Wednesday, September 28, 2016

My Five-Five-Fingers: a poem by Martins Tomisin


My five-five-fingers of my hands
Zestfully lived In serenity.
The three thrill fingers of my right hand:
Thumb, index finger and middle finger
Stoutly lived civilly and gleefully
Amongst her BROTHERS:
They rested gleefully upon the placid,

Perched in the midst of the three thrill
And laid rest upon the hungry,
Virgin DUSKY-SHEET, which sprawled
Bear flat on the glossy desk.
The glossy desk accompanying the earth
The earth accompanying its depth.

The other two fingers of my right hand:
Ring finger and little finger
Calmly leisure, plopped on the hungry, Virgin dusky-sheet
And lent ears to the Sharp-sable-pointed
Muttering vignettes of yesterday
Muttering vignettes of today
Muttering vegnettes of tomorrow.
Upon the glossy desk
My five fingers of my left hand too
Laid rest, and eyeballed the sharp-sable -pointed-dart, muttering deep

All you who waded through lines:
All you who unearth the heart
Of this Earth, hunting for treasures
Pore over my ten fingers.
My ten fingers,
As pure as a full virgin moon.
I have dunked deep my five fingers
Of my right hand with my progenitors
In a bowl of sweet dishes
And nibbled singed YAMS amidst
The thriving vegetables.

But my forefinger of my left hand
Never been raised above
To curse the heavens
Never been raised up to pinpoint
My progenitors' homeland
Never had it tasted any depravity
And never will it be licked
Or bit by the savage butchers of Meat
Who loved to fatten themselves on murder
And gratified their heart with
Juicy cup of blood and gore.

 *   *   *

Martins Tomisin Olusola was born on July 12th 1995, to the Martins Family in Lagos State. Nigeria. He is currently a student at Olabisi Onabanjo University, where he is studying English. He has won an award in 'Literary Completion' for the best poetry writer In Olabisi Onabanjo University.

*   *   *

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Wild Ones: Creatures of the Catskills

Hanford Mills Museum features "The Wild Ones: Creatures of the Catskills" Exhibit by Treadwell Artist Bertha Rogers 
Treadwell Artist & Poet Bertha Rogers
Hanford Mills Museum will open a new exhibit with by Treadwell artist Bertha Rogers on Saturday, September 24. "The Wild Ones: Creatures of the Catskills," will remain open through Saturday, October 15."The Wild Ones," an interdisciplinary installation with painted and drawn portraits of wild creatures as well as artist books, photographs, poems about the wild creatures who live in Delaware County and the Catskills, and an interactive video that incorporates images, sounds of wild animals, and readings of her poetry by Rogers. Hanford Mills Museum is located at 51 Co. Hwy 12, East Meredith, NY 13757.
     It is the second exhibit in Rogers's Natural Catskills series; the first was "Planting Wildness," which was exhibited in 2014. The aim of the exhibit is to familiarize the people of the county and surrounding region with the creatures who also inhabit this beautiful region of New York, including the many creatures who returned after forests were planted to replace those removed when the region was cleared and settled. Among those creatures, most of whom are rarely seen by humans, are bobcats, mountain lions, bears, fishers, foxes, and even the occasional moos
"Blue Beak" by Bertha Rogers
e. The reading and workshop will encourage community members to write about and illustrate their experiences with these animals.
      Bertha Rogers, artist/poet/teaching artist, has received numerous grants for her interdisciplinary installations in and about Delaware County and the Catskills, including the farm series, the Beowulf exhibit and video; the Anglo-Saxon Riddle-Poem series (which included artifacts from Hanford Mills & DCHA and which is currently being shown at the Dan Welden Gallery, Inspiration Plus in Sag Harbor, NY); the Even the Hemlock series; and others. In addition, her work is in the permanent collection of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin and other locations. She has received grants from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation and the A. E. Ventures Foundation as well as the MacDowell Colony, the Millay Colony for the Arts, Saltonstall, Pocantico Hills, Jentel, Caldera, and Hawthornden International Writers Retreat in Scotland. She is the Poet Laureate of Delaware County.
      Jack Schluep, who produced the video with Rogers, has worked on numerous projects with Joseph Stillman, Paloma Productions, Oneonta, NY; Drew Harty, Treadwell, NY; and many others, traveling throughout the US and abroad, to record and film poets, scientists, and others in the arts. He has also collaborated with Bertha Rogers on audio and videography exhibits and projects since 1994. Together they have produced many audio and video programs.
     This exhibit is made possible with funding from the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Program, administered in Delaware County by the Roxbury Arts Group with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.  Special thanks to Liz Callahan and the Hanford Mills Museum for supporting the exhibit, which will travel, in late October, to the Delaware County Historical Association Museum and, in November, to the Roxbury Library, also supporters of the project. For more information, contact or call 607-278-5744.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Not Just Any Moon

Not Just Any Moon

the summer Solstice moon possessed me
nature's rare, majestic orb
in a never ending cycle
spinning my soul ripe for change
why was I out in the woods
powerless to the full moon's glory ?
heart pounding faster than a sane person's would

The moon's beauty unfurled
I merged with it's aura
nature's unharnessed power
man bows down to its radiance

my soul, my love
what happened ?
what force or predator will eventually find me?

