Great Firsts



I came across this Buzzfeed article on Twitter (I know—social, social) and just had to share. It lists readers’ favorite sentences in literature. It led me to think about first lines; there are so many great ones. I’ll add one of my favorites here:


I’m doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice—not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother’s death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.


John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany


What’s yours?



We Real Cool

A favorite from Gwendolyn Brooks.

A favorite from Gwendolyn Brooks.

The Pool Players.
Seven at the Golden Shovel.

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We

Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.


Jerry's wing

A guest post and iPad drawing from the supremely talented Jerry Leibowitz.


i remember

when these wings

were ribs

and that late afternoon

in a february fog

as a bent man

stepped safely to the curb

in the moment

a cab driver

inadvertently swerved

to check his watch

and the ache

in my chest

my ribs

uncurling backward


and i remember

when these wings

were ribs

and the grey early morn

doused with dew

as the buck

twitched at a fly

barely evading

the hunter’s bullet


and i recall

a pocketful of hours

before a dawn

when a child awoke

to battering voices

from a faraway room

dangerously close

then somehow

transcended fear

suspended doubt

and accepted calm

that followed

as reassurance

that things


would be better

and they were


i remember

when these wings

were ribs

and the agony

the rapture

as they


and curled backward

bones emulsifying

to mist and light

as i climbed

the great olive tree

to find a nest

full of fine down

and small feathers

that once belonged

to sparrow chicks

that now beckoned me

from higher branches

to follow

their ascension.



Let’s make the decision

right now

I’m talking to you

to be a little happier


I don’t care what tragedy

of the day

is giving you the

Best Ragging Excuse Ever


I need some positivity

today And you’re going to give it to me

That’s right you

Listen up


Citizen’s United

No jobs

A job for crappy pay



Relationship angst

Short-term memory loss

Nasty boss

Self-absorbed co-worker

Neck sag

Carpal tunnel in the right wrist

Not gonna cut it


You’re gonna suck it up

for me

and only me

because you’re all I’ve got

Almost scratch

My apologies for the extended absence. Paid work has been taking up all my time. On that subject, here’s a new poem.



The woman

reflected in a window

long ago

Polished to a high sheen she

was misplaced, miscast


Time throws dust on

our mirages

Strips them of altered life

and the tease of



Where does

that leave our

Woman in the Glass

She of the

New Image


Too tired to push

like Sisyphus

against an




Facebook poster platitudes

never let up on

an insecure number

like her

Cycling away in endless optimism


But those who make

plenty of green on

their efforts

know who the

Real Artists are


The rest of us



guru Twitter feed We

keep our reflections polished.





Guest Post by Deborah Fletcher Blum



Lemon is like a question. It wants something from you. But it wants to hold onto that thing for itself too. It gives and takes back. Is tart and zesty and willful. Sometimes totally irrational. And it is yellow, because the sound is perfect for the taste.


I squeeze you for juice and drink you up.

I always loved you raw and didn’t care that I was teased for it.

You wanted to be something people can handle only in small doses.

You like that about yourself.

It means you are strong.


Deborah Fletcher Blum has taught art and English at schools in Kenya, New York, and L.A. She studied painting and liberal arts in college and has always been fascinated by cultural differences and “samenesses.” She is writing a middle grade novel set in Kenya.


Muddy Hands


A boy so young

His head as small

As the moon through a window

Holds the earth in his unsure fingers

Spinning it carelessly

Tossing it high in the air

Higher and higher still

Until it can no longer be caught


It slips away

A skipped rock

Past the clouds

Over the sun

And into the darkness with no end

And it’s gone


But he is a boy

After all

So he reaches into the darkness

And pulls it out just like that

Rubs the muck off on his wrinkled shirt

And rolls it

Rolls it

Back under his feet


Now he plucks the moon

From its dark curtain

With his muddy hands

And spins it carelessly




In my first guest post, the one and only Ed Valfre shares one of his incredible image stories from Ed Valfre’s Dreamland. If you haven’t already liked this site on Facebook, do so now. It’s like ice cream.

In the middle of Montana is a retired nun. Every morning she goes to Nell’s Cafe, sits in the same seat and orders extra crispy bacon, dry toast, a soft boiled egg and a coffee. She is considered to be about as exciting as a cabbage sandwich. Not one of them know about the alligator that took her leg in the jungles of South America or how she scammed the gun runners in Sierra Leone and saved those children. She has seen things none of them can even imagine. Her life isn’t a secret. It’s just none of them ever asked.