Five Poems by Rich Murphy

Cannonball, Swan

Snorkeling every day, all week
in a pool for the public,
a poet breathes in and out alone.
The tube breaking water
inserts into a mouth.

After a long day
at the social construction site,
lemmings in spandex
not already splashing
in the smartphone, edge
away from a dry crying towel
or line up at the diving board.

Any words not cliché,
or platitude sink, disappear
into thin blue liquid sand,
glass, before a swipe.
Once in the manmade lagoon,
few survivors escape
from the dopamine or ad apps
that add to a bottom line.

Every spritzer bubble bursts
to tell above a head: The tale,
either short or tall, but sweet.
Hurrying away from the drowning,
a lifeguard for tomorrow
realizes that vocabularies
interfere with each other
and invents to replace both.

The bard returns to the forever dunk
with wind pipe extensions and masks
for anyone seeking rescue.

Launch Pad

The astronaut blue-prints from page centers,
crafting outer-space between book covers,
breaking a sound barrier into imaginative thought.
Releasing the Ark animals and flora from a pen,
the zookeeper orbits around first and last lines.

Heavenly bodies beam, extending an inch
at a time to tweak noses . . . and faces light up.
Aeronautic poets and rhyme-scheming engineers
know that the universe novel plots with humans
at blast off for the great unknown: ABAB=MC2.

Stuck in a zeitgeist, star-crossed readers hover
over black holes: Wheels spinning in mud.
A “slow down for children” sign flags racers.
The driver must exit from the vehicle to experience.

From the galactic margins, alien scratches re-mind
so that a new planet surprises the granted and yawn
with other places for feet and for thought.
Even in a Goldie Lock Zone the orbit stretches
at metaphor until a lie smacks Homo sapiens faces.

The thrust wakes up the fellow traveler to hope.

Ink Athletics

Every scribbler at the poetry gym,
tumbled for nine months
in a deprivation tank before the Ta-da
onto a parquet floor.
The Epic Treadmill & Co. takes on
all feet, and barbells that wait
for tomorrow defer in homage
to yesterday dumbbells.
Young bards line up
for squat-session enjambments
or compete at pull-up allusions.

On raised platforms irony pumpers
clean and jerk for imaginary readers
while hip postmodern dance troupes
hop for the best results: Cha-cha zumba!
Going nowhere fast
upon stationary bikes,
wanna-be Shakespeares
endure but fall off
when shifting gears into prose.

Images hang from walls
for muscle assessment:
Every sonneteer reflects on one.
Old rhymers, who stretched to snap
metaphors for decades,
lie about on mats, extending
lyre wire hand ligaments,
or meditating yoga positions
with a mug for green tea iced.

Leaving the locker room for home,
a sneaker couplet figures in speech, a Homer.

Posturing Post

When reading the spinal column each morning,
the hip ball-and-socket skips over
the headlines and stands up
wearing a beret and snapping fingers.
Each lumbar lug nut first vows to balance
bold font that wobbles on shoulders
before spinning saucers on a stick
at a nowhere-to-go job.

Caffeine kicks in with the two-step.

Soon swinging from a strap
with the funny page tickling under a shirt,
tender-hearted Will travels from brainstem
to coccyx and back on the Marrow Line
in the Nerves-End subway system.

Even if late in the afternoon
an organ-grinding masseuse
kneads along the boney Braille
to compose a chord for a cord (aahh),
the invertebral discs only click into place.
When the magic hands align or perhaps push,
tough guys and gals give and take
in the blind faith church for healthy living.

Laying down the persistence,
Resilience, snaking from ass to skull,
basks in the dark on a mattress
dreaming stories ranging from rubber to steel.
Worshiping skin that survives
the desert journey under the sun,
the reptilian tent pole packs easily.

Cry from a Planet

The substitute,
guffaws and giggles,
carries for a face
through main streets
and back quarters
and into bed each day.
Resting a whole head
on the philosophy
stuffed inside irony
and not on a sponge
allows for sleep without
the quaking in waking.

The loft interior
crows a skylight and beats
wringing out a pillow
each morning.
The information age police
slap on smiles for application
in household palms
and inspect for adhesive
routinely at traffic signals.
In an attitude/attribute park
amusement stands out
among clowns.

At media check points
in commercial districts
marketers frisk for frowns.
The sophist, who plans
for catastrophe comets
and planetary sun burn,
learned to toddle as a babe.

Rich Murphy has a new collection of poetry coming out in early summer by Wipf and Stock: Practitioner Joy. Other 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). The first collection in the trilogy was Americana. Body Politic, the second, was 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). His essay collection on poetics and poetry “Prophetic Voice Now’ will be out in 2020 by Common Ground Publishing.;