Traversing the Oceans

Submitted by Chris Black

Traversing the oceans.
It lay there baking
In the heat of the noon day sun

Destined hopefully to be washed out
On the next incoming tide.

Then again perhaps not
Depending on how long it would take
For the proper assistance to arrive on the scene.

Separated from its school
Or maybe frightened by those
Out whale spotting
Why they just can’t be left in peace
To carry on with natures plan.

They have more sense than
To come ashore checking on the antics
Of human kind.


Vita Brevis accepts submissions year-round–send us your best work!
Photo: Fishermen at Sea painting – JMW Turner


The Ledger

Submitted by Dr. Mark Weissman

I am a counter
not certified
not diplomed but I count
all things
I count them and place it in my
light speed and stargaze at
ultimate infinities in the most sparce
expanding to the null
I count them and place it in my
streams of defied purity
subterranean fugues and hallowed
I count them and place it in my
parisian autumns and serenades in
silent gesture
staccatos at an adjacent edge
I count them and place it in my
I can not weigh the words
I can not meter the thoughts or
no problem
I count the synapses
I count them and place it in my
I woe weary now as of late
the papers are thin and seem
so I count them and place it in my
I am a counter

Vita Brevis is accepting poetry submissions year-round. Send us your best work!
Photo Credit: Durer – Two Hands Holding a Pair of Books

A Woodpecker on the Grass

Submitted by Shaun Clamp

A woodpecker on the grass
needling for worms
Shooting through the damp
green sea; its wing a mussel shell
blotched with barnacles
Its glistening spear

Vita Brevis is currently accepting poetry submissions!
Photo credit: John James Audubon – Pileated Woodpecker

Monthly Poetry Contest Winners!

The results are in! We had fantastic (and wonderfully novel) submissions this time around. It was a tough choice, but here are the winners of our monthly poetry competition.

*On the Next Competition: As of right now, we can’t afford to host competition next month–donations have slowed down over past few weeks. But don’t worry, we’ll get one going soon! Thanks for your patience and support!*

Continue reading Monthly Poetry Contest Winners!

EDITOR’S CHOICE: Father and Son

EDITOR’S CHOICE AWARD: bringing our favorite previously-published poems back to the front page.

Submitted by Ronald E. Shields

My father worked and read.
He drank and laughed.
There was no other way.
Thirty years in the Marine Corps –
then left to find his place in this world.
Fractured by war, I am left with a black scar.
A black swan rising from the tar of torment and doubt.
Tarnished stars and scarlet ribbons
parade through my dreams, emblems of a dead soul.
A hero’s nightmare is no tomb from which to rise.
Hatred could have been a shudder in my father’s soul.
Silence could have been a frock for anger.
Once a young man fleeing poverty,
he returned from Korea furious for freedom,
plagued by desires and limits.
I no longer speak the common language.
A ghost in my country, cold with loneliness.
I ride the barges on the Mississippi River.
I have no roots but the ones I drag behind.
I am poor.
The river will freeze over in winter.
In time, the ice will break, I will follow my father.
Our ashes will mingle with silt and flow to the Gulf,
the way snow drifts in the from the west
to fall and melt and find its place on this world.

Are you a literary writer or poet? Send us your best work!
Photo credit: River Landscape, evening – Frits Thaulow


Submitted by Ali Grimshaw

In the unfinished

before the credits scroll past

can you choose acceptance

without an end,

before the conclusion

without approval from the crowd?

Between the ribs, within

deeply, a voice

the one you used to hear

before you thought the others

were the ones that mattered

knew better and overruled your soul.

Before you decided

who you weren’t going to be.


Vita Brevis is currently open to poetry submissions!
Photo Credit: Rene Magritte – Pilgrim


Submitted by Gary Glauber

This tenuous flirtation,
the costs of acting coy,
whispering as if volume
could shout denial,
yet nothing cancels out.
This poverty of reason
subverted by emotion
converts thought to fantasy,
to smattering cacophony
of nasty scenario.
He, convinced he has
willed her into existence,
conjured from prior thought
into flesh & hot blood,
believes the impossible,
through mundane messages
read over & over to
yield hidden meanings.
This pitiful desperate
grandeur of delusion
is exercise in modern futility,
sugar-coated by platitudes
& a string of complex emojis.
This ego massage lasts only so long,
then rubs the wrong way,
dead bouquet in graveyard,
strewn by strong winds
& sotto voce goodbye.


Are you a Poet? We’d love to publish your work!
Photo Credit: René Magritte – The Lovers