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Moving Words 1999 Poems

The Story Begins

The story begins with a word or a world:
roses, an old man carrying a bouquet
rushing down a cobblestone street in the rain
and a younger woman in red carrying a chandelier
down another street to a repair store,
or crystals in the rain, a worn tweed coat, hope,
a scherzo of rain and wind, a bouquet of glass,
rain bouncing off a red raincoat,
what was not said long ago at a dining room table,
a corner at which two people will meet.

Susan Grafeld Long

My Eyes Slide East Toward Monet

Sunlight splashes the trees
with veneer. Persimmons.
Poplars. Pomegranates.
Enchanted dogwood and sycamore.
Sailboats dot this harbor.
It’s not hard to imagine
scattering them with our breath.

Richard Peabody

A Man, A Woman and a Chair

It is man’s nature to rail at inanimate fate.
Woman looks for a closer culprit.
He, stubbing a toe in the dark, with blame
The wooden hardness of the chair.
Encountering the same, she will exclaim:
“Who left the @!#?&! chair there?”

Hilary Tham

In Sleep

Under moonlight
the valley opens calmly
to the sea pushing back, pushing back,
unaccountably gentle,
digging at the gravelly beach, and,
under moonlight,
to the shallow shoveling of your breathing
in, in sleep,
and out at the night.

David McAleavey

I Have Hungered for the Flat Gold

I have hungered for the flat gold of your foot.
I have known myself indulgent, shivering
at the press of curved palm against flesh
that is planed, a breathing metal plate
yielding sharp current. It is the alien
quality of your heat that drives and grounds me.
Your body is a shadowless bronze desert.
Your coppery eyelid knows no fold.

Naomi Thiers


We are trapped inside that hollow place
anger carves beneath the ground.
It is grey down there and the echo
of each word we say comes back
as if it were never spoken. New tears
drip from the ceiling,
joining old tears
hardened on the floor.
Only solid pillars meet
in the space between us.

Jacqueline Jules

About the Poets

Susan Grafeld Long teaches English and Journalism at Marymount University. She is a former journalist and speechwriter, and has published poems in literary journals throughout the nation.

Richard Peabody is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Bouyancy & Other Myths (Gut Punch Press, 1995). He is also the author of a book of fiction, Paraffin Days (Cumberland Press, 1995), and editor of six anthologies, including A Different Beat: Writings by Women of the Beat Generation (Serpent’s Tail, 1997). He is the founding editor of Gargoyle magazine.

Hilary Tham is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Men & Other Strange Myths (Three Continents Press, 1994), and a memoir, Lane With No Name (Lynne Rienner Pub., 1997). She is a poet-in-the-schools in Virginia, and on the Board of Directors of Words Works Press.

David McAleavey teaches English at George Washington University and is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Holding Obsidian (Washington Writers Publishing House, 1985). He has edited an anthology of Washington writers, Evidence of Community (GW University, 1984), and a collection of essays, Washington and Washington Writers (GW, 1986).

Naomi Thiers is the author of Only the Raw Hands Are Heaven (Washington Writers Publishing House, 1992). She works as an Aide and Writing Teacher at Montessori School of McLean.

Jacqueline Jules is the author of two books for children, The Grey Striped Shirt (Ales Design, 1995) and Once Upon a Shabbos (Kar-Ben, 1998). She is pursuing a Masters of Library Science at the University of Maryland, and is a book reviewer for School Library Journal and Children’s Literature.