Terry Belew lives and writes in rural Missouri. What excites him most about poetry writing is the process and seeing a poem develop from a raw piece of emotion or snippet of thought into something meaningful.
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
The 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.
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.
Nancy Jo Allen proudly announces the release (March 20, 2021) of her first collection of poetry through her publisher Kelsay Books and Amazon. The book is entitled Wrinkles in Time and in Love, and includes the poem “Art” first published in Third Wednesday’s Vol.XI, No. 4 edition.
“Allen’s poems take us on a journey through the difficulties of relationship and identity: daughter, wife, mother, ex-wife, friend, and wife again. At each stage, we’re asked to reconsider our preconceptions and ideals in favor of the lived experience of those realities—a thoughtful and polished collection.”
—Marta Ferguson, former poetry editor for The Missouri Review, and author of Mustang Sally Pays Her Debt to Wilson Pickett
“Nancy Jo Allen’s poems are deeply felt and well crafted. She has an excellent ear and eye.”
—Bruce Taylor is the former Poet Laureate of Eau Claire and host of Off the Page a reading series at the Local Store Gallery.
“Like the haiku, Allen’s poetry captures small moments of life with images from nature. And like a haiku, the collection is perfect in word, rhythm, and line. Through her poems, we travel through the landscape of memory and vicariously touch grief and let it go. We recognize defeat and replace it with contentment. We love again.”
—Lori Younker, author of Mongolian Interior: An Expatriate Experience and Sioux Beside Me, former Columbia Chapter Missouri Writers Guild president, and author and founder of World So Bright.org, a collection of cultural essays.
Click to see a video recording of Nancy reading from Wrinkles in Time and in Love.
Third 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
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
A 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
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.
3rd Wednesday’s poem of the week:
The object poem: Simple enough that we can teach grade school children to write them, complex enough that great poets write them. We think 3rd Wednesday’s poem of the week is a fine example of how much a good object poem can accomplish with a few lines – just look at that final question!
Paperback: 58 pages
Publisher: Kelsay Books (August 5, 2019)
Available from Kelsay Books
Barnes and Noble
Paul Bernstein is a self-taught poet who began writing seriously after a varied career as a library worker/weekend hippie, anti-war activist, radical journalist, medical editor, and managing editor. His work now appears regularly in journals and anthologies. He is also a prizewinning amateur country music lyricist and a published photographer. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Front Porch Review, Muddy River Poetry Review, New Plains Review, Third Wednesday, and U.S. 1 Worksheets. Paul currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He suffers from an addiction to Michigan sports contracted as an undergraduate but is otherwise functional.
3rd Wednesday’s poem of the week from the summer issue.
Spindrift suggests stuff blown onto beaches, beaches of discovery in one’s mind. When these poems show a squirrel, a fish, birds, a beggar, an Irish pub, or a dish we see these as metaphors which conjure up ideas or feelings from our own familiarity with them. A poem that begins as an abstraction, like an enemy or peace or patience, becomes objectified. Spindrift is comprised of whatever little gems might be found along the shore, examined closely to become part of the reader’s experience. These jottings of spindrift take off from that experience like going to an airport when you want to be someplace else – or like poems which say one thing when they mean another.
Laurence W. Thomas is the founding editor of Third Wednesday Magazine. He has been around long enough to know the sting of rejection and the salve of acceptance. His shelves are lined with his own publications as well as the works of many other poets. He Chancelor Emertus of the Poetry Society of Michigan.