your voice on the phone
urges me to think beautiful thoughts
vacations we took, restaurants we loved,
wines we tasted together, trails we hiked
every thought simply becomes a new burden
the past invading current pains in my chest
which feel like they will succeed only with death
thank you for calling
you wouldn’t survive here
without the light of the sun
the crime of other lifetimes
allow you to recall there is guilt
this punishment will cover
the suffering of your whole life
you will survive as a flower
blanketed by shadows
Read the poetry of r soos
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Flowers in My Bed
A cactus nub
Among the neglect
So carelessly, I tossed it
In the earth bed
The red buds
Among the spray
And dark green spikes of
Pointing fingers in the dirt
I am not in charge of anything.
I said a word
Among the pain
And wrapped it
Lovingly into a gift
And placed it
In lonely hands.
I can make a difference
In my bed.
Read the poetry of Ellen Conserva
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the wind turns my apple tree
into a victim, a lover banging
on a closed door of gnarled wood;
a dance makes this ringing evening
singular, the leaves agree to fall
and turn in the dull faith of air,
they tell us about birth and departure,
about leaving together, stories of
ending as the sun arcs and protests
rest among the gentians
like an exhausted lover,
the road has thrown
you out of track and youth,
a line of rescue wakes
the rooks in the cold trees
there is a nest not far away
waiting to fall, a pause
before the first call, a damp leaf.
Read the poetry of Leslie Philibert
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Mementos from the End Time
“… scraps of memory found in dull minds…”
At the end of time, when
The trees can no longer stand and
Small birds fall
Down from the pale sky, I
Think I’ll take that barren path that
Stretches out to the
Forgotten, though calm, lake…
And sit –
And pick up little sharp rocks –
Tossing them into
The broken water.
While the lone boat of a
Lone man paddles off into
The distance. So,
This is the place I’ll be and
Where you can find me, if
You want. Look for
The stick up against
The hollow tree. The
Golden time-watch inside. Or,
Find me in the dirt on boot-soles
Left warming beside slowly
Dying fires. The letter left
Unopened in the metal
Mailbox… but waiting…
Always waiting like the man seen
Far ahead on a trail. His
Back to us as he rounds a corner by
A tree… but, somewhere, in
The green thick of the trees he
Waits, a walking stick
While an old, worn
Book remains open and
Hidden in a deep, quiet
Read the poetry of Matthew Henningsen
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Rusty Wet Leaves
boots of black, whetted by rain
forgotten memory left far behind
woodpecker tapping upon birch
moss covered granite whispers
deer disappear into fern & pine
partridge drum in the deep hollow
woodland faeries smiling softly
path covered in rusty wet leaves
gentle breezes calm and serene
a bear moves in lumbering grace
car horns heard off in the distance
peaceful surrender, enchantingly.
eggs are on the boil
stove hot and ready
cat in my old chair
toaster takes awhile
sausage and taters
frying as I dodge
spatters of grease
coffee pot beeping
cat trades for food
ready my blue plate
sun peeks over trees
I smile on Sundays.
Read the poetry of Ken Allan Dronsfield
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Playing With Matches
The match moves to light the cigarette,
where mother still sits beside my crib,
watching my thumbed hands. It stops in
midair. The white tube of leaves does not
swell the bronchial tree. The smoke is
rooted in my mother’s clenching hand.
Her hold around the smoke ring is
caught by the light of match fire.
The glow filling the room with a
burst of yellow light then fading in a
moment. Her fingers make shadows round my
wrist, smear the ribcage negatives.
Her hand points to red-mouthed women
leaving their lipstick on filters in the ashes.
Read the poetry of Phil Boiarski
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remember the day
when Earth sweat and
invisible drops exchanged scorching kisses,
every furrow dried and crumbled
in grey powder?
It wasn’t ash – rather
a numbing substance
we prayed for:
and your eyes became stars again.
Gone with the Rain
It was typical rainy day: grey. A wet curtain hid tired steps of people passing by. At the end of the street, just below the tiny slope, every tortuous creek plunged into the porous mouth of the busy, thirsty drain. Wet sand blunged in the rhythm of soft, muffled sobs as a young woman, with unvoiced stone face, continued to cradle her empty hands.
