Laurinda Lind

on a withered vine
handfuls of grapes still alive
in the freezing rain

***  

cold weather cruisers
gunmetal gray clouds
ships above us

***  

their beautiful baby
soon after the wedding
but who’s counting 

~~~

Laurinda Lind is a former journalist/ current caregiver in New York’s North Country, near Canada. Some of her writing is in Atlanta Review, The Heartland Review, New American Writing, Paterson Literary Review, and Spillway. She is a Keats-Shelley Prize winner, and a Pushcart Prize, and Best of the Net nominee. This is Laurinda’s first feature on The Short of It.

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Duane L. Herrmann

MIRACLE FLAMES

Steady candle flames
did not dance
but bent horizontal
in unison,
then stood upright again,
then bent opposite
and stood again
with no wind
in closed room.

GRANPA’S HANDS

My Granpa’s hands
were always old
as I am now.
I watched him age
as I am now,
and now, too,
a grandfather
with wrinkled hands.

BIRTH WELCOME

Purple streaks across the sky,
oranges and reds,
set the autumn sun
over prairie grasses,
tan and yellow blowing,
waving under wind.
Any wonder why
I love this world
which welcomed me?

SCULPTURES OF A FORMER TIME

Tractors, mowers, rakes,
even manure spreaders,
find new homes
in retirement
by grandsons
of the farmers who
had worked them,
now resting
in the front yard!

PASSED LITTLE BRIDGE

Bridge by the side of the road
in the ditch
where road once was,
bridge remains
making the way
to small cemetery
new road goes around,
as I do too.

FINDING EARTH

We thought we
were going to the moon
but found the earth instead:
blue-white ball
suspended, alone and single
in expanse of empty space:
one home
for one mankind,
we are one together.

~~~

The work of Duane L. Herrmann has been published in print and online, in over a hundred journals, more than fifty anthologies, plus seven volumes of poetry, more chapbooks, a history, and a sci-fi novel; all despite a traumatic, abusive childhood embellished with dyslexia, ADHD, cyclothymia, an anxiety disorder, and PTSD. Duane was first featured on June 19, 2020, and again on December 4, 2020. Some of his thoughts were also selected and published in The Sound of Brilliance.

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Joe Wells

I’VE SAVED ENOUGH FOR SHADY PALMS

I’ve saved enough to go in Shady Palms,
assuming I die at the end of the week.
If I reach old age, or get dementia,
then I’m surely up shit creek.

I find it hard to understand the system,
which pays if it’s your leg that’s broke.
You pay though if it’s your head that’s ill,
and to me that’s not a joke.

I have no desire to go in Shady Palms,
to find I’m fading and walking toward the light.
I want to stay home, then one day on waking,
find I’ve gone and died in the night.

GINGER ROGERS, BACKWARDS AND IN HEELS

Hard dancing Fred Astaire,
with Ginger Rogers made a pair.
Her fancy footwork always appeals,
amazing, as it’s backwards and in heels.

Hard dancing Fred Astaire,
did tap with Ginger with such flair.
Moving fast as light with flashing feet,
man oh man dig that rhythm, dig that beat.

Hard dancing Fred Astaire,
rehearsed for hours with no care,
No thought for Ginger her feet so sore,
taking off her shoes and the blood would pour.

Hard dancing Fred Astaire,
hit the top in the floodlights glare.
Asked the secret of his success to explain,
he thought for a while then said, no pain no gain.

Hard dancing Fred Astaire,
then Ginger’s thoughts did share.
My feet bleeding until dances he perfects,
I am proving women really are the stronger sex.

Hard dancing Fred Astaire,
with Ginger Rogers made a pair.
Her fancy footwork always appeals,
amazing, as it’s backwards and in heels.

JRR TOLKIEN AND THE NOBEL PRIZE

JRR Tolkien, author of great repute
was nominated for a Nobel Prize
by C S Lewis, a writer and his friend,
then suddenly came a surprise.

His Lord of the Rings books were rejected
the jury called them second rate,
poor storytelling was also cited
as the reason they met this fate.

I wonder if the author JRR Tolkien,
these comments cut him in half                                                          
but as a bestselling author,
he certainly had the last laugh.

WOKE IN THE UK

As an older fellow, I would like to reach out to the younger members of society in a vain attempt to retain my sanity going forward for there are certain expressions and phrases which are used by the youth of today which are causing me anxiety and are interfering with my mental health, some of which I have placed in bold type.

For example, starting a sentence with So punctuating it with Like talking with a Multicultural London accent emphasising any word ending with ility and now I find I’m having to contend with Woke.

I’m getting a little sick and tired of it all and would like to go back to English as a language and for modern Woke people to stop taking offence on behalf of others who are probably more capable of dealing with the situation themselves.

That’s the end of my minor rant for now but I am certain I have missed a multitude of things and will no doubt think of more going forward, sorry I mean in the future.

BACK BENCH MP’S

In Great Britain, we have numerous traditions and peculiar habits which I personally love, especially the ones that make no sense at all, an example being The House of Commons.

A person can stand for Parliament and when elected become a Minister of Parliament and assuming they continue their way up the greasy pole of Politics can become a Member of the Cabinet, an example of which is the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, or slightly stranger the post of Minister Without Portfolio, which is a post for a Cabinet Minister with no specific responsibilities.

I’m sure all this makes perfect sense to all those of you who may not live in our rather wonderful country but just to throw a spanner into the works, should one of these Ministers cause a bit of a hoo-ha by having an affair and groping his secretary and breaking the current Covid restrictions he or she will lose their Ministerial position and be banished to the back benches of Parliament, this is rather like becoming one of the naughty children on a school trip who sits at the back of the bus and causes a commotion, although smoking is not permitted in the Chamber.

There you are, the British Parliament in a nutshell, I hope it all makes sense to you!

~~~

Joe is a retired actor, author, and blogger. thediaryofacountrybumpkin.com is an amusing take on the more quirky aspects of modern life. His books are available on Amazon, the latest of which is a murder mystery set in 1947 and is called The Case of the Grease Monkey’s Uncle. Joe was first featured on The Short of It on March 6, 2020, and then published in our first anthology – The Sound of Brilliance.

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John Grey

HOW TO KNOW YOU’RE HERE

It’s where water and reeds
go dark together,
a frog sends word
via deep-throated bloop.

Where a solitary hill,
just by being in the way,
extinguishes the sun.

Where cricket chirr
is the last sound
the wildflowers hear for the night

Where fading light,
gives way to slate sky,
and white sparkle
on the backs of the deer.

Stay put
if these apply.  

THE DYING ART

Was I the only boy
who, on rainy days,
made a paper boat
out of yesterday’s newspaper,
launched my vessel
in the gutter
at the top of the hill,
then ran alongside its maiden voyage,
as it rode high on slimy water
a hundred yards or more
before that final swerve,
into the drain hole,
and the plummet out of sight?

I’ve been in plenty of company
but I’ve not heard it mentioned.

Please, go fold your own schooner,
cast off and ride shotgun,
or childhood dies with me. 

IN THE CATSKILLS

The mountains are not going anywhere
and yet why do I watch them, not just in awe,
but for conformation.

And why are you beside me,
on this chair cut from oak,
wedged safely in rock at this overlook,

with the Catskills stretching before us,
so many peaks, so many names,
the landscape entrusted to their granite,

their greenery, streams etched into the dips,
waterfalls dispensing winter snows,
and the occasional shadow-rippled lake

to draw in the wildlife with a siren’s
silent song that echoes from a glacial age.
We too are staying put, our belief

in each other just as grounded and an occasional
glimpse presenting itself to a glance returned,
a skim that barely realizes the depths it encounters:

love, that fish that thinks it’s a dragonfly.
Sun’s setting now, stripping some of the scenery
away from us, so it’s time to leave before

the chill, the blankness, stake their claim
for sense and scenery. It’s a slow walk back to the hotel.
Direction would be darkness if we weren’t the lamplights. 

POETRY HELPLINE

When sorrow needs words,
I am at your disposal.

I do pain, heartbreak,
diseases of the body,
mind and soul,
and the only charge
is that you read what
I write when I’m done.

I also do
love and happiness,
but rarely.

For that’s when
poetry about something
can’t compete
with that something.

People seldom come
to me for joy. 

ONE OF A KIND

Sun fades
on granite ridge.
Shadow celebrates
the last rites
of rock and pool.

Trees fuse together,
become shape.
Half-blinded hills
close the other eye.

I look out from the veranda,
take kindly to the grayness,
the tamped horizon fires.

Birds roost, bats emerge,
my mind retreats
from spectacle to musings.

The moon’s let loose.
Sky breaks out in stars.
I’m under no pressure
to go in.

In so few places,
can I be
one of a kind. 

THE GUY WHO VENTED

He poured out his heart
and many listened in.
Despite the alcohol,
the man’s emotions were genuine.
And they found doleful
but vigorous expression.
He talked of a departed loved one,
though whether dead or just moved on,
he never did make clear.
And it could have happened yesterday
or a quarter of a century ago.
Whatever the combination,
it had all been too much for him.
He told, in great detail,
the elements of a thousand dreams,
except they were all the same dream –
that he and she,
whoever she was,
be reunited again.
He must have found some relief
in the telling
because he went on and on about it
and, as long as the passion was there,
he had an audience.
He got it all out.
He got it all out a second time.
But then he started to fatigue.
He began to waver,
looked likely to totter
and fall any moment.
He went out looking for a little sanity.
He found a couple of guys
willing to help him into a cab.

