Rensselaerville Library
celebrates National Poetry Month 2024 . . .

Today's Poem!

Wednesday, May 1, 2024


Library Director Patrick Wynne & I
want to thank the 30 wonderful poets
for sharing their 30 captivating poems
with the internet community.
We also want to thank the awesome readers
who visited this site for their daily poetry fix
rocking 2000+ pageviews & 100 comments!
Launched in 2017, the Poem-A-Day Project
has showcased 240 poems by 136 local poets
ringing in over 17,000+ pageviews!
This site will remain up until May 31
after which browsers will be redirected
to the Library's website.
Enjoy, & please come back on April 1, 2025
for the first of 30 poems
celebrating National Poetry Month 2025!
Again, thank you!

Tom Corrado, Curator

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Meditation Garden

by Alan Catlin
 
This is where
I wrote
my first poems
 
Zen poems
 
The insects
recall my being here
bearing the disease
 
of memory
 
treating all of us here
as if we were
an infection
 
One by one
we are
released
 
from sorrow
 
This is
the purpose
of open
air shrines
 
of the wind-bent
pine limbs
near Buddha's head

~

Alan Catlin is the poetry and reviews editor of misfitmagazine.net. His latest book is Another Saturday Night in Jukebox Hell from Roadside Press.

Monday, April 29, 2024

A Dozen Blue Eggs for Bernadette

by Nancy Klepsch

Bernadette says sonnets are stupid,
And then she reads an old Bernadette sonnet and a new Bernadette sonnet.
Bernadette sits down at the mic and giggles, because
The mic looks like a penis, but she doesn’t say that,
Chuckle is language.
 
Bernadette once asked us to write a poem about
A tornado in our bodies.
She liked Howard’s poem better than mine because it either was better
Or because he gave her a dozen blue eggs or both.
 
I wished I’d given her a dozen blue eggs.
Here in the margins of this poem are a dozen Blue Points and
Twelve briny Wellfleets. You can see them here and take them Bernadette,
Because believe me what’s stupid is cancer, cancer is about as stupid as stupid is.
Heart fibrillation is stupid too, I think, getting old is stupid and
Everybody dies, but let’s not do that today.
Right now, let’s take a walk through the Poetry State Forest.
I’ll bring a knife and a fork.

~

Nancy Klepsch co-hosts 2nd Sunday @ 2 open mic for poetry and prose and is the author of god must be a boogie man, available from Riverside Community Press (Nancy's version):  https://store.bookbaby.com/book/god-must-be-a-boogie-man1

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Sanctuary in the Stable

by Susan Kayne

In the stable, you'll find me,
Among the noble steeds, where I find serenity.
Each horse, a chapter, a tale untold,
Of sacrifice, suffering, and survival bold.

HoneyBear, gentle with a midnight glare,
Miss Ruud, standing tall despite tempests rare.
Ginger, embodying the freedom we all call,
Love them one, love them all.

In this sacrosanct space, my dreams vast as the sea,
I find solace amid lives now uplifted and free.
The Horses of Unbridled, in majesty and might,
In the stable, I belong, where my heart feels right.

Redemption and resilience, their spirits I behold,
A compendium of stories, waiting to be told.
In the stable, a special place, where I find my grace,
Among these noble creatures, I find my sacred space.

~

Susan Kayne, a lifelong equestrian and founder of the Unbridled Sanctuary, is an equine advocate whose poetry is deeply influenced by the late Irish poet and philosopher John O'Donohue. As a literary student of Marion Roach Smith and James Lasdun at the NY Writers Institute, Kayne's work reflects her profound connection with horses and her dedication to their well-being.

Through her heartfelt poetry and her tireless efforts at Unbridled, Kayne aims to inspire a new approach to engaging ethically with equines, honoring their sentience and working to end their suffering. Her words serve as a testament to the deep bond between humans and horses, and a call to action for a more compassionate world.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Saint Elvis Of Preseli:

by Mark W. Ó Brien

St. Elvis was a Saint before St. Patrick. He is venerated as one of The Four Great Saints of Ireland. St. Elvis is the patron Saint of the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly in Co. Tipperary. Legend has it that he baptized St. David Bowie on a Whale. According to “The Life of Elvis” in the Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae, St. Elvis was named after a divine hound dog of Leinster. The story goes that Elvis’ father, Vermin, ran away from a lesser tyrant King of Tararaboom-diddyay and Elvis was abandoned with his mother Saint Gladiola. Gladiola’s nurse-maidens were told by the lesser King of Tararaboom-diddyay to put the infant St. Elvis to death, but couldn’t bring themselves to do it. Instead, they placed him on a rock in the wilderness where he was found and nursed by Priscilla the She-wolf, who raised him as one of her own pups. As a child, when St. Elvis was bored he rolled that rock that he was left upon a long long way all over Tipperary. Ever since St. Paddy came to Ireland, and shook his rattle till the snakes rolled away, St. Elvis felt like St. Paddy was upstaging him. Rumor has it, St. Paddy actually cribbed his famous breastplate prayer from a St. Elvis lyric. When St. Elvis sang it, it went like this: “Wella-hella Christ-a before me, Christ-a behind, Gunna rock-a you baby, till you lose-a your mind…”

The annals say:
Elvis was a hound doggie.
Something, is, a-myth...

~

Mark W. Ó Brien grew up in the midst of the Van Bael Patent. Today he lives and hikes in the Helderbergs west of Albany. An alumnus of the "Blackwater International Poetry Festival," he spends his days traipsing over hill and dale searching for historically significant artifacts and ephemera. Elvis is his psychopomp.

Friday, April 26, 2024

My Father’s Map

by Beverly Osborne

He had a briefcase full of maps,
and on old slow days,
the kind of days when it seems  
your history might be forgotten

he would take them out,
unfold them gently,
trace routes to places he’d never been,
places he’d been a thousand times,
places far too distant to ever drive.
His maps were his books –
novellas from which he could read
knowledge long misplaced,
memories contained on the marked
blue and red routes –
this is where he broke down for 27 hours
here where he shared coffee with a race car driver
this road where he backed the 18-wheeler 2 miles on ice.
The backs of his hands were mottled with age –
purply blue veins in stark relief to paper skin.
Wrinkles and laugh lines crisscrossed his face like tributaries.
On his right foot the two cliff-deep scars
from toe to heel that hurt his whole life.
Scars I never saw until he was old & ill –
hidden like a secret.
Old wounds that kept him from war at 19
but kept him missing a part of himself –
that twisted like a river from his foot to everywhere.

Those veins, lines, wrinkles and scars
were my father’s road map –
one that I barely read when I had the chance.
Written over 80 years and more experience 
than I can yet imagine,
they were the path he left to his children.
Written in his blood, his leathery skin,
his booming voice and gap-toothed smile,
it is a map I can no longer read.
I re-fold it gently, properly, the way he taught me,
and on my old slow days to come
I’ll pull it out and read my father’s map.

~

Bev lives in Tribes Hill, NY. She started writing poetry in 8th grade and has continued, in fits and starts, since then. She works full time for a large federal government agency, and works even harder to retain her sense of humor and sense of justice.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

(four haiku)

by Tom Gilroy

piercing the grey mist
and the roar of the waves—
a cell phone

between two icicles
on the funeral parlor sill—
a burning cigarette 

2 black crows & their chick
peck bugs in the lawn
unbothered by the groundhog

flattened rat
in a puddle
in front of the courthouse

~

Tom Gilroy is an interdisciplinary artist whose work spans still photography, theatre, writing, poetry, and music, with film at its center. His feature films and theatre pieces have been presented all over the world. He has produced several haiku projects, including 5 years facilitating limited edition pieces for The Renssealerville Haiku Project, as well as his own the books the haiku year, Someone Else's Nowhere, and Haiku, Not Bombs. His haiku work can be viewed on Instagram at @justuttergarbage and @thehaikuyear25.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

The Stairs at Marian Lodge
Pyramid Lake, NY

by Susan Oringel

It could have been a hundred years that prayers went up
and down this place. - Margie Bock

Fifteen blue, buckled wooden steps
up the narrow staircase named the “thin place”
in a poem framed above the stairs that you
could read as you trudged your way.
Fifteen ancient painted steps that seemed
a mountain at first glance, high and tight
with Mother Mary at the top, arms open
with downcast eyes beside a tarnished mirror
that made me a wraith.  What would I find
at the top, in my little room overlooking
the lake - where the poet claimed God
was to be found - but no, I wanted
God everywhere, in my room,
in my heart, on the blank page, 
in the women I met, in the caroling
loons, the restless trees, the gravel
paths, even in smoke from wild-fired
Canada. Especially in this thin place,
which is the place of struggle, creation,
birth, which is the place we need Her most.

