Issue 2: The Velocity of Night—Summary, Contents & Editor’s Note

by on Feb 22, 2015


Issue 2: The Velocity of Night (Jan-Feb 2015) is an unthemed issue featuring poetry, prose, videos, and artwork from writers and artists around the world.

Read online | Read the PDF (click to read online, right-click & save-as to download)


Tales of the Forest — Michele S. Cornelius

Big Red Hands — Howie Good

nail art — Angelee Deodhar

The Convert — Marie Craven

my shadow — Chen-ou Liu

hibiscus and jasmine — Marianne Paul

Bend Back and Sigh — Pamela Sayers

A Walk on the Tame Side — Vivienne Blake

Leave-taking — Dave Bonta

she’s here — Angie Werren

Day’s End — Shloka Shankar

Burn Job — Lawrence Elliott

No One’s Home — Michele S. Cornelius

a thread of scarlet — N. S.

night jasmine — Laura Williams

motionless — Shloka Shankar

A Poem by Cardboard Suitcase — S.Eta Grubešić

Spiders — Carolyn Guinzio

Rise Above — Michele S. Cornelius

silver birch — Caroline Skanne

all your broken promises — Olivier Schopfer

Some Notes toward an Ode to Yarn — Sherry Chandler

Love Tortures Me Like the CIA — Howie Good

riding pillion — Debbie Strange

Winter’s Music — Margo Roby

Wintry Seascape — Massimo Soranzio

grackles — Angie Werren

Yellow — Sherry Chandler

Editor’s Note

It seemed a funny thing to have a “winter issue” when some of Gnarled Oak’s contributors and readers are in the midst of summer. Weird too, since here in Austin, winter isn’t so much a season as a collection of random days interspersed between December and February. So this is now Issue 2: The Velocity of Night, the title from Debbie Strange’s “riding pillion” with Michele S. Cornelius’s “No One’s Home” on the cover.

What is the velocity of night anyway? How fast the sky darkens is determined by season and latitude. But there’s more there. Fast or slow, it can come with joy or sorrow, anticipation or apprehension, and it seems all that can be found in this issue. Though unthemed, themes emerged: homes in transition, leaving and returning; love with its beginnings and endings; and, of course, the way winter shifts to spring (and back again as it’s doing here today).

I’m happy with the way this issue came together, the diversity of the work—poetry, prose, videos, artwork—and voices from all around the world made this especially fun. I can get lost staring at a map, and it’s exciting to me to be able to present work from so many writers and artists representing so many corners of this little blue world.

And so, sincerest thanks to all who allowed me the honor and privilege of publishing their work, all who submitted work to Gnarled Oak, and everyone who read and helped to share the wonderful writing and artwork found in this issue.

With gratitude and thanks,

James Brush, editor
February 2015


Gnarled Oak — Issue 2: The Velocity of Night: Read online | Read the PDF


by on Feb 19, 2015

When forsythia splashes
winter’s gray
with Pollack color,

and daffodils dare
the sun to match
their bright with warm,

when dandelions dot
the lawn with
smiley faces,

the goldfinch sheds
his olive drab and
the yellow tom caterwauls,

both in search of something
we’ll call love,
the time has come

to stow our scratchy
wools and plant
our onion sets.


Sherry Chandler’s second full-length book of poems, The Woodcarver’s Wife, celebrates the cycles of life on her small farm in Kentucky. She has been nominated three times for a Pushcart. She has been published in a number of online and print publications, most recently in the Blue Fifth Review, Kestrel, and the Louisville Review. She posts micro poetry on Twitter as @BluegrassPoet.

Wintry Seascape

by on Feb 17, 2015

Orangey to dark red sun over the flat, still,
greenish lagoon that no passing boat will stir
nor crease, nor move to compassion.

All shades of blue, the blues of a still life
by the sea, blend with the strokes of sunset
above the old church on the island,

waiting for the next fisherman
to come and deliver
his vow.


Massimo Soranzio lives about 20 miles from Trieste, on the northern Adriatic coast of Italy, where he teaches English as a foreign language and English literature. He’s been a journalist, a translator, and a freelance lecturer on Modernist literature and literary translation. In April 2014, he took part in the Found Poetry Review’s Oulipost challenge. Some of his poems can be found on his blog, or published online.

Love Tortures Me Like the CIA

by on Feb 12, 2015

That winter I walked and walked through the frozen, dreary streets as if I might outwalk my sadness. I missed you and your gentle strokes, your iridescent glance. What we once said would last forever lay toppled inside us. I searched everywhere there was to search, but had to settle for the knowledge that geologists who don’t predict a deadly earthquake aren’t killers.


All proceeds from Howie Good’s latest book of poetry, Fugitive Pieces (Right Hand Press), go to the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley. Visit Right Hand Pointing Books to learn more.

Some Notes toward an Ode to Yarn

by on Feb 11, 2015

means yarn over,
a maneuver
used to create a hole
surrounded by a strand.

Dear one, the impulse
to poke
a stick
in a hole
is irresistible.

Delay tying off the knot,
a foreplay of thread
whereby the linear
becomes a plane
length becomes breadth

Some people do it to relax.

I’m not sure Dickens understood knitting—
Mme Defarge, nemesis in sabots
with a clicking of needles—
but he knew how to string
us along, make us yearn
for the yarn
to go on,
how to build our expectations
to a climax.

Dear one, I don’t know how to gauge you,
so I ply you with wools and acrylics,
rayons and cottons, worsted weight
and fingering,
play you with hooks,
but you know which string
to pull to unravel all the knots,
leave me stranded with a box of yarns.


Sherry Chandler’s second full-length book of poems, The Woodcarver’s Wife, celebrates the cycles of life on her small farm in Kentucky. She has been nominated three times for a Pushcart. She has been published in a number of online and print publications, most recently in the Blue Fifth Review, Kestrel, and the Louisville Review. She posts micro poetry on Twitter as @Bluegrass Poet.

all your broken promises

by on Feb 10, 2015


all your broken promises        cactus flowers


Olivier Schopfer lives in Geneva, Switzerland, the city with the huge lake water fountain. He likes capturing the moment in haiku and photography. His work has appeared in The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2014 as well as in numerous online and print journals. He also writes articles in French about etymology and everyday expressions: