Archives for posts with tag: Kafka

Kafka marked
I Grow Old, I Grow Old
by Marsha Schuh

“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”
                                                                                    –George Burns

One morning,
woke from dreams
transformed into a horrible
back and head
belly, slightly domed,
stiff sections ready to slide
any moment, legs
pitifully helpless.
What’s happened to me,
A lady fit, who sat upright?

Dull, quite sad,
unable in present,
floundering legs,
pain never felt before.
Oh, God, what a day!

Much more effort
doing your business,
worries about bad people
all the time, covered
with lots of little spots,
cold, always sitting,
my parents a long time gone,
hard of hearing, still

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I love erasure poems and Found Poetry in general, and as I read [Kafka’s] The Metamorphosis again, certain words stood out for me and suggested this poem. One of the changes that affects all of us sooner or later is growing old—the transformation from being a “schoolboy with satchel and shining morning face” to “slippered pantaloon” and eventually “second childishness.” And yet, perhaps we need to adopt Twain’s philosophy: “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

me--monterey park

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTO: This photo was taken in Monterey Park, California, in 1947 when there were rolling hills there covered with California poppies and lupines instead of houses. Much has changed in the community (just as in me) in the intervening years.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marsha Schuh grows older every day, but then again, don’t we all? She earned her MFA in Poetry at California State University, San Bernardino, where she taught English. She is now retired, and that allows her to spend more time with her family, and to enjoy reading, writing, traveling, and long-arm quilting. Other perks of aging include getting into theaters at reduced rates, receiving discounts at restaurants and stores, and, most of all, having grandchildren. Since we’re on our way down, might as well enjoy the ride (James Taylor). Her poetry has appeared in Inlandia Journal, Sand Canyon Review, Carnival, Found Poetry Review, and several other publications.

kafkaroach Published in 1915, Franz Kafka‘s The Metamorphosis — the story of Gregor Samsa’s transformation into a giant insect —  paved the way for what we consider “modern” literature: introspective, surreal, existential. The novella has been called “one of the few, great poetic works” of the 20th century — and has exerted a major influence on some of the world’s most prominent and lauded authors, including Jorge Luis Borges, Albert Camus, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Philip Roth. Let’s celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Metamorphosis by paying homage to Franz Kafka and his masterpiece with our latest call for submissions — My Metamorphosis Poetry/Flash Fiction Series. 

PROMPT: Tell us about your transformation — real or imagined — in a poem (any reasonable length) or flash fiction piece (200 words or less). For the series, you can also submit found or erasure poems based on Kafka’s The Metamorphosis (English translation). For a free copy of Kafka’s novella, visit Project Gutenberg.

WHAT: Submissions can be original or previously published poems or flash fiction. You retain all rights to your work and give Silver Birch Press permission to publish on social media and in a potential print edition.

WHEN: We’ll feature the poems/flash fiction during the Silver Birch Press MY METAMORPHOSIS Poetry/Flash Fiction Series in August and September (actual dates to be determined, based on number of submissions).

HOW TO SUBMIT: Email one poem or flash fiction to as an MSWord attachment — and in the same file include your name, contact info (including email address), one-paragraph author’s bio (written in third person), and any notes about your creative process or thoughts about your piece. Please put all this information in one MSWord document and title the file with your last name (and only your last name). Write”Kafka” in subject line of email. Please send a photo of yourself — at any age — to accompany the poem, and provide a caption for the photo (when, where). If you’d like, feel free to wear a mask (homemade is fine) in the photo to symbolize your transformation.

SUBMISSION CHECKLIST To help everyone understand our submission requirements, we’ve prepared the following checklist.

1. Send ONE MS Word document TITLED WITH YOUR LAST NAME (e.g. Smith.doc or Jones.docx).

2. In the same MS Word document, include your contact information (name, mailing address, email address).

3. In the same MS Word document, include an author’s bio, written in the third person (e.g., Bill Smith has been writing since age seven…”).

4. In the same MS Word document, include a note about your poem/flash fiction or creative process (this is optional).

5. In the same MS Word document, include a caption for your photo (including where, when and/or date taken).

6. Send a photo of yourself at any age as a SEPARATE jpg attachment (not in the MS Word document). Title the photo with your last name (e.g., Jones.jpg). (In the photo, you can wear a mask to symbolize your transformation.)

7. Email to — and put KAFKA in the subject line.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Monday, August 31, 2015


by Mathias Jansson

having done anything wrong
every morning
annoyed and hungry
he was slim but solidly built
eminently practical
silent observation and reflection
little to say
a short burst of laughter
leaped out quickly
who these people
what explanation for the disturbance?

SOURCE: “Self-Portrait” by Mathias Jansson is an erasure poem based on page 1 of The Trial by Franz Kafka (Penguin Classics, 2000).

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The poem is mixed with a self portrait created by
the text from the first page with help of an on-line word-cloud tool. The
Trial is a very important book for me and has inspired my authorship in
many ways — and the first page also contains many words and lines that could be used to describe me as person.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mathias Jansson is a Swedish art critic and poet. He has contributed with visual poetry to magazines such as Lex-ICON, Anatematiskpress, Quarter After #4, and Maintenant 8: A Journal of Contemporary Dada. He has also published a chapbook at this is visual poetry and contributed with erasure poetry to anthologies from Silver Birch Press. Visit him at, or his author’s page at