Read the poetry of Maja Todorovic
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A Message From the Fifth Circle
You know the story, everyone does
lost in a dark wood, he finds a pal to escort him
through the nine circles of hell
spiraling from lust to fraud to treachery
where Judas is locked in ice while his back is
shredded & flayed for all eternity
do you think Dante was abused as a child?
he emerges on Easter Sunday beneath a star-stippled sky
ascends the mountain of Purgatory
to find a spiritual muse willing to guide him
on a tour of heaven for only fifty cents
& his soul is purified by God’s love
really? how come him & not me?
I am still stuck in the fifth circle
I do hope you get this message
eternally fixed in the foul waters of Styx
not one of the naked ones on the surface, snarling in fury
battering & bludgeoning each other
but one of those submerged in sullen anger
(passive-aggressive says my therapist)
beneath the surface slime
gurgling & gagging & choking
on unexpressed rage
nothing remotely divine or comedic
Virgil and Beatrice long vanished
relieved to be retired
so dear friend
it looks like I won’t be back any time soon
text me: firstname.lastname@example.org
let me know how you are
please send a fan
Read the poetry of Claire Scott
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Their Human Voice
There is a raging
bride in each
of my children
& though they
are sweet, kind
& loving, they want,
god dammit, they want
all of the bees
to bring them honey
& they want the lions
to protect them
& they want
to scream again into
a new world
where an ocean
carries them home
when they are done
on the beach.
I hear all of that
rattle inside of them
when they tell me
that they love me.
I am proud
of a good life,
that way it will
really burn them up
when the nature
of all things
Read the poetry of Darren C. Demaree
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Someone’s perfected an Odyssey.
Someone’s thrown the ball in the court.
Someone’s lauded the catch;
Watch him trembling.
Someone’s imagining there’ll be ‘no pass’.
Someone’s bodily coveting the ground.
Someone’s got a hooter she can’t blow
... It’s not half-time!
Someone’s dreaming... I’m dreaming...
Someone’s convinced this is traitorous.
Someone’s taking off an expensive suit.
Someone’s emptying their pockets.
Someone’s writing IOUs – and
By ovation as the bald planet
Ticks on over into the grandstand.
Read the poetry of Stefanie Bennett
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Victoria Gate ☊
Maybe she was crying before she got on the coach at Marble Arch, settled in the seat across from me, but by the time we reach Victoria Gate, tears stream down her face, mouth open to receive her own sacrament.
Indian, ageless in tasteful floral, a blue sweater despite summer heat, an iPod clutched in her hand. Traditional music bleeds from earbuds, then shifts to Bollywood techno beat. And still she cries. Along Bayswater Road, her glassy eyes reverential, meeting her gaze feels like blasphemy. Who is she missing or mourning, or maybe it’s what – her own bed, mother’s cooking, stillness.
London is short on sympathy when it comes to heartbreak and homesickness, not so subtly tells you to walk it off. But sometimes at night when you’re riding past Hyde Park and dusky silhouettes arm-in-arm are framed by bus windows, a familiar song can collapse resolve, make you reach for the red hammer over your seat to crack the escape glass. Then unbuckle and rise through the treetops until the lamp at Victoria Gate is a pinprick, insignificant, up to the stratosphere where equilibrium inverts and tears become the stars that will guide you home.
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Read the poetry of Collin Kelley
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The Small Hours
I awake in the small hours from a sleep fitful and restless
into a time of muffled colours and softened sounds.
The peace doesn’t soothe me, but serves as a backdrop
on which to project memories of my unquiet dreams.
Many times I have felt trapped in my reflections
by the honesty and deepness of silence
where there are no distractions from nightmares
and the world sleeps on, oblivious.
The light is not uncaring, but unbiased
as it watches a merging of extremes,
radicalism fading to a sleepy ambivalence
in the grogginess of the space between asleep and
And who exists in this time?
Those who are acquainted with it, by profession,
whose movements are routine, but with cushioned edges.
The stumblers, stunned by sudden silence,
music still pulsing through their bodies.
And, perhaps, two people so entranced
there was too much to talk about to fall asleep.
