Monday, December 27, 2010

Winter 2010

Despite how busy I've been, I managed to find the time to finish the last issue of 2010. There will be one more issue next month and then I will suspend publication while I focus on college.

I would like to mention that while I encourage comments, I don't encourage rude or inappropriate remarks. Seeing as how someone as already used an excessive amount of profanity and someone else decided to advertise their product, I've had to monitor the comment posts. So, again, feel free to leave comments on what you read but don't expect them to appear right away as I will have to filter them.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.


American Life In Poetry Column 177

American Life in Poetry: Column 177


Kristen Tracy is a poet from San Francisco who here captures a moment at a zoo. It’s the falling rain, don’t you think, that makes the experience of observing the animals seem so perfectly truthful and vivid?

Rain at the Zoo

A giraffe presented its head to me, tilting it
sideways, reaching out its long gray tongue.
I gave it my wheat cracker while small drops
of rain pounded us both. Lightning cracked open
the sky. Zebras zipped across the field.
It was springtime in Michigan. I watched
the giraffe shuffle itself backwards, toward
the herd, its bone- and rust-colored fur beading
with water. The entire mix of animals stood
away from the trees. A lone emu shook
its round body hard and squawked. It ran
along the fence line, jerking open its wings.
Perhaps it was trying to shake away the burden
of water or indulging an urge to fly. I can’t know.
I have no idea what about their lives these animals
love or abhor. They are captured or born here for us,
and we come. It’s true. This is my favorite field.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Poem copyright © Kristen Tracy, whose most recent teen novel is “Crimes of the Sarahs,” Simon & Schuster, 2008. Poem reprinted from AGNI online, 9/2007, by permission of Kristen Tracy. Introduction copyright © 2008 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.
American Life in Poetry ©2006 The Poetry Foundation
This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

Seagulls At Sunset

Photo Taken by Amber Rothrock

Denali by Eric Biggs

Denali climbed the sky, clouds snow strewn
caught in wisps on its peak like rose
petals thrown before the cruelty of a conqueror.
Silent, the brazen village waited. Winds that poured
off the slopes came in buckets with icebergs.
Dogs barked. An old woman with a crinkled face
brought frybread. An old man with wrinkles showed me
houses fallen into the sea and crumbled. I asked him who
was the mayor, so I’d know him. I am, he said.

A guide took me to the south-slope glacier. We smoked Camels.
We saw no grizzlies that day, but the thunder
in a clear sky made him look. For early lunch, we ate
sea biscuits with a sardine, and set off
toward the village to not get
caught on the ice after dark.

The medicine man in the fourth house
asked if I wanted to pray.
No, I thought--I came here to help
people, not pursue fairy tales.
He looked at me. Did he want an answer?

This helps the people, he said.
How did he know I thought that?

Yes, I said. Okay. I will.
He made me a kit and told me what
I needed to know to use it.
Thank you, I said.
He looked at me.
The pause stretched past the woodstove
as it rattled with the morning.
I fidgeted.
Think nothing of it, he said.
He smiled.
Thank you, I said.
You already said that, he said, and laughed.

'Round Midnight by Casey Mensing

Faint scent of vanilla
lingers in the darkness.

All those thoughts
I had tried to bury,
come back,
'round midnight.

She left this room hours ago,
but the taste of honey is still on my lips.

She left this room hours ago,
because closure is what she was looking for.

Already, I've draped veils
of sentiment over the memories.

Already, I've made excuses
for why I'll need to be with her again.

Faint scent of vanilla
still lingers in the darkness.

All those thoughts
I had tried to bury,
come back ,
'round midnight.

Skirts Laughing by Roger Singer

A tattooed forearm. Red and blue. Breathing life.
A woman kneeling. A dagger. Thick hair twisted.
Eyes of mercy. A cross of forgiveness. Painted blood to the wrist.

His shirt tightens with lust. White cloth. Uniforms speak the man.
Sweat lines his underarms.
Rolled sleeves. A division of cloth and skin. Child to man.

Pouting lips. His cigarette. A long gray ash falls.
Scuffed boots. Anxious of soul.
Sun glasses blue. The deep of him covered.
Eyes sleepily hide. Arms of intention. Windows of want.

Unflinching he leans. Thumbs in pockets. A gray gaze.
He owns the air. Young skirts pass. Nervous and soft.
Giggling. Fires light his heart. He smiles into dreams.

The Great Abstractions by Andrew H. Oerke

The spider-web-fine mantle the Three Weird Sisters wove
called “The Robe of the Great Abstractions”
was the finery for the Big Shot Emperor to put on, so sheer
the Buddha yelled at him, “Hey Rube, you’re naked!”
Jesus pointed out that Love is the truth
and others weighed in. Wars jumped on the bandwagon
and pranced around on the high stilts of self-righteousness
and danced around those scorching at the stake
and screamed, “What a good boy am I, I the pure,
the good and the beautiful; I deserve to don
the Great Emperor’s mantle now it’s all patched up and
re-stitched,” and everyone cheered and double spoke
to push this new God of Love whose secret name was Division
and they all went to bed hung up on high-mindedness.
“It was hard to think anything would get done,”
murmured Ashbury, and Oerke added, “Orky Porky.”
He was pushing Andy’s orchids, two for the price of one
to get rid of them as fast as possible.

Two Poems by Abigale Louise LeCavalier


The angels
of my nightmares
bring no comfort,
the sounding of trumpets
rests not this soul.

“hope springs eternal”

I only see cracks
where water once rippled,
touched by God,
maybe one time
too many.

And the dream is never ending,
the soundtrack superficial.

There is anger in their faces;
pursed lips and crooked smiles,
a sword gleams with holy flame.

These are the angels
of my nightmares;
lacking empathy
where this rose grows.

and blood pools
in the corner of my eye,
smudging my waterproof mascara.



Harsh words
only hold meaning
when someone is listening.

I listen a lot.

Fostering frustration
and the heat
of anxiety,
when adjectives and verbs impale me.

I consider myself a noun.

Not the appropriate
inappropriate pronoun.

Nor a conjunction,

It’s important to me;
knowing where I stand.

Even if it puts me
in the corner
I expertly
painted myself into.

Autumn Moon

Photo Taken by Amber Rothrock

After Weekend by David E. Howerton

Woke, eyes blur
slept little
moon filled room
walked into door

Two Poems by Michael S. Morris


Where are the Knights –
that’s what I want to know?

When half a dozen young men
are raping a woman and people

are standing and watching,
a mob of giggles, leering.

where was the Knight to ride
into the fray? Where was the

human being who could see
their sister being pillaged?

Where are the Knights of old?
The Knights we need to day

to ride into Holy Cities to make
peace between ancient tribes.

Where are the Knights
riding into the ghettoes?

Who is their Arthur? Who
is the world’s, and the world’s

alone, sworn defender? Is it
not you in the pulsing

of your thoughts, you who would
cry out and wade into the fray?

No matter the odds, no matter
the day, having on bended knee

sworn to defend to the death
those who are defenseless?



There is in a life
a wall of photographs,
those frozen moments in
time that have studied
you growing older, locked
in our smiles, our serious
poses, faces of character
who will have to awaken
that character to survive.
A mother’s unsmiling stare
peers through all the bull
but there is a softness in eyes
that have seen father-beatings,
husband-cheatings, children-
leaving: the whole crux that says better make friends
for we are alone in the end.
In between, gather at Friendly’s
Ice Cream and have family photos
shot of when you were young
and hot and cut and tanned
and smiling and holding hands
with those we soon go to war with.

A Turkish Fairy Tale by Jane Stuart

I found the crystal tree with silver birds
and painted hearts hanging from every bough.
It was inside a forest near a stream
of water cold and dark as indigo.

I found the horse that never leaves the sand.
Its broken saddle was so hard to grasp.
I rode across the wind and counted hours
that fell in sparkles from a distant sky.

I heard the moon rise creaking under clouds –
pushing its way through baths of silver light
I felt a moment of eternal rain
fall on my face and hands; it turned to snow.

There was no reason for this dream to rise
out of a mystery that had no end
or not believe in life that promised love
and beauty full of graciousness that mends
what was not perfect when we can forget;
and dream again, when we can but remember.

Two Poems by Natalie Carpentieri


My California is burning,
and throwing smoke into the air.

It is chasing people from homes
with thick waves of fire
and winds that refuse to relent,
eating away wooden frames
leaving a smoldering, empty foundation.

People in cars speed down highways
behind a wall of black and orange
with no bags packed,
searching for shelter.

My California douses highways and cars
thick forests and beaches
until everything erodes into disarray.

It shakes and thunders,
moves buildings and stadiums,
and everything else that tap dances
dangerously on a volatile fault line.

the heat of the sun in December
and clean, white sand
is nothing like I've ever known.

My California steals pieces of me
cell by cell
breath by breath.
Leaves me hollow and craving.



So many things were sold or given away
for practical reasons, as a move like this
means that you have to let go of everything
that held you tethered to your old life.
You remind yourself that it was only furniture -
a bed, some dressers and assorted things like
lamps and stuffed animals that you don't really need.
It's all dead weight in your car when you're
driving literally across country on the
longest highway in the U.S. and drinking cup after cup
of coffee to make sure that you don't fall asleep.
You want to make it there intact,
even if your heart doesn't.
So when those wheels spin into your Golden State
and the beaches and the bright sun welcome you
with open arms, you feel like it could really be
somewhere you can unpack once and for all.

Contagion by Karl Miller

Lisa Stanley stopped talking for a moment. Puffiness surrounded the teaching assistant’s light brown eyes as she sniffled into a tissue.

A hurricane and a death. This had to be a tough few days for her, Kevin Pierce thought to himself.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “Where were we?”

The insurance investigator gently reminded her of the last question he had asked.

“Oh, right,” she said with a nervous laugh. “Dr. Hebert was spending a lot of time in the new Sociology Department offices after the hurricane. He’d been acting secretive and keeping his door closed a lot. Normally, he was a bit paranoid that he was being watched, you know, after all the press he’d gotten before, but recently it had gotten worse. He complained of headaches and chest pain. I told him he should see a doctor but he wouldn’t. ‘Real men don’t do that,’ he said,” she recalled, a small smile sliding briefly across her face.

Pierce recalled the stories about Dr. Kenneth Hebert, a former wunderkind who had earned a biology degree from Harvard at 19 and a PhD in sociology from Princeton by 23. A fully tenured Stanford professor at 31, Hebert briefly became a minor celebrity in certain political circles when his affiliation with an extremist group resulted in his removal from teaching. The subsequent lawsuit reportedly settled north of $5 million, but led to his exile at Southeast Florida University , a sleepy fourth-tier college in Boca Raton , where his vitriolic lectures still drew scads of adoring fans. Hebert’s death had triggered a nervous University into alerting their insurance companies about potential litigation, which in turn had brought the investigator into the wake of one of the worst storms of the decade.

“And when was the last time you saw him?” Pierce asked.

“Well, I found him,” she said and paused. Her dark brown eyes glistened.

“Before that, I mean.”

“The night before he died. He was working late because we had a generator.”

“OK – I know the police are checking on the possibility the generator caused carbon monoxide poisoning. Who set that up?”

“Maintenance people for the university. It was a few feet outside the door.”

“Is the generator still there?”

“It might be, but we did get power back yesterday – they probably haven’t taken it away yet.”

Pierce asked a few more questions then concluded the interview. As he packed away his recorder, Stanley spoke up.

“Everyone tells me to get an attorney. I guess people assume I was having an affair with Dr. Hebert and that I did something to him because he wouldn’t leave his wife. If anything, she’d be the type to murder him – she was always calling the office, really mean on the phone, like she suspected me.” She sniffled again.

Pierce believed her. You had to believe someone going into a field as manifestly non-lucrative as sociology. Still, he knew some people lied brilliantly.

The investigator walked to his generic rental car, and drove from Stanley ’s apartment in West Boca to the main campus of Southeast Florida University . Debris piles lined the road, waiting for overwhelmed sanitation trucks to visit. Jagged trees, stripped by the storm, dotted the yards he passed. Despite the damage, Boca was a beautiful place, albeit in a superficial way. It was a bit incongruous to him that the mostly tasteful haven of the nouveau riche stood on the former site of a huge military base in World War II and – it was rumored – a secret government Cold War laboratory.

Pierce pulled onto the campus and grabbed a map from a helpful student at the visitor’s center. He headed past soccer fields and newly constructed buildings to a more remote part of the school where the facilities were not so pristine. In looking at the campus guide, it actually noted that Building H-12 was one of three structures on campus left from military days. It had been unoccupied for decades and only minimally used for storage the times when it was utilized, that is, until it became the new home of the Sociology Department.

He parked and took out his phone. Pierce called the college maintenance department and left a message on their answering machine. He followed that with a call to the police department and found the autopsy report would still be several days away. Then he called Hebert’s widow.

Pierce identified himself and gave his condolences.

“How can I help you?” she asked curtly.

“I was checking into your husband’s death and was wondering if I could ask you a few questions?”

Mrs. Hebert cut him off. “Why don’t you ask that little tramp? I put Kenneth through grad school, back when we had nothing. Then he gets some money, and suddenly he wants someone younger. Look, I’ve got nothing to say to you. Talk to my lawyer.” She promptly hung up.

After making some notes, Pierce emerged into stiflingly-hot September air that covered him like a blanket. H-12 actually still looked like an old barracks building. Paint was gone in places, and much of the exposed timber looked rotten. In contrast to the activity in the rest of the campus, he saw no one.

Pierce walked to the door of the building and was surprised that it opened. He moved down an eerily quiet corridor past a wall decorated with posters for studying abroad. Dim florescent lights gave the interior a soft, artificial feel. Water stains marked most of the ceiling tiles. A dingy tan leather sofa sat on one side of the corridor, a college newspaper tossed haphazardly to one side of it.

At the end of the corridor, the investigator reached the Sociology Department. This time the door didn’t open. He looked around cautiously then extracted a credit card from his wallet. Pierce inserted the card by the lock, gave a push, and the door yielded. He flipped on the lights.

The Department clearly wasn’t taking up a huge amount of the university budget. The main office was just as dilapidated as the rest of the building, with heavy metal desks and filing cabinets that looked like they could have been left from the military days. In the far left corner, a slightly open door carried Dr. Hebert’s name. Pierce went through.

Nothing looked out of the ordinary. Outside the office window, a generator sat a few feet from the building, seemingly not close enough to let fumes into Hebert’s office. He noticed, though, torn grass by it, probably from when the machine had been manhandled into position by maintenance personnel.

As he turned away from the window, Pierce noticed a Blackberry, nearly hidden by a trashcan, plugged into an outlet and lying on the floor in back of Hebert’s desk. He picked it up and switched it on.

The last interesting email Hebert received arrived the day before he died. “Thanks for the invitation – I do plan on attending” went to a 305 number. Pierce gently wiped the phone against his shirt and put it back where he found it.

The investigator saw another door that he presumed was a closet. A stack of boxes blocked it. He moved them aside and entered. The door opened onto a short dark hallway that ended in a nearly empty room. Sunlight passed through a small dirty window onto a floor covered with dust fully an inch thick. In the dust, Pierce saw footprints that led to a small black safe in the corner. The lock to the safe was broken, and the door hung bent and ajar. He walked over and pulled it open.

A pile of faded envelopes lay in the safe, a torn one off to the side of the others. When he touched it, a fine white powder fell into small pile. Pierce looked closely at it. A sweet, strong smell rose up. Suddenly, dizziness overtook him. He started to fall and staggered to brace himself against the wall, then lurched through the office, down the hallway and outside into open air. Pierce sat on a concrete bench and put his head between his legs. After a few deep breaths, the symptoms passed. He took out his phone and called the Boca Raton Police Department.

A half-hour later, a blue Chevy Suburban pulled into the parking lot, trailed by a Boca Raton police cruiser. Two men in dark shades and black pinstripe suits stepped out.

“Kevin Pierce?” the taller of them asked.


“I’m Ed Jones,” he said, not even making an effort to conceal that he was giving a false name. “Slowly and carefully, I need you to show me what you found.”

The two men took hazmat kits out of the Suburban and followed Pierce, stopping several feet back from the door in Hebert’s office. Pierce pointed out the phone.

“You didn’t see this?” Jones asked his subordinate, irritation in the tone.

“I, uh . . .” he stammered.

Jones gave an exasperated exhale. “You can wait outside,” he said to Pierce.

The Boca cops stood, arms folded, watching Pierce when he emerged.

Fifteen minutes later, the agents came out, carrying several sealed bags. Jones walked directly to Pierce.

“How long were you in the room?” Jones asked.

“Only a minute. I started to feel dizzy so I left.”

“I need you to stand still for a moment,” he said. He looked closely at Pierce’s pupils then took his pulse. He nodded to himself. “Listen, I’m not going to screw around here. You know this guy’s background?”

“I remember reading the stories in the papers a few years ago.”

“Well, he was mixed up with some pretty scummy people then.” Jones held up the Blackberry. “And maybe now, too, it seems.”

He paused, looked down at the ground for a moment then stared at Pierce forcefully.
“I think you’re smart enough to keep your mouth shut. I want to confirm that you found nothing in this room – correct?” he said.

Pierce looked back at the agent. “OK – I agree. Nothing was in there,” he said finally. “But what will the official report say?”

“Sure as hell looked like suicide to me,” Jones said.

And that would be the official version, the one that counted, Pierce thought, and all the accused and accusers would stand down accordingly. He walked to his car and drove away slowly from the building. As Pierce departed, he noticed that some adoring students had left a small shrine in Hebert’s parking spot. Decaying flowers, rain-blurred notes, a few stuffed animals. In the middle of everything, someone had placed a tall glassed candle but, due to continued light winds, it had apparently been unable to light.

Grandfather Tree

Photo Taken by Amber Rothrock

Two Poems by Lyn Lifshin


some, lets say the first,
you stop eating for,
call at the last moment
If you are 13, you’re sure
you can’t live without
them. Or you work on
science projects fever-
ishly, aching for the
phone. Some join the
Navy, send you cheap
Cuban coins from there
S.W.A.K. on the box.
His uniform makes you
heady. Weeks of kisses
in his navy blues and
then on leave, he shrugs
when asked if you should
wear a stole and never
again is heard from.
Some take you out in
a filed, then upstairs in
the hotel where you let
him peel off spray rhine
stone earrings and the
stretchy wool dress
with net and sparkles.
And when you don’t
let them peel your hymen
from what’s still holding
it, don’t call again. Some
you never cared for but
needed a date for some prom.
Others are so insistent it’s
easy to waste a night or two
with them. The ones that
are too shy to call, you
feel their eyes burning
thru you. Some would be
lovers call from the Vatican
or Notre Dame say they have
their vows but would you send
something that’s been close to you
like your unwashed underwear



ask if you’d marry
them if they asked but
don’t ask. Leave a note
on your door: they
want to catch up
(which means a blow
job). Some think
you can help them
with your poetry.
Some think you are
your poems. Some
that you fantasize and
want the most, can’t
be seduced, not
even in dreams. You
give them what no
one else can in poems
where they will always
be fit and young
and they give you
dark blues

A Poetry Workshop by Jan Gero

What do I care
if she doesn't know
what a Delta breeze
feels like.
With her cocked head
and turned down nose
at everything read
round the table,
she'll never know
that in Sacramento
the rivers
the Delta
hold you
keep you sane.
She'll never lie
in silt and sand
wet with sex
and know the breeze
will come
from the mouth
of the Delta and
carry you

Coffee Talk by James Jones

I do love you,
but there are walls
around me
and the fortress of my heart….

walls that were erected
the moment
I first laid eyes on you….

because I knew
when you happened to glance my way
and smiled at me
in that quaint, little café
that night,
that the battlefield was no longer mine,
and you had begun to win the war.

Auntie Tommy's Tearoom by Louie Crew

Even when seventy he gave himself so warmly that he
taught boys to treasure their manhood. "Send me
your green horns, your unloved husbands, your poor,
your lame, your tired..." she beckoned ladylike for
decades as they came, one by one, from all over
Georgia. Every spring she celebrated with peaches
and cream heaped high for each gentleman caller.
No one would have dared demean her. Each knew his
special place in her heart. Few ever anywhere else
discovered her sensuous resources. Those who heard
the rumors loved him as fully as those who never
guessed or wouldn't have believed. His choir sang
a cappella at his funeral when his organ fingering
was done. Some say that locally first wet dreams
are squeezed forth when his spirit walks at night.
Auntie Tommy is multi-centennial and as American as
the cinnamon in the apple pie.

Long Stay by Jenny M. Lapekas

My father begins in the middle of the lot, close to the hangar. He is thorough as he scans the cars in one general sweep of his oval eyes. The blue sign seems to sigh arrogantly from boredom. LONG STAY CAR PARKING. Scott Henderson’s black Bentley sits dazed, bugs still springing within the vehicle’s frame. Scott is a stockbroker and will never know my father’s hand will have opened his German-made door. My father’s fingertips are soft pads from years of swimming in chlorine and murky springs, orange shorts and shiny whistle wavering above confused mud and clay, in search of lost swimmers who have become aquatic corpses that haunt the dark waves. These are the same hands that look like maps to me, interstates and turnpikes scattered between cornfields and water; a confusing sort of math.

By the time Scott recalls his error, he will resent the ground that passes beneath him. As Scott sits at a press conference in Miami, he has no idea that my father, the man who, as a boy, collected train sets, will have flicked a simple plastic switch and dutifully noted that the car’s headlights die down. In my mind, my father sits in his Chicago home, a small boy, crashing his toys together and waving to me from a bright red caboose. Scott will return to his hotel in a bit and never discover that because of my father, his car will start the first time the jagged key turns; and he will be returned safely to his family.

My father steps out of the car, one shiny loafer at a time, positions his captain’s hat, so brave, so pronounced, straight and tight around his head. The golden wings glisten on his lapel as he intently tosses his heavy coat over his arm and straightens his frame. His tie escapes from his black jacket and flaps sharply in the warm breeze; the one with small globes and smiley faces printed on it. My father moves and searches for more twin lights begging his attention. These are the headlights others so carelessly, so humanly, forgot to turn off.

Silver Beach In Winter

Photo Taken by Amber Rothrock

Poets by Katrina K. Guarascio

We are not songbirds;
we are the wild mustangs,
the feral beasts
who thundered across the open.
We beat out passion
with untamed hooves
and scream our songs
like trumpets.
Leaving behind broken
larkspur and hoof prints
in the mountain mud.
We do not embrace,
but find familiarity
in our propinquity and
the gentle rubbing of noses.

Art Thieves by Gretchen Meixner

They want to tell me that art has died.
No more, they insist,
No more heavy lines, no metaphors,
Or canvases caked with impasto.
The days have arrived when,
Words will be links to statistics
Creation overrun by insta-imagery.
God is dead, but
Thought is existence, and
I think I am God, and
You are God, and our
Churlish little house is,
The cross and keep.
Colors fade, but
History stays vibrant,
A cinema running through
Our fingers. Your mouth
Is Napoleon's,
Tour arms and scars
Belong to Hitler.
How can art be dead, when
You, yourself, watched me
Paint Starry Night, and I
Helped you capture an era
In verse. It was my mouth
That declared war, It was your
Voice that carried them
All the way across the jungle.
Man cannot undo his own creation.
I cannot deny the ungoverned
Passage of time, and heroes.
I cannot shake the guilt
Of a thousand lonely men.
I locked the doors shut,
I herded the Jews into a prison,
I hacked away at the
Last remaining strands of God.
But there is no crying, here,
In this moment,
Because I also invented words.
Drew out the dreams of
Obscure minds and fruitless hands,
And said "now we can speak".
You and I, we pieced together images
And patched up lives and lovers
Into film, into visible divinity.
I stood on stage, while
The cellos played, and
Changed notes as they floated,
Reaching every consciousness,
Every last morsel of human thought.
Forms change.
We have five fingers now, and
A built-in anxiety for the future.
Newborns cry of necrophilia and
The old wish to be even older.
Poems are spoke so quickly, that
We barely hear the words,
But the meanings are the same.
They seek us in our sleep, and
Seep into our skin, causing
Symphonies and novellas
To trickle through our blood cells.
Fingers push a button rather than
Hold a pastel, but the images still
Sway and conquer, and
Cut and paste into love affairs.
I type rapidly rather than
Write slowly with a quill, but
My hands are tired all the same.

Lost Dogs by Larry Jones

I picked up a lost dog on the road today.
she wore a collar, no tags.

I drove her to the dog pound,
where the dog catcher was waiting.

"call me if no one claims her." I said.

then I noticed a familiar looking dog,
alone in a cage.

"that dog belongs to my neighbor." I said.

"he's been here for six days, that's an $80.00 fee,
I'm putting him down in two days." the dog catcher replied.

I drove back home
called my neighbor,

"they have your dog at the shelter
he only has two days to live."

"okay thanks" he said, and hung up the phone.

I could tell by his voice:

just another dead dog.

Just To Piss Her Off by R.A. Riekki

In college, I dated Mindy for three days. The first day she came over to make gumbo and we kissed hovering over black and red pepper, filé powder, okra. The next day we watched a movie, a Sandra Bullock film that bored us both, her sitting without touching me throughout it. I tried to take her in my arms during the final credits, took her wrist, pulled her to me, but she fought me off. It turned into a wrestling match, very rough, my thigh bruised, her laughing the whole time. I got to hold her for a few seconds, but then she started kicking and broke away. That night, she told me she was a virgin, would be ‘til she was married, if she ever got married. She grew up in Helena and Anchorage. She’s proud of her hair, how shiny it is. The next day she said that we probably shouldn’t date, wouldn’t tell me why. We still talk on the phone. It’s two years later. Neither of us has dated anyone in that time. The phone rings, her number showing up. I tell her I just got another rejection for a poem I sent to an online magazine.

“What’s it called?” she says.

“The poem or the magazine?”


We breathe into the line together.

“I forget.”

We breathe some more.

“I’m working on a novel,” I say.

It’s hot outside, in the high nineties, my ceiling fan broken.

She says, “Don’t write about me. Ever.”

“Don’t worry,” I say, “There wouldn’t be anything to write about. We didn’t do enough for a novel. The best I could do would be flash fiction. And nobody publishes that.”

Weko Beach At Sunset

Photo Taken by Amber Rothrock

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fall 2010

A great poet, Suzanne Harvey, passed away this year. I promised her son that I would include a note about her passing, so after the review of her last book, A Tiara for the Twentieth Century, I have placed her obituary. She was a very talented writer and - though I never met her - a wonderful person.

It may be possible that I will be taking a break from Illogical Muse. In two months I will be starting my medical classes, and I'll need to focus harder on my studies. There will be one more issue following this one and in January I will release the Best of 2010, however, after that I am uncertain.

~ Amber

American Life In Poetry Column 174

American Life in Poetry: Column 174


I’d guess you’ve all seen a toddler hold something over the edge of a high-chair and then let it drop, just for the fun of it. Here’s a lovely picture of a small child learning the laws of physics. The poet, Joelle Biele, lives in Maryland.

To Katharine: At Fourteen Months

All morning, you’ve studied the laws
of spoons, the rules of books, the dynamics
of the occasional plate, observed the principles
governing objects in motion and objects
at rest. To see if it will fall, and if it does,
how far, if it will rage like a lost penny
or ring like a Chinese gong—because
it doesn’t have to—you lean from your chair
and hold your cup over the floor.
It curves in your hand, it weighs in your palm,
it arches like a wave, it is a dipper
full of stars, and you’re the wind timing
the pull of the moon, you’re the water
measuring the distance from which we fall.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2007 by Joelle Biele, whose most recent book of poetry is “White Summer,” Southern Illinois University Press, 2002. Poem reprinted from “West Branch,” Fall/Winter, 2007, by permission of Joelle Biele. Introduction copyright © 2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.


Artwork by Tiana Godfrey

Incoming Tide by James Piatt

Crusted gems sparkling
In the green stained sand
Kiss the incoming tide
Translucent glowing colors hug
The receding sun dipping into impossibilities
Sirens entice me into the black velvet sea
And the inelegant currents
Pull me into coral doorways
Where eel eyes of colorless blue
Glare at the multiple facets
Of my foolhardiness

Instinct by Brandon Rushton

I sit quietly at my window
A mere spectator to the world around me
Blind to ambition
Paralyzed from propaganda
Yet the evening always comes
Blanketing us with the shadows of the universe
Revealing the pseudo sphere
In the night we grasp the truth
For the stars are our guides
The sun conceals us from our surroundings
It is the sunlight that allows us to feel protected
While the night introduces us to the vastness of our being
The clouds tend to disrupt our sight
In life we are held back from the haze
It is in the dark that we use instinct
It is that instinct that guides us home

See The Pig by Larry Jones

see the pig walk
walk pig walk
see the pig fall down.

see the man
see the man with the red board
beat the pig senseless
ill it's battered and bloodied
just because the pig
wouldn't stand up.

scream pig scream

see the piglet
see the teeny weeny piglet
squeal runt squeal.

see the woman
see the woman pick the piglet up
by it's hind legs
slam it's head against the floor
till it's brains fly out
just because the piglet
was to small.

die piglet die

see the animals suffer
while the people
make their money
and this little piggy

The Earth Within by Michael Keshigian

We awoke in light,
wriggling in the palm
of a muddy hand,
divided into portions
under a stone,
we were the life
that delighted the sun
as we edged toward an empty cave.
Heaven rinsed us with a sigh
and set afloat
the Earth in our veins.
Behind our eyes
loomed the ocean,
beneath out fingernails
vegetables slept,
between our toes
hovered the air of discovery,
a model universe floated
undiscovered in our brain.
The great plates trembled
and the chatter of teeth
shattered the ensuing silence,
glacial ice masses cracked
and the capillaries of vision
slid into a sea of fascination,
a body born
under sunlight, in sand,
saturated with rain,
blossomed skyward
to propagate the world.

Dark River Night by Roger Singer

“Kep!” demanded the young woman, eyes afire, fingers grasping the loose thick cotton shirt of the determined young man before her; his boyish face smirked away the threat of probable danger awaiting him. He played off the fear with wide eyes of foolishness, shaking his head, sending wild rolls of curly brown hair bouncing onto his smooth forehead.

“Kep! You stop that you hear!” A fevered crawl of anger heightened the seriousness of her intentions. “You think this here is some kind of a joke!” She twirled on her toes. A wall of stiff shoulders separated the marble of sadness within her from the young man. Her head dipped. A quivering chin blessed the motherhood of her chest. A soft sobbing filled the immediate air.

Kep felt moved to hold her; he felt awkward at her expression of sadness. His eyes looked skyward, wishing to escape. Instead he placed the palm of his right hand on her shoulder. “Now Lyda.” His voice speaking to the back of her beautiful dark hair; a tortoise shell clip held a tight queue onto the whiteness of her neck. “It’ll be ok.” His hand rubbed assuredly in small familiar circles. “We’ve been offering this here topic up for two weeks and I keep telling you not to be a worrying.”

The young woman snapped an about face, startling Kep; the hand on her shoulder found thin air, his eyes a moment ago filled with adolescent sorrow sparked into a wide shock, as the face of Lyda captured his countenance.

“It’s easy for you to stand here, telling me everything will be just fine, when the truth is men are dying for a dying cause.” Kep tried to interrupt; she placed her fingers over his lips. “You hear me out Kep.” She stammered. “I see the sadness haunting the mothers, wives and girlfriends of soldiers fighting and I also see the dark struggles in faces over news of the dead.” She paused, looked down. Late September breezes circled noisily within branches of a leafed out dogwood above them. A scattering of leaves touched easily at her ankles; like homeless children begging for comfort. A cloudless cool sky weighted over them with an ocean of blue. To Lyda, it was her favorite time of the year, though now the saddest as she unwillingly relinquished her lover to war; summer falls from the arms of time, yielding to fall.

The lovers yielded to the powerful grief and lust of the moment. Slipping to the ground, they unwrapped the presents of their youth; the energy of breathing melted onto their lips.

“Kep. Kep.” Lyda’s voice filled warm the memories within his head. Her face freshly painted with each calling of his name. “Lyda, Lyda.” His hand trembled, reaching as the elderly do, attempting to capture the past with crippled fingers.

Kep passionately extended his hand, discovering a welcome patch of warmth. He stroked the familiar between the pads of his fingers. His lips broadened, eyes closed, head tilted back he moved his hand deeper into the wetness. Kep’s innocent smile of lust quickly vanished into the paths and dungeons of his darkest fears. Beads of sweat rained onto the surface of a dirt stained forehead. A cold tree top wind above him beat into branches resembling witches arthritic fingers. Dry life evaporated leaves beneath him rustled at his slightest motion; the death bed of autumn welcomed him onto a brown canopy. He labored to remember bright images of explosions, land clouds of gun powder obscuring his vision, men crying and extremities scattered like twigs under his attacking, ever advancing boots. He yielded to nausea, vomiting onto his bloodied shirt; a tight acid gripped his throat. His eyes opened with the slowness of a man drugged by thieves; he was wounded, severely, dying in a forest, a place foreign to his feet, on the bank of a river, the Rappahannock , across from a city called Fredericksburg .

He called softly, a voice meant only for angels nearby gathering the dead and those wishing for an end. “Lyda, Lyda.” He hoped to return to the dream of his lover, standing behind her. This time he promised to turn her, kiss her passionately, tell her of his love, over and over until he ran to the end of words.

A thousand needles of pain griped him. He pulled his knees toward his chest, easing only for a moment the forever damaged tissue ripped apart within him. The dream of her did not return. Kep turned his head to the waving treetops high above. He imagined for a moment he was at the bottom of an ocean of air, laying on a sandy bed looking up at tall strands of seaweed. He thought of climbing the weeds to the surface, escaping the bottom ocean of death, then swimming to shore, running home, never to leave, never to leave Lyda again.

The pain circled his abdomen, moving roughly within as if demons were dancing loudly on what remained, stabbing him for the sins of his past. Dusk walked over the river, dampening his face, chilling the skin; the last border of life. Kep could see lights from the city across the river. The undercarriage of clouds ushered in by night reflected a gray glow. Voices of men echoed from the city. Men at rivers edge speaking words, jumbled by distance, gathered roughly into baskets of sounds, indistinguishable to Kep. He could tell the voices were stationary, not moving in his direction; nighttime fostered courage in groups not in shadows of one. Kep lay his head back. Weakness caught him up into a level below sleep; rest was broken by the sound of slow deliberate footsteps walking near.

Kep remained motionless, refraining from stirring the leaves below him. Each step of the closing footsteps signaled salvation at the hands of a local farmer or the act of immediate death at the hands of enemy stragglers for his paltry personal possessions. At this moment, exhaustion being the only life form maintaining his breathing, he welcomed the option of death over the pain of being moved. Kep purposely stirred, moaning into night covered air. The approaching steps halted almost immediately. Kep moved some more. Silence maintained the close environment of a stranger and the dying soldier.

Kep called out, “Who’s there?” silence answered back. “I knows someones there, I hear you coming. No sense in hiding from me.” The words spoken by Kep caused him to writhe in pain. He rolled onto his side like a dog beaten with a stick. He sobbed, mentioned Lyda’s name then slipped into unconsciousness.

When he awoke, he could see the broad shoulders of someone leaning over him. The face was obscured by night. An owl high above called into the chilly expanse, echoing onto the river. For a brief moment the gray rolling clouds above offered a separation, allowing a sliver of silver from a December moon to run the face of the stranger. Kep was startled at the face of a black man looking down at him.

The man was bald, heavy set, someone who was sure with their fists. Kep leaned back exposing his neck, hoping the revengeful black man would slit his throat for all the ills imposed upon him by his southern generations.

The stranger spoke as if a wind opened a back door. “What’s you got wrong with you?” he asked, leaning away from Kep; the clouds over him closed like the red sea, the man’s face once again hidden behind a curtain of night.

Kep leaned up slightly, bracing his head on a mound of dirt, observing the large figure before him. It was a poor presentation for a white man before a slave, being partnered with the ground as he was. “I took a slug in my side.” Kep slowly opened the lower tail of his jacket showing the man a dark stain; the brightness of blood extinguished by night. “I’ve been lying here for a day maybe two, I don’t rightly know if it’s more than that.” Kep covered his wound. The black man sat down, any fear of being apprehended by this man was out of the question. His shoulders relaxed, fingers scratched the dirt before him, he looked up at the clouds then at Kep.

“What you expect to do with dat hole in you side?” Kep didn’t answer. The black man continued. “I come across a good number of you boys all shot to hell, none as in good a shape as you dow. One boy ask me to kill him out right, like a pig for slaughter. I told him no way could I do dat. My moma, bless her soul, would come back from the grave an’ whip me out. Sure as day she would, whip me out.” His fingers pushed the dirt again. Finding a small stone he cleaned it off and tossed into the black before him. The pebble skipped on several leaves before settling to the bottom.

Kep spoke up. “Can you find me a doctor?”

