CCD Presents: Poetry from R. Lee Riley

By R. Lee Riley of the Winston-Salem Writers


Potted Shadow Whose Weight I Feel Tonight

There is a big lurking shadow,
something on the dirty curb just last night
now getting all cozy in my living room.
New presence in this house.
Blocking the front window view
my giraffed neck the wingback chair.
Reeking of gin needles.
I can feel it standing there, breathing.
Tomorrow though
a dress in evergreen so pretty
we’ll make her hems glow and hat her little star.
Fresh shrubbery thirsty in a pot,
beheaded on my porch tonight.
Sleep well, living one.



Not Seen but for the Star

Every drive, car windowed blurred
unless the carriage stopped in traffic absurd
doth eyeroll catch a single pine cone tree,
for not your roadway’s genocide
its family, flattened all DOT.
So yes like Mr. Bean at wheel
I now bow to trees the highway drive.
As you go by.
Its roots reach there underneath
to feel such ancestors’ bones of sorrow
still deep beneath
your transmission gas and oil tanks.
Standing there
immovable, season in parade
your days driven by
all but dizzy you.
Today though. Today.
We go by lots of trees and stop.
Leaned up on wall and chopped,
we’ll pick one from the lot
strap it up a moose on Subaru the stakes
and drive it Jesus cross-walk by all those trees home.
There, there
stand still now.
Here’s a dish of water….
a pretty skirt, floorboard border
to hide the awful truth of slaughter.
Ornaments and lights, a star abright
and oh yes…
how we’ll bow at glowing tree tonight!
But me. I bow to all the trees.
I close my eyes for just a sec
from Glamour’s introspect
just to say a word
for Fred and Joe
so cold out there on Highway nine.


Formaldehyde Outside

Christmas in New England
has a highway worth its trip in gold,
Yankee Brick Road.
How odd, coming home so quick.
A sticky gray drapes the Carolina trees,
shrouds tonight that shrug and wheeze
and just hang around on stage,
waiting for the Star. . .
Formaldehyde outside.
our occupied home who now surrounds,
is Nature in confounds,
as if the swiftly spirited we
still not there for Play.


r-lee-rileyNative New Englander R. Lee Riley earned his B.A. from the University of Rhode Island, where he studied broadcast and print Journalism and semiotics. With a passion for words and storytelling, he has recorded news, audio novels, and poetry for the national non-profit Radio Reading Services. Lee has been a featured poet for the Camel City Dispatch, and in 2016 his poem “Signs and Thunders” was published in Winston Salem Writer’s third annual anthology “Flying South.” “Sun is Yellow,” a still-life in verse about how children see the world, appeared in shop windows and on city busses when it was selected for the spring 2016 Poetry in Plain Sight program. He actively writes several blogs featuring prosaic essays, poetry, illustrations, photography, and even his own recorded work from SoundCloud.


Founded in 2005, Winston-Salem Writers is a group of writers who write fiction, non-fiction, plays and poetry, and who care about the art and craft of writing. They offer programs, workshops, critique groups, open mic nights, contests and writers’ nights out for both beginning writers and published authors. For more information, click HERE.