Autumn 2017

by Heather Ann Schmidt

by Heather Ann Schmidt

An Echo In Her Past

She goes to the doctor
and gets more tests than
she can remember. However,
she does remember she
forgot to ask him about
her hips. She smiles, says,
“I hate to ask him about
my hips. He might think
I am trying to get him, but
I know he is already married,
married to another doctor, a
doctor that takes care of us
women and our private parts.
To me my hips are private parts.
The other day, I told my daughter
about them. She said, ‘It’s part
of getting old. My privates are fine.’
I smiled at her and asked her
to come over my house and
make sure my doors lock.”

– Dan Gallik


it’s a stay-inside type of day
with the pretty drizzle of rain
pattering its tune outside the window

it’s a lay-in-bed kind of day
all that chilly gloom
on the other side of the glass
Dryer whirring in the basement
puffing moist lavender bleach air

it’s a curl-around-your-book day
cat pressed in the crook of your knees
words tingling & zinging their pointed
meaning into your brain
as you slide into another reality
& snuggle warm & cozy away
from Cleveland October

– wendy shaffer

by Smith

– Steven B. Smith

Initial Sketch for Love

My Serendipitous Eartha Kitt.
Shit Talker. Guitar Strummer.
Probably thinks I’m full of shit.
& just Reading off A True Player’s script.

Gave me more satisfaction in 2 nights of drunken distraction than I’ve had in All my years of going out for beers.

She’s cute like A lois lane casting call. Makes the poet want to reveal his super secrets AfterAll. She’s that DamnSexy (with her Glasses off).

I guess her new
nickname for me is
Devil Dick. That would
Make her

In front of
My Friends
Where i met her.

OutSide of
Now That’s Class
Where i saw her
& wished i could
Forget Her.

Brother ‘s Lounge
Is How i caught her.
Tangled web we wove with love
Wishing more men than Fathers.

By the time i hit the
5’oclock Lounge
MyLife comes
Back Around: like
A Boomerang hanging

& I’m sawdust.
& AllWood.
& Awfully in love
With somebody’s

But It’s
All Good.

Another Prelude
& she love me

– MaxWell Shell

“She’s an Autumn Type of Gal” – PM Pope

A Fat Lady Playing Bluegrass

She had that damn mandolin,
played like a lady who wanted
to have sex with me right there.
Reminderville was pretty as her
that night and I hadn’t heard
that damned instrument ever.
My heart felt she had a surprise.

She smiled right at me, laughed,
and sang pretty as her teeth.
The band played ten minutes &
left the stage. I came up to her
and told her I wanted to marry
her. She said, No, I’m married,
but would like to fuck you here.

– Daniel Gallick

– Tim Green

Dry yellow pages and cool glossy lithographs
sheep, pastoral scenes, assembled figures in stately robes
blood like wine from years like vines
a finger of oil poured on the head and similar pastimes
of ancient lamps, mirrors and perfections
or the confused castings of blank arrows
side glances of Rubenesque faces
noble lips that pick at berries

Almonds from rods
nocturnes, starlight, sand and the purity of a concept of water
just trickles slacken thirst

God takes respite low in a cave, cool dirt clean feet
listens to Mother Earth sing fecundity’s forgiveness
speak low thunder
wild pagan violin

– Lady

Good Advice

Walking through
the thick sweet scent
of new-mown grass,
the 81 bus barrels past
going way too fast
its malfunctioning robot voice
ordering the void
“Look both ways before crossing.”

– Smith

Fall takes its time—Arrives
in baby steps small rain cool breeze
between Summer’s stall.

– Mary Weems

“Heading Out Frankfort Way” – Bree


Fall inhales Summer,
pulling green from leaves,
exposing the colorful
identity of each. Beginning
a ritual with each exhale,
the air becomes crisper
more restless, anxious,
gusting through tree limbs,
whispering with, painting with,
making music with rustic leafy
chromatics; creating mystic
lullabies for plant-life abeyance
through the Winter to the eventual
reawakening at Spring’s gentle touch.

– Jen Pezzo


I went to the literary reading
at a bookstore on Lorain Avenue.

I got there early
and I was small talking

to people as they trickled in.

While I stood and pivoted

in between the shelves
and display racks

I noticed
a somewhat familiar face.

As we struck up a conversation
I remembered that I had heard him read

at a gallery gathering in Cleveland
about ten or so years ago.

It was strange to realize

that the past event was also the last time
I publically read my own writing in this town.

That would soon change though

because before long
a group of around fifteen people

filed into an adjacent room
to find seats.

I plopped myself
into a side sofa

and the informal reading began.

A random pod of poets
with their random crafted thoughts

randomly revealed their inner sanctums

and their momentary gifts

seemed to float and rise to the ceiling
like unseen incense.

I looked up at a painting
on the wall before me

with Andy Warhol and Jean-Michael Basquiat
portrayed side by side

and I eventually orated
a couple of my literary meanderings

as other individuals followed
with offerings

that were voiced out
from chair to chair.

All in all
it was unique onto itself

and just like jazz
that particular combo of people

heard a collective rendering
that will never exist again

and that only their ears
were privileged to hear.

After the get-together was over

I said some cordial goodbyes
and unceremoniously left

to slowly walk down a sidewalk

headed into the direction
of the West Side Market.

While I trudged along
I summarily thought to myself,

Well, I just gave another reading
of my work in Cleveland—

Every ten years or so
just like clockwork.

– Joe Balaz

I Once Was A Parent Of A Gifted Child

I told her she need not be sad.
I followed that up by telling her
she was a woman. She looked
surprised and bewildered. I
told her I had discovered that
when she was a child in school.
I told her a teacher had told
me that. A moment later a man
walked into our house and asked
if everything was okay. I said,
fine, what do you want. He said
he was here to take her away,
that she had called him and it
sounded like she needed his help.
I told him I had to use the lavatory.
I came back and they were gone.

– Daniel Gallick

Last night I slept on a bed of roses,
Red, pink and gold
I awoke today with thorns piercing
My sides

– Helen Shepard

“If Zorro” – Joe Balaz

Spirit, Bone, Body, Mind

Spirit and bone, bone and spirit –
which the rein, which the stirrup?

Bone in body, body round bone –
which one jester, which one throne?

Right hand laughs as left goes long
cuz nothing’s right, nothing’s wrong,

Two left feet or lack of spine?
Neither one’s a crime.

Mind or brain or mental gain
depend on aim of game.

Your multiple choice questions –
don’t leave answer, just suggestion.

– Smith

– Heather Ann Schmidt