Two Poems by Rich Murphy

Cities’ Limits

Faith in death frees the worshipper
from consequence and result. Atheists
dance with rabbits feet and patches,
extending joyful relics ad nauseam.
Monks slobber around china, bumping
against one end of broad daylight
to the other, letting chain reactions
chug at the ends of their lines.
Cradle / grave
Cradle / grave
Cradle / grave
paved in zs,
while revelers avoid cats,
ladders, and mirrors.
Writing the trains every day,
the far out parishioners don’t hide
in suburban homes where
the radio blares
Womb to womb
Doom the tomb
Womb to womb.
From the heart of the city,
Ain’t Saint replies “Bless me less me
because I sin.”

Protocol for a Parable

People lay in a box for burial a science
that doesn’t respond. The practical
questions pronounce and perform rites.

Mystic-eyed folk attempt ear to mouth
resuscitation of the corpus, but facts
overwhelm the myth muscle
and rigor mortis parts bad breath.

Pallbearers tug the tub sloshing
imagination and politics to a hole
where granite grows impatient.

A supernaturalist writes up
a lab report and reads it to survivors
who cannot believe.

The family who can’t go home
goes to work pretending
last year throws light tomorrow.
Wild flowers visit earth around stone
where schoolchildren narrate beginnings.

The reflexes discovered by
curious and desperate populations
produce wiry hypothesis and thumbnail
theory. Though faith in computing
has dragged brutality along with it,

knowledge razzes uneven
parallel bars and obstacle
courses to save the night out for young
and old. Half-measures interrogate
any dancing upon cemetery lawn.

About Rich Murphy

The Apple in the Monkey Tree (Codhill Press) was Rich's first book. His second book Voyeur was published in 2009 (Award Winner 2008, Gival Press). Chapbooks include Family Secret (Finishing Line Press), Hunting and Pecking (Ahadada Books), Phoems for Mobile Vices (BlazeVox), Rescue Lines (Right Hand Pointing) and Great Grandfather (Pudding House Publications). Recent poetry may be found in Pennsylvania Review, Fjord Review, Otoliths, Epiphany, Euphony, The Straddler, James Dickey Review, and Trespass. Recent prose scholarship on poetics has been published in Imaginary Syllabus, Anthology chapters, Palm Press, Journal of the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning, The International Journal of the Humanities, Fringe Magazine, Reconfigurations: A Journal of Poetry and Poetics, The Journal of Ecocriticism, Folly Magazine, Imaginary Syllabus, (Palm Press), and “Reading Wisdoms: Mick Jagger, W.B.Yeats, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak” will be published by New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing. Derek Walcott has remarked for the cover of Rich's book Voyeur: “Mr. Murphy is a very careful craftsman in his work, a patient and testing intelligence, one of those writers who knows precisely what he wants his style to achieve. His poetry is quiet but packed, carefully wrought, not surrealistically wild, and its range not limited but deliberately narrow. It takes aim.” Erin McKnight’s review may be read at Prick of the Spindle: Alvin Malpaya’s review may be read at Rattle Janelle Adsit’s review in The Pedestal Magazine may be read at Erica Goss’ review may be found in Main Street Rag, winter 2010 issue. “Body of Evidence” was 2011finalist Eudaimonia Poetry Review Chapbook Prize, and “Crib Sheets” was 2011 finalist Teacher’s Voice Poetry Chapbook Prize. I live in Marblehead, MA.

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