Skip to content

“Reading with a Pen”, “Awakening”, and “Indifference”

By Jeff Shalom

Reading with a Pen

I would walk through your poem but your poem is the gray

uncertain curtains cloaking each phrase mined on each axis

spitting words at the grave the worms that are left

when there are no words to say the shovel that digs

through the ashes the flashes and razes the rubble that’s left

when the poem explodes I would swim through each wave

with dolphin delight surfing and whistling

with the echoes the echoes the accolades

the light sonic sensations after I’ve drowned

observing the swerving from under the ground

after I’ve drowned the page would be dry

the heart would be healed the tears all un-cried

I’d fly through your poem with my own pen in hand

taunting you haunting you kindness be damned


I wanted to know what it was like before we

caught every sunrise with a click

and before we added soundtracks

to our stories and liked each family 

picture, before we battled banshees,

before bourbon scented boasts,

before we dueled with narcissists,

stacked skeletons, shed ghosts,

so I bought myself a notebook

and flipped away my phone,

ignored the morning’s warnings

and wrote another poem,

her auburn face a candle

her lips a blazing sun

her eyes a lighthouse beacon

keeping night from everyone.

After Gerald Stern’s poem “Waving Goodbye.”


Lucidity came slowly

untying a knot,

unraveling a braid 

unto separate strands of not.

What else is here?

When two rivers meet, do they rush?

How does it feel?

When I’m alone, 

it feels like flying.

All alone 

I feel your touch.

I want to clear you, to solve you,

to steer you, resolve you,

but I’m nowhere near.

No water,
no current,
no river,
no rush.

How does it feel 

to feel it?

Oh, it’s a rush.

Source: the song “Paprika,” by Japanese Breakfast.

About the Author:

Jeff Shalom is a poet from Upper Nyack, New York. He has a writing minor from the Johns
Hopkins University Writing Seminars program. His work has appeared in Offcourse Literary
Journal and the Nyack Poetry Walk. He enjoys photography, music, sports, and storm chasing.


Poetry, The River

%d bloggers like this: