Two Poems by Martin Willitts Jr

The Story of Absence

In watercolors, it is helpful to leave blank spaces
for the viewer to fill in, splash in their own colors.

An empty net needs filling, says the fisherman,
to the silent reflective lake. Grandma says, leave
one imperfect stitch, and an eye will balance it.
The hint of absence is important in jazz.
My father tangled in deaf silence,
pieced together meaning.

In watercolors, it is helpful to move fast,
let colors collide, let dry, hope the impression lasts.

A hummingbird
left behind the impression of here-and-gone,
emptiness and filling.

Mother says my imagination is bedeviling,
Sometimes, in life, it is better leaving some blanks.


Rain and Afterwards

The sound of rain — the hammering of roofing nails.
The cold, purple sky shivers
and broods,
prowls over us, blocking sunlight.
Rain’s haggard face tells both a new and old story,
as tender as first love
entering the brick house of our hearts,
making us sing for no reason,
singing loudly, not caring
if our song disturbs complete strangers.
My soul eats up this music, can’t get enough of it.


Martin Willitts Jr, edits the Comstock Review, judges New York State Fair Poetry Contest. Nominated for 17 Pushcart and 13 Best of the Net awards. Winner of the 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Contest; Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, 2015, Editor’s Choice; Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, Artist’s Choice, 2016, Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize, 2018; Editor’s Choice, Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, 2020. His 25 chapbooks include the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, “The Wire Fence Holding Back the World” (Flowstone Press, 2017), plus 21 full-length collections including Blue Light Award “The Temporary World.” His new book is “All Wars Are the Same War” (FutureCycle Press, 2022).

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