Category Archives: PoetSpeak

Speak, Poet! by Dylan Barmmer

The sun sets tonight and we softly
celebrate a year of poetry, passionately
written then read
born more than bred

Some spit staccato style, rat tat tat SPLAT!
an avalanche of awesome alliteration
others more muted, all
airy abstract imagery

Awkward odes to gruff fathers
songs about fractured churches
sad poetry scribbled on sagging skin
screaming orgasms inside June Cleaver

These are but thumbnails, see
quick scattered looks into
cracks, corners, crevices
where poets speak Truth to

Everything and nothing at once

Dylan wrote this poem in honor of PoetSpeak’s first birthday.


For Jacob, at Seven by Rachel Bunting

You are a storm without warning;
cactus spikes with no body sticking
up from the middle of the road;
your stinging mouth always moving,
asking, singing; you are kinetic,
never potential; winged and buzzing;
your hands, your legs, all of you is
growing, no longer small; you are colors
and noise, a traffic jam downtown
at 4:30 on a gorgeous Friday afternoon;
a jet cruising through the clouds; a Pollock
painting come to life; scrambled eggs frying
in a pan; a tangle of weed roots on the side
of the garden; sticky Kool-Aid drying
on the counter; the bite of gravel into skin;
the finch’s sudden flight.

The Joy That Tends Toward Unbecoming by Joseph Fasano

Say five men carry a sixth from the birches.
He is thin from his night inside the river.
Someone has pushed his wrists through his belt
so it seems he has been out gathering blue flowers.

Someone is shouting the richer gospels.
I remember a woman leaning on the window,
thinking death had loosed its bird in the house.
I remember the bird fell on the third day

and I had to line my hands with a nest of old straw.
That night they found a boy in the square
like a foal, smelling of onion grass.
Someone had let a black swan

into the barn where the boy was kept
and in the moonlight we saw dark plumage in his fists.
Say you were the wild gift, how it had quarreled
and come near. Say you had been torn.

Yehuda Amichai’s Cat Speaks by Robert Peake

He sits like that, at the window,
sometimes all day, drumming
his fingers, then gathering

the silence up to himself
like a blanket under which
he might take a nap.

His eyes are always open.

I climb up his leg and circle,
flattening the field of his lap.

When he sighs, the great lion-
body trembles, and I don’t know whether
to dig in my claws, or flee.

Outside, dust is blowing
through the brick-oven streets.

Sometimes, I rest my chin on his hand,
to make sure he knows I am there.

Friday Haiku Challenge: Your first kiss

Every Friday, we’ll post a haiku challenge on Twitter. Today’s topic was “your first kiss.” We already have some excellent and entertaining responses, such as….

Spiked punch mingling

with Bananarama and sweat:

another lifetime.

From @profound papaya

That spring doors opened

And your lips were soft on mine

It changed everything

From @jesknits


Foxholed together,

I taste soot on his stubble.

Don’t ask and don’t tell.

-From @gabrielgadfly

Feel free to follow us @PoetSpeak for more!

Three prose poems by Christine Klocek-Lim


— archangel of death

He saw it again yesterday, just a flicker, his imagination surely tricking around. When the traffic light turned he crossed the street, not thinking of his daughter, how she’d clap her hands when the red-tailed hawk sat on the edge of their building. And just this morning, he thought he heard something but it was only some pigeons gathered like monks in the square, pecking at the cement, praying for more bread. At lunch he felt the wind push at him, turbulent as a small plane gone down, but found no evidence. No feathers, no devastated pedestrians. Just a whiff of brimstone. Could’ve been the food cart, could’ve been the cars. Later he remembered his daughter used to press sticker-angels into the margins of her notebooks, each one a different color. Some looked like they were about to swoop off the edge into nothing. He’d ask why their wings glittered just to hear her giggle and explain how they needed the sparkle to fly, like fairy dust. Sometimes the light caught on them so brightly it was like staring into the sun. He had to look away. And now he’s seeing wings on the buildings, sunset stretching reflections into transcendent curves for a split-second. White-gold feathers shining like her hair and he thinks it’s just a hawk, like the one she loved, but isn’t certain. And it’s nearly gone, anyway, an apparition swerving then dropping into the chronic dark.


— archangel of harmony, punishes angels who have transgressed, sometimes considered a demon

He thought they were safe but when his father broke in, slamming the door open so hard its knob pierced the wall, there was no disguising anything. He finished the kiss before turning, his boyfriend trembling, mom already crying as his father flung soccer trophies at them, the dresser suddenly, strangely naked in the commotion. He ducked the flying metal but in the hallway a hundred porcelain angels rattled on their shelves, wings smashing together so that some fell over, pale faces cracking into frowns, so much more fragile than flesh. His boyfriend scrambled off the bed behind him, tried to button his shirt against the wrath, but he didn’t bother, didn’t even try to stand up against his father’s fascination with sin. He didn’t speak at all, not when his dad grabbed his arms, not when his head hit the wall and everything went dark and spotted until the only thing left was his father’s queer face, mouth stretched, teeth strangely pointed. He thought he heard someone praying but couldn’t make out the words. Thought he heard footsteps but couldn’t follow, couldn’t move until the sound of wings staggered his body and lips pressed on his in a kiss so tender the bewilderment vanished forever.


— angel of passion and sexuality

She leaned in, stopping as shadows flew across the yard, a thousand and one blackbirds dashing over the green. He touched her cheek anyway, fingers warm as comfort. Then he closed the distance and kissed her as though the flock out there was ordinary, like every day a cloud of birds animated the grass and flowers, their doppelgangers sooty in the sunlight, specks of darkness flitting across the yard like so many fervent angels. His breath stopped at her lips, then dove into the forest of her body as she closed her eyes against his love. He murmured to her, gathered her close, the afternoon suddenly more daunting than any spring day ever was before because of this. Birds flickering overhead, oblivious. She opened her mouth to listen better, his tongue licking hers into sweetness while two thousand and two wings soared above their heads in the ridiculous silence. And when he grabbed her by the waist he lifted her off the ground until they flew into each other and she realized that she loved him enough to fall.

Join the Dead Poet’s Society

Where would we be without the inspiration from our favorite, classic poets? While we love featuring original authors on the site, we’re always happy to hear the dead guys (and ladies) brought to life, too.

So go ahead– dust off that old volume from your Studies in Poetry course, or find that one poem that made you fall in love with poetry in the first place. Or maybe just give a rockin’ read of a great poem.

We’ve got one poem tagged already under the Dead Poet’s Society. We can’t wait to tag more!