Saturday, November 25, 2006

At the Black River

Silk Creek Poetry and Art Editor Editor, Mary Stebbins Taitt, thinks of Silk Creek while Visiting the Black River near Port Huron, Michigan. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Work of Patrick McMullen in Silk Creek Review II

Be Sure to see the work of Visual artist and Fine Art Photographer Patrick McMullen in the New Issue of Silk Creek Review II.

Son in the Wildflowers, by Patrick McMullen Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Poet Linda Pennisi Featured in Silk Creek Review II

Linda Tomol Pennisi's new chapbook, Suddenly, Fruit, was chosen by William Pitt Root as winner of the Carolina Wren Press chapbook prize. Poems are forthcoming in McSweeney's and have appeared in journals such as Hunger Mountain, Lyric Poetry Review, and Faultline. A recipient of an Individual Artists Grant from the Constance Saltonstall Foundation, Pennisi is director of the Creative Writing Program at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY. See new poems by Linda Pennisi at Silk Creek Review II. Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 15, 2006

Spring comes to the Creek!

Silk Creek Editor Scott Carter leans over the edge to admire Silk Creek through a filigree of young spring leaves. Posted by Picasa

Wild Geraniums

Editor Scott Carter and I took a walk at Silk Creek and I've lots of pictures but no time to post them.

There's been a delay again in the publishing of the new issue. I'm getting married and Soctt's job hunting and Doug is incommuicado up in Maine somewhere--linited computer access. But it will come!!!! It will. Sorry it's so slow.

The wild geraniums are flowering in the Silk Creek Woods.

I'm getting married June 10 and there's a lot to do!!!

Mary Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Delicate Arch, by Patrick McMullen

Delicate Arch, by Patrick McMullen, coming soon to Silk Creek Review! Posted by Picasa

Peapod, by Patrick McMullen

Silk Creek Review II is coming soon!! Artwork by Patrick McMullen will be part of our new issue!Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Mary Stebbins at the Black River

Silk Creek Photography Editor Mary Stebbins at the Black River, photo by Keith Taitt. Click on image to view larger. Mary thinks the Black River resembles Silk Creek. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Doug Milliken, Prose Editor, Silk Creek Review

Doug Milliken at Silk Creek

Stars in the Shape of a Broken Wing

by Douglas W. Milliken

On a rough-hewn nightstand beside her bed, my mother keeps a framed photograph of my sister Tanya when she was a young girl. The photograph has a nostalgic umbra, a blurriness that, when younger, I understood meant age in a “before you were born” sort of way. It would be years before I realized that the blurriness was not some cataract of prehistory, but a sad fact of photography: an enlargement of a much smaller print.

In the photo, my sister is kneeling and wearing a white nightgown that drapes over her like the petals of a down-turned lily. The background is black, barely suggesting form: a table, maybe, or a windowsill or counter. Tanya looks out from the picture with eyes dark and glossy with emotive calm, Biblical with serenity: alone but unafraid, a virgin in the dark.

In her cupped hands rests a wounded bird.

It’s been a long time since I last saw this picture, and though I can remember the details of my sister in her nightgown, the bird she holds in her hands is a mystery. Is it a sparrow? A dove chick fallen from its nest? Maybe. But with a certain note of repressed apprehension, a part of me screams: it’s a hummingbird.

Before most of our farm’s outbuildings were torn down, the long shed stitching the house to the garage was silently invaded and annexed by an army of barn spiders – huge and harmless, grey-bodied and bony-legged, fangs soft as soap. Mum loved their creepy lack of menace, so their arachnid kingdom remained unscathed by the threat of whisking brooms or bug-spray. But their dominion became a spatial tyranny, allowing only a narrow corridor leading through the shed from the house’s backdoor to the garage, a low cul-de-sac surrounding the deep freezer. Everywhere else, webs spanned between girders, threading the air like lace.

