Columbus, Ohio USA
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Pedro The Cat, Poetry Editor
email pedro@shortnorth.com
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MARCH/APRIL 2014

everyone of
us is the weirdest person
in the universe

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

Past A Thought

The urbanites flock
to the outdoor markets,
eager to shop
the pop-up stands,
where vendors offer
produce from their backyard plots,
sweet gems they’ve coaxed
from acreage they have given back,
where crafters’ busy hands
have taken the time to
fashion something
that could last,
or at least,
linger past
a thought.

The urbanites
are eager to buy.
They are tired
of the urban life.
So they bring their bags
and make a symbolic choice
and try to take back
the power they have lost.

© Sharon Reeb

 

Breath

Breath,
the soft suicide
that stinks of
death,
of which its end
is either end
or test of that in us
which never rests,
the extraterrestrial
released from Earth
and reaching forth,
reborn,
creative and
gasping for
the unknown.

© Sharon Reeb

 

big city, modern
world, rat race—must i wait till
death to catch my breath?

© Rick Klaus Theis

a man without pants
argues with a parking lot
attendant—New York

© Rick Klaus Theis

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014

poetry, speeches,
seductions, sales pitches – all
just artful burping

© Rick Klaus Theis


Chains

Chains, unconsciousness, arrows
and lightning
Flashing throughout my thoughts—
Eidetic images before thought—
My guts ache.
Pain.
Pleasure in wine—
The drink of histories;
Destinies;
Time.

I bathe my psyche and soul
in the sweetness—blankness.
Let evolutions go by.
Why should I bother
to understand?
Differences should make
no matter to me—
the wine, the rhyme.
Come to me and envelope
my existence
my distance
my time.

© Michael Bookie Buchenroth

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013

Remembering Pearl, An Old Timer

Standing at the barred entrance of her last resort,
a worn packet of misdemeanors,
she peers inside,
sees her support group huddled safe against street
temptations.
Clawing at the locks
she hunkers against the closed gate in her tatters of pride,
closes her eyes,
remembers her last lock-up.

Lying curled, fetal-shaped on the bare metal,
(mattress removed for fear of fire)
railing against society and all its pits
she demands to be released; yet grasps hard the cold metal,
curses her jailer, too drunk to care.

Later, one link in a blue chambray chain of old sidekicks,
she meekly edges forward for her plate of thick gruel.
Warmed by the thumping steam radiators,
clensed by strong unbrand soap,
Pearl re-enters her cocoon; and metamorphosis begins.

Keepers in white coats move, keys jangle,
flashlights send bright swords between dark parallels
at intervals through the still night.
she turns from the light, knots herself tightly,
safe in the jail woman’s spa.

Now there is no room at the inn.

Pearl is not tuned to work release,
to waxing front desks at City Hall,
toting bedpans at the county hospital – 
rehabilitation in the public eye.

She expects to wallow in misery in her usual gray space
until alcohol loses its grip;
then polish brass door knobs in the shadows of rear corridors,
crochet foolish edgings on linen handkerchiefs,
smooth matrons’ white uniforms to an ironed polish,
andwhen the work is done,
share stolen cigarettes over old romance novels
in the fifth floor court
turned mauve by the afternoon sun.

The jailer appears,
“Just put her in the hallway overnight.
Tomorrow, she can join in trash patrol.”

© Laura Hank Hilton

 

Requiescat in pace

“Hey, man,” he says,’ “in summer
it’s not too bad.”
“A piece of cardboard, or a tarp
keeps you dry.”
He dreads changing seasons.

Some nights he imagines himself young.
He sits on the steps at his house,
watches fireflies, captures their light
in an empty Mason jar.
He runs in the dark across the lawn.
“Look, Ma, here’s diamonds for you.”

The extra layers of worn clothing
he wears become his shroud.
He says that he’s tired of searching
for a room to sleep in.
All the places he’s been – flophouses,
church basements, mission halls,
the soup kitchens blur deliriously
in his mind as he dreams snatches
of blue sky.
Last sloshes of wine slip inside him
warm as a forgotten hug.

No one claims him at the morgue.

© Betsy Kennedy


Subway Tunnel

In the dead of night
I walk alone
Down a long subway tunnel
Flooded by fluorescent light.
My gaze becomes locked on my feet:
Left, right…
Left, right…
Left, right…
My trance is enhanced
By their rhythmic beat:
Left, right…
Left, right…
Left, right…
I watch them forever
Rise and fall…
Rise and fall…
Rise and fall—
Suddenly a wall.

© Rick Klaus Theis

even the least of
us has accomplished the feat
of being alive

© Rick Klaus Theis

city’s pulsing, brash,
frantic swarms spawn urban din--
much ado about ________

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

And I’m not sure why
this train hasn’t jumped its tracks
or why hobos smile.

© A. Young

 

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013

Loss

Summer ends.
I fold it away like a frayed towel,
useful for everyday,
not for guests.

When summer returns
it will be a fresh season,
with warm taste of rain and sun
replacing perfume
of lilacs, sudden
surprise of snowdrops
in spring.

It is the other seasons the heart fears –
slow-dying autumn,
bleak winter
where sorrow lurks heavy as stones,
unlike those easily skipped
across water.

Sorrows hide in the dark, obscure
any meager winter beauty,
create a loss of comfort
that’s not alleviated
by light of stars,
or an uncertain moon.

© Betsy Kennedy

dark comes early
all the mothers calling
their children home

© Yvonne Hardenbrook
New Zealand, 1995

 

Summer House

The sea wall – a barrier against crash
of waves –
leaves a few gaps where I can slip through
when the tide washes out
and walk to the water’s edge.

Summer – that warm, idle time – soon ends.
Like a postscript added to a letter,
the house will close.
I’ll miss windows without curtains,
the sea breeze, cool wood floors,
gritty with trackied-in sand.

My summer house is a protective shell,
similar to ones I carry from the beach.
Some give a glimpse of deep color inside,
others curl tightly as a labyrinth,
keep whatever’s inside a hidden mystery.

I regret the season’s end,
aware of Circe’s wild and lonely call
that persists with an urgency
as strong as the sea.

© Betsy Kennedy

 

These Are The Rules

These are the rules
no snuffling, no shuffling
no whining and bemoaning
no groaning, no crying
no lying and denying
don't sniffle, don't snuffle
don't rattle in the battle
don't design, don't resign
just live and live and live
hum and sing
love you will bring
put the fife in life
the joy in joi de vivre
These are the rules

no willy, no nilly
no mamby, no pamby
you do it or you don't it
you will it or you won't it
these are the rules.
Stop and smell the roses
or I'll punch you in the noses

no obeisance to obsolescence
you sing it, you sing it
you live it, you love it
not so-so like a yo-yo
bring it, sing it, wing it
just live your life
like you love it
no wiffling, no waffling
you're in or you're out
free or foul
here and howl
These are the rules.

© John Vazquez

 

i’d prefer she keep
being the person she pretended
to be when we met

© Rick Klaus Theis

sleep cursing: “f***ing
knees hurt, too much
kneeling’; wake:
knees fine, off to work

© Rick Klaus Theis

JULY/AUGUST 2013

Me and Albert Einstein

Me and Albert Einstein
we got the same crazy hair
it would be a treat
if we could meet the jokes we'd share
about our hair
our crazy, crazy hair

Crazy hair, witch hair
just got out of bed hair
crazy hair, hat hair
just stuck my finger in a socket hair
crazy hair, wild man hair
just took a shower and ran hair

He'd call me son
I'd call him Dad
Hey, Dad, you got a brush?
A brush, what's the rush?
It's so very relative.
Hey, son, you got some gel?
I'd say what the hell­–
I'm busy writing for a spell

Dad, you got a comb?
No, i just have e=mc2
That will have to do.
Son, you got a comb?
No, but I got this poem
about my hair
my crazy, crazy hair

Albert Einstein and me
we share the hair
Albert Einstein and me
not a care about our hair
my Dad and me with
our I-don't-give-a-damn hair

Albert Einstein and me
our hair flying free
Albert Einstein and me
free as we can be
Albert Einstein and me
without a care
and our crazy, crazy hair

© John Vazquez

Wild Mornings

Lounge under an old oak
leaning in the wind, storms due,
soak in a bubble bath
sipping dandelion wine,
skip around the yard in rain
to Baez’s Diamonds and Rust,
towel-dry while the dog
licks rain-drops off my ageless legs,
collars me for the work
licks my crumbs.

© Anna Soter

The Bomb

She's already shown us that picture of her unluckier mother,
Who died when she hit forty, standing under a trellis
Of vivid white roses, or filling it really, by the shingled white house
On the quiet north side of pre-war Columbus, filling it like
She would her casket, before the summer was over, that is,
In her listless dark dress too weak to strike the livelier poses,
About to call it quits and perish from cancer of the breast.

She's shown us the one of her father, too, who died when she was six,
Shot in a downtown studio the year the goiter drove him,
At thirty, back to the country in a hearse to his grave, the sharp nose,
The pointed chin, the defiant gaze he gave the brazen camera
For staring at him, and the starched collar fastened
By a slender silver pin at the throat the goiter would climb,
Thinking it was King Kong and he the Empire State Building.

Our mother's even shown us the one of herself, the year before
We entered the war, beaming from the seat of a bare iron tractor,
In shiny black pumps, white summer dress, and thick black hair
More or less oblivious to the grimace of her grandfather,
The steep shadow cast by his big straw hat, the bib overalls
He barely filled, behind her on the hitch of the mowing machine,
And the hay bales throwing rectangular shadows on the harvested field.

We leaf through the photographs she has spilled across the couch
In drifts from a grocery sack she stores in a box in a closet, most
In black and white from the 30s and 40s—from trips with friends
To New York and Boston, weekends at Buckeye Lake, reunions
On the family farms—then others in color starting sometime
In the 1950s, coinciding with the birth of her children, as if a life
Could become more vivid with each lived decade.

And then, as if to illustrate that point more colorfully, we come across
Pictures of my sister and me playing in the fallen leaves
Of the ash tree that shades the entire front yard, one sunny day
Of a beautiful Ohio autumn—gold, copper, and bronze,
Serrated and oval—in the same yard that would drift just as deeply
Come winter with snow, blown by the wind in waves on the yard,
That we would roll into snowmen that she also shows us pictures of.

Putting them back in the grocery sack, we find it difficult
To keep our mother’s life straight—to keep it going back inside
In reverse—so we mix the pictures up on purpose, hoping not
To confuse her much; but the surfaces of the photographs
Are even more slippery than the recollection of particular events—
Wedding receptions, Christmases, Easters, vacations, and aftermaths
Of storms that no one could recall ever having seen the likes of.

Here's the one of our father, bare-chested at boot camp in the Dakotas
In the 40s, wielding a long knife in the dust outside the barracks,
Crouched to kill some Japs and Krauts and sporting a cocky grin;
One of my sister, in long hair and navy blue pantsuit, standing
With her boyfriend in our square front yard beside his red Corvette
The day of the prom; and one of me, too, at five or six at most,
With a football in the back yard, knitting my brow, cocking
My arm, and leaning back to throw the long pass they called The Bomb.

© Scott Ruescher
Cambridge, Massachusetts

 

July Days

Come, bring back July days when boys and girls
raced after the ice cream wagon in a flurry of fear
that the driver wouldn’t wait for them
to find their pennies. The ice cream slid easily down

throats, melting soft as silken scarves
older sisters wrapped around thin shoulders
as they practiced Hedy Lamarr looks
in twilight upstairs rooms.

And the front porch - where the scent of honeysuckle
lingered,
and morning glories spilled black seeds
like broken beads on the steps.

I recall how my aunts, posed in the swing,
fresh-painted nails bright as red flags, exchanged
latest Photoplay gossip.
Fireflies vanished in the dark, elusive as aborted
dreams.

Neighbors called to one another then. Laughter
splintered across yards, brittle as broken glass.
At times, firecracker arguments sparked
the evening, sputtered to stillness.
Late home stragglers from the corner bar
exhaled whiskey-warm breath into humid air

while in the kitchen my father sliced lemons.
We children traded turns, stirred the lemonade
in the old stone jar.

© Betsy Kennedy

The Wise Ones

Children may explain tears
saying, “Look, the sky cries,”
when they see rain glide down
window glass.

I might think of tears
as small waterfalls,
or a bit of river that swirls
into shiny puddles.

A child’s tears are free flowing
hot splashes of sorrow
that gives release
from pent-up storms.

It is we who impose restrictions,
bury our tears deep,
leave them hidden,
feel their moans like sad meows
of the soul.

© Betsy Kennedy

 

office flower in
styrofoam cup is owned by
man in cubicle

© Rick Klaus Theis

office worker falls
on “slippery floor” – nothing to
do with spike-heel shoes

© Rick Klaus Theis

summer­—the season
i most wait for each year and
then savor each day

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

MAY/JUNE 2013

The green canoe,
ash gunnels down,
lays over old saw horses.
her ribs, dried, worn, by a lifetime
gliding the surface of the lake,
now ache with age
wanting only
to feel weight on her cage,
the sensual slip of the water
over her once sleek body;
the touch of the paddle on her side.

© David Hetzler


spring skies
the slow blossoming
of a jet trail

© Yvonne Hardenbrook
November 1990

 

so amusing, this
human blend of god and beast –
tragicomedy

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

Piano Man

Lively tunes, pied piper notes
lure those passing into the honky-tonk cafe
where Fred “Fingers” Malloy
shirtsleeves fastened with fancy garters
he promised a blonde from Topeka
he’d wear forever
swivels
on an orange piano stool
clamps a cigar in his mouth
pushes back his rolled-brimmed hat
thumps out the abrasive “Rag.”

Rowdies in the saloon
slosh their beer
tap feet to rhythmic music
noisy as Bourbon Street, rolling
as the Mississippi, and jangling as a calliope.

Toward dawn, “Fingers”
mixes in a smattering of “Blues.”
The smoldering sound
drifts like dusky smoke rings
enveloping as fog
into the quiet street.

© Betsy Kennedy

MARCH/APRIL 2013

Hallucination at Hoover Reservoir

With all my pedantic ranting and raving beneath the moon that night,
I must have seemed like a jerk to my friends on the shore
Of the reservoir near Hoover Dam—like an egotistical nut
With delusions of grandeur, I mean, and a nasty Napoleon complex,
A pompous psychedelic preacher of bogus Eastern philosophy,
A Ram Dass groupie—prophet of phony higher consciousness,
An Alan Watts wannabe Zen-master from the West Coast,
Or one of those Harvardian Timothy Leary “cosmic goofs”
Who lacked the connections and the bohemian authenticity
Of the Kesey—Ginsberg cult, gone off the deep end
From two years of doing drugs. I don’t mean the Hoover Dam
That was built in the 30s on the Colorado River, though,
And named for Herbert, the ineffectual, anti-intellectual, thirty-first president
Of the United States of America who was partly responsible
For the Great Depression, but the one in Ohio on Big Walnut Creek
That was built in the 50s and named for Clarence and Charles,
The chief engineers of the firm’s downtown-Columbus office.

2
As my confidence increased, I couldn’t help but stroll before them,
A self-appointed prophet of the newly stoned alternative nation
That never would replace, no matter how hard
Its constituents tried, the gray-flannel Puritan establishment
Of suits and narrow ties, strait jackets and nooses
In a very thin disguise. It was just too easy to speak as if to disciples
With my crooked staff of soggy wood, flotsam of willow
Or sycamore, lecturing my friends where they sat on a log
In the hard caked mud, as high as I from chugging
Electric kool-aid from a gallon jug, on the topics of the times—
The psychopathology of conspicuous consumption,
The alienation not only from the means of production
But from knowledge of the origins of our identical possessions,
And the corresponding need to maintain historical connection
In all of its forms, from the geological to the merely ancestral,
From the history of the creek they’d dammed, flooding the farms
Of my mother’s people, to the history of Vietnam’s vulnerability
To colonial power that accounted for the war
That was ending just in time for us to avoid the draft
And land lucky numbers in the newly installed lottery.

Maintain connection, I stressed, clenching my fists
And gritting my teeth, and learn about the cause
Of every public act and object, every common assumption,
Received idea, inane prejudice, or consensual opinion,
Or lose your independence to the insidious forces
Of commercial totalitarianism that had ruined our parents—
Those furnace dealers, accountants, bureaucrats, and bank tellers;
Construction workers, insurance men, and sheet-metal fabricators;
Housewives, butchers, and real estate women
Whose last names, with the exception of Rosati, came straight
From an Anglo-Saxon telephone book: Sutton, Graff, Custer,
And Slay; Ohly, Earle, Ankrom, and Coleman;
Porter, Simms, and Ruescher—Nordic, British, German;
Barbaric Christian and Pagan Crusader Europeans.

3
During that last month of high school, traditionally a time
Of carefree celebration, I must have been a fool
To harangue them like that, presuming with condescension
That they had never thought about those things,
That they were in danger of selling out to the system, becoming
Mindless commuters in jobs that supported capitalism—
And I might never have won their attention back, I realize now
(If in fact I ever had it, and only they can say for sure),
And they might never have forgiven me for taking my show east,
Had they not started shaking their heads and telling me
To just sit down, Ruescher, and shut the fuck up,
And had I not, in my blue jeans, t-shirt, and clodhoppers, turned
In the warm spring air from my trippy stroll of the muddy shore
And looked up to illustrate one final point, the supremacy of nature
To a new car, say, or a color TV, with an exultant invocation
To a full moon so vivid you could practically see,
In the lunar dust from the summer before, the footprints
Of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin—only to find, in a mass of cumulus
Heading toward the moon, the face of the eighth president
Of the United States of America, Martin Van Buren.

4
In that big black sky that the enormous white clouds crossed
On their way to downtown Columbus, I recognized him immediately
From a painting reproduced in an American history textbook,
A picture if not a president known to all high school students
For its mutton chop splendor and its relaxed stateliness,
Now portrayed perfectly in the billowing heap
Of that cumulus cloud—Old Kinderhook himself,
A New York Democrat from a rural Upstate town who served,
If I’m not mistaken, between Andrew Jackson
And William Henry Harrison, from 1837
To 1841, not just the first president
Born an American citizen, but the first one not
Of British descent, the only one ever to serve both
As Secretary of State and Vice-President too, and the first
Whose first language—the Dutch of Peter Stuyvesant
And Rip van Winkle—was not even English, the only
Who’d run again later, but unsuccessfully, on the Free Soil ticket,
And the only one, I freely admit, looking back at myself in shame
While my friends shake their heads and groan at me pointing
At my own hallucination (for some reason I’m sure
That they can see him too—if only they would drop
Their preconceived images of Washington and Lincoln,
Roosevelt and Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon)—the only one able
Till now, I say—until the election and inauguration
Of Barack Hussein Obama—to put an end to one of my rants
Just by looking down at me from a cloud that now covered
The pock-marked face of that newly trodden moon.

© Scott Ruescher
Cambridge, Massachusetts


12 Haikus of Fate

I.
Under a yellow moon
a wild despairing sorrow
opened my heart

II.
Each of us gifted
but everyone wounded.
This is the start.

III.
The great black goddess
runs like a rip tide under
these swollen waters

IV.
No anger, unborn.
Without suffering, no depth.
No soul's direction, no purpose.

V.
Two types of women
in this world -- those I don’t want
those who don’t want me.

VI.
No elders live here.
No mentors for the young.
Community? Gone.

VII.
Walking the canyon
thick with snakes -- a dream-warning
from my unborn son.

VIII.
In my secret box
I hid my winged lion.
Childhood was over.

IX.
Like a mad dog,
the past snapped at his heels,
drawing the blood of remorse.

X.
Dust-smeared nomad
blown like a thistle
chased by barking dogs

XI
Biking the wetlands --
Look! Two blue herons diving
into gray water.

XII.
That summer we rode
the coasters at Cedar Point,
father and son in free-fall

© Jory Farr

 

Black Tea

The first thing I did
in my new place
was make black tea.

It reminded of you,
who we’d be:
a couple at night,
making tea,
writing poetry.

My new roomie
said to me,

“The Wi-Fi is off,
the bill – I don’t know.
Player’s needle jumps,
burners, I guess you realize,
boil so-so.”

It reminded of you,
what we’d actually be:
detached, silent,
cold tea;
bad poetry.

© James Payne
ROY G BIV gallery director

 

Passion Seems a Curse

Passion seems a curse,
when loss scars souls with grief both hard
and deep,
when molten yearning from a cannon heart
courses through the veins with searing heat.

All whom in thought’s quantum stream exist
ride starbits, shrapnel of the Universe,
destined to spread out to Infinite,
the very progeny of Passion’s source.

© Sharon Reeb

 

I Drink Pepsi

Collapsed postulations of Copenhagen-like interpretations
Suggest consciousness’ essentiality
To quantum measurement completion
Is in direction violation
Of the linear Schroedinger equation.

Of course.
Virtual zero-point fluctuations,
A consequence of translational asymmetry,
Future final boundary condition to total absorption
Depending upon retarded casualty,
A condition to totality
And standard Big Bang solvency,
Is certainly a change to General Relativity.

Though,
TV tells me,
Mostly,
To drink Pepsi.

© Michael Bookie Buchenroth, 1998

 

we are all no one,
from the same place—-nowhere, and
all going back there

© Rick Klaus Theis

 


Grief, the sheer plummet
From wholeness to hard loss can
Only be survived.

© Sharon Reeb



My woman left me.
I think I’ll have a good cry
and another beer.

© Mark Stoll



why grasp when we can
take nothing with us – life and
we are emptiness

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013

Really?

Why must we mention whatever it is we must mention
to our spouse, mother, child, whomever?
Why must the phone be answered when
all you’ll say is “Sorry, can’t talk long, gotta run….”
Why does everything have to be finished?
Why does every book have to be completed?
Why does every story have to have an ending?
Every TV drama watched to its depressing conclusion?
Every party attended?
Why must there be a must?

© Anna Soter

Not the Moon

She looms large in my lucid night,
A portent moon
Trailing stars,
Imposing boundaries,
Inducing burdens,
Smothering spaces,
Blocking escape,
Like a pernicious bully.

Rolling and full,
My ominous muse
Strums her dark music,
Wreaks havoc
On my passions,
Both nurse and nemesis,
Frustrating my intentions,
Squeezing this poetry out of me,
Like a painful remedy.

© Sharon Reeb

 

Environmentalists

I do not want,
I need.

So when I say

“I want you”

the subtext you should read

like air,
like earth,
like sea,

you are an environment:
I you me.

And in I breathe.

© James Payne
ROY G BIV gallery director

 

Old Boy

The bed knows how to swallow me
Let me hide, in its sheets
It’s been ripped on its
cover, it’s been walked on
with ease
It’s been prayed on
and screwed on
It swallows me deep,

It’s seen the child grow
hair on his
knuckles
and feet
It let’s me go,

Out to work
and to feed,

But when I see grey
out my window
it says to me
“Boy,
back in ya go.”

© Adam Gellings
March 1, 2011


the dying wind
still that strange noise
in the eaves

© Yvonne Hardenbrook
Woodnotes #17

Bang

Consciousness exists as a point of view taken;
an abstraction used;
to use a PC monitor analogy –
a gamma corrected,
refreshed rate,
accelerated SVGA portal
providing form within to form without;
dance electrons,
dance chance,
the trance.
The observer is the observed!
The thinker is the thought!
Explicate enfolds implicate.
Fourier transforms reality
maya, maya.
Niels Bohr-like quantum physicists,
wave or particle specialists,
the Copenhagen interpretationists,
maintain you exist only when you look at you.
“Not before, not after,” they insist.
Mirrors mirror what! then?
Nonlocal interconnectedness?
Fourier interference?
The implicate unfolded explicate?
Dichotomous bullshit?

© Michael Bookie Buchenroth, 1997
Insanity: An Anthology

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012

Four Beats Diverge In Ginsberg’s Woods

Four Beats diverged in Ginsberg’s woods –
took the lesser traveled path back to Cherry Valley
after Ray Bremser’s memorial service.
And, with a sigh, I’m telling you, – I
along with ‘em, instead of right, went left
where that old caterpillar sat ambiguous,
and deep back into the short cut, that path led . . .

So much of the whole context seems hidden,
never known like particles embracing
principles of uncertainty,
we can know the times or the places,
just not both, so to share parts, not widely known
certainly not chronicled in any annals of history,
not by me at least,
the next time you Beats meet there in Cherry Valley
or wherever, ask
Joe St. George, Mikhail Horowitz, Al Duffy,
or Michael “Bookie” Buchenroth
about their trip back to Cherry Valley
after Ray Bremser’s memorial service.

Ride’n smooth there in Captain Joe’s long stationwagon
we took a short cut as Al suggests,
encouraged us.
Indeed, ole Al convinced us
to turn left there just past
where that ole yellow cat sat
there at the first T in that dirt path
after leaving Ginsberg’s Committee.
Shortly, Joe’s big Buick commenced to jerk and lurch –
with four burnt out beatnik hippies
in a beat blue Buick lurch’n down this eternal short cut,
that I suppose Charlie might have had in mind
when he wrote the line
“statues on the totem slope of time”
when the sun eclipsed Baltimore and Poe arose ungraved –
that Ray had walked from Ginsberg’s Committee to paved
road and then town numerous times
before according to Al who’d walked it with him
there at the Beatnik Committee long ago,
talking worn William Carlos Williams memories
and something about winter pipes freezing –
deep short cuts in the path to town,
New Jersey-sized ruts eroded deeply
cut into the context there by all that history
with old electric fence insulators laid out –
attached still to posts lying back flat in leaves
like fingers wrapped around iron bars, ironically –
orange-browned leaf’d picturesque bottom’d-out
Buick ride’n real low with Captain Joe
take’n it real easy.
He had to go slow,
even back up a time or two.
Beatnik hippies cruise’n back to the Plymell pad,
smoke’n a doob and listen’n to
the blue black Buick belly grinding bottm’n out
crunch’n ‘n grind’n explorations-beat-path blues
of yet that alternative path probably best left,
after all, to those ole cats yelllow and worn
from all that clear’n the way, regardless,
this path emptied onto the pavement
that went to Cherry Valley November 14th, 1998.

That shortcut indeed led to Pam and Charlie’s
though not as fast as Al’s memories,
since we arrived back not first, in fact last,
but along that trip most certainly,
some squirrel watched us crazy cats, probably
reminding it of the cool Ray Bremser November breeze
in the air that day
and the autumnal need
to store more nuts
as it looked out its bare-bark’d Beech treed perch,
upon those beats in a beat blue Buick –
Captain Joe and Mikhail and Al Duffy and Bookie.

© Michael Bookie Buchenroth, 1998

Death

Life’s last autumn
Thickens the morning dew
Upon the Maple trees’ leaves,
Drifting,
Too heavy to shade loved ones.

But memories will soon
Bud new leaves
On the black branches.

© Michael Bookie Buchenroth, 1973
Insanity: An Anthology

 

My Girlfriend

I’ve got a
girlfriend

But she doesn’t
like
‘girlfriend’

So I call her
My Friend

And show her
off like a
girlfriend

And buy her
socks like a
girlfriend

And take long
walks like a
girlfriend

But told her
Dad that we’re
‘Just friends’

© Adam Gellings

Drinking From Friend’s Wisdom

Called a friend the other day
Surrounded by words needed to say
May Day
Phone call to friend the other night
Surrounded by shadows, needed light
To heal this source of wounding, needed a plan
After my confession
Friend seemed to understand

© Rick Blackburn


Old Times

They used to serve pastries and coffee
When you voted at the Methodist Church.
Today: ice water and doughnut holes
(The pastries used to be home-baked!)
Maybe too much loitering went on
In the halls of the Methodist Church.
Or Methodists now have no time for baking.
Time moves on. Slice the bread.

People used to burn their leaves and trash
My father smashed and buried cans.
Bet you could get rid of lots of evidence
Now they sniff you out when you light that match.
Neighbors come running holding hot buttered rums
Hot dogs and marshmallows on a stick
We needed them at the Methodist Church!
Time moves on. Slice the bread.

Halloween and voting come right together
Does this say something about fall and the fallen?
Autumn and tummies full of ought-tos,
Autos wanting snow tires, everyone so tired,
The phone rings and robots give advice.
The costumes of sparkle, dread, and plenty
Light up chilly leaf-strewn nights. Morning comes.
Time moves on. Slice the bread.

© Christine Hayes

Major

Major Ammo went off to war
Like he will again
Like he has before
Bombing others for liberty
For the flag
To keep us free
And the band played on
The same ol’ song
wrapped in justice
And truth
And democracy
Red still is red
And black is black
We wait our turn
Dead still is dead
Lie to our faces
And give us bread
And the drones filled the air
So why should we care
Major Ammo is off again
Where will he land
Where will it end
And the tanks rolled in
On the T.V. in the den
Major
Why are you going in foreign places
To see the look in the eye
The countenance of fallen faces
While I see the man in the tie
In the papers
I sigh
of promises wasted
Can we get back there again
Where I played with my friends
In childhood traces

© Rick Blackburn

having deja vu
about having deja vu
makes a nice haiku

© Rick Klaus Theis

Taciturn

Taciturn

“He was a bit taciturn”

“She was taciturn.”

Taciturn

Good word

I never raised my hand much in school

I was wrong a lot

No connection to

Taciturn

“Maybe I was a bit taciturn.”

I think

it’s pouring outside

© Adam Gellings


LIMERICKS

There once was a man from Columbus.
He was the moron among us.
I don’t mean to dwell,
but he’s dumber than hell.
His brain is some kind of a fungus.

There once was a man from Milwaukee.
Obnoxious and stupid and cocky.
After drinking one night,
he ran a red light,
and totaled a new Kawasaki.

There once was a poor boy from Nerk.
The neighbors all called him a jerk.
The world’s biggest slob,
he won’t get a job.
I bet he’s allergic to work.

There once was a lady from Heath
who dated a fellow named Keith.
His clothes are a mess.
He’s homeless, I guess,
and missing half of his teeth.

There once was a man from the east.
I figured that he was The Beast.
The number he picks
is six sixty six.
He’s wicked, to say the least.

There once was a man from the valley.
He murdered a woman named Sally.
He blew out her brains,
and burned the remains,
so never trust him in an alley.

© Mark Stoll

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

 

The Ends of the Earth

I thought to be delicate
Then thought better
Tired of being misrepresented
I took a full hard stand
Like a cool refreshing swim
From the shore of blazing sand
From the ends of the earth

© Rick Blackburn

 

Brief Charade

Props are waiting: wide-brimmed hat,
muff, bright colored silks, fish-net stockings.
I peel away inhibitions, become
Bernhardt, Minnelli, or Crawford.
A leading man is always there
with his props: top hat, white spats,
prince-nez on thin black ribbon.
We perform together, create magic
from a kaleidoscope of song
dance, and drama.

After the brief charade of tears,
laughter, after applause,
props packed in trunks,
I stand alone on the stage,
stare into the darkened theater,
reluctant to leave a make-believe
world.

© Betsy Kennedy



Word of Play

Oh, how
I want to write,
with vision endowed
to peel back the night,
a fine, fecund fowl,
fiercesome in flight,
who swoops in
and strikes
with metaphors bright.

© Sharon Reeb

JULY/AUGUST 2012

The Wormwood

“I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.” - Joyce Kilmer

I like to watch my neighbor’s oak.
Leaves bestow a handsome cloak
And radiate rare shades of green
As emeralds crown this noble queen.
She reigns atop a glacial ridge
Close by an old stone bridge.
Lovely arms reach gently down
To rich inviting fertile ground.
I only see her western face
As twilight lends its golden grace.

One summer eve I went round to see
The shadow side of my perfect tree.
I leaned in close, what would I find?
Her sylvan spirit must be kind.
Why did I look so deeply there?
Too close a view is never fair.
This tree was not by heaven blessed.
With worms and wasps she is possessed.
Stingers dripping venom wet
Flew at my eyes like searing sweat.
Such ghastly sins a tree must hide
To fiercely guard her fetid side.
I hope no one comes round to see
The darker shadow side of me.

© Bill Keating

 

On Dreams

A place
with black roads and black skies,
where streetlights shone…
their lights lit-up nothing:
a bench and a man,
and I: walking by.
“Tread softly,” he said. “Tread softly
because you tread on my dreams.”
I scowled as I stomped hard,
marching in place
before him.
I stopped after a moment,
still scowling, and stood stock still,
my arms: crossed.
“Where do you suppose it is
you tread?” A hand over my heart.
“Do you think I don’t dream?
Must we all tread soft
to avoid stepping on anybody’s dreams?”
He smiled. “Do you dance?”
“Dance?” My eyebrows drooped
in confusion.
“Dance.” He nodded.
“No.” I shook my head.
“No, never.”
“Do you know
what dancing is?”
I had never thought of this
before. I shook my head. My face:
a frown.
My arms went limp
so they dangled at my sides.
“Dance is moving,”
he told me,
“Through a series of poses
at an intended rate
to a rhythm or beat.
Do you
dance in dreams?
Do you
dream of dance?”
“I do.”
“But you don’t
do it. Why not?”
“I’m afraid to
dance alone,
I’d feel like a fool.”
He said, “Dance
with company.”
“I’d look like a fool.”
“Do you feel like a fool
in your dreams?”
“No.
But I know I will.”
“You dance
in your dreams.
Dance upon mine.”
I danced.
The man and bench moved
away down the road
as I danced in the light
my shadow, the lead.

© Allex Spires

Orange-Winged Blackbird

If you spot
an orange winged blackbird
perched upon a wood fence post
beside the road
while driving by,
he will not fly.

But if you stop intermittent,
walk up to him,
he’ll fly a bit, indifferent,
to a tree to see
not caring to be so close
to you walking near his fence post.

Strange as an unseen quark,
fluttering leaves
upon trees,
branches rough by bark,
are all you’ll see
if looking less than cautiously.

© Michael Bookie Buchenroth, 1976
Insanity: An Anthology


ancient peoples are
thus: just us – with different
clothing and haircuts

© Rick Klaus Theis


water lilies
no snake in sight
till the print develops

© Yvonne Hardenbrook, HWUP! #1

This is a haiku.
It has three lines, but no rhyme.
Simple word pattern.

© Mark Stoll

we are all bits of
god separated by our
ego delusions

© Rick Klaus Theis


closer to shore
each blur becomes a person
place or thing

© Yvonne Hardenbrook, Geppo

MAY/JUNE 2012

Lion's Blood

In Kenya,
the lions
are dying. The
survivors
spend the day
panting in
the stifling shade
of scrubby outcroppings
as flies survey
their emaciated
hides
like early
bargain shoppers.

The lions,
dreaming of
slow-footed
antelope and
the scent of
blood,
save their
strength for the
dubious hunt.

The flies
are rising
in numbers.
It makes one
wonder.
Perhaps
lion’s blood is
fortifying.

© Sharon Reeb

i hold each new spring
more dear than the last – because
that’s what it may be

© Rick Klaus Theis

spring’s breath of new life
held in nature’s loving hands
brings hope to us all

© Cindy Downs Hartsook

CINQUAIN POEMS

I’m mad.
I’m gonna scream.
My neighbor took my girl.
I’m gonna go and kick his butt.
So, there.

Hello.
I know your name.
I think we’ve met before.
We ought to go and have a beer.
Come on.

I’m pleased.
It’s nice outside.
I’m sitting in the park.
We do a writing exercise.
It’s fun.

You jerk!
You get me mad!
You don’t know how to drive!
You pulled right out in front of me!
You’re dumb!

Thank God.
I’m in good health.
Some people got it bad.
I feel like I’m the lucky one.
Thank God.

© Mark Stoll

 

The Sun Set

The sun set in Langston Hughes
When “to be or not to bop” was the only question
Posed by Hip Lord Buck over blues.
Then a flyin’ Bird blew by, Dizzy,
Without a Kerouac in the world.
And, wearing Jean Shepherd full of Patchens,
Ginsberg digs, actually a girl
Burroughs, into a nutty riff.
And, of Corso, Ferlinghetti, holding,
City Lights a wigged-out spliff.
Then hip gave rise to hippies,
And beat beat hippies to the punk,
And punk was launched into cyberspace,
Leaving the world with just one question:
When, oh when, will the Sun Ra rise
On this crazy dump.

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

Men With Guns

The anger, fear and hate that permeate
World politics, religions, prejudice,
Relationships and feuds perpetuate
The myth we’re safe behind an edifice
Of men with guns. “You can’t trust anyone”
We’re taught from early age
(and, yes, there’s cause!)
Don’t “Others” lust to conquer all we’ve won?
Both church and state enflame our fears because
We’ll shed our liberty if they’ll “protect”
Our homeland, schools, our streets, eternal life.
It’s never failed; each time protectors wrecked,
Oppressed, the lives of those they “saved” from strife.
The Galilean’s Way has always freed,
But most are scared of “love is all you need.”

© John W. Hoberg

 

Claim to Flame

Global warming or
Solar flares,
Who cares
Which is the
Harming cause.

Whether we
Change
Or blame the
Solar weather,
Prepare to meet the
Devil’s flames,
The world is
Heating up!

© Sharon Reeb

MAR/APRIL 2012

Ordering

Briefly,
you smile at me,
size me up,
dismiss me,
on the other
side of the glass,
pressed for
time,
ordering,
oblivious to
my pain
and the chain
that connects us.

You see,
without me
to acquiesce,
abide by this
boundary
you’ve set
for those who
serve up, you
pretend you
don’t need
a measure
of trust
that I,
when you
turn away to
look ahead,
won’t spit
in your cup.

© Sharon Reeb

Observation of
Children’s antics. That’s all the
Fun we are allowed.

© Sharon Reeb

Anticipation

Sunlight filters
through the window
creates broken patterns
across the floor –
a brief warmth
the cat finds
and curls there.

Outside – a bleak scene,
tree branches
stretch empty arms,
wait leafing.

Almost hidden,
a clump of snowdrops
ring bell-like flowers
in cool wind,
alleluias
to a coming season.

© Betsy Kennedy

 

“get up. you can’t lie
on the floor,” says clerk at the
anarchist bookstore

© Rick Klaus Theis

JAN/FEB 2012

I'm

I’m falling and dreaming of ways to break free.
I’m railing against how things have to be.
I’m worried that this is all vanity, so
I’m carrying my soul, my poetry,
and daring to affirm that
there’s more to me.

– Sharon Reeb

Help

“Help! Help! Help!”
A hefty word,
without a doubt.
“Extend yourself!”
its potent sound
commands when shouted out.

“Help! Help!”
when twice implored,
makes all aware
some dire need
cannot be
ignored
by those who care.

“Help!”
when heard
just once is sure
to be
an honest plea
from one too tried, too hurt,
to cry repeatedly.

But
a silent “Help!”
from painfilled eyes,
though unpronounced,
still plainly pleads
the most emphatic cries,
the greatest urgency.

– Sharon Reeb © 2011

poetic injustice

struggling with pain,
followed by wrestling
with the impossibility
of trying to explain.

© Rick Klaus Theis

HAIKU

kitchen cricket
the cat freezes
mid stretch

© Yvonne Hardenbrook, GEPPO

all of us are saints
sidetracked by pleasure - sadly
world remains unsaved

© Rick Klaus Theis


absurd impatience -
time's not moving fast enough,
then we mourn its loss

© Rick Klaus Theis

man was surrounded
by nature once - now nature's
surrounded by man

© Rick Klaus Theis

DECEMBER 2011


I Hear Them Walking

The west wind huffs
winter’s first breath
through the old yellow maple
in the corner of the yard
behind the white lake house.

Leaves
like a swarm of dancing canaries
cross the sky
crackling
scraping
over the roof shingles.

Then
in stillness
I hear them walking
through the yard
until they tire
lay still
ending summer.

© David C. Hetzler



In Passing

Thin ashtrays
rise -
spew smoke
like
city geysers
as

Workers
huddle together
like
penguins

passing
on a
concrete
glacier

© Adam Gellings

 

Deeprooted Prejudice

Deep rooted prejudice
A social virus;
An evolution bacillus;
Carnivorous evolution effectuate;
McAfferty doesn't find this;
Hidden in code;
Assemble this it indicates
Lurking until its execution date

It intends–
Probably will–
To delete the hard drive FAT;
Corrupt RAM
And according to plan,
Expand
Itself to jam all
Bandwidth–
A continual UAE

Only this metaphor,
This PC viral reality or analogy,
Merely purports its threats,
Doom,
Whereas deep rooted prejudice . . .

Kurrups

Kontinuous

Kontinuallly

Always and always and always . . .

Michael Bookie Buchenroth © 1997
Insanity: An Anthology

 

some Haiku–

I move through this maze
of cubicle prisons like
the ghost I’ve become

© Rick Klaus Theis

in train window reflection
i become an Asian woman -
spiritual truth or optical illusion?

© Rick Klaus Theis

cuddling, her sweater
button imprints my stomach
skin – second naval

© Rick Klaus Theis

NOVEMBER 2011

Blendon Woods

The summer light lessens.
We receive last benedictions
of the sun.
Canadian geese return, claim
the pond. They bring a warning,
threat of winter heavy
in their wings.

The geese move in procession along the edge of the pond
like nuns going to chapel
for prayers.

Soon they will journey on,
leave us savoring brief autumn
days, that console like a rosary
against approaching winter.

© Betsy Kennedy

 

The Second Table

Our places at a smaller table,
adjoining room, never bothered
the younger children who rushed
through the Thanksgiving meal
in favor of outdoor games,
or if weather were disagreeable,
found a corner inside
for clamorous play.

No longer child, not quite adult,
I listened to my elders’ voices,
caught wisps of conversation fluttering from the dining room.
I became intrigued by sudden
bursts of laughter,
the quick hush, as if spoken
words should not be overheard.

Next year, older, I took my place
at the family table,
learned secrets, assumed the burden
of inconsequential knowledge
that had been withheld.

© Betsy Kennedy


short north

i see they took care
of the homeless problem
the valets are the ones
collecting small change now

community hops
festivals and galleries
wine splashes on the floors
of the new upscale bistros

the building codes
shine through the renovation
and i want to visit again
but the homeless made me feel at home

community hops
festivals and galleries
wine splashes on the floors
of the new upscale bistros

a drunk man singing
to a boutique mannequin

community hops
festivals and galleries
wine splashes on the floors

© Michelle Gorsich


HAIKU

life – brief vale of tears
in the midst of an ocean
of blissful spirit

© Rick Klaus Theis


i play with my cat
most nights though I’ve not fed her
in years – pleasant dreams

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

single beam of light
thinking it’s the sun – that’s you,
me, everyone

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

2...4...6...8 kids;
took Torah literally –
went forth, multiplied!

© Rick Klaus Theis

OCTOBER 2011

Laughing Mild

Rose passed on coffee,
and kept flipping her thumb
through the pages of a Dean Koontz paperback.

She talked about her two daughters
and how she went to see them
every other weekend in Wapakoneta.

Rose said she made two-grand a year
for publishing erotic articles,
and had no time for fun as an inventory specialist.

She also told me that she was tired
of drinking whole bottles of tequila,
and that her water bed wasn’t really a water bed.

© James Lindenberger

 

The Blond in the Booth

Sometimes, when I’m alone, at dinner, in
A bar, and have a couple drinks, the words
Just seem to come and fall as poetry,
And speak to me of life. Sometimes they don’t.

The blond who’s in the booth that’s next to mine
Is giving me the eye, and I am thrilled,
Somewhat, while winking back. She’s four, I think,
And has such life to live! Well, so do I,
‘Though shorter, and less new.

Her little sister only wants to cry.
But No! It seems she really wants to paint
Her face with mashed potatoes. Now she smiles
A gooey, gravy brown. There is no bliss
To ever know like bathing face in brown potato goo!

Their parents seem so tired! This isn’t what
They sought while joining loins. They still have on
That look of double cross - of children jolted into parenthood.
A couple decades more and then they’ll know
That this is what our lives are all about –
A gravy-coated face.

© John W. Hoberg


father was the salt
of the earth - but, sadly, I
was an open wound

© Rick Klaus Theis

poet describes the
real - we, out of touch, perceive
an alien world

© Rick Klaus Theis

there’s no escaping –
wherever you decide to
go, death will follow

© Rick Klaus Theis


SEPTEMBER 2011

I picked up Franz Wright at the airport.
He smoked and said, “I’d forgotten how
Ohio smelled.”

We ate stacked pastrami sandwiches
At Katzinger’s. He talked sadder than his poems.

When he read at the Settlement House
Most people didn’t smile.

“I hurt a lot of people,” he told me.
Then I took him back to the airport.

I don’t think he’ll come back to Ohio soon,
Even though he liked the smell.

I believed what he wrote and said.

© David Hetzler

 

autumn equinox
the sound of a door closing
across the street

© Yvonne Hardenbrook
Persimmon, 1997

autumn equinox
the empty teeter-totter
perfectly balanced

© Yvonne Hardenbrook
GEPPO, 1998

 

 

AUGUST 2011

Strange Birds

You silly mocking bird – too many songs!
What good is that, to always change your way?
Such constant mimicry as yours belongs
In politics, where demagogues hold sway.
So, too, the cuckoo, calling day and night
The same, and pigeons’ constant warning
“The sky is falling, now!” The swan’s alright,
Disdaining chorus and depressing dove.
Frenetic coots careen between the banks
Without commitment as to which is best.
Complaints are squawked and quacked without
much thanks
As tiny sparrows twitter with the rest.
Is there a Golden Call that sings a path
To help us human birds transcend our wrath?

© John W. Hoberg
Written at Stratford-Upon-Avon, April 2007


listening instead
of talking; just being not
judging – nirvana

© Rick Klaus Theis

nightmare unfolding –
life gets weirder and weirder
as I get older

© Rick Klaus Theis

Beat the Heat

A gap in the noisy double hung
Welcomes cool early morning breezes
Slaking summer heat as well as water
Preserving a seasonal comfort
Almost unknown to a tightly fit age


© Mike Sharkey

there’s no escaping –
wherever you decide to
go, death will follow

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

Labor Day weekend
the unfinished sandcastle
taken by the tide

© Yvonne Hardenbrook
Haiku Headlines

JULY 2011

 

Under the Ohio Sun…

A friendship blossomed
With the sharing of a vegan brownie
Upon her bed
While we discussed
(Both seriously and laughingly)
The possibility
Of changing last names for a man.

“I most certainly would not,”
I said.
And I most certainly did.

She did not
Has not yet
And may or may not
Sometime soon.

We journeyed apart
And yet together
To the state of Ohio
From the Eastern Coast we loved.

She found her way to Cincinnati
And has stayed there ever since.

She fell in love
Then out

And gracefully
Found her way back in.

Worked hard
And hardly worked.

Decided she wanted to teach
Yoga
And does
Now for a living.

Always bubbling with life
Positively looking
Up
Yet knowing firsthand
The trials
Of being human

She has lent her ear to me
And her heart.

Next month
She is moving back East
To Boston

While I stay here
Right where I am

Planting the tree of my life
With courage
Under the Ohio sun.

© Alana Generson

 

Delayed Reaction

One splendid summer for ten-year-olds
I wandered off alone into the Florida pines,
a barefoot wildling,
daring, striding down the sandy,
sticker-strewn path as striped racers
darted into the underbrush
ahead of me.
My heart was pure and my mind fearless,
more curious than bothered
by the wild boar’s head
that lay near the path to
the fresh and lush beyond,
dumb and tragic,
with cloying odor,
and maggots for eyelashes.
Pressing on, I greeted the woods.
I stroked the leaves and
broke the twigs
as I brushed past,
traced the movement of insects
and busy birds whose
rhythms were at odds
with the rise and fall
of locust song.
Then taking a rest
in the hot shade at the edge
of a clay-pitted clearing,
I noticed the silence,
a stillness so eerie
that the Sun itself seemed to stop
and look down.
My eyes scanned the hazy camouflage
of trees and palmetto fronds
for some awful danger,
a hunter of some kind.
Stopping my breath, I crouched,
poised for panicked flight,
‘til the woods became inviting again
but not the same, different because,
for the first time, I understood
I, too, could be stilled.

© Sharon Reeb

 

Corporate Governance

What must we do to stop the corp’rate reign
That each day drives us farther tow’rd the past
Of emp’rors’ rule, imposing massive pain
Through systems set to bloat their fortunes vast?
Today these corp’rate tribunes have no law
To regulate their global dominance.
Increasingly they make God’s people claw,
Throughout the Earth, to take the fewest pence
For making stuff, and hopefully survive
Another night. No Godly image rests
Upon their Board Rooms, nor did God alive
Decree their greed as good, nor power blest.
Unless we fight again for liberty
Our Godly rights will fail to keep us free.

© John W. Hoberg
7/7/07

 

Kerbside

I smoked a cigarette close
Between my two fingers
With an old friend
from an
old school, in cowboy boots
and we huddled tight
with his lady friend
the cigarette burned to the filter
and I heard the band play
I asked, “D’ya know them?” A bit
blurredly
and he said “Yea something something.”
Never heard of ‘em
Rain drizzled down
High Street
lights of a city,
kerbside gutters flow
with active water into a
swallowing sewer
Glancing at the marquee,
I wonder
At the wrong bar, shit.
No.

© Adam Gellings

 

patio at dusk
imagining this shadow
is you ...
wrapped in silence
I nudge the windchimes

© Yvonne Hardenbrook
LYNX

Tulips

I went outside
To the backyard
No one knew
who I was

just a smile
And some tulips,

clouds hovered,

above

© Adam Gellings

 

Crack-the-Whip

Remember the game we played
in early years.
We clutched hands, confident
no one would let go.

Suddenly the circle changed
into a single line.
Our hands strained, our bodies
defied the force.
Crack-the-Whip ended in a tangle,
a paradox of laughter and tears.

Now, older, we still seek
comfort from close friends,
family.
We form such a tight circle
around loved ones that any loss
leaves us reeling, bereft.

© Betsy Kennedy

MAY 2011

Red Buds

I feel a thrill each time I see a red
Bud tree in bloom. And snowy cherry, pear
And apple blossoms prophecy lush fruit
To thrill autumnal tastes. Magnolia and
Tall tulip trees stand clothed in petals bright.
Azaleas and forsythia explode
In brilliant hues, as lilac fragrance soothes
Our springtime air. Pure dogwoods’ inner light
And peace glow through. Spring’s gorgeous colors aren’t
Put on for fun; the blooms compete for love
From bees’ caress to spread sweet pollen so
Their children’s seed may carry on their line.
All life depends upon small acts of love,
For life itself springs from Creator’s love.

© John W. Hoberg



Memorial Day at Green Lawn

Each year the same ritual. We wait for a warm day
when May splits open from its cocoon into butterflies
and blossoms.
My father brings empty cans, Hi-C labels half-peeled
away and the jug of water.
“We can’t count on the pump to work,” he says.

I bring shears for trimming, wires to hold cans.
We have clipped lilacs, peonies, bridal wreath,
and lemon-scented lilies from our gardens.
“Your grandma gave me a start of lilies,”
he tells me, “when your mother and I were married.”

Sun warms his stooped shoulders.
At the graves of Lil, Uncle Harvey, and Meg,
stillness is soft as flower petals.
We search among the solemn stones for grandmother’s
grave.

I have seen her picture, Kate Roadman, stiff in brocade,
classic brooch pinned at her collar.
He talks of a hard-working farm woman, sees her posed
on the porch, with her long white apron on.
His stories drone like bees buzzing around flowers.

I hope death, as the sun, will be kind to him.
Which is why I grieve when I see the peonies
fall red as blood against the stones,
and regret he is old.

© Betsy Kennedy

Pushing For Texas

Before the actual birth, I tried to convince myself
there could be no room for fear. That in fact, the
only way I was going to get through this and come
out smelling like a rose was to keep my wits about
me, focus on my breathing and counting, and to
push when I felt the need to push.

When the labor pains worsened I forgot all prior
convincing, edged out of that window to stand on
the ledge of fear – trying to push this baby through
the birth canal was like trying to push a blimp
through the Washburn Tunnel. All the preparatory
lessons flew off that ledge like birds to the wind.

As the sun rose over Houston, the rays of dawn
crept through the hospital blinds, bringing with
them the first cry of my nine pound, four ounce
son, affirming that old adage that everything is
bigger in Texas; and as my eyes lit on the dozen
yellow roses you had sent me, the thought that
if I was going to come out of this smelling like a
rose, the yellow rose of Texas was the one I’d
want to be.

© Betty Bleen Previously published at www.toocutetoboop.com

 

born with a rope ‘round
my neck, waiting for trap door
to drop with each step

© Rick Klaus Theis

condemned man is moved
to execution chamber –
subway ride to work

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

APRIL 2011

one day soon each of
us will look in the mirror
and see nothing there

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

white plastic shop bags
hang from moonlit trees – ghosts of
over-consumption

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

Thirty-Nine

Thirty-nine really isn't so old, you know,
Short of forty by 365 days or so;

But, still frightening, when doubled,
you state;

Twice thirty-nine is seventy-eight.
Counted by tens, it's just a sortie,
ten, twenty, thirty, forty;

Minus one, of course, a year of grace,
One remaining, one for the race.

© Tom Thomson

two (crazy) poets
reunited by pure fate –
twelve years; not too late

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

father died today
I look at my weathered hands
I'm the old man now

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

FEBRUARY 2011

Polemics

The filth of the city
and the warm smoothness of a
blonde's inner thigh.
Silence like the silence
after too much
noise.

A paint peeling bodega,
full of last years supplies.
The bricks of various colors
making a mural of post modern earth hues.

The cigarette butts floating in the dirty puddles,
being whisked away by gutters runoff.
Couples cheating on each other throughout the night.
Church bells silent, their owners asleep,
Their towering homes puncturing the skyline.
Cars ever present, their headlights small declarations of life.

She moans and rolls over, pressing her naked body into mine.
Her hair caught in my stubble, my hand on her hip.
The window and the rain dance together, the streetlight outside their audience.

I can smell the sweet vinegar stench of my own sweat
I can feel the night turning to day under me
I can taste my own life in the air

The dog howling 'alone alone alone'

The wine bottle rolls slightly to the right
of its own accord.
The book on the wooden floor is open.
Its spine slowly being warped.

My phone blinks
'When will you answer me?'
The dog stops howling
A gnat flies in circles around the room,
lost, killing time.

My fingertips lightly drawing
A spiral going around her hip,
going down her hip.

Where is this place I have made of myself?

© John Katsura

One Foot in Front of the Other

One foot in front of the other
One day at a time
Takes me a little further from you
A little closer to me

One foot in front of the other
One day at a time
Reminds me
Of where I have been

With you

That first New Hampshire winter
Sharing a tiny room
A single bed

Our new little life just beginning

New York spring
Near the Hudson
Growing closer
Talking
Of
Marriage

then

New York summer
Wedding came and went
We were in love

Vermont honeymoon in fall
Lake Champlain
Bikes
And
Chocolates

But soon

Ohio Winter
was
Hard
And
Bitter

Spring
And
Summer

Were a passing of time

Nothing softened
Nothing sweetened

Conflict ensued

You went in the fall
I went in the winter

And now we are gone

One foot in front of the other
One day at a time
you become
but a piece
of my
past.

© Alana Generson

 

White Sands, New Mexico

Sky shimmered, a blue bowl above us.
Acres of white sand billowed
like a bride’s long veil.
Rules were a game then.

Laughing, playing as children
we rolled down the dunes,
tasted with kisses grit of sand
in our mouths.
You said we’d part,
walking until we could no longer
see each other.

I remember the sudden fright
in the empty world
when you weren’t there.
Even now, fears of loneliness, silences,
would drift between us
if love were not in the way.

© Betsy Kennedy

 

On Leaving Idlewild
(At 8:15 p.m., July 4, 1962 aboard a jet airliner)

We literally chased the sun
westward;
Elusive, the orb would hide
behind the towering cumulous
Only to burst forth again,
a burning beacon,
Edging the horizon’s clouds
with fiery lace.
And, for a while, a short while,
We seemed to be winning
the race, so it appeared,
Or, at least, forcing a draw,
compromising time,
Making of that sun
a burning bubble on an earthly level.
But, suddenly it was gone,
there was only the remembered glow,
And I knew we had lost
this one game.
The power pods changed their tune
and imperceptibly
we dropped
Down in the night,
good losers.


© Tom Thomson

 

catastrophe can
happen at any moment –
enjoy the calm now

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

Saturday morning
7:15 wake up call –
moron's car alarm

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

JANUARY 2011

Rock Cycle

I erupted into life,
a molten fury of
purpose
that all too quickly
cooled and hardened.

Bit by bit
my passion eroded
and I became
sedimentary,
cemented in my ways
pressed down by age
and other people’s judgments

But deep down
there is still a need
to learn and merge,
to play with the overall scheme,
to dream.
So, I am destined to be
metamorphic.

© Sharon Reeb

 

life – likely as not
just some alien kid's school
science-fair project

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

?

(After seeing ? and the Mysterians)

He takes the stage
– Seriously:

The Power of Simplicity
behind the shades
while
the Mysterians deliver
in spades

my girlfriend sees ‘what is’ better’n me.... :

the black wig!

nonetheless

Guinness

should consider for World Record:

a Prop
and a
Hit Pop

kept in perfect duplication

for
revisitation

&
recreation

forty-plus years

STRAIGHT!

© Silas Buckley

 

I’ve Moved!

How wonderful to be once again living
in such a dear home.
It just feels good.
It just feels comfortable.
They all have.
All those dear old homes I have lived in
over the years.
Each one so different.
Each one – I couldn’t wait to make my home.
They have all had their own stories to tell.
Who sat in the kitchen with a cup
of hot coffee?
Who slept in the bedrooms?
Who cried behind closed doors,
and who laughed at the gatherings
held in the backyard?
Each family contributing to the history.
Each family making the changes
they needed to make it their home.
I love bookshelves.
I love fabric at the windows.
I love comfy chairs with private places
to put them.
I love pretty napkins by the coffee pot
and delicious jam in the refrigerator.
Home.
What a grand word.
I love making those dear houses my home.
It’s so stressful to move.
It’s such hard work, and I’m so tired.
I don’t think I will do it again.
But, maybe.

© Sharon Weiss
Owner of Sharon Weiss Gallery

 

DECEMBER 2010

Hobo Song

I went hoboing when the money ran out and I had
no fear of poverty or death. I was free and I walked
in circles with the gusts of autumn, free to sit days
under pleasing trees, free to eat when I was hungry,
free to starve when I wasn’t. I waved hello
and smiled when asked of destinations,
hoboing because it suited me and I was good
at walking without aim and god, it was easy and satisfying
to walk without aim. I camped with hobo Mary
and hobo William in a wood with berries
and then I hiked backwards
in the rain for two days, south to warmer and drier beds
under stars. I sang all the songs in my head
and then sang them again in the accent
of the land and then took to singing them straight
through towns and villages as if everyone was singing along,
I, hobo Phillip, penniless and happy, sang a hobo song
of Mary’s about shoes and stews, about love and freedom
and the road and rain. I went hoboing like I told you
with a crow for a landlord and a whim for a compass,
I lunched on crayfish and wild greens, on potatoes and field corn.
I went hoboing to see the country and to find out why
people went easy for profit and hard for compassion.
I hoboed my worries a step at a time through swales and orchards
and bean fields and ravines, over brooks and ditches,
around briars and swamps until my restlessness was gone,
and then I hoboed on a little longer. I went hoboing because
there was no god in the city and I was afraid of greed,
hoboing because hobos are beautiful as they wander to the tune
of the earth, with a whim for compass, a crow for a landlord,
without aim, without gain, without need.

© Phil Minor


alarm

<<squawk... squawk... squawk>>
a rude awakening,
an unwelcome prowler
breaking and entering
my unguarded psyche,
taking me hostage,
pulling me through
its mad labyrinth
of grotesque twists
and excessive turns,
away from spaceless time
and timeless space
and into some kind of
straight-jacket, mind-set,
template overlay
until, like steam
disappearing into air,
my other choices for being
have boiled away

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

Christmas Reunion

On this seasonal day we cling
to remembrances of those gone,
of youth, although the faces
around us reflect passing years.

Piecemeal we began, fragments
from a father, mother, the shawl
of babyhood releasing us too soon.

We stretch, grow, and build a life
of expectations,
yet remain a paradox. Rooted
in our whims, we change,
resist change.

I wonder, when did it happen –
the leap of years?
Unfathomable to realize
that just yesterday
we were young.

© Betsy Kennedy


life's a comedy
interspersed with drama that
ends in tragedy

© Rick Klaus Theis

NOVEMBER 2010

Red Leaf Red Cloud

The red leaf fell from the red tree under the red cloud.
The red cloud hung from the red sky ...
The time was fall.

The time was day, not yet night.

Under the sky, the little tree has grown ...
It had a green top in spring and summer
and now has turned red.

Fall has come. Night will come.

Like a tear from a child,
The red leaf fell.
It fell to the ground ...

And lays there still.

It will stay
Until the winds come
And blow, blow, blow it away.

© Alana M. Generson

 

Autumn Muse

In the hills of hocking county
Stands a tree with limbs
That resemble a human hand
With fingers extended towards the sky

A tree not so distinct than the multitude
Of others that surround it
In miles of forest
That many would briefly notice and
Then move on

It is there in that forest
Within those rolling hills
Beneath a warm autumn sun
That you shared with me
What I now regard
One of the best days of my life

And until my last breath is drawn
I will fondly recall this
Holding onto those moments
Of bliss that were ours
While keenly observing
A tree that resembles a human hand
With fingers extended towards the sky

© John L. Trommer

 

It Doesn’t Make Any Sense
Because You Are Smiling

You “flick off”
the camera in
multiple profile photos
in such a way that
the knuckles
of your index and ring fingers
are at different heights
and the index
is notably higher.

Ineffable
feelings of
confusion & concern.
I really think I need
to be there
for you..

© James Payne

 

Mending the Rift

Leftover sun warms me,
eases tensions as I walk in the woods.
The wind stirs a clutch of leaves
that skitter/scatter across my path.

All around leaves flutter
in a rain shower like wingless yellow
birds.
The red underbelly of a finch
blends with the yellow.

The false warmth of the day, a limbo
time, hints of coming winter...
nature’s part in seasonal change.
As in aging, I rebel against it.
I can no longer mend the distance
between warm days of youth
and the cold-bone reality of age.

© Betsy Kennedy

Haiku

a plant grows, flowers,
then dies – we must each accept
same fate for ourselves

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

says there’s no danger –
then steps behind a lead wall
to x-ray my teeth

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

OCTOBER 2010

Small Reminder

Is Santa rock-star famous
He asked
With seven-year-old eyes and infinite curiosity
Seriously seeking an answer
While cutting out paper hearts for Valentine’s Day

Oh, he’s more than rock-star famous
I said
In response

This came after a questioning about gangs
Where they lived
What they wore
And the reassurance that “they” were not present
In his rural Ohio hometown
Where the population is mainly Amish

He had been bored
Wanted
No, needed, attention
When he came into the room
Where I had snuck away to practice yoga

I gave him my attention
I answered his questions

He reminded me...
That I have something to give
That I can provide comfort
With my knowledge
With my love
With my time.

© Alana M. Generson


Spell-Check

My body is no longer the flawless manuscript
most men would take time out of their busy day
to read; no longer as exciting as the latest novel,
nor as interesting as the daily news.
There was a time when everything was capitalized
at all the right places, the I’s were dotted and
there were no uncrossed T’s.
Everything was worded right.
Sentences had the appropriate emphasis and titles
fit me perfectly.

Now, I am more like the comics, and even some
of them aren’t funny, but rather tragic.
I was beginning to think I was no more of use
than a rolled up newspaper used to swat flies.
But then you found me.
You read the manuscript, overlooking the flaws.
There is no need for spell-check, you accept me
as I am.
My words come off your lips in the form of
poetry, and in your eyes I am the sonnet,
I had always hoped to be.

© Betty Bleen


Your Turn To Cry

Your beauty will fade,
then what are you left with,
Some sad stories,
and the dress you slept in

You say no one loves you,
but you've never given me the chance,
Sleep with whomever gives you
a passing glance

Being lonesome isn't an excuse,
Used us all anyway,
so what’s the use

You said you tried but failed,
your boat is sinking
and you tossed your pail

Why didn't I learn?
For years I've been burned,
So let the tears come,
Now it's your turn

© Jacob Ryan

 

SEPTEMBER 2010

Recollections
of How I Smelled on I-90

I smelled like the last loaf
Of Wonder Bread,
The waft up and stay till stale.

I smelled like an empty factory
And the shifty remainders of
A pre-service industry.

Like I smelled like the painted billboards
That wither and weather away,
Like 1960s/1970s.
And, like, kept like
A spectacle,
Like a kid passed out in the middle
of the party.

I smelled like the exculpations of
The weight of the world,
The palimpsest
Of justification
And whateverness.

© James Payne

 

Vincent Van Gogh’s Moment of Calm
in “Harvest at La Crau with The Blue Cart”

Demons in the mistral hover over wheat,
tormenting gold ripe grains into roiling
like the Mediterranean in storm.
Vincent is resolved to paint
the length and the breadth of harvest
without disturbance. To stop motion,
he sets the camera in his eye
to one two-thousandth of a second.
Smooth brushstrokes of yellow and
green fields,
and a smoother ribbon of satin sky,
suggest the tranquility of a Dutch countryside.
An empty blue cart reposes in the center
of the picture.
Quick sketches of farm folk working
hint at soothing sounds of their rhythms.
The reaper cuts wheat with neat strokes.
Hired hands bring it in in a cart
to the clipity clop of a high-stepping horse.
The woman pitches straw
high into the barn loft.
Some other day, using swirls of thick paint
and adjusting the lens of his eye
to one second, Vincent will enlarge
the furies in the wind.

© Rose Ann Spaith
Best of 1997: Ohio Poetry Day

 

i worry when life
keeps getting better: this can’t
go on forever

© Rick Klaus Theis

6am, cadence
of <<bark...bark...bark...>> next door--
canine alarm clock

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

AUGUST 2010

Summer Heat 1

Thick Humidity
Sun-bleached blacktop, dusty streets
And the sewage smells

Summer Heat 2

Cool Olentangy
River breeze through shady limbs
And the sewage smells

State Fair Game

An Elephant Ear
Spicy Bahama Mama
Hot Dog on a stick

© Damion Armentrout

 

Unlocking the Clues

My mother works at the sink board,
her dress stained with summer-bruised
peaches and berries.
She fills rows of empty jars.
Other times I hear the sound
of peas spill into a wooden bowl.
Her chiffon dreams are lost
in the day’s labor.

At night she searches for first stars.
My father sits on the porch,
leans against the rail.
His straw hat tilts skyward.
A blaze of fireflies softens
the ache of harsh words.

© Betsy Kennedy



Tree-tossed

This morning I watched it
rain under the trees,
stirred from
myriad leaves
by a gentle wind
and earlier shower.
The trees wept while
sunlit spots danced
along their trunks.
Apparently,
everywhere,
the price of
Light
is
Tears.

© Sharon Reeb

JUNE 2010

beer bottles, plastic
bags lie under tree in park -
animal droppings

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

Nonsense and Dissonanace
a symphony in shock major

Cymbals crash timpani rumbles.
Symbols clash a nation stumbles.
Counter point and counter punch.
Media brass, a thoughtless bunch,
Drive rude discussion
With deafening percussion.
As strings stand guard
And winds blow hard
On screen a one-man band
Can’t seem to find his civil gland.
Fire the conductor he’s no treasure,
Composer too for good measure.
From dark of night to glare of noon,
Out of sync, out of tune,
Mock and shock, nothing to lose,
A tormented symphony of cable news.

© Bill Keating

 

MORNING

Awakened by an angel – no, a small bird
Whose silhouette with wings outstretched
Looks like an angel, making many trips
To the outside wall – must be a nest there.

Remembering the dream of bright art cars,
Lined up in a row, and me in a studio,
Looking over fanciful-pictured books.
Ah, the best of both worlds.

Art and Books,
Books and Art,
And angels.

Looking out on a perfectly-fashioned May day,
The consciousness slips back into body,
Everything’s okay today: plants, breakfast,
Transportation – must be some mistake.

When all goes right, it seems so odd,
Fruits of work, positive thoughts,
Eating well not too much,
And providing for others.
Ah, the best of family.

Adults and Children,
Children and Adults,
And angels.

Getting away with something, like we did,
The swimming pool had a jukebox.
We swam and sang then, even in the rain,
But not with lightning – out of pool if lightning.

This life is full, crowded with incidents,
Falling in like petals forming a nest
Of memories, and trusting continuity will hold
Til death parts mind and body.
Ah, the best til lightning.

Water and Music,
Music and Water,
And angels.

It’s not so much successful as blessful.

© Christine Hayes

 

just one animal
will cheat his own brother or
kill for pleasure - man

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

MAY 2010

i feel as though i'm
exactly halfway through life –
half fool, half empty

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

From a Deep Slumber (I awoke)

I awoke from a deep and troubled slumber, only to find a
blazing sunlight pouring in through my windowpane.

And as far as the eye could see in every direction,

Fields and fields and fields of daisies...

The promise of you my love.

© John Trommer

 

if this world is my
imagination, i'm an
accomplished dreamer

© Rick Klaus Theis

APRIL 2010

Morning Song

It is five o’clock in the morning.
I see nothing wrong walking alone
This old Appalachian road – tucked
In by hills – listening to birdsong.

The entire ensemble is playing:
Timpani by ruffed grouse and a chat,
Thrushes’ silver notes accompanying
The vireo string section in E-flat.

A Carolina wren, cheerful bard,
Yodels from a wooded rill,
Accenting tanager, oriole, bunting,
And a prairie warbler’s rising trill.

Other than myself, the only listeners
Are a flying squirrel in his loge,
And a trio of deer gowned in beige,
Volunteer ushers, I suppose.

The genius composer though unknown,
Hints in dark ways I am unaware
Of ice ages, corridors of time flown,
Of secrets unsuspect in music so rare.

© Tom Thomson
July 10, 1984

 

haiku, gentle bud
opens to curious sun:
illumination

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

Finding Home

I drive through the night.
Lights blink, secret signals
from distant houses.
The small towns become a blur.
Unfolded maps on the car seat
show crisscrossed lines,
connecting dots.
I circle one that leads to home,
open the door on familiar
scents.

The search for my casa,
a protective place never ends.
It’s like coming home on a rainy
spring night,
the rain misty in my face,
shoes wet from splashes.
I close the door, safe from damp
air.
The cat purrs, wraps warmth
around me.

© Betsy Kennedy

 

Radiant Sun

Inside the house
By the washer and dryer
On the walls
By her cat’s litterbox
Hung
A small collection
Of handmade suns
Suns with eyes and noses and mouths
Suns that said, “See me. I am here.”

~
She must have found comfort in the light
The light of hope
The light of peaceful sharing
The light of love.

~
Her life was like that of the sun.
Her warm, full heart
At the center
Her arms
Reaching out
Reaching
Reaching out
With so much love,
With so much love.

© Alana Generson

 

The Estranged Equestrian

She stood in the middle of the empty field.
As she turned, she crunched hard clods under her boots.
She imagined the popping charge of hooves,
The muscles moving under flesh,
The steam exhale above large teeth.

She felt she smelled moist spring air in the sharp wind,
Although she could almost see the recent desolate snow
Standing in the landscape.

She remembered galloping through farmyards and streambeds,
But also the precision of the dance,
The scent of the sawdust in the ring.

She slapped her thigh to the imaginary horse lingering
At that certain place by the fence.

© Christine Hayes


Pedaling down Third
Where it is like a freeway
Fast as cars downhill

© Damion Armentrout

MARCH 2010

THE END OF AN ERA
Good-Bye to Cousin Laura

They called last night from Dewitt Rehab to say you had expired.
The caller spoke broken English
So I had her repeat the news I dreaded to hear.
She said you died peacefully.
That you even had broth for dinner.
THE END OF AN ERA.
I called the Hotel Beacon (your home for so many years) to share the news.
Denissa, who answered, said you ”would never be forgotten at the Beacon.”
John, from the hotel, called to say he was sorry to hear of your passing
and that “you were loved at the Beacon.”
THE END OF AN ERA.
Sarah, your social worker, just called to say she was sorry for our loss.
She too said your passing was peaceful.
THE END OF AN ERA.
And, I just spoke to John at the Krtil Funeral Home.
Your burial will be tomorrow at Forest Green Memorial Park.
You will be in New Jersey then, not New York.
In the Jewish section he told me.
THE END OF AN ERA.
I’m afraid of the end of an era.
What do you do when a generation belonging to you expires?
Now I will say, “I used to have a cousin Laura who lived in a hotel all of her life in New York City.”
Dr. Tupper at Dewitt called you “ferociously independent.”
A lovely way for you, Cousin Laura, to be remembered at ninety-one years old.
Good-bye dear Laura Bythiner.
You will be missed.
THE END OF AN ERA.

© Sharon Weiss

Sharon Weiss is a Short North gallery owner. Her first poem about Cousin Laura,
“Don’t Apologize,” appeared in our September 2009 issue.

 

Penance

January came, and the second anniversary of his death,
His memory shrouding her in the brown and white
Herringbone woven coat she had worn since then.
Stepping inside the house she shrugged off the coat,
Placing it ever so gently on the kitchen table. Tonight,
On the way home, the thought had popped into her head,
It was time to let it go. Her husband would be ecstatic
With her decision, time and again he had hinted,
Seeing the poking threads, and again at each lost button,
That maybe it was time she thought about buying a
New coat. Yet, she had continued to wear it. Why?
She really didn’t know. It wasn’t like her dad had ever
Shown any interest in her life. They had expressed few
Words to each other when in a room together, she
Uncomfortable to the point that she would try to plan
Her visits to her mom at times when she thought he
Wouldn’t be at home. She had never been able to relate
To him anymore than he could to her. Still, she had
Picked the coat out of his belongings after his death,
Had worn it that whole first winter. But then came this
January, and with it a shifting somewhere in the passages
Of her heart. Why had she worn it so long? Was it
Because it was a way of wrapping his love around her,
A love he was never able to express in real life? Did she
Wear it because she liked the style, how it reminded her
Of an episode of That Girl, a show she used to watch
As a teen? She chuckled at this, knowing it was a girl’s
Coat, that her dad, who loved to frequent thrift shops,
Had bought it not knowing the difference. Or did she
Wear it as some form of penance because somehow
Deep inside herself, she thought that if only she had
Put forth more effort, things could have been different.
Taking a pair of scissors from her desk she clipped
Off the remaining buttons, putting them in a small tin
In her sewing box. With a permanent marker she
Wrote on the lid, “Buttons from Dad’s coat.” She didn’t
Know it then, but for years to come she would open
That tin, take the buttons out and roll them like worry
Stones in her hands. Buttons…the only piece of him
She had left to hold onto, tangible evidence of a father
She so wished she could have learned how to love.

© Betty Bleen

NOVEMBER 2009

Incursion

My poetry has left my head,
given up its sprawling nest.
Smothered by the books I’ve read,
it’s flown back to my heart instead.
There it sits and cheerlessly chirps
a song oddly bereft of words,
so mute that it cannot be heard,
except by other lonely birds

© Sharon Reeb

OCTOBER 2009

John Steinbeck (1902-1968)

Ohio needs the Fall
and I wake up
suddenly the siamese mao of
it all
the black cat
doorstep
reminding me to pump
3 bucks
worth of nickels
into the flat tire
of a grand prix -
pack a smokes
under the tulip tree
reminding me
that the United States
needs
- poetry
I'm the President
of Poverty
under the shade
of this here
tulip tree

© Adam Gellings

 

Season of Lament

Autumn returns, with morning air
sharp as the taste of a tart plum.

Starched leaves, raked in heaps,
look like colored clothing sorted
for washday.

Against the porch wall folded lawn
chairs lean in prayer/pose,
yearn for summer sun.

Soon snow will cover the ground
like a shroud. Winter, an unbidden
guest, will feast on my thin bones.

© Betsy Kennedy


wind is silent, yet
i hear the leaves laugh as the
breeze tickles the trees

© Rick Klaus Theis


Buddhist book’s best proof
comes as, mindfully, i touch
its rough-hewn cover

© Rick Klaus Theis


Three Tenors

If I start humming
The fridge, the AC, and I
Make a nice trio

© Damion Armentrout

 

Flying

Looking out of my office window
the sky is an endless shield of gray.
The flowers along the path shiver in
their dusting of frost.
It is a blustery Pooh kind of day,
the trees raining leaves upon the lawn
in an endless ballet.
Winter is fast approaching and I am
filled with melancholy, longing for
a kite to fly, a tree hole to explore.
Yet I cannot be sad.
Honey comes in many forms.
I have tasted honey sweeter than
that made by any bee.
When I look upon your face and you
smile, the gray clouds dissipate.
I step out of my worries as surely as
a woman sheds her party dress,
anticipation overriding the disheveled
heap on the floor.
Winter holds no power over me.
It is enough to bask in the warmth of
your loving arms, my soul soaring
as high as a new kite in spring.
I am gliding on the wings of your love.

See how I fly!

© Betty Bleen


Baptist Zen Manifesto (Ice Box)

translucent ghost manipulate eat language
delicious those
like some nefarious velvet corduroy character
asking needing
long open women pedagogue pictures
deft temerity
worshiping secretly above that only roil than storm
broken
said blush men shake voices laughing droll
they of one will
soar like the next two-two torpid power zeal
bleeding feet
vast fresh chocolate caramel road lust
exploring lake hits
night club will ameliorate all essential want
above then
secrete individual lather smell make squirm
eternity men
missive mellifluous fecund obdurate light
soon make growl tell
impecunious not for porcelain clean father
may word beauty
see how the garden goddess dances to the day whisper fiddle
understand the influence of the hard circle sea
luscious peach mother
when said veil embrace vapid space
some rhythm obtuse
here need sit gorgeous ike deep water
must void yesterday
perhaps hence breeze have drunk time heart
sister daughter
like bring never eat girl usurp abscond god
this die green

© Rick Blackburn
Short North Resident Mailman

SEPTEMBER 2009

 

Don't Apologize

Don’t apologize for growing old
I think it makes you sad
The photo of you when you were thirty isn’t important to me
Who you are now is important
You looked so pretty in the lobby of the Hotel Beacon
Your black and white checked coat accented your wavy white hair
You were proud of your white clutch handbag
It was lovely
Didn’t we have fun at lunch
You said your rare hamburger and sliced potatoes were “delicious”
You were hungry
It did my heart good to see you eat so well, Cousin Laura
You sipped your black coffee and said it was delicious
My hot tea was good too
When our lunch came to an end, I watched you gracefully apply
your true red Loreal #350 lipstick, without even a mirror
I imagine you applied it exactly the same way when you were a mere thirty years old
Don’t apologize for growing old
Who you are now is important to me

© Sharon Weiss

 


Not Forgotten

A thing of beauty is a joy forever...
- John Keats

Victorian homes like once proud ladies
hide their frayed edges of wear
behind wisteria vines, or fragrant honeysuckle
that clings to a paint-peeled trellis.
Wicker chairs on porches, imposing turrets,
lace curtained windows indicate a different era
of horse-drawn milk wagons,
children rolling hoops down cobblestone streets.

I want to peer inside, see the curved staircase,
an Axminster rug that cushions sound,
the writing desk. (Someone sat here, shared
recipes and latest news with sisters,
perhaps a poem or two.)
Light sifts into the room, its warmth a silent
embrace.

Old homes, a reminder of solidness,
a gracious way of life still exists.
Some restored in bright colors, called
“Painted Ladies,” are again desired.
I wish I could age as gracefully.

© Betsy Kennedy

HAIKU

things change; present good
will go bad – knowing this, I’m
nostalgic for now

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

AUGUST 2009

 

Too Busy

She seemed reserved, even shy.
Remarkable that anyone in law school
would be reserved, let alone shy.
We found her notebook and saw
that she had written, "Hurt and Bitterness,
Hurt and Bitterness," over and over,
line after line, page after page, "in passably
good handwriting, too," one of us observed.
Much too busy with matters much too important
to spend time on our discovery, we just laughed.
But it wasn't our usual laugh.

© Bill Keating



HAIKU

each day I accept
myriad things I believe
unacceptable

© Rick Klaus Theis



Napoleon

Napoleon, I'm broke
I see you on the other side
of the street,
I cash in.
Napoleon I'm alone, so alone
yet you blunder to glory,
I enter the code on the side
of the macaroni box,
loathe the lottery.
Napoleon, Napoleon
I see you in the supermarket
like Ginsberg sees
Whitman -
I sleep in the same bed of
green grass I was
raised on; I see the same sky
- different clouds

© Adam Gellings

JULY 2009

The heart door

Last night the wind visited
your house and blew on
the door but the door

was not opened. There was
nobody home. Today I visited
there too knocking at your door.

The door is always
closed. How can I meet
the occupant? Perhaps I will
come back again

tomorrow early in the morning.
I hope you'll open the
door for me!

© Meiquing


JUNE 2009

Please don’t panic. It’s not a piggy pandemic. It’s just a cold ­– and a poem by Bill Keating.

Just a Cold

It’s just a cold,
But I cough and drip
And feel so old.

My head throbs,
My ears ring.
And when I sneeze
My nose will sting.

Everything is such a bore
When my head is full
And my throat is sore.

I cough and drip
And feel so old,
But I tell myself,
“It’s just a cold.”


HAIKU

distinctive face haunts
me – where did I first see it
and why do I care?

© Rick Klaus Theis


City Pastorale

Bare feet curled around the legs
of a cane-seat chair
I sit at my mother’s oak table, now mine.
My friend Yetta, her old slippered feet primly together,
smiles across.

We dip into bowls of strawberries
drowned in Cool Whip
and glance through lace curtains
to where a huge maple crowds the window.
“Look!” I cry as a cardinal
pins itself like a Christmas bow
to the lush, green leaves.
Yetta slowly turns
and we stare at the crimson bird,
then quickly relish the red berries in our bowls.

