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two poems by Roy Mash
Tuesday

In mid-bite, the way
the body
of the muffin suddenly crumbles,
the palm frantic,
juggling the fragments.

The way you may feel your life
come apart,
say on a Tuesday,
feel it buckle,
then crumple . . .

The sick avalanche of surprise.

Desire For Retirement

Sometimes I envy my bed, how it gets to bask all day with the dog,
the pair of them loafing on the quiet raft of the afternoon,

lulled in the lapping of the clock, the still life still on the wall,
linens adrift on the shelf, the whole house awash in cushiness.

What is the work of the bed, but to bask all day with the dog?
What is the work of the dog, but to quiver his ear at the phone?

Somewhere is a midday world of penny loafers and bargain matinees,
saunas and marinas and 10 speeds and laptops in strudel cafés.

Bored? Me? Not. My plan’s to saw off one day from the next,
to produce my quota of carbon dioxide, to throw myself into the job

of dabbing up the seeds that have fallen from an everything bagel,
(though, to be truthful, I may delegate this to my little finger,)

to join the road gang of sleepers-in, pay my dues to Local 6
of the lookers-out-of-windows, bow to the whims of my new boss

the TV Guide, take on the grunt work of doing zip; then every afternoon
at 4, following my meeting with the Committee of Clouds,

to return, exhausted from a long day of breathing in and out,
to the bed and the dog, and tilt the glider of my nose

ever so slightly down, the descent so easeful, so gradual,
I won’t even know when I’m on the ground.

-Find out more about Roy Mash and his book, Buyer’s Remorse at http://www.roymash.com/home.php

Homophonia by Donnie Bee

Snaked out on the concrete basement floor
Kimmy’s got her pants down and at 15
I’m feeling the pressure to perform.
So I do: tongue in, finger in

I have always been a good speller.
I’m in a rec room, not a wreck room.
Homophones, homophonia.
To wreck is to spoil, to destroy, while rec is short for recreation.
What are we recreating?
This is someone else’s game, someone else’s basement.

I’m trying not to look at the two black sausage curls that frame her forehead.
Finger in, finger out and she’s all squeals. I feel a certain power, but also fraudulent.
In the darkness, the other couples can hear my triumph. I know they’ll tell.
I should be grateful: an older girl in grade 12!
I hate Kimmy, but it’s not her fault.
If I keep close to her neck, there is another smell, of perfume (Love’s Baby Soft),
the distraction of a crystal heart.
“I like your necklace!” I’d said, earlier.

Soon, my hand is soaked and Kimmy calms down. This is my cue to bolt:
up the stairs, past her parents at the kitchen poker table, into the safety of a locked bathroom.
I wash my hands and cry, convulsively, trying not to vomit or be heard.
How can I go back?
But I do.
Tongue in, tongue out and her hand drops to my zipper–
“No, ha ha, I already came! Uh, when I went upstairs!”

I want Mike, but Mike’s with Janet and now everyone thinks Kimmy and I are going together!
I want to wear Kimmy’s necklace. I want Mike.

People care too much about where other people put their fingers.

Reckoning at Buck’s Lake by songwriter and poet, Larry Potts

Between lake and sky

sundown draped a blue maroon curtain

and darkness, deepening, settled around us.

A father and son sharing campfire stories about

what had gone before and what would be.

The blessings of his three-year old marriage, and great news:

a first child to arrive by the new year.

Slowly, gratitude unfolded in us like a flower, the whisper of the wave-lapping lake

a symphony celebrating our thirty-year span together.

Then we saw it: an impossibly bright star cleared the treeline

at the far end of the lake beaming

a starshine arrow

shot straight

on the mirrored space connecting shore to shore.

Almost imperceptibly, a slight breeze feathered the surface,

the edges loosened and spread.

In seconds the blazing swath

flashed turquoise, vermillion, gold and silver; moving, alive, all lit by a single star.

In a quarter hour it faded and was gone.

Awe-struck, silent, the million small tasks of living fell away from us entirely.

At first, dismissed: only a chimera… tricks in the air…

Or this. This one:

Venus

Goddess arms outstretched

her ecstatic beacon burning through vast pantheons of black space

limitless heart flung open

to kiss a lonely little planet

heralding yet another miracle

called human love.

Planet Above Bucks Lake

Photo courtesy Adam Potts

Saturday’s Light by Karen Hartley

Saturday’s light

is a different

light

Than the light

of other

days

On  other days

the light just stays

and sits while

nothing special

comes its way

But

Saturday’s light

lays and plays and wraps

you in a mantle of

golden rays

 and you feel easy

you feel free

like the untouchable flow

of electricity

and oh, how you wish

it would

stay and stay

That glorious light

Saturday’s light

The light that is

a different

light

Than the light

of other

days

 


Trying by guest poet Nicole Cavanaugh

It is trying,

this vying for your attention,

not to mention the worry of

lying

Yours, that is.

It is trying,

this buying of time daily here,

not for a little dime, dear, but

dying

My Self, that is.

It is trying,

this crying, this oh-so-soulful

break-my-heart-and-squeeze-it-all-out

drying

No more tears.

It is trying

that underlying all the fear

and years of love eroding, still

I am trying.

A Bobby Soxers First Game by Ken Waller

My husband knows Ken from the dog park. He wrote this for his daughter when she was on her first softball team. Ken is also a ball dude for the SF Giants!

By the luck of the draw I’m assigned a team It’s not as bad as I thought it would seem We were given uniforms and told when we should meet There is so much excitement, everything seems so neat. Our first practice comes and I’m ready to go There’s so much about this game I did not know I’ve got new baseball shoes and a glove to match I hope it will help when I try to catch. The manager and coach have a lot to say I had better listen to what they say this day.

Cover second, back up that throw! There’s a lot to this game I did not know We practice and practice, will I ever get it right When I go home I’m so tired, I’m going to bad early tonight.

We had opening day ceremonies today Later on is our first game to play.

Now it’s our turn to play our game This is not like practice, it’s just not the same. there are butterflies in my stomach, and I’m as nervous as can be I feel like everyone is staring at me. The manager calls us in to give us starting position She had other advice too, so I’d better listen Oh, my gosh! I’m starting in the right field spot. Now I know those butterflies won’t ever stop. The girls look so big on the other team Or is that just the way that is seems?

Maybe if I’m lucky, they won’t hit my way Maybe I won’t even have to make a play. We’ve got the first out, we’re doing OK They haven’t hit one my way so far today. Hey, batter, batter, I shout from my position Do you think she hears me? Do you think she listens? The next batter hits one toward me and I see where it lands Why, all of a sudden, does it seem I have a glove on both hands? I get the ball on one bounce, it was hit kind of low Now, if I just don’t make an overthrow.

The play is at first, to make the third out I don’t know how I got it there, and the team gives a shout “Nice play” they say, “you threw a good ball” I guess all that practice paid off after all.

I get to bat this inning, my first time at the plate. I hope I do good, I hope I do great. The first pitch is a strike, a pitch I look at Now, what did the coach say about being with my bat? I still have the butterflies, and I’m weak in the knees The pitches are a lot faster than I thought they would be I fouled the next one off, but got a piece of the ball The manager yells “It was ten feet tall” The next pitch come in, and I miss it by far Maybe I’ll wait till next year to be a super-star.

Striking out made me feel so sad. Everyone on the team said “That’s OK, you didn’t do so bad” We won the game, finally, and our team was so glad I can’t help look at the other team, they seem so sad. each team gives the other team a cheer We want to make ours loud enough for them to hear I know why both teams make such a fuss Underneath it all, the girls on the other team are just like us.

…To all girls who go through their first Bobby Sox game, from Ken Walling


Dreaming, drowning by Lila Afiouni

Remember when I became a part of you and you became a part of me and the world stopped and we stopped to watch the world stop, together
.. ..
Remember when I heard furniture being moved around inside your head when I slept and you fought to keep your dreams altruistic and non-committal
.. ..
Remember when the door slammed on your beak and we flew into the window together and thought we could penetrate glass and political stereotypes called tree houses
.. ..
Remember when the blue spot on the carpet was made of cobalt not ultramarine and we had to consult the Turner’s at the National Gallery to verify the reasons why we should stay alive one more day
.. ..
Remember when we couldn’t remember to sleep and eat because the words had too much to say from our mouths and the blanks kept filling in themselves
.. ..
Remember when the amount of alchemy equalled the amount of fascination in all things
.. ..
Remember when we invited Pythagoras for dinner and he brought all the beans and democracy he could carry in two hands with him
.. ..
Remember when all the drains were blocked in the shower and kitchen and the plumber banged the pipes with an old copy of Rimbaud and rearranged their bolts and nuts within unreasonable reason and unseasonable seasons, l’enfer, l’ressort, l’automne, dreaming….drowning.

copyright Lila Afiouni

The Meeting by Lila Afiouni, 2001

The Meeting by Lila Afiouni, 2001

……….see more of Lila’s art at http://lilaafiouni.com/
Footfall by L. Dante Kirby

Silent carpet, deep and rich
Dancing footfalls over which
Woodland nymph, fairy and faun
Merrily sing until the dawn.

Silent carpet, deep and brown
Larger footsteps smaller drown
Morning mists, shrouded light
See no traces of last night.

© L. Dante Kirby

Four Tanka by Janet Lynn Davis(Tanka – A Japanese poem consisting of five lines, the first and third of which have five syllables and the others seven)

my next home
built among lean pines . . .
thinner
and thinner the desire
to make a name for myself

first published in Tanka Splendor Awards, 2007

squinting,
I imagine it . . .
our rustic home
sprouting up
through winter ryegrass

first published in Landfall: Poetry of Place in Modern English Tanka, 2007

radio tuned
to Texas country,
its lonesome cowboys—
my nondescript accent
briefly switches to twang

first published in red lights, June 2012

is it dust
she tries to wipe away
with that small cloth?
how her feet shuffle
through a world we can’t see

first published in A Hundred Gourds, 1:4, Sept. 2012

see more of Janet’s tanka and poetry at: http://twigsandstones-poems.blogspot.com

an unfinished song
by Allen Cappuccilli

The nights are colder and the days grow long
as I’m left to reflect upon this unfinished song…

Bursts of frustration and painful regret
trying fiercely to become an unpayable debt…

Free falling within a dark vacuum of doubt
Embraced in a struggle for survival to live without…

It makes no sense the things that meant the most
haunt you in the night like a long lost ghost…

With this never ending pain, grief & despair
I still have this closed eye vision of golden hair…

the lingering scent and the soft touch of lace
I can trace every curve, every single line on that face…

A clever soliloquy and a quick witted rhyme
couldn’t possibly repair this breach in our time…

Filled with so much passion and such great heart
only to have fear and doubt tear it apart…

Why can’t we find our way through space and time?
walking side by side on our fine lines…

Is it too much to ask, given all that has past?
As we stare back at the bits and pieces of shattered dreams of glass…

I refuse to give in to it, i won’t budge, not today!
maybe tonight when i am cold, alone and given to sway…

Pinned to our hopes and all of our dreams
I guess nothing ever is as it really seems…

And in the end I cherish, remember and so deeply long
to forever gaze upon this unfinished song……..

Awoke
by Rick Weber

Who was that little boy that awoke
and explored the Universe in the space
of Bucks County.

Smells and textures of American heartland
30 miles wide and light years long
embraced by family rooted in Celtic highlands
to guide but not interfere
with one so small but long in journeys
across the stars.

To walk in one’s own foot prints
50 years apart and yet seeing
with the eyes of childhood
the wonder of self existing
in 2 worlds simultaneously.

Empty pastures filled with sun colored dreams
of summers yet to come
while old men stand brown skinned
in anticipation of winter’s solstice.

This child holds his wrinkled hand
to his brow to gaze once again
at horizons now overgrown with
Love’s passage.

Mother I
by Susan Frey

Today my mother started to cry, concentric red rings around her sunken tired eyes.

Yesterday she said time means nothing to her, though she wears a wristwatch, extra large face and springy band, to bed each night.
She wakes in the afternoon and says good morning.

Today she said that life was funny because the strange and unpredictable things that happen.
We talked about cousin Charlie’s three rats that are buried in the backyard.
Each little gravestone reads “To my beloved rat,” followed by their name Snookums, Gilda and Rosie.

Tomorrow I will arrive at my mother’s house.
There will be checks to write and people to contact so that the end of my mother’s life is trouble free.

After everyone has come and gone there is a quiet, as if a newborn has arrived.
I feel transported to a more peaceful place.
I peek in on her every few minutes to see if she is awake so we can talk.
Mother listens to me fiddle Tennessee Waltz, she smiles and sings the chorus.

Like a toddler, small, pale pudenda wrapped in diapers and cleaned with baby wipes.
Taking only a few small steps now; potty training is going poorly.
Unlike a child there is no will to live and no energy for life.

Ms Tree by Sarah Curtiss
see more of Sarah’s art at graceartgroup.com
Death’s Kit Bag by Teresa White
Of course, it’s black.
I carry it eagerly,
a midwife hurrying
to a birth.
Inside is the bell
that tolled for me,
the cup you kissed,
the necessary coin.
I step over the brim
of the world, stand in line-
a never-ending queue
of dust and light.
I’ve paid my way with
everything but gold.
When you come,
please find me.
Listen for the distant bell
I will be ringing,
ringing.

10:22 by Guest Poet Lori Garcia

10:22. sleep sits

dangling his feet

on my windowsill,

toes dipping in the lake of dreams,

but not quite ready to plunge in.

I wish he would. It’s hot here,

and the water looks cool and murky.

I could lose myself in that lake.

Instead I sit up with him, waiting for answers

that don’t come.

The silence greets me

like a vacant doorway.

He is gone entirely.

There is no sensation…

not sadness, or regret, or hope. Especially not hope.

He has left without a backward glance. And so I wait in the void,

try to imagine sleep

and wonder what possible joy

could come after this.


My Best Shoes
by guest poet Teresa White

You gave them away.
I remember how you liked
to take in strays,
had “hostel” advertised
on student bulletin boards.

You’d lavish them with gifts,
these strangers at your inn.
You loved the role.

How could you?
I was only gone a week.
You thought I wouldn’t mind.
My shoes fit the girl just fine.

Mother, I dream you directing
traffic, your Winston a tiny baton.
You had everything but the whistle.

I’d salute you if I could
but the years got you before me.
Who, really, did you think you were?

Your own children shied away from you.
Bless the strangers who loved you.
Bless them again.

# # #

Charlotte Cheng’s poem below earned 1st place for structured poetry at the 2012 San Mateo County Fair. She also took 1st place for her Graphic Novel “Attack of the Space Chickens.” Coincidentally we met her a few months ago when she came in to buy a ukulele from my husband! See more of Charlotte’s work at: http://www.charlotteillustrations.com/

My Moments in Madness

My moments in madness
Are cutting and deep,
Are fleeting and hungry
Too frantic for sleep.

They force me to savor
Each step that I take
For soon without warning
The beasts may awake

To tear through the threadings,
In carless restraint
The plans I have woven
With blood sweat and paint.

Then worn, spent, and breathless
The beasts hunker down
To prey in the corner
Until the next round

I now know the tickings
Of mines underneath
My moments in madness
Are blessings, unsheathed.

Courtesy Carmen Leon

by guest poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 1850-1919

A word of introduction (from Maurine Killough): My husband owns a small violin shop and a woman came to sell a violin that had been sitting in her garage. The violin, with intricate pearl inlay and artfully carved scroll, is over 100 years old. Inside the violin case we found this short poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, glued to the rosin compartment. Ella Wheeler Wilcox was a spiritualist and animal rights advocate with deep convictions. Ella also,, coincidentally, wrote a poetry book entitled Maurine in 1882 which I bought about 15 years ago. With great admiration of her and the presence of synchronicity I present to you Resolve:

Build on resolve, and not upon regret
The structure of thy future.
Do not grope
Among the shadows of old sins, but let
Thine own soul’s light shine on the path of hope
And dissipate the darkness.
Waste no tears
Upon the blotted record of lost years,
But turn the leaf, and smile, oh, smile, to see
The fair white pages that remain to thee.

“It is said that every word whispered into the air starts vibrations which will quiver on and on forever in space. The same is true also of influences which go out from our lives in the commonest days–they will go on forever.”

Ella Wheeler for publication of “Maurine”

Introducing guest poet Yvonne Cannon, author of When This You See

Excavating the Oldest Flute

In the nine-thousand-year-old garden
of artifacts, a bone bed yields
each day’s treasure to insistent
picks and brushes. After years
of probing striated sediment,
extracting Stone Age
teeth and fish scales,
workers harvest three dozen
bone flutes. What’s left
of them is hard
and brown
and mottled, softer
sponge and marrow
gone. Thirty
are fragments.
Five are riddled
with cracks. Carved
from a crane’s wing bone,
one is whole.
Archaeologists take turns
holding it, blow
into its mouthpiece,
finger its eight hollowed
tone holes. Thin, reedy notes
wave like long-stalked bamboo,
a wind-like susurrus, the linear
song serpentine as contours
of terraced rice fields. At Jiahu,
in the Yellow River valley,
stone fish leap, stone cranes fly.
This is the bone that sings.

Raised by Wolves, Courtesy William Solis

I discovered this poet on the sidewalk of Frenchman Street in New Orleans with his vintage typewriter and a sign that read “Poet for Hire.” Below is my purchase.

