Category Archives: Poetry 2021

ADR poetry published in 2021

An Ode to You by Adwoa Osei

An Ode to You

You persisted in the dance of formation and were birthed
You are the brea(d)th of evolution and the Divine
Generations before molded your For-Ever-ness
Carving Tomorrows
Creating Flourish
Hopeful of the wonders you’ll conjure
Hopeful of the humanity you’ll teach
Hopeful of the magic you’ll breathe
Hopeful of the persistence you’ll birth
You        Are        Here

Adwoa Osei is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California Riverside School of Medicine. She co-directs health equity, social justice, and anti-racism in medical education and leads faculty development initiatives in equity and anti-racism.

Author’s Comment: This poem was borne out of the despair I encounter in my patients and their families who are perceived as “others”

Editor’s Note: This is Dr. Osei’s first published poem; it was originally titled “Here—an ode to the “Other”!

Image Credit: A bright abstract rainbow ( In literature, the rainbow symbolizes hope and brightness, encouragement.

Somewhere by Garth Pavell


A man aches to kill
what he once loved.

And a woman deceives
the one she most trusted.

Funny how animals never
love their children to death

or bully for pleasure or
gossip or drink too much.

They’re too busy surviving
the night that leaves enslaved

park benches pondering
if their ancestors were trees.


Image Credit: Park bench in the forest (

Snapdragons by Kate Meyer-Currey


Our lizard-crested jaws lose their bite
as September grinds them down, jowls
droop and our heads hang fossil-heavy.
Our leaves shrivel from curved talons
to bent claws, petals’ fiery assurance
fades as they drop like sloughed scales.
Our jeweled hoard is fools’ gold melted
by the sun. Our burning breath
gutters into drifting smoke blown out
by autumn.

Kate Meyer-Currey moved to Devon in 1973: a varied career in frontline settings has fuelled her interest in gritty urbanism, contrasted with a rural upbringing, while her ADHD instills a sense of ‘other’ in her writing. She has over fifty poems published: her first chapbook, County Lines (Dancing Girl Press), comes out this Autumn, and the second, Cuckoo’s Nest (Contraband Books), is due out in February 2022.

Image Credit: Snapdragons [] superimposed with flying dragon []

Поэт в изгнании /A Poet in Exile by Dmitry Blizniuk/Sergey Gerasimov

Поэт в изгнании (scroll down for translation)

небо над шоссе низко-низкое —
хитрая собачья морда над дымящейся кастрюлей.
однокрылый ангел рекламы
стоит вдоль дороги и на плоскости намалевано
«аквафреш -вода богов»
а я — несовершенный глагол, человек в ветровке
с кусками брезента в голове
хлопаю, как птеродактиль.
вот и мой сад в стороне
от истории -доисторический тараканиум и прусак
с тяжелыми лапами и усами
стоит на задних лапах,
в белилах, в хитиновой тоске выглядывает осень.

мы разбежались как молоко
из закипающей квартиры. теперь я снова холостой.
солнце здесь скрывается за нахохленным сараем,
желток с кровью на холодной сковороде —
весь вечер с досадой выбрасываю в мусорное ве.
точно гончая с подстреленной уткой
во влажной пасти, сопящий ноздрями, ищу чистые носки.
пришлось оставить город, женщин,
подружится с блаженным миром захолустья.
так Лорка, избежав расстрела, постаревший,
похожий на седого попугая с серьгой,
хранит шпагу в летней кухне,
выращивает виноград и огурцы.
искры сыплются из глаз, когда давление
сжимает имярека, точно тюбик с пастой
и если бы не интернет -в природе меня нет.

котяра по кличке ностальгия
вылизывает яйца на подоконнике.
лампа в абажуре -храм мух, жриц летней шизофрении.
но мне еще вернуться суждено,
ищу в себе силу бумеранга,
что развернет меня и унесет, если не в юность то.
неважно, впрочем, куда.
пусть веко с длинными ресницами
отвалилось от лица
садовой куклы -голубой глаз
теперь не защищен -он беззащитен.
резиновое тело под дождями
сроднилось с садом.
так сколько лет я буду разлагаться в перегное,
в саду богов?
лежать в земле и видеть чернозем,
черную икру в серебряных глазницах
росы, рассвета
и потянусь к небу зеленой спицей,
травой. запах прошедшего дождя точно пролитый клей,
и так свежо и хочется по небу пробежаться.
но -исключено.
поэт в изгнание больше, чем поэт.
а человек? -а человека нет.

[Originally published in the Russian collection Снегопад в стиле модерн, 2018]

A Poet in Exile (Translated by Sergey Gerasimov)

The sky above the highway is low
like a cunning dog’s muzzle above a steaming saucepan.
A one-winged angel of advertizing
stands by the roadside:
Aquafresh, perfect water of gods.
And I’m an imperfect verb, just someone in a windbreaker,
with pieces of canvas on my head that
flap like a pterodactyl.
Here’s my garden,
set back some distance from the history,
a prehistoric place for ancient bugs,
and one of them stands on its hind legs
in chitinous depression,
while the gloomy autumn stares from above.

We’ve run away from the simmering house
like milk that is boiling over. Now I’m single again.
The sun hangs behind a ruffled-up shed,
like a bloody yolk on a cold frying pan
until the nightfall dumps it in the garbage,
while I’m looking for clean socks, sniffing noisily
like a dog with a mallard in its jaws.
I’ve had to leave the city and women behind,
make friends with the blissful world of the sticks.
Like Lorca, who managed to avoid a firing squad.
He’s grown old, he looks like a gray parrot with an earring,
he keeps a rapier in his summer kitchen,
grows grapes and cucumbers, and
something sparkles in his eyes
when the blood pressure squeezes him
like a tube of Aquafresh.
If not for the Internet, I wouldn’t exist.

A cat called Nostalgia
licks his balls on the window sill.
The lampshade is a temple of flies, priestesses of summer schizophrenia.
I’m still destined to return,
I feel the power of a boomerang in me,
it’s going to bend my way and carry me back to my youth,
or I don’t care where.
An eyelid with long lashes
has fallen away from the face
of a garden doll.
The blue eye is unprotected now,
and the rubber body under the rain
feels so at home in the garden.
For how many years am I going to decompose in the humus
in the garden of gods?
To lie in the ground and see the black earth,
black caviar in the silver eye sockets
of dew, of sunrise,
then stretch up to the sky as a green needle of grass.
The smell of the rain that has just stopped is like spilled glue.
It’s so fresh that I want to run up into the sky, but I can’t.
A poet in exile is more than just a poet.
And a man?–there is no man anymore.


Translator’s Notes:

Sergey: Dmitry Blizniuk has an immediately recognizable voice. He writes in Russian as no one else does: rich, sometimes violent metaphors, absence of rhymes that has always been frowned upon in Russian poetry, attention to the eternal questions of life.

His poems are easily translatable because he never tries to use a word the way that abstract painters use a brush or color; instead of it, he values meaning, clarity, balance, and honesty of expression. Some strangeness of his poems is due to the way he thinks, feels, and lives. This strangeness is not just a facade; it’s the way his heart beats.”

ADR Poetry Editor: I noticed the line count is different (54 in the Russian poem but only 51 in English). I expect some variation and wonder why the poetic line is broken differently. Line breaks are very important in English-based poetry because they are more than convenient breath stops. They often create tension, i.e., when the end of an unpunctuated line is reached, it sets up an expectation of what immediately might follow. An effective line break might take advantage of such an opportunity and go in another direction or create an unexpected image. Is there a difference in Russian poetry?

Sergey: Yes, line breaks in Russian poetry are different. They are much more connected with punctuation, with the rhythm of a sentence, and yes, very often they are convenient breath stops. I think it’s the result of the really long and rich tradition of accentual-syllabic rhymed poetry which dates back to Pushkin and, later, achmeists such as Akhmatova or Gumiljov.

Image Credit: A prisoner in silhouette ( behind bars ( looks out at a big red sunset (Kettle Moraine South, Wisconsin/

The Awakening by Anna Cates

The Awakening

Night descends.
Shadows flit through the forest. In the middle of a clearing, a campfire crackles and fizzes with sparks.
A Nazi, in uniform, roasts a strangely-shaped flank over flame. Slowly, he cranks the handle.
Jews hunch like gargoyles in the gloom beneath the trees. They chortle gutturally, riveted.
The Nazi turns to address them. “This is what German men do with their women.”
Approvingly, the Jews chuckle, dazzled at the display.
The handle keeps creaking . . .

a psychiatric patient
rubs his eyes

Editor’s Notes: This is a variation of the Haibun, which typically is a piece of prose followed by a related Haiku. Robert Lee Brewer in The Writer’s Digest describes the Haibun (a Japanese form popularized by Matsuo Basho) as a combination of a prose poem and one Haiku, which communicate with each other. The prose poem usually describes a scene or moment in an objective manner. In “The Awakening,” the four single lines can be thought of as four one-line paragraphs or can be thought of as lineations, in which case I would consider it a subverted form. I admire subverted forms.

Image credit: Distorted faces ( are combined with a swastika (

Western Retrospective by Mary Soon Lee

Western Retrospective

The cowboys and cowgirls gone,
the settlers and traders gone,
the buffalo gone, the wolves gone,
the wagons, horses, railroads,
the bellowing call of trains,
the Apache, the Navajo, the Pueblo,
the Shoshone, Yavapai, Chemehuevi,
but light-years away they stand:
forty of O’Keeffe’s paintings—
a horse’s skull on blue folds,
bleached bone stark, static;
the pleated hills of a mesa
rising soft in shades of rust;
luminous petals spread wide
against New Mexican backdrops–
forty paintings bartered
for the terraforming of Earth,
those brilliant fluid lines
refracted by alien eyes.


Image credit: The 1930 art by Georgia O’Keeffe, ‘The Horse’s Skull on Blue,’ was photographed on the computer screen and further processed with a Prismart filter in the Toolwiz Photos app (by the editor) to create an imagined appealing image through the alien’s eyes.