“Now where in hell would that be?” answered the stranger angrily.

“There must be someone near this place or across the river. Someone who could get me up. I know if someone could see me they would gets me. I know they wouldn’t just let me die.” Kep lost his breath, coughing lightly and holding his side, he sobbed softly, embarrassed of his weakness before a slave.

“If Iz to go across that there river an' scrounge up some doctor help for you, I would be captured and whipped sure as there is a hell. Boy you’d be long dead before help ever got to you.” The man reached into a small leather pouch. He removed a piece of cooked meat. Kep could smell the spices, causing him to gag. “I guess you ain’t gonna be asken for none of my supper is you?” The man chewed heartily.

“You got any water?” Kep asked. The man reached under his coat. He untied a rope with a canteen attached. Turning the top he held it up to the mouth of Kep. Kep slurped at the water, droplets formed at the corner of his mouth. His eyes thanked the man. The black man wiped the top with his fingers, swallowing hard from the canteen. A few months ago Kep would have never thought of drinking from the same container as a black man, and now, well now he was dying, and the prejudice ingrained to him was washed away with the act of a man’s sharing. He now realized there were no lines dividing white and black; a swallow of water baptized the hate from him. Kep sighed but said nothing; the soul of a dying man gains wisdom in seconds after a lifetime of wrongs.

“Where you headin?” asked Kep.

“North.” Said the man. “As fast as my feet can carry this here frame.” He took another swig of water, wiping his lips with a tattered sleeve. “I gots a little money I stole from my master when he done and left the farm I was on. Took some prime meat to. None of dat shit dey serve up to us workers. Yes sir, dis here chicky is the master’s best and I done serve myself to it.” The man took a mighty bite from the meat, tearing at if as if he were a wild dog.

Kep asked, “You got family?”

The man laughed, sounding more like a growl from a wolf about ready to strike. “What family I gots is scattered like the dust from a dead field. My wife sold to a man in Louisiana . My two boys both gone, sold like mules. ”One to Mississippi, the other . . .” The man looked down at the ground. Clouds above parted. Moon light captured tears escaping onto cheeks familiar with pain and suffering. Kep reached out, placing his hand on the man’s boot. “I don’t know where da udder one is. Somebody done told me he was dead.” The man wiped his face. Anger found life in his words. “He might as well be dead, all of us for dat matter. We is dead the moment weze born. Shackled and beaten into doin for udders. Weze only alive so white folks don’t get dere hands dirty. From da beginnin we is treated like scum, doin da work that dat keeps dere hands clean and wealthy!”

A dog in the distance barked. The man hushed his words. His shoulders bent down. Eyes scanned left and right. “I gots to move on.” The words came as a crushing blow to Kep. He knew there was no holding the man, no convincing him to gain help from the city across the river. Certainly threatening the man was beyond consideration.

The man removed the leather satchel from his waist, placing it with the canteen next to Kep. Kep reached out his hand. The shadow of the black man was motionless. Slowly he moved his right hand clasping Kep’s. The man stood. Slowly at first he moved through the brush, until nervousness pushed his feet into fast; his footsteps merged with night like waves blending onto shore.

White Trash

Photo taken by Daniel Robinson

Two Poems by Sara Crawford


Four hours, mostly on a deserted
two-lane road,
with fields of corn, cotton, and
cows whizzing
by outside of the car windows,
we drive
past a sign that says,
“clean restrooms here!”
with an arrow that points
to a brown house
still standing
(not like the ten or so
houses I counted
along the way)
where an old man in a straw hat
sits in a squeaky rocking chair
on the front porch,
selling boiled peanuts.

We arrive in a town,
smaller than a University,
just above the Georgia-Florida
and pull into the parking lot.
This is my brother’s house now,
underneath the Spanish moss,
next to the palm trees,
behind the barbed wire fences,
and a policewoman who
looks at her watch.
Visiting hours, already.

We get out of our car,
stretching our legs
looking similar to a family
I saw in a van
a few miles back
starting their summer vacation.
The little sisters used beach towels
for pillows in the back seat.

After we give the policewoman
our driver’s licenses, fill out the
appropriate forms, walk down the
waving away
South Georgia gnats, unwelcome guests
that invade every room,
we sit at a table.
In brown metal folding chairs that must
hurt my mother’s back.
My brother,
dressed in orange,
sits across from us.

As visiting hours pass, we catch up,
laughing, pretending
everything is normal.
The fluorescent lights shine brightly
down on us, and a fan
in the corner
of the room
blows a little girl’s blonde curls
as she hugs her father, his tattooed arms
tightly around her little white dress.

For a moment, we are just a family
around a table,
like when we used to play Risk.
My brother always won.
I wish we could all get back
into the car
and follow that van down to
But this is my brother’s house now.
I guess we’ll have to wait until next summer
(or maybe the summer after)
for beach towels that can double
as pillows.
For now, we have the gnats and metal folding chairs.
At least, we have that.



I wish that I
were Frank,
the cat,
as he rams his tiny
head into the bottom
of my chin,
as if to say,
“nothing else is
as important as

He gets distracted
by the silver earrings
on my nightstand,
fascinated by
he paws at them
until they
on the floor.
He stares in amazement.

Crossed Wires by Diane Klammer

The telephone cries
to be held.
She cradles it to her face,
feeling it’s cold pliability
pressed against her cheek.
She wonders about the outcome
of another conversation.

How strange that a twenty four year
marriage can be compressed
into a machine,
distanced into
a telephone connection.

One thousand miles separate them.
A void stretches over and over
into words of wired speech.
They can hardly connect.

He said he wouldn’t leave
before having to fly
into another time zone
to keep his career.

When she hangs up
she and their children
work on a puzzle.
A crucial piece is missing.

They try to find
the one piece
to fill in a part of the sky
while they crawl along the floor,
searching throughout
the room’s emptiness.

Finally she finds a pair of scissors,
and begins cutting a box
to create a facsimile
of what would complete the picture.

The lone grey cardboard cutout
looks tawdry and dull
against the other bright colors
which do not fill in to whole.

Incomplete and off balance,
she cannot stop the ringing in her ears.

Traveler by Phil Capitano

borne aloft in meadows blue
I taste of sunshine, morning dew
traveling with eagles grace
all satin, linen and lace.
I am milkweed feathers, dandelion hair
freedom floating with careless flair
pewter mugs and lion heads
castle walls or loaves of bread
while Mother turns in her delight
coriolis gives me flight
forceful winds to skies unknown
o’er lakes and seas my brothers sown
even in nightfalls darkest hour
I shall not tally or cower
but wait for the joyous light of day
into laughter fields I come and play.

Two Poems by Santiago del Dardano Turann


Orion lay upon his side
Beneath a sheet of urban light
Whose fuzzy electricity hides
His form in layers of lazurite.

The secret forms of stars are query
He hunts across the endless plains
With windy arrows whistling mutely
Across the bending cloudy grain.

He rises through the blooming spheres
In nighttime’s gardens velvet petals
Ungnawed by the corrupting years’
Hard unforgiving worms of metal.

But through a lifetime’s many nights
Mankind is dulled by regularity,
And walks on with his narrowed sight
Unconscious to life’s mystery.


The Roman camp in the Teutoberg Forest , German frontier
September 8, 9 AD

Our eagle glitters in the pasty gloom
From gleaning patches of the moon’s dead light
Within this forest icy as a tomb
In realms of Orcus, land of ghost stalactites.

Our fires seem to suffocate in fog
No cloth or metal guards us from the moisture
Exhaled by yet another nearby bog
Whose spirit looks upon us with his anger.

My centuria, who are all in fellowship with Mars,
In their rough way will only joke with fear
But whisper prayers to gods and family lars
In voices they would rather that none hear.

Even to me, who’s just a raw centurion
Who cannot chirp in Greek or quote a poet
That German’s clearly leading us deeper on;
Yet Varus does not seem to see the threat

Nor heed the warnings of that old Cheruscan
That we are chasing wind in these deep woods.
He said, “Arminius is a Roman equestrian
And can be trusted. Leave off your private feuds.”

Yet I was told by Priscus that he saw
Arminius and others going from the camp;
Trickling away like water in a spring thaw
Before the dribbling brings down icy clumps.

But do not worry, we all make up three legions
With six cohorts and six alae of cavalry
And we’ll sort out these blue-painted barbarians
Then I’ll be home to greet your new born baby.

Cassius Charrea
Legio XIX, Capricorni

The White Magnolia by Donna Marie Miller


Brenda was a tall girl with curly, black hair and large green eyes that changed with what she wore. Sometimes her eyes were very light green, and sometimes almost blue, and sometimes, grey, but they were always large and sparkling and clear and beautiful. She had fragile, thin skin, so fine and clear that her delicate veins showed through here and there, but it was the skin of a very fine, but fragile and delicate nature. She had skin like a magnolia blossom, lemony fragrant, very lightly freckled, that didn’t tan, so she had to keep out of the sun, and that kept her looks delicate and winsome for a long time.

As a little girl, Brenda would sit on a swing in her front yard and watch the passersby in Tupelo, Mississippi, on Sundays or on weekends. She would put on her prettiest clothes, nice fluffy dresses with shiny shoes and pretty delicate stockings, and she would sit on the swing and look at people passing and they would look at her. She liked to be all dressed up like that, sitting on the swing and let people look at her. She wanted people to think she was pretty.