~~~

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” and “Memory Outside The Head” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Lana Turner and International Poetry Review. John’s work was first featured on The Short of It on July 17, 2020, and again on December 31, 2020. He had several pieces selected and published in The Sound of Brilliance.

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Lorraine Lewis

DARKEST MYSTERY

Darkest mystery
Pure gems within the darkness
I walk in the dark

OCEAN OF LOVE

Darkness
As light lifts me
As I walk the unknown
Pastures in the shadow of death
Refreshed
Renewed
By the silent still waters deep
In the ocean of love
I never knew
In life

OVER THE BRIDGE

Over the bridge mists
Sigh out love songs divinely
Calling me to life

WILLOW 

Willow you weep dawn 
Brings tears in dew to your leaves
Glistening with hope

FOREST

Forest green deep joys
Draw me to your chanting prayer
Divine sacredness

~~~

My name is Lorraine Lewis. I have always written poetry but began to write more in earnest following having serious advanced blood cancer and going blind and becoming wheelchair-bound. I greatly enjoy experimenting with different forms of poetry, preferring shorter forms. 

Lorraine was featured twice in 2020 – March 27 & December 18, and published in The Sound of Brilliance.

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Carolyn Crossley

Tired

The journey
Is so exhausting.
I am weak,
So weary,
I could lay my head down and
Just give up right now.

Manifest

I like to find the witch in me,
sometimes it is so hard to see.
I use magic so I can be,
daughter of the earth, set free.

I attune with the turning earth.
Seasons can bring sorrow and mirth.
Then for what it is truly worth,
of happiness, there is no dearth.

Find answers wherever they hide
That still, small voice that lives inside.
For you have searched both far and wide.
Now manifest a smoother ride!

Forgiveness

forgive yourself first
then forgive everyone else
no matter the crime…

Shadow Self

you will have to learn
to accept this part of you
the dark to your light.

~~~

Carolyn Crossley, known as the ©🦊VixenOfVerse, is a poet and writer based in the Greater Manchester area of North West England in the UK. She enjoys spoken word events very much. Carolyn is a prolific blogger and can be found here: Backfromdarknesstolight.com. Podcasts will be coming! Carolyn’s first feature on The Short of It was on November 20, 2020, and had pieces selected for The Short Of It anthology – The Sound of Brilliance.

