The 30/30 Project: October, 2022

Welcome to the 30/30 Project, an extraordinary challenge and fundraiser for Tupelo Press, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) literary press. Each month, volunteer poets run the equivalent of a “poetry marathon,” writing 30 poems in 30 days, while the rest of us “sponsor” and encourage them every step of the way.

The volunteer poets for October 2022 are Lois Anne, John Chinworth, Todd Ferguson, Cathy Ferrell, David Miller,  Amy Parrish, Bill Prindle,  and Kait Quinn. Read their full bios here.

If you’d like to volunteer for a 30/30 Project month, please fill out our application here and warm up your pen!

Day 31 / Cento

What Do You Grieve Today

Lines selected by and from Lois Anne, John Chinworth, Todd Ferguson, Cathy Ferrell, David Miller,  Amy Parrish, Bill Prindle,  and Kait Quinn

muted footfalls on the wooden dock thumpshufflethump
a seed of pomegranate
turns the blue loop to crimson
we weep for the sparrow who never came home
and the broken-winged sister who did

fill your neighbor’s mailbox with the heads
of decapitated marigolds
don’t tell
me you suddenly have sympathy
for the devil

cicada drone, coyote yelp, power lines rattling
like a tense diamondback
I’ve already spent
two-thirds of my life freezer plum and indigo

if dynamiting this abstract alphabet would reveal the gods we had heard about
the fear of uncaging the mockingbird in my throat
maybe you wanted
me to bring a green fire back into your line

I envied the ground as it soaked and drank
fists full of untamed fruits, I’m the one from far away
liminal, ephemeral
even home is not my home

sunken hags cackling
on my front porch
I light an orange candle
and sprinkle cardamom into my coffee
know that lives are lived far away from your own

half a couple dancing Tennessee Waltz at the wedding
peace they can cling to alone
night wears its own mask
and goes door to door
a tub made of fog in its hands

a delay of lungs
and pork fat dripping over his
the light
intended for the Madonna
illumines your hair
as you turn away

take this slice of pear dripping and sweet
munch a raw carrot while stirring the broth and jab myself up the nose
dangling myself plump
the fear of lungs brine bloated and no escape

remembering how I was so sure
about you
about everything
back then
I will always find you
in the grotto

coyotes laugh in shadows. I ate the bull that charged me. Pistol to a copperhead that never struck my feet
wade through the water. Lie in the grass. Eat from the weeds
the fear of my heart in shreds between
your trickster teeth. The fear of a lifetime
running from your ghost

and it may be that way
the horizon within and without
a cross between a cackle and a howl
there are unholier sounds than midnight screams and a witch’s incantation

Day 30 / Poem 30

Will This Cento Piss Off a Fire Goddess? It’s Just an Ars Poetica/ Lois Anne

for it’s difficult living with all that heat

Fire, magic, death, and rebirth
cursed and burning we still remember our heads
with flames so vital for our survival

calling forth lightning, storms, tornadoes and earthquakes
poets pray to be molten   to simmer   to boil   to flow
to erupt flying up and through the air
to breathe fire

I Wonder / John Chinworth

(Song for a Departure)

Buses were always spare, 45 minutes, an hour 15
I’ve had to wait forever for them, going nowhere.
Missed a few. At times a prompt one, me with fare.
Boys crowding, girls giggling, me watching, keen 
that I might walk up and say Hi or Nice coat or 
I’ve been wanting to ask who clips your crew?
Kissed a lot, because I like it, though I withdrew
every once in a while, a dull town in my throat.
Thing is, I’ve got nothing to say here, unless it’s
old subtext lurking, which I’ll find later, blushing
and stuttering mightily. I’m a steel one, trusting
familiar territory only, lacking real finesse. This
I know concretely, I’m not a coward, I am strong— 
Wonder what bent the trajectory, made it fly wrong.

How to get from here to there/ Cathy Ferrell

Eat a small snack 
Get to class quickly
Plie when you land 
Don’t watch the pot

Browse Netflix for an hour
Kiss hard during commercials 
Skip the last row of pills
Heeheehoo at five minutes apart 
Keep the maternity jeans

Count the cars going by
Bring a book
Just survive your thirties 
Belt out the bridge
Drink wine at intermission 

Reapply your sunscreen
Dive in to the wave 
Always give 2 weeks’ notice
Trace the sky around clouds
Sit outside at dusk

Cocoon yourself into dreaming
Just a quick-change
Keep the cap off the pen
Reach, stretch 
Crawl out blinking, new

Love And Footnotes / David Miller

poem 26, Petronius (1)

Barely in bed,
all laid out like a Kpop bassline
I was tasting the first silence of the night,
giving my eyes up to sleep,
practically dropping a beat with my breath
when Love, furious Love, came at me, (2)
lifted me by my hairs, snatched at me

and said, “Ah, my little groupie, 
Lover of a thousand honeys,
can you lie here, all alone, without
anyone to warm the night?” (3)
Now I get up, step out
in socks, looking a bit like 
Ziggy Stardust meets Toto 
Coelo, into alleys and back streets, 
looking for a place to be,
finding no place to go.  I go quickly, 
thirsty, and just as quickly 
I become too tired to keep 
going; I don’t wanna go home.  

So, I just stand in the middle 
of the street, ashamed of myself.
Look: the voices of men, 
the sounds of the street, 
birdsong,  far-off barking
subside.  I’m the only 
person on earth who fears 
his own bed and sleep– 

Okay, then, 
mighty Cupid,
lead on,
I’m following. (4)

Lecto compositus vix prima silentia noctis
carpebam et somno lumina victa dabam,
cum me saevus Amor prensat sursumque capillis
excitat et lacerum pervigilare iubet.
“Tu famulus meus,” inquit, “ames cum mille puellas,
solus, io, solus, dure, iacere potes?”
Exsilio et pedibus nudis tunicaque soluta
omne iter ingredior, nullum iter expedio.
Nunc propero, nunc ire piget, rursumque redire
paenitet, et pudor est stare via media.
Ecce tacent voces hominum strepitusque viarum
et volucrum cantus fidaque turba canum;
solus ego ex cunctis paveo somnumque torumque,
et sequor imperium, magne Cupido, tuum.


  1. So, we read this poem among a group of six Roman love poems last Valentine’s Day. I took the students outside with sidewalk chalk, and asked them to choose a line from one of the poems and draw out a visual representation on the brick and concrete entranceway to the school.  Most of the students drew images from the last four lines of this poem.

  2. I feel like a door is closing, you know.  Like I’m growing too old to talk about Latin grammar.  To play games and sing songs and listen to the constant sound of young people swapping nonsense and wisdom.  I am coming to the end of something, and I don’t know how to end things.

  3. For example, I was a never a player, but I love to write poems from the point of view of someone who thought he was.  He’d brag about all the women he knew, he’d make elegant and playful word games, he’d never realize how unplayer-like he was.  But word games feel like spent air now.  Or maybe I realize that like Ovid all my love poems are directed at words themselves–the sounds, the weight on my tongue, or how they rush past my throat, the roof my mouth.  As if all I ever loved were the words, not the people.

  4. It’s hard to let words go, to let these fleeting emotions and songs slip away.  I’m grateful for the time I had with them: I’ll be searching for them on sidewalks and whorls of graffiti.  I will hear them in long November nights and wet December mornings.  Some day soon, they will return like a familiar dream.  Or, lead me out into the night.


There is a Sadness in Today (there is beauty, too) / Amy Parrish

I’m going to miss you
(yes, you)
reading my heart on the page
words and mind unrefined
but all the more raw for it
unfiltered and real

you’ve known me like a lover in
morning hours, hair askew
eyes smudged with coal
harsh beams of light
revealing my lines, my flaws
(mere perfections)

your being here has
taught me something
of commitment, of care
of all that abounds
in a single day, every day
(I dedicate this one to you)

Bonfire of the Judgments   / Bill Prindle

(honorary license from George Carlin) 

Damn you Asplundh assholes 
tearing up my turf 
Don’t bother to knock sitting  
in your truck half the day 

Damn you Musky billionaires 
buying up rage harvest  
Because we need more hammers 
on the heads  
of octogenarians 

Damn you Mad people making 
these ads with 
everyone smiling 
On these devices that addict us  
so we don’t notice  
your clients  
Raiding earth’s last cupboards 

Damn you corvids hogging 
the suet wreath  
so titmice 
And nuthatches get the leavings 
you big sleek  
smart greedy birds 

Damn you the seventy percent 
who do not vote  
who choose to say 
asleep allowing one 
in six to select these lying 
misogynist racist bastards 

Thank you spruce beetles 
for weakening 
all these trees 
So I have an ample wood stock 
for tomorrow’s  
beseeching bonfire 

Big enough now that we can  
burn it all down.  

Off – Kilter  / Kait Quinn

Christen our home

brick by

stained glass. Our


with devil

song. Occasional buzz

of dread inside.

Blackout poem of pg. 12 from The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor.

Day 29 / Poem 29

Thirteen Ways of Addressing a Fire Goddess / Lois Anne

Aloha Pele –
Tell me what it’s like living with all that heat
To be molten   to simmer   to boil   to flow
To erupt flying up and through the air
To vaporize the sea as you solidify and cool
Χαίρετε [Chaírete] or is it Salve  Aetna or is it Aitna?
Both the Greeks and Romans claimed you
Named Mount Etna in your honor
Passionate, fiery, but also generous – you still warm us as
Mother of the Palikoi (Palici), gods of geysers and hot-water springs
नमस्ते [Namaste] Agneya –
Daughter of the Fire God, you, Goddess who guards the south-east
Inspire Hindus to create their kitchens in that corner of their houses
And to begin cooking by offering prayers to invoke your divine blessings
I beseech you – please help my husband in the kitchen
Alsalam alikum Wadjet –
Protecting Egypt’s pharaohs and burning their enemies
You may be the oldest Fire Goddess we still remember
Serpent-headed deity, you bless our heads with flames
Tell me, what’s it like to breathe fire?
Χαίρετε [Chaírete] Hestia –
The oldest of the twelve Olympian deities
Goddess of the hearth fire, so vital for our survival
I made a shrine to you after Debra’s studio fire
Melted relics preserved and offered in homage
Salve Vesta –
Ancient Roman Goddess of hearth fire, home, and family
The sacred eternal flame in your temple was tended by six virgins
It was an honor to serve as a Vestal Virgin for thirty years or longer
Tell me, what really did take place on those nightly vigils?
Pẹlẹ o Oya –
Warrior Goddess, you can call forth lightning, storms, tornadoes and earthquakes
 Fire, magic, death, and rebirth, as well as weather are your realms
The women of the world call on you in these difficult times
You, who does not tolerate lies and injustice, please protect us
Dia dhuit Brigit –
Exalted One, Goddess of hearth, forge, sacred flame, poets, healers
The Irish prayed to you for inspiration and ease in childbirth
Christians came and turned you into a saint, the patroness of farm animals
Did the Church really domesticate you?
Pialli Chantico –
Fertility, health, abundance, and wealth were under your protection
You lived in the Aztec family hearth, providing warmth, comfort, peace
A Goddess of volcanoes like your sisters Pele and Aetna
Venerated in homes and temples until the Spaniards arrived …
こんにちは [Kon’nichiwa] Amaterasu –
Sun Goddess, ruler of Takamagahara [the High Celestial Plain], home of all divine beings
Worshipped as the ruler of the Universe, you unite all energies into a single flow
Your divine power envelops all and gives us life, vitality, and spirit
We need you now more than ever, bathe us in your radiance and grace
Salve Feronia –
Goddess of fire, fertility, freedom, abundance, and sports
Romans considered you the patroness and liberator of slaves
You must know so many are trapped, camped, imprisoned now
Would lighting candles near our stoves beckon you still?
Kamusta/Kumusta Darago –
Volcano Goddess in sisterhood with Pele, Aetna, and Chantico
You control the fate of warriors and bring success in battle
You dwell in Mount Apo, and your fiery nature is appeased with annual offerings
Pandemics, climate change, threat of nuclear war – have we failed to make you offerings?
안녕하세요 [annyeonghaseyo] Jowangshin (in Hangul 조왕신, in hanja, 竈王神) –
For millennia Korean housewives kept you and your rituals alive
Goddess of fire and the hearth you embodied a bowl of water on a clay altar above the hearth
Early every morning, women poured fresh well water into the bowl, then knelt, and wished for luck
I swear while cooking, the dirty dishes overflow the sink – is this why you have cursed me?

Nothing Fits / John Chinworth

try it on for size                              before the end                                you’re out of time

it may feel weird                            it may flatter                                    we could say that

may destroy you                            and that’s a start                             nothing fits

Intimations on Mortality / Todd Ferguson

Being with another
           encouraging them to
release themselves from
to in fact go gently into 
           that good night

It’s okay
I love you
It’s okay
I love you

Playing your favorite music
           Cash and Cline and Let Me Call You Sweetheart
Singing to you
           hearing your harmony
in the silences
           singing behind your eyes

I love you
It’s okay
I love you
It’s okay

Gathering as a family
           waiting for the unwaitable
Telling stories 
           sharing laughter with you
You always loved a good party
           giving you a final one to dance away to

It’s okay
I love you
It’s okay
I love you

Caring for your body
           your mind already released among the stars
honoring your dignity
           your voice still present among us
we can still hear you
           as you can still hear us

I love you
It’s okay
I love you
It’s okay

We do love you
           It is okay
We intone this to you
           as to ourselves

It’s okay I love you it’s okay I love you it’s okay



Does a chameleon feel / Cathy Ferrell

Does a chameleon feel
Imposter Syndrome?
Does he chagrin
every time
he changes
to fit
his surroundings?
What are his true colors?

Chameleons turn
ink black or brown
when dying.
Sunken eyes
waning of life force
but did you know that
is the sum
of all hues? The absorption
of all pigments?

A live chameleon is
bold, vivid
this is what their skin
when they dream.

And so what
if they survive
by absorbing
the tone
of that leaf
that twig
that branch?

They’ve lived more 
than you or I could 
ever hope for

and they’ll never

Revolution / David Miller

I rarely recognize an opportunity
I keep thinking of life as a series of sentences,
Or perhaps as a stream of images,
Not rapid cuts a la Michael Bay
But more a languid tracking shot 
Like in Drive My Car, some long steady
Ascent up a snowy mountain, to a place
Where you lived with your own pain the same way
A cat wraps his tail around a toy-
Each opportunity, a source of trauma

Or each trauma a source of opportunity
I keep expecting my life to be arranged
Like an essay: I establish my thesis early
And chase that idea through proof and discord,
Negotiating my truth with the years,
Until I reach my conclusion (please don’t
Let me become a summary, not again)–
But I am an idea that curls around itself,
A used tissue dropped into a whirlpool,
Losing shape and integrity with each

Revolution. In circles I write, following
Paths at right angles, lost like snow
Fluttering past burning houses, drop-
Ping down the frozen glass, fingerprints
In some 80s horror film; in circles, I live
A ghost checking Netflix for traces of 
Myself, some document to prove my life
(Please don’t let me become a summary,
Not again), but I can’t choose the right story.
So here I am, half documentary,
Half disco sunshine nostalgia,
Looking for a glow-up, settling for a 
Blow-up, buried in sestinas
By golden shovels, yet remaining
Sturdy as a stanza, as a villanelle,
As a Petrarchan sonnet, as haiku.

Paving Over Lal Mati / Amy Parrish

I lost the earth
beneath my feet
asphalt doesn’t
bend to the arches
like well-trodden
soil pursing to skin
rather it resists 
unyielding and spiteful
blisters beneath
a blazing sun 

here the old ways
are maintained
energy drawn through
unshod soles grounded
along familiar paths
steering goats or cattle
carrying bundles of
forest tinder to burn in
clay ovens

the red dirt roads will
keep their footing
as the foundation
of this Abode of Peace
only now suppressed 
beneath cement to bear
the pace of progress

Signs of Possible Rendings in the Veil / Will Prindle

The blue heron spreading its wings 
The audible wingbeats ascending 

Fern fronds unfolding fiddle heads 
For the neighborhood Fibonacci fry 

A shifting in the light as a cloud 
Changes its position on the drought 

The bonfire up on the meadow crest 
Bursting protofascist vanity bubbles 

My sister dead in her crib in 1949 
Yielding up to me her place in line 

The slanted sunlight that follows me 
Down the hall to a whole new dream 

Is It Me? Am I the Monster?/ Kait Quinn

Lygophilic midnight velvet
swathed and motor oil dipped,
all dressed up for night. All ready
to devour the man who ghosted
me haunted when he was a boy
with only my swollen pupil
eye contact. We all make sacrifices
for peace of mind. Wear a mask
when we have to. Flood our eyes
aquamarine to hide our ability
to bloom bonfire underwater.
Gorgeous, gorgeous, haunted
girl gets online and nostalgic
for revenge. Treat of the tongue,
trick of the wrist. Am I the monster
for stretching my tongue across
time zones, dangling myself plump
and pork fat dripping over his
regret knowing I was all for show?
All for avenging my own heart’s
break by dragging his to the moon
and stranding it there, my throat’s
croons turned cackle? Don’t tell
me you suddenly have sympathy
for the devil. That you’ve never
been bedeviled. Never stepped
out of celestial light and into
penumbra and came back better
for the brimstone and burn.
I am the colossus, the water-lunged
siren, the wolf’s iron mouth.
I will not apologize for hunger.
I will not shrink what I built
from the corpse state he left
me in. I will not mourn over
an evil man’s grave
just because he chose to heed
my death knoll as an invitation.

Day 28 / Poem 28

Glasses / Lois Anne

when asked about the kitchen
I say I have two dishwashers –
left and right

we do dishes the old-fashioned way
– no machine –
red rubber gloves
bottles of unscented detergent
an assortment of sponges and brushes
progressive lenses so no smudge of chocolate,
grease spot, or fingerprint goes unnoticed

I multi-task and sing duets
with Nanci Griffith, Rhiannon Giddens,
Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris,
and occasionally the Cowboy Junkies
when my soprano needs a rest

we belt out our feelings while
I make those glasses shine

chemo fried the nerves in my hands
(not permanently I hope)
a lone cobalt blue glass remains
the others replaced
with sturdy canning jars

Eos/Hesperus / John Chinworth

In the morning, mountains
We’ll climb like we do
In the evening, fountains
Telling a tale or two

In the morning, paintings
Baffling to most viewers 
In the evening, straining 
Of onions on skewers

In the morning, hamsters
Spinning wheels, a mess 
In the evening, monsters
Swimming ‘round Loch Ness

In the morning, seaweed
Necklace of an old god
In the evening, airspeed
Careening o’er the sod

In the morning, tubarao
Portuguese for shark
In the evening, coraçao
Portuguese for heart

In the morning, wild swans
Making it look like play
In the evening, little prawns
Caught out of the gray

In the morning, fountains
We’ll splash like we do
In the evening, mountains
Till the tale is through

Trespassing Love / Todd Ferguson

slip through my door


dance barefoot
toes licking
my floor

taste my footprints
kiss my

pirouette through
draped across my couch
my bed
the pillows of
my mind

two-step through
my space
fill the chambers of
my heart

Elemental Fruit / Cathay Ferrell

A child holds a hand, a hand holds a pear
A pear holds a seed, a seed holds a life
A life holds a breath, a breath holds a touch
A touch holds heat.

Heat transfers energy, energy transfers vibration
Vibration transfers waves, waves transfer sound
Sound transfers meaning, meaning transfers language
Language transfers thought.

Take this slice of pear dripping and sweet
Lift and inhale all its floral song
Sink into flesh, feel the weight
dive down in your bones leaving

one lovely drip. It leaps a river down your chin, 
such life you have not lived since you were small.

The Three-Body Forest / David Miller

In physics, it is the push and pull of objects,
Three of them, in a kind of gravitational
menage-a-trois, tumbling and spinning
In infinitesimal inflections–
How do you plot them is the problem?
How to predict when they will rise and set
When they will collide?

Do trees attract each other?  If three fall
In the woods, would they collapse into each other
Like supermassive black holes?
On a forest walk, I am lost,|
The sun is lost, the sky too,
But the shadows move with their own
Subjective tracking 
draining the light

I hear footsteps
A yard or so away
An echo of me, or another man?
A tiger? A panther? 
Tracking me, slipping into my orbit
And out again
My lack of a machete
Or rifle, I can feel that now,
Or, is it another me–
A more real me,
Stalking me step by step,
Producing nothing but a breeze,
To replace me–
I cannot brush the leaves
Or stumble over roots
He will catch me
This is a two-body problem,
What if there were three of me
And only one of us could leave the forest?

This Day Belongs to a Strange Woman (abridged) / Amy Parrish

This book belongs to:
Portland, Maine

The Time is:
12:56 P.m. Saturday December 31, 1949
12:01 Am Sunday January 1, 1950

463, 260, 269, 358, 293

This day belongs to:
Shantiniketan, West Bengal

5:57   eyes awake, Hindustani hymns in the distance
6:10    power cut
7:15    out of bed, chores begin (deduce a stray cat had entered in the night to dance atop the piano)
7:36    Alexa, play Deep Focus on Spotify
7:40    finger dripping with blood 
8:24    confirm cat suspicions, start coffee
8:40    wake-up call to spouse in the city, unspool distractions that left me with a kettle of water but no coffee (try again, add toast)
9:43    internet outage
11:23 reminded to time-stamp (spent far too much time arranging the perfect angle to direct the nozzle of a new handsoap)
11:38 roast chickpeas and garlic, prep tahini/olives/lemon, peel and cut carrots
12:20 power cut
12:26 boil stubs and peelings, munch a raw carrot while stirring the broth and jab myself up the nose
12:50 hummus blended, carrot-ginger miso soup prepped for dinner, leave kitchen a mess to eat, daydream about Whole Foods (appreciate what I have right here, right now), Alexa, play A Dreamer’s Holiday by Julien Baker
1:11    prayer for Michael, make a grocery list: carrots, ginger, tomato, capsicum, pumpkin, multigrain bread (if the vendors have started supplying it again)
1:20    soak chia seeds in coconut milk and agave for tomorrow, boil lentils and rice for dog food, clean kitchen
1:55    fill water reservoir by electric pump
2:01    turn on water heater for a shower, burn trash, find amra in the backyard (avoid eye contact with the man in a towel on the other side of the fence)
2:55    realize I missed the open market (postponed ‘til tomorrow), hoping plants at the studio will survive another day without watering, notice the light slanting early and wish I could be out on my bike (ankle still healing after chasing a goat)
4:32    reminded to time-stamp (amla-soy marinade, computer work, make lists)
4:49    prep for US visit (renew car registration, car insurance, travel insurance, bus tickets, phone plans), eat leftover birthday cake 
5:16    getting dark, turn on Diwali lights, Alexa, play Brittany Howard
6:21    practice piano
7:07    travel insurance site still glitchy (waiting, waiting/loading, loading)
7:30    give up, walk away, coffee and Atlas of an Anxious Man
8:11    train horn in the distance, unlock the gates, Sanju has arrived
8:43:   catching up, Blenders Pride, honey and lemon
8:55    sear and roast marinated pork, udon noodles with amra-black bean sauce, simmer carrot-ginger miso soup, eat 
10:27 a cat hisses from the porch (further confirmation), feed dogs
10:31 upstairs to organize notes, wind down for the night

The Time is:
11:45 P.m. Thursday October 27, 2022

Metaphysical Map to a Reception / Bill Prindle

Time is running out 
Time is running 
Time is 
Time is 
time     is 

Awakening toward sundown, I couldn’t locate my soul 

Dark matter is being unmasked 
Dark matter is being 
Dark matter is 
Dark matter is 
matter  is 

I drove through the setting sun, half blinded 

Dark energy is being rekindled 
Dark energy is being 
Dark energy is 
Dark energy is 
            energy is 

The slightest lapse would send me into the ditch        

The metaverse is our new reality 
The metaverse is our new 
The metaverse is ours 
The metaverse is ours 
            ours     is 

What invisible workmanship kept me on course? 

Consciousness is nothing but being 
Consciousness is nothing 
Consciousness is nothing 
Consciousness is nothing 
            nothing            is

 After drinking wine with a verandafull of poets 

Time is matter is energy is ours 
is nothing                    if not cold 

I stopped for some ice cream on the way home 

This Winter / Kait Quinn

I am as ready for winter as a sea turtle is
to shun the moon and swallow sand.
I will take the palette of honey and bister,
charcoal and amber, but my bones are too
brittle this year to navigate the sidewalk’s
slick black patches and mid-shin deep snow,
to brace against a draft twenty-five degrees
below. I’m afraid my joints won’t click back.
That if my irises freezer over, they won’t
thaw denim in spring. I’m afraid this will
be my longest winter, and I’ve already spent
two-thirds of my life freezer plum and indigo
in a February blizzard.

Day 27 / Poem 27

To My Anxiety / Lois Anne

you take over so much space
you take up too much time
you make me think/worry/obsess
               about aging, cancer, our warming planet,
               lingering chemo side effects, migration, famine,
nuclear war, our democracy, dying friends,
and countless other things
you talk too much
               prattle on and on and on
and only occasionally listen
you come and go at will
you run faster than I do
and you remember everything

There Is No Word / John Chinworth

for poet currency—
mod discharges 
of pained stanza 
after stanza after
stanza for rent

for an old ship—
charitable insects
gnaw through 
weeks before
she’s to be scuttled

for the person— 
who roils the jury 
just before
the conclusion
of deliberating

for the dream— 
finding your hat 
in the dirt replacing 
ant hills
with inquiries.

Mary / Todd Ferguson

You stand silent 
before the Mother
but really you long 
for your own.

Virginia Woolf once wrote
We think back through our mothers
if we are women.

This has never been 
enough for you.

You must also rebuild.



In the photo I took of you that night
the light 
intended for the Madonna
illumines your hair 
as you turn away.

She is not yours.
False idols can’t love you back.

You want the flesh
the gnarled hands 
rheumy eyes
hair you can brush
body you can kiss

Once she could 
love you back
her hands and eyes
scold but nurture
hillbilly tough love
leathering your skin.

But flesh fails
a mind deteriorates.

You must endure
be vigilant
clean sustain carry
nurture soothe buoy

the body that once
loved you.

I will always find you
in the grotto

as you long for 
your mother

her name 
the same
as the Mother 
you stood before 
that night.

Autumn in Florida / Cathy Ferrell

Tell me what it’s like
to ride along
with the rhythm of seasons,

to drink the green
out of leaves until they turn
red. What is it like

to hang on a branch trembling
at the electric touch of
chilled, spice-laden breath?

I only know this
never ending swelter.
Pumpkins rot

from the inside out.
After only a week,
they’ve mouldered into

sunken hags cackling
on my front porch.

I light an orange candle
and sprinkle cardamom 
into my coffee.

What Do You Grieve Today 2 / David Miller

I grieve for nooses, for necks, for the shape of ebola, or eye-screws and wood knots, for lanyards hanging out of pockets, belts caught on pants, electrical cords in their coven of kitchen drawers, wandering spatulas, the chipped plate left out for cat food, can we make sense of any of this?

I grieve for shoe laces, anglets, and eyeholes, for the lost art of the iris as cinematic transition, for the shape of a child’s mouth while she sleeps, the movement of clouds, the eye of a hurricane, the turning over of a wave, the loop on the edge of an oven mitt, the contact on a car battery, rods and cones, the intro to “Tubular Bells”, what can be done about these things?

How do we explain oblong spheroids, the pattern in a turtle’s shell, the look in a lover’s eyes when pain has pressed them, the bass-line in AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long”, that last moment in Tarkovsky’s Stalker–the miracle settling elliptically over the movie, an act of grace for the faithless and the audience?  

I grieve that my own faith in people moves in ellipses as well and now it spins warm in its summer and soon will grow cold in its Fall.

Goody Two-Shoes / Amy Parrish

I once was someone 

             ( sometimes ) 

I pretend to still be her

eyes smiled more

           but crinkled less
           in photographs

she didn’t know  (so much)

              what pain was

                without harvest

   carefree in the easy life

                all    things   with 

                                              w    o    n    d    e    r

// when I repossess her spirit for a spell, she fits like a pretty pair of shoes

                                                                                    (I’ve long outgrown)

                             it’s better to dance barefoot in the moonlight //

Autumn Adagio / Bill Prindle

The light has come too late 
for these leaves, their russet  
and pumpkin painted arias  
sounding down the ravine  
where the humus gathers. 

O for a skin that drinks 
light, builds out a straight  
trunk to last ten generations, 
calm in its choice to be here  
or nowhere, these petty dramas  
fluttering by without a care.  

But as my imagination flickers, 
all I can muster is to sit in this  
fickle slant of sun, every vital  
sign failing, make a separate  
peace with this wooded idyll  

Seek out the smooth slab that  
absorbs all my petty worries,  
lie down in sweet surrender,  
humming a harvest tune for  
the journey to the orchard for  
cider and doughnuts. 

The Fear / Kait Quinn

The fear of earth’s sudden open gullet.
The fear of being scooped into the belly of a blue whale.
The fear of uncaging the mockingbird in my throat
to an audience. The fear of waking
to a cockroach fluttering its dirty feet across
my face. The fear of E.T.’s stout silhouette
shuffling toward my bed in the middle of the night.
The fear of Zelinsky’s Rumpelstiltskin, his eyes
too bugged, knees too knobbed, smile more
creepish than sinister. The fear of walking
blind past glass walls after dusk. The fear of elbows
bent backwards, joints out of sockets. Fear of control,
no control, fishtail, collision, nose dive off the bridge.
The fear of lungs brine bloated and no escape.
The fear of the the third hushed “Bloody Mary.”
The fear of my heart in shreds between
your trickster teeth. The fear of a lifetime
running from your ghost.

Day 26 / Poem 26

Confession / Lois Anne

Only half of the fruit in this morning’s smoothie is organic. I said fuck in church this morning. I am wearing mismatched socks. If I shake my pedometer just so it counts the movements as steps which I did for twenty in that experiment only.  Bubble gum is my guilty pleasure and don’t tell my dentist. I told my sister to piss off but you should have heard what she said to me. I own too many pairs of shoes for I cannot resist a good bargain. I do not tell even my best friend everything. I do not own a television. I have a love/hate relationship with my computer and phone. I rarely get enough sleep. I suspected there was a lump and did not call my doctor immediately that day. I do not know the species of most birds at the feeder.

The Long Blue Loop / John Chinworth

     arrived a few days ago,
Little apatite spheres I 
Hare Krishna-ed with. With a
     bit of a ferosh approach.
The rich blue of them—deep sky 
They could have made me tear but 
     they made me a lonesome slight-  

     beam because the noise was still
there, the noise of run and hide. 
Erase, erase, erase, you’re 
     quite insignificant. I
listen to this song now about 
hummingbirds and falling down 
     and I go into white noise   

     or snow. I know infinite 
spirit may not be real but 
I sat and Hare Rama-ed
     and rocked side to side, something
spilling within these cold, cracked 
stone walls of blue skin, glue skin. 
     And I almost dreamed but it 

     seemed hilare or something the 
cold in me couldn’t express 
or define. Each bead has it’s
     one opposite on the loop. What
are you looking for as I 
Hare Krishna-ed—beginning 
     is the end, a snake swallows 

     its tail, Persephone comes 
and goes and comes and goes and
a seed of pomegranate 
     turns the blue loop to crimson 
rainlets, from woods and tracks I 
always will take—will not take 
     this is why I’m a hero

         and there are some stars on me 
and there always will be.  Sing
Hare Rama now, finger 
     on the next bead and no more 
thoughts on, so busy. Just the 
cosmos and turquoise, cosmos and turquoise, loss
     doesn’t even matter—loss 

      is emptiness when you fall. 
Like a leaf just wither and 
you were beautiful for a 
     sweet, delectable and long
golden moment. A minute.
A bead, another bead on 
     the blue loop, the long blue loop

To the Women in My Life / Todd Ferguson

(For Mary)

You have never known a Woman’s body!
 – Roland Barthes

…let alone her mind her injustices her power 
the rest of her
all of her

What I have learned from you

(your bodily lived intuitive rational passionate kinaesthetic knowledge)

 is far more than I could ever teach
any one of you even if I had the
honor of living all of your 
lives at once or in 
succession and 
repeat it over
and over and 

But I can’t

(In learning from you what have I taken from you?)

It is impossible 
to enumerate everything 
you have taught me are teaching
me will teach me but the very least I can do

is try

(Because that’s what you taught me, right?)

So I will – 

Strength independence equality creativity 
writing strength love equity humanity
rationality reading listening baking patience 
confidence altruism intimacy gardening sacrifice 
voting perseverance silence art empathy revenge 
care sustenance integrity humility wit mentoring
understanding forgiveness prayer tenacity
recognition decency passion trust honor devotion
authenticity belief power laughter sustenance
will virtue justice and the new and unexpected every 
day again and again and again

This ode 
merely a poem a gesture 
for all of you
to all of you 
so imperfect

too imperfect

(Trying as best I can to live and love and learn and listen as you showed me day after day after day after day after – )

Every day I try
          think of
                      learn from 
inspired by




all of you

This one’s for you / Cathy Ferrell

I was sad today.
A sadness I can’t
Sad for no
Sadness outside
of reason.
Maybe I was feeling
the world.
Maybe I was taking 
a little sadness
from someone else who just
If so, I am happy.

Another Green World / David Miller

The day has eased into a kind of commons
All events arranged like a council tenancy
Around this green moment–a father combing
Out his daughter’s hair in his back garden,
Clothes on the line performing the Hustle
In the quiet bluster of six o’clock, moths of vape
Struggling along the ivy between houses
And children lying head to head on the rusted
merry-go-round, telling tales and chortling.

Moments like this have a vaguely Brian Eno feel,
A waltz played against a tonic–the day holds
This chord for a while, then snaps
Into blues and yellows, a stroke of magenta
And settles into indigo silence like the sea.

Older Men / Amy Parrish

after Jack Gilbert’s Older Women

Each baker in her kitchen rests
the loaf beneath a towel,
knowing it will otherwise dry out.
Dough compels nurture, in want of 
warmth and moisture, but also 
demanding time and space to rise. 
So bakers push their bowls aside, 
waiting for the rounds to grow 
before baking into a palatable bread.

Remnant Revenants / Bill Prindle

Monacan leaf trails erupting through asphalt 
parking lots 

Mosses holding moisture for returning bison 

Three-eared dioxin babies swarming out of  
cold steel cribs 

Jaguar palimpsests packing .22s to clear out 
the Pantanal 

Cattle rustler liana wraiths braiding up from  
the stream valleys 

Small voices deafening up from Red Cloud  
Oglala school basement   

Ishtar>>Tiamat>>Kali>>Nemesis megachurch 
wrecking crew  

Tiny matchboxes slipped into twenty million  
pockets for the bonfires 

Ashes of Innocents swirling with flames never 
seen before 

House Rules / Kait Quinn

In this house we speak with our palms and drink with our pupils. We don’t bother with silly things like prayer and sabbaths. We dance with demons. We praise Satan. We leave tins of dark chocolate for Lilith on the crookedest branch in the maple every full and new moon. We keep our stomachs sated, our vibrators charged. Do you see me vile and viscous? Eat my heart ’til you’re plump with melancholy. In this house we don’t tread sunlight. We sit down. We sink chair tied to the ocean’s depths and balloon our lungs with brine. In this house we weep. We weep for the dead. We weep for the last cicada. We weep for the sparrow who never came home and the broken-winged sister who did. In this house we bleed unabashedly. In this house we sing Taylor at midnight. In this house we lavish our tongues with honey and cardamom. We never go to sleep with our makeup on. We dream moons wet and pink. We bend our knees to the cat. We wake not to the cock but the crow.

Day 25 / Poem 25

late october, still  / Lois Anne

morning comes too soon
and cold and quiet
no birdsong, no traffic sounds

staring into the starkness
it smells like winter
but not yet

in a sea of grey branches
a few leaves still linger
flutter, then hang
waiting for their fall

Everything In Its Place / John Chinworth

Drivers, wrenches
lined up by size from
tightest to widest

Collection of feed
caps w/various Arizona
motifs, over the door

M*A*S*H on the tv—
Radar and Hawkeye
going at it again

Sweet new vacuum
a new efficient favorite—
bought weeks ago

Highway Patrol clock/w
two blue & gold patches
for a jacket attached

New Toyota Tacoma
white as Holbrook
snow—ready to roam

American flag decal
centered on a toolbar
at eye-level w/box cutters

Pulleys, pliers, pumps,
varnishes, saws, hammers,
sockets, WD-40, work table

Everything in its place
says Aunt Mary—he
was real good at that

Classroom Cento / Todd Ferguson

I am so tired of metaphors.
                                                            Dr. Frankenstein is the real monster.
            No, I didn’t read it, I just watched the film. That’s cool, right
                                                                                                                                                                 James Baldwin is a prophet.
                                                                    What do you mean I have to read the footnotes?!?
                                                                                  I think art is what keeps us alive.
                        Banning books was the original cancel culture.
                                    Whitman was a windbag.
                                                                        I’m really confused. AGAIN.
                                                           The infinite part of Infinite Jest is that and even more.
Wow. Toni Morrison really likes sexual imagery.
                                    I think the existentialists just needed some Prozac – and smoke less.
            I really wish my mom would stop texting me in the middle of class.
                                                                                                                                                             I hate that I love Gatsby so much.
                            That is the most depressing and effed up thing I’ve EVER read. THANKS.
                                                The Berlin Wall went up and Khrushchev got fat. Look it up.
I am so annoyed with you.
                                                            I think I’m in love with Virginia Woolf.
                                    WAIT, Truman Capote was GAY?!?
                                                                                                            I am so tired.
            Can we read something schizophrenic?
                                                No, I don’t think it’s hopeful, it’s just delusional – we ALL die.
                        The Lord of the Flies wouldn’t be dystopian if it featured girls rather than boys.
            Depression isn’t a sadness, it’s a horror.
                                                                     Can Margaret Atwood run for President?
                                    Really, poetry isn’t too bad. Mostly.
                                                            Okay, that’s not a thesis statement, it’s a cry for help.
No, it’s NOT symbolic. It’s just a flower, NOT A VAGINA!
                                                                                                                                                                    I wish Jane Eyre were a lesbian.
                                                JESUS, why can’t we just read for plot development!?
                        I really don’t think Dostoyevsky was a very happy man.
Cannibalism is the easy way out.
                                                                                    I think history should #MeToo Zeus
            Faith is spiritual not religious, and I can prove it theologically.
                                                                                                I GOT IT!
                                    Foreshadowing is so annoying.
Achilles is definitely the first gay superhero.
Suicide means you just stopped answering the “why” questions.
There’s no such things as causation.
                                                                                                                                                                          Big Brother IS White Power.
                        Wait – that short story was about ABORTION!? Why didn’t he just say that!
Wow. Teaching must be kinda hard.
                                                Are we done yet?

Anti-Ode / Cathy Ferrell

to the poem I wrote yesterday

I am not in love
with you.
I’d like to punt you
far far away.
You are not what I wanted
to say,
not in the least,
not at all.

What do you think
this is about?
My thoughts?
A mundane sprawl 
What? You think
a line break here
a caesura–there–
will evoke
real emotion,
Don’t bore everyone
with your gratuitous
enjambments. Enjambments for
the sake of enjambments. That’s just

We know
who you really are.
Well, we’ve all got to start
[rhetorical question meant to leave the reader wondering]?

Things To Do In LA In The 80s / David Miller

Back in the days of Bukowski and Coleman
on a Sunday afternoon 
during an open mic at Beyond the Baroque
and all you cared about was me and Faizal
offstage in the dark on LSD 
listening to wild men and surfpunks 
analyzing Reagan’s America
writing in notebooks. In the light
the walls swelled in darkness 
And the darkness
pulled at us–
like spiderwebs when a cockroach is caught
You crossed out all the extra words 
the acid dreamed up in us–

My favorite poem is Faisal’s. 
He wrote in Esperanto 
and translated it into Valley-Speak, 
and everyone thought he was from Reseda 
instead of the Night Owls of Venice. 
I don’t know why we stopped 
talking, maybe we were too poor 
to afford Lucky Lager and Chef Boyardee sandwiches, 
but I remember the poems, 
Wild and Lost in the Night 
Menelaus-Like in the Darkness of a Home 
He returned to 
with his sad wife 
Grieving ex-lovers
–like you sometimes do.

Then again
sometimes I write in English, 
Google translate my poems 
into Pashto, and back:
 it reminds me of you 
and Faisal 
–and the promise of eighties poetry.

Short Song of the River Willow / Amy Parrish

A single-line tanka (short song) about wanting to write a senryū (river willow).

Revenants / Bill Prindle

Mannahoac     Monacan         Occaneechi  
faint outlines   ancient trails   under asphalt   

Passenger pigeon        Shenandoah Bison 
palimpsests                 on lichened stones 

Love Canal      benzene           toluene             dioxin 
three-eared babies 

Pantanal          jaguar              capybara         great otter 
palimpsests                             desert marshlands 

Small voices   Red Cloud       Oglala School     basement 
mounds finally speaking 

Goddesses       Ishtar   Hecate Tiamat   Minerva       Kali      
Nemesis          rising 

How to Summon Me / Kait Quinn

Fill your neighbor’s mailbox with the heads of decapitated marigolds.
Grind a just-opened bag of espresso for exactly thirteen point four seconds and when it’s still ink and pearl out.
Add cardamom to the curry, white pepper to the soup, ginger snap to the chocolate, and orange zest to the cinnamon rolls.
If it’s October, walk backwards in three loops around a tree with leaves so sun-swept gamboge, they glimmer like champagne drops under harvest moon’s light. Pluck two leaves from that same tree. Grind one under the sole of your favorite shoe. Write a poem on the other. Give it to the wind.
Draw the lace curtains. Light the snipped wicks of six candles. Play “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version) (10 Minute Version)” from beginning to end, pausing once to exhale.
Find the moon. Say, “Look! The moon!” Swallow a dried lavender bud whole. Toss a handful of all-purpose flour into the air.
If it’s July, cork sea salt and tap water into a three-inch glass vial.  Shake with thumb and forefinger ’til she bellows.
If it’s a solstice, light a match and run it under freezing water.
If it’s December, kiss the earth and whisper, “Take me home.”

Day 24 / Poem 24

Adjust Accordingly / Lois Anne

Consider  / John Chinworth

a curry of lasts
an ecstasy of bravery
a scholarship of confusion
a jinx of silliness
a grace of grief
a membership of reality
a watch of ginger
a keyboard of sparrows
a hair of Tanzania
a raspberry of beans
an ostrich of hands
a viciousness of suits
a middle of lists
a harass of mediums
a sport of staples
a delay of lungs
a dichotomy of dugongs
a sincerity of air buds
a reality of tongue
a blossom of war
a dry dry erase marker of sighs
a clod of concerns
a park of naïveté
a parrot of justice
a smart of ribbons
a sockeye of flips
a Pringles can of firsts

Tomorrow, Yesterday, Today  / Todd Ferguson


At the beginning of 2022 I set
out to read number of books by
the end of year and to date I’ve
read x-10 of those books but
does it really matter?


Standing on a windswept vista
high desert mesa
ringed by mountains
soft and feminine you said
could this really be ours?


You’re the only one I know who’s
had the power and courage
to turn a plane around.


Clandestine late-night photo shoot
(or was it early morning?)
abandoned stairwell in Hotel Chelsea
stalking corridors
I think we’re high we whispered
conjuring ghosts of artists
past and future
imagining we were Patti and Robert
but better.


We are told that you can’t write alone but
you always write alone in the solitary
confinement between pen and paper
the trick being capable enough to
write your self out of it.


Recurring dream of a plane fighting
to takeoff flying like a rollercoaster
haw pitch roll
loosed in the sky
only once so far has the plane
crashed but I woke up
thinking about all the other
terror planes I dreamed into
the world and wonder
where are they now?


Everything I’ve written since 2020 has
been under the pall of COVID and yet
I haven’t written a word about it
wondering now if that makes
me a bad person.


Independence and in dependence
a symmetry and asymmetry –
respect the singular power of a space.


What can we really say of memory more
than we live on its edges and in
projections of its shadows
walking within and without it
the bars of its cage we never see but always feel.


Don’t get lost in stories you read but always
write your own within them and create
better ones outside them.


You took pictures of the infinite series
of mirrors within mirrors within mirrors
you were still naked so pieces of you
the edge of your breast
strands of hair
smooth of your thigh
left ear and inside of left knee
all repeated and repeated and repeated until
these fragments of you softened
into sunlight and the crisp white
sheets of our bed.


Mid-autumn golden hour
waning warmth
ebbing into violet blooms
the palliative hour of gloaming.

Across Jenny Lake  /  Cathy Ferrell

cool fingers of morning air in mountains,
pointed crags peaking through early mist
muted footfalls on the wooden dock thumpshufflethump

We are first to arrive.

when standing at the very front of a long line waiting 
for the low rumble of a 

boat engine rock-a-bye lulling us across the lake

We wander.

  I absorb

                Thrum of energy in my thighs hiking up up up

                Sweet crumbles of granola bar eaten on the trail

                “unconditional LOVE” carved into smooth beige stone

                A gnarly old man in a tree

                Shimmer of sky morphing around aspen leaves

I reach

                         parchment between my fingers, 
                         lightly raised pattern spreading 
                         veins toward toothed edges
                         curving swell to slim stem
                         green glass, 
                                             ancient turquoise, 
                                                           cool white, 
                                                                         rich brown and rust of rocks 
                                                                                         hidden underneath
                                                                                         all the colors inside the smooth stone 
                                                                                         pendant I bought in Ecuador 
                                                                                         all those years ago

small plants on our way back down
lack of language
I am crippled.
I want to know their names.
I am blinded

by shimmer shivering on the lake in the wake of the ferry come to return us to the dock

Our morning has been an entire day.

Recommendation  /  David Miller

Admissions Committee:

When Ms. Granger first entered my classroom, she sat at the back of the room and seldom raised her hand.  Her clothes were clean, but hastily put together–button down with pink culottes, printed t-shirt under white overalls, one strap undone.  She kept a journal of TLC and En Vogue lyrics, and I think she had plans to become a rapper.  She was odder than most children and the other students left her to herself even though she seemed nice.

Once I asked one of her friends why people avoided her.  The young man told me that weird things happened around her.  Like once, at lunch, this boy was eating a tomato and cheese sandie for lunch and bit the inside of his cheek because of his crooked teeth.  Hermione gave him a hug (she’s a very supportive person–good for study groups!) and the next day he was healed up, and his teeth were straight.

As I understand it, your school focuses on people with special powers. Well, she is perfect for that.  Even now, as I write this letter, a rainbow has started to arc its way over the top of my chalkboard.  The chalk is bedazzling in rose and indigo hues and splashes of sunshine yellow. My name on the board has turned lavender and chartreuse, I want to see it on the doors, the windows, the ceiling.  I feel joy like a kraken spreading its tentacles over my body and pulling me down into the depths of happiness. Please save me from Ms. Granger’s influence and take Hermione for your school.  


Kurt Muggin

Bhoot Chaturdashi Ratri (The Night of Fourteen Ghosts)  /  Amy Parrish

On this moonless night
we illuminate wicks dipped in ghee
Fourteen earthen lamps aglow,
diya for each loved one 
who will find us, ward off evil

Generations within and beyond 
the bounds of memory,
threaded by bonds of blood,
guide us in spirit, through light
Protected by a flickering fortress

Bone and sinew dissolve to ash
In time, we, too, will alight
as aberrations in the pitch
Ancestral wanderers searching
for the golden pathway home

Remnants  /  Bill Prindle

Poplar leaves crumbling underfoot 
as night falls.  

Mosses waiting for moisture  
that may not come. 

Empty waters where marsh pelicans  
rested in their beauty. 

.22 single-shots used for nothing but  
plinking old soup cans. 

Rainforest stream valleys braided 
around cattle pastures.  

Beliefs in goddesses, democracies,  

Flesh and spirit moving as one 
on first grade playgrounds. 

Matchboxes bought in bulk to  
ignite fire after fire after fire. 

24 Bad Omens for October  /  Kait Quinn

A yellow orchid with one petal folded over signifies betrayal.
Mid-October snow: prepare for a winter that blizzards into April.
A ring finger bends back at the first knuckle; a grave has been disturbed.
When the neighbor’s row of marigolds dies all at once overnight, the scorned dead will meet at midnight on All Hallow’s Eve parched for blood and giddy for revenge.
Watch your sugar bowl. A topple with a spill welcomes poltergeists.
If the fairy lights are strung and the apples bob, but the spiced candles on the mantle won’t light, a witch is casting an obsidian spell on the wind with her cold, cardamom breath.
A white squirrel caked in cemetery dirt does not bode well for the year’s harvest.
Pin your gaze to rabid eyes, and you will spend your life searching for more.

Day 23 / Poem 23

Past inspirations and experiences will be helpful in your job

A financial investment will yield returns beyond your hope 

The first seems more a proverb
The second perhaps a prediction
On their own the words of each are not enough 
But the fortunes combined yield interest :

Your inspirations will be helpful in your job.
A helpful investment will yield hope.
Past experiences will yield helpful returns.
Experiences will be beyond helpful, and beyond experiences will be hopes.
Experiences beyond your hopes will be inspirations.
Inspiration will be beyond hopes.
Inspirations and hopes yield returns in your experiences.
Return an S and yield a hope.
Past experiences will return.
Hopes will be helpful.

Notebook / John Chinworth

(After Jericho Brown & Tim Dlugos)

I really ought to carry a notebook
Getting into that again would be something

        I got into that again and it was good
        So good in fact no dream was better

No dream in any realm could have been better
Running my fingers through long wavy hair

        My fingers burned through wavy hair
        It’s terrible when eyes turn sour

Eyes you adore looking away—that kills
Life greets you every damn day regardless

Life greets you every damn day regardless
From where your life happens, note that

Know that lives are lived far from your own life
I really ought to carry a notebook

Blowing Away and Back Again / Todd Ferguson

Early Saturday morning songbirds
still sleeping off Friday night

late October warmth rising
second lease on summer

autumnal trees glowing
golden ochre maple

standing defiant against
looming frosts

foliage fighting
to stay aloft in
arboreal aeries

forlorn hope

as the wind cuts

through families of canopies

orphaning leaves aloft

onto sleepy windshields
into streets and gutters

a lucky few grabbing
my bedroom screen seeking
a sheltering home as I

turn in my tangled sheets

combing memories
for my own shelter like

last Saturday when we melted
into the day

late dawning skin
morning mist clinging to

your lashes hanging
on to your sleep and

as leaves scatter
off my screen

the first tardy bird sings

light breaks across my bed

I rise slowly
holding the dew

of your lashes
your dreams.

Mourning Dove / Cathy Ferrell

After Mary Oliver’s I Know Someone

I know someone who cries the way
a dove mourns, but raggedly.
Doves are soft. They live
out their lives searching 
for seeds and returning
home. They offer vigils over
a dead mate. It is said 
their appearance signals a return 
to harmony. 
Do they really know why 
they mourn?

Oh. Oh! We are the haunted ones.

Zen-ish Aubade / David Miller

In the morning, there will be parrots
Among the carrotwood trees,
A young woman in a burnt orange blouse
Will hurry her daughter into a Yaris
I’m Not going to school today, I’m NOT, I’m NOT
And a cream-colored Dachshund 
Will scratch itself beside an aloe plant.

The parrots will sing overhead; they’ll move
Like synchronous swimmers above the trees;
The Dachshund will sniff at the tires
And the daughter will rub her hands on its fur.

I’ll be on the stairs like it’s summer time
My computer on my lap, just breathing.

Kindred Spirits / Amy Parrish

I know my kindred spirits by their window sills:                              
piles or jars or small precious bowls;
ruminations gilded with wonder.
Along the ledge, a pagan sort of shrine
silently sublime with stashes of 
stones or seeds or bones;
feathers, nests, shells, lichen.
You, my friend, find treasure in Nature,
gather her gems in your hands,
bring them to light like offerings to the sun.
Sending prayers that ask nothing in return;
your window, a veil between worlds.

A New Possibility  / Bill Prindle


The toddler’s hands are cold 
on the white steel bars 

of the hospital crib; the room 
is dark. Outside the door 

nurses pass in hospital whites. 
His throat is closing; no one 

is saying anything, no one is  
looking in, no one helping him.  


Setting sun fires the maple 
crowns; cooler air settles over 

the patio. Fried catfish and 
hushpuppies, mac and cheese, 

plenty of beer. His throat opens 
to a new possibility. His friend 

gazes back across the table; they  
are even. No words are needed.  

If We Make It Out of the Apocalypse Alive  / Kait Quinn

I will sweat the small stuff—short strawed for wall
watch, stolen pen, only lukewarm water left to wash
off the zombie bath. I will write a poetry collection
called “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”—knife
to medulla between death and resurrection,
hatchet to skull post reanimation, bullet to brain
when a walker’s bite promises a raspy-throat
future of live flesh cravings, as a cheap meal
for the cannibals, as an enemy of the reapers, stuck
in a revolving glass door with the undead’s feast
on my body on full display, gaping pupils meeting
yours like a scar. I will beg you one hundred times
a day to shoot me already—it’s so hard to hold on;
I am exhausted. I will still be afraid to sing in front
of an audience and that will be even harder
to live with. I will still lie awake at night regretting
that time—pre-apocalypse—I mixed Mountain Dew
and whiskey and ended up bare from the waist
down in a barn with a guy I’d just met. I will never
volunteer for the supply run. I will die before I eat
an animal. I will die fast. I will finally live by the ocean,
if I make it there alive.


Day 22 / Poem 22

Night Vision / Lois Anne

lines and erasures taken from The Sleepers, Walt Whitman

With open eyes gazing,

          How solemn they look there,
                                  and still,
                    how quiet the rooms,
                                        the sacred idiots,
                                               emerging from gates,
                              the night pervades them and infolds them.

And the blind sleep.

And the murdered person, how does he sleep?

I stand in the dark
with drooping eyes
pierce the darkness,

              And I see Peace is always beautiful.

On Madison Street / John Chinworth

(after Tim Gillespie)

Odd street slash on the map running rough-       ly south-
west to northeast, through the heart of Se-      attle, starting 
with the ferries to Bremerton and Bain-       bridge, 
then uphill and uphill and uphill where,        back in 
the day, logs were rolled down it to build       the old 
town, or was it Yesler, yes it was Yesler,       on up
continuing uphill past the downtown         library, 
Millennium Falcon-esque in its silvery       imposition,
(looking as if it could take     flight        with all those 
thousands and thousands of books       full of ideas), up  
a little more, over I-5 past the poly-      clinic retro-
stylish glass thing with cool blue       and orange glass 
facade trimmings, and remnants        of cable cars 
that started running in 1890, next       is Broadway and 
Seattle University on the right,       where I gained 
a Masters degree, IHOP on       the left,  and before you 
know it, Mighty O Donuts       which is okay but High 
Five Pie was better, there’s       Pony on the right, 
a compact Gay bar where       people can barely fit, but 
everyone goes, but not       me, I’m too old for that crap, 
there’s two parks that        make an hourglass and should 
be joined by a walking       bridge, probably too hard to 
engineer, there’s the       food co-op, a bit pricey but good 
eats, then a Trader       Joes, then on the right a bit of the 
old house we lived       in happily for six years in the Central 
District, (we miss      you so), next Madison Valley, and if 
you turn left, (       which we’re not), you could drive through 
the now car-         busy Arburetum, forward, homeward to 
the village       within the city named Madison Park, 
this strange      crooked street was built by John McGilvra 
to connect       his lands here at the end, where I live with my 
sweet beau     and Dusty, the amazing labradoodle-
terrier, to      downtown, having no idea the major role 
it would      play in the development of the Emerald City—
nothing      better to do now but kick my shoes off, and 
with     coffee in hand at the beach, wade in the 
         cool gentle and lapping waves of Lake Washington.

Relational Cosmology / Todd Ferguson

They’re always in my yard / Cathy Ferrell

picking at the earth
long sharp beaks poking
prodding curiously
for their grubs.

They mate for life.

Approach softly,
gently, slowly, watch
their cautious dance
bend of backward knee
plie lift and straighten
tall as a small child.

Courtship dance.
Warning dance.

Rise of wings
from underneath
hulk shoulders
you interloper
step no closer
and I do not.
Hop hop hop
float down
slate wings spread
eye glare down a dark stiletto.
(they may be symbols of serenity but
don’t try ruffling their feathers)
My friend greets them
when she runs.

A group of cranes is called
a siege
a dance
a swoop
depending on whether
they are in the sky or on land.

I’m told that
a Sandhill Crane
settled in our faculty parking lot, once.
Injured, one-legged, robbed of flight.
My friend (not the runner)
draped a towel over his red head
and kept him calm
for Wildlife Rescue.
She had to chase him awhile
around the parking lot first.
One day I’ll write a book,
she said.
I hope she does.

A crane’s call can be heard 2.5 miles away.
They call to each other
day and night 
moan, hiss, honk, snore
in their marshland nests
year after year the same.

We sat outside,
my One and I,
musing, Is this our home?
Is this our place?
The clouds warmed
A pair of cranes swept
across the sky.
Look I said, pointing
but when he did
they were already gone.

Ode to My Name / David Miller

David!  David !  David!
O beloved name!
O Saturday morning name!
A day of rest
and dance name!
name tossed and gasped
in the folds and crenelations of blankets,
name caught in braids,
cupped name,
name spilled from lips
into crevasses
and curlicues,
from eyes
overflowing with laughter,
name of the poet king
the singer of hymns,
name of that yellow haired boy with the talking dog
who was mostly called Day-Vee
name lost in pillows
and discarded socks
and carpets
(how much love can one name hold?)

Every year I plant my name
in the corners of papers
and white boards,
the ears of my students,
the front page of important documents,
or the last,
I become a Miller
a grinder 
a man who produces 
flour for breakfast
bread for supper
My name forms 
a golden 
breathes steam
its pores
holds butter and secrets
in its hands
leaves a pleasant
on the tongue
a loving weight in the belly

My name is not
the only thing my dad left me,
but it’s better than male
pattern baldness
and a love of beige ties,
My name rises above
my distrust
my aversion to groups of people
(one night, my friends swear
they saw my name
in butt-floss 
and a plastic tiara
while I was home
watching re-runs 
of La Brea)
my name is unafraid of being me
See it here
moaning itself out
through a megaphone
and all I can do
is wish 
I were as boss 
as my name.

O name that can be loved.
A name that moves the loved around me.
Name to some day be carved in stone:
David! David! 

Dress Rehearsal for Death / Amy Parrish

A Surprisingly Brief Tour in the Bardo / Bill Prindle

Black void…nothingness…absence of consciousness[1] 
Darkness with consciousness of darkness 
            Muddy feeling with consciousness of water 
                        Watery realm…watercress…water hyacinths…bullrushes[2]… 

Air…light…the cold stone floor feeling of first day at kindergarten[3] 
            The terrible knowledge of being seen and being unable to speak 
                        Feeling of invisible hands leading to another room filled  
with light in rainbow colors[4] mushrooming from nowhere 

A longing to become the green…no, the purple…a wordless admonition to stay white[5] 
            Colors forming patterns…waves flattening any faculties of identity or control 
                        A nightclub dance[6] breaking out…an aching need to move… 
                                    An absence of hips and shoulders to shake 

A sensation of having to choose without the faculties or seeing the consequences[7] 
            Light…sound…vibration swirling and rolling…beauty and terror[8] 
                        Forcing the abandonment of agency[9]…into what feels like surrender 
                                    To each new wave purple green paisley fractal[10] 

Until there is nothing but light…utterly white[11]…no movement…utter existence 
            Until there is a contraction in the webbing…a calling forth from the ones 
                        You were waiting for[12]…a sudden inhalation…a releasing…an exhalation 
                                    A welcome…to a waking, to a weeping.[13] 

[1] With no pronouns, you may ask yourself: well, how did I get here? 
[2] Your species may vary depending on what’s native and what’s invasive in your neck of the woods. 
[3] “Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”   Bob Dylan
[4] The Bardo is extremely inclusive. 
[5] No racial profiling occurs in the Bardo. 
[6] The steps will mean nothing if they are not your very own. 
[7] That old karma’s gonna get you, gonna knock you off your feet…. 
[8] Did I mention Rilke comes here a lot? 
[9] There are no modeling agencies in the Bardo, so put down thy vanity 
[10] No, it’s NOT the 60s…damn Timothy Leary. 
[11] See footnotes 4 and 5. Also, just so you know, white is the sum of all colors. 
[12] Who are you waiting for?  
[13] “Come away, O human child, to the waters and the wild; with a faerie, hand in hand, for the world’s more full of weeping that you can understand.”   William Butler Yeats

22 Rules for Surviving Your Day Job When You’d Rather Be a Poet / Kait Quinn

Start your work day with an oat milk latte sweetened with a squeeze or two of agave (or any warm or iced beverage of your choice.) Wait until you’re at your work station to drink it. The comfort, taste, and aroma just might trick you into thinking you’re poeting at a coffee shop.
Leave your car at home. Take the bus. Take the train. Take a Lyft. Keep your phone in your bag. READ. Read poetry collections. Read literary journals. Read memoirs. Read Poemcrazy, Glitter in the Blood, A Poetry Handbook, Bird by Bird, Writing Down the Bones. Did you know that half of writing is reading?
Health boost if you read during your work breaks!
Listen to music. You can’t always write, but you can always soak in the art around you without any effort, other than hitting play. (WARNING: Listening to Taylor Swift or Phoebe Bridgers may result in a sudden urge to drop everything and write.)
If you’re able, work outside whenever you can. Especially if your office building has a balcony and it’s October and a pool of honey dripped fresh from the beehive bleeds into a sea of crimson and cough syrup orange.
At least once during your work day, set a timer for ten minutes and free write. Don’t type it; handwrite it. Don’t line-by-line it. Don’t even read it when you’re done. Don’t keep writing when the time is up—you have to get back to work now! Rip it from the notebook, fold it in half, tuck it in your bag to stumble across later. Edit when you can.
Keep a notebook at your desk just for poetic glimmers—all his impressions are a little bit McCartney, eyes like creek beds gingko flecked, honey dripped off the comb into a sea of red. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, use that notebook for to-do lists, meetings, or any other job-related scribbles. This is sacred ground.
Repeat after me: I work here to pay my bills. My work does not define me. I am not a machine. I am not my day job. I am flesh and blood and sweat and teeth. I am a poet. I am a poet. Goddamnit, I am a poet.

Day 21 / Poem 21

Bull’s-eye / Lois Anne

1 – I didn’t say the silences were too loud
      I am not that good at lying

2 – Knowing my love of deep thought
      he said he was a philosopher

3 – “Remember this hurts me more
       than it hurts you”

4 – I am woman enough to be a target
      and feminist enough to resist

5 – Today I made it until lunchtime before
       I remembered death is only one breath away

6 – There will come a day when I will have had it
      with this craziness and say “Okay, time to move on”

Arco Echo / John Chinworth

(Yes, No, Yes…)

Yes, I like rainbows, though my current fave 
        colors, (aqua & pylon) are missing from them.
No, I don’t own a rainbow flag.
Yes, I can be located somewhere on
        the LGBTQRSTUVWXYZ spectrum.
No, I didn’t make that row up.
Yes, I think we should lose all the letters 
        and simply use ‘Queer’—big and scarlet.
No, I don’t think that’s a silly notion.
Yes, I know many Gay men detest the word Queer.
No, Gay does NOT describe all homosexual men.
        What if they’re perpetually blue like me?
Yes, I came out.
        Several times, different letters.

No, it wasn’t comfortable.
Yes, after being out, I lost several friends,
        but the issue of acceptance was no longer 
        my responsibility. (Except for accepting myself, 
        an ongoing project.)
No, I’m not upset with them.
        I don’t remember who they were
        if you want to know the truth.
Yes, life has color tumbling beyond indigo.
No, colors blend sometimes, when they can. I
        love a good umber.
Yes, I like ABBA, the Captain &Tennille,
        and hare krishna music.
No, I’m not fashionable. Clearly.
Yes, I have the best beau.
        His fave color is antique gold.
No, we’re not married.

Yes, we talk about it and make plans,
        but we also have headaches and bills.
No, I don’t catch every Queer movie.
Yes, I’ve binge-watched EastSiders seven times.
        (An eighth go-around next summer.)
No, I don’t think all young, kelly green guys
        are disrespectful to older olive ones.
Yes, I think young guys should give their seats 
        to older ones—they paved the way, surviving 
        AIDS, getting bashed bloody, marching and marching.  
        Always hiding true colors.  
No, I will not go shopping with you.
        Yes, my Dad ran an Arco station, and made excellent 
        bologna, Miracle Whip and American cheese on Wonder 
        Bread sandwiches when I’d visit.  
        Though he ignored me.
No, I don’t feel any remorse.  
        Well, some.

Yes, I guess that just about colors it.

Journals / Todd Ferguson

Paper storytellers                                Past compasses
cairns of self                                         frozen 
voices and memories                         petrified                     
tired histories.                                     within obsolescence.

Your stained skins inhibit me             Narrative armor
scriptures of past lives                        scarred
scaffolded within my own.                 bent.

Weathered words                                Eroded strength
hollowed                                               no
evanescent                                           body
ceremonial                                           no
godless.                                                breath.

May these scrolls                                New stories
palimpsests of yesterday                   hieroglyphs of the heart
disintegrate back into                        chrysalises no more
what was or never                              will flow from my fingers
has been.                                             serifs of unknown songs.

Crane Song / Cathy Ferrell

Come with me
my One
to the place where cypress
trees live
light calls
up up across
sun-luminous clouds
I want
to bask
in wake of your wingspan
legs long and slim as limber bodies
of flowering plum trailing behind
we search for 

so many times sky has changed,
so many times sun has sunk
red red almost as red as your crown
moon risen
pale pale almost as pale as your cheek

I call to you
throat full golden echo risen
our long shadows of slate sweep 
the earth below
and all the featherless.

Come with me
my One
to the place
where our rattle calls string songs
ready for night

Shiny, Shiny / David Miller

In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t’ve built a house completely out of straw, but I had a plan and it didn’t include wolves, or wind.  I made brooms for a living.  As you can see, I did pretty well by it for most of my life.  I did this thing where I soaked straw and boar bristle in cold river water and tomato juice.  Each batch took two weeks to cure.  Then I twisted them around a hickory rod and tied them down with waxed string.  When I built my house, I used the same formula.  It was a darn fine recipe.  The house smelled like fall all year long.  At twilight, light took on a crocus-like color.  The wind smoothed out the sharp edges.  That’s probably why the wolf came along: some creatures want what’s not theirs because it shines.  I want you to have pride in what you do; don’t talk mess, don’t discard your work like a broken handle, see it for what it is.  Make something that comes from you. Once I had a house made of brooms, and it shone.

Himalayan Zuihitsu / Amy Parrish


Where light falls across the mountains like folds in a blanket. 

Open the door and a cloud billows in.
((Lamahatta//Monk’s Hut

Prayer. Prayer.
a temple in the sky

on Deolo Hill————————————————————————————————————————–
___________________________________________Harnessed together. Leaping from mountain.

 Don’t worry. I have you.
      { g   l   i   d   i   n   g  }     
This way, Tiger Pass. Into China

Take me back to the place where worn wheels spin. 
Around. Around. 
Whispering prayer flags. Butterfly wing on the stair. A silent, solemn rose.

_^_  Kangchenjunga  _^_
3rd highest mountain in the world
Elevation: 28,169 ft
First Ascent: May 25, 1955

_______________________________________________________The sky would not release us. 
No, no! Not yet! Wind too strong!
Go back to the sky. 
{A g a i n   A g a i n}

Letter to Black Elk / Bill Prindle

It’s been two generations since I heard your story 
so I wanted to write a brief report on my journey.  

Last night in the silences between barred owl calls 
I thought I heard some people passing by the pond: 

Might have been plangent minor chords of bullfrog 
and fowler’s toad sounding a bit like human voices, 

but I picked up hints of Cherokee heading west, or 
was it Monacan disappearing into the high coves? 

I thought I heard bluegill or perch rising to the 
surface to feed, but it might have been the sound 

of four hundred years of weeping. There were no  
tracks in the morning, but winter is near so today  

I left out on the trail leading west from the ridge  
line where you can see the mountains, some small 

packets of poems written on lichen and wrapped in  
braided sweetgrass, because I no longer kill game, 

and for this journey that’s not what’s needed most. 

Well, It Says to Form a Circle of Salt to Protect from Zombies, Witches, and Old Boyfriends (after Allison from Hocus Pocus) / Kait Quinn

What about new girlfriends whose skulls are an attic for old boyfriends, huh? I can’t nudge a brain cell without her abusive ex and his nicotine nails jumping out from behind a lobe. Can’t reach for her hips from across the bed without making her flinch and getting inked—her skin still possessed by that old assault. Banshees flood her calcium and claret halls, exit in projectile poems, quick and screeching against eardrums like a disturbed blot of bats. If you fall in love with a poet, prepare for creaky joints, worn from repeating the same mistakes over. Prepare for whispers you can never pin down. Invisible knocks against intangible doors every morning at three a.m. sharp. Watch your back for knives, arteries for sharpened teeth, nose for blunt objects, lungs for high tides, anything for blood and brine to feed her poetry. Sure, Morton will protect you from zombies, witches, and old boyfriends, but it won’t hold back a body built with busted pipes and bruised beams. Nah. A salt ring will welcome you home, pull you in too deep to come back.

Day 20 / Poem 20

Freedom / Lois Anne

1 – Claiming one’s agency is a birthright, yet over half the world’s population must struggle to learn to do so.

2 – When I woke up I took my own name.

3 – Twenty-eight years after divorcing my first husband, I married again.

4 – When I say “yes,” I do so with every cell in my body. When I say “no,” I mean every letter of it. N-O.  

5 – When I was younger men would follow me on the street. Now I give thanks for a certain invisibility that comes with aging.

6 – My mother always said that the older you get the less others’ opinions of you matter.

7 – The instructions say to finish this sentence: “When people meet me, they assume I am ____.” But how should I know what they think?!?! I mean, I write poem after poem after poem to hopefully get a clue as to what I might think.

8 – Freedom is a verb.

Greenland Independence Q’s / John Chinworth

Greenland! Why didn’t you become independent 
in 2021 as scheduled? Was it officially supposed 
to happen? Was the separation of just seventeen 
far-placed villages too daunting? Was it the fear
of uranium extraction by ruthless superpowers? 

Was it trepidation about your rapidly melting 
ice cover, revealing a new archipelago? Was
separation from Denmark a too frightful step 
to take? Was the destruction of traditional 
Greenlandic life based on whaling, destroyed 

by the over-capture of whales, beyond repair?
Was it that people forced to move to Nuuk would 
have to live in subsidized housing with nothing 
to do but deal with the long winter nights, and 
mounting suicides of young Greenlandic males? 

What is the translation of your new name Kalaalit 
Nunaat? Do you prefer your old name that green 
Iceland stole? Is it the awful pressure of a hungry 
U.S. at your backdoor too much to bear? How did
you create the most beautiful flag in the world?

Secular Psalms / Todd Ferguson

Articulations of your body through our world;
lenticular energy blossoming. A butterfly.
a fish
in shadow swimming within your liminal light.

Leaden skies today.
Heavy beauty casting all into unshadowed light.
The breathing matrix of nature.

The first year I knew you I
was unsure how to pronounce
your last name; too shy to ask
you, I asked someone else.
I should have asked you – what if I had?

Last year I let my quarter-century subscription
to The New Yorker run out. Originally a birthday
gift from my grandparents, they renewed it every
year until my grandmother’s death. It was her final
gift to me before she passed. I just couldn’t bear
watching the unread issues pile up. I knew my
grandmother would see it as wasteful. So I let
it lapse; my gift, for her.

Do not dictate the art you are sending out
into the universe lest it becomes a leash
rather than a lasso. Crawl your way inside
your work, down on all fours, pressing
yourself into sound and pixels, images and
metaphors, and become what you are creating.

           What are the limits of our own margins? When
           do we run out of space? When does space run
           out of us?

You might have the depth of your father’s
I eyes and the spirit of your mother’s hillbilly
grit, but your hands are yours alone. With
them you created your independence.

If I were to ever write a novel it would begin:
“They stood together in punctuated silence, each
holding the other’s breath.” I have no idea what
comes next. Perhaps the line should always
stand alone, epigraph and epilogue.

 An artist’s hands are embodied wisdom.
Each wrinkle, a story; every scar, a failure;
every scratch, a breakthrough. Worn smooth
or rough, canvases of life, poetic skin.

Kinaesthetic knowledge.

In rarest moments unrecorded except in
oldest tales, a butterfly and fish meet
unexpectedly on the surface of
a lake. The skin of water evaporates
between them and their worlds
become one.

27 Bones / Cathy Ferrell

Your hands look old
my daughter says to me
on the plane.
I look down at
a crepey dryness
I don’t recognize.

These hands will never wash
or dust or cook. That’s what he said
to me
my abuela’s (translated) words
Years of bleach and Palmolive
left delicate lines and folds
papered across the whorls of 
her knuckles, purpled veins,
sun-mottled skin.
Her nails were always tapered, polished.

Tell me

Tell me
your stories

In Cuba, we had evenings
to dance in our frills
the band played so late
we walked
beautiful ladies waved
from their balconies
to their novios below.
We had a finca
I remember the chickens
It was so hot I thought I’d help
I plucked one live to cool her off
qué pecado
She died

I remember our cook’s buñuelos
tan rico
sweet anise syrup dripping
and always a cafecito
Mama sent me to art school.
Did you know that a frog has 50 bones?
I had to draw them all by memory.
And sabías que a hand has 27?

I don’t know what else
she drew
I can’t ask anymore

The air on the plane
is dry
I sip stale coffee
from a paper cup

Notes On A Slipknot Concert / David Miller

Why hasn’t poetry had a Slipknot
since Emily Dickinson?

Allen Ginsburg tried, but anguish
Needs feathers sewn together by anger.

At the concert, people wore words
“Born Scum” or “Before You Liked EDM

You Liked EMO” which isn’t quite poetry,
But could be true for me

I wouldn’t call Dickinson emo, though some
Students have: they say the same about Byron

And, let’s face it, Ginsburg.  But like Slipknot
Emily starts from a beat, and she uses

All her voice, not just melody and harmony
But end stops, edges, double-dashes,

An organist pushing sound through our sternums
Till sense cracks against the curve of our ears

And the silence is filled with flies, the ride home
A narrow fellow driving his carriage between feathers.

Birdsong / Amy Parrish

bey bey houu
bey bey houu
Maa coos back to an oriole
hidden within the eucalyptus tree

we sit together in the dawn
over chai and coffee 
piecing understanding
between broken tongues

singing to birds, our universal language

Cherished Beliefs—That: / Bill Prindle

You can leave it to Beaver to make a rainbow culture. 

Martin will end American racism, armed only with eloquence, and nonviolence. 

Bobby will stop the Vietnam war armed only with his charisma. 

The right kind of meditation will turn me away from this pain and turn bombers to butterflies. 

Flesh and spirit will always move in one society, like second graders running out to recess. 

Melancholy is merely treatable biochemistry for the despair that comes when the light fails. 

The light of reason will never fail, and fires will never burn on the sea. 

Mental illness is a severable part of my family, as maple sap is severable from the tree. 

Walking into the forest asking permission and offering praise will stop the bulldozers

This breath, and this heartbeat, will never fail me

Idea (after Kate Baer) / Kait Quinn

I will forgive myself for falling
for another IG poetry scammer.
Bri tells me I have a good heart,
you were just trying to support
an artist. I will believe her. I will
spend less time scrolling in
November. I will drop off the radar.
I will wake up at three a.m. for another
Twin Peaks poetry workshop, and I
will not share a single word I write
until they are all bound at the seams
and clam shelled between matte stock.
Except with Seneca—if you promise
to be brutal, I promise not to cry.
And I will be kind to myself. And I
will get sleep. And I will maneuver
my ear crystals back to their home.
And I will tip my head to the right
and the world won’t tip over with it.
I will enjoy writing again. I will forgive
myself for ever making it
about anything more.

Day 19 / Poem 19

End of a Dream / Lois Anne

Pick a Day / John Chinworth

Don’t think 
there’s even 
one ear to listen
Isn’t it funny—
a thought stream
on any given Thursday?

It’s Wednesday
I thought there might 
be someone who— 
dreams of folding
pancakes in half 
before syrupping 

them to death while
blasting Radio Garden—
em portugues brasileiro
Up until now I’ve
learned to live with-
out gloves

coppery black outs
craving skin food
running sans clothes
on a pink-sand beach
It’s Tuesday—
You’re not falling
I’m not either

Poetic Fever / Todd Ferguson

just for a day
poetry comes first.

My caesura.

               feminist and technological dystopias
               senior project
               autistic protagonist
               Hundred Years’ War
               Big Brother
               can wait.

Locked behind the door of
my darkened classroom.

               in a room of my own
               autumn windows rattling
               radiator spluttering
               kettle whistling
               laundry tumbling
               dogs barking
               typewriter clacking
               I reset.

 Compliant companions as
I write and read
verses and verses
I read and write.

Literary in-service
poetic holiday
artistic respite.

At least until tomorrow.

Until then

I’m not feeling well.

A brain so full / Cathy Ferrell

it is empty–
this is what I offer you tonight. 

My bones told me 
it was dark before the sky did. 

I have not been alone today. 

Even the bats have gone to sleep. 
Are you awake? 
I want to see the moon. 

It rained the other day, so suddenly 
even the clouds were surprised. 
I envied the ground as it soaked and drank. 

What will happen if I sit outside, 
turn my face up, 
let the drops roll down? 

I didn’t, but I wondered. 

There are dishes in the sink. 
The disposal’s broken. 
My feet ache. 

I was meant to wander.

(inspired by Terry Pratchett)

Monsters lead; heroes follow.

The beheaded dandelion plants a hundred seeds.

Bullies learn their craft from other people’s friends.

A shattered heart is the father of all vampires.

The Devil will find plays for working hands to stage.

Three heads will argue; two heads will butt; one head will wear a helmet.

Do not ask for a shovel when you are eating a won ton.

If you stare into the eyes of a gorgon, your story will be set in stone.

Disturb the living before they become undead.

It’s the words other people put in our heads that give us meaning.

We all have a wolf inside.

The curse of the mummy is resurrection, not revenge.

Revenge is a dish best served with a shovel.

Sirens sing all the lies they were told.

The Scylla and Charybdis were once other people’s friends.

A vampire cannot live by transfusion alone.

The Devil offers shovels where only chopsticks are required.

Some dandelions grow into triffids.

The undead crave life.

I was pieced together from other people’s words; 
every time I stitch myself whole, I am called a monster.

Kopai (A Bengali Tripadi) / Amy Parrish

In spoken tongue sweet as shondesh
song of a land with rivers fresh
where kash phool fans in waves along the way

Amader Choto Nodi humsvibrations rise from Baul plucked drums
Lovers of love succumb to Kopai’s sway

Winding swells like The Poet’s mind
in hues of prayer and peace sublime
muse of muses, resplendence on display

Notes for foreign readers:
a Bengali poetic form that follows a pattern of syllabic and rhymed tercets
(pronounced in English as shondesh): a traditional dessert made of milk and sugar
kash phool: tall, native grasses with white, feathery plumes in early fall
Amader Choto Nodi (Our Little River):written by the famous Bengali poet, Rabindranath Tagore
Baul: a group of minstrel mystics who play with stringed drums like the khamak and ektara
Kopai: a small river in the Birbhum district of West Bengal where Tagore penned many pieces and ultimately named the nearby region Shantiniketan (abode of peace)

Is it Appropriate / Bill Prindle


ask Black Elk to speak again? 

smudge myself in the woods where no humans can see? 

enjoy Yiddish phrases without ever going to temple? 

name the Monacan people in my email signature? 

learn secret Hindu mantras without going to India or experiencing Darshan? 

use a talking stick so that everyone gets to be heard? 

say “hail all my relations!” in any language I want? 

name the seven directions and feel their energies move my body? 

chant a fire ceremony in Quechua without ever meeting the Peruvian teacher? 

work till my joints ache to restore this land? 

weep for the millions who died in wars fought with microbes and steel and livestock? 

build a fire, sit by it in silence, invite in all my relations, let the moon sail the sky alone? 

Amas Veritas (after Sally Owens in Practical Magic)/ Kait Quinn

He will come find me when I’ve caught the wrong bus on a Midwestern winter night.
He will whistle like a Disney sparrow.
He can impersonate Kermit the frog, but everyone else is laced with a little bit McCartney.
He can teach the dog to rest its head on your palm.
He will not always be nice, but he will always be kind.
And his favorite animal will be an octopus.
And he’ll have green eyes flecked with gold.
He will write a hand-squeeze code—twice for yes, once for no—when my tongue can’t speak.
He will make his righteous scrambled eggs for me at midnight.
He will send me photos of one-dollar books I might like at Goodwill.
He will be gentle with his eggs, the cat’s post-op pain meds, the dog’s claws—accommodating his preference for nail files.
And his name will mean “free.”
His humor always dark or dirty.
And his pupils will take in every morning like a newborn alien.
And he will not be mine forever, and we will love each other anyway.

Day 18 / Poem 18

Illumination / Lois Anne

Desk Tour / John Chinworth

The room stands white on all four sides.  
Students are filling out Google slides 
and I stare at scissor handles looking 
for colored paper to make into smaller 
shapes. The globe is from my sweet beau 
Johnnie who got it at work. Please note
that it has South Sudan, which I hope 
one day will rebrand itself as the Nile 
Republic—it being the actual source of 
the Nile. A container with a mustache 
on it, once had real good shaving cream 
from Trader Joes. An eraser and a new 
chapstick live inside. The lamp is genuine 
retro Restoration Hardware. ‘Take a Deep 
Breath’ on one coin, ‘If Not Now When’ on 
another. Pencils, pens, an orange highlighter.

The Beyond / Todd Ferguson

(For P –)

Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant,
there is no such thing. Making your unknown
known is the important thing – 
and keeping the unknown always beyond you.
– Georgia O’Keeffe

The beyond
is a transcendence 
our body is afraid of

Our anxiety paralyzes us
mired in the oily pitch this
side of the horizon

is the void we feel when
absence becomes a presence we
no longer want to fill

We stand dangerously close to the precipice
the (       ) on the other
side of the horizon

The worst kind of silence
  the easy way out

(                     )

We cannot forget
  the beyond we                 
 carry within us                        
 or else we will get lost                
  in the (      )

We must not forget the self              
is always defined in relation                         
to the other                                                                  
the intimate beyond                                      
the faraway nearby                           

To forget this is to forget ourselves

Apathy isn’t an indictment
                                             of others
     but of self

Step back 
             from the (           )
                        strip away 
                        the a and the y
                                  and apathy


       Toward the beyond
within us 

The horizon within and without

     the path that binds us together
The beyond
     the language of art

These small bones / Cathy Ferrell

These small bones
like voices

a hundred years’
echo of rock metamorphic
under heat and pressure
changing stories
through layers 
sand and sediment into glass 
hardened igneous
a thousand years cooled
glossy black blanket
dig deep deep
shapes of things
bare skinless secrets
imagine colors
rounded and merging
feathers and flight
all the air we cannot see
under naked wings

I dream
powerful strange

LoveNHate, Or Three Ways of Reading Catullus 85 / David Miller


I hatenlove you, Lesbia
And you’re like Why would you do that?
I’m like I don’t know.
But I feel it happening.
A rosy crucifixion.


Hate, hate comes first, don’t know why
But I hear you at a dinner party
Laughing at another man’s jokes
Or tasting the Persian apricots
And I feel juice down my fingers
Words in my lungs like a pith, 
And anger, so why do I still hear
Your voice whispering these lines
As the last of my olive oil turns to smoke?


I love and I hate you, Why? you may ask.
I dunno, but it happens, I feel it, and I can’t let go.


Ōdī et amō. Quārē id faciam fortasse requīris.
Nēscio, sed fierī sentiō et excrucior.

Night Wanderings / Amy Parrish

Last night, behind eyelids closed
I wondered if I was alone,
singularly gifted with sights and senses
through traces of memory
not of my own
(Or are there others like me?)

 For a flashing moment I became
a bird swooping in
to scoop a beetle from the sky
like swallows above the palms
Eyes wide with life in a rush of wind

 In another flash I followed behind a gaunt dog,
scared and trotting down a dusty footpath,
tail tucked between the mange of fur-bare legs
Brown upon brown upon brown

 Then I became aquatic, 
not sensing much beyond a 
turbid pool of color
The deep blue-green 
of a celestial underworld,
empty and infinite

 Then human

I walked along a railway track
Flicked a cigarette from my fingertips

Sweltered on a plank of bed
boxed by oily green walls
adorned with one harsh bulb

Plodded aimlessly through empty night
illuminated by only a streetlamp
Belonging nowhere else in particular
(at that particular moment)

Trapped in my mind,
steering a car with worry,
hands clenched tightly to the wheel

Light of moon beamed in a hope
I couldn’t yet see

Now warmed by a light
glazing a golden halo
around my child’s ebony hair
Wrapped in abundance

A faucet turns on

The door is closed

A burst of laughter
with no reason

In this time beneath eyelids,
I could be anywhere, everywhere,
Anything, everything
Harvesting a collection of experience

Animal. Human. Hunting. Hunted. Surviving. Thriving.

Perceiving all creation
as a single tapestry
Each of us as fibers in a thread, 
weaving in and out of other threads
made of countless other fibers

Imperceptible as individuals
when looking at the whole
One and many all at once

(Are there others like me?)

Restoration Warrior Blues / Bill Prindle

–with gratitude to the ineradicable B.B. King 

F#            Bm         E           B 
My body’s aching, O great mother, 
Bm                              F# 
is that the thanks I get from you? 
F#            Bm         E           B 
Got these braces on my elbows, 
Bm                              F# 
sacral twinges in my pelvis too. 

How long must I beat up this body 
till my work down here is through? 
How long must I fight invasives 
till this old planet comes up new? 

Two hours labor, O great mother, 
on Sunday was all that I could do; 
but today my body is still aching, 
is that the thanks I get from you? 

I’ll be a Job for you, great mother, 
yes, I’ll be a member of your crew; 
just working out here in your sunshine 
makes me glad that I can serve you. 

When this body’s spent, great mother, 
that’s when I come to see what’s true; 
and since I got to spend it anyhow, 
gonna spend what I got left on you. 

When a Witch Desires Something That is Not Hers, She Will Slip it into Her Glove / Kait Quinn

after Elizabeth Willis
Lace sourdough loaves with garlic cloves,
oiled and roasted, bad for the tongue, so good
for a withered body. Kiss me, darling,
I ate them whole! Chased the taste with lime!
She will spill merlot onto black velvet. Throw back
tequila shots at midnight in a strange town, slam
down the glass, howl to the moon. Love, lick the salt
from my palm. Drown me in your Atlantic mouth.
She will migrate to the desert, claw herself a wet
pile of red clay, fill her cupped palm, hold it to the sun,
and blow. I want you starscaped so I can trace and
retrace Pyxis across your back.
She will press it soft between leather and love line.
Pass velour and reach. Clip chamomile for tea, sage
for broth. Check earth’s pulse with two fingers. Beloved,
take off my glove. I want to feel you with my bare hand.

Day 17 / Poem 17

Cocktails with My Foremothers : Tending Bar in the Afterlife Hotel / Lois Anne

Mothers, so lovely to see you!!
Come in, please, and join the others near the bar.

Bette, a weak highball for you?
Or can you handle a stronger one now?1

Mimi, sherry or bourbon?
How serious are you this evening?2

Josephine, a beer, of course, in a sturdy glass.
Would you also care for a whiskey?3

Barbara, Lynn and I were just talking about you yesterday.
Whiskey sour with a straw. And an ashtray, yes.4

Nellie Brown, white wine so that if it spills on your crocheting it won’t show?
There’s a rocking chair with your name on it near the snacks.5

Tillie, rye, neat, correct? We have a smooth one just for you.
And a chair near Barbara and the ashtrays.6

Viola, your hair looks lovely. Barbara did it? Marvelous!!
Here’s a dark beer in your favorite tall slender glass.7

Sophie, so glad you could join us. Have a seat near Barbara.
Whiskey, neat, with a special chaser?8

Leola, ginger ale – if you’re still a Baptist?
Or are you a bit more adventurous now?9

Stell, bourbon, and then wine with dinner?
Thank you for the angels, and your pink jacket is divine.10

Veronica, you’re the newest resident here, and I know you’ll love them.
Scotch on the rocks, and there are comfy chairs near the ashtrays.11

I’ll pour myself one and join you.
Dinner will be ready when we are.12


1 – Bette, my birth Mother, died of metastatic colon cancer which was diagnosed four months after a clean colonoscopy. She had a low tolerance for alcohol and swore she could “get loopy” just sniffing the fumes. Bette had a distinctive laugh – a cross between a cackle and a howl – you just had to join in.

2 – Mimi, her grandchildren’s name for Bette’s and Barbara’s Mother, died in the 1970s from the effects of chemo and radiation. In 1921 she had to resign her teaching position in a small Pennsylvania school due to scandalous behavior – she had married a man nine years her junior. A writer and free-thinker, she gave me Krishnamurti and Sartre to read in high school much to her daughter’s dismay.

3 – Josephine, my father’s Mother, immigrated to the US from Poland at age twelve. She travelled here with a friend’s family, and never spoke of her past. In her mid-eighties Josephine’s broken right wrist didn’t heal properly, so a woman who loved to cook and bake couldn’t even make herself a sandwich. Her death certificate said natural causes of old age, but she died of a broken heart.

4 – Barbara, Bette’s younger sister, also had a distinctive and infectious laugh. Barbara was creative but not disciplined or focused and flitted from one career or hobby interest to another. For a few years she worked as a hair stylist. Barbara developed dementia and died in a nursing home.

5 – Nellie, Mimi’s Mother, wore glasses with thick lenses and used a magnifying glass to read crochet patterns to make lace tablecloths of the finest crochet cotton thread.  At 105, the last of her generation of family and friends, she was devastated when her son-in-law died, and six weeks later she was gone. Like Josephine, her death certificate said “natural causes,” but she, too, died of a broken heart.

6 – Tillie married my father’s older brother Victor, and many in the family judged her harshly because she smoked, swore, drank whiskey straight, rarely wore dresses, and didn’t suffer fools gladly. But her cheesecake was to die for, and she died without leaving her recipe behind. Cancer did her in.

7 – Viola, Aunt Vi we called her, was the youngest in my father’s family. Gentle and gracious with soft wavy hair and a wide smile, everyone loved her and her gentle no-nonsense-tolerated ways. Vi wasted away in a nursing home.

8 – Sophie, Vi’s older sister, petite and quiet with a head of red curls that spoke volumes. She, like others in this family, also had a good bullshit detector and call it out in her soft-spoken way. In hospital at the end, with her priest not responding to phone calls, her son Joe called my sister Lynn, a Lutheran minister, in to hear Sophie’s confession and administer last rites the day before cancer claimed her.

9 – Leola was near ninety when we met, and we loved each other from the start. In an old wood-heated farmhouse in the small Maine town where she was born, she and her husband had a fruit-bearing orange tree. She did die of natural causes, and I still wear her pale green glass bead necklace her husband gave me as a remembrance.

10 – Stell, I called her my adopted Mother, and she pinched my cheek saying, “I love you, baby.” Estelle, Star, was a visual artist, writer, gardener, adventurer, and bright spirit who lived up to her name and to a few weeks past her 101st birthday. Her mind stayed sharp and curious, but her body just wore out.

11 – Veronica, an artist with whom I collaborated on several projects. Level-headed and practical, she gave lots of Motherly advice. She called me LoLo, I called her VeeVee, and we laughed. Through numerous health issues and a pandemic, we exchanged cards and phone calls her last three years.

12 – I didn’t name my drink, for I am a liver cancer survivor and live with a chronic liver disease. So if I am still embodied when this party happens, it’ll have to be a mocktail for me. However, if I’ve checked into the Afterlife Hotel joining my Mothers there, then I’ll have the finest single malt Scotch whiskey.

Longing / John Chinworth

Unless you tell me your name
my pulse will cease to hint—
as if hidden in Mammoth 
Cave, Kentucky, or in 
A cloister in the Cathedral 
of Seville where the worst of 
Spanish Catholic garishness 

persists. You are not a wild, 
whistling swan to me nor a 
gigantic cockroach that would 
break my teeth with gravel stones.  
I need something more than your 
silence but not exactly 
your heart. I have already 

encompassed a certain distance
at the rate of 77,000
leagues per second, which must be 
an ocean. All while the clustering 
spheres do a spiral vortex Sun
chase. Tell me your name and
I will tell you Nepthys is the
name of my burning right foot.

You Asked Me / Todd Ferguson

whether I ever wished to be a father
especially to a son

if I regret now
what I lost
foregoing fatherhood.

I told you no.

My conviction steadfast.

I would not be
would not have been
a good father.

So be it.

I won’t ever be a father

a gift I returned unopened
for myself
and another.

You are the only one
ever to ask me
this question.

And may it be that way.

Perhaps you can
crack the door a bit
and I can walk slowly
into my own space

surrogate fatherhood
depths and dimensions
still undefined.

I will proceed
carefully and patiently
fill it quietly
with empathy.

Isn’t that the only way to love?

The Sloth and the Seagull / Cathy Ferrell

for beautiful Jenny

Here is a tale
of two sisters.

Says Louise Glück
Of two sisters 
one is always the watcher, 
one the dancer.

When they were small,
their grandparents took them
to Disney World.
(When you grow up in Florida,
you never pay; someone always
gets you in)

For being good
girls, they had been promised
a prize at the end
of the day.

The gift shops held
a million possibilities.
The younger
honed in on the princess hats
cone-shaped and gossamer-veiled
blue and pink and silver and gold
her baby hands lifted
reverently the coronet
off the lowest shelf
and lowered it onto
her own head.

Dance, dance, sway, twirl
the silky veils swirled
around and around and around
her and the people
watched her and smiled.

The older one melted
three years the elder
into the next aisle
making herself inanimate, invisible

Many years later
the sisters searched
a Seattle curiosity shop
nostalgic with party favors, magic
tricks, dust. They
browsed the aisles
with nothing in mind
but mindless killing
of time and bins of
Halloween masks
smelling of chalk
and unwrapped stale candy.

The older one selected
a seagull
(Hitchcock would be proud)
pulled it way over her head and held
her breath. She turned
and waited hazy,

The younger one examined
a bin motley with gag gifts.
She turned.
She blinked.
Her sister handed her
a sloth head.

The Sloth and the Seagull
stood laughing in the aisle
until tears rolled
and spit dribbled,
two women grown
wearing Halloween masks 
in the aisle
swaying gossamer.

Maybe no one watched.
Maybe everyone did.

Four lines / David Miller

Four lines–an arc & a K rotated 225 degrees

Angle, texture, weight of a hip

Child watching the tub fill with bubbles

Wife of thirty years by the yellow curtains

Ohio is a Gentle Land / Amy Parrish

Ohio is a gentle land as I haven’t always seen. 

I was lost in endless foothills, scratched and stinging in the snow. 
But I was found. Washed clean. Made warm.

Coyotes laugh in shadows. I ate the bull that charged me. Pistol to a copperhead that never struck my feet. 

Wade through the water. Lie in the grass. Eat from the weeds. 
Beacaise Ohio is a gentle land… but some things you learn only when you leave.

A Day in the Life of a Restoration Warrior   / Bill Prindle

Sharpening the chainsaw teeth 
like my obsessive neighbor John  
taught me down in Nelson County, 
file angled and feet planted just so, 
I’m ready for what’s left of the  
hundred-plus-year-old oak that  
was dead before we got here.  

