We have covered him with real flowers
and taken him from country to country.
It's always the same journey --
people standing in the streets
as we carry him by.
And our hands tremble
under his weight,
our eyes are shocked
by the riddle of tongues
presenting the same paradox
in every country --
the whole human voice as background
shrilled to fever
about keeping the guns at bay.
Read the poetry of Katherine Gallagher
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A garbage truck rumbles
down the street like
rolling thunder. He
sleepwalks out of the
bedroom, stumbles into
the kitchen. Half-empty
wine glasses glare at him
from the table. Morning
shadows envelop every
Heat shimmers from the
slanted garage roof tiles like
an exhausted lover. He
hears a car door open, waits
for a knock at the front door,
doesn’t know if he’ll answer it.
Read the poetry of Frank C. Modica
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I, and Not You—To My Son
Not even to these was I always constant--
What escaped my attention. What small hands
of sunlight; what frail and infant breeze, hid
trembling among the trees—and all those so
freely given, those tender, those aching,
gifts I turned from each day. As much as I
loved, I un-loved. I know without counting.
For each and every evening I walked
alone in the twilight; for each time I
paused to consider the moon; or the sun
as it traveled with yellow and pink, to
the distance the color of bruises; there
were softer, more subtle—even sometimes
more glaring, prisms I chose to ignore.
And so it was also with You, my Son--
Argonaut, Tall Lion, Philosopher
King—Prince along the bookshelves, happy and
excited, hunter of knowledge, and friend
to all lost sailors washed onto the shores.
Too often I chose indifference. As
often as duty chose me, I failed what
duties I chose for myself—at least,
if not more. So now in your grandeur--
husband and father; bold Captain—know it
was I—not You— I, who failed to row
to those flares from the waves; I—and not You
—I, and not You—steered away from the call.
Read the poetry of Mark MacDonald
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The poet goes to bed with, awakens
in the warm arms of mystery,
words coming to her like shafts of light,
like drifts of petals, gusts of wind.
She fossicks, excavates,
not for fossils or bones, not for shiny gemstones,
but for other gleamings
she can hold up to the light,
look at this way and that,
not seeking revelation so much as glimpse.
In such fertile ground,
there is so much hidden to be found
the work is endless, the days pass
in a blur between night and night,
mystery’s embrace never failing her.
Read the poetry of David Adès
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He was the best defense lawyer in the country.
Wore his mistress’ silk panties to trial.
Almost all of his clients were guilty,
so he wouldn’t hear of it.
Just the details: who, where, when,
Big on search and seizure.
Civil rights abuses.
Wrapping himself in the law like a body condom
he could use against itself.
Knowing he did not have to prove innocence
as much as he had to instill doubt.
The best defense is a questionable offence.
And to always minimize everything.
Make culpability look like pocket change
you almost forgot about.
Inconsequential as carpet dust.
To tell a story.
Provide a strong working narrative that the jury
Simple enough to have done it yourself
without even realizing,
but sordid enough in legal complexities
that even the law itself would be confused.
And that is the real aim.
To use the letter of the law against itself.
To poke holes in everything so that
nothing ever leaves the ground.
Read the poetry of Ryan Quinn Flanagan
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When I heard the news,
it hit me like fire ––
melting flesh from my ears,
It couldn’t have been fate
when control of your vehicle was lost.
It couldn’t have been fate
when you veered off of the highway,
when you were pronounced dead at the scene--
death by impact with a living tree.
Fate doesn’t play
with devilish ironies.
Fate is not that cruel.
Right now, to say that
“God works in mysterious ways”
would be an insult to God.
There was no divinity hidden
in the twisted steel,
the smoking branches.
This was not meant to happen.
The world will never sleep again.
I’m taking the airbags out of my car,
pumping them full of helium,
letting them go, watching them
transcend this black cloud of mourning.
I know it’s too late to save you,
but it will always be too early to forget.
Read the poetry of B. Diehl
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Poetry in Yo Face
If I feel physically as if the top of my
head were taken off,I know that is poetry.
If hope is the thing with feathers
Like the Myth of Amherst said--
Then poems are words like birds,
Nesting in your head, singing sweetly
Or chirping curses.
As likely to peck your eyes out,
As dazzle you with verses.
The Book of St. Albans
A murder of crows--
A gaggle of geese.
In poetry and prose--
A linguistic masterpiece!
A parliament of owls
Or perhaps a scream of swifts.
You can feel it in your bowels:
Such luscious artifice!
