Sunday, October 31, 2021
Friday, October 29, 2021
Thursday, October 28, 2021
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Monday, October 25, 2021
Sunday, October 24, 2021
Actor? No, not actor: star.
His dedication to realism
In all his performances
Was well known: contusions,
Bruises, dislocations, blood,
Cracked/broken ribs, et al.
Just striving for perfection.
His efforts for the upcoming
Part in his current film was
No exception. He would
Work on the gin soaked
Drunkard’s suicide scene
Until it dazzled the audience.
It turned out so well that it
Received a standing ovation
From the men who loaded
Him into the van from the
Saturday, October 23, 2021
Deodorant spray in
my parents’ bathroom drawer.
I hurry to the door.
“Wait til we’re out!”
My mother implores.
My father grunts crossly while
razoring his chin.
I return to my room,
yank on a chartreuse turtleneck,
plaid jumper, knee socks,
and violette headband,
then reappear at their bedroom door.
I glance through the doorway
at their muddled double bed.
They have left
for the kitchen
to nibble applejack toast.
The deodorant’s straight up
on the Irish cream counter.
I flick away goo
in the hole of the nozzle,
reach it through my collar
and spritz my underarms.
I sit on the bus on the way
The deodorant’s cheap—
my father bought it on sale.
Trickles of sweat drizzle down my sides.
I chat with my friend
on the pickled vinyl seat.
She doesn’t know I’m sweating.
Embarrassed, I pretend
it isn’t happening.
I just keep grinning
my Jack-O-Lantern smile.
I realize I need my own deodorant
to twist in my bedroom
so my brother won’t use it.
That night I say, “Dad,
please take me to the drugstore.”
He does. I buy roll-on
and a pivoting razor.
Friday, October 22, 2021
Thursday, October 21, 2021
so someone bought the bar a round.
You look up
to politely acknowledge
the kind stranger.
You have another shot
You go with J.D.
The creative juices
and you feel inspired
Great—or at least adequate—poetry
might be committed today
but then you realize
there’s no ink left
in the pen you have
You don’t want to draw attention
by requesting a pen.
It’s even worse than cock block
when you feel a poem coming on
and lack the means
to commit it to paper.
The locals in the bar
are chatting up a storm
and craziness is abundant.
Thru the chatter
I find out
that moose barbacoa
is actually a thing here
I want to be writing
as the despair
of the locals
is begging to be exploited
On the radio,
I hear Boy George singing,
“Do you really want to hurt me?”
the answer is yes.
George Schaefer is a Philly based poet who hides out in a small suburban apartment. He occasionally utilizes mass transit to visit the city and record poetic observations that he hopes will one day inspire dozens to new heights. He clings to the hopes that the poetry will speak for itself.
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Not “can’t” speak
But no desire to deliver lines
And we’re stranded with action
Which we believe speaks
Louder than words
Which strangle silence
The language of the dead—
Michael kills not because
He rejects the path of his throat
Let us not delve into the purpose of
The bleached Shatner mask
Which is a double mask
And current sign
(Antidote & toxin)
Of our times—
Michael is strong & silent
And so chooses to slash
For reasons forbidden to
Let us end all trickery & debate
For remaining Halloweens to come:
Why Michael Myers kills
Is none of our business &
Evil persists outside of fear &
Gun ownership snubs out the blameless &
Certain screams shatter wine glasses
And kitchen knives are double-edged spears
And bloodlust lodges in each of us
For we slithered onto this mud
Soft red eggshells—
A horrible quiet face lies underneath our own
And we refuse to peel it back
And so drown it with noise.
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
With beer in his soul.
Eyes clicked off
Just echoes of BoJack Horseman and Family Guy
Laughing in the violent vigor
Of adult content.
Inappropriate is a way of life.
His grandma screams in the field back home.
Kid’s baby brother falls out of her drunk arms.
Baby brother smacks soaked soil
Storms and drooping hops
Blinded the baby too.
I am a social worker.
My heels were made
For kicking down doors,
Delivering glass eyes,
And catching infants
Before they hit the ground.
Back at the group home,
The children are too busy spinning,
Tainted by delirious vertigo
They cannot see my outstretched arms.
