Sol Magazine
Poetry +*
page updated 8/20/2005

August 2005
Maryann Hazen Stearns
Maryann Hazen Stearns
by Mary Margaret Carlisle

Award winning poet and writer Maryann Hazen Stearns, a five year member of Sol Magazine, is currently involved in many new projects, including writing children's stories and poems.  Author of Under the Limbo Stick, her poetry appears in over forty print publications throughout the United States, Canada, Switzerland, India, Britain and Scotland, and in hundreds of electronic publications. She is Assistant Editor of MindFire Renewed, is a member of the Woodstock Poetry Society and Poets & Writers, and is listed in A Directory of American Poets and Fiction Writers.  In addition to being an occasional poetry competition judge, Maryann has also won many competitions with her own work, including at Sol Magazine.  Her first grandchild, Emelina Lahela, was born this past June.  Maryann lives in Ellenville, NY.

DreamSpeakers & Dragons

Some say it's all in my head. 
The voices and it's true - 
in my head, my heart, 
the small voice of conscience, 
silver bell of spirit, 
paper bark of prayer stick, 
the bone of wishes eager to be picked…. 

but now you've lost interest, 
haven't you? That's what happens 
when the ephemeral are spoken of 
in this way; as if tangible. 

Holy water of salvation 
explodes upon the babies brow, 
another bomb for innocence, 
for the good of humanity. 
Shall there be no companion angel 
for the demon in our midst?
Only several steps less than 
the Highest Higher Power 
shall escort us….I've lost you 

again. The talismans we keep 
in velvet bags beneath our pillows.
The beads we count, the tassels, 
the statues, the cards, each 

assist in communication 
with the other….Whatever. 

Mine have been ascribed, 
Queequeg and Quixote, 
ruby-eyed, golden dragon earrings,
now immortalized in two pieces of poetry, 
chirography to reinforce their reality. 

The dragons burn to be heard,
and I listen, 
even though it is said 
that it's all inside my head. 

© 2005 Maryann Hazen Stearns

Exacting the Toll

My window has become a movie screen 
from where I sit to watch a hectic show; 
the passersby that constitute each scene, 
a waterfall of people who don't know 

they are observed, nor do they care. 
Why should they? Their lives are full, 
some more, some less. I would not dare 
risk such notice, shun the dreadful pull 

of social camaraderie, the lethal "friend,"
who drops by uninvited for a chat, while I, 
unseemly in appearance must pretend
I'm not at home, rehearse my alibi 

just in case they barge right in! 
I know the door is locked, but who can say? 
I brew my tea, a hint of cinnamon, 
then settle down to watch another day.

© 2005 Maryann Hazen Stearns

For more information about Maryann’s work, visit or

July 2005
Craig Tigerman
by Mary Margaret Carlisle

Craig TigermanCraig Tigerman is currently Sol's Editor Emeritus, having completed a tenure of three years as Editor-in-Chief.  He holds a B.S. in  Mathematics from the University of  Illinois and a Master of Divinity from Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio.  After serving in parish ministry for five years, he has worked the past 25 years for a leading computer company as a software support representative at a well-known farm implement manufacturer's data center.  Tigerman has published two collections of his poetry: Indigo Avenue (Writers Club Press, 2000) and TigerTale (Writers Club Press, 2002).  He and friends produced a posthumous collection of remarkable poems by Tim Hahn, Wight: The Inmost Listener (Writers Club Press, 2001).  Tigerman lives in Rock Island, Illinois, with his wife, 16-year-old son, and two cats; he also has three grown children and two grandsons.

In his words:  "Poetry is an art-form and craft, much like pottery.  The potter's soul goes into the shaping of a pitcher; it is done with care and flair.  What do I look for in a poem?  Good use of English, some sense of artistry such as poetic mechanics or visual presentation, and depth of feeling.  Without these a poem is rarely noteworthy or memorable."


Foiled Plots

Eight loyal lots lay in hot sun
A prairie patch prepared, all done
In great toil, plots in raised beds,
Eight soiled spots, created spreads
Too late at summer's end last year
For fruit trees or roses to thrive here

But this year, July nearly ending,
Parching drought bakes broiled blots, rending
"If you don't grow me by now
You will never never ever grow me..."
Pallid phantom plantings plead;
Eight foiled plots, no done deed.

© 2005 Craig Tigerman

Which Spoke Louder? 

What honor might we cast at last
Upon these poets now gone past?
Plath, Berryman, Sexton, Delmore Schwartz,
Their self-willed too-soon end aborts
Soft legacy, their epitaph
Instead engaged with death's last-laugh.

Muse dreams inspired, youth sought to please.
But beset by mundane realities,
What intellect, what artist-heart
Fell short, pained quest for finest part,
Then cut their loss, leaving absurd
Testament to their written word:
By gas, bridge, or drink -- dark suicide --
Who once proclaimed their joy their pride.

© 2005 Craig Tigerman

Avenue Of The Saints
(its impact on Charles City, Iowa)

How low through those hollows
Does that old road go?
Four-lane replaced forlorn,
A finger lingering, for show,
Pointing down the bypassed town,
A once-reliable pliable trail,
No longer taken, failed, forsaken
For sprawl by all save local mail

© 2005 Craig Tigerman


New to older worlds, I
Never knew those bolder souls:
Novembers turned to long
Night-watches, shadows,
Noordzee gales blowing
Nearly frozen polders
Nature still remembers.

© 2005 Craig Tigerman

For more of Tigerman’s poetry and a gallery of photos, visit:

June 2005
Paula Marie Bentley
by Mary Margaret Carlisle

Paula Marie BentleyPoet and editor Paula Marie Bentley has been writing since she was fourteen years old.  Her work is published under both her legal name and the pen name of Paula Marie White, and may be read in a variety of venues including Sol Magazine and other literary publications such as the W&M Review.  She works for a computer company, but also volunteers at Sol Magazine as Chief Editor.  Born in Virginia, she has lived there for all but three years; those years away constantly reminded her of why she so loves her native South.  She divides her time among many pursuits, including writing poetry and short essays, keeping up with two small children, her husband and a dog and cat in their dream house in Virginia.

She says she enjoys writing for its own sake - res ipsa loquitur - and her outlook on life is a simple one, best said in the words of Albert Einstein ~  "There are two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle."  She prefers to believe the latter.



the sun set to-
leaving me thinking
no birds' spontaneous flight
no rapturous singing
or anything really worth

yet -

the sun sets, sinking
breathlessly, gorgeously
into the sea -

splashed birds' wings
slicing the sky, lyrically
melding into the trees -

the religion of derision
takes hold of many

but not of me.

© 2005, Paula Marie Bentley


and do we travel toward the sun
hoping against some hope
for the heat to heal?

finding it too blinding
to even remember
how it feels

long enough to write
right old wrongs
and believe

one more time?

© 2005, Paula Marie Bentley


a simple enough request
one often made
strands given, behest
of lovers outside windows

shaded by roses fiercely red
never shrinking from sun's
heated debate

yet, it carries weight -
prized in eyes
blinded by love -

unable to see
that to this lock

you can never have
the key

© 2005, Paula Marie Bentley


January 2005

Recent Sol Magazine Poetry Judge

Margaret Brown-Bailey
Love Conquers All

Neither death nor disease can conquer these feelings,
Neither wind nor storm can douse its warmth,
True Love can outlive time,
The more intense the emotions,
Its lasting effects are sublime,
Love always lingers on,
Even in the Great Beyond,
To experience this blessing just once,
It's defying all odds and taking a chance.

© 2005 Margaret Brown-Bailey, Westbury, NY, USA


Poet and writer, New York resident Margaret Brown-Bailey enjoys writing, and utilizes her writing skills to create social awareness and change.  She became a writer at nine years old when she started writing recipes, published in the book, "The Potpourri Of Cookery," sixth edition, in 1978. Margaret graduated to writing poetry and children's stories when she was thirteen years old, but started writing more ferociously in 1996, and is a published poet and writer of all genres. Her poetry was recently featured in an Australian publication called "Metro Seven" and is currently displayed at and, among others.  Recent credits include an honorable mention in the "Poetry In a Cup" Spring Contest, and she was a winner of the FictionAddiction.NET Assignment, "Writing Challenge," for the second quarter of 2004.

© 2005 Sol Magazine

By Mary Margaret Carlisle, Managing Editor

Avonne Griffin, Greer, SC, USA

Avonne GriffinAvonne Griffin won third place in Sol Magazine’s 2004 Poet Laureate Competition with her powerful yet lyrical work.  Her poetry is well-structured and shaped with such a delicate touch that it takes close study to reveal the full extent of her use of the poetic tools.  From alliteration and assonance to cadence and well-chosen words, each tool disappears beneath the surface of the writing into the narrative.  She steps into most poems as deliberately and gently as an Ibis, with a calm and beautiful language that stirs up deeper emotions, yet she is unafraid to vary her style.  She ends each scene with a wonderfully satisfying and original conclusion.  Excellent work well worth reading.

Avonne Griffin loves both the traditional and genteel voice of the South and the experimental yet familiar tone of California, believing both have influenced her poetry.  She says she is fascinated by parallels and contradictions, and finds delight in form poetry as well as free verse.  Her favorite poets range from John Donne and Emily Dickinson to Mary Oliver, Linda Pastan and Billy Collins.  Avonne's poetry has appeared in Sol Magazine, Emotions, LeMewz, American West, This Hard Wind, Writer's Quill, Times Ex, and Austin International Poetry Festival's 2001 a-di-verse-city odyssey.  Avonne Griffin is from Southern California, but now lives in South Carolina with her husband, close to their six children and ten grandchildren.

White Water

Do you remember still the white water
that bubbled up the side of the boat
threatening to pull us not just beyond our will,
but over, and can you still feel
that outrageous lack of direction that gripped
like terror and passion at the same time?
We laughed as if we didn't care, as if sure
God would make an exception; but we knew
we were flesh, and there are laws.
Gravity can't keep water from splashing up,
but it does seduce the falls.

Avonne Griffin © 2004


Do you ever feel
you haven't found your niche,
like a zucchini in a melon patch
or a writer in a six-sided box?
There has to be a place --
dull as bread
or bustling with possibility.
I need to find it! It's out there,
in here, under a definition,
or up a tree.

Sometimes I get an inkling,
then I find myself
back in a box black as a block,
tied and gagged, blindfolded, quilled,
and dangling curiously above an inkwell.

