one more time I reached for you
too late !
I only tore a wing from your soul
cursed the cramp
in which everything between us
distorted into a lie
a shrill laugh, though
so I waved you off
with your flawed butterfly wings
but the heavens gave nothing back
at the end of summer
except your face
etched in a pebble of my memory
and the blue of your eyes
and the molten wax
the seal on the failure of our love
in my hands
Read the poetry of Edjo Frank
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He asked me to help
he knew I would
Safeway for eggs and ensure
St. Francis for chemo
reading People aloud
sitting side by side
CVS for Vicodin
Dilaudid and Depends
He asked me to help
a note in a shaky hand
details of when
description of how
Lord don’t ask this of me
the note placed in an envelope
to “my truest friend”
He asked me to help
his ventilator clicking
his voice scarcely audible
drip drip from an IV pole
I look into his eyes
see his terror of losing
himself in bits and pieces
like a calving iceberg
his body bone-weary
tense with torment
shivering in seventy degrees
white against white
He asked me to help
I touch his face
brush back his hair
smooth his sheets
my hands shudder
I whisper no
his urgent eyes plead
I shake my head
His body crumples
he turns away
his oldest friend
Help him O Lord
fold him in your arms and
take him back
then help me
a Judas in need of
Read the poetry of Claire Scott
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Doors Become Unhinged,
So Why Not People?
The towel hung over the shower curtain rod
keeps dangling there
and I think of all the condemned men
who could not control their bowels.
Buying up all the sparkly nail polish
from this skeleton in cosmetics
and painting each nail a different
Blowing over them as I wait for it to dry.
Imagining myself a runaway lorry
through a busy crowd.
Doors become unhinged, so why not people?
Following the tracers of my hand like others
follow each other on social media.
I knew there was the threat of this with extreme isolation.
Astronauts have to get through a battery of tests
for just such an affliction before they can
be shot into space like spent
And I hold my hands over my mouth
so no one can say anything.
Wonder if the small press is nothing but pygmies
and elastic bands.
Hide animal crackers in my sock drawer
so the poachers don’t have it
Read the poetry of Ryan Quinn Flanagan
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Perchance A Dream
'To sleep perchance to dream.'
Who said that?
Sounds so gentle,
but there's a rub,
a rough edge to it.
Not the long deathly sleep, though,
but drifting away in nighttime slumber.
It can take you anywhere.
Take you to places you haven't been
and may not want to go.
Send you spinning,
out of control
to an indeterminate end,
with demons and dragons
Daytime dreaming is preferable,
more gentle than it sounds
fitted into a busy schedule.
In wakeful dreams
you can determine the beginning,
and invite the participants.
they may act out an old story
with a predictable end,
they can drift into a new story
the demons may join in
your daytime dreaming
Read the poetry of Lynn White
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The History of Water
you wouldn't know, observing dry gravels
tumbled down the slope of the alluvial plain
that once a great flood filled the canyon
and boulders clashed like gods' nine-pins,
the sky dark, angry water fought the cliffs
dug the channel deep, frothed and slashed
tree trunks stripped, gasping mice scrambled
on flowing mud, and now— I am calm now,
sane, walking fast at noon under a cloudless
sky, cholla spines scattered— you would
never know looking at me here on this round
rock, hands still, watching a short-horned lizard
perched on the hot granite which can't imagine
summer monsoons, that I can tell you the feel
of wet earth. You wouldn't know if I told you
how I swam downstream once, holding a branch
of tamarisk, lodged in the channel not breathing,
then turned over to walk away slowly, to tell you
of resurrection, redemption, of living on dry land.
Read the poetry of Emily Strauss
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The ballad of our hearts
endowing and inhabiting
touching and melting
two who have met
taking the world in hand
while turning love into ink.
words for poems just
appear in my mind, a
mind of stored antiquities-
fools love everything
seeing all that is hidden
they just may be saints
Read the poetry of ayaz daryl nielsen
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we hover around our mother hummingbirds
sunrise sunflower heads dangling a charm of finches
waxwings again not enough berries for jam
winter bird am I the only one who knows your song
will I emerge
folding unfolding the origami of monarch butterflies
I’ll watch the words
work this page.
Although, I might want you
to add the meaning.
Writing is personal for me.
as a carpenter inspects the edge of a board for
straightness-I examine each stanza
for level meanings.
Words are not handled
like a boat leaving the
harbor against a rough
Fame has no rank.
