from Selected Tanka and Haiku...
winter's quiet crickets
The crescent moon lifts up her arms
to catch the evening star
and a heart too full of holes
to hold this sunset
I couldn't tell you
why I'm crying today . . .
I put out my tongue
like a child
to taste the salt
November . . .
dead leaves rolling sunlight
down the street
Read the poetry of kris Lindbeck
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Our Ship of Love
fair wind blows the sails
our ship steady rolling
my face buried
in your long sisal hair
I hold your hips
lips softly caressing
bodies raise and curl
the ocean swell
we try to conquer
boundaries of the earthy
fly like wild swans
entangled in love
bare feet twisted
speechless history shared
we move on
love is to end
in the fire of passion
time no longer
on our side
no choice but sailing
to the limits of awareness
where freedom waters
wash our tired souls
Read the poetry of Edjo Frank
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Afternoon at Frick Park
We hike downhill--
just my speed these days--
Rupa and Kevin deposit me at a bench
climb back up to retrieve their car, then me.
The park seems deserted.
I’ve been reading too much about guns, suicides, murders.
A beat up car pulls into the parking lot
a creepy guy coaxes his dog out
onto the grass where the poor thing can barely move.
“Goldie’s fourteen and her hips don’t work so good,” he says.
Pedestrian traffic picks up:
almost every passerby has a dog on or off a leash
a child in or out of a stroller.
A park ranger whose green shirt reads STAFF
demonstrates how to strap
a hammock to two trees, spaced well apart
invites his colleague to lie down in it.
“Is the hammock for park visitors?” I ask.
“No,” he laughs, unties it, puts it in his car for when he
wants a snooze.
A clutch of clouds obliterates the sun, triggers a sense
of unease. Two years ago today my neighbor shot his wife.
The papers are full of such stuff—toddlers with loaded guns,
terrorists, tedious accounts & statistics of bodies violated,
mutilated, murdered. Wars spring up like children’s toys,
Bop and Pop. The tale of Mayerling palls, ho-hum.
Can we care about Crown Prince Rudolf--tsk! tsk! when history
is steeped in our killing fields, in the French blessé during
the wars, in the dried blood of Babi Yar or of Burundi,
the Mexican clandestinas or prehistoric mass graves in Kenya?
Is it still possible to mourn the murder-suicide
of Crown-Prince Rudolf?
For three years Niki de Saint Phalle was addicted to shooting
works of art, mesmerized by pellets bursting from a .22 long rifle
into bags of paint embedded in plaster. Boom! the monochromatic
white blooms as sacks spurt and splatter violets and reds, oranges
and blacks. Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns likewise take part
in such innocent massacre.
A woman in high heels and chiffon,
a crown of flowers in her hair
steps out of a Toyota, grabs a child’s hand.
Friends and family (and the fiancé) arrive, spattering
the grey parking lot with finery in greens, pinks, blues.
The cluster of celebrants walk across the road
to a secluded area where a minister intones blessings.
Read the poetry of Judith Dorian
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Time in the Body
Time feels like growing to a child,
ache of bones, changing clothes,
outgrowing shoes, the awkward
length of leg or foot. It is the ecstasy
of fireflies and the anguish of
acne in the mirrored bathroom light.
Time has no relationship to
stability, it is that cataract
that gushes along, crashing
friends in high school or
losing them to war.
Then the pinnacle
is reached, adulthood
and the beginnings
Growth becomes girth
and each day, gravity
pulls us closer to the earth.
Read the poetry of Phil Boiarski
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After Dinner at the Legal Tender
Summer is over. Leaving Lamy
You drive south into basin and range
At sunset. I sit in the passenger seat
Buckled up, not quite
Knowing where you are taking me
Quiet as a farm wife or any
Girl just along
For the ride.
Darkness, autumn, you turn around
Finished with expanse
Head home. I know my story
And I know yours
And why we both
Have a taste for this.
Read the poetry of Miriam Sagan
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Swallowing Spiders in
well, lover, your fears
the misery you imagined hiding
now travels closer
dents in the pillowcase, tickle on your nose
all evidence of my nocturnal wanderings
weaving past desires through eyelash
in spiral orbs of silk perversions
I will leave eight reasons on your skin
eight synonyms for love
every vibration will lead me crawling
inside your perfectly round opening
a darkness so lovely
Read the poetry of Tracey Gunne
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If you can allow yourself to walk
The perils of the inner time
And still dream a cosseted dream
Of the world, at ease.
If not, climb on the sill of my window,
I owe you endless stories of delivery
And my voice speaks all earthly tongues.
Down like the rain,
Down like the rain-
A fresh injection of people
In the veins of the inhumane
Shall give all the hardihood
It takes to cut them open
And stuff all the souls inwards.
The cells and strings,
This biology of you
Spreading its limbs next to my skin,
Warm and prickly and alive-
I want to wrap myself into the smell of it
But the split infinity of their stance
Saddens the day of me, the night of me,
The all of us
That is neither everything, nor anything
Under the breath of a sun too short.
In a word, I am not wise and there yet.
Read the poetry of Witty Fay
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Four Petite Poems From Four Poets
~ Mark Dennis Anderson
Your lips, coastal –
open to me.
I want to sweat you out.
~ Rivka Zorea
At the epicenter of
the earth's core
Is a boiling, raging fire
Once in a while
it pushes forth
in an explosion
of violent passion
~ R. Gene Turchin
She likes water sounds
Table top unit pumping water
From the base through plastic lines
To a metal water fall.
Landing with a splash on pebbles.
Says it soothes her soul.
I hear water dripping from a
~ David Adès
No tonic for me:
the djinn would not oblige my
wishes after three.
This is the gestalt of Ego Everypoet,
E.E. (not e.e.), Psyche’s female lead:
To the Superegos— all egos are illegal aliens
in need of severe restraints, ergo:
wing-clipped zoo flamingo,
casino macaw chained to tiki bar,
caged cockatoo in $ Store window.
To the Id named JoJo the Poet--
E.E. is a wildling enraptured raptor:
Rio Negro harpy eagle, Amazon-eyed,
Nile River falcon-headed sky queen,
Colorado River canyon-conquering condor.
She admits to a certain ferocity of syllables.
Read the poetry of Karla Linn Merrifield
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Rooms of Joy
We will build four rooms of joy
to honour the monastic sigh, to understand
the kestrel on its perch and the wheelchair
halted at the steep curb.
We will sanctify our moon
with paint, clay and easel - letting colours and moisture
drip through our fingers,
malleable as a conscious dream.
We will bellow out music that towers over
the thieves of daylight, races into our bodies, offering grace
where there is none.
We will write poems and stories of fact
and fiction to bring
definition to our visions, to lose ourselves,
naked as the calling gulls.
We will hold our meditation stones,
like a horse’s beautiful mane, brushing,
braiding, all the while,
softly whispering our affection
into the copper-coloured ear of nature.
And the animals will bind us. The enormous love
between us all will cut away
the scar tissue of disappointment.
We will plunge into this temple, playing games,
bearing fruit. In our four rooms we will love, expand
and often falter - fresh and deep, rooted into the floorboards
of this true home.
Read the poetry of Allison Grayhurst
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Setting Some New Priorities
I no longer worry that my thesis
on the Ghost Orchid and her shameless romance
with a Cypress in the swamps of Florida
will ever reach the desk of the President;
or that Congress will debate my proposal
to hold sessions on the shores of the Potomac
complete with fried chicken and whisky.
Age and resignation have stripped me
of such ambitions, and smaller
more attainable goals consume me.
Mostly I consort with the dead these days:
Confederate colonels on horseback
gathered beneath a shade tree on a hill,
awaiting the newest orders from their General;
or the massacred peasants of Khitan
and their wives and their children that the Khan
sold off into slavery. Yesterday a boy
in Chicago was killed in the crossfire and a twelve
year old girl was strangled and raped in LA.
The President and Congress have troubles enough
I think, they should be forced to read poetry;
but those colonels, those peasants, those kids
in LA and Chicago? Perhaps they might need me.
Read the poetry of Mark MacDonald
Read a profile of Mark MacDonald
My kids call him Henry
the little sapling
that stands a foot high
on our forest path
he is mostly stick
with a few green wisps
and even though they measured him
this year and last
they don’t seem to notice
that he hasn’t grown at all
yesterday they gave him
a maple leaf for a hat
and ferns for shoes
like a pitiable summer version
of a snowman
and they hug him so gently
every time we pass him
leaning way down
and telling him
you’ll be big one day
that as I walked by him today
on my own
and I saw that one
of his flimsy arms
I tied it upright
with a piece of grass
and found myself
whispering to him
you’ll be just fine.
Read the poetry of Samantha Reynolds
Read a profile of Samantha Reynolds
For Julien at Six Weeks
you have taken the world
by your fingertips
small hands closing on
grapes of air,
first fruits that you touch
and hold at arm's length
to choose and choose again.
Soon you will learn
how days are layered with secrets,
how the sun combs back
its fields of light,
how the wind unveils its colours.
You have all the time you want –
a careful mime
as old as the eye.
Read the poetry of Katherine Gallagher
Read a profile of Katherine Gallagher
November 9, 2016
Hello whoever is out there
I find myself under serious covers
offering scant protection despite the heavy quilt
sewn by my great grandmother
despite the drawn shades the twelve orange vials of
blessèd Xanax lying next to my pillow
certainly not a solution for the next four years
or ten generations for that matter
a slideshow of despair loops endlessly
a Muslim woman her hijab torn &
tied around her throat
apoplectic faces shrieking
to a black man born in Baltimore
a woman in a back alley undoing
the work of a rapist
a teenager returned to El Salvador where
death stalks on legs of steel
their faces indelible, crowding, rustling
begging, screaming, sobbing
while a mad man plays with joysticks
on Pennsylvania Avenue
tweeting triumphs at three am
Hello are you there
Read the poetry of Claire Scott
Read a profile of Claire Scott
we can't grow just
as if death
were not at our shoulders,
or doctors prodding
at words we'll
never siphon the meaning from.
let's curl hands
like wood knots
on the park trees
flowing with their own sway,
walk the hospital grounds,
breathe undying air.
we're in our own country
of sick and solitary,
of weak and vanishing.
our bodies want to shrivel
back into themselves,
like raisins at breakfast.
we’re used to the ebb
and dip of wrinkled worry.
we don't have to love
like our young successors.
we have more in common
than they do in longing.
let's see each other
not because we have to,
but to endure
Read the poetry of Liam Strong
Read a profile of Liam Strong
My children fall down
gently. Even on sidewalks,
the scrapes to cuts
& the blood that follows,
there is hardly any scarring.
My children fall down
gently. Even in waves
they are delivered
to the beach. My children
fall down gently. So,
when the bodies of other
children are on the news
I do not change the channel,
when they talk about death
& it’s not the death
of our beloved cat, I leave
the volume high. I will not
frighten my children,
but I cannot stop them
from forming the questions,
from looking at abyss
& feeling that they could
fall forever from that cliff.
I’ve taught them safety.
I preached some caution.
I’ve let them hear about
the amount of blood
in the American ocean.
My children fall down
gently. I say it out loud
so that I can hear it
when my worst fears
creep in from the wind.
Read the poetry of Darren C. Demaree
Read a profile of Darren C. Demaree
The aromas of sweet, fresh bread and robust, dark coffee,
the sounds of syncopated rhythms and melodies in a minor key,
the sharp tang of ginger soda,
the warmth of a croissant,
the flakes scatter onto the table and my lap,
the clear soprano voice accompanied by guitar,
punctuated by the siren passing,
the high-pitched buzz from an amp that defies adjustment,
the odd bits and snips of whispered conversations.
Focusing on the sounds of an unknown language,
the constant chatter in my head stops - -
I tap my feet to the beat of a Turkish tango.
Read the poetry of Judy Melchiorre
Read a profile of Judy Melchiorre
So many of us
are sliding down the ridge
of our own shadows,
hands held out for sun
on creased skin
silked up from bottles.
We’re walking on belly pain
and nylon knees,
feeling the bite of cheap shoes,
wondering just what
keeps us trudging, flat-footed
over the stubborn ground.
Beneath our gaudy fashion
and false leathers,
what gets us knotted
is seeping through our fingers,
smearing a fog
across touch screens.
We’ve got it all scheduled
without an outcome;
sunken comfortably down
in the spent springs of suburbia
like coins fed between
the lips of a slot machine
for a random selection
and a long empty silence.
Read the poetry of Julia Stothard
Read a profile of Julia Stothard
The Raccoon Ball
I watched it all day out the window
I’m sure of it, Mom.
It was sunny, no rain, no clouds.
I could see it for sure,
the gym next door,
all those inside rooms.
And there it was, the black
and round raccoon ball, pounding
one wall, then the next.
And they all kept crashing down
when that big old ball kept hitting
the doors, the windows, and building sides
after it swinged way up.
Boy mom, I could really see it.
Even furniture, Mom, smashed into pieces!
I saw a yellow truck
on the ground and a little man
working levers—two or three—.
And, oh yeah, I saw
a couple of long lines
close up to the sky, before
they ‘tached on that one last lever--
Really high, it was, I swear it,
before those long lines came down
and ‘tached again to the raccoon ball,
all big all black, which swinged
wider, stronger, wilder.
The rooms went to small pieces.
Doors cracked, too
tiny splinters of wood.
All more and more a wreck.
Read the poetry of Judith Brice
Read a profile of Judith Brice
Trying to decide what to do with myself,
on a park bench
in the sunlight
and I get caught
of yellow and rust-colored leaves
rushing from one side of the park
to the other
like a mob storming a Bastille
lying down just as quickly,
until they get up
and renew the rush
only in a different direction
a tornado of them whirls into the road
and is run through by a truck
they are a spiritual force
though make a clatter on the sidewalk
like tiny horses' hooves
like the clouds
across the sky,
not sure where they are going
Read the poetry of Wayne F Burke
Read a profile of Wayne F Burke
When I left the light most life depends on,
nature's landscape became so very still.
I am always in darkness—alone.
It is late, dark, still.
I am here in the drive.
Hear a scratchy shuttle--
a lonely leaf speaks.
Back and forth, left to right, wind or no.
Separated from its mother limb,
disfigured by dryness,
pliability and color gone.
In the bareness between fall and spring,
silence is severe.
Admit fear within me,
not of being alone,
but of the loneliness
which finds me everywhere.
It is late, dark, still.
I am here in the drive.
I am desperate.
Are you here, leaf?
Read the poetry of Ria Meade
Read a profile of Ria Meade
a love that didn't love back ☊
a love that tried to love back
but failed, stepped on by experience
dragged away by abandoned words
taking their revenge
a love that began like the crash of drums
into a song that went on
with a bridge spanning miles
and a chorus just bright enough
to make me believe
this love could love us back, and stay
past the end of the show, through the slow shuffle
of a drunken crowd
and i'd take your hand
and lead you home
and show you my mind
but this love recoiled
and did not love again
Paul Mortimer And The
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