Free Verse Poetry Page  with Suzanne Robinson 

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Cloud Bursting your Bubble

 

I am unable to set the table

and the chairs of my affairs

in place

without attracting lightning

like a fork at a picnic

in a storm

which came shortly

after being warned

and so I am soaked

to the bone

like a skeleton holding

a collapsed umbrella

a quick cartoon

courtroom sketch

of a defendant

who is all wet

prosecuting himself

in private

and then exonerating

himself in front of a jury

of my puritan peers

who are really just

people in a hurry

to get home

and attend to their own

the bottom line is . . .

we all think we are all that

but the truth is

nobody really cares

 

Ivan Jenson is a fine artist, novelist and contemporary poet who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Ivan has written five published novels, as well as a poetry book and his poetry has been widely published in a variety of literary media.

“channel surfing”

 

small talk

over strong black coffee

in a white café style cup.

 

blue veined hands rummage

through thinning white hair,

long bony fingers with

a nervous twitch.

 

lost between sips

bittersweet,

the rain falls

and inside

we are dry and warm.

 

i smile but you’re looking

outside and i realize

it’s a waste.

 

growl at your inattentiveness

and realize you hear nothing —

 

the hearing aid

cocked on its side

by your steaming cup

 

and the channel changes

to a warm sunny day.

 

 

R.D. McManes is the author of seven poetry books. He has been a featured poet on four occasions and has conducted poetry workshops for the Kansas Author’s Club. Mr. McManes has been writing poetry for over 50 years.

FORGOTTEN STOPS

 

Riding the subway

late night

too young and dumb

to be scared

 

sleeping drunks

and forgotten stops

along the way

like missing teeth

on a comb

 

I lean my head

on the girl’s shoulder

she smells of wine

and paradise

her hair tickles my words

 

I’m writing a poem

in my head

she’ll never see

by the time we reach

the last stop

I’ll have forgotten her name.

 

 

MICHAEL MINASSIAN is a Contributing Editor for Verse-Virtual, an online magazine. His chapbooks include poetry: The Arboriculturist (2010) and photography: Around the Bend (2017).

 

FROST DAWN

 

At dawn near the river

frost like nightgowns

laces trees, grasses, bushes

awaiting sunrise

to reach valley sleep

as on the western mountain

sunlight moves down

like pulling a chair out

from under a table

to sit down to breakfast

cozy in the kitchen

thawing last night’s chill

to steamy coffee

like wisps of fog rising

from the river shivering

as ducks swim across.

HERE AND THERE

 

During the rainstorm

a lone mourning dove

sits on the crossbar

of the chain-link fence —

shaking its head

until rain stops

when it shakes its head,

flaps its wings

still grasping the crossbar.

 

Like the dove

the cancer patient

attempts to shake off

more drops on her back

and remain clasped

to the crossbar

between here and there.

 

Diane Webster lives in Colorado. She enjoys drives in the mountains to view the wildlife and scenery and take amateur photographs. Her work has appeared in The Hurricane Review, Eunoia Review, Illya’ s Honey, and other literary magazines.

SKIPPING ROCKS

 

On Easter, after all the dyed eggs had dried for your hunt

and the Easter Bunny had come with his loot to sweeten

your breakfast as the stone still blocked our Arimethean door,

you put on your Oxford cloth and blazer for the service

of the high-church Episcopalians my people called gutter

Catholics just like they called the Unitarians atheists

in search of the remote possibility that there is a god.

 

You took communion with the flippant contempt of a

boy throwing stubbed cigarette butts in the offering plate.

 

The church is convenient for neighborhood Christianity,

being just around the block so we don’t have far to walk

in dress shoes and we don’t stain our fancy jackets with

too much sweat toward piety. After church you said,

I like Christmas better; no one dies in that story, and

went back home, to this place where I knew that

happiness unhappened, knowing, like I know the Easter

ending, that I bought this house, out of pity, from a woman

who inherited four nieces to stack in these dark corners

after a no-good brother-in-law beat her sister to death.

