Sunday, July 26, 2020

John Zedolik writes

The Reins
Two pigs, one unleashed,
have purpose in the park—

acorns under the civic oaks
that bear their bounty every fall—

so snouts to the grass and straight
to the trunk, reined slightly back or not,

nimble even carrying their weight
upon hooves peeping between the blades,

the tender, upright and obedient,
follows to the source, a glutton

for the gathering of two intent
upon the yet-giving earth

whose final skin peels off
under their snuffle and twitch,

yielding to those whose appetite
and will masses with much greater press. 

John Zedolik writes

Ars Vbique Est                                                 

Our generously arced spigot
in the half-bath reflects
the faux-gilt and frilled

mirror of this home’s previous
owner into a semblance
of Munch’s screaming man,

but I am at relative ease so
acknowledge the pain the lips
on the chrome, pursed into an “O,”

express, wash my hands, pump
the dispenser of liquid lavender soap
so lose sight of the little

agonized simulacrum of the brush,
turn off the light, rest assured
the tortured face and matching eyes

will be waiting with their angst
and dread whenever I need a shot,
a taut perspective, of immortal gloom.

[Ars vbique est = Art is everywhere] 
Figure on cliffside walkway holding head with hands
 The Scream -- Edvard Munch

John Zedolik writes

Doubtful Armor                                                     

The tale, over tea and coffee
on an easy Saturday evening
was of loosed armadillos,

minor mayhem and mischief
on a hotel floor then false
reporting to earnest police,

which yarn elicited laughter
from the group whose members
were reveling in their third decade,

some parenting and some almost,
so what better than a story
of those southern scramblers

of neutral to unattractive temper
on account of their small brains,
according to the raconteur,

in contrast to these relatively
young and prosperous representatives
of a species with much larger

noggins and proportionate brains encased
to boot though without the plating
the old Spanish attributed

to the low mammal, so needing
at times such diversions concerning
carpet-covering chaos little critters

and other unthinkers bring.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

John Doyle writes

The Lesser-Known Presidential Assassinations
For Alyssa Trivett

I was born with lots of things across my hands,
snowflakes, blood, 

water from the Rio Grande.
Nothing compromised the science 

of each individual component,
snow-drifts grew larger, 

started a family,
moved north, blocking tin-can Ford trucks on freeways.

The blood I took, 
I added it to the bones from lesser-read pages in the Holy Book,

Adam had sisters, brothers, no-one spoke of, 
Eve was married twice before.

The lesser-known presidential assassinations spring-up
from tributaries of the Rio Grande,

William McKinley -
A good Protestant

County Antrim name
with sizzling stagecoach wheels

in thickened rains - gives church-yard
its Sunday chatter. 

James Garfield is mentioned in archives
where cigars, brandy

and the Witherspoon family 
of New England make generous donations

to rebuild our church-hall blown down 
in the winds and rains of 1908.

I was born with lots of things across my hands,
it's a map that remains,

its fauna blotchy
like dead animals hunting near a desert dirt-track

mutes and blind-folk 
were too terrified to rub with tar.

This is the word of someone's Lord;
Praise Be

John Doyle writes

Migratory Birds Going Home to Africa

The radio was shouting at you, pleading with you...
David Byrne

Vaguely orange with offerings of brown,
such a rusted sky - 

vapor-trails like Nuada's veins.
On the radio tonight I pretend it's Carl Corcoran

whom I've missed like an Uncle gone to war.
Carl plays Heartland Rock, Carl plays Afrobeat,

I remind myself every April, as this requiem is due-
about now - all these birds who fly southerly, 

marmalade-burned sundown, grass still brown.
It's five inches-high at our crossroads -

three local streams meeting like Uncles returned from war,
and I smell the farm and primary river

they flow to, sometimes - summer maybe, but usually April,
birds' whooshing chatter that plays Heartland Rock

on the radio, now that Africa is leaving.
Hey there Carl, tell me

if anyone is listening anymore,
on a transistor radio in a tent, something orange flashes overhead…?

John Doyle writes

I’ll Send You a Postcard Tomorrow Amelia, That I Promise

Negatives of my shoelaces
fade from my shins
as I dissolve into my myself,
appearing moments later

as an acrobat in Rush and Lusk Station
haunted by the puppeteer
who pulled the children
like seaweed from the waters -

it makes a believable alibi
explaining myself 
to a man checking tickets
who spent last night sleeping

in a wooden hotel from the late 19th Century
while his wife, son and daughter
trotted off to Sunday School

Arlene Corwin writes

 Two Looks At The First Reality 
 (or What or Who creates it all)

Depending on one’s leanings,
And assuming one is interested,
I, myself am all-enthralled 
By themes self-vested in.

One view is that Reality, the Primary
Is really One, without a sun - just one Entirety.
The second is the same Supreme
With arms, legs, body, plus an aim;
One which we address by name.
Who often spotlights sin and blame
But calls on us to love our neighbour -
Finely tuned through daily labor.

I find I prefer the former:
One which says that causes good in motive, act
Result in good-ness as a fact;
And causes whose intents are wrong
Though mind is rational and sharp 
Will end in ends that taint and warp. 

Each theory is complementary.
Depending on how you are born
(with preferences pre-natally ‘learned’)
You can arrive one early morn
At one with It-The-Energy,
Free from all impurity.

These little stanzas simplify
A lifelong try
At transformation.
Drawing on our screwed-up best
At wrestling with the gifts and mess 
We’re born to guest.

Arlene Corwin writes

Words That Changed Our Lives: 
Pandemic, Pandemonium, Endemic

Words that show lives but a tribe:
There to scribe, describe our lives. 
Words that come from health or sickness: mind and body:
Words from which no-one escapes:
Fearlessness, speechlessness, endlessness;
Dangerousness, selfishness;
Sowing seeds of mental shapes 
That come from mind-to-mouth.

Now’s come the time to learn some new:
Epidemic and Pandemic, 
Plus another word to view: Endemic.
Just a few, but whew! 
Let me put you in the picture,
Hoping that it’s not titanic - the Titanic!

First come epidemics:
Measles, smallpox, influenzas…
How to conquer, name and aim,
How could and could we cure the sum?  
We do sometimes rule over some -
But vanquished? Germs and virus are not dumb,
Survive anti-biotically, the foe of symbiotically.

It is the year two thousand twenty:
Epidemic now pandemic,
Plentiful and more than plenty;
Too, too many - far too many.

Struck by the invisible;
We, vaccine-less, susceptible, 
Daring not to breathe or touch,
Wondering, asking when will it become too much?
Thus we leave the first word, 
Come to the last, worst word:
Some background forever found somewhere;
Will not be killed, wiped out or cleared;
And underground a countlesss year
Alive and well and waiting for…
pandemonium:wild and noisy disorder or confusion; uproar: there was complete pandemonium—everyone just panicked. ORIGIN mid 17th century: modern Latin (denoting the place of all demons, in Milton's Paradise Lost), from pan- ‘all’ + Greek daimōn ‘demon’.
pandemic: (of a disease) prevalent over a whole country or the world; an outbreak of a pandemic disease: the results may have been skewed by an influenza pandemic.
endemic (adjective): (of a disease or condition) regularly found among particular people or in a certain area: complacency is endemic in industry today.• [attributive] (of an area) in which a particular disease is regularly found: the persistence of infection on pastures in endemic areas.

Arlene Corwin writes

Examining ‘My’

My, means belonging to…
Does anything belong to you?
I don’t  think so.
My face, body, cat or house.
My child, my wife and coin possessed?
Preposterous and pointless.
Mine to own?
Fallacious and  illusion;
All’s a loan.
Each object, person, situation
Not the tiniest bit mine.

It is better that you say: 
“I go, you go, he goes, she goes”.
Goodness knows, each object goes:
Nothing’s mine and nothing’s yours;
Each thing seen, touched, held; a guise..

The range of verbs you choose to use
Should be reviewed to understand reality.
Everyone and everything but temporary.

Try to take a day or two
Getting used to finding out what, how and who 
Relates to you.
Rotation, alternation, staying in our lives a day
But never staying always.
We use ‘my’ without a thought. My goodness! Oh my! We use it affectionately, sympathetically; my dear boy; my poor baby!  Also belonging to or associated with the speaker: my name is Arlene; my friend. And yet, and yet…my is possessive.  

Arlene Corwin writes

 July 4th, 2020

It is the fourth of July.
A day we usually
Fill with joy:
Fireworks, parades and games
Its names:
Fourth of July:
Independence Day.

United, free;
No more a colony;
A formal declaration
Made of five brave men
And Thomas Jefferson,
Making history, and
The beginnings of a USA.

So, Americans,
My dear, dear Swedish friends
And any there may be elsewhere,
Let us wear the day
In camaraderie and play.
Most all in harmony.
Happy, Happy 4th July!

Duane L. Herrmann writes


I want to fly 

like butterflies – 
bits of beauty.
Oh, that I  
could also fly.
I stretch and stretch  
and WINGS appear!!
Slowly dry them  
in warm sun  
and off  
into clouds.
Finding food  
I drink deep  
and merge  
into flower colors.
Fly with me!

Duane L. Herrmann writes


Tiny corpses:
skunks, possums,
rats and coons,
trapped for bait
and left to rot
to draw
their predators:
for them
an alluring stink!

Duane L. Herrmann writes


Northern sky  
of pale orange sun  
filled with streaks  
of pinks, blues, and whites  
contrasting above  
skeletons of trees,  
frozen tans of grass,  
fields of snow and stubble:  
final colors  
of a dying day.
One day and time,  
one civilization,  
passes for another  
cycling through time  
we see only 
when looking far enough  
across time and space  
and experience.

Duane L. Herrmann writes


I talked to her –    
wide eyed  
she listened,  
our mother couldn’t bother,  
while I held her bottle:  
my first job, at two.
Later, she was the one  
to play with:  
a companion  
at last.
When brothers came  
we both worked –
a team. 
I was taller  
to reach stove knobs  
we had to cook,  
was “too busy.”
Competition too:  
washing dishes alternating weeks:
I would NOT wash hers,  
she would NOT wash mine:  
we understood being fair –
Our mother didn’t.
Submissive, we survived  
but in the world –   
lacked defenses.

Duane L. Herrmann writes


Have you ever grieved,  
or even thought,  
of the deaths  
of uncounted millions  
of creatures  
and beings,  
some sentient,  
some not,  
on countless planets  
how many suns  
that go nova?
fiery deaths,  
agony instant,  
then ending – 
and no one else  
will ever know!

Amita Sarjit Ahluwalia writes

Insight Out of Sight

Whom have I pleased the most?
Those farthest from me except for those who know me not at all though I have made many such happy too, despite their not knowing me

Whom have I annoyed even hurt the most? Those closest to me. Why would others bother? Yet I may have hurt many I don’t know, them unknowing me personally, me unknowing or knowing only dimly in exactly how my being what I am doing what I do eating what I eat consuming what I consume by my class function for instance or my way of life.

Which is the real me?
Which the unreal?
Is there a real me?
Is there really a me at all, real or unreal?
Or am I just my own perception of a tiny node of the Great Universe?

Who’s to judge? I myself? Or other self appointed judges? Or Church or State? Or this uncertain entity called God or Soul or whatever? And what is to be the consequence of such judging? More of the same, or the opposite?

Whom do I love that I hate so much?
Whom do I hate that I love so much?
And they, me ?

One may pause to reflect
But will it change things?
Can these things qua things actually be changed at all ever by one person?
By one person’s thoughts?
By a thought?
Some think so
Others disagree

For life must go on
Or at least time will pass
The world will go by
Or come to an end

Exactly what is it that we really can control, if not our own thoughts?
Not even emotions
Not even action
Perhaps not even thoughts
From where do thoughts arise?

Think about it
Or not
It’s up to you
It’s up to me
Or is it?

Arlene Corwin writes

The Sin Of Pride
I heard the phrase: it froze, was glued.
First thought: What’s sin?
The second: what is pride?
A sin is when you miss the mark,
(Connected to self- condemnation –
Sadly, to iniquity )
Pride is when you’ve chosen wrongly,
Guided by a mostly falsely high opinion
Of oneself and one’s importance.
Yet we use it as a virtue,
Nurture as if it were good;
Pride in country, children, kin..
Fact: exclusion and restriction;
Leaving out, elimination;,
Failing to include oneself as sinful,
Ignorant and rude.
Reality contains the certitude
That we are all a family
With variations in the tree:
Tendency and quality, person, personality.
None is better or more worthy –
(one more fancy theory).
We’ve all filled with invasive traits:
“All-inclusive” like the place.
Different nose, different face,
Different color, difference race;
Talents more or less intense;
On the fence;
Pride: to swap for modesty,
A lack of vanity,
The ever growing insight that we
All are everyone and nobody.

Arlene Corwin writes

Words & Marriage II
Word Paralysis: Stunted Growth

Couples do it all the time:
Talk in phrases long cliched by platitude,
Stalled and staled attitude.
They don’t communicate
(except perhaps when fornicating).
Do not learn, the phrases all the same,
Repeated at each meal, each film.
Reprised like some old pale rhythm.

They’re missing out on IQ-raising inspiration,
Real communication
Worn or lost in years or habit:
Customary words inadequate.

They learn to neither listen 
Nor to pay attention,
Stopping up their listening ears
Through years of word paralysis.

Sometimes deafness very real
Strikes one or the other mate.
There goes all conversation’s skill
Communication standing still,
Or worse, traveling at speed downhill.

What to do?
What the solution?
Marriage as a dance for two
Goes falling through
Through simple lack of word renewal.

Who wants boredom,
Wants to snore when loved one speaks?
Love goes sneaking out the door
When words no longer stir or spur.