Too much beer in all their souls.
How do I sober thunder?
The calligraphy of lightning
Etched upon my back.
Monday, October 18, 2021
Thirty days removed from the bar life: There are things I can’t erase. One drink is enough to destroy what I’ve accomplished over the past month. Today, I live clean for the kids. They’re the ones that urged me to stop.
My lifelong friend Roger and I have a mutual goal. A bigger boat and we can expand our legal lobster operation.
Down by the beach, Roger, ex-con and occasional motorcycle mechanic hovers over ‘Scorpion’ as he towels off his tattooed chest and salt and pepper beard. Two bald Harley Davidson Sportster tires sink in white sand.
Roger Feeny lives free, for the beauty of the sea, changing tides with hues from blues to greens, and the steady ripple of ocean waves. Sometimes seas are tranquil — smooth as aged whiskey. Other times, the current’s combatively angry, like on those cold wintery evenings Roger spent in sick-bay. Things were looking up, at the time. He would soon be discharged and able to rejoin his shipmates. . . Although, their screams eventually ceased, the memories of his lost mates entombed on a sub in a hole on the bottom of the ocean still haunt him.
Dark clouds gather overhead. Today, Roger and I paint pleasure craft bottoms at Shell Marina and other marinas along Rhode Island and Massachusetts southern shores. We sand hulls down to the primer with a heavy-duty disc-grinder. Googles and closed mouths required. Jack-of-all-trades, we expect to be paid a lot. ‘cause nobody else wants to do it.
People want boats in the water now, and we want to increase our savings account in order to buy a bigger lobster boat with a new engine. We have picked it out already. We need money right away. A more reliable and bigger one produces more income. More income and my ex is happy, and I get the kids more often. Everybody’s happy.
Rains come before we can apply the primer. We don’t get paid until the job is finished. Damn it. We secure a blue tarpaulin to the hull. Press trigger-finger against left nostril and blow.
I yank the driver’s side door three times before it loosens, reach under the passenger seat for an empty Bud can that’s been rolling around for ages, and toss it left-handed into a dark-green dumpster from twenty-feet away. Hook shoot. Two points. Still got it. Back in high school days, starting forward for the Blue Waves before they expelled me from school for drinking too often on campus.
We get in my faded ’59 gold Bonneville and head towards Quahog Point, a well-known area for lovers and for digging the hard shell clams by hand. High tide — Seas are too rough today. Steady lightning flashes. I come here to park, cry, and think about my ex and the kids. She and I have been lost to each other for two years. You fucked up too many times, Danny boy. My name is mud to her. But, just maybe. . . No matter what, the kids are everything to me.
On the drive up Beach Road I space out over the massive Newport Bridge, we built in ’68, whistling along to Otis Redding’s ‘Sitting on the Dock of the Bay’ playing on my eight-track. Remembering now, how the money used to pour in, back in the day. “Wanna set our lobster traps? Got the engine running on the old boat.” Engine still knocking, though. I raise my thumb, “Good rates now.”
“Gotta lay low, Dan.” Roger rubs his black eye. “Guys looking for me. They think I stole their traps. Might be facing more than an ass-kicking.”
“How they got these ideas I’ll never know. Did you do it, Rog?”
“Fuck no. Remember when my ex-brother-in-law did that shit?”
“Shave your beard, and people won’t get you mixed up. What happened to your eye?”
“The Clayton brothers, last night. One-on-one I can handle them.”
“Charlie Clayton was my point guard on the Blue Waves. We got thrown off the team, but he didn’t get expelled. I took the heat. Let me talk to him.”
“I’ll need a ten-spot to buy him a dime bag.”
“That’ll get me in the door.”
Roger laughs, “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts, right.”
Rog and I have been struggling to stay straight for a lot more than thirty days. We
power-shake to reinforce our commitment to stop petty crimes and drinking. “Hard to fathom you were a jail-bird. Eleven months. For what? An ounce of weed.”
Honorable discharge didn’t mean shit to the judge.” Roger wrinkles his brow and lowers his voice, “and don’t call me a fuckin’ jail bird, either.”
