From the archives – Purple Rain by Alex Stolis

Purple Rain

It’s pouring. It’s the dark bone chilling lonely
un-regal kind of rain. I want to believe in this

imaginary life. Where the bluest expectations
of the sky meet a honeyed sadness balanced

over the horizon. I remember knee scrapes on
Hennepin Ave, faint whiff of weed in her smile

when she kissed me. Oh man, the rain was neon
full color. It was salvation, sex, revolution falling

from on high. The thump thump thump of bass,
the staccato siren-whoop of reluctant cop cars

crawling through the crowd. They had no clue
we were drenched reborn; sanctified, immortal.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, April 29, 2016 — by Alex Stolis

 

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Vintage verse – Sonnet 102 by William Shakespeare

My love is strengthen’d, though more weak in seeming;
I love not less, though less the show appear;
That love is merchandized whose rich esteeming
The owner’s tongue doth publish everywhere.
Our love was new, and then but in the spring
When I was wont to greet it with my lays;
As Philomel in summer’s front doth sing,
And stops her pipe in growth of riper days:
Not that the summer is less pleasant now
Than when her mournful hymns did hush the night,
But that wild music burthens every bough
And sweets grown common lose their dear delight.
Therefore like her, I sometime hold my tongue,
Because I would not dull you with my song.

by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

We found an unexploded mine that day by Deirdre Parkes

We found an unexploded mine that day

We found an unexploded mine that day
and stared so much we let the ocean creep
to wet our feet before we ran away.

How would it be if courage let us stay
inside that story that wasn’t ours to keep?
We found an unexploded mine that day.

There was no one there to warn us, to say
how cold the water was, how deep.
We wet our feet before we ran away.

That debt of blood wasn’t ours to pay.
We should have been at home in bed, asleep.
We found an unexploded mine that day.

Older feet than ours were left in clay
like fossil footsteps, frozen in mid leap.
We wet our feet before we ran away.

The summer sky turned suddenly to grey.
The country lanes turned desolate and steep.
We found an unexploded mine that day
and wet our feet before we ran away.

by Deirdre Parkes

Editor’s Note: This villanelle uses repetition to chilling effect—the unexploded mine feels as if it is about to explode, or has already exploded (emotionally).

Bone-Chilled by Martin Willitts Jr.

Bone-Chilled

These mountains were not high enough to have snowcaps
but a toddler tugged on his mother’s sleeve
as a silent plea for safety. The pond was frozen over,
although spring was coming out of its cabin,
carrying a berry-picking tin pail. The boy shivered
in his parka, back-glancing at the junipers
where the all-day bird was singing, knowing weather
was purposely fickle. His mother had pushed off
the latest attempt by another no-account guy
who had stared once too intently at his eight
year old sister. Bone-chills emanated from that man,
like a kind of mean wind blasting them in the face.
He went with his mother, searching with a group
for his sister who had run off into this direction,
into the folds of the mountains. The boy called out
in his small voice, loudly for the lost,
already dreading what he knew must be true and too late.
His mother, biting at her cold sore, seemed serene
at this same awful conclusion, holding one boot
belonging to his sister, strangely smaller,
like hope, like one blue flower in the snow-melt.

by Martin Willitts Jr.

Martin on Facebook

Editor’s Note: The narrative of this poem moves inexorably forward, as cold, spare imagery fills out the emotional devastation of the narrator, a child too young/old for lies.

On the Movements of Bodies by Rosemary Badcoe

On the Movements of Bodies

About the time that Newton wrote Principia
and every spinning object settled down
to orbit in its newly designated way

the dodo died. Some pig or dog or crab-eating
macaque scoffed the last surviving egg.
The hatchling would have waddled up to watch

had Isaac shown with diagrams and pantomime
how its sternum lacked the strength to let it nest
above the scrub, that gravity would grasp its bones

and dislocate the stubby wings, suck
the last remaining bulbous beak into the swamp
where motion’s laws hold evolution, paused.

by Rosemary Badcoe

Editor’s Note: This poem marries science with art, leading to one of the inescapable truths of life—death (extinction) happens.

Losing the Art of Love (2017) by Ralph La Rosa

Losing the Art of Love (2017)

There was a time when poets sang of love
without embarrassment, when versifiers
happy at their trade were gracious liars
in measured sonnets. They’d imitate a dove,
an owl, perhaps a dawn-drawn bird above,
who sighting human beauty soon desires
to mate his heavenly might with earthly fires
of passion: begets a paradox of love.

But tapping keys that text or tweet romantic
notes is so archaic, old-school, stilted
that songs of love, once tender or ecstatic,
are elegies about the lost or jilted.
Raving in rhyme about a love that’s new?
Postmodern ironies evaded you.

by Ralph La Rosa

Editor’s Note: This delightful sonnet pokes fun at all of us.