Archives for posts with tag: Movies

shrek 2
Seeing Shrek at the Drive-In During a Pandemic
by Betsy Mars

Ogres are like onions, and I am too,
taking off the outer skin for a couple of hours
to be close to kin. I peel my gloves off

after the ticket taker hands me a menu
for the snack bar, edge away as far as I can
from the van they wave me next to

which is spilling laughing children. The dark descends.
Shrek slouches before a rising moon, Donkey nearby.
I sigh in recognition, alone in the swamp

heat of my enclosed car, shutting out
the unmasked. In the car to my right
my daughter behind glass, windows up.

We communicate by phone and gesture,
with thumbs up and heads bobbing
to the soundtrack of her childhood.

I am trying to atone, for all my layers –
the rawness, the cutting, the weeping –
of the onion, the irritants which sear.

In the castle a dragon slumbers,
ready to fire up its scorching breath.
At night I assume my true form, hope

that I might be loved anyway;
by light of day I spin candy floss from spider webs,
balloon whatever frogs come my way.

Previously published in Sky Island Journal


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The pandemic was/is a difficult period to endure in many ways and going to the drive-in seemed like it would hark back to more carefree times, though, given the anxiety of the times, it was fraught with its own difficulties. Shrek was, in many ways, the most apt movie to see at such a time, given that this virus was also a scary unknown, full of fearsome qualities. The memory of the evening is bittersweet but really one of the happier times I recall from this period. Being near my daughter and her boyfriend and having a respite when we could immerse ourselves in a beloved film and soundtrack was a real mercy. PHOTO: The author with her Fiona mask.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Betsy Mars is a prize-winning poet, a photographer, an editor at Gyroscope Review, and cat wrangler. Her poetry has recently appeared or is upcoming in ONE ART, Sheila-Na-Gig, and Rat’s Ass Review, among others. In 2021, Betsy’s poems were nominated for Best of the Net as well as the Pushcart Prize.  Her photos have appeared in RATTLE’s Ekphrastic Challenge, Redheaded Stepchild, and Spank the Carp. Her chapbook, In the Muddle of the Night, was co-authored with Alan Walowitz.

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The Tarmac
by Sue Mayfield Geiger

Houston Hobby airport coffee shop.
We sat close, knees touching, hands clasped,
my lipstick on your shirt collar.
Tears in our eyes.
You were off to Panama, “Just for a few months—”
I’ll write every day,” you said.
Coffee consumed and bites of toast crumbs
on your lips, I brushed them off with an
index finger that you kissed with a grin.

We walked out onto the tarmac, arm in arm,
you turned and said goodbye, giving me a wink,
a tight squeeze of a hug and soft kiss.

Today, I am at that same airport, the coffee shop is gone.
Your letters are tucked away in a shoebox
in paper-thin envelopes, stamped “Par avion.”

I am still waiting to walk out on that tarmac
when you return.

PHOTO: Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine and Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund, the star-crossed lovers saying goodbye on the tarmac in Casablanca (1942). 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: A few decades ago, walking onto the tarmac to board or deplane an aircraft was common, until the jet bridge became the norm. Some smaller airports still allow boarding and deplaning via the tarmac, but very few. There was something exciting and often scary about taking that long walk on the tarmac—the surrounding spaciousness, the roar of the jet engines, the wind blowing mightily. It was very freeing, and sometimes a reminder of love lost.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sue Mayfield Geiger is a writer, singer, and model living on the Texas Gulf Coast. When not writing about home décor, fashion, or a new restaurant opening, she reads and writes poetry. Her literary publications include Grayson Books, RiverLit, Dos Gatos Press, The Binnacle (U of Maine), Of Burgers and Barrooms (Main Street Rag), Red Wolf Journal, Waco WordFest Anthology, Perfume River Poetry, THEMA, Silver Birch Press, Poetry and Places, and most recently Odes and Elegies: Eco poetry from the Gulf Coast, available on Amazon. Visit her on Instagram @LovieSue and @Beyond70ish or