~

I am happy to announce my full-length book of poems Carnevale was published December 2023 by the David Roberts Books Imprint of Wordtech Communications!

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Perpetua's Apocrypha

by David Gonsalves

About one god.  About many.  About swimming and
the shore.  About your eyes when one god sings.  Bad
luck, white lies, eight and forty gates.  About the things
a god must do.  About a great unpolished tombstone.

About a thirsty horse.  About the streets of Charlottesville.
About the secret celebrations of the gods.  Bee hives and
blood loss.  Photography and failure.  About a grace note
lost in a cask of chaos.  About greed and a gray-eyed god.

~

David Gonsalves should have been born in Nepal, but wasn't.  If, by chance, he is forced into exile, he will no doubt end up in Kingstown, St Vincent, his paternal grandfather's birthplace.

Monday, April 22, 2024

January Trees, Lake George

by Francesca J. Sidoti

Ice reflects an amber fire 
friends in a photo 
pine next to willow 
rooted in winter 

in summer 
cooling the celadon 
of each other 
filtering air and light 
of tropospheres 

recall the first trees
374 million years ago,
wrapping around to now,
family arms 
jacket-clad,

fronds side by side,
savor respite in unity of leaves 
forming safe shade from torching sun 
in heat waves, catch snow 
and frozen glaze to brace February  

reminding that we live, 
fiber of cells, 
our folia, co-constructed
cut down or diverging my leaves 
and yours twine 
to coax a canopy 
forest habitats unbroken 

faces in a photo 
reach the January lodge
laugh silently through cold lakes
hands and smiles folding 

terminal and lateral 
branches overtaken 
burnished with flaws
in woodworkers’ seasonal frames

~

Francesca J. Sidoti is a writer in Albany, NY.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

For Emma

by Rachel R Baum

The breeze whispers salty secrets into open windows
Of this gracious house, greening in summer’s warmth.
 
Its whitewashed walls shine with welcome
Anticipating glorious childhood memories to be.
 
Then she arrives, wispy curled and beloved,
Fragrant as laundered linen, neatly folded.
 
In the sturdy, perfect boat that is her home,
She is rocked in flannel seas, leeward sailing,
 
Dreaming of vast oceans and wild places, safe
In the golden beam of her lighthouse, her family.

~

Rachel R. Baum is a Best of the Net poet, and the editor of Funeral and Memorial Service Readings Poems and Tributes (McFarland, 1999). Her poetry has appeared in Journal of Expressive Writing, OneArt, Poetica Review, New Verse News, The Phare and Raven’s Perch, among others. She is the founder of the Saratoga Peace Pod, a group of crafters who create warm items for families in crisis. For more information, visit https://www.rachelrbaum.net.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Wonderland . . . or Alice's Rabbit

by Francine Farina

Tick Tock . . . Tick Tock
Down the rabbit hole
I go

Falling in darkness 
Then landing with 
a thud

I open bleary eyes 
and see him
He wears a vest
and is all white 

He is looking 
at a watch,
twitching his whiskers 
and keeps repeating 
"I'm late, I'm late, oh
dear I shall be late!"

~

Francine is a local poet who has been published in Misfit Magazine and Caregiver Magazine. She has also authored a collection of poetry, Old Bones, which is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. She co-authored a novel with the late Shawn M Tomlinson entitled Time Book 16, Cataclysm. She lives in Amsterdam, NY, and shares her home with three adorable rescue cats.

Friday, April 19, 2024

The shortest days.

by Dan Dial

The snow lay soft upon the boughs,
Breathtaking in its simplicity and beauty.
The air so fresh and clean.
Like lemon zest with scintillating touches of cinnamon.
The swirling flakes dance and twirl in the shuttering light

As they make their slow descent,
while the wind caressed one’s cheeks.

The northern realms of this vast world, 
nearing their shortest days
Turn a verdant and multicolored world
into shades of green and grey.
Yet,
In this darkest of times a snowflake falls,
Then another and again another.
Until the sky is glistening, reality and fantasy
Dance in a waltz so graceful and magical
That even the wildlife sit up and take notice.

