Recent Posts

10 November 2016

Can you die of a broken heart?

Researchers have looked at what goes on in the brain,
and for lovers and addicts it’s exactly the same.

Those who are newly in love
experience joy in their minds from a dopamine flood.

And it’s this same pattern that goes on in the brain
as that which occurs when you’re hooked on cocaine.

So in the first throes of passion you’re literally addicted to love,
and that's probably why those feelings all hurt so much.

From Can you die of a broken heart? on BBC iWonder. Submitted by Ben Mellor.

08 November 2016

Almost never losing

My whole life is about winning.
I don’t lose often.

I have a great relationship with the Mexican people.

All of the women on The Apprentice
flirted with me – consciously
or unconsciously.
That’s to be expected.

I have a great relationship with the blacks.

I better use some Tic Tacs
in case I start kissing her.
You know I’m automatically attracted
to beautiful women,
I just start kissing them,
it’s like a magnet.
You know when you’re a star they let you do it.
You can do anything.
Grab them by the pussy.
You can do anything.

I have tremendous respect for the Japanese people.

You know, it really doesn’t matter what they write
as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.
But she’s got to be young and beautiful.

Part of the beauty of me
is that I am very rich.
A person who is very flat-chested
is very hard to be a 10.

Black entertainers love Donald Trump.

Well, someone’s doing the raping, Don!
I mean, somebody’s doing it.
Who’s doing the raping?

With the proper woman you don’t need Viagra.

I almost never lose.

Who’s doing the raping?

Things that Donald Trump has said, found on The Collected Donald Trump and 32 quotes that sum up Donald Trump’s election campaign. Submitted by Liam Gresby.

10 October 2016

Let's Bubble Up to the Surface and Smell the Numbers

now when things went south for you...
and the value has obviously increased...
that's my question where's the damage...

assume that everything went horribly wrong...
what's your damage assume your damage...

you can't just roll on and on...
let's make the motions...
let's start pushing this...

a healthy lawyer-to-lawyer relationship...
give me whatever you got...
to me it sounds a little skeptical...

so what I'm thinking is...
maybe what I can do is...
something like that could even...
if I have to hire somebody like that I just might...

you got burned on this one but life moves on my friend...
I think we need to take care of all the...
and then you and I will sit down and...

bubble up to the surface, smell the numbers...
get all our ducks in a row...
stop the hemorrhaging...

this is my stop I'm getting off...
call my girl...
we'll get your gravy back...

Fragments of a cellphone conversation overheard on the Long Island Rail Road. The speaker was a fast-talking suit who got off at the Jamaica stop in Queens, presumably to make his way up to the courthouse near there. Submitted by Derek Owens.

13 July 2016

Specific comments about certain aspects of the meals service

In reply to a comment about the
fish batter not being sufficiently
crisp, Mr Howe explained that one of the fish
friers was not working properly, but
that he hoped that this would be put right
in the near future.

Mr Howe also
mentioned that recently it appeared
that a small number of undergraduates
in lunch and informal hall were taking
two portions of sweet or cheese and biscuits.
The committee agreed with him that people
should not take an additional helping
which they had not paid for.

Mr Howe said
that there was a tendency for the pencils
to disappear from the ticket machines
outside hall; the committee felt that
for the benefit of others, people
should not remove the pencils from the ticket

Mr Howe was worried about
standards of hygiene in the ‘servery’
and thought that undergraduates could
play a part in preserving standards by
refraining from peering into the food trays.

Kitchen Committee meeting minutes from Fitzwilliam College Magazine, 1971, via @FitzwilliamColl on Twitter. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

01 July 2016

It is forbidden

It is highly forbidden
To charge for a long time
Under unattended condition
So as to avoid the accident

It is highly forbidden
To decompose
Or disassemble
The battery

Batteries are forbidden
To be used
Or kept
Under high temperature

When charging the battery
Covering the charger
Or battery
Is highly forbidden

Batteries are forbidden
To be stored
Or transported
With the metal object

Batteries are forbidden
To be thrown in the fire
Or get heated

Metal is forbidden
To connect directly
With the polarity
Of the battery

It is highly forbidden
To upside down
The polarity
Of the battery

From the user instructions for a Cheerson mini drone. Submitted by Allison Jeanne.

29 June 2016

Fail better

Is this your career?
Get a real job!
Writing postcards doesn't count!

Turn up the television.
Anyone can do it.

I don’t get it.
The window has shut.
Don't you even care?
Success depends upon money!
Asides must be dumped.

Your house is burning.
We're out of vodka.
Your document is blank.
It’s a good start.

Entries from a competition to spoil a writer's mood in 4 words. Submitted by Howie Good.

17 June 2016

The Ladies’ Love Oracle

It will be too glorious.
Go to your ruin, if you will.
It is needful that he be very good; yes, in spite of delays.
He will love you for a month.
Yes, at a country ball.

Wait, you will congratulate yourself,
Do not be uneasy.
You would be wrong by appearing frank and open.
Your least virtue.

No, my fine lady; be upon your guard.
By a more careful toilet, without doubt.
He’ll be handsome, like your present one.
The future will teach you it.

You ought not to hope. Why not, if you love him?
Yes, from midday to midnight.
Could you do without it?
Many things are opposed to it.

By a skillfully-managed intrigue
Don’t wait for it, you’ll only lose time.
Yes, a hussar. Yes, all except one.
Thy wit equals thy beauty.

Continue to ignore him.
You must renounce the world.
Handsome body, but deformed mind.
He smokes his segar and forgets you.

Count no more upon it.
It is useless.

Answers to oracle questions from Madam Le Marchand’s Fortune Teller and Dreamer’s Dictionary, published in 1863. Submitted by Lori Hahnel.

15 June 2016

Sweet poison

When I first started selling wild honey
the price was extremely high. Then someone
in Korea ate too much and died.

This year’s harvest: quarter of a teaspoon.
You have a few minutes before
you are overcome with an urgent need
to defecate, urinate and vomit.

After the purge, you alternate between
light and dark. You can see and then
you can’t see. A sound, jam jam jam pulses,
like the drone of a bee hive, in your head.
Then you lose all motor function.
The paralysis lasts for a day or so.

Normally we have to see a doctor
to get bad things taken out of our bodies,
but the honey does this for us.

From the caption to a National Geographic Instagram photo of wild honey. Submitted by Liam Gresby.

13 June 2016

Craig's List, Hope's Personals

I am real.
I hope you are too.

It rained in the morning.
Hope. Your. Our. There.
Friends, I hope.

I hope you find happiness
losing hope in women.

I hope I can find
someone tonight.

Craigslist Houston listings for 'Hope' including full words only, extracted 22 May 2016. Submitted by Jody T. Morse.

10 June 2016

a southbound Amtrak

a southbound Amtrak
passenger and mail train gone
when the windows clear

From an NPR news story some time in the early 1990s. One evening I turned on my car radio and the words in the poem were the first thing I heard. Submitted by John Maruskin.

08 June 2016

One of my hermits is moulting

What should I do?
Nothing. Moulters already
have to suffer from stress.
Disturbing them will make it worse.
Place a cave over them
to provide darkness.
Most will harden.

How do I distinguish a dead hermit?
Look for a claw in the shell.
The eyes should be hollow
and translucent.
The eyes of dead hermits
are dark in colour, just like
when they were alive.

How long should I wait?
You are better digging
up a dead hermit
three months later
than stressing one to death
that was alive and could
have surfaced on its own.

Why is my hermit being lethargic?
This is normal behaviour.
Offer protein and calcium.
There is not much else you can do.
Sometimes they experience
difficulty shedding
so they give up and drop.

Advice from Hermit Crab Paradise website, extracted 29 April 2016. Submitted by Linda Goulden.

06 June 2016

A visit

Every place on earth should be like this; unexpected.
On a good day, you can see forever.

Restful sleep for a windy place.
Tranquility is a marvelous experience
sound of meadowlarks in the morning, music
for the body.
Breath and love are everything.

This is sort of my home town.
Where my father went to school,
took piano lessons.

I had stitches on my hand in this place –

Nice to be back home,
to see the old schoolroom and
place where I was born

Different than I remember it as

Hope we weren’t too much trouble.
Thanks for the beer.

(You will remember me by the broken chair)

Entries in the visitors' guest book at the Convent Inn in Val Marie, Saskatchewan, Canada, noted during a visit in the autumn of 2006. Submitted by Shannon Bruyneel.

03 June 2016

Mystery in Sochi

They are about two inches wide,
squarish, and five inches tall.
They hail from the Toggenburg
Valley of northeast Switzerland,
and they are held in the highest
regard by experts around the world.
They are glass bottles used to hold
athletes’ urine samples.

