Spring 2014 Issue

word fountain



Spring 2014, Issue no. 10


 “when” John Yamrus
Library TANKA Kim Loomis-Bennett
There, Their, and They’re Steven Flannery
Six-Word Memoir Posts:  A Collection of Life Struggles and Triumphs Rachael Goetzke
Forgotten Country Carl Albright
Is That a Monster at the End? Sylvia Olley
Hem Edward Zimmerman
Stacks Josephine Campbell
Going to the Library Louise Edwards
sublime Iris Johnston
 An American Novella Bailey Bloyd
Meet the Editors

by John Yamrus







the magazine




that was

one word long,




what the

hell is this?










Library TANKA     by Kim Loomis-Bennett


Don’t need babysat,

the timeworn Carnegie waits

like a beloved aunt,

tells stories my mother won’t:

sweet, secret story morsels.


In library dreams,

I search for an untitled

book, unknown author,

with a knowing I yearn for:

a fruit I have yet to taste.


Dry heat on my back,

two mile trek to paperbacks

on the romance rack.

July 1981:

The Promise of Happiness.





There, their and they’re


There, their, and they’re

Impostors are everywhere

You’re the one they’re hiding from

Their fear the sound of your starting gun

From here to there, the race has begun

So beware my tongue, beware




Six-Word Memoir Posts:  

A Collection of Life Struggles and Triumphs          by Rachael J. Goetzke


Born with hydrocephalus, brain surgery: shunt

Silver dollar-sized bladder always leaks

I can find a bathroom, anywhere

Daydream, color outside the lines, create

Quiet, shy…poetry awakened her soul

Be careful; watch your head, please


Don’t play sports; are you dizzy?

Water siphoning from brain to belly

Don’t hang upside down—use caution

Life insurance: not easy when sick


Wrote novel in notebook: age ten

Envied friend’s father; he’s a poet

Fell in love—rock and roll

Spoke to my soul the most

Rolling Stone magazine, rock band tee

Colored pens, mind wanders in rainbows


Dish ran away with the spoon

And my uterus, so we thought

Too young; no children for posterity

Adoption expensive; in vitro more costly


Long, lonely years until he found

My music blog; a saving grace

And spoke my language so fluently

That’s how it came to be

His kids; it’s as if from me they were sown

I still want more someday, though

A little girl, my very own


Grand Mal Seizures, a tiring journey

Medicines tormented,


happiness prevented,


artist lamented


As usual, I overcame the challenges

I still believe in dreams materialized

Professional writer: lots of student debt

Day off:  Pearl Jam concert tee

This is who I’ll always be




Forgotten Country     by Carl Albright

I could of sworn

when you said that,

you might of been thinking:


:the heart of Alexandria,

those curling scrolls

flaring shelved starlight,

a perfect harmonic of

vision, word, wind


:or a pictured dive,

Geronimo, Geronimo


*The poet refuses to explain his use of punctuation, but hints it may be a Biblical reference.




Is There a Monster at the End?     by Sylvia Olley

As each dawn brings a new day, so each day brings us closer to seeing the end of all libraries.  As I walked through my local building of books and unending imagination the other day, that is the thought that kept leafing through my head.  After all, America is really good at saying goodbye to the really greats.

The vinyl record?  Replaced with iPods and MP3 players.  The handwritten letter from grandma?  Your phone alerts you to an email sent from grandma (sans flowery stationary, of course.)  Heck, even notes between girlfriends are now “tweets” and “texts.”   So, why should we keep lugging our mountain of books each one hurriedly read so you can get it back on time (sure), but also because you can’t wait for the next book in the series back to the library?

Why should we continue dragging our two-and-a-half year old kids to that home of rectangular edifices called books?


How about, “Why not?”

The library is one of the few remaining bastions of solitude left on this planet where being alone with our thoughts, alone with our reflections of the day, alone with what’s left of our sanity is not only the norm, but also kept as a general rule by the few librarians out there.  Some of the publishing conglomerates are trying to murder books by relegating written matter into handheld devices called Kindles and Tablets.  While nothing is inherently wrong about that, I find it offensive that I am being forced to read some of my favorite authors on my smart phone instead of picking up that dusty and slightly bent novel.  I, for one, still have a relationship with my local library.  I also frequent my favorite neighborhood “mom and pop” store as I browse for those books that I fondly refer to as “keepers.”

Perhaps I am a stubborn curmudgeon because I was brought up learning about libraries, and taught how to properly read the Dewey Decimal System.   Standing before the card catalog, my fingers would deliberately march through that drawer of numbers and letters, and with much elation I would eventually pick up my book and check it out, proudly signing my ever-so-neat cursive name.  All this hunter-gatherer routine would surely sound mundane to the child who obsesses over Candy Crush on her phone.  But finding that perfect book that you can’t put down is something I always found joy in.  Library books even have a certain scent to them as well, don’t they?

They smell as familiar to me as freshly cut grass on a summer Saturday or spaghetti sauce on top of the stove.  That is something you won’t ever get to appreciate once you have surrendered your soul to inkless words pixelated on glass.  Once you start taking away libraries, you may as well say goodbye to the fireworks at the Fourth of July party or the hot dogs at your favorite ballgame stadium.  I don’t know…maybe I am just a silly little thirty something who is straining to hold onto a past that will inevitably be impossible to hold onto.  I sure hope not.

I hope that libraries are still standing when I start to read to my grandchildren.  I want to read all of the classics to them.  All of the Little Golden Books that I read growing up should still be around in paper form so my grandchildren can turn the pages and feel that same anticipation I did.  “There’s A Monster at the End of This Book” just wouldn’t read the same on a Kindle.  If we keep going down the same path we’re headed down today, I fear that the monster at the end of my book will be standing in an Amazon distribution center where a library used to stand.



Hem     by Edward Zimmerman


Sitting in the dim light of the reading room

I noticed.

She came in

dressed as you might be

on a night like this.

My eyes followed

as she made her way across the floor.


I fell back into my book.


talking of impassioned lovers not wanting—

but needing—

each other.

She conjured you.

same style.

same way.

The same movement of her hand

As she took a book from the shelf.


I thought of the time we spent at the library in Lancaster.

sunlight flooding

the main room of that great building.

You and I sitting across from each other

in shared solitude.

lost in our books.


the café at night.


When she made her way

Back across the floor to leave

I wished her to stay.

She put the book in her bag as she exited.

taking you with her.

ceasing the thought.

and leaving me


to Hemingway.





Stacks     by Josephine Campbell


There once was a library feller

Who had to go down to the cellar.

With murders and mysteries,

He carted up histories:

“This stuff in the stacks is just stellar!”






Going to the Library     by Louise Edwards


“Mom! I’m going to the library!”

It’s 1954. I’m 10 years old, skinny and tall for my age. My messy, long hair bounces off my shoulders as I push out of the screen door and let it slap shut behind me. I hit the first three steps off the back porch and leap over the last two, propelling myself onto the grass in the yard. A gray squirrel in the apple tree by the garage chatters at me and scuttles to higher branches.

I trot across the yard and sidle through the hemlock hedge to trespass on the neighbor’s yard. The neighbors, maiden ladies, sisters, don’t seem to mind when kids cut through their yard. Both ladies work for lawyers, and the friendlier one, Harriet, told me she takes notes in shorthand. Maybe I’ll get a book that teaches shorthand!

I gallop down the dirt driveway to Ridge Street. I’m still young enough to enjoy pretending to be a horse. Maybe I’ll get a horse book…

Ridge Street makes me slow to a walk.  There is thick shade under the maple trees that grow in the tree lawns between the sidewalk and the street along the whole block. In the fall, I’ll pick up the wing-shaped maple tree seeds and drop them so they spiral to the ground in a flashing whirl I never get tired of watching.

As I pass Miss McCarthy’s house, her old terrier dog rouses from his nap on the door mat and yaps at me. “Brian! Shut up!” someone yells from inside. Brian snorts at me and retreats to his mat. I can get a book on training dogs. 

Ridge Street meets Chester Street by an enormous horse chestnut tree. Its golf-ball size, spiny seeds have long ago been swept up or washed away, but in the fall I’ll kick them along the sidewalk when I pass this corner.

I know the names of all the trees in my neighborhood, and I can recognize them by their leaves, by their bark, and by their form as I learned to do from books I’ve borrowed from the library.

Chester Street ends at Wyoming Avenue, a wide, busy street with traffic lights at every corner.  When I was a toddler, the avenue was lined with elegant American elm trees that towered above the homes and buildings. Branches like fountains of leaves shaded and cooled the pavement. Now some of the trees look damaged and ragged because an introduced fungus called Dutch elm disease is slowly killing them.  Where a tree has been removed, the sun glares off siding and window panes making a home look less comfortable, cheaper.

The noise and heat of Wyoming Avenue muffles my imagination and makes me feel self-conscious. The library is just a block away, but I dislike this part of the journey. I have to cross Wyoming Avenue at a traffic light while the people in stopped cars stare at me. My older sister wouldn’t mind this. She prepares herself to go out expecting to be admired. I know I should get a book about how to appear confident, or something with beauty tips.

Today an older woman comes up beside me. When the light turns green, we cross together. “Going to the library?” she asks.

I say “Yes.” and hurry on because I don’t know what else to say.

Now I’m running up the broad concrete steps…grab the large brass door handle, press the latch with both thumbs, put my weight into pulling the heavy wood and glass door to me, and, Yes!

I’m inside the library!




sublime     by Iris Johnston


Who coined that word?

It must have been a man

a-humpin’ through the summertime

a greasy yellow ball

who dripped past a

moist mouth

smelling like fruit

and licorice root and

evaporated into thought.






An American Novella     by Bailey Bloyd


Dusty golden braids

laying one atop another

sprout up.

Bluest eyes swell

and release

grey skyscrapers

on coastal lines.

Mockingbirds sing justice

for those who cannot.

Cold blood,

purple fog,

Midwestern women,

build us.








Carl Albright has had poems published in Nuvein, Word Fountain, and a couple student journals, and he once had a poem read on public radio but missed hearing it due to being out of town. He and his family, including three notoriously well-mannered teenagers, currently enjoy singing and breathing in rural Northeast Pennsylvania.

Bailey Bloyd is a senior at Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She will be graduating in May with no job but a BA in English and writing. Bailey focuses on spoken word poetry and creative nonfiction. She is a New Jersey native, bagel enthusiast and poor college student.

Josephine Campbell of Wilkes-Barre has spent countless hours in the Osterhout with her husband, Ian, and children, Grant and Helen.

Louise Edwards Kingston native.  Married.  One child.  Lives in Ross Township, PA, with her wonderful dog and 7 cats.

Steve Flannery is the lead singer of the band Zayre Mountain.  He is the lucky 7th of 8 children and enjoys the taste of food and drink.  He has coined many phrases, none of which have been officially accepted as legal tender.  Yet.

Kim Loomis Bennett is a life-long resident of the Pacific Northwest. Recent poems appear in The Prose-Poem Project and The Far Field. She is a reviewer for Foreword Reviews and Hippocampus Magazine as well as other venues. She has an MFA from Wilkes University. More information is available at: 


John Yamrus has published 2 novels and 21 volumes of poetry since 1970. He has also had nearly 1,600 poems published in print magazines around the world. Selections of his work have been translated into many languages, most recently, Romanian. His work has been taught at both the high school and university level. His most recent book of poetry is ALCHEMY. 

Edward Zimmerman is a poet in the Wilkes-Barre area who enjoys the flourishing growth of the city’s writing and creative scene.  He is glad that Wilkes-Barre affords people the opportunity to seek and expand their creativity.


