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William A Poppen Apr 2014
A strange way of touching
Without contact
Opening a new way of being
With no turning back

There was authenticity
Warmth flowed
Though the day was rainy
Still the faces glowed

This moment did bleed importance
Meaning was there
Within a trance
Built on screams of care

Thoughts were known
Before spoken
Forever shown
In memories unbroken
William A Poppen Dec 2015
There is sincerity in her eyes
as she says she reads my poetry
out loud
to herself
to practice
speaking without
cracking her voice

I wonder if
the flush spreading
into my face,
pinking my cheeks
is from
pride, embarrassment
or a mixture of
these two emotions
fighting for recognition
William A Poppen Mar 2014
I want a day with a morning mist
that burns off
as the sun finds its way
through the thin trunks of Loblolly pines
along the river.

I want to *****
over logs and through bogs
and find my way around the bend
among whatever crawls, digs and hunts
along the river.

I want to feel like the first person
to sink my heels into untrammeled riverbank
and discover what raccoon and ****** know;
there is promise here
along the river.

I want to blaze a ****** path
and hear cracks, snaps, and squishes play a song
with each step of my boot
along the river.

I want to see what is
beyond the bend  
along the river.
William A Poppen Mar 2013
ears forced against the down-stuffed pillow
muffle rhythmic sounds of sleep,

perceptible crackles 

that rumble from nasal passages

and invade his sleep

(should last night be an entry-

a sin of commission?)

yesterday desire grew 
until two bodies 
pounded into exhaustion

on a mattress musty 
and worn
from other nights like this

bird chirps and lake chills 

filter through screen windows 


few diaries document transgressions

in this new age of free love and prosperity
sins are common and plentiful.

later a litany of ****** diseases

would make headlines
now, love is free

secretly surrounded by traps

and quandaries soon to be discovered

he awaits her awakening 

in the still of bird songs and snoring

and wonders what she will remember

of the fascinations they held

for each other yesterday
William A Poppen Dec 2017
Life Without Resentment

Nearly everyone has stored
among hardbacks and paperbacks
or dusty mental drawers
resentments, gathered incidentally
unintentionally or
by rubbing shoulders
with ingrates and other
irritating souls

Meeting her, she exudes
an excitement for what is said
while displaying an openness
a self-reliance
that disallows any acrimony
indignation or animosity

No bitterness is harbored
nor rancor secreted
among the ruins
of her disappointments

Not long-suffering
the past is forgiven and forgotten

Not apprehensive or perturbed
she treads in this moment
with the power of living in the present
no longer feeling victimized
She lives refreshed, restored
without resentment
My impression of someone I know who now seems free of resentment
William A Poppen Apr 2015
She cupped my cheek
with the warm fingers of
her right hand
as her palm rested
on the jaw of my desire.

My body warmed slow
down to the toes
wanting to step into
the mansion of her passion.

I love you,
the words dropped
from her lips
like silver beads of
rain on the pasture
of my heart.
William A Poppen Aug 2013
He treated her

like a princess

of a very

small empire.
William A Poppen Jun 2012
They heard she was a poet
who shocked the open mic
Friday nights with tight skirts
and loose words
that slid off her teeth
over her whiskey breath.
Truck drivers,  
who rode hard,
daily listened
for ******* screams
and honking horns,
came to see her. They
balanced on rustic chairs,
drank *** and Cokes,
and hoped she wanted
a ride to Reno.

She heard they were drivers
with sharp eyes and taut *****
beneath blue denim.  
She didn’t mind
weather beaten beards,
calloused hands or that
they would leave in the morning.  
She was a poet who
gathered words from interludes
among pillows and sheets that
aroused tomorrow’s verse
of wanton words and enticing skits.
William A Poppen Dec 2016
No confusion wrinkles her forehead, eyes affixed first on his lips
until magnetically drawn to eyes blue as a mountain lake.
Comfort rests across her chest. Hips burn together and
her cheek brushes the ironclad hardness of his bicep.
They walk enmeshed. Traces of trepidation, 
scars embedded in her mind from tragic romance, fade. 
Residual fears fall to the trail among twigs and stones.
Rebirth of trust creeps into her heart. 
Together their feet trample her qualms.
William A Poppen Dec 2013
Each night she pretends
a wholesome guy
will shuffle alongside
on the sidewalk and
gently bump her shoulder.

Wholesome guys are
good in the morning
like high-fiber granola,
and easy on the eyes
with rumpled curls
resting against
eyes void of blood lines.

A wholesome fellow
knows what he wants −

Her wholesome guy is
adorned with blue denim
and passion spilling from
his crotch.

Her wholesome lover
lights candles on her birthday;
burns his way into her heart.

As they grow old together
she becomes his memory,
while his memories are sprinkled
with images
of her beauty.
William A Poppen Nov 2012
There are walls waiting,


as pockmarks of decay

beside sidewalks

along motor cities’ streets.

There are terminal

and forsaken structures


with ungrateful squirrels

that abandon

attics for creaking kitchens

with corroded sinks.

Un-shoveled snow melts

slow on walkways

unfamiliar with worn heels

or rubber soles.

There are forlorn relics

patient and waiting

for us to join them.
Mentally moving into
Where I will be
In those moments ahead
Brings anxiety and fear

Those minutes  
Of the future
Provoke doubt and unease

Similarly, the past is like
A rug stained with footprints
Of mud and grit and misdeeds
Spots best described as guilt

What peace exists resides
Here and now . . .

And in conceding that
Sadness and dark moments
Contain kernels of truth
Tuesday morning ruminations
William A Poppen Oct 2013
Chase me
I will run
a dangerous race.

Praise me,
I will ignore headlines
and writing in the sky.

Anchor my heart
against insistent

Quell my
woody-stemmed love
afraid to grow.

Show me knowledge.
Contain my spirit.
Stay near.

Capture me
with tender hands.
Knead my soul until I rise.
William A Poppen Jan 2013
No matter how much arch in the eyebrow, 

the distorted image in the mirror
offers validity that Age is hammering out 

its handiwork as Borglum did 

on the Crazy Horse Memorial. 

Age does not put the chisel down.

Mother, well chiseled at 98. 

Father, at 79, was sculpted by age
and weather and farm labor. 

Age's chiseling cease? 

Age had been his friend over many years. 

Friends say he had aged well. 

Now his relationship with Age 

has entered a new stage,
an on-the-rocks stage. 

Age has picked up the pace 

and now chisels with a jackhammer.
William A Poppen May 2015
There is just enough morning sunlight
filtering through the english laurel
for aging eyes to capture the purple tint
of carnations blooming
in the front of the rocks
jutting toward the porch

Night-time had been colorless
in the midst of a celebration
announced by a sign signaling
an event in the main ballroom

With a loud voice
a long-named minister
toyed with religion
and flirted with comedy
before the silverware
clanged against the china

Boredom captured the moment
in the middle of the clatter and chatter
Even stunning silks and satins
around bodacious behinds
failed to entertain

Now perhaps the oldest in the crowd
he carefully quenches each desire
to know the delicacies of the evening
with the efforts of survival.  He was slowly
dying in the madness of the crowd
My wife commented on this poem with "Obviously you didn't have a good time."
William A Poppen Nov 2012
Dishes clang against the sink
Loud reverberations of ceramic against metal

Anger defies the covenant to fight less
Sealed with tears and kisses

Slippery is this stone of hurt
Lumped in her throat

There is no easy atonement
to distract and soothe

Her rant finds no audience
Memories fade of what stoked this fire
William A Poppen Dec 2014
Dishes clang loud against the sink
Metal spoons bang white ceramic 
   Anger defies lifelong contract
Sacred and sealed with tears and tact
   Adhesive is this stone of hurt
Lumped solidly within her throat 
   No easy atonement comes forth
Nor minor distraction does soothe   
   Her rant gathers no audience
No recall of what stoked this fire
A revision of "Anger in the Kitchen" Written in eight syllable lines.
William A Poppen Dec 2012
She paints walls
with anguish
from murky emotions between them,
coats the ceiling with shades of his past mistake.  
his clinical genius
finds no path for them to take.

She flaunts neglect
for all to see
so he allows no one to enter.
She erects
invisible mountains
for him to climb
with uncharted trailheads beckoning.  
He trudges daily
through fallen ruins of past quarrels,
wandering unmapped terrain
in search of their secret stream
of lost love.
comments appreciated
and Happy New Year
William A Poppen Nov 2013
Dim light from the screen blankets the room
Actors play out their roles frame by frame
My eyes track each movement
while my thoughts focus elsewhere.

My left arm nudges her shoulder
"She is going to leave him," I whisper
The words ignored, brushed away like
an irritating fly.

I'm doing it again, foretelling the story
instead of attending to the display
instead of resting in the now
instead of absorbing each word
I predict the ending.

