Thursday, July 15, 2021

Three poems by George Held

Dust under the Rug


How Mom loved that tale

of “Dust under the Rug,”

with all its didactic

clamor and finger-shaking



to instill fear in her

dopey kids, that is, me

and my little sister.


Sis was a sucker

for such dire threats and took

them to heart, while I shook

them off with precocious


cynicism. My mind

translated “dust” into

gunk, crud, dirt, crap, trash,


or roach carcasses, mouse

turds, squashed peas, and, older,

into lines of metered prose


memoir poems, neo-

Beat bombast – other stuff

I then stuffed under the rug.



in Japanese

are the Big and Little Dippers

or Ursa Major and Minor,

seen by the Greeks as bears.


Would we love them more as

Momma Bear and Baby Bear,

Teddy’s that inspire insipid

cartoons and commercials,


Or do we embrace them

because they seem close enough

to dip water from a barrel and pour

it into a glass or because

they are so terribly far away?




The ticket taker says, “Thanks, Boss,”

The laundry man says, “No starch, Boss,”

The cleaning lady says, “Next time, Boss,”


And you grate at being called “Boss,”

Because you used to be a soda jerk,

gas-pump jockey, delivery boy –

The Reporter-Dispatch, special-

delivery mail, pharmacy prescriptions –

and got chased by the snarling Doberman

in the yard (“Don’t worry—he’s quite friendly!”)

and called “You Fock” by your rotten boss,


so you smile and squash the urge to say, “Don’t

call me ‘Boss,’” and squelch the itch to

reply, “You’re welcome, Mother Fucker.”


Sunday, June 6, 2021

Poem by Keith Holyoak


Keith Holyoak


Out of Kilter


All day the world felt just a bit off

balance. And yet, nothing was really wrong—

the late summer sun shone at least as bright

as yesterday (though not for quite so long).

Barbecue weather—kind of day to loaf

outside, tracking a hummingbird in flight.


The sun blazed crimson, dimmed, and then was gone.

Tonight, lying beside my wife, I caught

a knife-edged moon peering at us. I held her

tight to my chest, as though we both might float

away without seeing another dawn.

Hard to sleep when the world’s gone out of kilter….


Been meaning to catch up—figured to give

you a call soon.  Your voice inside my head

retells a story. Smiling, I’m amused to

hear it again—till I recall instead

how this day was the first I’ve been alive

when you are not.  Takes some getting used to.


in memory of Edward E. Smith, 1940-2012


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Monday, May 24, 2021


Kelley Jean White  --- three poems


There was thunder, and a mountain shattered, falling—


There was a single tree still standing in this city,

one tree beside a noisy street. (‘noise’ does not begin

to speak for all that sound.) And now that I have come back

even this last tree has fallen, unnoticed, with a silent swish

of still green leaves. Oddly, it struck no building, just

cobblestones and tar, trolley tracks, the cracked sidewalk

beneath its trunk and branches No lightning struck, no wind

sent it sprawling. It seems its roots simply released,

its little soil outgrown. It was my only tree here, and I

have left northern white mountains, racing rivers, torrents

of snow melt carving glacial caverns out of granite.

I had thought to see it, this one tree bloom into autumn, shade

into snow. Now there is nothing to see. But dirty glass and

crumbling buildings. Scars.

These are my woods

head past pumpkin plants

cross the brook onto the thick mat

of leaves and sticks and over

fallen trees. So many fallen trees.

There is the owl tree on the left,

empty of owls these past two years

below and above vernal pools

filled before dawn by last night’s rains

light slants through woods ahead

silence, broken for a moment

by what might have been a deer

not glimpsed, sensed; turn, look back

see the brilliant white birch trunks

let them draw your eye to peace




Tonglen practice, also known as “taking and sending,” reverses our usual logic of avoiding suffering and seeking pleasure. In tonglen practice, we visualize taking in the pain of others with every in-breath and sending out whatever will benefit them on the out-breath.

How many years have we counted

each other’s breath? Tonight I have

barefoot tiptoed from bed to desk

from your curled back to a stone cold

floor. When I return you may wake

and roam the ticking quiet house.

But how many hours have we shared

with breath matched, dreams matched,

snores, sighs, stretches. Even the cats

stay attuned. Curved into the spaces

between us. The space made behind

our fitted knees, our pillowed necks.

Their purrs, their tiny sneezes. Their

paws. So I breathe in your pain as

my pain. Breathe out my hope for you,

breathe in your hope as mine. The cats?

Their dreams are soft and timeless.

Yours and mine? Carry a little fear.




Tuesday, February 9, 2021

John Grey ---------------- three poems



Her eyes are transfixed

on my intrusion.

Mine are drawn

to the morning air ruffle

through her brown flanks.


She’s appraising me.

What is this creature?

Why does it stare at me?

Does it mean me harm?

She doesn’t suspect

the true reason.


I don’t move,

speak in hushed tones

like a predator would never do.

“It’s okay. It’s okay”

I know the deer is fearful

but I need this moment.

No other presence

can come so close to holy.



the doe darts off into the thicket.

I remain there a while

but she doesn’t return.

That is all I’m going to get

My eyes are back on me for now.






fly away from me

thank you

little bird,

to unnecessary safety

but with freedom

you so desperately





I get up close to the bees

that dart from one small yellow flower

to the next

though I know one

small buzzing critter

cold land on my bare arm at any moment,

deliver a jab of pain.


I envy a life

that small, so concentrated,

with one thing in mind

that’s not even a thought,

just instinct,

to fly in and out,

to feast on the buds,

pollinate, provide for the hive,

to not waste their lives,

watching what men do.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Goldfish Press poet Valeria Nollan will be reading internationally here:

Heather Sager ______________________ poem

Bring the night I, the poet, did walk around that day living like I was actually alive. And the next day, I the poet lived rather like I wa...