One of the most difficult tasks I face as editor of Ancient Paths Online is sifting through the many excellent poems published throughout the year in order to select just six to nominate for the Pushcart Prize. The process involves a lot of reading and re-reading, and I aim for a certain amount of diversity in the selections. I always wish I could nominate more, because so many of the works Ancient Paths is privileged to publish are not only of high literary quality, but emot
As Mrs. Burns is slouching in her urn
I suppose you'd say she'd like to be at peace
although Joanna hasn't managed to reserve
a plot. The mortgage fails. The debts increase:
the unpaid bills are clawing at the door
while this old lady's straining to retreat
among the mottled stone, this maidenhair. Mrs. Burns's ghost is not some spectral form
it's just a TalkTalk person in pursuit
or her Facebook account, a newly-born
so she could see her grandchildren in bloom.
Windblown, rain-born, mothers with children,
their aged parents, arm-hung, basket-carried, free
pedaling, four-legged, or three-legged, parade
forward shunted through electric door to doctors. Bundled up, tied-down, birthers rush down antiseptic
hallways. Each patient encapsulated in the flow of life
or death, the infirm helpless to resist oncoming scrutiny
are side-tracked by the growing-up or winding-down ones. Helpers like strands of DNA shuttle-cock through
I. Single The futon’s fabric was bare; the stuffing was shot
through with collapse from our sitting lap-stacked
in the center. One hundred feature lengths left us
engaged and rump-touching the floor. We loved
our Gordian tangle of limbs, resisted surrendering
those warm apartment dawns ensconced, squared,
until we grudgingly gave the bed its dumpster death. II. Double French windows greeted the headboard. They overlooked
a cul-de-sac majestic in the Disco Age, now dism
After dinner, the adults chat.
I don’t know what they discuss.
Their children make demands of me—
Bring seven shells down from the shelf
so they can discuss what they see.
Pour water on Petoskey stones
to reveal the honeycomb patterns.
Print pages for them to color—
a unicorn and a dump truck. They find a yoga mat in a dusty corner,
unfurl it to serve as their station.
I leave them on the floor coloring.
The house settles around them,
their room glows with electri
Thick rainbow chard and yellow corn;
We run past the market tents
To where the light hangs over the river
In eternal September. Yesterday the sun adored us
And showed your smiling faces.
Now blue-grey shadows
Stretch into the corners of twilight. I stare at the highest branch
And pray for a sacred ritual;
That wiser words might open us
Softly, back to that which we share. Our produce bags are heavy, yet,
Amid the piles of sweet apples, my finger
Traces the crimson
master burpers, sooth sayers, rockers;
go straight up every night
we lose our breath, our pace
goes a little faster -
while sleep deficit is building up every night ends
and daytime brings rest
baby turns back
into a sleeping angel
calmly nursing on a schedule until the next night Published on the Ancient Paths Facebook page September 14, 2019 2019 Pushcart Prize Nominee #AncientPathspoems #AncientPathsarchive #Pus
Every year, hundreds of presses nominate poems, short stories, and novel excerpts for the Pushcart Prize. Pushcart Press has been judging and publishing the winning selections in its annual collection, Best of the Small Presses, since 1976. "The Pushcart Prize," writes the editor, "has been a labor of love and independent spirits since its founding. It is one of the last surviving literary co-ops from the 60's." Ancient Paths is pleased to announce the nomination of six poems
Paul David Adkins writes poetry, he says, “partly to record my experiences, and partly to see how finely I can tune language to say exactly what I want in the fewest words possible.” Over the years, Paul’s poetry has appeared in a variety of publications, including Chattahoochee Review, Caveat Lector, Rock & Sling, Crab Creek Review, and, of course, my own Ancient Paths. I first encountered Paul’s work when I published his poem “Marriage of the Prophet” in Issue 12 (2004) of
First published in Issue 9 (Fall 2002) of Ancient Paths literary magazine, "Fairtyales and Dustballs" was a 2002 Pushcart Prize nominee. Fairytales and Dustballs
by M.J. King Sometimes the light hits the sky
like moonbeams scattering fairy dust.
Sometimes, but not very often,
we look up and take time to notice.
I wanted to slay dragons and save princes,
but instead I wash clothes, again!
I listen to bored people create tragedies,
always searching for those fairytales.
The following short story comes from the Ancient Paths archives, Issue 15. It was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2009. A History Lesson
by Mark Clark "It's’s Peter,” I said. The short Japanese woman turned to regard me with something of a blank expression on her face. She had been arguing with her husband over the subject of a large oil painting on display in the sanctuary of the Cologne Cathedral. If I startled or annoyed her with my interruption, I couldn’t tell. Her