Friday, November 11, 2016

Nov 10, 2016

By Ruth Hill
Ruth is a poet with a lot of interest in nature.

Trump and his voters are deplorable. I am very depressed about it. The media covered NOTHING about the Republican gerrymandering that took place to get majorities in each district. It said NOTHING about closing 15 polling stations in democratic areas of North Carolina. Podesta’s campaign strategy was all wrong for defeating Trump. Hillary did not argue logical arguments from a position of strength and confidence. Hillary unfortunately projects the expectation of rejection, because she has been rejected twice before, in marriage and primaries. In order to win, PERSONALITY counts. A lot of people found her unlikable for her mean lecture style and not her emails. Bernie drew large crowds because they were using modern social media better. Also his personality was great, everybody’s favorite grandpa. But he used two catch phrases people were frightened of: revolution and free college (how will it be paid for?). Democratic superdelegates stacked for Hilary 4-8 years ago have to be ELIMINATED. Republican obstructionism must be made illegal  Both parties must groom new blood more acceptable to concerned citizenry. High schoolers must be taught to resist negative campaign style, so they are not so easily deceived. Above all the “Christian evangelist caliphate” of the rural areas that is teaching there is no separation of church and state, that church should rule the state, must have the historical persecution reasons for the US secular constitution explained to them. There is lots of work to do. The country is falling apart at the party seam.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Yucky Words

by Don Schaeffer
This is a blog post I worked really hard on then it was rejected. I figure no one else is going to buy it but I think it's pretty good.

Ok, let's start at the beginning. Looking for the ugliest anything, where do we start? What is ugly? It may be easier to define for vision, for human faces than for words. Human beings are very visual creatures. There are many more articles and thoughtful pieces written about ugly visual things than ugly sounds. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," writes the ancient Greek commentator. Shakespeare echoes centuries later with "Beauty is bought by judgement of the eye."
Getting Things Straight:
The word "ugly" itself stems from the old Norse "uggligr," meaning dreadful or fearful. Fear and immorality are somehow touched by the word "ugly" because of the deep connection the medieval church made between morality and physical beauty. Giving children a "pretty name" was giving them the gift of moral regeneracy. "No ugly woman," writes the 19th century poet in Noctes Ambrosionae, "ever yet a wrote a truly beautiful poem the length of her little finger."
Bringing us down to earth:
One thing that makes a word ugly is that the word is harmful or frightening. Many feel that curses are ugly. They often denote ugly acts, socially unappealing acts, or behaviors that disrupt the normal and peaceful flow of social life. Thus words like "bowels" or "crotch" (or some of the epithets that stand for these) are considered ugly, rude and disruptive. Even the "F" word that stands for sexual acts that need to be done in private is considered ugly by many.
Sometimes ugliness brings us down to earth, when we prefer to be in an ideal and undisturbed place. Sir Edward Sullivan wrote in 1894, "beauty attracts attention, and ugliness repels it." Ugliness is earthiness. Ugly people are thought to be closer to the physical side of life. In Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien depicts the Orcs, those ugliest of creatures, as artificial creatures, magically formed out of mud. And of course the bible depicts the human race as being formed in much the same way, separating humanity from heaven.
The Guttural:
There is something ugly about words that make noises in the throat, as compared to words that slip breathlessly through the lips. We don't want to be reminded of the presence of the body when we speak. We especially don't want to be reminded of fluids that gurgle around in our throats. Guttural languages like German and Dutch are judged by many as the most ugly because they contain many of those sounds. Guttural sounds are defined as strange, unpleasant and disagreeable utterances. The English language has inherited many guttural-sounding words from the Nordic languages as well as more pleasant words from Latin-based languages.
That gets us closer to ugly words. The deeply non-logical way the human brain works on language is demonstrated by irony. Many words largely judged as ugly actually denote constructive, even beautiful things. The component parts of the word suggest earthy things or things better left secret.
Many gross words are onomatopoeic. They stir up a synesthetic reaction. The sounds of the word bring up body parts and unpleasant actions that have nothing to do with the actual meaning. The origin of words is sometimes lost so far back in time that the meaning changes from something ugly to something high-reaching. There are words that have little meaning beyond what the sound does to the imagination.
An ugly words list:
Anybody can draw up their own list.
1. allophonics.
  • The word "pulchritude" is often described as an ugly word, even though it denotes "physical beauty." Somehow, the sound of the word reminds many of obesity. There is a hip and thigh quality about it. Commenting in "Sesquiotica" a blogger writes, "It [the word] brings to the eyes broken patterns of pulp, mulch, rude, pull...In sound it tosses in a couple of the allophonic effects in English that non-English speakers are apt to find unpleasant or vulgar..."
2. The heavy body.
  • "Gestational" brings us quickly down to earth. It denotes the nutritional part of carrying a fetus. However, many see it as connoting a cold, secret side of pregnancy that still, even in this day and age, remain private. Writing in "The Australian," Melinda Tankard Reist described the word as representing "The objectification of women's bodies and commodification of childbirth." She reminds us of passages in the novel Dune depicting "axlotl tanks" which are women who are lobotomized and whose bodies are used as "gestational carriers for clones."
  • "Regurgitate" and its more prosaic version, "vomit" are also among the ugliest words in the English language. No word takes us closer to the bodily functions that should be hidden than these words that denote the undoing of eating. These words are unpleasant because they are shameful as are so many unpleasant words.
The kinky and comic.
  • The word "quark" is kinky, rather than strictly ugly in the opinion of most. James Joyce used the word in Finnegan's Wake in a scurrilous 13 line poem directed against King Mark, the cuckolded husband in the Trisdan legend. "Three quarks for Master Mark/ Sure he hasn't got much of a bark/ and sure any he has it's all beside the mark." The word was adopted by theoretical physicist Murray Gell-Mann during the time when a group of theoretical physics were inventing kinky names for subatomic particles. It was also used as the name of a rather unattractive Star Trek Ferengi character, who is a kind of swindler.
  • A lot of people don't like the word "mooch." To mooch is to get things from others without paying for them. It's not quite stealing, more like finagling. "Mooch" has a comic kind of nastiness about it. When people feel it's ugly, it appears to inherit its ugliness from the annoying person and actions it designates. A mooch is a creature of the comedic, vaudville stage. Who remembers Cab Calloway and his theme song about "Minnie the Moocher?" We laughed.
  • A pugilist is simply a boxer. The word dates back to the 1640s. There are many ugly things associated with the word, like a "pug," an ugly little dog. Many people vote that word into the ugly list. The classic fist fighter was far more brutal than they are today. According to the classics, these fighters used to break each other's ribs, gouge out each other's eyes, then stand over the loser, laughing. That's pretty ugly all right.
The Finale:
In his blog, "Words Going Wild," Jim Bernhard, quotes the poetry of the infamous "Bard of Buffalo Bayou" who gave us a full and quick dose of ugly words when he attempted to write the ugliest verse in the English language.
Vomit, smegma, phlegm, and pus, all pasty in a sac,/ Schmeared with a fetid spatula upon a plump kakkak,/ Discharge a kumquat ointment on the scab of that smallpox,/ Then honk in moist cacaphony in the jazz of some jukebox./ The curdled veggie, full of snotty sap--just masticate; / If kooky, flatulent, don’t gripe or puke—regurgitate./ A gargoyle with no boobs is feisty, pregnant and phlegmatic,/ For routine slaughter, kudos for a pustule plutocratic./ A gutted, Brobdingnagian, crepuscular quahog/ Has so much sticktoitniveness, you can crunch it in a blog./ A bunion on a rural juror’s crotch is treachery,/ Pulchritude and privilege fructify with synergy./ My spouse’s fiscal tax will leave my gusset with a gash./ Tell me what aasvogel means, I’ll give you a chunk of cash!"