If I promise my first child and
first North American serial rights,
will you give me a second or two
to poke a little hole in this crate?
A little higher... a little to the left...
Perfect! Now give me a word
that rhymes with Houdini.

Avonne Griffin © 2004

Domestic Fowl

You can't earn adoration --
even if you waddle on sturdy, webbed feet
and deny yourself the freedom to fail.
You were born in captivity --
owing more than you could ever conceive
of, more than a stolen inheritance.

You know flocks migrate --
a quickening within each breast
to guide them to recognition
of truth as real as angels
descending and ascending
like a vision. Your blood throbs
waiting in abeyant wings.
You were meant for higher things.

Avonne Griffin © 2004

JULY 2004

Betty Ann Whitney

Betty Ann Whitney's work appears in many literary publications.  Recent publications include Watermarks: One, Meridian Anthology Volumes I and II, Florida State Poets Anthologies and Australia's Tirra Lirra. Whitney's passions include the visual arts. She studied privately with local artists and for a certificate in portraiture while raising her 3 children.  Later, she established her reputation as an instructor of oil and acrylic classes both privately and through government programs for a number of years. Other interests are family and the canine charms that come from her relationship with two lovable active young dogs. Born in R. I., her home is now Wesley Chapel, Florida, where she lives with her husband.


In her e-mail today my sister writes
The bomber planes are flying by.  We never get planes here,
unless the Air Force is practicing bombing in the mountains…
They drop water bombs.

In my town, most live in the moment.   At the park I saw
A boy risking a broken neck, his best trick, sliding
Down head or feet first, back or belly.

Since the beginning of the war against terror
Stacking corpses side by side, kids in any town
Brave many tricks, watch, listen, think, often at odds with reality
The anguish of real life.

The kids are having fun acting out what it’s like
Without sight or a leg or hands.

As earth tilts one way, then another, exhausted at the end of the day
My son, the picture of self-reliance, comes home from work
With a tired body.
He drinks and laughs and eats.

Little, his wish was to fly.  Now my son likes to think
That at any moment his fifteen-month-old son will teeter out,
Away from grabbing on to furniture, and walk across the room.
All too soon he will, I say.  The smallness of it, I think,
That’s what touches him.

While my sister writes
Of bombers
In the mountains

Betty Ann Whitney
Previously published in the Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, NM Cyprian Publishers © 2004

MAY 2004

Arthur W. Seeley, Yorkshire, EG, GBR

Arthur W. Seeley, Yorkshire, EG, GBR For me it is part of our lot as human beings, the curse of possessing intellect and reason, to try to bring some order out of the apparent chaos we call life. Science, Religion, Mathematics, Art, Music are all ways we have devised to explore the underlying order of things, and where there is no order, impose it. Poetry is my preferred way. It helps me to better understand and appreciate, but more than that, a poem, apart from capturing and explaining, once created becomes part of the whole experience in its own right.

Almost anything can inspire me, a person, a place, a time, an event, a memory. Sometimes it can be the challenge of a competition to a set theme or form. The important part is what is triggered by that stimulus. I find the poetry that remembers my past life, often my childhood, is personally the most rewarding.  I am pretty eclectic here. I like the challenge of a "form" because it imposes a discipline upon me and that discipline is available to me when I move into freer forms of writing. I am a passionate advocate of the musicality of poetry and for me it is a paramount feature but I have to admit that at the same time the simple starkness of the haiku style of writing has enormous power sometimes.

The Internet has allowed those of us who aspire to writing good poetry to discover we do not need to pursue our art alone in some gloomy garret. For years I did not seriously apply myself to the craft because I felt it placed me apart from the people with whom I socialize everyday. It was something to be done alone and privately. Now I find the world is rich with poets and poetry and I can read, write, discuss, comment, workshop mine and other’s poetry, with people all over the world. It has a great releasing force. Of course, there is attendant upon this new liberty a responsibility to maintain high standards and I hold little truck with those who believe and/or promulgate the message that anything goes and criticism is not to be allowed.  Poetry is an art form, undoubtedly, but it also a craft and a craft that can be polished and improved to the point where it becomes a natural facility to us as writers.


Poet Arthur Seeley is a retired lecturer in Mathematical Education and an ex-teacher, and served two years in the Solomon Islands for VSO, which is the British equivalent of the Peace Corps.  While mathematics was something he was naturally good at, and it earned him an interesting life, poetry is what he loves to do.  He now lives with his new wife on the edge of the moors, two miles from the former home of the Bronte sisters, where he reads and writes poetry and occasionally looks after his three year old granddaughter.


March morning.

The wind beats its wings
against my window,
dawn misfires
into greyness and flung rain.

Bulb catalogue on the mat,
withered leaves against the wall;
season folds into season;
drops glistening on the line.

© 2004 Arthur W. Seeley


Words waltz around
a globe of golden light.

A moth beats delicate wings
against the mesh
that covers my windows;
knocks and strums reverberate.

Soft thuds and thrums;
as gargoyle head and furred antennae
butt the barrier,
compelled by light.

Dazed with foiled effort
the moth persists,
again and again,
with a whirr of ineffectual wings.

I return to my words
to butt my head
and bruise my wing
for the ecstasy of light within.

© 2004 Arthur W. Seeley


Where have the sunlit mornings gone,
when the quiet sea slapped
and sucked at rocking boats,
a concertina wound a reel
and shadows were long and sharp
on the grey stones?

