Poetry by Ray McClintock, Keith Torkelson, Micah Franklin and Shane Bither

Ray McClintock

Four Poems


Ghost Camps


Delaware had once villaged uphill east

Grandfather would repeat the fading assertion

Of a school lawn plaque we passed on strolls

And explain in slow words the end of Once


The old man could craft a time, a village

So I saw a moon as winter sickle in elms

And fires of peace nights when stories

Settled in their spirits like night birds at roost

Until one dawn shakos came

And the bawl of orders sent crows aloft

Soldiers advance over hopes and dreams

Never again this space yours their clink said


Then Grandfather would claim memory of a remnant

Camped in a nearby park and yawned at

By bored escort leaning on guns and dreams

Of coming home soon from the far end of Removal




Winter Seiges Midlands


Black Angus breath sieges then early morning light

It steams cruel air pressing their space


Ice has been imperial under impassive moon

For a time it was the whole floor of this world


But now hooves ford the sheen

Which dies in volley cracks


When snow veils barnyard neutrality

One cold crow  black high

Sounds crystal silence

Wings north draft

Caws black beads wind rattling

Praying for beak bones deliverance

Against falling from home sky

Into drifts now deepening

And patient




We sat porch high summer nights

As lightning veined clouds south

And firefly glint coded the dark


Sometimes mother would talk softly east

Words not to me to own

But across lawns and down street

Toward my uncle’s house and wounds it roofed


Then she might tell of others ago of her blood

Many I never knew how trouped closer in the dark

Her words formed their mirth and ascents and dooms

And I felt then to be of the whole far lot


Now years would tatter and rag much about them

Yet memory houses a peculiar wind

That whiffs back much of them

And in the magic composes my assembly



Dragon Afternoon


All the world looks wood

(and maybe quite dry)

when one bears in self

that oddly pneumatic power

even if up, aloft

to belch fire

with no gastric consequences

and exercise reductive scorch

on village or dale

or persons who prove combustible


such as one fellow weaving homeward

from too many cups and games at fair

in light flat as his purse

who veers off path now

to learn what lumbers

closer in these woods

until the hiss bends the trees

and the roar splinters all frame of sound


The beast crisps errant miller, lurches

in a storm of ashes back toward home glen

or cave while smell of death leaps scales

to ride the wind miles


George, an iron rider

stops nervous mount




Ray McClintock lives in north Florida; he is a past winner of a national poetry contest and of the Florida First Coast Writers competition.


Keith Torkelson




Yes doctor he is “Sketched Out”

Not one of this world, with this reality, our real world

Dose ‘em, loading, on Haldol

Stop ‘em from becoming a psycho puppy


Inside I feel my clocks running awry

The little clock, the big clock

Now I’m feeling pain in my tummy

I feel bugs crawling through my skin


Doctor he is not responding

Throw in Lithium and Ativan

Yes, doctor he is drooling

Walks on and on all night long, wonder how he is feeling


My muscles near tetanus

I cry out

To the ER I go

Thank God for Bendryl, IV


Doctor I think he has maxed out on the AR’s

He can’t get any worse. Can he?

Yes his eyes are glaring, staring, tortured

His face looks so stoic


I pray they stop this med

And its neuroleptic sequelae

Men OD’d on Haldol


Micah Franklin




Red Skies Blue Seas


Red skies blue seas, how lovely you are to me.

Your beautiful colors and your awesome design,

you really truly are divine.  Your sights and sounds sing to

me like a blue bird in a tree.  Sometimes I feel like I’m all

alone with nowhere to wander, nowhere to roam.  But I

know you’ll always comfort me, red skies blue seas.


Micah Franklin is a fifth grader in Jacksonville, Florida.  Her poem, here slightly emended, is reprinted by permission of Family Life Now, May-June 2011.



Shane Bither




Her Feet Seemed so Delicate in the Lowered Light


in a field of wheat

under a sun-dappled sky

wishes are made and released

happiness begged for and bargained with

there is someone right over there

wishing the same wishes

and if the world were fair

the currents would match up

and the directions would cease to be important

and as he wishes

and she wishes

he feels and sees the taste and smell of her need

and senses collapse into a confused jumble

but the wishes aren't for him

and he's left with the wheat

and the wind

left alone to wait for the next time

that they can wish together

and be joined by need, if nothing else


Shayne Bither lives in Maine; Her Feet Seemed So Delicate in the Morning Light has already appeared on-line, @


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