February 15, 2013 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION







Versatile and sensory, poets for the short month of February are Betty West,  John Middlebrook, Ndue Ukaj, Danny Earl Simmons and Scott Hastie.





 For Jay and Vera, sorely missed


Danny Earl Simmons 





Nothing about their past was barefoot and pregnant

or one too many highballs after far too many hours

of always knowing what was best.


She wasn’t forever on hands and knees with a bucket and a brush

or seeing nothing but her reflection in the after-dinner dishes.

There was no unaired laundry begging for an airing.


They started sharing a bed after Korea and courting

and asking for permission and it never knew force

or the passive acquiescence to some muscle-bound need.



Their babies boomed into existence only after two loud smiles

were muffled by quiet propriety, smiles that stayed wide open

and naked for silky whispering and staring and all things being equal.



They shared goodbye kisses, welcome home hugs, and one hot

vacation on a beach in Mexico where they learned what tequila can do.

He called her Mama until the day everything turned into cataracts


in the bleary back of his mind.She called him Dad – even after

he turned nurse-bound and refused to remove his souvenir sombrero,

no matter what, until she walked into the room.







Danny Earl Simmons


My head often aches in the morning these days

as I rise early for coffee and solitude before

dawn and its persistent nibbling away.


My first cup cooled and quaffed, she awakens,

blesses me with a bleary-eyed smile, starts

another cup, packs my lunch against the day.


I change his soggy overnight diaper, coo and tickle

him into the innocent belly laughing of his age,

join him there as he toddles into her arms.


When neither can see, I press my index fingers

into the sides of my skull and curse

this ache.

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