Saturday, October 31, 2020



we have not been sufficiently humbled

more pain is required to reach bottom

we are living vicariously on borrowed feelings
becoming shadows of our former selves

we are not adequately corrupted and diseased

our guilty consciences won’t be appeased

the future will suffer and no one will weep
while we butcher what’s sacred like greedy beasts

we will not satisfy our unholy appetites

we will invent problems for every solution

we will dream the dream of Frankenstein
and create monsters out of our nightmares

we will be a credit to our national debt

Santa Claus isn’t coming, yet

we are too blonde to save

we will feel ashamed

we will abandon reason

we will incarcerate freedom

we will be completely demoralized

we will be subjugated by our fears

there will be four more years.

--Stew Jorgenson 


Friday, October 30, 2020


this time sparrows will fly out

It’s been a year since
I woke up in nashville
on the floor of a revolution
that couldn’t be seen yet
on the floor with chipmunks
the sparrows, the smell of fall
in the dead leaves of an old hickory tree

here we are with all this loss
her hands are no longer to crows at dawn
her old lover dead again
she has guilt, she has resentment
you can build a life there for sure
but goddamn it isn’t a place
any of us could, or should, stay

somewhere out there
the romance of americana
can still be held with the eyes
in this fading season just arrived
with all good things wrapped in breath
adieu false heart

the other day the conversation
turned to anxiety, this is what we talk
about when we talk about now

let me open my hands
this time sparrows will fly out
will overwhelm a world of beech trees

our illnesses myriad in this light
goddamn I wonder if you are as tired as I am
I wonder if you find the word tomorrow
heavy as damp stars
I wonder does it seem strange
to you now when you say tomorrow out loud
like it’s already here, like it will never arrive
say it with me now, it might be ok

 ---Jason Baldinger

Thursday, October 29, 2020


Curriculum Vitae:
Me and America and the World

I grew up in the suburbs of Southern California
sheltered from knowledge of the world
lied to about the blood on my hands
lied to about the blood on your hands
thinking what happens in the rest of the world doesn't affect me
thinking that self reliance is the only way to survive
not seeing the mounting mountains of waste
wasted minds, wasted lives, wasted wonder
until I reach adulthood and I'm told
through wind whistling by my ears
through ocean pounding in my heart
through rain clearing the befuddled fog
the short end of the stick is now yours

and so it's my turn to deal with
feeble old senators too wedded to their minds
brazen young senators who believe they know
what the people want
which appears to be to reelect them ad infinitum
just as the old senators have been
because these problems don't solve themselves overnight
and they convince us that as long as there are problems
we need them
and as long as there are things to fear
we need them
and they create madmen across the nation
and madmen across the map of the world
but the madhouses were rendered defunct decades ago

and so we wander the streets of the nation
and we wander the streets of the world
singing the songs of the birds
wondering where the landscape went
wondering when the landscape changed
ecstatic that the sun still rises to listen to our song
ecstatic that the trees still shelter the birds
ecstatic that the ocean still cools our aching minds

but for how long we wonder
for the sea is rising,
the trees are falling,
the sun is burning too bright

and our voices are drowned by the rising sea
our voices are drowned by cries for war
some of us ask for mercy
at least wait until the last war is over, we say
we can't afford to wait, we're told
we must strike while the enemy is unsuspecting, we're told
but many of us aren't sure who the enemy is
and why there always seems to be an enemy
despite the many wars we've fought
or perhaps because of the many wars we fought
and we ask to give peace a chance
because we haven't tried that yet
and war doesn't seem to have worked
but we're told that we're helping the enemy
by speaking about peace
that we're showing weakness
by speaking about peace
and that the enemy will take advantage
but we're still not sure who the enemy is
his name is different this time
and we wonder why he wasn't our enemy yesterday
we're told to let the senators handle it
we're told that it is their job to make these decisions
we're told not to worry about such things
we're told we voted for them for a reason
we're told that peace is for the birds
and the cries for war drown the songs of the birds
and the patriotic fervor rises higher than the sea

