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Signalfireartists - Poetry


"I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close." -Pablo Neruda

Poetry speaks to the soul. Bits of brilliance. Mind to mind. Poetry exhibitions are largely low key. The significance of poetry is often overlooked. For the immensity of poetry in the moment, one need only look to Amanda Gorman's powerful inaugural poem in 2021, and her command as she read it. Poetry showcases the best and worse of humanity. We should never look away.


Wrinkled Illusion

Wrinkled Illusion

Wrinkled Illusion

Written by Sergio A. Ortiz


rented desensitized scalpel

saline water fat injection

you rave about stopping time

but instead of budding

circus illusionist

you shrink

Title: Wrinkled Illusion

Genre: Micro-poetry

Author: Saore/Sergio A. Ortiz/Adobo Criollo




I Ask My Mother to Sing

I Ask My Mother to Sing

I Ask My Mother to Sing

By Li-Young Lee

She begins, and my grandmother joins her.
Mother and daughter sing like young girls.
If my father were alive, he would play
his accordion and sway like a boat.

I've never been in Peking, or the Summer Palace,
nor stood on the great Stone Boat to watch
the rain begin on Kuen Ming Lake, the picnickers
running away in the grass.

But I love to hear it sung;
how the waterlilies fill with rain until
they overturn, spilling water into water,
then rock back, and fill with more,

Both women have begun to cry.
But neither stops her song.




Providence in Arlington

Providence in Arlington 

Providence in Arlington

by K.D. Rose

Arlington is famous for the dead.

They walk the streets each day, head in a box,

watch sun shine on the husks,

empty fabric, smoking cigarettes over bridges that fade.

You can see the dead alright, homesick.


They look good to me but I may be drunk

on the thickness of fumes that make decay look new,

but we would know us, alive−

we are not double frappuccino latte no whip, progeny

of wounds, cowed, forbidden recollection−


−afraid our flowers will wilt before they bloom;


−afraid our temple is burnt beyond recognition;


−afraid our children will awake screaming; afraid


−our light won’t shine under mud and crust,

layers of skin,

mustaches and spaghetti sauce,

no umbrella in the rain, or afraid

that it shines but can only be seen

by the absent, the wayward, the wicked, the bones;


−afraid our karma is too weak to see us through

this landscape of the dead,

the lost, the verboten,

of the sailors with no shoes,

the empire with hollow feet,

the cut out tongues,


−afraid for one minute of brain stupefying, hand sweating,

eye swelling presence of delight.


The junkies of this world no longer taste their drugs;

they’re hooked on the glamour,

watching dirty fingers scrape white insides,

the ritual of living backwards from pure.


Tequila and Champagne−swell gals


but never quite satisfied,

Scotch and Whiskey, Jim and Jack,

lousy one night stands, those guys,

where nicotine is a razor to our cheek

because we like our pain painless,

antiseptic as our desires,


and white-haired men might turn 17 again

if, just to forget, we hadn’t sold ourselves

the pretense to occupy a space

and not relate to ourselves,

our dead, frozen faces,

our unique hatred and naked, malleable lives,

bearing inaudible sorrow, we swim like lemmings

to destinies inhuman;

no one’s watching the children,


the last train left the station,

all I see are ghosts in empty homes,

picture frames that are broken;

everyone is a soldier,

it’s just they never know.


Wrinkled Illusion


Rebecca Sometimes

by Robert Paulson

drinking at her
bar for about a month
or two,
small spot on the corner.
it’s not much -
nor is my tab,
it’s just her and I.

she tells me she’s not much of a
I tell her I’m not either,
I ask for another round.

she left texas a year
I left california,
we both like
how ugly pretty
bushwick is.

sometimes the whisky
makes the sides of my skull
hot and I can’t help
but think about how she’s
I want to say
but never do.
she doesn’t need
to hear
any of that

her man
looks like a woman
who looks like a man,
I am a man
who looks like a man
the devil
decorated himself as
to be inconspicuous.

I think
she knows,
but she doesn’t
I don’t need
to hear
any of that

sometimes I
think about asking
her for coffee,
a drink,

I never do.

I come and go,
open tabs and close,
piss in ****ty toilets
then leave.
I think about waking up
next to her,
one day
and then another,
till she gets mad at me
for my madness,
till I get mad at her
for my madness,
when the small things
drive canyons between us
and I can't see how perfect
she is

I don’t say anything,
walk home and leave it
as it is,
as she is,
spared from
what could be.

Title: Rebecca Sometimes

Genre: Poetry

Author: Robert Paulson


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