Moving through the doorway
past the first snow of white clematis
old bare feet and slow-slippered ones
trace the perimeter of the flower garden.
I pick a few bright forget-me-nots
and, half-joking, threaten to send bouquets
to relatives we seldom see.

There is only the spirited conversation
of birds rustling in the grapevine,
and the murmur of a mower far away.
Resting on our canes we smile knowingly
at each other, a pair of aged shepherdesses
quietly guarding a new flock of summer bloom.

© Laura Hank Hilton

MAY 2009


Rainy Spring

Nature’s dress is in a mess,
A hillside full of squish,
The rain begets small rivulets,
I look out from tea and dish.
Honeysuckle shouts out, “Green, green green!”
Hyacinth murmurs pink and grape,
Daffodil utters butter, long stems careen
From moist heads in downward drape.

Nature’s cape falls from her nape,
Old leaves compress into the loam,
Warm and wet we don’t regret,
For mushrooms make loam their home.
Morels we scramble with the eggs,
The onions, succulent, home-grown chives,
We drink spring’s flavors to the dregs,
The air, the soil, the skies.

© Christine Hayes


Fragments For Spring

The last snow falls from eaves
of houses.
Winter loosens its hold
as an infant might kick aside
a warm shawl in a carriage.

The thin green bones
of daffodils push up
from thawing ground.
Blossoms explode.

Swatches of silk kites
create a carousel of color
against the sky.
Sudden flash of a blue jay
completes the poem.

© Betsy Kennedy



Perfect

Other moms
look so cool
in their clean white blouses
bra straps firmly in place
belted khaki shorts
not giving anything away

Other moms
drive museum minivans
their sliding doors can open
without fear
that someone will see in

Other moms
buy perfect teacher gifts
wrapped neatly
so thoughtful
and germ-free

Do they get
all-over body hugs and
poems from their daughters
(she loves me more than ice cream!)

When I sigh heavily about my disheveled appearance
or my less-than perfect thighs
my warrior son leaps to my defense
you are a strong mommy, he says,
and he seems to have no doubt

When we walk together
we leave a shimmery wake
of sparkling love motes
and footsteps made of hearts

© Julie DuSablon


The News

After you leave it won’t stop raining.
A beautiful butterfly has stopped
very graciously in front of my
window. What a pleasant surprise. I
think she is telling me you’re safe.

© Meiquing

Universal Garden

Under sky, under sun,
Near to the heart –
Illuminate.
Vibrations hum, and
Ever gladly the garden grows,
Reaping the bounty of love
Sown with every seed.
Alive, most joyously alive, we dance to bring the
Light.

Grandfather’s gnarled great
Arms lift our spirits and our song.
Rain falls, a gift from the sky.
Drink and breathe deep while
Evening’s colors bring the magic of the
Night.

© Julie DuSablon

JANUARY 2009

Sing

What you're hearing is a
matching Lark singing from the
bottom of my heart. Wait
and listen through closed eyelids
and smile slightly. So warm.

© Meiquig

 

Birches

Black marks on white bark
of birches
look like an artist
daubs paint
along the trunk.
Trees cast
a length of shadows
across snow.

Birches stand like cutouts,
silhouettes against
a winter sky.
Snow swirls
in secret laughter,
breaks the stillness
of a bleak day.

A cardinal bursts
into the scene,
and like a bright drop
of blood
disturbs the white.

© Betsy Kennedy

 

time's eternity
overwhelms - everything
reduced to nothing

*

Too much of watching
the tube, not enough living -
so no new haiku

 

HAIKU

erratic weather
reminds: no seasonal mold,
each day is unique

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

DECEMBER 2008


a little bit of christmas every day

when i used to see the future
it would scare the shit out of me
i’d see twenty years at a time, twenty years away
i would see very specific things,
it would terrify me, now it is fun
it’s a little bit of christmas every day

all the territory in my mind
that is to say all the territory in the world
is not familiar, therefore savage

© Joshua White

 

Soul Love

I awoke in a park
In the middle of winter
At the start of the dark,
After all the trees
Had been uprooted,
And turned upside down –
Their branches and leaves
Buried in the ground;
Their naked roots inverted,
Pointing toward the clouds.
And around these upturned trees
Dogs chased dogs,
Allowing me to see
That errant electrons
Swirling around
The nuclei of atoms
(The substance of
Both them and me)
Were just different dogs
Chasing other dogs
Around other upended trees
In other desolate parks
During other winters
Of eternal soul love.

© Rick Klaus Theis

HAIKU

UPS man spans
world with gifts; each day, Christmas –
modern, brown Santa



fall morning, spring day,
summer evening, winter
night – odd paradise

met two old men – one
swinging glad, one raging mad –
which will I make me?

© Rick Klaus Theis

NOVEMBER 2008

I Get High In The Highest Part of Ohio

I get high in the highest part of Ohio,
I overlook the hills and watch the waving wheat.
The vast sky invites pouf clouds darting over,
Streams and barns pop up and faithfully repeat.

Lanterns glow made of jars of fireflies dancing,
Red-roofed barns dot terra firma underfeet.
Rural life favors those unsavory trailers,
Log cabins run away in history’s retreat.

© Christine Hayes

AUGUST 2008


EMU

Oceans of regret and nervous laughter can’t drown
the disasters of yesterday. She’s already long gone
as is the air in your lungs, her picture in your pocket,
the hope you never trusted anyway.
The strange voice on the machine that night
was lecherous and slurred
like rusty barbed wire ripped through your eardrums.
It was your fault really, for listening to the messages first.
Luck be a dying bluebird in your caged head tonight.
Sleep is a myth for the dumb.
Her lies blur faster than a poisoned hummingbird’s wings at dawn.
Dreams, like hungry cavities packed with sugary confessions,
induce madness in the dark.
The clock strikes, the phone rings,
the black thorns of betrayal dig ever deeper
into an already perforated heart.

© A. Young

The Power of Memory

A teacup in time
swirling with the milky past.
Love’s decadence the sweet honey
Taking up too much room on the palette
unless the bitterness is also savored
Then all that is remembered is a
placebo of replacement and
Eternity seeps out and all that is
recalled is
Empty of life.

© Rachelle

Saltwater Days

Remember the machine at ocean side,
or at county fairs that spun batter
from shiny pans into taffy.
I used to watch the metal arm pull
the confection up and down,
then sideways, stretching it
like a skein of yarn a woman might
hold between her hands.
The motion, as well as the results,
satisfied me...pastel-colored candy
to suck on and melt in my mouth.

Such simple days with elemental
pleasures have disappeared.
Now I flounder in an upside down
world.
I am pulled in many directions,
fragmented, bitter without you.

© Betsy Kennedy

JULY 2008

Breakfast is Served

Toasted English muffins spread with peanut butter and grape jelly.
A simple meal, it is all I have to offer.
I pour you the last few ounces of orange juice, knowing as I do
that you prefer to drink your fruit while I relish the taste and texture
of a ripened orange.
The coffee is served black; I haven’t made it to the store for cream.
You smile nonetheless, the lines crinkling around your eyes,
and you tell me the meal is deliziosi!
I know you would have preferred better, but you are so sweet,
the idea of complaining would never cross your mind.
The day promises to be pleasant, the sun a shimmering sphere
climbing leisurely over the horizon.
There is no need for words, only the need to touch, our bodies
positioned on chairs but a hairsbreadth apart.

We sit in comfortable silence, this breezeway our personal bistro;
birds the orchestra, serenading us from backyard trees.
A blue jay flies across the yard to perch on a nearby branch.
You say it is as blue as an azure sea.
No, I tell you, it is as blue as your sparkling sapphire eyes.
You chuckle then flatter me; saying, Mi Cherrie, they are just eyes,
created solely for the purpose of drinking in your beauty.
Now it is my turn to laugh.
You are no more French than I am from Mars.
Still, I feel a blush wash over my cheeks.
Almost a year together, you still move me with your infatuation.
Our eyes lock and I perceive the hunger rising in yours.
You take my hands, fingers caressing the palms.
Pleasure beckons inside the door.
I feel the need to hurry, yet… there is time to be patient,
the day after all just beginning, the night so far far away…

© Betty Bleen

 

The Flood

A river winds slowly through my mind
Its movement barely noticeable –
an erosion not worth the worry;
a delicate degradation

It upsets nothing –
not the laundry list of chores
nor the nagging voice of doubt

And yet,
it makes its way

Winding through mountains of memories
and
valleys of thought

Slow and persistent
your waters creep
to the bow of my mind

And there they stop –
pooling, dilating;
drowning the day
until,

I open my mouth and the waters rush out –
flooding the pages, soaking my skin

© Kelli Drummer-Avendaño

JUNE 2008

Guardian

The heart lies hidden,
pulsating with life.
No evidence shows where hurts
are sheltered,
fears stay,
within which chamber love is confined.
A paradox,
for scars are sometimes found.
Guard carefully, heart, the fragile
life you hold.

© Betsy Kennedy

 

No in a Moment

In a moment used to mean endless time waiting for
my request to be answered.
Today it meant the sweetest unfolding of my life in
the hands of the ever present.
No used to be bitter and rigid, frustrating and
disappointing my expectations.
Today the gentle no became the withholding of events
I’m not yet prepared for or fluid enough to
receive.
Today no in a moment became yes forever.

© Rachelle


APRIL 2008

Play Back Tape

Mid-April freeze,
January brother reluctant to leave.

Last night’s ‘Featured Reading’ flat,
grand impact of cucumber sandwich.

Wife left. Stare at stained glass birds,
bunches of rosemary upside down, half-
closed dresser drawer, nursing bra.

Kid lost job. Pick up insurance; dog
to vet; car repair; tuition due –
heartburn...apparent ulcer.

The cat died. Two days thought
a while since it moved, crusted food,
water floating calico hair.

Weak batteries – replace.
I can get some poems out of these.

© Robert Pringle



She Seemed Familiar

i couldn’t tell if she was a girl or a woman
she had traveled to Europe by herself
and most recently Poland

i couldn’t reckon her age
she seemed in some ways like a child
she talked about her church group
and her volunteer service
with the plump spirit of a youngster
but she also seemed older
wiser, having experience she wasn’t
letting on to
– maybe good parents?

then i looked at her hands
hands aren’t ambiguous
they were child’s hands
bare, unlined, steady
and open

© Joshua Isaac White

MARCH 2008

of all who have died,
good and bad, not one’s returned –
must be better there

© Rick Klaus Theis



Musings of a Renoir Cat

My moment of fame – to be chosen
for Renoir’s painting, Julia Manet with Cat.
That’s me – just “Cat” – no name recorded.
What pleasure it gave me,
sitting for Renoir.
I had to be still while he worked,
sketching my body in quick strokes,
later painted to resemble me.
I don’t recall any compensation,
but I’m certain other cats were envious.

If you think my fur soft, you should have felt
Julia’s gown – silky-soft – like the secret places
behind my ears that I liked stroked.
Julia’s lap was comfortable as she held me.
I snuggled into an easy pose.

“Charming,” I often heard after the painting
was finished.
At first I thought the compliment was for me,
but Julia did have a winsome smile.

© Betsy Kennedy


Signafusion

Over a store’s large window,
GRAND OPENING!
On the front door entrance,
SORRY WE’RE CLOSED.
In a corner of a window near the door,
PARDON OUR STILL REMODELING DUST.
Are we to celebrate?
Wonder how long to wait?
Or quickly buzz three B’s to ventilate?

© Don Jaccaud

 


The Lady Vanishes

In Hitchcock’s thriller,
The Lady Vanishes in 1938,
the title role is played by a Dame,

an oatmeal-tweed connoisseur
of music, tea, and conversation.
The last trace is her name

written in steam fogging
a dining car window – no silk scarf,
no gold cigarette case, no kid glove

found on the platform of adjoining cars.
Her film rescue reveals
she went from retiring governess

to British spy – overpowered, drugged,
consigned for “questioning” elsewhere.
She traveled as well from a film

history of Oh, Genteel Lady, A Lady
By Choice into the modern movie idiom
of The Lady Takes a Chance.

What a thrill for Hitchcock
to drop the white glove of “Lady”
for the bare knuckles of “Woman.”

© Robert Pringle

 

FEBRUARY 2008

 

Mr. Blue Collar

In the alley shadows fall as
broken beer bottle teeth bite through overworked boots
on the long walk home from unloading trucks.
Of course there was last minute overtime, production quotas
being what they are and corporate is crazy as ever ...
Mr. Blue collar greets me more often than not as I pass
by this backyard. He bows regally into the last of the day’s
sunrays, his tomcat stretch cut short by a shard of green
glass beneath his paw. He wears a collar of blue, hence the
name, but more importantly he is a workingman’s cat.
His people understand all too well those oppressive, trapped
feelings of no options, no way out, no hope of anything better ...
I mean, they always make sure to keep a window cracked
for Mr. Blue Collar. A way out, an escape. The dignity to
move around as he pleases, the decency of keeping his hours
his own. This suits Mr. Blue Collar just fine.

© A. Young

 

work week prison – with
evenings and weekends as
the exercise yard


© Rick Klaus Theis

 

Skin Red From the Hot Water

the first time i saw a naked woman
i was thirteen and i opened the door on
my mother’s best friend’s 17-year-old daughter
just getting out of the shower and reaching for a towel
i remember her being blonde and athletic and statuesque
and the towel was white and the room was yellow
and one foot was in the shower and the other on the bathrug
and her skin was red from the hot water
i was very embarrassed and i slammed the door shut
i hoped that she hadn’t noticed or that if she had she didn’t know
who had invaded her privacy like that
she came out later and whined to her mother
“mom, one of the boys opened the door on me
when i was taking a shower”
after i heard her say it in front of me
i became indignant
she hadn’t noticed that it was me
or she had and
she didn’t know my name
or she did and i was so far below her
she didn’t care
i was just a twerpy brat in too much
of a hurry to get into the bathroom

© Joshua Isaac White


To Judy

Rules that I can’t live up to,
The same battleground we’ve been through.
Things that you put me through,
To prove what I am not sure.
I need room to breathe or just to exhale.
The work you gave me to do
I did, but not anymore.

© Wayne Murphy


Answering Machine

I let the machine get the phone
It’s usually just a bill collector
Or a telemarketer
Sometimes my brother calls
To make sure I haven’t
Really gone and killed myself
That’s mostly it
Once I picked up
Hoping it was you
But some Indian woman
Wanted to approve me
For a new Master Card
I just let the machine fill up
With all the detritus
The daily sorrows
And I sit around in my underwear
And type it all out
On another machine
Transcribing really
I erased your last message
By mistake
That was back in August
And now it’s
Already December

© Michael S. Walker

 

Old Doctor

Your six feet fill the doorway.
Pencil poised
you question, note in file.
Owl eyes check.
The white coat crackles
as you bend to examine.
“Breathe out. Breathe in.”
From bits and pieces
You connect the whole,
arrive at a verdict:
“Take two each day
and call if there are problems.”
You glide to another cubicle
unmindful of the crowd demanding miracles.

Nearby, your replacement
wearing a new gold band
orders tests,
shots, prescriptions;
is in and out of the cubicles
faster than a bird can shake a feather,
always ahead of the multitudes
waiting for loaves and fishes.
“Let’s get this show
on the road!” he announces
in the outer office.
The receptionist whispers,
“Thank God it’s my last week here.”

© Laura Hank Hilton


Waiting the Mile

On the first day she
ate biscuits for breakfast,
On the second day she
had designs upon the moon –

On the third day she
invented cake;
And on the fourth day she
took a bite out of the wind –

By the fifth day she
knew her lover wavered
And she was willing
to wait a mile for him –

A mile in silver slippers,
holding a silver rose –
No reason to be out of fashion
even while holding the bag.

Knocking on wood is lucky.
Life is just a bunch of bargains.
She added the rose to a lovely garden
of dried longings.

© Ramona Moon/Christine Hayes
with help from Laurel Doerfler and Jeanni Ray

 

The Painter

She wanted to paint the sky
Red
So she bought a skyscraper
To get rid of all the blue
And she stole
Jacob’s ladder
Because
A stairway to heaven
Cost too much
And she climbed
Every step
To get to the top
Where she scraped away
Until the sky was grey
And after she ran out
Of oil
And acrylic
She cut
Four fingers
And thumb
And she painted the sky
And knew that it was good
As she fainted
And fell
Onto a bed
Of white roses
That she stained
Red
Ending
her
body
Of art
The days went by
And no one noticed the sky
Until
They were bleeding

© Alfaro

Previously published in real.m
(Silenced Press, 2007)
www.silencedpress.com

DECEMBER 2007

Winton’s Trumpet

In the lonely
dark
privacy
of winter.

A Buckeye leaf fell.

A crocus bulb
thrives
under the rotting warmth.

Spring,
like Winton’s trumpet,
will dream sweet music.

© David Hetzler

That kid showed up at the back door again this morning,
crying because her boots got stuck in the mud over there ... again.
I have told her at least a hundred times to not go over to that playground
while it is still so muddy under the swings.

I tell her, "Don't go over there any more.
Your boots get stuck every time and you'll just be
running back here in muddy socks, crying at me again.

"It is simply the nature of things at that playground,
and you ought to know by now that it is not going to change."

... What a stupid kid! My words keep her safe, inside, for a little while –
until she looks out the window;
then she wants to play and the playground beckons ... again.
And she starts thinking this time she's going to be smarter than to let that happen ... again.
And then she goes out and gets stuck ... again!

Eye am just going to have to keep a closer watch on her –
I will try to not let her get out ... again.

Eye really know now that I just can't take my eyes off her for a whole second.
I'm so glad that 1/4 second rule pretty much works –
when I can remember to use it –
because I'm really sick of fetching her boots and cleaning her back up for the next new day ... again.

© Loran Elizabeth Conley
Little Hocking, Ohio

Well Before Monkeys Were

being hurled into space and caged in
test laboratories, they were confined
but thriving in the monkey house at
Wheeling Park, West Virginia. I know,
because every year in the 1950s while
at our annual St. Catherine’s grade
school picnic we would go inside to
see them. It isn’t hotdogs, pretzel sticks
slathered with yellow mustard, snow
cones, nor fun house mirrors that I
most remember. Not playground rides
or swimming in the pool. Forget about
grade school singsongs on the bus,
songs like Twenty Five Bottles of Beer
on the Wall and Found a Peanut. No,
these memories pale next to those of
the monkey house which is what held
the most allure. So dark inside you had
to wait for your eyes to adjust, it was
monkeys here, monkeys there, monkeys
monkeys everywhere, and boy oh boy,
did they ever smell! They were furry
chattering acrobatic maniacs swinging
from limb to limb by their prehensile
tails, their beady eyes following your
every move. Grinning, grooming,
boisterous monkeys, with bared lips
showing yellowed teeth. Loud, messy,
and aggressive they had no shame.
With their sexual anatomy on such
raucous display it’s no wonder slightly
embarrassed sisters always tried to
hurry us through while behind their
backs we girls giggled and the boys
hooted and howled, pointing out every
set of rump pads, every wrinkled pair
of blue balls. It was quite tantalizing,
slightly risqué, enough to put a blush
on any proper Catholic girl’s face.

© Betty Bleen



city streets show it:
give a monkey a horn, he
can’t help but blow it.

© Rick Klaus Theis

 

Monkey Business

As we walked up to the door to knock, the
house seemed the same as others on the block.

At my six years of age I was timid and shy,
so I stayed close to daddy, a six foot four guy.

As dad knocked on the door, a scream from inside
made me want to run back down the street to hide.

We entered the house, I holding back, it
scared me to enter .... what was the racket?

Then, there it was, on the swinging door,
a cage with one monkey, it sounded like more.

It chattered, and shrieked, and jumped up and down.
Did he just want attention as he acted the clown?

The door swung back and forth, and it shook.
It scared me so badly I hardly could look.

I held my breath .... then gasped for air.
The stench he emitted was beyond compare!

I don’t remember how long we were there.
I mostly remember the scariest scare.

We never went back. That made me quite happy.
Instead I went swimming next time with my pappy!

© Joan Moos



Role Reversal

“Monkey see, monkey do,
monkey does the same as you”
chant girls at school recess
in sing-song voices
as they jump rope to rhyme.

Boys daring and adventurous,
clamor over monkey bars,
becoming bolder each time.

At the zoo behind a glass
enclosure,
monkeys swing from branches,
dangle on ropes, tumble about,
amuse us in their play.

See, children lean on glass,
press palms & noses against
the pane.
They point and gape,
feign fright when monkeys
linger near.

Who is trapped or free,
those watching, or the monkeys
swinging high in trees?

