POEM BY ALICIA HOFFMAN
becomes you, the slight scent of rot –
invisible permutation through the trees –
a compliment to your blush, these cheeks
of apple, rose-tinged and not quite right,
like you were soon too plucked
from the tree, a less than perfect
bushel, bruised there and here held
loose to your core of bones like the dozen
jonamacs for sale in the straw-weave basket
at that amish farmer’s discount rack
we rummaged through one after
noon – for anything to cover us
from the quickening, the unverbal
uncomfortable in the always now and
just look at this distance between us.
When did we become our clouded speech,
a thick gray haze of squirrel pelt rustling
under October’s woolen cloud wisps –
foraging for something pastoral, something
felt just-picked from the garden in that place
we passed time, before we remembered
its name, before we so soon forgot it.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Alicia Hoffman now lives, writes and teaches in Rochester, New York. Author of "Like Stardust in the Peat Moss," her poems have appeared widely in journals such as Tar River Poetry, Redactions, SOFTBLOW, Camroc Press Review, A-Minor Magazine, Boston Literary Magazine, decomP and elsewhere. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, she is currently completing her MFA in Poetry at the Rainier Writer's Workshop in Tacoma, Washington.
POEM BY DAVID OLSEN
While flipping through
my guide to European birds,
you suddenly stop.
The Great Northern Diver –
with speckled back,
white breast, dark nape,
and striped collar – resembles
what you know to be a loon.
You reach for your guide
to birds of North America
and compare the Latin names:
Both are Gavia immer.
You tell of summers
on a lake in Maine,
learning the language of loons.
You describe mornings
under a zinc-galvanized sky,
your misted sense of sight,
the mingled scents of pine
and coffee, and the call
you can still translate:
Where are you?
David Olsen won the 2013 Cinnamon Press Poetry Collection Award for full-length books; Unfolding Origami will appear in March 2015. Poetry chapbooks from US publishers include Sailing to Atlantis (2013), New World Elegies (2011), and Greatest Hits (2001). Since 2012 he has placed poems with Vermont Literary Review, Bloodroot Literary Magazine, Blueline, Aurorean, Pinyon, Pilgrimage, Deronda Review, Scintilla, San Francisco Peace and Hope, Strong Voices, and Touch: The Journal of Healing (US); Acumen, Envoi, The Journal, Interpreter’s House, Orbis, Prole, SAW Poetry, The Stare’s Nest, Lunar Poetry, and anthologies from Cinnamon Press (5), Templar Poetry (2), Belgrave Press, University of London’s Human Rights Consortium, and War Poetry for Today (UK); Poetry Salzburg Review (Austria); The French Literary Review (France); and ROPES (Ireland). David, holder of a BA in chemistry from University of California-Berkeley and an MA in creative writing from San Francisco State University, has lived in Oxford since 2002.
POEM BY GARY LARK
There was sand grit under my feet,
water slipping by, a buzzard circling
the season of dying fish,
carcasses sprawled on washed stone.
They had spawned in home gravel
upriver, their redds older
than tree rings could tell.
I was still swimming upstream then,
the urge-on-urge pushing.
Now, the water still flows,
looks exactly the same,
it’s my flesh that crumbles.
Gary Lark ’s work includes: “Without a Map,” Wellstone Press, 2013, “Getting By,” winner of the Holland Prize from Logan House Press, 2009 and three chapbooks. His work has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Hubbub, Poet Lore, and Turtle Island Quarterly. Three poems were featured on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor
POEM BY RICHARD FEIN
EMPTY SLEEVES, A DIAMOND, AND LONG FORGOTTEN LUCY
More than diamonds leaned on my sleeve once.
Now in the attic an analog ancestor is unveiled,
a plastic cover is removed and sneeze-tickling dust rises like a cloud
as a flood of memories rains down.
Sixties turntable, a diamond needle was the stylus of that time.
Once I held a Sgt Pepper's album, one of the very first to be pressed,
but the groundbreaking vinyl within broke
when with myopic vision we pitched so many LPs in 1970.
She was leaving home, my main squeeze, my English lady love,
and so was I, we two forever together, or so it seemed back then.
A new decade, so away with 60s clutter,
and who needed old Beatles albums with empty sleeves in our new 70s pad?
What to toss and what to take were so easily decided back then
when your life histories were short.
But now that's not so groovy when closer to sixty four.
Lonely Hearts Club band and Lucy, yes her name really was Lucille,
leaning on my denim shirtsleeve, unbuttoning it,
myself within and without her,
while she sang along with her favorite cut
as the record spun its cycles and the diamond danced along its grooves.
Richard Fein was a finalist in The 2004 New York Center for Book Arts Chapbook Competition. A Chapbook of his poems was published by Parallel Press, University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has been published in many web and print journals such as Cordite, Cortland Review, Reed, Southern Review, Roanoke Review, Green Silk Journal, Birmingham Poetry Review, Mississippi Review, Paris/atlantic, Canadian Dimension, Black Swan Review, Exquisite Corpse, Foliate Oak, Morpo Review, Ken*Again Oregon East, Southern Humanities Review, Morpo, Skyline, Touchstone, Windsor Review, Maverick, Parnassus Literary Review, Small Pond, Kansas Quarterly, Blue Unicorn, Exquisite Corpse, Terrain, Aroostook Review, Compass Rose, Whiskey Island Review, Oregon East, Bad Penny Review, Constellations, Absinthe Poetry Review, The Kentucky Review And Many Others.
TURTLE ISLAND QUARTERLY 8
Alicia Hoffman (1 poem), David Olsen (1 poem),
Gary Lark (1 poem), Richard Fein (1 poem)