Shuddering by Mark Penny

There was
A shuddering of dust
Light followed
Sharp as knives
Riving the interstice of mind
Crimson and lucent flared the dawn
The mountains lapped it like a rain
Down flowed the waters
To lakes
To oceans
Restless sand
Swirled in the aftermath of breath
The sighing planet
Fumed and stirred
Smoke overwhelmed it
Curled and fled
Stuck to its surfaces like sweat
Hardened and sloughed
And joined the sand
The sun rose upward
In a last vanishing of fire
All the vast cohorts of wild stars
Spread themselves madly
Spark by spark
Then hushed
And lay still
In the dark

Mark Penny lives in a world of people, books and guitars seasoned with a laptop and a bodhran. He first came to light on March 9, 1964 in the mill and market town of Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, England, and led a nomadic existence between British Columbia, Orem (Utah), Haiti, Alberta (Canada), and Ukraine before settling in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, where he teaches English and raises feral children. In addition to sporadic pulses of poetry, he writes songs (music and lyrics), fiction (short, long and serial) and carefully graded TESOL materials, examples of all of which are available here.

The image, “The Eagle is Rising,” is from the Hubble gallery.


Tree of Life by Coyote (as told to Patricia K.)

This segment is from a longer piece, Plato’s Alcove, which won an honorable mention in Torrey House Press’s 2011 Creative Non-Fiction Contest.   You can read the entire entry here. Plato’s Alcove is about my first trip to the desert back in 1982.

In the desert one day I met Coyote, the Trickster-God.   We greeted each other and sat in the shade.   I opened my canteen and drank then offered Coyote a drink.   When he thought I wasn’t looking he wiped the canteen’s mouth.   Then he drank.

€œThank you, € he said, handing it back.

I asked Coyote, €œWhy is this place so beautiful? €

He laughed and said, €œI’ll tell you a story that explains everything. € Continue reading “Tree of Life by Coyote (as told to Patricia K.)”

Modern Hebrew by Ashley Suzanne Musick

Hubble view of galaxies_ultra_deep_field_high_rez_edit1

In the tar-like black sky
structures float like ghosts
through the illumination from bulbs
hovering like flying saucers over
the road. No heavenly
luminaries accompany me on this lonely journey.
Only those cones of light brighten the route ahead.
Nevertheless, I must persist.
I am a modern Hebrew
fleeing the Egypt of the office, escaping to
the Promised Land of the field. There,
as I stand on nude ground,
a lunar face and stellar eyes will look
upon me from the depths of the universe
and remind me of the Creator of this grandeur.


Ashley Suzanne Musick was born in Fountain Valley, California, on February 26th, 1989, and raised and homeschooled in Anaheim.   In 2010, she moved to southwest Kern County, where she lives and works on a farm and writes in her spare time.   You can read more of her verse on WIZ here.

Guest Post: “Creation,” by Danny Nelson

The sun’s ten fingers came unfurled.
He gathered struts and made a world.
With careful breath the sphere was blown:
a hollow ball of molten stone.
And with the glass-sharp stars in thrall,
he spun the geodesic ball.

The moon stretched out her oyster hand
and on the struts she lifted land.
In mercury streams the valleys bled:
the mountain shook its hoary head.
She set the rain in silver sheets
upon the ocean’s stormy streets.

The sun shook out his golden beard
and with its heat the land was seared.
The gold-gray ash, ‘neath greening rain,
bristled up in heads of grain.
The trees grew up at his approach,
and closed their gowns with emerald brooch.

The moon unbound her swelling womb
and scattered the world with ruby bloom.
She shrouded its eyes with birds in flight
and veiled its face with silky night.
Then balanced the sphere on a silver scale
and lined the seas with fishes’ mail.

Then the sun and the moon
set the world in a swoon
and clothed it in meadow and wood.

And with bashful glance
began to dance

. . . and called it good.


Danny Nelson’s €œCreation € appears in Plain and Precious Parts of the Fob Bible ( and in the complete Fob Bible ( Nelson studies literature at the University of Washington where he has developed an interest in the many ways of spelling phoenix.