Tagged poems

I am From Train Tracks and Busy Streets

by Vivian

I am from train tracks and busy streets.

From motorcycles rides through the city and instant noodles,
The tofu on the streets that caused a round stomach – a baby so pure and so innocent.

I am from red velvet slippers and jumping rope in the courtyard.
From the big, mean girls who never let anyone play with their toys,
Their leader climbing up the stairs to the yellow slide after me, anger – infused face.

The slow-motion face plant as I hit the ground, leading to the broken arm in a cast.

I am from middle school “glo-ups” and makeup bags.
There’s always a first time for everything, baby girl not so innocent anymore.

From highlights to lipsticks, eye-shadow to contour.
The first pebble of insecurity, now towering like mountains.

I am from the stress tearing me apart between good grades or popularity.

“You need to do better. Universities look at this, you know?”
“Be cute, be hard to get, be confident. But watch out for Mackenzie.”
Those small little slip – ups that seem like the end of the world but actually aren’t.

I am from Gingham, Juno, and Lark.

The perfect filter – maybe X – Pro Valencia – or how ‘bout Skyline? Nah, #Nofilter.

Having to capture the perfect meal, posing with the perfect body, living the perfect Instagram life.

The staged smile on the girl holding plastic flowers pretending to be happy. No, no! I don’t want to be her!

I am from Grey’s Anatomy and Disney movies.
To grow up and help the needy, to cure diseases, to advise medicine.
To escape with the rose, flee with two glass slippers, and not kiss the frog.

Wanting to be my own woman, to do something better for the world, without Prince Charming.

I am from the fascinating world of medicine.
To witness the very first breath to the last dying breath, not just once, but a million.

That “tears and smiles” moment in life when joy and pain are seen together, holding hands.

To experience a miracle of a lifetime, or to mourn beside a deathbed.

I am from greatness and failure.
I still have a lot to learn, with many mistakes and failure along the way.

Embarking on a journey to find the meaning of life, every moment leading from:

I am from train tracks and busy streets.

Book Review: Scraps of Love


Scraps of Love, Shann Tajiah

PJ Review Score: 3/5

3: 🙂
4: 😊
5: 😲 


Scraps of Love: Poetry From the Darkest Night 1992 – 2010, is a poetry collection written by Shann Tajiah and published in 2018 by Ithirial Rising Press. The collection is organized logically, starting with the table of contents, followed by an interesting foreword. The table of contents is made up of twelve chapters, all of which are organized in reverse chronological order from dates 2010 and 1997.

As the title suggests, Scraps of Love focuses on the pain of human existence, fear of the unknown, and love of things and people that are familiar. The poetry emphasizes visceral emotions, which stems from the emotional struggles that the writer has experienced or witnessed. From the foreword, the reader can surmise that the writer put a lot of thought and care into this book.

Additional Information

There are several groups of poems for each year, each with distinct titles. The poems themselves seem to match the overall themes of the year. Each year has a short title or phrase that the poems beyond will follow.  For example, the following poem, ‘Naked,’ falls under ‘2002,’ which is titled ‘Life is Written in Ink.’

“The fog is lifting / burned away by a hotter face. Naked now / I stand, my robes gone…”

The next quote is from ‘1999,’ titled ‘Lost Soul.’

“Ashes to ashes / dust to dust / the end of life. The circle will never be broken / one must live / one must die.”

Like most poetry these days, Scraps of Love is made up of mostly free verse poetry. There are simple rhymes in some poems, but mostly, the poems enjoy free reign from metered constraints. The above quotes are an example of Tajiah’s poetry – minimalist, but with echoing emotions and implied endings. Poetry written in this way is something to be enjoyed, at least every now and then, even by people who prefer metered rhymes.


Scraps of Love has a few quirks, such as, misspelled words in some titles. However, it’s a solid poetry collection with poems written with great care. If you’re interested in reading this book, you can buy it on Amazon. It has a nice book trailer that you can watch on Youtube.

Further Reading:

Book Review: Cadence

Note: This review was submitted by a guest writer who has some association to this book.

by Mark Kodama

I just finished reading Cadence, a book of poetry edited by Grant Hudson and written by members of the Inner Circle Writer’s Group.  It is a best seller in France.  The anthology includes my poem, “The Tortoise and the Thoroughfare.”  Poetry, for many people, unlike prose, is an acquired taste.  Oftentimes, you need to read the poem two, three or more times to really appreciate its power, meaning and beauty.  But the extra time it takes has it rewards.  And Cadence really has something to offer every one.
The book was published by Clarendon House Publications and is available through Lulu.com.

The subject matter of these seven-seven poems range from life, death, love and everything in between.  There were epic stories, acrostic verses and villanelles.  My very favorite poems – and there were many – were “The Dawn of Another day, Another Bed Free” by Steve Edwards, “Robbed” by A.K. Hata, “Free Falling Eagles” by Julie Eger and “The Mirror” by Anglika Delf.  The poems speak for themselves:

“The Dawn of Another day, Another Bed Free” by Steve Edwards

“I don’t have a camera but instead I use a pen.

Another pheasant squawks as the clouds become a brighter red

Red sky in the morning, farmers say.

One less today, as dad slips away.”

The end of a life, but a good dawn, it’ll be a lovely day.

Everything will be okay.

“Robbed” by A.K. Hata

On his face, such a peaceful countenance,

agleam by the dying sun’s last light,

Missing movement gives doubt sustenance,

his beloved soul has taken flight.

Deserted his body, eternal night.

“Free Falling Eagles” by Julie Eger

“Milliseconds before they plunge to their death

She lifts off to the east and he to the west

While I stand alone, in awe, impressed.”

“The Mirror” by Anglika Delf

“Look in the mirror, what do you see?

What a ‘broken heart’? A ‘worthless?’ A ‘no one to be’?

“You may not believe me, but I certainly know

Behind all this sorrows, lies a beautiful soul.” 

Note: This review was submitted by a guest writer who has some association to this book.

Book Review: Behold

Behold, Rikke Delhi

PJ Review Score: 4/5

3: 🙂
4: 😊
5: 😲 


Rikke Dehli is a Danish author of Behold, a poetry collection filled with free verse poetry published in November of 2017. Behold is Rikke Dehli’s first published poetry collection.

The cover art is unique and simplistic. It’s a good representation of the poems that can be found within the book itself.


Before delving into this book, it’s important to be aware of several artistic elements that Rikke Dehli employed. First, the book is made up entirely of free verse poems. Each poem has it’s own personality, as far as structure goes. No poem is structured the same in this book. As far as structure goes, there is no pattern. You may be able to say that the pattern here is that there is no pattern. Picture a canvas in which the artist lets the brush lead, instead of her leading the brush. Rikke Dehli’s poems are written in this way.

Further adding to the lack of pattern and doing away with convention, Rikke Dehli boldly omitted titles. She makes a note of this, insisting that readers simply ignore the convention. The reasoning behind the decision to omit poem titles is left entirely up to the reader.

At this point, if you’re a traditionalist, then you’re probably cringing. As a traditionalist, I was not sure what to think. I read through each poem rather quickly, learning to ignore the lack of titles and structure. Once I did, I noticed that Rikke Dehli’s decision was, perhaps, full of symbolism. Instead of interpreting each poem individually, it’s important to read all the poems as a holistic piece.

It’s clear that Rikke Dehli believes in the significance of personal interpretations. She doesn’t want the reader to be bogged down by details that would imply certain meanings, such as the titles of poems. She wants the reader to dive into Behold, and resurface with their own unique thoughts about each poem.

Behold is a holistic poetry collection that delves into the human experience, from the perspective of a young adult female. Each poem tackles the complex emotions of heartache, loss, and love. The poems lack any clear resolutions, which further echoes the realities of the human emotional experience. Take, for example, this poem on the back cover:

“Your lips strike me as poisonous
So I kiss them even harder
They taste so familiar
In the worst possible way.
The taste rings up the echo of someone else
Inside me
And I try my best to pretend
I don’t hear a sound. ”


Behold is an interesting read, to say the least. If you’re an avid poetry collector who collects unique poems, then I would recommend adding Behold to your collection. However, Behold can also be enjoyed by anyone who is a lover of art, and freedom of expression. You can purchase it through Amazon.

Engaging Reads:

Las Vegas Tales VIV

Bill DeSelms II
The Newspaper Reporter Prologue: The Business

by Mark Kodama

My first job was the police beat.
That’s where you either sink or swim.
I remember I once covered
A search and rescue launched
for a missing woman and child.

A few days later they found their bodies.
I was so angry
Those incompetents.
I didn’t want my story to end like that.
Dick White said “Kid, don’t take things so personally.”

Last week, a woman had a fight here with her husband.
She took her two small children with her into the desert.
They found her five-year-old boy about five miles from here.
He was dead.
They found her body with the infant a mile away.
Twenty years later, the same story, the same ending.

My next job was at UPI,
Covering Governor Romney in Lansing.
We were always smaller than AP.
After press conferences, we would race to get our stories out.
AP had a reporter.
He drank heavily, but boy could he write.
I dropped him at his house once.
It was in a nice neighborhood.
And his was the only yard unkept.
In his house, he had closets and closets
Full of shoes.
He ran over a kid.
Killed him.

After that he would never
Let his wife out of his house.
Once we were covering a Michigan state football game,
After the game, he stood over me as I was finishing my story.
“C’mon, c’mon, c’mon,” he said.
His eyes were wide and saliva dripped from his mouth.
His hands began to shake.

After I sent my story, we rushed to the bar.
When we were served our beers, he gulped down his.
Such a look of relief came over his face.
He grabbed the waitress and said “Wow, look at those tits.”
I thought “Boy.” Ten year later there I was.

Once I interviewed Richard Nixon at the airport.
It was after he lost to John Kennedy.
One of Johnson’s men had been caught
In a public bathroom with another man.
When I asked him about it,
He hunched over and began to hunker down.

My biggest scoop was about a scandal
At the National Guard.
After a year, I went to work as a flack.
When I went to see my former friends at UPI,
I learned right away I was no longer one of them.
Wow. I was no longer part of the business.

My life in public relations was a bore
But it paid me better than the business.
I got married and we had a daughter.
But it was the sixties.
You know freedom riders, civil rights
Vietnam and assassinations.
And of course free love.

One time my little daughter Marguerite
Saw me on the television.
She asked me how I got so small.
At that time, the revolution was coming.
Well, it came and went.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
I started drinking and fooling around.
One time, Marguerite caught me
In the bedroom with another woman.
I kept telling her “I was not that kind of guy!”
When I was married, my wife would always nag me.

The funny thing is when you are alone its worse:
Nobody cares.
I drank and I drank and then lost my job.
And then I lived on the streets.
Finally I had a heart attack.
As they wheeled me in to surgery,
I prayed to God for another chance.

Well, I gave up drinking and women.
I joined alcoholics anonymous.
I started a garden.
Have you ever planted seeds
And then watch them grow?
If you don’t believe in God,
Raise a garden then decide.

My wife bought me a car and new clothes.
And then I returned to do what I loved best:
Working in the business.
I got a job at the Columbus Dispatch.
And afterwards, came out west.

And now here I am.
I once met a lawyer.
After I wrote a story,
He said I misquoted him.
He then said I made grammatical errors.
So I asked whether he was a literary critic too.

That’s what I like about the business,
We always get the last word.
My poem is about the business,
Freedom of the press,
And the First Amendment,
About the very best
In a great tradition.

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Las Vegas Tales VIII

Bill DeSelms I
The Newspaper Reporter Prologue: The Business

by Mark Kodama


What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If
men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern
men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.

James Madison

Two movie houses, one closed, and four restaurants lined Main Street. We pulled
into a restaurant bar called Sauce and Pepper, next to the House of the Seven Lepers, for a soda, quick lunch and gas.

Dylan, a balding portly man, was the barkeep
He claimed four day jobs and to never sleep.
He was a little middle-aged man about yea high.
Sporting an awful sweater and an even worse tie.
He claimed two Ph.Ds and a law degree;
And two rich girlfriends of whom no one ever sees.

