Literary Yard

Search for meaning

‘Six Nouns in Search of a Verb’ and other poems

By: Sheila E. Murphy


anthropology is not my major
but has evolved to draw me
close by quiz prep to the
downside of experience as
elevation, shaping shorthand
fractals at first flea-sized then scaled
gargantuan before summer
heat expands to lay low toward
immediate centering that precludes
jaywalking as trespass on
kaleidoscopic umbrage taken
literally while drained of
meaning as midlife Maltese pet
named after the instructor
Quentin sparking various
rambunctious attitudes and
sleight of hand invasive as the
tacit grab for all thirty pieces of silver
under the cracking leaves with
voracious appetite propelling
walls of wannabe that once
x-rayed reveal shortcomings
you’d never a priori know as
zeal infusing daily life with greed.


Six Nouns in Search of a Verb

1/ Aspartame
Truss the wings to leave behind their span, form envy to erase. Is it always winter here? Refinement seems part slave, part ladder. In a shoelace moment, spine stays central as we brave the collar.

2/ Stalk
He gambled. The inevitable karma came to pounce when least expected. Early morning flecks of light turned potent as a adder was repealed.

3/ Muse
Elbows her way into your modern (th)ought. Proves myth to be derivative. You disbelieve source code as clatter. Noting marvels elapse sans anyone along.

4/ Truck
He wants a pick(me)up, not this chipped paint sprawl of scarred bed empty. Wait for a hypotenuse in depth-lined blue.

5/ Lessons
Failing to vocalize, term limits start to glow. A woven set of patches once. And now bowed rain elapses as though . . .

6/ Caprice
Arrows out of wind long for the nonce. So smitten, she, dance-worthy, slim. What next, capitulation, maybe haptics. Maybe sloe gin fizz not gluten free merely the merry notes of reeds.



Snubbed enough – (I didn’t see
Eventually – (Your name listed
Let go – (Oh really, I
Then lift – (Unnoticed

Bigger fish – (Compare, contrast
Etcetera sky – (Small things from
Bowl allows – (Other minor nits
You room – (Infinity lacks fuel

Replacing mild – (Who needs engines
Embraces – (Penchant for moving
Fail to last – (Remember to hold
Instead infinity – (What will remain

Rewards with – (Energy self-replenishing
Bowls of – (Random kinesthesia
Mixed grain – (Plenty to share
Real life – (For all


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

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