On Winter

Casper Sullivan

A reminder:
All in genesis,
chokes.
All in circuit,
chokes.
The hand that throttles them,
phantasmic,
is the natural state of things,
which omnipresent,
lingers in our periphery,
not unkindly,
but not kindly either.

God

Ray Boone

They pointed out the ways he’s parted the ocean for me
But left out the how he let the waves crash on when no one else was around
Since then I’ve been stuck under water and I’ve been choking on kelp everyday
I have a jellyfish in one lung and squid ink in the other
But the seaweed around my neck and the bites on my legs
Somehow are less painful than knowing that he’s praised for my “rescue”

The Mason

Erikka Custis

These hands are rough,
Callous over,
And yellowed,
From the hard labor of my knees.

These hands are rough,
Ashen from the brick dust,
Concrete and stone,
Laid in place to create
Your local beauty. 

These hands are rough,
Torn and scared,
But I hold my kids gently in them,
And they take my hand without a second thought,
Wanting me to push them higher on the swings,
To cook pancakes every weekend.

These hands are rough,
But not incapable of kindness,
Of patience,
Of love.

Mother’s Day Poem

Emmet Klaseus

Mom is a pink lady slipper
Found wild in Minnesota
It takes 5-15 years to bloom
Mom took 48
Because she was uprooted
And placed in the Deep South
On the boarder of her survival zone
So
She did just that
Survived
Until, after 5 years
The late bloomer of late bloomers did just that
She burst in a flourish of pink and white
Watching my mom has been awe inspiring
Her face lighting up like a fire
Discovering her passions
Finding her career
Learning to love herself
She is teaching me that it is never too late
Even if everyone is blooming around you
A flower is still worthy of life
In its dormancy

Clothes

Ray Boone

Every time I’ve thought the world was ending,
It makes it to the next day

Every time I’ve thought I was going to die
I’ve woken up the next morning

But on nights that I really think I’m going to die in my sleep,
I make sure to wear clothes

Talking Tennessee

Lyric Bierner

I woke up this morning
whiskey on my breath

I stumbled to the door
put on my boots

It was a cool, crisp morning
I’ll tell you what
it’s beautiful</p

My neighbor passes by,
“Howdy” he said
with a tip to his hat

I love me a good Sunday
spending em fishing, swimming,
chasing bucks
with a beer in my hand
and a dip in

I loaded my poles into the bed of my chevy
along with a cooler filled with nattys

my buddy Roy,
waiting on me at the corner store
he told me
“only the early bird gets the worm”

He was already sippin smooth on a bottle of
Tennessee whiskey

He jumps in my truck
throws me a can o’ worms
and a can of Copenhagen
way to my heart

We found us a good swimmin hole
already bein kept company by some
lovely ladies

I backed my truck on in
popped the cooler lid
cracked me open a cold one
sipped and followed it with an
“ahh”

We got our bobbers in the water
goin up, down
hoping for a big one

After a few cold ones
We climbing the rope swing
to jump in
raisin hell on the water

I’m rowdy like my daddy
and the ladies say
“bless your heart”

Boy do I love Sundays
and beer
but not more than I love
my hometown

The Five Wisdoms of Zuo Quiming

Murphy Lopes

Author Statement

These poems are composed based upon the original intended meaning of Wu Xing, as defined by Zuo Quiming in his text the Zuo Zhaun. I suppose one must strive to understand the ancient concept of Wu Xing, instead of the more modernized philosophical concept of Wu Xing.

To be precise: These poems are my own compositions, based on the ancient philosophy of Wu Xing, as defined through the practice of meditation and martial arts for thousands of years in China, and is dated as far back as the ancient text, “Zuo Zhaun”. (The original concept of Wu Xing being mentioned in written history that is. The true creator and era are unknown, and only speculated upon.)

My inspiration for the actual content of the poems stems from my own practice of various Tibetan martial arts and meditation practices, as well as my pursuit for the origin of Kung Fu.

In terms of framing the poems for the reader, I might suggest focusing on the elemental nature of the poems.

