April Poetry Walk

Below are submissions for April Poetry Walk 2022! Thank you everyone!

Gabi and McKenzi Pereira da Silva

Luv 2 Run 

PDS sisters Luv 2 Run.
We Luv 2 Run, but it's better in the sun.
When we run, we are having so much fun.
The best part of our run is when it's done.

                                         ~Pereira da Silva Girls

Who Am I 

Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple and Violet too...
Can you guess who I am?
I bet you CAN!

                                           ~ McKenzi Pereira da Silva

My Underwater World 

Rushing blue-green tide,
Slip smoothly through tinted waves.
My underwater world.

                                              ~Gabi Pereira da Silva

Poem by Alyssa Duch



Poem by Amber Buss

Breaking Away

They say the apple does not fall far from the tree
Some would say that the odds were stacked against me
Watching most of my family succumb
To addictions that would nearly cost them their lives
Lost jobs, lost time, and for some lost loved ones
Watching new love interests come in and out
Like a revolving door, as if love were dispensable
Watching yet another family fight
During a holiday celebration
Always wondering if this too was my reality
Could I possibly break away from a life full of despair
Over the years, I have done my best
I have stayed away from any addictions
I became a devoted wife to my husband
I have been blessed with two beautiful daughters
That give me a reason to wake up each day
We celebrate holidays surrounded with laughter and love
Today, my children watch me
They watch me devote time to our family
They watch me as I study in order to reach my dreams
They watch me as I work to help provide for our family
They watch me live a life full of hope, not despair
They say the apple does not fall far from the tree
But I am living proof that it does not have to be that way
We can overcome the odds
If only we try
We can break the cycle and live our best lives
If only we try
We can achieve our dreams
If only we try

Poem by Angelina Vu

At Home I

At home, I hear the tongues of my mother,
a language I should have learned but
never did.
Never more than a sentence
exchanged between
the 95-year-old stranger
my Matao
I have lived with all my life.

ຂ້ອຍ​ຮັກ​ເຈົ້າ we say to each other
but how can you love someone when you don’t know
their stories
their dreams
who they really are.

At home I see my parents:
The American Dream.
They fled re-education camps,
dodged bullets,
swam rivers,
made it to the land of opportunity and took
They did not risk their lives and
their families so that their daughter could be a poor struggling artist.

My parents tell me stories of
unwelcoming pale strangers spitting phrases with sharp teeth
“You don’t belong here”
“Go back to where you came from”
“Go back home”
Something they had to create in this foreign place of freedom.
something I feel I do not have.

This home a secret prison
and I a prisoner
chained by the expectations of perfection.
Perfect grades.
Perfect attitude.
Perfect daughter.

Their constant criticism is like a chisel,
shaping my stone heart
but all they are left to work with now is
broken bits of rock.

At home I realize
what a failure
I am.
So I will stay in my room among
my pastel pink walls
my cluttered desk
clothes creating mountains on the floor
laying in the softness of my bed
that comforts my cracking skin
and the warmth of the blankets
soaking up my tears.

Poem by Barbara Laabs

Holiday Hangover


Hurry get ready…busy busy busy

Halloween with its decorations of gold and black

Candy for the children


Ghosts, goblins, witches, and superheroes

Could be snow, could be rain, could be a warm summer night in OCtober


Hurry get ready….busy busy busy

Thanksgiving food

And more food

Turkey, cranberries that remain despite dislike, pies, stuffing, sometimes ham

And green bean casserole

Gatherings of relatives and friends

Maybe some drinks

Could be snow, could be rain, not likely to be too warm


Hurry get ready…busy busy busy

Christmas glitter

Houses decorated with red, green, gold, silver, and white twinkling lights

Too many gifts

Under the twinkling Christmas tree

Fine food and drink

Gatherings of relatives and friends

Snow throws a white blanket on the land

Time to rest and sleep

Holidays are gone

Winter is here

It snuck up on us

Due to pleasant distractions

Of holiday cheer

Keeping busy

Celebrating the holidays

Unsuspecting of the lull

Happens every year

Hibernation like a tired bear looking out from the lair

Snow, cold, wind and icy roads

Negative 1 to negative 20

Looking out from the lair like a tired bear 


And it drags on

Valentines and Saint Patrick aren’t enough to calm the Holiday Hangover

Waiting for spring

Looking out from the lair like a tired bear


Maybe another piece of candy

Or cookies

Or cake

Will help the boredom

And add to the holiday hangover weight

Too cold to take a walk outside

Looking out from the lair like a tired bear


Sad and bored

Blankets of snow are getting old

And gray

No comfort 

For the bear in the lair

Looking out

After the holidays

With a hangover

Of fat and boredom and sadness


Waiting for confinement to end

Sometime in February it might be 30 degrees

But it’s just a tease

The snow and negatives are back the next day

And the waiting bear goes back to sleep

Hoping to wake to a different morning

Nursing the holiday hangover

Maybe some wine or beer would help

And some cake

Or candy

Or cookies

The wind picked up

Blowing the snow

Turning faces red with the cold

Negatives, not many positives

A thaw pokes the bear in March

Not to last

The road turns to glass

Drivers play bumper cars

And crash on the ice

Stay off the roads

Stay home

Like a bear in a lair looking out

Blankets of snow cover the roof

And the bear sleeps in the lair 



Poem by Barry Carter

How far is the
God of war from being
Mortal, I to being
Divine, can I make real
Miracles rehearsed. How
Close are graves
Of war to heaven and
The angel to it's
Shadow that falls across
The watchtower that
Dreams about
Being blind.The ghosts
Of war are land locked.

Poem by Bill Kelly

Damaged Book

I could blame the cat.
An easy thing to do and usually true.
But the incorporation of good wine
into the book was totally my fault.
If there is a cost for replacing the book,
please let me know.
You should only contact me, not the cat.
(The cat doesn't have any money.)

Poem by Bryan Guzman

The warm embrace of “home” was something that I quickly learned to love
The sense of “family” that seemingly just fell right into my lap at birth
The outward love for my family; I've always shown
But, bad times seemed to come as often as a bad thunderstorm
Far apart enough that you got used to the beautiful weather, but
close enough together that you didn’t forget the damage that the previous storm left
My life as a small and young person holds the most precious memories,
but not only that, the most valuable feelings
Feelings that I couldn't even dream to feel again
Feelings that I couldn’t buy back no matter how much money I had
So there they stay- in the distant past. What feels like fading,
is just them sinking deeper into the oblivion of my mind.
Sometimes I ask, “What created me?”
Not what created my physical being- because that’s simple enough to understand
But what created the thoughts that I think?
What created that “thing” that is in operation of my personality 24/7?
Is it my experiences that created those things?
Is it the people that I’ve surrounded myself with?
See, I find that hard to believe
because it seems almost as if this person that I call “me”, has existed long before I was even conceived-
that I would have always been this way regardless of what happened or didn't.
Well, I suppose that’s just life
Even with all this, I still wonder what it looks like- right before I fall
Why it feels as if I’m just guessing my direction, or even worse- that I can’t see at all Sure, sometimes it gets cloudy outside- but maybe we should like that better
Some people say that they want to live forever, but to me, that's way too long-
i’ll just get through today

Poem by Carolyn Horton


On the day you were born,
Our family wanted to blow a horn,
I am forever gladly sworn,
Your grandmother to love you and adorn.

Then as each day did start,
I realized deep in my heart,
I never wanted us to be apart,
I always knew you would be smart.

Watching you play made my heart leap,
You made memories I would forever keep,
My love for you grew more deep,
As in your bed I watched you sleep.

I’m so proud of you my first grandchild,
We played with toys in a corner piled,
We had fun outside when you ran wild,
We both loudly laughed and smiled.

And now that it’s your 18th birthday,
I’ll to the Lord each day pray,
For him to keep all evil at bay,
While you live, work and play.

Poem by Chad Mann

Don’t Think He Left You Untouched

How could you,
how could you tell me such horrific things.
Like i’m expected to brush it off,
and fly away with what wings?
Like i’m not supposed to pick up the phone,
but yet it still rings.
What am I supposed to do when my favorite things are truth and you.
The truth is scary but you may be too.

Poem by Dan MacArthur

The sparrows play about the windows of the museum.
I sit and think of the takeoff from Norfolk in the SNJ,
While bored children stand, waiting beneath the wing
Of an old bomber.

Poem by David Casper

What Blind Eyes See
Are you blind, can you see?
Is dark and light, black and white?
Start to fight, take back your life.

You don’t sway, stay on course.
The glass is weak to shedding tears.

Look to the mirror, it holds proof.
Eyes closed or open,
What is truth?

Minds and eyes, closed and vain,
Blind with lies poised on shame,
Do not fear your duty is not too hate.

No mirror can bore beauty by this gate.
Your eyes open with mind find connection,
Out or in a pleasing reflection.

Poem by Deb Martin

Good Trouble

Before an action, I have to think.

Some thoughts may lead to drink

so I choose good ones to double.

Good thoughts lead to good action.

To stop others from bad action,

I also want to get in good trouble.

Poem by Debbie Laffin

What Happens Here

Rippleless once in a while slightly

Green oh hey really green

Sometimes churning spitting wild

Crashing glorious colors usually often 

Bluebird sky winged eagles eat

Rotting fish dogs

Roll in tiny houses on pine tree roads

Angry piles of freeze threatening

Sparkles fade in warm

Mushy bugs born of water squish more

Green ears full of buzz

(There is such a thing as free lunch) the 

Dock goes in old man watches

Jumping splashes

Its what happens here


Poem by Donna Altepeter


Across the dark, barren hill
I kneel and gaze at you...my hand outstretched.

I reach for you.

High upon the wooden tree
Your bruised depleted body bleeds
You eyes so full of emptiness
And of your father's love

Deeply, you look through me
Our hands outstretched

We share humanity, the crumbled residue of choices made, of promises broke by our beloved, those who betray,
those who fell asleep, as you breathed in solitude

While you, gazing through night waited for the end, the promise, Life
Now, I , thinking to breathe, look to you as the Father's word, Redeemer

My only hope, my hand outstretched.

Poem by Harmony Obiala

I have a dream that one day I will not be judged by the color of my skin but for the content of my character.

I have a dream that one day George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Ahmad Aubery and so many more won’t have to leave so early.

Because when your skin is seen as a weapon, you are never unarmed.

I have a dream that someday I won’t have to breathe for my brother and sisters who can’t.

I have a dream that when we tell people to say their names, they won’t ask which ones.

I have a dream that protests will be seen as cries for the unheard and not as non compliance. But I will always speak for my people because silence is violence and passive is complacent.

I have a dream that one day being able to say “I see color” isn’t a bad thing because I’m proud to be black.

I have a dream that one day my people not becoming hashtags isn’t something to rejoice about because it’ll be normal.
As Frederick Douglas once said "If there is no struggle, there is no progress.

Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.
They want rain without thunder and lightning.
They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.”

My job is to speak for those who can’t, but my hope is some day I won’t have to.

I have a dream that one day our intolerance for injustice will not be seen as black crime.

I have a dream that one day black history can be a major and not just an elective. Because, you see, my people have made oceans move by courage and made light with song.

They turned water into wine because my people are gods on earth.

I have a dream that justice for all will be a movement, not just a moment.
Because injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

I have a dream that one day my future children will not be judged for the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

And I have a dream that one day, the rest of the world does too.

Poem by Hope Whitney

under the same moon right?

He tells me night after night every day we’re apart that he won’t forget how it was in the start,
but every day it gets dark and i don’t know if we’re supposed to be so far apart.
I tell him night after night every day we’re apart that I won’t forget how it was in the start,
but the start was the time in the dark where no sun would shine because we weren’t apart.
When we’re apart the only thing left is one singular spark.
Ever so bright,
but hey at least we’re under the same moon right?

Poem by Kathy Chapman

Bike Ride

Under the cascading Catalpa Tree,
A magnificent groundhog perched,
Devouring a luscious blossom,
For which she had carefully searched.
Passersby paused to admire her
But humbled continued was she.
After all, what is bliss,
But to be here like this,
Beneath a Catalpa Tree.

Poem by Lexi McCarthy

A new pup sent our way

Can a spirit
be born anew?

After the earnest, honest, innocent
face of a loved one
fades to ash,
in that time of shadowed grief,
with uncertainty and hollowness
lingering in the air,
can you find another way
towards certain joy?

I see her soul again,
rising from the embers,
when I hold this new joy in my lap.

She seems to have your sienna fur,
and your stubborn wit.
She also has that same scar along your haunch,
which curves impossibly identical to yours.

She curls up the same
under my father’s arm
rekindling a bond
which your absence left extinguished.

She welcomed me at first sight,
and jumped up to greet me,
as if we had knew already,
and oh how my affection grew,
as she leaned into my comforting touch,
soaking in all the adoration
she seldom had before she was rescued.

And yet, her frame is petite,
whereas you towered higher,
so I could hold your front paws
and dance with you in the kitchen.

Her ears are nearly too big for her face,
and the curves of her features aren’t the same.
And yet, I see you in her big, adoring eyes,
and my love burns stronger, everlasting.

And oh, how she can run!
She ran right into my lap when our eyes first met,
and she can soar across the snow,
even with her dachshund frame.
She skips around the house to play,
and settles to nap right after.

You never really ran or played.
You were more content
to find that perfect spot on the couch
which cradled you and your dreams.

The peculiarities and coincidences of life
amuse and confuse me.
We rescued you, my first pup,
from Texas when you were one year old.
Four years later, after you were torn away,
we rescued our new joy from Texas too.

I ponder how she came to be with us.
She has your spirit burning under her rusty fur,
and yet she was six years old when we got her,
two years older than when you passed on.

At four brief years old,
you were too young to die.
Some days it feels like your phoenix spirit
burned bright and hot,
but sputtered out all at once.

