Illinois State Poetry Society
Poems by ISPS Members
February, 2021
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Poems on this Page:

I got lost there

by Jenene Ravesloot
just like you. And now we're both lost there and the good news is we have each other and this vast whiteness except for a few marks, marks we cannot read because we are too close to it or too far, or too much to this side of it or that side of up or down and there is no use reading the landscape for meaning if you can't make out what the landscape consists of so we spend a great deal of time pressing our fingers against our eyes as if to wipe the tiredness away but clarity won't come and there's some small comfort in that, to be surprised you know, to let whatever happens happen, and good news, we're still here and we are between this and that and life is like that I being yours and you being mine meandering in this place we've found ourselves in, throwing the dice since perhaps the colors will be better found that way, the cloth perhaps better woven that way, by god knows what means, not by your means or my means, but divinely made as such things are if they come at all and as I said, we got lost there long ago. It was the throw of the dice, you know. They said we could go anywhere. Just pick a place, any place. That meant so much to me once, that is to say, a long time ago.

(First published in After Hours, 2019)

Valentine's Day Photo

by Mark Hudson
In the Villages, Florida I stay,
visiting my dad during Valentine's Day.
A photo appears in the local news,
in the newspaper which I peruse.
An elderly lady is in a nursing home,
and I think she deserves a poem.
She's at a place for assisted living,
three little boys have love they're giving.
at this nursing home institute,
the lady is loved by children so cute.
All three children give her a group hug,
it seems they all have the love bug.
The elderly lady clearly feels joy,
to get a hug from three boys.
So on Valentine's Day, you don't have to be a lover,
you can always love by thinking of others.

Aubade Melody

by Marie Samuel
Sunrise in my hills beckons
Greeting those it welcomes
All who early morn awaken
Lifting hearts not forsaken
To a purposeful day making
Positive goals of conservation
Peace and much positivity
With end of day no negativity
To break our hopeful dreaming 
For more blessed time yearning
Stars and moon are now presiding. 
Til glow of daybreak's new arising 

Opalescent Sea

by Michael Escoubas
When we met
I felt a turbulence
like the shimmering blue
of dawn mixed with sunset's
scorching yellow-red,
and yet,
as my feet sink in sand,
as wind-whipped foam
dampens my face and clothes,
my heart will not let go
of love.

I see you in distant twilight
striding long,
silhouetted in sunbeams
an image on a coin—
and like the roiling sea,
your scattered light
everything around you . . .
we flow as one in opalescent blue.

Ghost Weather

by Donna Pucciani
The storm blew in from the west
as predicted, a little before midnight,
not long after a blue moon
lit the sky with its lollipop face.
Trees bowed to earth,
their leaves quivering on the breast
of night. Lilies sparked their fires
with humid gusts, and sacred basil
trembled in silent flashes, awaiting
the full force of the tempest.

Wandering the willow's green swags,
my grandmother appears, having leapt
from Charon's boat before he reached
her destination, her white cape flying
behind her old black dress, calico 
apron, and sensible shoes. She refuses 
to be ferried into the next world 
by some stranger with oars.
She is her own mythology, 
shrugging her shoulders in a gesture 
of Neapolitan stubbornness, surprised 
only by her angel-smoke soul 
wafting up to heaven 
in a storm of diaphanous wings. 

(Credit: Chiron Review)

Nostalgia (a tanka sequence)

by Charlotte Digregorio
on a crisp autumn day
returning to my hometown
i walk to my high school
standing wistful
at the football field's fence

at my class reunion
i remember 
their faces and names
though i fail
to be memorable

at day's end
i climb the hill to where
my grade school stood
sixty years ago
now razed for a nursing home

Please Don't Read This

by jacob erin-cilberto
I'd like to write a decent poem
but I have caught the need to rhyme
no medicine can undo the ragged verse
I've developed the curse
the end words have to match
content destroyed with dispatch
rhyme me a reason to keep on scribing
too much form I've been imbibing
this group of couplets demanding
I stick a clean landing
To score a ten on the poetic scale
save me please, I have gone off the rail
I'd like to write a decent poem
substance abuse deems the need to atone.
I'd like to write a decent poem
I'd like to write a decent poem
I'd like to write a decent poem
I'd like to write a decent poem
the end.

After Video-Touring the Brooklyn Japanese Garden
during the Time of the Virus

by Gail Goepfert
—Cinematographer Nic Petry of Dancing Camera
I swoop and swoon with the camera
through the hill-and-pond garden—
a slow reveal of lift and slide.
Blue sky, and hanging above the blushing
cherry trees—cotton-candy blossoms. Sakura.
Only one god's-eye milky cloud.
                                        No one walks here.     
Cherry blossoms—symbols of birth
and death—sway in clusters on dark limbs.
The trunks have learned to dip and rise.    
Birdspeak, lilting calls and strings
of notes without urgency. Lullabies.
Finch and chickadee and catbird.
                                        All the people told to stay home.
Only the insistent Canadian geese
parade themselves, their honks lukewarm
as they toddle unchased.
                                        Media voices toll the deaths.
Edging the pond, fiddlehead ferns,
camellias in pink, and a vermilion-red
wooden tori, gateway to a Shinto shrine.
The sun glimmers through the arms of trees.  
Komorebi. I revel in this deluge of beauty
offered up by the camera's lens.
                                        A swell of sound intrudes.
                                        From somewhere beyond, a siren keens—
                                        the world outside still sorrows.

(First appeared in Examined Life Journal)


by Lucia Haase
'Carry on,' says the wood,
though the road is long;
'Carry on' as you should.
Find your victory song.

There is warmth up ahead,
certain Spring on the brow
just where others have tread,
though the air is cold now.

Let your stead be a tree
rooting strength with each dawn
'neath the world's canopy-
says the wood, 'Carry on.'

Key Notes

by Arthur Voellinger
When you write
your song,
don't make it
too long
Even if it has
a catchy start,
keep it short
Use rhymes
worthy of lines
And think
of a melody,
not a rhapsody

Antlers in the Snow

by Marilyn Peretti
(for Bill Peretti's
Prayer Card, 2019)
That's what I'm looking for now
as I wander the Great Woods. 
Trees are bare and cold but life
abounds as soft brown 
cottontails leap from hiding,
a bright cardinal clearly
whistles to me where shrews
and squirrels scamper.
I want to find the slender doe
moving through tall grass
in a white silence,
and a brave bold buck
asserting himself.
Watching from my blind
on Castellini's hills
I decide to stay here,
even as the sun sets
painting the sky red,
so much peace and quiet,
my imagined forever-peace.

Ode to a New Day Being Born

by Goldie Ann Farkonas
As I awaken, still in bed, each morn,
I view, from window, a new day just born.

The golden beams of sun invade my room,
They tell me, "Rise, 'tis day, go out and bloom."
This newborn day is filled with promise, love,
Do treat this day as Gift from God, Above.
Do try to be as pure as new-born life,
Do not hurt others, never mean, cause strife.
And never disrespect opinions said,
Our Mother Earth provides that minds be bred.
A newborn, day brings hope to Earth, our home,
From lands upon our planet, never roam.

As I awaken, still in bed, each morn,
I view from window, a new day just born.

The leaves in days of warmth, so pleased, occur,
To dance in sun's gold beams with rays astir.
The animals and insects, all aglow,
And waterways, their kinds of life, all flow.
The flowers thrive in sunlight, every day,
All life does come, but life does go, not stay.
Each day must go, succumbs to night's dark call,
Respect each day, for life is gift for all.
Each day will never come, return again,
Each day is gone as Earth does turn its spin.

As I awaken, still in bed, each morn,
I view from window a new day just born.

Each new born day is as new life on Earth,
Mom Nature does awaken, starts rebirth.
All Earthlings do rejoice when sun fills home,
In either, nest or sea, or fancy dome.
As day continues on its daily trip,
The dark brings dew drops for the plants to sip.
Days memories will keep forever more,
Tomorrow's dawn will open a new door.
The setting sun says, "Go to sleep, 'tis time,"

The morn will bring another day, for rhyme!

Once Upon a Pick

by William Lederer
Goo goo gum gitsy goo gummy.
Don't tell Mummy I made a yummy.
Look.It's long! Now it's gooey.
Anyway I want.It's gum-gum chewy!

Here it comes.A bowl of cornflakes.
I hate them all.They scratch my toofies!
Don't worry,Little Gummy. "For goodness sakes!"
I'll stick you in my ear or with sandman goodies

and sometime later when nobody's near
I'll place you on my tongue and smack you.
They can smack away on their big fat beer.
But I'll be  making you a very nice glue

and stick you on any old thing
like, watch this, that light bubble.
And turn it on and smell you cooking
like bacon and pop! Oh-oh. I'm in trouble.

For frying a booger? Now that ain't right!
I'm only doing what everybody does.
But I won't tell Mama cuz she'd only fight
with Dada over whose gaga I was!

Oh if only I was older I'd show them.
I'd stick you in my nosey and start over.
Pull you out and stick you again
on the brightest smelliest flower. 

Winter Solstice

by Karen Fullett-Christensen
One day closer to spring...
I hear my dad's voice:
a person who saw the bright side of life
we always need light
Our faith points us up to the moon, the sun,
for inspiration
directs our attention
outside of ourselves
Earth turns, seasons change
are we drifting along, oblivious,
are we ignoring the sage advice:
change, change, change
Dig yourself out from your rooted position
brush off the mud
sweep off the snow
turn toward the sky.

Listening to the Radio

by Lennart Lundh
writing the same refrain, thinking it would still be nice to see you again, thinking foolish, each of us going home each last time with broken hearts, at least one wondering what went wrong each time, always the same. There's no balance with one to the West while one settled East, money's never counted, and we defined fine things as Sandburg's voice from the phonograph your father left you.

So? What does it matter?

Don't turn on the light, spark the fire, draw a match to sketch a candle. It's easier while in the dark to look at the same moon separated. It's easier when I miss you in the forest's mist to still feel face to face beneath the sad, white glow of this solitude that takes me by surprise each time, always has, even when I touched you with seas and music from another hemisphere, long gone, longing for a touch sailing my way.

What reason would you need to break the silence?


by Caroline Johnson
for Megan (after Rudyard Kipling)
If you can keep your head when all about you
are gossiping, lying, or planning a coup.
If you can wear bright colors, purple or sky blue,
but not be ashamed to show the real you.
If you can swim through changes, but stay afloat,
not worrying about what people may say.
Or, being lonely, throw others a coat,
then offer to sew up their tears the next day.

If you come up with a dream, and study it for hours,
then throw your heart into it with full aplomb.
If you gamble on desire but aim to empower,
never letting your enemies see you give in.
If you wink shyly and flirt, yet muscle a smile,
eye boys with glitter, but choose them wise,
You'll grow into grace and create your own style,
forgetting the hype and futile disguise.

If you can steer your heart to a direction that's true,
and never let go of sweet innocence,
If you drive the distance and stay worldly too,
and keep your head full of practical sense.
If you go to university and study life,
hobnob with the rich and poor,
If you observe all around you with keen insight,
yet always stay hopeful at each open door.

If you can trust your instincts while staying sober,
yet still navigate the City of Love,
then make new friends when the party is over,
never blaming someone else or God above.
If you can fill each minute with adventure and joy,
without trying too hard to please,
yours is the world and everything it employs,
and what's more you'll be a woman, my niece!

