An Idea Gone Wrong by Ron Olsen


An Idea Gone Wrong
by Ron Olsen

The green demon moves round and round
Nothing behind it
Just an idea
A medium of exchange
Separating the haves from the have-nots
Moving up and down
Mostly up
Transferred electronically
A whisper in the night

Impressions on a bitstream
X’s and O’s
The transfer of an idea
The impression of wealth changing hands
Happening so fast
You can’t see it coming
Or going
And when it runs out
There is credit
And when the credit runs out
We are done
And there is nothing
From an agreement that cash had value
When in fact, it had none at all
The only value was us
Our faith in one another
Not in Marx or Lenin or Keynesian flow
Or Neocon austerity
The simple truth was our trust
We were the value
The healing heart
Giving power to money
Only when we abandoned faith in ourselves
And the demon came back
An idea gone wrong

The Victory Lap

Close game

Last second shot.

The losing team sits dejected on the bench.

The winners circle them,

poking fingers in their faces.


The winning crowd cheers,

taunts the losing crowd in the parking lot.


The losing team sits among

chants and laughing faces

poking into their space.

“We badass, you bad!

“We badass, you bad!

“We badass, you bad!


The losing team is

kicked and beaten


Their coach





Holly Day | Five Poems


Sometimes the letter is so good, you want to publish it too, so we will:

Dear Poetry Editor, Motherbird:

Somehow, it’s January, and only this past week have I had to worry about putting a real coat on to go outside, and haven’t even bothered replacing my regular canvas shoes for boots. For most of the winter, any snowfall has melted on impact or within hours, and for the first time ever, my neighbors have had no trouble keeping their sidewalks cleared of ice. I even heard an Eastern meadowlark somewhere up in the trees this morning, its voice standing out stark against the regular winter cackle of crows as if it, too, was confused, and needed to tell someone about it.

Thank you for reading my poems,

Holly Day


When I was 13, my mom was best friends with a professional photographer
who grew pot in her back yard. She also had a daughter my age,
who went to the same junior high as I did, and partly because my mom
wanted to be on the good side of her new dealer, partly because
she was worried that I didn’t have many friends, she really pushed
a friendship between me and this new girl.

Diana was okay. We did have fun together. But she was upset
that I wouldn’t wear makeup, that I wore jeans and t-shirts
to school instead of dresses and high heels, and especially
since I didn’t care that I was a fashion casualty. She’d invite me over
to her house after school and spend hours and hours giving me
makeovers, then totally flip out when I’d show up at her door the next day
for school, wearing my hair and face the same way
I always did. She told people at school she was only my friend
because she felt sorry for me, which I got to hear second-hand
from the boy sitting behind me in English.

Sometimes I’d get pissed off at her for saying shit
behind my back, and I’d take off for home after school
without waiting for her at our usual meeting spot, and she’d
come running down the street after me, shouting my name,
begging me to stop and wait for her. When school
wasn’t in session, we were pretty good friends.
When we were at school, she barely spoke to me.

Milk Cartons

Those little pictures on milk cartons always seem so
ineffectual and insubstantial to me, as though
I have the only milk carton with that face on it
and I myself am entrusted with finding the face in my refrigerator

attached to a living being, perhaps hiding somewhere in my house
as if there aren’t thousands of other houses with the same picture
on their own milk cartons. It seems

that something as tragic and grave as that of a missing child
would warrant his or her face carved in Olmec proportions
in giant blocks of butter or cheese, or stretched out over the frames
of automobiles, plastered on the sides of city buses,
skywritten in intricate detail by cropdusting planes

milk cartons just seem too small to carry
the weight of something so important.

Whispered Into Your Ear

If my skin was flayed from my body, and only
Red, wet muscle held my bones together, would you
Still want to take me in your arms, hold me close, swallow your
Revulsion at my ragged state? And if

This thing inside me can’t be killed, and instead
Wastes me into a picked-over shell, will you
Still tell me I’m beautiful when I’m in your arms, as you
Brush the clumps, the dry knots, out of my thinning hair?

Will you still love me when I’m less than
Skin and bones, a faded memory, a pile of photographs
Rubber-banded together in a shoebox hidden
Under our bed? Or will you painstakingly count off the days that must pass

Before the people around us allow you to forget?

Lunch Break

I can only imagine why he takes so long
To return from the bathroom every day at lunch, picture
Him straddling the toilet, left arm stretched out in supplication to some
Drug god like I’ve seen on television, needle
Dangling precariously from the vein it’s rooted in
His eyes rolled back in his head in delirious orgasm

Or maybe it’s some official religious thing, not a heroin-based religion at all
He’s kneeling before the stand of urinals, facing some static
Compass point, dragging an ancient stone blade over his body
Tattooing new lines across his stomach
Piercing his tongue and ears with a practiced hand
That draws little blood. For all I know
He could be covered in chicken excrement from noon to twelve-fifteen
Every day, using his cigarette break to entreat his homeland gods.

All I know is that I will not continue to use my own lunch break
To answer his phone line, will not take orders from warehouse men
Redirected by the note on his door to ask for my help instead.
From now on, I am in an official state of meditation when his desk is empty.
I am sleepwalking, and am not to be disturbed.

The Things that Come Back When You Finally Have Time

After she was moved to the nursing home, my grandmother
began having reoccurring nightmares of being chased,
held down, raped, again and again. The night nurses had to keep
changing her medications so that she could sleep through the night
quietly, without dreams

so she wouldn’t wake up the other residents. “Your grandmother’s
had a hard life,” said her social worker when we came to visit.
“She’s a strong woman.” She went on to tell us
that years before, before my mother was even born, that my grandmother
had been attacked by a neighbor, that there had been this huge
controversy regarding whether my grandmother was a slut
just asking for it, and had been leading the much-older man living next door
since she was thirteen, fourteen

or if the man, an upstanding member of the community, who ran
the only grocery store in town, really was some sort of monster
some leering thing that hurt little girls. In the end, my great-grandparents
dropped the charges against their neighbor to keep things quiet, put up
a 7-foot-tall wooden fence between the properties, just tall enough
that they couldn’t see the man as he went about his yard
that he couldn’t look over the fence into theirs. My grandmother

went away to work on the family farm in Wisconsin, attended the tiny
Catholic school attached to the neighboring parish
and when she came back, after high school,
the incident was never discussed again.

Sixty years later, she’s having nightmares about being attacked
telling strangers about the rape we never knew about, so doped up
she doesn’t recognize her own children, her grandchildren. “She can’t
do without the medication right now,” says the social worker
when we express concern about her rapid decline, the way
she falls asleep in her chair when we visit as though exhausted, how sad she looks.
“All we can do is hope the dreams go away
once she feels at home here.”

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minnesota, since 2000. Her published books include Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar All-in-One for Dummies, Piano All-in-One for Dummies, Walking Twin Cities, Insider’s Guide to the Twin Cities, Nordeast Minneapolis: A History, and The Book Of, while her poetry has recently appeared in Oyez Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle. Her newest poetry book, Ugly Girl, just came out from Shoe Music Press.

JD DeHart | Three Poems

jd dehart

To Lay a Blame

to lay a blame
is simple, is easy,
is as simply as picking
up a light word, laying
it down thickly,
squarely on someone else

now taking blame
is another matter, feels
weighty, an Atlas feat,
but shuffling blame
is a simple process, barely
lifting a finger, better to
do the heavy lifting.


my story is connected
to your story
we are the threads
that spell the word human

where I was may be
where you are
will be, where you will be
is tied back, like a branch,
to where I sit today

where I wait
is where we meet
our roots intertwining
below the surface.


He was a giant
though small
a warrior, though
seemingly peaceful
because he had
the simple courage
to speak a word
and then keep it.

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. His chapbook, The Truth About Snails, is available from Red Dashboard.

Natalie Crick | Eight Poems

Natalie Crick has found delight in writing all of her life and first began writing when she was a very young girl. Her poetry is influenced by melancholic confessional Women’s poetry. Her poetry has been published in a range of journals and magazines including Cannons Mouth, Cyphers, Ariadne’s Thread, Carillon and National Poetry Anthology 2013.


Dear Sister

It is Winter here.
Snow has fallen.
“I am afraid”, said the moon.
She is beautiful tonight.

Now it is darker than December.
What is dead is a different colour.
My dead sister is neither a man nor a woman.
She is a ghost.

We do not speak of her
I turn away from mirrors
When I see her reflection.

The dead can no longer see
I no longer care.
O Lord of darkness,
I want my innocence.

Night’s End

Snow had fallen, I remember,
At the night’s end.
Do you hear his voice?
I am never alone.

And at the end?
I do not live.
It is forbidden to die.
The winds are changing.

Our dead brother waited
But very dark, very hidden,
As the earth became black.

The field was parched and dry,
Filled with death already.
You walk through it.
You see nothing.



God, He Is In The Air

God, he is in the air,
Rushing through the wind and
Over the hills.
Coming at her in waves at the seashore.

