IN AND OUT
I'm in my Lexus
in the parking lot
and I go inside, because
the drive thru is jammed
and everyone knows
that it takes longer.
It is cold out, and I go in,
and an old man on a wheelchair
outside the door, dirty
and disheveled, says something,
so I lean in and he asks
“do you know
this town well?”
He speaks so quietly
and I do not hear
him, so he repeats
“do you know this town?”
“No,” I answer, and go in,
even though I live in town.
I go in quietly, so I do not hear
the quiet laughter of his
tomorrows. I put my order in--
I buy burgers and fries,
and an ice tea.
As I am heading out
he is sitting in his chair
in the night, like a silent
question mark. His grey
hair peaking from
under his baseball cap.
James Ritter lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two daughters. This is his fourth time through ModPo.
The reentry capsule was jettisoned for splashdown in the Atlantic.
No reentry without a hand stamp.
Without a word, he took my hand.
The astronaut had seen it while we were gawking at the moon.
The earth was as blue as an orange.
Like a blue marble, they actually said but Eluard, with surreal love, had said it better before.
Say it with flowers, no words needed.
A beginner's mind has endless possibilities and not enough words.
Words in the mind of an expert are too many and possibilities few.
A person of few words.
Strong silent type.
Ears to hear.
Leave some white space talking through in Mrs. Thornton's art class.
White space talks like white noise.
Don't talk with your mouth too full of words.
If we use up our all words too soon, we will be condemned to
Holly York has for many years translated and taught French to college students in Atlanta Georgia, USA, where she lives with husband Martin and two Doberman Pinschers. Her poems have appeared in Whitmanthology, Three Drops from a Cauldron and Word Bohemia.
You are not my friend
(Based on “I am your friend” by Lorine Niedecker)
I am your enemy…
I send you raw flesh
and the desert locust
desiccate your goldfish
rip through your gloves
with an eviscerating knife
including your foot
The First Adventure
That shadowy entrance, subdued glint, spark of eyes!
You trod all cultures with your classic grace
Of posture, figure, profile
The breathy touch, so tentative,
The answering squeeze
All beams and tiptoes as we trod
“The dream’s come true”
The curtain nearly volunteered
To close itself.
I was poised to give the word;
Fired by our kisses, you took it from my mouth
Each garment spoke surrender as it fell
A flower-show of fabrics
Adoring those limbs which they had covered;
Warm air on new divested skin
Near liquid in its heady density
Our bodies new-revealed, dreamed up
A gallery of art-figures,
Our mounting breath
Kindled their animation in our honour
Those facing entities suffused with mutual nourishment
The rising sun the backcloth of our dual climax
The bathing epilogue
The farewell walk
A froth of blossom round our tender steps
That fleeting perfection was the purest art
Framed in an idyllic memory.
I am trapped in a cul-de-sac
There is no way out
And I can't go back!
It Should Have Been Me
He shouldn’t have died,
It should have been me.
What did he know of life at twenty-three?
Like a brilliant red bud tightly furled,
Felled by a flash frost,
Never opening to the Sun.
Or a chrysalis damaged
before the butterfly was fully formed,
Never spreading its glorious orange and black wings.
He stands on the precipice of life,
As those figures on Keats’ Grecian urn,¹
Frozen in time.
No beauty in that,
though forever young.
He should have died an old man,
Gray hair, weathered skin, rheumy eyes
Surrounded by his loving wife of seventy years,
his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren,
Reflecting upon a life well spent.
He shouldn’t have died at twenty-three.
It should have been me,
It should have been me,
It should have been me.
Rosalyn Levine Blatt
¹John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn” May, 1819
We approach our poetry
from different drinks, leaf and bean,
complicated processes, similar traits.
Conversation over coffee
infused with steamed milk, and tea,
with a partially eaten Belgian cookie.
You speak with measured economy
a steady even tone,
the froth on your upper lip grins.
I am all twisted tongue
trying to sound less intense,
rescued in a moment’s business:
The glass door swings
admitting a blast of sea-air reality,
rain, and a customer.
I feel my flushed cheeks cool
thankful for the cold,
before it is percolated with ground beans.
The cash register is busy
tending fair trade profit for all,
hot drinks available to go or repose.
I speak of ‘Pages’ pretending
it doesn’t affect me, my voice does not agree,
you smile behind the wide-eyed coffee cup.
And time outstays its welcome,
a shuffling glance at phone and watch,
other commitments timetabled.
On Quay street we part on a handshake
You wished me well and I wished the wind would spin me,
because I wanted to walk with you.
Get Your 1st Annual ModPo Anthology Print Edition
These 42 poems by this year's Modpo students collected in "chapbook" form. Price $5.00 S&H $2.00 shipping charge, no matter how many books you order!
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