The Joy of Writing

I typed my doctoral dissertation

in the driveway of our old

house in Ohio hoping for

a head start on my spring tan.

I sat in a nylon-webbed lawn chair

wearing my swim suit on a sunny

seventy degree afternoon.

My Smith-Corona electric typewriter

sat on two cases of empty Stroh’s

longneck beer bottles tethered by an

orange extension cord to an outlet in the garage.

Of course, I had a cold one

sitting beside me on the concrete

to sip between paragraphs.

The warmth made an onerous task more palatable

and drinking beer made me feel like a rebel.

My committee would have found

this scenario hateful; not befitting a scientist.

But after I graduated, I took a job at a major university

and cranked-out research for the next thirty years.


Today I plan to go outside with my laptop,

sit by the pool with a beer and write some poetry.

The elitists at prestigious poetry journals

would probably not approve.

I won’t always be writing about mythology, muses,

classic oil paintings or arcane issues in philosophy.

I won’t necessarily be structuring my verse

as a pantoum, sestina or villanelle.

But as a writer and a reader, I know

there is something to be said for enjoyment.


William Ogden Haynes

William Ogden Haynes is a poet and author of short fiction from Alabama who was born in Michigan and grew up a military brat. His first book of poetry entitled Points of Interest appeared in 2012 and a second collection of poetry and short stories Uncommon Pursuits was published in 2013. Both are available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback. He has also published over seventy poems and short stories in literary journals and his work has been anthologized multiple times.


The physician fired my father

For insubordination.

Dad couldn’t regulate the dosage

Or himself.


He is hibernating in his room,

Eyes closed and face turned.

Suspended and silent,

Deep in thought.


David S. Drabkin

The Crossed Legged Caretaker

He’s been dead quite some time, six maybe seven years I’d say.  He passed right here in this house.  That was the way he wanted it.  He didn’t want doctors and nurses poking away at him until there was nothing left.  I don’t think he found much honor in going that way. 

Years ago he built his own coffin right there in the garage.  He spent three months smoothing and notching the pine until it was just so.  He put so much lacquer on it that it shed water like a duck’s back.  I’ll rot long before this pine box does he told me one night. 

When he finished it he carried it in and stood it upended in the corner.  It was one of the strangest things I do believe I’ve ever seen.  That coffin standing contoured and waiting in the corner. It wasn’t exactly an omen.  Then one day he brought some boards in and tacked them across.  He put a few dusty volumes on the shelves, an old hickory clock, and the birch whittled wood figures he carved.  It looked like any other bookcase.  Why, whenever we had company they would complement him on it.  He would just smile real big like and say thank you.  That was the kind of man he was.

When he passed the coroner came to the house.  He went out to his van to get a bag and I told him he wouldn’t be needing it.  I took down the volumes, the hickory clock, and the birch whittled figures and put them on the vestibule.  I knocked out the tacks and took the boards out and told the coroner to put him in the coffin and save his bag.  He just stood there trying to think of something to say.  That’s quite clever he finally said.  Thank you I said and smiled real big.

Then he took the coffin out and ever since I have needed some place to put these volumes, and clock, and figures.  Don’t you know he built one for me too.  I was hoping you’d help me carry it in and tack the board across. 

Jeremy Sexton

The Life We Live

You are young,

You always want to run.

feet would rather resist friction,

tugging beneath

the soles of your shoes,

than to compromise;

With resistance.

a constant battle,

throughout your youth;

You are disillusioned,

you want to travel faster,

than the sonic booms.

The electricity glistens;

You get older,

Feet start to develop

an appreciation for friction,

You gradually ease off;

The ignition,

had an epiphany

don’t need to sprint,

into the ground,

that will inevitably,

force you under.

Retrace your steps,

drawing every line in reverse,

want to reclaim youth?

It’s alluding you.

advanced so far in life

yet the waves

still succeed each other,

and the projections in the skies,

still creep until they meet their demise.

ask yourself, a paramount question,

“Why did I run so much?

when my skin was smooth,

when life didn’t feel so fragile?”

