Monday, November 30, 2015

Each Leaf by Carol Christy White

*Poetry winner in the 2nd Annual Arizona Writer's Conference.

Zephyr slips around stiff and swaying branches
spends a moment with every individual leaf
moves on to the next tree trailing a tailing of movement

I am mesmerized by the gentle play through the green
this wind that is the same pushing and turning
heavier trees with creaking and groaning and snapping

Each leaf is caressed in a massage of some godliness
making me want to climb into high bending limbs
to be touched that same way    like I've not been

I can't help but watch the tops of tall trees before the rain
their arms all lifted up in the constancy of perpetual prayer
as the airstreams rustle them like a benign distracted parent

What if these small breezes all the way to Kansas twisters
are not just the breath of our god but god itself
speaking in a thousand tongues all at once and everywhere

What if that air is a measure of love and indifference
of gentleness so great our hearts are broken open with it
and of supremacy our bodies and things are broken as well

What if that weather force is traveling with purpose
gathering all the old ghosts and the new ghosts
inviting all the ghosts­-to­-be to join in one voice


Carol Christy White has been a poet for a very long time. A poem was first published in the Kentucky State Poetry Society’s Pegasus Jr. when she was 12. Since then she has been published in a number of regional poetry journals in the US and published several chapbooks of poetry, the last one called “Rain.” Christy has presented poetry workshops in Arizona and Kentucky, as well as read at numerous open mics across the country and in Scotland. She is the past president of Arizona State Poetry Society and currently serves as the ASPS treasurer, and hosts a monthly poetry critique group in Scottsdale, AZ. 

in a dream, once by Ivy Sanzone

he was a tree, struck by lightning.
[tall, thin, blackened]
but his skin was metallic silver
when the light hit just right
and his hair hung in long tresses
which shone like coal, in its earthy way.

he had a crown of metal
[tarnished silver, like his skin]
except it always shone, even in pitch black dark.
onyx stones smoothed out its sharpness
and he was cloaked in the nothing
that could only be the penumbra of shadows.

and yet his eyes, I think about most.
[they are hardest to remember]
for they were like black beetles in his thin face
which were somehow dark enough
to steal all the light that shone towards them
yet give off the tiniest glint in return.

death came to me in a dream, once.

but he didn't come for me, that time.
[not for anyone, in fact]
instead, he came to assist me
in my forgotten dream situation
where the only way to fix the broken pieces
was to slide back to before they broke at all.

death shared his secret with me
[and wouldn't he have many of those?]
he showed that he was not only the one
who took those who passed their time
but also the one who showed them the path
into the new light of life and rebirth.

I asked him politely for his help
[his smile was kind yet weary]
and as he spun his hands, his skin shone gold.
in his hair grew dainty yellow flowers
and when he held open his cloak of shadows
I embraced him as an old friend.

life came to me in a dream, once.

Ivy Sanzone is a sophomore Creative Writing major at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. She considers herself an artist and a writer in her free time, and enjoys posting some of her sketches to her blog. Her other pastime is playing video games until two o’clock in the morning (the perfect poetry writing time).

Should by Chris Rodriguez

I never wanted to play in Little League.
My legs were more fit to be crossed in front of a Nintendo
than to be dragged from base to base,
but my father laid out the math for me:
I am Cuban, Puerto Rican, and a boy.
I should want to play baseball.
My father told me the feelings come after the action itself.

Before games, I would put on my uniform as carefully as casting a spell,
lacing my cleats and adjusting the brim of my cap
to conjure a love that wasn't inside of me.
Every swing I took was a prayer for the passion
to knock me out like a cork ball to the forehead,
but I would always strike out and end up picking dandelions in the dugout.
My mother would often catch me in the outfield,
staring straight up, waiting for a ball that was never coming. 

“It takes time,” my father said,
wrapping his fingers around my mother's on the bleachers.
She held his hand the same way I held a bat,
with a shaky grip, more out of obligation than desire,
her wedding ring, a love charm that was never endowed with magic.
I had always known them as one entity, but as I grew older,
it became clear that their names were more antonym than synonym. 

They were an unexpected coupling –
the dandelion and a young boy's clumsy foot.
My mother was the two-step with abuela, tia, and bebe on a Sunday night.
My father was the fist that unplugged the radio mid-salsa.
She tried to reinterpret their differences,
thought perhaps silence is its own genre of music,
promised that she would find a song in the quiet.
Every morning before he went to work,
she would wrestle an “I love you” out of her throat
as if it were an exercise she could master with practice,
her mouth a limp muscle just needing a little tone.
The mid-day phone calls, the welcome-home kisses,
the “baby's,” the “sweetie's,” the “cariƱo’s” –
all a daily regimen to hone an absent feeling that should have been there. 

And it never came.
My mother never felt it,
but, she thought, he did hold a nine-to-five,
and his parents were still together,
and he never struck out in his life,
and wasn’t he an admirable sport? 

Before my mother married my father,
my abuela sat her down in the dugout of her bedroom
and laid out the math:
he's Latino, he comes from a good family, and he has a steady job.
You should want to be with him. 

When I told my parents I just didn't like baseball,
my father was most disappointed,
claimed that I gave up too easily,
pelted me with a flurry of “should”s.
After he left the room, my mother took my hands,
knowing they too were something she passed down,
and whispered, “'Should' is a word meant for duty, not for love.” 

Once, after a family party,
after my father escorted everybody from the ballpark of our home,
I caught my mom standing alone
in the outfield of our living room,
staring straight up,


Chris Rodriguez is a performance poet and educator based out of Northern New Jersey. He started his poetry track record at Montclair State University, representing the school at CUPSI in 2012 and 2013. In 2015, he represented Jersey City Slam at NPS. During the day, he teaches English at Bloomfield High School, where he also advises an after school Poetry Club.