Poetry Breakfast

Serving a little poetic nourishment every morning. Start your day with our new expanded menu. Poems, of course, are our specialty. But we will also be serving a fuller menu that includes poetry book reviews to feed poets' and poetry lovers' souls.



Sidewalk Talk – A Poem by Shelby Lynn Lanaro

Sidewalk Talk
by Shelby Lynn Lanaro

What are your dreams?
you ask me puffing peach-mint
hookah smoke outside
the falafel house on Howe.

Where do you want to go
in the world?
What will be your legacy?

I’m not sure how to answer,
but I know the night is calm.
The air moves freely, not pushed
by wind, and the stars don’t feel

need to outshine streetlamps.
They’re content behind the curtain
of clouds, yet still shining; they know
they are, know their purpose.

And I’m content, sitting here,
not yet knowing mine.


About the Poet:  Shelby Lynn Lanaro is a narrative poet who uses life’s events to inspire her work. While many of her poems are based on her own life, Shelby enjoys taking on the voices of others to tell their stories through her poems. In 2017, Shelby earned her MFA in poetry from Southern Connecticut State University, where she has led several poetry workshops and now teaches Freshman English. Shelby’s poems have been published in Dying Dahlia Review and The Feminist Wire. One of Shelby’s poems will also appear in a forthcoming anthology by Stormy Island Publishing.

Where It Hides – A Poem by Samuel Oladele

Where It Hides
by Samuel Oladele

Follow the silence
into the heart of the scream,
the mouthless scream,
the monastery of all pain.

Anchoring on all souls pain lives;
a life without form, gorging all our greenness.

Follow the silence into the base where pain breathes,
where it towers above strength,
where it breaks the backbone of love.

Only those shackled by it know where light ends;
only they know the weight of darkness.



About the Poet:  Samuel Oladele is a Nigerian studying Applied Chemistry at Usmanu Danfodiyo university, Sokoto. Whenever he’s not thinking of making TNT or thinking about some industrial production processes, he reads and writes prose and poetry.

Niagara – A Poem by Laura Rutland

by Laura Rutland

The river flows peacefully in places.
I’ve seen the pictures.
Green banks,
trees overhanging
the clear, smooth flow of water.

But the photo I took
was a swirling mass
just above the Falls.
My camera captured
The water spun against itself,
violently resisting
the thrust forward
it was bound to endure.

There is no resisting
the Falls.
The water can twirl itself
into madness.
It will still drop,
into a crisis
of foam and spray and roaring,
to flow downstream again—
the same river
in a different direction.


About the Poet: Laura Rutland, a transplant from North Georgia to Northwestern Pennsylvania, teaches English at Gannon University in Erie. Her poems have been published in Autumn Sky Daily and in two anthologies: Dwelling in Possibility, edited by Berwyn Moore, and Picture This Anthology, edited by Marisa Moks-Unger.

Letting Go – A Poem by Doug Bolling

Letting Go
by Doug Bolling

Rather the flight of the bird passing and leaving no trace. . . .
–The Keeper of Sheep XLIII, Fernando Pessoa

Sudden a winging in of sea gulls
Out of the blue early evening clouds.

They land on the beach, peck among
The sea spawned wrack as sun and shadow
Weave their stories of this hour brief,
Subject to sea’s roil and music roughened
By a moon’s long distance wooing.

I have come here to heal and begin
Again, whatever selfhood of me
Left after so much loss and words
That were aimed and found
Their target.

To disappear from yourself is the
Gateway to wisdom the Zen master
Had whispered on that long ago
Mountain top in its largesse
Of snow.

Now the gulls are lofting toward
deep sky, their erudite wings
brilliant in the billowing air.

The tide drifts out and I
With it, mind numbed
In such silence, this
Vastness, this
Beautiful nothingness.



About the Poet:  Doug Bolling lives in the greater Chicago area after teaching At academic institutions in his native Kentucky and the midwest.  He has Been published in many reviews including Posit, The Aurorean, Albatross, Earthshine, Illya’s Honey, The Missing Slate (with interview), and Birmingham Arts Journal among others. His poetry has received Best of The Net and Pushcart nominations and several awards, most recently the Mathiasen Award for his poem “Body and Soul” published by the University of Arizona’s Harmony Magazine.

America Lies Across the Rio Grande Reading Frost While They Seek Funding on Border Security – A Poem by Ariana D. Den Bleyker

America Lies Across the Rio Grande Reading Frost
While They Seek Funding on Border Security

by Ariana D. Den Bleyker

They build to exclude—
the unwelcome, unwanted, uninvited—
bodies scaling over it.

What it is to love the gray morning, sky muddled overhead,
shimmering across a fence dressed in mirrors:

shadows pitch dark on the brink of catastrophe, looming
against the hillside—nothing stirred or measured

by the miles of space from one side to the other
but height of the fence

or the thickness,
or the presence
or absence of barbed wire,
or the silence on top.

Look closer: here she is, sharing
the same space, sleeping
in the same bed, separated

only by distance
& a formidable fence between.



