“Miss Calif. 1944” by L.K. Thayer

"feline with fruit"

she lies there, her mouth gaping open like a baby bird

not wanting to eat but waiting to grasp death

her body heaves every morsel of sustenance up

she is aching to leave the nowness

she is a ghost of herself

a white corpse that they keep plugged in

sucking up her insurance

stuck in a barbed wire nest

the baby bird wants to fly to heaven

she is in between, no strength to scream

no more words, no more coffee, no more cigarettes

no more television or snickers bars,

she just wants ginger ale.

Shadow, Shadow, Shadow, she cries for her cat

misses him more than her dead husband

let her go. Why can’t they just let her go?

I kiss her forehead. she says my skin is soft,

I say so is hers. I tell her it’s alright to go now.

no more beauty pageants, no more titles, coke

or Frank Sinatra, no more bowling trophies

or casting calls, no more rejection. let her go

her life hurts of emptiness, she can’t swallow it any more

Blanche Dubois without the streetcar and no desire

on her lips, let her go…

she’s been there and done this and that,

smoked crack, she doesn’t want her life back,

take her off life support, she is coming up short,

if I could assist her suicide I would,

have mercy on her, we do it for animals,

but we let people suffer,

how cruel to let her lie in her waste and wallow.

It kills me to see her wither. Her voice once so deep

barely a whisper, now only a skeleton of her former self

my BFF, my darling neighbor, Miss CA. 1944.

no more tiaras, no more crowns, no more L.A. Times

off with her head, let the red queen go,

gently into that good night, please,

tuck her in

she has written her last poem…

her last rhyme

Shadow, Shadow, Shadow

it’s dinner time

(“Shadow & the apple” photo by L.K. Thayer)

© 2012

“Art Of Dying” by L. K. Thayer

I choose the apple casual font
for what I’m about to write.

My best friend across the street
is dying in her eighty five year old
withering body. The one that she
has used as an ash tray.
She won’t go to rehab and I told
her I wasn’t going to be her nurse.

My beloved dog is on his last leg
at 16. I take another coupla
Ibuprofen for my chronic daily
headache and realize

at least one
is consistent.

and knowing
I have to make art
to soothe my demons.

L. K. Thayer’s Foto Fetish

© 2010

“Answers Lie” by Julie Dolcemaschio

Answers lie in viper magnets on the fridge
I love the way Picachu holds the flag
And sings God Save the Queen like Sid Vicious

Lavender grows wild this year, early
Spring comes late to those who still love winter
Sleet covers streets bare of trees
Only a streetlamp gets turned on before six

I dreamed my knight in shining armor
Arrived on a gilded horse
The horse lifted his head proudly
And told me only fools mourn a loss before it happens

I am with you now
You will never read these words
You will never know what losing you will do to me
I will sit next to you and tell you all that is good
So the fear will come less often

Answers lie in a morphine drip
They came to her in bright hallucinations
She told them to stop yelling
Her heart was still strong, still beating
And she asked if I had wine with lunch

Adesh speaks of poisoned men and planted roses
I want to tell her about beauty
And how it shows itself in sophomore eyes
I want to tell her that peace comes only
To those who look for the silver lining with their eyes closed

Answers lie where you look for them
Under rocks, that’s so cliché
I prefer to find them in the poetry spoken
While fucking a lover who never lies

I will live for those beauty moments
And I will die a thousand little deaths
If he says it should be so

Answers lie in the greeting as well as the let go
I feared the pain of both
Until I greeted the golden boys
And said goodbye to Adonis

I will wave with bravery when the queen says it’s time
And find answers where they lie
In imperfect arms I will die those little deaths
And breathe life into his hard places
While he speaks to me in tongues
And reads my poems in Italian

Julie Dolcemaschio

Photo by VC Ferry

All Rights Reserved

© 2010

“Exit Softly” by Julie Dolcemaschio

I drew breath the night she took her last
And vibrated with her passing
I waxed as she waned
And I told her it was alright to leave