You start to notice things,

How the sun gleams

in the summertime;

how the flowers bloom,


An aesthetic marvel.

you utter,

It’s the process of human nature,

mathematically calculated;

into the circle of life,

but even so,

before you realize it,

your heart rapidly skips,

before you turned to dark,

so why the realization abruptly

why wait until eternal


when trying to formulate

constellations in your head

until you realize that you are finally dead.


Chris Ozog


Christopher Micolay Ozog is a twenty-one year old aspiring author and poet residing in the college educated town of Ann Arbor Michigan. Chris was Raised by two dedicated polish immigrants who once fought for their freedom in a movement that was proclaimed; “The Polish Movement Of Solidarity” during the height of the countries communism in the early to mid 1980’s. Chris has stated that he draws a substantial amount of his influence of poetry and literature from his parents who instill in him a diligent mindset. His parents put a strong emphasis on the value of literature and education which has stuck with him throughout his years of life. His affinity for the music, particularly of indie rock, can be seen in his poetry as he has drawn extensively from lyricism of that genre as well as Rap. He cites his top influences as Matthew Caws from Nada Surf, famed rapper K’naan, Michael Jackson, and rapper brother ali. He is also a fan of literature admires the workmanship of J.D. Salinger. He celebrates his Birthday On December 6ht, 1991.

Grackles and Lace

Deep in summer drought, most songbirds have split,

maybe flew north to the lake country.

One skittish cardinal flits about in the shrubs

protecting her nest, but the rest have left.  


The pair of catbirds that chirped liltingly

in a halting sequence of whistles and whines

in the dogwoods and pines all through June

became restless after the fourth of July, mewed

menacingly for a few days, then hit the road.


Now a flock of glossy black grackles rules the yard,

iridescent, boorish, raucously chucking and reedie-eeking,

thrashing at the bird feeder, scattering seeds, 

splashing wildly in the bird bath, bullying 

chickadees, finches, chipmunks, and squirrels.


Yet across the parched yards, ditches, and fields

of tawny straw, march wispy armies of Queen Anne’s Lace,

undaunted by dry heat, nourished on adversity,

swaying delicately, chanting–blessed are the meek for they

shall adorn the mass graves of the human race.


Jerry McGinley


Jerry’s work has appeared in many literary magazines and anthologies. He is currently working on his sixth book, tentatively titled “Lake Redemption.” It will be a collection of stories and poems.

Keeper (for Megan Mclaurin)

That last image of you from college was enough to undo me right there. Parked nudging the curb of the lot, you sat alone in there, staring down between your naked toes, a fat camel, the trendy ones that year, the ones you turned me onto, squeezed between your clinched fingers, which hovered above the open window as if anticipating a need for escape.  Your eyes were distant, nodding against the broken rhythm of my voice, trying to make you see me.  We hadn’t spoken in close to two years, which seemed then like something made up, an improbable youth conjured from death and hope.

To be back there again, I thought, to that ecstatic newness of escape from family, the shock of lips I’d longed for.  The discovery of drunken autumns.

That would make things better.

A misunderstood melancholy boiled with the heat in that faded green Civic, and my inelegant words were scorched and mangled by it upon arrival.

The solipsism of me, unable to see in your shocking eyes that what you longed for was a return to a time before you knew me, when your father was still alive, and when guys like me never mattered enough for friendship, our insistence laughable and easily disposed of, like the ash-filled cups lying on your passenger floor.  I was a part of those meaningless things gathering around you, things you have since thankfully swept away.

It’s taken me awhile to understand the truth of what I was then, and why your distance was just another part of your strength in coping, and why, as I walked away from you that day, I felt as though I had never seen such sadness; such beauty.

Adam Cheshire


Adam is a writer living in Hillsborough, NC. His previous work appears in The Broken Plate, Boundoff, and Vine Leaves Literary Journal.

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