Saturday 20 January 2024

Five Poems by Karen A VandenBos


Sounds Of A Distraught Lullaby


The world, its cadence off key, its

rhythms lean sharp to the flat edge

of the page that recoils against a

dismal sour note.  Chords emerge

twisted from the mouth of a horn,

its rim a circle of funked up jazz,

your lips an instrument of exploration,

metallic opera breaking glass, strings

twanging as your fingers bleed an

infusion of blues and the words of

your song come crashing down like

the pounding percussion of a distraught

lullaby.  As the scream of a violin

threatens to shred your sanity, you

take a sip of whiskey and let the wind

rattle your pots and pans.  When the

final note falls from your pen, you weep

as the cello sustains an endless note

of mourning.



(after the painting “In the Mood”

by George Pemba)



Beneath Black Pointed Hats


Little girls dressed all in black pirouette

down the streets with pointed toes and

hats not knowing that once upon a time

their ancestors were hunted for less.

Beneath the tip of our black pointed hats

lies a history of hanging trees and fiery

deaths as last breaths still flutter the

leaves.  Our sisters suffered and we still

bear the scars and taste the lies the accusers

smeared across their names as our own

marks have us dance to the music of

darkness that spans centuries of persecution

and we continue to break the shackles of

time, cast our healing as we gather and

give thanks under the moon for giving us

the power to rise from the ashes.



When All Women Were Birds


Once upon a time when all women were

birds, they held the wisdom of the owl

and lived by the sacred law of the crow.

They opened their wings to span across

time gathering magic within their pointed

feathers that fanned the flames of fires

and birthed the element of air.  They spoke

to us with a song just waiting for us to




Just Another Pretty Face


They say you are just another pretty

face wearing your trashy decadence

and painted on pain.  Your air of

disinterest and high strung impatience

border a jaded sophistication.


You cover your vulnerability with a

suit of armour and line your eyes with

kohl black rage, a target for despair.

You scream your songs like a violin

on steroids yet deep down you worship

Bob Dylan.


Through pouting lips you spit icicles

of sarcasm with brute force, the ache

in your heart so visceral I feel your

blood pump through my veins.


Your narrow following smoke their

cigarettes and dissect your moods.

They pull out their black moleskin

notebooks and hastily jot down your

latest quote and add another name to

the list of people who have pissed

them off.


The badly behaved follow you like

stray cats into the belly of the dives

as the city surrenders itself to decay.

When the scent of lust permeates the

air, you cut words from your songs

and serve us poems as if they were

our only meal.



The Resilience of Hope


I've watched hope drown in the middle

of a storm when wind and rage tear it

apart, gasping for air.

I've seen it buried under a mountain of

sorrow, lurking in shadows and waiting

to be remembered.

I've seen hope be abandoned, left for

dead and crumpled on the floor.

I've seen its light be eclipsed by the

dark under belly of fear with its heart

still beating through the crack of all that

is broken.

When the old narratives cling to our bones

and hope struggles to breathe, go where

the words of poems fling themselves against

the rocks and watch it rise as the colour of

the sun.

Karen A VandenBos was born on a warm July morn in Kalamazoo, MI. She has a PhD in Holistic Health where a course in shamanism taught her to travel between two worlds. She can be found unleashing her imagination in two online writing groups and her writing has been published in Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Blue Heron Review, The Rye Whiskey Review, One Art: a journal of poetry, Anti-Heroin Chic, The Ekphrastic Review, Southern Arizona Press, MacQueen's Quinterly, Moss Piglet, Panoply and others. She has been a Best of the Net nominee.







  1. Sounds of a Distraught Lullaby is an especially moving lyric and the enjambment "flat edge / of the page" really works. Lovely poem.


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