One afternoon, while crouching through the shed with a basket of laundry for the line, my mother heard a frantic, rustling oscillation somewhere in the clogged matrix overhead: nestled near the ceiling, entangled in gossamer, a hummingbird buzzed like a broken machine. The barn spiders had gathered to investigate the spectacle, but hadn’t yet made a move. In their webs they’d previously encountered grasshoppers, caterpillars, and thick chunks of government cheese (all courtesy of my brother and I), but never anything like this; nonplussed, they wondered what they should do.

Mum alleviated them of the task. Delicately removing the bird from its trap – careful not to harm the ensnared or the snare – Mum carried the tiny body outside to the garden, to the leaning wall of jagged stacked plate slate.

Tenderly removing the binding threads one long strand at a time – patient and gentle as if the bird was one of her own children – Mum let the warmth of the sun shift and fade over her shoulders while the hummingbird rested quietly in her hands, letting itself be saved.

Every time I think this through, I get caught up at this point in the story. The image is clear in my mind, but imprecise: I see my mother, not as the slim and healthy back-to-the-lander she was back then, but as the plump and absentminded hospice nurse she has become, body soft like a well-fed toddler, eyes and mouth set with abstract bemusement. I see an old child sitting with a small animal in her hands, taking the time to save a life so much smaller than her own, and completely – without fault – content.

Like a ripe strawberry found in the desert, I could savor this image forever.

The day had dimmed to indigo by the time the last feather was free of silk. Raising her arms away from her body, Mum watched as the hummingbird tentatively rose from the chalice of her hands, hovering sleepily then turning a slow orbit around Mum’s sitting form, wavering like a candle flame before her face, flitting off into the cooling dusk. In the fields, shamrocks were closing their folds. Frogs were creaking in far ponds. Mum fetched the laundry from inside and hung it on the line to dry.

Like the undying cat of song, the hummingbird came back the next day, trailing my mother through the garden and sipping from the unfurled bursts of tomato and borage while Mum plucked weeds from among their roots. Mum noticed its mallard-green cap, the thin white line ornamenting the ridge above its beak, could easily visualize it nestled in her palms: she would have recognized that bird anywhere. Her second marriage was falling apart to leave her again as a single mom with three kids and no job, yet throughout the remainder of the day, permeating each movement – feeding the animals, washing the floors – my mother felt calmly at peace. For the rest of the summer, the hummingbird patrolled our farm, drinking from every flowering blossom my mother’s hands had sown.

Each following year, it returned, bringing with it each time more and more of its kin, in such numbers that Mum – mind still fuzzy from the 1960s – began questioning whether she could distinguish the original from the rest: each one became familiar. In unfathomable flocks, they became sentinels of our land, forcing the bees to find new territory and pollinating our garden, our orchards, our imaginations. The wild berries, the apples and squash: everything grew healthier, brighter and ripe, and Mum’s few friends, disbelieving what they saw, understood the real threat of acid flashbacks and feared. The air was living with invisible wings. For a short time, our home was a fairytale place.

Or maybe this is just what I’d like to believe happened.

I understand that it’s my desires that place a hummingbird in my photographed sister’s hands. The actual story surrounding the picture, I’ve forgotten, or maybe have never known. When I called to ask Mum, she gave a vague answer about my sister and a tree, then said, “Why don’t you call Tanya and ask her yourself?” There was a secret smile I could hear through the phone. I never called my sister.

In a way it seems cowardly but sometimes it feels that the mythologies I imagine are things more real that any fact. As plasma and gas, stars mean nothing, but as constellations . . . There’s meaning in dead astronomy. In all likelihood, the bird was a hurt robin chick Tanya found fallen from its April nest, something precious to pose with for the camera. In all likelihood, the bird and my sister could be anything: a goddess and her patron, a symbol and a message, a little girl and a hurt bird.

Douglas W. Milliken is co-founder of an on-line contemplative writing group, works for AmeriCorps*VISTA as a disaster educator, and lives in Alfred, NY with a travelling Chinese doctor.

Poetry of Scott Carter

Scott Carter at Silk Creek with Graham

Scott Carter's Poetry

Untitled (for my mother)

The house that raised your children
Through windows and beyond walls
Is leveled.
Into weeds raised without reference
To measure or framework.
Save for the stones where vines
Surprise, constrict, devour...
Weeds have become a name
For the flowers we knew
And I scarcely remember
The difference anymore.

And the vines?
That hunger lies somewhere
Beneath all of this.
The stones
A broken shovel
A rusted hoe
And the sharp toothed rake
Overcome with the tangled voice
Of stone.

I can't pull the weeds from your voice
When you tell me the leaves I see at night
Won't return.
Or that my body is not mine when I look
At myself...Only when I sleep
Rests a heartbeat and sometimes I remember
The trees that held me
Away from the vines.

Scott Carter


piece: Edges.
I dig a shovel
from the ground.
Study its shape.
Contrast its capacity
and molecular story with
Broken bottles strewn.
Their fullness shattered in
Sharded around this hillside

Fractured vessels cast about this
Wild place.
Twisted metal
Tired forms
a labored memory.
Tossed in a suspended form
about this fertile ground.

Was it true?
Was it really like that?

She admired their grace
On the ice.
She knew their names...
Twisting human form
Tossed like vessels over this
Sloped bank.

Scott Carter


The air is green today
As if breathing the land
Could wish color into it.

But the way grass asserts itself
And returning birds call down
An intensity of light...

..In a month the willows
By the road will cloud.

Though the snow lies still.
Between the corn rows
I feel spring's slow idea
Begin to grow.

Scott Carter


If I were lost
In one of these fields
Among the anonomous corn,
I wouldn't know
Which way to turn.
Or toward my adopted town
With its Church
Peeling Feed Store.

I think this must be
What it is like when
The last breath goes.
And we wake in a new dimension.
I may be a ghost like the others
Dressed in old clothing

The wind blows past
And if in the past
I could say I am not afraid of anything
Now, I am afraid, deeply afraid of nothing.
The vastness of it all.

Out here in the fields
The trees are dying of loneliness.
Today's lesson: How fence and field
Are one question to be solved
In the germination of seed between them.
How each thing is connected
To every other thing.

To learn that knotting
Which ties together
Sky, fence, barn and field,
I look to the trees
And wait for their new clothing.

Scott Carter

Looking for the Circular

In sunday's paper
One magic eye with two voices
Paints a disturbing picture of history.
Where I'm coming from,
The sun rises on the twilight zone again
And a writer's life is for the dogs.
If you've seen one classic clown,
You've seen them all,
Swept up in renewal of life.
Still, each word is a search.
A gripping tale of survival
Packed with emotion.
Yes, it may be true that remodeling
Brings life to the living room but,
To find the word inside?
You have to learn to just do it.
Some think it's
A different kind of place.
That's like saying there are
Different ways to buy televisions.
I want to see stars.
Star stuff on sale.
I want to dance to the fiddles.
Help the playground be a place
Where nerds fall in love
And dance like happy penguins.

(from words randomely clipped from a sunday paper)
Scott Carter

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Alcuin Bramerton: Water Beings

We are water beings
On a water planet.

Sometimes it rains.

Perhaps raindrops are angels
Training for a higher destiny:
A liquidity of light
In the empyrean.

Perhaps standing water
Is a concentrated tincture
Of angels.

It is difficult to know.

But it is easy to hope.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Deleware Water Gap in October

The Deleware Water Gap in October, photo by Mary Stebbins. Posted by Picasa

Down at the Edge

Down at the Edge, photo by Mary Stebbins. Posted by Picasa

Remembering Autumn

Remembering Autumn, photo by Mary Stebbins. Click on image to see larger. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Coming Soon: Silk Creek Review II

Well, I'm not sure how SOON it will be here, but it is coming! Posted by Picasa
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