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  volume 1. issue two  
A collection of poetry
by Patricia Wellingham-Jones

from Mongolian Art Exhibit

I turn a corner, stunned now by faces / on the wall—masks of deities, shamans, / in papier-mâché, carved wood, stuffed skin. / Black brows pull down over glaring eyes, / red mouths stretch in snarls or gentle smiles. (more...)
Patricia Wellingham-Jones
Isabelle Ghaneh
Todd Heldt
Pamela Miller
Joan Dy
Lina ramona Vitkauskas
Michelle Bitting
Arthur Joyce
Adrienne Lewis
Anne Durant
Kathryn Ugoretz
Cheryl Stiles
Ellaraine Lockie
Arlene Ang
Ellen Wade Beals
JeFF Stumpo
Lita Sorensen
Andrena Zawinski
Rebecca Clark
Jim Coppoc
Carly Sachs
Siri Steiner
Theodore Worozbyt
Hal Ackerman
Gretchen Skillman
Shawn Sargent
Rebecca Harper
Concetta Ceriello
Patrick Tucker
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Visiting Tirta Empul
by Cheryl Stiles

This Balinese temple heat
            lava rocks
            ashy gray paras carved to statues
                        of Shiva, Garuda, Saraswati
                        all covered with lichens
                                    ferns and dark green

This holy water
            and poured by the priest
                        sends steam
                        and the pilgrims’ prayers upward

Offerings are everywhere
            incense and flowers
                        datura and lotus
                        cassia and cockscomb
                        frangipani and firecracker hibiscus
                                    elaborately carved leaves
                                                of palm

Dyed rice
in a rimmed silver bowl
            sweet palm wine and fruit
                        papaya and mango
                        mangosteen and salak
                                    with skin like
                                                a snake

The sound of a temple bell
            The hum of two clear-running streams
                        Here there is no separate word             
                        for spirit or art
                        The religion is the religion
                                    of holy water
                                    and everywhere is niskala
                                                the unseen

by Cheryl Stiles

And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as if it were a lamp…..And the name of this star is called Wormwood…
Revelation 8:10 – 11

The original recipe was purportedly created
in 1792 by Dr. Pierre Ordinaire.
Now outlawed almost everywhere—
Switzerland, Belgium, France, the U.S.—
it can still be made by any industrious lay botanist.

Just take good measures of wormwood—
                        artemisia absinthium—
                        calamus or sweetflag,
                        hyssop, star anise, angelica root,
                        coriander and fennel seeds.

Macerate the dried herbs in alcohol—
                        wine or grain,
                        80 proof or better,
                        for several days
                        or longer.

Decant the liquid and distill it.
                        Part of the distillate turns yellow—
                        “the faints”—
                        discard this part for
                        it will taint the drink
                        and make it far too bitter.

Recolor the remaining liquid by adding
                        melissa and mint,
                        wormwood and citron peel.
                        Steep for a few more days,
                        filter and bottle.

And finally to the absinthe itself—
aniline emerald in a swirled glass.
Water then drizzled through
a sugar cube and baroque slotted spoon,
turning the drink cloudy,
that Degas-colored distillate—
                        La Fée Verte, the Green Fairy,
                        the liquid muse and mystic opaline
                        of Rimbaud, Van Gogh, Manet,
                        Baudelaire, Lautrec, Verlaine.

Cheryl Stiles currently works as a university librarian in the metropolitan Atlanta area. Her poems and essays have appeared in Poet Lore, The Atlanta Review, Pedestal Magazine, The Awakenings Review, Red River Review, Plainsongs, SLANT, So to Speak, and POEM. She is currently seeking a publisher for her first full-length poetry book manuscript entitled Ball Lightning. Cheryl’s mother was a longtime and devoted fan of Elvis, and every word of her poem is indeed “True.”
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