A Washington-based author, educator, and pushcart nominee for poetry, Sterling Warner’s works have appeared in many international literary magazines, journals, and anthologies such as The Flatbush Review,Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape,the Atherton Review,Metamorphoses, The Fib Review, Stardust Review, and the Scarlett Leaf Review. Warner also has written several volumes of poetry, including Edges, Rags & Feathers, Without Wheels, ShadowCat, and Memento Mori: A Chapbook Redux. His most recent work, a collection of flash fiction & short stories, will be published in 2020. Apart from washing hands, distancing, and wearing a facemask these days,Warner spends his time writing, wood working, and salmon fishing.
Praise to all first responders, medical workers, firefighters, peace officers & volunteer staff Women & men who lay down their lives in the service of strangers.
Praise to all drummers who swagger rhythmically out to battle to the ones who lay down beats for marching band and color guard footsteps.
Praise to affectionate, lofty lovers who lie down indifferent to turbulence, making time for themselves immersed in the moment and a future less bleak.
Kudos to all the single mothers, orphans and civil servants dedicated to common sense, whose passion’s most perfect and ideals unquestioned when seeking preservation.
Hats off to our entertainers who amuse even as our assaulted minds moan and remind us there’s more to life than soundbites showcasing disasters, and defeat.
Praise to the dilettantes, poets, pipers, philosophers, and politicians, without whom we’d have no visionaries, revolutionaries, leaders, or blind tyrants casting evil apparitions to oppress us.
Praise to the workers, vacationers and the indolent for roads traveled often without reward-- experiences and achievements compressed into brief, memorable moments, while pressured to exceed high expectations.
Praise to the multitude, society’s unwashed faces, sporting smiling mouths full of partial teeth, conveying generosity, goodness and sensitivity, seldomly measured accurately by acumen or wealth.
All hail Ēostre, goddess resolute who transforms winter wastelands on the spring equinox when sacred, acrobatic hares hop in geometric patterns, their unnatural movements bringing life to Mercia’s barren fields, Northumbria’s dormant wildflowers, as holy hands place eggs, fertility’s pure embodiment, in obvious locals to be easily detected & reverently appreciated by neo-pagan worshippers celebrating rebirth & renewal long before Rome’s reach touched British shores, merely affirming beliefs held sacred: "Omne vivum ex ovo" (all life comes from an egg)
Class Struggle: A Villanelle
History endures as struggles of class Despite declarations assuring change, Social privilege returns as the years pass.
Leaders’ false promises shatter like glass They rot in mansions with ring worms and mange, History endures as struggles of class.
Workers toil without protection, alas! Creating goods and growing crops to exchange, Social privilege returns as the years pass.
Bankers build mighty vaults with steel and brass Hoard riches like dragons—fearfully strange, History endures as struggles of class.
Aristocrats’ clout’s an empty crevasse Guard white picket fences on a grange, Social privilege returns as the years pass.
Revolutions attract soldiers en masse Each new order cites wrongs to rearrange, History endures as struggles of class Social privilege returns as the years pass.
Desert rain lovers share Sultry, subtropical fevers Producing surreal sweat; Bountiful bodies join Corporal cravings as wild as Waterways clashing—converging Like the Tigris and Euphrates, the Human confluence creating a Singular river of passion—a Flesh and blood Shatt-al-Arab-- Rising in size and momentum, Emptying into a Gulf of desire.
I loved Bebe just like a protective brother, stood right by her side since grade school then, in college, I found her bruised , semi-nude, & dead; sexually abused at five years old Bebe told me she felt trashy, not deserving confidants like me; we hugged, wept, confessed soiled thoughts.
I served as her witness, she married at eighteen, protective, yet husband friendly until I dropped by one night when Bebe was alone hearing my voice, she opened the door, arms black and blue, in the porch light still professing love for the foul man who minutes before beat her.
Some time later, a friend helped pack all belongings moved Beba to her mother’s house, hoped time’d heal mental, physical scars, increase self-worth. sought professional counseling, entered a psych ward; when an orderly raped her, she wanted to give birth, lost the child, depressed checked out.
Bright, she enrolled in college, together we took lit classes, shared notes, crammed for tests; going to her apartment en route to the college one morn, Bebe neither heard the bell ring nor harkened to knocks I entered the unlocked door, found her naked body: Dexedrine addict O. D.
In an effort to look like Karen Carpenter, Bebe secured a doctor who would prescribe amphetamines as appetite suppressants; last evening, I assured her leaving an abuser’s best; she said, “Thank-you, Richard,” then hung up the phone; that night I should’ve been there for her.