How to Be Happy Again
by Leah Mueller

  1. Forget everything you know. The sum of your resentments. Your sour, arms-crossed intransigence. The way your fangs gleam in the dark when you frighten yourself.
  2. Go somewhere different. Stay in the nicest hotel. Order hot fudge sundaes from room service and swim naked in the pool.
  3. Rearrange your emotional furniture. Throw away that roll of film you’ve kept in the bottom drawer of your unconscious for two decades. You will never get around to developing it.
  4. Don’t look at your Blocked List on Facebook. Chances are good that you can’t even remember those people, let alone the reasons for your resentment. Their once-familiar names are stacked in a row like downed trees after a storm. Beyond the clouds, a flash of sun.
  5. Watch Gene Kelly in a deluge, kicking water at the camera. A cop arrives, and Kelly apologizes, wanders sheepishly in the direction of home. Seconds later, he’s dancing again.
  6. Cook your favorite meal. Light several candles. Wear your fanciest outfit. Sit beside yourself and profess undying devotion. Don’t forget dessert.
  7. When Misery shows up (and he will), be polite. Give him a comfortable chair and a cup of coffee. Listen to his sob story and nod. Then, slip out your back door and walk as fast as you can in the opposite direction. He’ll catch up with you later, but at least you can enjoy the trees in the meantime.

Photo by Artapixel, used by permission.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This list poem arose as part of a Google search. I typed “how to” into the search bar, and one of the first suggestions was “how to be happy again.” Serendipitously, I was watching the movie Singin’ in the Rain on TCM at the same time. Who can resist Gene Kelly’s signature dance in the middle of a deluge? Even a hardened cynic like me perks up when I see such unbridled joy.

PHOTO: Gene Kelly in a scene from Singin’ in the Rain (1952).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Leah Mueller is an indie writer and spoken word performer from Bisbee, Arizona. Her most recent books, Misguided Behavior: Tales of Poor Life Choices (Czykmate Press), Death and Heartbreak (Weasel Press), and Cocktails at Denny’s (Alien Buddha Press) were released in 2019. Leah’s work appears in Midway Journal, Citron Review, The Spectacle, Miracle Monocle, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, and elsewhere. Her essay “Firebrand, The Radical Life and Times of Annie Besant” appears in the book Fierce, Essays By and About Dauntless Women which placed first in the nonfiction division of the 2019 Publisher’s Weekly Booklife contest. Visit her at and on Facebook and Twitter.

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How to Become a Werewolf
by Alarie Tennille

Do you ever have insomnia?
Experience disturbing dreams
at the full moon? Then you may be

ready for an exciting change!
It’s easier than you think. That’s
right, for just $39.95 plus shipping

you can get our glow-in-the dark
instructional booklet and DVD (for rainy
night viewing). Sure, you could search

for a werewolf to bite you, but just think
how many ways that can go wrong!
Like violent death, duh. Our patented

DIY process has proven safe and effective
for a smooth transition. Why wait to explore
your wild side? You can start tonight!

That’s right, warm-up nocturnal exercises
will accelerate your training. Stay up till 1:00,
2:00, even better 3:00 a.m. (You don’t want

anyone around to ask what you’re doing,
do you?) Keep it a surprise! Your improved
night vision will be a plus in step 8: Learning

to Stalk through Dead Leaves. Call NOW…
Operators are standing by during the hours
of darkness in every time zone. Warning:

Avoid watching horror films. They’ll only
confuse you. You must find your own darkness.
Listen to those strange voices you don’t think

are you. They really are. We all have good reasons
to sing at the moon, to excavate the caverns
of our minds. Progress is remarkable.

By week six, most report accelerated hair growth,
a break in the voice, a craving for rare meat.
Consult your doctor if you develop persistent

homicidal thoughts. Symptoms may vary.
So how will you know you’re a werewolf?
Like falling in love, you’ll just know.

PHOTO: Lon Chaney, Jr., in a scene from The Wolf Man (1941).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: You might assume this poem grew out of isolation fatigue during the quarantine, but I wrote it a few months earlier than that. It was one of those strange ideas that pop into a night owl’s head at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m., especially during a full moon. I don’t watch much TV at that hour, but an infomercial seemed like a great vehicle for the content.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alarie Tennille graduated from the University of Virginia in the first class admitting women. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she serves on the Emeritus Board of The Writers Place. Her latest poetry collection is Waking on the MoonHer first collection, Running Counter Clockwise, was first runner-up for the Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence (both books available on Amazon). She was recently honored to receive a 2020 Fantastic Ekphrastic Award from The Ekphrastic Review. Please visit her at to check out her blog and learn more about her writing.

