Saturday, March 6, 2021

Adam Ai’s “Law of Thermodynamics I-V” is #260 in the never-ending series called BACKSTORY OF THE POEM

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***Adam Ai’s “Law of Thermodynamics I-V” is #260 in the never-ending series called BACKSTORY OF THE POEM where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific poem and how the poet wrote that specific poem.  All BACKSTORY OF THE POEM links are at the end of this piece. 

Can you go through the step-by-step process of writing this poem from the moment the idea was first conceived in your brain until final form?
I’ve been trying to write about Jill maybe 15 years – since her passing.  Suicide. I left.


The development of “Law of Thermodynamics I-V” has gone like my grief, I think. Maybe letting it go here will be next in that process, and even a kind of last. Poems come back oddly, even published poems. I’ve learned they keep going on but this part of the process is complete. 

She (Right) was part of every poem I wrote a long time. 

  Frankly this is terrifying, but what are we here for? Not to go back. 

  Most else I’ve written was prologue to this. Maybe there can be forgiveness. I don’t know. Seems like so much more than I deserve. 

Will I prove I’m worth living when she and so many good others are gone because of me? “Life as a survivor,” I think what her family would say. Her mom and dad are good. I hope they don’t hate me for their sake. 

First step for me always has been surviving. Growing up with my many parents and none, the Army, or putting word after word like sentences can make sense when death has made everything worth nothing. It all begins surviving. This takes hard, steady breath; like how you take and release before you relax and squeeze the trigger.  (Above Right:  artwork credited and copyright by Christal Ann Rice Cooper)

I remember times only hoping to think clearly enough to write one or two words. See one image; anything concrete, and something to touch and keep me to the next word. It took some time you can see and many such lines.

  Second, was coming to terms still breathing. Panic attacks. I blame myself. I realized at some point I’m writing about her over and over. She is secreted in many poems. (Left:  Adam Ai.  Copyright by Adam Ai)


Poems should have secrets. Even poems that may not seem to be are always about someone for me. But that’s another story. 

  I had to come to terms with this life that led to her early death. Not only hers. My life. My pattern is ever running since I was a kid. I’m responsible for it. All I’ve lost.  (Right:  One of Adam Ai's published poems.  Credit and Copyright by Adam Ai)


As I grow the poem grows. Times I break the poem breaks, too. Then I try again. It becomes something else. This happens five times in this piece. It is five attempts to make it. They stand best together though in this evolving form. 

  I am someone new each poem I write. They grow and change me, especially now. Each draft lifts away like old skin peeling. Perspective comes so old words come to seem distant and you want new words again. It takes many years sometimes but is the way I find just moving toward the light. Even the blind can. Again, like Maya Angelou (Above Left) says:  “Look where we’ve all come from … coming out of darkness, moving toward the light; it is a long journey, but a sweet one, bittersweet.”

And there is always one more time. In our case it’s been about 15 years and many words and change. I say about because I am terrible with time. I lose time and get confused. Another story.

  I have other poems that are also long and long developing as I grow into their unique challenge. A few long ones in particular I still hope to find homes for someday: “My Sister Found God in Paris,” “Laughing Sam the Stars and Dice,” and “Gun and a Girl.” These days I aim at short poems. I really like short poems now. I haven’t always. It isn’t easy.  

I’ve always been a fan of Milton (Above Right), Chaucer (Left), and Virgil (Below Right) – long-winded poets. Not Shakespeare so much. Others too. I don’t know.

  I aim new challenges at myself each time I begin a poem. I try and once acquit myself honorable for God or mom or Jill, and maybe you and maybe just me. I try finding something honest if not something true. I love and I have been loved. This is something true. Is it honest? I want to feel I have loved. But I have been selfish so much. 


For some poems and relationships, the challenge goes long. And I’m a late bloomer, I guess. I’m three days from my 41st birthday as I write. Today is February 7, 2021. 11:11 PM. Of course you never know if you achieve anything but knowing you don’t see the same. Old poems look young. I get softer and feel more something about faith. It’s not the same. Maybe it’s even enough. I don’t know but it can be, I think. 

Even a sliver of light is the light – it means the light exists. What else is the purpose of light but reminding us it exists – and to give us direction to aim. (Left:  The light shining in Malibu.  Credit and copyright by Adam Ai)

Where were you when you started to actually write the poem? And please describe the place in great detail. I call it the Dungeon. My best friend escaped into witness protection, another story – anyway he called it Death Hotel. My other best friend – I don’t know where he is tonight. Last week he was drinking himself to death and was close and I tried though there was little I could do and now I’m not sure he would talk to me if he could. (Right: The Depressed and Suicidal Man.  Credit and Copyright by Christal Ann Rice Cooper)

Understand I don’t take threats of suicide lightly or for very long before I act. I hope he’s alive but I will never know unless he returns and tells me – one way or another – ambulance was here – if the death crew shows up at his apartment and someone else moves in may be the only way I can find out. I don’t even know how to get ahold of his family. I hope he is okay. I’m leaving this place this week and going to Malibu for a month so I’m not sure how it will pass. (Left: Adam Ai in Malibu wiht his dog.  Copyright by Adam Ai)


Life at an old veteran’s building comes with much death. Sometimes the smell fogs halls for days of red summer. One of our friends, or enemies, or dealers, or stealers, or walkers, or talkers, or, or, or – now only the smell of a decaying body -one of us and another one. No matter what else they were. I figured out the trick of keeping one’s tongue pinned to the roof of the mouth, not to smell it. (Above Right.  V.A. building in London that is now being refurbished)


A few trinkets and items of furniture is all that’s left when we go – usually stuff from the trash. Everyone here was homeless before this – stuff that will be taken away by a group of incognito dudes in an old, brown pickup. Rusty paint. I don’t know who calls them or where they are from or where they go. 


Then there’s a cleaning crew, this group of older Mexican ladies who come into the building head-to-toe PPC, gas masks, and all, looking like scared astronauts. I have lived in L.A. my whole life and still don’t speak Spanish. Call it another symptom of the  depression, or something speaking to more generalized alienation. Patterns are like anything. You can read them wrong too. (Right: Adam Ai in February of 2020.  Copyright by Adam Ai)


I lock the door to my room and type on a laptop someone else bought for me – another story – when I begin this poem. I write night through, on an old, brown couch that was donated – more trash – and snuggle the Ghost – another story – because the only alternative is the knife. (Adam Ai's couch with Ghost resting on it.  Credit and copyright by Adam Ai)

  I did try to kill myself; my left forearm all scary. Another story. (Right: Adam Ai's left arm.  Credit and Copyright by Adam Ai.)

  I had on a hoodie and was under a ratty wool blanket, the really scratchy kind, the Ghost warming my thigh. Pulling me to. I type because there’s nothing left. I type ferociously as the hours fall. I am desperate. There is nothing I can even hope for but the poems are what I have. I wanted to be a novelist once. Meanwhile, all I ever wrote was poems. I was homeless some and this is better though often not much.

