The Works of Joan McNerney 

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Camel Saloon, CircleShow, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, Missing of the Birds, and included in Bright Hills Press, Kind of A Hurricane Press and Poppy Road Review anthologies. She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net, Poet and Geek recognized her work as their best poem of 2013.  Four of her books have been published by fine small literary presses.


All Poems © Joan McNerney 


If only it had not rained

the sky black and wet as

we hurried across streets.

Perhaps had he worn a

light coat it would have

been easier to spot.

Maybe if the cab driver

were not so tired, if

headlights shone brighter.

How many hundreds of things

lead him to that corner.

For instance staying late

to check computer printouts.

The cab driver had felt like

going home at six but wanted

to make $100 that day.

Everything lead to the cab

slipping along 3rd Avenue.

Him in front of his office

and then lunging out to

avoid a puddle.

There was no one to blame

nothing to blame really

not the rain

or the dark coat

not the dim lights

nor the cab driver

who would remember this always

and sometimes blame himself.

It was part of a series

of events of time and place

leading to this conclusion.

An ambulance screamed

down the avenue. His eyes

wide open as he lay

facing the black night.

His time finished

eyes opened as if

staring at something

quite different now.

For A Friend Who Is Dying

Even though oceans

have been charted

mountaintops marked

there are no words

for your pain.

All the stratosphere

of heaven climbed yet

there is no course

through human sorrow.

Every muscle counted

and every bone but

no formula was written

for your grief.

In languages of

languages chromosomes

numbered named. What

can be said to your

sorrow, your pain?


Would you like to unwind

an afternoon at the lake?

Solar sparks spilling over us

in showers of golden sizzle.

Put on short shorts, skimpy tops,

stick our toes into oozy mud.

Breezes will shake treetops

while we listen to birdsongs.

Why not float on new grass

facing an Alice blue sky?

Read celestial comic strips

from mounds of clouds.

We can count sunbeams,

chase yellow butterflies.

Devour bowls of cherries

painting our lips crimson.

This noontime is perfumed

with illions of wild flowers.

Let’s go away all

embraced by the goddess.



Ripples creep over our feet.

Should we stand shivering or

dive in?  Lose our footprints?


The sun is a giant beach ball.

See it splashing through

waves all red violet blue.


Weaving around this ocean

my legs encircle your waist.

You are so massive and wonderful.


Perhaps we can discover some

great canyons where stars

fell one billion years ago.


I see beams of light in

your hands touching their

cool luminosity now.




That was the name of a paint

can from J&M Hardware.


With sweat lingering on her

face, she colored her room.


Tinted now like insides of

ripe plums, like perfect grapes.


When the sizzling lemon sun

dropped from heaven...night

became moist and black.


Her fan whirled thick air

stained with cigarettes

coffee, turpentine, white wine.


She sank into her wicker couch

as fog horns trail the horizon.


Lotus screech relentlessly for water

always wanting more more more water.


Closing her eyes, remembering him

now tasting the feast of his smile.

SeaScape at Sunset


My mind is an ocean

where swimmers, surfers,

sun worshippers cavort.


Long salty hair

held between

their teeth.


wild flowered gowns

                         …streams of silk

                               waves of taffeta

                                splashy lace.


They sail through

my watery face

combing my eyes

whispering in my ears.


Alone, under a pointillist sky.

Gulls flying around me.

Black waters touched by

moon of vague prophecy.


The Subliminal Room

That weepy October

marigolds were so full.

I made an omelet with

them. Do you remember?

All November, leaves

mixed with rain, making

streets slippery. We

listened mostly to Chopin.

Leaves droop in September

too ripe and heavy for

trees. I was careful

not to slip, dreading

when leaves would grow

dry and crumble.

Some live all winter

through the next spring.

Chased by winds, they

huddle in corners,

reminding me of mice.

I confessed to you

how I loved Russian

poets and waited for

a silent revolution,

revealing my childhood

possessed by rosaries

and nuns chanting Ave,

Ave, Ave Maria. "Your

navel exudes the warmth

of 10,000 suns", you said.

We still live in this

subliminal room.

Jonah did not want to

leave the whale's stomach.

We continue trying to

decipher Chopin. Your

eyes are two bunches of

morning glories. Sometimes

the sky is so violet.

Will we ever live by the

sea, Michael, and eat

carrots? I do not want

my sight to fail. Hurry,

the dew is drying on the