Redhawk Waterfall by Rick Stephen


Click on the photo above to view a larger version on my Fine Art America page. Thanks!

No comments yet


The Jockey by Elise Hempel

American Life in Poetry: Column 598

I’d guess that many of us like old toys. As a boy I had a wind-up tin submarine that dove and surfaced, and a few years ago I saw one just like it in the window of an antique store, making me, of course, an antique. Here’s a poem by Elise Hempel of Illinois, from Able Muse: A Review of Poetry, Prose & Art. Her newest book, Second Rain, will be out in the spring of 2016, from Able Muse Press.

The Jockey

Atop his exhausted buggy with its
rusted wheels and now-stuck key,
one boot missing, a faded jersey,
the bill of his cap cracked off, he sits

behind a nicked brown horse that once
flicked its tail, clattered around
planked floor or rug when the buggy was wound
after school by children who’ve since

fallen behind him, white-haired or gone,
as he still waves the flopping spring
of his crop, still stares through dimming
goggles, gathering gray ribbons

of dust in his silent, frozen race
down an ever-unfurling track,
hunched to win, leaving far back
all claps and laughter, his once-smooth face

scarred and pitted, just the white
fleck of a smile now, more a sneer,
his empty fists on the reins of air
still holding tight.

No comments yet


Selfless by Rick Stephen

\ˈsel-fləs\ adjective

having or showing great concern for other people
and little or no concern for yourself

a goal,
a dream,
for the self-centered fool
that I am,
an impossibility

No comments yet


Curtains by Stuart Dybek

American Life in Poetry: Column 597

Stuart Dybek was born in Chicago, where there are at least a couple of hundred hotels a poet might stroll past, looking up at the windows. Here’s a poem from his book, Streets in Their Own Ink, from Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.


Sometimes they are the only thing beautiful
about a hotel.
Like transients,
come winter they have a way of disappearing,
disguised as dirty light,
limp beside a puttied pane.
Then some April afternoon
a roomer jacks a window open,
a breeze intrudes,
resuscitates memory,
and suddenly they want to fly,
while men,
looking up from the street,
are deceived a moment
into thinking
a girl in an upper story
is waving.

No comments yet


Absence by Rick Stephen

/ˈabsəns/ noun

the state of being away from
a place or person,
the nonexistence
or lack of …

your touch,
your scent,
your way …

No comments yet


Fisher’s Club by Sharon Chmielarz

If you wish, you may visit the archived columns at www.americanlifeinpoetry.org, where you may find other poems by the poets we feature. Today’s is the third we’ve published by Sharon Chmielarz. a Minnesota poet with several fine books in print, including The Widow’s House, just released by Brighthorse books.

Fisher’s Club

A roadside inn. Lakeside dive. Spiffed up.
End of a summer day. And I suppose
I should be smiling beneficently
at the families playing near the shore,
their plastic balls and splashes and chatter.

But my eye pivots left to a couple;
he is carrying her into the water.
He’s strong enough, and she is light
enough to be carried. I see
how she holds her own, hugging
his neck, his chest steady as his arms.

I have never seen such a careful dunk,
half-dunk, as he gives her. That beautiful
play he makes lifting her from the water.

And I suppose I should be admiring
the sunset, all purple and orange and rose now.
Nice porch here, too. Yeah, great view.

But I have never seen such a loving
carrying as he gives her. Imagine

being so light as to float
above water in love.

No comments yet


Delivered by Cynthia Ventresca

American Life in Poetry: Column 585

The greeting card companies are still making money, though the inventive online “cards” are gaining ground. Here’s a poem about pen and ink greeting cards, by Cynthia Ventresca, who lives in Delaware.


She lived there for years in a
small space in a high rise that saw
her winter years dawn. When the past
became larger than her present,
she would call and thank us for cards
we gave her when we were small;
for Christmas, Mother’s Day, her birthday,
our devotion scrawled amidst depictions
of crooked hearts and lopsided lilies.

She would write out new ones,
and we found them everywhere—unsent;
in perfect cursive she wished us joy,
chains of x’s and o’s circling her signature.
And when her time alone was over,
the space emptied of all but sunshine, dust,
and a cross nailed above her door,
those cards held for us a bitter peace;
they had finally been delivered.

No comments yet


“Think Like Water” Poetry Workshops

This may be of interest, if you live in the Southern California area:


Dear Los Angeles Poet Society Members and Friends,

Check out all the great poetry happenings in Eagle Rock this summer!
Come on down starting Tuesday, June 14, and every other Tuesday after that, to learn new poetic techniques and styles this summer! Each class is only $5, and you get a journal! Taught by LAPS Founder & Poet, Jessica M. Wilson MFA!

No comments yet


One Poet’s Paradox – Rick Stephen

One Poet’s Paradox

I put words to paper
in relentless attempts
to persuade you
I am no fraud

But how can I
sway you when
I fail to convince
even myself?

Endless words
penned countless times
to prove that which I
can’t accept myself.



My Dead by Tim Nolan

tim-nolan-298x450American Life in Poetry: Column 583

At some moment every day I call up a memory of one or another of my family members who have passed on, so I was especially taken with this poem by Tim Nolan, who lives in Minnesota. His forthcoming book is The Field, (New Rivers Press, October, 2016).

My Dead

They grow in number all the time
The cat, the Mother, the Father
The grandparents, aunts, and uncles

Those I knew well and hardly at all
My best friend from when I was ten
The guy who sat with me in the back

Of the class where the tall kids lived
Bill the Shoemaker from Lyndale Avenue
The Irish poet with rounded handwriting

They live in The Land of Echo, The Land
Of Reverb, and I hear them between
The notes of the birds, the plash of the wave

On the smooth rocks. They show up
When I think of them, as if they always
Are waiting for me to remember

I drive by their empty houses
I put on their old sweaters and caps
I wear their wristwatches and spend

Their money. So now I’m in six places
At once—if not eighteen or twenty
So many places to be thinking of them

Strange how quiet they are with their presence
So humble in the low song they sing
Not expecting that anyone will listen

No comments yet

Back to top


Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: