Posts Tagged ‘poems’

Iris Orpi – 5 Poems

Equinox

 

Like wings,

the reclaiming of the dark hours

arches across the rosy-eyed lull

of not knowing,

plumed in possibility

and iridescent visions,

flourishes of sacred geometry

stirring what once felt like

the night would go on without end.

There’s a sweet pain in awakening.

The voice of half-hearted

reckoning of day’s peak

catching on a sob

for the unfinished,

or for the beloved dreaming

that got defaced by the truth.

The inert limbs slowly embracing

a suffusion of fire.

There is that moment in turning

from what had once meant something

towards what is promised,

when the squaring of shoulders

exposes the symmetry of sound

catching up with the light,

imperfect form flanked

by efforts of divinity

to concede that it might

have been too dismissive of wisdom

coursed through the flesh.

It stretches behind you like wings.

Flight is nothing but the feeling

that touches you when

the sky becomes right-side up

and comes into view.

 

Ballast

Sometimes we turn to the darkness

as we stand on the edge

of oncoming, anticipated light

not because it is preferable

or necessary, but because

it comforts and gives a sense

of belonging to the things we carry

and wonder if they have a place

among the changes that are coming.

We mourn all deaths,

even those of what had never been

good for us, those that had been

slowly killing us the whole time.

Realizing they are lost to us

after all the pain of coming

to terms with their presence

and the makeshift beauty

we’ve contrived from the ways

they had made us suffer is

a fear and a melancholy of its own,

and a guilt too, almost

for a time outweighing our relief

for not having to suffer anymore.

Like the passing of a hero,

or the need for one,

making us again ordinary

and searching for the next

difficult thing to live for

so we could feel keenly alive.

When they call it self-preservation

we think about staying the same.

And then we call it a loss,

shedding the things that only

weigh us down. But to live

is to not drown, and at some point

we realize we are surrounded

by water. We get high on breathing

because the perilous tide outside

us is made of the same stuff

as the part liquid our spirits are.

We forget that we are souls

that have bodies. Our intimacy

with gravity and falling belies

how majestically we can rise

 

without denouncing the ground.

 

Salt and Aquamarine

And there you were,

the blue hour draped around you

like a shawl and all your

motivations a little disheveled.

The benign hush that

assumes the shapes of

what could have been overcome

blames nothing,

not even circumstance.

Some epiphanies are like

sea glass: broken

from a forgotten whole,

lost in rarely charted waters,

and with edges worn off by waves

that arch like the wings of fate.

It’s hard to tell from looking at you

where you really started.

You are part shipwreck

and part sunken treasure,

foggy and turquoise

and mystifying.

No one thinks less of a jewel for

forgoing a little clarity

for a few nights at sea,

for coming in to possession

of a thousand questions.

They make a pretty pattern,

hanging from your neck like amulets

and bringing out the depth

of passion in your eyes.

Nobody ever told you,

and they couldn’t even if they knew,

the birth you gave was going

to require a daily reimagining

of your own needs.

Every night a different sky.

It’s something you realize for yourself

when you find that the sun

rises on your right shoulder

while your love prefers

to weep on your left.

And the shawl of blue hour

fades into a night that hides you,

hides your rough places

without questioning.

It is kind to you because it

recognizes the way you gaze

at love: as if you expect to drown

and are giving it instructions

to collect your pieces

along the shore.

 

Tricks of Transcendence

Towards that beauty

we sail, half-mast

in dignified mourning

for the safe shore we

turned our backs on,

on freedom that comes in waves

and an innate promise that

sometimes lies about distances

and tastes like saltwater.

 

Somewhere, a part of us knew

that the days we were burning

would be the past of a life

that was coming. A time merely

to look back on, and love,

the way we understood it then,

would glimmer like beads of dew

in the wide open daylight of

what the future that arrived

revealed to us about ourselves.

That the stories we repeated,

raw and unresolved, over smoke

and expensive noise, would

later be just one of many filters

to a vision, and we would be

watching this world with

our hearts pulled in a direction

for reasons we cannot enunciate.

 

We still believe in what was

promised us back in the days

when there was no past

to lament, no stubborn mistakes

that stick to our perceptions

like paint on silk. We ask all

these illuminated questions

not because the answers

would redeem us, although

they do, but because all things

are bound to one another

and it’s how we get reminded

that we speak the language

of the universe that we are

certain is listening.

 

And towards that point

where the light gathers,

we faithfully make our way,

stumbling, the way untrained

faith sometimes stumbles,

taking it upon ourselves

to chase a bliss that someone

once told us we were worthy of,

that we would never have

believed otherwise, if it were

something we merely wanted

instead of a prophecy waiting

 

to be claimed.

 

Bequests from the Departed Light

It’s not the poems the stars write

that give the night its soul

not the light the moon

borrows from the sun

or the breath of silence

stirring between the trees

 

it’s a fragment of the blue

coaxed from the heaving tides

from passion’s forgotten oceans

and remembering having once

craved for rest when all

the city could spare

was a lonely furnished room

lit with your tamed vices

 

it’s the texture of that moment

when it came up in conversation

with a trusted friend

how best to spend the small hours

trapped between your skin

and the fire that claims

to be the estranged daughter

of the song no one else but you

could hear.