Gone looking for something that feels like forgiveness. A chance. Maybe. Maybe hers (Left) or God’s or mine, or, or, or.

  But can a poem save you? Or do you save yourself through the poem? What that makes it, I don’t know. 

What else. I don’t really like TV. I play music sometimes but it can be too distracting. The room is a room. The floors are smooth, bare concrete. I’ve seen two falling on them and hitting their heads, knocked unconscious. There is a “kitchenette.” You've seen these things? There is a small bathroom. The shower has no bathtub. Essentials only.  (Right: Adam Ai.  Copyright by Adam Ai.)


Windows eye from odd spots – used to be a psych hospital. You feel watched. 

  Either way, you feel it.

  The gates are locked, though we live here. There is screaming in the halls.

  You never hear kids. There are no families here. Just us.

  And roaches of course. I thought Kafka (Left) himself was a demon once.

  Another story.


It all gets to you sooner or later.

  There’s more, much more. There is also much to be grateful for. This place saves me in strange ways. It is time I go but I have learned more here than anywhere. (Right: The Poet Bathed In Malbu Light.  Copyright by Adam Ai)


Finishing this poem happens when I’m asked by Backstory of the Poem to bring something to that party and this is the idea that scares me most and is hardest. Sure signs of the right way to go. Anyway it’s been waiting for an opportunity I couldn’t see but here it is. So you never know how a poem comes out. It keeps working on you too like I said. (Left: Adam Ai's journals.  Credit and Copyright by Adam Ai)

Cleaning it up a bit just now and I feel done with it. I feel like I could make it better but I don’t know if that would make it less honest and it’s not worth finding out. This draft for you is the last of the metamorphosis. (Right: Adam Ai.  Copyright by Adam Ai)


As much as it’s one poem it’s six and now seven with Backstory of the Poem representing the seventh stage and taking it from me where it will keep doing things but now without my oversight! I hope it holds something. Each of these seven pieces are a sequence together but each alone too is another attempt to be true and keep believing life can be love again and poems can matter. I would say even if just to you but now there are two: me and you, the Backstory of the Poem Editor. Then when maybe I will be lucky and it will reach someone or if especially lucky help them in some way. Because every section fails you see. 

Every movement in this poem, all six sections only show me getting back up and trying again after the failure of the last. And now here is this new life for it and totally unexpected but that’s what it’s like. 

You try and move to the light and even though you feel you have failed you are succeeding simply because you’re trying and you can never know all the ways it may shake out. But the publishing and the reading are as important to the process as the writing and rewriting I think. I didn’t know that until now.  (Left: Jill Marie De Freitas)


So I find myself growing all these new ways because I keep trying. That’s all. 

  Keep trying and always one more time. It all has to come out somewhere. Let go of the result and simply go.  

What month and year did you start writing this poem? Saturday ‎April ‎13th ‎2019 at ‏‎9:04:24 AM I finished the first draft of section III, the longest and central segment. I was able to find most of the old drafts.

  4-13-2019 to 2-7-2021 is the total working time for this incarnation. That represents about 2 years of work, as I could work. In another sense it represents 15 years and how I survived. So maybe it’s only document of that. Doesn’t matter. It’s not for me to judge I think. There were many others before that led to nothing but this poem stuck and I saw it through.

How many drafts of this poem did you write before going to the final? (And can you share a photograph of your rough drafts with pen markings on it?) I don’t have any photos of rough drafts because they are all on Word documents. I do have photos of other rough drafts I’ve done longhand and hope that will be okay for illustration.

  So 26 drafts of part III. This is version 27. Probably have that many versions of each of the five main parts. So I’ve looked at this over a hundred ways and revised or rebuilt it. I’m ready to let go now, it seems like timing is right, and hope this closes a chapter. The poem feels over even if it’s not done, you know. I can’t see a way into it anymore if that makes any sense. It’s not feeding me. Just thinking. This final cut represents some of the best of my old stuff. A poem in five now six movements that is also recorded of the drafting of that poem yet works as a whole. 


It’s one poem and also 5 versions of one poem and also the journey of surviving the poem is there.  

  Now it’s weird. Like someone else wrote it. Lot has changed since the draft that started this. Lost my mom. Started publishing for the first time. Opening up to the poetry community and connecting has been an education I’m not sure how to describe. Jericho Brown, 

Diane Seuss, 

Jane Zwart, 

Jean Valentine, 

and Joy Harjo 

– so many – I’ve never heard such voices. It’s like someone took the ceiling off the house. 

  Now I’ve been a Staff Editor at a literary magazine, and I’ve slid into a workshop with some very talented people – sheer timing, a luck thing (if there is such) – and there are many other examples. Simply being rejected is quite an interesting and valuable experience. Leave alone the acceptances. There are 34 acceptances in about seven months work and largely clueless about the process to begin with. I’m proud of that. I started showing them to journals last year.


Every time I’m rejected I skin the poem and rebuild it before submitting anywhere else. So each poem is really lots of poems and what you see is the result of a learning process and that’s been huge for me. This poem represents some of that and shows how I will rework a poem many different ways before enough has arisen that I find much good. (Right: The Burden of a Broken Heart.  Credit and Copyright by Christal Ann Rice Cooper)


I mean no – no poem is ever perfect. Maybe it’s not supposed to be but supposed to be alive. Scars and lots of what they call character.

  This time editing “Law of Thermodynamics I-V” didn’t make me cry or scared. So I guess it’s done. This time I didn’t feel too much; just wanting as clean a representation of old work – when I wrote alone and never showed anyone – as I could do anymore and be true to the guy who wrote it. Old Adam. So young.


I couldn’t write it now. It would be something else completely. That’s because of the experience some ways. But I could put a cold edit on it and I’m happy about that because you have to, that’s the process, because it grows you, because I’ve changed so much and continue, because it can save you. (Right: Adam Ai.  Copyright by Adam Ai)

Were there any lines in any of your rough drafts of this poem that were not in the final version? And can you share them with us? Here are some lines I cut. Prologue maybe. It reads it now. Maybe interesting if you want to know what I believe a line has to do justify itself. These don’t do it or they gather off-tone. What I think a line must do to justify itself is different today. Even conceptually, the line has to prove anything. I think everyone deserves grace. That’s what makes it grace. It’s free and you have it if you want it. (Left: Adam Ai in Malibu.  Copyright by Adam Ai)


But this whole thing has been close to me so long. I’m proud of the poem for how it changes me as much as how it changes as it goes. I guess it always will, too. Weird ways. Each poem I publish comes back to me new, surprising ways more and more often – like this opportunity here – it changes my relationship to both the poem and subject. I don’t know if that makes it good, only necessary.  (Right: Jill Marie De Freitas) 


Reckoning. I carry so much so long. Some point you got to put it down. It’s like a monument to a moment, before a moment; a place to start, and stake the road ahead. Maybe prologue. Why not make these lines prologue then; lines that are failed and given life again. It’s an appropriate forward in several ways. (Left: Adam Ai in Malibu.  Copyright by Adam Ai)

What do you want readers of this poem to take from this poem? Maybe you can save yourself with poetry. Maybe you can’t save anyone else. Maybe. What I thought of as a poem in elegy is personally a poem, finally, about hope for myself. The willingness to continue when there is no way to continue, no reason, and represents a kind of faith. Something to hold onto. I’ve come close. 

Poems, this one in particular, saved me and saves me. Writing this was like holding onto the hope that I was worth it. Or rather dreaming I could be. It has taken work. I am proud I am done. I hope it works for someone else. It’ll all change, I’m sure. (Left: Adam Ai in  Malibu.  Copyright by Adam Ai.)

Which part of the poem was the most emotional of you to write and why? I realized I was still in love with her during the composition of – well, one section in particular, the ghost stanzas I call them – they were hard for me to read. I think it is maybe the most honest I’ve ever been or at least up to that point. 

  There were areas that frightened me, not just in my vulnerability but literally frightened me as I realized they were true while writing them. Some areas I composed in anger or a hopeless prayer. Or. Or. Finally hope in taking action by leaving it here with you. 

Has this poem been published before? And if so where?  This poem is unpublished. One press had a look at a single section but it was too long. Another section was rejected for another reason at one point. I wasn’t sure I would ever know what to do with it all until now. 

Second Law of Thermodynamics I-V

-for Jill Marie De Freitas


“Of course everything burns,” I said. 

“I still made time for this poem.”

But she never lied. 

We had no safe word,

there are no safe words.

I tied her to the track. 

We sank and sucked each other’s fingers. 

The stage at the end of the world 

was bright in the unseen fire.

A voice in the trees: 

“Passengers, please stay seated.” 

Service will resume 

soon as I’m good and fucking ready." 

Her train was secret come closer, 

borne flame.

Moon was melody 

pulled low and hard over Earth, 

smoke for miles made physical.

I lied.

This is a map of the world.


Ghost color horse in gold-mane

corona running snarls, gathering,

I am summoned the distance.

Sequences sentence time,

peels fog like an orange

curling vision of sun,

nostril searing. Split my tesseract. 

Because – there is no time.

You should know that going in. 

Black and white, black and white.

There is no time. Grey locomotive 

sweeping the dome of woods 

in weeping weal and want, 

pluming, feathers quickly

dispassionate wilds. Horns rising. 

Never late – but does anyone else know, 

will we be together when we get there?

Do we know who we’ll be?

I always expect something else. 

But the time is always now: 

an old, red bird croaks and flogs 

the whippling lake with winged, 

watching reflection, as something 

shucks the frosting surface, 

slush. Slack foam comes up

red mud, wrong, broadside, a knife.

A braking wheel screams 

and the forest dies watching.

The train sighs then, it is awake. 

So there’s no hope for escape.

She wears nothing on the tracks 

not even mirror sunglasses. 

There's fog. I get the feeling 

she’s going somewhere. 

Life comes up all strange odds, views

the rolling eyes of the mountain 

like dice tumbling, landing off-true.

You lose no matter what you roll.

Maybe there’s no such thing as chance. 

The conductor checks his watch 

in his last moments before knowing this. 

Passion moves among us, always does. 

There were no nightmares before this. 

Just truth of the train. 

Just brains coloring rain.

Gray bird swirled up silhouettes after,

curling ropes, over-tops the black smoke 

from a fire that always burns, 

arriving to us like dove-tails

swallowed in far-riding mist. 

The mystery of alive things, living,

the mystery of dead things, dying. 

Ceaseless torches like a story 

where the fire has voice, I’m waiting

for the end of things to come 

like a fucking surprise. Exodus, ticket, 

unlocked door. The train is red

in dreaming I can’t ever. Quite. See.

If she looked away. 

If I ever will.


The Second Law of Thermodynamics took her away.

Screams over the track. A single note loping space. 

She was an opera singer, her blow so loud I still hear 

music on tin. Finally, quiet. Morning breathes. Again.

Dragonfly buzzing. Paper coin. A moment steeped in ice.

Her red heel lay by the rails, wetting the landscape  

like a plash of rust. "Everything will be okay," I say

at the window to nobody, a wide sea of wet eyes – 

she was several planets and one person you know,

a million redfish moving oceans, eating light 

and dust. The physics of hot and cold are unchanging 

as her face I never see again, and always. Again.

I look for her other faces. She was pretty in a brawling 

luck and rumble galaxy, sexy as the stage hung over 

the end of time. Her words lit the cosmos like the pier 

I never walked, stars a million years darkness, want.

Sifting the world apart – for something, always looking

for it – and damning the world with her last judgment.

Sea-grass. Lighthouse. God-cross. All things dissolve 

in chaos at last. Fire. Ice. Art. Love. 

This. I don't know how the wind carries so far.

Morning trains must come from the end of the world,

wheeling darkness, weeping smoke and steam  

to forgotten, empty places – places between

places – iron, fire, spark. She sang in her underwear 

in the kitchen of the house where we ran away

with the language of time, and the assembly of angels,

more beautiful than sound, lit from the refrigerator.

She verb and reverbs secret acres, an echo, 

ever, never. A song of remembrance, an opera ghost.

“Love doesn't matter to us” – it goes, Latin –

“we're grey like old movies, sweeping church steps.

Love doesn't matter too much.” Sounds like prayer.

She told me she loved me. I laughed. 

Broken film, burnt still, but see suicide isn’t a movie,  

a man splicing frames in an empty theater. 

The train – the train – colorless now as notes pulling stars,

mathematical rails are fingers always touching, dissolving 

narrative, but no matter the fade, the images survive.

Blue-black house we lived in. Something bad is coming

on the tracks out back, then nothing, then nothing,

then nothing. Again. She dove into the ocean one time

with all her clothes on, just to give me this jaw-grin,

little-girl – I smiled and thought she was some crazy.

Now I don’t know. Why. She lived in sunny Capistrano.

Her white clothes stuck her small frame, raising

a bruise of sunset into a swell of horizon she walks back,

everyone at the beach looking – me embarrassed.

She held my head with her hands. Kissed me harder. 

Hungrier. I told her I wanted for her a year.

I haunted her like ghosts. Again, if this was stage

play it would be all wrong. Train cars twist wrong-angle,

the geometry of blocking used to final, awful purpose.

She was an actress too. Now the trick is done. Physics 

of dissolution work the flesh quick. Heat and cold 

of thermodynamic change trenches the blue paint.

A hunt for something to trust in pearl sheets 

and tracks in moans again, addicts, our whips a thousand 

miles long, striking like the legacy of sin I keep, sweating 

red, pulling skin apart – even now – she touched me

like she didn't know how. Now I do. All is beautiful 

and all that moves, all your lies and all your truth, 

all you love, all that matters, all will be devoured

in chaos. This is the Second Law. Trees are razor blades

and the ice blue house we made love in is empty.

Chips light my vodka like diamond. I crack 

them, wolfteeth. We’re lost, a thousand years 

or so, late for the play I wrote, speaker weeping static.

I cut off the radio and I still hear it. More silhouetting.

Really. Just now. She posed by the blue beacon once, 

"in case of nuclear war." Big smiles make big tears.

Something hunkered the trees, waiting, watching

the cold death of the universe, come, flash. 

Hot breath of the night culls air like orbiting 

naked in lace and chains she rises, above me again,

and sings for me, and I dream like a child in love.

A tawny-headed swallow pipes early wist. 

Rails split the nothing. Boom-gates fall. 

Lights. Bells. She glances as it blusters 

the cross-way, braking plumes. Red 

and red again. The ground belly-sways. 

The train gathers up. Zilching, gear-shot sparks 

blow weeds. Sound like screaming. Jig-jag a halt

and things still, a haunt of poppy-eyes webbing trails 

and blossoming humidly. I exhale frost. I'm learning 

to accept chaos, maybe it will kill me. Winter rain. 

Puzzle box. The clock. These words. They are scars 

where I break us both open. I'm nothing in rain. 

Strawberry runners pack anxious scribbles at Earth.

Requiem for title. Electric repulse. Reversing 

magnet. Invisible knot. But that doesn't help her.

Dry rose. Sun beneath stone. I didn’t take pictures.

All I have is a head-shot. “Here I am,” she wrote.

Miles of red. When we kissed we couldn't stop kissing. 

She was the artist, always braver than me. Sea-star. 

Red kelp. Blue house. Blue light. I read omens like church.

Like there are answers. Rails are mathematically twin. 

They reach from sea into sky like they lead away,

instead they come back around. I couldn't help myself.

Do you believe me – I licked her muscles and chewed

her bones, sensational, we thought I was someone else.

I'm trying to save myself with a poem. The train 

is thought behind words, electron action, the only sin 

at the center of love, secrets we never tell.

What else do I know? We made love our first day – 

her first time with a man in twenty years. Nothing  

lives anymore. Her skin was nothing else. No metaphor. 

There was no worse tragedy for her than me.

There’s no greater problem than fate but suicide. First 

Law of Thermodynamics – energy is an immortal 

force, and I wonder if our love is out there, maybe still 

caught in orbit, composition of atoms that keep. 

Singing molecules, manacle, feeling. She said, 

I love you. I laughed.

Energy cannot be created or destroyed. 

Nonsensical exactitude. Gives you false hope.

The Laws are a fading at understanding, 

the hook-sensation of need and not really honest. 

Horse trail. Charnel House. Fishermen at bells. 

Tracks play out like eternity I come 

to believe in. Universe, unwinding, spreads.

Vendetta, night-black. Sterling, operatic grudge. 

Shrill heart. Worlds lipping free of this orbit and

the sun got further away, a cruelty of distance. 

Ice chips thrown to sea. Moments floating,

cold rocks in a long universe of perfect

silence. She overwhelmed me so I tied her good.

No matter what they say they'll never know. All talk

is meaningless. Phantom sensation. Skin of Earth. 

Wing-stutter. Clocks counting down to absolute zero 

and meting time in rhyme crystal. No entropy.

A chorus expands near the rail-cross, glowering half-lit.

Bits of debris. Cloud of gnats. Cloudless sky.

Texture of feral days, she is gone and my dreaming 

is bound in a physic of the moment. Loosing feeling. 

Ineluctable love, lemon-eyed, frowzy, cinder-wax tacky, 

because I stole fire. Lurking mathematics of a dust-storm

lift me far from sane faces, where knowledge goes

to forget. Her lips shaped heart and a swelling secret.

The cone of nautilus, loosening. Entropy, taking us.

Air-licked, thunder-sudden, naked wander, look back,

I want to tell you I understand. I want to call you love.

Living near the sheer oblivion, ghosting rails,

I want to follow her all the way, facing several faces.

Unknowable as aqua-stones under rubble of a crash,

drunk on declension, words nobody can hear.

Study in devastation. There is no moral.

She said, “I love you.” The house is blue.

The flowers are up. Every year I am further away

but see her face more. It's hard to remember, 

I cannot forget. I am in love with a ghost.

Colors are puddle. My mood is skin.

I never sleep. It's all I do. Neurons in my brain heat 

like coin fresh from the machine, flesh or dreaming. 

The plum tree drops a fruit. Flutes of warm 

and cool ply wind. Sensing. Something beneath.

Something under skin, never leaving and never 

arriving, all wrong – receding, always seems I reach it,  

again I reach and turn the night and touch 

nothing, you're gone, I am alone here. 

Chaos gets all through. She plucked strings 

that hold things altogether in guileless, gutty living,

and the voice of the universe flung finger-webs 

at her, they brush the back of my neck today. I startle easy. 

PTSD. My head is airy. Numbers overwhelm reasons,

ghost-weather combs the ivy, the other side of the story 

doesn't exist and I'm angry. She loved our laughter.

She saw the future. I don't believe in the clock. 

I am in love with a ghost. This is hopelessness. Single note,

winding out like a wish. She wanted to fight chaos or be it. 

We know the entropy of a crystal at zero

degrees is closest we come to perfect. Impossible,

miracle. She thought we were oracles. Santa Ana winds

riot the glass as I write this, energy, immortal and sick,

element of strange, inconceivable fire, her flaw – love –

stop. I wonder now if she likes the words and feel tears.

I want to re-order the world in words. What else is there.

People through glass panes running sun-soft, taffy-strung, 

and strange temperatures vacillate. Sand on the white 

beach swallows my feet. I can't forgive myself.

The space she occupied hurts when sun licks the waves,

Laguna, Santa Monica, Venice, Huntington.

I hear the train-horn slugging air again, now high to an

irretrievable distance, cyclonic and loops the spare.

Frosting carrying the desert. Elegiac iron. The train

never dies, knife-strike of black steel and charging

dumb through inevitable hook-thumbs tangled 

inescapable, I‘m dazed raw. But she was scared too.

No excuses. I could have saved her. She was gone 

on us together. I only had to love, I know, we both 

may have been saved. The air pressure destabilizes.

Once we hunted on a breeze in cloud-packs.

It’s dark now so the waves scramble-up blind, 

like this prayer, dashing me on the mountain I turn 

a thousand balloons and feel it like ether, expanding 

till she walks through me. I laugh. Why breed more tears. 

Earth is quiet in weight of unspent love, energy 

never ending, whatever truth I wish she could have

said it, just once more – the globe sheds impossibly. 

I found a lone hair in a Bible today. Soul-play.

We held each other face to face every time we came

together, meeting the sun naked. We never 

caught our breath until I left, neither of us 

had a past life, the far side of the ocean,

high side of the moon – if I row in firm strokes,

stolid, the numbers say I get there, someday.

I strain with exertion of pulling oars through such

great, fluorescent leagues. Thunder in bolts of her 

tiny frame, lightning grounded, she came. I took her 

hand and I led her without words all the time. 

The rawness of her tenor was shocking. I was 

Old Adam. We discovered new emotion, magic names.

She called mine God of the animal. Gambling 

the God of the Other, I untie her loosely. We sink 

and suck each other’s fingers, a flexing rush of stars 

pouring in as day comes night. I’m the only thing solid.

Fingertips of far-seeing current. Oxygen of an alternate 

dimension, maybe the soul, mechanism of other places 

remembering, but something is wrong, the dissembling feel 

nameless, disremembers language, senses dissociate.

Holy and alien, a gyre of spirit. It’s always apocalypse 

somewhere. She was the only star baby, passion scrabbling

new plots past day. Her tongue stung my mouth numb. 

Poison lights my throat, deep into the boiling heart 

of the world, I go deeper still and writing fast 

because I don't know if she is here, but I know she could be, 

reading this over my shoulder as I write. Now anything

happens in a universe swirling apart. There's revelation 

in the atmosphere. I wake up and touch her. She's gone.

Sirens, tearing silence, surface outside this theater,

spun lights, hot red – I run back to the tracks again, 

out of breath, scent the flowers of her sweetness

and I think about whipping her until she can't breathe, 

till I'm Pollock in her blood and I drink. Engine of stars.

Voices in nighttime. Faces crowding the railroad pass.

I couldn't stop running so long. It was all I knew.

Nothing else. Maybe I can still catch her. Follow her  

to Hades. Forgive and sit by her shadows morning, 

fingertwines, side by side on that burly old broken tree

like by the blue house, we see Styx through our feet.

Mostly ghosts now, the paint is flake.

All tangle in aura like balloon string. Where does wind 

go? Train-brake away at another life. Here is the world.

Maybe this is the last time I write this poem. Maybe not.

Los Angeles is like ancient scar, crumbling rushes, Earth

and Moon is memory, love doesn’t matter so much.

Axis over axis. A wild dog frets the fence and I exhale smoke 

from the wicked fire inside. I blow out the match and wait.

Red overfilling the cosmos. Emergency vehicles take 

the last scene like a movie. Smoking, the coroner 

jots a note. Dusk. Tiny bird. Lily of the Valley. Last time 

I saw solar activity near zenith. All bleeding.

“We had a good time, right?” I say, chucking the smoke. 

Every day kissing scars, mercy. Trains retake the way.

My window stretches light. I don't know how but we keep 

on loving. I don't know how but we stay alive. Again.

Everything breaks, there is no exception, the end.

I love her still.


Don't Fuck With Me, I told them.

She got me out of there quick.

We ran. This in the middle of night.

She broke me out of rehab crazy.

Only ghost weather now. I look for her 

on the backs of birds remembering.

My hands are numb. Sound 

overwhelms the page.

A shriek of inevitability.

The invisible threads that keep us all

plucked like strings on a broken harp.

There's too much to say.

The train whistles

a final revolution into the wind – 

returns her song to me  

disparate parts, reminiscent of opera.

Now the train brays, death wail –

I turn in the night and reach for her

in the skin of the sheets fading in and out, 

dreaming, locomotive.

Phantom sensation of lips on lips,

track on track – sting – stutter – perverse –

we ran fast around back and laughed

making out breathless like teenagers –

couldn't catch it, there was a sense 

of inevitability to everything that happened

but I try real hard to see chaos now.

So I write this confession again. 

I sit in a single room and sin 

with words – making them speak

new for the same unspeaking tragedy.

I love you, Adam.

I don't love you, I said.

We had a good time, right?

Fear made me cruel and I laughed.

When the sun sets I follow.


Eyes dove tremor line through purple. 

Mist. A brain was there. Moon red.

Melting. A heart was there. She shouts back.

Roof-top. A challenge in words like spelling.

Pumping erratic, fox-fire, camera-shutter,  

eyes-light, as police machinery runs the reds. 

Nearly. Like what he felt. Taste metal.

“Get down here,” he says, and she won’t.

She runs up the black hill behind the house. 

Her foot soles flashing white, black, white 

like hop-scotch might take her to the eclipse. 

“Here I am,” she says.

Fingertips of fire catch and yank

her up and the rest of the way out, 

blacking, golden, burning lines 

past veils of gravity, tower

the sky like our possessing love.

The train screamed like it had voice.

Mine. A brain is there. Mood is red.

Fine. A heart is there. The words rising

through bone, fever leading us home.

Adam Ai is a US Army Vet from Los Angeles. His poems are published in many print and online publications. Connect @adamaipoems or a Ouija Board for more. Hobbies include chasing his Ghost around the Veteran’s Hospital and learning how to love. (Right: Adam Ai.  Copyright by Adam Ai)

All of the Backstory of the Poem LIVE LINKS can be found at the VERY END of the below feature: 



001  December 29, 2017
Margo Berdeshevksy’s “12-24”

002  January 08, 2018 
Alexis Rhone Fancher’s “82 Miles From the Beach, We Order The Lobster At Clear Lake Café”

003 January 12, 2018 
Barbara Crooker’s “Orange” 

004 January 22, 2018 
Sonia Saikaley’s “Modern Matsushima”

005 January 29, 2018
Ellen Foos’s “Side Yard” 

006 February 03, 2018
Susan Sundwall’s “The Ringmaster”

007 February 09, 2018
Leslea Newman’s “That Night”

008 February 17, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher “June Fairchild Isn’t Dead”

009 February 24, 2018
Charles Clifford Brooks III “The Gift of the Year With Granny” 

010 March 03, 2018
Scott Thomas Outlar’s “The Natural Reflection of Your Palms”

011 March 10, 2018
Anya Francesca Jenkins’s “After Diane Beatty’s Photograph “History Abandoned”

012  March 17, 2018
Angela Narciso Torres’s “What I Learned This Week”

013 March 24, 2018
Jan Steckel’s “Holiday On ICE” 

014 March 31, 2018
Ibrahim Honjo’s “Colors”

015 April 14, 2018
Marilyn Kallett’s “Ode to Disappointment” 

016  April 27, 2018 
Beth Copeland’s “Reliquary”

017  May 12, 2018
Marlon L Fick’s “The Swallows of Barcelona”

018  May 25, 2018

019  June 09, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher’s “Stiletto Killer. . . A Surmise”

020 June 16, 2018 
Charles Rammelkamp’s “At Last I Can Start Suffering”

021  July 05, 2018 
Marla Shaw O’Neill’s “Wind Chimes” 

022 July 13, 2018
Julia Gordon-Bramer’s “Studying Ariel” 

023 July 20, 2018 
Bill Yarrow’s “Jesus Zombie” 

024  July 27, 2018 
Telaina Eriksen’s “Brag 2016” 

025  August 01, 2018
Seth Berg’s “It is only Yourself that Bends – so Wake up!”

026  August 07, 2018
David Herrle’s “Devil In the Details” 

027  August 13, 2018
Gloria Mindock’s “Carmen Polo, Lady Necklaces, 2017”

028  August 21, 2018
Connie Post’s “Two Deaths” 

029  August 30, 2018
Mary Harwell Sayler’s “Faces in a Crowd” 

030 September 16, 2018
Larry Jaffe’s “The Risking Point”
031  September 24, 2018
Mark Lee Webb’s “After We Drove”

032  October 04, 2018
Melissa Studdard’s “Astral”

033 October 13, 2018
Robert Craven’s “I Have A Bass Guitar Called Vanessa” 

034  October 17, 2018
David Sullivan’s “Paper Mache Peaches of Heaven” 

035 October 23, 2018
Timothy Gager’s “Sobriety” 

036  October 30, 2018
Gary Glauber’s “The Second Breakfast” 

037  November 04, 2018
Heather Forbes-McKeon’s “Melania’s Deaf Tone Jacket”

038 November 11, 2018
Andrena Zawinski’s “Women of the Fields”

039  November 00, 2018
Gordon Hilger’s “Poe” 

040 November 16, 2018
Rita Quillen’s “My Children Question Me About Poetry” and “Deathbed Dreams”

041 November 20, 2018
Jonathan Kevin Rice’s “Dog Sitting” 

042 November 22, 2018
Haroldo Barbosa Filho’s “Mountain” 

043  November 27, 2018
Megan Merchant’s “Grief Flowers” 

044 November 30, 2018
Jonathan P Taylor’s “This poem is too neat” 

045  December 03, 2018
Ian Haight’s “Sungmyo for our Dead Father-in-Law” 

046 December 06, 2018
Nancy Dafoe’s “Poem in the Throat”

047 December 11, 2018
Jeffrey Pearson’s “Memorial Day” 

048  December 14, 2018
Frank Paino’s “Laika”

049  December 15, 2018
Jennifer Martelli’s “Anniversary”

O50  December 19, 2018 
Joseph Ross’s “For Gilberto Ramos, 15, Who Died in the Texas Desert, June 2014” 

051 December 23, 2018
“The Persistence of Music”
by Anatoly Molotkov 

052  December 27, 2018
“Under Surveillance”
by Michael Farry 

053  December 28, 2018
“Grand Finale”
by Renuka Raghavan

054  December 29, 2018
by Gene Barry 

055 January 2, 2019
by Larissa Shmailo 

056  January 7, 2019
“The Seamstress:
by Len Kuntz

057  January 10, 2019
"Natural History"
by Camille T Dungy 

058  January 11, 2019
by Brian Burmeister 

059  January 12, 2019
by Clint Margrave 

060 January 14, 2019
by Pat Durmon

061 January 19, 2019
“Neptune’s Choir”
by Linda Imbler 

062  January 22, 2019
“Views From the Driveway”
by Amy Barone 

063  January 25, 2019
“The heron leaves her haunts in the marsh”
by Gail Wronsky

064  January 30, 2019
by Terry Lucas 

065 February 02, 2019
“Summer 1970, The University of Virginia Opens to Women in the Fall”
by Alarie Tennille 

066 February 05, 2019
“At School They Learn Nouns”
by Patrick Bizzaro

067  February 06, 2019
“I Must Not Breathe”
by Angela Jackson-Brown

068 February 11, 2019
“Lunch on City Island, Early June”
by Christine Potter

069 February 12, 2019
by Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum 

070 February 14, 2019
“Daily Commute”
by Christopher P. Locke 

071 February 18, 2019
“How Silent The Trees”
by Wyn Cooper

072 February 20, 2019
“A New Psalm of Montreal”
by Sheenagh Pugh

073 February 23, 2019
“Make Me A Butterfly”
by Amy Barbera 

074 February 26, 2019
by Sandy Coomer 

075 March 4, 2019
“Shape of a Violin”
by Kelly Powell 

076 March 5, 2019
“Inward Oracle”
by J.P. Dancing Bear

077 March 7, 2019
“I Broke My Bust Of Jesus”
by Susan Sundwall 

078 March 9, 2019
“My Mother at 19”
by John Guzlowski 

079 March 10, 2019 
by Chera Hammons Miller 

080 March 12, 2019
“Of Water and Echo”
by Gillian Cummings 

081   082   083    March 14, 2019
“Little Political Sense”   “Crossing Kansas with Jim
Morrison”  “The Land of Sky and Blue Waters”
by Dr. Lindsey Martin-Bowen 

084 March 15, 2019
“A Tune To Remember”
by Anna Evans 

085 March 19, 2019
“At the End of Time (Wish You Were Here)
by Jeannine Hall Gailey

086 March 20, 2019
“Garden of Gethsemane”
by Marletta Hemphill 

087 March 21, 2019
“Letters From a War”
by Chelsea Dingman 

088 March 26, 2019
by Bob Heman 
089 March 27, 2019
“Clay for the Potter”
by Belinda Bourgeois 

#090 March 30, 2019
“The Pose”
by John Hicks 

#091 April 2, 2019
“Last Night at the Wursthaus”
by Doug Holder 

#092 April 4, 2019
“Original Sin”
by Diane Lockward

#093 April 5, 2019
“A Father Calls to his child on liveleak”
by Stephen Byrne
#094 April 8, 2019
by Marc Zegans
#095 April 12, 2019
“Landscape and Still Life”
by Marjorie Maddox

#096 April 16, 2019
“Strawberries Have Been Growing Here for Hundreds of
by Mary Ellen Lough

#097 April 17, 2019
“The New Science of Slippery Surfaces”
by Donna Spruijt-Metz

#098 April 19, 2019
“Tennessee Epithalamium”
by Alyse Knorr

#099 April 20, 2019
“Mermaid, 1969”
by Tameca L. Coleman

#100 April 21, 2019
“How Do You Know?”
by Stephanie

#101 April 23, 2019
“Rare Book and Reader”
by Ned Balbo
#102 April 26, 2019
by Jefferson Carter

#103 May 01, 2019
“The sight of a million angels”
by Jenneth Graser

#104 May 09, 2019
“How to tell my dog I’m dying”
by Richard Fox

#105 May 17, 2019
“Promises Had Been Made”
by Sarah Sarai

#106 June 01, 2019
“i sold your car today”
by Pamela Twining

#107 June 02, 2019
“Abandoned Stable”
by Nancy Susanna Breen

#108 June 05, 2019
by Julene Tripp Weaver

#109 June 6, 2019
“Bobby’s Story”
by Jimmy Pappas

#110 June 10, 2019
“When You Ask Me to Tell You About My Father”
by Pauletta Hansel 

#111 Backstory of the Poem’s
“Cemetery Mailbox”
by Jennifer Horne

#112 Backstory of the Poem’s
by Kate Peper

#113 Backstory of the Poem’s
by Jennifer Johnson

#114 Backstory of the Poem’s
“Brushing My Hair”
by Tammika Dorsey Jones

#115 Backstory of the Poem
“Because the Birds Will Survive, Too”
by Katherine Riegel

#116 Backstory of the Poem
by Joan Barasovska

#117 Backstory of the Poem
by Michael Meyerhofer

#118 Backstory of the Poem
“Dear the estranged,”
by Gina Tron

#119 Backstory of the Poem
“In Remembrance of Them”
by Janet Renee Cryer

#120 Backstory of the Poem
“Horse Fly Grade Card, Doesn’t Play Well With Others”
by David L. Harrison

#121 Backstory of the Poem
“My Mother’s Cookbook”
by Rachael Ikins

#122 Backstory of the Poem
“Cousins I Never Met”
by Maureen Kadish Sherbondy

#123 Backstory of the Poem
“To Those Who Were Our First Gods”
by Nickole Brown

#124 Backstory of the Poem
“Looking For Sunsets (In the Early Morning)”
by Paul Levinson

#125 Backstory of the Poem
by Tiff Holland

#126 Backstory of the Poem
by Cindy Hochman

#127 Backstory of the Poem
by Natasha Saje

#128 Backstory of the Poem
“How to Explain Fertility When an Acquaintance Asks Casually”
by Allison Blevins

#129 Backstory of the Poem
“The Art of Meditation In Tennessee”
by Linda Parsons

#130 Backstory of the Poem
“Schooling High, In Beslan”
by Satabdi Saha

#131 Backstory of the Poem
““Baby Jacob survives the Oso Landslide, 2014”
by Amie Zimmerman

#132 Backstory of the Poem
“Our Age of Anxiety”
by Henry Israeli

#133 Backstory of the Poem
“Earth Cries; Heaven Smiles”
by Ken Allan Dronsfield

#134  Backstory of the Poem
by Janine Canan

#135 Backstory of the Poem
by Catherine Zickgraf

#136 Backstory of the Poem
“Bushwick Blue”
by Susana H. Case

#137 Backstory of the Poem
“Then She Was Forever”
by Paula Persoleo

#138 Backstory of the Poem
by Kris Bigalk

#139 Backstory of the Poem
“From Ghosts of the Upper Floor”
by Tony Trigilio

#140 Backstory of the Poem
“Cloud Audience”
by Wanita Zumbrunnen

#141 Backstory of the Poem
“Condition Center”
by Matthew Freeman

#142 Backstory of the Poem
“Adventuresome Woman”
by Cheryl Suchors

#143 Backstory of the Poem
“The Way Back” 
by Robert Walicki

#144 Backstory of the Poem
“If I Had Three Lives”
by Sarah Russell

#145 Backstory of the Poem
by Andrea Rexilius

#146 Backstory of the Poem
“The Night Before Our Dog Died”
by Melissa Fite Johnson

#147 Backstory of the Poem
by David Anthony Sam

#148 Backstory of the Poem
“A Kitchen Argument”
by Matthew Gwathmey

#149 Backstory of the Poem
by Bruce Kauffman

#150 Backstory of the Poem
“I Will Tell You Where I’ve Been”
by Justin Hamm

#151 Backstory of the Poem
by Michael A Griffith

#152 Backstory of the Poem
by Margo Taft Stever

#153 Backstory of the Poem
“1. Girl”
by Margaret Manuel

#154 Backstory of the Poem
“Trading Places”
by Maria Chisolm

#155 Backstory of the Poem
“The Reoccurring Woman”
by Debra May

#156 Backstory of the Poem
“Word Falling”
by Sheryl St. Germain

#157 Backstory of the Poem
“Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup of 7,000 Jews Detained in an
by Liz Marlow

#158 Backstory of the Poem
“Why Otters Hold Hands”
by William Walsh

#159 Backstory of the Poem
“The Invisible World”
by Rocco de Giacoma

#160 Backstory of the Poem
“Last Call”
by Ralph Culver

#161 Backstory of the Poem
by David Dephy

#162 Backstory of the Poem
“Mare Nostrum”
by Janice D Soderling

#163 Backstory of the Poem
“Winnipeg Noir”
by Carmelo Militano

#164 Backstory of the Poem
“Needlepoint Roses”
by Jason O’Toole

#165 Backstory of the Poem
“Singing, Studying on Whiteness, This Penelope Strings”
by Jeanne Larsen

#166 Backstory of the Poem
“How To Befriend Uncertainty”
by Prartho Sereno 

#167 Backstory of the Poem
“Shostakovich: Five Pieces”
by Pamela Uschuk

#168 Backstory of the Poem
“Bouquet for Amy Clampitt”
by Peter Kline

#169 Backstory of the Poem
by Catherine Arra

#170 Backstory of the Poem
“Silence – a lost art”
by Megha Sood

#171 Backstory of the Poem/ May 09, 2020
“Horribly Dull”
by Mark DeCharmes

#172 Backstory of the Poem/ May 12, 2020
“Celebrating His Ninety-Second Birthday the Year his Wife Died”
by Michael Mark

#173 Backstory of the Poem/ May 14, 2020
“Night Clouds in the Black Hills” 
by Cameron Morse

#174 Backstory of the Poem/ May 18, 2020
“I’ve Been In Heaven For Long”
by Evanesced Dethroned Angel

#175 Backstory of the Poem/ May 20, 2020
by Barbara Crooker

#176 and #177 Backstory of the Poem/ May 25, 2020
“My Small World” and
“My Mistake”
by Tina Barry

#178 Backstory of the Poem/ June 05, 2020
“Against Numbers”
by Andrea Potos

#179 Backstory of the Poem/ June 15, 2020
by Julie Weiss

#180 Backstory of the Poem/ June 20, 2020
“The Tree That Stood Beside Me”
by Carly My Loper

#181 Backstory of the Poem/ June 23, 2020
“Electric Mail”
by Julie E. Bloemeke

#182 Backstory of the Poem
June 24, 2020
“Her First Ten Days”
by Julieta Corpus

#183 Backstory of the Poem
June 26, 2020
“Outside My House Is A Guava Tree”
by Dr. Ampat Varghese Koshy

#184 Backstory of the Poem
July 2, 2020
by Victor Enns

#185 Backstory of the Poem
July 5, 2020
“A Way of Life”
by Dan Provost

#186 Backstory of the Poem
July 6, 2020
“The Alabama Wiregrassers”
by Charles Ghigna

#187 Backstory of the Poem
July 7, 2020
“The Seer”
by Kathleen Winter

#188 Backstory of the Poem
July 11, 2020
“Stuck At Home”
by Valerie Frost

#189 Backstory of the Poem
July 13, 2020
“Between the Earth and Sky”
by Eleanor Kedney

#190 Backstory of the Poem
July 14, 2020
of patience” 
by Eftichia Kapardell’

#191 Backstory of the Poem
July 15, 2020
“Threnody by the President for Victims of COVID-19, Beginning with a Line from Milosz”
by Ralph Culver

#192 Backstory of the Poem
July 16, 2020
“Will Be Done”
by Tom Hunley

#193 Backstory of the Poem
July 17, 2020
“The Love of Two Trees”
by Hussein Habasch

#194 Backstory of the Poem
July 18, 2020
“June Almeida”
by Lev RI Ardiansyah

#195 Backstory of the Poem
July 19. 2020
“After Grano Maturo”
by Matthew Gavin Frank

#196 Backstory of the Poem
July 20, 2020
by Linda Neal Reising

#197 Backstory of the Poem
July 21, 2020
“Will Be Done”
by Tom C Hunley

#198 Backstory of the Poem
July 22, 2020
by Ted Morrissey

#199 Backstory of the Poem
July 23, 2020
“Being In Love at Fifty”
by Anne Walsh Donnelly

#200 Backstory of the Poem
July 25, 2020
“Star pinwheel poem”
by Andrea Watson

#201 Backstory of the Poem
July 30, 2020
“Gentle Women, Adult Female Persons, and Housewives in Indonesia ♀” 
by Kimberly Burnham

#202 Backstory of the Poem
July 31, 2020
by Don Yorty

#203  Backstory of the Poem
August 01, 2020
“I want to unfold the disease”
by Vanessa Shields

#204 Backstory of the Poem
August 06, 2020
“A Bone of Contention with the Ghost of John Lennon Over Strawberry Fields Forever”
by Ruth Weinstein

#205 Backstory of the Poem
August 07 2020
“Statement by the Pedestrian Liberation Organisation”
by Thomas McColl

#206 Backstory of the Poem
August 08 2020
“Un Poco Pequeño”
by Damon Chua

#207 Backstory of the Poem
August 10, 2020
“mary lou williams’s piano workshop (after Fred Moten)”
by Makalani Bandele

#208 Backstory of the Poem
August 18, 2020
“Roll Credits by KCK”
by Casey Kirkpatrick aka KCK

#209 Backstory of the Poem
August 21, 2020
“Ancient Pyramid”
by Mark Tulin

#210 Backstory of the Poem
August 23, 2020
“How Far the Storm?”
by Charles Malone

#211 Backstory of the Poem
August 27, 2020
“89 Tears”
by Robert Carr
#212 Backstory of the Poem
August 28, 2020 
“Food and Water”
by Brooke McNamara

#213 Backstory of the Poem
August 30, 2020
“To hold, to hollow”
by Meghan Lamb

#214 Backstory of the Poem
September 01, 2020
“Would It Be Too Much”
by Justine Quammie

#215 Backstory of the Poem
September 15, 2020
“Darkest days. . .Loneliest nights”
by Aaron R  

#216 Backstory of the Poem
September 23, 2020
“About My Death”
by Jennifer Barber
#217 Backstory of the Pome
October 09, 2020
“Leash of Deer”
by Catherine Graham 

#218 Backstory of the Poem
October 11, 2020
by Susan Tepper 

#219 Backstory of the Poem
November 22, 2020
by Volodymyr Bilyk 

#220 Backstory of the Poem
December 05, 2020
“the creature of bad habits”
by Erik Fuhrer 

#221 Backstory of the Poem
December 17, 2020
by Nan Lundeen 

#222 Backstory of the Poem
December 28, 2020
by Randall McNair 

#223 Backstory of the Poem
December 30, 2020
“Broken Rainbows”
by Steve Wheeler 

#224 Backstory of the Poem
December 31, 2020
“Elegy for Michael”
by Paul Nelson 

#225 Backstory of the Poem
January 01, 2021
“No One Is Home”
by Katrina Lippolis 

#226 Backstory of the Poem
January 03, 2021
“Dream Truth”
by Rachael Ikins  

#227 Backstory of the Poem
January 04, 2021
by Lucille Lang Day 

#228 Backstory of The Poem
January 08, 2021
by Bartholomew Rothrauff

#229, 230, and 231 Backstory of the Poems
January 10, 2021
“Armed With Imagination”
“We Siblings Three”
by Randal Burd 

#232 Backstory of the Poem
January 13, 2021
“Adventsmarkt in Wurzburg”
by Arthur Turfa 

#233 Backstory of the Poem
January 18, 2021
“Death of a Carousel”
by Richard Weiser 

#234 Backstory of the Poem
January 19, 2021
“Moon Child”
by Carol Berg 

#235 Backstory of the Poem
January 20, 2021
“In That Good Time”
by Kyla Houbolt 

#236 Backstory of the Poem
January 22, 2021
“Epilogue: 10 Years Later”
by Lannie Stabile 

#237 Backstory of the Poem
January 23, 2021
“Awards Season”
by Maija Haavisto 

#238 Backstory of the Poem
January 24, 2021
by Luanne Castle 

#239 Backstory of the Poem
January 25, 2021
by Caroline Smith 

#240 Backstory of the Poem
January 26, 2021
“Rain Noir”
by Lucia Orellana

#241 Backstory of the Poem
January 27, 2021
“G the F Knows”
by Martha Silano 

#242 Backstory of the Poem
January 29, 2021
by Stacy Boe Miller 

#243 Backstory of the Poem
January 30, 2021
“To Recapture Faith”
by Ellen Austin-Li 

#244 Backstory of the Poem
February 01, 2021
“Mother’s Reply”
by Lesley Clinton 

#245 Backstory of the Poem
February 02, 2021
by Mercedes Fonseca 

#246 Backstory of the Poem
February 04, 2021
“In The Beginning”
by Dr. M. Rather Jr 

#247 Backstory of the Poem
February 05, 2021
“Beasts and Creeping Things”
by Jessica L. Walsh 

#248 Backstory of the Poem
February 10, 2021
“California Feelin”
by Daniel Wright 

#249 Backstory of the Poem
February 14, 2021
“Your Room – Sky High”
by Deana Nantz 

#250 Backstory of the Poem
February 15, 2021
“It’s Complicated”
by Rose Skye

#251 Backstory of the Poem
February 17, 2021
by Will Justice Drake 

#252  Backstory of the Poem
February 18, 2021
by Patricia Osborne 

#253 Backstory of the Poem
February 19, 2021
by Kelly Van Nelson 

#254 Backstory of the Poem
February 20,  2021
“Duke Ellington, Live at the Aquacade”
by Ryan A Black 

#255 Backstory of the Poem
February 21, 2021
“The Shuttlecock In Myself”
by Aditya Shankar 

#256 Backstory of the Poem
February 22, 2021
“Fractured Planes: An Empty Defense Mechanism”
by Shareen K. Murayama 

#257 Backstory of the Poem
February 24, 2021
by Carl Porten 

#258 Backstory of the Poem
March 03, 2021
“My Stranger”
by Maria Taylor 

#259 Backstory of the Poem
March 04, 2021
by Christie Williamson

#260 Backstory of the Poem
March 06, 2021
“The Law of Thermodynamics”
by Adam Ai 

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