Free Verse with Vera Ignatowitsch
You close your eyes for a moment
and you’re there, screened-in on a porch,
you and the grandfolks watching red-streaked
rhubarb ripen; they tell you this is you,
the pushing up and out of the earth to some
purpose, some beauty: you believe what
they say, you smell it in their pores,
taste it when you kiss them, the old earth
they’re part of like memories that should ripen
and never fall, but they do, and now
they’re even more of you: when that door closes
the lids of your eyes snap open, you’re back,
but still in the earth looking up you see them
poised with clippers over the rhubarb, it’s you,
it’s always been you, now the red-whiskey nose,
your mind a screen sifter for eyes ugly
with ruptured veins from pushing,
forty years, and still pushing.
First published in the Denver Quarterly and later published in the textbook How to Read a Poem by Burton Raffel.
Doug Asper has had poems published in Kansas Quarterly, Denver Quarterly, The Poet, Panoply, the book How to Read a Poem by Burton Raffel, and others. He has a MA in literature and creative writing and lives in Denver.
Mary, I Am Learning
Why are there children with bombs strapped to their chests?
Why are there walls separating the world from itself?
Why are the watering holes drying up?
When Thirst plays on my tongue I cry.
Why didn’t I come to know
you better—sooner than this?
Having you in my hands, on my mind,
beauty floats off these pages,
out my window, beyond the trees.
I’d forgotten there are things yet untouched by human breath.
Such transcendent joy simply for the seeking.
I pray my mother knows this somewhere in the caves
of her altered mind.
I have Thirst. And there are children, like the trees
and the flowers—asleep above me
in their rooms as I listen to a great horned owl.
Its haunting soliloquy you’d know well.
Yes, all this I have on the second floor
—and outside my window.
I am learning. I am learning, Mary.
AM Roselli’s poetry book, Love of the Monster, was published in 2016. Her writing has appeared in The Stillwater Review, The Paragon Journal, Oddball Magazine, Firefly Magazine, Literary Mama, Panoply, The Absurdist, and Into the Void.
Meditation on the Charioteer of Delphi
Circling him slowly,
trying to catch his eyes
as he looks straight ahead,
I think I see his fingers
tremble to have held
the reins aloft so long.
He stands before me
and centuries-ago spectators
to claim his victory,
rooted in the moment
in which I too bask,
the eternal athletic stature,
the humility. But we
are all silent in this room.
His modesty, even here
against pale yellow walls
where anyone may see him,
his total control of emotions
admirable as he faces
the crowd, as he faces me.
The architectural certainty
of his garment,
a long chiton robe
draping his body,
its parallel folds,
at one with each other.
His expression impassive
not exuberant. The curls
of his hair wet from exertion.
It was a struggle
but one he was born to.
As to his feet: negotiators
that balance the delicate twist
of his whole body,
so real but I dare not touch.
His unspoken proclamation —
this is what I’ve done,
this is who I am.
Diane Dickinson has worked as a research analyst and business writer and lives in the Detroit area. Her poems have appeared in California Quarterly, Altadena Poetry Review, The MacGuffin, and Young Ravens Literary Review.
What is love, but a blooming
flower that we grasp
at and fight
for and claim?
What is love, but a stem in a vase
whose buoyant blossom is
What is love, but a little lifetime
that lasts years
What is love, but a beautiful mortality,
a microcosm of humanity, whose joy
cannot come without
Allison Maschhoff is a student at Truman State University working toward a BFA in Creative Writing with minors in History and Spanish.
I try to drive into the sunset
to get to all the colors
but I don’t make it.
No matter how fast I go
or how high I get
the darkness catches up to me.
Julia Cirignano self-published a book of poetry titled White Wine & Medical Marijuana. She has had articles published by Limelight Magazine and That Music Magazine, and poetry published in The Endicott Review, Mad Swirl, The New York Literary Magazine and more.
Warriors are Grown
They battle for a space beneath the sun,
faces pointed to the sky,
defiance blossoming on the tips of tongues.
Warriors are grown,
beaten into the earth and molded
with fingers skilled in the art of cruelty.
Terror is braided into the skin of girls
who aren’t allowed to feel afraid,
voices held like glass in the pits of their throats.
Rage is rubbed into the eyes of women
who eat fear and loom fiercely
over those who touch without asking.
Their voices become a storm that conquers silence,
a clap of thunder that cracks the fist of subjugation.
They refuse to sit pretty,
stay down on the ground.
Rising from the bruises of captivity,
a single word of protest hums through the earth,
shakes the rubble from the mountaintops.
Susan Richardson is a widely published, award-winning poet from Los Angeles. In addition to poetry she writes a blog called Stories from the Edge of Blindness. You can read more of her work on her website http://floweringink.com.
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