The Riddle

Photo by Randy Tarampi via Unsplash :   The Riddle : A book is a set of dead symbols. And then, the right reader comes along and the words—or rather the poetry behind the words—spring into life and we have a resurrection of the word.                      ... Continue Reading →

Spring

Photo by Cathaleen Curtiss :   Spring : The water ran black in the mornings. .             The soil had plenty to say .                          after being silent for so long. .             It wasn’t even... Continue Reading →

The Photograph

Photo by Federico Bottos via Unsplash  :   The Photograph : It doesn’t matter what we should have argued about. Talking was something we couldn’t or wouldn’t do. We walked through a meadow instead, you slightly ahead and I taking pictures of things I wanted to remember, including that bloody sunset. The flowers parted before... Continue Reading →

The Snare

Photo by Tertia van Rensburg via Unsplash :   The Snare : A mind like a ring Sliding shut on some quick thing. ~ Sylvia Plath, “The Rabbit-Catcher” Had it been you, all along.       Had it been you.   Or my fear  of telling the truth.  Of telling the fear.    How do I know. ... Continue Reading →

Four Nightmares

Photo by Tersius van Rhyn via Unsplash : : Four Nightmares : It choked her path in the first one, tall as a wall, wide as the sea at night. It spewed darkness, waves of it clogging the shore of her sleep. She was somewhere near it, but couldn’t see herself. Beyond, was the world... Continue Reading →

The Rose

Photo by Neslihan Gunaydin via Unsplash : The Rose : This hand that holds the trowel, a rubber glove to hide thick-knuckled, restless fingers— you know it’s yours. Yours, also, the knobby knees, the narrow feet in muddy crocs, the loosened skin holding it all together—who knows however long? You are a waterfall of flesh and... Continue Reading →

Salt Marsh

Photo by Christin Hume via Unsplash :   Salt Marsh   : Someday she will start writing, leaving her fear behind— a coat on the doorstep. Words, rusty in their hinges, will blow against the old barn, will whistle in the thin rain. She’ll hear a door close with a bang, a dog howl at... Continue Reading →

Compromise

Photo by Hilthart Pedersen via Unsplash   : Compromise : A flask empty of wine on the table. The table wanting for food in a house missing its people. Things are meant to be filled with other things. The sky, empty of birds, has clouds, at least. They carry no rain. Far below, the earth... Continue Reading →

Count Your Blessings

Photo by Taylor Ann Wright via Unsplash : Count Your Blessings : Sneer, counting the moments touched by joy, the ones currently marching like mad across your front lawn. You clearly see them for what they are—frauds, counterfeit, foolish impostors, because, let’s be real, no way in hell do you deserve what brushed by with... Continue Reading →

Time Capsule

Photo by Bruno Nascimento via Unsplash : Time Capsule We dug a hole at the back of grandma’s garden, where we had laid bodies to rest in matchstick boxes, each grave with its makeshift cross of twigs and brambles, as if beetles, too, had a god, or a church, or a soul. It was the pull of... Continue Reading →

The Fool

Image courtesy of incandescenttarrot.com : The Fool :  The fool pauses on the precipice of a word. He surveys the great blue. It’s cloudy today. Perhaps tomorrow he’ll write a poem about flying. Today must be rooted in dirt. Step after step after step, the fool descends. It’s been eons since he left the summit.... Continue Reading →

Bread

Image courtesy of the historical archive AGERPRESS : Bread : My father stands with his back to the wall, clutching his fists. The boys are tall. They lower their shaved heads. Show us your hands, they say. If you're not hiding anything. My father knows he'll cry soon. He calls grandma, but she can't hear... Continue Reading →

Rites of Passage

Photo by Fabrizio Conti via Unsplash Rites of Passage : I The rock was thrown as a joke, a sleight of hand. Then, the bursting eye, the entrails- like stuff pouring out. I knew it was an eye, but it looked like an unhatched egg, the embryo throbbing with its own hunger for life. It... Continue Reading →

The Guest

Photo by Martino Pietropoli via Unsplash : The Guest : My house grows small waiting for her to leave. Today I opened the door to the cellar and it wasn’t there. I climbed the staircase to the attic— it ended in a dead wall. The bathroom I’ve been so proud of shrank to the size... Continue Reading →

Body Not Hers

Photo by Janco Ferlich via Unsplash : Body Not Hers : For my children, when they grow up 1. The darkness within me, it’s all- engulfing, viscous, and real, the mystery of its black rose still blooming. Dark objects fall in and out like planets. Mars glides by glowing red, a fascinating eye into hell.... Continue Reading →

Winter

Photo by Fabrice Villard via Unsplash : Winter : A woman writes a line in the snow and leaves. Nothing else is new in that quiet field. Large snowflakes seal in her words, an envelope, closing. Next summer, she won't remember what she has written, or why. In the wake of retreating steps, silence keeps the... Continue Reading →

Out of the Labyrinth

Image courtesy of pixabay.com : Out of the Labyrinth : In the morning the girl sits by the window, pulling dried husks of flies off the spider web. The brown spider drops from its corner on a glistening, tremulous thread, hauls itself up to inspect the damage, hairpin legs climbing the air on invisible steps.... Continue Reading →

