Illinois State Poetry Society
Poems by ISPS Members
January 2005
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Poems on this Page:

Ode to a Notepad

by Todd Possehl
You lie flat on the table
content in your inactivity--
the telephone a silent companion

but at moment's notice
your blank-page stare
marks urgency--

provides a spot
for practical information,
or on rare occasion,
takes the number

of that pretty blonde
who works downtown.
And I never hear a peep

when I strip you
for grocery lists and
scribbled first drafts.

Your importance
is not overlooked--
if I have one small gripe

it's that you don't keep
a pen around
for any length of time--

an accessory
that in its absence
renders you quite useless.


by James L. Corcoran
Cold the ices pressed against my skin
keeping me awake alive with stimulus
pristine the oxygen in the moment
heart fog darting through the sunshine
moving in moving off waking up
finding January on the lake white caps
frozen to the shoreline mile after mile
remembering the friends in the winter
of their lives and celebrating with them
for the holidays the fire in it just in it throbbing
with life in the vacuum we hear no birds
singing we hear no crickets chirping we
hear the presence of the cold we hear the
presence of the cold

Every City Is My Home

by James Conroy
Someone says my name
in another place as if they know me.
Every bus, every train is a homecoming.
I see my father in a stranger's eyes
and my mother on a billboard.

Every city is my home,
mountains and prairies in the yard.
I tend to things the way this river
spreads itself in high-water season.
My clothes fit every occasion.

Every city is my home
though I am always going;
horns and sirens late at night
and a newspaper in the morning.

Red Bridge

by Ruth La Sure
I stood on a red bridge
in an afternoon
of shining water,
following the silver fish
with my eye.

A whispering melody
taut with promise
breathing and rising
beneath my feet
                            And falling

a tree
billowing and blowing,
against the sky

Organ Music

by Sally Calhoun
I had the fantasy once that I have
a mechanical heart.
A function of getting older, I suppose,
and worrying about the future.
I imagined I got it
when my tonsils were taken out,
when I was nine,
two years after I had rheumatic fever,
and it's withstood every kind of stress,
things I would never have dreamed of
in the good old days
down by the old mill stream.

Dear ordinary heart, pounding and pulsing away,
don't let me down;
let me love,
without becoming

Let me love and be loved.

My heart is no machine . . .

Monsters in My Closet

by Tim Breitzmann
No monsters in my closet
Or under my bed
My parent would poo poo
These things that I dread

But bunnies and bearded fat men
Could enter at will
Not to mention some fairy
Who fancied my teeth

Or that man who sneaked into my room
To throw sand in my face
But my parents would think
There's no problem with this

I guess their ok
They left me fine gifts
Except the old sandman
Not sure what that was about

But that's not the point
Why couldn't they see
If they could get in
Could the monsters not too

So I slept with my flash light
And jumped into bed
Had my blanket around me
To cover my head,

There were monsters in my closet
And under my bed


by Michelle True
As the year draws to an end
I recall promises I made,
goals I'd hoped to achieve
and things for which I'd prayed.

I had many accomplishments
that were not even planned.
My dreams are coming true;
the future is at my command.

Goals that remain unfulfilled
stay on the list for next year.
When they're finally crossed off,
I'll let out a quiet cheer.

I'm making more progress
than I ever thought I could.
Nothing is impossible
once the path is understood.

I will start the new year with
a new list of resolutions,
knowing that for any obstacles
I will somehow find solutions.

What Star in the Sky

by Job Conger
There's a tale, often told, of a star in the sky
guiding wise men and shepherds so giving of self, so certain of self,
that they followed that star to the birth of salvation
not knowing the where-for, the who-for and why.
They altered their lives for an uncertain calling,
and in grand recompense for their faith in a star
came the gift of a better forever.

There's a tale, yet untold, of a star in the sky
which good folks in the wilderness see day and night.
It shines -- not for Christ or Mohammed or king --
and that star marks the path to salvation.
It calls the seeing but unknowing to follow in faith,
trusting the mover of heaven and earth
to guide them out of the darkness.

Now could be the moment for a star in the sky:
illuminating truths from a bitter sister,
your shadow on the sand as you've never seen it before,
a sign from on high to change for the better.
Not a hand on the shoulder or advice from a preacher,
though they are stars in some lives, too,
by Divinity calling: a light that is meant just for you.

Though borne of the earth, you're a star in the sky
whose light leads to hope in the wilderness.
The generous gesture, the smile to a stranger,
ears that listen to songs in the darkness.
Though many won't see you, there are many who will.
Radiant goodness, your life will show the way,
and a soul you don't see will follow to a better forever.

Christmas Eve

by William Marr
a peaceful night

the gasping earth prays

a peaceful night

Polygamy in Eden

by Larry Turner
Life with Eve is paradise. There is no
discord here. She accepts her position,
subordinate in lovemaking and all else.
I spend my days entertaining and educating her:
I show her all the animals and tell her
what I named them. She almost swoons
at my wisdom in some choices:

Then why do I keep thinking of my first wife, Lilith?

She snorted in derision at some names:

She even suggested changes:
"Elk is too light-footed for that
ponderous beast. Make it moose."
"Such a noble creature-fit for depiction
on cave walls and coins-deserves a finer
name than buffalo. Call him bison."

As we tussled in rough lovemaking,
each scrambling to get on top, she bit me
long and hard on the cheek, drawing blood.

Why do I feel warm and squishy remembering her?

When God comes walking in the garden
tomorrow evening, I'm going to ask,
"Can't I have them both?"

Down, Down in the Tao

by Alan Harris
A Grand Unnameable
inaudibly speaks
from endless here,
else could speak we not
nor be.

Feathers, we,
on a deep bird
unseen between
two night skies,
flying because
feathers can.

Listening are we, with
our universe held to one ear,
to keeps-playing scuffles
between Isn't and Is, boisterous
in their muffled playroom.

To dance is the rule
in our This-That school
excepting that sleep
too is a rule
and quite more deep.

End of the world?
Peace after that?
Perhaps--but from within
the Night of All Nights
some eventually tickled
divine sleeper may
dreamingly laugh aloud,
stirring breathing into the mist--
and back soon will be we,
guns, and daily newspapers.

Call this if you wish
"The Little Laugh Theory"
although nameable is the Is
no more than is the Isn't,
down, down in the Tao.

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