Latest Poems

THE OLD MUG

Oma, my grandmother,
drinks her tea
from an old green mug
with a crack down the side.

People give her new mugs,
mugs with happy faces, flowers,
polka dots,
bright red mugs.

She puts them on the topmost shelf
and continues to clutch her old one,
whose crack matches
the warm brown tea.

Betsy Martin

MOTORCYCLE MOON

I glide down Main,
my black Kawasaki
a sleek, muscular steed.

The wind embraces me.

Some men leer
from a pickup truck, lips
curled back from their teeth
wolfishly.

My face is the face
of the moon in a helmet,
reflective, softly glowing.

Betsy Martin

Rake-Off

There is no suitcase, no cabin baggage to pack.
No air ticket, no hotel booking to be locked in.
There is no fear of red-eye. When my poems
globe-trot, a part of my longstanding love affair
with myself travels with them. They carry my
flavors, my failures.

Sanjeev Sethi

A Girl In The Rain

a girl in the rain
wet
soaked
walks on the street
holding
pink shoes
on the top of her head

inside her dress
on her body
she has
pink bra
pink panties

but you cannot see them
even though she is
wet
soaked
in the rain
with pink shoes
on the top of her head

Suchoon Mo

PASSION PAINT

He is the abstract of his drawings.
Nightmares are blank canvases. He
passions direction to fill in where
the common have no knowledge.
The frame is a restriction, but like
stonewalls, they set a boundary to fulfill
expression.
Sleep steals the moment of the brush.
He awakens with color and depth,
stretching out dreams into static images.
He suffers
the pain of indecision. His hands were
born with talent, a gift from angels.

Roger Singer

BETWEEN DROPS

The march of umbrellas. Half stretched
domes against turbulent clouds.
Faces pitched forward. The rhythm of
drops is the exhaust from heaven. It’s a
temporary wash of mankind, touching
coats and hats but not the heart. There’s
a walk of escape to a point up ahead.
People blur the canvas of motion, fighting
against the forces of nature. Everything
is awash in the color of wet.

Roger Singer

GRACEFUL

Black balusters and mahogany stairs
lead gracefully to a parquet second
floor landing. Decades of voices carried
the water of words to this quiet
circular elegance surrounded by
bookshelves and photos of New York
and Paris. Gold painted plaster
moldings wrap the area like decorative
ribbons. It all speaks with identity
and belonging; above there is a frieze
of a garden in continuous summer.
Through a wide set of leaded windows
a forest is in the distance.

Roger Singer

DOWN DEEP

What does someone see when you
offer them a glimpse beneath your water?

The pillows of your dreams

Wilted emotions

Thoughts without makeup

Eyes listening but not seeing

Sunless days

The joy of rain

Favorite words

Fear of death

The honey of a smile

Running away

Closed doors

Acts of faith

A song that brings tears

City streets and strangers

Dirty hands

Unfinished conversations

Failed desires

Second chances

The next corner

Roger Singer

ANCIENT LINES

There is no unhappiness in a
stonewall.
Its industrial beauty shrugs with
humility.
Seasonal wars have no effect on its
lines.
There is nothing porous about it.
The stones once buried within ancient
soil are like diamonds and pearls,
protecting the perimeter of its
birthplace.
Fortune blesses the license of its
presence each day; a statement of
longevity.
From a shuttered window the patterns are
grand.

Roger Singer

MY ROCK

It’s my shoreline. A place of
footsteps and whispers, high clouds,
blue cobalt skies, forever horizon;
it’s a song I live. A moment brings me in,
an hour holds me tight. It’s a place
without time, without changing, it holds
the strength of me. I am the shadow of here.
I stand on the edge of myself, the backside
of the beginning. The escape with a forever
door. Rain or sun changes nothing from
where I stand.

Roger Singer

RETURNING VETERANS

For some reason
they bring them in at night
shiny planes full of shiny boxes
There is a ghastly precision
a uniformed efficiency
indifference and order
If they gave out visitors’ passes
you could get close enough
to watch them disappear

Tim Dyson

IN THE NECROPOLIS

In the cemetery of Beit She’arim
inside a tomb from the third century
paved with mosaic
and decorated with wildlife reliefs
is carved an inscription
commemorating a local resident.

The author, though Jewish, had a Greek style:

    I lie, son of Leontius dead, son of Sappho,
    who after having gathered of the fruit
    of all wisdom left the light.

