Other notable work by Annmarie Lockhart , Shirley Allard and Lisa Marie Basile.
The Last Homecoming
I hear the lonely sound of taps
The hollow shell of salvos
Watch tears flow unchecked
From broken wives and mothers
I listen to the laughing heads
Spouting battle rhetoric
As they make dirty millions
Lounging in soft leather sofas
Safely remote from the rumbling
Roar of guns violence and death
Isn’t it easy to be a pundit
With a war oriented ideology
When you are safe in your home
Far away from the violence
That you so freely adhere to
In your metaphorical mind
In the silence of midnight sleep
When my dreams slowly wend
And set my mind-wanderings free
They presage and transcend
Why in the darkness of my dreams
Do my thoughts become imprisoned
Where do the mawkish ideas go
Or were they simply envisioned
In the sliding slothful darkness
The darkened clouds so austere
Causes the bustle in my mind
To make all sanity disappear
Here in my sleeping mind
The sounds of serenity go unheard
And the ravings of my soul burst forth
To make all living thoughts absurd
Within this mind-grown space and time
I hear only a kindred random song
And the ocean-conveyed truth is so deep
It destroys that to which I belong
But in the process of this sacred motion
My mind is purged without harsh pain
And the raging in my outer world
Is cleansed within the arcane
Soldier’s Last Stand
Mythical dreams harboring
Sad thoughts of tomorrow
Tears swiftly rising in my mind
Spreading dampness to my eyes
Man is but ideas and bones
Destined to damp soil by swords
A finite creation of procreant urges
A one-self among other-selves
A contradiction of ideals
Vaporous stream of desires
Reflection of unfulfilled dreams
A misunderstood object searching
Forever traveling the lonely path
Never finding mercy in a
World of cold dark injustice
Chosen for the task of grieving
Passing retrospection deftly
Condemned to endless wanderings
Even more craving reality
Never escaping the mind’s stillness
Pale now with numb wariness
Parting with worldly sanity
Aware of the impending shroud
With the coldness of eternity
Drops of brine damp
With stark mortality
Blurring distant visions
Of once warm dreams
Hopes for simple times
Amid the shadows
Of complex breaths
Dimming forever faith
Numbness from remembering
Disturbs the easy musings
Of fading childhood rhymes
Vanishing into cold despair
Lulled to anxious bitter tears
Hearing the lonely trumpet taps
Dark shrouds of sadness
Burst into open bitterness
Flag covered wooden shrines
Sorrowful untold mysteries
Turn northward southward
Into the deep dark abyss
Tearful eyes openly stare
Filled with an icy ache
As lost souls slowly pass
Forever silently gone
Winds gush madly
Over cold fresh graves
Where they mutely lay as
Mothers sit and mourn
Wives weep at bugle songs
Twenty-one guns salute
Muffling the ugly lie
Tokens of an unjust war
Those We Send To War
Minds still burning
Souls adrift in the
Sleep is too long
Clad in an icy
Others in rich decay
Covered in golden
Proclaim the glory
Those unable to
Live in constant
With salty cold
From high towers
Of noble birth
Feel only soft
From the crypt
Of lowly birth
Tearful souls feel
In This Armageddon
Coarsely biased pundits
Maliciously spinning brash lies
Convincing the believing ignorant
Arrogant bought politicians
Supplying purchased yes votes
With hand red with green greed
Star-studded Generals spinning
Hawkish blue lies of warfare
As our boys die for naught
Fervent bankers and greedy
Demanding their cut of gold avarice
Snuffing the life out of Main Street
Talking heads and media voices
Perjuring themselves for ratings
Daily clouding the awkward truth
Families suffering the results
Of greedy and arrogant men
In the hallowed halls of justice
People losing jobs and homes over
The inbred cult of self-indulgence
Banks indulging them for fees
Will we ever again wake up to reality
Will we ever again reject extreme
Will we ever again coalesce as one
Or is this the Armageddon we read
The end to America as we have known
Caused by a house divided against
A Sonnet for Soldiers
Church bells that peal reassuring songs
Will not reach the ears of those who die as sheep
In the blistering sands of abrasive foreign lands,
Only the ringing of rifle’s rapid salvos will
Sing across the valleys of bereavement,
No prayers or eulogies will reach their bodies
As they lie torn and bloody in gory fields of war.