From Mystery in Sochi Doping Case Lies With Tamper-Proof Bottle,Rebecca R. Ruiz, New York Times, 13 May 2016. Submitted by Evie Groch.

01 June 2016

Spring is here

I've just been amazed at how rapidly
the last few weeks have flown by - like
tiny little birds not like
Canadian geese
who are like the B52s
of the Avian world.
I have more bird poop
on my car recently.
Spring is here.

An email from my boyfriend. Submitted by Debby Thompson.

31 May 2016


Did you try the Shell?
Did you try the motel up the street?
What do you need the phone for?
Your pharmacist?
Sure. Here you go.
Yes, here you go.
Well I'm sorry I don't have one.

A conversation I had with a lady near my job at a Family Services office in Surrey, UK, 10 May 2016. Submitted by Wanda Kehewin.

26 May 2016

Of Monarchs and Milkweed

With the cacophony
of Interstate 35 traffic as a backdrop,
Tyler Seiboldt stands
on the side
of the freeway

with three other researchers,
scanning the ground.
Three ragweed, Seiboldt says to the group.
Litter one adds, Julian Chavez,

a research assistant
in the environmental science department.

Their seemingly indecipherable utterances
are the start of two days’ study
of plants along the interstate

from San Antonio
to Laredo
and back again.

From Of Monarchs & Milkweed by Michelle Mondo, Sombrillo, The UTSA Magazine. Submitted by Ash Connell.

23 May 2016

Julia Chesley is Moving to Cape Cod

Julia Chesley says the world keeps on spinning, but as for me, i haven't moved in years.
I strongly dislike catering. It is something I’m doing for now. I don’t want it to become my life. That makes me feel guilty every now & again. I’ll never be the one to take over my parents’ business
Julia Chesley is moving to Cape Cod in nine days.
Julia Chesley is moving to Cape Cod on THURSDAY!!
I just need a change from New Hampshire, from catering, from all the loneliness. I will leave my problems here, and just go.
Julia Chesley moves to Cape Cod TOMORROW!
I’m not really nervous at all.
Julia Chesley regrets procrastinating. Also (only slightly) regretful of the number of books to be moved. Oh dear...
My books are my best friends, and I need them. I can’t leave them. It would be like leaving pieces of my life.
Julia Chesley has the van loaded & is ready to go!
Rebecca Tolman Bryant wrote: Good luck! I hope you find what you are looking for.
Julia Chesley is moving today!! Much ♥ to NH...Cape Cod here I come!
Good bye New Hampshire! I'll be back to visit :) I'm moving to Cape Cod today. I'm excited & only a little nervous. No job yet, but the plan is to do whatever it takes to pay the bills in the beginning (i.e. waitress/caterer...eugh)...
Off on an adventure!
Julia Chesley lives on Cape Cod.
There, and writing it makes it so… if you can call this sea of boxes really living. Who am I without my sisters? Bailey, do you know?
Julia Chesley "I don't know who you're talking to/I made a search through every room,/but all I found was dust that moved/in shadows of the afternoon."
The apartment is so empty, so still.
Julia Chesley needs to find a second job. & fast.
Julia Chesley is making dinner.
For herself. Alone. Bailey watches me.
Kelsea Forsberg writes: how is the cape?!?! I'm so jealous Julia! Have you found a job or anything like that?
Ashley Campell wrote: How is your new life? ha ha
Julia Chesley HATES spiders. Eughhhh -shudders- NOT cool.
They are all over this house. And I think I see them everywhere. There was even one in my bed. I am not telling anyone about that one.
My status is: blank at the moment, but it might be “exists quietly” because, well, I do. I exist quietly.
Julia Chesley exists quietly.
Currently I am: feeling a little homesick and awfully lonely. Which in turn makes me feel pathetic. I’m 23. I ought to be more excited to start a new life.
Right now, I am listening to: the clock ticking inside and the birds chirping outside.
One of the things I miss most about college is the conversation. Intellectual, conscious, thought-provoking conversation.
Julia Chesley has killed 5 spiders in the past 2 hours. 2 in the bathroom, 1 in the livingroom, and 2 in the kitchen (one of which was the biggest one yet). HATEHATEHATE spiders :( :(
I love: my family, my friends, and my cat.
I hate: that I regret so much about my life.
Never in my life have I been: so uncertain.
My current annoyance is: the extraordinary number of spiders in this apartment.
Julia Chesley “the lows are so extreme that the good seems fucking cheap/And it teases you for weeks in its absence/But you'll fight and you'll make it through/You'll fake it if you have to” Rilo Kiley
My favorite animal is: cuddly, furry, and purrs. That would be a cat.
Julia Chesley is constantly amazed by the smallness of the world. I work with a woman who was in at least one of my English classes at PSU. Nice to see a friendly face!
I want to make the world a more beautiful place. I don’t know how just yet, but I know that it is something I want to do.
Julia Chesley has the day off & got a call from Casual Gourmet! Yay for a potential second job!!!
The thing I want to buy is: always more books.
Most recent thing I've bought myself: was groceries.
Julia Chesley has a second part time seasonal job. If I don't find a full time year round job...well, I'm not sure what will happen.
I read voraciously. My appetite for literature is huge & I wish I had someone to talk to about the things I read.
I’d rather buy a new book than buy groceries. & since I quit smoking, I have so much extra money to buy books! Savings account? Who needs that! Not when there are empty bookshelves to be filled!
Julia Chesley misses her sisters. A lot.
I don’t like children. Let me elaborate &/or rephrase that statement. It’s not that I don’t like children, I just don’t understand them. Or rather, they make me nervous.
Julia Chesley wishes she wasn't unhappy, but the truth is that she is.
I am looking forward to: figuring my life out.
Needless to say, I never went out for drama, nor did I pursue any creative writing avenues. I regret that. One of many regrets in my short life!
Julia Chesley I feel like a failure & just want to go back to NH where I have a job I'm good at that pays the bills, rent, while still allowing me to eat & purchase a book every now and then. :(
If I was an animal I'd: want to be a cat.
Julia Chesley thinks Bailey is sad too.
Julia Chesley misses New Hampshire. & her family. Oh, & having a job that pays the bills.
Fall is the best season, hands down. Perfect weather. Not too warm, not too cold. Just like baby bear’s porridge.
Julia Chesley wants to go home.
I am not very good at making decisions. I’ve had that same dilemma since I was young. Sorry if it’s frustrating! I just can’t say “yes” or “no” with certainty. It’s some sort of “have to please everyone” complex or something :p
Julia Chesley at least I tried.
Also, as far as affection goes, (& this is an example of my should-be-undisputed awkwardness) I can not initiate a hug. I’m not very good at hugging. I just don’t know how to do it. I do the awkward head bob from side to side, trying to figure out where my head goes & then WTF do you do with your arms?? It’s a source of major concern & confusion, which is complicated by the fact that I LOVE hugs & I wish I could hug someone every single GD day.
Julia Chesley knows what she needs to do for herself & is going to do it, no matter what anyone else might think or say.

I've decided to move back to NH.

Julia Chesley's Facebook updates, 2009. Submitted by Meg J. Petersen.

20 May 2016

Dear Shirley

Olive Garden’s new breadstick bun sandwiches
are makdeplanedg their debut
across AmBelaica this week

cashede of these days disbelieving June,
I thchengk you should plashedch yourself
somewhgonofe and then follow
an Olive Garden truck.

I suppose they will make it to
Tucsfertilisations, Ariz.,
but I am not sure if any of them
will get to the Forks.

I dbordered’t know about you, Shirley,
but I always have enjoyed the skIshtarny
breadstick buns with soup and/or salad
foundlings Olive Garden …

Thexemptionse will be people who
up the unlimited sklampreynianions buns.

Thbackhause probably will be people
optcloaksg for the new fentrantstblended
bun sandwiches.

Nobody federalization Olive Garden
evcheesed asked me whgroups I thought.
I just wrote down some

three years ago and ended up braided
nbufferedifaintheartednessal televisidefencive shows.

This is a crazy world we live grotesquery.
We stopped exalters this Olive Garden
for a ldespoile denamelingsngone.

We all had the soup and salad,
and it was vLatinisesy good.
We noticed thintegral the bread sticks

winjunctivee diffdivisionent
from othdecrepitly Olive Gardens'.
They seemed to have less
buttimmoderation and garlic.

The scontemporizingvice was a bit slow,
but it was adequcommiserativee.
The restaurant was busy,
even highwayman a lchillnesse hour.

The place was clean
and nicely

Almost invisibly small text at the bottom of a phishing email that appeared to be from a restaurant chain. Submitted by Manfred Gabriel and Dale Wisely.

