You can also read the poems by scrolling down or clicking the titles.
Click the author’s name to view a short biography (if supplied) and other recent poems by that author.
Vol. 5, No. 5
In this Issue:
Champagne flutes and secrets
Jam up the cookie jar
So much work to make it in
Until fingers push too far
Then the cookies start to crumble
And the limelight fades away
There’s nothing left to play with
And nobody cares to stay
Here comes characters true test
Name hubris or humility
Will human nature rise above?
Shakes of vulgarity
We sit back, enjoy the show
Deflecting any blame
But this game belongs to us as well
And we shall share the shame
So raise your rose colored glasses
And toast that other side
Drink up until the bloat
Puffs out a sense of pride
In honesty and bravery
A willingness to stand alone
Condemning those possessors
Who should be cast in stone
Something to quell the rising tide
The salt water inching up my neck
Something to paint it, instead,
Something to bring my toes
Back to the sand
(And here, let’s say,
I’ll say something about the songbird
Caught in my stomach —
I have nothing to sing
I have nothing to say)
i was a child
crazed by reality
and jarred by illusion
i felt the winds, holding me
and the earth,
to something i could hear
beyond a whisper
and taste, beyond my tongue
Philomela, gentle innocent girl
set out for joyful reunion with her sister
trusted the man who swore to protect her.
But Tereus broke his oath
raped and brutalized sweet Philomela
planted in her bitter seeds of revenge.
Thinking he was safe if she could not speak
he cut out her tongue
but her hands wove his evil
into the threads of a tapestry.
What is it about her tale
that resonates down the centuries?
To be retold by Sophocles, Ovid, Virgil
________by Shakespeare, Keats, Eliot
________by John Irving –
(his Jamesians cut out their own tongues
Philomela lost her voice
but she was not silenced
She cries to us still.
One red rose is all I want
Laid by my head as I sleep,
My body’s frail and gaunt,
But I’ll be fine, don’t weep.
Memories I will keep,
Trembling, I’ll forever haunt,
Emerging from the deep
One red rose I will flaunt.
I know you’ll gently taunt
Prodding my soul to keep,
But I’ll fondly take a jaunt
To watch o’er you as you sleep.
One red rose is all I want
Laid upon us as we sleep,
Over our bodies gaunt
One red rose will surely weep.
I have a recurring dream of a steamy room
with a soapy tile deck on which I am buttsliding
wall to wall: a man-size pinball in
the altogether, kicking off, backside to
center, landing two-footed like a dropped
cat, soft and sinewy.
I can gracefully pirouette mid-stage or fire
straightway into a far corner. Then, as if on
gossamer wings, I’m lifted ceilingward to
carom ’round, sans net or lubricant. I don’t
fall or fear falling. This lark transcends
self-knowledge or sensibility, flitting and
flirting in REM revelations of yet to be me.
Recurring hibitions are an inner sanctum
of private privilege that leaves us rested,
reassured, relieved, blushing, grateful,
ready, always ready, to see what we bring
to slumber and it to us, and oh so so-so
when these neurotransmissions fail to visit.
Memories are many at my stage of life,
The young girl of my dreams, now is my wife;
Tho’ we have both aged and are no longer spry,
I can still touch my toes if I really try.
And tho’ I’ve not traveled too far in this world,
I’ve fathered a boy and a dear little girl
Who I’m both very proud of, they are stars in my sky;
And their mother’s sky, too, they’re the pinnacle of high.
As the cycle of life moves along its’ known trail;
Some live their lives quickly, but I’ve been a snail;
I’ve tried to enjoy, but as a steward, not with greed,
I’ve just tried to mix in, with no yearning to lead.
In a world crazed for money, I’m not a success;
I like to “make-do”, not keep up with the rest;
I’m happy in comfortable, shaggy old clothes,
Tho’ my wife often says, “You’re not wearing THOSE?”
You’ve heard it before, just so have had I,
“Life is too short”, and with a tear in the eye
I ask all humanity, as we plunder our world
Remember the small boy, and the dear little girl.
Our basin was double pillowed
in moth-smooth circling basalt,
deep cleft where channelled water
rushed and leapt to fill the pool,
then languid sidled round a bend.
We’d never ventured there.
A barefoot mile into deep wood,
floored in woodland flowers,
just wide enough for speckled light
to show a path and dusky toads
to show us snakes cross off our path
We rode the leap when it ran full,
clambered high to ride again
the surge and fall, the shock of icy water.
We played until our zest was spent
lay on hot pillow rocks and wiled
the end of our green summer.
A man appeared, come through the trees
with tackle and intent. “You try,” he said
Untried, I cast to touch the pool.
“Who showed you that?” he said.
I hid behind my lids and looking down
could not but see plump thighs
and know confusion.
Yellow house on a gentrified street.
Flapping black dresses, grey unmentionables.
Plum tomatoes, basil, grape vines.
A kneeling pad.
Splotch of paint
Too rich a gold for the tired siding.
Don’t paint your graffiti on this house.
She has suffered enough.
The sky above is crying
Tears of woe
Falling coldly against the earth
Thunder in the dark clouds
Fills the silence of the night
Those unlucky ones caught
By the hammering onslaught
Will forget this night not
The darkness interrupted
By flashes of light
Adding to the fear
Of those without shelter
Forced to cower
From the harsh February shower
The hammers clash once again
Imagining a storm without end…
A storm of moth white wings
Whipped in the milk-light sweetened sheets
And discreet walls oblique from night
Peeling of the skin tipped lip
And ceiling of the wilted plight
your taste, so sweet
and so sickly, like
a smile without feeling,
a compliment without truth
or a salesman in a cheap suit
and I’m just not buying it, dreaming
of apples, pears, mangoes… but never you.
it’s hard to maintain full warp burn
when attention is directed hard astern.
it was a martian raygun freeze,
a reflex-testing hammer to the knees,
running through the collected clover,
sorting short poems into under-and-over.
my initial reaction was bemusement,
secondary feedback, discontentment.
picking out the most favorite childr’n,
set my lip quiverin’, eyes moistenin’.
it flickered my mind as the pages turned,
accepted or rejected, loved or spurned;
nine were chosen, massaged, and sent;
part of my reticence wafting up the vent.
valuable lessons can be learned
without penny spent or nickel earned.
It’s all around me.
What does it mean?
It sounds like fun!
I want to join in!
It’s a kind of club.
So that I can belong,
I learn passwords,
lyrics to the song.
We take turns singing
words back and forth.
I try to get them right.
Correct me if I’m wrong!
I must play to play
(which only follows).
I am playing a game
I may never outgrow!
Should I make it clear
what I’m talking about?
I’ll put it into words:
I’m learning to speak!
Open up your heart to the world.
Open up your deep feelings.
Open up to some pain.
Open up without fear.
Open up and show your soul.
Open up and be human.
where has the time gone
it has passed me
to this day
that I could live
for what I’ve done
pride for what I haven’t
and who I’ve loved
and those I haven’t
to those I’ve forgotten
and those burnt
or drank with
or left at the street corner
and blue taxi cab doors
An eye for an eye
But hundred eyes for an eye
Not a fair balance
You don’t have to
fear right now, my friend,
but even so do they not . . .
in school, put chains
on your mind that
you might never break?
Is this thought
so unfounded, a lie?
the lulled lack of fear
perceives it with, then?
The goodness of school
is a trust given blind,
but what is it
advantages intellect when
it’s trained to roll over,
and speak, and play dead,
its natural appetite
curbed by how they serve
the questions and answers
pre-cooked and force-fed?
I hear your approach, the ground submitting.
I am awed by the sudden bleached-out sky
as you skip across the face of Earth.
Even as a child,
I secretly admired you,
never feared you.
Someday, should you put me in my place,
I will not be angry.
I will consider it an honour
to be swallowed up by tall grasses,
the sound of rain ringing in my ears,
the glorious sky descending.