General Poetry Page             with Suzanne Robinson 

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Fear of Flying

 

My hair never dries.

I shower,

braid,

sweat,

continue sweating.

 

I’ve never dreamed that I could fly.

I could sometimes hover just

above the ground.

But most often

I’d run,

then begin clawing

at the ground

to gain speed,

then find

myself running on all fours,

beast-like.

 

I sweat at work

and pick up

the stench of the fryers.

Come home,

get clean,

braid my hair

so it’s not a wild

wet mop

in bed.

 

It’s a rope.

A tether.

 

But not you.

 

And when you dream, you fly.

That’s enough.

 

 

 

When I Am Old

 

I will write

about you and your voice;

 

about the years I raged

against your revisionist’s histories

and attempted martyrdoms;

 

your talking.

 

When I am old

I will lament

 

the hostages I held

with resentment and insecurity,

and my unkindness,

 

the bristling at your words

and words and words and words.

 

To say something does not make

it true.

 

To say something does not make

up for not hearing it from me.

 

When I am old

I will write about you

 

to fill the silence.

 

Hope Madden is a writer, film critic, journalist, horror film fanatic and Chipotle addict living in Columbus, OH. Read more from her at maddwolf.com, on Twitter @maddwolf, and Facebook @maddwolfcolumbus

 

            PASSING WORDS

        (In memory of my father)

 

Do you remember when I was six?

So full of energy and dreams...

You said, “Go to school and fill your head with books

And your heart with prayer”.

So I did ... and that worked for a while.

 

Until I was sixteen and looking for my way,

So full of rebellion and rage.

You said, “Don’t change the world

But find your place in it”.

I thought about this and realized they were not

Just passing words but a code to live by.

And that worked for a while.

 

Until I was thirty with three girls in tow

And I was confused, looking for meaning in my life.

You said, “Don’t look to the sky for answers

Just look into those little eyes, there’s the meaning of life”.

So I did... and that worked for a while.

 

Until I reached middle age and felt mortality grip me deeply

And sorrow wrapped my soul like heavy chains.

In the midst of my darkness you said,

“This is the cycle of life, flowers grow, bloom and wither.

Healing will come”. I came to realize                       

These were not just passing words

But the process of living.

And that worked for a while.

 

Until now when I have to seal myself from the anguish

Of seeing you pass into shadow.

And as I wallow in the pools of Why and What For

I hear you say, “Remember me in your heart,

I will live forever there”.

I hope that works for a while.

 

 

Phil Capitano, from Huntsville, Ontario, Canada, has been writing for 50 years. "Passing Words" is from his first book of poetry entitled "Roses on the Moon" (2017)

 

 

The Best That We Can Do?

 

               May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,

               give deliverance to the children of the needy. -Psalm 72.


A fleet of impossibly large white boats

lies quietly moored 

at an impossibly beautiful 

Mediterranean tax-haven.

I read of the growing gulf 

between rich and poor,

how even in the mighty USA

the wealth of the top one percent

equals that of the bottom ninety percent.


Then into my mind’s eye chugs

a flimsy boat, overcrowded

with men, women and children

fleeing poverty or persecution,

all brave, desperate, hopeful, scared,

all enduring terrible privations,

the lack of privacy, hunger, stench, heat, wet, 

desperate scanning for land,

the gathering sea, the looming swell,

the vulnerable diesel motor,

the creaking of the water-filling vessel.

 

Then float images of the new gulags,

Pacific Island detention centres,

shimmering heat, barbed wire, dormitories,

hopeless, hollow-eyed children,

vulnerable women,

abusive, predatory guards,

the hostility of the locals

in places of planned, deliberate inhumanity

designed to deter seeking asylum by sea.


And what I want to know is this.

Can we do no better than build walls

or nightmare places of deterrence?

Does not injustice foster hate and resentment,

encourage violence, revenge,

the bloody carnage of the bombed market,

the twisted tangled of the torn apart train?

Does not the past inform 

that the grinding shoal of inequality

eventually leads to dark stains 

from the guillotine flowing 

through blood-filled squares?


 

Neil Creighton is an Australian poet whose work as a teacher of English and Drama made him intensely aware of how opportunity is so unequally proportioned and his work reflects strong interest in social justice. Recent publications include Poetry Quarterly, Poeming Pigeon, Silver Birch Press, Rat's Ass Review, Praxis Mag Online, Ekphrastic Review, Social Justice Poetry and Verse-Virtual. He blogs at windofflowers.blogspot.com.au

I’m Somewhat Certain

 

I don’t know for sure, but I suppose

that two men can one day love each other,

if they’re left alone little by little

something in their hearts tells them

that they are alone,

alone on earth they pierce each other,

kill each other.

Everything is done in silence.

As light amasses inside their eyes.

Love unites bodies.

In silence they fill each other.

They wake up in each other’s arms;

Then they know everything.

They're naked and they know everything.

(I don’t know for sure, but I suppose.)


 

Sergio A. Ortiz is a two-time Pushcart nominee, a six-time Best of the Web nominee, and 2016/17 Best of the Net nominee. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Loch Raven Review, Drunk Monkeys, Algebra Of Owls, Free State Review, and The Paragon Journal. His chapbook, An Animal Resembling Desire, will be published by Finishing Line Press.  He is currently working on his first full-length collection of poems, Elephant Graveyard.

AMBIVALENCE

The man stands at the bar

he tries to talk to everyone who comes to the bar

but most ignore him

I don't know how long he has been there

but I am guessing a while

he goes to the toilet three times in ten minutes

again he looks around for a friend

he is not young

not young enough to make friends

but old enough

for everyone to walk past him

me

I know better

that is why I sit by myself

with my beer

and no one

 

Marc Carver

 


 

Thighs

 

My thighs jiggle with blessed assurance that

I am alive and powerful.

The thighs of a woman

who has concerned herself more

with immersing herself in the ocean waves

then how good they look in a

swimsuit.

We must never forget

as women

what our thighs are capable of.

Our thighs support,

children,

lovers,

hopes and dreams,

and the very foundation of the world.

Kingdoms and empires

have begun between our thighs

and men quiver

at their: power, grace, and magnificence.

 

Thighs

with their marks, their lines

 

their shapes

embody a multitude of

Power.

Juanita Cox is an emerging writer whose main claim to fame is the ramblings on her blog postgraduateglitter.wordpress.com. She writes poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. When not writing you can find her working at Starbucks, spending time with her husband, watching Netflix, or marveling over other much better writers then herself.

Misses and the Mountain

I watched her

fall

from up high

and then

slowly

turn silver,

the mouth

curled down

like some valley

wanting,

a wavy chin stuck in

 

trying to hold

itself

in water.

 

And the legs,

the three legs shrivelled sticks

nearly dreary,

 

arms

no longer arms,

the hip gave way

to cinder.

 

Eyes rolled

 

back to skin,

a long-ago facade

I once loved and remembered.

 

But inside

 

where

we still

turned and walked and danced

 

were the smooth round stones

on the long, long banks

of great mountains

and rivers.

Larry D. Giles was born in Richmond, Virginia. Educated at Livingstone College, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the University of Virginia, he taught English and writing at his high school alma mater in Essex County and for the city of Richmond. While at Richmond, he received two writing fellowships, teacher of the year, the prestigious REB Award for Teaching Excellence, and an educational leadership fellowship. His work appears at Highlandparkpoetry.org and in the River City Poets Anthology, 2018. His first book Flesh and Blood: Collected Poems of Mind, Body, and Spirit is currently in publication with NavWorks Press.

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun (Sonnet 130)

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go;

My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.

- William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616

Bill writes for us  occasionally from his estate at Stratford-on-Avon, when he is not busy selling flyrods and cheap perfume. He also does standup with a local group called Monty Python.

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