image by Agnes Marton

Every Mask Goes Back To The Jaguar by Agnes Marton

A carving: a man disguised as a jaguar?

A jaguar in the process of becoming a man?

 

Jaguar. Raw material for tone trophies.

Jaguar. Model human warrior.

Jaguar. Mythic lover.

Scroll Jaguar, Bird Jaguar, Moon Jaguar.

Dualistic weapons: claws or fangs.

Prominent nasal bridge, large nostrils.

Jaguar. A less-than-human god.

 

The New Students by Janis Freegard

1.

It begins with a tiny buttercup
that’s forced its yellow face through
a crack in the concrete steps,
continues when we pause our walk
for a fluffed-up tūī clicking and shouting
from a tarata tree.

2.

Our lessons involve careful distancing,
neighbourly smiles.
A flitter of red admirals
gathers near the macrocarpa stand,
a hefty kererū heads home.
We stop to pat a tortoiseshell.

3.

So many paths we’ve never been down,
monuments we didn’t know were there.
We learn the hills, the sea, chalked messages
on the pavement, which windows hold bears.
In the evenings, we dance to old songs,
rearrange the spice shelf.

4.

Tonight, laughing hard,
we roll down a bank together,
a pair of well-wrapped logs
and it’s so good – the smell of grass,
not knowing quite where we are,
the bright half-moon overhead.

 

Stardust by Robert E Petras

the white
mechanic , the black
carpenter, the Hispanic
mason, the Asian
boatman, the female
shoemaker, the gay
author, singing a song
of lost America, singing
a song of Man-
darin, the Sami, the Romani, the Bantu
chantin’, chantin’, chanting—
in the view of the Spaceman
we are all
stardust in tennis shoes

 

New Year’s Day Sonnet During the Pandemic by Craig Santos Perez

January 2021

i update my zoom account
the new coronavirus strain detected in hawaiʻi

we take our daughters to the pool
swim at the opposite end from the other family

the first meteor shower of the year
is set to peak tonight

when we return home
my wife orders costco groceries on instacart

toilet paper sold out again
will africa get the vaccine

we binge watch the first season
of containment on netflix

this year let us breathe
shared air without fear

 

Masks (pandemic faces) by James Hall

Wellington-based Janis Freegard is the author of several poetry collections, most recently Reading the Signs (The Cuba Press), as well as a novel The Year of Falling (Mākaro Press). She was the inaugural Ema Saikō Poetry Fellow at New Zealand Pacific Studio and has previously won the Katherine Mansfield Short Story Prize and the Geometry/Open Book Poetry Prize. She grew up in the UK, South Africa and Australia before her family settled in Aotearoa when she was twelve. https://janisfreegard.com/

James Hall is a writer, artist and internal medicine physician practicing in Chicago with interests in cider craft, cross country skiing and mythology, who has published the epistolary love story of his grandparents Good Night Sweetheart, Goodnight, and recently completed manuscript for debut novel Canticle of Dreams.

Agnes Marton is a Hungarian-born poet, writer, librettist, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK), and reviews editor at The Ofi Press. Recent publications include her collection Captain Fly’s Bucket List and four chapbooks with Moria Books (USA). She won the National Poetry Day Competition (UK), and an anthology she edited received the Saboteur Award. Her work is widely anthologized; some examples include Alice: Ekphrasis at the British Library and Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen. Her fiction was called “exceptional” at the prestigious Disquiet Literary Contest (USA). In the award-winning poetry exhibition project “Guardian of the Edge,” thirty-three accomplished visual artists responded to her poetry. She has been a resident poet at the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge, on a research boat in the Arctic Circle, and also in Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Serbia, Portugal, Chile, Canada and the United States. She is based in Luxembourg. She can be found online at facebook.com/agnesmartonpoet/.

Craig Santos Perez is a Chamoru author from Guam. He is the author of five books of poetry and the co-editor of five anthologies. He is a professor of creative writing in the English department at the University of Hawai’i, Mānoa, where he teaches creative writing, eco-poetry, and Pacific literature. He is affiliate faculty with the Center for Pacific Islands Studies and the Indigenous Politics Program. He served as Chair of the Hawaiian, Asian, and Pacific Islander Board in the Office of General Education (2017-2020), and as the Director of the Creative Program (2014-2016 and 2019-2020). More here.

Robert E. Petras is a resident of Toronto, Ohio and a graduate of West Liberty University.  His short fiction and poetry have been featured in more than 200 publications across the globe.