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Poetry

So many things that I once learned as a child

are either obsolete or downright wrong:

that mushrooms, celery have no nutrition,

that coffee and chocolate are quite bad.

Jupiter now has seventy-nine moons?

Who knew men and women are preparing

their own demise through over-population?

Or that religion could be so corrupt?

That science-denial would be a fad?

That knotweed would rule your backyard garden?

Can’t we just elect a big bullfrog king

to solve our problems with his magic ring?

 


Propelled by torrents onto the lawn

    her fragile body wracked by rain

 

what looked like a throbbing leaf or grounded sparrow

   turned out to be the largest moth I’d ever seen

 

Watery drops rolled off her cinnamon wings like mercury balls

  when fully dry, they opened to the span of an octave

 

each wing had what looked like eye spots

   each circle, wide with surprise

  

as if drawn in pastel, the orbital rims goldenrod,

   yellow and chicory blue;

 

   each cellophane-like center,

the sclera, clear all the way through

 

but there was an inch-long gash in one wing

   which complicated things.

 

She rested indoors in the shadow of a paper bag,

    eventually to walk out from under, flapping;

 

antennae, twitched full of life,

   but she could not lift off 

 

could not propel herself upward

   and as she tried, the rip augmented


I passed an orchard twice a day.

Never stopped, till I saw the way

The orchard springs to life: slender, small,

Tender greens with pink-milk petals.

 

But up close, they looked more stumps than trees—

With sawed-off arms and tortured knees—

Like headless, scarred, and stymied men.

I wondered how they drew me in.

 

Had I not seen the crippling care,

Not understood I’d find more there

Than simple, pleasing, youthful joy—

The things that bend and we bend for?

 

I thought, let's not stand in rows,

Not let Them choose where the root goes,

Never let us be cut or become mute,

Not flower only for the fruit.

 

Let's grow with wild abandon, truly,

Just as us—to say how far.

Let's be ruthless and unruly,

Exactly who we think we are!


Glowing, winking embers at poker-point

become swarming tea leaves in your cup;

cast of I-Ching demythologized

by devout, mindful meditation.

 

Daily horoscope lifts aspiration,

a prayer to a saint accomplishes same;

Jack of Diamonds crooning to Queen of Spades,

replacing entrail of sacrificed bird.

 

Astrological headgear discovers

Archer, Ram, Lion, the Twins and Maiden—

perhaps even a fate you would prefer

in an imagined reincarnation.

 

From Egypt, Italy, to Las Vegas,

the turn of a card determined your luck;

then eighteenth century cartomancy

offered occult, improvised prophecy. 

 

That chattering blue telephone psychic

will tell you that you are halfway there

to what you dream in early twilght

as your bill becomes astronomical.

 

Rolling dice offers another fate

with better odds than roulette,

as the game of chance escalates

down the hoof-pounding stretch.

 

That old magic of childhood wonder

when gazing at blinking, isolate stars,

or caught astonished in clap of thunder—

was it all chance—or imagined sighs?


Puddles stipple-drilled, dandelions closed,

cherry bush waving frail pink-and-white blooms,

that satisfying softness under foot,

aural breeze on ears, mallards swim in pond,

full planting moon rising over east hills

as pond peepers sing mezzo-soprano

until the first warming rays of sunlight

bathe hill and valley, stream and running rill

while chickadees chirp and woodpeckers drum

intense tattoo in cerulean blue.

And what about that evening rainbow

that arcs across gray sky in gentle mist?

Then I wiggle my toes in blissful joy,

walking with renewed cordiality!


by Rennie McQuilkin in Poetry
Tue Jan 26th, 2016

The Digging

 

It's that time of year,
the hedgerows hung with bittersweet.
Potato time.

How early the freeze, I'd say
if we were speaking. We're

...
by Jonathan Wells in Poetry
Fri Jan 22nd, 2016

His sandals were found

pointing south from the cave

next to his drinking cup. The vines

he’d staked tailed into the ravine

where the river was sinewy

over the rocks....

by Michaela Coplen in Poetry
Fri Jan 15th, 2016

where they were basically giving away food for free.

Of course that’s why we went there—each of us empty-bellied

and wanting warmth, the blood rising to blush

on our wind-chapped cheeks. The butternut squash soup...

by Kevin T. McEneaney in Poetry
Sun Dec 20th, 2015

Can there be Christmas without reindeer songs?

What about holly hovering above?

Flashing neon lights blinking at midnight?

Movies about Santa's green elves at work?

A well-done

...
by Kevin T. McEneaney in Poetry
Fri Dec 11th, 2015

Here’s my Christmas wish to God Almighty:

A ten percent raise in income, please;

A garage to put old tools and boots in;

A cat that doesn’t rake the spine...

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