Word Poem

My word poem was just published by Eclectica. She if you can guess the words.


“You ain’t never
been blue”
as we cruised
the icy ridge
above the town
in my dad’s
fine, finned

Nina was wrong,
you were,
just then,
beyond blue—
staring vacant
at the naked town
as we smoked
and spat
our way down
the rutted road.

You had
just been
from State High
for riding
a pony
down the hall
and cursing
like a cowhand
after a night
of witch’s brew
in a Dodge City saloon.

I grinned
as you shredded
the expulsion paper
with your
hands and teeth—
and said,
“No one expects
that from a girl.”
It was
the last time
I ever
saw you.

I heard
from a friend
that you are
in Seattle
helping wayward
that the fire
you carried
in you
has dimmed.

How I wish
I had

nothing at all.
Beyond blue,
that indigo
“Goes stealin’
to my shoes.”

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Call for submissions

Poets should have some association with Central Pennsylvania—live here, went to school here, have a cousin here etc.

Dear Poets:


It’s time to submit to Centered for the winter issue.  The new editor, Sarah Rafacz, would simply like to see poems related to winter. However, the theme for the issue is “The Gift of Health” and you might want to keep this is mind when submitting.


Poems should be no longer than 30 lines. Previously published poems are fine. Please, no more than 2 poems per entry.  I will select 3 poems to send to the Sarah and she will choose the winning entry.  The winning poet receives $50.


Feel free to share this submission call with other poets with a connection to the Center Region.


Please send me your poems by November 2nd.





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New Poem: Spendthrift

My poem, Spendthrift, was just published by Flashes of Brilliance. Here is the link:



and the poem


After Max died,
Aunt Sarah spent
her spare time
at the Seminole Casino
near Coconut Creek.

They’d had no children
and she would claim
the slots were more compelling
than the quiz shows on T.V.

It was the early 60’s,
before Florida boomed,
and the half duplex
she owned in Center Village
stood, looking awkward
and embarrassed,
with fifty others
in the middle of the nowhere
that was Hillsboro Boulevard.

Each day she’d sit
with a paper cup of nickels
and feed the one-armed bandits.
She told us she’d hold her breath
while the grapes and lemons spun.
A big strike might yield $50–
the nickels erupting
to dance on the concrete floor.

Behind her back
we called her
the palest Seminole in Florida,
as she never saw the sun.
But we were young then
and hadn’t yet sampled
the fruits of loneliness.

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New Poem: Song

My poem Song is in the current issue of Third Wednesday.  Here is the poem:


“He has no one to blame but himself,”
she murmured,
in the rhythmic cadence of grief—
a patter as old as life on earth.
She sang softly,
yet her voice filled the pale green room
and hung in the acrid air.
We waited
for a surgeon to appear—
his consecrated hands
signing thumbs up,
thumbs down.

“He brought it on himself,”
she sang once more.
They had brought him in at 2 AM
shot twice—
belly and lung—
and rushed him to surgery.

“It’s his own damn fault,”
she crooned in a voice
a cantor would kill for.
It was 8 now
Saturday Services had just begun
at the synagogue down the block—
the old, the young, and the damaged
chanted in an ancient dying tongue
for the world to heal itself.

“No, no,”
she began to chant
just as the door to the operating room
opened with a pneumatic hiss.
The sounds—
alien and human
mixed for a moment
in the pale green anteroom
between life and death.

Here is a link to the magazine’s website:


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New Poem Boketto

My poem Boketto was just published by The Remington Review. Here is the poem and a link:


Before he left,
Marty said,
“I feel like I’ve been walking on ice.”
That last year, he had picked
up a tremor
and his hand shook
as we sipped whiskey
on the terrace
of his penthouse apartment.
He had a view of both rivers—
it was a very long way from Brooklyn.

My oldest friend
had studied integral equations,
“For planar problems only piecewise smooth,”
he’d say five times fast
when sufficiently drunk,
but had gone on
to manage a hedge fund.
He made more money
in a week
than his dad had
in a year.

But, it was not what he’d hoped for—
two miserable marriages,
an ulcer and that damn tic—
too many things
we could no longer kid about.
Most weekends
Marty took long drives.
“I’m looking for the horizon,”
he’d tell me.
But I never understood.

He left me a key
to his apartment.
Opposite his favorite chair,
he’d hung a wall-sized
photo of the sky.
even of clouds—
so blue and empty
it seemed to go on


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New Poem: Estranged

My poem, Estranged, was published by Flashes of Brilliance today. Here is the poem:

I happened by the old house today.
It was early evening
and the well-worn sun was just beginning
to retire behind the tree line—
it had been years and years,
and I almost passed it by.

It has been poorly kept.
Someone painted the front door
fire-engine red—
which seemed to me a cry for help—
but even that has faded.
The majestic beech that towered
over the street is down—
with hands linked
we could barely get our arms around it.
I remember autumns when the leaves
pooled yellow—
inches deep on the front lawn.
How we would wade in them.

I thought
that tree would last forever.
But all things change,
even the continents
are drifting apart—
are becoming strangers

And the link:


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Reading in Philadelphia

Moonstone Poetry @ the Pub

Fergie’s Pub, 1214 Sansom Street

Wednesday September 11, 2019 – 7pm

         Elise Brand, Steve Deutsch & Jackie Shelley  

Elise Brand is an English teacher, writer and poet, adviser of Journeys to America, and The Maple Legacy and advises the biannual SAHS Red Oak Literary Magazine. Her poetry has appeared in Transcendent Visions, Adanna Literary Journal, The North Penn Reporter, Mousetales Press, and The Broadkill Review, as well as Lovers and Fighters: Poetry for Social Change and she served on the board of MCPL for six years.

Steve Deutsch was born in Brooklyn, NY and currently lives in State College, PA. Over the past three years, his work has appeared in more than 2 dozen print and online publications. He was nominated for Pushcart Prizes in 2017 and 2018. His Chapbook, “Perhaps You Can,” was published in 2019 by Kelsay Press.

Jacalyn Shelley, a member of the South Jersey Poets Collective, participates in poetry readings in Atlantic City and hosts the Leap Street Poets Workshop. She’s been published in several journals including Sugar House Review, Dunes Review, DASH, San Pedro River Review, Shot Glass Journal, and Pilgrimage’s Injustice and Protest Issue. In 2018 she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. To enjoy more of her poetry go to JacalynShelley.com.

Dave Worrell, Host, Open
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