Joe Albanese is a writer from South Jersey. His fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have been published in 12 countries. Joe is the author of Benevolent King, Caina, Candy Apple Red, For the Blood is the Life, Smash and Grab, and a poetry collection, Cocktails with a Dead Man.
The following work is Copyright © 2021, and owned by Joe Albanese and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Well fuck is a profane word
I sometimes use
Ok, maybe more
It’s a simple song
The most economical
Too concise and broad
to lose itself in muck
Bookends or bookended, it
Because you had to see,
had to read
And you’ve been there to
exclaim, expel, and
Bruce Black is the author of Writing Yoga (Rodmell Press/Shambhala) and editorial director of The Jewish Writing Project. He received his BA from Columbia University and his MFA from Vermont College. His work has appeared in Soul-Lit, Poetica, Atherton Review, Elephant Journal, Blue Lyra Review, Tiferet Journal, Hevria, Jewthink, The Jewish Literary Journal, Mindbodygreen, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and elsewhere. He lives in Sarasota, FL. Visit Bruce on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2021, and owned by Bruce Black and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Stamp of approval
Do prayers receive a stamp of approval
when they arrive in heaven? Maybe there’s
an angel sitting at a desk reading each prayer,
deciding which one gets passed on to God
and which gets dismissed—tossed into
the wastebasket to be shredded later—
while those that are passed on get
the stamp of approval?
But even then there’s no guarantee your
prayer will be heard. There are so many
prayers and only so much time.
So, another angel must have to sift
through them all deciding yes or no,
accepted, rejected, and you’ll never know
which pile your prayer falls into.
Even those accepted still need to make it
past more angels judging the prayers
that are to be handed to God, and even
then the prayers can be pushed aside,
only a handful brought to God for review.
So you can pray and pray—all day, all night—
you can pray all your life, on holidays, and
on ordinary days, hoping your prayer is
heard, hoping God will answer you, never
knowing if your prayer reaches God’s ear.
In the end maybe it doesn’t matter, only
that you keep praying, keep believing in God,
keep hoping your prayer receives a stamp of
approval, keep waiting for an answer.