Free Verse & Prose Poetry 

Page 2.

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

 Dozing While it Rains     by Michele Byrne

In the half-land when sleep has crept close
but consciousness still lingers. Images scissor.
There is a sigh of hem against stocking.
A wisp of blue smoke. A hand holds a cup,
little finger crooked in tea-time elegance.
And downstairs an old man shuffles.
The cardigan is holed. Wool is worming
out of frayed edges. His pate is liver-spotted.
He bends his neck to gaze into a meagre grate.
Picks up a faded photograph and listens
to the birds circling as he remembers the noise.
Outside, reflections in a silver pavement
flutter against passing eyes.
The rain tumbles to glimmering windows
and the sleeper turns over to the rhythm of the fall.

Peace Poem    by Michele Byrne

I am not a fearsome warrior,
Yet I am the feather-weight
of cloud-shadow shifting.
I am not iron
But I am the soft sand gently sifting.
I am not a burial chamber,
Yet hold within the lives of generations.
I am not a foreign language,
Yet converse with those of many nations.
I am not bitter
As with the taste of aloes
But hold in my mouth woodsmoke
and marshmallows.
I am not a blade,
That slides you into death
I am the gentle breeze,
That gives a whispered breath.
I am not visited by the recent dead,
But walk through tombs without fear or dread.
I am not a war that leaves so many deceased
I walk in freedoms footsteps and only long for peace.
"January Persuasion"       by Steven Pacheco

          Though my skin has never known yours,
     and our lips have ushered words
                      but never come together,
             you have existed beneath the flesh
       and set the rhythm of my heart.
              I have never had the pleasure
                 of cradling you in my arms,
       nor have gentle fingers
           caressed wayward strands
                       beyond the cashmere of your cheek,
     I know the passion of your soul
         and distantly admire
                   every facet of your being.
      Were beauty stagnant
             and without definition
                         your very existence
       would re-write language,
                 and grace the glory of the world
    in the image of your splendor.
                        Your heart a sacred altar
             before which I kneel
                   and in the warmth of your wonder
       see the world through focused eyes
          and every shape
                       in comparison to yours;
              no glowing swathe of sun
              nor sublime sight of sky
              can even minutely compare
              to the perfection of your...
Country Doctor     by  Kevin Heaton
The quest for Quivira parts fabled
rivers where bluestem and switchgrass
yawn early from wet winters, without
much guidance from the sun.
I salve aloe into deep cuts, and suture
fevers onto windy dreams easting
across the Great North Bend.
Range fires gloat, then hush.
The moon suits up in butterfly weed
orange, then turns ashen above the knoll
where Coronado’s horse sparked flint
rock, and flamed the hills.
In time, dust settles onto sand plum
roots, and we cellar the little red fruits
in mason jars. The prairie gathers baskets
full of loaves and fishes for wolf
and coyote children.
I pause to place coins on weary eyes
no longer witnessing horizons, and criss-
cross two arms at rest beneath one stone.
A Meditation on Chemical Death       by  Jeni Booker Senter

Jane answers her door wearing a floppy pink cap.
Her baby chick hair peeking out over one ear.
She tells me to come in, sit down, visit for a while.
Her eyes glisten as she eases down slowly into her chair
while my eyes are drawn to that patch of fuzz.
I remember her hair, glossy, black, sharply styled
when she would pick me up on Sunday mornings.
I glance at her hands, marred by fresh puncture wounds.
Her hands were thin, beautiful, long,
playing the piano and weaving baskets on Saturday evenings.
She tells me she is well, asks how I have been.
She wants me to go to church; I lie and say I will.
I can hardly sit still, keep looking her over
as if she were a still-life to study--
A meditation on chemical death.
The cancer came back.
It blossomed like a June rose
and spread like the vines of bluebells.
Deep into her armpits, through the lymphatic system,
burying itself deep into her brain and liver.
And now she rocks, gently rooted in her chair.
She smiles at me
while I bite my cheek and try not to cry.
Too soon it is time to go,
and she bends forward to kiss me.
I am amazed that she still smells like honeysuckles.
Two Magnolia Buds Almost Kissed Today      by  Jeni Booker Senter

Two magnolia buds almost kissed today.
Their rain-soaked heads hung from tender stems
leaning with the wind
bobbing forward and back and forward again,
at times with only a whisper between them—
until a sudden gust from the North
twisted one upon its stem
and dropped it
onto the Earth below.
SUBMERSION     by  Jeni Booker Senter

