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Poetry Summer 2023    fiction    all issues


Joel Filipe

Kristina Cecka
& other poems

Gillian Freebody
The Uncivil War of Love
& other poems

LuAnn Keener-Mikenas
Skunks at Twilight
& other poems

Alyssa Sego
& other poems

Anne Marie Wells
Forest of One
& other poems

Brent M. Foster
Ode to Darwin
& other poems

Jack Giaour
trans man is feeling blue
& other poems

Alan Gann
how strange
& other poems

Richard Baldo
The Privilege
& other poems

Michael Fleming
& other poems

Holly York
As it turned out, there was no bomb on board
& other poems

Celeste Briefs
Late Poppies
& other poems

Kayla E.L. Ybarra
Goose Song
& other poems

S.E. Ingraham
Leaving to Arrive
& other poems

Rachel Robb
Molting Scarlet Tanager
& other poems

Bruce Marsland
Sauna by a Finnish lake at Midsummer
& other poems

Ellen Romano
Seven Sisters
& other poems

Greg Hart
False Coordinates
& other poems

Greg Tuleja
& other poems

Corinne Walsh
Southern Charm
& other poems

Alan Gann

Why Apples Fall

I  The Blue Jay Told Me

The Blue Jay told me it is true

I too was once nothing

more than a tiny bud that bloomed

and visited by bees

many times before petals shed

But all I recall are endless days

sun or rain

feeling crisp and juicy

never noticing increments of girth

At night we whispered

speculating what might be in store

Some claimed it was all about letting go

first unfettered moment

while others worshiped the rush

topsy-turvy feeling in your pit

But I always craved impact

umph and ecstasy

of accomplishment of knowing the light

is neither beginning nor end

II  Newton’s Song

My mother says

most behaviors are learned

by imitation so the apple falls tomorrow

because it watched

all the apples falling today

who fall because of what they saw

who fall because of what they saw

who fall all the way back

to our first fall and back again

to the first angel falling away

But my father believes falling

is the inevitable result of rising

striving to achieve escape velocity

ad astra and beyond

thermodynamics of capitalism

My sister the gardener lives in a world

filled with green songs

suggests apples fall

because dewy grass

sings as a siren

come come whomever you are

All Newton could calculate was force

of an apple’s attraction to the earth

how fast and hard

shallow understanding

but I grok seeds need dirt

and when they finally learn to take root

in the empty air of existence

apples will fly

              one day apples will fly

III  Fumbling into the Future

Because everyone craves

a kiss that addles

and the radio is filled with static

Because we are trapped

between curiosity

the reaper and beauty

is a blue dancer cast in bronze

Because momentum is a dragon

and the carriage pointed

toward eternity

Because we are condemned

to fall into the future

fumbling among the aliens

Because we are blessed

to fall into the future

thinking thoughts never thunk

Because we’ll never know

who wound the clock

if they are spying or not

and somehow planets keep on spinning

Because spokes roll with the wheel

and every unfurling sprout

challenges entropy’s dominion

Because Granny Smith cooks

while Pink Ladies flirt

and a crisp clean bite

leaves both of us weak in the knees

Because a double-helixed chain

crawled from the ooze

and it is an astonishing thing to be alive

sixtieth birthday poem

for Indigo

twenty-one thousand nine hundred fifteen chances to be

a buoyant plum

purple orb against a field of waterlilies

blooming under a cloudless

somebody-take-a-photograph sky

kissed by perfect twin

floating beneath the surface

and she said

do not be a buddhist

be the center of stillness

do not dance for the goddess

but be her forests, oceans, skies

and all the wild things

do not be a Christian

be the loaves that feed the masses

then she asked what if

the plum is too sweet?

nearly twenty-two thousand chances

to explode brighter than superest nova

fill the air with a song

that makes all the other songs

jealous and squandered

how many?

watching reruns

aunt bea and gilligan

clicking widgets

as if the world needed faster

shinier more expensive

ways to kill itself

how many frittered away


which squirrel will win the race

and the bending

of palms in a hurricane

she said do not be

an artist be the fire

do not be a dancer

but the space between leap

and falling star

do not be a writer be the phrase

that turns laughter to wine

then bleeds

never regret


polkas twists and cha-chas

the unexpected hallelujah

search for mythical cities

bushwhack through jungles

golden spires a machete slash from reality

and remember to converse with quarks

to shudder as needed

with grief

still she said do not invest too much

in even my most tender trace

ecstatic twining of our bodies

remember the star exploding

vanishing of nanoseconds and millimeters?

because even deepest namaste

is a cluttered desk

punctured radial

out-of-tune piano

twenty-two thousand galaxies away

from the astonishing plum

how strange

for Carol Coffee Reposa

how strange

that I am forever

wandering the halls as if life

were an art museum

and my job

to bestow meaning

upon color and form

how strange

that I am forever

listening in as Cezanne’s apples

whisper to the blue dancer


there is nothing beyond us

worth reaching for

how strange

not that you should die

but the shapeless gray of your absence

my inability to cadge meaning

from a swollen tumor

how strange

but perhaps less strange

than Werner Heisenberg

teaching that we cannot know

a bullet’s speed or heart

without changing its impact

that certainty

is either velocity or acceleration

never both

and even though the cat is both

dead and alive

winter still gives way

and bees still choose flowers

so one ripe June morning I will

think of you before biting into

the sweetest sweetest strawberry

how strange

I am not an avocado

no oily pulp

beneath leathery green skin

nothing to spread

on morning toast

only disappointment

when mixed with onions

diced tomatoes

lime cilantro

and cayenne

nor am I the squawking

parrots flying free

carrying soft grass

across the river

as if there is no border

I could possibly be

steam rising

from a hot pool


a fog beautiful

for what remains

unseen or a dream

of snow—shroud for

forgotten graves

or regrets

of an old man

after toasting

a change of calendars

checking email

to find a note

from the girl unkissed

so many

champagne corks ago

Alan Gann, a teaching artist-poet, tutors and facilitates writing workshops for at-risk youth. His newest collection of poems, Better Ways to See from Assure Press, features nature and ekphrastic poems celebrating the wonder-filled attitude his parents instilled in him and his sister. Other publications include 2 volumes of poetry: That’s Entertainment (Lamar University Press), and Adventures of the Clumsy Juggler (Inkbrush Press), plus DaVerse Works, Big Thought’s performance poetry curriculum.

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