night vision :: john foy

You’ll never see it if you look
directly at it in the dark.
It’s just a shifting, black
on black, something just
a part of the perimeter,
no claim upon it as it comes
along the bales of razor wire
deftly and alone,
and it is near you now, has
somehow gotten in, at peace
with what it does
in the darkness, and why.

another feeling :: ruth stone

Once you saw a drove of young pigs
crossing the highway. One of them
pulling his body by the front feet,
the hind legs dragging flat.
Without thinking,
you called the Humane Society.
They came with a net and went for him.
They were matter of fact, uniformed;
there were two of them,
their truck ominous, with a cage.
He was hiding in the weeds. It was then
you saw his eyes. He understood.
He was trembling.
After they took him, you began to suffer regret.
Years later, you remember his misfit body
scrambling to reach the others.
Even at this moment, your heart
is going too fast; your hands sweat.

vacation poem :: steve langan

At home I was mama’s “little dreamer.”
At work the boss whispered get busy.
I tried, with little success, to forget it all.

The method is common: out the window
you imagine a forest (too dense),
so you imagine an ocean, it’s azure.

But oceans are especially unruly.
Oceans are unforgiving.
A rogue wave…

and now the town is drowning.
For a minute it’s beautiful,
the chairs and all the tables.

But then the realization
everyone is drowning.
Wake up, be good, smile.

Life will never be as good
as it is right now.

older, younger, both :: joyce sutphen

I feel older, younger, both
at once. Every time I win,
I lose. Every time I count,
I forget and must begin again.

I must begin again, and again I
must begin. Every time I lose,
I win and must begin again.

Everything I plan must wait, and
having to wait has made me old, and
the older I get, the more I wait, and everything
I’m waiting for has already been planned.

I feel sadder, wiser, neither
together. Everything is almost
true, and almost true is everywhere.
I feel sadder, wiser, neither at once.

I end in beginning, in ending I find
that beginning is the first thing to do.
I stop when I start, but my heart keeps on beating,
so I must go on starting in spite of the stopping.

I must stop my stopping and start to start—
I can end at the beginning or begin at the end.
I feel older, younger, both at once.

improvisation :: susanna lang

             Bring me all your
             Heart melodies
             —Langston Hughes

Bring me the songs that stretch out like yarn
the cat has played with, songs like snow
ghosting behind commuter trains coming
into the city; bring me the old stories, some

boys changed into flowers and others hung
from the trees; bring me the silver rain, broken
machines, lost keys, dead dogs, ice on the road;
the moment when streetlamps light in the evening

and the moment when they become invisible.
Bring me the arguments about who knows what
and the ones where everyone knows; bring
your intimacy with rivers, your trumpet, honey

mixed with liquid fire; bring your arm upraised
to grasp justice like a brass ring while music turns
the carrousel. Bring me chords that open a box of silence
and the ones that reach into the jazzy city night.

after we deplane :: james k. zimmerman

someone has the job
when the pilot drops
the ponderous bird back
to earth, when passengers
and bags pour out
of its portals like eggs
from a spider or maggots
from an open wound

someone has the job
when the flight crew
thanks us, smiling
in so many friendly
languages for riding
over clouds and mounds
of brown and green below

someone has the job
when we come to roost
when the great bird nests
before it rises once again

someone has the job
of cleaning out the cisterns
that pend beneath the lavs
where we go to piss or shit
or vomit or just to stretch
our legs a little when
the seatbelt sign is off

and of course someone
knows the better job is up
in business class or first
someone knows to work
up through the ranks
to where the pool is clean
and clear and odorless

unlike the fetid mess
left behind in economy
by the rest of us