She steps into the frigid, tea-colored river slowly;
one foot dips into the tannin-laced water.
Her peony-tipped toes sink into the sandy bottom.
The smell of the evergreen forest is thick in the air and a frail hand reaches
to feel the piney fragrance floating inches from her delicate-boned, sad face.
Whip-poor-wills echo between the thick upper canopies of live oak
as the night falls deeply around her.
Deep blue-grey sky presses down, hanging over her head like a shroud
as the sun drops like a stone into the river.
A mist rises from the Blackwater and envelopes a thin leg as it is lowered into the water.
One more step and she sinks into the darkening water,
her thighs now surrounded by the Blackwater and its mist.
She looks down at the river of scars flowing along her softly rounded stomach.
The furrow of a brilliant scar slashes from hipbone to hipbone.
A school of little silver minnows swim across the skin of her breasts.
Thick ropes of ebony hair cling to her neck and trail over her left breast.
She takes a deep breath of the creosote-scented air and remembers the sound of a child laughing.
She wonders if the candles she left on the window sill still flicker.
The river and its mist rise up to meet her full hips, slowly admitting her waist and breasts.
She draws another deep breath before she sinks to her neck.
She feels her body reacting to the embrace of the icy water.
Her nipples contract, and for the first time in forever, she feels her breasts perk and her   skin tighten.
Somewhere in the distance a coyote howls his greeting to the night.
Somewhere closer, a child snuggles his dark head into a downy-scented pillow and hugs   a stuffed seal.
She leans her head back; her neck stretches long and pale—bare before the rising moon.


The rail divides us...     by Martin Lochner

they say that the rail divides us
separating the glossy from the dodgy
barbwire streamers on our side
Babylon gardens on their side
they say that the rail divides us
separating the factories from the boulevards
customer service on their side
able bodied guards on our side 
they say the rail divides us
that the train leaves for the golden city
unable to pay, what a pity. feel the iniquity 
a bridge connects us
but the littered path knows no feet 

His Garden   by Damian Rucci

He told me there,
when I was young,
how it would all end.
If he couldn’t take care
of himself, he’d take care of it
in the end.
Those words passed like silver-
word flies gnawing on vegetables in
the garden, now asking questions in the tomb.
Not just a granddad, but a role model and a friend;
hands soaked with dirt and weathered with the scars
of a labored life; a favored man who’s
words spoke little, but eyes wept stories
now lost on the floor.
It was time; the skies had whispered
and he sought release in the morning
with crimson-tears and led resonance;
he left us all behind.
My grandmother asked me,
does taking one's own life make a man strong,
or foolish?
I don’t know, but my eyes swim as I
find myself picking tomatoes in the garden
that will forever speak his name.

Reconciliation is the Last Thing on My Mind     by  Gretchen E. Tessmer   
When you cut me from your soul
did it hurt?
When you put that blade on the edge of my name
and you sliced scarlet across the lips of every smile,
my freely given smiles,
did it sting?
When you scraped out those words,
those secret, wax-sealed words,
did you flinch?
When you tangled the breeze
in my honey-colored hair
did it stick?
(lemon juice might do the trick)
And when you found that kiss,
that first sweet kiss,
did you dig deep?
Sea trench deep...
but enough, you think?
Oh wrap that gauze loosely, darling,
unless you want me to fester beneath.

 TO THE FUTURE   by Joanna M. Weston

a sip of blueberry liqueur
chases the old year
through my skin
leaving a desire
for the fermenting
of new berries

a discarded Tim Horton’s mug
spills bawdy jokes
Shakespearean swears
cold coffee
into my garbage bag


INSOMNIAC    by Joanna M. Weston

       chewed by the moon
               to rags of sleep
worn to tattered wakefulness
       these my haunting

On Wednesday       by Michele Byrne

On Wednesday
gravity released me.
Very slowly.
So that my stride lightened
Like soft glue
Un-sticking bit by bit.
At first it felt like skating.
With my feet sliding
on two millimetres of air.
I stepped off a pavement
and rose up.
I jumped over a fence.
Just to see
and kept on rising.
I windmilled for balance.
Couldn’t look
at the big nothing growing
beneath my feet.
I passed bedroom windows.
Saw rooftops,
birds’ nests, treetops.
I batted through
a flock of starlings
and felt bad
when innocent feathers
fell onto me.
Then cloud
Was all enveloping.
Soft and wet.
Swathes of mist
wrapped about me.
I swam upward into only blue.
As blue as could ever be.
The sun was a golden orb
in the east.
I saw the curve of the horizon.
Silence filled me completely.
I rose with a sense of peace.
Up into the star-speckled blackness
Of space.


This Poem Is About:      by Kevin Heaton

I love you
breathing on it’s own;
distant lust, distant self,
forever: sans eros, and flesh.

This poem is about:

lungs sighing her sorrows,
a pulse bleeding empathy,
washing her feet with tears,
sipping daylight from her smile.