 

Bio: 

Iris Orpi is the author of the illustrated novel, The Espresso Effect (2010), and two books of collected poems, Beautiful Fever (2012) and Cognac for the Soul (2012). She was an Honorable Mention for the 2014 Contemporary American Poetry Prize given by the Chicago Poetry Press.

Poems from Raphael Block’s book, Strings of Shining Silence

Strings of Shining Silence

When shadows lengthen,
our breaths grow closer, and
bundled bodies huddle against
drizzle-slanting snow and rain.
To warmth we turn,
the nearness of a cello heartbeat;
strings of shining silence
fill my chest with crimson tones.
Each in-breath spins me into soundness
while with each outward rush of air—
though winds may shriek and squall,
clouds flash and crack—
shafts of sunlight— somehow—
slip through my being and unfold.

Blazing Trees

You have only to see
the blazing sunset through
the trees to be
in that dazzling presence
and catch a voice saying
“Take off your masks!”
With a clatter they land
all around, but you barely
notice because the fire
in your heart is bursting
toward that bright glow
on the horizon.
And when its last
glimmering rays are gone—
from human sight—
you’re left with a gateway
that will open
even in your dark hour.

James Downs

Here are two poems that have similar subjects enough to be connected.

 

Speak it into being

I didn’t believe but
…….I spoke it into being

and ever infinitesimal
…….I became what I am

and that is what I was meant
…….to be

all this journeying time

 

Wait

long enough
and something will undo your certainty
the spectacular places
life itself

James Downs

Holly Day

Mermaids

we were going to take the boat out, sail
to the edge of the world, tease
the monsters waiting there with our
bare, dangling feet, toes tickling the ocean skin
like tiny pink fish

but you had to go and ruin it
chase shore-hugging mermaids instead
had to search clam-shell bikinis for pearls
find out where baby mermaids come from

we were going to become pirates
treasure hunters, world explorers
wrestle giant squid at the world’s edge
find the fountain of youth

but you had to go and spoil everything
in your search for suburban normalcy
chase dreams of apron-clad mermaids
who’d give up their kingdoms for you.

 

Brand New

I threw away
everything that came
before he
was in
my life so
I could pretend
that I was brand new
just like the baby
I held in
my arms, just
like the perfect
baby that somehow
came out of me

 

The New Place, The New Thing

it lies beneath a trapdoor in
the floor. the best way to find it is
to open the door. She
opened the door and entered
the room and was introduced to the thing that was
waiting inside. I watched as you
took her under your wings and erased her.

she woke up that morning
felt destiny stirring in her chest, flutter
in the pit of her stomach in a spot
that should have been empty. The butterflies
would not be still no matter how loud she yelled
no matter
how hard she beat against the growing
knot with her tiny, ineffectual hands. She
who had always required screaming at to
do the simplest things, she picked up the phone
and called me and told me I had to
come over and find away to make

it all go away. You, who sit at her bedside
you brush the hair back from her forehead and tell her things
will be much better now. I
hope you’re not lying.

 

Holly Day

Short bio: Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minnesota , since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Oyez Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle, while her newest poetry book, Ugly Girl, just came out from Shoe Music Press.

 

TWIXT 5 poems

Water Tactics

Drops’ jots and tittles form icicles
that lock up in temperature drops and yet
drip in more warm phenom clear and present
placebo venom.

 

Is Defines Is

This beautiful panorama of is
somehow has arrived at being what’s there,
and not whatever else might have, had it.

 

Reply

I can sympathize with what you have e-
mailed me, having to break off with someone
for whom you weren’t exclusive who was
for you just what you wanted hurts like hell
and leaves you cold and broken – that took strength
of purpose.  You wouldn’t drop your standard.
You held to what you know is real so good
for you, good for the too of you.

 

Brake-Fast Serial

The roads are full of white noise from tires
on snow, the sidewalks are full of the white
lies of flakes.

 

fertile bush

each berry a yolk
in a raindrop egg

 

“TWIXT is the mononym-onym of Peter Specker; he has had poetry published in Margie, The Indiana Review, Amelia, California State Quarterly, RE:AL, Pegasus, First Class, Pot-pourri, Art Times, The Iconoclast, Epicenter, Subtropics, Quest, Confrontation, Writers’ Journal, Rattle, Prairie Schooner and others.  He lives in Ithaca, New York.”

 

Echu

Seen by the eye of faith
the cherry blossoms
are always about to fall.
It is a rare privilege to be born
as a human being,
as we happen to be.
If we do not achieve
enlightenment in this life,
when do we expect to achieve it?

