Three Poems – Avery Stempel

Avery Stempel is a performance poet who has been turning everyday experience, cosmic insight and philosophic questioning into lyrical portraits and sharing them in the Albany area for over 15 years. He has been featured at Poets Speak Loud Reading, Live From the Living Room at the Pride Center in Albany, the St. Poem Reading Series at the UAG Gallery on Lark Street, and at the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors in Wappingers Falls.


A Philosopher and a Neuroscientist Walk into a Bar…

no, this is not the beginning of  some inane joke…

no, this is not a parable intended to relate some strange moral…

and no, this is not a metaphor attempting to illuminate some esoteric concept…

this is real life

this is the precursor event to discussions about culture and community, about brain receptors and psychedelics, about evolution and intelligent design…

this is how change happens




proposals of new ideas

building of new crenellations

the firing off of neurons

this is how change happens

minds opening up… gears turning…  cogs spinning… wheels rolling over mental pavement…

get out there and talk… share stories… make plans…  argue… define… digress…

change happens the moment we open our mouths… the moment we open our minds… the moment we exchange information

building bridges… opening doors…  putting on another’s shoes

this is real life

this is how change happens



A Dream

I dream of the old Steel Monstrosities of the 40’s and 50’s…

the Giant metal camels humping along newly laid asphalt in the days of Neal and Jack.

I dream of the road…

spreading out endlessly before me, the wind at my back, the whipping yellow lines and pulsing dashes fading far off into the distance.

I dream of community…

a cadre of companions strewn across the land, a welcoming smile on every face that’s passed, with an offer of a warm cup of coffee or a cold glass of liquor to help occupy the time.

I dream of freedom…

Nothing left to lose, not a dollar in my wallet, or a morsel in my belly, yet full, full, full, full of life, full of experience, full of dreams, full of that secret known only to those who have wandered and poked and proded into the great expanse’s imagination itself; who have seen the crystalline snowflakes covering skin and trees and rocks and cars alike with neither remorse nor hesitation; who have seen the bubbling roaring overflowing rivers singing lonely dirges and franticly crooned love songs to the skies; have seen the hawk’s rippling feathers supporting its glide over prairie and hill; who have witnessed the very earth standing perfectly still.

I dream of passion…

That deeply rooted urge to explore, to discover, to intimate oneself with the very fabric of this great cosmos; to get your hands dirty, to feel, to gyrate with the rhythm of the stars, to sink elbows deep into the muck of love and life and crisis and drama and success and failure and laughter and tears and expression and fantastic exuberance for the big dream itself!

I dream of the road

I dream of the road

I dream…

of the road


A Murder!

A whole flock!

An entire crowd!

A murder!

Diving, spiraling, swooping, ascending, descending, twirling

But NEVER colliding!

A writhing cloud of black feathers, and black beaks, and black claws ‘caw-caw-cawing’ its way across the tree-tops

Filling the horizon

Blackening the sky




In flight

An amazing sight

A frightful murder in the fading light


A whole flock!

An entire crowd!

A murder!