Bethany Rohde's New Poem: From Sight To Insight.
That maple tree at the front of my lawn
is missing pieces by the handful.
In June it offered a full bouquet:
an overflow of top-down green.
I ducked under a lower branch
and stood inside its canopy.
I let my body's weight fall
back against the scruff of bark.
Wooden arms reached out toward me,
toward my neighbors, toward the street.
Yesterday, when the school bus left,
I stooped back in my leaved den.
Those same branches, ripe with autumn,
relaxed their grip on stems.
The wind punched out clusters
in the nutmeg shag above.
Through those holes
in my roof,
cold air fell
all the way
down the back
of my collar.
I peered up through a skeleton of sticks
shifting windows of liquid blue.
In that dome of floating lakes
two twig hands kept overlapping
and spreading apart again,
like someone feeling her way out
of the dark.
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Two Lyrics From Poet Sherry Chandler
An October Fable
The Harvest Moon lights
the morning kitchen,
silhouettes a spider
building in the window
like a cheap horror film.
Though she’s indifferent
to me, she makes me uneasy.
In her proper place I count
her an ally, but in my space,
she’s alien, chilling
as the growth in my friend’s lung.
What point crying out
life isn’t fair? Hummingbirds
steal spiders' webs to bind
their nests, a fact of life
gossamer as once upon a time.
Cochineal has charms,
but where is the referee to rule
evanescence can’t be caught?
tears at the mind
like a beagle that’s found
the winded rabbit gone to ground
in a rock pile. The killer, determined
the chase shall have its proper end
and rocks shall not withstand
bays lust to find
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Samantha Campbell Returns With Extra Soul
I have a
A heart beating
sighs of lust
And a soul
on the pulse
of the Universe
Because I have
A New Work From The Pen Of Rhonda L. Brockmeyer
Of Regret, Love & Forgiveness
to be soft
on the edges
of my gravel-run heart
& the roads ran silent
& the stream of love dried
murking & slow swallowed
by the hollow ground
how can you love me
if I am harsh
if I am silent
if all this love has become
a dried bone wasteland...
does love have a resurgence?
does it taste like the moon
wrapped in the crimson light of kisses
as it once did?
does it bubble
hot & warm as
scarlet rivers feeding your heart
though it had withered & parched
for so long
you were but a skeleton of a man?
Push my Love! Push from the
& find my heart again!
for I too, have laid dead in sorrow...
find my heart again!
feel its love pounding, banging hard at the door,
swirling, screaming from beyond, for your hold!
in the darkness of the
I feel breathless & dying
nothing more than
particles of pain & decay
will you still hold me
if I am particles of this death
a dust of decay?
can you feed me your love
into my parched and constricting throat?
will you break open
the esophageal lines
brittle & rigid?
scream in pain!
cry dry tears that will only haunt your mind!
Gasp! bleed invisibly & die!
rest weary in a tomb of listless indifference
need to be mourned.
& then, in the moment
of tired agony,
in a moment of utter despair
take a breath,
heave a mountain of air
into my lungs
& back out again
on this, the sweetness of your love
that you lovingly forced
down my lost cause throat
I will breathe,
& return you
all the love
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Poet Juliet Wilson: Two Poems, Two Towns
Rain is the Weather of Loss
Grey grief skies cry
on his papers, lying forgotten
in piles I don't think of,
reminders of someone
I won't see again.
I clean grey sad walls
and floors and empty myself
This town has a face
now without pity,
endless silk rain
hides simmering hatred
and secrets I dare not
It seems smaller
now I am taller
(as are the trees).
But really it is bigger -
fields have grown houses
and the one remaining horse
feeds by a pond
beside a motorway.
Suburbs stretch to the sea.
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A Short Lyric From Poet Debbie Strange
into the choking void
to flee the voracious fires.
(the terror of
and innocent ash)
on unfledged wings
into a dusty blue embrace.
and flailing limbs
with bleeding stems
at our helplessly horrified feet.
staining the longest day
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Two Shorter Poems From Poet Gary Metras
He fights the weather in the sky,
in the heart. Waves crash
against the rocks and erode
the beach of innocence.
The air cracks like pistol shots.
There is no refuge, no bullet-
proof vest to protect his chest.
Blood becomes engaged
to darkness. Still his sleep
swells with sun and sand and girls
who dress like butterflies.
He leans against the wall
that says No Parking.
The crowd light tonight.
He hugs a guitar,
chin fallen to shoulder,
eyes trying not to close.
The last song evaporated
an hour ago. Vocal cords
as flighty as night moths.
The worn velvet of the case,
opened on the sidewalk
like a pinned moth,
is sprinkled with the few coins
he scattered there himself,
small silver stars constellating
beneath the lamp post.
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Alegria Imperial's Metaphorical Light Shines
Light as magic
The essence of magic is light
says the puppeteer to me as I peer
through his box of a stage
yet but a shell of trash --
limp pieces of strings,
sleeping snakes of light cords,
tubs of light shades, the puppets
mere swaths of rags.
Life moves only where
there is light, he seems to chant,
invoking magic from his words. In the myth
God first bid Light with words
and Light burst into rays like wings
or so the puppeteer
You can ride on light,
the universe does, speeding
and crashing on taut streams
of translucence. I can transform you
into a nymph under these lights,
the puppeteer turns
sensing my longing.
Could I grow into wings if
and vanish in the light? I ask. Or
like my puppets be born and live if only for a fraction
of light, he answers grinning. I hesitate
but then, step in to his box
of a stage. Among scraps of life,
I give in.
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Poet Elizabeth Howard's Latest Poem: An Ode
Ode to Marlon Gibson
Marlon, your mama and Jane Fonda and
The angels of babies with heart murmurs and
Baubo, humor’s goddess, have all gotten together
To decide how best to celebrate
You. Not with a feast. Not with
Dionysian debauchery, or some hallowed
String of days in which men carry wives or
Gas stoves in competition. Marlon, the women have
Gotten together not to carve your
Name in some rock or hard place. Instead
They have taken your laughter like
Stardust and sprinkled it on the
Soil. They have sown the crops into
Your perseverance and think to wait, wait,
Spinning the golden hay of summer in their
Dreams while the seed pods
Germinate. Marlon, the women press the
Clouds into service and wring from them their
Sweat. The mill stone wears itself out as miles of
Water tumbles away.
Then, rest. Under
Winter’s cover and
Time, slowly passing, Marlon, until some
Mythological morning breaks and
Eyes squint upon a jade and chartreuse
Landscape and you,
The season coming, later
Than expected, right at the
Hour due, and more perfectly
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The Latest Verse From Poet Marsailidh Groat
I have often looked for a voice
other than my own, and used words that leave
a bitter aftertaste, thinking mine would not be heard
each word would burn itself into my skin, the way
a farmer brands its cattle;
a list of names and numbers
for me to carry.
I would try to tear them out.
And I would dig, and think that maybe
when I hit bone, I would feel better.
But here, now, I am as you see me.
It has taken years, and miles,
for me to learn, and see, and try to love
this rough exterior,
and see beauty in imperfection.
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We Welcome VerseWrights' Newest Poet: Dana Rushin
The afternoon O.J. Simpson was ....acquitted
we had lunch behind the engine ...house
on Ryan road.
Ham sandwiches and a
loaded potato salad that had sat
too long in the sun. Boisterous
was the throng assembled, then
disassembled. All the blond,
slim white girls
in tears. Some being carried,
like me, for different reasons,
to their cars
Grandma pried the dogs apart with
hot water and probing fingers, through which,
the wet grassy smear quietly avoids sentimentality.
There's something mutually haunting
about a backwards embrace. Dogs enter
a dark place before sex. A thorny curved
drifting elegance, that above all else,
beneath the exchanged secrets of angels,
just feels damn good.
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Steve Green Gives Us HisTake On The Rat Race
My little bratty
lab rat friends
their desperate mazes
All fighting for that
scrap of cheese
they have been
to believe in
to the eyes
in the sky
walled in lives
If only they knew
that in the end
it matters not what they do
For the game is rigged
There is no damn cheese
There is only the struggle
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Wayne F Burke: Artist-In-Residence, Boston
Pseudo-Artists and Gigolos
I lived with Steinman and ArturoIn a house in
Boston. Steinman was a poet and
Arturo an artist, but neither made
much poetry or art, but did make
plenty of girls—girls with names
like “Bubbles” and “Sunflower”--
in and out the door.
I slept on a mattress on the floor
and did not make any girls because
the girls were not interested in me:
I got drunk and high and woke in the
mornings by myself and hung over
and pulled my unwashed janitor’s
uniform on and caught the number 10
bus into the city, stuffed like a toe in
a sock; another foot in the race, sweating
and feeling bad, ready to puke as I pushed
a vacuum cleaner, set up chairs, trashed…
I climbed stairs to the roof of the hotel to
Read or sleep. I was the only white guy until
Frank got hired: I liked the black guys better.
Frank had dead eyes, a broad planed face
and said he hated “niggers.” One of the blacks,
Cooney, hated “honkies,” especially me. He was
happy as shit on the day he said that the boss want-
ed to see me in the office. I knew what was coming,
so did Cooney. Being fired was no big deal: hell,
I was an artist not a janitor.
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For Better or for Verse
If this poem were in
Finnish, the pronouns
would have no gender;
I love it
Its hair falls and moves
Its eyes are
as dust in a glass.
Two Short Poems from Kendra Ballesteros
Out to dry
On the clothesline
Hanging it up
Pinning it up high
Needs a little shade
It's had enough sun
Needs to feel
It needs full light
Now I just stand back
Watch the breeze
And the sun
'Round a circle
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Laura Madeline Wiseman And The Glass Class
You take one of your drift bottles to the glass arts class at the cat shelter, the place cats will never die and so linger on cat trees, windowsills, couch arms, napping. It’s only ten dollars, you say as we drive, pay to park, walk where no one walks. Ten dollars, you repeat, after we’re seated at a worktable and the cash bar is cheap. You drink from your twisty-top red wine. The owner said I could make a glass charm. Hmm, I said, Maybe. You glue slivers of glass, colors that promise to change with heat, to soften and melt into stars, waves, the body of a woman already gone. What’s your design called? I ask, pointing to the glittery surface. Our self-portrait, you say, turning to break glass into bits by pliers. I study your snug blue jeans, button-down, sneakers, fingertips and hands dusted in glass. Promise you won’t touch me until you wash your hands, I say, glancing at the table dusted with glass. Floor, shelves, tools, wine glasses, all sparkle with fragments. You wiggle your fingers at me, reach out in pretend, but it’s last call and you cry out, Ten dollars! with slightly drunk eyes. I shrug, wander off to stand before cat cages, look into what looks back.
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Marie Anzalone's Thoughts Are Magical—And Universal
If only I could stop biting my nails
he would notice me,
When I lose another 10 pounds
I'll get another chance,
A new pair of shoes, and they
will not overlook me for the position,
If I can just look young enough, always,
they will stop leaving me for others,
if I make my presence less powerful,
they'll all stop excluding me,
and I prove often enough that I really am
a good person, he'll stop believing
all of the terrible things he's worked up
in his mind, about me.
If I learn to believe the correct words
God will always provide,
If I start the love affair under the auspices
of the new moon, he will always be
powerless against the charms of the more beautiful
if only I could get this job, my mother will believe
that all the sacrifice, was worth it,
If I practice saying the right positive affirmations
I can banish all of my discomfort,
God has a reason for everything, especially
the punishment for being born in poverty,
and if I run far and fast enough, I can pretend
it wasn't really rape, all those years ago.
If only I had been more accommodating,
he would have stopped screaming at me,
If I carry this cross on my bosom,
nothing can get to me,
If I can write beautifully and importantly enough
the work will speak for itself- I will not need popularity
to get read,
If I could only get someone new to love me,
I will no longer be vulnerable to old rejection,
if I could speak convincingly enough,
she would finally believe I tell the truth;
When I am smart and talented enough,
I will finally be loved,
and if only I could learn to walk tall enough,
it would all magically stop hurting me.
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"For Jeannette," A New Poem From Jillian Parker
Pushing the limits of fragile as strength,
you endure, an impoverished queen in exile.
Waiting for your grandson to finish playing,
you quietly hold court in the park.
A cormorant spreads its wings to warm itself
in your sun-filled voice over the phone.
It lulls me back into a stroll through a rose-garden
near midnight, and your blessing on my road.
You ask me, how are things? I pause, over the
translation from sycamore into spruce.
During winter, a tide in Cook Inlet is bizarre.
The once-grey ocean becomes an ice-factory,
conveys it in crackling sheets side-ways,
grinding it inexorably into shards by the shore.
The biting wind only allows a few moments to stare
at the way the ice plays tricks with light,
giant pastel lanterns flick shadow-puppets
across Sleeping Lady's grandest pinkish-orange peignoir.
While your voice, dear friend, is a flock of wax-wings
Swooping 'round me, a figure-eight, a sudden ....gathering-in.
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In Autumn, Poet Diana Matisz Dreams Of Island Summer
neighbor's early roses
heavy with chilled rain
punch scented holes in lost memories
reveal deja-vu Martha's Vineyard
a man, tall and svelte
blue eyes in competition with sea and sky
friend of a friend, with a smile
only holiday freedom could muster
his outstretched hand an invitation
to the temptingly new
never-ending wildflower days
of sun-braised kisses
voracious appetites spiked
by cozido à portuguesa
and home-made wines
sunset dives from rocking piers
into peach-stained Atlantic silk
wide eyes spying James Taylor
over breakfast at the Black Dog Tavern
a tiny gingerbread cottage, hot
and redolent with island musk
moonlight through a tinier window
observing the dance
in time-worn contemplation
one week of pleasure
this assault on the senses
so potent, so momentous
and the tall man's name,
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A Return to Macdonald Street For Poet Mark Gordon
That Slow Gaze
A squirrel slithers across a vine-covered wire,
playing a game with me from above,
as its eyes ignite, pretends
to be afraid, knows
it cannot fall.
A tiny sparrow hunts for breadcrumbs
in an alley behind the bagel shop.
And the scent of spring is in the air
that takes me back to Macdonald Street,
that smell, hard to name, like
slate by the ocean, like cabbage weeds
in the backyard, like something
in the black earth, as I watch
the milk truck’s horse clop, clop,
up the pot-holed dirt street,
in some lost year of the forties.
They say when you are young
time unwinds slowly, like
string being eaten from a spool
on a day when the kite hardly tugs,
and then when you are old
time slows down again,
as if the street’s come back
with all its smells,
and I look up to see this squirrel
as I would back then.
I grin, just grin at nothing,
the gift of that slow gaze
in my eyes once more.
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New Poems From Poet Milenko Županović (English and Croatian)
full of tears
on the candle flame
a last prayer.
sakrile su svoje
na plamenu svijeće
of bloody sky
on the hill
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A Group Of New Poems From Poet Christina Nguyen
from A Selection Of Haiku and Senyru
outside the cemetery
the utility worker
digs his own hole
diaper changing station
his Nike t-shirt says
“you’ve been owned”
touting car wash equipment
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Autumn Becomes Personal For jacob erin-cilberto
turning the page between
am i your autumn?
adding color to your life
but ephemeral in your affection
soon to be fallen love
ignited passion, an afterthought---
like illegal burning of leaves
in a district of emotion
where my heart would be arrested
before the first snowflake
of lost sentimentality
might hit the ground
tossing me care less ly
into my winter?
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Daniel Klawitter: From The Plato Series
The Most Shameful Thing
"And now we’ve agreed that injustice, and corruption of soul as a whole, is the most shameful thing." –Socrates, in Plato’s Gorgias.
Forgive me father,
for I have lived
with good intentions.
But we all know
what the road
to hell is paved with.
Brick by brick
I’ve built my house
Slowly, over time
and my closets
contain a graveyard
Who am I,
an Augustus of injustice
to ask for absolution?
My sackcloth soul
is a waste of windswept ashes--
a hermitage of pollution.
As undisputed king
of the most
between my words and actions
of small hypocrisies
like a Greek tragedy
can see coming
except the hero himself.
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Imagination Reigns Unchecked In Charlie Brice's Latest Poem
Those cottonwoods were thrilling,
they danced like ballerinas,
and sometimes went mad
throwing their white blazon
all over the city like furry confetti.
“He daydreams,” my mother
read aloud Sister Susanna’s
terse and torrid critique.
“What’s a daydream?” I asked.
“It’s when you look out the window
and stop listening in class,”
my mother said.
But the music I heard/
saw out that window:
The Nutcracker Suite--
elephants scattered like leaves
across the sky. Jesus jumped
from his cross and chased
Lazarus to life.
Someone picked up the end
of a river and found frogs
reciting the Baltimore Catechism.
Streets rolled up into concrete
spirals like the toffee we bought
in Jackson Hole.
“Don’t daydream,” my mother said.
Sister Susanna, so gray, read
everything to us third graders
out of a black book packed
with prayers, pleas, and
Out the window she danced
like a sailor, wore a parakeet
on her shoulder, a patch
over one eye—Sister Long
Joan Silver yelled,
“Ahoy, matey,” and swilled gallons
of rum while the St. Mary’s Marching Band
played Mussorgsky, “The Great Gate of Kiev.”
“Stop daydreaming,” my mother said.
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Poet Mikels Skele Ponders Aging And Death
If you live long enough
If you live long enough, you will see them die.
Longer still, and they fall like spring snow.
There are those who say grief is all second-hand,
That we grieve for ourselves alone
When those too like us prove mortal.
I suppose, for the first fierce blow,
That’s true: we stumble forward, gut-shot,
All death and bewilderment;
But after that? After the long parade begins in earnest?
True, a kind of acceptance sinks in,
A not-quite numbness, a sedation,
A shaking of the head, “Why,
But there are ghosts.
They follow us everywhere,
And in some unguarded moment, a grief descends
Pure and sweet, almost holy,
And wholly devoid of self.
In these moments
We cradle our memories like children,
And all we long for
Is one more touch.
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VerseWrights Welcomes Our Newest Poet, Emily Hone
Sin 'n' Tonic
Even my body
when walls won't
even fake brick facades
well-worn dive bar
'Tis the bitter
finally cuts through--
slices past the
its way in;
open up and
anchors to bottom
& crumbles youth.
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A New Work From Poet Rosa Saba
i slipped out
into the waves of watercolour
that broke themselves upon the shore
of the horizon
and i disappeared
as they darkened into black
i escaped through the sunset
as words were climbing up my legs
setting fire to my ears
and forcing me to retreat away
from the choking letters and sinking ink
that tattooed all this sound into my skin
at first, the sunset saved me
and the waves that gently hit the dock felt like a heartbeat
telling me that this was how it would always be
but soon, i began to miss the panic
just for the simple fact that it was a feeling
and the sunset had stolen them all from me
leaving me bare, black and stretched high above
unable to land on the ground again
unable to even blink stars down onto the grass
unable to do anything
other than wait for the sun to rise again
but solstice has already passed
and the dark hours grow longer again
and i am pulled thin, veiling a world
that accepts me as the night
and doesn't even miss the stars
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Cheryl And Janet Snell Combine On Cheryl's Poem, "Grief"
It shrapnels you where you stand, a hard
arrow centering the skull.
It multiplies with movement, a series of same
a coronation, a halo, a pain
writhing the dark and the heat–and at daybreak,
while the damaged hide, it explodes
in endless incarnation.
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Two Poems From the Pen Of R.H. Mustard
Being In Line
While I wait
to check out,
my life slowly passes.
to pay for
in any form
This is the only way
to go, without
of leaving early,
Through the window,
I hear voices
muffled in rain,
first sounding faint,
then strong again.
I can't make out
what they're trying to say,
hear what they've decided
about me today.
Sometimes they're nearer,
then fading away,
like they sounded
only yesterday, or when
I heard them, so long ago;
they roll now in waves
wherever I go,
on my own private sea,
speaking as if
they were meant
just for me.
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The Latest Offering From Poet Mark MacDonald
Somewhere in the library is a dictionary
for hopelessness—people who have failed
and been failed in love; mothers who
have lost a child; and the last shot
of morphine that could not take the pain
away. Again and again and again.
Ecstasy. Deflation. Listlessness.
And less after less when the tomatoes
turn rancid, the rabbits go into hiding,
and the band packs away its instruments.
I am old enough to remember
when photographs were costly, usually
filled with people and birthday cakes,
and squared with white frames. Only
the most important moment was poised
and the smallest of fish at the end
of a pole was something of a treasure
that you shared with the neighbors.
Copies were too expensive though,
and so the spectacles of canyons and
ocean-side people in swimwear sometime
in the 30’s meant something. Perhaps
it is the death of the personal
that bothers me most today. The illusion
that people lived differently in Oregon
or Maine that I miss. Too much exposure
to sunlight and to music. Who plays
the sousaphone on Main Street anymore?
What is the value of my Grandfather’s
last watch beyond what it lists on Ebay?
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Poet Robert King's "Chaco Canyon"
The sun starting down and a mile back
to the campground, we returned
from another ruin, dry sandstone blocks
outlining the old ways gone
although enough sacredness remained.
Finally back at our tent
in a cluster of campers’ thin homes
we met other souls leaving,
a group of older women burdened
with cameras and tripods,
laughing among themselves, setting out
to fix the light’s last moments.
We had to stop to watch them walking
toward the enveloping night
to see what of that darkness they could save
and bring back to their lives.
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