DA LISCENCI

IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD:
black girls fly the hanging gardens of
their flesh
from the folding chairs of porchside reverie

Young children scream and cry
in the
streets–as the ghetto strobe light
of the NOPD
punctuates the grinding scrape
of that one lazing wheel
on the baby carriage
their sister pushes the groceries home in
from the corner store

as chickens scream their random
cock a doodle doos
in ecstatic freedom
from beneath abandoned doorways
of houses

Meanwhile, crusty punks wold
their extremely high tall bikes
as others ride into view
balancing tubas on their marching band hands

Squatters croon ecstatic cries of Billy Holiday
lyrics
In vintage dresses
(torn and filthy)
from faces beatified
through tattoos

In the neighborhood
all things breathe their story….

–by Heath, poetry corner

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I am proud to introduce guest poet and author Renee Rojas who has just published a delightful children’s book What Color is God. It is a timely, evolved and colorful book.
Below, three Poems by Renee.
NAKED LOVE
To know love in the purest form
Is to be stripped naked to the heart,
Forcing surrender of wall and façade
Exposing vulnerabilities to the beloved.
A frightful process often
Aborted in bewilderment
Bringing retreat back inside ourselves
An illusion of safety,
Afraid to be naked,
Afraid to be loved.
copyright Renee Rojas 2002
LOVE’S RAPTURE
Come and be with me my beloved.
Let us join in body and spirit and
Travel to destinations unknown, yet known,
That sacred place that is all our own,
Where our spirits dance as one
And our souls weld deeper connection.
It is here harmony is orchestrated with our Creator.
In this rapture our love transcends our beings
And bursts forth in glorious energy.
copyright Renee Rojas 2002
THE MAKING OF RELIGION
And man said, in his ego state
“Let us create religion,
As a means of worshipping our intellect.
Let us exalt ourselves higher than God
Let us write ‘It is written’
The incessant rules that will rape the soul.
In the name of religion
Let us separate race,
We’ll trample with war,
Fleece man of his gold,
Make slaves of the free,
Assault the young,
Force women submit.
We’ll call it surrender,
A yielding of will.”
And God cried
“Oh man, look what you have become.
What good is your religion?”
copyright Renee Rojas 2002
Author of “What Color Is God?” – a delightful children’s book with a timely message www.ReneeRojas.com

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I am ecstatic to introduce artist and poet extraordinaire, Milo Martin. His latest book Utopian Nihilist is a deep, moving and creative ride. A must read. See his website at: milomartin.tripod.com. Below, a poem from Utopian Nihilist.

She Said Simile

She said it’s like falling asleep in the snow
like your bathwater growing slowly cold

She said it’s like holding scissors against the soft part of your inner arm
like watching a medieval barn decay

She said it’s like following an ambulance deep into the suburbs
like kneeling alone in a cathedral listening to candles

She said it’s like putting your coat on getting ready to leave
like witnessing the run of the litter struggle for a teat

She said it’s like being so young before the war
like learning not to talk to people you shouldn’t

She said it’s like combing the hair of a balding man
like coming home to find your goldfish on the floor

She said it’s like tripping in a three-legged picnic race
like having to phone information for your own number

She said it’s like dead leaves folding under the mud and the broken blass
like climbing seven flights of stairs to a soiree gone bad

She said it’s like waking up and not knowing where you are sometimes
like not owning a ticket for where you want to go

She said it’s like deer who’ve lost their footing in the forest inferno
like geese blown off course by the merciless winter wind

She said it’s like your axle coming unhinged around a tight corner
like singing for your supper to the Ethiopian night

She said it’s like, it’s like a simile without a correspondening image
like a DeMaupassant story with the last page torn out

She said it’s like blowing smoke rings with our eyes closed
like rings of smoke slipping through the seals of your eyes

She said it’s like finishing your last cigarette
and putting it out on the floor with your foots

She said it’s like, she said it’s like,
she said it’s like That…

Milo just returned from tour presenting his remarkable poetry to German audiences. Learn more about Milo and his poetry at http://milomartin.tripod.com/
NIK729, by Milo Martin

I am just blown away by local musician Anita Sandwina of Spark & Whisper. Below are her lyrics to a a soulful song from her CD Three at Last which is just….so good. I hope you will take a listen and even support the band by buying a CD or going to one of their shows. Listen to the song here: Grandma’s Song

