Poetry Samples

Ghost Trains
By: Emily Joe Watterson

I came to a stop
Slow in the land
Of ghost trains
Empty suitcases
In lines of heather
Soft as I ran
And my fingers they licked up every piece of yesterday
In this barren dust land
And as I pushed down into pockets
That I’d wished would never end
I knew the place existed
I knew
Some hand had placed
And all
Of the floral hand painted
Deep green oak handled
Sweet silk lined suitcases
Yet the question I asked
In this barren dust land
Was which man had named these roads?

Autum In Chicago
By: Dana Lee Alsamsam
with all the white Autumn light in the world
tucked, brooding, between my fingertips,
I breathe in rhythm with October’s crisp respiration.
unlike the tug of an addiction, I know
that one day these months will crave me
like I crave them, and I rise
into the fresh air and leap down the streets of Chicago.
green vines bless brick architecture
with their gentle caress, run in harmony
alongside the varied shades of gray.
starkly angled skyscrapers
reach their talons to brush the clouds.
lovers decorate sharp street corners,
red and raven black pea coats meet in embrace
along Millennium Park benches,
new and old companions’ intimacy excused
by the air’s brisk inclination
to nudge bodies ever closer.
the season is simple if you let it,
but poets with campfire eyes
breathlessly ponder
why some voices are soundless
and why leaves are most beautiful
in the wake of their eminent death.
I walk along ashen gravel paved
with cigarette butts and the satisfying crunch
of chardonnay, amber and amaranth
leaves fallen from their branches.
on Fullerton, a Maple tree’s finger tips crack
as they reach for a last embrace before the fall.
the foliage is reassured by the promise
that they will create a most lovely Symphony
beneath city dwellers’ heels.
Somewhere, someone is falling
like Autumn leaves in Chicago,
and somewhere the branches
reach for them, too.

To A Hometown That Is Not Necessarily Home
By: Dana Lee Alsamsam
it is almost September and anticipation 
rattles in the grass here, 
like a departing train across the tracks. 
school bound childrens' thoughts
heavier than coffins at the local cemetery. 

when I leave I'll think of their dewy faces
as they dig out treasures and replace them
with frayed ribbons and plastic sporks
and I hope their hands will never grow hard
and tired of apologizing, like mine,
white from scrubbing away the past
palms blanched and peeling with sorries. 

here, skin is a myth. 
we are in debt to the bark 
of newly planted trees. 

when I arrived everything seemed to wave hello--
incoming tide, moon leaning in my direction, 
bright pastel skies and marzipan wishes,
an easy welcome. 

now my natural rhythm is atrophy.
the hellos are echoes as my bedroom salutes me
lights itself on fire in a flutter of swan song.
the land waves good bye, too, 
but it is almost september and this town
has a train that only leaves
only leaves.  

By: Emily Joe Watterson
The woman with whom I reside is an old friend to Chopin. In the evening she makes me green tea and plays him on vinyl on her record player that is nearly a suitcase. (Sometimes I think she may pick up and leave with just her record player and a handful of books; she is intriguing and beautiful) The way the music moves over my skin and plays hide n’ seek in the spaces between my bones soothes me and leads me to a quiet place in my mind where I am more myself than I am in the light of day. It is the place from where I write, from where the words spring forward, inking themselves to my heart as they concurrently seep to the parchment before me. This feeling is not perceptible; the process in which my heart becomes tangible, is not tangible. However paradoxical, there are no guidelines to feelings, it is only what you do feel, and what you don’t. And in this case, in the case of unattainable music, (that’s how I describe the way music exists in my life; unattainable, due to lack of musical intuition) I drown myself in the suspended spirits as much as I can, bathing my essence in note after note, dipping my toes in the nameless sensations that are only, only induced by music. I feel words stronger than I feel music, but they are entirely different to me. Music is hard to feel, I have to try. Words are effortless; poetry is effortless. I always wished that I could feel the music as I feel the words. I have grown; I have come to feel more, my body evolving to sway with the sounds and peak at the peaks of climatic melodic epiphany. What I am is just a hybrid of high-waited jeans and flower crowns, insatiable and patronized because I live for the hunt of the notes scratched between pages of original printed novels. This is not accepted, my urge to feel one with the past by means of classical Chopin on vinyl and my days spent in graveyards rather than shopping malls is not typical to my age group or understood by my elders. This is who I am; a jumble of misinterpreted melodies and fragmented stanzas, not even full poems because finished, they betray me. The first song I ever felt was sad. I wonder how the woman who falls asleep beneath the windows of our bedroom relives the sadness of the music day after day. Or if one day, perhaps, I will feel it like she does; if one day I will pack up my fragments and jumbles, and leave.
Never Date a Poet
By: Dana Lee Alsamsam

in your poetry you wash beauty
over curvaceous female bodies, 
and guild their public transport depression
with romantical addictions, 
hot messy hair and oversized clothing. 
you light their pain ridden eyes
with moonlight and trick their loneliness
into an impetuous love story. 

yet here I am right next to you, 
sitting beneath the weight of your arm around me:

you trace your nails across my back
and I feel it burn instead of caress 
you kiss me and bite my lip
to draw blood instead of seduce
you hold me tightly around the ribs
to break instead of protect

you look at me with sad eyes
your poetic mind swirling and concaving
behind your teeth, 
and I feel like the already dead and bloody
carcass of road kill being further torn apart
and deformed by austere rubber tires against gravel. 

I wish you loved me like the characters
that flow from the tip of your pen. 

 Balloon Catchers
By: Emily Joe Watterson
We were the balloon catchers
The tree jumpers
And bread carriers
We were the coat pocket hide-n-go-seek sunshine pals
We were the cat walkers
Boy kissers
Closeline hanging dirty-kneed trousers
We were the satin cigarette on the tip of your fabricated tongue
We were the toad capturers
Drum beaters
And flower crown crafting field runners
We were the carriage-pushing crocheted baby blanket thinkers
We were the picnic havers
Pipe smokers
Bunkbed whispering wing flappers
We were the paintbrush whisking tulips of your withered garden
You are the war fighters
Love hunters
And pumpkin-patch hand-holders
You are the carnival-going popcorn smile throwers
You are the music dancers
Picture-taking flower-pickers
You are the world fixing babies of our destruction
Here's the world, child
Don't mind the bruises

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