June 15-21, 2020: Poetry from Douglas Richardson and Bruce McCandless

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Douglas Richardson

Douglas Richardson is a poet and novelist who lives in Santa Ana, California, with his wife, Jen, and cat, Wes. He is the founder of Weak Creature Press. He wrote and published a fiction series, American Strays, which includes the novellas The Corruption of Zachary R., Trust Fund Baby, and Kay Sutter Through the Ages. He has been published in several literary journals over the years, including Hobo Camp Review, Misfits’ Miscellany, Straight Forward Poetry, The Nervous Breakdown, and Poetry Super Highway. In 2013, he won the Poetry Super Highway contest with his entry, “Notes from the Graveyard Shift.” Douglas is also an avid tennis player and is finally taking music lessons after all these years.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Douglas Richardson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Poet is out on the streets
wandering the miracle mile
Poet is two rivers
the Blue and the White Nile

Poet is the sickness
vivacious, death-aware
Poet is the fever breaking
goes too far but gets you there

Poet is the dragon in the cloud
the vampire in the rose
Poet is the two extremes
laissez-faire or communist clothes

Poet is the worm drying on the sidewalk
flung back into the grass by Money
Poet is at odds with Money
Money bets Poet neglects the laundry

Poet is the whole way of being
more than hearing, more than seeing
Poet is on the verge of quitting
Poet can never turn back


All the Sliding Glass Doors

Twenty-five years ago
I got up from my desk
by a ninth-floor window
and watched the OJ Simpson motorcade
head west down Wilshire Boulevard
on the verge of Pacific Palisades
all the sliding glass doors left wide open
to let the ocean breezes cool through
the kitchens and living rooms and
over the rims of highballs
and not a soul anywhere
and the wind everywhere

Bruce McCandless

Bruce McCandless III is a writer and attorney who lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and two daughters. He’s a graduate of the University of Texas and is interested in space exploration, environmental matters, and science fiction and fantasy books and movies. Bruce has published poems, articles, and features in a number of journals and magazines, including The Asian Wall Street Journal, Avenue, HK Magazine, Pleiades, The Seattle Review, Cold Mountain Review, Natural Bridge, Louisiana Literature, New Delta Review, The Naugatuck River Review, The Texas Observer, The Austin Chronicle, the Houston Chronicle, and the Austin American-Statesman. When he’s not writing or reading, he’s probably out riding his bike or hiking along Austin’s Barton Creek. You can see some of his work on his website, www.ninthplanetpress.com.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Bruce McCandless and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


At dawn the cormorants
stand as sleek as needles,
still as hour hands, watching
water from the reservoir
tumble storm cloud green over the rocks.
By 8 o’clock the sun is staring and the birds
crane their necks to catch the wind,
their arched-eyebrow wings
moving east to where the lake bed deepens.
They’re spelunkers in cold caverns
they create with every dive.
They spear the streaks of silver,
bring up perch, pierce a sunfish.
They burrow down in blurred dark chase,
only surfacing to check
we haven’t gone and screwed things up again, that
the world is where they left it.


Greetings from Your Ministry of Poetry and Indecision

People wonder what I’ve been up to since my last publication
in that online junior college newspaper three years ago and
I don’t mind saying in 2019
I named myself to an important governmental post
that didn’t actually exist and had trouble getting into my office
possibly due to hopelessly outmoded private property notions
still in effect in parts of our nation’s capital
(note to self: Eliminate Outmoded Private Property Notions) but
still I issued edicts, largely ignored, for example
ordering airdrops of haiku over central Oklahoma
in hopes of encouraging increased tanka yields, or inwardness maybe
I admit it might have been hard to tell if it worked
next up: taking positive steps to make American industry less efficient
fact is, we’ve lost fourteen percent of our gross national pipedreams—
fewer accountants are disrobing at their desks during lunchtime
while the boss is locked in the server room with wild hogs
the incidence of dentists reviving long-lost baseball careers is down precipitously
grown men don’t dream about what their kids can have that they never had;
don’t plan space vacations, wish to be pirates,
envision themselves wearing purple tights and utility belts
we’re in danger of losing our ability to slack off,
one of the principal factors that made us world leaders in-dragging ass,
gathering wool, catching some zees, hanging around
look at us now: hyper-caffeinated, action-itemed arrugula munchers
what ever happened to the National Slouch?
why don’t we peer anymore through curtains of nicotine haze
or stare into cooling cups of midnight
as the elevated rumbles through the night outside?
if Latvia continue to prosper, who’ll be left to lie around?
we’ll be a world full of Germans, without the vacations
well not if this public servant has anything to do with it
and probably he doesn’t but nevertheless
I have laid out a forty-six step plan to revive the trial by fire and
certain medieval disciplinary rituals, possibly including branding (the new tattoo!)
and sabotage of all machinery powered by anything other than oxen
my handpicked team of petty thieves and organists
is testing ways to further decrease preparedness for weather-related disasters,
to add long and completely unnecessary detours to the nation’s highways
and to bring back a variety of bodily odors almost completely lost to modernity
we seek tax cuts for the proprietors of drive-in movies
and any business called “Empire of Muffins”
we have increased the transmission of Fox news into outer space
in hopes of scaring hostile invasion forces straight back to Arcturus and
propose institution of a wigwag-based national security alert
with seventeen signals and some capable of meaning only one thing,
like Caution: Kardashians Planning Release of Joni Mitchell Cover Album
we are attempting to consult with the Pentagon on the use of fricatives
and the phase-in of slightly more descriptive military campaign names like
Operation Try Not to Kill Any Kids With That Bomb You Just Dropped
oh yes we in the Ministry of Poetry and Indecision are out here working for you
zigging where we’re supposed to zag
spreading truth where falsehood rules,
telling outright lies when the truth starts trusting itself
and if you want to do some one small thing to help, it’s
don’t tell them that you saw us here or for God’s sake
where we’ll turn up next