Saturday 5 May 2018

2 Poems by Barbra Nightingale

The Not So Distant Future
--for Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction

Imagine a sky with no stars,
a shroud of clouds,
atmosphere so choked
you think you’re drowning
every time you breathe.

Search for the moon
in vain, search for light—
there is none.
What is it Coleridge said?
Water water everywhere
and ne’er a drop to drink.

Not even fish survive,
nor crabs nor coral,
the earth returning
to the noxious soup
it once was, so long ago.

We stand on the brink
of our own re-creation.
Who will remember?
Only the code recorded
in thin strands, coiled to strike.


Pierced noses, lips,
eyebrows, nipples,
gauges half an inch
stretching ears,
inked etchings blooming
on skin once smooth.
All this pain announced
like a trumpet,
like a trailer for truth.

Is it self-hate of self-love?
This drama--bad
decisions gone worse—
       and the noise!
The clamor for attention.
Look at me!  Look at me!
Turn a deaf eye,
go blind to sound,
ignore the tumult.

If you close your eyes,
chant ohms in your head,
breathe in, breathe out,
you might find a way
to willingly suspend
your disbelief.


Barbra Nightingale’s poems have appeared in numerous poetry journals and anthologies, including Rattle, The Florida Review, Barrow Street, Sacramento Poetry Review, Kalliope, Southern Women’s Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The Mississipi Review, InterlitQ, The Eloquent Atheist, Many Mountains Moving, Narrative Magazine, City of Big Shoulders, The Liberal Media Made Me Do It, Sonnets Out of Sequence, and Tigertail: An Annual.  Alphalexia, her newest book just came out with Finishing Line Press (2017). Two Voices, One Past was a Runner Up in the 2010 Yellow Jacket Press Chapbook Award, and was published in September, 2010.  Geometry of Dreams (2009) a full-length collection of poetry was published in 2009 by Word Tech Press, Ohio.  She has six other collections of poetry, and a yet unpublished memoir, Husbands and Other Strangers.  She’s an Associate Editor with the South Florida Poetry Review, and a professor Emeritus from Broward College, and an advisor Emeritus with Phi Theta Kappa.  She lives and plays in Hollywood, Florida with her two and four-legged menagerie.

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