Richard Murphy



Vision from Penal Colony for the Unemployed

Where money earned in sleep
draws a blueprint,
systemic disinformation
offers up for “news” dinner:
Bad apples satisfy, fill.

Manufactured apathy manipulates;
engineered culture ignores,
but unfolding the map,
the good cognitive scout
can signal where distractions dangle
to camouflage the predicaments
and the right questions to ask.

Social justice commandos
struggle against international terrorism
at home; arm-in-arm citizen-raids
unearth again and again.
The entrenched deep state persists.

Delivered by local police in armor,
the non-pliable workers occupy
within walled streets.
The fiat-scrambled FEMA camps
for interns employ to shave into slant, spin
with razor wire that prevents
the coming democracy.

Disposed to suffering more
than to make right by abolishing,
the scapegoat and patient wait
for invisible hands to lift together
to oust the puppeteer for the sharer,
the black hatted magician for an orchestra.


Richard Murphy’s recent poetry may be found in Pennsylvania Review, Former People, Fjord Review, E.ratio, Literati Quarterly, Otoliths, Euphony, The Straddler, James Dickey Review, Harbinger Asylum, Blast Furnace, and Blue Fifth Review: Blue Five Notebook.

His recent prose scholarship on poetics has been published in Imaginary Syllabus, Anthology chapters, Palm Press; Journal of the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning; The International Journal of the Humanities; Fringe Magazine; Reconfigurations: A Journal of Poetry and Poetics; The Journal of Ecocriticism; Folly Magazine; and New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing.

Mr. Murphy has published three books of poetry, including The Apple in the Monkey Tree, published in 2007 (Codhill Press), Voyeur, published in 2009 (Gival Press), and Americana, selected as the winner in the Prize Americana 2013 by The Institute for American Studies and Creative Writing. His chapbooks include Family Secret (Finishing Line Press), Hunting and Pecking (Ahadada Books), Phoems for Mobile Vices (BlazeVox), Rescue Lines (Right Hand Pointing) and Great Grandfather (Pudding House Publications).