Blood Moon by Elizabeth Jacobson

Blood Moon
echoes of a hate crime

People are made of paper, love affairs,

anything that tears easily.

A pregnant woman stands under the lunar eclipse,

carves a swirl into a tree,

her baby is born with this same mark on his thigh.

It’s just like the earth to come between the sun and the moon

and cause this kind of mystery.

Point at a rainbow, and it will plummet and slice your finger off.

Use your lips instead, to show others what you are looking at.

Don’t stand on high rocks or they will push you into the sky,

and you will be pressed like a flower in a book.

People are made from rain showers, hatred, smears of spit,

anything that might evaporate instantly.

That night, the moon was a true blood red,

not the pale rust of this moon, this morning.

An entire human body coated red with blood,

except where a path of tears washed through.

Don’t stare at the moon

or it will follow you persistently like a stray cat you have fed.

Don’t hold out your hands when the sun is shining,

or you will burn continually with possibility.

People are made of buckets of sand, sequins of clay, desire,

anything that washes away easily.

Don’t inhale too deeply, the scent of fallen leaves

pasted to the forest floor after a fresh rain,

or you will be repeatedly stepped on.

Don’t count the seeds in a mound of bear scat

or just as many clouds will split open above your head.

This poem is for Matthew Shepard. From Not into the Blossoms and Not into the Air by Elizabeth Jacobson. (c) 2019 by Parlor Press. Used by permission.

Defining Community by Jane Vincent Taylor and Jane Wheeler

Defining Commonality: A Handmade Dictionary/ Collaborative Exhibition currently at Full Circle Books in Oklahoma City, OK.

In these chaotic and unsustainable times, poems seem to insist on entering through new doors: un-booked, re-paired, cracked, grown wild, scraped up from the street.
It calls out for us to find our communal eco-heart.
 Jane Wheeler and I heard that call. We agreed to delve into our separate arts to see what vital values we might discover hidden in the streets of our community.
The seeds and source material for this project could have been any authentic neighborhood through which we drive, and perhaps, fail to look deeply. We chose to focus on the streets that make up Commonwealth Urban Farm because of its diversity, farm aesthetic, and food-sustaining routines, plus the swarm of love in yards and alleyways.
The life cycles on which we depend were always at the heart of my poems. For that life-affirming energy, and the music/light of Jane’s photos, I am grateful and happy to offer this work.

Jane Vincent Taylor

Immigrants
By accident or on purpose, earth’s goodness shifting

Fallen offerings, sun gold, firm, plum red, bloom-burst
pockets of tang, rolling on rain slicked street
not seen for the seeded gifts they are
having traveled so far, misnamed, misknown
not nightshade, not poison, rich in what we need.
Let’s call them what they are: jeweled fruit.

Husk

What remains when the juice
or meat or pulp is gone;
our voices after a long winter cold;
that which takes a little longer to decompose.

Consider a rainbow decoloring.
Do you have a loved one who became a husk
too frail almost to touch?
The skin was thin but light
flickered, flickered
to the end.

Husk speaks of what once lived
and carried forth a seed. Husk,
from an older tongue, means little house.

Jane Vincent Taylor is a poet and creative writing teacher living in Oklahoma City.
Jane Wheeler is an Oklahoma photographer working in the Miksang tradition.

I Need A Road by Judy K Mosher

I Need A Road by Judy K Mosher

I need a road uncluttered, gentle as
the quaking leaves of MotherAspenForest
shimmering like midday sun on the Rio Grande,
a road of substance, durability
the roar of a grizzly, the yips of coyote

I need a road scented of spring lilacs,
moist with dawns breath,
after all these nights of dirt
dampening the dust,
the dreariness of these days of damnation.

The old route, stagnant filled potholes
even crows reject the bitter water.
Deep-rooted ruts of injustice,
always grind in the same direction,
always lead to another to oppress.

Where is the smooth road
lined with young birds?
I need that road,
that road of deliverance,
a steadfast candle,

never going out — even when
I close my weary eyes.

