Tag Archives: #NationalPoetryMonth

“Porch” by Martina Reisz Newberry

We cast curses at the moon,
watch its face travel over     then behind     clouds,
then come to the fore
as if beckoned
when it most certainly was not.
Booze and blackberries on the front porch
and the cries of dead beasts and warriors out there.

Imagine it                     Hold it in your head
as you do song lyrics and prayers.
The strange scents of late nights
call us to remember our weaknesses
and the ill will we’ve encountered in others.
We talk of these things     bring them closer.

And oh the madness of this porch        how it dares to receive
our complaints and our compliances             how it
rests under our flip-flops and naked toes     how it
shifts under spilled sweet tea     and dripped foam
off cans of Bud Light

Does it make you grin that I’ve said this?

So, the moon hovers and we here below
pull it over us, imagine it soft when            in truth
it’s dense as a mango dum dum.

Inside, we look for rest knowing our mendacity
could pull down the stars                  knowing our joys
are simple masks for grudges
the way they jibe

My God                     The way we consume bitterness
fill our plates, pour on gravies
and sauces of fear and then
dare to sleep on that repletion.

Martina Reisz Newberry’s recent books: NEVER COMPLETELY AWAKE (Deerbrook Editions), and TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME (Unsolicited Press).Widely published, she was awarded residencies at Yaddo Colony for the Arts, Djerassi Colony for the Arts, and Anderson Center for Disciplinary Arts.

Martina lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Brian.

“Absence by Inference” by Duane L. Herrmann

A row of cedar trees
native to the plains
and nearly indestructible,
with a shed behind,
old, ruined,
indicate the absence
of a home
once in the space
the trees protected.
What happened
to this farm?
The missing family?
The tragedy afflicted
on their lives?
And, the children?
What did they feel,
uprooted, scattered,
with the wind?

Duane L. Herrmann is a survivor who lived to tell; a prairie poet with a global conscience.  Recipient of the Robert Hayden Poetry Fellowship, he is published in print and online in several languages and various countries. His collections of poetry include: Prairies of Possibilities, Ichnographical:173 and Praise the King of Glory.

“Things to Be Grateful for During the American Winter” by Michael Brockley

~For K.D.

The portrait of Harriet Tubman burbling in the ink of a twenty-dollar bill. The way hands can be cupped to form eagles and bison when the shadows on bedroom walls slip through the jet stream of your imagination. The way women’s boots never go out of style. The way wallets are cluttered with unclaimed lottery tickets and Chinese fortune scripts. Take pleasure knowing chaos theory honors the wisdom of Japanese butterflies. Cherish this year of lunar wonders. October’s Hunter’s Moon. The November moon so close a heroine could step off of her hometown street into zero gravity. Hold your memory of a president racing his puppy through the White House halls at Christmas. Celebrate the happy accident of the newest blue and the oldest cherished songs. Sing Hallelujah! Thank the fog. Thank the way persimmons ripen during hard frosts. The taste of haiku lingering on your tongue. Take comfort in the assurance that scarves will always fit. Be grateful for the circle of light dancing above your head. It guardians the secrets in your eyes. Be grateful for the photographs of your most embarrassing moments. Be grateful for the impossible challenges before you. Be grateful knowing that, for this hour, gratitude is enough.

Michael Brockley is a 68-year old semi-retired school psychologist who still works in rural northeast Indiana. His poems have appeared in Atticus Review, Gargoyle, Tattoo Highway and Tipton Poetry Journal. Poems are forthcoming in 3Elements Review, Clementine Unbound, Riddled with Arrows and Flying Island. 

 

“Wanting” by Diana Raab

Wanting
I
Rainbow

The rain trickles
down my paned window
as I stand up to hunt the sky
for the stripes of my childhood.
The more I want to touch
that rainbow, the more it drifts away.

II

Persuasion

When you wonder about
what you want anew
try persuading yourself
and the answer will come to you.

III

Wishing Well

Yesterday I released a penny
in that deepest tunnel
of darkness, crossing my fingers
and begging for wellness.

Diana Raab, Ph.D. is an award-winning poet, memoirist, blogger, essayist and speaker.  Her book, “Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life” was published in 2017.  Raab is a regular blogger for Psychology Today, Huff50 (The Huffington Post), and PsychAlive. More at dianaraab.com.

 

“Night” by Jerry Wemple

Night falls suddenly when the sun declines
behind these granite hills. The boy sits on
the river side of the flood wall, his back
to the town. He smokes a cigarette, counts
the cars and tractor trucks on the state road
across the water. Wonders where they’re bound.
The boy would like a car, some way, any way
to leave the town, to drive past the farms
until the hills grow and the woods thicken
and sit beside the tiny stream that is the start
of this half-mile wide river. The boy rises,
heads into town. He walks past the little park,
a few blocks up Market, enters a tiny hot
dog restaurant, nods to Old Sam, who started
the place after the war. Sam knows, fixes
one with everything, uncaps a blue birch
from the old dinged metal floor cooler,
while the boy fingers the lone coin in
his pocket. Outside the wind rises and shifts.

Jerry Wemple is the author of three poetry collections: You Can See It from Here (winner of the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award), The Civil War in Baltimore, and The Artemas Poems. His poems and essays have been published in numerous journal and anthologies. He teaches in the creative writing program at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

“Do Not” by Barbara Lawhorn

Don’t fall in love ever again.
Maybe, don’t trust yourself.
Maybe only believe in what is
tangible. Don’t use similes
and metaphors so much in speech. Don’t

let others know what you are thinking. Feeling.
Doing next. Don’t plan ahead. Don’t plan meals.
Don’t think. Don’t think the wind rustling the dead
leaves, still hanging on, is God. Don’t

expect. Anything. Don’t expect anyone.
Anyone to make room for you in the homes
of their lives. Or you for them. Get small. Get quiet.
Work on disappearing into yourself. Think.
Think bomb shelter, canned goods, flashlights, and sleeping
bags. Zip yourself up. Listen. Listen. To the water rising
in you; all that blood. Be a dead leaf casting away, first on air
then on water. Use as few words as possible. As necessary.
You aren’t a tree. Words aren’t branches. Words are icicles.
Only hang them coldly, where they are really needed. Don’t

press your body to anything or anyone. Let your body only
be lodging wherever and whenever you are in the world. Don’t
talk. Don’t send a telegram to the world; send one to yourself.
Don’t smile unnecessarily. Set your face. Your skin isn’t Silly
Putty. Much of the world is unfunny. Don’t

laugh. What foolishness
you swam in. How dare you? You wore optimism like a bikini
that didn’t fit you. Take it off. No one will look at you,
much less touch you, in your nakedness.

Barbara Lawhorn is an Assistant Professor at Western Illinois University. She’s into literacy activism, walking her dog, Banjo, running, baking and eating bread, and finding the wild places, within and outside. Her most recent work can be found at The Longleaf Pine, BLYNKT, Nebo: A Literary Magazine, and Naugatuck River Review. Her favorite creative endeavors are her kids, Annaleigh and Jack.

“Dance in a Drugstore” by Anne Whitehouse

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 is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Meteor Shower (Dos Madres Press, 2016). She has also written a novel, Fall Love, which is now available in Spanish translation as Amigos y amantes by Compton Press. Recent honors include 2017 Adelaide Literary Award in Fiction, 2016 Songs of Eretz Poetry Prize, 2016 Common Good Books’ Poems of Gratitude Contest, 2016 RhymeOn! Poetry Prize, 2016 F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum Poetry Prize. She lives in New York City. www.annewhitehouse.com