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Coming Home
................Simona Dragu

left the land of sun
abandoned the blue skies and pebbled beaches
blocked the whispers of the waves
try to forget the swollen breast of sea
the foamy crests
the white seagulls in their erratic fly
their cries

now
surrounded by grey and brown porous snow
skeletal trees
glooming sky
caressed by cold wind
cradled by lingering winter
i arrived home
where i belong


Home, Our Universe
.................Fred Manson

Witness unfulfilled desires of pulsing hearts
ready for voyages to Mars, guests of infinity,
future is now, creating fresh definitions of 'home'
on streaking space ships in flight from time.
Buck Rogers my epic hero in grade three
flew his crew beyond clustered stars
exploding constellations, winning wars.
Where can you find 'home sweet homes',
'homes over distant horizons'?
we discovered home is where the heart
can yearn in secrecy, if need be, alone!
imagine trickles of homesickness claiming
emotional minds of men and women near
Mars' orbit, close to voluptuous Saturn's rings.
There'd be no returning to Mother Earth!
Today families already balanced precariously
give guidance to children facing chaotic worlds,
hanging in there, steering the family ship
away from hostile rocks in turbulent times.

For us, born in 1920's jazz age
time's radiance, living light of youthful lives,
showered bounty, struggle, loss, discovery, optimism.
Reminiscing today brings guilt. Curious kids ask,
Who will stop the menacing grotesqu
es?


Vacancy
.......Barbara Fraser

Die quietly efficiently
so we can strip the bed
sanitize the room
remove all traces of you

We have to scrub you away
disinfect your home of fifteen years
so no one will remember
your laughter
hopes frustrations
your lively gentleman friend
with the roving eye

Have to remake the bed with
crisp white sheets
plump the pillows
for the next occupant
and the next

Don't want to find any wisp
of your fine grey hair
any lingering scent of 'Shalimar'

No time for dawdling memories
we've other rooms to clean
An empty bed is bad
business

This morning
I found a pearl drop earring
under your bed

You always liked to have the last
word.


Sea Ice, Inuit Hunters, Kayaks, Sled Dogs

upper SPACE satellite's photographic mapping
is the lens of God's eyes over his shrinking
frozen kingdom floating across the top
of a watery world's icescapes 30 feet thick…

fifty years of vast ice fields grinding pack ice
into living sculptures chiseled by frigid winds,
is hard work by any standard ?
like picturing the white fastness welded together
by howling wind-chills -95'F merciless tundra…

subsistence hunting, fishing on shriveling ice pans,
not likely to succeed in widening coastal leads…
dragging kayaks over hidden bruising narrow gaps,
gives way to skidoos cruising snow-packed village trails…
fewer cubs and kids for polar bears, seals, narwhal,
musk-ox, Arctic char, polar cod fish…
fewer sheets of sea ice, ice packs breaking up,
fewer mammoth glaciers calving iceberg art
floating into southern shipping lanes…

sea ice masses circle the Pole
in smaller clusters…open waters…
glacier thaw melts earlier
north-west passage reveals itself
ice free today,
tomorrow , freer in solitude...

Fred Manson


Detox

When a detox centre passed me by
I thought, how nice, how very nice
to be detoxified.
How splendid it must be
to hide behind A A's anonymity.

But where's the detox centre
for those who don't do drugs,
whose substance is the stuff of life,
who still must have their fix?
Where's the detox centre
for 'Man's inhumanity to Man,'
for crimes against humanity
that seem bred in the very bone?

There's detox churches and confessionals
to exorcise our vices,
with a ten per cent donation
for their meth.
But there are no detox centres
for Twittering or sex,
these are left to self control.
Yet these every day addictions
are countenanced by all.

Alex Hamilton-Brown


From Milkweed Birds,published 2012

email: Alex


Amaryllis
Henry Beissel

Sirens scream at the drowsy city
as an ambulance chases a silent stalker
that lies in ambush in the dark passageways
connecting the body's many dwellings
to the extremities of the heart.

A victim choking in the killer's hold
is snatched from certain death at zero hour
and delivered to emergency. The attack
is registered, compressed into dates and data,
the patient poked, probed and injected.

The stalker refuses to surrender
his vital statistics, but medication
puts him in his place, and his intended victim
takes heart as he is wheeled to a ward
for the surgeon's inquest and sentence.

The long dark tunnel from emergency
is chilly and foreboding. Fear creeps
into the mind's folds. The heart, worn
from the burdens of living, falters:
will it rally to beat the odds in the morning?

Tracks crisscross the ceiling of each ward
to run curtains round the solitude
of those in pain. Little of what is left
of their pride huddles in hives of hope
where tiny flames strobe-light the will to live.

Patients pushed and pulled in wheelchairs
or on hospital gurneys between labs, surgery
and their cubicles, mostly men, mostly old,
semi-private, semi-conscious, semi-alive
and semi-dead, their manhood diminished

till even their patience goes limp. And I
grow weary of waiting among the promises
of well-meaning doctors and the solicitations
of smiling nurses. I know the killer bides his time
in the blood and the heart cannot be institutionalized.

Dawn presses a grey blanket damp against the window.
I hear the winter wind whistle a dirge in the streets below,
blowing flurries of snow horizontally across the cold light.
Five storeys above the just awakening Ottawa traffic
I feel my years like a heavy weight in my flesh and bones.

And there, at the centre of my anxiety,
between drab hospital walls and insipid meals,
an explosion of blood-red petals - an amaryllis!
Nine blossoms succulent as passion, a gift of love
feeding the flames in one of my nine lives.

Buds rose on sturdy green legs hour by hour
from the first day of my confinement
unfolded till they towered above the ailing
wannabe living forever and a day -
a cluster of floral flesh and blood

like a circle of dancers suspended in mid-air,
mouths wide open, all lips and loving,
anthers tonguing the clinical air,
their crimson petals velvet skirts flaring -
a tableau to trump mortality for another day.

The sirens were silent when I went home,
the blood once more coursing freely
through the re-enforced tunnels in the flesh,
an amaryllis singing a Renaissance glee
to the tune of a newly enchanted heart.


Figure Skaters

my heart pounds
of pride filled energy
a successful performance
I stand here
spiked into the ice
for an unseen crowd
in a forum of applause

my mind and heart
melt into the soul
of glass smooth ice
warmer to the next venue

each time in succession
is a test of pride
and dedication to perfection
under blinding lights
will test my heart

Ed Woods


To Sharon and Hazel

Teenagers in their sixties
what a scene this brings to mind
giggling silly creatures.
“Do you remember when”?
Around the pool we sat
three gray haired teens
gone were the arthritic knees,
the wrinkles that we fight
the bifocals too were forgotten
in that afternoon of youth regained.
We didn’t care what others saw
three matrons acting strange,
for we were sixteen again:
we laughed so hard
we cried real tears
itineraries blew in the breeze.
I saw you both young and carefree
I felt that way too,
may this cameo of joy sustain us
keep us in each others thoughts
till we once again create
our own time warp
in another meeting place.


Estelle Bennett

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