(An eclectic mix of poetry)

The following is published in MIXED BAG #8 &


by Steve Dimeo

Whenever I watched horror pictures as a child,
I'd always splay hands over my eyes
So that I could just barely see through
To catch a glimpse of the monster.

Today at half a century facing a new one,
I'm no longer even that brave
To face another youthful love.
Now I tend to turn away from the screen--

To catch an incredible melting father,
Leathery face livid with liver spots,
Dentures making his mouth recede,
Nose droop as if he were deflating;
A mother, pale as bone, nodding at me
Like a heavy skeleton rocking empty
In the cobwebbed basement of her mind;
The girl I married ballooning like space jelly,
Gold hair turned Medusa-like to gray serpents;
And that shrinking man in the glass, gaunt, limb-thin,
Blue eyes more like ice now than a summer's day,
Watching too much what he takes in
So as not, he thinks, to die as soon.

We are dead pieces of what we once were
Stitched together like parts that don't belong,
Frankensteined so that we blur
Into both the maker and the made.

I'd rather have back those more innocuous monsters
That only tried to destroy the world
Than these pictures that already have.


by Steve Dimeo

The brown five-pointed star on the pavement
Lies as the mud shadow of a maple leaf
Since blown away by winters wind.

It left its lifelike imprint here at my feet
Like some brittle, clawed hand,
Empty in its rigor mortis thinness,
Veins strangely intact in its final stain.

Only shadows, too, were left
When the bomb vaporized bodies in their tracks,
Leaving not even dust but merely the dark hint
Of what they were in the act of doing
In their last instant as living things
Like some chalk-drawn crime scene.

Is this what my life now is poised to seem--
A mud shadow abandoned on a sidewalk
Soon to be smeared into some storm drain
At the next heavy rain?


by Gene Fehler

Three miles from home
on a strange road
at the edge of woods
seldom visited,
the house stood silent,
dusty windows webbed
across the crack of glass.

Curt and I, coming home
from fishing,
stopped to explore.
The inside--empty,
except for a tilted table,
two wooden chairs,
a broken chest of drawers.

The drawers contained
only spiders and this:
a packet of yellowed letters,
tied by red ribbon.
I reached for them,
was chilled by what felt
like a whisper.
We left the letters
untouched, undisturbed
bones in a coffin.


by Carl A. Gottesman

refusing easy definition

immaculate as shorn lawns
laced with distorting waves, wave on wave
like boiling metal --

shimmering walls, unraveling
green leaf, crumbling lattice --

the risk in studying closer, seeking
to define, develop strata, hierarchy:

that to see, to know this place,
that by our address we'll know ourselves,

that in our stroll across that lawn we find
ourselves at the midpoint, and see the wave
approaching, rattling the lawnware; then,
it may raise us, even gently, like a languid sea wave,

before the descent hits home, at that terrible moment
of stasis, we may look finally back
at ourselves, not the mirroring,

but what we are, and that all our accumulated footprints,
radiant as in a vacuum, will signify at the moment
of fading that truly we've had cause
for elaborate conceits.

You taste blood and the blood is terrible. Quiet, quiet,
you say; turn up the radio.

And you say it laughingly, like one who knows
to disguise what he's learned --
that we possess the middle,
the stasis between waves,

not a slender pedestal set between hell
and heaven, but a melting sliver set

between wave and wave.

This, you hope,
explains so much anger, the abrupt
surrender to a few brutal needs, the
bitter words, then the forgetfulness
and the caress we pray will follow.


by John Grey

Waves wash silently ashore,
slip up the beach,
Some leave sea-weed,
pebbles, dead fish.
Others sweep away a castle,
or tickle the ankle
of a young girl
running along the shore.

I see sands awash with things
no longer needed
or dreams scooped up
too daring for us to have
or vast ocean
Kissing the retreating figure
of what can never
run out of sight.


by John Grey

nobody knows what I'm
thinking here
to them I'm just riding
on this bus
swaying back and forth with
the snake-curves of the road

I shield my eyes
with a magazine
don't want them getting in there

it's taken me years to
arrive at this position
a lot of punching walls
carving holes in my flesh
screaming at the wind

but now I can hold it all in
smother the beast for now
length of this bus ride
with sheer will power

as long as I can keep my eyes a secret
as long as they don't summon him up
through those windows to my fear

let them think I'm just riding on this bus
that my stop is not theirs


by Ingmar van Item-Hertmanowski

I want to live in Paris
like those from the 'Lost Generation'
Hemming -- I think that's my way
no money, just enjoying every day

I want to live in Paris
at times there were 'Magnetic Fields'
which could, to me, have given
living for the Art & the Art of living

I want to live in Paris
like in a movie of Claude Zidi
Belmondo, le beau monde
spending my holidays in the Midi

But why am I always dreaming
of what I should forget

I want to live in Paris
like those from the 'nouvelle vague'
the new wave & Brigitte Bardot
wonderful woman, dinner at the resto

I want to live in Paris
at times of jazz, no concert I would pass
Vian, Evans, Monk, so many more
at the 'Blue Note' or behind another door

I want to live 'in Paris
wanna see Gerard Philipe au cinema
Fanfan la Tulipe, le tout Dada
Those who remind me of my grand-papa

But why am I always dreaming
of what I should forget

I want to live in Paris
'A bout de souffle',
being 'Breathless'
struck by the intelligence of Mylene
I know her better than she'd ever guess

I want to live in Paris
au Paradis, c'est 1'enfer, I don't care
a pity I lost her to an American
a pity she has lost a bit of her flair

Now I want to live in Paris
hang out with Dalcan, Murat, Daho
pay my respects to Chopin, Apollinaire
and so many others I've met at the bistro

And I'll always keep on dreaming
as long as my shining sun will set


by Ingmar van Item-Hertmanowski

I think I've spent
half a lifetime
stating out of windows
Always awaiting

              my alien friends, or
              the women of my life
              the earth to explode
              the cloud I once rode

I think I've spent
half a lifetime
staring & awaiting

              who & what would come
              so I could fantasize
              who & what would come
              always controlling
              the numbers of the dice

I think I've spent
half a lifetime
for nothing!


by Ronald MacKinnon Thompson

I am afraid of the valley
I fear for the shadow
I do not walk and I can not flee
The deep down depths of darkness
Friendless and fearful
Wretched and wry
I jump through the hoops of chance
Toward a black bird, a craven
Toward the nether remoteness
             Weighed down
Apes hold the candles and hide the light
Energy and mass and transfusion
              Where is the rest
              Where is the end


by Corey Mesler

Under the lamp

my wife sits knitting.

Her hands form a small cap

to be given to our

daughter’s friend.

Her face is lovely in repose.

Her concentration

is starlight.

The cap unfolds like a tiny

life, one I almost missed.

Here are 3 poems by B. Z. Niditch:


Your consolation
in Fifties confession
a sequential famine
information devoured
in the ocean of dead metaphors
expressionless faces
brought up to be qood
or nicely collapsing
into the fruit of denouement
a captured print
ground into thin branches
of mescaline, jazz violins, anemones
you can even taste
what troubles the parochial code
somewhere it happened
you cannot tell yourself
wherever it was
that antennae curved
to the suicidal vulnerability
beginning in fourth grade
somewhere you demanded Montana
it was what you needed
at the time, going public
a speculation of being male
only for a most distant trip
another easy way
outside the nest egg
ego made eros
accurate blank punishment
that made you unpopular
in your traverse school,
to hold applause
is to forsake division
and against family wishes, sake
of present company, ex cathedra
and the gold digging peace they call appeasement
you fought the silica killers
full of sawdust landslides, earthquakes
bloated insurance salesmen
and high-heeled bed companions
carefully polished voices
but inside the human wound
your world was invisible,
packed into neon
blind greetings
religious eroticism
all made of evening wear
without a shadowy witness
cut out of calcined autumns
somewhere the Pacific
rimmed the other Atlantis,
the one which is unspoken
that is myth, gods, serpents
essentially the underworld
where in ridiculous parlors
they look for the medium
nowhere to be found
in the diamond mined maps
of Butte striking upon
the cold wages
of death defying duration
and winter routes
the solitary sings
all that ultimate silence
which translates into,
"the last romanticism
is our own."


To be an old ear
through a light snow
blue nightmares
on a mushroom hallway
alleys of Johns flags
leaped inward
to the drunken whirlpool
phosphorescent darkness
day breaks memory
too solitary to make it
alone under the crow sky
engraved with Rimbaud
a jaundiced signature
creaks blue and black
with the synergistic energy
of a noon runaway child
in a rooming house
without a city pea jacket
expecting revelation
in unaccountable pill boxes
huddled next to mahogany
with brilliant red stains
and you whispering,
"Genius and ennui are dead,"
glimpsing our time
from the shaped brows
in the harbor mirror
from metered cars
you were frozen out
from unaccountable headlights
somewhere in the abstract
the prophetic exercised hours
in a queen sized boutique
letting you shoot upstairs
from overlapped rocks
off ex-sailor suitors
who turned marine
in corduroy pants
getting your loneliness poster
signed by the Rolling Stones
another shot on the mopped up rug
now mouth dead
from years of leaky loafers
demanding Sapphic passersby
for a lethal night in multiplication
that is a foursome equals
the sum of a climax
and only the moon is memory
in comparison with leather
from the exchange of nights
in the dirty names
you were called
outside the Cedar Bar
feeling tenderloin
immersed "Under the Volcano"
with "Flesh" and "Heat" stars
born of rebellion and O'Keefe
in the gesture of perpetual morning
with a drag Mae West.


Breeding in the marijuana
by the carnation garden
cultivated justice
on the lawn chair
reading on Independence Day
when the angels of patriotism
fly on napalm portable vans
to Pilate's foot soldiers
somewhere in gunshot Vietnam
you turned back
no comfort except in connivance
or going AWOL
in your birthday suit
everyone in your company
asleep and handsomer
than the invincible Latin
you remember Caesar
in (four) parts
ordering legion
by Mercy Hospital
whitewashed in black face
USA hiding from the subsidized
the consumerized terrors
of "All Quiet on the Western Front"
loaded with fire sticks
to destroy the vegetation
on the shadowed ground
orders given by Pentagonia
for service honored by rapt terror
in the purple heart-felt
for the people of Cambodia
drinking your used glasses
for the oil lobby
whose profits go up
on Wall Street's neck
searching for youth
somewhere on the bridge
the disco won't hear you
reggae binges beside the benign
"a little more
in your cup
perhaps some quinine"
near second hand pawn shops
art books of Kahlo
are sold for quarters
the historical divide
are only misguided students
or disguised felicity
"Have some more to whine
for your exiled daughters."

Rick Lupert, a poet living in Los Angeles, has gladly donated  several of his poems.  He is the creator of Poetry Super Highway on the internet.  It can be reached at:

I invited Sasquatch to Seder THE POET

The poet
got up to read
took off all his clothes
read naked

I could tell right away
that he wasn't Jewish


In the place where I pray
Everything is Jewish
The lizards
You can tell because
one just ran by without a tail.
Lizard moils are not very skilled.

The Squirrels only gather
Kosher acorns
This is a given because
all acorns are automatically Kosher.
Squirrels don't have to
worry about being traif.

The trees make the third Temple
Far away from Jerusalem
they become the southWestern american Wall

That Eucalyptus tree is the Holy of Holies
Where the Lizard priests make
important Halachic decisions

In the place where I pray
Everything is Jewish
The sound of the wind against the leaves is
the chanting of the Torah

Every day in nature
I become more and more religious.


He said "Don't you think I'll
weird people out what with
all the fur and the
big feet?"

I answered "Nah,
we're Reform."


It is the new year
and I am driving home
from Rosh Hashanah morning services.
I will rest until the evening
when I will join friends for the festive meal.

We Jews eat like Italians.
We have special foods for every holiday.
Symbolic foods.
Foods that make a statement to God
as they travel into our mouths.

Have you ever really thought about matzah?
I have.
It's intense.
Matzah has so much meaning
it makes the dictionary seem like a Canadian.

We even have special foods to eat
when nothing special is happening.
Let's talk kougle, kishke, falafel.
Don't ask what kishke is,
but Kougle,
I could go on about kougle for days.

I will be well fed tonight.
There will be potato dishes
that would kill most Anglos,
and apples dipped in so much honey
the new year will be sweet enough
to last through the naming of all our children.

To be a Jew is to eat
like our ancestors before us ate.
Are you hungry?


Ani ma-amin
Six million dead
Ani ma-amin
One and a half million children
Ani ma-amin
Piles of shoes found without feet
Ani ma-amin
So many shoes
Ani ma-amin
The children of Terezin exterminated
Ani ma-amin
never knowing
their poems would be turned into songs
that we will sing forever

Ani ma-amin
Im Kol Zeh, Ani-ma-amin

Even amidst all this,
I still believe

(Hebrew text: Maimonides, 12th Century)

More additions will be added soon!