December 16-22, 2019: Poetry from Betsy Mars and Paul Lojeski

Betsy Mars and Paul Lojeski

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Betsy Mars

Bio (auto)

Betsy Mars is an early transplant to the LA area after spending her first 6 years in Connecticut, Wisconsin, and Rio de Janeiro. She wrote her first poem – an elegy to her cat – in Portuguese at age 5 or so. She is a poet, photographer, educator, and recently started Kingly Street Press, releasing Unsheathed:24 Contemporary Poets Take Up the Knife in October, 2019. Her work has been widely published, and her first chapbook, Alinea (Picture Show Press), came out in January, 2019. 2019 was a big year, obviously.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Betsy Mars and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

To the car sales rep & service manager
who didn’t return my calls

May your tire pressure warning light
come on after a long day at work.
May you search for a gas station
with an air pump.
May you feed your last coins
into that pump
& find that it’s defective,
releasing air rather than filling

May you limp on your further deflated
tire to another station,
dig out your debit card,
fill your tire, try to align
the threads on the tiny cap
with your tired hands,
fumble it into the black hole
of the wheel well.

May you be on your way
to a doctor’s appointment
a mere week later
when that u-shaped light
pops up on the dashboard
like your nagging urethra,
so you repeat the above steps,
trying each tire
since your car is smart
but not smart enough
to indicate which is the problem.

You call for advice
and are told to come in.
You’ll get a call back
and maybe a loaner.
Neither occurs.

May you head out of town
to visit a friend,
put the tire behind you.
The little symbol lights up
to remind you.

Repeat steps above.

Call the dealer,
leave message,
no call back,
call again,
no reply.

Another week passes.
The little horseshoe light
comes on and goes off
with the changes in temperature
or in inverse sync with convenience.

May you take it in for inspection,
find the "customer care" manager,
complain. Disingenuous words,
condescension, disdain.
A nail is the culprit
in your two month old tire.
They can sell you a new one,
can’t fix it, location,

yet down the road
they can patch it
while you wait,
and wait,
and din-
ner gro
ws co
and you’re grateful.




Paul Lojeski

Bio (auto)

Paul Lojesk’s poetry has appeared online and in print. He lives in Port Jefferson, NY.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Paul Lojeski and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


mother was a prodigious reader
and accomplished drinker, who, 
after hours of cleaning toilets,
vacuuming, making beds 
and food shopping at Kroger’s
would sink into the living room 
couch in late afternoon light, 
with a glass of scotch on the 
side table and a cigarette burning 
in the ashtray next to it. she’d
stare at the pages of her 
latest book, transfixed, moving
far, far away from the cruel 
ironies of a life poorly chosen.
and all those delusional beliefs
about the 2 of them that’d led 
her into this nameless nightmare
and the perfection of a viscous
bitterness as pure as the driven
snow. Her latest project completed; 
the affixing of a dead bolt lock on 
the inside of her bedroom door 
upon which the intoxicated father
would pound and pound and curse 
her and the universe in slurred 
invective, while the 3 children 
curled up under the covers on 
their beds, begging sleep to rescue 
them, to make it all disappear.

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