(from TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME: Poems by Martina Reisz Newberry. Available from Unsolicited Press)


“There is trouble among the Oystermen of Terrebonne Parish.”

- Abbeville Progress 11/06/1915

Up North, the water was so cruel,

it drenched me with an endless sadness

a bay there, so cold and gray beyond the breakers

that I never got over it and have carried its silver foam

in my throat all these years. It formed dreams

at night that wounded and defaced my pillow

and put an end to rest. Still, year after year,

I searched this place for a sign that God lives

even as I live. I consulted alchemist and abolitionists,

wondered if they believed in each other.

It seems wrong to have to search for the blue

in water…easy to find in the veins, in bruises,

in the architect’s print. Van Gogh’s rain-soaked

landscape is only in dreams and visions.

Caillebotte’s oysters are alive, though still.*

*See Gustave Caillebott’s Nature Morete Aux Hitres Oystersand Vincent Van Gogh’s Landscape in the Rain.PAST WORK HAS BEEN FEATURED IN THESE LITERARY MAGAZINES:Adelaide Magazine 9/2017,Anti-Heroin Chic 6/11/2017,Blue Nib Literary Magazine 10/2017


(from NEVER COMPLETELY AWAKE: Poems by Martina Reisz Newberry. Available from Deerbrook Editions)

It’s like seeing the video of

someone else’s vacation. It’s so

commonplace, still, you can’t look away.

The familiar images grip your

attention. This is not your vacation,

of course it isn’t, but you’ve been there—

that spot the camera sees: wet stone steps,

lush ivy on old walls, then a face,

half covered by shadow, lips forming

“I love you. Come find me.” You’ve been there

and that almost recognizable

face is one that lives on the soles of

your feet until it is dream time when

it rises to remind you that,

nearly always, when you awaken,

you are left with love’s entrails—steaming,

bubbling, there.


(from NEVER COMPLETELY AWAKE: Poems by Martina Reisz Newberry. From Deerbrook Editions)

My keyboard faces a window;

everywhere I can see is sky.

Sky, make me believe in beauty.

Sky, make me believe I am writing

poems rather than beating the shit

out of words that may have had just

an atom of meaning before

I began hacking away at them.

The man next door practices

his guitar—hot, electric, loud.

Here’s a thought: If either of us

got pushed over our balconies,

we might be saved by hanging on

to the sky. I love this building;

no one complains about anyone

else. In the next building, a man

creates a symphony of cans

and bottles emptying into

a recycle bin, a sound which

lets me believe that a little

heavenly guidance and a drink

with each other just might save us

in a way that politics and

diplomacy have not. Maybe,

if we all grew geraniums

near our African Woodbine,

or conquered pain by going rump

to belly with friends, known and un

known…maybe if we named our babies

*Melantha, Yonina, or Almasi,

then we could manage our worlds

without armor or fear. The sky

flows over my keyboard. It speaks

of chimera, of costs, of prayer.

The great nations will remain unmoved

by these words. Oh, I can write them:





but I can only imagine

that such words might arm us, stain us

with a sense of our own audacity.

Deliverance floods Hollywood

Boulevard, I hear it rush by.

Shroud me, Sky! I’m sitting here

In my earrings and my sweet scent

Waiting for peace and perfection.

*Melantha means “Little Dove”, Yonina means “Dark Flower, Almasi means “Brilliant Diamond.”

PAST WORK HAS BEEN FEATURED IN THESE LITERARY MAGAZINES:Boomer Lit Magazine 11/2017Beautiful Losers 11/17Crack the Spine Press 2/15/18

FEBRUARY 20, 2006

(from HUNGER, available at the Bookstore on this webpage, martinanewberry.com)

My birthday today—I am 62 years old and have swallowed

whole the words of my sisters’ lives. I have seen them

make their way toward unthinkable horizons, to their beginnings.

Today I am thinking over all my own humbug and my magic tricks,

none of which have tidied up the rubble in my life. How can

a heart remain whole when it remembers everything?

How long did it take for me to learn that love could draw

a knife across my throat as easily as hatred or fear could do it?

I don’t remember. It took a long time.

When did I finally know that not listening was a kind of death

or what it meant to be lied to? An acquaintance asked me,

What does it feel like to be in your sixties? What a question!

For a moment, my whole dumb life stuck in my throat like

an unchewed piece of red meat. I was overcome with a

clouded passion for all I don’t know—don’t care to know.

(Whisper to self: So, what does it feel like?

Like I am a veteran of the local color here.

Like I am looking for a freeway to take me around the side roads.

Like I have been ravaged by what might happen.

Like I am lewd, screwed, and tattooed.

Like I can’t figure out how to live outside the betrayal of my body.

Like I have learned to arrive on schedule like the trains in Italy finally did.

Like I no longer have to stomach the foul atmosphere of rage.

Like I no longer have to practice a look of scorn, confidence or cool

in the mirror to get it just right.

Like it will all turn out fine, with everyone learning something

from this experience; with the music rising up in the background

and each of us looking meaningfully into the camera.)

Today an apostolic rendering is all I will own up to. I might own up to

a five-year longing I once had for a dark-haired rock and roller with a head for

computers and hands for me. But, you don’t need to know all of that.

Your interest lies in the demise of those things, not their ability to

skirt the limits of the living. You want to know if I’ve pulled away

from being perfect, if there is any hope for you to do the same.

Ah, my finders, keepers, dreamers, weepers! The reflections of

our mothers stand behind all of us. They reneged on their promises

and will unstitch us on our way to heaven—birthday by birthday.



In the morning after the storm, I walked

to the place where the swans stoically

protected the lake’s dark water.

The masks they wore hid their

true selves. I could not see their

wickedness but I knew it was there.

Royal White Mutes, Coscorabas,

Trumpeters and Bewicks—each of these

inclined to bite, to bloody an arm or ankle

with a hurtful kiss. I sat on a bench,

facing them and remembering…

trying to remember what beauty felt like,

what it was to be so lovely that

the eye’s sclera was graced with its intensity—

an almost violence, that sort of beauty;

a beauty that can be forgiven nearly

anything. Oh, I could not make

that memory fit myself though I tried.

Our maculate love was long past as was

the bud and blossom of my attraction.

We floated, dipped, flew only a little.

When we left the water, I saw you

working the grass, mouth slightly open

and ready to snap, body readying…

A shakedown, a preening, a low sound

as you intertwined your fingers with mine.

PAST WORK HAS BEEN FEATURED IN THESE LITERARY MAGAZINES:Fish Food Magazine 8/17,Los Angeles Poets Society,Mused Magazine Spring 2018


(available at the Bookstore also from Deerbrook Editions)


Abandoned spirits crowd these streets.

They wander off to the destinations

they missed while alive. They cross lawns

and parking lots like stray thoughts.

They’ll not help you pick the winning numbers,

nor guide you to your life’s work.

They wander off to the destinations

they missed while alive. Their tears are

traces of obsidian, nearly invisible at night

except for the glints they gather

from the stars.They emerge from the

trickle of water in the Los Angeles river,

whisper among themselves

in all the city’s languages. They are shadows

and eyes, blown hair, mindless hands.

See how they hunger for human attention, touch?

You can’t call them back. They were never

here. They cross the plaza near Union Station.

The broken tiles, bits of grass and old wood

speak of friends lost, years lost.

They smell the trains and buses.

The nighttime, says, “Go back,”

and they do They wander back,

turn away from the destinations

they missed while alive. The sun comes

up and their silhouettes are brushed,

lambent with time’s pearl grain.


She tried to sleep. Loneliness

covered her and,

when she closed her eyes,

all she could see was his mouth

coming toward her mouth,

then stopping just short

of the kiss she craved.

Through the curtain

of silence that was night,

there was a sound

like the knocking stick

of some monk outside

on the sidewalk.

So, she got up.

Out on the patio,

she weighed the night sky,

the clouded wink and flash

of smog-sticky stars

as if studying a soul

or the Talmud

or Sumerian tablets.

She was learning nothing,

she thought

Once again,

she told herself,

I’ve been thrown out

of The Garden;

(eighty-sixed) from

the best gig in town.

Ah well…

Back in bed,

she curled into sleep

and dreamed of red lipstick

she saw on a poster

in the subway,

and of age

slouching toward her

across a field somewhere.


(available at the Bookstore, martinanewberry.com)


Standing at a stoplight

I watch the old woman

piss in a doorway.

Her hair is dirty.

Her clothes are dirty.

Her feet are cracked.

Someone passes,

drops a dollar bill

at the hem of her skirt

and moves on, whistling,

headphones firmly anchored

on his ears.

A block away,

the banner on the front

of the Methodist Church



It sports the rainbow symbol.

The air is heavy and

smells of gasoline.

I am standing at a stoplight

On Hollywood Boulevard.

I’ve ever known such happiness.


See your life as allegory, as discourse.

Though you are not right in your mind,

the innocence of your childhood is evident.

The rosy redness of the atom bomb was

not your fault. Pull your coat close

around you to keep out the chill of reason.

Keep gloves on at all times to resist

sanity’s frostbite. There is no earthly place

to receive you now. All that you fear

will come true. Marie LaVeau predicted it.

She stood at the edge of Bayou St. John,

sang, “As the nails of the dead

continue to grow, so will whatever love

you leave behind you.” Keep yourself clear

of sophistication. Keep clear of cool.

That shit will envelope your life—

your life as allegory, as discourse.

Do you know that anything easily discerned

can be easily destroyed? It’s true.

Walk your milk-white body

down to the end of the driveway.

Stare into the cloudless sunset

and you’ll soon greet the Four Horsemen,

come for the Rapture:

Data (palomino),

Fast Food (dark bay),

Global Warming (chestnut),

And Cacophony (pinto).

There will be revelations. There will be

distortions of revelations. But you—

you must continue to gather

the splinters of yourself and see

the end product: a life, your life,

as allegory, as discourse.


(available at the Bookstore, martinanewberry.com)


Intimidated by the glass,

I reach to touch a near-full moon

suspended on a near-black string.

It strays across tonight as I

have wandered across blank paper,

decorum over and done with.

The strange bones of my hands find their

own way (hasn’t always been so).

Outdoors, the moon lights up the dirt,

hides behind clouds that start to spill

rain. The environment reeks of

failure and I, unmoved by its

intent, start to despise the rain.

I have stood in this place a long

time waiting for shame to produce

the wild, tender thoughts I’ve called up

in the past. Where is the book I’ve

not written? Where is the house and

the barn I saw when I slept then

wrote about when I woke? Where are

the lumbering animals that

will find their way back home and the

farm wife in her wrinkled jeans and

patterned apron? Maybe they’ve been

cast upward into God’s shadows.

I reach to touch a sky that has

filled my life with false promises.

The old olive tree looks so cold.

Soon it will be Spring: warm, blameless.


I’ve buried my dead and, still, they come back to me, breathing

their names in the dark. I try to hold on to them, hugging

their ghostly bodies to mine as I hold yours to mine. I beg

my sad ghosts, stay stay to give me time for amends. It is

their revenge to drift off before enough “I’m sorrys” can

leave my mouth. True, before forgiveness, there must be regret.

Kneel for one, stand for the other. If the sprits refuse,

I ask Our Lady of Sorrows. I reach far back behind

myself to the old ways. The Precious Blood and Mother winks

in gold from the cover of an old prayer book. I open

its pages, thin as moth wings, and sink into the comfort-

able aged words. There are many more contemporary

books of prayer, but they don’t list the stupendous grand prizes

won from praying as this one does.

Recitation of the Seven Offerings

300 days indulgence. Plenary indulgence once

a month under the usual conditions, if recited

daily—granted by Pope Leo XII, September 1827.

Say the prayers, close the book. Souls and dreams are the same things.

If I sleep finally, will I wake up as a different being,

pure of spirit, forgiven? I don’t think so. I think I’ll

awaken with my brain steeped in mystery (a weak tea),

and Fear, that ancient prime suspect, making a clearing through

the tall, dusty ragweed of my burned-out memory.


(from “Running Like A Woman With Her Hair on Fire,”

available at the Bookstore on this webpage, martinanewberry.com)

My father used to say: Not everyone casts a shadow.

I believed it was one of those things adults say; one of

those things only deciphered after you reach thirty and

are allowed to understand everything. You’ve heard


At 56, I’m still not sure what that means.

But shadows…shadows are different. Nobody talks about them.

Though they are faithful, staying with the guy that brought them,

shadows get little attention. This is also true of God.

God is different than he used to be. He notices less now.

Once, it was up to God whether or not you got a shadow,

or kept it once you had it. Now, it’s haphazard.

My father had one, so did my favorite uncle. My mother

and her sister each had one. Mother’s was long and thin

and preceded her down the hall at bedtime. Aunt Ersta’s

was round and mean. You never saw it coming. I am certain

I started out with one, then lost it somewhere and it has

remained lost, unless, of course, it was found by God and

reassigned—the way they reassigned James Dean’s shadow

after his horrible car accident. You remember…


((from “Hunger,” available at the Bookstore on this webpage, martinanewberry.com)

The new Jazz Age

reeks of dissatisfaction,

avoids aging,

fears death

gathers useless tools and useful friends,

invests on the margin,

plays golf,

contributes to the Red Cross,

drinks raspberry vodka,

toasts the Cossacks and the Beatles,

spills expensive perfume on the neighbor’s duvet,

mutilates bodies,

swirls Cabernet in a stemmed glass,

separates conjoined twins,

devours women,

exhales men,

is ravenous

and too full to notice.


((from “Hunger,” available at the Bookstore on this webpage, martinanewberry.com)

I’ve heard this time of day called “the gloaming.”

It nearly rhymes with “moaning.” The sky looks

like feta, smells like it. It is a time

of too many TV commercials and

too little spirit and painful, grumbling hunger.

In the window across the alley, I see my mother.

She stares back across the alley at me.

Incurable aloneness trembles at the corners of

her mouth. Her arms are wrapped around herself,

fingers touching her own shoulders.

“That,” I say out loud, “is what loneliness looks like.”

All my life, I have hated her for showing it to me.

Mother has taught me how the dead rise:

her own soul, soapy steam fogging

the window until I can no longer see her.

I go into a dream:

a room so dark, I can barely make my way

around it. In the blackness, I find a full-length

mirror and stand in front of it.

In that compacted darkness, I can see

myself, hands—like the ocean—glistening.

Much later, I look at the window across the alley.

A young Asian girl stands there eating ice cream

from a green bowl. Her hair,

dense and unbearably beautiful, does

not lift in any breeze. Her tongue

is a diamond in the obscurity of her mouth.


((from “Hunger,”

available at the Bookstore on this webpage,


This is a photograph of the man next door

weeding his lawn. You see how he smiles and

waves a gloved hand? We exchange waves and that’s all.

There is a box cutter stuck in his heart but

you won’t see it in this picture. There is no blood,

only sweat on his shirt.

This is a picture of my friend, R,

reading a Stephen King novel while lying

on the sofa at her mother’s house. You

can’t see the gag on her mouth—how it keeps her

from saying what should be said. The gag is red.

It looks like lipstick.

This is a photo of the painters who are

livening up the face of our building with

mud-colored paint. Our windows are covered in

paper. You can’t, I’m afraid, see the guns in

their hands; they look like paint sprayers.

This last one is a photograph of a field:

wild lavender and ragweed, wasted grasses

that are so dry and feathery, they have nearly

turned to dust. In the corner you can see a

bit of Silverleaf Nightshade. What you can’t see

are the two children. Their mouths are closed,

and their stomachs growl; their black eyes stare at

the sky. You can’t hear them asking where is God.

They look like small piles of clothing.

But that is why I am here with the pictures:

to point these things out to you.


(from Learning By Rote, deerbrookeditions.com)

I’ve learned that night sounds are the ones that

carry the signs and portents.

The voices of the future come dancing out of the dark

like bits of ice from the sky.

The voices speak softly, remind us of our regrets,

hold out our wishes the way Eve did the apple,

pleading “Be brave with me, taste.” Night opens the ears, sings songs of our fathers and mothers walking behind us,

steering us to the confusion and risks and pleasures of this life. This is why we mustn’t fear the dark—

not as children, not at the last moment of our lives.

It is in the night that our indecencies fall away

and our prayers come up out of us without tangle

or torment. I write this to you now so you’ll know

not to fear—not ever to fear—the rippling cloth of night.

It belongs to you. It always has.


from Learning By Rote, deerbrookeditions.com

New York, 2011—Hana Lin, 26, fell from the balcony of apartment 2640 at 101 Warren St. and landed on an elevated, park-like common area on the fifth-floor roof of a Barnes & Noble, police said. No foul play is suspected. Investigators haven’t ruled out suicide

I gained weight on the way down,

maybe a thousand pounds.

They say you gain weight when you

fall from a high place.

I, who was careful about my figure

most of the time

cartwheeled past the 15th floor,

mourning my days

without chocolates or ice cream.

Oh, I made toasts with the best of them,

but it was with Lite Beer.

A slim figure

counts for something,

don’t you think?

The air was cool from the

open window, the view spectacular—

TriBeCa stretching out and around,

lit only for me.

Why should I not want to own those lights

and reach out to stuff them into my eyes

and mouth (as if they were

champagne truffles)

as I tipped over and over in the dark?

Like a one-ton piece of chalk,

I tumbled, watched as windows passed,

and wondered if I was in a dream,

would wake on the couch

when I came to the bottom.

But it was a bookstore roof

that stopped me,

not a couch or a friend shaking

my shoulder, laughing at my

beer-y breath.

I heard the rustling of pages

as my smudged mascara

and Exces de Rouge lipstick

found the 5th floor,

told myself

maybe someone

is writing about this.


(from “Running Like A Woman With Her Hair on Fire,”

available at the Bookstore on this webpage, martinanewberry.com)

The sliver of glass,

the sun so white, it thinks

itself a moon, this haze

that smells of a desert wind:

all these tell that

Fall is here.

They ask

“Are you ready for death?”

My mother said no,

said neither would I be.

I smiled at her. “O,” I said

“but you have not seen me

silent as stone, poised,

a tongue of fire over my head—

waiting for the Pentecost.”



(from “Running Like A Woman With Her Hair on Fire,”

available at the Bookstore on this webpage, martinanewberry.com)

After I had not seen you in a long time,

We met at that coffee place near the bait shop.

You said, “O you look so …I like your…”

I said, “I got them…you know that shoe store…”

You said, “My mom and dad sold their…”

The waitress said, “Who wants more coffee?”

In the glistening daytime, our hands fluttered,

we recalled that stretch of road in Fremont

where a big-bellied sheriff almost

gave you a ticket. You were respectful,

said “Yessir” to him, and, when we got away,

without trouble, told me you were scared of him.

I didn’t believe it at the time, don’t now.

I said, “I’m so glad you came.” A pause,

then you upended the day—paralyzed it:

“M”, you said, “what if all the bridges in

all the world suddenly fell into the water

below them on top of boats and ferries?

What if they all fell at the same time. What

would matter then? Would anything matter?”

I thought of my glued-together life:

the contracts I made, the slitted eyes

of the office, my long skirts shuffling through

the halls and studios, my manicured

nails clicking on keys. What were all these

if not bridges? “So what if they did?” I said.