It's time to go.... don't look back
the solstice moon my elixir
my savior
the moon beckons, challenges me . " Come dance...I dare you."
Perhaps I'll perish here while the summer solstice moon dazzles,
but for now, I joyfully dance.

Sasha Thurmond 2016

*   *   * 

Sasha Thurmond is a graduate of the Cornell University MFA program where she majored in printmaking. She lives on a farm in South Carolina with her horse and other animals, and sometimes finds time to make art or write poems or stories.

*   *   *

photo by Sasha Thurmond

*   *   *

Thursday, August 11, 2016

What Fiction Asks Us to Remember

Jeanne Mackin

Think of history as narrative. Think of historical fiction as expanded narrative, history with all the trimmings, with cause and effect, speculation, personalization. Think of expanded narrative as the story teller reaching out to you, saying, "pay attention. This is important.” Or as novelist Jeanette Winterson repeats over and over in The Passion, "Trust me. I’m telling you a story," and then as she relates a Napoleonic narrative of a Venetian woman who walks on water, you do believe her even as you know she is lying through her teeth, because that is what novelists do. But this important: you don’t believe that Venetian women necessarily walk on water (though it would be a convenient skill, considering global warming and the state of Venetian canals) but you do believe Winterson’s message that love changes us, that war changes us and that war is not conducive to happy endings, because that is what her story is really about.

We best believe what we remember, and narrative is about memory: giving memories in the form of stories, receiving memories and adding them to our personal stores. But historical fiction, as memory creation, asks us to do the impossible, to remember experiences we can’t possibly have had, to "remember" the smell of the rosebush growing outside Hester Prynne‘s jail in Hawthorne‘s The Scarlet Letter, to remember crouching in darkness outside the mead hall, the perpetual outsider, as John Gardner’s Grendel does; to remember the sensation of the earthquake that begins the action of Richard Hughes’ A High Wind in Jamaica; to remember the wild vines strangling the decaying plantation in Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea. All of those things were before our times; yet having read them, we remember them.

There is a relationship between memory and freedom, asserts Dr. Chris Nunn, author of De La Mettrie’s Ghost: the Story of Decisions. Nunn examines free will and the decision making process and ultimately concludes that “stories…are the mediators of free choice.” He argues that people whose ‘memories are more malleable should, other things being equal, be less prone to conditions like milleniarianism “{belief that the world will end on a given date simply because of the date} and other forms of private or mass delusion. People with flexible memories are less gullible…“thanks to its intimate relationship with the memory process, consciousness can to some extent determine its own future.”
Call me an idealist, but perhaps fiction can prevent us from making even bigger and more dangerous idiots of ourselves than the species already has. Perhaps historical fiction keeps our memories malleable by constantly recreating and adding to those memories; perhaps there is a connection between fiction, memory and freedom. Gardner’s Grendel can be read as an early eco-novel, among other things: “They {man} hacked down trees in widening rings around their central halls and blistered the land with peasant huts and pigpen fences till the forest looked like an old dog dying of mange.”

In Jean Rhys’ postcolonial devastation in Wide Sargasso Sea, the destructive misery of failed empire comes home to roost in a suicidal conflagration: “I got up, took the keys and unlocked the door. I was outside holding my candle. Now at last I know why I was brought here and what I have to do. There must have been a draught for the flame flickered and I thought it was out. But I shielded it with my hand and it burned up again to light me along the dark passage.”

Richard Hughes’ incredibly convincing narrative of the connections between entitlement and violence in A High Wind in Jamaica reveals how a lack of self-responsibility so easily leads to murder and how that violence estranges us: “Mr. Thornton made no attempt to answer her questions: he even shrank back, physically from touching his child Emily.Was it Conceivable she as such an idiot as really not to know what it was all about? Could she possibly not know what she had done? He stole a look at her innocent little face, even the tear-stains now gone. What was he to think?”

Murdered pirates, decaying plantations, mead halls, Napoleon’s roasted chickens…artificial memories bestowed by historical fiction, but who’s to say that an artificial memory is less meaningful than mundane ones? De La Mettrie argues that memories become encoded in neurons and have physical properties, so why can’t the memories acquired in a reading of fiction matter as much as the memory of today’s first cup of coffee and who poured it for you? Read, and remember. Is it possible to also understand something from what is given us by the memories in fiction? “The past is the present, isn’t it? It’s the future,too. We all try to lie out of that but life won’t let us,” Eugene O’Neill tells us in Long Day’s Journey into Night. Perhaps what fiction most asks us to remember is that memory keeps us human, and if we remember enough and remember well, we can add an "e" to human.

