May 11, 2018

Three Poems by W.B. Cornwell: " Within a Dream," "Cherry Smoke," and "Speakeasy"

W. B. (William Benjamin) Cornwell is an award-winning poet and one half of the writing team known as Storm Sandlin. Since 2014 he has been published in nearly a dozen books. In 2016 he and his cousin, A. N. Williams, co-ran the campaign for Elwood Indiana’s Poetry Month. He is also a featured writer for, a charter member of The Write Idea, and a member of Last Stanza Poetry Association.

Within a Dream

The air is thick with the scent of her cotton-candy perfume
Flashes of fantasies morph into a temporary reality.
As we ride on the back of a jewel-covered elephant
eating chocolate cheesecake and sipping sodas
we quote lines from 1990’s sitcoms that we caught as reruns
holding hands and sharing kisses

We snatch at cherries as we pass rows of trees
eating the sweet, tangy flesh from around the pits that we toss to the ground.
Her fingertips, stained cherry red, play with the curls in my hair as she smiles

It is hard to say what is dreamier—the scene or her beauty
Her deep-blue eyes, her fiery hair a blaze of color against her velvety, milky skin
made even lovelier as she blushes when I tell her I love her

Cherry Smoke

Pipes that once held his cherry tobacco
sit in an ashtray in the corner of the room.
Not to be smoked, but to serve as a memento—
merely to state that he was here, that he was loved

I long for times that are few and far between
when the air decides to carry the scent
when the sun shines in and the wood is brought to life
releasing the scent, strong and sweet

When I sit here I can clearly picture him
in his old chair, his pipe in hand, a cup of coffee on the table.
A ghost of his smoke leaps from one of the pipes to the ceiling
the air full of that nostalgic aroma


Enter a world of jazz and gin
Where smoke from cigarettes builds thick clouds
Countless strands of beads around flappers’ necks rattle and swing
In one corner, brave men—or maybe just bluffing poker players—test their luck

Music takes hold of all those in this blue-lit den
Drums and their echoing beat, the chime of brass cymbals
A piano’s enchanting melody as hands bring its keys to a climax
A cello’s hypnotizing notes that satisfy each ear
And a sax with its seductive purr, reminding you why you came.
Jazz is a living creature, bold yet smooth, its rhythm consuming all

Time is ignored into the early morning hour.
Life outside of jazz and gin is hard and rough.
They can’t let reality enter this world.
For when reality breaks through the clouds of cigarette smoke
and when the music stops
the truth is all that remains….

~W.B. Cornwell

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