Pillars: Garrigan and Friedlander

Michael Garrigan / Yoav Friedlander

Barrel of Eels

My grandpa told me back before the dams
he’d take a wooden barrel and carve holes
down the sides curving around nails, sun shone
a kaleidoscope of wooden shadows
and coke oven light on diabase rock,
he’d sink those barrels into the river
small weirs
with bait hung inside, nightcrawlers bloody
chicken livers, eels would squirm their way in
moulded pig iron until the morning,
he’d stand on limestone banks and drag barrels
thick rope calloused hands shoveled dead skin shad
scales on top of eels oily river snakes
floating then flailing as the water drained
he’d shove his hand down into the jellied
mess and grab one, nail down its head while
he sliced the top seam with a buck knife, skinning
it for the meat smoked over catalpa
and cherry, now it’s just flathead catfish
carp mercury those eels tasted so good.

 


 

Pittston, PA, 2017, ©Yoav Friedlander

PA-54 Girardville, PA, 2017, ©Yoav Friedlander

 


 

Severance Tax

Vultures pick deer carrion in the gravel edge of Route 81
they mean no harm in their clean up but get no love,
their beaks are made for the job they do.

Dragline excavators and drilling rigs fissure the horizon
steel rails and pendulums offer no buds in spring, rust yearlong.
Anthracite, now Marcellus Shale.

All – flesh, water, rock, dirt, stem –
pay a severance tax for existence.

Some of us band together, use language to make lines on paper
to create larger illusory selves that exist yet can’t be touched
or handcuffed or kissed or made omelettes on a rainy morning,
becoming an incorporated capital W and E and fracture geological lines
and shoot water down encased wellbores, flood the ground, pressure against pressure
to rupture gas, suck it dry, raze whole mountainsides, leaving only smears of burnt coal and gas
hazy like an August day even in December. We let
vultures pick at what’s left, and the individual I and lowercase
we pick up the bill and sweep the anthropogenic debris downstream.

 


 

State Route 901, Coal Township, PA, 2018, ©Yoav Friedlander

Coxton Road, Duryea, PA, 2018, ©Yoav Friedlander

PA-54, Girardville, PA, 2017, ©Yoav Friedlander

 


 

Diadromous

 Catadromous

A mythical west of riprap peaks
pulls into elixir of salt
water trenches, cheap beer bays
blurry steep stairs relentless
pedals pounding up Pittsburgh
inclines no rock to hide under
no fallen tree to slide along
Hand rolled cigarettes clasped
between chapped lips
currents catch pectoral fins
under indiscernible storms
smoke so deep
sunlight can’t reach
eyeshine through thin nylon
tent walls perched in the San Jacintos
the Siskiyou, on granite banks of tarns
vision blurry in each new water
shoulders raw from backpack straps
heavy with clothes, a book, a journal,
a caudal fin relentlessly swaying
back and forth back and forth
I flounder.

Anadromous

A cup of coffee each morning
weekends waxed and waned on water
sometimes a summertime jaunt
to Maine woods. A paycheck every two
weeks, dead batteries, budgets blown
annual floods from hurricanes that clip
us off the coast, from ice jams that thaw
suddenly in fifty degree January afternoons,
from dams that don’t release water
quick enough into the bay.
Deep breathes, dorsal fins
treading before a final run
upstream until we hit a dam
or get pecked by long knife herons, clamped by eagle talons
or we make it to where we started
and we wait and we are there
and we leave what there is left of us and water
recedes eelgrass strapped
across rock husks
drying out spent
insides wither
to dirt.


 

Hazleton, PA, 2018, ©Yoav Friedlander

 

Pittston, PA, 2017, ©Yoav Friedlander

 


 

Robbing the Pillars

Poppy Augustine crawled into the deepest
part of the Shamokin mines as a kid to rob the pillars,
drilling holes into the anthracite, placing dynamite
into walls of stone left to hold up the mountain,
lighting the fuse and running until he was far enough
to sit and wait for the blast
the settle
the quiet
that had to last
at least sixty seconds.             In that silence he made
eye contact with the mule, and if he fell still the oxygen was gone
sucked back to the surface and that meant to chase it. Retreat.
Once that silence was long enough
and those breathes taken
he’d grab his short shovel for his short arms and small hands
and start filling the carts with the blasted coal.

Did he blow out his carbide lamp and rest in that dark silence?
Did he play with dirt between his fingers? Did rocks become
toy trucks in those seconds of possible collapse?

I strand myself in streams and close my eyes
and wait for water crashing collapsing that covers
but does not bury become a silence that settles
onto me the bank the clouds of bugs the breaths of woods
gripping the soil and geology of their seed.

Everything becomes a silence if we give it long enough.

 


 

Coxton Rd, Duryea, PA, 2018, ©Yoav Friedlander

 

 

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Michael Garrigan writes and teaches along the banks of the Susquehanna River in southern Pennsylvania. He enjoys exploring the river’s many tributaries with a fly rod and hiking the riverlands. You can find more of his writing at www.raftmanspath.com.

Yoav Friedlander born in Jerusalem, Israel in 1985. He received a B.A in Photographic Communications from Hadassah Academic College, Jerusalem in 2011 and left for Queens, New York where he still works and resides. In 2014 Yoav received his MFA from the department of Photography Video and Related Media at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Cluster: Kayser & Anselmi

Talley V. Kayser / Daniel Anselmi 

As a Kayaking Guide, I Always Describe Oyster Sex with Particular Care.
Shem Creek, South Carolina

Some fathers object to the mention of semen
in front of their offspring. Some mothers remark
that “the girl oysters have life much harder,” and we
who have vulvas nod sagely. A bro in pink glasses
once boomed, “it’s a clusterfuck, dude!” and I used
that same joke for all subsequent bros. But what blows

people’s minds isn’t how shellfish sex slicks the creeks
in late spring, or the wild odds that each thrashing larva
must face, or that some spawning females release fifty
million or more eggs per day––but the way oysters
change. Protandry, simultaneous hermaphrodites…
I explain. Middle schoolers who giggled at sperm

all clam up and avoid that one kid with their eyes––
or a red-cheeked man quickly intones, “God be praised!
His creation is wondrous!”––or maybe a grayed
pair of women share wide grins and laugh. Oh, so strange,
what goes on in this water we cross. Boys grow up
to be girls. Girls can also be boys. Never mind

that for seventeen million years oysters have thrived
through such changes––it’s slippery space. So I say:
“what amazing resilience.” I say, “great success
under pressure.” I marvel at oysters, who bear
hurricanes on rough shoulders, who shelter the weak
of the sea, whose strong stomachs cleanse impurities

from each last drop of marsh, every day. I call out
to my clients, and raise high my water. Together,
we toast Crassostrea virginica’s honor:
all praise to the oyster, robust clusterfucker,
both mother and father, essential.