Monday, November 30, 2015

Slough Straw

by Ruth Hill

“SLOUGH STRAW” won the Writers Rising Up! 2012 shared 1st Prize, and won the Inland Empire California Writers’ Club Fall 2012 2nd Prize of $50, judged by Gayle Brandeis, and was published online in IECWC Fresh Ink.”

This is my photo the poet says inspired her.

There is nothing delicate or pretty
about the way hay rides in the ditch
sour grass and shadowy, hiding things at night

Hardy cohabitant, maker of air

Succumbed to snow? No.
The scorching wind pummels it without winning
The drenching rain leaves nothing
but spots of wet and dry mold
It stands in spine­binding cold

Herbicides turn it red, apparently dead
embarrassed, but it browns up again
and resumes healing the damaged earth

And still it stands,
witness only to its own existence
as if its only purpose were to protect its young

New growth unaware of its prelude provider
fights for space up through its smothering guardian
the flexing bright green babies so unlike
their ancient battered predecessors

...and the little grass says, “Look how beautiful I am!”
Does it listen to what the straw has to say?
Or does it say, “You are old and wasted, man or m’am.”

...but in its DNA,
is everything the straw wanted to say.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Beauty and Joy ...(to Don Schaeffer)

by Ruth Hill

This was written as a special compliment to me. Thanks Ruth.

He captures beauty and joy
with eleven technical lenses
sees life in an unfurled bud
as in rotting leaves and dried flowers
likes naughty squirrels and polite birds
can find composition with garden urns
black twigs lacing blue sky
sea sparkles reflected on hulls
waning light on a single seagull

He invites viewers to ride along
inside his camera on his daily walks
inside his mind on a windy day

Monday, September 21, 2015

All Wild

by Ruth Hill

Ruth was born and educated in upstate New York, and traveled North America extensively. She now lives and writes in Northern British Columbia. She is a Certified Design Engineer, lifelong dedicated tutor, and enjoys spoken word. She has won 1st prizes in Gulf Coast Ethnic & Jazz Poetry, Heart Poetry, Lucidity, Poets for Human Rights, and Writers Rising Up. Over 250 of her poems have won awards or publication in the US, Canada, UK, and Israel. She enjoys email from other poets.

Though many love the topiary, boxwood,
I prefer a garden long overgrown
and spread into the wild,
wild interbreeding to reclaim ancestral ties
open pollinating freely
unconcerned with who is better
wind laying all down equally
rain drunk by all equally
verdant and effusive
floribundant and intrusive
hills all willy-nilly silly frilly
with montage-collage portages
orange lilies poking up through burgundy rhubarb
blue flax and michaelmas by wild goldenrod
for  "there is no blue without the yellow”
michaelmas not blue nor purple nor mauve nor pewter
pincushions not lemon or lime but hued over time
milkweed and thistles fluffing wildly like bubble machines
aromas of leaf mold, sweet earth and wild orchids
textures heaped up like thrift store clearance
colors not edited by more ‘educated’ eyes
burden of fleas and chiggers and bees and flies
candied nectar leaking from necks
thick alkaline poison protects
the soft and stiff and harsh and hardy
climbing all over each other in gorgeous orgy
oblivious, intertwined, without prejudice
strolled through, it and its creator
all wild
all mine

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Jim Edwards The Forest

Jim Edwards, MFA is a Winnipeg artist who works in colored pencil. He appeared in this blog before.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

You Taste Great

by GuyKettelhack

Guy is a unique poet and artist with a psychoanalytic perspective on things. Each of his poems is accompanied by one of his strange drawings. They remind me of Dr. Seuss but they are definitely for adults.

I love licking you,
you taste great.
If you were on a menu,
I’d keep picking you,
clean my plate.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Full Size Rendering

by Jim Edwards (1968)
Jim is an artist from Winnipeg, Manitoba. He has been spending the last few years making miniatures in colored pencil because his home is so chock full of paintings. This one is full sized (18 X 24 inches). Find some of his work at

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Drawings by My Granddaughter, Hannah Zoe (age 7)

Portrait of her grandfather
(from a Skype conversation)

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Dead Criminal

by Tom Prime
Here is our post beatnik poet again, the wonderfully bitter young man. He's been here before.

I felt this strangeness
Coming out, like wintry frozen
Rivers, ribbons on my old guitar—when

I met her in the park; it was the sense,
Hanging like a dead criminal, that love

Would punch me in the nose—blood would

Flow gently in scintillating leaf shadow tree light
Out all over the dried dead earth, and

Flowers, like one sided mirrors, would grow.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Magic for Children

(I wrote this as a ghost-writer for a magician's website. He didn't like it and wanted a re-write. I think it's pretty good.)

Magicians and clowns are among the most popular childrens birthday party entertainment. Both are about magic. They draw the imaginations of children outside the day-to-day world. Some guesses are that there are some seven magicians for every 100,000 people in the world. Membership in the International Magicians Society numbers 41,000 world wide. This is a large population of people. Magic is a very popular pursuit. The International Magicians Society even offers a doctor of magic degree which members can earn by passing a practical examination.

A magician flirts with the unknown and illogical. These are experiences that children love. Children love dream worlds and fairy tales about magical things outside the possible. Stimulating that part of a child's imagination brings them wonder. Children are first learning how things work. When they see their common sense violated, they push their imaginations outward. It is not enough to explain magic as illusion and distraction. Magic is a flirtation with the unknown and impossible. As far as the audience is concerned, this is as close to mystery as we can come. As in dreams, mystery is best explored with humor. Children will laugh while they wonder.

Childrens magicians are fun. The magician likes to bring the magic really close to the audience. The birthday child will be the star of the show. A good magician will puzzle and bamboozle right up close. Magic is comic performance. It is hucksterism. But no one should forget that magic derives from mystery. We never want to admit it, but the children and the adults in the audience always hope that the impossible really happens. The audience helps the magician and the magician brings the audience the wonder that they all wish for. Nobody really wants to know how it's done.

The best magicians are raised in the craft. It's entertainment with a bit of gypsy-ism in it. Many come from families of magicians. Many develop an interest at a very early age and master their craft over a lifetime. Amateurs can buy many magic tricks in stores and master them quickly, but a true professional can show the audience something new and will do it with a flair that brings their audiences to their feet. Like circus performers, magicians bring a slightly off-beat quality to their appearances. We like to think of them as coming from a different, maybe exotic place. Many professional magicians really do meet this expectation. They are kind and funny and loving but they appear not to live among us but to come from a place where they obtain secret wisdom.

We laugh. We are told that they distract us and toy with us. They hypnotize us. But we want them to be so much more. And they are. They entertain us by reaching beyond our ordinary logical experience.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


by Anna Yin

Anna is a brave poet with Chinese origin, who writes in English and Chinese. She lives in Toronto Canada.  Anna is well recognized for her poetic commentaries on current events in Toronto. She is the recipient of several prizes. I am proud to be her internet colleague.  According to Anna, this poem was written about me.--Don Schaeffer

Every few days or so,
he sends his short poems.
New and ink-dripping,
rarely making a ripple…
Occasionally I open them, seldom reply.
I suppose he sends each to many of us-
the various busy and lonely souls.
Now snow is here;
the trail is quiet.
I spread a few biscuits around.
No bird at all.
No bird—
only us!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Farm House

by Josh Koubek

Saturday, September 7, 2013


by Josh Koubek

Josh is an occasional poet as well as a gourmet cook and bike rider.

I never used to believe in numerology.
Then I wrecked my
motorcycle and I lost
my job.
But when I met
you I knew I was
right all along.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Skyscraper City

by Marc Schaeffer quoting his daughter, Hannah

Marc is my son and Hannah my first granddaughter (age 5).

Hannah and I walked to her school today (half an hour or so). She sang for the first 20 minutes -- a song about how when she lived in "Sky Scraper City" (a place she often talks about as her second country) she was a grown up, grew old and died.. and then someone came.. and picked her up.. and.. placed her in her Mother's belly. That she was "reborn". (Her words). Gave me shivers.. it was a beautiful song.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Klingon Medicine

by Joshua Koubek




Josh is a dyed in the wool Trekie who owns a tv remote in the shape of a phaser. His fascination with future science is demonstrated in this short piece.
When a Klingon warrior is seriously wounded in battle, say a vital organ has been compromised, a special piece of armor is applied over the wound. It's called a korjax. Depending on the nature of the wound and its location, the soretek, a Klingon healer will select the appropriate korjax to treat the wound.
The korjax is more than just armor. It is a functional medical device which has been inoculated with eggs and larva of the magok. The magok are similar to gok, the live worms eaten at traditional Klingon victory feasts. While the gok are harvested from the viscera of slain enemies, the magok act as tiny surgeons, eating away dead tissue and secreting an antiseptic mucus. What's more, after the the larva feed they emerge from the wound, at which time they are consumed by the ailing warrior.
The magok provide not only sustenance but also contain psychotropic and anesthetic compounds assisting the warriors journey to recovery.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Southern Town

by Tom Prime

Tom has appeared here before. He is a latter day beat poet, brimming with energy, searching for regeneracy, self-defense, and self-destruction. This is one of his shorter works. Tom is a magic, mystical free spirit. His writing reflects that.

