Photograph Copyright 2007 Jean Germain
IF YOU'RE NEW TO SOULSPEAK, YOU MAY WANT TO CHECK OUT THE GUIDE TO SOULSPEAK
The Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press publishes poetry chapbooks, as well as fiction and non-fiction paperbacks. It has published over 50 titles to date.
We are currently not conducting any national contests, but are open to inquiries for editing manuscripts and publication of manuscripts in quality paperback format, including layout and art work. Contact Justin Spring for information.
Ms. Scylla Liscombe was the founder of the Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press in 1996. She served as editor from 1996-2010, publishing over 50 titles.
She edited and published: 21 poets including Dana Curtis, Jessica Jordan Nudel, Madelon Sprengnether, and Adrianne Kalfoupoulou (Greece); 21 titles from Therapeutic SOULSPEAK programs (at-risk children and adults); two anthologies of at-risk populations: and a number of prose and poetry books by poet Justin Spring.
As editor of SPT Press, she chaired over 35 local and national poetry competitions including the Sarasota Poetry Theatre Chapbook Competition, Animals in Poetry Anthology Competition, Edda Poetry Chapbook Competition for Women, and numerous young poet competitions.
Ms. Liscombe is available to help poets organize and edit their manuscripts for publication. You can reach her through her website, www.scyllastrangefire.com.
Selections from the over fifty poetry titles published by SPT Press can be seen further on in this blog.
Here is a list of all the titles published by SPT Press:
1. 1996 Vacancies/Greg Thielen/Sarasota Poetry Theatre Chapbook Competition
2. 1997 Dissolve/Dana Curtis/Sarasota Poetry Theatre Chapbook Competition
3. 1997 Sarasota & Manatee Poets Anthology
4. 1998 New Voices/Winners of Sarasota County School Middle & High School Competition
5. 1998 Songs of Cyesis/Sarasota County Cyesis Teen Parent Program
- 1998 Poems at Risk/Poems of Myakka Stop Camp
- 1998 Season of Leaving/Jessica Jordan Nudel/Edda Poetry Chapbook Competition for Women
- 1999 Talkies/Soulspeak Anthology Competition
- 1999 Trees Are The Slowest Rivers/Brent Goodman/ Sarasota Poetry Theatre Chapbook Competition
- 1999 Coming Home/Poems at Risk
- 1999 Animals in Poetry/Animals in Poetry Anthology Competition
- 1999 La Belle et La Bete/Madelon Sprengnether/ Edda Poetry Chapbook Competition for Women
- 1999 New Voices/Winners of Sarasota Co. School Middle & High School Competition
- 2000 Falling Trees & Rising Stars – Beacon House Mental Health Community Center
- 2000 Young Voices North Port Glenallen Elementary School
- 2000 Young Voices Sarasota Foundation Middle School
- 2000 Young Voices New Deal/Venice High
- 2000 Young Voices YMCA North Triad
- 2000 Young Voices YMCA South Triad
- 2000 Begin Here, Mari L’Esperance/Sarasota Poetry Theatre Chapbook Competition
- 2000 Talkies II/Soulspeak Anthology Competition
- 2000 New Voices Tammi House (Residence for Recovering Alcoholics)
- 2000 New Voices F.I.R.S.T. (Foundation for Intensive Rehabilitation for Sexual Trauma
- 2000 New Voices YMCA Character House
- 2000 New Voices Sarasota Middle School
- 2000 Animals in Poetry/Animals in Poetry Anthology Competition
27. 2000 Fig / Adrianne Kalfopoulou/ Edda Poetry Chapbook Competition
28. 2001 Fathering / Alan L. Steinberg / SPT National Poetry Competition
29. 2001 Half Life Burning / Steven A. Trulock / Spring Poetry Chapbook for Men
30. 2001 New Voices/Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranches
31. 2001 Animals in Poetry/ Animals in Poetry Anthology Competition
32. 2001 New Voices / Family Counseling Center
33. 2001 Young Voices/ Venice Area Middle School
34. 2001 Tongue-Tied Woman/ Jeanetta Calhoun / Edda Poetry Chapbook Competition
35. 2002 Learning to Lessen the Pain/James Wackett / SPT National Poetry Competition
36. 2002 Animals in Poetry
37. 2002 Voices/Soulspeak Poets
38. 2002 Eating Figs at Twilight /Victoria Sullivan/ Edda Poetry Chapbook Competition
39. 2003 Karmic Negotiations /Linda Lowe/ SPT National Poetry Competition
40. 2003 Clean Escape / Michele Heather Pollock/Edda Poetry Chapbook Competition
41. 2003 Animals in Poetry2003
42. 2003 Soulspeak Poetry Anthology of At-Risk Children
43. 2004 One Room Over/ Tara Moghadam/ Edda Poetry Chapbook Competition
44. 2005 By the Dog Star/ Danielle Pieratti/ Edda Poetry Chapbook Competition
45. 2002 SOULSPEAK The Outward Journey of the Soul/Justin Spring
46. 2002 Mirrors/Justin Spring
47. 2002 Talkies/Justin Spring
48. 2002 Nursery Raps/Justin Spring
49. 2003 SOULPRINTS/Justin Spring
Other Books by Justin Spring:
50. 1995 Polaroid Prints/White Eagle Coffee Store Press
51. 1991 Other Dancers/March Street Press
SOMETHING WORTH VIEWING IF YOU'RE A POET
Here is a link to a NEW VIDEO SERIES by poet Justin Spring on how create written or spoken poems using the SOULSPEAK method. The SOULSPEAK method unlocks our instinctive, inborn ability to create spontaneous story poems by quieting the conscious mind so that the poem can form itself automatically. This method is discussed in detail in SOULSPEAK: The Outward Journey of the Soul.
Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press
Contest and Publication Samples
A sample of 5 poems from each publication follows.
A limited number of chapbooks are still available for books still in print. For out of print books, Xerox reproductions are available. Contact us for prices.
VACANCIES/Greg Thielen/1996/Winner National Poetry Chapbook/Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press/23 pages/out of print/a sample of 5 poems available.
When I first met my grandmother she had one lung.
had come to visit her in the sanitarium
where she suffered from consumption.
The saint sat at the side of her bed,
dipped his arm through her ribs,
and took a lung in his cupped hands,
ate it like a pomegranate or dripping melon.
After, the saint licked his fingers and said,
And she lived.
And she told me this story with her every visit to
when she'd reach deep inside her black leather purse
to give me peanuts from her flight,
or a blue plastic rosary.
Every visit she saw it her duty
to sit at the side of my bed
and teach me the rosary,
until I was fourteen,
when the words and air from her lung
led me to daydream neighborhood girls
with wet hair and long summer legs.
Then, as if reading my thoughts,
she spoiled my devotions by telling me
Mother Mary was only fourteen
when she carried God's baby,
and I wondered who could ever compete
with the heavy cock of God,
with the creator of grapefruit
blossoming outside my bedroom window,
hanging above the smell of her half-breath prattle.
There is a dry river below.
If you visit it before the rains you will see
stones shaped like antelopes or horned toads.
Their colors are the colors of everything.
About a mile down, jutting out from the bank, is the pale rock,
smooth and long as my wife's back. A yellow wild flower
has worked its way through the stone and now
faces the sun to blossom.
The flower is a lovely cancer.
It is a marriage. Something fragile
has broken through a piece of mountain.
For twelve seasons we have lived by the river.
When the stones are dry we hike in it, hopping from rock to rock.
My wife is graceful.
I didn't tell her about the flower
growing up through the stone of her back.
I didn't tell her because she is barren
and would be saddened by the rock.
I didn't tell her because the rains began
and we laughed as we ran back to the house.
Soon our son will drown and she will never know.
Sermon on the Mount
Just get it over with and become something like the grass,
or the owl perched on top of the emergency room entrance,
or the ducks from the nearby park I never visit,
the ones that fly over my house to die on the freeway.
Children will always scream in your favorite restaurants.
You will always scream in a corner of your bathroom
bent down towards the white porcelain floor
so no one can see you.
Wear black next time.
Wear white to your brother's funeral,
the one who was killed by a tree,
be his flower.
I visited that tree,
put my ear to its sticky sap bumper wound
that said nothing to me, so I believed it.
When you are a lily,
and I pick you out of all the other wild flowers
on the shores of this mountain lake,
who will care but me when I rest you on the water?
Jesus saw himself as a woman
when he talked to you by the coffee dispenser.
The sparrow's feathers are counted fifty-eight, fifty-nine,
From the Hollow
Yesterday the girl who tried
killing herself by drinking Drano
pulled her tongue from her mouth
and handed it to the nurse like a swollen flower.
It was a conversion experience for the girl,
having seen something which she believed
uglier than herself. She decided to live.
Outside her window a hill is covered with an avalanche of lilies.
They have always been there, rolling in vital silence.
Lying in her hospital bed she knows
she herself is a lily,
no longer able to make a sound,
white with a burst of red running up the center.
One nurse has come each day to sit at the foot of her bed.
Today she brings music, Bach's Arioso.
The girl, her jugular burned thin,
explodes while trying to hum.
Blood pours through her trachea
like pollen spit from the pistil
or notes from the hollow of cherry violins.
DISSOLVE/Dana Curtis/1997/Winner National Poetry Chapbook/Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press/22 pages/out of print/a sample of 5 poems available.
IsolationI rowed till I could not
see the shore
and dropped the oars
in the absolute clear
watched them land
decades beneath the surface
I took off my clothes
they floated away
I lay on my back
my hair formed
a delicate island
the sun helped me
sculpt my body from bone
bleached me livid
melted the flesh slowly
a ring of wax
to be replaced
a burned woman
putting my lips to
a magnified fingerprint
eyes without lashes
still in the fire
returning the kiss
Closing my eyes never work
each pore has an eye that
opens to your touch.
Each moment, you are memorized.
Memory plays us
a harp in a long closed restaurant.
I sat there once
eating olives at the bar.
I listened for your voice
between the harpist's chords.
I heard your lips
I turned and watched you
losing myself in teeth, tongue, melon.
Inside you, the world
was chained to itself.
The ocean smelled pure.
The air breathed me.
All of your life lolled in the sun.
I wanted to find your pain,
pull it to sweetness and eat it.
On the Beach
Walking through the desert,
I see him.
Smiling that particular smile,
he stands knee deep in the ocean
kicking at the waves as though
he owns them.
Horses live there.
They stomp around him all
lovely and ugly like his right and
They kick at me and chew my fingers.
He puts them in the water to dissolve them,
Just like he's always done.
I think I'll eat a cactus now.
He brings me a lobster,
just to look at, play with.
It crawls around my room,
then he picks it up, takes it back,
holding it tenderly,
letting it go.
There is a game I play.
I blink and he's there.
I blink and he's not.
blink yes blink no
Hours I've killed, days I've tortured.
I think he's some strange liquid
He will melt into the sand.
Horses will stamp over him all unknowing.
I keep him in view.
I can hear his voice as he talks to the ocean,
himself or whatever.
He kisses the bottom of my foot and
holds the sole against his neck.
"You are made of water."
"No," I say,
"I am made of sand."
I've tried dragging him down the stairs,
leaving him on the frozen floor for hours
"It's no good," he'd whisper,
a sweating hand or foot in each corner.
I'd rest my head on his stomach and we'd lie together
"I knew it would come to this," he'd say.
"I'll cure you," I'd answer,
trying to embed the words in his innermost organs.
His stomach bubbled and made my lips tremble.
His lips would tremble
when our eyes met
a barely noticeable shake
We kissed beside a fountain, turned off for the winter
then moved away, smug, confident.
We'd get what we want.
With his dark stare,
I expected him to speak in tongues, but
his voice never rose above a whisper.
He used to live next to a volcano
(he told me that one night, when
he was particularly bad.)
He would play in the hot caverns,
toss insects in the lava and
accidently melt his toys.
he terrified me.
I turn off the heat and
keep warm next to the fire that's killing him.
She admires the look of his skin
but the harvest long overdue,
starts dying and
the fruit rotten
the grass beneath the trees
slick and sweet.
A woman is spread across the grass
delirious, in love
she tries to shut out
stars. In love
with her murder,
the night, the smell of decay,
fucking herself with a sword,
she shuts her eyes.
She knows she can stand anything
disturbances in time, wanting, his vision
in fear, never knowing,
the darkness under water, the stars
fallen from the trees,
SARASOTA & MANATEE POETS ANTHOLOGY/1997/Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press/29 pages/out of print/a sample of 5 poems available.
SARASOTA & MANATEE POETS ANTHOLOGY/1997
by Joan Bryne
There's no equipment required
Except perhaps a mind.
No proscenium stage, cameras, lights,
No music stands and instruments,
No canvas, oils, pastels or clay.
You can do it in an airport or café
Writing on a napkin or the back of your hand
Catch the fleeting insight
Color, thoughts with words.
by Maryla Madura
we were dreaming the same dream:
our bodies sprawled on the grass of an ancient church
listening to clouds passing by like trains
like wind and like death
the red death of a bloody sun
Winged shadows in the sky
chasing each other wildly across the bay
until the old good Captain called us
to sail away
We did not know
to whom our bodies belonged
when we woke up
like wounded sailors we come and go
and the birds keep us company
by Michael De Vivo
Go find yourself a coat, dear,
a big warm one you can sink into
on those cold nights.
don't look in my closet
there's nothing there;
some undeserving heartbreak
took off with my last
I don't want to hear how cold you are.
I don't want to see your
shivering frame in my doorway.
just leave but leave me
your Macy's charge card.
Alpha And Omega
by Arlow Bailey
You are my alpha and omega
You are the beginning without an end;
You'll always be my friend.
You are a forest;
You are a stream;
You are my dream.
From the forests, I chose your tree.
You are the light that helps me see.
You are the wind that helps birds fly.
You are the star I picked from the sky.
From a wheatfield I chose your grain;
I picked your drop from all the rain.
From all the mountains I chose your peaks.
You are the dream from my sleep.
The Flow of Things
by Caroline Mills-Meyer
Ponder life in this immense universe compared to a
mere drop of water. Moving in unison showing little
resistance while blending with the liquid mass. Then as
the waterfall nears, akin to life, changes are
inevitable. It is here that destiny takes hold.
Impulsively, like that drop of water careening down the
narrow cavern spiraling away from the rest, we diverge
on to our own. It is here that an untouched course will
Picture that drop of water, separate, glistening in
the sunlight. More brilliant than the mass itself.
If only for a moment, it falls slower, more uniquely,
while adrift from the charging flow. Finally, as the
liquid mass tempestuously cascades downward to the pool
below, the drop, like one's life, will eventually blend
into the "flow" of things. However, the imprint will
have been accomplished, life will never be the same.
NEW VOICES/Winners of Sarasota County Middle & High School Competition/1998/Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press/15 pages/out of print/a sample of 5 poems available.
NEW VOICES/Winners of
Middle & High School Poetry Competition/1998
My Heart is Hurt
by Johnny B./Myakka Stop Camp
Is hurt so badly
And my mother can look through the window
From her garden and see
That something's not right.
So she came in and said,
"What's going on?"
And she said, "I love you,"
And gave me a big hug and kiss
And then it was like the sun was shining in
Through the window on both of us.
All Alone Inside
by Shantelle Ballard/McIntosh Middle School
No one's there to hold me,
All in their arms,
I can't feel his touch against mine,
I'm just all alone inside.
I am scared and useless,
Without his hand in mine,
I feel not as protected as before,
I am just all alone inside.
There is no one to hug,
When I feel down,
I have no life anymore,
I am just all alone inside.
When I am asleep I hear his voice,
Talking so soft and calm,
Then it fades away,
I am just all alone inside.
Then I see him standing at the foot of my bed,
I feel all happy and excited,
Then I realize how lucky I am because,
I am not all alone anymore.
Once There Was a Girl
by Liz Baranoicz/Pine View School
Once there was a girl
Who skipped among the wildflowers.
The tall grasses turned to snakes
And she had to jump to get away from them.
She was wearing a beautiful mask
that was tied with a blue ribbon.
The ribbon broke and the mask fell off.
She went to pick it up
And saw the flowers had died.
She felt she was unfit to be seen,
So she hid in a dungeon.
One day after she got tired of waiting,
She ventured out.
She looked at a cloud shaped like herself,
She did not need her dungeon anymore.
by Julian Brighenti/
In my head,
I make up names,
for the trees,
that dance before me.
They've been my friend,
from my birth,
at the stroke of midnight,
in the forest of the Dolomites.
And as a child,
I played among the olive groves,
and listened to my mother's stories,
about the tree dreamers.
When my arms,
were long enough,
I would wrap them around the tree,
and listen to its song.
My mother told me,
that long ago,
many life times actually,
she was a noble oak.
I do not know what to make of this,
but listen and listen and listen,
and see what becomes of it.
Now I have my tree,
as a guide,
as a friend,
and as the keeper of my song.
As I grow older,
It becomes more clear to me,
as if I were blind,
in the past.
A Night Under the Stars
by Brandon Henrichs/McIntosh Middle School
As I laid on the cold ground
The cool night air around me
Heavy like the smoke from a fire
And the stars above me glimmering
I gazed with amazement
At the beauty of the clear night sky.
As I laid on the cold ground
The cool night air around me
Heavy like the smoke from a fire
And the stars above me glimmering
I gazed with amazement
At the beauty of the clear night sky.
Am I really all alone?
I began to feel comfort as the stars crawled across
the night sky
I then realized that I was a part
Of a greater essence
I was not alone!
I am part of the world around me
Just like an acorn on a tree.
SEASON OF LEAVING/Jessica Jordan Nudel/1998/Winner Edda Poetry Chapbook Competition for Women/Sarasota Theatre Press/20 pages/$6/out of print/a sample of 5 poems available.
SEASON OF LEAVING/Jessica Jordan Nudel
the leaves sing red
the trees turn and turn
And every autumn I give it all up
I let go
like the trees
I let it go
like the mothers
letting the babies slip out of their bodies
I let it go
like the branches
Every fall I lose it all
summer slips away
I pray to make it through
It is the trees
the earth giving herself
the time of abandonment
summer is always new and hot
but fall is the time for leaving
Diane died in the fall
as the ivy on the brick buildings outside
the hospital window
got redder and redder
gave it everything they had
One day I look up
at the leaves
at the tree
giving herself over
and I think I understand
why they call it fall
why they call them leaves
How over and over
we relinquish ourselves
we let it all go
we lay ourselves bare
and we begin again
There is a moment somewhere in October
when each leaf
and distinguishes herself
It's not like summer
when everything is green
and the grass looks like the stems
and the oak looks like the pine
when it is all green leaves
all shimmering green
And the forest is a shimmering green wall
and the mountain is a dark green blanket
and the leaves are like a sea
each tree has
her own color waiting
to come out
It is the way the trees let down their pears
that summer when I lived in
in the pear orchard
and was in love
and had not yet turned twenty one
and had too many dreams to count
And when I stood outside at night
I could hear the pears falling to the ground
the trees so full of pears
they had to let them go
And that fall I left
because my visa was expired
and it was fall
and I was destined to go
although I was sure I'd be back
at twenty there are so many
this is how a person makes a life I thought
I never knew
but it just happens this way:
you follow a festival down a dark mountain
in the rain
and you dance
and at the bottom
you meet a man who lives
in a stone house
in a pear orchard
and you fall in love
and you stay
and it just happens that way
that becomes your life
But it wasn't true
I couldn't return
I wanted to
and he wanted to
but somehow it got away from us
That is how it is in fall
it all looks so good
it all looks so red
It is like the trees
they are bleeding their hearts out
It was fall when I left my first love
I was fifteen
I thought I was the most heartless
person on earth for leaving him
but I couldn't help myself
he said he'd jump out the window if I went
he stood at the window and said he'd jump
he was ready to do it
Now I see him
every time I walk down 32nd street
I look up and I see him there
in the window of the apartment
where his mother used to live
I see him there
falling from the window
would never recover
and I could never forgive myself
and he is red as blood
like a leaf
falling down on
I never catch him
even in my dreams
there isn't time
to run from his little bedroom
down the seven flights of stairs
out onto the sidewalk
and catch him
before he hits bottom
This thanksgiving, I pray
just let me get through it alive
I don't expect anything great
I'll just sit here
I won't leave the house
I won't move
nothing terrible happen
just one year
couldn't you keep the leaves from falling
couldn't you do it
just this once
With Nick it wasn't me
I mean, it was me
who was so far gone
but it was him
who came home
and then left again
and never returned
I thought it could be recovered
that we wouldn't always be eighteen
I would pick up the phone
and it would be him again
I thought he could
always love me
even if time passed
there was no such thing
as taking it too far
When I saw him again
I thought, thank God I'm not
attracted to him anymore
but even that didn't last
I didn't want to want
I wanted to walk away
the way I had
when I was eighteen
it wasn't fair
that I should have
to want him now
I had said
he would always
be part of my family
he would always
come to Thanksgiving
and to Christmas
It is as if everything
I've ever said in fall
has been a lie
that I meant to be true
TALKIES/Winners SOULSPEAK Anthology Competition/1998/Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press/19 pages/out of print/a sample of 5 poems available.
