Saturday, October 31, 2015

Bradley Williams- A Cartoon

See website at

Bradford Middleton- A Poem


People say that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder BUT
What I want to know is who decides about madness?  How can you define that?
Am I the mad one for staring from my window?
Down to the beach, the water’s edge, where
For the last few days, weeks, months, maybe even years,
A young man comes, spade in hand, he comes
To dig up the beach, always the same spot
Always the same shape of destruction before
Sitting there, as if on a throne, he sits by
The edge of the water just like King Alfred
Holding the seas at bay just for us
As I sit staring from my vantage point I have to ask,
Is his madness a cry for help
Rather than more fakery of weirdness from one of the town’s young pretend assorted nuts?
I’d really like to know the purpose of his daily dig
But my paranoia has me worried he hit me
On my head with his spade and take me out
To sea, dumping my body to become nothing more than
Fish food with nothing left of me for anyone to see.

Mary Bone- Two Poems

Dead Snakes

We crawled in and out
Of the bones on the beach.
When we were living
Food was within reach-
Drying in the sun, the poachers
Just wanted our hides.
We will become the purses and shoes.
Now we are just dead snakes
We come and go with the tides.

Snaky Halloween Fun

Venom oozed and it was Halloween.
Dead snakes prevailed in valleys and lakes.
Doom was around
Slithering up from the ground.
Death held a grip
Sort of a “surround sound.”
Bags were opened, candy dropped in,
And the snakes crawled back to their den.

John D. Robinson- Three Poems


We met at a compulsory governmental
work placement for the unholy wayward
misfits and mavericks of all kinds;
Neil was tall and solid with one
static eye and a grand sense of
daring and mischievousness and
we got high on the toxic fumes
whilst making kayaks and we
smoked grass in our lunch breaks
and swallowed pills not knowing
what they were and one time, Neil
was giving the task of hand-painting
a ‘NO SMOKING’ sign in 3ft red
letters upon a basement garage wall.
Hours later Neil hollered that he had
finished; he had painted
no one had the heart to say a word
as Neil stood pleased and proud of
his artistry;
we never met socially only by
chance and it was always warm
and friendly and then recently
outside of the offices where I work
we met and greeted one another as
usual and then I stepped back and
stared at the stump of a left arm;
“How the fuck did that happen!”
I asked
“My cat scratched me. It became
infected, I ignored it, I was doing a
lot of shit at that time and then it was too
late. I went into surgery and came out
4lbs lighter”
“A kitty cat scratch?” I said
“Yeah” Neil said grinning “A pussy
cat, BUT, the drugs are fucking
and I watched him roll a cigarette
with the stump and his chin and
his able arm and hand. “The drugs
are fucking great” he said “I’m
wasted anytime I like” and he
smiled, like he always smiled and
I lit his cigarette and looked at the
stump and thought of him 20
years ago with both arms and then
we looked at one another, as we
once did, as friends look at one another
and then he said
“It’s cool man; really. Stay lucky!”
and then he turned and walked away and
I gave thought to my 4 cats and of Neil
and of  ‘NO SMOCKING’ and of
his severed limb lying upon a
stainless steel surface and then I
dragged my sorry ass lucky life back
to work.


He probably hasn’t bathed for years;
he moved into the basement apartment
17 years ago and not a moment has been
spent cleaning it; 17 years of dust,
hardship, drugs and desperation and
desolation and dreams and
grime and smoke choke the home and
everything within;
for 4 decades he has been wired to
hard drugs; the floor carpets stick to
the soles of your shoes and garbage
bags overflow in every room;
he explains that he would like to
move and that he has a
comprehensive list of all the
major drug dealers and loan –sharks
in a 60 mile radius, he tells me he
has invented mechanical engines
that are fuelled by cigarette smoke
and that he is building a boat, a
big boat from pieces of wood
reclaimed from the streets; he says
he’s getting ready for the flood;
he says he has the I.T. knowledge to
hack into any global government computer
system and he spends his days playing
computed games and answers the door
20 – 30 times a day,
and people come and go from his
filthy abode and some stay for
just a few minutes, some for a few
hours, some stay for a few days or
for a few weeks or months and
he asks me
“Can you help me? I need a bigger,
a better place”
‘Why don’t you build one
yourself’ I say beneath my
breath as I make my leave.
“I’m good tenant!” he reassures
“I’ll see what I can do” I tell him
stepping into the fresh air and
needing a shower.


