Jammed in Provence – Deborah Guzzi

 

The December countryside purrs sun-drenched.

Dazed by a barrage of rays, Lourmarin’s

buildings, cut-sandstone cream, curl entrenched

in quietude; local folk are sleeping in.

 

The roads of cobblestone, tail-twist, and weave;

centuries of frost and footfalls mark the place

where Medici royalty ruled and reaved.

Ghosts prowl unwilling to leave last night’s trace.

Shop doors open with a creak; vendors peek

outside and beam, the smell of coffee breezes.

Tea seeps near pitchers of cream on antiques;

the market opens early—just to tease.

 

On the trail of delights in Lourmarin,

baguette in hand, I search out a jam man.

 

Baguette in hand, I search out a jam man.

Up and up, I walk, eyes sharp, my head cocked,

to reach the clock for time here ticks unplanned,

past signs of local art, but the door’s locked.

 

I’m awake too early this Sunday morn.

Down I run: on a crooked trail, past a crèche,

in a chair of birch, on a seat well worn;

the manger awaits the birth of the blessed,

beneath a golden star; the story’s told.

 

But, I am off to a town called Bonnieux.

The road’s clear; we climb as the Alps unfold

bare vines, fruitless orchards fill the view.

 

There’s but a moment’s rest and so, I sigh;

Roussillon and its red cliffs are nearby.

 

 

 

debbie 3aDeborah Guzzi writes full time and travels for inspiration. Her third book The Hurricane is available through Prolific Press and at aleezadelta@aol.com. Her poetry appears in: Allegro Poetry Magazine and Artificium in the UK, Existere – Journal of Arts and Literature and Scarlet Leaf Review, Canada – Tincture, Australia – Cha: Asian Literary Review, China – Eunoia in Singapore – Vine Leaves Literary Journal – Greece, mgv2>publishing – France, and Ribbons: Tanka Society of America, pioneertown, Sounding Review, Bacopa Literary Review, Shooter, The Aurorean, Crack the Spine Literary Magazine, Liquid Imagination, Concis, The Tishman Review, Page & Spine & others in the USA. the-hurricanedg.com.

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Darjeeling – Sudha Balagopal

 

The voice on the scratchy microphone announces a weather-related train delay. Rubbing cold hands, Jon makes his way to the station’s cafeteria. A petite young woman with high cheekbones sits at a table by the window; her hodgepodge bags lie strewn.

“May I?” he points to the vacant chair.

When she nods, he settles down, orders Darjeeling tea —fitting for Northeastern India. Despite grimy windows, the snow-capped Himalayas are breathtaking, clouds bobbing around majestic peaks.

“I’m Jon.” He rests his elbows on the table. “You’re from here?”

She resettles the woolen shawl over her shoulders. “I’m… Saya.” She gestures toward the mountains, says, “I’m from there,” in accented English.

“Lucky.”

She shrugs.

Tea arrives; he removes the cozy, pours himself a cup.

“I suppose your train’s delayed too? On your way home?” he asks.

“No.”

The tea is delicate, fragrant. She’s prickly.

“I’m heading further north.” He smiles, attempts humor. “Perhaps I’ll find Shangri-La.”

“Good luck.” She frowns. “You won’t have cell phones there, or internet. No movies or restaurants.”

She doesn’t like her mountain home?

He watches as she gathers her belongings and leaves the cafeteria.

***

Later, he spots her huddled against cutting wind, peering at the tracks on the opposite side of the platform. No trains on either side. More raspy words emerge from the microphone.

He pulls the hoodie over his head, approaches her.

“Hello, again!” He intends to inquire about his train.

She doesn’t turn around to look at him.

The wind swirls her words, attempts to take them. He thinks she says, “Go away!”

“Where?” He tries humor again.

“What?”

“I want to find out about this train delay. Please understand I’ve come a long way to see the Himalayas.”

“What you imagine isn’t… I can tell you my mountain village is closed, small, suffocating. The sameness…” She’s bitter; her nostrils quiver.

“I shouldn’t look for lost paradise?” He hopes his smile is disarming.

“You and your Shangri-La!” She turns to look at him, her cheeks red.

“What’s wrong with wanting to find it?” He pulls on gloves, drops the smile.

She glares at him. “It’s not real!”

Another incoherent announcement comes through the system. He tilts his head and closes his eyes to make sense of it.

When he opens them, she’s slipped away in her noiseless manner.

***

He walks into the station manager’s office. They tell him all trains, up and down, are canceled until tomorrow. He must find lodgings for the night.

A commotion as an older, heavy-set man bursts in. “Saya!” he yells, the single word wrapped in menace. Jon doesn’t understand the rest.

While officials attempt to calm the man, Jon’s eyes scour the platforms.

The sun weakens and heavy clouds gather. Soon, the mountains are obscured. Along with Saya, Shangri-La is lost in the horizon.

 

Author2.1Sudha Balagopal’s recent short fiction has appeared in Foliate Oak, Peacock Journal, Right Hand Pointing and Jellyfish Review among other journals. She is the author of a novel, A New Dawn, and two short story collections, There are Seven Notes and Missing and Other Stories. Read more at www.sudhabalagopal.com.

Chrisi Akti – Ion Corcos

 

for Christos

 

The moon is out before dark.

 

Olive trees hide blackbirds,

cypress the coo of pigeons.

 

A cat sprawls in the fading light.

 

Cracked voice of an old man

like the bark of a tree,

old as Poseidon.

 

A lemon on the roadside.

 

Goats in wild grass,

the clink of bells.

 

Red crumbled earth,

scattered pine trees

on snow-capped mountains.

 

The sea is full of white birds.

 

Scent of orange fills the air.

 

Ion CorcosIon Corcos has been published in Grey Sparrow Journal, Clear Poetry, Communion, The High Window and other journals. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee. Ion is a nature lover and a supporter of animal rights. He is currently travelling indefinitely with his partner, Lisa. Ion’s website is www.ioncorcos.wordpress.com.

Cabin Fever Poem #437 – Ryan Quinn Flanagan

 

It was snowing on the snow

and the snow on the ground began

to resent the snow that was falling on it

to the point that when the new snow settled

with all the snow that came before

they formed an alliance against the new snow

that was still falling

or any other snow that still wanted

to fall that

season.

 

Ryan ottawaQuinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his other half and mounds of snow. His work can be found both in print and online in such places as Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Word Riot, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.