Poems and Poetry

The Power of Touch | A Poem by Richard Kalfus

Touching others has profound meaning.
It shows to others that you care
to share both another’s joy and sadness.

A teachers’ touch to a troubled child.

A father talking to a teenage son,
discovering love for the first time.

A homeless man with a sign, “Need money for food,”
welcomed both my five-dollar bill
and my compassionate touch on the shoulder.

An aging parent who no longer knows who you are,
But feels your love and understanding
through your embrace.

A call to a grieving friend at the loss of a child
receives your touch through a consoling voice.

Women no longer have the exclusive right
to touch both men and women.

Men today may touch a long-time friend
as a sign of an enduring bond.

Medical experts all agree:
medication in tandem with a compassionate touch
can often effectively heal both
the physical and the emotional.

Never forget that by touching,
you receive a gift to yourself.

A young man approached me
when getting gas.
I did not recognize the man,
but he knew me.
This once homeless man,
now well dressed…
shook my hand and said,

“You helped me turn my life around,”
Was it my money or my touch?

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Broken Vowels | A Poem by Roy Pullam

I hear your story
How you are unhappy
How you married
Far too young
How you have grown apart
I listen
Not fully understanding
How you let
Distance grow
Between you
Why you are
Walking away
My marriage
Merged us
So much
That if I left
I would leave
Some of me
And take
Much of her
With me
You find ease
In breaking vowels
In the stray
Led by temptation
I listen
But I do not hear
What you say
My eyes narrow
As I try
To see your side
Love grows and changes
You never did

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A Dish Served Cold | A Poem by Roy Pullam

In the early hours
Of the morning
He faced his computer
Reading lines
On the local chat room
Hurtful things
Written by anonymous contributors
Words that stung
Harsher than a wasp sting
things that were added on
By other parties
In the dog pile
That often followed
Such postings
He thought of a longtime grudge
The toxins
Stored from his youth
The pain
His fist
Could not avenge
In the moment
He grasped his payback
His fingers assaulted the keys
Flashing a rumor
On the screen
Pressing send
Safe behind the shelter
Of a cute name
He had manufactured
For such an occasion
Reading with satisfaction
The half truth he had written
A black eye would heal
But this
Would be read
Would be remembered
And other trolls
Would add
Their own venom
Like hyenas
Gathering to finish
The kill

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Birthday | A Poem by Rozann Kraus

years ago you were in labor
maybe not yet
my birth was so easy
(as in ‘the last easy part of our relationship’)
there was just delivery
no L&D
just
me

there to continue to disappoint
ever after my painless entrance
worse, even, when my mind
was born

the pain denied at confinement
grew elsewhere
a thistle seeking little water or light
just a bristle spot
to be
protecting itself
hiding its flowers
filled cursive curses

forgive? no need
you never asked
though on I’ve moved
over and under
a hindered limp

from a small thorn
implanted
at birth

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A Visit to the Veterans Rest Home | A Poem by Roy Pullam

It had that smell
Of old men
Aged to helplessness
I checked the wall
The posting of room assignments
I passed several men
In wheelchairs
One called out to me
I did not stop
I felt uncomfortable
Not knowing
What to say
His voice followed me
Down the hall
I saw Arnold
Sitting in a chair
A sheet wrapped
Around his midriff
Anchoring him
In place
I noticed his beard
His thin hair
Like gray straw
Piled loosely
On his head
I spoke to him
“Arnold, do you know
Who I am?”
He smiled
“Sometimes I don’t know
who I am”
I forced the conversation
Hoping some form of recognition
Would follow
As we talked
His eyes not focused
His smile not quite right
I felt ill at ease
Like hollering
In a thunderstorm
Alzheimer’s is so cruel
Leaving the body
Just a shell
I left in frustration
With my heart broken

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Crise de Nerfs | A Poem by Nyashadzashe Chikumbu

We spit the fruits of life
ripe red lumps.
Our blood banks being ripped
to shreds.
Coughing choking from milky white
teeth that were once ours.
Their knees crushing hard
into the feathery parts of our ribcage.
Our muffled cries they harkened
not to, viva continua! Black boots
smash hard onto our groins.
Shepherd dogs in a piggery.
Our sanity runs wild, the popping
sound of a grenade
Screaming through a writer’s belly.

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The Scout | A Poem by Roy Pullam

He came
To all the games
Sitting high
In the stands
Hoping to not gather attention
Watching carefully
The kid’s moves
Without the ball
The grace
Of the seventeen year old boy
He followed
After practice
Deep into the inner city
Knowing the mother
Cleaned offices
In the gleaming towers
Downtown
No father
But four younger children
The apartment crowded
But empty
Of so many things
That mattered
The family’s only hope
The skills
That came
With the basketball
No other route
Lay beyond the drugs
Beyond the violence
She saw everyday
On her way to work
The scout
Not the only one
Sniffing around
Since the headlines
Men whose Gucci shoes
Normally never
Walked the halls
Of the tenement
Came visiting
With promises
Of bright future
Opportunities for her
For the children
Far beyond
This gray life
But she had seen others
Hustled off
Used up
And dropped down
Where they began
The promise ashes
The good life gone
He was a student
Reading and learning
He, unique
Not like the rest
Whose only shot
Was the rattle
Of the rim
And she would
Take no less
Than the life change
That came
With an education
She asked tough questions
Questions that eliminated
Sports factories
Questions that
Would involve
More personal hardship
But assure the future
Of her eldest child
Her sacrifice
So few
Were willing to make
She heard their offer
Then sent so many
On their way
Scouts find talent
Make promises
Get a paper signed
Then move on
To the next prospect
She wanted more
Poor but proud
A good mother
In the whirlwind
Of big time sports

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