Read the poetry of Daniel Klawitter
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our rancher uncle
as the cancer advances
I drive the pickup
on a last outdoor errand
checking on his newborn calves
‘the point being’
bringing us back
to what we were
trying to avoid
following only trail winds
world-rough and renewed
Read the poetry of ayaz daryl neilsen
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I see the poem
in a waking dream
in strands of sea kelp
where I swam
in skeins of Spanish moss
curtaining me off
to perform my madness
I make lines entangle lines
lines weave elaborate
palm braids for my crown
my metaphor is nude
my simile is naked
you wonder why
leaves of grass
because the poem says so
& if it wants to come
all over the Jackson Pollacks
so be the poem
who will not release me
makes me fear I’ll do something
I’ll be sorry for tomorrow
the poem needs it quickies
& it needs to erase the image
of Prometheus Bound
paint over remains
of mythic bondage
the poem throws off chains
in the poem Medusa is
the beautiful Madonna
I am here to do its bidding
until the waking dream sleeps
Read the poetry of Karla Linn Merrifield
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I am a snapshot of now,
without the struggle or
as a flower in a vase,
I am cut roots, observing
and waiting for rain.
A still life of me
pinned to a scaffold,
a butterfly folded
in silent gaze –
exhibiting the shape but
not the substance.
A mannequin posed
in perpetual curtsey.
colors of spring
push through the soil
how many times
will the birds
with his words
Read the poetry of Kat Lehmann
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We talked about it
and we walked by
the daycare often
slowing down to show you
the slide and the apple tree
we made our voices all bouncy
and told you how fun it would be
and then at night we read the books
about llamas and raccoons
going to school for the first time
and how they cry sometimes
but then the mamas
always come back
we let you pick out
new boots and we gave you
your brother’s old lunchbox
and the morning of your first day
we hugged you so long
you squirmed out from under us
you were quiet
but played with the toys
as the kids ran
and when you told me at dinner
about your new friend Dominic
I added it to the invisible column
of things that went well
but the next morning
when you asked me
what car we’d take today
and I reminded you
that your new daycare
is just at the end of our block
you looked at me
confident and calm
but mama I already went
and I realized
we never mentioned
you would go every day
so that after all the books
and that long hug
you must have thought
what a peculiar fuss.
Read the poetry of Samantha Reynolds
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Oh hell here they are again
trailing behind me like a string of
ants lined up for tedious miles
one after another after another
all creeping in a petty pace
I swore & swore off vodka martinis
especially the cranberry kind
lust-listing toward the closest man
inducing shameless sex
& riptides of remorse
I promised my losing-it sister I wouldn’t laugh
when she misplaced her keys, her camera,
her car, wore her nightgown to Safeway
left ice cream dripping on the shelf
but I did & I did & I did
yesterday I smacked my daughter
who showed up stoned
I felt my mother’s stinging slap
flame across my cheek
followed by my silent, futile vow
maybe I need a large can of Raid
a quick trip to Home Depot
otherwise they will continue to crawl
until the last syllable of my recorded life
dragging déjà vu’s
all over again
Read the poetry of Claire Scott
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Oak Trees Are for Love
And then underneath
the Novocain blanket
I told you that I loved
you with all of my palpitating
I wanted to caress your skin
with my throbbing fingers
and show you how the moon robbed
you of sun-dried kisses
You kissed me on my red-checkered
cheek and explained
that you just wanted
to be friends
"Okay, friends it is," I said.
And my heart palpitations
stopped as we sat underneath
the gnarled Oak tree
I dreamed of indelible initials
carved upon the trunk
its greeting to us and we hugged
I held on a little too long
but not long enough
Read the poetry of Adam Levon Brown
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Overheard From Longing
~To Charlie, April 19, 2017
Sometimes, your voice catches me from
beyond and overhead, from your longing
love—I think of your timbre,
the tremolo and cords it strikes, reminiscent
always of starlings, their cantabile speech,
as they learned to sing— no, talk, to Mozart.
Was it he who learned
and copied their joyful trance or they
who conveyed back his sweet noise
to wrap him in a swoon of song
so sonorous that he composed concertos
so plangent that when he wrote his resplendent
Masses, he was able to catch an audience
in rapt and full attention, swoop
his listeners Into an evanescent murmuration
as dense and wide as the starlings,
when they disappear of a sudden
into their wild and mysterious flight?
Read the poetry of Judith Brice
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Inside Suburban Lines
Beyond the background wheeze of A-roads,
phlegm-thick, sky-drained & flooded,
a spit of litter dittoed up their ragged banks,
our puddle-deep suburbia; knuckle-thrusted
by fungi, dusted with dry skin & skinny screams
& over-looked by murky windows,
identical, yet unique by degrees; houses
boxed & roofed, chimed each to their own number,
spread-hedged & labelled as home.
