels speak no English
do they taste like chicken? maybe they do
true or not, yet in anyone’s version
the camel never makes it out alive

My Time / by Aline Soules

What does it mean to look in a mirror,
see seventy when my inside tells me
I’m only twenty-five?

I do this every day, wash my wrinkled face,
brush my yellowing teeth, comb my gray hair,
rage against the latest folly on the news.

In the rhythm of ablutions, I think of Dylan
Thomas raging against the light in his fabled
villanelle. Good for you, DT, good for you.

Some physicists don’t believe time exists.
They may be right, if you think about time
as a never-ending tick-tock on a clock.

What if time depends on when it happens
in a life? Reading Dylan Thomas’ villanelle
at ten, asking my teacher what it meant,

not understanding any of it until college,
maybe twenty-two, not understanding
differently until I read the poem again at sixty.

What if time depends on moments
of understanding unrelated to clock or age?
My Thomas villanelle. My time.

First Breath, New Day / by David Wright

Fifteen degrees and the flash of a sun
that doesn’t care who swears what oath
to whom or sings which bright anthems
or the dozens of poems trying to be
homes for that star, this oath, trying
to believe today’s particular blue means
a sky that never lies about the earth
the clouds seem to kiss across the interstate.
In some words, there is always room
for other words. In other words, there is
only a trace, some wisp of a human
voice, whispered burst of a phoneme
become misted breath–dissolving, word
suspended in light for an adequate instant,
enough to contain the most diffident sun.  

Poem 20 / Day 20

Untitled / by Marilynn Eguchi

when orbits intersect, interactions 
between bodies raise tides confined by 
exploration. nearing deliverance, our main 
source of error, determined by gravity 
and strain, leaves sharp canyons 
and fresh chasms as evidence 
of shared history.

Barr, A. C., & Hammond, N. P. (2015). A common origin for ridge-and-trough terrain on icy satellites by sluggish lid convection. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors249, 18-27.

Untitled / by Doug Luman

& like most people, every day you’ve been counting
all the words you’ve said to your neighbors but for this
game think of all the secrets you have & write each down
on a slip of paper then place each in a basket outside
your front door with a sign reading take one, pass it on
the wonder of this game is that everyone also repeats it
& you can add things like I am the more unselfish person
or I saw you being mean to that crow & don’t be afraid to
add some penny candy in there after all the counting
you’ve been doing won’t it be nice to remind yourself
how quiet the street can be


Sourced from:
Withers, Carl. A Treasury of Games. Grosset & Dunlap (1964).

Untitled / by Jennifer Met

moving day–
will the statue
forgive a likeness?

400,000 luminaries float on water / by Jamie O’Halloran

Each flame reflects
Each reflection fragments
Each fragment scatters
Each scattering gathers in multiples incalculable

For the lights each flame sparked
For the hearts each flame illumines

May these lights honor those who do not know they are honored
May these lights remember so they will not be forgotten
May this remembrance manifest in care for the living
May this remembrance

Be a blessing on us all

One Winter Morning / by Ron Palmer

In the morning sky fly 
a bunch of small black birds, 
not crows, heading no  
particular direction in  
an almost scattered flight. 

Looking in the direction 
they came from I see 
the sky scary in its mix 
of blues and greys and black, 
with some clouds long and  
thin, as if sharpened, as if talons, 
but no storm was forecasted, 
just the freezing of last night’s 
snow/rain mix and I can see 
the street covered in 
bumpy ridged ice.  

I think on how I survived 
yesterday’s commute home 
as I survived many of winter’s  
challenging commutes, 
always committed to making  
it back home. 

It occurs to me that I survived 
many challenges, embarrassments, 
accidents, twisted fate disappointments 
and am living, in spite of the portents, 
in something similar to content.  

It is then I hear the caw of crows 
as they fly scattered-like in  
their murder , half toward the north, 
half toward the west 
and I wonder what this could mean. 

Halal roasted chicken / by Rachel Esther Parsan

says the sign above the tent 
large plastic tables arranged underneath
A cook rotating the spit
in an abandoned hotel parking lot 
golden brown hens roasting in neat rows

The river behind the hotel looks inviting and cool 
The breeze over the water gives some relief from the burning rays of sun
but not much. 
Wiping sweat with a towel he stands bravely tending 
The roasted birds are a creative attempt keeping hotel doors open 
There have been almost no guests in a year
Empty rooms and equally desolate dining rooms 
How many chickens equals a one-night room rate 
A car slows down, opens a window, enters the drive-through. 
One bird sold 

TYA: 20 / by Juan Pérez

Thirty years ago, Commander in Chief
was a respected position to earn
since those years we have had some presidents
that had somehow taken the easy road
away from any military life
outright inventing medical issues
to avoid going to a napalm war
Bush, the father, was a war veteran
even got shot down during World War II
he wasn’t perfect, but he understood
placed us in harms way as once he was too
a true warrior king, Commander in Chief
to rule a nation, first understand war
still till this day, we’re switching draft-dodgers

Renounce the Pillars / by Aline Soules

even the beloved when they say  
it’s not healthy, it’s dangerous,  
you’re crazy. 

Eat crispy tarantulas in Cambodia 
jellied moose nose in Canada 
tuna eyeballs in Japan. 

Dive into the ocean at La Quebrada 
bungee jump at Bloukrans bridge 
sky dive at Palm Jumeirah at ninety. 

Too much? Eat ice cream  
for breakfast, spend all day  
lounging, reading. 

Whatever you do 
dances on water  
writes on sky. 

Masked Litany 8: Victory Garden, Three Months In / by David Wright

               Of Course I Can!
               I’m patriotic as can be –
               and ration points won’t worry me!
                                         — WWII Poster by Dick Williams (1942-45)

My grandmother plants a victory garden full
mostly of flowers and my grandfather weighs
corn at the grain elevator when the trucks pull
up and my mother and her sister learn to spot
German planes that will never make it to summer
skies over Illinois fields. This is the war for them,
bald tires and radio shows. As a boy I found
a gas mask in their basement near old golf balls
and a handful of shotgun shells.

                                            I keep three cloth masks
in my car and go to Aldi every other other week
and speak to no one there. I am afraid of the Arby’s
worker who leans towards my car bare-nosed
to hand me waffle fries I will pay for and decline.
This is all early on when we believe it will end
in time for Thanksgiving.

                             I plant basil for pesto and tomatoes
for rotting. Hero. Hero. Villain. The story boards
and posters have no place right now for marvels.
My son and I save the world though on our magical
phones like this time it’s a game that can be won.

Poem 19 / Day 19

Untitled / by Marilynn Eguchi

first, before growing you must fix
all that’s left behind, but reach slowly 
or years drop into insignificance.

stand in front of your affected figure,
where contact may lead to permeability 
in time. accompanied by separation, 
independent in-betweens mix forming 
gradients defined by changes in terms.

many worlds are liquid; certainty 
dissolves and volatiles migrate 
which may temper or overturn 
while cratering has been observed
in bodies with complex histories. 
taken with a grain of salt, it’s likely 
i’m the reactive species, i show 
more evidence of contaminants, 
which isn’t interesting but does explain 
the likelihood of catastrophe.

sourced from:
Hammond, N. P., Parmenteir, M., & Barr, A. (2018). Compaction and melt transport in ammonia-rich ice shells: Implications for the evolution of Triton. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 123, 3105–3118. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JE005781  

Untitled / by Doug Luman

Understandably, your tire of playing all your familiar
games so here’s one from Europe called & who are you
& for this one you need to keep an honest face it begins
with some rigmarole about saying the names of towns
until you come up with one sounding like it’s from a fairy tale
& make up with some equally ridiculous job & you develop
multiple backstories including one that involves a mystery
about a lost family dog & just maybe you’re too into it
but it doesn’t matter if it’s all made up or that you’re not
as funny as you thought you were because right now
you find that you enjoy being somebody else for a while

Sourced from:
Withers, Carl. A Treasury of Games. Grosset & Dunlap (1964).

Storm Chaser / by Jennifer Met

Around a rain
many skies awoke

your protest or your movement
out a pristine curtain

from the covered room
within. I can’t unimagine

how this failed
to cleanly draw a June

tornado, but left a single sky
temporarily

raging snowflakes
or even apples, falling.

X. / by Jamie O’Halloran

Furze colonizes that field with its wildly blooming yellow suns
Where Sonia, a Connemara pony, some days is let to graze.
A hand drawn sign warns against feeding her rotten veg.
This was a burial ground, not a cemetery, for the soil was
Unconsecrated for holding the poor that died of the fever.
Returned to this earth here, they were, though not of their own
Volition. The consecration is that part of the Mass with the host,
Transubstantiation. The wretches laid in this field, their bodies,
Unhosted. They may have welcomed spoiled spuds.
The ground took most of them in the decades after the Hunger.
Blights damage more than potatoes. It was said to blacken
Leaves and stink to high heaven. Source unknown, but said

To wither hope or check prosperity. So, the covid stunts
Promises of another spring, a summer without bounds.

The Rooster Has Spoken / by Ron Palmer

and I wish I knew
what this rooster spoke
and why.

It wasn’t quite daybreak;
we were already up
so no need for alarm.

The dogs had come in
and I was attempting to write
the dim poetry that I write.

The neighborhood was silent
except for the occasional
crunch of a car on the road.

So why did this rooster speak
and, moreover, where was it
speaking from?

Because we have no rooster
nor live near any farm.

Market Day on Wilhelminastreet / by Rachel Esther Parsan

Chinese breakfast, the sign reads
Sunday morning. Cars string the side of the road.
Long lines for small packets of fried tofu,
dim sum, and bubble tea.

Vendors selling with one hand , frying with the other.
Expertly scooping out golden tofu squares, scooping in bills from customers,
as eager for normalcy as for breakfast
Mouthmasks on, no tasting at the stands.

Loud pink dragonfruits shout for attention, warm orange papaya becons with lime,
bright yellow green mango’s blow smooches, their fragrance throwing smooth sunshine in the air
all neatly arranged in a rainbow of colors

an elderly Chinese woman gives orders to a young girl helping customers,
place this in a bag , 20 SRD for a handful fresh ginger.
the girl complies, with the intent confusion of the young on her face

Goldfish and koi pond fish in plastic bags , swimming around anxiously, as the sun gets hotter,
their too small pond gets suffocating.

The line for the Chinese breakfast continues to grow,
forgotten are the warnings about social distancing
Just for a brief morning we pretend it is safe to enjoy a breakfast

TYA: 19 / by Juan Pérez

Thirty years ago, I recall a night
a few weeks after I had come back home
typical evening, nothing out of place
I had drunk a few beers watching a game
Atlanta versus New York; the Braves won
then I went to bed, work started early…
she said she tried to get me up from bed
I wasn’t on it, I was under it
I was yelling loud, she said the next day
telling her to get down, to stay alive
a contorted face in a man-made storm
I can’t recall it ever happening
or why my wife then was so scared of me
…that night, firehouse sirens seemed so clear

The Gift of a Failing Body in Old Age / by Aline Soules 

The Damocles sword strikes—
heart attack, cancer, some other
failure of the organism
each of us calls I, me, mine.

In youth, tragedy: a classmate
with leukemia, a sibling
in an accident. Yet, we carry on,
study for tomorrow’s test,
play baseball in the park
party with friends.

In age, we pray for a swift end,
but often our prayer is not granted.

Helping each other

Rather than folding back on yourself, you fold over each other
Like pleats in a kilt

Randomness and risk
The randomness of when we fall apart
The risk we take living on our own

Beneath any blue man with a guitar / by David Wright

at least three flattened figures hover—woman, child, perhaps a calf or sheep trapped
in echo after echo of a Catalan tune.

They are not the lovers at the door of Mariagneta. They are not the holy ghost.
They are not you, not me. No.

We are the guitar in the hollowed man’s hands, cradled on his thighs. If we lean near
what we hear is the hum of ourselves,

not strings over a wooden body with a hole in its belly. If we like, we hear also the hums,
perhaps, of other voices singing

ascending in thirds. Might as well try to understand the song of a bird as if it sings a crooked
lyric about the source of all-suffering.

I did not know this until now but the origins of blue are not blue, and years from now I will know
for certain the names of the ghosts

beneath any blue man with a guitar are not names at all.
Are not me. Not you. They are covered in blue.

Poem 18 / Day 18

Untitled / by Marilynn Eguchi

i struggle to tell one dependence from another 
but you were the key and we sat in your car outside 
of Mac’s in the dirty frozen sleet of late february 
in Michigan listening to motion city soundtrack 
before Chris and Brannon’s show and i remember
thinking it was the freest we’d ever be

Untitled / by Doug Luman

It takes at least a dozen people to play cookie thief
because you need to get to the root of this problem:
someone is eating all the cookies & you don’t know
where they go & you’re convinced the thief is some
hungry ghost naturally you wonder what else you’re
missing but the rules say only cookies so everyone places
a guess in a gingham cloth along with a nickel or dime
while you give a dollar & when you’re not looking
your friends put other things in there like eggs, butter,
milk or flour & you see what’s so good about friends
they’ve seen your refrigerator & know a thing or two
about you you say look for the last week I’ve written
down every cookie I’ve taken from the jar on this paper
& they’re so good you tell everybody to have one because
if you were left alone with them you’d eat them all
& wonder where they’d gone to


Sourced from:
Withers, Carl. A Treasury of Games. Grosset & Dunlap (1964).

White Noise / by Jennifer Met

Should I find a joy
in the idling police—
cars parked nearby—
driver to driver talking
in automotive 69?
Their self-satisfaction
offering percussion
to our own conversation,
that is to mean
its sudden lack. We quiet
and warily watch. Our
idling silence, cleaned
in stationary engines,
tattering away
like a newspaper taken
to fan blades.
As they move
what a mess it leaves.

IX. / by Jamie O’Halloran

Shadows cast the story, lengthening as the days play out.
Even though the sun shifts higher above the horizon,
Dark silhouettes stretch ever longer across the State.
Nine thousand babies’ names stretch into a ribbon of mourning.
Sisters of Mercy. Blinds raise and shutters open in a different
Order of respect. Daughters of Charity. The best disinfectant,
They say, is sunshine. They dug out St. Mary’s Mother and Baby
Home septic tank. Collected rubble of fetuses, toddlers, infants.
Laid to disordered rest they were. Bon Secours. Others were
Haggled overseas to more hallowed mothers in unblessed bliss.
This happened in the new Republic, independent from one rule,

Lashed to another. The famine burial ground was unblessed.
Furze has colonized it with its wildly blooming little suns.

brief respite / by Ron Palmer

I could say this place where 
safety is seemingly  
found is a cocoon but  
it is plainly seen 
there’s no butterfly life for me 

And although there is 
a calm in present life can 
one say safety is long term? 

Is there a ladder to the 
light side of a brain 
where jokes can be 
spoken and smiles 
lasting into the night? 

Where you leave safety 
on the ground along 
with content as you 
reach out for that mirage: 
happiness. 

Curfew at 7 PM / by Rachel Esther Parsan

Evening used to mean a gathering time at cafes, restaurants, in the homes of friends and family.
Sunset, the slip of light that held the world together

Now the last orange golden rays of sunlight signal us
finish up chores and errands
before safely retreating inside

For some 7PM is too early, 
they dare a last minute dash  
Perhaps to the store or to pass the time with a friend

Fearing less to get caught by police 
more to face a night in solitude
Every party or event postponed indefinitely  

Where people once mingled in the street, 
a kiskadee can be heard calling 
while crimson hummingbirds sip nectar in the dusk

TYA: 18 / by Juan Pérez

Thirty years ago, sirens were constant
mostly, in the early part of the war
alarming us up from whatever dreams
until we left for forward positions
while we remained in the foreign city
their defenses feared the Iraqi scuds
some had already taken lives elsewhere
loud, repetitive, sounding off each night
in pitches that made any stomach turn
running away from buildings for cover
getting caught tired and so unprepared
began to lay in bed already dressed
weapon loaded, gas mask at the ready
even in my sleep, I remained alert

Rice Pudding / by Aline Soules

I soak Arborio rice in whole milk in my double boiler. 
It takes an hour to soften the grains. 

