Example of allusion by J.D. Isip
Cupped, it held water
to Gideon’s thirst by the river—
It is a quick bandage turned down
on the scraped knees of adventure
Or, like a showerhead,
it drips penance and pity.
Fingers in mid-bloom release
fireflies, butterflies, and kisses
That seem somewhat reluctant in flight,
tethered on unseen strings.
I understand their unwillingness
when a curved finger brushes
Beneath my chin; just the tips of fingers
sweep a cheek or brow.
Welcome warmth thrown on a shoulder
or a soldier’s respect of rank
Raised in a static salute—
just Darwinian perfection?
Ah, the advantage of the opposable
that smudges tears and dirt!
Cupped, it holds life
in bloodied creases and lines—
Nailed, accepting metal and duty,
it is still in mid-bloom
Like a late lily, thirsty
for the sun and rain.
Example of irony by J.D. Isip
Night outside of Vegas, a soft desert
sways in the Nevada heat and sun
sets in divine purple and orange
as a burning bush or blind sight
God—there in slivered clouds, desperate awe
of Sin City’s outsider, alone and looking
to this sky for answers from above
and below the land is dry and empty
Why! Shouted. A question, a plea
cracked against desert’s night—God
black against the glitz of The Strip down
the highway. Why? Again. Silence
The desert’s dry floor absorbs the sweat
and frustration that drips in the heat
on the brow of the prodigal, laid
prostrate before a God that is mute
Like the kit fox and the desert brown owl
that watch in wonder at the man
screaming in the wind for God’s voice
they had heard before he came.
Example sestina by J.D. Isip
I wonder, my friend, if you know the truth –
Or my version, which may not be easy
To hear – but I think that before you start
Casting out your line, hoping for “the one”
Who completes you and is “the missing part,”
You might take advice from someone in love…
Of course it’s only natural to want love –
Who can deny that universal truth?
Sometimes loving might even seem easy
As fairy tales, when you know from the start
That the lonely girl will find her someone
To tell her, “We will never be apart!”
And it is always a prince in the part –
Some rich and handsome guy who can’t find love.
He acts like a beast, but she knows the truth:
“The witch at the door gave him a start;
The curse could have happened to anyone!”
Cinderella – that’s my favorite one
Because lovers tend to forget the part
Where she never speaks a word to her love –
Which, come to think of it, may be the truth
That made the courtship so short and easy
(Pitch on the stairs is a great way to start!)
I don’t want to stop you before you start –
Just don’t be so afraid to be alone
That you allow yourself to take the part
Instead of the whole in your search for love –
And that is another terrible truth:
Those who compromise make this look easy!
But where are the monuments to easy?
You will likely be confused when you start,
When you think, “I just want to have someone.”
So there’s one last thought for me to impart:
Advice is not worth much in terms of love;
It’s only our individual truth.
The truth is, it is not easy for me
When I start to think of you with anyone
Apart from me, my love.
(That is the truth.)
Example dramatic monologue by J.D. Isip
To The Purposeless and Sex
Let me now raise a glass
“To the Purposeless and Sex”
Those intent on romance—
Amour that time will vex
And cause to cry at night alone
Fed course by course on plates:
Memories all skinned and boned
Of lovers, flings and dates!
I propose your dignity
Be served before we toast
Crush it with naïveté
And spread it on the loaves
We’ll eat with our assembly—
And drink the red red wine
The Purposeless serve humbly
(For serve we all, in time)
Sex I cannot understand
Nor comprehend your sway
Purposeless may take your hand
But know not the price he’ll pay.