Monday, December 5, 2016


Winter Morning Soliloquy
with a nod to William Shakespeare
To walk or not to walk, that is the question:
Whether 'tis wiser for the feet to suffer
The slips and slides of this ice-crusted morning
Or else to take the car through drifts of snow,
And then by gunning the engine, to get stuck
Or worse; or should we stay in bed and sleep,
Avoiding the thousand natural barriers
To a productive day? 'Tis a consummation
Lazily to be wished. To rest, to sleep—
Perchance to dream of spring. Ay, there's the rub,
For in that lazy sleep, what dreams may come,
When we lie idle on our soft King-Koil,
Must give us pause. Consider self-respect:
There is calamity in shirking risks
And dodging all the whips of waking hours,
Though cold oppresses us, our pride insulted
By our despised snow gear. We would delay
The donning of our boots, and we would spurn
The bulky merits of sleet-worthy coats,
But winter will not let us make our peace
Bare-bottomed 'neath the sheets. No, we must bear
The air out there, work up a sweat, live life
On winter's terms. Come on, it isn't death—
Just unforgiving cold, from which we fear
That we'll return frostbitten. Find the will
That makes us rather bear these challenges
Than fly to others that we know not of.
Thus conscience should make walkers of us all,
Our cheeks the rosy hue of resolution;
Not pale but healthy, we devote our thoughts
To enterprises we'll pursue the moment
We get home. Ice may force our feet awry
And we may lose our balance, falling hard—
So to fair Mother Nature we send prayers
That sinless saunterers will be remembered.

by Jean L. Kreiling
in volume 5 issue 2

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Monday, November 28, 2016

A different shade of parody

Before and After
with a nod to Robert Hass
    Art Therapy

I woke hungry from the surgery. After an hour, they gave me ice chips. It wasn't enough. My breasts were gone. The scars—twin brushstrokes splashed across my skin. Akiko saw my chest and flinched away. The breasts she drank from. Snapped string. Cracked bridge. No one would hold my body like an instrument again. It was a year before I could return to Yaddo. Bees in the rock garden, the fabulous roses. The young and beautiful at play. I stayed in my room and dug brush into canvas. Ate early. Bowls of fruit. One morning, a freckled young man across from me at breakfast. Pale blue eyes. Striped shirt, half unbuttoned, creamy tee below. He smiled. In my room, I painted the V of his chest, concealed and unconcealed. We ate together that night. He played the cello for me, the belly leaning against his thighs. When our eyes met, I felt alive. In the morning, I called my daughter. Told her I had met someone. "But I have to tell him," I whispered, my finger tracing the lines that slept beneath my collarbone like closed eyes, then plunging to my navel like his rose and sunshine Oxford shirt.

* * *

    Flight of the Bumblebee
When he said "I'm sorry. I don't think I could," I went into my room and punched the pillow. Hard to sleep that night. Blamed him for being shallow. Kicked myself for that awkward revelation. Before dawn, I got up and swept the room. Canvas tacks. Dead bees. Enough to fill my blue bowl. I left it on his porch, crowned with rose petals. Not sure what I meant by it. Couldn't paint all day. Threw my brush in the corner. Went to bed at nine o'clock.

I woke to strange music. Dark. I blinked myself awake. Cello. Coming from outside my room. Quick notes. Cello. "Flight of the Bumblebee?" Oh God, it's him! What is he doing? I threw the window open, leaned out. He was sitting on a wooden stool, the cello between his knees. He stopped playing, leaned the cello on the chair, walked to the window. For a long moment we just looked at each other. Then he raised his arms and leaned into me, his head against the plain of my chest, listening to the surprising music of my heart.

by Tracy Mishkin
in volume 5 issue 1

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Never State it Plainly

North Coast Suite

There's a doctor who works in St. Paul
Who can fix fractured necks with an awl.
Minneapolis folks
Who've grown tired of their yokes
Ought to give this great surgeon a call.

A policeman patrolling Milwaukee
Thought his uniform made him look gawky,
So to keep himself svelte
He just tightened his belt
And got rid of that damned walkie-talkie.

An importer of cheese in Chicago
With an underdeveloped imago,
Even though he knew better,
Blew a sneeze on some cheddar
And re-labeled it fresh Asiago.

A reporter assigned Terre Haute
Came awake with a pen in her throat.
Since her lover had fled
And had left her for dead,
On her pillowcase "Murder" she wrote.

A procurer who lived in Detroit
Had a bevy of babes to exploit.
As a matter of fact
It was clients he lacked,
For his hookers were less than adroit.

in volume 5 issue 1

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Monday, November 7, 2016


The Pavlovian Board

Want to quit smoking,
drinking, overeating?
Order the Pavlovian
Board without delay.

Every time you want
a smoke, a drink,
that humongous wedge
of chocolate fudge cake
with cherry cream icing,
whack yourself over the head
with the Pavlovian Board.
Or have a friend do it.

This therapeutic technique
has been proven to cure
addictions, compulsions,
manias, phobias, and
excessive intelligence.

Don't let your petty faults
hold you back any longer.
Live life to the fullest.

Warning: May cause
concussion, blurred vision,
headaches, brain damage,
toothaches, baldness,
excessive bleeding,
splinters, hearing loss,
and premature death.

Consult your doctor
to see if the
Pavlovian Board
is right for you.

by Bruce Boston
in volume 5 issue 1

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Monday, October 31, 2016

A Scary Good Parody

Death Rides USAir At Night
with a nod to Emily Dickinson

The wings of Death are de-iced now,
He shakes his hoary head.
He waits for me to settle down
Amongst the newly Dead.

Unlike a hundred years ago
When Death took carriage rides,
When Civil was the final word
With never snark asides.

We spit our greetings 'cross the Aisle,
Complain about the Seats.
No leg room, drinks at quite a cost,
And no more funeral meats.

We taxi to the Runway where
Planes idle in a row—
We pass the fields of grazing geese,
We've nowhere else to go.

The Clock ticks off our final seconds,
We take off at last—
The seat belts buckle in our Coffins,
Hold us dear and fast.

I hear the Engines all a-roar,
As we fly out of sight—
Into Eternity, I guess,
Or into endless Night.

in volume 5 issue 1

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