poets stress over a single word--
the single word— the definite
or indefinite, writing about
nothing, or something worse--
obscurity, what can't be expressed,
a paradox found here or there.
Meaning only arises coincidentally,
not with what is stated but how,
a reconfiguration of bits, a rhythm
of a throbbing heart— this is what
poets stress, the strain of the ear.
As if penetrated, poets push back
into the flesh of sounds spoken
aloud, but seldom talk of empathy,
about understanding soft hands--
this is missing from the hard silhouette
of a dark ridge, stark lines full of thunder
rolling, the beat of rain, that heartbeat
of definite words, that rhythm of breath.
Read the poetry of Emily Strauss
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(lines written in honor
Of the outlandish language
That so colors the clouds of children)
How can the clouds be
As to represent everything,
Swimming, at times, along
Like a gangly monster fish?
In a pre-pubescent sky
The flurry of clouds
And an occasional sun
Make a stew of the heavens
Unrecognized by wisdom.
We all dance in potato sacks
Until we fall before we finish
Under the undulations of the atmosphere
Where all possibility is counted.
So we have that first encounter
At some undefinable point
That begins a heady fermentation
That becomes some other world,
And our last sip of wind.
Read the poetry of Phillip Carriere
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If I had known,
the day before you left,
that the cold fires of dawn
would never be as warm,
nor that birdsong
would not be written
for me alone, but that I
would hear it as a stranger;
if I had known
you were never to return
with the turning tide
to the harbour of my bed,
nor to reply when
the winds followed you,
calling in my lonely voice
with its plea to come home;
if I had known
the hour of my loss,
I might have died
slowly upon the last kiss,
or saved my tears
and stoked the night fires
with your name, until love
was burnt to ashes.
Read the poetry of Kerry O'Connor
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In every quiet moment
You are there,
Twirled in my heart…
A single thread of music
Through all the chaos,
All the noise and pounding
A single strand of notes
Barely a breath…
But there you are…
Fingers of strength
Holding me tight..
My sacred light
Wandering throughout all I am
Every moment feels
Like the tenderness of a kiss
A brush of lips to skin
Heart to soul
Eyes–quieting to be held by yours
Has a gentle reserve
Washing through it
Passion sitting on the edge
Slowly eroded into us
Twirled away quick as it fell
Stranded within us
Faint musical interludes
Of love, of light
Read the poetry of Rhonda L. Brockmeyer
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Son of no one ☊
There never was a moment for you
when freedom could have
ripped your destiny in two - where choice not chance
could have uncornered your existence.
Because you took every risk - collapsing in the shadows,
coveting the Egyptian Buddha.
Your breath is like a child’s, breaking on a slab of rock
held close to your face. I would fan the sun for you
if it would make a difference, if your shoes would stay tied
and your rage would stay at bay. I would
pluck the curse from your veins, if there was something to
pluck, if it wasn’t acceptance and only acceptance that
would change the curse, not remove it, but alter its outcome.
I love your eyes, beneath your dark
ridge brows. I hear you singing in
the middle of the night. I can
taste the salt on your lips. You want to be cold, but you
can’t be. You were made this way, to enter the world at
your own pace. You are elemental, wider than your history.
You are not alone. And that
It is hard to reconcile.
The trees turn a stunning orange.
The streams run clear and sweet.
The sky is the bluest we have ever seen,
People hate each other despite
Their natural ability to love.
People harm each other
Despite knowing how harm feels.
How can the sun shine so brilliantly
On hills so green while someone
Raises a hand to strike a child?
How can we be transfixed by a sunset
But avoid the eyes of someone
Succumbing to pain?
How can we be brave enough
To scale a mountain yet so afraid
That we turn our backs on
The most basic of human dilemmas?
It is hard to reconcile.
We can taste the salt in the ocean,
Caress the warm sand
And inhale the breeze like incense,
But not hold the face of someone
When they weep,
Or embrace a stranger who seems
Lost or scared or simply sad.
How is that we stare at the moon
And imagine a face,
But turn away repulsed by
A scar or a bruise?
How is that we love nature
But not ourselves?
Read the poetry of Robert Nied
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The hawks are back across the street.
flirting from tree to tree
notes of love
In my front yard
trees bud delicate green,
small white flowers drift
Their beauty blocks my view.
