Archives for category: I AM STILL WAITING

wild-geese-over-reeds-1977
I Am Still Waiting for
by Lynne Kemen

my COVID jab.
And I am still waiting for the woman
in front of me reading
about Meghan and Harry to
move her damned groceries
to the conveyer belt.

I am still waiting for my cat to get up,
Relinquishing the chair formerly known as mine.
I am waiting and waiting for the only
food that my cat can eat to be in stock.

And I am still waiting for daffodils
to poke their yellow heads
out of muddy soil.
And I am still waiting for schools
to let my grandchildren
go back to regular days,
and play with friends,
to learn in-person.

I am still waiting for the sound
of returning geese.
And I am still waiting for my jealousy
about another’s poem to abate.

I am perpetually waiting
for inspiration to land,
and for the newest makeup,
the newest burner of fat,
the newest vitamin to boost my brain.

And I am still waiting for the man
with the dumpster.
I can barely contain myself.

PAINTING: Wild Geese Over Reeds by Huang Yongyu (1977).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I wrote “I Am Still Waiting for,” I tried to think about the things that made me itch to move forward, to get on with things. I wanted to channel Ferlinghetti’s impatience, irritation, hopefulness.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lynne Kemen lives in the Western Catskills of New York. Five of her poems are featured in Seeing Things: An Anthology of Poetry, Edited by Robert Bensen (Woodland Arts Editions, 2020). Her chapbook, More Than A Handful, was published by Woodland Arts Editions in 2020. Lynne’s work has also appeared in La Presa and Silver Birch Press. She is a Board Member of Bright Hill Literary Press, as well as several other nonprofit organizations.

angel-of-hope1
In the Waiting Room
by Laura Foley

Her chest is still bleeding
and I am in the waiting
room, remembering this morning,
how I learned to push a wheelchair—
fast along the corridor, Whee!
across the Bridge of Hope,
Emily’s poem engraved on the wall,
my beloved wife chanting:
Hope is the Thing with Feathers,
as I steer her fast up the slight incline,
as we are Camino pilgrims
crossing the Pyrenees once again.
And even though her chest
still bleeds from a port inserted
near her heart, even though we rose at four
for a five o’clock appointment,
arriving in the dark, greeted by secretaries,
nurses still sleepy from bed,
we are now mid-day, a day
we know will be the longest,
hardest, yet, how good to know,
even though it’s painful
to see the redness and the bandage,
you are here with me, as I mouth these words
under my breath, the imagined you—
listening to me, where I am still waiting,
in the waiting room, dear reader.

PAINTING: Angel of Hope by Carlos Schwabe (1895).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem as I was waiting in the hospital waiting room at the Dana Farber Cancer Center in Boston. The act of imagining readers hearing my thoughts helped me to cope with the feelings of fear, uncertainty and exhaustion that accompany any perilous journey, with an unknown end. Immediately, I felt less alone.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Laura Foley is the author of seven poetry collections. Why I Never Finished My Dissertation received a starred Kirkus Review, was among their top poetry books of 2019, and won an Eric Hoffer Award. Her collection It’s This is forthcoming from Salmon Press. Her poems have won numerous awards, and national recognition—read frequently by Garrison Keillor on The Writers Almanac; appearing in Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry. Laura lives with her wife, Clara Gimenez, among the hills of Vermont. Visit her at laurafoley.net.

cave-126-1986
I Am Still Waiting to Leave the Cave
by Margaret Duda

I wish I knew if I imagined it.
Everyone was there, all the survivors
waiting to exit the dark cave
and walk out into the sunrise.

I swear it is the ending to a movie
I saw a long time ago or is it
something my mind created
to keep me sane in a pandemic?

It has been a long year
Without my husband, who died,
Without my family, who stayed away,
Without my friends, also at risk.

We called, we emailed and texted,
we zoomed, we followed friends
on social media, read books,
and wrote stories and poems.

I had groceries delivered
and left in my cluttered garage,
packages collected by UPS,
medications sent by Fed Ex.

Once a week I drove around town
to save my car battery for that day
when we can drive and visit again
without masks or social distancing.

I couldn’t have imagined it.
It was too real, people blinking
as they walked into the bright light
arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder.

I know it’s coming,
but I am still waiting
to hug family and friends
and feel human again.

PAINTING: Cave 126 by Elaine de Kooning (1986).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wake up every morning and, after a cup of coffee, head to my computer and try to work until noon. I do this because I need to write as much as I need to breathe. I am on the fifth and final draft of my immigrant family saga novel filled with stories of both sides of our family. I am the only one left who knows these stories, and I have to make sure that my grandchildren remember so they can pass the stories down to their children and grandchildren. I could not speak English until I was five years old, which might be the reason I have always loved words and writing poetry. The worst thing I ever did was tear a poem out of a book in our school library because I simply had to own those words. I even slept with that page under my pillow. To assuage my guilt, years later I anonymously sent a large donation to that library—but in a strange way, I think the poet would have been pleased.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  A professional author, photographer, and jewelry designer, Margaret Duda has had her work published in The Kansas Quarterly, the Michigan Quarterly Review, Crosscurrents, The South Carolina Review, The Green River Review, The University Review, Fine Arts Discovery, The Green River Review, Venture, and Silver Birch Press. One of her short stories made the distinctive list of Best American Short Stories. She also had a play produced in Michigan, has had several books of nonfiction published, including Four Centuries of Silver and Traditional Chinese Toggles: Counterweights and Charmsand took travel photographs for the New York Times for 10 years. She lives in Pennsylvania, and is working on the final draft of an immigrant family saga novel set in a steel mill town from 1910 to 1920. She is also writing poetry to find a shred of sanity during this pandemic and hopes to write enough for a chapbook by the end of the year.

the-sea-1981
Safe Harbor
by Sam Barbee

My dark beast surfs
by moonlight, ruin
on its tongue, rides
the wave of least resistance.

Sea-cadence: water
follows water, as breath
after breath. Dividing
energies found by pursuit.

Jetty’s finger dissects,
crooks, motions
. . . come closer . . .
disregard seafoam’s

brown blaze. Rip-tide’s
fist flexes into crag.
I am still waiting
for its spray over my face.

Storm turns upon itself,
seeks mercy. Poised
against dread, black water
begs dreams to take over,

those never hidden
in conchs, but weighted,
current carved. Offered
at this primitive site.

Shards pile on the cape
until moon signals enough.
Seagrass urges
                         inhale my sway.

PAINTING: The Sea by Julian Schnabel (1981).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sam Barbee’s poems have recently appeared in Poetry South, Literary Yard, Asheville Poetry Review, and Adelaide Literary Magazine, among others. His work has also been featured in on-line journals, including American Diversity Report, Exquisite Pandemic, Verse Virtual, The Voices Project, and Medusa’s Kitchen. His latest collection is Uncommon Book of Prayer (2021, Main Street Rag).  His previous poetry collection, That Rain We Needed (2016, Press 53), was a nominee for the Roanoke-Chowan Award as one of North Carolina’s best poetry collections of 2016.  He was awarded an “Emerging Artist’s Grant” from the Winston-Salem Arts Council to publish his first collection, Changes of Venue (Mount Olive Press). Sam has been a featured poet on the North Carolina Public Radio Station WFDD, received the 59th Poet Laureate Award from the North Carolina Poetry Society for his poem “The Blood Watch,” and is a Pushcart nominee.

walking-woman-1949
Out, Alone
by Maria Nestorides

It’s a balmy spring afternoon
and I’m on my way to the craft shop
where I’ve booked a class
to make a heart-shaped wreath for my wall.
And I am still waiting…

I park my car wherever I find a spot,
but this is New York City, and
I need a good five minutes to walk to the shop.
A group of young men are huddled together
outside a shop, laughing and joking.
Ask any woman you know. These men
could be as harmless as a bee in the middle
of the ocean, but
to a lone woman, a group of men being loud
and raucous is a clear and present danger.
And I am still waiting…

Alert sounds scream in my mind,
my flight or fight signals are going crazy.
Adrenaline rushes through my body,
preparing me to do whatever I need to do—fast.
Are my trousers too tight? Is my top too revealing?
If I cross the road to the other side will I provoke them?
If I stay on the same side of the road, will I provoke them?
If I look at them, will I provoke them?
If I don’t look at them, will I provoke them?
Why didn’t I buy a can of pepper spray?
And I am still waiting…

I clutch my car keys between my knuckles
with the metal jutting out, ready to attack,
if I need to. Silly, I know. What chance
would I stand against a bunch of men?
I pass them by, and exhale sharply
in relief as they don’t even seem to notice
I exist. It looks like I’ll be making that
heart-shaped wreath after all.
Others have not been as lucky.
Others have not lived
to write about their experience.
#notallmen are the same but I am
still waiting for the day
when all women can walk free,
when they can do so without fear.

PAINTING: Walking Woman by Balcomb Greene (1949). 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem after reading about the recent kidnapping and murder of Sarah Everard in London, as she walked home after visiting a friend. Rest in Peace, Sarah and all other “Sarahs.” May you be the last to have to suffer like this.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Maria Nestorides lives in sunny Cyprus. She is married and has two adult children. She has an MA in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University and an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. Her short stories have appeared in Silver Birch Press, The Sunlight Press, The Story Shack, Inkitt  and she has also contributed a six-word memoir to the book Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak: by Writers Famous and Obscure, by Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser (Jan 6, 2009). You can visit her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Return to Sender
by Betsy Mars

I am still waiting
to let go of Loki, hoping
God will see fit to return her
in some form or another
that I will recognize
when it happens
when I see her eyes
I will know all
is right and take my leave
with her, then I will
no longer grieve for her,
but that’s a lie,
for I will always miss
her mottled tongue
licking my hand, pulling
at my heart’s unraveling sleeve.

PAINTING: Summer Evening at Skagen by Peder Severin Kroyer.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I found this call so timely given the pandemic and the fact that, for many of us, so many things are or have been on hold: seeing loved ones, moving, finding a job, taking a vacation, making repairs, etc. This could have gone any number of directions, but what immediately popped into my head was my dog’s death. I adored her, but maybe due to the isolation and her role in helping me through this past year, I found this loss harder to take than my last dog’s death, even though she was equally beloved. I am not a real believer either in an omniscient being or in reincarnation, but I have often found myself saying to the Universe something along the lines of “Okay, that’s long enough. I want her back now,” and hoping somehow that she will reappear. I wasn’t nearly done with her.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Betsy Mars practices poetry, photography, pet maintenance, and publishes an occasional anthology through Kingly Street Press. Her second anthology, Floored, is now available on Amazon. “Pyriscence” was a winner in Alexandria Quarterly´s first line poetry contest series in 2020, and she was a finalist in both the Jack Grapes and Poetry Super Highway poetry contests. Her work has recently appeared in Verse-Virtual, Sky Island Journal, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, and Sheila-Na-Gig, among others. She is the author of Alinea (Picture Show Press) and co-author of In the Muddle of the Night with Alan Walowitz (Arroyo Seco Press). Visit her at marsmyst.wordpress.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

PHOTO: The author and her beloved companion, Loki.

spirit-in-the-sky-1969
winter solstice in march
by Scott Ferry

as a nurse i am still waiting for the grace
to treat a patient who i feel will pass soon
without anger

i can almost see god funneling through
his eyes and i want to reach an
invisible arm

and push the creeping light back
like pushing off the hazard button
on a dashboard

give him more time i think
but i look at the frail body the throat
unable to swallow

the late november skin and i realize
this is not my time this is not my
suffering to

bargain with

PAINTING: Spirit in the Sky by Ronnie Landfield (1969).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: For this piece, I had just finished a video call with a patient who didn’t have much time. I remembered back to every time I’d realized this with a patient and every time I had a resistance to death as if the person was a family member, or even myself. I know this is not healthy; yet, I know no other way to stay human. As a professional, I do not let it cloud my judgment, but the turmoil boils under the surface. This is the hardest part, for me.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Scott Ferry helps our Veterans heal as a RN. He has published two books of poetry: The only thing that makes sense is to grow (Moon Tide, 2020) and Mr. Rogers kills fruit flies, (Main St. Rag, 2020). Find more of his work at ferrypoetry.com.

