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New Voices - Central Indiana: Poetry

Ivy Tech's Literary Journal

To Live And Die By Music by Jeremy McClure

The beauty of music has truly influenced my luminous movement.

The interchangeable chords raging toward angels doors.

It severs hate and celebrates.

Never late, it sets a pace.

And even if there’s hell to break, I hope it resonates at heavens gates.

And I’ll be welcomed with that “better late than never” face.

See, music beats inside me.

Its steady pulse guides me, so I’m no longer hiding.

I’ve been let down, but I’ll never let up.

If I fall, I get up, and I won’t stall for hiccups.

Can’t afford to learn my limitations because to do so would make me slack.

The sky is my limit in this image, ‘till it fades to black.

My vision will open doors.

My words are soldier hoards; reciting spoken swords.

My wisdom begins at the tip of my pen.

It swiftly ascends, depicting my trends.

This cycle repeats, then eventually ends.

But the ending will not come until my time is done.

Because the beauty of music has truly influenced my luminous movement.

The interchangeable chords raging toward angels doors.

It severs hate and celebrates.

Never late, it sets a pace.

And even if there’s hell to break, I hope it resonates at heavens gates.

And I’ll be welcomed with that “better late than never” face.

Winter Dies While Waiting on an Uber by Victoria Morrow

The crayon had it right.

A bit yellow & green

leaflets pry free, unfold.

Candy tuft branches

burst. Birds bicker, flit

in gentleman’s joust.

Winter’s whispers stir &

sun's slant cuts atmosphere.

Bleached concrete glows.

Ocean of gas. Expanse

islandless, across depths

squinting at sun’s disc,

winter weak eyes wince.

Vibrate closed.

Red halo glows.

In the darkness: a stove’s eye.

 

 

I AM Who I Am by Lakisha Fox

I am poems, love letters, and parables.

Although ancient, my relevance thrives more than ever.

Altering the course of the world’s tainted heart, one verse after another.

I am in everything, the sun, the moon, the stars.

There would not be if I had not been. 

 

I hold the verse of the day

The story of a Father whose inconceivable sacrifice holds the key to salvation. 

Like Mt. Sinai in Egypt, I am sacred, holy.

I am flimsy and hard backed in your hand.

A baby you hold for the first time, a first dance

 

I am a half-moon, both black and white 

Verses of red where His psalms penetrate the Spirit.

Songs that embody hope, an uncontainable passionate love.

I am the Truth, the Way, and the Light

I am life beyond impending death, choose life. 

 

Is that why they stray from me?

Because I communicate in many forms for my children to comprehend? 

I am a new direction.

I am living water

I hold the greatest story ever told.

I AM THAT I AM

 

 

Sun by Stephanie Dunning

A brisk breeze took my breath away,

I touch my toes to the tide, 

warm sun on my cheeks, 

I close my eyes

Foot, sand, foot, sand 

water caressing my hips

Foot, sand, foot, sand 

water teasing my waist, 

Foot, sand, foot, sand

water kissing my face

The shore has disappeared, 

seaweed tangled to my ankles, 

I can’t breathe, air leaving

Darkness punctures the ocean floor, 

rest my head, my body sore 

I will not make it here,

curled on my chest,

is this my death?

Seagulls seek comfort with their screams, 

the sun on my face, a soft peach 

it smells of cashmere, I feel relief 

A fish out of water, I am transformed 

my hero breathing with me on the ocean floor, 

open my eyes to see who rescued me, 

it is the sun, 

it is my sun, 

it is my, 

son

The Conscious of Addiction by Jeremy McClure

Am I addicted?

When my thought process gets crisscrossed with false visions.

I crawl to my fixes like the slither of a snake.

My nails dig up dirt like a rake as I shiver in place.

My cold sweats contradict each other.

Perspiration, taking the state of a solid, I'm balled up in covers.

This description offers a true depiction of my disposition.

Like a circle, no beginning.

Continually refilling my stash, am I past the point of intervention?

Initially gained the attention of the wrong crowd.

Impractical practices captured me.

My worries, calmed down gradually as I fall into a happy sleep.

This naturalistic fallacy has become an untreatable allergy.

Now, the money spent becomes dust in the wind.

Aint have much, but enough to pretend.

And though my intentions were pure, I could not defend the allure.

So, am I addicted?

Such a predicament would suggest so,

But surely my actions aren’t nearly as cut throat as the busload of bodies abusing corrupt substances.

Maybe I’m just rationalizing but, how much is enough of it?

Still fully functioning, my habits play no factor in inhibiting my actions.

Yet, I am physically attracted to the mental facet of my practice.

So, if practice makes perfect, I guess I’m perfectly trapped then.

It seems this thought has become consistent.

And, since I won’t admit it, the questions contradicting

But, am I addicted?

Another Sleepless Night by Chloe Ward

The darkness of the room engulfs me

and forcefully 

drags out

the                         

wicked

and 

imaginative 

thoughts

that have been 

swirling

    around            in my

mind 

like

 a 

mad 

whirlpool.

I can hear the 

footsteps 

of shadows

as they

 tiptoe 

around  

   me

and I can feel the cold breath of the wind 

that seeps through the broken     cracks

of my                 window screen.

Shivers race up my spine and I find myself

gluedtothebed

in my own sweat.

My fingers will not stop shaking

and my eyes race from                     one side of the room

                to the other

making out all the figures that I couldn't help but feel have been following me around all day.

Am I going insane?

Is this the beginning of my     s l o w 

descent

into the hell that I have created for myself?

A slither of light shines through the door as it slowly creaks open

and I pray that it is my savior who is long overdue.

But atlas, it is only the morning sun.

Shining through from the window at the end of my hallway

and shooting its rays into my restless         mad         eyes.

The night has ended.

Morning

has come.

Another day without sleep threatens me yet again.

Along with my

 wicked 

and

 imaginative 

thoughts.

Siblings: What I Didn’t Got by Cynthia Hibbler

Janice, my sister, got a middle name Marie.

    I didn’t get a middle name from my parents, so I

            Borrowed her name. I

    Wrote it on the blackboard in school as I

    Practiced my cursive writing skills with dusty white chalk. I 

    Was her baby sister. She helped bathe and dress me before we went to school. I

    Felt protected and shame-free with her middle name.

James, my brother, got a letter J in his first name and Janice got one too.

    I didn’t get a letter J, intentionally not I.

    James got to be the beloved innocent son. I

    Was blamed for everything that went wrong at home. I

    Fidgeted with painful dislocated joints as the imp of the family. I 

    Was his hard to listen, dizzy, sister. He guarded me with a sharp, double edged sword.

Janice was the BRAIN of the family.

    She excelled in math and made it to the citywide spelling bee. I

    Saw the teachers were happy when I

    Entered their classroom. Unfortunately I  

    Left them with a severed brain stem. I 

    Remember her gorgeous mile high Princess Beehive hairstyle on prom night. I

    Watched her ride away in a white pumpkin carriage with a handsome Prince. I 

    Listen to her children call her a blessing. They credit her for their success in life.

James was a pleasing to look at boy, teenager, family man and Vietnam Veteran. I

Remember at age eight riding his calico, mix-matched bike. My body cringe when I

Recall slipping off the worn slanted bike seat to land on the cross bar. I

Was agonizing for days. When he was a teenager at St. Paul Baptist Church, I

Witnessed a ruckus; He wore a turtle neck sweater and an Afro!  As an adult I

    Told the long flow of women entranced with him and his Vietnam Veteran cap that I 

    Am his sister from Indianapolis. He is unavailable to talk. They were dismissed.  I

    Heard his family brag about him giving them a good life of support, security and love. I

    Was introduced to his good fishing buddies in Long Beach, Calif. Wide eyed, I

    Shook hands with Michael Jackson and Nipsy Hustle angling on the coastline. 

Janice got a J and James got a J. Even Jesus got a J! I

    Did not get a J to start my first name or a middle name. 

I was the last child to get the outdated, too big, worn out hand me downs. I 

     Got the last snipped part of the capital letters in a discussion and I

    Earned the first big chunk of every period at the end of a punishment sentence…

            …but not the last ounce of love. Certainly not I.

I got loved.

Tap by Victoria Morrow

concrete floor beneath feet

echo footsteps underneath

pulsing rock, country, r&b.

navigate beneath sounds’ cloud

in lower atmosphere

Sharp Tang of spent grains

roughhewn bar-top &

hands hug cool cylinders.

Amber, Citrine, Garnet, Jet

locate favorite face, scratch,

squeal, of metal stool

pulled out just for me

like a queen.

Sip and sit close, Touching

Warm knees

days worries, tasks

gather, trickle Away

as condensation on a glass

 

 

A Song by Myself by Cynthia Hibbler

By myself

With intimacy tracing my heart

I sing

A tender long love song to my lover, friend, husband

I walk

By myself

Through shaded and sun laced paths of

Fort Ben State Park

I marvel at God’s creation

By myself

Babbling water, stretched soaring wings, whispering trees

Everything that was spoke into being hear my love song 

The gentle splash of the river along its banks

Keeps the soft even rhythm

Yellow flowers

Harmonize with the aria 

The leaves clap against the clean breeze

I gaze at wrinkled white pillows

On blue untidy rumpled sheets

Numb

I remember him 

By myself

Bending forward under the weight of well-meaning

Mute

Sympathy cards and letters

Sitting in an low overstuffed floral chair

Across from his dark green Queen Anne Chair

With oil shadows on its arms 

Hovering close to his silent laptop

By myself

I write

My thoughts of being without him in a topaz journal

Salty damp fingers and a limping pen

Darts erratically across angry crushed pages

Leaving an unreadable tangled message in its track

Drifting down the hallway

Without my feet 

Aiming toward my side of the bed

Fighting unwanted sleep 

His side is tight Undisturbed

I wake 

By myself

He is no longer next to me

Missing my love, I try to conjure 

The love song’s return to my lips

He took it with him in his broken body

To a place of no more pain or sadness

Never to forget me

By myself 

Swollen with tears

I muffle a short, will never forget you, song 

Into his pillow.

Old Man Yells at Cloud by Matthew Bylsma

When times were intolerable
People used to take to the streets
Now they idly protest 
with meaningless tweets [1/??]

Old man yells at cloud
Sure, yeah, I get it
I’m the one out of touch
It’s you kids that are with it [2/??]

Yours will be the posts
Which will surely save democracy
Copy pasting recycled memes 
To expose the government’s hypocrisy [3/??]

Look man, everyone clicked like
The reaction was truly glorious
That senator got totally ratio’d
The resistance is completely victorious [4/??]

You’re preaching to yourself 
in the world’s largest mirror
a voluminous echo chamber
where keyboard activists gather [5/??]

No one’s mind was ever changed
By a thread of empty rhetoric
Words are much more effective
Backed by boots on the streets [6/??]

Keep racking up those internet points though
You’re the world’s only hope, and uh
Maybe if you bank enough
You can cash them in for a social utopia [7/??]

Anyway thanks for taking the time
To read my little internet screed
Be sure to like and follow for more
And please do retweet. [8/8]

Batten Down by Cynthia Hibbler

My brother is here from California.

He needs to know where his sister is buried.

A slender man in the sales department of the cemetery gave us a map

With lines, shapes and numbers.

He said “Look for a large boulder then turn left”

Her grave does not have a marker.

A tombstone would be like a beacon

Summoning the family to come with good and not so good memories.

Others will briefly read her name and wonder what was she like?

God shared her with us; Happiness is all that we have left.

                                     It would acknowledge her birth and death dates on this beautiful planet.

Her younger brother bought pink and white grocery store carnations

To place on a grave that we could not find.

Walking close to a soft new grave,  

I flush with reminisces of her.

Lifting my eyes, 

I observe another cemetery visitor

Wandering, lost like us,

 Looking for her loved one in the

Endless unmarked brown dry grasses.

Feeling her stress coupled with my own,

We waved to each other.

She held a lovely bouquet of white flowers,

I held a batten made of oak wood to 

Hold back the falling light blue flower petals.  

A sturdy stream of air escapes

Between my lips.

I cower under a dense gray blanket of chaotic energy  

Visiting someone who is not in the earth.

We called for assistance.

With a ground keeper’s help, a resting place is found.

My brother lower his head.

We place three flowers on the parched, rain thirsty ground.

I alone know where she is.

She lives at my house 

Waiting for me in the bathroom mirror.

I see her in the morning

As I get ready for the day.

Holding back a laughter, a smile,

with green goopy toothpaste and a yellow overused toothbrush in my mouth,

I squirt at her “Move out of the way. I want to see me”

Looking in-between the shower’s water droplets on the mirror with a small grin, 

Losing the soft clamor, I quite down.

We brush our teeth

Wash our face

Comb our hair

Together.

at 4 a.m. by Victoria Morrow

Trains cry 

beyond walls

Stairs crack

like bones

Ceiling fans

sigh & hum

Yesterday’s coffee

is not enough to sip

Yet I try to fill the mug

 

 

There Was Once a Young Man Who Was Brilliant and Clever by Kendra Clay

There was once a young man who was brilliant and clever.

There was no one quite like him, no one, not ever.

He could teach you of politics, geography, or song.

He could teach you of morals, of right and of wrong.

He studied music and science and health and the like

And he retained all he learned, ‘twas like riding a bike.

And everything of him was so quick and fast.

He ran to the library, to the café, to the labs.

He spoke with such quickness, you’d be left in a haze.

To follow his thoughts was to be lost in a maze.

It took just a moment for the brain to adjust

But by then he’d moved on, leaving you in the dust.

His colleagues were usually quite nice, all in all.

But on rare occasions, they’d slip up and fall.

You see, he was charming and, oh, quite so witty.

But as humans, we sometimes, can be such a pity.

They’d make him feel different, why different he was,

But not in the way of great beauty and buzz.

In small groups they’d start to laugh and to tease.

In numbers they’d grow, like an infestation of fleas.

They liked their cruelty to be validated,

Leaving decency to seem eradicated.

But he’d take it all in stride,

Keeping a smidgen of his pride.

It’s a wonder, our society, won’t you concur?

How often these kinds of tragedies occur.

We don’t like change and we don’t like difference.

Always feeling the need to put in our two cents,

We bury ingenuity and shame any brilliance.

We create a culture of stupidity and unjust resilience.

It leaves one to guess what we bury along with it.

All the ideas and inventions, dumped into a dark pit.

Lost for eternity, or so it would seem.

But creativity has the power to shine or to beam.

And although it’s unfair what our young man endured,

He will be just fine, for where there is bad, there will always be good.