*   *   *

JEANNE MACKIN is the author of seven novels and has published short fiction and creative nonfiction in journals and periodicals including American Letters and Commentary and SNReview. She was the recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society and is an award-winning journalist. She has taught English at Ithaca College and creative writing in the MFA Program at Goddard College in Vermont and Port Townsend, Washington

Jeanne Mackin's latest book A Lady of Good Family, the story of the early architect Beatrix Farrand and her relationship with her niece, the novelist Edith Wharton is available on Amazon at this link:

*   *   *

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Ojo Taiye: A Nigerian Poet

Old songs from afar

in my kraal,
independence is only for the rich
the rest are slaves
earlier it was the British...
now it’s the proboscis of poverty

Latent truth

Papa told us
that the inverse of love
was not animosity:
resultant vector in form
but the ghost of apprehension

Love potion

your love is adder’s tongue
your derriere seduces ants
your firm apples are minarets calling
men to worship
your blue eyes burn prison ribs

your love is poison
you are the fire eroding
forest of puritans
you are the fingers of the night:
gruff wind choking lily blooms

you are hook and fangs
pots of beauty
whose taste
last only like the
wetness of chewing gum
or the belch of stout beers

*   *   *

Ojo Taiye is a young Nigerian who uses poetry as a handy tool to hide his frustration with society. A twenty- three-year-old microbiology graduate from Tansian University, he loves books and Anime in that order. Taiye, has had some of his poetry published or forthcoming in e-magazines such as Kalahari Review, Tuck magazine, Lunaris Review, and whispersinthewind33. 

*   *   *

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Djelloul Marbrook; Three Poems

A shuddering

Here is not as easy to define as there
where imagination is unimpeded
by immediacy, white noise, hard breathing
and the grunt work of getting along,
but here is the dirigible whose mooring lines
we must let go to lift our moment with us
or else cling to captors and adore them.
There are a million ways to shun this
in favor of that and we must abhor them
in favor of spontaneity so sharp
atoms shudder in its proximity, and then,
only then, we dance with what we glimpse at dusk
or when lightning illuminates the woods.
Meanwhile our hankering to define allures us
to hereafters and hereinafters that suck the blood
from the instant that reaches for our hand
to make a circle in a fey and yet familiar place.


I watched her kick the wall for needing repair,
kindred spirit whose sin is being unserviceable.
Break her foot, treacherous wall! Confess
to nothing, not even costing too much. But wait,
her foot's entangled in poison ivy, not Virginia creeper;
that's enough punishment for one day. I'll pretend
to be solicitous, but it's you that has my sympathy,
innocent wall, and if I find any fault with you
it's that you stand in the way of what might be one
to partition us from the object of our longing,
whatever it is, but she wouldn't understand that,
it being so inconvenient. You, surplus to her needs,
stand with me, held up by an invasive species,
not yet allowed to fall down, an object of despair
simply because we require obscene amounts of care.

The suffocating room

A mother wouldn't do this,
not to any woman's child,
unless her demons swallowed his
and she needed to expose her belly
still digesting them, wouldn't,
shouldn't, it doesn't matter
until an explosion more brilliant
than our mother star devours them
and they become pinpricks of light
playing on the skin of innocents
they've yet to meet. Too late,
too late for them all for talk
of sin, redemption, forgiveness,
the usual blather. All that's left
is a sere plain not yet refined
to desert—and an ineradicable sob.

*  *  *

Djelloul Marbrook’s first book of poems, Far from Algiers, won Kent State University's Stan and Tom Wick Prize in 2007. He is the author of four poetry books and five books of fiction. His fifth book of poems, Riding Thermals to Winter Grounds, is forthcoming from Leaky Boot Press, UK, in late 2016. He lives in the mid-Hudson Valley with his wife Marilyn. 

*   *   *

Friday, June 17, 2016

Species Specific, a poem

Mike Foldes

If I start with one and end with two,
Or more, then what change took place
Along the way that made the garden
The way it is, a mix of color, tone and hue
Variegated as Belgian lace,
Complex as the art of Zen?

Why not the genome traced to space,
To planets near the edge of time,
Where universal attributes were wrought
In chains, double helix, acid rain.
What form shapes up on its own
After tripping on a Mobius strip?

Why so many kinds of dogs, when
One might be enough? Why hyena,
Wolf and fox, why the boxer, why the lab?
Are we the cancer on the land
That bests the best that have evolved,
Or simply born to save us from ourselves?

*   *   *

Mike Foldes is the founder and managing editor of Ragazine, an online literary magazine. He is also the author of "Sleeping Dogs, A true story of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping," and "Sandy: Chronicles of a Superstorm," with artist Christine Devereaux." 
Download at www.Smashwords.Com and www.Amazon.Com


Join Mike on MySpace & Facebook

*   *   *