Slackpole Poetry Corner

Praise-Song for a Post-Industrial Greenway
By Carson Colenbaugh

We came down to the riverside
In search of bliss, but only found
That strangling weeds, a leafy tide,
Had flooded out our pleasure ground.

O turf of stiltgrass, snowy bells!
O mimosa, your flossy hem!

I must admit they overfill
This footpath once grown stout with flowers,
Self-organized and verdant. Still
They dance the dance, they flaunt the hours.

O honeysuckle, kudzu hell!
O ragweed, star-of-bethlehem!

By Ellie Dover

I feel good.
I feel like myself. 
It’s as if everything suffocating in my life has completely dissolved.
I sink into my bed. I laugh at my television. It’s nice to be weightless. 

Another flick of the lighter sparks a flame. 
Flick, flick, flick. 
I hyper fixate. 

The sweet release of all my burdens. 
My chest loosens, my smiles are wider, my laugh is louder. 
Everything is better. 
I am better.

Sometimes I question why I need to feel so numb. 
Are my circumstances really so insufferable? 
It does distract me for a little while. 

For a moment, I forget the world. 
My heart slows down 
and the heaviness subdues. 
I can breathe again. 

My necessary evil, oh how I love you so. 
Who would I be without you?
Disposable, miserable, angry?
I quake with fear at the thought of her. 

I was once someone without it. 
I miss her. 
Naive, hopeful, happy. 
Now, it takes my nightly ritual to find her. 

I can’t remember the catalyst of my burnout. 
Perhaps it wasn’t just one thing. 
Perhaps it was everything. 

I crave it every night. 
To disassociate from reality
and live in a fog of nothingness.
I mourn my lust for life.

The years have taken that away from me.  
Life has taken that away from me. 
I gave everything I had. 
And when the light dims, only ash remains.

The Impermanence of Pansies
By Kathryn Kyker

Planted in pots 
placed on our stoop
velvety nods of deep 
purple and tangerine
greet me in the warm
breeze of October 
gleaming in the late afternoon sun

Proof of my worthiness
my essential goodness
Love my pansies Love me

Finding their sweet faces ripped
from their delicate stems
I want to strangle
the creature who shredded
my happiness in a frenzy
of nefarious nibbling

I consider the usual suspects
Deer, Squirrel, Mouse, but
convict Bunny on grounds
of motive and access
Certain of her guilt I object
to an appetite that
eviscerates my fragile image
and reveals my pervasive shadow

Petals of attachment torn away

Everything changes

Anything that awakens you
to the futility of clinging—
a Dharma Door

Anyone who opens that door—
a Teacher

Thank you 
Buddha Bunny

home and away
By Steve Piazza

i am not your national champion 
certainly never undefeated 
probably lose as much as I win
feels like more

i know there’s no such thing as a level playing field 
except on paper and in campaign speeches 
for what takes place is never really play
but a substitute for what really matters 

in the end when the arbitrary clock runs out 
the aches and pains remain beyond the hedges and property lines and shores
so that we’re reminded the season never truly ends 

and the rules applied can and ought change 
as the crowd must
as I must

as somehow you do when you remind me that humility and purpose are not a game 
but a way of life that all are given to participate 
without numbers and requisite colors and positions 
with the value of who I am always becoming alongside you 
because we can

Twenty-Four Windows
By Jill Hartmann-Roberts

Green and red boxes

Stacked on a hand truck,

Piled three levels high,

Rolling down the driveway.

Opening the sliding glass door, 

Now—the magic happens.

Songs of the season filling the house—

Nat King Cole,

Bing Crosby,

Andy Williams,

“A Charlie Brown Christmas Soundtrack.”

Brass doorknob ringers with ribbons and bells,

Wreaths with baubles and red velvet bows,

A ceramic Santa Clause,

Bronze angels,

Elves, snowmen, teddy bears in a sleigh.

Carolers, skaters, a Christmas village scene—

Lampposts, footbridges, snow on fir trees.

Gingerbread men in hats and scarves.

Nine-foot-tall Christmas tree on display

In front of the living room window,

Lighting up the night.

Red, blue, yellow, green illuminating through glass,

Cars slowing down as they drive by. 

I was alone every Christmas that I lived in my house,

But I was never lonely. 

Twenty-four windows— 

With a view from every room.

I miss my home every day—

But never more than at Christmas.

A Silly Slipper Slipped My Mind
By Liz Conroy

It sat forgotten in a kitchen drawer,

My fuzzy slipper from an old thrift store.

“What in the world is this here for?”

My husband asked as I came through the door.

We laughed until our sides were sore.

Because finding things is a constant chore,

For those of us who are sixty or more.