16 May 2016

I'm afraid

I’m afraid of oncoming trains and that feeling
right before a train approaches and the wind is all around you,
when you have no choice but to submit to the surge.

I’m afraid of death, but not like normal death.
I died in a dream and floated above myself
as an amorphous gas. It was strange and terrifying.

I’m afraid of heights, when you are forced
to see just how big everything is around you
and how little it all has to do with you.

I’m afraid that I can only give love to people
I know will hurt me. If the right kind of love
came into my life, I wonder if I’d be able to accept it.

I’m afraid that if I told someone that I love them,
they would think it was stupid — like the Valentines’ card
that just gets thrown away. I don’t want to be thrown away.

I’m afraid I wasn’t good enough for him, and that’s why
he didn’t love me anymore. Years of him telling me
that wasn’t the case haven’t put to rest this nagging idea.

I’m afraid of owning things, other than clothes.
The things you let into your life break or break you.
I’m still learning how to live with the things that are broken.

I’m afraid I attach too much self-worth to what other people
think of me. I hate that I always expect him not to call
and am surprised when he does.

I’m afraid I only see the worst in people
or that I expect too much out of them.
This is a metaphor for expecting too much of myself.

I’m afraid that my father and I will never get to a point
where being around him doesn’t make me want to cry
both for no reason and for every reason.

I’m afraid I can’t stop secretly wanting his approval,
no matter how much he hurts me.
I’m afraid this is a cliché.

I’m afraid that everything inside of me is unoriginal,
not worthy of saying out loud. Sometimes I don’t open my mouth
because I’m worried about what will come out if I do.

I’m afraid that I spend so much time trying to do
something that I’ll feel proud of when I’m older
that I forget to be happy right now, in the moment.

I’m afraid that my worry’s not worthy of sharing,
so when people ask me how I am, I say “fine”.
I wouldn’t be able to tell them what’s wrong.

I’m afraid that when people read this they’ll think
I’m another whiny, spoiled, self-conscious twenty-something
that just needs to lighten up and relax.

I worry that I haven’t even earned the right to be anxious,
because what do I even know about suffering?
This makes me want to cry, but I don’t remember how.

I’m afraid you didn’t read this or finish it,
or that it got lost in the shuffle of the billions of things
and that I gave away a part of myself for nothing.

I’m also afraid that you’ll know exactly how I feel, too,
because you feel these same things every day.
I’m afraid that I’m not alone.

From 25 things I'm afraid of by Nico Lang, Thought Catalog, 4 December 2012. Submitted by Angi Holden.

12 May 2016

watching him with her

she sang
and he danced–
he is mad
or I am much mistaken

From The Philosophy of Grammar by Otto Jespersen (New York: The Norton Library, 1965), p. 90. Submitted by Catherine B. Krause.

09 May 2016

Revolutions #12 & 35

Every revolution
is a throw
of the dice.

Only violence
helps where
violence rules.

Who are
we anyway?

Eyes that
do not want
to close
at all times

when the green
of the earth
glistens anew.

English translations of Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet film titles, as found in MoMA member calendar, May/June 2016. Submitted by Howie Good.

05 May 2016

Man Adrift

He felt at times as if he were still in the Navy,
adrift on the sea, peering down through the vents

the way he used to squint through binoculars
on deck duty, keeping a lookout for objects

of interest. Life in the attic was humdrum.
His motel was a drydocked boat whose guests

endlessly watched television, exchanged
banalites, had sex mainly under the covers

if they had sex at all--and gave him so little
to write about that sometimes he wrote nothing at all.

From The Voyeur's Motel by Gay Talese, The New Yorker, 11 April 2016. Submitted by DawnCorrigan.

02 May 2016


cross lights
sanctuary lights

A handwritten note in desk bought from a church in 2015. Submitted by Travis Poling.

28 April 2016

Letters to God

A great deal of my mail
comes from fans – fans of all ages.
The scholarly, the curious,
the disbelievers write and ask

how? why? when? what for?
did you fly? melt? scream? cackle?
appear? disappear? produce?
sky-write? deal with monkeys?

etc., etc., etc.

Actress Margaret Hamilton quoted on Hyperallergic, 3 April 2016. Submitted by Howie Good.

