Five Poems


Sterling Plumpp

Art by Galia Linn



Every breath I negotiate
is hospice care
for tyranny.

For the poet’s immortal
beyond the journey
beyond journeys

You imagine texts
as harvest and texts as
seed or roots.


Mississippi Delta

During her tenure here
God prefers shot
gun shrines whose walls
are papered with shadows:
debts, and revival levers
of prayer and
bended knee epiphanies
of a treaty with a savior
silhouetted on yellowing
Chooses brown eyed
tears to wash hymns
of gown’s woven
emblems on wings
of celestial silk.

A field of ladders
reside in these tenant
holy places.

Cotton pickers and choppers
has reservation

for glory glory
to climb

She always sips from
a dipper of Muddy
Waters and has slices
of watermelon praises
before departing.



I am an orphan of wind
and collages and montages
scattered bits of
myth and origins.

The epic of my existence
is all
ways song in its disclosure
of miles and miles
I greet to cartograph
paths I tell tomorrow.

I am origins and amen.
I know not beginning
and expect no end.

I am a poet.
my pen wonders.

Freedom resides in one’s
quest for individuality.

This identity trekking
towards ancestry.

My song gives birth
to an orbit
of my history and
my dreams.



I would recite odyssey’s long
long journey after
my auction
block but Greek is not
my mother
tongue or is Hebrew
or English or Latin.
My spirituals and
blues announces arrival
of an identity.

I long my elders’ prayers
whispered to lineage
where relatives of my aboriginal
tongue might germinate
a word.

I long unexpected
spaces in silence.


Echo Song

The ultimate destiny
is more life
more life fully
explored for more.

Death is simply co
payment for eternity.


Spring / Summer 2023

Sterling Plumpp

A native of Mississippi, Sterling Plumpp is a poet, educator, editor, and critic. He has written numerous books, including Blues Narratives, Blues: The Story Always Untold, Hornman, Ornate With Smoke, and The Mojo Hands Call, I Must Go. As well, he edited the influential collection, Somehow We Survive: An Anthology of South African Writing. Some of his work was included in The Best American Poetry 1996. He lives in Chicago and is at work on a new verse collection.

Galia Linn

Galia Linn is a sculptor, painter, and site-responsive installation artist living and working in Los Angeles. She has shown nationally and internationally, and her work is included in numerous private collections in Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Paris, Brussels, and Tel Aviv. Her work has been featured in LA Weekly, KCET Artbound, Art + Cake, and KCRW’s Art Talk. In Los Angeles she is represented by Track 16 Gallery.

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