poetry


by Donovan Chase

What follows will make no sense.
I intend for this to happen,
And so it will.
I want my poem to be considered deep, so I’ll have it make no sense.
I’ll use random bits of
pretentious nonsense,
To make a point
That doesn’t exist.

I’ll capitalize words for no reason,
Other than to make people think they’re important,
When they’re not.
I use words together that have nothing to do with each other
Like Purple Death,
just to seem morbid and deep,
when it’s not.

I’ll use “vague but disturbing imagery”
Like the idea of someone taking a cat
and putting it in a cheese taco
to make the poem seem to have meaning.

My poem will live forever
When english teachers ask students to interpret it.
To the students, it will seem like stupidity written on paper.
They’ll be right.

I wonder if l can get a grant from the NEA
for a poem that makes no sense.
Why not? It hasn’t stopped them before.

I think I’ll make up words
like “drizzable,” “scurned,” and “plewestry”
Just so people will think they’re deep and meaningful.

I m running out of’room

I’ll make oblique references to g-d
comparing Him to a Snickers bar
Just so people will think i have some deep philosophical point

But I see I don’t have the space to do So.

I’ll have to end my poem here.

Damn.

It made sense after all.

by Sabrina Plum

They’ve got it all wrong.
Hell is not the fabled fire and brimstone
sulfur smelling torture chamber that
the Bible makes it out to be,
Nor is it an eternity in an
empty four walled locked door room with
three inherently dysfunctional occupants as
Sartre philosophizes,
But it is beautifull and peaceful and enticing and it calls and cajoles you and you play in its flowered meadows which flourish under a pale blue sky and you swim and drink from its slowly winding silver streams which feed into moonlit oceans…..
And that’s why it’s Hell . You believe in it.

by Christine McKeever

i hate her

the witch burned beneath my flesh

dissolving into my blood stream

absolving my affections

she is a part of me now forever

screams inside of me

bleeding internally-eternally

she’s seen only the eclipsed spectre of my forgotten wisdoms

she festers

i can never reclaim my reflection

she brings submission and flames

the vanquishing of my smiles

as obscurity triumphs

she is me after all is extracted

smoldering ashes of stale life

leaving me to pick up the withered remains

it’s always someone else’s veracity

crying, crippled in the somber tones of dusk

she’s the only one who cares

her death offers me a new skin

a ghost i cannot endure

with ninety-nine tracks and mystery lacking

inside

by Jen Rubin

Most mornings I awake in the darkness,
With silence surrounding me.
All footsteps are outside my window.
And even in storms,
There is a bright blue star,
I can see through the clouds
When the curtains are drawn.

I awoke that day, though,
To the sound of smothered sobs and slippered steps,
Quietly crawling toward
My bedroom door.
I peered out through
The curtains of my window,
And the star was not there,
In the crystal clear sky.

My mother’s swollen eyes
Appeared in the darkness of my chambers before.
She switched on the light,
She climbed into my bed and curled up,
Under the fluffy cover.
She sobbed into my pillow about her loneliness,
And used my arms
To hold herself up.

by Lauren Numeroff

You stare down at her virgin,
soft, tiny hands,
Untouched by evil,
drugs, and pain.
Yearning for her life, freedom,
Or just $2 to buy ice cream after school.
Her eyes burn your flesh,
eyes too young to know poverty.
You mutter a muted apology,
Ruthless, ashamed.
She turns away,
lying,
she understands,
Mommy, your partner,
who you swore yourself to,
“In sickness and health,
For richer or poorer,”
She reaches into the cookie tin
and her hand emerges with a couple of paper bills,
Those empty paper scraps which run your life.
She brushes the hair out of the eyes
of the child you share,
and shoves the bills into her little jacket pocket.
All the while, giving you this look,
This look that further implies
what a failure you are.
You grab your tattered leather briefcase,
filled with nothing you were educated for,
The only trace of your education lies in those envelopes,
Opened with inept hands,
and stuffed in that briefcase your mom bought you when you graduated.
Your student loans,
Naturally,
Unpaid.