“Sorry, bro.” I say, “Southern New England Shucking Company is hiring. One of the last houses still shucking those huge sea clams by hand.”
Roger rolls his eyes. “How much can it suck?”
“We ain’t gonna make a career out of it, mate. We’re both lefties.”
“Let’s give it a go. What do we have to lose?”
“Yesterday the judge said, ‘Daniel Ryan, if you want to see your kids again keep your nose clean and keep up the child support.’ Therefore, I have a lot to lose.” WTF, I can’t work for peanuts.
“That little Danny of yours is a real hot shit, bro.”
I smile to hold back tears from behind my dark aviators.
Seven AM: Two Aging Pretty Boys
Five miles from the point: A white shingle triple-decker stretches to the rear porch on the wharf, dwarfing us. Inside, middle-aged-women stand at stainless steel tables. After a tour, they teach us the ‘right-handed’ system. A tobacco-brunette reaches from behind, brushes up real close, and teaches me how to hold the blade. She guides my knife-hand, making incisions into the muscle to get clams to open-up. Next, we slide the knife around the edge, scoop and drop the meat into a white plastic bucket.
She smiles. “You can call me Marina of the Sea,” and squeezes me with forearms that would make Popeye look more like Olive Oyl.
Sun breaks and it’s going to hit a hundred. Air conditioner’s broke and no breeze. Heat, sweat, and salt-water upon my face and arms in the morning. Inhale . . . Exhale. . . I’d love to have my first cold one about now. Love to have a drink with Roger. Stop shaking damn-it. I’m half the man I coulda been, if only. . .
Country music blasts from a transistor AM/FM radio. I shake out my shoulder length thinning dirty blonde hair, tie it into a ponytail, and get to work.
And the pay? Former card-carrying union iron workers don’t expect the minimum wage of a dollar-forty an hour. Fuck peace work. Best we do is seventy-five cents. Top shuckers average six bucks.
We go to the boss-man. First, get rid of our sweaty t-shirts, and then enter the office, if that’s what you call it. Forty years old and not an ounce of fat on me. “Sorry, we’re done.” Politely I add, “We want our pay.”
A kindly looking overweight man from behind a messy old wooden desk says, “Keep on shucking,” With a smirk on his face adds, “you’ll get better.”
“Something wrong with you ears, mate?”
Shaking, he stares at the menacing looking blade on my belt and pulls out the cashbox. We’re not in the mood to take his shit and demand minimum wage.
We say, “Have a nice day, mate!” Wish there was a way money could go directly into a bank account without touching my itchy fingers. Four PM: A Final Barrier
Pockets jingling, we stare at our reflections in the plate-glass window of ‘The Lonely Clam.’ I turn towards Roger. “That shucking place was enough to drive one to drink.”
The green-screen-door swings open with creak to a fifty-foot mahogany bar hiding in a darkened room. Cigarette-filled ashtrays, overhead fans, and several white life-rings line the four bulkheads. Men-of-the-sea stand, one foot on a brass rail. Broad-shouldered women-of-the-sea slump on stools with elbows on the bar. Nothing like the whiff of real drinking men or women, that stench of sweat and beer and whiskey-laden breaths.
Something can be said of men and women who know that stench of failure, lost opportunities . . . a ring in a card game, that unused basketball scholarship or GI Education Bill. Nothing like the sweet smell of resignation, of not expecting much from a disappointing life.
Something can be said of men and women who go through life with few goals other than where’s the next beer coming from? When am I getting laid?
Four Thirty PM: This Time
There are things I can’t erase. Thirty days removed from the bar life, and I breakdown in front of my friend. “One drink, Rog.” Tears roll out from under my aviators. “I promise to go back on the wagon tomorrow.”
“Up to you. I can dig how much you love your kids, man. There’s an AA meeting at Saint Michael’s. Free buffet.”
A month dry. Roger and I are on pace to meet our goal. If we’re serious about the new boat, five restaurants are willing to buy all our lobsters. Finish two more bottoms and we can expand our operation.
So, I stare through the plate-glass widow, walk away, this time, taking each day as it comes. Forecast tomorrow: Blue skies overhead.
Don Robishaw’s collection of five FF tales found in, ‘Bad Road Ahead’ was the Grand Winner in Defenestrationism, 2020 Flash Fiction Suite Contest.
Don’s short story entitled,’Bad Paper Odyssey’ was a semi-finalist in Digging Through the Fat 2018 Chapbook Contest.
His work has also recently appeared in The Rye Whiskey Review, Drunk Monkeys, Literary Orphans, Crack-the-Spine, FFM, O’ Dark Thirty, among other venues.
Many of the characters he developed have been homeless, served for periods of time in the military, or are based upon archetypes or stereotypes he's met while on the road. He likes to write poetry, satire, tragedies, and gritty fictional tales — of men and women from various backgrounds — that may have sprouted from a seed, from his past.
Before he stopped working to write he ran educational programs for homeless shelters. Don's also well-traveled, using various ways and means: Sailor, Peace Corps Volunteer, bartender, hitchhiker, world traveler, college professor, and circus roustabout.
Sunday, October 17, 2021
and swift dipping crows create a place to rest
i watch my child try to unscrew the sprinker
apparatus from the hose again and all settles
under these low flying mists and the cars labor
out on the highway and nothing is wanting
i am scared of contentment because i know
how it tears like a ricesack and begins vomiting
each white worry into my kitchen i know how
the fates like it i know god sees me grinning
at the placid clear whiteboard i know there
will be unanswerable equations scrawled in bodily
fluids by lunch i know to half enjoy this
it doesn’t pay to take a photo the only thing
which sticks is grasping my son and holding him
and sniffing his damp face and wishing him
this painlessness this ease and wishing it for me
and my daughter my wife and to try to capture
the smell of his running the smell of fearlessness
mixed with dying grass just watered
try to keep august 1st sunday morning through
thanksgiving try to bargain with change and virus
and calamity try to meet god in the garden
and sing her asleep with guarded whistling
faithless songs with a half grin and a child’s slobber
on my cheek with these few breaths where the
morning can breathe itself into a time lapse
where pain will not be pain where illness will not
persist where death of any kind will not take
i hope god you can agree to keep sleeping
through the fall you can narrate your dreams
to me when you wake i hope there will be foxes
and wet marsupials and beaked storybirds i hope
the clock will be stopped by the pale moon
i hope we will still be alive and you can dream
us into myths like a vacation in apple-feathers
like a rashless chest like a clear long rain
like a dish of faceless fruit like an ocean of
numb ankles like a howl of fishflesh
like a laugh of a child when you hold him
and hold him and finally let him fly
Scott Ferry helps our Veterans heal as a RN. He has recent work in the American Journal of Poetry, Misfit, and Spillway. His second book, Mr. Rogers kills fruit flies, is available from Main St. Rag. You can find more of his work @ ferrypoetry.com.
Saturday, October 16, 2021
I asked him to note my passing, and my poems
I don’t know how I expected him to outlive me
I am barely a solar system
He was dark matter.
I once met Leonard Cohen on a plane to nowhere
We flew over the ocean, drank black coffee
and poured sugar on the floor
It formed spirals as it spilled.
I once met Leonard Cohen in a brokendown tropic
He was collecting feathers that fell on the sand
while Henry Miller sat in the treetops above, laughing,
throwing oranges at us.
I once met Leonard Cohen in a dream
He was walking backwards in an ice cream world
We followed the broken furniture into warmer rooms
and he helped me tune Picasso’s blue guitar.
I once met Leonard Cohen on a superhighway
He crushed the traffic underfoot
No one was hurt except machinery
The people collided in somersaults above the shoulder.
Only one of these stories is true, and only half true at best
Nevertheless, I’ll always remember
the backwards ice cream air traffic somersaults,
the sugar spiral orange world
The way the air smelled, even though it wasn’t air
His words forming the shape of a blue guitar
as he followed the cracks that led him home.
Friday, October 15, 2021
rubbing another spot
off a glass
Thursday, October 14, 2021
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
And the reckoning
Of my choices
Across the flatlands
Of my growing
Over sullen inclinations
And the wastelands
Of blind alleys
Of unused mornings
To the stream
Through the weeping
Into the river
To the sea
With the tide
Against the shore
The last of me
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