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.