and the religious fervor rises higher than the sea
the loudest cries coming from the fearmongers
spreading their message to increase their numbers
deniers of science, deniers of the rising sea
deniers of history, deniers of the fire of knowledge
deniers of the songs of the birds
they tell us to believe in Jesus or go to hell
they tell us to ask forgiveness for our sins
for having eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge
they tell us we must spite our enemies
but we're still not sure who our enemies are
they tell us to follow the words of the bible
but only the words they tell us to follow
they tell us god can do no wrong
yet he created an imperfect man and regretted it
they tell us he meant to create an imperfect man
and regret it
they confuse us with circular talk
as if we're not easily enough confused
they tell us to do as they say or go to hell

but hell hath no fury like a scorched bird
the bird will rise again from the ashes
as it has so many times, through sacrifice and feast
through birth and death and rebirth
with the sound of the fury singing to deaf ears
waiting for someone to listen and respond
and "waiting for a rebirth of wonder"

and so it's my turn to deal with
the bewildered herds, the misinformed masses
dreams deferred and education deterred
the children are our future, we're told
but what kind of future we're not told
teach them well, we're told, let them lead the way
but we don't want to pay their teachers
we need the money for more important things
there are more pressing matters, we're told
we need to build more bombs, we're told
we need to keep our military strong, we're told
to protect ourselves from future enemies
but what if we allow all the world's children
to be educated, some of us say,
some of us madmen who don't understand
the way the world works
believing that intelligent, thinking beings
may work together to find solutions to problems
peaceful solutions without the need for bombs
but there we go with the peace talk again
imagining a peace with an unknown enemy
and we're quickly reminded of our place
and once we are in our place again, us madmen,
we're told that further budget cuts must be made
for the good of the many
music is unnecessary in schools
the children don't need it
it has no practical value
and the money is needed to build a wall
along our southern border
to keep workers out

so I'm left to wonder again
I wonder where the wise men and women have gone
when they bailed out of this place
I read about them in books
I see their writing on the cave walls
I see their messages in the ancient petroglyphs
but the old ways of seeing have become impotent

and so it's my turn to deal with
the strangulating state of the health of the world
the strangulating state of the health of America
the stomachs of the third world restricting
famine it's called when their resources have been plundered
and nothing left for the benefit of the people
the arteries of America restricting
cutting off oxygen to the brain
that secondary organ
we'll put sugar in all of our foods so people want more
we'll keep selling soda in ever bigger sizes
we'll keep selling burgers because economics beats health
and there's nothing more American than a hamburger
in and out of America
god bless the hamburger and god bless the holy cow (John 3:16)
and we wonder why we all have cancer
where has all this cancer come from
surely not the holy cows and the unholy chickens
and the preservatives that save them
but can't save Americans
but guns can save Americans
if every American owns one
to protect themselves from the crazies they've created
terrorizing teachers and children
whose voices sound like birds
and what happens now
when the enemy is among us
still the talk of enemies
always an enemy, always a fight
we need more guns say the logiticians
we have a right to bear arms to protect our freedom
from the deer and the moose and the bears
hunt them down and shoot those fuckers before they get us
we need to treat mental health say the lay psychiatrists
so people won't want to shoot each other
even though America shoots those it finds threatening
maybe our leaders are the crazy ones
maybe our institutions need to be institutionalized
maybe the prophet Erich Fromm was right
maybe capitalism is the root cause of the craziness