Read the poetry of Marsailidh Groat
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~ For Bea Last
If the paint dries,
saturated. A fresh coat? A fence-post?
Canvases crack. The face
of the actress.
But what if
green was more than green, if
green was verdant
beneath your fingertips, bottle-glass-green,
smooth jeweled chips
of green glass you find washed
you pocketed the color & it bled
through the fabric,
what if the gallery called
your blue jeans
the denim faded
Enjoy the poetry and art of Reka Jellema
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Steamy July evening—oppressive.
I take one of my dogs out for his last break.
Pass my garden privet hedge.
The scent awakens the memory
of when I was five years old on Cape Cod.
The shingled, rented colonial,
weathered dark, not painted.
Wood floors throughout.
My sister Anne claims everything was wood--
floors, walls, bathtub, toilet seat, kitchen sink.
Possible, fifty years ago.
A long, narrow, dusty road ran along the beachfront.
Colonies of family cottages dotted both sides.
We six siblings scattered,
playing everywhere, joined by similar summer kids.
Parents never worried, confident we’d reappear
when the bakery truck arrived,
the ice cream man’s bell rang,
or Wee Packet fried clams were served
in someone's backyard.
So excited, we walked the ribbon of sand and dirt,
to the arcade at this road’s end.
Think of it!
Paddle boats, miniature golf,
forbidden games of bingo,
cones piled high with strawberry ice cream.
I bring my guide dog back inside.
Weighted memories come in, too.
Sit down, dwelling on that road.
Maybe it was just a lane,
possibly, fifty years ago.
Was it the loneliness I felt this July day,
the evening's air so thick,
like my impenetrable blindness?
I wept, hard, loud, my animals silent, anxious.
Damn—my nose for filling up
with the smells of the privet hedge,
that perfumed and protected,
each side of that road I knew.
I never thought I wouldn't see Cape Cod again.
Read the poetry of Ria Meade
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charting the free verse sky ☊
those stars we used to wish upon
the ones first appearing in the twilight
or the ones falling from the
sky while sitting on the front porch step
where have they gone
now when you need them the most
sometimes I think of a certain star
that shined so bright it had no choice
but to crash and burn in some
remote forest you’ve never heard
those are the kinds of stars I miss the most
this universe is nothing but a free verse
poem with a little sizzle and endless syllables
spherically rotating around your ever
your inner child
charting the course of events
of every single moving object
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Read the poetry of J. Matthew Waters
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Just Before Dusk
white billow clouds
in the breeze
autumn marsh glows
Read the poetry of Peter V. Dugan
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I could stand a long time
under a tree with yellow leaves
this time of year.
It makes its own light
even as it says goodbye
until the snows have come
& then departed. It reminds me
of people who are
their own light
before they too depart.
I have stood in the light
of such people
that they grow brighter
with all the light they shed.
Read the poetry of Mark Gordon
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Written By the Whispers
of the Wind
I wanted to write a poem
about the perfection
of this moment,
but the wind
whistled all the words away
as the melody of a breeze
through the branches of trees
in these woods
where the world is at peace.
I wanted to gather my thoughts
in an effort to memorialize
this magical scene,
but the sky caught my eye
with its brilliant shine
and so my mind
became enchanted by the design
of God’s loving light
as an amazing grace
pierced my heart with faith.
I wanted to write a poem
about the perfection
of this moment,
it wrote itself
into my soul.
Read the poetry of Scott Thomas Outlar
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you offer testament in open fields forcing me into the still
the charitable orange of a breaking dawn betrayed my
bound by common tragedy i stepped into your open palm
to atone for my congregation of sins
all the times you fucked up smiling through imagined
your hands remind me of a complicated garden where
all my words are smothered by the depleted earth
exposing me as a flower inlove with the sun
even as it decays a beauty reminiscent and unraveling in
even as petals fall a bitter orange
Zelda Fitzgerald Practising Ballet
Zelda dances, dances
weaves her implacable dream:
sometimes it drifts
but her eye snares it in,
the pattern that she counts on
to screen her other face -
harrying the night.
All that fever and sequins
discarded like an empty day,
past the fret of her marriage -
the book-heroine yoke.