I’ve been to the Po Valley, wandered through Arborio,
a small town of under a thousand people. 

My rice comes from California, where I live.
Arborio sounds more exotic.

I whip egg, sugar, and open a jar of nutmeg.
Smell.  Ground seed kernel of myristica fragrans.

Moluccas, the Spice Islands. I mix the local and exotic
to add to the softened rice and milk. 

Homely comfort food I ate as a child in Scotland,
as a teen in Canada, fed to my small son in Michigan.

I stir the pudding.  My grandson’s coming to visit
with his American dad and his mom from India.

I pour the pudding into a serving dish,
offer my family the world.

Letters of Lament / by David Wright

III

Nobody says the word naked
              like Leonard Cohen sings,
as bare and bright as an opened orange
              and its curved peel.
Know me, again. I want the song
              to remind us both:
every pungent way our flesh tasted
              and can taste,
draw us again into the acid sweet.



Poem 17 / Day 17

Untitled / by Marilynn Eguchi

the voice you answer the phone
with tells me i only call you
in emergencies, a stoic alarm
that guides me through the worst of it

but when we were kids you drove
everywhere with the windows
down so we could feel the cool
heavy spirits that hummed across
fields and felt so alive on young skin

and i could only go if you were there to hold
my hand which would’ve pissed me off
but didn’t matter because we were going
together anyway and you never let go.
maybe that’s why i still feel safest
with you

Untitled / by Doug Luman

Ok, it’s the end of the week so you figure
you’ve got time to count as many words as
you know & there aren’t enough so you decide
to make your own language where all words are
spelled the same forward as they are backward &
so far you’ve managed to make only one which uses
too many vowels in a row so it sounds like wailing
& you realize that this is why you won’t succeed
you can’t begin to spell what you mean in any language
let alone English & even if you could you’re still only
talking to yourself


Sourced from:
Withers, Carl. A Treasury of Games. Grosset & Dunlap (1964).

Party, Party, Party in the Elevator / by Jennifer Met

       -With Harlan, age 6

Let’s go up to the ceiling
and on to the clouds in the sky.
Let’s take this toy rocket
where it wants to go
and jump together once
for every time I just said
go to bed. Tonight let’s fly
before our watching dreams
demand it of us.

VIII. / by Jamie O’Halloran

We’ll arrive at the threshold stomping our stocking feet
Refusing to cross. Why not stay here where we’re
All we are? Last evening’s lamplight splintered on the laurel
Into fireflies, wee gems of gold under the new moon.
The sky was a cavern where the stars and planets played
Gods and animals, heroes and fish—so crowded up there.
Rain crazed the window pane. The tapers lighting our table
Tiered in another window into a votive candle stand.
Our intention for today was to light one for our late friend.
We planned to find the right spot to plant the carpet roses.
I was going to dig a hole by the fence for the honeysuckle.
And so we paved our road, our failings the hell we make.

Prudence wrestles impatience behind this scrim, living
Shadows cast the story, lengthening as the days play out.

What’s On Your Mind? / by Ron Palmer

I wonder if my death 
will come unexpectedly. 
Guessing so 
although intellectually
I know it will be 
but emotionally don’t 
believe. 

Will I be found face down 
in the snow 
shovel in hand or 
lying in the crab grass 
lawn mower still running 
until it runs out of gas. 

Or will it be more melodramatic 
slowly fading in a hospital bed 
morphine dripping into my body 
people taking turns to watch 
or maybe there will be  
no one there to watch 
as the hospital administration wonders 
who will cover the cost. 

Maybe I will be on Facebook 
ready to post a brilliant response 
when my body shrieks 
and the keyboard with my thud 
enters this: grkja. 

TYA: 17 / by Juan Pérez

Thirty years ago, still remembering
what happen so fast the long night before
about the scud that almost took us out
some screamed, firing away as it flew by
splashing the water but never went off
and if it had… what about my young wife,
my baby, a fatherless statistic
who would this damned war really convenience
now that it had actually got going
for what… oil? MY LIFE for fucking, black gold?
it is what makes America so great
while service members sacrifice themselves
obedient to a constitution
politicians hoard all its benefits

Rain after No Rain / by Aline Soules 

Ozone earth
fills my nostrils.

Leaves, glowing red and yellow
against dark green conifers,
hang like ornaments
from emerging branches.
The fallen are soft underfoot.

I am alone on my walk in
California, where two or three
drops of water gathered together
constitute rain.

My breaths absorb
pungent eucalyptus.

The creek gushes over
a weir, foam blossoming
like soap suds to climb
the banks. The water
surges on.

Hill mud cakes my shoes
as I struggle to keep
my footing. It’s worth
my effort to be at the top,
to look down at a world
eased at last
by the gift of water.

Letters of Lament / by David Wright

II

Threnody for the victims of the art gallery,
              the women trapped in oils,
hollowed out, the bronze women, who turn
              always away and into the light.

Renoir was there when I brought you,
              and Chagall, that February.
Every woman on the walls and pedestals
              turned me towards you.

No one believes this year in the cubed
              green faces of paint,
or in refracted light that heals through blue
              stained glass and its restoration.

Denmark seems years ago. Chicago disappears
              every evening at ten.
Your morning phone calls begin with nightmares
              about losing your way.

I have seen myself dream before, reached
              over to comfort myself in the awful dark.
Now it’s been weeks since I could live the night
              cloistered with another under a quilt.

Beckon, yes? Let us come here with no art
              or any smart thing to say.
Let me just see? Show me the wild root
              in your chest you have tried to hack away.

Under our gaze, the women in the gardens
              of art never leave their frames.
Every threading vine is not a weed. Close
              your eyes and tend the root. Be wild?

Poem 16 / Day 16

Untitled / by Marilynn Eguchi

the 1965 immigration act triggered rapid vertical fluidity due to a sudden decrease in density leading to Model A: see new example at Table 1; defined as an intermediate species; nonreactive and favored as a benchmark for comparison. timescale is important to keep in mind for context to solutions. relating velocity and viscosity, describe the upward motion of Model A where resistance decreases significantly and arbitrarily. once you’re alone, account for this drastic fluctuation as a function of temperature.

the base expectation is to be quiet and good at math and science and once everyone and my ancestors were thoroughly disappointed with me i sat without my race, alone with words. cut off from a language they said i needed for a future that felt like a joke at the time, there were so many rules and nobody would tell me why.

by 1966 Model A, susceptible to depletion and accretion, was used to absorb and dissipate movement. plotted separately and set against each other only to react, referring to Model A in direct contrast to demonstrations such that differences in density and temperature of the fluid in each system are still not accounted for, resonating through the enriched unyielding slurry that progresses slowly in the direction of integration. compute the intentional reduction of flow through a porous medium. what order of magnitude would an event need to produce the energy for you to activate? solve and simplify.

Sourced from:
Hammond, N. P., Parmenteir, M., & Barr, A. (2018). Compaction and melt transport in ammonia-rich ice shells: Implications for the evolution of Triton. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 123, 3105–3118. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JE005781

Untitled / by Doug Luman

Today you find yourself in the middle of a game
of London Bridge in which everything falls down
coffee cups, picture frames, all your brooms & you
only have yourself to blame because your cat appears
possessed by an unholy ghost & it’s similar to another
game called ready or not & of course you’re not
but it’s clear that you allowed this to happen that is
giving your cat the time to make friends with spirits
bent on redecorating your house & it takes so long
the hands of the clock are busy crossing themselves
& now you know why


Sourced from:
Withers, Carl. A Treasury of Games. Grosset & Dunlap (1964).

A Pregnant Pause / by Jennifer Met

Clouds appear like real things—
smoothed, raised in layers
of a baked butter croissant.
Like yeast-fed dough—
all airy pockets—a lightness
to its mass, folded
again, and again settling
for only itself as partner.
Wallflowers, these clouds
blow en masse
the shape of a school—
fish, their silvery
scales caught in your imagined
eye. The moon is rushed
from his mischief. Blinking,
his shark fins slim
the whole of the universe
away from our half breath
measured by the cold
as more cloud, as quickening.

VII. / by Jamie O’Halloran

Mind the foliage to let it die completely.
Only then, will its purpose, the feeding of future
Flowers be fulfilled. Sure yes, it is unsightly— 
Limp slag of ribbon yellowing from green taking its
Time to brown and crisp. Lazy rashers in summer’s
Skillet; not sun enough to make them sizzle. Here
It is, January, and my mind is occupied by the remains
Of spring bulbs yet to bloom. Future is all one has
When present is masked into 5 kilometers and a flimsy
Bubble. Future is the remnant of this present, in bits,
Absolute bits. Fractured year of shrunken funerals, virtual
You-name-it, school terms on-again, off-again, Zoom-
Weary. These seasons wear us into the next, threadbare.
We’ll arrive at the threshold stomping our stocking feet.

Enjoying The Snow Storm  / by Ron Palmer

Glad to be in 
I look out on the lawn 
And watch my two 
Huskies enjoying the storm 

Clara lies in the blowing 
Snow with a bone  
Content as a middle-aged 
Man in a recliner 

Valerie simply stands 
Looking in every direction 
For something to move 
Then suddenly 
Rolls in the snow 
For a scent she wants 
To retain. 

They bark to cajole   
Me out as if to say 
One must embrace 
What is given but 
I prefer to hide  
Cup of coffee in my hand. 

January on the River / by Rachel Esther Parsan

Rainstorms. Long days when even the birds are silent, missing the warm sun and not in the mood to sing
The trees weep heavy silver drops, branches bent and beaten, swept side to side by the stormy winds
Slick streets are mirrored with puddles. Every car passing throws a splash of muddy water at innocent passersby doing their best to dodge them and stay dry.
No one likes to venture out unless armed with umbrella, plastic raincoat and cap

Canals overflow, causing panic amongst the fish.
Some unlucky ones do not make it back in the water and are left on the bank, gasping for air
An open window sends a fragrance of food out into the street , someone is cooking up something warm
The amazon parrots patiently wait high up in the palm trees, their loud chatter will soon announce the returning sun.

TYA: 16 / by Juan Pérez

Thirty years ago, on this very day
I was running for my own existence
between make-shift buildings, dodging com lines
one of them fiercely close lining a friend
leaving him behind gasping for more air
yelling for him to get up and come on
headed for safety between foundations
of a freshly moved structure
franticly wrestling with all my gear
sweet-sandwiched by sleeping, concrete pillars
donning my gas mask while the sirens blared
pointing my pistol to the dark heavens
wishing to stop the scuds that were coming
tears welled up as life flashes before me

The Piano in the Park / by Aline Soules 

Next to the children’s playground, a baby grand appears
overnight, its pedal lyre tossed to one side, a piano bench
before the keyboard. In faded gold on the inside of the lid,
Kohler and Campbell, a New York piano-making company.
We’re in California.

How desperate must the owner be to find help to haul a piano
here, dump it in the night, make it the city’s problem? How
does the gift of music become a burden so onerous that
it becomes unbearable?

A city workman plays a melody I don’t recognize. He’s good,
noodling at the keys, each note percussive while the sustain pedal
lies dormant with its companions in the discarded lyre.

The workman looks up as I approach. Do you play? I used to
play the piano my late husband gave me as a wedding present,
but I live in a condo now. When I played in city-approved hours,
my neighbors still complained. I never knew if they were
disturbed by the noise or didn’t like my repertoire. I gave it
to someone who lives in a house, can play it every day.

Each note floats into the air, evaporates. A note, once played,
is gone forever. The next day, so is the abandoned piano. 

Letters of Lament / by David Wright

I

Alphabet of blues, aloud, the hollowed
throat open and unhinged,
brother, I wonder if you hear me
gutter out her name,
croak out the ways she has died
since I last touched her?

Don’t pull back. I don’t expect you
or anyone to mend
every scrape, every audible tear
of my vocal cords.
Fret with me, a song or two, sacred harp
style and I will let you

go back to your own noded throatfuls,
your strings of lamentation,
hymn you learned from your blue
mother who hummed
in harmony with the pedal tone
coming from the dryer.

Just for now sit here and keep time,
back of your hand against
knee and thigh, when Jesus wept
the falling tear,
Lord, that river flowing all around,
the rushing, gathering

mercy (kyrie) and her sister, grace.
We don’t expect much
new here to happen. The fifth we sing
and the fifth we drink both wide
open. When I was sinking down, sinking
down, you were the one

pouring me two fingers of Jameson
over two cubes of ice,
quenching nothing. And the heavy together
touch of the tumblers. No word.

Remember, man, I was going to unhinge my mouth.
And you would watch,
stitch up my ripped throat right here
on the bar table, the kitchen
table, the altar in the center of the room.
I lost the needle.

Under the table I am hiding my hands,
which she said she loved.
Violet eye of the bar sign, the stained glass,
the clock by the bedside.
White eye of the streetlight, the cell phone,
the cursor on my dark screen,

exit sign above the door to the rapture.
Who was the light of the world?
You have heard this parable–the idol
I fashioned from her.
Zealots, we burned ourselves, released
into exile at last.

Poem 15 / Day 15

Untitled / by Marilynn Eguchi

too early on i wished to be wispy, imagined 
softening defects and reconstructing 
tectonics, layer by layer to minimal 
possible diameters, artificially 
modifying width and elevation. too short 
for the ratio of expansion, too broad 
to compete with the properties of a mixed
composition. sharply pinching swells 
from a shape where curvature is taken 
as a proxy for warp, converging weaknesses 
model the intimate relationship between thin 
and valued, narrowness on a macro-scale
superimposed onto images of one’s own 
character. if i fix my thick-ness,
i could heal the ridges and troughs
i’ve accumulated. if i restructure and shed 
flanks and emplace length from depth 
until i’m left shallow, i think in my core
i still expect definitive relief and the promise 
of existence.

Sourced from:
Barr, A. C., & Hammond, N. P. (2015). A common origin for ridge-and-trough terrain on icy satellites by sluggish lid convection. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors249, 18-27.

Untitled / by Doug Luman

If you want to play this game start in bed
when it’s still before day break & if you get up
say loudly I do this for me & decide whether
you’re an animal or mineral today & if the latter
what kind of stone might you be & this morning
everyone is scrambling to say the same words
as fast as possible because the first person to say
the word marble becomes it while everyone else
remains in place all day with one eye open hoping
someone will come along & stumble over them

Sourced from:
Withers, Carl. A Treasury of Games. Grosset & Dunlap (1964).

Of Course January is National Oatmeal Month / by Jennifer Met

It’s actually my favorite
breakfast, a base for cookies
or soup. Especially plain,
it fills, it lasts me, but I like it
with craisins. It bubbles over
in the microwave if your bowl
is not big enough. The kids
roll their hands through it
dully, as if it were a dough
ever waiting for possibility.

But a hard, non-theistic shrug.
Not like oh lord this peach pie
with tender crust for days,
feathering near a horizon
of tin rippled silver oh the sweet 
lake’s depthless solid still warm oh glorious 
God glorious as moonlight now nestling 
on my late summer Dreamtime. Oh, oh.
No, it’s not like that.

V. / by Jamie O’Halloran

See it blooming by the river, head turned coyly down.
The daffodil, oddly solitaire, bends its yellow crown,
An act of humility at crosshairs with that color, chrome,
Favored by many bees. Is the turning away a ploy?
The downcast eyes—meaning the fallen focus of the eye,
Not mood—once de rigueur for young ladies, now
not so much shyness, but disinterest, boredom, depression.
And why alone? This flower that loves to naturalize,
Clumping in cotillion clutches, petals like petticoats.
Solo, it is, on the banks of the River Fough where salmon
Leap October and May. No figuring out a flower.
Some breeze will shake loose its pollen and more

Of its kind may bloom next spring if the groundskeeper
Minds the foliage to let it die completely.

