Creative Work: ‘Street Pizza’ by Mark Antony Rossi

This week we have an intense energy driven piece by poet and playwright Mark Creative WorksAntony Rossi, containing the raw material of an author such as Bukowski, while employing the linguistics of a more technically orientated poet such as John Forbes or Stanley Kunitz.

Street Pizza

If your sister only knew the animals
she loves are not too bright and often head first
for my speeding sedan where their tender bodies
are crushed into a thick red paste
erupting through a furry matted mess of instant death.
My garden hose reluctantly baptizes every tire
with a religious fervor not seen since that last time
I ran over rabbits, raccoons and other righteous rodents.
I don’t see the romance of Mother Nature.
I only feel rain ruining my manliner.
I only get annoyed by gnats chewing
my olive complexion and I shovel the spattered remains
of forest critters like so many slices of street pizza.


On first read, the poem is almost surrealist in its banality, but at second glance we can see an eerie undertone which forces us to question what we consider masculinity against the context of women, nature and the world itself.

Tune in next week for another creative piece!


Creative Work: ‘Historical Context’ by David Russomano

Creative WorksWe are lucky this week to have a lovely, nostalgic poem for you from Kingston MA alum and returning Words, Pauses, Noises contributor David Russomano.

This piece is striking for its use of strong, simple images, hinting at the subtleties of sibling dynamics through the journey of one object as it changes hands.

Historical Context

When your oldest brother’s birthday
finally comes, he gets that action figure
he’s been nagging your mom about non-stop
for months—the dashing super hero
from his latest favourite Saturday morning
cartoon show; call it The Adventures
of Alpha Male. Well, for as long as this
mini protagonist holds his attention
with its sculpted muscles, spring-loaded
uppercut and plastic weapons, he’s the centre
of epic Alpha Male battles, fighting fiercely
alongside Alpha Male’s allies, dishing out
brutal defeats to Alpha Male’s enemies.

Unlike his capricious classmates,
your brother never decapitates the hero
or twists off his legs on a whim; he’s careful.
The TV show is cancelled
before you’re old enough to tune in
and the toys are discontinued,
but the hand-me-down champion is still
in fair condition when you swap his sword
with an AK47, give him the power of flight,
make lasers shoot out of his eyes, and
sometimes, if it suits your game, cast him
in the role of villain.

Any reader with siblings will be able to identify instantly with both the tenderness and the final hint of rebellion captured here.

Join us next week for another great piece of creative writing!

Creative Work: ‘Letter to a Friend (After Tu Fu)’ by George Freek

Creative WorksThis week’s poem by George Freek is inspired by early Chinese poetry. The images it concocts are beautiful and moving. 

Letter to a Friend (After Tu Fu) 

Cherry blossoms fall unheard
in the middle of a forest.
So it seems with my life,
when I visit the grave of my wife.

I have lived another year
and accomplished nothing.
I have not written a word.
If I live another spring,
it will be the same.
Everything I see
seems less meaningful
than a child’s game to me.
I think a short life
is the best. There is
less harm done,
and much less to regret.

This poem is powerful in the parallels it draws between nature and human relationships. This theme is introduced at the beginning and flows throughout without mention, but is heard in the softness of the last refrain. 

Tune in next week for another amazing piece!

Competition Shortlist – Poetry: ‘In the City of Drawers’ by Maren Nygard

Creative WorksThis week we have the second shortlisted poem in our 2015 Creative Writing Competition, ‘In the City of Drawers’ by Maren Nygard.

We admired this poem for its bold voice, and strong, moving visuals. 

Our judge also felt that the voice in this poem was really strong and commanding, and drove it with energy and gust. She liked the deceptive simplicity of this poem, delving into the darkness of sexuality, and found it a pleasure to read.

In The City of Drawers

In The City of Drawers,
my chest was a locked commode.
I knew keys were for fools or masochists
so I threw mine in the sea

She wore fur sometimes,
and howled in her sleep
had claws of lust
that scratched my back

‘Some drawers are meant to be locked’
I told her.
But she huffed and puffed
and blew them open.

Continue reading

Competition Shortlist – Poetry: ‘The Horologist’s Son’ by Jenna Meade

Creative WorksThis week we have the first piece from our Poetry Shortlist from our 2015 Creative Writing Competition, ‘The Horologist’s Son’ by Jenna Meade.

We loved this piece for its use of language and image to characterize the relationship which is at its heart. 

Our judge found it to be “a tender and moving poem, which explores time and a personal narrative beautifully,” and she loved the idea of a ‘Horologist’s Son’ “fixing – mending a person, the metaphorical and physical clock in this poem. A very gentle yet powerful poem.” 

The Horologist’s Son

If you were a clock
you could mend
with disks, gears and prongs
So easily clicked into your belly
Less invasive and seldom
than what you take now.

Hold you in my palm,
gently unscrew your silver back
Grease your rusted insides
till they loosen,
fall, bounce,
roll out like drunken frogs.

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Creative Work: ‘Forming Augmented Dominant Seventh Chords when You Cannot Play Jazz at Night’ by Ryan Racine

Creative WorksThis week’s exceptionally long-titled piece is from Canadian author Ryan Racine. The poem’s jarring use of line break, and sleep deprived tone makes this a hilarious and necessary read. 

Forming Augmented Dominant Seventh Chords when You Cannot Play Jazz at Night

You must learn
to do the quadratic
formula with your fingers. Continue reading

Creative Work: ‘An Iceberg Lived’ and ‘A Kind Angel Calls Here’ by Joan MacIntosh

Creative WorksThis week we have poetry from Canadian author Joan MacIntosh who writes personal accounts from snapshots of her life, executed with exquisite, simple images. The speaker tries to find the beauty in the ordinary around us. 

An Iceberg Lived   

In Twillingate
I rented a house
on the North Side
with threefold dormer windows
watching over
a picket fence cradled
lilac tree

In spring
the upstairs bedroom
felt like a ship at sea
floorboards sloped
to the east window
where, in the harbor,
an iceberg lived

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Creative Work: ‘Home’ by Aileen Santos

Creative WorksWe are discussing the comforts of home this week with Aileen Santos’ beautiful poem. This work helps define the indescribable comfort of having a place to retreat. 


He had a seizure here and had to be
rushed to the hospital
She walked down those steps and entered
into her first day of school
I cried on my bed when my grandma died
We fought and he slammed that door

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Creative Work: ‘Watching Over the Night’ by Lopa Banerjee

Creative WorksThis week’s provocative piece comes to us from Lopa Banerjee of Nebraska. Banerjee wrote this piece “in honor of Jyoti Singh, killed in the abominable ‘Nirbhaya’ incident of gang rape in New Delhi, India, in December 2012.”

The fluid lines and affecting, haunting images of the poem pull the reader in to the dark and sinister world where no woman is safe.

Watching Over the Night

The flesh of the night hangs loose, stale,
Around the cryptic cities where I roam.
My skull, the tautness of my skin,
My bones, joints, fatty cells
And flesh in between, the conduits of my blood
All dried, nibbled on, burnt away.
The pitch dark sky creeps, moonless,
Laughing with its vicious fangs.

Glowing was the night as we had soaked in
The sweetest breath of her descent.
The night had shone in our bodies.
The two of us, young lovers,
Brimming with moonlight
In the city bus, gazing from the window
At the luscious asphalt sky.
We were returning home from a feast of a film
The flawless, vital light of the night
Wrapped us, shadow-like.

Continue reading

Creative Work: ‘On the Strength of an Eyelid’ by Mary K. Ryan

Creative WorksThis week’s piece is about the strength required in showing emotion. Mary K. Ryan questions her own need for emotional release in this beautiful poem. 

On the Strength of an Eyelid 

If tears regenerate,
Will my life repeat itself?
My comfort often comes out of their depletion.
I’ve got to be tough, Continue reading