July 24, 2017 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Elisabetta Foco



Elisabeth Horan



On the Oprah Winfrey Show



In the basement

of the house

on the corner

there are two sisters

being held captive

by their father

for sex.


I know this because I saw them on


The Oprah Winfrey Show.


I don’t know

how they managed

to go

on the show

after that happened

and stand

on the corner

in the neighborhood

where they suffered

on the street


in puffy white coats:


That’s where we were,

in the basement of that house –


They said.


It seemed to surreal

yet I know it was real

for I saw it on


The Oprah Winfrey Show.


It also occurred

that Tom Cruise

jumped on Oprah’s couch and exalted:


I’m in love

and sounded excited

maybe even crazy

for feeling something so real;

so excruciatingly happy.


Some were not so happy for him

some deserted him –

maybe people were

not happy for him



he is a Scientologist;

people assume he is crazy


He admits

he is not on

Prozac or Lorazepam,

and Matt Lauer agrees

about the rumors of Anti-Dees…

but indeed crazy it(he) was…

for being happy –


And I am wondering


If Tom Cruise jumping

on Oprah’s couch is more crazy

than what happened


To the two girls

who stood on the corner

of the street

across from their house

with that basement

where they were forced

to have oral sex

with their dad

and their brother  –


While their mother


American Chop Suey


on the stovetop.


Her vacant eyes straight ahead.

The radio fixed on John Tesh.


If something airs on Oprah and I watch it,

is it of equal importance

that Tom Cruise is crazy

for jumping on a couch




That girls are being sublimly victimized beneath the savory odor of American Chop Suey?

I know the producers must consider the target audience and ratings.


Let us then inquire

of a young boy


Sugar Ditch, Mississippi,

who got out of

Sugar Ditch, Mississippi,

and came on

the Oprah show

and got a scholarship

and went to college

and learned things

and survived his brutal life

swathed in crushing poverty

and relentless racism


I want to know when

Oprah’s show finally ended

did he go back to

Sugar Ditch, Mississippi

and un-survive his destiny –


I want to know if he survived the crazy.


Does he live in Chicago?

Is he now the Producer of Oprah’s Book Club…

Or President of Harpo

Or CEO of the OWN network.


What a great sequel show that would make –


Unless, of course, he is back in

Sugar Ditch, Mississippi


And that, of course,

would be crazy… and sad.


On The Oprah Winfrey Show


Air the lives

of real people

and the


and crazy

and poverty –


But those lives continue off-air as well

Or do they end.





Spring in the Republic



Walking in this filthy pie

grey terrors build in sky like

too much lightning

cuttlefish flashing;

a dog barks… he too, chained.


Sporadic in our hope.

Sporadic is our time.


I have to squint from

the arctic carcass

abortions rare

as innocence

strobe lighting


nixonian/ dystopian/ trumpian/ atwoodian:


With no blue green algae

so too will whale sharks drown –

don’t you see?

no oxygen to fill


Our breathlessness

yet behold the

off – red hue of salmon sunsets

spawn up Saharan streams


RNC got too hot

boy, this really hits the spot

mcconnell in my crosshairs or


Make way for mamma grizzly

30% ivory tusk

30% rhino horn

40% tiger penis


Frack it

Fuck it – it’s tainted, love.


While the rest lie

burning – an ozone sun bowl

we fall in sinkholes.

Get Ye to Hell, Senator!

Not a trap:

Beltway by May.





why write this



why write this pointless resume of mine, do you mind…

no chickadees, no jobs

singing cheezburger, cheezburger –


robin’s here for real in winter’s arbitrary arms;

swollen with malnutrition

he supposed it still summer on the farm –


poor fella

it was 60 in January –

he didn’t believe me:

go south, young redbreast, go south!

I begged him, I pleaded –

really, it was




where was his bat, man

for that matter

when we needed him?


white nose disease, the

coke wars took him

away too soon –

complete cave worths,

postcolonial voids in

the underpasses -where






hung by their toes –

all dead.

I swear.


sniffing, snorting –

let’s party

like it’s

1999, again

life was better then.