The man I hired to take it down  
made off with the best of the trunk 
because he needed trailer planks,  
and what did I know, but whatever, 
so I focus on resecting the remaining 
sections so that the wood will go to  

fires that I will light to honor this deal 
about reciprocity I made with the  
great mother. When the copperheads  
winter down I’ll get to the kudzu  
again, which came out of its hillside- 
bunker tubers this summer to attack  

the black walnuts and the huge poplar  
down the hill. I’ll use a different file to 
sharpen the machete, and when I wield 
it my conscientious objector will retreat 
inside to watch PBS as I hack down the  
vines and laser in on the root crowns. 

I Think If You Lifted My Heart to Your Ear, You Could Probably Hear the Ocean / Kait Quinn

after Sally Owens in Practical Magic
Not the inhale and exhale of waves against cochlear shore but the humpback’s bellow, shark fin splitting the water, the minke whale’s metallic twang reverberated against the Marianas walls. Freddie Mercury, orchestral violins in “Hot Knives,” piano keys under Alexandra Streliski’s bewitchment, Billie Eilish’s throat stretched and elongated around the word “alone.” Clack of crisp, russet leaves cartwheeling across the asphalt, snapped at the spine underfoot. Witch weather heart. Pen clicker heart. Texas summer hill country heart—cicada drone, coyote yelp, power lines rattling like a tense diamondback. Rustle of funeral blacks, thump of moist dirt hitting the coffin, patter of light rain swooshing umbrellas open. The distant wail you can never place into the right mouth—the wind, the mourner, the old house resting on its sore haunches.

Day 16 / Poem 16

Choices / Lois Anne

I try one of its apples
but the gnarled old tree has been left
wild for too long

this evening a doe and her fawn
finding delicacies
among the soft green-skinned fruit

I watch
hungry  yet

13th Summer Solstice / John Chinworth

After a night of ouija board and records
I left my buddy Steve’s house at about 
seven in the morning We’d woken 
up early and devoured bowls of 
neon and sugar-loaded cereal 
It was the first day of summer 
break and 7th grade was done 
There was hot sun dry air
really blue sky and my 
kid brain flooded with 
almost three months-
worth of prospects. 
I loved the wind 
in my hair.

Xpoetry / Todd Ferguson

All I can think of is 16
8 x 2
and 4 x 4
and 1 + 6 = 7
a prime
just like tomorrow

2 x 2 x 2 x 2

The power of exponents
x6 and x78 and x187


 something greater
something smaller

 (not all infinities are equal: x is either < or > than y)

Maybe math can teach me
about the limits of language

to express love64

the symmetry
of a couplet

the geometry of

(The 16th day of the month and I’m still learning how poetry exponentializes language)

Shoo / Cathy Ferrell

Today she bought a pair of Doc Martens.
(well, knock-offs but who’s to know)
Wearing them she’ll feel
a certain kind of way.

When she was small she’d watch
red-throated lizards
gloating around the front porch
went her red buckled shoes
and away they’d scatter.

Then there were the Sam and Libbys
Sweet and demure
With a tidy bow on the toe
berry pink lining
But oh they made her feet
sweat and stain
when she took them off

Remember the Chucks?
High top laced all the way

Sweet kicks
Just a little black and white
Just a little like the cool kids

Tucked away in a drawer she keeps
worn out pointe shoes
christened with dried-up blood
at the toe and the heel
where blisters formed like
She always sank too heavy
drawn to the earth

In her closet, white satin
crystal and pearl
worn only once
on a happy day
taken out and admired
from time to time
by small feet
still teetering and soft

At home she wears
no shoes
cool and quiet and bare
better to feel the floor


Always the goody
two shoes,
so they said.
never really fit

Grades / David Miller

From the Latin, gredi-/gradi–meaning to step
As in ingredients, stepping into, entering
Which is why recipes have a list of items
Arranged by order of mixing

A recipe poem lists steps 
To accomplish a task, 
each line a task in and of itself
So does the Latin word for task also mean step?

Is a task a type of labor?
Labor in Latin means to slip, slide, move around,
If I were working hard,
Time would fly past,
A brief shadow against the sun
Wings cracking the stale air.
This is the opposite of stepping

Today, I’m thinking of midterm grades
The list of tasks my students had to accomplish
Numbers implying mastery first walking
Across a spreadsheet, then gliding,
Falling, pushing themselves back up,
Laying out the work, day-by-day,
All they missed, all they did not quite understand,
Tying them onto their backs with wax and twine
Spreading their arms to catch the sun,
Following the course of Daedalus,
Soaring rather than stepping.

The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth / Amy Parrish

(an erasure from 1984 by George Orwell)

Things to Stop Debating  / Bill Prindle

If geese schussing onto a pond on a Friday night are like sailors off a ship six weeks at sea  

Whether the call or the peck of the pileated in the sweet gum tree is more entheogenic 

If using the word awesome when you are not in the presence of divinity is a sin 

What gave Pope Alexander VI the right to issue the Doctrine of Discovery  

Whether another round of chemo is worth it 

If that first marriage was only a misunderstanding with a young person 

Whether these ancient mycelium beings have anything to teach us 

If dynamiting this abstract alphabet would reveal the gods we had heard about 

Serif or non-serif 

Confetti / Kait Quinn

“I loved you completely. And you loved me the same. That’s all. The rest is confetti.” – Nell Crain, The Haunting of Hill House
Walk with me through the morose, past skeletons
happier without me into evermore’s crimson ribbon
wrapped branches. You send me moony, axis spinning,
Medusa before her head of snakes. Everything
I know about love is interstellar and candlelit rooms,
tragic as an unloved grave. I know your split-tongue
demons. You know mine, witch cursed and devil
tined. I loved you completely. You loved me completely.
The rest is just cushioned skies, bitter goodbyes,
death in slow motion, and campfire stories.

Day 15 / Poem 15

I Have Tried in My Way to Be Free/ Lois Anne

Cento composed with gratitude for the song lyrics of Leonard Cohen

Through a semi-precious stone
I walked into this empty church
To kneel grotesque and bare
And I did forget my holy song

If you never have been tempted by a demon or a god
Do not say the moment was imagined
Be the truth unsaid and the blessing gone
It don’t matter how it all went wrong
Gonna heal this wound I’m speaking of

And sometimes when the night is slow
You live your life as if it’s real
I get it now, I know it’s true
I came so far for beauty
I had no place else to go

Mom, Cello Lessons, A&W Hot Dogs / John Chinworth

I’d leave school a little early,
gigantic cello over my bony 
shoulder. Mom would drive up 
and smile. Big blue Dodge 

station wagon. Sailing through 
Dragoons, Benson—How about 
a hot dog? she’d say, hearing
my tummy growl, ferocious.

A&W drive-in—hot dogs
mustard, onion and relish. Oh—
a frosty mug o’ root beer.
One dog was good but I could’ve

easily eaten six hundred.
Back on I-10, on desert wind
we’d cruise and sing over the 
San Pedro River, under the sun by

Cienega Creek, to Houghton Road, 
Old Spanish Trail. Tucson now— 
Mom remembering, storytelling, 
philosophizing. Me, quietly nodding, 

loving the little acknowledgements—
praising my creativity, uniqueness, 
and I’m pretty sure the queerness
that she saw. I, of course, didn’t.  

Cello lesson over, quick 
bite to eat. Back down 
the interstate. Night desert
smells, can’t see saguaro 

changing to high desert yucca.
Home in Willcox, quiet cowboy
town under Dos Cabezas 
mountains. To bed quickly— 
thinking of mom: brilliant, with 
a smart take on everything. Then 
nodding off, songs spinning, 
thoughts dancing, dreaming,   


Liminal Blue / Todd Ferguson

you wrote me that
the space
between match and flame
is ours

dancing delicately
between carbon and pale fire
spark and smoke

that liminal space
the bluest flame

we hold ourselves
in its secret penumbra

burning slowly, fiercely
away from beginning and end
our flames
lick each other
into one

so here’s the biggest box of

Ohio Blue Tips

let’s consume
each other
in their cerulean flames

From One to Another / Cathy Ferrell

to Kait and all the other weird ones

Hey girl I think we could be friends girl I was the old girl we would have fought over who got to be Robin Hood girl always the hero girl loved foxes girl (but I hate mayonnaise girl) stomachaches are the worst girl indigestion is my nemesis girl I’ve puked in public girl sat very still in church girl but watched the congregation girl forced to play softball girl got hit in the head girl only one season girl who won? girl wore frills and flounces girl thought I was a real princess girl wore my grandmother’s vintage dresses girl the cute boy kept his distance girl he laughed at me through the window girl on the fringe girl never really fitting in girl my first kiss was at eighteen girl what is wrong with her girl they whispered about me girl Elder Millenial girl between generations girl afraid of social gatherings girl not invited anyway girl homeschooled girl reading in my room girl if you call me I won’t hear you girl kind of hispanic girl hybrid girl not really bilingual anymore girl sometimes dream in Spanish girl you’re such a gringa girl you don’t look Spanish girl words fail me girl what is the appropriate response girl does my face look right girl not mad this is my thinking face girl obsessed with personality tests girl INFJ girl 4 wing 5 girl Learner girl quiet unless you know me girl but don’t ever think you really know me girl hard to get to know girl am I oversharing girl I seem like a nice girl always been the good girl cried when I got a B girl Did you win all the Bible drills too girl? I remember the Newsboys girl chased my brother with a knife girl i’m sorry i’m sorry i’m sorry girl Generalized Anxiety girl imposter girl my house is a mess girl keep it all together girl I’ll absorb your pain girl still want to be the hero girl always a pebble in my pocket to squeeze girl

anyway thanks for accepting my Facebook request girl

Some Enjoy Edith Piaf, Others Rice Pilaf / David Miller

In other news, Kant says
I just can’t anymore and what he means is

Can’t half-ass his way through the morning after
Can’t deliver his lectures in as jaunty a way

Not when he’s been playing whist til midnight
Or swapping stories in the local pub

As only Kant can–hand on chin, one shoulder arched 
in mildly Quasimodic fashion–building tension with

That lightly winded, bedroom voice of his (students
Call it the beer in his sausage)–he really can’t

Not now he’s forty, and war has driven the price
Of pilaf through the roof.  Nope, he needs

A new routine, an imperative for his health,
One he can’t recant, a wholesome holistic,

Deeply-rooted and impassioned structure to sort
His days just as a sommelier buttresses a menu,

Or as Edith Piaf’s voice anchors what would have been Kant’s
Fave, if only he had heard it (how her voice is only hers,

How it creates its own categorical imperative,
A moral he lived by) –Non, je ne regrette rien

Gone Like A LLover / Amy Parrish

I slip out quiet in the early
like a lover (lost, or undiscovered)
in the same clothes as yesterday
hair in bun, sleep in eyes

I steal away beyond the gate…
a secret away
until other eyes open to find
I have gone

to leave any other way
doesn’t feel right
doesn’t feel free
I require a wide berth

but they are here
days upon days upon days
making undiscovery 
an impossibility

tiptoe stairs, whispers in the dim, 
cup of tea, water down the drain,
and now another awake

parade of questions, bike
inspection, confusion as to
why I would leave this way,
sand streaming through fingers

my quiet morning, no longer still, 
now stirring the me-obsessed 
dog next door
(everyone needs me, especially her)

she peals and whines, breaks out
of her fence, bounding over 
a wall headlong for my love
alerting all others I am awake,
that I am stealing

a secret I can no longer keep

Ancestor William / Bill Prindle

Perhaps it’s because you learned 
of me and went to the Borders and 
found the old Hoppringle ruin on 
that magical day, and you began to 
wonder how I left there and what my 
life was like as a newcomer to this 

new world, that you put so much on 
me as some founder of this family,  
but mine is just one thread in this 
ever-expanding story. But you do bear  
my name and you keep asking, so: the 
first thing is, my story’s overblown.  

I was no hero, and I don’t believe that  
I bring much to this quilting party  
of the soul. Yes, I left Scotland for  
the new world; but there was no  
romance in fleeing those civil wars, 
bit like Syria without the airstrikes.  

I do confess to longing for Aspetuck’s  
way of seeing green fire in trees, stones, 
animals, all his relations, though I could  
not say so in the Colony, where all that  
was heathen witchcraft born of a darkness  
to which they were to bring the true light.  

I realize that your grandfather Ned also  
bears my name, and lived in New Haven 
ten generations hence; maybe you wanted 
me to bring a green fire back into your line. 
In the end, you are welcome to my meager 
heritage, but you must light your own way. 

I will grant, however, that these tapestry 
threads do reveal a tinge of greenish light  
as they fall under my timeless gaze. I see 
you have added me to a host of witnesses; 
we can smile and bless and hope for you, 
but no one else can spark a fire that’s true.  

Trigger my Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo / Kait Quinn

The doctor asks me if the room is spinning and before I can answer, she says, Oh, there your eyes go. I can see it. She refers me to a vestibular therapist who can help me maneuver the calcium carbonate particles out of my inner ear’s canal and back to the utricle where they belong. Otoconia, but some people call them crystals. My partner jokes that I just need to get my chakras aligned. Or maybe I need to give my ears a moon bath. Yo, ears are wild. Housing tiny crystals that sometimes get knocked out of the utricle raft, into the semicircular canal rapids, fucking with the cilia, and tipping you off balance just from turning your head from left to right while laying down in bed? I haven’t seen a room spin since the 4th of July when my partner and I were twenty-seven and drunk off margaritas-on-the-rocks and mystery cocktails we knew we shouldn’t accept from strangers but did anyway because we’d been knocked out of our minds and into our skin, crackling like fireworks ’til we were all nerve. Do you wanna to see my eyes do that thing? I ask him seven years later, when the only thing I want to get high off besides two-and-a-half milligrams of THC is my vertigo spins. He tells me it looks like my eyes are darting traffic from the side of a road. I tell him that it takes a lot out of me, but I’m getting used to it.

Day 14 / Poem 14

Communication / Lois Anne

the wind whispers
low notes    
the grasses understand

Belle Melange  / John Chinworth

On the lower left 
a ghost doctor with 
wide nostrils holds
a stethoscope to 
the setting sun

Rubble and buoys 
stretch across from his 
bare feet to the lower 
right where an under- 
water porter scrubs 

an old ouija board. 
Sky of melted blue 
crayon bleeds into 
a tossed triangular 
1970’s fireplace 

charred to something 
nuclear. Occasional 
lumber among column 
stones are lapped 
by the sea in the distance 

Two albatrosses

Persistence / Cathy Ferrell

Hold me to you
cupped up around
your ear

Rest your head
as I drape across
your cheek
dripping amorphous

sharp crags and unclothed branches
beheaded tree
pointing to the horizon

Hang time on the clothesline

Your grandfather’s been at it again
my father tells me
I found him on the floor
by the cuckoo clock

Scraped elbow
sprained thumb
striving for
hands just out of reach
but always that desire
to wind
to wind

The air is still
except for the whispered trill
of an invisible bird
flown away

lay your face gently
down to rest
against this sable earth

leave your tic(k)s
in the care of tiny
sugar ants
to a point
in the

Dawn of the Dead / David Miller

The disease was never a virus
some burr in our lungs (1)
clotting the throat,

American greatness–
grilled cheese and tomato bisque,
gold-plated toilet seats
luxury hotels along the Moskva canal 
a kind of pierogi-flavored fascism–
promised us excellence,
delivered Arby’s (2)

This is how America dies
arteries clogging with punk-pop
and Netflix original shows, (3)
comedy shows that read 
like the evening news
the freedom to be non-binary (4)
or not

I look forward to the morning
when all these dead souls return to the flesh,
when we all become consumers (5)
and the United States fertilizes peace.

 1. When the pandemic started, I was so afraid to go out.  I have diabetes, and I’m losing feeling in one hand.  Sometimes I don’t taste things well, especially after my morning coffee, and I get this post-nasal drip at nights that leaves me gasping for air.  One morning, I go outside, and the sky was like malachite-blue, clouds forming layers in the sky.  I breathed in the smell of growing things, and I thought my life is good.  

2. Confession time: back before the pandemic, when I was studying for my PhD (I teach O-Chem at a high school on the Westside), I used to stop off at the Arby’s on Manchester.  I always ordered the medium Beef N’ Cheddar and a small Jamocha shake with extra whip.  Always.  I love the horseradish sauce.  So mayonaissey and so spicy. I was living on the edge back then.

3. When all you have for company is Netflix and tik-tok, you can burn out real fast.  I still watch the True-Crime shows, though.  The one about the serial killer strangling kittens freaked me out.  I actually rescued three cats because of it– cute as Christmas sweaters.  But then they started to rough-house a bit, scratched up my naugahyde couch and wouldn’t use the litter box if I didn’t feed them on time.  So, I brought them back to the shelter and traded them for a pug.  Now I’m a dog person.

4. One time I brought my pug into Arby’s (I was feeling nostalgic) and these people were mad angry at each other over masks.  One guy was like You look like a fuckin idiot and the other was like Oh, thank you for lettin me take off my mask: my COVID was making it hard to breathe.  And then fists and bodies flew.  I got thumped and dropped my pug over the counter.  Bruises up and down my side.  My little Donny was well-fed.

5.  I’ve read this poem a few times and it seems very angry.  Personally, except for COVID, the past few years were okay. 

Early Valentine / Todd Ferguson

your stitched heart hangs in
my darkened window

I weave my hands
through its threads


miles away
I hear your rhythms
skipping or slowing
fighting through the
fuckening of a day


a day like today
pockmarked with
strains and stresses


bitter winter night
I press my hands to
your breast
warm with power


your heart beckons me
and I hold it beyond
the darkened window


Simple Pleasures: an ode to Amélie / Amy Parrish

Crispy edges on pancakes. The sound of dry beans in a jar. Slush of rice after first rinse. Onions on fingers at end-of-day. Pinching peels from banana bottoms. Bursts of citrus in the air. Slants of light. Salt and pepper curls tucked behind his ear. The salty smell between a dog’s toes. Mud squishing between my own. Soft thuds of droplets on broad leaves. How the air smells before a rain. (Clichés.) 

Ancestor—Erskine / Bill Prindle

I suspect I’m here to change your story, 
as the great great grandfather who  
showed up late in the game and blew  
your Yankee Congregational abolitionist  
cover. I can explain, though I know those  
times are past explaining, and besides I  
like that you are picking up my thread,  
among the many you are adding, bringing 
light to what lay in darkness for too long.  

I was born a Yankee too, in New York,  
not that far from the Connecticut woods  
you grew up roaming. My first mistake,  
in the story you keep revising to tell  
yourself you are a good person, was being  
ordained Episcopal in Alexandria, Virginia  
in the 1850s. But I wanted to serve God, and 
the church owned my fate, so I led Virginia  
parishes in the 1860s, and yes, I was indeed a 
Confederate chaplain; and it makes me smile  
that on learning this you felt “so busted.”  

In my defense, though there is no defense, 
and there can be no us and them anymore,  
we did not own slaves, though Ann was  
a Selden and daughter of the Old South, and 
she dictated our sympathies on such things.  
None of this was known to you until ten  
years back when you moved to Virginia  
and your spirit ally cousin Mary told you  
her grandfather Randolph was born down  
there and you started to dig. And so now 

you know; and though Ann and I moved  
the family to New Jersey after the war and  
wanted all that unpleasantness forgotten,  
that rebel flag loyalty waves on in this field  
we call a family, but I see no one to blame,  
when you peel it all back. For me, I want  
to track down those Zander men to hear  
more about their stories, and who knows, 
maybe some new threads will start to gleam. 

If I Were a Haunting Thing / Kait Quinn

I’d black out his hazels, never let the sun get in. Leave a pile of moth corpses beneath his front porch light every morning. Skip the record, vinyl reminders—you come back to me, you come back to me, you come back. Swing all his cabinets open—can’t keep anything from me anymore. I’d be the 3 a.m. phone call with no caller, brass door rap without knuckles—there are unholier sounds than midnight screams and a witch’s incantation. I’d be the frost that glazes the ground behind his boot steps. Autumn that whips his window in claret kisses. I’d be the unsettled star seed on his clammy skin—little explosion in clavicle canyon; lit end of a cigarette to the inner wrist; mosquito nettling one ear, then the other, then the back of the neck, never can catch it, my belly blood swollen. I’d never flicker the lights, tousle the blinds, static the speakers—no, I want to play “A House in Nebraska” on a whim, every word loud and clear. Make him wish for a way out of this ache. Line his walls with spines carved with my name, dog ear random pages like they mean something—a lifetime spent wondering which poems are about him.

Day 13 / Poem 13

What is Enough / Lois Anne

If she could become the kind of person
from whom it would be impossible to steal
If she could make not wind, fire, earth,
or gold – but rain

Would that be enough?

If she could never lie yet invariably be kind
If she always knew what she wanted
If her dreams came true
Would she spontaneously combust?

Would that be enough?

Watching a Video of a Train from Hanoi/ John Chinworth

What chord does a horn 
from a train leaving 
Hanoi play?
Is the Vietnamese music scale
related to a Gamelan’s?
That part of Vietnam
was gray that day 
It’s on the same latitude as 
Yucatan, Mauritania, Mecca
The train runs faster than 
scooters or cars
Horn’s always blowing
Why do bikers, walkers 
move away only slightly?
Buses in the scene look 
newer than Seattle’s
The train stops and when it stops 
it slightly rocks back 
not a California 
stop but for real. 

Wednesday  / Todd Ferguson

Every histrionic sigh
emitted down the hall
every shrill cackle
barked by a student

Every I’m bored

Every I didn’t do my homework and
I forgot to read and I didn’t have time
I left my book at my dad’s house
I was too tired
I just didn’t feel like it
Why does it matter

Every complaint and excuse and whine

We’re out of coffee
Could you repeat that
Poetry doesn’t make any sense
You just wouldn’t understand
You sound like my father

Every novel soured
authors grown tired
stanzas stale
metaphors clichéd
students bored (and boring)

When the only terms
that come to mind are

Even Wordle mocked my
five attempts today
(thanks, ionic)

The nadir of the week
dark heart of the semester

So maybe just take the advice
you give your students

Change your perspective
Don’t try to control others
Take a deeper breath
Be patient with yourself (and others)

Sometimes you just have
to remember to always
keep teaching yourself

Feel better?

Requiem, She Wrote  / Cathy Ferrell

(for Angela Lansbury, b. 1925–d. 2022)

Who will tend the garden
at the house in Cabot Cove
now that Jessica is gone?

For 12 seasons
she sleuthed and meddled and made sure
all was right in the world,

stumping killers
with an unloaded gun
or non-existent fingerprints,

just the possibility of evidence
enough to make them confess.
It worked 

every time. I’ve watched the episodes 
over and over knowing the outcome
and settling comfortably into

the predictable plots.
Why do we return
to the same storyline?

Maybe we need
a prescription
for stability,

a tidiness laced
with kismet and apple pie
(hold the cheddar),

a certainty of being
in the right place
and of things falling

right into place.
Someone will die,
someone will pay,

and the pipes will always
need repair.
We knew

and that’s really all 
she wrote.

How to be Jewish/Cherokee/Protestant-ish With A Pinoy Twist  / David Miller

Don’t.  That’s my advice. When your dad informs you he’s marrying the nurse from Cebu, don’t sit in the front seat at the drive-in where the windshield will start to fog. Yeah, they’re in the back seat, but it sounds like she’s clucking in disapproval of Amityville Horror, not whatever your dad’s doing

Afterward, don’t complain you’re eating Tastee-Freez, just say it tastes like refrozen ice cream, call it zombie whip, ask why it has crunchy mouth-feel, and when your dad pulls out his belt, remind him you won’t stop crackin wise.

Ask, please ask, about all those pictures in dad’s office, the ones of Native Americans (the only one he named was Cochise) standing in wide-brimmed hats, holding rifles at parade rest, a slight smile slipping over their lips–what does it mean that grandpa’s brother resembles the people in those pictures?

When he tells you about the bullies who called him Redskin or Kimo-Sabe, people shoving feathers into his hair, or whooping up a war dance around him, ask why he didn’t just beat the crap out of them.

Don’t hate your family when your friends mock their names, or when they throw pennies at you, or check for tails and horns.  Don’t explain why when everyone else calls them egg rolls, you sometimes say lumpiang, or Ay nako when your lab partners pour water into acid.

The world was much bigger than you in high school, so much larger than your friends could understand.  Yes, you tried to show them other ways of seeing, but you were blind, too. There were so many flavors, so many stories, so many words to guide yourself and your friends.  You could not use them all

barren / Amy Parrish

(an erasure from The Strange Woman by Ben Ames Williams)

Ancestor—Zander / Bill Prindle

I had never met you, but your wife  
let me know it’s okay to come on  
this strange porch of family story.  
My grandmother Tirzah was a free  
woman, part black part Cherokee, 
who gave up her freedom to marry  
an enslaved man on the Dockery  
plantation at Mangum. A Dockery  
son then fathered my father on her,  
and when asked for college money  
he told my father “I gave you my  
white blood and that’s enough.”  

My mother Emma died in childbirth  
when I was nine. I was sent for the  
doctor, but the farm was far out and  
the doctor was drunk and gave her 
strychnine by mistake, and I bore 
that stain for seventy-some years 
of life, plus thirty-seven in a brass 
urn of ashes lying in a dark corner  
of your mother in law’s, while  

anger and abuse cascaded down  
the generations, until last month  
when my granddaughter your wife  
took it on herself to bury my ashes  
properly, at the foot of my father’s  
grave down in Statesville, with a  
bible and a cross and the verse I  
pointed to when I sat her down  
as a teenager: “Let there be light.  
And there was light.”  

I was not one to trust offers of help 
from white men, but you supported 
her and drove all those hours, and  
stood beside her holding a cloud of  
light over that grave as she said her  
prayers. Since I’ve been restored to  
the place I belong, I feel that light  
coming through the walls, and now I  
see a cloud of kinfolk, all beaming. 

We’re In It Now / Kait Quinn

We meet October in her caramel
middle. The trees—proud, resolute
exhibitionists—strip naked, while we
bag our limbs in oversized sweatshirts.
The chimneys sweep hearth fire like old
black magic into ancestral air, crisp enough
to bite into. The kitchen witches trade chai
aromas through open windows,
rare waft of cauldron sage. What a pot
of gold! What another glorious clementine
dawn!—leaves curt as pear syrup, copper
sun bright like the sweet tang of sliced oranges.

Day 12 / Poem 12

An Erasure / Lois Anne

Chemo Brain Fog I

I’m living in la-la land and embrace it in the moment, for what else can I do? It’s hard to describe this state. There are so many aspects to it for me – memory, perception, attention, sensory input, spatial relationships, time awareness, [in]ability to put 2 + 2 together – all of which is in itself okay because I know it’s not me, I know what’s causing it. However, like fog on a country road, it’s unpredictable, swirls around, ebbs and flows, thicker and thinner, and it comes and goes in varying speeds and intensities. Sometimes it’s like being high but without having drunk or smoked anything. I get impatient/annoyed when I need to be rational and logical but cannot follow a train of thought from one station to the next. I know it will pass. It ebbs and flows and puts me totally in touch with my vulnerability. I’m getting used to doing things when I can; and when my brain is foggy, it’s a good time to draw, knit, wash dishes, cook being sure to set the stove timer for every step that involves heat [don’t ask how many pounds of butter I’ve burned these past few months], or go for a walk only on our dirt road unless someone is with me. I’ve been told it can take up to two years for the fog to diminish as much as it’s going to – and this “as much as it’s going to” is what scares me. 

After “Chemo Brain Fog I,” by the author

Three Scenes from an Unnamed Archipelago / John Chinworth


We sailed under a pointed arch 
superbly attached to a cliffy island-
side. The main sail almost grazed 
the dome of it, and we cheered 
and poured sweet whiskey 
when she slipped through! Two 
whales, six red-capped herons, 
and a tangerine sun lazy in the sky.


I saw a kid with nets. He was 
smiling, wearing a rainbow 
kind of kilt, and a feathery, 
woven cap.  He waved 
a little bit shy, then full on.  
I waved back.  Suddenly 
he stopped and went back 
to his work, forgetting about me. 


An odd village on the side 
of a steep mountain island.  
Golden lit. About fifteen homes.  
Wind, surf, with minimal beach,
a handful of boats. Long 
stairs between levels of homes.  
It looked like three streets, each 
below the other.  Lovely, lonely.

On Reading David Foster Wallace Too Early on a Tuesday Morning / Todd Ferguson

and his language overstimulates the carburetor of my mind

too much fuel
not enough air

my eyes choke and gasp
across pages of his words

but my longing heart
still hits the gas

steers through his prose
scrabbles for the open spaces

secreted within

the existential fields
of our humanity

buried in each of us

anxieties of our mortality
our loneliness and solitude
our fear of vulnerability
our addictions and weaknesses
our terror of self

our greater hope of empathy

so I envision this morning as I
struggle and sputter down
his serpentine run-on roads

a better world

one imagined by Wallace

where irony is replaced by authenticity
cynicism by trust
doubt by belief

in ourselves

where the hymn we hear
the one we sing
the one that binds us together


you are loved

so I read on
behind and beyond
the words



List Melancholy / Cathy Ferrell

Crumbs in the cookie tin Wine that has soured Stepping on the scale The dinner no one likes The drive home from vacation Oppressive heat Lights that are too bright Missing places you’ve never been Missing home when you’re already there Invisible hands pushing down on your shoulders Living someone else’s life The ghosts of abandoned friendships The upward tilt of your head re-absorbing an unwanted tear A throat too full of unvoiced sobs Pivotal words left unsaid Pivotal words hurled at targets A tear in the atmosphere Soil left clinging to the roots of a wildflower A stump left in the ground A project left unfinished A thought left hanging Half a couple dancing Tennessee Waltz at the wedding The moment I realize my grandfather has hobbled off alone A door that has been shut A pen run out of ink

To Autumn / David Miller

It’s Count Chocula season
and the leaves turn all shades of pumpkin spice 
streets overbrim with Fun-Size candies 
Days against days fall
into days, against days

In supermarkets, costumed and hungry, we prowl–
children, doctors, lawyers, plumbers–
and at all the packaged wonders of the world we gawk:
roasts plumping their cellophane, diced mirapoix
in crisp plastic, tomato-red peppers
distended like unopened wings

down this row the first scatterings we find
orange marshmallows plump in packages
boxes of Boo Berry and Froot Loops
twilight torn along the cereal aisle
The crumbs of days making their milky ways
to pie tins and unraked muffin cups

Sweetest of seasons, 
garnished in horror,
I’ll taste every confection,
keep your door light on,

Night wears its own mask
and goes door to door
a tub made of fog in its hands
I go with him, gladness spilling 
around our ankles like loose cereal

One Hundred Years of Solitude – A Cento / Amy Parrish

there was no music, no fireworks,
no pealing bells, no shouts of victory

a person does not belong to a place until
there is someone dead under the ground

lost in misty byways,
in times reserved for oblivion,
in labyrinths of disappointment

a person does not belong to a place until
there is someone dead under the ground

forgotten even by the birds,
where the dust and the heat
had become so strong that it
was difficult to breathe

a person does not belong to a place until
there is someone dead under the ground

secluded by solitude and love
and by the solitude of love
it was almost impossible to sleep

a person does not belong to a place until
there is someone dead under the ground

at dusk through her tears
she saw the swift and luminous disks
that crossed the sky like an exaltation
and she thought that it was a signal of death

a person does not belong to a place until
there is someone dead under the ground

Remedios the Beauty
had gone up to heaven

* lines drawn from ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ by Gabriel Garcia Márquez

Ancestor—Victor  / Bill Prindle

I was the grandfather you knew 
as the one who gave it all to God,  
but I was and I am just a fey lad  
who loved dressing up and showed  
a talent for the stage, though I did 
sell out in the Twenties as a Mad Man  
who worked to get people to buy things  
they didn’t need and couldn’t afford,  
so we could raise your mother and  
her sisters in their white frocks in our  
white picket fence Great Neck maison.  

Though I was also deeply depressed  
when my father died in ’31, your poems 
have taught me how differently Ned and I  
acted out our despair. Perhaps your dream 
of Lorca would have saved us from our 
selves, but the truth is you needed to see  
the starkness of our choices. I don’t regret  
my choice, but I regret the judgments we  
laid on you later for living in sin while  
we idealized the marriage of Charles and  
Diana as a thing you should have emulated. 

I still wish my ticker had been stronger, but 
I’m glad I lived long enough to sit with you  
in your parents’ living room at the end of  
your Dostoevsky summer of 1970 when you  
had lost your first love and your mother had  
gone over the edge into bipolar and you had  
spend the summer job killing hippiedom jetsam  
dogs and cats at the East Bay Humane Society  
every night, and so I know why you replied so 
diffidently when asked what you had learned.  

Sitting in that overstuffed armchair, I believe I  
surprised you when I admitted that as I turned  
eighty, I was less sure about the truth than I  
had ever been, and the old lion was really just 
another kitten looking for the milk. But time 
is short now, and I need you to know that I am  
just one of us who send you love and blessing  
as you cure this constellation of our affection. 

Do My Birds Fly South to You? (after Matthew Smith) / Kait Quinn

I think my safe place is in the fists to match
my bruises. The truth is I never wanted you
to handle me with care. Never wanted
heaven’s harvest, dry land, mood ring blue
promises, perfect portrait in the pumpkin
patch; just your potent orbit, head-in-the-hydra’s-
mouth euphoric drops of opium to croon me
shipwrecked. Or this is just the dampened
nerves talking. Or I’m the villain in this story.
Or these northern winters are too tenebrous
and protracted and I miss stars merlot splattered
across my pupils, iris and delphinium in bloom
over retina. This is not a migration. This is a witch
hunt, and you are the delirium. Strap us together.
See if we sink or swim.

Day 11 / Poem 11

Downsizing Psalm  / Lois Anne

I ask for strength and clarity –
boxes of books, stacks of papers, decades of my work,
tools, cookbooks, collections of rocks and shells,
unfinished knitting projects, seldom used dishes,
and so much more –
what to keep, what to give away

I am too young to rethink all this
yet the mirror and the medical tests
tell another story

it’s time –

the skis must go

Unfortunately  / John Chinworth

Unfortunately, some will freeze
the willfulness that love brings forth—
brush it away like a springtime sneeze.
Unfortunately, some will breeze
on by, missing the point, yet tease—
Heaven forbid their soul try for true north.
Unfortunately, some will freeze
the willfulness that love brings forth.

Western Abstraction  / Todd Ferguson

Dusk desert sky
silhouetted Rockies
teal bleeds into rose
lavender into
hidden horizon
bounded density
amethyst becomes magenta
indigo gloaming
boundless for a moment
until it releases
rising darkness
sable obsidian onyx
beneath the dawning
opal moon

What is left  / Cathy Ferrell

What is left
when you have nothing
to say?
When even the pebbles won’t
What is left?
No thing at all.

I took the best nap
on a secluded beach in Oregon.
Laid out on a Mexican blanket
patterned yellow and black and gray
mottled with many-colored imperfections
I counted freckles 
til my eyelids drooped
and then I counted speckles
and stars
behind the darkness of sleep-lazy lashes
where there was nothing
but space and the susseration of waves
breathing hushhhhhhhhh

now what is left?
A silence never empty,
gestation, a fullness 
of thought, a possibility
of connection or
a foot in the mouth, or in the door,
who knows?

When you have nothing left to say
that is when you might say the most.
When you have nothing left to say
that is when something else might say
some thing
to you.

Blockbuster  / David Miller

River of
movies arranged like 
of action-adventure,
rapids of horror
and romance
stagnant with drama
& mystery 
and shorelines
washed away
by thrillers
and rip-tide

Friday nights 
kayaking emotions
Nothing real
exists here
not even among documentaries
and yet
hours spent themselves
twisting around one aisle 
to the next
What did I come in here for?
Oh, this looks good
Did I see this one before?
Ooh, this has–

A splash of faces
blue turns pink
blurbs pass
with softly tilting words
the edges of
a still
obscured by shadows,
or misplaced titles
leaving jaggedy
where previous
tourists decorated
the space with
scraps of plastic

how discarded
movies gather 
on the lip of 
we junk out
more blood, more bamboom
anything but the 4:30 alarm
the engine 
turning over in the dark
and snow,
the long ache
in the right knee 
starting at 7:30,
the slow drip
of days)

blueandgold house 
of dreams, where 
have you 
Nothing seems 
as real 
without you, 
not even 

Why I haven’t written a poem today  / Amy Parrish

There are monkeys on my roof thieving bananas from the tree. I pound my fist against metal and shake a grass broom towards the sky. They stare at me and peel their pilfered bounty, undeterred.

Baby goats have claimed the veranda. I charge out the gate like a bull but they know I’ll do no harm and so I gently lift them up and out (with a kiss) to save myself the hassle of sweeping manure. Again (and again and again) they return, munching the last bits of leaves from twiggy stems before I bolt again.

I see a sandy channel of termites climbing up the door. (They weren’t here a few days ago.) I fetch a tin of kerosene oil but only a few splashes remain. Today I will go to the market.

I wash my hands and remember remnants of the flood of black ants that climbed up through the drains at the last rain. Now I hose them motionless back down to open ground.

The Dutchman’s pipe dried out since then. Two full buckets since morning and already the pots have hardened to clay. Good earth is hard to come while sunshine is teeming.

And now I’ve returned after my bridge to the world was broken. A hard drive wiped clean with five hours mourning lost files, restoring what I can. Thanks to God for the typewriter.

Ancestor—Ned  / Bill Prindle

I was the grandfather you never 
knew because I smoked myself 
to death, because I couldn’t find  
a way back from that night in the  
fall of 1929 when the dog waked  
your twelve year old father who  
found me on the kitchen floor with  
my stockbroker head in the oven.  

The men in the white coats whisked  
me to a sanitarium for a year until  
I came home and played bridge and  
smoked and drank sherry and didn’t  
talk about it, as a deep hole invisibly 
cratered your father’s heritage road,  
pulling down with it the remnants  
of the daring your ancestor William  
carried across the sea in his duffel. 

Thank you for finding found a way  
out of that hole through your shadow  
work in circles of men, because I felt 
that, so when you froze in that scene  
when you were nine, staring out into  
winter woods at dusk, realizing for  
the first time that the universe is cold  
and dead and you are alone, I came 
silently that you would not be alone. 

And it was you who found those letters 
a hundred years later that I had written  
in 1900 when I was twelve to my  
depressed mother who could not care  
for me, describing my rambles through  
the same ravines and down the same  
streams you rambled at the same age. 

You dreamed once that Lorca had 
come to visit me in the sanitarium, 
with an aroma of jasmine that lifted 
my capitalist despair, but I was only 
playing my part in your story and I am  
happy to be back in the kinship circle.  

Weird Girl (after Amy Kay) / Kait Quinn

Bring a book to the school dance girl. Always play the boy girl. Han Solo girl. Darkwing Duck girl. Robin Hood girl. Robin Hood as a fox girl. Balto could get it girl. Eats mayonnaise sandwiches girl. That’s it, just mayonnaise girl. Can’t sit still in church girl. Just me and my stomachache girl. Ketchup on everything girl. Can’t hear her come up behind you girl. Awkward girl. Vacant stare girl. Don’t ask me a question or play the guessing game with me girl. Moved out of Texas girl. Strange girl. Godless girl. Scared of the horse girl. Scared of a tossed ball girl. Scared of choking, chews food sixty-four times, won’t swallow the pill girl. Could once recite the entire Newsboys: Down Under the Big Top film girl. Take Me To Your Leader girl. Mockingbird girl. Echolalia girl. Have to shape my mouth around that sound, bust out a movie line here for no reason girl—what’d you have for lunch girl? I had a Reese’s peanut butter cup and some Gatorade girl. Late bloomer girl. Can’t drive a car girl. No boy would kiss her ’til she was sixteen girl. Tongue sweet like stomach acid girl. Tastes like strawberries girl. Run-by dry humped at a party by another girl girl. Where are your earbuds girl? Magnetic Fields on repeat girl. Can you hear me girl? Thirty-four and still can talk to a guy girl. Quiet girl. Nonsexual girl. Can’t tell if she’s seven or eighty-seven girl. One side of the waist higher than the other girl. Would definitely hate fuck her ex girl. No one wants the woman lost inside her inner child girl. Lonely girl. Outside in girl. Can’t talk to anyone girl. Squeeze my hand for yes girl. Play this at my funeral girl. Corpse girl. Shy girl. Scared of everything girl. Whats the point girl?

Day 10 / Poem 10

Possessions – Possession / Lois Anne

I’m not a pharaoh
or a fundamentalist believer
just a product
of capitalist advertising campaigns
and an artist who repurposes

all that I cling to
those things that have meaning and value now
 in the end
              won’t go with me

Spidergraph / John Chinworth

Spiders always 
weave my destiny
One jumped out
of a woodpile—
brown recluse. 
Cavatina playing
Brush of death 
salted my ears, my
own mind again. 
Hush now 
Let that be a heartbeat

I blew on a web
to test a spider once
and to see its reflexes
She glowed ember-like
glared at me I suppose
The sunlight through her 
A flame
Time After Time 
in my headphones
Hush now
Let that be a heartbeat

In those days there was
copper and phone calls 
Hey let’s go out in the desert 
I dreamed I held a rifle 
once to my shoulder 
They said shoot it I said 
no way I was chicken
I thought of lights going 
out and stepping on spiders
Hush now
Let that be a heartbeat

Literary Wordplay1 / Todd Ferguson

a clean, well-lighted place2
good old neon3
a really good jazz piano4
good country people5
a small, good thing6
the state of grace9
dearly beloved10

1Or, Homage to American Writers 
2Ernest Hemingway
3David Foster Wallace
4Richard Yates
5Flannary O’Connor
6Raymond Carver
7Tobias Wolff
8John Cheever
9Harold Brodkey
10F. Scott Fitzgerald
11Nicole Krauss

Ode to Ginger Thins /Cathy Ferrell

There’s this bakery in North Carolina
(Winston-Salem, it used to be two towns did you know that?)
and they specialize in these little squares of cake
iced and decorated with flowers, fruits, frosting galore.
You can buy them in a box, three rows of 4
for a neat dozen, lemon tart, cocoa dark, strawberry 
sweet tempting jewels in a glass case
just waiting for yearning fingers to pluck them out.
So how is it I by-passed all these 
in favor of thin brown rounds stacked up in a tin?

Wafer-thin, whisper of spice, your smooth top invites
my teeth to lightly crunch and catch your brittle
crumbs to melt softly on my tongue, inhale
a gingery breath, hold it just long enough to
curl up into my sinuses and leave a warm
memory of winter days in my Florida kitchen,
baking spice-scented things I pretend will conjure
the cooler weather.
Sweetly scallop-edged, your lightness belies
a lingering layer of heat.

There’s a row of ginger thins waiting
in the tin.
(Did you know they are only 10 calories each?)
Tomorrow, I’ll save them for tomorrow
because who knows when I’ll get back to 
that bakery.
I’ll save them for tomorrow, ok?

I press my thumb to the crumbs on the table
and lick my lips.

Osiris / David Miller

My brothers cut me up; it’s how my family is made

I don’t mind losing parts of myself
So long as it’s to someone I love

Arguments about Saturday morning shows–
Scooby or Scrappy Doo? Shazam or Isis?
I vote for the blue-winged lady

My wife finds parts of me near the guava,
Its blue-irised flowers dilating in the sun,
My smile, a snake curling/uncurling in the dust
I resurrected the plant, she tells me

My brothers on the couch, hands in the air, screaming 
Shazam! I’m hopping on a rocking chair-Oh, Mighty 
Isis!–flying. There’s nowhere dull to land.

Parts of me get lost in the drain, between
Cushions, in the laundry, but my wife finds me

Usually.  I resurrect: it’s how families are made.

Kankalitala / Amy Parrish

Maa petitioned puja at Kankalitala,
holy for the hipbone of Shiva’s Shati,
fallen in a pond painted sacred

We arrived by Toto where a frail
arm reached from the side
collecting a bowl of blossoms
crowned with a crimson veil

Vendors lined the narrow way with ribbons
of saffron marigolds, sweet desserts
in glass cases, purses and combs
and swan-shaped balloons

Sareed women elbowed to be the first to
smudge sindoor and sandalwood
between brows, begging
for a few rupees in return
(when coin comes out a dozen
open palms appear)

Blankets and gamchas
piled high upon heads weaving
through a long snaking line of worship,
opening their wares in waves

Flanked by electric speakers
a child sang songs of god
where goats knotted in rope
were approaching the end

Sadhu waved incense to the tree,
a ring of dancers beat their drums in
swelling circles, bells and flowers
on leg and limb

Oblivious to commotion, a pair of
butterflies performed a ballet,
black wings spotted white,
swirling in a delicate dance
rising up and falling down
and rising up again

…this, of all wonders, the one I
let myself succumb to

Ancestor—Aspetuck  / Bill Prindle

I don’t show up in those family  
trees where the names are tied  
to the fathers, because your ancestor  
William’s son John fell in love  
with my niece Squampishah  
one summer gathering shellfish  
at Oyster Point where the river 
meets the harbor, and she bore  
a son, Momagensah, but your 
people would not acknowledge 
the boy because your religion  
would not condone love with  
heathen Quinnipiac, even though  
we fought with you English in  
your Dutch and Wampanoag wars.  

I am called into this story only  
because William and I bonded  
after he crossed the river to meet  
my uncle the sachem Momaguin 
to atone for the damage his hogs  
did to our maize, and stayed the  
whole day, and came back later  
to learn from us of bow hunting,  
and that winter joined our fire  
ceremony, during which I believe  
our gods ignited a flame in him 
with a tinder their god lacked.  

Now as your days on this earth 
dwindle, as ours did, you need 
only know that I and my relations   
struggled to stay alive as a people  
alongside yours, and there was love  
and honor and valor along with the  
bitterness of dispossession, and even  
though our remnants faded northwest  
into the forest or vanished into your  
insatiable culture, today as you fly  
in your lightning wagons on Route  
I95 over Quinnipiac River, I ask for  
little, I seek not fame, I only pray 
that you remember to say our name.

When the Witches Come, and They Will Come, I’ll Be/ Kait Quinn

Digging my own grave to the saddest soundtrack—Funeral, Exile, Down in a fucking Rabbit Hole. Anxiety spiral—are my poems gritty enough, specific enough, ghost girl freckle body-pinned to the sweat-stained mattress enough? The realization that life is just brackish waves of uncertainty, catching your mistakes in the horse’s pupil, best guesses, moving shit around. I want to trust fall into autumn’s feuille morte arms and her promised resurrection, but I remember him too Axe-in-the-nostril, nicotine-under-the-fingernail, alcohol-poisoning-paralysis, orange-lighter-bruise-on-the-nose blatant. All his blood pacts loose as an unrestrained passenger splattered post crash across the asphalt. October is a trickster. In the pumpkin lantern flicker, I am back belly up, eyes on the ceiling fan, chasing minor chords steel strummed in the dark, and he’s less phantom, almost tender, almost miss him, forget that loving him was death in slow motion, and then November brings her killing frost and I remember how my pupils went vacuous and the witches come and I remember burning to become. His fingers are quick, but mine are quicker. I strike the match first. I light my own pyre.

Day 9 / Poem 9

Psalm for a Restless Mind / Lois Anne

Seeking clarity and decisiveness
at moments of uncertainty –
May my imagination sustain
all my endeavors.

May I be spared from boredom
And settling for less.

When frustrated may I choose
Laughter over anger.
May I enjoy time with others and
The solace of solitude as needed.

May I have the presence of mind
to be with the bitter and the sweet.

Thrift Store Art Sonnet / John Chinworth

A frowning girl holds a wounded orange bird in her hands.
Why did she destroy it one has to ask, what story would suffice?
The brain roils and churns, the gut clenches. This is the price
paid for casually stopping and taking a slow, studied glance.
Did she twist it or stomp it in anger? Did her tricycle simply hit it
Did she forget to feed it, or was there an atrocity too frightening
to mention here. I stare. Surely, someone could enlighten me
I run more cringing scenes through my mind. I really don’t get it.
Maybe I’m too judgmental naming actions that didn’t even take place.
She found a dead bird on the lawn outside, something so beautiful
should never die.  The once-living thing is being stroked by dutiful
hands.  It had lived, it had flown, it had sung songs intricate as lace
As I ponder opening the latch to scrub my brains with a loofah,
A calico cat stares out a window, sitting on the back of a sofa.

Listen / Todd Ferguson

Silence has a language
a grammar
an architecture of space
a spectra of dimensions

and meanings
strata of meanings.

Next time we are together
and the language of silence
speaks between us


Tell me what you
really hear

and I will tell you.

In these moments
is there
anything more
we really need
to say?

Sometimes / Cathay Ferrell


the only things that come out
are gray
but today is not one of those.
A brightness fills the wedgewood sky
and autumn soaks red-gold
into the tops of the trees.
I play Monster
with my kids on the playground
I even shimmy down the slide
I chase them around and around
until even they
are too breathless to laugh.
I am too old for this.
but never for breathing
in these moments
so buoyant
with light.

Cat Woman / David Miller

Lately, we’ve been discussing Egyptian gods–
Osiris and Isis fascinate the sophomores–
But every time we discuss the story, I think
Of Saturday morning shows and superheroes

Bas-tet would also be a superhero,
Eternal protector of the lesser gods–
the goal of most high school sophomores
In some storylines she leads Cat Woman to think

She’s the hero of her story, (Was she out-thought?
Like me, Cat Woman is hardly a superhero)
Selina Kyle wouldn’t be the first duped by a god.
My mom owned twelve cats my sophomore

Year, in high school, they would play sophomorishly
And I would wrangle then so exhaustively I’d think,
This may be as close as I can get to being a superhero,
But Cat Woman was silly to think she could be a god.

How sophomoric to attain powers god-like
It’s perfectly better to be thought a supervillain.

Vulnerability / Amy Parrish

Vulnerability reads as
raw words on a page
unrefined for readers’ eyes.

Like corners of mouth
deflating after a smile,
or the yearning direction
of an unguarded gaze.

It lives in the questions
you hope are not asked;
and truths that ache in reply.

But more,
vulnerability is vulnerability
to be present, honest, real.

Ancestor—Janett  / Bill Prindle

I was your Scot ancestor William’s  
grandmother on his mother’s side; 
dunno what that makes me to you 
through these flung out generations, 
but the timeline that used to keep us 
separate is collapsing as are the lines 
of ordinary space so let us not talk 
idly now, as the hour is getting late 
and we are bound into this one fate. 

So I will only say that I loved him 
for who he was, a fey lad who still 
found the courage to walk away 
from this Gala Water valley, up to 
Edinburgh and Leith where he found 
the ship that took him off to that 
new world we’d only heard of, place 
of hemlock forests not yet thinned, 
of painted heathens who wear skins. 

I’ve learned through these channels  
that he found his way and married  
and gat nine children, of which most  
survived and now their descendants  
have peppered that continent, but you  
are the only one who has enquired 
about young William, so now I am  
called forth to tell you what I know, 
that in your heart this story may grow. 

But all I know is only from the hearth 
where we sat so many evenings, iron 
pot hung over the fire with the day’s  
porridge, him sitting quietly, ofttimes 
saying nothing, other times singing  
the old hymns in our own harmonies, 
and sometimes at the refrain he would  
show a soft green fire in his eye, so I 
pray that fire’s in you and will not die. 

I Know This House is Haunted, Yet I Still Keep Coming Back / Kait Quinn

Limbs flung starfish on the yellow mattress. Glass
doll eyes petrified chasmic and vacant. Enough freckles
on his back to trace him into Hades. She, Persephone
absorbing October’s loosed gamboge and pomegranat
seed. Pumpkin shades adorn the leaves when you can spin
sweat healianthus, hemorrhage ruby and ripe, hollow skull
jack-o-lantern jaunty. I know this house is haunted, know
he deadly nightshades her irises blind, and she does not bloom
aster and myostosis scorpioides around her wrists but more
sinister pools of indigo molasses. She forgets. No one gets out
of love alive, yet she comes back for one last kiss every winter.

Day 8 / Poem 8

Self Portrait as Mourning Dove / Lois Anne

black is so heavy
and this is going to be a long flight
so, grey
grey, like the great once-blue heron
who keeps watch on the brush pile
            apparently finding sustenance enough
            for its remaining days here
and what will sustain me?
today, it’s crusts and crumbs, a few seeds

hunted, haunted, hounded
some call me game
but I’m not playing
my grief is real

When You Draw an Island / John Chinworth

you have to take
        into consideration
where the best beaches
        and the most teal surf might be

Place a capital port
        and a road from there
to interior plains where
        a lone mountain rises

reaching to the sky
        (low by mainland standards)
Note the swell view to be
        had there—every bight, cove, lagoon

visible, as through a crystal
mirror that can see the hidden
archipelagos of your mind
Add a long string of small

islets with ferry routes
        Draw a jaunty orange-striped flag
that looks savory
        against blue rolling waves

Don’t worry if you screw up
        your map, simply re-scribble, re-do
With an easy hand, gently
        grow your own island 

A Self (in conversation) / Todd Ferguson

The story
                                           (or the manifold of stories)
we tell ourselves
                                           (about ourselves)
we write and edit and    (omit and)
embellish                         (and lie and cut and rewrite)
and imagine and hope  (and fear and regret)
and reconstruct each layer 

on top of 
                                           (the other on top of) 
the other 
on top of

a perpetual palimpsest
                                           (of self).

A perpetual
excavation of self

                                           (of I dig therefore I am)

of who I say I am of

who you say you are:

I                                           (Perdition of pronouns;
You                                     paradoxes of redefinitions 
We                                       and misunderstandings and
Us.                                       scurrilous scratchings in the dark.)

Calcifications of being; negations of becoming.

Is all of this

                                           (all the truths we
                                           tell live show


                                           (all that we say we are)

these lonely words 
we have?                           (Is it ever really enough?)

Perennial seeds 
of doubt                            (planted firmly)
in fertile ground
of self-doubt.

If they take and root        (draw sustenance)
stem and branch              (flourish)
they reduce                       (myself)
back to seed                      (again).

Accumulation of doubt; negation of self.

So take your pen
all the weapons of 
your art
                                           (arm yourself against
                                           your worst self)
and break open
the musty loam

to sluice the poisons 
from your mind.

On/En Point/e / Cathy Ferrell

Turns, lines, phrases, variations–
my feet used to draw these on the dance floor.

I wanted

to be Pavlova spinning perfect molecular spirals
to the tick tick tick of a metronome,
bolstered and emboldened by the rigidity
of reinforced satin shoes.

Other times I undid the ribbons
and moved in deliberate exploration,


into an incarnation of Isadora

But I am older now.
I am out of shapes.
I toe the line
in new ways
turning a phrase
on a word or a sole
dancing on the point 
of a 

Conjuring / David Miller

Where it hides
Behind windows
Or snapping light

Here within walls
Between eyebrows
Under waxed fruit

What you watching tonight?
That’s ninety minutes of my life

In trembling night
Surviving evil
Is not escape

It’s stories, passed
Around a fire
Like fresh S’Mores.

The Way I Want To Live / Amy Parrish

I want to drink life slowly
from an endless wide-mouthed
bowl cupped in steady hands,
But I am restless
Biting down on fists full
of untamed fruits
sticky rivers of indulgence
streaming down my chin

I want my mind quiet and pure
and clearer than the all-seeing
glass of an oracle’s ball,
But I am a dreamer
Mind fraught
with frivelties and rainbows and
clouds thundering storms of
imagination and wonder

I want to feel the solitude
of sun swimming above
an infinite horizon,
But I am not alone
Rather a star full of skies
for all the ones I love
and ever will know who
fill the empty spaces

I want to be everything
everywhere to
But I am imperfect

and that’s the way
I want to live

Hopkins’ Ekphrastic Gratitude / Bill Prindle

I burned my poems when I first 
took the vows; no one wanted 
that fresh a poesy, not even me. 

Yet my words keep returning, 
published in the next century, 
sprung rhymes finally catching. 

Those words came through me 
out of airy nothing, unfiltered, 
not ordained, and so now freed 

Of all authority, and so spring 
from any bough you can name, 
as every leaf is pressed out of 

Darkness from a light deep down, 
suddenly sparkling a pink of petals  
out of black roots, not to press 

Into books or folds of memory 
but just now rushing off this brush 
as it caresses the rough flatness 

Of this canvas, a square plain 
thing that calls my name again, 
a bright world into being again.  

I Felt A Funeral in My Hips (after Emily Dickinson) / Kait Quinn

I felt a funeral
in my hips,
carved to fit
your stitched
expectations. Monster
womb. Ghost
town womb. Index
of last unbreaths.
Rot breaks through.
Mourners weep
in red. What
would have been
never is. What never
is grows teeth.
The nightmare digs
into me.
I wake with claw
marks on my skin.

Day 7 / Poem 7

Obituary / Lois Anne

for M.

the giver of life
our river of life
until it doesn’t

son   father   husband
teacher   sailor   friend
you lived fully
until you didn’t

Close your eyes / John Chinworth

Find your own tune
The sutra you need
Whether on violin
Or pastoral reed
Close your eyes
And drift away—
To open skies
Thread a needle
With rhythm & rhyme
On nimble fingers
Stitched through time
Rest your brain
And ride away—
On golden plains
Open promises
Since the Big Bang
Ring while passing
From belfries strange
Cool your feet
Just rock away—
On rivers sweet
Skies are turning 
Grasp for a limb
Air hums thinner
Starts a hymn
Close your eyes
And float away—
Claim no prize

Too Late / Todd Ferguson

I decided to write one more before bed.

One more to delay
                           the end of day.

One more to punctuate
                                        my sleep.

One more to doubt
                          as too imperfect.

One more impression
                                       against frosting windows.

One more to think
             too much about.

One more to not forget.

One more to remember

Just one more
             before today
                                    becomes tomorrow.

Hoodoo’s Love Song / Cathy Ferrell

(hoodoo (n.): a column or pinnacle of weathered rock)

at me.

your unending 
swirl and groan
caress me 
into shapes

here I stand
with million
tiny grains



I stand


Who do 
you claim?

Who do 
you call?

I say 
I have not decided.
Give me another thousand years.

The Velvet Underground / David Miller

Time is a wave at the shores of the beach

And the droning hiss of undead songs
When all there were was grainy speakers
None of that we knew on those drives home

Time is waiting for us to arrive

boundaries leak–Keiro heading back
to Kyoto, John in and out of hospitals,
And me discovering poetry

in Moe Tucker’s voice and the russet-
bricked archways of Westwood, or the hum
And rattle of frat row keggers

Time runs backwards (if we survive the keggers)

Ah, those long nights, late winter, 1985
Keiro, John and me, drifting through senior year
certain only in our uncertainty

the car’s cassette player dull green
Lou Reed’s voice singing across time
the darkness that year had edges

Sonajhuri / Amy Parrish

silhouetted against falling dusk

a thousand black moons dip from branches as

crescent leaves fall to the barren bore below

nothing grows beneath the shonajhuri

bearing brooms bound of coconut ribs

tribal Shanthal cull in endless circles 

sweeping seeds of golden spirals in the sand

nothing grows beneath the shonajhuri

slender beams of bone-chalk bark,

sucking sustenance from native growth,

rise obliviously in apathetic glory

nothing grows beneath the shonajhuri

drawing droves beneath his canopy

a forest planned straight and sparse

incites gluttony and shopping and poetry and song

nothing grows beneath the shonajhuri

but there is a space where river overflows

where light bursts through at dawn

and here beneath the shonajhuri

                         a new seed rises

Bring Your Tool Belt / Bill Prindle

the realtor listing said 
which is what I did 
forty nine years ago 
this October when  
my heart’s brother  
Bruce called for 
a dome raising 
and we came from  
all over to frame  
that geodesic Fuller  
notion of shelter 
on a New Hampshire 
hillside leaves ablaze 
sky impossibly blue 
just down from the  
farmhouse his parents 
had rebuilt four years 
before the same one 
where my mother 
was given my baby 
shower twenty three 
years before in the  
same town in which 
my great grandfather  
had been a genteel  
Edwardian land baron  
until he died and his 
son gave it all to God 
so that only twelve 
acres and one old  
house dribbled down  
the generations  
and now what we 
built as something 
new is a half century 
old and passing on, 
as we pass on, as all
things must, and 
can do nothing more 
than tell about it. 

Sonnet for Autumn / Kait Quinn

Umber shadows scale the wall over my
dead body. A beautiful thing: to watch
your soul leave. I wanted like mad to fly
gold-flushed free from the wan, rubber band taut,
chemically imbalanced, earth-fixed corpse
my Atlantic, lunar-swayed soul bore
the bad luck of inhabiting. I, born
of saline, gag on soil. I am grief’s sore
left foot. And like the apple orchard, I
strike a bargain with the fox thief. Welcome
October’s brusque witch breath with chasmal eye.
Rot ochre with the poppy and foxglove.
Find me in gamboge. Honor me amber.
Flock to my grave salt tongued and fawn feathered.

Day 6 / Poem 6

A Handmaid’s Cento / Lois Anne

A Cento with lines taken from A Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

The floor was a varnished wood, with stripes and circles painted on it,          
for the games that were formerly played there.

There was old sex in the room and loneliness, and expectation, of something
without any shape or name. I remembered that yearning, for something                                                          that was
always about to happen and was never the same as the hands
                                                                           that were
on us there and then.

Time here is measured by bells, as once in nunneries.          
As in a nunnery too, there are few mirrors.

I once had a garden. I can remember the smell of the turned earth,        
the plump shapes of bulbs held in the hands, fullness, the dry rustle of seeds
through the fingers. Time could pass more swiftly that way.

From a distance it looks like peace. “Which I receive with joy.”

I remember the rules, rules that were never spelled out        
but that every woman knew.

The night is mine, my own time, to do with as I will, as long as I am quiet.          
As long as I don’t move. As long as I lie still.
The difference between
lie and lay.

Mayday? It’s French. From m’aidez. Help me.

The future is in your hands, she resumed. She held her own hands out to us,        
the ancient gesture that was both an offering and an invitation.
They were empty. It was our hands that were supposed to be full,
of the future; 

What you don’t know won’t hurt you, was all she would say.

A return to traditional values. Waste not want not.              
I am not being wasted.
Why do I want?

The Book Death Co. / John Chinworth

(Let Them Live)

Stained and wavy
Browned by gravy
Ripped to curls
Torn in swirls
Rank and dusty
Gone to musty
Banned by stupids
Marked with Cupids
Burned by teapot
Or a despot
Chewed by dogs
Stomped by clogs
Lost in ash
Or in the trash
Rather injured
Quite disfigured
Crackled, rained on
Buckled, laid on
Battered cover
Cruel eyes hover—
         Ease one open
         Tale not broken

Rising Fall #2 / Todd Ferguson

Maybe all we have
to do

all we can do

when we
jump together

is tell each other


is only relative.

From the perspective
of the cosmos
perhaps we are actually


coming together
closer and closer
into our own
horizon point

two singularities



rising together.

The only certainty
in uncertainty
is the perspective
we choose

the narrative
we write

the story we
construct and live;

whether we decide
if our falling
our  continual


Losing It / Cathy Ferrell

Have you ever lost your      words? That happened to me today. I used them all up too early. Then when I needed some more I opened my mouth and nothing came out. A round empty O. So I went outside and sat in pebbles. They shifted and made room for me and made a concave little (not so little) Me-shaped seat to settle into. I scooped out a palmful and let them sift through my fingers. I watched them fall a few at a time, clinking and clicking together, humble earth-toned jewels. The sepia ones could be prodigal crumbs of an ancient hoodoo, those silently changing sentinels keeping secrets in the desert. I brought a sandstone hoodoo home with me after a trip to Bryce Canyon. Just a small sculpture I found in the gift shop among retro National Park posters and t-shirts that up your credibility (been there got the t-shirt?) It was heavy in my hands. I ran my fingers over its grainy surface and traced the pale striations rippling through its curves. I imagined centuries of wind shaping the oval with its breath, a relentless caress. I thought of this as I scooped and sifted small pebbles sepia and ochre, and forgot what it was I had wanted to say.

Villanelle / David Miller

The absolute value of nothing is nothing
My algebra students never ask for help
An identity problem without solution

Sometimes in class, eyes frost with frustration
Because I can’t stop talking about myself
The absolute value of nothing is nothing

Whenever students do ask for something,
It’s tiny things like Hello? Or how’s your health?
An identity problem without solution

I keep teaching in terms of equations
School x opportunity  = wealth
Still nothing’s the absolute value of nothing

The answers, I insist, lie in learning.
Learning, they answer, is a kind of death:
The problem’s identity and no resolution.

If self-worth has no renumeration,
And teaching provides little to help
The absolute value of nothing stays nothing:
An identity problem without solution.

uninvited / Amy Parrish

the juice of his tongue
like a caterpillar
ringing ‘round my neck
kissing an explosion
of burning revolt

to smear it away
only sprawls the regret

My Tambourine Man / Bill Prindle

Since this is the kind of sky 
   that razors the clouds 
        into lenticular shapes whose 
             rounded edges are so white hot  
        that they look to have burned
    in from a world where hunches 

wheel assuredly in tearing winds, 
   then there is only the letting 
         go of antique notions about 
               objectivity, for these words 
         are now blades cutting 
   through quaint quilted beliefs, 

setting us all free to fly south 
    for the winter alongside 
          northern loons who  
                 shed their flight plumage 
          every year for the right 
    to fish in these warmer waters, 

meeting new friends who like us  
     hold an amber liquid 
            in clear glasses with  
                  one hand waving free  
            silhouetted by a setting 
     sun, with nowhere else to be. 

It Was Fall and It Was London for Just One Night / Kait Quinn

We slept off the overnight flight across
the Atlantic in a closet-sized room buried
in the bowels of Heathrow. It was you and me, flush
against the pink light. It was fall and it was
London for just one night, and we each brought one
fifty-liter backpack and took a moon-ruled ferry
to the Netherlands, train to Rotterdam, and you spent
most of Amsterdam in our curtained off room
in the Airbnb, curled around a stomachache.
It was raining, but it was Amsterdam, so I spent five
euros on a shitty umbrella and walked Vondelpark
listening to Beirut and Heavens while you slept.
And we never drink beer, but when in Amsterdam,
we drank beer, and I crushed hard over a chain-
smoking local. I wanted to keep him forever, so you took
our picture and that’s how he and I became
two blurs in the night on Overtoom. Eindhoven
was our savior. It was vegan croquettes and black Skechers
to replace the motorcycle boots giving me blisters.
Remember when we walked six kilometers to Nuenen
when we just could have cycled? And it was October
and my jacket was cheap and we were five minutes shy
of missing the last bus back to the city, but it was worth
the stroll through Vincent’s stars. And if we’d rented bikes,
we might have overshot the cyclist and his russet pony
slowing to wish us a starry night. And it was kismet,
and it was cathedral, and all the dead leaves I brought
home from Dommelplantsoen are crumbled in a landfill
in Phoenix, but the uncracked chestnut still knocks
against the walls of my chest drawers. I still wear
the overpriced sweatshirt I made us squeeze through every
tourist-trap nook of Picadilly Circus to buy.

Day 5 / Poem 5

untimely arrivals / Lois Anne

too soon       too soon
the alarm sounds
day breaks too early
for the night owl


too cool       too cool
this early autumn morning
dress in layers
envy the southbound geese


decades fly faster than any bird
great blue heron       now grey
basks atop the brush pile
watching       waiting          waiting

On Thursday / John Chinworth

     (Poem Without an E)

On Thursday
a Christmas throwback
did snitch a last 
bit of an hour
from our focus

sugary film did
show a final fir
laying in lazy form
by trash for 
a pick-up

With faith, it did 
last into January. 
Now spartan, its natural,
pastoral and viridian
color still did hum

‘Back to basics’
said our fir,
its body not at watch
with its canopy clan
on Washington hills

Rising Fall #1 / Todd Ferguson

I have something to tell you.

Unspoken words
always cut deeper
invisible wounds waiting
for the spiteful first
bead of blood.

Why didn’t you tell me –
You should’ve just asked –

Questions masquerade
as accusations
in a relationship’s
slow suicide.

We have
to stand tall at
the precipice
jump into truths
yet spoken
yet heard
in the spaces
between the known
and unknown.

I should’ve known –
I want to know –

I am listening.

The intimacy of commitment.

A shared fall.

Pink / Cathy Ferrell

When I asked my daughter
what I should do
with my hair
she said
Make it pink.
So I did.

Someone once told me
You’re the Responsible One.

Never mind that I
was old before I was young.
Never mind that I

Never mind.

I sat draped in black
plastic dressing gown
gazing at myself,
at my reflection,
foils and tufts akimbo
sprouting out my head.
Just a quarter dye job.
Just a quarter adventurous.

She sings,
my adventurous one.

You’re so adventurous with your hair
someone says.
And I,
I smile
pleased with just a quarter
of myself.

Yom Kippur / David Miller

                         St. Giles Church.  
                                                  Man and bagpipe on the corner.
Amazing grace.  
                         Sun melting 
                                                  down the paving stones
from Fishmarket 
                         Close, to 
                                                  the shops around Grassmarket.
Everything is 
                         hills, everything 
                                                  a climb
My daughter on 
                         the High Street, 
                                                  bagpipe drone growing
between the Writer’s
                         Museum and 
                                                  the statue of Hume
Between what is 
                         and what is 
buffetting her, 
                         all things possible, 
                                                  even grace

Home/ Amy Parrish

I’ve learned to wrap myself
in twenty feet of folded silk.
To cook a meal of thali.
Plucking leaves of savor
from nameless trees
where blossoms numb the tongue
and berries taste of leather.

Yet in this land (and every one)
I’m the one from far away.
Liminal, ephemeral.
Even home is not my home.

When there’s nothing to say/ Bill Prindle

Then you can relax, for this 
could be the bottom and if 
you stop flailing a whisper 
of grace may reach your ear; 

Then there could be space 
for something wholly new, 
if you only remember not 
to try to fill the emptiness; 

Then there’s nothing to lose 
except the hidden pleasure 
of staying small and morose, 
and claiming it’s their fault; 

Then you can allow silence to 
become the arresting stranger 
who strolls into your kitchen, 
fixated on none other than you, 

Pulls a chair over, sits a foot 
away from your face, gazes 
into your eyes, restoring your  
place in this world, right here.  

after Beetlejuice / Kait Quinn

I attended the funeral of my virginity in a bedroom more chop shop than boyhood, bed more car lift than mattress, and I still carry the oil stains under my fingernails to prove it. Where do you think I source my ink? I’m a graduate of St. Edward’s University’s creative writing program and earned my masters from the University of Heartbreak’s school of emotional abuse. I lived through three and a half years of lighters to the nose, “I love you”s laced with infidelities, texts left on read until he knocked on my door at 3 a.m. with hungry groin and whiskey breath. Here is the delphinium garden buried in my bones. Here is sternum’s charcoal smudge where gas met the light. Here is the mass of mangled meat I call a heart, one finger nail crescent smaller every time I write a poem because I need it out of me—out, damned heart, out! I am one-part mockingbird, two-parts hurricane, one-part belly-up canary. I cry quite extensively. I can make a tea kettle dramatic. I’ve listened to “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version) (10 Minute Version)” 513 times, and my throat gets hoarser every time I sing it. I’ve kissed boys with lip rings, boys in barns, back seats, blacked out in dorm rooms, stopped at every red light. A boy once told me I made a symphony out of mattress springs. My skin is all feelers and I feel and feel and feel. Not to mention you’re talking to a Cancer sun with brine for blood pooling at lunar command. Look!—the moon! Look!—the marigolds! Look!—the heart-shaped freckle flush to thigh! What do you think? Am I qualified?

Day 4 / Poem 4

Discovery / Lois Anne

for R.

Thirty-five years ago
you wrote me a love letter
I found it last week Tuesday
Unopened in the bottom
of a red yellow and green Kenyan market basket

I don’t remember the last time
we saw each other
Just that I knew it was the last time
And I was so sure I was right

Reading and re-reading your letter
I cried for an hour
Remembering how I was so sure
About you
About everything
Back then

You Have to Know How to Look at Stars / John Chinworth

Whatever the paran—rising, culminating,
setting, or anti-culminating with a planet—
they pull and demand.