There is only the last
word on the last page
as safe harbor for today.
Read the poetry of E. H. Ford
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The Trees Held Their Silence
The trees held their silence through winter,
wrapped tightly within the hardiness of bark
and brittle outer branches. They were silent,
as was I, as were you, my Love, unshielded.
We touch, without touching, sometimes
and know without knowing how we do.
We sink deep, sometimes, fall into blank
spaces, shivering our way through the cold.
The trees called to me in the early spring,
telling me to look up – I looked up
and saw the swallows had returned to me
and in their returning, I returned, as did you,
my Love, unhindered. We rise to the light.
We awaken, seeing no further than each other.
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Read the poetry of Kerry O'Connor
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I have known you for a year
and we've chosen yellow flowers
to sit beside.
Now our picnic's over
and you've taken my picture.
We may as well go back, through more pictures -
see children on a hill move into the skyline
past village-houses suddenly painted by sun.
This is our walk - the partnered graining.
If we argue, you say Don't,
we're wasting breath.
Our words must float
flaring, extravagant as flowers.
Read the poetry of Katherine Gallagher
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In mist-light the great white house
is blue-grey. Sucked into a
murk where borders fade.
Where the certainties of hedges,
fences, a double gate are suddenly
exposed as quicksand. Like
From across the river I watch
the house slip in an out of view.
I wait for the sun
knowing it will come.
Like phases of the moon,
like the herb robert flower
on a roadside verge,
like the departure of
tree summer leaves,
like the cycle of life
I’m riding just now.
Read the poetry of Paul Mortimer
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Every Saturday Mike and I
walked to the Ramova,
a second run movie house
to watch double features,
cartoons, coming attractions.
We trekked down hot, gritty
city streets in the summer,
tramped through snow
all winter, always stopping
to read comic books
at corner newsstands.
Walking home after the shows
we acted out action scenes,
driving chariots around
the hippodrome or chasing
Japanese Zeroes across
the skies of Guadalcanal.
When we moved out of the city
we went to Saturday matinees
at two suburban theaters.
The owners doubled the ticket prices,
dropped the double features.
In high school Mike went out
for football, I joined the wrestling team.
I got good grades, he got suspended
for smoking in the boy’s restroom.
I went to college, he barely finished
high school. Sometimes we’d go to
a movie and try to catch up with each
other. After he died I returned
to the old neighborhood. National
chains had replaced most of the local
stores along Halsted. The Ramova
stood shuttered and shattered,
its battered marquee
gap-toothed and rusty.
Read the poetry of Frank C. Modica
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First I heard it
A hooting sound
Then, it said
A hissing sound
I whistled back
The rusty hinges
Of the barn
Then I saw it
The big grey
On the barn gate
It was not the hinges
The gate was still
Looking at me
As was I
It opened wide
Yards long wide
In the moon light
And a warm gust
Struck my face
I stood still
Sat on my head
Grabbed my hair
And we flew
Read the poetry of Amauri Solon
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is like taking a small mule
into the shower for fun, maybe
to condition its coarse hair,
then seeing the mud on its hooves
and knowing you’re in for it
when your mother gets home.
And pretty soon you’re wondering,
what’s like taking a small mule
into the shower? and what
are you in or out for when Mother
comes home? And your hands
are deep in the animal’s craggy sides
and the floor is wet and there’s an apartment
below yours, and your neighbor
scares you the way she scowls
when you walk downstairs
as if you had hooves
and then you realize you don’t
know what mules eat or where
you could even ride one,
and this little guy’s starting to kick,
hitting the porcelain
tub like a jar of your father’s
shaving cream against the sink
only twenty times louder than
your father, who would never permit
a moose or a mouse or a mule in the tub,
not even as a simile.
Read the poetry of Marilyn Annucci
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Sometimes I Forget
Sometimes I forget the sunset,
her light listing its way
to the west and skeins
of fuchsia falling slowly
to her knees--
Sometimes, I only see shadows,
as they umber the road,
mist all grass and meadows
underfoot, then drench
their fields with desolate dark--
But quickly a leaf
of aspen might quaver me
awake, rustle my slumbering
mind and grab my gaze--
sweep my eyes to catch
silken embers of sun
as they topaz the sky.
Read the poetry of Judith Brice
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Do I Stay With Her or What?
A few thoughts hung around
like bad kids that won't go to bed -
what about? who am I to? why not?
so she had a heart as big as a ballplayers ego -
but her dress fitted her like the skin of a mermaid
and her thighs were a busy reception desk
with a flask of whiskey in the bottom drawer -
I live in total ignorance of them -
it's only sometimes bliss -
and the air was a spider web
that clung to the edge of my throat
where I made animal cries for help -
my body was tense, arms wearying
as if I was holding up one end of a bridge -
darkness from an abandoned church,
prowled slowly through the rooms -
the cat showed up
with a malignant face
and tight green eyes -
I hauled my real opinion of her
from my head down to my mouth
and I vomited -
but I still wasn't really convinced -
my stinking breath was a curtain of small clear beards
it didn't dissolve, didn't float off, didn't move -
still hasn’t moved
Read the poetry of John Grey
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before middle age braces
spry 17 year old lips
in the middle as tongues play roulette
numb the knees
and emotions spent on the wheel
of adolescent love
we all won back then,
didn't know losing in our naive gambling clothes
which often got partially shed
in the back seat of teenage exploration
the lips being the gateway
arms securing stance
money lost with later wisdom
but at the time,
that 1969 Olds Casino
needed no fake I.D.
to get in.
Read the poetry of jacob erin-cilberto
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Your invented life,
never came back home.
The front door still open,
to your little refugees.
The hall is black,
as the wet slate roofs,
as your chapel’s stone grows colder.
Dust foams on
the floorboard’s worn form,
by the shuffling feet,
of once standing room only.
The walk to the school
was only up the hill.
Learnt the poetry of pierced sides,
the heart and blood
hung on rhythm and rhyme.
All of the majesty,
held up by blue stencilled columns.
All that truth would be shook to life
by the grey pin stripped master himself.
When even town drunks tipped their ears,
and bathed in the baptised spit.
When the new college came,
it took the best,
and with it the towns anaemic breath.
Bramble grows fast and thick,
while decisions hang like washing lines.
A way of living and a way of death,
with its finger nails in the skins of yesterday's,
and streets that grow quiet with age.
They’ll never come back.
They have their own lives now,
away from the palsy dreaming.
Read the poetry of Christopher Hopkins
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The day’s first wheel begins to turn.
An officer on patrol
lifts the hem of darkness
with his nightstick.
A needle slips into the groove
and silence clears its throat.
The key tries every lock
until one gives.
The cogs leave bite marks
as they engage
in the machinery’s deepest regions
and cry out for oil.
A man condemned is waiting
to hear news of his appeal.
The first violinist
is wide awake now and still
trying to tune a broken string.
Read the poetry of David Chorlton
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That silence, death and darkness are interchangeable
is more myth than truth.
Death may end silent and sun-less
but spaces silent of visual contrast
can teem with palpable memories--
thoughts, people, words--
that breathe life heard from yesterday,
and spill into our days ahead.
My blindness is a silence of light;
denies me witness to gestures of unspoken love
informing fortunate eyes--
wiping a child's tears,
broad grin of a friend's approval,
strong hands grasping needing ones.
Loss of seeing in such light kills me with its denial.
Alive among the collateral of this dark debris
exist words—powerful, noisy, touchable.
Words in their varied distractions,
waiting to be assembled, freed into script,
possibly bearing promising sounds of love.
Silence, death and darkness can hold our light.
Never let it be a measure
of how dark we find a day.
Read the poetry of Ria Meade
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Playing Pool With Harold
For this visit
he doesn’t bother wearing the wig.
His legs look wooden and thin.
A blue and gray sweatshirt
sags from his shoulders:
he’s always cold.
In the basement
we chalk our cue sticks
about a problem we solved
in the year end program
at a time when we thought
we were really smart.
I rack the balls.
He lines up to break
and all the colors of a rainbow
explode on the table.
Read the poetry of Ken Slaughter
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the alpha wizard
was it the wire or the tree
or wayward balloons
bursting the ceiling
allowing meteoric pulses to
enter the atmosphere
was it the whiskey
or the rye
that sparked something
out of nothing
like lightning in the sky
walks around half-naked
carrying torch by daylight
poking sticks at stars by night
extending arms high above his head
he spreads his fingers wide
electrically connecting dots
whether seen or unseen
from the nondescript beginning
to an imaginary end
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Read the poetry of J Matthew Waters
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Quiet the Way
It is a meditation;
to stand on a corner, when it’s late
and quiet, the way only a city can be
quiet, when Saturday night’s vision
fades and Sunday sights an empty cab
to hail, where streetlight pools
and baptizes anyone in its pale steeple.
