January 17-23, 2022: Poetry from John Reinhart and Mike Jurkovic

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John Reinhart

John Reinhart is an arsonist by trade, writing with the ashes by candlelight. The recipient of the Horror Writers Association Dark Poetry Scholarship and a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, he is the author of Horrific Punctuation, Arson, Dig It, Screaming, Broken Bottle of Time, Invert the Helix, and Encircled. He is the co-author of three small people, and has anthologized goats, chickens, dogs, cats, a duck, hermit crabs, three rats, a rabbit, and probably mice.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by John Reinhart and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

unhappy meals

you hear the stories;
they’re all true:
don’t eat the food

the stories of lost souls,
lost memories, lost hopes,
lost chances, lost divinity

don’t eat the food

if you get dragged down
into the underworld,
hoodwinked by some trolls,
tempted by riches or beauty,
promised lifetimes of luxury
or the chance to win a weekend getaway,
don’t eat the food

no matter the advertising –
gleaming pomegranate pips,
succulent red apples,
raspberries ready to explode,
mammatocumulus mashed potatoes,
sparkling crisp chicken fingers –

don’t eat the food

it’s not worth a lifetime
or an eternity stuck in the void,
in service to some otherworldly being,
chained to some rock
while eagles make their own meal,

convenience, marketing, or long lines
of hungry people must not convince;
such contrivances are illusion,
and it’s a sorrowful god
who stoops to the golden arches
or the promise to eat the burgers
of kings – don’t eat the food

picture Thor on the couch
screaming at the TV for more touchdowns,
beer belly pushing the remote buttons,
Mjölnir in the garage under a neon sign

or Rama stocking chicken soup
on the graveyard shift while Shiva
rings out customers, eating donuts
under the register

or Isis and Osiris shoe shopping
at the mall, Loki hawking fake Rolexes
in Times Square, while Athena repairs tractors
outside Des Moines, Ishtar
heads a brothel in the Nevada desert,
and Hades waits
at the drive-thru window:

“You want fries with that?”

First published in Crannóg Magazine

Mike Jurkovic

Mike Jurkovic’s latest collection is mooncussers, (Luchador Press) early 2022. Recent collections include AmericanMental, (Luchador Press 2019); Blue Fan Whirring (Nirala Press, 2018) President, Calling All Poets, New Paltz, NY. Reviews appear at All About Jazz and Lightwoodpress. Hosts New Jazz Excursions WIOX 91.3 FM. He loves Emily most of all. Visit Mike on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Mike Jurkovic and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Lone Conductor

So I’m sittin’ in the office
w/the wrong pants on
(my in-laws lookin’ down)
when the conga line jumps the rails
n I’m the lone conductor.
Tacking south towards Astoria
east towards Timbuktu,
the passengers grow exponentially.
State by state. Town by town.
Street by street by street it seems
everyone would rather dance
than watch the news or another
existential romance about ice cream, Sanskrit,
and the haberdashery that ensues.

Like the Congaree River
we wind through mountain, valley,
double wide and yurt,
picking up dancers
(three shuffle steps at a time)
marching less like an army advancing
and more like a celebration
of kicks and whistles.
Laughter and drum.


I try to steer the line
back towards Hoboken
but I might as well
drop my wrong pants
for all the good
it would do.
This rhumba’s got a rhythm
no man controls, no woman directs.
Kicking high through Appalachia,
Cascades and Sierras.
At La Plata Peak
the Mississippi two-step
becomes all the rage.
Someone north of Sudan
starts a Charleston
and the groove walk
overcomes China.
Russia falls. Toes in.
Heels out. And Bavaria,
well Bavaria twists and shouts.


Blue Candle

Here in the heart
of Mea Culpa County,
the girl who helped thunder
had nothing really
to do w/the rain.

She was just a girl
standing in the shadow
of the cross,
who lit a blue candle
amid the high mountains.

Who knew love’s rhombus
proved proverb and vowel.
A girl of moon,
of infinite clouds
who had nothing at all
to do with the rain.

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