Grey gusts
Colour her cheeks crimson
As a bandstand balloon.
She doesn’t know why.

Polka dot flags
Hang in the air
For Madeline to stuff into her pinafore
In handfuls.

Mother and Father
Stand like sheep
In a snowstorm.
Turned into each other.


Out There, On The Hill Somewhere

The grey skies are
A strange chill
Rushed across the moors
Spreading panic.
It is her, she is trying to tell us.

She is out there,
On the hill somewhere
Left all alone in the cold and dark.
I imagine it and rock.
Coming in the middle of the night.

Wanting to remember
Made her try to die
All night long.
Longing to bleed it out.
Crying for yesterday
With eyes like black holes.

A mirror breaks.
Something is not right.
I swear
I saw her standing there.
Bells tinkled in the wind
And I gaze all around and up to heaven.

Drowning in emptiness
In the thick, still air.
My darling, she is voiceless now.
I dream and dream

Of asking she:
“Are you the Queen of Death?”

Each day we drift into nowhere.
Life will end at the end.




The snowfield
Is still and quiet
In slumber.
Frosted blue in grief.

Remembering your eyes
Is what hurts the most.
Your eyes, your lips, your hair
Falling into a black amnesia.

I breathe in your air.
One kiss to thaw your bones.
You are frozen dead beneath the ground.
Now there is no sound.

Your little voice
Whispers in the dust
With white hair
Like Granddad.

The sky rolls
In depression.
And I am screaming your name
In the dark.

No one believes
That you are there.
You are following me around

To tell me I am
Not alone.
When another day
Is done.

An angel is crying in heaven.
How far away
Is that star in the sky.
Goodbye, Goodbye.



Secret Life of Life

I am a child
Thrust open and disregarded,
Trashing through corridors unchained.
The sound poured into me then,
Like birdsong,
Sweet and softly tapping
At my heels.

Short bursts
Of stigma
Are attached to this threshold.
I wandered out, caught
Between the lines of cars.
Such activity frightened me
So I died with leaves.




Journey Into Afterlife

I wanted to go
Like “this is a last chance”.
To see you at nightfall
And see my shining star.
Brown rain streaks down my face.

And we
Stir passed stooped cottages
Of witchery.
What are you doing in there?
I feel drugged.

A dull throb above
My left eye.
I wish I could hold
Your hand,
Pressing your nails

Into your palm.
I wish
I could meet you
And find out
And drown in thick filth.




No Surprise

There was no rain
Through the sky sagged and slumped,
An old coat cradling the lane,
Wearing thin with empty pockets.

You are inclined to believe the latter; luminous purple, ashen green.
And you are wrong because I remember that part
But, I forget where we were. Does it matter?
For poignancy is often personified when we are lost.

We swallowed the road with great swooping gulps,
Bounding with confidence, as very small cars often do.
The moon ran with us, I noticed,
Which was thoughtful, because we were all alone.

The forest mob loomed up on the left,
Hurling hostile tremors from her core.
We bravely edged onward
Though our faceless friends were engulfed in her silent roar.

We tore through the black
And he followed.
In a soundless haze, the hooves vaulted upward,
Clearing us with space to spare.

GOD TOO DOZES | Poem by R.K. Singh

God Dozes Poem


It was too late

I realized

long after his passing

I still prayed for my father

God didn’t answer

my prayers had become mechanical

like sex

ejaculation without orgasm

and pilled sleep.

The itch prevails.

The tags in the mind

don’t respond


absent memories

confused faith:


faster than remembering

in moments of lapse

God too dozes


When We Win Poem

Dove of Peace- Pablo Picasso

every child is armed
with an automatic weapon
in America,
is that when we win?
What do we win?
A cry for peace is just a cry
a dove is just a dove
I cry for peace

Meditation | Poem by Julia Hones

Meditation Poem 2


The sun falls on my back
like a blanket.
Nothing emerges from it
to anchor the sunshine,
yet the heart is pure,
the mind clear.

The brooding on noises
will not muster the art of molding wings,
so the stillness reverberates,
nests inner voices of hope,
resets the eyes.

Amid the outside messages
and meaningless tracks
no direction arises
from the depths of despair;
there is no reason to grow flowers in a barren land.

Yet we belong to the glittering river
that never ceases to flow.

© Julia Hones 2015

Poems and short stories by Julia Hones have appeared in a vast array of literary journals and anthologies including Gadfly Online, Vox Poetica, The Artistic Muse, The Greensilk Journal, Black Mirror Magazine, Loud Zoo, The Medical Literary Messenger and many others.

