War for the Wednesday Night Time Slot

Gin up a war I can watch on TV.
Chinese trade skirmishes just don’t grab me.
Got all the Mickey Mouse ears I’ll ever need.
North Korean nukes, reason to fear ‘em,
But what bully would bomb a kid named Kim?
Islamists have been an old reliable.
We dare not make Syria excitable
Imams bob across the stage like bullseyes
You find at all carny shooting galleries.
Gun barrels are always slightly crooked there
So we don’t get our man- or the stuffed bear.
Amuse me Generals begging you please.
I’ll squeeze you in between karaoke
And ersatz reality on TV.



Jack Sprat got pushed off the Wall.
His fat wife couldn’t break his fall
down the rabbit hole where
all the King’s horses and men
were off fighting the Red Queen’s
Jacks of all trades.
Horner stayed in his corner
beyond the rockets’ red glare
an eye out for Kurds coming his way.
Be nimble Jack, be quick
sidestep that missile unleashed
whistling down like a candlestick.
All downhill for Jack today.
Gingerbread house is haunted.
His bread crumbs lead to nowhere
but empty cupboards while his dotty mum
tries to squeeze into her old shoe.
Storybook dreams fading away
with poisoned apple bite at core
leaving nothing of this fairy tale but the grin.



Crippled horseless kings
Richard and Roosevelt.
Crooked a deformity
that stiffens the spine
lends steel to resolve.

Motorized caroche rolls in
procession past catafalques
dragging the ruined along.
Hyde Park Roosevelt prepares
his radio address:

There is nothing to fear.
We have locked the sons
of our Fathers in the Tower
kept company only
by Fear itself.


Photography © Allison Goldin

Photography © Allison Goldin


New Hampshire After Frost

Voluble as weathered granite, these folks.
Winter woods have no smart opinion,
but are always looming on frosty nights.
Taciturn clan grips life in its own hands.
Crossroads without a walk/don’t walk command.
Demand to live free or die. So many
else immediately disqualified,
being neither free, nor having quite died.

Quiet at the diner today. Hot jacks
have no viewpoint, nothing much to say, but
just right on the tongue, after dust of snow.
I wonder, one day when less noisy, if
I will be allowed to live in this State
with plain common sense enough to collect
birch for winter’s onslaught while it is free
to burn, in some sense, with whatever sense
that remains, rather than bray that I freeze.


Lincoln Business Model

The waiter went over today’s specials:
“Chef has prepared scrumptious maple doughnuts
with a bold, sizzling tabasco ganache.
Or – spicy creamed corn with chocolate drizzle.”

“God, that’s disgusting!” I nearly shouted.
“Why can’t I just have the maple doughnuts?
Tell Chef to chocolate drizzle them, instead.”

“Sorry, no substitutions.” he demurred.

“Yes but, do you really think I will pay
to eat a doughnut with tabasco sauce,
or creamed corn, never mind what you drizzle,
sizzle, or otherwise ganache it with?”

“It’s called ‘The Lincoln Business Model’..
Making all the people sick half the time,
or half the people sick all of the time,
is quite profitable.” he informed me.

“Not for this slithergadee.” I got up.
“I’m taking my coins to the joint next door.”
“Do that.” the waiter said. “I suggest you
try the kumquat chili. It ain’t half-bad.”


Phillip Larrea is the author of We the People (Cold River Press) and Our Patch (Writing Knights Press). Since 2012, his poems have appeared in over 60 journals, anthologies and magazines in the U.S., Ireland, Canada and Asia. He is the winner of the 2013 New Frontier Prize for poetry and has been nominated twice for the 2014 Pushcart Prize.

Allison Goldin is an artist living in Cambridge. Her work is a collection of spontaneous drawings from the imagination. The most common link throughout her art are the semi-recognizable creatures scattered amongst and bringing together the surrounding doodles. She is currently studying Illustration at The School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.