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Currently Featuring the 2016 Special Edition

The Signature Poem Anthology

Review Submission/Guidelines for year round submissions

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Lilly Press

River Poets Journal

A Journal of Poetry/Prose

Art & Photography

Below - Sampling of  Poetry and Art from the 2016
Special Edition Anthology of Signature Poems

To view the entire Journal - Select "Special Editions-Anthologies  from the menu above.

On that page click on "The Signature Poem issue - 2016 - PDF

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Poems by River Poets Journal Contributors
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 by the individual Authors and Artists/Photographers

Musical Composition by Sandy Bender
"Half Sleep"

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This page was last updated: August 4, 2016
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Over-Inspiration

Here it comes
  again so soon

Oh dear God no
  oh yes
  the moon

Once more

paged up and pulled
another raised wolf whisker
further and farther off
course

by the shadow call
of its 8 billionth poem

waning in
a rising tide
of deep reference

on the bemused earth below

                     ©Mark van Gelder
All Digital Artwork on this page by Catrin Welz-Stein
The Man in the Moon
At Nine, This Is My Church

Aunt Helen’s house smells like the end of summer:
old wood and tobacco, dust and lilacs.
Nearly noon and the butter-yellow walls 
of my aunt’s kitchen glow with amaurotic sunlight, 
sharpening the gleam of anything in my squinted sight-line. 

From my mother’s lap, on the only chair that isn’t
rigged with a broomstick planked with doughy strips 
of egg noodles in all stages of drying,
I watch my aunt lean her heft 
over the doddering wood table,
her body rocking the dough to submission:

roll, roll, flour, fold--roll, roll, flour fold.
Her wadded knuckles, bent against the butcher
knife, slice out consistent thin ribbons, 
her plump hands so graceful and deliberate;

each rolled slice unfurling to noodles and laid across
the floured rack to dry. And their talk, 
murmured in unison with the knock of
knife to wood, that rumbled intimacy that sisters have.

She nods, lowers the first fist of noodles into 
the salted pot of water, nudging her wrist against 
her dark tousled hair, in her shortness of breath;
asks if I’m hungry yet.

                           ©Lorraine Henrie Lins

It is all connected
Heat Lightning

I lowered the anchor over the side, and watched 
as the splayed, cast iron behemoth 
plundered through green light to the bottom. Waves lapped 
boat ribs, making a drowsy, metallic thud.

Pink lightning, forked tongued, struck the western night sky, 
threatening bad weather.

Naw, it’s just heat lightning, Tom graveled.
Won’t bother us.

I thought of electric fences, and how lightning coursed 
along the wire once, killing a man not ten feet from me. 

I thought of my own un-holiness, and how
the fires do not purge. I thought of a thousand ways to die.

The heat-cracked night pressed down.
The water, the only certainty. I exist somewhere
between God and my understanding of God.

                                                         ©Bruce Majors

(Originally published by Number One Literary Magazine, volume 41, 2013) 

The Sandman
How To Fight Like A Girl

To fight like a girl
you must first become an ocean
to hold the crush of tears
pooling beneath the ducts.

You must learn to walk 
through the day with a fish of fear
floating through
the coral of your belly.

At the sound of battle,
you must paint your nails
the boldest blood shade of red
and use them like shark teeth
to maim and masticate
those piranha emotions
gnawing at your strength.

You must get off your knees
after the tentacles of cancer and chemo,
nausea and fatigue, pain and weakness
grasp your body and feed on all things woman.

You must remember you are a woman
when lavas of sweat roll from your bald head
and flank your face, and your lips crack and flake
like a dried beach.

You must stand straight, wash yourself in softness, 
tattoo stars on your fists and sing praises
for the half-moons in the sky of your breasts.

                                   ©Loretta Diane Walker  

(Previously published in (94 Creations Literary Journal, October 2013, Her Texas, March 2015)

Flower Power
Dusk in a Maine Winter

Gray-blue sea and sky
fog creeping over the dunes
a blur of circular brightness
hinting at the moon
stately dark branches
dusted with snow
resting places
for cawing crows
As they take wing
the cold chill of evening
beckoning me home.

                 ©Jane Sloven


Tightrope
    No Rain Today
Visit the Reading Room for Flash Fiction Story 'Rue" by Marie Brack