—Echu

Watershed Event in Berkeley

Folks,
Poetic Matrix Press will have a table at the coming Watershed event in Berkeley this Saturday Sept 26th and we invite all of you who will be in the area to stop by and say hello.  All of the proceeds from all book sales will be donated to Sandy Stillwell and Dennis who lost their home in the Valley fire. Sandy and Dennis and hundreds of others lost their home to this most destructive fire. Our heart is with them and so we make this small donation to assist in a small way.  Thankfully they are safe and have good friends and family around them.  Stop by and by a book.  Also Francisco X. Alarcon will be reading from his recent book Borderless Butterflies/Mariposa sin frontera at the event and so check him out.  It should be a good day all around.  -John

John

Go ahead dive down

It is alright   something beautiful is in there
You’ll see
More beautiful then even you’re sadness
It will take your sorrow and turn
It cloudy and bright
Like the shine on that red amber place
You’ve seen once or twice
Just before everything was lost or
Just before found
A gentle sax line on a street of the lost
Either waiting or consoling
Who can say
It can be a mood indigo
That will arrive again
At a perfect moment
When love is eternal
Is in all of us
Is in everything
Is one without second
John

Richard Luftig

Prospero’s Book

It possessed all

his magic to keep

a daughter close.

 

But one cannot hold

the moon forever

or its rhythms still

 

and even a sorcerer

must yield to such

first, inevitable facts.

 

Here, I give you,

the best part of my life,

he told Ferdinand

 

and yield now to a place

where every third thought

shall be my grave,

 

and then drowned

his book so deep

in the fathoms

 

retiring all

he knew to

the alchemy of love.

Entrapment

 

The wooden thermometer in the Kiwanis Park

reports that they’ve reached eighty percent

toward building the new hospital wing,

and the Dairy Queen sign advertising half off

an Artic Rush also is pleased to announce

that Salvation is a Gift from Our Lord.

 

Along the State Route that cuts through the heart

of town, each weathered, gray-slate, clapboard house

has a sofa on the front porch, a rusted tree swing

or big, brown beater of a Pontiac parked on

a washboard-dirt drive. But the side gardens,

each full as the old person’s lap who tend them,

 

are swelling with costume-jewelry sunflowers,

peonies, tomatoes, snap beans, pattypan squash

that their owners have placed in a crate along the curb

along with an empty Maxwell House can where the passerby

might pay on the honor system right before he’s hit with

the hundred buck fine for doing thirty in a twenty zone.

 

A Box of Old Letters

 

Found in the attic after I bought the place,

the address on the front always the same.

But the postmarks an atlas heading west,

always west down the Ohio to Cairo

then up the Mississippi to St Louis.

Each day took him farther and further

 

from her touch, through towns

with populations smaller than their area,

tree lines thinned then vanished, land bleached

like the bones of cattle lining the trail.

Places where quarter-sections were left

for dead, land, a disaster never more

 

than one drought away. And he pleading

for a letter, some word to expel the fears

of losing her that grew with each passing

mile, enclosing pressed flowers:

hawthorns, pieces of sunflowers—

the color, he said of her hair—

 

columbines, then poppies when he crossed

the Sierras into California, he looking

for the gold that would bring her

to him and we never learning

if he ever possessed a box

to save on his side of the world.

 

Richard Luftig is a former professor of educational psychology and special education at Miami University in Ohio now residing in Pomona, CA; a recipient of the Cincinnati Post-Corbett Foundation Award for Literature and a semi-finalist for the Emily Dickinson Society Award; poems have appeared in numerous literary journals in the United States and internationally in Japan, Canada, Australia, Europe, Thailand, Hong Kong and India.

MALALA by Lyn Lifshin

Excepts from MALALA by Lyn Lifshin published by Poetic Matrix Press

Pakistani Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Noble Peace Prize for 2014 along with Indian child advocate Kailash Satyarthi.

LIKE CHILDREN TRAILING GLORY

Malala, still playing with dolls,
believed she could change the
world, cure cancer, live on the
moon, make a difference in
the world. Did she imagine that
some day those who
believe in violence could
share the same sky’s
beauty, that the light of
childhood could bring
a glow to darkness?

 

SO FEARLESS, CHANTING WITH OTHER SCHOOL GIRLS

in the school yard
the last day before
school’s done
along the sun
drenched roads.
Again and again.
until next time
God willing. Then
helicopters and
guns turn the air to
dust, birds
explode up from
the flowers. Many
crash dead. Blood
and petals. A war
zone of flowers.
This hide and
seek goes on all
night. We are very
afraid. This, Malala
writes, is my life.

 

ON OCTOBER 9, 2012

a Taliban gunman shot Malala Yousafzai
as she rode home on a bus
after taking an exam in
Pakistan’s Swat Valley. “Which
of you is Malala? Speak up,
otherwise I’ll shoot you all.”
When he found out which
girl was Malala he shot her twice.
Once in the head and once
in the neck.

 

IN MALALA’S SPRING DREAM

the pond is a dark blossom
unfolding. If she were to
move to the window in the
dream, there would be white
lilies thru blinds, suspended
instead of a moon.
Fog lips on roots
and willows filtering into
dreams of swans. The light
polishing water, connecting
what was behind her to
what’s ahead.