from Selected Haiku
negative space --
for a flower
runs ahead of me
in the woods
i wonder if he too
is chasing the wind
to define reality
dreams left unturned
yet this pebble
in my hand just smooth
Read the poetry of Caroline Skanne
Read a profile of Caroline Skanne
It is most like freedom;
skipping the brook,
slipping on acorns and stalling in flight.
Our escape on a wet day
is picking us up.
Our rocky way is lined with maple trees,
their sun-trapped leaves
smoothing the day to a bright canvas.
Where we cross the border,
we cut ourselves off from the battle behind us,
delay the struggle up ahead.
Our eyes shine in the clearing,
sipping the sky
like a faithful wine on a fine evening.
We could settle for this
but the season persists with change.
So we soar to a height
where the wind’s sorrow
swallows our words
and the land moves swiftly beneath us.
And when all that is left of our rising
are those few minutes
no longer ours to keep,
we raise our hands and set them free.
Read the poetry of Julia Stothard
Read a profile of Julia Stothard
At Low Tide
Already a ghost at twenty-three,
the singer Tim Buckley howls,
scaling octaves, stretching out syllables
until they dissolve in salty mist.
His fog of consonants and vowels,
salt and smoke, hovers, grazing
the skin of the dark-haired woman
standing by the window, holding
a candle in a baby-food jar.
Outside stairs to the second floor
quiver beneath keyboards and bass,
heavy footsteps of a ghost.
She turns away from the sea.
Cupping her hand around the
white flame, she blows out
her candle before the voice
breaks the last barrier
between indoors and out. Nobody
walks out on damp sands,
so far from cold water,
much further from yesterday’s warmth.
Nobody walks out at low tide.
Even the seagulls dissolve
as if they were salt.
The woman at the window
has turned away. Her man
will not climb up to her,
not this morning, not tonight,
not when the fog wails
and salt embitters the air.
Read the poetry of Marianne Szlyk
Read a profile of Marianne Szlyk
from Selected Haiku
the evening fog wears
my black frock
honey moon -
first snowflakes gather
in the empty nests
old attic -
the doll also has
widow's house -
a cherry blossom twig
into the letterbox
Read the poetry of Lavana Kray
Read a profile of Lavana Kray
I live in a crowd of fakes
smallness rises with age
my mind has ceased to think
new metaphors hardly happen
hunger keeps me awake all night
I mitigate minginess
the inner lives emptied
and filled with fresh stresses
too many fault lines run through
to make sense of the divide
my passion itches and prompts
I nuzzle the virtual too
it’s the same virus aground
the same hackers that hurt
the vigor and rigor of
the new, left, or pushed behind
whatever the remedy
wounds take deaths to heal
Read the poetry of Ram Krishna Singh
Read a profile of Ram Krishna Singh
Getting Ready for Night Out
They say it’s much better to use a ceramic knife.
It doesn’t oxidize vegetable meat.
She first rolled the beet over the flat counter – to let
the juices stir. Then cut it in half. She needed only a
few drops for a blusher.
On the shelf in front of her, beside his favorite tea cup,
she found cinnamon.
Just a pinch of this spicy heat will act as a bronzer.
The index-finger on her right hand she gently dipped in the ashtray –
to give a soft grayish glimmer to her eyelashes.
And the final touch – carmine: a dripping sauce
of red, succulent melted cherries
she mixed with three tears of her own blood she had harvested earlier
from her left thumb.
Now, who can resist kissing these pulsating lips?
As she was waiting for him to pick her up,
in the last minute, she adorned her right hand
with this piece of baked clay – perfectly matching her makeup.
Read the poetry of Maja Todorovic
Read a profile of Maja Todorovic
from Selected Haiku
end of the affair
off the blossoms
floating on the waves
a broken daisy chain
travels the coast
in a spring soaked sky
Read the poetry of Nancy May
Read a profile of Nancy May
You are given a vision before your eyes when
The thorns beyond the limelight
Drew a red shadow around the window.
You needed to make a movie on a
Film stolen in the cold and snow
And your fancy dimly reappear
Borrowed by a plane in the vast of
Writing into the wild
The crayons expose nostalgia
Scooping many fissures
The pressure turns and unites
Beyond the power of your hands
Nudging the white plains
You could see what others don’t
We do become younger
Read the poetry of Ann Huang
Read a profile of Ann Huang
Patience, n. a minor form of despair,
disguised as a virtue.
