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.



What’s Still Remembered Somewhere Lying Around as Shades of April Finds Broken Bones – A Poem by Ariana D. Den Bleyker

What’s Still Remembered Somewhere Lying Around
as Shades of April Finds Broken Bones

by Ariana D. Den Bleyker

We set out naked on the street,
jumped fences into a pair of outstretched arms—

two to embrace; two to push away—
& fell halfway through, guided

by a sky stuffed wet with pitch,
the rain small tears needling

against a mysterious, endless tune
of winds discovering faith, shivering,

groping conflict, history collecting dirt, fear—
silence the only answer. We, all red inside,

move in uncomfortable skin,
poking it to reach bone, biting

into a sky already bitten by God
in times of famine. The rain spreads mirrors

across the road, & we make faces
as to not recognize ourselves.



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.

Heartbeat of Hammered Dulcimer – A Poem by Alina Stefanescu

Heartbeat of Hammered Dulcimer
by Alina Stefanescu

We stop for gas along the upper lip of Florida
with Alabama so close we can smell her
chicken biscuits. It is hot and you are my husband.
Those are our wild things bickering in the back. My thighs
unstick from the pleather seat like sudden-woke lovers, needing
to piss. As three kids spill clamor from the car, I follow noise
into the gas station. Pause near the Fritos
for a heart-beat of hammered dulcimer, run a finger
across a wood crate of iced cherry coke.
Win the life you always deserved my daughter reads
aloud from a yellowed lottery poster, her voice curling
the consonants. The cashier coughs, drops peanuts.
Can we win one, mommy? the other daughter asks.
My most fortunate friends believe this state
lottery will fund good schools for all Alabama’s children.
I’ve been momming down south too long to lie prone,
to play dead, to roll over. In this one-stoplight town
I admire the violent pink of pickled pig’s feet, slow music of thumbs
drumming counters. The line for quick dreams grows longest
in when hope is scarce. A wrinkled man leans
against the soda machine, says he’s likelier to hit the jackpot
than score a steady job. He hums luck like a national anthem
and lays quarters on the counter for ice. We wait our turn at the register.
The line for easy platitudes is longer than the lie, stronger than the heart
beating worn hammers. Someone must coin the slot
for justice. I wonder who will pay the price.


About the Poet: 

Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Alabama with four incredible mammals. Find her poems and prose in recent issues of Juked, DIAGRAM, New South, Mantis, VOLT, Cloudbank, New Orleans Review Online, and others. Her debut fiction collection, Every Mask I Tried On, won the Brighthorse Books Prize and will be available in May 2018. She serves as Poetry Editor for Pidgeonholes and President of the Alabama State Poetry Society. More arcana online at or @aliner.

A Thank You to June’s Supporters of Poetry Breakfast and Other News

A special thank you goes out to the following patrons for helping support and fund Poetry Breakfast:

  • Judith Carroll
  • Rose Amato

Poetry Breakfast is now ad free which means our web costs have significantly increased. Since the beginning of Poetry Breakfast, the editor and found, Ann Kestner, has covered all costs associated with running the journal.

You can help offset those costs by becoming a Poetry Breakfast Patron at

It’s simple. Basically, you voluntarily “subscribe” to Poetry Breakfast. These voluntary subscriptions start at just $2 a month.

Poetry Breakfast does NOT charge reading fees and is FREE  to read. So, there is no source of revenue other than the kindness of Poetry Breakfast Patrons.

Find out more about being a Poetry Breakfast Patron at


A comment section will appear under all poems published from here out. The hope is that poets will have a chance to see how their poems are being received via actual words and not just number of likes.

Plus, it will give readers a way to reach out and let poets know how much they like a poem.

We have five new poems coming this week from: Faye Nunez, Max Reif, Mark J. Mitchell, Ingrid Bruck, and Gabriel Muoio.

That’s all for now. Here’s wishing everyone has a wonderful week.

Best Wishes,
Ann Kestner, Editor

Advice to Young Writers – Poetry Potluck and Inspiration Buffet 2/28/16

Regardless of age, all artists need encouragement in some form or another.  There are no gas stations to refuel our faith in our work.  So, today’s buffet is focused on offering a little needed boost in our belief that our art is something worth doing, something of value, something needed.

While we hope you’ll enjoy what we’ve put on the table for you today, this is also a potluck and we look forward to seeing your best dishes.  Poets are invited to post one of their own poems in the comment section.  (If you’re new, just click here to learn more about our weekly Poetry Potluck and Inspiration Buffet.)

First we have Aquilah Nelson from Bowie High School reading Marge Peircy’s poem “To the Young Who Want To” at the 2014 Poetry Out Loud Maryland State Final Competition.

Next is Patti Smith with her wonderful advice to the young and her thoughts on how technology has put artists into a position of new power.

Lastly, here’s an old a dish of mine:

Live Your Own Language

I wanted to send you letters that would heal
the dark ache in your torn heart. I wanted
to give you a language that could bring life
back to your soul, your convictions, your hopes,
and your God given bounty of beautiful gifts.

Wanted to give you a literary expression
that could lift you from the slow low hum
of everything you thought you could never become,
lift you above the lifelong embedded lies,
lift you up and out of the century old family history
of hurt and hit and hate.

Wanted to give you the alphabet of love, of joy,
of lasting friends, of solace and promise.
Wanted to arrange strong sentences to protect you
from the vicious tongues, the dangerous hands, and
the lethal yet commercially advertised depths of hell.

Wanted to give you a voice that needed no screams.
I wanted to take you from the prison
of illiteracy and silence to the free
and moving and miraculous world of vocabulary.

But my words are only mine. It is not my words,
their words, or anyone else’s words that you need.
What you need are your own words.
You must find your own voice,
create your own dictionary,
develop your own definitions,
and live as though you are
a language that was never spoken
until you entered this world.

You must speak in your language
even if they do not understand.
Communicate in your own words
even if it seems no one is listening.
Write your own letters
even if no one reads them.

And remember,
the infinite universe has ears
and understands every language,
even the language of your life.

-Ann Kestner

…and now it’s time for your poems.

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