I grew up in a southern town. My cat meows at the bathroom door. He meows and he meows but I won’t let him through, because he wants to eat the paint that’s chipping off the wall. The paint is chipping off the wall, because I shower in hot water and the hot water seeps into the skin of the walls. There’s no internal fan in my apartment. I have a portable one, but it isn’t plugged in. I use it in the summer, when the days are too hot and the air eats at your skin like old age or hydrochloric acid.

I grew up in the south of the city of Detroit and the air was molten lava, maybe that’s just what I wanted it to be. I’ve seen some terrible things. I’ve done bad things. I’ve seen the end of the world in the eyes of hopeless people drifting off to sleep in their little dune buggies in space; their little dune buggies that ran away from the molten lava faces. I guess I pre-ambled a bit; it was only because of my inherent negativity. I wish that I could be more uplifting, like a carnival wheel that keeps on spinning, spinning on through the effervescent night.

I killed a small fortune of aliens from mars. No I am not, as some would call, crazy. I am an overweight butterfly, floating across the great expanse of the ocean. The ocean is wild like the butterfly but it is inherently capricious like a power hungry lover, drifting in the mire of discontent. I want to guarantee to everyone that the product that I am selling is worth buying.

I collected the words from the thoughts from the migrations of the birds from the supercilious men with their political smirks. I told them what to think. I made it clear to them that I was a diversion. I would help them run away from who they were, by being me. I was the mess that coagulated like too much fat from a cheeseburger, or the way my cat licks water loudly and my refrigerators hums like an overweight maid with haemorrhoids.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Everything is Fine: A short-short story (in process)

Generally nice, feeling he was, thinking he was a negotiator who could obtain any reasonable agreement and could find any likeable compromise, Joseph really didn't know who he was. His true identity, how he was actually seen in the world, was kept a secret from him.

Joseph lived a very quiet life. He slept alone, awoke in fuzzy fantasies which stretched out from his dreams. The day was loaded with rituals and appetites. The knife edges of give and take rarely penetrated even the outside of the outer armor boundary layers.

Joseph thought about how he cleans everything up, as if he were not there. Everything spent on Joseph, he would pay back,. He would drink little and take only one plate, cleaned after each meal with water that would have flowed anyway. He was a healthy being, demanding nothing of the future. When I say goodbye, Joseph thought. I will not leave a residue, nothing added or taken. All my body products will be returned to the earth. The products of my brain are stored in atoms easily reprogrammed or written on paper which melts in the rain.

 Joseph couldn't speak in the fog. It lubricated space, stuffing space. Voices couldn't vibrate this air. Doorbells couldn't ring. The telephone sat uselessly with all it's gay little red lights un-winking. Joseph felt the containment of his space. He was free but so cold. Freedom was cold, all his pathways were trod in the snow.

Joseph dared to wish for winter to be over. Even though he didn't want to wish away any precious hours. It's just that in the spring he could walk. His vision could stretch itself over human-populated streets and he could hope for sound.

Far away were the warm warrens where voices were breathed, breath intermingled with breath, friendliness continuously tested, results instantaneously fed back, voices made sense or no sense, but the real acts of living and dying took place. Joseph knew the people there. He had been there to see them although he was not one of them for many years.  He couldn't remember when.

They have big cheeks. They want to stuff as many pleasures into the years as their cheeks can hold. They spend hours in the malls and streets laughing, their eyes sitting in that strange dark background that comes from paint and their hair delicate and clean, caught and moved by every breeze. They often keep their mouths open letting everybody see their pure pink tongues. So much fun, they are immersed in funny things and baubles. The groups of friends who know everybody, assume success and never get turned away. Forever, they will buy things that make no sense and sip the manufactured pleasure of seeing everyone notice. They will live forever. They will pack to the brightest avenues forever.

But Joseph knew how he was forever making nightmares out of the grit in the deepest basement bedroom of his heart. Even when he wanted to make fun, the fun he created made nightmares.
Joseph rolled out of bed. His room crowded with books but not books worthy of respect, junk books picked up at crumbled used book stores and thrift bargains from church basements. He rarely read books.

He made his way through corridors of  piles organized around his stuffed chairs. Piles became shrines in powder and cobweb. Joseph remembered the symbollism and made subtle but appropriate genuflections as he passed them.

Then he reached the exit. Joseph wore worn khaki pants and a thin jacket over a dark brown t-shirt. He reached over to a hook on the wall and pulled off a gray padded winter coat, slipped it on, opened the heavy door and went outside. The ground was speckled with dry snow. The wind came in blasts which threw the snow up over his face in waves.

Joseph was a gray man with an unkempt look. No one ever sampled his breath but nobody trusted it. Everyone wondered about his nights. Everyone imagined his bed was tossed and marked with dark bands. But even Joseph, who sleeps alone and eats alone and whose speech is unpracticed, even Joseph, in private, constructed wistful images of love.

Joseph made his way to the nearby Zellers Cafe. He had no friends there but the waitresses were sympathetic. This was about the only social life he needed. A word of recognition coupled with comfort food for an hour satisfied something very basic.

Joseph  was a regular at houses of social prostitution. He found them in many nearby businesses. He could enjoy them not tainted with the nuisance of immorality.  Many people made their living that way. In fact, there was a time, Joseph would admit that he would look for things to photocopy just so he could spend time with the engaging staff at the nearby stationary store.
Joseph was relieved when he left home. He needed to get away from the house where he spent so much of his life. The house was haunted by persons who were still living. Alone crouched under the couch, bounced against the damaged doors. Joseph kept heairng the voices of accidents.

He returned to the house just before noon, sat on the chair up against the kitchen table. He cried.

