Poets Online Archive
February 2007

Poets Online took an unplanned hiatus during January 2007. There was no new prompt posted online. And still, poems were submitted.

It didn't surprise me. For every poem submitted that addresses the current writing prompt, there are at least two that are submitted that have nothing to do with the prompt.

Religious poetry accounts for a lot of it, and poetry that sounds like it might have been written by young people makes up a good percentage of those submissions. And there are the others that don't fall into any category.

There are other poetry sites that allow poets to post whatever they write, but Poets Online has been (since 1998) asking our readers to respond to a specific writing prompt.

We break our routine this month and offer these poems that came across our desktop unprompted.

There's more about the site, poetry and an archive of poems and prompts, as well as your comments and things ars poetica at the Poets Online Blog.



Will there be a breeze in heaven?
and if there is, will skinless souls still
feel the zephyr's gentle touch?

Will raindrops gather into pools
where goldfish dart and the goldfinch
comes to wet its wings?

Will angels sing Beethoven's Ninth
while trumpets greet the dawn
of new and everlasting life?

Will all the fruits of Eden hang on trees
in easy reach? Will tongueless wraiths
appreciate the plum, the peach?

Will sunlight cast its glorious beam
on heaven's hills? And will its counterpart,
soft shadow, be allowed?

Will thunder rumble up from earth
to interrupt eternal peace,
eternal calm, complacency?

If heaven knows these pleasures not,
and life's small joys are life's alone.
Will pearly gates be quite enough?

Barbara Schutz

" Zeus takes half the goodness out of a man when he makes a slave of him."
Homer, Odyssey, Book 17

It has been two decades since I was last here.
Walking from campus and down Cayuga Street
towards Ithaca Falls and the little park by the trail,
my thoughts turn back, each step a page.

No longer the one I was then, I am disguised
to any that might have known me.
I am invisible.
Women pass by close enough for me feel their heat

and then I see him lying by the base of the falls.
Faith with fur, he dropped his ears and thumped his tail.
I could not approach, for fear of fulfilling his destiny.
Argos, I have not come home. Look the other way.

Christopher Taylor


Time slows.
Clocks melt, run down walls,
ooze across landscapes of feet
on white tiles. Florescent shimmer
blurs faces and hands. Eyes
dart like startled birds
out windows to where the impossible world
insists on sharp outlines, primary colors.
Pain vaporizes, drifts outside,
dissipates in the shining air,
breathed in, breathed out by those outside
who don't notice,

Marvin Lurie


Have you ever wanted to cry
really just think
have you ever wanted to cry
because it really hurt that bad
from the absence of your dad
to your mom driving you mad
from reflecting on bad relationships
and all of your mistakes
to the fact that you tried to change yourself
because of all the things they hate
from seeing your every bit of happiness diminish
to knowing you'll never experience shear bliss

Have you ever wanted to cry
but never really knew why
you just know that it hurts
deep down inside
that your heart is heavy
and your mind confused
because the tears won't fall
because you have none left to use.

Have you ever wanted to cry
to relieve all your pain
until your entire body is drained
of all that you despise
and never again
will "they" hear your cries

Have you ever wanted to cry
because someone is absent
could be your father, your mother,
even your brother
because you know that like everyone else
they were going to pick up and
only yet again proving your fear.

Have you ever wanted to cry
because you're helplessly in love
with someone you can't have
just as best-friends
true to the end
until you finally realize
it's just like Deborah said
"we can't be friends"

Have you ever wanted to cry
really just think
have you ever wanted to cry
because it really hurt that bad?

Jasmine Taylor


By the Brooklyn Bridge Plaza
On the side of city hall,
Facing the monumental arches
Of Roebling’s work,
There is a stately black woman
In a robin blue wedding dress,
With a bouquet of straw flowers
Who is waiting for the light to change.
She walks across Chambers, across Center
Towards the Municipal Building
Where a judge performs weddings.

I suppose she’s to meet her lover
On the second floor where all are gathered.
In a bureaucratic room of battle ship grey;
A thrifty color drained of pleasure.

She strides with insurance’s surety,
She knows, even if we are tentative
And conditional, saying, we assume
That her lover and his seconds wait there.
That is how it has to be
Though the ground may open up,
The other side is there.

Edward N. Halperin


Has it been thirty years?

My children are grown
and have moved away.
I sold my sailboat
to a judge's son.

I remember the little 8mm movie I made
of my wife sleeping on the couch,
so young and lovely, I can see her in my mind,
the same now as the day I made that movie.

The little bookstore on the hill
is a furniture store now. I remember the day
Larry bought
my book of poems.
I walked out into the sun on M Street, sensing victory.
I was twenty-eight years old.

The buildings are so close together, many of them attached.
Hundreds of years ago men liked being connected to each other,
so they built their houses that way.

The monuments and statues seem like new.
The workers clean the stones,
blasting away the black soot
with water guns, creating the illusion
that nothing changes, and even the pedestrians
appear as they always did, whether it's raining or sunny
hardly seems to matter. It's time for lunch.

Or is it something else we hunger for?

S. R. Lavin


I walk toward you and you are a cipher
you are someone stuck inside someone else
Daddymartyredearly lovedwarden

Swim toward me in blue
I hate needing you.

Pillar of cloud, pillar of fire
spun glass smoke in my heart
move that belly chakra, redder   Stephen

I don’t think you have the same heart
in your chest as me
I never expect you to come home at night
 just arriving, it is as if you carry
a giant bunch of red bougainvillea
say hello, I bloom inside  
                      all this
after 15 years: vacuuming, phone bills, commutes
laundry          infatuations         detours/ pain

Here is a nowtime
regular day:
standing by the sink
you have the strainer in suds
you turn to me laughing
I want to eat you alive
I laugh back. I die a little
it feels so good.

Patty Tomsky

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