Illinois State Poetry Society
Poems by ISPS Members
March, 2023
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Poems on this Page:


by Rita Yager

If only
someone could just
hold me....

It won't happen
I was born so homely

no one will choose me
they only abuse me
throw stones at my gate,
look at me with hate
I suppose
I'll  always
be lonely
because I'm so homely

No one
takes time
to show me
even a small kindness
no one will ever get to know me,
they can't get past my being so homely.

From Lyrics of Our Lives,
an Unfinished Chapbook
This piece is:
dedicated to all the people of the world
born with deformities and syndromes,
and to Dr. JFP, RIP my dear mentor
who taught us that we must reach out 

Too Many

by Margery Parsons
I know a woman
lively to her bones, 
loose in her body, 
talks hope
laughs easy. 

When I look more closely
I see a broken tooth here, 
a bruise there
above the eye
and she tells me
there is a plate inside her head
beneath her hair
no one can see. 

I cry, as portraits of too many
women I have known
emerge from a tapestry of wounds
woven with ancient coats of arms: 
the balled fist, the bloody dagger, the leering hounds
of death. 

When I look again 
I see a fighter,
each breath wrenched
from mis-aimed arrows of anger, 
that could help to change the world forever, 
and like stones made lovely
by aeons of waves, 
a worn, but triumphant beauty.

Blindsided, Broadsided and in Hindsight

by Marie Samuel
Tiptoeing through muck
Despairing, not caring
Gliding around roadblocks
Ducking through barricades

Pausing, taking careful stock
Expecting no real accolades
Wandering to no set place
Seeking others to embrace 

Sorrowing as time moves on
Realizing some are doomed
Creeping to the far beyond
Too weary to really bloom

Singing a very old sad song
Feeling impossible to belong
Dreading the age old wrongs
Barricaded Bridges our doom. 

From New Year Bridges We
Cross Series

Padre Ernesto Speaks

by Donna Pucciani
The Italian cousins send a video
of Zio Ernesto, who is ninety-six today,
sitting at the old oak table in the refectory,
wishing me well.

I can decipher most of the words
woven from foreign threads
into a wheezy web of vowels
spidering off the trellis of his tongue.

I feel the soft veil of his voice
on my face, its fragile weft
brushing my visage across an ocean,
blown from the monastery on a hill
like a spent dandelion.

One eye is misted
in the whitish cloud of cataract.
The other grasps the world and me
in its watery gaze, an ancient blessing,
the trembling echo of a star.

(First published in Piker Press)

Running Errands

by Court Williams
The chilly fall breeze
blows the wisps of steamy furnace smoke
escaping the chimney tops.

An imposing roof, moisture laden clouds
cast the world in shades of gray
as they scud across the sky.

People rush about their lives,
bundled in layers against the raw air,
accepting the seasonable inconvenience.

I sit in my car enjoying the radio
anxiously awaiting the green light,
my coat and hat in the back seat of my cocoon.

A red-faced, bare-headed man
stands on the corner holding creased
cardboard reading, "please help."

His puppy sad eyes look into my soul,
as breath steam haloes his head.
I stare straight ahead as I drive on.

To Orion

by Terry Slaney
I wait for you when I wake at night
You reassure me when I see the three stars of your belt
The shining glitter of your masculinity
I count on you to be there in the sky
Cloudy nights are hard, you hide

But, in March your steady presence
Is my guide in the western sky
And as I prepare to settle, you go ahead
I see your starry thread move southwest
And I
Back to bed.

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