Triggers on the Gardening Tool

like swords to plowshares,

we no longer use these words 

to cut. 

our wits, sharpened

to peel back


of self-harm.

onions making me tear up

without knowing why.

Amid these sandy seaside columns

I remove my hand

and with a look back

throw my lot in

as the land 

furrows behind me

the saltiness

peppering my past

losing its flavor

working this potter’s field.


Forest for the Trees

I could not tell you the amount of time 

the sun

shone on that spot

each day, hidden away

this hidey-hole

the thoughts and fears

of squirrelly ten-year-olds

whose only misgivings

are for the rain



that which we did not expect

as we speak of such sins

never knowing

the words to utter

but let the rain

just fall

Circling the Wagons

McGuffin’s got nothin’

but to propel

this darn

campfire yarn

done spun


a deserted 

ice cream party

at the Just A-OK Corral.

Thumb and finger

circling back around.

Your release

to the great halfpipe

in the sky

consequently coincides

with the remastered

Tony Hawk Pro Skater.

Games we used to


at being adults

someday, having to grow up



it languish

for twenty-some 

odd years.


circles back around.

Hanging back, you

duck out early

as was your habit.

No need to be the center of attention:

that was Bob’s job.

Puff, puff, pass.

It’ll circle back around.


to pick it back up again

where we left off



with open arms

carrying me


to sober up

in the pokey.

The missing windows

of last night’s 

bar fight,


in my beard

stragglers no more

reflected in 

the boarded up plate glass

you escaped from.

Rowdy crowd

circling around back.


and baked,

the hardpan

blazing already

at this time of day.

Feet of clay

I didn’t think

I’d have been caught

in this time-sink

drink tank


of a calamity

I’d never prepared for,

dusting off these



dry gulch parched

and perched

a vulture


for my demise

circling back around.

Circling the Wagons first appeared in Daily Drunk Mag’s “Nostalgic AF: A Video Game Anthology”

edited by Nick Olson

You can read the rest of the poems here

Or you can support the poets by buying it here


stacks of notebooks

like cordwood


off the cold

paltry fire

barely big enough

to keep my fingers warm

so i can write

and count the pages

as they flutter

into the fire.

via negativa (for us)

The admin of the poetry newsletter

posts his name

and address

in the email signature




Dave Bonta

Podunk, Penna.

An invitation

beating down his cabin door

but much gentler 

these poets

oh, they know it

they just don’t yet know 

how to learn 

at the foot

of this towering




for his presence

and the wit


what to make of it.

the muse and I

the muse and I

are having yet another

state of the union


affairs of the heart.

she has spread out before me

love letters

my chest so full of pride

the intoxicating scents 

waft, slipped into


moistened with her tongue.

no longer do we speak the same language

which threatens

an already uneasy alliance

backroom negotiations

the players

have changed

but this cold war

has never ended


kept well below freezing

pen, hovering above the page.


Like the precursor

to a best-selling

teen dystopian novel series

with half-heartedly-made

cash cow movies,

the cherry tree in our front yard

has failed to blossom

for the first time

in twenty-six years.

We do not buy 

into symbolism,

yet trees being 

the lungs of the earth

those that still stand tall at the capitol

boughs branching out


amid further political unrest

pushing back

against barricades

for certain unalienable rights

each ones’ ideas 

of freedom

under banners

such are false flags

and comes at the cost

of choking on the pollen

that is tear gas

as flowers fall


like defeat.

But home

is where the heart is 

    (no insurrection here

though unsure as to what this lack of affectation means)

while our love

written in lines of 

poetry, stories

carved into the skin




like tattoos

bleeding that sap

sticky, sweet lifeblood

still pumping 



for you, our children


chronicling the years

the orbit around the sun


around the rosie


take upon new meaning

as we hold onto life


Another Chore

I found a teakettle

at the high water mark

after years

of riversong


magic lamp

water djinn 

beaten up

broken in

boiling off


because all that mess

is still serviceable.

Three wishes

after dishes

because we still have cleaning up to do.

A Little Misunderstanding

I can’t remember

our last date

or much of the drive 

back from State College.

Also known as “Happy Valley”




times sure…were.

The house we passed on 26,

and every time 

from that day forth,

I notice the awning you pointed out

that reminds you

as it in turn reminds me

of the eucalyptus tree

and the lies that we once held:

koalas are not bears.

I also misunderstood

the visual acuity

and leaps in logic it would take

as I look past you.

Much like whatever we had,

you don’t elaborate

and it’s taken me this long

after this many drives

to realize

why it is 

you didn’t tell me

why it is

you may have thought 

I wasn’t important enough to understand.

I still don’t.

But that I understand.