The contract is only valid
when everyone believes
in the same magic.

…..“With whom is the Courtesan’s contract made?”

She whose business is:
the manipulation of all parties
(including herself)
to her own best advantage.
Christlike she is
hero + victim of her own story.

……“The party of the second part is the Blacksmith.”

He whose hands are rough,
hard and dark as the hammer
he brings against the red point
of the witnessing nail.

The contract is only valid
when everyone believes
in the same magic.


A mantra to keep her head
above water : old words
– the end justifies the means
– one must hold power to create it
– an unalienable right to the pursuit of happiness
she reasons along the switch-back,
forked path,
the yellow wood;
…..worn thin by fine-shod feet of
……………..the prime minister
……………..the snake in the garden.
Things fall apart.

The contract is only valid
when everyone believes
in the same magic.


Forged of finer stuff
her slender circle glints around
the blacksmith’s rough hands
hard and dark as the hammer he rings
against the truth of the nail.
Iron wedges open wood’s yellow grain.
The courtesan’s ring corrupts his grip.
Yet, the nail is driven –
…..her gaze darts away from
… eyes || death’s mirror
He sees.

He sees.
He believes.

The courtesan’s ring corrupts his grip
…………………………………corrupts the nail
…………………………………denies the magic
…………………………………of open eyes:

it’s all for sale.


To hear a reading of this poem, click on the player below:

To read more poems by this poet, click HERE.

Standing power figure (nkisi nkondi)

The Bones of Time: Liliane Richman

bones of time

IPM may have taken a break in 2016

…but our poets haven’t!

After working for the last several years, popular IPM poet Liliane Richman has published her memoirs this month. It’s the story not only of her own astonishing life but how it intertwined with the lives of her family. Much of the narrative takes place over the course of the the turbulent 1930s and 40s which was deeply marked by the war and, for Liliane herself, by her sojourn in southwestern France where she was sent to safety as a small child. When she returned to post-war Paris, and against all odds the family was reunited, Richman recounts in crystalline detail the difficult dynamics of a city and a family working out how to go on living.

Full of the resonant, clear-eyed imagery that you’ll recall from her poetry, Liliane’s book is full of memorable landscapes and portraits that convey the essence of the people and the times that formed the ‘bones’ of the woman and the writer she has become.

The Bones of Time is available on

as well as from: Barnes and Nobles

“Love emerges as the theme and driving perspective of this witness
to suffering and survival, making it one of the most beautiful and
haunting memoirs I’ve ever read.”

—Edie Brickell, Songwriter and Performer—


lifestyles of the impoverished and obscure: by chris fillebrown


he pulled the bridge over his shoulder
like a blanket
and curled up against the wind


copyright 2015
all rights reserved



Find this poem along with fiction by Chris Fillebrown at his website, Frame of Reference 

Listen to readings of Chris Fillebrown’s poetry on this website HERE.

What Bird – National Poetry Month Day 3 with Bonnie McClellan

To help Sonyarehn celebrate National Poetry Month (Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture) I offered this poem, there will be new poems every day throughout April so if you’re feeling deprived after the end of IPM, please visit to enjoy what her blog has to offer.

Sonya Rhen

Welcome to day three of National Poetry Month.  Today I am pleased to present fellow WordPress blogger and  poet Bonnie McClellan.  Her blog contains many of her expressive poems as well as poems from other participants in International Poetry Month in February.  Check those out on her link below.  Enjoy!

The locust tree begins:
scarlet thorns, greening branches.

Impatient spring slips wetly
the van der Waals bonds
of this weak winter.

Time, time, time,
wasted in blank tasks:
showers, flossing, the recycling of newspapers.

I forget what bird I saw this morning.

View original post 105 more words

In Vocation of the Muse: by Bonnie McClellan

This poem has disappeared from this website. To hear a reading click on the audio player below:

To read more poetry by Bonnie McClellan, click HERE.

born to the precipice: by anonymous 20th century poet

This poem has disappeared from this website, it can now be found here. Listen to a reading of this poem by clicking on the player below:

To hear more poems by anonymous 20th century poet, click HERE.
To read more poetry by anonymous 20th century poet, click HERE.

