Poetry Drawer: Untitled by Rus Khomutoff


You can find more of Rus’ work here on Ink Pantry.

Poetry Drawer: Getting Lucky: waiting for the day: The Rising Storm of Sedition Overwhelms Us All: Tired and Burned Out – Let 2020 Go!!!: Toilet Gate Fit Metaphor for the End of the Trump Affair by Jake Cosmos Aller

Getting Lucky

I have been extremely lucky
In life
Lucky in love
Not so much in cards

Met the love of my life
In a dream
Then she became my wife

Over the years
We have been extremely lucky
As our investments grew and grew

Fuelled by the skill
Of my financial advisor wife
Born in the year of the Golden Pig

Making me wealthy
In my old age

I often think meeting her
Was like winning the lotto
Or getting a jackpot

A jackpot of love
That continues to pay me
Dividends for life

Until the day I die
With my lucky charm
By my side

waiting for the day

I lay in bed
Waiting for the sun to rise
Next to my sleeping beauty
Filled with her love

But with the dawning sun
The nightmares come back

Filled with fearful thoughts
Of what fresh insanity
Will soon overwhelm me

I watch the daily news
Absorbing the latest
Scandal d’jour
The latest fresh hell

As I watch with dismay
America the land of my birth
Tear itself apart

As politicians play games
Thousands die
Becoming Corona Ghosts

It is enough to make me
Want to hideaway
For the rest of my time
On this earth

The Rising Storm of Sedition Overwhelms Us All

A rising storm of sedition and treason
Threatens to overwhelm us all
As the alt. right wing forces

Complicit in treason
And committed sedition

A failure of law enforcement
And politics as well

As the craven proud boys
do not hide anymore

screaming fraud
Trying to foment civil war

Storming the Capitol
On instructions from their hero

The craven President
Hides out

Watching the carnage
That he unleashed
Descend on the capitol

Tired and Burned Out – Let 2020 Go!!!
January 15, 2021

It has been two weeks
Since the beginning of the year
It seems like it has been a Year
Of horror condensed down

Into two-weeks
Of daily chaos
As the centre frays

We are so Tired
and Burned Out
yet we can’t Let 2020 Go!!!

Madness grows
Can’t take it much more
can’t shake off
the 2020 hangover

2021 You are so old
We are so done with you
Just go away
And never haunt us again

Toilet Gate Fit Metaphor for the End of the Trump Affair

News that the President’s son-in-law and daughter
Refused to allow secret service agents
To use any of their 6.5 toilets
Is a fitting metaphor
For the end of the Trump Era

The news captures the false sense
Of royal privilege
Among the Trump family
And shows how shallow, cruel
And inhuman the family really is

How did such a family of grifters
Manage to take over the WH?
And how can anyone still support
Such despicable human beings?

They deny it of course
But the Secret service
Says it is true

And they had to pay 100,000 dollars
3,000 dollars per month
To rent an apartment across the street
So, agents could relieve themselves

What were they thinking?
Perhaps they were thinking
The agents could use the bushes
Out back?

Or beg to use the neighbor’s facilities?
Anyway, not their problem
What the hired help does
After all

So glad that this band
Of grifters are on their way out
And sanity will return
To our nation

John (“Jake”) Cosmos Aller is a novelist, poet, and former Foreign Service officer having served 27 years with the U.S. State Department serving in over ten countries including Korea, Thailand, India, Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Spain. He has travelled to over 50 countries, and 49 out of 50 states. He speaks Korean, Thai, Spanish and studied Chinese, Hindi and Arabic.

You can find more of Jake’s work here on Ink Pantry.

Poetry Drawer: Interaction is crucial: Brand positioning: Three French Horns: Another set of anterior appendages by Mark Young

Interaction is crucial

The most elegant inter-
pretation of quantum
mechanics states that
macrophages are re-
quired for a parallel
reality to exist; & that
can only happen if
zebrafish are the sole

peer-reviewed species
allowed to be taken out
of captivity to become
an accepted model for
neuropsychiatric studies
into tissue regeneration.

Brand positioning

A spectrum is a
collection of scalar
values with its
black curve being
an analog of
the momentum.

Which is why a
fixed dimensional
living space may
wish to concede
that abacus marble
or rock counters

can take the place
of trees when
considering the cause
for some cases
of partially-
working proteins.

Three French Horns

Winnebago shared a post
on Instagram, a screenshot
of some anthropologist’s tale
of the deconstruction of the
phrase a partridge in a pear
by a group of pueblo
dwellers. Some individual
ideas were reported; but
essentially the consensus
rotated around two oft-repeated
questions: where’s the buffalo?
& why is Angela Merkel so
often criticized on social media?

Another set of anterior appendages

Anchored to the hair by
centipedes wearing
elastic sombreros, even
the most advanced anti-
rain cycling accessories

cannot avoid bringing with
them more than a hint of
biting arthropod. It dis-
plays as an inflammatory
reaction similar to that

occurring when a library’s
dustiest corner is disturb-
ed. Only the addition of
mirrored aviator goggles
will work as a deterrent.

Recent poems by Mark Young have appeared or are to appear in Word For/Word, Die Leere Mitte, Home Planet News Online, experiential-experimental-literature, Utsanga.it, Hamilton Stone Review, & BlazeVOX, amongst other places.

More of Mark’s work can be found here on Ink Pantry.

Poetry Drawer: The Italian Kitchen: Politics: Ingratitude: Pan by Dr. Susie Gharib

The Italian Kitchen

Paulette was the most elegant person I had ever known,
a ballet dancer, half-Swiss, half-Italian, with a British home.
We walked into a cafe in Glasgow’s trendiest zone,
the only friend I had made then during my studentship abroad.

It was an Italian restaurant with wooden seats and long queues,
and after standing for half an hour we found a table next to the wall,
not far from another where he instantly spotted me with the serenest of looks.

I always wondered what my presence in his arena provoked.
His face was inscrutable and no muscles could be construed.
I always said the wrong things and made the wrong moves,
and I forgave him for whatever thoughts he brewed
over my aloofness, my indifference, and ill-disguised fondness.

I failed to greet him and I knew he would not pardon me for being rude.
How could I tell him that I always kept away from the people I valued most,
for whoever I touched, I was bound to lose !


I associate the word with all that is odious and morbid,
with the oppression of nations,
the starvation of millions,
with the Massacre of Glencoe,
the Genocide of Armenians,
with scepters that turn into pythons
to devour an entire millennium,
with sectarianism and schisms
within familial unions,
with blood-sheds at altars
and contagious vermillion,
with manipulative spouses
and exploitative chameleons,
with labyrinthine circumlocution
and orchestrated rebellions.


Let me sing my ode for ingratitude.
My palm is a cemetery of deep-dug holes,
drilled by your claws
in the wake of every gift and handshake I proposed.

My smiles enthuse a trickle of gall
that ruffles the stillness of your stagnant soul
that cannot be consoled
by words or glows,
devouring every ray that beams from my mouth,
like an astral Black Hole.

I tread upon your discourse of thorns
to partake of the pricks of a saga of wrongs,
but you disdain my every groan
that empathizes with your excruciating woes,
spurning my solace with habitual scorn.

[A Reading of Richard Le Gallienne‘s essay ‘The Spirit of the Open’]

Richard opted for a woodland, green office
in the blue-eyed wilderness
to conduct literary transactions,
with expected diversions from celestial bodies such as
the moon and morning stars,
and the squirrel that haunts his wood-pile,
with his thoughts often ferried by the river nearby
to the sea, far-off.

He had been simply summoned by the god Pan
whose death was mistakenly proclaimed
by Plutarch as Christianity reigned,
but Pan’s life is inextricably linked with that of the earth.
There will always be little chapels to Pan
on whose lintels Virgil’s words are inscribed:
Blest too is he who knows the rural gods,
Pan, old Silvanus, and the sister-nymphs!

There is only one creed that makes us both happy and good.
It is that of the flourishing grass and the dogwood,
of the cerulean sky and the brisk brook,
of the blue heron and the redwing.

Susie Gharib is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde with a Ph.D. on the work of D.H. Lawrence. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in multiple venues including Adelaide Literary Magazine, Green Hills Literary Lantern, A New Ulster, Crossways, The Curlew, The Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Ink Pantry, Mad Swirl, Miller’s Pond Poetry Magazine, and Down in the Dirt.

You can find more of Susie’s work here on Ink Pantry.

Poetry Drawer: stick wackle the loaf ode: I hit 99 and the coffee was making me talk: would you prevent a cavity like crest toothpaste for astronaut powers?: tree grease by J. D. Nelson

stick wackle the loaf ode

room for those stars, too
milky way simult.

swinging hard like a merk
half slathered with glue and doom

there will be one minute of silence
after the explosion

fingers on my feet
cutting polaroids from a loaf

I hit 99 and the coffee was making me talk

the soap is a little rectangle
how long until my hands are clean?
smells like pea sprouts

in case of emergency contact the moon pirate
when you were something like a robot with ears on the planet of earth

I have the keys to the kitchen sink

za tree fork P/ plus
staunch reptile

and that was that until the doubts started creeping in
high above the city the robotic vultures were circling

we took it to the wall every night and tried to see thru it
your chains dragging should tell you that

look at me now with my gills and water pants and no ocean
forest grockerly until notice of federal nachos

would you prevent a cavity like crest toothpaste for astronaut powers?

a new love of the cosmic goose
what is the dream number of this toast?

the rook is now a diamond of the same eye
in sheets the rain was a powerful ghost and goose

that hurts our chances of learning the moon numbers
time to separate the numbers from the apples

to wonder aloud about the suns
a new window of the rookie forces

the saint of the clock
we get that hank of the heaven

the game of the wild face
the shimmering face of christ

tree grease

the sports tomorrow when I am that old drac
get there with that morning hand

that long acre of the simian tree for butter
do you need to climb a window for the grief?

we need the green tree to stop
the meteor knows why I was the heart

why is the ark of the natural earth of the egg?
would you like a lark of the pumpkin?

the heart of the bagel
to start with that help is the halo

the muscle of the chart of detergents
the tight window of the spinning eye

to win a window
the natural useless face

would you like that head of the cheddar wheel to speak?
we are the rose of the caramel jump

going back to see that friend of the fridge
milk or mud?

J. D. Nelson (b. 1971) experiments with words in his subterranean laboratory. More than 1,500 of his poems have appeared in many small press publications, in print and online. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Cinderella City (The Red Ceilings Press, 2012). Visit Madverse for more information and links to his published work. Nelson lives in Colorado.

More of J.D.’s work can be found here on Ink Pantry.

Poetry Drawer: French Fries: Read My Lips: Shower Drain Lovers: Searching: Geppetto by Charles K. Carter

French Fries

When we were dating,
I used to come to the fast food
restaurant where you worked and eat
with you on your breaks. We’d order
two large fries and you would dump out
both cartons on the tray, teaching
me to share while I dipped my fries in
mayo and ketchup and you dipped
yours in sweet and sour, not knowing
the sour was yet to leak out of

Read My Lips

On our one-month anniversary
I learned that you could read lips.
I put your powers to the test.
I mouthed my order for you to transcribe
for the confused waitress.
I spent the whole meal mouthing
my thoughts and jokes and dreams.
I gladly footed the bill because for the first time,
I felt solid in the world, I felt present.

When we would wake up together,
in the soft angelic glow of morning light,
I used to run my tongue down your back,
blowing chills into your spine,
feeling like a god as I watched goosebumps and faint hairs rise.
I would spell out I LOVE YOUs and I WANT YOUs
and you could sense every letter.
I felt your weight in my bed, your presence,
you truly and totally tethered to me.
For the first time in a long time, I felt acknowledged.

Sometimes I lie awake in the dark,
worrying about work and money, dreading the approach of death,
caught up in the cacophony of this harsh world
and I wonder if you are able to read my mind,
because as if on cue, you rub your foot against mine,
nuzzle yourself into my arms as if you know
I need something to hold on to, to keep myself
from floating off into my own anxiety
and I know that I am seen. I am heard. I am

Shower Drain Lovers

Sometimes I leave you messages on the shower wall,
stray hairs molded into an I ❤ U
but they are never acknowledged, never appreciated, talked about, or replied to.
They are only washed down the drain
as if this effort from my morning brain was all in vain.

I hope somewhere out there, there is a shower drain you,
made up of your stray hairs,
that is reaching out for me.
I hope he is moved by little gestures,
tangled up in love with a shower drain me.


we aren’t meant to put all this pressure on each other,
like we are the only ones for each other,
like we have to serve and fulfill and be everything for one another,
we could be open to lightening the load on this lonely, heavy heart.


I fill up the car and drive to your place.
Everyone’s driving slow on the highway,
there must be a cop or an accident nearby,
some warning to slow down.

Laugh and make jokes, flirt and flutter.
It usually doesn’t happen this quick,
must be something in the water wetting appetites,
something calling us to speed up.

Kiss kiss him, kiss me, kiss us, kiss kissing you
Touch touch us, touch him, touch you, touch touching me
You were speaking in tongues of ecstasy.

We had been searching
for someone who could speak our
language. Someone who
could tap the source of passion
burrowing deep in our bones.

Like a forgotten word
in a forgotten tongue,
you left me feeling hopelessly incomplete,


You were sad and liked to lie there broken,
to wallow in your sad boy, boy toy misery.
I was sad and I liked to fix things to distract myself from my pain,
to mend things made me feel less broken.
I thought it would work out perfectly,
like I could help piece you back together,
sew up your seems, solder your hinges,
fix your fissures, clean the rust from the gears around your heart,
paint the sunshine back into your eyes,
that I could fix you and then you would love me,
that you would lay on my lap, find a fondness for me.
But boys are not toys and I am not a toymaker.

Charles K. Carter is a queer poet and educator from Iowa. He shares his home with his artist husband and his spoiled pets. He enjoys film, yoga, and live music. Melissa Etheridge is his ultimate obsession. He holds an MFA in writing from Lindenwood University. His poems have appeared in several literary journals. He is the author of Chasing Sunshine (Lazy Adventurer Publishing), Splinters (Kelsay Books), and Salem Revisited (WordTech Editions).

More of Charles’ work can be found here on Ink Pantry.

Poetry Drawer: Captive Stellar Dreams by Nathan Sweem

Hues truthfully blended say a bright
Shades of masked intentions
Unspoken smiles
Peel away
Fond ideas, comforting habits
Reveal a heart broken raw
Behind many translucent folds
Crumbled pieces tightly bound
Displayed in artful longing
Fearful of reproach
Soul ensnared
Wild thoughts enthralled
Twisted beautiful dreams
Spiral upwards
Unwind into blazing stellar skies

Nathan Sweem writes novels, short fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction.

Poetry Drawer: Peaches Honeyblossom (Peaches Geldof-Cohen 1989-2014) by Sheila Jacob

I didn’t know you
but I’d seen the photos in Hello,
believed in the bloom
of your body next to
your sons’ downy skin.

I breathed the fragrance
of your motherhood
as you exalted breast feeding
on This Morning
and silenced Katie Hopkins.

I loved the sassy, savvy,
baby-toting grace of you
though sleepless nights
shadowed your cheekbones
and I ached to hug you the way

I’d hugged my daughter
five years earlier; wanted
to walk your boys around the park
while you chilled on the sofa
with a tub of chocolate Haagen-Dazs.

I thought you’d make it
despite the bitter-sweetness
of your last Instagram post-
you in your Mum’s arms
when she was still golden.

I didn’t know you
but I couldn’t believe you’d return
to familiar ghosts,
lift the lid to your heroin stash
and reach inside.