  1. The fire within us, transient energy central to all existence.
  2. The waters we are both a part of, and an existing within. The fluidity of all existence.
  3. The trees our connection to the before and after, representative of reincarnation and acceptance of our surroundings.
  4. The metals underground, ties hand in hand with the mountains above. A constant reminder of the strength in our bones, as well as the necessity for softness in life.
  5. The very Earth itself, representative of oneness in life with all things, as well as a reminder to the constant rotational axis upon which all our lives revolve.

火Huǒ

The heart of all stars that shine.
She is first to guide the way.

The warmth in our souls hath come!
With the light of each new day.

Still more, she too is dancing.
An ancient pace, prancing sway.

Entranced by her wild fervor.
By the grace of her display.

水Shuǐ

Come, primordial tempest!
Unto this parched existence.

Now imbued within us all.
This torrent our persistence.

The bringer of growth and change.
The kind ask no recompense.

For life is all the sweeter.
With water’s effervescence.

木Mù

From the driftwood lost on shore.
To the forests evergreen.

A true union from before.
To the future still unseen.

For to live is to nourish.
While to die is but to glean.

A glimpse of lost lifetimes lived.
From the nether in between.

金Jīn

Behold these mountains so bold.
Keeping sky from hollow ground.

Their veins now pumping riches.
Precious metals rare be found.

Forget though not, uses wrought.
From tough iron we compound.

From such our lives do prosper.
Til our days beneath the mound.

土Tǔ

Alive heart, churning center.
The source of gravity’s pull.

Our home, our hearth, sacred place.
Our reason to love in full.

Alas, my heart is bursting!
From this beauty never dull.

Before my time has finished.
I will leave my happy soul.

A frenzied mind (poem 46)

Linda Gibson

frenzied hitting all sides attacked
what you lack never what you are
down despondent miserable picture
reduced demoralized poor empty

days without concern for oneself
nights pay no heeds to cries
neglect full of excuses why

conscious drama let alone to endure
seepage overflows despair
hollow voided echo with only a gesture
resonating deep inside ringing out

worthless to save too much energy to kill
leave alone to waste away
avoidance shunned away not seen

lonely place no shelter ever found
nothing the way it appears
world still turns seasons repeat endlessly

make believe tell lies quietly say goodbye
spoken easily without a touch
pocket to put all lies into
empty feeling days whirl past

moon doesn’t shine clouds only pass
heartless cannot pray
dawn rises rain powerful wind
tears stream down or just rain

foolish to want what the devil only knows
can’t get along self-isolated deprivation
people go away when you need it most

Groundhog Day

Jerry Windhorn

Pennsylvanian sun,
It’s been absolute eons
Since I’ve gotten taste of sweet roots
or dug for grains from the bottom up.

You keep keeping me out by
Choosing flora over fauna.
And my needs get left unmet when you
Always give the spring its reign.

Well, here I am, a lowly scavenger
Of nature’s feathers and furs.
Stuck with loud green earth
As it pervades my eyes.

It would seem I’m simply
a brown speck on a field.
I suppose to you,
I am such a thing.

I keep my claws close to my burrow’s door
Hoping you’ll make an appearance
I’d kill to see you through my window
Whipping around your blinding rays
Conquering the horizon
Making mist out of those clouds
and a housemate out of me.

The matter is, I have matters to attend to.
My place isn’t spotless. In fact,
All of my plants are dead.
And it’s because…they need you.
I need you, too.

For your consideration:
Please take a second of February
To stop by
Say “Hi”.

Your marmot admirer,
Punxsutawney Phil

I Am Of

Erikka Custis

I am of my mother’s heart.
Of her compassion
and empathy.

I am of my father’s temperament.
Unwilling to let go of a wrong
I carry it on my shoulders,
on my chest.

I am of my grandfather’s soul.
Swiftly chilling in the corner
with a good book
and a smooth melody wafting in the background like
coffee in the morning.

I am of my grandmother’s voice.
Un-shy with my words
I seek for knowledge in the phrases I put together.

I am.

I am of the people,
who have colored my life in myriad ways,
Coming and going
like the changing tides,
like the changing winds.

I am.