Poems by Michael L. C. Morgan


Broaden the theme but be concise
Not quite what we’re looking for
It’s underdeveloped
Wonderful piece but we support local writers
A tad trite cliched stereotyped prosey
colorless derivative flat too loose
Needs tightening
Falls apart in the last stanza
Drop the prepositions
Ever heard of punctuation?!?!?!?
Try a gerund
It’s still too loose
Needs more tightening
Been said before and better
Everything is adjectives
We’ve declared war on adverbs
Attack your subject
Remember the Alamo
Remember the Maine
Remember Pearl Harbor
Forget it it’s still too loose
The best poem ever written about a cat
is still just a poem about a cat
Parse it
It needs phrasing
Why do you CAPITALIZE every line
(It won’t happen again so help me ben franklin)
thank you for your recent submission
it’s too tight
we notice that you’re allergic to commas
don’t think of this as a rejection notice
have you tried Hallmark cards
we told you not to capitalize
try us again
keep tightening
it’s stil too loose
there are courses for your particular style
of poetry try one soon sooner than that
we enjoy reading your efforts
keep writing
it’s still too loose
nouns are words too try using one sometime
perhaps you should consider another poem
this just isn’t working
but keep writing do keep writing
your attempts show promise
you have unique skills
in all future correspondence please
enclose a SASE
it’s still too loose
keep tightening
I’m afraid it’s hopeless
many great novelists began this way.

–featured in Poetpourri, 1994 but a continuing classic among editors!

—for Barry Couillard

Valium and Vivaldi are not natural partners,
so he began to hum some Handel adagio,
when they brought in the gurney.
He fought to keep his mind alert, tested harmonies
and chased eighth notes up ascending scales.

He saw his advent through the hospital hallways
as a resounding Bach fugue for organ.
It was all cadence and repeated tempos,
a river of music pulling him toward clouds
of blue gowns and icy scalpels.

Doors opened and in his Demerol dreams
he was strutting to a podium,
as a theater was filling with applause.
Turning to the orchestra, he tapped for attention
with the baton, then waved his arms intently
and the room filled with symphonic drama.

He thought he felt the blade slide along his side
and saw himself a martyr, flayed alive as strip
after strip of fresh flesh peeled away
from his torso. Still he waved his arms
and his silent screams blended into
a series of Requiems. He was conducting
Mozart, then performing Berlioz, on to Brahms,
then Faure and finally Verdi.

Ah, Verdi! This is where it had to end.
He felt himself grow weary, the baton becoming lead.
Still he drove them toward the final bars,
the continuing throb of repeated “Amens.”

And then it was over. He knew it had been a triumph.
The silence of the applause was all that he remembered,
hands moving over him with deliberate and, finally,
tender dexterity, while the Amens went on
and on.

—Reprinted from The Comstock Review, Fall 2000


With time
the cherub face
became the child herself,
a life in bas-relief, hewn stone


Monet’s “Impression, Sunrise”
hanging in a waiting room
caught a jaundiced eye
and he saw himself
at the oar of a dark skiff
tediously rowing toward
the shimmering glow
like the painting itself
that all was expectation;
and hope
too distant to matter
would rise to fill a day
which for him
would never come.

— Both reprinted from The Comstock Review/ Poetpourri

Michael Morgan died on May 7, 2005 in Syracuse, NY at 58 years of age. He is survived by his mother, two sisters, and lifetime friend Kathleen Bryce Niles. His life is celebrated by many friends, especially those he met through his work as Music Director for St. Lucy’s Roman Catholic Church (for over a quarter of a century) and as Immigration and Naturalization Specialist through the Syracuse City School District since 1970. Here at Comstock Review, we celebrate his work as Founding Member of Comstock Writers’ Group, Inc., Treasurer of the Board for many years, editor, critic and friend.