General Poetry Page         with Suzanne Robinson 

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STARING INTO SPACE

 

The small moon rises slowly like a dilemma

I was too stupid to recognize at first.

 

The horizon of darkening trees

undulates like the waves of a body in desire.

 

The night sky, here, outside the city’s noisy halo

needs a new metaphor for light

 

or one borrowed from ancient times:

playground, guide, god’s inverse sieve,

 

or changing map that only the Chinese spotted.

I’ve come to an old friend’s rural spread

 

to try to figure a few things out

among cow paths and cricketed grass

 

and true light of real darkness

but staring into brilliant space

 

I get even more confused and

I can only stay here ‘til Tuesday.

 

AFTER THE JOB INTERVIEW

 

The elevator doors parted like vaginal lips.

Inside I made animal sounds and laughed,

pressed prone against the floor

as if making a photocopy of myself,

leapt up and kicked the walls

like going crazy in a padded cubicle.

 

O the dreams we had of opening a restaurant!

All those fertile dreams,

maybe a bookstore

with sofas and a Siamese cat,

creating it all with hands held across a bistro’s table

as if we would one day own a home,

steep sun tea on the porch

and continue to be happy.

 

The ding of the shaft

like a timer set for a hard boiled egg.

 

Then the lobby, the forest-themed lobby,

fountain and ferns and green walls,

and then the street, hitting the streets all day

jiggling the change in my pocket

like fumbling for the snooze button. 

 

 

Dan O’Connell is a four-time award winning poet, recently America Magazine’s Foley Poetry Prize and an Ina Coolbrith Poetry Prize winner.

Carnem Levare

            Carnival. Medieval

                Latin: Carnem levare.

                Farewell, flesh.

 

Like clockwork the command:

abandon the sensual. Along the

Antillean arc, our vertebral isles

heave a joint, subcrustal sigh.

Arising, as one supple-spined,

multihued trickster, we turn

these decrees on their heads,

respond instead with abandon

of a pointedly sensuous kind.

 

Respond with the beautifully soiled,

the fallible earth and dust we all are.

Respond, at the dawn, with J’ouvert.

Emit, in malodorous, loamy, sonorous

whiffs, both the joy of messy existence

and the agape even Tyndale insisted, in

impenitent vernacular, merely meant love.

Meant — despite the dependably variable

inner weathers of our species, our striving

and our ever falling short — each of us is

an odd sort of sacred, odd sort of loved.

 

So, hello to flesh and feeling, not penance,

welcome its thrust and jiggle, shuck off

the carapace self in which we have served

and sidled too long. Come today to the well

where governing and governed unmaster

themselves. Take and drink. Don’t bother,

before or after, wiping the bucket rim clean.

 

Joe O’Neill’s poetry has appeared in The Galway Review, Caribbean Writer, Moko, Litbreak, The Journal of Caribbean Literatures, and Where I See the Sun: Contemporary Poetry of the Virgin Islands.

Featured Poem - Editor's Choice:

by Laura Hampton

My Mother’s Back

 

The last indignity, she says

Her own children, washing her, changing her underwear.

A long hospital stay: night nurses waking her

Only interested in her vital signs.

 

We sit for hours, I let her talk.

She tells me of her Pan-American flying days.

When she wasn’t flying, she was modeling.

Living in a two-bedroom apartment with 8 women, nurses              and stewardesses.

They were never all at home, working crazy hours. They’d              just sleep where there was an

Empty bed. Someone would occasionally empty the ash trays,        buy coffee.

I use warm water, hospital soap

Lean her forward to wash her back.

Everywhere else, her skin shows her 83 years.

But her back is smooth as a girl’s.

 

I find the shape of another woman. Tiny, feminine.

She was ever only my mother.

I see shoulders a man would want to stroke, a backless black          dress.

Like an old movie, he’d put his hand on the small of her back.

A young woman in love with life.

 

She still laughs in that movie star way,

Head thrown back.

She puts on lipstick:

Charms the doctor, on his feet since 6 am.

Asks the names of the hospital aide’s children.

I see just how beautiful she is.

The Silence Between Letters

 

Daughter, it is not something you will ever know:

The silence between letters.

 

You carefully pick stationary, but make a draft on three-ring          binder paper

Cursive, no one does that anymore.

Fold it in thirds, put it in an envelope, lick it shut. Done.

Dropping it in the mailbox is the final commitment.

 

You write to a boyfriend gone for the summer.

You must wait until a return letter. Sometimes it doesn’t                come right away.

Then you worry, what did I write? Did he misread?

