Category Archives: Poetry Spring 2018

“Herbal Pleasure” by Nadira Boddie

Tea is a
beverage to nurture
the soul

The array of
comfort water
warms the body

Lime rivers entice
the taste buds
to take another

sip from the
ceramic nipple
Floral delights dart

across the tongue
like a sweet
fish swimming in

an ocean mouth
Mix berry potion
combined with sandy
sweetener make for
an enticing concoction
A licorice like

liquid stings with
its tart tail
but is assuaged

by the bronze
Mint soothes

the body
This drinkable therapist
creates a sense

of calm to
the spirit

“She Bends” by Ashley R. Carbaugh

Roots run deep
Deep enough for strength
Through storms
Trees bend against the wind
The deeper the roots
Through the years
The rings of life increase
As the scars add up
Storms after storms
The roots hold strong
After all these years
She bends but never breaks

“I Think I’ll Leave” by Ashley R. Carbaugh

I think I’ll leave
I think I’ll go
Leave this place
Go where no one knows me

I think I’ll try
I think I’ll be
Try to live without fear
Be at peace within my skin

I think I’ll love
I think I’ll live
Love more
Live more

“For The Little Girl Within” by Ashley R. Carbaugh

She is there for her
She folds into a ball
When no one else is
When the darkness falls

She is there for her
She tells her it is ok
When the monsters play
When the fear explodes

She was there for her
Because no one else was
She was there for her
For the little girl within

“Pillars in the Forest” by Joy Merchant

marble white columns of the quaking aspen
golden leaves flutter at the smallest provocation
quiet Pando, tens of thousands of clones, hundreds of acres
trembling ancient giant
resilient, regenerative
the world’s largest organism
its heart far beneath the ground
“we must protect these trees,” she tells her children
they dig a hole in their backyard
plant a newly sprouted conifer, give it a name
mowed over a week later

“Flick Off the Tip” by Joy Merchant

Across the street they light up,
watching cars pass before it’s puffed.
Tossing it to the ground because no one’s around.
Yet it remains

Behind a building, in a hidden corner,
opposing the school’s smoke-free order.
Igniting carcinogen sticks to get a quick fix.
Unable to abstain,
I implored her:

Keep a good grip,
flick off the cherry tip.
Don’t litter those handheld cylinders.
If it’s decomposing in the grass
you’re a jackass.

Send the butt far away
to a garbage dump where it’ll decay.
Two years, ten, easily forgotten on a hill of trash untrodden.
Maybe we should campaign
for an ashtray.

“The Pipes” by Aedan Cushman Reynolds

‘Ere the sun rose one fine autumn day
‘Fore the sun could whisk the dew away
A piper played across the glen,
And o’er the top went the highland men.

In rows by rows they marched proud
Ignoring all the horrific sounds
Of bullets and shells whizzing by
And the screams of those who slowly die

Still they marched on and on
All under the morning Sun.
Till by mid-day there was no sound
But the cries of men who lay on the ground.

And what of our piper who stood the tide?
A blood stained sash lay by the side.
Of a man who once played for the highland men
Ne’er more to be seen again.

“The Dark Knight” by Shawn Demetrius Price

In a world based on hatred,
I did not stay placed.
I escaped the flames,
Burnt crosses,
Police violence
Gang bangin’,
I couldn’t even die by my own hand,
I just wake up.

I have lived 9 lives,
With the will of 1000 men,
But I’ve been given no name,
They say,
Me and my brethren
All look the same.

“Lord give me strength”
That’s how I maintain.
No happening,
I was simply born this way.

I am just a black man,
But I’ve had to save myself every day.

“Sprout” by Raymond Kerr

In the face of the sun, we rose
cracking the compounded compost of life,
fresh and green; we peeped through the steam…
strong and straight, like blades of grass in spring.
to the best and worst of things, we clinged
and made the most of everything
to soften the sting of adverse weathering.

In the comfort of the moon’s light,
blanketed by night, we soundly slept…
while beasts that would root out our minds’ depths
cleverly crept across our earthen beds
waiting for our sprouts to rear their heads
not to christen them with dew,
but to pluck them from whence they grew.

In the season of our maturity,
we bore the fruit that was nurturing,
full and sweet, hung low within reach,
fastened to their limbs strong and true;
fragrant, firm, and full of hue…
infused with the sun—kissed; live anew,
and the beauty of it all, presented in full view.

“Ancient Places” by John Uilkema

The William and Ivy Saylor Prize Winner (2018)


I stand underneath a monster of blood and necessity.
Moss strewn brick walls caress the edge of this maw.
The half-moon arch is wet with the drool seeping from above.
The she-beast stands among her brethren parting the land.
She has forever given her stolen milk to tail-biting children,
waiting at her end. She is life given form, martyr given name,
a siphon of life, and the object of my lust.