junkmail oracle

poem o' the week


"I have a city to cover with lines." - d.a. levy



August 23, 2010

Cleveland Poem

The village square has round people the square village has people all around. The lights of the city are sparkling white while the city of lights sparkle. No one walks unsafe not children not hate. On the center side of the corner stone near the Church Street Mission there is a blanket hanging in the hedge placed there for a homeless dredge by people from the village square. People come from the square village just to go to Church there. In Cleveland Park the Zoo carries all the traffic of the city the central hub of wings come just to visit. Children rule the world and Cleveland is now no exception to the Golden rule we love. Eye once lived in a house upon a hill with asphalt as the avenue and cars as means of travelling around. Too bad it was not Cleveland such is life in the big city. It is hard to describe a place one never visits. But vainly eye still try. There must be places near the villages that rival Heaven by and large.

-- charlax hice

August 16, 2010

withir art thou oh cleveland

withir art thou
oh cleveland, which
stands by ye ruinous maven,
treacle beams & corporate
bespeckled details,
oblong trust & the
bank shores we repeat
cleveland oh cleveland
yet we remain yr benefactor
cold irons & yellow faces,
beyond freezing
we keep ye in retreat



August 9, 2010

Leaving Parma

boxes of enlightenment
some still-born memories,
others to be shed, given away
or discarded on Monday morning
garbage day,
no Angelic city, this whitewashed city
police staking claims
to the streets if you should drive
brown or black
no, I will miss my Prairie windows, the cedar shakes,
my saplings now full grown,
tall and proud,
the white wisteria
and the golden honeysuckle,
lavender lilacs and bumblebees,
this space
that is not mine
taken back
by my bank--
needing trillions
to invest in the slow
divestment of home to owner,
plot after plot,
you could have given me
(all the me's)
the money, President Obama,
you could have saved the nation
if you would have helped those
who really needed it before
it was too late,
for those of *us's* caught in the middle
insurance-less, jobless,
and homeless.

-- anna ruiz


August 2, 2010

lebron gives cleveland the finger

a souvenir vendor
at the corner of
ontario & carnegie
sells a t-shirt
that reads "the lyin' king,"
a picture of
lebron james
with a mane & teeth.
while lebron james gives
cleveland the finger,
a single mom on e. 67th
still has to feed her kids

-- michael gabriel


july 26, 2010

on viewing cleveland from space

it's just a speck
on the shores of a splotch,
at the top of a dark patch,
angels circle the earth
wondering what we think
viewing cleveland from space
in and out before the dawn

-- michael gabriel

july 19, 2010

Lake Erie

Living with water surrounded
By the great lakes ambience
Of maritimes past wrecks &
Wracks floating over & under
The Canadian horizon as far as
The Gull flies along its beaches &
Rocky shore lines watched over
By Heron’s one legged ballet on
Tributary & bay burning drift
Wood memories making room
For new boasts of those that
Got away swallowed hook
Line & sinker

-- KE

july 12, 2010

Cleveland always with us

Cleveland, what are you waiting for?
the second coming of tom johnson?
wobblies marching in to man the soapboxes
and reap your harvest of words?
Cleveland faceless in the night
wrapped in neon brilliance
ripping  &  running  always with us
the ghosts of indian tribes & my unborn twin
in lines of dark prophecy choked from our veins
and trinkets wrapped in blankets of disease.
the gray mass of your towers bleeding
the transit of days from our minds
sunless in canyons of inarticulate desire
surrounded by ghosts made speechless
by blind acceptance and horrified by our
addictions to lies we wander aimless
in the zombie malls of empty hungers.
always always with us the mad singing
of poets calling us to gather our wits 
join the sanity humanity chorus and
climb up from the catacombs  up out of
dank mines of crystalline deception
back lit in the blue cathode glow of  
merciless commerce smiley faced
and heartless cutting a collage  
from mummified hearts slowy turning
green with envy for the dead   Cleveland
always with us and when the sun shines
its a hydrogen bomb and the lake turns
to glass and we put on diamond skates
and do figure eights while the dealers
shake the aces from their sleeves
we sing old dylan songs till they dim the lights
but we never sleep and my twin has no memory
of me but only i of him  it's my mythology and he
takes my hand and asks me if i'm real and i lie again
tell him don't the buildings look fine as the loop spools
-- dan smith


July 5, 2010

death of haiku #5

this is the mass destruction
of haiku in cleveland,
like tearing up euclid ave.
for 47 months

june 28, 2010

death of haiku #4

a haiku should be
5-7-5, or Rt. 71,
state Rt. 82, 303,
271 dead ends into lake erie

June 21, 2010

death of haiku #3

when they destroyed haiku
mayor jackson said to
jimmy dimora, the corned
beef at slyman's is as good as ever

June 14, 2010

death of haiku #2

daniel thompson read haiku
to roldo bartimole on coventry,
yesterday's bread fed the homeless

June 7, 2010

Cleveland spelled backwards is

Level C
for sure
helical hysterical
mythical miracle
under and inside
my skin you are
what makes me tick
makes my pulse
quicken thickens
my blood
and lightens my mood
you are the call of the wild
cinema saint and soul food
for thought
soup kitchen broth
scatalogical lyrical
metaphorical physical
history quizzical
and musically blessed
dressed in the riches
and rags of the past
Level C
at last
blinding in beauty
revealing a ceiling
mystery teachable
to all of us craning our necks
for a glance
at the molecules dancing
faster and faster
and picking up speed
the hues
of the rainbow a revolution
a legacy amassing a levy
see? we are the fee
and we are the payment
and rainment
Level C
yes we are the cost
and we are the catalyst
the movement the go and the flow
and all
that we foment
this spotlighted moment
the past
and the future
intrinsic to truth
and remastered by youth
word wizards
spell casters
and pompous bombasters
mystical whimsical
and what does it matter
if we drop the ball
this whole ball of wax
it's the all and the awe of it
twisted for sure
and lost in the stacks
a spiraling virus
that cures as it curses
twisted two
fisted thick wristed
red lipped it nips
as it nurses
complicated and sated
and inside
it's you
and it's me

-- Diane Borsenik


May 31, 2010

death of haiku #1

they have been trying
to kill cleveland for years,
they have killed haiku for centuries

May 24, 2010

death of haiku #0

there is no haiku
haiku is cleveland's conscience
there is no haiku

May 17, 2010

a late frost

for lbj

a 23 tease
dunk debunk
frozen buds
lost apples
in cleveland
we know this
too well

early season
suns have gone
morning arrives
stiff and cold
with loss of rapture

these last days
of unrequited love
your looking away tug
like a lover scorned
we, this city,
(again and again)
hurt and mourn

-- joanne cornelius


may 10, 2009

if jim brown faced free agency

he would look at his teammates
look at cleveland
and head for hollywood
as fast as he could go
championship trophy in hand

-- markk


may 3, 2010

spring haiku

what do i see here
cleveland in a reign of fire
could it be the sun?

-- michael gabriel


april 26, 2010

General Westmoreland’s Battery

Minimum-wage jobs
were once plentiful
on the production line
of this long-gone
Cleveburg factory.

My Rumanian colleagues,
victims of
Ceausescu’s Securitate,
didn’t complain
about the working conditions.
They had already experienced
much worse.

During the morning breaks,
beer-gutted John
often somberly recalled
his stint in Cambodia,
loading bombs onto planes
headed for ’Nam.
Six, sometimes seven days a week,
twelve to fourteen hours a day,
almost two years long.

Armed with baseball mitts,
he and spindly Trinh
trotted out to the
potholed parking lot
every day after lunch.
John taught him
how to pitch, catch
and talk

Twenty minutes a day,
five days a week.
Payback time.

-- brian dorsey


april 19, 2010

i used to love

the fresh bread they served
at captain frank's, solid little
pats of butter, waiting
and waiting for the
perch to swim
out of lake erie
& onto my plate.

-- michael gabrial


april 12, 2010

there is a spring in Cleveland's step

when I left it was raining and I carried
my leopard-spotted umbrella the rest of the afternoon,
silly with anticipation,
dirty piles of snow
lay stubborn on the North side
basking in 60 degrees

beads of perspiration traveled down my
I ached to hold your hand, as lovers do, the
imprint of our bodies churning into the sea,
I wanted to kiss the side of you
closest to the sun,
the wind was playful, brushed my hair across my face
strands were damp with heat

later that evening we talked about Jewish settlements
in the heart of Jerusalem a vice-presidential embarrassment,
we talked of right and wrong and why fear is a pitiful excuse
to hold a people hostage when power is not balanced

still later you sang to me a duet with Elaine Paige, though your
voice was still a little rough when you were gone
and I was afraid, we create memories,
after all, even five hundred miles away

your tongue split my heart wide open
we were naked inside the space all lovers go
no matter how far the breath, you ask me
if I can feel you as I climb into the sunrise
There is no sparrow that can ever be faulted for his melody.

-- anna ruiz


april 5, 2010

he, the four oclock pig

king ringo buries his head
beneath the hood of a '78 ford
at a wrecking yard on 130th & bellaire,
grinds a wrench with greasy hands
grunting like a four-oclock pig
he ressurrects a carburator, a hose,
various and sundry wires & fittings,
he hears the distant thump thump
thump of bass blasting from a
chevy streaking past, some kind of
rap or hip hop, the sweat that falls
from beneath his trucker hat is the
same sad beat, gravel on the path
as he limps past, a hint of tar &
limestone, piecing a car back
together is a kind of art we practice
here in cleveland, gasoline like
acrylic paint, pilfered parts like
vincent van gogh's lacerated ear.

-- markk


march 29, 2010

Matinee Motel - The Musical

it has rained all day
all up and down Brookpark
Gene Kelly is splashing
dancing singing physicality
as we strive to attain
that dripping technicolor joy
absorb some music some
lyric quality that will
roll back this rain
momentarily stem the tide
as we each alone hold fast
to our several ghosts
and try to kiss them
back to life.

-- dan smith


march 22, 2010

a sort of levy senryu

d.a. levy
Cleveland sun! @$^%&*+= gone Buddha poet
our junkmail oracle.

-- dan smith


march 15, 2010

poultry on parade

at wade park oval,
fowls look at the last Duckling
Oh yes! He is larger than the others
and perhaps not so pretty,
but - TURKEY (_interrupting_).
Make no excuses for him, madam.
We can see for ourselves what he is.
GRAY GANDER. In all my life
I never saw anything so ugly!
WHITE GOOSE. He is neither duck nor goose!
Nor duck nor chick! TURKEY.
I'd be ashamed to have a turkey look like that!
RED ROOSTER. I'd allow no hen of mine
to claim him! MADAM DUCK.
Come now, come now, friends.
The poor child is not pretty,
up at Case Western, he is good,
and he can swim even better than you.

-- michael gabrial


march 8, 2010

The Luck 'O the Irish

Back in ’26, the handsome
Irish-American mayor
of the “Cicero suburb of Cleveland”
was indicted for violating
the Prohibition Laws.

Ten cartons labeled “ale”
and four 5-gallon cans containing alcohol
were confiscated in a raid at his home.

His wife claimed she didn’t know
the raiders were in the house
until they entered the bedroom
where she was resting.

The cartons and the cans were found
under the baby’s bed.

“ I was keeping
the beer and alcohol as evidence
seized from a truck
last week.”

One of his cohorts,
who happened to be
the village dry agent,
was charged with
impersonating a federal officer
while ostensibly in pursuit
of a truckload of beer,
which subsequently eluded him
at West 73rd and Lorain.

“ Hold that truck for me,
I’m a federal agent.”

His Honor,
known to go by the name of George O’Malley,
was arraigned for possessing smuggled goods:
18 cases of Canadian ale,
which dry agents traced to his home
after they had mysteriously disappeared
from the town hall.

An ouster petition accused him of
intoxication while in office;
possession of liquor;
accepting a $1,000 bribe;

And a couple of minor offenses.

-- brian dorsey


feb. 28, 2010

onward cleveland soldiers

they march
in unison
these sons
of the union
onward cleveland soldiers
your death waits
like a birthday present
that you never
planned to open.

-- michael gabriel


feb. 21, 2010

under my skin

it’s a form of subtle persuasion
the smells of the city
on the shores of a frozen lake
the revelers retreating after
the band has finishes their final riff
the memories the sounds carry
onto Euclid Ave. and then as far as West 6th
an after-hours walk along the river
for conversation and late-night coffee

we dodge the swirling snowflakes
and the Lake Erie windy bluster
as it slaps our cheeks and asses,
to remind us that its there
looking for the car
we head back to more familiar ground
yet it doesn’t escape me
that you’ve gotten under my skin
in a way I hadn’t expected

your buckeyes… oh.. your buckeyes
sweet and terminally sinful
your Towers and evening skyline,
glowing city streets that hover
in the alleys of my mind
your bakeries and backwaters
bookshops, museums… and Tremont
your Chinese dumplings
served up steaming
the aroma of your Italian pastries
served up fresh... am I dreaming?
with a sidewalk view
they have a way of lingering
fragrant and inviting to a stranger

you’re an art haven, a lakeside matron
but you’ve become much more
than just the one night stand
you’ve reeled me in,
make no mistake it took a while
you’ve become an acquired taste
the unsuspecting warm embrace
that caught me by surprise
beckoning me to come, again and again
to explore you, know you and
feel satisfied by your subtle grace

I’ve explore your curves and byways
straddled your flow and your riverbank
and know I can never let you go
because oh Cleveland….
you’ve gotten under my skin

-- c. m. brooks


feb. 14, 2010

Better Luck Next Time

“This isn’t heaven,”
said Grandfather,
“ This is Cleveland.”
- The Stupids Die

I’ve never been to hell,
But I’ve lived in Cleveland.
I’ve never been to heaven, either.
The closest I ever came was Hot Dog Heaven!

I’ve had visions of
a North Coast Hades,
and it’s like:

Sitting in the splintered bleachers
of old Municipal Stadium,
with an incurable case of Indians Fever,
watching the cellar-dwelling Featherheads
lose forever.

Getting towed to the City Impound Lot,
concealed below an imploded air bag
for eternity.

Disappearing into the sinkhole
of a Rockwell Avenue water main break,
never to resurface.

Floating among hundreds
if not thousands
of dead sheepheads
in the storm sewer runoff
called Lake Eerie.

Listening endlessly to
a tape-recorded message
from the United White People’s Party,
delivered by a revolting
West Side dicktator.

Drinking lukewarm P.O.C.
at Judy’s White Oak,
palais du punch extraordinaire,
desperately trying to avoid a shiner.

Waiting in vain for the Rapid
on a snow-belted,
25-below-zero day,
until even hell freezes over.

Hopelessly combating ravenous
Canadian Soldiers
on a sweltering summer night,
with no screens,
no air conditioning,
and 95 percent humidity.

This isn’t heaven!
This is Cleveland!

--Brian Dorsey


feb. 7, 2020

freezing drizzle

what is the place
of the name of the
ocean, the lake & the
river, a notion i did
not take into consideration,
on a curb in tremont
she sits with her face in
her hands, i don't know
her, but i know exactly
completely perfectly
the way she feels

-- michael gabriel


jan. 31, 2010

freezing drizzle

It has been said one can't step
into the same river twice.

they found the frozen body
of a woman near the railroad tracks
where Train and Vega Avenue
a Canton man is on trail for the revenge
murder of his own children and his
ex wife's mother.
In Loudenville, Ohio two cats were killed
by arrows drawn by
the next door neighbor.
The musicians of the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra
have put down their instruments
on strike over their contract

Haiti digs out of her rubble,
buries her dead and tries to
feed the living.
Hysteria comes and goes
another day comes to pass,

Where has all the music gone?

You speak of rivers, my Beloved,
exigencies and crosses
prayers and lonely dreams,
we are they who carry torches
in the elongated night of our blindness

I am weary, my Love.
I seek comfort in your arms.

All I have for you is this skin, these bones,
this freezing drizzle inside the marrow of
my life.

-- anna ruiz


jan. 25, 2009

hey man that's my blood

electric emmett
says he was fightin'
with his girlfriend
when she picked up a
scissors, stabbed him
in the back, he reached
behind him and felt
something wet, looked
down at his fingers &
exclaimed, "hey man,
that's my blood!" electric
emmett, livin' in one of
them old houses near
e. 65th & lexington,
staggered out into the
street, & beheld the
magic of eternal love

-- markk


jan. 18, 2010

South of Heaven

The city’s still starving
But I’m much too tired now

To cover every corner with
Lines, letting each word
Echo like the pain from
Its ghetto alley ways

And the piss filled
Tenement halls,
The once alabaster
City and negro screams

How can I cover
With lines what has
Already been destroyed?

Chasing Kerouac’s
Shadow, wishing I
Could write like
Jim Carroll-
I’m running so fast
So fast but I can’t
I can’t keep up

I’m nowhere near
The man enough
To resurrect you,
My own dark corner
Of the American

Seeking redemption
Amidst the stifling
Absurdity of a mad
Sad world, the gods
Are fucking us-
Let’s find a way
To fuck them back

But this is Cleveland-
The gods never
Save you.

We’re always
South of heaven

--Aedan Cagney


jan. 4, 2010

if the biograph theatre was at playhouse square

she was wearing red
when i walked out of
the theatre at playhouse
square, nowhere to go,
elliot ness gunned me down
in the dark of the alley, no,
i was not the butcher
of kingsbury run, i was
a poet with a fedora, &
my crime was these words.

-- michael gabriel


jan. 4, 2010

a blanket of sorrow

if you shut up
& listen instead
of talk, you will
hear the words
that moses cleaveland
spoke on a frozen
january day so long
ago, when nothing
was promised &
the orange burn
of the fire was like
pigment upon
white skin, & all
tomorrows were
waiting to be woven
like a blanket of sorrow:
"i think i will piss
upon yonder tree."

-- markk


dec. 27, 2009

the end

oh cleveland,
why do u hate me,
u eat me for dinner
in the final lamplight
of a destroyed year
i plead my case in
yr court of high tears,
& throw myself on the
mercy of the judge,
i forget everything
i ever knew about u

-- michael gabriel


dec. 21, 2009

2 My Home Town


I gave to you the words
For poems that no one
Else would write
I told of
Your blacks
Your whites
Your saints
And your junkies
Of midnight

I wrote of
Your love
Your rage
Your pain
And your decay

And from the stoop
Of a Baptist church
On E 93rd, to a
Drinking stool in a
West Park bar,
I saw it all

I let the world know
You were struggling
But still standing tall

And yet you’ve given me
Almost nothing
In return

They don’t even show
Me love in the
Old neighborhood
Something about how
Prophets are never
Welcome in their
Home town

-- Aedan Cagney


dec. 14, 2009

This Poem is a Public Service (for d a levy)

Listen when I talk you little nothings
Little zinc-heads in the cupboards
By the rattling plates
And the nutpicks and the mallets
And the napkins and the forks --
When it comes it will come
As a surprise.

Inconspicuously they are laying tracks
Up every porch of every home in this city.
Into each room and every squeamish store.
Through the backdoors of slaughterhouses
Where sides of nothings, rubber carpets
Hang on hooks
Circling the sour and bloodstained floors
Like pedestrians.

Stop doing what you're doing.
Stop tapping your feet.
Stop asking can you be excused.
And what are you going to do about it,
For your lusterless bodies?
And your partners? And the children?

By now you have noticed no one signs on
For the detail of love anymore.
They say get yourself another stooge.
Let this one have the dirty job. Am I
Your slave?
It was called cooperation.

At the depot boxes and boxes of kits of lives
Pile up on the loading dock
Squealing for hands.
You can't count on the help
To lift a single finger.
We expect a little something
A special extra some kind of bonus
For his type operation.
You're better off dead
The rich get richer.

At night freight trains cross state lines
So no one can see the lines of giant zeroes
On their backs, three to a flat.
Each one weighs tons and enemy agents
Are snapping them up,
They think they're our replacements

The other tracks they let decay
Like rows of teeth a thousand miles long.
The enamel starts to chip, the sugar
Does its work.
Between the lean and rotting ties
Grown dogs howl
Like flapping cloth.

