KJ, George Moore, Melissa Carroll, Susan Cavanaugh, Wayne Richards


will blank for blank

not waiting at all...
instead we expect
to continue existing
to the day when the
want ads finally come
unto us & say who all
of us are going to be

we believe the whites
in our knuckles that rivaled
fat field mice snuggling their
warm downy bodies neatly
together in the fluffy rolling
curls of snow, until they shut
their dim eyes at night to sleep,
will turn flesh red when we must
shake hands with the headhunter
because the interview has arrived

when the callback does not come
we'll pool our numb hearts as one
to scheme a pyramid placing our
jobless bodies on the streets as
real bona fide bums consolidating
a fraction of our handouts so that
one of our scraggly number can live
better than one of us would alone
the plan will go horribly awry when
the money is counted & we all refuse
to be the king of the hobos because
there is something too moral about
begging with someone else in mind

after we all accept our resignations
we shall congregate around trashcan
fires in the mornings as vague hazels
of dawn give way to the grays going
grayer on the concrete from every
cigarette we flick away that breaks
& fades like an autumn passing in
miniature on the aging sidewalks

the only men who will offer help
as we wither away with the old
newspapers blowing by that we
gather to sleep on in the summer
are men in black robes who repeat
the following phrase to each of us:
For the Wages of Sin is Death

when those men do come i'll raise my
wearied, gloved hand & i will shout:
I've been looking for temp work.
I can start working tomorrow.


The Impossible

Once, he would have said
we cannot conceive of gods.
The only truth
is that there is no truth.
An old cliché. Now
even this is a simple game,
teasing out the brain, this
subtle turn of phrase. Too easy
a way to nowhere.
If you believe the end
more pleasant than this now,
if you imagine more than
what the world prepares us for,
or think seas are drops of heaven
in a cosmic baptismal cup,
or hope someday the Grail
will be found, the Temple
undesecrated, then you believe
more than me. Into history
we recede, as the orthodox
fall prey to time, faith
like particles in a primal soup
must undergo elemental change.
So whatever works, whatever day
seems first or last, the impossible
is not impossible to believe.


Singing the Breeze

The planet's turquoise blood rushes away, then crashes
and slips apart again. And the sun, that young star that fires
the belly of the sea, she doesn't give a damn
about me being tugged by salty tides, or Barb, the British woman
who does handstands on the shore. Barb's fifty and practices
energy medicine. She's also a computer tech
back in London. We met yesterday. The sun burns
her face and I am a copper thumbprint rolling
effortless in the surf, moved by big things I can't see.
Floating beneath the wash of yellow daylight,
I'm a flake of crisp shell
like a mother's fingernail
clipped from the hand.
When I stop asking questions
the need for answers disappears. All emeralds
and saltwater billfish.
Come back! Barb calls over the Atlantic chop. We're making sandwiches!
You don't want to slip away, now do you?


Your Mother: Beautiful and Fine

for Shirley Lake

Of course I know she's dead.
I'm not your nutty cousin,
confusing dreams. There she was,
your mother. In a gauzy white
dress, browsing in a shop in Paris.
Not seeing me, not hearing
the chant we sang as kids
when we went to Cedar Lake:
   You fish on your side,
   I fish on my side,
   No one fishes in the middle.
The middle. A place we couldn't
reach. None of us with boats,
we were grass casters, barefoot,
tanned and waiting for a bite.
      Your mother
wore a smile. White shoes,
white stockings, a white straw
hat with a fancy brim. Not angel
white or wedding. Not nurse.
Considering linens for a garden
party. Silvery yellow in one hand,
pale lime green in the other.
The scene cascading with light.
I tell you, she was fine,
your mother. Beautiful and fine.