By the water, a bird is caught.
Sharpened claws are cloaked with thick woolen mittens.
The owner resists the urge to scratch off
The artificial warmers, since hunger,
Suppressed, provides heat enough.
Rough knots in the lower stomach betray
And reveal the pouncing need to devour.
Hours pass. The claws start to retract.
Lips start to purse. The wrists are relaxed
And the gaze? Heavy at the lids.
The prey. The bird. The meal
Is set free at the price of the bigger creature's will of
Big fish come closer to the surface.
Only then is resistance released.
The feed provides heat enough.
The need to devour is at once realized.
Minutes pass. The claws are full of meat.
The mouth makes chomping motions.
Wrists are intent to dine.
And the gaze?
Heavy at the lids–
Read the poetry of Grace Pasco
Read a profile of Grace Pasco
On the day he died, she was mad at him.
Not just annoyed, not quite furious, but mad
enough to not talk to him, to keep her distance.
And then the distance overtook her. It was
a bad bookend for a long life together.
Ghosts go wandering with whatever they packed
at the end, and so he would be sorry forever
for some little thing that didn’t amount to much.
She tries to suppose that the dead forget their troubles,
especially if they were forgetful in their lives.
Over time she found evidence to question this.
The gate to the barnyard was left open. Tools found
lying beside the car. And now there are muddy
bootprints just outside the back door. These infractions
made her stamp her foot and then she cried.
At the grave, now, the earth has settled. The wind has
away the yellow gold maple leaves. The first hard frost
has finished off the flowers. His name on the stone
seems crooked but maybe because of the hillside.
Far off a church bell starts to ring in the town.
I don’t know if saying sorry to the dead really works.
Or if the dead can say they’re sorry. It would help me
to know this. He watches her from some distance.
She shakes her head, then smiles.
He wanders away. There’s an end to it.
Read the poetry of Lee Kisling
Read a profile of Lee Kisling
You offer words older than yourself
and carry books thicker than your skin.
I relish the sting I can cause by mocking your mistakes,
because it is my job to be cruel.
It will be years until I ache for you the way you do for me,
that I might catch your attention,
that we might really know each other,
because how could anyone else understand?
I’m scared of how distant adults can be,
scared of the habits we could learn.
Do you remember when you bit my toe and drew blood,
and I pulled the flaps of skin apart like a mouth
to make you laugh?
Do you remember when I told you a secret,
and you tried so hard to tell it,
but you didn’t have the right words?
Please forgive me for the times I didn’t listen,
didn’t play with you.
I want more than ever to hear
about dinosaurs now.
Read the poetry of Marsailidh Groat
Read a profile of Marsailidh Groat
Dancing their world like dappled ghosts
my shadows dissipated to chiaroscuros--
of moon yielded slowly
to dawns of warmer days
as frozen fields broke
from their fright
and shimmied forward
Then sunflowers, wheat
up to radiant dreams--
Unfolding seams of life
bloomed to flower
at first with hesitance,
at first in shade, and then into a frisson
of Light as she opened her wings
Only then I could hear
shining ripples of Time,
on her salty breath,
her silver terns swooping
as seconds ticked
into a glow
of glistening song.
Enjoy this poem in the PoetryAloud area
Read the poetry of Judith Brice
Read a profile of Judith Brice
[skuh-too r-ee-uh nt]
scaturient I become
vaudeville showgirl in feather boa
hussy in stilettos
I leave myself breathless
even as the darkness oozes
overland, it spews into the sea
spewen… spīwan… speien…
spȳja… speiwan… spuere
as verb…as noun…eleven hundred years
of vomit human vomit oceans of vomit--
but even then…even now…I commit
Read the poetry of Karla Linn Merrifield
Read a profile of Karla Linn Merrifield
"...the wave breaks over its own breaking"
Jorie Graham, Never
a misty Gulf Coast morning,
white-capped waves lolly-gagging
onto shore and
creeping onto the beach
before sliding back
into jade overlap
one wave after another
leaving a wet stain of
tan on mauve sand
a sort of hem to the slippage
until waves meet in-coming
talking in a megaphoned whisper
and occasional Clap
out beyond where waves
the breakers fold
spreading a white froth
for the lazy stroll
and again the frothy lace
slide and spread
the stain of wetness
of newly formed jade wrinkles
like old age.
Read the poetry of Wayne F Burke
Read a profile of Wayne F Burke
I knew it wasn’t you that summer afternoon
when I decided to quiet my head for a bit,
wandering along the crowded boardwalk by myself.
Not because you only preferred
the beach in September to avoid the swarms
of drunk college kids and snooty tourists,
or because you were caught up
with some odd jobs that day,
making repairs around the house.
But simply because the little clenched fist
pounding against the wall inside your chest
decided to cease one day about ten winters ago.
Yet there you seemed to appear, anyway:
doppelgänger, stunt double, déjà vu look-alike,
with your back to me holding a beach viewfinder
between the palms of your hands,
swiveling its chrome-plated shell like a gun turret
as you stared through the tiny lenses to examine the
So I carried out
my own investigation
and tiptoed in your direction,
but when I got three feet from behind you
there was no urge left in my body
to shout your name anymore
or tap you on the shoulder
in order to debunk what I already knew.
All I had to grasp was that brief moment
we both stood there together
on our own pedestals—
searching for something more
beyond the naked eye.
Read the poetry of Cord Moreski
Read a profile of Cord Moreski
While out walking after my winter storms
have finally begun to subside
A blue and yellow flower
quietly touches my sight
With soft petaled feeling offered
and I not yet understanding return her gaze
In some mysterious way I knew then that
my summer would again bloom
As will fields of red yellow pink and lavender
in blazing sunlight
As the days slowly grow the petals leave
that in an early time somewhere
We may again touch
as wild ones always do
The Thunder Never Repeats Itself
The motherless gusts have long since carried away your indigo
Unfortunately, a color such as indigo is compasslessness,
And incapable of finding its way back home.
Bare feeling: the rain's brethren will have the final verse about this
As I remember held hands; our patented spiraled seashell clasp,
Whilst being read to on a back porch of a gentler time--
The thunder never repeated the same story twice.
She's mountain-like in reserved watchfulness,
Other times, as loud as a hurricane trying to set the fine china for
May she saunter and stomp past a mortal century,
Sharing her extremes with every predictable world.
Read the poetry of John Carroll Walls
Read a profile of John Carroll Walls
How Others Do It
Two idiots like us
Who planned love like a new car
Who bought the floorboards old
So with each step our new home moaned
Who mapped the lock
And learned to speak fraternal talk
Who toiled to resist slog
A balloon on our wrist in permanent bob
Who got drunk with the guests
Painted like rage the right walls red
Who saw the new oven installed
Where designer heat is focused and trapped
To roast the meat for today’s avid son
Read the poetry of Ana Caballero
Read a profile of Ana Caballero
I have observed ☊
the vast divide between the clean and those
who choose to remain unwashed. A child
will feed pigeons, happy in the dust.
A bull pierced through the shoulder sinks
to his haunches. Never was red so dull.
The female form excites the muse
but all becomes ordinary in reduction.
A platter. A bowl. A long-legged table.
While masculinity resolves its headache
in paunch and penis. Hills rolling unregarded.
A study in plane and colour is as academic
as mud and blood, piss and undressed lamb.
We have eyes that slide past drooping nose,
and oh so many teeth. Sharp. White.
She scrubs herself in a blue room.
He plays ball on the beach. Lover of sand.
Here at last, a man with a guitar. To wake me
in my grave. Carve your tune in basalt.
Singing the seas to a crying woman.
Where she reclines nude under stars.
We cringe. We crawl. We crow.
So little time to find the soap … Rinse
the sullen crimson tide from your fingers.
Ponder the inevitable fall. Cracked heels.
Rise from bed. This life. Uncovered. Art.
Enjoy this poem in the PoetryAloud area
Read the poetry of Kerry O'Connor
Read a profile of Kerry O'Connor
I’ve invented a spider,
arachnia verdiga domesticus.
Its habitat: suburbia, the foundations
of houses and middle schools, where boys
with handfuls of spiders still chase girls.
Not tarantula, no black widow, it resembles
the daddy-long-legs. But isn’t.
It is the green-back-spider.
It happened like this: I was painting
the cellar hatchway forest green,
painting and whistling when a spider
started to climb the metal wall, shaking
its feet free of the sticky paint. To save
its life, I swept it aside with the paint brush
that left its back green. I watched it angle across
the grass, perfectly camouflaged, to the side
foundation, which it climbed and hung vertical,
drying in the sun, my green-back-spider.
Read the poetry of Gary Metras
Read a profile of Gary Metras
For a few nights before the clocks went back
and the Sun's sinking coincided
with my heading home from work, I heard
a bird sing. At the top of concrete steps
littered with pizza cartons and cigarettes,
in the cradling twigs of a blackened tree,
this bird, perched restlessly, sang.
These eyes, tempered by smoke and tile,
sodium lamp and television, trembled
at the flickering breeze, burnished sky
and the sixpence Sun, dulled by decline.
I listened to the bird, forgetting about birds,
replacing myself, the concrete, the words
with unstained, unique melodies.
I have not seen the bird since,
nor can I recall the song I'd heard
disturb a warm, March night,
when I ached, and my eyes were sore,
but know that in the crooked feeling
of dictated days, hides the healing
strength to strike them straight.
Read the poetry of Gareth Spark
Read a profile of Gareth Spark
She is wearing her distressed jeans again
my fashionable daughter
skinny jeans intentionally destroyed
acid washed, sand papered
pumice stoned, tumbled in gas
faded & ripped at the knee
scraped & shredded at the thigh
priced at a premium by
Calvin Klein, Armani, Levi
I want to wrap her in my arms
& say: wait
no need to race to what-comes-next
soon enough pleated skin, nagging knees
soon enough holes in your heart
no designer can repair
no need to leap over yourself
to some frayed future
time will snip & slice soon enough
my daughter, much too soon enough
Read the poetry of Claire Scott
Read a profile of Claire Scott
When he whispers incantations
Across the ceremonial-pit
In late Winter
The last snow-drift
Orbits the tree tops
On a morning stroll
Praise abounds. The sun soars.
Raven gives a jocular
Caw matched by
The smiling Elder
My father’s eyes
With hands wide open
We spread the wealth.
Read the poetry of Stefanie Bennett
Read a profile of Stefanie Bennett
The fish hook lights,
Ex'd in their standing,
burning yellow bait,
staggered in the course,
like picked ribs
stood on a wet flensing stage.
The emptiness softly burning,
above the rushes
of the blood and the marrow,
the to, the fro, red and the white,
along the silver spine,
the monster's innards hollowed out.
My onward moves in straight lines,
with the back end canvas
of a white van in front,
framed to one side,
that glare of the white marrow rush,
to the other,
the dark bracken,
where the wild dogs wait.
Read the poetry of Christopher Hopkins
Read a profile of Christopher Hopkins
All the Poets
it seems all the poets
love using the word:
Geography is inspiration.
Botany begets creation.
Esp. in a Mary Oliver poem!
Don’t get me wrong--
I like Mary Oliver.
Her poetry is very peaceful.
Full of animals and nature.
Often depopulated of people.
Everyday someone new
her spiritual spell.
(I wish my books
sold half as well.)
And then there’s the rebels:
The beatnik poets who
had a thing for the Buddha.
Lots of poets now
worship Walt Whitman,
wish they wrote Howl,
won a Nobel like
In the end, all the poets
are the same as you or me.
We have moments of clarity,
and many moments when
we are mysteries unto ourselves:
two-legged, Janus-faced, perplexed,
Searching for the perfect words
in the perfect order
on the most elusive subjects.
Read the poetry of Daniel Klawitter
Read a profile of Daniel Klawitter
When I was a girl, a young girl,
I went on a class trip to Marietta, Ohio
to see the Hopewell Indian burial mounds,
smooth green arcs of grass and dirt.
Beneath, in dark soil, remnants of bodies--
metacarpal, skull, half a tibia.
I loved maps as that young girl,
paper ones with precise pleats
like the skirts I wore to school.
They had colors, straight and broken lines,
legends that marked railroads, mountains,
coal mines, lakes.
I wanted my mother.
Wanted her to explain myself to me,
decode my moods,
teach me how to be comfortable
in my skin.
Show me her secrets.
How she smoothed ruby color on lips,
left an imprint on a glass of scotch.
I am no longer that girl, no longer young.
My mother has no more secrets.
I trace the map of her body,
its changed topography,
sagging muscles, wrinkled flesh, vacant eyes.
Electrodes under skin spark her heart,
a rainbow of pills keeps pressure steady,
calms sugar’s spike, thins her blood.
The looming mass of her wheelchair
casts shadows on the floor.
Read the poetry of Valerie Bacharach
Read a profile of Valerie Bacharach
She would lie on the grassy hill –
The feel of the Earth behind her –
as they fell
They sailed through constellations –
She led the way fearlessly –
and flying free
Her sadness dissolved like the sky at dusk –
filled her with suns
I will surely rise
to slip between
the light of the stars
Read the poetry of Kat Lehmann
Read a profile of Kat Lehmann
far from now and not far from here
you will look for ways to surrender.
"Each time my heart is broken
it makes me more adventurous" O'Hara wrote.
But all lies, are at best,
inaccurate statements. So this month,
another one without intercourse,
when a red moon came to me in that movie about a fist,
and me, caught licking the salt from walls and
measuring the water line from last years flood,
I drifted back to childhood tea parties.
The ones where the grownups stood and sipped
pretend air from tiny cups
as if grace could be imagined however extreme
and love, unsure of it's rightful task. Then I had a kid.
Trembling. Slippery but loyal
who sat with her legs crossed below her
reaching up with those same empty cups
of tea. Beloved:
Soon the interminable heavens will give
back it's angels to the death walk first intended.
And we dumb-ass Americans
will think them either bees or
Martians and stay in our
Read the poetry of Dana Rushin
Read a profile of Dana Rushin
After the talk,
I become like scattered seeds
on concrete. I find the money jar
empty and my stability, ruptured.
After social meanderings, after loose
conversations that never utters the words
‘death’ ‘loss’ or ‘God’ then I am everywhere, pinched
apart, thin pieces of my solitary form.
Days of quiet bring me back from the drug trip
where others thrive but I am like clay drying in the sun,
too much, too fast, too little time in the shade
so that I crack then split, and what I was cannot stand whole.
Mornings of clenching to the things
that keep me upright, build
again a solid self until I must slip (a fresh water fish)
into the salt waters of acceptable social norm.
Read the poetry of Allison Grayhurst
Read a profile of Allison Grayhurst
There are dogs on the sidewalk.
Their coats on magazines asleep
their paws curled underneath faces,
closed up, hidden.
I heard the homeless girl takes a train from Syosset
and covers herself with dirt somewhere in Queens.
I wonder what people think when they watch her
or un-tuck her plaid Abercrombie shirt
from her Old Navy Jeans.
I wonder if they picture dirt
under her fingernails,
mad grabby hands in subway tunnels,
hollow screams for help--
or her last summer-camp with that horse
dancing fairies rising up
from the hot-dog campfire.
I heard those dogs are rented.
Costs $25 for the day,
and with enough Benadryl in their
they can sleep on a subway grate
or in the biting cold.
People donate to girls with dogs:
storybook lives rescued from mountains,
deep snow drifts,
a run from a hairy monster.
The quarters drop like hope,
One tinny sound against another.
Read the poetry of Amy Soricelli
Read a profile of Amy Soricelli
Elegy for Toothless,
A rabbit has no song,
except the quiver of her nose,
or the easy way of her soft coat,
loose over muscle and bone,
or the rhythm of her nibbling
from hand or bowl, or of anything
she finds on the floor:
the cereal spilled,
the Timothy hay strewn,
the strawberry tops
where she can find them.
She says her bit with scut and speed,
with running in circles, chasing
her rabbit friends, lolloping
on carpet or grass, leading
the way into hijinx.
What was best in us we saw in her.
Her eyes were pools of ink
with which she wrote the moon
when it shone into her kitchen corner,
and the sun sparkling on rain-wet grass.
Everything was hers to sing:
the light, the grass, the love
she shared with her humans,
the many sounds that reached
her lissome ears. Free of fear
of any foxes, she dozed
with perfect dignity, soft
as a shadow she slept,
soft as a shadow she passed.
Read the poetry of Will Reger
Read a profile of Will Reger