Monday, June 26, 2017

"First Hike Up Ononta'kahrhon." by Therese L. Broderick.

"Wolf Hill from the top of Bennett Hill."
© Mark Ó Brien 2016

I wear winter boots because the woods are still wet from days of spring rain. Saturated, the barks of trees have turned ebony-dark, mystical, breathtaking. The blackest trunks are those that, months or years ago, must have burned in a forest fire and fallen to the ground, or have fallen to the ground and then been covered by flames. A crowded colony of attached or unattached branches looks like so many paralyzed chipmunks—bending, looping, curling—as if a lava flow had frozen in a single instant. So much lumber that must be properly tended to! After fire or flood, what can be done with wounded beech, oak, pine? The local Haudenosaunee people must have known how to salvage enough wood for the year ahead: dry it in the sun, shave it, shape it, bless it.

The infant’s first dance—
with his mother’s cradleboard,
to the flaming songs.


© Therese L. Broderick 2017


Therese L. Broderick is a free-wheeling poet residing in Albany, NY. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Wordpress blogs,, or by email at

Monday, June 19, 2017

"Thermodynamics." by Carolee Bennett

" may pass to the golden world..."

-William Blake

© Mark W. Ó Brien 2015

It doesn’t matter what the lovers question. The answers from night are the same: hoot owl, tree frog, twig-snap. A neighbor calls to her dog. A fire siren summons the men. Old songs drift out from a speaker on the porch. The lovers at their fire study each flame as inquiry: what next? what next? Too stubborn to accept they can’t see beyond. Any given ring of light narrow. The boundary quivers. Twelve miles away and three hundred sixty miles away, dystopia suggests itself to officials in the capitals. Signs of it all the way out here. On the lawns, surnames of those staking claim. But no trace of authority on the hill. And what little the creek says on the matter it mumbles. Van Morrison, the one clear voice: We were born before the wind.

His arm around her
shoulder. Her hand on his thigh.
Light on both faces.


© Carolee Bennett 2017


Carolee Bennett is an artist and poet living in Upstate New York, where – after a local, annual poetry competition – she has fun saying she has been the “almost” poet laureate of Smitty’s Tavern. 

plus, i rage against the man (often) & talk poetry (sometimes) on twitter:

Editors Note: Bennett Hill is not named after Carolee but there are those of us who would like to perpetuate that myth. ;););)

Monday, June 12, 2017

"Wearing Nature As Her Veil." by Michael Conner

"Walking in the rainy-day."
© Mark W. Ó Brien 2016

Saturnine mood swings of a regal, revered outcropping, lurking behind the shielding thicket of surrounding brush... Ononta'kahrhon remains demure and aloof yet stalwart in her resolve to keep gawkers at bay.

Wearing nature as a veil to help belie the arrogance of eons of upward thrusting granite, ...perpetually molding, chiseling, sculpting a profile recognized by the constituent inhabitants scattered in her visual wake for miles around.

No bawdy wind whipped, snow capped peaks to scream "mountain"...but rather a more subtle ...and humble posture as one who prostrates themselves in solemn prayer. 
arid plains so flat
writhing in jealous contempt
of Cradle Hill’s poise


©  Michael Conner 2017

Monday, June 5, 2017

"Turtle." By Bob Sharkey.

"...and this, as evening fell..."
© Mark W. Ó Brien 2016

Meany’s heart was still beating at a scary pace.  Racing in flight from the horror of the walk-in closet full of tiny green boxes. Way out here in the countryside.  Why?  He shuddered at that close memory, at the immediate signals his body had given to run from that house down the road and abort the break-in.  Now, this hill shifting to darker greens in the fading light.  Looming above the lighter colors of a field.  The hill lying there like a giant flattened sea turtle.  Its neck extended, flippers spread out in vulnerable surrender.  Meany thought of how often men (and boys) had been ordered to “take this damn hill before dark.”  The names of hills of battle shuttled through his memory.  As he stood watching from the margin of the field, green shifted toward black. His heart slowed.  Getting too old for these assignments, he thought.  

Lone redwing blackbird
Posted as thin sentinel
Beside mint green field    


© Bob Sharkey 2017


Bob Sharkey is the editor of the annual Stephen A DiBiase Poetry contest.