Chronogram Poetry | October 2019 | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

Are you old?
Am I young?
When are you going to die?

-Piper Jaden Levine (3 1/2 years old)

you’re never gonna guess...right


Days of Our Lives

his hospice nurse was the first to notice
the hourglass was glued to the table
she thought it best to say nothing
“It’s the riddle of the sands.”
he smiled as he stirred
not sweet ‘n low
white sugar
white sugar
not sweet ‘n low
he smiled as he stirred
“It’s the riddle of the sands.”
she thought it best to say nothing
the hourglass was glued to the table
his hospice nurse was the first to notice

-Neal Whitman

The Corner of Broadway and Prospect

(For M.A.)

In the building trades
we die a hundred times
see a thousand murders
and a few dozen tasteful suicides
once a brother’s had enough.

Each layoff is an ending.
The next job brings rebirth.
That check will come again
after another safety orientation
and the meaningless doling of stickers.

We’re immortal
and building America
with our livers ironically dying.
We go home to wash off the road
and expectorate lies told on tax forms.

Maybe that’s why
the real deal hits harder:
We’re accustomed to respawning
in some godforsaken elsewhere
on a different contractor’s payroll.
“See you on the next big one,”
we say in jest when two envelopes come.

What happens when that joke can’t be made?
In a lion’s share of confusion
those left will scratch their hard hats
as further proof and cursing
for a safely unspecified god.

-Mike Vahsen


My life was threadbare of you.
You are the unsewn unthreaded
Needle whose jab is ungentle,
Whose point is all heart and hem.
My attention is hinged on you;
I am not unsinged. Through you
As through the eye of a needle
I spy the soft counterpane,
Humane warmth uncanonized:
Private love is the secret history
Of all things—this tender past.
Tenderness is nerve uncauterized—
Only rough vivid protrusion
Between us, the nudge of care.
In the smithy of unlikely forgeries
This was of little consequence;
In the history of unlikely things,
You have no entry, are unchronicled,
And yet you seem to me the most
Improbable of all; you are canonical
In caring, and my memory unsparing of you.
This almost came out a love poem,
But happily I averted that end
All too damaging to the confessor:
Confession. But it bears concession
That every poem of confusion,
Every stuttered syllable, every line,
Cluttered thought or shuttered rhyme,
Every assertion of disinterestedness
Is a love poem prevented. I invented
A shelf; I rented a space in myself
In which to put you; I left indented
Every part of me once pressed by you;
I compressed myself to a size
Embraceable by you. My secret
History is traceable in every patch
That’s threaded through with you.
We are speckles, morsels, spoonfuls
Heaped with one another; I attach
To you as if to reattach something
Once part of me: attention plays tricks
On importance; we seemed threadbare—
Seaming’s slow fix—for life is snare
And snag and rip, and love is just repair.

-Lachlan Brooks

Pink Skies and Black Eyes
(for Pauline)

During the storm
they came into the RV
and ate like goats—
drinking magenta wine
and hooting at each other well into the night.

-Katherine Moore
Uncle Falls In

I make for you a woman
She takes the burning
leaning into.
You fill her
with rhythm,
constant kisses.
Your song

The woman waits;
there are no answers,
no guilt.

She will give you
any shapeless happiness.

-C.P. Masciola


Too often, I forget
the sharpness of my heart

It slices like a blade,
and recoils when you tremble

I don’t need gentleness.
I have risen from destruction

Once the warrior,
now I am the lead

Chess pieces fall
from the kitchen table,
cracking on the floor
beneath our dirty feet

I grab you by your shirt,
and you slip into me

I am the greatest thunderstorm
you will ever meet

-Gabriella Alziari

Morning falls like a leaf
drifting lazy into noon
Children laughing in the street
In them, wolves wait for the moon



If I have a blue brush,
I will paint the sky in all her seasons,
and the mountains in the distance.
I will paint oceans, and rivers, and streams,
     and rain puddles, and snowy meadows.
I will paint dahlias, and delphiniums, and forget-me-nots.
I will paint the dog’s eyes,
and the jay on the railing.
I will paint the gods into this life,
and I will worship them all with my blue brush.

-Arabella Champaq


You were the early summer away and I the late. Now it is well
for windows: rusting bucket hung in which blueberries blurred is snowed
and swung. It scythes the barn. Snow seethes on headstone hills, the weight of white.

And when flannelled hand reaches in coal stove to scrape and grate crumbles
of flame, as pine in woods ferned frozen wreaths into itself for warm,
shapes of solitude become form.

-Robert C. Basner


Your beauty is man made.
Crafted through intelligence
And devotion; an artist was formed
by sculpting your arms,
Carving your chest,
Melting your old self to form something new.
Something strong and precise.
You take pride in your creation,

But I have pride too.
I come from the earth and the trees.
The rivers smoothed my curves
And the mountains shaped my stance.
I breathe cold, pure air and
your fumes make my head spin.
Still, I love what you made.
And I love the wild that made me.

-J.S. Kloss


Brown chestnut leaf
          dancing across my weathered deck floor
                         Autumn ballet.

-Anthony G. Herles

Red Wine and Clover

She tells me she will stay.
The ruins

beyond my window make her feel
like the queen

of a country preparing
to end.

I tell her there is something
that I want

to tell her but leave it
at that.

She tells me red wine and clover
are things

of the past.
Of the scrap metal beyond

my window,
she says nothing.

-Glen Armstrong

About Mankind
(comprised wholly of comments found
on a YouTube video)

what if in a hundred years a
troll king god emperor
absolute madman
pushed upon his enemies and
takes a shot every time potential war
is enjoyable
for purely selfish reasons

who you are
a weapon of choice
all for it
old magician’s trick
down to earth
blown the world up
looking for something that doesn’t exist

you just know the doomed would
die happy in a low quality
goofball landscape

who remembers
the simple choice
good and evil
shitlord generation
boomer-tier body slam cyber hacks

if you’re in it solely for the LOLs then
god bless the US
destroyed in atomic fire
alive in dark times

if only
we could all laugh together

-Shane Cashman


“Wow, what big peaches,” I said.
“Are they bigger than last year?”
“They are,” the owner said. “But
there are fewer than last year.”
“How come?” I said. “The weather,”
she said. “A lot of rain. More than
normal. And not enough sunny days
to dry things out a little. Less than
normal sun.” “So it’s a metaphor,”
I said. “How’s that?” she said. “You
know,” I said. “A short but gloriously
full life or a long but average life.”
“I’d rather have a bigger harvest of
smaller peaches,” she said. “My living
depends on it.” “I’m the opposite,”
I said. “I’d rather have a handful
of glorious poems than a truckload
of average ones. My immortality
depends on it.” “That’s the difference
between poems and peaches, I suppose,”
she said. “By the way, I enjoyed your
new book. The peaches are free.”

-J.R. Solonche


She delights in the most improbable.
like breaking her crayons to hear the pop.
a testament to the strength she’s developed in 967 days

But when she’s done
So are they

She wants no part of the tattered ones

Dutiful father.
I pick them up
Not able to teach her
just yet
that the tattered ones
paint the best stories.
Their armor easily
And willing shed to provide brilliant texture and contrast.

I’ll try to teach her to love
the broken ones
Even as they grow smaller and smaller
Speckled with hubris and laughter
And the hope
Of yesterday’s
yellow sunshine
And rain
Green grass.
birds shaped like m’s
And clouds made the same way.
crooked windows
And tilted doors

I’ll tell her
Listen to their stories precious one
so that you may know yours.

-C. Z. Heyward

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