Later sitting in the quiet
I attempt mindfulness
Aware of the demons
that tempt me from
the peace that passes
my understanding.
William A Poppen Aug 2017
A bee is flitting with my shoulder
pecking aimlessly around my ears
plotting a plan to strangle me

If the plan evolves
I fear I will become
anchored into
the depths of grief

And invaded by drips
of senselessness,  
fierce enough
that their stench
can’t be purged
with fans, perfumes
or candles

Will the enormity
of it all kindle
a fragmentation
more taxing than
trying to complete
the Rubik’s Cube
William A Poppen Nov 2013
Tasteful decor surrounds her
Offspring celebrate life in song
Resonating off walls of art
arranged her way
Life now arranged her way
Worn out obligations
Lay untangled unused
stacked neatly upon
a corner table
William A Poppen Jan 2013
Anchor babies playing.
Young children’s arms a’ flailing
whirling, whirling,
here they stay.

Illegal’s children dance
Mother took her daring chance
twirling, twirling,
watch us play.

Crossing Rio Grande’s water
Mexico sent a daughter
staying, staying
watch me play.

We don’t know we’re problems
We’ll dream of sweet sugar plums
dancing, dancing
love this day.

Anchor babies playing.
See children’s arms a’ flailing
whirling, whirling,
here we’ll stay.
Note:  Anchor babies are those children born to any person in the nation who are not US citizens and are here either legally (for example on a green card) or illegally.  These children are legally citizens of the US.[img][/img]

* Today in America over 300,000 "anchor babies" are born on U.S. soil annually (2004 data
With emotions
Protruding like spikes
On the ball of a flail

Her presence
Consumes the room

Even her voice sounds
Rough, pitted by
Adrenaline surging
Through her veins

Her mood
Is more than stern
As if bitterness
Rests around
Her heart
And all calm
Is hidden somewhere
Within her shadow
* Merriam-Webster word for the day, May 28, 2019
Without the label of a teacher
Nonetheless things are pointed out
With care and diligence

Comments meticulously exacting
As though there is a sixth sense
About what is detailed

More than busy, attention is thorough
Rigor seeps from every statement
Oozing inside the listeners skull

How much perseverance can
Be understood while feeling
Crushed beneath a microscope’s slide
*A recent word of the day
William A Poppen Jun 2014
She fascinates men
like a fused corolla whorl
attracts birds and bees
William A Poppen Aug 2016
Some days
the wind blows in
gentle massaging gusts

Today a temporary
wisp rushes
through the tall
oak leaf hydrangea
pushing the brown and green
branches dressed for August
to wave at me through the window

Saying no more
it dances away
like a ruby throated
hummingbird seeking
it's nectar
wind, august, breeze, hummingbird
William A Poppen Feb 2013
Her eyes never allowed boredom
upon her heart.
Each light, every shadow
held a secret treasure,
a passionate perspective
waiting to be unlocked and displayed.
When she shared her vision
my first glance
gathered in so splendid
a moment
I paused in awe.
William A Poppen Apr 2013
Bed sheets sing a morning tune.
Outside two house wrens
announce daybreak.  
Snuggling near her lover’s cheek,
she brushes a stale kiss across his ear.  

He is her husband.
She likes to think of him as her lover.  
She mouths a good morning
before asking
why don't men come on to me anymore?  

Silence hangs like a pall over the bed.
Balancing on her elbow,
she searches his face
awaiting an answer.   

The wrens repeat their greeting.  
He recasts her question   
thinking she needs support.
“You wonder why men don’t come on to you?  
Because you are loved dear,
because you are loved.”
William A Poppen Mar 2016
Walking alone
along the neighborhood greenway
aware of unique colors and sounds
normally hidden
or camouflaged by toxic thoughts
that chip away beauty

Centered upon each step
each swing
of first
the left arm
then right arm
signals of life

Noting strength
surging through
each calf and thigh
careful attention
of each intricate
movement of a body
complex as spider webs
on a damp morning
braiding from a woven-wire fence

Notice each moment
see how each second
contains now again
William A Poppen Feb 2018
Odd standing alone
Before becoming
One of them

Their gathering looks
Warm from the outside
Will I become singed
When leaning into the
Friction they generate
Trying to hide
From each other

Being with them feels
Like I might
Shed some armor
And give up
That loneliness
Of staying outside looking in

Each one is hard to hate
How long must I wait
To be noticed
How shall I  
safeguard myself
Without degrading another
Lean in, stay curious
So far away
The shooting
The killing

So close
The anger
The hatred

Viral scenes
Confront us
If we click
If we open our eyes

Who is our fellow traveler
If not you
Both near and far

Produce stuff
Consume it all
For tomorrow
We may die

Some gain
More and more

Others do more
With less

What does
It mean

Fluff, excess
Surrounds us

The question is
Not who is dying
Rather the question is

What is dying
Is it
The planet

Here we roam
Beneath the shroud
William A Poppen Aug 2017
Each day is
as a procession of
redundant clopping
on the ground
rhythmic sounds
that anesthetize,

have we become blinkered
along this trail
through life

like a steed in harness
undistracted by
glimpses of
clouds of hate
along the horizons
or seething storms
blowing in from the seas
This poem is revised in an attempt to respond to the events in Charlottesville, VA
William A Poppen Aug 2016
His eyes squinted
carefully scanning
three hazy photos
taken in black and white
undated of two mountains
rising behind a bridge
crossing a river

Was it France?
Arizona, Dakota
Probably not Dakota
Few hills there
Maybe along the Danube
Yet no signs of vineyards
along the river banks

Travel broadens one
with indistinct memories
Places that inspired
yesterday and today
remain as slight fabrics
and experiences
absorbed and fuzzy
resting in a corner
of his mind
William A Poppen Mar 2014
I tore

from the bar
labeled fiber

a complete breakfast
chocolate, crunchy

Bite by bite I ate
the breakfast bar
     this evening
William A Poppen Jul 2014
Laureates argue
amid gross indifference

Inflamed emotions
spur debate

What is rare
above all important

Called forth
on special occasions

Words, phrases, lines
stanza, tone, meter

Art in form
passion spilled in rhyme

Alive in valleys
under the radar
William A Poppen Mar 2014
I settle near the Camellia  
as good fortune  
surrounds me.  

I wonder
how does  luck grow
leisurely around me?

I can't  recall pushing
a  lucky seed into moist dirt
of  a weathered slip ***.

Many friends and siblings feel
battle fallout as Zeus and Hades
hurl bolts of catastrophe at them.

Life is unfair.
Meek brothers and sisters will you
inherit the earth or misfortune?

Mishap, misadventure and calamity
do you lurk around the next bend
of my fair weather journey?

Critical comments appreciated
William A Poppen Feb 2014
Poems about women,
spills of passion
flow from anger,
burst from love,
fill libraries,
find homes in billfolds,
back pockets,
or bulletin boards.

Counting poems
composed about women,
for women,
by women
becomes one futile task
for this list is endless.
Reams of new works
billow forth
from crazed minds of men

Small wonder
for this gentle ***
is incomprehensible,
enticing, enchanting.
Fill pages with thoughts of her
and dreams that dampen cotton sheets
Ease all tension,
write tonight.
Comments appreciated
William A Poppen Jul 2015

Hospital chlorine, splash of lavendar
mix with baby powder as she guards her newborn.

His fingers brush the fur on her collar,
while he helps her with the car door.

Wisps of spring
breeze through her auburn hair.

He captures her grace
soft as a red fox.


Shorter steps carry them
to and from their Taurus.

Hand-me-down walkers and bassinets
feel the weight of their grandchildren.

Welcome Guests stitched in black and red
greets overnighters in the nursery.

Seventy years old in her black shawl,
his hand cups her elbow, "Steady dear, steady."
taken from page 60  **Honey & Darkness**,(2009) iUniverse,Inc.: New York
William A Poppen Mar 2013
She feels no confusion
her lips on his eyes
blue as a mountain lake
Comfort enfolds her
like the first time
her cheek touched his
bicep as they walked
Surrounded by warmth,
fear has
fallen to the trail.
fills her heart.
William A Poppen Dec 2017
Like a newborn
I am stimulated
By whatever is near

Things become unfathomable
I’m unable to grasp
My surroundings

What is near and
What is far?

Distractions flow
Like tattered streamers
Waving from a
Parade float heading
To the junkyard

With blurs all around
Life becomes like
Circular bands of light
Emanating from streetlights
Along a foggy riverside highway

Whenever lucidness invades
Life seems simple,
And I realize
it is simple

All that is required
Is to traverse
Layer upon layer
Of  events and missions
Difficult to accomplish
Is life complicated or simple or a combination of the two?
William A Poppen Feb 2014
She fashioned him an enigma
who strolled through life a closed book
unaware of his charismatic aura
She fashioned him an enigma
Her showy courtship ended in drama
He remained blind to the effort she took
She fashioned him an enigma
who strolled through life a closed book.

