How to Write Poetry
They will never understand you,
although you speak clearly
as light through leaf-break
splitting shadows in a dense forest.
You will be misunderstood,
because to them you are a river
evading a dam
to keep under control
for they will never comprehend wildness
and they will never try.
They will force what they cannot
into confines, but you are air
leaking in cracks, whispering
your difference. They are impatient.
They will go past gentle persuasion,
right to strong arm tactics.
It won’t work. You are light in a dark room.
Pretend to listen to them.
It appeases them. Make it believable.
Tell them, yes, yes, I agree;
when you don’t. Take what they say,
weigh the truth or lies of it.
If it seems almost right, consider slowly,
is it almost what you need
because it never will be one hundred percent.
If it feels like a half-truth or outright lie,
and it will, then consider what they gain,
what you lose, and the gap between.
Is it huge? They never expect thinking;
they only know forced cooperation.
They think everyone thinks like them.
They only know public relations
and blind obedience.
Become whitecaps stirring in a storm.
The Air Was Sleeping
I do not want to disturb it.
It is resting so peacefully.
It is no longer twitching
like a dog fighting its dream.
It is not whimpering in sleep.
Its eyes are not fluttering
resisting nightmares of pollution.
It is finally resting
and all the clouds left its face.
Sometimes, you got to let go,
release tension, calm your nerves
containing lightning flashes.
You have to let sleep work
its magic of healing.
Air had been struggling a long time.
Its lungs were about to collapse.
It was so exhausted,
it could barely lift itself,
dragging like a low-laying fog.
It desperately needed this rest.
Already the difference is noticeable.
I hate to wake it.
Ribbed between Desert and Water Storm
Stain glass by M. Fagan
When we meet, we merge into ribbed light
holding the lungs of forgiveness.
When we meet, we ripple and follow
each other and blend together
with alchemical kisses, making lines
across a desert where the wind is sifting sand
into a snaking smile, always fleeting.
Like waves on a shore moving coast lines,
retreating, leaving, and abandoning,
what we do not need
is more pain or sorrow.
When storms move their fingers across the sky,
messaging the rains into letting go,
what remains afterwards is stillness:
rain soft as a person sorry they hurt someone.
When the person expresses regret
and they mean it, love ripples —
repeating the apology.
Like geese following the lead,
we should all work together
to get to where we need to go.
Stain glass by R. Griskonyte
Chaos and symmetry
opposite poles finding their way amid a neutral field
where we come together
we need to break
patterns into pieces for a stained glass
of convergence, light through
the cathedral of the heart
where the astonished
we study too much the lack of balance
creating a negative energy and adding to it
as it accumulates
anger feeds off fear
the best way to find the equilibrium
is to hold peace in your heart
like it was an olive branch
carried from the most distant safe shore
we begin to row to
Martin Willitts Jr is a Quaker, organic gardener, paper cutout artist, and Librarian.
He won the 2013 Bill Holm Witness Poetry Contest; winner of the 2013 “Trees” Poetry Contest; winner of the 2014 Broadsided award; winner of the 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Contest. He has 7 full length collections including national ecological contest winner “Searching For What Is Not There” (2014), and 28 chapbooks including national winner “William Blake, Not Blessed Angel But Restless Man” (Red Ochre Press, 2014). His recent collections include “Irises, the Lightning Rod For Van Gogh’s Illness (Aldrich Press, 2014), “Swimming in the Ladle of Stars” (Kattywompus Press,2014), and “City Of Tents” (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2014).
“Balance” and “Ribbed between Desert and Water Storm” are both from a collection of poems based on Martin Willitts’ trip to Swansea, Wales, when he received the 2014 International Dylan Thomas Poetry Award for the centennial, held by the University of Wales, Trinity St, David.