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POETRY SWAP MEET: Poetry we don't usually know about, or?

Tyrant of Words
United States
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Antonio Carlos Viera

I found this poem on a conference website in an article on Community Therapy by Dr. Adelberto Berreto. I wasn’t able to find information about the Brazilian poet, except his name, Antonio Carlos Viera..

The Stone

The distracted stumbled on it.
The ignorant used it as a projectile.
The entrepreneur built with it.
The peasant, tired, sat on it.
For the children, it was a toy.
Drummond made a poem about it.
David killed Goliath with it and Michelangelo made a beautiful sculpture.
And in every case, the difference was not in the stone, but in the man.
There is no stone on your way that you cannot use for your own growth.
Every passing moment is a drop of life that will never fall again; profit from every drop to evolve.
Make the best of opportunities; you may not get another chance.

(Translated by Amyerin Arrocha)

Tyrant of Words
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Erin Thomas has been an avid student of poetry since 2001, exploring different approaches, voices and poetic forms such as the sonnet, villanelle, ghazal, and others--including free verse. For him, poetry is much more than a mere gushing of personal feelings and opinions; it is unequivocally an art involving metaphor, imagery, allusion, structure, and syntax. (source Amazon)


A seed has all its hope contained within,
And all its future so ordained within. Beneath an ancient oak once, long I slept;

It spoke words to my thoughts maintained within: "Without appeasing water or sun’s light,
A seed dies with its self constrained within; "The spreading and the sprawling oaks alike

Grew only from what was ingrained within; "These ancient oaks atop the grassy hills
Keep all our histories retained within; "To each that comes of each we each impart

A swelling love of life sustained within; "By sapling oaks surrounded, when I pass,
In these this essence is regained within; "And so, when these boughs rot within the grass

A gift becomes of that restrained within; "Now wake again Zahhar, and take my gift;
A seed from me you have obtained within."

Fire of Insight
United Kingdom
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I recently wrote a poem about negative space but whilst reading around the subject, I found a poem of the same title by a different author, Luljeta Lleshanaku.

I don't post her poem here to invite any comparisons with mine; instead, I invite you to celebrate the quality of her work ...

Negative Space
By Luljeta Lleshanaku
Translated by Ani Gjika
I was born on a Tuesday in April.
I didn't cry. Not because I was stunned. I wasn't even mad.
I was the lucky egg, trained for gratitude
inside the belly for nine months straight.
Two workers welded bunk beds at the end
of the delivery room. One on top of the other.
My universe might have been the white lime ceiling,
or the embodiment of Einstein's bent space
in the aluminum springs of the bed above
that curved toward the center.

Neither cold, nor warm.
"It was a clear day," my mother told me.

It's hard to believe
there were a few romantic evenings
when I was conceived, a buzz in the retina
and red-laced magma
decadently peeling off
a silver candlestick.
Infants' cries and milk fever
turned to salt from the stench of bleach—
abrasive, unequivocal.
With a piece of cloth wrapped on the end of a stick,
the janitor casually extends the negative space
of the black-and-white tiled floor
like a mouth of broken teeth, a baleen of darkness
sieving out new human destinies.

1968. At the dock, ships arriving from the East
dumped punctured rice bags, mice
and the delirium of the Cultural Revolution.
A couple of men in uniform
cleared out the church
in the middle of the night.
The locals saw the priest in the yard
wearing only his underwear, shivering from the cold.
Their eyes, disillusioned, questioned one another:
"Wasn't he the one who pardoned our sins?"

Icons burned in front of their eyes,
icons and the holy scriptures.
Witnesses stepped farther back,
as if looking at love letters
nobody dared to claim.

Crosses were plucked from graves. And from each mouth
spilled irreversible promises:
mounds of dirt the rains would smooth down
sooner or later.

Children dragged church bells by the tongue.
(Why didn’t they think of this before?)
Overnight, the dome was demolished, instantly revealing
a myriad of nameless stars that chased the crowd
like flies on a dead horse.

And what could replace Sunday mass now?
Women brought cauldrons into the yard.
Men filled up their pipes; smoke rose
into the air, against gravity's pull.
Nails in worn out shoes exposed stigmata
that bled in the wrong places—
a new code of sanctification,
of man, by man.

snip ...  the rest of the poem is here ... please follow the link and read the rest of her poem https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/146833/negative-space (I felt uncomfortable copying and pasting without encouraging people to go back to the original site).

Tyrant of Words
United States
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David John Matthews (born January 9, 1967) is a South African-born American singer, songwriter, musician, actor and record label owner, best known as the lead vocalist, songwriter and guitarist for the Dave Matthews Band.


Cyrus Jones 1810 to 1913
Made his great granchildren believe
You could live to a hundred and three
A hundred and three is forever when you're just a little kid
So Cyrus Jones lived forever

When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain

Muriel Stonewall
1903 to 1954
She lost both of her babies in the second great war
Now you should never have to watch
Your only children lowered in the ground
I mean you should never have to bury your own babies

When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain

Ring around the rosey
Pocket full of posey
Ashes to ashes
We all fall down

When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain

Little Mikey Carson 67 to 75
He rode his
Bike like the devil until the day he died
When he grows up he wants to be Mr. Vertigo on the flying trapeze
Ohhh, 1940 to 1992

When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain

When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain
Feel the rain
I can feel the rain


-Dave Matthews

jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
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Tresha Faye Haefner


Bellano Coffee, San Jose, CA

It is April again and the girls are pulling off sweaters,
walking into tattoo parlors,
piercing a needle into the body,
like shoving a key into a lock.
I sit thinking about the tattoo
I never got. Wonder if work would allow me
to slap one on my wrist.
Through the window the hills flatten at the top.
The buildings look like the erections of poor men
in broken hotel rooms.
The barista calls up my order, with a sleeve
of blue and green turtles inked into her arm.
A man next to me closes his briefcase,
blank, black, smooth as a cloth
soaked in chloroform.
Kafka’s story of a rat who says the world used to be big,
then the walls went up.
This morning the gates of my apartment complex opened,
then closed.
The Food Max across the way has gotten older and dirtier,
the liquor light brighter every night.
I know now what I have never been able to say before.
I will never get a tattoo, or be young again.
Never return to that fresh feeling of milk or water,
the raw sweetness of a carrot
broken between the teeth.
The earth may produce all the violets it wants,
but the heart remains black, the blank skin a reminder
of what I haven’t done.
I sit down to read another book.
Sign my contract for one more year of work.
The island-like freckle on my right hand afloat in a sea of white.
Arm of a mannequin. Ghost of a girl
killed when she was young.

jade tiger
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There is only one story a woman says and maybe
she is saying something about the truth, or maybe
not. The history of a place like this is the history
of those who leave it. It’s a great place to be from
they might say, and smile. Pretty men and pretty
women and their easy belief that they are moving
forward through the world. Their necks graceful
in their city clothes. There is only one story and
it is not this story, sweat and grease and the grace
of ritualized days. The pinch of repetition in the
joints. The world would be forgiven for believing
the best of this land is the dust that a hand knocks
from old boots. Maybe there is something of the
truth to what she says, like there is only one way
to live in a place one cannot leave, and that’s to
love it. Take the raw animal of its days by the
throat and throttle the one story from its jaws. Or
maybe not. There is only one way to live in a place
where everybody believes nobody lives. Like
there is only one way to be a fire and that is to burn.


Rachel Custer lives in Indiana with her family. She is the author of The Temple She Became (Five Oaks Press, 2017). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in many journals, including Rattle, OSU: The Journal, B O D Y, The American Journal of Poetry, The Antigonish Review, Open: Journal of Arts & Letters (OJAL), among others.

jade tiger
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Edna St Vincent Millay
Lyrical poet & Pulitzer Prize winner
( 1892 — 1950 )

The Betrothal

Oh, come, my lad, or go, my lad,
   And love me if you like!
I hardly hear the door shut
   Or the knocker strike.

Oh, bring me gifts or beg me gifts,
   And wed me if you will!
I'd make a man a good wife,
   Sensible and still.

And why should I be cold, my lad,
   And why should you repine,
Because I love a dark head
   That never will be mine?

I might as well be easing you
   As lie alone in bed
And waste the night in wanting
   A cruel dark head!

