A Stitch In Stress

Life does not always co-operative with my goals or my attempts at serenity. Sometimes I have days or weeks where I’m not very creative. One of my practices is to embroider one thread a day.
I’m working on a tablecloth–mundane, printed, a kit. Cross-stitch. It’s big. Sometimes I imagine that at the rate I’m going I’ll never finish it. I gave up on following the suggested colors years ago. I’m just filling it in with blocks of whatever strikes my fancy. As cross-stitch, it mostly all goes in the same direction, until dyslexia strikes.
Really, I don’t want to finish it. It’s going to be a pretty goofy tablecloth and I suspect too large for my table. Plus, I just like cross-stitching it.

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Letter To My Younger Self by Cheryl Marita


I have come back for you.  I know you.  I am you. I love you.
You don’t know, at ten, what you will know at seventy, that you are lovable,  capable of loving others.  At ten you only know rejection by your birth parents, by your adopted  alcoholic father and your angry mother, by kids who ridiculed you as they called you Cheryl the Barrel, by nuns who stole money from you and lied to your family.   
You don’t know at ten that the rejection, with all of its limitations,  will be the building blocks for you to stand on as you grow into a woman with resilience.  The limits that were set pushed you farther into books, into the library, into a fantasy land where you were safe.  You didn’t know, on your sixteenth birthday, the day you got your first job, that you would learn how to navigate a world you would live in for 50 years, years to develop wisdom and gratitude. 
The building blocks that you toiled under at ten taught you to be a lifelong learner, to push past the restrictive beliefs of adults in your neighborhood.  You stood on those blocks  to raise yourself up out of a life of fear.  Those blocks became the foundation of a life of success, caring, and ultimately, a pursuit of what you wanted a ten, to be a writer. 
The books,  the bravery you want at ten are what you will enjoy at seventy.
You will be loved, by family, friends, animals. You will love.   You will develop strength and  stamina.

You will be Cherished Cheryl

Monday Feature by Michaela Kahn: A poem for 29th August – the UN designated: “International Day Against Nuclear Tests”

A poem for 29th August – the UN designated: “International Day Against Nuclear Tests”

Hades Waits

Because last night they were running the nuke tests again and I huddled in a deserted drive-in movie parking lot behind the screen. No time to make it inside a van or a bunker. And the shock wave felt like an electric shock. Skin rippled, mercury blood. It’s already too late. It’s in the marrow — dna spinning out skeins of new code: A lobster, a seal, a rooster, a human, a stone with a heartbeat.

Because somewhere inside this Hades waits. Folded hands and bracken crown. On his throne of pale gray metal. He is smiling for us. He is shining in us. He is a million micro-curies of dust blown round the world, nesting in the smallest niches of the alveoli, settling in the ocean-bottom of the bones.

Because he is a sign written in a language no longer spoken. A salt cave slowly melting beneath rusting barrels of discarded plutonium.

Because he promised us a cold cloth for our foreheads, and the pomegranate seeds exploded on our tongues.

Because he is the planet at the edge of our sight, the shadow in our memory, the word made stone.

Because he comes as rain, as ash, as the chariot that bursts from autumn earth, trailing arcs of smoke and fire.

My sister will not move her family to southern Utah – too much fallout from tests with names like Ranger, Teapot, Nougat, and Sunbeam. In the 1950’s the mushroom clouds could be seen from hotels on the Las Vegas strip – a tourist attraction. 928 tests in Nevada alone.

Because once Hades has anointed you with a touch of his burning cold hand – there seems to be no other way to get warm.

Letter To My Younger Self by Heidi Vanderbilt

Kid, some advice.
Don’t pretend things are okay when they’re not. Watch your temper. You look sweet, ringlets, ankle socks, but you can hang on in a fight until the other guy chews his leg off. That makes you think you can stand anything, but you can’t. You won’t forget your parents slamming doors. He slams. She slams. The full length mirror shatters to the floor. You cut your foot. Your bi-polar mother throws her best friend out of the car to walk home. Your mother throws you out of the car to walk home. Her lovers. His lovers.
Don’t find the worst thing ever and invite it in, marry it. Ditch the guy with fists. Lose the stoner, singing’s not enough. Wait. 
Don’t believe you’ve got life licked, got it worked out, that you’ve arrived. You will never arrive, trust me. You’ll never feel comfortable for long, no matter how much you want it. You’ll never feel safe. You’re someone who waits at stations, misses planes, sleeps rough in stables. You smile at the hobos that live beside the tracks at the foot of the hill. Through campfire smoke, they smile back.
At twelve you run away, take a bus to to Penn Station, sit on a bench all night then walk home in time for breakfast, broke. At thirteen you’re auditioning for shows. At fourteen you‘re on tour, playing the younger sister in a loving family. The cast, drinks between shows, runs wild through a cemetery, vomits on gravestones, sleeps with each other in twin beds, four to a room, on the couch, the floor. All night, the Kingston Trio repeats itself: Lemon Tree; Five Hundred Miles. You can hear the whistle blow. You steal his undershirt to keep his smell close to you. Back home when the tour’s over, you kick your way through Central Park barefoot. Strangers yell at you. “You’ll cut you feet  without shoes! Stupid girl! Where do you live? Where are your parents?” By sixteen you live alone in lower Manhattan,a special kind of lonely. Deadbolts, incinerators, switchblades. At night you climb to the building’s roof, bend back over the parapet, turn the sky upside down. 
Don’t fall. 
I wish I could help you, tell you that the feel of the park path on your soles, rough, hard, dry, or wet with sooty rain and dog piss, will carry you through the rest of your life. I wish I could tell you while you’re still a kid that when you’re old—and you will live to be older than I am now—it won’t be the sulfurous urban night sky you’ll recall as you drift off, nor your view dangling from rooftops, aimed at the street. Instead, you’ll draw stars up through gnarled feet, through the misstep into dog shit, skidding off rocks in the Rambles between mating men, horse drawn carriages, and cops. 
Wade into the boat pond, Heidi. One day you and your husband will teach your son to sail.

All The Poems Fit To Print–new e-zines and work

There are so many wonderful e-zines out there right now. It is hard to keep track, but each new gem is a find. Plus, I think as writers we really enjoy the immediacy of seeing our work posted—often quickly and in fresh visually interesting formats. For readers, a snack sized dose of poetry is a click away…with whole magazines to peruse at leisure. Today I’m re-printing two newly published poems with links to more work. The first is by me at Fourth and Sycamore (what a cool name!): https://fourthandsycamore.com/2016/08/19/to-embark-iceland-poems-by-miriam-sagan/
They did a lovely job. Take a look for more poetry and more photos of Iceland, actually shot from the air by Isabel Winson-Sagan.

A Rainy Thursday in Laugervatn

wind comes off the water
trees–generic because I am a foreigner–bend in it

and the umbrella I transported for thousands of miles
turns insideout

shows its ribs
like a beached decaying pilot whake

small black ducks at the edge of the lake
pea plant gone saturated blue in the northern light

and although I praise and soothe the sheep
they turn fat furry tail and run

off on their little legs
like time, like wavelets on a shore

and reading a saga
in the hotel eadda

and waiting for lunch
I feel as if I were (although I’m not)

sitting in a ferry terminal
about to embark

bad news from far-away
god news up close (raindrop, birch)

and the artist tells me
if I understand correctly

that her great grandmother
is the one who carved this gigantic statue

of the tall woman
with enormous outspread wings

Miriam Sagan


I love the two poems published at Soul-Lit by Michael G. Smith. He is a frequent blog contributor, and the poem copied here has that “feels true” chime to it. Let me say, though, the other poem of his up on the zine is complex and awakens the inner philosopher, so do check it out at http://www.soul-lit.com/poems/V13/Smith/index.html

Silence, a Verb
In the work of silence
there is nothing to be
gained or possessed.
Silence, a verb, what
do I hope
to achieve
winging thoughts
across paper,
the path walking, too
beside the mountain.

Michael G. Smith

And some great poems by contributing writer Devon Miller-Duggan at https://broadzine.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/doors20163.pdfEnjoy!