Tentative Futures

Greg Spalenka Divinus : Tentative Futures : You try to forgive words their push and pull. In the garden, the cherry tree has sprouted buds, each one enveloping a heartbeat. You lean against the trunk, listening to the hum under its bark, remembering what it was like to carry that same echo deep in the... Continue Reading →

Poem for a Green Bottle and a Candle Held Together with Tape

Rene Magritte Explanation : Poem for a Green Bottle and a Candle Held Together with Tape : Who has ever seen darkness glowing from inside? Glass giving in to flame?  Who has ever seen my reflection in the green waves? Wax drips on cold, sinuous curves.             This is not one of Magritte’s bottles, lined up for execution.... Continue Reading →

Fear

Edvard Munch The Scream : Fear : It never goes away, it only diminishes, thins out like a bookmark you forget in one of the books you now rarely read. Then you find it while dusting one day. It springs out voluptuous, huge—this bosomy aunt who always arrives out of nowhere to stay, suitcases and... Continue Reading →

Orchids

Image courtesy of The Orchid Column : Orchids : My nights are now full of dark coats buttoned up on emptiness. Black shoes carrying nothing walk out the door each morning. I wake up to layers of bricks around my body, each day one more layer, the cat already howling on top of my head—... Continue Reading →

The Lion

Leonard Myburgh Airbrushed Lion Courtesy of lonehillart.com : The Lion : Every angel is terrifying.                         ~ Rilke He comes in the dark, breaks doors, muscles his way through windows. His wings wrap around my heart like sin. His words run through my blood... Continue Reading →

Rip Van Winkle

N. C. Wyeth Rip Van Winkle : Rip Van Winkle : In the evening she sits on the couch. The sunset starts a fire around her head, like a halo. She reads and her hair streams down in black coils past her waist, past her knees. It hesitates when it reaches the floor, but then... Continue Reading →

The Mirror

Image courtesy of kreuzberged.com : The Mirror : You lie here wide-eyed as if the icon on the wall came alive—the small hand of the woman in red robes resting on your forehead. I wish I could be happy. Tomorrow the squirm in my blood will seem insignificant. The window checkers the bedspread. Meandering sleighs of... Continue Reading →

The Road

Dan Thomsett Snow in Minster : The Road : Just above the road there was this pale hand waving at me. Dust and ashes rose in the sun, The trees seemed to be in winter. Their long, crooked limbs poked into my eyes. I stepped on patches of ice. It could have been cotton, hardened... Continue Reading →

Talcfundi

Photo courtesy of Flickr : Talcfundi : Talcfundi likes to close windows. When it rains outside he shuts them tight. He keeps the sun in a bottle under his bed. This is the time he pulls out the cork. He lets his prisoner slam its body on wooden shutters. When it snows, Talcfundi shuts the... Continue Reading →

Welcome to NaPoWriMo 2018!

Image courtesy of http://www.napowrimo.net/ : The Date (Notes to Self) : Calm, cool, and collected, Poetry knocks at your door. I know you want to let him in. You should--no argument from me. But firstly, there are some things you might want to consider before cracking the door open and gazing into those dreamy eyes. That... Continue Reading →

On Beauty

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.org : “Beauty like that is strength. […] One could turn the world upside down with beauty like that.” ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky “The Idiot” This page is dedicated to the work of human spirit: the things that feed our soul, keep us warm, make us grow. A brooding bird will often pluck its... Continue Reading →

Learning from the Swallow

Image courtesy of  www.stevegettle.com : A good part of my childhood was spent in my grandmother’s village, where I grew up believing that the mud nests the swallows built under our eaves brought us good luck. More swallow nests meant better luck. I remember the joy when yet another swallow family would choose to raise its young... Continue Reading →

Beyond the Threshold

: If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. ~ William Blake My neighbors are temporarily storing a barn door in the hallway of our apartment building. It’s intricately carved, iron-studded, worn by wind, rain, the hands of several generations of farmers. I dare not ask why... Continue Reading →

Roots and Moss

Photo by Tim Laman : Speaking for the Trees : This page is an homage to things in nature that nourish a poet’s imagination: the roots and moss of poetry that contemplates, accepts, and embraces. So where does one start mapping this nest? Where does the glossary of tangible symbols that permeate a poet’s work... Continue Reading →

Pebbles and Sand

Image courtesy of www.littleterns.org : Poets throughout history have turned to animal and mineral being to express their own because from that storehouse a larger vocabulary of being, particularity, and wisdom can emerge. ~ Jane Hirshfield “Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry” Some poems are pebbles and some are sand. This sounds like the beginning... Continue Reading →

NaPoWriMo 2017

NaPoWriMo, the National Poetry Writing Month, begins in three days. Nothing like a deadline to light a fire under the caboose. Thirty poems in thirty days is no joke, but someone's gotta do it. This clayandbranches site has been a mere shadow of a thought for over a year. I may yet reach the conclusion that turning it into... Continue Reading →

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