Tag Archives: writing

Tutti Frutti Haiku

by Virginie Colline


sunset on the beach
he shakes the cornucopia
no more coconuts

summer seeds raining
from the watermelon sky
she lets down her hair

bananafish dream
his hand is edging crabwise
towards her tanned skin

come and taste honey
any strange inflorescence
you want me to bee


Virginie Colline lives and writes in Paris. Her poems have appeared in The Scrambler, Prune Juice, The Mainichi, Frostwriting, Prick of the Spindle, Mouse Tales Press, StepAway Magazine, BRICKrhetoric, Overpass Books, Dagda Publishing, Poethead, Silver Birch Press, The Bangalore Review, and Yes, Poetry, among others.

when love blooms, a visual poetry suite for Tom & Charles

by Amanda Earl














Amanda_Earl_September-2014_smallAmanda Earl is an Ottawa poet, publisher & pornographer who also noodles around with visual poetry. Her first poetry book, “Kiki,” is out with Chaudiere Books this fall & her first collection of short erotic fiction, “Coming Together Presents Amanda Earl,” whose proceeds go to GMHC, the world’s leading provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, care & advocacy, has just been published. Amanda is the managing editor of Bywords.ca, Ottawa’s literary hub & the fallen angel of AngelHousePress and its transgressive imprint, DevilHouse.

Main site: AmandaEarl.com
Kiki: KikiFolle.com
AngelHousePress: AngelHousePress.com
DevilHousePress: DevilHousePress.com
Literary Blog: amandaearl.blogspot.ca
Tumblr: amandaearl.tumblr.com
Vispo blog: eleanorincognito.blogspot.ca
Twitter: @KikiFolle

Creative Remix – Word in Sound and Image

Marc Neys-Ladder 3

One of the hopes of Creative Thresholds is that different art forms and genres meet and that the convergence inspires creatives of all types, resulting in dialogue and possibly collaboration. In this post, a poem, which had been inspired by a painting, in turn inspires a film. The process and the individual works are…magical.

Watch the film, “Ladder Our Boat,” and read about the process from both the poet, Maureen Doallas, and the filmmaker, Swoon (AKA Marc Neys).

The video is best seen on full screen with good volume.


Melissa, curator and editor

Creative Remix – Word in Sound and Image

by Maureen E. Doallas and Swoon (AKA Marc Neys)



The Poem:

A Ladder Our Boat

after Holly Friesen’s Warrior Canoe

When we make a tree a ladder, we climb
out of the flaming fire, through our fear.
We are each from earth’s guts spilled,
Persephone rising, wild mint lacing
loose braids, sheaves of grain in hand,
spring’s re-welcoming cheered.

When we make the ladder our boat, we sail on
a kiss of wind above the Hades of our making,
spirits water-rocked in Zeus’s arms, seeds
of the pomegranate bursting, our offspring

We strike our fevered blessings on the wood,
water-tight, wave at the moon we circle twice:
the light, our safe harbor, shore.

© Maureen E. Doallas
Printed with Permission of Author

Marc Neys-Ladder 1

The Process:

Maureen: Nic Sebastian, an excellent poet herself, is the founder of The Poetry Storehouse, which is dedicated to promoting “new forms and delivery methods for page-poetry”; the site has become a terrific repository of poems in text, audio, and video. I submitted five poems, which Nic accepted, with the understanding that any and all would be made freely available for creative remixing. Among the selections is my poem “A Ladder, Our Boat”. The poem first appeared in the Image-ine series at TweetSpeak Poetry; Image-ine, to which I’ve contributed numerous ekphrastic poems (including a series inspired by Lisa Hess Hesselgrave‘s paintings), is a place for discovering and learning about and sharing poetry that is inspired by paintings or other media. “A Ladder, Our Boat” was inspired by Holly Friesen‘s exquisite painting “Warrior Canoe”; I shared the poem with Holly after I wrote it, and she was kind enough to allow us to use an image of the painting at Image-ine.

Marc Neys-Ladder 2Marc Neys aka Swoon, who is a tremendous talent, first sent me a message via Facebook to listen to a soundtrack he’d composed for my poem “A Ladder, Our Boat”. I expressed my delight, and was thrilled Marc was setting my poem. Marc continued developing his concept for the poem, incorporating images from footage he collected.  Unlike some of Marc’s other remixes, this one has no narration. Marc’s completed videopoem is “Ladder Our Boat”. Marc is entirely responsible for concept, camera, editing, and music. I am very pleased with the result.