I Think Not / by Ron Palmer

Is this capital violence 
the example we want to show the world 
for the USA? Are any of the riots? 
Is a disgrace the way to make America great? 

Can one create terror 
and not be a terrorist? 
Shall this be the new normal,  
the world we now live in?  

What did Bob Dylan sing about dignity? 
What is missing in this political climate? 

Is this what the right to bear arms means?  
on the left or the right? 

Is there justification for destruction 

Who are those that carry the banners? 
Who pays for the minds that hate? 
Can we be held blameless? 
Can any of this be good? 

By the canal / by Rachel Esther Parsan

A row of coconut trees line up as witnesses
Just footsteps from the suburbs 

a group of small kids with fishing rods
A serious look on their face, trying to hook a worm 

Each one hoping to be the first to catch a fish
Their buckets covered with leaves to prevent fresh caught fish from escaping 
The fish are not safe to eat, the water is polluted 
But that does not bother them
happily hooking worms and throwing their rails in. Squealing in disgust when the earthworms squirm in their little hands

forgotten are the videogames and Netflix mesmerized by the water and the anticipation 
One little girl caught something, excited she calls her sister to help pull up her fishing rod 
Disappointed she shakes her head , it is an old shoe. 
Her sister helps her to hook a new worm and they throw again

Curfew starts at 7pm
Minutes left before it will be dark 
The kids reel in their lines, grab empty buckets, heading home . Perhaps they will have better luck tomorrow 
The sunset colors the sky pink, lavender, orange, casts its ageless reflection on fresh ripples

TYA: 15 / by Juan Pérez

Thirty years ago, serious training
the worst thing that could happen in a war
from nuclear to biological
to chemical; setting up for the worst
that man could muster against fellow man
that sophisticated stupidity
a congress throwing about monkey-shit
recusing themselves from their former selves
distancing intelligence by long miles
so here we are now, ten months since removed
the longest Spring Break nobody wanted
behind computers like futures of old
wrapped in shreds of bureaucratic red tape
…give me back my MOPP gear, I want to live

The Hand / by Aline Soules 

I walk over a large dead tree limb
on my hike, its base buried beneath the road,
the rest arching down the hill like a hand,
fingers pointing, fingertips touching the ground.

The hand of God? The hand of Satan?
If you believe such things. It’s just a tree limb,
I tell myself, dead, but each day I pass,
I’m drawn to those fingers.

A junco lands, flitters off. A snake drapes across
the middle finger to sun itself. Has he always lived
here, hibernated, found food? A squirrel darts
with an acorn between his paws, but he needs a snag,
where acorn woodpeckers have made him a cabinet.

The hand extends to spiders, ants, caterpillars,
insects, fungi, bacteria, the earth itself, and me.
I dream about it, dream about how it could tell me
its secrets, show me the right path to take.

Lines for Next Autumn / by David Wright

I’ve been thinking of the new house
you’re building, of the unfinished
window you installed in my phone
and how we both see those bare trees
as blessings–to me they’re homely
brooms to sweep into view what spare
light survives in winter–to you
could it be the unseeable
roots, the fungi you love, delicate,
abiding weave of staying put,
one birch or oak feeding another
deep underground?

                              Always ghosting,
you are, from the parties. There. Gone.
No one saw it happen. Your leaves
you take in silence. This photo
you’ve taken in winter, the bare
frame and bared branches kept alive
and in place by sugars distilled
from a summer ago.
                                            Raise our
whiskeys to the mycorrhizal
still, local moonshine river birches
make to keep themselves here. Or there,
rather, where you’ll listen
and sip, where, of a fall evening,
I’ll find you on your finished porch,
arrive, for once, at a party
unghosted by you, to consider
spare sun, dark roots, invisible
pulses turning light into leaves.

Poem 14 / Day 14

Untitled / by Marilynn Eguchi

sometimes i spend whole days attempting 
concentration waiting to be extracted from my body
and the surrounding matrix, but i’m too variable 
to support and it’s hard to stay present
when my mind has floated into deep space 
and fixed itself on the tiger stripes
of Enceladus. 
applying constructs from structure suggests 
crucial fractures gradually incorporated into the self 
which i have no idea how to approach 
but probably should in an effort 
to be 
appropriate and function according to basic 
parameters. more recently i’ve been investigating 
ways to not be erased like that time he forgot i was asian 
six years in 
and the calculations are easy to do excluding dimensions 
but all things considered the methods constantly change
and complexity hasn’t dissipated and i can’t tell what’s bulk 
and what’s problem

sourced from:

Hammond, N. P., Parmenteir, M., & Barr, A. (2018). Compaction and melt transport in ammonia-rich ice shells: Implications for the evolution of Triton. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 123, 3105–3118. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JE005781

Untitled / by Doug Luman

& if you call yourself adventurous, don’t fret
of course there’s a game fit for you called I Quit!
after seeing a tree you begin to imagine a forest
in your yard even if you don’t quite have one
complete with a dog, campfire, tent, & hatchet
all the things you might expect in a story & you
begin to think that you could make nature your best
friend but after a few hours nature’s like I’m not so
sure; I don’t like this fool but you’re busy dreaming
about finding some nice dell which when you arrive
you don’t find the farmer you expected & instead
there’s a bicycle tire, a baseball, a shoe, & a canoe
instead of some friendly creatures in a hollow log
suddenly it occurs to you that there are bears & foxes
here & both of them would like the goose you’ve been
to the bounds of what you know: cats meow & horses
make a silly noise & now you’re starting to see that
you and Mr. Wolf weren’t really pals at all


Sourced from:
Withers, Carl. A Treasury of Games. Grosset & Dunlap (1964).


On eBay it Was Described as Magical But No One Bought It / by Jennifer Met

His neck anchored an onion bulb head,
his leg tethered a truck shaped foot.
The middle was all Wiley— 
lovable, but forgettable 
as dust. Do you want to buy it? 
He asked and we examined 
the hirsute quality. The untwisted ends. 
Sloped middle, waxed strings.
Yes, we answered. Even now it sits 
on our mantle in a place of honor we used
to reserve for the TV. Its barbed underside
ghastly orange and jagged, yet bloated
soft as golden raisins soaked in gin
and sweet as dew-mired hay.
It reminds us of a declawed mattress,
we once explained to the strangers
on Zoom. Or maybe a cowboy gate?
Like a ridiculously taut hammock
we said, trying to flip the web camera.
No one understood the appeal. And
no one on eBay wanted a clearer picture,
so we’re keeping it for another day.
It sits in its brassy, shallow treble,
gobbling the room’s character. It sits
in all its metallic bitterness, the vision
of a tongue’s caked, oily residue. It sits
small as dust grazing soft inside 
a boy’s mouth before he gasps,
large as masses sprinting home
from the circus parking lot.
It sits as well as it sits. And it sits
as we sit—watching confounded—
releasing our soundless heartbeats
slowly, one by one.

In Memoriam, Halli Kristjansson / by Jamie O’Halloran

Sweep hall and bathroom.
Shift boots from where they lurk
Under the bench. Sweep under the bench.
Mop under the bench. Mop the kitchen.
Halve seven poached Seville oranges.
Scoop out pulp and seeds.
Divide orange shells into two
Stacks of fourteen. Slice each palm
Rind with care, thinly so they will float
Like golden threads in the marmalade.
Marinate whale steak in milk.
Marinate
Whale steak in milk. Letting sorrow
Unfold in menial tasks invites Halli
To give me this recipe again.  One
Of his gifts, the others include blond hair
That slept into silver grey. A wool soft
Voice and subtle smile. Gone yesterday
I learn this morning and console
Myself with business that requires
Memory muscle and nothing more.
Oh, friend, of shared friends, always
Happy to see you and to hear your
Discovery of sailing in the Pacific
And meditation in Joshua Tree.
Oh, Icelandic writer, your saga
Continues. Open full the sails.

Can one be / by Ron Palmer     

Grateful as a grapefruit 
Cut in half, sitting in a bowl 
Covered with sugar 
As kids we  
still wouldn’t like 
But our father would 
Make us eat 
And my spoon  
Would make it squirt 
Getting in my eye 
And that malicious  
Grapefruit sits there 
Its job well done. 

Bosje brug / by Rachel Esther Parsan

Mangrove trees line the shores 
roots high above the water line

The Sabaku and Flamingo find a welcome home to build their nests 
small rivercrabs build underground homes between the roots

Paramaribo meets Meerzorg over the estuary
Where, until twenty years ago only birds flew across 

The river Suriname  close enough to smell 
On rainy and windy days when the water is high 
little colored fishing boats bravely navigate the waves
The catch is not much on these wet days

Salty sea water comes together with the sweet river water
where the mouth of the Suriname meets the Atlantic ocean 

In Summer the profosu , small gray river dolphins, come out. 
Unafraid of the boats, the babies swim caprioles around the adults.

Soon, no dolphin will remember the shadow of the  ferry crossing the river
or the long line of people waiting 
to cross to the other side.

TYA: 14 / by Juan Pérez

Thirty years ago, that same afternoon
after a long talk with disparity
alone to my thoughts and raw reflections
trying to understand what just happened
I boarded a truck to go see the site
down on the other side of the flight line
less than a mile from my very own tent
a mangled plane, a ton of body bags
docs are now told that they are not needed
nothing left for the corpsmen to rescue
Saudi men will take care of “the resting”
I still have that photo somebody took
a huge, blurry mess from a short distance
faint echoes… until a few months ago

Goodbye / by Aline Soules

The last time we ate dinner together
you wanted an occasion.

We booked a table in a restaurant
downtown, a corner table you insisted. 

White tablecloths, too many utensils and glasses,
most of which the waiter removed when we sat.

you leaned forward, took my two hands in yours.
I’m going to die soon. 

We hadn’t spoken of it before, letting it fill our rooms
with silence.          Yes, I said, I know.

What surprises me is that you don’t, he rejoined.
I do, I repeated.  I know that you’re going to die.

The word die hung in the air.  No, he said,
you don’t know that you are.    Really know.

His hands trembled as he spoke and a chill
fluttered through me.

Consensual / by David Wright

Like the snap of a cookie / when each sense enlivens / all invited, all at once / to be present /
tongue to flicker / ear to open / breath taken in twice, hurried / then slow, ginger singeing the brain /
and fingertips to graze / the rough dough, thumb / and forefinger then / to be licked, /
involuntary yet willed / yes. This is all the word / I need. Yes. / To say it. To have heard /
yes. To believe it is enough. / To need this, body and body / word said again then / once more. Yes.  

Poem 13 / Day 13

Untitled / by Marilynn Eguchi

in this particular instance, the onset of presence 
ranges from sinking down to molten overflow 
and eruptions of salt in vapor and it’s possible 
i just can’t deal with the additional mess

since the energy it takes already an idealized scenario 
and accumulating problems seems to be the base code, 
i should probably examine the signature for a pattern 
of couples trapped in safe harbors with different goals.

adaptive sequences are initially strong, preserving 
dominant encounters and referenced in flux,
but apply pressure and maybe the plot doesn’t thicken
but the skin does, hindering the ability to suspend contact 

with another, especially one so porous with respect to settling
and potential, the bulk of which can be simplified positively
but still creeps into the spaces between to conduct business,
remaining current and abrupt at a granular level

it’s not a given but maybe you could throw your voice
and i know it’s immodest to precipitate but someone has to be consumed
compounded by an attempt to prevent freezing through entirely, 
normalizing the latent to conserve my own specific heat

Sourced from:
Hammond, N. P., Parmenteir, M., & Barr, A. (2018). Compaction and melt transport in ammonia-rich ice shells: Implications for the evolution of Triton. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 123, 3105–3118. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JE005781       

Zink, J. K., Batygin, K., & Adams, F. C. (2020). The Great Inequality and the Dynamical Disintegration of the Outer Solar System. The Astronomical Journal160(5), 232.


Untitled / by Doug Luman

A special single-player game called o no you again
in which you go to the mirror & close your eyes then
try to guess who you are by feeling your own face &
you are allowed to ask yourself 20 questions such as
who is it or is this really the shell you were born in
you might make it more difficult by figuring out what
other famous person you look like & if you guess
correctly give yourself a dollar, but if you’re wrong &
you mistake yourself for someone else & who wouldn’t
forgive you for that you forfeit everything & have to
start over the next morning


Sourced from:
Withers, Carl. A Treasury of Games. Grosset & Dunlap (1964).

Incantation Invoking a Moon Poem / by Jennifer Met

The cat under her skylight whimpers,
turns stray without the still moon.
For whom does she not mourn in darkness?
I will waste city stars like salt, as that in tears.

(Sprinkle salt)

Like gravity in the sea, in the sky
I still feel you. I see you, the moon,
mentioning darkness less and less. And
I will follow—burning to reflect.

(Light match)

The sky-river swallows springtime
arias, still giving the naked dignity 
of darkness without moon-darkness.
I will exhale to ask more of the quiet.

(Blow out match)

The sky hasn’t dropped the moon.
Still, she comes up with facts
that fracture, slowly digress off darkness.
I will layer fluidity for maximum contrast.

(Douse hot match)

Women, unlike the moon, aren’t
grandly impersonal goddesses.
Here, I still the sky’s darkness for them.
And they will give this speaker body.

(With wet, blackened match,
draw a crescent moon
on writing hand)

With harm to none, so mote it be.

(Concentrating on the sky,
write a first thoughts draft. 
Fold match inside. Bury it
during a waxing moon)

(Now you will be able to write
a moon poem by the next full moon)


Epithalamium for David and Myron / by Jamie O’Halloran

Here, in this January garden, beneath this winter tree
Gemmed with red tokens of good luck

Here, in this moment, with your gathered loves
Your hands shape each other’s

Here, in this time, in this world
Your open hands hover above each other’s

Here, in this moment, your hands are
Willing to have and hold

Here, your hands, your hearts
Your here, your ever now

Here, brave hearts, you open yours
To bare love to this garden, this world

May your love exclaim

May your love sustain

May your love remain

Frosting the Outlook / by Ron Palmer

A perspective matter, 
one must not get excited 
over this day of comfortable 
January air. Sure, the forecast 
is warm, relatively,  
the next couple days 

The street is still 
slippery in places 
in spite of small 
puddles. 

We must proceed  
with caution. 
All the talking says so. 

We can smile— 
shout “oh, for joy” 
forgetting that 
even misery takes a rest 
sometimes and there 
are portents  
of what is still to face. 

But don’t worry, 
like freezing frost on bare  
branches, you will look pretty 
dressed in your despair. 

Before Dawn / by Rachel Esther Parsan

Walkers and runners 
Up before dawn
footsteps pounding on pavement   
passing a dedicated few, up and about. 
The rest of the world sleeps 

The sun is yet to rise
Still fresh, dew on grass
No traffic, no car smells 
The river is close enough to hear a ships horn sounding into the dark morning
A world born again after a long dark night 

 In the quiet, cool air rustles through coconut and papaya leaves 
Secrets  whispered by the wind to the trees
Orange winged baby parrots above us, noisy in their joy. Flying with parents and grandparents,     debating where to settle , which papaya trees have the ripest fruits today
Currents of fragrant purple flowers fill the air. 
A lucky few up at this hour
witness to another world 

TYA: 13 / by Juan Pérez

Thirty years ago, a chopper lifted
the one saved given up to the blue skies
to his country, his kinship, his Allah
hoping within time he could forgive me
for removing what remained of his clothes
left bare-naked to Arabian winds
for moving about religious relics
despite their baptism by jet-fueled flames
for tearing off his skin, busting his bones
pushing aside what survived of his groin
for a shocking, evasive insertion
for slicing up the sides of his burnt chest
like a hungry, sharp knife through a brisket
to halt tightening from strangling his lungs

Pretty Colors / by Aline Soules 

My grandson and I lean over the railing
at the far end of the pier. Clear water
down to the lakebed twenty feet below.
Stones, pebbles, shells, their colors
heightened in the wet. My grandson points
to brown, gray, green, black. I see
granite, basalt, sandstone, limestone,
gneiss. We shouldn’t be able to see any of it.