Listen and you can hear traffic
lights change, though there’s no traffic
either way, except maybe a bus,
transmuted into a moving confessional,
with only one passenger, telling more
than the driver wants to hear
and nothing he doesn’t already know.
Read the poetry of Richard Levine
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Seaweed on the Beach
Reds, greens, browns, and mustard yellow
add earthy undertones,
the taste of miso,
to the neons, the overexposed
blues and whites and yellows,
the painted plaques and t-shirts,
the stick candies and salt-water taffy
sold at the gift store.
The rusty Irish moss
on this beach
will not turn into
anemones or coral
or even amber sea glass.
Like the seagull accents
wheeling in the wind
the moss remains.
Read the poetry of Marianne Szlyk
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To The Girl I Talked To For Thirty
Minutes, Rush Hour Munson Avenue
I would give the world simply to sit in traffic
with you, see hours exhausted as cars
all around hiss and grog for movement,
And I want you to watch,
know my world, know yours.
Speechless, without lung, I turn you to words.
There’s purple strewn on your fingers,
a blue pen suicide,
lukewarm tea in cup holder,
and chancing happiness at the inconveniences,
summer drizzle coagulating on the windshield--
since I loathe the radio,
And I wouldn't want her to ever stop, no.
She speaks, and my mouth turns to notebook paper.
She is the poem, young and unfinished.
Your hands nervous, snow globe-eyed. I want
to be broken by your name, reformed and replaced.
A sedative sky all around, gathering me,
abridged, centered where
my lollipop stick bones,
their cardboard packaged exterior too,
relax behind the dashboard.
You slowly inch forward, knowing
that our first and last moments were the same,
aborted at the intersection,
unworthy for memory.
I’m so addicted to watching everything turn,
watching you enfold with the light,
my hands sifting the auburn water
of sunset breaking me down,
that the haunting of your blinker
didn’t alter my course.
Read the poetry of Liam Strong
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Alone in the garden
red and yellow flowers
filling the senses with
fiery thoughts of you.
Walking down a lane,
heart bruise inflamed
brain deloused again
vodka, a cool icy blue.
Back into the garden
of an unrequited lust;
the memories ignite
a dark desired rush.
Lost within the park
cross of pitied shame;
talking of the stalking
by the fork once again.
Drug induced thoughts
righteous or false acclaim;
whispers of yellow haze
in the Asylum once again.
Read the poetry of Ken Allan Dronsfield
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I stand before the small space
where your remains live,
a soft bag of dark velvet, what some
might call the color of wine,
but I call the color of dried blood.
A small, soft bag of ashes
locked behind glass.
Your photo sits next to it,
and when the light is just so,
my face reflects in yours,
merges with yours, becomes
the way we once were
when you lived in my body,
absorbed my atoms and cells,
the bits of stars,
long dead, we all have in us,
tiny molecules of light
that travel the veins
and arteries of our bodies.
I want to say, my darling boy,
do not be scared
in the silence of that bag.
I want to say I am with you,
hanging bits of stars
to light the dark.
Read the poetry of Valerie Bacharach
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from Selected Haiku
the last morning star
fades into marmalade
Waiting for an answer
I breathe the stolen air
and cling to the nothing
left between the raindrops
beyond my imagination
Were Muses Not Imagined
~for Richard Wilbur
Were muses not imagined
By those whom they are said to inspire,
I would engage them,
Not for words but visions.
As poems heap hot coals
Upon the heads of some,
They too serve as the cloth
That washes Man’s feet.
But some poets claw
For third-heaven language,
And the residue collected
Underneath their fingernails
Can ignite stars with God’s fanning breath.
Read the poetry of Thomas Locicero
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The Rainbow Pig
I once ate copper salt bleeding through jasper,
now my eyes are green.
I chewed cyanide into dust and spit,
so blue, so blue, my teeth.
My belly turned yellow to be the sun
shining on its own shadow.
In the heat and crickets of August I was so hungry
for autumn I gorged on maple leaves.
My coat turned orange, my points ochre, my mane
like a kissable lip, so red, so red.
I am the rainbow pig.
While others snort and root and grunt, I am silent
until the day star burns off the whiskey rain.
Find me, find me at the end of the iris,
I’m dreaming, dreaming of you.
Read the poetry of Barrett Warner
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