Archives for posts with tag: Writing

born door
Behind My Front Door
by Anne Born

I’m looking out the window now.
I’m new to this house.
I notice things I probably won’t think twice about soon.

I listen for all the different bird calls,
I look at the time on my clock when I hear the trains,
     hoping to find a logic to their timetable.
I watch the trashmen pick up on Tuesday mornings,
     their big green trucks are dull, plodding,
     when they pull up in front of the house.
I hear all the cars when they drive down the street.

It’s pretty quiet here in Michigan.
Not like in my apartment in New York.

I am looking out the window now,
The fat groundhog hasn’t come out yet today
From under the old shed out back,
For his ration of berries and grasses.
My concern is that I assume it’s a male animal
Probably because the thought of it gathering food for babies,
     in this weather, in this climate,
     is too hard to hold.
A squirrel finds a bit of water in the bird bath.

I’m looking out the window now,
Cars driving by, but just a few,
They keep going, mostly, the birds take no notice.
They will sing regardless.
Folks drive into their garage, then disappear
Into their house.
So many houses, like my house.

I’m looking out the window now.
I open it a bit to watch the snow falling.
The tops of the branches are white now.
It’s supposed to rain later.
Window closed.

I’m new to this house.

The front door is not the barrier to my going outside.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I need a metronome to be able to write. I cue up Law & Order SVU, an Avengers movie I’ve seen, cooking shows, or something about tiny houses – that’s my background noise. It’s very difficult to write if I have to maintain the pace.

anne born

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anne Born is an award-winning, New York and Niles, Michigan-based writer who has been writing stories and poetry since childhood. She blogs on The Backpack Press, Tumbleweed Pilgrim, and Medium, and her writing focuses on family and life in a big city after growing up in a small one. She is the author of A Marshmallow on the Bus, Prayer Beads on the Train, Waiting on a Platform, Turnstiles, and Local Color. Her latest book is Buen Camino! Tips from an American Pilgrim (The Backpack Press, December, 2017, now updated for 2020). Her short essay on the call to the Camino is included in It’s About Time, by Johnnie Walker (Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2019). She a contributor to the 2015 anthology, Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox, edited by Joanne Bamberger. Anne’s essay on her cousin’s collection of Nancy Drew novels was published in the Silver Birch Press Nancy Drew Anthology (2016). She is also curator of the Late Orphan Project and a former contributor to The Broad Side. You can follow her on Redbubble, Instagram, Twitter.

by Tricia Marcella Cimera

I find Ruth’s obituary –
she died on Christmas day 2019.
She sold me her Cape Cod
a few years ago.  It was built
by her father in 1936
when she was eight.
They were Belgian farm people,
the original ones who
settled St. Charles.

The front door is white
with a thin crack
running through it.
It has a fan window and
crystal door knobs, the same
kind my grandma had
in her old house –
heavy and prismed
like the past.
I dream about them.

One day I opened my door –
there was Ruth, with
farm eggs and some photos
of the house long ago.
The wind lashed, rain
poured down.  She leaned
sideways but wouldn’t
come in, had things to do.
She said This rain won’t hurt me!
then seemed to fly off
on the winds.

I shut the front door.
I dream about Ruth.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Every front door lets in the past, then lets it out.

Cimera Author Photograph copy

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.  One of the poems, plum poem, received 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.

door photo
And Toward the Center a Vacancy One Knew
            after John Ashbery
by Jonathan Yungkans

They stopped making front doors like this three generations ago.
Almost square, wide enough to let a pick-up truck drive through.

Its brick or scab red paint reminds me of Civil War iron armor.
Its oaken composure predates the adjacent pines and sycamores.

I sit outside, comforted seeing something more solid than myself.
I eavesdrop for brass tumblers to turn. I swallow and breathe in.

Sitting in one spot is living in one spot, moldering into the floor—
dust to dust mote—and light in a dark room not one bit cathartic.

I’ve been a shadow some time now. While I could blame a virus,
before Corona, I had 20 years to hover like smoke, avoid mirrors,

keep within six feet of that door on days barely a clouded thought
passed through the air outside my head, rain and thunder inside it.
One pedestrian walks the paper’s front page across Grand Avenue.
The rest of the Whittier Daily News and downtown L.A. are ghosts.
Even the air is locked in ink. A glass wall reflects the vacant plaza.
Distant, City Hall’s pyramid spire looms to glower and sphinx us
into a three-part riddle for which I don’t even know the questions.
Green and green and green, down winding road and college quad—
Philadelphia Street void of brotherly love, dorms unconversational.
Not even Nixon’s specter is in sight. Much as I enjoy the birds

who punctuate this quiet sentence, never thought I’d miss his gloom
as he ambled black-suited across his alma mater. Green’s sole color
on black and white. Trees lead eye toward City Hall’s locked door.

Movement restricted in state. Traveling outside of home allowed
for food and medical care and to get exercise. As if anyone wanted
to stretch their prerogatives, give their fears a stroll, some fresh air.
I look from my front porch toward the front door, see the blood
that cracks through my chapped hands, washing after every trip.
I look at the pedestrian in the paper and recognize him as myself,
his reflection trapped between glass walls like microscope slides,
catching the sick instead of the sickness and conflating the two.
Wind counts bricks, rooting through a chimney.
Fingers trace Bach’s Goldberg aria on a piano,
reflected in the instrument’s polished surface.

The keyboard leads to yellow drapes, a window.
Only the pianist’s hands are visible in the video,
measured and exact as the phrases they articulate—

a count of assurance, a promise to wake from sleep.
I watch the video countless times. Not for Bach—
the hush, the light, the gentle rippling resonance.
Trying my best to rejoice in the Blood of the Lamb.
I’m locked into Jesus as my open door without a lock.

He’d look me in the eye, and say, Much as you trust Me,
pray with water and soap. Wash like a brain surgeon.

Kids draw a hopscotch with green and yellow chalk—
Hop hop turn. Touch the ground. Have a great day.

Next to it, written in green—We may all be separate—
and below it, in yellow—but we’re all in this together.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  This became a poem about many doors—literal and metaphorical, mental and emotional. The front door at the poem’s outset is indeed mine. I live in a house built in 1913, across the street from Whittier College, and both the college and the city have become virtually abandoned with the Coronavirus outbreak. The newspaper photo appeared on the front page of the Whittier Daily News on March 20, 2020; the lines quoted in the poem’s third section are the headline and subhead for the lead story, which accompanied it. The photo and overall situation only added to the isolative and depressive aspects with which I struggle to live every day. They in turn opened a door through which past and present intermingled, to my personal detriment but hopefully with some literary merit. The Bach video mentioned in the penultimate section was a Facebook post by Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt to celebrate Johann Sebastian Bach’s 335th birthday, in lieu of a live concert she had been scheduled to play for the occasion. It became a door to a much calmer state—literally the eye of a storm.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jonathan Yungkans is a Los Angeles-based writer and photographer with an MFA from California State University, Long Beach. His work has appeared in San Pedro Poetry Review, Synkroniciti, West Texas Literary Review, and other publications. His second poetry chapbook, Beneath a Glazed Shimmer, won the 2019 Clockwise Chapbook Prize and is slated for release by Tebor Bach Publishing in 2020.

Walowitz with front door not ajar
Anecdote of a Jar
                  (not much after Wallace Stevens)
by Alan Walowitz

Been a long week already
and she knows I’m on my way
bearing standard Thursday-night fare—
so she texts, as usual, The front door’s a jar.
This pleases me– always–
and I answer, in kind,
stuck at the long light just west of Gino’s,
eager but untrained thumbs
not exactly flashing:
Why is nothing what it seems?–
she knows I’m not ready
for such drastic change
so late in the game.

