from October Sequence


Sheila E. Murphy







He crosses the line she crosses herself

Their place is low on elbow room

They transmit signals back to

Selves neither rhythmic nor

Arythmic penetrating glances occupy

The mirror sought after the lamp

Relays conflicting stories via

Person number gender place or syntax

Yield a handmade shrine

That endows the room with

Functionality unmet as seasons shift

From universal penance to a wanted peace

A lived experience in the wake of

Known momentum while the dowry breaks

Into a dance replete with kismet minus

Kisses and the softness that would make

A kinder world a hammock of

Their mutual history left out

In the ungainly wind to topple

Saplings that comprise a newer world






Future eclipses present tense live

In her mind glutted with fear she sees him

As she sees no self to fashion senses

Into fuel for reinvention after being

Lodged within the circumstance of

Keeping things smooth ironic

Hammer flattens her virtue and her breath

Her shoulders aching with imaginary pressure

She has made by inclination not by hand

But what she has observed then mimicked

For the duration of her threadbare happiness

At the highest level she could maim

By digging into hurts she wears

Until she cries not knowing how

To reason with her instinct or

To find a different attitude or altitude

To free her mindset from a universe

She’s trained to see affording challenges

To comprehend or touch and hold within

The trap of what might be stalled

As she keeps acclimating herself

To suspicions already confirmed






A little bulk of metal jams along the busy

Street loud fumes barge past pastel

Sedans and taut trucks blasting

Toward unknown destinations the obstacles

Fatten frenzy and discard intention

Clear enough to see or see through

In the gray wind across cement

And blacktop painted lines uncoded

As the sprawl sans water

Laminates collective mind to mean

The always frenzied press of damage

Seeking contributions seeking fretless

Poise in music always possible to save

The damsel from undress the daylights

Crystallize the pretense and no time

Has timeless properties the world becomes

An artifice commodities perceived by weight

Inform the colloquial turn of phrase

“Tons of people” suggesting that

We weigh them without counting






He requires so much attention

He points to himself and asks

How he is doing she exasperated

Speaks a sentence equally predictable

He keeps inquiring she responds

With whatever used to work

And may still work it’s all she has

And she is all he has

He cannot be made peaceful

Regardless of how much approbation

He still wants to know is everything

All right am I indispensable am I

A genius does the world see how

Imperative I am

Is there more that I can do

And is what I have made so far

The most exceptional ingredient

The universe has known am I

Imperative and what’s more

How would you describe the importance

Of my being known to be eternal






I am vata you are pitta welcome

To my vegetables my dairy my permitted spice

You cannot consume nuts of any kind we find

An intersection of our tendencies

We do not label compromise we find

A higher path we heal each other

Neither at a time the scriptures

Have been synthesized my seams

Are showing do you know from movies

What that means let’s order room service

Let’s watch reruns of Forensic Files let’s

Hope that law enforcement professionals

Can do their jobs and retrofit

The pavement and the rooftops

To include the many ones we love

Let’s serve them food let’s plan

A getaway to what remains within us

We are practiced in a Labrador mentality

It’s good to glide and to decide

The ampersand is shining golden







Amenities derive from statutory innocence methinks

You might be hampered before knowing

The embrace of walls can comfort

Just as kicking up your heels may vitiate

The inclinations of the dour among us

Profiting from incessant statis

Mongrel traits immune to beauty

Tamping even shutters that allow in light

Alongside wind and chasten dabbling

Hitched to aspirations as the rain shine

Rinses tendency to under-simplify where yeast

Allows to rise our stream of breeze

In seeking and exploring how the windows

Tapped lead into homonyms as priestly

Acts of speculation winter mimes

Approach the shore and faces

Blurred by distance come to form

A lottery of patience fortified

As change leads to amorphous depths






Animation gives me hives he said

I’m tired of looking at round shoulders

In blue costumes unfit for human attire

The drawl of portly little footsteps

Soft beyond intention I would rather

View a realistic patch of daylight

With some grit and heavy on the pedal

Toward real life plenty of sharp edges

To smooth the too smooth corner free pretense

As if small beings mindlessly

Invest in comfort for themselves for others

To the detriment of any purpose

Give me a saw to carve the places

Needing sharpness clarity and definition

Give me change to aggravate the hemisphere

To make it grow something beyond

The petty pretty flowers in favor of

A well-earned purity for the duration









Sheila E. Murphy is the 2003 recipient of the Green Integer Press Gertrude Stein Award for her book, Letters to Unfinished J.  In 2020 Luna Bisonte Prods released Golden Milk.  Her 2018 book titled Reporting Live from You Know Where won the Hay(na)Ku Poetry Book Prize Competition from Meritage Press (U.S.A.) and xPress(ed) (Finland).  In 2018 Broken Sleep Books brought out the book As If To Tempt the Diatonic Marvel from the Ivory. 



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