Visit Julia’s blog to read more

Meditation Poem 2

Meditation Poem

DollBaby, Population of One and Discovery | Poems by J. “Ash” Gamble

She’s a beauty and full
of simplicity
and I want her to remain
like the bleach white snow
I want her to keep the peace
that she hides so well
from the dirty ravages of this
Population of One
I’d be a population
of one
if I could and stay here
in this forest of self,
looking back
looking at me
stretching to meet
a fresh dawn.
I made a discovery of a lake
no one else could see.
I tried to point it out to them
but they looked at me
as if I were crazy.  I took a dip
and never came back.

Daddy Why, A poem by Summer Breeze

Impasto Landscape Oil Painting

daddy why
is it death on the one hand
causes such grief in some
and such anger in others?

there are only two kinds of people
one has learned to love
and one has missed the boat.

but daddy i
hear all the people say “I love”
they buy roses and candy
and diamond rings and things?

it is semantics child
they love big cars bigger houses
and feel important when served
with smiles and bows but
what they feel is not love.

oh but daddy
i see all those angry people
they call themselves “saved”
and say they are just waiting
for “the rapture”?

sadly i know child
they believe in cheap grace
of which there is none.

when will they ever learn daddy
when will they ever learn?

we can hope it is before
they destroy our playground.

Originally published at Wordplay at Artvilla July 21, 2005

Probation Man Blues by David Michael Jackson

Nothing has changed
A new take on the song
doesn’t change anything.
It’s the quiet of my
just above the wind
…………………David Michael Jackson

Oh Mr. Probation man
I’ll tell you what it’s all about.
Them overdraft people
they done cleaned me out.
an’ I can’t pay to give you
no pee at all
in the Probation Company
bathroom stall.

I know my bill
is now overdue
and lock me up is what you
said you would do.
Oh Mr Probation Man
Don’t take me back to jail.
My babies need food.
I can’t make the bail

When the Company Prison
they let me go
they said I still had
my debt with you.
I got them beggin’
beggin’ the probation man blues.
Oh they say that crime,
crime don’t pay
but it seems to do
pretty well by you.

Stone by stone we’ve built
this house of pain
Oh please don’t take me
to jail again
Oh I don’t know
I don’t know what I’ll do.
I got them probation man
Them probation man blues.

Enigmatic Succubus (Part II) by Mike Glover

Moonrise Poem by Mike Glover
Enigmatic Succubus (Part II)
Look! It’s the moon!” I said as I dug my toes into the dark shadows in the sand.
“It’s going to be up soon. I can see it’s glow beginning on the horizon.”
“It happened last night too, and it will tomorrow, and yet, each night, you are amazed?” She asked.
The coyotes barked and trilled insanely in the warm California night.
A scorpion, like an animated shard of glass, crept from beneath a twig at my side. I watched it as it melted in and out of starlight, moved along the sand beside my leg, explored my right heel with an awkward, accidental bump of a pincher, then vanished into the darkness alone,
​El escorpión es el no tu amigo mi amor,” she whispered.
“I know that.” I said.
“These damned dogs have followed me from New Mexico!” I exclaimed. “Listen to them, out there screaming. That’s all they do……is scream.” I was speaking of coyotes. I’ve always hated the sound of them in the night.
“What you call screaming is only a beckoning,” she told me. “Why does it threaten you to be called?”
“I don’t speak their language,” I said.
“Sure you do,” she replied. “They speak the language of loneliness in the night. Surely this is a language you understand well….no?”
“Has no sido solo toda tu vida mi pequeña Virgen?”
“I don’t know….maybe….probably, maybe not,” I replied.
“What happened to all those years ago?” I asked her. When we were driving through a Georgia swamp with the moon overhead and a lifetime before us and you promised me that everything was going to be alright….always?”
Well, it hasn’t been “allright always”… fact….it got pretty screwed up several times….no, MANY times along the way!”
“What do you mean yes?” I asked.
​”Mira, está la luna,” she said.
“I know.” I whispered back. “It’s beautiful.”
“So what is it you want to know?” She finally asked. “Why the drama and the poor boy lost in the desert for the night without his blanket bit? You don’t think the moon has seen this story before pobrecito?”
“There have been broken hearts,”I told her, LOTS of broken hearts.”
“Si.” She said.
“There have been deaths…there has just been a lot of STUFF!” I told her.” I’ve fucked up a lot of stuff over the years. A lot of it I’ve often wished I could take back now, but I can’t.”
“Yes,” she said.
“I can take it back?” I asked.
“Of course not you silly one, no more than you can catch the scorpion that was here earlier. It is gone. It will never in all it’s life, come back to you again. You can spend the rest of your life looking for it if you want to do something so stupid but you will never see it again.”
“There ought to be something to say.” I finally said after hours had passed and the moon was edging out of the night toward a ridge of black, broken teeth on the western horizon.
“For you there is always something to say.” She said. “But there is nothing that words could ever contain that they haven’t already held and been emptied of….is there?” She asked. “Yet each time they are emptied you cannot be still until you have filled them again….then you are still not still!”
Then she left again while I was trying to figure this last one out. I heard her voice on the wind as I saw dawn creeping into the east….
“por cierto, los perros no te siguen, que les trajo con usted mi amor!”
“The dogs didn’t follow you, you brought them with you love!”
“How could you say that?”
“y todavía hablas!”

Interstate Highways in the 1950’s

The Fifties Then and Now

The film “highway Hearing” was produced by Dow Chemicals, with assistance from the US Bureau of Roads and the Automotive Safety Foundation, to garner support for the 1956 Federal Aid-Highway Act, the law that enabled the Interstate Highway system of America.

Film synopsis:
After a small town learns that it is to be bypassed by a new freeway, highway officials and politicians help to convince residents that the freeway is actually in their interest. The film ends as it began, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new stretch of highway. …….wdtvlive42

I needed to skip around to watch this. It was well worth it. It is certainly a 1950’s idealized portrait of themselves within a bit of cool ’50’s propaganda about the interstate. Connorsville is a Mayberry, of course. I almost expected Barney to show up.
1. Is this the Republican idealized town of white people deciding great things as portrayed by Dow Chemical? Strange that they are willing to spend 51 billion bucks ($487 billion in today’s money) on roads. Such odd Republicans!
2. Some of the the arguments against the interstate highway are real. It did kill downtown areas in all small towns. It did create barriers for farmers, livestock and wildlife.
3. “Our prettiest school teacher” gives a truly inspiring speech that sounds so like a Democrat today.
4. If they had a time machine and could see today’s world, would they vote for the interstate? “Hey man it helped us get to Woodstock Dude.”….It helped us get social change. It helped us get other races in our propaganda about how well we are doing. Would they like what happened to their little Mayberry world.
Who is lying to themselves more, them or us? They pretend that their African American neighbors are not there, and, indeed they had no say. We acknowledge their presence and pretend they are free.
5. Is our generation building tanks instead of something, anything?

These folks haven’t been through the sixties yet. Since we are not so pure, then we should not be so hard on them. In their defense, they had been through World War 2 and, THEY didn’t bring their machine guns back with them. They were tired of war and spent their money on us. They could decide to do big things and pull it off.
We should listen to the school teacher.


A Tribute to Life Magazine a Film by by David Hoffman

To get this all, visit . I made this 1 hour documentary for the 50th anniversary of the great photo essay journal, Life Magazine. It was a thrill to interview so many brilliant photojournalists like Alfred Eisenstadt, Gordon Parks, and many others and to come to understand American and world history through their eyes. This film is being offered for personal use only and not for educational purposes. If you would like to purchase a DVD, please visit .
….David Hoffman via YouTube

David Hoffman

David Hoffman is one of America’s veteran documentary filmmakers. During his 50-year career, Hoffman has made five feature-length documentaries….Wiki

Life Magazine represents a period in history where photojournalism expressed the news in a strikingly personal way. We remember the stories but, oh the photos! Hoffman’s brilliant documentary doesn’t just take us back to those photos, but makes us want more.
Hoffman’s view is one of film, which , like TV and video media,  seems to have replaced photo journalism. This film, however,  combines the moving image with the still. One point is so well made. We returned to the Life Magazine photograph to see it again. It had time and repetition on it’s side. It sank in. In this Facebook world, images pass by so fast! Maybe Life was the precursor to these times because the images were more important to us than the text, but it sat there on the coffee table and we went through it again for the photos.
There were fewer outlets for creativity in those days. Today everything rolls by like traffic, and we squeeze a thousand images a day into our lives on screens that scroll, seemingly, endlessly, into the earth.
We are on image and information overload and it’s been good to visit a time when so much talent could be put in one place. It’s not that we are not as good, it’s that our talent is diluted and greatness can pass by unnoticed as our minds are trying to cope with the freeway of information and images.
I was far from involved, but I remember feeling a strange sense of loss when it was announced that Life Magazine was shutting down.

………….david michael jackson