My poem, Doo-wop, is in the Winter 2023 issue of the Remington Review. Here is the poem:


The temperature dropped
twenty degrees last night.

Trees stood full green—
stunned past blushing,

and on the college lawn
hoarfrost replaced

the sunbathers
who walked the ice-

slicked streets
dressed for summer.

On the corner
four young men huddled

and blew on their hands
as a concession to the cold

like that doo-wop group
that graced the corner

of Hopkinson and Lott
winter and summer

and sang of losing
a love they had not

yet known.
The music often found

an aching harmony,
which like that first love,

they would long for
the rest of their lives.

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it’s been a good morning.


We have chosen your manuscript, BROOKLYN, as the winner of the 2022 Sinclair Poetry Prize.

Barbara Bergmann, Editor (she/her)

Evening Street Press & Review
2881 Wright St
Sacramento, CA 95821

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I’ve fallen way behind. This was published in The Evening Street Review a month or so ago.


When we were eight

Eddie and I

would ride our bikes

to Canarsie Pier.

It was before the landfill

in Jamaica Bay

made for reluctant breathing,

and even before we understood

why our older brothers

would steer their girlfriends

there on weekends to watch

the submarine races.

We’d do a little fishing

off the pier,

but the first thing Eddie

always did was wave

to his dad

on the coast of France.

He swore he could

see him waving back.

Eddie never knew

the man—a Marine

who died as the first wave

struggled toward Omaha Beach.

Before that last winter

we would meet

every now and again

and Eddie would

always wave,

as if he felt the same

at 80 as he had at eight.

In fact, he told me once

he could see his dad

more clearly as he aged.

Today, on my way to Kennedy

I dropped off the Parkway

to meet with Eddie Junior

at the pier.

He’s an image

of his dad at 40.

He was waving

when I drove in,

his three kids were waving,

and when I joined them

it seemed the whole

world was waving.

“See your Grandad?”

I asked the brood.

“Yup,” they replied as one.

“Me too,” I thought, as eight year-

old Eddie, clear as a clockface,

waved from that distant shore.

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My poem, Mom, is in Issue 9 of call me [ ]—call me [ when you get home] . U of Alabama Creative Writing. Here is the poem:


lived to 97
on “curl your hair”coffee
and a carton of smokes a week.

She ate eggs with butter
and bacon and bagels
and rye bread smeared

with chicken fat.
The cakes she bought
were so packed

with calories
they bulged
in their boxes.

She’d have thought you
nuts for substituting
yogurt for ice cream.

Mom avoided doctors
having been shown
by her mother

that chicken soup—
with matzoh balls
could cure most anything.

She thought the Olive Garden
the height of luxury
and beamed like the Queen

of Persia
over a plate of spaghetti
and glass of red wine.

A house full of cousins
and a deck of cards
was her idea of heaven.

They’d play penny poker
for hours—weaving mythic
stories through the smoke.

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Colt 45

My poem, Colt 45, is in the current issue of Sheila-Na-Gig. Here is the poem:

Colt 45

At six,
I shed baby teeth
so regularly
I whistled
with every word.

The third week
of first grade
we had
and the local ragamuffins,

captive in their Sunday best,
brought boxes and paper bags
and a pillowcase or two—
some with moving parts
that mewed or whined

or chirped.
I brought my brother’s
pistol—the one he hid
behind the tenement steps
that led to the basement.

To get it in my lunch box,
I had to squash
my PB&J and banana.
And it was heavy—
it took all my strength

to lug it across the boulevard
and up the stairs
to the classroom.
I sat behind three lucky
charms and a two-headed

When I took the pistol out—
the room went dead
silent—a silence
I had never heard before

or since.
And then the room erupted.
Later that day,
I learned a long word:

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Goodbye to All That

My poem, Goodbye to all that, is in the current issue of Moria Literary Magazine (Woodbury University). Here is the poem:

Goodbye to All That

a poppy
I planted years ago
bloomed cream and crimson.

Stunning in its regal robes
it lorded over the roses—
golden goddesses.
But only for a day.

This garden has given
a million hours of pleasure.
Really, what is there to life?
Dirt and sweat

and muscles that ache
with honest effort.
Moving now
to a small apartment

for the golden years,
I will turn
the keys over
to a young couple

with kids and careers
and no time
for gardens.
I might have sold in winter,

but that would be cowardly.
I sit in my lawn chair
one last evening
and try to explain.

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This is in the December issue of Pennsylvania’s Poetic Voices. Close as I get to truth.


If I declared myself
an optimist,
my friends would laugh
their way to
cracked ribs.

And yet,
I spent all afternoon
planting tulip bulbs
in the barely
yielding soil.

What can be
more optimistic
than planting bulbs
on the threshold
of winter.

Imagining the first
fine day in March
will carry me
through February—
take the edge off the wind

til the sun warms
my face,
and I patrol
the flower beds
looking for that first green.

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Coffee Shop

My poem, Coffee Shop, is in the current issue of Pirene’s Fountain (15,issue 23). Here is the poems.

Coffee Shop

It was not a hangout
for either of us,
just a coffee shop
half a block from First National,
a place to get out of the weather.

When the heat wave broke,
the storm came in like Man o’ War.
I remember my first thought
on seeing her—“Am I that wet?”
But she recognized me right off,
as if age and gravity
had not had their way.

Everyone thought we would marry,
but we had blown apart
the summer the cities burned,
the year Vietnam
was a nightmare for the wide awake.

Conversation stalled—
after all,
what was I to make
of her—
a woman now
whom I would never know?

We accept the ravages of time
a mirror presents,
but what of the gulfs

The rain stopped.
We went our separate ways.
Tonight, I would scan the old memories
like watching reruns of a favorite show
canceled for reasons lost long ago.

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In the Distance

My poem, In the Distance, is in the current issue of The Big Windows Review. Here is the poem:

In the Distance

We speak so
seldom now—
phone shy
since childhood

and the miles
between us
seem to multiply
with the years.

each new

greeted us
a garden gate

When did
the highway
become a gravel

Last night.
I thought
of that day
we had to hide

your father’s
car keys.
His daily descent
into dementia.

I take the top
on the old
Triumph Spitfire,

kick the
tires for luck,
and head your way
on the open road

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What the Old Want

My poem, What the Old Want, is up on the Bluebird Word. Fun one to write.

Not much—
and family
I suppose—
for short visits
involving meals
at restaurants
with tablecloths,
or something sumptuous
simmered for hours
over a low flame.

How about a week
without a visit
to a doctor
or a single
medical test.
or CAT scan,
or even
a tube of blood
with my name
in magic marker.

is in free fall.
Like riding
an elevator
held by a single
strand of steel
down from
the 93rd floor.
Bring kindness.

And, when all
else fails,
a recliner—
well worn
in all the right
A coffee
straight up
and the book
I loved best when
I was young.

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