Did you know we would miss the warmth ensnared in your spirit?
Did you send along your secret sister in your place?

I treasure the memory of you,
burned deep within my heart,
but I’ll hold my new joy
with all of her quirks and oddities,
and a heart somehow bigger than her ears,
a little closer when she comes near,
because my love for you can be born anew
in every moment that I love her

Poem by Linda Hassel

The Elephant in the Room

I gave my aunt an elephant. She gave it back to me:
“I must be firm, a pachyderm is not my cup of tea.”

“They snort and stomp, cavort and romp, whenever they are able,
And sadly lack one bit of tact when eating at the table.”

“The hens you sent help pay the rent; I sell their eggs in town,
The chimpanzees, with expertise, have sewn me a gown!”

She said, with smile, “The crocodile, fits nicely in the tub,
The geese, the ducks, and both woodchucks have formed a swimming club.”

“The horse was fine, I’m fond of swine, the monkeys couldn’t be cuter.
(I let them wear my feathered hats and play on my computer)”

“The brown emu and kangaroo were very welcome presents,
They like to weed the garden, and tend to all the pheasants.”

Aunt shook her head, and softly said, “It’s sad but it is true:
You must take back this elephant, MY HOME IS NOT A ZOO!”

Poem by Linda J Lechtfuss

You've heard of the Grinch and his Christmas day,
Well this is Thanksgiving, and I'll have my say!
To tell you the story of the Truesells and Truthers,
No one was spared, not sister or brother.
It happened the year after Grinch found his heart,
that's the real story worth telling
to the tiniest part!
As they sat at the table ready to feast
No one was thankful
Not in the least.
There they all sat with food high on the plate,
Shiny new cars ,a warm house with a gate,
When in walked the Grinch, asking "Am I too late."
A Truesell child answered "Come in have a seat"
"There is turkey and ham and of course the roast beast."
So as he sat on down and was bowing his head
He realized not one word of thanks would be said.
And at this Mr. Truther who was sitting near by
Noticed a tear drop in old Grinches eye.
"We know what you're thing, but we all had the flu,
the dog ran away, my wife she did too.
The company is down and so are my stocks,
Next it will be the jewelry we'll hoc.
The weather is bad, my back always aches,
Rush rush hurry hurry, it's all I can take."
"Stop" said the Grinch, "Count your blessings now!!!
If you can't think of any, I'll show you how!
You got of bed, some people cannot,
so we'll start to count here, at this very spot.
The food at the table, fresh air that we breath,
To be able to look at the sky and the trees.
Are minds are all healthy'
We hear with our ears,
The sounds of a newborn, the crying of tears.
So let us give thanks to the Lord up above,
For family, friend, peace, and hearts full of love.
Let bygones be bygones, and from this very day,
Bow your heads daily and learn how to pray.
And as this was said, a smile appeared,
On a young Truesell child, then a Truther, and another in the rear.
So from that day to this, when the Grinch comes to call,
They remember the best Thanksgiving of all.
When the Truesells and Truthers each sister and brother,
Learned to be thankful for one and another!

Poem by Lynn Kuhns

Riding the Waves

It’s some morning, and I’m down at the lake,
sitting atop the old picnic table,
legs dangling as big, undulating waves sweep, lap, lick smoothly.
And always, there are more.

I mimic them, kicking my legs out to those lakeshore rhythms…
back, forth, up, down, more-more… until ⎯

In my mind’s eye, a much younger me rides
atop the sturdy saddle of my father’s ankle…
back then when I’d hoist a chubby leg over dad’s offered foot
and lower my pajama-ed bottom onto its worn worsted sock
and I’d ride, ride!…ride!!!… up, down, bouncing for more.
I’d wrap one small pudgy hand around one fat finger-rein of his;
my other hand waving a pretend cowgirl-hat. “Giddy-yup!”

Dad would smile, his watery blue eyes
twinkling under overgrown brows
up there above his big smile
where small creases spilled waves of love.
I owned it all — a whole kingdom is my horse is my rhythm
is more, and always more,
there, astride dad’s sturdy ankle-foot.

“Don’t worry, Cookie,” [He called me that…] ⎯ “I won’t let go.”

Well, not THEN…. is what he must have meant.
Because today I watch the waves alone,
my feet swaying slowly, slower now,
and then …
( no more.)
Way too alone too long.


Poem by Mandi Butterfield Isaacson

Where Our Sidewalks End

Let us get this cemented in our heads, sidewalks
are concrete, the bricks and mortar upon which
we walk on downtown’s Main Street.

Pedi-cured foot traffic shows the spring in our steps
greeting friends and neighbors, day or night
you can bank on it.

Shop windows display how brides can furnish
their homes, where you can spin your wheels
buy nuts and bolts, and beer varieties flow
more than mere drops in a bucket.

Tempting scents of caramel corn, burritos,
gourmet brats and burgers pull us in and fill us up
and just in case you’ve missed anything, we’ve got
the perfect prescription: take a quick hike to the library
during April Poetry Month where you can learn about
everything, if you’re not averse to lines, stanzas and verse.

Poem by Nicole Steinmetz

I am a deep well and a wilted flower
I wonder what magical creatures exist in the deepest depths
I hear the repeated clang I see the foil burn
I want to discover the realest connections
I am a deep well and a wilted flower
I pretend to be whole
I feel the drums of the war
I touch the soul of the youth
I worry that I’ll fall back into old habits
I cry when I think of her and the life taken away
I am a deep well and a wilted flower
I understand that I’m strong and resilient
I say in a world where you can be anything, be kind.
I dream of overcoming my obstacles
I try to help others battle familiar demons
I hope to be bigger than my past
I am a deep well and a wilted flower

Poem by Richard Wachtveitl


Lord, I see your handiwork

In the first pale light of day.

No human hand could ever paint

The sky in such a way.


Lord, I hear the music

Of the softly, falling rain.

No human hand could ever write

A gentler refrain.


Lord I feel the warmth

Of the sunshine on my face.

No human could enfold me

IN a lovelier embrace.


Lord, I know you’re listening

To the whispered words of prayer,

That end the day so peacefully

In the quiet timem we share.


Lord, your love surrounds me

Like nothing else I know.

A love that lasts eternally,

No human could bestow.


Poem by Sister Bernadette Marie Palma

A Walk in the Woods

The damp smell of moss and decay
intercepted my thoughts
as I ambled along the path
deeper into the woods

Near the wandering route
I came upon hundreds of fir trees
sprouting up in every conceivable place.
Perfect miniatures of promises to come!


Poem by Spencer Skivington

Responsibility and Restitution

Responsibilities are a difficult thing to deal with.
The only thing I want to do when I hear my
morning alarm is hit the snooze button.
I wake up for, yet again, another hard day,
after staying up late doing homework after work.
How long does it have to be like this?
How long until I finally feel like all of my
hard work has paid off?

Is the reward better than the pain one endures to get there?
How do I skip ahead a few years to the part
where I am set up with a stable job and have less
belongings to take care of?
I can’t.

Exhaustion is becoming a better friend of mine.
Some mutual friends we share are physical,
mental, and emotional exhaustion.
It’s strange, really, the comfortability that I
have gained when it comes to our friendship.

But, better days are ahead.
Atleast, that’s what I keep telling myself.
The goals that I have set for myself
are what keeps me from hitting the snooze button.
I get up, brush my teeth and complete the other
tasks needed to get ready for the day.
I smile in the mirror, even when it takes
everything inside of me,
and I go conquer the hard day that is unavoidable.

It’s important that I acknowledge the things that I have.
At least I have a class to go to.
At least I have a bed to get up from.
At least I have a mirror to smile in.

At the end of the day, I am here.
I am living.
I am me.
And, the day to day struggles only cause
for more room for restitution in the long run.

Poem by Terri Schlack


Five men were sitting in the coffee room
At Jim’s hardware store one day.
They talked quite a bit about what to do
With their army stuff they’d stashed away.

“What can be done with it?” one exclaimed.
Our kids have no interest at all.
There’s got to be something we can do.
Can we display at some Veteran Hall?”

“We’re actually on to a darn good idea!
We’ll ask others to do what we’ll do.
Let’s throw a couple bucks in and make a pact.
Then find a place with a room or two.

In ’91 a proper Board was formed.
The paperwork was all set up.
Now came the planning and the layout
And more coffee in a coffee cup.

Some places like an armory were looked at,
An old library in Menasha also found.
There was space in an Oshkosh shopping mall,
And the county offered a spot on their grounds.

Bit by bit the idea took shape and form;
Lots of dedicated work was done.
Then one year City Center said they had to move out;
Their backs against the wall, but they didn’t run.

Lo and behold! Something wonderful came about!
Gabert and Rusch donated a plot.
The land’s location just couldn’t be beat.
Next a building, surely can be got.

How to get funding was next on the list.
The museum’s board worked night and day.
John Kuenzel stepped up with a plan in mind.
“We’ll hear him out. What else can we say?”

“I will help you with some of the funding.
I have vehicles I have in my care.
Keep ‘em shined up and protect them from weather
And display them with other things rare.”

2014 was the year that it opened.
The Board of Directors were proud as could be.
The day finally came they could share history’s wealth
Of people’s artifacts and military memories.

If it weren’t for these five men of vision.
And you wonder what each one might say.
We say thank you for making this happen.
Here’s hoping we made you proud today.

Dedicated to: The Five Founders of the Military Veteran Museum & Education Center
Russ Mueller Jim Webb Cal Zernicke
Bud Hjerstedt Jim Lauderdale

Poem by William Keown

For every wicked word that we’ve spoken,
Every sound that we’ve ever uttered,
Every act that we’ve committed,
We are now condemned,
What reward have we gained from this?
We thought they would love us forever,
Because we gave our friends what we thought was true,
But it was really our own soul that we slew.
Dividing like a hole between flesh and God,
Between sin and righteousness.
A hole no devil can prevail.
Trapped on one side in solitary,
Suffering in hell for eternity,
Crimes such as idolizing, blasphemy, adultery,
Homosexuality, pride, and fornication.
All these are corrupt works of Satan,
He will eat anyone that disobeys,
Using temptation to seizes us astray,
As our blindness leads us away,
But there is only One who can free us,
Repentance is preached in His name,
As a fiery furnace burst into flames,
Sinners will be thrown to death,
As the righteous ones will finally rest.
Wicked and darkness will rue the day,
As sinners will be cast into flames.

Poems by Abigail Klemko

A Letter from the People Above

I’d first like to say that I made it okay.
With fear in my eyes and pain in my heart,
God laid his hands on my shoulder and told me,
“My child, it was your time to meet me”.
With that, I followed the path he laid for me.
And when I heard his call, I so gracefully let myself fall.
Fall into the arms of the greatest savior known to man.
I don’t want you to worry and wonder about me. Because I am always okay.
I want you to laugh, scream, gaze, love and play.
I wish you all the sunshine in your day tomorrow, and to never let your heart fill with sorrow.
But just so we can be clear, God chose where I was going to be.
And he said,
“My child, I want you free”.

Through the System.
I stepped out of my home into the thin September air at age 5.
I reach bus #42 at the end of my driveway.
Turn, wave goodbye to my mother and step into a whole new world.
A world where you don’t know where you belong.
Is it seat 12?
Is it the front row desk?
I don’t see anybody I know.
I guess I’ll just wait to be told what to do.
My teacher comes in and tells everyone to find a desk.
In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Pull out your math book and get started on page 1.
Quickly, turned in to
Pull out your laptop and take the pretest for AP Psychology.
But don’t forget, you make me look bad if you fail.
Which turned into test anxiety.
And then academic burnout.
But then we had to apply for college, because that's what we are told, right?
More tests. More tests. And more tests.
Waiting on the day you get the acceptance letter.
My life was seemingly perfect now.
It was what my family and society wanted.
But what about me?
Where does my opinion as a student come into play?
This is how it feels to go through an education system for 13 years.
And I want to make a change.
I will be an educator.
Thank you.

Poems by Abigail Lemke


I’m in my bed of snarled vines

where lawn gnomes do figure eights

gliding on my dad’s humid whistle

The summer air cuddles bumpy cotton chalk-dust skies,

and my fingertips scrape the edge of the sidewalk to

dance below the wildflowers- beheaded carelessly just for me

lemon-sweet green drops stumble down

protesting the weeping pinks and crooked blues

that shivered and fell from under the red and rusted rumble

Lake Nostalgia

ice shoves lake air
sloth and sharp
like the taste after biting your tongue–
a whiff of pennies on the hand of a child who’s become rich
looking under couch cushions

Poems by Alexandra Douglas


All writing is beautiful.
Whether it is a poem, or a haiku,
a story, or a tale,
or even
just a splotch
of ink.
It's all writing, with a story.
A poem can be so much more than words on a paper.
It can be love, feeling, sadness, and joy.
But most of all, writing can't be burned or frozen.
It is always felt from the heart.


The world is a cloud.
It will stay that way if there is no light.
So be the ray of light that shines through.
With your happy light, flowers will grow, people will live in peace.
And love will be shared.
Be the glowing lantern that brings the world to peace.
And most of all,

Poems by Alexis Palmer

Woman of Strength

Woman of Strength
I can see it in your eyes
In the way you act with grace
In the midst of your trials

You minister in love
To those who are in need
To help feed hungry souls
And to stir others away from greed

Woman of Strength
The world may not understand
The life you choose to live
Or your destiny at hand

The Daughter of a King
To whom no man compares
You know who you are
Therefore you move without fear

Woman of Strength
I love who you are
And who you are becoming
Radiates light like a star

Your treasure is in Heaven
As you await to take your throne
To live for all eternity
In your Heavenly home


There’s no one like you
We appreciate you
For all that you are
And all that you do

For all of your time, sweat, and tears
For doing all that you can
To raise us
All these years

Your determination to succeed
We so much admire
And your heart to serve others
We so much desire

Nothing we could say
Could truly express how we feel
The gratitude in our hearts
For a mother with so much zeal

To raise a family is not easy
As we have come to know
But you always do your best
And your efforts truly show

Thank you for your support
Your love, kindness, and trust
For being an example
Of a mother’s love to us

God bless you
And keep you happy, healthy, and strong
For all the days of your life
Until you return Home

We love you very much
And this you need to know
Yes, our dearest mother
We love you very so

Poems by Amy VanBrocklin

Forgive, heal, move on

To forgive, is to set yourself free.
Your power is retrieved.
Your pain may be to deep.
It's that pain you shall release.