Grandma’s Song by Anita Sandwina

My grandma she’s an Indian
My grandma sees ghosts in her kitchen
She talks to the animals the squirrel and the deer
Tells us her story while she feed the chickens

She don’t know the old songs
She don’t know the coyote’s face
She don’t know the old traditions
She don’t know the old ways

My grandma she’s an Indian
She got Cherokee and Comanche kin
Worked all day beneath the southern sun
Worse than being black there was Indian

Oh grandma! I wanted to be wed to your land
To stand inside of your tradition,
To be held in its hands
My culture gives me plastic for my bed
My culture gives me too many worries for my head

My culture tells me, oh that god is in the sky
My culture tells me I won’t see him till I die
My grandma she’s an Indian
My grandma she’s got white kin
She don’t remember the day of her birth
She don’t remember what she’s worth

i am proud to present guest poet, songwriter, actor and renaissance man, Thomas J. Burks. You can hear the song to these poetic lyrics by clicking here: Thomas Burks-Bang

Your stagger makes a great ballet
The jukebox skips out as you sway
We’re seasoned locally, oblivion’s alright with me
But I’m dancing on the edge
Here and Now
Now and Then
Now and Then

My peanuts scatter as I slip onto the ground
I shout to the barkeep: Hey, drop another round
My girlfriend says to me you gotta stop livin on your knees
But I’m dancing on the edge
Here and Now
Now and Then
Now and Then

The noon sun wakes me up
I’m starting in again
It’s a new day to kick start life
the bars open at ten

And the boys go bang bang
Now the girls go bang bang
bang bang baby you’re dead

There’s clouds in my head
making tears come out my eyes
As the world turns beneath my feet
as my life’s set on spin dry

I don’t know whose dream is which
but this waking up can be a bitch
But I’m dancing on the edge
Here and Now
Now and Then
Now and Then

Turn back the page to your yesterdays
Cowboys were on the tube
Dancehall girls dressed in lace and pearls
Big-horned cattle in the noonday sun

Oh, what a time we had back then
Dancing in our underwear and staying up past ten
And the boys go bang bang
Now the world goes bang bang
Bang bang baby you’re dead

guest poet daniel swetlik wrote this from his 17-year old perspective in 1971…
plucking boogie on the bass
while relatives in the kitchen argue the bible
angels have wings to cover their eyes, hands and feet
ink forced into paper
paper to dust
the moon appears to be floating across unlighted space
but the earth revolves around the sun
the ice has melted
the ark has landed
and the sun’s endless powerhouse has been condemned to die

What an honor to feature three poems by Guest Poet Teresa White , whose poetry I just adore! She is a prolific writer and more than 300 poems published in print and online. She has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and was a 2008 Pulitzer contender for her book Gardenias for a Beast.

Please write and let me know your comments. I hope you will enjoy her poetry as much as I do.

On the Tarmac
by Teresa White

Your plane touches down.
Much has gone unsaid between us.

The lark was high in the singing tree
when last we spoke.

All we have in common
is our fractured childhood:

Father gone for years at a time,
Mother ruling with her polished nails.

I was always the “good” girl
while you snuck the keys

to Mother’s car for yet another
joy ride, got fake I.D.

so you could go to bars
with your overage boyfriends.

We love each other,
we hate each other,

that is the way of sisterhood.
Let this visit be different—

I want to be your friend.
I promise I won’t talk about our past

for the years go, they go.


Mountain Climbing
by Teresa White

small enough to
make a giant of my hand
light enough to mail
with a few postage stamps

these kittens
scale the long smooth face
of my leg, ankle to calf

& pitch camp on the treacherous
plateau of my knee

the blue half-moons of my eyes
pulse over them

they try to climb the tangled
ropes of my hair
chestnut tendrils damp & fair

their tiny breath
is white
in this cold steep air.


St. Vinnies
by Teresa White

Old baby cribs sit here and there
peeling paint in the open air,
rusty throw-a-ways beyond repair.

The Betty Crocker silverware
bought with coupons saved for years
rattles in an open bin
while I pause and rifle through them.

Royal blue Noxema jars
remind me of my teenage years.
They catch the light while
MotherMarytall and bright
guards the entrance on my right.

Oh, I am mighty cautious
under her plaster eye.

Who knows how long those dresses there
will gather dust in this open air?
Hand-me-downs are handed over,
a pretty dress for just a dollar.

St. Vincentin your legacy
I wonder if you’d foreseen
this pitiful secondhand cemetery–

Things we kill
but never bury.

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