Latest Poems

Slow Dance with Dawn

Sometimes, at the break of dawn
when the sky slowly blinks awake
and the world is soft color

All I know is love.

I look at the glow
the greatness.
the vast expanse
the practiced dance

of sun meets sky
meets clouds, meets highs

but on days where the sky
won’t love me back
won’t paint me gold
won’t bathe me pink –

I hold myself up to the sky
and offer it my smiles
my hands, my songs
and I love it still
and I let it know

that a few days
of subtle glow will get me through
if a few days
of my love, will work for you

Aalia Waqas

I SEE YOU

I see you,
downcast eyes
steeled, a shield
to disguise
wounds unhealed.

I feel you
on the edge,
wedged between
desperation
and aspiration.

I hear you
try to excise
and minimize
your violation
with negation.

I watch your
stature, refined,
your ragtag shadow
shuffling behind,
incognito.

I see you as a
seed, your need
mud-caked, scraped,
raked across
a field of weeds.

I sense your borrowed
calm, see your totem rune
in your fisted palm,
hear your mournful
tune and whispered psalm.

Only in anxious dreams
with blurred cognition,
pain uncaged, you grant
yourself permission
to scream and rage.

Jean Fineberg

TO MY SAXOPHONE

I lift you
from your velvet bed,
your heft welcome in my hand.

Your brass skin
sports a patina earned from
so many choruses of the blues.

My fingers settle into
gig-worn grooves
on your mother-of-pearl keys.

Our papery interface,
today’s fickle reed,
invites a timbric challenge.

A Ray Charles love song,
an Ellington tapestry,
a Cannonball romp.

We bellow and wail,
deconstructing Cold Sweat,
inventing new notes.

You are the sacred voice
of pain
and protest.

You speak my irreverence
with howls that would singe the air
if voiced in words.

Come earthquake or fire,
I’ll grab my cat,
and you.

Jean Fineberg

IMPOSTER SYNDROME

Beware the fiend we fear and yet embrace
The tiny voice that hisses in your ear
The one which even time cannot erase
The one which second guesses your career

“The words you write are really not your own
They’ve all been written many times before
Your paintings and your melodies are clones
What makes you think your pieces will endure?”

Why spend another hour, another year
To add your voice those who met the beast
Compelled to tell the world that you were here
Your muse invoked, Calliope unleashed?

If you believe you’re born to do this work
Fulfill your destiny and do not shirk

Jean Fineberg

APPLESAUCE

Yesterday I fed my mother applesauce.
She smiled but she didn’t eat. Today
she lies dying in my arms, frail as a fawn.

I want my young mother who cradled me,
braided my hair, played four hands on the
piano. I want my young mother who
embarrassed me teaching square dancing
at my middle school. I want her to come
again to my graduation and tell everyone
I was first in our family to go to college.
I want her to sit in the front row at my concerts.
I want her to meet her granddaughter and sit
in the front row at her piano recitals.

I shout these things
in my car
in the shower
in my bed

I want, I want, I want

I tell my daughter, when I’m dying,
please feed me applesauce.

Jean Fineberg

WE NEVER MADE IT TO LONDON

Sometimes, when the fog
descends like the credits
of a film noir movie,

I put on your black sweater,
your long black raincoat,
take your black umbrella,

and walk by the East River,
pretend it’s the Thames, the
Brooklyn Bridge is London Bridge.

I amble past the clocksmith,
gaze at broken cuckoo clocks,
pendulums waiting to swing again.

I peek into the pet store, and
every black kitten is “Midnight”
starting another life.

I stop in a café, order black tea and
a tart, write glum sonnets and hope
I don’t run into your new wife.

Jean Fineberg

Celebration

Against my pale belly the kitten
we saved is small and looking
away from the phone you hold
out to us, capturing the moment,
my naked torso only between us.
In an hour it will be
a new year.

Earlier we had been out to Bay St. Louis,
broken trees dotting the shore
and docks stretching into the empty
sea and a horizon
colorless and turgid.
Many months later and we could
still feel the violence of the storm
and when we left there were others
arriving to the beach to dig in it
and to make pits for their bonfires.
Already solitary fireworks
dotted the sky here and there
as we pulled out in our rented car
to make it back to be with the kitten
for the new year.

Practice at making a family
we would never make,
but I am smiling with the kitten
comfortable in my arms
the way she almost never was later.
When the new year came
I don’t even remember if we kissed.

 

Andrew Decker

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