Secretariat: The Red Freak, The Miracle by Lyn Lifshin

up in the forties weeks
past heavy February snow.
Geese on the pond. Bleak,
drizzly. Black mist over
Meadow Farm. Grass
flattened, matted as in
hours straw will be in the
foaling shed, a dark rose
spreading under the mare’s
heaving sighs
the walk past the barn
as blood would matted
straw before it was
light again. Two figures
cross the lawn, the
wildness of geese in the
distance. The men
get in a car. One bulb
hangs in the foaling shed.
Under the almost
jade slopes roots are
growing. The mare
calms herself with groan
songs as milk begins
to wax, pearls on
her nipples like
a bud opening
the drizzle, close to freezing.
In barn 17 A, the brood
mare, Somethingroyal,
carries the last foal of Bold
Ruler, dying in Kentucky.
Milk on her nipples. if
the rafters. If rafters could
talk they would be singing
soon he will be yours and
you must take care of
what you’ve been given
the men moved thru drizzle
to barn 17 A, moved over
gravel in grey fog, moved
toward the one light. The
mare was breathing fast.
she was warm and sweaty,
edgy. She was circling
as if caged. Then she was
lying on her side. Then it
was just a heart beat before
the tip of a foot burst into
flower, the first petal of
what would flower
She was warm and her
nostrils, wild. Ready,
nearly ready. Only
the mare’s breath like
a silence you could
understand. The mare
on straw on her side
and just past midnight
the tip of one foot.
Then, gently as some
one kissing eyes that
are crying, the foaling
man reached in to ease
a folded leg out of the
birth canal
the men moved closer in the
long blue damp wind. Blood
on the warm straw. The mare’s
body opening. The men pull
gently. Slosh of water and
then the foal’ s slippery body,
iodine and the smell of birth
in the wind the minutes
after midnight. “A wooper,”
some. ” “white feet, a lovely
colt,” in Secretariat’s record
fan book. “Lovely,” was
underlined twice.
The mare’s udder swells
with milk, something
wax like drying on her
nipples like the just
polished swirls of wood.
After her wild breath,
the heaving, the blood,
three feet and a star,
dark flowers of his hair
against the drained mare
falling back easily as
the wind rising up
from North Anna’s
those easing him from
Somethingroyal’s body
said he was on his feet
in twenty minutes, in
45 he was nursing. “Big
strong, male foal with
plenty of bone.” Warm
breath of horses, Carolina
Riverwind. In her log,
Elizabeth Ham the farm
secretary wrote “well
made colt, good straight
hind legs, good shoulders,
good quarters: you
have to like him.”
as the river settled
and willow leaves
yellowed: one
word: Wow
and cherry boughs are
swelling, hope flowers
like these buds. When
the foal seems different,
unlike others, who
doesn’t dream it can
go the distance, that a
“miracle has arrived”
someone who was around
Secretariat from the time
of his birth said he was
different. Just walking
the horse in the paddock
it was as if the wind
tongued the cups of his
ears and he a flash, if the
handler lost focus, the
horse knew it
and was gone
a bruiser some
one said bigger than
the other foals his age.
His legs barely
touched the ground
under the shiny trees.
He could cuff the other
foals, bite and
kick . He was playing.
Licked by his
mare, not only at
birth but long after
with everyone touching
and holding him he
grew bolder,
wild for something
deep in the bodies of
trees. He’d bolt in
a breathbeat. “A very
aggressive type colt.”
Jazz in the air. Ghostly,
magical. A loop thru his
halter to keep him in
his mare panting?
puzzled? Those huge
shoulders. Something
she couldn’t see
quivering thru her.
The mare had foaled
easily before but
this time, even with
her feet on the dirt floor,
easier footing than
cement but this time
with the foal’s fore leg
folded like a petal
before it opens,
someone following
the mare’s contractions
gently eased him out of
the birth canal. Beautiful
the vet remembered,
his legs were perfect,
he had a beautiful
head and was
red as fire

Lyn Lifshin at the Horse Museum
Lyn Lifshin has published over 140 books and chapbooks and edited three anthologies of women’s writing including Tangled Vines that stayed in print 20 years. She has several books from Black Sparrow books. Her web site, shows the variety of her work from the equine books, The Licorice Daughter: My Year with Ruffian and Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness to recent books about dance: Ballroom, Knife Edge and Absinthe: The Tango Poems. Other new books include For the Roses, poems for Joni Mitchell, All The Poets Who Touched Me; A Girl goes Into The Woods; Malala, Tangled as the Alphabet: The Istanbul Poems. Also just out: Secretariat: The Red Freak, The Miracle Malala and Luminous Women: Enheducanna, Scheherazade and Nefertiti. web

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Fox in the Snow. A Poem by Holly Day


Blood red in the snow, a tiny spray of drops

an arc of unjust accusations frozen in time.

This place is more oil than air, echoes

rusted metal teeth snapping taut on a hand full of claw.

This spot, here, where her foot landed, where the trap is sprung.

She is white against the snow, like soft spikes of thin mercury, liquid,

tufts of white fur glowing bright against the brutal iron clasp

her nose quivers black and tiny, sees me, knows who I am.
bio picture
Short bio: Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis , Minnesota , since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Oyez Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle, while her recently published books include Music Theory for Dummies (3rd edition), Piano All-in-One for Dummies, The Book Of, and Nordeast Minneapolis: A History.

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Poverty of screams. A Poem by Sonnet Mondal

In the tattered parts of the hand woven fibres
naked poverty of screams
amid roaring drunk waves of wine bottles
whirling in synthesis with partying proverbs
echoes against posthumous walls
to add the colors to a faded terrain
sipping dripping sweats of a dead beat life
which has spent decades to get up from work
to smile at the gone days.
Foliage and twigs rejuvenate themselves
with the waters discarded out of the musical chair game
with splashing music dying out
in swimming strokes of fatigued hands.
Each day swimming fog blurs smiles
Crawling clouds dance with tears
and changing seasons paint poignant outbursts
yet the little life left in some corner
takes a swing in the estate
where a Rolls-Royce warms up each evening
and Rolexes add motion to stillness.


sonnet mondal

Sonnet Mondal is an Indian poet of the twenty first century generation and has authored eight collections of poetry. He was featured as one of the Famous Five of Bengali youths by India Today magazine in 2010 and has edited & written forewords of several books of Indian poets. His works have appeared in several international literary publications including The Sheepshead Review (University of Wisconsin, Green Bay), The Penguin Review (Youngstown State University), Two Thirds North (Stockholm University), Fox Chase Review, The Stremez (Supported by The Ministry of Culture, Macedonia), California State Poetry Quarterly (California State Poetry Society), Nth Position, Dark Matter Journal(University of Houston-Downtown) and Friction Magazine (New Castle University & New Castle Centre of Literary Arts) to name a few.
He has been Writer of The Month at the Spark Magazine in June 2012, was featured as an achiever in The Herald of India in 2010 & featured in E-view points in Rockfordkingsley ltd. in 2012 and was a featured poet at Tea with George at Desperanto Publication Ltd. (now defunct).
His works have been translated in Macedonian, Italian, Albanian, Urdu, Arabic, Hindi, Telugu and Bengali.
He is the Editor in Chief of The Enchanting Verses Literary Review and Editorial Board member of Multilingual Magazine Levure littéraire based in Paris, France.
Details of his works can be found at

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Treading The Fire. A Poem by Dr. Ernest William 111


maybe beauty will remain an abstract dirge;
a mantra to be ruminated over
like a submerged leek
becoming tender in warm water.
as it seems to me
all as vanished
from our worlds
much poetry has propelled
into the bellowing mushroom cloud
of noxious gas.
Earth has garnished her seedlings
as the trees convulse in 4/5 time
leading scholars to compendious shame;
shaking with violence muttering
intellectual gibberish
to the delight of the spittle
forced out with the saying of it,
but what about me
the reporter,
the documenter of my purview,
what do I make of anything now
I say to myself in this pallid skin,
in these pallid days.
perhaps I should go tell it on the mountain,
given the effulgence of effort
not merely in mind
but of the being
directing my reticent walk
out of a crawling crowd.

photo Dr. Ernest Williamson III
Bio: Dr. Ernest Williamson III has published poetry and visual art in over 500 national and international online and print journals. Professor Williamson has published poetry in journals such as The Oklahoma Review, Review Americana: A Creative Writing Journal, and The Copperfield Review. Some of his visual artwork has appeared in journals such as The Columbia Review, The GW Review, and The Tulane Review. Many of his works have been published in journals representing over 50 colleges and universities around the world. Dr. Williamson is an Assistant Professor of English at Allen University and his poetry has been nominated three times for the Best of the Net Anthology.

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In Dreams… A Poem by Sullivan the Poet

Oh! Soft corruption, sweet decay,
to cloying soil my bones forsake;
Bid time slow eat my flesh away,
its‟ juices flown, cold stone to slake;
When form and figure all are gone…
My heart, set free, in dreams goes on.
Spare me your grief, your laden tears,
not for my soul your gods entreat;
Nor stoop backed burden of more years,
left still to run on crippled feet;
As must soil heaps my head upon…
My heart, set free, in dreams goes on.
Call loud my sins, misdeeds proclaim,
paint black each trespass on my soul;
Each evil done attach my name,
pile high each spot like ebon coal;
Cold, cleansing, flows my Rubicon…
My heart, set free, in dreams goes on.
Taint not my corpse with men of God,
let not stale absolution drip;
Or pious words corrupt the sod,
from bloodless, sanctimonious lip;
Men‟s prayers, like echoes, soon are gone…
My heart, set free, in dreams goes on.
No maudlin hymn above me raise,
chain not that anchor to my shade;
Dare not in my name deaf gods praise,
I worship not what man has made;
When last my bones death‟s shroud must don…
My heart, set free, in dreams goes on.
Speak not o’er me of journey’s end,
nor rest, nor peace, nor setting sun;
Nor soft, to paradise pretend,
but loud of travels just begun;
Till wraiths we each embrace anon…
My heart, set free, in dreams goes on.
Garb not my tomb with polished stone,
pale markers non my grave adorn;
As free man, naked, and alone,
permit me part as I was born;
For in each life it touched upon…
My heart, set free, in dreams goes on…

© Sullivan the Poet 2008
In Dreams…’is an excerpt from:
In A Mirror Darkly..
Published by Sullivan Publishing
ISBN 978-0-9568876-3-4
Copyright: © Sullivan the Poet
Printed in the USA by

The Poet Sullivan


BIO:Sullivan The Poet
Born a British subject of an English mother and Irish catholic father in the late January of 53; Sullivan spent his early years with his family in the Far East. Returning with his parents to England in the late fifties where he was subsequently educated.
Thereafter pursuing what could perhaps be best described as a broadly colourful career; with callings as diverse as gun dealer and consultant, freelance journalist, magazine editor, commercial photographer, publican, fleet limousine operator, lecturer and an unpaid ‘Special Needs’ tutor: To name but a few – even a brief spell under the flag enjoying the Queen’s shilling!
Throughout which the only truly common thread has been his writing, an enduring passion never completely abandoned; fuelled by his lifelong fascination with not only the beauty of the English language and its literature in general, but the richness and diversity of its poetry in particular. A fascination well illustrated in the almost perverse multiplicity of styles and subject matter contained within this slim volume and others…
Widely published in mediums as eclectic as his work, from poetry anthologies to text books; wall hangings and mixed media fine art works: Sullivan is seemingly content to share, with anyone and everyone, and in whatever poetic medium takes his fancy; his works, his philosophies, his passions…
Dave ‘Hoppy’ Bennett

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Veronica’s Rosary. A Poem by Marie Marshall

Veronica’s rosary
I followed Veronica to San Stae* where I spied on her,
a stalker me, glimpsing her veil from the back of the church**
as she danced, so I call the genuflections, bows,
forehead-to-navel and clavicle touches, as she sang,
so I call her responses and amens. I moved by twos and threes
until I sat across from her

    – she looked once, smiled, and closed her eyes
    in what could have been taken for prayer if not
    for that ripple at the corner of her mouth –

watching her play the ivory bead game.
Those are illegal, you know, I said to her once,
as a yellow day-egg rose above the rooftops, and she made
that arpeggio with her tongue that indexes merriment for her.
Nevertheless I stole them and, at the depth of my own wallet,
had an old craftsman in apron and shade study them
in a gemster’s glass, and scalpel a replica from cunning plastic.
Veronica, a cycle or so later, placed a finger under my chin
to tilt it.
You think I don’t know? she said. These are so much warmer,
and the prayers are heard when I thumb my way through the calendar,
because a deed of love comes with them.

Despite that – wow! – I’m ashamed.

    * She knew;
    I’d refused to come to mass, but dogged her from fascination,
    watching her pivot between shoulder and shoulder,
    between hip and hip,
    placing one foot after the other
    with catwalk deliberation, with the rise and fall pavane
    of a woman in a to-the-floor gown, studied to me
    but natural

to all the blind men dazzled by her gold.

    ** A vecchia engaged me there, offered to take me forward to eat the wafer,
    and when I declined said if I was not a Christian to look a while
    at the Man of Pity on the cross, it would touch my heart, as it did,
    one crucifixion among a thousand thousand,
    one day among a thousand thousand,
    how many slaves had met the same Easter,
    I thought but didn’t say.

Bio – Marie Marshall (3rd person)

MM is a middle-aged Anglo-Scottish author, poet, and editor, who says little about herself, preferring to let her writing speak. She has had three novels published, two of which are for the young adult / older children readerships. Both of her collections of poetry are currently in publication. Naked in the Sea (2010) in its 2nd imprint, is available in e-book form direct from publishers P’kaboo and in Kindle version on Amazon; the 1st imprint may still be available in print, if you enquire at Masque Publishing of Littlehampton. I am not a fish, nominated for the 2013 T S Eliot Prize, may be bought direct from publishers Oversteps Books. Marie has had well over two hundred poems published in magazines, anthologies, etc., but has not submitted anything since 2013. The most unusual places in which her poetry has appeared are on the wall of a café in Wales, pinned to trees in Scottish woodland, and etched into an African drum in New Orleans Museum of Art.
Poetry Life & Times

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At a Slant. A Poem by Robin Ouzman Hislop


I approach the horizon of my 70th year, at a slant. 
Opposite the bars of the kitchen window
the gable end wall is stuffed with straw, stones, sand, birds
plus weird contortions.

O cellular automata paying lip service to an age of cryptography
decipher me
a digit in time saves nine.

The wall is yellow now, a mingling crumble
            carte blanche in the sun's heat it stands to fall
            a block across which entangled photons might reach
            to inform the space already transfixed in the light

on this plane of observation
which might be the special attraction, the fractal symmetry
of this organism with its bacteria in my nose
together with the properties of impregnated asteroids.


On the bus. 27/05/14

under the hat, squaring the ridge, on the gravy train

traffic is more representative of our species nowadays
            an extension of our inner space
            put back what you get out of it
like the carnivore industry, from gravy to the grave.


Airport lounge. 2.30pm 27/5/14

extended into our traffic
but not our cattle, we eat them
whereas our traffic eats us.


Departure Gates

We're not meat as we're shuffled through Control
milled into queue
loaded into seats to be transported across the skies

our meat machines are the word made flesh from which we grow
to love, not hate!


Late in the Departure Lounge.

Night drinks a darkening
day in its deceit harvests green
with all its carnage unseen
beneath our conscious sheen
for were the green gone
how could night become
with a hey, a ho, a noddy
noddy hey ho.


On the floor stands an orange cow beside the snack bar
bedecked in flags of nations with tasty invites.

You can even touch it, it will not bite.

The Delicatessen sports legs of smoked ham, spirits
a cardboard cut out black bull rages in ferocious stance
a headless toreador, richly costumed brings it down
no need for fight or flight
            it's there to tame your hunger.


Day 3, in the shaving mirror.

She was like a digital doll
young, almost beautiful
compiled to instruct us by ritual mannerism
to go through that door in the wall with a video camera
in every corner watching over us.

Who's going to watch it, I wonder
perhaps Watson, who one day
will be able to react on itself, in AI.

The con of life

the weirdness of its melodramatic sham
how good we are at yesterday, tomorrow
always better than before
like, being had - in the process by it.


At a slant – the street. 12/06/14

parades predatory robots, rapine vampires
a pageantry of prawns, satellites flying
computer sausage balloons

an android addresses the multitude with the question
            who has not the free will to be immortal.


Skull Moon
looming in your implacable fashion
are we facing extinction?

You live longer than we do
tuned into the fine tuning of the cosmic sea
where we swim only to drown on the tides
drawn by the skull beneath the waves



we are special because between the bonobo, the baboon
we strike a happy medium, we grow the meat we eat
the world is our property.


A walk in the cemetery

no shining sarcophagus
no black, silver gleaming obelisks
no painted vases on filmy fields
here the bank's greenery gathers them
tipped, tilted awry, dark stained moss brown
not a tint of blood red.

They're a huddle of mute sameness
a closeness without plasticity
nature harvests no funeral
life simply goes on, appearances are deceptive.

Slant a summer's day
chicks sally forth in summer shorts
sequestering looks, selecting sequestered looks
the world is a mating call.

On the moor, nature unleashed
on this wind where ancient whiffs
of nostalgia blow from land, sea
were my predecessors really so free
or like me, trapped?

Dressed, undressed
      the hairless ape
dressed, undressed
      a dance of rigmarole
until we became a costume part
      a marmot puppet of coloured rags
a roll of flags.

