OffCourse Literary Journal

Two Poems, by Sheila E. Murphy.


Soft Percussion

I don't remember parents being children very much. I don't remember smooth brows forming innocence of afternoon, allowing raindrops to be listless in a row. I think that sleep became the only way to heal, and insufficiently. I made up episodes. I tried to see the several hues of leaves back on their trees, instead of letting booted feet slip on the shiny road. I am fairly sure that speech tended to sprout some tiny sensitivities. I remember listening too much, and hearing plainly compositions shaped by a parental definition. I was not a child at all. I took into my soul perceived assignments. Freedom must be learned. There were not lessons full enough. There are not now. I table words that are deciduous. They mine the other worlds I strain to know.

Small evidence of having lived, the spoils of trees, stilled laughter.


Patio Smoke

What is not tepid is the trickle of unleashed once-filtered smoke. Someone is having a larghetto afternoon. And I am nestling into a referred experience.
Some leftover heat in conversation saturates the wilderness and village. Contemplation's the equivalent of previously stretched legs now being themselves. All remaining arguments appear to be ad hominem. Prayer refrains from finding depth in sleep. Perhaps a diet of unlearning strangers will remove their outcomes from our tacit upkeep. Centuries go by. This afternoon includes itself specifically. I gather it into amnesia and minus prompting let it go again.

In 1996, Murphy's Letters to Unfinished J. won the New American Poetry Series Open Competition. The book will appear shortly from Green Integer Press. In July 2002, she was a featured presenter for the Avant Two Symposium, sponsored by The Ohio State University Libraries in Columbus, Ohio. In 2000, Murphy presented a series of readings and workshops at the Arvon Foundation at Totleigh-Barton, Devon, in the UK, in addition to performing at the third annual Boston Poetry Conference. In 1999, she was a featured performer at the annual Brisbane Writers Festival in Queensland, Australia. Murphy has authored numerous books of poetry, including most recently The Stuttering of Wings (Stride Press, UK, 2002), Heresiarch (Xtant/Anabasis, 2002), Immersion Tones (Luna Bisonte Prods Press 2000), and The Indelible Occasion (Potes & Poets Press, 2000). Books scheduled for publication include Green Tea with Ginger (Potes & Poets Press). She and Beverly Carver co-founded the Scottsdale Center for the Arts Poetry Series and served as coordinators for 12 years.

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