Monthly Archives: March 2013

Walt Whitman’s House in Camden, New Jersey by Frank Higgins

Searching down the burnt out streets
as if driving through World War II Dresden,
we pull up to the curb to ask a man directions,
but he calls us dead meat and we speed away
past hookers and kids who throw rocks,
and finally we find Walt Whitman’s house
like a war-time safe house behind the lines,
but the door’s locked; we ring the bell
and wait in the locked car
till a woman opens the door and welcomes us
and we try to ignore her knife scar from cheek to chin
as she guides us to the guest book
where we notice we’re the first guests in three days,
and she leads us from room to room
and shows us his desk, and says,
“This is where he wrote,”
and we stand staring at Whitman’s desk
and recite our favorite lines:
“Afoot and lighthearted, I take to the open road,”
“I hear America singing,”
“I sing the body electric,”
“And now conceive and show to the world
what your children en-masse really are,
(for who except myself has yet conceiv’d
what your children en-masse really are?)”
but we’re interrupted by excited voices
and we look out to see kids kicking our car
and without a word our guide calls the cops
and after the kids run from the siren
we run to our car and take to the open road,
crossing the Delaware in full retreat
in a way Washington or Whitman
or even Jack Kerouac could not conceive:
a huddled mass yearning to breathe free
by gunning our engine behind locked doors,
and with the cops on speed dial.

Frank Higgins has had plays produced across the country.  He is also the author of two books of poetry and two books of haiku.

My Son’s Renaissance By Melissa Zamites

After the illness
Years of night
Only flashes of dawn

My son’s joys re-emerge
Dandelions through cracked concrete

I’m giddy and laughing like a drunk and weeping
Stumbling through town with a slap happy grin
Because nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen
And Lordy troubles don’t last always!

God’s turned back the clock
My son’s twelve on the outside
And maybe four on the inside
It’s back to story time with the preschoolers
And learning conversation

Stare if you want
But my son is back in the land of the living
Tickled and giggling
Swinging in the park
Running through the zoo

Sometimes nightmares
Strike again by day
My son’s terror returns
He is lost in a tunnel
My eyes reach in and pull him up
My arms are his tree to climb out

Snowflakes streak the sky
But in our house
The floor is fertile green ground
The eggshell is breaking
The foal is shaking and standing
And the lamb of merciful sunrise
Has turned the lion back into a house cat

Pier Park by Becca Yenser

Mother,
how did they
destroy the neighborhood
soul by soul
on the street
of children’s chalk
I am still
remembering the trees
I guess it was a forest That one guy went missing
and then the other guy got shot
Oh my stars
My mom
My poor dog
Who believes
every word I say:
I’ll report what I can,
just as soon as I know.

Becca Yenser works and writes in Portland, Oregon. Her words have appeared in: kill author, Knee-Jerk Magazine, and Filter Literary Journal. Forthcoming is a semi-fictional, quasi-tour guide of Ms. Pac Man machines in Portland. She likes paying attention.

Letters From Home by Steven Hamp

Sometimes,
the routine is broken,
allowing room
to understand
the creativity
that shows itself
in brilliant style.

Often,
the information provides
a sense of time
to discover
the caring
that is celebrated
in grateful joy.

Always,
the expression is open,
giving insight
to recognize
the courage
that is measured
in personal strength.

Steven Hamp is a photographer, writer, and poet who has resided in New Mexico since 1981.  He has been published in various local publications.  His poetry was recently selected as part of the 200 New Mexico Poems on-line collection, and has appeared on-line at the Duke City Fix.  He currently lives in Albuquerque.