When my godson was small, the doctor said
he couldn’t swim in Lake Erie until he’d had
his polio shots. If I thrust my arm in the lake,
I couldn’t see my hand at the end of my arm.

Now, the water’s stripped by zebra mussels
from the Caspian Sea. They nested in the hold
of a grain carrier that jettisoned ballast
into Lake St. Clair. The mussels spread,

filter feeding on phytoplankton, displacing
native species, clinging to water pipes, buoys,
boat launches, shipwrecks. My grandson
points at a cluster of brown and white
banded shells the size of pistachio nuts.

The food web upended, native species suffer.
Zebra mussels only a symbol. So many others—
quagga mussels, spiny water fleas, bloody
red shrimp, New Zealand mud snails,
sea lampreys, round gobies. Such pretty colors
for my grandson to see. 

Masked Litany 7: This Week We Enter Phase 4 / by David Wright

The screen is a mask, and the flag is a mask
and this feeling is a mask for another feeling—
anger is worry and worry is fury and fury is fear

and fear is a menacing animal rage masked up
as righteousness. I won’t wear a mask because
my face is an image of God, says the Ohio man. 
God is a mask for a god, I almost type into the box

beneath the like. Clicking “like” is a mask for not giving 
one single shit and being afraid. This machine becomes 
a mask to mask classroom where a billion empty boxes 

have no eyes and no idea how  the teacher looks when 
he smiles crookedly at his own joke about the two gods 
who walk  into a bar and leave on leashes wearing 

little matching sweaters, being led by a man with a cane. 
Able is as ablest  does. Why am I unmasked as unfit to be
a brother’s safekeeper?  The maker’s face must be covered 

or we all become nothing  but love or light or loss. Mother 
is a mask. Other is an iron mask.  Another fucker is a joke 
you get thrown out of class for making. Dumbass is the mask 

on the back of my head until I turn around and she knows—
bitter masks finally have become my farce of a face, forms 
filthy and unstrippable away. Away is a mask for home. 

Home is a mask for nowhere. The middle of nowhere is nowhere 
near enough misdirection to mask over this town’s unwritten policy 
of kicking out every unmasked god we fear, before sundown. 

Never have I ever had to worry about this. Even when wearing 
a mask. Who knows why the sun is mere flare to obscure damage 
we refuse to see on yet another glared screen? Forgive me 

for faces seen and not seen.The moon, though, you know?  
A maskhole, tearing itself open into uncertain light, night after 
night, phase after phase after phase at a time.

Poem 12 / Day 12

haiku / by Marilynn Eguchi

i got read by a 
tarot card today and it 
felt extremely rude

Untitled / by Doug Luman

Today you’re distracting yourself by playing
engine engine number 9 a train leaves New York &
heads toward some city where you know someone
you have to guess how many meadows it passes through
& it has been so long since you’ve seen a meadow that
you’ve started to doubt they even exist it’s easier to imagine
how much time it will take for such a train to reach
its destination & if someone tells you the initials of
a loved one and where they live it’s easier to calculate
the length of the trip even if the train hits every red light
along the way you could even probably give them options
about the routes like you could go with this or you could
go with that one trains go faster when there’s nothing
you see before someone remarks how useless this is ask them
I mean have you seen a meadow lately


Sourced from:
Withers, Carl. A Treasury of Games. Grosset & Dunlap (1964).

A Queer Gravity / by Jennifer Met

Like a monkey she will
gymnastic her way
through the trees,
their many grabbing hands
an offshoot from origins
indistinguishable. But come,
let’s choke out God,
the Father, like a dirty
word. And wasn’t He
the ground’s rise?
The predator left
in the prey’s air?

Softday / by Jamie O’Halloran

What use was there in calling a day
by a certain name, or thinking of it
as anything other than weather?
—Marilynne Robinson, Lila

Bring pause and a glance to see what’s behind
The woosh in the road that might be wind or another
Engine. The pause brings marveling at the nodding
Branches or quick steps to clear the road for a car.
It is the same as the last walk or tomorrow’s. Night,
Evening, and morning are measures of light marking
Weather and seasons. Yesterday was Wetday. Today is
Softday, a grey one when the lake is the unwooded
Patch along the horizon sprawling into the sky. The world
Shows its unhurried turning in the winter ivy heavy
With clusters of berries. Wild marjoram has died back.
Heuchera is a constellation of rust. Narcissus pokes up,

Finding nothing to reflect on underground. Come March,
See it blooming by the river, head turned coyly down.

After A Rain When I Was In My Twenties. / by Ron Palmer

I remember the simmer of a summer 
Long ago, when I was slimmer 
Walking a cocained lady home 
In the Dinkytown post-shower. 

She invited me up to a common 
Area in her common boarding house 
Where we talked, our conversation 
Not touching concealed thoughts. 

There was no affection given 
And none expected, although 
We discussed what affected us 
Looking for agreement and  
An aligned world view. 

We had worked together 
And neither being weary 
Walked west of there 
To a waning house party 
Where I got drunk and 
She got stoned. 

Her name was Sarah 
And she was skinny pretty 
In a summer sort of way. 
Although we knew each 
Other for awhile 
There was never nor a sizzle 
We were never closer 
Than we were on that night 
And I never wonder what might 
Nor where she is today. 

New moon 2021 / by Rachel Esther Parsan

Bright silver sky sliver. Hope’s beacon
Growth. Change. Promise.
Something to hold onto
when everything decays and turns to rubble.
when everything is being canceled and postponed to never

The moon will be there
promising change
better tomorrow
hold onto this promise like a person drowning would hold on to a lifejacket.
be part of the rebirth of a new and better world, take up this invitation
pay attention.
the majority of the transformation takes
place beneath
the surface far from our sight.

TYA: 12 / by Juan Pérez

Thirty years ago, it never ended
in the process of removing debris
prepping the patient for the field OR
flipping him to his side to see his back
the coils of plane seats seared to his rear
scars he must wear for the rest of his life
how long that was depended on his god
where his flesh slid off like a molting snake
exhausted on the stabilization
what seemed like hours, was shorter instead
strongly affected, never learned his name
last I saw of the Senegal soldier
loaded on the helo, barely alive
taking one from death, someone else will die

Cocoon / by Aline Soules

Woken by a storm and my son’s cry,
I lift him from his crib.

Wrapped together in a blanket,
we rock on the front porch.

Rain thunders on the roof, bounces
off the road, soaks into the lawn.

My son’s eyes widen at a flash that lights
the dark. A thunderclap makes us jump.

My son trembles. What was that?
Lightning before thunder.

Five seconds a mile. Let’s count the next one.
We wait, see the next flash. Under the blanket,

I wiggle his fingers and toes as we count. 
Mississippi one, Mississippi two,

all the way to seven before the next boom.
The lightning’s a mile and a half away.

No need to worry, not when we know how far
it is. How it got there is for another day.

Masked Litany 4: Today, I Wear My Kafka Mask / by David Wright 

               “I usually solve problems by letting them devour me.”
               —Franz Kafka in a Letter to Max Brod.
               Letters to Friends, Family, and Editors. Trans. Richard Winston and Clara Winston. Penguin, 2016.

Mumbling in the dialects of midwestern cockroaches a set of unintelligible and detailed instructions
to the spiders on my porch—orb weaver, wolf spider and her numberless young—about how to avoid
the pair of hungry, horned-up doves who have run out of birdseed and patience.

I am at once a scuttler and translator. I am a knife and another knife. My life wakes me
to the morning and nearly kills me every day. Come to me, love, and be the quiet heart.
And the confusing heart. Spontaneous heart. My little pinschers plugged into the pulse ox

say both of our hearts beat too fast, and I am stealing all the oxygen. When I pull down the mask
so you can read my lips, you cannot read my lips. I have no lips. They have transformed into terrible mandibles I have not seen for myself but feel powerful. You show them to me on your phone.

When I see my own face, my segmented self, I feel crushed.

How long have you been taking the pills, you ask?
How long have you been flushing them down
             your thorax with rainwater?
How long have you known that you were hiding
             such a charming face behind such a ravenous face?

I need to answer you, but I cannot find the syllables or hisses to say “sorry.”
I need to answer you, but I am so gorged now, I can barely skitter or hop.
I have been devoured by my own considerable troubles and charms.

Poem 11 / Day 11

Untitled / by Marilynn Eguchi

they said the mapping was linear,
light folded efficiently into plumes
exploring simulations in an era
of detection without accountability 

we entered this resonance
hundreds of years ago 
when its formation, 
imposing itself at volumes,
exceeded the natural reach.
activity is confined below 
swaths of straight and narrow 
minded lanes, the subdued
divided by laws and order
that governs all two dimensions.

from the margins, others arise
upwelling measured relief but friction 
generates energy from tension
which, in response to previous sets, 
predicted what my sister calls
white supremacy wednesday 
where inhibitions dropped, dramatically
exposing rifts between impacts 
of pervasive behavior minimized by history
which is written by the whites
who act even relatively surprised.

we mimic the old regime 
with the new, equally stagnant 
and insensitive to the edge 
of approximate and precise.

persistence must be in proportion 
to constraints for even horizontal
movement. velocity is required
to surface onto stationary terrain
there’s more work to do than hope
like my friend Brannon says,
Kamala’s not gonna save y’all

Sourced from:
Hammond, N. P., & Barr, A. C. (2014). Formation of Ganymede’s grooved terrain by convection-driven resurfacing. Icarus227, 206-209. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2013.08.024


Untitled / by Douglas Luman

Everybody’s playing o, I see you’re empty
a game in which players join a Zoom call &
examine each other’s refrigerators & the loser
is the one with the dirtiest fridge of course
you’re next on the list & it’s amazingly hard
to do anything domestic right now like
wash your dishes & maybe you do but it’s not
on a regular schedule you sweep through
the shelves discovering that somehow fruit spoils
faster when not in a pair & the only way to keep it
fresh is to draw it so the fridge is filled
with drawings of food in front of the mess
if someone questions the trick say o we all have
eyes & can see that it’s quite alright somehow
the top shelf is all bananas if you speak fast
& shut the door you think no one will catch on
only a fool wouldn’t see how bad you’re acting
& how are you so surprised when everything is over
you’re left standing alone

Sourced from:
Withers, Carl. A Treasury of Games. Grosset & Dunlap (1964).

Worms in Ouroboros / by Jennifer Met

Soothing apart the dirt,
a delight apart from any.
Darkness, a monotone

outside your outer flesh
is everything
resolving in us, in infinitude

without the darkness
contrast affords. To eat,
we will make the time.

Untitled / by Jamie O’Halloran

This morning’s shower throws
Its voice against the sill and its

Box of fading salmon begonia.
The shower falls full-throated

With a syncopated melody,
In time with the secret hammers

Deep down in the pipes, a shadow
Racket of faltering heat. 

To Those Who Quietly Ignore Me / by Ron Palmer

I have nothing much to say, 
there will be no letter written nor 
email sent—nothing you would 
acknowledge anyway. 

I make no stand or twitter; 
I do not break your day 
like news. I walk 
my dogs, I write my poems 
and accept all I see. 

If you decide to judge me— 
harshly or kindly,  
it don’t matter: 
I will not make  
judgement in return. 

So continue on your 
riotous prancing, 
continue on your 
disruptive thoughts. 
I know right and wrong 
is not so simple so 
have no worries 
as I will ignore  
you silently. 

TYA: 11 / by Juan Pérez

Thirty years ago, the doctor ordered
“get a line into him, pump in fluids”
as we received a few more of his mates
a closing bag catches my attention
a short piece away, one already gone
stealing seconds away while I hunted
on my knees, through my nerves, desperately
any decent vein to push an IV
well-practiced, good at getting them going
collapsed-in veins at the regular spots
except maybe between his groin and thigh
eventually getting in, breaking some bones
from time to time, coming back to the spot
a filled body bag nearby on the floor

Crossing the Pentland Firth 3 / by Aline Soules 

Three and a half flying hours, Kirkwall south
to Inverness over Highland, an amalgam
of the shires of my childhood, Caithness,
Sutherland, Invernessshire.

I want to see the firth as we rise up
and over the wild water, see it swirl
and eddy through the narrow firth,
whitecaps fierce, tides driving all.

I look for signs of the MeyGen project
in the inner sound between Stroma
and the Scottish mainland, East Mey
through Gills Bay to Duncansby Head.

Looking down, I see only
the water’s surface. Tidal turbines
on the sea bottom, like Atlantis buried,
churn their blades through dense water,

silent giants gathering power in the tide race,
predictable, reliable, answering only to the moon. 

Masked Litany 3: After Waiting, Unmasked Visitors / by David Wright 

What could matter on the hike–black raspberries grown wild and devoured? The blue 
and purple dragonfly on its veined launching leaf? Green sheen of prairie weeds, 
and a thousand invisible birds complaining? My children reunite for a day, perfumed 

in bug spray. A tall man picks a wild yellow coneflower for the daughter of mine 
he will marry, and tucks it into her pulled back hair, grown pandemic thick as cattails 
and bluestem cluttered with bees. My good camera opens its lens, unhindered by worry 

for an afternoon, my eye telephotoed towards a single blackthorn. I blink away the dangers
of puncture and pain. These hills stay here because of these roots. The bean field stays 
and yields because of glyphosate and subsidy. For the camera, we, unmasked, smile. Yes, 

a small snake weaves through the grass and across my sandaled feet. Yes, I feel it 
crest my arches and depart among stems. In the photo, you cannot tell my sick-gut-flutter 
has returned. And these three, their hands stained by berries, shoulders melting into mine, 

do not need me to save them; the trees, prairies, the always temporary field of profit can only 
save themselves when the mown and tended borders vanish into new matter: trees rotted 
to soil,  crops become wild; flowers lost to birds; weeds fired into flowers no one can name. 

Poem 10 / Day 10

Untitled / by Marilynn Eguchi

when i was 21 i lost my mind
not even somewhere i had been.
it took my legs and my hands
when it left and waved them
goodbye in the distance
to let me know i was on my own.

after that, i dreamt of variations
in air. i slept for years dragging
myself arm over arm
through too viscous clouds which,
for the life of me, i could not see.
i fell through skies that were too thin
for my wings to hold onto, although
it never seemed to impede anyone else’s.
i thought it was weakness in the muscles
of my back my heart my brain
forgetting that i had atrophied
separated by what i could not escape.
as a child, i accepted blame with more grace

but the metric was rage and with years
the rage has faded away. i regrew
my hands my legs my mind
poorly at first. enough to remember
walking and speaking
but not moments or senses.

as an adult i pretend i no longer perform
the recitations i replaced myself
with, but i can’t remember
now or then. maybe that’s why i loved
my scars
they never let me forget.

Untitled / by Douglas Luman

To set up for this game, close all the curtains
so as not to be influenced by light & be sure
you’re far from any church so no one can cheat
by listening to the buzz of a nearby bell you see
the goal is to draw what time you think it is &
to make it harder you also have the guess the day
it is more challenging to do with the second part
you should continue until it gets well past dark
giving each hour your own secret name
& if anyone wonders how you occupy your time
it’s easy enough to say that you own it &
who will tell you that you don’t


Sourced from:
Withers, Carl. A Treasury of Games. Grosset & Dunlap (1964).


My Children, Surrendered To Longer Days / by Jennifer Met

My children ready themselves
for the coming carpool—
where once was alarm
raising us in darkness,
rays of day, like creeping
vines, now catch at our sleep,
snare and drag. They brush
teeth, grab lunches, dash
away. The weight of January
arrested in dawn’s silhouette—
a short gold lace separating
unlit earth from air.
Where winter fails
or begins failing,
I gather my heart.
This rehearsal noise,
at once dismissed and
almost everything. 

