Poetry | July 2021 | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

She’s a flower
Within everyone
Waiting to bloom
In hard times.
Her vibrant colors give
And trust.
Sometimes she doesn’t bloom
And she wilts,
Loses her colors to a dull grey
Because she loses that strength
To give.
And in that dark little time,
She might just think of herself.
She becomes blind to the other wilted flowers,
And soon it’s a chain reaction
Of selfishness
And it may seem impossible
For things to be alright.
Now fading into an echo.
But there are always more flowers out there
Wanting to give
Willing to help.
—Jahnvi Mundra (14 years old)

Thoughts on an Autumn Evening
(After Su Tung Po)

I dream of a girl with raven hair,
but I’m too old for that.
My fingers are as cold
as the evening dew.
Still, my flesh will stir,
as a blossom stirs,
but the unfolding is too long.
My blood can’t move uphill.
I look at the young trees,
shedding their leaves.
I walk in the evening dew.
It’s like a field of cotton.
I dream of a golden-haired girl
and her smooth bottom.
I stare at apple trees,
but the apples are rotten.
—George Freek

Are Also

Words here are skeletons, scaffolding
Picked clean from bodies, times, places
Arranged on the page in patterns
Calculated to encourage
Rehydration, reconstruction, resurrection
You are the gods who must breathe life back into these words
—Alan Cohen

Dear Returns and Exchanges,
It has most recently befallen me I may be missing an essential element of instructions from a product I purchased from you some years ago. The approximate purchase date was on or around my birth.
It seems the life I have assembled ceases to work intermittently and without warning.
I do not believe in blaming erroneously, but perhaps we might come to a mutual understanding to conclude where I might put upon your department that mentioned culpability.
In my search for answers, prior to contacting your department, I began reviewing the instructions already on my person. One of my theories is that there may be missing pages, which you might be so kind as to send to me. These missing pages may be the answer to my dilemma.
I can explain briefly the effect the broken product has had on my life, but I understand you are most likely inundated with this particular issue. If I could be so bold, I recommend you construct a department with the sole purpose of assisting consumers like myself to better navigate this defective product and its implicit ramifications. The department could also investigate why the instructions, which should be complete, arrive with missing pages.
I do choose, however, to explain the impact of how the lack of instructions has instigated my wobbly life. You see, the importance does not lie in the absence of pages but more so in the effect the missing pages have on one’s ability to utilize the product in relation to the world around them. My reference to “one’s” and “them” derive from my confidence that I am indeed not the first person to be writing you on this matter. As we all most likely do, I require a method to navigate the world around me with a bit of knowledge. Through my experience, without the proper information, one is doomed to fail, whether in work, relationships, or even something as simple as a hobby. At this time, I place the burden solely on you to provide me with the answer, inductions, and perhaps a refund to rectify this tragic situation.
I place complete sureness you understand my predicament.
Yours Truly,
Ms. Common Variablé
—Julianne DeMartino

New York, You’re Hardest in February

New York you are hardest in February,
but you are my everything.
FDNY trucks of my dreamer child,
who believes things are greater than they are.
My everythings are hiding here,
Asleep in New York.
Theaters asleep,
laughing basements asleep.
My leaving isn’t because I don’t love you.
It’s because you aren’t here.
Where did you go?
Are you under the snow?
Are you hiding in Macaulay Culkin’s loft,
under his shoe rack?
Or maybe you’re around the corner from Erica’s Reggio,
behind the garbage can on the basketball court.
Or did that smug bastard Lou Reed take you?
Stole you in the night while we had our backs turned.
Stole you while we were gawking at P.S. Hoffman,
looking for his keys in a nice neighborhood.
Do you need me to spell out Philip Seymour Hoffman for you New York?
New York, I know you’re in here.
Lou Reed, did you save MTV?
That’s not important now.
Is the Statue of Liberty where you are?
Vapid and nauseous in the penny stenched crown?
Where are you?! I’m getting upset.
I’m getting upset, New York
and there is nowhere to go with my feelings.
Nowhere to hang my paintings.
Nowhere to scream my punk.
Nowhere to dance my song.
Nowhere to take this gloom to but SUNNY LA!
Fuck you New York.
You are hardest in February.
I didn’t know this but I’m starting to believe Patti Smith has a car!?
Oh, this doesn’t look good Lou.
New York are you hiding in Patti’s trunk?
Under Mexican blankets and floral sheets of sand.
Oh, fuck you New York and my sick need for abandonment.
—Heather Craig

Moving at 80

It takes time to decouple,
time to sever the relationship—
except in memory
where the bond holds—
between this body
and the body of a home that,
like another layer of skin,
coats my mind.
But at a certain life stage
time doesn’t wait
for me to catch up;
it signals compliance—
and that assent
is the saving balm.
—Lyla Yastion

For My Children

I stare at the handcuff around my wrist
and try to calm my heart rate
until I am at fake peace with the chains of my bondage.
I don’t want to tell a tall tale,
this is not the Jews in Egypt
or the southern Blacks in America
but it is my life
and how can anything be more meaningful than that?
But I see those vulnerable, dependent faces
in my mind’s eye without even trying.
It turns out there is more to live for than my own needs and desires—
how to weigh the cost is the thing, the unknown component of the works.
I see a picture of my wife behind me-
it is one of the old, good pictures of her sparking nothing but positive nostalgia.
It’s a sigh of resignation from here-
a sigh that lights the road ahead
as far as the eye can see and the mind can imagine
—Drew Nacht

In the Valley

I walk north where garlic mustard grows along the highway;
heart-shaped leaves, clusters of tiny white stars.
The narrow trail I take into the woods,
leading to a brook where deer drink,
skirting a deserted property
where deer forage,
taking me back toward David’s house,
is bordered with these slender stalks.
I never noticed them before
but now I see them everywhere;
they nod to me in Manhattan
along the walkways in the park.
Back and forth, Beacon and the City,
I flow like the Hudson River,
called the Mahicantuck by the Lenape,
river that moves in both directions.
—Joanne Grumet

Watching Wicker Man

gave me the muscle
to ignore you,
delete your text messages,
pull you down
to a reedy ivy
path, bluebells
ringing loudly
in your ear,
the sun smelling
of sea between
your legs,
so sweet & innocent
as the scent of maple
wood smoke &
prickly heat,
tickling your feet,
before you know
you’re the sacrifice
to the god
of Narcissus.
—Nancy Byrne Iannucci


When you were a little painter,
every line, color, came from me;
floating not on any foundation,
time and time again,
you saw me through the clouds.
When you were not a painter,
you forgot me.
You needed something solid
to sit on or stand up.
When you pick up brush again,
you try to paint me,
but cannot find me.
You think
you can reconstruct from your memory;
a river,
trees full of foliage,
abundant fruits,
a bungalow,
couple of hammocks….
But you cannot remember the color,
or how it floated.
—Livingston Rossmoor

Old Love

Old love is slow.
I look up from my Sunday paper
at you cooking breakfast.
“How would you like your eggs?”
“Over easy.” I drawl in a soft tone
and remember how
you rolled over easy to me
last night with your lips eager
to taste my warm flesh.
“Over easy, it is.”
as you cock your hip
remembering the heat
that poured from your breasts
as we embraced.
After you’ve flipped the eggs
and removed the pan from the flame,
you turn to me
and smile; remembering.
—Mark Philip Stone

Is There Not?
is there
two points
r e s t
—Stephen Jones


The whole length of the sky,
Chopped, the breadth of the oceans is smashed,
Affection feels like a betrayal
Every time skin wins the battle against the
Raw heart and mind.
I have heard that
You are happiest around water.
Will you accept my love if
I pour my tears over the lingam?
—Nidhi Agrawal

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