My mother shovels oatmeal inside her bowl,
thinks the aides hate her,
sobs into swollen hands.
I ignore her phone call, carry guilt for hours.
A penitent’s garb halos me as I go to visit her.
Her words twist in air:
I thought I’d die before your father.
I’m alone all day.
I’m waiting to die.
I love you.
I’m a burden, don’t hate me.
The azaleas in my backyard bloom lavender.
The pond in the cemetery
still wears its bareness,
the water broken
by two mallard ducks.
The male in his coat of many colors,
the female quiet in her pilgrim’s dress.
Read the poetry of Valerie Bacharach
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There the tree with its wrinkled torso
and malformed arms exults; though
headless and legless, it is forever
pointing and bowing to the unseen.
I sit, my back against it, trying to see.
It hunkers down and takes on all
that nature is permitted to give; I
complain of every pain that slinks
inside my bubble. But the tree is not
one to fret the fall, the winter, the
animals, the axe. Were it to fall and
fold me now, would I suddenly see
from some other realm that I was
among the fortunate to have been
planted there where my roots were
free to clutch a place worth clutching?
Would not billions from across the
world trade their lives for mine?
Because I have not wept in waters
not clean enough to drink, I have seen.
Read the poetry of Thomas Locicero
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This patch of sand assigned me in this
Wide world is where I listen. I hear
Footfalls echo, pages turning in memory
And history. I hear the few march, then
The many, a swell of leather thundering
Onto the strand. Clouds build in my eyes,
Tears rain, and great waves crash. Much
Is spoken from these roaring walls of sea.
The cries carry far over the sands of my life
And yours, all of us. Mercy bids they fade
Into the caressing breath of a sea long ago.
Today I listen to that sea whisper salt onto
The scars trod by the many on that far shore.
Read the poetry of Louis G. Heath
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The Sun is on Hiatus
Moss the color of malachite weaves
its way up and under bark crevices of an old oak.
Enchanting furry tendrils reach out
as I walk past, my head burrowed
against the January morning fog.
Because it seems the sun
has vanished for the foreseeable future,
I am so lost in grayness I resist
the curled invitations
to dig deep, to engage
to applaud the colors of the fog
even as it surrounds me.
Read the poetry of Claire Weiner
Read a profile of Claire Weiner
we step in puddles
the hum of bees
I know every word
the bleached husk
of a small crayfish
on a bluebird day
our winged feet
Yakima Ferry at Sunset
Tonight I could write a thousand poems
no one should have to read.
All around me are hippie grandmothers
and grey-haired men with dreamcatchers
hanging from the rearview mirrors of their
Isuzu’s. Everyone is irresistible tonight:
the man in his NRA t-shirt, the child
on the upper deck screaming about licorice,
the woman who cut in front of me to buy a latte.
I am skimming the edges like every poet
on this boat, starting my sentences
with the easiest words--I love, I love, I love
to travel home by ferry, the women
who smile at the men they don't know,
how my tongue feels in my mouth,
a sort of heaviness that never leaves.
Read the poetry of Kelli Russell Agodon
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I never click on those stories
the ones about accidents
the ones about kids
but I did this time
read it quickly
that if I did it fast
I would slip right past
but of course the grief
pinned me right away
under the weight of the rubble
of all the days he won’t see
it took away my air
as if I had swallowed something
which of course I had
the impossible irreversibility of it
and they didn’t say much
about his family
but I know
I will think about them
on rainy days
on this day
I will buckle a little
I will get distracted
but not them
I read once
in the ache of grief
don’t need alarm clocks for years
they want nothing more
than to stay asleep
dreaming of the day
before that day
but the sadness
like being stabbed
the streets are still quiet
and she puts her hand
on her heart
where the wound
has opened up again.
Read the poetry of Samantha Reynolds
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Blue is the coldest colour, or
would be if blue had any urge
to storybook the scene.
The firth is a choppy tonnage
of slate-grey, drilling platforms
a mile-long join-the-dots pattern
from holiday cottage to North Sea,
the rising land on the far side
shaded to drab by cloudbanks.
Night is sudden: stage curtains
take their time by comparison.
Colour is reduced to the lights
on the ships and the rigs,
blipping out some ‘When Eight
Bells Toll’ code. Rain starts,
gathers insistence; hardens
to hail. The firth is black now,
the edge of the road indistinct.
Read the poetry of Neil Fulwood
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