DBPoetsCircle….. Presented by Dirt Bag Paddlers

WELCOME TO OUR MONDAY MORNING FEATURE. We hope to share with you our readers the songs of the River, that they may either start your work week off right or recharge your batteries after a long weekend with the custys… We heartily accept submissions via email.
OLD GEAR by M.Toughill
Digging out my paddling gear,
Smells of river must and beer.
Each piece tells a story just for me
Friends and places stored in memories,
And the patches and the wear they bear
Are crosses from the path I walk
The path I paddle. 
And it’s been a good long while,
Boating mile after mile.
Years have come and gone along with friends,
We drift apart like water round the bend.
Yet the times we spent might fade like gear,
But never fade away. 
They remain unchanged.

Melissa Stein
kayak flipped us and the current 
dragged us through its rocks, arms sealed 
at our sides, it was a blast, meeting it all cranium-first, 
like academics, frothfoamgrit and the taste, 
what was it, asphyxiation, psychedelic Escher 
in blackwhite cubes, tableau enormous, picnic 
tablecloth but undulating, spiked into color—crimson, canary—
until that last blow, ledge flat against
my mouth-hole, my whole body
condensed to one blinding exclamation point, 
white protrusion of bone— white petals and light, 
pearl-solid, luminous, all fourth-of-July and scattered, 
pipe bombs bottle rockets Christmas crackers, oh, 
what a party, annihilation, till the blue blue blue 
palm sweeping my forehead, the hair from my forehead 
and the ache of return, to the tenderness 
of paint sable-brushed against silk, powdered 
throat of the foxglove, flushed curve spiraling 
into a conch, velvet crowning the doe’s nose, 
arms embracing the cello’s hips, shoulders, 
and what shudders from them, coaxed 
or forced, distracted out of, with that bloodwhite flap
blinking at me from your cheek 
and something in the eyes, maybe trout or bass or salmon 
thrashing upstream, yellowglimmer and sickened, 
we’re not going to make it, we’ll make it, we’re stranded, 
washed up on this hurricane shore, held together 
by blood sticks and mud, oh paper, oh desks, oh treatises, 
we weren’t immune, on those banks, sky flat as anything, 
a willowlike spider tree bending over us, 
I focused on its branches, on the branches 
of the branches, how comical that word twig, 
surrounded by thousands of jokes as blood darkened 
the silt like a cave painting.

Whitewater rafting by Sean Cafferky
How do you say goodbye to forever?
Trampling on the memories,
crushing each one underfoot.
Perhaps the crimson shooting stars
of autumn are from the Tree of Life.
We take turns in a somber dance,
breaking up the fallen memory of one another.
How do you?
I don’t.
Simply close my eyes
to dam up the coming
of whitewater rafting.
Sometimes I sink in
the torential outburst.
Flailing, kicking, screaming.
Of the shoreline.

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