A Journal Of The Arts
Spring 2004

There is so much great art being expressed today.  It is a privilege to play a role in exposing it to the world.  The Spring Issue of Banks Of The Little Miami has somehow managed to live up to the high standards set by our contributors in previous volumes. 

       Andrea Da Costa  is just plain refreshing.  So many poets use established poetic forms and get bogged down and enslaved by rhyme and  meter.  It is then  Andrea comes to the rescue and reminds us what can happen when finely honed  skills and great imagery come together.  Rhyme, form and meter are conquered and become the servant rather than the master.  Classy poetry has no better representative than this talented poet from Australia.

      John Ward  from Indiana/Ohio/California is an incredibly talented photographer.  Please excuse us for playing favorites but we are sure you will also quickly appreciate this artist. In this issue he shows us things through his lens we only hoped were there.  It was John's work that once inspired us to say a good photograph is a poem on Kodak paper.

       Cynthia Hammond   from South Carolina has again delighted us with tales of "heart songs" and "fragile beaches" and of course so very much more.  Be prepared to be moved.  There is a depth here matched only by the writing skill displayed.  With every line and image she proves the written word can be both pretty and powerful.

      Clark Buffington  of Indiana paints a profound word picture for us.  Reading his poem I thought I was in Africa sitting in awe of what he laid out before me.  Don't be surprised if your breath is taken away.  This poem has all the earmarks of becoming a classic.  We hope this is not the last time we hear from this Indiana poet.

      Pat Rodriquez  gets it.  Oh my, does she ever understand what it is all about!  To our gratitude  this Californian has the courage and skill to express what she knows and feels.  There is a poignancy here that will stay with you...even move you...and bring you back again and again.

      Algeline Billiot  has graced these pages before  with some wonderful poetry and with this issue she shows us another aspect of her talents...her photography.  The world needs to see more of her poetry and photography.  Algeline lives in Louisiana.

      Carol Brown-Tenzyk  of New York has touched us with her poems.  She captures the passion of life's deepest feelings.  Many people try to write about love but she breaks through the superficial to get to the depth of human emotion.  Her poems are both deep and exciting...a neat and refreshing trick if you can do it.

      Marc Power  has provided us with two stunning and unique poems.  Don't expect to read them just will be drawn back again and again and just when you think you understand, you will find something more in his words to contemplate.  This is not light prepared to be challenged.  We have never published anything quite like these works but hope this is not our last contact with this British poet living in New Jersey.

      Fade To Pure Black:   Concluding Thoughts From The Editor

Andrea Da Costa

The Reawakening

Bare branches coyly hide
amongst a soft fresh cloak of green
As trees cover up the starkness
of the winter they‚ve just seen

Spears of daffodils pierce the earth
emerging straight and true
Stretching tall after their sleep
to join in this new view

Blossom trees drape their limbs
with soft ethereal lace
The earth, feeling her lover's warmth,
is making up her face

A flush of radiant colour 
now adorns the earth
As the labour pains of winter
give way to lush spring birth
Minuet (Double Cinquain)

Cold winds
play a new tune -
daffodils lift their heads
and attire themselves in frilly
wide skirts.

clothe bare branches
in pure white lacy gowns -
heralding the start of the next
spring waltz.

Cherry Blossom In The Snow (Pantoum)

Pink confetti across the land -
Cherry blossom in the snow
Scattered there by nature's hand
A delicate gown for the earth below

Cherry blossom in the snow
Soft pink strewn over pure white
A delicate gown for the earth below
Petals and virginal snow unite

Soft pink strewn over pure white
Scattered there by nature's hand
Petals and virginal snow unite -
Pink confetti across the land

The Reawakening, Minuet 
and Cherry Blossom In The Snow
©Copyright Andrea Da Costa
All Rights Reserved

John Ward


© Copyright John Ward
All Rights Reserved

Cynthia Hammond
South Carolina


I sang a song of loneliness tonight.
Did you hear it in your crystal tower?
Did the music float over the meadows,
Then through your open window?
Did it stop outside your gate to wait,
For an invitation to come inside?

Can you hear my heart song now?
As I sit, knees under my chin
Fingers covering tightly clinched eyes.
I feel your shadow fall across my hidden,
thin-folded silhouette.
I cannot imagine the soul-pain away,
Or blunt its sharp, cutting edges.

I hold my breath inside myself,
Waiting for you to return
To the sanctuary of your crystal tower.
I remain outside your realm, alone and afraid. 


Where time and thoughts and water meet,
On a lonely, fragile beach.
Where life and hope and past converge,
Meals are shared in silence.

A desperate piece of crumb called "life"
Dissolves in the bottom of the cup.
Nothing moves or is ever lost,
But nothing can be found.

We will meet, stand toe to toe,
Know each other with a glance.
We will watch the waves, turn back the tides,
Hold eternity in our palms.

©Copyright Cynthia Hammond
All Rights Reserved

Clark Buffington

African Sunrise

Just before Dawn
Driving and Boredom are my life
Flat and Featureless in every Direction
Abruptly I slam to a Stop
On Top of a ridge out of Nowhere
The Land falls for Miles
The Sun, behind me, Explodes over the Horizon
Light races Down into the Valley
I remember to Breathe

©Copyright Clark Buffington
All Rights Reserved

 Pat Rodriquez
Graduation 1988

Sad memories, some say, are meant to fade
Nevertheless, we’ll cling to the ones that truly broke our hearts
One of mine will forever be graduation day
When everything seemed perfect 
My day had come --
High school was over --
And everyone was celebrating
Afterwards I stood upon the steps
When my oldest friend 
told me that 

Though I knew I loved him back
And I wanted to whisper that into his ear
-- I was leaving

Last day in the former school 
Final hours in the old neighborhood

So I held the truth from him to cover my pain
And lamented never confessing my heart
Blood of my blood

Standing in the darkened doorway,
my brother does not sense my stare.
Where has the little boy with the mischievous smile gone? 
When did his loss of innocence take place? 
Upon his shoulder, I see the tattoo bearing his name
And it makes me wonder what burdens are carried there?
Do his dreams consist of private demons and blame? 
Does he sometimes wonder as to what he has become? 
I shall love him forever for he is my sibling but
sometimes I don’t like this blood of my blood.
Angering me enough to want to scold him 
as I did once, a long time ago.
But instead I stand in the shadows...
Recalling the little boy I once knew
and praying for the man he has become.

©Copyright Pat Rodriquez
All Rights Reserved

 Algeline Billiot

Sunset Bridge
©Copyright Algeline Billiot
All Rights Reserved

 Carol Brown-Tenzyk
New York

The ocean
In your eyes
Where the blue
Touches the blue
And the sun's rays
Spread a blanket
Of diamonds
Along the
White-capped surface
Carries me away
With the turbulent tide
And all it's ecstasy
Drowning in it's
Own sweet rapture with
Each fall.
Let me float
Along the surface
Where the wind dances
To passion's
Harmonious song.
Take me to
The secret place
In your heart
So I may
Soothe your weary soul
Ignite the love that
Burns within your
Illusive temple.
Oh! Fill me with the magic
Of your sensuous touch
And poetic kisses
Hold me
Love me
Push me
Pull me
Close to your existence
I want to smell 
Your essence
As it rubs against
My creamy skin
And we melt - mold - form
And rise into
The sun-kissed
Caps of your
Infinite ocean.
Golden Star

I wonder if a star fell
the night
you left us
if you were free
from the pain
the tears
you held within
We know the
price you paid
the war
the years
you suffered

©Copyright Carol Brown-Tenzyk
All Rights Reserved

Marc Power
Great Britain/New Jersey

My Oblivion

Autumn danced sadly
on the ashes of desire
beneath the surface sullen coals
still gleaming with unburnished fire
their secret amber uninfested
unabashed, they walk me unharmed
overhead, jealous stars twinkled
a bawdy song

I was sleeping when the butterfly sky
exploded in longing
and the distant purple of my heart
twisted to violet inside me
strangling my songbird soul
scorching its evergreen
overhead,  jealous stars twinkled
in rusted sarcasm

I am mine own golem
sacred scroll lodged in my teeth
life reversed in death
black dog and ambergris
you are my army
of lost spirits, wasted lives
overhead, jealous stars twinkled
sirius canopic tongue

I am disguised in night
haunted by myself
frightened by shadows
and the imagined malice of berries
happiness ground toxic in the mortar
of desolate shards and foxglove winter
heal me in dark blue patches
refresh my ashes with aqua fennica
overhead, jealous stars twinkled
my oblivion

A study of time-flow in the presence of a dark faery

And so I spoke to her,
in my dreaming, darkly,
my words molasses
as though through a mist of green murk
my eyes shrouded shades of ebon glass
extremely fashionable (so I'm told)
at least they hid my eyes
beneath lizard lids
and how lucky
that my words took the scenic way
otherwise I might not have the time
to tell you much about her

She had raybans on
and a leather motorcycle jacket
shredded in places and hung
with tiny and colorful knickknacks
twisted plaits and cords of dreadlocked brightness
fixed studs of steel-chromed stillness
that stood out against the bleak black
and somehow, the butterfly wings that loomed royally
from her back rising above her  padded shoulders and epaulettes
like the painted sails of the pharoahs barge,
seemed not out-of-place

Her hair was the black of ravens wing
and fox-brown
and russet-red
and blonde
and blue
for all the colors that had ever hung
in tresses to frame her smile
phased in and out as time
frozen by her beauty, thawed by her heart
danced in echoes around her
casting about the glow of irridescent aura

Of course, if the wings were not suggestive
then the ears, elfin and pinnacled
told much

My words arrived...finally

"So you are a fairy?"