 

©Daniel Anselmi, “Untitled (3-1).” Collage, 2017.

 

©Daniel Anselmi, “Untitled.” Collage, 2013.


 

 

 

©Daniel Anselmi, “Untitled (2B).” Collage, 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

©Daniel Anselmi, “Untitled.” Collage, 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

©Daniel Anselmi, “Untitled.” Collage, 2013.

 

Black Skimmers
Colonial Lake, June.

I.

Their art is called cut-water.

Wide-flung and tapered wings lilt in iambic rhythms.
Black and white, with surety and speed,
the wild birds trace the edges of the lake
as if they’re caged, trailing
ink-shaped shadows.

From low, unbroken flight
their sleek necks stretch. Red, blade-thin beaks
reach, slice their own reflections––each
bird carves its one white line, a single wake:
a lean, bright trail
a clean and perfect shape
that flares against the surface
and then fades.

 

II.

such beauty! in
these gentle
carousel flights
dipping as if to drink

(but the birds are not drinking)

the shallows tremble with ripples/and the wet light
shudders. half-sunk cups gape

open wonder. crumpled
wrappers hum, and lift
their crumbling offerings
in silver fists

(but the birds are not gods)

what then/of this/jittered rhythm/
what then/shall we make of this/strange flight

(watch the shallows)

and what shall we watch in the shallows

 

(the fishes that tilt their flat eyes toward the light
and seek it, as if summoned)

III.

The art is called cut-water. It recurs.

Again the skimmers pass––again, they bend
their necks to long, low kisses. Ripples sing.

Watch closely the wild silence of their wings.
Watch close the wounds they knife into the water.


This is no quiet art.

This art is hunger.


 

 

 

©Daniel Anselmi, “Untitled.” Collage, 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

©Daniel Anselmi, “Untitled (12-1).” Collage, 2016.

 

 

 

©Daniel Anselmi, “Untitled.” Collage, 2013.

 

 

©Daniel Anselmi, “Self Portrait.” Collage, 2018.

 

 

 

 

©Daniel Anselmi, “Untitled.” Collage, 2016.

 

 

Albatross Ekphrasis
after Chris Jordan

it is unlike me
to look at a bird
and think of myself

and not the bird.
but still I wonder
which bright bits
stab jagged

through my even
most silversoft lining. which
is the biggest bolus
drawing the eye

when
I am
opened

*

my little brother
is a doctor. my little
brothers cuts people open my
little brother cut open a person

cadaver corpse––for a
full year he teased it
into pieces. he says
they start you with

the back. the face
comes last. the face
is difficult. one morning
he gently lifted

a bright bow tie from
the neck of his
corpse. he walked the scrap
of plastic to the trash

then turned to his lab mates.
we’re not doing that
again. he says
they covered her

hands to hide the color
on her nails, which was like
someone’s mother’s.

*

the photographer’s hands
(bare) teased from the
dark bile of the bird that stuff

which cut and
lodged and
crowded but never
fed and therefore

killed. the photographer scrubbed
each bright piece clean
and lay it back against
the opened body

riddle: my father
is like unto or not
the photographer

*

much of my mother
has been removed

but lucky she
remitted. I made
the mistake of googling

tumor. I am no doctor but
they don’t appear to come
in a wide variety

of colors. my mother
is farm-raised and
well bred. also uneasy

and diseased. my mother
fed on food fresh
from the garden

which they sprayed
same as the cotton.

*

the birds swallowed
the bright bits on the sand, as they
have always done.

as they have always done,
they offered from the depths
of their bodies those same bits

and fed their children, so tell me
what I’ve swallowed. tell me
how it’s killing me. given the chance

I would prefer to slough in the dirt
without particular color––no pink
clinging to my nails, no strange red

bulge collecting in my breast, no evidence
of which stray memory choked
my growth or stunted flight,

which sadness I was fed
and ate. I would prefer
earth swarm what’s left:

an opened harmlessness,
soft, gnawable flesh
and clean, bright bits of bone.

 

 

 

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Talley V. Kayser has been an outdoor professional since 2007, and has worked as a naturalist and wilderness guide throughout the United States. During the academic year, she directs The Pennsylvania State University’s Adventure Literature Series, teaching courses that combine literary study and outdoor exploration.

Daniel Anselmi explores the use of paper as a dialogue between painting and collage. He creates painted paper as one would handle a brush to elicit brushstrokes on surfaces, creating opportunities to express color, line, and form. All works are Untitled, removing references that  interfere with or assist in viewer perception.

Poetry: Langfur & Riff

Charlene Langfur / Paula Riff

 

©Paula Riff, “Ginkgo’s Folly,” from the series Shibui, 16×10”, Cyanotype and Gum Bichromate Print, 2018

 


 

Trying to Do The Right Thing Even When It Doesn’t Matter

My 13 pound honey colored dog and I are out walking
under the blood colored moon in the middle of summer,
under the ashes from the fire in Cranston.
Today the fire is on the other side of the mountains in 119 degrees
and this is the way of it now for those of us here near the old oasis,
troubles and omens around us, I call them signs and move on
but they are everywhere I look, past the fat old palm trees,
trees overwhelmed with their own fronds, burgeoning leaves, carrying
weight, trees trying to stick to a life plan, and we walk past the scrub pine,
and wild yucca in near bloom, whatever made it through the hottest
most humid of summers, here where life continues as if no change
is actually taking place in the world, as if no shifting to solar and low water use
is an imperative, nor focusing  on what is needed most in order to make it through to what is
we know we need in the future. We walk easy along the sand, a familiar sand path along
the canyon’s edge, each of us breathing in the darkening air as if it is easy
to react to what is around us, and we do our best to adapt to a new world.
I am of the mind to help with the earth changes around us. It is because
of the way I am, trying no matter what the odds. As I walk I plan
for low water gardens, calendula, aloe, planting a sweet orange nasturtium bed,
colors to enchant the heart when nothing else will, a plan to plant seeds to grow herbs
and flowers and to save the seeds for next year, for dreams and succulence.
Later I think we can walk through all the heat wave’s bad air
to the other side of it as if there is a door, past the wild air of trouble around us
which seems to have no end. Talk in Washington is we do not have the resources
to change what is happening, no money to help humans and animals.
But money is piling up, monopoly style, higher and higher. Green paper, gold bricks,
all that. This tender we use to represent our real needs in life.
My dog and I move on, speed up a little, waiting for what comes next.
The fire finally to be put out, or the air to turn even poorer. Tomorrow
we will pile all our recycling in the car to bring to the recycling plant
and we’ll buy up more seeds to plant for the next season. Planning to give back
and live with less. We head home, any way that works, here in the same world
we were both born to, with its earth and water and here where we think we can keep it safe
by changing our ways to plan for whatever comes next. We know how to make it home,
walking hard, reaching out far as we can until we catch hold
turn the key in the door, make it all right again for one more day. 

©Paula Riff, “Snapped & Crackled,” from the series Shibui, 8×20”, Cyanotype and Gum Bichromate Print, 2018

©Paula Riff, “Indigo Dreams,” from the series Shibui, 16×20”, Cyanotype and Gum Bichromate Print, 2018


 

©Paula Riff, “Because of Sunflowers,” from the series Shibui, 8×20”, Cyanotype and Gum Bichromate Print, 2018

Signs of Life

What survives the big summer heat in the desert always catches my eyes.
It’s easier to see the gains and losses here than everywhere else,
here where there are endless stretches of sand and the lavender survives at 117 degrees.
I am not sure how it does it but I see how what survives encourages me to thrive along
with it as if we are all part of the same life force. I see the plants grow, with such insistence
in spite of everything, taking what they need and letting everything else go.
Today I feel my life feels stronger as I am able to hold up against the force of the heat.
The rabbits bolting from behind the mesquite, I watch them carefully to keep them in my sight,
movement from out of complete stillness. All at once they disappear in thin air and never look back.
I see how fragile we all are here, here where the giant century plant takes 20 years to grow
and poachers bleed them dry to make the littlest bit of tequila. Here where the moon rises
over the mountains as if perfectly timed. I see how what grows here tells us more
about our future than we may want to know, how our government turns a blind eye to it all,
ignoring advances in solar, wind, anything that works to save what we have now for the years ahead.
Here in the desert it’s easy to see the advances needed. See what we need to do next.
This morning the cactus was in bloom, a single flower reaching out on a single stem
of its own, only inches in diameter, lotus like, full blooming with crème colored jewels,
a near impossible sight, I think, rare, miraculous, something from nothing even in times like these.

 


 

A Simple Life with What is Here

Today my plants became a way of life
for me. Transplanting the lavender takes time.
$3.00 on sale a Home Depot. Can you imagine
my good fortune? I dig up the dirt from an unused lot
and carry it home. A shovel full at a time.
Set the plant on top of the dirt with a half inch
to spare on the sides of the plant’s roots. Room to grow.
A rule of thumb for a job like this. Getting the room
it needs exactly right matters. And picking off the old growth to lighten
it up. I can smell the lavender on my hands and arms
as I work through the delicate leaves to thin them out.
And when the plants grow I know I will feel richer, protected.
Already I see how the plant takes to the pot quickly, how it settles in,
protecting itself, how the leaves are a sweet green, and I am sure
the healing color will help me live as the plant grows. That is how full life
starts here. From branch to root, everything I’ve put to a new life
more than I know.

©Paula Riff, “Beneath Her Feet,” from the series Shibui, 11×15”, Cyanotype and Gum Bichromate Print, 2018

 


 

 

©Paula Riff, “Night Garden,” from the series Shibui, 11×15”, Cyanotype and Gum Bichromate Print, 2018

 

©Paula Riff, “Day Glo,” from the series Shibui, 16×20”, Gum Bichromate Print, 2018

Catching After the Light

The heart takes me to where I feel at my best today,
helps me find a way for me to connect to a human place,

a path for me to follow when there is no other way

find a few words for what runs too deep for me to describe,
a simple way out,
a way for the 10,000 thoughts
the mind comes up with every day, to take me where I want to go,
thoughts that help keep me afloat

thoughts about saving what we have, gathering small seeds
getting ready for another season, tending the aloe plants for healing,

especially the soft, nubile ones,
take to what is around me in the dirt to help me start over no matter how much
I want to stick with the past and not move ahead,
I push forward on solid ground, gather what works,
the morning coffee, sweet red strawberries

looking for a path with patience to it,
today I’ve spent a good part of the day watching the road runner
idling on the back porch, the opal feathers glistening in the sun,

and the purple headed lizard
watching me from behind a rock and running off when
the time is right. It knows the exact moment to take off.
I feel better with them, the small animals
and the path we were on together, waiting for the earth to lighten up again

as if there is more to all our connections than we know in our bones,
staying true, sleeping long, catching after the light

one day another night until we know exactly how
to do it again and then again until it works.

 


 

©Paula Riff, “River Wild,” from the series Shibui, 16×10”, Cyanotype and Gum Bichromate Print, 2018

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Charlene Langfur is an organic gardener, a rescued dog advocate, a Syracuse University Graduate Writing Fellow. Her poems are about the environment and how we all need to make changes. Her most recent publication is in Still Point Arts Quarterly, called “Chasing Home.”

Paula Riff creates cameraless images using the processes of cyanotype and color gum bichromate as a way to physically interact with the natural world as an artist.  She cuts the paper at various intersections which allows her to enter the conversation with the images in a very intimate way. Her intention is to strip away as much as possible so that she can focus more on the elements of design and consider elements of nature in a different way.

Shibui. The Japanese word shibui refers to a particular aesthetic of simple, subtle and unobtrusive beauty and it is this concept that reflects the spirit of this series, Shibui.  An object of art that employs these characteristics may at first appear to be simple, but upon closer inspection the subtle details and textures balance that simplicity with a rich complexity.