Brenda’s father was a preacher and her mother a fundamentalist Baptist, and so Brenda’s life was sometimes curtailed and hampered by the rigidness and lack of understanding in her families views. Her mother referred to her often as “the original rebel without a cause” but Brenda’s rebellion took the mildest forms, and was in no way calculated to make her seem openly rebellious at all. She wore lots of makeup, carefully applied, like most Mississippi girls did, and she did as her parents told her, cooking dinners for the family at an early age, and dating at 13 as most of the girls in Tupelo did. So she really didn’t rebel in very obvious or public ways.

She had a sarcastic way of representing things, and she thought for herself. She rejected racism at an early age, as something that just seemed to her sensitive nature as ungodly. She rejected church at a rather early age, too, not because she disliked or didn’t believe in God or in Jesus, but because she didn’t believe in hypocrisy, and that is mostly what she felt in the local churches, not Jesus’ love. She believed in freedom, but she didn’t really know how to go about getting it, except by opening her home to those who needed friends and a haven from injustice, sort of an underground railroad for local women.

She married younger than most girls in her generation, at 18, right out of high school. Her wedding was the day after her graduation, and she married her girlhood sweetheart, a young man named Bill, whom she had dated from the age of 14, and according to Brenda, was her best friend from the age of 15.

Brenda wanted to stay home and be a classic homemaker, but circumstances forced her to work all of her life at various jobs. She worked at a Sears coffee shop for years, and then at the Book Nook, where she was a popular public person whom people came to for conversation, food, coffee and her fun and sparkling personality and wit. She had many girlfriends, most of whom were professional women, but Brenda longed for no profession, just wanted to be a stay at home mom, and was unhappy that she had never really been able to afford to be that. She used to tell me about that and I found it hard to believe, but it was true for her.

Brenda was a public wit, a private humanitarian, and a personal splendor. She was not a “Steel Magnolia” like the women in the movies had portrayed southern women, she was a white magnolia, lovely, fragrant, resilient, but fragile, as the large, pale magnolia blossoms for which her state was famous. She was a real magnolia, without any steel.

God had sent Brenda to a little town that was awash with racism and sexism. Brenda tried to practice what she preached, which meant that she was at outs with the fundamentalists churches, most of which practiced a mean narrow-minded form of small town judgementalism rather than Christianity. At any rate, they didn’t appreciate Brenda, except for what she tithed, or whatever she did for the as she so succinctly put it “ their dreary little bake sales and cookbook sales and especially their way of trying to sell Jesus like he was some sort of insurance policy for health, wealth and success. You don’t have to sell Jesus. He is there all the time, in good times and in bad, but life is still going to happen, you know.” So she had written to her dear friend Sugar Magee, stuck up in horrible upstate New York, where she had been lured by a handful of painting sales, got stuck there, and the damn sexist small town Yankees had robbed her of her car, her savings of $7000, any job she managed to get that was decent, and finally, were trying to rob her kids of any chance of a decent life.

All this was because Sugar had protested sexism in the arts in that community, and had objected to being sexually harassed by hideously ugly sexist old men who were old enough to be her father, Ugh. Sugar was too pretty and too smart to want to hang around with men that much older than she was, and she certainly didn’t have to date them. She had plenty of chances to date with men her own age or younger, and she didn’t need nor want the attentions of elderly sexists, so for that reason, the old buzzards had blacklisted beautiful Sugar and her entire family of brilliant, gifted sons, and they were nearly down to nothing, without even enough money to pay the gas bill, and behind on rent, too. And Sugar was a genius if anything. Poor Brenda tried to advise her, but what could she say. Sugar certainly didn’t want to come back to Tupelo, where it was even worse, if anything.

So Brenda comforted her by phone and by letter and Sugar comforted her back. But this wasn’t unusual for Brenda, she did this for everyone. She was the town confidant, that is, the confidant of decent, good women and many girls, too, and she had done her best to make that little town a good place to live. She had done a good job of it, like many Southern women, she had created or helped create a subculture that was true to decent human nature if it wasn’t true to the overriding bullying and violence that the more ignorant of the men tried to play out against the rest of the population. The southern women just looked at men like that as “stupid”, this was the universal word for them, and they just outmaneuvered them and avoided them, didn’t tell them anything at all of any value or worth, and finally, lied to them if necessary to keep on keeping on. They didn’t have scruples about this; if you are a Jew you cannot tell the Nazis the truth and aren’t under any obligation to tell where your friends and relatives are hiding in the walls, nor when they are going to escape, nor anything at all. You out smart them, and the Southern women did the same to the Southern men, that is, to the worthless kind who bullied and tried to domineer by meanness and brute strength. That was all, and they succeeded at this sort of thing rather well.

Southern women were very good at rolling their mascaraed eyes at such men, behind their backs of course, direct confrontation wasn’t their style, unless it was in the form of sarcasm that was sure to be waaaay over the heads of those at whom it was aimed. Or they would lift their delicately plucked and shaped eyebrows at such or other such methods of expressing disapproval without expressing it. Brenda was a master at such, and this is how she handled everything from sexual harassers in the grocery store, to ignorant and over made up librarians who were jealous of Brenda for reading so much and being much smarter than the school teachers. But as before mentioned, Brenda didn’t want a career, so she didn’t work at making one, she just took the jobs she had to get to help her family survive, and to help her skin flint husband make ends meet.

In high school Brenda was both popular and a misfit. She was pretty, that helped, she was middle class, that was ok, upper class would have been better though in small town Mississippi, she was smart, but she may have had an undiagnosed learning disability in math, though she was certainly good in English and an excellent and avid reader. She was kind and outgoing, and she had lots of girlfriends and dated a lot, but she also had a very introverted and spiritual side that was constantly questioning hypocrisy, and meanness of all kinds. She gave up racism long before it was popular to do so in Mississippi, and did her best to treat all blacks with respect, though she was prevented by local customs and her family from inviting them to her inner circle of friends. This would have raised hackles in her family and her neighborhood and Brenda was not the type to raise hackles. As before mentioned, she didn’t mind raising eyebrows, but like most all Southern women, her rebellion was of a behind the back eyes rolling, telling secrets and keeping all important information away from men who were the “stupid” kind and the like. Outward rebellion wasn’t her style, and didn’t have to be. She didn’t want to be an activist; she just wanted a life.

Brenda's First Adventure

Brenda’s first adventure came long after she was married and had kids. Her best friend Sugar was running into all kinds of weird trouble up in the Carolinas where she went to school, and up in Chautauqua, New York where she had moved to try to make a living and was not making it, quite.

Brenda stood up for Sugar, of course, over the phone, but she didn’t know that Sugar’s issues were going to hit her right in Mississippi, for Sugar’s enemies were afraid, now this is funny, but they were actually afraid that she might become president or something, a president who would actually fully intend to free women, not some token like the Clintons or the like, but a real bonified women leader who planned on eliminating sexism in the United States. Why this scared people, who knows, but it did. Mainly old men who made their living oppressing women, and who didn’t want to give that wickedness up, unless forced to do so by God. Now why would this effect Brenda?

Those wicked men sent one of their whores to seduce Brenda’s husband. Now Bill wasn’t really an oversexed guy, so this was a hard task. In fact he had terrible back trouble which had interfered with his sex life for years, and seemed likely to end it completely, so it wasn’t needing sex that caused Bill to fail. It was a power struggle.

Bill was a person who rarely said a word in company. He would sit and watch TV and let Brenda do all the talking. Even Sugar, who had known the family for years, since Brenda and Bill were dating, had never heard Bill say anything at all, except one sentence that she remembered. When she and Brenda had been talking politics, and George Bush, the elder, was running for office again, he had said, “Bush’ll be hard to beat.” That was truly the only thing she had ever heard him say that indicated that he had a thought in his head about anything but the motorcycles which he fixed and sold for a living.

So some company whore seduced Bill, mainly to make him keep Brenda in her place, and she succeeded, by persistence, in breaking up the marriage. This just about killed Brenda, who truly loved the silent Bill, even though he wasn’t much of a lover, and never hardly said a word even to her. They had been best friends, as she told Sugar, since she was 14 years old, and it was hard. But Brenda saw the woman once, and as she stated, she wasn’t pretty at all. But that wasn’t the point, the point was to injure Brenda, and stupid Bill succeeded in that so well that it almost killed her, but not quite.

The adventure was that Brenda survived. She survived to become the biggest flirt in town, and she actually had fun flirting around her small community, cute as she was and full of life as she was, and she found that suddenly, she felt not only more alive, but free. She went to a community college and went back to school to study, of all things, nursing. And she had fun. She made good grades for the first time in her life, and sold her little house, renting an apartment on the IJC side of town, near the community college which she attended, and she started to live a life that was unknown to her. She even considered running for public office and finding a better community to live in.

And she found, suddenly that life without stupid, silent old Bill was pretty good. She bought a little trailer instead of the house, put the money from the sale of her old house into savings, and she had a royal blast with going to different churches and checking out different belief systems from her old fundamentalist stuff and nonsense. She even attended the Catholic church once, sort of a mission church it was out in Bible thumping Mississippi, and she found that she could make friends anywhere, just by being herself.

That was part of the adventure, but the real part was that Brenda started taking her car out and just driving places. She had never gone much of anywhere without Bill and now she just got in and drove for no real reason but to get moving and go somewhere. It was fun. She liked it immensely, and soon she started taking her girlfriends with her and sometimes her daughters, even though they had gone to live with their father (he had bribed them by offering them cars if they did, which they promptly totaled) and she started exploring.