You might as well be calling yours
   What never will be his,
And one of us be happy;
   There's few enough as is.


Like her contemporary Robert Frost, Millay was able to combine modernist attitudes with traditional forms creating a unique American poetry. But Millay’s popularity as a poet had at least as much to do with her person: she was known for her riveting readings and performances, her progressive political stances, frank portrayal of both hetero and homosexuality, and, above all, her embodiment and description of new kinds of female experience and expression. “Edna St. Vincent Millay,” notes her biographer Nancy Milford, “became the herald of the New Woman.”

poet Anonymous

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jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
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. .

jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
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George Bilgere


I wish I were in Chernobyl today.
The streets are peaceful there.
No cars or bicycles rush by, no one
is late for work.
There are no children
laughing on the playground
or getting into trouble.

The file cabinets
in the police department
are full of mice,
and the outcome of the important vote
at the General Assembly
doesn’t matter.

There are plenty of vacancies
at the brand-spanking-new state prison,
and for once, no one
is talking in the library.
Not even a dog is out today
pursuing important errands.

Life in my city is tiring.
Deadlines and unread books.
Making love, or dinner.
So many people to disappoint,
so much to buy in the supermarket.
Almost unbearable, this city.

But today in Chernobyl
the clocks have given up.
Nobody monitors the phones,
and every night the movie theater
shows the same old silent film.

Does anyone have a question?

The houses of Chernobyl tend their silences,
and on the dinner table
two gray sandwiches are waiting
with such quiet patience.
Like an old married couple.


[b]George Bilgere:[/b/ “Every summer my wife and two little boys and I travel to Berlin, Germany, for three glorious months. In the mornings I wander down the shady little street we live on and sit with my notebook at an outdoor cafe improbably called Shlomo’s Coffee and Bagels. I order a coffee, open my notebook, and for the next two hours or so I sit there hoping a poem will find me. These are the happiest moments of my life, even when the poem I’m waiting for stands me up.”

jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
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Tishani Doshi


No one forgets there’s a war going on,
but there are moments you could be forgiven
for believing the city is still an orchard,
a place where you could make a thing grow.
There is always a pile of rubble from which
some desperate person struggles to rise,
while another person wraps a shawl
around their shoulders and roasts
marshmallows over a fire.
This is not that.
This is not bomb dropping from sky,
human shield, hostages in a stream, child
picking up toy that explodes in her hands—
although there’s always that—hope is a booby trap.
This is the house you were brought to after crossing
a river, leaving the mountains and burnt fields
behind. A place of safety where you
could be alone with your own
startling power.
Not Why were you out? And why
wasn’t your face covered? And who told you
to climb into that rickshaw?
But here, prepare
for this most ordinary thing, a birth. And this is not
to ask what it means to never see someone again,
but to ask what it means not to make it past
the first checkpoint of your mother’s gates.
Never mind all the wild places
the mud-brick villages, the valleys and harvests
and glasses of green tea. Or even to say, I am here
to claim the child of Suraya,
because you know
this to be impossible. Even if you could bring a man
to recover your sister’s corpse and the newborn,
where do you go from here? You still have
to consider the bodies, the bullet-ridden
walls, still have to climb up to the small
window of this house and take in
the panorama.
See—it is raining outside and men weep
for their wives, and perhaps the entire world
is an orchard that has detonated its crimson fruits,
its pomegranates and poppies and tart mulberries
to wash these floors red, and those of us who stand
outside this house know that nothing will flourish
here again. Like crowds who gather
for an execution, we can only ask,
what does it mean to be born
in a graveyard, to enter
the world, saying,
oh thief, oh life.


Tishani Doshi: “We are going through all kinds of horror with corona but this is a different kind of horror.”

jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
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. .

poet Anonymous

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jade tiger
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Matthew Dickman
b. August 20, 1975, Portland, Oregon


The hotel sign blinking
in the brain

of my body
stops blinking but not

the whole sign,
you know, just a couple

of the letters,
the H and T.

Then the E and L
so all that is left

when the whole left
side of my body

comes to an end
is the O.

