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Sentimental Poetry with Vera Ignatowitsch

A Mouthful of Tacks


He was a man with a mouth full of tacks,

blue-black germs of his journeyman’s trade:

Dad daily dipped magnetic hammers into urns

teeming with those sharp dark seeds,


popped bristled blossoms into his mouth,

hammers’ stems springing back to tight lips,

deftly drawing tongue-aligned tacks

as his scratched right hand beat time


on satins or leathers stretched taut

by free forefinger and thumb,

and plied soft sculptures on furniture frames—

creating from cold bones his fleshed italic art.


But I, his first-born, proud and defiant,

could only see the defiled hands,

black tack-stained teeth, nicked lips,

blue-black tongue—could only feel


spiked angers spit out at me

when I failed to see the art in his craft —

seeing only the immigrant’s indignity,

not knowing this humble art shaped me,


who now daily labor, trying to articulate

with tired hands, type, and blue-bleeding tongue

just one work as finely finished as

my father made from a mouthful of tacks.


Originally appeared in Italian Americana.

Retired from professing English and American literature, Ralph La Rosa has published work on American writers, written for film, and now devotes himself to poetry, having published on the Internet, in print journals, one chapbook, Sonnet Stanzas, and a full-length collection, Ghost Trees.

Just be Yourself


Too many people are like you.

They smile like they care.

They hold you like they’re there.

Their lips caress the word “Love”

like they mean it.




Let go.

I came to you

Because I saw you were hurting

from that mask you wear.

It’s barbed.

But the wires

face both ways.

So stop.

Put the mask down.

Be who you are.

Be apathetic.

Be mean.

For those around you,

Just be yourself.



Alex S. Jones is a sophomore at Henry Ford College in Michigan. She takes her classes online. When it comes to her writing, she is as optimistic as she is amateur.



We drive at night and blur the lines

and follow cryptic highway signs

to gravel lanes and sylvan air

until our gate reflectors flare.


I click the headlights off and let

the house recede to silhouette

and sitting still we soon surmise

gold fusillades are fireflies.


My lowered window is a chance

an errant firefly takes to dance

and raise his wings along the dash

for eminence in fervent flash.


We wait and watch the fragile guy

succumb forlorn and fail to fly

and so we coax and carry light

outside one safe and lucky night.



Thomas Jardine now lives in France and renovates an 1889 manor house between writing lyrical poetry in form that makes sense, and gently expounding on life. His poems appear in Huffington Post, Passager, Loch Raven Review, and others.

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A Snoratorium


Could we have a moratorium

On nature poetry please

A resounding snoratorium

On meadows, lakes, and trees


A halt to poems about sunsets,

Full moons, snowfalls and such

These tickle the fancy of nature buffs

But for others — not so much


A cutback on odes to roses,

Summer’s glory or butterflies

Fewer tributes to all things blooming

And birds that fill the skies


Let’s take a break from winter scenes

And the beauty of an ancient sea

Try one about the human race

Think of the novelty


First published on the Hello Poetry website.


Vernon Waring’s poetry — both light verse and serious — has appeared in The Great American Poetry Show, The Saturday Evening Post, LIGHT Quarterly, ICONOCLAST, and on The Prairie Home Companion website.



Borders close. A tree near a puckered well

Straddles the heat. A few men look for shade.

The women hide their hands; it’s the rings;

You can tell the bandits by their poached smiles.

A boy on his mother’s hip with dirt in his eyes

Reaches for his father on the other side.

“Remember,” Lazarus smiles,

“Remember the fence we made

To climb to heaven; and the sun grew sweet

Mornings we could taste, when we held each other

In the arms of the orange tree.”



Hugh Amberly is a retired common laborer who lives in Upstate New York.

12 April 1965

Sembach, Germany


Like children

(young and touchingly earnest)

we hold hands under tables

and steal kisses with a

        searching, rapid glance. 


I did not know love could be so silent,

so alive—

with a hidden intensity

that speaks a language

no ear has ever heard. 


And I am a man—young,

and you a woman—full . . .

both realizing that we have needs

that must be fulfilled . . .

in ways untouched before

         by anyone.

Richard Atwood currently lives in Wichita, Kansas. He has been published in several literary journals and has three books of poetry on Amazon. This selection is from You, My Love... a diary in verse (detailing a European love affair.)

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