Gulls swing, wide and silent,
along the sweep of sandy bay,
where I once ran alone,
barefoot brother of the wind,
while the skirt-tucked girl
dabbled her slender brown leg
from a froth of rucked slip.

White clouds pile on the sea-curve,
the unhurried stroll of folk
savor the air, the far music
and the dazzle on the sea;
ephemeral hours - they shimmer and glow,
flare and fade into the ash of years.

© 2004 Arthur W. Seeley


Slim as a stick, she steps, new-born, from sea,
a black and streaming Venus, child of foam.
Sarong encases her nubility,
her sleek wet hair held by a pearly comb.
She flops the fresh-caught squids beside her thigh
and picks a rock to chip a scallop shell.
She squints and tests the edge with thumb and eye
then cleans her catch beside the lagoon’s swell.

Ma Belle Sauvage, my Queen, my lissome maid!
Intent on these, your Mesolithic skills,
you do not know I watch you from the shade,
admire your deftness as you clean your kills.
Instead you're rapt in ghetto blaster's spell
with Elvis belting out  "Heartbreak Hotel"

© 2004 Arthur W. Seeley

APRIL 2004 
By Mary Margaret Carlisle, Managing Editor

In National Poetry Month, we highlight poems from two very talented members of the prestigious Galveston Poets Roundtable, a monthly critique group that meets in Galveston, Texas.  The group, in progress for about seventeen years, is led by Professor John Gorman of University of Houston - Clear Lake. 

Malcolm Brodwick
Malcolm Brodwick, Galveston, TX, USA

This poet slices life into segments, sometimes like an orange, ripe and succulent, waiting for the teeth of a reader rend them into life; and sometimes like an onion, round and layered, sliced by the knife of reason into tears and a feast for the mind. 


sitting still
closed door
open hand
arm chair
arm bent
open window 
open eyes
looking at
pink sky
breeze by 
not cold
not sad
body bent 

Oaxaca Bazaar

Add these too
to your
receptacle, señor
this watch at nine-o-clock
this bowl of chicken soup
take this triangle of fur,
so soft, señor
Oh, and this gun 
For difficult moments
a speedometer at 90,000 miles
take this towel, señor
with its memories of skin,
and these wrinkled photographs 
of forgotten uncles
And señor
take this tarnished fountain pen
to mark these moments
at their vanishing.

A Butterfly for Leonard Stein

Imagine a gigantic 
bag of adjectives
abruptly translocating 
between adjacent 
boxes of airy space 
complex machine
scintillating in
its erratic
saltations to no 
particular place for no particular 
reason, not 
even aware of 
the magnificent
rhythmic grace 
of its own unfolding wings

© 2004 Malcolm Brodwick

Julio Marquina
Julio Marquina, League City, TX, USA

There is a fine line between dreams and nightmares, imagination and madness.  This poet walks that line and takes us into the mind of an unnamed character who could be child or adult, awake or asleep, screaming or dreaming.  No matter, we are along for the ride, and what a ride it is!

Forgetting Snake Traps

(Snake Traps)

she spoons me on the head 
for forgetting the snake traps
her face blues by her eyes 
and bumps sprout on my scalp
the green bug on the wall 
tells me to remember her name
but i am being spooned too much
i stop changing channels on the television
i lose a shoe running away from the spoon girl
(which i keep forgetting her name) 

(Butterfly Lady)

Butterflies land on her head
her eyes too big for her sockets--she strikes matches
she asks me for a quarter and i give her a dime
fish bones tied on a string around her waist
rusty feet on hot concrete
but she smiles with windowfull teeth
she asks me for some happy juice--winking her eyes
i give her some milk which she gives to the cats
she strikes matches--warms her hands
smiles with butterfly wings 

(Blue Green Blue)

I dress in blues and greens
collect wrappers from candy I do not eat
never drive in reverse--clip my nails everyday

I argue that the earth is a blue blanket 
in a dark closet

I drink water from a stand still waterfall
talk to green bugs and blue men

Sleep between blue and green sheets
I have not been around--I ran from the Spoon Girl
Now I am chasing dreams with a red net 

(Snake Traps)

Butterfly Lady sits on the bench chewing chewed gum
she asks me to sit with her 
tapping her hand by her side
but I climb a tree instead which I keep falling from

The sun sticks its tongue at us--she smiles a tear
gives him the index finger
she asks me for a motel room--and I give her a box

I tell her about the Spoon Girl
she smiles and shows me the big holes on my red net
takes a snake trap from her bra
and straps it on my ear
gives me a quarter and tells me to go 

(Spoon Girl)

I keep spending the quarter that the lady gave me
but it jumps back to my pocket where I keep wrappers
I take the train toward the Spoon Girl
there's a blue man sitting by me smoking a cigar
I walk only on the cracks of the pavement
the green bug whispers the Spoon Girl's name to me
she opens the door--sees the snake trap in my ear
puts away her spoon--(I forget her name again) 

© 2004 Julio Marquina



Warner Conarton, Zerphyrhills, FL, USA

Warner Conarton

Remembering carnival mirrors before,
I realize I'd peered then, deep into myself
through convoluted surfaces.

Tall in the one, I was, gaunt, intimidating
and towering, yet idiotic.
Not far from truth, I thought,

And in that other... captured squat,
sordid and despicable, me.
Yes, that too.

But in both compressed, bulging out
at ends or sides, bulging
with personal dread -
of others' viewpoint.

Lately, I avoid such carnivals,
do not ride life's carrousel
round and round and round
past cruel mirrors.

When I seek reflection, I look
with trust absolute, deep
into your kind and
loving eyes.

© 2003 Warner Conarton

Teen Dance (1950)
I chewed a fresh stick
of gum
so I'd have minty breath
when I asked you
to dance

We only danced
in three evenings
But, I chewed many
sticks of

getting ready.

© 2003 Warner Conarton

Who is there?
If I die, who is there to love what I love?
Who is there to watch a butterfly flap erratically about
in search of beauty?
Who is there to, just without the rain, wonder and quake
from flash and thunder?
Who is there to joy from color blue,
to sense the autumn in the breeze, smell wood smoke,
know that you'll be there?

If I die, who is there to love what I love?

Who will pet my dogs and cat so they will know? Who
will hear cellos moan, the blues, your voice speaking my name?
Who will kiss your smile?

© 2003 Warner Conarton


Prize-winning Sol Magazine poet and poetry judge, Warner Conarton has been everything from an airplane mechanic to a newspaper editor.  His plays have been staged in both Michigan and Florida, and his poetry, stories and articles have been published in many magazines and prize-winning anthologies, including T'ai Chi Magazine.  He is the current coordinator of the Tampa Writers Alliance - Critique Group, and is a member of both their Poetry Critique Group, and also of the New River Writers and Poets of Zephyrhills, Florida.  Retired now, Warner devotes himself to writing, family, Tai Chi and his beloved-dogs.


Glynn Monroe Irby, Clute, TX, USA


Glynn Monroe Irby -- Clute, TX
As this day leads into nightfall
I will be still beside you
to feel the sparkle of your stars
blanket over the gloom of darkness.

© 2003 Glynn Monroe Irby


She advances straight
into my channel access,
then recedes through
the swelling sluice
toward the open sea
once again.

Still in the morning
her fresh water-beads
collect on the dew-lips
of my over-edging grasses
before slipping back
into the stream.

She'll then ascend
into the anvil clouds
to flash violently back
into the dark waters
of the open ocean
once again.

© 2003 Glynn Monroe Irby


The thought of calling them
Out of the wilderness
Becomes an inspiration.
Collectively seeing
Their color coats of indigo,
Emerald and orange,
Clear black, white,
And bright yellow citron.
With shades of taffy, tannin,
Reflective flashes
Of magdalena lipstick,
And ruby reds.

Then hearing their liquid voices
Calling to each other
A flow of connecting cadences
And punctuated syllables.
Such a range of exhibition
And such diversity of ordination!

Even the one thought lost forever,
Can we be certain of his nonexistence?
When, upon returning fresh
From the shadowy migration valley,
The colorful mimickbirds still repeat
His sterling plaintiff song.

© 2003 Glynn Monroe Irby


Poet, interior designer, photographer, and artist, Glynn Monroe Irby managers a long standing family business in Brazoria County, Texas.  He is a member of the Poets’ Society of Brazosport and the Austin Writer's League, and has been published in Sol Magazine, Tres di-verse-city, di-verse-city 2000, and the Galaxy Literary Journal.

September 2003

Shannon Riggs, Victoria, BC, CAN


The Vines of Everett Road
Shannon Riggs
The summer between sixth and seventh grades,
exactly one year before our menses,
my best girlfriend and I snuck off to the woods
to swing on vines as narrow as our wrists.
Perhaps we relied upon invisible wings,
or maybe a pause in gravity.
Whichever. We were unburdened
by thoughts of consequence or injury.

If we had told, our mothers would have killed us,
or worse, forbidden us from the woods.
But we didn't tell, and our hands clasped the vines,
loosely and without a trace of fear.
The vines must have grown down from the towering oaks,
but back then, for all we knew,
we were swinging on the beards of angels,
tumbling over the edge of heaven, bristling earth.

We were generous with our turn-taking,
considering the commodities--
the feeling of weightlessness,
the lilt that tickled our stomachs,
the ride that lifted us up, out, over the ravine
into the independent spaces that hovered above the earth
so unreachable from our childhood lives,
and best of all, the thrill of glimpsing of adulthood.

© 2003 Shannon Riggs

Waiting for the Olives

The olive trunks gnarl in delicate knots
like the ropy hands of a grandmother.
In Greece, old women walk slowly,
smile often, and dress in black linen,
as if wrapped in the woven nets
that line the grounds under the trees,
tangible shadows of the canopies,
waiting for the olives to ripen and fall.
It's bad luck to shake the branches;
olives ripen and fall in their own good time.

Strolling on our tenth anniversary,
my husband and I witnessed a waterfront wedding.
We held hands outside the chapel and wished
the new couple would be happy, too, in ten years' time.
The sound of our whispered voices
flowed over the water like silk and disappeared.
The newlyweds' anniversary waits patiently
like a black net beneath an olive tree.
But in Corfu, like everywhere, the pleasure
is waiting for the olives to ripen and fall.

