Free Verse & Prose Poetry 
Page 1.

We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.
William Butler Yeats - (1865- 1939)
      Lyrical Passion Poetry E-Zine © 2007-2019

SONG OF AUTUMN   by Ute Carson 
(2007; 1st Place Winning Traditional Poem)

I like the melody-shifting season best!
No longer the bursting greenness of summer,
not yet the resigned hibernation of winter.
It's the fall that carries a magical tune,
when the sky embraces the earth
with one last ardent desire
and its desperate kisses
ignite nature's most fervent colors,
blood-red, flame-gold-orange.
My heart too sings
with the rhythm of creation
knowing it can still find a home
before its doors close again
against the voices of the cold.

COFFEE  by Omar Majeed

Sitting outside the café
I stir coffee and watch
the brightly colored
fairground ride move
round in circles, the
fiberglass vehicles
chasing tails. Something
strikes me as amusing –
me watching, still stirring
my coffee laughing to myself
at the empty ride
swirling alone.

I MUST GO NOW   by Stephen Pain

I must go now, before the rain that clouds
shoulders on the horizon, the wind that will blow
the being, cold and autumnal, the tail end
of a hurricane, I must go now, before the bus
that carries the strangers to a destination unknown,
and I will depart with them, my eyes averted
from the aisle, and I must go now, before the message
that through the spectral dust comes from afar,
the message printed in the particles of the big bang,
and I must go now, before the swallow returns
to warmer climes, taking with it the energy
of summer, wound up tightly in its compact heart,
the beat of lovely afternoons, now I must go.

Off I-85   by Danny P. Barbare

The next level   by Jane Williams

as if all it took all a long
was fishing from the right side
of the boat to encourage miracles

as if he had been given
the exact date and time
of his death though perhaps
not the random cause
not the butterfly effect

a man is hauling up
old friends old flames
telling each one
how good they've been
how he loves them still

and still …

this unexpected urgency
to take life to the next level

what if he added say
the old school bully to the list
what if he were the old school bully
no mud lover but a bottom dweller
nonetheless luminosity the stuff
of science fiction

until now this day
with the light cast just so ...

One of a kind    by Jane Williams

all his life he was known and all his life
he dreamed of a place peopled by strangers
where his name was his own and not his
father’s where the sky was a thing to search
for a prize to be won not the omnipresent
eye of ages where he would come upon
the smell of cut grass suddenly in small
packages holding the memory of it there
just under his industrious nose if he chose to
where he could sit in a train carriage and stare
at changing faces all day not once discovering
the exact shade or kink of his own hair
or the way his mouth twitched as if anticipating
a kiss where women and men falling would
believe they saw eternity in the endless plains
of his eyes and think him finally one of  kind

Almost...      by Joan McNerney

As if you could come so swiftly
unnoticed like butterflies tapping
wild flowers with soft yellow wings.
Appearing before me quietly
while morning mist curls through
coolness of mint-green spring.
You walking over roads through
fields where tree shadows make
heavy slants against the sun.
As alive as day...saying my name...
filling me up with the taste of you...
kissing my mouth awake again.
By touch and whisper how we would
imitate long leaves weaving, undulating
and finally surrendering to silence.

The Swimmer    by Amelia Cotter

There is a curve down the middle of the arm
Bending toward the audience
A beautiful slice of geometry
Fine sample of art and evolution
Thick and heavy by your sides
Like Greek columns they guard your
Look at what the gods can do—
Make a boy into a man
Cultivate a garden of unimaginable interest
Turn a little
And the shape changes
But it still belongs to you
Growing more magnificent
Filling the whole frame of my world
As I envision
Every gentle stroke.

New Year at the Door     by  Taylor Graham

Time ticks in your pocket, a broken watch
you keep, believing it might be
restored to life; each tick echoed by a flutter

against the pane: wind with its fluent,
enigmatic word. What journals hold the news
you keep, believing it might be

transformed at last from war to peace?
A stepping-stone across Time’s current,
enigmatic word. What journals hold as news –

datelines, deadlines, casualty reports –
harkens to an old year’s clock run down,
a stepping-stone across Time’s current.
Who knows what waits on the other shore?
Its silence rings like song.
Harken to an old year’s clock run down,
its nicks and tricks of history.
Time ticks in your pocket, a broken watch.
Its silence rings like song
restored to life; each tick echoed by a flutter.

