Photo of George, Robyn, Karen at their poetry reading

Poems from The Front

Members George Longenecker and Karen Morris were featured poets at The Front last Thursday night. The poetry reading was hosted by PSOV President Robyn Joy, who is also the creative energy behind Rabbit&Wolf events and Readings at The Front. George and Karen kindly shared a poem from their reading.

Where Animals Lie Down in the Forest

Someday I will die,
as all animals do,
this is the only thing I know
with certainty,
though there are other things
I’m pretty certain of,
like my love for you,
but most things I can’t predict,
like which of us will die first.

One day we walked in the forest
and there was a smell of death
near a bend in the trail,
perhaps a dead deer or moose,
you wondered why
we don’t see more dead animals.

Another time in the woods
I found a deer,
its bones exposed in death;
happy chickadees chirped
as they picked flesh off the skull.

It might be comforting
to lie down
and decay into the forest floor,
but I’m not sure I’d want
to go alone.

If you were still here,
I’d want you to walk with me
into the woods and say goodbye,
then I could lie down
with bones of deer and moose.

~George Longenecker

Before Now and After

Lately I’ve been uneasy about ‘the guys,’ the architects
of history, conjurors of legacies, like those unlicked
Spanish Stamps, still traveling, that are become,

as John Donne wrote in Elegies, allegiances
pledged upon spurious hearts, daily churning out
God, fake news, and guns. Until said Now,

I’ve been as fortunate as any gorilla. After waking,
opening my eyes, I think for fifteen minutes.
Don’t shit where I eat. Who wouldn’t want

to be free of picking history’s lice, flicking
its fleas? Then, I ask myself,
Do you want to get up, Now?
              Do you want to bathe, Now? Or later?
                            Would you like coffee, Now? Or Tea?

Everyone wants something from me, Now.
              Come here, Now! You can’t do that, Now.
                               Do it, Now! Give it to me,
                                             Now! I want you, Now!

People under pressure don’t work well together.
Where we place our hands, in and out of fantasies
matters. Use your own head, hands, and feet.

Quick-quick, time passes freely. Ignorance
is anonymous. Suffering personal. When do you think
these wars will end, Now? Or After?

~Karen Morris

“Before Now and After” is from Karen’s forthcoming collection Nothing Happened Last Night (Finishing Line Press, in press).

Karen Morris is the author of CATACLYSM and Other Arrangements, for which she received the Gradiva Award for Poetry (NAAP, 2015). She is a psychoanalyst by profession, and volunteer public educator for Shared Hope International in their efforts to eradicate the sex trafficking of children.

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