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 

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.

Monday, May 29, 2017

"Onesquathaw Creek." By Howard J Kogan

"As I before God fearing men who knew me when 
stood farther and farther afield from my notes again..."
© Mark W. Ó Brien 2016

This sky reflects not the dark hill but its spirit history and stories.  Here where once First Nation Peoples lived below, their spirits live on above.

They were living on this hill and valley since the last ice age, now they are here in the sky lighting the dark ground, watering the dry hill, tending to it as they did since the early times, since before time when the land was mist.

This creek where they fished, this hill where they hunted, this forest that provided for their needs, all this is still theirs.  That it was taken from them does not make it less theirs, for the land belongs to those who love the land and not the ones who defend it with fence and gun and treaties as false as the Europeans who made them.

There are laws greater than man’s laws and there are forces that move through our lives, like the winds toss the autumn leaves.  Here is a sky of menace and glory looming high above us, a spirit sky, a sky that will rain down on us both its fury and tenderest blessings. 

spirits dance above
dark hills telling stories to
the listening ground


© Howard J Kogan 2017


Howard J Kogan is a psychotherapist and poet who lives in Stephentown, NY. His latest collection of poems is entitled "A chill in the air."

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"Loaded with convincing reasons to go..." by Mark W. Ó Brien

"Sunset Road."
© Mark W. Ó Brien 2015/17

My father loved his big Irish Catholic family. One of the things he always wanted was a house to support it and a car to move us around in comfortably. In 1960 he got the house, but it took a few more years before he achieved the vehicle necessary to haul us all at once. That car, was a Madeira Maroon colored '67 Vista Cruiser! Equipped with a "Jetfire Rocket V8" engine powered by 315 horses, a sporty "Vista View Roof" and the patented "forward facing third seat" that "made everyone feel like members of the family!"

Three years separated my younger brother and I from our three older siblings. They sat together in the middle row of seats and enjoyed the "Unique Tinted Glass Vista Roof Views" as we tore down the highway. In many ways my younger brother and I were more like a second family. Although we faced forward, we knew we were in the caboose and tended to watch scenery out the back window instead.

Most weekends during the summer months Mom and Dad would take us up to the local John Boyd Thatcher State Park, in the nearby Helderberg Mountains, for family picnics. I remember hiking the Indian ladder trail, swimming in Thatcher Park pool, and playing tag with my siblings along the split rail fence lining the cliff edge. All the while the smell of hamburgers and hotdogs wafted about on the breeze...

Afterwards, just for fun, or to make the day last a little bit longer I suppose, at my Mom's request Dad would often drive the long way home through the mountains. Those were happy times, their sunsets and landscaped silhouettes left lasting impressions in my mind.

My thoughts would drift and blur with the activities of the day...

I learned to appreciate
how life and beauty recede 
out the back window.


© Mark W. Ó Brien 2015/17

Monday, May 22, 2017

"One autumn evening, in the long shadows." By Tess Lecuyer

"One autumn evening, in the long shadows."
© Mark W. Ó Brien 2015

The wild red barns herd their gangling offspring
slowly to safety and rest. 

snug by the cowling
of crisping forest
down at the throat of the hill

©Tess Lecuyer 2017

Tess is a long time member of Albany Poets and further examples of her work may be found here:  Tess Lecuyer.

Monday, May 15, 2017

"Angel Lights." by A.C. Everson

"Live in each season as it passes..." 
-Henry David Thoreau
© Mark W. Ó Brien 2016

Her shoulders carried the pack full of fine repast and blanket waiting for just the right spot, thinking the ridge above likely but for grumbles caused by too small a breakfast, rushed due to a change in the weather and the sure feeling that today was the day for this hike.

Crossing the field her load that weighed heavy in her soul lifts when looking up she sees Angel lights. Yes Angel lights, that’s what old mother called them. Long ago stories told to young ears that believed everything, wonders now who visits today. Could it be him?

She said they come when
The light is just right maybe
Doors in clouds open


© A.C. Everson 2017

A.C. Everson is a home grown poet, sculptor and performance artist. Her words can be found at Her art can be seen at Breaking My Art on Facebook. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

"Sometimes There’s a Glimpse." By Charles Rossiter

© Mark W. Ó Brien 2016

Lying flat out on volcanic ash at Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho looking up at the million million starsor standing on the National Mall in DC surrounded by buildings of power, tears streaming because the gospel choir broke on through. Evening shadows climb slowly up a steep hill outside Taos. Venus on the horizon, the first stars. Somewhere a cloud reaches to a mountain, or does the mountain reach to the cloud?

moonlight on the water,
ocean waves along the shore,
my feet sink in wet sand


© Charles Rossiter 2017


Charlie Rossiter is the host of: Poetry Spoken Here--new podcast 1st & 3rd Fridays 
His free ebook "Poems People Like" is available here:
and you may hear Charlie read here at:

"where you hear poems read by poets who wrote them."

Monday, May 1, 2017

"Untitled." By Thomas E. Bonville

"The view coming down Cass Hill."
© Mark W. Ó Brien 2015

I only knew it from Cass Hill really, you can catch a glimpse of it over your shoulder along Cass Hill Road.  Off of Cass Hill Road was Dunbar Hollow Road, more of a path than a road, as I recall it.  I remember being told by my buddy that the road was closed, part of the year, when the weather was bad.  I believed it.  His old Plymouth had trouble enough climbing the hill to get to Dunbar Hollow, and that was in good weather.  It couldn't be any other way.  Cass Hill was a place that held a situational attraction at a certain time in a young man's life, in my case, me and my best friend's life, both of us 18, who wanted to have a swim and privacy on a summer night and a bonding with the universe.  

There was a sportsman's club on Dunbar Hollow Road.  My friend's parents had a family membership at the club, which allowed us to use the grounds without thinking we were doing anything wrong.  I never once in an entire summer saw anyone else there.  No hunters.  No fishermen.  Nobody.  The pond on the grounds was small, but it never was weedy, it had a dock with a diving board, and the water was deliciously cool on hot summer nights.  We would listen to the crickets, the cicadas, watch lighting bugs fire up their flickers as night descended on the day.  We would stay past sunset, watch the stars reveal themselves and tell their stories.  We would smoke pot, eat pretzels, chips and bags of popcorn, drink Genesee Cream Ale, and we would talk about the meaning of life, whether it was about the Vietnam War, rights and privileges for all Americans, who was better, Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays, what girls in our graduated high school class were prettiest, and who was the greatest guitarist who ever lived.

It was Hendrix, of course,

Ononta'kahrhan?  Never came up.

But I heard voices.

        My spirit brother,
was it you in the stillness
        that said to rebel?


©Thomas E. Bonville 2017

Thomas is a lifelong resident of the Hudson River Valley.  He writes, reads, listens and discusses poetry with The Rensselaerville Poets and the Posey Café.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

"Because God's grace has spilled over into our lives..." By Mark W. Ó Brien

"Because God's grace has spilled over into our lives..." 
© Mark W. Ó Brien 2015/2017

I dreamed I found the Seanchaithe's buried treasure and hoarded bequests in my mind brimming with the light of great stories. Inside my head I stood beside Ononta'kahrhon as nightfall arose from an expanding afternoon. Suddenly, I knew I must pour this light out like a bucket of sunset upon the heads of my children's children. The light, of memories of a future far away place in June. The light of an unexpected fire that I drew on a chalkboard, as an apprehensive child, when I looked out the window 'til the window disappeared...

It was a good dream,
I saw my dark haired grandchild
climbing up your hill!


© Mark W. Ó Brien 2015/2017