Friday, February 1, 2013

African Violet at Last

Review of Four Stories and Their Poems

 by David Fraser

In Four Stories and Their Poems, Don Schaeffer depicts three characters, Jacob, Morely and Moshe, who are searching through the remnants of their lives and their ideas. Jacob in the story, “When Marcie Died”, is attempting to define death. He knows of death, since in a lifetime it has been all around him, but he doesn’t know it in terms of his perception and his identity. Like all of us, once we know death, it’s too late to communicate it to anyone.

There is a sense of loneliness in his characters in each story. Jacob feels the need for people to join together, to be voices together, to have eyes to witness and share together. We see Jacob’s trapped existence, living with cats who are oblivious, who live their own lives in and around him as he goes about the routine of rising, brushing his aging teeth, and taking a daily shower. He is “a strange non-participating man, speaking an odd idiosyncratic language” and as an aged man, he becomes a person without a voice where “the routes to sunshine are cut off because he speaks.”

The poems between the stories thematically enhance the mood and message of each preceding story.

“small and selfish/. . ./I sit and wait/not knowing what to do.”

        “The Creaking”


“When you refuse and disagree,/the light of the world/diminishes . . .”   

                         – “Social Media”


In the story, “Two Dreams” we find a sense of alienation with the character, Moshe. He is “half visible” shuffling “among creatures with raised eyes and straight determined looks.”  He is a ghost “not speaking up, not saying hello,” and “not knowing how to make his voice call up his visibility.” Moshe “never felt a hero in his own house” because of a career “marred by personal flaws.” He walks among shadows and he, himself is a shadow in a hollow world from which he has withdrawn.

The poems echo the alienation and the coldness of the world around him.


“They had dinner in the plastic cafeteria,

fitted to look like Acapulco,

which they would never see”


- “Wednesday Night Out”




“He cooperated with less than a whole heart,

half visible because

he couldn’t  take it for granted.

So the world never fully paid him.”


-          “Moshe”



Morely, a character in “The Complete Introvert”, likes to roll his eyes inside himself much to the annoyance of his wife, Jodi. The world he sees is full of tunnels; tunnels connecting buildings, connecting the natural world through its root system, tunnels inside his body, tunnels through his mother’s house, and through the air which are the passageways of escape.

In the poem “Quantum Foam” passageways or tunnels are the archetypal entrance ways and exits for birth and death.

In a sense the musings of Morely, the introvert, touch on metaphoric imagery. With tunnels we can’t help thinking of worm holes through space and time, liminal spaces and thresholds that go beyond the mundane existence of eating supper and doing dishes.

In the final story, “The Inverse Performer”, Moshe Goldberg rents an old theatre for three nights and pays each audience member a hundred dollars to listen, or if not listen, be present so he can affirm his existence with the dramatic presentation of his ideas. There is a fourth wall, that wall that separates the audience from the actor and the play that is not broken in this contrived scenario. The audience is a vague presence in the dark, separated from a mostly darkened stage and separated from the artist who is on the stage philosophizing metaphysically about existence and the great questions of life. The set-up for the three nights is as if quantum theory gets discussed by the right brain and the results are surreal as in a Samuel Beckett play.

Each story stands on its own, but each also layers on the others ii its tone of sadness and alienation, and the poems structurally bind the prose together in their concise glue.







Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Bears in Heckscher Park

Spring Horse

by Ruth Hill

 Ruth was raised in upstate New York. She sailed BC for five years, then settled in northern BC. Her writings were selected by The Litchfield Review, Level 4 Press, Ocean Magazine, Hastings International Poetry, Utmost Christian Writers, Lucidity, Georgia Poetry Society's Langston Hughes Award, Tom Howard Poetry, Word Catalyst, MODOC Forum, Senior Poets Laureate, Peace River Anthology, Dancing Poetry, and Arc Poetry. Ruth enjoys email from other writers.


I once found a spring,
which I saved, in case
I ever saw a crippled spring horse.

I did find a three-legged spring horse,
which I trailered home to fix.

I saved a thrown-away mop,
and shaped a new mane and flying tail.

I painted its saddle red.

Some movers threw it down,
and broke its little plastic leg.

On a woodsy walk I found a stump,
and carved it to fit inside the leg.

I took the horse off its stand to glue,
and left it outside to dry.

Someone saw a horse without a stand,
and threw the horse away.

Eventually I gave up finding
a replacement horse.

Upon moving to the nursing home,
I found again that little lonely spring.

This time its hopefulness eluded me.



Friday, November 16, 2012

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Moshe the Invisible

short story by Don Schaeffer


The kids gathered in Caroline's family living room for snacks. They lolled around on the rug and chairs. The girls challenged the boys to leg wrestling contests. It was chilly out in the late autumn. There were no leaves on the trees. But the room was warm. It was soaked in joy. It was taken for granted. All who were there, Kathy and Neil, Caroline and Nolan and Pete and unrecognized others invited didn't care about the climate.

When David arrived it was an accident. He rang the bell in ignorance. Caroline answered politely, greeting him. She didn't ask for his invitation.

Neil saw David enter and everyone heard him say, “Oh no.” This was the end of their joy. They all felt the cold from the inside of David's half visible body.

David never took it for granted. It was not granted. Not taking it for granted was David’s transgression.

When Moshe awoke from this dream the world around his bed shimmered in late summer moonlight. Ceres was not in the bed. He was in the guest room bed. He came to that awareness. Moshe had mixed feelings about sleeping alone. Maybe those feelings triggered the dream, maybe recollection.

He couldn't remember how he ended up where he was, tabulated into a household unit, counted along with the true residents of New York. He lived then among the creatures with raised eyes and straight determined walks. Then he met Ceres, a woman not a fantasy and lived as the estranged visions washed away in the years. But he was still only half visible because he couldn't take it for granted. He cooperated in the reality of the town and the country and the world but with obvious reluctance. Since he didn't do so with a whole heart, the world never fully paid him.

