Archive for June, 2014

NEVER SAY NO by Thomas Brzezina

Posted in Thomas Brzezina with tags , on June 3, 2014 by Scot




My father’s father
worked the coal mines
in Poland,
then in Pennsylvania,
before he moved to Detroit
for the factory pay.

Here, he became
a committed union man,
attended secret meetings,
and made impassioned speeches.

There was a story (told to me
by a neighborhood woman)
about him jumping out
of a window,
narrowly escaping
the anti-union thugs.

He had a rose garden.
He collected coins.
He made Christmas soup,
with prunes and lima beans.
He called bad drivers, hillbillies.
He once told me, never say no.

When he was dying
of emphysema,
his children dutifully enforced
the doctor’s ban on smoking.
He would pound the table,
vehemently demanding
cigarettes in Polish.

I caught him once,
alone in the kitchen,
staring into the mouth of a coal mine,
lighting matches,
and dropping them into
a black ashtray.


i should taste lava (for scott) by tj jude

Posted in tj jude with tags , on June 3, 2014 by Scot



i’m sorry
i’ve never been
a fan of
john prine
and it’s not like
you had a voice
to write home about
so the second time
i heard you sing
before listening
to you read
i found myself
how many damn verses
does this fucking song have
and does this guy really think
he can fuckin’ sing fer shit
’cause i beg to differ.

well, fuck me.

but that’s my story
so i’ve got to
stick with it.

Continue reading

End Note by Winnie Star

Posted in Winnie Star with tags , on June 3, 2014 by Scot




I watched mother breathe
in death’s sleep
living in last thoughts

I imagined she drew on
memories of her long past husband
wishing her exit would hasten
so she could face him again

heave, sigh, sputter…

I envisioned her glimpses
of children
estranged by personality differences
and realities of strong will

puff, blow, cough…

I perceived her thoughts in end stage
must be of the many pets she raised
to be obedient creatures of the lap
and free souls to run the plains
off leashes to freedom

gasp, choke, gurgle…

I felt she must dream
of the many houses she
with nuances of the decades
our homes

rise, fall, breathe…

I hoped she’d have glimpses
of what she was
before a mother:
teacher of gym, swimming, hockey,

push, pull, struggle…

does she feel her body
ready to fly back to where it started
a mold of human flesh
ready to mesh
with the Gods of wonder?

would she wish
to turn off the machine
hasten the end note
join her master in angelic form
put it all behind now
to sleep?

the last breath came
in the early morning hours of
hospital doom

and we then buried
dear mother
next to
dear father

A Praying Mantis Entered Our Minivan by Mark James Andrews

Posted in Mark James Andrews with tags , on June 3, 2014 by Scot




I had finished pumping gas
slid in the driver’s seat
& a praying mantis entered our minivan
& landed on my clenched fist
white knuckles on the steering wheel
safety belted in the Captain’s seat
chomping at the bit
to begin our American journey.

The mantis swiveled his head 180 degrees
fixed me with his monster wide set eyes
& told me I was dying
that my wife in the passenger seat
digging in & inventorying her purse
full of life in tank top & cutoff jeans was dying
that our 3 kids in the back seat
laughing & sucking at Slurpee straws
flipping through super hero comics
diapering baby dolls
fingering plastic worms & fishing lures
were circling the drain
on the fast track to pushing up daisies
or the convenient crematory reduction.

I snatched the swivel headed bastard
& shot him to the outstretched fingers
going “Gimme Gimme” in the back seat
waiting to pass him around & inspect
gripping the slim long thorax
going eyeball to eyeball with him
jamming him in a plastic cup to get cooled off
in the last of the red shaved ice.

The praying mantis survived the family vacation.
I don’t know how but he did.

I was through with him & his sorry reminders
but the kids confined him to an unused aquarium
on an aged leatherette playing card table
in a damp corner of our screened summer porch
40 gallons of empty algae glazed glass & red gravel
where he was confined for the duration of summer
standing statuesque on a grid of branches.

Through most of the day the praying mantis was alone
& I would sneak peeks at him staring back at me
proud & defiant with his portents of death
but in the late afternoon or early evenings
he was visited & sustained by neighborhood hordes
led by my offspring & heirs with their presentations to him.

At day’s end the children caught honey bees,
yellow jackets, bumblebees, & sweat bees
in jam jars, Dixie Cups, any available vessel
& released them through the screened flip top
that imprisoned their silent & rigid pet.

The captured bugs fell in the glass box dazed
for they were rough caught & stunned senseless
but gradually they came back animated
& totally unaware of the stick figure
with the recumbent spiked grasping forelegs.

The mantis never failed to stop praying
when frantic weakness was on display
flying or crawling within his range.
His response was lightning quick
& he was always successful striking out
with his leg hands no longer posed in prayer
always making good on his word
as the laughing cheering young looked on.

THE INHERITANCE (for R.J.P.) by Jay Passer

Posted in Jay Passer with tags , on June 3, 2014 by Scot



it’s unusual

to be confortable
when crazed and
with existential
but this
looking in the bureau
amidst the jumble
of electric cords
switch blades
penlight decoders
and ostrich
I noticed an over-
abundance of
socks that

you only need a single
on the other end.

of course,
it won’t be long before
everything’s back to

Walking with me by Adrian Manning

Posted in Adrian Manning with tags , on June 3, 2014 by Scot

(After the death of James Quinton)

The ascent is long and arduous
My steps slow but steady
The peak seems so distant
And the mountains are law

Alone I breathe deeply
Moving toward the unknown
But I sense you with me

The wind is your breath
Echoing mine
It speaks to me
Your voice inside my head
Telling me its tough
It always will be

I see your footsteps
In snow
Next to mine
Walking with me

It feels good
And I do not feel alone
Any more
I know
We will never
Climb this mountain

Not in this world