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River Poets Journal

A Journal of Poetry/Prose

Art & Photography

Sampling of  Poetry and Art from 2013 River Poets Journal Autumn/Winter Edition

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

Music by Sandy Bender
This page was last updated: February 1, 2014
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Judith Lawrence, Editor


You still use rain, breathe in
till your mouth is full 
-you can’t jump clear, grow huge

on a sky that has no holes, no Earth 
-what did you say, what words
were helped along, holding on to the others

all the way down, facing the sun
though who know where this thirst
first as ashes, now your own

is kept warm for the whispers
not needed anymore -only rain
as necessary as bending down

comes this close and your voice
more and more feeble, bathes you
lowers you, covers you.
                                                     ©Simon Perchik


The morning placed its cold
clammy hand on my shoulder,
its fingers closing on the bone 
as I read my paper.
Three pigeons conspired 
atop a brown brick wall,
the middle one never breaking 
eye contact with me.
The blue coffee mug was home 
to a tribe of Indians,
their campfire spiraling up
to my still sleepy nostrils.
You entered the living room 
through a dusty sunbeam,
your smile closing the drawers
of my thoughts, one by one.

                                           ©Darryl Davis


An ebon tempest swirls across the sky
negating the serenity of dawn
along with any clever thoughts that I
may someday change my status as a pawn
and hinting that Apocalypse draws nigh
like hoarfrost creeping slowly on the lawn,
for scavengers are certain to appear
when chaos conquers all that we hold dear.

But when the sun ascends the crows abate
and roost beside that river to the west,
I labor for the nonce and calmly wait
until the day that I can truly rest,
oblivious to concepts such as fate—
a jester cannot change the need to jest
nor alter when that distant glowing ball
(like everything we know) at last will fall.

                         ©Robert Cameron Hazelton


Is it the uncertainty of weather, 
rush hour traffic, the crackle 
of windswept leaves,
or the Evening News, 
that reminds us
how little time we have?

As children we were taught simple lessons: 
to say please and thank you, 
to look both ways
before crossing the street, 
that the human heart
is never satisfied.

Aren’t we like that girl at the bus stop—
short skirt, one wool sock pulled 
tight at her knee, the other lost
around her ankle—bewildered
by the distance we must travel?

One wrong turn can take us places
we may never return from.
Yet we keep wandering, 
following that far away horizon, 
paying our toll along the way,
ever hopeful, that somewhere 
beyond the longitudes of grief and regret
we will find that innocence again.

                                                     ©Jason Irwin

All Art Works by Marc Chagall

Your leaving always dropped a needle on
a 1960's bossa nova record - arms
in syncopation as your hips
marked time.
Each of us has a music we can lean
into, the way some women
put on perfume.
In college a professor once
played Billie Holiday half-speed
so that each syllable was
liquid longing.
Talking over coffee I tilted to
the fluid egress living
in your speech.

                                               ©Ed Granger


So much more snow.
Hours of snow alight.

The mailman, Howard,
has managed his delivery,
but so far from the house
I bleed my strength while wading
through heavy drifts.

My bones prime for collapse.

Silence comes at me, still.

Awed by windless snow,
insistent silent snow,
my pulse slows,
my mind denies a future.

I am content to sleep,
but too much awed by so much snow
I have no ready cave,
no ready bed of moss and leaves.

                                         ©Keith Moul