Archives for posts with tag: nostalgia

by Julie Cadwallander-Staub

The air vibrated
with the sound of cicadas
on those hot Missouri nights after sundown
when the grown-ups gathered on the wide back lawn,
sank into their slung-back canvas chairs
tall glasses of iced tea beading in the heat
 and we sisters chased fireflies
reaching for them in the dark
admiring their compact black bodies
their orange stripes and seeking antennas
as they crawled to our fingertips
and clicked open into the night air.
In all the days and years that have followed,
I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced
the same utter certainty of the goodness of life
that was as palpable
as the sound of the cicadas on those nights:
my sisters running around with me in the dark,
the murmur of the grown-ups’ voices,
the way reverence mixes with amazement
to see such a small body
emit so much light. 
“Reverence” by Julie Cadwallander-Staub appears in the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology — a 220-page collection of poetry and prose available in a free Kindle version on Sept. 17 & 18, 2013. Find your free Kindle of the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology at (If you don’t have a Kindle device, get free kindle reading apps for your computer at this link.)

We would appreciate any reblogs, tweets, or Facebook posts about this offer! 

Photo: “Fireflies at Night” by Sierra, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


by Joan Jobe Smith

My father refused to teach my mother
how to drive his car, he said it
wasn’t ladylike in 1949, a woman driver

was no better than a streetwalker she was
to take the bus and be a good wife like
his mother was so my mother took secret

driving lessons, the instructor man
coming every day in his grey sedan
to show her how to let out the clutch

just right so the car wouldn’t jerk, how
to work the choke and the radio, make
turn signals, arm bent up for right

straight out for left, down for slow
me in the backseat watching as we drove
the L.A. streets: Firestone. Rosemead

Sunset Boulevard, Pico, La Brea and
Santa Fe and the day she got her drivers
license she bought her self a green 1939

Ford coupe and waited in the front seat
in the driveway for my father to come home
honked the horn at him when he arrived

and said Hey handsome, need a ride?

Photo: 1939 Ford coupe (a green one!)

Poem by Bruce Weigl

Nineteen fifty-seven: you
            remember the fins,
don’t you,
            on the baby-
blue-and-white Bel Air?
            Beyond the pigeon coop of ghosts,
beyond the
            many-colored rabbits
penned for the evening
            by the tap-tap
of the old man’s cane, you can see
            another man
through the muslin iof time
            throw his baby
high into the air. Women
            scream from the porch, laughing.
Oh, the night is thick with blossoms
            from the blue plum tree,
and this man is full of liquor
            and of his own young life,
so he throws his baby boy
            high into the sky
as it is taken by evening
            Irrevocably away from them
so that it seemed
            that I would not come down. 

NOTE: “Folktales” appears in The Unraveling Strangeness (2002), a poetry collection by Bruce Weigl. (Available at Critic Denise Levertov called Weigl “one of the best poets now writing in America.”

by Terry Collet

Your mother used to sit on the window 

Ledge of the tenement building and 

Wash the windows of each of the rooms. 

She’d push back the shutters and just 

Sit there with a bucket of warm water 

And a cloth and wash away. You were 

Always afraid she’d lean too far back 

And fall out and down to the ground 

Several storeys below with a heavy crash 

And break bones or neck or maybe die. 

But she’d just sit there her legs holding 

Onto the wall beneath her and push her 

Right hand holding the damp cloth 

Over the glass while her left hand held 

The metal bucket tight swishing the warm 

Water as she moved back and forth like 

Some lone trapeze artist on the high wire 

Without apparent fear or knowledge of 

Was going on in the street below with the

Passing of the walking dead as Father used 

To say and Mrs Febrile sitting on her window

Ledge with her daughter watching gossiping 

And nosing about who did what to whom 

While all the while you were frightened of 

Your mother slipping out the window waving
Her hands and arms as she fell to her doom.

by Joan Jobe Smith

Everything was silver when I was a kid with
Hi Ho Silver! and Lone Ranger silver bullets
as silver airplanes flew off to World War 2,
all of our money silver dimes and dollars,
movie stars on the big silver screen smiling
silver teeth wore silver streaked hair, drove cars
made of silver-hump bumpers, big-grinning grills
and hubcaps silver glitter swirls beneath silvery fog
sunsets in San Francisco while I set the supper table
with silver forks, spoons and knives and sometimes
after they tucked me into bed my mother and father
in the living room cheek to cheek danced in the dark
while Artie Shaw’s 78 clarinet played “Stardust”
and I watched, waited to grow up to live my life, too,
beside the light of an endless river of silvery moons.


…”Endless River of Silvery Moons” and other writing by Joan Jobe Smith appears in the Silver Birch Press Silver Anthology, a volume that Joan Jobe Smith also co-edited.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Jobe Smith, founding editor of PEARL and Bukowski    Reviewworked for seven years as a go-go dancer before receiving her BA from CSULB and MFA from University of California, Irvine. A Pushcart Honoree, her award-winning work has appeared internationally in more than five hundred publications, including Outlaw Bible, Ambit, Beat Scene, Wormwood Review, and Nerve Cowboy—and she has published twenty collections, including Jehovah Jukebox (Event Horizon Press, US) and The Pow Wow Cafe (The Poetry Business, UK), a finalist for the UK 1999 Forward Prize. In July 2012, with her husband, poet Fred Voss, she did her sixth reading tour of England (debuting at the 1991 Aldeburgh Poetry Festival), featured at the Humber Mouth Literature Festival in Hull. In November 2012, Silver Birch Press published her literary profile entitled Charles Bukowski Epic Glottis: His Art & His Women (& me), available at

