Posts for June 18, 2023


Sheer Will


if we must follow
 a different desire
we must be rid
of body

separated from
perceived beauty
To experience 
sincere freedom

then authentic peace
may be allowed
to fill in the crevasses
of deficits

We fight this peace
Perhaps because 
it’s then we 
lose our excuses 

to not be rid of self

Registration photo of Shaun Turner for the LexPoMo 2023 Writing Challenge.

If You Look Real Close, You’d See It

Squint and ignore traffic’s steady line–
this picture-postcard–a neighborhood 
bisected into little rows. What lies
beyond the fenceline brush is the crumbling
where-we-live, where the apartments fall
down around our necks, the factories 
and shuttered old commercial buildings
looming over our apartment blocks 
and rented homes.

Maybe I’ll always live
on this border, in this expensive place
of almost just enough, selling words 
for less each year, adjusted
for the cost of inflation. I rise
to greet each morning with the view
of the brick wall outside my windows,
two blocks down from the detached
homes, greening in their sectioned yards. 


Handmade Cards

I’ve gifted you handmade cards for Father’s Day
every year since I can remember.  I know with copy paper
and colored pencils I cannot repay
you for early morning zoo expeditions,
illicit Twix bars and Three Musketeers, overstuffed peanut butter
and jelly sandwiches, endless Mario Kart
matches, hours-long driving lessons, or advice
you gave me when I gave you nothing but headaches.

Handmade cards cannot compare with what you’ve given
me, but thank you for loving them anyway.


The Blue of Distance

                In the great night, my heart will go out.  

Boundless blue, blue of longing   
(says Rebecca Solnit),
blue of distance, where you are not,    
where you think you can never go—       

        You’ve got to walk that lonesome valley—  

Shrink, solemnly, into yourself   
(says Virginia Woolf),
into that wedge-shaped core of darkness
no one sees.  Expand
into those limitless depths.      

        You’ve got to walk it for yourself—  

To be in relation to everything
around us, above us, below us   
(says Terry Tempest Williams)
is to see earth, sky, bones, blood
whole, even holy.       

        Nobody else can do it for you—  

If we were as capable of trust
as we are susceptible to fear   
(says Edward Abbey),
we might learn something new
or some truth so very old
we have all forgotten it.    
        You’ve got to walk it for yourself.


In the summer air

fireflies ascend
sending messages aloft
light is always fleeting


a broken vessel carries regret

Beloved daughter
before I was alive
I was a shabti
a clay vessel
a clay vassal 
brought to the land of the dead
a suburban cul-de-sac
to serve the head of the household
doing the work 
that had been modeled
by the hands who created me

I was ignorant of 
his machinations
blind to 
his abuses
mute against 
his rules


My dearest child
I will always carry
the unspeakable damage
done to you 
while I was breaking 

Bronson O'Quinn

The Kentucky State Poetry Society celebrates Lexington Poetry Month

Hey everyone, just wanted to let y’all know that you’ve been invited by the Kentucky State Poetry Society to read your poetry in front of a live audience.

Poets who are participating in LexPoMo 2023 are invited to read their poems at the KSPS open mic that will be held via Zoom on Tuesday, June 20th, 8:00 pm Eastern time. Space is limited, so sign up using this link:

After signing up, please share the event on your social media platform of choice.

(And a special thanks to Mary Allen of the Kentucky State Poetry Society for the opportunity.)


Time Enough at Last

If this was the twilight zone,
and everyone was gone
and I was Henry Bemis,
I would stroll along every
avenue in Paris, in Rome,
in Capri, Venice, Amsterdam,
Sicily, London, Barcelona,
all the places of my dreams.
And I would weep for knowing
that they were only worth
all the people in between.


To Make Fit

Today’s work was hard
driving stakes to trellis tomatoes.

Those T-posts growing heavier with each one,
and the more I hammered the post-driver,

the more I felt its weight too.

I still feel reverberations of every hit
pounding through my body

metallic clink clink clink echoing in my eardrums.

I lay here thinking of how buff I’d be
if I did such intense physical labor every day.

I lay here thinking of how broken
I’d be in a few more years,

grateful my livelihood doesn’t depend on
paying with vigor

thankful to those who labor unnoticed,
those without options,
those whose work is unending,

doing jobs that uphold us all. 


Sequence, Offspring of Former Albino Robin, I See You’ve Returned to My Back Yard for a Second Summer

Are you from Cadence 

or Melody? Your marking

so different from theirs—


instead of tan body

your tail and underbelly

are white—in case you 


can not see yourself

and your mate doesn’t tell.