Bruce McRae: A Weak Self-Image, A Fine Poem
The Bee's Knees
It’s only suddenly dawned on me,
how I’m nothing more than sand in a shoe.
That I’m a puppet in a seaside skit.
A minor character in a beach novel.
How I resemble most a reflection
in a carnival’s trick mirror.
And here I thought I was the pig’s wings,
the caterpillar’s kimono, the gnat’s elbows.
Instead of this tongue-tied parrot I’ve become,
the one spouting self-righteous epithets in order
that he might confirm his paltry existence.
And not this monkey on a string.
Not this breeze over the city dump I am.
This creaking wheel. This lousy haircut.
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Emily Hone's New Poem, Uses "Downed Vessel" As Metaphor
as they boil past-
we go in
White lie servants,
steering the wheel so
how could we not
No Captain to
And though this
we’ve proven only
Churning swifts keep all
Ship clutch tenants
All at once trapped
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Marie Anzalone's Poem Is A Stirring Homage
Written for a Living Poet 5: A Field Guide to Dragons
for all that we have been told
of roses and hearts
and glittery rainbows
the act of writing poetry
is still a man's domain
by and large;
women write of "female interests"
and men define
the laws, morals-
ask the toughest questions
are known as the new epithet:
"wow so Smart!!"
[add a couple of hearts and smiley
faces in there for effect]
for being clever.
but there is a defining edge
cleverness and art
sometimes, not always
cross paths and purpose.
There are shores
we all wallk alone,
riptides we do not put our
toes in, knowing
how quickly one will get
simply sucked under.
there are dragons none of us,
men, women or otherwise,
ever slayed. The reason
is deceptively uncomplicated.
We have trained our eyes
not to see them- neither the
scales they leave scattered
on breakfast tables in-between
marital silences; nor the snot
they leave in endlessly filthy
drains in bathtubs and
nor the scorched places
in the conjugal bedclothes.
these are the reptiles of
our dysfunction, the worms
of discontent. Like Blake's
unnamed pestilence, they
gnaw at the heart of all
we once believed, was true
and good. Very few men venture
into their lairs, even by accident.
and here you come, respresenting
"the fairer sex" walking in beauty,
acquainted with the night
armed with a ruler, weighing device,
watercolors inks and pens,
among us, walking shorelines,
mapping the feeding places
dipping whole legs, not just toes,
into undertows, studying the
riptides of the North Atlantic.
the unarmed Poetess, the knight
in humble rags. Examining
the way the sun
glints just so after a household
tempest, reflecting off the spines
of dinosaurs, roses, and books.
Sketching from the places
where "real life" intersects
dissecting the internal anatomy
of the disillusioned heart.
Creating nothing less
than our own
"Illustrated Field Guide
to the Dragons of New England."
(for Linda. because it was far past time
that someone wrote something, for you.
Happy Birthday, 2014.)
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A New Poem From The Pen Of Poet Edjo Frank
bare feet in the sand
toes point to the sky
on the cotton dress
folded as a flag
over the body
between the sand dunes
except for the high screams
of desert vultures
men with arms
heads covered with cloth
their lethal visit
by the silent witness
of tire tracks
layers of clotted salt
where once slots
intersected her face
tears dried long ago
when spirits flew
on a high wind
never to come back
she folds her hands
only the mullah understands
wind pulling at her hair
as a tug trying
to free the wreck
battered against the rocks
what has been taken
will not be given
what was most precious
deprived of soul
the senseless legacy
of elusive religion
in a confused world
of thoughts called
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Therese Sellers' Newest Verses Are For Poets
From "Twelve Short ....Poems for Poets"
How to write haiku:
stay very still and concentrate
let one teardrop fall
Advice to a Poet
write tiny poems
and slip them through keyholes
the fly-sized first wife of Zeus?
she conceived fierce Athena
They broke me of rhyme and meter,
They stripped me of punctuation
They took away my classical allusions
and left me in a room with no walls
On the Fragility of Inspiration
of my poems, how I fear
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R. H. Mustard And The Piano As Metaphor
I touched the keys
you left on the piano
in plain sight,
they sang your melody
in broken chords
I could not resolve,
though the notes
were clear enough,
to hear just what
you had in mind.