Ladder 4Swoon (Marc): For my latest video for a poem taken from The Poetry Storehouse I went back to my early days. That is to say, there was a need to create a videopoem without a voice again (and I hadn’t done that in a long while).

I started with collecting a series of images that could either tell a new story or create a different path to go on when combined with a certain line from the poem. Once I had collected the footage and paired them with certain lines, I needed a timeframe. So I created a soundtrack with a lot of background noises (breathing, scratching, squeaking,…).

With these sounds I started editing the chosen footage. I combined the lines of the poem with the images. Giving the words space and time to take root in or react to the images. I love this way of working and I wonder why I don’t use that technique more often… Yes these works need to be played on a larger screen for full effect!

Maureen E. Doallas

Maureen E. Doallas is the author of Neruda’s Memoirs: Poems (T.S. Poetry Press, 2011). Her work has appeared in the anthologies Open to Interpretation: Water’s EdgeOpen to Interpretation: Love & Lust, and Oil and Water…And Other Things That Don’t Mix; and in Felder Rushing’s book Bottle trees. Her poems also have appeared in Every Day PoemsThe Woven Tale Press MagazineThe Found Poetry Review (special David Foster Wallace edition), The Victorian Violet Press & Journal, The Poetry Storehouse, VerseWrights, Escape Into Life, Poets for Living Waters, Red Lion Square, The Beautiful Due, the sad red earth, The Poetry Tree, and Englewood Review of Books. Her interviews and feature articles have appeared at TweetSpeak Poetry and The High Calling. Maureen writes daily at her blog Writing Without Paper, is an Artist Watch editor for the online arts magazine Escape Into Life, and a contributing writer to Manhattan Arts and TweetSpeak Poetry. An art collector, she owns a small art-licensing company, Transformational Threads.

Social Media: I’m on SheWrites, FaceBook, Twitter, Goodreads, SoundCloud, and LinkedIn.


Transformational Threads:

Another collaboration of mine: http://juancarloshernandezphotographe.blogspot.com/2011/07/night-stalkingcollaboration-with-poet.html

Marc NeysSwoon (AKA Marc Neys) (°1968, Essen, Belgium) is an artist who works in a variety of media; he’s a video-artist / soundscape-constructor. 

“His work is provocative, beautiful and disturbing. Using poems as guidelines, Swoon (Marc Neys) creates video and soundscapes that is instantly recognizable for its dreamlike quality as well as the skill with which the artist extracts new meaning from the poems he illuminates.” (Erica Goss)

Swoon’s work has been featured at film and video-art festivals all over the world.

In 2014 Swoon released his first album of soundscapes ‘Words/No Words’ on Already Dead Tapes. He curates, gives workshops and writes a monthly column for Awkword Paper Cut.




My Mom’s Music & Pol Pot: Happenings in January 1976

by Megan Volpert

bob dylan desire


My mother turned eighteen years old on the same Monday Pol Pot presided over the ratification of Democratic Kampuchea’s new Constitution. She was one year short of drinking age, with no other legal freedoms worth claiming except the delayed gratification of a right to vote against Ford that following winter. Cambodia’s new regime had little to say about the right to vote, except in Article Six, where the distribution of representation among members of the legislative body is outlined as 150 for the peasants, 50 for other working people, and 50 for the revolutionary army. Those 250 people get to elect the administration, as long as they elect Pol Pot. This was Year Zero, where everybody not eligible to vote was eligible to assist the Khmer Rouge in its grand new vision of communism by marching off to dig themselves a slice of mass grave. This is because, as Article Twelve explains, there is absolutely no unemployment in Democratic Kampuchea.


The same day mom is eating birthday cake and a million Cambodian undesirables are starving to death, Dylan launches his new album, Desire. Ours is a nation founded upon the stubborn flipping of the bird, the right of dissension, the pride of independent thinking. There’s nothing neutral about it. The Prince of Cambodia said his country was neutral, and Nixon secretly bombed the hell out of it. Excuse me, sir, we’re just rooting out your communists. Too bad they’re not as easy to spot as black people. Despite the wave of publicity from Dylan’s number one single, Hurricane Carter’s re-trial ended in a guilty verdict. A federal judge finally let him go ten years later, and ten years after that, Carter was briefly arrested for dealing drugs when he was mistaken for some other black guy.


station-to-station-david-bowie larger


What’s coming out of England at this point is David Bowie. There was that whole photo-op thing where he appeared to be giving a Nazi salute and endless speculation about was he or wasn’t he doing that. Who cares if he really meant to do that move instead of a proper waving—the issue is that people’s judgement of The Thin White Duke was that he plausibly could have been a Nazi. Bowie himself says that when he listens to Station to Station, it sounds like it was made by somebody else. Is the other guy a Nazi? It sucks that your Golden Years are sprung from the mind of a persona so far gone that it might as well not even be you at all.


Meanwhile, in the parking spot adjacent to Naziism, these United States are vetoing a United Nations resolution calling for Palestinian statehood. A couple countries abstained, but we were the only ones who voted it down. Now that’s independence. Everybody gets a vote, as long as you vote with us. If you don’t vote with us, our vote means everything and all of yours mean nothing. But on the upside, please do keep going about your international business because we’re not interested in doing the mass grave thing right now, and that’s what makes us a morally superior form of governance when measured against the rising star of Pol Pot.


Photo credit: Rob Friedman

Photo credit: Rob Friedman

Megan Volpert is the author of five books on communication and popular culture, most notably about Andy Warhol. She has been teaching high school English in Atlanta for the better part of a decade, is currently serving as her school’s Teacher of the Year, and edited the American Library Association-honored anthology This assignment is so gay: LGBTIQ Poets on the Art of Teaching. Predictably, www.meganvolpert.com is her website.

Flappers and Bees

by Caroline Nevin






I adore flappers & bees so it’s no coincidence that elements of bees and vintage girly delights are juxtaposed, and in most cases combined in many of my pieces. The intention is to create a conversational timeline between the past and the present and make evident the parallels that still exist today as we continue to adapt and respond to nature through social response. Here are some connections and parallels I’ve perceived between the importance of the work of honeybees, and the work of women in the 1920s.

Historically, dancing has and continues to be used as a popular form of expression and as an indicator of social behavior – as a sacred ritual, as a form of communication for social change and courtship activity, or just to let loose, dancing provides us with important cues that can actually be key to our survival, providing an evolutionary advantage. No one knows this better than honeybees, especially currently. Honeybees (scouts that just happen to be female and are known for their sociability) use the waggle dance for resourceful foraging by indicating to the hive where nectar and pollen can be found in abundance and also where the best new possible nesting locations are. This dance saves the whole hive valuable time and energy and in essence is a harmonious nurturing and preserving of the community. This is especially important now, given the struggles honeybees are facing in recent years through Colony Collapse Disorder after thriving for 50 million years, as a result of current farming practices specifically through the use of pesticides.



When I contemplate the roaring twenties, I automatically think of a group of gadabout flappers kicking up their heels and dancing The Charleston, much like a swarm of bees. It is the epitome and image of the liberated woman. Women were evolving from the strictures of the Victorian era. In that time, women were seen as chattels of their husbands. The flappers began to emulate the freedom that men had so long enjoyed. They were seen in “speak easy” bars, they smoked, danced and engaged in ‘unmentionables’. They cut their hair short in the flapper “bob.” Until then, women had long hair that they wore up, restricted in a bun. The flappers showed their knees, as long hemlines were replaced in favour of short, loose dresses, which was in revolt of the long heavy skirts and corsets worn by Victorian women. This also coincided with women getting the vote (suffrage) and women working outside the home. Women came together in hive like behavior as they banded together to fight for their rights in a gesture of alliance and posterity, foraging together – and indeed their life depended on it. Women today depended on the work they did to ensure advancing the rights of women.

Saucy Queens

Saucy Queens

Which brings us back to the bee. I’m not asking you to get your picket signs out and start a revolution. Picketing isn’t for the faint of heart. Although if you feel so inclined, please do! I’m suggesting the gentle gesture of planting a bee friendly garden that will attract honeybees. You can even start with one potted plant if you don’t have space for a full garden. And secondly, refrain from using pesticides. This is for your benefit as much as for the bees.

You may find there is a vagueness to the comparison I’ve drawn, but the most important thing to know for now is that I mean to amuse through my art pieces while raising awareness about bees, and the essential importance of their ability to nurture and sustain nature and community in their fragile states. Things will become clearer as I elaborate on these ideas in future musings. Things will become clearer as the idea unfolds and develops. In the mean time, I leave you with the Bee Knees to contemplate the profound act of synchronicity and connection that occurs through the social expression of dance – a mirror to nature…and ultimately, us.






















Garnet & Ashes

Garnet & Ashes is a sprightly line of vintage inspired mixed media original fine art & reproductions.  A venture of Caroline Nevin; a contemporary artist and BFA graduate from Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Garnet & Ashes utilizes a nudging, playful approach with a mélange of bee imagery, vintage treasures and ephemera to arouse and ignite the senses and inspire reflection on notions of identity and memory, discordant habitats and reevaluations of archaic social structures.

Caroline Nevin

Caroline Nevin















XX x

by Daniel Boscaljon
Image by Melissa D. Johnston

rothko experiment B1.1.1X

“XX x” is the last letter in a series of posts called Letters to You written by Daniel Boscaljon with images by Melissa D. Johnston (from one of her ongoing projects). Letters to You began last July with “everytime i write i feel myself disintegrate.”

i see that you are hurting and in so much pain and i want to carry it for you so that you no longer have to, and so i take it from you and put your burden on my own shoulders but it truly is heavy and i decide that i simply want to cross it out and eliminate it all so that it simply doesn’t exist any more and that way we will both be relieved.  because afterall we’re friends and this is what a good friend would do.  and so i stretch inside to your pain that has become my pain and i cross it out and when i do it also crosses out all of my pain and it all is gone and disappears and all that’s left in its place is an X where the pain used to be and it is kind of like a scar but it doesn’t hurt.  and then i look at you and look at us and we can be happy together because our burden is eased and we are joined by the same X which unites us together. and then i look at the world and i see the suffering of so many others, the sadness in the eyes of the mothers with their hungry children, and the sadness of those who no longer believe in love and the sadness of the old women who pine for yesterdays which even they have forgotten and the suffering of those who require their daily bread and the sufferings of those from whom so much has been stolen, and i want to help them too and so i attempt to relieve them, too, from their burdens of sadness.  and i take it all up and i want to cross it out with a big X, the kind that they used to show the kitties in kiddy cartoons were dead, all the dying characters with Xs…i want to X out suffering.  and so i take it all into me and i become a gaping mouth opening to swallow all of the pains of the world and i do it and then i X it all out. and then i see so much injustice in the world, and so many lies and so much deceit and i want to X that out, too.  if i could croxx out all of the lies then everyone could know the truth of reality, and then there would be lexx suffering than what i see all before me now.  and then if that didn’t work then i could XX out my own eyes and so i couldn’t see it that way and then i could go to the whole world and i could xx it all out and XX out everything and anyxhing and then there would be peace. but i need to sxart with you because the firxt time didn’t work as well and so i move to x out all your pain and i try to take it from you and then i realize there’s so much txat’s rooted in your past and so i feel bad but i decide to xx out all of your paxt and all your painxul memories and take them all and x them out.  and then you lxxk at me with sadxess in your eyxs and i realize that you lost something with that but there’s always a saxrifixe and we both know that and then because we’re friends and i want to show you that you are not alone i x out my past too. and then we’re the same and it’s okay, and so i keep xing out the world bexause there’s a joy in annihilation and yxu and i are all turning into Xs and i see the sadness of the youxg bxys but with an XXXXXXX then all becxmes okay and they’re nxt sad anyxore and there where sxdness was is just more xXXXXXXXX and noboxy gets sad with XXXXXXXXX. and i see the whole world before me and i have the power to XXXX and my blood bxrns with the xXXs and then more and mxre and mxrx then there’s nothing but the xXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
and mxxx and xxxx and then i realize that i’ve just XXXXXXXXXXXXX oxer sxmxne’s hapxy mxmory and then i laxgh so they can laxgh to and then they cxn stxrt to x it all out and fill the wxrld with the xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx bxt thxn i see that the xxxxxxxxxx is just a cover too and thxt if pxxple see xxxx thxy cxn rxmxmbxr thx pxin bxt i knxw thxt i cxn jxst         the wxrld and thxt     blxnks and thxt       cxn fxrget if thxre’s no x to mxrk thx spxt and so thxn     axd i go

Daniel Boscaljon has Ph.D.s in Modern Religious Thought and 19th-century American Literature, both from the University of Iowa. His interest is in the fragility and liminality of human experiences. His first book, Vigilant Faith: Passionate Agnosticism in the Secular World was published by the University of Virginia Press this past August.

To You, my oldest friend

by Daniel Boscaljon
Image by Melissa D. Johnston

rothko experiment 3.6

“To You, my oldest friend” is the ninth letter in a series of posts called Letters to You written by Daniel Boscaljon with images by Melissa D. Johnston (from one of her ongoing projects). Letters to You began last July with “everytime i write i feel myself disintegrate.”

you call to me with a dark whisper that speaks truly to whom you see me as being, in a voice simultaneously harsh and cold and yet filled with a particular kind of honest tenderness. as always, i hear your voice only in secret, when i am alone with no distractions. fitting timing, you have. i don’t want anyone else to know about you, after all, and i suspect that you have plenty of others whom you visit when i am otherwise distracted. ours is not a relationship built on faithfulness. you do not wait for the darkness, which would reveal the moon and stars and things that i love, and you do not find me in the mornings, when the smell of brewed coffee and the morning paper gentle me into my day. instead you pounce upon me on a clear and bright afternoon, filled with people whom i do and do not know. i hear the presence of your voice when i am with others, and your persistence pays off: once i am alone, i am all yours.

you alone will tell me the truth that i crave to hear. you understand my pain, the depths of how i ache and hurt. you tell me of my pains, and allow me to listen instead of speak. i am passive before your voice. you, my oldest friend, know me so much better than anyone else: how could i look away from the wisdom that you offer to me? alone, we two huddle as one and for those moments i am content to be alone, and with you only.

i am not always faithful to you, even when we are talking. sometimes i’ll think that i remember something and will try to escape from your gaze: but you are already in all of my shadows and dark places: how could i hide from you there? and you come when it is past october and the nights grow longer and golden reds refuse their trees and have already been trodden into the black ground, the times when the nights are too cold and bitter to enjoy, when the winds whip through deserted streets without mercy–what brightness is there now to enjoy? So of course i always return back to you, my oldest friend. i take solace in your council. i yearn for your embrace. other friends grow busy, and i hate to trouble them, but i never feel as though i trouble you. you forgive me the times that i have been away from you with a laugh (chilling in how it is warm) that suggests that you knew it was a matter of time.

how could i have thought that i could ever NOT be yours? how could have thought that my separation was permanent? how easily you went away…and i had thought it a victory at the time. “look at me!” i had said. “look at my strength! i don’t need you.” and you smiled, and humbly played the victim. thank you for not taking offense, and for teaching me that i truly do belong to you. thank you for letting me learn that what i think of as my strength is truly only weakness…but on my own, instead of teaching me. even as i love you, i fear your lessons.

your voice is so seductive–it stretches to all of the barren places inside of me and reminds me that it is not fit for flowers to grow all over the earth. past memories of past joys remain there. you are the end of every hope, for all hopes end up pointing back to you after time has had its way with them. i never need be afraid for you, my oldest friend, will always be there to give me the strength to survive, if only for a little while longer.

perhaps i can eventually learn to laugh with your laughter and consistently see the world through your eyes. i have a great respect for you, as you know. ever present, simply waiting for my return, i have a confidence with you that goes past every hope. perhaps i can use your strength to overcome the world, shrugging off the temptations that the world would offer me with your strong shoulders and cold eyes. the strongest steel is the coldest steel, after all, and even warm iron can be bent with weak hands.

i hear your call and i know what you have to offer to me. please know that if i stumble while running toward you, or walk slowly, it is only because there is something within me that wants to think that the troubles between us may not yet have been reconciled. i do not fully trust you yet…but i know that your patience, like your strength, is infinite, and that you can outlast even my small attempts to rebel.

to you, my oldest friend, i will continue to return for the rest of my life. you know me as nobody else ever has, or ever will. how can i resist your love?

Daniel Boscaljon has Ph.D.s in Modern Religious Thought and 19th-century American Literature, both from the University of Iowa. His interest is in the fragility and liminality of human experiences. His first book, Vigilant Faith: Passionate Agnosticism in the Secular World was published by the University of Virginia Press this past August.

Postcolonial Thoughts: Art & the Origins of Supremacy

by Christopher Hutchinson


To Winckelmann, the art of Rome was an afterthought. The pinnacle of ancient art had been achieved in fifth-century Athens, whose democracy was the root cause of her excellence. The decline of art began with the establishment of the Hellenistic kingdoms following the death of Alexander. The moral lesson to be drawn from ancient history was not the danger of pagan hubris but rather the superiority of democracy.



Art & Supremacy

From its inception art history has been tied to Supremacy.  Johann Winckelmann, author of the first History of Ancient Art 1764, whose sentiments are stated above, set the rubric as to what could and should be considered art. Many assume that art history has always been in existence. Truthfully it officially begins with Winckelmann and Neoclassical thought.  True to Neoclassical thought, there can be only one way to achieve art, and is through Democracy.

This democracy has been one of the major reasons why Greece has become the go-to standard as the beginning of art praxis.  This allows a global nullification of art produced by second and third world countries.  Winckelmann’s democracy becomes synonymous with supremacy.

It is completely logical that the art of the Third Reich would adopt the standard of supremacy set by Winckelmann. Even the rebirth of humanism laid in the Renaissance and art movements that follow after, have a conceptual tie to that superiority that cannot be overlooked.  The linear practice of Western art theory/methodology has these roots. Hitler was aware of this obvious relationship.  His crowning achievement, after dominating the world, was to be his Museum of Art.

The museum was to have occupied the majority of the city center of Linz, turning the working-class town into Vienna’s cultural superior, a concept that Hitler had relished ever since his failed attempt to become an art student in Vienna, a city that made him feel like a rejected, second-class citizen, prior to his political career  



Art & Propaganda


: ideas or statements that are often false or exaggerated and that are spread in order to help a cause, a political leader, a government, etc.

1capitalized :  a congregation of the Roman curia having jurisdiction over missionary territories and related institutions

2:  the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person

3:  ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause; also :  a public action having such an effect


The Ziegler painting installed above the mantle of Hitler's apartment. The Judgement of Paris by Ziegler http://www.berkshirefinearts.com/uploadedImages/articles/2074_Guggenheim785848.jpg

The Ziegler painting installed above the mantle of Hitler’s apartment. The Judgement of Paris by Ziegler



Art of the Third Reich has often been linked with the term propaganda as something negative.  Propaganda is usually perceived as the binary opposite to democracy. This would be the traditional understanding, except for the seamless transition Hitler’s propaganda and the history art already present.  Ziegler’s direct appropriation of Ruben’s Judgement of Paris 1636 is a testament to the farce of democracy. How could this be propaganda, when this narrative was already present?


Christopher HutchinsonChristopher Hutchinson is an Assistant Professor of Art at Atlanta Metropolitan State College, Archetype Art Gallery Owner in Atlanta, Ga, and Smoke School of Art Founder. He received his Master of Fine Arts Degree in Painting from Savannah College of art & Design, Atlanta and his Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Alabama. He lived in Alabama for 10 years before moving to Atlanta in 2008.

Learn more about Christopher and his work at Black Flight 144.


the tomorrow after world’s end

by Daniel Boscaljon

“the tomorrow after world’s end” is the eighth letter in a series of posts called Letters to You written by Daniel Boscaljon with images by Melissa D. Johnston (from one of her ongoing projects). Letters to You began in July with “everytime i write i feel myself disintegrate.”


your tears were reluctant to fall, but the way that your body trembled announced to me that the world was about to end.  i held you in my arms, a tight embrace, hoping that you could jolt me to your state, so that i could share in it with you.  but my arms did nothing: weak, lifeless, they simply encircled you adding neither strength nor comfort.  your words came forth: they were not indictments of me, the messenger.  i know that you understood the situation fully.  you know that i, too, sense that the end of the world is beginning to dawn and that we see the red sky brimming as a token of doom.  the difference lies not in what we see, but how we react.  i am envious of your tears and trembles, for the sight does nothing for me but create a numbed sense of cold death.  tears, at least, express something.  my weak arms and straight face do nothing but stare straight ahead.

of course, the tragedy lies not in the world’s end but precisely within its failure to do so.  were it truly to end, tonight, i feel we could both (with joy) embrace each other and accept annihilation.  it would be a moment of relaxation where we could reflect on the past–leading up to today. it would not be hypocritical to overlook the moments of torments and tragedies.  the world should end with a bang, not a whimper, after all.  so we would light the fireworks we never saw when the world was young, and lay on a blanket under the moon and have bread and cheese and wine.  at the last moments, we could hold onto each other, and with one last kiss yield our bodies and lives to the horizon of annihilation.  …if only the world were ending.

instead, we’re left with the taste of a world which stubbornly persists beyond its ending.  having tasted and accepted the end, there is nothing worse than the arrival of a new tomorrow.  embarrassed, the empty wine bottle reveals the futility of last night’s celebration.  insects and rodents enjoy our bread despite the fact that it has hardened–but even they ignore the cheese.  tomorrow forces itself upon us with an unrelenting presence.

when you had begun to cry, i had thought your tears were an act of mourning the failures of the past.  when you continued to cry, i interpreted them as betokening the futility of fighting fate. now, i think, i understand that you understood the true nature of the tragedy from the beginning.

there is nothing worse than being forced to accept a series of tomorrows without a future.  there is nothing emptier than time without hope, when duration and repetition are indistinguishable.  Emptiness arrives when one is given the form of a day and is simultaneously forbidden to fill it with any sort of content.  The future spreads itself as a numb, blank, empty, dumb canvas and its blankness is an expression of our soul.

had the world ended last night, i could have rested in the fulfillment of joy.   instead, i merely endure through time.

Daniel Boscaljon has Ph.D.s in Modern Religious Thought and 19th-century American Literature, both from the University of Iowa. His interest is in the fragility and liminality of human experiences. His first book, Vigilant Faith: Passionate Agnosticism in the Secular World was published by the University of Virginia Press this past August.


By Nicole J. Johns
Image by Caroline Nevin

Queen of the Grotto by Caroline Nevin

Queen of the Grotto by Caroline Nevin https://www.facebook.com/CINfulART

The Trouble with Bridges

to have lived in this town
is to never trust a bridge again.

we have seen
when bridges fail, like people.

we feel the give and shake
as we sit idling in traffic.

bumper to bumper
so close together, we are.
gusset plate crumbling
like a thin, rusty communion wafer.

tumbling, braking, crashing,
Bridges don’t collapse in America.
this must be some third world country,
or a terrorist attack.

we know better,
the sonic boom alerted and altered.

we sit disconnected, staring
at taillights and that murky water.

wondering, knowing, our river
is full of secrets.

and we are merely suspended–


find the dark space—
crawl inside


we go down,
together. into

liminal space
language, no one

has ever written—
or spoken.

language is born.
language is reborn.

straddle the gap,
quiver along the line


Rush Hour

what does it mean
to tell you this?

to sit static
on the interstate

and think of the place
i used to call home

a time and a space
rolling in memory

the person i was
three lives ago


all of us
have multiple lives

we are all reborn
of former selves

our old lives
creep in on us

during rush hour
while waiting in line

would you have loved
the person i once was?


Poetry Village

I want to join a poetry village,
where metaphors
Run wild through a dim forest,

A plethora of frenzied poesy,
poems composed by poets,
Strung out on coffee, cigarettes,
gin and tonic, and love.

Verbs race through the air,
knocking into the walls of huts,
Nouns primly sip tea with a poet.

A genre goddess knocks at the door,
bringing with her a custom made muse,
A replica of the woman I fell in love with
over lunches, late nights and dancing.

Erogenous alphabets float
through the atmosphere,
a cacophony of rolling consonants blending.
Redundant entanglements are forbidden.

Nicole J. JohnsNicole J. Johns is originally from rural western Pennsylvania, but now lives in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, where she teaches English at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota and her BA in English/Creative Writing from Penn State-Erie, The Behrend College. Her first book, Purge: Rehab Diaries (Seal Press, 2009) was nominated for ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award in memoir, and has been described by Library Journal as an “unflinching work rooted in feminist self-reflection.” Nicole has also published poems in numerous literary magazines, including The Evening Street Review, Ellipsis, and Lake Effect.

Check out her Website and her Facebook page or say “hi” on Twitter (@nicolejjohns). You can writer her at nicolejjohns@gmail.com.

%d bloggers like this: