Thursday, September 20, 2018

Early morning, snow teases
the outstretched branches of birch
with help from the wind.
It is cold, but inside the stove’s warmth
cradles the recliner in the lamplight
where he reads poems.
His fingers, thick and calloused,
flip pages enthusiastically.
He notices the shape of his nails,
much like his father’s,
no moons rising.
And like his father had done,
it’s time to contemplate departure.
One day, the stove unlit, will dispense
the damp aroma of creosote,
the book will lie closed
upon the arm of the recliner.
One day, a relative will enter
and acknowledge
that the house is empty,
no warmth, no breath, no poetry,
an indentation upon the seat
next to the book.
The change will go unnoticed
by the snow, wind, ice, and
those few crows meandering
for morsels upon the buried landscape.
He returns to reading,
the words delight him.
What would become of these joys,
he wonders.
Someone should take them.

He asked them
to take the music outside,
listen as they held it toward the sky,
let the wind rattle its stems,
or place the sheet against an ear
to hear a tune
through the hollow of its shell.
He told them to jog
the parameters of the staves,
walk the winding road of its clef
and imagine living there.
Perhaps they could drop a feather
upon the music’s resonance,
follow its float among the timbres
or ski the slopes of musical peaks,
gliding unencumbered into its valleys,
then thank the composer
for varying the landscape
when they left the lodge.
But the class was determined
to stalk each phrase,
analyze chords for manipulation, cunning
and seek the hidden form.
They handcuffed the notes
to the music stand,
even flogged the melody
with a drum mallet,
until it whistled a meaning
never intended.
Her eyes
and the lake
are his memories,
cobalt images of clarity
and purity, running deep.
It was in this cove
where the black spotted loon
dove head first
into the heart of blue,
attracting the tender pulse
of her affection
inciting her
to follow the creature
into the watery sweep
tangled with milfoil
that snarled her hair
while the checkered fowl
dutifully hunted
for its young.
Her blue eyes wide,
blended eventually
with the ripple of current
that swept beneath the surface.
He visited that cove often thereafter,
especially those days
where the sun’s gleam
highlighted the blue ghost
within the restless ripples
that will forever
wrap him in riddles.

He crossed 42nd to get to Fifth
towards mid-town
and just paces in front of him
an old lady pushed a shopping cart
full of identity.
Bags of cans dangled
from each elbow
and clanged as she waddled,
dressed in clothes
worse than a country scarecrow
though her straw gray hair
hung longer,
tied in a tail with brown hosiery
to match her stoic, weathered face
and it pained his heart
when suddenly she squatted
in a deep knee bend,
like she was picking
something off the sidewalk,
and there she froze
as he quickly approached
to help,
unaware of the problem
till a puddle formed
and its river flowed around his shoes
down the curb
and in the privacy of her mind,
she transformed
his sympathy
to confused helplessness.
If there were no rain,
there would be
far too little noise on the roof
or upon the window pane
that would distract us
from the pulse in our inner ear
through the silence at night,
no gutter song to lull us to sleep,
no applause of wet leaves
for thirst-quenching relief.
In a cloudless sky
and barren landscape,
the rain would no longer
astonish our senses
with torrents that flood the riverbeds
then angrily fall from summit’s edge
upon boulders that spray
a foaming mane of platinum.
Car wheels would pass like a cough,
the absence of a splash
that might instigate our adrenalin,
administers calm instead.
The sky would no longer
be crowded with giant gray eyelids
that occasionally coax
the sun to sleep
and allow us to focus
upon the mysterious messages
their odd, translucent shapes impart.
Without the rain,
our very lives would drift instead,
fantasy vapors
against the cobalt blue,
twinkling and as aimless as dust.
He found himself at the symphony
where the sophisticated people milled about,
dropping names while drinking champagne
served in the entrance foyer.
A quite haughty yet beautiful woman
approached him, stepped out of her dress
and sat in the seat next to his,
her attire falling to her ankles.
She stated that only he, presently,
and her husband, not in attendance,
had peeked the enhanced cleavage
created by her push-up under garments.
The spotlight turned from the conductor
upon his podium to highlight
her abundant breasts,
though the diamond necklace around her neck
produced a glare that blinded his stare
and caused him to fall forward
while the orchestra played the Habanera
from Bizet’s Carmen.
He awoke squeezing the ample pillows
upon which he slept.
An hour later, he stared out the window
at the rain drenched lawn
when a black bear entered
his field of vision,
a huge, angry bear, walking upright,
with matted fur from the ensuing cloudbursts
that created a stick-like figure
when the beast turned sideways,
lifted his head toward dark heaven
and roared a window shattering plea
then galloped toward the house for respite,
pounding thunderously at the door
which woke him for the second time this night.
Michael Keshigian, from New Hampshire, has been published in numerous national and international journals, recently including Aji, San Pedro River Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Muddy River Review, Passager and has appeared as feature writer in over a twenty publications with 6 Pushcart Prize and 2 Best Of The Net nominations. His poetry cycle, Lunar Images, set for Clarinet, Piano, Narrator, was premiered at Del Mar College in Texas. Subsequent performances occurred in Boston (Berklee College) and Moleto, Italy. Winter Moon, a poem set for Soprano and Piano, premiered in Boston. (


The Whale in the Sky
To live in a world where
the pale pearl of a cloud might
be filled with the shadow presence
of a whale,
swimming through the sky,
rising and falling in massive
flight, spouting cumulus from a cavern
mounted on its considerable frame,
and meanwhile, on the earth below,
only beautiful animals, no more slithering
creatures tapered at one end and filed
like knives on the other tip,
ready to cut us down, undulating
threats moving with soiled gleam.

On the Stalk
Silent orb resting
on a gum-pink quivering
base, waving side to side
like the arms of a crazed
fan during the World Series.
This appendage brings
to mind questions of how we
come to know the universe.
The sweeping finger, the lapping
dog tongue, the perusing
eye that travels a library?
Fragments of truth studded with
the remnants of perception?
Still yet is the question
of what we sense and its collision
with what really is.

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher.  He has a new book of poems, A Five-Year Journey, available from Dreaming Big Publications.

Thursday, August 16, 2018


Whose nose ring is
The trademark of Millennial  girls
Sits across from me
And we discuss poetry
And one side of her head
Is shaved like
Lizabeth Salamander
From "The Girl With The Dragon
Tattoo" movie,
Hidden under a baseball
Cap, which she wears

Boyish butt hidden under
Baggy jeans
I try to gauge her smile
And see which way she

Tells me one day we'll have
To read poetry to each
Then discuss it and see
What it means.
I glimpse at her breasts
Underneath her t shirt
And she smiled.
I look inside  her and find
Flowers, growing underneath
All that steel.


She sits on a park bench
And watches a man throw
Bread crumbs on the ground
And her body is the same
Color as the sun
And her eyes are taking
In the world as it awakens
I look at her and i'm grateful
Two worlds came together
She is what makes America great
I watch her as she walking
away, lovely as the sun

Coffeehouse Poem # 296

A woman waits online
As i get a cafe au lait
She's wearing a "Mumford
Phys ed t-shirt," the one
Eddie Murphy made
Famous in " Beverly Hills
I point it out to her
And she tells me, she
Wore it, knowing
Only the cool kids
Would get the reference
She comes closer
Her curves, more womanly
Than when she was an
80's teen, but she's still
Easy on the
If i had a Delorean, i'd
Ask her to travel back
With me to the 80's
So we can do the neutron

One  Christmas

my mom's friend, elise
came over and she brought everyone  gifts
and no one thought about daddy
not being around anymore
my brothers and i,  played and rode
our bicycles,  with her kids
and we forgot blacks and whites
weren't supposed to get along
and mama and elise cooked christmas dinner
the way only single moms  could
and visions of empty rooms and closets
where daddy once was, dissappeared

and the world will one day
live up to dr. king's dream
and left and right will only
become directions
and me and friends will celebrate
the holidays
like i did when i was a kid
naive and happy, and there will be
peace on earth

Christmas, cambridge, ohio, 1998

it was blue eyes, red hair and a scottish accent
that reeled me in and lured me
from maine
i played surrogate dad to 3 sons

alex, loved using my laptop and my library card
joshua, caught the football passes i threw
michael was three  and  just michael

we were as rare as the snowflakes
that fell in cambridge, ohio
i temped in a plastics factory
wore flannel shirts, jeans and boots
and channelled my inner springsteen

our only christmas together, maureen's sons
strung popcorn into jewels
and wrapped it around a tree

maureen and i spent some night
in a two step at local bars
tryin to figure out what love was
every time i came into a bar
the dj's offered to play r and b
as a way of making me feel at home
but i liked all music

maureen and the kids
put a black angel at the top
of the tree

they wanted to let me know they accepted me

A spy in the house of love...

I am a spy in the house of love

A 70s wah-wah guitar riff
Signals my arrival
I want you like an
Old school dodge charger
 I want to feel your kisses
Honey sweet
You're as pure as Pam Grier
Lay down on the couch
Like youre in a  Players magazine

Im a spy in the house of love
Im so bad, my elvis sideburns
Are registered lethal
I use my platform shoes
To call you
Tell you to get here!
Pose for me in Daisy Dukes
Flex the LCD digital watch i gave you
We were Bling, before it was
Called that
Walk around in fuck me pumps
Then love me like a Charlie's Angel

Im a spy in the house of love
A Disco soldier of fortune
Ride with me baby
I'm a bad motha...( shut yo mouf ! )
We'll make Technicolor dreams
Even Martin Luther King wouldnt

Im a spy in the house of love
Be the Anais Nin to my Henry Miller
The Adrian to my Rocky
Be a Bond Girl in my dreams


Doesnt care about the world
She  hates the sight
Of it, from her birdcage

She gave a homeless man
 Money, he turned it into
Cake would have served
Him  better
She lives her life through
Another man's dream
And another woman's
She tried to make money
Her slave
 But instead,  she became its servant

But she's just pissed because
Her better half's  holding and kissing
Someone else in stormy

                                                            Laptop charger

Unfortunately, i dont have a
Laptop charger for an
Apple computer, otherwise
I would let the lady a couple
 Of tables down use it
I dont want to put a nationality
To her face
I could care less about that
I dont care if she is one
 Of  the ones that people use as
As a scapegoat for the worlds ails

I dont care if she is one of
The ones  people
 Say keep america from
Being great
Im only sorry i cant help
Her out
Im not going to put a name
 To her skin color ,even
 Tho its like the coffee in my
 A little more tan, and it would
 Be as lovely as a coconut
 She probably wont die the way
 Eric Garner or Alton Sterling
She'll just sit at her macbook and type
And hope it lasts as long as it needs to
I just hope she gets her work done
Like i hope she'll be able to walk
The streets or travel
And not have to worry if america
Still belongs to her

Erren Kelly

WHAT TO DO WITH INTANGIBLES   Early morning, snow teases the outstretched branches of birch with help from the wind. It is cold...