Wednesday, February 15, 2017

2 poems by 2 poets


by brig.gen. percival t sternwall

who are they with soul so dead
that blood does not rush to their head
when contemplating liberty
and heroes who strive to keep us free?

o tyrant, tremble on your throne
at midnight you are all alone
the deeds are fierce, the words are soft
of those who hold truth’s flag aloft

liberty! liberty! how sweet thy name!
how great, how great their shame
who will not take up arms
to resist the despot’s charms

and drive tyranny from its lair
and make the whole world fair
and freedom’s heavenly notes resound
the whole world round!


by chuck leary

john was just a guy
and he lived in just a town
on just a planet
that was neither up nor down

john liked jelly doughnuts
and caressed them with his touch
and he also liked cheeseburgers
but not nearly as much

john watched television
all day and all night
his favorite shows were perry mason
and the price is right

his mom lived in the basement
and his dad lived in the attic
they argued about religion
but all john heard was static

his brothers all liked batman
but john liked superman
his favorite singer was dolly parton
he was her most committed fan

you may ask what was john’s purpose
and what was his life’s task
and those are good questions
but who are we to ask?

Friday, February 10, 2017

2 poems

by jack dale coody

illustrations by konrad kraus


who is this “i”
that walks the earth?
blind from eternity
cursed from birth

who is he
who follows my steps
moloch’s henchman
satan’s adept?

who is that walking
along the shore
silently laughing
keeping score?

who is she
who knows my fears
but when i approach her


people do the best they can
some collect bottle caps, some are baseball fans
they have been taught not to just scream and shout
so they need to find something to talk about

they sit on benches and wait for rides
because they have no place to hide
and when they get to where they are going
they forget what they were supposed to be knowing

they sit upright on sofas and chairs
drink chamomile tea and eat chocolate eclairs
discuss the weather and the harvest of grapes
as breezes caress the drawing room drapes

long ago and far away
madam sent the servants away
shut up the rooms except three or four
now they wait for armaggedon’s roar

why did humans come down from the trees
to be seduced by eternities
expecting things that don’t exist
very well, my dear, if you insist

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

homage to li po

by jack dale coody

illustrations by konrad kraus

the world is a web of roads, my friend
that twists on its tails that never end
but there’s only one road, by the stars that shine
that never turns back - that’s the road of time

when i was young i often passed
a temple of steel beside a tower of glass
where a banker iwith his briefcase and a newsboy with his stack
stood talking together - forth and back

the banker talked slow, and the newsboy talked fast
but they both grew silent as i passed
and the burning words in their spinning brains
rode through the cosmos like silver trains

through crystal frances and emerald spains
down roaring amazons and bounding mains
across ruby arabicas and amethyst bahrains
to an all night diner in the kansas rain

where daisy jones and mac high collar
buy two streak dinners with a silver dollar
as maisie - what else would she be named?
leans on the counter and feels ashamed

in a thousand years the wind will blow
from the china sea to mexico
rain and snow will cover the earth
and the same old world to itself will give birth

temples and palaces will be be gone
monkeys will laugh and tigers yawn
rivers will flow and dragon webs spin
as poets take to the roads again

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Post Traumatic Special delivery

Billy ripped the page from Phoebe's notebook, let’s face it, he thought, nobody’s ever gonna know; it’s not like anyone gives a shit anyway. The thumb-start on his faux-retro maglev Hyundai Sinner worked eventually; whacking crackle into the alleyway like some zombie bad lung trauma, and he cranked it into the high street as if he hadn’t already used up eight of his nine lives. The bipolar traffic honked resentment at his door-handle-testicle-tangling progress through the unsynchronised mind-fuck that posed itself as progress (a political viewpoint that proclaims anyone arguing with its singular premise can go fuck themselves with their left-wing anarcho-socialist values). Billy ripped the last of his credit from the slipstream of the late-running 5:37 from Hell as it side-swiped its comatose commuter cargo into a sad resemblance of awareness, hoping that the sling-shot momentum thus gained would serve to deliver the message Phoebe’d so recently, and so desperately, scrawled upon the feint of her jealously guarded, preciously teetering-on–the-brink-of-extinction, notebook.
Tales for the attention-span deficit reader

Monday, January 9, 2017

the optometrist

by nick nelson

illustrations by danny delacroix

the optometrist walked down the street.