I've never had a lesson
in sharps and flats,
if my hand
could contain an octave
by itself, what pedal
my foot might push
to sustain the music
longer than what I heard
in the first lesson or two,
nor would I know
who to call
should the keys
fall out of tune,
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We Extend A Warm Welcome To Poet Bethany W Pope
The Dancing World
At night when the shadows
roil across tarmac
like speaking tongues
and the foxes whirl
in inhuman spires
of noisy courtship,
when the streetlights spread
their jaundice across
the chrome teeth of parked cars
in their wasted oil,
the ragged trees
resume their dancing.
Cherry, oak, birch, elm,
the tattered fronds of willow
all draw up their roots
from the soil we left them,
taking hold of white fibers,
both feet and skirts, they make
their ancient procession.
They share their sap
with brothers who overwhelmed
the shrunken Scot in stolen mantle,
shaded suddenly the window
that lit the bloodspots
on his lady's tremulous hands.
There are not so many dancers,
now, nor men with eyes to see them.
It is safer, for us, to restrict
our wonders, sacrificing Joy
to barren rationality that fruits death.
But all times pass,
and each word
contains its opposite.
We bear our shadows
in our flesh, waiting to blossom.
I flower in moonlight,
I wheel with the fox.
Their eerie throats
are singing to me.
I know the terrible
Joy of the forests,
bound in for now
by our illusion of safety,
waiting to rise.
We are so close to dancing.
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We Warmly Welcome Poet Emily Strauss To VerseWrights
Moon Light ☊
Through the skylight
the full moon splashes
not a new task— every month
it rises roundly yellow against
the liquid amber and white oak
landscaping or steel towers
of power lines across the mud
flats at low tide
with the distant lights
on the bare hills
shining across the bay
every month is not a new
thing, we may count on its
regular appearance like
a dream of a lover
a loss that never leaves
this its white reminder,
the round face of what
we must remember
or are forbidden to forget
so we need to notice
every time, even as we
forget his face exactly
now, and his arms--
the moon feels colder
through the electric wires
the plane trees
on my single bed.
Enjoy this poem in the PoetryAloud area
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Juliet Wilson Shares A Child's Moment In Her New Poem
A Fist Full of Bees
The bumble bees were furry
like your favourite cat
You caught them one by one
stroked them gently
and held them in your tiny fist.
Their whirring wings
tickled your skin
as they buzzed.
When your mother opened your fist
the bees escaped
and you cried
though you had not been stung.
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Robert Nied: When A Demonstration Demonstrates
I drove passed a demonstration
people in front of bulldozers, police behind their shields.
There was chanting and confusion
but I knew who would win and who would yield.
I saw two get arrested
an old woman and a young man.
He was animated and resistant
she smiled and made her stand.
I wondered about her life
the children, the art, the pain.
What was so clear and known to her
that made her crazy act seem so sane?
I watched the plastic cuffs tighten
and turned to hide my face.
Because I’ve already lost his passion
and never had her peace and grace.
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Joanna Suzanne Lee And The Relationship
some things are too easily forgot-
(ten), like the wire
to the champagne cork, twisted
the front door key
from the back.
i miss your two oclock river-
heart, the train-
slowing beat of us
in deep afternoon light,
how i used to run
back to that spot
by the bridge and find you
there are places where
air has more space
to breathe, the skies
heavy wrung out
with dirty sunshine.
in air like that train warnings
hang lonely, remembering
things like champagne,
its bubbles the very metaphor
we could have kept each
other from falling. i want
that song caught between
whistles, about running
till your sides stitch up,
about two riverbank lovers
still on the edge
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Shan Ellis' Poem: Total Release
It wasn’t an accomplishment,
laying in half cocked heather,
grey as dawn
shrouded final breaths,
beads of dew
glistening silvery webs
rolling tracks down sodden cheeks.
It was no effort
holding that heart to rest
in a myriath of broken promises and lies
an Avalon too far to reach
a hairs breath,
exhaled, lost in watery mist.
I thought I heard
my name whispered
just as the pale ray reached
and I lost tomorrow
amidst the thrall
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David Adès' Poignant Lament On The Death Of A Friend
~In memory of Lincoln Siliakus
Anne put it simply, beautifully,
a world contained in six words:
Lincoln left us yesterday in Avignon.
Another candle’s warm glow snuffed out,
another patch of darkness in place of light,
another disturbed sediment of memories.
Some say we pass into a bright light,
we pass into a wondrous embrace,
we pass into a loving realm.
I know nothing of this,
yet I entertain the notion
that the light is the light of millions
of guttered candles, that the embrace
is the embrace of those who went
before us, that the loving realm
is the welcome we receive
when it is our turn to pass,
that Lincoln’s spirit is waiting now
to pour its light into the darkness, to hold
my spirit with warmth, with generosity,
with the wholeness of its nature.
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We Extend A Warm Welcome To Poet Roslyn Ross
Grey clouds gather, rippled,
fringed across the hem of sky,
ruched in certain order, stitched
in darkening threads,
so they burst ephemeral,
crouched against light’s death;
billowed, skirting, ruffled,
searching for a place to die.
From turn of trunk
to tabled form,
the tree has taken
shape, and now resides
in shining arms
to hold with ready
grace. This bowl
has been in rooted
earth, and born
through steady hands,
as time and patience
bring to birth, a new
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Katherine Gallagher's Poem Is A Heartrending Portrait
Woman in a Tableau
~after an incident in the Sahel region reported by a UNICEF official
dust shadows her face
the choice between
giving her child watery mud
and letting him die
seeing the choice
over and over
telling her hands
becoming the choice
giving the baby poisoned water
his tongue burning now
forever against hers
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Mark Gordon's Latest Poem: A Probe Of The Universe And Self
You have to stop and watch
the portly man throw the Frisbee
to the dog, see that in the flick
of the wrist, in the excited eyes
of the dog, is the glowing path
of the milky way that the Lord
wears as a cloth, a headband
or a toga. Sometimes I forget
to look, take a minute to stand
by the river, to watch the low-
flying swallows aim themselves
at mud. I am all personal desire,
what I have to do, as if I am
master of the stars, the river,
myself, flowing without reference
point. Then I stop, stand
before the stream of stars, flight
of dog and man, know that
someone speaks to me, voice
of the headlong river’s bend.
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Poet Marsailidh Groat Finds, Then Defines "Home"
I sit in a small pub, sipping my cheap pint,
and smelling the smells of the people around me;
we do not resent each other for our bodies, our skin.
We are not pressed against each other in swarms,
sweating angrily, indignant that we are not where we should be,
and not fast enough.
Instead, we sit, the heat of bodies warming us from the Edinburgh chill,
the kind of cold that shortens your neck and tightens your .jaw.
We are not in transit; the place we are
is the place we intend to be.
Two of us are playing music, their fingers and mouths
casting the stories of people that did for years
what we are doing now.
I feel that there have always been cheap pints,
and warm pubs, and bodies, and stories,
and beauty in the everyday of a farmer and his ox.
Voices are soft and relaxed, and none of us are special;
home is not a privilege, and does not need to be earned.
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Cristina Umpfenbach Finds the Focus
Through a Lens Sharply
under the midday sun,
a perfect picture,
a perfect angle.
Earthen tone tribal cloth
draped around her
against a bright blue sky,
billows in the breeze
which carries sand
over the parched expanse
that is her life.
She sings softly,
waving away flies
on the face
of her starving child
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We Extend A Warm Welcome To Poet Carl Scharwath
An American City
~Dedicated to Baltimore
The city slowly
withers and dies.
While the living
in open streets.
To a new renaissance.
floating down the river
like a colorful leaf
on splattered sunshine.
Schizophrenic rain danced
the metal roof
Two lovers awakened in the
A relationship ignited by
a silver cloud
twisted upside down
Their last night
howling whisperers of denial
in a pharmaceutical straightjacket
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Poet David Thornbrugh In Paris
In Paris, the waiters laugh
when I mention Rimbaud.
“Rambo is a killer,
not a poet.”
A croissant kidnaps me
makes me read Foucault.
“You are not writing this poem!”
scream the snails.
I can’t even thank heavens
for little girls
without looking like a moustache pervert.
When the Eiffel Tower went up,
everybody hated it.
Now Rimbaud and Verlaine
could get married,
sell guns on the Internet.
Poetry? Any idiot can write poetry.
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A Close Encounter: Bethany Rohde's Newest Poem
Is That Your Body Blocking the Light?
Across this lawn,
blacktop of shadow
cast between us.
Darkness you did not intend.
How can you, Oak Tree of seventy,
be obscurity and beacon, both?
I hear whispers growing fainter,
Sh- sh- sh, until we share
each other’s air again.
