Sylvia Cavanaugh, Ed Werstein & Nancy Austin
Originally from Pennsylvania, Sylvia Cavanaugh has an M.S. in Urban Planning from the University of Wisconsin. She currently teaches high school African and Asian cultural studies. She is the faculty advisor for break dancers and poets. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems have appeared in An Arial Anthology, The Journal of Creative Geography, Midwest Prairie Review, Peninsula Pulse, Seems, Stoneboat Literary Journal, Verse-Virtual, Verse Wisconsin, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, Staring Through My Eyes, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in 2016.
Duped by a rectangle of glass above the door
in the way its light came in
but we could not see out
like the eyeless yellow marigolds between our walks
all fringe with no insight
tough alchemy of the nearly defeated
sometimes a warmed patch of light drifted in
to land on dust mote winter days
we played with paper dolls
our fathers once re-shingled the dilapidated roof
outside our back doors were sets of stairs
they had agreed upon
edgy summers drummed time
the staccato whap whap of screen doors
our lives latched to the people next door
in the jumpy bang bang of summer
I used to dream of a house
I could run all the way around
timed myself over and over
we shared a chimney, devilish bats
would echo their way down its dusty tunnel
and then have to decide
sometimes we heard the neighbors’ shrieks at night
and sometimes they heard ours.
-- Sylvia Cavanaugh
First published in Making it Speak: Artists and Writers in Cahoots
Ed Werstein, Milwaukee, spent 22 years in manufacturing and union activity before his muse awoke and dragged herself out of bed. He sympathizes with poor and working people. He advocates for peace and against corporate power. His poetry has appeared in Verse Wisconsin, Blue Collar Review, Stoneboat, Gyroscope Review, Mobius: the Journal of Social Change, and several other publications. His first chapbook, Who Are We Then?, was published in 2013 by Partisan Press.
The Way Philanthropy Works
At concerts in Rockefeller Center
sensitive ears can still hear the cries and wails
of the Ludlow miners
and their wives and children
slaughtered on the picket line in Colorado, 1914.
Without opening a book,
keen eyes can read
the lost lives of unschooled steel workers
on the facades of thousands oflibraries,
part of the Carnegie bequest.
And who remembers
the abandoned artistic ambitions
of the aluminum smelters, the oil riggers,
and the bank tellers who labored
so the Mellon family could endow
the National Gallery of Art?
-- Ed Werstein
Come, pump blood into my borscht,
fang-rooted Romanian blood-bulb,
vampire of vegetables.
I sink my teeth into you.
Warm this cold twilight.
-- Ed Werstein
Nancy Austin was born in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, but has lived on both coasts, and points in between. She received a master’s degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin, and worked in Green Bay for many years. She moved to the north woods a few years ago to delve into the poetry of a quieter lifestyle with her husband Mic. She appreciates every moment she has free to kayak a shoreline, bicycle down a wooded lane, sing back to the birds, and eat eggplant parmesan, an interest she has held since childhood. She relishes time to write in between running an unofficial bed and breakfast where she melds with family and friends.
Nancy has been published in various literary journals including Adanna, Midwestern Gothic, Sheepshead Review, Verse WI, and The WI Poets’ Calendars. She is the author of a poetry collection, Remnants of Warmth, forthcoming February, 2016 via Aldrich Press, and available at Amazon.com, or through the Kelsay Books website.
The new cord of firewood,
released its musky scent
as it tumbled from the truck bed.
Its dewy, fresh cut,
warm, wheat color,
and earthy aroma
We chuckled, such a discount
for ready to burn,
to the old cord,
that shattered into shards
when it fell to the ground,
loosening lichen-spotted bark
from tough, twisted cores,
thus, unceremoniously stacked
in the corner.
We lowered three perfect logs
into the cold, cast iron stove,
pulled chairs forward
in smug anticipation,
lit them up, and waited.
but would not burn.
-- Nancy Austin
First published in 2014 Wisconsin Poets Calendar