Sculling on Tawas Bay / Richard Douglass

August 2021

Glistening calm as the sun breaks over the far horizon
Not a ripple, not a wave, not a crest or movement
Faint late summer fog rising
As if the mass of water was silenced for a moment in time
Stroking easily, 18 feet of ash wings
Catch, draw, pull, catch, repeat – rhythm of movement
The sliding seat in opposition to the draw on oars
scullThe touch of blade to water
Behind me a sweeping arch
My wake, nearly delicate, marked on each side
Parallel pools of disturbed water
Blade markers of my path, a pattern of my past
The horizon now glowing with sunlight
The stillness on the shore
Now strays into morning,
the moment has passed into a day

Richard Douglass / Tawas City, Michigan


I am 20 months beyond my wife’s death. She prepared me for her dying, but the passage of time needs nurturing if I am to fully heal. One of my tonics is sculling, a single shell with ash oars, on Tawas Bay early in the morning. It is healing, like meditation in motion. So today I put my morning’s row into words.

Pearls / Corey Mesler

My mother did not save much except
money. She was not nostalgic.
There are no drawings I did in
fifth grade, no old report cards, no
favorite toys. I miss my Matchbox
and Corgi cars, my Beatles 45s
on Capitol, my old Mad Magazines
and Ripley’s Believe it or Not
paperbacks. All gone to garbage
trucks or garage sales. She handed
little down. I have a couple of my
father’s WWII medals, but none
of his letters home. My mother gave
my wife her string of pearls. It is
this one gift I want to talk about.
Tight with money her entire life she
was overly generous at the end. My
wife and I don’t go out much. We
don’t entertain. But there was an event
where we dressed up, a speech I
had to make. I found my old suit,
purchased at the Salvation Army to
get married in. My wife wore a simple
black dress and upon the breast she
laid that single strand of pearls.
They were like small lights, like prayer
beads, like dreamstuff. They were like
my mother, simple, surviving, hanging on.

Corey Mesler / Memphis, Tennessee


 

COREY MESLER has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Gargoyle, Five Points, Good Poems American Places, and New Stories from the South. He has published eleven novels, four short story collections, six full-length poetry collections, and a dozen chapbooks. His novel, Memphis Movie, attracted kind words from Ann Beattie, Peter Coyote, and William Hjorstberg, among others. He’s been nominated for the Pushcart many times, and three of his poems were chosen for Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. He also wrote the screenplay for We Go On, which won The Memphis Film Prize in 2017. With his wife he runs a 144 year-old bookstore in Memphis.

At the Driveway Guitar Sale/ Buff Whitman-Bradley

Cvr_DrivewayGuitarSaleThird Wednesday contributor Buff Whitman-Bradley’s new book, At the Driveway Guitar Sale: Poems on Aging, Memory, Mortality, is available from Main Street Rag Publishing Company. A few of the poems in the book were originally published in Third Wednesday. He podcasts at thirdactpoems.podbean.com
3WYouTube
Click the YouTube link for a video of Buff reading from his book.

At the Driveway Guitar Sale can be puchased from Main Street Rag.

I’ve read this author in many publications over the years, and listened to his own gently cadenced readings on his podcast, and I love his poetry. Wit, imagination, a perfect ear, and an effortless touch (not to mention knee-slapping punchlines) mark all of Whitman-Bradley’s work, and the poems in this book are no different. The poet is forgivingly and unforgivingly self-aware, somehow finding all the poetry in life’s least poetic moments.  ~Roger Stoll, essayist and poet

For all of us, even though we may continue to climb stairs and eat our vegetables, the ever-expanding past continues to nip at our heels. Buff Whitman-Bradley reminds us in these poems that we are not alone, that we participate in a common project with its pitfalls and distractions. He calls attention to the gifts and graces that accompany a seasoned perspective, and that there is a special liveliness and wise humor that comes with age that is both balm and elixir.  ~Gary Crounse