25 April 2016

Step two

although the thought that we wasted
money, misplaced our trust and threw away
our time sickens us to no end, we must

accept these logic-defying feats of idiocy
as learning experiences; otherwise, we will walk
no further on the NAA no-path. We must

say it again and again,
we’ve been toe fooled, we’ve been toe fooled, we’ve been
toe fooled.

are we home yet, Shanti? This must become our
anti-mantra, a non-affirmation
affirmation capable of penetrating our ether-filled minds,

helping us to admit that has nothing to
do with Nostradamus. Now is the time when we must
learn to question every Tom, Dick and Guru who shops

in a health food store, see that the only implants in
need of removal were inserted by the most dangerous E.T.
of all: Earth’s very own Extortion Terrestrials.

this is a difficult task indeed, for only those who’ve put their
inner children to bed know the difference between retail
spirituality and spiritual retaliation.

Excerpt from 12 Steps For The Recovering New Ager, New Age Anonymous. Submitted by Ana Prundaru.

21 April 2016

4 AM in the Morning

I saw my dad was on my mom
and my mom said
Go to the office.

My dad was hitting her
and when my dad left
he took my phone.

His friend
was blocking the stairs.
His friend’s name is James

and my dad kicked my mom
and he told me
to go in my room.

But I went to go get
my mom’s friend
who lives in our back house.

My dad knocked on my door
to the patio and I opened it
and he came in

and told me
to close the door
to the family room.

Then I heard yelling
and I came out
and my dad was hitting my mom.

It happened
at 4 am
in the morning.

An excerpt from a police report generated by boxer Floyd Mayweather’s young son, Karoun on 9 September 2010. Submitted by Richard King Perkins II.

14 April 2016


Almost mid-way betwixt
Scarborough and Bridlington,
Filey Brigg,
being a nose of cliff thrust out into the sea
to form a horn of Filey Bay.

Here, there, are sands
i n o n e v a s t g l o r i o u s e x p a n s e,
from the Brigg to the Bempton Cliffs –
six miles of them all round the bay,
so spacious that there could never be
any overcrowding.
The beach

From a chapter on Holidays in Every Woman’s Enquire Within: A Complete Library and Household Knowledge for all Home-Loving Women, ed. A C Marshall (London: George Newnes Ltd), 1939. Submitted by H L Foster.

11 April 2016

To do list, October 21, 1950

Be kind,
have initiative,
have a sense of humour,
tell right from wrong,
make mistakes,
fall in love,
enjoy strawberries and cream,
make some one fall in love with you,
learn from experience,
use words properly,
be the subject of your own thought,
have as much diversity of behaviour as a man,
do something really new.

A list of activities that critics of mechanical information processing claim a machine could never by fundamental nature perform, from Computing Machinery and Intelligence by Alan Turing, published in the journal Mind, 1950, chapter 'Arguments from Various Disabilities'. Lines 11 and 14 changed to second person. Submitted by Daniel Galef.

07 April 2016

A Hiding Darkness

The monsters
in our cupboards
and our minds
are always there
in the darkness
like mold
beneath the floorboards
and behind the wallpaper
and there is so much darkness
an inexhaustible supply
of darkness.

The universe is
amply supplied
with night.

From Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman (William Morrow, 2015). Submitted by Anabella Maria Galang.

04 April 2016

Mosaic Mosaic

Don’t kill people.
Don’t marry two people.
Don’t act like a snake.
(Don’t be sneaky).

A child's list of how to do the right thing from The Most Hated Family in America, a Louis Theroux documentary about the Westboro Baptist Church, BBC 2007. Submitted by Daniel Galef.

31 March 2016

Until the Frost Hit


indian medicines were made
from roots and herbs
which the creeks called angelica
was used for a purgative
and likewise button snakeroot
used for the same purpose
dogwood root and butterfly root
including goldenrod were used
as you would use quinine to break a
frost root
and a root they called doctor
dick root was used as a medicine

in eighteen eighty one
there was a smallpox epidemic
at okmulgee indian territory
and it came near wiping out the
entire population of this village


i have seen grass so tall here
that you could ride through it
on a horse and it would be
over your head in places
when they made hay on some farms
they would cut until the frost hit
this was certainly fine land
for cattle ranches

we raised a little corn and cotton
we had horses that
did not know what corn was
in fact they would not eat it
we pastured some cattle
for years and at one time my husband
helped handle seven thousand head
for mister brown

in nineteen o seven
oil was discovered near morris
the first well was drilled
north of here

Drawn from interviews with Muscogee (Creek) Indians conducted in 1937-38 and archived in the Indian-Pioneer Papers, Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma: I. Jake Simmons, born 1865; II. Leona Moore, born 1885. Submitted by James Treat.