TALKIES/Winners Soulspeak Anthology Competition/1998
Cosmology: The Word on the Street
by Richard Hague
the fuse: Big Bang. Shit flying everywhere,
planets, comets, meteors, little invisible
thingies, some with stingers and some with
bright hair and some that eat you alive,
make you skeleton in two minutes,
and then some that show you that skeleton
like a picture: X-Ray Man.
All this stuff making the whole whirl.
World I mean.
Then some other dude come in,
mess with it some more: attach names
to everything like
signs in the Five and Ten
25 cent everything in this bin:
quasar, galaxy, black hole.
Then about five thousand bazillion years later
and a whole mess of naked people
and war and like that,
we get here,
guns and crack and nightmoans,
and me with this no sleep hour
in the whirl
and sometime along the night
we hear the phone ringing
but it ain't ours, we got no phone,
and after a time it drive us nuts:
Wo, somebody answer that phone
And somebody do, maybe even my own sister
who I ain't seen since fifteen years ago
maybe right across the street, there
in that apartment with the open window,
maybe my own sister answer the phone
and maybe me on the line saying
Is this you?
and she say
Yes it's me
and I say
Well this is me
and she say
So where you go from there?
You got two doors and
if I see you,
you don't go through the one or the other,
but if I don't see you
See why I don't sleep?
Wakin up late
I start to think and thinkin
part of all the whirl:
heard one time wherever you go
you like to come back around:
whole whirl a circle,
some kind of tornado or swirly like a flushing toilet:
in the end it suck you and all you got right down,
house, shoes, girlfriend, light,
and nobody even hear you scream.
Big Bang come to that?
Bossman screw up good,
right from the beginning.
Anna Maria's Husband
by M.J. See
I just saw Anna Maria's husband kill her brother.
Anna Maria's husband walked up to the door of the house
And her brother opened it
And Anna Maria's husband said, "Where is she godammit?"
And her brother said, "I'm not telling you you cocksucker. Get the hell outta here!"
And her brother opened the door and he walked out onto the porch
And Anna Maria's husband pointed a gun at him
And he pulled the trigger
And it hit her brother in the chest
And he didn't even have time to say anything to anybody
He just fell
And his knees hit the concrete step
And the rest of him dropped onto the porch
And then Anna Maria's husband put the gun
On top of her brother's head and he pulled the trigger again
And a big chunk of her brother's red and white brain landed on the porch
Beside his head that wasn't moving anymore
And then Anna Maria's husband ran out onto Athens Street
And made a left onto Rome Alley and that was the last time
I ever saw him.
But back at Anna Maria's house
The police and the detectives and whoever were all coming
And one of them was a lady and I think she was sort-of in charge
And she was wearing dress pants with a silky shirt
And a gold chain
And it was 1:35 am and her nails were done
And she bowed down over the body to get a closer look
And she laughed. I heard her. It was like a chuckle almost
And she said, "Poor kid. He never even saw it coming."
And later they found Anna Maria at her friend's house
And they told her that her husband killed her brother
And she started screaming
And I don't think she was ever the same again.
by Gwen Hart
For one afternoon, in our living room, Joyce has a normal daughter
When asked about her daughter, Tara,
Joyce says she's twenty-one and still lives at home.
I squirm in my seat, trying to remember who I've told,
who doesn't know and may make a comment, say
something about kids, no-good loafers, not realizing that
although Tara is exactly my age, she does not watch MTV,
but children's videos, and has to be led to the bathroom,
lifted in and out of the car, that she walks, with help, but cannot
talk, or give any indication of what she understands and what
she does not.
But on one says anything, and for one afternoon, in our living room,
Joyce has a normal daughter, one who works at the mall,
stays out late with her boyfriend, and may or may not ever finish up
her degree at Cuyahoga Community College. For once there are no real
problems, like last year, when
and the doctor wanted to perform a hysterectomy as well.
Joyce said she couldn't make that kind of decision for her daughter;
she couldn't imagine anything worse than waking up one day
out of a pleasant blankness, only to be told you couldn't have
a healthy child.
by Michele C. Battiste
"You have to think about things sometimes
Like where you put your love
your twenty five year old beauty, what there is of it
that may be your most distinguishing characteristic to
the people you care most about
that has valued you
will vanish one day
Like maybe you're not as smart
you're not as charming
as the countless translations of your composure
And if you entertain thoughts of being a rich man's mistress
sometimes you just have to think
And your silence just may be an escape
or worse, an affectation
And you can only pose for so long before you fall asleep
Sometimes you have to think
that what you value
what your actions, reactions know you value
though they betray your intellect, your words
is not something to be proud of
So he didn't offer to buy you a drink
So he asked you to drive
So he has no money and no qualms about letting you pay for dinner
Did you want to be a cipher"
Did you want to compromise?
Think about this
You don't have to acquiesce ever again
You don't have to be quiet when he interrupts, says your punchline, corrects your grammar, ruins your song
You don't have to contemplate being a rich man's mistress
You were stronger once
Demanded a flat and even ground, solid reverberation at your footsteps
Sometimes you just have to think about your own damn worth"
by Hiram Larew
If I had four grandchildren and a good truck
Like a man is supposed to
And a bean garden up on the hillside up there
And all the salt like I like
Then I'd probably be better than I am now
Two or three counties south of here
I know they leave their doors open
On Saturday mornings rain or shine
That's the kind of fellow I wish I was
An early bird worm
Summer makes me think longer like that
Most the time I'm green lucky
She says it's my laugh
But last week
When I was whistling
I caught my shoulder on some limbs back there
And I thought I was going to pass out
I've never hurt like that before
Sour seems to last longer in August somehow
Believe me though
That's not like me
I always try to make the most of things
And generally can't wait to find out
What the whys are and how.
