Spring 2013, Issue No. 8

Word Fountain: Spring 2013 Issue No. 8

Rachael Goetzke
Iris Johnston
Edward Lupico

A Winter Conversation        
by Dawn Leas

Under a full moon, dim stars blur
as if brushed-stroked across the black
sky. She idles in a dark car. Shivering
from winter’s edge, she rests her head

against the frosted window, watches new
snow skittering across icy drifts. Phone
cradled on her shoulder she closes her eyes
to listen, spring just far enough away to want.



small press                 
by Rachael Goetzke

much worth flows from


small book


words in print
beside my work




by Alexandria Smith


in the days when we would

 whisper to the sea

loveliness rolling off of our tongues

 and into the deep as salt entered our bodies

 and air filled our lungs

making impressions we intended to keep


like beautiful truths

on beaded skin

puckered and


from the resting water

and glowing sun


a delicate feather

across smooth hips

new and trembling

beneath traces of sand

on heavy limbs; ton


reflected in the

beloved stones of the

shore, unblemished and

free as we whispered

to the sea


For the Man in the Museum          
by David J. Bauman

            Not in July or any month

                have I had the pleasure—if it is a pleasure—

                Of fishing on the Susquehanna.

                                —Billy Collins


Kayaking on the Susquehanna—

now that’s a pleasure—in July or

any month lacking ice or floods.


I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a painting

of someone kayaking on the Susquehanna,

or any Pennsylvania waters for that matter.


My body feels it now, the ache that pushes

muscles as I row this rocking rhythm,

the meter of my stroke a little off—


two beats to port for each at starboard.

This fat little sit-on-top is made

for ocean waves, not upstream track.


But it’s the only kayak I own, so I row

on the Susquehanna, my backyard stream.

This far north of Harrisburg where West


meets North, the water’s deep, at least

when the dam is up. It’s inflatable, you know,

like the ego of poets who don’t know


about boats or bats that swoop past,

or fishing poles, or calloused hands,

curved paddles that dip and scoop,


and dribble Susquehanna into your lap.

It’s dusk; two ducks, and a loon flap past,

wings nearly tipping the waves. I tire and drift


the way we poets do when we’ve pushed

the pen too hard, and need to let

the stream find us again.


The slow current spins me facing downstream,

toward a low waxing moon, and even the rise

of countless mayflies doesn’t hide the glow


of pink sky above a bank of jumbled trees.

I imagine, as I glide toward shore,

a man in a museum, mind adrift,


gazing at a picture of a stranger

kayaking on the Susquehanna.

He senses something he has missed,


and thinks to write of his regret,

fleeting as a Pennsylvania rabbit,

briefly mourning a euphoria he’ll never know.


Shoulders sore, a setting sun, the moon

and first few stars hover over slow

roving water. Up ahead a bass jumps


for the day’s last fly. From far away I feel

his gaze. I pull my body up and out, and tug

the craft to ground, dripping the river behind me.




by Luciana Celestine   


When I forced my way into this world

The doctor neglected to mention

To my trembling father

And blood and sweat slicked mother

That by virtue of my birth

I had a 100% chance of dying


There is dust

There is ash

And somewhere in between

There I was


A delicate orchid

One soft frost away from its last sunrise

A precious artifact

Dug up from so much dirt

A find so rare that any archeologist would

Pulverize Nefertiti’s bones just to lay such a claim


De rigeur paces

A missed step here

A standing ovation there

A feeling in the pit of my being

That could lay a black hole to waste


Always dark spots near young stars


For thirty-three years

I have smiled like I’m brain damaged


My teeth bleached white like

Some old whale bones

Washed ashore

Baked in the sun

Picked clean of all life



Ova            by Iris Johnston


Her hand, like Lavinia’s, washed and trimmed.

Indelible jam on the face of a boy.

An old man, his eye sockets empty as Easter eggs,

their precious contents plundered.


I will make you a list of terrible things, of

Events With Huge Numbers,

catastrophes, governments, of

all the ways someone might hurt you.


I forbid you from being a genius, a drunk.

I will never let you wrinkle.

I will slip you in my pocket like a library card

for a book I have hidden under the shelves

so that no one will read you, smudge your poems,

or clip and cherish them, or

love you any more than I. 




On Selecting Optics               
by David J. Bauman

We’re talking birds of prey, right?
Migrants—so we’re talking distance;
you’ll need high power, but not too high.
What enlarges the image increases that shake;
your unsteady hand blurs the image. So buy

lightweight. You might consider a scope;
for those hawk-ish specks soaring far.
The tripod should be sturdy; it’s windy
on the ridge. Again, the shake, the blur.
And don’t let your eyes strain

to compensate for quality. Consider
the prisms, lens coatings, how much
you want to spend. Migration means
there’s so much sky to scan, so
choose a wider field of view. Tricky,

these contraptions—no matter how close
you feel, how crisp, how clear you see,
there will always be that bird you missed.
A Merlin on the wrong side of the ridge,
wings tucked into a glide, sails south and fast,

unconcerned about your careful records.
An east-strayed Swainson slips by, on long
pointed wings while, eyes turned west, you
are distracted by the glinting white head
of a Bald Eagle, perfectly framed in the glass.




The 6:45 Train             
by Dawn Leas


She drinks the bright warmth

waiting, always waiting,

for tomorrow and the late-train

whistle signaling his arrival.


(An idea catches her attention

drawing her closer to movement.)


Unknowingly, he transforms with each

passing mile while replaying their early

morning goodbye. As he steps onto the solid

wood platform, it never occurs to him


that she’s done waiting.





by Carol MacAllister & Adrian Spendlow


And through the haze appears

times that have been.

They call to us,

So often unheard

in haunting whispers

transcending words,

‘i hear’, ‘i hear’

one’s inner voice reminds
lacing through from other times.

An ageless sense of self is seen,

Is living merely lucid dreams,


Remembrance echoes from before

and memories ebb

our future lore.





Rapunzel                       by Iris Johnston


They tell me you died with your hand on your heart,

and nobody found you for days.

That’s what you pay

for the privilege of life in a land

where nobody knows your English name

and yours are the only blue eyes around.


Your mother wore poppies to honor your absence.

What do you care about poppies?

Your eyes and nose are cinders in the guts of whales.

Your sister told stories of newspaper suits,

of handmade capes,

manta ray trainers in ecru and pine.

But your shoulders now wear nothing but ocean,

you need no more hobbies to soothe nervous hands,

and your millions have purchased

their last pair of shoes.

Save one.

Some Stuart Weitzman loafers

tastefully tasseled, the color of tea,

with just enough sass

that all will believe

“these are the shoes my son bought for me.”




by Lino

Yes, I am insanely jealous
of every snaggle-toothed
lucky son of a bitch
who gets to buy some useless crap,
present it with flowers stolen
from neighbors’ gardens,
make awkward conversation
that skitters around the edges
of old disappointments,
over overcooked beef and
mashed potatoes,
making no effort to resist
the barely understood
gravitational pull of
unconditional love.




by Alexandria Smith


Is there a possibility

that the circles beneath your eyes

are not from lack of sleep

but from a lack of


Me, standing there

in absolute uncertainty

Uncertain Possibility

Not knowing where to go

or where you’re going

Like waking up way too late

or spilling coffee on your shirt

No, it’s not like that all


But is there a possibility

that the shake in your hand

is not from a plan that

refuses to unfurl

but from the absence of



A girl, you could say that

The first but not quite the last

but maybe the only one

with loving eyes and

tender charm

Uncertain Possibility

Like missing your flight

or forgetting your change

No, it’s not like that all


And is there a possibility

that the ache in your chest

is not from the arrival of

the rest of your book

but from a lack of


A part that you took,

the second time we met

Uncertain Possibility

Not knowing if

we’ll like it without it

Like saying too much

Or not enough

No, it’s not like that at all




Francis of Assisi to His Cat             
by Bill Harrison


“O Brother Cat, we have lived long together.

Woeful watch we kept

 at the passing of our parrot brother.

Mournful vigil we observed

over the cold corpse of our canine sister.

Your icy eyes watch intently

as my frail fingers speed

over the beads

of the Sorrowful Mysteries.

When alone you continually cry.

Are you as aware of your mortality

 as I am of mine?”




by Ray Gibson

A film is a dream that you pay to have
together in the dissevering dark
before walking into the other dark:—–
shifting foregrounds of crowd on nights stars pave.

Somewhere between, immersed by silver waves,
from the other side of the screen that spark
of isolate lucidity—–so stark,
so brief—–reflected back to your eye’s grasp.

Then, you surfaced to your separate selves
to sleep and dream again, but alone now;
this lens—–like a Janus—–can backward delve,

become the auteur unseen and unfelt
in waking life, through a sight which somehow
wouldn’t be the same for anyone else.




by Stef Szymanski


He has me

brush his hair smooth

after I kiss his lips raw.

He teaches me his art —

the mastery of messing it up,

the method to looking mad.


I have him

brush my own straight

after our mouths finish growing cold.

He untangles my knots

with the delicate cut of a comb.

The shock of comfort subsides.


When he’s gone

I see strands of our hair

twisted around each other,

clinging to the bristles,

and I know that

there are thousands of ways

to hold someone.




Shaxper 449                 
by Edward Lupico


The moon rose o’er England

that faraway night, yanking the tide of thought

into the mortise and tenon of centuries:

how we speak.

Know this: they are merely words.


Let the record show:

bells tollèd o’er the Avon when you were born,

when you couplèd, when you sirèd, when you expirèd.

Now we find you a grave man in Stratford,

cultivating sober weeds

under a slab of doggerel undisturbèd.


Your character set this stage:

grace and rude will

(the naysayers neigh ‘unletter’d,’

while others cry ‘horseshit,’

but let’s debate that another day)—

never we to know if e’er you foresaw

those ephemeral scenes

unwitherèd by age, bequeathing mysteries.


Not even pyramids hold their limestone sheen.

Time pulls it all down.

But shew something more,

inadvertently or with all your might,

and you just may be sparèd.

As in each our lives, with its mess of facts and sonnets,

the trips to London, the ink smears,

the backhanded testaments,

we may hear a rustle behind a curtain,

we may point our fingers at the sun.




Upon a time…              
by Adrian Spendlow


There once were children

Until imagination

Took them to an island

Where inner callings

Turned them into tribes,

Happy they were in pretence

Except that –

Something happened inside,

A darkness overcame them

They writhed

Hearts heaved

Ancient airs

Steadily simmered,

Something monstrous


As one then wizened.

Scaled and fearsome

Winding wildly


Moving gruesomely on.

They have become






by “Poets.”




Poet 1:             The morning sun cheers
                          Spring cannot be far away
                         The wind negates that


Poet 2:             My friend, it’s nice out
                         The picnic table:  obscured
                          Escape the TV


Poet 1:             Oh, how true that is
                         The noise can make me testy
                          Summertime please come


Poet 2:             Dusty inferno
                         Heavy breath, heavier head
                         The outside wants in

Poet 1:             The room is breathless
                         As are the people inside
                         Ancient air move out


Poet 2:             Optimism reigns
                         When the sun is in full bloom
                          Spring will always come


Poet 1:             Today is the day
                         Escape from the negative
                         Choose laughter instead







David J. Bauman grew up along the Susquehanna’s West Branch near Lock Haven, Pennsylvania.  His poems have appeared in various student and faculty journals. His awards include the Savage Poetry Prize from Bloomsburg University and the Academy of American Poets. David’s blog, DadPoet.WordPress.com features a heavy emphasis on reading poetry out loud.

Luciana Celestine has been enchanted by the written word as far as her memories stretch. Her love of art, fashion, and a good laugh have influenced her writing. Luciana earned her B.A. in English from King’s College and her M.A. in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She lives in Scranton with a handsome little dog named L.T.

Raymond Gibson is a graduate of the creative writing M.F.A. program at Florida Atlantic University.  His verse can be found in Oak Bend Review, THIS Literary Magazine, River Poets Journal, and Pirene’s Fountain.

Rachael Goetzke is co-founder and Managing Editor of Word Fountain.  Her poetry, fiction and non-fiction have been published in The Cohort Review, Ripasso, Tiny Booklets, Word Fountain and The Writing Disorder.  She earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Wilkes University.  Visit: http://kindalikeapoet.wordpress.com/

 William Fuller Harrison is a resident of Wilkes-Barre, PA.  He has studied creative writing with Charles O’Donnell of ArtSeen, and Leland Bennett of Plymouth High School, from which he graduated in 1965. His poetry and prose have been published in Veterans’ Voices magazine and Word Fountain.

Iris Johnston can’t decide if she is more satisfied by flowers and ponds, or Sephora and Thai food. She currently hopes to discover the existence of a Nail Polish Tree.

Lino lives in Wilkes-Barre, where he has recently stopped caring much about anything. He is good company for short periods of time, then things get a bit wobbly.

Edward Lupico puts pen to paper to write the occasional poem, but more frequently just ruminates upon words.

Dawn Leas‘s chapbook, I Know When to Keep Quiet, was published by Finishing Line Press. She earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. Her work has appeared in goldwakepress.org, Literary Mama, Interstice, and elsewhere. She is the associate director of the Wilkes M.A./M.F.A. Creative Writing programs.

 Carol MacAllister, M.F.A., is widely published in poetry, has won several poetry awards and has served as adjudicator in poetry competitions, most recently, NFSPS. She has edited and published three books of poetry – RIPASSO, a unique 
by-invitational-only collection including Robert Pinsky and other poet laureates. Available only at clmshazam@aol.com

Poet # 1 has no formal writing training other than a creative
writing class in high school and a course in college. Poet #1 owes the haiku success to Poet #2 and Poet #2’s inspiration.

Poet # 2 would like to thank Poet #1 for her contributions to the daily haiku conversations that buoyed her through the restless winter of 2012-2013 and for her enthusiastic support of her creative endeavors.

Alexandria Smith “When things happen, you write.”  As I look back at the things I have written, I realize how true that is. These two pieces are the aftermath of a failed relationship, one that I savored, stayed, and suffered for. I cannot change what happened. I can only write.

Adrian Spendlow is the official Bard of York, England, and presents his work in private and public venues. He is a key presenter in the huge annual Viking Festivities, as well as a storyteller and portrayer of characters in themed events and enactments. 

Stef Szymanski cares way too much about the personal lives of fruits and vegetables, which has led to her becoming the co-creator, producer, writer, artist, and voice actor of the  animated project “Produce High” (www.producehigh.com). Her artistic aspirations and talents flourish in the cultural mecca known as Scranton, PA.




4 thoughts on “Spring 2013, Issue No. 8

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