October 31, 2008


Lately I've been absent from my duties as friend and daughter
My spirit is wandering miles away from here
Looking for you

Please know I am still functional
I go to work, return phone calls, even did taxes
By myself for the first time in my life

I've never been abroad so i can't really relate
But I do know I miss you
And I count each and every day

That last postcard you sent from Barcelona
I can tell you feel so happy there
It makes me miserable

You should have warned me
How life sucks when you are gone
Trained me for this awful pain

I've already said I am functional

If you want to stay, do
Make a nice memory out of me
Keep sending postcards

I will go to work, return phone calls, do taxes
And once you are dead inside me
I will bring it to an end as well

And then my soul will stop wandering
Maybe then I start to wonder
What life could have been like

With you

elizabeth block (Greaterville, AZ, 1989)

October 29, 2008

short, quick, sharp

the poem is short,
the verse runs quick,
the stanza stabs, sharp
in words not swords,
cuts the flesh

the words dictated,
the ears swollen,
the pain erased
by more pain and words
cut the flesh, stab

the poem is short,
quick, sharp
it stabs
it kills
it dies

will tognetti (Groton, CT, 1979)

October 28, 2008

wendy goes to the farmers' market
and speaks to god

Wendy goes to the farmers' market
just as any other day
she handpicks her heirloom tomatoes
and some eggplants
for she is trying some mediterranean recipe
a close friend jotted down for her
yes, and some basil too
and there
under an unusually warm day in September
she's almost ready to leave
when she hears this voice
sounds like Tom, his neighbor from downstairs
but it's not Tom
I'm God you silly
he is tucked in between some turnips
she laughs
I don't like red peppers, he says
but I'd love some beets!
Who said you were invited
she says with a laugh
Oh, c'mon! it's the least you can do after
I gave you that smile, brains and the two reasons
you wear a fitness bra even when you're not doing exercise

and she goes ok, ok, ok
now, let me off these turnips

Wendy helped him out
with a grin on her face
and her gracious movements
Wendy is so pretty
I wish I could ask her out someday
so they go back and she cooks
the recipe turns out delicious
it's an italian name and I can't spell it here, sorry
and they have a laugh
and then he offers to do dishes
they have tea and he leaves
the farmers' market closes at three
I go back home

steve konrad (Indianapolis, IN, 1980)


first 100 posts at Young American Poets

100 reasons to celebrate and thank writers, readers and fellow bloggers who have made it possible

Thank you!

Now, moving on to more new poetry from America's new poets

Again, thank you!

The Young American Poets team

October 27, 2008

three hundred tigers in your backyard

Little we knew it was the end
better both of us felt
like derailing and crashing

Your fate unknown
my will bewildered
feeling is painful dreadful

(this is one good-bye too many)

Singing off-key
sitting on a plastic bench
bring it on, that sweater

I told you, it's cold in here
Bring it on and wish us luck
in this our new good-bye

I sat alone and I was bitten
I waited and I was eaten
three hundred tigers in your backyard

Hors d'ouvres for empty lovers
these are bruises and wounds
to admire for a lifetime

We lost our dignity and this
is way past your lunchtime
snack on me

Let me forget you once again
snack on me the hollow man
have a bite and maybe one day

You let me out chewed but alive
tame three hundred tigers
and wait to be seated

paul christo (Olympia, WA, 1979)

October 24, 2008

turning thirty

they say it's cool
you look so young
but inside i feel so old,
a creep

they say the future stands before you
but all i see is debt
an estranged family
and selfish friends

they promised a career, money
they want a bride, kids, money
i don't have anything
i am lost

turning thirty is like giving birth
to yourself
only that nobody smiles
and you look suspicious

if you like younger women you are a perv
if you like younger men you are a perv and a fag
if you don't like anyone at all
you are deeply disturbed

pills won't cut it
counseling is not worth its price
turning thirty is like giving birth to a monster
and dying at the same time

jeff simmons (Providence, RI, 1978)

October 23, 2008

what we look for

Poetry is a game with no rules, as much as reviewing poetry is a hazardous activity that lacks a scientific basis. However, here at YAP we fiercely combat the idea of reviewing and editing as an obscure procedure fueled by mystical powers. So we began to think about what we like the most in the vast universe of the ars poetica and have come up with a few guidelines that serve our editorial team as common ground for submissions assessment.

This is what we look for:

A distinct voice. It does not matter whether poetry is about eggplants, elevators, turnips or monster trucks. It does not matter if it is yet another poem about love lost, loneliness or despair. But we do care about finding distinct voices that tell us about what we already know in a new, different way.

An eye catching title. The title of a poem is like a movie poster. It may make you curious about what it is "promoting". So we love well crafted, smart, witty or plain silly and playful titles.

A great beginning, an even greater ending. If a poem grabs you from the neck right from the start you will probably keep reading it until the very final verse, where we love to find a bold, elegant, significant ending, something that reads like "thanks for traveling with us", or maybe even "rot in hell".

Flow, rhythm. Was the travel soft and easy, was it rocky and rough, was it fast, slow paced... we enjoy all types of rides, as long as it is a real, compelling ride.

