August 23-29, 1999: Don Bellinger and John Schallenkamp

Week of August 23-August 29, 1999

Don Bellinger and John Schallenkamp

Don Bellinger


My name is Don Bellinger and I live in a small trailer in the one tavern town of Prescott, Washington, which is situated right in the middle of the wheat hill country of southeastern part of the state I have no publishing history except a modest and uncluttered personal web site called Don’s Poetry Page Some of my poems are currently showcased there
I have earned two Associate degrees in Computer Technology, and am currently working on a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Technology from Eastern Washington University I am middle-aged (the middle of what I don’t know, we’ll see), unmarried and seldom frequent the town’s one tavern, The Tux But if the right tall, long-legged red head were to drift in, and offer to instruct me in the finer points of 9-Ball, well, I could learn to drink a beer or two.

The following work is Copyright © 1999, and owned by
Don Bellinger and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

The Closing of the Day

With the closing of the day she dreamed of forgetting
the moments that had outlived their usefulness
and the men who had grown too young for their girlfriends
girlfriends who married and called only on holidays

with the closing of the day she imagined kisses
that were so sweet they were beyond intoxication
tears she would gather up in a wine glass, offering up
a toast, they were hers and honestly earned

with the closing of the day she danced in the living room,
the lights low, the music cool and smooth and caressing bare
feet carrying her through long ago patterns of love-making
where hours of flesh soothed the soul and agitated the spirit

with the closing of the day she sojourned with the universe, the distant galaxies
distant lovers, distant heartbreaks, the distance that was like making the bed
in the morning, smoothing the comforter, realizing she had progressed to the center
hers alone, and not such a bad place to be, for such a far traveler.

Love in the Astrophysics Department

She pegs her future on his shy glances
Unaware that he slow dances with mathematical equations

If only she would divulge her asymmetric inequalities
And show him where to puncture the calculus of a kiss

But the gates of the cosmos do not recognize their retinal scans
Certain galactic entities chastise our couple from the cheap seats

She wipes away potato chip particles
Pretending to probe the mating rituals of anti-protons

He triple checks all of the relevant equations
Believing the delicate fuzz on her arms will align themselves into plus signs

Her soft brown eyes must be shielded from solar indiscretions
Indiscretions which leave her reeling, and enveloped within the confines of the flesh

He turns down an invitation to the astrophysics lecture and dinner dance
Mistakenly thinking he has disproved the theory of her long legs

She has no place to become excitable and spend the night
And the laws of physics are busy elsewhere

So he rummages through an old pile of Astronomy
And manages to spread out a particularly enticing centerfold

Mars and its red sands leave her theoretically sullied and potentially unfulfilled
She decides to show a certain interest in American Literature

Riding a Heat Wave

Not a cloud in sight
so hot, oxygen has a hard time
crossing the street
God, for some rain
wash away all the tears
the cleansing power

of water, she talks within herself, sitting
at the kitchen table, late in the afternoon,
drenched, “God for a gully washer!”
and someone to fix the air-conditioner,

and what if
some stranger were to pull off the highway
into this one tavern town, drive down her
street, park next to her trailer, peer into her
kitchen window, some strange women,
an identical twin perhaps, driving a brand new
Cadillac, blinking away hot tears,
in air-conditioned comfort

does water wash all the scars clean?

the twin never pulls off, drivers straight on through

a nice cold shower will have to be good enough, she
strips her drenched T-shirt, and heads down the narrow hall,
and is goosed by something just below
the surface of the shimmering sheen of heatmare Jeez, this is no good, her nipples have a mind
of their own, it’s too damned hot, a dam breaking
flood, a release, a drowning, this is no, she
can’t seem to get enough
a hard rain has got to come
pounding and cleansing and ooh so cold!

John Schallenkamp


My name is John Schallenkamp I am 21 years old I started writing when I was sixteen I have only been published a couple of times,  mainly in small anthologies and zines None of them bear mentioning here.

The following work is Copyright © 1999, and owned by John Schallenkamp and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


No warmth to be had
all slate gray snow city streets
old men make angels


I was of two
and in each one’s
several thousand people
lay dying
Only the hand
of the murderer
was different
Purely academic.

Silence, Gray Lady Down

Shades of gray crowd
these eternally November
But we go on
in earnest,



past the carwrecks
of our loves fortunate enough
to escape
On the way home,
home to Jesus
or Allah
or Elvis
or whomever
all of us suits
move on through
in Leave It To Beaver
black and white

till only the gray lady
is left there,

to feed the pigeons
Together with the
war memorial
giving permanence to
the park.

Poughkeepsie Fragment

Maybe it just
looks sadder than
it really is,

tree city, u.s.a
{yuk,yuk }
and I am officially
sick to my stomach
Sanman never showed
I’ll wait here awhile
When the shots
ring out
welfare ladies smile
Stick around
Anybody whose nobody
dies on South Cherry.

Bad Juju

The old woman
with the sourmash whisky face
chants the sun into being
“There is sunshine now”,
she whispers,
feighning no sense of accomplishment
“Be thankfull”
She laughs
And along with
my new buddy
the salamander
I feel the heat on my

and shudder

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