Bill Cushing (Western Voices 2022)

Bio: Bill Cushing lived in various states, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico before moving to California. He earned an MFA from Goddard College. Published in numerous journals and anthologies, both online and in print, Bill is a multiple Pushcart Prize nominee, and his most recent chapbook of poetry, . . .this just in. . ., combines selected writings with visual art. He facilitates a writing group (9 Bridges). Bill’s first book A Former Life was honored by the Kops-Featherling International Book Award committee; his chapbook (Music Speaks) was honored at the 2019 San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival and with a New York City Book Award.

A SUADELA’S SHARDOMA

I feel the
edge of her nails as
her hand strokes
my arm. Her
inked dragonfly brings me to
the art of longing.

Enticing
me from the corner
of the bed,
one bare and
bended leg beckons, and I
lightly kiss her thigh.
***


ALLISON ATTEMPTS SUICIDE

Perhaps she tired of the epilepsy
crowning her life.
Perhaps her social awkwardness
proved too crippling

Our lives separated by 15 years, 
she’s old enough 
for anguish, yet too young 
to see other options. 

How easy, sometimes, to forget
life’s most difficult 
choices become the most important
ones we make. Still,

the choice is ours. Life may be 
boring, terrifying, 
or trite, but, above all, one 
must stay alive.

Hardest job on earth.
***


GREETING MARCIELLE

“I prefer Mars,”
she declares during sign-in 
when asked for 
her name of choice,

so she assumes 
the port of the god of war.

The problem is—
if there is one—
she herself resists,
this militant pacifist, 
this poet warrior.
*** 

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