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Don Berger: Pick of the Week (Terence Winch)








photo by Peter Berger

Leaving the Tavern

How long should my morning

be?  They’ve never known

who I am but

I don’t feel time’s gone too fast

slow enough to fit the spirit in.

Sun brings gold to the right side

of all the people’s faces,

half of the muscles used to smile.

Travelled through, based on a

true story, cliff surface or the cave wall,

how quickly does bamboo grow?

Two inches per hour.

Then after sixty days never grows 

in height or diameter again.

A truckload of walnuts

tells the tale of flirtations,

immune from the hazard of rebirth.

Heaven told me/us,

the sky told me

the arch is the dragon’s mouth,

Thursday is orange, Friday is blue,

brick tea, silver and silk.

The heart doesn’t have to fight

gravity to get blood back.

Take height

under the floating hip.

Mind your head.

The deer is loose.

Veal ribs in

Coca Cola.

Deep-fried tench.

We have these ingredients.

The head cleared, and then all of a sudden,

the king was an infant,

the peace feelers that were

already being extended,

strong enough to blow the tiles

off the roof of the church.


Donald Berger is the author of The Long Time, a bilingual edition in English and German (Wallstein Publishers); Quality Hill (Lost Roads Publishers), and The Cream-Filled Muse (Fledermaus Press).  His work has appeared in The New Republic, Slate, ConjunctionsColorado Review, Fence, TriQuarterly, The Iowa Review and other magazines including some from Berlin, Leipzig, Budapest, Hong Kong, and mainland China. He teaches at Johns Hopkins University. 

“Leaving the Tavern” includes the word “floating,” which is the very word I would use to describe many of Berger’s poems. His poems glide over wondrous landscapes of language and place, offering mysterious information at every turn. To hear him read several other poems, check out these videos:






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Clare Crossman | The Poetry Village

At the derelict municipal garden,
we picked bunches from behind
the overgrown band stand.
Laburnum, (oriental lantern flowers),
Lilac (every drifting hem), cherry blossom
(old fashioned) and cow parsley (organza trace).

Some, we pressed under heavy books,
to lie between thick pages.
Kept in the dark, they lost their colour
their beauty faded to pale and tissue thin,
a list of names.
We wrote by hand in ink:
name, date when found.
Dandelions stained our fingers
and their intangible gossamer clocks,
drifted away like moths.

In winter, we would
conjure the flowers again:
with paints on paper, making a new book,
where they rambled in profusion
and were wild. Tumbling and falling
keeping the difference
of their own light and summer;
beyond classification.

Clare Crossman has published four collections of poetry. Her fourth is due to be published by Shoestring Press later in 2020. She has recently collaborated on a film offpoetry and conservation Waterlight about a chalk stream with the film maker James Murray White. More of her work can be seen at
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A poem from my book Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings and a review #poem #poetry collection

The forgetfulness of summer, a poem from my poetry collection Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings [available on Amazon here]

On my left mountains of passion lost in lunar light.
On my right poetry.
An African violet beats her eyelashes.
Spanish moss lingers on the waters of the Bayou.
The smell of fresh cocoa penetrates my nostrils.
Old wounds crawl on my skin; columns of ants searching for honeydew on a tropical tree.
The forgetfulness of summer.
The silence of a blue lagoon.

and another review of my book posted on an online forum on May 17th.

Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings was one of the most beautiful and well written collection of poems I have ever read. Each word was so perfect and beautiful, and the prose were wonderful. With each installment of the prose it added puzzle pieces to a stunning love story with what looks to be a dramatic love triangle between friends….
Please read the entire review here

@short-prose-fiction (Gabriela Marie Milton)

image: Liliya Kulianionak; Shuterstock; [link]

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What Lies Above And Below Us

Far above us

The sky bursts into colours-

Blue, purple, grey, orange,

With red and all the hues in its range.


Miles beneath our feet

Are secrets buried,

Arcane and deep.

Their ampoules once known to everybody.


What goes overhead

Suffuses stars and their milky shells.

The departure from earth melancholic but serene,

Leaves behind shimmering trails that speak to those who see.


What falls below spirals down and down an abyss

Where fire kindles.

The browns and the oranges lead the one

To flames of eternal damnation.


Or perhaps not, perhaps all is a lie.

A construct to define an illusory afterlife.

Perhaps no life exists above and beyond what can be seen,

The constricted world our only scene.


But the possibility still remains that all might be true.

The denial of secrets misconstrued.

Who’s to say? Or judge the unseen?

Above the heavens, below the soil and everywhere in between?


Existence is a potpourri

Of fragments that surround us beings.

Where oceans are mere shards of glass,

And the earth a scant bundle of grass.


A damn puzzle wherein all the pieces are eccentrics;

Eager to seek purpose or at least some kind of logic.

Perhaps only vacuum follows death,

And what’s gone becomes a mildewed mess.


P.C. Ahmad Odeh, Unsplash





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Butter Side Up | Steve Denehan

I dropped a slice of toast today and it landed butter side up.
As I stooped to pick it up I could not stop smiling.
The day no longer loomed before me.
It stretched on, without horizon.
A straight line of possibility.
Butter side up.
Perspective shifts, the world tilts toward me.
Some day to come I will ask myself how such innocuous moments can matter,
so much more than they should.
But not today.
Today, there will be no more questions.