Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Winter 2018    fiction    all issues


Cover Elena Koycheva

Bryce Emley
Asking Father What’s at the End
& other poems

AJ Powell
& other poems

Faith Shearin
& other poems

Claire Van Winkle
& other poems

Sarah W. Bartlett
Summer Cycles
& other poems

Nooshin Ghanbari
& other poems

Meli Broderick Eaton
The Afterlives of Leaves
& other poems

Jeddie Sophronius
& other poems

Paula Bonnell
In Winter, By Rail
& other poems

Addison Van Auken Waters
& other poems

Daniel Sinderson
& other poems

Andrew Allport
All Nature Will Fable
& other poems

Marte Stuart
What an Insult Time Is
& other poems

Matthew Parsons
My Father as an Inuit Hunter
& other poems

Emily Bauer
Gently, Gently
& other poems

Bruce Marsland
A once lovelorn bard’s final journey
& other poems

Beatrix Bondor
Night Makers
& other poems

Isabella Skovira
Lawless Conservation
& other poems

Juan Pablo González
Colombia, 1928
& other poems

Molly Pines
The Pillbug
& other poems

Jamie Marie
On the Lake
& other poems

William A. Greenfield
If You Show Me Yours
& other poems

Bill Newby
Tuesdays at The Seagate's Atlantic Grille
& other poems

Elder Gideon
Male Initiation Rites
& other poems

Joel Holland
Dear Gi-Gi
& other poems

Martha R. Jones
How Lewis Carroll Met Edgar Allan Poe
& other poems

Writer's Site

Martha R. Jones

Ode to Writer’s Block

My writer’s block is sturdier than tungsten, iron, or steel.

No river can erode it. No lava can congeal

To form a craggy mountain or a formidable rock

enough to rival my unyielding, awesome writer’s block.

My writer’s block is doubtlessly my hero’s dearest friend.

It keeps the villain helpless, so there’s no need to extend

his sword in mortal combat for a damsel under lock

and key, or even scuff his armor, thanks to writer’s block.

My writer’s block is massive, yet it’s lighter still than air.

More constant than a freckle, more unruly than a bear,

It’s exhausted all my calendars and run down every clock,

but it is mine, and I am its: my fit of writer’s block.

Heart Beats

The heart loved in bushels and bunches,

while the body threw nothing but punches.

They fought the same foe,

but the heart would lay low,

‘til the body was knocked on its haunches.

The heart would proceed to defeat

every bully it happened to meet.

When the body asked, “How?”

the heart took a bow

and said “Hearts break but hearts also ‘beat.’”

The Was Wolf

When the werewolf is a was-wolf, ’cause the “were” has all worn off,

the pelt is shed, the claws retract, and skeptics start to scoff.

They tell themselves how brave they were in battle with the beast.

The danger is behind them (’til the next full moon at least).

Some like the was-wolf better than the werewolf she becomes.

They wish that she was dead or cured or under someone’s thumbs.

Yet, she loves me when I’m virtueless. She should deserve the same.

Love withheld when we’re not lovely is unworthy of the name.

How Lewis Carroll Met Edgar Allan Poe

In a land free from time in a world that is nether,

far from work-a-day woes like “bad news” or “bad weather,”

on a plane of existence where good writers go,

that’s where Lewis Carroll met Edgar Allan Poe.

Mr. Carroll had gone flying and saw at a distance

some trees through some fog in his “Plane of Existence;”

not Joyce Kilmer-style trees. These were twisted and bent.

One tree caught his plane in it on its descent.

Mr. Poe came to help after he heard the noise

(broody walks in dark forests were one of is joys).

“Are you hurt?” asked Poe. “Have you an ill or a maim?”

Mr. Carroll said, “I’m fine,” and Poe said, “What a shame.

Oh well. No one’s perfect. Let’s get you straight down,

Unless you would like to fall flat on your crown.”

“Not today,” Carroll said. “Let us make the day rue us,

not vice versa. By the way, my name is Lewis.”

Mr. Carrol was unharmed. His plane surely was.

He’d been seeking adventure and found it because

he’d wandered from Wonderland’s miles and acres

toward Poe with his black crows and gaunt undertakers.

The two men climbed gingerly down from their perch

while boughs bent beneath them started to lurch,

and just as they both got their feet on the ground,

the tree top gave way with a deafening sound.

Down fell a tangle of branches and plane.

“Phew,” said Carroll. Poe grieved, “Not even a sprain?

A good luck streak. How horrid.” Said Carroll with glee,

“Today’s my unbirthday. Won’t you dine with me?”

Then, calmly and casually, Carroll released

from his pocket, some mushrooms on which to feast,

plus some crochets and tarts. Both were heart-shaped, in fact.

Poe imbibed only sorrow and scones as they snacked.

The pair got to talking of life and their works.

Carroll quizzed Poe on angst and the murderous quirks

of most Poe-ish “heroes.” Poe held Carroll nimbly

made up a word if no rhyme could be made simply.

The problem that hadn’t occurred to them, yet

was the “Plane of Existence” is not quite a jet

or a plane or one mere, single thing. It’s the land

where dreams can come true; both the small and the grand.

But the dreams Poe and Carroll had started to mix.

As they spoke, the March Hare started playing his tricks

on Roderick Usher, who was not amused.

He chased the March Hare, but in vain. Then, confused

The Red Queen’s tell-tale heart, filled with regretting

each instance she pardoned instead of beheading.

The Mome Raths were buried alive in a grave, an’

The Cheshire cat spat at Lenore’s husband’s raven.

The Hatter went madder. Tweedles Dee and Dum

had a jolly time riding the pit’s pendulum.

And as Alice waltzed ‘round Red Death’s own masque.

The white rabbit drained the Amontillado casque.

When Carroll and Poe looked ’round where they’d been talking

and noticed the strange goings on, they sat gawking

a minute or more. They were shocked, but not fretting.

Carroll smiled and said, “I had better be getting

back to my own realm of odd rhymes and mock turtles.”

Poe said, “I concur. That’s the path with least hurtles

to un-weird this world. Thanks for lunch, and make haste.

Take care (though safe journeys are not to MY taste).”

Then, Mr. Carroll, sans plane, wings, or propeller

produced from his coat a gigantic umbrella,

which soon caught the breeze, and away he did go.

And that’s how Lewis Carroll met Edgar Allan Poe.

Martha R. Jones is an author, illustrator, lyricist, and part-time nurse (three of those descriptors are how she wishes to be remembered when she is dead. The other keeps her lights on). Her primary sources of infamy are her novels, Faust Forward and Corn on Macabre, both of which contain humor so dark the publisher’s daughter is not allowed to read them until she is eighteen year old.

Dotted Line