Emotional impact. We read poems to ourselves, we read them aloud, we look for snippets that we like within the poem, we dissect and reassemble, we read poetry upside down... but in the end all we are looking for is emotion, in the widest and wildest of senses.

The Young American Poets team

i dreamed of grinding your eyeballs

fall semester once again
the sun sets in new england
a cool night
and i wish i could set you on fire

last night i dreamed of grinding your eyeballs
and you were laughing
while i finished reading Also sprach Zarathustra
an annotated edition in German
that i got when i went to Frankfurt in my sophomore year

your silly meaningless laugh
and i was there
plucking every eyelash
plugging my energy saving grinder
it felt so good

let me put this clear: it's fine
that you go fuck half the dorm
but let me remind you we live
in the information age
you dumbass

and knowledge is not power anymore
it's on midnight madness sale
flows from the tap
facebook, myspace, anyone?
you idiot

so you had to satisfy you manly instincts
making passes to whoever crossed your horn stenched path
and after a few clicks i could trace your slimy deeds
you are such a loser baby

i hope your family dies
i hope your dog dies
and i hope my dream comes true
i really do

beatrice kaplan (Pembroke, NH, 1985)

October 22, 2008

tearing at the border

lock and block the entrance
for the greater walls lie only miles away
not in China

lock, block and patrol
and then taste this guacamole
is good, isn't it?

madre, hay un policía en la puerta*

no sir, we haven't seen anyone with that name before
you know how young men are all stationed in Iraq
maybe la migra** is the real migraine

a fifty nation army of the poor and the outcasts
a fifty nation army locking the door for good
a fifty nation army tearing at the seams

vamos ya†, roll your taco and finish it

I spent time in the desert
I still remember my sweet sixteen
life has not changed much

my grandfather was drunk and then he killed himself
and we mourned for a year
dressed in black, locked and blocked

we are no mojados†† eating Doritos
we dwell in borders, the mere transitions
overflown by the transactions

the greater walls are not built
they grow within
and you try tearing them down

lock, block and patrol
and then taste the enchiladas
is good, isn't it?

silvia arroyo (El Paso, TX, 1972)

Editor's notes:

* "Mother, there is a cop at the door"
** Slang for "federal immigration authorities"
† "Come on"
†† Offensive term for a Mexican laborer who enters the U.S. illegally, wetback

October 14, 2008

chasing foxes

Speeding to Wimberly
Kicking up dust and dirt

They call this nowhere
They call us

Your vision condenses
And comes into focus

The windswept rock
Was formed
By a river
Before I knew the wor(l)d

A swallows dive, accented by my whisper
How foolish
Always the last to learn

Approaching me with stern judgement
Rushes the water
Passing Gideon

I can feel you,
Sliding into the river
Soft and suppl(iant)

This took billions of years

I recognize my wretchedness
Next to you

russ hamer (Ventura, CA, 1987)

October 13, 2008


i feel as though i've been crafted at
the malignant hands of an apprentice god...
an insane child of a god.
what darkness awaits me as the sun expires
and the storm quickens its pace?

murderous thoughts have returned
and compartmentalized speech is uttered
it is a veneered walk, empty and spacious
i have no dreams, no hopes, only screams as
a bruised sky threatens to tear me away

i feed off the lives of others
wondering if i'll ever be happy again
because surely i remember truly smiling, laughing
once before... running through fields of poppies
and daffodil and rose, lavender filling my nose,
warm sands between my toes

now though there is only anger and melancholia
no moments sublime... only a torturous belief that
it will all improve, a restraining fear lashing my
hands from pulling a trigger and blowing myself
back to the dust whence i came

i don't even want to cry, i can't remember
what i've lost... only a vague memory of blood and smoke

d.c. massey (Albuquerque, NM, 1972)

October 11, 2008

all work, some play, no words



sweat / well

then there ---> here



i build with them




the heat of urgent expression



hard times for me

all work

some play

no words

brett o'hare (Lewes, DE, 1983)

October 8, 2008

crisp versified carrot cake (recipe)

Time: 30 minutes

2 pounds (about 3 medium) inspiration, peeled and sliced very thinly

1 tablespoon household spirit, or as needed

freshly sharpened no. 2 pencil

1 tablespoon minced fresh ideas

1 tablespoon moldy anger

4 carrots

3 blank pages

olive oil



edge (to taste)

1. Pat inspiration dry if very starchy or moist. In a sauté pan large enough to fit disturbing thoughts spread 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with words and pepper to taste. Starting in center, arrange carrot slices in a closely overlapping downward spiral. When pan is filled, repeat to make a second signifying layer. The more layers, the tastier reviewers will find your cake.

2. Place pan over medium heat and cover. Slowly cook carrots until well browned on underside, about 15 minutes, occasionally shaking memories lost to avoid sticking to the past. Wipe your tears when chopping onions. Close eyelids as needed to keep them dry. We don't like to see you cry. Lest when cooking for us.