Time sped up as she took an interest
and with an economy of effort that would shame the laconians of Ancient
nodded her head
the light took advantage
of this prestigious moment
to scan slow like a soft and velvet honey
upon the fine sculpture of her cheeks
reflecting in dark sparkles
of begemmed eyes that glistened with an ageless, untold wisdom

Encouraged by this response
I ventured:

"I thought fairies would be a bit more...victorian?"

And now, like sunrise, her lips - the most perfect ruby arc
separated in perfection of a grin that shook my core
in mystic shudder.

And a voice of silver bells, strewn-strung between garden flowers,
shook by the breeze, extolled:

"The light ones, they can be like that - I'm a dark fairy"

She held up a slim wrist, drew back the black
and showed me a bracelet of twisted roses,
petals, thick and dark as blood,
thorns dotted along the angled and interwoven stalks
drawing points of red where they touched her pale skin.
As I gazed, there seemed to be a rose beneath the rose,
I see now, it was a tattoo and its drawn thorns were easily
confused with the glistening, sharp barbs

"its beautiful" I said, only the truth "Is it painful to wear?"

Harsher bells tinkled: " painful to reminds me..."

time trailed off completely at this point, it might have been a little 
gone off to put on a fresh pot of coffee to brew, infinite coffee that 
only one eternity to make (time probably watched it every moment).


Perked and refreshed, time began again.

"...that I'm alive."

In the vacuum of something meaningful to say, I uttered garbage:
"I'm glad you find it useful as well as aesthetic..." furiously 
"...because..." She looked at me with apparent interest, I
" and utility rarely combine." She turned away.

"You're wrong. Beauty is *always* useful. Beauty is an energy not a 

I churned inside, queasy with the unexpected inpouring of wisdom.

"An energy that emanates from the"

And her slim hand, beset with intricate rings of silver,
spread and touched me just beneath the bottom of my ribcage
and I felt red lightning
and I felt a dark storm across my eyes
and I felt twisted ice shards shatter inside me
and these things drilled me to my marrow
and I felt my hearts river
and I felt a soft volcano
and I felt...alive

I looked into her eyes,
galaxies turned slowly there,
bespangled in a squid ink blackness
and I said:

"Thank you. Thank you. I know now.
Before, I only thought that I was alive...
Now, I *Know* that I *AM* alive."

She graced me once more with a smile of knowing,
The wisdom of ruby lips and pale skin.

I asked "Will I dream you again?"

She laughed, "perhaps I am dreaming you."

As her voice-bells reverberated,
I realized she was gone.

Time unglued itself and returned to normal flow.
And as it did, I realized that her last words...
...had no punctuation
and held an untold permutation of meanings.

And my eyes caught sight of my wrist,
tattooed with a rose-bracelet,
petals, thick and dark as blood
thorns dotted along angled and interwoven stalks
drawing points of red where they touched my skin.

©Copyright Marc Power
All Rights Reserved

From the editor:

fade to pure black

  i like the purity of black,
its questions are of eternal things,
the color of my true love's hair?
is it black then,
   as in the shroud or the arm band?
yea and amen
 but everyone dies or is dead,
   the death rate is absolute and unforgiving,
  a net taking in everything in its path...
 i understand black,
    it matches the Rorschach blots 
  you claim explain my soul,
that makes it yours 
to debate, lament, contrive,
   fathom or fear,
 and mine to explain and explore
    or most likely just ignore... 
  you have to love the refuge in black,
 a finality of all hues rushing together
giving way to the absence of all color,
 the colorless
  pitch dark calm of the cave 
and its total disregard for intruding sun,
    a sublime disloyalty to anyone's light...
i'm drawn to formal black,
basic black,
   a statement without fashion,
   fashion without a statement,
deep dark dismal near alliterative
  shade of despairing black,
  its stark companion is the driven snow,
its temper is the gray of age...

With this issue Banks Of The Little Miami will return to its original plan to be an occasional journal rather than a quarterly one.  You are encouraged to send poems or photographs for consideration.  We will continue as a non profit journal dedicated to art for the sake of art.  We are now considering the inclusion of short stories, drawings and essays in addition to poetry and photography.  Any connection or resemblance between people depicted in these poems and any real person, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Poem and Photo "fade to pure black"
© Copyright Bill Stockland
All Rights Reserved