J.P. Dancing Bear


Five Poems


Flagmen in Autumn

they arrive with the first winds of the season: flagmen to slow us down: the
work unseen: wait in your car: slow crawling: as the newspapers tumbleweed
roll and spin across the road: plastic pylons knocked over with sudden gusts:
the sky: ever darkening: marbles these men with shadow: their flaming vests:
strange authority: page nineteen of yesterday’s sunnier news flying: past the
windshield: a bizarre bird: fearfully escaping the oncoming storm: all the cars at
this intersection are colors of autumn: the traffic signs are leaves: ready to turn:
ready to slip away with the next gust

                                                                                                      for David Weinglas




Garden of Earthy Delights

recently you are noticing the tomatoes are running through the garden: teasing
the cucumbers to chase: to come play in the turned earth: the flowers: the
flowers: intoxication perfume: calling bees to their business: all the vegetables
are behaving strange: you are standing most of the time: right in the middle: with
your hands in your pockets: back pressed to the leaves: a little dazed: as though
none of this is real: the pear is not dancing lewdly for the avocado: you were not
just approached by a persimmon: the cabbage is not kissing the sunflower: it’s
like that old joke about something being in the water: you’re sure: you should
go lie down: take a nap (if you aren’t already doing so!): call it a day: wake up
tomorrow: say a small prayer for an early harvest

                                                                                                   for Dinty W. Moore




Icarus in Twilight

you blame the lucky one who gets off the island on first try: for telling your
story wrong: you are retold the one who got close to the sun: the fallen: this
much is true: there was always enough wing left to slow yourself descent: not to
completely crash: you swam back to shore: resketched the diagrams: built better
wings: hours of sewing canvas: the rigging lines: the frames: to rise up close to
the sun: and come down again: and again: more schematics: more geometry and
algebra: finer thread: which you wove yourself: calculations for tensile strengths:
and now: soaring anywhere you wish to: you realize the unlucky one: broke out
on the first try: what you’ve learned about the fine detail and science of flying and
wings: takes you beyond a mere escape

                                                                                                     for Andrew Demcak




Seasonal Change

everything changes: but not fast enough to notice: the umbrellas and volleyball
nets have been dwindling for weeks: now one or two will stand defiantly for short
while longer: it’s not the weather that sends them away: it’s not the dampness in
your heart: that cloud you’ve been secretly carrying with you all these months:
either: you might begin with counting grains of sand: you might think long and
often about the sun-bleached wood fence: which keeps nothing out: nothing in:
but is merely there for someone else’s show: the shadows of the reeds lengthen:
crisscross with the rippled marks of wind: the surf pounds out the beat: familiar
and rhythmic: as though you were born with it: it continues to draw you here:
long after the tourists have trunked their blankets and coolers: and driven off:
you don’t want to think about disturbing this world with your footprints: so you
do not look back: gusts pouring off the sea: will erase them soon enough: you can
walk for miles here: walk alone: the surf and breeze conspiring: so that you never
find evidence of having been here before: sometimes you want to be this new in
the world for a short

                                                                                           for Lana Hechtman Ayers





the paper does not try to be a metaphor of a bird: even though your inner
songbird sees the avian outline: the breeze makes it waver and sway: sometimes
expanding: which you interpret as puffing the chest: possible mating ritual: black
ink smudging its story and headlines to gray: a wing of a famous face: blue water
for a beak: here you sing of glorious figures: smooth feathers: and the thrum of
hearts: you fly around to nearby bushes: bring back the small berries of love: an
offering: but it makes no move at them: look sideways and up to the newsprint
face: the wind blows strong enough to make folded paper fly: spread out from its
crumpled bird form: into a single wing: looping and spiraling in flight: you sing
a frail tune for the silhouette of a soaring: you look at the berries: a full meal:
you’ve worked up such a hunger

                                                                                                            for Nate Pritts



J. P. Dancing Bear is the author nine collections of poetry, most recently,
Inner Cities of Gulls (2010, Salmon Poetry). His poems have been published
in DIAGRAM, No Tell Motel, Third Coast, Natural Bridge, Shenandoah, New
Orleans Review, Verse Daily and many other publications. He is editor for the
American Poetry Journal and Dream Horse Press. Bear also hosts the weekly
hour-long poetry show, Out of Our Minds, on public station, KKUP. His next collection, Family of Marsupial Centaurs (and other birthday poems), is due out from Iris Press in 2011.