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Open to Interpretation
by Vijaya Gowrisankar

I am still waiting to understand the look in your eyes
when you extended your hand and squeezed me
for one last time

I am still waiting to understand the look in your eyes
through the pain I felt when I grew from a child
to an adult, overnight

I am still waiting to understand the look in your eyes,
the message that everyone conveyed when they turned
their backs on us, strangers we were once more

I am still waiting to understand the look in your eyes
What were your dreams for me as a parent? Do my choices
match who you dreamt I would become over the years?

I am still waiting to understand the look in your eyes
and the anger in my heart, for never having forgotten
or forgiven you for leaving me when you did

I am still waiting to understand the look in your eyes,
for time never stopped, and it didn’t allow me to stand
in the same place that you left me, bereft

I am still waiting to understand the look in your eyes,
that has influenced every decision I’ve made,
often wondering what your guidance would have been

I am still waiting to understand the look in your eyes,
through the joys and sorrows I’ve embraced over the years,
missing you at every step

I am still waiting to understand the look in your eyes,
and the message you were trying to convey. Was that
last squeeze “sorry” or “take care” or “do your best”?

PAINTING: The forest that watches me by Marina Pallares (2016).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is dedicated to the last moments I spent with my father before he left for his heavenly abode. As life has evolved, I’ve often wondered what things would have been like if he were still there. Those last moments have been an anchor and have often guided me for critical life decisions.

Gowrisankar

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vijaya Gowrisankar is the author of the poetry collections InspireReflectExploreSavour–Art and Poetry meetEvolve, Shine, Unlikely Friendships, and Cherish. Her blog Grow Together shares insights from the greatest influencers and focuses on personal growth. She has been published in over 80 anthologies. Visit her blogFacebook page, and Amazon Author page, and find her on Twitter.

drops-of-rain-1903
Writer’s Block
by Vince Gotera

I am still waiting
for bubbles to rise
through dark water

I am still waiting
for new sun to glow
peach at the horizon

I am still waiting
for sky to open
for one raindrop

I am still waiting
for breezes to stir
spiral upward

I am still waiting
for angels’ wings
to waft soundless

I am still waiting
my lover’s hand
soft on my cheek

I am still waiting
I am still
                waiting

PHOTOGRAPH: Drops of Rain by Clarence White (1903).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was writing a poem a day during April. This poem is titled “Writer’s Block” because in fact that was the occasion for the writing. I was having a bit of a hard time coming up with a poem one day, and all I had in mind was the phrase “I am still waiting” from this prompt. So I tried to clear my mind and let things come as they would . . . and this was the result.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vince Gotera teaches at the University of Northern Iowa, where he served as Editor of the North American Review (2000-2016). He is also former Editor of Star*Line, the print journal of the international Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (2017-2020). His poetry collections include Dragonfly, Ghost Wars, Fighting Kite, The Coolest Month, and the upcoming Pacific Crossing. Recent poems appeared in Altered Reality Magazine, Crab Orchard Review, Dreams & Nightmares, The Ekphrastic Review, Philippines Graphic (Philippines), Rosebud, The Wild Word (Germany) and the anthologies Multiverse (UK), Dear America, and Hay(na)ku 15. He blogs at The Man with the Blue Guitar.

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Questioning
by Sally Mortemore

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PAINTING: The Prepared Bouquet by René Magritte (1957). 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: That confusion between two people who read a situation in different ways, but how one still hopes they will meet in the middle at some pointbut just how long should one wait? 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sally Mortemore is a working actor in the UK, but has been writing on and off since she was about 14. In 2005 she decided to study for a Masters Degree at the University of London/RCSSD—she felt a lack of academia in her life, having been to Drama School instead of university. Although she had been writing theatre reviews for a London Entertainment Magazine and for an on-line theatre hub under her mother’s maiden name, she wanted to use academic writing to help her to be less florid in her creative writing. Since then, she has been writing poetry, but has never actively sought to publish although she has contemplated the possibility. In 2014 she was asked to write a poem for the London International Women’s Festival, and in 2016 she read one of her poems during an evening of poetry and music at Tara Arts Theatre in South London, for which she received many positive responses.