(thank you to Rickie Lee Jones)


isn’t linear.  A convoluting helix, its

taffy twists swirl:  a tornado’s central

nucleus.  There is stillness within

movement & DNA reeling into

all of our lives…


What’s that rappin’at your window,

pullin’ at your shirt tails,

sittin’ in your closet?


Open jars, sift through envelopes,

stretch forth, an antennae—–


Pulses tunnel chasms. Resigned rings well

as they were meant to:  moments, sea spray,

falling here, falling there…


Time breaks gravity, suspends destiny,

& flies on out.



By Stephen Mead


The ghosts of Iowa

In the land of Iowa, land of the corn,

a grandfather lived in Grinnell.

When he died, they all would mourn,

assuming his soul went to hell.


They buried him in the grave site,

assuming that their grandpa was dead.

But when the ghost returned in white,

from the old farmhouse they fled.


A scarecrow watched the haunted farm,

and not a crow would go anywhere near.

One day a traveling schoolmarm,

approached the farmhouse without fear.


Assuming the house abandoned to all,

the house would be her own downfall.

Around the farmhouse she started to snoop,

seeing all the chickens in the coop.


She thought she’d steal some chickens,

but she got scared like the Dickens.

From the grave came a ghostly hand,

protecting the farm in the evil land. Continue reading “The ghosts of Iowa”


I don’t want to die but Miss Hooker says

that I’ve got to and so does everyone

else, she includes herself, she’s my Sunday

School teacher, she saves my immortal soul from

Hell so that when I’m dead it’s Heaven is

where I’ll go to spend Eternity and

see God and Jesus and the Holy Ghost

and the saints and family and maybe

a few old friends and some enemies, too,

Judge not lest ye be judged, Miss Hooker says,

or maybe that was Jesus but it’s good

advice whoever came up with it and

besides, my enemies might be surprised

as well to see me up there, in Heaven

I mean, and maybe we’ll become friends once

and for all even though I doubt it now, Continue reading “33”


She ran away with a man when she was seventeen,

a farmer’s son who knew about curing tobacco

but not much else. Grab the stalks, strip the leaves,

then twist those leaves into ropes…that was the extent of it.


Didn’t earn no money at it not with the drop in prices

that year. And besides, he was a drinker, always at

the worst kind of rotgut: home-made corn-liquor

that could strip the paint off a car.


But it was her decision to run away with him,

first one she’d ever made in her lifetime.

And choices in a small town are as thin on the ground

as the soil once the tobacco’s been through with it.


He figured he’d get a job on one of the big plantations

down south but what with his overall laziness and

drinking and her always tagging behind him, they ended

up in hovel somewhere in mid-Georgia, begging for change Continue reading “Henrietta”


I love Jesus but so do a lot of

other folks so even if He is God

Almighty and Himself as well He’s spread

pretty thin or is that thinly but how

can He give us all individual

attention no matter how powerful

He is and after Sunday School I posed

the question, posed is fancy for asked, to

Miss Hooker, my Sunday School teacher, and

she answered Never underestimate

your Father who art in Heaven and for

a moment I thought she was telling me

that mine had died, my daddy, but

she meant God, everybody’s father and

He couldn’t die though some folks say God is

dead but then that’s how grownups talk sometimes,

they’re got to do something with their brains, but

so I said Yes ma’am, after all, if God

is God then He might as well be pretty

damn powerful but I forgot to o

-mit the damnomit means leave out, say on

purpose, and her face went red like a rose Continue reading “Scrub”

Wet market

Its eyes were murky, the last gasped for air,

the fish was prepared for the chopping boards.

The butcher grabbed a fowl, he said his prayer.

Best served with Choysum[1], the tiny yellow cords!


Ah je[2] invited us over to take a closer look

at the USA plums she had sprayed water on,

housewives fought for those without a flaw

and chaffered, they smiled, then happily gone.


The Red A lamps hovered above the eggs,

credentials both Arabic and Chinese.

Bottles of soy sauce were loaded onto the truck.

Some asked the coolie why he had tried so hard.


Some kids ran and shoved past him.

(Fai d lah)

He shrugged and worked and waited for home.

[1] Chinese flowering cabbage.

[2] A Middle-aged woman



By Pamela Ho


That arrowhead

I found it while digging in the back yard.

It could have been an arrowhead.

But, then again, it might have been nothing

but a stone coincidentally shaped that way.

Who’s to say it didn’t pierce an enemy’s chest?

Only the elements, perhaps,

the wind, the rain, that hone so much.


It sat on the dresser of my room

along with posters of my movie heroes –

did they really risk their lives fighting bad guys

or were they merely Hollywood lounge lizards,

wife beaters, war-dodgers, drunkards?

a couple of sporting trophies—

was it talent or mere luck?


My father said he couldn’t be more proud of me

did that mean he could be less proud?

and, every night, like maternal clockwork,

my mother kissed me goodnight—

through duty or genuine affection?


I still have that arrowhead. Or that rock.

It’s hard to be comforted

when it’s one thing or the other.



By John Grey



One day when I’m dead I’ll be all over

with except for memory if that counts

and the life to come which I’ve come to then

and if there’s a third way I’m not so sure

that I know it but maybe I’ll find out

when finding out’s too late, it’s right funny

how that works, at least from life’s side and if

not from the other then I expect to


know if one can know anything, I know

I can’t be alive forever, enjoy

good and avoid bad even as I make

bad happen, somehow I just can’t help it

and if there’s such as thing as sin that’s it

though I should know more when I’m no longer Continue reading “Boo”

Laksa soup

The soup

is of golden glow.


break in against the shore,

beancurd puffs are exuding

like doormats on a rainy day.


It is a tropical fiesta.

Coconut breeze from a nearby island

is stealing spicy ripples under sporadic leaves.

Prawns leap

and immediately dive

to join the fish of white flesh.


Sail a boat of egg yolk,

snug as a baby dreaming

of a mythical creature

in her cradle.



By Pamela Ho


Bad luck at Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery

Valentine’s Day, 2020, Bachelor’s Grove,

Cemetery, Midlothian, Illinois.


It was Valentine’s Day, 2020,

and a newlywed couple, George and Annabelle

Henderson were looking for something fun

to do for a special date for Valentine’s

Day. George wanted to take his new wife

to Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery, a cemetery

in Midlothian, Illinois, that had been rumored

to be haunted. Many ghost sightings had been

reported over the years, where two hundred

graves existed.


Nobody knew why it was called

Bachelor’s Grove. But when George was a

bachelor, he used to go there with all his

buddies and get drunk in the cemetery.

They never saw any ghosts, and they

would be drunk and laugh at the old

wives tales of the past. Continue reading “Bad luck at Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery”