Free Verse Poetry Page  with Suzanne Robinson 

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August Ending

 

Working down from Canada

silent nighthawks dive

through dusk and flutter

just above the rocky shore.

 

Later, in moonless night

off Wisconsin’s coast

incandescent stars float like

paper lanterns down a dark

river over Devils Island.

Recent poems by Raymond Byrnes have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Shot Glass Journal, All Roads Will Lead You Home, Panoply, and Typishly. He lives in Virginia.  

The Thief of Solitude

 

Under a dimming sky

I arrive at my destination.

No longer anxious,

I become motionless

like the thief of solitude.

No longer frenetically thinking,

I listen to hear

a pin drop

with my soul.

I fall asleep with my eyes open.

No longer delirious,

my heart steadies.

In this room of silence

not a peep gets out.

No longer trembling,

I am immobile.

I lay down roots and catch my breath.

 

 

I Must Go

 

Twisting away

from the pale

figure at the edge

of the bed;

 

night falls,

forages

through my dream.

I escape

 

the arms of death

for a day

in this race my life

has entered.

 

Invisible hands

move across

my face, like dusty

smoke falling.

 

Slumbering, I

kick the dead

man out of my

dream.  It’s me.

 

Life blazes on,

casts its spell.

It makes me sad that

I must go.

 

 

Evening Star

 

I have taken

a shine to

your new name

tattooed on

your left arm,

Evening Star.

 

You want to be

called Eve or

Star for short.

The sky would

not mind your

bright smile. I

 

have taken

a shine to

it myself.

This evening

I’m out with

a real star.

 

 

Take Your Words To Bed

 

You take your words

to bed and say

nothing you will

regret. Hurting

others is not

so hard with words.

Take them to bed.

Sleep on them and

let them find a

place to forget.

let them find a

place to forget.

 

Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal lives in California and works in the mental health field. His poems have been published by Kendra Steiner Editions, Mad Swirl, and Unlikely Stories. “I Must Go” was written after he was diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately, he is now cancer free.

Contours

 

I’ve long cherished the notion that

David’s sketch of Marie Antoinette

 

en route to death was traced with an

Etch-a-sketch.

 

Or like a high school art assignment

was made with one unbroken snaking

 

un-looked-at line. In both cases,

I wonder where the line starts and ends:

 

from the tip of her toes to the nape

exposed for the swift surgery awaiting her?

 

From the nadir of her cartoonish

frown to the nadir of her cartoonish frown —

 

a full tortured circle, the severing of

umbilical cord and head?

 

I’m writing now because —

either I was surprised by the resemblance

 

between this famous propaganda and

a drawing I made of you this morning —

 

or the resemblance was unconsciously

planned. In both cases,

 

I spent an hour debating where I

would begin and end my meditation.

 

You, fuzzy from a head cold, nose

dripping, wrapped in your heaviest blanket,

 

are not at your best. The queen’s ugly

bonnet is an obvious and political

 

allusion to the rococo hats of her heyday.

Your knit cap is part of you —

 

your head more faithfully guarded

than the head of the most orthodox Jew.

 

Conversely, Marie’s unrelenting posture

is part of her, part of her royalty,

 

the only remaining part — while your

stiff spine is ephemeral. Your

 

mother’s been nagging you again. The

great difference is — wanting always to

 

look you in the face, I have drawn you,

not in profile, but as though I were the TV

you squint at. The great similarity is:

David’s urge to humiliate and

mine to adore

are both power grabs.

 

First Published in Hanging Loose.

 

 

Timothy Robbins has been a regular contributor to Hanging Loose since 1978. His collection, Denny’s Arbor Vitae, was published in 2017, and Carrying Bodies in 2018. He lives in Kenosha, Wisconsin, with his husband of 21 years.

The Band Girlfriend

 

All the bars are the same.

They are dark,

and no one cares

about anyone but themselves.

 

The people think

I'm single, and they ask me

if I want to take a shot

or smoke a joint.

 

I always say no

because I don't want to

share anything

with anyone.

 

Not even my time

and not even my words,

but sometimes they persist.

I always say no.

 

One time this guy

asked me if I was married

to my boyfriend

and I said yes,

 

but that was a lie

and I think that is why

I was late for work

the next day.

 

 

Michelle Gardner was born and raised in Northern Virginia. She is currently a middle school English teacher and graduate student at George Mason University, where she studies the Teaching of Writing and Literature.

Talk Radio

 

It’s gotten late again

way down the AM radio dial

her voice so gentle

so sexy

 

she’s not speaking english

I don’t understand her

she talks all night

deep into my night

 

I fall asleep

only to wake hours later

to static

the universe speaks

 

 

Sugar Tobey was born in Coney Island, Brooklyn, received a degree from the School of Visual Art in Manhattan, and now lives in NYC above a pizza parlor.

Mother’s Day

 

My shampoo

Smelled of chamomile.

I remembered my mother.

 

I leaned against

The slippery tile wall,

Hoped for support,

Received none.

 

My bare skin blushed.

Sunlight longed to

Embrace me through

The shower curtain.

 

The water sprinkled

Across my skin

Like morning raindrops

On a Sunday in May.

 

A corner of the

Handcrafted window pane

Displayed a fragment of

My budding backyard.

 

How it grew and

Photosynthesized

With every touch of

Pigment that imitated

The soft sky above.

 

Azaleas and marigolds

Dominated the garden

Of glorious colors.

 

My first flower pot

Was a gift.

I remembered my mother.

 

 

Emily Chisholm is a writer from Toledo, Ohio. Her writing has a focus on fictional poetry. This is her first publication.

FOR LACK OF AN OPEN WINDOW HIGH ABOVE THE LANE

 

She came home with a present of matching mopeds—

What an interesting way for me to commit suicide, he said,

And once when she posted their photograph on his page,

She tagged it: He’s creepy, but I’m the cutie.

She had this way of weaving stretch marks across his brow.

At night after the music is put away, after the dinner plates

Are piled into the sink, after the pots are left to soak,

They lie in bed together, she reading the full account

Of Mandelstrom throwing himself away because he had to.

She does not know he has already recorded it,

It and the words aura, animosity, abyss, anthrax.

When she curls away from him because she has to, he kisses

The back of her neck, pulls his hands to himself

And whispers, “Sweet dreams, my Nadezhda,”

Every activity, every encounter another attempt at suicide.

 

 

Michael H. Brownstein’s work has appeared in American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, The Big Window Review, poetrysuperhighway.com and others. He has published nine poetry chapbooks.

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