2015 Summer Issue



There was a comatose man.

A woman took him to Edgewater Park
and sat him in a lawn chair.
Dark glasses and a baseball cap
shielded his eyes from the sun.

A Frisbee came sailing
and struck him on the side of the head.

He woke up in amazement
to see a flock of seagulls over the water,

and wondered where all the mynah birds were.

It was just a reflection
in a playful daydream.


On a bluff
not far from the Richard Wagner statue,

a man looked out at Lake Erie
and imagined the Pacific Ocean,
with the Hawaiian Islands
somewhere beyond the horizon.

His stare wasn’t as frozen
as the eyes on the monument,

but in some ways
it was just as displaced.


The composer’s memory was brought here
by admiring German immigrants,
who commissioned his image
to stand in perpetual ponderance.

He was a long way from Bayreuth.

The man gazing out over the lakeshore,
was brought here by a Cleveland woman
who somehow became his wife.

He was a long way from Kailua.


In an opera that only one man could hear,

the rhythmic cadence of a shark skin drum,
blends with the performance
of an orchestra in Berlin,

as a nearby train joins in
and rumbles its wheels upon the tracks.

~ Joe Balaz