Where the Dead and the Living Meet Poem by Janet Buck


This seemed a place where
the dead and the living met
for a fraction of hovering time.
Cobwebs added eerie light —
gauze above amorphous sore.
Casablanca storms were new.
No foiled loves had soiled the rain.
All our props and costumes fit.
Weeping and all facts of grief
lay ahead of open eyes
without large sacks
weighted by the coming stone.
At that presumptuous age,
we were sure that a shoe
would lead to a foot.
A hat would uncover a head with hair.
We still believed in movie screens,
in metatags of heroines.
Suns knew nothing of eclipse.

Down the creaking basement stairs
sat nests of fragile Fabergés
existing for expectant crack.
Dusty treasures, dresser drawers,
someone’s musty voyages.
Give us boxes; we made shapes.
Never thought of mushy bottoms
giving in to lifting seasons from the land.
Each breath we took, each step we made,
a scoop across a stallion’s back
racing for the river’s edge.
Later we would wake like cats
that spent their lives in search of milk —
groping for the backspace key.
Death was such a distant game —
looking didn’t scorch our hands.
Even funereal black
was just a color of paint.

by Janet I. Buck


Empty Gloves Poem by Janet Buck

Empty Gloves

Father bought you a house
as a little white lie —
a promise that voices of hope
were louder than labels on slides
that tossed you in the cancer wing,
made his eyes report those tears
then file them under guarded strength.
Muscles pressed against
your exit hovering
until the pen just tore the check.
These walls went from a glove
to five little pockets
minus five fingers that moved.
Your death did this.
The sofa, in its albatross of memory,
became an untouchable ruin.
The mattress a slab of lukewarm coal,
a scrapbook to slam, haul to the curb
in the velvet of midnight rain.

Lyrics peck at art once there,
but he brushes the meal away.
When I ask about your shape,
he plays down long piano hands.
Plays down crickets of your laugh.
Your grave cut out his tongue.
Your leaving scorched a knuckle’s curve —
the veins of which another woman
couldn’t bring back to rivers they were.
When pupils try not to talk,
they jitterbug around a lawn
like scattered seeds.
I can only imagine the green and the lush —
amour of such a caliber
it works like silencers for guns.
This is the score of a wish with holes.
Scars you left are made of stone.

by Janet I. Buck


Final Picnic Poem by Janet Buck

Final Picnics

“I want to go!” was all you said,
as if you were slamming a book.
So I laid out your hat,
a tube of pink lipstick and blush
replacing the color
drained from my cheeks.
Death struck me then
as pottery with handles loose.
To you it snapped like fingernails —
a casualty of brushing up
against the hardness of a life.
“You don’t need eyes to see a forest.
The picture stays in your lungs.”
I packed a red checked tablecloth
pretending the dice weren’t close.

At the edge of a grave,
even the desert looks green.
Country roads spit gravel back
like bacon cooking in a pan.
You needed the custard of clouds
while I busied my triggers
shooting at hail.
The end was soft alyssum grains
finding the gust of a faithful breeze.
Sweat on your brow
could have been streams,
could have been rain licking the moss.
A stone divided by will
is still a stone in reckoning.
Innocence was telling me
to drive around the avalanche.

by Janet I. Buck


Reflection of Hopes Poem by Ward Kelley

A Reflection of My Hopes
Ward Kelley

My hopes are children I have raised
with great care, and have clothed with
multicolored garments in an effort at
protective coloration, trying to deflect
the eyes of others from the true hope they
might display if ever they were seen naked.

My hopes are musical notes singing a quiet
tune under the cacophony of the world; they
need to blend into the disquieting symphony,
but the strain they sing is one heard only by
my own ears, and I am careful no one else
ever deciphers these notes or recognizes them.

But most of all my hopes are mirrors, for I see
they transcribe more of my own character than
they do trying to gain what I desire. It is I who can
hope and hope, yet it is they who describe better
the man I am or want to be, although they never chide,
but instead commend me for being one who hopes.