It is always at such times, when two worlds collide,
That we ascend to the heights and all is possible.
That is what I wish for you this year as the darkness settles in for a stay.
I wish you magic and fantasy and mystery and joy and peace and health.
And above all, love.

~

Dan Dial was born in Anchorage Alaska, moved to Presque Isle, Maine when but a babe, then on to Texas and back to Presque Isle, Maine. This is where he started his school years and stayed through high school. Perhaps it was these early moves that created the wanderlust that remains with him. He has been writing prose and poetry for many years and feels he may hold the record for number of “no thanks” to his many submissions. He co-wrote “A Trail of Two Brothers” with his brother Doug, but he asks that you don’t hold that against him. He lives in Middleburgh NY with his beloved, Laura Lee Daisy Wyman.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

I Have Danced With Druids

by Sally Rhoades 

In my slumber as my muscles twitch, strengthen,
awaken in all of their glory. I am smitten with the

Attitude of my hometown druids who dance and spiral
North and south, east and west as they gather the gold

Of voice spoken through others as I am engulfed in 
Joy and its lasting timber. When all is said and done,

I bequeath my knowledge so others may dance a fraction 
Of their heart. There are no words to speak when the body

Has it right, glimmers in starlight, moon light, the often firefly 
That gathers dusk. I am myself, I am when the druids dance

All of my awakening to their sweet succor and chariot to lift
Me to the sky and back on that night when music played

In my ear and catastrophe kept its distance in the open air.
Ah, to dance with the druids is oft compare to starlight.

~

Sally Rhoades, a poet, playwright and performer, has been putting movement to words and words to movement for the last thirty years. She has been featured at most of the area’s open mics and is a frequent contributor. She was featured on Charlie Rossiter’s podcast Poetry Spoken Here and interviewed by Andrea Cunliffe for the Hudson Mohawk magazine at WOOC105.3 FM, a Sanctuary for Independent Media. She has been published in various anthologies and in on-line publications. She received her MA in Creative writing from the University of Albany. Her chapbook, Greeted by Wild Flowers, is available from Dan Wilcox's APD Press.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Thoughts on a Cold February Night in Lower Manhattan

by George Grace
 
The loneliness cut through my soul
Like the unrelenting cold air
Blistering through the canyons of lower Broadway
Shaking off its granite restraints to lose itself
in the whirlwind of New York harbor
Those hollowed streets where ticker tape flew
For reasons both pedestrian and sublime
Our paths crisscrossing over decades
Each person lost in their thoughts
Their worries tailored to their particular vulnerability
Our connection displaced by time
If I could only tell them now that their life mattered
That their little heroisms where not in vain
That the river of humanity runs through each one of them
And now I shiver, at the apex
Like them I leave my invisible imprint on the hard, blue slate below
But I am comforted by the warmth that they shared,
The warmth that never dissipates
An ember of love, given
A smile

~

George E. Grace is a commercial real estate broker and consultant by day, and an avid poet and writer by night. George is a graduate of Fordham University School of Law (JD), University of Chicago (MBA) and Cooper Union (BE). He is the son of William J. Grace, Sr., a published poet and Shakespearean and Milton scholar, where he credits his passion for words, ideas, and the art of communication.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Basement Aspirations

by Rhonda Rosenheck

My basement boasts sprays, 
saws, a lathe, brushes, and task lights 
clipped to a pegboard hung with 
hammers, chisels, screw drivers,
drill bits, and dad’s old folding ruler.

A bentwood chair with torn cane
sags against the seeping foundation
and hosts sticky old cobwebs 
beneath a bulb too dim to warn 
against stepping in the kitty litter.

My workbench is layered with scraps,
shards, chips, and the flat, round, 
colorful practice doodads that I rub,
wishing for a table, bookshelf, and my 
pregnant niece’s nursing glider to appear.

