MTPR

Monday Poems

'Right'

Jan 18, 2016

The other one has tried to reach it
across the ocean of the shoulder,
tried to stop it from hitting, from sending
a man to death with a scribbled word.

The body wishes it would listen
more to the body, refuse for once
this urge to travel an alley without
eye, tongue, or the two versatile feet.

The heart, tomorrow, will have her way
with it. Like the bones of the rib cage,
so birds of the air. The river will turn
in its path, the blue ground angle up,

"the little shits in daycare"

Jan 11, 2016
Many Voices Press / Flathead Valley Community College

substitute teaching one day
they, too young to be properly diagnosed
a.d.d, a.d.h.d, FAS,
abused, neglected,
child of an alcoholic
3rd born in a line of 5
whatever
they were out of control
unmedicated
unruly
i walk in to rule
not
in one day can i undo
all that's been done to them
instead
of being the calm in the eye of the storm
i become the wicked witch upon which
the house lands
barely
escaping with my life
as i wave goodbye
have a nice day

'Every Place I've Ever Lived Is Gone'

Jan 4, 2016
Cazz

pecan groves outside of Lafayette,
the pine woods north of Spokane,

the field by my house where the snow piled deep,
where a snow owl passed so silently and low

it changed my idea of ghosts—
now they're stores,

and neighborhoods named after trees,
and spillover parking for a church,

and maybe the choir sings hymns so beautifully
it's fine; I'll call it the future, agree that it's bright.

But west of Washtucna, Washington,
the highway stretches through the dark...

"Before I Go"

Dec 21, 2015
tymesynk

I want to say the guacamole was pleasant,
metallic and viscous, and the ornamentation,
while excessive, contributed a certain vagueness
to the otherwise overly-managed event. For instance,
the various proposals concerning the movement
of shoulders and hips; the recent prohibition
of leaning-beside-the-punch-bowl; the manic outbursts
of praise near the X-mas tree. For that matter,
the damaging claims made by carolers, the rigid order
for the revelation of gifts, the marked lack of scholarship

"The Ground, Which Is Only Heavy Wind"

Nov 30, 2015
Melissa Kwasny, Mary Austin Speaker / Milkweed Editions

The women of the interior prepare themselves for pain by igniting small piles of fir needles on their wrists. I, too, want to age in the mountains, though all my life, I have avoided the extreme. When I turn away in public from the women with white hair, I become less public presence. To stumble on time: the biographic tradition, rift in the concrete I hit with my boots. I have been traveling away from home. I must return to it. Buffalo are the animals women were taught to emulate. They take care of their young. They mate for life, not like the deer, who are flighty and promiscuous.

"Moose"

Nov 23, 2015
University of Montana Press

Let's call it by its Algonquin name:
"he strips off"
                            or, if you will,
"the sage" or "respectful one." Not a twig
left on top of another, not a single flower
sticking out from the prairie.

Someone (perhaps a hunter)
once said it was ugly,
that its snout and antlers were too big,
that it was ungraceful and dumb.

When the moose hears this,
it just shrugs its shoulders
and munches quietly on the water lilies
or the tree bark.

"Grille"

Nov 16, 2015

As if through glass, through windows, in a café, in the afternoon or early evening, in June, in June or November, month like a fetish of gray—a month of water hanging onto itself; until it drizzles, a month of dulled light—he is seen for a moment, accidentally, between appointments, in the middle of errands, walking down steps, the cement steps, say, of an old bank—old enough for granite, for columns—pulling his keys out of his pocket, or gripping the small black remote that replaces keys (which you can't hear the sound of, behind all this glass), and approaching his car, so that for an ins

"Goddammit"

Nov 9, 2015
Mel McCudden / Lost Horse Press

We learn to swear from our fathers
when they're chopping wood
and miss the log,
axe skimming bark
off the woodblock,
dew off the grass,
goddammit raising its hot white streak
into November.

When my father's scanner
picks up police reports,
he's pulling on Key pants,
grabbing black jacket,
out to the garage to pull the tarp
off the tow truck.
I wake to hear the engine
having it out with the cold.

"Grandmother Rattler"

Nov 2, 2015
University of Arizona Press

who coils in my bones,
what were you thinking that summer night
when you found the warm road
on the edge of the canyon and stopped
just there exactly at the center
where the pickups and cars and evening walkers would see
your spiral upon spiral,
hear the singing voice of your tail,
see your black head rising?

