Free Verse Poetry Page  with Suzanne Robinson 

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Featured Poem

The Beggar

 

Pantyhose, little ones like stars,

           black fishnet.

When money ran out, we wanted to go to Mars,

           with vapid inhalations;

all night ticks in my head.

          The seaman asked

was I going dead?

Beautiful son, because I can’t hear you,

          a mirror hides on the wall made of straw;

the black flies fall from the sky too—

          like pennies from heaven drowning in icicles,

rattling the beggar on the corner,

          waiting like a first grader 

on a motorcycle,

          ready to bound outward 

into the snowy sand

          like a blind man, after removing his glass eye.

My lovely bright spirit, show me your sweet, sticky hands;

          fear the dead not in this life, but let them be afraid for you

sparkly one, whose great cat is dancing in absence tonight, so bye.

 

 

Lisa Rhodes-Ryabchich

put it out there

 

i put it out there, again;

took a chance, raised my hand,

said ‘what about me?’

 

filled the boxes, filled the form,

did everything the right way, the

expected way; the corporate way;

 

i had faith and that was my failure;

 

i know better; i’ve always known better;

every step along the concrete path;

every passage on the asphalt river;

i’ve known better;

 

‘it’s not the answer you want,’ they said;

you just not qualified; you just don't belong;

you just not one of us; you just don’t fucking

get it;

 

 

Jack Henry is a poet based in Southern California.

A Persona of a Gentleman
        for former Senator John Dow

It is 11:00 a.m. in Nyack, a Tuesday—
one hour before meeting a colleague
for lunch. It is 1995 and I go to read
at the library because I will leave
the hospital at 10:00 p.m.
& get the last bus back to Grand View
& I don’t know the people
who will be on the bus.

I walk up Broadway, crowded
with antique stores beginning to open
& enjoy a cold orange juice & Granola Bar
before buying a Progressive Newspaper
to see what the politicians are doing in America.

Later, I continue on to Slattery’s
and a sweet waitress greets me
whose Gaelic accent sounds

like a symphony
& I begin to contemplate about my wife.
I am standing at the salad bar
examining the curly slices of onion

like the curves of my wife’s hips—
the red plump
tomatoes taste sweet like her tender lips—
the cauliflower is crunchy & fresh
& I’m thankful my wife still remembers me,
for she is slowly fading from Alzheimer’s.

Yet, I’m still the same face she smiles at
& waits for each day
so she can crawl inside the suitcase
carrying the photographs of our lives together.
 

 

Lisa Rhodes-Ryabchich authored Opening the Black Ovule Gate and We Are Beautiful like Snowflakes. Her poems have appeared in DASH, Nothing Substantial Literary Magazine, The Chaffey Review, and more. She mentored Prisoners at Pen America and received a MVICW Fellowship in 2016.

Felling

I remember being a child,

You were young then too,

Not like now

When you hold your palms out to me.

 

It was different then.

Your body sickly sweet — white, solid, crystalline.

You never seemed to care, shoe over sock, sock over foot.

 

In my dream the winds came through and took the top of that

     big tree out back.

And we saw it, you and me.

You shouted, “Run!”

But I couldn’t. I couldn’t see you anymore.

I shook myself from sleep

And in the darkness, I knew what you already know,

That it would get you — there was no running now.

 

First published in Flights, the literary magazine for Sinclair Community College.

 

 

Mary Ryan Wineberg has taught composition, written human interest pieces for a local paper and writes poetry and short humor in her free time. She is also currently working on a novel. Mary lives in Dayton, Ohio, with her husband and four children. 

Death by Cholera in 4 Movements

1st movement — impulse

 

I went to rehab twice, once
for guilt, once for depression,
surviving the crash that starts
with mother. More than a crash,
a massacre. 10 pounds of sorrow
in my fingertips, forced to color,
other people’s dreams.

 

thirsting for a blank ~

 

canvas.

 

 

2nd movement — love

 

I am the struggle, day into night,
suicidal joy, private/intimate, the story
that lives inside you like a French
poem, like the island of the dead,
not dead, death reworked,
like Pathétique, by Tchaikovsky.
An ode to love comes in waves. I’ve

 

yet to catch my ~

 

breath.

 

 

3rd movement — disappointment

 

The New Year finds me low
& tolling, an itty-bitty ball of rage,
carving ice sculptures out of grief.
An inevitable descent.
Doesn’t everyone have a hole
they sink into? Personal pain
if it dies, as it should, is a final
coup-de-théâtre. I am dreaming of

 

my own ~

 

execution.

 

 

4th movement — melancholy

 

When we were strangers, I sang
poetry. It rolled off my tongue, raw
& wild, thick as honey, full of life
& possibility. 30 years later,
a crippled waltz, empty
of victory. I want to reinvent
happy. No more love-by-numbers,
The last thing you say before dying,
“I’m glad you’re alone.”

 

I expire ~

 

into silence.

 

First published in O:JA&L.

 

 

Sheree La Puma is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in JuxtaProse Literary Magazine, O:JA&L, Plainsongs, and The Main Street Rag, among others. She received an MFA in Writing from the California Institute of the Arts and taught poetry to former gang members.

(untitled)

 

There’s a “no-loitering”

sign by the city center

and a larger one

at the gates of heaven

but I hung them

there myself

 

I can’t pick locks

or waltz and so

I learned that I was

allowed neither a ball

gown nor a leather skirt

 

remnants of the old

cathedrals hold

responsibility—

I inherited the

gargoyle if you

take a closer look

 


(untitled)

 

They all live

together closely

in their cramped

containers —

limp and legless,

though with

them I could

burn a house

down

 

perhaps now

I’ll aggravate

their little red

bonnets, smash

their heads against

their home —

and so they’ll

die as martyrs

 

they’re an

army all right,

yet burn at their

own stake —

a slave to

your command

 

 

A first-year student at Bard College, Alex LeGrys plans on majoring in sociology, but she is also much involved in the written arts. Her favorite contemporary poets include Charles Simic, Philip Levine, Jane Hirshfield, and Robert Pinsky.

a lover’s lie in the fields

 

i walked among stalks of dandelions

pushed to the side like jilted lovers

as i parted from them

my eyes fell on you

standing in a circle of oleanders

i came to you

where in your arms

you hung a cotton necklace

around my neck

and with a kiss

and soft caress

whispered

‘you’re the only one.’

watching as my frantic feet

scraped small furrows

upon your clay heart

 

 

Christian Long is a recent graduate of Full Sail University and a lover of poetry. Pablo Neruda and Bukowski are among his favorite poets. This is his first publication.

I Am a Foucaultian

(After Gomez)

 

What’s lacking are nails and knives.

Words we got

in bad light, in a bad night,

in a bad conscience.

What matters is being

not king of the world, but king

of me.

The woman I love? Our talk’s

a language for two. Others

are ghosts, visible for a glance,

vanishing at a stare.

Nothing splashes on your fingers.

It refilters to your veins.

What would a microscopic motorcycle

want from a giant telescopic lens?

It had its own infinite perspectives.

Love is a conversation

in a cold and foreign atrium.

I’ve got to go. Foucault’s claiming me.
 

 

J. Tarwood has been a dishwasher, a community organizer, a medical archivist, a documentary film producer, an oral historian, and a teacher. He currently lives in China. He has published four books, and his poems have appeared in many magazines.

I Am Afraid of the Dark

 

Someone is

cleaning the mess

I left behind.

They handle

and caress my body

carefully

which is what I

longed for most of all.

 

Talking about families

and news events,

ignoring the body

sounds and twitches

that are familiar,

I hope they don’t smoke

while doing their work

I’m allergic to tobacco

it makes me cough

uncontrollably.

 

Their work done,

calling it a day,

flip the switch,

leave the room.

I am afraid

of the dark.

 

I naturally want

to curl like a babe

but I can’t move,

the slab is

uncomfortably cold

even for the dead.

Pops and creaks

interrupt the deafening

silence.

Desperate to call out,

hoping I’m not alone,

my tongue,

a leathery flap,

lies still.

I am afraid

of the dark.

 

I sense a strangeness,

a void,

no rhythmic breathing,

no pulsing sensation,

emptiness.

No activity to gauge my

existence, except…….

mental awareness.

Awareness of no one there

to comfort me in the darkness.

I am afraid

of the dark.

 

 

Phil Rowan is a published artist and poet. He graduated from Western Kentucky University with a degree in Psychology. He is currently working on a twelve-painting feature for Kissing Dynamite’s June 2020 edition.

Winter Waterfall by Tyler Galbraith

Lagg

(Lagg, in Arran, is a pretty village near to the sea. A chambered cairn has been there for thousands of years.)

 

As it tumbles over the shoreline at Lagg

No longer confident of its power

A wave senses the humans

As they too rise and fall

Ashby McGowan lives in Glasgow (Scotland). His multi-voice work has been featured on National Radio and performed at the Scottish Parliament. He has written for Amnesty, DoveTales, and for the United Nations.

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  September 2016     August 2016     June 2016     May 2016

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