I pushed between the spaces of my living
And for every breath she took, I gave her more of mine
Hoping that it would give me a few more minutes
Yet hoping it wouldn’t

She hurt enough
She suffered enough
She endured enough

In her last breath the good daughter urged her on
And in her final moments a single tear traced the lines of her face
Now taut over structure bones no longer needed in this life
She told me once that a life lived full was all that was required
And that passing the test required only a smile

I watched her exit softly in the late night quiet
Reverence for the passing of royalty
And as that final tear caressed her cheek
I saw God, and I asked him to hold her hand

She was a bit unsteady
And had a fear of falling

Julie Dolcemaschio

Photo by VC Ferry

All Rights Reserved

© 2010

“Map Of Me” by Julie Dolcemaschio

On the edge she sat, fear of flies…no flying
no dying…yes
The heart.
It was the heart that bled verily I say unto yous
So it was fear then, the dog asked
Downtown, pillbox hat, martini, up, at nine a.m.

Thems were the days
Clit twirled on submarine wit, dreaming of a time
when she could actually see the sun come up
Can you play me a tune on harpsichord
draw Rome with your tongue
Trace the angles of my face with your fingers

and tell me who I am?
Make a map of me
make a map of me
make a map of me
The dog clucked his black tongue and searched her
rainbow mouth for answers. Is that all?

Julie Dolcemaschio

All Rights Reserved

© 2010

“Mona Lisa” by L. K. Thayer

Photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher

he used to
sing ‘Mona Lisa’
to me
in the halls

he was an art teacher
a gentle, creative force
he liked sitting with us

Cat Stevens records
with his


he was struck by

while flying

a kite

he died


still sent

his message

of freedom


“Or is this the way to hide a broken heart?
Many dreams have been brought
To your doorstep
They just lie there
And they die there
Are you warm are you real
Mona Lisa?
Or just a cold and lonely

Work of art?

Mona Lisa
Mona Lisa”

Jay Livingston
Ray Evans

© 1950

L. K. Thayer

All Rights Reserved

© 2009

“The Viewing” by Mark McNease

Mark McNease

Closed casket with a photograph
and a surprising number of people
saying how natural you look.
Well, yeah,

it’s a photograph.
The casket was open when we first arrived.
Creeped me out. Corpses ain’t my thing.
They found your wallet circa 1973
with fifteen pictures of your favorite,
one of Caro, none of me. But I thank you

for the money. It was
how I tried to prove myself, calling you
with every six percent raise, hoping once
I would be your son and not
your son who worked at Sesame Street.

We are who we are, and finally
we are dead bodies in a funeral home
or urns filled with ashes. The truth of our
existence as memories becomes transparent.
There is no wall to wail against,
no trial to conduct, no verdict.
We are sons, mothers, daughters, fathers
resting quietly while the mourning file by.

Mark McNease

All Rights Reserved

© 2009

“To Be Fabulous” by Sarah Mac Donald


Photo by Sarah Mac Donald

It was my birthday, which is always a good time to be thinking about death – I love the way burials have gotten green – I think I’ll probably want that. One thing I do know, is I don’t want my kids worrying about what to do with my ashes – I don’t want to be in a coffee can, lost in someone’s garage – dump me in the ocean, or something like that, easy and cheap.

There are so many ways to die – is it better to pay almost 10,000 dollars and die in a sweat lodge in Sedona, die in a crash on the freeway or drop from the sky in a plane with a bunch of strangers?

Is it better to be happy and die
Is it better to be sad and die
Is it better to be angry and die

Is it better to be fat and die
Is it better to be thin and die
Is it better to be stupid and die
Is it better to be smart and die
Is it better to be awake and die
Is it better to be asleep and die

I have decided it is better to be fabulous and die. To be outrageous. To still be alive.
To have turned over every stone, rock, clump of dirt in my life, every talent, glimmer and good piece of my life, every shining thing that I can think of and then I can laugh, or at least smile.

I shall be the Cheshire Cat of death.

Sarah Mac Donald

All Rights Reserved

© 2009