© 2003 Shannon Riggs

Comforting Beau

At the bottom of the cellar stairs lay
cold cracked tile and a dog so dumb
he ran chasing sticks and rocks
he flicked with his paw
playing fetch with himself
all day in the hundred degree sun
with no water. No water.
"Heat stroke," declared my mother, who
diagnosed family members over the phone
from a garage sale copy of
The Physician's Desk Reference.
I pressed a cool, wet rag to his head,
wiped the froth from his lips,
and ignored the tooth-sized scar on my left thigh
from when I drew too near his bowl and he bit me.
"Just leave him alone, he'll be fine," my mother said,
and she flicked her wrist as if to disregard old Beau
and lit the next link in her chain of cigarettes.
I left his side, though I did not want to,
and I could tell in the ripple of her gruff voice
and in the tremble of her cigarette
that she had her doubts,
and from then on, I had mine.

© 2003 Shannon Riggs


Poet Shannon Riggs teaches college writing and enjoys writing screenplays, journals, personal essays, fiction, and poetry.  She earned her BA at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR, and her MA at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA.  Born in Brooklyn, NY, Shannon has lived all over the United States, thanks to her husband's US Navy career.  The Riggs family just relocated from Hawaii to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

© 2003 Sol Magazine

Larry Fontenot, Sugar Land, TX, USA

Larry Fontenot


When nothing else makes sense
we exchange ivory glances
that polar bears might have shared
when ice began melting
and water drowned the land.

Adrift, we tune the radio
to frequencies that isolate desire.
After the static fades, we hunt fire
wood for compassion,
gather fur for a longer winter.

Somewhere north, hungry bears
go blind in the sun.

© 2003 Larry Fontenot

Wish I Could Dance

At the School for Left Feet
my missteps gathered
into all the wrong rhythms,
the heels of my feet rolled
like mercury over waxed floors.
When I danced, windows bulged,
hallways expanded, rooms held their breath.
My legs buckled, knees shook
and clacked until I retreated
to the cool bench, felt the scorn
a gravedigger has for the waiting hole.
Speak to your feet, my partner said,
her voice crisp as tortilla chips.
But I could never rouse my toes,
worthless as flesh scooped
out of spoiled grapefruit.
So began my history of failure
with women of spunk and rhythm.

© 2003 Larry Fontenot


It is, of course, that moment a man recants
his own death and begins a long descent
into memories bunched among mortal fiber.
With an earful of noise he begins
to count backward from infinity to zero

until one foot strokes the other, one hand
wonders what the other is doing.
Confusion, again and again, whispers
a litany of forgiveness. Words, as go-betweens,
perform in the manner of servants

anxious to please, anxious to tell a story,
even if it is a lie. Like rain draining
through empty flower pots, this is how we learn
longing. This is how we learn language.
No wonder we fall silent so soon.

© 2003 Larry Fontenot

The Boy Found Floating in Mud

He was shaped by the absence of earth,
day-dried clay scooped away to reveal
the clean smell left when mud failed
to kill him.  Stranger’s hands drilled
into his dying, lifting him like a bridge
to starlight.  His body arched in homage
to fingers and eyes pricking holes
in nighttime, the blackest dirt of all.
Breathe, breathe, said the darkness.

© 2003 Larry Fontenot


Sol Magazine poet Larry Fontenot has been published in Arrowsmith, Blue Fifth Review, Chachalaca Poetry Review, Chapultepec Press, i.e. magazine, Maverick Press, Maelstrom, Melic Review, Moveo Angelus, Mystic River Review, Poet's Canvas, Red River Review, Sol Magazine, RiverSedge, Snow Monkey and Sulphur River Literary Review.  Larry was a Featured Poet at the 2000 Houston Poetry Fest.  His chapbook, Choices & Consequences, was the winner of the Maverick Press 1996 Southwest Poets’ Series Chapbook competition.  Larry also won the 2000 Alsop Review Poetry Competition.


MARCH 2003


S. J. Baldock

Poet S. J. Baldock, one of this year's Sol Magazine Poet Laureate Candidates, credits her addiction to writing to exhibitions in which she participated from grammar school through high school.  She has been published in International Toastmistress Magazine, Emotions Literary Journal, Scribe and Quill, SEEDS.  The Fisherman's Guide awarded her their 2001 Golden Hook Award.  She has been published in several e-zines, including "A Writer's Choice," and "WritersBlock."  Her favorite is "Sol Magazine" which she ranks as the crème de la crème of web sites.  S. J. and her husband Mel split "home time" in Texas between Lancaster and the Piney Woods.



Christopher is a dinosaur today.

I suspected it when I asked what he wanted for
and he head-butted me ... then roared his mightiest
roar as he stomped little dinosaur feet
all the way to the table.

I set down a bowl of cereal, which he bent his
head into without using a spoon - and
when he looked up, there was
a Cheerio stuck to his forehead.

At nap time, Christopher sulks and pouts
and whines his displeasure. He growls:
"Dinosaurs don't take naps!"
and gives me a fierce dinosaur scowl

But when promised a favorite story and
bundled into my arms for a tickle or two,
Christopher flutters his eyelashes at me and
smiles like the very last sunbeam before twilight.

