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Free Verse Poetry Page  with Suzanne Robinson 

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Featured Poem

Boo Radley Will No Longer Protect Us


from our own nature

while the blood moon of alabama

hangs around our hearts

like a noose around dreams

in a mute sky

of disbelief


it’s all backward here

but none of it

is fiction


young girls let out silent screams

like torch singers

in the alleys of the dead

without even knowing

how they got there


the landscape is a broken time machine

in museums of youthful abandon

dedicated to their grandmother’s concerns

as if they never went away


harper lee where are you now


scout finch was once

a feminine flower

of a girl


now she’s just a pile of bones


eventually all our role models turn to dust

when what they fight for

are nothing more than words

on a page.



John Dorsey is the author of several collections of poetry, including Being the Fire (Tangerine Press, 2016), Shoot the Messenger (Red Flag Press, 2017), and Your Daughter’s Country (Blue Horse Press, 2019). Reach him at



There was never a formal

treaty between Mom and Smokey.

For years, they recognized

the dread and dislike they inspired

in each other, and surprise

encounters, in the narrow hallway

of our old house,


arched backs,

hooded eyes,

and hissing and spitting.


So alike—

they ruled

with a surety

that brooked

no insubordination.

So different than Dad—

a gentle soul

who seemed his best

with cats and dogs

and small children.

How could Smokey

not love him?


When Dad died suddenly

one ordinary winter day

the two discovered grief,

and enmity was forgotten.

Mom and Smokey took to

sharing Dad’s overstuffed wing chair

by the sunny window—

comforting each other

in unbroken silence

like old, fast friends.



Steve Deutsch lives in State College, PA. His poetry has been widely published in print and online journals. He was nominated for Pushcart Prizes in 2017 and 2018. His chapbook, Perhaps You Can, was published in 2019 by Kelsay Press.



The towel came soft and warm from the tumble dryer

she sat in her vest

her mouth full of cereal

the spoon heavy with more

watching her program

eyes wide and hungry


I draped the towel across her shoulders

she purred and cloaked it around her

instantly, magically warm


“Did your Mam do this to you when you were small Dad?”


I am standing on the stairs

halfway up

I slip

tumble silently

arrive in my childhood

see my mother walking toward me

arms wide

a towel stretched between them

waiting for me


“She did, and maybe you can do the same for your children.”

she is silent

her mouth full of cereal

the spoon heavy with more

watching her program

eyes wide and hungry


she speaks again, her words clouded with munching

“But who will wrap a warm towel around you now Dad?”

I smile and kiss her cheek

it is enough


there are no more warm towels for me

but there are blackbirds

cobwebs twinkling in sun showers

the smell of coffee

Tom Waits in the morning

The Blue Nile in the evening

and her

it is more than enough





We stared at the lava lamp

talked a while

listened to the airplanes take off


thirty-five years passed

things were the same

things were different


despite it all

the discouragement

the tutting

head shaking

the criticism

the silence

despite it all

I was writing


reading too

and sick

and tired

of poems about love

and self-loathing

and nature

the sky is blue

just like your soul

we get it


verdant no more

cerulean no more

obsidian no more





give me poems of bile and blood

of finding his toenail clippings under the skirting board

years after

of the scar on her forehead

and the blood on his bed

of the walls and the wails

and the bitten down nails

give me sweat, skin and bone

and an unanswered phone

make it real

give me real

give me real


Both poems previously published in Miles of Sky Above Us, Miles of Earth Below.

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.

A Silhouette of silence


A swarm of bees forming in the sky. Constant buzzing,

that electric hum. Forming a silhouette of some unknown

faces on the top of your head.


Moving in unison from left to right. Undulating.

leaves you in awe. You wonder if they are

turning the winds or being turned by the gale itself.


The unnamed shapes forming and disappearing

in a second. Cleaved into the silence of

a forest near the swamp. Speaks of solidarity in silence.


Tugged to an imaginary point. Till a stone breaks the silence

on the skin of the lake. Sets the wanderers on its way.

Fading into a thin line.



Megha Sood is an editor at Whisper and the Roar, Free Verse Revolution, and Ariel chart. Publications include Statorec, Pangolin Review, Visitant Lit, Quail Bell, and Dime show review. Her work is featured in 15 anthologies by US, UK, and Canadian presses.

Great Communicator


I don’t know if my brother knows

HIV once built an empire in my blood.

Or if he knows there are only ruins

now and a few crippled soldiers

half plotting to restart the conquest.

True, my mother has a big mouth.

But then, my brother has such tiny ears.

I can’t assume that, because

I’m well informed of his woes . . .

You see, I have big ears and a big

nose and they’re both such good

friends with our mother.

He and she and Dad are sleeping

upstairs in a rented house. I rise

from a marble floor, go out and

walk in the chill of Miami palms.

Walgreens and Panera are dark.

These closed relations and shops 

drop freedom when their hold on

wakefulness repents. I pick it up,

carry it outside, shielding it with

my hand as though it were a burning

bonsai. I share it with urban cats who

respect with their wariness,

whose eyes hint at realities

touch would obscure.


First published in Tipton Poetry Journal.



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.

Trying Not to Cry at Starbucks


You tell me all the things you crave

in this life: the velvet of your voice

smoothing over a crowd like hot tea

on a sore throat; you want to dabble


in different facets of entertainment.

You’re not just a singer, you say,

you want to be an actor, on Broadway,

sing opera, be a rock star.


I try to keep up and pump caramel,

chocolate sauce, vanilla, and raspberry

into my coffee — which one of these things

doesn’t belong? It seems we


always have our deepest conversations

over lattes and cappuccinos —

a quiet coffee shop’s bull crashing into

customers’ concentration.


I try not to cry over my chai

as I wonder if, after spending six

years together, you value your career

more than me. Then I marvel in how many


patrons must be salivating

over our conflicting views of how far

one should let the boundaries of passion

spill into his personal life. Our rapport,


as of now, is an overfilled mug; coffee

stains the outside in streaks,

puddles onto the unwashed table, and joins

the burn of others’ spilled-over romances.



Peeling Potatoes with My Mother at the Kitchen Sink


We stood for five minutes —

ten minutes? More?


We could have spoken,

sped up the time. Could have


gossiped about church,

about my brother’s impulsive


marriage that neither of us

agreed with, but we didn’t.


We peeled potatoes in silence,

for however long it took,


concentrating on peeling back

wet skin from fleshy


pieces of boiled potato —

our fingers pruning


from the pot of water.

I thought of my grandmother;


she must have taught my mom

to cook her potatoes


before peeling.

It makes it so much easier


she said before we’d started,

then nothing.



Shelby Lynn Lanaro is a poet by passion and a teacher by trade. Shelby’s poems and photographs have appeared or are forthcoming in The Feminist Wire, Dying Dahlia Review, Stormy Island Publishing, Poetry Breakfast, and Young Ravens Literary Review.

The Silence With Hello


We damage each other slowly

Through our bitter gift of silence.


So, it’s Time for me to speak:


Not of the distant memory of us

Which we hold from different strengths,

Nor do I dare speak of a date and dream

That will only stay a dream,

Nor do I care to make a focused fix

On the present tangles between us:

That’s forgotten how to speak,

And helpless:

By what hasn’t closed,


In looking for that friend we never find.


Because what I want to say

Is this:

That O how you wish you were on this side of the dial

Whose side was born by the wish of a last goodbye.


Either you or me.


Me or you.


When it is time for either of us

To be no one no more,

Again we’ll never speak.



Never again

And ever shall be this last desire:

That we will be together in the end,

An unleft Bye being left,

In the end:

But only when one of us

Breaks the silence with Hello.



Wilma Glass is a 27-year-old writer and poet from Northern Virginia. She lives with her spouse in Manassas, and is currently working on a novel and book of poetry.

Wavering Things


Sometimes I wonder

if all these things

I can do without:

my paintbrushes, my laptop,

my books, my cellphone,

my paintings, my clay sculptures

of turtles, leaves and petals

just gazing at your beauty

remembering lovers

whom I could have done without

or shouldn’t have done without

because I couldn’t have done without


Perhaps I should have freed them

like birds to the sky

when they noticed I

was searching

for something

in their glass rimmed eyes.



Shalom Galve Aranas is a freelance writer published in The Blue Nib, Former People, Enchanted Conversations, and elsewhere. She is a loving, single mother of two.


       After ‘Los Amigos’ by Julio Cortárzar


Salvation can be found in tobacco smoke

or steam from coffee, or ethereal vapors

of wine as they rise to the edge of night

like a song I can barely hear or those voices

of destiny in the stars, whose pale shadows

frighten me. The dead always whisper loudly.

When the darkness comes for me, I know

the fog will swirl; my voice will rise in quiet.


First published in Subprimal Poetry Art.


John C. Mannone has poetry in Artemis, Poetry South, and Baltimore Review. He won the Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and others.

Archive of Free Verse Poetry with Suzanne Robinson by issue:

    July 2019       May 2019      March 2019      January 2019     November 2018     September 2018     July 2018     June 2018   

 May 2018    April 2018      March 2018     February 2018     January 2018     December 2017     November 2017     October 2017

    September 2017     August 2017     July 2017     June 2017     May 2017     April 2017     March 2017     February 2017    

   January 2017      December 2016     November 2016     October 2016     September 2016     August 2016     June 2016     May 2016

Archive of Free Verse Poetry with Vera Ignatowitsch by issue:

     July 2019     May 2019

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