 

We see alcoves here we don’t visit, phantoms that life

never did inhabit, trashy recesses that won’t stay clean.

 

For this, out of pity, I paid full price. Bored, oppressed

by the weight of air in this house, as sturdy and remorseless

as its age in unloving hands, we left for the park and

I taught you to skip rocks, thinking how our house

skips nothing, leaving ripples all the same. Your image

in the water wavered, I heard the glide and plunk of rocks,

a perceptual entropy, the price of living here, of all places,

ringing the registers of what will be memory, cashing us out

to our last blasphemous tithe, stone by stone.

 

 

Pamela Sumners lives in St. Louis, Missouri with her spouse, a teenage kid, and three dogs.

                      “Trading Wishes”

 

It was winter

the only posies to be found

had been forced into bloom

in some distant hot house

that turned them into hybrids and

stole their scent away

 

I wrote you a letter

proposing a porch swing to share and

hours upon hours of unhurried conversation

 

Do you remember?

 

Finally spring has arrived

the flowers on my bedside table

are luscious sun-drenched yellow tulips and

the streets beneath my windows are ablaze

with magnificent blooms

 

As far back as I remember

once I had my longed-for-license-to-drive

in one hand and

the keys to my very own sleek automobile

in the other

i would celebrate spring's arrival

with a long drive to nowhere . . .

cruising with the top down and

the radio turned up loud

 

Springtime calls to another lucky girl behind the wheel of my cherished candy-Apple corvette

my sweet allegra

and I think the time has come to trade in

my porch swing wish with you

for a drive to nowhere in particular . . .

Perhaps a picnic

yummy things to eat

fried chicken . . . blackberry cobbler and

endless pitchers of Bellinis

made with Veuve Cliquot champagne!

You can drive

we can talk about poems . . . books . . . music . . .

. . . our separate histories . . .

. . . the gift of our friendship . . . cooking from the heart

and how we honor the storytellers

who were our earliest muses

 

Hours will pass un-noticed

whispers of wishes will come to settle

in our hearts and minds and

we will scribble the words

of friendship and connection

on the canvas of each other's souls

 

Though it is just a wish

whispered into the wind

I know that you will

pick it up . . . dust it off

and never forget the girl who wished you into it

 

Though we may never share a porch swing

take that leisurely drive on hidden roads

swig the finest of champagnes

or make angels in the snow

I celebrate the gift of our unlikely friendship

it is a blessing . . . a reason for joy

a reason for joy

and on this glorious spring afternoon

it is indeed enough

 

 

Jill Sharon Kimmelman

 

At Dusk on Lake Boomoseen

for Betty

 

I wanted it to be a surprise, so

You walked with me without asking

Too much of what I wouldn’t say,

Past Chalet Row and the same dog

Barking us along, over the Float Bridge,

To almost where the dirt road flares

To meet Route 30. From the marsh

They sang baritone cacophonies.

It did not matter why they sang, or

That we couldn’t see their bull bodies,

Or even a glint of red giving away

Their eyes.  Only that we stayed,

Until their song entered our blood

And lifted our knees home once again.

 

Glenn Pearl lives in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, where he is employed as an administrative assistant at a trauma-informed therapy practice.  This is the first publication of his work in a major literary outlet.

 

 

 

Where There’s a Scaffold

 

Where there’s a scaffold there’s an orchestra,

an orchestra enumerated, tilting, turning,

so if I were you I’d rent a swivel

or reclining chair

and rehabilitate a head of hair

or introduce a color-coded tooth.

If I were you I’d study dream symbology

or probability and butter my bread

on both sides and not be struck

by lightning twice.

 

Heikki Huotari is a retired math professor, the recipient of the Gambling the Aisle chapbook prize and the author of the collection, Fractal Idyll, which appeared in early 2018.

Kelly Writers House

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