A Pair of Boots   by  Taylor Graham

I finally gave it up: that left boot, almost
brand-new. I’d kept it for years,
hoping the right would reappear. I imagined
its left-foot march through aspen woods,
the gritty scrunch that vibram makes
on granite up a switchback trail;
over the pass to a nameless meadow.
Do boots delight in larkspur? Do they wait
for me to slip them off at midday
when I wade out in pearling water?
While I let my feet dream fins, do boots
inhale mountain air and speak
together with their leather tongues?
Did that lone boot yearn for its mate?
At last I threw the left boot gently away.

I keep my pair of old worn Vasques.
They know my feet like their very soles.
Now, when I pull them off
at the end of the hike,
I tie their laces together.

Panning for Gold     by Sue Scalf

Sometimes a phrase and again
an image of something, someone
forgotten, remembered,
a longing for someone gone,
times past . . . all lure, beckon:
Here, here. But you cannot be sure.
Through shadows of trees, poplar,
pine, you go along a footpath down
the mountain to where the river
slips toward sunset, to where
the river becomes a sluice of light,
molten and moving.
Here your spirit can rest
in birdsong, insect hum,
the slow thrum of waterfall,
the shallows and rocky beds
until, unbidden, words come,
slivers of song that rise like river-foam,
notes falling across the tongue,
tumbling into a flume.
And if there is no river?
Then remember the way you knew it,
the way it curved, the place you swam,
the trail at night the moon left,
the way you loved someone,
his face leaf-lost, forgotten.
A deft shift of the mind,
and it appears,
that summer shimmering,
sifted until all dross is gone
except for this remnant
that catches  upon the page,
that catches upon the breath,
gleaming, pure, afire, lying there,
the poem you always knew,
and it is yours.

Tyne Cot     by Jan Theuninck

toen jullie
naar het front
waren jullie
levende helden
en nu
liggen jullie
op de heuvel
waar alleen
papavers bloeien 

Tyne Cot    by Jan Theuninck

when you left
for the front
you were
living heroes
and now
you are on top
of the hill
where only

Friendlier than Secret    by O. Emmanuel Jakpa

These three students sit
in computer room of WIT library.

Their whispers cling around them friendlier
than a secret.

They laugh aloud
as if a finger tickles their armpit.

And time is a cut-out paper flames
they feed to the fire.
I hurry over. They take in
the sound of my footstep like a fallen coin.

They are talking about a student who left
his books on the desk

out of depression
or whatever.

The Salesman’s Son      by  Darryl Willis

The returning always seems
swifter than the leaving until
you get closer to where you leave
again. Then time expands, stretching
out like thick rubber bands
that bound his mileage books together.
I hated his leaving: never there
ever present eyes that followed
me every day of my life. They haunt
me even now. I don’t remember
a day hating him, not really;
no animosity there—
just a pained and plain indifference.
I used to want to wish him to Hell.
But I could not bring myself
to care that much. Might as well
curse the moon last night for not
being as bright as the sun today.
The room still carries the scent of urine
reminiscent of my father
on his eighty-sixth birthday
two weeks before he said goodbye
the last time. The leaving now
somehow seemed longer than
before. The regretful ragged breath
could never express his hazel eyes.
Time expands, stretching out
and then he is gone once again.


The Literary Lion      by  Darryl Willis

We wander into an old
book store: into a palace
of pages, this tomb of tomes—
and there we drink tea
surreptitiously stealing
words. Feeling the guilt
of my theft and to make
amends I procure
a lean chapbook of poems.
Baptized into the bright
light flooding through
streaked window pane
I find myself crying
out with Isaiah over
prison cells, saying         
Kiddush for a day old
child, wandering empty
down the streets of old
Manhattan: an immigrant friend
                of homeless children.

Double Take    by Jack Galmitz
In the afternoon                daytime television
The light is enough            casts chiaroscuro
To light the earth              on the walls
I do not touch                  and on my hands and arms
The leaves of the oak       the veins bulge
Soaked in mist                 arrested by the drama
I missed my life                of the characters lives
In pursuit of the life          entangled and in danger
Of someone else              I find myself
I might have been            crying as if it were my own

The Missionaries Toil in Africa
    by Martin Lochner

in the
base of  a

the last bit
of soup scum

how he will feed

adding water
diluting the
dropping two three
cubes of stock

hiding and thickening
famine despair
looking at the runway
staring into the sky

when shall it arrive?

manna from heaven
parachute maize

doing what we can

cheating a empty stomach
saying the Lords prayer. 