(Previously published in The Poet, "Childhood"
Anthology, Vol. 1. Winter 2020)

Subject: The flower she is

by Hanh Chau
The flower she is 
exudes herself 
in the radiant 
Of soft pink petal touch 
Sweet scene 
Blooming after the April shower 
that become a lily orchid
Carries herself in a
sophisticate way
With her luscious lip of 
In a greenish flourish display 
No, she is not in a hurry
to show off her 
innate exquisite 
But move in a graceful motion 
Awaiting upon those who 
Come with a genuine care
So, when you come across to 
Do, treat her kindly 
     And not let her out
         Of the sight
  Let her lasting beauty 

Roller Skater

by Phil Flott
She is God's grace,
at twelve, doesn't know it.
Comes home from school,
dons her skates and white helmet,
rolls down her driveway back and forth
a few times, a slender rider.
She notices the slope of my sidewalk
across the street from her house,
promptly sees a challenge not yet accepted.
She clanks to the top, to my front door
then scoots down to the street
negotiating sidewalk, curb, and pavement so gracefully
you would think she was an autumn breeze.
After two runs down my walk
she heads up the hill.
She finds a full, fallen yellow maple leaf on a twig,
holds her pennant just over her head
and flutters down in freedom flight,
turns in to her driveway,
satisfied in afternoon joy.

Be As One

by Rick Sadler
Purest Lady of Poets my sweet heart
Help this rhymer know where to start, 
To tune-in for a message for a realm
Is viewed in liberty's virtue's helm,
Prophets cry out from the long ago past
They orate of our apocalyptic forecast,
Certain beings never listen to the wise
Schemers of violence come in disguise,
That these extremists will never learn
Is the reason there's no peace we yearn,
Both the left and right are at times wrong
That they always promote violence belong,
As a couth of commonality must be found
Proud American souls can be so profound,
In the house of America a knock on a door
As from togetherness will live for evermore,
Oh Purest Lady of the poets say a little rhyme
As for the American spirit that rings in time,


by Kate Hutchinson
One writer faces this conundrum:
at 68, how many staples does he need?
His lifelong yen for office supplies has wrought
drawers full, but after some calculations,
he realizes thousands will be left unused
to molder or rust in someone's garage.

Another laments this brittle truth:
no one will want any of the paraphernalia
billowing around her, sparking daily joy.
Even her children scoff at her shoebox
of tattered wedding mementos, destined
for the landfill, that lonely lagoon of ruin.

What of my own accumulation? Boxes
of bird ornaments, ten bulging scrapbooks,
costume jewelry my mother once wore.
Enough books to light a bonfire seen
for miles. If I disappear tomorrow,
whose bulldozer will plow it all away?

To approach our waning years is to decide
when something's usefulness outweighs its
sentiment or pure delight. How will we know
when it's time to part with the beads and baubles,
to strip down to seashell white, empty shelves,
a clear mind, and a simple mat on the floor?

The Morning Person

by Idella Pearl Edwards
The first thing I hear as I stumble out of bed,
Is the sound of my dear husband's voice.
"Good Morning, Wife!" he cheerfully calls out,
But solitude is my choice.

I blindly shuffle my way to the bathroom,
As I summon my voice to reply,
"What's for breakfast, wife?" I hear him say,
In response, I can only sigh.

My hubby is clearly a morning person,
If he could, he would sing in the shower.
He's instantly ready to tackle his day,
In the early sunrise hour.

I, too, am actually a morning person.
I welcome the challenge of each day.
But ONLY after a cup of strong coffee
Washes the cobwebs away.

So my husband continues to rise with the chickens,
He never needs an alarm,
While I hit the snooze button time and again
"More sleep can do me no harm!"

To Argue with Your Shadow

by William Marr
it's pointless to argue with your shadow
either he has his back toward you
or is behind your back
you can never look him straight in the eye
from his voiceless murmurings
half a word here
half a word there
you know he is either trying to anger you
or annoy you 
and you cannot tell
if he is for you
or against you
when you finally lose your temper
waving him away
he just waves back at you
knowing full well you can never rid yourself of him
unless there's no light around you
or you concede defeat
and shut your eyes

Wild Trees Dance to Winter Winds

by Gail Denham
Can you see them from here?
Groves of trees dance to wind song.
Can you see them from here?
Leafless aspens join the pines.
Wild abandon drives this throng.
With gladness, I must dance along.
Can you see us from here?

For Pamela, recovering from a stroke

by Melissa Huff
It's a lot like driving north
through miles of Illinois prairie
on unremitting gray concrete—
so easy to lose track
of where you are
save for those occasional
green highway signposts
that tell you only how far
you've yet to go.
Just be sure you do the arithmetic
to remind yourself how far
you've come.

(Originally published in May, 2019 at

Tree shapes

by Daniel S. Weinberg
How does Nature decide on tree shape for a tree?
Is there a committee or a group of experts?
Does Nature sit at a drawing board and go thru possibilities?
Is there a shape czar or shape Queen?

Or is the shape decided by a group of children
around the World in a Fall contest decided by
Mother Nature?

Trees in winter look like they just had a haircut
and their gorgeous shape is so unique,
they sit there with snow on their boughs
and wonder how to be a protector of the world.

The Celebration

by Sherri Baker
I watch the flickering images
deftly maneuvering their designated
dance in my peripheral vision,
my ears deciphering the
crackles and pops that meld easily with
the colors swaying and twisting near me.
Mesmerized I followed the colors
of fire swinging around with all the precision 
and crackles and bursts of new fires being lit.
I listen to not only the fire, but the stories being
told, the laughter of a generation younger than
my own, and I wonder if this is how it should
always be. Not a funeral, a going-away party. 
A celebration of life with the people
who not only mourned the end, but shared 
everything that came before, 
embraced what they enjoyed. 
Sharing and holding up a legacy of 
peace, love, music, art and dancing with fire.
We will always remember, always grieve, 
but we should remember everything 
that was good in a person's life.
Not just the moment their life stopped.

Real to Reel too Real

by Emma Alexandra Kowalenko
These moments, spinning memories
quickly, too quickly. Life is a
Real to Reel, too Real, movie,
rolling, stopping, restarting, with a pace

We walk eyes blinking to keep them moist.
Search for snowcapped sunsets, recall
sunrises a year ago, or so, without this reality.
Real, to Reel, too real, life is, is a pace

We awaken to news, vaccines, yes, no,
to virus variants crossing oceans, yes, no.
Search for clarity in vocabulary thrown about
like waves in an unforeseen storm,

Somewhere they, as we, bid ourselves good night.
Turn out our bedroom lights to sighs of relief.
Family, friends, safe today. For precious moments.
Real to Reel, too Real, life, pauses.
We sleep.

Night in the Wetlands

by Wilda Morris
At dusk, yellow-bellied sliders
slip into the water
from half-submerged logs.
Armadas of geese and ducks
glide into the avian tarmac
and pull in their landing gear.
All night, the female heron
sits silently on her nest
protecting her pale blue eggs.
The red-winged blackbird ceases
to sing to his sparrow-brown mate,
and flaunt his bright epalautes.
Cattails sway on the breeze
but not one stem bounces like a trampoline
from the weight of a bird.
The pond stills itself, invites the moon
to build a path of light across the water,
a path the morning sun will erase.

("Night in the Wetlands," Natural Voices:
Celebrating Nature with Opened Eyes
Natural Land Institute, 2018)

Eat My Intense Feelings

by Rafael Lantigua Medina
O you devil!
Master of influences and feelings
Do not push me 
to rule my loved ones today:
I'll thank you for it;
It will be a struggle. I know.

Are they 
in the mood for manipulations?
I don't know... 
Day is younger—

And reason is asking me
to be tactical: walk the pass
to royal success 
(Ride the wave of life)
to achieve my ambitions

Emperor of dreams,
Yes, you the god of fortitude
and intelligent thoughts,
make me smell the road to bliss
and I'll be happy in the air
and eat my deep feelings today.
I promise that.

