THE FREE POET

Where Everyone Has A Voicene Has A

 

home   about   contact   poems&poets   submissions   links&resources


Poets C

Carbonado - Carruth (3) - Chalmer - Conley - Conner - Chia (4)
Eve, After They Had Gone
by Judith Chalmer

In my dream my sister
was a fish. Silver and lustrous
she rose in my hand, flesh
and bone of her torso arching,
her strong sides pulling upward
like a man's sinewy back.
So beautiful women will slip, I have
seen it, on and off their hooks.
In my dream my sister was
speaking. I don't remember
what she said. I remember
her blood, water-thin, down
the scaly sides of my dress.
But inside Mother's mouth,
I would swear, we were
perfect. We stood before
the glistening gate.
Our tongues were not cold.
They would never be
lifted or gored.

From Out of Historyís Junk Jar: Poems of a Mixed Inheritance by Judith Chalmer. Copyright © 1995 by Time Being Books. Reprinted courtesy of Time Being Press.

The Half-Acre of Millet
by Hayden Carruth

So green the leaves in late September sun
So glossy those dark spikes of seed
Lying between the potatoes and the orchard
A hunting ground for the good king snake
that searched for shrews
"A tonic for the cows before they go into the barn
          for the long winter,"
Marshall said, and he would turn them into it
How they romped and sang
How they gorged on the sweetness
At last it was trampled and rubbled, the leaves, panicles,
          and stalks were all eaten
And then a day or two later the cows went reluctantly
          to their stanchions
Into the dark muttering and complaining

Now I'm sickly and old and altogether somewhere else
Marshall is a voice from the dusty closet of history
I keep looking for my own half-acre of millet
          in the autumn sun
          but I don't find it
Now I'm told they don't plant millet around here.

From Doctor Jazz by Hayden Carruth, Copyright © 2001 Hayden Carruth, Reprinted courtesy of Copper Canyon Press - www.coppercanyonpress.com


Agenda at 74
by Hayden Carruth

Tap barometer, burn trash,
put out seed for birds, tap
barometer, go to market
for doughnuts and Dutch
Masters, feed cat, write
President, tap barometer,
take baby aspirin, write
congressmen, nap, watch
Bills vs. Patriots, tap
barometer, go to post
office and ask Diane if
it's cold enough for her,
go to diner and say "hi,
babe" to Mazie, go to
barber shop and read
Sports Illustrated, go
home, take a load off,
tap barometer, go to
liquor store for jug
(Gallo plonk), go
home, pee, etc., sweep
cellar stairs (be careful!),
write letter to editor,
count dimes, count quarters,
tap the fucking barometerÖ

From Doctor Jazz by Hayden Carruth, Copyright © 2001 Hayden Carruth, Reprinted courtesy of Copper Canyon Press - www.coppercanyonpress.com


At Seventy-five: Rereading an Old Book
by Hayden Carruth

My prayers have been answered, if they were prayers. I live.
I'm alive, and even in rather good health, I believe.
If I'd quit smoking I might live to be a hundred.
Truly this is astonishing, after the poverty and pain,
The suffering. Who would have thought that petty
Endurance could achieve so much?
And prayersó
Were they prayers? Always I was adamant
In my irreligion, and had good reason to be.
Yet prayer is not, I see in old age now,

A matter of doctrine or discipline, but rather
A movement of the natural human mind
Bereft of its place among the animals, the other
Animals. I prayed. Then on paper I wrote
Some of the words I said, which are these poems.

From Doctor Jazz by Hayden Carruth, Copyright © 2001 Hayden Carruth, Reprinted courtesy of Copper Canyon Press - www.coppercanyonpress.com


Handicap Disconnect
by Pierce Carbonado

Our local post office has a ramp along side the building
but no automatic doors for a button to open for wheelchairs
and those not walking on all twos---they say the building is
too old and not required by ADA standards. But why the ramp
and then no way to get in? It seems like a promise shortly
followed by a slap in the face. You climb the hill only to be
turned back because the doors donít open and no one cares
enough to open them, not even the employees inside biding
their time waiting for retirement.

She fell trying to get back on her three-wheeler just missing
the pot but hitting the edge of one of the batteries. Tailbones
are more fragile than wishbones and not nearly as promising.
Now she has trouble getting on or off her jalopy and needs my
help anytime she needs to transfer. Her luxury of movement
further restricted by pain and feet firmly planted and unable
to move. A disconnect she has had for 35 years but worsening
as I increase my ability to lift her as we age together gracefully,
me her legs, she my spirit.

I guess raising three kids without a husband wasnít enough
of a struggle for her, now she is raising me in ways my
freedom would not allow. Selfish ways turn hard when you
love and worry about someone special. Someone special
who loves and needs your strength when theirs is fleeing.
I understand but resist anyway, her strength is my strength.
We are in this together no matter who or what the rest of
the silly world cares.

Copyright © 2008 Pierce Carbonado


My Death
by Heath Z. Conley

My life is trivial at best
I am better laid to rest
Some would say death is not the end
Some would say it is the end
But I do not care
Please do not stare
Anything would be better than my life
It has been nothing but strife
Sometimes I wonder what heaven is like
Maybe in heaven I could ride a bike
Maybe Iíll see my grandma
Maybe Iíll see my adoptive mama
Sometimes I wish my own life I could take
Please donít think of me as a snake
This life I just canít take
I always thought of it something good I could make
Well I have reached the end of the line
I no longer feel fine
I've reached a point where itís live or die
How I wish you could hear my sigh
I draw the knife across my wrist
And it appears crimson kissed
As my blood falls onto the paper
I think ďoh shit" this has to be a caper
I never meant to cut this deep
Everything begins to look steep
My clothes fall into a heap
If you were to look at me
Then perhaps youíd see
That I merely sleep
I will awake with the rapture
Perhaps my soul you could capture
I awake to realize it was a ďdream"
This life is as fleeting as a stream
I began to realize Iím surrounded by steam
I hear a voice
I am to be given a choice
I can be given a new life
For a test was the strife
Or I can die
And my should will not fly
It seems my soul a demon has caught
And an angel has bought
It was his voice
And he gave me a choice
I chose not to die
So that my soul could fly

Copyright © 2008 Heath Z. Conley


Dreams Redux
by Richard Conner

We walk along the floral path
Hand in tiny hand, tiny hand in hand
A perfect day with cirrus tendrils intertwined Blanket, Riesling, cheese, crackers and subs The afternoon melts into an absolute dream.

Nibbling, talking, giggles and smiles abound A tiny reflection of Aphrodite dances in the grass As I gaze into eyes of the richest mahogany A noise cackles and doves cry and take wing I shift about uneasy, pensive and searching

The noise returns and louder now
It splits the night and breaks the dawn
It was a dream.
I curse the light, reject the day
Let me dream.
Let me dream.

Copyright © 2010 Richard Conner


When Reverie and Reality
Compare Notes by A Pond

by Ellen Chia


I.

Unlike your counterparts,
You've chosen to abandon
Coy and idyllic notions
For the time being.
To begin, you lurch
Your gold sequinny
Peeptoe sandal of a face
At the wall,
Then inching along,
Pucker your
Voluptuous honey-hued lips,
Thrusting fat slobbery kisses
On its greenish stubble,
Your fluttering diaphanous sleeves
Keeping your quest afloat.
It's no wonder the ferns above
Should be tremulous
With shyness.

II.

There is in this
Fern-fringed pond
One such koi -
A Yamabuki Ogon they named it
After its metallic
Yellow bony plates.
Rearing its glistening crown
Above the willow-silhouetted roof,
The koi aims its gaping mouth
At the algae-crusted wall,
Punctuating the ambient air
With suction exclamations
Marking the pond's circumference.

 

Copyright © 2019 Ellen Chia

 

Bio: Ellen lives in Thailand and enjoys going on solitary walks in woodlands and along beaches where Nature's treasure trove impels her to document her findings and impressions using the language of poetry. Her works have been published and forthcoming in The Ekphrastic Review, NatureWriting, The Honest Ulsterman, Zingara Poetry Review and The Tiger Moth Review.


 

The Three-toed Sloth
by Ellen Chia


Ensconced in the forest canopy,
The hairy gardener sleeps
Hanging upside down
On his hooked claws,
His sun-dappled garden
Heaving on his skin,
Robing him with a
Viridescent hue.

Even in sleep, he wears
That inscrutable smile -
The animal kingdom equivalent
Of Mona Lisa's;
Drawn tight with
Slight knowing curves
Tucked at the ends,
As if contented with
His cache of arboreal secrets;
A self-knowledge of
A fecund inner life that
Alone suffices,

Impervious to the sea of banter
Mocking at his seemingly
Futile sedentary lifestyle....
Surely one can be exempted
From the usual well-meaning
Measuring yardsticks of life
When you are a portable garden
With a teeming ecosystem?

Now a whisper of pyralid moths
Bustle about in his garden -
Denizens whose young are
Hatched and raised solely on
The gardener's waste matter
Deposited at the foot of the tree
During his weekly descents.

Upon maturing, these moths will
Seek out their mothers' host -
What is to be their
Forever garden home
To feast, mate and expire....
And the algae community
Couldn't have thrived greener
If not for this cozy mutualism
Made possible only with a host
As languid as the gardener.

And this is how
By nature's stroke of serendipity,
The world's slowest mammal
Became a gardener, albeit one with
An atypical modus operandi.
Of late, it has been speculated
That the creature too, has been
Supplementing his leafy meals
With the algae snacks
Harvested from his garden.

 

Copyright © 2019 Ellen Chia

 

Bio: Ellen lives in Thailand and enjoys going on solitary walks in woodlands and along beaches where Nature's treasure trove impels her to document her findings and impressions using the language of poetry. Her works have been published and forthcoming in The Ekphrastic Review, NatureWriting, The Honest Ulsterman, Zingara Poetry Review and The Tiger Moth Review.

 


 

Parrot's Beak Heliconias
by Ellen Chia


The earth has lost
Its hold on them;
All seven of them
Limp against
The vase's rim,
Confounded by
An orientation
Of semi-aquatic lessons.
Gaping tangerine beaks
Purloined of their
Sun-drenched
Wind-kissed repertoires
Offer up instead
An elegaic emittance -
Faint fragmentary notes
Wafting intermittently
Through stale passages,
Tumbling into crannies
Amongst cobwebs and
Blooming dustballs.

 

Copyright © 2019 Ellen Chia

 

Bio: Ellen lives in Thailand and enjoys going on solitary walks in woodlands and along beaches where Nature's treasure trove impels her to document her findings and impressions using the language of poetry. Her works have been published and forthcoming in The Ekphrastic Review, NatureWriting, The Honest Ulsterman, Zingara Poetry Review and The Tiger Moth Review.

 



The Whale Speaketh
by Ellen Chia


Disrobed, defleshed,
I present to you
My minimalistic self
Adrift slightly aboveground
Under the museum's spotlights
That you may gaze deep
Into my hollow eye socket
And imagine, trace

How I might have strayed
From my pod,
My death after a
Ship strike injury
Till the day I was spotted
Floating - the first sperm whale
They said to be found dead
In your waters.

So it is,
My thirty-five feet long skeleton
Now a piece of
Crowd-drawing exhibit,
A scientific specimen;
Not that I mind really
For it is to me akin
To the act of donating
One's organs after one's death.

And whilst you are still
Hanging around snapping photos,
Admiring my skull, my vertebrae
And mulling over my collection of
Ingested plastics,

May I, even in my current capacity
Urge you to inch forward,
Incline your senses if you can
To my echolocation clicks
Clicking through the passage
Of my lineage legacy spanning
Tens of millions of years
Through uncharted seas

Before you, our recent branch
Of mammal cousins,
Arrived on the scene;
Broadcasting the dawn of
Civilization,
Recasting those unlike you
As peripheral, dispensable actors
In your world view.

We and the rest watch,
Teetering on the edge
As you gnaw ceaselessly,
Heedlessly at Earth's foundations.
And even as this drama
Unfolds and accelerates,

We are still scouting
For glimpses of hope to fuel
Our optimism, hoping somehow
Your exceptionalism,
Your sense of entitlement,
Doesn't get the better of you....
To our common detriment that is.
 

Copyright © 2019 Ellen Chia

 

Bio: Ellen lives in Thailand and enjoys going on solitary walks in woodlands and along beaches where Nature's treasure trove impels her to document her findings and impressions using the language of poetry. Her works have been published and forthcoming in The Ekphrastic Review, NatureWriting, The Honest Ulsterman, Zingara Poetry Review and The Tiger Moth Review.


(Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum,
Singapore)

Email:  editor@thefreepoet.com

© copyright 2008 - Last Updated: 05/16/2019