Thursday, April 26, 2012


I wonder if the sun debates dawn
some mornings
not wanting to rise
out of bed
from under the down-feather horizon

If the sky grows tired
of being everywhere at once
adapting to the mood swings of the weather

If the clouds drift off
trying to hold themselves together
make deals with gravity
to loiter a little longer

I wonder if rain is scared
of falling
if it has trouble letting go

If snow flakes get sick
of being perfect all the time
each one trying to be one-of-a-kind

I wonder if stars wish
upon themselves before the die
if they need to teach their young to shine

I wonder if shadows long
to once feel the sun
if they get lost in the shuffle
not knowing where they’re from

I wonder if sunrise and sunset
respect each other
even though they’ve never met

If volcanoes get stressed
If storms have regrets
If compost believes in life after death

I wonder if breath ever thinks
about suicide
I wonder if the wind just wants to sit
still sometimes
and watch the world pass by
If smoke was born knowing how to rise
If rainbows get shy back stage
not sure if their colors match right

I wonder if lightning sets an alarm clock
to know when to crack
If rivers ever stop
and think of turning back

If streams meet the wrong sea
and their whole lives run off-track
I wonder if the snow wants to be black

If the soil thinks she’s too dark
If butterflies want to cover up their marks
If rocks are self-conscious of their weight
If mountains are insecure of their strength

I wonder if waves get discouraged
crawling up the sand
only to be pulled back again
to where they began

I wonder if land feels stepped upon
If sand feels insignificant
If trees need to question their lovers
to know where they stand

If branches waver in the crossroads
unsure of which way to grow
If the leaves understand they’re replaceable
and still dance when the wind blows

I wonder where the moon goes
when she is hiding
I want to find her there
and watch the ocean
spin from a distance
Listen to her
stir in her sleep

effort give way to existence

-Naima Penniman, Climbing PoeTree

Friday, March 30, 2012

Adrienne Rich (1929-2012)

The Poetry Box honors the life of poet Adrienne Rich (1929-2012), who so eloquently dedicated her life and work to justice, love, and beauty. Upon learning of Rich’s death on March 28, Stegner Fellow David Biespiel called Rich, “The greatest American political poet since Walt Whitman.”

Rich was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1997, but she declined to accept, saying, “I could not accept such an award from President Clinton or this White House because the very meaning of art, as I understand it, is incompatible with the cynical politics of this administration...[Art] means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of the power which holds it hostage.”


Living            in the earth-deposits     of our history
Today a backhoe divulged     out of a crumbling flank of earth
one bottle     amber     perfect     a hundred-year-old
cure for fever    or melancholy     a tonic
for living on this earth     in the winters of this climate

Today I was reading about Marie Curie:
she must have known she suffered     from radiation sickness
her body bombarded for years    by the element
she had purified
It seems she denied to the end
the source of the cataracts on her eyes
the cracked and suppurating skin     of her finger-ends
till she could no longer hold     a test-tube or a pencil

She died     a famous woman      denying
her wounds
her wounds     came     from the same source as her power,

-Adrienne Rich, 1974

Monday, February 27, 2012

Waking Up

Look if you like, but you will have to leap. – Auden

In waiting there is hope—there is hope,
and dread: both somehow preferable
to certainty, if outwardly appropriate,

that may scathe. You are due your ineffable
deliberation, but I’ll concede
in the flash of my waking (in guilt

you hadn’t let me drive,
                                                you fetched a quilt,

your eyes—
morning caught us hungover and clothed
though no accountability exists,

no reason to diminish, fear, or forgo
this                        ) I was happy. Yeah, I said so.

-by Jen Coleman

Jen Coleman is from Lynchburg, Virginia, where she dropped out of high school. She received a fellowship from the MFA program at Hollins University. “Waking Up” is featured in the Fall 2011 edition of Jackson Hole Review,

Destiny Is a Red

Light filters through a crystal glass of red
Wine smoky and pure merlot
shines a color down to your very soul.
Heart red sounds a pure note
like a Flugel horn from a deep canyon
quiet, then suddenly full of chesty call.

In these passing storms of love,
one minute drenched, the next thundering dry,
A note echoes—in white porticoes
whose columns frame winsome gestures
of tender touch enfolding a young face
in time’s winnowing hand-held by some design.

In these corridors, where destiny walks naked
for all to see, hang ornate tapestries of time
scriven on by human multitudes unguided
save for some design because destiny dances
to a far off horn, blushing the color of dawn’s
light through a crystal glass of red.

-by Monte Rosen

Monte Rosen is the assistant facilities manager at the Center for the Arts. His poetry has been published in Birdcage Review, Dakota Home Journal, and other publications. He lives in Victor, Idaho.

Kicking Cairns

Nothing recommends this boulder
over the ten thousand others
in the field, except that
someone else, as lost as you,
thought to pile some stones here.

The chaos that confronts you
will evolve into a pattern
that bigger things broke into.
The freedom measured by each fall:
No one knows where you are.

It’s easy to make a statement out of
stones piled up within arm’s reach:
Here I have been; harder to know
which of the piles you come upon
you should kick down.

-by Rick Kempa

Rick Kempa lives in Rock Springs, Wyoming, where he teaches writing and philosophy at Western Wyoming College. “Kicking Cairns” is featured in the Fall 2011 edition of Jackson Hole Review,

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Choice

My body and soul are entwined,
chained unto yours
until the mental sword releases us.
What then…?
Will my heart be finally silenced,
or will it quicken and bloom again?
Is there a spark in these dying embers –
one to allow mending, to reweave the chains,
transforming them into golden threads of an
exquisite tapestry – a design woven to flow
from me to you and back again,
devoid of the strangling tentacles.
The essence of that choice
hangs in the air like smoke from burning incense,
            and yet
I cannot choose, oh God…
            not yet…

-by Claudia Gillette

Claudia Gillette lives in Jackson, Wyoming.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Whole list teabags dance on desks

                            Bones of the dresser sound elegant
ability, drag and sweep stairs. Far farm studio shakes all
different nuts to chew loud pieces.    

Paramedics save energy laughing all over the country. 

Worse than plans in glass “won’t recognize me the street
started fishing well, frozen pond. A long time remembered
emergency room.

Huggy people erase the legs of a chair and all this paper. 
Daughters came in fear of lunch pitied by Geppetto’s
forceful finish. Stealing across the square,

the legs of The Wooden Chair. Fell dogs fuss perfectly mountains of
confetti on the tongue. Bench journals lunch. James Page mittens documentary.

The poor don’t want, are happy only earthlight weaves to the spot,
moves on to the best received innocence written on tables,
enwreathed in ghosts.

I’ll disappear if one were to ask how erasing any awkwardness
candles in the street. Angles bend the line fish a busy room full of
shoes need repair.

Deep peg grocery bags change his sign to closed.
Guests arrive having picked the familiar face  I ‘ m  s u p p o s e d  t o 
think is insistent upon the faith of a trombone someone plays.

In the flash of a cackle, she warns, like me, the morning will capture,
needs to be praised.

-by Hanz Olson

Hanz Olson is currently a writer of poetry living in Casper, Wyoming after finishing school in Laramie. His poems have been selected for publication and appeared in Expression Literary and Arts Magazine, Open Window Literary Magazine, and Haggard and Halloo Publications.