Illinois State Poetry Society
Poems by ISPS Members
August, 2019
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Poems on this Page:


by Charlotte Digregorio
Morning settles in, cleansing the sky.
Walking on the pebbled path
to the garden, my eyes rise from
dangling maple leaves to sunlight.

Sitting on Father's old pine bench,
I watch breeze brush the blades of grass.
Pink tulips, orange zinnias, and
lavender lean and whisper,

edge into my meditations,
lifting me deep into summer's breath.
Moments dissipate into caresses
on my forehead.

In a blink, my garden disappears,
sky unfolds. I reach into blue,
spinning, spinning away
to the hum of wings.

In which the formal gardens are made less
formal by the folks who frequent them

by Melissa Huff
This mysterious     mound
pulsating     on the lawn
appears to be     a young couple
entwined     one of his legs draped
over hers     arms too tangled
to sort     murmurings
making their way
to the surface     one head
bobbing     repeatedly
as he bends     toward her lips
not     an unexpected display
what with new couples
cropping up    each summer
just like     the annuals.

(Originally published in March 2019

White Marble Sugar Cubes,

by Jenene Ravesloot
one hundred and fifty-two weighty white marble sugar cubes with stamped undersides and a mercury thermometer and a cuttlefish bone and two small porcelain dishes and several wooden perches, all of these placed inside a painted metal birdcage. These strange artifacts are in fact a pun, no one's art-in-fact, so why do they belong in a museum of art, these white marble sugar cubes with stamped undersides, these French readymades, these ready maids in starched white uniforms, this mercury thermometer, that cuttlefish bone and those tiny porcelain dishes and so many wooden perches and this painted metal birdcage you ask, or is it meaningless to ask because maybe they are simply meaningless, a weighty pun, and this is just an interruption: a cough, a sneeze, achoo, achoo, achoo, and you are stuck in heavy snow sent all the way from France, only it's summer outside and no bird is singing and you might just have a cold, a summer cold. There is nothing worse than a summer cold and so you buy a mercury thermometer at Walgreens and a box of Kleenex and try to make the best of it, just as you try to make the best of this weighty birdcage with one hundred and fifty-two marble sugar cubes with stamped undersides. And, is this the start of a short story without an arc, or is this a story of love that wants to become a poem? Maybe, yes. It drinks hot lemon tea in bed. It wants to sleep but cannot sleep. It wants to be a rose or a girl named Rose SÚlavy. There! "Eros is life." The canary has flown.

An ekphrastic poem after Why Not Sneeze, Rose SÚlavy?
by Marcel Duchamp, (American, born France). 1921
First published in After Hours, 2019, Issue No. 38


by Michael Escoubas
She sang beyond the genius of the sea.*
Beyond the mangrove trees, starfish swim,
barracuda and snapper follow their ancient
survival patterns.  Herons and egrets wade
and feed beside the shore. As she strolls soft
waves caress her feet. The sky, high and blue,
forms a canopy of peace. What she seeks,
perhaps, even she does not know. But this place,
beyond the horizon, where sky and sea meet
in seamless harmony, sings to her of life—
the way life is meant to be. Here she finds
a place of welcoming, if only temporary,
where both she and her song belong.

*Opening line is from Wallace Stevens'
"The Idea of Order at Key West".

I Am But a Traveler

by Goldie Ann Farkonas
I am,  a traveler, every day, I walk!
I meet some others, traveling, we talk!

I've walked through sunny infancy, with love!
My mother held my hand with God, Above!
I traveled through my youth, t'was spring and joy,
We played and smiled with each and every toy. 
My siblings ran with me, as youth knows how,
Through warmth of sun's rays, prancing, wiping brow. 
The days so bright, no other light in need,
The grass and flowers there, by nature's deed,
My parents, family, all young, as May,
How perfect was my walk, in youth, that day.

My travels through my teens, were school, I learned,
To be an educator — which — I yearned.
My journey did progress and I could see,
That many childhood friends, were not, with me.
Perhaps I walked too fast, and time just went,
Did I leave them behind? T'was never meant.
Just where is Billy, Bobby, my friend, Jane?
Together, we were walking on the lane.
I cannot slow my pace, I'm traveling,
These summer days, have brought new friends, I cling,

My travels bring a husband, family,
So busy, time is flying, it does flee.
Where did my Mother, Dad, Grandmother go?
Oh, why did I walk fast, and they, so slow?
My siblings, Peter, Emelie — they're far,
Away from me, as I followed — a star.
My loved ones, all, did walk with me, at dawn,
I do not see them, now, why are they gone?
I turn around to look, and try to see,
The road I traveled — dream — it seemed to be.

