Archive for January, 2015

Susie Sweetland Garay

Posted in Susie Sweetland Garay on January 30, 2015 by Scot


Truth and a Lie

There is a song
at the base of my skull
pulling me along.

A drum beat in my temple
reminding me of sacred things

each daily holy ritual –
worship through repetition
and forgiving.

cuts so deep.

When I was young
I couldn’t see
that parents were
just people.

I never saw the struggle, the questions,
until I became one.

They don’t share with us their
weaknesses and mistakes
until they become our
weaknesses and

They do not see it as a lie
(maybe truth is only truth
for a little while).

I may do it differently
I think as the music pulls
me along and my baby girl
begins to wake up from
her nap.


Thursday morning

Stuck inside on the only nice day in week
longingly looking at the window
feeling both trapped and glad
at the same time.
Barley understanding myself
I am happy there is no one here
to try to explain it too.
I don’t know what I want.
I want both.
I want neither.
I want it all.
Whatever that means.
I don’t even know what it means.
So I go back to looking out the window.



Rising is:
the knowledge
that I have
I need;
missing an old friend,
so odd that it has been
three years;
the joy
and monotony
of each day;
anxiety at knowing I can’t do it all,
that I will always disappoint someone;
the cold crisp air outside;
learning to structure an
unstructured day;
too much want,
and a desire to release;
learning that not enjoying
does not make me a failure;
that I can be disappointed by those I love
and still love them;
Rising is
taking us
gently into each new day.



Four Poems by Mike Meraz

Posted in Mike Meraz with tags on January 30, 2015 by Scot

I hand my landlord

She smiles
Her hair sticks
Out on one
It’s 8am for

She is an ex
TV star
From the

Her dreams
On hold by

I think
There was a
Time when
People wanted

Now I just
Want her

When I’m two
Days late


She is one of
Who calls
She loves
But is close


Roll that

At the

With the
T shirt

And the




I will gut
This moment
For all it’s

Squeeze it
Like an

Letting the
Slide down

Advance Notice by Pris Campbell

Posted in Pris Campbell with tags on January 28, 2015 by Scot

Coins in your eyes,
unwritten ‘forgive me’ notes
embedded into your fingertips,
the ladies in black prepare you.

This is your eulogy,
my second ex, writ in advance.

I touch my hand to my breastbone
where blood flowed, staining
the sidewalk, when you left me
for the gal with peter pan hair
and the saucy behind.

My chest is dry now.
The sidewalk is dry.
My eyes are dry.

A flicker of sea air
drifts past, carries away
the  remaining remnants
of sails raised, boat keening,
dolphins tracking our
every maneuver.

I am not waiting … by D. A. Pratt

Posted in D. A. Pratt with tags on January 28, 2015 by Scot

Thinking back to the 1950s,
oddly Kafkaesque in its own way,
I can readily imagine
hearing Ferlinghetti’s voice
reciting the opening of his poem:
“I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder” …
I can readily imagine
connecting the tone of his voice
to Allen Ginsberg’s tone
in the opening words of “Howl”,
“I saw the best minds
of my generation
destroyed by madness …”

Thinking back to the 1950s,
I can readily appreciate
Ferlinghetti’s hopes in “I Am Waiting”,
expressed over and over again,
for a “rebirth of wonder” …

Thinking back to the 1950s,
I can readily imagine
that America was indeed waiting –
waiting for the 1960s to burst out
as it did … I can readily imagine
that in the 1950s it was oddly okay
to be an observer … and oddly okay
to express hopes for something better
by saying “I am waiting”
as Lawrence Ferlinghetti did
in his poem in the “Oral Messages”
portion of *A Coney Island of the Mind* …

Now, fifteen years into
the twenty-first century,
we’re in a different time
and a different place:
“I am waiting” seems simply too passive –
“I am waiting” is far too passive,
even as an expression of hope …

Yes, I could say that I am waiting
for Americans to be so much better
than they have been … I could
even say I am waiting
for Canadians to be better
than they have been lately …
but I’m not … North Americans
show no signs of being better –
and why mention anyone else?
I could make a myriad
of similar statements … but
that would be overly negative …
I could say I’m waiting for
the next volume of My Struggle
by Karl Ove Knausgaard to appear
in English translation (and I am!)
but … but … but I think we need
to think about more important matters …

We can no longer simply say “I am waiting” –
waiting isn’t good enough … waiting
isn’t going to work … time is running out …
hell … they’ve just moved the minute hand
of the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight:
what’s to be written? Okay … I wish
the whole damn thing were otherwise …
but it isn’t … it just isn’t …

Mardou Fox sitting naked on a back-alley fence in the Frisco rain by Sissy Buckles

Posted in Sissy Buckles with tags on January 28, 2015 by Scot

Naturally envious of
those intrepid
self-assured folk
who always seem
so certain
‘them that’s got
shall have,
them that’s not shall
lose’; sublimely
preferable to
perpetually adrift
shackled with
historical shambles of
modern ambiguity,
to be a Twitter brand
or not to be
is that the burning
new question
and the very real
that it’s entirely
too late
to make the world
a better place –
what do, where go?
Perhaps cultivate
a soft spot for
Jean-Paul Sartre’s
The Roads to Freedom
trilogy, be proud
to raise that Olympic
flame aloft
or consider F. Scott’s
adored flappers, were
they really all
beautiful little fools
and pretty please say
fuck yeah
to midcentury Beckettean
absurdist nobodies
and I’ll never deny
my desolate
messed up wandering
downbeat heroes.
Should I then emulate
Anouilh’s ceaselessly stubborn
outsider Antigone
digging in her heels
sticking it to
The Man
preferring death to
the play premiered
in 1944 Paris under
Nazi censorship, but now
tell me plain
are you willing
to know
a woman who writes
odes to forlorn
seedy pool hustlers
and venerable bowling shoes
stinking of victory,
at least one of us
has a reputation
to protect.
And if it’s notorious
to do nothing but
count flowers on the wall
and smoke a late
meditative night cig
or two
once in a lonely
blue moon, well of
course I would completely
understand, dearest
after all
I didn’t just fall off
the rust patina
turnip truck.

White People by Bradley Mason Hamlin

Posted in Bradley Mason Hamlin with tags on January 28, 2015 by Scot


There is a war
white people

and Christians
and Christmas
and conservatives
and Jews
and Chanukah

even though
so many
are liberals

and the worst
of these crimes?

white people.

Three Poems by Justin Hyde

Posted in Justin Hyde with tags on January 28, 2015 by Scot

walking around the farmer’s market with my son

in a black hat
standing on the corner
playing dylan’s
blowin’ in the wind


we forget things

like seeing dylan
in concert
fourteen years ago
at the iowa state fair

whole decades

go fallow
in our back pockets:

eighteenth birthday
alone at midnight
riding your bicycle across town
to the porn shop

carving a woman’s name
into a gazebo
in mount pleasant iowa

my own father and i
taking long walks
from the trailer park
to the a&w
across the highway

we didn’t even
talk really

i’d just hold his hand
trying to mimic
his long stride

like my son

right now.

our next door neighbor at the trailer park

had two cats
and a picture of john denver
on her
living room wall

she was
the only woman
i knew
bigger than my mother

i used to feed her cats
when she went to florida
to visit her mother

when i was older
i mowed her lawn

we moved out of the trailer park
when i was twelve

didn’t see her again
until the night of my wedding reception
at the top of 801 grand

who the fuck-
who the fuck-
is that!
my wife
seethed in my ear
as i dropped
a shot of wild turkey
with my uncle from tennessee

large old woman
straight up
purple moo-moo
and slippers
had just shuffled in
with a walker

after a few
tense interrogatories
with my mother

found out
she made copies of the wedding invitation
and passed them out
to various totems
from my past
my wife
was too gobsmacked
and speechless
to be mad

i thought it was
the greatest stroke of genius
and caprice
i’d ever seen
from my drug addled mother

the dj
only had one
john denver tune

play it twice
i told him

slowly leading debbie
out to the dance floor
by her hand.



another dead indian

was a bike mechanic
at michael’s cyclery.
my first day as an apprentice
he told me about his last job
delivering luxury cars
for john elway’s dealership in colorado.
i could tell he was trying to impress me
so i just nodded and listened.
one of the salesmen walked by:
don’t forget to tell him why you got fired,
he shot in a mocking tone.
chris didn’t tell me
just clammed up
didn’t say anything rest of the day.
found out
he was drunk on the job
drove a brand new cadillac
off the road into a culvert.
this was his song
starting with the army at seventeen.
he’d drink himself out of opportunity
then michael would let him come back and wrench
until he refilled the barometer.
couple weeks after i started
he got on as a cook
at whiskey river.
that didn’t hold.
someone set him up
at the casino on his reservation
picking up trash. a guest
found him out back
sitting against a green power box
bottle between his feet.
michael closed the shop for the day
we all rode our bicycles
fifty miles from ames
to mesquaki
for the funeral.
i didn’t have the word
in my vocabulary at the time.
elders. family. children.
none of us
seemed very sad
or surprised.

Loaded by Stephen Jarrell Williams

Posted in Stephen Jarrell Williams on January 28, 2015 by Scot

She always has a hand in your pocket
Arm around your back guiding you
To those bad places you can’t resist

Making you hard she never stops
Ambling up to the bouncer at the door
He lets you both enter because of her eyes

Down the hall and into the dancing crowd
Music pounding from a stage band sweating
Puddles on the floor reflecting flashing lights

You’ll find a table later and drink
But first she whirls you onto the dance floor
Doing her continual spectacle entrancing all

You have to boldly show your gun
To keep the lusting crowd off of her
The gun she loads for you every Friday Night

Saturday Night
And Holidays.

The Piper by F. John Sharp

Posted in F. John Sharp with tags on January 28, 2015 by Scot

The Piper sits on a wooden chair in a dim corner of a church. He has always used wood, believing music flows from Earth itself, that a chair of metal or worse, plastic, is an unworthy conduit. And he always chooses a corner, where the sound can dance off the angles and fill the souls of mourners who know an ache that only music can feed. He aches too.

The Piper has been piping for what seems to him the whole of time, learning at the knee of his grandfather and then his father, playing every last day of his three-score and nineteen years, either for practice, pleasure, or money. He has played ‘Amazing Grace’ nearly five thousand times if he were to count, and today he tries to make it sound like he composed it himself for this very occasion.

He tries not to dwell on certain things: He has had to start earlier these days, to allow himself more time for traveling and warming up. And while his fingers still know where to find each note, they make more of a fuss about getting there. And when the drones and regulators are going full out, pulling air from the bag in hungry swallows, he works the bellows with long, steady pumps, and the effort makes him winded to the point of concern. He has thought once or twice that there could be worse ways to spend his last heartbeats.
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Not Far From Ferguson by Donal Mahoney

Posted in Donal Mahoney with tags on January 28, 2015 by Scot


Not far from Ferguson
in South St. Louis,
a Bosnian man 
was murdered days ago
by four teens–three Black
and one Hispanic. 
They pounded Zemir Begic
with hammers 
while his fiancée watched.
The newspaper claims
race didn’t play a role 
in Zemir’s death but
the Bosnian community
felt otherwise as they
marched peacefully down 
the main thoroughfare
in their neighborhood.
Today the newspaper teems
with articles about Ferguson,
something it has offered daily
in the three months since
the killing of Michael Brown.
But three days after the death
of Zemir Begic the paper offers
no further explanation.
No word either as to whether
the Reverend Al Sharpton
will come to St. Louis to meet
with the Bosnian community.
President Obama has yet
to offer condolences.
Most Bosnians in St. Louis
are immigrants who understand 
hatred and discrimination,
having come to the city 
to escape death in Bosnia
at the hands of Serbs.
This is not a good time 
to be either Black or Bosnian
in metropolitan St. Louis.
It’s not a good time 
to be anyone else either.
We are at best observers
in an urban forest 
surrounded by
anger and gossip.
Many of us would prefer
a  bridge to crawl under
provided it’s home to trolls
who offer a silent night.
That might be the best place 
to spend Christmas this year,
better perhaps than
almost anywhere else
in St. Louis.