Friday, August 25, 2006

September 2006

Unfettered Verse features five poets in this month:
Tyler Rose, Bill Suter, Taylor Graham, Rochelle Hope Mehr and Michael Estabrook
Photo courtesy of Dave Rubio

Bill Suter


They taught us to curse
angels at the college
hurl varied imprecations
at the dead;
simple as a stone
might shatter glass
we knew no sylvan being
could exist. Hadn't all
the magi told us so?
How could pristine intellect
be proven wrong?

We'd prayed to fame
and seanced holy wit,
catalogues of the quoted
led us here, no mystic
could be closer
to the truth, or else
both quote and quoted
are the same.

Let me sip the nectar
of pronouncement over fact
I think I'll sleep a little better
knowing less, curled here
in a comforter of bliss
as sweet ennui melts
into the cracks.

...I could have told you
no cartel ever named
could quantify the hunger
that we claim...

So Far Away From Here

Africanus delectus;
te quiero, mi amor. What
other form of discourse
need there be? I sought
audience with self-deluded
poets whose lips shared
neither self nor poetry.

Then I saw a sliver
of dark magic, the whisper
of a slender camisole;
as moonlight bathed
the armor of Medea
in the pantheon
of wonders that she stole.

Pooled in paths of ancient
labyrinthine kingdoms, feathered
notes caressed imperial wind
till colored rain fell
from a candied heaven,
and fastened to the souls
they'd hoped to bless.

If love is not
the kiss of simple
reason, then where
is the reason
that we seek?

Bill writes obituaries for a local paper in the Youngstown, Ohio area after a second tour of duty in college. He's 46, married to an Indonesian national, and embarking on a new career in technical (though not necessarily death related) writing and editing. His muse is generally irked by politics, music, foreign film and fine art.

Tyler Rose


i'll be your winter
reliably bleak
the snow from without your windowpane
the seasons they creep
like criminals in sin

i'll be your ice on the road
i'll keep you in

please don't malign
these wishes i keep
every day you'll be
so trapped under me

i'll be your blizzard
then i'll shovel you out
and you cannot flee because you'll see
you're caught where i want you to be

if you listen for lessons that i leave between lines
in letters of love so carefully concealed
a lie by design
and as much as i love you, inside me it feels
that my life is just a disease that you've suddenly healed

but in the maze that i've made you
where you're within just a stone's throw
here i'm destined to save you
as your crooked hero


a string to carry my heart upon
a sleeve that's worn for far too long

the last page torn from a towering volume
a terrified author's unread passages

a string to hang a fading photograph
an epiphone from an epitaph

a string to tie us together
and a chain to tear us apart

Tyler Rose is a 23-year-old writer & musician living in various parts of the Canadian maritimes. His greatest fears include the American government and writing short self bios. You can almost see inside his brain at

Taylor Graham


she gets in the passenger seat anyway.
He’s at the wheel. The remnants
of a civilization lie behind them.

At a fork in the road she wants
to drift. He drives on. Asphalt
washed away in all the rainy seasons.

Flocks of birds lift from a forest
where she wishes endless plains.
A crumbling wall overgrown, creepers

and vines, a thousand square miles
consumed by jungle. Exaggerated
romance, his vision rises as the sun

sets toward ancient golden cities.
Dashboard lights make her skin glow
as if sprinkled with gold dust.

He steers between eroded banks and
gullies. They’ve known each other, he
doesn’t even say “trust me.”


This is our meadow in early May
before the grasses turn, with a mist
below a midnight sky.
No, not a mist – a pond with splashes
of waves. Actually, an ocean
under stars on a blackboard sky
on which are written formulas
we can’t discern, a message in angelic
tongues, untranslatable.
After so many months of rain,
hillsides sloughing off, and under-
neath it all, dark soil in motion
dissolving into shades of sea, our
meadow, even now, tiding away
beyond the edges.

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the
Sierra Nevadas, who helps her husband (a retired wildlife biologist) with his field projects. Her poems have appeared in International Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, The New York Quarterly, Poetry International, and elsewhere. She is also included in the anthology, California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Santa Clara University, 2004). Her manuscript, The Downstairs Dance Floor, is winner of this year’s Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize from Texas Review Press.

Rochelle Hope Mehr

Some Things I'll Never Know

Why the wind rustles through the leaves
With the abandon of a gath'ring snow.

Why the ocean trembles and heaves
To a tumescent afterglow.

Why the dithering twig
Never grows a leaf –
Understanding all
And nothing at all
In its grief.


I fade away
Light loses luster
How many lumens escape

Into lunar landscape?
What is this new shape?
I'd like to phosphoresce

Persistently at your feet
Neither borrowing nor lending light
Burgeoning no urge --

Secure from my flight.

Rochelle Hope Mehr lives in New Jersey. Her poetry has appeared in Lucidity, a little poetry, perceptions, Offerings, The Wandering Hermit Review and other publications.

Michael Estabrook

822 miles in three days

Do you think all this driving
has made me stronger,
tougher or simply more achy and sore.
I'm going fast, 60, 70, 80
miles per hour, but is that
truly necessary? Does it get you
further faster in the end?
No, of course not, but it's hard
to avoid it, getting home a mere
half-hour earlier
makes all the difference
in the world.

long stretch of emptiness

Alone on the sidewalk walking the dark streets
the wind blowing leaves through the trees
and down along the cold ground. Alone
returning to the dorm missing my girl so bad
I could cry, the future seeming so distant,
such a long stretch of emptiness,
before we would be together, before
I would have her
to myself, always. A feeling
as barren as the earth waiting
for the green of spring, cold as steel
on a winter field.

Mike Estabrook lives in Acton, MA. His three children are out on their own but his wife is still there and the stupid dog and the computer and email, so he writes on, to what end he's not sure, but write on he will. He's still trying to get into the best poetry journals and hopes to publish a book of poems about his superlative wife called A Superlative Woman.

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