Hatred is crippling.
Not them,......you.
Forgiveness is not easy,
really,... you don't have to.

Forgiveness can be silent.
They don't have to know.
They can go down, the captain of their guilt.
So, you can start to grow.

It's time to heal.
Your shame and hatred has
jailed you for to long.
Let it go, move on.

Move on, live, enjoy.
There will be many hurts
In our lives.
Many nights, loved ones listened to our cries.

The initial sting will fade.
Our hearts will start to unbreak.
To much time wasted..
Ones we loved....hated.

You were not wrong to love.
You saw good in a person.
Then you saw them worsen.

They were only seasonal.

I've made some bad choices.
I am so much more than those.
Crazy highs,
Crazier lows.

I've caused harm with my reckless momentum.
A derailing train,
Wreckage sure to come.

Burnt bridges, broke laws.
My drunken silence,
Ignoring all phone calls.

Resenting the world.....
praying to change...
freeing that little girl.

Toes forward, seeking anew.
Amazing things will happen..
I'm only part way through.

Stepping lightly, soft yet
A feeling of peace...
Ability to feel, release.

Making better choices.
Here I am.

Way too often our children are dying
Leaving their mothers grieving and always crying.
Wishing you could protect them forever.....but like birds they leave the nest
You pray for their safety and wish for the best.

You went to ball games, fishing, concerts
Nursing their wounds and soothing their broken hearts.

If only you could turn back time and change their fate
Taking blame,yourself you berate.

Well meaning people tell you " it takes time, I know how you feel"
But the depth of your despair is up front and very real

Their bedroom a shrine
Clothes, toys , size 11 shoes
All left behind

Afternoons spent ,you laying in their bed
A comfort from their smell, their music, ( ugh, their music) you grasp a small moment peace ...
thoughts of their presence, you have that at least.

What they also left... is way too soon
May your hearts heal, your smiles reappear..... And your memories always remain clear.

Every drink is a new regret.
The start of another wasted day......
you'll only just forget.

I was four regrets in,
when I chose to not lose..
but to surrender and win.

A different outcome in the works.
Licking my wounds and talking about what hurts.

It's not right..but it's okay.
Slowly but surely changing
every day.

Catch a different train...
take a new way home..
write a letter,
instead of using the phone.

Learn to cope, learn to stand up....learn to fly.
Learn to smile, appreciate, and take time to cry.

Wipe your tears,
embrace your fears.
Speak up, speak loud,
if need be SHOUT.

Let it be known,
ask for help,
trust in GOD,
trust in someone else.

Learn to trust in yourself,
your mind, and your choices.
People don't read minds, ..
but they can hear voices.

Don't drink that drink,
don't force that regret.
Think it through,
there's hope for "us" yet.

Poems by Ashley Baldwin

Magenta rainbows rock me to sleep
While cyan sunshine laps at my feet
If you are mountains, then I am long winding roads
Your face sings a symphony on late rides home
If the world stays dark will you be my star?
Rosemary yellow and dandelion red
Can we forget the things we never said?

Scrambling for your warmth
Please father, spare me the time it will take my wounds to heal
When you lock me in the closet for the wrong I've done may I come out just once to steal a kiss?
Can I find myself and my worthiness in the illusion of your bliss?
Don't tell me to leave, I'm still holding out
Tell me you love me and I'll lie here forever
Heart to floor, knees to chest
Don't leave me to rot
I'll wait here as long as you want

Caught in a dream you said
I'd never leave your bed
And I lay here now, slowly falling down
I remember that night, you sat and cried
And I held you close
I spoke to angels and they said
You're more than the monster that you've created in your head

Well if you can stand to wait outside
I'll be there
Somewhere in the wide expanse
And if you feel like falling apart
I'll hold you together
I promise loving you's not hard
I do it all the time

You said that's my brother, he looks just the same
And I said no, that's a body that's holding his name
You can't tell me the sunken face and the closed eyes look just like him
Why torture ourselves like this?
Who's it for?
Smile at funerals and cry behind closed doors
You tell me that's my brother,
But there's no soul inside a corpse

Poems by Ashly Garner


God’s acts stir in us
a sense of self
Remember who you are

We begin to hear
to see
to feel
until we know
unending love

Learn The Way
and choose your thoughts
least they choose you
and your spirit drops

God’s words
As if a lamp, light your way
be stirred for it is your very salvation at stake

We begin to hear
to see
to feel
until we know
unending love

sin no more
allow love –
Remember who you are.

 Day After Thanksgiving

Broad sweeping statements
define no one,
for the completeness of your soul is in the details

Take a look,
take the time
and you may just find
the completeness of your soul
in the uniqueness of their soul

Pick up your room,
sweep out the dust;
broad sweeping statements define no one,
you are unique, a child of God
so Love on…

Free Will

Match the inside out,
light a flame
with your thought

What you see
is what you get,
what you got
is what you are

How you think
is what you be,
be what God desires: surrender to it all.


Swing high, swing low
back and forth on the playground

Back at home,
soft pillow rest ease;
lilacs hang high out my looking glass

Bedroom eyes laze,
as the maple sways slow;
thank you for spending time with me.

Poems by Brianna Krahn

I wish I could live in a world of my own
I wish I could finally stop chasing the bone
Stop chasing the bone of the newest trend
Stop doing everything I could to twist and to bend
To what society thinks a young girl should be
I don't understand why I can't just be me?
What makes me so stupid, so ugly, so hated?
Why are my thoughts considered so weird and outdated?
I just want the world to accept me for me
I just want to finally let myself free
Of the cage I've been in since the day I was born
When I learned that words hurt like the pierce of a thorn
I'm sick of the hate and the endless struggle
Of trying to keep myself inside of a bubble
It's terrible to think that a girl who's only seventeen
Is forced to hide herself behind a screen
A screen made of lies and full of fake beauty
All because she believes that it is her duty
To fit in and be what the world expects
Even though the last time that she checked
The person inside her is perfect and true
So maybe it's time to let that girl through
The girl who knows that she's beautiful and worthy
Even if she's told that she may be "too curvy"
It's finally time to break out of the mold
It's time to open up and finally be bold
This girl is perfect and she is now free
To be whoever or whatever she desires to be
One day she hopes that the world will grow
And that spark inside everyone will begin to glow
Until that time, she will continue to fight
So that one day everyone may show their true light

you've gone and left me here
with no one to hold my heart
you've gone and left me here
and I don't know where to start
you've gone and left me here
please tell me where to go
you've gone and left me here
I miss your smile so
you've gone and left me here
I need to see your face
you've gone and left me here
without you, where is my place?
you've gone and left me here
I'm longing for your love
you've gone and left me here
are you flying high above?
you've gone and left me here
I'm lonely and I'm lost
you've gone and left me here
wondering what was the cost?
you've gone and left me here
I need to find my peace
you've gone and left me here
the pain has yet to cease
you've gone and left me here
yet, I know it's not your choice
you've gone and left me here
I just need to hear your voice
you've gone and left me here
and someday, I will be gone too

You hide behind your smile, you lock away your tears
you put on an act, but I can see your fears.
You're scared to let go, you're scared to be free.
If only you'd be willing to open your eyes and see.
There's a world out there full of beauty and light,
you seem to keep it just out of sight.
You believe you deserve the pain and the hate,
you carry your mistakes around like a weight.
I wish you'd let go, I wish you would see,
the difference you've made in the world and in me.
I hope that one day you'll let someone in,
for loving a person is not a sin.
You have so many things that make you, you
Don't be afraid to let your light shine through.
You're worthy of all that life has to give,
please stop hiding and finally live.

Love isn't just me, love isn't just you,
love is for us, love is for us two
Love makes your heart soar high above the clouds,
love grows infinite, there will never be bounds.
Although there may be many trials and errors,
just remember, my love, that what we feel has no barriers.
I know that now until death do we part,
every smile, every laugh will forever live in my heart.
For everyday I feel my heart growing with you
and I know every sweet word that you whisper is true.
My love for you will forever be etched on my soul.
To be with you forever is my ultimate goal.
So never forget how much you mean to me,
for my darling in my heart you will forever be,
the man of my dreams, the one I will never forget.
The man who now holds my heart, every teeny, tiny bit.
So even though some say I'm too young to know what love is,
I say, "no soul has ever touched me like his".

Poems by Casper Faust


Thanks for the memories of old.

They are valued more than gold.

Thanks for the loved ones we have known.

They are perceived by us alone.


Thanks to all who in this life,

Lessen the burden of grief and strife.

Thanks to those who now are sharing,

Our joys and sorrows, ever caring.

The Epoch of Civilization

The rise and fall of civilization can be compared to the accomplishments achieved in the life span of man. Their duration varies with the ability to cope with the conditions they create.

Like a child, man has, since the beginning of time, 

Been intrigued by the unknown. The  mysteries that confront him are a continuous challenge. It is in the quest for knowledge and understanding that he rises to greater 

Heights of performance.

    As in youth, experiences and knowledge are honed to

A degree of achievement often surpassing the generation

Before him.

    As in maturity, the education gleaned, provides the 

Opportunity to utilize and to further develop the 

Resources of his world.

    As in the “golden years”, images of past achievements

Predominate. The exhilaration of exploring new

Horizons diminishes. Contentment with the success of

Past exploits prevails.

    The ultimate result is death.

    Throughout history, civilizations have attained 

Varying degrees of fulfillment, like human beings, they

Have grown old and faded into oblivion.

    It is unfortunate that at this point in time, man

Has not learned from the past. There is a proverb in 

“The Old Farmer’s Almanac” that supports this reasoning:

“Curiosity is looking over other people’s affairs and 

Overlooking our own.”

A Mother’s Love

A mother’s love is a potent force,

Freely given without recourse.

It gives us strength to persevere,

Freeing us from doubt and fear.


A mother’s love brings reassurance,

That we may proceed with endurance.

It inspires courage to transcend trials,

Provoking a cry and provoking a smile.


A mother’s love is a wonderful thing,

Making us happy and making us sing.

It is most effective when accepted,

But a tragic loss when rejected.

Strength and Courage

When in our lives we complain

That we must suffer grief and pain,

Strength and courage are the wares

That help us proceed without despair.

They are developed as part of living,

By supporting others through caring and giving.


Poems by Cathie Books

I Can Be

I can be that crazy cloud you said looked like ice cream
I can be that scary movie you said was a real scream
I can be that faded T-shirt you say you'll never toss
I can be that certain store that has your dental floss
I can be that favorite drawer that holds your candy bars
I can be that rubber pad you use to open jars
I can be that sturdy bike you ride like no tomorrow
I can be that fluffy pillow that soothes your every sorrow
I can be that any whatever and all of the above
I can be that certain someone your heart will choose to love

My Thoughts

My past thoughts
Are like sunsets.
Sunsets are like endings.
But endings not to keep,
My brain
From restful sleep.

My present thoughts
Are like sunrises.
Sunrises are like beginnings.
And beginnings give
My eyes
A joyful new surprise.

My future thoughts
Are abstract.
Way too much.
But hidden in a sunrise
They are a warmth
My skin
Can touch.

I am

I am a person, not a thing
I am verb, my heart can sing
I am the bud and the flower blossom
I am this way because I am awesome

The flower bud is the essence of unbounded energy, exuberance, and curiosity:
my inner kitten
The flower blossom is the essence of maturity and wisdom in that it knows and understands
That it cannot exist without the support of everything around it
Because everything is awesome
And it never ever forgets that its soul is that flower bud:
That unbounded energy, exuberance, and curiosity
This oneness fuels my awesome

Poems by Charles Mortell

One False Word

Turning recycled words into poetry
is pretentious.

Poets must don body armor, exercise extreme care.
The brilliant line
in the poet’s mind
Becomes an IED
to the reader’s psyche.
Vaporizing the poet’s career in a pink mist.

Composing a poem is like defusing that device.
Sweat in the eyes,
shaky hands,
snip the wrong wire
and you end up writing for Fox News.

Adagio for Wind and Water

When the night terror woke me, darkness lay all around.
As I swam toward consciousness, a pure music flowed into my waking.

First the languid wind swished through the weeping willow
Leaf dense branches sweeping the sky like ethereal whisks.
Next the waves chortled on the jagged shore,
Tumbling white over the broken rocks
Verses I can’t quite make out, lost in their clatter.

Then the insistent wind semaphored me.
But then the waves crescendoed.
The wind and then the waves,
until they wove an idyllic Adagio.
Like the Philharmonic went swimming, instruments in hand,
Now were playing Samuel Barber half submerged.

Came the dawn, the wind whips up and shifts due south paralleling my obsession.
White haired waves quick-march by
Bustling somewhere significant only waves could know.

Pelicans ride the bucking waves together, yet respecting each other’s avian space.
Then at a clandestine signal from Pelican Control, lurching attempts to gain flight.
Clumsy flapping, their absurd beaks flashing like machetes.

Raggedly, they struggle to climb, dragging their ungainly bodies toward the sunrise.
But when altitude is made, they, improbably, morph into The Blue Angels,
wheeling on a dime, moving as one, and making after the fleeing waves.

Three Generations of Dentistry

The Oral Surgeon is describing how he will remove my daughter’s gnarly wisdom teeth
at the cost of a Steinway Grand.
Perhaps his daughter is matriculating at Julliard.

My eyes glaze over, my mind leaps back
to middle school when I had my wisdom teeth yanked.

Back then, that iconoclast dentist was a trifle eccentric
which I know to be true (or am allowed to construe)
because he was also my father.

One night after family dinner, he drove me to his familiar, modern dental office.
But all had changed! It was dark and deserted.
No vespers of patients or swish of white coats.
The street light shining through the blinds providing the only illumination.

Until he flipped on the flaring dental light,
the one powerful enough to signal boats on Lake Winnebago.
I sank into the dental lounge chair and he pricked my gums to make them numb.
Then he picked up what looked like, nothing less than, a mechanic’s pliers
but gleaming, chrome plated rather than smeared with grease.
I only had time to think, ‘What is that tool doing here?’

With an expert twist, he popped my wisdom teeth out.
This man who never touched liquor, never wore ties.
Couldn't carry a tune if he tried.

It was then that over me, came a huge epiphany:
that it’s not the flashy office, nor the bustling staff
But simply the skill that resides in the mind and hands of a father
caring for his son.

The Horse

Yes I weigh 900 pounds and could crush you like a bug,
or kick you through the wall of the barn.

But I choose not to.

If you feed me, I will do pretty much, whatever you want.
If you groom me, I will work for you.
You can ride me and jump fences!

Besides you offer that carrot so sweetly.

Poems by D. Oswald


I’ve had my dreams of greatness

And a dream or two of sin

My dreams have been of winter days

And springtime in the woods

Dreams have woke me up at night

And scared me half to death

Some dreams come back a time or two

So you can get a better look

And the dreams that I remember most

Are the dreams I have of you

Christmas Day

It’s the hallowed eve of Christmas Day

The rain is pouring down

On the hill at Atwood Farm

Orange flames lick the sky

It had stood for three life times

This barn of beams and boards

The laughter of children has filled its air

Man and animals shared its warmth

People came to dance and smile

Neighbors met and talked

A funny woman sold her baby hats

Young lovers made their plans

But tonight on the hill at Atwood Farm

The old red bard is leaving this world

And of all the things that will be lost tonight

Our greatest loss of all

Are the memories that were yet to come.


Six strands of twisted wire

Pulled across rusted green posts

The bottom part covered by grass and weeds

In places that never get mowed

It’s not very long as fences go

The beginning can be seen from the end

Built in the heat of the summer

By an old man and a boy

Built to separate two pieces of land

But not the families on them

You can see it as a sculpture

You can see it as art

But I just see what is there

A six wire fence on rusted green posts

Built by my grandfather and me.


Possibilities of love and hope

Stretch through your life

Like some old ragged rope

Moments now and in the past

Some we cling to desperately

Some fly by so fast

Possibilities of love

Possibilities of hope

Love, hope, and caring

Our lives are for sharing


Poems by Eileen Sateriale

April Dancer

A torch-like beam brightens
tender spring foliage. Sunlight
projects dancer images prancing
on weathered branches against
the agreeing, unclouded blue sky.
Gnarled roots drink up the remnants
of the previous evening’s merciful
rain shower. On this April morning,
earth, tree and sky twinkle in harmony.

Aurora Borealis

Pale green light in sky
blushed by tints of pink and blue
and rare violet hues
spindly pine trees tickle heaven.

Flowery Epiphany

Bulbs planted along the foundation last fall
in hopes of a colorful spring palette
that will signal that winter’s gone
so happy gardeners see the ground again.

In hopes of a colorful spring palette,
tulips flowering all colors of the rainbow
so happy gardeners see the ground again
and tiny crocuses peep above the soil.

Tulips flowering all colors of the rainbow,
magnificent rhododendrons in full bloom
and tiny crocuses peep above the soil.
My garden, an epiphany from winter.


A few months ago,
the sun danced what
seemed like forever
emitting warmth and
bright light.
Now, late afternoon,
the sky dark turns gray
foreshadowing an
ominous time of year.
When the days get cold
The distant beaver moon
provides no comfort
in this darkest hour.

Poems by Elliott Baas


Did you hear? The
Bearded lady rear-ended
a pair of Siamese Twins.

Police have ruled it a
freak accident.

Writing Flow

I’m working a novel about π,
though the project took an irrational turn.

I began a poem on stoicism but
it evoked far too much emotion.

I started an existentialist sonnet, although
fitting the scheme proved a Sisyphean task.

Previously, I had worked on a stage production about puns.
It was a play on words.

I was going to write about Nihilism,
but what’s the point?

Around the Block

They’re arguing again.
Can’t help but overhear
shouts surging between synapses.

strolling along cracked sidewalks.
Shouts surging between synapses,
never to cease.

Strolling along cracked sidewalks
slick with January sleet.
Never to freeze.
Pellets of day-old salt

melt away January sleet,
revealing tan patches of grass
killed by day-old pellets of salt
and the resilient winter’s snow.

Tan patches of grass
clump onto well-worn boots
the resilient winter’s snow
degrades leather of a pig.

Clomping of well-worn boots.
Can’t help but overhear
one pig degrade another.
They’re arguing again.

Lady by the Pond

Back and forth she wanders
cobra streetlights
shine dull incandescence
over trails of slime

Days spent
peering inside
iced with frost.

Days spent
holding a disposable
coffee cup
wrinkled with shame.

Nights spent
coiled in cardboard.
Soiled by stench, and dirt,
and skin.

Nights spent
reflecting, ruminating,
muttering, monologuing
pontificating, philosophizing.

Nights spent

Toxic venom
pulses inside
emerald veins.
She wanders back and forth.

Poems by Gabriana Hernandez

Defining Yourself

You are creative

You are resilient

You are strong

You are funny

You are capable

You are powerful


You are, who you say you are;

So how will you define yourself today?


At the age of 21 you have been through

A lot, but despite it all

You are still here

Existing, living trying

I am so proud of you


Poems by Hannah Allen


Advances countered
Remain futile without risk
Of losing the war.

Silent strategies
Prevail when veiled by friendship
And honest deceit.

Wit accompanied
By skilled luck is required
To beguile one’s foe.

Painted composure
Masks premonitions revealed
By intuition.

Imminent defeat
Leaves one without a retreat
To escape checkmate.

Little Bird on My Sill

Little bird on my sill
Free to wander at your will
Unconfined and unrepressed
With wanton dreams unexpressed.

A quiet life you lead
Taking only what you need
To create your humble nest
And provide a peaceful rest.

Day by day you remain
Hoping only to sustain
A secluded existence
Without fear or resistance.

Ever blissful you stay
And continue on your way
Forgetting all you may lack
Never ever looking back.

Poems by Jenna Rindo

Step Over Cracks

so I don’t break her
back or her mother’s before
her who stands four-feet-eight.
She has permanent ridges
furrowed into her shoulders
from the weight of triple D
against gravity. Even so she
two-steps a polka. Smells the
stink of bad karma. Scours the
rust-stained sink with blue Ajax.
Vases peppery roses
to light duplex gloom. Births
five babies upstairs
in the middle bedroom with or
without a midwife. I watch amazed
as she strikes a wooden match
to flare the gas flames blue,
studs a ham with cloves in star patterns,
then bastes it with Mountain Dew.
Roasts a cheap cut of meat ‘til it falls
from the bone. Works third shift at
the Xerox plant. Walks the dogs, rocks the
cradle, entertains all variety of strangers.
Chants in Latin, cusses in German,
throws back a cold beer. Brings down
the sudden onset of fever. Alters
the atmosphere. Shovels the walk,
throws seed to the birds, marks the inside
cover of paperback romances with a code
before returning. Hopes for a
heaven brighter, lighter than her private
Ohio, frozen litter in layers, memories
muddled, infused in jam and sauerkraut
jars, lined up on shelves, basement stairs
too steep for her to descend.

On a Parcel of Land

in a single wide trailer in some universe
the farmer’s first wife has hidden letters
from her cyber affair with a monk. He disperses
Mandalas and sends her grains of sand, redder
than the Hereford’s heart. Slabs of beef
streaked with rich secrets, stocky bodies white
on the brisket and dewlap, graze on the sod’s grief.
They are bred for both maternal insight
and carcass excellence. Fertility ratios
affect the family farm’s chance to keep
solvent. Windows are open to ebb and flow.
The price of feed remains in flux. Sheep
hear a multi-mission Reaper move through haze.
Silos hold evidence--classified yet decayed.

Seven Mile Loop Past the Cemetery

You run in pre-dawn dark, vague moon overhead,
cratered ovaries spit race enzymes.
Fifty-mile-weeks- on spongy footbeds
pound porous your bones. You repeat hill climbs.
A charm of finches gorging thistle serenades
each crescent regret you cycle within.
The raw stench of cow manure and piss sprayed,
then held in factory lagoons unpins
family farms, rural charm, once unparalleled.
Your feet go on moving, sweat gritty with mistakes.
You arrange words, fracture stanzas, compelled
to interpret the roadkill, its rib cage bleached opaque.
Acid rain etches each infant tombstone.
Day breaks, lines fade into our pocked ozone.

Hmong is No Romance Language

My laminated alphabet falls
from the cinderblock wall.
It is defeated by the Secret War,
the Mekong River running red.
Meekado sketches stories from
Wat Tham Krabok, a Buddhist
temple turned refugee camp.
Razor wire circles his stick
people. Rats are roasted over
burn barrels. My American
ears strain to hear the full
range of his home language.

I am paid to teach speaking,
reading and writing English,
a language of consumerism
promising priceless moments
and worldwide acceptance.
Hmong overflows with oral
complexities. Eight lexical
tones shift meaning between
short words. White and Green
dialects disregard phonemes,
while Shamans bridge
the living to the dead.

Poems by Kathleen Collisson

Drizzle Day

It’s freezing, the drizzle
coating the sidewalks
and roads, making slick
work of walking, putting
hips at risk, forcing most
to stay blessedly in all day.

I leave the drive unsalted,
the shimmer ice glistening
beneath the rain already
freezing on its way down.
Why put on spikes when
I can put up rich jars
of golden lemon curd,
light a licking fire, hold
the woolly blanket close?

I think of all I can’t do:
the scheduled achievements,
the errands and obligations
of this palindromic day, twos
repeating back and forth,
circular reminders to let
the drizzle freeze and then
let it melt, evaporate back
into the atmosphere to return
again on the next day, just
one digit closer to oblivion.

Three Hundred Thousand

Walking through the ravine
this mild December afternoon,
it’s easy to forget the dead.
Sunlight still reflects off the simmering lake
at the end of the path. The clouds are still gray
with the promise of true winter.
Only the dry leaves, disguising the deep
crevices of the earth, invite a tally.

One leaf for each exhausted nurse,
each lonely grandpa, each teacher, each bus driver.
A leaf for each storekeeper, delivery worker,
meatpacker, paramedic, frail elder, robust athlete.
A leaf for my Uncle Ken and all the dead uncles everywhere.
For each homeless person, each immigrant, each refugee.
Would there be enough leaves, here in this one ravine,
to lay on the grave of each of the three hundred thousand,
with many more thousand to come?
This is a place I’ve come to escape my sorrow,
but today there is no respite.
And still the leaves keep falling.

Poems by Kenya Jones

Unconditional Love

I feel you when the wind blows or when it rains.
I see you when the sun shines
and when the ocean waves.
I hear you whenever the thunder roars or when the birds sing.
I know it’s you that allows me to make it through each day.
Even know you’re listening when I pray.
I know you exist because I feel you in my heart.
I know your love is real, you’ve proved it from the start.
Willingly you gave up your life for me and died on the cross to set me free.
There is no limit to the miracles you do and the many problems you see me through.
You’re real, a true friend indeed who never leaves.
Through all, I recognize how unworthy I am of your grace
but yet you’re always there, supplies for all of my needs,
and never lets me fall.

Partial Self Portrait

My face tells no tales
Blessings and a curse
Immediate and bluntly responsive
Each expression innocently delivering loaded retorts
Eyes outlining painted scenes
Breathing patterns laying foundation of tones
Body language confirming thoughts
Emotional truths playground
Facial canvas narrating wordless storylines
Overloaded mind anxiously formulating replies
Experiences showcased as tattooed arms always exposed publicly

Life’s Experiences

I’m dancing on air and the grass flat below me.
Flying over fields while reaching for the sun.
Crying with willows and releasing my fears in misty chilly winds.
Walking on clouds and waving back at the sea.
Lying in the sand while the waves kiss my feet.
Connecting stars and chasing the footsteps from the moon.
I am living out life’s dreams and disappointments.

Poems by Kristin Zwetller

Weeping Willow, Weep for Me

Weeping willow, weep for me

For I have no tears left to shed

Even my bones are dry.

Life is passing me by as I hang my head in shame

The depression ever grasping to keep it’s hold on me

Getting away from it isn’t possible

As it wants to follow me everywhere I go,

Sleep being the only escape from the emotional pain

This psych med change has been really bad this time

Leaving me feeling like a dirty scrub mop

That’s been thoroughly wrung out.

Sunny days are unwelcome in my bogged down state

For they shed too much light on the shape i’m in

If I could weep perhaps some weight would be lifted

So, Weeping willow, would you please weep for me?

Olympic Ode to Diane

It’s been wonderful these last few days

Of the 2022 Beijing Olympics

To feel as though I’ve been spending time with you, 

For I feel your presence as though you haven’t passed.


For it’s Olympics season once again

Our first Olympics without you

And I really feel the void of your absence as I 

Enjoy the Olympics which always meant so much to you.


