Poetry from Sheila Murphy


No, I said.

I would not

Like that.

I held

still. The offer

on the table

stalled. He walked. 

I stayed

apart. He started

thought and speech.

I heard. One word.

Born on the Cusp of July

Is it officially monsoon yet

Are we about to be hush wet

Showering constantly repeatedly

Pre- and post-walk the east

Valley husky with loaded clouds 

And hail and winds and gloom 

Confirming gravity all very

Garlicy and fraught

In Cherrapunjee, India, rainfall

Lasted 86 consecutive days imagine

Arizona like that no broom sturdy enough to 

Push away the ruins lodged

Between repeat signs on the


Hush Puppies

Hush puppies on the soles

of the feet of David Ignatow

at the podium one foot atop the other.

Warm young safe shoes. Hush 

puppies belonging to David Ignatow

He spoke in plain tones that rose 

in the carpeted auditorium

where students would go to hear

poetry slide into the tonal registers

of daily life. Hush puppies below the soft cuffs

of the trousers of David Ignatow

a gentle plow through speech allowed

its reach from his matter of fact

voice that cared. A flock of early voices

honored him flapped their wings locating their


The Jugular Is Blotched

Within-ness tends to thin. From afar

Someone ekes out an expletive 

Ripe as shame. Justice, meanwhile

Scampers out the back by way of

The loose screen door rattling proof 

Of departure, in haste and how

Left behind one probably is.

Punch lists Judy as his

Executrix, meanwhile the bottler

Keeps things going and flowing. 

Included in a firm punch list 

A scattergram quotidian enough 

Not to bother with a pinata plump and


Cognitive Dissonance 2

I say I’m busy

I’m always busy

Being busy but

I am doing something 

Defining I’m always 

Listening to myself 

Learn it’s just that

In your view

I’m not busy at all

Because I’m not 

Going anywhere 

With you

Sheila E. Murphy’s most recent book is Permission to Relax (BlazeVOX Books, 2023). Awards: Gertrude Stein Poetry Award for Letters to Unfinished J and the Hay(na)ku prize for Reporting Live From You Know Where (Meritage Books, 2018). 

Sheila Murphy – Wikipedia

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