from Ghazals for 2023


Sheila E. Murphy








Avoid diners pressing hash recipes:

menacing white letters scrawled on windows.


Muss the anonymous one time at least.

Appearances do not require labels.


Fat content, the antithesis of chance

operations lacking precise scalpels.


Pensive then some handsome winnowing act

brings together clueless authorities.


Self-congratulation, epidemic,

propels artificial stupidity.








Each one ardently listened to self-talk.

No one captured what the others said.


Divergent ideas fell to table.

No one knew how these might be crystallized.


Investment in personal comfort

meant not doing anything worth doing.


Anything anyone said had traction.

She feared wasting any thread of wisdom.


Spring elapsed into a blond and tawny

autumn season perfumed by smells of smoke.








Ad hominem declarations disguised

as logic or as critical thinking.


A hand always out but not extended

underlines two unequal spirits.


Tinkering likely pertains to karma,

sainthood living in imagination.


Dark ducklings pure as ribbon on water.

Borrow my glasses and see for yourself.


Cigarette smoke like hard fast jewelry.

Plenty cameras capture instantly.








I pretend not to have pretended to

be you for many years I am you now.


With in fact an August covering half

white a quarter not at all white three parts.


Studio yellow pounces on the wheat

germ unconsumed still in an off-white bowl.


Power projects efficiently when hot

and plentiful far away from the self.


An architect once retired sees just mess

she had nothing to do with arranging.








Macular d’ recedes her line of sight.

Precision rests its case face laced across.


All unmatched threads of daylight pause near trills

of birdlings lacking milquetoast feathering.


Harbingers of haberdashery pounce

on unwitting shoulders creased to flounce.


I loved our moments one and bundled sprints

toward is-ness pacific and fevered.


Thus place this ring where F# fingering

intones an equal sign that mathifies.








Geriatricity: becoming old.

Behold the gum tree filling the yard.


Imperfect lenses yield a myriad

of views all accurate and all incomplete.


Homespun homestead thinking, ragged, refined.

Start from here: improvise a miracle.


Expatiate if you must! It’s morning

everywhere you think you live and are.


The fracas in my soul relaxes when

I see your open arms coming for me.









Sheila E. Murphy’s most recent books are Permission to Relax (BlazeVOX Books, 2023) October Sequence: Sections 1-51 (mOnocle-Lash Anti-Press, 2023), and Sostenuto (Luna Bisonte Prods (2023).  Murphy is the recipient of the Gertrude Stein Award for her book Letters to Unfinished J. (Green Integer Press, 2003).  Her book titled Reporting Live from You Know Where (2018) won the Hay(na)Ku Poetry Book Prize Competition from Meritage Press (U.S.A.) and xPress(ed) (Finland).  Based on a background in music theory and instrumental and vocal performance, her poetry is associated with music.  Murphy earns her living as a management consultant and researcher and holds a Ph.D. degree.  She has lived in Phoenix, Arizona throughout her adult life.  Sheila E. Murphy is at Wikipedia



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