You face the back of a turbaned head,
He turns to you,
and raises an eyebrow as he notices your beat-up Volkswagon outside.
“$17.50 for the gas. Would you like anything else?”
Of course you do.
Of course you don’t.
You open your torn wallet and shell out twenty dollars
To feed your car and your nicotine desiring blood.
You think of your daughter,
And her ice cream.
You pack your Reds and bring one to your lips.
The precious fire lights your drug,
And one lonely tear appears at the corner of your eye.
Inhaling, you let the contaminated blood trickle,
down, down, down.
You bury your face in your hands
Being careful not to singe your lashes with your
Smoke.

by Andy Manoff

Hello, it’s now time to begin
Every time we
give a speech
A large bill is left for you in excess
Japanese is difficult
There are 17 lightbulbs
Somedays it’s sunny
But often there’s nice weather inside
The fate of the puppy is in the picture
Three want to do it
My book is true
Your future…
Number Four storeroom
Let’s get at least 6 presents
Tomorrow there will be more red
Reciprocally hand it over
After the tub
It is a model dog
Yes, in that case
That every next seems to be
If you think you come in contact
With Snow
Eat Eat Eat
How many pears?
Three and now
Let’s divide the ordered food
How many pears?
Probably Probably Probably
Fast color
Temporary color
What kind of bunch
That’s why
nonetheless
You, in general
Hello, it’s now time to begin
Every time we
give a speech
A large bill is left for you in excess
Japanese is difficult

There are 17 lightbulbs

by Lisa Walsh

This night I seek your listening.

The insomnia of my fingertips,

write my words in longing call

for your ears and thoughts.

This night I reach alone for arms to hold mine

and crawl with me into empty corridors of time.

This night I seek your gentle touch

to draw me out of winter’s lonesome frost.

This night I ask shadows to reveal themselves

amidst the fear breeding in the air.

This night I call out to all the homes

of distant souls who want to hear.

This night I chisel away at walls standing over me

and deposit a piece of myself in your world-

and are you ready?

by Rusty Fischer

i guess i should have checked but i
believed you all those other times and
ended up looking stupid i guess i got sick of it
when i heard the sirens i knew exactly what it
was dropped my microwave popcorn
no one else on our street was such a
psycho except the guy with the train set
it was almost a relief by then except
i’ll never admit that now
tried to tell them i was related
to get a better look the
cops got mad like it was my fault i let you
do that when if they’d ever even met you
once they’d have known better
not just seen you lying there all bloody and
pale and innocent looking like some kind of
victim not the super freak you’d
always been were currently being and certainly
would have been forever if you’d made it

by A.Y. Tanaka

But she wasn’t meant for me anyway,
one of the too many girls who cliqued and huddled
after school
and clicked their heels and conclaved their homework
and whispered about us and hid our file.

Lots of Italian girls, lots –
sharp, rounded, eyes full of fire.
Even the wine-scented roses
from Pius IX Prep had something to offer,
if they wanted to offer.
But they knew me too well, or pretended –

those quick strong tongues that whipped me apart,
why would they lie?
I was them — they were me,
the chrisms and scapulars and first communions,
the long hard pews of St. Mike’s Emergency,
the long hard pews of the precinct’s coffee room,
the showdowns, the rollcalls to dust off your pride,
cushion the eight-ball rolling in your gut,
the nudge, the whisper who to turn to.

You can’t escape from a world full of sisters,
warm roses pretending to be sisters.

by Richard Fein

Old anthology, fourth edition, not a rare book,
binding almost gone, many loose pages,
a dusty outline on the shelf
when I first lift the book.
One Cathy Brady owned it once
sixty years ago, she dated it.
Her signature is neat; her letters
are smoothly curved with no sharp angles.
I thumb through the pages.
Every poem I’d bother to read again,
she had already circled.
Every line I might memorize,
she had underlined.
Were she twenty then she might yet be living,
white hair, her hand shaky,
but maybe her letters would still posses
something of those gentle slopes.
I bought the book for eighty cents.

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