August 15-21, 2022: Poetry from Moe Phillips and Sarah Johnnes

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Moe Phillips

A native New Yorker, Moe now lives with her photographer/producer husband Ian in the sleepy town of Lambertville, New Jersey. Moe is a believer in all things magical. She credits her Irish ancestry for her love of words and wonder. Over twenty of Moe’s poems and essays have appeared in anthologies and magazines for adults and children. Whether Moe is delving into the world of Fairy folklore, silly poems or essays that honor daily living, they all contain her imagistic style of storytelling. Moe’s latest poetry endeavor is a tall tale series of audio stories entitled The Feisty Beast created films for award winning poets- Naomi Shihab Nye, Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Georgia Heard as well as several shorts of her own for New York City’s beloved Wild Bird Fund. Moe is a member of the SCBWI -NYC chapter.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Moe Phillips and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Lost Then Found

I thought I’d lost it
Your diary
The one you gave me when we were seventeen
Neither of us knowing then, you wouldn’t see twenty

That an empty balcony would beckon you to its edge
Hushed, rushed burial to lay you in hallowed ground
Solace for a Bronx Irish family from the parish priest
Don’t ask too many questions was thought best

Passing that high rise building from time to time
My eyes scan the façade, seeking some small trace
A blazing red palm print showing where you hesitated
A shining platinum star seared into the pavement

Each time I open this little spiral bound notebook,
filled with teenage scribbles and your poems so true
I get to pretend briefly, you never really landed that night
You leapt into the arms of blue midnight and flew away

Sarah Johnnes

Sarah applies her photographic eye bringing visual sensibilities to her poetry. She is focused on capturing what is not typically seen, finding connection, beauty, and humor in common everyday moments — even those that reflect decay, pain and taboo subjects. She was raised near New York City and currently resides in Eugene, Oregon with a twenty-four toed, seventeen-pound, cross-eyed cat where he reminds her to continually work on bringing more joy and less stress into her life.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Sarah Johnnes and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

An act of mental decluttering

I take myself for a nowhere drive
It is an almost-spring day
Bold blue skies
No buds
Yet.

Curvy country lanes canopied with craggy weathered limbs
Moss covered, branches glow green
as afternoon sunlight
filters down
to me

On the radio, I listen to what I never do
It is the only thing I can receive
Unless, I was willing
to have Jesus
talk to me.
I wasn’t

Why do all thumper stations have strong signals?
There’s a lot of hell, fire, and brimstone
to be heard while traveling
remote roads

Instead I listen to deep electric beats mixed with girly voices
Singing “I like sex with my exes.”
On repeat

I imagine skinny young woman
covered in hot pink vinyl, speckled with sparkles
high ponytail swaying like a metronome, but with bounce

An old, mostly white pickup, parked slightly off the road and
put together with piecemealed parts shows rusty spots
A family, harvesting downed wood
Loads scavenged logs

From the bed of the truck, Grandma slings and stacks wood
Her lined face, framed by white hair slips out
Of a worn deerstalker wool lined cap
She’s wearing all men’s clothes
For practicality
I assume

My attempt at mental decluttering has me listening to sex with my exes
while grandma makes weird eye contact with me
in the middle of
nowhere

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