“Family Shrapnel” by L.K. Thayer


My mom asked me,“was I a bad mother?”
she couldn’t remember how she’d mothered us
it was all more about coping, surviving & needlepoint
painting the wall bittersweet
the emerald green carpet, white wicker furniture
and collecting brass birdcages
she would douse herself in Estee Lauder
enough to choke the neighbors down the hall
I think she must have been in a state of shock
for a few years
just went on automatic kamakzie pilot
when the “D” bomb went off
the family shrapnel blew out into tiny
pieces in tiny hands
cupping Campbell’s tomato soup
with grilled cheese sandwiches for supper
helping us on and off with our winter snow suits
& boots & hats & mittens
on & off with mosquito spray
on & off with life preservers
from Fargo for God’s sake…
icicles running down our little snot noses
slipping on the ice chin first,
bleeding into Kleenex tissues
(there goes my Sonya Hieny skating career)
the mother thing…
I dodged that bullet
I picked up the worry gene
from my grandmother
and colon cancer
the surgeon sliced eight inches off of mine
now I’m a semi-colon
(she says with an exclamation point)
Mostly I’ve dodged my own Uzi
pointed at my self destructive noggin
mostly I was the hit man
the target I wanted to take out
I should have citizens arrested myself
spent a few nights in lock down
mostly I got loaded, shit faced
drunk, numb enough to slide
out of my shy state
and under the covers
with some underling
under a sheet like a ghost
dressed for
trick or treating
Jonesing for some lonely hearts grab bag
searching for the sweetness
relying on
the naughty tart
that I have perfected
and the multi-colored rainbow ball
spins on my laptop
fucking up my world
I give it the weight of gold bullion
and the wounds
of my
endangered species
© 2013

Stephen John Kalinich

In dreams
where mortals slumber
in lands unknown
i reside in molecules and seeds
a fragrance
that you sense
aroused not innocent
not drawn to praise
despising mankind
at times
slow to forgive
quick to judge
as my kind
is prone too
i renounce
a separate self
i linger on the boundary
of the invisible ocean
of thought
that swims around us
into atmospheric sea
the triumph and the fall
of all
that come into existence
as sure as it dissolves
becomes the dust
one day evaporates
breaks down
our spirit
all is inconsequential
all is insignificant
all becomes more than
what it was.
My god what angel
wouldn’t long for one breath
of the beauty of this earth
that is so fleeting
yet contains within itself
the portal
to immortal journeys
In dreams
In dreams
where nightmare scream
where none can be redeemed
or given  second chances
where the etch
is the only steady
is the motionless stillness
the mark of passage
of before matter
exploded into manifestation
out of nothingness
in dreams.
(Photo by L.K. Thayer)


anais nin


“If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it. The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.”

– Anais Nin