Two by


Rich Murphy








From a blue planet, a river flows to a peak.

Voyeurs stick to ledges for a peek,

an example to follow, perhaps.


Without energy, focus, and practice

nothing runs but swamps in marshland.

Moon tides lull for stone and sand.

In the crowd that surrounds

a spill grows from an insult

against an infant to purpose, to self-sense.


To experience beyond food, safety, and love,

tears in eyes urge to try again and again:

Sisyphus rolling up to the challenge.


Taking in the horizons at a pinnacle,

the blood rushes to the extremities

in awe and respect for the honor.

The push, the pull behavior to carry

for evolving genes a hope.





Story Ghost



The childhood imprint album

hardwires from the amygdale

to the filters for the senses.


The cemetery electrician

disarms at the circuit switch later.


The work inside being by the amateur

using homemade tools shocks.


Family and friends sitting

or standing around jolt

even when buried in a joke

story time creep into the room

(each also owning a scrapbook).


Blurred and overlapped memories

slipping from parchment pages

slide across triggering devices:

Once on microfiche and now life-size.


Self-pity, resentment, and regret

wash over living moments

and sour, stain against openness.


With tears tattooed to cheeks

a kid emerges kicking and screaming,

almost recognizable in adult clothing.









Rich Murphy’s poetry has won The Poetry Prize at Press Americana twice for Americana (2013) and for The Left Behind (2020) and the Gival Press Poetry Prize Voyeur (2008).  “Space Craft” by Wipf and Stock will be out 2021.  Books Prophet Voice Now, essays by Common Ground Research Network and Practitioner Joy, poetry by Wipf and Stock 2020.  He has published eight other collections of poetry.



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