Lawrence Ferlinghetti



Pity The Nation

“Pity the nation whose people are sheep,
and whose shepherds mislead them.
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars, whose sages are silenced,
and whose bigots haunt the airwaves.
Pity the nation that raises not its voice,
except to praise conquerors and acclaim the bully as hero
and aims to rule the world with force and by torture.
Pity the nation that knows no other language but its own
and no other culture but its own.
Pity the nation whose breath is money
and sleeps the sleep of the too well fed.
Pity the nation — oh, pity the people who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away.
My country, tears of thee, sweet land of liberty.”
― Lawrence Ferlinghetti – 2007

Rich Ferguson




(Photo “Orange Crush” by Rich Ferguson)


What the What

What we argue about.
What we know to the depths of our souls.
What causes the soles of our feet to burn.
What our pain is, and what we do with it.

What we do for love.
What animals mate for life.

What weapons will look like in 100 years.
What our history of violence tells us.
What the silence tells us on nights we can’t sleep. 
What time whispers in our ears when another year slips by.

What slips between our fingers, between the cracks.

What cracks us up.

What gets us up out of bed every morning.

What we see when we look in the mirror. 
What to do for a broken heart.

What to do when your what-if machine breaks.

What your tongue can tell you about your health.

What your health can tell you about your wealth.

What we can learn from our mistakes.

What we can learn from the color of a star.

What we wish for when we wish upon a star.

What truths are self-evident.

What our parents aren’t telling us.
What our politicians aren’t telling us. 
What it means to be kind, what it means to be cruel.
What it means to be rich, what it means to be poor. 
What to do to cleanse your colon.

What to do to cleanse your soul.
What to take for a yeast infection, or erectile dysfunction.
What a dangling or misplaced modifier looks like in a sentence.
What a prison inmate’s life sentence costs the average taxpayer. 
What it costs to build a house.

What it costs to buy a house.
What Lincoln said about a house divided.

What Shakespeare said about destiny and the stars.

What scars we wear proudly. 

What wounds we keep hidden deep.

What we’ve lied about, rioted about. 
What we’ve remained absolutely quiet about.

What the coroner’s report will say about us when we’re gone.
What our families, friends, and coworkers will say about us when we’re gone.

What to do to get turned on.

What to do when you’re turned off.

What made Van Gogh cut off his ear.

What paint colors go together, or make people look more beautiful.

What it really means when people say beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

What eye color is most sensitive to light.

What it takes to power Times Square.

What 9/11 looked like from outer space.

What you can and can’t take on airplanes.

What you can and can’t buy with food stamps, or eat while pregnant.

What role folic acid plays in pregnancy.

What acid taught Timothy Leary.

What we should and shouldn’t be leery of.

What agitates us, brings us peace. 

What meditation does to the brain.

What cancer does to the brain.

What we know about wisdom vs. intelligence.
What we know about ignorance vs. stupidity. 

What stupid things people do with their smart phones.

What women do that drive guys crazy.

What guys do that drive women crazy. 

What it really means when a guy says he’s scared.

What it really means when a woman says, “Fine.”

What degree of separation you are from Tom Waits vs. Tom Cruise.
What your musical taste, or taste in movies says about you. 
What the chicken says when crossing the road.
What the road has told us when we’ve journeyed off alone.

What we’ve done for kicks on Route 66.

What 666 means to a mathematician vs. a devil worshiper, or biblical scholar.

What prayers to say for abundance, what prayers to say for healing. 
What we’ve held in our hands.

What we’ll be handing over to the next generation.
What we’ve handed over as a bribe, peace offering, or evidence.
What the witness saw.
What the victim saw.
What the shooter saw when staring down the barrel of his rifle.
What we see when looking up at the clouds.

What we see when looking down deep into ourselves.


Rich Ferguson

c. 2018

Mike Meraz



You finally say
I love you
And she doesn’t
Or reciprocate

She just says
“You shouldn’t
Have said that”
Which is good

The next day
She comes over
A little bit

A little bit

Some of the
Edges have
Been smoothed

She gives you
A hug upon

You realize
You made the

You waited



You are a

I am a
18th century

We are two
Pieces of

One quiet
As stone

The other
Filling the room



She is now
And I can listen
To sad music

There is nothing worse
Than a love song
When you yourself
Are heart-broken

But now she is

And the stars
Are lined up

The earth is

At least
The Part
Under my


Mike Meraz

Wendy Rainey



The Buskers

The punk rock girls came to my room with daffodils that they had snatched from someone’s garden. They said they were looking for someone to play with. The dark haired girl set her violin on the bed, took a flask from her jeweled purse and poured some scotch into a glass she found by the sink. She handed it to me. I took the glass, glancing at the dried toothpaste on the rim before I downed it. The redhead pulled her ukulele out of a bag and began strumming. She asked me if I could sing, did I play any instruments. The dark haired girl took an apple and two oranges from my desk and began juggling them, her cigarette dangling from her mouth, ash falling on the floor. I motioned for her to throw the fruit to me. She threw an orange, then an apple, then another orange. I juggled in front of the girls as they talked on the sofa. The dark haired girl had woven blue flowers into her hair which was piled up on her head in an enormous bun. In the center of the bun were several tiny plastic babies in different stages of distress. Some of the babies were crawling down the side of her head. The redhead had freckles and a short haircut that made her look like a teenage boy from the front. But from behind a long thin braid hung down her back, tied with a green bow. She began playing her ukulele again. Both girls sang Dream A Little Dream, their voices intertwining with the melody. Still juggling, I joined in. When we were finished the redhead put her ukulele back in her bag and went to the mirror to apply her lipstick. The dark haired girl slipped her flask back into her sparkling bag, grabbed her violin and said, “C’mon, we’re goin’ buskin’ in Piccadilly.” I put my coat on and as we walked toward the door I told the dark haired girl to leave my 5 pounds on the desk where she had found it. She took my 5 pound note from her bra and put it on the desk. I turned to the redhead and pointed to her left jacket pocket, “My necklace, please.” She reached into her pocket and dropped the necklace into my hand. We walked out the door singing Tiptoe Through The Tulips in falsetto through the hallway as we made our way out to the sidewalk and onward to Piccadilly Circus.

Wendy Rainey

Fruit for Thought…


Fruit of life – by Frida Kahlo



Beware of those who are bitter,
For they will never allow you
To enjoy your fruit.

Beware of those who criticize you
When you deserve some praise for an achievement,
For they secretly desire to be worshiped.

Beware of those who are needy or stingy,
For they would rather sting you
Than give you anything.

Beware of those who are always hungry,
For they will feed you to the wolves
Just to get paid.

Beware of those who speak negatively
About everything and everybody,
For a negative person will never say
A positive thing about you.

Beware of those who are bored
And not passionate about life,
For they will bore you with reasons
For not living.

Beware of those who are too focused with
Polishing and beautifying their outer shells,
For they lack true substance to understand
That genuine beauty is in the heart
That resides inside.

Beware of those who step in the path of your dreams,
For they only dream to have the ability
To take half your steps.

Beware of those who steer you away
From your heart’s true happiness,
For it would make them happy to see you
Steer yourself next to them,
Sitting with both your hearts bitter.

Those who are critical don’t like being criticized,
And those who are insensitive have a deficiency in their senses.

And finally,
Beware of those who tell you to BEWARE.
They are too aware of everything –
And live alone, scared.”

Poetry by Suzy Kassem
― Suzy KassemRise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

L.K. Thayer



“Praises From a Tenor Sax”

like salt on a bloodsucker
recoiling, shriveling
paralyzed fits of punishing

with the sell-out
the down and out
muck and mire choir
praises from a tenor sax
and a song
you can’t let go of

fill the loving cup
and drink it dry
try to stay away
but you can’t fight
the pull
of the taffy

you get stuck in the
and you wanna

L.K. Thayer

Photo by VC Ferry – NYC




Mike Meraz



(Epic Rites Press (2015) Cover art by Toni Greis)


She has the


To give



The highest



And the




And like some




I put my


On the







Even though

I once



I will


Go into that




L.K. Thayer Reviews  SHE POEMS by Mike Meraz

Meraz is a less is more poet. His women have the power

and he lets you feel where he has been punched.

There is no excess in his writing, just below the belt truth.

Meraz takes you into cinematic short films of his love life and

as the leading man,  he makes you care about what happens to him.

SHE POEMS is inspiring, provocative and profound in it’s complex

simplicity. His style is cunning and addictive and after each poem

all you want is more. – L. K. Thayer 

SHE POEMS by Mike Meraz on Amazon