Death is:

a toddler dizzy spinning on the

kitchen tile, yelling out to the abundance of

silence in the room, challenging with the sound of

his own excited voice he is a startling comedic relief

 

death is food: pies, cakes, donuts drowning

in sticky chocolate stuffed with velvet creams,

coffee sizzles nearby like a waking spouse

hoagie slices stacked in potent sculptures

 

death is love

family, friends, acquaintances even

hugging every wall and every worn cushion

thrown about the kitchen, living room, hallway

spilling over to the back porch, front porch

standing in doorways with hands in pockets, listening

 

death is a deep breath

 

pull it all in,

let it all out and

 

somewhere in the distance

a city is crumbling.

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please –

127sunset_over_the_ocean-m

 

teach our sons to

open doors, to

ask for permission

 

our daughters to know

NO is not taboo to

roll their shoulders back

and drink in the world

 

my son sleeps on my husband’s

strong chest and somewhere

I am thinking only of my family

not how big your dick is

 

I am someone

I am wife, mother, lover

flesh, blood

tears

 

the hyenas laugh, punch each

others arms, stumble into the

bar with stars in their eyes

 

please,

please do not become the

fathers to our daughters,

to our sons.

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The Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry: Celebrating Risk and Invention in Poetry

Philadelphia Stories hosts the annual “Sandy Crimmins National Poetry Prize” to celebrate poets of all backgrounds, experience, and styles.  Thanks to the generous support of Sandy’s family, we are proud to offer the following contest prizes:

● The first-place winning poet will receive a $1,000 cash award for an individual poem, an invitation to an awards event in the Philadelphia area and publication in the Spring issue.
● Three runners up will receive $100 cash awards for individual poems as well as publication in our Spring issue.
● The winning poet and runners up are invited to submit chapbooks to be considered for publication by PS Books. 

● All submitted poems may be selected by the editors for publication in our Spring issue.

 

This year’s judge is Lamont B. Steptoe–poet, publisher, photographer, and Vietnam veteran. 

Open to all poets residing in the U.S

Deadline: November 15, 2016.

$12 reading fee includes a year’s subscription to Philadelphia Stories (4 issues)

Visit PhiladelphiaStories.org for more information and to submit!

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Castles Made Of Sand

“Reach for the stars,” they said.

“Follow your dreams,” they said.

I flew too close to the sun.

I burnt my wings.

The fall was fucking glorious.

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I think he’d even ask for you

my sweet, small son with

so much light in his eyes

is busy wrapping small fingers

around everything he shouldn’t

 

and you are not here to call out that

bellowing “yo”, shake your head and

belly laugh, sip a glass of chianti

I’d  snuck next to your plate.

 

I bet he’d stay on your lap just

a bit longer than anyone else’s.

 

I bet you’d have some way of

taming this small beast that

would leave us all wondering, how.

 

I think he’d even ask for you

when his tongue starts forming words.

 

I still think he’ll know to,

somehow, even with you gone –

grandpa, great grandpa, I love you. 

 

 

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My Short Dress — A Buick in the Land of Lexus

My beautiful friend Samara reminds us that women can wear whatever the f*ck we want.

My short dress is not an invitation. It’s not a political statement. it’s not feminist; it’s not slutty. I’m not even sure it’s fashionable. My short dress is one of the only dresses I own. I’m not a ‘dresses’ kind of girl. I prefer jeans and rock tees and clothes that align my outside […]

via My Short Dress — A Buick in the Land of Lexus

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Dear Beautiful Boy,

mamaandbubba

 

I swear I dreamed you up and

That you are really made of starlight.

When you sleep I reach out and connect our

Constellations, just to be sure there are no kinks.

 

I measure the sharpness of your face and

Wonder if you will be the opposite of me:

A force, a light that others are drawn to like

I am drawn to you. Will you believe in God?

You can believe in anything you want to.

 

My love for you will never be measured

By your accomplishments.

 

I am your Mama, Beautiful boy,

long hair or short, ink on your skin,

a painted face, a red dress, on sunny days

and in a rainstorm.

 

Show me your teeth and your fists

And I promise, I’m your Mama then, too,

Still checking our connections.

 

There is no conditional love here.

 

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I call him love

I was hollow, once

still am

just knock, knock, knock

call out and you’ll hear yourself

for days behind my ribcage.

 

except I’ve been building

something special

in my quiet, novice way

dragging my tools to the

old shed out back in the rain,

plugging away in the half-light.

 

I call him love,

I keep him on a shelf

imperfectly painted green,

or turquoise,

 or maybe the exact shade

of some body of water from

some time I can’t really remember.

 

He’s by the only window, love

where the only ray of sunlight creeps in

and he grows and grows and grows

and sometimes we talk, but he’s still learning

and I know love loves me like I love him.

 

 

 

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all that we cannot change

my son chases sunrays that filter in and

dance across our living room floor,

and my heart is heavy.

 

in all those late-night conversations

let’s have a child, let’s move mountains, create miracles

there was a should we? that lingered on my husband’s lips,

always.

 

life, I said. it happens all around us. it stops for nothing.

not even for the darkest of days.

we still love, we still create.

 

we chase sunrays,

shape happiness with shaking hands

 

drive cars and drink wine and laugh

and laugh and laugh

 

and then we cry for all that we cannot change.

 

but then we sigh, take another sip, compose ourselves.

hug our children and whisper I love you and watch

our favorite television shows and drown out all the badness.

 

I touch my son’s cheek

I dream of his future

still, I regret nothing.

 

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we still love

sw-04

(http://abduzeedo.com/surreal-world-igor-morski)

she spies love

like a hurricane in her thin chest.

 

he holds her with rough hands,

makes use of his photographic memory

when he holds her and she turns away.

 

but remember this, she says:

we used to love in the dark,

when love was a good sunrise,

when our bodies understood one another,

 

before time made us love just a little more quietly.

 

we still love, she says.

 

only this way:

with each gentle sway of our son as he falls asleep in our arms

in fingers interlocked across the console after grocery shopping

at the dinner table, covered in conversation and pureed carrots

in sighs of exhaustion and mumbled goodnights

 

and sometimes

 

still

 

in a damn good sunrise.

 

**Hi from the parent side of things!!! It’s been WAY too long….but I’m still trudging along with this chapbook and raising this absolutely amazing little boy (who is almost ONE, by the way).

I’ll try to show my face around these parts a bit more often. I hope everyone is well.

 

xo,

Nicole Marie

 

 

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