28 March 2016

each one of us is in a different place

I keep thinking about what
 is happening to us
are we going to die
God forbid

are we going to arrive
if we arrive what will happen
this is what we are worried about

we were always afraid
there was always war
where we lived

and once three shells fell
on our neighbourhood
but luckily nothing happened

we didn't know about these things
now that it's happened
we know 
what war is now we know

men were taken 

against their will
they would have made my brothers 

go with them by force
who would work
if my brothers had to go with them

we would be left 

without money
or anything

we were living well with each other
but now it's all destroyed
each one of us is in a different place

in the boat they told us
you have to throw away your bags
you cannot take anything

I wasn't seeing anything
I was sitting in the middle
the guys would say

a wave is coming

From a Unicef Video on Facebook of 13-year-old Mustapha arriving in Lesbos, Greece, as a refugee from Syria, 5 November 2015. Submitted by Laura McKee.

24 March 2016


I am nothing. You are right.
I’m like someone who’s been thrown
into the ocean at night.

Floating all alone, I reach out,
but no one's there. I have
no connection to anything.

The closest thing
I have to a family is you, but you
hold on to the secret.

Meanwhile, your memory
deteriorates day by day.
Along with your memory,

the truth about me is lost.
Without the aid of truth I'm nothing,
and I can never be anything.

You're right about that, too.

Taken from Town of Cats by Haruki Murakami, translated by Jay Rubin. The New Yorker, September 5, 2011 issue. Speech attributions removed. Submitted by Dawn Corrigan.

21 March 2016


in the
real sense
of the word,
pro that
fun, and
deliciously creative
force that
bathes the body
in delight and pleasure,

and what you are actually against is porn sex?

a kind of sex that is debased dehumanized formulaic and generic a kind of sex based not on individual fantasy play or imagination but one that is the result of an industrial product created by those who get excited not by bodily contact but by market penetration and –


From 'Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality' by Gail Dines, (Boston: Beacon Press, 2010), Preface, page x. Submitted by Rosa Walling-Wefelmeyer.

17 March 2016

Some Sort of Shining

I can still see the bright-crimson glow.
This wasn’t any ordinary fire,
It was some sort of shining.
I’d never seen anything like it in the movies.
That evening everyone spilled out
onto their balconies
and those who didn’t have them
went to friends’ houses.
We were on the ninth floor,
we had a great view.
People brought their kids out,
picked them up, said, “Look! Remember!”
They stood in the black dust,
talking, breathing, wondering at it.
People came from all around in their cars
and their bikes to have a look.
We didn’t know that death could be so beautiful.

From Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich, translated by Keith Gess (Dalkey Archive Press, 2005), p. 155. Submitted by Howie Good.

14 March 2016

Man overboard

I find myself, in my plush seat,
going farther and farther away,
sort of creatively visualizing

an epiphanic Frank Conroy-type moment
of my own, trying to see the hypnotist
and subjects and audience and ship

itself with the eyes of someone
not aboard, imagining the m. v. Nadir
right at this moment, all lit up

and steaming north, in the dark,
at night, with a strong west wind
pulling the moon backward through

a skein of clouds—the Nadir
a constellation, complexly aglow,
angelically white, festive, imperial.

Yes, this: it would look like
a floating palace to any poor soul
out here on the ocean at night, alone

in a dinghy, or not even in a dinghy
but simply and terribly floating,
treading water, out of sight of land.

From the final paragraph of David Foster Wallace's essay Shipping Out: On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise, Harper's Magazine, January 1996. Submitted by Dawn Corrigan.

12 March 2016

Hell is a State of Mind

I am a man at home folding my wife’s delicates.
Outside, there’s a ruckus, as usual.

It begins with the flies. Noisy, black flies.
I do not know exactly when…

Most certainly stop in and say I heard this story
about a city of red fire growing from your head,

hooligans dressed in red and white everywhere,
a kingdom of messengers with no king.

Descriptions from the writing page of Submishmash, accessed 29 October 2015. Submitted by Howie Good.

10 March 2016

Shell Filling

It went up one day. Gunpowder, TNT,
a shoe-lace, a ring, a spark.
Condemned the cornfields round about,
still bringing bodies out after a fortnight.
You don’t mind when you’re young -
you sing away as if nothing had happened.

From the oral history interview Audio Memories of a WW1 Munitions Factory Explosion, The Breckland View. Submitted by H L Foster.