Category Archives: POEMS

Today I Am So Joyful

By Rocio Anica

Today I am so joyful
that it’s numbing. I went to the store, bought nothing,
but I walked around and touched and tried shoes
and flowy dresses. I tied a scarf around
my neck and pulled it too tight,
reminding me that I’ve yet still to die,

so I walked across the street to sit and get a Thai
iced tea. When I got there I watched a joyous
girl amble in, and I forgot about how tight
to feel I pull my scarves, admiring instead how nothing
of her seemed unmusical: the silk of her skirt, her curls, the inches around
her tiny fancy waist, and the needle heels of her patent shoes,

so when I got my iced tea, I didn’t want it anymore. I wanted Jimmy Choos
and some Manolos. I threw my tea in the trash, remembering my diet,
and returned to hunting around
for berry lipstick, sequined slacks, a box clutch. The salesgirl was overjoyed
when I flashed my AmEx. But I tired of glaring back at the little girl saying nothing
in the mirror, and I left. I went home. I lay around the house in skin-tight

lingerie watching television of lights and women dancing in tights, tidings
over vacant, truant eyes, which made me feel warm inside, so I put my shoes
back on, remembering that Christmas is coming and nothing
beats that. I made my way downtown where racks of woven, dyed
cloths—cotton, rayon, and blends, more blends—were waiting for the joy
of the holidays to give to them tribute and reverence, which we did and paid around.

Because we were hungry. And hungry still, I hung around
longer, matching premium denim with cashmere and wool. I tithed
on a pair of good names. There were camisoles in crimson and I rejoiced
when I found couture sheath dresses in my size to choose
from, with beadwork and electric colors to die
for. There is nothing

I won’t wear. Ruby-colored pants, lavender gloves, Lucite wedges. Not a thing
looks bad when I wear around
my neck and fingers precious metals and stones that some people, I heard, die
from mining, but, then, as I was buying a tight
well-tailored blouse and a pair of satin shoes
I caught a glimpse of a homeless woman outside watching me enjoy

my treats and new things, so I turned away, smiling tightly
then snuck around the back to avoid shooing
her away from my car where, dying to be home, I gas—my vacuum of comfort and joy.

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Why Surfers Get Staph

By Ryan Coghill

There is a hole
in the bank of the bluff, that lies dead,
underneath the boardwalk
spitting out the piss
I pushed on the curb last night.

It’s not often I suspect
while I’m lying in the sand,
by the drain,
that my urine drifts by me
from another, larger

I wonder how Kelly Slater would feel
if I told him
I just pissed on your toes
up to your face.
Only I managed to do it eight hours prior to this present encounter.


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Grown Men

By Ryan Coghill

In one room, with soft lighting, a man
hunched over a woman.
Separated by a heavy door
four men stood down the hall,
palms jammed in their eyes.

I approached them stiffly.

I hugged my uncle.
Then, I turned left
and hugged my uncle.
After this, I moved forward,
and hugged my uncle.
Finally, my father fell into my arms
and we slowly slumped
to our begging knees.

The man walked out of the room
only to continue down the hall
without a

Grown men cry
but my Grandfather does so


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As Last Night Passes My Eye

By David Duenas

As last night passes my eye
I recall that
you were there too,
In the center of the room
So all
were on

But when I forced
you down to
Return my stare
There was only the weightlessness

And wasn’t that what had always
you up, glittering so
fancifully on the wet skin
of so many men, up there
Beyond us, such a sad
And empty oblivion

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By Will Schmidt

All this time,
Of tears

The feeling of having happiness

Yet the heart beats on

At first just surviving
Pumping blood

But soon the cold is cast out
Warmth wriggles her fingers around veins

The beat speeds
Cheeks flush
Limbs tingle

But will it last
Does the heart know caution

Or does it speed forward
Like a runaway wagon
Reigns flapping wildly in the air
Driver already ditched
Horses running to their doomed content

The first kiss is always sweetest,
Like the first taste of honey to a blind man

The kiss that restores life
To a beating heart long devoid of

A smile sparked it all.

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By Karli Massie

The sun sat up and began to pay
attention to the moon, as it crept
back to its hiding place, behind the
eager earth. It climbed on rungs of
dark blue satin, dragging a lighter shade
behind it. Erasing thousands of sparkling
bits, sweeping them along in clusters.
I watched the light conquer the dark,
and admired the confidence of it all.
The sun, usurping the moon’s throne
as guardian of the sky and keeper of
the earth, magnified and projected its
light to the cracks and crevices in the horizon.
I was illuminated by these folds of light
that were softly spreading across my
glittering skin.