Beside her old zany flights
she has sworn now to dance for real,
to make her own name. It is not too late.
Hours lag, skein the day -
she loops and dips, dizzy with steps:
there are no crowds lighting, wrapping her in
but with each wild leap, she parcels fury,
strains for a choreography
to reach her self.
Read the poetry of Katherine Gallagher
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Phantasm of a Widow
The shutter’s rap startles you awake.
Two men in ditch behind your house
wrestle like brothers vying for a show
of dominance, their lithe bodies like
pretzels dipped in moonshine.
Slumberous you close your window
unfurl the dusty blinds, return to bed
but a sudden clap of hands against the gutter
lures you back to take a slotted peek outside
and suddenly you’re lucid
looking into eyes you recognize, eyes
you once loved— the musky sweat
of slaps in rush of rapture.
You want to touch his whiskered cheeks
just one more time, want to shatter
glass and reach your arms into
this other realm. You’re so close
you can almost taste his lips,
can almost rub your fingertips
in sticky blood he shed that night
he lost the fight, blood dripping
from your glass-shard skin.
Read the poetry of Laurie Kolp
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Wrens in the Poplar
There are peeps
from the wren house
high in the poplar
as the sun peeks
over the roses.
Or maybe I'm wrong.
Perhaps I hear altar boys
reciting their prayers
at the foot of the altar
at the start of a Latin Mass
decades ago in a church
silent now for years.
Whether it's peeps
or prayers I'm not certain
until I see the cat
hunkered like a tank
under the poplar, hoping
to receive communion.
A Quiet Beauty in Gray
The beauty of gray
I never noticed until
the other day I saw
a quiet beauty in gray,
on the bare limb
of a dogwood tree,
peer down through snow
and scold below
a Maine Coon cat,
a jungle of fur in gray,
sitting and staring at
a feast that will never be,
the two of them a watercolor
in the quiet beauty of gray.
Read the poetry of Donal Mahoney
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Of voiceless vagrants
And boxcar blues
And vacant stares
Under tattered caps
And castoff clothes
Society’s sad silent souls
That no one wants
But you’re home safe now
Sheltered from the despair
Warm instead of cold
They cease to matter
Yet they’re still out there
Only more of them now
While you feed your pride
And gorge on your greed
Read the poetry of Jill Lapin-Zell
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k . i . s . s l . o . v . e
inked into knuckles inked into knuckles
smoking pistols on tattooed biceps
i have been with the bikers with the beefy voices
+ chained lightning ‘round my sprockets +
Read the poetry of Layley Lu
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9th November 1938
no tears on her cheeks
but rivers deep inside
words dried in her head
the loss that always cried
faces in the clouds
never saw the sun
darkened by the past
they stole the painter’s paint
and burnt the poet’s dream
they broke the clarinet
and crushed the violin
they raped the freedom call
the books containing truth
the light of life
beheaded from its root
and the little girl
her doll torn into parts
the bayonets of shouts
that killed the mother soul
the nightmare picture
stored deep inside
eyes once soft
stones of cold glass
the sepia surrealism
deprived of form
she speaks in silence
not meant be understood
there is music
from the stars
that sound not as it should
into dark voiced tympanis
of shameful histories
of broken Kristall
into a never ending Nacht
Read the poetry of Edjo Frank
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From Selected Haiku
much like the ocean
gentle waves then stronger tides
grieving ebbs and flows.
clouds slowly drift on
Fuji-san peeks through her veil
smiles then hides again.
listen to the wind
wonder what secrets it holds
whispers in the night.
lighthouse leads me on
lost in the fog that surrounds
His light calls me home.
Read the poetry of Thomas Canull
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Miss Maude Uses the North Star
Maude has always wanted to be a fortune-teller
with a penny inscribed upon her ear. She envisions
a woman with full skirts, layers of cotton duck and silk,
tassels and coin, a blouse off the shoulders, scalloped
collarbones cut in marble. She sees herself reflected
by moon, flute, candlelight. She has tried to read
cartography of her palms, but she can’t decipher
the stones of her hands. She traced her lines
reading maps she found in an old Glamour magazine
using witchery her grandmother would’ve said.
Her life line is long, wavy, it shows she is untamed.