When I stopped my car
and walked up to you,
arms spread and hands open,
why didn't you move?
Why didn't you slide down the stones

"Flying Toad"

Oct 26, 2015
James Walsh

Plastic bracelet signifies
unescorted minor. Fidgety
pre-teen assigned
to the seat beside me. Shuttled
twixt Dad's new life,
Mom and her boyfriend back home.
Up in the air.

"Raindreams"

Oct 19, 2015
Tony Alter

Tent collapsed.
Greg's eyes wide:
Oh shit I'm sleeping in water.
Our light tries, but dies.
Pound stake with shoe!
(The ground resists—it's the Rocky Mountain Front.)

Nylon wall hold wind at a distance,
a boat carrying our sleepy heads
through familiar smells of old records,
hidden cigarettes, sweaty coins from the '50s when...
an invisible lizard climbs up my neck,
scurries through my hair to the base of my skull.

"A Quiet Poem About Marital Sex"

Oct 12, 2015
Christine Holbert / Lost Horse Press

Put your fire to my forest
and pour on oil.

Your gasoline to the struck tip
of the waiting match

and I will stop whatever I'm doing
because in a minute you and I will burn down the world.

Set fire to the pipeline!
See the winter melt in less than sixty seconds,

all the wells of the glittering earth ignite
from underground at once in a thousand sites

and in a thousand cities the beacon fires on the fortified walls
say, We've won!

The gates won't wait for dawn!
They open now!

"Song, with Angus

Oct 5, 2015

The cat with his underbite looks like a bony old man
without teeth. Not
Grendel who tortures blind rodents and once
that rabbit, meek
as Christ.

"Of All the Gifts She Ever Gave Him—"

Sep 21, 2015
Rune Guneriussen/Christine Holbert / Lost Horse Press

the empty lake, the static on the radio, the years
with missing handle bars—

the one that halfway fit him was the gloves.
He wore them all spring, then all summer, weeding

even by moonlight, relentless as a ghost,
as constant as the sky we ignore

'til geese fly south and give us a reason to look:
their sad, odd honking like the sound of our desire...

Of course, he was crazy;
all the couples on our street know that.

One morning we woke to the noise of him weeding
his house, uprooting the plumbing, uprooting

"The River of Light"

Sep 7, 2015
CGAphoto

As liquid verdigris or, shaded,
Flowing onyx, the river
Knots, spinning loose

Denticles of fresh cold, catching
A willow branch in a current circlet
Where an ouzel stretches and folds

Mimicking electric spray.
Along both shores, ruby Mimulus
Sparks, Coneflower radiates.

This Is About Darkness

Aug 31, 2015
vasse nicolas, antoine

The forsythia eats sunlight
near the open barn door
where Bill Perry stands in his overalls watching
his dappled-gray Percheron, Pike.

The largest horse on record was a Percheron,
a mare, twenty-one hands
high. This stallion stands, easy,
at nineteen.

Pike can pull a Cadillac up Humpback Mountain
in a headwind.

Three haiku verses from Tyler Knott Gregson's forthcoming collection All The Words Are Yours:  Haiku On Love.

I know not the when
or the why of all of this,
I just know it's you.

"Song of the Powers"

Aug 10, 2015
Bonnie Brezette

Mine, said the stone,
mine is the hour.
I crush the scissors,
such is my power.
Stronger than wishes,
my power, alone.

Mine, said the paper,
mine are the words
that smother the stone
with imagined birds,
reams of them, flown
from the mind of the shaper.

Mine, said the scissors,
mine all the knives
gashing through paper’s
ethereal lives;
nothing’s so proper
as tattering wishes.

"Deer Dance"

Aug 3, 2015
Jim McIntosh

This morning
when the chill that rises up from the ground is warmed,
the snow is melted
where the small deer slept.
See how the bodies leave their mark.
The snow reveals their paths on the hillsides,
the white overcrossing pathways into the upper meadows
where water comes forth and streams begin.
With a new snow the unseen becomes seen.
Rivers begin this way.

"Wool Blanket"

Jul 27, 2015
gaakO-o

I slept in the valley
shivering, neck sore
from carrying a dead tree
across my shoulders

I needed the wood
but more
I needed the pain

Raccoon wind
shudders brittle leaves
as when you get a sudden chill
and they say:

"someone has just walked
across your grave"

Twig snaps  –
& I burrow deeper
wishing I had brought
that wool blanket

glad, almost,
that I didn't

"It's Shifts Of Sideways If She Talks To You"

Jul 20, 2015
2011-12-23
Hettle Price

For the teenager certain she is ugly, it's shifts
of sideways if she talks to you. Words
drop out of her mouth. She tries to get behind herself

and squeeze down
to a gash in the ground.
Oh she would love to roll from her skin

and disgust you. And stick it, yeah, to your candy pity.
She takes a deep breath
and throws her hair around like rocks.

