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Stephen Van Buren

Stephen has been writing seriously for the last 30 years, much of the time with words. Some of his earlier work became part of the creative thesis he prepared for his MA in English - what he refers to as his 'faux MFA'. He has had more than 20 jobs, but less than 60 -- and has written poetry through all of them. His current day job is as a Reference Librarian at a State University.

The Great Debate,
Being an Essay on the Essential
Formalism of all Poetry,
As Requested by Mr. Jones

I want to tell them all a space has sound.
I want to tell them swollen words will burst.
I want to tell them write vibration first.
I want to tell them walk the metered ground.

They tell me words can be too cruelly bound.
They tell me what's important is reversed.
They tell me lyric rhyming is the worst.
They tell me passion is a battleground

and not a playing field that rules define,
though written in a language understood
and daily heard within the broad design
of grammar - even down-home neighborhood
patois - just make 'em walk, each perfect line
the talk, and bury structured stuff for good.

© Stephen Van Buren

Love At the End of The Sea

In winds
beneath the sea,
they walk still

naked along
the sometime beach
of an island long sunk

in her glance
at silent fish
among trees

billowing soft fins,
leaves transparent
as wet breeze

lift her hair
as question marks
her smile

I love you,
he leaps
too late

for silver bubbles,
for steps filled
with sand

and no direction
is a way
she takes his hand

over a game
with fingers

© Stephen Van Buren


When I want her
I am pale -
so transparent

with desire
a passing glance

a kind word

red mist stains
hungry air

between us
she is amazed

© Stephen Van Buren

Stone Tears

A canvas-and-stick booth
covers the expanded Russian
doll of water works --
giggling water over-painting
smeared pink glaze
into living coral petals,
splashing and recoiling
through a hidden pump

Pebbles snick as they fall
through water
against the glaze,
against each other,

water sprinkles
off the top pond,
drops to the one below.

The sound is new
with each drop,
with each stone

having done with tears
no stone drops

© Stephen Van Buren