Future Perfect January / by Jamie O’Halloran

In March as we careen into spring locking down yet again,
Hope it will be another Groundhog Day rerun where the clock
Radio launches us back to a surge we’ve already crested.
Pray that next month, there will be no need to fold reeds
Into Saint Brigid’s crosses for safeguarding the ill. Seven
Mystic weeks between March’s roar and today, the same number
to circumambulate the Kaabah at Mecca, Catholic sacraments,
This old man he played seven, he played knick-knack up in heaven.
Some numbers are lucky, though nothing fortunate in the headlined
Digits with more zeros than ever taking up the rear. The health
Department posts the count every evening at 6 as the Angelus
Tolls reminding us of the incarnation and how it came

Just like that—like the covid catching us unawares,
Bringing pause and a glance to see what’s behind.

Sleeping On The Wrong Pillow / by Ron Palmer

I dreamt I stood 
in the shadow of a willow 
hell-bent on revenge 
due to some words spoken 
that did offend the parliament       
of trees. 

Spoken by some senator 
concerning Dutch Elm disease 
meant to create alarm 
in all the surrounding communities 
and start the call 
for removal of all the boulevard 
trees. 

Luckily, I woke  
before the neighborhood 
went up in smoke and all 
I had to show for this rest 
was a cramp in the neck 
and a throat as hoarse 
as bark. 

TYA: 10 / by Juan Pérez

Thirty years ago, the smell of burnt flesh
everyone knows you can never forget
in my dreams, I’m the one that is screaming
but that’s not how it actually went down
“Help me,” he pleads as I well up inside
looking deep into scared, brown eyes like mine
“Help me, please,” over and over again
in the only English he might have known
“Stay with me, brother,” I soon responded
began to remove each religious bead
melted deep into his neckline and chest
placing his Qur’an somewhere near his side
a scene of mercy between warriors
a dying Muslim, a wayward Christian

Class / by Aline Soules

What do you mean, concrete’s not natural?  
This is where my students live—concrete houses, paths, roads. 
Go and find out.
After water, concrete is the most widely used substance on the planet.

Next week, they compare notes, voices rising in passion. 
In the time it takes you to read this sentence, the global building industry 
will have poured more than 19,000 bathtubs of concrete.

Cons tumble out of their mouths, an overlapping cascade.
carbon emissions, toxic dust, heat islands, clogged landfills, 
worsening floods

They tell me pros only after I ask.
Concrete keeps the rain from our heads, the cold from our bones, 
the mud from our feet. 

History? My students aren’t interested, but I want them to think about the past 
before they consider the future, to learn how concrete is made.       
                                    Vitruvius (c.90-c.20 BCE): use quicklime and water to make a paste,
mix it with volcanic ash, combine with bricks or volcanic rocks (tuff).

                                    Joseph Monier (patent, 1849): lime-based cement, water and aggregates, 
                                    like fine gravel.  
                                    Modern concrete won’t last like the Colosseum. 

What can we do?       
Recycle, re-use, protest. This is all they know. 

They don’t like the ideas we research. Most cost money.
                                    cement tax, paying more for new homes that use less concrete
                                    house extensions made of other materials, like timber or straw
go for a walk in the woods. 

A walk in the woods?  
Yes. Remind ourselves of nature.
Concrete buries fertile soil and chokes habitats, a rock-hard second skin.  

If We Do Not Get to Praise the Sun, or Sing / by David Wright 

Because it has already been done, again, to death

Because it would be the same sun, or song,
                and who needs another Apollo, or Whitman’s head
                             backlit and spoked in the water at dusk?

Then (not quite but) fuck the unsinging and their advice.

It was March and dark February did us no good with it new virus,
                its welter of worried angers, its speeches, and the digital lights in our hands.

We get to be an original relative, Emerson, of the suddenly lit universe.
                So here, you transparent and nearsighted eyeballs, is what to see:

a god’s thin glare of glory in the camera flare of a new phone
a bird, damned sparrow, all shadow until it turns towards a window
a beginning of giddy red-budding on a branch on the walk to the office
a woman in a chair in a classroom who says life is only light
                if we also see shadow, so I mention the sparrow
a lover who dozes on the couch while a song on the television
                tells us we must be sexier, but how can anything be
                             sexier than the afternoon sun lasting until 6
a book where a brother has died but a sister decides she will
                refuse to be only loss, though the sunlight too shows
                             her his endless absence
a teenaged son, facing into the sun, afraid to drive the car, and his sister
                in love, his mother in love, but not with me
but myself in love and barefoot in the drive to wave full-hearted
                away, for a moment, myself away, imperfectly, as concrete
                             chills bare feet, callused heels in the street

Because, loves, praise never lives for long, or forever without human
                tongues or other animals braying, without the earth’s thin lips
                             opening to admit stem and blossom into tenuous skies.

Because this morning at 10 in my small town we blast sirens, pierce
                blue loud enough with the usual warning we need to drive away fear.

Because, again, sun and song and bullshit Apollos and Sun Singers,
                and shadows of things with feathers almost rising and persisting,
                             and, again, persisting.

Because I could not stop for sun that kindly shined, and we,

because we can, for once, become a chorus, or a single cantor,
                becomes a chant or a chance offering of fricative curses
                             we mean like praises, if we pray.

Because we may become, sons and daughters, for the duration of now,
                when suns becomes sirens blaring out fucking loud psalms of praise.

Poem 9 / Day 9

sonnet / by Marilynn Eguchi

in cases of early accumulation of debris, damage 
suppresses function. in chaos 
conserve your energy, precise insight 
can be ignored. but we spoke on the phone 
in an attempt to understand dynamics 
and formal speculations that interactions drive. 
they continue to imply a static 
environment; from which 

we cannot consider 
the solution
or salvation
my hypothesis is related to what we observed
but my purity is questionable 
and i can’t remember my own strength.

sourced from:
Hammond, N. P., Barr, A. C., Cooper, R. F., Caswell, T. E., & Hirth, G. (2018). Experimental constraints on the fatigue of icy satellite lithospheres by tidal forces. Journal of Geophysical
Research: Planets, 123, 390–404. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JE005464

Zink, J. K., Batygin, K., & Adams, F. C. (2020). The Great Inequality and the Dynamical Disintegration of the Outer Solar System. The Astronomical Journal160(5), 232.

Untitled / by Doug Luman

Place the bread you baked in a previous game
in the center of a room & invite your friends to
say only nice things about it & the first round ends
too quickly so you might say let’s play again &
this time write down all the words that anyone says
to count your true friends in one variation you start
by sharing the bread & in another you watch everyone
eat it & ask questions after each bite you might also
designate someone else to be the first player &
proceed as if it were their bread then say things like
this batter was really bitter so maybe use better butter
& even the ending has different versions too like
the one where you eat an entire pot of pudding
when everybody’s gone because who’s going to
know or another in which you remind yourself
that nobody meant it players just do things like that
sometimes


Sourced from:
Withers, Carl. A Treasury of Games. Grosset & Dunlap (1964).

Here / by Jennifer Met

I will waste out the winter here in my home.
Here isn’t the love a movie, without waste, covers.
Here is messy laundry and cyclical tantrums.
Here a book cover would speak in ad lib, ad lib in circles.
Here I am babbling. You do not even know where
here is. Somewhere is a speaking winter—outside of
here. But not here. Here, the fanfare of snow makes a quiet
here. Here through a window, winter widens that silence.
Here through a winter, all bushes are white mouths.
Here through a winter all mouths are wasteful, to hear it.
Here, take my socks for the laundry and let me be
here. Your squabbles are wasting me away. Here I’m wasting
here. The winters are a waste of days. Here I am too. Quiet,
here the hare dashes home without me. Without my hearing.
Here, I could pencil him in, if not for the winters here.
Here is your poem about witness.

Third Wave / by Jamie O’Halloran

Suns of narcissus nod, cradling the lives we’ve lost.
A calendar’s been flipped through and the flowers’
Yellow cups are mementos of the season when this plague
Was truly novel. What I remember: an assortment of weeks,
Months, days that opened and closed like the push-pull
Scales of a concertina, like the locking of lungs
Swamped with fluid. Cough not deep enough for worry.
Flushed from heat, not fever. Salt, sweet, sour, bitter
Articulated still. It is not my beloveds’ lonely suffocation.
It is the moment when the corps of nurses and doctors
Abandon one bed for the next, and again, and again.

Those wards, more than adequate in winter, all but morgues
In March as we careen into spring locking down yet again.

A String of Haiku / by Ron Palmer

Snow falls from the trees 
Eagle lands in parking lot 
A rodent’s demise 

We watch from window 
As the eagle flies away 
On search for the next 

Its flight becomes rough 
Man-made turbulence appears 
Many pray for hope 

Some gather in arms 
Cries foul against what is true 
Eagle glides to ground 

No rest for the sick 
As the storm howls and shakes 
Snow falls from the trees

TYA: 9 / by Juan Pérez

Thirty years ago, definitely strange
the least of evolving situations
running to the call of a formation
the first ten-ton truck had already left
a second fills up fast, the rest stay home
waiting on whatever was coming in
it didn’t take long for the first patient
assessed only on still being alive
locked and stiff, screaming for his very life
solidified in burns, crisp to the touch
the assigned doctor shouted the order
take everything off that you can get off
anything that could actually come off
carefully starting like a cold machine

Strider Boy / by Aline Soules 

Red cape flying, my grandson rides his strider
on an empty parking lot by his home.
The chain link fence is open, thanks
to the pandemic, and no one’s on the streets
of the city.

He rides on uneven concrete, cracked, broken.
The freeway’s entry ramp rises nearby. Grey,
as far as the eye can see, no trees, no grass,
only a weed or two struggling through
concrete dust from above.

He runs as fast as he can, builds balance
every time he practices. He pays no attention
to the concrete world around him. His focus
is motion, speed, conquering his physical self.

Bolder each day, he makes a sudden turn,
splits open his chin, leaves blood
on the unforgiving surface of the parking lot.
At the ER, he gets four stitches, a tetanus shot,
the promise of a permanent scar.

Three days later, fearless, he’s back on his strider,
careening across the concrete, learning to turn,
ride faster, go farther, limited only by crashing
into the chain link fence. Newton’s laws
of motion and concrete are the most natural
things in his world. 

Masked Litany 2: After the Store / by David Wright 

Inside this house, son, we never need to wear
the actual masks. See? I am fine, you 
are fine, and young. In here, we can cough. Yes,
and you can swear. Let me teach you (your mom
is not here). Believe, at this point in life, 
your tongue is always funny, right and bright.
You must believe. I was too a sharp mouthed 
boy, words a toy, serious toy to wound 
a wounding man, masked man, lone danger
man who loved me and would adore, love,
you, no mask stretched across his straight, closed lip
smile. In these most dangerous days, now you
and I still have the same crooked grin
which I see in the grocery store.  Take
off the puzzle face we must make. Be free
and bright, or bitter, bored while the world knows 
nothing you need to hide. I’ll look away.

Poem 8 / Day 8

unemployment / by Marilynn Eguchi

sometimes i keep things that i find
and carry them close to my chest

according to bartenders, there are 7 types 
of ice dependent on the shape 
the ice is frozen into.
counterpoint: according to scientists, there are 17 
types of ice dependent on the shape 
of the crystals that form the ice itself
limited, of course, to water
shaped by external factors 
affecting expression but not
composure. 
the bartenders’ cubes and spheres 
are all formed by crystalline hexagons
because only ice 1h is intrinsic
to us. 
i think you’re meant 
to reexamine the conditions within 
the system impacting liberated  
crystals, especially if you’ve never 
transformed. obviously you’re assuming 
but i’m not high
enough to find the variables.

i read that the only way to account for the classical 
stefan problem is to solve 
for both
where T is temperature and t is time,
but melting depends on pressure
which applies to everyone i know

Sourced from:
Hammond, N. P., A. C. Barr, and E. M. Parmentier (2016), Recent tectonic activity on Pluto driven by phase changes in the ice shell, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, 6775–6782, doi: 10.1002/2016GL069220.


Untitled /
by Doug Luman

Today, you’re busy playing I plan to scrub the floor
in which you never get around to it & instead play
several rounds of who goes there & it’s always your cat
who looks at you as if to say I doubt you ever will &
soon you’re rearranging all the chairs & collecting
matching baskets, dinner plates, or pins, needles, &
hundreds of pounds of paper & clothes you only have
your left sock on & sooner or later you’re boxed in
some closet & you wonder what this picture looks like
& you realize that you’ve captured yourselves
perfectly


Sourced from:
Withers, Carl. A Treasury of Games. Grosset & Dunlap (1964).

An 8-Year-Old Me Drew My Childhood Home With People Inside / by Jennifer Met

Silhouettes aren’t scaled
but I remember her closer. My mother,
her face like pristine, prismatic plastic, 
her high even knees, a Clydesdale
modeling the runway plank toward me, above 
jeering faces. The kind mutineers walk
before collapsing to peaks of reflected shine.
That sea was ever begged from me
and my nostalgia needs fingers
to catch it. To hold a glimpse.
The soft reality outside this house isn’t felt.
A situated sound, a mother’s turning slowly 
grey. I think Memory drank her finite.
This family is all blobs, too far away
to discern expression. A dollhouse perfection—
dinners, the size of pearls, 
days the bubbles of Sprite.
Bottle me the window, and we’ll be rich.
Everyone loves a glimpse of the cross,
what my daughter points to and calls
“a God sign.” I like the paned windows too,
but your Grandfather, our Father, isn’t 
the open square without legs anymore
than I am this smiley sun outside—the one
praying with ball hands on vaguely hugging arms.

Litany for Earth Rotation Day / by Jamie O’Halloran

Blessed be the growing day.
Blessed be the brightening sky.
Blessed be the shimmering clouds.
Blessed be the burst of sun.
Blessed be the winter sky.
Blessed be the melting ice.
Blessed be the fallow field of grass and reed.
Blessed be the hedgerow of ivy, bramble, and hart’s tongue.
Blessed be the blackbird in the grassy field.
Blessed be the beech spreading over the field.
Blessed be the donkeys grazing in the field.
Blessed be the verge with ragwort and vetch.
Blessed be the clouds crowding the sky.
Blessed be the fierce afternoon shower.
Blessed be the clearing sky.
Blessed be the settling cover of cloud.
Blessed be the quiet road.
Blessed be the burning turf.
Blessed be the shutters closed.
Blessed be the shrinking night.

Living For Today, But Tomorrow Showed Up / by Ron Palmer

It was a statement of debt 
which didn’t cross my mind. 
I believed the moment  
would outlast anything, 
but the wind blew differently. 

Back then, we would say 
consequences be damn; 
that was our life goal. 

And then we found thorns 
in our breath and we knew 
there were pains 
we had to bear. 

We wanted to rest. 
We found the path of today 
needed to be  
more cautiously crossed. 

The gardener / by Rachel Parsan

Lovingly tended to his garden 
Weeding, raking and composting the soil 
Sowing the seeds he wished to see grow 
Marveling over the wonders when they started sprouting 
And envisioning what they would become 
Flowers, vegetables, herbs and maybe some surprises 

Lovingly tending to his garden 
Sowing what he wanted to reap 
He is the gardener 
And it is his responsibility 
To tend to all the little seedlings 
Making sure he leaves none unwatered
When they bloom and blossom , everyone will say, you are a wonderful gardener to have grown all of this.
But he knows by then it was never his , he had come here for a little while to lovingly tend to his garden and then move on to the next plot

TYA: January 8, 2021 / by Juan Pérez

Thirty years ago, disoriented
like a plane unable to see the ground
the heavy fog of the last lines I wrote
unzipping my bag with my rushing blood
trying to collect my sleep-deprived thoughts
trying to figure it all out and fast
what was I stepping out into today
whispering for God’s mercy on my soul
putting on my boots, holstering my gun
it’s probably too late for my gas mask
stepping on out from a safe-berthing tent
into a haze of burnt-over oil
early in the morning, early in life
I was wrong about everything I thought

Crossing the Pentland Firth 2 / by Aline Soules 

There’s still a night ferry, nine hours
from Thurso to Stromness, but I took
the day ferry, three and a half hours.
The first difference from my childhood,
time and speed more Important now.

