February 1-7, 2021: Poetry from Diane Webster and Nancy Shiffrin

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Diane Webster

Diane Webster’s goal is to remain open to poetry ideas in everyday life, nature or an overheard phrase and to write. Diane enjoys the challenge of transforming images into words to fit her poems. Her work has appeared in “Better Than Starbucks,” “Home Planet News Online,” “Old Red Kimono” and other literary magazines.

The following work is Copyright © 2021, and owned by Diane Webster and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Decades Argument

Old mother, grown son
argue in parking lot
paved yet cracked
where weeds season
after season seed,
grow, reclaim portions
of civility.

The argument yells
across decades past,
echoes off stucco walls
birthday after birthday
when son wanted cake,
and mother wanted TV.

Nancy Shiffrin

Nancy Shiffrin earned her Master of Arts degree in English studying with Anais Nin. She earned her PhD at The Union Institute studying Jewish-American women authors. Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New York Quarterly, Earth’s Daughters, Lummox Journal, The Canadian Jewish Outlook, A Cafe in Space, Religion and Literature, Shofar, and numerous other publications. She has received awards and honorable mentions from The Academy of American Poets, The Poetry Society of America, The Alice Jackson Foundation, The Dora Teitelboim Foundation, and most recently first prize in the Angela Consolo Mankiewicz Poetry Contest Lummox Journal 2019. Her poetry collection The Vast Unknowing, was published by Infinity Publishing in 2013. Her collections Game With Variations and Flight are forthcoming from wordpoetrybooks.com. Visit Nancy on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2021, and owned by Nancy Shiffrin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

I Loved Science

in High School
Kekule who dreamed the self-devouring snake
which led him to the benzene ring
the six-sided carbon atom essential to life
Crick and Watson
the dance of the double helix
I can see those helices duplicating
the idea of a predictable universe

So what
if the rubber tubing in the lab
burns up when I come near
I can’t identify bacteria
my frogs don’t pith
better arithmetic would have raised
my geometry grade from B+ to A
I could solve proofs all night

So what if the lens on the teacher’s own
oil immersion microscope
crashed the slide when I tried to focus
he pointed out
that my interest in science was literary
Rosalind Franklin didn’t win the Nobel
nor Mileva Maritzky nor Lise Meitner
Curie died from her discovery
Hypatia was flayed

I can write
from the viewpoint of a snowflake
explain crystalline structures how
even though composed mostly of water
there can only ever be one of me
forming over and over again
eternally reborn


Our Beautiful Broken World

a painter speaks of brokenness
she goes out midnights in her van
photographs store windows
mannequins stripped naked
arms mangled legs twisted
she paints over the snapshots
adds details tricks the eye
she treats me to omakase
from a restaurant she owns
cries out to be remembered

on TV
another black man shot
peaceful protests once again
devolve to riots looting
The National Guard called out
The Republican National Convention
horror stories of fetuses struggling
against suction of abortionist’s tools
exasperated I watch Saint Judy
Afghanistani woman broken
by rape and battery for teaching
women to read fights for asylum
her uncle also raped and battered
her father and brothers in danger
for allowing such a girl to survive
no one speaks of contraception

crazy for beauty
I walk through Bergamot Station
dialogues of color
cubist still-lives
underwater dreamers
I appreciate brokenness
sculptor’s display of ceramic fragments
assembled to discourse on
clowns dolls nirvana
he shops at estate sales
wonders at homes full of tsotchkes
no one wants to dust

on my favorite street
canopied trees cool the atmosphere
manicured lawns boast security protection
roots crack cement
succulents grace sidewalk gardens
weeds push startling blooms
up into our beautiful broken world

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