Everything Seems Solid     by Jack Galmitz

Everything seems solid:
the ice, my smoky breath and strangers'.
It is winter in New York and the tree branches tough
it out with their fruit of sparrows.
I feel weightless as I walk in the pastures of the sun,
the way the tan wayside does.  Expectant
for the moment.
At the marketplace, I meet a congregation-
men and women in black attire aspiring
to the mood of weather.
Some old men in shabby coats, beards yellow
as carambola,
press the pulpy fruit to test its ripeness,
as if touching scroll paper.
Behind the counter, men in blood-smeared smocks
hold cleavers ready.  Then an order and a choir
of quick strokes
commences that separate the sinews from the bones
of bird, fish, and mammals.
It is beginning.  A man grabs a net
and strands a sea bass
that struggles on the sawdust floor
with the spirit of the letter.
He beats it with a wooden club
and I grow silent with it.
We are all waiting in the moment
to see how it will be altered.
Flesh of ours is flesh of theirs
and so we walk in timeless wonder.
We are the strangers.  Our breath the clouds
come from the runnels, brambles,
and the weightless song of sparrows.
A field pressing forth young green swords.

Ella Street Baby    by Amanda Hempel

            “I didn’t do nothing.”  — Andrea Curry-Demus
                Kia Johnson, 1990-2008


They said my first baby died inside me.
I didn’t say nothing about hearing
babies crying down the hall,
even though I knew wasn’t none there.
So many more die inside
I don’t always know how many.
So much crying.

But it was peaceful a long time
before I got my last-chance baby.
Saw an angel in my dream just like Mary.
She say to do right.  And, Lord, I try.
But when he slip away I hear that crying,
and this time it wasn’t gonna stop.
So when I see that girl Kia, I know
somehow she got my boy by accident.
And all the time she don’t know
I know she got my baby inside her.

And when I hear him again, so loud,
saying, Mama, come get me, I’m ready,
I only do what my baby need me to do.
Only taking him back, only taking what mine.

Eastern Coyote      by Amanda Hempel

It ran like a wild thing because it was,
silver-gray ferocious over the guard rail
down the ravine, gone.
Something deeper than my heart pounded,
feral as its thick tail, held straight down
instead of ruddering the gravelly turn.
At home my dog whined and spun,
pressed her paws to my chest,
nuzzled and nipped my neck.
She could taste it on me, proximity
to something untamed.

Can’t let me have it
      by  Jennifer Didier

We were wearing our favorites bickered but stroked
each other’s egos first impressions
I love that Miles Davis tee
We cut the tag off
itchy on his pimpled neck
I cut a hole scissor slip
and he apologized
Let me sew the faded fabric
back together

An ugly bird fainted on his porch
We were watching the fog
laughed but admitted
we had seen “something beautiful
whatever that is”

had a dream about him
did not know he was dead fantasy world
I wish I was there
He said he was
afraid to let go cliché truths
I pressed my palm sharp shoulder
and breathed three two

Two yapping dogs tied up across the street
We pretended they were ours
with a turkey in the oven
He apologized “let me have the wish bone
whatever that is”

The Down Town, by Jane Banning

The town crouches
its main street
a dirty brown dog
head on paws
storefronts with clouded eyes
the sweaters for sale
smell of furred basements

Leaves mat the gutters
men in overalls hunch over coffee
leave thick mugs half empty
then sleep afternoons away
chins dusky
hair flat against bony brows

No one wakes them.

Down the street
in an empty bumpy lot
a lone tom
turns around
and sinks down.

The Ditch   by Simon Hayward

I scrambled up the edge
Of the Blue-Rock crag
And perched
On the cusp of the gully.

Comrades soon flanked me on either side.

Enclosed by contorted branches
And crumbling rock face,
Our minds accelerated
Along the same latitudes.   

Together we gazed
At the moon; still part visible
Through smokey clouds,
Still shimmering a silky glow.

Together we acquiesce:
There is
No produce in that grove
No shaman in this canyon.

Just us;
The boy crowd,
Pie-eyed and entranced,
Watching the city lights
Pirouette on the horizon

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