Volume 9 (Spring 2015)


Peter E. Murphy is the founder of Murphy Writing of Stockton University which offers programs for poets, writers and teachers in the U.S. and abroad.


On Libations:

"Water, water everywhere,

And all the boards did shrink..."


     ~Coleridge



Peter E .Murphy



Schooled


   well rounded


your skull at first


as soft as marrow


coursing the currents


of the birth canal


which squeezes


you between


its soft walls


toward light


and drops you


into a stiff desk


bolted to the wood


floor by a catechism


of wimples and robes


which darken


the gleam that tries


to fill your head


so that nothing


anyone tells you


after that nothing


can  make you


not question it.



     transportation


half the fun


is dallying


at the intersection


of bus a and bus b


getting off one


and not on the other


until the skinny hand


of the clock slaps


the last minute


the way the history


teacher slaps your face


when you arrive


too late to recross


the river that flows


from his lecture notes.


how that lesson


repeats itself,


demanding you keep


those barbarians


away as you figure out


how to beat them back.



      discipline


you are its


diligent follower


who believes everything


it teaches is smart


literally a disciple


whose hands


are stigmatized


by what they refuse


to reach for.


the more your palms


bleed, the less they feel


the more brittle


becomes the skull


pedestaled upon


your neck


so when you


finally stretch


you crack so bad


all the king’s


losses are not able


to make amends.



      homework


in language


it is a sentence


hanging  above you.


in math numbers


that refuse to negate


themselves until


you reduce eternity


to a few scratches


on white lined paper


the slippery shell


of the fountain


pen splots your loose


leaves with blueblack ink


as you compose


the themes of the rest


of your life


the sharp blade


of the deadline


free falling toward


the rigid skin


on the back of your neck.



     education


most of it you get


after you leave


books and bricks


so when you’re


finally tested


nothing you


studied does


you any good.


you’re smart


because you learned


to cheat on every exam


you take, invent


stories to explain


the classes you cut.


now that your ass


is on the line


the only correct


answer is the one


that gets the job


done fast, done right


and under budget.