One thing she found out is that not only could she live without a man in the house, but she liked it. She did what she wanted to do when she wanted to, and she didn’t do dishes at all if she didn’t want to , or cook, but went out to eat at the old Sears coffee shop where she used to cook. There was a new woman, one who wasn’t nearly as friendly or as nice as she had been, but she liked going for the French fries and hamburgers. She liked having the girls gone from the house, and she felt healthier than she had ever been in her life.

As a girl, and young woman, she had always been somewhat sickly, subject to anxiety attacks and other ailments that were mysterious and almost impossible to diagnose, but she got healthier and healthier and all her ailments seemed to vanish in the exhaust fumes of her car as she explored farther and farther. Finally she did something really extraordinary, that is, extraordinary for a woman born and raised in Mississippi. She decided after her first year working as a nurse in the local hospital for women’s health, she decided to take a yoga vacation with her friend Sugar, who wanted to get certified as a yoga instructor.

So Brenda’s adventure was to go on a yoga retreat in Hawaii, with Sugar Magee, the artist who was starting, finally to get a name for herself in some of the more progressive galleries and museums out west, and see what it was like to become a yogini.

Brenda The Yogini

Brenda liked it at once. She liked getting on the plane and meeting Sugar in Los Angeles, and she liked getting on the other plane and going to Hawaii. She even liked going out to dinner at the yoga center and all the vegetarian food, though Brenda had never gone vegetarian in her life, and was used to breakfasts of fried pork chops, fried potatoes, eggs, biscuits and the works. She liked it. She sat with Sugar and they giggled and laughed at the cute Hawaiian men who were young and tanned and looked like they lived to surf. She liked being a pale southern white women trying as hard as she could to be flexible. And she found that after two days of trying, she actually became flexible, or at any rate, flexible enough to do at least the beginner stuff without looking like an idiot.

Her friend Sugar had been doing yoga for more than twenty years so she was busy trying to learn handstand, and do a more advanced form of backbend. She was taking a more intense form of classes meant to earn her teaching certification so that she could start up a little studio out in Colorado, or join one to teach there. They all did their asanas out on the beach, so she and Brenda could see each other from far way, and they would wave and laugh at each other trying new things. Their instructors were both brilliant suntanned experts, good at being humble and great at the same time. That alone was a yoga experience.

Then it happened; Brenda fell in love with an adorable teacher, not hers but the one who was teaching Sugar’s class. He was really good, really vital and he just loved Brenda, in spite of her lifelong avoidance of physical exercise of any but the lightest kind. It was a case of opposites attracting.

Whereas Brenda liked making new men friends, Sugar did not. She was involved in too many theoretical works to have much time to be involved with men, anyway, and besides, she was having fun just being herself, something that she had not found much time to be during the years of her marriage, and the years that she was in school. It was an adventure to become herself, and required all of her time. And besides, her work on color and light theory was achieving national prominence and seemed to indicate that she would be developing this theoretical work to its full potential in order to protect the security of the country, which was in jeopardy because of the stultification that sexism had imposed on cultural and scientific works.

Waiting For Work

Photo Taken by Garrett Smith

Broken Silence's Vow by Clifford K. Watkins, Jr.

There was a flash of obscurity when our eyes met
And our meager strands soon shuddered in puddles of regret
Yet we reached for the firmament from respective abysses
Aching for the warmth of flesh
Coupled with give-and-take bliss
Only to recoil to our dimly lit streams
To release our inhibitions through befuddled compositions
Pretending to be whole
We struggle with the dismal realm of fragmented dreams
Questioning the construct we call a soul

The Afternoon Light In Slanting by Linda Woolven

Chrome legged table
stale mug
morning grind
oil cloth slips to the floor
in weak sunlight.

Tired woman
brown spotted hands,
folds and wrinkles
surround her,
enclose her in age,
she sits longer each day.

unable to remember
why she should move again.

Small breakfast
of few bites
turns to soggy, sour lunch.
Her stomach lurches
fixes her with inevitability.

Her bowels run
in noisy
life emptying spills,

The disease claims
her a little more
each day.

swollen from her own fluids,
a skeleton walking,
mostly sitting,
her surviving hair
pinned loosely,
it comes out grey
and lank,
falls dead
as she too must.

The afternoon light
is slanting,
her ride is here,
the volunteer,
her chemo awaits.

She goes on weak tea
two bites of toast.

Leaves behind
the kitchen
who knows her
so well.

Biking Over Bridges by Carol Hamilton

The wooden ones are the best
with their clattery complaints,
the shuddering forward motion,
the gulleys, canals, streams below.
Down there, it may be green
and humming with insects.
As a child, I feared three things:
Nazis at the door, furry spiders
in my bed, and quicksand
under the long metal span
needed to get from somewhere
to somewhere. Bridges are never
for nothing I am saying here,
but it is only an article of faith.
As I pedaled, I used to fear
these passages with their narrowing,
with their sharp turns before
and after, the rises and fallings off.
Now, I sail up and over,
love the railed-in connections
someone thought to prepare for me
well ahead of my need of them.

Rain Check On That Cup Of Coffee by Holly Day

It had been so long
since I’d had a dream about Christ

That it kind of took me
by surprise when He

Appeared at the foot of
my bed, floating

A couple of feet above
the shag carpet in that way

He used to when He was
a regular

Guest in my college dorm

He used to talk to me a
lot back then. This time, though

He just stared at me
from across the length of my Amish-made quilt

His eyes so sad and
sorrowful that I honestly felt

That I had done something wrong.
“Can I get you something?” I asked

Because even if I am
some sort of sinner

I am always polite to

Jesus, He used to talk
to me, and maybe

He would still, if I
didn’t have a man asleep in bed next to me

But Jesus is just so
damned polite I think

He was afraid of waking
my husband up.

A Tiara for the Twentieth Century: A Book Review By Amber Rothrock

A Tiara for the Twentieth Century
By Suzanne Richardson Harvey
Fithian Press
ISBN: 978-1-56474-489-0

Suzanne Harvey writes words that embrace the reader, at times with a gentle hug and at others like a vice grip. The emotional detail and grittiness of her poetry will leave readers nodding their heads in agreement. She is a true writer, meaning she uses her life experiences to write poetry many can relate to; as can be seen in this excerpt from “Sins of Omission: Remembrance for a Birthday.”

Sometimes all you remember
Are the mistakes you made
The things you didn’t do
Those small sins
Of a mother’s omission
That can wear a hole in a child’s heart

Like the time
He cried from 10 till 2
You shut the nursery door
Till all the tears dried up
You wonder if they left
Some permanent desert in the heart

One poem I particularly like is “The Velvet Garrote.” It reminds me a lot of my mother and me. It displays the lengths a daughter will go to for her ailing mother. It also shows some slight bitterness to someone else (perhaps a son?) who enjoys the finer things in life while his mother is reaching the end of hers.

I feed mother broth
Scrub out the grime between her toes
Clean her crotch
Stick a Q-tip in her ear

You’d be coasting at anchor in Sausalito right now
Or maybe dipping escargot in spinach sauce on Fisherman’s Wharf
Perhaps you’re fondling a jade Buddha in Chinatown
Or worshipping the beach at Monterey

If you have read the works of Suzanne Harvey than you already know that she has a gift for bringing skeletons out of the closet and making them stand up and be counted for with elegancy. A Tiara for the Twentieth Century is a full length collection of her poems and a must have for anyone who enjoys her poetry.



Suzanne Richardson Harvey was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1934 and married there in 1956. She was a member of the Academy of American Poets as well as a member of the National Council of Teachers of English. She passed away on Saturday, July 17, 2010, in Walnut Creek, California.

She received her B.A. from Mount Mercy College, now Carlow University; an M.A. from Northeastern University, with a thesis on George Meredith; and a Ph.D. from Tufts University, where she specialized in Elizabethan poetry and wrote a dissertation on Edmund Spenser.

After teaching at Pine Manor College and Tufts University in the Boston Area in Massachusetts, she and her family relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where for almost two decades she lectured in the English Department at Stanford University. Nearly a decade of her time at Stanford was spent as a resident fellow (together with her husband) in an all-freshmen residence hall. They co-authored a book about this experience entitled Virtual Reality and the College Freshman: All Our Friends Are 18 (Alamo Trails Press, 1999).

While at Stanford, she also was a visiting lecturer in the English
Department at the University of California at Berkeley. For nearly a
decade, she regularly taught editorial workshops offered as part of the
curriculum for the Publishing Program at the University of California
Extension. Her teaching produced the volume A Functional Style: Logic and
the Art of Writing, which she used as a teaching device not only in her
university courses, but also outside the classroom at workshops for the
University of California Regents, for Bank of America executives, and at
Asilomar for the American Medical Writers Association. Upon retirement from Stanford in 1997, she remained active, lecturing for Emeritus College and for Diablo Valley College near her home in Alamo, California.

Her collected poetry has appeared under the title A Tiara for the Twentieth Century (Fithian Press, 2009), with individual poems published in the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia, and Austria. She is survived by her husband, Robert J. Harvey, cofounder and former chairman, CEO, and president of Thoratec Corporation, now in Pleasanton, California; and her three sons, Dennis, Brian, and James (Duke); in addition to five grandsons, Kevin, Sean, Gregory, Patrick, and Matthew.