And, just for a moment,
I felt weightless.

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That Friend Of Mine

By Will Schmidt

It’s not that I don’t like him,
But rather I can’t stand him.

We’ve been friends for about 2.37 years,
But I haven’t seen him in the last 1.73 years.

Whenever he comes around my spot,
Trouble approaches imminently at the same spot.

Like metal to a magnet,
Like portly children to Happy Meals.

Just as a shoe fits on a foot,
Just as a dog enjoys sticking his head out the car.

So does trouble attract to him,
So does trouble fit his persona.

Perhaps I’ll get lucky and someday,
Trouble will claim one more victim.
Perhaps trouble will lend me some aid,
And make it so he doesn’t come around anymore.

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By Will Schmidt

The only real memory
I have is a picture.

Through the windows
A landscape of lights shines bright.


After all she put me through
There is only one question in my mind –

Is the smile pasted on her face real?

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Unsober Thoughts In Sober Times

By Will Schmidt

I’m feeling inspired, partly by a sunset and partly by Hunter Thompson. Extremely scattered, disjointed, lost, misguided, but by what? Possibly school, separation – perhaps the fear of the unknown (like death…). Emotions flutter like butterflies quick off the crack pipe. If heart ache is an affliction, I am afflicted. Cure = substance. Not typical substance, substance abuse? Possible. Possible not. Most probable would be tracing the source of my heart ache, and that leads down odd roads that Robert Frost might not opt to take.

Do I want to dig into my brain? Yes – then why can’t I? Something seems to be blocking my neural functions: turning my normal labyrinthine mind upside down. Attempts to clear the fog seem to produce only more fog. *Letters be my batteries, words be my flashlight; language be my guide*

Typically the root of my most mystifying moments contains mention of women. This particular woman lights me up. I don’t know what that means, I can’t seem to find words to describe my inner thoughts. On the surface is anger – anger that she now seems to ignore me. For two-3 months we flirted, flitted, and held hands like new lovers. But…night and day. Flipped switch from “on” to “off”. But I want the light switch to be flipped  “on”…I do not want to accept defeat, but how can one man stand against an entire army? Thoughts that plague me: did I do something? Did I not do something? Can I do anything now? How do I flip the switch back on? Flipping a switch on would take energy – is it worth the expenditure of energy to attempt a reversal? I don’t understand how somebody can just go cold overnight.

The next move? Part of me screams persistence, the other part whispers “let her go”. I am holding her hand as she hangs off the edge of a cliff, and I am actually thinking, “why not let her go?” I think it’s hard to let somebody go who inspires images in my mind:

She is sun to my world,
When the sun stops shining – what then?
Have you ever noticed the lackluster nature of the ocean when cloud usurps sun’s throne?
Beauty suffers-
Even on the most sublime landscapes,
 with an absent sun. 

Women have a way of twisting you up inside – taking the most sane, secure man and reducing him to rubble.

My thoughts are directed to a time when I met her downtown. I sat in the front seat of a car, she right behind me. As the car moved, so did her hands. Through my hair, on my shoulders, down to my chest. I felt an energy maybe – but maybe not. I felt her grip – but maybe not. I felt her love – but maybe not. Was this all one big lie? One big mistake on her part? To accept this is to accept that she is a cold, stone-hearted woman. Is she?- Do we really ever know anybody else? Do we really even ever know ourselves? Find me man who is master of his own self – I say it’s next to impossible. What might not be next to impossible is winning the girl – maybe not though. Maybe true winning is losing? Maybe true love is ________? After an hour of contemplation – I don’t know what true love is. I don’t know what I’ll do about this girl, but I’m going to do something.

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By Zena Wozniak

I bottled a dream once:
I kept it in a glass jar until the day I threw it on my kitchen floor,
then watched as each glittering piece submitted into ruin.

And when I realized what I had done,
I collapsed into the middle of the whole mess,
and with bleeding palms, scraped all the pieces together again,
and swallowed them one by one,
hoping to contain, yet again,
the scattered beauty within;

simply to find that a broken dream
only makes you bleed on the inside
if you try to hold it in.


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