Illinois State Poetry Society
Poems by ISPS Members
August, 2023
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Poems on this Page:


by Charlotte Digregorio
Weary, I walk in autumn
through pungent salt air
and wavy fog.

Inhaling, exhaling,
season's nip
calms me.

I spiral above shore,
sky of cement gray
swirling into cobalt blue.

My weightless body,
wrapped in daisy white
smoke, emerges in

a haven of hush.
The mind empties into
rippling amber haze,

lingering moments
then moments,

home again.

my old car a teal wonder

by Tom Chockley
A dodoitsu poem
my old car a teal wonder
on sunny days ocean blue
but sea green under dark skies
now rusting wheel wells

An Encounter in an American Wood

by Paul Buchheit
Upon a once delightful time, when I,
	abiding by a sylvan sigh of sycamore and pine,
contrived to pass upon my neighborland in scholarly repose,
I chanced to happen on a curious component of the wilds,
	at once buffoonish and benign,
a squirrel aslumber, tummy dumpling plump, a nutmeat at its nose.

"Upon my word," spoke I, "how still you lie,
	malformed aboard a rolling hoard of hickory delights,
content to ornament an oaken door, quite indisposed to move;
for all your cousins, scores and dozens, fill the forest,
	ever tending unrelenting appetites,
while you preponderate in plenty, more than Eden would behoove."

"Upon my pappy's scraggly stern," said he,
	"you seem to be, cerebrally, simplistic to assess,"
as he commenced a roll in troubled tones to loftier terrain;
"I spurn this piteous portrayal of my rodentry, to wit,
	my kith and kindred in distress,
all fur and flurry, sniffing fervidly for unbegotten gain.

"Upon my well-provided bastion I will gladly glut
	on butternuts and sweetmeats of success,
and I will wax the night resplendent in celestial silhouette;
for as the progeny of honor I'm decidedly entitled
	to the gatherers' largesse,
and I am pleased to sip the nectar of their sacrificial sweat."

Upon the gusty culmination of his lordly rant,
	he huffed and panted, turning on his tail
in proud retreat in sluggish sweep into the shadowy inside;
and I sat quietly amused, and quite convinced
	that I was party to a miscreantic tale
by which no member of a more developed species could abide.

Jackson's Opus

by Carole R. Bolinski
The drips came, suddenly,
flowing from a can.
Trickle. Drop. Plop.
Variations of lines
colors, schemes.
The splash. Spontaneous
images turned into 
life-like proportions.
Those abstract expressions
became a big deal.
A big deal.
Too big.

Treadmill Days

by Gail Denham
Hit the floor running, grab coffee,
dash to computer; but duties holler.
Pressing demands: laundry, dishes,
dog clean up, dinner prep,
and finally (by noon), a shower.
Winter, stars appear before supper,
yet winding down to sleep takes
hours. Nerves tingle. My mind
whirls with scenes from tomorrow's
writing — characters jump over fences.
Next day, same schedule. Computer
calls, yet I procrastinate. I go shopping
for onions, garlic, and a pile of over
ripe bananas to make dessert bread,
and ice cream. Anything for a break.
Oh, and a package of paper, so I can
feel the day's not wasted.
Is it worth this treadmill? It's my normal.
Rather I must plant my hinny at the desk
and write, in spite of nagging duties.
It's called "my chosen life." Fulfill duties,
yes, but always write. Productive life.


by Marie Asner
Each morning, Sun decides
to play a game with the horizon,
by hiding behind a tree
and surprising the morning walkers
with a blaze of light, chuckling
in catching them unaware.
While tree tops attempt to shield
local wildlife, Sun insists
on partying until noon, then
turns the voltage on full force
before tiring at 6 p.m.,
when Moon sends a signal
that the Wind Police are coming
and slow down or be cut off
at 8 p.m. with a cloudburst.

Every Scar of Us

by Kathy Cotton
In this cheap-rent meeting room, we sit where the view is lawn and landscape too long untended, the acres returning to native roots. Already, thigh-high heavy-headed grasses dance with foxtail and dandelions; bindweed vines up the bark of oak and ash. I follow the feral scene back to my childhood home, abandoned now at the edge of a decrepit white-flight neighborhood. The little house, sided with brick-patterned asphalt, has been repossessed by nature. Old cottonwoods blow their seed-snow where my bedroom stood, sky for roof, memories etched on the last disintegrating walls. Sixty-second Street, once refreshed with tar and gravel each first week of summer, is now a knife-blade slice through abundant green. The patient Midwest prairie waits to reclaim her natural domain, piece by piece, from boarded buildings, broken cities, missile silos, re-routed rivers. It waits to heal every last scar of us.

A Conversation on a Rainy Day

by Sherri Baker
I'm broken, she says.
	Are you? I ask.
Look at the scars, she says.
	Where are they? I wonder aloud.
Everywhere, she tells me.
	I search for scars, seeing none.
I've stitched myself together, she cries.
	Tears flow from us both,
cascading waterfalls to match the weather.
	But aren't you stronger now?
Yes, but I'm not the same, she says.
	I want you to see what I see.
It's impossible, I'll always be broken.
	I describe the strong embroidered lines
	of a beautiful tapestry,
	no broken threads, no ordinary stitches.
I don't see what you see.
	Look at the reflection in my eyes, I tell her.
	What do you see?
A tapestry sewn with vivid colors. It's beautiful.
	Of course, I say. 
	I'm looking at you.

From Sherri (with an i)

One Lonely Pillow

by Candace Armstrong
Three falls
three weeks
three ambulance rides

Mom thrashes, wails, cries
I soothe, comfort, protect
Interminable waiting

Repeated explanations
I sort through needs
Mom listens, nods, sleeps


Treatment facts overwhelm
Questions want answers
I am anointed POA

Shiny cold tile floor
Narrow bed, a single pillow
Window view of parking lot

I reassure, hold hands, hug
Mom says I am the best
sister she's ever had


by Hahn Chau
As long as I shall live I must always 
be myself and no other but myself 

I have decided never to walk in anyone's shoes
whether I fail or succeed as long as I shall live

Because I have found love within myself 
and carry myself with grace and integrity 
The past was my heritage 
The present is my responsibility 
The future is my goal 

Can I Caress You As Tenderly And As Gently As A Sam Cooke Riff?

by Doreen Ambrose-Van Lee
Honey, you know I might be able to stomach this war zone of a place that we call
	a world only if;
You allow me to caress you as tenderly and as gently as a Sam Cooke riff.
I don't want anything from you, not material assets, money nor a gift,
I just want to be the source that gives your soul a hefty lift
I want to take you to the edge of night and for you to take me to the top of a cliff!
Because you see I am as vital to your existence as Public Enemy is to Professor Griff.
That is why I am asking you can I caress you as tenderly and as gently as a Sam Cooke riff?
I'll have you humming just like Sam because I am to you what Jelly is to Jiff!
I know that my name is forever etched into your heart and you realize that I could
	never be a Karen or a Rebecca or even a Tiff.
I promise you that you will be overjoyed and not the least bit miffed.
Baby, I'll be like a second skin, never uptight, rigid or stiff,
Because like I said earlier I want to caress you as tenderly and as gently as a Sam Cooke riff.

Three Haiku

by Janice Doppler
waiting room  
morning light 
on a winter oak 
in the spider web 
fallen petals 
dropping leaves 
each their own  
return route 
(From Stardust, 2021) 

Sipping Solitude

by Camille A. Balla
I scoop hand-picked beans
into the grinder.
Presto! High energy spins
loudly, alerting
the coffeemaker
that ritual has begun.

The essence of piņon drips
softly into the waiting carafe,
permeating the rooms with its            
day-inviting aroma.

Sitting by the window
in my cozy wingback chair
I sip the steaming brew,
     drink words
          from a page—
just the right inspiring words—
swirling, mingling
within my very being
like the whipped cream
     in my latte.

Simple Awakenings,
(Linebyline Press) 2010

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