Gretchen

 

She is always there:

statuesque and bare

near Lake Michigan

where the winds whip your past

present

her presence is close to my pen

hair hanging

eyes glazed.

 

So I leave for Long Island

Where his mirror reflects bound-feet memories

The Orient

A half century past

Women whispering submissively

in Ho Chi Minh City

kimonos and buns pushed back

 

And I play dominoes with my nephew

while you dream of Paris.

I know it never worked for me.

When I was twenty:

I wandered the Seine alone

thought of joining lovers at the Louvre

even entering a painting would do

especially Le Dejeuner sur L’Herbe

with its nude.

 

LE Pyramide went the way of the rose.

I am not sure I ever had a rose-garden.

The men I chose were taken:

By addictions

By wives

By other men

By their own lives

Does it really make a difference?

 

Lynn Cohen

Professor of literature and creative writing at Hofstra and Suffolk Community College, many publishing credits

“Dover”

 

A goddess mounts

hard cliffs:

bare through Cheshire, Canterbury, Cardiff

her hair floats through the years

eyes olive green

the fruit of Tuscan trees

slanted like Asian Oranges

in the lost markets

of her unconscious

on a ripe summer morning

the cornucopia of life

 

Be her host

let her ride you

through undersea tunnels

share orgiastic promises

primitive reed-covered thrusts

sharp and unforgiving

as purgatorial pirates

sail past orbs

 

All the flowers are evil

in the rose-gardens

of memory

sanctified symbols

of sacred ladies

dance to your cadence

prostrate at the feet of your poems’

strophes and meters

 

Lynn Cohen

Worst Fears Realized

 

Huge grey boulders of my very worst fears

have been unleashed by some wild circumstance.

Held up by sheer luck, they hung there for years

now down the mountain they gleefully dance.

 

‘Cause luck runneth out if you play too long,

the bastards were sure to come a-sliding.

I still don’t know what it is I did wrong,

but it’s this day from which I’ve been hiding.

 

Naked alone at the foot of the hill,

it’s a pity those rocks could not hold.

Nowhere to run, they come in for the kill,

I mumble a prayer as I watch it unfold.

 

    Some say the mind is a powerful thing

    by thought alone good or ill can it bring.

 

Andrew M. Echel

PPA accountant, formalist poet (sonnets)

 

Sonnet for Scott Joplin

 

The King of Ragtime toiled in the sunlight

way down south at the mercy of the breeze.

Tunes, like vines on the side of the upright;

notes sprang from his hand and sweat blessed the keys.

Like many great men, a life filled with grief

inspired some of his awesome creations.

Sugar Cane, Cascades, and then Maple Leaf

left them blue or in total elation.

His marches, two-steps and toe-tappin’ rags

rang throughout saloons in nineteen-o-five.

Glorious waltzes and mellow slow drags,

wild syncopations, they all came alive.

     Though scorned at the time as music impure,

     now we are certain his works will endure.

 

Andrew M. Echel

Creating

In a cozy cafe

of soft repose

I write a harmony

Of original

And aesthetic masterpieces

In rhythm with the rain

 

David Fox

Poetry journal publisher, many credits

 

 

The Tree Poem

We are like trees.

Some of us are as steady as tree trunks,

others as delicate as the leaves,

and like the leaves,

we are constantly changing

making resolutions every New Year

to start again, anew.

Many of us are like the tree's branches

exploring different paths

in this labyrinth we cal life.

As we grow older

we are even more similar to the tree,

each wrinkle representing

another year of life

like every ring on a tree stump.

If I can even live a fraction

a tree has, I will know

I've lived life to its fullest potential.

 

David Fox

 

Winter Solstice

For Stephen Dunn

 

Students line oblong sides

of a plush parlor

plump chairs

front a fireplace.

the years die away

as my poet

quotes Baudelaire

chops metaphors

stomps muses

undoes images

defines tone

entwines voices

reads about love:

wives and ex-wives --

the places we have all been.

 

His beret covers

what the decades cannot

but I can see

what I have always seen:

neat hair and beard

I can hear

an erudite speech

that has always been there

as I close my pupils

sit among my school children

feel my mortality and grieve

 

Lynn E. Cohen

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