April 22, 2019 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Brian Wertheim photo



Denise Buschmann




Swamp Creatures



Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it —Mark Twain



Don’t try to convince me

your swamp creatures

are better than my

swamp creatures.

They co-exist—equals in

the muck, up

to their necks in

disrespect for themselves

and the American people—


passing bills they haven’t read,

many not having had one

real job in their lives, sucking

blood out of the hard-working

populace while


feasting at the tit of

special interests in the US

and the world over. Loyalty

is the currency they swap

for a bowl of pottage. Don’t


bother them with a reminder

of their oath. They’ve become

blind and deaf, and the lamest

lawmakers since Ancient

Rome—at least there, corruption

wasn’t dressed up in Easter finest

and paraded as Lady Justice.


Midas would have no words

of comfort for these mavens of deceit.

Their ill-gotten gold does not

touch back

or complete them.

Themselves—the one person

they could not lie to at night

when they cannot sleep.





Definition of Love



Of all the creatures in the zoo,

I’m the only one with a blue stripe

down my nose. Oh, I know what

you’re going to say. Uniqueness

is to be honored, but it

didn’t feel that way growing up.


All the others had spots or markings

that quite distinguished them,

but what did I have to have—

a blue streak! I didn’t know what

a freak I was until my third year.

Kids can be very cruel!


“Why can’t you be like everyone

else?” or “Who made you look

that way?”, they would ask.

My parents said, “God,” but

they also said He was “love.”

Kids berating me with scornful

breath didn’t feel like LOVE.

What kind of love is this?


I’m 12-years-old now, but I’d still

like to know what it’s like

to fade into the crowd—to have

a body that doesn’t say,

“Look at me!”






Denise Buschmann

D.C. Buschmann is a former teacher and freelance editor in Carmel, Indiana. She was awarded the Editor’s Choice Award in Poetry Quarterly, Winter 2018, and has been a finalist in several essay and poetry contests. Her work appears in journals and anthologies in the US, the UK, Australia, Iraq, and India and has been in or will appear in Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library’s So it Goes Literary Journal,Flying IslandPoppy Road ReviewSan Pedro River ReviewTuck MagazineThe Writers NewsletterNerve Cowboy, and elsewhere. Her first chapbook is forthcoming in the fall.

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