Artists, Scientists & Madmen: Giese & Tagg

Amy Theiss Giese / Nathanael Tagg

Artists, Scientists & Madmen

Untitled Chemical Painting [IC 6], 2016, unique silver gelatin photograph, 9×11″

Untitled Chemical Painting [IC 40], 2017, unique silver gelatin photograph, 11×11″

Untitled Chemical Painting [IC 4], 2016, unique silver gelatin photograph, 14.25×15.75″

Rewriting John

Scientist, you love the world enough to activate
Johnny, the only begotten nurseryman robot.
Whosoever believeth in you may wonder
not only if Earth will have everlasting life,
not only if a deus ex machina is in order,
but also if the kingdom has already arrived

and how we ought to live accordingly,
even if Johnny will plant stratospheric sunlight-
deflecting particles, his head the hardest of pots,
and transplant machine trees that perfectly
swallow up the glut of atmospheric CO2.
Different gods and priests, similar questions.
Also, a little more artistry and persuasion,
and I could call a story like this the good news.


Untitled Chemical Painting [IC 10], 2016, unique silver gelatin photograph, 20×13.5″

Untitled Chemical Painting [IC 15], 2017, unique silver gelatin photograph, 24×20″

Untitled Chemical Painting [IC 24], 2017, unique silver gelatin photograph, 41.75×25.5″

Haldane’s Last Words

I’m called “the man who knows it all,”
but do I know myself? I ought
to have as little reverence
for myself as I’ve had for,
say, the God of theologians,
those who asked me what could be
deduced about the creator

from creation. “An inordinate fondness
for beetles” was my answer,
given nearly half a million species
of them exist. Forget my cleverness;
I won’t recite my verse on rectal cancer,
which is killing me. Da Vinci-esque,

I’ll make a list. 1. To learn, I drank
hydrochloric acid, was locked in rooms
with toxic air and stuck in chambers,
decompressed, then suffered
migraines and perforated eardrums

and shattered vertebrae. 2.
But I gave little thought to animal cruelty
in experiments and agriculture—
not a moment of non-speciesist
consideration to a pig that has a higher
IQ than some unfortunate kids. 3.

I wrote Darwinian books and papers.
Hundreds. 4. And yet I penned
a measly paragraph or two
on the kinship of animals and humans—
less on kinship’s connection to altruism.
5. I was deemed “the cleverest man”
who’d make a mathematical system,

then write a Shakespearean sonnet—
left and right faithfully married in my brain.
6. However, I coaxed a girl to leave
her spouse and marry me.
I almost lost my post at Cambridge
thanks to the scandal. 7. I initiated

modern scientific talk on altruism. 8.
And still, at times, I enjoyed the war—
enjoyed its tanks and bullets,
gas and trenches—so much so
my commander called me “the bravest,

dirtiest” soldier. 9. Pursuing justice,
empathizing with the destitute,
I was a socialist, who had the wit
to say that Britain and the US
adopting communism is as likely as hippos
doing somersaults and jumping hedges.

10. But then I deemed a mass-
murderer, Stalin, a “very great man
who did a very good job.” 11.
In the end, I met myself on my deathbed.
12. My abdomen relaxed, and after weeks
of weight loss and fatigue came
a jolt of strength. 13. Though waste

refused to leave my body, a list
had purged my soul of something worse.


Untitled Chemical Painting [IC 2], 2016, unique silver gelatin photography 7×8″

Untitled Chemical Painting [IC 26], 2017, unique silver gelatin photograph, 20×16″ diptych

Untitled Chemical Painting [IC 9], 2016, unique silver gelatin photograph, 6.25×8.5″ diptych

Dragon Sturgeon

Wildfire is not supposed to reach their area,
yet she sees what look like many a solar flare.
To prevent her kids from noticing the fire,
she blindfolds her six-year-old son and four-
year-old daughter. “A game,” says the mother.
She unplugs her hardly charged electric car.
As they approach the interstate, her daughter

says, “What’s that smell? Are we going to Daddy?”
Her mother circumvents the flames by driving
off the road. Her son enjoys the bouncing—
giggles since he doesn’t see the lifeless deer.
Around its neck balloons are tied, beside
a family of trees, ablaze. The kids’ mom and dad
separated recently. A decade ago, he wanted

to live with his wife—but also with friends;
the bunch would share a house. She wanted to live
with just her spouse and (eventually) her kids,
within a couple hours from her whole
tight-knit family. But the couple followed school
and work across the country. Then their separate
wants arose again at a wedding reception,

at an aquarium with a tank of sturgeons, which
anyone with clean hands could touch.
One was black and bright-eyed like a dragon
capable of starting instant wildfires. It swam
alone, evading fingers dipped into the water.
Other sturgeons swam together and tolerated
being touched, and one, the slimiest ham actor,

let itself be touched on every lap around the tank.
She’s since heard of the future possibility
of head transplants. This morning, she dreamed
that every time the slimy sturgeon surfaced, it was
her son’s or husband’s head atop the fish’s body.
Every time the dragon sturgeon surfaced, it was
her daughter’s or her own head on the fish’s body.

Wedding guests had human parts below the neck;
above were various aquatic creature heads.
A game of words on blocks had come alive;
the blocks arranged themselves: “community,
friends as family, village to raise kids, wildfire!”
She woke and saw the flames in which her home
is now engulfed. Her kids remove their blindfolds.

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Amy Theiss Giese is a Boston based artist and educator. Giese received her MFA from Parsons School of Design and her BA from Amherst College. Giese’s work is rooted in materialism, exploring what the fundamental forces are for a given medium focusing on photographic and sound recordings of spaces and places.

Nathanael Tagg is the author of Animal Virtue (WordTech Editions, 2018) and an associate professor of English at Cecil College. He has an MFA from Rutgers. His poems and reviews are published or forthcoming in Colorado Review, Barrow Street, Pleiades, Confrontation, Cimarron Review, and other magazines.

Connections: Gaines and Cohen

Alison Gaines / Brian D. Cohen

Apology Ritual

The evening begins with the rain
clearing its throat: I’m sorry, I waited
as long as I could. Retreating
from every windowsill and bicycle spoke,
the lizards shy under leaves.
The wasps pause their nest
construction, carry it to an unpeopled
place, still sorry for what happened
last week on the porch. The palmettos
have whacked enough faces on the road,
and now lean away from it.
In the house, there’s you,
adding today’s infractions—
bicycle knocked over,
sharp pencil dropped,
thing said too loud
or too soon—to yesterday’s,
another layer under which
you will not sleep.