~

Rhonda Rosenheck lives in New York’s Capital Region. Her publications include editing Thriving: An Anthology (multiple genres, Exsolutas Press 2024), for which she won a NYSCA individual artists grant through Saratoga Arts. Her two poetry publications are The Five Books of Limericks: A chapter-by-chapter re-reading of the Torah (Ben Yehuda Press 2023) and Looking (Elephant Treehouse Press 2018). She also wrote Yiddische Yoga: OYsanas for Every Generation (humor, Ben Yehuda Press 2016) and several chapters and articles in the field of teacher education. Rhonda’s poems have appeared in Heirlock Magazine and Kings River Life Magazine’s e-newsletter, The Paragon Press, and anthologized in A Book of Sonnets (Poets Choice Press 2020). Her poem MakerSpace was theatrically performed at the Fenimore Art Museum’s Glimmer Globe Theater, Cooperstown, NY. In July 2023, Rhonda was the resident poet at the Fish Factory Arts Centre in Stöðvarfjörður, Iceland.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Red Clovers

by Dana Jaye Cadman

If you can remember only some parts of your life
why can you remember those parts

why picking weeds
in the field the sound of my dad's whistle
to come home

but how did it go? the high pitch

cracked through the absence
the space over the tall grass
breaking the sky

Where are you?
Holding red clovers

and talking to myself

the screeching snap of wheat I twist
and pull from the stem to gather:
a muted flute.

~

Dana Jaye Cadman is a writer and visual artist. Her work appears most recently in Southeast Review, The Glacier Journal, 2River View, and Dialogist, is forthcoming from Vassar Review. Find her on danajaye.com.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

I am, you lonely one*

by Christy O’Callaghan

Didn’t you see me listening to you sing
that song you learned from your mom’s van radio?
Watching you swing from energetic static
to a melted pit of anguish when your power got cut.
Didn’t my reaching open hand
show you I was here?

Am I only the sister you searched for once the others burned out?
But my hand’s grown cold 
holding onto your rainbows, hearts, and green clovers.
Objects turned into candy-coated plastic
once bright enough to obscure our view.
Could you ever truly see me
past the pain you needed to escape?
And with that question suspended, I know
someday you will tell me when we meet again
among the stuff of stars.

*Inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem “I am, you anxious one.”

~

Christy O’Callaghan is a writer and developmental editor in Upstate NY. For two decades, she was a community organizer and educator. Christy loves strange stories, plants, and lore. Her work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review, Great Weather for Media, Trolley Journal, Under the Gumtree, Chestnut Review, among others. Visit christyflutterby.com for more information.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Tree of Life

by pmboudreaux

i was born in a tree
in a nest on a limb
my parents made for me
my siblings and me
sometimes it was rough
sometimes tough when they left me
one by one to venture forth
from the limb from the tree
the first sound i made was
'weeee, weeee'
whenever in trouble i sing
'tweet tweet tweet tweet, tweet tweet tweet tweet'
and others come to help me
i was born in a tree
'weeee, weeee'

~

I wrote this poem for my new great-grandson, James.

Friday, April 12, 2024

The End

by Edie Abrams

I stayed with my mother 
day and night, curled on a chair,
my head on the bed by her feet.

I repeated her life story
to nurses, cleaners, and
cafeteria workers, and

held her hand, caressed
her forehead, kissed 
her face all over,

called her “mommy,”
whispered to stay with me 
longer or be free to go…

They say hearing’s the last 
to fail so I played operas, 
Beethoven, and Fiddler.

Eyes closed, mouth locked open,
breath wheezy, her face
translucent as porcelain.

I found a Polish song 
she used to sing to me
“Maryna! Maryna, gotuj pierogi!” *

When young, I had laughed at “monkey” 
only now to find out it’s really “maką.” **
As the song ended, so did she…

just like that, life vanished

imperceptible and gently.
I climbed onto her bed and 
held her in my arms, my angel.

* “Maryna! Maryna, cook me pierogi!”
** pronounced “monka” (flour)

~

My mother almost made it to 96. Her death was the first bedside death that I experienced.  It was not at all how I expected it to be. Even though it was in a hospital, it was beautiful . . . and awesome.  My daughter Addie commented that, after her Grandma heard the Polish song, it was as if she returned “home.” Although we are not a religious or mystical family, concepts from religion or spirituality are apropos to our experiences.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

More Beautiful

by Tom Bonville

The forest,
climbing the sides of mountains,
each peak, expansive, noble, solemn,
each tree laying its roots
deep into the earth,
being one with the earth,
living in peace,
ageing with grace,
the passing of years, inevitable.

I see the trees,
I speak to them, my voice soft as moss,
I am one with the trees,
knowing, no tree stands forever,
each tree having a life all its own,
as well as a passing.
I see myself among the trees,
standing tall, waiting,
not afraid now.

