Six Poems

by Rich Murphy

Augury Chord

Laying the ground work for the next obsession,
the prophet from a flighty attitude sprinkles
out from concave and convex shakers.

Imitation mirrors and lenses distribute for possibility,
ignoring the current byways and national parks
that merge to blur without distinction.

From here on the gibberish lines in the poem
may provoke so that the reader gives up
saving glimpses for another day.
Revisit again and again, please old friend.

Literature lovers may turn toward the earth
in a spring and propagate for all eventual lacunae.

With the suspension rigging, symbols, and duct tape
space craft astronauts hoist to meet between the ledges
whenever interregnum cleaves with all CAPS ice caps.

The Bering Strait, the Grand Canyon, a synapse
exist for rope ladders . . . as Odysseus breathed
between Scylla and Charybdis. Let’s go!


Armory Song

“Let us arm our people with the culture of dialogue and encounter.” Pope Francis

Clichés in 10 languages scream
from the margins around many fields
during a World Ward One:
“Who goes there, Mann or Maugham?”

Foot notes dig in at the page bottoms
for anthropological trackers
and the various cultural historians.
Without common rituals, dialects,
and anthems, mine fields
open for archive researchers.

Enraged story tellers and poets engage
along mired lines for dialogue.
The sight bead for each artist
brings forth character development,
rhythm, and full rifled-scope color.
Divvying and sharing without ensnaring,
the game goes without hunter
when space craft commands
potlatch soldiers on a planet.

Waving at human nature with a white flag,
the POW also watches from the gun tower.
The raw material, a child in a schoolyard,
looks toward definition, toward best beings.

Art for Public Places

From the bone brow, brain frames
produce for the sensors so that, phew,
a safety net catches breath.
While armies mine in the dark,
night watchmen hold in place
each gold border around
a flimsy myth called truth.

Event after event until tint fades
and cracks beyond cleaning . . .
the folk tale and lore lure
beyond the ability for belief.
First the artists point out
how the ballast works
on a drifting Goldie Locks planet,
and then eyes and ears wander
from wonder to death grip freedom
as baselines and paradigms sift, shift.

When truss and trim fit together
to declare the ends for the Earth,
wet paint slaps with change (till tacky)
and the woken gallery goers
under stand for a new way for life.


Airbag Logos

Driving language all day and into the night,
insects punctuate for commas and periods
until the windshield wash and wipers turn on
and crafting sentences starts again.

Through dreams, the high beam headlights glare
at similitude and anxieties, one in the street
flattened and the other crossing in dark clothing.

The metaphor purring under the hood
gallops when a pen engages.
All likeness extensions on the road and off
appear to joy ride into the horizon,
but maps and purpose have been reviewed
by the wheelman (so to speak)
accelerating and braking.

Of course few pedestrians look at the streak
whizzing by when flipping pages
or at the black and white vehicle standing
at a podium with tongue wagging and arms flailing.

Poems may read at a glance,
but brains, backing up for photos
and deliberation in a back seat or sitting shotgun
while smartphone buds beat with beat,
soon opt for the basic bounce that diverts traffic.

No, the writer with the-pedal-to-the-metal
or gingerly negotiating clutch and ledges
makes for tracks for the patient nursing
a new era or rambles to disturb dust,
one and the same practicing a utopia.


Space Cadet

[W]e can trace the communitarian fantasy that lies at the root of all humanism back to the model of the literary society[.] – Peter Sloterdijk

At the human zoo, words cage
for taming, trumping where eyes and mouths
observe, question, and emote superiority.

The de-fanged beast on two legs
grumbles or smiles over the food,
providing information to the keeper crew:
psychologist, sociologist, economist, novelist.

Pacing back and forth, if the animal
wasn’t crazy when captured,
when confined, mad paws at images
and lunges to the left and to the right.

Once convinced a god jimmied at the lock
enough to free energy enough for imitation,
with limitation, a jester courted for
empire, genetic tricks, electrocuted gestures.

With the chance found in mines
for lightheartedness the point-headed geek
left behind the wrung chicken necks to squat
in cells on a pad for launch without serif or seraph.


Diurnal of Course

“exact information of how to rearrange one’s psyche in order to anticipate the next blow from our own extended faculties.” – Marshall McLuhan

Earth-tumbling through illusions,
the critic reports where the seams
gather for stitching the seems series.

On the rolling spacecraft knee-slapping
laughter substitutes for stabilizers.

In bubble wrap and connected
to the mother ship by an umbilical cord
vomiting tourists abound.

Astronauts without motion sickness
find in space what suits
and practice never looking back.

History hooks and star prongs
attend to god worshipers
allowing the acrobat to slip by.

The outerwear and inner care
for the big top freak struggle
to bring better failures
to performance craft, too soon
dust debris forgotten around a sun.

Rich Murphy’s poetry collections have won two national book awards: Gival Press Poetry Prize 2008 for Voyeur and in 2013 the Press Americana Poetry Prize for Americana. Asylum Seeker is the third in a trilogy out now (2018) Press Americana. First in the trilogy wasAmericana, Body Politic, the second, published by Prolific Press in January 2017. Murphy’s first book The Apple in the Monkey Tree was published in 2007 by Codhill Press. Chapbooks include Great Grandfather (Pudding House Press), Family Secret (Finishing Line Press), Hunting and Pecking (Ahadada Books), Phoems for Mobile Vices (BlazeVox) and Paideia (Aldrich Press).


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