IN A GRAY TOWN by John Grey

Gray clouds,
if I get out from under them
I can say goodbye
to the fishing boats,
write lines of poems
with crying gulls and raindrops,
my lowly audience
in April’s guilt-free imaginings –
what couldn’t be better than this?
back against stone clock tower,
droop-faced worshipers
trudging from the temple –
I hold myself here
so there is no looking back,
there are only innumerable people,
fish smells, the docks,
old rough hands, tattooed arms,
so stark, so removed,
it’s like I’m in a
low low crowd on tip-toe —
rain sits humbly
on the back of my neck,
I don’t really mind
that this town is a sentence—
it’s how I shed my people,
moving on,
knowing no one,
and taking out a pad and paper –
I’m a veteran of gray clouds,
and the clock-work doings of others –
an old man strides down the rocky hill,
sings hoarse and wild –
he’s out of his head,
where he belongs,
I wear my gray mind
like a raincoat.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Ellipsis, Blueline and International Poetry Review.

Cave Girl by Sarah M. Prindle

Sparks from the fire
flit into the air like fireflies,
illuminating the cave
and the tribe sleeping within its shelter.
The cave girl is huddled
under a blanket of fur.
Her tribe’s breathing
flows in and out like the tide,
but it cannot lull her to sleep.
The restless girl rises, tiptoes 
to the cave’s mouth and peers outside.
Like glowing embers, twinkling stars 
dot the silent black sky.
The forest is alive with
hooting and chirping.
The girl sneaks down the hill
into the Shrine Cave.
No one is allowed in this sacred place
without offerings of food or fur. 
But the cave girl is entranced 
by the painted animals 
and stick-figures her people made.
Why shouldn’t she create
a drawing of her own?
She covers her hand with clay
and presses it against the wall
where the handprint will remain 
for thousands of years.
Future generations will see it
and part of her will live on.

Sarah M. Prindle received an Associate’s degree in English from Northampton Community College. She loves reading everything from historical fiction and memoirs to poetry and mysteries. She hopes to someday publish her own novels and poetry collections and has already had some of her work published in several literary magazines and websites.

Tangerine Sun by Thomas Piekarski

For André Breton

High upon a cloud that bobs with drones in its hair
a myopic cow visits futuristic castles and museums,
there to entertain the hysterical griffins and hydras
while I in my emerald cape slink down a manhole
into a molten-rock river, then an ocean of mercury. 
Unraveling diversely, a perpetual pterodactyl prays
for the resurrection and ascension of slain gorillas. 
Whoever ignores Iceland will probe a steep chasm
that’s booby-trapped, set for the ultimate sacrifice.
Admittedly the trains and planes and automobiles
you contact on the road to Calais should be ridden
with cheer, as orioles soar like Icarus, never to fail.
Anesthetized, I’m comforted by songs in my head
and find merriment therein despite all of the decay.
Riding on the back of an antelope you’d encounter  
a tangible thought driven into you like a rusty nail.
Lacking any inspiration does solitude invade, like
daisies in a frozen field buried by layers of red ice.
Hail the light strung along a clothesline some poet
dragged through a Sahara of woe and beyond luck.
Maybe doesn’t compute because of acid rain stuck
between this idea and the middle tooth of a reptile.
Mandarin sunset, sliced finger and a managed soul  
like yesterday’s breakfast are today almost pristine.
So now cypress trees and cisterns go wandering off,
which you take for granted but only if love is likely.
Raspberry dessert, I revel in your manifest anarchy.
Rough-hewn breath instant as unearthed arrows you
like a black dove hover over my heart, injecting me
with penicillin, and banana scent that’s oh so sweet.
A plethora of doubt intrudes, muscular and bullying 
whenever I yawn, bored to tears yet worrying about
the apocalypse falling on my head as scorched ash.
Never mind says the trollop scouring craven streets 
where sacrilege and alms greet pilgrims to nirvana.
It’s said in scriptures do unto others what you want.
I wrote that a few days ago while bathing beneath
a purple sky. Rapidly erased from memory parades
a quorum of senators wrapped in gold tunics, to be
saluted by the jackals devout in belief that faith aids
not reverse osmosis, nor includes concrete elements.

Thomas Piekarski is a former editor of the California State Poetry Quarterly. His poetry has appeared in such publications as Poetry Quarterly, Literature Today, Poetry Salzburg, South African Literary Journal, Modern Literature, and others.His books of poetry are Ballad of Billy the Kid, Monterey Bay Adventures, Mercurial World, and Aurora California.