“At the End of War”, DeWitt Clinton / Review, Interview, Poems

“Prayer is said Standing
A Barechu, a call to Worship
We have not bothered, we are weak
We are too weak to even Speak
Every day is our Yom Kippur”
Reading the Tao at Auschwitz, VII, DeWitt Clinton, At the End of War (Kelsay Books, 2018)

DeWitt Clinton’s At the End of War moves with a graceful precision weaving Old Testament  stories with contemporary life, visits to the opera or cafe. Here and there are notes of humor as in On Leaving Socrates with His Jailer and hints of middle-America folksy, as in On the Way to Church Camp, Mother Meets the Devil. He speaks in many voices, blending the perspectives of Judaism and the Tao, slowly moving into the unspeakable tragedy of World War II and the Jewish Holocaust. This is the main event, if you will, of the collection, the obscenity of it layered with sacred ritual and text, an unflinching attempt to come to terms, to find identity, to rise above, to move past. The collection derives its name from the closing poem, which is after Wislawa Szymorska’s The End and the Beginning. 

Wislawa Szymorska begins her poem with:
“After every war
someone has to clean up.
Things won’t
straighten themselves up, after all.”

DeWitt Clinton closes his collection with:
“Brooms. everybody, find all the brooms.
Can anyone send a letter? We need to let
someone know this has happened.

“Tomorrow we can start burning our families.
Surely someone will see the smoke.
Surely someone will come.”

We are in tears as we close the book. We are at once bathed in despair and hope. How many brooms will we need to clean up after all the wars and genocides? Do we finally grasp the futility of war? Will there ever be an end to the genocides of which twenty-four are happening as we “speak”? / J.D.

The excerpts from At the End of War are published here with permission. This book is recommended. / The quotation from The End and the Beginning is from Miracle Fair by Wislawa Szymborsk, translated by Joanna Trzeciack (W.W. Norton and Company Inc., 2001), also recommended.


(for my students of The Symposium, The Apology,

 Crito and Phaedo)

What started out as a sex wine party turned into a major

Mind concussion for my students, but still, we waded

Through the prose, hopeful they’d find out why

He insisted on so many questions, so many questions,

So many disillusioned Athenians. Yet toward the end,  

We could only face the charges, something about impiety

And influencing the youth, both trumped up, of course,

Mostly as a ruse to run him out of town, if he would go.  

But we knew he would not go.  We voted to acquit,

Even invoking Johnny Cochran’s “if it doesn’t fit,”

But sadly they were only seven at the time, more up

On Paris’s short sojourn than old football stars facing

Bogus trials.  Late in the day, we even considered assisting

Our friend out into the dark, but as you must know,

He trusted in the Laws even if the Laws never assumed

It would go this far.  We talked about “Prison Break,”

But few even had time to watch that, so busy chewing

The dense prose of friend/reporter Plato late on the scene.  

Most of us were quite done in by all the “soul talk”

Of those last pages, and then, we had to leave, some students

Actually having lost their speech, some needing crutches,

Some on life support, leaving our friend wandering

Through the underground calling out for Homer or Orpheus

Or anyone who wouldn’t mind sitting down for a very long

Conversation about nearly everything, since time is now

Beyond even Infinity.  That’s when I left, too, our poor

Cave-like classroom a faux jail cell, wondering if any of us

Could have comforted our gadfly, our inquirer, who is

Just now lifting his cup, resigned, cheery even. Au revoir,

Old friend, let’s hope your students do well on their final.

– excerpt from At the End of War  


JAMIE: I think it takes enormous courage to visit Holocaust sites – even to visit the museum in Los Angeles – and then to relive the experience through your writing. Would you speak of that?

DeWITT: One of the more provocative statements about art and The Holocaust is Theodor Adorno’s comment, “To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric.”  This remark can be taken several ways, including any poetry about anything after Auschwitz, or as I take it, poetry written about Auschwitz after Auschwitz is barbaric.  And why is that?  Perhaps because for all who died, and the few who survived at Auschwitz, and at all the other work and death camps, there was nothing “artistic” about it.  

Ralph Fiennes, playing the character of Michael Berg, in the film, “The Reader,” asks a child survivor of Auschwitz, “Did you learn anything?”  The now aging daughter, played by Lena Olin, replies, “People ask all the time what I learned in the camps. But the camps weren’t therapy. What do you think these places were? Universities? We didn’t go there to learn.” She continues by saying, “Nothing comes out of the camps. Nothing.”  

The death camps were neither schools, nor artistic experiences, but it is through art that we can at least remember some of what happened, even if it did not happen to the artist.  I’ve been writing about historical events for a number of decades now, and while the art is anachronistic, I think it is also an extension of that history as well.  I recall writing about the Spanish conquistador wars against the native Maya, Aztec and Incan tribes, (The Conquistador Dog Texts, and The Coyot. Inca Texts, New Rivers Press, o.o.p.) and the poetry is certainly not “accurate,” as a historian might write, but it is an artistic rendering of the horrible inflictions the native tribes experienced.  The same may be true for writing about the Holocaust. 

I’ve read historical renderings of the Holocaust, and read poetry and plays and memoirs about the Holocaust as well, and the latter are far more interesting to me as an artist. While studying the Tao de Ching with my undergraduate students, I began to consider a new path that I might take in trying to remember my experience of visiting Auschwitz I and II camps several years ago.  The result is an unusual fusion, and quite anachronistic, but I hope readers will ponder the insights of Lao Tzu as they read “Taoist like” poems of what the prisoners might have thought about as they were starving to death, or what they might have wondered as tens of thousands were marched to the gas chambers and crematoriums.  

I have read a number of artistic renderings of Holocaust experiences, and I hope anyone who reads “Reading the Tao at Auschwitz” will be open to considering a new lens to consider the horrors experienced by all who died, or survived.  I can also appreciate how survivors, or children, or grandchildren of survivors, might be appalled by such artistic renderings of mine.  It’s a long and difficult to absorb poem, but I hope it is also a valuable contribution to Holocaust literature.  

JAMIE: As a writer, what drew you to poetry instead of other literary options?

DeWITT: I’ve always imagined writing screen plays, novels, stage plays, short stories, novellas, and an array of other genres of imaginative writing, but I’ve been drawn to poetry ever since a college professor asked me to rewrite a prose piece to poetry.  Then I enrolled in a poetry writing workshop with the same professor my last semester, and though I can’t or don’t want to remember what I wrote in that class, the experience was quite wonderful, especially the instructor’s wife’s cookies.  I’ve been drawn to poetry workshops, classes, conferences, and retreats for quite some time now, and do I know why I’m still drawn to poetry?  No I don’t, even though I am still poking around for images and lines.  It’s just a huge joy to be able to still compose poetry, no matter what evolves from a writing session.  

JAMIE: As a beginning writer, what poetry most inspired you and why? 

DeWITT: I took a copy of Coney Island of the Mind with me to Vietnam in late 1969 and read it over and over, but not when we were being shelled or fired upon.  I may have taken other poetry collections, perhaps The Wasteland, but I’m not sure about what I read.  But I did enroll (by correspondence) in an extension class from the University of Kansas at Lawrence. The course was a fairly traditional reading class of modern poetry, and though I enjoyed it, I soon asked the professor if I could send him some scraps of poetry I’d been writing on a 105 howitzer firebase in Vietnam which would later become “The Spirit of the Bayonet Fighter,” published in Harper & Row’s Winning Hearts and Minds.

By the end of my tour, I was hoping to enroll in grad school at Wichita State University which offered a M.A. in English & Creative Writing, and later an M.F.A. and a Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing at Bowling Green State University (Ohio).   By then, and then was a long time ago, I was interested in what would later become a career of teaching English and creative writing, and hopefully, writing more poetry, and finding a few kind hearted editors.  The teaching career is over, but I still look forward to writing new poems, and I’m still sending out a few now and then.

JAMIE: What’s next on the agenda for you?

It occurred to me only a few days ago that I may have a third collection of poems (a second collection is in production with Michael Dickel, Gary Lundy, and Is a Rose Press, an adaptation of Kenneth Rexroth’s 100 Poems from the Chinese) as I’ve been writing much more since I retired from teaching a few years ago.  I’m not quite sure it’s ready for submission as a book, but I’d like to keep working on it.  One press has a deadline in late August, and I’m hoping to aim for that as a possible submission.  Poetry isn’t everything in my life, as I also appreciate the benefits of Iyengar Yoga, and training for races and triathlons.  The next big one is in Berlin, one of the 6 world major marathons.  I certainly did not qualify to be in the race because of my lightning speed, but instead I earned a “lottery” ticket, which was a random selection of thousands of hopeful participants.  Sightseeing a few days after, including a short trip to the Wannsee chateau where during a luncheon in early 1942, high ranking Nazi Party and military officers designed what was known as “The Final Solution.”  