3. Press with a flat spatula and remove from heat. Place a larger platter over pan and flip it upside down, transferring carrots to anywhere they make themselves at home. Add anger. Bleed.

4. Return to medium heat. Spread over blank pages, not lined. Use pencils, ink or blood. Cover and cook until well browned. Season. Bring it on. Do your homework. Dare write.

5. To serve, slide onto a serving chaplet, season to taste with salt, and garnish with amazing grace or thyme. Let it sit forever. Sing remote echo chambers. Blush. Start all over again.

Yield: enough servings for a hungry troupe. You get nothing.

maxine applebaum (Baltimore, MD, 1980)

October 6, 2008

darts against you and the goddamn universe

my sophomore love died on the beach four summers ago
but it seems ages now and I rarely feel staring eyes anymore
the rattle snakes in the backyard
the speeding tickets
flaws and foes piling alike
and either you lied or got it all wrong
your constellations
they were all wrong

time is not taking toll
time is making us troll and frolic
because time has stopped for goof but nobody noticed
and there is something
or maybe someone
pushing the buttons
someone who has not read the user's manual
navigating on sheer instinct

pardon our dust, our bumps, our bad temper

notice: there are potholes in the galaxy big as this whole planet

warning: the universe is for sale in a seedy second-hand store

* * *

that summer you saw my flesh becoming pale and traced my stretch marks
magnified every scab, every little mark made visible
by that horrible swimming suit that was my birthday present

a young couple yards away was making out
she was gorgeous
and you said I looked like her when we met
she was a brunette and he was well built, a handsome surfer called john
weren't they happy?

* * *

time has not stopped
we become weaker
the strain hasn't made me any stronger
but the body is a wrinkle, the burning sun, the scars inflicted,
the pain concocted over flesh as yellow canvas of history unfolding
while you predicted storm and the honeymoon was over

you drowned on the beach
four summers gone
his name was john
and I didn't look at all like her
your constellations were wrong
as were your predictions
weren't we happy?
too soon it was over and I'm still trying
to bear you close and hear the rattle snakes
in this impossible endeavour

arianna leighton (San Francisco, CA, 1971)

October 3, 2008

sonnet for the singles bar soldiers

the bouncer smiles and nods open the door
an ocean wave of cheap fragrance stench
a deck outside, crippled cleavage on a bench
and we dare them ladies hit the dance floor

they are generous in flesh and maybe more
i crack some very bad jokes, my friend speaks french
in singles bar men seem out of the trench
hungry hunting for prey and carnage, gore

all of us kings with no crown
courting queens with no castle, hideous chambermaids
a few hours of hard earned diversion

we want to score, not frown
turn lights off and kick off the plaids
smoking out, horny as hell in drunk confusion

michael cole embers (Ithaca, NY, 1972)

October 2, 2008

Poetry Center calling poets for Juried Reading

The Poetry Center of Chicago invites poets to submit unpublished work for consideration in the 15th Annual Juried Reading. Eight finalists will have their poetry published in a chapbook by Dancing Girl Press as well as on the Poetry Center website. The Final Judge for the 2009 edition will be Brenda Hillman.

The Juried Reading is open to all poets residing in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Poets may be unpublished or have published no more than one full-length book of poetry. Send poems to: 15th Annual Juried Reading, The Poetry Center of Chicago, 37 S. Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603. Poems will be accepted by US mail only. There is a $15 jury fee, check or money order. The contest is free for Poetry Center members. Read the submission guidelines here.


1st: $1,500
2nd: $500
3rd: $250

5 finalists receive $50

Postmark deadline: January 29, 2009

Further reading:

Past edition winners

More on Brenda Hillman

October 1, 2008

middle finger march

You grab with an open palm
But your grab is a stab opposite calm
Frantically I panic as I bleed automatic
It flows as the beat slows until finally static
Words cannot express the knot you tied
When I open wide, each syllable seems to hide
Emotionally over you, so over us two and us too
So I'm looking for new, a new boo among so few
I'm not looking for hooking up with just anybody
But looking for hooking up with that special somebody
Lonely I've become and overcome with fear and anxiety
So overshadowed, not hallowed but still haloed tried to see
I want to be me, but me is the nice guy who finishes final
Why does my kind fall behind like a continuum of loves denial
It's happened repeatedly again and then when I think it's done
She comes along, it's been so long but now I've found the one
Or have I? Nope, I fall ass over face, what a waste it seemed
I guess friendship was on her mind, but I find that kind to be dreamed
So you see, you sleep but I keep on scheming and writing
Well, not so much scheming as teaming words in poor lighting
Damn this lamp is like you, bright, slight and slender but easily turned off
It's apparent that apparently I was not the correct guy to help you get off
So get off, get bent in the jail sense, it's going to hurt but rough it
A finger or two to linger a few while I sit on my tuffet eating Ms. Muffet
Was that muffled, apologies for my middle finger policies
I know that blow wasn't rough but hoe right it was slender mockeries
Well, I'm off, I mean, I'm high like loft, liftoff bitch
Peace out, I doubt you care what I write about you bitch

steven walsh (Rochester, NY, 1987)