When they rise or set with Sol—
they are the real psychopomps,
running the mind, calculating soul.

Cold light as indifferent as Charon
taking coin from dead mouths 
patiently rowing another cadre

of cadavers to slate’s oblivion. Those
weeping sisters care not for you—
and the bear-driver only goads the big

bear to churn another hard cycle—
a mechanical whir and click of a wheel
we oddly call indescribably wondrous.

The blurry ones of the adjacent arm
of the Milky Way—Aboriginals called
ancestors’ campfires. Keeping them warm

from Night’s icy kiss. In the end
they do not laugh like demons, nor cry
like silver angels. Stars

simply stare. 


Existential Seismology / Todd Ferguson

there is a
within me           

            a seismic
            that cracks and grinds



I struggle to calm
the       quaking

breathe through



palliate the loneliness

quiet                the voices
that threaten

learn to heal myself
with trust and love

be braver and stronger
than the fissure of
my own

Bloom / Cathy Ferrell

Night-blooming cactus blooms once a year;
like Cinderella she wilts by morning.

By morning Cinderella wilts
without her glass slipper, she left

a slipper of glass, left without
a foot inside.

A foot inside the door
waiting to be let in;

Wait let me in!
I carry all the bags.

All the bags I carry
are filled with food and wine.

Filled with food and wine
we talk and laugh all evening.

All evening as we laugh and talk
Abuelo sits to the side

alone. Abuelo sits on the side
of his walker. He asks me

to walk over.
Look at his suit and tie.

Look! My suit and tie
for the wedding.

For the wedding
I wear a silk black and white tie.

I tie the black and white silk and wear
a matching pocket square, a panuelito.

A square panuelito to match.
He hobbles along holding on,

holding on and hobbling,
trailing his black and white square.

A square of silky black and white   trailing
one by one everyone leaves.

Everyone leaves one by one,
to see the night-blooming cactus bloom white and full.

Oh, Darling / David Miller

The lil dot’s plucking at the bass
YouTube tells her to strum

She’s pickless, with young fingers
Popping out the rhythm on her thigh

Before she pulls at the strings
I’m so focused on lesson plans

And last month’s bills I barely hear
The thump and grind, the muffled boom

Distant thunder on a sun-clapped day
Until her voice sways out of her throat

Wraps itself in the bass-line and rocks the air.
When she stops, she stares, expectant.

How do I describe this joy she brought me?
How do I describe the music of my soul?

Oh, darling, may love fill your life
With quavering arpeggios or crochets of 

Boom-laka-laka, boom-laka-laka,
Hair whipping backwards to front,

May love pick and strum, pluck and pop
In your heart like music does,

Like a cello filling in the silences 
Between drum beats.

Sequoia / Amy Parrish

Only unbridled flames 
loosen the fingers 
of their woody fruit 
giving birth to giants. 
Heat delivers seeds
to fertile ground 
where pine cones sleep
on the forest floor 
up to twenty years, 
filled with the potential 
of three thousand years, 
waiting for destruction 
to set them free.

In the meetinghouse graveyard / Bill Prindle

We walk together at first, life 
long friends, technically cousins 
by marriage but really that rare 
soul brother connection in which 
we take wordless delight in each  
other, a secret inside the family. 

Then we fan out because he has 
not been here in years and has  
lost track of his father and his 
mother and her parents and her 
sister and his cousin; we don’t  
say much about the suicides or  

other terrible end of life stories,  
only noting how scattered the 
stones of a family system that 
felt like a constellation his uncle  
Alfred unveiled with his voice 
as we lay out in the field at dusk. 

My people are gathered in one  
bigger plot under my mother’s 
maiden name; even her divorced 
husband has some ashes that we  
tossed there, and since half the 
plot is still open grass, I tell him 

I think I can get you in; I know 
some people. Let’s stay in touch. 

Somewhere Deep Inside These Bones, an Emptiness Began to Grow / Kait Quinn

after “Jack’s Lament” by Danny Elfman
Hollow clavicle where you promised
me thirteen hues of autumn, jump-scare thrills,
swirling leaves, sapphire ring
crystal balling yellow rose
-petaled aisle to altar. I waited for you
for hours to walk the stairs to my hope.
Did your arteries pull taut?
Did you feel me crying, saccharine
cinematic like honey? You abandoned me
so many times, my rib cage is a ghost
burg, esophagus a haunted corridor,
left knee a warehouse
on the edge of town where you can scream
with the wild mares, burn your poppy
pools in peace. I pumped my veins so
poisonous, I swapped my blood for ink.
Go on, take a bite. Spit me a Rorschach,
and I’ll tell you what I see: gold flung
across a room, half-moon mattress, sink
hole, tumbleweed, lone glove and absence
abducting the space where its mate should sleep.


Day 3 / Poem 3

Plumb Line / Lois Anne

at five I thought it was about fruit
perhaps a way to measure the trees

a few years later – water
pipes, toilets, clogged drains

only much later did I come to understand
standing up perpendicular and steady

with aplomb
true in a titling world

Dreamsongs / John Chinworth

New forms form in dreamsongs
Ears ring fierce, with astral divergences
Nothing wakes me, not even time

Ears ring fierce, with astral convergences
These are dreams deep enough to jar
I fall back into a rhythm, helplessly

These are dreams steep enough to scar
Written on whales in strange runes
When is the ending of a song?

Written on whales in strange runes
All of history is consolidated, unraveled
When is the beginning of a dream?

All of history is unraveled, consolidated
Nothing breaks me, not even time
New forms form in dreamsongs

Ode to Poetry: Or, Overheard at a Bar on a Thursday Night / Todd Ferguson

(Two twenty-something men at a neighborhood bar with half-full pints.)

So, I’ve been married for almost two years. COVID wedding, so not a real one, y’know? I never thought she’d marry me. It took me six years of work: of I’m not sure, of seeing other people, time away, getting back together, crying, apologizing, crying, apologizing. Just normal stuff, the way things go. But I was after her, I mean AFTER her. I knew she was just the one. THE ONE. She even turned me down a ton in the first couple of years. But I knew it was just part of The Game. Hardball. Ok, I can play hardball, too. I can do the whole Romance thing. She wants to play a game, well I got game. Served me very well at OSU. VERY WELL. But I knew she was THE ONE and I had to make sure she wouldn’t kind of wander off because I knew other guys were after her, but I couldn’t let THAT happen. RIGHT?!? So this is what finally cinched it with her. Poetry. NO! Not reading stuff others wrote! C’mon, I don’t plagiarize others’ feelings! I WROTE her verses. MY poetry. Haha. Fuck you – I know I’m not an English guy. And I never read any of that shit I was supposed to read in undergrad. But poetry I FEEL. JUST LISTEN! Jesus. It’s all basic stuff, really: rhymes, flowers, emotional stuff, her beauty, how much she means to me, and that she’s THE ONE for me and that I will always love her. ALWAYS. No, dude, I did NOT write her a fucking Whitney Houston song. And wasn’t that some kind of breakup song anyway? I will always love you? So, no, not Whitney Houston. More like John Mayer. She loves John Mayer. I know, I don’t get it. But she totally loves his shit. So if it works for him it will work for me. John Mayer but better. I mean, c’mon, his shit is basic. Your body is a wonderland?! Jesus. I KNOW! Total objectification. And isn’t he like 50 now, or 60? But he made millions getting dudes laid, so there’s something golden there. NO, it’s definitely not his voice or the musical stuff, it’s his words. His LYRICS! So I channeled my inner John Mayer – NO DUDE, you’ve got a bit of him inside you, too! I’M TELLING YOU TAP INTO YOUR INNER JOHN MAYER! Just write what you know she WANTS you to write. EXACTLY! Empathy. So I wrote her some poetry for like a couple of months, not too long, I mean there’s only so much you can write. But it totally worked.  Finally. And it was all about my poetry. It put my ring on her finger! JUST LISTEN! I wrote her something REALLY great when I proposed to her – Cabo, beach, sunset, her eyes – and she cried. OF COURSE SHE SAID YES! WE’RE MARRIED!?! I even saved that one. No, I wrote it on my phone. So, yeah, married almost two years! What? HELL NO, why would I need to write her any more poems!?! SHE’S THE ONE, JOB’S DONE! (Empty glasses clink.) Another beer? I got this round.

Gust / Cathy Ferrell

The wind knocked down a tree
in a neighbor’s yard, the other day.
One giant gust
and it was a goner.
Roots wrenched from the ground,
just a gaping hole as evidence of
life that was, once.

Down our street,
white fences grin gap-toothed smiles,
missing panels and pickets.
Old wooden fences lean, tired,
out or in or collapsed somewhere in the road
getting a head start on their way
to the dump.

I lost my first best friend
when I was in first grade.
Jennifer Bird, I remember her name.
Play dates, barbies, and petty squabbles at times,
but we always sat together at lunch.
One day we traded Lisa Frank stickers,
the next she was gone
north with her family somewhere
too far to drive.
I didn’t know she’d leave.
I didn’t know to say goodbye.

Today the gusts and gales don’t
threaten neighborhood trees
or signs or fences.
The wind huffs
at leaves and twigs strewn across my lawn.
I look up at clouds
floating, drifting across the sky.

Wandering Through / David Miller

Imagine our life as comic books, 
strict rectangles of movement
aligned in z-formation,
like swish-pans in a Cohen Brothers movie.

A splash page of Los Angeles,
pretzeline freeways, horned with 
palm trees, red skies, bright buildings—
endless space with nowhere to walk.

Imagine our life in navy and gray,
heavy lines in the foreground
cross-hatching for walls,
We’ve begun disappearing into paper.

In this scene, we xanax out on
the bedroom floor, gin in Volvic
bottles, sharp colors smeared purple,
wind beating the curtains like a tattoo.

Imagine being the person who finds us
drained and lying on manuscript sheets;
Imagine the stories our stories tell–
a glimpse of who we are or failed to be.

A tilt of the earth / Amy Parrish

         the air breathes full
        –     lungs-to-heart     –
   of plumeria and sugar palm
           fruits falling ripe
      –     tongue-to-tree     –
      sweet as jaggery unspun
       a shrinking sun bows
           –    skin-to-air     –
           to cool of night
         frogs calling in choir
        –     rhythm-to-ear     –
     from homes of their own
   mornings brush glass panes
        –     glow-to-eyes     –
impassioned shades of orange
       as season falls away
        –     axis-to-soul     –
        in reverent namaste

Agency / Bill Prindle

Is not the madison man  
biz my grandfather ran 
a century back of which 
he said I worked to get 
people to buy things 
they didn’t need and 
couldn’t afford 

Is not the byzantine 
covert ops organization 
that took down Lumumba 
and Mossadegh and left |
its shame at Guantanamo 
and failed to let the FBI 
in on Al Queda 

Is only a startled waking 
in the dark to her hand  
on your heart so warming 
that you remember to walk 
to the edge of the woods 
and ask for the aid of all 
your relations once more 

Is also the remembering 
out of any rag and bone 
shop the one talisman that 
speaks such that if you  
seize it with right intent 
will burn away and flake 
off these old institutions  

Is just an artless imitation 
of the hummingbird  
fueling for the migration 
sipping intently at the red  
feeder without forethought 
of those eighteen hours  
alone over the gulf. 

Ode to Decay / Kait Quinn

Because some memories sting
and deserve to crumble. I have a heart
so mausoleum decrepit, only a hidden,
booby-trapped skeleton
key could unlock it.
October tastes like smoke and spoil
coated with cinnamon, and if she weren’t
so amber, lemon drop, pomegranate
seed glistening, perhaps I’d be more afraid
of dying. The best friend that moved
back to Louisiana. The boy who left
a wound so casket-in-a-graveyard deep,
it still festers twelve years later.
The hermit crabs, the beta fish,
my sister’s red-eared terrapin
I still don’t know how my five-year-old
hands managed to kill. All these little deaths
haunt my dreams.
Did you know the lifespan
of a beta fish in captivity is two to five
years? One year for a hermit crab
sans proper care. How many days
does it take a child’s attention span
to attend the toad’s slow, painful death?
The ancestral urge to give a kid
a gold fish or a hamster as a trial
run for something with more
From soil we come,
to soil we return.
If you scream in a cemetery,
do the dead scream back?


Day 2 / Poem 2

And Now I Think / Lois Anne

God must look like an egg
The life of the moon may not be on the surface
        but inside

Like a room where things once happened
        I want everything back

To want is to have a weakness
I believe there can be no light without shadow

A Cento with lines taken from The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

B-52’s & Fisher Stevens / John Chinworth

Big B-52’s roared over my head 
long before I heard the B-52’s
on the radio, and when I was born 
in Tucson, women’s hair was shell-
acked and B-52’d to high heaven.

B-52’s flew in and out of Davis-
Monthan Air Force Base before
and after we filmed My Science
Project at the airplane graveyard, 
full of decommissioned B-52’s.

I became a cutting-room-floor-$300.
extra after three days, a slight guard
guarding a faux U.F.O. while a  look-alike
Eisenhower moseyed on by. The flick
starred Fisher Stevens, my star twin.

If you have Fisher Steven’s birth time on
27 November, great. I’ll compare our
birth charts and write my memoir Fisher 
Stevens Is My Star Twin. Janeen, a cool
girl from my school, was swiftly kicked 

out of the B-52’s concert for jumping
on stage during ‘Cake.’ She snuck back in. 
I loved her. She’d fashioned a blonde B-52 
do with what little punk hair she had. Janeen 
danced again, front row. I cried a little

during My Science Project at the old
eastside Buena Vista theater. I knew 
Fisher Stevens would be a movie star 
but I wouldn’t. A few B’52’s still fly,
and the B-52’s sometimes go on tour.

Going Dark / Todd Ferguson

I don’t want to go there.

The bruises under my eyes
purple coal
unrenewable energy
I can’t remember spending.

The bill’s been paid
yet there is still
debt I owe
but all I have
is time
borrowed against
devalued currency
of my battered body.

I don’t want to go.

My papers won’t burn fast enough
to blow these ashes of words
in your face
wherever you are
whatever names you
call yourself
darkness and light
absences hidden
in the other.

I’m not sure
you’ve ever spoken.

I don’t want.

I pull on
my winter coat
walk into darkness
lose myself
in everything
I am not.

I don’t.

Power / Cathay Ferrell

Last night we lost power
lying in bed,
tucked peacefully in.
Lights were out anyway
but then the AC stopped its thrum,
In the dark we found
each other’s eyes
and sighed
and stripped
the comforter down
to sheets.
Tomorrow we will wake
when it’s light,
miss our coffee,
and play card games.
We will forget
and flick the switch,
expecting instant illumination.
We will blink
and turn away.
The clock on the microwave
will stare, 
but there is nowhere to go

Lucifer, Or How I Learned To Laugh / David Miller

Why, thank you, yes, I do enjoy comedy–
double entendres, pratfalls, sick burns, dad jokes, 
paraprosdokians, even sad epics–

I mean, what’s funnier than other people 
suffering?  Did I twang a nerve? Okay, then,
let’s move on to something more important like–

how’s the wife?  The kids?  They moved to Torino 
without you? I hear the skiing’s good this time 
of year.  Did I go too far again?  Hey, look,

I get it, right?  I mean, you see how my dad
rejected me with Juno-like badassery:
tossing me out of heaven, sending me one

of those roommates who hoards ketchup packets in 
the utensil drawer, bad wifi and worse
satellite reception. So freakin annoying.

I wake up one day and this guy in a red 
cap’s cracking jokes- angry jokes, crazy as 
yesterday’s news–to the mirror in my room,

He’s rehearsing for his girlfriend, Bea, he says,
says dad sent him to show me the way back home
but dad isn’t really into red or humor

or poetry about love and governments
anyway that’s how I had to listen to hours
of political jokes in hendecasyllables.

I understand suffering better than most,
I understand rejection, deflection,
I understand what angers you now is how

People treat pain like a punch-line– 
                                                       but laughter
does not always tear; sometimes it heals;
if I’m laughing, it’s in front of, not at, you.

So what ya say? Let’s laugh together; there’s too
many steamy nights with the cries of the damned 
to pretend there’s music in their pain..

Pen Pal / Amy Parrish

I hung a polaroid of Penny on my wall,
sitting on a bed glazed in soft blues, 
figure wrapped in melancholy light.

A gaze away, out a window,
baring smooth curves of a back
draped in vintage lingerie. 

So many times I watched the way shadows 
deepened beneath bone and how 
pale straps rounded over shoulders and out of view. 

One arm reaches out to draw light from a curtain,
Hazy and serene as if a portal to Heaven. 
Tranquility gilded with unnamed sadness.

Some talisman, too small to discern,
dangles between shoulder blades,
dripping heavy from a braided chain. 

All I knew of her were words exchanged in ink on paper 
over our love of the way light stains images on a page
Portraits as poems inscribed on film.

The impression endures long after she’s gone.
An ethereal being, suffering no more, etched in the
silver halide that once kissed her luminescence.

Yet here on my wall, where she turns away
like a winged creature latching to light,
I realize I’ll never know the color of her eyes.

The storm started / Bill Prindle

as a puff of humid vapor 
huffing a few hundred feet 
above the Atlantic a few 
hundred miles east of Aruba, 

and now look at what all 
the latent heat we’ve pumped 
into the oceans has done to all 
our condos and nursing homes, 

and those causeways to private  
Avalons carved out by those who 
still believe there is a separate 
peace they can cling to alone. 

Or it started with a naïve mistake 
long before Descartes, a belief 
in a vaporous notion of mind 
raising the human experiment to 

the throne of creation, placing a 
a distant male God over the matted 
webbed, fronded world where the 
Goddess brings tadpoles and lilies 

And hyacinths out of black mud 
every year whether you believe 
in her or not, whether you bulldoze 
this wetland or not, whether you 

hold yourself apart, or embrace 
a world that will break your heart. 

Look at This Little Life / Kait Quinn

Every day is the same.
Every day          sunlight
and the cat’s hoarse pleas
spill through
the crack beneath the bedroom
door, pool citrine on wooden
floor. Look at this little carnivore, his irises
every shade of rainforest,
papier-mâchéd papyrus, pupils
eager and dilated, belly shaved
from the ultrasound,
the mass in his stomach          ticking.
Every day
the espresso beans riff
with the grinder, bass rumble
of extraction, the steamer’s hushed copper
percussion. Look at this little life:
these blankets crocheted with fleece
and love, these little jars of
hyaluronic and glycolic acids,
little nightly rituals bottled in amber
glass. Every day I light one
of my twelve candles.
Every day I choose decaf.
Every day the dog is just as happy
to see me as he was the day before, hour
before, just three minutes before.
Every day the maple
is right where I left it.
Come mid-October, she will trade
her emeralds for golden
tourmaline but still
the same sage and hyssop
guardian I left her as last night.

Day 1 / Poem 1

attachment / Lois Anne

sunlight on golden October leaves
                        its bittersweet beauty
                                        warms me

born in autumn
I give thanks
                        for today

and ask for more
knowing I have no right
                         to be so greedy                       

yet wanting

nowhere near ready
to give this up

Arrival / John Chinworth

(Song for a Returning)

My arrival here was not to the long drone
of bagpipes soaring from Celtic highland cliffs
or to jangles of vintage tubular bells. Riffs
from ukes didn’t ‘aloha oe’ me over sea foam.
A capella harmonies didn’t exactly funkily
accompany my chopper ride through time’s fabric.
Bright Dixieland jazz didn’t beam tunes ecstatic,
nor did New Age chants provide soothing empathy. 
No. Ghostly agents, cold, and icily snickering, 
forced my debut via grating cosmic skyway
I didn’t come willfully docile, the right way;
but pissed as Pele, a bardo rebel, eyes flickering.
An astrologer once told me in session, beaming:
You resisted into this cold incarnation, screaming.

Ask Me When Our Marriage Really Ended / Todd Ferguson

and I will tell you
it was that
February morning
a hotel room on
South Congress

I touch you gently
turning to you

you lay still
until you turn 

I draw my hand back 
an anchor unmoored

this would be the final time
we touch
in any bed

we just didn’t know
we already
had nothing left

I would learn
only later
how something


can arise out of

n        g

Eye / Cathy Ferrell

I sit
at the kitchen table.
I jiggle my knee.
Pale light comes in 
through cloud-soft sky.
The air holds
a certainty of rain,
the anticipation of storms.
No work, today, no school.
busy preparations made, 
possessions tucked neatly away.
Now is the waiting.
Everyone home.
No quiet, today.

I sip
from my mug,
in the scent of
honey, cinnamon, dark roast.
Outside the sky breathes hotly
through her mouth.

I sense
a pattering.
Not rain, not yet.
A tangle of arms around my neck.
This moment has drifted.
A thin slant takes
over the sky

I scan.
The howling
breath of the wind
impels the slanting drops
with a force that drives
them horizontal.
I lie down,
tucked in to the rumples
of unmade sheets.
The storm draws in, exhales.


The Rain, again / David Miller

Most things were lost in the aftermath, the moving rush
of relief and water, the wind bending us like juniper 
               Once, I would gather in the synagogue 
with blustery Friday nights scratching at windows,
the congregation moaning from kiddush to kaddish,
rain on the concrete, fragrant and constant, fears
counted out in shuffles and runs, silence spilling
out in jazz times for jazz hands lifted to G-d’s glory, 
praying always for more rain I was because I feared 
the flood, the run, the song of, you know, getting 
what you wanted and learning what you need–
the long roof, the long light, the voice of people who 
raised you, surrounding you 
                                                   (These days, all those long agos 
have swept themselves under the uneven dustpan of my memory, 
rolling and gathering like pens or nickels or flickers of dark.)
What will I find in the corners when I return home?
Will I find there was never a home except me?

A September Wind / Amy Parrish

In September she stole me.
A cool rush of late-summer air kissed my lips, open-mouthed.
She spiraled in and blew the sheets from my bed
before pulling the door shut behind her.

The beguiling wind lured me to her open sill.
I leaned out, eyes pressed closed, to savor a new season on my tongue.
She carried the taste of sweet water after monsoon and in her path
she carried clouds and cleared the blue of a Bengal sky.

A mile of paddies unfurled below where shoots of rice bowed en masse.
Her wandering fingers rippled and swelled in continuous waves.
Each one brought a smaller kiss of air to my cheeks, lulling eyelids
I succumbed to her spell, waking only to find she had gone.

The driver on my tail / Bill Prindle

cannot hear these hickory nuts 
falling through leaf after leaf 
of poplar, oak, and sweet gum, 

cannot hear these corvids 
bickering out the day’s plans 
or the blessing of the pileated, 

cannot see the morning mist 
vanishing westward off the 
stilled surface of the pond; 

may be late for another day 
at work dozing the red clay 
of another forested hillside 

so that people with the money 
can get their Blue Ridge views, 
holding white wine in upward 

opening glasses as if they were 
cool-ass expats sitting in a bistro 
at the end of the Pont Mirabeau. 

If I could be made the good cop 
I would pull him over, take him 
out for coffee, ask him if he has 

heard much from his kids lately or  
if his lumbar disc has stopped 
bulging or whether the Oxycontin 

is harder to get now. Even if he 
only grunted as usual, I still might 
put him in that special cell draped  

in fine cloth with a bed so soft that 
his mother might appear bodiless 
in the night, brushing the anguish  

from his brow with a hand so soft 
and warm its tenderness cannot be 
swallowed by his worst darkness. 

So the Body / Kate Quinn

is antique sapphire, ruptured indigo
mycelium vessel, God’s flood—such a
crybaby—daydream ruminations of golden
hour apocalypse. One minute, I see you
on the street; the next, my spleen splatters,
calcium scaffolding in collapse.
So the body is comprised of garden
soil and hypervigilance. September days
a vacuum I fill with freshly shred nail bed,
skin taut, piloerected, waiting to be wanted
by you. Call it what you will, but we had
the night. Help me fill this void with
nicotine and growing pains.
So the body is an upturned grave, thoughtless
and swooning in a soul bath. Poor little
shallow thing. What do the dead want
from the living? I want to unweave
my life from yours, but the nebulae
are conspiring again. O, gravity! O,
birth star! O, brackish pulse! I was yours, now
I’m a ghost.