© Betsy Kennedy

 

RECLASSIFICIATION
(Scientists: Apes and Humans have 99.6% the same DNA...suggest re-classification of Apes)

Reclassification

WHAT! ... 99.6 the same???
Well, OUR .4 is purer!
To open old Darwinian wounds
Will surely cause a furor.

I’d like to make a valid case
To reclassify mankind.
I think for all his ‘grab and growl’
His species should be canine.

Territorial, with war he gives
The ‘one-legged salute’
With acid-rain and torn up earth
There’s nothing he won’t pollute.

What he says his God made perfect,
He destroys to redesign.
How can he, with the way he acts,
Claim origin so divine?

I think that man should ape the chimps
(Of course, no pun intended.)
To classify them both the same,
Why, the apes would be offended!

© Gay Dell-Howard ©2004

 

Monkey Sales

At my local grocery store the produce department’s
been overrun by a gang of furry monkeys. As you
enter this section you are greeted by jungle music,
plastic palm trees, exotic plants, and green vines
which dangle from overhead. Scattered here and
there are the monkeys, each assigned his own
aisle of produce and manning his own toy vehicle
filled with vegetables or fruit. Each wears an
appropriate hat – a captain’s hat for a cruiseliner
of coconuts, a pirate’s hat for a pirate ship filled
with lemons and limes, a ball cap for a tractor
trailer of Idaho potatoes – you get the picture.
The first monkey to greet me is Banana Sam
who sits behind the wheel of an old pickup
truck its bed piled high with bananas, his name
embossed in bold red letters on the band of his
big straw hat. He can hardly contain himself
having a big toothed grin, as if driving a truck
full of bananas was the best thing ever happened
to him. As I walk through the aisles I’m
wondering what bozo thought up this tactic.
I mean why do we have to have a gimmick?
When did we stop letting fruit sell itself?

Seeing the old truck I am reminded of when I was
a child and the produce man came by once a week
rain or shine. The truck had a bell which would
tinkle as its driver grinded to a stop in front of our
house. My grandma would don her shawl, grab
her pocketbook and head out the door, usually
with me in tow. The bed of the truck would be
laden with boxes of fruit and vegetables and she
would let me help her pick out any variety of fresh
produce. Oh, the bliss of biting into a sweet purple
plum or luscious peach, a plump red tomato, its
delectable juice dribbling down my chin! To this
day this is one of my fondest childhood memories.

Produce was the real deal then not this polished
version we are offered today, shiny and all spiffed
up like a new pair of leather shoes. Back then just
looking at it would start your mouth to watering
and you didn’t need a bunch of furry funky
monkeys to hock it either!

© Betty Bleen

Monkeys

They say we came from monkeys. I wish I was still a monkey.
Monkeys don’t have to pay taxes.
Monkeys don’t have to pay the rent on time.
Monkeys don’t get speeding tickets.
Monkeys don’t have inlaws.
Monkeys don’t end up in divorce court.
Monkeys don’t have to buy anyone a birthday present.
Monkeys never say, “It costed me the shirt off my back.”
Monkeys don’t have to take a bath.
Monkeys don’t have to use a fork, knife, and spoon.
Monkeys don’t have to say grace at the dinner table.
Monkeys don’t have to go to church on Sundays.
Monkeys don’t have to go to school.
Monkeys don’t have to watch their tone of voice.
Monkeys don’t have to pay union dues.
Monkeys don’t have to dress up for a job interview.
Monkeys don’t have to register their hunting rifle.
Monkeys don’t have to register for the draft.
Monkeys don’t have to wear glasses.
Monkeys don’t have to say “Sir.”
Monkeys don’t have to pay alimony or child support.
Monkeys don’t have to stand in line at the grocery store.
Monkeys don’t get caught in traffic jams.
Monkeys don’t need a haircut.
Monkeys don’t need to shave.
Monkeys have more hair on their chest than I do.
Monkeys don’t have to pay for a wedding.
Monkeys don’t have to punch a time clock.
Monkeys don’t have to get up at six o’clock in the morning.
Monkeys never need a lawyer.
Monkeys can’t be fired.
Monkeys never get reprimand.
Monkeys don’t get written up by OSHA.
Monkeys don’t have to answer the door.
Monkeys don’t have to answer the phone.
I wish I was still a monkey. Don’t you?

© Mark Stoll

 

NOVEMBER 2007


A Season's Truth

From the edge of the cornfield
where pumpkins lay tangled in their vines,
you chose one bright as a harvest moon.
I watch you, aware of your strength,
carry the fattest one you could reach
around.
My knife was ready, my grandson.
I transpose your pleased grin into a pumpkin
smile.
We cut the top, scoop life onto yesterday’s
newspaper.
November days end. The pumpkin shrivels.
Its mouth curls in a lopsided shape
like toothless gums of an old man.
You look sharply at me, acquainted in a brief
instant with age,
and, I afraid, glimpse the shrunken man
I might become.

© Betsy Kennedy


city sounds claw to
the top – the winner i hear
through plugs in my ears

© Rick Klaus Theis


Ruminations

Along a blue highway
cottonwood leaves
flash and bell
in the wind.

Some pock
and mat
the grass, refuse
last rites.

Others snap and twist
at the sanctity
of rakes, pop
and crawl from bags,

taunt the tires
of trucks,
sky in the rush
of diesel incense.

A few escape
to village streets,
but most to farm
fields, recall

the cows that eat them,
again and again.

© Robert Pringle


Divine Voices

Time flies faster than we can fathom
yet there are still so many questions
left to answer

but in our race to solve each mystery
and reduce our world to singularity
let us not be too hasty

and forget to take the time to listen
for Divine voices in the wind’s whisper
and enjoy the simple pleasures
tucked away into the folds of life

the warmth and crackle of a fire,
a deep breath of crisp fresh air,
a pause in simple silence,
the honor of innocence

these will be the memories
that we will grow to covet
in the Autumn of our days.

© Eric V. Walton

 

OCTOBER 2007

 

Listen Canary

His little birch cage
teeters on twine
from the parlor ceiling.
The listen canary lets a trill
escape his beak and the echo
flicks the marble floor
with a soft ping.

His yellow feathers peel back
when caught in the wind,
when the old woman, delicate,
leaves the glass window
open like a jewelry box.
The golden wings pin back
and he stretches his crispy beak
against cold air.

He listens to the gust, supple,
an antique breeze,
as it creaks the trinkets
in its path, twinkling them.
Sometimes he hears a wind chime
or an old, plinky swing set,
or only his sunset feathers
rustling.

© Regina DiPerna

 

Prison Visiting Room

Through the doorway an orange tree flames
against the backdrop of a blue mountain.
Red-gold leaves rain upon the copper grass.
In the green shadows of the cool room
women knot themselves into families,
pressing a year’s endearments into one
brief brush with the free world behind – ahead.
Facing inward, some ignore the maple,
the burning arrow exclaiming the answer
beyond the far hill. Behind self-closed doors
they search each other, and try well-worn keys
to the tight pattern of the legal locks.
Atlas-like they shift their problem world
and question those nearby for a pat word.
Yet there are the wise ones who lift their eyes
and see the blue beyond the mountain peak.

© Laura Hank Hilton

SEPTEMBER 2007


Gone

The house is empty now of his energy
though manifestations of its presence
thankfully remain.

In a dorm on some campus
he rediscovers passion –
he had it when very young –
in the rows and rows of model cars
he’d line up on steps of our rented double;
in the leggo-roller coasters he’d build
wherever space invited – roller coasters we’d
step over, hesitantly, for weeks, vacuum around.

He had it in flashes in 7th and 8th grade
despite our well-intentioned suppressions –
we had good intentions – to keep him from harm.

Now, away from our watchfulness,
perhaps he’ll flash
out permanently, our smothering concern
a thing of the past

as he learns what we should have allowed him –
to fail, to fall, to bear disappointment;
to laugh loudly, fully, to risk,
to surge with life.

Perhaps, despite and because,
he will forgive us after all.

© Anna Soter

 

Genesis Retold

Immortal angels, bored with perfectness,
wandered from the Firmament unduly.
Rejecting God, they donned garments of flesh
and strayed onto the Earth, verdant and fruity.
God scorned, and of His angels thus bereft,
bade them, “Go and live. It is your duty.
Go love and hate and weep about your death,
so, you may come to comprehend your beauty.”

© Sharon Reeb

 

Wander Lost

When the routines of life
shroud my peace
and cause me to wander lost

I long to be a small fish in a big pond,

to lose myself in the bright spot
of the next road's vanishing
and to be born again in foreign eyes

I then awaken in remembrance
that happiness isn't meant to be rationed
out like thin grey gruel

each day's dawn is a sweet symphony
and as long as I hear the music
my dreams will have to die another day.

© Eric V. Walton

 

What a Surprise

to see you
as I was getting
off work
You stopped by
you said
for a cup of coffee
I smiled
as the words
escaped your lips
both of us
laughing
at this
Both knowing
it for the ruse
it was

When you followed
me home
so I could change
did you happen to see
my smile
in the side mirror
I was hard-pressed
to keep it
on my face

It lit up my car
like a tiny sun
bounced round
and round
from ceiling
to floor
Tried to
unlock the door
and the windows

Said it wanted to
ride in your car

© Betty Bleen

 

I’ll Never Forget

that time the old couple sang to us in the backyard
they sat on chairs, the man with a banjo missing a string
and the woman with a guitar
the rest of us shared blankets in the grass
and cried as the sun went down
and they played old songs
written in the mountains
he would forget which song to play next
and she would prompt him with the title
and then he’d ask her how it went
but she didn’t know she was very modest
and then he’d climb into it
they lived next door
they owned the house my friends were living in
they hadn’t raised the rent in years and years
we were all happy for a moment
for a moment we had captured the secret to life
we couldn’t believe it.

© Joshua Isaac White

 

Filler

Sometimes I feel like I’m
Just filling space
Like a poem
In someone’s newspaper
Glanced over with
Morning coffee
And a piece of toast
Hoping and praying
That somehow I don’t
Wind up, crumpled and stained
On the bottom of
Some cat’s litter box.

© Laurence Overmire

 

JULY 2007


Peaceful Patterns

Peaceful patterns playing in my mind,
Warring words quit warring for a time,
Wandering brain cells hoping for to find,
Peaceful patterns playing in my mind.

Yesterday, when I spoke to my friend,
All my words seemed to twist and rend,
Yesterday, all my integrity had to bend,
But today, I’m not thinking of my friend.

Peaceful patterns playing in my mind,
Warring words quit warring for a time,
Wandering brain cells hoping for to find,
Peaceful patterns playing in my mind.

There are places in the soul,
That peace seldom knows,
Still there are patterns
where the silent wind blows,
Peaceful patterns where the quiet grows.

Peaceful patterns playing in my mind,
Warring words, quit warring for a time,
Wandering brain cells hoping for to find,
Peaceful patterns playing in my mind.

Peaceful patterns of yellow and blue,
Patterns where the gentle swans flew,
Patterns from a slow dance I knew,
Peaceful patterns like the morning dew.

Peaceful patterns playing in my mind,
Warring words quit warring for a time,
Wandering brain cells hoping for to find,
Peaceful patterns playing in my mind.

© Doug Rutledge


WE ARE ALL CRAZY AND LIFE IS GOOD

there are those who for the sake of inner peace
choose to no longer leave the privacy of their room
there are all those who just need to flee the city the state the country
there are those who worship the sixties by the light of their plasma televisions
and there are those wearing bikinis walking blissful
and barefoot over the broken glass in the street
can of beer in one hand, cell phone in the other

© Joshua Isaac White


The Second Cup of Coffee

The second cup of coffee comes later in the day’s routine.
It just doesn’t have the pop of the first. It usually comes because there is some left in the pot.
Would it be a waste to dump it?
Let me be like the first cup of coffee.
The second one really isn’t needed.
So drink up and enjoy me.
Don’t drink me because I am there and there’s nothing better to do.
I like being first and needed.

© Wayne Murphy

 

eternal
there is no need
to gobble your pleasures,
for love is infinite and
you are eternal.

© Rick Klaus Theis

JUNE 2007

The Doe

There is a doe grazing on the lawn of the building just below my home.

A young girl walks by on her way home from school, glances at the wild thing,
never slowing her pace.

Across the street a dozen people are playing or watching tennis, the balls
bouncing over the nets as always.

This morning’s paper, page 5, left side, below the fold, a story said that one hundred
American troops died during April in Iraq.

The doe, lifting its head, nostrils scanning the lawn for danger, finding none,
bowed its soft brown neck to the grass and ate.

© David Hetzler

Looking Back At 35

Decorum and dreams dance among
the painted faces of the night

the fast and new have
washed over me in wonderful ways
only to leave me yearning to know
the true wisdom of easy and slow

I have journeyed long through
the fallacies and naiveté,
still believing when
hope was a fool’s game

enduring the storm until
the truth was so salient that it
cleansed my soul like fire

the world looks a bit different
on this side of life
priorities have shifted, idealism is sifted
until there’s still some black and white
but many more shades of grey

urgency there is no more
yet I see how deft a thief time is
as it whisks these words away
before they are even frozen in form

the minutes can free or enslave us
but now I’m beginning to relish
each second’s worth
and the true value of things
especially comfortable shoes

© Eric V. Walton



Six String Savior

Listen to a mean guitar.
Listen while you drive your car.
Listen while you shop the mall.
Listen while you’re playing ball.

Six string saviors make my day.
Six string saviors really play.
Six string saviors play it all.
Six string saviors have a ball.

Carlos plays a Paul Reed Smith.
You know who he’s playing with.
Well, Santana, as they’re known.
California, that’s their home.

Perry plays a six string lead.
Fingers move at lightning speed.
They are known as Aerosmith.
Count the women they’ve been with.

Crosby, Stills and Nash and Young.
Every song that they have sung
They have done acoustic style.
Sit and listen for a while.

Springsteen had his Glory Days.
Hendrix had his Purple Haze.
Hank has lots of rowdy friends.
Hope the party never ends.

Nugent has a Stranglehold.
Heavy metal rock and roll.
Working hard and playing hard.
Heavy metal superstars.

Six string savior in my face.
Six string saviors don’t play bass.
Six string savior, mighty loud.
Six string savior, mighty proud.

© Mark Stoll

MAY 2007

Am/big/u/ous
(A homophonic double entendre)

Knot so big,
she harbors a tied
quite through and threw
from crown to tow,
as grate as it is fast.
Whet and hardly warn,
She brooks unseamly past
a wayward lune,
who treads a wile,
allows the pretty foul
to waiver and pitch,
her slight outline
following its coarses,
until accession of cast off breaches
wakes up her mite-y rues,
tries the bounds
of her titanic forces.
With roil flare,
she heaves her size
upon this awed buoy.
So deep, the seas…
Why, she’s
in deed
a swell swallow!

© Sharon Reeb

APRIL 2007

Touched

The masseuse’s hands knead
muscled knots,
lavender scent
awakens senses thought extinct.
I drift
from pressuring tasks,
the debris of the week.

wonder how it would be if we
massaged our children,
our animals from the moment they rise;
if we massaged each other
from the moment we rise.

© Anna Soter


So tilted is the Earth

A silver knife stabs a silent sky,
As a stream of bright stars
Bleed from its wounds.
So tilted is the earth
That even the sky must shed blood.
Who will salve the suffering stars?
Who will climb the rugged mountain
To nurse the night sky?

© Doug Rutledge


The Philosopher

Big bird
Balanced on blighted branches,
Noble in its indifference,
Savage in its flight.

Carrion carrier does not care who
Passes before its immutable eyes
Until motion moves
The stoic philosopher to kill.

© Doug Rutledge


Beyond the Shadows

Raindrops collect on tree limbs,
create a jeweled necklace
as I might wear.
Birds, undaunted by rain,
sing surprise songs.

The cat stares out the window
at birds that flutter by,
then curls up with his own dreams.

In the silence of the room
I imitate the cat – find a book
of poems – perhaps Emily Dickinson,
who wrote invitingly of spring,
and begin to read.

I am content, until I look up, aware
of the black shadow of a crow,
looming across the glass.
The near-spring day seems less
promising. Fears intrude.

I wonder what’s ahead in the shadows.
Soon it will be Easter.
Do the dead, remembering talk
of a resurrection, grow restless
in the dark, frozen ground?

© Betsy Kennedy


The Crow

A crow landed on the porch
roof by the north end
window, the sky sickle grey,
shuddered to a stop.

I nodded good morning
to its gaze.

She flapped one wing,
the other down, neat,
tucked as if to roost,
and flat-footed across the roof,
and flew to perch on a maple
in the yard next door.

Her mustard eye never
left mine.

© Anna Soter

MARCH 2007

Tanpopo

One sip
of genmai
life becomes
a beautiful sigh

nothing now exists

but a steaming bowl
of soba

spicy tuna rolls

and a kind
of kindred peace
that makes tolerable
the troubles of the day.

© Eric Vance Walton

 

Your Pleasures

Your pleasures
Have never been my pleasures,
Although I appreciate
Your beauty and potential.
As far back as I can recall
I have engaged in
Your forms of fun
With an open mind –
And been disappointed
By the shallowness,
The puerile nature
Of your games.
There are no resonances
With my intelligence;
Even less so with my soul.
I feel I am taking part
In the cryptic ceremonies of
Some alien race
For the purposes only
Of cultural exchange –
A glimpse into
The superstitious liturgies,
Rote reptilian rituals,
Of some backward,
Hermetic sect.

Your pleasures
Have never been my pleasures.
They are the mutually reinforced,
Grotesquely repetitious rites
Of some OCD society –
A colossal dysfunction
Meant to distract
From the complex concepts
Of being and nothingness,
And coping with same,
With one purpose:
To coddle the brain.
Causing it to remain
A rudimentary organ,
Never to flower
Into a true equal
Of the universe it mirrors
And which mirrors it in return,
Bursting forth in magnificence
On so many levels –
Microscopic, optic, and telescopic –
And in so many dimensions –
No point and a single point;
Height and width; depth and time;
Objective subjectivity and
Subjective objectivity;
Spirituality; emotional reality;
And myriad other defining attributes
Operating across multiple geographies,
Independently and in unison.

Your pleasures
Have never been my pleasures,
Except the very basic one
Of enjoying the attention
And the physical sensation
Of a “love at first site” rush,
A love that now lies time-worn
In the many aborted attempts
At deeper mutual connection,
As much my blame
In failing to conform,
Or fate’s blame
In allowing this mutation
Of my consciousness/brain,
As it is yours
In accepting and promoting
Pleasures so mundane.

© Rick Klaus Theis

FEBRUARY 2007

Option For a Broken Tomorrow

Future
In need of repair
Smile - scream
Mundane things
We moan, fear, don’t share
I wanna sail on the opaque lake
Stare to a new morning
Tear down nefarious schemes

© Rick Blackburn
Short North resident mailman

 

entertainment junkie

a brazen silence fills the air
and was repelled by meek
and hollowed minds

astonished not, I was to this
for minds asleep
tend not to reason

imagination’s atrophied
they chase excitement
again to feed

behold the silence when it comes
silence rarely lasts
too long

© Eric Vance Walton

 

CLOWNS

I don’t like CLOWNS
Their big crimson frowns
Fluorescent orange hair
Bloodshot eyes that stare
Faces chalked white
Gives me a fright
Stupendous red noses
Bouquets of fake roses
Shoes with broken soles
Clothes full of holes
Cymbals and kazoos
They all make me blue
Big floppy hats
Plastic baseball bats
Fake pots of glue
Big hammers and screws
Painted polka dots
All their goofy props
Don’t know how to speak
Greet you with a shriek
Mimicking and mimes
Talking rhymes
If they come to town
You won’t find me around
They only bring me down
‘Cause I don’t like CLOWNS!

© Betty Bleen

JANUARY 2007

Before the Poem

Far away
Someone is stitching together
Their strange resume
Their dive into the stars
On a certain otherwise
Unmemorable
Day

Far away
Someone is remembering the names
Of all the gods
Those strong dwellers of Olympus
Radiant
Resplendent
All crowned with halos
Of human foibles

Far away
Someone is watching the sparrows jab
for crusts
And feeling in their pockets
That really
There is nothing more
To give to the world

Far way
The leaves curl up into their tombs
And there is to be no denial
No matter how far
Someone goes

Far away
Someone is stitching together
All these images
And ersatz trivia
While the hand doles out change
And the body stands in line

This is happening

© Michael S. Walker

 

Subway chaos swirls
Around bamboo flute's soft sound--
Eye of hurricane.