   Not speaking up, not saying hello, slipping half-seen in and out of shops and down streets, not knowing how to make his voice call up his visibility. He walked among those who chatter, those in fashion, those with noses pointed straight ahead, with human faces so completely recognizable as to declare themselves universal, flesh solid, uniquely real. They all took this for granted. Moshe did so with reservations. The slight hesitation in his mind, in his fingers, although not really articulate-able, was noticed. Moshe was the ghost of the town. Its walls were hollow, not quite owned by him.

It took Moshe ten years of graduate school to earn his Ph.D. He thought it exceptional considering his poor memory for names.


Moshe worked as a TSR. Telephone sales representative was his profession. Not what he planned and worked for. Failure was frightening and refreshing as he came down.

At Re-Tel Corporation International selling telephone donations for minor charities that needed that kind of help he was part of a troop of telephone headset wearers, long evening hours bent over a monitor that spit his script out at him as well as bits of history. Selling was frightening, a flow of human voices giving and not giving, under the hot light of chance. Moshe always thought that chance was the language of God. He tried to measure his regeneracy by his sales, a gambler's preoccupation, watching waves of numbers on display, flowing through the hours and minutes, envy and embarrassment.

Moshe sold for half-legitimate mortgage banks, credit card companies, low legitimacy financial schemes, absurd mail order offers with hidden clauses that had to be read quickly. He sold memberships and subscriptions, contract deals. Ten years of pretense fell to earth and ten years of raw labor of the heart.

Legally, the shift had to end by 9. It was completely night and the late autumn had shifted into cold as the would-be, might-have-been Moshe made his way to the glass bus shelter. He did feel like a citizen tonight, one among many. Those in the shelter, slightly hand-me-down and raw, everyday human products shared a metal bench or stood against the glass looking for buses. The wind managed to get under the plate glass and made him shiver. He feared a mild form of fear because of the shadows around him.

Moshe always saw himself as young, the youngest and most helpless in the room, even with his bald head, his graying sideburns and his old man beard. Apparent seniority and sophistication hid him and he rode around in his face and body like rajah in a tent atop an elephant.


On Wednesday evening when Moshe had off, while he waited for the fright of his next shift, he and Ceres went to the nearby casino. They had dinner in the plastic cafeteria, fitted to look like Acapulco, which he would never see in reality. They kept their expenses for gambling down to ten dollars. Each of them sat at a 25 cent slot and watched the flow of spinning fruit and diamonds. Here was Moshe’s hall of prayer. The slot machine was his prayer wheel, the word of God suspended in time directly viewable in wins and losses. He saw the hills and valleys of the hidden holy world.



Monday, September 24, 2012

Free Life Drawing Class

Ten Minute Sketches

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tiny Bird

A Du Maurier:

by Tom Prime

This is micro fiction by a poet who has been in here with his distinctive style several times. Warning, he is very sad.

Back on the highway, when I’d hitchhiked with Nicole and October ate the last bits of meat left on the bones of summer, the sky was a smoke grey. The smudge of the sky held nothing but charcoal. It smudged out all the sunlight. The wispy quality of autumn clung to our hair and rosy knuckles. I’d wanted to quit smoking a week earlier, and had tried. I’d thrown a package of Drum rolling tobacco disdainfully into a puddle and in the cold wind where transport trucks clattered with angry pistons and the air smelled of diesel, we had watched as the reddish tobacco stuck out haphazardly like a lost toupee. I hadn’t smoked in a week and the dust and the carcinogens were beginning to expunge themselves in my yellowy spit. Our noses ran on annoyingly like late night television. She seemed to me to be my left arm. I had dreamt the night we’d slept in the semi-trailer of a transport truck that a car had torn off her right arm in a midnight accident, leaking like a slit open pomegranate with beads of blood through red and black plaid. A red middle-class pseudo-sports car pulled up. We got used to these new faces. He was as bored and drained by the fat leech of impending winter as we were. He offered me a smoke and I pretended to acquiesce, in hopes of eluding myself. I lit the cigarette with the push in electric lighter. A Du Maurier, I always thought that they tasted the way urine smells after drinking a Colt 45. I smoked it anyway. It was a sickly dizziness that deadened my face with a cadaverous ghostliness. The smoke like a serpent slipped down my throat into my veins and I felt emptied, nothing mattered then. I thought of Nicole as the smoke rose, then I inhaled.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Paperback Novella

My novella, "Samuel" is now available in paperback.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Python

Not a Bad Way to Begin a Morning

by Guy Kettlehack

Guy Kettelhack is the author and coauthor of numerous nonfiction books. He's currently an artist and a poet. He lives in New York City.

The thing, we think, to do with puzzles
is to nuzzle them affectionately,
wake them up at dawn while nobody

has anything much on – kiss their little lips
and let them know whatever slips
between you will be reconnoitered with

in privacy. Soon whatever you had
thought the point was to pursue will lose
its primacy and be replaced by something

like a clue – gently, without warning,
stretching its accoutrements, and yawning.
Not a bad way to begin a morning.

What I’d Call a ‘Myself’

by Guy Kettlehack

First Person slips off the shelf.
Keeps missing whatever I’d call a ‘myself.’

Second might do,
through its sneaky ambiguous usage of ‘you.’

‘One’ has a sort of a Jamesian tone,
but it sits rather too much aloofly alone.

Personal pronouns keep missing the bus:
they only report what purports to be ‘us.’

So I tried to look ‘I’ in the eye.
I drew what I saw in the mirror. Oh my.

Something looks back from the page.
Quiet, polite – but in covert outrage.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Saturday, May 5, 2012

"Samuel" a post adolescent novella

I've enlarged my post adolescent novella, "Samuel." It's in press at Amazon-Kindle. I hope to have it out in paperback shortly.

smile with narrow evil eyes

by Tom Prime
resident post-beat poet

I do feel better- tag the tarred
esoteric goulash- bitter monkey onions

Hero sham there in the tallow candle wax
among the dust
each feathered crocus
so many empty hopes in

dreams of large, veiny branches

not positive
or unhappy
just pain painted white

here in the shame belly
a dignified toad eye smile receptacle

against all the natural laws
physics like icicle chains
in eskimo politically correct lobotomy rainbow

- smile with narrow evil eyes

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Child’s First Vision of Death

by Tom Prime

A "short story" 


We grew up on an asphalt black mouthed hill with a tongue filled with white people's families. I don’t remember when the forest fell but I imagined it to be once populated with the greatness of violent sacrilegious natives combing its gnarled and blackened earthen stomach. I imagined where we rushed about among the sparse etchings of ravaged limbs, a free world, existing symbiotic with every color of dirt and moss and rainbow through dewdrop. We crafted crude, innocuous idols of death's wizened finger. Bow and arrows and bombs of old paint and gasoline, ours was a world of hidden wars, forts of plywood and wings of cardboard refusing to extol our battle against the clenched fists of science with flight- the arching womb of innocence. A long plastic intestinal drainage pipe ran down our muscular eye of reality into the earth beneath the suburbs, dense with the power and authority of a world separate from our own. Curry smelling immigrants separate, disconnected, impossible to understand but forgotten quickly with parental cautionary reproof- the dangerous world of escaping adversity. The run off of British Columbian grey skies seeped like long strands of dirty black and greasy hair down the monumental adolescent hill- half a kilometer. My brother and I lacking maturity and physical understanding looked down the black snake mouth and thought as thin and wispy and as careless as the shifting winds. Climbing into the coiling rubber walls among the sludge and evaporating rainwater we looked into the great eye of death and turned away.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Watching the Dog

I kinda got killed by a dragon

by Tom Prime

Tom has appeared here before. He is a latter day beat poet, brimming with energy, searching for regeneracy, self-defense, and self-destruction. This is one of his shorter works.

Don't you bleed ever so quietly? Much to my
dismay I kinda got killed by a dragon. It is as
much a confusing dismal world as round faced
sponge colored toads- I swallowed and fire extinguisher
eyes released hot steam sauna rock water. I tadpoled
in missionary mourning- glued into gelatin bodies- hear
the kerosene stove hissing like a misanthropic raccoon
in heat of rusty tear nail drops.

I kinda got killed by a dragon-

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Girl at Picnic Table

Captive Monkeys

by Lee Crowell

The poet drove a commuter bus between NJ and NYC for 14 years. In 1991 he shifted into a corporate sales career in communications. In 2002 Lee opened a small restaurant, Dale's Cafe, (named after my wife) in Bartonsville PA in the Poconos. He has been married to Dale Ann (Derby) since 1983. They have seven children. His eighth grandchild is due February, 2012.

Captive monkeys jack off in daylight,
indifferent to anyone watching.
Captive monkeys toss feces out of boredom.
They give furry-faced stares,
mirrors of our predicaments
jaded from jungle undelivered.

Some captive monkeys have imagination.
They sit their bald asses on platforms.
With keypads, remotes and dexterity
they simulate wildness into their zoological digs.
They elevate the playing with shit into a game of war.
The act of jacking off becomes an art of ritual.

We sense a new fierceness in their eyes.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

The man lying next to my bed

by Arunansu Banerjee

Arunansu Banerjee, from Kolkata, West Bengal, India, has been writing poetry only a few years. His work appeared on web forums such as Here & Now, Kritya and The Peregrine Muse. He is a teacher by profession, with a degree in physics and a specialty in softwares. His primary love is listening to Indian Classical music. Favorite poets include Charles Bukowski, John Keats, Rabindranath Tagore, E.E.Cummings, Li Po, Mary Oliver, Pablo Neruda and Matsuo Basho.

He's obese, double-chinned, middle-aged.
He can mumble a few words as and when
his memory allows him. Met with a mishap
in some early spring in the altitudes of Himalayas,
and lost his locomotion. Days are only numbers now,
so are the nights. He lies composed in a hospital bed
next to mine.

Each day his wife visits him, a frail woman
with a morbid face, and begs him to utter her name.
He observes her in silence. Maybe

all he remembers are the pines and rhododendrons,
the wildflowers and the dictionary of birds in the lap
of ancient moss-ridden rocks.

He takes scarce notice of me, with his eyes glued
to the ceiling fan. Gulps down food, water, medicines
when told. Sleeps when told.

I watch a physiotherapist folding his arms, limbs.
Up and down. Up and down. Then sideways-
left to right, right to left. The man struggles hard

to stir up the patient, to somehow impart a rhythm
to his stiffened existence. The patient mutters at times
the names of places of an earlier world

where morning fog gives way to the splendor
of icy peaks

but then he shudders
as leaves do
amid the shivering tone of autumn wind.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Poison Berries

In answer to Maurice Sendak commentary

by Alex Nodopaka

Conceived in Kiev, Ukraine, Alex Nodopaka first exhibited in Russia then finger-painted in Austria, studied tongue-in-cheek at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Casablanca, Morocco.