I parked the car and climbed from one deck
to another. An elevator surprised me,
with its braille signs for the blind, ding
on every level, and voice over.

The engines thrummed. Underway,
I found a chair on the upper deck,
a sealed enclosure with a slanted
window, like an enormous car
or a tilted television screen, the show
turned on for my viewing pleasure.

Rain beat on the window, the only way
I knew there was a storm. The ship
plowed through, oblivious. I felt
none of the whitecaps, the crests,
the troughs.

Hungry, I found a cafeteria on one deck,
a snack bar on another. Fish and chips,
burgers, mushy peas. Trays. Paper plates.
I asked an old-timer about the St. Ola
crest on the china plates. You must
have been a wee girl to remember that.

At Stromness, we drove off in one
flowing motion, as smooth
as a newly-paved road. So many
improvements. Why did I miss
the past?

Masked Litany 1: Early June / by David Wright

Breathing my own breath, again, dark scalded
coffee, acrid in a blue paper mask.

Every other covered smile is a frown,
or a smile. A numbed face. Or terrified.

I am full of recycled air as I eye you, my unmasked
brother and believe you, mother-bareface

when you show me you don’t know or care to
know, can’t go to the trouble to believe

in the trouble, that we are the trouble,
and so I double my masks tomorrow.

I mouth this masked, invisible litany
because I can, not yet breathless, only

restless in this skin, this face, these nervous
hands. I too dislike my familiar breath

today. I too am here to buy fresh bread
for a table of one or two. I too

could be, will be death for someone, some day.
Why do you think it has to be today?

Poem 7 / Day 7

Untitled / by Marilynn Eguchi

we learned recently
there is a heart on Pluto
made of nitrogen ice,
which they say is quite soft.

they say below the surface 
there are oceans, only partially 
frozen. warmed for now 
from the inside. unexpected 
heat in the frigid depths.

i wonder if Proserpina found 
him that way
a little warm 
and soft in places.

Untitled / by Doug Luman

“Fascism is precisely and always a performance and that’s why it’s hard to see it as real until it arrives.”
—Philip Metres

I hate to tell you how many people think this
is a game, the one called you’re not a king
but it certainly isn’t & if it were is it worth playing
in the background a pile of things about which
the king repeatedly claims o, but the hammer broke it
in the same way that o, that match is responsible
for the whole fire & any player doubting the response
gets an answer questioning the alphabet they are told
to shut their mouths & kneel & anyone who isn’t wails
but what will we do with these verbs they are just words
let us return to the heap of the last nightmare the morning
after so many very long nights you see it all now if you didn’t
before I hate to tell you how many people see this as a game
how does it end does a king just say I give up

A Depression Filled With Water / by Jennifer Met

The lake wasn’t unfairly a lake,
but I hated it with all my subconscious
being. Its liquid seemed unmoving—
a celibate lake—one I wouldn’t touch.
Hiking home across snow crusted,
frozen mud, we didn’t speak of it.
A new dark endured. A single grey
advancing out of a future, one immutable
only as a frequent, coherent, mutation
of the season’s promise
of ever-longer sunshine. That was
yesterday. And today again
the weather screws with my head.
My acute and ever-slimming
sanity, a liquid itself. A lake
that won’t win my eyes—my eyes 
are on my feet. A grey blur inside
the white wreckage of our last trek,
a path we once made, a last anonymity
outside our children—but that wasn’t right
before this. Before this we should have 
seen the virgin shrubs turn red
and the pee-stain earth emerge
from beneath their branches. And I saw
only the long, cold lake and its lack of ice.

Capitol Hill Epiphany / by Jamie O’Halloran 

                         —after William Carlos Williams

The news from poems is not new, but despised
             For its lack of newness, its blunt truthiness that calls

                          Us to the greater Good.

My mother complained
             That Good was great but neglected

                          Or swapped for something shiny

Telling untruths that made some
             Feel they weren’t bad, but broken

                          By others. The corpse

Flower opens its fetid bloom to lure
             Carrion eaters. It has a rotten stink,

                          Not the moral odor of a wildflower

Welcoming bees to feast upon it.
             The corpse spathe attracts disciples

                          Who open their mouths to the putrid

Stench of rotting fish
             For a night of feeding.

                          They will die from what is found there. 

5 words / by Ron Palmer 

By the stream where mint 
grew, a  Finch flinched as 
a fish flopped unto the 
land as if pitched there. 

A perfect gift for the 
Finch’s tryst later that day 

A life of grace / Rachel Esther Parsan 

I want you to know
That all the big and little things you have done
They have mattered
When they are all gathered
You will see an amazing story emerge
Everything will converge
Into a life lived with love , passion and kindness
A life not lived for others to applaud
But for you yourself to be proud
To look back on and be amazed 
That it all wound down to a wonderful 
story of grace 

TYA: January 7, 2021 / by Juan Pérez

Thirty years ago, death was flying near
I had finished the early fire-watch
I had been sleeping for a few hours
I heard a soft voice in the far distance
comforting, warm, unrecognizable
yet no other sound, I kept on sleeping
a short time later, sensing commotion
trying to wake… and then came the screaming
the current fire-watcher is frantic
get up, something is wrong… but what is it
a plane… a what? and bodies everywhere
a plane fell less than a mile from our base
flew right over us before going down
are we under attack? all I could think

Crossing the Pentland Firth I / by Aline Soules 

My father drove on to the ferry for our overnight
journey from Scrabster to Stromness. Even
as a little kid, I’d been in boats before, rowboats,
sailboats, even the Kylesku ferry that inched its way
across the narrow passage where Loch Glencoul
and Loch Glenn Dubh meet Loch a’Chàirn and link
to Eddrachillis Bay.

This was different, across the Pentland Firth
known for strong tides, overfalls, and tide races.
Reeds Nautical Almanac listed dangers—
Duncansby Head, Swilkie Point, Men of Mey Rocks,
Pentland Skerries, Muckle Skerry, Old Head,
Lother Rock, Dunnet Head.

The grownups filled the car with laughs and jokes,
except for my mother, known as the seasick one.
I didn’t like the choppy water. We were still in harbor.
Onboard cabins, an adventure. We rocked out of harbor
late in summer evening, my joy complete in staying up
past bedtime, leaning on the rail to watch the sun set
at ten thirty, pink sky deepening for another half hour.

Sunset—the cue to party in the dining cabin.
Mother’s attempts to put me to bed were overridden
by raucous drinkers absorbing whatever lay behind
the bar, eating dinner off St. Ola gold-crested china.
I drank orangeade until my stomach hurt. The noise
rivalled the growing wind.

A judder and pitch ended frivolity. The ferry rose
and slapped down, peaked and plunged as the waves
crested and troughed. The crew demanded we go
to our cabins, making our seasickness worse.
The few hardy stomachs in our midst drank on in the bar.

We lurched and tossed our way to Stromness, laying to
in the harbor for the rest of the night. My mother offered
to help the galley crew wash dishes from the night before.
The head cook opened the porthole, tossed out the plates,
listed them as broken in the storm. We debarked
early in the morning as I asked How are we getting home?

Source: “Sailing the Pentland Firth.” Sail North Scotland. Accessed 6 January 2021.
https://www.sailnorthscotland.co.uk/sailing-pentland-firth.asp

Dear Abraham, Dear Lincoln / by David Wright 

             Prayer in Hope There Will Be Another Inauguration

Even better angels begin with Fear 
Not–grave matter, to fear, know gray 

matter autonomic, amygdala in flinch, 
in flight, in flail and fight. In the presence 

of even the most indeterminate angels 
I would like to defer. But today, too natured, 

we watch furies of the worst, most fearsome 
wings fanning our American kerosene. 

Forgive us, not, our thin skins. Now and in 
this hour of the broken cords, unmystic, 

fractured chords, clashing. Give us only human 
throats, some unangelic voice to gutter words 

past impulse, habit, fear. I know I do not trust 
myself. I feel my tongue pressed down by a stupid, 

acrid, too familiar stone. Could we form and sputter
in our bodies a better word? Beloved. Brothers. 

Sisters. Friend. Not only other. All others we 
must esteem beyond all angels, ever.

Poem 6 / Day 6


Untitled / by Marilynn Eguchi

draw a sphere around
nebulous roots
decouple stability 
and survival

values are only meaningful
in the context of this narrative
the devil, broadly speaking,
is on the verge 

of intrinsic motion somewhere 
deep in the brain. axes unfold 
dimensions the resonance 
of which i once saw

mechanisms and virtue evolve
separately conserve your energy
but consider the effects i 
cannot isolate my variable

so in my analogy i cannot solve 
for deviations of machines
adapt through error but how 
will i know when a period 
is over and my time is up                  

Zink, J. K., Batygin, K., & Adams, F. C. (2020). The Great Inequality and the Dynamical Disintegration of the Outer Solar System. The Astronomical Journal160(5), 232.


Untitled / by Doug Luman

& who could forget this wonderful stunt
called the one you can’t lose in which you show up
at the right place at the right time which the rules call
breakfast in the kitchen & regardless of what they tell you
it doesn’t matter what the clock says or how may times
you’ve told your cat I won’t get up today you can
make only four moves & each within an arm’s length
of the coffee pot & you don’t have to go outside
but if you must the game obligates you to at least
offer the postal carrier some coffee the real secret is that
this game suddenly ends when you win the game simply
because today you chose to


Sourced from:
Withers, Carl. A Treasury of Games. Grosset & Dunlap (1964).

To My Imminent Dreams / by Jennifer Met

In the fledgling night
my obvious soul 
isn’t yours to chaos.
Stop confusing a fog 
for meek drizzle
like a million sluggish feet
wanting a stop. I don’t
want what I want, obviously.
I have a love-hate thing
with you, if it is still you. You,
as much as an egg can be
called a bird. Like flowering 
weeds out the earth—heads
that initially pleased,
in fragrant sunshine 
under us, now seed white
rainclouds. And it’s quick,
like sand that unfolded
in a bedtime story.

Gloaming / by Jamie O’Halloran

Facing east and south where
Days begin as this one

Ends, stratocumulus are heron
Blue and the sky beneath a color

Found inside a shell. Clouds
Press west steady as infantry.

The hours follow dribbling
Into the sea where time is tide,

Its parrying between was and will
Be settling on is.

My Dog Won’t Let Me Sleep / by Ron Palmer

In a Dream 
there is a party 
all my family is there 
even those that died 
My sister shows up 
bringing ice not looking 
like a ghost 
and Becca and Trinity 
(who didn’t get along 
very well in life) 
were telling jokes 
I listen in and just 
when Becca was about  
to get to the punchline 
of an off-color joke 
about a squirrel and a cat, 
Clara barks and I’m awake 
Clara staring at my face. 

I pet her a bit 
ask her what she wants 
she lays down my the bed 
and I go back asleep 

where I am on some  
kind of boat 
going down a river, 
perhaps the Mississippi, 
or the Nile, or the Amazon 
and on the other side 
of the craft crawling 
towards me 
is Gal Gadot  
in full Wonder Woman garb 
saying I’ll be your  
Cleopatra honey 
and just as she’s getting close 
there is a bark 
and I am awake 
with Clara wanting me 
to get up 
an half hour early. 

The hero of my story / by Rachel Esther Parsan

I always knew that
I am the hero of my own story
The one who gets fame, money and glory

I always knew that 
I am the star in my own broadway show
My life filled with glitter, glamour and magical snow

What I did not know
Is how the hero deals with pain 
and sometimes is ridiculed and feels ashamed 
How the hero makes a mistake
and sometimes fails to realize 
what is really at stake

How the hero fails to see right from wrong
And dances to the beat of someone else’s song
How the hero feels like a failure 
and a cast away
And does not know how to recover
So all he can do is hide away

I always knew 
that I am the hero of my own story, 
the star in my own broadway show
My life filled with magical snow 

I just did not know 
That life gives you many trials , 
humbles you and sometimes 
brings you to your knees

Not a single magic snowflake is free
Everything has a price and a fee 
When you are humbled enough
by the experiences life has given you 
only then are you worthy to
play the lead in your own show

TYA: January 6, 2021 / by Juan Pérez

Thirty years ago, still in the same dream
did I mention that I once qualified
to run the hurdles at the state level
on that now famous Texas Longhorn track
or how I ended up top of my class
but skipped college to become a medic
anyhow, all that was old by that time
sometimes dreams are passed down to the children
I was hoping to keep it moving on
by reproducing myself through my wife
over and over… over and over…
except for this little speedbump called war
which caught up to me by surprise that day
found me full of dreams only to change them

Zeno’s Paradox / by Aline Soules 

Christine could twist an apple in half
with her bare hands, half for her, half for me.
We shared them with her horse, Timmy—
half of her half, half of mine. In time,
Timmy learned how to nuzzle his way
into all our apples with a satisfied crunch.
We rode, Christine in front, me riding pinion,
Timmy plodding a circular rut in the field.

Her parents sold half the field in the recession
of the 1950s. Timmy was old by then,
didn’t need as much room, they said.
Half the field for him, half for a new
housing estate that blocked his sun.
When Timmy died, no one told us
where he went, explained phrases like
knacker’s yard or glue factory.
The rut remained in his half of the field
until they ploughed that, too.

After decades, I visited Timmy’s field,
now filled with houses on both halves.
I think about the race between Achilles
and the tortoise. Achilles ran faster,
but the tortoise had a hundred-yard start.
Achilles halved the distance between them
again and again. How can Achilles overtake
the tortoise? Zeno asks. The ancient Greeks
didn’t understand limits, couldn’t answer.

Today, we believe in the limit of an infinite
series, can prove the exact point where Achilles
overtakes the tortoise. Yet I wonder if the rut
of Timmy’s hooves still lies beneath the houses,
might be found a thousand years from now
in some archaeological dig that once again,
would give us the gift of not understanding limits.

Source:
“Halving and Halving Again – Zeno’s Paradox.” Ask Dr. Math, Questions and Answers from our Archives. The Math Forum. August 22, 1996. Retrieved January 5, 2021. http://mathforum.org/library/drmath/view/52507.html

Consolation 4: Blanched Almond Elegy, Contingency / by David Wright
              My contingency plan is that every Milton student will be required to write a pastoral elegy for
              moi. Approbation from Heaven is the only assessment. @c_perry, Twitter

Almonds, blanched white, skinned flavourless lest flavour damage love
              for adding taste to any tongued curse.

Deaths: yours, mine, contingencies should be accompanied
              by plans left clear for some successor’s need.

Recipe: make meaning, serve meaning, make nothing worse
              than the baker who had skill enough, and time.

Or lead sheet: tonic, IV, flatted thirds, V7, vi.
              a minor hallelujah, not much news.

No. Consolation prizes. Yes. Leave everyone
              an approbation prize you make with string.

Weave no wool. Cotton? No. Nylon stretched and spun to steel
              guitar strings for a muse who hums and whines.

Humming muse. Throated muse. Falsetto musing muse. Damned
              unlisping muse of Bradstreet lost in prayer.

Prayer being lost, always mazed, graceful Emmy Lou
              who breaks her hums with whispers, breathes in hymns.

Press it and mourning gets dressed for church like Hank Williams,
              in spangled suits of country blue and loss.

Every splendid word of every splendid plan
              is limpid in my mouth without some salt.

Salt, of course, matters now. Leave less for executors
              to miss and mutter in tasteless, saltless swears.

True, I swear. Bare and laid best, all my plans exceedingly
              would not succeed. No cover bands will do

things my way. Damn the syllabi. Improvise a will:
              contingent rifts, unfretful tunes in hand.

