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featured poets & artists


dave pratt

dave pratt lives in central ohio. he is a poet, storyteller, zen prankster & all around verbal revolutionary. he also does a mean santa claus impression.


Sky traffic

Spread belly-down
on a rock atop
Thumb Butte-
riding the sunrise
high above
Prescott, Az.
The river
hum of traffic,
the fiery shine
of light talking
to trucks and cars.
The stone chill
speaking to my
hot coffee guts.
Lying awake
in the face
of the world-
nothing but this.
Walking back down
through shadows, it's
still just this-
(What is?)
light now dark,
warm then cool,
and then in an airplane,
looking down on earth,
calming a tired baby-
still just this.
Riding the bull
of sitting still-
still just this
stillness moving.



This walking,
a sort of flying.
Ants can't soar
like this, and we
break like a bag
of glasses when
dropped from
one hundred feet.


If only I know I'm here
for these ten steps,
or these three words,
or these two eyes
saying me in their hands.
If only I manage reversal
upon reversal, remembering
dreams are not real,
again and again,
sloughing off this upper crust
I've learned to love.
If only this moment
is this hand on this page,
I can be everything-
if only this.


The bacterial guilt
fills the petri dish
and dies when it
reaches the edge
of awareness.
(Only sunlight
surely kills
There's nothing
so wonderful as this.
Crack this nut
in your teeth
and loose the light
that falls like raindrops...
This isn't what
I meant to say.
I've been trying
on a dead poet's coats,
and his hands
got in my pockets.
I meant to say:
"Look at my daughter
with your eyes
closed," and "Is this correct?"
"Am I doing it right?"
"How do I question
when the answer
is always 'do nothing?'"
Someone wants to say,
"There's only one way
to ride the tip
of everything, and
you're doing it now,"
but that isn't right either...


To write the most beautiful poem,
say, "orange" and "yellow,"
and listen to the cars outside.
Put your ear against God's heart
and drum out the beat
in your loving- but this ain't it.
I meant to say, "living,"
and I meant to quit painting
right at the peak of the spark.


This is it!
Quick come and look
how beautiful you are!
I've been gone so long-
you've grown a face again!


Gone for ten days.
I see you again-
"Quick, come here!
Let me look at you
before I forget
who you are."
I see this personality
is a Breema sequence,
the past is
the skeleton of a house,
and what I thought
was you, is
a beehive,
or a flower-
another structure.
But when I am present
I am I,
you are you,
and skeletons,
sequences and flowers
are just God.
It has always been so.
Is just is.


The ladybugs line up
like sky traffic
climbing the lamp cord.
I keep waiting my turn
to reveal the God
hidden in this box.
I've been carrying it so long,
I keep forgetting where it is,
like the best man's bad dream-
a hole in the pocket and
two golden loops lost in grass.
God is the hole.



Our baby son's wave "hello"
is the luminous cloudburst
inside the inside of my heart,
shedding no light, dropping no rain,
but these aren't the right words.
I had them a minute ago...
Maybe I'll say,
"Any life is a word that can be
entered to learn 'There is only God.'"
Maybe I'll be clever and
keep saying, "No inside, no outside."
or get frustrated and grab
your head, adding "Look! Right there!
Can't you see?" And maybe
you'll turn to me and we won't be there.


Writing these poems
is like squeezing tigers
through a hole in my belly
to reveal the canyon
and sky they've been hiding.
After they're gone, it's
crows and an unwordable circus
that light up the bones
of my bones with no caws,
Caws! CAWS!


This area of God
is shaped like
what's called me,
and here's this
flower as big as
a bird for now
for me
and we say
the same-
no up or down,
in or out,
above, below,
though somehow
it's easiest to miss
what's right here.


The little birds
of your hands
lay on my eyes,
and when they left,
the sun came up.
Up from where?


I know my heart
will break when
I see you.
It will spill
like sunshine
in smiles
that float
to the sky.


The voice of God
speaks across the room
on feet that tell the earth,
"thank you, thank you, thank you..."


Water and dirt stand up
in the cyclamens and
invite the sun to breakfast.
The self warns itself,
"This is the end-
you're killing me!"
It keeps a self-
portrait in a spider web.
The soul keeps
blooming in a box
that is everywhere.
I sit down and
eat an apple.
It tastes like
sky traffic.


The kindness of feet walking.
The light weight of a gaze.
The whole red sun
reflected on a sea-green iris.


The sound-shape
and play of this poem
shines like a giraffe
from its mother's womb,
or a memory of anything
pulled with concrete vagueness
from invisible pockets.
Your left toe, number two,
it's God.


Somehow I learned
when to wear
the blue coat,
when to lift
the red hat,
how to say
the square noise
{in the square hole}
(nice weather we've been having.)
and never
to (never to)
point to
fellow natives'
secret suns.


the trees' tops
name the unnamed
wind with gentle bends
from here
to here-
stop without stopping,
then bend again
back to the there
that's now here
and my feet
in soft mud,
say nothing.


Sometimes I forget-
inside these walls
lies dust, dead bugs,
and unsunned wood.
Walking through town,
I see a voice
speaking sidewalk buckles
from the dark interior
of earth's larynx and-
Hey! I'm full of blood!


Rainfall sprays
from the rusted downspouts
like a glass of water
through a shot-gun-
blasted cartoon animal.
crocuses poke up
like crocuses.


such a gentle crackle.
maple propellor pods.


Cold frog in pond mud.
Ragged blue-black butterfly
waving to itself
on a long-downed,
brown crabapple.
Water spider
riding a tree leaf
across the reflection
of sun, cloud, sky, me,
and the frog, plop,
hops in.


The God
at the Heart
of the worded
swells in
the form
we think
is us.
It doesn't matter
what you say.
It only matters
you are.


a soft


Over tea
we spoke
of the past,
like pulling
a holy house
(any house)
from your pocket
as if to say,
"And here are
the doors.
This is the floor.
I can show you
the altar and the
bathroom and the
cracks in the beams
filled with skin
and dirt and-
a potato bug!"
But if I think
I know the house
already and try
to give it
to you (absent)
whole (mindedly)
then nothing will grow.
We will find nothing new.
Yet, if I am here,
I allow something new
to bloom, something
like light.
Then I know
I am telling
an old story
for the first time.

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