I've walked to autumn, now, each crispy dawn,
For one, and all my kin and friends, they're gone, 
Where did I leave them on life's sunny path?
Why can"t we always love, without some wrath?
My path reveals big shadows, in excess,
I'm looking back, my loved ones, I do bless.
I've walked too quickly, traveled much too far,
The day's bright sun has dimmed, as falling star.
I'm walking, yes, but ever, very slow,
The warm breeze loved so much is cool, some snow.

Each day seems dim, but I still dream of spring,
The shining sun and beauty, reign and cling.
But I'm behind — cannot keep up — with most,
If only I could, now, back up, I'd boast.
I do recall the loves of past, I knew,
For now it's clear, those loves were really true.
I've walked too quickly, traveled places, far,
At night, when dark, I barely see a star.
I'm walking, yes, but ever, now, so slow,
The breeze, now cold, does not warm heart, its glow.

The day, now seems so dark, but I still walk,
The sunshine, gone, but I do think and talk.
My legs seem weak, with friends, cannot keep up,
I still do read, at times, but tis close up.
Recalling youth, security, I knew,
Perhaps my loved ones suffered, as I grew.
Could be, my loved ones might catch up with me,
But then, my children, up in front, might flee.
Do wait for me, you're walking much too fast,
Please wait, for sky seems dark and overcast.

I'm walking on, a lower pace, but grand,
I'll walk 'till God will take me — by His Hand.

Each Leaf Must Fall

by Idella Pearl Edwards
Red and yellow, orange and brown,
Leaves flickering in the light,
Gently falling to the earth,
Displaying an awesome sight.
All seasons are special and yet it's clear,
Autumn is best of all.
It seems a shame that in the end,
Each colorful leaf must fall.
And yet, to everything there is a season,
Our Creator has a plan.
Seasons come and seasons go,
Ever since time began.
And so it is with each of us,
Our eyes will eventually dim.
But in the end, we find the beginning
Of eternity with Him.

The Great Forest

by Rick Sadler
The one True Oracle mastered his art gift
By sculpting Shawnee National Forest, left
A mark of the Oracle's incredible art work,
As God mixed the colors with a silver fork,
The amazed child viewed a rock formation
Not knowing and without prior information,
The child was mesmerized to see Camel Rock
Standing at Nature's Portal the wind did knock,
Little ones played in the waters of Pounds Hallow
In the swimming area a lake nice and shallow,
The park roads meander through the forest parks
To see the many campsites as the Fireflies sparks,
Campers and tents amongst the trees, takes us back
To the Oracle's simple way of life to a forest shack,
Such a beautiful country that only Mother Nature had
Blessed by a virgin in Southern Illinois are beings so glad,
The purple hills amongst the horizon beckon curiosity
That are covered with trees fill me with luminosity,

long past Christmas

by Jennifer Thiermann
long past Christmas
the forgotten angel
in an upstairs window

ride of my life

by Steven Kappes
this roller coaster
has no end
just keeps shocking me
with ups and down
curves and quick turns
where it seems
I will go over the edge
splatter myself below
ears ringing
heart pounding
at the last second
it turns and I stay
on the track
waiting for the next

On the Local Train from Orvieto to Florence, Italy

by Wilda Morris
For Ed
I came to the hill town without you.
I saw your face in the frescoes
of ancient churches, your footprints
on cobblestones. I wanted to buy you
a gelato and take you to the cathedral
to hear the viola da gamba, lute, drum
and double recorder. The tears-
of yesterday's rain, dry on the train
window, obscure my view as we pull
out of the station. Longing is my only companion.
When the train emerges from tunnels, I see
the haze has lifted from hills and valley.
Outside town, field hands have finished
the harvest, returned to lovers
who offered them focaccia, cheese and wine.
My hands are empty.
Chianciano Terme
On the train platform, a man
with a red suitcase stands, like you do,
with hands in jeans pockets,
but they are not your pockets.
They are not your hands.
Castiglion del Lago
Sprigs of green cover fields like winter wheat
planted where you took me to meet your Kansas kin.
I keep looking for the lake. I think it has learned
your game of absence. Finally, past the station, I see
the blue water, but no brown eyes.
For what does the train wait so long?
Are you waiting for me?
A couple, old as us, has come down from this,
another hill town that gleams in November sun.
They board the train together.
Castiglion Fiorentino
We pass vineyards already harvested
and vineyards still heavy with fruit.
Left longer, the wine merchant said,
grapes make sweeter wine. Does your love
grow sweeter as I tarry here?
Persimmon boughs hang heavy
with the fruit of love.
Ponticino and Bucine
We do not stop. These are trips we did not take,
the children we did not birth, everything
we avoided, forgot, neglected, left undone.
Everything fate keeps from us.
A woman has hung a blanket to dry,
airs pillows on the ledge of an open window.
When will we lay our heads together?
San Giovanni de Valdarno
Church bells, silent as we pass.
In the station, a couple shares
a long hug. Welcome home?
The conductor announces connections
to Bologna, where you took me
when we were young.
Firenze Campo di Marti
The conductor has come to check tickets.
I neglected to put mine in the green box
on the station platform in Orvieto.
He could fine me but just gives me a warning.
Firenze Santa Maria Novella
I will seek you on these ancient streets.
I will gaze at Michelangelo's David,
but your hand will not be the one
holding the slingshot. I will find
Donatello's David, but the boots
he wears are not your boots,
his hat it not your hat.
In my room, I will be alone,
my bed cold, as I listen for your whisper.

Published in Encore: Prize Poems, 2019,
ed. Kathy Lohrum Cotton (National Federation
of State Poetry Societies, 2019).

Something Beautiful Remains

by Doreen Ambrose-Van Lee
One year I lost my car and they foreclosed on my home
It was too much for me to bear I almost went insane,
The IRS didn't leave me hide nor hair of a crumb or a stain.
My blood pressure shot through the roof then the window pane
My head started hurting and depressive thoughts flowed like rain,
But I stood firm because like Tina Turner said something beautiful remains.
I continued to place my faith in the Father because it is He who sustains.
When the duo of uncertainty and anxiety tried its hardest to enter my brain,
I steadied myself and told myself that I am in control and stayed in my lane.
I refused to throw myself a pity party then act like a wallflower or a plain Jane!
Because just like pop icon Tina Turner said something beautiful remains.
When bill collectors called I didn't curse I held onto the Word and refrained
From saying anything that would jeopardize my status with the Lord and contained—
Anything derogatory and detracted from my purpose on this earth and didn't pertain—
To me being a viable human being who was just experiencing a constant chain 
of life altering events that were beyond my control to the life that I try to maintain.
Because I know that I know that I know that something beautiful remains!
But it's all good because no matter what comes my way I won't let it stress or strain.
I will ride it until the wheels fall off like an express bound one way runaway train!
Like Langston Hughes told us life for him ain't been no crystal stair nor candy cane!
In the winter of my years I've learned to face obstacles and take them with a salt grain.
I don't regret any of the roads I've traveled because whatever I've lost I know I'll regain.
It hurts in the short run but I know that God has got me because like Tina Turner said
something beautiful remains.

Russian Impressions

by William Marr

Hoisted to the sky
the magnificent domes
      Winter palaces summer palaces
      big palaces small palaces
My upward-looking eyes
suddenly become blurred
as drops of sweat and blood
flying through the dim air of history
splatter my face

It took only a few days
for him to get used to the grandiose dreams
of Imperial Russia—
	the imposing columns
	the onion domes
	the magnificent churches
	the even more magnificent palaces
	the biggest cannon  the heaviest bell  the tallest statue
	and in the five-star hotel
	the insurmountable bathtub
	the elevated toilet...

In fact it was the homely American toilet
that plunged him back
to earth    

Posting Graveyards

by Tom Roby
Somewhere, sometime, someone delivers a letter to a graveyard, pushes it through an open mailbox slot in the fence where it waits until a breeze carries it to mausoleum, tomb, graveside, for the dead to read, find out what's in it for them. No one knows why anyone writes such a letter, puts it into an envelope addressed to whom it may concern, drops it off at a graveyard gate at sundown. No one, that is, except the dead, who will be pleased at the concern someone still shows for them. Everyone, except the dead, must think it useless to write a letter to anyone who no longer exists. Yet some things are so important that they must be written down even if they are never read because if everyone were to see themselves as dead—smaller and clearer as through the opposite end of a telescope—then we would all understand the importance of writing and hand delivering our letters to a graveyard gate and for the patience to await the favor of a reply.

First published in Shape Shifter, 2008


by Donna Pucciani
During the several weeks
when the house was empty,
they hatched.

I arrived home to their soft
brown welcome, their ticklish
legs scuttling down

or hanging by a thread
while I chased them
with the mop.

I feel guilty for this
chastisement and sudden
death. They are innocent

of any crime except
crawling from the white
tissuey pods lurking

in every corner of the ceiling,
starting their new life
working and webbing

a silent architecture
of octagonal design. They know
how to pattern a life

that ends where it begins.
When they feel the thump
of sudden mortality, they curl up

into a pale ball, having explored
the territory where wall meets wall,
sure of themselves and their mission,

to prepare for the final blow
and undignified burial in toilet
or trash. They leave behind

wisps of webs blowing
empty and delicate in the hum
of central heating.

(first published in SLAB)

Branches Reach

by Gail Denham
Some crooked branches reach, 
pull you, seem to desire your closer
look at their raggy, peeled edges 
and the picture puzzle surfaces
on their tree trunks.

Why not? You start to leave, wonder
how your hand lingers behind, ready 
to touch, to feel the years that tree 
knows, stories it wills you to hear.

Why not? Unplug your busy. Quiet 
your body. Lean against golden bark. 
Sun shines brilliant on your head,
lights the tree, penetrates your thoughts.

Branches gently wrap long-ago 
memories around you. 
They ease this day along.

memento si

by Lennart Lundh
I made a cast of you
as you lay sleeping
naked in your trust.
When it was dry,
I stored it in a room
hidden in my heart. 

I'll peek at it briefly
if the hours apart
become too many,
or a night alone
is filled with ghosts
that have no substance.

When we get old
I'll share it with you,
reminding both of us
that love and beauty
changed by time
aren't less, but better.

Lightning Rod

by Kathy Cotton
for the activist
Your upright head,
arrow of your straight spine
as you stand

staunch like redwood,
like mountain ash 

daring lightning 
to kiss the copper rod 
of your soaring words,

to blaze down your bones,
ground its voltage
through your deep roots.

When the thunderhead rolls in,
steals light 
from every window,

I hear you 
shouting against the storm,
the spitting sky.

You lift your arms,
take fire 
for all of us.

(From Encore Prize Poems 2019) 

To the Eight Hundred Thousand DACA Children, from one Cancer Survivor

by Caroline Johnson
You can't remember your native land, can't recall 
the details of the crossing, but you sense hot air 
blowing like an approaching hurricane, threatening 
to uproot all of your sisters and brothers.

And if my wish for you has any power at all
so dirty politics will remain a lost memory, 
and you will never have to bow down again 
to the scary Cerberus of silence, or whisper
a fervid prayer in each fear-packed moment.

My friends, you are soldiers and don't even know it. 
Be like Perseus and slay the shadows of apathy
hovering in their caves. Throw Medusa's head 
at the Department of Homeland Security. Don't 
be afraid of senators grinning like jack-o-lanterns. 
Lean instead towards the Day of the Dead, towards 
the sugared skulls who seek to save your future
with placards and protests, who seek to spread justice
with hot churros and coffee. I say this to you as one 

who has survived Cancer, that you, too, will outlive 
this drama. I pray you will understand that each day 
is a gift, a loan from the bank of time, that for every 
pore of skin on your tired body, somebody also has 
suffered a struggle, a thirst, a hunger, even a death.

You should know by now that, like all who persevere, 
you are warriors, and even though you carry no 
weapons you bear gifts of wisdom and dahlias.

Let the moon guide you. Let its light whisper past 
your fear and envelope you in the ghosts of your 
ancestors. Let tonight breathe wildly, not frightened 
like a rabbit, but stalwart as a coyote or wolf.

Open your history books and read with me. 
Study the Revolutionary War. Let Benjamin
Franklin's famous words roll off your tongue, 
"Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God."

(Previously published in Tuck Journal)

I had a ball in Cuyahoga Falls

by Mark Hudson
This summer I went on a vacation,
to Ohio to see my family by invitation.
To throw a surprise birthday for my dad;
he was turning eighty; and I was glad.
I hot in the car with sister, niece, and nephew,
and sister's husband, to name a few.
I was with my niece and nephew in the back seat;
we grew uncomfortable in the heat.
We arrived in Ohio on a Friday night;
it was pouring rain, but we saw the light.
We got there, and my Aunt Norma was fixing
gigantic French fries, and delicious chicken.
The world's best pickles added to the list,
I grabbed a handful with my fist.
My cousin Kyle was supposed to get me,
but with miscommunication, he let it be.
Finally, my aunt texted him at midnight;
he was waiting to see if things were all right.
So he got me, although he had to work at six,
he can go without much sleep, but I need my fix.
I got to Kyle's house and caught up on rest,
and the next day began my trip in the Midwest.
We went to Laconi's, a pizza place we go,
it is a tradition, a place we always show.
We always have a giant table reserved for us,
I eat the food without making a fuss.
I split the pizza wit my dad, but I ate most,
three toppings, I made sure the pizza was close.
There were even leftovers I got to take back home,
I ate them fast, while I sat in the house alone.
I remember going to Cleveland and riding a boat;
it was super hot; you didn't need a coat.
You could eat on the boat, again too much food,
I asked the waitress for water often, but wasn't rude.
We saw Cleveland from outside the window,
if you ask me, it sort of looked like Limbo.
A lot of industrial sites to see and view;
being from Chicago, it was nothing new.
My aunt was friends with the captain of the vehicle,
We got to go take a tour of the ship, and see it all.
Then it was back into the hot cars to return,
at least I didn't come home with a sunburn.
We were having a surprise birthday for my dad,
he was turning eighty, good times would be had.
"Papa Joes" was the place to present the surprise,
a ton of people waited in a room to disguise.
In walked my father, accompanied by my aunt;
"Happy Birthday!" we all began to chant.
My dad was surprised which was a surprise to me,
he's so smart, I thought clues would be apparent to he.
We once again had lasagna, fettuccini, or fish;
and my dad got to make his birthday wish.
We were to return from the trip on Fourth of July,
I really hated to have to say goodbye.
We drove home, stopping twice for fast food,
and I got home, my hometown looked brand new.
It looked like another planet in the time I was gone,
I got out of the car and put my suitcase on the lawn.
Since then, I've been missing my family a lot;
and I'm just enjoying summer, while it's still hot!

Spring Break

by Mary Jo Balistreri
Salted with sea spray and flavored
with tropical rub, my bikini clad granddaughter
cooks on the hard-packed sand. The day slumbers
beside her while I imagine coils of hot air
winding their way through a physics-filled brain.
Tired from a year of pre-med, she roasts
to a golden brown.

A small blonde boy near her shouts,
Let's put the kingdom over here,
coming close with Popsicle sticks and shells.
In the distance a hawk's screech. Its circles
lazily, its own floating world.

The tide begins to turn. The day dips
toward evening. A shadow slips across
the outstretched body. She is like an island
in the vast stretch of sand and sea.
She stirs but continues to dream the afternoon
on the cusp of womanhood. Her sun-soaked arm
moves from side to head, imprints the sand
like an angel.

Soon Brittany will brush herself off, take one
last swim, and wave to me before I lose her
in the cresting foam.

Pink Cellophane

by Candace Armstrong
		There's a certain Slant of light,
		Winter Afternoons—
				Emily Dickinson, #320

Those last few moments,
waning daylight
caresses magic air.

Beauty graces brittle earth.

No cold rush of frigid gale
can chase the color
from the sudden sky
about to reveal ascending stars
but pausing for pink cellophane
to cover the sun. 