I stayed at home;
the house phone didn’t ring
and the mobile was
switched off;
no fucker knocked on
the door to tell me
where my life was
going wrong.
I took some codeine and
smoked some joints and
then took the dog for a
walk and didn’t see a single
asshole to bother me;
I made lunch and
afterwards took a nap
and no one was expecting
anything of me and they
didn’t get anything and
I listened to the radio and
didn’t give a shit about
anybody else and it felt
good like a day-off from
every fucking thing in
this life that we’ve made for
one another.

John D Robinson was born in the UK in 63. He began writing poetry aged 16. Many of his poems have appeared in the small press and online publications including Dead Snakes, Red Fez, Bareback Lit, The Chicago Record, The Commonline Journal, Mad Swirl, The Kitchen Poet, Pulsar, Poet&Geek and upcoming work appearing in The Clockwise Cat, Poetic Diversity, Your One Phone Call, Message In A Bottle. His short fiction has appeared in WordsCome Ezine, Opal Publishing, Jotters United, Words Pauses Noises, Horror Sleaze and Trash. He is married with one daughter, two grandchildren, four cats, one dog and he likes to drink wine and forget about it all.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Eric Robert Nolan- A Poem

“Not of Byzantium”
Awakening at one AM after dreaming
not of Byzantium,
not of Babylon, but better —
Not Shangri-La, but shaded limb —
The pine I climbed when I was nine.
No Acropolis, only
fallow farm and rising sun.
Across, a distant treeline
ascends to render Athens’
Parthenon prosaic.
Exceeding empires, exceeding
even Elysium, is
This slumber’s ordinary boyhood field.
(c) Eric Robert Nolan 2015
Eric Robert Nolan’s debut novel is the postapocalyptic science fiction story, “The Dogs Don’t Bark In Brooklyn Any More.”  It was published by Dagda Publishing and will be the first of a series of books entitled “The Wolf War Saga.”
Eric’s poetry and short stories have been featured by Dagda Publishing, Every Day Poets, Every Day Fiction, Illumen, Under The Bed, Dead Beats Literary Blog, Microfiction Monday Magazine, Dead Snakes, Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine, The Bright Light Cafe, Aphelion, Tales of the Zombie War, The International War Veterans’ Poetry Archive, and elsewhere.  His poems were also included in anthology format in Dagda Publishing’s “Threads” in September 2013.  Eric’s science fiction/horror short story, “At the End of the World, My Daughter Wept Metal,” was published in January 2014 in Dagda’s short story anthology, “All Hail the New Flesh.”

Stefanie Bennett- A Poem

COLLOQUY for Michael Dransfield        
What can I say to you, for you are dying
In a too young
And delicate way.
My thoughts become terminal.
My tongue; it coagulates.
I suppose it goes without mention.
You’re gifted enough
So many
Try to impersonate. Does death
Debate unto itself
I’ve often wondered? And while
We’re ‘at it’, who then
                           Keeps score
Of the give and take! Who other
Than the ones left behind drag
            The branding-iron’s
Rusty fate...
The flame draws fore and aft from that
Half-opened door. Winter’s already
Crossed your eyelids shaded
In pale musings –, marking
Time it’s called
... Still-life with broken chair set on
Runners wild enough
To sail the moon
                          Face down.
You wrote a song about it.
‘Dying’s easy... !’
Come Spring, I’ll be over it –, as you
Are already over it. There’ll
Just be the legacy
Of another
Literary grief.
I write... because I must. You die
Because you will.
Stefanie Bennett has published several volumes of poetry and had poems appear with Pyrokinection, Snow Monkey, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Dead Snakes, Mad Swirl and others. Of mixed ancestry [Italian, Irish, Paugussett-Shawnee] she was born in Australia in 1945. Stefanie’s latest poetry title ‘The Vanishing’ was published by Walleah Press, 2015.