~

Tom Bonville lives in the Hudson Valley, has had poems published in Chronogram and Up The River, and regularly participates in various poetry groups and open mics.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Poem for 9/19/22

by Bob Sharkey

The day she got off the train
at Union Station,
she was wearing carnation pink.
Dress, hat, shoes all the same tint.
I was only seven, but I sensed
trouble as soon as she looked
from my grandfather to me.
“You will be ok,” he said.

The day before I headed west,
she asked me to take a chimp
and a pair of parrots out to
her parents east of Tuba City.
She was wearing a crown of dandelions,
said the parents were worn out,
the animals would perk them up.
I wanted to visit the Monuments and
come into the Grand Canyon from
the east and best entrance.  So, yes!

Now they are all gone, 
the last aunt died two years ago.
Even the diamond crowned young Queen
whose face in profile graced so many
of the stamps I collected as a boy
has departed.   

~

Bob Sharkey writes prose and poems.  He is a long time board member of the Hudson Valley Writers Guild.  Bob is the editor of the annual international Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Contest now in its 9th year.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

We Knew

          for Jeffrey

by Ann Lapinsky

Your first gift to me was
a bottle of wine
wrapped in Christmas
wrap, tied with a string,
taped with white 
artist’s tape.
It was February.

On our first trip 
to the tea shop
you asked for the 
thing in the case with
the sesame seeds 
all over it and did not
want to know what 
it was. When you ate
the mochi cake, you
told me it was way 
too sweet but that 
was OK.

During our first home-
cooked meal you thought
the black sesame seeds
I placed on the roasted
carrots looked like mouse
turds. You ate them 
anyway.

When we wanted to connect
on a Friday evening and 
could only think of going
to a Dunkin Donuts,
you told me it was one
of your favorite dates.

And a year has gone by
and you still give me gifts
wrapped in Christmas
wrap all times of the year
and we still go to that tea
shop but get macarons instead
of mochi and you still come 
to my house for dinner
and we still laugh about 
Dunkin Donuts and the
mouse turds.
Still.

~

In her retirement, Ann is facilitating a meditation group, leading meditations for lawyers, teaching yoga dance, taking lots of walks,  putting in her hours as a member worker at the Honest Weight Food Coop and writing poetry.

Monday, April 8, 2024

Coming to light

by Katrinka Moore
as if your mind were a house 
and wind blew in     
flung open windows 
winnowed
cast away thoughts
as if chance could clear

as if the world were a restless swarming
always coming to light 
and disappearing
as if it were made     not of things 
but relations
no border between you

as if     lost    you kept walking
stopping to listen 
stumbling on 
as if a glimpse were enough
as if stillness

~

Katrinka Moore is the author of five poetry books, three of which include her visual art. "Coming to light" appeared in her latest book, Diminuendo, and was first published in First Literary Review-East.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Jacket

by Cheryl A. Rice

I could wax romantic about 
how beautiful he was, 
dashing around LA on his Vespa, 
filming the planetarium, the valley, 
but truth is, after 18 he was
mostly a mystery to me. 
Godmother to his only son, 
I have now lost my god and my brother, 
one imaginary from the start, 
born of a need for companionship, 
fully formed in beard and heart; 
the other trapped in my mind’s loop, 
if anywhere, hellos, goodbyes, 
only the phone a constant. 

Our sister finds tickets 
in the pocket of his heavy leather jacket
for flights, concerts, movies 
at the Chinese theater, 
that we never heard about.
Like me, after giving our home a go,
he sprang across the continent, 
false hopes fueled by a high school friend. 
It’s fuzzy for me from that point on, 
third-hand updates, quick calls
from a telemarketing gig, surveys I would complete
over and over, just to hear his voice. 

I hear him now, when I cross the bridge to work,
calls about our sister’s illness, 
brief, funny, and yet, 
he is the one who dies first.
He is the one at the edge of another beginning, 
fallen into the chasm
we are all fated to achieve. 
He was beautiful, he was bold, 
a sort of hero for me in a family
of fear and lost horizons.
Off he goes into the sunset, 
silhouette of someone I used to know, 
steam rising from the canyons before him.

~

Twice a Best of the Net nominee, Cheryl A. Rice’s books include Dressing for the Unbearable (Flying Monkey Press), Until the Words Came (Post Traumatic Press), and Love’s Compass (Kung Fu Treachery Press). Rice can be reached at dorothyy62@yahoo.com. For updates on the Poetry World of Cheryl A. Rice, go to: http://flyingmonkeyprods.blogspot.com.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

The Betrayal of Objects

by Philomena Moriarty

The sidewalk moves up to trip
       the peas fall from the fork

The vase shatters dangerous
       the engine refuses to turn

The screen freezes
       or grows dark and unreachable

Like Gulliver we are tied down
       by Lilliputian strings

Of closets that bulge, drawers that crowd
       surfaces of chaos

The papers rise everyday
       out of control on the desk

We yearn to rise to a mountaintop
       release spirit among the trees

But what of these insults
       the liver, the lungs, the legs failing

And finally the heart, that phenomenal  heart
       finally that too

       betrays us

~

Philomena Moriarty is a local poet living in East Greenbush and author of My Moon Self. You can find her at several open mics. Her poems often have psychological and spiritual themes. She is psychotherapist in private practice in East Greenbush who specializes in trauma work.

Friday, April 5, 2024

In the Beginning

by Howard J Kogan
 
In the beginning seems like a good way to start a poem
it has a familiar ring, a vague profundity, an authoritative tone.
Of course, what follows matters,
in the beginning of the third inning lacks the gravitas of
in the beginning God created …
which reminds me of … in the beginning was the word,
an idea poets like;
that’s the Apostle John talking
about God’s word becoming flesh.
 
It’s a trick we keep trying to learn,
but until we do, we’re sentenced
to use words to make sense of our lives,
and keep us from feeling alone and unknown.
It’s difficult talking about words with words
but what else do we have?
 
Anyway, it’s about time someone walked into the room
and noticed the white lotus blossom encircled
by orange and blue koi, each koi a single brush stroke
practiced for years so it appears effortless.
 
Or we can stand at the edge of a high cliff
looking down into a painted canyon watching
a paint stallion galloping with his harem.
A vulture, riding a column of warm air,
lifts above the rim and eyes us,
its head is the color of meat.
Or we can watch a gazelle being chased
by an unchaste lioness with cubs to feed.
 
Let’s ask Mother Teresa to pray for them,
she’s standing there in the shade
fingering her rosary beads
laughing and whispering with Princess Diana.
They’re as real as the lion cubs you see
waiting quietly in the shade of an Acacia tree.
 
Each … a word in a poem,
in a world we’re creating together.
 
Though this poem is not about flowers,
horses, lions, gazelles or Mother Teresa.
They’re only words that glide in and out of the poem
like Olympic skaters, who are poets themselves
inscribing their poems on the ice while judges wait for them
to execute the required double axel and follow it with a spin.
Spinning faster and faster until they’re a blur
bent on drilling themselves into the ice,
which they would do if this were a cartoon,
but it’s all words, no pictures.
The pictures are yours.
You’re the only one who knows
if the skater is a man or a woman,
how tall they are, the color of their hair,
or whether they landed that double axel.
 
Eventually the skater stops spinning,
masks their face in a practiced smile
and skates backward around the rink
gracefully acknowledging the applause of fans.
Now the skater steps off the ice into the arms of
a Russian trainer, one look and you know she’s KGB.
 
She wears a silver fox coat, bears little resemblance
to Mother Teresa though she might be the lioness
and the skater the gazelle or be the gazelle
and the party apparatchiks the lioness,
or it’s something else entirely.
 
That’s the problem with words,
they can deceive as easily as inform.
 
Truth is beauty,
but lies are always dressed to kill.
 
Or perhaps the poem stems from seeing a woman
wearing a lotus blossom kerchief with a koi border,
like the one mother wore after chemo.
So thin she could have been in a photograph
of a concentration camp, a photograph
because that’s as close as the word can get to life.
 
That’s the sort of poem we’re writing,
complex, even confusing, and one that inevitably fails.  
Because words can only carry you so far,
the possibilities are endless, but in the end 
only one possibility can be lived.
 
In the beginning 
was the word,
in the end will be a silence
that speaks with an eloquence
words can only envy.

~

Howard J Kogan is a retired psychotherapist and former resident of the Capital District who now lives in Ashland, MA.  His books of poetry, Indian Summer, A Chill in the Air and Before I Forget are available from the publisher, SquareCirclePress.com, your independent bookstore or Amazon.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

In the Snow Cold Night

by Charles Rossiter

It’s past midnight, deep winter,
snow higher than hubcaps
covers the chopping block.

In a beach chair in the yard
I look to the lonely moon,
and watch my breath
rise and disappear.

The sky is like Idaho
it’s so dark.

Spirits of the past drift in:
Erika, Nan, my old roommate Fred.

I’m relaxed but not tired,
in that pleasant state
on the edge of sleep.

I open a beer,
adjust my expectations to zero,
lean back and look up
at the ink black sky.

~

Charles Rossiter, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship recipient, has been featured on NPR, the Chicago Blues Festival and at the Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival in NJ. He has traveled the country as 1/3 of 3 Guys from Albany, performance poetry group, and his latest collection is Green Mountain Meditations from FootHills Publishing. He lives and writes in Bennington, VT. Find out more at poetryspokenhere.com.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

The Witch's Necklace

by Dan Wilcox

The crackle of ice as it hits the driveway
is like hearing you tiptoe in the attic
not that you are there, I’ve looked
you’re not, but I listen until I fall asleep.

Your breath in my dreams is like what the night 
smells like ruffling your hair as dark as the sky 
with a scent like your body unwashed 
in the morning when you evaporate into the Sun.

The pages torn from your journal are cursives
in a language we haven’t learned to speak 
where your voice falters with hallucinations 
sounding like desire or lessons for daughters.

I put down my book, climb the attic stairs
there is silence when I flick on the light
nothing disturbed, then I see the sparkle of light
on the floor, a necklace I’ve never seen

the chain tarnished, the glass beads glisten
like pearls of ice. I bring it downstairs
put it on, dream you come back to claim it.

~

Dan Wilcox is the host of the Third Thursday Poetry Night at the Social Justice Center in Albany, NY and is a member of the poetry performance group "3 Guys from Albany." As a photographer, he claims to have the world's largest collection of photos of unknown poets. His book "Gloucester Notes" is from FootHills Publishing. He was named one of the 2019 Literary Legends by the Albany Public Library Foundation and he is an active member of Veterans For Peace. You can read his Blog about the Albany poetry scene at dwlcx.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

(four haiku)

by Barry Kuhar

The yellow of his eyes
Hey there Little Red Riding Hood
Howling at the moon

Hoarfrost with the sun shining
Frozen glass of water
The ice booming at 10 below

The slap of the tail
The beaver house sticks and mud
Black 5X cowboy hat

A big 10-point buck
The velvet dripping from the horn
The clash of antlers

~

Barry farms and writes in Rensselaerville, NY.

Monday, April 1, 2024

I must have been looking for birds

by Kennedy Coyne

We’re talking about Joy Harjo. This must have been yours, she says. We’re on the phone for the seventh time today because I like to talk and she likes to listen and I tell her about our dog who she hasn’t met yet but is still hers and she tells me about our cats who are my cats but not as much as this new dog. She’s been writing about birds - eagles and owls and peregrines - but doesn’t realize it until I say, hey you’ve been writing about a lot of birds lately. In capital letters she says WELL I DON’T MEAN TO. While we talk about Joy she pulls out How We Became Human, shuffling pages over the phone, three eagles on the cover. She insists it’s mine, and I say no. I’ve never read her. She flips to page 100 - The Flood - where inside is a slip from Raven’s Used Books. It is hers. I must have been looking for poetry, she admits. And my dog chews on Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings. Teeth marks in the corner of For a Girl Becoming.

~

Kennedy Coyne (she/her) is a writer based in upstate New York. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Indiana Review, Colorado Review, Gulf Coast, Michigan Quarterly Review Online, and elsewhere. She was a semifinalist for The Adroit Journal's 2023 Anthony Veasna So Scholars. She received her MFA in Creative Writing and certificate in Arts Leadership from Virginia Tech. She is working on her first novel. Find more of her writing at kencoyne.com.

Monday, January 1, 2024


The eighth annual POEM-A-DAY PROJECT
celebrating National Poetry Month
opens April 1
with the first of 30 poems!
In its seven years, PAD has showcased
210 poems by 125 poets with 15,000+ pageviews!
To participate
email your poem & brief bio to
tjc123@midtel.net before March 15!
". . . yes I said yes I will Yes."