Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Near the End of a Meeting of the Live Poets Society

A black clock
Was what I saw,
With white numbers
That were really planets,
Which ticked around
The round void.
We saw it all
Upon our wall,
And now we waited
As it commanded.
But one of us wanted
To say one more poem,
Not stopped by the clock,
Though the meeting had ended.
The poem would be sung,
Unafraid of time,
Unabashed, clear,
As it took a ride
On the white numbers
That were actually planets,
Forming a ring
In a void not inimical.
So the song did go down;
The song did go up
On a Ferris Wheel,
Whose fun stops
Only to fearlessly
Start again--
Its turning renewed,
Slightly improved,
Surprisingly dependable,
Our glee unreproved.
But can a song be free
From clock and void?
Are we allowed to see
Our glee go free?

      © Stephen Margulies, 2018

Eye on the Bay, Bridlington ~ Yorkshire, England
Photo by Paul Glazzard
from the Geograph Project
on Wikimedia Commons

Monday, June 4, 2018

Dad's First Car

Somewhere in the ‘20s that would have been,
when a man learned about magnetos and mudholes,
when he took care not to break an elbow or thumb
when twirling a crank, carried a cake of soap
for a squeaky fan belt and a pinch of oatmeal
to seal a radiator leak, knew that somewhere
on a back road he’d borrow a fence rail for a jack,
have to back up the steepest hills
when the engine was starved for gas—

small bits of lore from a time long gone,
as he is, but strong in his memory
as he is in mine, lips still moving in some silent language,
still telling me stories I really want to hear.

              © David Black, 2018

Woman hand cranking the car to start it on a rainy day, August 1926
Photo by Infrogmation of New Orleans
from Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


Your first bath —
a midwife cleans you up.
You don't have fun.
Then come
the sprinkles of holy water in church,
the tepid water of the nursery,
the ardor of rain water,
the predatoriness of ocean water,
the ice water after you make love,
swallow fire or juggle clubs.
You drink that water in one gulp.

Motes of dust stuck to furniture,
your eyes are red,
but the tears dried up.
Left here alone for weeks on end
with waterlogged images
to ponder in thick gray clouds,
you play hide-and-seek
with memories of the March sky
in patches of meat and mustard,
with a carpet of bold spring flowers,
with a blue outline of mountains.
The fated assault of the time,
dark shadows around the eyes,
the hair unwashed and tattered,
promises written in water
form a puddle of bitter tears.
Your life is water under the bridge.

The last bath.

Bridge over the South Yuba River ~ Nevada City, California
Photo by Kelly M. Grow, Calif. Dept. of Water Resources
from Wikimedia Commons 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Song of the Wind and the Night

The wind and the night
The wind and the night and warped mirrors
The wind and the night
And abortion on the stairs
The wind and the night and hearts
That can no longer love
The wind and the night and nervous fingers

All we can say of desire and time
All we can say disinherits
And remembers

Song of rain
Song of false moons
Song of emptiness and terror
Song of the wind stirring lashes
Song of the wind and the night and dark lovers

All we can say of the sea and the sky
And stars that burn like thirst
All we can say of gardens and lost pleasures
All we can say distorts and destructs

Song of the wind and the night and lights
From lonely windows
Song of the wind slashing wrists
Song of stone and crumbling faces
Song of the wind and the night and hearts
That can no longer love

© Phillip Marlin, 2018

"Windy Night"
scratchboard by Reene
fromWikimedia Commons

Monday, May 7, 2018

How to Hide

for J.P.

Get out of bed and find the good
scissors. The red ones.
Go out to the porch.
Take down all of the wind-
chimes. Dismember them.
Go back inside. Open
the closets. Bring out
all the jackets and shoes.
Tie up every lace and string
until there are only perfect
bows. Put it all away
and pry open the pendulum
clock. Remove the weights.
They'll make good bookends. 
Go to the window. Let down
the blinds and then snip off 
the extra cord. Do this in every room.
Consider buying darker curtains,
not because you no longer love
light, but because you never know
what will cast a swinging shadow.

             Ellie White, 2018

(First published by Melancholy Hyperbole, 2014)
The Addams Family home
Photo by Karl Kuntz
Source: The Addams Family
Otterbein University Theater and Dance
from Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Momma Ain't Happy

Momma ain't happy,
ain't nobody happy ‘less momma happy,
and momma ain't happy ‘less her people happy.

That toddler won't stop fittin'.
That girl just feelin' bad all the time, the doctor don't know.
And that “I-ain’t-nothin’-special-ain’t-gonna-go-to-any-good- college-like-my-friends” teenager!

Good Lord,
that baby gotta grow up be ok don’t get its own way,
that girl gotta get off the sofa, get out and live in the big world;
that almost-man need to know know know 
that come college acceptance day, he is special, 
no matter what those letters say.
And this momma gotta sleep at 4 am, letting her "I-don't-know- I -can't-do" go, 
and her babies gonna be your babies, she your baby, and you gonna heal us all up.

God, I got some ideas on the potty training, 
put up your stuff after playing, 
no cussing saying; 
no guarantee, but I got some ideas.

But the miracle-working, 
self-controlling, body-healing, spirit-loving, 
I don't know know know.
So you gotta do do do for me and my people, 
cause God you know, 
ain't nobody happy less momma happy, 
and momma ain't happy ‘less her people, your people, happy. 

Heal us all up, God, 
heal us all up.

© Rie Harris, 2018

Allie Mae Burroughs
Photo by Walker Evans, 1936

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Prayer of Gratitude

As this morning dawns,
May the world show up with brilliance and glory.
May the sun shine down upon all of us and fill us with joy.
May we wake up with a feeling of excitement to face the day.
May our steps be brisk and sure.
May the paths we walk on be straight and smooth.
The day lies before us to fill us with new ideas.
It unfolds with its serenity, and may we take it and care about it.               
There is so much to unfold before us, and we have an adventure to fulfill.
May we open it up like a page and delight in the phrases it reveals to us.
The mountains lay before us to open their arms and hold us.
A few birds soar quietly above us, and others sing a serenade.
May our soul be filled with peace and quiet.
May life continue to be generous with its love.
May we do this day justice and relish the wonders around us. May those we touch feel the comfort of our caring.
May our marks show up on this wondrous earth.
Stand ready to face the world.
Plant your feet solid, ready for this journey.
Divine Power, guide us and take our hands.
Help us to walk together in joy and tranquility,
peace and harmony.
And So It Is!

            © Hilda Ward, 2018

Sunrise, Mammoth Hot Springs
Photo by Neal Herbert, January 2016