Holly Golightly Wears a Mask
by Tricia Marcella Cimera

Behind a mask
our faces go sad,
we Holly Golightlys
of the world.
The mean reds
have got us bad
but no one knows –
and Tiffany’s
is cold and closed.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The mean reds were what Truman Capote’s immortal literary creation Holly Golightly felt when she was afraid, but going to Tiffany’s always comforted her (“…nothing very bad could happen to you there…”).   What would she do today?  I find it hard for my face not to go sad behind my mask.

PHOTO: Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961).  The film was based on Truman Capote’s 1958 novella of the same name.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tricia Marcella Cimera is a Midwestern poet with a worldview. Recently her micro-chapbook called GO SLOW, LEONARD COHEN was released through the Origami Poems Project, with plum poem receiving a Pushcart Prize nomination.  Tricia lives with her husband and family of animals in Illinois, in a town called St. Charles, by a river named Fox, with a Poetry Box in her front yard.


Martin Scorsese‘s celebrated new film Silence, based on Shūsaku Endō’s 1966 novel is an intense journey about the nature of faith — and what people will do when their beliefs are threatened. The film and book take place in 17th century Japan, where converts to Roman Catholicism are persecuted by those in power — and face life-or-death decisions about whether to keep or abandon their faith.

In Faith Stripped to Its Essence (ACTA Publications, September 2016), Patrick T. Reardon has written a guide that, in his introduction, he calls a “pilgrimage through the discordant voices of faith in Endō’s novel.” Reardon’s 111-page book features brief, reader-friendly chapters that break down the subject matter of Endō’s complex novel into thought-provoking, accessible material.  Questions for individual reflection or group discussion appear at the end of each chapter.

Reardon’s book is an essential addition to the canon of writing — both fiction and nonfiction —  that endeavors to bridge differences among religious groups and focus on the significant questions that all believers need to address. “What are we required to do because of our faith?” Reardon writes. “What does it mean to believe?”

If you plan to see Scorsese’s film — or if you’ve already seen it — Faith Stripped to Its Essence will enhance and deepen your viewing experience of Silence, and provide material for reflection for years to come.

Find Faith Stripped to Its Essence by Patrick T. Reardon at This beautiful volume also makes an impressive gift — for the modest price of $12.95.

Hands of young potter
Throwing a Perfect Pot
by Tobi Alfier

IF I had an imaginary skill it would be as an artist. I would wear flowered sundresses and sandals, braid my hair, and have a booth at the long-gone Whole Earth Marketplace where I would throw pots all day. I would take them to my aunt, the REAL artist, for glazing beauty and then to a studio that rented kiln space. I would sell my work for what amounted to ten cents an hour, make friends with all the other hippie-types with their VW vans and a dollar fifty-two in their checking accounts, say “yes, I saw Ghost” a hundred times a day to all the “real” people coming to shop, and be perfectly happy. I would trade a bowl for a pair of dichroic glass dangling earrings, shave my legs never, and sing Joni Mitchell songs, or all the songs to Hair, in my head as my hands got strong and the clay did my bidding.

PHOTO: “Making a pot” by Best Photo Studio, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’m still a bit of a hippie. I still know the words to most Joni Mitchell songs and most of the songs to Hair. But the art is gone. Others in my family are blessed that they can call themselves artists. I can’t even pick out paint colors.

talfierABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tobi Alfier is a multiple Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee. Current chapbooks are The Coincidence of Castles from Glass Lyre Press and Romance and Rust from Blue Horse Press. Down Anstruther Way is forthcoming from FutureCycle Press. She is the co-editor of San Pedro River Review (

rita and fred
by Rose Mary Boehm

I could see myself. The singing, dancing,
long-legged Rita Hayworth double. I would.
I did. I do. Mame.
Long mane, probably red. Long
gloves until over my elbows.
Probably black.
Dress? Silk and shine and hugging my thighs
and calves. At least six inches of heel.
How I’d dazzle, how I’d pirouette, how I’d
swing my hips without being vulgar. Never
be vulgar, my mother said. Oh no, ma’am.
I’d put Ginger to shame. Fred and Rose.
No boogie. The Marimba?
Begin the Beguine?
More athletic? Gene and Rose?
For Gene I might be Leslie Caron instead of Rita.
But she was too sweet.
No, not John Travolta. The emphasis
Is on “slinky.” Someone from the underworld
would come backstage
and offer to shoot himself
unless I said “yes.”

