Illinois State Poetry Society
Poems by ISPS Members
April, 2021
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More ISPS Poems | Haiga Gallery

Poems on this Page:

What I Saw at the Saw Room

by Mark Hudson
On September 7, 2019,
I was in an art show seen
in an alley in a gallery,
after eating calories.

I arrived at the Saw Room,
where the show was to bloom.
I found out the origin of the name,
they had lots of saws they claimed.

They had food, olives and carrots,
they even had a mascot, a parrot.
The show was in a room on the side;
I viewed my work with pride.

It was the figurative art league,
that displayed art of intrigue.
Sarah is the founder of the group,
so let me give you the scoop.

When I walked in, I saw Jules,
a German woman who is cool.
She was there with her German guest,
all the people were the best.

Then on bike came my former neighbor;
Mark, came to see my art on paper.
The art show started to die down,
the art show that was in down town.

I decided to head for the train,
I was tired, I'd let myself complain.
But on the way to train I saw
two people coming to the Saw!

"Where are you going? Home?" they said,
"We're going to your show!" I retread,
turned around and headed backwards,
people had come to the show to observe.

I showed them my art, which they enjoyed,
then more people came out of the void.
They all claimed they bought work in the past,
I was tired, but I was having a blast.

Then the art gallery's owner wife came,
I met her, but I forget her name.
She was beautiful, so was her daughter,
it was hot, I drank a lot of  water.

It was getting close to eight 'o' clock,
it was time to head on down the block.
Get on the train, head to my apartment,
try to get sleep and think what the art meant.

I got on the train, and patiently waited,
the train arrived, and I was elated.
What I saw at the saw room was a lot,
my art will not easily be forgot. 

My Ugly Venus,

by Jenene Ravesloot
my Venus, rank as unwrapped goat cheese, and ranker; rank Venus that no amount of bathwater can make clean, you rise on no half shell. What sea could cleanse you? And yet, you inspire the greatest heights of poetry in me. Your spine, curled and just barely supine, roils on the soiled bedspread; your plump thighs; your pocked and dimpled legs spread wide; your rump that displays one hideous sore when you lift up your knees so I can see. I would kiss you if I could. But I cannot bend. Curse old age that prevents such liberties. Here! Be quiet my Venus flytrap, my blotched and cankered rose, my man-hungry Muse that stinks, while my soaring words and cadged lines add luster to your monstrous shine.

(After Arthur Rimbaud's "Venus Anadyomene" First published in After Hours in 2020)

The Architecture of a Peace Sign

by jacob erin-cilberto
geodesic domes
and Bucky Fuller
waves of change
on a Carbondale street
in a May misty from half-smoked joints

the peace and love of it all
with war raging
far away and close by
autos overturned for blocks
store windows shattered with pretense

the ideals drifting up towards
a stalking moon
the yuppies still in their hippy garb
flipping the sign

and mouthing the words "Far Out"
to anyone who would listen to the cause
and shut out the government vibes
Soldiers in the street
quelling to quiet the mounting riot

deep into a morning
when the campus emptied
and the movement

went back home
to where the suburbs 
our motivation

and so-called depreciation.

About a Point

by William L. Lederer
What's there about a point?
It holds its place.
It fixes things.
It eliminates space.
It gives direction.
It apologizes to no one for the moment.
It's neither here nor there but lived by.

What's there about a point?
It singles out.
It praises and blames.
It lines up and pins down
comings and goings
beginnings and endings.

What's there about a point?
I make a point
I feel a point
A point is the sharpest thing in the world.
It penetrates everything but itself
or another point.

It appears to be everywhere
but is nowhere. When named
meanings multiply, uses used
confusion clarified.
The universe is so thick with points
that nothing can move
unless a soul is posited that has no point
which makes everything pointless
or its opposite.
What's there about a point?
It depends on the color,
its mood and mode.

A point is a period,
that thing above the i
that blemish in one's character
that holy darkness at the end of a sentence
that break in our breath
that makes us cease to be for an instant,		
then comes back miraculously 
unbeknown to ourselves.                                    

What's there about a point?
All of us
going nowhere
fast and furiously
to the bottom of a curve
that straightens out
and settles.