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Rosa Saba Returns With A Pair Of Companion Poems
lyrics sharp and mind warm, like wax
waiting for words to press themselves deep
into skin ready for something other than silence
music fading into the shuffle of thoughts
and the creases between shaking fingers
barely held steady by each other, by tired palms
ragged nails biting skin, trying to soften the blow
of the realization that even pieces of poetry nine lines long are unable to support this feeling
nine more lines
something about the words i've spilt
forwards onto the concrete, covered by snow
that no longer reminds me of time past, but now
just reminds me of the time i have left
of warm things, quiet music and cold air
softer words than i have used in a very long time
and suddenly, nine lines is enough to support this feeling, .....because
this feeling flies on its own, and i am
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Mark MacDonald's Poem: Women and Gentlemen
The Daughter of Two .Mothers
Born in Des Moines in the late 1930’s,
she never quite understood her father
but felt close to her Aunt—the aunt
who never married and lived
with her friend near a bookstore downtown.
Her mother grew chrysanthemums—renowned
as one of the Four Gentlemen in Chinese
and East Asian art—The Chrysanthemum,
The Bamboo, The Orchid and the Plum Blossom.
A flower for each season, they belong
to the category of bird-and-flower painting
in China during the Song Dynasty, according
to her Aunt—the aunt who liked wine
and sometimes ate with chopsticks—the
aunt who never married and lived
with her friend near a bookstore downtown.
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For jacob erin-cilberto, An End To Youth And Idealism
a puff of pensive reflection
we shared cigarettes
and the smoky illusions
of the 60's
ideals real in the heart
we loved unconditionally with conditions
emotions became wistful, wishful thinking
as you retreated into your yuppy-ism
and my hair got a little longer
a bit more disheveled
like the veins in my ideology
you spoke the goodbyes first
and i felt the movement waning
with little protest,
i lit up a few more drags of the past
finally put the pack of desultory dreams away
where it and you belonged.
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Poet Janet Aalfs Shares Two Of Her Recent Poems
The Work of Love
as the space between
a shout and an echo
I begin. Ebony
the smoothest wood
harder than all.
To sing these
black notes wandering,
sculpted scales and rain fall
shadows through my heart.
as a snowflake
in a furnace
I begin. Nothing
I have known before
can lead me, disarmed
as I am. The way
a heart is made to know
what it knows
astounds. No guide
but rhythms breathe
music as I chisel,
softer, more inward,
I am not this blood,
not these bricks and rocks
father, brothers, cousins
broke me with
on the courthouse walk.
Hell is theirs.
And I am not.
Chant by chant a lotus
rises above the mud,
and the moon in a river pool
sinks into the heart
of the song in this
starlit, stonelit temple
In memory: Farzana Parveen
Lahore, Pakistan, 2014
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Poet Charlie Brice Delves Into The Waves
Things That Come
I. X Rays, Gamma Rays, Microwaves, MRIs
How deep must we go--
past skin, past bone, past muscle?
Descartes thought the soul resided
in the Pineal gland.
A pea-shaped bleb of light
cleaves to something anterior,
or caudle, or posterior.
Eventually we are all read-out
by someone in a white jacket
we don’t know; a stranger who,
between a sip of diet soda
and a bite of peanut butter bread,
counts the peaks and troughs--
calculates the dead.
II. The Gravitational Harmonies of Deep Space
We were never a beginning, only
the other side of a collapsed star,
black hole excreta; random
whim of an indifferent singularity.
The Big Bang: the next feature
after a celestial intermission
between a gazillion cosmic films,
an astrocinematic ructus
with no beginning, no final act.
Only we end, eventually
not even a mote bowered
in some defunct god’s eye.
Our son, his world, my wife’s hand,
my myopic Everland.
That finds itself
then gets lost
drops into splendid solitude.
Goldberg Variation number twenty five
deliquescent embryo come alive
but barely so--
the question, will it survive,
Glenn Gould’s hum carries Bach’s song
to its refulgent end.
We strive to grasp its meaning.
It eludes us now, then, and again.
IV. Weather Fronts
It can get so cold
that your soul turns to frost
like rime around a cocktail glass;
so hot that your heart bakes
your writhing lover’s back;
so rainy that retted streets
flow like the River Lethe,
your essence a flood of melancholy;
and the wind, the wind turns
your wheat field pages
like ancient sacred screeds
caressed by cowl sleeves.
Are you listening Heraclitus?
Change was all you left us.
