Poetry | November 2021 | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

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Poetry | November 2021

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Honey Hot
Listen, dear, as
of late I’ve been
thinking this stuck
morass we’re all in
is more molasses
than honey.

More murk-slow
thick-drip than
anything crystalline
clear and sunny.

At night the katydids
and katydidn’ts steal my
soul a spell, reminding
of cicada swells from my
faintly humid youth.

Nothing crystal in that
muddied hum, no
organized hive-comb
jell, no, just some massive
saw-winged wall of

sound surrounding
heavy heat, stifled breeze,
before it lifts and fades
into oh so dead still
sticky sleep.

Or so I’ve been
thinking, lately.

Listen, love, I
know it’s a lot, this
morass we’re all in.

I wish it were cool,
or at least honey hot.
But it’s not, dear.
It’s not.

—k.R.


Nodules
On doomsday
I will utilize my voice——
a voice weakened from raging against the dying light,
from yelling at my detractors,
from screaming Why?! at God,
from guttural self-affirmations.
Weakened, but not lost.
The taste of blood will not deter me.
I will sing through the nodules.
A song dedicated to myself.
A vainGLORIOUS hymn.
The angels can cover their ears,
or add harmonies,
or simply listen.
It doesn’t matter.
I’m singing the damn thing.

—Reza Ghahremanzadeh

Ruin
I’d like to ruin everything for you.
Bedrooms are easy.
That’s always the place we associate, envision,
are ruined by memory,
smile and say, “god damn” and glaze over,
tousled by recall, over-touched and amused.
And for some:
desks, living room caribou rugs, divans in attics,
even kitchens
(the place where all else is made—why not love?)
or, (if we’re talking little more than a kiss),
stolen moments at intersections,
the sooty brick of quiet alleys,
the footprints marching two by two
paused in snow,
all ruined when those places come again,
and we mutter
“Can’t go anywhere here
without you
perched and panting at my ear.”
So, like I said,
I’d like to ruin everything for you.
Stairwells, elevators, open fields,
(let’s get creative, shall we?)
broom closets, backstage, the balcony,
the confessional,
(dare I say it?)
the instant photo booth.
I even want to ruin good books.
I want you to hear them in my voice,
feel me read to the nape of your neck.
I want to ruin sunsets, open roads,
poetry,
everything beautiful ruined.
Everyday of the week, ruined.
Every room
ruined.
That lovely mess of us stretched across this canvas,
so that ever
and always,
I will have ruined you
for other, lesser love.

—Jacqueline Renee Ahl

Light Likes
Light likes the hair of the willow
the blue green needles of pine
creases in the river current
our kitchen in the morning
silvery undersides of vultures
wicks of dew after a summers rain
factory windows at sunset
and the tenuous threads of spiders
barely seen in the wind

—Ryan Brennan

this.
Sugar n shit
      fall from the sky
          and here
             I am
                (four fingers in hand
                    two sheets to the wind)
                       not dire
                            nor enlightened,
                               prophet,
                                   nor fool
                                      Just some
                                         hoary shaman
                                      who,
                                   once confronted
                               and on a roll
                          Has more
                     than a few
               words to say
         and says them
     something like
this.

—Mike Jurkovic

Sensualist
tip of the tongue
a tingle, all amber and crisp
rolling golden over the edges, curves
as they lap in and out
touch teeth
retreat
against a slight wall of bitterness at the contact

some overall organization is forming
slowly
each addition
and delay
balances the whole
to support
tomorrow’s impossible odds

obliterate
contaminate
predominate
innate
inert
insert
soldier city

hercules & xena
fighting it out
for the fun of it
and some superhero
repentance thing
still putting off routines
in favor of sweeping strokes of clarity

—Judith Ren-Lay


The Covid Jab
It’s been seventy years since my father an MD
   tried to inoculate me
for polio in the kitchen

dutifully, filled with terror
   I climbed up on the red stool
waiting in a sweat of trepidation

Mother held me as father moved close
   then for some reason she moved away
and I fainted

landed face down on linoleum—
   pots and dishes that I didn’t hear, rattled;
they turned me over and

slowly I came to; mother sobbing “she’s dead”
   buck teeth as yet un-braced cut
through my chin leaving a jagged little scar

I don’t remember whether I
   actually got the shot that day, probably—
maybe while unconscious

These days I comfort my racing heart
   whenever a needle draws near;
today I’m anticipating the Covid jab, high up on my arm

I’ve learned to endure tetanus, intra-venous
   antibiotics, yearly flu and cortisone shots for arthritis;
with a whimper I tell myself

“you’ve come a long way baby”
   though hardly a Virginia slim anymore

—Jean Tate


Poetic Zealot
I come alive as the trees shift their stillness
Believing is hoping and hoping is foolish witchery
Give me the night to wander freely without a destination
Give me the moon to guide me effortlessly
I am
I will not be
A poetic zealot
Stirring words into a rhythmic plot

—Melissa DePuy


Accessories
A string of globe lights somehow makes
an abandoned parking lot feel elegant.

Like a rope of pearls with a worn
T-shirt.

—Leah Brickley


Pair of Pears
I cut the pair of pears
with a paring knife
on the kitchen counter
one, two, three, four.
Juice speeds down
my forearm and drips
off my elbow peak
so I peek to see
if the sea of drips
expands into anyone’s
attention zone.
But no, no one knows
except for the dog’s nose
sniffing like someone peed,
and he gets blamed
and thrown outside.
Everyone makes a whole
circle like a doughnut
around the hole not
wanting anything to do
with the cleanup due.

—Diane Webster


Pandemic PBS
Clothed in black and white
with brief but spectacular
couch appearances,
Lisa’s cat became a regular
on the evening news:
sleeping, stretching or
just sashaying off screen
to converge with another comfort.
It’s image lingering between two worlds
like Schrodinger’s cat,
or the evening news
or sorrow between races,
or truth unmoored, diverging,
present, absent.

—Jennifer L Howse


Memory
Rounding the edge of woods
not far from home
I see
a young mother
glance up
at the
darkening sky
Her toddler
(two fistfuls
of dandelions)
climbs
into the stroller.
They disappear
into a patter of rain

ghosts.

—Mary Fris


Tomato Skins
Slow slump of August, salting pink
brandywines at the window,
the scarlet Nantes with their green
tops out in the carrot bed, our hands
were scented like tomato leaf and earth
under sun, shoulder and vine stung
so fresh where we went picking.

—Vanessa Young

Midnight Mischief
The trees watch over the space
Where water and air meet
A tree frog moon bathes in the pond
As a rubber duck and kick ball are stuck
in an endless loop at the waterfall’s current

—Jason Gabari

Future
Another time, another place
I walk along a country road.
It’s summertime and the sweet, scented air is filled with wild poppy
and honey suckle.
Beneath an old elm tree, I sit drinking in the sky and the scene.
A stroke of green
A dash of gold and blue upon white canvas.
I wipe my brush with the spotted cloth…
and continue to dream.

—Frances Greenhut

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