(Quill and Parchment, January 2019)

What Was

by Sherri Baker
The irony wasn't lost when
what you wanted most 
from me was nothing more
than the rumors
that flickered and danced.
Like a moth to a flame, or
heroin to an addict
you seek out your fix,
repeating questions only
you seem to need the answers to. 
When your dealer comes through 
how special you must feel
to think you know all the revelations
that had previously been kept 
from you. Can you really tell if 
the truth has been laid out with
honesty? When you repeat what
you've heard, are you telling a 
half truth or an outright lie?
The trust you once held was 
fragile and so easily destroyed,
and you gave it up for the chase 
of your favorite high. The door 
you walked through, complete with
a welcome mat, now strains against
the rusted hinges as the door screams
shut. No longer able to invite you in, I
say goodbye, and wish you well. Your 
toxic addiction forms tears in my eyes,
rolls down my face and makes me wonder
why I didn't see you sooner. Nothing
left to do but grieve the loss, bury the
feelings and wonder why you can't
see what has been evident to so 
many for so long. The locks changed,
what once was something to be admired
is now just a collection of random pieces
in a nondescript box, labeled "What Was."


by Carole R. Bolinski
There's a memory that floats
inside today's wind

I'm in a baby carriage
rocking to a summer's breeze
feeling its warmth
brush against my face

hoping for someone to hold me
I move to the wind's rhythmic sway
But no one ever appears
No one shades the sun away
or lifts me to lean in the free air

When I can't feel wind or
feel its touch of fresh breath—
that soft puff that seems to say:
I'm your best friend
Let me wrap my arms around you
caress your cheek—
I suffocate

So I continue to sit here
waiting for the next breeze
to touch its fingers
against my wanting mouth

Dinner Party Arrangements

by Tom Chockley
four monostich haiku
misplaced in planning dinner my morning walk
arranging cumulus clouds among cut flowers
flights of fancy out of whipped cream
setting the dessert forks next to old-wives' tales

Open, Sesame

by Barbara Funke

Who's too old to cuddle Elmo,
feel that giggle snuggle up?
Forty years and counting, 
my inner child, the mother and the teacher, too,
wish the world felt less
like Ali Baba's bandit land and more
like Sesame Street
where toddlers walk unthreatened steps and alleys.
There selfish souls from four to forty
(and where's the Count for this?  Eh, eh, eh!) 
open wide a treasure worth accounting.
There great garbage cans surprise  
with funny grouches
who are people, too.
There monsters stuffed with humor
and puppets-not-puppets model judgments
slow and open-hearted.
Sponsored by the letters U, R, O and K,
the numbers 2 and 3,
your shy son befriends the deaf boy in day care,
my pale-skinned daughter calls herself la chica blanca
because the words sound lovely to her ear.
United nations for little ones,
the Street spells words once alien,
translates foreign to domestic service,
signs by the Golden Rule.
Urban neighbors Sesame-sing our babies
into school age with small steps,
into a world of strangers
so familiar after all
the wide open globe might grow
into a small world
without so little as a Coke
or so much as a gun.

I Get Up and Sing — Mary Oliver

by Emma Alexandra Kowalenko
Praises of laureates, professors, students
yoga dreamers, life streamers, sparkle like candied clouds, 
and we mourn, the passing of an American born,
Poet. Mary Oliver.

Your words of optimism, realism, of an
earth boundless, though fragile somehow,
remind us.

Boundless bound by human actions profound.
You sound the gong of warning. Get up.
Get up with renewed mindfulness, wake up
and do. The planet needs you, earth born,
Poet, poets.

Poets, arise, give voice to your eyes.
Give sound to the silence of the buds of
the trees that will not be,
the bees that will not pollinate, the swarm
of locusts that we need not fear.

Remember the Rocky Mountain locust alas, extinct
that some other creature may not outlast.
Scripture notwithstanding, welcome, 
welcome the locusts as they are part of the balance,
the scale that we must not upend, unbend.

Mary Oliver, we miss you. Your words, the wisdom,
of sages, of ages, we rally, we carry on.
Poets arise, give voice to your eyes, your ears, your heart.
Give voice to the buds to the trees, the bees, 

to the sad human plight of too many, too many.  

