The East End

Bonesy never seemed to mind
his old man staggering home
careening from post to car to door
zigzag cadence, leading downhill
from Happy Grill.


Happy Grill

Its beery smell
settles out of a dark doorway
where sticky wooden floors hold them.

the ones always there;
men – only men
unimportant outside
but with a place here
a welcome.

Time suspends
as they step in
and watch their glasses
slowing sips as a whole day waits
with too much time.


Barbara Ann Meier – 3:11 AM


3:11 AM

It starts with a contraction,
a shudder, turns to a roll,
tightening to knots…
the earth twitches and shakes off its top layer.
Just as the cramp grips the calf.
I wait.
Watch the pictures rattle…Anticipate the next twitch.
Why do I bother to wish for sleep?
It won’t come. The cramp won’t stop.

The pain that starts mid-calf,
travels to the arch of the foot,
Reminiscent of a forward fold
and downward facing dog.
Just as the ache from head to child
planks my adult. Board- like stiff.

To tighten the muscle,
requires the stretch to rebound
and snap with tectonic plates.
For the next spasm of muscle.
I grasp tight, but leaks in cracks,
break loose.

I roll to floor,
hobble to gulp magnesium.
Turn up the heat, lay the leg flat,
and think of past actions.

I’d text you sorry but what good would that do?

Warrior 1 shifts to Warrior 2.
The end result is a stretch and a cramp
at 3:11 AM.

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Marianne Szlyk – In Winter Time

In Winter Time
After a photograph by Juan Tituana

All afternoon looks like dusk.
Weak, white sun blinks through
gauzy clouds and bare branches.
Branches twist, trying to grasp
the sun’s last light. Lamps
offer theirs far too soon.
Coming from overheated rooms,
the last pedestrians bundle up
and imagine themselves further north
where sunset begins in the morning.
They long for arctic cities
where darkness lasts all day.
They ignore uptown’s crowded streets
hung with green and silver tinsel
that dances in the wind,
shivering, knowing that Christmas is
over already.

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