The Underside

By: Sheila Murphy

The underside of poverty is false wealth 

One lusts to eradicate 

The fear that nightly chafes the mind

Smothering the senses threatening subtraction


As if to morph meant sketching a future 

Arithmetic that blots white paint

Within the sorry heart of selfish blood 

Creamed tomato soup presumed nourishing


Within the cold white room 

You cannot escape the passport-free 

Mental fragment solitary as a bloodhound 

Out of work


A small mind sits apart from meditation 

Immune to lessons

Smothered with God-

Less indigent bludgeoning anyone


And everyone with frigid drama 

Beside the posies dried now

Mimicking the earth 

Perspiring suffering within


Earshot my hope for proximity 

To the gentlest wind that cools emotion

Including those lacking homes and morsels

Who naturally inspire 


The agile nicking of the light switch

To watch the thistle of light 

Showing through the dirty window

Near the sacrament of air


Indulged by an overlord that glows 

Forceless unendingly as breath thins

Post-dream through hours of depth

Facing away from mere sun


Pitched close to youthful insight

Planted moments things we need 

To keep our nerve to hold reasons 

For being made here now


Sheila E. Murphy's most recent books are Permission to Relax (BlazeVOX Books, 2023) October Sequence: Sections 1-51 (mOnocle-Lash Anti-Press, 2023), and Sostenuto (Luna Bisonte Prods (2023). Murphy is the recipient of the Gertrude Stein Award for her book Letters to Unfinished J. (Green Integer Press, 2003). Murphy's book titled Reporting Live from You Know Where (2018) won the Hay(na)Ku Poetry Book Prize Competition from Meritage Press (U.S.A.) and xPress(ed) (Finland). Based on a background in music theory and instrumental and vocal performance, her poetry is associated with music. Murphy earns her living as a management consultant and researcher and holds the Ph.D. degree. She has lived in Phoenix, Arizona throughout her adult life. 

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