TWI Poetry: 20/20


Martina Reisz Newberry

Church, Chapel, Church Ceiling, Small Church


I learned early on that poor eyesight was a dandy excuse to avoid meeting faces. I walked the world in blurs and shadows, only recognized cruelty by its sound. 

Neon lights and stars blended with traffic signals and the moon, at its least sliver, 

seemed delusional. It was easy to be alien when I couldn’t see who/what was around me. 

Years later, I’ve become M, a poet, mud wrestling words onto a page made clear by surgery 

and commitment. Now, I sport the posture of the full-sighted and have joined the commonwealth of flesh and fornication. I am one with the malady of hours and with 

the clarity of vision has come a dumb yearning to join the on-going conversation 

in some real and meaningful way. Now it seems a struggle to force the common to become uncommon. My furry vision was an easy congé which does not surface in a considerate way. Clarity has (now and then) led to a taciturn unkindness (or call it indifference) 

which kicks up like a dry wind and re-introduces me to another self—aware, quite mad.

Calling on God regularly, I’m told that he/she is

⬤ Indisposed

⬤ Resting

⬤ In a meeting

⬤ Interviewing for open positions

This would discourage a lesser individual. 

The regularity of the rejections would be 

daunting to someone less staunch than myself. 

God and his/her angels have underestimated 

my willingness to beg, beseech, and—

best of all—grovel.

I have addressed the same issues 

with every prayer and recite the old 

church prayers of my youth 

as proof of obedience to this God 

who treats me with casual contempt, 

to the saints who often apprehend my prayers.

I have decided that this year will be different. 

I will move through these new months 

allowing all things to be their own measure; 

I will get used to all things in their own time.

I will discern whiners from weirdos 

and I will find the words for anthems 

rather than requests. All this will be done, 

I vow, in a spirit of accord. Everyone knows 

that there is no room for dissonance in anthems.

Martina Reisz Newberry’s newest collection, BLUES FOR FRENCH ROAST WITH CHICORY is available from Deerbrook Editions. She is the author of six books. Her work has been widely published in literary magazines and journals in the U.S. and abroad. She lives in her much-beloved city, Los Angeles, with her husband, Brian Newberry, a Media Creative.

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