You blind little ninnies cry for sweets.
You ten ton babies kick at your baskets.
You've outgrown your usefulness,
Why don't you go home?
Who can take care of you in times like these?
Who can put up with the things that you do?
If you knew a trade --
If you worked with your hands --
There must be someplace else?

Monday they stuffed my secretary in the outgoing file.
Followed by a cut in pay.
Thursday my office turned up missing.
I miss my memoranda.
Now they're asking for my shoes back.
It has just been announced, we have
Run out of weekends.

I am lifted on a stretcher and carried
Out of court.
A paper airplane where my eye should be.
I had taken my complain to the top of the top.
For a judge he struck me as immature.

Plain and simply we caught up too far too fast.
Now no one is safe in his own suit of clothes.
No one is secure for a second.
The machines have started to nag
They say
We bitches are hard to satisfy.

What we have in mind is a generation
Of animals.

Desperate losers mechanical slapstick
You dumb seamsters you have snipped
Your antennae.
What happened to your sense of humor?
You've been trapped for days
Between floors on an escalator.
Think. Everything
You see you make gauze.

Businessmen walk the streets
Wet with expressions of loss.
They stop and speak with everyone they see.
Where are all the buildings,
They want to know.
There used to be buildings.
Hold my hand, I couldn't bear
To jump from a tree.
Good sir can you direct me
To the nearest revolution?

Listen you dumb nothings brown nettles
Red gristle dumb people.
The housewives in our city are
Grinding their arms into sausage.
All our shops are boarded up.
Newspapers lick our streets and broken glass
Makes pretty sparkles.
The president has taken to wearing his shirts backwards,
He's taken to giggling.
You can beat this thing, he says,
And explodes.

What nonsense, this town
Is crawling with reptiles and pimps
And you know it.
Each one of them busies himself through the night
Plotting your underground surprise.
You luggage was sent on ahead.
A list of patrons is circulating,
People you spoke with only this morning
Have signed up for double
Triple hitches.

At night mechanics rub burnt cork on their cheeks
And drum till dawn on the hoods of junked autos
With hammers and socket wrenches.
Children all around the world have
Stopped falling down. Their nails are clean.
They've stopped hurting themselves
And stopped needing you.
In your company they have started
Crossing their legs.

If you hadn't realized
If this comes as a shock
If you didn't know by now
Things are coming to a head.
The lonely beast you keep in the cellar
That wails and wails
Only last night pulled all the red pins from his map.
All your lovers have written your name
A dozen times and torn it up again.
Every stone in every field takes careful aim
And flies. Things are getting
Sticky everywhere.

What can you do, you want to know,
To help yourself through this difficult transition.
How to defend yourself or explain yourself
When what has been heading your way all your life
Arrives with its vengeance.
Are you prepared, the trains are pulling out
Everywhere, bound for unknown destinations.
Fuses are lighting in every bedroom.
There has not been a successful suicide
In weeks, and you sit
Playing with your hands in your lap.

What is it oh what is it, oh,
The name of the song, our song
That's been stuck in your head like a rusty needle
For what seems like years.
Are you coming? Are you going?
You pitiful people you
Tiny nothings your fractured lives
You can't rise up from, can't speak out of,
Can't pierce the membrane that you
Call home, can't break
The quiet that's killing all that you love.

This poem is a public service.
When it speaks to you


-- Michael Finley


dec. 7, 2009

relentless opaque

winter now weighs upon me
like a freight train sneaking
into the The Flats, returned
only recently to its industrial
roots as it waits in silence for
resurrection, in athens we
used to put pennies on the
the railroad tracks, & the
trains would reduce them
to copper pancakes, eyes
wide like little kids, but in
cleveland the nights are
colder & the last taxi just
left tower city, i see it rolling
across the detroit-superior
bridge, in an atmosphere
of osmosis, relentless, opaque

-- michael gabriel


nov. 30, 2009

nothing's burning

there is nothing burning today
the smoke has vanished into
thin air like amelia earhart,
like hiroshima. my heart is
finished with its drama of
burning, the case i make for
redemption, renewal, the
transitive nature of my bleak
contemplation. the coals have
faded to black, carbon &
gray ash. i commit this residue
to the fangs of the earth. on
a street corner in a ruined
cleveland neighborhood, i
ask questions & get no reply,
no sparks, not even the faintest
trace of ignition. my father smoked
old gold cigarettes. when he lit one
the smoke always drifted in the
direction of my face, no matter
where i stood, or which way
the fugitive wind was blowing

-- markk


nov. 23, 2008


i sit at a desk &
talk to this woman
who has a job, sees me
as a number, another
dark statistic, my reign
is over, in this city
where i landed 20
years ago, in a warehouse
in downtown cleveland,
where i have worked
for the man, for myself,
my family & friends, now
i wait out the days like
a chunk of Ray's Sausage
in the market that no
one will buy, because
right next door, all
of the bodies of my dreams
are buried in shallow
graves, murdered by me

-- markk


nov. 16, 2009

i admit it

i admit it i know nothing about humans
much less myself
have we become oblivious
to our neighbors
on our little patch of 30x120
is the tv blaring,
the arguments so loud,
our lives so hurried
that our neighbor
on Imperial Street
buries 11 bodies
and we never heard even one
i'm sick to death of society,
i know not how serial killers
are formed
i know not what went wrong
in their synapsing mind,
some will call them
evil, some will say crazy
as a fox
i just know that if we don't know
what is happening next door,
it's way too close for comfort.

-- anna ruiz

nov. 9, 2009

A Cleveland Cacophony

Several days ago I listened to
the Cleveland Orchestra
and Franz Welser-Moest
play so well in Linz.

“One of the ten best orchestras in the world,”
“An extraordinary musical experience,”
“A wonderful concert evening,”
the local critics raved.

In the very same newspaper
I read that Cleveland’s
not doing so well at all
on Imperial Avenue.

Just another twisted movement
in a Cleveland cacophony.

-- Brian Dorsey


nov. 2, 2009

cleveland ouch!

ouch cleveland, hits me
where it hurts, ouch cleveland a
punch in the gut, the best of
times, the worst of times,
ouch cleveland, a knife
in the back, a kick in the
crotch, ouch cleveland
cleveland ouch!

-- michael gabriel


oct. 18, 2009


Just a pickup band,
after all these years
and countless miles,
back in the garage,
where it all started,
The only audience,
a handful of neighbors
twisting in the driveway.

But from the first drum riff,
as crisp as the October night,
the joker conned the thief
and it was four decades earlier
with the bass shaking the walls,
Tom howling tunes at the sky
and my antique Big Muff box
making my '72 Fender as smooth as ever.

And yes,
we're a bunch of old men now,
with bad knees, stiff fingers,
and smoke-graveled voices,

has-been's and never-were's,
purveyors of long forgotten songs,
but the moon was bright,
the beer was iced,

and there was rock
and roll
and rhythm
and blues
and even though there ain't no surf in cleveland , brother,
a couple neo-noir instrumentals
that we nicked from The Aqua Velvets.

What more could you want?

-- j.e. stanley


oct. 24, 2009

Revelations after Stopping the Car for Partridges

The cancer invaded her
and even though
they tore it out,

she feared it would reappear
in some far away territory
her doctor never visited
like that city in the Yukon
where you can only arrive by boat.

She is afraid to leave the house
after dark in Grosse Pointe
and she imagines me
in a ditch by the side of the road
when I travel to Cleveland

But, I still want to rise
above these towns, these smokestacks
and throw the dynamite
to forge my path.

She doesn't know
that I feel my lymph nodes
when I wake at 2 am
and sit up in the dark
or that I stopped the car
on a dirt road
just to watch
a pair of partridges pass by.

-- Heather Ann Schmidt


2009 poem o' the week archive

2008 poem o' the week archive

2007 poem o' the week archive

2006 poem o' the week archive

2005 poem o' the week archive

2004 poem o' the week archive

2003 poem o' the week archive

2002 poem o' the week archive

2001 poem o' the week archive


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