and so it's my turn to deal with
the cleptocracy of the wealthy
every year creating new ways to steal from the poor
these reverse Robin Hoods of the world
convincing us that Zorro was an outlaw
because laws are written in a government
of the rich by the rich for the rich
and the earth is a great battlefield
where the poor must sacrifice themselves for the rich
and the poor must fill the prisons owned by the rich
and the poor must fill the hospitals owned by the rich
and the poor must fill the factories owned by the rich
and the poor must listen to the radio stations
and the poor must watch the television stations
owned by the rich
and the free press is paid for by the rich
and the presidential candidates are paid for by the rich
and the congressional candidates are paid for by the rich
surreptitiously convincing the poor to vote against themselves
so it looks like democracy and feels like freedom
no taxation or representation
surreptitiously convincing the poor to give them their money
so it does not look like theft
the rich shall inherit the money and the luxury and lazy fare
and the meek shall inherit the earth which they must till
and we defeated the communists, thank god
and with them the chance of equality, thank god
and with them the hope of fairness in the world, thank god
because life is not fair
because in nature it's survival of the fittest
and man's a rugged individual or he is weak
and man's social and economic structures should mirror nature
except for the birds with their god damned songs
and the bonobos, those fucking bonobos
and me
I am not convinced
I will keep singing the song of the birds
I will keep my head above the rising water
for as long as I can
and I will be able to look future generations in the heart
and say, I am sorry to leave you with this
and say, in the words of King David Kalakaua,
"tell my people I tried"
I did not let the song die, I did not let the fire burn out
the short end of the stick is now yours
good luck

--Steven Hendrix

Wednesday, October 28, 2020


Democracy Dies at the Bloody Hands of the Court

we just cut
the throat of
the country

the jugular
spurts blood
as we collapse

to the floor

--Thomas R. Thomas

Tuesday, October 27, 2020


early voting during the plague

she has the face of denial

tells me the signature that i wrote
thirteen years ago

doesn’t match the one
she has me do now on a stylus

i tell her it’s me
but she makes me do it again

we get the same result
a shaky blur of digital ink and slashes

i say,
look, lady, i can’t write on a stylus

which is true

i’ve slaughtered my signature
on everything from car rentals to UPS deliveries

i tell her that’s my signature
take it or leave it

she looks ready to leave it

early voting during the plague
in the cafeteria of a high school gym

sweaty high school walls
broken high school tiles

but no high school students in class
due to all of the death and disease

the polling lady goes to make me
write my name again, but i shake my head

give me my ballot, i tell her

she frowns
throws up her hands
but does what i ask

although i can’t help thinking
the situation would be much different
if i had an accent or if i were black

i take my ballot
and stand in another line
full of the masked and frightened

wait my turn
to cast out one set of monsters
for a brand-new horror show

one that we can all hopefully live through

as a girl walks by me
wearing a this is what democracy looks like

and i think maybe

but really

i don’t know, man
i don’t know.

--John Grochalski                                     

Monday, October 26, 2020



                                              photography by John Grochalski

Sunday, October 25, 2020


American Sunshine

In the good ‘ol days
we would sit around camp
knocking back shots
of disinfectant
like it was Colt 45 malt
trading barbs and sunshine,
our minds all lathered up
on Jesus and TV
pretending to be
The Wild Bunch.

We’d take turns pissing
on the constitution,
watching it burn
in the sacred flames of manhood.

Our women lifted scalps
and tied ‘em to their skirts.

We grew our own food,
made our own clothes,
kept our kids on a leash.

We had ironclad excuses
for side-kicking our dogs
but cried for the horses
when we shot ‘em.

There were protocols
for these sorts of things.

It was a great time to be shunned.

People still had fight in ‘em.

Democracy served our lips.

We hung law abidin’ citizens.

We didn’t need no stinking badges

and for the love of Christ

we never abandoned the stragglers.

--Stew Jorgenson

Saturday, October 24, 2020


Love Song

is it a
love song

if it's just

his love for
his dark heart

mixed in the
blood of

bleeding in

the desert of
his wicked

--Thomas R. Thomas

Thursday, October 22, 2020


                                                      LENAPE LAND BACK

                                            photography by Ally Malinenko

Wednesday, October 21, 2020



This is how 
we burn 
city by city 
and all 
at once 

the people 
fed up 

the people 
standing straight 
at last 

the people 
stop killing us 

admit it 
you crazy bitch 
you lunatic baby 
you spoiled psychopath 
for death 

your knee 
on the people’s 

this is how 
we explode 
this is how 
we can never 
go back 

this is how we burn 
and burn 
and burn 

--Jeff Weddle

Tuesday, October 20, 2020


Our Public Servants
or The needle men

the wee within 
hides hollow 
shadows small 
Such slime 
and sin 
and grime 
they grin 
Much mock the moral mall 
In greed they grip 
the public tit 
Lick all 
the wrong behinds 
The useless twits 
with inbred wits 
use farts 
to fuel their minds 
Call down rehearsed 
their red tape curse 
in girth 
of unknown tome 
why alone 
no known tones 
But worse 
they ALL tell lies 

--Steven B. Smith 

Monday, October 19, 2020


 The Tracks

after Transtr├Âmer

Moonlight at 2 a.m. There’s a train that is stopped
in an open field. Shards of light from a distant city
are cold as they flicker on the far horizon.

Like when a person goes into the depths of a dream
so far, they don’t ever remember they were there
once they’ve made it back to their bedroom.

Or when somebody falls into a deep sickness
and all of their days turn into flickering shards,
swarming, cold and faint off on the horizon.

The train sits there completely still. 2 a.m.
The moonlight strong. Only a few stars.

--Scott Silsbe

Sunday, October 18, 2020


Plague Year 

The streets are
too empty
for tears
and the air is clean
while the people
hide away
and the birds
dance their dances
and we all
wait around
for death
or something
though the way
things are going
who’s to say
what that
even be?

--Jeff Weddle

Saturday, October 17, 2020


Look To The Sky

Because the mice escaped the lab
with the ability to control similar sized minds,
they have roped themselves to the backs of ravens
and plan an aerial assault
on your cupboard filled with
Cheese Curls,
Cheese Nips,
Cheddar Bunnies,
Cheez Wiz
and those delicious,

(inspired by the Pandemic Fifteen caused by snacking)

--John Stickney
John Stickney is a poet/writer originally from Cleveland, OH, currently living in the coastal area of Wilmington, NC.)

Friday, October 16, 2020




                                                Photography by John Grochalski

Thursday, October 15, 2020



“When you make oddly specific false accusations about the other guy, it’s usually because you’re guilty of that specific thing, and you’re hoping to muddy the waters in case you get caught.”—Palmer Report

Three septuagenarians spar on network tv.
It’s a train wreck within a dumpster fire,
deranged grifter-in-chief stalks the stage,
vomits lies, dominates airwaves.

Within minutes, the moderator loses control,
allows a shrieking, accusatory whackjob
to hijack the event, transform it into a hateful rally
for white supremacists and MAGA deplorables.

The abusive bully rages as if suffering from rabies,
assaults our senses, instigates chaos, dissension,
encourages voter intimidation, offers no solutions
to COVID, climate change, racial injustice.

Unable to endure unhinged meltdown,
the barrage of blatant lies,
a call to armed vigilantes for violent action,
many feel their souls crushed, blood pressure surging.

Brutal ignorance takes a victory lap. Democracy loses.

--Jennifer Lagier


Wednesday, October 14, 2020


Virus Morning

And now I’m crying
over an old song
in the quiet morning
with my dog beside me
on the couch

and the people locked away

and I can’t stop the tears
as the song
tells me stories
of before.

In the kitchen
I will eat my breakfast
and tell myself
I will find a way
to stop all this crying
before my children
wander into the room
and ask why daddy is sad

because I don’t want
to say the truth
or lie to them.

I just need to keep them safe

though I don’t know
how to do that

as the world spins foul
and the people
are hidden
sick and dying

and the music plays.

--Jeff Weddle

Tuesday, October 13, 2020



                            photography by John Grochalski

Monday, October 12, 2020


My Bookshelf Background

Broadcasting here
From within
A definite space
Of relatively
Small intent -

Oh, ain’t we
Just all
So well read

(inspired by the backgrounds of experts featured on TV through tthe magic of Zoom)

--John Stickney

John Stickney is a poet/writer originally from Cleveland, OH, currently living in the coastal area of Wilmington, NC.)

Sunday, October 11, 2020


Box of Letters 

I don’t know what I’m saving it for.
But I have it stashed on what I think
is a safe spot—next to my old Exley,
below the clipped quote from Proust,
& not far from sad, old Richard Yates.
But yes, those letters are there for me.
For someday. For I don’t know what.

--Scott Silsbe

Saturday, October 10, 2020



                                          --Steven B. Smith

Friday, October 9, 2020


happy death day, mister president 

(they’ll piss on your grave) 

when the worms
start to inhabit
your right
you can count on
my Mexican
to turn it
migrant yellow

I taught them

--Jenny S

Thursday, October 8, 2020


Walk of Shame


Today you were caught.

The paparazzi snapped

their cameras with each step.


The ongoing affair you had

and declared a hoax

for nearly a year,


which you denied

publicly was met with

the hard truth.  Lying


Comes easily to you

just as you touted snake oil

cures just as you hopped


from bed to bed, less

a desire to fill the deep

emptiness where love


Belongs but as a mirror

of you power.  You

were accustomed to money


solving such problems by

paying off your former

wives and mistresses


In exchange they would

Remain silent. This Is why

the country is in a fever


to see you walk to Air Force 1

As you wear a mask and your last

night’s presidential uniform


Your head bowed

reluctantly waving to

the witnesses, to the word.


Where you finally acknowledge

The coronavirus is

A cruel, vengeful mistress.  

--Tom Lagasse

Wednesday, October 7, 2020


Lest We Forget

“One becomes stupid when they abdicate their will over to an ideology or collective; while they retain their intellect, their will to think independently, and to question their beliefs, is forfeited.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Execution by hanging, April 09, 1945, Flossenb├╝rg concentration camp, Nazi Germany

Lest we forget the fascist authoritarian assclown
Advocates the rule of force
Over the rule of law,
An eye for an eye,

Lest we forget Herr Trump
Claimed there were some “fine people”
Among the neo-Nazis and other
White supremacists marching
Through the University of Virginia campus
Chanting “Blood and Soil,
Jews will not replace us.”

Lest we forget the malignant narcissist
Is keeping COVID-19 great,
A barbaric figure of 202,000+ deaths currently,
Claiming he takes no responsibility for it.

Lest we forget Trump’s MAGA party
Of white nationalists
Will do anything to win the election,
Even incite murder and mayhem.

As the western states suffer from fire and smoke
In the Disunited States
And the anti-science orange-faced liar
Tells scientists “It will cool down”
Not even a pandemic
Can bring the citizenry together.

What could possibly
Reunite the Disunited States of America
As our failed state empire decays
From willful ignorance and stupidity,
A mindset owned by many of the masses?

--Victor Henry


Tuesday, October 6, 2020


Anti-Trump Abecedarian

A’s for America; Trump said he fenced us.
B is for Borders; they’re now closed against us.

C’s for Corona, a global pandemic.
D is for Don, whose response is alchemic.

E’s the Election he’s slated to lose…
F: … in the polls he decries as Fake News.

G is for Government, formed to protect us.
H: for hydroxy, his scam to inject us.

I’s for Ivanka, her daddy’s wee pet.
J is for Junior, who’s starting to sweat.

K is for Kushner, whose job is nepotic.
L is for Lies, in a reign that’s chaotic.

M’s for Melania who looks like an alien.
N is for “Nasty,” or female mammalian.

O’s for Obama, who makes Don feel small.
P is for Putin, who wants us to fall.

Q is for Questions, which make Don shit bricks.
R is for Rallies, where he gets his fix.

S for the SATs, cheated at school.
T is for Tweets and a Twittering fool.

U is Ukraine, that Don tried to extort.
V is the Voting he’s hoping to thwart.

W: “Winners,” so selfish and shrill.
X is for right-wing eXtremists, who kill.

You Trumps and your gang call yourselves Zillionaires.
And you’ll all go to prison, and nobody cares.

--Cheryl Caesar  

Monday, October 5, 2020


Somewhere Among Us a Virus is Taking Notes
(after C. Simic and Z. Herbert)

This virus
is the perfect

Unlike you
it is careful
of boundaries

Exact marks
in the margins

It sees you
calm and clear

at the end
of term?

A report card
filled with the
“Highest” marks

(inspired by the push to open US Schools)

--John Stickney

John Stickney is a poet/writer originally from Cleveland, OH, currently living in the coastal area of Wilmington, NC.)

Sunday, October 4, 2020


In the Here and Now

The Earth lies in the love of the astral void
Above her body is a cloudless pane and starry veil
Holding to her breast both the dark and light
Close to the land beneath the skies.
Thus softened in her tender sight
Loathing the fierce destruction that hate tries.
One shout the more, one kindness less
That diminishes the named and nameless state
Where any person seeks their peace
And where insecurity and self doubt
That builds the mountains of anxiety
Should begin to decrease, and cease.
And in the place voided by negativity and blight,
Should dwell peace and light
And on the landscape of the Earth
Should dwell a calm so soft, so eloquent,
And every human face and body showing radiance
And halos, a should of love envelopment.
The ease of cares, and nurtured by the Earth,
By existence, should be the one and only

--Jennifer Lemming

Saturday, October 3, 2020


Coming Soon. . . 

Coming soon to your local school gymnasium is the fight
of a lifetime. Yes, it’s for the United States Championship
Belt, and you, yes, you will have a say.

The current champions, are The Donalds, a father-son combo,
two-dimensional cartoon characters, dark and damaged
who would wear Klan robes if television permitted.

Orange faced Big Donald, the Gorgeous George of his day,
carries a mirror and applies make up wherever he goes, and Little
Donald longs for the love and affection his father. This duo

Was trained by the great glamorpuss of wrestling Vince McMahon
and the true villain of the 21st century Vlad “The Shirtless Horseman” Putin.
The Donalds have enjoyed a spectacular rise through their cunning

Use of outrage and cheating, since everyone knows they carry
foreign objects in their tights to gauge their opponents’ eyes.
They won by following the script, since pro wrestling is rigged.

Considered in wrestling terms as “the heel,” The Donalds
have gathered a vociferous MAGA red-hat wearing following
who relishes being contrarian or identifies with the Q-Anon

inspired conspiracy theories instead of science or just enjoy
being angry racists. Now as the Donalds prep for the upcoming
Big Battle on November 3, they hold their champion-.

Ship belts high before a mask-less audience huddled
together like it was 2019. Standing in the center of the ring
Big Donald takes microphone. He raises his hand to silence

The crowd. He takes a sip of water holding the glass in one hand.
Like true heels, The Donalds tell the world how great they are
And how their law and order will conquer this menacing world.

The Donalds take turns spewing invectives against anyone
who fights for fairness and justice. They call soldiers losers
They call teachers losers. The protestors are losers.

Those not rooting for them to win are losers. The Donalds
call the press fake and disavow science. Women are nasty.
They remind everyone about the Big Battle on November 3rd.

There will be over 200,000 plus people who won’t be in attendance.
Neither will Breonna Taylor.
Or George Floyd. 

--Tom Lagasse  

Friday, October 2, 2020



we have lost
our soft hearts
and hard reason

all good things
are gutted
while we laugh
and blame
every victim

our history is now
re-written each day
with poor spelling
and bad grammar

we hardly notice
the killing lies

because it is
so pleasant
to hate what we
do not understand

and understanding
has become a burden
too great to bear

this was the plan
of course

always the plan

it has been expected
for many years

everything in this world
grows older and finally
loses its way

we are no different

our hard hearts starve
our decrepit brains

almost no one
is left to care for us
and we would
hate them for it anyway

the ugly finish
is our shattered reward
and its moment is at hand

--Jeff Weddle

Thursday, October 1, 2020



Is Trump ignorant
or insane?

Or all the above?

--Steven B. Smith