    Woe is me, in my Beit She’arim.
    After having gone to Hades,
    I, Justus, lie here with many of my relatives
    for that is what powerful fate has decreed.
    Be consoled, Justus. No one is immortal.

Dark is the house without windows.
Dust is the only weather in the tomb.

Indifferent as a reflecting moon,
a green moth flitted over the stone,
then lay for a long moment on the ground.

 

Anne Whitehouse

CLOUD STUDIES

As a child, I believed
I saw the face of God
in the shifting shapes of clouds,
when they swirl overhead
under the celestial dome,
or pile high in great pillows
that hurry across the sky,
or drift close to the earth,
beads of fog and moisture
snagged in the branches of trees.

Anne Whitehouse

REQUIEM

In memory of Paul Berné

At the end of Paul’s life.
we painted the lampshade
with the stencil,
playing with colors
as in the past.
I knew his time
was getting shorter,
but not that we were
out of time
altogether.

The nurse said, “Dying is hard.
You and I have never tried it.
He doesn’t want to leave.
Though he can’t see you,
he can still hear you.
You must help him to let go.”

Anne Whitehouse

LIGHT IN AUGUST

Fields glow gold in the early morning,
and curtains of light float to the ground.

Leaves blow up silver
when I chase the light through woods.
I collect a shriveled leaf
in the shape of a heart,
dried brown and flecked with holes,
and hold it to the sky,
filigree filtering light
through its interstices

Anne Whitehouse

DANCE IN A DRUGSTORE

The dark-eyed salesgirl at CVS
jumped into the toy collection box,
bobbing like a jack-in-the-box,
tossing her long, dark, silky hair.

She jumped out laughing,
flirting with the salesboy,
inviting him to dance
to the background Muzak.

Under the store’s fluorescent glare,
they swayed and twirled,
overcoming the boredom
of a slow Sunday night
in a dead-end job,

in step with an old love song.

 

Anne Whitehouse

How to Eat a Pomegranate

Score skin so lightly

slices can’t be seen

Cut at the lip

Soft pith same color as northern
sky after snow falls
to dirt

Brush arils
into your palm

Embryonic

You are temporarily stained
red

Turn sideways

No one should see
this feast

 

Amy Schmitz

Canaletto’s Skies

Half the painting is
sky, sometimes more;
just what the critic
Clement Greenberg wished for.
Placid sky and languid clouds;
almost blues,
mouse turd gray shrouds.

Classical breezes only
blow here;
no Tiepolo skies
to die for –
just plain sky that would
never suffice
as alibi.
No Constable
tumultuosity,
no baroque pomposity.
Nothing happening here
to disturb
this ant farm of detail.

 

David Headley

Jeffrey

Ease

She holds her face up to him
and he leans against the wall
staring back, around them the eddies
and swirl of the others, the shouts
and calls between classes,
she creates an idea that this
is the only world, the one between them:
his earnestness of desire is her proof of love;
this intensity holds them rooted past
the late bell and the hallway quickly empties:

Jeffrey glides by, a quick smile,
somehow no girlfriend but the girls
all watch, and his scrawny shape
transforms with an audience.

Everyday he flexes and poses, his body
impossibly sculpted, a rushing stream
of a body, he pokes and teases the girls
with this body, and they read in his shoulders
and stomach the soliloquy of sex
it promises them.

Then he is sprawled in a desk,
the metal and plastic covered in ink declarations
stop and make shapes with his smooth skin
and he is writing quickly, attempting to keep up,
he is alone then, furiously so sometimes,
and the girls cautiously examine him,
his lax form contains poetry
they would not dare utter.

 

Andrew Decker

Zaydee

A Whole World

She leaned forward everyday
right before the bell rang,
ending class.

A world to see, she was pregnant
by seventeen, the usual story
and the loyal boyfriend
loyal for awhile.

Metallic yellow curls, an afternoon
in a beauty parlor in the Heights,
other girls placing their hands
on her belly. She still fawns
over the boyfriend in photographs
she once took delight in, he looks out
cardboard tough, do-rag and turntables,
behind him the unadorned geometry
of somebody’s apartment.

She’s a collector. She unfolds
and shows what is hers: the photographs,
the notes and text messages. She shows
her friends these last exchanges
from the phone she snuck
through the metal detectors on her way
into school this morning.

 

Andrew Decker