Spaghetti Would Be Good

The brass zipper digs into my neck,
I am too stupid to wear a scarf,
20 degrees @ 60 mph, I am riding
My 1983 R80RT into the customary void,
Two wheels with a passing connection
Below the tires, I wonder about this
Wondrous dynamic & then I realize,
I am ice dancing, all alone,
I think of friendly snowdrifts
I might launch myself into,
I might as well be thinking about spaghetti,
The surrounding ravines boast boulders,
The deliberately chosen road is wonderfully obscure,
Coming up I watch gusts crossing the road,
Oh, goody, at long last a lack of traction,
I think, make lemonade out of lemons,
I may have no adherence to earth
But I do have momentum,
Not a question of logic or physics,
This is epitaph writing time,
Performance art with no audience,
This is what I had in mind;
Terrific visibility & no traffic,
What more could I want?
Spaghetti would be good.


All of this and...

      --in which Richards adds his wry lines to a poem received in correspondance

The world has The Potato Eaters / sushi chefs
The world has Starry Night / moaning dawn
The world has Degas' dancers / Clydesdale prancers
Picasso's children / Vonnegut's orphans
Romeo on the balcony / Will Rogers on the porch swing
ballet of perfect emerald grace / awkward operas in cowboy chic
Robert Jordan dying on a mountainside in Spain / Robert Gordon singing doowop
the canals of Venice / Central Oregon irrigation ditches
a café in Paris / a diner in Wildwood, New Jersey
Yosemite Falls and the coast of Maine / Rogue River Gorge and Malibu
seven twisted old men in Baudelaire's imagination / twisted imagination in cyberspace
a swan swimming in dust / a serpent decorating a branch
vampires and evil priests in towers / warlocks and do-gooders in chapels
a Japanese flute / steel guitar
the bay and the bridge / the cay and the canoe
an Italian restaurant on 125th Street / a greasy spoon in Isis Alley
a Supermarket in California / affordable food in Kansas
woods to stop by on a snowy evening / paper bark birches to swing from
a blue guitar / balky computer programs
Venus de Milo / Caddilla de Yakuza
Children of Paradise, Fellini's Roma / Spawn of Hell, It Came in with the Tide
comic book heroes and villains / comic book art and comic book lyrics
Roskolnikov / Kaminski
Quasimodo and Esmeralda / Victor Hugo's ego
calculus / imaginary arithmetic
been to the moon / not been to the bottoms of the oceans
Critique of Pure Reason / Nightmare and Geezensticks
The Stranger / Confederacy of Dunces
The Catcher in the Rye / Johnny Got His Gun
snow and springtime / chlorophyl and insects
a day in July and sometimes a rhyme / September and cheerleaders
cheap beer and fiddle players / Guinness and violinists
The world has baseball and cognac / basketball and chianti
The world has love at the tips of its branches / connective tissue
The world has Guernica the world has wars / nonsense and fanciful delusions
What does the world need? Nonsense and fanciful delusions.

KJ lives in California with his dog, Mr. Bear. He has work forthcoming in Grey Sparrow Press and Gutter Eloquence. Feel free to say hi: George Moore's poetry has appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, North American Review, Colorado Review, Orion, Queen's Quarterly, Antigonish Review, Dublin Quarterly, and Blast. In 2009, he was nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and two Best of the Web awards, and this year for the Rhysling Poetry Award. His recent collections include Headhunting (Mellen, 2002) and the e-Book, All Night Card Game in the Back Room of Time (, 2007). Moore has held recent artist residencies in Spain, Portugal, Iceland, Canada, with another in Greece this spring. He teaches writing and literature with the University of Colorado, Boulder. Melissa Carroll is an original Jersey girl (Roxbury) but has been transplanted to Tampa, Florida. She teaches yoga and is pursuing her MFA at the University of South Florida. She recently received the Estelle J. Zbar prize for poetry, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Barely South Review, Greatest Uncommon Denominator, 63 Channels, Feile-Festa Cultural Arts Journal, and elsewhere. Melissa is currently trying to attain nirvana and is delightfully failing miserably: she recounts her mishaps at ZenontheRocksblogspot. It's been a few years since Susan Cavanaugh's poetry last appeared on Jerseyworks. She has won two Allen Ginsberg awards as well as prizes for her poetry in Smartish Pace and in Yankee Magazine. Susan makes her home in Northfield, New Jersey. Wayne Richards is a visual and literary artist living in Medford, Oregon. He is a retired psychiatric case worker and recently sold his BMW motorcycle.

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