Free Verse Poetry Page  with Suzanne Robinson 

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Dementia

 

like visiting a prison

built

out of one-sided

mirrors.

 

she’s in bed

all the time now,

not moving much —

she might as well

be chained

to the wall.

you sit quietly

and tell her

about your day

to no coherent

answer.

 

sometimes

in the eyes

something flashes,

pacing

and banging silently

on the walls.

 

DS Maolalaí is a poet from Ireland, writing and publishing for 10 years. He published Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden in 2016 with the Encircle Press. He has been nominated for Best of the Net and twice for the Pushcart Prize.

DONKEY

 

When I got on the train

the man was talking

and I knew he would still be talking

when I got off in fifty minutes.

He

was mostly talking about Bob.

“Yea he is okay but you know”.

He said in a way that only people who are used to talking, talk.

 

He is still talking now

perhaps he never stops as long as he has someone to listen.

My mother would say

he could talk the legs off a donkey.

This guy could talk the legs off of thousands.

As I thought about this I took another look at him

and pictured him in a field

talking to a donkey with others behind

and a big pile of donkey’s legs all piled up.

He got off at Clapham junction

still talking

and once again I could see him in that field.

 

 

Marc Carver writes because  he has to write. He knows it makes him very lonely in the world, always having to step back, but at least sometimes he finds something worth sharing.

 

Promise

 

My next poem will sound like someone else.

It will be brave, change someone’s mind

about poverty. My next poem will be a recipe:

I’ll teach ‘em how to cook daddy’s squirrel

potpie, rub pork ribs the right way,

mash potatoes like a man and bacon—

wrap their vegetables tight. My next poem

will be skinny from smoking: a backyard

barbeque, some prayer candles and maybe

a firecracker or two. My next poem will

be patriotic: there will be guns in it, because

how else will it defend itself? My next poem

will destroy, fire wrongly, and kill a child.

My next poem will stand for brotherly love,

Philadelphia, like it belongs there. It’ll say

hoagies and jimmies and freedom. It will

reek of Yuengling, stumble through South Street,

steal Thanksgiving turkeys and eat bass

right out the Schuylkill. My next poem will be

a home-wrecker: the worst kind ever seen.

 

 

Crystal Stone is an MFA candidate at Iowa State University. Her poetry has appeared in various journals. In 2018, she gave a TEDx talk called, “The Transformative Power of Poetry.” Her first collection of poetry is Knock-off Monarch (Dawn Valley Press.)

Like Wind Invisible

 

I used to think I wasn’t there,

but now I know I’m invisible.

 

I blow in that woman’s ear;

I trip that man who scowls

at the sidewalk;

I contort faces at the 6 year old

pouting at the table beside me;

I bark at the pit bull cocking its head

for a better listen.

 

I skip through crowds of people

and almost touch them

so they startle backward

for a moment then hope

no one saw them flinch

as everyone looks at everyone,

but no one sees me

as I flip that guy’s hat

into the street.

 

I am invisible!

 

 

Diane Webster’s goal is to remain open to poetry ideas in everything. Many nights she falls asleep juggling images to fit into a poem. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia Poets, Illya’s Honey, River Poets Journal, and other literary magazines.

Asking Dad for Her Hand in Marriage

 

Her father is in his living room

sitting on a recliner

watching a football game.

I hold out my hand and he nods

tells me to sit down.

 

Black rimmed glasses glow

from the light of the TV.

A chili cheese nacho

and imported beer belly

rise and fall

like a burial mound

trying to disgorge its dead.

 

He says he loves his daughter

and he’s a traditional man.

Am I good enough for her?

Do I come from a decent family?

Can I advance in my career?

 

I tell him I am better

than her last husband:

a coke-snorting poker addict,

the one he previously approved.

My parents have been married

for over forty years

longer than all of his marriages combined.

I never cheated on a woman

never got caught embezzling company funds

never claimed to be traditional

when I was not.

I also sincerely detest football.

 

He asks me to leave.

I say the wedding is next June.

 

 

John David Muth’s poems have appeared in San Pedro River Review, Verse-Virtual, US 1 Worksheets, and in other publications. His latest book, Odysseus in Absaroka (Aldrich Press), was published in 2018 and can be found on Amazon.com.

Younger Than I

 

Graffiti sprayed and faded

cracked glass and shuttered blinds

leaning warehouse, padlocked gates

an urban cliché with directions intact

act or not act, one way or the other

It’s all the same. I imagine.

as I enter a narrow black room

and listen to the night’s performance

before congratulating the singer

who used to be one of my students

I know enough to get it, but

not enough to get gone. We talk

 

Happily nervous, excitedly sad

trying to be tough — edgy

post-modern and creative

in a post-patriarchal world

The little girl she used to be

disowned and reclaimed

emerges, eager for acceptance

Don’t let them get in your head

I say, trying to ease the pain

remembering how alone it was

for me back in the day

and probably still is

 

Keep doing what you’re doing

everywhere is somewhere

flowers bloom on icy cliffs as

followers run frightened

towards cyber validation

no one’s got the answers

no one’s got the key

no one is a teacher, but

hopefully we’re all students

dressed in dark mahogany

pressing on together with

kindness and humility

 

 

Cotton

 

Alabama state roads guide me

On my pilgrimage to Muscle Shoals

Bobby and Aretha.  The Swampers

Mick and Keith.  Pops and Mavis.

Putting music on the map, all the colored lines

Twisted and drawn, taking me all the way

She’s got to know that she’s needed around

Listen and look.  Make sure you’re sanctified

On the right side of the road

 

Cotton fields kiss the asphalt

The end of the picking season — holes

In the picture.  A blanket of white unfolds

Meeting the trees on the horizon line

Mystery branches blown to bits by the elements

Calloused hands, bent backs, toil unimagined

Sweating.  Shackled.  Shouting.

Families ripped asunder.  Guns.  Soldiers.

Tramping through the field, towards death.

Young men doing their father’s bidding.

 

For what?

 

I long for the day when there is no past

Since this is still the present.

 

 

Doug Hoekstra’s poems and stories have appeared in numerous journals. With two book-length collections of stories to his name, he is also a musician, with nine CDs out on US and European labels. https://doughoekstra.wordpress.com/

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