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Poetry Winter 2013    fiction    all issues


Alysse Kathleen McCanna
& other poems

Peter Nash
Shooting Star
& other poems

Katherine Smith
House of Cards
& other poems

David Sloan
On the Rocks
& other poems

Alexandra Smyth
Exoskeleton Blues
& other poems

John Glowney
The Bus Stop Outside Ajax Bail Bonds
& other poems

Andrea Jurjević O’Rourke
It Was a Large Wardrobe...
& other poems

Lisa DeSiro
Babel Tree
& other poems

Michael Fleming
& other poems

Michael Berkowitz
As regards the tattoo on your wrist
& other poems

Michael Brokos
Landscape without Rest
& other poems

Michael H. Lythgoe
Orpheus In Asheville
& other poems

John Wentworth
morning people
& other poems

Christopher Jelley
Double Exposure
& other poems

Catherine Dierker
dinner party
& other poems

William Doreski
Hate the Sinner, Not the Sin
& other poems

Robert Barasch
& other poems

Rande Mack
& other poems

Susan Marie Powers
Red Bird
& other poems

Anne Graue
& other poems

Mariah Blankenship
Tub Restoration
& other poems

Paul R. Davis
& other poems

Philip Jackey
Garage drinking after 1989
& other poems

Karen Hoy
A Naturalist in New York
& other poems

Gary Sokolow
Underworld Goddess
& other poems

Michal Mechlovitz
The Early
& other poems

Henry Graziano
Last Apple
& other poems

Stephanie L. Harper
& other poems

Roger Desy
& other poems

R. G. Evans
& other poems

Frederick L. Shiels
Driving Past the Oliver House
& other poems

Richard Sime
Berry Eater
& other poems

Jennifer Popoli
Generations in a wine dark sea
& other poems

Frederick L. Shiels

Driving Past the Oliver House

One day late in 1966 in quiet Hattiesburg,

Phillip Oliver, nineteen, shot

his step-mother four times

in the face and chest with a ten-gauge,

Drove what was left of her

in the back of the family’s Ford pick-up

out to an empty lot

on the edge of town,

Unloaded her and emptied

a five gallon can of gasoline

on her and dropped a whole blazing box

of Ohio blue-tip kitchen matches

down on her and

backed away quickly.

He then drove to the police station

downtown and told everything. That’s

how the newspaper reported it, at least,

that’s how I recall it.

Funny thing though,

it was also reported that

friendly Phillip, cutting lawns and

doing odd-jobs, just out of high school,

Said he “didn’t mind the lady,”

they had argued some that particular morning.

“His father had remarried a little quickly,” he thought—“maybe,”

and that was that,

or so, I remember.

In any event, driving by what, for many years,

was the “Oliver Place,” a non-descript brick Ranch

at Adeline Street and Twentieth Avenue,

and not favored by realtors,

was never the same.

Star Birth of the Word ULASSA

Just now, May 23, 2013, I have in my conceit

created a brand new word, Ulassa,

at 8:05 AM. As I write,

Ulassa is like an infant star that burns white hot hydrogen and

joins—who knows—988,000 English words or more,

As a new birthed star joins our known universe of—who knows—

22 septillion other stars,

give or take a few quadrillion,

150 billion galaxies

150 billion stars

Do the math humbly,


The Oxford English Dictionary will say it means

“the short sense of escape we can experience,

when something really bad has happened”,

like, a childsister has gone missing or

we hear we may lose a foot from frostbite,

so in those short escapes from ongoing pain,

We get will get ulassa,

from meditation or the bottom of

a rum cola—

or the red coals

of a summer campfire,

the molecules of carbon

drinking oxygen.

Ulassa in the dictionaries,

will have no real etymology

for a while,

Having first breathed air only

on this morning of

May 23, 2013,

Ulassa will enter poems

and maybe yoga classes,

will become a cocktail and

an expensive perfume, eventually

a breed of cat, or surely the

name of a racehorse,

even a minor crater on

the surface of the moon,

Ulassa will live for four hundred years.

104 languages, give or take,

will borrow and ingest it,

Before it burns out like a star or “odd bodkin”

from Shakespeare, just remember,

It started Here, on this day.


8:59 a.m. I know I need a poem’

so, fountain pen and pad at the ready

sitting slantwise view

on our tiny back deck

the morninglit green curve of my tall cinnamon fern

bold, bright, near-yellow the way

the sun insinuates itself on it

weaving through upward layers

of east facing trees

that let light shimmer this frond poised

as if it were a ballerina highlighted onstage

the hanging basket of mauve miniature petunias just above

almost obscure, that sun does not yet favor them

their moment on the stage will come soon enough.

And now I’m ready to think about that poem.


She breathed deeply, then wrote:

“This book

would not have been possible,

without both my slyness

and fortitude,

in evading the distractions of

my husband’s badgering, drinking and

threatened suicide attempts,

and my children’s sweetly

relentless neediness.

Candles and Cathedrals

The many Notre Dames of France blazed

with candle constellations

nine hundred years ago but

that’s just the start of it these

chiseled mountains rose from

Rouen, Chartres, and all over north France

Because candlemakers existed,

construction went into the summer nights

even if the project took two hundred years

Because carters, joiners, stone-masons, glaziers,

had to build, to move

Because butchers and greengrocers

had to feed the builders and movers

Because musicians, singers could not wait the decades out

to send their polyphonies not just up to God, but

to these early hardhats and townsfolk,

dragooned farmers working,

yes even by candlelight, but

That’s just the start of it, we do forget

that string quartets, Erasmus, Luther, Dante,

lacemakers, servants delivering night toddies

and seeing to chamber pots—

this all was not squared away

before the sun went down, so

those slender tallow cylinders

topped by redyellow flames over

tiny halfmoons of blue heat

pushed civilization forward,

Not waiting for gaslights or Edison.

Frederick L. Shiels, PhD, has taught at Mercy College since 1977. He has been an occasional poet for forty years and has written and published poetry in the Hudson River Anthology, Wicker’s Creek, and The New Verse News. He teaches diplomacy, research, and self-presentation in classes on International Organizations, International Relations, American Foreign Policy and US history and politics.

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