Five Short Poems and Then You’re Done

‘Night Tree’ | Cabell County, W.Va. | january2024 |

I have a hate-hate-even-more relationship with submitting my poetry to the phalanx of poetry journals populating the interwebs. My poems have been published in a sprinkling of places. (Here are several at one of them). But all of you submitting writers in the wider world know how painful it is to unleash an armada of poems to journals — and then to find your in-box peppered for months with refusals, turn-downs, declinations and the dreaded incantation ‘Not right for us …’ It’s a great exercise if you wish a crash course in exposure therapy to despair, melancholia and discouragement. Still, we persist (occasionally), we armchair, weekend poets. For those of us with websites and minor-league self-publishing chops, we also sail our poems ourselves out into the world like little paper airplanes. As seen below.

The fact is that poetry — reading it, writing it — is, for me, some days the only thing that makes sense, with its pared-down, no excess, no-nonsense meaning-making and concision. This is especially true nowadays. We marinate in an over-connected, 24/7 social media-fried world, whose torrent of shaggy, let-it-all-hang-out verbiage and shoot-from-the-id meanness and over-sharing turns language into a cudgel of influencers, marketers, and people who should be sharing their ‘posts’ with therapists instead. Thank you for coming to my TED talk. I’ll stop now and submit to you — and maybe later, some journals — some scribblings along the Long March.

~ Douglas John Imbrogno

‘A Poem About All Poems About Trees’

I think that I shall never
see, a tree-poem
lovely as this tree
caught in this poem,

seen one twilight
when mist obscures
the distant sights,
closing in the world

upon itself. So, that
all the camera eye
may glimpse is up-
close branches striving

in the dusk. A gun-
metal vignette of
the ancient aim
of trees. Reaching

to a sky they’ll never
reach, yet always,
always, a cohort
of the heavens.

‘Something for Nothing’

I want to see

if it is possible

to be a nobody
from nowhere.

Creating something

out of nothing.

For someone

who may be

anywhere. While
expecting nothing.

And they find it
really something.


You may say

what you please.

no platitudes.
It is in
poor taste

to don


‘Mission Statement’

To scratch the page,
to pick the scab, to
mix and match the phrases,
enter the lab to whip up potions.

Address the sky with curses, praises,
annoy the authorities, cause commotions.
Run away, feed on honeydew and
gulp the milk of paradise.

Rub snow into your face and
kiss your lover’s eyes,
excuse yourself and wander into
empty churches. Tell no lies you’d

squirm from recanting. Do not make
elaborate poses while holding roses.
Once a month throw a fit, and
carve your initials into the sand.

Let a ladybug crawl up your leg,
never lace the fingers of your hand,
ask favors of the recently departed.
Speak no ill of someone who has farted.

Send nameless alms to
random causes, give up,
and try again. And fill
your thought with pauses …

‘Wait a Moment’

I am no saint,

am not all sinner.

I am not damned,
have been a winner.

A loser, too,
yet am not lost.

Not done enough

and paid the cost.

When all is said

and done and said,

and once more you

arise from bed,

to think again
loss and death.

Well, wait a moment.

There’s my breath.

From the forthcoming chapbook
‘EPIGRAMMAR Vol. 2: Short Poems & Epigrams for a New Old Age
For news of its availability, free subscribe to

For updates on new essays, poems, diatribes, photo essays, experimental videos & sorta memoir excerpts, subscribe to this site’s free e-mail newsletter:

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply