Tony Pena: “Birds of a Feather”



Birds of a Feather

The black birds caw
as I hobble to my Honda
CRV noir like Mister
no meniscus on the lam
from hard boiled critics
who put Clarice Starling
on my case for killing
so many of my darlings.
In my standard literary
issue of charcoal satin
shirt and dungarees,
I ask of the evening
in iambic slang,
if the crows consider
me an accomplice
to their murder
or just another
Edgar Allan wannabe.



About the Author: Tony Pena was formerly 2017-2018 Poet Laureate for the city of Beacon, New York.  His work has appeared in several publications over the years. Recently, poems have appeared in 1870, Museum of Poetry, and the Rye Whiskey Review. A volume of poetry and flash fiction, “Blood and Beats and Rock n Roll,” is available at Amazon.  A chapbook of poetry, “Opening night in Gehenna,” is available from author. Colorful compositions and caterwauling with a couple of chords can be seen at:

Image Credit: illustration from A synopsis of the birds of Australia, and the adjacent Islands. London: John Gould, 1837. Courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library

“Sent My Way” By Marc Frazier


Sent my Way

A white crow is at home in my front yard—
a symbol like everything is
I know when I see a cardinal’s red flit before me
It’s the spirit of my mother Agnes checking in
But I didn’t even know such an anomaly existed
I remember the white buffalo of Wisconsin
Many years back which drew crowds
But it died on everyone—a clear message I believe
Who likes crows to begin with
This one is loud like the rest and speaks to me
In its own inimitable bird language
A thing alone and so noticeable must be a treat
to predators—red in tooth and claw
though poets created a “murder” of crows
(scientists don’t use such a term)
some primal violence is associated with them
and I wonder how many baby robins
this glorious creature by my elm has devoured.
like me it must fit in with its peers where it can
It seems to feel safe and listened to with me near
When I hear a cardinal’s chirp I know God is real
When I hear this white crow, I wonder how we survive
When so much sets us apart from the flock
Our blessing, our curse


About the Author: Marc Frazier has widely published poetry in journals including The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, Good Men Project, f(r)iction, The Gay and Lesbian ReviewSlant, Permafrost, Plainsongs, and Poet Lore. Marc is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poetry and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a “best of the net.” His book The Way Here and his two chapbooks are available on Amazon as well as his second full-length collection Each Thing TouchesWillingly, his third poetry book, will be published by Adelaide Books New York in 2019. His website is


Image Credit: Emmanuel Bastien, “Crows” Remixed by the AIOTB Magazine staff Creative Commons.

“A Murder” By Ruth Bavetta



A Murder

Crescendo of crows, sinister
as black umbrellas preening

around an open grave, conclave
of shadows, damascene of dark.

Where gilded flickers filled the air,
there is only this enormous darkness.

Trees no longer brimmed
with tanagers or thrashers.

The hills have burned. Quail
and mockingbirds

have not returned. Soon
night will be the only color.


About the Author: Ruth Bavetta writes at a messy desk overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Her poems have appeared in Rattle, Nimrod, Tar River Review, North American Review and many other journals and anthologies. Her books are Fugitive Pigments (FutureCycle Press, 2013) Embers on the Stairs (Moontide Press, 2014,) Flour Water Salt (FutureCycle Press, 2016.) and No Longer at This Address (Aldritch Books 2017.) She likes the light on November afternoons, the music of Stravinsky, the smell of the ocean. She hates pretense, fundamentalism and sauerkraut.


Image Credit: close up from “Fish Crow” by John James Audubon