Incidental Language

Pardon the spill
in the aisle. A bit of
language slipped out.

How embarrassing.

I know we don’t speak
the same tongue, though
our mouths have the
same shape.

Yet, here is a stray word,
like a neighborhood cat,
roaming through our
planned conversation.


JD blogs here and posts poems here.


Gonzalinho da Costa – APHORISMS



Even the desert blooms.


Flowers grow a very great distance from the sun.


Twisted logic is the tendrils of an evil spirit.


A partial truth is always more dangerous than unalloyed truth or a varnished lie.


When you do not say what you mean, you cannot be trusted in anything you say.


Guess what?—“a white lie” is a racist idiom.


Deepest blue, the desert sky is untainted, barren because it harbors no rain.


Eternity does not distinguish between the fresh-faced moon and the world-weary sun.


In a street fight a sword is mightier than a pen.


Whoever said a dog’s bark is worse than his bite hasn’t been bitten.


Good governance is hard to find.


A penny invested is a penny gambled.


A soap that floats has value only inside a bathtub.


The government that lacks transparency evades accountability and in all probability has something to hide.


The law used to perpetrate crime and to sanction impunity for crime is the misrule of law.


Propaganda is the gruel eaten by prisoners of the state.


Politicization of the judiciary weakens it, ensuring that those who have less in life will have even less in law.


Intelligence with integrity is fair-mindedness, without integrity it is venality.


The purpose of education is to teach not only critical thinking but also historical thinking, so that all citizens develop the capacity to evaluate ongoing changes from the standpoint of past transformations.


Today the biggest single reason for famine is war.


Anyone who lies is doing the devil’s work. It is his telltale signature.


Genuine democracy, which subsists in the democratic values and principles internalized by the people, is subverted when criminal leaders controvert the laws embodying the people’s deepest aspirations for freedom from tyranny.


A good book is a good friend you engage again and again.


The Apostle Paul inveighed against scoffers, calling them fools, yet he did not suffer the Gehenna threatened by Jesus.


A government of values and principles is degraded by a regime of patronage and corruption.


An untimely death waylays the conversion of the damned.


Democracy is a work in progress, fascism a work in regress.


Forgetfulness is the incomprehension of those who misconstrue the past.


Remembrance is the vision of the future.


Kindness’ roots are nourished by compassion.


Cruelty is a volcano. It thrives on the magma of abuse.


He who does not take a stand sits on his rights.


The heart makes up its reasons.


The right to information is a necessary check against the abuse of power. It is an essential means whereby the oppressed seek, pursue, and obtain redress for just grievances.


You can’t have fake news and democracy, too.


Charity culminates in humanity.


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Watch Out For Aardvarks

The high council of pissants
carefully reviewed your application
for permanent inclusion and finds that
you lack any clear sense of order;
you remain stubbornly and selfishly
anchored to ephemera
and take on balance
more than you generate and provide.
We acknowledge your curious disposition,
and your genuine affinity for activities
that promise no monetary gain
and thus no clear class mobility.
But this is just a footnote
in a much larger negative report.
We will not, in the end, recommend you
for tenure in our pismire.
Also we are unwilling to discuss
our recommendation
via chem-trail or antennae.
We wish you the best of luck elsewhere,
and watch out for aardvarks.



Cool spring water shimmers
a narrow dissolution channel
between my legs.
Nearby a raccoon has passed
the entire exoskeleton
of a crayfish,
most likely Cambarus
(given the lack of suitable habitat
for Orconectes),
pincers folded up
in prayer, like Jonah.
Sun-bleached, it looks like
an obtuse piece of diggery,
equipment found in a junkyard
or moldering behind
the dead farmer’s barn.

Where the spring’s flow disappears,
a great horned owl
has eaten a crow,
and from the crow’s feathers
sweet Betsy grows.
Crows die, crows grow,
I know, but woe is he
and she who doubt
the kind of hunger
that forces dominance in the wood,
to eat crow every night
and remain wise,
or the crow, for god’s sake,
the crow, to sacrifice itself
to fertilize trillium.
Ad infinitum.


Custodial Testimonial

4:15am, Sunday,
the only other soul
on the road to Damascus
is a young preacher
in a Corolla
headed to the church office
for final revisions.
He’s worried about messaging,
and his left headlight is blank.
he’ll fashion: surely love, hate,
forgiveness, avarice, charity,
or some other heavy cudgel
based on a verse from Acts
magically supported
by a verse from Isaiah.
See? Continuity.
Poof! Even vengeful gods
Change their minds.

I’m headed to work, too,
and I’m also worried.
A wedding party drank and feasted
all yesterday and now
the Forest Lodge sewer line is clogged.
A rough calculation suggests
each person must have defecated
2.3 times to impound (TVA-style)
an 8” pipe. Damn.
That’s a proverbial shitload.
Sadly, there was no child present
able to turn a shitload into wine.
But it’s Sunday morning—
time for forgiveness.
I am here to ease things
to the underworld,
and while I cannot perform miracles,
I know a snake who can.

Read more "WES HOUP – 3 POEMS"



I’m 6 years old
I got a Barbie for Christmas
I guess pink’s a pretty color
My babysitter tried drowning me
What? Why?
I want a red mustang!
Mom and Dad beat me for spilling milk
I’m 8
My parents divorced
Mom beats all the time
A cop gave me a teddy bear
I burnt it
My doctor says I have severe depression and anxiety
What’s that? Is it bad?
She gave me meds
I’m 10
I was just told Savannah kissed Sam
What’s a kiss? I wonder
All I wanna do is play soccer
Dad keeps hitting me with his belt
I like blue but they say that’s for boys only
I’m 11
The teacher’s talking about sex
What’s a period? We have babies inside us?!
The bruises arent fading
I’m 13
I got raped at a party
Why me?
I’m never drinking fruit punch again
I’ve started to cut myself
I’m 15
I got heartbroken by a soccer player
I stopped taking my meds
My mom beat me until i passed out
I’m 16
I’m Bisexual
I don’t want to see my parents anymore
I want to go far far way
Anywhere but here really
I’m not religious
Water still scares me
And no
I will not turn the other cheek
No I will not bend the knee
No I will not make myself miserable for your society’s pleasure
I will rise


Karen Mandell – YARD SALE

Yard Sale

Useless, I could tell instantly.

Baby toys in plastic orange and red, grimy fry pans,

bent hollowware burning in the sun.

I walk in past the woman and the baby sitting on the concrete stoop.

I’m on my way out before I see the books piled on the grass,

their pages soft with age, the damp dried out of them.

The Sun Also Rises, the striped Scribner edition.

Do I have this one at home?

I crouch down and turn limp pages, not reading, brushing off dust,

unwinding a tendril of cobwebs from my finger.

The odor of paper stored in boxes too long.

This one’s not worth it, broken spine, even for a quarter.

I put fusty Hemingway down.

The baby cries, his voice quavering and scratchy.

The woman picks him up and says it’s time for a nap,

you’re ready aren’t you, you’ll lie down for a little while.

I stand up, the sun hot on my hair.

I want to lie down, a baby, in a darkened room with only a thin cover.

An opened window with a fan going somewhere.

I’d close my eyes even if I didn’t really want to

because there’s not much fight left in me right now.

The baby whimpers.

I forget what city I’m in,

whether it’s Minneapolis or Boston before that or

Chicago back even further.

I’m a burnished nub, everything rubbed out of me,

clarified. Even so, I have to get back to the car,

do the things that make it go,

add on to myself the crumbled pieces

that fell off and lie there, in the grass.

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Darren C. Demaree – 3 Poems


I don’t know

your shoulders

your coral

flesh will
curl around,

but know
early spoon

you will lift
all of us.



This population
is seconds.

You are one
whole second

to me. Hinge
the sign so

that the rest
of the shadow

can see you
as well.

The curtain
is yours.



Lullaby, so broken
& full of the pieces

that could not be
lost, I am desperate

to have you here
amidst the mixture

as it presses
against the mixture.

The heat is coming.
You are the heat.

You could end
these small endings.


Find Darren C. Demaree  online.

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