everybody watched from their windows.

injun joe, smoking his eternal pipe, watched from the window of the smoke shop.

wang yun watched from the window of the laundry.

miss ellie williams watched from the window of the schoolhouse.

sheriff pete brown waited at the bottom of the street.

the sheriff had pulled an old battered sofa out into the street and he sat on it.

the sheriff had a shotgun on his lap.

the optometrist kept walking down the street.

slow and easy.

jessie jones and sallie may watched from the second floor window of mrs willard’s.

buck daniels and jake carter and the rest of the town good-for-nothings watched from outside the saloon.

banker solomon smith, though he did not approve of such nonsense, found himself drifting over to the window of the bank to take a look.

suddenly little bobby miller ran into the street.

“bobby miller! you get back in here this minute!” cried mrs miller.

with an “awww!”, bobby obeyed.

the optometrist kept on walking down the street.

there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

just the sun.

getting higher.

everybody had a good view.

the sheriff leaned back on his sofa and smiled.

old ulysses, in town to buy some provisions for old mrs bainbridge, watched from the door of jackson’s general store.

“a bad business.” observed mr jackson, wiping his flour-stained hands on his apron.

“sure enough,” ulysses agreed.

and the optometrist kept on coming.

“i got my money on the sheriff,” drawled buck daniels.

“everybody’s got their money on the sheriff, you dang fool!” exploded charlie matthews. “ain’t nobody going to take that bet!”

the sheriff leaned back a little easier on the sofa.

the whole town watched.

the sun got a little higher in the sky.

and the optometrist just kept on coming.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

a poem and a story

by horace p sternwall

illustrations by roy dismas

ars poetica

poetry is hard to write
and if you write some every night
most of it is hopeless glop
into the garbage to be dropped

poets who live for all time
only write one or two lines
that anyone really remembers
the rest are only ash and embers

their names are known, but ninety-nine
percent of their well-gotten rhymes
are no more read than the reports
of arizona traffic courts

no other human occupation
produces such a tiny ration
of success to total nothingness
with no excuses to profess

so, poet, persevere
the world will shed no tear
you must weep for your own self
as you moulder on the shelf

your failure to communicate
is only humans’ common fate
like all you take your lumps
as darkness triumphs

uncle william

my uncle william took a nap every afternoon.

it was what he did.

one day he declared he was not going to take his nap.

why aren’t you going to take your nap, william? asked aunt flora.

because the world is going to end at six o’clock, william declared.

word quickly spread around town that uncle william had predicted that the world would end at six o’clock.

but the world did not end, at six o’clock, or at all.

and uncle william, who had previously been a citizen regarded with some respect, became a laughingstock.

he became a recluse, and began reading the bible.

and not only the bible, but the quran, the torah, the mahabharata, the sayings of confucius and lao tzu, the essays of ralph waldo emerson and thomas carlyle, and other specimens of human wisdom.

he passed many years in this manner, rarely leaving the house.

he distilled his readings and meditations into a new synthesis, and wished to attract disciples , but in this he was not successful.

he grew old, and lay at death’s door.

he asked aunt flora to summon his disciples, to hear his last words.

but, william, flora retorted, you don’t have any disciples.

surely you can find somebody, william pleaded.

with a sigh, aunt flora went out into the street and tried to interest some passers by in hearing william’s last words.

she finally found a couple of hoboes who were willing to hear william out, in exchange for a couple of cups of coffee and a couple of slices of flora’s excellent blueberry pie.

well, william, flora told him, these gentleman are here for what you have to say, so let’s hear it.

people are bad, william said, they should be good.

and he died.

he was quickly forgotten, even by the people in the small town in which he had spent his entire life.

Monday, November 28, 2016

the turk

by anonymous

illustrations by danny delacroix

one day, when i was out of work
my mom brought home a lustful turk
the turk, she said, was rich as solomon
which was why she had decided to call on him

the turk sat down and loudly sneezed
but assured me he was easy to please
all he wanted, all day long
was for me to sing his favorite song

his favorite song turned out to be
a strange and haunting melody
from a land that time forgot
that once was, but now was not

i sang it sweet and sang it low
as mom played on the piano
outside, if sense could be believed
a gentle breeze caressed the leaves

the turk wept at my serenade
all through the afternoon he stayed
i sent him happily on his way
and so got through another day