Finally, my tiny dinosaur sleeps.
I pry his little boy arms from around
my neck and open them wide to
embrace my world

(c) 2003 S. J. Baldock

Curtain Call

After a brief intermission, my interior light dims
In abject anticipation of the epilogue:
A monologue of your not-love superimposed
Over my subtle ministrations from this
Orchestra pit of despair

You take a deep breath, filling your lungs
So you can project your disregard
- Toeing your mark and standing quite
Solidly upon my heart, while with
Venomous contempt you wash your

Hands of me. Then turning our once-love
Inside out, you shake it crossly as you
Put a clothes-pin on your close line
While you exit (stage right)

(c) 2003 S. J. Baldock

Seasonal Affective Disorder

And was I destined for this fate - this
Height; this weight? This humor or pall?
That I be melancholy in the fall and
Throughout winter 'til Jack
Frost concedes to spring's first flower?

That when spring bursts full-flowered into
Bloom - abates the gloom? Descended
To the abyss of my soul to wait for
Heaven's gates to open, spilling forth
A colder wind to blow upon my back

Bowed to the breaking point this back
By black - black! - melancholy fall
And so the cycle turns upon itself … fair wind
Or foul, it matters not; decides no fate! My
Fate is predicated on the turning of the Orb

(c) 2003 S. J. Baldock


By Paula Marie Bentley, Features Editor

Sharon Rothenfluch Cooper

Sharon Rothenfluch Cooper
Sharon Rothenfluch Cooper lives in Portland, Oregon.  Married with four children, Sharon is an active member of the Friends of The Oregon Symphony, Words Of a Woman Net Society, Phenomenal Women of the Web and very much a today's woman.  This lady thrives on poetry and music.

Sharon has been published in "lingerings,"  The Green Tricycle, Horsethief Journal, The Foliate Oak, Wired Arts from Wired Hearts, Fluid Ink Press, Ophelia's Muse, Poetry Magazine, Vinland Journal, Poetry Niederngasse, Poetic Reflections, Wilmington Blues, Book of Remembrance Poetry Anthology - Vol. 2,  Muse Whispers, The Green Fuse, The Circle of Addiction, Sound and Silence Magazine, Australian Poetic Society, Poetic Voices, Women Beat Poetic Journal, Flaneur, L'Intrigue and many others.


Wind Chimes

Warm tilled soil
squeezes between my toes,
joins the maternal earth
with a daughter of the land.

Crystal sounds
float and fall
to meet the fever
of humid valleys.

Tangy sprays
from nearby beaches
cavort on the wind,
touch my lips with prayer.

Wood smoke drifts,
faintly reminiscent,
will-o-the-wisp scents
carry distinctly.

I stretch arms
towards the mountains,
search for their strength,
savor it with my other rewards.

Life's connections,
sharpened by reality,
hover on the edge
of poetic imagination.

Sharon Rothenfluch Cooper © 2002
Broken Halo

For all parents who have lost a child

Her cold bed lies in a perpetual
row of voiceless graves.
Years spun their days,
observed her silently as she grew.

Paper dolls watch
this anguished burden
unravel in my hands
as it saps away my courage.

Haunted eyes stare unseeing,
dry hollows that have
burned away my tears;
thumbnail bitten to the nub.

Where was her guardian angel
when I appealed to her?
This broken halo sits across my lap,
lost symbol of divine influence.

Sharon Rothenfluch Cooper © 2002

In heaven's arch, a mango moon
is enclosed in aquamarine.
Smudged stars gain myopic size,
reflect the lunar ring,

a futuristic view
where time tumbles,
hastens forward,
slips sideways, then reverses.

What will the cosmos
view next when
the hourglass empties
the dust of my existence;
a review of the past
or preview of a parallel destiny?

Sharon Rothenfluch Cooper © 2003

By Paula Marie Bentley, Features Editor

Gary Blankenship, Bremerton, WA, USA

Gary Blankenship

Gary Blankenship is a lyricist.  His poetry includes everyday words often combined in unusual ways, and it explores the many-faceted nature of humans.  Everyday situations come alive under his sharp pen as he leads the reader into new and fresh mysteries.  Gary seeks out new forms and finds fresh ways to open the world to our eyes, and succeeds admirably.


Broadway Tones

Shelless surf,
ocean pounds the curb.

Driftwood rambles
across side streams dodging
yellow sharks.

Tourists fail
to notice manta rays,
eyes lifted to empire's heights.

© 2002 Gary Blankenship


1. Sunrise

cat rattles the screen door
final hiss of percolator
melting frost
a quick nip
first cast whirls

2. Sunset

last dish washed
drink sloshes in glass
first log on the fire
shy laughter for rough joke
fog sneaks across the lake

© 2002 Gary Blankenship


Confusing, when the ground
covered by snow on Palm Sunday.
Crocus on the way out, do not care.
Camellias consider the source; but worry
camas will bloom white instead of blue.
Calla lilies withdraw behind
crosses carved of wild cherry.

© 2002 Gary Blankenship

Lighthouse Island

a stand of vine maple
trunks and limbs
covered with mossbeard
graybrown, tangled

no tarzanswing

this hidden grove
in need of a boy's imagination

© 2002 Gary Blankenship


Poet Gary Blankenship's work has appeared in E-zines and print magazines worldwide, and he recently published Autumn Reflections, a chapbook.  He wonders if he is an editor with a poet rattling around inside, or a poet with an editor trying to get out.  CEO and secretary for Santiam Publishing, which does limited edition chapbook runs, he has taught, moderated and judged his fellow poets.