"Want Song"

Jul 13, 2015

Two musics washing over me, and morning asks,   
which loneliness comes closest to the inky
chromatics inside you?
How can I answer?   
The cricket in the tarantula’s cage
chirrs the next world.
Meanwhile, scraps of Chopin float
up the stairs on my wife’s trilling fingers
which played me whole
worlds ago, last night, when I was buried in weThe Write Question blog

The Happy Campers

Jul 6, 2015
Al_HikesAZ

"Si jeunessa sav ait..."

Leaning into the truck,
grinning into the camera,
they camp out in their adolescence
and my front yard
with the insolent charm
of young colts,
sleek with knowing,
wobbly with experience.

The moment I shoot them
I know this is it:
for grace of limb,
studied slouch
the matching dew rags,
rakish hat I wish I could wear.

After the click
they come back to life as if
the magic just goes on.
The truck jolts into gear and,
with careless wave of hands,
they're gone.

"Is The Ouzel Stupid?"

Jun 29, 2015

Though you've spent
your life practicing,
you still don't seem
to understand
how water works.
You aren't supposed
to bounce
that clear pool
then hop the gravel
bottom of the
fastest current
like a robin on
a courthouse lawn—
or flit back
to your rock
and dip like a fat
boxer at a shadow
without arms.
Birds don't work
that way.
Jesus, nothing works
that way.
I'd sooner believe
a small gray
meatloaf
had paddled
the Mississippi to
the Continental Divide.

Niko Pettersen

I hit the town
the way some stranger
steps off a bus...collar up,
head down, feet first.
I said what I could
under my breath,
saw a star hang it up
above the street,
pushed my way past the thought of coffee
(three way clapboard post office,
bus stop, and cafe)
and straight into Lib's Bar.

Four shots later
(my nerves on ice—
head back, collar down,
sacked on my feet)
this cowpoke,
an 8th grader,
lip of snoose,
silver dollar chuckle,
called his shot on cue,
three-banked the eight,

"Hardscrabble Prairie Triptych"

Jun 1, 2015
Chris M. Morris

——Follow Me

I know a place where barb-wire
wreathes the heaped bones of horse.
I know where we can shoulder our bright

rifles and bag a twine string
of rabbits. It's out past the alkali basin,
right in the dark yawn of that sod-roof shack.

——It'll Get You Every Time

See how gravel breathes the river?
How water slows and pools, now begins
to stink? I pull mussels from their nests of mud,

"in god's world"

May 25, 2015
R & R Publishing

questioning gods and wars
are acts of treason.
hell is the reqard
for questioners;
prison for not playing
by the rules. not
doing what you're told
can get you killed
in war, and isn't it
more or less always war
in god's world?

don't be deceived
by snakes or moles.
come inside the temple.
the exterminator
will keep you safe
from the vermin
out there who scratch
damp, fecund dirt
and wallow like swin
in their own
sweet pungency.

"Moment: Grand Canyon"

May 18, 2015
Grand Canyon National Park Service

We have just arrived.
We are standing on the south rim
looking down, feeling our bodies slip

and fall away from us past the cliff face
into that deep space below. We feel light
and small now, our equilibrium shaken, as we watch

the raven riding thermals, its sleek black feathers
shining in the sun as it glides just above the rim
then drops down again. Out across the chasm

Shiva's Temple rises above a moat
of mist and seems to float. Someone aims
a camera, someone puts his hand in his pocket

"Six Women Laughing"

Apr 27, 2015
Sean Dreilinger

Backdrop: spirit mountains,
rustling trees, sounds and scents
of late spring. Evening sun
squanders deepest crimson.
To this we drink and to our lives
come together fleetingly and full.
Birds flash at the feeder, call
of an Eurasian dove, an enormous
bee bumps into the glass.

"Normal"

Apr 20, 2015
Paul Sullivan

At the Helena bus depot a deaf man and his sister
wait in a hard, sideways wind.
When the driver asks the man a question,
he points to his ears and shakes his head No.
Raising my eyebrows, I tilt my head,
circle a shape in the air with my hands,
sign language
?
His face breaks into such a good smile.
Yes! He nods his fist at the wrist, Yes, sign.

Pages