Grand Teton, overdone praise or not

Grand Teton, overdone praise or not

From the pathway, you weren't 
as grand as I thought you would be
like some twisted opinion of truth.

Looking back, your peaks show
the different side of you:
hidden valley in the dark shadow;
seems to harbor the grandeur;
the narrow, steep ridge
twisted and crawls up toward the top, with
young man's ardent ambition; persists
to uncover the unseen;
the reason for cry in the world of darkness,

with endless dream of king;
wish to turn around to see the whole,
with a fresh eye, to meet you, real you. 

©Byung A. Fallgren

Perhaps the World End Here

Perhaps the World Ends Here
Joy Harjo (1951--)

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter
     what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set 
     on the table. So it has been since creation,
     and it will go on.

We chase chickens and dogs away from it. Babies
     teethe at the corners. They scrape their
     knees under it.

It is here that chickens are given instructions on
     what it means to be human. We make men at
it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the 
     ghosts of lovers. 

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put
     their arms around our children. The laugh 
     with us at our poor falling-down selves and as
     we put ourselves back together once again at 
     the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an
     umbrella in the sun.

We have begun and ended at the table. It is a 
     place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place 
     to celebrate the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have 
     prepared our parents for burial here.
 At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow, we 
     pray of suffering and remorse. We give 

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table,
     while we are laughing and crying, eating of 
     the last sweet bite.

Joy Harjo was appointed the new United States poet laureate
in 2019. Born in Tusa Oklahoma in 1951. She is a member of the
Musoke/Creek Nation.  

Light at the Edge

Light at the Edge

Her fingers tap dance around the mound,
starting at the little round button at the center,
the ritual done each month for decades.
The mound and the button lost
their youthful bounce; still tricky;
the tiny lump comes and go at the touch,
fooling the serious fingers.

You need an Ultrasound on that spot,
says the x-ray technician.
Lying on the table as the woman examines
to catch the illusive devil, she crosses her fingers.

As her heartbeat quickens, the devil floats above 
the table, grinning. Time for you to go.
She shut her eyes. Not yet, I still have lot of things to do!

Wait here, the woman tells her. I'll be back with the result.
She feels her mouth dry like been dead for days.

The woman returns with stiff face.
Her heart sinks to the floor.
We do not find anything scary, the woman says.
a long sigh of relief escapes from her. Thanks. 

 ©Byung A. Fallgren


Curious and Counting

Curious and Counting
  Arisa White

How do I get in your atmosphere?
Tell me about your sign, look me planetarily
--those Venuses in your eyes?

There was no thought after you
and I wrote it down. Wandered 
to the wailing with my back exposed.

My kind of Sunday, your knees
buffalo and kicking up plains.
We go sockless for beauty.

Ribbons unwind bring us to tied,
I'm at your symmetry, remembering
all your digits and your lucky number mine.

Arisa White is a Cave Canem poet whose works 
is rooted in black women way of knowing. The author
of Who's Your Daddy (Augury Books, 2021) among 
other titles. She is an assistant professor of 
Singlish and creative writing at Cole College.    

At the Apple Orchard

At the Apple Orchard

We came from the city
to pick the apples, green, red and gold,
to fill our lungs with the scent of the fruits,
even the hidden worm-ridden scent 
is better than the city air;

we came to be surrounded by the atmosphere
of the shared goal--to be ripen, ripen only;
oh, that mature spirit!
wish to drown in it all day long, forever more.

We fill our baskets with
many hues and aromas,
but only one shared goal,
to take home;
to mix them with our daily lives,
to bake pies that bloom in our hearts. 

©Byung A. Fallgren

Late August Morning

Late August Morning

Touch of the wind lost 
the summer's heat;
older man's coolness,
yet the cotton leaves dance
in the reverie of yesterdays.

North wind, precursor 
of the snowman that
ignores the laughs of
the dancing leaves;
scheme for the October. 

©Byung A. Fallgren


Maple of the Junipers, in my faulty eyes

Maple of the Junipers, in my faulty eyes

Maple ensconces herself in the middle of 
the growth, of the junipers in the yard
by the house, rising above all the prickly needles.
her slender body, lush green leaves, bright in the sun.

Come, join us, the junipers had welcomed her, when,
as a seed, she fell from the air on a windy night.
frightened, wondering if she'd survive. survive she did.
flourishing in the cheers of the junipers.

Then, alas, I cut her off.
gazed at the junipers, who don't know how to say no.
Now, happy? I smile at them.

Sudden wails of junipers, only in my ears,
shivers; rebuke the human-centered behavior
that ruined the rare beauty.
I pick up the severed maple branch, set it on
the trunk, and watch it tumble down.

Ah, but the trunk is still there, cuddled 
in the bosom of the junipers, holding on
to the last hope, she will rise again. will she?
the thought lingers on, with desire.

©Byung A. Fallgren



Helen hunt Jackson

Silence again. The glorious symphony 
Hath need of pause and interval of peace.
Some subtle signal bids all sweet sounds cease,
Save hum of insects' aimless industry. 
Pathetic summer seeks by blazonry
Of color to conceal her swift decrease. 
Weak subterfuge! Each mocking day of the fleece
A blossom and lay bare her poverty. 
Poor middle-aged summer! Vain this show!
Whole fields of golden rod cannot off set
One meadow with single violet;
And well the singing thrush and lily know,
Spite of all artifice which he regret
Can deck in splending guise, their time to go! 

Helen Hunt Jackson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts,
in 1830. She published five collections of poetry and was
posthumosly inducted into Colorado Women's Hall of Fame
in 1985. 

The Moonlight

The moonlight
Yvor Winters

I waited on 
In the late autumn moonlight
A train droning out of thought--

The mind on moonlight
And on trains.

Blind as a thread of water
Stirring through a cold like dust,
Lonely beyond all silence

And humming this to children,
The nostalgic listeners in sleep,

Because no guardian 
Stirs stories through distance upon distance,
His eyes a web of sleep.

"The moonlight" appeared in Secession No. 7 (Winter 1924).
Yvor Winters, born October 17, 1900 in Chicago, was a poet,
critic and professor. He was the author of many books, including 
his collected poems (Swallow press, 1960, which won the 
Bolinger Prize. He died on January 25, 1968.