No quieting voices of mothers will sooth
The deaf ears of dead, and dieing sons;
No bugles or fervent choirs will salute their bravery.
No candles will burn for their courage and a
Paleness will be the color of their lover’s brows,
When the dusk sinks into the gray horizon, and
A sore tenderness covers their children.
Rush screaming each and every hour;
He has no logical aim except to belie:
Lo and his only gift is a tainted lie,
A soft soiled gift of neo-con power:
He tarnished American’s finest hour,
He turned off the thinking spark;
Conservatives now can’t get out of the dark,
Instead, they hail Rush and cower.
Their souls have no light their hearts only dark,
Tainted minds are now cold like the sea,
Their ruptured brains all sanity free,
In their cold souls no mercy sways, Rush’s
Illogical messages gave them hearts of clay.
James Piatt earned his BS and MA from California State Polytechnic University. One of his MA concentrations was in Existential Literature. He earned a doctorate from Brigham Young University. He taught philosophy, psychology, and engineering mathematics at Allan Hancock College and was professor of education at California State Polytechnic University and Chapman University. He is now retired and spends his summers sitting along a river, writing poems and short stories and reading mystery novels. In the winter he rewrites, edits and sends his work out to publishers.
His poem September Morn was the featured poem in Word Catalyst Magazine, and more of his poems were published in November, December, January and Februrary. His poem Figueroa Mountain Graves, a top ten selection, was published in the Shadow Poetry Anthology. Apollo’s Lyre, Vox Poetica, Caper Journal and the Penwood Review have also published his poems.
Caper Journal, Word Catalyst Magazine and Everyday Weirdness Magazine published four of his short stories, Letter to a Teacher, The Old College Dean, The Uncommon Man and Lepidoptera respectively. He has had eight nonfiction essays published.
Surf and Turf
Dissonant but arranged
in some unwritten manner,
rolling surf and drunken voices
from the houseful across the sandy
street. Waves wash away slurred words
once the crowd rocks into the sleep
of the intoxicated ocean, leaving
only the melody of the tides.
A red moon rose
over the Atlantic.
It rose like a blood
sun, chasing finger
clouds from the
Van Gogh sky.
It threw no reflection
on the water, no
doubled image of
itself, but merely
rose, on a journey
of its own, over
waves of foam
on the storm-
Dolphins head north close to shore, the top stitch on
the seam of the ocean, which screams at the bay
“How come no one ever invites me out for ice cream?”
The bay doesn’t answer, just keeps licking vanilla
with rainbow sprinkles off a seashell cone.
there’s no real gift to
seeing, just observe
the greens and browns
that deepen their eyes,
the white that defines
the space between
their hands, the reds and
blues that pulse in their
veins and bloom in
the line of his lips
the story is in
every glance, every
thought they keep or
share, every tile that
fits the mosaic inlay
of the heart
the trick is
to not get lost
in detail, to not forget
the poem for love
of the stanza
look close at the
colors then step
back two paces,
watch in three
there is some power in
seeing, of course, but
there is no fault in
pretending it’s a gift
Breakup Fit for a Queen
He signaled the arc of the singing blade
she laid bare her proud white throat
for the execution he would not stay
of the one who called herself most happy.
Bones Don’t Hold Their Tongues
My sister is an observer of fossils.
Under her eye bones spit up stories
carved into their pits and scars,
fiction is cast off from ossified fact.
She can read the tales of last days
in last meals. No secrets lie safe
in the confessional diary of bone.
Human secrets unspool not knowing
what will betray them. Partially digested
bits of stalk put truth to lies, bites of flesh
speak what the tongue won’t say.
Your green tattoo will melt away,
but what striations etched on white bone
will tell your story one far-off day?
What I heard on the train, II
A reunion of sorts, the discovery
that they were sisters (in spirit)
who had much in common to tell.
One a teacher, one an entrepreneur
both knew enough young people
to see hell in a handbasket ahead.
Both looked younger than their numbers
but each insisted the other better
preserved. Chalk it up to genes.
And what do sisters do best? Especially
if they’re the just discovered kind,
they advise in matters of the heart.
Because Sister Girl, you need to
leave that no-good man behind, see
he is dragging you down. Down.
And this was agreed upon. And resolved
against. And a visit was planned to the
Root Woman. God help that man now!
Sisters left the train in different
stations. Younger sister stood on the
platform looking back, waving.
And then the phone call. Family
members reacquainting for the first
time in southern Virginia.
Annmarie Lockhart is the founding editor of vox poetica, an online literary salon dedicated to bringing poetry into the everyday. She has been reading and writing poetry since she could read and write. A lifelong Bergen County NJ resident, she lives and writes 2 miles east of the hospital where she was born.
The winter’s freeze has stripped the trees at last
One lonesome leaf left dangling on the limb
And not unlike the days of winters past
Each day is prey to Mother Nature’s whim
The garden that was once a scape of green
Is covered now with crystal mounds of white
The path goes in and out and in between
And like a maze it leads us back to night
That beacon in the midnight sky prevails
As daylight finds another path to cross
My mind is on a distant wooded trail
A forest deep where you and I are lost
Discovering some new and sacred ground
And wishing only never to be found.
I can’t possess the moment of the breeze
Or capture smells from flowers growing wild
I can’t abolish painful tragedies
Or dry the painful tears of every child
I don’t recall a time I did not long
To save the world and rescue every heart
I don’t think small but I have been so wrong
To think that I could carry out that part
I won’t give up although it seems in vain
My passion to find justice in this world
My powers to rekindle dwindling flames
Are limited but still will not be hurled
I cannot let my love of life expire
As long as there’s a spark I tend the fire.
The blinding sun arrives to paint the dawn
With red and yellow strokes against the sky
The frost has melted on the dormant lawn
While crickets chirp a lonesome lullaby
All birds retreat as worms have disappeared
Their daily song a now nostalgic tune
Escaping to a fruitful atmosphere
Where days are long and daffodils still bloom
The song of spring must now be sung within
Until the ice and snow begin to melt
The songbirds will return and once again
The birthing of a season shall be felt.
There’s but one thing that’s left to circumstance
Can hearts endure the song without the dance?
Shirley Allard lives in New Hampshire with her husband, Jim. She is a mother, a grandmother, the owner of New Century Publishing and the founding publisher and editor of Word Catalyst Magazine. She spent many years in the newspaper business and worked for several prominent New Hampshire newspapers. Her work has been published in print and on line including most recently at Sonnetwriters.com, Word Catalyst Magazine and Pig in a Poke.
Lisa Marie Basile-
The Family Portrait
she is so much like me.
We do not put sugar in our coffee,
and we are stubborn and we have
She sits there, too,
crying for my the sins of my
father. We may be the only ones,
even though he left me
with a nothing but a misunderstood,
He is the Adam and Eve
of love, broken from
but that is because his God
was a terrible, small
black-haired woman who
said she found a venetian blind around
his neck in the crib.
Everyone knows the story
about my father, the
bambino del diavolo,
and we all think she did it
God bless us.
The summer feels like mostly like
blood under scabs,
waiting for the bandages of humanity
to come again and cover the perils.
The heat is infected, and
men run around like
fools, pulling devils from their chests.
A brown sky sweeps over, and we
are sweating our sins in tequila madness.
In a fever it is over
and we huddle, lost like
wars of things we never
held in our hands.
I am in the center of
a patient desert
watching my Kachina sit
in the sand by my knees.
I will not leave until
she makes me a neclace of stars
to wrap around my throat.
I want to sing light. I want
triangle eyes, I want great
wings. Oh, I do not
want to die.
I examine her feathers
in my hands, but there are no
ways to change land into
water or heartbreak into
You will not escape most
of the voltures,
their turqouise eyes,
totem pole heartbeats,
the things Dominga
got on her knees to clean away.
She will pour milk from her own
breast, and string you up like
a God against her heart,
Cuacualti, everyone has to
answer the door someday. You
can cry into my hand.
There were no real men here,
no one that could make a little
soft claret cup bloom, no
one that could take a little
coffin varnish without feeling
like he needs to shoot a man.
I stood with a white sleeping gown in the door, and
the sunset flooded under my feet, and by the looks
on those faces they thought I was La Llorona
with my black rock eyes.
The shush was drunken,
the sound of clinking glasses against the
wood, the falling dust into the sun. I prayed
somewhere inside my godless head
don’t give them lick and a promise,
don’t smile don’t smile don’t talk.
It takes a crazy batch of sweaty men
to make me sing my scorpio song
Lisa Marie Basile is an MFA student, writer and editor living in New York. Her full-length poetry collection will come out in 2012 by Červená Barva Press.