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

Monday, April 24, 2017

"Into Great Silence" by Tom Corrado

"as I sat before the cliff..." 
© Mark W. Ó Brien 2015

9 PM. Snow. I’m in the woods feeding my outdoor wood boiler. I do this twice a day during the colder months. I live out here in the mountains 30 miles southwest of Albany. My property abuts a 5500 acre preserve. I’m pretty isolated. The woods. Something about them. Something enigmatic. Intimidating. Daunting. Humbling. Indeed, as Frost reminds us, they are lovely, dark, and deep. But they are as well refreshingly invigorating. They spellbind me. Renew my sense of something. Hope, perhaps? I stand before them. They envelop me. Captivate me. I listen to the woods. I listen to the life of the woods. Their silence deafening.

the trees talk to me
as I enter their kingdom
at peace with the world


Tom Corrado, a musician, visual artist, and poet, coordinates the poetry group at the Rensselaerville Library, and blogs at

Monday, April 17, 2017

WASHTUB SPRING by Alan Casline.

In his later years and right before the cross-country trip he made, “destination” changed meaning so no longer were the mileposts counted off but instead “circle” replaced all the steps one in front of another in the way he used to carry maps and had to constantly check his pockets for the tickets he knew somewhere ahead he would need, not fresh and unfolded but crumbled and stuck with pocket debris, new dirt and fuzz of old laundry why he might be johnny appleseeding it with collected and broken flowerheads as old as just after the last time his jacket had been washed and time on from that, which he casually let fly from the pocket, he hoped held his ticket these seeds which as he plucked from where they were held in his palm pausing with a pinch between thumb and index finger and then brushing his hands together cleaning off all that were left and then taking the same two fingers and displaying to his eyes the ticket he was once again worried about missing his connection and it became time to speak about the silence even though to speak of silence was to end the silence he felt that yes it was time here at the beginning of the old path to a named spring to cycle the voice of his own silence to nature breathing as warm animals hid and his words were gone though you could say hid also and perhaps because there was no destination even his inner voice was silent and language in words was gone but there was the weak feeling of absence remembering words and unable to find even one just a nothing mind gone animal carcass dancing till he was there at the spring but couldn’t form his being just the black dark of silence which stirred a longing, a need which retrieved him except then his eyes blinked out and he could barely feel the wind as he fell into the mystery of time uncharted and so his hands reached out and moved in time indeterminate no longer were the breaths counted out how long unknown even the memory of movement had no word and he drank water from his cupped hands at that he again touched the world as if it were real.

He woke to the path which answered his riddle, saw middle clouds and heard Cloudpeople thrill-ride their soapbox derby cars made of tiny suspended water droplets straight into the green hillface, which called wind to wipe them off the hill’s forest chin like Shepard’s pie for lunch or vanilla ice cream on a hot day. Sheets, wisps & patches, rolls, ripples, heaps and tuffs, towers. Loggerhead came back with a new protest sign and the same hairy feet. Lumbering up and down a little switchback excuse me slipping by his rumble tale. What is the difference between memories and ghosts?  Everyone I knew walking with me on the trail again when I’m alone and want them all to shut-up. In a deep hole in the ground there is still snow, a last place to melt.

guess you don’t think the
world will end
  when you die
the little world
the perfect world
   with your life in it


© Alan Casline 2017


Alan Casline is the editor of Rootdrinker a long standing magazine of watershed poetics, art and nonfiction. He lives with his wife, Jennifer Pearce, in a suburban neighborhood outside of Albany, New York. 

You may order his most recent book here:

Monday, April 10, 2017

"...from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.” by Philip Good.

"...from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.”(Color.)
© Mark W. O Brian  2017

A poet takes a photograph of a mountain and the mountain wonders why. “What is all the fuss about?” said the mountain. “You make me feel closer to speaking with the angels,” replied the poet. And somewhere near the top of that mountain a lady slipper grew where no one ever saw it. One cool evening before the stars came out, a deer found that orchid and had a lovely meal. As the ridge line was defined by the glowing sky, a red tail fox ate a little rabbit.

The mountain was very proud of itself for providing a space for all this activity. Even though, the mountain wished not to be praised, it laughed with glee when the poet felt inspired to write about it. And then one day a nasty little greedy mining man came along and wanted to stick explosives in the mountain’s head. Lucky for the mountain a big black bear pawed and bit that man to death.

If a mountain touches the sky
and no one is there to see it
does it smile or scowl?


© Philip Good 2017

"...from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.” (Albumen print.)
© Mark W. O Brian  2017

Philip Good is included in Infiltration, An Anthology of Innovative Poetry from the Hudson River Valley andHelix Syntax, the 41st Summer Writing Program Magazine, Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, Naropa University. You can listen to Philip Good on POET RAY'D YO — 

Monday, April 3, 2017

“Last Train to Clarksville” by Dan Wilcox

"Just earlier that evening."
© MarkW. Ó Brien 2015

It was a text, “Take the last train to Clarksville & I’ll meet you at the station; be there by 4:30, I’ve made your reservation.”  

Which Clarksville?  There are 22 in the U.S.  No Clarksville train station here.

I didn’t recognize the number & tried calling it.  There was a lot of noise on the other end.  I think the woman said, “I’m leaving in the morning & I must see you again.  One more night together until my train in the morning, coffee-flavored kisses, & talk.”  Then she hung up.

Perhaps I was wrong.  I got in my car & drove up into the hills to the nearest Clarksville.  I was right, no train station.  No bus station.  Just narrow, deserted country roads leading to empty fields, crumbling stone fences, old houses.  No people, except in cars on the state road.  I realized that there’s nothing you can expect to happen in any town named Clarksville.

     There is no train to
Clarksville, last or otherwise —
      Fucking lost again.
© Dan Wilcox 2017
Dan Wilcox is the host of the Third Thursday Poetry Night at the Social Justice Center in Albany, N.Y.   
You can may read his Blog at and you can purchase his books @ apdbooks.

Monday, March 27, 2017

"In the Shadow of:" by Alifair Skebe

 "Onesquethaw you sing to me 
from the cold dark depths of your mountains shadow."

© Mark W. Ó Brien 2015

She sings. In the shadow of Onesquethaw Hill on a cold March morning. She sings. Through the dark shadow of a poplar tree. She sings. The somber notes of her mourning song. Shattered by the torrent, a ripple of a creek song. Under the water. Beside the bank. Inside the trees. She sings. 

Sunlight, a mother’s cheek,
soft downy rivulets, tears 
for her first born unborn

A woman there lives, and she lives in the water. On dark days, her face appears on the surface. We can hear her singing at night. In our beds. A slow song in another tongue. We go about our business. Her song is the land, the heart of the trees. She is a part of all of us, in the shadow of Cradleboard Hill. 

© Alifair Skebe 2017

"I hear  your voice calling to me from my back porch 

through the trees over the distance."

© Mark W. Ó Brien 2015


Alifair Skebe is author of the poetry collections Thin Matter“El Agua Es La Sangre de la Tierra” (written in English), and Postcards: Les Lettres d’Amour.  She teaches poetry and writing at the University at Albany. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

"Untitled." by Adam Tedesco.

"Homing" © Mark W. Ó Brien 2015

I remember something lifted from me like meaning off the morning’s dream as we entered the texture of day’s tightening loom the rub of cold wool on glass or bare wet skin the rub of time against mind through eyes staring through the field until it sees nothing.  Nothing in the mountain begs a sadness freely given. Nothing in the mountain we need to see as not to feel the difference between its life and ours. Nothing in the mountain swallows whole the thoughts of those that walk upon it as we do unto each other through the field and still we call it king this one slow moment of being outside of what we are. This is what we could have been instead of blinking our eyes.

And the language birds murmur
spits the day's end back
into the form we’re chasing  


© Adam Tedesco 2017

Adam Tedesco is a founder of REALITY BEACH. His poems have appeared in FENCE, Gramma and elsewhere. His new chapbook is ABLAZA.

You may also view a book release trailer for ABLAZA  Here.

