Silver Moon by Jackie Kay |Poem No. 26 (NPM2017)

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Silver Moon

by Jackie Kay


Your names, old records, Court and Spark, Dark Side of the Moon,

A shop window welcome; open hands, new friends.
A wintery evening, nights drawing in. Warm glow:
SisterwriteCompendium, Silver Moon.

How you grew up reading nights to dawn.
Books you found only here, the then unknowns:
Audre Lorde, Nikki Giovanni, Toni Cade Bambara;
The Bluest Eye held up a haunting mirror, Pecola Breedlove.

Switched lights on; eyes wide open – Sula, Corregidora
You read and read with wonder: We Are Everywhere:
Writings About Lesbian Parents! Or A Raisin in the Sun.
Voices from Women’s Liberation, Maya, Djuna, Zora,

The Spinster and Her Enemies! Or Lucille Clifton.
And by the silvery light of the bookshop you grew up
By the open door, standing alone, together,
Other readers as engrossed, browsing, basking –

The blessed benevolence, the sweet, sweet ambience
Of independent bookshops, remember Thins!
Look how you still love their names: Voltaire and Rousseau,
Grassroots, books gathering and honing your years:

Black and white striped spines, tiny irons, Viragos, Shebas,
The distinct spiral on the cover of your old The Bell Jar
Your skin’s pages; your heart’s ink, your brain’s Word Power:
Jamaica Kincaid, Bessie Head, Claribel Alegría

Don’t let them turn the lights out, dears.
Keep them safe, New Beacons, shining stars,
Look how you’ve aged with your beloved books, dear hearts.
Keep coming in, keep the bookshop door ajar.

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Hiding in Plain Sight by Denise Riley | Poem No. 25 (NPM2017)

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Hiding in Plain Sight
by  Denise Riley
I try to find you, yet you are not here.
I’ve studied absence, fought to fill it in –
courage comes easier with a grasp of why.
A secret’s camouflaged when unconcealed.
I chose to not see/saw the thing too near?
Absence turns thicker, muscled by its strain.
A moon in daylight, whitest blue on blue,
surprises briefly, to appear surreal
until it slips to rights. I couldn’t spot
the obvious – obviam, in the way; plain
sight goes blind through chasing clarity.
I looked for you, so couldn’t see you gone.
I sensed your not-there in its burning life.
I listened out to feel its silence beat.
It does not speak with any human mouth
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Stargazing by Glyn Maxwell | Poem No. 24 (NPM2017)


by Glyn Maxwell

The night is fine and dry. It falls and spreads
the cold sky with a million opposites
that, for a moment, seem like a million souls
and soon, none, and then, for what seems a long time,
one. Then of course it spins. What is better to do
than string out over the infinite dead spaces
the ancient beasts and spearmen of the human
mind, and, if not the real ones, new ones?

But, try making them clear to one you love –
whoever is standing by you is one you love
when pinioned by the stars – you will find it quite
impossible, but like her more for thinking
she sees that constellation.

After the wave of pain, you will turn to her
and, in an instant, change the universe
to a sky you were glad you came outside to see.
This is the act of all the descended gods
of every age and creed: to weary of all
that never ends, to take a human hand,
and go back into the house.


Wish You Were by Colette Bryce | Poem No. 23 (NPM2017)

Wish You Were

by Colette Bryce

Here, an aftertaste of traffic taints

the city’s breath, as mornings

yawn and bare this street

like teeth. Here, airplanes leaving

Heathrow scare this house

to trembling; these rooms protect

their space with outstretched walls,

and wait. And evenings fall

like discs in a jukebox, playing

a song called Here, night after night.

Wish you were. Your postcards

land in my hall like meteorites.



Men at Forty by Donald Justice | Poem No. 22 (NPM2017)

Men at Forty

by Donald Justice
Men at forty

Learn to close softly

The doors to rooms they will not be

Coming back to.
At rest on a stair landing,

They feel it moving

Beneath them now like the deck of a ship,

Though the swell is gentle.
And deep in mirror

They rediscover

The face of the boy as he practices tying

His father’s tie there in secret,
And the face of that father,

Still warm with the mystery of lather.

They are more fathers than sons themselves now.

Something is filling them, something
That is like the twilight sound

Of the crickets, immense,

Filling the woods at the foot of the slope

Behind their mortgaged houses.

How To Destroy Yourself by BJ Rosalind | Poem No. 21 (NPM2017)

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How to Destroy Yourself
by BJ Rosalind

Step one. Be delirious over treacherous memories. Find any face in a sea of millions and replace it with his. Use this one as a target to release your arrow of imagination.

Step two. Take 5 steps closer and retreat one foot backward when you realize the distance might be too close for you liking. Straighten your arm perfectly and grip the bow tight. Hold on to the faith that all your imagination is indeed reality.

Step three. Release your arrow, forget reality. Let it melt like raindrops sliding down your car window. Think of him and hold your target’s hand, take one step closer and wrap yourself around his warmth. Breathe his smell, listen to his thundering heartbeats, make yourself vulnerable. It’s him. It’s your old him.

Step four. Cling to him like the after droplets hang off the tips of your hair. Gush about how cute that kitten you saw in the pet shop when you cross the streets with him. Laugh about the looks you receive from people with him. He’s real, isn’t he? He’s not just figment of your imagination.

Step five. Tell yourself you’ve fallen in love again with your new companion every time you see a mirror. Now, believe it. This is the calm before the storms, do not prepare your sails or any lifeboats to bring you home safe.

Step six. He will confront you and doubt you. There are cracks in the mirror now. Convince him that you are very much so in love with him – that you’ve never used him even if that on itself falls dead on your own ears. You can’t bear to see him go, can you? You love him. You do. You do. You do. You-

Step seven. Let him leave. He deserves someone better, remember? You were never meant to live a fairy tale life. Look at your hands and see how everything you touch decays in a matter odd seconds, if not months. Write a post-it to yourself about how you damaged the boy with crystal clear eyes and Cheshire cat smile, trying to redeem yourself but only falling head first once again.

Check out Fragmented Bliss where this poem can be found over at Amazon and Book Depository. 

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Beauty’s Nest by Robin Coste Lewis | Poem No. 20 (NPM2017)

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Beauty’s Nest
by Robin Coste Lewis

Beauty’s nest
renders the body
mute. An elegance
so inconceivable,
it’s violent. Extreme,
It hurts
the heart to see
something so vast
and deep
can also be made of

And if it can be
of the earth, the body
ponders, might
such a landscape
exist also within me?

The four of you stand
silent, uniformed on
its rim,
while the
imagination tries
to conceive all the
it is still too dark
to see.

You jump back
into your wide tan
and begin to drive
all the motels, and
their signs
which, were it not
after midnight, you
know –
and could see – say


Get your copy of the book over at Amazon and Book Depository. 

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