Artwork by Tiana Godfrey

Ocean Of Love by Easter Dodds

Boundless depths
Reaching far and wide
The ocean of love
Takes you for a ride

Plunging in heart first
Love comes pouring in
You leave reason behind
And let faith take wind

In a whirlwind of emotions
You let yourself go
You’re free as a bird
Love is all you know

Till you reach its boundless depths
To seek all that is pure as gold
You’ll ride the ocean of love
And see true love as it unfolds

Abstract Blues by Jacob Erin-Cilberto

for William Carlos Williams

wheelbarrow's dilemma
rain under its skin
rusty repose
a farmer's hands crooked from life
the chickens gone hungry
sustenance flew the coop
the grass around his castle
trampled hopes with suspendered eulogy
like an emptied moat
an acre of being drained
erosion's implement
the only tool left
to wield.

Illinois Farmers by Michael Lee Johnson

Illinois writer in the land of Lincoln
new harvest without words
plenty of sugar pie plum, peach cobbler pie,
buried in grandma’s sugar
factory sweets and low flowing river nearby-
transports of soy bean, corn, and cattle feed
into the wide bass mouth of the Kishwakee River.
It’s the moment of reunion,
when friends and economy come together-
hotdogs, marshmallows, tents scattered,
playing kick ball with that black farm dog.

It’s a simple act, a farmer gone blind with the night pink sky,
desolate farmer, simple flat land, DeKalb, Illinois.

Betsy and Phil invite us all to the camp and fireside.

But Phil is still in the field, pushing sunset to dusk.
He is raking dry the farm soil of salvation, moisture has its own religious
quirks,dead seed from weed hurls up to
the metal lips of the cultivator pitting.

The full moon is undressing, pink fluorescent hints of blue, pajamas,
turned inward near midnight sky against the moon
now fully naked and embarrassed.

Hayrides for strangers go down dark
squared-off roads with lights hanging,
children humming school tunes, long farmhouse lights
lost in the near distance.

Humming till dawn, Christian songs repeated over God’s earth.
Dead go the sounds of the tractor, with the twist of a switch off,
down to the dusk and off the road’s edge.

It’s the moment of reunion.

Gotta Take This Call by Richard Lighthouse

no. you're breaking up.
call me back on the land line.
that's my battery
about to lose power.

well i left the charger at home.
it's got one of those funky
wire ends - doesn't
fit anything.

can you text me? LOL
well i'm driving too!
yeah - dialing and driving
that's me.

OMG. that's another call.
can i call you later? shit.
well call me back and

then i'll have your number.
right? no, i never answer
around the boss. he gets mad.
well jesus.

just send me a fax. it's easier.

E-mail To God by Alexander Russo

Dear God:

We know how pissed off you were
when Adam and Eve screwed up
your beautiful garden, and ever since
you’ve been taking it out on us
with plagues and earthquakes
and thunder bolts — You, the perfectionist,
could never admit to a faulty creation —
and now we’ve done it again — thanks to you.
Because you gave us a fantastic brain
we’ve invented super-hypo reality —
which you must abominate,
since we can commit any sin.
You name it, we’ve done it — and much, much more.
Why we’ve advanced so far we can create
our own body parts, make twice as much trouble
by zip-zap cloning.
We are inventing our own creatures, recycling souls.
We've eliminated Heaven and Hell.
There’s no limit to what we can do.
So listen.
Now that we’ve developed the Power, and
with all due respect, knowing how hard you’ve worked
since the beginning of time, we are retiring you
with the title “God Emeritus.”

Cues by David Hassler

When I was small we all lived low,
in old places by tracks and on-ramps.
Our flannel shirts and canvas shoes
objects of ridicule to those
who lived up and beyond the hill,
my new junior high classmates.
Usually tall, often blond, their
feathered hair bobbed down the hall.
Those with older brothers fared better;
the rest of us left to ponder how best
to avoid the taunts and laughter.
The months taught us to band
together, chess players and readers.

Invited up to another awkward boy's
house, I tried to hide the hole when
told to leave my shoes at the door.
His place like a kid's liquor store:
a pool table and trains, video games,
a VCR, guitars and horses,
a room full of books you never returned.
His mom made a Sunday dinner on Tuesday.
Didn't see why I needed two forks --
had to watch, take cues from folks
who didn't own TV trays.

Country Livin'

Photo taken by Amber Rothrock

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Summer 2010

We are rolling right along here! It’s summer already, well, almost. Before we get into the really good stuff I have a few announcements. As some of you may know I have a lot on my plate. I’m going to school full time while searching for a job and I just finished cleaning up that mess left by the virus in my other email, so I don’t have the time for bullshit submissions because people can’t read the guidelines posted on the website. Therefore I have rewritten the submission guidelines. Oh, and that was another headache. After the first time I wrote them, I accidentally deleted the page and had to start over from scratch, but I digress. If you read nothing else on this website, please, please, PLEASE read the guidelines. Most of the people who have been with me for awhile are very courteous when they submit but there are a few who are more interested in their fifteen minutes of fame than supporting the small press community, and that is a big no-no, especially with me.

Illogical Muse Creations is now up! Yay! The setup is similar to Illogical Muse. Each person who advertises will get his or her own page, or post, however you want to term it. As there are more advertisers, they will be listed according to category but right now it's easy to navigate because . . . there's nothing on it! So, read the FAQ and drop me a line if you'd like to take part. It's located at


American Life In Poetry Column 172

American Life in Poetry: Column 172


I don’t often talk about poetic forms in this column, thinking that most of my readers aren’t interested in how the clock works and would rather be given the time. But the following poem by Veronica Patterson of Colorado has a subtitle referring to a form, the senryu, and I thought it might be helpful to mention that the senryu is a Japanese form similar to haiku but dealing with people rather than nature. There; enough said. Now you can forget the form and enjoy the poem, which is a beautiful sketch of a marriage.

Marry Me

when I come late to bed
I move your leg flung over my side—
that warm gate

nights you’re not here
I inch toward the middle
of this boat, balancing

when I turn over in sleep
you turn, I turn, you turn,
I turn, you

some nights you tug the edge
of my pillow under your cheek,
look in my dream

pulling the white sheet
over your bare shoulder
I marry you again

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright © 2000 by Veronica Patterson, whose most recent book of poetry is “This Is the Strange Part,” Pudding House Publications, 2002. Poem reprinted from “Swan, What Shores?” New York University Press, 2000, by permission of Veronica Patterson and New York University Press. Introduction copyright © 2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Untitled 108

Artwork by Andrew McIntyre

Age Of Man by John Sweet

They’d built a garage next to their trailer up on Burnt Hill Road, and we were sitting in the shade of the doorway, were sitting in these battered plastic chairs that I’d taken from a restaurant I’d worked at a few years earlier, and it was July, was beyond hot, pushing 100 degrees, sun like a fist, like a smothering blanket, blurry through the haze and irrefutable.

And he had a beer, and so did she, and I was drinking a Pepsi. My third or fourth in the past couple of hours, my teeth coated with sugar, my mouth starting to get that think, burnt feeling, and all afternoon there had been low rumbles of thunder from further up the lake. Empty promises, more than likely, but I held on to hope. Could feel the sweat pooling in the small of my back, stinging in the corners of my eyes, and I was looking at their gazing globs on the edge of the lawn, out by the driveway, a deep, profound blue, this beautiful concentration of light where the sun touched it and then, just beyond, at the edge of the road, a few kids from the trailer kitty corner across the street, shirtless and filthy, digging with spoons in the loose gravel. Running tiny metal cars through the trenches they were digging.

And he was horribly thin, was already dying, and he knew it. Kept telling the doctors, and they kept answering him with shop talk about possible treatments, about stronger medication, kept discussing options, and he would just shake his head. Would just sit silently in the passenger seat while she drove the thirty miles back home, and I kept looking at him next to me, sitting there with his eyes closed, sweating hand held loosely in a claw-like hand, and I couldn’t tell if he was breathing or not, and eventually he smiled. Said I’m still here in a soft voice, like he’d felt the weight of my stare, and I flushed a little. Took another swig of Pepsi, and she asked What do you suppose those kids names are? Said They’ve lived over there for almost two years now, and I’ve never done anything more than wave at their parents, and he shrugged. Brought the beer can to his lips, took a slow swallow from it. Sighed.

And they made me think of my own kids, of course, spending the summer with their mother down in Virginia, and the feeling in the pit of my stomach made me wish I drank. I took in a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Looked at the gazing globe some more.

Asked Think it’ll rain? just to be saying something and neither of them answered. None of us moved. If I kept my mind blank, it almost felt good just to sit there beneath the soft drone of a distant plane. Almost felt human.

Forgetting by Chris G. Vaillancourt

That's the soul's answer to the locked doors
that confront you in the path.
Open the eyes and see
the zero that has become you.

And when the danger comes, let the
forgetting become a mantra.
Let it flush away the diseases
of yesterday's disasters.

When the yellow sun shines, ignore
the grey skies that have
defined you.

Be the empty that you can be.
It's the solution to the
falling asleep at the wheel.

And when the pencil lead breaks,
sharpen the axes to begin
the hacking away.

Let the zone alarms arrive,
and make them the purpose
of your ashtray heart.

It's the most obvious solution
to the drowning of the
sense of being.

And when the rain starts to fall,
hold the radio
in your arms and let
the electricity
snapple your brainwaves.

Leave without saying goodbye.