Friday, June 29, 2012

Vale Rosemary Dobson, 1920-2012

Breaking off a piece of the willow
I say goodbye to my friend.
He will take it and plant it.

A tree will grow by the river
And the river will flow away to the ocean,
Will carry the leaves fallen from the willow.

Small important message they are for the future
Telling of times past, and the conversations of friendship,
Telling the ocean all about the willow.

Willows (Goodbye) by Rosemary Dobson (1987)

The last of perhaps the greatest generation of Australian poets which included the likes of Kenneth Slessor, Judith Wright, AD Hope and James McAuley (or Ern Malley if you are so inclined). I never had the privilege of meeting Rosemary, but she was by all accounts warm of heart and generous with her time to those aspiring to the great calling. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New Poetry by Stuart Barnes


after Williams S.

O God of Battles,
the raven is hoarse!
Is this a dagger?
Send the nurse

Gallop apace, you fiery-
footed steeds! Cut him out in little stars
Entreat her eyes
to twinkle in their spheres

At the point of death
virtues will plead like angels,
let the trumpets sound the tucket

sonance & the note to mount. The winds of heaven
hang on him, things rank & gross in nature,
& visit her face too roughly

- Stuart Barnes 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New Poetry by Robert Demaree


That you were a writer and not a soldier
Made you no less brave,
Your war short, hard to defend,
But no less noble.
You went to report on things Homer had seen,
In a land older than Hector.
We found you on a map of unknown places,
Read your dispatches, heard you on TV:
We tasted sand and young men’s fear.
We did not attend rallies of protest or support
But went instead with your sons
To soccer games and preschool plays.
I do not pray much but prayed for you.
We read your coming-home piece
And thought of Odysseus.
We tracked your journey—Kuwait, London.
That night I went back downstairs after midnight
And turned on the computer again,
To be sure that your plane had touched down.

- Robert Demaree 2012

“To Our Son-in-Law, Returning from Iraq” appeared in miller’s pond, January 2008.


The American Legion hut
In their small town
Had been named
For her great-uncle,
The first to fall in France.
But after another war,
Another hut,
Named for someone else.
The basketball court
That honored the famous coach
Is darkened now and unused.
At the school where her father taught
They established a prize in his memory
She wonders if they still give it.
You can have something named for you
For a while
And then not.

- Robert Demaree 2012

Robert Demaree is the author of four collections of poems, including Mileposts (October 2009), published by Beech River Books. The winner of the 2007 Conway, N.H., Library Poetry Award, he is a retired school administrator with ties to North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. He has had over 550 poems published or accepted by 125 periodicals, including Louisville Review, miller’s pond, and BluePepper. For further information see

Sunday, June 17, 2012

New Poetry by Ashley Capes

pre-collapse confession

you’re right I’m talking too fast

a bouncy-ball

for her lipstick

and clouds covering the bay
in ultrasound green

once a fortnight

I make this gesture to the future

but somehow still end up
treating it

too much like a safety lap

the possibility of gentle envy
turns up in tea leaves

joyriding the pipes
beneath our kitchen sink

so rich with old wives truths

the hopelessness of manhood

a glass of water and two pills

an actual album of photos

last September the best
our lives

ten years coming up

- Ashley Capes 2012


the first night is Chinese take-away in a dining room that we never eat in again. the fire is unlit, its patience for winter is unbelievable. I unpack boxes of CDs and place them in a contradictory mix of genres, decades and even dates of purchase, though my obsession doesn’t match John Cusack’s in High Fidelity. you work on the kitchen and cannot believe how stupid the cupboards are, where the hell does the fridge go? in the half-gap we place a brand new clothes dryer, a white-goods knight for the eternal damp of the valley.

tre e trenta
an unfamiliar hum
crosses the room

when the streetlights blink out the last night is pulled down over my shoulders. I have cleaned the floors and walls, the trollish oven, the windows muttering and cannot find the strength to celebrate. the radio (later sold at a garage sale) keeps good company, as the BBC sends Noam Chomsky across heavy waves, until it is finally switched off.

no ceiling fan
overnight sweat
sets on my skin

- Ashley Capes 2012 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New Poetry by Mark J. Mitchell


Fishing in a knife drawer
A finger slips.

The thin line, invisible
At first, broadens

To a red seam and spreads
Down the palm

Completely obliterating
Your life line.

- Mark J. Mitchell 2012


The page
Did not ask
For these words
To be dropped
Between blue lines
Like seeds on snow.

And it didn’t
Invite blackbirds
To pluck them off,
One by one, just
Before you closed
The red cover.

It just
Happened that way.

- Mark J. Mitchell 2012

Mark is a Californian poet based in San Francisco.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New Poetry by Brandyn Johnson


“Fill the earth and subdue it,” Genesis 1:28

Grocery bags tumbleweed through a valley, greened
by beer bottle stalagmites among aged paper terraces,
eroded by the grey exhale, whistled from steady traffic.
Styrofoam patches cluster the overpasses, leaving tiny

meltless snows and coffeebreath pebble bits scattered
with tire stitches soldered to pavement cracks as scars.
The sun, ornamented by its metropolitan rind sparkles
mechanically, bronzing a condom – buoying the brook
of ditchwater and oil ribbons – and tarnishing the red
french fry box, folding on itself below the “welcome,”

                                                                 And it is so.

- Brandyn Johnson 2012


“And dude, she was like, 18 and 90 pounds,
felt like I was gonna break her in two,
needed a tub full of ice this morning though,”
he said,
after tossing me a beer by the pool.
His tanned lawyer laughed behind
sunglasses and a bronze gut,
“made her earn that money.”

I have nothing to add

so I nod, and sip my beer and nod,
not thinking about my newlywed upstairs napping,
not thinking about my sisters,
not thinking about someone’s daughter,
offering good times in broken English
to men who travel with their lawyers,
not thinking about the packs of men who
toss jokes like cans of lo-calorie beers

and pay to fuck what is closest to children.

I finish my beer and thank them
on my way to the air-conditioned room,
bumping into a 90-pound housekeeper,
her turquoise shirt shadowed with sweat,
clutching the wrinkled bills she found

on the countertop.

- Brandyn Johnson 2012

Brandyn Johnson, is an American currently living and teaching in China.

Monday, June 11, 2012

New Poetry by Benjamin Dodds


Will they appear silently
on our horizon’s doorstep

heralding their sudden arrival
with flashes of Alessi chrome

or send word in advance
from across gulfs of time

a message to fold out the sofa
for envoys not yet

born at the time of transmission?
Perhaps they’ll simply pass us by

indifferent in sleek behemoths
on the way to a place less

parochial than here. Of what
real interest is a floating

termite-mound to possibly
non-corporeal entities? Human

awe has always aimed skyward.
Unfocussed waves

radiate from organic transmitters
waiting for a wave back.

- Benjamin Dodds 2012


slowly, slowly lentamente
the density of water lessens
and that of air increases

nobody notices this but me

only genius machines
with glacial ticking patience
can detect the change
from thick to thin and vice versa

nobody sets them to check

on the day of equilibrium
our larger lungs
grown in measured secrecy
in the earth of our chests
will share the briny air
with futurefish
as tidewinds bear up
kites with hook-strung tails
reeled out by
ever-enterprising boys

- Benjamin Dodds 2012

New Poetry by David Ades


Everything went into this —
the needle and thread of our mothers,
the thimbles, their dextrous fingers

and soothing voices, patching
and mending tears in our clothes,
our frayed edges, the children we were.

They were lavish with their inheritance
the way women are, steeped in love
and family, passing it on among

themselves through generations
stretching back to Egypt
and before that past records,

past knowledge and memory,
perhaps all the way back
to Isabelle and Ferdinand in 1492

and before that, who knows,
perhaps back to Moses at Mt Sinai.
We reached for thread

and found our ancestor’s lines,
some remembered
like your pépé and mémé,

my aunts and uncles
and others never known
yet present in a gesture perhaps

or a tone of voice
or the strength to dream.
Everything went into this —

the twirled thread, the braid we made,
two lines gathered into one,
steeped in love and family

and now we look both back
and forward, we shine a light upon
our ancestors

lowering the braid for tiny fingers
to reach and hold
and follow.

- David Ades 2012 

Sex, Anticipated

In Darwin it is called the ‘build up’:
moisture gathering in air after months
of cloudless dry days, clouds gathering,
the air becoming heavy as ripe fruit.

It is a slow gathering, unhurried,
sure of itself, day by day moving towards
the horizon’s contraction, the sky’s darkening
cloak. Humidity rises: beads of sweat on skin,

damp sheets, a whir of ceiling fans,
the frogs’ loud croaks. It is the dance before,
moving towards intimacy – a first touch, a drop,
a deluge, earth waiting in its bed.

When your arms open I will begin to fall,
begin my downpour, drops of water
on the hungry leaves, the green fronds,
flashes of lightning lacing the sky, your eyes.

- David Ades 2012

David Adès moved to Pittsburgh from Adelaide, Australia in April 2011. He has been a member of  Friendly Street Poets since 1979. His collection, Mapping the World, was commended for the Fellowship of Australian Writers Anne Elder Award 2008.