The Unrelenting Clouds

by Carole R. Bolinski
An ice crystal forms in our hands.
We toss it back and forth
as if it'll grow and cause
a hailstorm between us.

There have been many... storms
with squall lines that bend more than an arm,
thunder, loud as a firecracker
and rain, dense as heavy fog.

If only our hands could updraft
and downdraft with kindness,
seed those clouds with kisses 
instead of chemicals.

Put all those gusts of anger aside
and wait... for the weather
to improve.

The Making of a Poem

by Doreen Ambrose-Van Lee
For me the making of a poem is a labor of love,
It's like freeing a flock of seagulls or doves.
Some days a familiar fragrance or the way the sun sets inspires me to write.
Or something on the news or something someone says will spark a light.
Sometimes I walk around with a title in my head for years,
Until the words come flooding down like a newborns tears.
There are times when I write the poem first and then the title comes second,
Because I guess it's something that has been on my mind for awhile I reckon.
I tell people that because I am a poet I don't always set out to rhyme,
I simply start out with a series of thoughts most of the time.
Then I write how I feel or how I perceive situations or events,
Then a pattern and a rhythm form which makes it heaven sent.
After I establish a beginning and a middle I head straight for the ending,
I reiterate earlier statements or I continue on with the message I am sending.
So there you have it my thoughts on poem making,
It always seems to work for me I think it's advice worth taking.

Reading Poetry Before Bed

by Candace Armstrong
Sweetness strokes my lips
when certain lines come to mind.

I relish the taste of a smile
as I sink into sleep.

Then clouds become a sea
for sailing ships of words
that reassemble into fantasy.

Shadows intrude
but soon vanish
banished by a magician's hand.

A lover's dream
dances the last moments
before dawn.

A Fitful Germination

by Jill Angel Langlois
I crawl on my belly toward the open door,
Toward the green and the light.
In the furnace heat of the sun and soil,
Sweat drips down in the making of life.
The force of the blade through snow,
The thrust into the flesh to crack the shell.
Inside a fitful germination begins.
A twirling painful stretching of the mind,
With a metamorphic thought clinging on,
Sucking for energy, clawing for nurture.
At the moment's crisis, I bear down.
I open wide in agony, screaming.
And screaming comes forth the "it."
The being created from the outside,
Parasitically feeding on the inside,
Now existing on its own, fleshed out,
In my flesh, wearing pieces of me.

Mixed Up

by Tom Chockley
would/wouldn't/would again confidence
twins a distance between theory and time
praise-waiting her painted self-portrait

Hemispatial Neglect

by Kathy Cotton
	Imagine that you are not conscious of one half 
	of the world around you . . . patients with hemispatial 
	neglect are living in such a world. 	—Donners Wonders

Before I cried, I secretly laughed at the bushy 
half-mustache you left behind when you
clean-shaved your face to a perfect midline.

How could I imagine that the tiniest touch 
of a fatal lesion deep behind your blue eyes
had erased half of your perception—

slicing every clock face into 
a semi-circle with time reduced to
numbers twelve to six, and causing 

half your dinner tray to disappear,
no left-side salad or dessert, only right-side 
servings and your water glass.

A doctor, for your safety, winged in a sling
the one arm no longer in your knowing, 
above the left leg's equally forgotten existence.
And your half body, inexplicably slammed 
to the floor by any unrecognized door frame,
could never again upright its hemi-self.

I did not show you those split-page words 
explaining why you were unaware
of what you were unaware,

for you, dear man with the tiny lesion
in that beautiful brain, lived hopefully
with the severed life you saw:
dessert moved near your water glass
and me standing right beside you . . .
always to your right, beside you.

(From Common Ground)

Blue Blanket

by Molly Seale
Blue woolen blanket—you cover
cold toes. Children huddle beneath you, 
rumpling your softness.
Cats lounge upon you,
books scatter across you,
papers pile upon you, coffee cups 
perch precariously, tipped just so.

I float you off the bed, swirl you around me,
concealing the nursing baby from curious eyes.
Your shadows deepen, your lines curve—
inverted designs created per chance—
Your soothing color, downy 
texture, luscious warmth 
beckons me to crawl within.

Blue woolen blanket—accepting, unresisting, 
unrestricting. Dumb. Silent. Calm.
If I could draw you, my gaze would caress 
your every crease and dip and fold,
eye to hand transferred.
I write you instead—clumsy, searching,
tenaciously grasping your quintessence.

Stone Cold Home

by Carol Marcus
A magnificent, miniature
Greek Temple stands
High and mighty,
Among final tributes
And placement of
Many neighboring
Grave markers.
Their symbolism expressed
As angels, crosses,
Vases, secret etchings,
Fraternal order, cloaked
Women, signaled hands.
Dates document the
People who passed.
This mausoleum has
Ornate bronze doors with
A small window
To allows a peek
Inside to view the
Colorful, stained-glass
Sun-lit window.
A vision of Our Lord
Appears with open arms
Welcomed the deceased,
And provides visual comfort
To family members visiting
The final, stone, cold home
Of prominent occupants.

Priscilla, Let's Dance

by Michael Lee Johnson
Priscilla, Puerto Rican songbird,
an island jungle dancer, Cuban heritage,
rare parrot, a singer survivor near extinction.
She sounds off on notes, music her
vocals hearing background bongos,
piano keys, Cuban horns.
Quote the patterns of the verse
quilt the pieces skirt bleeds,
then blend colors light a tropical prism.
Steamy Salsa, a little twist, cha-cha-cha
dancing rhythms of passions, sacred these islands.
Everything she has is movement
tucked nice and tight but explosive.
She mimics those ancient sounds
showing her ribs, her naked body.
Her ex-lovers remain nightmares
pointed daggers, so criminal, so stereotyped.
Priscilla purifies her dreams with repentance
She pours her heart out everything
condensed to the bone, small boobies,
cheap bras, flamboyant Gi strings.
Her vocabulary is that of sin and Catholicism.
Island hurricanes form their own Jesus
slants of hail, detonate thunder,
the collapse of hell in her hands after midnight. 
Priscilla remains a background rabble-rouser,
almost remorseful no apologies
to the counsel of Judas
wherever he hangs.

My Covid19 Diaries: On Friday Night

by Cielo Jones
So, this is what we've become
Watch each other behind our windows
Wave a little, smile a little
I whisper, "Hello." You can't hear me
But you smile and ask, "How is your day?"
Because we can lip-read now

It's a nice spring night
Our windows are open, curtains drawn
I play Julio Iglesias, I dance -
Eyes closed, slowly swing
The walls and the driveway between us disappear
You dance with me

And for a moment we forget that
The world we know collapses
Breaks apart, no answers yet
Numbers rise. They have names,
have families, have addresses

We dance until the song ends
But the music outside - the dance outside
That we hide from
Goes on
We stand there, stare at each other and
Wonder, when does it end?

The Christmas Blouse

by Barbara Eaton
I probably shouldn't have bought it.
It was $24 at Kohl's.
A little pricey for a blouse.
For me, anyway.

And it was not on sale.
Forest green.  Sonoma.
Little white flowers all over.
I thought it was cute.

My sister brought it to the hospital
so I could wear it
while I was there.

A Christmas present from myself
  to myself.
I probably shouldn't have bought it.

My sister cut off the long ties
at the neck
because they weren't allowed
in the hospital.

I guess she washed it
before she brought it
because it was wrinkled
and it didn't look new
any more.

I would have washed it by hand,
dried it in the dryer
for a few minutes
and hung it up
until it air-dried.

But I was in the hospital 
I wore it
without the ties
and with the wrinkles.

