philadelphia poet

Two Poems by Charles Carr


All spoke the language of the Mill.
Separating, straightening, twisting
Weaving a life out of cotton
Processing began at 6:00 AM, stopped  at 7:00PM
half hour break for lunch
Six days a week
Entire families offered their hands
The Opening room
Wrappings stripped off bales of cotton
Raw the opening machine tearing
Hands of pickers, lappers and fluffers smoothing it into sheets
the card hands  feeding into the teeth of the carding machine
where it was swallowed, digested into loosely compacted rope like slivers
the Boss carder made $12.00 per week a card hand $4.50
 Onto spinning room
            floor vibrating
to the slubber hands, intermediate hands, speeder hands
all women paid $4.00 per week
feeding the rollers of drawing frame
thinning the slivers.
Fibers wound tighter
spoolers, twisters, warpers,
band boys.
A progressive rhythm
Oilers and sweepers overseeing the banding machine
bobbins spinning filling with thread
the duffers moving up and down like a xylophone player
replacing the bobbins keep the spooling
The Weave Room
with fillers, creelers, beam warpers
slash tenders. drawing in girls and weavers
more hands that mounted rolls of yarn
 hands that raised, lowered sections
draw in hands lacing threads through an eye
designs for carpets, sheets, clothing
             the world’s.
Ode To a Stone 
I found it resting among the driftwood and seaweed
At an angle and in that light and moment stood out.
Heavy it rested
Chiseled and polished by the oceans forces.
A brightness glowed within,
as if it was breathing
Paused me to think of the thoughts
and movements it had gathered into itself-
The air, birds, clear sky
Balancing now at the summit of the cairn
on my windowsill.
A totem
brute matter speaks
endurance, density, solidity
charles photo

Charles Carr of Philadelphia has two published books of poems, paradise,pennsylvania and Haitian Mudpies & Other Poems. Charles has been active in the Philadelphia poetry community for 20 years and he hosted a Moonstone Arts Center Poetry series at Fergie’s Pub forb5 years and is currently the host of a live monthly broadcast Philly Loves Poetry now in its seventh season.


Our Children Are in the Fields Today by Cydney Brown

Our Children Are in the Fields Today
harvesting cherries, apples, onionswe will eat.
Our labor laws have flaws that make their dreams decay.
Their lives fray like sweaters
you wear when weather turns leaves from granny smith greens to
golden nectarines, pomegranates, and sunshine lemons.
Their days are sour
picking ripe cherries off trees
Monday to Sunday.
No sitting crisscross applesauce.
No sipping from their juice boxes.
eat your cherry pie in the autumn breeze.
eat your onion dip on football Sundays.
drink hot apple cider,
eat their fruit, dilute their dreams.
Our children try to be providers,
we hand them laws to mute their screams.
a child dies every 3 days
We look the other way and pray
before we eat.
Eyes closed, hands holding each other
I can feel the pulse of my mother
her heart still beats.
But the basis of the food we eat
puts scars and scabs on children’s feet.
Are you satisfied with the lies our country feeds us?
No labor laws protect our children from
pesticide poisoning, heat strokes, reds spots on their arms
33 children are harmed every day
Our children are working
until their bones can work no longer,
until their bodies become grass,
and get cut up like onions.
How many children will pass
before we pass the CARE act?
Don’t act like you care
how dare you profit off children?
Our children are in the fields today.
Numbed fingertips, they are stuck.
They get paid by pieces of fruit they place in a truck.
Cydney Brown is the 2020 Philadelphia Youth Poet Laureate and author of Daydreaming. She is a Freshman at Northwestern University and has been writing poetry since she was in 5th grade. Brown has been featured in The New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, 6abc, Philadelphia Citizen, and Fox29. She is the recipient of The Romero Scholarship For Excellence In Spoken Word. She is a Gold Award Girl Scout, recipient of The Good Citizenship Award, and Shine Global’s Youth Activist Award. Cydney wishes to inspire people to speak their truth and share her poetry with the world.

City of Shadow & Light (Philadelphia) by Diane Sahms

city shadow amazon

City of Shadow & Light (Philadelphia) by Diane Sahms has just been released by Alien Buddha Press. You can find the book here: 

What Others Say About  City of Shadow & Light (Philadelphia)

In Diane Sahms’s ambitious City of Shadow & Light (Philadelphia) there are classical elements, the prominence of the elegiac as well as the lyrical and an oracular power that echoes back to Greece, yet remains rooted in Philadelphia.  The language soars—blooms, although with a dark undertone, illuminating the shadow and shading the light.  The meticulous pairing of the shadow and light allows the reader to explore the connective tissue between the seemingly unalike. Sahms’ syntax alone imparts a musicality and a dissonance to her work. Readers are jarred into a heightened realm of acuity.  Heroin’s inner arm of a clawing dragon/he never slew and Blue Heron’s Blue-gray architecture wades slowly, deliberately/leads slavish eyes knee-deep into still waters. They are yoked together like duets.  In her “Suite for Iris” the poet’s persona explores the world from the perspective of Iris who exists in the liminal zone of part human-part flora, a fertile intersection of the primeval and the reasoned. Iris, tall stalk before shears, /rhizome’s roots as heart’s arteries. Sahms’ often heretical visions push brilliantly into an unseen darkness.

Stephanie Dickinson, author of The Emily Fables and Big Headed Anna Imagines Herself. 

Wade into the mirror with Diane Sahms as she unveils and unravels identities—probing for meaning and finding connections. Different life forms fuse into a “universal soul” in these “heart shuttling” sojourns that sonically imagine the magic of “spirits united.” Morality and mortality yield their secrets in exhilarating lyric passages in which emptiness is purified via resolute perception and consequent insight. —Jeffrey Cyphers Wright

In City of Shadow and Light (Philadelphia), Diane Sahms looks upward to the cosmic, then comes back to the personal, in poems that are full of natural imagery and (often) mystery. The focal point is the “first city,” Philadelphia, and its inhabitants, particularly those connected to the poet. We meet ones who create and others who struggle. What brings them together is the poet’s care for each and every one. Through these poems, you will gain a new appreciation for a place and some of its ordinary (and extraordinary) people. This is an eye-opening, heart-tugging collection. —Thaddeus Rutkowski, author of Tricks of Light

Diane Sahms’s City of Shadow & Light opens with the loss of two sons and continues to hearken more challenges as the book unfolds. But as she quotes from Jung in one epigraph, dark shadows only heighten the brightness of light. Thus, the book’s ending of “light” is hard-earned, and the fortitude is as inspiring as the “brave Raven, who stole light / from total darkness // for everyone.” The reader is left gladdened that this poet managed to retain her voice and that, despite everything, that “voice, still sings.”—Eileen R. Tabios


City of Shadow & Light (Philadelphia) by Diane Sahms – 


From The Editors

Diane Sahms-Guarnieri

covid 19 2020

 g emil reutter

thunder cover



Thunder, Lightning and Urban Cowboys by g emil reutter

thunder cover

Thunder, Lightning and Urban Cowboys has just been released by Alien Buddha Press. The book is the final volume in a quadrilogy written over 13 years.

You can find the book here:

What others have said about Thunder, Lightning and Urban Cowboys:

In Thunder, Lightning, and Urban Cowboys, wilderness is never far from the urban setting, a wilderness in its own right. The Urban Cowboy is surrounded by nature:  “…a tree of warped candelabra branches…”; “…a conspiracy of sooty ravens…”; “sound of leaves kissed by wind…”  Nature pauses and waits for us to pass through in our moment of struggle and triumph and defeat.  The machinery of the city: “…diesel engine revving and revving, as if a struggle to stay alive…” g. emil reutter takes us from youth when “unbridled hope leaked from our pores…” to the far end of life “… the waiting, the heaviness of what is to come…”

The poet paints a landscape haunted by the tragedies of others and the tragedies of ourselves. Haunted by the fallen gravestones “sinking into the earth…” Haunted by spirits lingering in the trees because “heaven and hell are full and purgatory is closed…” In this poetic juxta positioning of humanity and nature, the poet puts us in our place in an unkind, uncruel universe and leaves us somehow grateful.

-Mike Cohen



Throughout, the poems are very well crafted, precise and insightful. reutter is most certainly an engaging poet, whether he is writing of train journeys, of love and friendship and loss, of nature, of time passing: each poem sustains a reflective beauty that refreshes like walking into a cold mountain spring: they permeate and linger with a rare clarity and a sense of humour that will ensnare and take you by surprise. The book takes you on a journey of wonderful variations and consistently offers imagery that transport the reader into the poem and this is something that is not easy to achieve. Thunder, Lightning and Urban Cowboys is stark evidence that reutter is a master craftsman of his art form: cool: crisp: clear: quality.

-John D Robinson

Poet and Publisher: (Holy&intoxicated Publications)

A sampling from the book:


You can find the book here:

Diane Sahms on Art Access TV

Diane Sahms will be featured on Arts Access TV next week!
Friday, March 26 | 6:00-7:00 p.m.
  • Exhibition Tour: Re-materialize by Arthur Ross Gallery
  • The Principles of Hip Hop: Peace, Love, Unity, and Having Fun by Young Audiences Arts for Learning NJ & Eastern PA
  • Cafe Improv 2019 by Diane Sahms
  • Family Tree by Andorra