Current occupation: English instructor and florist
Former occupation: secondary English teacher
Contact Information: Kathrine Yets lives in St. Francis WI. She instructs English at various universities. Her chapbook So I Can Write is freshly published by Cyberwit. The Animal Within is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press.

 

#

Avoiding

 

I just watched 1 hour of videos on how to make cakes.

My hair is curled almost by single strands.  

Outfits picked for the next two weeks. 

Snapchat filters of bunny face with eyes enlarged. 

I'm beautiful.

Discovering the perfect combination of Kool Aid and sugar. 

What does my eye color mean?

Google. Google. Google. 

Scroll my wall.

Wash my walls. 

That picture on the wall looks crooked. 

Straighten.  

500 emails and 75% are ads,

20% newsletters, 

5% students asking me to grade their papers…

Should probably do that. 

After I watch this cat video. 





 

 

Current Occupation: English Professor


Former Occupation: Furniture Delivery


Contact Information: Jared Pearce's collection, The Annotated Murder of One (2018) is available from Aubade. Some of his poems have recently been or will soon be shared in Xavier Review, Panoplyzine, Cacti Fur, Fleas on the Dog, and BlazeVOX. Further: https://jaredpearcepoetry.weebly.com.

 

#

Market

 

I check out the booth

across the lot and feel my eggs

are just as good, my rhubarb

barbier, my radical radishes.

 

And still I slash the prices, barely

enough to pay the water, wanting

to feed America a little unsprayed

apple, a potato from virgin earth.  

 

Hamburgers leave a little sauce

inside their wrappers that sticks

to my tarp as the litter bugs

cast their papers to the wind.

 

I ask the guy across the lot

how it’s going, hope it rains

then shines, hope static taxes.

He’s not sure he’ll do it next year.



#

When the State pays you, you serve the State.

 

It was decided the tomatoes were over

and should be stripped and ripped,

their cages unwound and flattened for

storing, their mound of green fruit

 

piled on the steel tray, shiny and tight—

on the point of bursting, little stars

attracting enough to ignite into flavor,

pop the fetters of their fragile skin,

 

and now frozen. There’s a recipe

for them, taken at this age, so as to make

up for their inexperience, their lack

compensated by leavened breads and

 

aged cheese and foreign spices.

We’ll make those young things

save the nation, we’ll groom them into

the patterns of our formulas,

 

the revelations of our acres of data.

This is what they want. I position my mini

serrated knife and grind in. No use

saving the seeds—we already have this kind.





#

   Systolic

 

Observing nurses learning how

to find and name the heart’s low thump,

I heard the teacher guide the class

and watched them trace the murmuring lump,

 

when I was told that I was far

from poetry and literature,

for in the body runs a red

so different from wordy art.

 

I let them tease me for a while

and thought how poems track a life,

like medicine and doctors’ parts

of finding leaks and fixing smarts,

and how iambic pulses draw

a view of life to make us wise.

 

Current Occupation: College Principal
Former Occupation: Vice-principal
Contact Information: Sunil Sharma is a Mumbai-based senior academic, critic, literary editor and author with 21 published books: Seven collections of poetry; three of short fiction; one novel; a critical study of the novel, and, eight joint anthologies on prose, poetry and criticism, and, one joint poetry collection. He is a recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award—2012. His poems were published in the prestigious UN project: Happiness: The Delight-Tree: An Anthology of Contemporary International Poetry, in the year 2015.
Sunil edits the English section of the monthly bilingual journal Setu published from Pittsburgh, USA:
— https://www.setumag.com/p/setu-home.html 
 
 For more details, please visit the link:
— http://www.drsunilsharma.blogspot.in/

 

#

A worker and conservator

 

A migrant from South India

some place there

nobody is interested in

to know;

 

lean-thin

the man speaks in an

accented Hindi

 

a worn-out smile

due to the daylong hard labour

under a canopy of a small shop

in the expanding

suburban Mumbai

 

sells lentil-dough for making

crisp idli  to the working women

 

he quietly

 

daily 

 

waters few plants

on the divider of the broken street

opposite

 

the dough-water

revives the saplings

planted by the municipal corporation

and forgotten afterwards!

 

Marginals 

 

The wandering January morning comes to put a blanket of fog on New Delhi—the hub of the Indian power and other moguls—now attracting migrants of all hues. 

From the barred window can be seen the outlined figures shuffling around mysteriously in the direction of the dump, obscured. 
Then pop out of this moving grey curtain, waifs, startling the detached viewer, at the window— 
Three semi-clad urchins with plastic sacks bend their slim backs. 
The trio scavenge the debris of the parties held in various apartment blocks 
Of that pricey neighourhood. 
 

They bounce with elan on the bare concrete, 
smiles not diminished by the cold wind, and, unshod feet. 

After retrieving, they cheerfully pass on a bottle of Coke rescued from that 
source of their daily food and livelihood, as a family of the excluded and the deprived, in the midst of the plenty. 

A Happy New Year to the Great Republic!

 

 

Current Occupation: Retired, Reviews editor for Adirondack Review
Former Occupation: Technical Writer and Teacher
Contact Information: Charles Rammelkamp is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore and Reviews Editor for The Adirondack Review. A chapbook of poems, Jack Tar’s Lady Parts, is available from Main Street Rag Publishing. Another poetry chapbook, Me and Sal Paradise, was recently published by FutureCycle Press. An e-chapbook has also recently been published online Time Is on My Side (yes it is) –http://poetscoop.org/manuscrip/Time%20Is%20on%20My%20Side%20FREE.pdf  Another chapbook, Mortal Coil, is forthcoming from Clare Songbirds Publishing. A full-length collection, Catastroika, is also forthcoming from Apprentice House.  

#

Sam Spade Got Me Hired and then Fired

 

I’d just graduated from college and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next – what sort of career I might pursue.  While I sorted through my options – essentially different graduate school programs; I didn’t have much ambition – I read Dashiell Hammett novels, no longer burdened with homework reading assignments. The Maltese Falcon, Red Harvest, The Dain Curse. I was especially captivated by the Continental Op, the nameless private investigator for the Continental Detective Agency in San Francisco, and I thought maybe that’s what I’d do, become a private detective.

 

So naturally I started with the classified ads in The Boston Globe.  I was living in a studio in Kenmore Square at the time, next to the Charles River. That was how I became a security guard for an outfit called Guardsmark, first step into the world of crime and detection. In my gray trousers with the blue stripe down the side, ersatz policeman’s hat with the Guardsmark emblem on the bill, the shiny hard plastic visor, the badge straight from a cereal box, I looked like a guy going to a costume party. The employees at the places where I had my assignments – university buildings, warehouses, hospitals – all seemed to regard me as vaguely ridiculous, pathetic. I didn’t care. I had my Raymond Chandler novels – having read all of Hammett – and all night to read, while I made my rounds with the watchclock key.

 

Unfortunately, the job got to be very boring very fast.  After bouncing around the area, from Revere to Quincy, I’d settled into a long assignment at a hospital on Summit Avenue in Brookline, the smell of disinfectant pervasive and discouraging.  I thought long and hard about taking the GREs and applying to graduate school. Philosophy? Literature? History? In the meantime, I was still reading the ads and my eye was caught by a weeklong program at a Professional Bartending School on Boylston Street. It sounded like it might provide more of the excitement I’d envisioned as a detective. Quotations from Hammett started coming to me. From Red Harvest:  This damned burg's getting me. If I don't get away soon I'll be going blood-simple like the natives. 

 

And then I thought, why not try my hand at some hardboiled prose?  I had my boring nightly reports to fill out – time in, time out, all quiet – and who was reading these anyway? Anybody? At first it was just small descriptive stuff – It was about eleven o’clock in the evening, mid-October, a bright moon behind a veil of clouds in the eastern sky…

 

But soon I’d added suspense. I was sure I’d heard a noise behind the cafeteria door and cautiously made my way in. The room was quiet, so deathly quiet it made me nervous. The sound of my heels on the linoleum was like gunshots. I couldn’t actually make up any incidents, so the prose itself had to do. The “atmosphere.” I’d never seen a community so gripped in fear.

 

Unfortunately, the hospital administration was not amused. That’s who was reading the reports!  When I arrived at work one night, one of the Guardsmark supervisors was there to meet me. It was the 1970’s, in the age before the internet, and I  didn’t have a telephone in my Kenmore Square studio apartment. This was the only way they could get in touch. Fortunately, Nick Asaro my supervisor, had a sense of humor, and as I’d already handed in my two-week notice – I was going to go to bartending school and take the GRE! – he let me go on my resignation letter, instead of terminating me. How would that have looked to a prospective employer, after all, that I’d been fired as a security guard for creative writing?

 

Current Occupation: English Professor


Former Occupation: Furniture Delivery


Contact Information: Jared Pearce's collection, The Annotated Murder of One (2018) is available from Aubade. Some of his poems have recently been or will soon be shared in Xavier Review, Panoplyzine, Cacti Fur, Fleas on the Dog, and BlazeVOX. Further: https://jaredpearcepoetry.weebly.com.

 

#

Don’t let me down

 

    1

A new vision, it’s true,

can be climbed to at

the ladder’s top,

 

but it also shows what

everyone knows: if

you fall, you die.

 

    2

The rungs trembled

and bucked as I went up,

the rails dipped

 

and rose though 

the locks bit in: 

unafraid, it’s nice

 

to return again to 

the paint-splattered 

earth, like it wants me.

 

    3

I locked the extenders

after putting the ladder

under the roof’s peak,

 

atop the first-level roof.

I climbed above the sheer

drop to my right, clung

 

with my left to the burning

asphalt, and froze.

Dad’s voice seemed

 

to still to me: Don’t worry,

boy, do the job. There

was a breeze; I lunged

 

with my brush to cover

as much as I could reach,

determined after Dad’s breach.

 

 

#

E-Sports

 

The glories of the pixel gridiron,

the ulnar collateral pop and ping,

the deft glance, the precision

crosshairs, we must have you

save our university.

 

Our data spreads mean a little bread

yeasts our way if they come play.

 

The recalibrated bandwidth

opened like angioplasty, pro dreams

swamping us like swollen revenue

streams, pressures beating as we

watch the teams on screen.

 

We want them to spend

their money here, rather than elsewhere.

 

#

Prairie Restoration

 

The ice was supposed to

help, but it slipped below

us and let the seeds, sprayed

from the broadcaster, slide.

 

We didn’t see much

sign of deer or bird, and lay

our hopes in the graying

world, waiting for another storm

 

to blanket down and warm

life into growth. A farmer

came by to say he’d never seen frost

seeding, and took a picture.

 

We trudged the hill to prep tomorrow,

stash our gear and tuck

the sacks for the north acre. We can see,

in our minds, how it could be.

 

 

Current occupation: Reporter

Former occupations: Soldier, janitor

Contact Information: Joseph S. Pete is an award-winning journalist, an Iraq War veteran, an Indiana University graduate, a book reviewer, a frequent guest on Lakeshore Public Radio, and the author of the forthcoming books "Lost Hammond, Indiana" and "100 Things To Do in Gary and Northwest Indiana Before You Die." He was named the poet laureate of Chicago BaconFest, a feat that Geoffrey Chaucer chump never accomplished. His literary work and photography have appeared in As You WereO-Dark-ThirtyThe Grief DiariesGravelSynesthesia Literary JournalChicago LiteratiDogzplotshufPoetryThe Roaring MusePrairie WindsBlue Collar ReviewLumpenStoneboatThe Tipton Poetry JournalEuphemism, and elsewhere. Like Bartleby, he would prefer not to.

 

#

Region

 

A Region tattered but tough, 

rusting but resilient,

soldiers on every workaday day.

 

The stalwart clock-puncher in a fading 

Union Proud T-shirt always shows up on time

as those raging blast furnaces burn eternally

against that endless churning lakefront.

 

Refinery effluvium and open hearth miasma

sometimes yield to redolent ethic aromas 

escaping through open windows:

cevapi, halupki, ciorba, mici, menudo.

 

Baking hot asphalt and chain basketball nets

dominate the landscape of brick and grit and grime,

hastily slapped-up tags and plexiglass barriers.

 

Century-old mason-mortared buildings succumb 

to the inevitable rot of time’s relentless onslaught.

Plywood boards occlude gaping gaps

as neighborhood property values plunge.

 

Lots sit vacant and weed-ridden, 

but even on the most barren patch of urban frontier

a wild prairie flower can bloom brightly.

 

 

Current Occupation: Independent consultant and writer

Former Occupation: Consultant

Contact Information: Tom is a poet and independent business advisor living in San Francisco. He spent 32 years as a human resource consultant for a global consulting organization. He has written three business books and many serious articles and now writes sardonic verse, much of it commenting on business practices he observed (and helped create) and on social phenomena that amuse and bemuse him. You can read his writings (verse and other) at http://www.worklodes.com. Procure a copy of these and other poems Spring 2020 in his collection, “Get the Hell to Work,” to be published by Kelsay Books.

 

#

Stress


 

You’re feeling stress today, I sense

Your brow is knit, your posture tense

Did I just hear you whine a bit?

I urge you to get over it

 

We all have tasks that must be done

We work, you know, from sun to sun

Just like an old-time farmer’s wife

Our life’s our work, our work’s our life

 

The workload’s grown a lot, that’s true

Could that be what’s oppressing you?

Demands are high, the time is tight

Perhaps that keeps you up at night

 

I heard your spouse is leaving too

Your monthly mortgage payment’s due

Your car may soon be repossessed

It’s no surprise that you are stressed

 

These strains, I’m sure, could make you ill

You might just need to take a pill

Prozac? Xanax? or Tylenol?

That’s just a few – you know them all

 

Or you might have a heart attack

And if you did, would you come back?

Or would it lead to your demise?

For, as we know, everyone dies

 

If you should die, for heaven’s sake

I promise I’ll attend your wake

Unless it comes at our month end

You know how busy we are then






#

Traffic


 

Today is the meeting, the biggest all year

I’ll need 40 minutes to get there from here

The GPS gives me this very good news

It starts in an hour, and so I can cruise

I’ll stop for donut, my favorite nosh

I’ve plenty of time to arrive with panache

 

Drive out of the driveway, right, left, and then straight

I’ve truckloads of time, so no way I’ll be late

Swing wide toward the on ramp, that curvy asphalt

And that’s when all progress just grinds to a halt 

Ahead, endless rows of inert metal blocks  

Not moving at all, they’re like so many rocks

 

Each one is adorned with two glowing red lights

Electric tomatoes, one left and one right

They stretch on forever, and yet they don’t budge

They’d been there for hours, if I were to judge

And meanwhile the clock’s hands are spinning with glee
To mock me, they’re saying, “You’ll never break free.”  

 

But then a solution takes shape in my brain

A way that perhaps I can lessen the strain

The car pool lane beckons me, just to my left

A black flowing river, of traffic bereft

The imp on my shoulder says, “Do it, who’ll know?”

My conscience? I dropped that off six miles ago

 

Check mirror and signal, cross over the stripe

I’m nervous for sure, not the law-breaking type

At 75 I can get there in time

And with any luck I won’t pay for my crime

But what’s in my mirror? One more blinking light

Pull over, it tells me, it’s red and it’s bright

 

I come to a halt, I’m resigned to my fate

At least now I have an excuse to be late




#

Cooking the Books


 

The culinary arts, his specialty

Transforming sour results to taste more sweet

While skillfully avoiding penalties

The master of the dubious spreadsheet

 

He mixed the apples with the orange fruit

Confusing those whose prying eyes spied in

No cause could they devise to prosecute

For never did he spill a single bean

 

Sautés and stews and casseroles his range   

A million ways to fricassee the books

Protecting value on the stock exchange 

More skilled by far than other crooked cooks

 

And once a year he’d throw a grand soiree

His April 15th greenback barbecue

The menu ran from salad to sorbet

Not present there? Internal Revenue

 

For he must forestall paying our tax claims

Those levies he cannot fail to defray

Else profits will all disappear in flames

The books won’t be cooked – they will be flambé-ed