I only wore it once.

The nurse—not the smartest of the nurses,
but he knew that—
washed it for me
after I wore it that one time.

I know he meant well,
but when I got it back,
the forest green blouse
was wrinkled again,
and there was a rip
under the right arm.

The tear was on the seam,
but it was frayed.

I probably could have sewn it back
together by hand,
but it would just rip again.

My sister offered to sew it up
on her new sewing machine,
but I told her it was all right.

I never wore that blouse again.

I kept it for awhile,
just to remind myself
of how much I had liked it
when I first bought it.

But eventually I threw
the forest green blouse away.

I put it in the William's Sonoma bag
my sister had brought it in.

I thought it was a little amusing,
a Sonoma blouse
in a Williams Sonoma bag.

A strange man
fished the used bag out of the trash
and kept it
even though it was crumpled.

But he left the forest green
Sonoma blouse
in the garbage bin.

And that's the story
of my Christmas blouse.

Guess what?
I am that blouse.

Thoughts Sitting on a Winter Fence

by Tom Moran
I know enough of poetry
to some days leave it
as an untended garden,

know enough of hate
not to swing at shadows
that won't hurt me,

enough of love
to respect it
and leave her alone.

I accept death comes
as its own surprise,
that hope is a force not metered,
and time is elusive 
as mercury in my hands.

Now older,
I wait on the 
parole of spring
when wisdom,
as new shoots,
will pierce the hardened ground.	

Modigliani's Leap February

by Gari Light
Leap February arrives as a sign of grievances past—
in the sharpness of collisions.
The fireplace still lingers, while dusk turns into twilight
in anticipation of the dark, as we...
Appear to be stumbling in the pronunciation 
of rarely spoken Italian words and sentences,
water is everywhere, there are unexplained splashes in the canals,
as the shadows dissipate.

Here it goes again—this last winter's month is leap indeed, 
its arrogance on full display,
yet silk abounds in it as well, 
along with the guitar chords rolling beyond the sands of the Lido.
Outside the windows the carnival is unwrapping 
as if a high category hurricane in its full glory,
it is as tempting as the night reflected 
in the masked beauty that brought the invite to the ball.

There is such a numbing temptation to respond
to her invitation with a mere nod, the moon 
being her vivid accomplice with cat-like moves, 
there is no say what the consequences will bring
when she takes all of her promises back 
with a nonchalant half smile while at Ponte dei Sospiri,
Nevertheless, he would always...
There will never be a day, when his door is locked for her.

Water reflections contain images of so many exotic flowers,
that the colors appear unearthly.
Venice is reluctantly preparing to welcome 
the first edges of dawn along the echoing steps,
The month of February is so blazingly awkward 
in having that tricky extra day, and yet...
All of his sketches are of her in various states of undress, 
and all her poems are still about him.
No need for all of those useless torturous borders, 
continents and mile distances between them.
That initial benevolent flaw in their love, 
is not even attempted to be veiled by those two,
especially in this decadent month, 
whose plight is to be always divisible by four, 
except once in four. On the day, which has no place or purpose, 
but one of burning evidence in the fireplace.

It is in early March, when their shared 
delusional detours finally come to an obvious end.
Back to Montmartre from the doomed city of water, 
magical decay and bridges of tears and sighs
Spring usually arrives with a few tasks, 
among them the necessity of sewing up the hearts,
and assuring dignified and formal sweep of the fallout 
for all of those affected by the leap month


by Alan Harris
A new monarch
just out of its cocoon
flits over the yard
over the city park
over sweet marigolds 
over two boys playing catch
over a white-haired man
working on his 1966 Chevy
over an Amway salesman
with his bulging briefcase

back and fitfully forth
dodging into a rose bush
sipping necessary nectar
flying quickly up again
over lawns and fences

never to be seen twice
by surprised admirers
along its jerky flight
to a final destination
farther away than
anyone can imagine

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