Monday, July 31, 2017

"This cloud, the flourish in your Easter Bonnet." By Michael Czarnecki

"This cloud, the flourish in your Easter Bonnet."
© Mark W. Ó Brien 2015 

Ononta'kahrhon looms in the distance. Clouds hang above, slowly moving away. A road heads toward mountain then curves toward wide open space looming beyond. 

There is a close mountain to explore, to hike on, to delve into its deeper essence. There is also wide open space to discover somewhere beyond mountain’s edge.

How do we choose which terrain to explore? There is landscape close at hand. There is landscape far away. There is interior landscape, there is external landscape. All of this terrain inviting us to get to know, to form a relationship with.

Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” crosses my mind. Do I hike up mountain slopes or drive on into open space, explore what’s beyond?

Either way there is always something to discover, to learn. Whatever path we choose, there is only this moment we are living in.

late winter landscape
remnant snow patches linger
northbound geese wing by

© Michael Czarnecki 2017

Monday, July 24, 2017

"Grandfather’s Place." by Mike Burke

"There was a kind of plenary indulgence to be gained 
in the distant viewing of it's familiar presence." 
© Mark W. Ó Brien 2016

Grandfather built this place back in the 20s barehanded, after he returned from the Great War. After being in the terrible, muddy, deadly trenches he said he need a lot of open space with a grand view. His father had willed him a piece of property that met his needs. His two brothers helped him hauling the materials in the farm wagons with the work horses Duke, Nipper Otis and Shelby.

As he got older he would sit in his lawn chair every chance he got, transfixed, gazing over the fields to the tall silent mountains in the distance. He didn’t want to be disturbed.

When grandfather died he was buried in the field behind the shed along the stone wall facing the mountains he loved, next to his faithful workhorses Duke, Nipper Otis and Shelby.

The mountains hover
Watching all that passes by
They will outlast all.


© Mike Burke 2017


Mike Burke, a blue-collar poet who winters in the nation’s oldest city and summers in a compound nestled in the Helderbergs.

Monday, July 17, 2017

"In Sight." By Catherine Norr

"Let the mountains bring peace to the people." 
Psalm 72:3
© Mark W. Ó Brien 2015

We were to rendez-vous at the sturdy oak tree I could see towering over the cornfield. No stubbled cornfield then, but full-grown stalks waving in the light wind steadily blowing across from the mountain beyond. What is it? – maybe a quarter-mile? -- maybe even a mile across the field? – I am fit, able to handle that even though my boots are feeling heavy already.

I make my way off the highway, down across the ditch and into the corn. Unbelievable! How can the road be that much higher than here, walking through the cornstalks that are taller than I am by a foot and a half! All I see is a forest of stalks, surrounding me, blocking my view, disorienting me.

So this is what the corn-mazes are all about, I think…only no pathway out. I begin to panic. I’ll wander in circles, lost, for days, weeks – they’ll find my body at harvest time

I begin to take a few steps, then leap up as high as I can. There! A glimpse! The tree – my goal – my target – my destination! Step, step, leap. Step, step, leap. Step, step…

Mockingbird chortles
Accompanies my journey
New dawn clouds hover


© Catherine Norr 2017


Catherine Norr hosts the Arthur's Market Open Mic. in Schenectady, is the author of “Return to Ground” published by Finishing Line Press. She lives in Glenville with her partner Dave.

Monday, July 10, 2017

“Last night I dreamed this would happen” by Alan Catlin

"Last night I dreamed this would happen."
-Adam Tedesco
© Mark W. Ó Brien 2017

    Repressed as memories revealed in a dream.
I am five years old, seeing the world through
a rain smeared window. A tropical rain in a
tropical place. An invasion of wind toppling
massive palm trees and the sound of a
struggling, tethered white horse within
the arc of where the trees are falling.

    In the fever dream of no escape on
an island in an ocean there is nowhere to hide
when the unnamed storms arrive. Nor can there
be a way to describe how it feels to be drowning
in the deep end of a hotel pool while your soon-
to-be mad, unaware, mother smokes unfiltered
cigarettes, lighting one from the other assured,
in her dream, that I am safe among the water

in seas of dusk and fog.

    Or what it feels like to be riding down from 
an island plateau on a no pavement, pothole 
no lights, no shoulders, no seat belts, in army 
issue jeep,
pitching from side to side on ess curves, driving 

    And there, just ahead, beyond a dip in the 
in that place where the rain won’t go, what 
wipers won’t wash away.

    Awake on bad dream beach,
        colonies of bats swarm from
    below seawater-logged decks.

© Alan Catlin 2017


Alan Catlin has been publishing for five decades. He is the editor of Misfit MagazineHis most recent book of poetry is "Walking Among Tombstones in the Fog" from Presa Press.

Monday, July 3, 2017

"They Remain." by Brian Dorn

In hours of darkness, trees deserted by disloyal leaves brace for the torturous winter ahead.  A mountain hardened and trampled shows little mercy for the high-spirited who somehow inhabit it.  The evening shivers as time slows and frosts over.  But the faithful remain in grateful adoration awaiting The Maker's glorious light to shine on His abundantly majestic garden.  They remain (and will always remain) to live one more day on top of the world.

Branches raise their hands
Awake in the night garden
In holy worship


© Brian Dorn 2017

Brian Dorn is a man of his word (which happens to rhyme most of the time).  He's the author of From My Poems To Yours (The Live Versions).  Visit his website at