With his signature grace and economy, Buff Whitman-Bradley tackles the unimaginable; the body’s elemental breakdown and the proverbial leap into the unknown which awaits us all. Never settling for abstraction or platitude, these poems are as rugged and beautiful as the California landscapes humming in the background. And though he may have given up on his plan ‘to be an ancient Chinese poet’, something of their wild humor and gem-like clarity shines on every page. ~Seth Jani, Publisher and Editor of Seven CirclePress, Author of Night Fable

Tidy up

buff_whitman-bradleyA Zen master of my acquaintance
Once said that when he died
He wished to leave no trace.
All the backpackers I know
Say the same
About their sojourns in the wild.
No messes, no unfinished business.
It’s a good idea to tidy up
Before all of our little departures
And our impending Big One –
Douse the coals, strew the ashes,
Bag any food scraps,
Bits of paper, foil and cardboard,
Erase all footprints,
Be forthright, apologize, forgive –
So that what remains of us in memory
Is not a squalid little campsite
Full of trash and debris
And tangled disputes
That will cause great consternation
Or anguish
To those left behind,
But is instead
An expanse of mountain grasses
Beside a high cold tarn
Where ones who loved us
Might like to pass a little time,
Pitch a tent,
Build a fire.

Fruition / Carolyn R. Russell

Ordinarily a poet should avoid abstractions but, when handled with great skill, an abstraction can produce something as wonderful as this short poem. Great title, great ending, perfect word choices throughout, Fruition apprears in the summer issue of 3rd Wednesday. Thank you, Carolyn Russell, for showing us how it’s done.

Matryoshka Houses / Lynn Pattison

MatryoshkaHousesRoom by room and roof by roof, the poems of Lynn Pattison’s Matryoshka Houses open up those dwellings in which the speaker has lived, and lost, and loved, where the soup contains everything from hard knocks and thorns to the divorce decree, and rooms are “flooded pink with sun through the crabapple.” These are poems that have emerged from a life not only fully lived, but fully seen. The world, here, comes in through the eyes and is sifted through the imagination: “Wide white wings / bloom from either side” of a plow blade, she writes, “as if some/commanding angel sweeps across / the prairie in moonlight delirium.” Pattison’s is a worthy voice to guide us through these disorderly, “illogical days,” this “understory world,” where still the houses of memory sing, in “Calls that reached to the pasture / if they had to”—Here I am.

Diane Seuss, author of Four-Legged Girl and Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl

Lynn Pattison writes, “Here,” the house sings, “Here I am.” In Matryoshka Houses, she deftly explores how her homes have served not only as vessels for loved ones and the tangle of objects a family accumulates—like records playing on a Victrola and jewelry boxes decorated with dancers—but are also containers for deep emotions and memories. In these graceful poems, she blends her many houses together seamlessly, until, distilled, they become the essence of home, which stands, “steadfast / no matter the weather,” and to which she returns, again and again.

Kathleen McGookey, author of Instructions for My Impster

Time collapses in this wistful and shimmering collection by Lynn Pattison, in which all the rooms and houses her speaker has lived in become layered like double exposures, a palimpsest, nested Matryoshka dolls. Whether lived in for days, like a hotel room in Cancun that becomes home to a seasick tourist; or decades, like the family homestead where “my father / remembers his father setting logs at dawn,” these lost homes and their furnishings take on mythic significance, resonating with the reader’s own memories. Easily read in one sitting, this chapbook is an ideal introduction to Pattison’s fine work.

Julie Kane, former Louisiana Poet Laureate and author of Mothers of Ireland

LynnPattisonLynn Pattison’s work appeared, most recently, at Ruminate and Moon City Review. It has also appeared in Smartish Pace, Pinyon, The Notre Dame Review, Mom Egg Review and elsewhere. Previous collections include : tesla’s daughter (March St. Press); Walking Back the Cat (Bright Hill Press) and Light That Sounds Like Breaking (Mayapple Press).

Lynn Pattison’s chapbook, Matryoshka Houses, debuted June, 2020 from Kelsay Press. It can be ordered from the Press or purchased from Amazon or Kelsay Books.

 

amazonlogo        KelsayAldrich