Richard Schnap- A Poem


I remember the lounges
With their cushioned couches
Where privileged debutantes
Browsed the works of Plath

And the cinder block dorm rooms
Where well fed children
Traded their blue jeans
For jackets of black

And the tower of stone
That rose like a fountain
Where the sons of the steel mills
Dreamed of football and beer

And the afternoons spent
In dark smoky taverns
Reading the histories
Of masters and their slaves

Stephen Bone- A Poem


I was the first choice
before my thunder
was stolen.

None could hold a candle
to my carved rictus, hollowed

What do these orange fatheads,
swelling on sunlit ground,
know about darkness,

the tomb cool earth,
with its teeming cities
of fat maggots, jigsaws of bone ?

'Turnip' was first published in Three Drops From A Cauldron Samhain Special 2015.

Stephen Bone has been published in various magazines in the U.K. and U.S. First collection In The Cinema, published Playdead Press 2014.

Jack Phillips Lowe- A Poem


Illinois’ late March lamb allows Devin, for the first time since Thanksgiving,
to sit on a park bench, savor the air and just be.

Devin is surprised to hear a red-winged blackbird trilling in the oak tree beside him.  
If the blackbird’s back north, Devin figures, there’s no more denying it—
the seasonal do-si-do between winter and spring has begun.

The Incredible Shrinking Snowbanks, revealing autumn’s muddy carnage,
had been declaring that for days already. Devin, though, easily ignored them.
In the Midwest, at any time, weather is a loaded game of chance.

The blackbird’s song leaves no doubt—and leaves Devin with a sense of dread.
Winter steals away with all of his convenient excuses—
“What if my clunker breaks down in the snow? I’ll be stranded out there.”
“Arthritis, you see. My old bones can’t work in the cold.”
“That’s warm-weather work. That business doesn’t ramp up until the thaw.”
These were ready and respectful reasons for Devin’s unemployment.
After such a long layoff, he’d come to accept his idleness.

“Soon,” however, had abruptly become “now.” The page had turned.
A blank sheet was staring Devin down, demanding words to fill it.
Wearily, he would suit up and run the gauntlet again—
apply, apply, interview, interview, follow-up, follow-up, on and on.
And at the end of that brutally infinite line? Silence or rejection.
A chill chases the thought down Devin’s back.

As the blackbird flies off, Devin stands up and heads for home.
Walking, he sends an earnest prayer to Mother Nature:
can’t Chicago, just one more time, manage a spring snowstorm? 

BIOGRAPHY: Jack Phillips Lowe is a lifelong Chicagoan. His poems have appeared in Clark Street Review, Nerve Cowboy and Poetry Super Highway. Lowe listened to "Afternoon Delight" by the Starland Vocal Band while typing this; the song is now permanently imprinted on his brain. Lowe's brand-new chapbook, Jupiter Works on Commission (Middle Island Press, 2015) is available from

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

Old Sam in Room 322

Old Sam in Room 322 
at the nursing home asked 
the nurse to push his bed 

near the window because 
in October he likes to watch the leaves 
on the Japanese Maple change color 

from their summer green
to the red, yellow and maroon of fall 
before the branches go nude for the winter.

The nurse chuckled and said 
she hadn’t heard of his interest
in trees and nature and Sam said  

watching the leaves change color 
and fall off slowly reminds him of 
his wife getting home from work 

and taking her time to change clothes,
comb her hair and primp a little before 
smiling and coming to bed.

