A Welcome Balm

by Greg Bell

Thunder grumbled, a challenge, and I came out

onto the balcony to catch the show

lightning flashes to the East, South, Southwest

upstaging the city lights of El Paso nestled

up against the southernmost stretch

of the Rocky Mountains

I look out over the arid sea of sand & cactus

by day an inferno, by night gun-crackling badlands

Erratic wind stirs the bowl of night overspills

whooshes through the cottonwood tree

as gravid clouds dabble scattered rain

peppering me the town the mountain the desert

the drought-ridden desert

a welcome balm

but not of Gilead

and not enough

Greg Bell grew up in the multi-cultural caldo de res of West Texas. He finally roused to publish in 2013, and he’s since placed work in literary journals & anthologies and was recipient of the 2019 Kowit Poetry Prize. He’s author of hybrid poetry collection Looking for Will: My Bardic Quest with Shakespeare(Ion Drive, 2015) and two award-winning plays. He currently leads Green Poets Workshop at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, Venice, CA. Says he, "We are the witnesses, the Jiminy Crickets, the agents of change.¡Ándale!"

Kerri Menchaca paints primarily Texas landscapes from photographs that she takes while on road trips in a 1968 Early Bronco.  Her paintings focus on the sensory aspects of nature, created with an attention to mood, color and light. Kerri attended the University of Texas in Austin where she graduated with degrees in Art and Art History and a minor in Geology.