Poet Dunstan Carter Shares His Poem, "Second Draft"
Cars on fire,
A battle for power,
The shivers of time,
Human nature rotating,
The cantankerous cackle
And the rattling pockets
Of the men who made good
As streets burned
And sons died.
The bloodiest day
Of a fictional war,
With a twist,
And the gossip of gunfire,
The clatter of half truths
Cracking and snapping
And the rippling gripe
That the things he hates most
Are the most true and humbling,
A history crumbling,
And he’s never been paid
To just lie.
Read the poetry of Dunstan Carter
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Juliet Wilson At The Literary Festival
At the literary festival
the academic poet greets
like a long lost friend
the young poet whose first collection
is just out.
They talk ‘man to man’
(of course they’re both men)
about poetic vision.
Around them chat other poets,
perhaps not so young or important,
less fashionable or lacking confidence.
But it is one of the overlooked others
who tonight will go home
to write the poem that one day
will change the life of the woman
hiding just now behind the academic
trying to pluck up the courage
to ask for his autograph.
Read the poetry of Juliet Wilson
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From Ana Cabellero, Her Poem "Breakfast Meeting"
As an afterthought I can consider the present
Skylines and curved highways
Cliffhangings in real time and real
Consumed while I am young
I lack nothing and want everything
Lonely please allow me to please
Let me see the city as colosal and ancient
Let my nights fall silent and sleepless
Into the city’s whole morning call
Silent and sleepless swallowed
So unimportant that only the breath remains
This is the only way I know
Read the poetry of Ana Caballero
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For Eusebeia Philos, "Knee" Is The Operative Word
Surgery Sings//They Took My Knee
I did not expect
Van Morrison to greet me
in the surgery.
Lying flat on my
back in the haze of incense,
no damn patchouli,
I thought I’d have to
genuflect on marble
in humble homage.
plays among blue-masked surgeons
- they might have been green.
A music countdown
begins to remove me from
the scene, looking at
the dancing doctor
lip syncing in his disguise,
cradling a power saw.
Van sings, I depart
the seven middle oceans
of the deep blue sea.
The room where they cut
you is cold, preserve the flesh
at all decent costs.
Cold and proper, a
cold steel saw cuts bone from bone,
upper and lower
what was joined in the womb,
worn daily in life.
are dropped in a swap of
a shotgun marriage,
titanium and plastic
cemented to bone,
polished dead metal
inserted through a zipper
of flesh and staples.
I meant to ask if
they played Van through every
cut, cry of my leg
while I slept under
the dream of nothing.
But pain speaks before
any more songs can be sung from
a mouth in anguish.
Read the poetry of Eusebeia Philos
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"The Wood Fire," A New Poem From Ann Neuser Lederer
The Wood Fire
Sticks from flung branches
scratch the windows like cats.
Bones crack on the ice pond
beyond these walls.
Someone is traveling up
a glazed mountain
without a coat.
This is the journey
you once thought you'd be taking.
You draw the sweater a little closer
around your shoulders.
You try not to pry your eyelids open
when they fall.
The red heart of the fire is deceptive.
The outer edges of this room are cold.
The sinister waves of heat flee towards the ceiling.
You are too tired to climb the stairs to bed
Read the poetry of Ann Neuser Lederer
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Shan Ellis' Newest Poem: "Before the End"
Before the End
I’ve never been one for goodbyes.
They resonate like welling caves in the pit of my stomach,
echoing in the hollows of my ribs,
clinging in symbiosis to lips, plated tight
reticent to let them escape.
I’ve much preferred farewell, or adieu
past tense, with a soft kiss
which leaves with warmth and memory
which sparks a smile in dark times.
The finality of the word, seven letters
two syllables, hook line and bated breath,
ripples ceaselessly in a tangible place
out of reach.
This is goodbye,
this earth is too parched to plant a seed,
too barren to support life,
too wasted to cultivate.
Where once, an oasis stood
now a dust bowl dance of death.
And there is nothing I can take with me
apart from the knowledge that
Read the poetry of Shan Ellis
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New Haiku and Tanka From Poet Chen-ou Liu
Haiku and Tanka
behind black-robed nuns
a homeless girl
I am in love and love
my thoughts of her floating
in the dark sea of night
mother and I
under the harvest moon
an ocean apart
this strange face
in the bathroom mirror...
she and I
just seventeen when we saw
our faces in Sun Moon Lake
retracing my footsteps
to No Exit
Read the poetry of Chen-ou Liu
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Jacqueline Czel Dances With The Stars
To Catch a Falling Star
to regurgitate glitter
LIVE on TV today!
going to vomit silver,
bronze, and gold
before the war starved world,
clinging to life
jet setting hours
and totally trash
in tired red dresses,
right off the rack,
at old needles tracks
a zero zombie
faux pas there
amid the other
the shadows of youth
of ghost town
They're off to clutter
of Liberace sequins
sitting beneath new noses
boniest of surgically
while offering some
of their stale
to the plump
and pull on sinew
gorging on a feast
of stitched maggots,
day old crassness
plastic doll pretty,
auto tuned junkies.