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Kritika Maheshwari

End

Might look loose
but it’s the end
Period.

Appreciate

appreciate, don’t suffocate
for love without complaints
has a palatable taste; no haste
impatience will leave stains
time’s teachings are no waste

Caterpillar

smoothly tearing the soft layer of balmy cocoon
the once crawling being now flies in fulgent hues
accepting the truth of its existence
stretching wings of self-love, persistent
the glamorous artistry of nature glides, confides
insouciantly fulfilling its wishes for what it has originated

News

Headlines cry to untune the averse state of our miserable humanity which has lost its stature
No comprehension of the hues of light or dark but the cruel selfishness speaks satirically throughout

Little Achievements

Joyful pouring of salt
Body halting at sweet shop
Celebrate the little achievements

~~~

An Indian-origin soul who sought pleasure in writing, two years ago, which she continued with pride and honor. She has not yet fixed her genre but tries to weave a variety of topics, aesthetically. Hitherto, some of her submissions have been accepted by a few international and regional publications. Also, two of her poetries have found space in a recently published anthology, The Sound of Brilliance. For more of her works, you can always visit: www.valorousbird.wordpress.com and can also email her at valorousbird@gmail.com. Kritika’s first feature on The Short of it was published on June 12, 2020.

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Ivor Steven

The Sum is One

One
Sky above
Five oceans bind us
The one air we breathe comes from
Trees

Behind The Stone

When looking for home 
If you roll away the stone 
You won’t be alone 

Lost For Words 

lost worlds 
lost wars 
lost objectives 
lost subjects
lost children                        

Cold Nights

Empty, I return unsold
The sheets are cold
No crease to hold
Nor unfold

~~~

Ivor Steven was an Industrial Chemist, then a Plumber, now retired, and has been writing poetry for 19 years. He has had numerous poems published in anthologies and online magazines. He is an active member of the Geelong Writers Inc. (Australia), he is a team member/barista with the online magazine Go Dog Go Cafe (America), and a writer with the Coffee House Writers magazine (America). You can read more of his work on his blog – Ivor.Plumber/Poet. Ivor was originally featured on The Short of It on March 4th.

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Joni Caggiano

Sadness Moans

shooting pain lurches like a stranger in the blackest night
where monsters live releasing their copies, swarming past, out of sight

jealousy walks on rugged stones stealing from the gifted
holding hands of small cactus plants until the desert sands are shifted

behind their peering eyes a Judas runs to throw a stone
whiffs of his betrayal, climbing to the top of the field, I hear his moan

trust a blanket, with a thousand promises, tickling me
deceit, painful rubbing of an alligator’s bony plates, I run to a forest tree

a stranger in this house of horrors, yet I have to live
stealing glances, taking chances, as I taste the bitter love I cannot give

Luna Moth and Her Lover

intense eyes open imaginary shutters
her green wings, the luna moth flutters
she mates once has no mouth, dies, lays eggs in wooded covers

would I give my life for one more night
knowing death would be my one last flight
with you, my darling, keeper, and lover of my heart, I just might

Rumor Damage

rumor is a spineless seed dipped in fertile shadow dirt
that multiplies and causes pain and unexpected hurt

silence, a bed partner that takes but never gives back
as a man tells a buddy how easy he got her in the sack

black spots jump off potatoes and out of a perfect dish
surviving boiling water and a blemish on an ideal wish

misfortune of a hammer that averted a four-inch nail
a hungry man begs for food and becomes a vulgar tail

her legs jump from flower to flower, hoping for a treat
for sleeping alone with her legs and scheming little feet

jealousy and deceit was the cause of their blue demise
scissors cut paper, and true words, well – their end is no surprise

Uncle’s House

memories grow roots that spring up like dandelions on a freshly mowed lawn
hiding among floating clouds, unwanted hands, or those thin leafless limbs
the taste of cigars on lips or the slimy feel of uncles’ probing thick tongue
he took me to church, like to watch me dance and listen when I sang hymns

lots of summer afternoons, I sat for hours while the birds sang songs to God
his lap was big, and it felt good to have someone to care what I liked to do
summer days remind me of candy, fishing, and rum bottles hiding everywhere
the smell of marigolds or that living room and wiggling to get away from you

Mermaid’s Lost Love

seaweed, green, like my eyes, harbor me in this woeful abyss
waning as my golden blueish scales morph into blackness
shadow life, and inquisitiveness died and bled the colors of the
Bolivian orange-red sunset, which calls to your land’s hummingbirds
as their darting ceased, when my only child died not far from your brown banks

caught in a mile-long fishnet with a dolphin, and sea turtle friends
a triangle of death as I watched her die slowly as I tore my fingers
trying to save my little mermaid child as my blue tears floated skyward
a mere full moon later my merman swam into a black pool of thickness
unable to swim, black death covering his scales, cocooned as he died a painful death

I visit a river that has ancient trees with long gray hair, our family knew
my sorrow theirs, for they would clap as we would sing our odes
large white stones for basking, close to flowers that smell of love, and hope
braiding the morning glories, red swamp hibiscus, and white gardenias
into black hair as reminders of the lifeless and those that will follow

our world under and above the sea is dying from white man’s greed
regret and sorrowfulness breaks my heart into pieces
soon cut into ribbons like the seaweed I will die from sorrow
for no longer do I wish to see the sunrise, no, not one more tomorrow

Old News Is Not Old News

whites of fearsome eyes looking up from blood-soaked boards
black bodies stretched naked, branded, and shackled to floors
fifty women drowning overboard that enslaver’s work quickly done
another coast, heavily greased black muscles, glimmer in the sun
2021 computers on –  I listen while today’s news on a video rolls
spinning lies another bright young man died as this story unfolds
choked, gaged, sprayed, or flayed, old news nothing fresh today
sadness is killing me daily, as I think, what will their mothers say
another way of killing folks instead of hanging on a hoary oak tree
black people want to live their lives, be respected, and to be free
I am sick and tired, of being sick and tired, of the filthy shocking pace
of how white men keep eradicating people, not included in their race

~~~

Joni’s blog is Rum and Robots. Her national and international publications can be found here: https://the-inner-child.com/publications/. She is a surviving Adult Child of Alcoholics. Joni is a retired nurse and paralegal. Since the age of six, she has been writing songs and poetry. Joni is an avid environmental advocate. She was first featured on The Short of It in December 2020, and her work was published in the first anthology – The Sound of Brilliance.

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Goutam Dutta

Autumn

Season of fall
Few fallen leaves cling to us…
We carry the memories. 

Lockdown during pandemic

Lockdown…
Hospital full of Corona patients
Empty local train. 

Re-opening post 2nd wave

Post lockdown….
Swimming towards morning walkers
Fishes at the lake. 

Twilight hues

Vibrant twilight hues…
The sky resplendent in pink
Conch shells herald dusk 

Riding through country roads

Swathe of green and blue
Hues bordering the road…
Traveller’s delight. 

Onset of Monsoon

Onset of monsoon…
Parched earth scans the horizon
Sweat oozes from pores. 

Onset of monsoon…
Blotch of black at horizon
Dance of the peacock.

Onset of monsoon…
Dark clouds come floating with breeze
Fingers type a poem. 

Onset of monsoon…
Hanging raindrops swing with breeze
Shades of grey all day.

~~~

Goutam is passionate about poetry and writes whenever something or someone touches his heart. His poetry finds space in a number of anthologies, including The Sound of Brilliance. Hues of Life (Notion Press) is another collection of his poetic works. Living in Kolkata, India, he can be reached at gdutta17@gmail.com Goutam was first featured in The Short of It on October 23, 2020.

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