*Titles taken from The Windward Shore: A Winter On The Great Lakes, by Jerry Dennis
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From Danielle Favorite, A Room With A View
From my bedroom window
I wait for you
between the shoulder-blades
of winter and summer solstice.
Please, thaw my frosted heartbeat.
I'm ready for the supernova
that is your lips--
breathe fire and ignite my breath.
Hold my frost-bit hand,
melt the ice from my voice so I can sing.
The moon is ripe--
unfreeze me, free me! so I can pluck it,
like a berry from the charcoal sky.
I've seen your name
etched with frost on my bedroom window,
winter cursive on glass.
I call for you, the breath of my silence
soaks into the night, and I watch snowflakes
drop into my eyes;
I shiver, a star flickers out.
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LA Lorena's Relationship With Her Readers Is, Well...Sensual
my fingers itch to impart
inky lines upon pale pages
for your pleasure
a wanton need fulfilled when
wrapped metaphors shroud me
and veiled intentions wear clever disguises
cloaked in lace imagery
I prettily beg to be peeled back
layer by layer
to expose that hidden and secret
I need you
only you can undress me
gently pry apart my lines
tenderly palpate stanzas
and oh so lovingly
coax my intentions
to the surface
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Vaishnavi Nathan, Tangled Hair, And Magic
If she should love him,
to find secrets in her tangled hair.
java chip frappuccino,
on her door step, clasped hands
on a bench along Rundle Mall.
$9.99 salvos sweater on the coldest
winter day, an hour conversation
under a streetlamp after Spanish class,
dirty playgrounds at midnight.
believe in magic,
So she said yes,
wore his watch and
soon he left.
She unravelled her hair
and went to see the barber.
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Laura Madeline Wiseman Shares Her Latest Poem
My name catches like a city bus
caught by the end of a hand,
the middle a dash for a backpack
and a wave along the trail.
Evergreen and small, crowded
among nine sisters of kin height
I cultivate my own fruits, learn
what I can, grow my strength.
My palms open long and narrow
point to pelican, sky, bay of blues
he could no longer step into, where endlessly
edges split and separate.
Once, I let him make me into whatever--
basket, broom, whisk, constant wife. I was
his wooden dock and pilings,
his pole and wharf
from which he wouldn’t sail,
the sandy shore of war he rooted
toes into hot and white
with lonely. I ornament
a different path now, sound the breeze
above a new walk, refuse to spine
boardwalk, beach front, tide
but I will always be
calm in tidal groves, inland
in hammocks. He once found me
the hardiest of the new world
even if he wouldn’t stomach
palm heart, cabbage salad, palmetto
center of olive martini, but his hunger
will be our making. After all, interweaving
these blades is the call.
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In Eleanor Swanson's New Poem, To Hunt Is To Kill
Summer of the Hawks
In the spring we started to see a pair
of Cooper’s hawks, tiercel and hen,
high in our neighbor’s catalpa tree,
long before its white blossoms appeared.
The hawks were mostly silent then, brooding
in the uppermost branches of that tall tree
or sometimes flying together, diving
and gliding over the trees.
But then the chicks came, and soon
they were fledglings, and catalpa petals
were floating down and carpeting
the street our aerie of hawks flew over,
high and low, their calls half a cry, half
a whistle, cries for food, feeding cries,
call and response, all day long.
Sometimes they flew from the catalpa
to the enormous dead elm, skeletonous,
in our front yard, or they perched on
the utility pole in our backyard above
the bird feeder I hoped was well-concealed
by overhanging branches of the plum tree.
More than once I’ve stood, watching
a perched hawk gazing down
unflinchingly at me—a mere mortal.
The neighbor across the street calls
out as we both stand in our front yards.
“They’re teaching the young to kill,”
he says, and then, he amends,
“to hunt.” He laughs uncomfortably.
When we walk the dogs, we pass
clusters of feathers, doves, flickers,
and more, fanned out on the grass,
no other traces of life.
In the back, there’s a tall branch
in the apple tree, pointing upwards
in a Y shape, a perfect perch where
the finches often sit. I want to tell
them, danger, fly away.
This afternoon, some chickadees are at the feeder
and some are deep in the trees, calling dee,
dee, dee, wanting more seeds.
I watch that high branch where a rosy finch
now sits. I watch for the flash of wings--
beautiful and terrible too--
and the tiny bird, vanished.
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