The Dells

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Painting by Benjamin Haughton

Across the augmented valley,
Dells unroll in melismatic musics
Harmonizing with morphing cloud shadow
A scent of mushroom and wet pine
Snakes through glades as a descant
With overtones of cinquefoil in sun
For the creatures of fertility Read More

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Philip F. Clark: The Day I Became a Papi Chulo

It’s coronation day!

Vox Populi

It was my usual walk from work,

in suit and tie, tired from the day.

I approached the ballpark. They came

toward me, laughing—a gang of about five

energized, jeering, laughing young men—

still dressed in their baseball stripes, bats and gloves

in hand, smiles still wide from an obvious win.

As they rushed past, an arm glanced mine and

I heard the words, “Hermoso papi chulo!

From what little Spanish I knew,

it was a compliment.

(But one is never sure).

And thus crowned, I turned to them,

smiled, embarrassed, red.

They spoke other words in Spanish I could

not catch, and the young man then said,

“Mister, do you understand?”

I nodded. I wanted to say something back,

but I didn’t know, or have, the words with

which to crown them in return.


Copyright 2017 Philip F. Clark. FromThe Carnival of Affection(Sibling Rivalry Press). Included…

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Night Rain


“To imagine how the use of our resources depletes someone else’s — unless we develop that capacity personally and nationally, we all die. We must see connections or die. Justice is the ability to see connections and live by them.”

— James Carroll, A Terrible Beauty

The world is my prophet
turning my face to fix my gaze
upon the diaspora of my own cells
the promises that dissolve upon leaving the tongue
the prayers that never left
and the self-intoxication from their potency
and the starved faces for whom they were supposed to have medicated Read More

Air

Time is racing but I stand paralyzed
Velocity will make anything seem real
Its hard surface pressed tight against my perimeter of curve and dangerous angle
Convex dagger into heart Read More

Glaucous

Painting by Françoise de Felice

 

A sickly smear of an old bruise
coloring the confessional
my sin is not trusting in God
my contrite heart is my sin
if I live through this bellum perpetuum
it’ll be my Maker’s doing, not mine.
I’ve nothing left but a sloppy note
stippled with day-old milk
left in archipelago on kitchen counter
and a sweltering cling of
berry-stained seersucker
girls in curls who need me,
but not this. Read More

New Refrain

Painting by Megan Triantafillou

Mass with mastitis
mother by marriage says we’ll go to see Mother Mary but I know you know better
drinking in the sacrament of breath…

…Symposium of spirits concentrate there,
a kiss to sustain the learning world when by day and night
it hardens,
angels martyred
only to meet the gathered light and song and with new refrain go right back IN
TO bodies as
shining epistles altering helices and species Read More

Poetry Prompt: Building Bridges 

Painting by Karen Tarlton


There’s a fun poetry prompt open over at dVerse and they’re looking for more poets to join in and share their work/engineering feats. Basically, choose two quotes from different sources (novels, poetry, children’s, genre, etc.) and use one quote for your poem’s opening and the other for the closing, then write your poem filling in the space, bridging the two ideas. (You can read my contribution, 360.) The prompt will be open until this Saturday, May 12, 1pm RMT. I hope you’ll join in! 

360

Painting by Zdzisław Beksiński

“Those who do not weep, do not see.”*
Blooms beget bombs,
hope and horror in one vignette of existence
and the next
and the next
our little cherubs grow up to detonate
affix credit scores to souls and kill for food
the film reel revolves and I watch dry-eyed paralyzed Read More