Think for a moment

by Donna Pucciani
of a child on fire
the one with the charred face,

See the skulls 
in jungle or desert—
take your pick.

But somewhere in a village in Peru 
women weave bright colors, 
talking of men and dinner.

(First published in Blue Unicorn)

Art History

by Karen Fullett-Christensen
In class we memorized dates and eras, identified slides
their secret lives were seldom discussed
then we encountered our friends, the artists
envied their freedom and joie de vivre
painted our bodies, sculpted our breasts
danced in fields and watched the stars
lying flat on our backs in the midnight chill
we were liberated, seeing the world as an exclamation
doors opened quickly, dimensions revealed
we bathed in music
the walls collapsed, the ceilings drew back
shapes and feelings merged in place
once you have studied history
can you ever go back?

Lady at Leisure

by Michael Escoubas
How cool it is
not to rush anywhere
no agenda—
just a cup of fresh-brewed coffee
a warm slice of toast
anointed with butter and marmalade.
She is happy
coloring a picture on her iPad . . .
a leisurely creation
of flowers and sky
she will hold before her husband
Look what I did.
Soon, her Granddaughter
will call and do "face-time"
for half an hour.
There will be laughter
deepening into joy.
How cool it is
not to rush anywhere
no agenda.

Not Lonesome No More

by Phil Flott
Not when I can dig
in wet, cold muck,
level railroad ties
for a window well,

tamp the gumbo clay
with small handfuls,
nail in thirty-penny,
common, steel-shank spikes,

then rise from the hole,
breathe in blue sky
and remember
the twinkling eyes
of my new friend.

Ode to Shade

by Charlotte Digregorio
Soothe me, after months
of wasting sun.
Freshen my face.

Let me walk under
maple trees shedding
weightless crimson and gold.

Take me to childhood,
shuffling through leaves
of copper beech trees.

Sit with me on a hill
under poplar spires,
breezing beneath pale sky
flecked with sparrows.

Show me secret places in
a sanctuary touched by trillium.
Let my thoughts stream
with clarity and answers.

Share your quietude while
I breathe zephyrs of pine
before blizzards efface me.

If I Could Become a Building

by Idella Pearl Edwards
Buildings are marvelous structures whether
Modern or antique.
Each and every one, like me,
Is special and unique.

If I became a building, I wonder
Which kind would I be?
What earthly purpose would I serve?
Would others find shelter in me?

Would I provide a sturdy foundation,
So others would be secure?
So they could be safe from harmful destruction,
And the storms of life endure?

Would my windows always be bright and clear,
With an unobstructed view,
To give me an inspirational vision
Of what I am called to do.

Would the inside decor bring peace and comfort,
To all who visit there.
Would the ambiance radiate beauty and love,
To let them know that I care.

If I were a building, I'd love to be
A church, a haven of rest,
A welcoming place of love and forgiveness
Where everyone is blessed.

21 Candles

by Doreen Ambrose-Van Lee
Dedicated to victims and families of the E2 NIGHT CLUB TRAGEDY, Feb. 17, 2003
Published In The Chicago Defender March 2003

Dashand Ray, Kevin Gayden, Teresa Johnson-Gordon, Nita Anthony,
Debra Gill, Maurice L. Robinson, Michael Wilson, Latorya McGraw,
Bianca Ferguson, Charita Rhodes, Damien Riley, Antonio Meyers,
Nicole Patterson, David Jones, Eazay Rogers, Nicole Rainey,
Robert Brown, Chanta Jackson, Danielle Greene, Charles Lard
and Demetrica Carwell.

Lord, bear with me, I am in shock as I write this,
Twenty-One people dead over a cat-fight—
This doesn't make much sense 
That we are talking about 21 people in past tense
All because of owner's greed and instant gratification
But why am I surprised because this omnipresent
Sentiment has totally engulfed our nation
And it has people jeopardizing the lives of others 
Just because they can't see past tomorrow,
Leaving thousands of people in sheer sadness and sorrow
Leaving babies without fathers and mothers 
Sisters without brothers
Mothers and fathers without children and so on...
The chain of grief just flows on.
21 souls immediately released into Heaven
21 dreams deferred
21 x 100 hearts forever broken and scarred
And left to carry on, in this life—that's hard
21 unsung melodies and songs
21 reasons to say no more 
Insanity and greed
21 wake up calls
21 seeds—gone back into the earth
21 families forever altered due to 
Deaths and not births
21 doves will fly
21 x 100 will cry
21 candles will be lit
Their pain and suffering is over
They have gone on to glory
Right now as we mourn and sit

April's Promise

by Goldie Ann Farkonas
'Tis Spring, the month of April has arrived, once more,
This month does hold its promises, to all, galore.

Warm days begin to come, and Nature brings new buds,
Sweet sounds are heard as life begins its welcome lauds.

The breeze is whispering through budding trees, with tease,
All life now seems to be relaxed with Spring's soft ease.

What do this month's soft winds repeat throughout the trees?
What message do they bring to life, all new, in breeze?

Perhaps they wish for all new life to know, respect,
For life is sacred, ne'er forget and ne'er reject.

This month of April, all of Nature does prepare,
Through showers and Spring budding, and the warming air.

The buds on trees will turn to leaves, and green, appear,
The sights become aesthetic, April's promise, cheer.

And Mother birds will make warm nests, for baby birds,
Dear Primavera brings back life, through God's Soft Words.

Now, children playing out in yard, and outdoor sport,
This month becomes a fun place, and a green resort.

Soft winds through trees have promised all a lovely spring,
God's Nature wants dear April's voice, now, softly, sing!

The Journey

by Lucia Haase
The world we see is a world to be seen,
a calling to all from our inner eye.
We peer horizonward and know the sky
reflects the future and places we've been.
What of nature concordant can we glean
in the growing strive of moments, by and bye—
the realm of yes or no...or how and why
and the fertile quietness of time serene.
We have our home, but there's much more to see,
simple little things and things complicated
building upon each soul as meant to be.
We must choose what then is overrated
and focus on our spirits, alive and free
to live the life for which we are created.

Our Church

by Marie Samuel
Some are church stopping
Others are church shopping
A few are church hopping
Yet churches hang on treading

Strange waters of uncertainty
To move not back pedaling
Nor changing goals surviving
Missions somehow meeting

Despite a bitter actual splitting
A church divided still remaining
Withstands bitterness surviving
A new future gamely it is facing.


by Arthur Voellinger
The expression
"At the End of the Day"
needs to go its way
Especially in discussion
when there's more
to say about things
along the way
What about
at the start of the day
or midday?
Don't they deserve
to be put into play? 

Paris Adventure

by Wilda Morris
Beginning with a line by Billy Collins
Pointillism snow is falling
in Chicago as I spot Billy Collins
at the Art Institute. He stands, hands
in the pockets of khaki pants, head tipped
to one side, in front Georges Seurat's
A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.
Billy stands close enough to see individual dots
of paint, then moves to the back of the room
where dots vanish in the sun-lit scene.
I grasp Billy's arm, ask him to take me
into that Paris park, away from Chicago winter.
Always the gentleman, he obliges.
We set our picnic basket down. Billy scratches
the small white dog between its ears
before it vanishes like smoke. Billy pulls a pipe
out of his pocket and lights it while I shake hands
with the leashed monkey.
We spread a blanket on the grass, split a baguette,
eat it with Camembert cheese and cucumber salad.
Billy drinks more than his share of the chardonnay,
but feeds me two-thirds of le chocolat.
We cool our feet in the River Seine
till a guard says we have to leave.
Billy hails a cab to O'Hare and waves goodbye.
I walk to my bus stop in deepening snow.