Photo: The moon viewed from a boat sailing the inside passage between Vancouver and Juneau by Tony Hisgett.

kidhood at kmart haiku
by J. Diego

wafting popcorn scent
cherry or cola icees
mom wheels cart past them

parked in weedy lot
to purchase socks, gloves, school stuff
glean the wealthy shelves

K-Ranch jeans, cheap shoes,
cleaning supplies and watches,
look, blue light special…

Photo by Happyshooter, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 

Note from photographer (South Sacramento, California): I guess it was worth trekking down to Fruitridge and Stockton to photograph this sign before it got taken down. It’s been 3 years or so…I miss this sign. I don’t think there are any left of this iconic sign from my childhood.

by Lawrence Kearney

Mother is off to LADIES WEAR,
As usual, I’m with him.
Passing HARDWARE, he instructs me
in the merits of variable-speed
drills, the sham of saber saws,
the parable of human folly
embodied in third-rate drop-forged
hammers. I nod. I’m twelve. He’s
teaching me to shop like a man.
a foray into COSMETICS
for deodorant & shave cream—
the lights droning overhead—
their rheumy incessant gossip,
here, in the one place we talk.
When it’s time to go, his lessons
lapse. He wanders off by himself,
whistling his special call for Mother:
two notes
so high & clear they rise
above the whole store—
that tired adult head, the jowls
rich with ridicule, with affection, Father
floating there like some exotic bird—
calling again & again for his unseen lover
across the abyss of goods
between them. 

Photo: Interior of a 1970s Kmart, from The Grand Emporiums: The Illustrated History of America’s Great Department Stores by Robert Hendrickson (available at

teenagers down the shore
by win harms

memories of the ocean
sweet spring sweat trickles down my forehead
the sand stings my legs, as a crosswind
creeps up from behind
the salty sea is cold, numbing my bare feet
i hear my friends giggling ahead
and i laugh for no reason at all
you look at me and smile that secret smile
and for one moment we are alone in this
i can’t remember the taste of you
but i know i’ll understand you again
i get higher with the thoughts of days to come
we are sleepy with excitement
last night is so incredibly far away
we were older then, parading like sophisticates
we are young again, spinning in the sun
the past doesn’t matter and
the skeletons don’t feel like dancing
i am mapping out my life
and i want to see you there
with your eyes sparkling like the sea
we walk the boardwalk with the wind in our hair
creating everlasting impressions in time

Photo: “Summer Down the Shore” by funflash, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. (16×20 metallic prints available at

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: win harms is a poet living in France with her professor husband. She hails from the state of the cowboy poetry contest, but she has lived pretty much everywhere, including many psych wards, and considers herself a survivor of the struggle. The chaos has ceased and now she spends her time doing needlepoint and laundry, but longs to share her words with the world. As of last year, she left her roaring twenties, and is now feeling fecund and free. “Teenagers Down the Shore” and other poetry by win harms appears in the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology, available at

Mark Halliday

I remember riding somewhere in a fast car

with my brother and his friend Jack Brooks

and we were listening to Layla & Other Love Songs

by Derek & the Dominos. The night was dark,

dark all along the highway. Jack Brooks was 

a pretty funny guy, and I was delighted

by the comradely interplay between him and my brother,

but I tried not to show it for fear of inhibiting them.

I tried to be reserved and maintain a certain

dignity appropriate to my age, older by four years.

They knew the Dominos album well having played the cassette

many times, and they knew how much they liked it.

As we rode on in the dark I felt the music was,

after all, wonderful, and I said so

with as much dignity as possible. “That’s right,”

said my brother. “You’re getting smarter,” said Jack.

We were listening to “Bell Bottom Blues”

at that moment. Later we were listening to

“Key to the Highway,” and I remembered how

my brother said, “Yeah, yeah.” And Jack sang

one of the lines in a way that made me laugh.

I am upset by the fact that that night is so absolutely gone.

No, “upset” is too strong. Or is it.

But that night is so obscure—until now

I may not have thought of that ride once

in eight years—and this obscurity troubles me.

Death is going to defeat us all so easily.

Jack Brooks is in Florida, I believe,

and I may never see him again, which is

more or less all right with me; he and my brother

lost touch some years ago. I wonder

where we were going that night. I don’t know;

but it seemed as if we had the key to the highway.

…from Mark Halliday‘s poetry collection Little Star (William Morrow & Co., 1987), available at

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Mark Halliday is an American poet, professor and critic. He is author of five collections of poetry, most recently Keep This Forever (Tupelo Press, 2008). His honors include serving as the 1994 poet in residence at The Frost Place, inclusion in several annual editions of The Best American Poetry series and of the Pushcart Prize anthology, receiving a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship, and winning the 2001 Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

by Gerald Stern

Let me please look into my window on 103rd Street one more time—
without crying, without tearing the satin, without touching
the white face, without straightening the tie or crumpling the flower.

Let me walk up Broadway past Zak’s, past the Melody Fruit Store,
past Stein’s Eyes, past the New Moon Inn, past the Olympia.

Let me leave quietly by Gate 29
and fall asleep as we pull away from the ramp
into the tunnel.

Let me wake up happy, let me know where I am, let me lie still,
as we turn left, as we cross the water, as we leave the light

“Let Me Please Look Into My Window” appears in Gerald Stern‘s collection This Time: New and Selected Poems © W.W. Norton & Co., 1998, winner of the National Book Award for poetry. Find the book at

Photo: 103rd St. windows