We're pleased to bring you some new poems by Tom Pennacchini from New York and a new video poem from Joanna Lilley's collection 'Endlings'


Tom describes himself as "a flaneur from NYC, an actor and a scribbler of words". He has sent us the following poems. Go to our 'Reviews' page for a review of his poetry and where to access it.

Tom continues to flaneur his way around the avenues of steel and neon in the city that never sleeps, to bring us more poems that are gentle, insightful and humane. He's tapping into some memories because the pandemic has made us all think back, reflect and reconsider. 8 fabulous poems recently published by The Fictional Cafe (check them out at www.fictionalcafe.com) and 6 more we are proud to premier for you. 


It's all a bit sketchy don't you know what with the RMS and all. 

Formal education and I didn't work out but I was on my way across the country to fulfill my own peculiar


particular manifest destiny which at the time (at the time)? was a semi - conscious state of befuddled uncertainty laced with a lack of pragmatics that was nothing short of utter ineptitude. 

(Oh essential humor I laugh to myself now at the notion of then going clear across the country to maintain my standards and my continuous quest for success in failure).

We arrived at the train station and said our goodbyes. 

After you left there was a welling and a filling and at the same time a depletion of air. 

I rushed outside after a constricted couple of minutes to tell you something but you were gone.

I was consistently lacking in effort

and all done and said

pretty consistent in afraid.

I do at times wish that I had more of more

than all this less though

but the wish won't make it so

At a certain point, I guess, we got

uncomfortable around each other. 

I'm glad, though, that I said what I said before you went. 

I will add now that I am sorry I made you nervous.

As I think back right at the now of this


I was at a loss


and still am

so I'll leave it

at that. 

it can sometimes does

I am looking out the window with my classical on as I ponder the rigmaroles of existence discussing such with the most fascinating person I know.  

Every time I feel I've made a valid point or observation during my ongoing convo I like to whip off my glasses to add further emphasis while highlighting a point that's been made salient and to add further punctuating resonance landing on a note redolent of conversational flair.  For example as I gaze out I reflect to myself on the virtues of eschewing the virtual for the sake and embracement of tactility and doing the sharp clean whip on eschew.  

When I revelate that the only thing remaining is to become a saint there is a slow whipping on become. Like that.

Happenstance can work well and good sometimes.

Oh sweet exquisiteness, as I lovingly prepare an afternoon aperitif and just now at the ready of the first gentle sip (lord how I love my ceremonies!) the radio crows out "heroes" - Ah yes, aglow and a flow, I duly proceed to an illuminated bask.

The heart of the matter resides in the entire lonesomeness of the venture, and so dream, a much needed break from the prosaic, makes fantasy a much vaunted ally.

So it goes, the garden of eden and myself with menagerie of profound friendships and equipped with a fleet of canines are baying in unison at the rising moon each eve over the waters. 

I think of a bovine at dusk by the side of a country road, looming and ruminating.  Life can be so wonderful!  And indeed the cat never ceases to contribute the phenomenal and to provide blessed insight into all things seriously absurd, a well rounded tutorial in surrealist burlesque,

It welcomes and relieves one from the strangulating  confinements of love and isolation, providing a delightfully futile longing for unencumbered innocence and a bit of air.

So it goes, the gallivanting ambition is to string two good days in a row together.

But for now, synchronicity dovetails to a tee and a thickening

of well and good in the here/now of slow nothing. 



Trees (solidity presenting)

Fluttering leaves

The light kissed plants merry with the wind free and clean

The rain stream glimmering to

a speckled burst of sun

Gentle easy rolling chuckle of

The sighing creek

Uncluttered sea green

Ah read the ripple (and if you hanker success that day, smell the dirt)


The people prevarications (attendant chicanery) digitally respirating goofed on technology / hope's dilution on endless extension


The blank vista

Cloud proclamations and

Twilights gold riddled clarification

That shall permit languishing

Books and songs have been my

Life's blood

But then it is just schmo/mooks mouthing off


The perfect view point

To watch the world go

Tits up

Soak up your/ time / space /

Up to

This eventual farewell / for now /



He would come to the door ever so slow

Deep into dotage and well past prime time

I waited amid discomforts shade

Eager to collect and be on...

I liked the design of my route

All customers were conveniently located next to each except

for one lone house down the street a ways which was a drag on Sunday morning because that was the day I had to stuff all the papers and stack them in a grocery cart instead of the rest of the week's thin editions which were easily fitted into my portable sack and slung over my shoulder for an easy afternoon delivery stroll around the block (Saturday mornings I trucked out my bike and then I would treat myself to breakfast)-

Sweet Bitch Memory

/man oh man...

the frowzy chippy who blurted on

about the doings and going ons of the scotland yard

(what she meant specifically I could never ascertain)

the one who insisted I give change to the tune of a dime

on her 90 cent weekly tab

(my young self indignant at this outlandish chintz)

I henceforth always made an elaborate spectacle of fishing and searching all about myself for her "dime" whenever I collected from her (but always coughing it up eventually - I was a good kid) -

it was the year 1977 (we were there)

I had heard thru the neighborhood vine about her demise and

went up to the white house to collect

He trudged to the door and we made our transaction

both of us looking down until the close of business then

He said to me looking up "my wife died"  and I responded "I know"

He slowly lowers his head backing away just as slowly shutting the door

I do my own slow lower into the realization (vague) that happens (if you're lucky?) that a goodly bit of life consists of pain and fear -- 

so much goddam sadness ...

I stood a moment - left and was

glad to go on and get away

Lo here in the current deep up to the neck of the boo radley years

paid up in full

my bridge burner dues

losing bits piecemeal

/ it's not so vague

I have often sensed the imperative of getting away ... kinda sorta before the reality boom lowers -


and now

I didn't make it

Another Day in Armageddon

The potential is there (here)

To be Infected by

all of it

But Hey!  I'm not sick (the world is)

Yes it's so

(torture and hell resides on two legs)

Realization dawns full on and tardy

Cutting clarity sharp

Works torpor

and necessities grind slapped still 

(its bigger'n money!)

Mine is to


I never could drive proper

due to an excess in shy

Beyond me (way over)

it is

the modernage train 


Goodbye and likewise riddance 


Seize the day (your sick after all)

Books can matter deep

Computers stunt likewise

Good luck dink

My own

I will relish

The ring of brass repose

The opportunity


To call in sick to life

as you've prescribed it

Your relish of standing in line

Uniforms conforming 

I would prefer not to don the mask

(while we're at it why'd you gobble up all the cans of tuna?)

Ashes of surrender

You is yours mine's mine

Fiduciary sanctuary

Good luck in prison

The hard work of hope reaps dirt well you know (why don't you care?) everyone trying to inhale and exhale

and I can't help rubbing my eyes they hurt when I look at you

(But It's tuneful when the brook babbles)

and so


This lofty status

and this gift of repose

Splendiferous indifference

the exhilaration of chopping air

Beautiful futility


A permanent


Saturday’s Child

Given the modern malaise’s dictum that to exist is to be stuffed stuff it is reasonable to desire retreats’ entreaties

Aside  from the more obvious artificial means there can be perhaps a more elevated or at least organic avenue to meander down .  I’m hungry.

Thus I crack open some pages..

oh hell.  It’s been said  that he wasn't steeped in culture and yet his stuff is upper case all the way, encoded in delicate mists of shroud. 

This technical mumbo minutiae numbo stagnates - give me the meat that fills. 

I gasp along hoping against hope for a gut issuance.  Oh my babies cmon, crap the pome that needs the exorcise and that

resonates the empty room... Forget it.   Ah well, ‘The Joker’ comes on the airwaves and sometimes classic rock steps up.  Cat splayed royally recumbent in the corner always giving out

sound concision melodiously relates that effort is a drain/drag but shoot some days I’m a gamer so I per sue:

Fuck it fuck life fuck death fuck school fuck parents fuck families fuck friends and enemies fuck jobs (god knows) and fuck god (the people’s not the mystery - Ahh the catholic ingrained  -  I hope god’s gotta sense of humor) but Hey!  Fuck hope!

Fuck art fuck professional expertise (self-evident in this presentation) fuck fuck but not nature and not animals hey ya gotta have sentiment no? Fuck expectations fuck demands fuck pressures life goes on death goes on longer

Right fucker?


Stuffs got us by the stuff and all this speed has left life in the lurch taking it (any of it) serious is seriously discouraged

Pardon my distraction

My immersion in desolation

Tit-fer-Tat - happiness for holiness

At the current there is not much else known

Diligence comes due

The strive to surrender 

A Good Clean Break

realities routine's are a stone crusher

all of it

the jobs

the relationships

the striving

the failing

the achievements (I'm guessing)

and more begets more

all the do's of you hafeta do

you can get tired beyond exhaustion

tired of your self

your thoughts (if you are inclined to that sort of thing)

and relief is much needed

some quiet 

a long walk 


the middle of


some surcease

the compassion of a dog's eyes 

It’s the best

he was pouring at the happening and usually there is a fair amount of disdain for the enthusiasts 

who like to sidle up to sample the snacks, libations and what have you goodies.

he was a wisp of fair blond - a hippy kid.

he asked me if I would like him to crack my can of brew

I told him that this was not necessary

I looked at some stuff and listened to some other stuff

trying to maintain a bit of elbow room 

while the crowds swirled and yammered

 biding some time before refill and then I went back for another and he 

cracked this one for me and said "cheers"

I drank it down and went for a walk down the street

I did not want to appear to be too gluttonous so I gave it some minutes

when I resurfaced in the crowded room and foraged thru the groups back to my man

he smiled and said "I grabbed this one at the bottom so that its chilled and now it needs to be shotgunned".

I laughed and retorted with double thumbs up

Impressed that this cat accurately assessed my quench and provided a 

responsive and congenial atmosphere in one that can be rather unpleasant and clannish

my man had it

and I salute him for it

the damn hippy dippy 

had it


Overcoming the Unbecoming Reality

no way out

the mirror does not lie and the facts presented

are a sad drag

in my mind's eye I am a nineteen year old roustabout

a roving jack the lad

what... the .. ...

keep on delusory

aspirations an absurdity

maintain the illusory

here's to hoping that the

enveloping sunset (oh hope but you are a cur)

is a gentle one

A Celebration of the Can

I like life

(when it's AutumnWhiskeyHamburgers)

Another cancellation

(a temporary job and

temporary is no lie)

I suspect it is actually a termination

The authorities and administrators

(muckety mucks and shilly shallies)

Are not forthright

About this fact

On my end I feel

A certain... resignation

Well a fair amount of

time has passed

And so .. what?

I have a tendency to say things that the corporate wags don't seem to like

Although when this sort of

thing happens

( as it always does come down to it)

The Wag Muck Shills tend to smile at me and outright

(at this point they DO come forth with it)

Tell me they enjoy my jest and my funny..

(I surmise though that it is not

enuff to keep me on payroll)

I like my free easy leisure time the best though


And so today I have already listened to

the fugs in the morning

And later I shall go to the library and

watch the Greenwich Village story

(maybe i'll even make a pit stop in the home depot

to make pretend that I am a practical and useful sort)

((one finds one's amusements wherever/however))

(((I'll do this while

alla sucka's r at woik)))

Computers make all these diversionary

Escapades so easy ...

Even though they have utterly co-opted

our tin souls and

Reduced our lives

To mechanized rubble robotics


What to do?

If ya can't beat'em

Just walk away - grow your own weeds, forge yer own shards

Beckett said "can't go on I'll go on"

I'll just say fuck it..

Who Are You When You Listen To The Music

Snapping snare and thumping bass

Doomed specimen roiled in a yowl of sound

The Roll of the piano

In the space of in between

About as right as it gets

Just this

Just now

Organ and choral lending themselves to a

Contemplation of the verities

Resonate silence

Secret sounds

Rivers reveries

Slow and easy

Permeated and fine

Turning a phrase to pith

Mishaps advantageous


Childish or deranged

It's all in the gray mix

Played blue felt yellow

If only but then again

The siren of the whistling train

The unforeseen that breaks the cycle

The melodious twittering tweet (bird life not the technological abomination)

It's watchable It's listenable

at times digestible schlock

The chronicler say git to steppin' off your facebook and face a book

May it be a settlement

Perhaps a point of departure

A note sustained that assists you


Bearability in a routine

Comprised of a catalogue of disappointments

The remainder will be regardless it will


on our own

Outside my window

A lone leaf flutters

I tried to call my time mine what was yours like?


how bout knowing naught

A not so gentle kick in the patooty and sent on

I would prefer to need no recourse to your legal so called expertise and that goes for your medical too I repeat

I'd prefer to do without

Perhaps if you had an inkling of Nietzsche or enjoyed a repast with Schopenhauer but no

It's always no

Perhaps if you had spent some time listening to Debussy or the Saints but again nay

For you it's this monotonous focus on that one area that you have ever so diligently given all your time

and effort schooling on so that you can have the privilege and pleasure

of telling others what's what.

What about doing some leisure spending time among the hills the rocks by and by while a glittering river rolls by

What about it sir? What about it madam?

Have you lingered much? Splayed? Let the time envelope you? Before it's inevitable dispatch?

Sir? Madam?

And your listening resolutely lacks unless a colleague of yours speaks

Howsa bout perchance a listen to Lord Buckley? A languor by a Monticelli bouquet?

Remember laughter Remember humor before all this jive irony?

No sir. No madam.

Your arrogance is preposterous

I shall go to get my fill where the going is going in a matter manner befitting of ease and flow

Where the dream arrives at a (for now) full still...

A Fool and the Wise One in the House

It was the summer of love ( not theirs - Ours)

a day at the shore

and on the return

hit a diner for some

summertime grub

As we waited in line for a table

she stood out in the crowd

A stout figure, she was bespectacled

with head radiating blue and a

matriarchal aura that filled the surround.

since this was the aforementioned summer of love

I was likewise filled with that particular glorious and wondrous thing

and was also ready for food ( Always)

I felt good!

her presence galvanized and since I hew to a stock in trade of silly I seized the opportunity for a moment of tasteful yet unbridled foolishness

- the jester was present and her matronly monumentality was a call to cavort in the court!

I stood outside her periphery and began posturing, mimicking and doing antic pantomime

steadfast blithe and patient she was

for some time


with not even a glance in my direction she looked directly

at the direct source

of my summer joyous

and said "I know what he's doing, I have 6 boys. They never grow up".

ah ... the BA Dum Bump!

Asininity effectively routed by this

( GRAND) ma - maestro of the matriarch!

She was minted with salty earth

and all clowning aside

I seriously wish

there were more

of her

but now and here, in the present autumnal and approaching wintry twilight of our Ours

and all clowning aside

I am surely

and most seriously


that I came across





my love

A Bay Wolf in the Apartment of Eagles

Come the dawning

Regardless of mood

I like

To take some moments





in the morn light of my room



vibe and shimmy

I do the spasmodic

To the


Amusing me self

And digging

The reflection of my Moves as


in the Van Gogh prints

On my walls

Oh yeah

I Got It

A RocknRoll kid


Get to Gone

It's my




Regardless of mood

This is my private morning

Clarion Call

and my

Free Flying

Fuck It All

sense of reprieve

yes madness no

i cannot -


for all the talk talk ...

nor see

for the smile displays a horror


odoriferous stench

of the inevitable inimical political scientifical

is a rough toughie

I refuse the obligation when the


rankles to a treacle so

keep talking -

while I


a leaf

to feel my life

An Elliptical Labyrinth (Ob La Di)

The morning light has broken

Upon the wall


I watch it sharpen

While sipping coffee

It broadens


The walls entirety

Into a full gleaming twinkle

I sip

Feeling the vibration


in the concrete hades

Such loveliness


A step outside into the new morn

is immediately met by the old

hub and bub of an air full of cellular contraption babble imbued with the shrill and inconsequential

Cars whizz by handled by louts with a preposterously overblown sense of themselves inhabited by a conjoinment

of emaciated sense of decorum and bloated commitment to stupidity and who sadly feel that to drive is to lean on the horn.

I step on in swift anticipation of my park sanctuary a few blocks due west.

On arrival there is one of the elevated finely sculpted steel receptacles housing potted bouquet bushes that are currently filled with petals of yellow

that ring wrought iron around the fountain.

I am duly summoned to my morning ablution which consists of a face full of plunge into its thicket and

a deep inhalation of glorious morning proper sustenance.

This day tho I had to approach with some trepidation as there was a squirrel on one side of the structure that had its own ritual to tend to - knowing their propensity for brazenness I approached with caution and

making sure there was a suitable bit of distance I take my ceremonial dip.

When I raised my head from the sweet intoxication the squirrel does so simultaneously and the critters face was a bearded coat of fresh soil

right then staring direct- a sod pasted kisser - the air crackles with a flash of frivolous whilst enhancing and abetting a most enjoyable slow exhalation.

My dear friend you have provided a most blessed respite from the hum and drum and

so many many thanks for this divine bit of illuminating simplicity in action and clarification of levity’s mandate.

Good morning

kid hope

The children are being led like cattle across the grounds. They have yellow life jackets on and are holding on to rings around a rope.

They are surrounded by grownups (a funny word). The children chirrup and look blankly around while being led around.

I go back to my reverie and when I look back one of them has somehow shed the yellow life jacket. Another grownup points this out in passing to one

of the minders (another funny) who scuttles back to get it while clamping on to one of the little ones. Elsewhere on the grounds are

a number of people taking pictures of themselves (not funny). The one who broke out of the uniform looks blithely on. I stir slightly with a glimmer for this ones prospects.

Little ones it is a good life innit bouncing between a nap and a frolic to a meal and back.

But before you know it they get ya roped and tethered. You have provided Inspiration just now. Luck and Hold. Don't let the multiple kisses of institutional mort consume you -

family-school-career-obligations-upkeep more-repeat... Throw that yoke off!... you are gifted golden just now child ... just now

Ahhh if only it can remain eternally unvarnished...

if only...

Ah hang in there--

Thanks for the lift kid

Put In Place Out of Place

I have been shut down occasionally vis a vis my mutterances on the street corner and while attempting movement on the frenetic city sidewalks

I like to do it in order to sort of clear a path and in order

to facilitate and free up navigation-

at times I'll say "I gotta do a little bit a that swivel and swerve" - or as I zig and zag out a maneuver - " just the slip n slide" whilst moving and weaving thru the throngs

Other times I'll emit a bit of a shriek


Announce constructive critiques regarding their aptitude for city walking like

"Another dolt - doing the diagonal "! - admonishing the herd - "I am begging for mercy "! "good heavens - cease and disperse the cluster "!

Their compass clearly needing alignment (my god do they drive like this?) -

Must make sure that shit is correct! I am trying to move freely goddamnit!

"I gotta circumnavigate stone agony"! ... "Becomes imperative "!!

Perhaps I'll be clogged by a stroller

"Nightmare in perpetuity "!

A Yammerer on the phone AND a stroller-

"You know they're out to torture"!!

Then there are the odd times in which I need to be schooled -

One time I was loudly griping about a construction obstruction (it is all over and everywhere) and a yob kinda bloke said " its NY - Stop complaining"...

I readily complied

Another time I was wading through a crowd announcing "I know my babies ain't shy" whereof a charming lass turned to me and demurred "How do you know I'm not shy?"

I fluttered - gurgled some kind of Non-sequiter before feathering and loping off.

Well perhaps I'm not a confrontational sort but there you have it

just trying...trying to move along.

A Proper {Cost} Effective Treatment Plan

in a world


Topsy Turvey

and that's going at it


it is a good thing to have

Some assistance in



Bone to Back


Like classical radio QXR


The library

Thanks you guys

What a Resource


It is fine and good to have this glimmer

Sitting up and rubbing my eyes

In the park

Under this splendid tree

A nap and a gentle reminder

That grace is everywhere

and that grace is free

The Real Deal

a mite filled

scruffy orange tabby He was

he damn near put my eye out

as a kitten when I burrowed into his fuzz of warmth and he met me with a stiff jab (I do believe it was unintentional)

When it was feeding time I would yell "got something for the kitty !" and he would yelp

and leap out of whatever crevice he was sequestered in

and join me for happy hour. Whenever I got the music revved I would crow "Cmon my boy !" and he would

meet the crow with a howl of reciprocity and get up on his hinds brushing his head on my leg

in a whirl/whoop of ecstatic rocknroll delirium

He endured many frequent flier miles as I would send him airborne - he would always land on the bed

with an impressive scrambling aplomb

Man he had style

In a world where it seems like everyone is seemingly doing everything (humanly/technologically) possible

to stave off aloneness - wherever he was - He simply Was

and seemed to be saying I'm just where I want to be/

right here/now/this is it

like I said ... style

Then there were the easy or more sedate times of serenity in toto with reading and buzzing

creating a room of resonate harmony

I miss that little fucker big time

His sanguinary grace and innate ease were nonpareil - I learned from him more than from most

friends like that are rare - they are damn hard to find

he was a true abiding friend

He truly Was

Textural Wanderer

There is a dignity to the Saunter

That the motor vehicle operator cannot approach

I have enjoyed Sojourning


Today's Ramble is a day more for Ambling

Yesterday I believe

I was

Free Floating with a


Of Meander

Tomorrow may be a

Simple Straggle

We'll see when [if]

The time comes

How and in what form the Jaunt commences

If one is fortunately able

To possess the fine motor skill

of placing

one foot in front of other

The gift

of the Nature

of the days Walk about

reveals Itself



I have somewhat shifted gears


I sashay across the busy Herald Square intersection

A cretin honks me

I slowly and with a flair for panache

Flip my hand




Perambulation brings me across

   The street

I send {cavalierly}

And with a

rather imperial flourish

of a


   The unfortunate dullard


And Proceed

On my Roving way



Take your car,

your scooter

your LOL

and jammit onna stickit man

I shall take








Way of ..





crazy meet-up and racial harmony ensues

A person of considerable lassitude who likes to wile time productively away

can do no better than the NYPL.

It is a true haven and sanctuary

that contains some of the best living theater around

as well as its other multidisciplinary features

and benefits which provide

the sustenance and nourishment

that my dedicated loaf ethic craves.

As for fellow inhabitants

You do develop a sort of internal nut alert

that senses the overtly wacked at a flickering glance.

This particular scenario

insinuatingly unfolded

as follows:

A younger ebony in fatigues

with ruinous gapped jack o lantern choppers chattering jabbewocky.

A somewhat frantic pacing to and fro.

features contorted into a twisted twitch grimace. Clutching a water bottle.

then stopping by the printer drooling amidst a sniggering cackle.

An older ivory in full hippie regalia

consisting of vest, top hat, granny specs

and large key chain set dangling from large belt and dockers -

trippy and something right out of wavy gravy psychedelia -

Quite bemused,



and gently nodding slightly

with a benign understanding air


with seeming approval

perhaps even cheering ebony's crazy on


ebony stalked about in frothing gibberish

and then

Ivory staring with glazed half smile

whilst ebony in the midst of a blink and a jabber-

Ivory catching ebony's eye

gave a short wave

to which ebony

granted a thumbs up

before going off again

Ivory ever so slowly

ethereal unto himself turned to the shelves

while muttering in a holy like fog and then genuflecting

an acknowledgment [?]

a tacit agreement of sorts [?]


I decide to instill some freight into this rapprochement.

Do they sense something in the tempo of the other?

Ebony's antic dementia - Ivory's placid insanity

Outside of racial lines their addled states

also seemed to contain a yin/yang polarity


their mutual lunacies were bound with taoist/confucianist over/undertones

this subtle form of something/nothing between them

As their wave lengths of warped

orbit around and about

before departing back to

their own inter/outer galactic

zones of particular peculiar

made for yet


undeniably rich experience


the incomparable NYPL.

The joint really is a summer fest all year round

Perplexity in Perpetuity

A particularly mild spring like

February day impelled me to go over

to confront the rivers gently undulating charms.

It's early afternoon and I sit to go with the river flow.

It's rolling blue and green

with the dappled sunlight dancing across.

I remember a similar February day long ago

when my ex and I took our Hibachi

up to Eagle Rock and fired up some picnic eats.

Looking down from the summit.

Hot Dogs and Hamburgers on a warm winter day.

It felt good.

So does this (but I'm hungry).

And later on tonight 'I Vitelloni' is being aired.

Ah. That ending. What an ending.

I sit with the water. And I wonder.





What can I do but weep.

Then look forward to food.

That's All Folks

Perhaps there really is


To be said at this point


Perhaps a gestural shrugging

Hands outstretched palms up

Head tilted In either direction

    (to emphasize confounded)

Perhaps an additional utterance of

    "Excuse all Horrors"

then a plea for a mist

    of merciful silence

Gone on Automatic and Ride the Surface

I find that the fine art of communique

is in some significant straits

Well was it ever not weird to be alive?

But here in the 21st...


THIS is ridiculous

I'll layer in some specifics

I recently had a conversation with a fella I have known for some time

At various temporary jobs

Well it is summertime

and a heat wave has been on

And he asked me if I had an a/c

I sort of look forward to this annual exchange because you know the weather is a

steady and reliable topic and the guy

Asks me this every year (I always tell him that I do but always withhold the fact that I am too thrifty to use it). I mean setting aside the possibility

that I'm not particularly memorable

(I submit this option with some reluctance)

I'm going to go forward with a pooh on that theory

I mean I know that he does (have one)

and I

also know he gets pest control service occasionally

Well I mean I have these conversations and it seems that life information is consistently being asked and repeated


Lack of a simple listen


Consistent overlap of talk all a tangled


Evident preference of tongue over ear

I have known some of these people

for years and they are more than colleagues (a few anyway). but less than friends


it isn't an age thing

its presence has crossover


Repetitive exchange


Telling the same stories

There is minimal recollection and its perchance due to a

liberal scattering of informational seeds all about and anon (but the roots don't wanna dig or hang) and also

a minimizing of any genuine specificity in regards to a more

resonant connectivity with fellow beings whilst we

while our time away on the planet

        I dunno

History has given us many ideas over its due course but

I got nothing

Well I mean Henry David already suggested simplifying

(christ he probably said it ad nauseum)

        I'm just

Wondering what the hell happened

All that that implies (or Nothing)

The soothe of the train ride is riffled by a

variety of violative factors

Flash of green rolls by yet I am being mashed

by the thick set creature beside me who is on the natch

babbling the good buddy inane on/in

the cell/plague instrument of torture.

Meanwhile a business person (human)? directly behind discusses daily dealings and frenzied negotiations in an unnecessarily high volume tone

whilst swarming families tumble by in likewise fashion ...

These activities are ceaseless with

nary a pause for the sweetness of silence

nor for the simple stillness of life's ease and oxygen

It beggars to ask.... What is this?? Just .... what is ... this.... Lunacy Unleashed!!!

Delicacy has gone the way of the Dodo &

the sum total of these myriad abrasions, to use a bit of yesteryear parlance is

"harshing my mellow ".

I wonder if it wouldn't be nice if the rippling currents of the passing long island sound rose and swallowed these bargain basement beings wholesale (a grand sweeping flush)

I sit thru it and attempt endurance -

(resilience seems to be such a mandate)

but really

how do they endure putting those uniforms on every day/ why do they /not hear/themselves/


it may be time to get some distance from the Northeast - also beggaring the why is there such a premium on breeding when the overriding qualitative results are as such.

I feel duly necessitated to git away

but already spend most time with myself and at times find that to gruel as well.

What can the plan possibly be -Some humps tryta figgerit - most prolly do not .. so .. what?





beings ?

They identify as human but seemingly lack the wherewithal of humane.


shit. breathe. repeat. until. full. stop

A Slipping Glimpse

man I was slight of stature but big in mouth - a wee one

of maybe six and hanging with some bigger neighbor

boys in their kitchen enjoying a repast of

devil dogs.. something was said and

I put in what I thought was an astute observation which

the oldest boy took with considerable abrupt umbrage - time was slow but we

were fast! - there was some bobbing

and weaving around the table..

I hurled myself out the front door and

hurtled down and around the corner

I did not get far before the back of my shirt was

clenched and I received a quick flurry of sharp shots to the head

and for the piece de resistance a mother of a charley horse that had me

writhing and crying on the ground (there was quite the contusion for some days after)

I got up and hobbled after them choking that I was gonna tell my father and

emphasized with a heaving wrack

that he was going to punch them (unfortunately I may have squeaked on "punch")

they laughed and my brutalizer said "your old man don't even live with you"

we walked back around the corner

them laughing me crying

I don't even remember what I said (ahhh words..-- whatcanya say?) that sparked the savagery

just the chase and punishment


the notion occurred and most assuredly reiterates down the long line

that social settings can be rather fraught with tetch

it's the best

he was pouring at the happening and usually there is a fair amount of disdain for the enthusiasts

who like to sidle up to sample the snacks, libations and what have you goodies.

he was a wisp of fair blond - a hippy kid.

he asked me if I would like him to crack my can of brew

I told him that this was not necessary

I looked at some stuff and listened to some other stuff

trying to maintain a bit of elbow room

while the crowds swirled and yammered

biding some time before refill and then I went back for another and he

cracked this one for me and said "cheers"

I drank it down and went for a walk down the street

I did not want to appear to be too gluttonous so I gave it some minutes

when I resurfaced in the crowded room and foraged thru the groups back to my man

he smiled and said "I grabbed this one at the bottom so that its chilled and now it needs to be shotgunned".

I laughed and retorted with double thumbs up

Impressed that this cat accurately assessed my quench and provided a

responsive and congenial atmosphere in one that can be rather unpleasant and clannish

my man had it

and I salute him for it

the damn hippy dippy

had it


©Copyright Tom Pennacchini

All Rights Reserved

Portsmouth Poetry is proud to publish the work of Tom Pennacchini. Publication on an open, non-profit website does not allow free use or reproduction. These poems are his exclusive property and if you wish to use or reproduce any of the poems you must obtain his permission.  We would be happy to direct any enquiries to Tom.

Joanna Lilley from her 2020 'Endlings'

"Endlings" by Joanna Lilley was one of the poetry highspots of 2020 and we are proud to be associated with this magnificent collection of poems which highlight the devastating impact we have had on the creatures of the world. Jo's publishers, Turnstone Press have now released a video of one of the poems 'Nothing Can Be Done'

You can see it on You Tube at -


Teaching English at Friendship House

Although he came from the mountains

(this much I learnt)

he didn't understand my words for snow

I fluttered my fingers

in front of him

but he only saw the wings of birds.

I led him to the window

wrapped myself in my arms

at the shivering sky but he only stared.

It was slow and involved

the elimination

of sun, wind and rain but we got there.

Sometimes I think of him

back at the border

I imagine his mountains their fingers of shadow

the stutter of gunfire

the quietness of snow

Copyright Maggie Sawkins

December 2019

This poem is by local poet Maggie Sawkins, winner of 2013 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry.

She is the founder of Tongues & Grooves in the Community and runs creative writing projects in and around Portsmouth.

The poem from Maggie's collection "The Zig Zag Woman" published by Two Ravens Press investigates the complexity of language and outlines the loss and pity of forced exile

©All Rights Reserved

This poem is the property of Maggie Sawkins who has given us permission to publish it. If you wish to use or reproduce the poem you must seek her permission. We would be happy to direct any enquiries to her