Butterfly Poems

I sit here at peace
and mind my own business
and hope for a butterfly.

I never take one out of the air.
I paint only the flight of the butterfly.
When I see one float overhead

I drop everything,
grab a brush and a pad.
I don’t want to miss a color.

A butterfly flying 
is more valuable 
than gold.

A Day in the Lives

It’s Monday not Sunday
and the frail lady
in black is the only 
person in the pews.

She walked in with 
the cleaning crew, 
four Bosnian women
in aprons and kerchiefs,
women of Islam cleaning 
a Christian church
in the middle of America.

They are refugees settled 
without fuss years ago.
They dust and vacuum
and keep an eye on her
sitting in the front pew
still as a statue.

They can’t see funnels 
whirling in her eyes 
and they don’t realize
she was there on Sunday
for the morning service
with her husband 
who passed the basket
and took her to brunch.

They don’t realize
she will be leaving soon
to go where he is  
to pick out his casket.

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Jennifer Lagier- A Photo



Robert Demaree- Three Poems


Earth Tones

Dim October light:
Orange, burnt umber, yellow:
Foliage in the rain.

New Hampshire 2015

Dock up on the shore,
Red maple at water’s edge:
Autumn but not here.

Look Sharp

Grandson, age sixteen:
His razor, his shaving soap:
Autumn of our years.

Robert Demaree is the author of three book-length collections, including After Labor Day (2014) published by Beech River Books. He presents poetry readings, seminars and workshops in North Carolina (October through June) and New England (June through October).

Heather Gelb- A Poem

Brief Bio: I often feel like a gazelle as I leap from hilltop to hilltop.
On one of these hills I recently publish my memoir, my spiritual journey from the hills of one land to another:
One of my poems based on this book will be featured in the fall edition of Poetica Magazine.
I have also published stories and poetry in Green Panda Press, Deronda Review, Jellyfish Whispers, Stepping Stones, and Esra Magazine.
Turbulence and the Joy of Sunflowers
I fall through
Troubled skies pulsing with uncertainty, and
Touch clouds of luminance that
Reveal flocks of shadowy crows
Emerging from the horizon.
I am falling, falling through a
Guiding turbulence
That only lonely, half-mad geniuses understand, and
I land on
Converging paths bordered by
Patches of blazing wheat.
Swirls of sky and unstable fields 
Pull away from each other with
Baseless hatred.
Endless black birds zigzag and chant slogans while
Clutching knives dripping with self-fulfilling anger.
Their fluttering wings create illusions
Of Freedom dancing with Death,
I resist the urge to scream in
Helpless surrender.
Instead I feel inner calm as I
Whirl with the eddies of
Swirling colors and focus on the
And then I remember the
Joy of sunflowers
And understand how all the
Separated parts are united by
Echoes of peaceful color.
I really do choose the
Less travelled path in search of sunflowers while
I  throw stones of hope at the birds
That send ripples through their illusions
And release a cascade of renewed energy sharpened with
Determination to live without fear.

Pijush Kanti Deb- A Poem

Let The Cat Out Of Bag
On the blue stage of a mid-ocean
our only canoe dances
on the rhythm of the singing waves
as they have met after a long time
and we-
me and my pretty wife,
the two love-birds
feel good in enjoying
the pleasing expression of their sizzling emotion
sitting on our own bags.
We embrace and kiss each other
and swear too
in the name of love
to be always attached together
ignoring the change of time and situation.
Indeed, time starts changing
with the blasting of a thunder in the far-sky
and the flowing of chainless wind around the canoe
yet we are fearless
but prompt to open my bag
smiling at my wife and let the cats out of it
and my wife also follows me
and we are now ascertained to watch the escaping cats
vacating and strengthening the canoe
to fight against any kind of calamities in future…

JD DeHart- Poem & Illustration

String Bean

He is polite society
bow tie and mask,
champagne glass and
tails, stretching on and
on into the evening.

It is a wonder, at his
furthest extremity, he does
not snap in two,
committing unforgiveable 
faux pas.


Bradley Williams- A Cartoon

See website at:

Linda M. Crate- Three Poems

let me be your moon girl 
i'll be your moon girl
shine through
your darkest nights,
and let you
shine so bright that
everyone sees your
light in the
i'll be your cool glass
of water
when your mouth burns
from words you'd have to
swallow down
to prevent yourself from
becoming a
i'll kiss you with the
darkest of nights
so you can 
your weary eyes,
and trust me
all your secrets are safely
housed in my bones;
and i will let the ocean 
erode you should
you need
or if you should only
need a lullaby
i will
sing you her song—
please just love
and hold me in your arms
never hurt me
under the fires of your
angriest words
or gaze;
don't kill me then hang
me in the bosom
of night
like a star because
i only ever 
want to shine—
together we'll cultivate
a garden in the
and the blooms will
shine as bright
as we do;
together we'll linger ever
for eternity
suspended in the most
powerful magic of all:
i will be your moon
girl should you
let me,
and you will be my sun
together we'll

let me, let us 
let my fingers get lost
in your hair
erode away all the noise
my ears don't need
to hear,
and let me focus on the chocolate
of your eyes
so determined and passionate as
let's land on the moon
just watch
as the earth spins
laugh so hard that we forget our misery—
just drive and we can go on
a road trip
take a thousand pictures of the trees and hills
and canyons and mountains and villages
we pass on our way,
and we'll sleep
for a thousand years of eternity
in one starless night
spent in one another's arms;
nothing can bring our ship down unless we 
allow it to—
so let's set sail in a ship no one
will ever find,
and find ourselves a new moon
dance until the birds join us
beneath the balmy
smile of the happiest sunshine.

swooning dreamer 
i always pine after men
who don't notice 
the ones with the long hair,
charisma, and the smiles that could
melt a thousand hearts at
go figure,
i'd fall in love with you
you're the same build as any of the others
i have fallen for—
maybe the impossible will happen
somehow you'll notice me
beneath a cherry sky and golden clouds
dancing across the
and you always light up the room when you walk in
i know everyone is always swooning
over you;
i cannot help but join the fan girls, too, because
you're not that average beauty king
i have seen pieces of your
authentic soul
i want to, need to know more—
let me love you,
and i know nothing will ever bring me down again
because of the golden psalms that radiate
in your smile. 

Jennifer Lagier- A Photo

                                                              "Sharks and Kelp"

John Pursch- A Poem

Lemongrab Suburbia

Monotonic wrestling pairs converge on spiritual racetrack dwellers, hawking space-time wares of fleshy bodice counterfeit illusion capers, draped in solving volume carapace confusion kitsch of duty, cockatoo concoction grease, and snow-flambeau of juicy heron overkill. 

Primping before a mirrored catapult deploys near Syracuse, Hark the Mediator finds he’s staring into dusty plains above Tyrrhenian seascape enfilade of javelins, javelinas, and shoddy Grecians, spurning whitecaps and speckled cupcake grout from somnambulant grotto geysers. 

Sold to salivating gypsies for shekels on the sandy collar, Snowbound Crates the Sacked and Vilified Fastidious Disguiser of Champagne Parthenon Palooka Brains finds that he, too, has been hoodwinked by the mastiffs (hummus masquerading as dog-and-phony showtime girls), rending his philosophical meanderings into only so much galleon slop. 

He breaks his bat against the switchboard sandwich aisle’s containing rail, asks for scoffing teaser meat, and winds up satisfied in slot satiety’s flavored oven (scads of ghetto alleyways beneath appalling cinder cones of windowless apartment blocks, spilt Sobeit-style in Sixties Lemongrab suburbia, crawling from burned-out city limits to Ma’scow rail line aqueduct of false diffusion peppercorns and smooth decay to antelope delusion semaphores, sold perilously close to Spearian experience of Jetway hollering in goulash plot to stymied doorman bookie glide down Fully Velveteen sipping centroid).

John Pursch lives in Tucson, Arizona. Twice nominated for Best of the Net, his work has appeared in many literary journals. His first book, Intunesia, is available at Check out his experimental lit-rap video at He’s @johnpursch on Twitter and john.pursch on Facebook.


Douglas Polk- A Poem


the wonder of life lost,
theories discussed and explained,
how life began, 
and what will cause it to end,

fetuses aborted,
Godlike rights supported,
deciding when and if,
life shall be allowed to begin,
and how and when,
it shall end,

people beheaded for beliefs,
community demands unity of thought,
no questions asked,
or ultimatiums command,
faith to be science based,
no room for wonder,
easy to see why the magic lost,

people roaming aimlessly through the years,
their lives meaningless,
the wonder lost.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Paul Tristram- Three Poems

From Badness To Madness To Sadness

Why don’t you slam that stubborn head
against Karma’s unrelenting granite wall
for another decade or so, boy?
I know which one my money’s on breaking first!

© Paul Tristram 2015

The Drainpipe Monkey

“Well, you’re going home on the morning train,
you lucky Bastard, I wish it was me,
so, you going to go ‘Straight’ this time?”

”Oh, I don’t know, I mean I’d like to say yes,
I’m getting sick of watching my son grow up
via letters, photos and prison visiting rooms.
But I’ve got this flaw inside me, man,
it’s like a gambling addiction,
I’ve taken every drug there is to take
but nothing feels like walking down strange
hallways at night with people sleeping all around you.
I don’t know if it’s a power thing?
But it’s certainly not perverted at all,
I only like looking at their faces
and then only to check that I’m still in control
of the playing game, completely.
I even do it for the buzz sometimes
and not just the money.
I’ve gotten drunk and blacked out
and awoke sitting cross-legged on an ottoman
at the bottom of someone’s snoring bed.
There’s not a Drainpipe Monkey’s Anonymous,
so I guess I’m left to my own devices,
some people were born to be bricklayers
maybe I was just born to be ‘A Creeper’?
I even thought about getting a normal job once,
fitting burglar alarms but before I even go there
I know that they work the wrong hours of the day!”

© Paul Tristram 2015

Cynach Y Bant Heddlu

The kids upon the flyover side of the street
started squealing and banging and kicking
loudly the metal strategically placed dustbins.
My Old Man heard them first and threw
the drugs and three rolls of money over to Jimmy
the lodger who stuffed them into his wooden leg.
My Cousin jumped under the bottom slashed sofa
and I ended up with my back up against the backdoor
standing next to my Uncle who said in an agitated voice
“I don’t know why I’m running, I only got out
of Prison yesterday, I ain’t done nowt wrong yet?”
I laughed silently as the front door came off its hinges
on the other side of the house and my Grandmother
screamed above the angry voices “Over my dead body!”
Hearing heavy footfall on the back pathway,
I boltholed out of the side kitchen window,
across three gardens and then sprinted along
the terraced dividing wall, winking at Debbie Dunker
through the red lighted window of No. 33.
There were thieves, hooligans, prowlers, adulterers
and all other manner of villainous folk out that night.
Involving themselves in the back lane circus shenanigans
after window, rooftop and drainpipe climbing
each to his own and evading the wrath of Blue Lights.

© Paul Tristram 2015

Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories, sketches and photography published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight, this too may pass, yet.

Buy his book ‘Poetry From The Nearest Barstool’ at
And a split poetry book ‘The Raven And The Vagabond Heart’ with Bethany W Pope

You can also read his poems and stories here!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Rose Mary Boehm- Three Poems

A marriage of words
or how two become one

May two be joined together
and form a closed-compound word.
Don’t change the appearance.
Simply delete the space.

Beware of hyphens.
Don’t let them trick you
into believing they lessen
the strength of the partnership.