Read the poetry of Jacqueline Czel
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Mark Windham Shares His Poem, "Sea Creature"
new moon rising
we walked between the lake
and the rail yards
and spitting on
century old ties
wondering if the midnight train
would arrive on time
it was a year ago tonight marshall
died on these very tracks
attempting to escape
his own restlessness
his dream of starting a
in st louis or kansas city or santa fe
we made a fire
like we always do
and sat in a circle
our voices as quiet as
stones skipping on water
our karma just a little off kilter
one of us asking rhetorically
why there is no moon
Read the poetry of J. Matthew Waters
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"new moon rising" From Poet J. Matthew Waters
I find her shoes
on the dunes –
discarded frivolities fusing
with the landscape –
then follow her footsteps
to the water
where the gulls dance
around her head –
screeching and snapping
at the bread she throws –
while gravity makes plans
in the seabird’s shadows.
She sends the remaining
crumbs into the waves
like an offering, as if she can sense
the sea’s need for sacrifice.
She has always been a creature
of the shore,
the taste of salt
in her words
and a thread of ocean
breezes in her breath.
Read the poetry of Mark Windham
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Beth Winter's Latest: "my periwinkle shirt"
my periwinkle shirt
Today, I’ll wear my periwinkle shirt,
the one I snagged against a splintered branch,
then patched the rip, I couldn’t throw it out
because the blue embraced the hope of spring.
The rolling hills and river beckon me
to come and share the gently waking scene,
to loose the dogs and let them run unleashed
across the prairie’s green rebirth from brown
and down where daffodils spread pastel gold,
I’ll peek between the leaves that rise as swords
to see if pansies wear their royal gowns
and check reflections cast at water’s edge.
Untamed, the wind will rearrange my locks
while sunlight scolds my cheeks a tulip pink.
I’ll shrug off winter’s heavy woolen air
refreshed by periwinkle’s purplish hue.
Read the poetry of Beth Winter
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Cheryl Snell's Latest Poem, "Flicker Vertigo"
A parable unreels in air made luminous
with silver nitrate and dust. Glint struck
off a propeller tells a story begun
far from here.
Contrails corkscrew toward animals
cringing in their furs like dowagers
in a bad neighborhood. Two old pilots
play chess in the park, hearing aids off,
cataract eyes unable to track disturbances
in the air of newsreel memories.
In their wars, charged images flicked past
too fast to register. Information received
at 15 spins/second condenses thought
to pudding, ricochets off the exits
and perpetual threat of fire.
Under a corrugated sky, wounds still bloom;
where there is a pounding in the temple,
fistfuls of summer poppies push through
the scarred gray crust of winter.
Read the poetry of Cheryl Snell
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Sharon Brogan 's Latest Poem, "Measures"
The weight of a man on a woman
is like falling into the river without drowning.
—"Two" by Linda Hogan
There are things that can’t be measured or weighed.
The length of a liar’s tongue.
The number of nudges required to push
a specific person off a particular ledge.
The weight of a man on a woman who loves him
compared the weight of the same man
on a woman who does not.
The number of stones a single heart can hold
without drowning. Stars in the universe, feral
cats in the woods, fallen sparrows.
The speed and trajectory of a kind or hurtful word.
The number of molecules in the scent of lust.
The location and direction of a particle
at once. How many moments it takes
to make a life.
How many wounds to take one.
Read the poetry of Sharon Brogan
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Poet Paul Sands' Latest poem, "rise" (with audio)
rise that we distance
anything less than the invited
rise through the anonymity of your greasy canvas
let the cold extinction
of peasants doubting the dead write your loathing of me
you are high and I
am cover for every
yet not nor ever the mirror you deserve
the glass so close
many time inflicted kills where the wounds downpour
impatient in their obligation forced lengths will burn
splintered lungs and
hand held photographs
yet dusted tributes drum
a rumpus along a veined abandon as wounds licked
hold off such forced hope
no wires can close
so puckered a wither of callow tribute
We Welcome Poet Bauke Kamstra To VerseWrights
blowing down the road
arms waving impulsively.
A flute made
from the arm of a man
chased & bound with silver
each note a year
of his life
I am not practical enough
for ordinary life
my feet leave the ground
in my gardens
are no potatoes
only flowers grow.
Read the poetry of Bauke Kanstra
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Three Short Poems From Poet Leslie Philibert
So when my profile
and every swing door greets
a stranger an old man has
kidnapped my soft face.
My eyes are full of red lace
my wrists alloyed with copper
my body fallen into chinoiserie.
So let me collect, talis qualis,
small sins in a tin box
postcards under shoes in a cupboard
as the breaking of my shell is
the looking at pictures through a window,
bits of the past, calls on a dead line,
everything gone but not gone.
Let me be a casement
that you open when
you look out of a window or
a sill full of warm moss
to rest your hands upon.
Hair of the spider,
the old man`s curse;
spicules of ice
That turn my windows
into a French pattern;
older than rime
white as a virgin`s hair,
hard as Winter`s face
Read the poetry of Leslie Philibert
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"You're in Good Hands" With Poet EJ Koh
You're in Good Hands
Just do it. Kill the germs. Play in ours. Apply generously. For fast, fast, fast relief. Obey a few good men. 15 minutes could save you. The best out of crime. I guarantee it. We answer to a higher authority. Anything less would be uncivilized. This is your brain on drugs. Mother approved. Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset diarrhea. Doctor recommended. You go cuckoo for a few good men. This is your brain on drugs. Can you hear me now?
Can you hear me now?
Double your pleasure
This is America
Choosy mothers choose
Because you’re worth it
Every kiss begins
With Zoom Zoom
Nothing else will do
Only you can prevent imagination at work. For everything else, we answer to a higher authority. Like a good neighbor. Gimmeabreak, gimmeabreak. Is it in you? To be all you can be. Great Americans of a new generation. I ask you this: what’s in your wallet? You know what I’m thinking? Break me off a piece of that. Just do it. Keep going and going and going. Because you’re worth it.
Once you pop
Nighttime sniffling, sneezing, coughing, stuffy head
This is your brain on drugs
Have it your way
Think strong enough for a man
Trix so good they melt in your mouth
Not in your hands
M’m m’m you know what I think?
The best part of waking up. Fast, fast, fast relief. Double your fun. Anything less would be uncivilized. What happens here stays. Good to the last drop. Why wait?
Read the poetry of EJ Koh
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We Welcome Poet Helena Nelson to VerseWrights
The Mermaid's View
Landmaids will mythologize:
beauty is overrated.
We are not obsessed with size.
We are understated.
We do not have to wear bras
and baldness is rare.
Luring sailors onto rocks is, of course,
brutal. We do not care,
we do it while singing
goodbye, goodbye, goodbye
because it is in our genes, like bringing
certain types of octopi
home as pets. We do not have vets.
We do not have shops.
We have fierce mermen. We try
to resist them but it is no use.
In the main we choose
to lose our maidenhoods.
darker, rougher, the wind slaps
to and fro and floods
our heads with thoughts of getting away
but we melt
Read the poetry of Helena Nelson
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"A Dream," A New Poem From Stephanie Brennan
I dreamed of
but wait, no one cares
about another’s dream
and the dead no longer dream
or do they
one day we’ll know
but back to my dream
that no one cares to hear
until their own dreams
materialize into conquered love
I’ll tell you anyway
you are free to listen, or not
I dreamed of a future,
where women are not
shot up with heroin
between their toes while tied
to a bed, naked, the hulking
weight of a man with a wife
and two children, their photo
s he proudly displays to other men
at the bar
grunts above the bound woman
who begs to be rescued
he pulls up his camouflage
trousers, straps on his rifle
there’s a war out there
someone’s got to fight it
he doesn’t look back at the girl
on the bed
she watches him leave
will forever remember his face
and all the others, etched, itched
I dreamed this girl traveled back
in time when she had nothing
nothing to forget
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Poet Sarah Russell Brings Her Poems To VerseWrights
There’s a slow awakening to death.
In youth, it’s a solar eclipse you didn’t expect.
You look away. Fear blindness.
At midlife you make the cardboard pinhole shield,
warding off the glare and the blackness at the core.
Finally, when they’re commonplace – after two,
then three, then four, you turn and stare them down
with your bags packed.
The robin sings at first light,
announcing new life in the old pine. Below,
sheltered by scruffs of willow
a fox kit blinks at sunrise from his den.
The barn cat’s manger nursery has sweet hay.
Fields glow nascent green,
and orchards burst white promises of harvest.
Mortals, blind with logic, claim
January starts the year,
while Nature shakes her lovely head
and smiles, knowing
it begins in April.
