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Currently Featuring the 2014 Special Theme Issue
 "The Last Time I Ran Away"

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Flash Fiction piece, "Smoke and Mirrors" by Marian Brooks.


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River Poets Journal

A Journal of Poetry/Prose

Art & Photography

Below - Sampling of  Poetry and Art from 2014 River Poets Journal Special Edition

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On that page click on "River Poets Journal Special Edition 2014" pdf file 

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Poems by River Poets Journal Contributors
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This page was last updated: May 20, 2014
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Judith Lawrence, Editor
Alice Justifies
It’s not like I meant to be gone
so long.  My parents pissed me off.
I needed some air, and there’s no
law against chasing rabbits.  Is there?
I have always been clumsy.  Tripping
over nothing, falling
down a hole, landing in another world
shouldn’t be all that big a surprise.
Okay, drinking
the shrinking tea wasn’t my best decision,
but that was enchantment not inebriation,
and the man in that pimp hat was
really persuasive.  His coat might have passed
as a uniform, and I needed
help.  How the hell was I supposed to know
the freaking monarch was a lunatic with more
issues than a Jerry Springer marathon.
The important thing is that I made it back,
eventually.  No visible scars.  Maybe
just a few lingering nightmares about a cat
with an incessantly maniacal grin.

  ©A.J. Huffman

Things I’ve Never Known

There are things I’ve never known,
like lonely nights in Keflavik
and heated words in Memphis.
And there are things I’ve never touched,
like cobblestones and hazel hair.

And you:
An elusive dream, always ahead of me,
turning grass where I lie to brown,
and making walls around me far too close.

But I keep packing my one bag,
striving in hopeless pursuit
from town to town and room to room;
never giving up, never catching up.
Seeking stones and hair on lonely roads.
                                        © Lennart Lundh

A city, not my own

It’s almost evening once again, 
and I haven’t checked schedules, prices, 
haven’t made a reservation. Small 
flowered hedges go blurry lavender, 
and across the street a neighbor’s daughter 
sits in her yard: one shoe discarded, 
white socks and hair bow askew, looking 
like a painting by Renoir. Thelonious Monk 
drifts from the apartment above. Home fades, 
detail lost; brothers and sisters have children 
I’ve never seen. My lease has expired; 
each month I think I’ll put in notice, 
but don’t. I asked the landlord if I could 
build shelves in the alcove; Sure, he said. 
Sure. Now every shelf is filled. He’ll likely
jack the rent for his next tenant, point out 
built-in shelves, hand-waxed, hand-rubbed. 
I should send a letter home, a photograph 
or two. Maybe with Adrienne on the bridge 
that reminds us of Giverny, Monet’s swirling 
blues and greens. But, this neighborhood 
has begun to feel like family. Later, 
I’ll meet Brick, stroll the district, something 
going on at every corner: music, mimes, 
poetry. Look! Tiny petals fill the wind 
like snowflakes. The neighbor’s child 
picks up her ball, goes indoors.  

                                                     ©Ann Howells
The End

I once set off for Arizona 
after being worn out by my wife 
for being drunk and a fool. 

After screaming my head off 
about how lousy life must be 
with a terrible bastard like me, 
I crawled into my beat-up Mustang 
(drunker as Cooter Brown) 
with only my guitar and a credit card, 
determined never to return.

I only got as far as 
the Motel 6 in Lafayette,
some fifty miles away.
I drove home the next day,
hungover and chagrined,
and swore to my wife
I'd never do it again;
so I don't drink
the hard stuff
any more.

                                ©John Lambremont, Sr

The Street Art Issue

Not one person sitting in these rows 
of reclining seats knows who I am.  
They nod, smile, make polite conversation.  
When I stare out the window 
at the expanse of blue seated upon cotton candy, 
I feel the space beneath my skin.

I move from one city to the next, 
stopping sometimes to savor
street scenes, museums, natural 
wonders. I drink coffee
in cafes where I am allowed 
to sit for hours, even if I order 
only one tiny cup of espresso.  

When loneliness sinks its blade 
too deep, I join a group or say “yes” 
to the traveler asking
if I want to get a bite.  
Then comes this in-the-moment closeness— 
remarkable—memorable, even. 
And the drama simmering back home 
bleeds into the changing sky.

                                                 ©Kari Wergeland

Tree House

No one had tree houses where I grew up.
At age nine or ten I scramble up the wooden telephone pole,
run away to my garage roof.
Cooing pigeons share my roost.
Cardinals’ red feather- paintbrushes blur past me. 

A squirrel startles me,
its gray and black coat speckled like the shingles.
It inches toward me when it hears the wrapper tear
on the almond chocolate bar
I take from my pink and black bandanna.

I curl my fingers on both hands
then peer through the tiny holes like binoculars,
toss back my hair pretending
to be one of Charlie’s Angels spotting crime,
but really just scouting our neighbors’ tomatoes
turning from green to red.

Cars streaming down our street, 
the snap of a bat and wiffle ball, 
even my Aunt calling me 
all seem far off up here,
as though I’m ghosting over my world, watching.
I could choose to reach out, touch it
like the Dogwood branches brushing the roof
or let it wait
till I’m ready.

A foot in both worlds
I move slower on the way down,
feeling each black metal rung
pressing the soles of my feet.

                                                       ©Cheryl A. Van Beek

Street Art - Jef Aerosol - Paris, France

Street Art - by Slater

A Painting Man - Korea

Street Art by Nick Walker - Paris, France

Street Art - Artist Unknown

Mural-by-Natalii-Rak - Białymstoku, Poland