How do we create love?

We loved this piece so much, we decided to see if we cannot make this poem into a Christmas tradition. Here is an encore presentation:

A Christmas Poem by Michael H. Brownstein

Four days from the start of winter, five days from the great Ursid meteor shower,
six days after the temperature climbed into the sixties, rain fell, froze on contact,
changing everything to white ice, clean and smooth, clear and crunchy.
The man and woman stand outside their small home, logs burning in the fireplace,
candles lit in darker corners, thick sunlight heating everything through thin windows.
It is cold outside. They listen to the scents around them, see the sounds of shadows,
smell the fresh breeze swinging through the bare trees, arms around each other,
scarves across their throats, hats light on their heads, heavy jackets open to the day.
Christmas comes in the morning, he says. I know, she answers. I never asked,
he continues. I did not ask either, she replies. I do not need anything, he says.
Nor I, and she smiles and pauses and lets out a fog of air. We are not like that,
he begins again. We are not like the air you see in this weather when you breath.
We have something stronger and we have something greater. She turns her head to him.
A glitter of light flashes through a nearby evergreen, its needles ripen with sunshine,
each branch flickers and stops—a pause in wind. I know, she answers.
We have all we need. We have a flower blossom and an agate and he kisses her lightly.
That is all I have ever needed and will ever need, he says, the flint strong within him,
the day blue-lit, the forest strong and healthy, rainbows slipping from the eaves.

Love is created in many ways. This is but one of them.

(From his new book, How Do We Create Love?, Cholla Needles Press, 2019: )


A Short Story by Derek McMillan

Blackridge is a Sunset home on the South Coast, I have lived here
for…a long time.

The housekeeper, Ilka, is a saint.  How she puts up with the other
residents is a mystery.

I spend my time in my room away from the others.

Ilka called me in to breakfast. I sit with Richard and Harry. Other
residents call us “The Three Stooges” .

Ilka put a boiled egg in front of Rich.

“What is this?” he asked.

“An egg,” she replied.

Rich continued to look at it with a puzzled expression.

Ilka cut the top off.

“You’ve ruined it now,” said Rich. He looked at the spoon.

Ilka put the spoon in the egg.

Rich made a mess of it.

The next day, Ilka called me in to breakfast. She reminded me to put
trousers on.

I share a table with two other residents. Some of the women call us “The
Three…” something.

It was one of the others, who looked askance at his knife and fork.
After a while he threw the knife across the dining room. It startled
Persephone the cat who was relaxing on the window ledge.

Ilka brought a clean knife and cut up his food. He made a bit of a mess
of it.

“What day is it?” he asked a few times.

All days are the same at Blackridge.

The next morning there was a strange woman knocking at my door.

“Who the devil are you?” I asked.

“Ilka,” she said patiently.

Descending Alpe d’Huez

A Poem by Maik Strosahl

The air up here stokes the flame,
starving lungs burn hungry,
blood pounding fierce through the heart,
down to legs running in place,
cranking through the machine
and back again,
crying for still more.

The road—
carved into the mountain.
The flock—
a rainbow racing to steal away my yellow.

Though I cannot see it yet,
the crowds grow larger
as we zoom around the curve,
signaling the approach of today’s goal,
and if I push just a little bit harder,
I will break from this pack,
I will raise my fists triumphant
to the roar rising from the people
over the whirring of wheels in spin,
rubber straining its grip
as we race across asphalt and cement
to the finish.