The first was a Danish fairy tale heiress
The second, a blond Russian mob princess,
Dylan said: “When her thug husband threatened me
I responded by demanding that he should flee.
I put my finger in his face ‘Do you think I am afraid of you?
I used to wrestle in high school.’

“I told my two lovers: ‘I know I’m worth it but please no strife.
Resolve your differences in a tete a tete.
To decide what part of me each one gets.’”
I said: “‘Sorry for my sangfroid;
But might I suggest a ménage a trois.’
Marriage is not in my DNA, not in my bones
Like my namesake said: ‘I’m a rolling stone.’”

We moved from the bar into the shaded courtyard. There was a small stage in
the corner. The musician set up on the stage and began playing “Norwegian Wood” on his
acoustic guitar.

At a table in the small courtyard, a thin, dapper middle-aged man with a craggy
face and short gray hair sat alone in a booth. He wore a freshly pressed dress shirt with a
frayed collar and old tie. A book was on the table: Raymond Chandler’s Farewell My
Lovely. He ordered “an unsweetened ice tea with a twist of lemon.” He was eating lunch
with a shaggy red-haired photographer with a goat beard named Fred.

We asked him his name. He was Bill DeSelms, a newspaper reporter from the paper, the Desert Dispatch. He said he covered city hall, about a mile away, on the hill,
up the street. In the distance was a massive rail yard.

Bill suggested the tuna melt or perhaps the breakfast burrito. I ordered the tuna
melt with French fries and an ice tea with a twist of lemon.

We asked them to join our small company. They agreed.

My name is Bill DeSelms,
No, I am not the editor,
I am just a reporter,
You know “Jus’ the facts Mam”
That’s me.

Boy, I love the business.
How did I get here?
How did I not get here?
This is California, man.
I was born in Brooklyn, New York.
My mother was French Canadian.
She used to tell me in French:
“I love you, I adore you,
You are all mine.”

Never met my father.
He was a mustang in the Marines Corps.
That’s a Marine who rose through ranks
To become an officer.
He was killed at Iwo Jima
In ’45, trying to take Mount Suribachi.
He is buried at the Punch Bowl in Hawaii.
I am gonna to see him some day.

I joined the Marines myself when I came of age.
Spent my time on search and destroy missions in the Philippines.
Surprised? Yes, we burned villages looking for communists.
You don’t believe me?
Well, as we say in the business,
Never let the facts get in the way
Of a good story.

I was busted down for pulling a knife on a redneck cracker.
He was from Louisiana
He talked like he had shit in his mouth.
When I got out of the Corps,
I got a job at the Cheyenne Eagle.
Dick White was the City Editor.
Dick was also from the Corps.
He used to tell me I was just made for the business.
He also taught me the finer things.
Dick liked literature and things like the Opera.
I used to think that was sissy shit.

But afterwards it made me think
‘Well, maybe there was something to this.’
Dick White was a real man, an educated man.
Once he took me to see Billie Holiday.
I told her, “Hey, you sing pretty good.”
At the time, I did not know who she was.

When I first worked for the Eagle,
I had to write an obit.
When I misspelled the dead man’s name,
Dick White took me aside.
He said, “Look, people keep these things
In their family Bible.
Besides, you don’t want to lose your job.”

Continue reading this poem, here.

For Princess Miah

by Mark Kodama

I am a ballerina dancing in the sky,
Looking down at my audience from on high.
I rule from a castle at the edge of the woods,
Where the house of Hansel and Gretel once stood.

I have one thousand and one peppermint soldiers,
Who follow my each and every order.
Pirates, sharks and ruffians beware,
I will throw you in jail if you dare.

I love to eat chocolate ice cream bears,
And pepperoni pizza served in squares,
And drink root beer vanilla floats,
While swimming in my castle moat.

My dad and mom think they know more than me,
But little do they know, I’m the queen bee.
Uncle Mark, I would like to stay but I must go
My dad and mom are here and I love them so.