The Drawer I hadn’t Cleaned in 30 Years

His keys to my old place before we moved in together.

A JFK 50 cent piece.

Temporary tattoos. I thought we’d used them all.

Fangs, adult size.

The silver case he gave me for my now obsolete purse calculator.

False eyelashes, (which my ophthalmologist now forbids).

Earplugs we used when we went to hear the kid’s garage band play.

Hypnosis tapes for losing weight.

A perfume bottle with the scent he chose for me.

An LED headlight for power outages.

Money, in the clip I gave him.

His glasses.

Kleenex.


Virginia Braxton


Bio of Judith Tullis

Judith Tullis was born in Chicago and lives in Indian Head Park . She raised three sons and now enjoys learning about life from her grandchildren. Retired from the secretarial business she owned for years, she loves to work not only in the flower garden outside her home but also in the word garden that is Poetry. She is former Vice President and current Treasurer for the Illinois State Poetry Society and Secretary of Poets & Patrons of Chicago. Her poems have appeared in several print and online venues.

Soap Opera

Because the god of plumbing
had an argument with the god
of laundry appliances,
I met the morning with a mop
instead of hazelnut espresso.

Because of caffeine deficiency
and a wet floor, I shuffled
out the kitchen door, old clothesline
atop a basket of soggy clothes braced
on my right hip, weighty as the world,
oceans spilling down my leg
filling my shoe.

But isn’t it something to have shoes,
and the clean water is a bonus,
an entitlement taken for granted
in my kitchen where I sip coffee
and watch my boys’ bodiless
baseball uniforms run in the wind
stealing every base to home plate.


Anguished Souls, Eternal

A Zig-Zag “agonia” highway.
Memorabilia strewn along the way.

Menorahs, skull caps, faded photos and the like,
paving this Royal Roadway To Remembrance.

And at the end—a cold pit, built in reverse,
soaring up into the black sky.

There---hundreds of thousands of scarlet,
agonized faces,
weeping blood tears.

Countless multitudes draping its inner walls;
their images, indelibly being seared into our souls.

Lamenting, once and for all,
our memorial dirge:

How helpless each one was,
when the “Grim Reaper of Hate”
threshed down entire wheat fields.


Paul J. Kachoris
November 17, 2018

A memorial poem dedicated to The Jewish Museum, Berlin, Germany





Bio of Joseph (Joe) Glaser

Most of Joe's career was technical management, but near retirement an interest in Liberal Arts blossomed and he began writing poetry in 2008. His poems have been published in Front Porch Review, Muses' Gallery of Highland Park Poetry, Journal of Modern Poetry, East on Central, Distilled Lives, and other journals and anthologies. Candid travel photos too.


Bio of Emma Alexandra

Emma A. Kowalenko

Emma Alexandra – Pen Name

She established Kowalenko Consulting Group (KCG) in 1988. Born in Casablanca, Morocco she and her eastern European parents emigrated to the U.S. when she was 11. Fluent in six languages, environmental planner, cultural intelligence strategist, oral historian, poet, mixed media artist, she is passionate about giving voice to the unheard.

One of the founders of East on Central Journal of Arts and Letters, currently in its 18th year of publication, a vice president of the Sister Cities Foundation of Highland Park, she promotes cultural and educational exchanges with Sister Cities Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Modena, Italy, and Jerucham, Israel.


No Wall, Not This Time

We did not climb over a Wall,
not this time.
Mama had left her Warsaw Ghetto Wall,
buried deeply in the scars of her survivor’s guilt.
Papa had exiled Stalin’s Siberian Trenches,
drowned frozen in a distant subconscious.

Not this time, not in 1961,
this time, in 1961, papa, mama, and me,
we crossed an ocean.

Statue of Liberty greeted us with poetry.
Poetry, language we did not understand,
Mama, papa, and me.
Waves rocking our freighter ship deck whispered;
Mother of Exiles, New Colossus, says something about
“breathing free.”

Displaced Person, DP, Green Card, Greenhorn,
In fifth grade, I sang pho net i cal ly, to fit in, fit in.
E ven tu al ly, syllables arranged themselves into words.
Words into sentences, and understanding into
Spelling bees…
Eventually, this language no longer eluded me,
not, totally. And,

I sang,
“The land of the free and the home of the brave.”
At school, at home.
Our attic apartment resonated with the land of the free,
the home of the brave.

Sang to my brave mama, my brave papa.
Sang from deep in my heart.

Papa and mama nodded their heads, hummed along.
Hands on their hearts, hummed to a flag of yet another land,
this land, this final land,
free, brave.

Papa’s gravedigger’s hands, fingernails witness to cemetery soils,
right hand on his heart.
Mama’s cleaning woman’s aching back momentarily straightened,
right hand on her heart.

Tired, poor, huddled masses, breathing free.

Emma Alexandra

Bio of David Nekimken

Grandfather of Jarell,  Maia and  Imani.  I enjoy living in a housing cooperative in Hyde Park with 19 young people.  I have been a poet most of my life with poems published  in the Journal of Ordinary Thought and the Journal of Modern Poetry.  I have published a book of poetry Anything and Everything Goes, available on Amazon.


Bio of Mark Hudson

Mark Hudson is a published poet, and he became a member of
Poets and Patrons in 2006. It all started when Mark entered their
poetry contest in 2006, and won third place for a poem called
"Starvbing artist." he was asked to read his poem out loud,
and he was too shy to read it, so Caroline read it.
This made him feel part of the group, so he's been a
member ever since. He has fond memories of writing
adventures with Poets and Patrons in the past, 
and evey April at poetry day at Harold Washington
library, Mark loves to sit at the table and represent
Poets and patrons, and he enjoys helping other
poets selling their chapbooks, and his as well.

