Archive for February, 2022

John Macker

Posted in John Macker with tags on February 10, 2022 by Scot




–After Noor Hindi

Every time I hear a politician
interviewed I lose the power of speech.
I’m trying to coax this cold morning
out of my bones & damned if they didn’t
just find a one buried beneath
the eighty year old spruce blown down
next to the cathedral during a wind storm.
If it could talk what stories it could tell!
I absolve myself of all miscommunication.
I check my phone for my vocabulary.
I know what exasperate means.
Sometimes words have two meanings
like intercourse and bark.

Today is the shortest day of the year,
cold and merciful, today
even the wind can harbor
a stray jeremiad.
Listening to a politician,
is there a literary underground
for even their whitest lies?
Listening to a politician
I want to exhume my youthful vitality
my hash pipe coyotes,
lyrics by Robert Hunter
my feverish horizons,
Lew Welch’s
up until dawn fire gigglers.
I fear the longest night of the year
will last until spring.



St. Louis Blues

My first confession was at
Saint Louis Catholic Church
on Sherman street
the yellow light over the confessional
meant one of us had knelt down and
was saying “bless me Father,
for I have sinned,”
while for me it meant this
could be the end of days.
If I was to drop by tomorrow
I’d say it’s been fifty years since
my last confession, the same number
of years Roberto Bolaño lived, Father,
I swear, these are my sins.
But I didn’t swear. I would remember the
stained glass coronas surrounding the sacred
heads of Joseph and Mary and the saints like
full solar eclipses. I’d remember the first Mexican
beer I ever drank, I’d pray for my friends to safely
navigate the variants. I have sinned.

Our parochial school Sister Veronica was an old crow
and possibly now a saint. A corona surrounds
the sun hard in the sky, blinds me as I leave the
rigid darkness:
where is the benediction
for the animals? Where are the desolation
angels? The prayers for mother earth?
The sepia toned votive-lit echo chamber of pews,
a crucifix fixed on the north star,
the devout whispers of second graders,
I remember. I genuflected, crossed
myself, for that moment my conscience
was clear, the holy water in the baptismal
font didn’t roil when I passed by.
But I had used the Lord’s name in vain.
I grappled with impure seven year old
thoughts, I feared and loved my sister,

I venerated the Holy Ghost and
every cemetery of the soul he/she/it haunted.
Now, Mother Theresa is the star of her own
stained glass window. Jesus on the cross
admonished me from the altar for all of my
future trespasses.
It was a miracle he survived.




some day climate change
will roll up on shore
and claim all the graves
in New Orleans
look around
everywhere some contagion
the afternoon has found its blaze
the heat rises like an elevator
to the gallows
a poet wrote he had the
soul of a baby wolf
some genetic need to
affiliate with the natural world
I know it’s not enough to tread
lightly or stay on the path
or hosanna Greta Thunberg’s name
in the church of feral light

most days I have the need to
affiliate with the sun’s
distant bloodshot trance,
or one of its flowers
or forest bathe beneath an
umbrella of browning
Ponderosas    most days the
earth pleads for rain
most days cloud forests drift orphaned⸺
one fallen tree after another
I don’t think a minute of their
unforced silences
grieves for the disturbed earth
the undulant fragrance of the
wildfire smoke
has the tenacity to
demean the stars.


John Macker has lived in Northern New Mexico for 25 years. His most recent books are Atlas of Wolves, The Blues Drink Your Dreams Away (Selected Poems 1983-2018) (2019 New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards finalist), El Rialto (a memoir), and Desert Threnody, essays and short fiction (a 2021 New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards winner for fiction anthology). For several years, he was a contributor to Albuquerque’s Malpais Review. His one-act play “Coyote Acid” was produced by TeatroParaguas in Santa Fe in early 2022.

Matt Borczon

Posted in Matt Borczon with tags on February 7, 2022 by Scot


Out there

Somewhere tonight
a young boy
parks beside
the airport
and points
a gun at
his head
for the plane
to take off
to muffle
the sound

somewhere tonight
an 80 year
old man is
tired of
being on oxygen
24 hours
a day
so he takes
it off and
dies in his sleep
the only explanation
is how carefully
he wrapped
the tubing
when he
put the
on his porch

somewhere tonight
a Brazilian
college student
plays at parkour
after smoking
out the window
of his hotel
his fall becomes
a thousand questions
asked between
his friends and
family long after
the memorial service

somewhere tonight
a young mother
decides she will
leave her children
behind rather
then spend one
more night with
that man and
those kids will
eat blame like
breakfast cereal
for the rest of
their lives

and somewhere
tonight on
nationwide TV
someone asks
the actor
Keanu Reeves
what happens
when we die

and he says
all I know
for sure is
the people
who love us
will really
miss us.


I only ever travelled in the military

So I
can’t tell you
if that mountain
behind Bastion
Hospital had
hiking trails
or tell you
anything about
the local

and all
I can tell
you about
Kuwait was
that in a
gym watching
a huge screen
tv I heard
Pink sing
a song to
her daughter
that made me
miss my kids
so much I
started to
ugly cry

and about
fifty American
soldiers noticed
but nobody
said a word
because they
all knew
exactly how
I felt.

 Daniel Sklar

Posted in  Daniel Sklar with tags on February 7, 2022 by Scot

From Boston

tall young
in miniskirts
and makeup,
and laughing
as they
walk through
the train cars
for seats.


Hack License Part One

When I drove a taxi
for 57th Street
Management in NYC
from 1977 to 1980,
a lot of drivers
didn’t pick up Black people,
said the tips were bad.
“Why should they tip?”
I took some young women
from a club in Manhattan
to Flatbuush. One told
the other to leave a tip.
“Here’s a tip–
Get out of Brooklyn.”
One time a gang came
at me with bricks and bats.
I floored it.
My cab broke down
in front of the Playboy Club
on 59th Street.
Bunnies came in and out
while I waited for a tow.
Soupy Sales,
Wood Allen,
Jim Nabors,
were in my cab
I used to sing
“I’ve Got the World
on a String,”
flying down
Park Avenue.
At four a.m. she
hailed me.
Icelandic Airways,”
was all she said.
I still think about her.


Orson Welles on TV

It’s no mystery, really.
I was probably happy
just to be working.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,
Mr. Orson Welles,”
said Dean Martin.
Hell, more people
saw me play Falstaff
than any movie I made.
When I did Shylock,
through your tears,
you forgot
I was wearing a tuxedo.
I mean, I am Orson Welles,
for goodness’ sake,
great thespian, and director.
You must realize that
even the one-liners on those
“Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts”
are theater. After all,
Shakespeare’s insults:
“Cutthroat dog.”
“Peace, ye fat guts.”
“Thy face is not
worth sunburning.”
“Thou damned
and luxurious
mountain goat.”
“Thou wear a lion’s hide!
Doff it for shame,
and hang a calf’s-skin
on those recreant limbs.”
I was the jester
in the calf’s-skin.
I was having fun.
But I was also thinking,
how long can I
keep up the laughter?
It was in my contract
to howl at every joke
for the camera.
“…to be comrade
with the wolf and owl.”
Howling is howling,
whether it is under
the moon and stars
or the lights
of Las Vegas.
I made money.
It was work.
I was a famous actor.
Thank you, senior citizens.
It’s show business.


 Daniel Sklar teaches Creative Writing at Endicott College. His work has been published in the Harvard Review, English Journal, Beat Scene, and the New York Quarterly among other journals. His books include Flying Cats, Hack Writer, and Bicycles, Canoes, Drums. He rides a bicycle to work.