Monday, March 13, 2017

"Cross Border." by Dawn Marar

"The sound and slack of it passed through me like gratitude."
-Seamus Heaney / © Mark W. Ó Brien 2016


Yolk of sun breaks as an incendiary inaugurates clouds of deregulated soot. Yolk of light runs energy above base overshadowed land. Fog shrouds lies. Lines ride into a black gathering storm. A million pink hats bloom: our sea of amber waves. Beloved mountain knows no boundaries of nation race gender religion; only its own: nature’s notch on the horizon. Peaking Obamaian blues. Purple majesties. Beneath roiling yolk, power lines—short the Western staff—spark a new song.

sun yolk tossed above cast iron skillet
bursting flame on
people march march

© Dawn Marar 20/Mar/17

"Theseus had his thread, I have my mountain, and it reaches out to me."
© Mark W. Ó Brien 2016


Dawn Marar, a Hudson Valley Writers Guild board member was the recipient of the 2016 Steven A. DiBiase Poetry Prize.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Birches. by Dianne Sefcik

"Running The Ridge."
© Mark W. Ó Brien 2015


Cresting the ridge, a stand of birch wakes up memory of the teaching, “How to Choose a Place to Camp” , and other stories told in winter when snow is on the ground. For instance: How lightning avoids omaaî mitig, the birch tree, because spirit-boy blessed omaaî mitig forever, for shielding him as he fled the scorch of firebolts hurled by Thunderbird (and scarring omaaî mitig's white skin to this day). Thunderbird was righteously angry because spirit-boy stole fire for the people, or, some say, because spirit-boy clubbed the nestlings and stole feathers to make his bow strong so he could kill an evil fish.


How the Rough-Faced Girl, burned by her jealous sisters, dressed herself in birch bark to approach the invisible Holy One, and how she could see him, when others could not: saw his shoulder strap was a rainbow, his bowstring the Milky Way, and how, being tested, she became his beautiful wife.

The land has stories
Breathing through the winds of time 
Whispering Grandchild 

© Dianne Sefcik

"North Ridge Moss Covered Shadow Peoples." 
© Mark W. Ó Brien 2015

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

When Biplanes were young. -A hidden history. by Mark W. Ó Brien

 Ononta'kahrhon -(Cradleboard Hill) from the old Clarksville Airport Runway. 

"When Biplanes were young. -A hidden history."

For the longest time I had heard rumors about the Clarksville airport but it was elusive, off in the woods someplace, on private land they said, where I would never be able to see it obviously.
The story goes, that a World War I Vet bought his biplane after the war and brought it home to. Then he came up here on the escarpment and acquired a very special piece of farmland with a natural bluestone runway along the cliff edge. They say he used to fly in and out at will until the power companies acquired enough of his lands through eminent domain so as to make the runway too short to actually use. Years passed. The woods collapsed around it and it's location became legend...
One day my friend Mike offered to help me remove rubble from the backyard of the house I had recently purchased. I had been struggling for months with a wheelbarrow, load by load and was beginning to feel that the job would never end. We made arrangements for him to come over with his Kubota and a trailer on my day off. A Kubota for those of you who don't know it's a small miniature multi use bulldozer type of vehicle.
It took all of 15 minutes for him to load half of the pile on the same trailer he had transported the Kubota on. Then he drove the trailer off to some nearby location and dumped it in a clean fill.
When he came back for the second load I inquired as to where he was disposing of the materials. "It couldn't be very far off" I said, "you weren't gone for long." He told me he had a client who owned "the old Clarksville airport" who was looking to shore up the cliff edge at one end of the runway. "It was five minutes away and I could come along and see it if I was interested, on the next load." "What? Really?" I thought, "Can this be happening? What luck!" "Sure." I said, hiding my excitement as best I could...
Soon, the last of the debris's were loaded onto the trailer and I was happily piling into the truck. Buckling up, off we went down the road! Suddenly, he veered from the road into a field, steered between an opening in a split rail fence and plunged into the woods! As we raced precariously up and down along a dirt path, in between trees, over and around rock formations, the trailer happily following us towards the cliff and the edge of reality, I gripped the door handle in nervous anticipation and an uncontrollable ever-widening shit eating grin spread across my face!
Suddenly, there we were, as if transported to a secret world! The truck stopped, and I stepped out into another time. When I looked up, not surprisingly, there ahead of me was my loadstone, my muse, Ononta'kahrhon! (Cradleboard Hill.) as it must have appeared in primordial times. And I was there, actually there, if only for a moment.

World begins breathing
My mountain comes into view
Always my heart leaps!

© Mark W. Ó Brien 01/Jan/17

Ononta'kahrhon -(Cradleboard Hill) from the old Clarksville Airport Runway. 
Close-up v#2.