Tornado Warning

On our way to Door County, I started out our
trip with a prayer to God for a safe trip. The first
foreshadowing seemed to be a building that said,
“Abandoned haunted house.”

My sister did not let my niece and nephew
know there was a tornado warning, because they
get really scared when it rains. Suddenly, rain
began to pour down so fiercely, that I thought
we were going to need an ark.

My niece threw a fit, “I’m scared! I want
to go home!” and she wouldn’t stop screaming.
I saw people who were riding motorcycles who
had to pull over to the side of the road, and I
saw a man on the other side of the road walking
all alone.

We eventually had to pull under a bridge
till the rain stopped. Eventually the sun came out,
and we drove again. I think the kids were even
able to take a nap.

As an adult, I can have fears, because I
am aware of the evils that really do exist. But
I trust God to protect me from whatever comes.

There were two instances on the trip
where I became very proud of my nephew.
When he wanted to walk bare-footed into wavy water
and stand on a rock, I let him. When he went
kayaking by himself, I knew he was getting braver.
My niece has her yellow belt in karate.
I’m actually the chicken!

Mark Hudson

The Spaciousness of Books

Twenty-first century clutter traps me
fills my time and in a daze my days disappear
--what with Facebook Twitter Email Facetime YouTube
Wikipedia Blogs Podcasts Texting IM Instagram.
Twentieth century paper clutter still around still abounds
mail delivered daily: donation pleas, advertising come-ons
-- tossed out
magazines mailed monthly: AARP, Southern Poverty Law Center and more
-- kept in baskets
handouts from: poetry readings, classes, events, workshops
-- kept in files
(like my emails, maybe to read or to need later).

Yet in my house there are books
on shelves
on tables
on night-stands

many old
a few new
some from the library
some from friends

with their solid feel
and their sometimes temporary status
-- I read them now
(unlike my Kindle, its electronic books unread).

Books in the twenty-first century are
unique a treat rare

and when I curl up in a chair 
and hold a book
and feel the paper
and turn its pages

when I read and reread and mark parts I love
with sticky notes or paperclips or highlighting
or when I underline

my life is spacious and slow

in the old-fashioned twentieth century way.







Fire

A campfire in a forest clearing Families and friends sharing deeds of derring do sorrows and joys along the way telling ghost stories under a crescent moon, Nurtured by the bright red and orange flames crackling ash, maple, cedar tones and their distinctive smoky aromas, Bonding with hot dogs on a stick with the works: mustard/ketchup, relish, onion and tomato slices, And smores…

A bonfire outside city limits Arrows of heat shooting toward skyscraper heights with sparks of unrestrained passion, Dancing flames beckoning human witnesses to release political correctness cultural taboos personal inhibitions, Uniting present with past ancestral histories with current narratives, Our vital thread of existence…

A wildfire occupying population centers Blazing a trail with scorched earth intention an unbiased incineration of forests, grasslands vineyards, orange groves celebrity estates, ranch-style homes future hopes, histories of achievement, Defying all efforts of orchestrated unity political finger pointing climate change discussions, A monumental task to extinguish once unleashed...

A suddenly wide awake volcano A feral force of Mother Nature living in the bowels of Planet Earth amassing a litany of grievances (centuries of human intolerance, neglect) reaching its boiling point Blows its top spewing bits of primeval rock and lava as a molten river of unrepentant fury on paths of unstoppable destruction…

Fire The light we read by The heat we warm by The means we cook a meal for sustenance.

David Nekimken 11/18/18






Bio of Curt Vevang

Curt Vevang is a Chicago native and a product of the Chicago Public Schools and the University of Illinois. He has self published two full length poetry books, a scant bagatelle and the nature of things. His books are available at Amazon, keyword Vevang or can be downloaded for free from his website, curtvevang.com


Half Way Up the Mountain

I feel for those with less,
I feel for those with more.

From my perch half way up the mountain
I can see the very peak.
I can look down and see the foothills at the base.

The bottom can't be seen by those at the top.
Many there have no concept
the bottom even exists.

Some arrive at the top
after a long, arduous climb,
others are born there.

Days at the top are spent amassing more and more,
worried they will lose what they have,
struggling to maintain their footing on the slippery slopes.

Those at the base search for a foothold,
a pathway up the mountain.
Many languish in repeated failure,
unable to climb very far before being stymied,
forced to try a different trail.

Some try hard,
others don't try at all.
Some are successful,
a few haven't the tools to even begin.

From my perch half way up the mountain
I watch climbers trekking by.
Those seeking wealth, nod and stay their course.
Those seeking happiness rest here a while
... and for some reason never seem to leave.







Imaginary Rooms

Notice how the light washes this building blond, how the brickwork neatly frames each closed window. The appointed rooms, elegant in their simplicity, seem emptied, except for these ghosts on weightless feet who hover above the blooms. Rare orchids, with purple thoughts, perfume in green pots while fronds feather no Mediterranean sky. A shade of blue splashes everything pale as pool tiles; a kind of violence lives here, a hush. Rooms float in brine like formaldehyde fetuses with one open eye. Mirrors flash. The owner is gone. The Siamese cat sharpens her claws.

Jenene Ravesloot

First Published in Sad Girl Review, 2018


Bio of Tom Roby IV

Tom Roby IV is President and critique leader of The Poets' Club of Chicago. He has taught poetry at every educational level from high school to graduate school. His poems have appeared in journals, at libraries, and on public transportation. Tom Roby IV has published three books of poetry.