“There would be weeping and wailing and gnashing

of teeth and then, so what?” You nodded.

Silent, we relived the day’s meeting.

“This weather is getting old,” I said.

“I like you in blue,” you said. We looked over

at a young black man just coming in,

his hair in yard-long extensions, rings

on all fingers. And then it was time to go

and we were anxious to return to

what usually kept us from each other.

I drove away, seeing you in the mirror,

As you bent down to look at something

in the gravel of the parking lot.

The sun looked odd, like it was shining through

cheesecloth, and there was a bad taste in my mouth.

Nearly there, I stopped at the side of the road

and threw up. I wiped my lips with tissue,

then drove on over the bridge to home.


(from “What We Can’t Forgive,”

available at the Bookstore on this webpage, martinanewberry.com)

Adam’s torso, it is said, was made from earth

taken from Babylonia. That may be,

but it’s all-fall-down time there now; it’s watch-out-

the-sky’s-on-fire time. The burquas are burning,

ogals and gutrahs are birds escaping flames,

escaping smoke and gunfire. Kaffiyeh fly

as well, but not far. Ezekiel’s fire would

be a tender release compared to this

vestibule of pain. I watch humankind’s coil

unravel. War turns us to confetti,

rain on a dismal parade. The proud Duranni Empire is ash

and shadow. Our restoration promises

reek of braised flesh and singed hair.

The Quran spells out equality. I think it means that all

sweet souls, gender aside, may die the same deaths.


(from “What We Can’t Forgive,”

available at the Bookstore on this webpage, martinanewberry.com)

Where were you when you heard the news?

I was at the grocery store buying tomatoes and wheat macaroni and reduced-fat shredded cheese. You see the implications here…

I was near the pool, drinking a gin and tonic, waiting for the moon

to rise. When it didn’t, I went inside.

I was practicing with the Irrelevant Playhouse players. We’re doing “Our Town.”

I was in bed with my husband’s mistress. She smells like cherry cough syrup. I love that smell.

I was walking the dog. I pissed all over myself when I heard the news. So did the dog.

I was doing the Elephant Mudra with my teacher, Yogi Brahma- Covered-With-Thistles. He’s very wise and the water is very salty.

I was fornicating with my soul’s darkest moments.

Where were you?

Where were you?

You see the implications…


(from “What We Can’t Forgive,”

available at the Bookstore on this webpage, martinanewberry.com)

First, there was a thousand years of famine,

then a moment of surplus. Death’s flawless

dreams waited for our silent coming. We

bloomed—black Narcissus on a bruised and

desecrated desert. We set the clocks

for the earth to explode under us.

We ignored the signs, transfused the wounded

with tainted blood and gave medicines that

dissolved the bones of our brothers. We cut

open our sisters’ bodies and placed bitter

leaves in their wombs. We polished our own hearts

with aluminum salts borrowed from the

cellars of devils. We delivered fears

and fevers and the certainty of God’s

malicious ending. Where death lay sleeping,

we woke death up to sort our morals from

our memories. We, the conquerors of

cracked earth and merciless yellow sky, moved

on without apology and death stayed

behind, where we left it. All this, all this,

we cried, we did for Peace.


((from “Not Untrue & Not Unkind,”

available at the Bookstore on this webpage, martinanewberry.com)

I say the first story was yours, told as you stood in

the doorway; eyes sparking like a loose live wire.

The first story, an introduction, clapped its hands

and said “Pay attention!” Someone else was there,

I can’t recall who. We spoke of liquor and animals

you’d found at the shelter and ways of making food.

A story: some spirit, a ghost, drawing water

for a bath, where we read letters — pages and pages —

until the paper was heavy and the ink

dripping off onto our wet laps. You read at

your table, I at my desk. “Come here,” you said,

“come to visit me.” So, of course, I came to visit.

My story about Moose-Turd Pie and yours about

Paris and mine about a girl dying, told

on the way to somewhere where we had Irish Coffee

and saw what I thought might be blood-campion

on the side of the road ( but, no one knew flowers

and couldn’t tell us for certain what they were).

A story: there was a stream under a bridge

with a million tiny fish. We stood and watched

them before buying a paper and reading the

news about the prettiest ladies in the world,

all the Misses Universe, in their bathing suits,

all the prettiest ladies, waiting for the prize.

A story: how a man with flowers sat on your

front stoop, waiting for you to come home; how he

cried when you told him he had to go away.

“Lucky you,” I said. “No,” you said, “you’ll only know

when it happens to you.” I laughed because I thought

it never would. It did though. Lucky me.

This story: about a woman we knew who was

so crazy she told us radio dramas

on the telephone and rang off screaming

“Someone’s at the door! He’s got a gun! I’ll call you later!”

Then she wouldn’t — maybe never again.

We blamed our own memories for her madness.

A story: Maynard Dixon’s painting of 7 men

in a line. The Wise Men. I have told you how I

follow them down to their river or their sand pit.

I follow close behind them, pointing out the scenery,

asking questions until finally I stop,

abandoned in place and squinting into the sun.

Maybe I will spend the rest of this time in the kitchen,

baking and cooking and soiling pot after pot

with what there is in the refrigerator.

Who knows? After the wind grows and dies and everything

else does a vanishing act, we sit where we sit

and caress what we are with careful hands.



(from the book NOT UNTRUE AND NOT UNKIND - available at the Bookstore on this webpage, martinanewberry.com)

She cooked for them in the evening: green peas

and squash, some kind of meat and hard rolls.

A ritual of hands and eyes and

movements. Outside, the dark held up

the leaves of the camphor tree

like a silhouette artist about to begin cutting.

She thought of how much she wanted rain

and how much sweeter things would be if only

she could hear water dripping from the eaves.

In the kitchen, no one crowded around her.

The wine was the color of a river bed;

she thought of trout, of pebbles, everything

shining, everything wet. She watched her hands

setting the table. Something whispered,

“This is real. Quickly, save yourself!”



from “Running Like A Woman With Her Hair on Fire,”

available at the Bookstore on this webpage, martinanewberry.com)

Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are,and the things which shall be hereafter. Revelation 1:19

I am not doing good work.

Each day, I recede a little further.

I see who I was—standing

on an ice floe (which used to be

the Island of Blue Flowers)—

I wave as I sail away.

“Goodbye!” I shout to myself.

“Bear witness,” I call out.

“Tell all who will listen

about the way it used to be.

Tell how the price becomes

dearer and dearer and how

all must run for high ground

because the waters rise

before you know it.”

Back on the ice floe,

the woman who was me, nods

and smiles. “I will,” she calls back.

“You can count on me.”


from “Running Like A Woman With Her Hair on Fire,” available at the Bookstore on this webpage, martinanewberry.com)

I do not wish to be whole alone

knowing who I am but all by myself;

to say, “Is anyone here?” when I

come home and know

that no one is. I can’t revise myself.

I mean, it is a fine t hing to know

my own broken branches.

A fine thing. But not alone,

no please, not that. Current thinking

declares my passions null.

All vows are off it says.

You may be cold and cowardly,

but you, by God, know yourself.

Go grab the patent on that one.



from “Running Like A Woman With Her Hair on Fire,”

available at the Bookstore on this webpage, martinanewberry.com

Minds break almost

in the same way a heart does.

It just takes longer.

Even when a heart stops

expecting, stops waiting,

for sleep or peace or the

contrite word, the mind

does not. It stays alert,

on the job. It takes

the photographs, puts forth

the reasonable explanation:

Soon, the mind says, when

he has rested, when it is

cooler, when it is morning…

The heart has given up

by this time, has broken,

is shattered. But the mind turns

away from its own distraction.

It refuses to notice

the danger: the exposed root,

the shards of glass, the blown fuse.

when, at last, these things are irrefutable,

it breaks. Just like a heart—

almost exactly like a heart.