Greetings from the Editor
We began with the idea of “beginnings” – for our first issue of Bramble, this new initiative of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. We begin concurrent with the New Year: depending on how your 2016 was, this turning of the annual calendar may be welcomed, auspicious, thrumming with hope or trepidation. Or, it may be all of these things.
P o e t r y
(which secures a sail
to prevent it from)
being: taken aback, fr. be, to have reality, to take place, more at: DREAM, FAIRY TALE, IN THE
bet: to be sure of
I Reject the Beautiful Post-Apocalyptic World of Your Dreams
Last night was a crumbling library,
you and I the only left, reading in—what?—
candlelight? the smoky glare of a blasted sun?
post-nuclear glow? No matter.
Veterans Day 2011
for Steve Cox
“Fuck dead generals! Let’s see a bronze statue of Og
killing the last saber-tooth!” We laugh.
Then I’m quiet for a minute. Steve coughs,
his lungs like two wet paper bags…
Becoming a VA Patient
1. Be scared & all alone & so confused that you can’t figure out where else to go.
2. Be afraid of what you might do to yourself.
When scientists discovered
the wings of a cricket
preserved in stone
from the Jurassic period,
The Day She Stopped Talking
A car without brakes and brick wall.
No, a car petering out of gas,
dashboard pump lit like a lighthouse and refusing
to pull into the Git n Split
Joan Wiese Johannes
I have found you,
tiny blue cup,
in the grass outside my door,
and your presence assures me
that tomorrow brings gifts,
emptiness has substance,
An Interest in Things with Wings
Was there a chance you didn’t notice
the owl shit on the sidewalk, the white splats,
the log shaped extrusions or hear
it laughing as it preened in the tree?
Learning to Swim
The pool was blue tiled,
carved from gritty streets
in the urban wilds
When will you come to know
that Light dances
in every strand of your luminous hair?
Circles and Circles
We are kin to round things
and edges and bottoms—everything
that loops back on itself to its own beginning.
like most early mornings
I am out
looking for fleabane
My Mother's Mother Dreams
C J Muchhala
Fled from Pa, his hands, his liquored breath. America! Escaped to mud,
to bitter cold, another man. A good man your sister says when you complain of your
husband’s demands, of his whiskey smell and heavy hands, with the baby sickly, crying,
day and night and day. That’s what men do — the drink, I mean.
As for the other, your man ain’t Pa.
The priest will tell you—his right’s your duty.
Thomas J Erickson
There’s a boy I know
or maybe not
who asked why
Lost Objects, Upcycled
Mary C Rowin
Another lost shoe, a tiny slip-on for a baby.
We stood over it. Pondered. Would the mom
push past this same spot again and see it?
Advice on What Matters Most
It certainly wasn’t about the ring.
My finger never felt naked,
bereft of the rock that baits others.
The proposal itself dazzled me,
the way the words hung in the air
like a little rainbow.
| “...you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter.
and weep, but not all of your tears.”
-- Kahlil Gibran
Hold fast to your shell
you who are soft and rare,
you who are so easily pulled apart
After the Shootings, A Congregation
No solace found in the sermon
we turned to look at one another.
Across the aisle a bald baby
on the shoulder of his mother
spotted another in the pew behind.
the day is over
I’ve done a number
of things useful, positive,
enjoyed a lot of it most of it
Language Skills for Everyday Use
Language class begins this way:
the professor asks the students
to name the five senses, first in English,
then in French.
Sight, sound, taste, smell, touch.
As if this is an essential lesson,