The Silent Sound
of My Soul
I only know it is
because I cannot
It is a
loud, thick silence
Every time I try to listen
it is always the same
loud, thick silence
It wakes me up
when I try to sleep
and in my sleep
it becomes louder and thicker
Listen, listen now!
Can you hear it?
Can you not?
Can you hear it?
Can you not?
crushes me when
I am awake
side to side
head to toes
this heavy, loud silence
always crushes me
when I am
There is a ruffling
quality in this silence
it always bothers me
I know it is there
when I feel this
this ruffling quality
of my soul's
Read the poetry of Amauri Solon
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as if I had been there ☊
a thin vapor trail
slipped in through the front door
but nobody was home
if I had been there
I would have noticed something
was quite different
but I was gone on a
journey of a lifetime
the place had not changed
all these years
everything perfectly in place
as if nobody had really
while my mind wandered
away from worldly ideals
seeking out transcendental gurus
residing on new moons
my spirit remained behind
to be seen
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Read the poetry of J. Matthew Waters
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I run my hands over
the smooth white porcelain:
You might have been a fountain
full of silver coins
You might have been
Apollo in the Galleria Borghese
It has no face, yet
it faces me.
I bend my ear to its sturdy shell,
Don’t think it doesn’t dream
its claw feet tense and awkward.
But where would it go?
Read the poetry of Marilyn Annucci
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Dream Street ☊
I left her the house
and got a place on Torley. Each night
the neighbors put chairs on the sidewalk,
turn the TV face out, drink Iron City
and watch the kids play in the street.
I get home from work at 6 or 10
or 2, shower and then sleep
with eyes open:
a child shrieking on a hospital gurney,
her spine filleted and straightened,
the smell of burning in my hair,
a new mother life-flighted from the mall,
brain shifting in her head,
crushed by bleeding while we watch.
We drink coffee and wait
while a father facing doom in our hands
says good bye to his children;
each day I pedal in over the Bloomfield Bridge,
or drive when called at night, never knowing
that it will get worse.
a tryst indited in senyru
second degree burns
from your consummate kisses
lips don't want to heal
arriving at your neckline
advancing to depths
balanced near the precipice
i fall into you
sighs and cigarettes
smoke rings of contentment waft
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Morning Encounter ☊
All doors are locked right now.
Nobody’s home on the street
where every house stands neatly
in place, with flowers
and a wind chime hanging
by the door. Although the mats say
Welcome, no one is here
for hospitality. The sun streams
into unoccupied living rooms
whose only sound is of time
ticking its way across a carpet.
It’s a fine day to be walking
without a destination, just to feel
each step as it falls
and looking up at the mountain
baked into the atmosphere;
to be a sentence beyond interpretation
in a book of desert hours
while a lawn sprinkler whispers
to dry heat,
when a coyote
melts out of the light
and flows across the sidewalk
after picking up a scent
that runs from his nose
through each of his bones
to the last hair on his tail.
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Read the poetry of David Chorlton
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Watching yachts, tinnies, round Old Man’s Head,
he considers the choice of a single word
to describe the way gulls flicker across
sifted cloudlight blanketing Bass Strait.
He dwells here each summer like a gipsy,
staying wherever he can overlook this cove.
Here in the lee of the roaring forties
sand engulfs the scaffolding of an old wreck.
Children have built a Lord of the Rings realm,
a stark beachscape weathering tides,
reminding him of times past, sojourns
when his children sculpted sunlit sand.
Where the sea furls muscular young men run.
How can they be his sons from long ago?
Yet their names are the same, the blond manes,
their self-conscious shouts a narrative
nothing like his own best-forgotten youth.
They plunge in, a weight shifting his heart.
Silent women from the yoga retreat smile.
A pair of sea eagles circle the tinted sky.
Near the pioneer’s grave he catalogues
his picaresque past, shivers, his silence
ringing like the cessation of a tolled bell
marking seasons which all too quickly fall.
Read the poetry of Ian C Smith
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The Smokers on
My Way to Work
Banished they stand apart,
alone or in pairs,
huddled against imposing pines,
figures restrained by an invisible
fence of taboo.
They lean in to protect
their minuscule flames,
in the scorch of August afternoons
or the sting of February mornings,
between April raindrops
and against November gusts.
Overpowered by cravings,
they give in, again and again,
deaf to the voices who
Read the poetry of Claire Weiner
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a kidney bean
once became lodged
my ear canal
and i don’t think
i need to remind you
how a sweet polyp
will sprout roots
among the white axons
grow throughout the squid
and drink in salvation
from the brainpan
i’ve tried what i can
turned to the
strong medicine for sure
my throat muscles
only strained and expelled
a bulky stool
sat atop me
with his covey of broken clam shells
scraped the flesh from back of
wouldn’t you know it
the beast only sneered
from the hole and spat
so i guess
i’m resigned now
to co-exist with my friend
as you’ve gathered
it’s not a symbiosis
but i’ll get by
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How It Is
No more winds, please,
let’s keep it on the down low
lest someone pull the chain
and down the drain we go,
merrily down the drain, life is but a word
fashioned from old shoe-strings
and faded bruises
Was that a victory or a loss?
Or am I asking the
The way clay fits the mold,
even if it starts out flat
and all wrong…
No, no, it’s not true
that life is just a story,
that’s just what we trick ourselves with,
to make us feel we are not
blind worms, dodging concretions
in the all-too-lumpy soil
But we are not worms
any more than worms are us
Simple. That’s it.
Simple rain falls to earth,
clouds dissipate, and we think
it’s the sun coming out,
but it’s the sun, not the clouds,
that’s been there all along,
least of all, we.
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from Selected Tanka
on the beach
each piece of glass
I pick up the small ones
scent of rain
rising from the pavement
after a storm
the few things
I still believe
his wife says the dog
will get used to it
a honk behind me
as the red light changes
I’m half a second slower
than my life
Read the poetry of Ken Slaughter
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The Woman In a Negligee
wears an elegant outfit,
décolletage, with a thigh-high split.
I’m almost 17, making a delivery
during the war for a local drug store.
She pays me with a big fat tip,
invites me in for a yummy taste
of blueberry pie she’s just baked.
She tells me her back is in pain--
do I have time to give her a back rub?
Her stereo is ablaze with the vibrato
of Edith Piaf while she offers me
a sip of homemade wine, brewed
by her husband before he left.
I sit on her sofa and wonder:
Is this a fantasy I’ve had on my delivery route?
Are we both phantoms in a mutual dream?
We both seem to savor the mystery
of the perfect moment—no dialogue necessary.
My body and soul is willing
in more ways then I care to say.
It’s the very best blueberry pie
I’ve ever tasted, before or since.
Read the poetry of Milton P. Ehrlich
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In the basement the scent of cloves
Rivalled rising tear-damp
Along a torn curtain.
“Subversion,” he said, “must be
The down payment of war”...
And fingered the stone crucifix
Above the lice-plagued mattress.
Later, famine bruised the soil, and
An embryonic Junta
A pencil stub
Read the poetry of Stefanie Bennett
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I have a small pool
Not dark like night, but
full of pale milky light,
and shimmering smoothly,
It's not deep either,
hardly more than
Just deep enough
to hide my dreams
without them drowning.
On Our Watch
If it had been on his watch,
he would have seen,
he would have given the alarm,
would have been heard
and catastrophe would have been avoided.
She also was alert,
but it was not her watch
and no one heard her warnings.
On their watch we would have heard
But it happened on our watch
and we were sleeping
Read the poetry of Lynn White
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A Poetry of Place
in such a poem, the voice
present indigenous, the always
of a furrowed trunk of gray bark,
a native belonging here
in such a poem
momentary details can be distorted
by global climate anomalies
induced by our mastery of god,
a hurried time-lapse development.
I've lost control now, forfeit
my surety, this elegy, false,
in a scene painted too nicely
even as I sit here, somewhere
watching an old bird feather
skitter in the wind.
This is some place, anonymous,
this is a real wind, alive, not
a pretty view but I will miss it.
I'm keeping the present, cottonwood
trunk, fluttering dead leaves,
keeping this place
splayed on white paper,
a museum, a specimen.
Read the poetry of Emily Strauss
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a yellow leaf caught
in her hair
sister's thin face
creases form between
on yellowed recipes
she is here, still
planting a Three Sisters garden we remember you
Sleep With Dead Grass
Chill in my tired bones
steamy breath follows
crispy red apples drop
oak firewood stacked,
walk the dying fields
sleep with dead grass.
Colored leaves release
spinning down to ground
unpacked winter clothes
fill dresser and closets,
walk the dying fields
asleep in dead grass.
Autumn's song plays
a freshness of spirit
feel a harvest solstice
life's circle goes round,
I walk a dying field,
sleeping in dead grass.
Read the poetry of Ken Allan Dronsfield
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The Book of Numbers
~And the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai" ...count the heads of all the community of Israelites…”
I too, take the census—count the years and months
and days, add and subtract the moments of his life, the mundane pieces,
first tooth, first word, first step, bruises and band-aids,
candles on a chocolate cake, ice cream in a turquoise bowl.
I calculate the arc of his delicate ears, the crook
of his elbow, the scar on his nose, his hands that once fit mine,
I count each parcel and part, search for a mystical number
hidden beneath Hebrew script, written in ancient dialect,
locked in the mysteries of Kabbalah.
A number I can manipulate, weave among the hours,
and like Moses drawing water from a rock, perform a miracle.
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~for my son, Ben
Suspended within reach, somewhere
in the atmosphere, those few words
that will lead my poem home.
They tease me, flash me, taunt me.
I think I hear them whisper,
but my internal clock warns me
of the anticipated interruption.
It is the commercial that breaks in
just before the killer is revealed.
Instead of hurrying, I hold.
Then there is the detonation
and the boy’s energy frightens
away the words, which scatter
like birds after buckshot fills
the air, and then his words come.
Before hello, he says, “Raise your hand
if you have an armpit,” and, silly me,
I do, and I brace for attack. He says
he missed me, and I don’t miss my words.
There are no words without him.
Read the poetry of Thomas Locicero
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A Boy in the Family Orchard
I roam through my family’s orchard, lost
In random thoughts that fly with bees and
Fruit flies. As I walk the bountiful lanes of
Peaches, the trees dapple images in filigree
At my bare, aimless feet. My mind conjures
A shape from each shadow as I walk the lanes
Of fruit. A dish of ice cream soothes. An auto
Wreck terrifies. A favorite teacher makes me
Smile. It goes on like this. Dark scenes stalk
Bright ones as the shadows shape-shift tree to
Tree. I decode the pictures in the soil until my
Mother calls me in to dinner from my reveries.
Read the poetry of G. Louis Heath
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Black Box Warning
I think we should all come with black box warnings
disorganized narrative inside
frequent use of Vicodin and Valium
tendency to shoplift alarm clocks & scented candles
only years & attorneys’ bills later do we finally figure it out
our bank accounts drained, our faces falling down
frantically joining OkCupid, Match.com, eHarmony
filling out profiles with alternative facts
(only spam offers of Easy Russian Sex
or I’m Waiting for You Babe)
WHY DIDN’T YOU WARN US!!! We scream
at bored FDA bureaucrats, busy playing Final
Fantasy or Battle Field, fingers flying
inside their airless cubicles
what if our own black box cautioned
irreparably damaged in childhood
prone to bouts of homicidal rage
recently released from Herrick Hospital
forever ruining our chances with
Mr. Sweet-Tempered or Ms. Charismatic
after all, you can’t have it both ways
Read the poetry of Claire Scott
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Part of the art
inside the bamboo cage
was to be still
and find your partner’s heartbeat.
Yours hammered like a bird’s wing
against my fingertips
at first touch.
But when you looked for mine,
there was nothing there to find.
Part of the art
is knowing how to look,
how to hook two fingers
just so between the bones
beneath the flesh.
“Like this,” I said,
and guided your fingers in,
the way I learned to do
taking vitals on the night shift.
And there I was,
beneath your touch.
Read the poetry of David Thornbrugh
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We moved into the new place
and there was someone already
Mice in the walls
that made their way down through
the vent above the stove
and had themselves quite the party.
Trouncing through the cornmeal
eating through spice packets
leaving droppings everywhere.
And under the sink
where the gettings were not nearly
We had to throw everything out
when we could hardly
But we set up traps
and flushed enough bodies
to grace the cover of Serial Murder Monthly
a couple times over
and soon the place
And we stayed there a year
and 7 months,
really made of a home
If anyone knocked,
Read the poetry of Ryan Quinn Flanagan
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The Days That
Have Left Me
These are my wildest hours
of surrender, where my minutes tick
my clock back to midnight
and the seconds get too close
to black, to bleak.
These are the days that have left
me– blind, in a flurry of wasted
soul, a body yearning for rest
away from the searing pain
that scorches to flame.
I tell only of the wrench
and wrest of limb from limb,
the wish to be free
and alight on pine needles
under full cover of violet
evening, rocked in a cradle
of molten moonlight.
Read the poetry of Judith Brice
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Sunday on U Street
Let’s pretend that it’s midnight
as saxophonist Gary Bartz
steps onto the stage.
The room darkens;
candles on the table flicker.
Shadows hide the thickset men at the wall.
The ceiling lowers;
tiny lights strung above stand in for stars.
Imagine moonlight rippling on salt water.
The scent of mango dusted with
chili powder and cinnamon
trickles in with the piano and drums.
We taste fruits we don’t know the names of.
Tap your toes, for sure,
or sway, following the pianist’s lead,
but when the horn starts in again,
carry yourself a little straighter.
Cameras flash. Wedged in,
we are all caught in the glare.
All too soon imagine
the empty streets above.
Playing the last song, Bartz retreats
into the early morning’s shadows,
the color of his long-tailed jacket,
and climbs the back stairs
to his refuge above the club.
When we leave by the front stairs,
it’s still daylight on U Street.
We can no longer pretend.
Read the poetry of Marianne Szlyk
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My friend Larry Poodle gets out of jail
so we throw a “Poodle Broke out of Jail Party.”
Just another party at the dump—our duplex--
joined by the tank of oil that warms us in January.
A few kegs and blenders, and late into the evening
bodies fall asleep against anything that doesn’t move.
Too shy to look at anyone, I hardly speak.
Someone’s hand is grasping my foot the way twins are born.
All the nightmares lay beside all the dreams.
Larry shuffles from ash tray to ash tray, emptying smaller ones
into larger ones. He has a thing about fire. It’s a new thing.
He never empties an ash tray directly into the trash can.
He is otherwise very smooth, with chuckling eyes,
and known for having the best Quaaludes in Tidewater.
About life, Larry and I have nothing to say.
It’s the quiet hour that makes me so anxious.
Read the poetry of Barrett Warner
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The Handflower ☊
In this night’s dark stain, come, lay beside me;
I will take you, man without a name,
who turns his face away and bites my shoulder,
who needs but cannot bear the bitter dregs.
I will carry your weight, as every sister
who wore the handflower became the bangle,
learned to spread her bones and sink beneath
the waves of each particular obsession.
Curses follow me of those who fear my right
and shudder to know the love I count in minutes
of every hour, who spit their gall where I laugh.
This flesh is mine, it has bled, and shed,
like a snakeskin every unworthy touch
and kept for itself, the taste of one kiss.
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Read the poetry of Kerry O'Connor
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Funeral Wake ☊
Now and again, the parade of kisses
and mourning. Thunder raging at the autumn winds
and at the first sign of human folly.
Winding up like thickened blood and vowels
helplessly hanging without a word.
I may be marble, or made of damp wood.
The shattered hymn swirls around like the cry
for hope, any hope, after death.
I may be without a garden
or a plot of land to call my own,
but I do own the hours I’ve spent
digging beneath the crust,
spying on the soft turf uncovered
only in prayers and in
conversations of the crying.
I walk with these doubts as though
stranded on an unpredictable slope,
coiling and uncoiling
as I speak, and then, I hold my breath.
I heard the lies ricochet up like an island
rising and sinking from
corner to corner. I heard the wish to forget
and the need to widen
the bed of memory, sharp and just as blank
as the eyes of those
in shock or as a heart drained of music,
calmed by nothing, not by bread, not by good fortune:
This season of grief just beginning.
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Read the poetry of Allison Grayhurst
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The Black Marble
“The world in darkness, lit up” is how the news-reader
puts it – tin-eared teleprompter prose.
Point taken, though. The images released by NASA
are pure spectacle: the planet as onyx globe
pin-pricked with gold. Pin-pricked in some places;
in other places, great patches of it –
cities under their cowl of lights, seen from space.
The news-reader lists the benefits
of technology that can identify a single streetlight
or a boat in the darkness, illegally fishing.
Imagine: a dizzying, whirling Hollywood money shot,
a billion dollars of NASA tech zooming in –
two guys, some beer, a boat that’s half the bank’s;
patrol car at the harbour. Nice one, NASA. Thanks.
Read the poetry of Neil Fulwood
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Proportionate Response ☊
Some of us believe
a fib, a little white lie
is not a sin.
And if it’s done
it’s not a grievous fault,
it’s meant to spare the feelings
of a sensitive loved one.
Yet others insist
the small lie
is the seed of deception
that grows into distortion,
So we use instructive adages,
‘Honesty is the best policy’,
‘It’s a sin to tell a lie’,
to teach youngsters
the value of truth,
despite our living
in a dishonest world.