Barry Ballard, Mitchell Metz, Michael Tempesta, Corday Johnson, Doug Holder

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Barry Ballard poetry has most recently appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Connecticut Review, The Apalachee Review, and Puerto del Sol.   His most recent collection is A Body Speaks Through Fence Lines (Pudding House, 2006) He writes from Burleson, Texas.

The Wind has Changed
The wind has changed, but not the wind in every
place.  Not the arguing wind of oceans
and its choppy dialogue.  There's less to learn
there in water that deep, secrets so dark
there's little to contemplate.  But recovery
happens in this place, in the almost Sun-
less (almost unrecognized) turning
back.  I'm nothing to the fields, or their remarks

swaying next door, nothing in the shadows
of the bricked sidewalls I use to separate
space.  But in the vacuum of a slight pause, even
the "Unknower" knows; the heavy weight of sorrow
loses value; the pounding rift of how to make
one's self again - ponders, and rolls up its sleeves.
The Loss

And when it is over, and the deep, unspeakable reaches of white melt into memory, how will the warmth of the fire, so long in coming, keep us from mourning the loss?
            Mark Strand
                A suite of Appearances V

While we slept under the flickering crowd
of dying voices, the gods looked down into
our horizontal bodies, placid and subdued,
and said, "It is over".  And though we'd found
ourselves screaming against compromise, they
extracted the songs from our ears and left
them for others gripping the precipice,
others surveying love's color retreating to gray.

And what could we do but wake and compare
our unapproachable new shapes, hide our
ocean-filled eyes unable to gloss-
over what once was beautiful.  Even the tear
through the shaken chords of memory left the hours
unspeakable, the perfume ending, turning to loss.

Mitchell Metz is widely published.  Most recently, his work has appeared in Hiram Poetry Review, Redivider, Skidrow Penthouse, Mudfish, and South Carolina Review.  He is currently a Pushcart Nominee. 

Heather Asks: Could Jesus Dance?
No. Christ was stiff:
a 50’s jock at prom.
But Buddha could polka in a pinch,
Mohammed clog to beat the band.
John the Baptist danced like Springsteen.
That is, he didn’t  … but it didn’t matter.
Graceful Judas coined Charming’s waltz,
not Jagger’s strut, diabolical sympathies aside.
Martin Luther and his organ =
MC Hammer grabbing same.
Addicted to God, Joan of Arc’d shake it like a skanky wraith
strumming blackened back-up in a salvation video.
Only the Ojibwe know
how smooth Naniboujou moved.
but the Osage don’t need no smooth boujou,
just the goddessy gallop of Tallchief’s chasses.
Meanwhile, Heather’s Mom minces
mechanically upon the pinhead of decorum,
an angel choreographed backward
to the Pope’s best Astaire.
Which leaves me to arthurmurray Heather
through puberty’s vicious mixers,
shuffle her safe through moral masques,
never spring my pagan rhythm.  Because
Dad, see, can dance.

Michael A. Tempesta is a journalist and freelance writer living on Cape Cod. His poems have appeared  in The Aurorean, Red Owl and Italian Americana, among other publications. He belong to The 12 O'Clock Scholars writers' group in Osterville and Tidepool Poets in Plymouth; has been writing poetry since 1978 when he was inspired at Northeastern University by poet and Prof. Joseph DeRoche. Tempesta's daily runs along the ocean in Falmouth inspire quite a bit of poetry.

My Summer Awakening
I. The Concert, 4:15 a.m.
Below the whole moon
a cricket’s syncopated chirp - piano -
from beneath the cosmo garden,
a rest of wings, continuance,
the luring of the female.
The first supple tweet - poco adagio -
topples from the catalpa beyond
my fence, then a trill, choked - presto.
Another, a scat, lawn-tree chorus -  allegro -
the claiming of territory
interrupted by muffler and slap
of plastic-wrapped newsprint on driveway.
II. The Bike
First light along the sea road,
clouds like stretched pink taffy.
I churn in debt
covered with a glaze of moist air
pungent with salt water and beach roses,
dance on pedals on a twist of incline
between Nobska light and the Sound
where gulls dip into a bluefish school.
I turn below Woods Hole, retrace my ride,
do not slow until close to home I meet
my father and mother on their resolute walk.
He waves a crooked, calloused hand,
she smiles.
III. The Garden
The onslaught of texture and bloom
brings me to my knees
to tend to what returns on their own,
grew from ovules I sowed
and my settling.
Red, salmon-colored hibiscus,
sundrops, foxgloves, lupine, columbine,
sunflowers that seem to grow half a foot
overnight, tomatoes that thrive
on incessant heat and night rain as children do,
squash blossoms the color of butter.
I fill the bath,
pour seed into the feeder,
envision finches and cardinal couples
yet certain of common grackles
as I will measure mornings alone.

Corday Johnson attends Eastern Arizona College

Hammerhead of the School

The shape-shifting current of migrating people I...
...Well I'd like to hear of what you think of me
My eyes search until dry for the standout of friends
or the girl in pink Trying to force a blind eye
I hunch to avoid narrow minded thought of "hey do you
play basketball?" or "how did you get so tall?"
But I fool no one except for myself
who actually thinks reading minds is like Dr. Seuss
Leaving school I desperately need to hug or handshake
someone but I'm afraid of impressions, reactions,
and aromas I give So I greet when greeted, speak
when spoken. Every step the left skips to class,
the right sprints home In a heap of flesh and bones
I hope to be unnoticed  Mind backtracks and double
back flips at the thought to practice  Loving the things
I hate via transcendental meditation  So I help my brain
swim away from the big-mouthed basses and tunas
who will bite at the hook, line, and sinker Sometimes
I wish I could be as blank as the page I write on
I envy you           I envy me

Doug Holder work has been in True Poet, Main St. Rag,, underground window, and many more.

Master Lock

Oh! The revolutions we have been through.
The many different spins we have taken.
A turn to the right,
after our earlier flirtation with the left.
All these years---
just trying to
find something
that clicks.