Category Archives: Poetry

Aftermath by Heather Pilder Olson

Earth tilts on its axis.
Disease takes away life.
We’re still here, we are trying
to rebound after strife.

Pandemic post-mortem:
What’s the latest report?
How’s the weather today?
Are we coming up short?

After pandemic, we’ll fix it in post.
I just want to tell you: I love you the most.

Take this chance to re-set
to rest, to reflect.
Find ways to do better,
treat the Earth with respect.

Did you notice the birds,
rabbits up on the hill?
How the animals thrived
when the humans were still?

After pandemic, we’ll fix it in post.
I just want to tell you: I love you the most.

What is that thing
that you most want to do?
Where will you go next?
Who will travel with you?

It’s okay if you’re numb,
didn’t write a great book.
Didn’t learn a new language,
didn’t learn how to cook.

If you are surviving,
that’s a wonderful start.
Keep breathing, keep going,
just keep making art.

We’re still here, we are trying
to rebound after strife.
What will you do
with the rest of your life?

After pandemic, we’ll fix it in post.
I just had to tell you: I love you the most.

Heather Pilder Olson has written, produced and directed several award-winning films, including the recent documentary The River. She was an associate producer for the documentary Gold Balls, which premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival in 2016 and screened on PBS Television in 2020. She wrote the teleplay Crack the Whip which was a finalist in the Bigfoot Script Challenge and selected for the SIFF Live Table Read in 2019. She has also written the teleplay 38 Minutes and the features Dodgers and Birth. She is the executive director of the Bigfoot Script Challenge and co-leads The Green Room. She has taught screenwriting at the Gig Harbor Women’s Prison, and co-leads writers’ retreats in Grayland, Washington.

From the Earth to the Moon by Richard Wilkinson

 

Richard Wilkinson is a Tacoma-based poet. His poetry excavates the layers of meaning in everyday events. He owes a twin debt to A 2013 Whidbey Island Writers’ Conference and Seattle’s Hugo House writing center for his development as a writer. In 2020 he published his first chapbook, “Electricity, Chemistry and Air.” “From the Earth to the Moon” was inspired by a prompt to write a moon poem, inspired by chapter Poetry and the Moon in Mary Ruefle’s collected lectures, “Madness, Rack, and Honey.”

Nostalgia is a Taxidermist by Christopher Allen

Nostalgia, the original taxidermist
Stuffs skewed memories into happiness
Hides imperfections of pain under varnish
Revives distorted stories from barren time.
Nostalgia bronzes the few remaining butterflies
and prepares to glue shadows of solidarity.

Familiarity is the head mounted on the wall
It stares at the jumpy microbes in your soul
and begs for one last cigarette to self-combust.

Nostalgia, the decorated taxidermist
Traces the shapes to immortality
While it plucks off strands of animosity;
Nostalgia sculpts pride from muscles of tradition.

Nostalgia, the avant-garde taxidermist
Plasters heredity into redacted eras
Plants modern ideology into extinction.

Nostalgia captures the breath of perfection
As lavished desires break frigid glass
Absorbing fingerprints of tasty dreams.

 

Christopher Allen

Christopher Allen believes poetry is a defibrillator for the mundane. He calls himself the Curator of Hope, as his goal is to spotlight the hope that resides in everyone. Chris has been in the helping industry for fourteen years and in his spare time, operates a private Hypnotherapy Practice. He resides in Tacoma and always has the itch to travel the world. Those interested in hypnosis can see his website www.vibranthuehypnosis.com

Two Love Poems by Mariesa Bus

And Hera sent gadflies in pursuit

Tethered to the tree, Io
could speak only
with her great eyes.
And so I never wrote
you many letters, though
words rose up through
my fingers like unborn
Braille, though I strung
sentences by their feet
like dead pheasants,
it was too late—
words were not privy to
this new language.
             While I loved you,
             I remained a beast.


O heavenly powers, restore her!

1852: the Studio of John
Millais, her cavernous ears
holding echoes underwater
like sea caves, Lizzie Siddal
hears the muted rattle
of her own shallow
breath, holds still
in spite of her shivering,
as she has practiced.
The last time her eyes
strained to see down
the length of the tub, toes
were ripening into—plums,
she thought, knowing that once
her body held the desired
pose she could endure anything.
The heaters broke and the water
felt like ice (her own marrow), felt
              somehow necessary.
Hours later, she rose
from the tub, painting
the creaking floor with
wet footsteps and saw
              Ophelia drowning
in a river of the same mania.

 

Mariesa Bus (she/her) is an editor, reader, writer, and arts enthusiast who lives and works in Tacoma. She graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in 2006 with a major in English (Creative Writing Emphasis) and a minor in Publishing and Printing Arts. She is also a freelance editor, mother, actor, vocalist, matchmaker, and wedding officiant. Find her on LinkedIn to connect.

In the Bellows by Mariesa Bus

Foggy-breathed and hand in hand with you, I am aware
that as we watch over our sleepy city like a set of mossy gargoyles
the trains below are not bustling, but laboring in the slow and judicious way
of sheep through the slaughter chute, old women in museums,
the trauma in our bloodlines. You are silent and near me, a hermit returned
from the mountain whose thoughts I savor like honey
at the bottom of a tea cup. Your deep voice is a beginning:
the pinball sprung and rolling, and it is an end: drunken ghosts
in an old saloon, shot down, reliving their quarrels unceasingly.
In the middle, we are resting in the bellows of a dusty accordion,
knowing full well the weight of the instrument
around our necks, the smoothness of its button-keys.

*    *    *    *    *

Mariesa Bus (she/her) is an editor, reader, writer, and arts enthusiast who lives and works in Tacoma. She graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in 2006 with a major in English (Creative Writing Emphasis) and a minor in Publishing and Printing Arts. She is also a freelance editor, mother, actor, vocalist, matchmaker, and wedding officiant. Find her on LinkedIn to connect.

Two Skinny Poems by Tyrean Martinson

Shift

After eight attempts, the poem begins to
Shift
Weight.
Words
Considered
Shift
Places,
Refract,
Distort.
Shift
To the poem begins after eight attempts.

 

Apertures of Thought

Refraction bends light and thought as
it
passes
through
angles
it
reveals
color
spectrum
it
bends refraction and light as thought.

* * * * * * * *
Learn more about the “skinny poetry” form in The Skinny Poetry Journal
* * * * * * * *

Tyrean Martinson is a word hunter. She forages for words both sweet and tart in the South Sound, usually in the outskirts of Gig Harbor. Normally, she writes in the weird worlds of fantasy and science fiction, but she likes trying new poetry forms for fun and frustration. An old-school blogger, she can be found here: https://tyreanswritingspot.blogspot.com/

The Banquet of the Holy Spirit by Seattle Poet (anonymous)

The stars have sputtered into dust –
Frail points of light,
In droves devoured
By a swirling mass of black.
Orion’s arrows flit no more,
And the darkness strips the bear of his hide –
The hand of God has swept the skies of all their light,
And by his hand, the Sun and constellations die.

Yet the blood moon shines in all its garish red –
Though no sun remains to be eclipsed.
The night has disemboweled the light of day,
And its ravenous visage be drenched crimson
In the viscera of its slaughter –
Gaze you now upon the gore-stained face of God,
Peering down with a penetrating stare,
Upon frozen earth and flaming seas,
From a blackened, stellar veil
Of damned, digested souls.

As one veil descends, another be torn.
The powers that be make themselves known –
We are but fodder for the famished ancient One –
The god of Heaven and his many-headed angels
Come down to mortal planes to reap their crop,
Gorge themselves on manly flesh,
And suck out the mind and spirit,
As mollusks from a shell.

Mere repast in the maw of a hungry God,
Both saints and sinners be.
The brand of the heavenly beast
May never be removed,
For he who crafted the stars
May swiftly sweep them away,
To make way for his salivating feast.

All is in vain,
For we are swine, fowl, and cattle all.

 

Seattle Poet enjoys writing poems with horror, fantasy, or science fiction themes and spiritual/religious/occult-based imagery, or — in this case– Lovecraftian imagery and inspirations drawn from the anime/manga ‘Berserk’. Seattle Poet enjoys old-school epic/fantasy poems such as Coldridge’s “Mariner,” as well as rock/heavy metal lyrics. Seattle Poet’s lyrical inspirations include Geezer Butler, Leif Edling, Quorthon, Mark Shelton, and many others.

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Polar Route by Kael Moffat

 
Beneath silvered scraps of cloud, the sprinkled towns
of north Quebec and Newfoundland huddle like embers
of a banked fire whose clicks and pops are swallowed
by distance and the whine of brawny engines.
 
I press my fingers against the inner pane
and feel the ghost of sub-zero air just inches
away and wonder about prayers rising into the night,
evaporating from shards of glass and eviction
notices or springing like flowers from permafrost.
I close my eyes as if I could hear them all.
 
 
Vladimír, who sits to my right, told me as we cruised
above the Arctic that he speaks Czech, Hungarian, English,
German, and French and that he is a magician heading home
to Prague after a residency in Vegas. He showed me a picture
of his estranged wife and daughter and told me how missing
them and their bitter words made him feel like Saint Sebastian
chained to the tree with arrows piercing his chest, thighs, and arms.
 
Now, as he sleeps and mutters, probably in Czech, I wonder
whether I am hearing a confession, an apology,
or a profession of enduring and excruciating love
and, though I know it may mean nothing, I whisper
my own prayer that he will be forgiven or stumble
across grace or peace in whatever tongue he may.
 
 

Kael Moffat lives in Olympia with his family and is a librarian at Saint Martin’s University. He loves to hike, play drums, take photographs, and is a relative newbie at kayaking. Previous work has appeared in Isthmus, The American Journal of Poetry, Dark Matter, West Texas Literature Review, Literature and Belief, The Wayfarer, and other journals.

It’s the Journey by Elizabeth Beck

Elizabeth BeckFOCUS

On the blur of leaves crunched and curling, the way the autumn sun wavers the road, transforming each highway rise into flooded streams.

FOCUS

On the music cutting in and out as the signal boosts between the summits and drains to static or settle on an old time religion gospel preaching something like Christianity, with a bitter twist. Better not.

FOCUS

On the waysides and rest stops with bright shouting tastes available for just a little more than what clinks between the fingers in your pocket. Settle for the dribble past the chemical build up on the water fountain. Touch your tongue to the crumbling steel.

To continue reading It’s the Journey, click here

Two Poems from “The Things That Gathers” by Lucas Smiraldo

LucasFeatured are the poems Johnny Damon and For People Who Have Considered Suicide
When Resurrection is Enough

Johnny Damon

Johnny Damon was dead.
Nine times,
nine games
his hair was
moving
his feet were
flying
but everyone in
Boston
would whisper,
Dead man swinging
and they knew
Johnny
Damon
was
dead–

To continue reading selections from “The Things That Gather,” click here.