(Published in The Basil O'Flaherty, March 2016)

A Cup of Iced Tea

by Hanh Chau
A cup of homemade iced tea 
made by our own mother
That was always appreciated
when we were young in
the hot summer days
that she would be preparing for
us under no circumstances
even with a small task
No doubt about it was always
be tasteful and enjoyable
With added sweet flavor ingredient
along with a sliced piece of lemon
and a banana cream pie
how could anyone resist to this
You could always ask for more of cups
to fill up your thirst of request
With no cost of extra dime and penny
A cup of homemade iced tea
Just like a homemade giving spare
That filled you with a sense of need
A cup of homemade iced tea
Could be a special recipe treat
that cool you off with its own sip of refreshing
A cup of homemade iced tea
Could bring you back with a 
countless of laughter memories
so here is a cheer to everyone
with a sip of tasteful iced tea
A cup of homemade iced tea
Can be a reminder to all
That we all could not take things
For granted despite with only a serve of drink

First Draft of To-Do List for Future Lives

by Lennart Lundh
Become an astronomer,
student of the night skies.
A geologist, deciphering
the secret life of Earth.
Perhaps a digger after truth,
brushing time from potshards

Learn to draw, to paint,
to make movies and act,
compose and play.
Drown out the sounds of strife
with possibilities of peace.

Live long enough
perhaps to be a poet,
a different digger after truth.

Remember to forget pain.
Remember to remember joy.
These are not the same lessons,
but are concurrent acts.

Find you again.
Your love, your smile.
The ways we save
and recreate each other.
The way you hold my heart
crossing winter streets.
As if this needed saying.

Spring at the Lake

by Bonnie Manion
The lake was a silver mirror,
glassy smooth except for some
rippling sparkles along the far
shore, indicating a stiff breeze
out of the northeast.

Fluffy clouds slowly sailed over-
head, flat gray bottoms resting 
on an invisible bed of air.

A few brave skiffs plied the water 
on this chilly March morning, grass
just beginning to green up. Trees
swayed in the wind, still-bare tops 
a hazy blur of lime.

Little puffs of smoke rose from
last night's bonfire, waffled, then
disappeared.  A boat passed in the 
distance, it's wake white, followed
by a line of diamond ripples fanning
to a steely wave rolling toward shore.

I wanted to go outside, but the daybreak
temperature was too cold for comfort.

Spring Rain

by Kathy Cotton
Umbrella closed, I walk where April rain
perfumes the air with scent of dampened earth
and arcs her pastel rainbow once again
with colors signaling a season's birth.

The woodlands, softened with first signs of green
in auras cast around awakened trees,
lift darkened limbs with buds still barely seen
and stir with birdsong in the warming breeze.

I splash through puddles, let the water seep 
into the edges of my walking shoes,
as skies rouse from the drowse of cloudy sleep
and heavy grays give way to sunny blues.

No gloomy winter in my heart remains,
for I have felt the joy of April rains.

(Published in Encore Prize Poems 2020)

Guernsey Glut

by Cassandra McGovern
Kitschy cows
pasture on undusted shelving
in secondhand shops.

Ceramic, wooden,
many reddish-brown,
some white,
others striped in flag colors 
left over from Memorial Day.

Eyes protruding,
tails unswishing,
heads drilled for pepper and salt,
teeth poised to hold a calling card.

Cows with silent moos 
look for a few other 
brown eyelashes
amid antique shop sprawl.

No calves to cuddle,
no milk for farmers,
udderly useless.

(Distilled Lives, Volume Four, ISPS, 2020)

Looking in the Mirror

by William Marr
After going through so many blizzards
I couldn't care less about these tiny patches of frost
at my sideburns
Wait until all the frail leaves have fallen
I'll puff out my cheeks and let out a storm

My Life

by Michael Lee Johnson
My life began with a skeleton 
with a smile and bubbling eyes
in my garden of dandelions.
Everything else fell off the edge,
a jigsaw puzzle piece cut in half.
When young, I pressed
against my mother's breast,
but youthful memories fell short.
I tried at 8 to kiss my father, 
but he was a welder, fox hunter,
coon hunter, voyeuristic man.
My young life was a mixture
of black, white, dark dreams,
and mellow yellow sun bright hopes.
Rewind, sunshine was a stranger
in dandelion fields,
shadows in my eyes.
I grabbed my injured legs
leap forward into the future.
I'm now a vitamin C boy
it keeps me immured
from catching colds or Covid-19.
Everything now still leaks, in parts,
but I press forward.


by Sherri Baker
Watching intently my vision
notes the flickering images
deftly playing their designated
roles. My ears deciphering 
words that meld easily with
the roles playing out in front
of me.  A lonely existence
full of imaginary characters
who feel more real than
the people around me. I 
thought for a moment I had 
it all, but it was only a mirage. 
One that crumbled slowly into pieces
while I stared at the flickering 
images in my pretense of a life.
My mind a dark, empty void where
no one is real and few dare try to engage me.
A crack of reality shows
just an imitation of life.
Just another flickering image
saying words that I comprehend
but like all the others, are well rehearsed,
stored forever inside my mind. The
dark empty void where only shadows
dare to live.