Nest, Etching 5″ x 5″, 2015 © Brian D. Cohen

Galaxy, Etching 5″ x 5″, 2014 © Brian D. Cohen


Nostalgia Moon, Relief Etching 5″ x 4″, 2010© Brian D. Cohen

Waved Albatross

They fish for weeks at sea, hardly moving
a wing, then stumble on land, risk breaking
a leg in touching down to the cliff. They lay
one pointy egg on the rocky, sinking island.
Coleridge hung on them the idea that they
must hang on us, a yoke, a new way to feel
sorry for ourselves. Eight feet in wingspan
but only a few pounds, one begins helpless,
a bundle of brown shag carpeting, left
for all those weeks of fishing. Then they fledge
and move from one era of solitude
to another, years before returning.
I envy those dark eyes and their long sight.
These birds are terrifying. They mate for life.


Gray Whale

When you will not see again
The whale calves trying the light …
            W.S. Merwin, “For a Coming Extinction”

To be born at the surface
drinking 53% milkfat

Held up by mother
on her belly or back

in case of orcas
or something else with teeth

To migrate up and down a coast
one’s whole life

close to the surface
where light ripples ancient skin

To sleep there. To give birth
every two years or so

year-long gestations
ending shallow and warm

To abstain from feeding
during migration

To feed by pushing along the floor
on one’s right side

making a cloud of sand
and spitting out the mud

How large, how slow
What to make

of the curve of the mouth
the expressionless eye

Ask their secret
They seem like creatures with secrets

They would probably tell us not to worry
not to feel bad

their medium being water, we think
not the future or last weekend

Whale, Etching 5″ x 5″, 2014© Brian D. Cohen

Ailing Moon, Relief Etching 6″ x 6″, 2011 © Brian D. Cohen

Snail, Etching 5″ x 5″, 2015 © Brian D. Cohen

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Alison Gaines studies poetry at the University of Florida. She is originally from Vancouver, Washington and has a BA from Knox College. She has attended the Sewanee Writers’ Conference as an MFA scholar, and written several textbooks for young readers. Her poems have appeared in Sweet Tree Review.

Brian D. Cohen is a printmaker, painter, writer, and educator. He founded Bridge Press, publisher of limited edition artist’s books and etchings, in 1989. Brian has exhibited in forty individual exhibitions and in over 200 group shows, and his work is held by private and public collections throughout the country.

 

Painting Stories: Kauffman & Ellison

Kjerstin Anne Kauffman / Ingrid Ellison

 

Painting Stories

 

 

Yaryan’s

My mother surreptitiously turns over peaches,
hiding the green ones, the bruised ones we ransacked,
I and my children, between the warm leaves,
before we can haul them to the scale.

Our plunder blushing in its cardboard crate
(yes, I crave it even now) does fail
to align. Big peaches jostle the small ones,
off-balance, or oddly oblate.

We have to respect the orchard, she’d said,
and she’d meant—suddenly, I understand—
produce culled, cradled, and basking
in ripe uniformity.

A pity we’ve left her to salvaging
what order she can, then bearing, with relative
grace, old Yaryan, who stoops,
weighs, and condescends

to advise: don’t turn up the stems, now.
Maybe we all of us, knowing best, err.
But who’ll forgive us our clumsy possession
of this fruit, these yielded gems?

Beginning Again, Oil on Linen 46×46″, © Ingrid Ellison

Red Roof, Oil on Panel 12×12″, © Ingrid Ellison

 

 

Blue Roof, Oil on Panel 12×12″, © Ingrid Ellison

Buried Under March Snow, Oil on Linen 48×48″, © Ingrid Ellison

Morning in the Cascades

The suburban smells like teenage boys
and coffee. But I’m in the back,
untouchable, serene—
             I’m the queen

of this expedition, who gets to sprawl
with Ebony, the dog, behind
the back seat, on the sleeping-bag-bed
             spread

over rucksacks and ski gear. I get
this envied seat, because when I read
the boys—everybody—listens.
             The roads glisten

with ice. This drive is dangerous. Yet the whole,
parentless carload’s in thrall to Watership Down
though mostly they’re too old
             for it, not bold

enough to admit they like it. I know
it bothers them—maybe it should
that it’s a story about bunnies.
             But it’s funny,

right now, no one wants to stop. We all
want to hear the world, like we thought,
is our enemy. We have to have cunning,
             running

around in it. We have to have tricks.
Maybe they think, these brothers,
and these brothers’ friends, while I read
             they don’t need—

But look. We have such power then. The sun
stands over the mountains. The snow
is everywhere. And my voice, as we are cresting,
             is full, is arresting.

Turning, in Winter

Come inside, winnowing. Two months
this house has been in and out of a fever.
This room has asked me to bend
and whisk away: mucus, peevishness, sorrow.
Now the snow concentrates, heavy, tossing
on window and door. All day
I’ve been brooding the blue-light dispatches
of my phone—is this odd? some mother
had her children whisked by mistake,
by her benevolent state, by god—

The narrowest of passages, the most
impenetrable door I incline to survive as.
Nevertheless, I invite you,
flurry subsumed in this cavern, this room.

Carrying a Story Through the Night, Oil on Linen 48×48″, © Ingrid Ellison

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Ingrid Ellison is a painter working in oil and mixed media. Born in Boston, Ingrid has made Maine her home since 2007. She has exhibited at the CMCA, AVA Center for the Arts, Cynthia Winings Gallery, and Frank Brockman Gallery. Ingrid has a passion for sharing what she does with students both school aged and adult.

Kjerstin Anne Kauffman has taught creative writing at  Johns Hopkins University and Hillsdale College. Her poems, essays, and reviews appear in many periodicals including Literary Matters, Gulf Coast, 32 Poems, The Cresset, Salamander,  and The American Poetry Review.

