Archives for posts with tag: Poems

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).

Sam Barbee Pix

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.

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.


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.

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.


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 and on Facebook and Twitter.

PHOTO: The author and her beloved companion, Loki.

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.


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

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.


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.

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

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.


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.

by Sally Mortemore

moretemore poem 1
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? 

moretemore sally

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.

Inventing a New Language
by Lara Dolphin

if Eskimos have 100 words for snow,
then there ought to be as many words for waiting
like the kind of waiting
when you’re standing in the wings
your heart racing
ready to enter stage left as the curtain rises
versus waiting for shrimp eyes
water bubbling at around 160 degrees
to reach rope of pearls
so you can enjoy a robust oolong
and neither seems to compare with Mandela
waiting an extra week
to be released after 27 years in prison
in order to give his people time to prepare
and what could be more different from a child
waiting to open birthday presents
than Hamlet waiting to kill Claudius
both waiting but not the same thing
and queuing up for Wimbledon
or to take a selfie with the Mona Lisa
hardly seem the same
as a mile-long line for emergency food
or years spent for a foster child to find a home

I’m waiting for a word that means
I’m waiting for you to apologize
and for a word that means
I’m waiting for my Amazon delivery
I am still waiting for a way to describe
how I’m waiting to be kissed
or how we’re all waiting
for the world to address the climate crisis
so until there’s a word to describe
how I’m waiting for the laundry to finish
as opposed to how I’m waiting
for the world’s poets to stand up to power
I’ll still be here waiting

PAINTING: Waiting for the Bus (Anadarko Princess) by T.C. Cannon (1977).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Perhaps if we can more precisely communicate what we mean, we can distinguish between everyday waiting, joyful anticipation, and the patience that becomes complacency.


Lara Dolphin is an attorney, nurse, wife, and mom of four amazing kids; she is exhausted and elated most of the time.

Until Then
by Paige L. Austin

I am still waiting for that one thing
that moment
where I know I have done what I came here to do.
I hope it comes as a shout of joy from my great grandchildren
running by my rocking chair
in my sunny backyard.
I hope it comes as a message from an old friend
saying I’m glad we’ve been through life together
I wouldn’t have wanted to do it without you.
I hope it comes among curls of silver-white hair
and bad knees from decades of running
and arthritic hands from a lifetime of writing.
I hope it comes as the discovery of love letters in an old shoe box
years of anniversaries and birthdays
gathered together in colorful paper memories.
I hope it comes as gently as a sunset
after a perfect day
many years from now.
Until then I will be here
making sure I get there
and I am still waiting.

PAINTING: Guiliana and the Sunflowers by Jamie Wyeth (1987).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’m at a time in my life where “the days are long but the years are short.” I often stop to think about all the things I still want to accomplish, and I wonder if I’ll have the time. Of course, we all only have whatever time we’re given, and none of us knows exactly how long that is, so all we can really do is hope it’s enough. For myself, I’m aiming for a good, long life filled with joy and love, and I’m content to wait however long it takes to get there.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paige L. Austin is a professional magazine editor with a master’s degree in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University. She recently returned to the creative writing fold, and is enjoying spreading her creative wings again! Her most recent flash fiction piece, “How to Do It All,” was published by Silver Birch Press as part of its HOW TO Poetry and Prose Series. She lives with her husband in Texas, where together they wrangle their two young children, two cats, and one long-suffering dog. Visit her on Instagram and at

work-no-384-a-sheet-of-paper-folded-up-and-unfolded-2004 copy
by Massimo Soranzio

I am still waiting
for a word to come

then for the next one
and for the thought

that will combine them
to draw some sense

out of the blank page
where old words were

washed away by time
when everything stopped

so when I looked
nothing was the same

and being creative
suddenly meant

re-inventing life
to make it like

it was before
or not quite

but making do.

IMAGE: Work No. 384 (A sheet of paper folded up and unfolded) by Martin Creed (2004).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Since the spring of 2020, I haven’t been able to avoid writing about (or “around”) the pandemic and its consequences, how life has changed and we are trying to adapt, and how we will probably never be able to go back to the same life altogether, but we might have been changed so much by the experience, that instead of reconstructing our old life, we are more likely to start building a new life over the ruins of the old one.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Massimo Soranzio is a teacher and translator living on the northern Adriatic coast of Italy. His poems have appeared online and in print in a few anthologies, including Silver Birch Press’s Nancy Drew Anthology. He blogs at