Sorrow and Grace

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VIRTUAL CHOIR OF JOY ANNOUNCEMENT

Singers, drummers, movers and bootie-shakers – we are excited to announce the Official launch of our Virtual Choir of Joy! You can hear the music and find out all you need to join NOW at https://thebookofrounds.com/virtualchoirofjoy. Uploads of your recordings will be accepted beginning this Friday, May 22. We‘re excited to see each one of you!

Please also join our Virtual Choir of Joy Facebook Group to meet and connect with fellow participants. Please join us to help spread JOY!

#gotjoy #givejoy #receivejoy #singforjoy #joyathome

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An Affair with a Rainbow – HONORABLE MENTION

An Affair with A Rainbow

 (Art is an expression of love or it is nothing.   Marc Chagall)

You spread the velvet red,

Heart flutters and flips 

You feel a sudden burn for more 

Veins swell of heat 

Sweet trickle down your face, hand, 

And thighs

So you splash a little yellow and 

Out of butter -lust 

With the want of more! 

Sun grows bolder

In its heat

Tickles toe tips and fingers—

Apply more paint!

Change the brush. Smear blue, white, 

Turquoise, soft mysterious gray

Till the eyes fill with tears—

How can sea and sky flirt 

With power, with passion?

The colors seem to lick the skin

Kiss the face, hands, chest, abdomen, 

Dimples of Venus 

As if too deep in the ocean or too close to heaven,

And you have a hard time breathing.

Grab a pallet knife of black 

Making trees and branches to hold onto,

Close your eyes and 

The absence of light haunts you

As if you had been long void of feeling.

This affair is turning to love,

Picture shapes, more strokes, more color 

Hard strokes faster, faster and stronger 

Till hands up thrown to the ecstatic air

The spentness of it all,

And you, done to this,

Pray a new fire.

(c) 2020 Stan Sujka

Stan Sujka is a physician poet, part of the “Twelve Chair” poetry group in Orlando Florida and member of the Central Florida Chapter of the Florida State Poets Association.

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How You Got Here – HONORABLE MENTION

How You Got Here

Under any other circumstances
you would not be here
but because my father found that lot
in Burlington Heights, built our house there
and joined North Roanoke Baptist Church
I met your grandmother.

That was 1962,
the first time I fell in love with her
was a year later at an ice skating party,
with the church youth group.
she was sweet to me
even though I couldn’t skate

She wore blue velvet,
or something close enough to velvet
that her gliding around the rink
anchored that song in my heart
where it has remained
all these years since

That’s how it all started,
the tidbits of our histories
up to our marriage,
then your mom’s birth
we’ll save for another time

What I want you to understand
Is how unique you are,
how in the cosmic scheme
of things it all fell into place
that you are here, a beautiful accident

Just like I was,
Just like every other person,
on this earth,
for better or worse,
since the first human sunrise

So celebrate your being,
revel in the chance meeting
of your mom and dad
and at your great grandfather
finding that lot in Burlington Heights

Bobby Myers lives with his wife of nearly 48 years on twenty-five acres in the mountains of southwest Virginia. He is retired from a life, first as a labor leader and lastly in public service for the Commonwealth.

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Just One More Time – HONORABLE MENTION

Just One More Time… 

“To be drunk, in love, and in NYC,” just one more time. Thinking I am invincible; both invisible and bullet proof. Piling into a taxi after 1:00 am, heading uptown,
Laughing at traffic, sweaty and smiling, holding your hand, Our ears ringing from loud noises and recent music. 

Stopping at the bodega around the corner,
Picking up a cold pint of Frusen Glädjé and the
Sunday New York Times, just delivered but
Not completely assembled, and paying with a Hamilton Before bounding up the stairs of my walk-up flat. 

Waking up with a stunning red head in my bed
(And I married her, you bums). Grinding beans and Cranking up hot coffee in huge white cups
Seasoned with vanilla, half-and-half, and cinnamon sugar. Pouring through the paper, and then a hot shower. 

Broad shoulders sporting perfect pink Brooks button-down, Khaki trousers with a ridiculous Ralph Lauren striped cotton belt, Topsiders pre-tied with knots at the ends. No sox.
A splash of Paco Rabanne Cologne, only for her sake,
And bounding down the steps again into warm sunshine. 

Within a five block walk are dozens of brunch joints,
Most featuring generous Bloodys or bottomless Mimosas,
Eggs benedict, perhaps, or flapjacks with bacon,
Or a goat cheese salad slathered with Vidalia onion vinaigrette. Or waffles with a rich mysterious sweet fruit viscid atop. 

Our waitress makes an obvious pass at my date,
As if I need any validation of her beauty, wit, and desirability, Still, it’s not a bad compliment, I guess, and we
Share a smile and a knowing laugh. Her bill, with a decent tip, Disappears with a swipe of American Express. Feeling full of myself and awed by good fortune, I know The week begins, and back to the grindstone
Working hard and under pressure on things
That likely won’t mean a damn, still being paid handsomely. Life has moments worth living again.

(c) 2020 Jeffrey Manning

Jeff is a Managing Director with CohnReznick Capital and is based in the Baltimore office. His poems “Red Chief” and “Just One More Time” – a poem written for this year’s Valentine’s Day – are winning submissions in the Metropolitan Diary.

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Vincent – HONORABLE MENTION

VINCENT

After Van Gogh’s Wheatfield with Crows and The Harvest 

Crows crowd the horizon Bleeding onto the canvas In curves of inky black— 

In a scythe, in a comma Indicating a pause and
A procession, though not Quite an ending— 

In a Rorschach test that reads Reads where will you go From here, there is nowhere To go from here. 

Home is on a different Horizon. 

Across the way, a farmer Burrows about in the foliage In that insistent way that Little clouds grow on trees. 

Every ladder he has ever owned Leads nowhere. Up, not away. 

And yellow—
My god, there is so much yellow. 

(c) 2020 Nooshin Ghanbari

Nooshin Ghanbari is a 2018 UT Austin graduate with degrees in Plan II Honors and English, and currently serves as communications director at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church. When she isn’t writing, teaching, or singing, you can find her playing with her three-legged dog, Marigold.

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Explode

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