© Photo/Haiku by Rick Klaus Theis, NYC

 

My Poetry Wallows in Colors

My poetry wallows in colors.
'Takes a dip, now and then, in frothy moods of midnight ink.
Pearly pink, it splashes around in sable sounds,
sulphurous rounds and livid rhythms smoldering.
Sometimes it plays in a dappled pool
with a sunny muse,
green and dull,
a flowery mute
that thrashes in a brassy moat
and strokes its silent notes,
but my poetry longs to swim.

My poetry wallows in colors.
'Wades in the shallows of fathomless oceans in ponderous fashion,
pitching in surges of florid emotion and thunderous passion.
It doesn’t want to dabble in red tides of gospel
where the rhetoric is hollow and can poison with one swallow.
It longs to dive under that shadowy Wonder,
to hold its breath, explore its depth,
return to the surface with a vivid yellow fish.
For now, it casts a primitive net,
but my poetry longs to swim.

My poetry wallows in colors.
'Lolls in suffused lagoons, or combs the gray dunes for driftwords,
a landlocked maroon, stumbling on the shore, looking seaward
at the mermaids laughing, silvery sirens twisting in the tangerine light.
'Yearns to splash among the Titans who wield an emerald fire.
Instead, it ponders in puddles muddied with riddles,
longing to be skillful, limber, and nimble,
dreaming of symbols, crystal clear,
so anyone who listens can hear
poetry swimming in colors.

© Sharon Reeb, 2006

NOVEMBER 2006

Mums

Why do mums remind me of funerals?
Do I stem from a stock that always perished in the fall?
Did every living member of my line
Expire at the thought of winter,
Like Baby’s Breath,
Too fragile to survive until the daffodils rise?

Perhaps I am simply too stingy with my blossoms,
Unwilling to give up any but the tardy to the dead,
Tulips for birth, roses for love and mums for expiration.

Though when honesty sets shimmering fall leaves,
I realize that mums are a gift from a future lover,
Sent to celebrate our imminent embrace.

Mums remind me that many blossoms have faded
Since last I saw the glacier lily
Push her gentle fingers through the insensitive snow
To greet the smiling sun of spring.

When spring fails to inspire my soul
To do the hard work of greeting life,
Reaching through winter’s morbid covering
Toward the ever warming light,
Then mums will remain in the memory
Of a mind too tired to wait for daffodils.

© Doug Rutledge

 

Modern Martha

Her living room was green and gold and gray,
and everything was in an ordered sphere –
the emerald Cogswell chair; across the way
a sleek gold couch with lamp and table near.
Above the sofa, flanked by twin stands small,
quaint flower prints in gilt frames nicely matched
on gray mats, three abreast. At the south wall,
around the glistening panes, precisely starched
white curtains ruffle-edged a sunny scene.
No stray book, dust, nor crumpled magazine
broke the spell of perfected housekeeping.
It seemed a shame – the dusting and the sweeping
were steady tasks, and Martha could not find
the time to brush the ravelings from her mind.

© Laura Hank Hilton

 

Lines below my eyes
Are like old friends,
Added by time and trials.
Good and bad memories,
But all mine.

© Wayne Murphy

OCTOBER 2006

To All The Nights of Silent Sleep

To all the nights of silent sleep
When in my dreams a river flows
And falling leaves are mine to keep

The gentle wind through windows seep
The hazy moon through curtain glows
To all the nights of silent sleep

There is a land beyond the deep
Where it is only the Zephyr knows
And falling leaves are mine to keep

Swirling mists of light do creep
Through fields where the reaper sows
To all the nights of silent sleep

River valley, mountain stream, where all alone the sowers reap
Where water falls suspended where they froze
And falling leaves are mine to keep

Waves of air, waves of mist, waves of twirling heat
Is this the dream I would have chose
To all the nights of silent sleep
And falling leaves are mine to keep

© Timothy Middleditch

AUGUST 2006

San Francisco Water

Today three men escaped from Alcatraz
No one knows if they lived or died
They died
In San Francisco
with people eagerly waiting
on shores next door; working
to chauffeur three men back home

And my dad tells me
last weekend, he lived in San Francisco
in 1967 on a military base
with rolled military cigarettes and military watch dogs

And he rode the trolley; young boy
in the city; (“Thays sump-tin een dat watey”)
and somebody’s pink son, shuffled;
side-walking; with parking meter; draped
acrost shore board breast; (adjacent to trolley)
hair loving breast

He put a quarter in his mother meter
and laid down south to take a rest

© Adam Gellings


optimism

tear down the dam
within you
demolish it
brick by brick

until it no longer
stands

until it is no longer capable
of holding back
the great river within

let its cleansing waters
flow freely
through your very being

let it drown negativity
let it be the hand that pulls you
into the eye of the storm

© Eric V. Walton

JULY 2006

a cup of water

a cup of water
two confused people
spill the water
and it
flows
where it
will

© Rick Klaus Theis


E-Mail From Some Russian Girl

Today
A letter
In the Internet personals
From Irinochka
25
No picture
But a profile of
The English-Russian dictionary
In all its nuanced glory.
She writes:
“I think that you are clever men
And I’ll have duty
To communicate with you.”
She writes that
She is not a rich man
But she resides
In a united and
Non-mercenary
Family.
She writes
That she works
On the post office in her city
That she is a postman
That she is full of
Dreams and fascinations:
Music, reading, movies
Nice communication
Sports
And other things which make our lives
Different and happy.
She writes
That she likes
Beautiful things and clothes
But it is not main for her
She writes that
She is an economist
But in Russia it is a difficult situation
And she cannot find work in her specialty.
She writes that
She anxiously waits for answer
That I may be the man of her dreaming.
How many letters today
Struggling over the words, Irina
Looking for the America
That I so casually
Throw away?

© Michael S. Walker


kind of blue

orange insect wings
floating on a riff
under a pastel canopy –
kind of blue.
warm yellow eye,
cool north breath.
a tight gray skirt
sprouting green,
survival inspiration.
red floral explosion,
young and old renewed.
black furry innocence... pouncing,
ants excited, too

If it could remain so... in Summer...
In death... in Fall... in love...
For a while... in Winter... forever...

© Rick Klaus Theis


Box Doll

Amanda found the worn toy chest
in her childhood home.
Attic dust almost obscured
an Art Nouveau Pandora on the lid.
She raised the cover,
and in a cobwebbed crevice of the box
the doll stood stiff,
black-eyed, ever smiling
beneath a green babushka.
The red jacket, pink and yellow laced,
vied with the electric blue-striped shirt
which hugged the pudgy wood figure.

She unscrewed
the head of the enameled toy,
removed a smaller replica.
Its vivid features
repeated every aspect of the first doll.
She twirled the second head,
and a third doll with fixed expression
showed itself. Other figures emerged
smaller, and smaller, and smaller
until five heads with
curved lips and painted dot for eyes
sat in a row beside
identical rounded bodies
whose hands forever clasped
across their zigzag lacings.

The sixth one, tiny as a thimble,
stood firm. Its head would not be moved.
Amanda held the stubborn one eye to eye
and copied the cold and unrevealing look.

“Do as you’re told, child!
Never meddle, and always wear a smile!”
Her stepmother’s voice pierced the years.

Amanda’s smile had grown on her.
Dark eyes still beckoned
to no particular person,
and no one in particular was aroused.
She became like the smallest doll –
a frozen nautilus, no chamber left
in which to hide, and nothing left inside.

In the dim upstairs
Amanda closed the door on Hope.
She grew small, thin,
crept among the old rooms,
crawled inside the big gas oven.

At the funeral, neighbors said
“She lived so quietly –
never bothered a soul,
always smiled.”

© Laura Hank Hilton



Sylvia Sebastian


Mexican doll in a dollhouse,
named by three-year-old Mistress Isabel,
a Mistress who liked to play with matches.

The doll’s dark-brown hair caught on fire
after Isabel lighted the two-inch high oven
in the kitchen of the two-foot tall mansion.

The five-millimeter-wide medical report read
“Sylvia Sebastian: Hair Scorched, Eyelashes Singed,”
the same eyelashes that once aroused Chinese doll Dex
by curling above the bridge of Sylvia’s plastic nose.

© James Lindenberger

 

 

June 2006

The Human Kind

In the morning, in the fragile, quiet hour
Before you let the dog out, before you take a shower
You’re wondering, hoping too
You’re wondering anew, today.

Life and death, dark and light, such is the play
Past regrets, some triumph along the way
I know it’s not in vain
Although there’s so, much pain

I stumble and I falter, sometimes I have my doubts
But I know somebody who’s got it figured out
I tred a lonesome path, I’ve left part of Me behind
I’m a real person, I am the human kind

Best laid plans, oh how they seem to break
Give to the cause, the more you give, the more it takes
That’s just the way it goes
The more you learn, the less you know

Age and wisdom, overtakes you in your chair
Youth and innocence, somehow got left out there
The winter’s cold and grey
The rose will bloom again, in Spring

Past and future, one is yellow, one is blue
In the present, the scarlet-crimson hue
On the side, hands, head and feet
In the center, where, they meet

I stumble and I falter, sometimes I have my doubts
But I know somebody who’s got it figured out
I’ve tred a lonesome path, I’ll leave all of Me behind
I was a real person, I was the human kind.

© Rick Blackburn
Short North resident mailman

 

Unsettling

Oak hand crafted
desk maker my own
father was a carpenter

Jesus’ father was
a carpenter; now

I am 22
and I’ve got a desk
made of wood

to lay my things
across;
spread about

junk

© Adam Gellings

 

Trip Down the Greenbrier River
with a Ten Year Old Nephew

Come on, Aunt Laura!
He swings the heavy vine back to me.
Here goes forty years, I cry
then jump and swing across, a heavy pendulum.
Barely gaining a foothold, I crash
beside the crude plank raft
tied Boy Scout fashion
with my new clothesline
to its inner tube foundation.

As we ease into the muddy stream
I remember the giant snapping turtles
said to lurk below the surface,
so I seat myself in the middle
a mere six inches from the water,
hold my knees in place
and we are off –
my partner in his white sailor hat
guiding the raft with a long pole,
me sitting primly, breathing softly,
protected by the shadows of the Alleghenies.
We pole our way,
pioneers of the sea,
until we reach the safety
of the Alderson Bridge,
which I first crossed
forty years ago.

© Laura Hank Hilton
(1912-1903)

 

Rahsaan-3 a.m.-soul

3 a.m., energy waning
magic disc spinning
Rahsaan plays the hits
on his stritch
got to want to
scratch that itch
stay up long
like a hard-on
Rahsaan blows a fold in time
an ancient/future rhyme
dissolving pain, expanding mind
outside the wind blows bold
inside my soul grows cold
this town blows me
old
fuck it all
let the good times roll
blow man blow
Rahsaan-3 a.m.-soul

© Rick Klaus Theis

May 2006

Halliteration

The hazy half moon hangs
Hallowed in the heavens,
Hearkening the hardened heart
To the Harmony of the Wholly.

© Loran Elizabeth Conley

 

After the Hurricane

All that's left
Of life in a double-wide

A computer monitor
Resting its
Cracked skull
Against a downed palm
A waterlogged copy of
Basic Writings of Nietzsche
The Greater Tampa phonebook

Here’s the cat leash
But I
Still haven’t found the cat
I wander from
Heap to heap
Calling out “Gus...Gus”
In a voice just as waterlogged

All my clothes
Are blowing toward Texas
That is, except the pants I’m wearing
And the purple T- shirt
With its ridiculous legend
“Life is full of
Important choices”

Yes it is
I shouldn’t have moved here
I should have heeded the warnings
I should have married
Susan Walker
When I had the chance
I should have stayed landlocked
I shouldn’t have been born

That was what I was thinking
Picking at a buried
Coffee machine
When the blue heron
Landed in the ruins of the backyard
Demanding his usual afternoon
Turkey hot dogs

© Michael S. Walker

 

The Rain

I did not know the universe
had so much rain.
The daffodils you planted
Died long ago.
Even the dog drowned.

They should have warned us.
The children are ill now
From building the bulwarks.
Their noses run,
And their minds are clogged.

I should never have let you go.
I remember your face streaked,
Your hat dripping, unobtrusively,
As if all the tears of the universe
Were asking you to give voice
To their silent sorrow.

I’ll never find you now,
Swimming alone
In the lachrymose rivers of the world.

I can only wait here,
Wait with the children and my bucket,
Wait to be drowned
In the sadness of the world.

© Doug Rutledge

 

What Truth is
Innis Avenue Poem #8

On the other side of the rubble
sober as Ohio
Morning shadows splay
across an empty house
like dead swallow’s wings.

Shards of blackened light
edge the rotting plywood
whispering words of
frailty, disappointment, truth

softly
so
softly,

The ears of fattened rats are
listening.

© David Hetzler

 

in reality

in reality
everything
is nothing.

except that
to which
we give
meaning.

© Rick Klaus Theis

April 2006

Coffee Shoppe

Coffee with sympathy
Coffee with self-pity
I still remember when
I saw her way back then
Pretty as a porcelain doll
Somewhere in a dream

I saw her through the window
Working at the coffee shoppe
Over on the corner
Where I would park the truck
Fire underneath the ice
So I rolled the dice

Brilliant flowers
Remind me of Tiffany
Life is so fun
Life can be so funny
She’s better than the flowers
That come every Spring

February
Four years come and four years gone
Now it’s over
She said for me to just move on
She’s going to Arizona
Out there in the sun

Sittin’ in this coffee shoppe
Everything’s come up to how
Couldn’t think of a way
Of a way to make her stay
Out amongst the flowers
She left her garden gloves

© Rick Blackburn
Short North Resident Mailman

 

Leaving

I see you leaving,
Taking your things,
And I am powerless
To stop this pain –
Pain I might have understood
At the beginning,
But for
My foolishness.

I see you leaving,
Getting out
While you can.
And I’m glad
I can’t stop you.
Hold you in my jar
And watch you die
An insect’s death.

You are leaving
In the sun-drenched Spring,
Free
To flower
Into something
Beautiful,
As you find
Your own way
And strength.

I see you leaving...
Leaving me
To wander
The suddenly expansive rooms
(Still in the grip of Winter’s chill),
Haunted by the echoes
Of your gentle laugh
And the fading specter
Of your soft, sweet smile.

© Rick Klaus Theis
http://members.aol.com/mwpress/frames.html

 

Love is a lachrymose thing

Love is a lachrymose thing,
Listing through lassitudes of losses,
Crying over cares that will not resolve.

Lovers swim not in a river of forgetfulness,
But seem to drown in a lake of heartache,
Until another lover rescues the victim
To a land as yet untouched by tears.

© Doug Rutledge


Academics

Craig and I now resting with
Our flannels done gone and ripped

themselves
to

be careful
‘round them old machineries

Said papa old tuna
Fish papa

With albacore included in the
base of the jar

Faced papa loses his
Bait he say he
Does say he say say. Say
there old poppy what did you done

Catch with them imitation
Frog like

Sinkers

(done gone and lost my bait I did I did)

© Adam Gellings


March 2006

Tuesday After All

Drinking cheap wine on a Saturday night
With half a mind to carry it on through Monday
A home-cooked meal under my belt
And a howlin’ wolf song in my head
Three weeks from now I’ll be in a rut again
But for tonight I’m Kerouac in Times Square

I wear a new suit but inside I’m beat as hell
The sun will rise again all too soon
But for now the moon is full of wonder
The night won’t take no for an answer
And the wine is nodding yes
And the stars are winking could be
And it might be Tuesday after all.

© A. Young

 

Wednesday

I’ve gone to
the art museum
to walk
around and look
for a bit

The sauerkraut
you left was
a treat and
I’ve marked
today’s psalm
in the good
book by
the chair

Take care
of papa and
keep the
windows down
on Wednesday
it rains.

© Adam Gellings

 

A Walk in Beechwold
Lune Variations

On the old zoo trail
I smell the lion
padding the creek.

Red door on black
trim nestled
among sugar maples.

A squirrel leaps a wire –
I mark
its passage.

Geese cluster by the river –
take one last dive
before heading north.

Dogs bark the mailman’s
passage from door to door,
herald news.

Houses tell of lineage,
love of wood,
another era.

© Anna Soter

 

german village

you’re a world within
yourself

take me in
ceaseless past

for it’s your antiquity
that we crave

as I walk your streets
and absorb your allure

contemporary urgency
is ignored

something long lost
is rediscovered

I am home

© Eric Vance Walton

 

Dragon

I aim for control,
tame
my unruly tail,
position an eye
close to wings,
tighten my grip
for balance –
I dare not unbend.

I forget
how to fly.

© Catherine A. Callaghan
Other Worlds

February 2006

Owed to Oil

She's too incensed to wax poetic'ly.
Her sentiments are soaked with gasoline,
so saturated that, were match in hand,
would catch, and then ignite a mammoth scream.

ThuS, hell-enGulfed Medea would proceed,
Exxonerated from her ghastly deed.
Medusa's cap would wink a blackened eye,
Harkened to such pow'r to petrify.

Her spewing verse would loose Pandora's curse
which, once dispersed, could never be undone,
were Mercury, god of commerce, to exert,
on winged heels, a gallant Marathon.

Refinement BlasPhemes, bores a biting wound
and scrapes the stone in which she is entombed.
who dares to drive her to such riving terms
contrives to override the work of worms.


© Sharon Reeb, 2006

January 2006

Silently, the snow falls in the streetlight.
The sky brightens around the old Victorian homes.
Newcomers, old timers, scholars, and children of past residents
Switch their lights on, one by one.
Some must be grumbling about the snow,
Enriched by its beauty nonetheless.
Traffic arrives on the avenue
The muted sound of tires on wet pavement
Soothes my mind.
I leave my window and go to bed, covers high
Counting my blessings.

© Myra Bloom

December 2005

Words

these are words
simple words
that like slow Spring rain,
fall softly
to silence

a bridge between minds
yours and mine
are these words
that reach out
through time

to hold a few precious
moments of your life

these words.

© Eric Vance Walton

Park Bench

What to make
of a woman's black glove

next to
a man's top hat

on a park bench
early evening

– mid-November

© Adam Gellings

Appalachian Trilogy

#1
As an Appalachian son
You and I are one
the offspring of Mother coal –
with money our only goal,
which we hand dug by the ton
in the carbon lighted sun
We could not be whole
burrowed as a mole
down in that sooty hole.

#2
Down in Fourmile holler
coal dust upon the collar
and Papaw down in the mine
Grandmaw canned the greens
tomatoes, and the beans,
while the revenuers chased the ‘shine;

Good old gospel radio
on station WHKO
the Louvin Brother’s harmonies
along with the locusts in the trees
were there to say to Me
this is your heritage and destiny....

#3
The Cumberland River
thick and muddy brown
Pineville Kentucky
Bell County’s jewel and crown,
Abigail Goodin
in her gingham gown
how I long to walk
with her through downtown.

© Ken Elam II

December Sun

Jack was a friend of mine
We sailed to Panama a few times
Up to Boston and Caroline
Hearts young, bodies too
Part of the same crew
Jack is gone but I’m still here

Jack he came from Baltimore
I met him on Virginia’s shore
I hope that I see Jack again
Jack he was an engineer
I the quartermaster
So many days we sailed the sea
Now Jack is just a memory

I guess Jack he got knocked off course
It could happen to anyone
It broke my heart to hear he died
Goodbye December Sun.

© Rick Blackburn
(Short North resident mailman)

Fear

anxiety will be
a coward’s
end

forever they
conform and
blend

trying to fit the mold
of what a person
“should” be

instead of being
the person they
could be

© Eric Vance Walton

November 2005

Hill Odyssey

“You can’t go back,”
they say; yet here I am
in late afternoon
beside the Alderson bridge.

A familiar oak
hangs like a comfort
above sun-silvered water.
One of the two
beneath its branches
might well be me
some years ago.

In the oncoming dark
dampness settles,
and I pull my jacket close;
then turn
a silver ring around my finger,
remembering trysts I’ve kept
on this and other bridges.

I stay to watch a strange black cloud
creep like an amoeba
devouring the sky.

© Laura Hank Hilton

the egg lady and I
(for Dorothy Gatterdam)

no ordinary seller of eggs she,
an antidote ...
for a time less civil, less human.

a kind soul,
warm hands reaching out.
they touch everyone.

not a nostalgic icon from another time.
a simple expression of what
a person can be any time.

if i see, look around;
our town has other Dorothys.
practitioners of human kindness.

her eggs, finest jumbos,
no less plain and clear
as Dorothy herself.

i will not miss her.
i will remember she was human.
human to me.

© David C. Hetzler

*Roman at 85

I
Sitting on the steps of his studio;
brushes, tubes of paint, stiff
like his long, thin, delicate
fingers drooped over
bony knees.

“61 years is a long time
to love a woman,”
remembering in warm
september sun pouring across
his black face, wide smile,
impish eyes.

