How to Write

Erasure from section 5 of How to Write a Thesis by Umberto Eco

Speak your chance
            to the hands of thousands

Most certainly
            nods do the work

A key less widely known
            is a minor hero

Your pig must first be solitary
            then genius

The weather hints at humility

You are not   Proust
You are not   e. e. cummings

are you a poet
are you crazy

by Karen Greenbaum-Maya

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Karen Greenbaum-Maya is a closet German Lit major and a retired clinical psychologist. She likes ducks, also duck, a conflict leading to her tragic view of life. She believes that if you want to hit someone with a fish, you should just hit them with a fish. cloudslikemountains.blogspot.com


Deplorable Times

'Tis a time of sheer madness, when
 all through the land
Blows a rumble and roar from a man,
  "I'm so grand."
He revels in ignorance, bigotry, "close every gate,"
   throws in misogyny, anything to bait
His mean mass of followers,
  all snug in their hate, with visions of America,
Their un-United States.
They dress in their anger and he
 in his rage,
I spring from my bed to put
 words on this page.
Away to my pc, I fly like a flash
it's Donald, it's Trump,
The Pres., with the bundle of cash,
  a miniature man with a mind
In the gutter, "Don't come down my chimney,"
 I clearly did utter.
His hair like an orange, his mouth like a guppy,
  a fake tweet comes out and even disgusts my sad puppy.
A blink of Trump's eye, a twist of his head
  confirms, yes, for sure, I have everything to dread.
Every word that he speaks signals danger ahead.
  I so want to run, hide under my bed,
When I hear him exclaim, (wish he'd drive out of sight),
 "Make America great again," I know, he's not right.
He wants to return to a time from before,
  when freedom and justice were not for the poor, and the others
All unwelcome at his White House door.

by Nancy Freedman Goldstein

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Nancy Freedman Goldstein says:

I think I always knew I'd be
A poet, writer happily.

A poet first, when in third grade,
My classmates chose the poem I made.

A melody we did create;
Sang my poem on stage, first rate.

Then to grown-up publications,
Plus two more qualifications.

Teaching kids, then entrepreneur,
Now poetry, rhyme connoisseur.

Poems, parodies, love of words,
Celebrate poets - we're not nerds!


A Gentle Farewell

If you should go, to take away my peace,
and turn the wrinkled page, I would not grieve
as medieval ladies seek release
in rage or madness when their lovers leave.

Or death. Leaping from a parapet
is high romance, but harmful to the bones,
but that's what medieval maidens get
for messing with their wayward pheromones.

When you are gone, I'll make a cup of tea
laced with just a thimbleful of schnapps,
rejoice a moment in my liberty,
and call or text a former friend, perhaps.

You think you hold my key to happiness,
but what I have is post-traumatic stress.

by Conrad Geller

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Conrad Geller has been a poet since Harry Truman was president, since which nothing has changed much. A native of Boston, he now lives in northern Virginia and publishes widely in electronic and print media.


A New Endian Dilemma

If you seek milk there, no such luck—
The middle's milk; the end is muck.

by Daniel Galef

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Daniel Galef's poetry has appeared in Light Quarterly, The New Verse News, and Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics. He is currently studying at McGill University, where he won First Prize at the 2016 McGill Drama Festival and is editor-in-chief of the humor magazine The Plumber's Faucet.


The Donald at the Plate

The votes were tough to come by in the Congress on that day;
The leaders sought agreement but the members had their say.
And then one member voted "No," another did the same;
With this failure of consensus, the Chairman laid out blame.

The faces of the members showed a shadow of despair;
And desperate for a winner, held a meeting with the Chair;
Said, "Let's eke out a margin and get Donald to the plate—
To the bully and his bluster, we'll entrust our party's fate!"

But the House preceded Donald, and the Senate, goodness sake;
The House's dealings riotous, the Senate's were opaque.
So upon the true believers, a piteous sadness sat,
They'd dreamed of killing health care with one swing of the bat.

Then the House cooked up a bill, to the wonderment of all,
And the Senate dreamed up another, in a most astounded hall!
When the smoke-filled rooms were opened, all saw what had occurred,
They were desperate to pass anything, lest Donald break his word.

Donald's strident partisans let loose a thunderous roar;
So sure the one they'd chosen would find a way to score;
They called out loud from every door, and at the White House gate,
As mighty Donald waved his hat to Make-America-Great.

Confident, Donald felt himself a tribute to his race.
Pride fueled Donald's swagger; a grin adorned the Donald's face.
And greeting the adoring throngs, he lightly touched his hair;
Even foes could not deny,'twas Donald under there.

Like eagles we all watched him and the hacks that he inserted;
But partisans applauded Cabinet missions he subverted.
As pleading migrants wailed when thrown back upon their ship,
He hired brutal border guards to tighten his harsh grip.

And such his cruel pronouncements came tweeting through the air;
Seeing, we could scarce believe how coarse the drivel written there.
Immigration court's injunction, then past the Donald sped—
"That ain't my style," said Donald. "Strike one!" the judges said.

On benches black-robed jurists, with calm dignity they bore
The rumblings and the grumblings of Donald's partisan roar;
"Fire them! Fire the judges!" his base shouted long and loud;
"Crooked Hillary!" screamed others. Nodding, Donald worked the crowd.

When questions came of fake news traced back to Russia's zone;
Attention was diverted with tweets a-flying from his phone.
His poison pill for health care, the Senate finally withdrew,
Donald just shrugged off defeat, as the Congress said, "Strike two!"

He redirected wrath toward a foreign terror foe.
Believers knew that Donald wouldn't let that third strike go.
Hushed, they watched him hunker down—muscles tense and senses strained,
They knew as Donald promised, he'd make sure that swamp was drained.

His crew knew that Donald would ne'er admit a loser's fate,
His pledge to build a border wall, still left upon his plate.
Fed up with his cruel prejudice, we debunked this sorry show,
"We won't allow your border wall. We The People just say—No!"

O'er rocky mountain majesties and plains of wind-swept grains,
The sun still smiles on city streets and factory window panes;
But in the Oval Office—head thrown back, lips in full pout—
Darkness fills his tiny space—mighty Donald has struck out.

by Don Fleming

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Don Fleming of northern KY has slipped the shackles of gainful employment and turned to selected commentary. His poetry was included in the exhibit EAT: A Literature + Photo Installation at Centre College and in the anthology These Summer Months: Stories from The Late Orphan Project (The Backpack Press).