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.