So whether I’m listening or watching the Olympic events

It feels as though you’re in the room with me, 

Your presence being palpable, sharing your joy with me

While watching Nathan Chen nail the Olympic gold

With his skill and precision

Then according to the old ABC commercial

We watched others and shared in “the agony of their defeat”

As dreams were obliterated

The Olympics being a time when we have no real idea

Of all the hard work and effort that goes into training

To become some of the best in the world


It reminds me that your were one of my best friends in the world!

What Would Herodotus Say?

Oh, Father of History, how must you feel

To know that modern man seemingly at times,

Has learned little from history while continuing

To make the same blunders and mistakes

Over and over again?


While you recorded history as a learning tool

It must pain you to see how little that men of history

Have learned from many of the lessons history has to offer.

Instead continuing on the wrong path

As proven in times gone by, 

Not having learned from what’s happened in the past.

Rather than foraging a new path based upon

Lessons learned from the past.


One should instead want to forage a new path

Where they’re actually making efforts to move forward

Rather than staying stagnant and divisive being more 

Concerned with busting the other party.

When what’s most important is what’s best for all Americans

For it’s not about being Democrat, or Republican or some other party

That’s important when legislating for America.

It’s about being “American” where we should be working together

With the same goals in mind. History doesn’t exist in a vacuum.


When it comes to my own country of the USA

I cringe to think how little our legislators,.......

….our lawmakers, know of historical circumstances

That effective policies in government

Whether circumstances be they foreign or domestic

Asking themselves what effects their attitudes could  have

In addressing the goals of said legislation

It’s nothing but detrimental to not be willing to acknowledge

That what they want to do has never worked before and

Creates more problems than solutions,

Admitting there’s more work to be done.

Being True to Oneself

Being true to yourself isn’t always an

Easy thing to do.

Sometimes we may think, 

“This is the way others expect me to be”

“Easy” is for the day dreamers for

A life well-lived is full of ups and downs

And of many lessons learned.

Being oneself is to take on life as it is

And runs  with it


Poems by Lucy Cannon

A little baby girl, I wanted so much.
But wouldn't believe until I saw her butt.
She looked like her brothers,
But really was, one of the others.
She would wear pink, instead of blue.
I just couldn't believe this little girl
Was true!
What was her Dad going to do?
It took a while to name this child,
Cause mom's names were way too mild.
They wanted something that had some meaning,
thought the initials J. R. would be re=deeming.
So this little one became Julie Reann.
Named for her Aunts, becacause, we can!
Having four big brothers, is not easy.
They can drive you nuts, with their teasing.
They were always there for her.
And the years flew by in one big blur.
How can this little J.R. girl,
Now be married in her dress of pearls?
Ben, she is now there for you to protect,
Do it wrong and you might get decked.
But, we feel she will be in good hands.
Marriage binds you with these bands!
Fights may happen, but never part.
Remember the love you had, from the start!

Joe! Joe!
We love you so.
You are great.
You are first rate!
We need someone,
Who really cares--
Someone who can
See love, and Share--
Blacks, Whites, Tan or
anyone under the sun--
We need the swamp to go--
Please, Joe!

Tom, my beloved

You are my Valentine,
you are my sunshine.
loved for 5 years,
Occasionally with a few tears!
but some were of Joy,
Like when we had our four boys,
And such a thrill, when we had our Girl!
So this Valentine day,
I want to say,
We are so lucky, to be here!
not too many fears,
But we both deserve a lot of Cheers!

Poems by Mary Ellen Wurzbach

Never Before

Never before have I felt this way. Never before have I responded this way. Never before have I ever thought these thoughts or felt these emotions. Never before have I been in a situation like this. Never before have I ever wanted anything as much as I want now. Never before have I been as happy as I am now. Never before have I been so hopeful. Never before have I been so undaunted. Never before have I been so confident yet worried. Never before.

What makes life unique? What makes happen the feeling “never before”? Yes, there are miracles. Yes, there are hurdles. Yes, there are reasons for pleasure.
But how is it that one can say – “never before” at such an advanced stage of life?

Only another soul feeling the same “never before” can understand the feeling. And only another soul experiencing the same things can understand.
The same feelings, actions and events. I am experiencing “never before.”

Simply never before.

Beyond Words

How does one express love, passion, intellect, sense of humor? How does one reflect in writing the many faces and moods of another loved one?
How does one write for numerous pages and still not be able to capture another’s soul?

That is my dilemma. I will try to capture an energetic, multifaceted soul,
but this is a great hurdle.

There are many hurdles in life. This is one that makes me sad. The inexpressible depth of another’s soul.
The opaque nature of trying in words to describe another.

These are my concerns. How do I write persuasively enough for recognition of another’s soul?
How do I depict another’s goodness, drive, intelligence and sense of humor? How do I describe another so as to be recognizable?

A dilemma of authorship.

Beyond words.


What is poetry? The lyrical expression of an idea. The graceful expression of a thought.

Who writes poetry? We all do. In our lives we live poetry. We live a lyrical graceful expression of a thought or idea with every motion.

Physically we express poetry. Mentally we express poetry. The lyricism of our lives expresses our own personal poetry.

What makes one sentence poetry and not another? Composition of words. Does not have to rhyme. Does not have to fit a pattern.
Does have to evoke a feeling of warmth and joy. A feeling of lovely emotion.

Poetry may be actual poetry or narrative poetry as prose written elegantly. But both must elicit a feeling of luminosity.
It must uplift the spirit in a musical way. Spiritual in some sense. Evocative, sympathetic, graceful and lyrical.

Here’s to you – iambic pentameter. Or simply grace.

Poems by Mary Genack

Nature's Gift

Come and sit
And rest your mind,

Or let it wander, float and drift
Out toward the water or the sky

To ponder how or maybe why
The clouds are white and the water 's blue; or

Let yourself be a baby boat or leaf, afloat,
Or maybe you wish to soar like a bird
Or drift like a cloud or live as a fish...

Close your eyes and
Enjoy your imagination's
New-found ride.
No where to be,
But right here --





Colors of a Summer Memory

I remember
Star filled skies
On hot Summer nights,
A million brilliant for small eyes to see.

Room to run and be a kid,
Lawn as endless as a sea.

Heirloom flowers rich in bloom,
A garden parcel ripe with food.

A Red old Barn in a sea of
Green and sky,
Like a meadow in season
Outstretched for miles.
White cotton-puff clouds drifting through
Against the deep blue July sky,
Passing by,
The red old barn.

Red, White, Blue, and Green ---

Gravel road,
Traveling through,
Past the barn,
Clad with weeds and yellow-green evermore…
Driveway to the wooded unknown.

Full – upon Summer’s Door.

Lovey Dovey

Candlelight and
Chocolate sweets,
Whispered words
And footsy feet.

Lavender and
Loving dotes,
Quiet strolls
And secret notes.

Cheek to cheek and
Warm embrace,
Holding hands
And Kissy face.

Valentines and
Birthday gifts
Dancing close
And midnight kiss.

Jewelry and
Perfumed air,
Cocktail dress
And silken hair.

Spiced cologne and
Sharply dressed
And tousled hair.

Diamond ring and
Ling’ring gaze,
Champaign glass
And fiancé.

Honeymoon and
Wedding bells,
Off to church
And Wishing wells

Future dreams and
Growing old,
Living life
As years unfold.

Poems by Meg McCullough

Watching You Grow in Black and White

Eye to lens.
Filming every athletic move,
every awkward, musical moment.

Images of your life without color,
like some 1950’s sitcom.

Big, heavy contraption,
creating plastic memories,
that will soon gather dust on a shelf.

Yards and yards of fragile, Mylar ribbon,
that hold the family story.

A motherless story.
Just a familiar voice in the background,
and a random thumb, to prove I was really there.


He gave up Sally.
The structure destroyed her.
The first day of school,
the bathroom made him choose.

Male was expected.
Society won't change.
He can't talk about it,
it just makes him sad.

He still loves purple,
and sparkly dresses.
But now he’s a boy,
and his Sally is gone.

He went to that school,
to have his mind broadened,
but that school made him change,
now he’s in a box.

Poems by Melody Floyd

Kiss me in the light of the methane gas release valve fire
at the foot of the giant hill of trash
look me deep in the eyes, standing in the moonlit dirt and
cornhusks, biohazard site
millions of dead bird ghosts
water my soul in the river under the early summer starlight
generations of guilt pour out of my feet into the earth, my love
Will the hawthorn tree transform this into beauty?
Drink up this burning swill and turn it into water?
Will the reeds still shoot toward the sky?
(the shame I feel still standing upright against such a backdrop,
survivor’s guilt tapestry sunset)
but we who grieve here
behold the plans that reveal themselves, realized within
don’t let the pilot light of the now go out
there is celebration in every moment of existence, of life
we reach toward the sun

every day i wake up and chop my own head off
lay there a few minutes before coffee
considering if i should die for a 12,400th time
or if today i just
stand in the shower and sharpen the blade
my head keeps growing back, a little more warped each time
customer service smile grows in more pronounced
stick it in the corner with the others in the pile
flies and smell.
what rots more, my pile
or my self
keep dying to survive
until i’ve died enough days to deserve to be here
pour the coffee down the hole in my neck stump
drive off dead in a toyota camry and khakis
when the truck hits me
wetting my khakis
nothing flashes before my eyes

My attention fixates on what I want to appear in this world
hawk eyes locking in on its target,
encircling, ready for the kill.
This prayer of attention for the water.
For this lake to be free.
For the fish to be happy.
For the plants to breathe.
For the humans to sit contented in little boats.
For the shoreline to be freed from concrete prison.
For the insect to rise to life as if out of nothing.


feeling that
pseudo cyclical nature of time, where
except on the arbitrary set of holidays, we
wake up
drink coffee as fast as we can
and go to work, days feeling so
grossly similar, so much that they are
The Same Day™ re-lived again and again and
we celestially return each revolution around the sun
to the summer sales event
of years and eons past
ancestors passing the advertisement in their blood
forced to find the meaning of life in the evening
exhausted, couch-locked, flight fight freeze
seeking comfort
but don’t rest too much, you’ll never
wake up
and who will read the emails and complete
the spreadsheets?
who will make the chicken nuggets?

Poems by Meredith Chybowski Mills


Time to tap,
tap the sap,
after the tree's
long winter nap.

Spring Haiku

Forsythia buds
Waiting on brown and green stems
Will spring bring yellow?

A Cinquain

Window watching:
Chickadees chase and sing.
Squirrels are jumping from branch to branch.
When's spring?


Pretty petals,
Sweet scent,
Enjoy it now
though--it only lasts a little bit.

Poems by Nancy Sutton

The North Woods

Pine trees standing tall reaching for the sky

Eagles with wings spread soaring on high


Woodpeckers wrapping birds singing

Chipmunks chattering, squirrels scattering

Butterflies fluttering, hummingbirds humming


Deer sauntering across the field

Such peaceful things the north woods does yield


To see such glory will rest your soul

You can dream your dreams, and set your goals


The outside world just disappears

You can just sit back and forget your fears


This is something no one should miss

A gift from God to render such bliss.

A Mother’s Love

Make a list of all the words that would define a Mother.

The list will get quite endless I assure.

But if I were to tke them all and put them into one,

Love would be my answer to be sure.


A Mother’s love is with us whatever  path we take,

A mother’s love is with us with each mistake we make.


In our peaks and valleys, she’s there to help us through.

Sometimes she makes us hate her, but that’s not really true.


She’s only trying to teach us what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s fact,

But most times we don’t listen ‘cause we know it’s just an act.


How thoughtless we sometimes are to test our mothers so.

She’s so mean, she’s getting old, what do mothers know.


But as the years pile up behind us, we all finally learn to know,

That endless, undying, mother’s love, was here to help us grow.


Each day we live on earth, we should thank the Lord above,

That he sent us all a mother, to give us that special Love….


If ever there was a time of year

That I could stand up and cheer

T’would be the month of September

And yes, it is finally here


The sizzling summer is cooling down

The pumpkins are orange and bright

We’ve had our fill of corn on the cob

And we’re ready for frosty night.


Then the summery green will go to sleep

And awaken with the colors of fall

Bright reds, yellows, and oranges

A feast to the eyes for all.


How great it is to go to bed

And get up on a brisk cool morn

To don a scarf and sweater

And go stomping through the corn


Ah yes I do love September

But it does have a flaw you know

With a blink of an eye it’s over

Then we have to put up with the snow.

It was Wonderful

It was wonderful to see my girls come walking through the door.

It was wonderful to hear the piano while I did the kitchen chores.


It was wonderful to tuck them in and kiss them both good night.

It was wonderful once again to simply be their mother.


This will be a memory that will live down through the years.

Every time I think of it, of course will bring some tears.


Thank you Lord for granting me such a perfect day.

Now that it’s a memory I’ve just one more thing to say….


It was wonderful


Poems by Noah Ryan

Dear Russia, what will it matter, extending your political boundary, if you can not grow wheat in either territory? Drought does not grant mercy to those with a larger military. This is a pivotal time to make mends and band together with neighbors. Why spill foreign blood when the same stuff is coursing through your own heart. Why plant fear in another's mind knowing you dread the same anxiety? The stable and reliable climate our ancestors lived in is becoming increasingly unpredictable. The time has come to heal, not just ourselves and the planet, but also our relations with other humans. Reach across the aisle and lean in to opposition. Sunflowers need just as much water in Ukraine as they do in Russia. A war-torn soil will only harbor death and misery.

Thigh Vibration
run amok
a mind that's stuck
trapped in a cycle
arsenal of distraction
a debilitating trifle
faint tangible traction
manic as the moon
crazy like a loon

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Hard to get out of bed,
or keeping the hair combed on my head,
or making sure my stomach is fed.
Most days littered with dread.
I hear it's a gift,
to be in tune with the seasons,
chalked full of doubt,
I need some better reasons.

Dear yesterday,
tomorrow will be a better day. That gash on your heart is scabbing over and that scar on your psyche has finally healed. The smile on your lips speaks radiance and the posture shouts confidence. The sun is out, or at least it will be. It's early, our favorite time of day, so much potential. The Robins make it easier to get out of bed, they are insistent, but not like the alarm clock.

Love, Today

Poems by P.J. Lang

Autumn Leaves

Ruffled leaves

Beside the path

Intrigue my eyes

To reveal another world

Where each is alone

Yet like another,

Not able to resist

I bend to clutch them

Loving them in my soul

Pondering War

If war is a game

Would it be chess

Or Monopoly?

No when our children

Are involved

Don’t play any game


When the future

Is created

Use paints of many colors

But never paint 

With children’s blood


Men who make war plans

Must march them first

With their own

Before our own children

Are asked to partake

In the sacrifice.


Been wondering

So I’ll ask you directly

What is your relationship 

With your vowels?


Myself? I live with them

As creatures

Having attitudes and gender


E is a little boy

Running through the street

Hopping up and down the curb,

Always ready to some.


I is a girl child

Innocent but sweet

And filling in when needed


U is an old granny

Abrupt and evasive

Never fitting in very well


O and A could be twins

Plump and sunny

At your service

Always willing to please

But making a message

To bring sense to my world


I recognize them as creatures

All with a job to do.

Spring’s Full Moon

The moon is a rabbit

Shining on glowing path

To nights scented grass

A feast for the intrepid


The moon is a wolf

Alone searching a position

Aligning its face

Seeking an order of security


The moon is a partner

Holding the mysteries of life, 

Undefined and deep,

Not knowing who runs time.


The moon is me

Searching a position

On the unknown path

To a distant world

Of comfort in feeling

And safety in thought


Poems by Pamela Wunderlin

Make your Move

Lake Winnebago is a transportation hub.
Cars, snowmobiles, trailers all travel creeping along the ice.
A tiny house village has appeared in the distance,
side by side.
From my perch the scenery appears to be a map of miniatures.
I could reach out and pick each one up and move them around
as if they were pieces on a frozen, white gameboard.

Lake Commotion

across the white, frozen game board
the playing pieces sit
the sea shanties sit in a narrow row
for the hub to begin
of moving cars, snowmobiles and trailers on the two- way path
the people sit
on the lake ready to make their move
of dropping their baited poles
inviting the fish beneath
to come to dinner
as they, the fish, do not realize
accepting the invitation
that they are to be the meal
I sit from afar
for the game to end
for the spring thaw
seeing myself walking on the beach
with the sun shining down upon me

Fish Caught

I am perplexed
about the sturgeon
who has a face that
only a mother would love

Poems by Pat Kohls

Butterfly’s Life’s Lesson

Butterfly, you teach me much about life,

From your beginning as a caterpillar

Crawling inch by inch, with an endless drive,

You journey along with bumps and struggles.


Within some time you begin making a cocoon,

Moving forward with your tireless spinning,

Of silky threads in smooth gentle movements.

This supplies a soft secure place to grow in.


Suddenly awakened to newly created wings,

They provide a new, light-hearted, freedom.

Uplifting to a journey of flight from the ground,

You move along to travels of new perceptions.

Swan’s Winter Awakening

In bright morning sun

Swan cranes its neck

As it stands gracefully

On cobalt sheet of ice.

Facing into northeast wind

Exercises flying muscles

In articulate motion.


Nearby in open water

Of large marshy pond

Are ducks sitting

Quietly in sun’s warmth

Winter’s birth is near.

Have Leaf Will Travel

Under gold maple tree

Diminutive red ladybug

Creeps on to midpoint

Of yellow maple leaf,

Not knowing next move.


Autumn wind gusts blows,

Magic carpet departing

With tiny ladybug aboard,

Flying above tall trees

To mystery destination.


Leaf with traveler ladybug

Glides into perfect landing

On Fox River sloped shoreline,

With brown mud turtle nearby

Sunning on warm flat rock.

Mission of Love

Love comes from God’s Son

Shining His eternal light.

Bask in life’s sunshine:


Radiate His warmth, speaking words of love,

Listening with your heart,

Sharing a warm smile,

Giving a gentle embrace.


Love is a two way path;

Yours’ and mine together

In our Lord’s presence. 


Poems by Patrick McCorkle

An Ode To The Singles

To celebrate Saint Valentine's Day

There seems to be but one way.

Anywhere and everywhere you look

In video game, film, music or book

A romantic dinner, a moonlit walk,

A thoughtful gift, an intimate talk,

Are enjoyed by cozy couple

Or in some cases, triad throuple.

Or in rare cases, the plentiful poly

More than two lovers, oh golly!

But here it's not those I address

But truth it's not to them I attest.

For all who remain single

For all not ready to mingle

For whatever reason or cause

Your love life is on pause,

Never forget, always remember

To place yourself at love's center.

To honor yourself as love's shrine.

To treat yourself with love's shine.

You are two halves on your own

You are complete and not alone.

So go celebrate the ultimate lover

And a wonderful person you'll uncover.

One Step, One Minute, One Mile (At A Time)

As my shoes are tied,

I become my own guide.

Through the neighborhood

Of true and falsehood

Forget I must not

Forget I ought not

Forget I will not

The lesson bought

With many a mistake.

I feel somewhat awake

On this ordinary run

Underneath the blazing sun.

I make a slow turn

Creeping is the yearn

To do it all, right now, today-

No, no, that's not the way!

In such a rush

I turn to mush.

I hear the pitter-patter

As my legs turn to batter.

Eager to do all,

I simply fall.

Going without pause

Hungry for applause,

Is a way most swift

To find myself adrift.

Remember, as they say,

Rome wasn't built in a day.

The lesson in mind,

Avoided is another bind.

Faster I wish I ran

But it followed the plan.

Wiping sweat off my face,

For now, completed is the chase.

I permit myself some rest

On the morrow, attempt my best.

No matter what it may be

Business, poetry, philosophy

I hope you agree-

One step at a time

One minute at a time

One mile at a time

Is the only way to climb.

To abide or not to abide

To abide or not to abide

The question begotten by my pride

Frustrations pile up, I’ve had enough

Worn down is my spirit, no longer tough

An ugly, painful truth I have to concede

With too many goals I do not succeed.

I cannot get a customer to sign

On the blasted, bolded dotted line

I cannot find a lover to profess

With me she will always stay, nothing less

I cannot will my family to repair

The transgressions beyond my affair

I cannot convince people to civilize

Their discourse, as they choose to brutalize

I cannot craft my writing to speak

To being human, its message is too weak.

Yet, as I drive upon the paved, quiet road

Removed from society's constant noise

Removed from matters breaking my poise

I witness how nature handles its load.

No matter how frigid the winter's cold

No matter how deep the spring's rain

No matter how arid the summer's heat

No matter how complete the autumn's yield

Reaching for the sky are trees serene and old

Trotting for the trees are deer silent and vain

Growing amidst the deer is grass tall and neat

Once more flora and fauna completely healed.

Nature abides, and so will I.

Oh, Oasis Oasis!
I traverse the land of blazing sun,

Unknown when I will be done.

I stumble, struggle to

avoid the quicksand.

I extend my hand

My eyes barely serve

I try to observe

What lies Ahead, Behind,

Below and Above. I am blind.

Sweat soaks my face-

of water, there is no trace.

Surrounded by the unknown,

I am chilled to the bone.

Dunes loom from all sides

Woe and misery betide

Those who ignore

The predators galore.

Stingers raised, scorpions strike

Claws clapping all war-like.

Talons extended, vultures dive

I must be gone before they arrive.

Manticores with mouths of drool,

Starving for a stupid fool.

Oasis, Oasis, where are you?

There is not a single clue.

A long and hard quest

I cannot fail this test!

I cry, I plead, I collapse.

Where are you?! Perhaps...

At last, Oasis, Oasis you are found!

Just when I was about to drown.

The spring, o where o where

did it lie? I was unaware

Of magic that is inside!

Come, let me be the guide

For all those who trek

Into the land of shifting sands.

Where the footing is uncertain

Where the visibility is poor

Where the water is scarce

Where the beasts kill

Remember, before you begin,

You have an oasis within!

Poems by Patrick T. Randolph

Sweeping the Sky

Bare tree branches jutting upwards—
Slender black silhouettes—
These Winter brooms
Work with the morning winds,

Sweeping away the clouds—
Leaving a brilliant bright clear blue;

One bird finds her voice—
And carries it cautiously across the Sky
Like the young mother holding a small child in her arms.

Depends on the Road—A Wisconsin Ballad

I once asked you what kind of music your soul likes—

Unlike any answer I’d ever heard before,
You said, “It depends on the season,
And the road I’m taking.”

Tonight, while driving home—
I imagine you on a mountain valley road,
Windows down, smiling—an old folk song
From years before your parents were born
Follows your car down a winding curve.

In the rearview mirror—an image of you
Dancing with your father in the living room—
A late evening father-daughter ball.

Sound of your mother’s applause next to an open
Summer night window—curtains clapping in the breeze.

Home for a Holiday Visit

My father sits across from me,
Holding onto his wrinkled hands
Like a cherished baseball never to be
Let go of—He looks down at his large
Fingers, moves them around to keep them
Warm on this frigid December morning.

“You were so small—my new son,” he says.
“I looked at you through that frozen nursery
Window. It was cold outside—an icy Wisconsin
Morning. I often think of you on that day. What magic.”

I listen to his gentle voice. We embrace each other,
Dismissing the space between us. The concept, the words,
The sound of “I love you,” becomes too small for this moment.

My Wife’s Simple Surprise

The heater kicks on at 2 in the morning,
You turn in bed and come closer.

My eyes open to a strange light-darkness,
It’s snowing outside— no wind.
Your left leg is warm— almost hot.
My fingers search and find your fingers.
I squeeze them and wait— you return
A strong squeeze, then soft laughter;

You’ve been awake now for an hour—
And tell me I’ve been snoring a song.

Poems by Penya Richards


Anxiety is like a shadow
Always there, even in the darkest night when you cannot see it.
It looms, consuming the light with its hungry jaws.
You can try to battle it, but it’s never quite gone.
After all, how do you battle something that you can’t see?
It takes a spark
A gentle touch
An “Are you okay?”

That’s all it takes
To battle the invisible enemy
The shadow.
It roams in the dark,
It’s not all shadows
When there’s a spark.


The trees have seen things
Rain and sun
From the moment they were planted, they’ve watched
Unable to do anything
Except sway with the breeze.
Their roots have reached down into the earth
They are steady and stable
But they can’t move.

Just like the girl
That sits in her chair
Watching out the window
Unable to move
She is steady and stable
Like the trees.
But her roots are far different.
From the trees
And the most of the world
She sits in her chair, her wheelchair
And watches.
Just like the trees.


It’s a journey we take
And a song we write.
It’s a celebration
And a struggle.
It’s our hardships
And achievements.
It’s honoring the fallen
And celebrating the new.
It’s part of us
And it’s part of you.
It’s joy
And it's sorrow
It's life.

The Pine Stays the Same

Every year the seasons change
Like clockwork.
Life and death
Yet the pine stays the same.
Full of life

Every year to celebrate life
We decorate it.
With holly, and lights
Ornaments, and garlands.

To give thanks.
Every year the seasons change
Like clockwork
Life and death
Yet the pine stays the same.

Poems by R. R. Sparks

Parental Yoga
All the deep breaths
In the world
Won’t cure
My yelling toddler

A Mood
Winter makes me
Just want to
Drink hot wine
Flip snowy hair
And laugh, laugh

Dial Tone
The commercial plays again
As the phone rings
I know it’s her
I’d love to answer
And say hello
But what if
I’m not ready
For the bad singing
That I’ll hear

Spring comes smelling of
Rose buds and rain
My dog rushes into the yard
Bringing prickers and mud

Poems by Rebecca Bluhm

Hair Cut

Only under the transformative power,
Of a full hair cut,
Will I shed years of weighted opinions,
Feeling each severed anchor,
Occasionally glancing,
At the mounting carnage.
I will become a temporarily lighter,
More vibrant,
Snip of myself.
Laughter will bubble up,
From every caress,
Of ends on once hidden skin,
A smile will etch lines of joy,
At the sight of it.
This lightness will evaporate,
When the heat of midday sun,
Becomes unbearable,
But I'll clutch,
The dissolving whisps,
For another moment.

Ingesting Silence

Do not ingest my silence,
And label me ignorant.
A plea that has hung,
In my lungs,
Since kindergarten.
I am shy,
And have a crippling fear,
Of public communication.
Traits I have yet to outgrow.
I must have brought them from a past life.
I understand forced participation,
From educational institutions that fear silence,
Because we all need verbal validation.
There are some of us,
Late bloomers,
that shrivel in direct light.
Silent prayers are sent out,
To shield me from view.
Hands clammy with anxiety,
Tongue grows thick with fear,
Thoughts vanish like smoke in the winds,
As the final form,
Of corporeal betrayal.
Eyes search past repeatedly raised hands,
Avoid eye contact -
Like lambs blood upon my door.
May result in a seventy percent chance,
That the Reaper's eyes will pass me,

The Writer

I birth words from my fingertips,
String them together,
In an attempt to quiet the demons.
Rhythms and rhymes,
Perpetually turning in my head,
Waiting for lines to click,
Before committing to the page.

Words hatch,
On the back of my tongue,
Slowly sliding down to the tip,
Until they threaten to topple.
Scooping them up,
I make them dance off my lips,
Searing the choreography,
To short-term memory,
Before committing to the page.

Tilting my head,
I drip worlds,
From a wellspring deep inside,
Bleeding out to take shape,
Crafting conscious thought,
And emotions,
Before committing to the page.

Rapid joint movements,
Destroy galaxies on reflex,
Leaving ghosts of what could have been,
In places of what was,
As ink and pulverized wood,
Drift like snow,
Marking the floor with the carnage.

To Capture the Lightning

I want to capture the lightning,
To hold it in my grasp,
And call it home.
To insert it deep within my chest,
between the bars of bone,
Nestled between functioning organs,
And my skeletal cage.
Holding it closely.
Feeling it.
Harnessing its brilliancy,
To spark transformation,
Phoenixing from my old, ashen self,
I would rise in fiery greeting,
Claiming the new dawn for my own.

Poems by Rodney Flarnkey

A soft and pungent air wafted hotly on the face,
Brings redness and a sense of delirium to the place.
A stiff hold spray to keep distilled the view.
Falling in roving ringlets, it was worth it to few.
Come soon the sweetened breeze, with heavy droplets in the air.
Cast aside all interference, your form will be bare.
Ringing forth with rivulets of inky darkness
Could it be the fare?

Woven into the thwart crest- it pulses and crushes with no rest.
But way back, in the sky afar. I knew even then - how small.

Swarming with ferocity bolstered in pride, it clambers and wriggles, pulling taut the line.

Wipe your hands off just to trip
Over the barren railway slits
Torn away and cast aside
A childhood lived and died

Applause erupted from the ring
And came what from it but happy sting
A single yellowed sac they found
Full of all their dreams abound
Pour it out and find a mirror
Look inside and see your years

Poems by Sandra Fischer


The winter snow

Chalks the gardens


Black earth into a 

Fondant frosted field

Of foreign fermentation….


Clutches of shining

Frost feathered birds

Cling to the ice glossed wires….

The boxwoods snuggle under

Their snow laces snoods…..

Lamppost lites…dimmed to

A soft glow, by shrouded snow….

The frigid ice glazed streets like leaded glass….

Winter at its best……

Days End

The sun sinks low

Into the amethyst halos…

The ochre….and blues….

Of the evening sky

A shadow moon is

Veiled nearby….

Waiting its turn

For the day

To end….

An for the sun

To relinquish….

And for the Moon

To ascend…..

Nature Diaries


There is an old

Dusty road

Where no one goes…..

Where the flowers still


And the green grass


The Sun still shines…..

And the weather

Is fair….

And a forgotten garden

Grows old roses



Poems by Savannah Kealey

The Daily Struggle

It is a quality of life, a daily struggle.
Living paycheck to paycheck, hoping it will be enough to get by.

Their stomach filled with emptiness, the desire for food is strong.
So hungry they would eat anything to fill the aspiration of consuming something.
As they become more ravenous they become hopeless. They go to bed with the wish that they will be able to afford tomorrow’s food even if it is just a small ration.

Their children, born into the necessitous life, clueless of the anguish ahead of them. Moving so much and not understanding why. They feel unaware of all that is happing around them. Education not reachable nor affordable. Even when education becomes at hand the fear of their differences haunting them as they walk the halls of the school. They wish their clothes were like the other students.
Clothes without holes in their shirts and big stains.
Pants that were not too tight or to lose.
Shoes that didn’t fall apart.
Clothes that could smell good, ones they would be able to wash.
Clothes that were just more comfortable and more appealing. That is all the children wanted.
Their anxiousness and hungry stomachs make it hard to focus. when the school day ends the strain is left in their brain. Children left with worry stuck in their heads.

Their health confined not just physically but mentally too. The pressure can be felt miles away. Day by day, the stress never seems to go away. Not a single dollar to be seen in their pockets, medical bills become too much. Though if they did have the money, no way to the doctor.

Their car broken down, a rustic look that is not unseen. No other way to get around.
The busses too far away.
Trains no longer running.
Taxis are exorbitant.
Bikes left with flat tires and torn paint.
They would be left to walk, in the cold weather, 10 miles in the chilling winds.

The parents feeling lost. Fighting every day just to find a job. A job that is close by, one that they can keep longer than a day. The fight is an endless fight. Every day they wonder if it is the one that they will find a job.

Wanting to be able to pay for housing, at least a small house with a bed. A bed that would be so wonderful. As they had been sleeping on the ground outside with just a blanket, one thin blanket. Time after time they had tried to get a house but even then the water, gas, and electricity would be turned off.
No showers could be taken.
No handwashing after using the toilet that you couldn’t even flush.
No washing the couple dishes they did have.
No cooking food on the stovetop.
No heat to stay warm.
No lights to be turned off and on.
No outlets to be working.
No electricity at all, no water at all, no gas at all.

They just wanted a house where everything stayed on.
They just wanted to be able to pay for simple things like education and clothes for their children. Clothes with no holes or stains.
They just wanted to be able to pay for food. Food that they could eat in more than 3 bites. Food that would fill their stomachs and make them full. Full a feeling they haven’t felt in years.
They wanted to be able to pay for transportation and medical bills.
They just wanted to be able to pay for the things that could keep them healthy and keep them happy. Just the simple things. The simple things it’s all they keep fighting for day-to-day.

Poverty, it is a quality of life, a daily struggle.

Kindness creates smiles 

Smiles that go on for miles, contagious, and gracious.

So WHY NOT - WHY NOT create a world with endless kindness.

NOT a world with needless madness that created unneeded sadness.

The world needs to change and exchange all this miserly behavior, they would simply be doing us all a favor.

Just imagine - imagine this beautiful world with more people who treat everyone equally no matter how unique I believe we should no longer critique.

No longer shale anyone critique the difference in the color of our skin, eyes, or hair each one so delightfully dazzling.

No longer shale anyone critique, someone, just because they are taller or maybe even a little smaller.

No longer shale anyone critique because someone is “not skinny enough” or “does not eat enough” what we see In Our eyes should not be the size but what the heart implies.

No longer shale anyone critique what people wear or their hair. Style is just a sneak peek at how precious a person can be and how marvelous they are is what we should see.

No longer shale anyone critique others because of what they like to do, it’s an uncalled reason to make someone feel blue if someone did that to you, you would be sad too.

We need to stand up and put all our differences aside and decide to be considerate. I mean really consider it, don’t just sit on it deliver it. Be kind.

What is on the outside does not define you but what is genuinely on the inside is how people should truly find you. Find what is in your heart and in your soul. Never let kindness go and remember no matter how unique we should never critique.

Better Together

Everything feels better together and I hope it’s forever.

When I hear your voice it’s like music to my ear and it’s all I want to hear.

When I look at your eyes they pull me in like beautiful butterflies on a warm summer day.

When I see that contagious smile on your face it’s all I want to embrace in my heart and It makes me realize I never wanna be apart.

When I hold your hand it makes me understand what love truly is something that used to mean nothing but now it means everything.

When I hug you all my worries go away. The words you say always stay making me get through the day.

When I see you I know your all I need you make me feel like I’m freed from all the bad and I’m so glad -

Glad to have you in my life -

in my heart.

Everything feels better together and I hope it’s forever.

IT always comes when you least expect it -
hitting you out of nowhere -
sneaking up on you like an eerie tornado suddenly appearing during a vast stormy day.
From time to time it disappears but in the back of my mind, I know it’s there.
Waiting to plan its next attack.
It attacks like it has no care in the world.
It will invade you even when you’re having the time of your life, then your day is ruined.
Ruined within an instant.
It takes over your mind first.
Entering with spine-chilling thoughts fighting against one and other -
Leaving with endless worries.
Next, it takes control of your lungs.
You can no longer breathe the same as if a giant weight fell on your chest.
Then it travels to your muscles.
Some people start to feel restless - on edge with no focus to be found.
Others can´t move the fear building up inside them - frozen all concentration disappeared.
Lastly, it just hits you all at once, you are stuck left with this terrible pain that no one can see.
Head hurting.
Trapped in this feeling.
Your just left panic-stricken all because of it.
IT -
IT is anxiety.

Poems by Ted Harris

Where’d you go?
Tell me you’re okay
I suppose I’ll never know
And was it hope
That led us astray
Into pain that I must own?
This air is cold
The light is dim
As I carry this alone

And it’s all about the promise made
And the pain you left when you left that way

I want to go wherever you go

Well, it was you
Who brought me back
From darkness, made me new
But now alone
You left me here
With your necklace missing you

And it’s all about the things we’d say
And the lie you told when you walked away

I want to go wherever you go
I want to see whatever you see
Yeah, I want to go wherever you go
I want to see whatever you see

Remembering the things you’d say
We can’t talk about this anyway

I want to go wherever you go
I want to see whatever you see
Yeah, I want to go wherever you go
I want to see whatever you see

Happy Birthday

Nothing moves slower than grief
The sunrays shine on a dead leaf
I tried to save you
I tried to bring you back
I’m sorry
I keep your moonstone
Next to me

I’m having nightmares when I sleep
I cross the two, they lessen me
Today is your birthday
You’re just beyond my reach
It’s lonely
All the leaves are
Off the tree

But is it too late
To say happy birthday?
Happy birthday

Half a life for me to live with where I went wrong
I was late and you were gone
I can’t let go of the past and the past cannot let go of me
I was late and you were gone

But is it too late
To say happy birthday?
Happy birthday
I’ll never forget
The way that you loved me
Happy birthday

Right Where I Belong

Well line for line
I’m going to tell you what’s on my mind
And it’s all about you
From east to west
We can see the sun rise and set
But all that I see is you
You tell me to breathe
But I know that before you leave
I’ve got to say this out loud
There’s something stirring in the air, baby

I hear your voice
And I want to be there
Girl, if I’m your choice
I could never deny you
I’m so lost in your eyes
Please show me mercy
I lay my head in your hair
And I’m right where I belong

From time to time
I find you putting my heart in line
Somehow I feel so brand new
And all the while
I’ll be kissing your face ‘til you smile
It’ll always be you
But you’re counting it down
I better say all this out loud
‘Cause all I’m wanting is you
I see that foot outside the door, baby

I hear your voice
And I want to be there
Girl, if I’m your choice
I could never deny you
I’m so lost in your eyes
Please show me mercy
I lay my head in your hair
And I’m right where I belong

I thought I asked you to stay
I know things will change
Just one more hot summer day

I hear your voice
And I want to be there
Girl, if I’m your choice
I could never deny you
I’m so lost in your eyes
Please show me mercy
I lay my head in your hair
And I’m right where I belong

Well line for line
I’m going to tell you what’s on my mind
And it’s all about you
And all the while
I’ll be kissing your face ‘til you smile
It’ll always be you

Yeah, it’ll always be you


The black river whispers
Secret stories of a lover
Lost beneath her stone
Now my heavy hands
Wander for a faucet
Ever seek the drip

I mourn for the beautiful
Snuffed out inside of you
I’ll never lose sight of you
Until I’m gone

I know that you miss her
And the smell of wild flowers
She wore between her hair

I mourn for the beautiful
Snuffed out inside of you
I’ll never lose sight of you
Until I’m gone
For all you hold beautiful
I’m standing beside of you
I’ll never lose sight of you

There’s so much running away
Steadfast in passing the day
Who am I? Who am I to say?
I love you anyway

The black river whispers


I mourn for the beautiful
Snuffed out inside of you
I’ll never lose sight of you
Until I’m gone
For all you hold beautiful
I’m standing beside of you
I’ll never lose sight of you

Poems by Theodore Bucur

I creep closer and closer to the line.
It’s as if every step I take
I cross it once again

Now that line is behind me,
But it’s okay.
I take another step,
Bend down,
And draw another line.

Ended up being great
It started out tough

But it got better
So put your phone down
And go find a way to enjoy the day
Cause there is no day
Like today

this is a don’t trip check mark
If you think you or a loved one is tripping,
Send this to them
So they know not to trip

Watch your step this world is ruthless.

When our star disappears
Uncountably more sprinkle the sky
And at this time it’s hard to find your way

Because the stars will guide with lies
And take you where the demons play.

Poems by Tim Gehrt

Didn’t Have Anyone to Show Me

Didn’t have anyone to show me

Exactly how I was supposed to be

You see he left when I was five

For years barely knew if he was alive

A role model would have been nice

Or even just some fatherly advice

Eight kids hanging in our hood

There alone I stood

The feeling I never really had

Of what it was like to have a dad

Eventually he did come back

Trying to put things back on track

Saw each other more and more

Trying to settle the score?

The title dad is a bend

The truth more of a friend

Accomplishments I have a few

Wonderful kids? I have two

Trying to do what I thought I should

Times weren’t always good

Struggling at times on my way

Until sitting here today

Another curve ball thrown my way

Until sitting here today

Another curve ball thrown my way

Thing is, I don’t want to play

No more booze numbing the pain

It and anger have drove me insane

It’s time to dig through it all

Crushing down many a wall

I want the pain to go far away

And live a truly happy day

Life and death is the bet

Determination you haven’t seen yet

Replacing things childhood stole

Becoming a better man the goal

There’s only one problem I see

That’s lies in front of me

Dealing with childhood pain I’ve had

Not knowing what is was like

To have a dad


Slowly the suns begins to set

My heart fills with regret

Never have I felt so low

My life unraveling slow

Help I cannot ask for

The dark calls me more and more

Strong as an oak I once stood

Nothings wrong only good

Til those roots start to rot

Stability I have not

Only longing for love

No help sent from above

Love standing right in front of me

My mind saying it just can’t be

Never have I thought I could be

Good enough just being me

Giving my heart away

Day after day after day

Until finally there is no more

And darkness closes the door

Abandonment and anger boils

My love and tenderness recoils

Digging my hole in the dirt

Only will my loved ones get hurt

For what I have done

Life long regret has begun

Having lost all hope

Feeling the rough cool rope

Downing some pills

With calmness my bran fills

Suddenly the noose is tight

Slowly fades the light

Now the darkness has me

Please try to forgive me

I Think the Book was Pinnochio

I think the book was Pinnochio

For sure? I don’t really know

Just laying on the bed

And then the words were said

Dad won’t be coming home anymore

My heart sank to the floor

Not knowing what I had done

I couldn’t talk to anyone

I was too young to take it all in

Feelings of loneliness begin

Years go by with barely a hello

Starting to feel ost in the shadow

Screaming out here I am

Does he even give a damn

Who just picks up and leaves their son

Worthless thoughts have begun

Then when he does come back

Feelings he just seems to lack

More like a friend

Than a dad on who you can depend

I’ll take what I can get

My childhood trying to forget

Between two families I’m lost

And what an emotional cost

Feeling that I just don’t belong

In the family for which I long

I wish I could forgive you

Right now that I can’t do

I’ll figure this out on my own

Just like when you left me alone

Could be the saddest sad

Never knowing what it’s like to have a dad

I Don’t Know What to Say Anymore

I don’t know what to say anymore

Seems to fade more and more

You’ve tried so hard so long

Where did it all go wrong

Always trying to make a smile

Slowing dying inside all the while

Moments of brilliance

Crushed by solitary silence

That’s the safe place

No one has to see your face

Alone you can stay

In your mind you can play

No one hears your cries

As you drown in all the lies

Your future only looks bleak

As you grow more and more weak

Looking only for forgiveness

The possibility less and less

You’ve never wanted any less

Then to experience happiness

But that chance has past

The truth revealed at last

No one wants you can’t you see

That’s as plain as day to me

Try and try as you may

In this place you will stay

There is no way out of here

The time begins to draw near

God you are just sick

Don’t care the method you pick

Time to end the lie we call you

Nothing left but one thing to do

Say your prayers and say goodnight

It’s time to permanently turn out the light


Poems by Tom Butts


It happened over night, the traditional time slot for the fall

Of empires.

The global avian flu, trending down, imperiously morphed

Into a subvariant mutation identified as Ornochron 25, a 

Novel virus which proved to be catastrophically


For the morning after Ornochron’s arrival everybody woke up

With the head of a bird.

The Media’s talking breaks arbitrarily called it the Gooney

Plague in reference to the optical oddity of those who arose 

With the facial aspects of a gooney bird.

Unblinking historians with the poise of a crane about to nab

A silvery streak of truth officially named the pandemic

“The Great Berufflement”.

Concluding that unless Science found a cure the hybrid

Anomaly that as Ornochron 25 would last indefinitely.

The unblinking bottom line was as always Mankind would

Have to deal with it.

And as always Mankind dealt with it.

The irresistible weight of the need for normalcy and

Business as usual prevailed as they must.

Humans adopted a bird eye’s view of all thing big or 

Small and faithful to their plumage plied their many

Trades, professions and life styles accordingly.

Owls assumed the gard and guise of judges, accountants

And academics with a keen eye for rectitude, protocol

And mice.

Hawks and eagles became cops, soldiers and flight


Flamingos and peacocks filled the world of show biz.

Parrots with rhetorical aplomb ministered the spheres

Of old and new religions.

Crows and vultures ably functioned as lawyers,

Sanitation workers and speedy cash specialists.

Hummingbirds as brain surgeons.

Woodpeckers as hard hats.

But within the Bird Cage of the World the majority

Of residents were plain sparrows.

Humble, hard working, obedient and anti


Their only group excitement was to gather by bushes

And foundations to twitter through the dying gleam of dusk.

When true night fell the essential business of existence


The nightingales came out to sing, throated full with the brave ease of melodious 


Drop Dead Dylan Thomas

It was a gentle night.

I hated its soft, rotten, placid guts.

Maybe “guts” is too strong.

Make that its “thin and shallow stomch lining”.

Anyways I needed to RAGE.

My light was dying.

You guessed it. A lousy prognosis.

Cloudy with a chance of early cardiac arrest.

Thank you, Dr. Feel Good.

I’ll be sure to haunt your waiting room forever.

Like I said my bulb was flickering and was primed to be unscrewed.

The bomb in my brain was crying to be set free to explode as overly 

emotional bombs are wont to do.

Feeling unbearably I hd to DO something I decided to go out.

So out I went with RAGE leading me, no, whipping me in my raw,

Propulsive omni directional wrath.

With hands of tornadic fury I tore up every flower bed I stomped thru.

On to a warm graveyard I toppled every insipid, blank eyed stone

Angel that assailed me.

On the same wave length with teh arm strength of a Kodiak Grizzly

I hurled a brick precisely thru each stain glass window that adorned

The Church, that notorious breeding ground of insipid, blank eyed


My RAGE still unabated I prepared to chop down a blossoming cherry 

Tree. Yeah, I’ve heard that “loveliest of trees” aboreal apple sauce 


Give me a high cliff. Slippery, barren with wind gusts up to  40 miles 

Per hour. A stark summit where I could bless and curse till my tongue

Dropped out.

About to take my first whack a Summer sweat licking breeze

Randomly kissed my red fore head that then amingly penetrated

To the surly gates of my neglected and largely forgotten soul there

To work its wonderousness

I let loose the ax and went back inside.

Turned off the lights and went to sleep, happy as a scented candle

Pungently burning in the shadowed valley of unpaid utility bills.

Galapagos Park

The giant tortoises gradually gathered around a feeble and fading

Charles Darwin. Aboard the H.M.S Beagle that was pierced and

Sunk by a horde of devout narwhales a young adult Charles was


Swept ashore after becoming a baby again by his immersion in

Some oceanic elixir likely concocted by Neptune, Lord of Magic

And sea monkeys.

Adopted eventually by the cold blooded clan on the basis of his 

Miraculous origin story young Charles became a thoroughly

Integrated in all things turtle. Epitomized at breeding time when

Charles crawled on all fours would dig the deepest egg ready

Holes in the hard pebbled sand.

Now an old Charles Darwin on the edge of his own imminent 

Extinction spoke. “Goodbye, my dear family. Do survive and 

Thrive. Remember one step at a time and watch your back if you


Then a casket of silence encased the great castaway forever.

Ten minutes later a tear dropped.

From inside his hoary shell from which he never emerged the 

Group’s spiritual leader commented.

“The naked one lived fast. Died young but evolved a true

Turtle’s heart. May he adapt well to the struggles of eternity.”

A strong breeze blew Darwin’s white wispy beard astray as one 

More ten minute tear began its laborious descent. 

Tote That

Dedicated to Jerome Kern

I heard Old Man River was on his last legs

I went to the Muddy Banks Rest Home to check it out.

I knocked and entered his brown, damp and funky smelling


The old man was in, what was left of him.

Which was a silty puddle in the saggy middle of a mattress 

Of slate.

A ripple responded to my visitation.

Politely I hoped I asked , “Still rolling along?”

With a faint liquid but distinct voice the old man answered.

“Sweat and strain, Sir. Sweat and strain.”

Fixing to go I again politely spoke. “Hope you start flowing

Again when you get better, Sir”

Some agitated ripples appeared as the old man replied.

“Sir, if you think I”m bad off pay a call on the B.P oil

Spill across the hall.”

Interested that the mighty puddle was talking I set my

Cotton bale down, rested on it deciding to stay a stretch


This old bird I thought was going to tell me something I 

Didn’t know.

I wasn’t wrong.

With the rhythmic splash of a spectral paddle wheel

Outside the muddy window  the old man began.

“First you git a little drunk—.”


Poems by Trinity Funnell

Garden origin

Fragile seed cloaked with grass
Bask in the shadow of conception
Droplets devour
Earth crumbles beneath
Sink to live
Close thy eye’s to thrive
Twisted fingers rip from thee
Soul manifests ‘twas a single green thread
Broken shovel chips away sealing tomb
Final rock break through
Breach blue
Climb the invisible
Secure anchor atop
Puddle drip off six corners
Overflowing pump red teardrops
Petal spiral vibrant pigment
Stigma lighthouse guides ships hither
Delicate soul sealed in shell
Mother’s grip loosens
I bid thee farewell

Oasis always out of reach

Never have my eyes lain on such a beauty!
mesmerizing maiden
Trapped a thousand bricks above
beautiful bronze fingers
Tap roughly in impatience
Along to a silent song
Sung within her head
Her hair is black as coal
Polished into curls
A crystal crown is worn

Hidden treasure, caught my breath!
Her dress is red
Embroidered roses dance along the edge
Sleeves of silk pour down like water

Oh the gods how long I’ve sought her!
Anger burns within my heart
I swear I’ll tear them all apart
Those who trapped her
Locked her away
To fly for them within her cage

I’ll free this angle!
Break the spell
Take down the dragon
Just name the hell!

Oh wait for me, my princess!
For I promise to return
Together we will ride away
I pray there be a weeding day

Cosmic Passion

Astronomical units measure the distance between you and I
Solar winds paint the sky while I lay by your side
Total eclipse is lightened by your touch
Red giant star burns like our love
Observatory searches for our twinkling bond
North star guides me back to your arms
Occultation fails to block out our pledge
Meteor shower allows me to fledge
Ylem binds us from morning to death

 A Wizard’s Tail of Woe

Creeping vines
Sink teeth into stone
Eerie hut
A wizard's home
Mumbling stumbling
Is heard from inside
stained Glass window opened wide

Shimmering smoke cascade windowsill
bells and dried fruit
chime kamil
Enchanted sword
Historical tomb
A map of a cave, barley explored

Once in king’s service
Now without purpose
infant prince died
Tried to revive
created a zombie in lieu of boy

Sentenced to death
The forest he fled
His right hand clutched scrolls
His left grasped his staff
Arrows shot holes in his cloak and his hat

Ten decades alone
Twisted mind into madness
Still obsessed with reversing the damage

rotting vines
Prick flesh with their thorns
Forsaken shack
A wizard's tomb
Mummering shattering
Is heard from inside
stained Glass window distorts his lies

Poems by Troy Schoultz

Herons in Late August

Lily pads and algae painted the lake’s edge
In dirty emerald during the dog days
Clothes clung damp in the humid air. The sun
Swirled in masculine, drunken rage anticipating
Abbreviated stays and rusting leaves.
I walked my dog down the gravel trail
Taking in the shade of low branches.
In the city shorn clearing to the left,
On the cemetery edge, two herons grazed among cut grass,
Stilted, ominous, eyes of hidden consequence.
Sword beaks stabbed the ground, cries erupting
From long prehistoric throats,
Slicing and echoing through technology,
Wire, and steel, vibrating through
The vacant ribcages of the entombed
Until even my dog, Penny, who still contained the wolf
In her unrefined soul, given to the chase, the hunt,
And retrieve gave pause and respect,
Ears cocked to an ancient, unrecognized song.

Belief in Angels

The name “Buddy” is etched on a chrome bone
And enclosed in wings
On the tailgate of the cardinal red Dodge pickup
We’ve been stuck here in neutral
For what seems like an entire afternoon,
Waiting on the flagman to flip his stop sign
To a cautionary “slow.”

The scent of fresh asphalt burns nostrils, and its heat
Distorts the horizon and rises to rival the sun
on this late summer afternoon. The same truck
with the tailgate memorial to Buddy also has a bumper sticker
which informs me that angels are, in fact, real.

This world will numb us of all wonder and hope.
I hope it’s all true, but what would the truck’s owner make
Of Old Testament angels? Faces of both man and lion,
Swirling eyes, limbs of bronze.
Enough to make anyone expecting pink cherubs
or golden-haired dove-winged maidens to piss themselves in fear.
I rub my eyes trying to keep a headache at bay, trusting
In the truth of tailgates and secret codes,
Imaging God’s hands wiping away this mirage
Awakening my sight to a hill dense with horses
Pulling chariots aflame,
Lifting to a heaven we can all agree upon,
Where even Buddy will be waiting.

This Life is Fifty Per Cent Off

Everything is half-off, I consider the $2 power drills
Even though I own two already. The garage is picked over
Except for a table of beer steins, battery charger, and lawn chairs.
In the basement a woman complains about the lack
Of advertised items. But it’s Sunday, and the doors opened Friday.
You get what’s left, but what remains is dated and used, and built to last.
I know nothing about the former resident, nor do I wish to.
Don’t know if they are deceased, in hospice or retirement home.
I’m more into my own imagination.
Estate sales in autumn make me feel like a vulture,
sharp beak picking clean bones of someone’s history,
And end results of 9 to 5 40 work weeks and cookout weekends.

The house itself is wonderfully out of date, hallways smell of linen
And lemon polish. The spare bedroom’s sunlight
Spills on the quilted bed inviting you
To nap after a dinner served after morning church service.
You’d be welcomed to stay for coffee and dessert,
The silver coffee urn percolating into late afternoon,
Souvenir shot glasses waiting on brandy
Lined up on the kitchen counter
As if to say “Drink up! Cheers! Stay with us,
And watch The Green Bay Packers
Play the late game.
It was a good life we lived here.”


The 102-year-old woman was captured on video
A few years before her death. She sat in her chair
With eyes like candle flame. She spoke
Of the daughter and the husband she adored,
And how she outlived both. Still
In her British lilt
She recited the word she used
To illustrate her life like a mantra
Lovely, lovely, lovely…
You can’t wash away the salt poured in fresh wounds,
But winters are meant to end,
And yes, it is lovely, finding the fireworks
Through the foggy pain, the sunrise
On the frozen lake.
It’s lovely knowing nothing lasts,
And even if I won’t last a year beyond
One hundred and two spins around the sun,
The snow is melting today and yes,
Despite it all
Everything is lovely,
Even when the day doesn’t break,
But awakens broken.