Tag Archives: modern poet

Poetry: “Plum” by Gemma Mahadeo

It already sounds alluring
in your Eastern European accent,
and mandatory to the tongue.

I recall snatches
of Williams’ frozen plums;

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Gemma Mahadeo, Tincture Journal

Poetry: Ghazal for My Sisters

Be the woman you’re destined to be in this life;
graceful in motion, dance free in this life.

Buy tickets for any train, bus, plane or cab.
So much to hear, do, think and see in this life.

Speak up with body and voice, flowing hands—
you don’t always have to agree in this life.

Lay burdens down on altars, by lakes,
places to which you can flee in this life.

Eyes to the heavens, fingers to the sky,
hands up to feel the glee in this life.

All numbers on the scale act shady—
not everyone’s size three in this life.

Beads and bracelets, bridges and bayous.
Don’t have to be one she in this life.

A book, a pen, a solemn afternoon.
Savor your cups of green tea in this life.

Poems should be courted like a bride.
Get down on one knee in this life.

Come up for air beneath the glamour;
listen for your own plea in this life.

Every taste and flavor, every grain—
so glad you’ve come to me in this life.

-Allison Joseph, Valparaiso Poetry Review

Apologia Litania

Today in Pest’s open air markets there is a sale on holy
water and scapulars, hand-carved chess pieces, and Oriental
spoons whose sole task is to approximate the luxurious

sprawl of the Danube. There are swords upon which I’d throw
myself were it the time and place to throw myself
upon vanity, and fresh fruits. Think of a hitchhiker’s passport

to heaven. But there is a holier water distilled from the tap
and used to clear the ciborium of divinity that she poured
into the mulch insulating the dogwood. What is devotion

more than loyalty to that alternate power truly and ably
able to wound us; worship that it seeks to soak into the roots
of a precious tree. For all my talk of tied-down guns and dying

with my boots on, the way I play Augustus McCrae giving all
of himself to the gangrene to spite his rotting legs, the voices
in which I say A man isn’t a man if he doesn’t have the faculties

with which to kick a pig—for all of that, you have seen me absolutely
ugly as I listen to my father preempt his dying wish in which
he wishes I become a priest: baling bread, smearing ashes, falling

in love with a crisp cassock and phrases like Latens Deitas-
and you have borne it. My Pillar of Autumn. My Tower
of the Off-Ivory. You said to me yesterday a second time

wounded lover, who else would love you? And no one would.
And I know I do not yet understand this morning’s market
where I’ll guess wrongly under which shell lies the pea.

-John Fenlon Hogan, Linebreak

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