TREES ARE THE SLOWEST RIVERS/Brent Goodman/1998/Winner National Poetry Chapbook Competition/Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press/21 pages/out of print/a sample of 5 poems available.
TREES ARE THE SLOWEST RIVERS/Brent Goodman
the thin faced doctor tells me: walking across
the knapsacked campus, speeding alone
in bed one night half sunk in sleep suddenly
a splash of color or explosion of light. No ache
or sharp knife throb will send me wincing
to the hospital in time to stop it. Because my eyes
have stretched taut from nearsightedness,
because something he sees through his tiny scope
is wrong, this doctor, lifting my chin with one hand
while aiming a penlight with the other, says
High risk. Be careful. The only thing you can do
is know the signs. Sunburst of color,
shock of bright light how many times already
I've thought it an angel, or drugs, or something in
between, and now this detachment a peeling away
of layers, flesh from flesh the pink onion skin
on which the world focuses itself. How will I know
whether my sight's tearing loose or a stairway's
just opened before me? Will I see a figure
through brightness who'll lead me to heaven
or the emergency room? God or atom bomb,
blind sinner or second coming how
will I ever know the end, or the beginning?
It's not the pure descent
I come for, not the earth opening
in these blue
the long exhale which cools my face
as my love explains how caves breathe.
It's not the way I mutely follow, inching
my way down this chest-narrow chasm
into the dark, scuffing my knees, palms,
always reaching for a hold. It's like descending
into the gills of a giant fish. A room opens
beneath us. Sweeping our dim headlamps
across dripping limestone walls, we learn
the language from this depth is more beautiful
than above: Gypsum Flower, Soda Straw,
Cave Bacon. Rainbow Flow Stone. It's for
the newly named I've come, miles and miles
of crawling passages which swallow our thin light;
the sound of your breath, of rivers yet below us.
It's for the pale, blind fish in clear pools
who know this world through a single nerve.
The zero in the eye widens when we need
more light. Sharp edges soften, charcoal
on damp canvas. Church bells hum
in our wooden umbrella handles as rain
blurs the street. All day we wander inside
the belly of a cloud, blinking. Look up
the gray repeats itself. Sidewalks recede
into haze; the stone steps to your apartment
turn slippery and dark.
The year spent in
scattering stale bread into cathedral shadows
meant little, nothing. Hooves across cobblestone.
Memorize the face reflected in the well bottom,
find a place for it. Find a place for the wavering
voice, lightning shocking the windows white, static
haunting the phone. The distance sound travels
from sky to earth. From your shipwrecked bed
you listen: a wide exhale through your smallest bones.
A New Way of Judging Distance
OK, I've swept together all the shadows,
nailed the sunlight back to the walls
in bright migrating frames¾who needs
furniture? There are days my breath stitches
a long thread into the sky. I should say
that was years ago. I lived alone
and pulled myself so deeply inward
any light appeared dull and haggard
as if tired from a long journey. Please,
take off your coat. Stay with me.
As I pour us both more tea, notice
the darkness which won't wash clean
edging your mug. Sorry, I mean mine.
I mean, I misplaced a key, once, and still
can't find what it opens. Instead
I want to discover a new way of judging
distance sound, light, thread, song
remember, this was years ago.
By the time you hear this, by the time
you realize exactly where I am, my location
will have changed. The deeper we stare
into the sky at night the older the stars.
It's like walking backwards while making
slow dumb wishes for the future.
Fire at Psychic Camp Was Foreseen by Some
"Through the last three of four years, several people
have seen one of the hotels burning"
-Win Srogi, president of the
Association of Spiritualists
Of course, that would explain
this summer's poor enrollment,
though some foresaw that as well
but failed to make the connection.
Imagine that night: the narrow dorm hall,
rows of young psychics dreaming
in their bunks, so many unstruck matches.
And the boy who saw himself
waving from a window before splintering
into flame where was he
when smoke flooded the woods? Even
the minor psychics, the pencil spinners
and spoon benders, telepathic twins,
the counselor surviving on lottery scratch-offs:
did they stand before the future
and watch it burn? Time folds back
on itself, papery edges overlapping,
and sometimes we stumble upon
that intricate note. It wasn't surprising
fire trucks arrived early, sirens shocking
the dark. Weeks before during arts and crafts,
the entire supply of orange crayons
ran out, enough visions postering the walls
to make the small room glow.
ANIMALS IN POETRY/Winners Animals in Poetry Anthology Competition/1999/Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press/17 pages/out of print/a sample of 5 poems available.
ANIMALS IN POETRY/Winners Animals in Poetry Anthology Competition/1999
by Marie Balistreri
to be seen
on the grasslands,
as elegant tapestries
draped on the sky.
hop like leaves,
as rain pulses down
of your spines.
You follow each other
like ancient priests
with the knowledge
in the globes
of your eyes.
Then you mirror
as you stare down
Oh to ride
into our dreams,
that dances away,
the last to slip
by Pat Cason
This cat hunts snakes,
preferring the stripes of small garters
on account of his own, or perhaps
because of the coil
he makes as he sleeps in the sun.
Each day in spring he brings one
looped from his mouth, proud
of its complex writhing. Later,
after he's left it frightened and still,
later in bed when he purrs at my side
or nuzzles my hand or touches
his nose to my lips, I am amazed
at the world he touches me with,
his gleaming teeth honing toward smaller lives
than his, toward the intricate bones
of mice, articulated S's of snakes,
toward furtive lives in tunnels and nests.
He is my link to the world of scale and feather and claw,
to the lineage of hunter and hunted, chain
of mouth to body and body to mouth
(snake to hawk to hare to fox)
and their desire, one for another.
A Woman Needs a Dog
by Samantha Dunaway
A woman needs a dog
at times like these,
when she has watched too many
and, waking to an empty pillow
in the middle of the night,
the desperation we all have
to be loved, how the need of love
can make you abase yourself
and be glad of the opportunity.
A dog knows how oppressive
it can be to be alone,
yet how important it is
to be independent and strong.
They appreciate that there is a time
to play in the sun,
a time to sing to the moon,
and a time to rest your paws
on silken pillows
and wait. They know
the beauty of indolence,
and the joy of comfort in their
And a woman with a dog
is never alone and never unloved.
A Poem About Pike
br David Dodd Lee
Take the fork sitting next to your plate
and stab it into your hand. You're lucky you're not
swimming. The pike, like a shark, lives
for blood. A big pike will try to eat a full-grown duck.
They'd like to be alligators.
A pike's eyes glow in the dark.
If you catch one watching you you'd better pull anchor.
I once caught a pike in a ditch
and it had a warbler in its stomach,
and another pike, and a zippo lighter.
A man at work told me he caught a bass
The pike is a million years old. It's seen every craft
man's invented. It's too voracious for its own good
though, and will attack
a paint-chipped spoon dangled over the edge of a rowboat.
Its brain's about the size of a marble.
The best way to catch a pike is with a sucker
or shiner hooked through the spine.
Some pike will try to eat anything.
playing patty-cake in the shallow water of an inland lake.
The clouds stayed pink for days.
by Joan Nicholson
this clutch of ostrich feathers
this particular mystery
gathered around the merest
whisper of spine
converges in a rarefied cat shape
reaches out to me with both paws
touches my arm, my face,
whispers¾see how still I am
notice how I stay in one place
watch me linger
see how pleasing it is
you think this is not for you
think you could never
learn such rhythms
look closely now
then she eases down
settles between my breasts
with majesty she remains
teaching me stillness
LA BELLE ET LA BÊTE Madelon Sprengnether/1999/Winner Edda Poetry Chapbook Competition for Women/Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press/13 pages/a sample of 5 poems available.
LA BELLE ET LA BÊTE/Madelon Sprengnether
La belle et la bête (after Jean Cocteau)
There were too many symbols from the start. This I
should have seen, driving up in the dark, with all
those lights pointing like arrows to your house. Once
inside, I couldn't help marveling how everything
was laid out-food and clothing-exactly suited to
my purpose. Even the mirror you offered smoked
and cleared, deepening into my past. But what you
really wanted was to watch, tracking my every move,
like some hidden camera, some retail-store video
device. There was a crime at issue, some bloody
violation, some pain of death. Every night you would
stand at my bedroom door, pleading and anguished.
"I'm not an animal," you would say, "don't look at
me like that."
La belle et la bête, take 2
a single rose is tallied, or later? Which is worse: that
a growing thing may be owned, that a life may be
exacted? Or that a young girl's longing for a father
should thwart her marriage prospects? Each is drawn
to the other, like iron filings to a magnet. He is full of
slavering hunger, his need so raw that he does not
even use his hands to feed. She flinches, claws at her
skirt, oh so delicately appalled. Some days, she feels
the weight of his gaze like a chain of pearls
suspended from her neck. Yet she did this of her own
volition. In the cloudless pool of her mind, she cannot
form the idea of escape.
La belle et la bête, take 3
I can't get it out of my mind, how naked you were,
both hairy and shorn, as if itching to be free of
your very skin. Angry red blotches would appear
on your back and chest, which you scratched at, as
if to shed such a useless outer casing. You were
like something in an agony of metamorphosis,
writhing from the pain of confinement. I did not
want to witness this; nothing in my life had
prepared me for such a lack-of simple modesty or
adornment. Later, I would stand at the mirror,
smoothing my hands over breasts and hips,
pleased by the clear contours of my reflection.
Feeling along my shivering flesh for the slightest
tremors of agitation.
La belle et la bête, take 4
She believes they are different species. Though
sprung from the same salt matrix, their genes must
have long ago diverged so that no one would now
dream of linking their fates. Why then does she feel
no fear in his presence; how to comprehend her
own boldness? She longs only for what came
before; once released, why honor a bargain with
the devil? Time was, her compassion would rise at
the simple spectacle of his suffering-as easy as
caring for a sick pet. Now, she knows better. What
pulls her back, she suspects, has nothing to do with
innocence or experience. It is the violence of his
extremity that she relishes.
La belle et la bête, take 5
I want an end to this story. One that will satisfy
him, will satisfy me. But these are romances-
where the two of them rise through spun-sugar
clouds in some candied dream of sexual ecstasy.
What we know of each other is more crude, somber
and urgent. I want to say something like this. That,
yes, I loved you-even when I appeared to be cool
or impassive. That what I loved most was precisely
your "laideur"-the very parts of yourself that you
hated, the parts you were sure that no one could
cherish. It was the nature of your hurt that moved
me. This, more than anything, is why I came back.
I believe it is how we are alike.
NEW VOICES/2000/Winners of Sarasota County Middle & High School Competition/Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press/16 pages/out of print/a sample of 5 poems available.
NEW VOICES/Winners of
Middle & High School Competition/1998-2000 Sarasota County
God Forgive Me
Tyrone Bulls/Riverview High School
Some were pressured by friends and the rest is about getting ends
I guess that's why life seems like it's going by so fast
And black man be carrying himself like trash
God, you must forgive me because I was born in a world
Where money means power
And you never know what can happen from hour to hour.
One gift I wish you would have given me
Is the gift to read black men's minds
So I can tell whether people are telling the truth or lyin'
You're the only one that knows how many questions I want to ask
Like why do things that're supposed to last become the past?
God, you're the only one that really feels my pain
That's why it's a shame
That you put us black people on this earth to get called names
You owe us is what I always say...pray
Well for me that day is today...okay!
You see, from you I know I can't hide
Because you know what I am feeling inside
You see, if black people really had black pride
Black mothers wouldn't have to cry
And black folks wouldn't have to be sly
When it comes to paying bills and rent
And wouldn't have to ride 'round hiding from the police in the car with tents
I could have sworn you said you created everybody equal
But discrimination and hate is an everyday sequel
God, please save my people!
Divorce on a Teenager
Brittany Coons/Laurel Nokomis School
I am strong and confident when I want to achieve something
I wonder if anything will ever go right, and I'll finally get a break
I hear my aunt's and grandma's voice when I get scared or nervous
I see one day, when I finally get a break, that my life will be on track again
I want my family to come back together
and stop being so hateful to each other
I am confused and serious
I pretend that my life is fine and that I'm normal-even though I'm not
and my life is a mess
I believe that it is not all my fault and that it will get better someday
I touch my dog's soft fur coat and pet her to calm down
I feel great frustration because I have no idea how to fix my life or help
myself in any way
I worry that my problems will just get worse
I cry when I remember my family-the way we used to be
I understand that all things can not be the way I want them to and that life
is really unfair.
Sometimes in my dreams...
I see a baby at the end of the stairs
reaching out to be loved.
The moon is so bright
shining on her frowned lips.
I try so hard to climb up the stairs
to grab her and love her.
But it's a shame
the stairs keep going higher and higher.
There is someone or something
keeping me back.
It feels like a heavy cloud.
Straight from a Girl's Heart
Dana Evers/McIntosh Middle School
I thought it was there but now it is gone,
I'm alone once again humming sad songs,
You wonder what's wrong and I let out a sigh,
Take a deep breath and then start to cry,
Where to go next? I'm back at square one,
We were scared of this moment and now it has come,
Try it again? Maybe... Some day,
But right now things are just eroding away.
You think it's complex, but you'll never know,
Straight from a heart.. where all feelings flow,
I gave it a shot and I cringe at the sight,
And now my whole world seems as dark as the night.
You think it's complex but you'll never know
it is straight out of a girl's heart where everything goes.
Straight from a girl's heart... one made of gold.
Our Angel Meets His Finish Line
Marea Clare Forsthoefel/
No matter how hard anyone tries, the pain still remains and relatives cry.
The death in the family makes us sore; we ask for your prayers-nothing more.
Teary eyes, parents grieve as their child passes away.
It shouldn't have been this way!
Left in confusion; left in disbelief, the death of a child is so heartbreaking.
I know it's tough and I can't see why it had to happen to me.
I thank everyone who has helped us so far, for these times make us feel dark.
He's been an angel to all of us, we respected him and he gave us his trust.
He ran in races, though as of today, he hit the real finish line.
He played music that serenaded us every night, from dusk to the dawn's light.
He was too unique for this world: God must have known and took him away.
It will be hard without him and to last another day.
TALKIES II/Winners SOULSPEAK Anthology Competition/2000/Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press/18 pages/$6/a sample of 5 poems available.
TALKIES II/WINNERS SOULSPEAK ANTHOLOGY COMPETITION/1999
First Time at the
by Mary Junge
or that they practice their songs every day
and never tire of our mourning.
I never knew I'd look to the lake's surface
for clues about the future-though she has never given any before.
I never knew that evergreens love to spread their shadows
over her like a wavering, open-weave blanket
or that a loon's cry could bring back the faintest of details
long since buried-the forest green shirt with wooden buttons
and the way my body pivoted as if a part of the opening door,
weighted suddenly with hard words. I never knew that
I had no choice but to cling to that door's narrow edge, as one leans
into unexpected pain or that I would walk into the inky
arms of night, carried off like a precious, fragile egg.
by Frances Balter
I want so little-Nabakov
Sleepless, I invent a cloud,
not like the ominous one
that warns of storms, lightning, or pelts of hail,
but a simple cloud-free of mist & shrouds
and sheer enough to reveal droplets
and a mantle of snow
-each flake & tear with a distinguishing trait,
able to cleanse, then whiten winter.
I want to form it, model it, activate it
& live within it: an apprentice to amazing things.
I want so little
by Lois Marie Harrod
So this husband just walks off
like some cowboy into blowsy sunfret,
and you're supposed to forget everything,
the fine spool you are spinning,
and the spicy novel slid under your pillow
and follow immediately, it's your Lot,
and you know you don't have to turn around,
not really. It's not as if you are leaving a lover,
at least not one more interesting
than this excuse you got stuck with,
penny ante poker, and it's not jealousy or regret.
It's not even that you can't imagine
living it down in the mountains
with this man who can't get it up
unless he is drunk
and, yes, the two snippy daughters
who have been waiting to get pregnant
for some time. It's this knowledge
that you can never quite remember
what your life has been
that makes you look back this one last time.
by Arline Romm
Like pomegranate seeds they glow
More beautiful in death
than ever they were in life.
On the table where they lie scattered
they create a still life of the
ripening melons, squash and peppers
and make a Persian carpet of the
faded floor boards of the porch.
The banal blooms in their pots
were mere geraniums.
Now, blown by the storm, their petals,
Individual and rare,
live again, briefly.
A Soul Remembers
by Pegi Clark-Pearson
I mourn him, long for him,
have written poems that speak of
his cold and calculating ways with women.
I know this man.
I could tell you of his luck with cards
call it a gift or call it a curse but his purse
was always full in his pocket.
I know this man.
If I should glimpse one that could pass
as his double I gasp, reach for breath
if similarity is even slight.
I know this face.
And something else: times
I passed into casinos I felt a rush
knew I'd been there time after time past.
I knew that place.
Now am I woman so my soul can feel
how he effected women?
I know this place.
BEGIN HERE/Mari L'Esperance/2000/Winner National Poetry Chapbook Competition/Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press/23 pages/a sample of 5 poems available.
BEGIN HERE/Mari L'Esperance
Death by Shipwreck
The ochre roads of
without fail, all those years of exile, the sun bright
as a brass plate, day after day. Olives. The sweet
dumb cows lolling on the grassy slopes. From
the little room where she wrote she could hear them,
the soft clunking of their neck bells, dust rising up
fine as powder as they crossed the road for milking.
Buckets of the frothy stuff. Butter and cream,
the casks stained black with fat. Figs and oranges
fragrant in the heat. In the evenings, leaning
against warm stucco in the darkness, goats bleating
in the far pasture. Smell of horses and mown clover.
How could it not have come to an end, the sea merciless,
the exhausted crew desperate on the breaking decks?
I imagine her last hour, kneeling in the narrow cabin
with her husband and son as the ship creaked and lunged.
What prayer could she possibly have offered up then-
the salt swells swirling and foaming around their waists,
then their shoulders and necks-to have that life back,
even a fraction of it, after so much unmitigated pleasure?
Recently, a Canadian woman fell into a tomb while hiking and
fractured her leg; no one could hear her screams, and she spent
the days leading up to her death writing postcards.
-from an essay in The New Yorker
I remember heat-savage, alabaster,
banging off the bleached cliffs.
Ruined Thebes not far, stone wreck
in a strange sea. Then the shifting
not-earth giving way beneath me.
Three days submerged, breathing
the dust of dead pharaohs.
In this choked sepulcher the divine
and the damned are equal at last.
No gold here, picked so clean
not even bones remain as witness.
Overhead, a patch of broken light,
a dry wind hollow and constant-
and the darkness, which governs
my nights and my days. This pain
weakens me, and no hope of water.
Kiss the children for me. Tell them
I have found the door to the next world.
Tell them I am entering history.
The little boat drones across the scummed pond.
Dragonflies dip and hover, wings a rainbow blur.
Across and back the boat passes, aluminum keel glinting,
oblong pie plate sunk low in the green water. Now and then
one of the two yellow-shirted men says something
to the other, who cuts the engine, tugs on the snagged line.
On the bank two dripping tires, a wheelbarrow furred
with mud, half an axle lean in a heap in the flattened reeds.
At night they will drag their boat out of the water,
disappear between the trees with their ropes and winches,
their gleaming hooks, while the pond slowly settles,
reclaims its lacquered mask, its blank riddle of stars.
The Last Time I Saw Her
From the car I watched
as my mother ran
toward the train
that would take her back
to the only life she knew
how to live.
The train was powerful
It would travel
with efficient speed,
with the smooth precision
toward the familiar:
with its silence,
the ineffectual man,
the bruises unfurling
their dark stains.
She would go back
because she had to.
She would go back
because the idea of sanctuary
was as remote to her
as the constellations.
Many months after she'd gone without a word or a sign
of her leaving, my brother discovers a pair of shoes
behind our mother's long-empty house, nearly buried there
under a jumble of rubbish and discarded gardening tools, so close
to unrecognizable he might have missed them: two cracked loaves
caked and curled with dried mud, a man's size twelve, not his size.
From my window I look out at a frozen patch of yard.
The hard black dirt has sealed itself over. It tells me nothing.
Somewhere a muddy hillside is slipping in a relentless rain.
Drenched roots surrender the soil. Nothing stays-
twigs, loose stones, footprints,
the singular indentations a spade makes in soft earth.
Something waits I the dark hillside, rain and the night falling.
FIG/Adrianne Kalfopoulou/2000/Winner Edda Poetry Chapbook Competition for Women/Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press/22 pages/a sample of 5 poems available.
burning its orange as gulls stitched their cries
across the lacquered sea, you let
your hands rub the chill from my shoulders,
let your lips tug my lips-
wind unbuttoning your shirt
and the years in between our last meeting.
Later we climbed the black, pitted rocks
as wind thrust its way through wheat and the wheat,
emptied and loose, shuddered in place
with all that passes through it.
Ten years old or more,
now weighs in so many shapes.
Lifted from the bed frame
I push it up against the wall
and watch its weight
give in and sag.
In that small room
there was the curtain's uneven hem,
the nearby sea
and light beams which
washed the sheets in color.
He said it was for me,
the bed, and wrote
small notes along the wooden
planks that held the
After he had gone, he visited
on rare occasions, and we would sleep
and hardly touch, the bed
in its loyalty still kept us there.
From that time I kept
the worn out slats,
unbleached planks, the frame
without the headboard he always
promised would be made
for me, and now that he lives
in such plush display of
married comfort, I think
of this bed, of the many beds
must have come after it-
What of those first efforts
at design? So crude, they stayed
scratched into the soft wood
we so completely laid ourselves over.
I tried to open up the quiet
but the voice that came
was too loud.
I even fell one night
at your feet.
Then the years arrived.
The pages in drawers
with all that could never be said-
walks to a lighted shopwindow,
than the tears,
worse even than the tiny blade
of the rented room
is still a smell
which mixes with the red flame
flickering in the heating grate.
Here is the sex, the love
that came of love,
here I leaned against so much time,
against so many words given-
till we lost them
like so much scattered rice.
Today after rains, after snow
green trees sweep past, hills.
Spring soon, the bus driver in front
combs his hair with fingers
which remind me of you, your fingers
in greased black hair, in me, still
there are the pictures, after pain come
the pictures in their own time, even now
when all is blossoming, cats screaming
ecstasy in the deep night, even now
as the fenced trees show their new shoots
they come, pictures of a dead season.
The Last Heat of That Summer
The fine gold chain with the tiny hearts-
its string of hearts bounced on the old mosaic floor
as he grabbed her buttoned shirt.
His wife newly dead, her husband newly married
and in their lovemaking the towel he spread
for the blood she had. He told her he would taste it
if she let him; Human he whispered but she
held his hands to her breast, his mouth to her lips,
night coming on, the collage of pictures, black
and white pressed flowers in the iron frame pressed
against so much time as they, too, tried to press
so much loss into the last heat of that summer.
ANIMALS IN POETRY/2000/Winner Animals In Poetry Anthology Competition/Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press/19 pages/a sample of 5 poems available.
ANIMALS IN POETRY ANTHOLOGY/2000
The OwlThe owl swiveled its head
by Barbara Drake
by Barbara Drake
and looked at me
from the shelf inside the cabin
in the light of my flashlight.
A small owl from the woods
had come in the window
while I was gone.
I grabbed a down-filled jacket
and cast it around the bird's body,
picking it up and carrying it out to the porch.
It didn't struggle
or try to bite me. I could feel
how light it was, the down
of its small bony body
and its hot featheredness.
I could feel the swiveling of its head
and the beating of its owl's heart.
Then I tossed it up in a motion
that seemed to go right to my toes,
I felt I could fly from the porch
as the owl took off, its wings spreading
into something large as an overcoat,
pulling me out of myself
so I could fly
for a moment in the dark.
by Katherine Case
The world was filled with Katrina the day she died.
Feathery, white dog hair floated through the house,
clung to upholstery, to dirty table tops,
made little snow drifts on braided rugs, and glided
through rooms with a Borzoi's slow, physical grace.
We were wading through knee-deep fur, bumping
and rubbing things, just as she did. A sweet, infectious,
Russian sadness made the world billowy and soft-fur swirled
around my ankles, past the stove, got lost
under the fridge, snuffled in and out
of the sad German Shepherd's nose,
and finally drifted out the door to my father,
who tossed dirt and scattered memories
of his formerly lyrical, clumsy dog.
She lay next to him like a cement snowdrift, her fur
rising and floating away. Blackbirds plucked white hair
caught between grasses. The shovel slowly entered earth
as sweat ran in rivulets through his whiskers-
they were softer now, turning slowly white.
by Karen L. McDermott
turns hard toward
foxes, all ears and silver
plumed tails, catch
in our headlamps
in our throats
the taut string of words
stops, cosmic, the halt
across wet leaves
a tensed arc, soundless
each one bobbing to see
till one by one, they leap
our treacherous magnet,
through night's sheltering veil,
only reeds rise up
sifting and sundering, weave
their ancient whispers,
leaving us dumbstruck and reverent
shadows on an empty road, folding
over itself like liquid thread.
by Ann E. Michael
I am like fungus
clinging to the felled maple.
I'm a shallow hole
in moist soil,
as a kind shadow.
The most terrifying dreams
are those of brightness,
and dreams of drought.
The best are those
of rain and leafmold,
a bed in the moss.
I am a gill, open,
and an eye, closed:
yet I sleep, I sleep in
the round shell of dampness,
cupped in the hand of a leaf.
I am air and I am water.
In porous, amphibian slumber
I dream the world dark.
To a Soft-Spoken Friend
by Iris Neuberg-Glucoft
Angry that my love
could not give voice
nor wishes transform
fate, I called you
Regal, you flaunted
all nine truths,
your feline gaze
reflected joys my stammer
never could convey.
Full tail swished
wisdom hailed its own
Trembling with delight
you mewed at all
the earth. In shame
I hold my human tongue
while you in turn
pronounce me dumb.