Confessions of a Spider Murderer

by Carole R. Bolinski
It must have started in junior high
maybe before. "No Arachnids Allowed"
scribbled across my bedroom door.

They curled in ceiling corners
wrapped in their innocent webs.
No guilt when I pleaded with father,
"kill my enemies!"
No remorse a spider family, 
somewhere, was wondering
what's for dinner.

Becoming a little more tolerant
I imaged them creeping down
from ceilings, holding signs,
promoting spider rights.
God's plan—if there is one—
was to include them in the world
so, I guess, I needed to also.

My phobia lessened,
my compassion rose—
but not completely.
Like an alcoholic thinking 
two drinks a day 
is better than more,
I only killed those that got in my way.

Until the day an ordinary house spider
ended up in my clothes.
I grabbed the swatter, bam! Bam! Bam!
Again, bam! Bam! Bam!
Making him suffer until
the twitching finally stopped.

I pictured me behind bars, 
jailed by arachnid adversaries,
shaming me as, the "Spider Murderer,"
questioning: Am I a criminal too 
like all those crazy people 
killing random victims?


by Tom Chockley
Johnny Appleseed
pockets full of

Waking with the Muse

by Patty Dickson Pieczka
She cracks dawn in half
and releases the sun.

Gold pours through black leaves,
sparking them jade.

I look inside morning's shell
to a moment no one has seen—

no lip prints of words
to smudge the air,

no leftover regret dragging
its shadow to the shoreline.

A ginkgo, still flaming,
sets loose its egret.

Gilded white silence 
skims the lake.

Fourth in the count

by Gari Light
The fourth in the count, is January—like this time: 
It's piercingly bold, its wind is especially freezing,
and those coffee places, on side streets, not far from the lake 
are offering refuge in the presence of younger poets, 
tattooed, and refined. 
That calendar spring — is a stiff global cold consequence, 
and the strings of polished and measured rhymes 
dueled, as if being artillery rounds, spent and forgotten, 
Evanston is so alike and different from its own image of the 80's...
She was the unlikely amalgam of Turkish and Greek in her blood,
a poignant fireball in cold April,  constantly shedding clothes, 
at times leaving only her jeans on, 
and lighting a cigarette by the dorm window. 
She wrote such intense prose, that reading poetry to her was hopeless. 
That one singular coveted word always happens suddenly, 
when all the futile efforts to find it are exhausted, 
similar to the other early April day long ago, 
before the spring final in freshman political science, 
which we both aced without really trying, having slaughtered the night. 
Went walking the streets that afternoon, after the exam —  college novices...
We were both born elsewhere, 
except that she could fly back to Cyprus anytime, 
and I couldn't go to where I came from... My parents were refugees,
leaving the city of my birth forever,
or so it seemed, until the awkward Soviet colossus 
fell seemingly overnight.
Once, in Kiev again, a few years ago in April,
as a lawyer and to read poetry as well,
I saw her new novel in the old town bookstore window,
In Ukrainian translation.  It did not feel surreal,
because once we learned together, not so much
political science... But rather the notion that —
when the fog rolls into Evanston
from Lake Michigan in April,
when all the clothes and pretenses are off,
what remains is the belief that
what you want the most to happen actually does...
Not immediately, and then when it does, it's magic.
Therefore, those coffee places on side streets 
in Evanston and Rogers Park, full of the young and tattooed,
seeking those singular coveted words
are the true windmills of their minds, as April rolls on,
the warmth is inevitable

