Catching Bliss by Lou Davies James

Sunlight spills and pools on
my grandmother’s patchwork quilt
through the thin, embroidered
curtains in my room.

I step into the day…
opening doors and windows,
drawing in the morning air
cool off the ocean,
feeding cats and kittens on the deck,

squeezing juice and sipping as I write
what spills and flows,
feeling it come, letting it go,
lulled by errant phrasing as I stir

dusky berries into batter,
fresh cut lemon stinging
winter-weary splits on my thumb,
singing Joni Mitchell…

as I wash the spoons and bowls
and smell the muffins rising in the heat…

sweet days and dreaming,
bliss measured in moments,
fleeting in the light that pours
through my open windows.

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To read Lou’s bio and other Spring Runoff Entry, go here.

*Competition entry*

One Cup for Turning by Lou Davies James

Draw me water sweet from out the well
when winter storms replenish all we know.
Long before the trees with blossom swell
the ice-bound season gifts the world with snow.

Snow that saturates the thirsting ground
as aquifers imbibe and drink their fill,
unleashed toward the sea where they are bound
when spring unties the thread of winter’s chill.

Chill that painted roses on your face
in March now slips away but still the blush
remaining as your fingers shake, unlace
the garments April sheds in such a rush.

Rush toward summer’s arms when ours are old
and frigid winds of change are fresh with cold.

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Lou Davies James grew up on the beaches of Eastern Long Island and currently lives in North East Florida with her husband Wes and far too many cats. She is the author of one full length volume of poetry, Adrift in the Holy, and two chapbooks; Drawn as Ever and Internal Insomnia. She has been published in Victorian Violet Press, Wilderness Interface Zone and JBStillwater.

*Competition entry*

Jet-Lagged Spring Therapy by Ángel Chaparro Sainz

It’s weird now to think about this
(Time to destination: 10:50
Local time: 4:50 pm
Distance traveled: 0 km
Altitude: 0 m
Ground speed: 0 m
Head wind: 0 km/h
Outside Air Temperature: 26 c)
But I’ve just remembered that last night
I was sitting in the curb smoking behind the trashcan,
Could hear kids playing in other yards.

The day had gone by in a flash
Sun was fading in the west
Ash-gray clouds making his bed
But I turned east to stare at the Wasatch
And I wondered
That my first spring in the valley
Was almost over.

Now I see the melting peaks
Quite closer,
Hovering over them:
Less than 35 feet, still V1, and more than ten hours to
Get back
The day
I run younger to come here.

Twelve fake hours of my life
That I have used to bury my ego
In this foreign plain surrounded by heaps
Of pioneering dreams become true.

Next year I’ll celebrate the day I creamed
My neck
Watching in awe how spring was sun
Caressing the stony lips of Princess
Timpanogos
While she was resting wrapped
In white blankets.

I already traveled back home.
A home I’m leaving and heading to at once.
Sparrows play in civic chestnut trees
And quails wriggle in the dust of Liberty Park.
It’s weird now to think about this
But I love to dream
That I’ve been disjointed by spring.

(Time to destination: the rest of it
Local time: no need
Distance traveled: always the longest
Altitude: too close to
Ground speed: please, slow it down
Head wind: dry feet
Outside Air Temperature: who cares!)

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You can find Ángel’s other Spring Runoff entries here and here.

*Competition entry*

Pulling Off Spring by Ángel Chaparro Sainz

I grew up watching mountains as a promise.
A father wasted by the eternal fire on the shop’s furnace.
A mother whose mother was mother on loan.
Loving slopes. I grew up thinking that nature was trees
In a park.
Sometimes I drive my car far,
Pull off
Somewhere out of this urban ocean
And fantasize
That I am diving into wild.
But the wildest here is how we harvested concrete.
This pawn shop of natural spirits:
Landscape framed by the fast windows of the subway.
Today gave birth to another windy spring.
Does it matter anymore?
I sit neat in a terrace just to watch people come and go.
Rain left the asphalt clean and pleased
And I marvel at the flowers planted on the windowsills.
This is it.
Me?
This is him.
Springy boy dotting his landscape with promises of new horizons,
Achievable paradise
Where cars are grassy, buildings leafy and people flowery.
Meanwhile,
Daisies keep blooming upon manhole covers
And I still have hopes.
Spring in cities is rolling down the window
To pursue
The miracle of sight.
Nice rhythm while life cheers up the prosaic tragedies
Of common men like me.
I guess I look stupid sitting in this park,
Alone,
staring at that kid,
Knees deep,
When he caresses daisies before he takes them to his mouth
And sips
The gentle bread of time that he will store in mind
For days to come
When spring is done and darkness catches his breath.

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To see Ángel’s other entry and his bio, go here.

*Competition entry*

Wire Up My Mind To by Ángel Chaparro Sainz

Wire up my mind to
Spring
Breaks           free
The seeds are roasting on my chest
I can only think
Of cliffs
To jump
That window
Sunny
Outside
I blame the birds for
My sympathy to god
God must be larks
Feeding swans
Maps taking shape
Lame boys
Like me
Still having hopes
When light gets
Dark and we get scared
Flee Flee Flee
Free
Words
Birds
Mean kids playing free
Out there
In the park
And me here wanting to grab what I can’t grab
Because I keep my hands on the keyboard
Instead of plugging them into the wet ground
And now
I’m quitting
Spring is bringing back the thrill
I mean
Jump off
Self-pity is leaning towards the edge
And embrace the risk
To be

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Ángel was born in Barakaldo, Basque Country, northeastern Spain around 1976. Currently, he is a professor of English at the University of the Basque Country where he has been teaching literature, poetry and history as well. Some of his short stories have been published in Deia newspaper and some other anthologies after being winners of contest such as Villa de Gordexola, Ciudad de Eibar or Ortzadar–all of them in the Basque Country.  In the last few years all his creative efforts have been focused on his dissertation on Phyllis Barber’s work and some other scholarly stuff but he still got some time to publish a short story in a Chilean literary magazine and poetry in WIZ. All his poems in Spanish remain unpublished, waiting for the day Ángel feels confident enough to find an outlet for them.

*Competition entry*

Let Rocks Speak by Mary Belardi Erickson

After €œApril is the cruelest month, € T.S. Eliot

I.

Earth surrounds you, my rough-orange Chessie.
Earth retrieved you through its door.
Raccoons quarrel in the yard without your night patrol.
Covered with daisy rugs and a new red collar on,
your head rests on a corduroy purple pillow.
You are held deeply like a queen’s companion
in cool repose.

Forgetting, I think you waiting in cool May grass.
I see your shining eyes–expectantly bright.
That morning I closed them.
They had watched for me one last time.
By excavating, we had you laid six feet deep
where summer heat will bother you no more.
At first, I kept watered there marigolds and zinnias.
We planted orange tulips and peony bushes
to watch for each spring.

I picked from the field white, Continue reading “Let Rocks Speak by Mary Belardi Erickson”

April, I’ve Been Fooled Before by Michael Lee Johnson

I blink, the electricity is off.
The day has brought
night to an end on top of me.
Lamp oil and flashlights save me
from myself.
I walk in darkness.
In this darkness I don’t
see my shadow.
When the wind goes still
cold chills down my spine
don’t feel anymore.
I walk in darkness like this
but I’ve been fooled myself before
at Halloween, fears of April thunderstorms.
April thunderstorms have knocked
the lighting out of me;
pulled the electricity out of my sockets, pulled plugs from my condo.
I lie in bed with only this conversation to keep me company.
I feel like an ice cube insulated
around in my words, looking for images
in shadows, quiet corners.
I creep myself out alone.
Here I lie on my back in bed, think, then try sleep-with ghosts, witches, spiders, devils,
all kinds of nasty things.
Nothing brings Christ out of closed wilderness faster than darkness being alone.
I blink, and electricity is back on.
April, I’ve been fooled like this before.

2007
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See Michael’s other entry and bio here.

*Competition entry*