 

Batrachomancy: Wagenaar and Kydd

 

Chelsea Wagenaar / Sal Taylor Kydd

 

chidren holding polywags

Pollywogs, 2016, ©Sal Taylor Kydd

 


Batrachomancy
—divination by frogs

Somewhere they leap on soft wet banks,
crouch in clear waters, their mottled skin
as dew brilliant as the spiderwebs were the spring
my father saved them. They don’t know how
they were spared, of course, the wrist-thin skin
of their throats pale and pulsing to sound out
the hours, each other. Perhaps only a few
still survive that spring twelve years ago,
when their mother trekked up from the wooded stream
that bordered our yard and emptied her belly
in our swimming pool—nebulous cluster
of milky globules suspended there, each an eye
with its black, pinpricked center. There,
to our spellbound disgust, they hatched—
the pool a frantic bevy of heads and tails,
the luck or curse that placed them there.
If I follow them back through their afterlives,
bellowing and skin-darkened to herald
a coming rain, voluble with warning
when storms approached, some lost,
perhaps tweezed apart in junior high labs,
or caught again by my father, cupped too tightly
in the hands of his new daughter—if I follow them
back through their chorused, forested lives,
I can trace them up the garden hose
that poured them in synchronized frenzy
into their rightful waters, the hose
a sinuous lifeline climbing the yard to our pool,
where its other end siphoned the tadpoles
from a water thrilled with their darting chaos.
Look harder, farther: I see my father
by the stream, kneeling in damp clay,
his lungs full, his mouth around the hose
inhaling a deep, slow gasp, then another,
until the summoned water met his mouth.
The bodies pouring out into the life
they had not known to imagine.
And his watching them arrowed away
in the current like undoused green flames.
And the bitter, secret taste on his tongue.
young girl backbend

Backbend, 2015, ©Sal Taylor Kydd

plant floating in water

Flotsam, 2015, ©Sal Taylor Kydd

 

 

 


child legs under water swimming

Elliot Diving, 2015, ©Sal Taylor Kydd

edge of still water with tree line reflection

Linda’s Cove, 2015, ©Sal Taylor Kydd

swimming girl head out of water

Lola Rising, 2015, ©Sal Taylor Kydd

Lullaby in a Drought

In the drawers, in the cabinets,
we find pecan casings and pellets,

the answer to the question
of what patters in the walls at night.

We are not the only lovers here.
If the lights go out, we used to say,

you pour the wine and I’ll find
the matches. But we dare not tempt them

in this tinder town—where sycamores shed
parched unready leaves, where yards are fringed

with thistle barbs. If the waters rise,
we used to say, you pour the wine

and I’ll tear out the best pages.
But now the baby’s in her seventh week,

pulled from the secret waters
of my body into a rainless topography.

Who is more sorry?
She sleeps the sleep of rivers.

In the nights I sit cradleside when she wakes,
humming Brahms’ famous notes—

a song he wrote to sway an old love.
So we are always singing

what we cannot change.
The walls fill with patter, rain clouds

form somewhere else. The wine
grows older, finer. If the funnel forms,

if the hail falls.


The Gospel According to the Ant

You unbeautiful unwelcome creature,
spring-herald, anti-chef,
I find you

mired in malbec spatter,
freckling the sugar bowl,

a moving pixel among the strawberry’s
seed-pocked flesh.

Little needle threaded
with these traces of my life,
you sew me

to the whirring world underfoot.
In perfect sync with the 5 o’clock train’s
westward heave,

you bear your crumb freight—
a piece of rind nearly twice your tercet body—

with what I have no word for
except maybe grace. Grace

that stays my hand, grace
that doesn’t lessen your load

but lets you carry it
until you reach your pocket of earth

where the others rise, finally,
to help you set it down.

 

dead goldfinch

The Goldfinch, 2015, ©Sal Taylor Kydd

girl in old-fashioned farm watering station

Girl Bathing, 2015, ©Sal Taylor Kydd

 

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from in a single hand emerging from water

A Frog in the Hand, 2015, ©Sal Taylor Kydd

Sal Taylor Kydd writes of her photographs from OriginsMy work is primarily an exploration of memory, how we preserve memories and how they shape our lives moving forward with sometimes illusory certainty.  It is also a reflection on time, and an examination of the fleeting moments where we behold change within ourselves and the world around us. I see the photographic object is a keepsake of our experience, and as such is a way of recording discoveries that serves as a reminder of what we have lost and what we are attempting to preserve.

In my most recent work I have been looking at how memory shapes and distorts our understanding of what is real.  Specifically it is an exploration of truth through the lens of our relationships – how what we know to be certain about ourselves and the other, changes in the course of that journey. What do we keep for ourselves and what do we share? In a world where everything is shared and exposed, what is left that is sacred. 


Chelsea Wagenaar is the author of Mercy Spurs the Bone, selected by Philip Levine as the winner of the 2013 Philip Levine Prize.  She holds a BA from the University of Virginia and a PhD from University of North Texas. Her work appears recently or is forthcoming in The Southern Review, The Normal School, and Poetry Northwest.  She currently lives in Indiana, where she is a postdoctoral Lilly Fellow at Valparaiso University.

Artist Sal Taylor Kydd has a BA in Modern Languages and an MFA in Photography from Maine Media College.  She has exhibited nationally, with shows at A. Smith Gallery in Texas, Gallery 69 in LA, and Pho Pa Gallery in Portland ME. Sal is also a book-artist represented by Priscilla Juvelis, Inc.  She resides in Rockport, Maine.

Dwelling: Menting & Carpenter

Stephanie Wade
Introduction


It is so easy to get lost in our hurry to get there- time dissolves as we browse the internet; as we speed from place to place, ingesting soundbites and tweets, directed to the fastest route possible by Google’s algorithms, by the voices from our phones.  But, what, ultimately, do we lose in our quest for efficiency?

Poems slow us down and open us up by creating space in which we can navigate and renegotiate the terrain of our lives, explore the intersections between self and other, and imagine new worlds. Dwelling in poetry changes our bearings. Maps do the same thing. They create layers of time and place; they allow us to imagine multiple paths, alternative destinations, new worlds. Illustrating geography, history, politics, and culture, maps, like poems, serve as portals, like the map songs Harriet Tubman and others used to connect stars in the sky and moss on trees and people on the path to freedom.

Michelle Menting’s poetry and Margot Carpenter’s maps invite consideration of the consequences of haste, and they illustrate alternatives. Their work reminds us that many paths lie ahead, twisting and turning and intersecting and diverging, appearing and disappearing, again and again. Slowing down, dwelling in their work, we may feel the connections between humans and other mammals, consider the shared spaces we inhabit, and learn where to find what nourishes us.


Harriet, ©Margot Carpenter

 

AFTER READING “A BLESSING” BY JAMES WRIGHT

I pay more attention to life
along the highway. Literal life. Literal
highway. So often I’m consumed
by the death, the road-kill-carrion
smeared muscle of rodents, raccoons,
even bears. Oh my.
Before A Blessing, I noticed not
the Guernsey cows, so golden, so sweet,
and the deer that make it, that do
their best Baryshnikov over the ditch.
I noticed instead the porcupine’s needles
follicle-ing from asphalt pores, the fox’s tail
bobbing and stuck in a seam of tar,
and the feral cats who didn’t do their best
Martha Graham to avoid a Honda’s tire.
After A Blessing and learning about breaking
into flower, and the joy experienced
from observing two ponies nuzzling,
I pay attention. I see turtles living on the edge,
scooping the gravel to lay their eggs.
And my left arm greens to a stem.
I see frogs being improper in the road, right
in the middle of the road during a rain storm,
and I brush pollen from my shirt.
Those cows, those gentle Guernseys?
I see them, and the fingers on my right hand
become petals. I can’t step out of

my body completely and break
into flower, but parts do blossom.
After reading A Blessing I’m still no fool.
I can’t ignore the sadness of the road,
the literal road, the metaphorical one too.
One morning while running in Madison,
Wisconsin, I saw further up the street
the shape of a squirrel hovering over
some thing, some still but soft thing.
I caught up and the squirrel, that visible
squirrel, didn’t flee. It didn’t leave
its partner, the soft lump in the center
of the road, clearly hit, clearly dead.
This squirrel, this living rodent, this pest
to attics and garages, prodded its dead love.
Nudged her. Wouldn’t leave when I ran by,
and only fled to the grove of oaks
when another truck approached.
I kept running. I looked back,
and that squirrel had returned
to its partner’s side. That’s when I thought
I’d break. That my whole body and heart
would break, but not into blossom.
Instead, I would crumble like a leaf
in November. I would crisp into pieces—
some parts dirt, while others
would sparrow into the wind.

Hills to Sea Trail, ©Margot Carpenter

CYCLIC

The odor was septic and made us speechless,
though we’d already lost our voices
when the sun napped dusk, when night’s sheet
hushed the traffic, the birds, our thoughts.
It was a peahen hit to the ditch
and decaying. Her left wing shielded
her breast–a draped cape, her final
comfort. The smell of turkey is not
always the same. If we cooked her carcass,
would the scent remind us of arugula,
of berries brined? Of autumn and wood fires,
or late summer’s chilled wine? This find,
this bird, we encountered on an evening
that made us question beauty, was she messaging
her last will and flight? Her lofted feathers,
those still sticking to live twigs weighted
with winter berries, lead us further still
into the meadow policed by the farmer’s
one black horse and one banded cow.
Land we did not own but that owned
our souls in its soil like all life its surface
sends meandering. Not listless in loss
but lustful for fresh discovery in beauty
found in failed crossings, we crossed
as wayfarers. We foraged through paths
in pastures of sorghum futures or would-be whey.
Our earlobes and nostrils, every follicle
of skin, set as seismographs collecting
fall rot and cyclic decay–any fresh
disturbance–in measurements of awe.

Hills to Sea Trail,  ©Margot Carpenter

HOW, NOW FROM OUR FRONT DOORWAY YOU CAN SEE A FAIRWAY

Maybe the moon rises like this everywhere?
Wide, reflecting the pond in the middle
of a golf course? We laughed: how
coarse, a course of golf. How now
we went from a home in the woods
to puddle and turf. Now,
we look from a gate with wire
that wraps the remaining pines: how, now
they fence the land. Still, that moon,
once buck now harvest, is slow
but full over the tree line. Low
and looming. Too orange to be safe.  

Washington County Farmer’s Market, Margot Carpenter for Maine Federation of Farmer’s Markets

REVISION

This time in my house, I’ll bring in the furniture, inside
this time, from the garage.

Years ago, our house–the one we lived in together, thought
how cool to be new in our twenties with a deed and a driveway,

that house, a brick bungalow with charm–stayed empty
for a year with bags as dressers, futon for our bed.

That house–hollow without tables or chairs, sofa or stools–
we didn’t know how to fill, except with our voices: inside

the air between rafters and thresholds, all that space, we’d loft
phrases, pastoral and poetic. You’d say lines

like, you shed our morning blankets like a dragonfly
molting, and I’d say, you’re wading along the lakeshore,

wielding a net. And back and forth, the words we tossed
echoed and faded, bounced in that space we shared

against emptiness. Maybe if we had created an alcove,
spackled a wall, constructed a partition, or just brought in

our furniture, we could have secured our words, trapped them
inside, filled our house like an aquarium of language.

Instead, after coffee that final August morning–our last
together in that house or anywhere, with windows

open, breeze traveling through–we sat in silence.
The only words were stuck on the refrigerator door.

In block letters we formed phrases, final and magnetic.
You linked: SHADOWS WE FELL THROUGH

TRUTHS WE LOST. And I linked: I KNOW
AND MISS A HOUSE A HOME.

And all around us, inside and quiet, the wind blew
our phantom voices from rafters to thresholds.

Contra Dancing, Margot Carpenter for Alex Mann

ASTERISM ASTERISK

Remember       when you could draw       Ursa Major

     from memory?       How you knew to dip       from line

to endpoint      to line to endpoint?      Ursa Minor      was the same

     across       the        sky,       and Orion was a three-prong belt.      Maybe

this was in third grade      when string cheese was in lunch boxes

     and string theory       on TV.       When space shuttles taught you

the word tragedy      and you hoped      your teachers would never

     fly          away.       Something about outlining the stars—     

forming constellations by connecting       the dots, something

     about endpoints—      seemed necessary,      like a new language

you could use      in a future       where everyone soared       in cars.

     Something about mapping     those lines, and memorizing

the Latin,      and that joy          you got from asking,          “how is that a bear

     or an archer with a bow,      and what is a big dipper       anyway?”

Some things      are so easy       to forget once you learn      tragedy       by heart. 

Eastholm, Margot Carpenter for private collection

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Stephanie Wade teaches writing and environmental humanities at Unity College.  Her interest in maps and poems is part of a project to define narrative ecology, which posits narratives as living systems that include the stories conveyed by physical environments and material items; that shape our experiences and also respond to our actions; and that persist in layered, multiple, dynamic forms.