Gary edits the poetry pages of Writershood:
His home page:

by Paula Marie Bentley, Features Editor

Shelley Crabtree, Enid, OK, USA

This unique poet brings all of her varied experiences on and off the highway to her writing. She enjoys experimenting with various rhyme schemes and topics, but never strays from her concise and keen style of diction.  Her words are measured, yet full of emotion, her imagery full, rich, and often unexpected.


One Trucker’s Prayer

Lord please hear me as I pray
Help me safely every day
Drive to each new destination
Somewhere in this grand old nation
Guard me as I haul my grain
Through sleet and snow and hail or rain
Every day the sun is shining
Let me not start cry and whining
When loads are wrong and overweight
Or I arrived a bit too late
And now it seems I can’t unload
Because of ice and since it snowed
Bless all the truckers that I see
Grant them individually
Good health, good roads, a safe ride home
No matter where each day they roam
Thank you also for my truck
That helps me earn the almighty buck
I thank you last and most of all
For guiding me safely winter, spring, summer and fall.

(c) 2002 Shelley Crabtree

Autumn Dinner

Wild things seek evening feasts
Creeping under star spangled skies
Moon glow speeds the hunting packs
In forests filled with echoed cries
The quarry races now with fear
Through fields of plowed dead stalks
As snaps and growls grow ever near
From nearby corn in shocks
Their target draws one last October breath
And the wolf pack claims their prize.

(c) 2002 Shelley Crabtree


I walked along the beach thinking of you
And saw crabs scratching your name in the sand-
I heard gulls as they flew overhead
Screaming your name into the salty sea wind-
Crashing waves left foamy imprints
Of your name upon the jagged shoreline-
Warm breezes caressed my face
Whispering your name in my ear-
Your name emblazoned the sunset
Warming my heart with your love.

(c) 2002 Shelley Crabtree

Parallel to the Shape of a Tulip

Its petals reflect the peaks and valleys of my life
Colorful as the past I once enjoyed-
In January cold it stands fast
As I alone have felt the cold of human kind.
To see them living in the shriveled garden,
I, too, stand out amongst my fellow man.
Soon, its petals loosen and fall apart,
As my lifestyle crumbles into shambles.
A dead stalk stands in frozen remembrance-
A tombstone marks the end of mine.

(c) 2002 Shelley Crabtree

Nature Takes Care of its Own

Warm days melting into freezing nights
As greenery fades to autumn browns
New snow reflects the winter moon
As fog descends upon the towns
Seasons passing, warm, hot, cold
A freezing blast from winter bold
Icicles hang festooned
With early fallen leaves
Too soon the death of flora, fauna
Animals shiver in still-summer fur
Not thickened yet against the raging storms
Death nell tolls as branches snap and break
Burying wildlife beneath a ton of white
Mother Nature’s way of breaking even

(c) 2002 Shelley Crabtree

Another Day is Done

As sunlight fails in colorful array
And errant clouds gather restlessly
A hush falls as a temporary fog
Aiding the fanfare of the eve
All nature hails the coming night
Arrogantly preceded by full moon
Arrayed in half-light splendor
Awash in moonlight glow
At last the sun has set
Allowing twilight its time

(c) 2002 Shelley Crabtree


Poet, novelist, and long-time Sol Magazine member, Shelley Crabtree is the author of much award-winning poetry. A past president of the oldest writing club in Oklahoma, Enid Writer's Club, Shelley placed first in the rhyming poetry division of 2002's writer's club contests, and second in the non-rhyming division. She is a member of the Don Blanding Poetry Society, and the Oklahoma Writer's Foundation.  Her poetry has been featured in Scribe and Quill E-zine, and Sol Magazine.

 September 2002

John Rice, Houston, TX, USA



Before the stars dimmed in the cities' everglare,
before the concrete ribbons,
before the webs of wire -
barbed, copper, steel -
crissed and crossed the future,
he hauled himself and her
from Delancey Street's humming hive
Westward into infinity.
At Donner Pass (then it had no name),
he caught his breath and pointed into forever:
Look - he said -
look at all that space!

 © John Rice, 1998


Consider those moments,
those several segments strung
in irregular intervals from there
to here
Trial and Terror hang
like old raincoats
outside this pearly sphere
and we, in here,
are once again

 © John Rice, December 1998

Five Senses - Minus Four

Touching me, in all the ways you do,
Only reminds me of how
Unnecessary the other senses be-
Come. I don't need to see or
Hear or taste or smell, although,
In truth, I would miss those senses all, if they were
Not allowed me - just
Give me the feel of your soft breathing against
My skin, the strong steady touch of your hand - I'll
Endure the fiercest fires for that.

 © John Rice, July 9, 2002 - Houston

For more from John Rice, visit September's 
Art & Sol, and Poetry Works.


Artist, poet, poetry judge, essayist, and lecturer, John E. Rice was born in Galveston in 1941. He has lived and worked in Houston, Texas, since 1969, is married with four children, and four grandchildren.  He has variously worked in horticulture, medical research and is presently an executive with an international maritime shipping company.  In addition to poetry, Rice writes fiction and non-fiction.  He was Sol Magazine’s Poet Laureate in both 1999 and 2000.  His publishing credits include “Tidelines II,” The Writer's Forum, The Houston Chronicle's Texas Magazine, Sol Magazine, Galaxy Literary Journal, the b.a.w.l. point pen and others.

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