I am sitting across
from a beautiful

woman, drinking coffee,
and she is asking

me what I did.
What were you doing
when you were
in your twenties,

she asks. And I am
saying something like

I was doing
a lot of drugs

but the words
come out all slurred,

they come out
like pushing your tongue

through a clay door,
the word drug

becoming droog.
And then free-will

floats up and out,
really it flies, it leaps

off the ledge of me,
and I remember

while falling
from my chair

to the ground, trying
to apologize.

The half of my brain
that was still

alive, as alive as
a deer

standing in a meadow
in the morning

licking dew off
the blades of grass,

telling what was left
of me that I was just

tired. You’re just tired
the left side

of my brain said,
you’re just tired,

this is normal.
The normal not normal

blood clot
in the right side

of my brain
wiping everything

away like a teacher
wiping chalk away

with an eraser,
the blackboard

full of signs and cosines
and then just long

strokes of white,
a white field in winter,

a white sky
before rain. A white

sheet of paper.
Through the tunnel

of my body
I could hear someone

ask me
are you ok?

My whole life someone
asking me,

and so often it was me,
are you ok,

are you feeling well?
I’m just tired,

I thought.
And then this

thought: I’m not.
A hand on the hand

I could still feel.
They are coming,

the voice said,
it’s ok, you will be ok.

The sound then
of the ambulance

from far off.
The sirens getting

closer, lights
and sirens approaching

my body
from a street far off.

That’s something
I never thought of

That sirens are always

a body, that’s the whole

reason for them,
to let everyone know

there is a body.
I thought of my son

at home,
seventeen months old,

pointing to the window
in the living room,

siren, siren, siren,

and up, up, up.
I was lifted up

onto the gurney,
my shirt cut off

in the ambulance,
and arriving

at the hospital,
the triage nurse

are you Matthew Dickman.

Yes. Up, up, up,
I thought.

Death is not a design,
not an idea.

Death is the body, I know
this now, it’s your arms

and legs,
your whole cardio

vascular system.
It is the whole of us,

only we walk around
enough to think

it isn’t.
The blood clot is doing

its job,
it’s doing exactly what

it was made to do
and the only thing you

need to do
when you are dying

is to die.
Nothing else.

You don’t need to
fold the laundry

or clean
the kitchen floor,

you don’t have to
pick your children up

from school.

the rest of your life,
there is only this one

thing. You don’t even
have to be good at it,

you just have to
do it. A list of chores

with just one
chore. In the operating

room I’m awake,
made to stay awake,

while the surgeon
threads a “line”

through the artery
in my groin

and up through all
the rooms, through

the room of my legs,
and the room

of my chest,
through the room

of my neck
and into the room

of my brain.
When I put my son

to bed I give him
a bottle of milk,

and rock him and sing,
it’s time to rest your body,

it’s time to rest
your mind,

it’s time, oh it’s time
to rest your brains.

The surgeon is able
to grab the clot

and slip it through
and out

of all the rooms,
into the one he’s working in.

I can hear everyone
in the operating

room clapping
because they are happy,

because it took
that one try

to get it all, to remove
the clot, and then

the left side of me
begins to move again,

and there it is,
I have to pee,

my body is done
with this death.

And now there is nothing
to do but wait

for the next death.
I have never been more

inside than that
moment. I have never

wanted anything
as much as I wanted

to stand up
in that room

and walk out through
the automatic

doors to you,
to walk right into

your arms
like walking into the sea.


Matthew Dickman: “When I suffered a stroke in April 2018, I wasn’t sure that I would write poems again. Of course I could physically write a poem. I was lucky that I was in a public place when the stroke occurred and got help right away. It’s just that mentally I felt lost and alone and angry. But with any of the trauma I have experienced in my life it was always poetry that called me back to myself, back to the world—even if that world had changed dramatically. This poem was a calling back.”

jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
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Tony Gloeggler


Think of the time you flew
into Albuquerque, the drive
from the airport, flat thirsty
red-brown land spreading
in all directions, a snow-capped 
mountain sitting on the horizon,
the adobe village, an old Navajo 
driving a creaky bus uphill, 
reciting rehearsed facts, wounded 
jokes meant for white folks
as the sun blistered down on ancient
dwellings haunted by ghosts 
of dry-boned medicine men,
young women who fled to the city,
bread frying over a high flame.

The faded purple Acamo t-shirt
is now tucked in your bottom 
drawer. You were taking a breath, 
running from your most recent 
heart wreck, trying to learn 
what it would mean to leave 
behind a boy, Jesse, you treated
as your only son, some future
you dreamed of building. After
learning how deep a night could grow
without New York City lights,
you woke early and drove hours
to stand in line with shuffling, hunched-
over old women who twisted,
entwined strings of black beads
in their fingers as Japanese tourists
dangled cameras from their necks.

You sat in a back pew, watched 
the women light candles, kneel, 
then fervently trace the sign
of the cross while you remembered
the legend of a bursting hillside 
light and a local priest finding
the miraculous crucifix
of Our Lord of Esquipulos
in the famished ground, 
carrying it to Santa Cruz, 
only to have it disappear 
three times and return 
unexplainably to the place 
it was first discovered. 

You ducked into the sacristy,
the sacred sand pit, its walls
lined and cluttered with discarded 
braces and crutches, hand-
made shrines attesting 
to its many miracles. 
As women with tears shining
on grateful faces prayed, 
you grabbed a fistful of dust, 
placed it in a see-through 
sandwich baggie, slipped it 
into the shirt pocket covering
your heart, and later hid it 
in your satchel for the flight home.

Further back, you’re the first son 
of your family’s second generation 
born in America. Grandparents, uncles, 
aunts and cousins celebrated
your every breath as God’s 
gracious gift until you turned
four years old and your legs
grew into heavy, dead weight
that hurt anytime you walked 
anywhere. Your parents, fearing 
polio like your Uncle Dom,
went to early morning masses,
lit green novena candles 
and started collecting money 
to send you on a pilgrimage
to Lourdes. Doctors took countless
tests, kept you in a hospital
for six months where nuns
somberly patrolled the halls
and the kid in the next bed, 
an orphan, with one wooden leg, 
one wooden arm, and a pirate hook 
for a hand, somehow had the same
last name as yours. Your parents
brought both him and you gifts,
talked of taking him home too
as you grew sick with jealousy.
When they finally gave a label
to your disease, they cured it
with a Frankenstein boot, 
a leg brace and hours,
months of physical therapy
that made you stick out,
a cripple, separated from the rest
of the neighborhood kids
and the money was spent
on a station wagon to drive
back and forth to clinic visits.

Then yesterday, after a technician 
with a hard-to-understand
Russian accent kept asking you
to breathe in, breathe out, 
hold it, now breathe regularly
while tracing, rubbing 
a tiny camera over your chest 
and belly in a chilly room 
for too long, the cardiologist 
proclaimed your aorta was too
wide, susceptible to a rupture 
that could instantly kill you 
like the actor who starred 
in that crappy seventies sitcom
Three’s Company. He described
the procedure, the high rate 
of success and the surgeon 
as a miracle worker with hands 
like God, an enlightened plumber, 
replacing a pipe, tightening a valve. 

Stunned by the news, you sat
silently. On the subway home, 
you remembered the actor’s name,
John Ritter, and remembered
how good he was in Sling Blade
and you wished that you still 
believed in any kind of God 
sometimes. You wished 
you didn’t have to tell your mom
or miss another visit with Jesse,
wished you remembered a plumber 
other than Dan Akyroyd bent 
beneath an overflowing sink 
on a lonely Saturday night, 
the crack of his ass peeking 
over the top of his pants, 
poised for the next straight line, 
laughing at you for ever
feeling indestructible, safe.


Tony Gloeggler: “A life-long resident of NYC, I was born in Brooklyn but left with my family during the white flight of the ’60s. I grew up in Flushing, now live in Richmond Hill, and helped open a group home for developmentally disabled kids in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, decades before the quasi cool hordes moved in with their bars and restaurants, laptops, nannies and doggies to mess up one more fine NY neighborhood. Writing started out for me as the place where I got my thoughts and feelings down when I had no other place to bring them. It is still that place, the place I go to first when I’m trying to figure things out, way before I can say something to either myself or anyone else. I wrote this one after some bad, out of nowhere, overwhelming medical news and connected it to times when I remembered feeling very similar. Then after working it out, making it feel as right and true as I could I gave it some air and showed it around, read it out loud …”

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