Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Two Tompkins County Poems

                        Stone Quarry Road

When I bought the house on top of the quarry my friends asked,
why do you want to live so far out of town?
Now the town has moved closer to me and my friends say,
you can walk to Wegmans from where you live.
My road has become the short-cut to the malls on Meadow
for the people driving from the southern end of Tompkins County.
All day and all night long the traffic roars up and down my hill.
My home was much quieter when I lived “so far out of town.”
And yet the deer still sleep in my back yard,
And the birds do sing at dawn,
And the lilacs bloom in the spring,
And I can see Cayuga Lake from my upstairs windows,
And the rain water flows freely over my falls,
And the speeding drivers will stop
for a parade of wild turkeys.

*   *   *

Treman Park

Water cascades mightily over the falls.
A group at the bottom stares in awe
at the power displayed by the now unfrozen liquid.
On a rare sunny winter’s day in Tompkins County,
people are wearing shorts in February.
Today is Presidents’ Day so the schools are closed.
Everyone appears to be out and about,
walking in a park that remembers
the long absent crowds that come with summer,
but is now filled with people happy to see each other
if only for one of those few bright days
that by chance slip in between winter’s gray.

*   *   *

The two above poems appeared in a collection of Tompkins County poems compiled by The Tompkins County Public Library in Ithaca, New York as part of their 2017 Poems in a Pocket series 

Stephen Poleskie’s writing, fiction, non-fiction and poetry has appeared in numerous journals in the USA and in Australia, Czech Republic, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, the Philippines, and the UK; as well as in five anthologies, and been three times nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  He has published five novels and two books of short fiction. Poleskie has taught at The School of Visual Arts, NYC, the University of California/Berkeley, and Cornell University, and been a resident at the American Academy in Rome. Poleskie lives in Ithaca, NY. with his wife the novelist, Jeanne Mackin.   website:

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Verlaine Boyd: Two Poems

Flat File 

Sorting through 
His drawings/
Prints/works on paper
I come across ones
I’d never seen
New friends
Among familiar faces
I’m an archeologist
Digging up the past
Eager to know
The whole picture

Lament for a Lady

My right-hand man
Left me
And now I must
Handle all the
Fix-up clean-up
Pay up and
Keep up alone
It is too much
To keep track
Of if in fact
That is what
I am expected
To do and still 
Have time to
Put words to paper
Write poems
And other fictions
Think thoughts
Profound and witty
I’m all caught up
In getting by
Making do
Life’s small triumphs
The nitty gritty
Of survival

*   *   *

Verlaine Boyd is a writer who lives in New York City and Ithaca, New York. She has been published widely and can be reached at her website:

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Friday, June 30, 2017

A Poem to Marina Abramovic by Mike Foldes

O, Marina (Distended Version) Abramovic

I do not want
to see anyone
cut themselves.
I do not want
to see anyone
I do not want
to carry a body
to the grave,
or to an ambulance
because they have ingested
too many colored pills,
put a needle
between their toes,
into lifeless arms
or under eyelids.
Who done up
these sorrows,
Assessing, subtly
casting stones
in some direction
directionless living
observer, observed
subject and subjected,
jackal and slave.
How unclever to discover
in the deeply enriched
entrenched echoing ego
asshole observers
sitting up straight
straight up your ass, man,
straight up your ass,
veil of veils…
vile pleasure in pain
mixed autonomy
mild anxiety
that can, too,
be mined
if one has a mind
bringing out the best
where the worst
is the best it gets.
Imagine that
Cling to your carpet
One with carpet
One with wall
A squall gathers
At the door,
A squall gathers
In your belly,
A squall gathers
In the room
Where everything
Moves magisterially
Passing priests pissing
Blood on the path
To purgatory,
Barking dogs,
Hissing cats,
In holiday season
Medial lobotomy
Santa Claustrophobia

Take a flyer.

What the fuck else
can happen.

*  *  *

Mike Foldes is the founder and managing editor of Ragazine, an online literary magazine. He is also the author of "Sleeping Dogs, A true story of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping," and "Sandy: Chronicles of a Superstorm," with artist Christie Devereaux." 
Download at www.Smashwords.Com and www.Amazon.Com


Join Mike on MySpace & Facebook

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Memoir of Delirium & Dementia

Girl Behind the Door/Stephanie Dickinson/ Rain Mountain Press/ April 2017

The subtitle of this book is “a memoir of delirium & dementia.” I would say it certainly is that. Several of the chapters have also appeared as short stories in various journals.

I found the book very hard to read; not that the writing was difficult, in fact the writing is quite fine. The main problem was that I had, in the not too distant past experienced the death of my mother and felt too close to the scenes that were created. These were incidents that I had put to the back of my mind. And while I had never been shot by a friend, accidentally or otherwise, and lost the use of my arm; I have had a number of motorcycle accidents that have left some parts of my body functioning less than perfectly. This is even more so now that I am no longer a young man.

Yes, Stephanie was wild in her youth, or so she tells us in this memoir; but weren’t we all. Reading through the book I kept finding parallels to people and situations that I encountered in my younger days. The question was did I want to be reminded of these moments of my past. We were Poles in Pennsylvania not Czechs in Iowa; however, the only difference was the geography.  My friend Price, who was my competitor for best writer in high school, who became a high school teacher, and who drank himself to death competing in a drinking contest at a local bar, could easily have been an inhabitant of Dickinson’s sadly changing Iowa landscape.

Where Dickinson excels is in the understanding she shows of her mother and the descriptions of their relationship. She reveals herself in conflict with the woman, loving her for who she is, but wanting to escape from all she stands for. I found myself relating strongly to these parts, as I had made similar choices in my past; choices I tell myself worked out well, but wonder still what might have been.  As I write this I am flipping through Girl Behind the Door. Tomorrow I shall begin reading it all again. I am looking forward to Stephanie Dickinson’s next book.

*   *   *

Sidney Grayling

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Hunters, gatherers and modern man

a poem by
Mike Foldes


They fed themselves
And fed upon themselves.

They tried wet roots
And dried mushrooms

Bamboo shoots
And intoxicants

Berries, beans, seeds
And choke cherries.

Animals that moved
And those whose bodies

Lay still at water’s edge,
Hunted, gathered.


They fed themselves
And fed upon themselves

Advancements notwithstanding,
Technocrats and alley cats

Much changed
Remaining animal at the core.

The upright man
On hands and knees

Goes begging
at the open door

The door at water’s edge
That moves no more.

 *   *   *

Mike Foldes is the founder and managing editor of Ragazine, an online literary magazine. He is also the author of "Sleeping Dogs, A true story of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping," and "Sandy: Chronicles of a Superstorm," with artist Christine Devereaux." 
Download at www.Smashwords.Com and www.Amazon.Com


Join Mike on MySpace & Facebook

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Monday, May 15, 2017

A Story by Sasha Thurmond

Our dragon disappeared

My castle, my Queen, my children, my subjects, our home, love, and power,  our Kingdom,
we fought to preserve it all, we fought for freedom from our enemies, and others who threatened it, including adversaries within our own castle walls.
What fuels life and one's heart to keep alive the desire to live well, not just for survival?
Writers, artists,  musicians create their craft through their word, their images, their songs, their deeds as heartfelt expressions. The amount of things people seek in a lifetime is daunting.
My juvenile dragon, named Zippy, was missing. I tore up my lair while desperately trying to find him.
Our moat and our castle walls weren't guaranteed protection. My dragon was gaining  empowerment to protect our kingdom . However, he was still very small and was also the family pet that the children played with out of sheer fun and glory.
 I promised them their beloved dragon Zippy would be home soon. He was on a mission. I knew it would break their hearts if I was wrong, but they, and I, needed hope. A loyal dragon was worth it's weight in gold.
Our soldiers were preparing for a battle with a neighboring country who wanted to conquer us, and take our land and  entire Kingdom.
My mind was busy planning for the approaching war, and I checked out all our entrances and exits, how secure our castle walls were, and how many soldiers were staying home to fight  the invaders  from inside the castle walls. 
Looking high at the top of curtains draping from one spire, I thought I saw something that varied from the curtain's pattern. I summoned a ladder and though I was King, I climbed up it myself to investigate this oddity. As I drew closer to it, I held my breath....blinked my eyes, and prayed that what I saw was true.....that I had finally found Zippy ! 
Sure enough it was, but he was ice cold and in a dormant state that dragons lapse into when they become too cold or are ill. Zippy allowed me to pick him up without protesting as he tried to awaken. I descended the ladder cautiously so as not to drop Zippy He had been lost for three weeks. He had lost a considerable amount of weight, and was very dehydrated.

I immediately placed him on the hearth of a blazing fireplace, and summoned food and water for him. I headed to my children's bedrooms to awaken them, and tell them that Zippy had indeed returned to us, and told them to go see him with their own eyes. They clamored out of bed and rushed off to the great hall where Zippy was thawing out.
While they fussed over him, I reflected how fortunate I was that Zippy was home safely, and my promise to the children had come true  
When Zippy heard we were preparing for battle, he wanted to go with the troops to fight our enemies, but I told him that until he was older, his job was to protect all the children and keep them out of harm's way. Zippy was exuberant and gladly went back to being the family pet. In time, he knew that he would be the protector of the entire Kingdom.

*   *   *

Sasha Thurmond is a graduate of the Cornell University MFA program where she majored in printmaking. She lives on a farm in South Carolina with her horse and other animals, and sometimes finds time to make art or write poems or stories.

*   *   *

illustration by Sasha Thurmond


Friday, April 28, 2017

Two Poems by Jack Hopper


Gratefully the eyelids close
but not entirely, just in case
a dream drops by unbidden
but welcome at any hour,
like my now dead West Coast friend
who mid-beers used to call so late at night,
forgetting the three-hour difference
so both coasts were for him
11 o’clock and all’s well!”

I’d listen just a little
then laughter began
and my ears swung wide.
We’d go like that for an hour
from Wittgenstein to Bach,
Woody Allen to college profs we’d had
till eyeballs ebbed
and ears creaked on their hinges.
Then said goodnights
and fifteen minutes later
said good night again. 

And all was well, was well. 


Clutching a pen
as if it could spring light
and illuminate a line,

I listen for the right
word, hoping I have
an ear to hear it.

Outside, no sound.
No passing plow,
no shovels shoveling snow.

Only the hill, waiting
to echo something
I’m expected to say,

And batteries of crows
gathering as if to challenge
questions I’ve yet to ask. 

*   *   *

Jack Hopper is a writer, chiefly of poetry. He has been an editor for the academic publisher AMS Press and a co-founder of Cayuga Lake Books. He has published three books of poetry, most recently, Doubles: Poems 1995 - 2012. He founded and edited, Works, A Quarterly of Writing. He lives in Ithaca, NY, where he has been the Poet Laureate for Tompkins County. You can learn more about Jack on his web site: