Posts for June 10, 2018



I was looking at show listings
for my summer in Vermont
and thought, wow, you’d love Vermont,
it’s like The Dave Matthews Band
plays every other day.

I hate The Dave Matthews Band
so much. 

I remember when you told me
you liked The Dave Matthews Band
all those years ago. You even used one of those
fandom terms, like Deadhead or Juggalo,
but for you
and the goddamn Dave Matthews Band.
You looked at me like I was supposed to
laugh and say, oh, well I do like that one song,
or something similar. I felt the reply, insipid
on my tongue, gurgling up like an old burp.
I remember feeling gross, like that time in middle school
a really weird guy from academic team
gave me a giant stained valentines gorilla
on a random Tuesday
and I had to carry it around, splotchy and
smelling like cigarettes 
all day.

You laughed and were self-depreciating.
Yeah, the thing is, 
and I will freely admit, Dave fans
are kind of douchey. I surprised myself, as
much as I wanted to sleep with you, saying flatly:
No, the thing really is, everything 
about that band
is tasteless, bland, and
terrible. You looked
sad and surprised and something else —
not positive or negative or even neutral —
but something flinty and personal
I can’t quite put my finger on
even seven years later.

Looking through the concert listings, it 
occurs to me, simple and obvious;
I like you so much these days
I would probably go with you to see
The Dave Matthews Band, if the opportunity 
arose. I would even enjoy myself
being with you
enjoying yourself. I would still, if pressed,
admit I found them abhorrent,
but would you ever press me so, these days?
Don’t we know better by now?

There is no longer any presumption
that we need to have the same tastes
in order to have a taste 
for each other. You are a whole thing,
reacting to each and every thing with nothing
but yourself to guide you.
You experience this thing, you feel happy
and good. How could I blame you?
If you were The Dave Matthews Band, I guess
I would just have to learn 
how to accept myself and my 
objectively terrible taste.
That’s just how these things go.



i dream
of walking this long winding path
into the mountains.

moss and mildew
under foot, 
roots tucked and twisted
around stone 
and earth
and me.

i pass by trees,
withered and new,
eyes peering out,
limbs pointing

years ago
when my hair was white blonde
and my feet soft,
untouched by time,
by miles walked and run,
by distance,
my grandfather walked this trail with me.

but now the thin dirt trail
carves a different shape into the ground,
one i can not remember
and my grandfather will never know.

when i reach the summit,
past all life and lumber,
i stand on the sturdy rock
which reaches down 
into the soul of the earth.

and i breathe deeply,
for it is just me,
out on the edge,
and nothing left unsaid.

Susan M. Stephens

small town god calls

small town god
requires you
to call


haiku 10

Cleaning out the box
Piling up into routines
but just keep moving


At Tolly-Ho, June 2018

Wearing a green and black
pixie cut, she opens the door,
greets us at the campus greasy
spoon, seems genuinely cheery,
happy to see a young married
couple on a Friday afternoon.
We eat burgers, dip cheesy tots
in house-made hot sauce but
before we leave, she paces
to the window beside our table,
adjusts the rectangular, hanging
planter that had been rocking
diagonally so it’s now horizontal,
flush with the sill. I sit still, pay
attention to her attention to detail,
an unremarkable task undertaken
with such care, lambency, this
graceful chore I happened to see.


meadow’s lark

cool break of
morning. the
meadow stirs

and its eyes
have all the
stalking…. there

a fallow,
warm deer snorts-
fog rising.


True Light 

True Light 



The thunder storm cleared the air

and Robert made a fresh pot of coffee,

sterling, strong and pleasurable—

the storm, Robert’s smile, the coffee.

Such cameos light my eyes. 




Melva Sue Priddy


Love’s Taxicab Blues or who’s there? No joke

is where I want to be.
not that place
on the block
east loudon
up the steps
to the left
where i hang
my keys
on that nail.
in the wall
to the right
when you
first walk in.
i’m looking for
that place
where doves cry over 
the skullduggery of love/rs
who fight
the desire
to run.
stare at me
and I will tell
you. i’m partial too.
mouths with tongues
that know all the passwords 
and aren’t afraid
to say shibboleth
when thirsty eardrums
need salvation
or a sip of water to swallow
instead of
standing behind doors
with no locks 
that cannot be 
knocked on.


Working Girl’s Blues

I sway,
shoot my eyes
skyward, above
a sweaty throng packed
tight as salted fish.  

Another evening spent navigating
this pole or that, hands wrapped
around slick silver cool.  

The track thumps steady and
I am sturdy on legs spread
just so, and my mind lists –
avocado, almonds,
tortillas, toothpaste,
toilet paper, tampons –
until a curve throws
my balance.
I shift my hip,
shake it off,
return to the rhythm.  

Finally the smooth speaker voice tells
me it’s time
to get off:  

Thank you for riding
Chicago Transit. Next stop,
Ravenswood. Watch your step.  

I slip through sliding doors,
lose myself in the surging crowd,
begin the long walk home.



An addict views
and addict’s losses
as just another price of entry
to the game of death.