From 100 Thousand Poets for Change reading.

Do Whatever You Want and The Devil Take the Hindmost

I’m getting old. Old enough for Medicare, old enough just to do whatever I want. Let me say that I’m ethical enough–and yes, old enough–that this most likely does not involve inflicting any real harm on others. But it might involve the rudeness of truth, and the chaos of spontaneity.
For example, when I hear bad news about or from other people I no longer try and “understand.” Or mirror things back. Or be soothing. I’m much more likely to say–that is fucking terrible, and I’m really really sorry to hear it. If I care deeply, I’ll probably just burst into tears and curse more.
No one has ever accused me of being too suave, too reserved, too controlled. I often have sharp penetrating insight into situations–and now I’m more willing to share that. Is all this insight true? I don’t care. It’s what I see–and I’m happy to start talking about it. Right now.
What it boils down to is that I realize I can’t do much about anything–not for myself, not for others. I can keep a person company, and I know I’m pretty good at that. Some of this is because I’m now a grandmother. I can’t make the world safe. I can’t learn to walk or talk for the baby. I see her–a lively active seven month old–wild with frustration because she can’t walk on her own. I’m certainly not offering sympathy or advice to a baby. I’m singing a lot of show tunes, often from Guys and Dolls, and embarrassingly “Hey Big Spender” from Sweet Charity. I figure we’ve just got to pass the time until her brain is developed enough to figure it out.
I’m kind of applying this to myself as well. My fear of death, my creative process, my sometimes tangled relationships…I’m just killing time until I understand. Or not.

Shed A Tear by Behzad Dayeny

SHED A TEAR

I shed a tear every day
For all who have gone and will go away
For orphans with oceans of sorrow welled behind their eyes
For all who have been deceived by lies
For the birds and the creatures in the wood
And everything lying on the ground that once stood
For butterflies who have lost their way
And empty school yards where children used to play
For all the vacant seats at the concert halls
The empty parking lots at all the shopping malls
For the leaves that once grew on the trees
For abandoned hives that used to swarm with bees
For the seeds that no longer germinate
And the rivers that only contaminate
For the roads that used to lead somewhere
And the mountaintops where one could breathe the air
I shed a tear for you and for me
Though we may be the last two remaining,
It seems, a truce between us shall never be

From the 100 Thousand Poets for Change reading

Don’t Give Your Creative Authority Away

I enjoyed the ideas put out here by Trish Hopkins–

Do I need a Strategy to Submit Writing to Literary Magazines and Journals?
Here’s an excerpt:
“The short answer is, if you want a strategy, if it helps you plan and manage your submissions and/or keeps you writing, then YES! There’s no fancy formula for being more successful with publication. It varies from person to person based on their goals and priorities. Some writers want as many publications as possible to get their name out there and build up their C.V. or publication credentials. Others only want to submit to paying markets and contests to bring in extra income or based on the principle that they should always be compensated for their work. Some use publication to push themselves to be better writers and to participate actively in the writing community. And some writers have little interest in publication—choosing to use writing as a creative outlet or to share with family and friends. I’ve certainly weaved in and out of all these approaches over the years and there’s nothing wrong with that either.”

https://trishhopkinson.com/2019/09/13/do-i-need-a-strategy-to-submit-writing-to-literary-magazines-and-journals-via-intl-womens-writing-guild/?fbclid=IwAR1-u9s71ZkUI1A-xGoiwTbU7QFf2QguY60zDUv4MmCDnsDKqhL32NABDSs

***
To take this a little further, I want to add that publishing–and its hustle–are not the capstone on a creative project. Don’t give away your own authority to editors and publishers, i.e. don’t let rejection devastate you. The ordinary human status of editors is for a further exploration, but basically your job is not to externalize authority. Your authority as a writer lies within. Feedback may be helpful–or useless. But basically–other peoples’ opinions are none of your business. I hope this makes sense! It’s one of the ways I’ve lasted for fifty years as a published writer.