Free Verse with Vera Ignatowitsch
So Much Has Changed
Your blouse drops straight down,
no longer rides the mound of your belly.
You’re not expecting any more.
The child is with your mother.
And you’re climbing to the top of this tall tower
where you can look down
at the gray rooftops, brown creek, railway lines,
abandoned factories, of your little town.
“Come down from there!” somebody shouts from below.
But you prefer it where you are.
Nobody ever got pregnant
from being above it all.
“Don’t jump!” another cries.
No way that’ll ever happen.
You could land on some guy with his fly unzipped.
John Grey is an Australian poet and US resident, with work recently published in Midwest Quarterly, Poetry East, and North Dakota Quarterly, and upcoming in South Florida Poetry Journal, Hawaii Review, and Roanoke Review.
out of phase
“sufficient for a day”
Here is a boy twice blessed:
autistic and gay.
The vast ocean of humanity
with its millions-strong constituency of social cues
has been drowning him all his life —
he never learned to swim here.
And so, they don’t see him.
He is meaningless, confusing to them.
I live out of phase. I shall accede to it,
become a poet, and revel in my cloistered vision.
For each of my allotted days, it is enough.
“safe among my own”
Just the other day . . . for a moment . . . I existed again,
crossing paths with another like myself.
(You quickly learn to know your own.)
After a long season of silence . . . beautiful words,
lovely in their ordinariness,
exciting in their touch as agents of the tongue
bearing the gifts of the nous-understandable.
I want to shout: “Will you know me?
Want to love me? Can you at least bear to look at me?”
Though they be a million to one,
the bet is worth the price of the odds
(Yes, a semblance of shared humanity is that important!)
Here is a boy twice blessed:
autistic and gay.
When Daniel Squires is not reading, he’s writing. When he’s not writing, he’s working. When he’s not working, he is contemplating the perplexities of life in the 21st-century in Oregon. When he tires of that, he’s back reading again.
You can do it awhile. Air pockets remain,
locked around ice crystals. But not forever —
just long enough to replay the avalanche
rolling over life, sweeping love downhill,
leaving you flattened in white,
no way to reach for sky. If your ears still hear,
eyes are not frozen closed, hand trapped
near face can clear a bit of space,
you may have sufficient time
to listen for swish of metal probes
slicing nearby, promising beams of light.
If tempted to sleep, imagine
a new lover finds you, scoops a place
by your side, lies close. Together,
you breathe hope into deep snow.
Published by Sue Boynton Poetry Contest, 2013.
Timothy Pilgrim is a Pacific Northwest poet who has had several hundred acceptances from journals such as Seattle Review, Third Wednesday, Windsor Review, and Hobart. He is author of Mapping Water.
Next life I will be a little higher up the pecking order.
No longer a dishwasher at the House of Pancakes
or Ricky’s All Day Grill, or Sunday night small dog thief.
I will evolve into the Prince of Bullfrogs. Crickets don’t bother me.
Swamp flies don’t bother me — I eat them. Alligators I avoid.
I urinate on lily pads, mate across borders and continents at will.
Someone else from India can wash my dishes for me.
Forward all complaints to the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
Michael Lee Johnson is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois. He has published in more than 1042 new publications, his poems have appeared in 38 countries, and he edits and publishes 10 poetry sites.
Yuri Nikitin, 66, loses his final argument
to a poet, homely prose not up to the task:
oak table, hard cheese, stout knife, vodka.
Na zdorovyeh! (To your health.) A comrade
from the Urals with a quick tongue
cuts through Chekhov like goat cheese:
da, zemlya is our krov, our zhizn, yes
the land is our blood, our life, but better
leave the truth dripping with metaphor
than drag out a nation’s torture,
Dyadya Vanya notwithstanding.
Yuri spews forth like a train chugging
through Siberia. Concluding argument:
slumped to the knife, lung pierced.
It took him too long to make his point.
The poet staggers out the door
in the small town of Irbit, 1200 miles
east of Moscow, guilty, but victorious.
The poets have it. Na zdorovyeh!
Winner in print: K. Pravda. Eight years
in a penal colony, notwithstanding.
Carol Barrett holds doctorates in both clinical psychology and creative writing. She coordinates the Creative Writing Certificate Program at Union Institute & University. Her books include Calling in the Bones, Drawing Lessons, and Pansies.
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