Category: Poetry

New Year’s Day



January 1 is always the same

A bacchanal of sound and fury

Signifying something ineffable

Precisely timed though

Imprecisely valued


We pause to notice the flow

Of time’s endless river

Hoping to gain some measure

Of how far we’ve sailed

Or at least gratitude


To be journeying for

One new day

One new month

One new year

One last chance




A poem by Franklin Oliver


© Gayle Force Press 2015



American Mythology (#1)



The history lessons I received in school

Have very little connection to the stories

My grandfather waited until I was 25

To begin sharing with me


School sounded a lot like the TV shows

Ads and movies that were produced

As Saturday morning serials in his day

And kiddie cartoons in mine


This should have made me nervous as a kid

Since FDR and MLK, the Cold War and Vietnam,

Sputnik and Neil Armstrong, crack and AIDS,

Computers and nukes, Coltrane and the Greatest


All changed history between my generation and his

But since there were bright colors and waving flags

I tried hard to believe the myths I was taught

After all, what else could possibly be true  




© Gayle Force Press 2015


A poem by Franklin Oliver





Summer Days (#4)- Early Solstice



The sun bears down today

Not cruelly but firm



Winning our grudging recognition

Acceptance of its force



Car windows go up

Air conditioners on

Jackets come off

Buttons undone

Joggers walk

Runners jog

Walkers smile in their malls



Children play and play

Barely noticing the sting

Of the sweat

They wipe from their eyes



© Gayle Force Press 2008 

 A poem by Franklin Oliver 



Race Day



Camper cities

Traffic for miles

Checkered flags wave

In all directions

Coolers full of Bud

Dirt cheap sunglasses

Tank tops

Jake the snake

Around Brother Henry’s neck

Grilled brats and burgers

“Show us your tits!”

Naps on the infield

Day long engine drone

A rainbow of cotton candy

Tires over the fence

Some foreign guy wins

May is beautiful




A poem by Franklin Oliver 


© Gayle Force Press 2004




Our Chalice


God is in the wax and smoke

The lingering scent of a fire

Now extinguished

Still burning

Brighter than ever




A poem by Franklin Oliver 

© Gayle Force Press 2013









Remember the time

I pretended


I was a bee

That stung you



With my butt


Then I pretended

To die


In love

As a sacrifice



Brandy Rodgers and Franklin Oliver




© Gayle Force Press 2014




Oldest Sibling



My sisters don’t look like me

They are sharper

With brighter, yellowed skin

Both look strong and solidly

Inside their bodies

With large brown eyes

Serving to illuminate their clear

Beautiful faces


I run together

Dark skin

Nothing hidden

With densely thick hair

Nearly black eyes bridging

The narrow gap in it

And my face scarcely shines

As my brooding manifests itself

In the weary sag of eyes,

Face, back, hips and knees

Atlas’ burden pressing upon me


My sisters love joy

They relish and seek it out

Once sought, it loves to be found

For me it’s too much to ask

Which is fine

Because joy doesn’t fit on my face




A poem by Franklin Oliver 



© Gayle Force Press 2003



Curious Appetites



Alice’s knowledge

Surpasses her understanding

But matches her experience


Crazy though it seems

When cards and cats and queens

Comprise your waking nightmares


Blaming the food makes sense




A poem by Franklin Oliver 


© Gayle Force Press 2015



At This Bench



There’s a bench where I sometimes sit

Maybe on the pretense of resting

But usually just because

Water flows and falls and founts nearby

Going up in a rush

Very close to tiny rugged falls



At this bench are also paths

One back to the world

Of cars and shoes

The others go into the woods

Or so I guess

Because at each path’s start

Is a bridge

Of timeless origin

And uncertain strength



I can only tell that these paths

Continue onward briefly

Then quickly dissolve into imagination



I’ve promised myself to let go

And begin the journey

Discovering what each path holds

But I’m never quite prepared

To meet I don’t know what

So I’ll sit on the bench

And hope the paths are cleared

Until I decide I’m okay

With getting lost




© Gayle Force Press 2017



From Morning to Night


From morning to night

My odometer reads 112 miles more

Revealing the evidence of small town living

With a need for big city paychecks



Returning to it,

the quiet cozy apartment

Seems like home

A still new pleasant discovery

Filled with all the books and plants

and gadgets we love

And seeds being sown

For the life we plan to live



From morning to night

A certain light has dimmed

And the belly I kissed

Before it began to retch and round

Is flat and empty again



© Gayle Force Press 2004