Rita Rose


Superficial are narcissistic smiles

truths hide in trappings of our cloistered mind

mirth is disguised, contrived and often vile

competing on a plane where sorrow binds

To ourselves be true; our essence loathes lies

do not wallow in sorrow behind pain

to the world, be aware, open your eyes

there is living to do; with all to gain

And yet, grief will rip the sore deeper still

until our grimacing skull is revealed

and taunt of death claims all our jaunty masks

Our beating heart refines the reaper’s skill

to expunge with scythe unreal Botox smiles

and peels our gaiety of mask at last

RITA ROSE is an internationally published poet, author and playwright. She is also poet laureate of the Long Island LGBTQ community 2018-2020, and has received The Lifetime Achievement award for poetry and activism. Her newest poetry collection, Flower Poems: Personalities in Bloom is currently available in bookstores.


DR DAVID B AXELROD was Suffolk County’s and is now Volusia County, Florida, Poet Laureate  appointed for 2015-2023. He’s been published in hundreds of magazines, anthologies; twenty-two books of poetry—the newest, All Vows: New & Selected Poems. Read more about him at his website: www.poetrydoctor.org.