Alex says, "Presently I am a full time artist, writer and art critic wishfully wishing to act in a Sundance movie."

that his walking stick is used to hit people
and that publishing is vulgar and cheap
and that he has nothing to be happy about

and that the whole world stinks
and that the lack of culture is depressing
and that he is looking forward to dying

I'm elated to inform you that I'm very happy
to have contributed only intellectual junk to society.
I've been an engineer and an artist of every type

for all of my life. I'm proud to report that seeing
the consumer population go through
withdrawal symptoms has me laughing sardonically

They never should've encouraged me
with gold and silver and bestow upon me

august laurels to celebrate my junking up their world


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Yellow Leaf


by Robert Florey

Robert says, Robert Florey isn't my real name. Mine is difficult, and clunky. Robert Florey was a more-or-less hack director.
I've mostly been a cardiopulmonary tech, in Los Angeles, but now, as you can see, I'm located in Washington State, and I'm semi-retired.
I think you can find my birthday, March 7th 1945.
I am Robert Florey. I live in Washington State, in the United States.It has a total population of around six million Homo Sapiens.I am one in six million.
I do not write poetry. I write 'pieces', or 'works', or 'pieces of junk poetry'.
It isn't because I'm lowering myself to a bunch of unsophisticated country folk who could not separate a tryptich from a triole from a trochee.
It is because, sadly, I find I cannot write poetry to save my life.
But I hope to entertain here and there.
And I can critique better than I can poetize.
I can at least point out points of difficulty. If they're difficult for me, they're bound to be difficult for others.
I know the rules of the road, I've studied more theories of poetry than I can count.
I tend towards Ezra Pound's ideas on the subject, they make sense to me as an argument, but I've also noticed that the best of the poets generally follow his advice pretty closely.
In my opinion, art is mostly a matter of taste. One cannot write a perfect poem:that is, one that delivers something important or entertaining to every person whoreads or hears it.
One is always writing for a limited audience.
I think that all critique that actually says something, that isn't pap, like,'oh, I liked the third line in the second stanza' or something equally uninformative,is valuable to the author, because it will point out where the author mightinclude more people than she/he has actually done.

Costermonger thou art;
a potato is to thine own self
something to tutor with,
to take to the shake-down
and rantipole, as with a wife, methinks.

The good Lord hath made thee thus,
and the good Lord hast tried thee
and found thee as thick as grass,
eek as a rick of hay,
He is satisfied with his wittles,
be they as they may;
and if perchance, costermonger
you may delay
now and again
with some drab, some Sal upon the canal,
still a good Lord can thole a whitlow
upon one or t'other hand;
not so severe is the sin, to blow
away the chance of a dream in Heaven.

Be then what thou art, costermonger,
and fear not to depart.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Letter to Myself at Age 5

by Daniel J. Flore III

Daniel J. Flore III has volunteered to teach poetry as a rehabilitation tool for people suffering from various forms of mental illness. He was awarded the Florence Kerrigan Memorial Scholarship to the 2009 Philadelphia Writers Conference. He resides in Pennsylvania with his fiamce.

you come to me in my sleep
penetrating the heavy curtain I try to lift during the day
you wiggle your way through my swampy eyes

your tan is an ocean
and sometimes all the earth sinks in it
especially my white stone feet
I watch them submerged in your depths
where there is no sound but your giggle
it is a dragonfly
and its hum is a riddle that I'm the answer to

its at this realization
that I make you leave
to go back to the sun
and the mystery of your wings

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Picture in Picture: My Son's Cell Phone Masterpiece

My son, Marc sent me this I-Phone photo of my granddaughter Hannah's reaction to my portrait of her and her sister, Alex. I think it's a masterpiece. I hope no one objects to my posting it.

Friday, August 19, 2011


The Garment

by Fred Longworth

Fred Longworth restores vintage audio components for a living. His poems have appeared in numerous journals including California Quarterly, Comstock Review, Pearl, Rattapallax, Spillway, and Stirring.

The shirt everyone adored
when you slipped it on
finally fell into disrepair, collar ragged
as an elder's voice, pockets torn
like the prospects of the disillusioned.

Still, you kept on showing it off,
even as admirers turned to other darlings,
and shadows that used to part for you
hardened into impenetrable walls.

When I saw you last, rats scampered
at your heels, and moths fluttered
around your head. As for the shirt,
ligatures of vanity dangled like cobwebs.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The South Window

on the death of a dog

by Dunstan Attard

Dunstan Attard was born in 1953 on the Mediterranean island of Malta where he still lives. The significant influence on his life was his father who struggled to come to term with his detachment from his agricultural and deeply religious comminty in Gozo to live in the ambitious environment of a Maltese town. Attard's fascination with island life wrapped in steep history today energises his concept of being. Attard, who's first language is Maltese shares his emotions using the English language which is his second language. He rarely makes an effort to communicate with his reader as his poetry is very often a series of words that surface through his emotions at the time of writing.

dogs die
in bundles of echoes
that come from perfumes
of childhood roses
the resigned flesh
of silver moons

then comes the resolution
not to adopt another dog,
for too great is the pain
of the passing away

then eerie emptiness
into cracks of water
spreading the alphabets
with tears
that taste of mint

i call on the old landscape
and gaze on the stillness
of empty stables

by now
the horses have become butterflies,
i empty ships

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ten AM

by Don Schaeffer

Coping is fun
I think as I lounge
in late Spring

while the kitchen
is slowly reborn
and I have made tea

on a slow grill outburner.
We are in a bubble
of Summer.

The insects are kind
I have never heard
so many birds.

One of them is singing,
"we need ya-we need ya-
we need."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

When we imagine Jacob wrestling with the Angel

by Guy Kettlehack

Guy appears in a previous piece.

We imagine that the Angel was immensely strong.
What if we are wrong?
What if he was feeble, soft, ethereal –
apt, perhaps, for Paradise, but not at all

equipped for this pragmatic and incarnate world?
What if how the episode unfurled
required Jacob to change strategy
from grapple to caress: so that, as he

lay hands on that mild evanescent flesh,
he quickly comprehended that his task – a fresh
enlightenment suffusing him, below, above –
must change from causing pain to making love?

Friday, April 15, 2011

by Don Schaeffer