Word Fountain, Fall 2011, Issue 5


CONTENTS, Word Fountain Fall 2011 Issue 5
Pedro Marrero Partridge Street  
Jami Kali I write about You  
Edward Lupico Neptune  
Robin Hazel Colored  
Alina Vitali Silly Bird  
Scott Zimmerman The Birds and the Trees  
Pedro Marrero In Terrible French  
Kayla Raniero The Scents, Sounds, and Tastes of Autumn  
Laurel Nestor Untitled  
Hannah Raineri Hidden Terror  
Guy James McKeown My Head Has Exploded  
Scott Zimmerman self-portrait  
Angela Greco A Plea  
Edward Lupico Spitting It Out  
Robin Hazel Gloria  
Rachael Goetzke This is not a poem about  Tori Amos  
Jami Kali Thrill of the quit  
Angela Greco All-Nighter  
Contributor bios    

Partridge Street  by Pedro Merrero

Always the uninvited guest.
I come without calling
And knock upon the door.

A little house on Partridge street
A few blocks from the stony stream.

She opens the door
And sees that I am unhappy;
Soaking wet a
Sad somber look
on my face

Melancholic rain.
5:33 in the afternoon
And I’ve been drinking.
She says, “Come in.”
And I stumble through the door
Into the warmth
Of her cozy living-room.

I apologize for interrupting
The invited guests
Who are already busy
Sipping their coffee
Or fixing some tea.

Undoubtedly the scent
I exude is that of a wet dog.

And she:

“This is the young man
I’ve been speaking of, the poet.”

And they all let out a collective:




I write about You by Jami Kali

I sit in chairs and write
Your name on papers
with many words, not one.

I lean on beds and type
Your face onto lives
that do not exist.

I lay on floors and make
love to Your thoughts as they
print themselves.
I walk on grass and revise
Your life endlessly
without consent.

I paint pictures with my eyes
to remember everything
You sometimes are.

I grant You immortality
for my own sake.


Neptune by Edward Lupico

East on I99
toward the teeth of morning
each line on the road
part of a code:
dashes to let you pass
and dots to unlock the eyelight;
mirrors shining from every angle.

off you go
too much to drink
off you go
and fall asleep

The ancients
peopled the stars
with unhidden heroes;
tiny whites bite the air;
the sky plunges beneath us too,
deep as it’s high.

Dawn spits us out
as the day gets on its way
and there is only the speed of night,
the speed away from light.

off you go
as I rethink
off you go
my soul to keep


Every day I would spend

on you.



Colored by Robin Hazel

Whoever decided to call us black people
wasn’t very artistic

He neglected to categorize our
undertones and overtones
(And even our color-change tones
in the summer)

I know true blue black negroes,
high yellow negroes,
and spice negroes
(cinnamon and nutmeg)

But I suppose I shouldn’t criticize
It was an accident that we got uniform
Instead of unified.


Silly Bird by Alina Vitali

Joan stared at her daughter’s confused expression. A grown woman and she could never keep track of anything. Now Jessica had misplaced her mother’s wireless phone receiver. Who knew where she’d put it?  Bad enough cleaning up after your children when they were children, but not when they were adults. “Where is it?” Joan asked. “Remember where you last saw it?”

“Mom, it was on the dining room table when I left yesterday. Now, it isn’t there. I haven’t touched it.” Jessica walked into the living room. “What’s your suitcase doing out here?”

Joan followed her daughter. The morning light barely threaded through the blinds, stretching broken stripes over the furniture in a chaotic pattern. Her red carry-on stood, half-zipped, in the middle of the floor. It belongs in the back bedroom closet. She didn’t     remember lending it to Jessica, but she must have….and now Jessica had brought it back and      forgotten to put it away. The girl had been raised    better than that.

Jessica picked up the suitcase and set it on the wingback chair. She frowned.

“Now what?” Joan asked.

Jessica unzipped the case and opened it. The   missing phone lay nestled in the bottom. A small red light blinked—the receiver’s battery had run down.

Joan stared. “Why would you put the phone in there? I’m not into playing games, Jessica. I need my phone. What would happen if there was an emergency and you weren’t around? Did you ever think of that?”