“From this place
Ashes rising from this place
Ashes circling as far as one could see
Ashes circling over All
Over Everyone over Everything
Circling a constant circling
A rink forever circling
a constant ringing s’hma Israel”
Reading the Tao at Auschwitz, XVIII, excerpt from At the End of War  

Sh’ma Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Ecḥad
Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is One

Photo by Meredith W. Watts, “For Good” Photography​

DeWITT CLINTON  is the author of three books of poetry:  The Conquistador Dog Texts and The Coyot. Inca Texts (New Rivers Press), At the End of the War (Kelsay Books, 2018), and a fourth collection is coming out in late 2019 or 2020:  On a Lake by a Moon: Fishing with the Chinese Masters, (Is A Rose Press).  His poems and essays have appeared in The Journal of Progressive Judaism (with co-author Rabbi David Lipper), Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue, Cultural Studies< => Critical Methodologies, Storytelling Sociology: Narrative as Social Inquiry, and Divine Inspiration: The Life of Jesus in World Poetry (Oxford U Press).

A few recent publications include The Last Call: The Anthology of Beer, Wine & Spirits Poetry, Santa Fe Literary Review, Verse-Virtual, New Verse News, Ekphrastic Review, Diaphanous Press, Meta/Phor(e)Play, The Arabesques Review, and The New Reader Review.  He is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Wisconsin—Whitewater, and lives with his wife, Jacqueline, in Shorewood, a small village one street north of Milwaukee.  

DeWitt’s Amazon Page U.S. is HERE.
DeWitt’s Amazon Page U.K. is HERE.


Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poems in “I Am Not a Silent Poet”
* Remembering Mom in HerStry
* Three poems in Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
“Over His Morning Coffee,” Front Porch Review

A homebound writer, poet, and former columnist and associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, I Am Not a Silent Poet, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, an info hub for poets and writers and am the founding/managing editor of The BeZine.

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton


SUNDAY ANNOUNCEMENTS: Calls for Submissions, Competitions, and Other Information and News

Bob Seger Dedes I just adopted Bob from Muttville (recommended), a senior dog rescue in San Francisco. Bob weighs 4.74 pounds. He is thirteen years old. 91 years is the human equivalent. He is blind, deaf, has heart disease, a tad bit of incontinence, arthritis, and is missing almost all his teeth. The remaining teeth are to be pulled soon. He loves gumming chicken giblets. Bob fits in well with the rest of the senior community here where I live. 🙂 His care is slowing down The Poet by Day production, but I hope you’ll understand and bare with me. I’m buying him some time, comfort and love. I support and adopt from Muttville because they keep elder dogs from being euthanized prematurely. They rock big time.

“Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.”Orhan Pamuk,My Name is Red … Bob speaks to us of patience, acceptance, trust and unconditional love. / J.D.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Opportunity Knocks

CYBERWIT.NET is a collaborative effort that is the host of: Taj Mahal Review, Harvests of the New Millennium, Anthologies, and Stories. Based in India it also has a team in the U.S. and is interested in poets and writers writing in English. It’s new to me but looks like a rich resource for writers and readers. Check it out cyberwit.net.

Little Patuxent Review, Exploring Literature and the Arts will close for submissions on October 24, 2018. The next issue is unthemed, but “half the issue is dedicated to LGBTQI= writers in Maryland. This is a “community-based publication focused on writers and artists from the Mid-Atlantic region, but all excellent work originating in the United States will be considered.” No submission fees. No payment except for a copy of the issue in which your work is featured. Publishes poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and essays. Details HERE.

LIVE NUDE POEMS is an online journal. The editors say, “In trying to sum up what our aesthetic at Live Nude Poems will be, we are drawn to the idea and function of poetry.  In our opinion, we’ve always believed that poetry must serve a purpose – to enlighten, to explain and by doing so, bring a greater understanding of self.  We have a job to do as poets, even if only to better know our own humanity.  We’re certainly not here to argue what art is or why we write.  We write because we have to, and the work is unique to each of us.  Knowing that, we would like to showcase poetry that breathes and presents moments in time, work that helps us understand you, tells a story, changes the reader–if only for a second.”  Details HERE and HERE

MAGNUM OPUS: An International Poetry Anthology is expected to be published in 2019 and the deadline for submissions is 31 December 2018.  Editor: Dr. Vivekanand Jha  Details HERE.

RATTLE publishes poetry and translations of poetry and is open for submissions year round. Does not accept previously published work. There is no submission fee. Rattle is  currently seeking submissions from Persona Poems (i.e., the speaker is someone other than the poet) for the Spring 2019 issue. Deadline: October 15. Details HERE.

SARANAC REVIEW is open for submissions to a special section of its 15th Anniversary issue. The section is titled “The Wild” and the deadline is December 31, 2018.  Submissions of drama, fiction, nonfiction and poetry are open through May 31, 2019. Submissions: $3 each. Details HERE and HERE.

WEST TRADE REVIEW is open for submissions of poetry and prose for its Spring 2019 issue through January 1, 2019. Details HERE.


The BeZine

Call for submissions for the December issue.

THE BeZINE, Be Inspired, Be Creative, Be Peace, Be. Submissions for the December issue – themed A Life of the Spirit – close on November 10 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific .


Please send text in the body of the email not as an attachment. Send photographs or illustrations as attachments. No google docs or Dropbox or other such. No rich text. Send submissions to bardogroup@gmail.com.

Publication is December 15th. Poetry, essays, fiction and creative nonfiction, art and photography, music (videos or essays), and whatever lends itself to online presentation is welcome for consideration.

No demographic restrictions.

Please read at least one issue. We DO NOT publish anything that promotes hate, divisiveness or violence or that is scornful or in any way dismissive of “other” peoples. 

  • December 2018 issue, Deadline November 10th, Theme: A Life of the Spirit

The BeZine is an entirely volunteer effort, a mission. It is not a paying market but neither does it charge submission or subscription fees.

Previously published work may be submitted IF you hold the copyright. Submissions from beginning and emerging artists as well as pro are encouraged and we have a special interest in getting more submissions of short stores, feature articles, music videos and art for consideration. 


Opportunity Knocks

I have no new competitions to report this week; however, if you check some recent Sunday Announcements, I think you’ll find some shared in the last few weeks are still open.


The Poet by Day


Response deadline is Monday, September 24, at 8 p.m. Pacific.  Poems are on theme are published on this site on Tuesday, the September 25. Details HERE.

DON’T FORGET ON SEPTEMBER 29 as part of 100,000 Poets (and friends) for Change Global 2018

artwork courtesy of Corina Ravenscraft (Dragon’s Dreams)

AND DO VISIT US AT THE BeZINE ON SEPTEMBER 29 for our Virtual 100TPC with our world-class Master of Ceremonies, Michael Dickel (Meta / Phor (e) Play). If you are in Israel or going to be there for Sukot, please connect with Michael for 100TPC at Sukot.


  • DeWITT CLINTON for the publication to At the End of War (Kelsay Books). DeWitt just sent me a copy and it’s stellar.  Look or more on DeWitt [and other recently published poets] in upcoming posts. Meanwhile here’s what one reviewer said, “In DeWitt Clinton’s newest volume of poetry, he writes elegies to the past and present, poems that are lovely and compelling, but “always humble, always/ written in memory.” In sometimes long lyric-narratives, he interprets Biblical stories and honors the Holocaust, artists, and other poets, often in poems written in another’s voice, which allows readers another perspective.  These are poems of searching and discovery, of consequences and coming-to-terms, of family, friendship, connections – some strong, some tentative. He writers, “Perhaps that’s all we can do – wonder and wonder some more.”  Karla Huston, Wisconsin Poet Laureate 2017-2018
  • CLARISSA SIMMENS (poeturja.wordpress.com) for two of poems accepted for the  upcoming TL;DR Press women writer’s anthology schedule for publication at the end of September.  To learn more, see their announcement on their blog at: http://tldrpress.org/index.php/2018/09/17/tldr-press-announces-the-womens-anthology-lineup/  [Thanks to Denise – Poetry Curator – for the heads up on this.]

Accessible anytime from anywhere in the world:

The Poet by Day always available online with poems, poets and writers, news and information.

The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, online every week (except for vacation) and all are invited to take part no matter the stage of career or status. Poems related to the challenge of the week (always theme based not form based) will be published here on the following Tuesday.

The Poet by Day, Sunday Announcements. Every week (except for vacation) opportunity knocks for poets and writers. Due to other weekend commitments, this post will often go up late.

THE BeZINE, Be Inspired, Be Creative, Be Peace, Be – always online HERE.  

Beguine Again, daily inspiration and spiritual practice  – always online HERE.  Beguine Again is the sister site to The BeZine.

YOUR SUNDAY ANNOUNCEMENTS may be emailed to thepoetbyday@gmail.com. Please do so at least a week in advance.

If you would like me to consider reviewing your book, chapbook, magazine or film, here are some general guidelines:

  • send PDF to jamiededes@gmail.com (Note: I have a backlog of six or seven months, so at this writing I suggest you wait until June 2018 to forward anything.Thank you!)
  • nothing that foments hate or misunderstanding
  • nothing violent or encouraging of violence
  • English only, though Spanish is okay if accompanied by translation
  • your book or other product  should be easy for readers to find through your site or other venues.



PLEASE do not mix the communications between the two emails.

Often information is just thatinformation– and not necessarily recommendation. I haven’t worked with all the publications or other organizations featured in my regular Sunday Announcements or other announcements shared on this site. Awards and contests are often (generally) a means to generate income, publicity and marketing mailing lists for the host organizations, some of which are more reputable than others. I rarely attend events anymore. Caveat Emptor: Please be sure to verify information for yourself before submitting work, buying products, paying fees or attending events et al.






Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers. My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman. My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”

* The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton

“After Reading How Poets Often Die …” . . . and other poetic responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt


c Jamie Dedes

 “Poetry is a life-cherishing force. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry.”  Mary Oliver, A Poetry Handbook

Here are the diverse, thought-provoking and engaging responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, the transformation of things, June 27, 2018. As Debbie Felio said in comment to the post, “… sometimes transformation is not a beautiful process, but hard won” … and sometimes transformation doesn’t quite happen.

Thank you to Paul Brookes, Renee Espiru, Debbie Felio, Sheila Jacob, Carol Mikoda, Anne G. Myles, Marta Pombo Sallés, Sonja Benskin Mesher and to newcomers DeWitt Clinton (whose new collection will be out soon), Vageesh Dwivedi (a novice showing much promise), and Taman Tracy Moncur (an activist poet and Brooklyn girl like me, I suspect). The work of these poets certainly enriches the day for all of us.

Contributor websites/blogs are added so that you may visit and get to know one another. I hope you do. Some don’t have sites but you can probably catch up with them on Facebook.

Enjoy! … and do join us tomorrow for the next The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: novice, emerging and pro. 

After Reading How Poets Often Die, I Do Hesitate to Read
Ou Yang Hsiu’s “Reading the Poems of an Absent Friend”

Some old poet friends are not dead
Yet. One even lives exiled in far
Away Japan. Perhaps I’ll disappear
As I’m too old to be discovered
By any up and coming new
Lit clique. What part of friends
Stays in the sublime end of my
Old mind? Sometimes when I read
They’ve died I’d just as soon
Close the blinds and stay reclined.
Most all stayed up all night
Just to finish their new lines.
Now they’ve got their good books.
I do hate reading what they’ve
Spent their whole lives on
And I hate it that they’re gone.
Sometimes I have not written all
Year and when I do I know it’s
Nothing more than old oatmeal.
It’s incredible how long I’ve
Been drawn to this poetry life
And how often I can’t even
Find a word or two to make
Anew, and wonder, who turned
My brain into yummy worms?
Once I found an old Pole’s
Book of lines, left the day
For nothing else except to turn
More pages all the way to night.
I never am too keen to
Reread some old medieval
Gore but I could pick out
Any poem and think it’s
Something quite new. I wish
I knew what poets do.
Most men wouldn’t be caught
Dead writing with short lines
Would rather count the scores
Of grown men running plays.
I told my wife the other day
How long I’ve been devoted
To this quiet task of digging
Through what I already knew.
So if I could I’d just sit
Right here in our red room
And gaze outside to find
What brings such joy inside.
In fact I’d take my old dead
poet friends, and a few lines
made last night, catch the next
starry ride right out of here.

© 2018, DeWitt Clinton

DeWitt tells us, “This poem is one of 114 I’ve adapted from Kenneth Rexroth’s One Hundred Poems from the Chinese and the entire collection is forthcoming from Michael Dickel’s is a rose press.

DeWitt Clinton

DeWITT CLINTON is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, USA.   Recent poems of his have appeared in the Santa Fe Literary Review, Verse-Virtual, Peacock Journal, Ekphrastic Review, Diaphanous Press, Meta/Phor(e)Play, and The Arabesques Review.  He has a new collection forthcoming from Kelsay Books. He lives in Shorewood, Wisconsin.​


With bewitching beauty you walked again,
And the years of temperance, was all in vain.

The whisper’s melody was still the same,
And the longing ears ,were in heaven to acclaim.

Neither tequila nor the weed,
Your addictive eyes quenched the need.

Pattern of your long braided hair was well acquainted,
As if the steps were learned yesterday,that my fingers repeated.

It felt like the time stood still,
Unpacking each and every dimensions of my will.

And then came into play, My futile fate,
Rushing wildly through my window, as if it was in haste.

The breeze was soothing ,but brought the pain,
And my only lifeline was disconnected again,
Still didn’t open my eyes, struggling to connect again…

© 2018, Vageesh Dwivedi (dwivedivageesh)

Vageesh Dwivedi

Vageesh writes, “Currently I’m doing B.tech from mechanical engineering. I like to write and express. I’m from Uttarpradesh, India.”

The Ultimate Transformation

Seniors captured by time
now prisoners in a body
no longer in sync with the mind…
A body transformed
through ages and stages
forming the persona that resides within…
That persona forever in search of new dominions
living out dreams and schemes
reaching heights of happiness
encompassed by depths of despair…

The body grows weary
eyesight becomes dim and bleary
days flee as hearing fades…
The bones no longer dancing
to the rhythm of the heart…
The bones captivated by a falling star
shoot through the galaxy
with a proclamation
announcing a new soul ready
for the ultimate transformation…

© 2018, Tamam Tracy Moncur (Mercer Street Blues)

Tamam Tracy Moncur

TAMAM TRACY MONCUR says, “I enjoy writing. I write for the sheer pleasure of writing. Writing helps me organize my world and express what matters to me at any given moment in time. I’ve been a Civil Rights activist, taught elementary school for twenty-five years, worked with my husband, Grachan Moncur III arranging musical compositions and performing. In 2008 I self-published a book entitled Diary of an Inner City Teacher, a project that was very close to my heart. I am now a retired teacher, a community activist, and a seasoned senior who still loves to write.”

The Gift

A small dark shape on kitchen tile
Stared at by our cat,

Move closer, it is a sparrow bairn,
Chest balloons out as my sigh releases.

Scooped up, as I take it out to the garden
It stands on the scoop.

Over the fence our neighbour stands hunched
in dark tears “My mam won’t be coming out of hospital”

My breath caught.
The sparrow flies away.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

a became a river

One day atta work,
a goes for a skinny dip
in a quiet stream
a knows

Unbeknownst to me stream
were a lad called Whitey or Gain
and he falls for us.

A flits naked from his wattas
an he changes into a fella
an chases atta us.

I ran until am cryin’
an shartin fo help

r boss covers me in a cloud,

but Whitey, waits watches
where ma wet footprints

Am so afraid break art
in a cold sweat pouring
off of me a becomes a river.

Whitey changes to watta
an mingles wi us.

From Paul’s collection The Headpoke And Firewedding,  Alien Buddha Press, 2017

© 2017, Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

Lass Is Stone

Spunk sees Cruel lass from afar
gobsmacked by her looks
he gets smitten hard
and determines she’ll be hooked

Asks her mates for her mobile number,
and all her social media pages,
scours internet for details,
winds himself up in rages.

Gets his message through once
or twice but she mocks him
” Fancy me. You do right. I’m gorgeous”
and promptly blocks him.

Finds her home and knocks
and her Dad answers and says
“She don’t want to know, son.
Thinks your a stalker. Away!”

