Teresa is a member of my poetry group.

Sarah Russell Poetry

I love Teresa Stouffer’s compassion for the older folks who sometimes inhabit her poems.  Teresa is a member of my poetry workshop group in State College.

Wheelchairs circle
the worker
pills on plastic spoons.
I step over a man’s legs,
drool-soiled napkin on his thigh,
kiss Dot hello on her whiskery face,
a woman’s sticky hand tugs me.
Perfume and bowel odors
mingle, cloud the hallway.
I breathe through my mouth.
Meds swallowed,
Dot spits out,
“Are you in a hurry?”
In her room,
I snip the hairs on her chin.
Dot says,
“All I do is sit
and eat.
And I don’t feel much like eating anymore.
When will you be back? ”

– Teresa Stouffer

P.S.  New prompts are up on the Prompts page.

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To Die at the River

Great poem by my friend Hilary Hauck

Sarah Russell Poetry

Hilary Hauck’s poem of the River Ganges is a powerful statement of death and of life.  You can read more about Hilary’s work here.

Street sleepers line both sides of the avenue
like colorful rows of dolls.
They’re old or sick the guide says. Train fare
is cheaper when you’re alive.
He leads us to where time hasn’t changed,
alleys glowing oil-lamp yellow,
so narrow we meld our backs
to the stone walls to let a sacred cow pass.
A loudspeaker chants
impersonal prayers, bells toll.
The buildings end on a terrace
above the cremation ghat,
where lucky bodies bandaged
in cloths wait their turn.
Smoke of flesh emanates,
we cover our faces with scarves
but he says it’s an insult to
imitate Indian dress
so we breathe in the dead.
Only the wealthy can buy
a thick sandalwood pyre,
the poor make do with scant scraps
whose flames…

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Stevieslaw Exclusive: Tiger Woods to replace Steve Bannon

Stevieslaw Exclusive: Tiger Woods to replace Steve Bannon
Stevieslaw has learned that Trump will replace his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, with golfing legend Tiger Woods.
Said Trump Spokesperson, Shorty Irons, “The President has evaluated his singular lack of progress on any of his legislative priorities and decided to move in a different direction. Mr. Trump is a quick study and he feels that most problems facing the nation are too damn complicated and finding solutions practically impossible. In addition, while Mr. Trump certainly realized that he would be facing opposition from the democrats, he had never before heard of the Freedom Caucus, and he feels quite strongly that those people are certifiably crazy and should be locked away for the good of the nation.”
Mr. Irons said that Trump would drop a really big bomb or deport a poor unfortunate or two when people started demanding action. “That’s usually enough,” continued Shorty.
“Tiger Woods has seen the President’s game and knows just what to expect,” said Irons. “He is confident that he can reduce Mr. Trump’s handicap from a little over eleven to a three or a four. That means that the President will be routinely playing rounds in the 70’s.”
‘That’s huge,” concluded Mr. Irons.

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Stevieslaw: Rust Belt

This poem just won the weekly poetry nook contest. I’ll soon be able to quit my day job.

Stevie's Law

My poem “rust belt,” just appeared in the new verse news. Here is the link.


and here is the poem.

Rust Belt

Sure, we loved the hats and hoopla

the rhythmic chants of lock her up,

but we are not a stupid people.

We know full well this patchy place

between the slag heaps

and the scrub pine–

these crumbling houses perched behind

the padlocked plant once known

for truck tires,

will never be great—

or even good.

You say rust belt

and mean the measure

of empty factories

and gutted storefronts.

The jobs bled out.

The eyesores left behind to moulder.

But the rust is mostly in us.

Too many years of children

born to little hope.

Too many years of promises

from windbags in dingy union halls

and air-conditioned buses

painted red, white, and blue.

This afternoon, I take my maul

to the wood pile

by the…

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Stevieslaw: The Way We Are Now


My poem, “The Way We Are Now,” just appeared in Eclectica Magazine.  Here is the link:

and the link to the issue:

And, here is the poem

The Way We Are Now

My neighbor, Mike,
will build a fence this spring.
I watch as landscapers
pace the boundary
between our quarter acres,
penciling distances
and slopes, in hope
of a winning bid.

Frost wrote, “Good fences
make good neighbours,”
but neither Mike nor I
keep cows—
and I am pleased
when his old dog Mutt
comes to call,
expecting as his due
a belly rub and bacon.

Mike and I
have shared this line
for more than thirty years.
With our children—
close as cousins,
grown and gone,
he has taken to the iris
as I have taken to the rose.
By mid-spring the view
across our yards
“could make the centerfold
of Gardening News,”
he’d say with a chuckle,
when we two still spoke.

The fence will cost us hours of light
and with our curse of clay and climate,
we may well lose the iris and the rose.
I fear next spring I’ll mourn along the fence line,
and wonder how we came to be,
two gardeners who cannot even talk about the weather.

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Stevieslaw: U.S. makes boom-boom

Stevieslaw: U.S. makes boom-boom
The U.S. military dropped a 22,000 pound bomb on Islamic State forces in Afghanistan yesterday and the news media lost its lunch. Our local newspaper, the Centre Daily Times, picked up an article by the Washington Post which described in great detail the “Mother of all bombs,” and its relatives—including the infamous ‘daisy cutter,” used in Vietnam to make instant helicopter pads in the jungle. CNN, FOX, and MSNBC have assembled panels of former Pentagon officials to discuss the bomb and its variety of impacts for at least the next 48 hours.
In related news, a U.S. airstrike in Syria, called in on the wrong coordinates, killed as many friendly fighters as the mother of all bombs killed militants in Afghanistan—making the week’s bombing campaign essentially a draw. The Syrian government, taking the new Trump doctrine to heart, has returned to killing innocent men, women and children using only conventional weapons—which is apparently fine with everyone.
And these fucking wars go on and on and on.

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Stevieslaw: Proactively Spicey

Stevieslaw: Sean Spicer to be more “upfront.”

Sean Spicer announced today that he would be making apologies for his inappropriate statements before he makes them. “I’ve often waited too long to apologize for my verbal blunders,” he told our reporter, Smokey Diamond. “Instead, I’ve tried and tried to explain them away with Spicerian logic, but that has repeatedly failed.”
“All of that is going to change,” he continued. “From now on, I will apologize for statements I will make at the beginning of my news briefings.”
“For example,” said Spicer, “I apologize in advance for saying tomorrow that Jews are overly sensitive to the holocaust and should get over it already. “And on Friday, I will be really, really sorry to have said that black lives mattered more when cotton was king.”
“You’re going to love the new proactive Spicey,” he said with a winning grin.

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