Rich Murphy / Poetry 7.1/ Spring, 2019


Rich Murphy’s poetry collections have won two national book awards: Gival Press Poetry Prize 2008 for Voyeur and in 2013 the Press Americana Poetry Prize for Americana. Asylum Seeker is the third in a trilogy out now (2018) Press Americana. First in the trilogy was Americana, Body Politic, the second, published by Prolific Press in January 2017. Murphy’s first book The Apple in the Monkey Tree was published in 2007 by Codhill Press. Chapbooks include Great Grandfather (Pudding House Press), Family Secret (Finishing Line Press), Hunting and Pecking (Ahadada Books), Phoems for Mobile Vices (BlazeVox) and Paideia (Aldrich Press).

Table Manner
Ensnared in the meaning web,
where stories find agreement,
the fly waits for the spider to finish eating
and return to the periphery, a harpist.
Last epoch a green headed beetle
left red welts on flesh and then
sat glued to the Western menu:
The heavens opened with all the strings
only to close with timpani sympathy.
Between understandings the murderer and thief
pluck on the dream catcher wires chord
to put to sleep with lull and “bye.”
However, swooning enough, a flighty
would-be parasite in bliss and swimming
in affirmations and re-enforcement
soon dances upon threads bare that seem cables
if not a ballroom floor – show buzz.
Eventually, the old croon choreography
gums up the variations on themes
and the winged and music stops.
Bibbed and humming the famished sits down.

The Connoisseur
The marrow sucking business
requires to a certain degree.
In the field for filling up on being
a temperature due to blood flow,
but often without fever, courses,
carrying a curious interest, a temperament.
Pressing lips into a kiss formation
upon the outside world, cheeks
draw to build facial tissues with sup.
The inhalation slurps and sops
to savor and swallow what might
could supplement the limitations
in senses and imagination.
Birds whistle in conversation
with winds open to harmonics
and the “patron” letting go.
Books perch on fingertips
and flutter before the eyes
that digest for dreams and tomorrow.
Full-time with no vacations
the corpuscular nature in flesh
currents in tubes, canals, tunnels
where ligaments stretch
into violin bows, harp strings
upon spine and skeleton.
Retirement for the vacuuming nose
and living intake valve leans
against a horizon, granite
with a name and dates.
When the last smooch from home
ravens time and space
in all the seductive charms
and plays on a clarinet or flute
one last time, a note loves.



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