About the Poet: Ariana D. Den Bleyker is a Pittsburgh native currently residing in New York’s Hudson Valley where she is a wife and mother of two. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with her family and every once in a while sleeps. She is the author of three collections, eighteen chapbooks, three crime novellas, a novelette, and an experimental memoir. She hopes you’ll fall in love with her words.

Have Mercy on the Homeless Man – A Poem by Laurie Kolp

Have Mercy on the Homeless Man
by Laurie Kolp

A backpacked waxen-skinned man
walks down the aisle in the middle of mass

a disheveled mess with hair unkempt
like a kid coming in on a hot summer day.

All heads turn to the man with the backpack,
all eyes watch him bump into an usher

who passes the basket from pew to pew
collecting money. All see him take a seat and reach

for his bag, all eyes are wide. He takes out
a Kleenex, cleans his face and places it atop his head.

The choir sings a psalm of love while others
stare at the man who now talks out loud

and points to the priest on the altar. I witness
parishioners leave, police arrive. I see

the man refused communion two times
the man begging for a wafer turned down

as people filter out before the final prayer.



About the Poet: Laurie Kolp’s poems have appeared in the Southern Poetry Anthology VIII: Texas, Stirring, Whale Road Review, Pith, Rust + Moth, and more. Her poetry books include the full-length Upon the Blue Couch and chapbook Hello, It’s Your Mother. An avid runner and lover of nature, Laurie lives in Southeast Texas with her husband, three children, and two dogs. @KolpLaurie

River Fable – A Poem by Daniel Pravda

River Fable
by Daniel Pravda

Along the shoreline strewn with the ruins of a school:
cement blocks, bergs of mortar and brick, and rusty pipe daggers,
the human heron pecks for pieces of seaglass.

No Trespassing, it says along the edge of the road broken
by the tide and falling stone by stone into the invisibility of time.
The human heron pours water down its beak.

The scene seems bleak to the mice of the moment,
a school bulldozed and a beach buried by trash and debris.
Turkey vultures circling high above see

the value of vampires and the price of the inevitable.
The human heron fishes a perfect jewel from a crack in the galaxy.
Discrete and incomplete, the human heron rests, takes a breath.

An owl teaches a dragonfly a final lesson in the air. The heron
resumes working west, as high tide climbs toward the road again.


About the Poet: Daniel Pravda is a teacher, explorer and wannabe rockstar whose work has recently appeared in Aji, Apricity, Cedar Creek Review, Dead Mule, Hamilton Stone Review, Jazz Cigarette, Light, The Meadow, Oyster River Pages, and Poetry Quarterly. He teaches English at Tidewater Community College in Chesapeake, VA and, when possible, searches for humanless beaches.

An Old Song – A Poem by Mara Buck

An Old Song
by Mara Buck

First they came for the scorpions and we said, fine,
Dangerous creepy bastards, squirt em, better off without em,
But the birds that ate the carcasses didn’t agree as they died.
Then they came for the clothes moths, vermin, destructive bitches
Ate my cashmere sweater, but the child who played
Dressup in the closet and ended her life in ICU was
Unsure of the relative importance of her years to cashmere.
Then they came for the wasps, stinging hateful enemies of
Unprotected skin in the summer. Nuked em with everything
In the arsenal and our barbeques were safer.
Then they came for the honeybees (well we do like honey) but
Hey there are so many dandy substitutes, we can certainly do without.
Still, we noticed the produce and the flowers in our Valentine bouquets
Looked less and less vibrant, the oranges smaller and less juicy
And most importantly, cost more—and we frowned.
But now, they’re coming for the butterflies, beautiful flying gems
Glinting storybook splendor, poetry on the wing, and we say,
Wait just a damn minute, but that minute is ticking away, and
So are we.



About the Poet:  Mara Buck writes and paints in a self-constructed hideaway in the Maine woods. Winner of the 2019 Raven Prize, Scottish Arts Club Prize, F. Scott Fitzgerald Poetry Prize, Binnacle International Prize. Awarded/short-listed by the Faulkner/Wisdom Society, Hackney Awards, Balticon, Confluence, and others, with work in numerous literary magazines and print anthologies.

The Sandwich – A Poem by Maggie Rosen

The Sandwich
by Maggie Rosen

I ask my daughter if she likes
her peanut butter sandwich.
She says, “kindof,”
which, it turns out,
means “my throat is swelling
and hives are marching across my chest.”

I remember a copperhead grazing my shin in a stream.
One time I leaned on grass
to reach a tennis ball
and the yellow jackets inflamed my hand.
A black widow spider lived
quietly, alone
under a stool at the nursery playground.

Now I carry antidote
for my daughter’s venom, poised at all times
to stab her to save her.
This river will bathe her
in breaths, or send her down.
The eye of this needle
zooms in on the point of my life and hers,
cinched between antibody and antigen,
I do not like this sandwich.



About the Poet:  Maggie Rosen lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. Her poems have been published in Little Patuxent Review, Waccamaw, Cider Press Review, RiverLit, Blood Lotus, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Barely South, and Conclave, among other publications. Her chapbook, The Deliberate Speed of Ghosts, was published in 2016 by Red Bird Chapbooks. See more at

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