Sheila Jacob was born and raised in Birmingham and lives with her husband in N.E.Wales. Since 2013 she’s had poems published in various U.K. magazines and webzines including One Hand Clapping and Atrium. In 2019 she self-published a small pamphlet of poems about her father’s short life and working-class upbringing.

Poetry Drawer: Christmas Cantata in Six Parts by Robert Demaree

Greensboro 1948

When we would go home for Christmas,
It was to my mother’s town,
Where I was the cousin with the Yankee accent,
Who didn’t like grits:
A gentle, Southern place:
Gracious lawns, winding drives
In our grandfather’s Buick, past the golf course.

I see a dim American past, parts best forgotten:
Cedar Christmas trees, trackless trolleys,
Water fountains “For Coloured Only”,
Maids summoned from the kitchen with a bell,
Bearing trays of puffy rolls.

Christmas would be over and we’d go back north,
New toys stored away, my mother crying.

Metairie 1977

A child’s Christmas in Metry
We called it then,
Until our girls, teachers’ kids, would catch on.
A plumbing contractor
Lavishes new wealth
To display for children and parents
Along the sidewalks of a subdivision
The lights, the moving creatures of Christmas:
In one room, Santa’s helpers,
In another, an animated crêche:
He watches, approving yet sullen,
Dimly seen behind the picture window.

It does not matter that his home is darkened now,
That other families
Who did not live in Metairie then
Now drive by another spectacle
All the more preposterous
Further up the same street:
Thousands of lights blinking,
Reindeer, elves, angels, God knows what,
A parish policeman sourly chants:
Keep moving, keep moving.

Shreveport 1982

A downtown church on Christmas eve,
Well loved, well cared for,
Worshippers in fine clothes crowd together
In the old walnut pews– it is too warm for furs:
Married daughters, handsome nephews
In from Houston, people we do not know:
Of all the places one could be this night,
As lonely as any bus station or manger.
But there is this:
The particular tears of Christmas,
The precise fragrances, the harmonies
That make it palpable,
That release memory’s stubborn catch
Differ for us each
And for every home far from home.
I hear the sound, thin and sweet,
O Holy Night,
Scored for the voices of teenaged girls,
The white light of candles
Dancing on their faces.

Cedar Trees

Christmas night:
A potato-casserole weariness
Settles in upon the land.
We are ankle-deep in tissue,
Love and Lego,
Lists of who gave what to whom,
And I am wondering what became
Of those cedar trees
We would cut and trim Christmases ago,
Those trips to my mother’s home,
The grits, the black-eyed peas, the puffy rolls.
Cedars gave way to
Scotch pines, then to
Fraser firs that fill a room.

Years later two cedars grow
Outside the door, wider and taller,
With strings of white lights
That do not reach as high
As last year,
Unmindful of the sacrifices
Of their forebears.

The Day After Christmas

Tree smaller this year,
Lights burned out,
Not replaced.
Garbage can only half full
The day after Christmas:
Children grown, gone.

Christmas Night 2007

There are twelve of us for Christmas,
Three generations, ours the oldest.
A benign weariness:
Food and gifts, family jokes and tales,
Small stresses let quietly pass.
Cousins cavort, careen, compete.
Our daughters, friends too, consider vegetables;
Their husbands assemble a soccer goal
While the gravy cools.
As we are leaving, I think I see
Traces of a tear on Julie’s cheek;
Her smile lingers, quiet, faintly moist.

Robert Demaree is the author of four book-length collections of poems, including Other Ladders published in 2017 by Beech River Books. His poems have received first place in competitions sponsored by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire and the Burlington Writers Club. He is a retired school administrator with ties to North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Bob’s poems have appeared in over 150 periodicals including Cold Mountain Review and Louisville Review.

You can find more of Bob’s poems here on Ink Pantry.

Inky Exclusive: The Austin Poets’ Union

Introducing the Austin Poets’ Union, a collective of well-published poets based in the US. The APU launched mid October 2020. Poets are Angie Dribben, Jena Kirkpatrick, Mike Whalen, and M L Woldman.

Angie Dribben’s poetry, essays, and reviews can be found or are forthcoming in Cave Wall, EcoTheo, Deep South, San Pedro River Review, Crab Creek Review, Crack the Spine, Cider Press, and others. A Bread Loaf alum, she is an MFA candidate at Randolph College. Everygirl, her first full-length collection, is due out 2021 from Main Street Rag. 

Upon Waking
by Angie Dribben

Once a wildebeest calf
fell behind the herd fell
prey to a spotted hyena
who had fallen to instinct
to survive
or so we’re taught
And it was hard to hear a mother’s child scream
But I did not change the channel

And the mother stayed
with her herd One glance back
A single clockwise canter
to witness her calf submit
And then the mother walked
away and it was hard to watch
a mother walk away
but I did not change the channel

and the hyena took
the hindquarter, tore the calf at the hip
leaving her untenable
and the hyena drank
from the wound of the calf
and it was hard to watch one take
what isn’t theirs

sometimes I dream
I am wildebeest,
when I wake, I am hyena
and I cannot change the channel

Poet for Hire, Jena Kirkpatrick, is editor of the poetry anthology Writing for Positive Change for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Texas. Jena tours nationally as a member of the Trio of Poets. She writes poems for clients worldwide. Jena is an artist instructor for Badgerdog Literary Publishing. Her work in the classroom was featured in Teachers & Writers Magazine. Over the last three decades, she has self-published seven books, co-written, three multimedia performance art shows, competed in two National Poetry Slam competitions and released two poetry CDs.

I wish you love & happiness…I guess I wish you all the best
by Jena Kirkpatrick

I wish you love & happiness…I guess I wish you all the best
(John Prine)

who lost me first?
was it God or Buddha or my ungrateful
lack of worth –alone or together
reflections on the past
not sure how many tears I have left
last night in a furious rage I actually said
I was grateful you were already dead
because that was one less person I love
I’d have to worry about losing –who
who lost me first? –you
you lifted me up
you always stuck around
you never left my side –from the day I lost my child
now we’ve got this virus
screaming bloody fucking murder
endless echoes of a tool pitting one against another
over fences –on TV screens
panic attacks forged by violent dreams
spooning with a psychotic ventriloquist
everyone is scared scribbling ridiculous lists
who lost me first? was it Christ
was it heaven or hell
was it the ability to practice free will
was it set forth as a precedent
carved in stone by some ancient
was is illicit drugs or sorcery
some flaw in personality
every precious moment is countered by adversity
maybe there are answers in pollution or abuse
or all the callous judgments
we throw like seeds to sprout on this earth
maybe we have babbled long enough
repeated beatings for too long
ignored are the hungry children
the sick all too often pushed aside
in favor of elitist
when given the chance
will we ever correct what’s wrong
who lost me first?
stay at home and sing on your marble terrace
have your slaves bring you your breakfast
revel in the thought that
what you squander makes you

somehow eccentric
your dirty money won’t save you
you will die like the rest of us do
who lost me first?
I was lost to the trees
to the wind
to the stars
on my knees praying for forgiveness since birth

yeah I knew love. love knew me. and when I walked love walked with me.
but friends don’t know. they can only guess –how hard it is
to wish you happiness

Michael Whalen has been a member of the Austin Poetry Slam Team, and coached two Austin Neo Soul Poetry Slam Teams and four Austin Youth Poetry Slam Teams. He’s edited numerous chapbooks by young poets, and released 1.5 of his own poetry chapbooks.

M L Woldman is a GED graduate with a heart full of fire. Founder of Austin Poets’ Union, poet and playwright. Author of three books and numerous publications. 5th generation Texas.

by M L Woldman

the fire recedes from the sky and we know it’s autumn
four months of autumn and eight months of summer
that’s what we get now
in texas
i relish these months when dusty coats can find their place in circulation again
and you can see your breath:
making each exhalation
a visual affirmation
that you are alive
i write this poem every year
a love poem to autumn
in the hopes that she might stick around a little longer this time
it’s an exercise in diminishing returns
because the sun won’t be happy until it swallows the world