Read the poetry of Sarah Russell
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"the listening room," A New Poem From Debbie Strange
the listening room
my heart flutters
trapped against my hand
as I turn the corner
I am listening for the rasp of breath
listening to the silence
that shrouds her room
her bed is made
(her bed is made and she must lie in it)
but not today
today she sits serene
blue eyes blue
as her blue gown
what does she see
with her mind’s blue eye
a small and secret smile
brushes her lips like a wing
for a moment
she is all there is
all that she has been
and all that she might ever be
in another time
in another place
Read the poetry of Debbie Strange
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Take A Slightly Paranormal Walk With Poet E. Michael Desilets
Just Another Stroll Downtown
The Trust Company clock,
always a few minutes slow,
remains at the curb,
but the cannon is gone
from the common,
the drinking fountain defunct.
So much is extinct:
(soda fountain vanilla Cokes)
(fig squares and hermits)
(where you couldn’t get Peyton Place)
Nipper the Victor dog at Garino’s
(with Bing crooning in his guts)
(which opened with The Bride Goes Wild
and closed with Putney Swope).
The Memorial Building seems
the same. Hitler’s Mercedes
was on display there once.
I paid a quarter to gawk.
But now the trash in the gutters
speaks a foreign language and I won’t
spot my Uncle John X in front of Woolworth’s
trying to remember where he parked his Olds
unless I’m finally out of luck.
I sidestep the sidewalk ghosts who step aside
for no one. They gape incredulously,
seething with loss, traversing
the same few blocks
over and over, sometimes hovering,
sometimes whooshing past as if
there were still somewhere to go.
Downtown welcomes the dead.
They find it hard to leave, but
with eternity just ahead
even the dead get discouraged.
Read the poetry of E. Michael Desilets
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Laura Madeline Wiseman's Newest Poem, "Propitiate"
Household god, namesake, kitten from a stray
mother who arrived to give birth to a litter of two--
when I answered the ad, the young woman said
she would do a goodbye ceremony before I could come.
Five-weeks old, fierce, smaller than a deck of tarot cards,
I took you home and taught you to chase paper balls.
Sometimes you bring them back. Sometimes
you drag up my yoga mat from the basement.
You are rumpled, like the clothes of a college co-ed,
half-drunk with love in the morning, and intelligent,
know your name and will come trotting from anywhere
in the house or yard if I call. I do call you, Juno,
feed you the fat green bugs that nibble the broccoli,
watch you stalk the monarchs and grasshoppers,
and accept your offerings, delicate, soft, grey bodies
of young doves, necks snapped, blood at the throat.
Read the poetry of Laura Madeline Wiseman
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We Welcome Poet L.L. Barkat To Our Pages
Return to Sloansville ☊
I close my eyes
blot out one hundred
and fifty shale driveways
pickup trucks, Ford
pintos, trailers barely
tied to this ground
by wires, gas lines
I can still see
dirt road, Queen
Anne's Lace, goldenrod
field mice nesting
under leaning timothy
and the apple orchard
rooted beyond tall firs
where a woman
in navy sweat pants,
red Budweiser t-shirt
is just now hanging laundry
to drift upon the wind,
sing with ghosts
of spring white
Two Short Poems From Poet Christina Strigas
You spin my world
my axis is in space
at night it calls to me
and my fingers
are ready to speak
tap tap tap
Submitting is not enough
surrendering is overrated
taking me is hopeless
claiming me a dream
I will see you
Perhaps in my poems
Perchance on the streets
In another life
That already happened.
I wish I could remember
and your essence.
You are the last of the Romantics
why have you forsaken me?
Left me here to swallow other people’s pills
I need your silence
as much as your words
please do not come back for me
pass the laudanum
you in a top hat
long waist coat
my long hair piled high
a few loose ringlets
you, a latter-day poet
and I your muse.
Read the poetry of Christina Strigas
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A New Work From Poet Simon Kindt: "Fold"
We round an oxbow slowly,
the prow holding a line drawn for it
by currents we don't yet see.
She leans over the edge,
brushes fingers through water,
lifts her hand and watches pearls form
on the ends of fingers,
sees them grow, then quiver,
then fall back to the source
and for a moment there is only the river,
the prow pushing through it,
the physics of time and this.
Our centres folding over
in the slow mechanics of how
a bend in a river's flow will pinch at the bud,
how water will wear through landscape,
will grind upstream rocks to powder pressed
slow to the bend and excise its own appendix,
casting off its own stray,
leaving the discarded waters
to still their sinking bones,
the fish to wonder where time went to,
and pressing always on,
to a dark and waiting sea.
Read the poetry of Simon Kindt
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Narendra Kumar Arya Joins The Pages Of VerseWrights
I am that night
On whose face
infinite flows of darkness year after year
are still wedged.