We Are Squirrel - Prelude

by Emma Alexandra Kowalenko
Spring my time, your time, to gather seeds
strewn from here to there, as far as
Lake Michigan is wide. Forage, gather, hide,
eat. Eat only when necessary.
Spring my time, your time, to assess
what our summer, winter, fall, and winter require,
to live, to eat, to live. Hide, find, eat,
until daffodils and magnolias greet us again.
I am you and you are me, our habits,
our yearnings, meld into one. One cause,
one raison d'Ítre, if we are to be, to exist,
We must focus on sustenance.
Allow yourself to be me, I will gladly transfer
my knowledge to you, for a peanut or two, here
and there. Together, we are squirrel, indivisible!
I will teach you what really matters. what each
of your shelves, each of your drawers, your cupboards
dusty nooks and crannies, hold, support, creak from,
as unanimously, they cry out, "lighten our load!"
When you and I, when we, are squirrel, we get things done,
no frills. We dispense of the unnecessary, clean it out,
clear it out, keep the edibles, the essentials.
We are Essentialists.
When they come to visit, your thirty something,
minimalist children, they will shout with joy, exaltation,
at your neatness, your order, your gleaming,
clean, empty, nooks and crannies, with nary a stray
peanut or two.

The Night

by Rafael Lantigua Medina
The song of the night?
No. It's the silence that doesn't exist.
I pause and hear: leaves whispering
and covering bare logs as aimless lovers
calm with kisses their hours of sweet agony
singing or crying as needed.
And the wind? The wind is cleaning
the windows with his cold,
rabid bird suit,
looking for something in the unknown...
Oh, no. Is it the noise of existences
sneaking outside?  Undercover lives?
Ghosts running away from their own steps?
It's the melancholic presence of the darkness:
alive, austere, and dangerously bacchanal;
dying and being reborn in an instant
in a flowery ritual that applauds
the arrival of a giggling spring, after winter.
Yes. It will be up to us to fantasize about
and grapple with its integrity and dare—and dream.
And because the night is the night,
and so is ours too,
let's relish it without saying or asking for more.
It is just the night outside, telling. Just that.

How To Fully Blossom

by Jill Angel Langlois
How to fully blossom
And speak from the heart
That protected, soft place within
How to break the hard shell
And release its spirit,
Its power
How to risk all this
And not be broken-hearted
How to speak when stricken dumb
With fear
What words to say?
I shrink from the challenge
No more.
I begin with

Tilia americana
              American Basswood
          Family: Linden

by Candace Armstrong
I listen to the Spirit who resides
inside the linden tree outside my door.
At times of stress it helps me to confide
my confidence in secret to restore.

It speaks with nodding branches, fluttering
of heart-shaped leaves and coolness of its shade,
a calm to comfort summer mutterings
when gentle breezes rise as daylight fades.

And I admit its silence can convict
my soul with judgment well deserved and earned,
like understanding teachers will inflict
awareness of the lessons I have learned.

If anyone has problems to decide
just find a linden tree to sit beside. 


by Carol Marcus
Take a good
Look at this
Simple word.
Allow yourself
To stop,
And meditate
Its meaning.

What did you
Really mean
When you
Said enough,
Then moved on
To face other
Life dilemmas?

Were you
Burdened with
Today's issues -
And said enough?

Were you obsessed
About finding more
Adventure, to decide
Enough is OK.

Maybe you just
Realized your
Good health,
Was good enough
To appreciate.

Face Masking

by Teresa Harris
Face Masking helps to stop germs that can easily spread
This cloak should be close fitting and secured to the head

Donning this veil through each challenging day
May come to help us in other ways

Beyond the confines of the dead pan shield
Are some secrets that are disguised, not revealed 

A map of wrinkles or big laugh lines
All earned from the passage of time

Smudged lipstick that will never show
Stray coarse chin hairs that continue to grow

An imperfect smile that is ready to shine
A nose once considered too big, now seems fine

A dangling nose ring, a pierced tongue or lip
A wild looking mustache that needs a clip

A faint stench of coffee may linger behind the sheath
Where no one will notice the spinach stuck in your teeth

A screen that helps to keep scowls and snarls from view
When wearing a hat and sunglasses, you are incognito too

Not All Guests Are Welcome

by Cielo Jones
                "Hope" is the thing with feathers -          
                 That perches in the soul -
                 And sings the tune without the    
                 words - And never stops - at all -
						Emily Dickinson

I have visitors lingering
And many of their cousins

I know that you'll tell me
Have Hope and her relatives stay but
make Anger and his kin go
"Why keep hope?" I'd ask you
You'll quote me Emily

I'll make Hope go then and keep Anger
If she is right about the non-stop singing
Because tunes without words for meaning
Are endless pools for endless swimming

Soon after, madness began
Love wanted Hope to stay
Sympathy agreed without question
Hatred jumped in the commotion
Creating havoc of unequaled proportion

I argued with Hatred to get out of the room
He finally left  but grabbed Trust on his way
The struggle pushed Love and Sympathy in hiding
Care and Anger huddled on the corner 
I can't get rid of one without losing the other

What a chaos my visitors created
In the end, only Care and Anger remained
They insisted to stay by me together
Said, they can help make tomorrow better

What Is Lost

by Mike Ruhland
I see you, my dear, limping along.
Bouncing ahead, toddlers two.
The twins carried heavily and
something slipped inside of you.

How will you keep them
from running in the street?
Now you'll never keep up
Though, ere this, so very fleet.

Around the track at school
you always won your race.
Now this hobbled walk
reminds you of lost grace.

But there is no looking back.
Adjustments must be made.
You can't afford what-ifs.
You cannot, would not trade.

Fatal Error

by Barbara Eaton
	I didn't hear it ring, but my mother called my name  and she looked much too happy.
	"Who is it?" I inquired.
	"Mark," she said.
	My mind slipped into overdrive.  Mark from work, whom I didn't like, or my Mark, my lost
forever love?
	Why would he call me?
	Isn't he married to someone prettier and more accomplished than me?
	Oh no, I recently wrote him a letter.  Is he going to tell me not to write anymore?  I couldn't bear
	The words came out of my mouth:  "I don't know any Mark."
	I walked over and picked up the receiver.  I was going to talk anyway.  But the new-call waiting
feature was doing something strange.  I didn't know how to work it.  It was my niece.  I picked up and
talked to her.  Then I realized I had disconnected my lost love....

Pioneer Ancestors, Abandoned Voices

by Gail Denham
On a hill behind an abandoned house are names
on small boards. Friendly breezes blow across
the high plateau where a mother visited daily,
where her babies lie. Down at the house,
almost I hear her chatter over the gate, visiting
with a passerby who stopped to water his horse
or needing food. I hear an axe bite wood out back.
I sense heavy breathing as the father hauls wood
through snow lit by a watery moon; stomping
his feet on the back porch, ready
for supper. Evenings, mother and father slide down
the hill with their children toward Ernie
and Bella's new gramophone. Doesn't matter
that they've heard all the songs and stories; music
and laughter soften the sound of a child's cries —
cries that haunt — sacrifices given in order to live
in this isolated place. I listen.
Quiet. Voices are still now. Wind whips past
weathered walls; shrunken, leaving wide cracks
for sunlight to warm memory-infused plank floors.

A Talented Poet

by Mary O. Monical
A talented poet named Mirth
Wrote limericks that circled the earth
On Facebook and Twittier
He waxed wittier and witttier
Will he ever get paid what he's worth?

Meteor Shower over Tucson
November 18, 2001

by Alan Harris
For Brian and Patrick
3 a.m. stars were holding
brightly tight to their dome
as desert chill challenged three
watchers alarmed from bed.

The Big Dipper's handle
had fallen straight down,
but upness was everywhere
and never all to be taken in.

Earthbound, we flashlit our
paths around backyard cacti
while overhead, quick meteors
like flaming needles pierced
and sewed at the night.

Several arrived each minute
but seldom did any two
claim the same piece of sky.
Some blazed up so bright
they lit up the desert floor—
or seemed to.

We embodied three generations,
watchers who stood or sat
or reclined on a blanket.
Endless depth boggled our eyes
and we little asked and less knew
why we were alive just then.

Boy, father, grandfather were we.
What all might have happened
or not happened in our three lives
to cause any of us to be absent?

We had beaten unmathematical odds
to meet for this familial, communal
sky harvest, as had the listening lizards
who heard our "Hey!" and "Whoa!"
and "Did you see that one?"

How better to bond
than under a needled infinity?

From Carpet Flights

More ISPS Poems | Haiga Gallery

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