The Fly

by David LaRue Alexander
One of us
Is going to die
Either me
Or that pesky fly
All because
Can't take anymore
Of its constant buzz
I grab my flyswatter
Call my daughter
You stand right there
And act as my spotter
That annoying fly
I'm going to slaughter....
And no matter what happens
Come hell or high water
I'm not leaving this room
Until I got her
Then it dared        to land
On my block of cheese
That lousy    no good
Spreader of disease
Dodge, right cross
Pounce, thrust, parry
Crouch, block, jab
And then I tarry
As out the front door
I see it fly
My thoughtful mother
Just stopping by

Leaving It All Up to Christ

by Michael Talaga
Life does not come with a set of instructions
Thus, you need to be prepared for tax deductions
And perhaps one day be faced with a draft induction
Therefore, when you live independently of the Lord
You will only be soaked with frustration and disease
However, if you are leaving it all up to Christ
You shall never again have to rely on free advice
So leave it all up to Christ and life will be grand
Because he is the solid rock on which we stand
He gave us all the song being played by the angels' band
All other ground is just what we know a sinking sand
This is no time to let down your guard
Jesus can solve any problem — no matter how hard
Seek ye first his kingdom and let go of enemy elements
Then you will gain precious memories like an elephant
There is no situation that the almighty cannot handle
As long as we light our world when we take our candle
Just remember whenever you feel screwed
Leaving it all up to Christ will deliver spiritual food
This whole world and its possessions are quickly fleeting
And the time shall come when we have our meeting
with our maker to give his people a friendly greeting:
"Good and faithful servants, well done —
Welcome to glory land, daughters and sons"

The Harold E. Washington Central Library

by Bonnie Manion
is a monumental structure, rose granite,
a block square, and crowned with an
exuberant copper flourish of mythology.

Bianca marble covers floors and walls,
soaring to top the third floor as rolling
escalators carry passengers to their 
destinations.  Wood paneling softens 
the gigantic spaces and safely gates 
a central shaft to the dome.  Computers
everywhere connect patrons to works
they wish to access.  Meeting rooms
surround the greatrooms.  Restrooms 
and stairways are tucked beyond closed
oak doors.  There's a theatre on the
lowest level, librarians on every floor.

Easy to find, a short work of art among 
skyscraper schools on South State Street,
the cavorting filial topper brings forth 
a smile from all who bother to look up.


by Jill Angel Langlois
Comforting to the researcher
Maddening to the social butterfly
Annoying to the musician
Necessary to the mourner
Old news to the lonely
Mandated to the monk
Alluring to the poet
Fearful for the child

All I Have Is a Smile

by Mike Ruhland
Did you see me there?
Walking but barely,
Holding on to my aluminum cane.
You saw the scar on my head.

My hair doesn't yet cover it.
Everyone coming up behind me sees it.
Most people pass, but you said "Hi".
I made a joke. We smiled.

But I was already smiling, you see.
I am glad to be here.
Now, walking so haltingly, back among you, the living.
And did you like the joke I made?

For My Wife...

by Tom Moran
"God doesn't play dice with the stars."

Creation is being photographed.
A black hole is captured on film.

Black holes are so dense,
not even light escapes their pull.

A thin membrane inside absorbs light that could be lost.
Thin membrane encloses a black hole in me.

I survive a darkness, sweet as black licorice.
God says, "I'm not through with you, yet."

My heart reassembles on a molecular level.
There are no lost days, lost friends, lost love.

Christine, I tell it to the stars
so they can whisper, "I love you" in your dreams while you sleep.

Small stars go to sleep.
Creation is being photographed.

Prelude to Happiness

by Rafael Lantigua Medina
There is not beauty without pain.
It's the sour prelude to sweetness
we crave or long for without knowing;
sometimes, an unconscious riddle
we embrace, nurture and break 
to understand Why-When-How
and foresee an ending to sorrow
If there is one... And, if we wish,
let the uncertain preamble dribble
like brooks' laboring their way
to show secrete notes; and, then...
if we appreciate it, get to the true place—happiness,
if there is one, before we start questing again.

Duffers Delight

by Arthur Voellinger
Are there
any athletes
as optimistic as
amateur golfers?
Off the tee,
they can hit
into a pond
without a frown
Because they
know during
nine or 18 holes
Just one par
will make
them a star

A Meditation

by Alan Harris
In the where of almost
lies more somejoy
than define inchly gives.

Streamtake and heartgive
are so many too softness
for headly grasp to box.

If seldom all many center
in one boundless allitude,
one oneity can still still.

From Fireflies Don't Bite

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