Michelle Menting is the author Myth of Solitude (Imaginary Friend Press, 2013) and Residence Time (Dancing Girl Press, 2016). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Cimarron Review, The Offing, The Southeast Review, The Hopper, and the Deep Water and American Life in Poetry columns, among other places. She lives in mid-coast Maine.

Margot Carpenter creates digital and print maps for a diverse market. She has made maps for the Maine Department of Transportation; recreation, tourism and environmental groups; and for books published by Downeast Books, Dutton, Simon & Schuster, and Falcon Press. Her business Hartdale Maps is in Belfast, Maine.

Stanizzi & Marble: Listening

flying_birds_2

John L. Stanizzi Anne Marble       


Skein

a length of yarn or thread wound on a reel or swift
nest of yarn on Zia Rose’s lap
beaks of knitting needles
pecking mittens into being

*
ice and wool
in murky chunks
inedible on mittens

*
mittens on the radiator
sun a hank of fire
on the horizon

*
the swifts are gone
but the blackbirds
murmur by the thousands

a succession or series of similar or interrelated things such as an incoherent skein of words
wounds healed
by the long stand of years
the theology of the sun

*
golden gratefulness
eruptions of wind
flowers bowing in the storm

*
listening to flesh
you draw closer
glisten with urgency


*
you leave
past the moon
swift with borrowed light
a flock of geese, ducks, or the like, in flight
low over Mansfield
coming together from three directions
three skeins of geese

*
the Chinese poets
might say they conduct a message
of love from afar

*
their boundless sound
the white flecks of their bellies
thrusting air up and down

*
your swift breathing
is the air
that reels me in


A Sign; acrylic on canvas; 30 in. x 40 in. © Anne Marble

Lungs; paper, ink, acrylic paint, glue on board; 24 in. x 30 in. © Anne Marble


LISTEN

for Cathy O’Reilly

On a clear, warm summer day
Cathy handed me a prize
she’d received from the surf.
It was a vertebra,
from a fish I imagine,
about the size of the top of my thumb,
and so smooth,
so rounded by the sea,
it felt soft.
I was holding it this morning,
rubbing the tips of my fingers
all over its unlikely velvetiness,
when I noticed that if I held it
so that I could look through
the hole in its middle
it looked like a resplendent ear,
this one small piece
of something from the sea,
something larger,
more complex,
and now on dry land,
a separate entity,
a curio given by the ocean to Cathy
and by Cathy to me,
so that now when I’m alone in this room
I no longer worry
that when I speak into the nothingness of frustration
my words will go unheard

The Messenger; acrylic on canvas 30 in. x 40 in. © Anne Marble



 

Magic Inside; acrylic on canvas 30 in. x 40 in. © Anne Marble

Magic Inside; acrylic on canvas 30 in. x 40 in. © Anne Marble

SKEIN II

I was on my way into the gym and
heard the geese blaring before I saw them,
a skein from the west, the V visible
but ragtag. I was looking up now, and
from the east a second skein was coming,
their raucous clamor growing as they rammed
the first V, though “rammed” may not be the best
way to describe what I saw; it was more
like the calibration of clockworks, each
bird part of a pinion meshing with the
larger wheel, a gear-train powering south.

As one bird pulled in behind the other,
their heart rates slowed but their speed increased as
they slipstreamed across the January
sky; and then a third skein came barreling
in from the north, the third wheel in this huge
going-train, urging and gliding, every
goose baying a one note song millions of
years old; and below their riotous noise

the V appeared with the kind of wonder
that becomes visible only after
it has happened. And I was left standing,
my senses staggered, my spirit increased,
as in the distance their yawping became
quiet, their instinct, their impulse for south
moving them along, me waiting for spring,
the geese gone, their perfect escapement done.


Chains; monotype print; 22 in. x 30 in. © Anne Marble

Chains; monotype print; 22 in. x 30 in. © Anne Marble

John L. Stanizziauthor of Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall, After the Bell, and Hallelujah Time!  His poems have appeared in American Life In Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Tar River Poetry, The New York Quarterly, Rattle, and others.  He teaches literature at Manchester Community College. 

Anne Marble is a painter and monotype printmaker who lives in the Philadelphia area.  Her background in biology and environmental planning often serves as a reference for her work in both media. She is also the founder of a non-profit organization supporting several rural schools in Cambodia.  On her visits to Cambodia, she teaches printmaking to middle school students.  She maintains an active studio in Norristown,
Pennsylvania.  

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Birds modified from copyright http://fictionchick.deviantart.com/

Climbing: Schaidle & May

Allen Kenneth Schaidle

Climbing Rocks

For many climbers,
climbing becomes spiritual,
religious,
transformative,
community,
identity,
art.

Not for me.
It’s just climbing rocks,
Big and small.
Finding beauty in the simplicity.

Life is complicated,
work is difficult,
and school is dense.
Sometimes even climbs can be, well, complicated too.

There’s anticipating travel logistics,
destinations,
routes,
brushing,
and beta.

I want climbing to be transparent.
No grander meaning,
I’m already overwhelmed with life’s meanings.

I don’t want a relationship with because then I’ll take, take, take and never give enough.
I’m struggling with this.
Just leave it as it is.
You know,
“leave no trace.”

And climbing certainty isn’t art
because then it can be judged
and that causes rivalry.

I want climbing just as climbing rocks.
Nothing more.
Just climbing rocks.

 

©Jesse May

©Jesse May

©Jesse May

©Jesse May

©Jesse May

©Jesse May

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Allen Kenneth Schaidle is a diehard Midwestern, educator, and activist. He holds degrees from the University of Kansas, Columbia University, and the University of Oxford. A native of Metamora, Illinois, Allen considers the creeks and forests of central Illinois his boyhood home as he continues forward in his life. 

Jesse May grew up on a small farm in the mountains of Virginia where his explorations of the farm and the surrounding woods were a constant. A large part of his exploration as a kid were supported by his Mom, who still supports his adventures to this very day. Recently, Jesse has been exploring  South America, Northern California, Utah, and South Dakota with his camera, all while camping and still enjoying the outdoors as much as he did when he was growing up.  It’s been a fun couple of years adventuring for Jesse, and he looks forward to at least a few more good years of seeing cool things. Jesse is a 2015 graduate of Unity College. You can follow him on Instagram.