Prince was alive then.


we had moths still, real ones

Lunas even – not like now, just

the hipster Radio Moth,



Monarchs in Point Pelee

Santa Cruz,

Michoacán, even –

that’s in Meh – hee – ko

I told you and told you.


I’ve even

seen them bending

the Oyamel firs like snow – coating

the Eucalyptus trees – effortless, like leaves – consuming

the downy milkweed as young caterpillars, so hungry for life

just wait and see what I will be –


alas, its

only vampires – the skeeters and the ticks:

deer, dog, pigeon, ornate cow, nuttalliella… lone star –


to spread

the butter of Lyme’s



to snip

this passage of my time,

of my kind,

of my cord, from

mother earth.



why sip a latte –

I said skim milk, you barrister, barista, whatevah!

I’ll sit at starbucks, get a buzz, write an article

freelance style

honey bee hive collapse – shit

guess it’s

hand-pollinatin’ time, but

do not worry



immigrants don’t mind the work, the hard-handed jobs

the old immigrants once did, when a

//// beep-bop-boop –

used to be a doo-wop////



white teenagers

on iPhones of coltan

play Pokémon GO

so fine, go get ’em


all you fb bullies,

I know

you know

who you are –

that you are

too busy for spraying berries or

mending walls



we need a wall, remember?

must build the Berlin wall,

to make good neighbors –








now are almost gone,

maybe still a few in zoos

all the better to see you with

up close and personal with

my grand-kids and



less dangerous in the Bronx than

Kenya, Zimbabwe, who would go to those places anyway?

my kids will stay in the U. S. of A.(ssess), ok?



whoo-whoo cooks for you?

no one needs to bother now, I say….


driving to Walmart

there is a Saw Whet-owl pet

face down in the snow –



I am the crazy type to stop

and pick him up

dodging Dodge’s

if its brown, its down

says the decal –


go ahead

and hit me, splatter my guts –

I dare, double

dare you…

yeah, I’m a deer, that’s right.

Hit me and the owl – I

don’t friggin’ care



while you’re at it – get the

mice, moles, voles, squirrels, chips, chunks, vermin, critters:

the nuisi –


he sought,

fraught with hunger in the bitter winter;

fatal fingers of the North,

funnel freezing rain, into a

climactic climate




no moors; nor a

subnivean eden

to burrow in before,

they come –

the ancient snows of yore.



nibbled the apple

you threw out

the window,


it was

trash to you but

food for them – a

shiny Pink Lady:

Grease free, worm free

for a fee –

it was life.


yes, you Sir!

slim jims, bud lights, newports –

rocking out to Counting Crow’s

metallic ass rifts.

Old man McDonald

had a farm

e i e i o

of burger-making cows

well, I never!


then when

he hit your window

it was sudden, even


one could say


like a

Hiro – Naga – bombs – away –

a meteor is making way,


into, some may say –



Crater Lake – the

bath of youth, of phosphorus

your mommy drew – and

finally: a grave cave true – one, and only

made for you



just like

the Ankylosaur,

you are now,

more than ever,


to be –





Elisabeth Horan

Elisabeth Horan is a stay at home mom in Vermont, caring for her two young boys and looking out for the animals. Her goal as a writer is to bring attention to issues that she cares about and has dealt with personally: mental illness, abuse, the plight of nature and the environment, and those suffering in isolation and in pain.

She has recently been featured at Anti-Heroin Chic, Swimming With Elephants and Red Dashboard Publications. More poetry is forthcoming at Quail Bell Magazine, Dying Dahlia Review, Murmur House and Vox Poetica.

Elisabeth is a 2018 MFA Candidate at Lindenwood and teaches at River Valley Community College in New Hampshire.

Follow her @ehoranpoet.

Editor review

1 Comment

  1. Carol Ferrell July 25, at 03:50

    These poems by Elisabeth are so full and multi-layered that I must read them over and over and let all the stories slowly sink in....they make my heart beat a little faster and my mind is flashing with all the imagery. The one word lines really punch the reader also....my favorite line right now? "Used to be a do-wop...." (referring to swing dance music, a precious genre that is coming back to life!)


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