As some women prefer
hyphenated names,
some words feel more
comfortable with a little extra
space, some even prefer
open relationships. They
will still function as one.

Well-known, bright-red
airplanes are mentioned
in newspapers. Over all,
the institution is in tumult.
Let us show compound words
the respect they deserve.

The Jigger Variations

On the right track but not streamlined.
You were wiping imaginary sweat
from a brow permanently furrowed.
Should have resisted the temptation.
Marriage a metonym for failure.

Buried your head in my flesh,
a hungry beast that feeds on warm,
pulsing blood, prepared to loose
its life in return for sustenance.

You were warming your hands over an open fire
down by the embankment.
Your cup—measureless measure.
The night was cold, the fire uneasy.
Hubble bubble.

Sails set. No doubting the direction.
Storms subsided.
A deep breath puts distance between
acute distress and foreboding.
Spray. Salt in my eyes.

Damage control

Four damaged dolls
and I lived in my house.
My mother knew, but
I failed to find my affliction.

There were five damaged
lovers in my life. I failed to see
how loving could have
cut them so deeply.

My children brought each
a piece of me into this world
and, in despair, changed into toads.

I often squat in the mud by the pond
learning a new way to speak
with my daughters.

A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and a full-length poetry collection (TANGENTS) published in 2011 in the UK, well over 100 of her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in a good two dozen US poetry reviews as well as some print anthologies, and Diane Lockward’s The Crafty Poet. She won third price in in the 2009 Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse (US), was semi-finalist in the Naugatuck poetry contest 2012/13 and has been a finalist in several Goodreads poetry contests, winning it in October 2014; a new poetry collection is earmarked for publication in 2016 the US.

Gene McCormick- Three Poems & Art

Point A To Point B

He always, year ’round, wears heavy dull black shoes
with thick black soles and heels
and when he walks his slouch-shouldered amble,
he deliberately puts the back edge of his heel
down first, and after what seems like
a second or two but could not be
anywhere near that long, down comes his sole
flat to the ground in an almost slapping manner.
His cuffed wool trousers droop halfway down
his shoelace eyelets, covering the bow,
the trouser seam breaking well above the ankle,
quivering with every step.
And that’s how he walks going from
point A to point B.

The Village Board Says NO

There is not a hint of commerce,
especially not a spaces-for-rent,
begging-to-be-abandoned strip mall,
in the village but it does boast
a flat-roofed, no overhang,
Saltine box-shape of a clapboard building
surrounded by dust and gravel,
the straight lines of the town hall broken
only by cubes of window air conditioners.
It could pass for a small town VFW club,
jerry-rigged rooms of plywood walls
and floors making navigating to the
meeting rooms as perplexing as the
catacombs of a neglected English formal garden.

The man from the village will spend
the next two hours here and is reminded
by a mind-flashing non-sequitur
that for a few minutes in Haiti even the dead
are considered important. This is not Haiti.
The board officials will have their
chest thumping moment while disregarding
frivolous diatribes from civilians;
the board is not comprised of Gandhi’s,
just a quorum of blotchy-faced pensioned
corporate suits feeding at the bully pulpit
but then it is not for the man from the village
to re-route ignorance or update
age-yellowed ordinances. He is in attendance
only to covet his neighbor’s wife.

Conch Shell Therapy

On unravel days when nothing makes sense
or can be trusted including the time of day,
he strips off his clothes, folds them
with the precision of a hospital attendant,
and lays flat out on the cool hardwood floor,
head sideways and ear pressed to the wood
to hear the crashing of the Pacific surf
and he does this with his eyes closed.
Should a sound other than water lapping
the beach be heard he opens his eyes
and if the day is taking a turn for the better
he will see the prow of her foot,
a set of vermillion-painted toenails
and if the day remains gray and dank
he will see the half inch thick
rubber edge of a black sole,
either resolution inches from his face.

Brief Bio: McCormick’s left ear is actually a conch shell found on a beach in Marathon, Florida.