Thursday, April 30, 2020


by mary c fogg

life remains a mystery
to those who never dream
they search the skies for light
but never see a beam

the truth is in themselves
though they never choose to show it
the flower is in their souls
but they do not choose to grow it

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

just like old times, part 2

by bofa xesjum

you still haven’t emptied the wastebasket
maybe you don’t want to be free, but i do
because i know everything

june will be here soon
and you know how she hates animals
especially when they are fully grown

i notice you have grown a bit yourself
don’t your friends like you any more?
or don’t you even care?

empty the wastebasket, goddamit!
i know everything - everything
what happened to you?

if you see something, say something

“that’s what they all say”

june used to say it all the time

because all she wanted was to be free
but she won’t stand for your nonsense
especially if she sees something she shouldn’t

think about it
yes, i known you have grown
because i know everything

everything there is to know
and you know in your heart that i do
so think about it

after you have finally emptied the wastebasket
because you still have a little bit of niceness left in you
don’t you?

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

just like old times, part 1

by bofa xesjum

empty the wastebasket before you go
holler if you see anything you shouldn’t
but count what is in there first

my, how you’ve grown
go ahead, see if i care
before you used to be so nice

kindly take that animal away
do you really in your heart believe that?

“i see we are all back together again”

do you see any other animal?
we have been over all this before
before, when you used to be so nice

consider the implications
friends don’t talk to friends like that
all i want is to be free

free! free! free!
i know everything
let us count the ways

do you really in your heart believe that?
holler if you see anything you shouldn’t
let me know how it all turns out

go ahead, see if i care
because friends don’t talk to friends like that
and you know it in your heart

june will be here soon enough
go ahead, the door is open
you never really were my friend

Monday, April 27, 2020


by mary c fogg

a rainy day
i slept all afternoon

the mailman came
and left a letter

it was from a person
i did not know

asking for money
i did not have

i made a cup of tea
but did not drink it

it got cold
and i threw it away

Sunday, April 26, 2020


no bail

by horace p sternwall

the mayor would not go my bail
so i am here to tell my tale
and will not let it rest
until i have done my best

roses are red, elephants are gray
everybody should have their say
flowers bloom in howling blizzards
human beings are all really lizards

violets are blue, champagne is bubbly
old philosophers faces are stubbly
if you never learn to stay out of the rain
you will get wet, again and again

grass is green, hay is yellow
my old dog sam was a jolly good fellow
he scratched the surface of the earth
and played the fool for all he was worth

noses are purple, mud is brown
every time i go to town
folks gather round and call me names
but my mama loved me all the same

old man mose is mighty rich
he carries an old curved hickory switch
the devil gave him as a gift
when mose stopped one night and gave him a lift

just a feller walking down the road
with a cat, a rattlesnake, and a toad
the rain was falling, the sky was dark
and he had to find noah’s ark

someone must give us all a ride
or we will be fit to be tied
to the tree from which old mother eve
picked an apple, i do believe

such is the substance of my verse
stranger, i ask you, which is worse
a man who will offer you a drink
or one who always stops and thinks?

Saturday, April 25, 2020

reluctant scholar

by chuck leary

from the day you are born
the world is a mystery
you don’t have time to look around
they say, listen to me

they say, look at me
when you look at the sky
they say, what do you care
when you ask, why?

they make you learn words
when you just want to howl
you laugh and you smile
but are met with a growl

wipe the smile off your face
on the first day of school
do what you are told
is the first and last rule

the days fall like leaves
and the years fall like trees
they shape you and mold you
and get you down on your knees

at last they are finished
and let you out on the street
your spirit is broken
and your soul is beat

Friday, April 24, 2020

it rained


I remember those crazy shads. Nemesis brand. Secret agent wrap around style, they kept the dust out and wouldn't fall off. I wore them all summer. 16 hours a day in 100 degree heat, and it only rained once. Every body had a pair on.

Don't know if them pipeliners or Latinos started it. They out numbered us white boys 10 to 1, but we spoke English, took and gave orders. Not me. I was the nigger of the outfit, the fuckin' new guy and, potentially, whipping boy. I stuck with the Mexicans and Hondurans mostly, steel or poly pipe, depending what work was. Nicer people than the drunked up cowboys, they were more tolerant of my lack of skill. You get teased, at best, along with the job description. Nice to know what they're saying about you, too, so you pick up the language little by little.

drought and dead weeds
a bullet hole
in every road sign

Not like my trade. That was life or death, and I'm Jack Black, mother fucker. There I'd worked with hundreds, besides, on thousands of spaces, a Metropolitan numbering millions. But don't rescue the schedule, however far behind, you might have to take your tools and go home. Until, finally, we all did. Here, your comeuppance was a meal of tamales wrapped in fresh corn stalk made by someone's loving spouse just before dawn, their sauce tempered sweetly with crisp green chilies emitting fire ... la familia producion l'amour. Auqi, no es tardes, amigo, de nada, primo, de nada.

pheasant chicks
in columns march
into the grass

Nope, this was a humbling experience. You see, there's just nowhere to hide on that plain. You might have to stand on a rock to get a cell signal. Ain't no trees ... but glory to God, there is wheat. Waving amber and sunlit on end, from it, you can observe the wind criss-cross the prairie from miles away. Pray, you might escape that splendor, for at night it becomes an Ocean, phosphorescence visible in the seed. You could chart a course by the moon or the stars where they meet the horizon, always ahead, your headlights egging you on, your destiny, perhaps, to just let go the wheel.

an Angus calf
got all caught up ...
loose strands of wire

Somewhere in deepest, darkest Honduras there's a video, taken on a phone in a place five cultural nightmares laid end to end and a little dictatorship away. It's protagonist is a laconic, gangling man tan as bark but for the raccoon lightness around his eyes - reeling like some mad shape shifting kami chasing the lads around and over the riven earth, snorting and stomping, pretending to be a bull - they made me do it. So little children would laugh. All little children share that laughter, yes?

Came the day I hit that deer, fiddling with my wipers in the convoy and a split second lost. I could have missed him, an immature buck, I'm quick because I have to be, I was so close ... the Hondurans boys finished the poor fella off with a penknife, his blood soaked up by the dust along side that perfectly straight road.

And later, leaning against the red wind carrying the earth's contents to the sky, they feasted on its haunches lit by the waning sun just before midnight on the only day it rained.

red sky at night -
curlews choose flight
over Black Tail Dam


by timothy t jones

stranger, as the night unravels
let me tell you of my travels
through the expanding universes
seeking smiles, but finding curses

bartender, bring another round
for myself and this new friend i've found
this strangely silent brooding shade
who listens to me unafraid

born beneath a dying sun
boon companions had i none
or teachers sage to form my brain
but only solitude and rain

within my miserable hut
from which all grace and art were shut
i wondered what the world could hold
which so far left me in the cold

i put my foot upon the road
i had no password, had no code
i had no weapon in my fist
no destination in the mist

all have is my poor brain
which works in ways i can not explain
and my flat unlovely feet
flopping and slapping down the street

and the sky above my head
from which all shining stars have fled
will it rain, or will it snow?
perhaps it is better not to know

Thursday, April 23, 2020

walrus dog

by bofa xesjum

you there with the hot dog in your mouth

and you - with the tire iron and the mustard

get over here

let's see some i d

they are hiring for counter people at arby's

what are you, in a hurry?

relax, no one is going to hurt you

where did you get that hot dog, by the way



wendy's can't make no hot dog

now the burger king over on third avenue, they'll surprise you

they make a pretty good dog

ever thinking of eating dogs for a living?

you'd be surprised what you can make in those contests

plus, they feed you ! ha, ha!

all right, this looks o k, you can go. move along.

wait, wait, not so fast.

i want to take a look.

he's my partner, he's an asshole.

he's not like me, i'm a bro, a good guy in the clubhouse.

tomorrow i'll be the asshole he'll be the bro, the mensch.

i'm better at both jobs, ain't that the truth.

what do you do when you are not eating hot dogs, big guy?

i got a job.

you have a job?

i had a job. i'm going to get another one.

ohhhhh - you're going to get another one.

it's almost time for my new career to begin.

all right, if that is the way you feel about it.


no hard feelings.

the endless rain - 28. the endless rain

by nick nelson

part twenty-eight of twenty-eight

for previous episode, click here

to begin at the beginning, click here

the tiger chased mocko up a tree.

socko, gocko, ocko, and jocko watched from the mouth of the cave.

zocko huddled under another tree. the tree mocko had climbed was between zocko and the cave.

it was raining, and had rained for days.

everybody was hungry, especially the tiger.

socko moved a little way from the mouth of the cave, picked up a rock and threw it at the tiger. it fell short, and the tiger paid no attention to it.

gocko moved a little closer to the tiger, and threw another rock at it. it too, fell short, and te tiger ignored it.

jocko picked up another, smaller, sharper stone and hurled it at the tiger. it struck the tiger, who turned and growled at the quartet in front of the cave.

zocko, seeing his chance, ran out from under his tree and ran toward the brow of the hill, away from the cave.

socko, gocko, ocko, and jocko all began picking up stones as fast as they could and throwing them in the general direction of the tiger, screaming at the tiger as they did so.

the tiger turned completely around to face them.

mocko leaped down from the tree and ran away in the same direction as zocko.

but the tiger was having none of it. he turned again and began chasing mocko.

mocko was the fastest and most agile member of the troop.

he knew that he could not outrun the tiger, but if he could only catch up to and pass zocko, the tiger might settle for zocko and spare him!

socko, gocko, ocko, and jocko all watched the tiger disappear over the brow of the hill.

a great bolt of lightning flashed , striking the tree that the tiger had chased mocko up.

the rain increased, coming down in wind driven torrents.

the quartet retired to the cave. it had been a bad day. they had found no food, and one, and maybe two members of the troop might be taken by the tiger.

they were mostly sheltered from the rain, but the wind whistled through the length of the cave, which had two entrances, the natural entrance, and a smaller one they had dug at the other end so that a tiger or other hunter could not trap them within it.

they picked up an endless argument. should they continue living on the ground, and in the caves, or go back to living in the tall trees, like the monkeys.

socko and gocko were for the ground, ocko and jocko for the trees.

later in the night, mocko returned. he had outrun zocko, and the tiger had taken zocko down.

mocko had then circled back to the cave. now he went to sleep, and took no part in the palaver.

toward morning the tiger returned.

jocko, the youngest member of the troop and a light sleeper, heard the tiger prowling and growlng on the roof of the cave.

in the rain… in the endless rain.

the end

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

on a mountaintop

by anonymous

a leaf falls
a raindrop falls
the monk is hungry

the endless rain - 27. packy again

by nick nelson

part twenty-seven of twenty-eight

for previous episode, click here

to begin at the beginning, click here

the day was fading and a light rain began to fall as mr eggwhistle headed back to the city.

he passed a couple of cornfields, then a wooded area, then a long stretch of nothing at all, and was just about to come to the main highway when he saw a solitary figure trudging along on the other side of the road., but headed in the same direction as himself.

it was johnny.

mr eggwhistle stopped. when johnny saw him, he walked across the road and got into the car.

they continued down the road for a while without speaking.

“so how have you been?” mr eggwhistle finally asked.

“all right.”

“you remember me, don’t you?”

“sort of.”

“back in indiana. i had a little tailor shop across from mr packer’s general store. you used to run errands for mr packer, and sometimes for me. you had one of the first bicycles in the state, and you were johnny the errand boy.”

“i remember the bike. that was a good bike.”

“i am sure it was. now, i understand you and mister packer have a little disagreement going on.”

“a little disagreement! he owes me. i just want what’s rightfully mine.”

“of course you do. i tell you what, why don’t we drive into town and i will see if i can find mr packer and see what i can do to straighten this situation out. it can’t hurt to try.”

johnny shrugged. “i guess not. you can try.”


mr eggwhistle found packy in his usual spot in the back booth at ruby’s, doing his crossword puzzle. there was nobody else in the place, except florence, behind the counter, and al, in the kitchen.

mr eggwhistle slipped into the booth across from packy.

“remember me?”

“can’t say that i do,” packy did not look up from the crossword puzzle. “where should i remember you from?”

“well, that is neither here nor there. how about this fellow?” mr eggwhistle took a picture of johnny out of his wallet and put it on the counter.

packy glanced at it. “no, i don’t recognize him either.”

“he says he was talking to you just the other night.”

“i can’t remember everybody that comes pestering me. that’s my problem, people always pestering me. how about you. people slays pestering you?”

“not particularly. well, i tried, i guess i will be on my way.”

“stick around, try the breakfast special. with the sausage. it’s pretty good.”


when mr eggwhistle got back to his car, the rain had stopped, but the street was still wet.

johnny was gone.

28.the endless rain

Tuesday, April 21, 2020


by corinne delmonico

i'm just a bundle of neurons, like you and john the baptist
and i raced down the hill with confucius, to see who could run the fastest
with machiavelli and joan of arc, i questioned the meaning of fate
as we sat beside the seashore with alexander the great

cleopatra and cesare borgia went in for a swim
but caligula sat all sad and alone because no one would talk to him
i started to build a campfire with pocahontas and buffalo bill
when they returned from their excursion picking blueberries on the hill

we sat around the fire singing ballads until dawn
and i began to wonder where the elephants had all gone
errol flynn and theodore roosevelt started a poker game
but i did not play because all the cards in the deck were the same

every card in the deck was the ace of spades
with a bullet hole in it shot by jack slade
every bet they made was called by judas iscariot
who raked up all the chips and rode away in a silver chariot

i'm just a bundle of neurons whirling through space
they say i have messalina's heart and st teresa's face
queen victoria's sense of humor and marie antoinette's smirk
but i have never had a job because i don’t like to work

the endless rain - 26. the circus

by nick nelson

part twenty-six of twenty-eight

for previous episode, click here

to begin at the beginning, click here

jonathon and the ogre came to the top of a hill.

they looked down the other side, and saw a clearing, and what looked like wagons, or small huts, in the mist. behind the clearing was a thick woods.

a town, said jonathon.

no, said the ogre, it is a circus. those are wagons that you see. can you not see the horses around them?

jonathon did not argue with the ogre’s superior experience. they started down the hill.

when they were halfway down the hill, they saw what looked like frantic activity at the bottom.

some of the wagons started to move. smaller things, people or horses, started to move , some of them up the hill , more of them to the east or west, along the line of trees.

suddenly more horses burst out of the wooded area. the people, horses, and some of the wagons fled from them.

what is going on? jonathon asked the ogre.

nothing good, the ogre answered. we had best turn back.

but he stood still, watching as the first fugitives - peasants, and clowns, fortune tellers, and rounders from the circus came up he hill!

save yourselves! cried a clown.

save yourselves! others following him took up the cry. it is the inquisition! the holy inqusition!

terrified fugitives fled past jonathon and the ogre and then they beheld the horsemen coming up the hill behind them.

the black clad, red helmeted soldiers of the holy inquisition!

jonathon turned to join the fleeing mob coursing down the side of the hill they had come up, but as they did, jonathon was knocked down and trampled by a burly fortune teller.

when he tried to rise, he was seized by an inquisition soldier and knocked on the head.


the ogre escaped, but jonathon and two dozen other unfortunates were carried back down the hill.

they were bound and marched in to the presence of the chief inquisitor, who commanded that the demons possessing them come forth.

the prisoners whose demons obeyed the summons of the chief inquisitor would be spared. those whose demons stayed within them would be burned at the stake.

on this day no demons came forth.

the soldiers set up stakes which they had brought in their baggage train, and jonathon and the other prisoners were bound to them, and kindling placed at their feet.

a long fuse connected the stakes, so that they could all be lit at once.

the stakes were set up with the prisoners’ backs against the western horizon. the fuse would be set up when the sun began to go down.

the soldiers broke out gourds of wine, and made merry at the condemned wretches’ expense as they waited through the afternoon.

finally, as the sun began to go down, the chief inquisitor’s assistant lit the fuse.

the fuse flared up.

then, suddenly, the sky turned black, and a great wind began to howl, and a great rain began to fall.

the terrified inquisitors and soldiers fled.

the prisoners were saved!

but by whom?

27. packy again

Monday, April 20, 2020


by timothy t jones

the sun begins to set
over a deserted road

in the shadow
of a deserted gas station

which has a faded sign
“last chance”

the second “c” in “chance”
is completely gone

a brown paper bag
stirs in the dust

it is called a “sandwich bag”
but there is no sandwich in it

where is the person
who ate the sandwich?

are they happy?
are they sad?

did they enjoy the sandwich?
did they have a coke with it?

or maybe an apple
or a bag of chips?

there is no sign of a chip bag
or an apple core

or a coke can
or anything at all

a small animal
runs across the road

is it running
from another animal?

no other animal

the sun sets
the dust settles

the endless rain - 25. the master

by nick nelson

part twenty-five of twenty-eight

for previous episode, click here

to begin at the beginning, click here

the great emperor felt the earth trembling under his feet.

he summoned his four wise counselors.

why is the earth trembling under my feet? he asked the counselors.

because a mighty army is approaching from the north, said the first wise counselor.

what should i do? the emperor asked.

raise a mighty army of your own, replied the first counselor.

i already have a mighty army of my own, the emperor said. he turned to the second counselor and asked him -

why is the earth trembling under my feet?

because the great mountain to the west is beginning to crumble, said the second counselor, and when it is gone, floods of barbarians will overwhelm the kingdom.

what should i do? the emperor asked the second wise counselor.

bribe the chiefs of the barbarians with sacks of gold, the counselor replied.

i am already doing that, said the emperor. they are already getting all the gold that all my slaves can mine. he turned to the third wise counselor and asked -

why is the earth trembling under my feet?

because a maiden is approaching from the east, said the third counselor. she is riding a mule, and she is bringing a message that will cause the earth and sky to split apart.

what should i do? asked the emperor. should i have her intercepted, and hanged before she can deliver her message?

the third counselor shook his head. the gods whose message she brings might not like that. perhaps you should wait, and hear the message that she brings, and hope that the earth does not split too close to your feet, and that the sky does not split too close to your head.

you are not very helpful, the emperor told the third counselor. he turned to the fourth wise counselor, and asked him -

why is the earth trembling under my feet?

a master is approaching from the south, said the fourth counselor, bringing a message of his own. he should arrive in three days. perhaps we should wait to hear what he has to say.

that sounds like good advice, said the emperor. we will meet again in three days.

three days later, the emperor was again seated on his throne, with his four wise counselors beside him, and the master who had arrived from the south, a rather ordinary looking individual with a long gray beard, was brought before him.

why is the earth trembling under my feet? the emperor asked the master.

because the earth is under your feet, the master replied.

the emperor was not amused. look here, fellow, he told the master, i have been listening to such so called pearls of wisdom from the likes of you all my weary life. i want something a little more definite.

i think, the first wise counselor interposed, his celestial majesty would appreciate some specific ideas as to how to stop the earth trembling under his feet.

oh, well, in that case replied the master, heed my words -

first - gather all the frogs in the kingdom and have then turned into wolves.

second - gather all the redhaired maidens in the kingdom and have them turned into lions.

third - gather all the cats in the kingdom and have them turned into silver goblets.

fourth - have all the water in all the rivers of the kingdom -

that is quite enough, the second wise counselor interrupted. how do you imagine we are to do all that?

why, said the master, do you not have magicians at your disposal? or at least one master magician?

we thought that you were the master, said the third wise counselor. and that perhaps you could perform some magic?

i am not the master, said the man who had been brought before the emperor and the four counselors. i am not a magician, and i am not even a magician’s apprentice.

who then are you? the fourth wise counselor asked.

i am only a poor peasant, and the master is only my dream.

a dream? the emperor asked.

yes, a dream i had thirty years ago, when i was just a poor goatherd’s assistant. i was caught in a rainstorm with the goatherd’s daughter, and he gave me a tremendous thrashing. when he was done i crawled beneath a pile of hay and began to dream… listen, and you can hear the raindrops falling…

26. the circus