Out of town
shunting from the station
arches overhead, slanting
produces an OCD rush in the brain 

'underneath the arches i dreamed my life away'

Arch trance
- an iteration of ink blots or patches of light, dark.


Shopping mall

float in a slip stream, an air
conditioned sunlight
euphoria of flowing flesh
epiphany of the age.

Saccades pass through windows
which mirror a time where nothing changes
a reflected object in the existence of distance
(there yet might be no external world)

ephemeral moments intervene 
          describe reality as slices of dream.


“Derby day”

Amongst those dark satanic mills
where the falcon soars the fell
over milk, honey, dairy swell
a videocam on each farm wall
to toil the land to till, kill.


Dancing tossed

a measure of uncertainty where the environment begins
(but only seems) in the drift of infinity
where it never finishes in its last ultimate instance
- on the pitiless wave ...
Here we are so so - big, so so - tiny small
are we a particle or are we a cell
that damned eternal interval – silencio.


Day One Return Flight in the Shaving Mirror. (12/9/14)

Dear homo sapiens
it's a pity we can't be more than we are
but it's the same for all of us!

At the heart of all politics is religion
at the heart of all religion is gossipmongering
the birth of a nation state is a limited liability company
                   a moral fiction.



In the brain
again the rain
before the click
i can't locate it -
what shall i do
shall i let it stall
or unwind it all?
The click's the call – Click.

A bartered world
shrieks the parrot's song
pieces of memories - go ape.

What is the final emotion
we programme
every physical thing
information into a time machine
on a haunted meme?


A glint of flint
ground gravel
a spruce of sprig
broken twig
scuttling insect
scuffed toe
there's no flow
membranous landscapes
slide show
but it's only the split, we know
time transforms all.

This life that drags
innumerable concerns
hand to mouth - the law!

World without doors
      after the before that
           doors do not speak

doors that let you in
doors that let you out
doors that lock you down

Tunes that determine words
       words that determine tunes

Break in space
      eat in public place

Do not touch
      it must have a name

Like emergence
      hurrah for war

 After the before that
      doors do not speak

World without doors
          patches in between.

The world is our closure
time its property
like a pendulum's to, fro
manufactures dream in the instants between

             age is made of memories & forgetting.

                         * * *

Poetry Life & Times

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BFF. A Poem by Frederick Pollack.

Bored, with the boredom of eternity,
Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade,
and Leopold Ritter von Sacher-Masoch
hang out. They have little in common –
nothing, according to Deleuze –
but shared experience of psych wards
creates a bond. And Sade
is always tickled by the moralism
of his scholarly socialist philosemitic pal.
(“Contracts” for bondage-and-discipline sessions,
the invention of the “safe word”–
parbleu!) Masoch for his part
finds the Frenchman’s wit
instructive, and accepts with grace
his constant teasing; it fulfills a certain need.
Like other dead white Europeans,
they float over to America
(which, they have heard, is diverting and unserious).
Sade preens: “My principles have triumphed!
What other people is as devoted to freedom?”
His companion demurs. “It may seem so,
but note: the whip is unpopular,
hypocrisy remains the spice of shame,
tortures are generally banal, and women –
still bound to the paternalism you despised –
are seldom given equal rights to them.
This is far,” he adds, “from the vision
of your revolutionary pamphlet, Citizens!
Yet One More Effort If You Would Be Truly Republican!”
The mood of the mercurial marquis
turns. “They’re afraid of their masters,”
he sighs. “Whose existence” –
thus Masoch, disapprovingly – “they deny.”
They are not watching in real time,
ever-tedious, but from the long end of a spectrum
where essences appear like subtitles.
There the prevailing mood is an orange haze;
and the steady pop of small arms
a rhythmic growl, like the machinery
the two friends had expected.
Slowly they realize it is a machine,
dispensing souls to each side of the trigger
before they need determine their own nature.

Frederick Pollock 1
Author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both published by Story Line Press. A collection of shorter poems, A POVERTY OF WORDS, forthcoming in 2015 from Prolific Press. Has appeared in Hudson Review, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, Die Gazette (Munich), The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Representations, Magma (UK), Iota (UK), Bateau, Fulcrum, etc. Online, poems have appeared in Big Bridge, Hamilton Stone Review, Diagram, BlazeVox, The New Hampshire Review, Mudlark, Occupoetry, Faircloth Review, Triggerfish, etc. Adjunct professor creative writing George Washington University.
Poetry Life & Times

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