On my half-open lips
Has shrunk sour.
In my hair-holes
Are found nests
Of sparrows wriggling with pain
My gradual transmutation to a tree-skeleton
Is hardly decipherable, though;
Even last ruffles have gone.
No blood squirts
From my immortal wounds
Neither does it create any despicable scene.
Now there are only relics of pain
In my petrified veins
Could you make more assaults on me?
Would you be able to tolerate fresh stains of blood?
On your new draped robes?
Read the poetry of Narendra Kumar Arya
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Anne Graue Brings Her Poems To VerseWrights
The Armadillos ☊
She didn't see it coming, shouted
something unutterable with the shots,
then four of the five were dead,
left bleeding at the corner of her house.
"They're pests," the deputy said,
"and they're too far north--these critters
come up from Texas and will ruin
the foundation of your house, ma'am."
She thought he might have brought a trap
like she remembered he did for raccoons,
skunks, and groundhogs; Armadillo blood
splashed unexpected upon the verdant grass.
Her daughter took pictures
once she'd called the sheriff;
these were strange, primordial
creatures she'd only seen on TV.
They were sinister too, in armor,
prehistoric in their gunmetal scales
and taupe leather for skin. They were
digging for grubs next to the holly bush
between the hydrangeas and jonquils,
oblivious to the chrome on the car,
the man pulling up in the drive,
cutting the engine,
standing on the porch, drinking
iced tea, talking, laughing.
VerseWrights Welcomes Poet Eleanor Swanson
Walking Colfax Avenue
It’s not quite twilight when I step
from the bus into a crowd of revelers.
The streets are cordoned off with
signs and encircled by yellow tape.
The buses can’t go east, so I walk
and walk on, leaving visions behind
me, most disturbingly a joker, and not
the dead Heath Ledger, but one of old--
in yellow and red with a belled hat.
And a hand beckons me from a dark
doorway framed by bare wood, leading
into a darker place that more hands--
shadowy hands—wave from, leaving pale vestiges.
I hear a song with a repeating verse,
the singer’s voice harsh, then harsher.
Stop. Please, Finish. But as I walk, the
voice drifts away on the wind, into the west.
The twilight is deeper now, grey and thick as soup.
I will never be alone on this street, the longest
in the whole of the United States, in the world.
If the universe had streets, well, non finito
gifts us with an understanding of infinity.
I am going to a tribute for poets whose works
were unfinished. Their words unravel and become
dénouement multiplied and enveloped in
the unyielding darkness.
Read the poetry of Eleanor Swanson
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Paul Mortimer Reads Two New Short Poems
Snow suffocates the shuffling of nature.
No longer can wind worry at autumn’s leafy remnants.
All loose ends are tied up,
neatly buried in a new world that’s stealthed
in under cover of darkness.
In this wire taut quiet
my hearing is keening at the silence.
Just your steady breathing
breaching my ears.
Visions sent downstream ☊
Speaking words of woods, valleys and
moors over the weir, I watch
as these images are washed away
to some distant ocean.
Read the poetry of Paul Mortimer
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Experience this poem in the PoetryAloud area
"Wake," A New Poem From Angie Werren
she smokes like a chimney
she is brandishing an unfiltered cigarette
we cross a bridge
the coke-stink of this town hangs between us
like a tombstone
we pass the tobacco field
a green infusion into a rural wasteland textured with steel
and mountains stripped of coal
there’s always snakes in the tobacco field
(she says) I roll down the window
the sun ekes through empty branches
it breaks onto the slurping river
glinting like rows of tires in a junkyard
you know I told him to stop
(she says) I told him
she crushes the cigarette between her fingers
I look at houses flying past like abandoned railcars
boards on the doors gaping windows sad sagging roofs
I really believe her this time
I forget about the snakes (shiny black and thick as a tire)
yeah (she says)
there’s always snakes
Read the poetry of Angie Werren
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"Thunder Snow," A New Poem From Poet Mikels Skele
The clouds thickened and cracked the planks of heaven
Heaved overboard their burden
And crushed the green and brown spring in pale dunes
Robins puffed to pigeon size
Buds disappeared beneath white-laced wings
Of earth-shackled trees
No one about but Cossack girls
With speckled jeans and high boots
Pulled along on bright orange leashes
Their dogs resolute and patient
Sniffing remnants of bygone colleagues
And sprinkling messages in the snow
Long ago such snow shrouded mysteries
What was it I imagined?
All of life and death I suppose
All of longing all of waiting
All smothered ambivalence
All new and green erupting from stagnation
Read the poetry of Mikels Skele
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