Joan shuddered. Why is she doing this?

As she looked at her daughter’s face—a study of weary misery—the younger woman’s eyes welled up with tears. Joan swallowed the rest of her lecture. Poor thing. Something is wrong. I’ll  call Dr. Cohen later. He’ll know what to do. She watched Jessica set the phone on its recharging base in the hall. The    hungry indicator flashed green, sucking power in.

Joan shuffled to the kitchen, picked up a mug, and filled it with tap water.

Jessica followed. “What’re you doing?”

“The begonia’s withered. I forgot to water it.”  She stepped to the window, drew the draperies back, then stopped. Wilted yellow leaves drifted to the floor, mingling with pink petals fallen from brittle arched stems. The soil glistened, moisture darkened the clay pot, and water overflowed the saucer, staining the wall and dribbling on the floor.

“Jessica, honey, you already watered it. Why    didn’t you say so, silly bird?” Joan turned to get a   paper towel.

“I didn’t…wait, I got it.” Jessica bent over and wiped the small puddle off the floor with a tissue. “Got a tight schedule today, Mom. Let me get the laundry started.”

“I did it yesterday, honey.” Joan returned to the living room, sat in the recliner, and pulled the       Japanese red and black throw over her legs.

Jessica carried an armful of rumpled clothing and linens into the living room and dropped the heap in  the middle of the floor. “Is this all of it?” Her salt- and-pepper hair fell away from her face as she straightened.

Jessica looks so old. Is she ill?

“I just did the wash, silly bird.” Joan got up.  Something’s not right. She wandered over to the phone table in the dark hall, running her finger over a palm-size brown phone book and a dozen  yellow sticky notes—Water the begonia, turn off the stove…she craned her neck to see if the stove was off. Well, of course it was. Jessica wrote these… Joan recognized her daughter’s scrambled printing.

She looked at the notes. One yellow square stuck above the others. She grabbed the phone and dialed. After a series of rings, Danny answered. “Hi, Grandma!”

Joan smiled. “Hi honey. Can I speak to your mom?”

“Mom went to see you, Gran!”

“Oh…” Joan lowered the receiver and stared at it. Jessica reached around from behind her and took the receiver.

“It’s okay, Mom. Come sit down.” She cupped a warm, soft palm around Joan’s elbow and led her back to the recliner.

“I need to call Dr. Cohen.” Joan said. Something was very wrong. The doctor, her good friend, would help her sort it out.

“You have an appointment with Dr. Patel on Wednesday,” Jessica said.

Joan shook her head. She remembered another  reason why she needed to call the doctor. “No, Dr. Cohen is supposed to give me some test results, silly bird.”

“Mom, like I told you last week—Dr. Cohen died ten years ago.”



The Birds and the Trees by Scott Zimmerman

There’s a tree outside
my window.

The leaves flutter
with the breeze.
and I think there’s a bird
in that tree
whose wings are also
fluttering. but I
can’t tell if it’s a robin
or a sparrow
or a finch
because I don’t know
my birds.

I don’t know my trees either.



In Terrible French by Pedro Merrero

It wasn’t the persistent tick of the clock
On the nightstand next to me
That made me think of death.

It wasn’t the spider quietly spinning
Her delicate web in the corner of the ceiling,

Nor the dying glow of a cigarette
About to meet its end as it hangs
Between life and death
Between my fingertips.

It was an unfinished poem I found today,
Hidden away among old notes.

Lines to a girl living
In some small unknown town in France.

A note that read like love, like love
Written in terrible French.



The Scents, Sounds, and Tastes of Autumn:

A Haiku Collection by Kayla Raniero

Children jump in leaves
Taking in the scent of fall
Breathing autumn air

Jackets now are worn
With cozy earmuffs and hats
Fuzzy mittens too

Fall cake freshly baked
With raisins, nuts and carrots
And cream-cheese frosting

Roasting marshmallows
Warming up by the fire
Talking and laughing

Picking a pumpkin
Trying to find the biggest
At the pumpkin patch

The homecoming game
School spirit at pep rallies
And highschool football

Scary ghosts and ghouls
Doing tricks to get their treats
On Halloween night

Hot sweet pumpkin pie
With cinnamon and nutmeg
And soft flaky crust

Fun in the corn maze
Trying to find a way out
Running through cornstalks

Scent of rich sweetness
I sip the steaming cocoa
The mug warms my hands

Spices of autumn
Nutmeg and sugar
And cinnamon and cloves too

Sweet apple donuts
With juicy apple cider
So chewy and moist

Colors all over
Like red, orange, yellow and green
Decorate the trees

Leaves fluttering down
Crispy crunch under my feet
Blanketing the ground



Untitled by Laurel Nestor

I never spoke much verbally, but in the written word I spoke volumes.

Though THOUGHT was managed in every word, a decent writer is unique, whereas a person with hands can sculpt or paint or someone with working legs can run.

Though everything a writer puts out is criticized and not given as much credit as the fastest boy at the track meet, nor the girl who won the art show.

They pour their whole soul in the feeble hope some one will pick up on the plot or moral that was intended by the author, because it is what they (the writer) loves.

They push through the mental blocks in an attempt to meet deadlines so that they pay the rent on time.

Though as much as it can frustrate them they think of what they have gone through and wonder how they made it this far.

They are strong and still manage to be free spirits though the American people tear their works apart by picking apart every witticism or flaw the work may not even have.


Hidden Terror by Hannah Raineri

Deep inside the anger burns.
To reach the surface is what it yearns.
Going over the edge, and starting to pour,
waiting for an open door.
Down in the mind of the terror’s beholder,
It sits perched on the mind’s right shoulder.
It fills the soul and paints it black.
Once the barrier breaks, there is no turning back.
Chained, locked, and to soon break free.
Though once it does, everybody must flee.
It breaks its chains and all flows out,
Making its host scream and shout.
Once it’s free and out of the mind,
The person returns back to mankind.
No need to be a bad news bearer,
But everyone holds this hidden terror.



My Head Has Exploded by Guy James McKeown

Too many lies made my head explode
Out came multi-colored marbles that rolled
across the road
Out came butterflies that danced upon the air
My head has exploded and I don’t really care

Too many lies made my head explode
Out came spoken words written in a code
Out came a singular entity—that was two of a kind
My head has exploded and I don’t really mind

Too many lies made my head explode
Out came a perfect world, only to implode
Out came total reason—as silly as can be
My head has exploded and that’s o.k. with me

Too many lies are bad for one’s head
Your skin grows sallow, your eyes go dead
If you’re being lied to—try to break that mode
You might just hear that final lie that
makes your head explode



Spitting It Out by Edward Lupico

I don’t write about hope
because I’ve never reached it;
at each approach
I’ve been spurned.
I know its standard formulas,
the mixes and matches
that signify this exaltation;
the prayers and prizes;
the gift unearned.
But they are construction paper colors
that vanish when wet or ignited,
not worth the effort
of blunt-scissoring into the shape
we think we see.
I write words I was taught
and words I learned.
I write with a tongue
that was badly burned.


Gloria by Robin Hazel

I buried my grandmother
The young bury the old

Her funeral card said something about
The Comfort and Sweetness of Peace

My cousins kept it real,
I just want my grandmother back

I, on the other hand
Providing the comfort and sweetness and peace
I will always have her
No longer in body, but always in spirit


But sometimes I just don’t feel it.



This is not a poem about Tori Amos by Rachael Goetzke

Tori taught me about
Red-headed envy
And the lusty animal
music must be

She sits across from me at my kitchen table
Playing piano in my cup of tea
I wasted my piano lesson money
Sorry, Ma.

Maybe I can be the piano bench instead
So I can feel the greatness of her
Dancing across the
Ivory fields
Like a sweet
Summer breeze swaying in the wheat

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life
But I want Tori Amos for a wife
The holy, living water
Clearing my head, stealing my breath
And if this is the end—what a sweet
And forgiving death



Thrill of the Quit by Jami Kali

To Nirvana with a bag slung on my back.
The wind burns faces faster than fire.
To Nirvana to dodge Karma and make wishes.
Her shot through the heart tore a hole the size of her lips.
Knees drag under sun. Eyes rest beside branches.
Initials scar the hallow bark.

Nirvana isn’t everything. An empty freedom is here
in my head.



All-Nighter by Angela Greco

Leaving the library
Birds greet me with song
Essay’s conclusion is sunrise



Contributor Bios

Rachael Goetzke is co-founder and Managing Editor of Word Fountain.  She hails from the Blue Ridge Mountains (VA).  Her poetry and prose have been published in Word Fountain, The Cohort Review and Ripasso.  By January 2012, she will have her MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes  University.  For more of her musical musings, please visit: http://kindalikeapoet.wordpress.com/

Angela Greco was born and raised in northeastern PA. When she was 17, she won first place in a Pennsylvania poetry society contest for a  Petrarchan sonnet. These days, she organizes a  local book club and enjoys reading modern haiku.

Robin Hazel is a co-editor of Word Fountain, actress, writer and stand-up comedian. She is young, gifted, and black. Follow her on Twitter: @Heffa_Please (Simply to stroke her ego. She seldom tweets.)

Jami Kali sat on a roadside mountain cliff. She was higher than a colossal blanket of rolling clouds that shaded the valley below. Like waves of an ocean (in slow motion), particles whisked and whirled through the trees. She watched until finally, this monstrous sea of the sky swallowed the setting sun. You can find her work online at JamiKali.com. And while you’re at it, read her magazine, The Vein, at TheVeinZine.blogspot.com.

Edward Lupico writes in Wilkes-Barre.

Pedro Marrero was born and raised in New York City. His biggest influences include, but are not limited to: John Ashbery, Wendell Berry, Louis Aragon, Robert Desnos, and Jules Supervielle.

Guy James McKeown has been a resident of Wilkes-Barre for two years. He is an assistant manager at Crossing Over on S. Main St. His hobbies include reading and running, both of which he does every day. He first tried his hand at poetry in the summer of 2011.

Laurel Leigh-Anne Nestor is a writer who writes a lot of fiction. She’s a Libra with a dog. She is 14 and lives with her dad in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Hannah Raineri  is 14 and a freshman at G.A.R.   Junior/Senior High School. Writing has always been one of her favorite hobbies, and she has a passion for it. She has been writing her whole life, and wishes to become an author as her career.

Kayla Raniero  is a sophomore at Meyers High School where she is involved in drama club,  chorus, FBLA, color guard, key club, yearbook staff, student council, and school newspaper.  She also takes voice lessons, and performs with Music Box, Little Theater, Arts Youniverse, KISS, Misfits, and various open mike nights.

Alina Vitali grew up in the former Soviet Union and moved to America in 2000. Currently she lives in Tampa, FL. Her job as a therapist for children with severe emotional disorders prompted her to seek more tranquil activities, like gardening, or working on her MA in Creative Writing at Wilkes University.

Scott Zimmerman is a resident of Wilkes-Barre whose poems have previously appeared in Word Fountain. His poetry is self-prescribed and the only therapy that’s worked so far.


Inquiries & Submissions:
Osterhout Free Library
Attn: Word Fountain
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Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
Phone: 570-823-0156
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Submission Guidelines:

Original writings of 1,000 words or less.

Open genre (fiction, non-fiction, essays, poetry.)

Complete contact info must be submitted with your entry.
(Name, address, phone number.  Email is optional.)

Please include a bio of 100 words or less.

You retain the rights to your work after publication.

By submitting you are giving us permission to display your
work in print as well as online.

Submission does not guarantee publication.  All entries
are carefully reviewed by a literary team.

Originals will only be returned if you include a
self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE).

We may make minor edits to spelling and spacing.
Please make note of intentional unique spellings.  We will try to
keep the spacing as exact as possible, especially for poetry.

Word Fountain is a non-profit publication created by staff at the Osterhout Free Library.

To be considered for the spring issue, please submit works no later than the second Friday in March.We accept submissions on a rolling basis and print regular issues in April and October each year.

To be considered for the fall issue, please submit works no later than the second Friday in September.

Word Fountain Editors
Rachael Goetzke
Robin Hazel
Edward Lupico
Sylvia Orner

The editors thank Catherine Yavorchak for her assistance with this issue.