Free Verse Poetry Page  with Suzanne Robinson 

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From far off though this wall

still grieves, stone over stone

closing from inside as mist

 

—still sags into each corner

the way mourners come by in twos

binding their dead to the dim light

 

that covers the Earth with your forehead

—you’re lost, sinking in

till you stop as you did before

 

and again your back breaks open

for air and wings and in your knees

the bones that will go no further

 

are filled with an immense arch

pressing down on the thin shadow

waiting at home and loosening.

 

 

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is The Gibson Poems published by Cholla Needles, 2019. 

Guts and Poison

 

I read a poem today

by a writer I greatly admire

this guy had it all

 

his words had guts

his ink had poison

colourful weeds in a manicured garden

 

but today I read one of his

that contained a line

almost identical to one of mine

 

and a crack ran through me

and I thought

he can’t be that great

 

Steve Denehan lives in Ireland with his wife Eimear and daughter Robin. He has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize and Best New Poet and his chapbook, Of Thunder, Pearls and Birdsong, is available from Fowlpox Press.

Curve The Palm Of Your Hand

 

If only you could

curve the palm of your hand

to hold the ghosts, the scars

my cut out spaces

 

If only you could

spread your fingertips

make a point to hold me

till I swallow again

 

If only you could curl

concave your hand

to pool my hurry past

and wash away my scars

 

If only you could

brush flower blossoms

onto my churn

to dress me calm

 

So I can breathe fragrance

while they remain

noble white chrysanthemums

 

For as I devein

there is only one way

from pain to pleasure

 

When grievous things come to wound

carry me in the palm of your hand

and clasp me to that place, your heart

 

 

Donna Best writes to ruffle and scratch at her need to share her words, to connect her feelings with others, to reach out to like-minded people who might also have like feelings, even if not like experiences, and for the validation that it gives.

Notes from the prison house

 

They said . . .

 

They said my sentence wasn’t that severe.

They lied to me again! Did they?

They lied . . . did they?

 

“Maybe you won’t be here that long.”

(Yeah, maybe. Fuck that!)

 

I can’t even remember how I got here.

Was I condemned? For what?!

Was I sentenced? For what?!

 

I know one thing for sure — perverted Cartesian that I am —

I don’t like it here.

 

“You can leave.” (They tell me.) “There are no guards.”

(Something holds me here. I try to find the entrance,

I fall . . . deeper. I don't care about my wounds.)

 

Did it matter when I thought I cared?

Does it matter when the darkness seems to recede?

There are times . . . when someone gives me joy . . . ignores my shame.

 

They said there is a key.

They said that they don't have it.

They said . . . do I believe them?

 

“You don't have it, but it can be found.”

 

They said . . .

 

There are no guards within this prison house.

 

 

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.

six ocean mornings

 

stone sky

plummets

on rocks at first light

 

pearlescent clouds

surfboard over

abalone waves

 

bottle capped ocean

slate on slate ~

twins

 

clam shell sky

glazes the atlantic

mother of pearl

 

august burns

banks of snow

above, below

 

white rain

sparks crackle

on the sea surface

 

six morning sisters

up mirrors down

sunrise on the ocean

Ingrid Bruck’s current work appears in Otata, Failed Haiku, Naturewriting, and Halcyon Days. Her debut chapbook, Finding Stella Maris, was just released by Flutter Press. Her poetry website is www.ingridbruck.com.

Cutting Back

 

I cut the

overgrown

and

unwieldy

pyracantha

down to the

ground, but I

didn't dig up

the roots.  Like

all my other

cutting back,

it returned

the next year,

as green

and

prickly

as ever.

 

 

Sneaky Squirrels

 

After my wife refilled the bird feeder on the maple tree in

       our backyard,

she told our grandson, who had helped, to watch out

for those sneaky squirrels because they would steal the birds’

       food.

I said, maybe, the squirrels are hungry, too.

Later, as we watched the birds eating from our sunroom,

my wife pointed out a sneaky squirrel

who joined in on the feast. The tag sneaky

stuck to any squirrel caught climbing our maple tree,

and soon to any squirrel at all.

 

If squirrels understood human language,

I wonder what they would think of the label sneaky

applied to their species.  For that matter,

what would spiders think of scary,

rats of repulsive, and snakes of deadly.

Labels are strange and powerful things,

even more so if applied to the human species.

Think loser, slut, racist, snitch, far right, or far left.

Like one’s weight, they are easy to gain but hard to lose.

 

 

Harold Whisman is a retired English and journalism teacher for Norfolk Public Schools in Virginia. He has been writing poetry for several decades but started writing it full time the last few years. These poems are from a book of poetry as yet unpublished.

Inches

 

Sitting on a blanket, looking up at the blue sky

my sister and I watched the whirly birds from

the neighbor’s maple trees swirl through

the air to the ground next to us.

 

We tossed them up into the sky to see who

could get them highest and then watched them

float back down to the grass.  Then we picked

them up again and tried to be the highest again.

 

My sister gave me a box to stand on so that we

were the same height but it always made me a

couple of inches taller.  She never complained

and I never said anything about it.

 

She taught me how to pick the good ones—ones

without rips or tears or holes.  She showed me

how to spin my wrist just right to make them

soar into the late spring sky.

 

In the fall, when the whirly birds where gone

and she was off to school and I was left at home,

she ran home and taught me what she had learned,

making me feel a couple inches taller again.

 

 

Jennifer Davis earned a MA in Writing from DePaul. She is the SVP at Lever Interactive, a digital marketing agency. She and husband Chris are owned by two bulldogs, Hugo and Petunia.

keyhole

 

when your name is announced coffee comes

in a paper cup beside a box crammed 

with collars to buffer your fingers

from the heat which finds its way through 

and the palm nestles into its ease while you check 

the black lid is clipped all around 

and the  keyhole at the edge looks up and is ready

for the first tiny sip when the tongue makes its test

the way my hand pulled my mother’s coat 

over my face and knew its buttonhole 

that opened and shut was the safe way to dose

the world to myself

Judith Bowles is the author of two collections of poetry, The Gatherer (2014) and Unlocatable Source (forthcoming), both from Turning Leaf. 

Barrio Song 25

 

you would see them emerge

when the sunlight disappeared

and the city lights took over

if you were lucky

usually one guy

one spray can

usually black paint

this wall this barrio

the rattling clacking

before the hisssssss

with precision and ownership

of that moment

no matter who was looking

in awe in disgust in violation

in disrespect in pure admiration

flaring barrio calligraphy cadence

all body movements

dancing in resilience rejection

begging and answering

where you from

whose barrio is this

a glance at all bystanders

you better recognize game

when you see it

the dna of ancient wall scriber

shrilling through their caged body

 

 

Israel Francisco Haros Lopez has been published online and in print poetry journals, including Rise Up, Across The Margin, La Bloga, and The Anthology Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice. He has two collections of poetry, Waterhummingbirdhouse: A Poetry Codex, and Mexican Jazz Vol. 1.

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