Believing, without groping
the wound.

"Paper Trails"        by Steven Pacheco

   There is no heartbeat
                     in a pencil

Graphite runs cold
on the page, lingers faintly and
refuses to become one
with the paper.  It burns cool,
latent print reveals
the ghost of a smudge, a sense
of hesitation, a fear to commit
and become 
something more.

Ink spills hot,
boils on the skin and floods
into the soft chasm cut
by the warm metal of that fang.
The page breathes,
the ink bubbles and fingers
douse themselves in that dark pool,
thick smears adorn the skin
and blur the line
between art form and life form.

Frail wood splinters,
breaks apart and scatters
graphite to the corners
of every barren page.
Ink gushes forth,
runs wild and consumes all,
leaving no inch untouched
with the flush of warmth,
the hot brush and wet kiss
of passion unshackled.

Thin gray lines
fade before the stroke
of frightened fingers and
red, erasable hearts,
brushed away, into dust.
We, with inky fingers
and dark, stained skin
scribe vivid, broad lines
that will not fade and
can never be
brushed from the page 

Indian Summer      by  Kevin Heaton
Crisp northern omens
blanch green from grass
kingdoms of the summer
queen, and conceal her
cache of emeralds deep
in secret root cellars.
Miserly sycamores
grudgingly count gold leaf
into silver reflections
ambling downstream past
painted river turtles,
sunbathing before nestling
into bottom mud.
Deer and buffalo herds
bask in midday sunshine,
soliciting pardons;
precluding the inevitable
lash of winter, but for now,
all creatures rejoice amidst
the season, prior to suffering.

Burning Blue Skies     by Damian Rucci

We liked to hang around
Orange-red fires,
Smoking silly things
And sitting on old tires.
Talking about the future
Or so we believed,
Our minds were wondering
Through pale diamond seas.
The water splashed over the sparkling sand
and we smiled at the longing rocks,
sneaking from my backyard
in nothing but our socks.
I don’t know what tomorrow brings,
perhaps a cotton bed of lies
but we’ll keep sitting on the beach
burning blue skies.

Cartoon You       by Colin Gilbert
(for Franklin Hannatt, winner of the 2010 Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Atlantic City Great Face Off) 
Intimacy is a man 
willing to be ugly 
for you in public. 
Slip your fingertips 
under the waistbands
of your eyes. Press in 
as if holding a cup 
to a door, listening 
so hard it bows. 
Until the water 
balloons of your face 
can nourish newborns. 
Until your audience 
wonders if shaving cream
or soup will splash out.
Or if clouds burst
against a sidewalk. 
Spread the plumage 
of your lips wider 
than the cartoon you,
soft as Louis Armstrong’s 
deflated cheeks.
Ignore the tapping 
in your mouth. 
Do not relinquish teeth 
white as a threat.
Present the threat 
that you will not threaten.
Be the curtain of a man, 
someone somewhere 
claimed was good. Revel 
in the soft mattress 
a face becomes for a wife 
and stranger. Whether they
Believe It or Not!

2 POEMS       by  Dietmar Tauchner

blinded by night
tending to the darkness,
getting out of the mirror
at the corridor's end,
sneaking to a moonfield
there, a rose in bloom,
red and without a scent, holding
dry thorns of memories

barks, roughly rubbed
by the fall wind,
wood skin shimmering
with rain rests,
layers of history
in the stock face of 
a winter nightman,
who presses against
nothing anymore

Emptiness           by Kate Murphy

The mirror, broken & tarnished,
reflects a worn,
tired chair;
When the sun shines
through the window in the corner,
fighting through limp-hanging curtains,
streaks of rust on powder-boxes
make the silvery metal wink
Separated teeth of a silver-backed comb
point to the left,
to the door.
The oaken door, ajar,
leading out
into a darkened hallway
where delicate spider-webs,
covered in dust,
Lines of the floorboards
tracing the entrance hall,
where, at one time, smaller feet shuffled
a rhythm:
like the beating echo of a heart.

Spring      by Gretchen E. Tessmer
Once a season scorned
by missteps of her own making
led to a cautious existence
slow to anger, slow to assumptions
drawn by gestures of informality.
Thus cast, she has been
as the crutch and curiosity of so many men
who bear their souls with little prodding
served on half priced silver platters
with salted fish and holly berries
but there's nightshade in the water
and salt stings in open sores.
Farewell   by Colin Gilbert
The morning I finished the time machine
I traveled to five minutes before
we met. Nothing changed. I shot myself
back fourteen times. Each trip led me 
to the same aluminum shell and copper 
wires. Last night I returned to ten 
minutes before, trying to forget. 

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