Then, from the upstairs window, she sees
me at my most entertaining:
I pull up, juggling pizza and my keys,
kicking the car closed with my knee
which will ache for days,
while keeping a firm grip on my cap
about to be torn away from my head
in the late winter wind,
as I try to stay upright on the slippery grass.
Then, keys in my teeth, shoulder the front door
which gives way easy
and, I note, will need some paint come spring,
and enter a dark house–
like a thief in the night–
wondering why such a faithful one, and witty,
who can make any door a jar
never remembers to make some light.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I love Wallace Stevens’ “Anecdote of the Jar,” though I hardly understand it.  I wanted to write my own jar-anecdote.  Since I love to play with words, here it is.  Though certainly not so deep and mysterious as Stevens’, I had fun writing it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alan Walowitz is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry.  His chapbook Exactly Like Love was published by Osedax Press, and his full-length The Story of the Milkman and Other Poems is available from Truth Serum Press.  His current project is a chapbook, written with Betsy Mars, tentatively titled In the Muddle of the Night, and tentatively to be published by Arroyo Seco Press.

Shelter in a Temporary Place
by Leah Mueller

Wooden eye with heavy cataracts
opens and closes. I step outside
like Dorothy, hand on knob,
pale face exposed to color.

The sound of rain deafens me:
sloppy crunch of gravel as cars
turn the corner towards the alley.

The insistence of it. News
wafts inside like a bad stench.

A woman passes, face mask snug
across her nostrils: vinyl leash taut
as her dog still strains for the park.

My flimsy door won’t
hold back this tide much longer.
I flee towards another, more
sturdy than the one I borrowed.

Invaders always enter portals.
Locks beg to be broken,
wood splintered until the
hinges no longer hold.

I search for an opening
to a wide, undamaged street
and a room no one can enter
without my permission.

If I drive all night without stopping
I will outrun the bandits
and the law: the whole damn posse,
trying its best to take me alive.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  I wrote this poem from the perspective of a Washingtonian, smack dab in the hot zone of a coronavirus pandemic, getting ready to flee the state and move to Bisbee, Arizona. Last summer, my husband was diagnosed with stage-four cancer. This dramatically altered our life plans. We sold our only investment, a tiny condo near the Canadian border, and bought a small house in Bisbee. Then the virus took hold. Some businesses shut down, and others struggled to keep their doors open. A forced meditation about the impermanence and fragility of everything.

Mueller copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Leah Mueller is an indie writer and spoken word performer, stuck in the void between Tacoma, Washington, and Bisbee, Arizona. She has published books with numerous small presses. Her most recent volumes, 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 or is forthcoming in Blunderbuss, Citron Review, The Spectacle, Bad Pony, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, and other publications. She won honorable mention in the 2012 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry contest. Visit her on Facebook and Twitter.

Lagier door
by Jennifer Lagier

“Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open.” — Alexander Graham Bell

The original front entry was yellow, bore scratches,
signs of abuse by the former inhabitants,
solid wood, a struggle to open or close.

I tried scrubbing scuff marks, painting over gouges,
finally gave up, consulted with a handyman
and Home Depot salesmen for its replacement.

The first four-paneled fiberglass version
arrived with hinges and knob holes
cut into the wrong side and was returned.

The second was less expensive,
but came with correct configuration,
was installed with minimum fuss.

Now, fearing contagion, we shelter in place
behind secure portal where I give thanks
this new door contains glass, admits welcome light.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I often use photos I take as poem prompts, so this was a welcome challenge. It’s a story within a story—why and how the front door was replaced and how a door is what stands between us and the virus raging outside.


 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Lagier has published seventeen books, taught with California Poets in the Schools, edited the Homestead Review, edits Monterey Poetry Review and helps coordinate the second Sunday reading series for the Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium. Her work appears in From Everywhere a Little: A Migration Anthology, Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, Missing Persons: Reflections on Dementia, Silent Screams: Poetic Journeys Through Addiction & Recovery. Newest book: Trumped Up Election (Xi Draconis Books) and Dystopia Playlist (CyberWit). For a full list of her publications, please visit her website,, Facebook page:


Scuffed but Shining
by A.S. Coomer

     The front door’s red with an old-fashioned twist doorbell that chimes like a music box. Twist it and watch every head inside turn towards the sound. It’s the first thing people visiting comment on when they arrive.
     We’ve talked about painting it, red’s never been one of our favorite colors, but haven’t found the time or the right replacement color. Plus, the red matches the brick and the rocks in the flowerbed. Red can mean any number of things: love, anger, jealousy, lust. This coat, fading and getting fainter, a pale puckered cherry sitting in the sopping remains of a sundae, is easy on the eyes and has come to stand for something akin to relief. Seeing the door, weary from the world outside, brings a comfort. It’s means the end of a journey, or the beginning of another.
     It’s a barrier, sure, but it also calls to be used.
     “Come in,” it says in its silent way.
     Or, “Go on out.”
     The golden doorknob glints in the spring sunshine, worn with use, scuffed but shining. The stained glass, which takes up the top-half of the door, tints the light passing through into blue and green and more red, casting the colors down onto the white tiled floor. I let my bare feet pass through the refracted light and strain to feel the difference in shade. Sometimes, I believe I can.

Coomer copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A.S. Coomer is a writer and musician. Books include Memorabilia, The Fetishists, Shining the Light, The Devil’s Gospel, The Flock Unseen, and others. Find him at and @ascoomer

(Author portrait by Adrian Lime.)


I’m Staring at the Door & God
by Gregory Brooks

that off-white frame is boring,
but I’m not allowed to paint it.
So I check my phone—
Where the hinges never stop
open, close, open, scroll.

The news is coming fast—
telling me to slow down.
The Oval Office is almost
the same shape as a Petri dish.
Am I touching my face too much?

Idle thoughts in quarantine—
These walls are softening around
my door, like butter into bread.
I’m panicking because the shelves
of my mind are being scavenged.

Right now, my door is a ventilator,
a promise of air on the way.
I’m afraid I’ll sleep through the knock—
So I’m wide awake, and staring.
God, maybe others are doing the same.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I consider myself a reader of poetry more than a writer, but on occasion I like to brave a blank page. It is amazing what inner demons can be exorcised with the right words. I believe everyone has an epic poem within them, and I love to encourage anyone who has written a poem to share it with the world. I like to share without shame.

Brooks 1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gregory Brooks is a Psychology student at Utah Valley University, with a special interest in how metaphors and stories can be used to heal. He currently serves as this semester’s head poetry editor for UVU’s literary journal, Touchstones. His poetry has been published in Utah Life Magazine, Touchstones, and Warp & Weave. You can find him online at @trashpoemgoblin on Twitter.

mars door
by Betsy Mars

The lower half is ornately carved,
fading under the filtered sunlight –
the fault lines of so many years

starved, of slamming doors, exits
and returns, trying to salvage
marriage again and again,
or just endure,

as disappointment
and need gave way

to grief, and then denial,
acceptance, before the final letting go.
But we’re isolated here together –

grieving again or still,
though the stained glass
the upper half is cracked –
and we coexist behind it,

still making do, still paired,
locked down against our will,
yet the amber light
flowing through still falls

warmly on the worn floor,
still draws a line
between them and me and you.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Betsy Mars is a prize-winning poet, an educator, photographer, and recent publisher whose first release, Unsheathed: 24 Contemporary Poets Take Up the Knife, came out in October 2019. Her work has been in The Blue Nib, The Ekphrastic Review, Panoplyzine, and Rattle (photography), to name a few. Her first chapbook, Alinea (Picture Show Press), came out in January 2019.

Welcome World to Our World
by Thomas R. Thomas

she is in her hospital bed
in our family room
now four months

and then
two years in the
hospital before this

and it’s not in fear
that I venture
out our door

yet in need
to buy our food
then venture back in

it’s just a bare barrier
a protection from
the world

yet we rely
on this door
for our shelter

and this has been our
quiet life for over
four months

world to our


I always want to challenge myself with my writing. Once I have mastered a form and have developed a poetic voice, I challenge myself to break the mold start new. That has not always been successful, apparently my voice still comes through.

Thomas R. Thomas publishes the small press Arroyo Seco Press. Publications include Carnival, Chiron Review, and Silver Birch Press. His books are Scorpio, Five Lines, Climbing Eternity, in which the world is turned upside down, the art of invisibility, Star Chasing, and The High Cost of Dying. His next book three on a wire from Tebot Bach will be out soon.

Author photo by Elder Zamora