Thursday, May 31, 2012

Poem by Sarah Shulman

A Touch Of Mainstream

Hello friend,
I would just like to tell you that your apple bottom jeans
And your boots with the fur do not go together.
When you moved from the window to the wall,
I was greatly displeased by the fact that you inappropriately
Got low, low, low, low.
Your starships are hard to follow, and I realize you owe that rent.
But I guess being made out of titanium, and being able to breath me
Gets in the way of all those issues.  But no, I will not blow your whistle,
Baby, it is unsanitary. But oh sweet Caroline! I am so lonely!
I just want to take it off, and go out clubbing, but damnit I’m at a payphone trying
To call home, but waiting for the world to change,
Ugh, you know what? Off with heads, and dance till you’re dead
Because I crave you.  And I would gladly be your boyfriend.

Monday, May 28, 2012

"With the stakes so high, it becomes more important to help online readers tell fact from fiction, a difficult task when the appeal of the Internet is its openness and anonymity."
Click here to read the whole article by Solveigh Soderman on the new website & very useful educational resource, Online English Degree.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Poem by Mebane Robertson

OK, It’s Later
As I read through her pages,
They take on many meanings and none at all.
As for her art, I love it for its imperfections.
If it were perfect,
I would feel like I was in a cage.
I sense her influences.
She writes as if captive in a sunny breeze.
Many moments make me pause.
But that’s the game,
And whatever they say, it’s no small thing.
I don’t want this house to eat its young,
But once you hop down from the tree
It’s hard to get the bird off your shoulder.
You must resort to these tricks
To keep the bird from seeing its shadow.

[Mebane Robertson's latest book is Signal from Draco (Black Widow, 2007). Click here for a review in Rain Taxi. We're grateful to Mebane for sharing his work with us over the years! See here for a list of Mebane's work in Green Hill.]

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pages from work in progress by Tyffany Richards

Junior High School

6th grade-  Lonely. Think solitude beyond imagination. Knowing almost everyone in your presence and yet knowing no one.  How can anyone survive in a situation like that only goodness knows. Attempts to make friends were misinterpreted, rumors were spread. The life of a pre-teen was difficult. Hilarious things happened as well, like the attempt to make the unexperienced, uninterested seventh grader into a boyfriend. It’s awesome the idea of week-long relationships…or was it a day? Those were the days of innocence and loneliness. The days everyone wishes to go back to.

7th grade-  Who knew that in the turnover of summer friends would be there. People who were reliable and trustworthy. If those are any words to describe thirteen year olds. Everything all silky smooth. The highest point of a teenager’s life, turning thirteen. Then everything crashes down. NO friends, no one to talk to. Relying on children far younger than you to be friends and having them become more important and more trustworthy than those you were once friends with.  Nothing is ever simple when you’re young.

8th grade- Loneliness. Think solitude... but with three friends. Knowing everyone in your presence and yet knowing no one. No attempts to make friends. The three that are there are fine enough. They stayed for all three years. Doesn’t matter what everyone asks, what anyone else thinks. And forget about relationships. Those are too difficult, being a teenager just screws with everything. No one knows what they want, everything is complicated.  When graduation comes around a new start is the best idea.

The Gate

“The Gate”

It was a regular house gate, the same style as all the house gates it was connected to. It was painted black like every other gate. A hundred years of layered black paint on a red metal gate. All the houses had been built Tudor-style, each with its own unique patter, mini-garden and alternated square and rounded doors. For a hundred years these houses stood, never changing, as buildings nearby were built up and broken down. The outsides of the houses stayed the same.

But this gate, at the bottom the paint was peeled off, when open it hung at an odd angle. Years of children hanging onto this gate and swinging had bent it downwards to a point where it dragged against the ground under their weight and peeled off paint as they swung. This gate was always swung open to where it hit the gate border to the next house and slammed back to close. This gate had seen many hands travel by it. It knew no hand better though, than the hand of Rose.


Rose had lived in the house since the summer she turned four. She was the child who swung on the gate weighing it down and peeling away its layers of paint until her parents would yell to her to stop bending the gate. Rose was always gentle with the gate as she grew older. She would open the gate as quickly and as quietly as she came and went. But now rose was never by the gate as she once had. Rose had grown older as all children do and gotten married and moved away. She no longer fiddled with the gate to get it to open or close quietly.  She was never there.

She had moved on to a new gate that required less trouble. This gate was wooden and had no latch. It was just pushed to open and pulled to leave. Rose’s husband Sean wanted to live in a more extravagant but simple life away from the bright lights and noises of the city that the two had grown up in. Rose was no stranger to this country life, she had attended a rural college, but she missed the city. Every chance she got she returned to the city, her old home and the gate she used to swing on.


David sat in his house in Long Island planning his next trip to the city. He knew that his trip would have to be for business. It almost always was now that he had grown older. There was never any pleasurable moment in the city when she was not there. He would go check on his businesses and then return to Long Island because there was really no need to afterwards. His bed would stay as cold as the winter frost that would soon cover his windows when the seasons changed.

He looked around his living room at the black and grey couches, the scarce paintings on his walls. This was a man’s house, not his home. There was no womanly touch to it, there were no soft pillows or cushy blankets or anything a woman would have spiced her home with.

He couldn’t figure out why he still lived in the suburbs of Long Island. It had been years since he graduated from college and started his successful business. Then he remembered that there was nothing left in the city for him anymore. She used to reason why he was in the city every day, the reason why he had started his company. He had waited for her for so long, always tried to be the guy she wanted. He knew that she loved him, but whenever he asked to be her boyfriend, something more than a fling, she always replied she was with someone. Even the time she did say she wasn’t with anyone, she still said no.

He headed over to the kitchen and microwaved a quick meal before he settled in his car to drive to his old home.


In her mind she wondered why she was back here again. She was swinging on the gate she had so loved as a child. She checked her watch and realized it was getting late. She would have to travel home soon. The gate could barely hold her weight now and it screeched across the pavement as she swung. She was taking a last swing before she was to head inside and tell her family she was leaving.

Before leaving she headed up to her old room. It was the same as she had left it. The queen-sized bed still tucked between two shelves, her old clothes neatly hung in the closet, her stuffed animals on the bookshelf. Nothing in there had changed except for the feel of the room.

It felt lonely and in a way strange to her. This was a room which she had many memories. The room from which she would stare out the window at her neighbors playing basketball or to spy on who was coming in. She got lost in her thoughts of old memories when her husband called. He told her to hurry and go to let the babysitter out.

Rosie had forgotten all about her daughter, Dahlia. She loved her daughter but she didn’t want to leave her old home.


If there was anything David hated more in the world it was out of state business calls. He would have to travel 5 hours to Delaware to meet a prospective client by the name of Sean Anthony. He had no idea why he even agreed to start out of state business calls. They only announced him and led him to late nights.

He planned to sleep over in a hotel that night and return to Long Island in the afternoon. He pondered about Sean Anthony while he was driving. From what he had heard Sean grew up in New York City and after marrying his long-time girlfriend he had moved to Delaware. Why anyone from New York City ever wanted to leave the city was beyond David. Sean sounded like a good customer however, David would be able to get some work done at least, knowing Sean wouldn’t cheat him.

Outside the car windows the road changed from highway dividers and retainers to one lane roads full of tall trees. David was really disliking the scenery. Tall trees loomed out over the horizon, some threatening to break and fall on his car. His GPS system told him he was heading in the right direction and about two hours off from the highway he reached his destination. Ahead of him was a large wooden gate. The fence on either side of it seemed to lead into the forest. It was quite a bit intimidating. David walked up to the gate and pushed it. It slowly opened but he could not see the house. There was a path leading into the forest, but that is all it seemed to lead to, the forest. David decided to try his luck and he followed the path to find a country manor tucked away.

At the door David was greeted by a man of average height, light-skinned with long neat braids. He was smiling and extended his hand out to David. David had no idea that he and this man would become enemies. The man introduced himself as Sean and motioned for David to enter his house.

On the inside it was actually a modest country house. All of the furniture seemed high-end or customized. A further walk past the front hall showed the fire place. It was a beautiful fireplace and around it were pictures. They spanned from the roof down to the mantelpiece of the fireplace. David decided to inspect the pictures further. His eyes lighted on what seemed to be Sean’s wedding pictures. There she was, the woman of his dreams, dressed in a beautiful wedding dress in the arms of Sean. The next picture over was a picture of Sean and his wife holding a beautiful little girl who looked nothing like Sean but more like David.


Rose was awakened by her phone ringing urgently. She had taken a nap in the doctor’s office while her daughter was getting a checkup. Rose checked the phone to see that her husband Sean had called five times already and was calling again. Rose picked up and all she heard was Sean say “Get home now.”

She wondered what in the world had happened to Sean to make him sound so upset. She found out as soon as she pulled up in front of the gate. Standing in front of her car were David and Sean. Rose realized this would probably be the last time she would ever see Sean. All of her secrets and white lies over the past five years had all unraveled in her home possibly hours before.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Poem by Vicky Szymula

I love your broken voice
The mixed color in your eyes
I find it impossible to look away
Especially when you cry
I love your tiny hands
How I can cup them both in mine
How strong and feminine they are
Such a touch of the divine
I love how you smile
Your courageous point of view
When your ears light up like cherries
Especially when I embarrass you
I love the curves of your body
How they seduce away my woes
I can trace your legs from memory
Even down to your tiny toes
I love your raven hair
And the peach fuzz down your back
When you're face to face with me
I  fight off a heart attack
Your smirk, your squint
Your confused furrowed brow
I stare in amazement
Frozen in the here and now
How all your flaws and scars
Are what do you don’t want me to see
Yet I can’t help admitting to you
How beautiful they are to me

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Six poems by Graham Pough

Response to Nothing pleases me

It seems to me
That as well
Nothing pleases me
Numbness gets inside
Infiltrates and seizes me
Monotonous and thoughtless
At what stage was I taught this?
At what age had I caught this?
I’m a leopard gone spotless
Lost my purpose
Like a clown without a circus
The feelings truly wordless
Melted shut are my burnt lips
I fear they’ll close forever
Kind of like an airline
In eternal stormy weather
Thoughts recede like a hairline
I’m useless
Sitting with my thoughts but I’m clueless
Searching for true bliss
Wishing I didn’t give two shits

Roses Are Dead

Roses are red
And violets are blue
Don’t bother guessing
Who this poem is to
Roses are red
But lately I’m blue
I feel like I’m dead
Cause I can't be with you
My face turning red
And violets are blue
These thoughts in my head
Just don’t know what to do
Roses are red
And violets are blue
But the only flower I ever cared about is you
Roses are red
My skin’s turning blue
Words left unsaid
Suffocate me they do
Many poems I read
And violets are blue
Maybe it was the meds
But you seemed to like me too
Roses are red
And violets are blue

My heart it is shred
And my tears have no hue
Roses are red
And sometimes they’re thorny
When I am with you
I get super horny
My love is above
And hallmark card corny
I get that life ain’t all rainbows
Like a package of skittles
But I know where the pain goes
There’s a crack in the middle
But hi….
I like like you
For your high I.Q.
You’re sweeter than Haichu
I thought I’d write you a haiku
“Guess What, I love you
All I want is ‘W’
Divided by two”
I choose not to respect
The hallmark effect
Because something artificial
Makes emotions superficial
But my love is my pitfall
My heart has been tossed
More than a pinball
My mind has been lost
Like the leaves in mid fall
And I pay the cost
Protect myself with a brick wall
Building brick by brick
Ever since I was a kid
Days spent home from school
Cause I was lovesick
Stuck in bed with a heartache
Feeling all of my parts shake
No cure like the common cold
And it spreads like a cancer
Through life I was always told
The rehearsed answers
There’s other wish in the sea
But the only fish I’m swimming with
He looks just like me
Alone in the ocean
Stuck going through the motions
The product of division
You can call me the quotient
Cause I'm the result
Of compliments divided by insult
And I’m always less than one
The personification
Of this messed up love equation
Let’s rise up as a nation
And say no to the sensation
Of being in preschool
And losing the girl you liked
Cause some tool
Had a flashier trike
Of guys going on a date
Expecting to get laid
Because of how nice their suit was
Or how much they paid
Of kids sitting alone
In their basements depressed
Cause the girl on the phone
Simply isn’t impressed
This poem is for the kids
Who instead of getting flirty
During the dirty thirty
Stayed in the dorm
Cause they were thought of as nerdy
The kids who wanted more inside
Than their right hands could provide
For the kids you hear about in songs
The ones who only went to prom
With their friends or their moms
Who know as much about opposite sex
As they do about ancient Egyptian texts
They sit around wishing they were loving
Wishing that their heart strings would play something


Write a poem, I have no inkling
I just don’t care anymore
Silently my mind is ringing
My eyes sag to the floor
Scared of what the world is bringing
What it has in store
To my childhood I’m clinging
Why I’m not quite sure
Scared of what the world is bringing
What it has in store
Like the fabled raven singing
My youth is nevermore


Media limits our perspective
It’s like a mental contraceptive
So we don’t question who’s elected
But think we are protected
Mind control once was voodoo
But now it’s a simple process
Of YouTube, fox, and Hulu
They see right through you
Because they decide
The revolution won’t be televised
What stories need to be revised
Whose minds they must desensitize
Whose brains should be circumcised
One nation under god
Just sit and watch your TV
But when it’s watching you back
Don’t come crying to me
This system is flawed
But it’s hard to see
Cause when freedoms outlawed
Only outlaws are free
So, Ladies and Gentlemen
Wake up we’re living in
A scary new millennium
Where kids are snorting Ritalin
Cause the colleges they’re getting in
Decide who are the better men
Divide us based on melanin
And draws a crowd like Wimbledon
But no one’s proud of simpletons
Ignore the wise and wrinkling
They’re telling lies and sprinkling
Sweet fallacies like cinnamon
The magazines are written in
What clothes you should be fitting in
This boat that we are sitting in
Slowly it is sinking in
Cold facts we’ll soon be drinking in
Minds pumping with adrenaline
Times are harder than cement but
Currency laments
You shove dollars down your throat
Til your shit makes cents

I am a rat

I am a rat
Because I’m worthless
Small, with no purpose
Dirty on the surface
Rough hands to work with
I got a life made of trash
While I live off the scraps
Try and chase the cheese
Has got me stuck in the mouse traps
Get too close, the bar snaps
I preach against cats
You may say my mind is backwards
Cause I reach for the rats

I am a rat
But fat cats grow lazy
And send pigs to chase me
Hold me down and mace me
Beat me up and taze me
Yet I’m the one who’s crazy
Someone better strap me to my bed frame
Doctors playing head games
Finding thoughts the meds drain
Leave me with a dead brain
But a soul like a red flame
As time flies by
My tale grows longer
Ever expanding
The more things I conquer
I drag it behind me, as I grow stronger

I’m a rat
Cause all I want is that cheese
Since I was a kid
Stuck chasing a dream
That’s fake like cheese whiz
Like balls off a bat
We’re all over the place
I feel like I’m more in the rat
Than the human race
I choose my fate
But feel myself losing grace
When I can’t wait
To get to the food on my plate

Who I am

I’m the sad son of a capitalist
Who’s searching for my happiness
In a society written
By politicians and Catholics
Who create their own editions
Of how we formulate opinions
We carry them to the grave and pass them on to our children
I live in a society
Where politicians lie to me
The hierarchy’s depriving me of honesty
And honestly I want to see
What’s calling me
But it dawns on me like Ptolemy
The universe will never do exactly what it promised me.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Poem by Thom Hart

May 4th

The fresh green bubbles up like
a spring
and leaves lap at the
quivering with unrestrained
and the sun breaks through,
blades of grass arch
their backs

rock sponges up the warmth
shadows offer themselves,
sweet shade

May is spring here,
a bubbling of life,
and green,
and heat.

I stretch,
my frozen bones creak
and groan,
soon I will be
young and agile once more,
as the land
breathes in the first
days of summer.