October 9, 2018

Steve Conway


from the coming night
with its nocturnal temptations.

Glimmering scales slide
between concrete structures,
under countless artificial suns
they release another spirit
on the cooling wind
from where the dove hides
existing as free
as life will allow.

From within darkness and moisture
crowns are shed,
minds burst forth
from between
wide open thighs.

Crying cuts the breath-
less anticipation,
the beginning of another
reason for
demons and angels
to do battle.

from Rattle #10, Winter 1998
Tribute to Poets in Prison


Steve Conway: “I was born and educated in Providence, Rhode Island, and have lived and traveled across the U.S. and Canada by motorcycle. I stopped counting poems after I reached a thousand.”

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April 21, 2016

John E. Buri


for my patient wife

If ever comes too quickly,
Leave Big Ben unwound.
Very soon the hourglass will meter grain at a time.
Even the flutter of dragonfly wings seems to lumber.
Yet we want our proverbial cake.
Our mouths are filled with the taste of someday,
Under the guise of now.
Mindless counting only causes sleep,
Running through the same gate all dream long.
Summer grass worn to brown,
Just as a pasture is overgrazed,
And the joys of a slug become apparent.
Now the sloth seems hasty.
Every moment is a passenger driven,
Yellow checkerboard cars and smooth silver trains,
Belonging to each ticket holder.
Unless our minds follow the palsied hand,
Relinquishing our seat on the non-stop,
In favor of a standby mule.

from Rattle #10, Winter 1998
Tribute to Poets in Prison

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December 5, 2015

Federic W. Bertoff


There are many ways
to mark time
though most claim they don’t
preferring the myth
of living each day just for itself

And never counting
but I count
and measure the time in ticking seconds
in empty instant coffee jars
in socks with slowly widening holes
in calendar girls

Counting out lovely monthly mermaids
Miss Christmas, New Year’s, Halloween
I’m staring out the window again
or measuring lengths of dental floss
one spool (a hundred yards)
goes about a year or less

While each night hurtling through the galaxy
I floss that grinning death mask,
pink gums sanguine in his dim reflection
and supposing I ought to re-use that floss
at four cents an hour (the going wage)
I consider cost

But, with dramatic dispatch, throw it all away
one Last Grand Gesture
in hopes of burning up that spool
just a little quicker
with fifteen more to go

from Rattle #10, Winter 1998
Tribute to Poets in Prison

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