An excerpt from Tom McClellan’s “Reflections from Mirror City”

In celebration of the life and creativity of my father, Tom McClellan, who passed away this last Saturday, August 3rd, I will be publishing some excerpts of his work. The following is an essay from his book “Reflections from Mirror City”:

Reflections VI, A – Valentine’s Day

December 21, 2009 

Dear Family and Friends,

I was given respite this morning from the grey, vague bird of grief that’s been after me since Mom died.  First, I woke up deciding to take the day off from will hunting and concerns of probate, the mailing of death certificates, how best to handle the estate.  Next, when I got to the all-­nighter for coffee, one of the regulars, whom I know well enough to call by first name and tell him that my mother had died, said, “I know where she’s gone, and it’s a better place,” which led to our talking about out-of-body experi­ences.  He’d been officially dead for ten minutes in Presby­terian ICU.

Unofficially, he looked down on his body, felt sorry for whoever that fellow was, sensed that he was being judged, told “There’s no reason for you to be afraid,” enveloped by a spectrum-spectacular light show that became a tunnel through which he traveled at the speed of light into a black void, enveloped by a brightness like looking into the sun–then found himself back in his body where people were jump-starting his heart with fibrilators.  And his body hurt.

Just before he reentered his body, he was told not to forget what he’d been through in the Beyondness.  Despite the speed at which he traveled through the tunnel, he could see that “It was kind of like bars.”  Another man who’d been through the tunnel asked me, “Did you notice – those walls are woven of light.”

For me, the brightness in the beyond is Light, a sort of supernatural neon that leads into a source of pure Love and Joy, brighter than the sun.

For my fellow I-Hop regular, the Light was a source of Peace.

We agreed that if you could base a theology on such experiences, it would be as simple as Star Wars mythology. There is a Force in the universe with a bright side and a dark side.  You can be with it.  We are here to learn to love and love to learn.

My coffee communicant and fellow graduate of trips into Beyondness had a distinct feeling of being judged, the sense that he could have gone some other where. During his time in the service, he had nearly been killed and just as the common phrase says, seen his life flash before him.  Maybe he got the visual the first time, the mental the second time.

We also agreed that the experience is very nondenominational.  You make certain choices with regard to God. Whether you are a Jew, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Baha’i or a Buddhist scarcely matters, much less whether you are baptized by total immersion or by water dipped to trace a cross on your forehead.

You make certain choices.  I had chosen for the first time to pray, not by rote but by faith in a God I did not know was there–you know, Pray.  And, as a result of those decisions, I asked the Universe where love comes from, then found myself traveling through rings of Light out the back of my head into a five second glimpse of what my fellow traveler got the ten-minute tour of.

And the answer was, “God is Love.”  Simple question, five-second trip–including a float over trees and rooftops, glimpsing my rooftop outlined in Light, then back in my body with–simple answer.

You make certain choices.  A poet friend of mine was in his twenties when he entered the Light.  He and his roommate had argued to the point where they decided to let the dis­agreement go and meditate.  The meditation brought them both into Light and connectedness.  “Did you see that, that light?” he asked his roommate, who answered, “Yeah.”

“For days afterward,” said my friend, “I could not make a mistake.  I skidded through a red light once, and I’ll swear, the cars parted to let me through.”

We get from the Beyondness what we seek and what is appropriate to us, at that time.  For the poet this satori of sorts was a matter of being twenty, and it became for him another town along the road.  For me, at thirty-two, it was a religious conversion that tore my marriage to shreds.

And a presagement of a Beyondness into which I gaze from time to time–I’ve seen my wife of sixteen years become a body of Light for a moment walking down the hall; and on my tongue felt the great silent power of that Sun Invisible in the form of a communion wafer.  We get what we need from the Beyondness.

My cafe companion, in hit late forties, received from Beyondness a preparation for moving into it.  “You can go back to school,” he said.

And we agreed that such experiences are watershed experiences.  You don’t forget them any more than you forget your first love.  You are changed in no small way.

Faith comes easily afterward.  You have no fear of death.

I thanked him for reminding me of that part.  I had been missing Mom so much I’d forgotten where she is.



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