“I hope she’s waiting for me,
I want to go along now!”

II
Canvasses, old wood frames,
cracked faces, veined hands
gather dust among the ghosts
of Burkhart, Bellows,
a loved woman.

Drawing no more.
Painting no more.
Satisfied to wait. To lie down,
warm his body, once again,
next to Iona.

© David C. Hetzler

*Roman Johnson (1917 - 2005)

October 2005

Blue

Her upstairs bedroom seems papered
with curled leaves. Maybe
the paint is coming off or maybe the walls have
developed petals, an excess of her love.
Flashback:
my sister and I are
sorting through Mom's things.
Ida loved blue:
gray-blue tweed suits
chalk blue sweaters
everything blue:
the blue chenille
on her bed and the dead plastic
telephone beside it.
Her silk neck scarves?
Each dotted with cigarette burns.
And when I was a continent away
and unable to sleep I knew
Mom
was nodding off with a cigarette
in her hand, and sometimes when the sky
is wild with blue scarves
I dream of chicory
and bed jackets
crocheted afghans - even the satin
linings of her blue trenchcoats
have been pockmarked
by lit Salems
when she reads late at night - and yes
I bear the same vivid flesh burns
as my mother.

© Elizabeth Ann James

Plaid

Today I am plaid,
hemmed tight and
too short
for the body's fitting

I don't blare charm,
or stocking yellow,
my color; an
eyesore
in the walk of
busy street glory

I am worn in,
factory tailored
and armied
second hand,
just short of
cigarette burn and
rodent matter,

I harbor dirt
deep within
hard pressed yarn
and
cotton stain dye

But I am still showcased,
still upright in my day

Still sat upon
and gay; in all that is,
the pattern style
of ageless
garment.

© Adam Gellings

Class Reunion

Coffee turns lukewarm. We each glide
bakc on thin ice memory. Thoughts,
plumaged birds flushed from a winter
thicket, surprise us with clarity.

Remembered hurts return: missing last
point of a game, never asked to dance,
loss of a friend.
Foolish, how secret hurts long buried
still have aching powers.

Failure to meet perfection shadows
our lives like shards of ice
that crack beyond belief from a dark
opening in the pond.

© Betsy Kennedy

Untitled #VII

To be true to one's self
and atone for one's sins
to forgive and forget
that's when it begins;
seeing life, through a new lens.

© Ken Elam II

Cities of Significance

I enjoy the insanity of solitude,
revel in the liberty of insignificance,
so why must I see mansions of meaning
reflected in the retina
of your quiet eyes?

The skyline in your eyes
invites the outsider
to dwell in the suburbs
of your urbanity,
made significant by your smile.

Succumbing to the dark
is as easy as dying
but rest is impossible
while I live in the city lights
of your almond eyes.

© Doug Rutledge

Red Dye #9

Her name was none of my business, or so she said.
Her eyes were insane asylum grey and crazy as hell.
Her hair was dyed red, rusty well water red, the
color of half dried blood.
I’m usually king of the staredown, but damnit if she didn’t
force me to check the time on a watch I didn’t own.
I swear she smiled or snarled. She was no stranger to
tension. Looking into her eyes was like staring down a
double barreled shotgun. To hell with it anyway, pull
the trigger. She winked one then her other anodized iris
at me.
The rain began and she didn’t even flinch when a large
drop exploded on her forehead like a gunshot, direct hit.
Blessed be she was a treat, and pass the anmmunition I was
a mess. Nothing new really.
Now her face was tilted skyward. She fumbles at her collar
for her headphones. The opening drums of “Sympathy For
The Devil” fill the bus stop where we wait with broken
hearts and bated breath for the number nine bus into
downtown. The rain felt charged, almost baptismal. We both
got soaked, went crazy, waiting to be saved.

© A. Young



I See

I see in his eyes,
I see in her eyes,
I see in my eyes
I see in your eyes:
sadness,
softened only by the hope
that animals can love.

© Rick Klaus Theis

September 2005

September in Ohio

Crossing Champaign County on highway 256,
manure, evidence of the Amish who
flourish by the rural berm,
trying not to be noticed.

Soybean leaves have turned butter yellow green.
Fields swollen like the breasts
of a lovely young mother.

Corn grew past the eye of an elephant weeks ago.
Stalks heavy with seed, feed, and bread,
are now bending with age
and are tired of being green.

A yellow tail hawk perches on a rolled bale of hay
staring into the mowed acres, hungering to dig its talons
deep into the back of a small brown mouse
whose purpose is to move life forward.

Soon the reapers, cutters, balers and gatherers
will finish their job. Steel will again slice
black Ohio dirt, rows narrowing into another spring.

© David Hetzler



To be like Keats

Oh to create something free
Whose presence would live and would outlast me
That would state to the world, “I’ve been there”
That would mix with ideas, and spawn something new
Out of my control, but beautiful too.

© Jacob Markey



Getting Ready for the Purple

I am eighty-five and my neighbor, Charlie,
has snapped my picture
standing in a bed of cosmos in the side yard.
Sturdy jeans hide knobby knees.
A new candy-striped Dockers shirt hides bony arms
and blends with the pink and white blooms.
Laurie June at the Better Image Beauty Bar
has teased and sprayed my thin hair to a fare-you-well.
New Reeboks complete the scene.
Standing tall against the tall fragile fronds
I am Grant Wood strong.

When I am old, really old
I will mail this image to Willard Scott
and he will say,
“Look at this beautiful little lady - one hundred and one!
Note the sharp vintage outfit and the 1997 hairdo.
Lives it up at the B Alive Senior Casa in Miami.
They say she still works in the gardens there.”

And I will move my wheelchair close to the TV,
wrap my lavender and lace shawl close.


© Laura Hank Hilton



When I Am Old

When I am old my teeth will sleep
in a jar of water beside my bed
I'll wear plastic curlers, polyester scarves
Outline my lips in the brightest red
I'll check to be sure I've locked the door
Then check again ten times or more
I'll lose my glasses and my shoes
then forget what it is I'm looking for
My cupboard will be over-stocked
with packets of creamer, pepper and salt
I'll hoard tiny butters, jellies and jams
though I'll tell myself I won't
When I am old I'll talk to myself
Ask you over and over what you said
Sit and stare from my rocking chair
while amusing myself with tunes in my head
I'll slobber, burp; I might pass gas
That I'll be a "hoot" there is no doubt
On second thought...on getting old
You can just count me out!

© Betty Bleen

 


August 2005


Yellow House

I must bid adieu to this cheap bungalow
where women, more than just a few, used to come and go
if walls could speak and slanted floors squeak anew
I think at last that they would remember You
and how in your ecstatic orgasm would genuinely cry
I know I shan’t forget, how could I? how could I?

As My Daughter referred to as “Daddy’s little yellow house”
ever replete with darting errant mouse
an ideal haven for a poet, a drunken Irish souse
where else could I walk off the porch and piss –
and my gibberish there to expouse?
I would be most remiss, but so much more than this
upon this weary shack we’ve left our knack
bent over sink, on the floor, in the sack
so then Luv, give us one more kiss
basking in morning afterglow, so apropos.

© KWE II
to dellzell


Line of Fire

And I was rolling violently
And I was rocking frightfully
I took part in his bed
In preference to going home.
I was not to be trusted
I was rocking good news
I was flesh and bone
Ubiquitous
Splashing happy
Sparkled liquidness
Entertaining hopes
And language
Of a consolatory nature.
Surprise and pleasure
Diabolical villainy
Do you read me
Grace and freedom
Peppermint and not alone.

© Laurie Colson


Back from tennis

Back from tennis all sweaty
we fell into bed naked
humid envelope of summer surrounding
intent to linger on the coolness
of the sheets.

Idle touches fell as public radio
massaged our minds.
Gathering up limbs
caresses grew to strokes grew.

Smashed against each other
every muscle contracted
yet more relaxed than ever,
Clapton’s 461 Ocean Boulevard
the perfect backdrop against
which we threw our passion.

That day we grabbed a piece
of heaven and held it
for the best minutes.

© Graham Danner


Spring lips

the same Spring lips
which kissed me,
later told me
Winter lies.

© Rick Klaus Theis


I Will Be Remembering You

I will be remembering you when
woods are cool and weeds
are hidden

When last year’s leaves are still
damp beneath this year’s green

When trees tower expectantly in April,
reluctance in their bursting buds

When there is need for touch and
warmth and love’s caress

When bodies lace space and
muscles push waves into
burnished skin or transparent skin

When birds careen and dip, divide
the sky

Whenever a man and a woman
reach toward one another,
press tongue against tongue,
thigh against thigh

Whenever a moment is becoming

Before daystroke -
sunrising
and sunsetting –
forever.

© Dotte Turner


Tracks

This is how I see us:
railway sleepers that bore
the rattling trains, splintered

friction-sparked in speed,
weathered grains from rain,
round-worn edging
from years of wear;

this is how I see us:
tracks no longer used,
summer heat swelled out
what juice remained;

we’re lying bolted still,
we’ve never moved,
we’ve never really touched,
though lord knows others think
we climbed the tracks at night
regained our bolted beds by day;
but we just lay there side by side
strips of track.

© Anna Soter


Match made in heaven;
Each sec together sublime –
Heaven fails sometimes.

© Rick Klaus Theis

June 2005

Bumper to Bumper

Bumper to bumper, butt to butt,
get off my tail, you crazy nut.
Don’t be antsy; don’t be rude.
Don’t you be a useless dude.

Back off, Nancy. Back off, Jake.
If you don’t, I’ll hit the brake.
Don’t you ever tailgate me.
I’ll get even; wait and see.

If you want to be a jerk;
I will make you late for work.
Think I’m gonna slow way down.
Take all day to cross this town.

Then you’re gonna see my tail.
Hit my car and go to jail.
If you want, I’ll show you how.
How you gonna like me now?

Get some sense and get some brains.
This is not a railroad train.
Leave some space between the cars.
The way you drive is just bizarre.

A moron taught you how to drive.
I can’t believe you’re still alive.
You can’t drive that car too well.
You’re a dim-brain; I can tell.

Where’d you get your license, Mac?
From a box of Cracker Jacks?
No, you’re not that smart, I bet.
You don’t have a license yet.

© Mark Stoll

 

Time is a Terrible Place to Be

Time is a terrible place to be,
Littered with lost promises
And the shards of broken dreams,
A terrain to be traveled
With a roadmap of remorse,
On visits to dissatisfied friends.

One would surely have a better time in space,
But it contains the landscape of loneliness,
Hours of emptiness,
Where no one exists to pass the time.

© Doug Rutledge

 

When I live in outer space,
I will hold up the moon,
Walk barefoot through moonbeams,
Step toe on a five-pointed star,
Swim naked in the Milky Way,
Warp-run through sunspokes –
Then leap into the velvet void
To spread stardust and moonbeams
From my hands to Earthfolks
Down below, over there, out there,
Everywhere!
And always
To hold peace in my human heart
For all.

© Dotte L. Turner

 

second chance

wash over me like
a warm rain
that comes in waves
to sweeten a bitter soul

awake me
like an ocean breeze
that breathes the
warm breath of hope
into my heart

enliven me with your light
so that I may once more
feel what it’s like
to live again.

© Eric Walton

 

Full Moon

Fool moon, full of pride,
Beams all night, so sure his light
Has its source inside.

© Rick Klaus Theis

May 2005

The Gardener

After winter’s long and terrible blight,
I resign myself to the safety of the fire.
I resist exposing annuals to light
And trimming back the ragged briar.
Like old Grendel, the cold monster winter,
Will only return to the mead hall of spring
And once again, all my good friends murder,
So I sit by the fire, as spring’s joy sings.
But the bright warrior resists my despair
And summons me once again to hoe and rake.
Thus last year’s beauty I again repair,
And past happiness I start to remake.
The gardener bears a mental burden
As the thinker who can not resist the sun.

© Doug Rutledge

 

One
we undulate like roiling
waters cascading ever down
and then spilling ourselves
waqntonly, wickedly
wondrous and holy
on the banks of our dharma
two rivers as one, becoming ocean.

© Ken Elam (to dellzell)

 

Untitled #II
To Transcend My own Desire
Ego, Lust, this belly fire
To Sing Bass in the Holy Choir
Speaking Tongues unknown to liars
To such do I Aspire
Such Joy to acquire.

© Ken Elam

In the Photo

In the photo my mother is
Beautiful. Though in black
And white I picture her cheeks
Rosy, as pink Chablis. Her hair
Cascades thick and wavy, to meet
The soft slant of her shoulders
Covered demurely in a dark dress
I imagine, a shade of red. She is
Smiling coyly for the camera,
As if she is the holder of some
Secret or about to spring a surprise.

The couch she sits on has a dark
Background smattered with clusters
Of tiny white blossoms. Behind her
The wallpaper is enmeshed in huge
Leaves pointing skyward. Poised
Between each two leaves is a single
Flower. The linoleum is a typical 50's
Pattern of multicolored and sized
Diagonal stripes. In the photo my
Mother is a constant in surroundings
I can only describe as busy, and
So she has been all of her life.

The photo was taken after my older
Sister's and my birth but before
Those of our siblings. Long before
School days, dating, marriages,
Grandchildren, divorces and all forms
Of crisis imagined or real, which have
Turned her once vibrant brown hair
To gray strand by strand. Long before
Wrinkles claimed her face, arthritis
Wreaked havoc on her joints, osteoporosis
Settled in her bones …

In the photo my mother is
Beautiful. She is poor but happy,
Innocent and trusting, hinging on a
Promise, glimmering with
Love.

© Betty Bleen

Portrait

I see the tall, fresh zinnias
on their stiff, green stems
with starchy, ruffled petals
painted in full color range.
There like a speckled one herself,
stands my Aunt Nora –
her blue flowered percale
melding with the crisp zinnias,
black hair pulled tightly in a knot,
dark eyes laughing from a worn face.
A gnarled hand clutches a few bright stalks
picked for the company table.
Her breast pin sparkling in the sun
pins the whole Renoir scene.
She moves away with effort.

Now she is gone, but when my zinnias flower
I remember the brief cameo –
Aunt Nora, zinnia in her time.

© Laura Hank Hilton


Caught in the act

Caught in the act of living,
His seemingly eternal motion
Is temporarily frozen
By a photograph.
In that view
He truly looks immortal.

But that was then and this is now,
Now for me, but not for him,
For he is frozen in time again.
This time not by film, but by death –
Not for a time, but for all time.
This time he is frozen in all aspects,
A leaf torn from the plant of life.

We, too, are leaves waiting to die.
We are the eggs of ghosts
Waiting to hatch.

© Rick Klaus Theis


The Picture

This is how I looked in 1948
With white nurses’ shoes
And a tie curled up around my bosom
But now I’m dead and the picture does not care.

The tie offered masculine authority
After the war.
It eased the curve
Of my bosom,
As it tucked into my
Girl’s waist
But now I’m dead and the picture does not care.

© Doug Rutledge

April 2005

Lost

Lost in place.
Lost in space.
A loss of face.
Face the loss.
Replace the place.
Fill the space.
No big disgrace.
End of chase.

© Wayne Murphy


Lost

The Thoughts,
The words,
There –
Then Gone.

© Rick Klaus Theis

March 2005

wooded path

Life is rather dull today
there's nothing much to hold me still
my attention's roaming here and there
boredom is a bitter pill

A walk along this wooded path
will surely cure this bout
Imagination can overtake
this servile beast without a doubt

As I set out on this wooded path
I arrive in no time at all
beneath this great canopy of leaves
my existence seems quite small

as chipmunks forage for their feast
through wide-open space
self-absorption is abandoned
and is gone without a trace.

The birds grace me with their songs
the landscape comes alive
my sullen disposition is
transformed before my eyes

when the doldrums come to visit
and just won't seem to pass
spark Imagination's sunshine
find yourself a wooded path…

© Eric Vance Walton
www.EricVanceWalton.com

Bird Feeder Blues

I bought a bird feeder and put it in a tree
So lots of pretty birds I’d hopefully see
Really enjoying their coming around
In all colors, sizes, sweet chirping sound
Until one day appeared ... a chattering clown
He didn’t like millet, corn or grain
Only the sunflower seeds would he claim
And day after day, this bandit, he came
Leaping, sliding, twisting in mid-air
To get at the sunflower seeds that were there
Doing it so gracefully, without fear
No matter what barrier I’d place in his way
It did not deter him nor cause him to sway
Growing weary of trying to outsmart him
In this game of wit we seemed to be locked in
I went to the store, and this time I bought
Only sunflower seeds, filling them to the top
And I sit and laugh, for now I find
He’s graciously allowing the birds to dine
In his “squirrel” feeder, isn’t he kind?

© Betty Bleen

FEBRUARY 2005


bureaucrat

it’s just too bad you’re at the wheel
malignant corruption
breeds a FRUSTRATED ANGER!
shining charisma and glistening virtues
show themselves ever
Two, Four and Six.
outright lies do soothe the masses,
contorted smiles behind dark glasses,
It’s so so sad you’re at the wheel.

© Eric Vance Walton
www.EricVanceWalton.com


If I am to be a poet:

I must like coffee-houses
and jazz music
Smoke clove cigarettes
learn to blow smoke rings
Contemplate the rain
wearing black boots
Write with fountain pens
swearing off cell phones
Dress myself in thrift store
avoiding name brands
Never speak in clichés
or quote “Friends”
Sleep till at least noon
and own cats

Otherwise I’m just a girl with a note-
book
who likes Dickinson.

© Kelli Drummer

JUNE 2004

Forecast Later
For Dave Auch who died January 2004

Who can say why blackened, bruised blue-chewed clouds
Which docked my dreams suddenly blew me south
'Round to a neighbor's white flake-stacked street,
He, I'd messaged in voice, in vain to meet.
As no come back came, no button box rang;
Why not let corded reverie refrain.
Awake! I leapt the snow road in real skin,
Cracked his ice-pinched kitchen door and punched in
There, he: pink pump chilled, gone anthracite jewel,
Cloud spirit scuttled, I breathed, oh, who'll
Say why the soul's lightning strikes no warning
And what fabulous things are clouds moving.

© Peggy Campbell

 

Baghdad Is Burning
March 22, 2003

I. Bombs blast at palaces –
at political enclaves,

Bombs laser-laced and
satellite guided,

Bombs scarring ancient
Mesopotamia,

Bombs barking their
explosive sound
burning our ears,

Bombs beyond our human
beliefs and values,

Bombs to burn a bad, bad,
man and his sons,

Bombs for you and bombs for me.

2. Oh ancient city ‘tween the
Tigris and Euphrates,

Oh ancient city of
first writing,
Of ancient Law Code of
Hammurabi,

Oh ancient city of
first ziggurat,

Of architectural wonders,
Of ancient worship

Of Astarte Queen of the Stars
she of the Heavens,

Of ancient home of Abraham
in Ur, City of Gilgamesh,
he of the first Hero’s
Journey and the first flood.

Bombs like raucous rhetoric
bellowing from
bulletproof rooms.

3. Oh say can you see by the
dawn’s early light –
In the name of our nation –
Baghdad is burning,

By the rocket’s red glare –
We could see that “our” oil
was still there.

And the bursting bombs
keep the banging of drums

Drawing out the curse
on the head of a bad, bad,
bad, bad man and his sons.

Oh rock me now in the bosom
of the big bombs –

Oh say can you see, or are you
blinded by the sight
of Baghdad people maimed and dead –

Or the sudden soldier facing death
and destruction!

BUT –
NOT IN MY NAME!


Dotte Turner
© 3-22-03

Standing in Line to Sigh

Standing in line to sigh,
The world groans
Before it dies.
While waiting, it wails
Its moribund misery,
Mitigated by revenge,
Ravaging revenge manufacturing misery.
Singing songs of sorrows,
The suicidal world sighs
And groans again before it dies.

© Douglas Rutledge

 

 

You look in the mirror but don’t want to believe
That the truth is worse than you could ever conceive

So numb from the dumbing down
Even your inner-child is suffering now

In the mirror there’s a face, it’s not starving but just the same
More stupid we become while we ‘win’ at this crooked game.

Working hard for our SUV’s, suburban homes, plasma TVs
While a third world child is happy with a bed and a scrap to eat.

Nero is fiddling, believe me, new Rome is burning and its people are yearning
For truth but they would have to be deprogrammed before learning it

So irate is our state of affairs, we feel hollow inside
But we pop another Prozac, go to our cubicles and swallow our pride

Day after day after day after day
The more I see, the more I say

Will it be North Korea or Iraq we attack?
The only thing I’m sure of is we’ve been Bush-wacked.

© Eric Vance Walton
www.EricVanceWalton.com