Poem 5 / Day 5

coronae / by Marilynn Eguchi
“One hypothesis is that Miranda was catastrophically disrupted and reassembled…”

Prospero would have kept
her safe, but that men trust their own power
and other men. 

at first formation, girls 
are buoyant. her tectonics 
correspond to fluidity,
thermal gradients, 
and unique anomalies. 

governed by weakness 
not of abnormalities, 
but the normal faults
of Caliban

his attempt to appropriate
deforms. her body 
differentiates. currents below 
the surface change the pull 
of her tides. new scars 
interact with preexisting fractures,
the sum of which is consistent 
with numerical models.

but her gravity and heat 
are three-dimensional
and her innermost conditions 
are remarkably elastic.

Hammond, N. P., & Barr, A. C. (2014). Global resurfacing of Uranus’s moon Miranda by convection. Geology42(11), 931-934.

Untitled / by Doug Luman

Now this game sounds dumb but it’s not
you are supposed to trick yourself & how easy this one is
called you can’t do it & involves baking a bread
from a bushel of wheat or rye & some other nonsense
each time you make a mistake shout mixed biscuits!
in place of bad words & you must put both hands in the bowl
regardless of any danger you knead the dough
until everything is fine or superfine
look, these old harvest games take a really long time
& you could quit but you continue the next morning
if you keep it up it’s funny how you change into something
you are already


Sourced from:
Withers, Carl. A Treasury of Games. Grosset & Dunlap (1964).



Even When You’re Right You’re Wrong / by Jennifer Met

You always talked molehills
into mountains—made verbs starve
importantly.  You wrote a dissertation and

I guess the tempest hasn’t stirred
the polish off your mountains—
the mountains that tonight parted us

messily. It’s accurate, if a lot of noise
rising out of a good noise—obscuring
a dawn two lamps less than dull.

Down by the River Awbeg / by Jamie O’Halloran
                         — after the murder ballad “Weile, Weile, Waila”

There was a woman lived by the fairy fort
Wellaway, woe, woe, woe
Her Da left her land with she was ready to part
Down by the River Awbeg

The woman had a husband lived by the fairy fort
Wellaway, woe, woe, woe
They had two sons, one was dearer to her heart
Down by the River Awbeg

The woman fell ill and she wrote her will
Wellaway, woe, woe, woe
Give the younger son bog, the elder good fields to till
Down by the River Awbeg

The husband didn’t like what she intended
Wellaway, woe, woe, woe
He schemed and filled the young son with venom
Down by the River Awbeg

The woman was ailing and away for weeks
Wellaway, woe, woe, woe
Afraid to return ’cause there was no peace
Down by the river Awbeg

The man had his solicitor write his wife
Wellaway, woe, woe, woe
Differences aside they could mend their life
Down by the River Awbeg

The woman accepted his olive branch
Wellaway, woe, woe, woe
Returned to the farm the feud to stanch
Down by the River Awbeg

She arrived late one October night
Wellaway, woe, woe, woe
Thinking all would turn out right
Down by the River Awbeg

Before the next sun rose from the east
Wellaway, woe, woe, woe
She heard shotgun blasts that froze her breast
Down by the river Awbeg

She saw her eldest bathed in blood
Wellaway, woe, woe, woe
And ran barefooted through the mud
Down by the River Awbeg

Husband and young son held smoking guns
Wellaway, woe, woe, woe
They chased her down and took her phone
Down by the River Awbeg

“Seeing him killed who’d get the best land”
Wellaway, woe, woe, woe
“Is just the start of what we’ve planned.”
Down by the River Awbeg

“Both our lives will be cut short,”
Wellaway, woe, woe, woe
“Ye’ll find our bodies in the fairy fort”
Down by the River Awbeg

Her fault they said for making her will
Wellaway, woe, woe, woe
Favoring the one they had to kill
Down by the River Awbeg

They let her go to feel the pain
Wellaway, woe, woe, woe,
She ran to the neighbors down the lane
Down by the River Awbeg

The Gardaí came that afternoon
Wellaway, woe, woe, woe
The slain were there at the fairy fort
Down by the River Awbeg

They’d killed themselves as they pledged
Wellaway, woe, woe, woe
They lay in the fort stony and hedged
Down by the River Awbeg

The son had strapped a 12-page note to his calf
Wellaway, woe, woe, woe
To be sure they’d know he deserved half
Down by the River Awbeg

Both father and son detailed their pact
Wellaway, woe, woe, woe
To make the mam suffer from their heinous act
Down by the River Awbeg

Why they chose the fairy fort to lay them down
Wellaway, woe, woe, woe
Who’s to know, but the fairies will mourn
Down by the River Awbeg

Unfurled / by Ron Palmer

A solemnness has  
ended, you learn 
to laugh again although 

your joy is limited to 
driving in your car 
gazing at Christmas 

lights, driving on 
slushy roads. 

Once home, you delight 
in staring at blue light 
or a computer’s bright. 

Somewhere you read that  
misery is the path out 
of hell, but you see it 
as the password in. 

And this isn’t hell that’s 
unfurled upon your world 
nor heaven neither

Lost innocence / by Rachel Esther Parsan

A blank page 
Scribbled all over 
Unkind words covered the once blank page
Insecurities crept up and 
the innocent became uncertain 
No longer carefree but a little apprehensive 

Looking over her shoulder 
A little less trusting 
And a lot less smiling 
An innocence was lost
And could not be recovered 
Not by the gentlest voice
Not by the warmest hugs
The blank page no longer blank
All the words forever imprinted 
And the innocent was lost

TYA: January 5, 2020 / by Juan Pérez

Thirty years ago, I clearly recall
on the twenty-first day of the third month
warmth of sleep on a military cot
sleeping bag all zipped up except my nose
the days there were hot, the nights, not so much
I was dreaming I was already home
dreaming of making sweet love to my wife
wanting to get going on building dreams
wanting to hold my beautiful daughter
wanting to create a basketball team
of nothing more than very tall children
did I mention I was once pretty good
at playing the Aztec-inspired game
(except Mexicans don’t get the credit)

Magic Fluid / by Aline Soules 

                                                                               The Environmental Protection Agency bans 
                                                                              Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), April 1979 

I bore you that year—my perfect son, ten fingers, ten toes,
eyes darting. I breast fed, your fists clenched, your brow
sweating with effort.

I didn’t know

how the chemical industry sucked up money from their magic fluid,
that industrial miracle they used in transformers, capacitors,
fluorescent lights, caulking compounds, paints.

I didn’t know

how PCBs seep into the body fat of every living creature through
breast milk, even the umbilical cord, cause cancer, anemia, organ damage,
autism, neuro and immune changes in children.

When you weaned, I mashed carrots and squash and peas, ground chicken.
No commercial baby food for you. I bought fresh fish from the Great Lakes—
salmon, trout, northern pike, walleye, largemouth bass, whitefish.

I didn’t know

as I poached salmon, lemon-battered pike, baked honey walleye,
stir-fried bass or whitefish with rice, those Friday suppers that marked
the end of our week, the beginning of our weekend

how we’d carry those suppers, our conversations, our family time
in our hearts and minds and the PCBs in every cell in our bodies,
pass them to our children and our children’s children.

Consolation 2: Haven, Unheaven, Door / by David Wright 

My quarantine could be a haven. My quarantine
could be an unheaven, like this one. If we will isolation
into hope, do mornings bathe our bodies with sun?

Who will make lovely a pile of deadly tissues
on a table? Ezekiel cried out to make bones alive.
Irritate my bronchial trees into a forest of gasping.

I will not be a hostage, no. I will be a volunteer.
I will not be another unpaid hero. I will protect
my mother, my children, my lover by staying away.

This is a serious matter. Our condition is serious.
This matter is serious as a staccato heart in flight.
The world is not essence, not construct, not mine.

The world is a front door, opened. Seriously, may I
come to you in the morning to grieve? Are you there?
On the other side of every door is a serious world.

It could be a more sober occasion, our quarantine.
I’ve been drinking a bit. But we knew that. It could
be a risk greater if I kissed your neck, took your hand,

my hand on the sanitized handle of a door I close,
or open to the deadly blue breath of day after day.

Poem 4 / Day 4

Untitled / by Marilynn Eguchi

treat the phase transition
as insignificant. when equilibrium 
drops, assume unstable approximations
where z is depth
and Ra is vigor.

to calculate strain and stress 
resulting from global change
identify, please, each element
consistent with features of relative youth.
even radiant boundaries expect
decay over a lifetime.

our results differ 
when treating the formation 
of limits to account 
for failure, as growth 
is uncertain and volatile.

previous models persist 
in evolving dependent on chosen values
that influence the final state.

he says he finds in cases of survival
spinning stops, but drifting 
continues and poles may wander.

Sourced from:
Hammond, N. P., A. C. Barr, and E. M. Parmentier (2016), Recent tectonic activity on Pluto driven by phase changes in the ice shell, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, 6775–6782, doi: 10.1002/2016GL069220.


Untitled / by Doug Luman

& here’s a game that if anyone’s figured out a way to win you’d certainly love to hear it
stand in your kitchen & say someone’s name then repeat what am I doing four times at any moment
many people are playing this game even though it’s not that fun but you can play it
in your living room or anywhere else if anyone’s figured out a way
to win you’d certainly love to hear that it ends after you’ve been repeating it for hours
you can combine this with many other games even ironing your clothes
for a time you’re standing alone in a room saying someone’s name
& you certainly love to hear it


Sourced from:
Withers, Carl. A Treasury of Games. Grosset & Dunlap (1964).


Call and Response / by Jennifer Met

Sometimes you answer mail at once and question
the way you tumbled to move the letter lower.

And sometimes the room is all poorly lit corners.
But sometimes reality is in our limbs.

And sometimes the saddest roads aren’t gravel.
But sometimes you cry clear water.

And sometimes a mother wakes day before day.
But sometimes sleep is childhood regained.

Then sometimes you hold out and you hold in
all that white movement between letters.

Ouroboros / by Jamie O’Halloran

Last Spring’s practice was patience
To see which trees held life.

March was a net of bristly branches,
Kindling sprang from trunks.

April was waiting for the living’s
Swell into leaf or bud, or blossom

Waiting for the swelling count
of that day’s dead. Tradition,

Here, makes Spring a month
Away. Patience has rusted,

unwilling hinge. Numbers rise.
Off the guerneys, patients spill.

Every Day A Gift / by Ron Palmer

In the afterlife
there is a line
of people who
want to return
their gift.
Some were shocked
they died of gunshot,
some were not.
I am told, (by my ghosts),
the return process
is worse than Walmart’s.

In this life, there are those
who wish to return the gift
as well.
Many conversations
perplexed as to why,
why suicide.

I emotions have touched
those dark thoughts,
but my mind has always
tossed them out, after all,
things could be better,
things could be worse,
and there are still things
to see.

As an adolescent, I once
held a knife, blade
towards myself.
It was a false action
as I understood what some
teens do not.
Some actions can’t be reverse,
some exchanges do not have worth.

blossoming / by Rachel Esther Parsan

And once the lotus flower blooms , 
she breaks free of the muddy water 
that was her home,
She shakes of the dirt and spreads her beautiful pale and pink petals
She rises up out of the mud 
and is free
Free to blossom, free to spread her 
lovely scent
Free to be who she was underneath the dirt and mud

TYA: January 4, 2021 / by Juan Pérez

Thirty years ago, ninety-eight men died
Ras al-Mishab, southern coast from Khafji
all in one morning, all in the same plane
all foreign soldiers at war just like me
all but the pilots were from Senegal
all the crew members, Saudi nationals
all coming back from a Ramadan trip
a pilgrimage allowed during cease fire
all would receive a hero’s welcoming
all in attentive rows of body bags
as for the Saudis, they interred that day
a damned tragedy within victory
yet not all of them die that somber morn
of three survivors, one makes it to me

Wind Scars / by Aline Soules 

A box of pears, skins whipped
by tree branches flung wide
in high wind.

It blew across the land
in the dry time, brought force
and fire.

We woke one day to orange night,
house lights on in the dark noon
of particulates.

Text messages warned of dioxin
carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide,
nitrogen oxides. Stay indoors.

I didn’t think of the pears then,
fixed in place or blown off
to rot on the ground.

I turn one in my hand, bite,
savor sweet juice with
new wonder.

Sources

Fu, Joshua S. “California Wildfires Pass 4 Million Acres Burned, Doubling Previous Record—That’s a Lot of Toxic Smoke.” The Conversation. 2 October 2020. https://theconversation.com/california-wildfires-pass-4-million-acres-burned-doubling-previous-record-thats-a-lot-of-toxic-smoke-147328

Urbanski, Shawn P., Wei Min Hao, and Stephen Baker. “Chemical Composition of Wildland Fire Emissions.” In Developments in Environmental Science, ed. A. Bynerowicz, M. Arbaught, A. Riebau, and C. Andersen. Vol. 8A. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2009. DOI:10.1016/S1474-8177(08)00004-1.

Consolation I: Conditional Quarantine / by David Wright

from A Book of Consolations  

And so we imagined 14 days, away from others—
brothers, sisters, mothers, neighbors, nemesis
in the office next door, too near. We considered

the glories of quiet and rest, the shutting off
of the ever ready screen of worry, click—empty
like a new notebook? Like a tree’s root in winter?

Wondered at the blanketed couch and the sun slant
through the south window and the long binges
of stories told from the most remote worlds.

Ah, I will be full of soup I have stashed away for weeks.
I will eat frozen berries from two summers back.
I will save myself from myself. I will wake to books.

You will recover, I say, and try to mean it. I will too.
We say, I went outside today and so many things shone
as if nothing happened to be wrong. I will not touch

anything until everything burns clean and all is well. No,
worries, I message the young writers. I can teach you
from here. Right over there is my mug of coffee

and here are your poems. I am reading. Any text can be
a sacred text if we read with a clean heart. You will revise.
which is seeing again what you had seen imperfectly.

This whole time is for revision. I remember how
the quarantines of childhood always ended. But now
like my mother, maybe your grandmother sits locked

in her room playing solitaire. All those bodies at risk
may not congregate. All our hearts are a cliche. Our lungs
could be full of air or plugged with a mixture of liquid

and love. One of them will win. And I am here revising away
the excesses of now. So far I’ve recast a half dozen sentences
in a future where the sentences are less harsh for the damned.

Poem 3 / Day 3

Untitled / by Marilynn Eguchi

billions of years from now, Pluto
will intersect, we think, with time.
his future depends on the composition 
of his core;
the temperament of his end state.
we would measure the change 
in radius, if we could,
to learn what survived, 
but he will be alone
and he always knew what he was made of.

Sourced from:
Hammond, N. P., A. C. Barr, and E. M. Parmentier (2016), Recent tectonic activity on Pluto driven by phase changes in the ice shell, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, 6775–6782, doi: 10.1002/2016GL069220.

Untitled / by Doug Luman

This one’s an ancient Greek game called stay indoors &
the rulebook features a diagram of a plate, four potatoes, & a coffee pot
you start by making categories of everything you own then you say
you’re wrong & start over again—it gets harder (so keep your socks on)—
divide your tea into I like & I don’t like it doesn’t matter
if you have the lowest score the rules say you can
always skip to the part with the final boss: the clock which strikes twice &
it’s not light enough to actually be that hour but the game ends
when it’s Monday or a player succeeds
by managing to wash the dishes & sweep their house

Sourced from:
Withers, Carl. A Treasury of Games. Grosset & Dunlap (1964).

Resolution Haiku / by Jennifer Met

January third—
the icicle’s drip
after a quick accretion

readying my boots—
yesterday’s snowmelt
scares through my sock

diet resolved
to microwaved spaghetti—
one bite scalding

retrieved firewood warms
and western conifer seed bugs
weed-whacker the air

a fresh January
I tell my children
to light up the tree

Equus Africanus Asinus / by Jamie O’Halloran

Donkeys bow, humbled by their passenger
Christ whose sign they wear on their spine
And along the shoulders. Shaggy, grey or brown,
They have a taste for thorny holly enough
To strip trees bare. They aren’t Pooh’s melancholy
Friend. Their downcast eyes mind their grazing.
They hold my eye with theirs from its ivory ring.
Companionable, they thrive on closeness, grooming
Their mates, nosing the other along. When separated
By a stone wall or gate, their bray could shake the earth.
When bereaved, a donkey needs its grief and time
With the departed and to hold the wake, their ears folded
Down in sorrow, bowing again and again.

New Year’s 2021 / by Ron Palmer

As I watch my dogs outside, 
they seem to see and hear 
something I do not. 

What it is isn’t clear, 
the only movement the chill 
of the morning’s slight breeze. 

I tell them nothing’s there; 
they ignore me, sitting attentively. 
My mind wanders to the thought 
that any new hope will take its time 

to show itself. Prayers are 
only answered in silence and 
fear is pricked with every cough. 

What holiness 
is as true as nonexistence 
I almost say out loud. 

I remember when I believed 
in concepts I couldn’t see 
before dreams became smoke. 

The dogs perk their ears up, 
sit attentively and stare 
into the nothingness of air 
then bark at something as 
something must be there. 

Into greatness / by Rachel Esther Parsan  

Step into greatness 
Leave behind the old
Find the path that will lead you
And take one bold step forward
Even if you can not see it all

You were empty and hollow
Step forward and courage and wisdom follow
Into the unknown you travel 
The mysteries will themselves unravel 

There is nothing left here 
Be certain you have done your share
And once you know 
Onward you must go 

TYA: January 3, 2021 / by Juan Pérez

Thirty years ago, I wrote some thoughts down
about the fellas, the bosses, the war
the outright damned anger and jealousy
I had abruptly established within
for whatever I thought was happening
back at home with my beautiful young wife
about some uncommitted, old asshole
using high religion and loneliness
to make a move in her time of weakness
as was usual in the stories passed on
among a few of the now heartbroken
tearful young men with fresh Dear John letters
I guess I just wanted to get ahead
the pain of getting one… I never did

Lucy / by Aline Soules

The wind took my breath.
They laid me in state, took away sky.

The worms ate my flesh, opened my veins.
I gave the earth my blood to quench its thirst.

Alone in my bones, I waited, listened.
Lilith, Aclima, Luluwa, Calmana, Eve.

One day, the weight of earth eased.
I saw sky, heard wind.

They took my bones to the crypt
of a new place, called me Lucy. 

I wanted to shout take me to wind and sky,
but it didn’t matter. No one listened.

They found my daughter, brought her near.
I can feel her. 

They called her Selam, peace,
to inspire harmony among warring tribes of Afar.

They think they know us because I walked upright,
my daughter climbed trees, but they learned nothing.

Free me to sky and wind to find my voice,
speak what matters.

Note:  In Ethiopia, paleoanthropologists discovered “Lucy,” a 3.2-million-year-old skeleton (1994) and “Selam,”
a 3.3-million-year-old infant fossil (2006), both Australopithecus afarensis, a human ancestor.

Small Town Triptych with Lemonade, Purington Brick, and the Appearance of Blood / by David Wright

Poem 2 / Day 2

Satellites / by Marilynn Eguchi

I wonder if Ganymede
gets lonely.
he had the misfortune of beauty, 
trapped in the gravity
of Jupiter 
granted eternal youth
to serve the gods forever.

Untitled / by Doug Luman

A game called where are my shoes which sounds
exactly like what it is & everyone can play the first player
starts by saying where are my shoes & every player
imitates them & pretty soon you’ll have all the lights on you see
every game needs a leader to perform the hardest task &
it’s odd just how many objects in your house wait for you
to do something & so you try the magic of counting to three &
the other spell of making your voice powerful & you think of
a word which describes your behavior but is not
an adjective at which other grownups would frown
though you keep talking to yourself while trying
to make less noise so maybe the neighbors will
think that you’re talking on the phone & the game ends
when you’ve hopped across the floor after singing
every song from My Fair Lady which is of course what occurs
& if you guessed that the shoes were by the door
in the first stanza you were right all along 

Sourced from:
Withers, Carl. A Treasury of Games. Grosset & Dunlap (1964).

 
It’s a Flat World After All /
by Jennifer Met 

How to resolve a moment—
these sodden days
moving unlike movement?

The minutes died
in a polysyllabic sum.
Any annals outside 

smooth moon lied.
Her followers stepping 
off well-curved skies

and falling into space
yet unmeasured, unreliable
as a weightless gate.

Greening Winter / by Jamie O’Halloran 

If it weren’t for the cold, the short days, one
Might not guess it is winter. All is green:
Hedges and fields, even the leafless limbs
Of beech wear wooly green lichen gloves.
Spears of crocus and daffodil break through
Unfrozen soil. Each morning, earlier as the sunrise
Creeps back, I check for the newly appeared
Congregations of stiff foliage where blossoms
Will open like choristers. Closing in on
My first full round of seasons in this new place,
I still learn what grows, when and where.
Blanket of alder leaves feeds the meadow.

Wild carrot will follow hyacinth and blue bells.
This year of grief isn’t ending, but brightening

Started With A Song Stuck In My Head / by Ron Palmer 

I hope for a brief midwinter 
While a sound of cello fills the air 
Christmas time is over 
As if it wasn’t there 

I walk into the darkness 
A shovel in my hand 
As I look into the snowfall 
Bleakness I comprehend. 

Was this to bring something holy 
Afraid I just don’t know  
The wind rises like a demon 
Filling my face with Snow. 

Yet planets align to be a star 
And something beckons in the cold 
I should be glad to be alive 
I shouldn’t have to be told.

Dear cave dweller / by Rachel Esther Parsan 

Alone you dwell in your dark cave
Afraid to come out
To be seen in the light
To show yourself

You hide in the dark
Scared to see the sunlight
Bogged down by burdens
Beaten down by disappointments
Rejected and neglected

Dear cave dweller
If only you would come out
To feel the warm sunlight
You would see clear as day that
You are as beautiful as you are bright
No need to feel rejected
Know that you are loved and accepted
For all that you are now
And even more for all that I know you can be

TYA: January 2, 2021 / by Juan Pérez

Thirty years ago, I was a young man
strong, powerful, full of great ideas
spending the shortest birthday on a plane
heading into the great gamut of time
east on the twentieth of the last month
of this burnt-tortilla hemisphere life
truthfully, my notions where nothing short
of a coyote shitting in the park
I kept a journal during my time at war
reading it now as a much older me
makes me cringe at my negativity
how the hell did I even make it out
back to any candid understanding
or even out of my noisy twenties

Ode to a Diatom / by Aline Soules 

How glad I am that you live in our ocean, absorb as much carbon dioxide
as all the world’s tropical rain forests combined, generate up to 40 percent
of the 50-55 billion tons of organic carbon produced each year in the sea.

            diatoma anceps           diatoma coelata
            diatoma elongata        diatoma grandis
            diatoma maxima         diatoma minima

Thalassiosira pseudonana, so small that 70 could fit in the width of a human hair,
your genome maps shows a urea cycle, a nitrogen waste pathway.
Who knew, you clever photosynthetic eukaryote? 

            diatoma mutabilis       diatoma pectinalis     
            diatoma rhombica       diatoma stellaris       


You have the genes to produce urea-cycle enzymes to reduce your dependence
on nitrogen, crucial for your growth but often scarce in the sea.
You have pathways to metabolize fats, to live for a long time in the dark,
even overwinter, and bloom when you find the light again.

            diatoma tenuis            diatoma vulgaris
                        neodiatoma exigua    

You metabolize silicon in ways nanotechnologists can only dream,
reveal features that belong to animals and plants, ignore boundaries,
mixing and matching for success.

            neodiatoma hiemalis   neodiatoma obtusa

How will environmental change affect your abundance? How will you react
to warming seas, the amount of light penetrating oceans and nutrients?

                            Fragilaria mutabilis

Will you still be able to save us?


Sources:

Hines, Sandra.  “Tiny diatom has global environmental impact.” UW News, October 7, 2004.
      https://www.washington.edu/news/2004/10/07/tiny-diatom-has-global-environmental-impact/

Armbrust E. Virginia, et al. 2004 (October 1). “The Genome of the Diatom Thalassiosira
    Pseudonana: Ecology, Evolution, and Metabolism”. Science (New York, N.Y.). 306, no. 5693: 79-86 

E(mergency) R(hyme) Visit, Fall 2020 / by David Wright 

         —after “The Queen of Hearts”

Heart, sirened, heart
You’ve sped and fired
Wild on an anxious day.
They’ve filled you, heart,
With meds, not wires
And sent us on our way.

Heart, ragged, heart
Undead but tired
And steadied for today,
I’ve seen the charts,
Peaks jagged and dire,
And put the charts away.

Knave, no. Naive
Without our pills
We stutter to the grave.
Saved. Sore, but saved.
We beat. Beat still..
We live. We work. We stave. 

Poem 1 / Day 1

Untitled / by Marilynn Eguchi

the world is formed by fractures
shifting where faults 
are stressed. tensile strength 
is influenced by 
history, 
impurities, 
temperature.

data shows fatigue weakens materials 
propagating failure in the brittle
lithosphere of susceptible body.
but a little bit of heat 
can heal cracks— 

—cracks must form in order to nucleate 
boundaries, 
drawn from flaws, 
hiding the fluidity 
which makes you electric
and the gravity to connect
to those who hold us in place.

she seeks a common stable 
frequency 
and a little bit of heat.


Sourced from:
Hammond, N. P., Barr, A. C., Cooper, R. F., Caswell, T. E., & Hirth, G. (2018). Experimental constraints on the fatigue of icy satellite lithospheres by tidal forces. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 123, 390–404. 

Untitled / by Douglas Luman

A game in which each challenger counts to 100 &
says aloud how hungry they are.

A jaybird shows up—announces itself. But, you could
call it any name you wanted:

cat, rat, dog, lion; no one knows why
spelling is so funny or why night is a real number.

Stars arrive on the back of a rainy day.
Turn lamp to dark in five steps.

The game ends whenever
you are done counting.


Sourced from:
Withers, Carl. A Treasury of Games. Grosset & Dunlap (1964).

Birdwatching on New Year’s Cusp / by Jennifer Met
           -After Thomas Hardy

This isn’t always named—all
heel of distinct ember and even
the sun’s bow retracted, flameless.
The way fall feels like falling, a loss
too quickly, one you cannot pin
until it’s dry, flightless as death itself.
But the worst is over—the sun labors
to companion a silence farther.
This new sun insoluble as a short path
in many brown oak leaves, their hands
distinct from many brown oak
above. Here, this sheltered path is
no season, I say. Is lost in rust
metaling away at willowy light, dropping
footfalls. No snowflakes, no thrush here.
But mining to the forest’s center, all waits
for the barn owl, or at least her call,
as friends outside of speech. The sun holds.
I do not recognize wings, but wait too
for pristine white, snow’s core value
as that outside photography’s gospel
but found in songwriters like us.

New Year’s 2021 / by Jamie O’Halloran

This year of grief isn’t ending, but brightening
With its earlier sun and later moon. Yesterday
Evening we drove to the bens, the sight of them
Sifted with the morning’s snow would be the last
We could catch until this next lockdown is lifted.
For now, we dwell within our 5k radius that hasn’t
Mountain or sea. We caught the best a day could bring.
With a shower ending as the sun was settling deep
Into Connemara, a rainbow arched across
The all of Maam Valley bog. Holiday closures will stay
This month, tight as a bud while the snowdrops
Ring their shy white bells. By February, March,
We may have the jab. If nothing else the little suns
Of narcissus will nod, cradling the lights we lost.

A Poem / by Ron Palmer 

A poem could be
about anything

A toothbrush
If you wish

It could be about
howling in the wind
a howling with no wind
a howling after a win

The subject doesn’t
have to be brand new
it could be the buckle
on a shoe

You could write
a homage to Sylvia Plath
or the thorns
in a garden path

You just need
to put a patch of words
together
then you have something
written at last.

The field of dreams / by Rachel Esther Parsan

In this field of dreams 
In this realm in between
Between the waking and dreaming 
There is a world
That I do not know
And you do not know 

It is where the dreamers dream 
And the spirits dwell
It is where there are no words 
No thoughts and no reasons 
It is where everything is sorted 
It is the field of dreams 
Where we only enter 
After the curtain falls 

Thirty Years Ago (TYA): January 1, 2021 / by Juan Perez

Thirty years ago, I was waking up
on a military bunk far away
from the familiar place I called my home
far away from my wife and my new kid
before last year, it was just something old
stuck in the past, something I had done did
this past summer, it invaded my sleep
pandemic isolation gave it life
after my wife kept insisting for years
I finally took up the long offer
to talk to any VA counselor
about resurfacing PTSD
I never thought I was that far broken
everyone I loved disagreed with me

Shifting Vistas / by Aline Soules 

The curve of Vasco Road. My grandson and I
arc round the bend, face wind turbines on the hill.
Airfoil-shaped blades stretch out their arms
to catch the wind.

Songbirds silent. Hawks, eagles, falcons
prey to the god of renewable energy. I seek in vain
one blade painted black to save their lives.

The shape of the land that once attracted my eye
is obscured. We need to harness wind, I tell myself,
watching men with cranes build more turbines
on adjacent hills.

Even as I resist, feel loss, the blades draw
my grandson’s eye. “Whee.” He mimics
their motion with his fingers, stretches his arms,
embraces the vistas of his future.

Sources

“Energy Resources: Tidal Power.” darvill.clara.net. Updated 12 September 2019.
http://www.darvill.clara.net/altenerg/tidal.htm

“How Do Wind Turbines Work? (A Step by Step Guide).” semprius.com. 13 August 2020.
https://www.semprius.com/how-do-wind-turbines-work-a-step-by-step-guide/

May, Roel, Torgeir Nygård, Ulla Falkdalen, Jens Åström, Øyvind Hamre, and Bård G. Stokke. “Paint it Black: Efficacy of Increased Wind Turbine Rotor Blade Visibility to Reduce Avian Fatalities.” Ecology and Evolution. 26 July 2020. Open access. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.6592 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ece3.6592

Nguyen, Tuan. “Singapore to unveil world’s first ‘mechanical forest’: Are massive power-generating supertrees the way of the future?” zdnet.com. 12 June 2012. https://www.zdnet.com/article/singapore-to-unveil-worlds-first-mechanical-forest/

Siegel, R. P. “Tidal Power: Pros and Cons.” triplepundit.com. 31 May 2012. https://www.triplepundit.com/story/2012/tidal-power-pros-and-cons/81826#:~:text=Pros.%20Renewable.%20Requires%20no%20fuel.%20Emission-free%3B%20Reliable%2C%20a,output%3B%20Could%20potentially%20provide%20a%20storm%20surge%20barrier.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Wind Turbines.” fws.gov. Last updated 18 April 2018. https://www.fws.gov/birds/bird-enthusiasts/threats-to-birds/collisions/wind-turbines.php

Wehner, Mike. “Birds May not Have to Fear Wind Turbines for Much Longer.” bgr.com. 26 August 2020. https://bgr.com/2020/08/26/wind-turbine-birds-death/  

Driving Lesson / by David Wright 

The street does not know him,
how he is driving for the third time,
ever. The curbs do not care how 
he has never felt a car tug against 
his will. This road will go where it goes, 
I dadsplain, and you follow. Eyes rolled 
up to the mirror he discovers how drivers 
haunt him from behind, or come into 
his lane with neither hand on the wheel. 
We’re a block from home. Got this? Me.
Got this. Him. His fingers curve around 
the wheel like a father’s hand circling 
the unbruised wrists of a boy lifted 
high above a broken sidewalk that goes, 
also, where it goes. Home and away.