Many masks he kept in play
heedless of her passionate love
He continued his mysterious way
Many masks he kept in play.
Her ardor she could not betray
nor stop praying to God above
Many masks he kept in play
heedless of her passionate love
William A Poppen Apr 2013
His photograph, dusty and fading

Finds a spot amid

Hair brushes, bobby-pins and

Packets of make-up scattered beneath

The black and white portrait,

A college photo,

rescued from an old

family album after his mother died,

when they were dancing in step

through their days.  The photo,

slightly creased, changed less

then them. Laughing has dwindled,

loving glances seldom, touching

has vanished.

A radio blares an advertisement.

A special for retouching photos

Her thoughts dwell on retouching a marriage

On retouching her life,

on keeping the photo.
William A Poppen Jan 2017
I wonder
how our great creator
built a vessel
strong enough
to contain my soul?

Each day my spirit fights
against my skin with violent
jolts as a young bird
seeking exit from a cage.

Unfettered psyche
free from me
bounces among clouds
rolls through deserts,
climbs volcanic ridges
migrates with birds in flight.

Curious instincts guide
my vital force inside and out
like honey bees
scour zinnias in full bloom.

Dare I release my spirit today?
Free spirit, soul,
William A Poppen Aug 2014
I wonder
how our great creator
built a vessel
strong enough
to contain my soul?

My soul fights each day
against my skin with jolts
violent as a young bird
seeking exit from a cage.

My unfettered soul,
free from me, would
bounce among clouds,
roll through deserts,
climb volcanic ridges
and migrate with birds in flight.

Curious instincts would guide
my vital force inside and out
like honey bees
scouring zinnias in full bloom.

I wonder, should I release my spirit today?
William A Poppen Dec 2014
I sit in a cramped pose
filter out  laughter in the hall
notice my breath flowing
in, out….
pain in my ankles
aches up my legs
**** cheeks basking
like turtles on a rock
still, in waiting, infrequent
head peaks out of my shell
as I anticipate
revelations in my bones
and insights which will cast aside
fears of imaginary illness
fade real disasters
hanging from my ceiling
into fantasies  
destined to
scare the sweat out of me
and make me whole.
William A Poppen Dec 2014
Autumn slips

across the Dakota plain

rolling southeastward

like a slinky shadow.
Coming and going
in September

around State Fair time.

Dakota autumn seems 
than the fair itself.
Tree leaves hastily turn shades

and drop in a matter of days.

Summer and winter overlap

like two hands clasped together.
Fingers of winter
poke into autumn’s space.

Summer's digits
carry the name, Indian Summer

rather than proudly wearing 

the banner of a warm autumn day.
School children don heavier jackets

and crack thin ice on puddles
from the fall’s first frosts.
Farmers rush to finish
corn and bean harvests

in the midst of 
early October snow.

In Dakota, fall ends early.
William A Poppen Nov 2014
Falling leaves confused
With a darting hummingbird,
Time to change my clocks
William A Poppen Sep 2014
Stark among the lush of youth

tall, unashamed

no leaves twirl downward

no fertile blanket of rot

to feed saplings

fresh with green sprigs.

Many seasons

they have tasted your sustenance.

Do they regard your wisdom

whispered in the mountain breeze?

Do they believe tales told of

life on the hill,

of cycles of torrents, droughts,

penetrating frosts and mountains

of drifted snow?

Do they devour the lore

falling among the leaves?
William A Poppen Jul 2015
Bad luck
decorates her branches

flashing on and off
strings of lights
on a christmas tree.

Misfortune glows

as if fueled
by noonday sun

under cloudless sky.

Each day
she longs

for someone
who might notice,

turn some switch,

dim the lights,
pull a plug,
 diminish her pain.

No hero lurks nearby
on prancing steed.

Don’t filaments fray,

bulbs burn out

and fail to ignite

one more time?
William A Poppen Dec 2016
advertisement beckoned
free screening
trouser thuds upon hardwood
metal belt buckle clinks
gloved finger
probes to find
a nodular protrusion
resting sac bound
begotten, benign
now watch, wait

shall it birth
some high grade
with a passionate
desire to consume
the whole of you

on guard
on edge
for inevitable
around each
new scrutiny
of numbers
presented in decimals
detectors of death
seeking to find
an oasis
to plant
to grow
Cancer, fear, prevention, examination
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