Chronogram Poetry | October 2018 | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
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Chronogram Poetry | October 2018 

A Mile West a Creek, a Mile East a River

Two weeks after the hospital,
picking Draper blueberries,
the short bushes are fullest.

Grandma Brown used to say,
You gotta bend it back
and get right in there like this.

Amidst broken hearts and blindness,
another grandmother
nursed her dying daughter.

I was the one to phone my father
with news of his father’s death.
He’d been in a good mood—Hey,

boy!—then speechless against
the loading ramp’s plangent wash.
These are not the natural

orders of things. Beyond the field’s
far corner, the Bacon Hill
Reformed Church is ringing.

—Andy Fogle


How You Knew


he’s touching me but I’m touching you and all I want to do is keep touching you I want to feel you under my skin I want to tear you to pieces I want him out of me and up the stairs this is our time he’s overstayed his welcome and I’m focused on you but he keeps trying to grab my attention my attention is on you you can have all of me you want all of me so much and I love it I love you and everything about you and I never want to stop keep going forever I want you all over me you want me so bad and I love that you’re young and in love because it makes this so much more intense we are more intimate than anyone else tell me everything about you I want to swallow you whole and feel you inside of me I want your kisses all over me and your hands squeezing me don’t stop you’re perfect perfect for me

—Katherine Moore


I Hope Nobody Ain’t Rob Me!


Ima little pissed that I keep losing shit
I lost my headphones twice
I never know where I placed my keys
I be like

“I know I put them in my goddamn bag,
I hope nobody ain’t rob me!”
But, I’m always losing shit!
I’m good with holding other people shit but when it comes to me…
I gotta be extra careful
because I lose things like childhood
Like childhood, I hope nobody ain’t rob me.

—Lester Mayers


Letter to a Timid Man

No deference to age, just a long sidewalk
gently sloping, leading to a place where
the grass grows and wind rages. Whether
you observe the customs of your time,

or remain a rebel, whether your last gasp
has left your wilted lungs, or you have yet
to step off the curb, take my advice.
Every day begins with another dance.

Take love where you find it. Be mad about it;
Be ready for success and accepting of dismissal.
What is given to you is only yours when it is given.
And when your time has passed; take your cane

and cudgel, swing them both with vengeance,
rather than slide beneath the fence.
break the wall through to the other side.
If the stem is a fuse, light it!

—Richard R. Binkele


If I Could Find You

if I could find you I certainly
would
would I have to look far
I don’t think so
no further than Hof’s Hut on Second
there next to the palms
and the sidewalk still wet
in the morning
the traffic idling close by while we
have nowhere to go
nothing to do
but be alone together again
and again
if I could find you I certainly
would

—Richard Donnelly


Poem Without Words

The following poem has no words;
Sit still—
Listen,
Like the fisherman
waiting above
for line to pull and hook;
Like the musician
one short moment
before the first note plays;
And like you
in this instance,
Awaiting quiet pause.

—Cairn Hawkins


Bronchitis on the Set of “New Girl”

Nearly midnight and I down Dayquil,
my orange savior. True: I shouldn’t be

here. I’m sorry, Zooey, for coughing
in your proximity between takes.

I cannot afford to not work. I was
stuck in I-405 rush hour of people

at the Medicaid office only to turn in
papers, proof of existence. This

paycheck is a pothole in a rich man’s
wallet. I hack a lung of concrete, self-

isolated from other extras in this closed-
off park in Culver City. I know most

are poor as me, our seventy-dollar
paydays arriving in the mail one or two

weeks after. Each day, I drive to the post
office before it closes, turn the rusty key

into my mailbox. Sometimes I get an
envelope in my hands, meaning today

I eat. Other times, nothing but the scent
of gasoline I paid for to get here.

—James Croal Jackson


The End

We were all hungover
on a Sunday in November
having coffee
at your mother’s apartment
on Cabrini Boulevard.
She was telling us the story
of the time
you got your head kicked in
playing soccer
during fourth grade recess.
And while everyone was laughing,
wrapped in the quilted comfort
of health and years,
about the step stool
you needed to stand on
so you could be seen
in concerts and recitals,
I was looking at you
as a friend
for the last time
trying to remember
what I was doing,
just across the river,
the week you spent
home from school
coloring on construction paper
because the doctors said
you weren’t allowed
to watch TV

—David Lukas


The Great South Bay

I took a walk
on the Great South Bay
where seagulls pray
to the Lord of Water
every day for
fish to eat.

I planted my feet
and stood stock still
by the Great South Bay
where seagulls pray.

When suddenly
I disappeared
and re-emerged
as fish and sea
and clouds and sky
and birds that pray
on the Great South Bay.

—Tina Hazarian


Amitaba Amana Buddha

Amitaba
Amana Buddha
I bow to you, my refrigerator,
fifty times a day

And I thank you for still coming on to me
With your noble patient heart, at 20.
Some people say I’m crazy but I’m not.

I adore your bald-headed, monk-robed self
sitting Zazen,
Lord Buddha of refrigeration,
pacing yourself in wisdom
mastering the art
of meditating in my kitchen.
Please don’t stop running
I bow I bow I bow
Three times and ring the bell.

—B. B. Smith


Literal Haiku


Writing is Still
my safe place
my Vision
Flowering in the pavement.

—Virginia Kaufmann


I Love the Robins

I love the robins, don’t you? you said.
Yes! they come to sing
of spring before the leaves bud
and the grasses green.
their stay is long and comforting,
red-breasted predictable
until colors wane to winter white
and silence settles into shortened days.

then we must wait the seasons through
until the robins bring their truth again
and I am home with you.

—Faith Fury


Word List/Word Loss

Diffident, desultory, intractable
Words found on an old scrap of paper
in my mother’s script, a list I would not
have understood five years ago.
Now I do, No, I, too,
write down words I know, like topiary,
which I recall as tortured trees, until
I dig up their correct name, topiary.
One friend loses ostensible and hospice.
Another has a daily list, vigilant in vocabulary
as well as eyesight, hearing, mobility. And youth.
Now, I do. Now, I, too.
Lacking confidence, unfocused, stubborn

—Rachel Shor


Shenzhen City


On a sidewalk bridge
your sight, alive

the slenderness
of your pale-yellow tissue, hushed

your muscles
slight, no fat.

On your head, a whiff of hair
still fair from birth

you with no clothes, alone
your back’s clean skin

touching the asphalt sidewalk’s
dirt-fatigue

an outline of urine
as large as your head

inches from the white chipped cup.

—Ian Haight


Congratulations, Lillian


on your move to heaven.
Sweep the rooms of your farmhouse clean.
Turn the key in the lock.
At the front gate
cross your arms over your breast.

Neighbors gather in the yard
to talk, and eat, and
see you on your way.

The light is strong
no clouds.
Your hair is pulled
behind your ears.
The steady hum of speculation
dies as you lift up.

Your shoes, like shackles,
fall to the ground, relics.
Obligations drop. Somehow
shoulders grow wings
you soar
in the arching blue dome.

—C. P. Masciola


Driving to your Funeral

For Bill

Driving to your funeral, sorrowing
through rural, upstate country

we focus on our loss,
speaking of your virtues

as husband, father, brother, uncle,
wistfully remembering

your humor singularly morbid
and irreverent. Not for nothing

did your children’s children
name you “Grandpa Bad.”

Quite near our destination
a sign looms into view

proclaiming a local Laundromat
THE FINAL RINSE

and we fall into hysterics,
laughing with you, now, again.

—Judith Saunders


Radio Daze

The red plastic Philco fed
half-hour sagas in succession
to me, lying prone on the bed

Elsewhere in the house words were said
but my eyes were closed to intrusion
while the red plastic Philco fed.

The bad guys somehow had fled
left a mining town in confusion
as I lay prone on my bed.

Then Hopalong, black hat on his head
flashed dry wit and courage homespun
that the red plastic Philco fed.

I could count on a bad guy named Red
unless he was pursued by Paladin
while I lay prone on my bed.

The plot of one story bled
into the plot of the next one
and the red plastic Philco fed
as I lay prone in my bed.

—Wally Schaefer


What We Have Together

These stories I wear and speak
cannot walk away from who I am.
As she invites me to move closer,
remembering all of my relations.
Beauty below. Beauty above.
With everything out of my mouth.
Holding on. Passed on. Breathed on.
Beauty before me. Beauty after me.
Holding onto what we have together.

—George Payne

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