Wednesday, January 20, 2021


As I write this, there were 142, 588 new cases of Covid-19 recorded and 1,440 new deaths. And those are considered a brief respite from what has been happening lately. In the last month we’ve seen death rates as high as 4,000 people a day. Pretty sobering. Even more so, considering we are quickly heading toward 400,000 Covid-19 related deaths in the United States, and are on pace to lose 500,000 Americans by the end of February. It is a shame that we’ve been failed both by our leadership and our own false sense of American exceptionalism, entitlement, and rugged individualism. Imagine how many people would be alive right now if we simply followed the basic guidelines of wearing a mask, keeping socially distant, and washing our hands. America is going to America, I guess. But I digress.

            I’d been thinking for weeks how to end this blog, this small protest of art. I didn’t want a grand statement, as the ensuing weeks of violence and terror, and Lord knows what is happening this very day in our country, didn’t lend credence to any grand statement. I’m shocked by what I’ve seen although I found none of it shocking. This end is exactly what Donald J. Trump foretold when he slithered down the escalator of his gaudy building back in June of 2015 and declared that he was running for president of the United States. We got exactly what was promised in a Trump presidency. Division. Racism. Misogyny. Hate. Violence. Suffering. Greed. A dark break with the norms of this flawed democracy. Kowtowing to oligarchs. America becoming a bigger failed state than it already had been before Trump. I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point.

            I want to say thank you to the writers and readers of WineDrunk SideWalk. Thank you to the artists who took time out of their lives to contribute to what we were trying to do here. I wish that I could’ve promoted you more, and that more people could’ve seen the work that you’d done. You should be proud of yourself for speaking out. For letting people know that what we’d been experiencing these past four years was not normal Republican vs. Democratic politics, but instead leadership under a vile, international criminal using mafia-style tactics to damage the nation while enriching himself and his crime family. All the while answering to the Kremlin.

            Personally, I don’t know where we go from here. How we recover as a nation. Maybe we don’t. Some signs seem pointed that way. We have one party that no longer believes in representative government through free and fair elections (unless they win), and another that seems unwilling to accept that about their colleagues across the aisle. The damage the Trump administration has done to this nation is quantifiable in some respects, but is going to take years upon years for us really to understand in total.

But there are positive signs. Look at protest over these past four years. Look at activism. Look at people who have taken leadership rolls in the democratic party. Look at Stacey Abrams. Look what happened this November in Georgia!

We have our first woman Vice-President.

So I’m going to leave you with a little bit of hope. I’m going to go back to where this all started on January 20, 2017, to a note my father-in-law wrote to his daughters in the days after Donald J. Trump became president of the United States.


Take it Big Ron


Hi girls 

Though a few days have passed since the election and the anger has subsided somewhat, I still have this hole in my soul that will be there for at least four years.

I'd like to tell you something - I grew up in the 50s and 60s and l saw firsthand what America was then. I used to say when the next generation comes along things will get better.

And it did. We elected the first black president and i thought we were finally going in the right direction.

Here we had a chance to elect a woman for president and break that glass ceiling. That didn't happen.

I came to this great nation as an immigrant and I may not have accomplished personally everything I wanted but what I'm most proud of are the strong daughters that I have and that I know you'll fight to break that glass ceiling.

I may still see a Madam President.

I love you all more




I’ll see you all further on up the road....and don't get too comfy while back under that "safe" blanket of neoliberalism.







Tuesday, January 19, 2021


Joe Biden’s Smile

We’ve all seen it
on the face of every mediocre man
who knows America keeps a special place
in its heart, in its conference rooms
for those with a stately smile
for whom just showing up
and shaking hands
has always been sufficient

he’s the used car salesman
who sees your bank account
on his balance sheet
the instant
he sees you
getting off the bus
on the coldest Tuesday
in February

the college town landlord
who will never fix the hot water heater
so he can keep your whole security deposit
after you are forced to break your lease

the bureaucrat
who understands your concerns but
whose only skill
is making sure complaints like yours
get lost in the system
a form misplaced
a file mislabeled

it’s the special smile
of someone who knows
you have no choice
but to take
the shitty deal they’re offering.

—Matthew Ussia

Monday, January 18, 2021


plastic fascist man

an action figure for idiots
capitalist SHitler

sinclair lewis cartoon

couldn’t golf your way
out of your own mendacity

american moron
american stooge

don’t the door hit you in your sopping ass
on the way out

mushroom baby-dick-tator
who has to pay for it

enjoy your exile in florida
with your trophy wife and bitterness

and your fake patriotism too

even putin won’t
pick up for you now

rabid autocratic dog on a leash
never-ending pestilence

plastic fascist man

your whole life
has been a sad, sad

--John Grochalski


Sunday, January 17, 2021



“We know he lost the election. It is fair to know whether he’s lost his mind.” — John Berman, CNN

Needy electoral loser, IMPOTUS II,
bloviates, threatens, begs
corrupt sycophants to intervene,
manufacture fantasy ballots,
overthrow the election.

He’s unwilling to relinquish his throne
where he serves as king of the grifters.
On a recorded, then leaked phone call,
he bullies Georgia’s Secretary of State,
strongly suggests “finding” thousands
more nonexistent votes in his favor.

Mango Mussolini flings medals
at previous probe saboteurs
to reward their part in this coup d’état,
keep his name in the headlines,
create more uproar,
insure their continued, complicit silence.

As his final days of mad mayhem elapse,
We the People cheer his inevitable downfall.

--Jennifer Lagier

Saturday, January 16, 2021


Plague House 

My neighbor runs
a plague house
has guests over

all the time
none of them
wear masks

defying life
safety and

--Thomas R. Thomas



Friday, January 15, 2021


2020 Is Over

2020 ends today
December 31, 2020
The Year of the Plague
goes on
until January 20, 2021

There will be chaos
up through January 6th
when we finally count
Donald J Trump out

And he may continue
the chaos beyond that
maybe even to war
but on January 20th
we are finally rid
of a man:
never qualified to be President
who never understood the Office of President
who never worked at being President
who saw the Presidency as a money-making opportunity
who embarrassed the United States around the world
who damaged our traditional alliances
who empowered our traditional adversaries
who weakened our environmental regulations
who fostered racial unrest
who has wrecked the Republican Party

If you get the impression
that I was never a fan
then you are obviously
more astute than those
who voted for him in 2016

---John F. McMullen

Thursday, January 14, 2021


Dream in direct deposit and tangerine

Honey, wine, fig, cut-crystal
shelter, hungry tired cream,
sticky ravaged fingers peeling

an imaginary sun, where
are the blessed as
the starving meet first death

idle in the street? When will creme
brûlée ever finally trickle down?
A friend pointed out a trickle

isn’t much to begin with anyway.
The pawn shop ticket for
Woody Guthrie’s guitar

is buried with him in his coat.
The Cyrus Cylinder is some of
the earliest documented evidence of

human liberty on a societal scale.
At least we have our common dream
in direct deposit and tangerine

the oily pink of one percent
as fluttering eyelids shielded
by designer lenses anyway.

And the phone rings day-job
gray again and they are poor.
Whatever the plan, if you are here,

it went wrong. Tax exempt churches
in America shake their plates and do
their best to explain why Heaven

has a coverage charge.

--Paul Koniecki 

Broken Democracy

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
”—Leonard Cohen

Lame Duck Demagogue whips up the crowd,
shouts marching orders to fascistic supporters.
Gleefully, they break windows, grind cigarettes into carpets,
smear feces across congressional office walls and floors,
halt vote counting from the Electoral College.

Stunted souls spew hatred, destruction.
Capital police facilitate the insurrection,
grin and pose in selfies with white supremacists.
Seditious enablers embrace violent treason.
Sane Americans watch in revulsion.

Traumatized, I wonder what larger plan
our higher power has in mind
to cleanse the diseased body politic,
bring us back to a place of light and hope, restore our defiled better selves

--Jennifer Lagier

Wednesday, January 13, 2021


Green Eggs and a Ham

I'm your president, the Man I Am
the boss of every living hu-man.

Will you help us, Man I Am?
We're sick, we're homeless
no jobs, no food
we're suffering and dying
while you work on your tan.

I would not help you
although I can
I would not sign the relief bill
I'm not that kind of man.

Would you spare us more deep pain
would you could you go home again?
Will you leave the White House
and stop casting blame?

I would not could not
give up now
I would not could not
admit I lost.
I would not could not
stop pardoning my cronies
I would not could not
desert my toadies and phonies.
I won't let the failing media
the will of the weak
the cheating democrats
wreck my legacy
of lies and deceit.

Don't you believe in truth,
honor and the rule of law
the U.S. Constitution
and democracy, man?

I do not like it, that’s who I am.
And you helped make me
your forever boss:
the Man I Am.

--Mickey Corrigan

Tuesday, January 12, 2021


Five Poems by Jason Ryberg

1)2020 Post-Election Blues

It’s a weirdly hot day,
here in Central Kansas,

early November and windy as hell,

with countless concentric cyclones
of dust and leaves out there
slam-dancing in dervish-like
synchronicity with and within
each other,

and then, at times,
breaking off from the heard in
little groups, to rub up against
the house, causing all the loose
planks and window panes to rattle
and vibrate to the point where it seems
that the whole place could just lift off
or implode at any moment,

but then, right before it does,
the tide always seems to subside
and recede back to that place
where it all re-groups and regains
its momentum,

leaving us a strange and guttural
breathing sound coming from
the fire place to let us know
it will be back.

2) Just Another Other

Our leaders say we should be good little citizens
and reach out and begin the healing process
and try to form some kind of alliance with
the legendary white working class, which
no one really seems to be able to clearly define,
even though so much ink and air-time are
devoted to it, more and more, every voting
season (before it’s forgotten (again) and until
they’re needed next time to hose off and
trot out and see, once again, which political party
finally wins the multi-million-dollar media
tug-of-war to sway this peculiar demographic
via their needs (or, if need be, their prejudices)
and hopefully bring them into the fold for good).
But I really have to wonder about the notion
of finding this elusive common ground with a
group that seems to proudly, chest-and-bible-
thumpingly define themselves, socially and
politically, by their ignorance of politics,
science and history let alone the world that
exists outside their own but might as well
be another planet which is exactly what they’re
lead to believe by their church and community
leaders and elected representatives and all of whom
appear to be in the process of collectively and
publicly shitting themselves and melting down
wicked-witch of the West style at the prospect
that they will soon be just another other
in a nation of others.

3) Thanksgiving 2020

The wind tonight is a storm-gray ocean
of savage undertows and alternating currents

and our bellies are full of birds and pigs
and our livers are swollen with the water of life
and the blood of the Lord,

and to the west of us, an east-bound train
flows like a river stirred-up by days of rain
and to the east, the stiff skeletons of elm and
cedar trees lift and sway their limbs and branches with
the dreamy surge and swell of the mega-church faithful,

and all the draperies and tapestries of cloud
have been drawn back now to show us
the shadowy rafters and balustrades of night,
all hung and lit with the crystal glitter and glow
of cosmic chandelier, beneath which we
solemnly puff on cheap cigars and pull
from flasks of apricot brandy,

tipping one for fallen friends and family,
toasting to the hope for a better
year to come.

4) Gone

Sometimes, it seems that time flies like a cinematically CGI’d
slow-motion bullet trail, or a handful of hundred dollar bills,
fresh and warm from the ATM, suddenly taken up by a micro-
burst of wind, or sparks thrown off a grinder wheel into the face
of all our best laid plans, best played hands, our most reasonable
and equitable list of demands, even, and then, in the middle of
one of our frantic chase scenes, just shuts down and goes cold —
THUNK— motionless, indifferent and unresponsive to all our
pleas and invectives to hurry the fuck up for Christ Almighty’s
sake and get a goddamn move on while we’re all still young,
already; LET’S GO, LET’S GO, LET’S GO, and then you turn
around and there’s a praying mantis on your sleeve and a
violin coming from somewhere and a certain quality to the early
evening light you somehow hadn’t noticed before and the time
is just gone.

5) All the Way Down

There’s wind in the chimney
and a sweat bee drowned
in a glass of brandy,

a man with a can of beer
and a cigarette playing solitaire at an
antique dining room table,

a ghost trapped inside of an ancient
grandfather clock, its ectoplasmic breath
steaming up the glass on certain moonlit nights,

and a sad, sweet little tune playing
on an old 78 record player,

the kind of tune that, given the mood,
makes you want to jump out of a window,
humming it all the way down.

And there, in the corner of the room,
an open door showing us a toilet
from which a Billy goat is currently drinking...

Now, how’d that Billy goat
get in here?

Monday, January 11, 2021


Our Commander in Chief

Everything’s going great
He gives himself a ten
He has made America
So very great again

Of course the NFL
May not agree with this call
But just like his hands
That issue was small

We’ve done so wonderful
And no-one disapproves
They have all been fired
As his golf game improves

He will never back down
Cause He is no wuss
You better believe it
He’s got the world by the puss

And please no applause
He solved immigration
Threw them all out
To protect our great nation

He’s even beaten the Corona virus
Proving D.J. Trump never fails
Ask the more than 60 thousand
Oops, the dead tell no tales

Now America again must do the math
To vote for dementia or a sociopath
In the midst of all this dead wood
Crooked Hillary almost looks good.

--Joan Fields



Sunday, January 10, 2021


a pre-posthumous
obituary is difficult
to write
for your brother
and all
the pre-posthumous
questions of cause
just don’t know
how to answer
only reason
maybe was
he shoved his head
right up his ass
and suffocated
in the foul stench
of his

--Patrick Walters



Saturday, January 9, 2021



“One of the necessary accompaniments of capitalism
in a democracy is political corruption.”

Upton Sinclair

That “Borrowing from our grandkids
To do socialism for rich people
Is a terrible way
To get help to families who actually need it.”

President Mitch McConnell, the Grim Reaper,
Vetoed faux President Assclown’s demand
For $2000 relief checks to be given
To families in need

During the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like an insider with precognition,
Moscow Mitch power played
The pork game to perfection.

"His state, the state of Kentucky,
Andrew Cuomo said,
“Takes out $138 billion more than they put in,"
Average Middle-Class citizens,

Functionally literate enough
To use the calculator on their cell phone,
Know immediately
That McConnell’s approval rating does not add up.

How Does an 18% Approval Rating Result in a 58% Win?
How did McConnell rack up huge vote leads
In traditionally Democratic strongholds,
Including counties that he had never carried before?

Kentucky using vote tabulation machines
Made by Election Systems & Software
All reported down-ballot race results
At significant odds with pre-election polls.

To say McConnell is a heartless bastard
Is an understatement.
To acknowledge he is a master
At “graft” and “corruption”

Speaks volumes about the unfathomable
Depth of his dark heart.

--Victor Henry

Friday, January 8, 2021


scanning through
this book of the
Untied States

I see these
last four years
are missing

pages Я ripped
ragged burned
at the edges

I wonder
what putrid
horror held

us at our throat
I then close the book
and promptly forget

--Thomas R. Thomas

Thursday, January 7, 2021


the same blur

it bleeds together
the fabric of tomorrow
the litmus of today

eyes open
first breath
assess quality of light

lasers from the showerhead
scratch the cat behind the ear
wish her a pleasant day
tucked against the radiator
her bones ache daily
so do mine

start the car, change oil
light taunts, I'll forget

the line at the post moves
the same blur as days
as co-workers, as friends
hungry for conversation
we warm up to time
passing, tea steeps

computer screens
for eight hours to collect
your worth, the news
is stagnant, remind me
to change the tape
on this narrative

start the car, sunsets
over retail and church
more monster condos
framed steel structures
hollow in azure light

the cat is ready for dinner
clean dishes as meal cooks
settle into a book
another double feature
what’s tonight's theme?

it's all waiting in the land
of death, somewhere between
flesh and spirit. somewhere
you hope to overhear
I think you'll like it
there are a lot of aliens

the other day at the dentist
mouth open already drawing
flies, willie nelson sang
ring around the rosie
anthems of other plagues
perhaps, we are the
same fools we've always been

--Jason Baldinger


Wednesday, January 6, 2021


poem on house vote certification day


--John Grochalski

Tuesday, January 5, 2021


Original Sin

We flushed the natives out like foxes from the brush,
fought and killed and threw them into every kind of prison.
We tore children from their arms, pushed them to the edges
of our culture and then we held them down.

Stolen lives from Africa, we locked them in as well,
disdained them for their shining skin and muscles
that made us rich. We cleaved children from their mothers,
kept them at the edges of our culture and held them down.

Others who sought shelter at our border, we let them in
to work for bits, called them takers, wrested children
from their fathers and let them die in cages. We kept them
at the edges of our culture and then we held them down.

Now we call them rapists, thugs and murderers.
Now we call ourselves the injured parties.

--Tamara Madison

Monday, January 4, 2021


In Seal Beach, California after George Floyd’s Murder

We see the cars through breaks in the trees:
police vehicles from surrounding towns
scream down the boulevard.

A fire truck leads a new chaos of sirens;
we walk through the neighborhood
where friends dine in backyards.

We don’t notice when the sirens stop,
keep walking toward the beachfront road,
watching the orange sun drop behind the sea.

People in front yards lift glasses to lips, sirens
forgotten. Heading back we find the way to our car
barred by yellow tape. Policemen smile, point the way.

Three times we cross their tape, each time we say
Good evening, each time they say it back and smile.
Lives have just been changed forever, but we,

with our white hair, our sun-lined faces,
pass through like royalty, enrobed in garments
fashioned from the lucky accident of our birth.

--Tamara Madison

Sunday, January 3, 2021


Cognitive Dissonance in ER

ER nurse treats
gravely ill patients
who insist they
couldn’t have Covid

What is making them
ill must be something

“Covid doesn’t exist.”
they insist, literally
screaming it until they
are intubated

or they die.

“It’s like a fucking
horror movie that
never end.” The nurse

Trump brags, in one
minute TV appearance,

the stock market hit an
all time high, and
the vaccines are here.

Don’t let the door
hit you on the way out.

--Alan Catlin

Saturday, January 2, 2021


14 Haiku for Fascism

lives fleshing (the) dream of the beautiful, needful thing.

-- Frederick Douglas, by Robert Hayden

1 Powerful and Continuing Nationalism

The stars are not violent

except twinkling twin shoulders

over whitest smile.

2 Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights

Rose bouquets will never heal all

except when demons hold them

between their teeth.

3 Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause

Love thy neighbor, and some of God’s

children but if their hands

are folded, shoot first.

4 Supremacy of the Military

Mist is not malevolent

except when baked with pepper and mace;

add sulfur for fun.

5 Rampant Sexism

Happy fingers snap or clap

especially when the He

fucks the sultry and dumb.

6 Controlled Mass Media

Agree with the immaculate doctrine

fake news as fakes news does –

the He says so!

7 Obsession with National Security

Inter the bad guys while they sleep

cage them before they

foul our perfect gardens.

8 Religion and Government are Intertwined

The flipped bible in the paws of a zealot

proves might is right,

and despots can be holy.

9 Corporate Power is Protected

Release the yoke of deregulation

let the rape begin and the elite

shall reap all manna.

10 Labor Power is Suppressed

Insects live and work in hives

except when we melt the nests

where they breed.

11 Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts

That doesn’t rhyme;

I hate those colors.

Eggheads everywhere need scrambling J

12 Obsession with Crime and Punishment

Choke those non-white bastards.

Vigilantes and cowboys

will tip the scale our way.

13 Rampant Cronyism and Corruption

We know who our friends are

the He will trickle down,

everybody’s bounty, eventually.

14 Fraudulent Elections

We don’t need another hero

can’t trust ballots, or boundaries,

only bail outs.


You can ignore the weather

as rain is simple enough in its grandeur. 

--Sam Barbee

previously published in Poetry That Sustains Us AT&T University

Friday, January 1, 2021


the ballad of joe

joe owned a bar
joe had a wife
joe had three kids
and a big house down on shore drive
joe had grandkids that he loved
joe loved the jets
even though they broke his heart
joe was a beatles man
but joe loved the stones
just as much
joe had buddies
who sat with him in his bar
listening to the beatles and the stones
as Fox News played
on big screen tvs on mute
joe’s best friend was his bartender bart
joe and bart went back forty years
back when the neighborhood was safe
and you could go to bed with your doors unlocked
joe loved america 
joe was a patriot
joe thought trump was tough
just like joe
just like the guys in the neighborhood were tough
you had to be tough
to love the jets
joe thought covid-19 was a hoax
that’s what Fox News told him
that’s what trump said
and trump was tough
joe bought cruise tickets back in february
a little something nice for him and his wife
joe didn’t care what the newspapers were saying
joe wanted to sail to spain
his kids begged and pleaded 
for them not to go
joe told them to be tough
like trump
stop believing the left wing media, joe said
so joe and his wife went sailing to spain in march
it was a good trip
the trip of a lifetime
made all of those years in the bar worth it
but when joe got home
he didn’t feel so well
his throat burned
and the fever was unreal
his body ached
joe couldn’t sit in the bar at all
he told bart to watch the place for him
and then joe went home
then to the e.r.
they gave joe a hospital bed
then they gave him a ventilator
joe said goodbye to his wife and kids 
and grandkids on a cell phone
as Fox News played on mute
in the background
by the middle of march
joe was dead of covid-19
his best buddy bart the bartender
in a hospital room
two doors down from joe
dead of covid just a few days later
and all of the tough guys in the neighborhood
put flowers
and their jets hats
on the ground by the door
of joe's bar
because life was tough
when you were a tough guy
all of the time.

---John Grochalski