Poetry Drawer: Exchanges detail quotidian sandwich: Affected Collagen Dissolving: Transient Substation Oxygen: Linear Absorption: terrestrial by Joshua Martin

Exchanges detail quotidian sandwich

twisted figures function like toothpicks
ponder subjugation circles in village colour
self the pants principle to grammatical tense
through wacky intrusive logic shocked centers
propulsive reflections fascinate like attraction
limit quirk to linguistic subterfuge
thick unshakeable compelled repeated
picking margins flattening refuge arbitrarily
insecure familiar narrative a flapping
elusive still closer removing modular chances
drawn fueled debunked concluded as a presence

Affected Collagen Dissolving

The meandering centipede
invokes Hollywood Squares
as a scare tactic.

                  Paranoia pleases chess masters
                  leaving moldy clock on the train,
                  better to save a parenthesis than
                  shout at a letterbox perforation.

Performed a molecular transfer
without a stable anchor to hook
the syncopated suffix to a mattress.

                                  Intuitive clown car,
                        superstitions                 recline,
                                         struggle to keep profits,
             though mostly that’s
             just the bubble to the soap.

Transient Substation Oxygen

Weak atom cannot function
in symbolic sleepwalking
         a — Part   ,           space that bears
                                      currency daydream.

of a protein,
              clever funhouse
              weigh station
                             preserving charmless
                             war machine.

For the sake of a dimple,
awaken before midnight
& bemuse prophylactic enzymes.

Linear Absorption

Uptight boogie burglar
staking claim to road diets,
                        starting tomorrow,
              awash in verbal gymnastics,
                                 downward facing nylon.

String pulling organic CPR
through senior living facilities
before releasing scarecrow into
unsuspecting public lavatory crusaders.

                     Meaning of a phosphorous
                     alpine ski lift?

                                  Tertiary bromide emitting
                                   necrophilia at sunset?

Packed tightly in hyperbolic acid
constant as an equilibrium milkshake,
     seizing conjugated saddle,
                              high-pressure horse
                     running washing machine aftershave
                                                without brain embolism song.


crux influx
your typewriter
carrier pigeon
reverberates goop

famished TIDES
pulled AsundeR
laughter called
NameD X in
parabolic etch

sink yet who
sink rotting
barnacle speech


ruled recycled
printS curved
end of NaMe
blame GaMe
tick BiTe

Joshua Martin is a Philadelphia based writer and filmmaker, who currently works in a library. He is the author of the books automatic message (Free Lines Press), combustible panoramic twists (Trainwreck Press), Pointillistic Venetian Blinds (Alien Buddha Press) and Vagabond fragments of a hole (Schism Neuronics). He has had numerous pieces published in various journals including Otoliths, M58, The Sparrow’s Trombone, Coven, Scud, Ygdrasil, RASPUTIN, Ink Pantry, and Synchronized Chaos.

Poetry Drawer: For Hours: Rotator Cuff Repair Blues: Words: Diagnostics: From Nothing by Michael Estabrook

For Hours

      Don’t like going into stores
      prefer sitting outside on a bench
      waiting for her to come out.

Sometimes you don’t feel like talking about anything
answering questions, hearing excuses, explaining yourself
you don’t want discussions or lectures
don’t need the sharing of ideas or opinions, anecdotes, or dreams.

Sometimes you simply want to sit alone
in your rocking chair in your quiet little room
stare out the window into the street at nothing in particular
for hours like grandpa used to do.

Rotator Cuff Repair Blues

      I should sound stronger, confident
      when instead it’s still
      the same old blah, blah, blah.

Thanks for checking in
the shoulder thing has been a long grind I do now
breaking your shoulder any time
for any reason
Monday I check-in with the surgeon
see if I can do away with the sling and stop sleeping
in the recliner
trouble is it’s hard to tell if the damn thing is healing as it should
I’m hoping the fancy-pants hotshot surgeon can determine that
been doing the best I can on the poetry front
everything takes twice as long
I can only use my left hand
but I do what I can
juggling trying to move forward on 7 projects
my head a wellspring of projects
one of them will jump out
and take charge of the confusion
but really I shouldn’t be such a complainer
remind myself it can always be worse
my beautiful wife
hasn’t yet run off with that hunky UPS guy!!!


       . . . a nightmare
       trying to organize
       all this damn writing . . .

Of course I keep a writer’s notebook one of those
old-fashioned black and white covered
college ruled notebooks.
I do my “creative writing” in there:
poems and bits of prose and prose poems
and hybrids of poems and prose.
I write in there at night before sleeping and while sitting
in the car waiting at the airport or the school
or while sitting in the doctor’s waiting room or in hotel lobbies
or at the grandson’s basketball practice . . .
you’d be surprised how much writing you can get done
in between everything else. I don’t draw
pictures or symbols, hieroglyphics, or images of any kind
I don’t doodle, it’s all just words simple old words.


       . . . mathematics is postulating
       that we might be able to travel
       backwards in time through wormholes . . .

Dad, if you returned to life after being gone 58 years
I wonder what you’d find most surprising.
Because you were a car mechanic and loved cars
particularly your Buicks
I suspect seeing how far car technology
and style has come would make your head spin.
Don’t know where to begin explaining it to you:
power steering, airbags, automatic windows
pushbutton ignition, CD players, GPS . . .
I’m not even getting into
car diagnostics by hooking it up to a computer
when you could tell what was wrong
with any old engine simply
by cocking your head back and listening.

From Nothing

      . . . they dreamed
      of being together never apart
      until the end of time . . .

Physicists, astrophysicists, geophysicists, astrobiologists
astronomers, cosmologists . . . all of them
state it like it’s clear, obvious
irrefutable – in the beginning
of the universe there was nothing, nothing at all
no space, no time, no matter, no energy, only emptiness.
Then suddenly out of the darkness
out of nowhere for no reason
like someone flipping a switch
an infinitesimally small speck of something-or-other
appeared then immediately exploded
into the Big Bang BOOM!!!
And the universe – everything there is
or was or ever shall be –
spiral galaxies, dwarf stars, planets, comets, asteroids,
black holes, quasars, quarks, dark matter, dark energy, neutrinos
gamma rays, leptons, red giants, globular clusters
gravitons, photons, electrons, mesons, and the Higgs Boson –
was formed just like that, from nothing
absolutely nothing.

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

Poetry Drawer: Swimming in Walden Pond by Christopher Johnson

The water enraptures my body, which feels like forest-shrouded silk
As I clip and clop my awkward way through the water
And then suddenly feel like a dolphin.
The underneath of Walden Pond is riven by rivers of currents birthed from mysterious
As I swim, the current changes from foot to foot,
           now alienating cold,
           now feathery warm
The currents caress my body like eels that brush their liquid bodies against my chest,
          torso, groin, legs,

          tingling and tangling all up and down my skin,
          shagging me, changing me, freeing me.
I slow down, feel the water like echoes of the past,
Know that Thoreau swam and fished and walked and lived here.
I feel the sensuous caress of history,
          of self-reflection,
          of rebellion against the ordinary.
The electric call of infinite Walden seduces me with its sweet and subterranean melody,
Like the trapezer who paints the last act.
I swim past the why current,
Feel the fins of curious fish brushing me.
None knows really how deep Walden is,
Or what the source of the pond is.
It was born eons ago in the distant primordial past of the past of the earth,
Born in the majestic ruptures of the earth,
Born in the thousand-yard-deep chaos of water and stars,
Lifeless at first, then slowly emerging in the slow movement of unforgiving atoms and
           aimless instincts
And meandering, sensuous being.

Christopher Johnson is a writer based in the Chicago area. He was a merchant seaman, a high school English teacher, a corporate communications writer, a textbook editor, an educational consultant, and a free-lance writer. Published short stories, articles, and essays in The Progressive, Snowy Egret, Earth Island Journal, Chicago Wilderness, American Forests, Chicago Life, Across the Margin, Adelaide Literary Magazine, Blue Lake Review, The Literary Yard, Scarlet Leaf Review, Spillwords Press, Fiction on the Web, Sweet Tree Review, and other journals and magazines. In 2006, the University of New Hampshire Press published my his book, This Grand and Magnificent Place: The Wilderness Heritage of the White Mountains. His second book, which he co-authored with a prominent New Hampshire forester named David Govatski, was Forests for the People: The Story of America’s Eastern National Forests, published by Island Press in 2013.

Poetry Drawer: Clear Cut: Memorial: Weekend by Jay Passer

Clear Cut

a misstep
the ladder,


into stale

woodcarver’s ennui:

the marvel of


in magmatic

of grief.


masked armies
savouring stillborn

flags aloft and
a thief’s mouth gnashing
atop the masthead

glimpsed from orbit
bombs mistaken for
flowers of love

navigating the anthills
of Europe
as well

will we ever
see the last
of us


we hike through Muir amidst sequoia
and unsung bluebell.
lured by pounding Pacific, beached jellyfish

barefoot as clouds or scudding dreams.

as all roads slim to trails, as springs
to rivers, to oceans,
to saltless precipitate, firmly destabilized,

as cyclones ravaging the landscape
are wont to be.

Jay Passer‘s work has appeared in print and online periodicals and anthologies since 1988. He is the author of 12 collections of poetry and prose, most recently The Cineaste (Alien Buddha Press, 2021). Passer lives in San Francisco, the city of his birth.

Poetry Drawer: Faces I’d Rather Stay Unfamiliar: This Idiot and a Half: 5:35 am by Rp Verlaine

Faces I’d Rather Stay Unfamiliar

Pass me on streets disturbed,
anguished, or sunk
in unpayable debts of
yesterdays or tomorrow’s
that begin with light
and end with dark
voids lacking the velvet
softness of dreams
of the unfamiliar
shadings of hope.

But today I see
a man on a mild
and pleasant day
wearing several sweaters,
shirts, and pants.

His smile so genuine
I wanted to buy him
a suitcase.

Two corner boys higher
than a trapeze artist
decide to play him for sport,
shouting: hey old timer
what you gonna do
when it gets cold?

With the friendliest
of smiles, he stops
thinks, then answers
I’ll put on some more clothes.

This Idiot and a Half

Almost caught me stepping 
out of my apartment
building in the middle
of the day on some kind
of motorized scooter
on the goddamned sidewalk.
You asshole! I yelled
He looked back, but kept on
going down the block
into the street and gone.

Had his bike hit me
I would have been in
the hospital with something broken
maybe more than one thing.

Some men dream of blondes built
like starlets, yet delicate
as a baby’s breath.

Others dream of enough gold
to remake the entire world
with their name everywhere.

Or they want to be president,
but really mean dictator.

Me, I’ve simple tastes
I’d like to catch one of these
motorbike idiots
speeding on sidewalks
and stiff arm them into tomorrow
with their bodies going one way
and their bikes another.

Then just leave them there
opened mouthed and confused.
Not a lot to ask for,
but failing that I’ll take the blonde
and a few gold ducats.

5:35 am

Daylight is an hour away,
so I finish the last
of five poems,
go to the kitchen and find
sausage and eggs,
then check the mail
and discover none.
It’s now 5:47 am, still dark.
I seldom drink coffee before 6.
I read the poems and wait.
It’s the exciting life
of a poet in New York city.

Rp Verlaine, a retired English teacher living in New York City, has an MFA in creative writing from City College. He has several collections of poetry including Femme Fatales, Movie Starlets & Rockers (2018), and Lies From The Autobiography 1-3 (2018-2020).

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

Poetry Drawer: Contemporary Irish Poetry by S.F. Wright

One morning,
Banging issued from down the hall.
Our professor opened the door, said,
“Could you please do that another time?”
A voice, some worker’s, said,
“When the hell am I supposed to do it, then?”
Our professor’s face blanched, then reddened.

But the banging ceased.

The lecture resumed,
The excitement over.

S.F. Wright lives and teaches in New Jersey. His work has appeared in Hobart, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, and Elm Leaves Journal, among other places. His short story collection, The English Teacher, is forthcoming from Cerasus Poetry.

Poetry Drawer: Extinction Rebellion by Raymond Miller

This marching, these banners, remind me of Tot,
gently spoken, dreadlocked, who once offered
to construct a house for our kids in the tree
at the end of our garden. He’d protested at
the Newbury bypass, built and inhabited
his own tree-house, so we figured he’d take
just a few days or so. He laboured all summer,
hampered somewhat by a refusal to hammer
nails into wood because of the pain that caused
the tree, and a penchant for stopping and staring
at the world from his heightened aspect.
He dropped dead last year, only 57,
a heart attack busking outside the train station.
His partner crowd-funded to pay for the wake
and that would have met his approval.
It was unlike him to exit so quickly, she said,
but he’d never have stood for a bypass.

Ray Miller is a Socialist, Aston Villa supporter, and faithful husband. Life’s been a disappointment.

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

Poetry Drawer: Fashion: Recognitions by Robert Demaree


Our grandson, starting high school,
Wants to be sure he has the right book bag.
I think back to the salt & pepper sports coat
In which I went off to college,
Random flecks of this and that
Against a background I recall
As a vaguely purplish blue.
I paid to have the pleats
Removed from gray flannel slacks,
That useless belt and buckle
Appended to the back.
(This was 1955,
As you perhaps have guessed.)
When I finally got myself
A proper muted brown
Herringbone jacket,
It was from the wrong store.


At his college
The reunion was commencement day,
Steps in different directions:
The newly degreed and their kin
Exchange congratulations,
With old alums,
A pleasantness instinctive, spontaneous,
Someone’s plan.

At his fraternity,
Rife with the debris of
Last exams, last parties,
They found his class picture,
An off-hand, unsought kindness.
Rows of young men
With dark, severe hair, dated,
Is this you?

At the banquet
He recognized people
Who did not recognize him,
Which had also been the case
In nineteen fifty-nine.

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 Robert’s work here on Ink Pantry.