Wind down to a lit-room un-busy evening
away from the club-drum & spin of town,
tuning instead to the bass line of pipes & motors
or the switch-click & wood-creak
of terraced movements. It is itching towards,
aching towards, stiffening towards time
the bulbs blinked cold; moon-lanterns leading
the show into night, with the need for sleep
unfulfilled & slinking towards morning.
Read the poetry of Julia Stothard
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dreams of standing on a ridge in Britain,
looking down on cathedrals and car parks,
on pubs and Morris dancers,
albums she knew from
used record stores and
long-lost friends’ collections.
Dirty blonde hair
streaming in the wind,
she would be barefoot,
wear white, in spite
of mud and wet grass.
At fifty, she sits in traffic.
Through mousy- brown bangs,
she blinks at mist
falling on her windshield,
the line of cars
snaking on past the exit.
As violins on the CD swell,
a young man sings
about growing older
on a morning like this one.
He has just arrived in town;
she has lived in this state
for a dozen years.
Read the poetry of Marianne Szlyk
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I would watch
from my third floor
neon, Freon, digital eyrie
as he scraped his arse along the street
shuffling, scuffing the rags that passed for raiment
ripping the empty legs further each night
as the chorus of inebriate fighters,
noses swollen veined plums,
caroused and cajoled his every
while throwing punches, and each other, can in hand
at passing cars
his limbs, of wood and plastic,
would arrive later
under police escort
old world problems under the new world’s
hardened, refrigerated glaze
until the day he didn’t
Read the poetry of Paul Sands
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Russian Spy Lady
She checked out, clairvoyantly, books on cooking
and Russian history, sixteen dollars in overdue fines,
and left as quick as the bells on the front door
handle ceased chiming.
Without any accent, a Rosalind Russell grin;
given four weeks, her heels will clap with the
library carpet, and we'll earn more than
a dissolved hello at her next visit.
No speculation, just a tossing of replies and an escape
like Tippi Hedren in Marnie;
I have already forgotten her name the moment
her tires peeled themselves from the parking lot.
Once a week, the library assistant and I remind ourselves
of the ominous air that the lady who spied our shelves
flustered our minds with, always glancing at the entrance now,
hoping she will slyly wander in again.
Is it that she is reappearing to us, or simply disappearing
from elsewhere, fleeing here in disguised apparition?
I've heard the most suspicious people frequent to one
particular place--and yet doesn't everybody?
Read the poetry of Liam Strong
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Winter’s glass canopy – and
Stalagmites as big
As a Jesuit’s fist
Grip the Antarctic Circle.
A mammoth’s skull
To a glacier.
I pause. Too belated in this
Of mime impoverishment
Equator bound – I wait
On an assembly
With leaden wings
Read the poetry of Stefanie Bennett
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Dark Sky Reserve
I am moon to your jupiter
venus to your sun
your glass eye reveals only
what you need to see
the milky way is a dimly lit
labyrinth of resurrections
the nebula of my torso
hides a nursery of stars
so if I kissed you
in every dimension and
every galaxy leads to forever
could our love
be the universe
Read the poetry of Tracey Gunne
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An Open Window
I fail in the heat.
Feel weak after a succession of fiery days this late June.
I open the window.
Overcome its resistance.
Breezes bring breaths of pine, marigolds, lavender dust.
Calms wanting nerves.
Dries my damp skin with feather touch.
An opened window lets faith break away
from my nemesis—doubt—and ride in on the wind.
A breeze through the opened window
dismantles misery, worry, heat.
Backyard evergreens, currency of gentle winds,
speak their intentions.
We’ll carry the weight now.
A language translated by kindness and relief.
I open the window, a simple task.
The might of muscle required is minimal.
Developed from a lifetime of lifting,
my strength is faith.
Read the poetry of Ria Meade
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Crows Weep a River
He was a piece of night,
A crow smudging daylight
and in his eye a star was trapped.
He wept it free on high moors
and it began to run
gathering up a thousand
It led them to a hollow,
there they pooled and waited.
a cloud burst of crows,
a dam breaks,
a galaxy streams downhill,
sears through the valley.
Read the poetry of Paul Mortimer
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I burned I burned I burned
I walked home burning and heavy
burning with unrequited anger
heavy from the words that weighed me down
heavy from words that lay like
lead in my stomach
heavy and hot from anger and words
that could not be loosened to fly
free unabated from my tongue
because you would not listen
because I could not say them
I looked down at the crumbled sidewalk
these slabs of pavement
forced between the legs of mother earth
even as the raped mother
claimed the pavement
her green fingers growing
between the cracks
driving them apart
the raping pavement
inviting me to it
a cool inviting lover
and I burned I burned I burned
I felt too heavy to walk home
sidewalk inviting me to lay my
heavy burning body upon it
to lay on its cool surface
inundating my heat with cool
supporting the weight of words
I could not carry
Lay down lay down lay down
you burning heavy thing
and I wanted so to lay down
on cool pavement nestled
on the pubic hairs of mother earth
and how I burned
stumbling home beneath the weight
of words I could not carry
because I cannot say them
because you will not listen
and how I burned with them
knowing if I lay my head
I would not rise again.
Read the poetry of Janette Schafer
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from Edible Haiku
shares my honey--
on the apfelstrudel
the noise of frying pans
in my grandmother's kitchen--
a toad in the hole
not in my backyard
on my table
a parrot calls for banana
in the neighbor's yard
Read the poetry of Amauri Solon
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June Third, 1989
“...demonstrations that shook the Communist Party
and ended with soldiers sweeping through the city on
June 4, shooting dead hundreds of unarmed protesters
and bystanders.” (New York Times, June 3. 2013)
It was never meant to happen--
a day stolen from time
an unrecorded, unspoken day
when two lovers disappeared--
a mountain resort on a mirror lake
on a summer evening, clouds dark
at the horizon, cold but hidden inside
the lovers were hot.
In the anonymous hotel room
the bed was full of sweat, sex
and room service champagne,
the TV on but they’re not watching
busy in each other’s legs.
At last exhausted they slept,
the news broadcasting softly
in the background until morning
over tea and toast.
Suddenly an image appears
their hands freeze, a mouthful
of boiled egg, draw the sheet up
the announcer urgent, anguished
an empty square shows, tanks
and a single man in a white shirt
standing in front, moving as it moves--
a silent picture. Then the screen
went black, they waited
looking at each other over the toast.
Later they drove away in different
directions, the TV back to normal
the soldiers gone but the news filled
with how the satellite feed was cut
at that crucial instant. Nothing at all
about a lone man confronting a tank.
Read the poetry of Emily Strauss
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The Business of Death
Measuring wind, sun and rain
Bony knuckles creaking
Fingernails historically stained
A face that counted heartbeats
A mind crammed with memories
Smile he'd forgotten to assemble
In his countless shallow breaths
He knows me
From under his sinister eyes
No shadows pass through
And no sound does he utter
But he knows you
My spine straightens
Feet bones spring
Gathering pace, finding space
Will your hands find me
Nor my skin will you lay your hands upon
Or fold my layers of clothing
Under your skylight of gone
Shall you take your time
Rearranging my limbs
I shall be soundless
While I feel you coveting me
For nothing is on offer for your coffer
Unclothed and untouched
I pass you by
Read the poetry of Deni Howlett
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tongue can’t always swing,
curl, spread, linger,
vibrate, to pair with voice,
a voice that sometimes simply sits,
stubborn in my throat,
swaying like in a boat on the surface of its own strings
it picks syllables, juggles, yet they won’t reach
this funnel made of flesh,
and resonant, glistening pebbles
pronounce what you long to hear;
mouth is open, like fish fighting
for life on the dry sand,
nothing comes out.
I can only offer silence
a blade of sword
that suddenly blinded you:
you didn’t see when it cut
our invisible cord of love.
Read the poetry of Maja Todorovic
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Smoke and Whiskey
A warm rasp
of bullet tipped fingers on violin,
of a nylon six string hum,
and the brushing of a side drum.
nursing the mood
and tempo between the walls.
We drink from short glasses.
Eyes of black in the electric glow.
until the closing bell calls for taxis,
and out with the current of the crowd we go.
Our watchfires of certainty,
flicking out their tongues
to taste the night.
with secrets of the womb we made there.
Secrets we'll take home,
place on the shelf like pine cones,
and look to,
when the weather ‘comes too much.
Read the poetry of Christopher Hopkins
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from Selected Haiku
on life support
up turn bins
on the freeway
on the guillotine
for the ballerina
Read the poetry of Nancy May
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Before Things Were Named
there was no cardinal dancing red on a mud-brown branch,
no flash of flame against grey sky.
There were no azure lakes or turquoise seas,
no slush-filled streets or cancelled schools.
There was no larkspur or lavender-scented air,
no one’s mother sitting with her loneliness.
Before things were named there were no stories to remember,
no photos to be traced with aging fingers,
no heartache or sorrow, no strawberries
or apples, no glaciers or mountains.
Nothing to cherish or regret, no empty arms or vacant eyes.
No word yet for grief.
Read the poetry of Valerie Bacharach
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