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.