Credit list:


“comedy incarnate” on CD ROM
by Kedco Studios (Las Vegas, NV)

“histories of souls” an ebook & POD
by Word Wrangler Publishing, Inc. (Montana)

“comedy incarnate” on AUDIO CD
by Artvilla (Tennessee)

“Divine Comedy” a novel, ebook & paperback
by Word Wrangler Publishing, Inc. (Montana)

“the naming of parts” an ebook
by ZeBooks http://www.blquanbeck.com/zebookcompany/

Of the 1434 published pieces, some have found their way into:


Another Chicago Magazine
Ginger Hill
The GSU Review
The Listening Eye
The Lucid Stone
Mad Poets Review
Nassau Review
The Old Red Kimono
Porcupine Literary Magazine
River King
Sulphur River Review


Adirondack Review
The Animist
Big Bridge
Lynx: poetry from Bath
Melic Review
The Paumanok Review
Poetry Magazine.Com
The Rose & Thorn
San Francisco Salvo
Thunder Sandwich
2River View
Unlikely Stories
Zuzu’s Petals

As for me, I’m a 52 year old business executive with 3,600 people in the division reporting to me. I only mention this because in a sense the daimon that propels my occupation also propels my poetry. For instance, Gertrude Stein once said, “If Mr. Robert Frost is at all good as a poet, it is because he is a farmer — really in his mind a farmer, I mean.” So in my mind am I a businessman who writes poetry, or a very minor poet successful at business? Who knows? Yet I tread carefully with this balance for fear my daimon will leave me, or my greed will taunt me for decades.

Formerly I managed distribution centers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Arizona and Illinois. My wife and I now live outside of Indianapolis and are currently toiling with much determination on our second crop of children, having adopted four wonderful girls and fostered several others.

Ward Kelley has seen more than 1400 of his poems appear in journals world wide. He is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee whose publication credits include such journals as: Plainsongs, Another Chicago Magazine, Rattle, Midstream, Zuzu’s Petals, Ginger Hill, Sunstone, Pif, Whetstone, Melic Review, Artvilla, Thunder Sandwich, Potpourri and Skylark. He was the recipient of the Nassau Review Poetry Award for 2001. Kelley is the author of two paperbacks: “histories of souls,” a poetry collection, and “Divine Murder,” a novel; he also has an epic poem, “comedy incarnate” on CD and CD ROM.


Affliction Poem by Ward Kelley

Atoms of Affliction
Ward Kelley

The storm, the uncontrolled ugly event,
the elements that make the flesh squirm,

can never be worse to the skin than what
afflicts it from the inside. For such interior

events often are seen as uncontrolled or
ugly, but the elements of which they are

comprised are mostly created by ourselves,
by the way we choose the atoms of our own

affliction. Normally it is wrong to view the tempests
of the soul as weather, as something natural beyond

our control, so like a poem whose tides come unbidden
but can be funneled into a thing refined and helpful.


Nearer to Death Poem by Ward Kelley

The Nearer You Come to Death
Ward Kelley

The nearer you come to death the more
you are forced to examine the nuances
of time; you used to be one with time,
happy to swim within the current, content

to allow it to swarm over you as though
you were an eel. You even looked like
time, so fluid, and this worked well for
decades. But now . . . you are turning

into an arrow, no longer able to easily
twist to the side of any impediment,
and soon, soon, you are going to strike
your own death squarely in the heart.

When you do, time will expand and no
longer encompass your soul to squeeze
it narrow, but instead you will become
the current itself . . . who seeks the eel.


Falling Down Poem by Ward Kelley

Such an Arc
Ward Kelley

All fall down, all fall down, it is not
the pestilence who causes this awkward

trait of our race, for we each of us tote
the code, deep within our heart, that tells

of the proper timing of our shooting towards
the sun — how many years we go upward —

and the correct date where it all stops —
some of us quite abruptly — and we begin

our descent towards the earth. Up then down,
up then down, where truly we all go round

and round, but it’s hard to describe such an arc
when our eyes are designed to see the vertical.


Old Now Young Poem by Daniel Barbare

Old Now Young