Writes his first letter and posts
it personally through her door,
it tells her she’s won and he’ll be gone
she can celebrate and more

she can see him lose his life
which is all he has left for her.
Cruel scoffs at this but goes along
for the crack and laughter.

She sees him throw a rope
already knotted around a beam
put his neck in the noose
and let out a scarifying scream.

Then she feels herself harden
stone thoughts
stone mouth
stone neck
stone chest
stone limbs
stone heart

calcified flesh and bone
a statue.

© 2018, Paul Brookes, (Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

Biddy To A Young God

You have planted fresh
delight in these eyes
that sprout visions again
as when I was a young girl.

You have breathed
through my cold embers
and stroked warmth
into this thin skin.

My face has plumpness
and reddens
as your hands find flesh
for my angled skull.

My limbs no longer bare
begin to dress themselves
with buds and colour
for your lustful eyes.

Perhaps these changes
are only in your eyes,
and this puddle reflection
may be false, a false Spring.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

The Usher

The wind bears no animosity
nor is it fickle

as appearances
are always in flux

though transformative it will be
ushering in both life
and death

for the Anemoi brings forth
all seasons
in turn

where one day the breadth of it
blows clear the darkest clouds

emanating life giving sun
sweet scented

the next morn could bring
a stillness of breath
pollution a miasma
of death

yet still always ushering in
tempests and squalls
a familiar to rain

leaving a swath of destruction
to change yet again
with the softest
of breezes

that seem to settle within
touching, reflecting
life’s gentle

Anemoi the gods of wind
are the ushers of change
a transformative

© 2018, Renee Espriu (Renee Just Turtle Flight and Inspiration, Imagination & Creativity with Wings, Haibun, AR, Haiku & Haiga)

Once Upon a Time

Working with children is what I said I would do
Eight years of higher education said I was ready
Children from poverty, neglect, abuse
I’d create safety to help calm the unsteady

of their worlds where parents weren’t there –
out searching for something to calm their addictions
leaving the young ones abandoned and scared
easy to make that outcome prediction

I’ll work with the children and not the abusers –
the parents, their friends, whoever committed
these horrible acts – I am the accuser
and judge and jury – against them I’m pitted

’til I heard their stories of their own horror
and I realized abused children grow up
without anyone being their restorer
to sanity and filling their self worth cup

imitating was all they could know
trying to be different had no guide
resulting in return to the old ways, though
reassured them of something to hold on inside

so I’ll work with the children and just their families
but I can’t get involved in all the systems
that confuse and contribute their own brutalities
often retraumatizing rather than helping the victims

But who am I kidding when I say I will not
it’s all so related – system, child, family
there’s no way to separate it all out
that is what I’ve come to see

So whoever you are, whatever’s been done
I know there’s much to your history
No one has to go it alone
who can judge your journey – certainly not me.

© 2018, deb y felio


How would it feel
to be you, green
and generous fern,
spores wind-lifted
last winter, rehomed
in my garden’s earth?

In July’s humid heat
I hanker to slip
from my carapace,
shrink beside ribbons
of grass, mingle with
star-trails of ivy.

Would I sense
my uncoiling,
my spearing upward,
fanning outwards,
filling spaces
of air and light?

Would I hold
in my spores, dream
ancient forests where
ferns swayed billions
of years ago,

grew tall, wide,
helped shape
the landscape?
Patterns repeating.
Images imprinting.
Fossils in rock.

Fern, you’ll outlive
my flesh and bone.
I high-five
your nearest frond.
Sun warms
your silent nod.

© 2018, Sheila Jacob

The Shell

Yours was the first corpse I’d seen
though I wince at the word: harsh,

impersonal, which in a way it was
when I stood in the Viewing Room

that midwinter morning, half-afraid
to kiss you, say a final goodbye.

I recognized you at once, pleased
they hadn’t lacquered drifts of white

hair, replaced pink pyjamas and cardi.
But your arctic face chilled my lip

and I knew if I knelt close, pressed
the curl of my ear against your breast

I’d hear no crash of waves trawling
the coral and driftwood of ninety years,

no echoes of a gushing, hushing ocean
scooping your sacred breath in its tide,

turning at the moon’s far rim where
your soul left its shell and took flight.

Published two years ago in Ben Barnyard’s webzine Clear Poetry

© 2016, Sheila Jacob

( transformation )

changes one.

transform metransform me too.jpg

transform me three

transform me four

transform me five



© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher

. preparing the way .


check the task, ready the mind.

let thoughts mellow and compute

nicely.  we will be all ready on the day.

we have a plan, whilst gratitude guides

us. nothing is necessary, except

collars and socks.

some will understand,

while others will not.

it was a hay loft, converted

now, the upper room.


© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Constant Change

Everything you are made of begins
in a gigantic transition
as universe explodes into being
stardust becomes everything
transformation begets you,
your sister, your cat, the bees,
the tree, stones, water,
so: stop. Cease all striving.
Stop all struggle. Breathe: in, out,
like a butterfly coming and going,
to this flower, that flower.
Rest. Stay in this tender space. Before
you know it, without aid of will or anxiety,
you arrive in a new place
the right place, just the right
place. No harm will come to you
as your divine self
slides gently into that personalized
pocket on the overalls
of The Universe of Now.

Because what can we do but laugh?
Because what can we do but laugh?
Because what can we do?
Because what?

© 2018, Carol Mikoda (At the Yellow Table)

The Other World

At eighteen, I stepped into the other world,
the one that sounds fantastical but is not.
Drainage pond at the bottom of a hill on campus,
behind it a small straggle of winter woods,
beyond that, a path towards the sports fields.
Grass still green in the mild mid-Atlantic,
twiggy dried milkweed standing and fallen.
Plain as plain, just hidden, just waste.
An ordinary afternoon, and I felt surfeited with reading;
walking down the hill, I cast away my mind.
At the water’s edge I looked at the surface;
the water looked back at me. The world had eyes:
perceived me as I perceived it, all the same.
The bare treetops in the distance moved in my arms.
I felt the cawing of the crows that rose inside my chest.
But no crows there, no chest here, only that cawing,
that burning and empty annunciation
of how we too are the shine in the tufts of the cracked pods,
falling and lifted in the wind through everything.
All of this I could see, while I rubbed my eyes,
as if to dislodge a film that was not there.
This happened. I was a freshman, with no one to tell.
Why do we seek imagined worlds? We know nothing
of what is real, how wondrous and complete.

© 2018, Anne G. Myles (How public — like a Blog —)

I Danced the Night Ferociously

I danced the night ferociously
before I couldn’t learn to walk.
I heard all winds wanting to talk
but ignored them atrociously.

I cut them all with fearful sword
and showed my ridiculous mask
which was for me an easy task
blind as I was dancing aboard

a ship of horror to instill
my ugly laugh on anyone
who thought my doings were ill-done.
I laughed with my most perverse will

unaware of the coming change
that would lead to a transformation
to be expressed with great devotion
displaying a wonderful range

of what I could never suspect
but just love showing its beauty
colors dancing with their duty
to the rhythm of new effect

© 2018, Marta Pombo Sallés (Moments)

And so was the dance:

If you are reading this post from an email subscription, it’s likely you’ll have to link through to the site to view the video.


Upon the highest cliff something awakes

Below is the turquoise-blue ocean glare

While the sun reflects on its silent waves

A butterfly rises up in thin air

My wings felt the warmth of a cloudless sky

I breathed the air and found pleasure, yet

My heart was afraid of flying too high

A sudden descent and I became wet

I saw myself sinking relentlessly

Into the depths of the darkest ocean

Radiant sun and blue faded callously

As I sank with vertiginous motion

A butterfly turned into a falling rock

Could I possibly change my destiny

Could I ever recover from this shock

Or stay in the dark, its immensity

Direful sinking, the dark blue around

Yet looking up, the sight of turquoise-blue

And sunrays despite a fall, that profound

Spoke of the anchors I could hold on to

My arms and legs started to swim upward

A rapid ascent as its previous fall

Reached the surface of the sea so awkward

And saw myself at peace as I recall

Across the ocean so confidently

I swam and could have even sailed a boat

Looked at the world with some complacency

The butterfly can fly, I am afloat

© 2016, Marta Pombo Sallés (Moments)


Unlife, a voiced video from Paul Brookes’collection A World Where (2017, Nixes Mate Press).  Painting by Jenn Zed.

If you are reading this post from an email subscription, it’s likely you’ll have to link through to the site to view the video.


Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. Currently I run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers.

My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman.

My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”