Did the pink stationary come off as too needy?

Every day, you check the mailbox. In between the circulars             and bills,

Looking for a reply. Silence.

Now, you text, or Skype. Immediately, you know

Can gauge where you stand, minute by minute.

 

But then, the absence of an envelope could lead to despair.

 

 

Laura Hampton has published poetry, short stories and non-fiction in a variety of online and print publications. When she is not writing she is a Master Pilates instructor.

Imagine

Skaters
on blades of ice
cross a solid
steel pond

Richard Leach is a widely published sacred poet, writing words set to music as hymns and anthems. For some time now he has focused on visual art and secular poetry.

The Silver Surf Motel

 

wired from driving

and feeling lost

pass a “VACANCY” sign

 

it’s an untrendy residence

for the weather worn

and a lucky find for us

 

so sign the register

pay the deposit

and park the car

 

gain perspective

from the balcony

of an unfamiliar room

 

an ocean in twilight

loud, cold and the context

wear a coat, no shoes

 

patiently stroll the beach

searching the horizon

soaking up the big empty

 

yet standing on the riffling sand

this solitary meditation

on the ineffable self

 

there’s a couple with their dogs

one large and one small

the dogs’ happy with that

 

 

Donald Gasperson has been published in or accepted for publication by Poetry Pacific, Three Line Poetry, Quail Bell Magazine, Big Windows Review, and the Tipton Poetry Journal.

 

What’s It Taste Like

 

The crust of a shag rug 

teething at my legs,

its pockets between hairs

filled with dirt and Barbies.

 

A stove, I’ve never seen used,

looks at me with a rusty smile

on the only unclothed

tile on this floor.

A place hung with wood panel walls

and a box TV. Large fur heads

hang on the walls

in place of light fixtures.

 

Does (Dolls?) with eyes made of glass,

and never a soal, (soul?)

stuck in scooped sockets.

Her mates head hung like hers, neck stiff

as if it was never made of muscle. Their crowns spread

out white as teeth

holding brown wires

and dust. A fox

 

the spot of red

in brown. Stuck in a calm

on top of this wooden perch,

looking at me

in two different stoned directions. A stitch

holding down its stomach.

 

Kaileen Campbell

 

 

The horns of the moon

 

In evening prayers,

a streak of fire —  

and we all crossed ourselves,

because this the right thing,

the best thing,

the only thing.

It was a thousand years ago

but I would do it now.

And then, as now,

write down what I saw,

what we all saw.

The crescent might break

but it did not.

The world might creak to 

a stop, but it did not.

We might have stopped,

but we did not.

 

Meg Smith’s poems have been published in or accepted by The Blue Hour, Pudding, The Cafe Review and other publications.

 

Valentino

 

Dressed as one of the shepherds

You looked more like Valentino

Gazing across a desert

Of smiling upturned faces

At your first Nativity show.

 

The rustic head dress

Hanging Sheikh like

Added decades

To your three years

Dignity to immaturity

 

And when you yawned

In childish indifference

During yet another

Jolly Christmas ditty

A hundred mothers sighed.

 

I have the close up photo

That I took from the audience

Balanced on a tiny chair

To remind me of your glory

And my own long since faded.

 

 

David Subacchi has published 4 collections of his English Language poetry, as well as a collection in Welsh. David’s work has appeared in many literary magazines and anthologies.

 

Silent Witnesses

 

It is common our disputes about this and that.

Really, almost daily, we are at opposite sides.

Friends say we are not well-settled a couple,

and so misjudgment, I know, hurts us equally.

In the deep of night, standing awake in bed,

I look at you asleep and feel all friends’ errors.

Who would bear testimony to us, I ask myself.

Walls and roofs surely know our inmost life

but they do not speak, are invalid witnesses.

I ask them if just to me would they speak of us.

They speak our confrontations, furies, rough words

and revilements but also remember hugs and

hot kisses. Likewise, I remember I have listened

to some words like it is cold out, dear, wear your

coat or don’t be late, darling; some little things

only beloved ones are capable of.

They say we are in hard and arduous battle,

in pursuing, although scarce, a bit of true love.

They also say to keep the route and fear nothing.

Tiles and bricks, indeed they know, but perceive,

unlike our best friends, the very plot of the play.

 

First published in TWJ Magazine, October 2014

 

A Brazilian poet, Edilson A. Ferreira, 74, writes in English rather than Portuguese. His first poetry book, Lonely Sailor (one hundred poems), is scheduled for publication in 2018.

Kelly Writers House

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