PHOTO: Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire in a scene from You Were Never Lovelier (1942).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I was socially gauche, my dancing skills negligible, my red high-heeled peep-toes hurt my feet, and when I wondered whether I would ever be looked at by any male, I imagined I could exchange my mouse-blonde ponytail for Rita Hayworth’s blonde mane, my awkward gait for her sinuous moves, could flow across a stage with at least Fred Astaire, and be admired by all.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A German-born U.K. national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of TANGENTS, a poetry collection published in the U.K. (2011/2012), her work has been widely published in U.S. poetry journals (online and print).  Twice winner of the Goodreads monthly competition, her new poetry collection (From the Ruhr to Somewhere Near Dresden 1939-1949) was published by Aldrich Press in May 2016, and another new collection will be published by Kelsay Books in 2016/2017.

raising arizona
The Lottery
by April Salzano

Lined up, ready to go to Grandma’s
for their weekly visit to a home with functioning
appliances and constant utility service,
one of the four would be
chosen to ride on the back of Dad’s
Harley. Why did their mother
subject them to this—
to breathe more freely in the car
that traveled a different route to the same place
with three bickering children instead of four?
To surrender one child to the father,
to see if they loved each other
when they got there?

Each avoided eye contact,
not wanting to be picked, and still
with the flick of a finger,
the quick pronunciation of a name,
one would have to strap on a helmet
and ride, careful to hold onto
Dad’s beltloops and not
grip the fat squeezing over his jeans.

She chose the middle child that Sunday.
She was changing a diaper, holding
the baby’s ankles in one hand and couldn’t
see the girl’s eyes pleading,
No, not me, I rode last week.

The father looked at the choice
as a burden. He wanted
to drive fast and free,
to forget he had children.
For a glorious fifteen highway minutes,
to forget that not remembering is impossible,
that plastic sneakers melt on tailpipes
and careless laces stick in spokes.

The girl didn’t know
before she straddled the leather seat
that her helmet wasn’t fastened properly,
that the wind would lift it,
or that her father would stop
and punch it back on her head.
She only feared that her fingers would slip
from the loops, and the wind would tear
her from her father’s back.

PHOTO: Lone Biker of the Apocalypse and Nathan, Jr., in the 1987 Coen Brothers film Raising Arizona.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Though not on a bicycle, learning to be a good passenger seemed a kind of acceptance into the private world my father inhabited, which always seemed to me to be a place where he could pretend to be someone else.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: April Salzano is the co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press and is currently working on a memoir about raising a child with autism, as well as several collections of poetry. Her work has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Award and has appeared in journals such as The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow and Rattle. Her chapbook,The Girl of My Dreams, is available from Dancing Girl Press. Her poetry collection Future Perfect is forthcoming from Pink Girl Ink. More of her work can be read at

Downey versus Downey
by Cullen Downey

I know that you have no knowledge of my existence
In the world we share at a distance
Robert Downey Jr hero, lawyer, detective, prince, and millionaire
And a girl named Cullen with a last name we share.

I have convinced friends that we are related
But gullible and naïve they were to believe such a lie
Now I do not tell that lie since you went to jail
Since you went there I was upset, I wanted to see what happened to you      and Watson.

Physically we are opposites in age, size, eye color, and hair color
You brown eyes and hair, I blue eyes and blonde hair
I can see the resemblance with my family and you
My aunts are mostly brown eyed and hair the same as yours

I hope to see you in a third movie of Sherlock Holmes
And you and Watson are reunited once and for all
In real life I hope you do well even though you had your issues
Sharing a last name with you I feel connected but I do think my last name      will be more famous than

PHOTO: Robert Downey Jr. as the title character in Sherlock Holmes (2009).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The creative process in writing this poem was to express my thoughts when someone asks if I am related to Robert Downey Jr.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cullen Downey is passionate about art. She is 17 years old and is a junior at George Walton Academy. She participates in cross country, track, AP Art, and gavel club through the school. Outside of school she volunteers for Team Up, a mentoring program to help underprivileged kids in Monroe. She loves reading novels and newspapers, and she also loves writing. She also loves wearing different, crazy socks to bring a little laughter in life.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo was taken before a Christmas Party that turned into a surprise Retirement Party for a family friend.