Her heart line makes whorls, it wends. Is she insatiable?
Is she a minx, a ravisher? Her hands are warm,
strong enough to knead dough, they splay sticks
to winds, capture roly polys beneath milk vetch pods.
Where is her fate line? Maude cannot unjoin the twinning
can’t peel life from viscera and what is that? A smudge
of dirt or chocolate mousse, dried blood maybe, there
beneath the fat pink pads of fingertip, the permanent
indentation on her ring finger arcing lines from knuckle
to bone, wrist to wonder, an oubliette of twelve years pressed,
counted as rosary beads fallen on the floor. She closes her magazine.
She closes her eyes and sees the North Star, etched behind
her eyelids. It leads her to the kitchen, her hand to spatula,
whisk and forgiveness. Grateful, she blossoms into plum cake.
Read the poetry of Jen Stein
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After losing the big game,
I’d like to hear a star athlete say,
You know why we lost? We lost
because Bruno’s doing coach’s wife
and Jesus is not just smiting him,
He’s smiting our entire team;
or some centenarian attribute his longevity
to ardent atheism—my long life
was possible because guilt never sat
on my eyelids like the coins of the dead.
I never worried that I’d burn in
a metaphysical furnace run by a dork
with a pitchfork; never fretted about
sitting on an old bearded guy’s right
or left hand, or, god forbid, one
of his knees. The downside? I can’t hope
to see again those I so dearly loved
in this life. We’ll never talk
about what we missed. I’ll never hold
my wife again, stroke her silky hair, or feel
her breath upon my cheek. Still, we die
wrapped in the loves we were lucky enough
to garner in this life. Whatever those last minutes
I’ll be grateful for my time on this green orb.
I’d gladly do it again and again. Maybe
Nietzsche got that part right.
Read the poetry of Charlie Brice
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John The Author
So John it is. Not the King. Not the Baptist.
A discussion of dust...a pillar of ice.
Moonlight scavenging my eyes at night
like gulls at a picnic plate.
Always one step in the circle,
always beginning again,
in this house, a place I know
more from memory than feel,
surrounded by the yawns of empty coffee cups,
closets stuffed with past lives.
back cramped by chair in which I carry on
changing short sighs into long sentences,
on this latest round trip called writing
Thursday is it?
I abandoned the calendar years ago.
I am an inspector of study windows.
of illustrated books and dictionary meanings.
I surrendered my claim to life
the morning I noticed the dew
like diamonds twinkling on the grass.
"You can't eat grass," my mother said.
But fawns do.
And here you are, come visiting
as if I'm nothing but a street sign,
as my life is not lived between
a bookcase and a trash can filled with
crumbled up sheets of paper.
I do nothing whatsoever outside of here.
And yet you speak as if I'm standing
in twenty acres of land.
No, this is my tomb.
You speak to the dead
in the clothes he slipped on this morning.
But you arrive with love,
the universal predator.
And what do I have to fight you off with.
A keyboard? The Complete Works Of Shakespeare?
For all this, I conform.
Your head rests on my shoulder like a cloud.
I kiss your check, that treasure of last century.
We make love, rows of faces,
sweaty, unkempt, fading into night.
"You can't fade into night," my mother said.
But fawns do.
Read the poetry of John Grey
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Madame Butterfly at
blue flax lines the highway
on the way to see blessed Kateri
in her shrine
portrayed with a sheaf of corn
three sisters garden
is scarred by the contact
smallpox who like a European saint
resists a forced marriage
must pledge a troth
meanwhile at the opera
as if in woodblock
of “Old Japan”
Madame Butterfly, shown half hidden
by a screen, a fan, japonica, a sword
things that can be wrapped
in the city of Nagasaki
with warships in the harbor
I can’t help but see
a mushroom cloud
over the final applause
and in a little local park, mostly neglected
by baseball loving tourists
with an explanatory plaque
where the reverend poet wrote
speaking as if in the voice of the deceased
mistakenly thinking those buried there
beneath old trees that loom
“the wide land
which now is yours was ours--
friendly hands have given back
to us enough for a tomb.”
(Quotation from Rev. W. W. Lord, 1874)
Read the poetry of Miriam Sagan
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