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I'm in my Lexus

in the parking lot

and I go inside, because

the drive thru is jammed

and everyone knows

that it takes longer.

It is cold out, and I go in,

and an old man on a wheelchair

outside the door, dirty

and disheveled, says something,

so I lean in and he asks

“do you know

this town well?”

He speaks so quietly

and I do not hear

him, so he repeats

“do you know this town?”

“No,” I answer, and go in,

even though I live in town.

“Not well.”

I go in quietly, so I do not hear

the quiet laughter of his

tomorrows. I put my order in--

I buy burgers and fries,

and an ice tea.

As I am heading out

he is sitting in his chair

in the night, like a silent

question mark. His grey

hair peaking from

under his baseball cap.

James Ritter lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two daughters. This is his fourth time through ModPo.

Words unneeded


The reentry capsule was jettisoned for splashdown in the Atlantic.

No reentry without a hand stamp.

Without a word, he took my hand.

The astronaut had seen it while we were gawking at the moon.

The earth was as blue as an orange.

Like a blue marble, they actually said but Eluard, with surreal love, had said it better before.

Say it with flowers, no words needed.

A beginner's mind has endless possibilities and not enough words.

Words in the mind of an expert are too many and possibilities few.

A person of few words.

Strong silent type.

Ears to hear.

Leave some white space talking through in Mrs. Thornton's art class.

White space talks like white noise.

Don't talk with your mouth too full of words.

If we use up our all words too soon, we will be condemned to



Holly York has for many years translated and taught French to college students in Atlanta Georgia, USA, where she lives with husband Martin and two Doberman Pinschers. Her poems have appeared in Whitmanthology, Three Drops from a Cauldron and Word Bohemia.

You are not my friend

Antonymous poem

(Based on “I am your friend” by Lorine Niedecker)

I am your enemy…
I send you raw flesh
and the desert locust

I abandon

your freedom

desiccate your goldfish
rip through your gloves
with an eviscerating knife

excise everything

including your foot

Martin Porter

The First Adventure


That shadowy entrance, subdued glint, spark of eyes! 
You trod all cultures with your classic grace 
Of posture, figure, profile 
The breathy touch, so tentative, 
The answering squeeze 
All beams and tiptoes as we trod 
Unspoken message: 
“The dream’s come true” 
The curtain nearly volunteered 
To close itself. 
I was poised to give the word; 
Fired by our kisses, you took it from my mouth 
Each garment spoke surrender as it fell 
A flower-show of fabrics 
Adoring those limbs which they had covered; 
Warm air on new divested skin 
Near liquid in its heady density 
Our bodies new-revealed, dreamed up 
A gallery of art-figures, 
Our mounting breath 
Kindled their animation in our honour 
Those facing entities suffused with mutual nourishment 
The rising sun the backcloth of our dual climax 
The bathing epilogue 
The farewell walk 
A froth of blossom round our tender steps 
That fleeting perfection was the purest art 
Framed in an idyllic memory. 

David Russell


I am trapped in a cul-de-sac
There is no way out 
And I can't go back! 

                                    Rameeza Nasim

It Should Have Been Me

He shouldn’t have died,

It should have been me.

What did he know of life at twenty-three?

Like a brilliant red bud tightly furled,

Felled by a flash frost,

Never opening to the Sun.

Or a chrysalis damaged 

before the butterfly was fully formed,

Never spreading its glorious orange and black wings.

He stands on the precipice of life,

As those figures on Keats’ Grecian urn,¹

Frozen in time.

No beauty in that,

though forever young.

He should have died an old man,

Gray hair, weathered skin, rheumy eyes

Surrounded by his loving wife of seventy years,

his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren,

Reflecting upon a life well spent.

He shouldn’t have died at twenty-three.

It should have been me,

It should have been me,

It should have been me.


Rosalyn Levine Blatt 

¹John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn” May, 1819

Costa café 



We approach our poetry

from different drinks, leaf and bean,

complicated processes, similar traits.


Conversation over coffee

infused with steamed milk, and tea,

with a partially eaten Belgian cookie.


You speak with measured economy

a steady even tone,

the froth on your upper lip grins.


I am all twisted tongue

trying to sound less intense,

rescued in a moment’s business:


The glass door swings

admitting a blast of sea-air reality,

rain, and a customer.


I feel my flushed cheeks cool

thankful for the cold,

before it is percolated with ground beans.


The cash register is busy

tending fair trade profit for all,

hot drinks available to go or repose.


I speak of ‘Pages’ pretending

it doesn’t affect me, my voice does not agree,

you smile behind the wide-eyed coffee cup.


And time outstays its welcome,

a shuffling glance at phone and watch,

other commitments timetabled.


On Quay street we part on a handshake

You wished me well and I wished the wind would spin me,

because I wanted to walk with you.


James Anthony

Get Your 1st Annual ModPo Anthology Print Edition

These 42 poems by this year's Modpo students collected in "chapbook" form. Price $5.00 S&H $2.00 shipping charge, no matter how many books you order!

(outside USA may add additional shipping costs)

Profits to go to Kelly Writers House

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