Three Poems

by Joan McNerney

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Jazz

the kitchen sits
in fruit soup…
steamed apricot
mango shadow

down thru spinning
smoke into hot light
blink beat

body ends dangle
lead eye skin cement
high on tongue

night pasted among
buildings Styrofoam clouds
moon hung beneath billboard

rolling pass wet
rocked streets
soul tramp
diamond panhandlers watch
paper birds slices of
the daily news drift in air

comes cool ether
whispers up door
climbing dusty corridor

tree windows lapping lisp
door slams again noise again
then none void nothing syncopates
noise again door slams tree bare frozen

caught in the image of 7 candles
within 7 candles flames of air
7 light bulbs growing out of each other
7 silver circles coined from 7 silver rings

clear as blazing sheets
of glass yet
vague as dust
an ice cube on wood table
in front of crushed velvet
        melt
        poured
        peeled

when this sky now boiling with
stars is strapped black
in pinched air thru sucked mind
swimming pass spaced time
will be one silent
note up.


Fear

Sneaks under shadows lurking
in corners ready to rear its head
folded in neat lab reports charting
white blood cells over edge running wild.

Or hiding along icy roads when
day ends with sea gulls squalling
through steel grey skies.

Brake belts wheeze and whine
snapping apart careening us
against the long cold night.

Official white envelopes stuffed with
subpoenas wait at the mailbox.
Memories of hot words burning
razor blades slash across our faces.

Fires leap from rooms where twisted
wires dance like miniature skeletons.
We stand apart inhaling this mean
air choking on our own breath.


Eleventh Hour

Wrapped in darkness we can
no longer deceive ourselves.
Our smiling masks float away.
We snake here, there
from one side to another.
How many times do we rip off
blankets only to claw more on?

Listening to zzzzzz of traffic,
mumble of freight trains, fog horns.
Listening to wheezing,
feeling muscles throb.
How can we find comfort?

Say same word over and over
again again falling falling to sleep.
I will stop measuring what was lost.
I will become brave.

Let slumber come covering me.
Let my mouth droop, fingers tingle.
Wishing something cool…soft…sweet.
Now I will curl like a fetus
gathering into myself
hoping to awake new born.


Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Camel Saloon, Blueline, Poppy Road Review, Spectrum, Three Bright Hill Press anthologies and several Kind of A Hurricane Press publications. She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net.

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