Meet the Editors


Rachael Goetzke earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University.  Excerpts of her memoir have been published in The Writing Disorder and Word Fountain.  http://kindalikeapoet.wordpress.com



 Tom J. Hughes is a Language Arts teacher at Reading Intermediate High School. He is an avid fan of the game Magic: the Gathering and feels that it is the most fun you can have with your pants on.




Iris Johnston is tired of being asked if she’s a “cunning linguist.” She is currently exploring the genre of poetry on demand and will release a collection of her efforts at the 2014 Scranton Zine Fest.




Edward Lupico is a full-time librarian who is never far from words. He travels many miles to taste craft beers and unequivocally enjoys the company of his dog, even though that dog is an illiterate teetotaler.


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Osterhout Free Library

71 S. Franklin Street

Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

email: wordfountain@osterhout.lib.pa.us



570-823-0156   Fax: 570-823-5477


Thanks for reading us!






















Fall 2013 Issue No. 8

word fountain fall 2013 issue no. 9

Editors: Rachael Goetzke, Iris Johnston, Jessica Kush, Edward Lupico

“Though the winds of change may blow around you,
but that will always be so”*



This issue is lovingly dedicated to the memory of Timothy Allen Harris


Born:  November 4, 1982

Died:  September 13, 1999

cat cover photo art:  Rachael J. Goetzke

copyright Osterhout Free Library (c) 2013

*Led Zeppelin_“In the Light”_Physical Graffiti_Swan Song, 1975.



A POEM for HALLOWEEN Charles O’ Donnell  
A Demon’s Treat Carol MacAllister  
A Son Jennifer Hill  
A Journey to the Buddha William Harrison  
May God Bless You Now and Hereafter Lisbeth Gelatt  
Fall Quake Tornieri  
Autumn Requiem Rachael Goetzke  
On Fall Scuter Tornieri  
Watch Out For Witches Adrian Spendlow  
Stranded in Scoville Carl Albright  
Attack of the Trednods Carol MacAllister  
Poem for Japan, March 2011 Dittow Tornieri  
NOVEMBER SECOND Charles O’Donnell  
Lonely Willow Tornieri  
Meet Your Editors    

A POEM for HALLOWEEN     by Charles O’Donnell

Subtracting matter,
making you by taking
away from you,
I cut you with a knife.
A stabbing craniotomy
scoops out your useless brain.
I slice your nose,
your sightless stare triangular,
a gash of jagged grin.
Seeds like spit-out-teeth
I scatter.
East of yellow, west of red–
your pumpkin color–keep.

Empty now,
your carved out space ignites
an inner light–
this candle making whole
your hollowness.




A Demon’s Treat           by Carol MacAllister


Fresh newt’s eyes and frog legs flinch

while boiling in the brew,

Spells are cast on howling winds,

There darts a trick or two.


Trouble lurks at every turn,

unknowing victims race

from moaning dead, banshee cries,

monster’s snarling chase.


Autumn’s rustling branches drone

at demons overhead

on ancient brooms, phantom steeds,

Rousing up the dead.


Strange, how innocence is lured

to wander through dark streets,

Each year, a few just disappear,

Snatched! – a demon’s treat.




A Son     by Jennifer Hill


Bar none, hands down, he has the happiest face in the history of punctuation.

Period? Not that end mark, full stop of forever. A comma, like the pause

that happens in a film where the director left the sky for the viewer to consider.

His face makes you want to write love letters to the world, gives you the feeling

that a grain of sleepy sand from his eye contains the universe. One yawn

and the entire court of your heart kneels. This is the light that clubs you to death.

You sense the great supervisor of your life
working at the file cabinet,

shifting your childhood, your young adulthood to the back to make room

for what will be his key years, your responsibility. It’s yours to hold and keep,

to match or un-match with what your parents did for you. His face is the happiest


note in all of music, in every song ever sung, even in his wailing, which reaches

a volume that makes the dog’s ears tilt and the cat scuttle under the bed. You asked

for spring and got all the seasons fast forwarded, but his face calms you, slows

the chatter in your head, casts a spell on reality. He is the dream that seals

the story, stacks the deck in your favor. If the devil himself had presented him

to you in the basement, filled with its spiderwebs of cunning,

you would have swaddled the boy and run. His face is the comma,

his face is the first brick of your foundation, his face is every seed

of the possible, and he came from you. Just you.





A Journey to the Buddha     by William Harrison


A perilous pathway wound its way

up a mountainside in Uijongbu.

Patient pilgrims plodded with staggering steps

along the dizzying precipice, fearful of falling.

Clinging to the mountain, sacred sites

gave haven from the punishing rays of the merciless sun,

or drenching torrents of flooding monsoon rain.

Food and drink were the comforts holy hermits offered,

asking nothing in return but pilgrims pray for them.

At the top the Buddha sat in splendor;

silent, stone-faced, staring eternally out

from a temple hewn of pine trunks painted red;


its lacy walls were inlaid with golden symbols.

Spirit-stoppers, in the form of savage serpents,
crouched on the roof

guarding the worshippers from lurking evil.

As from an infinite distance the Buddha watched

celebrants genuflecting on the stone floor at his feet

making obeisance to what they thought he was.

Unenlightened soldiers at the mountain’s base jumped
into their jeeps

and sped hastily to the Buddha, not realizing

that the journey was the goal.



This poem was written as a meditation on a pilgrimage to the
Buddhist temple north of Seoul, Korea while I was stationed with the 2d Division Artillery in 1980.





May God Bless You Now and Hereafter.     by Lisbeth Gelatt

American Soldier.

He was Not the first, God no.

It was very nearly tradition.

He lovingly polished the muzzle

ceremoniously blued just days before,

the one that echoed in his mind.

She nearly flexed her beautiful figure

in his mind,

caressed his hand, in his mind cried out

Choose Me! Me!

I’ll do you good,


So he picked her right out of the lineup

of eternal lovers,

that collection he and his buddies accrued.

Some of them old friends, some trophies

some clutched desperately

in the middle of the night

against unwelcome company.


Oddly, the nightmares receded

once he knew, knew

the direction he’d go with his life.


Heh, heh. Funny. He joked to himself,

didn’t think of anything,

pictured cool desert stars at night,

palming her cool thigh.

Saw that towering wall of red sand

swallowing the barracks;

overtaking daylight;

scattering the pickup game;

Swallowing sound in that shushed roar;

Advancing surely and with infinite patience;

Sipping greedily the town outside;

Overtaking a woman, small boy,

his gunmetal lover.

His hand.


04/16/2012. In memory of PFC Gray, and all who fell to enemy fire after coming home.






Fall     by Quake Tornieri


This time of the year,

too clearly cold and heavy—
my window strategy time—
comes too soon.


Can spring hide forever?






Autumn Requiem     by Rachael J. Goetzke

In eighth grade, the jocks made fun of me because they knew my brother Jeremy was a “stoner.”  One day at the lunch table after their chiding, I was so angry I cried.  Tim, the smelly kid at the end of the table, said, “It’s okay, Rachael.  They’re just stupid.”
“Dude, your brother is so cool,” Tim told me in English class our junior year.  I gave him a foreboding look.  Within five minutes, he was having narcotic dreams.  It made me hurt.  I remembered that smelly kid (he didn’t smell anymore) who put his arm around me and told me not to worry about the stupid kids that made fun of me for having a “stoner” brother.
Every day during our 27-minute lunch our freshman year, Tim would bribe coins off multiple people to see how many Yoo-hoos he could buy by the end of the lunch period. One day, he’d bribed enough change for three and drank all of them.  He bounced through the lower commons on a sugar high.  He came up and put his arms around Lindsey and me and starting singing, “And here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson…” and all three of us launched into, “JESUS LOVES YOU MORE THAN YOU WILL KNOW WHOA-oh-oh…” and finished the verse, at least.
I was walking from my‘86 VW Jetta fall when Tim caught up to

me on the sidewalk in early September of our senior year.  “Hey, Rachael.  You have a Jetta, too?”

“You’ve got one?”

“Yeah, it’s pretty shoddy but it gets me to school.  It’s an 85.  What’s yours?”


“So I’m going to a party out in a field somewhere this weekend.”

“Tim, be careful, okay?  I worry about you.”

“It’s cool.  Thanks.  Have a good weekend!”

“You too, Tim.”


My friend William called me that Sunday evening.  “Tim Harris died last night.”  Flashes of Friday’s early fall sunshine spread across my mind as I saw his strawberry blonde hair swinging into his freckled face.  Sobs came and I set the receiver on the bed.  Mom came into the room and took the phone from me.
“H-how did it happen?”  I replayed a few of his last words to me:  Cool.  I’m going to a party out in a field somewhere.

Mom had spoken with William before he called me.  “He was staying at his doctor’s house, ironically.  And he took too many pills.  They didn’t know until this morning but they said he died sometime Sunday night.”  Thoughts of my brother raced through my head.  I remembered Tim staring up at me with pinpoint pupils during the old broadcast version of The Scarlet Letter in English class the previous year. By the end of that year he had taken to using his leather jacket as a pillow.  My brother’s so cool, all right.  So cool he could be dead, like you, Tim.

Tim’s viewing was the first one I’d ever attended; Mom went with me.  I’d like to say I shouldn’t have gone but it did something important for me.  It instilled in me the firm belief that your last vision of someone should be of them when they are happy and alive.  The image of waxen post-mortem Tim is tattooed on the back of my retinas.  I still don’t have to close my eyes to see him laid out in his Hardee’s uniform clutching a tennis racket and his VW keychain.  Laid out.  What a funny term, if you think on it.  It sounds so inviting—like you’re having some posh party while
everyone is grieving.  I stared at his lifeless face for a long time.
Only a week after his passing, I said to my friend, Chris, “I know he’s in a better place.”

“He’s gone, Rachael,” Chris insisted.

“Yes, I’m aware.  I choose to believe he’s in a better place.”
“When people die, they’re just dead.  That’s it—the end. Game over,” he said.

Tears threatened my eyes, “No,” I argued he’s in a better place.”  Before I finished my sentence, tears spilled over my cheeks.

Chris retreated, only a little, “Well, that’s foolish,” he said.  But then he dropped it.  I can’t accept the idea that nothing exists after this life.  My faith is too strong and “I shall not be moved,” as the old hymn professes.  I still believe people who have passed on are watching over us.  Mom shares this belief and has often said that she feels like her first love, Danny, is still looking after her.  Many people doubt the afterlife for animals but I refuse to believe in any other fate.  I’m quite assured that my dear, sweet cat, named Snakes, is watching over me, and always will be.

Sitting in the pew at Tim’s wake must have been eerie for her.  As we sat together I saw a girl clutching an older man.  She was unrecognizable in her grief.  “Daddy just tell me he’s sleeping,” she kept wailing.  This incident was actually more disturbing than Tim’s waxen face so artificially at peace.  I later found out this was Jessie and her father was the doctor who’d been allegedly been   allowing Tim to crash in the barn and also provided him with illicit substances that may have incited his death.


It took me about five years to write about Tim’s passing.  One

beautiful fall day after poetry class in college I summoned up that

September just a few years before:


Autumn Requiem

Silence deafened the day

The leaves danced to the ground—

Kamikaze pilots in a perishing pirouette

Dive and plie among the trees       the gentle breeze

Sang a song for you

My childhood friend slipped her hand in mine

The warmth colored my hand with comfort

As the fading day drained the color from your once-green



The single rose shattered the silence


as I set it on your cedar bed

And the benevolent moon strolled up on the scene to bid


the fallen leaf goodnight.

He’s in the passing leaves now.






ON FALL     by Scuter Tornieri

Disappointment speaks of change.
Clover time and garden time are over for now.
Flying time finds animals leaning to the south
or under the cooling ground.

Below, turtles, hide alone
In necessary sleep.






Watch Out For Witches     by Adrian Spendlow


Watch out for witches whirling about

Creeping and flying and leaping right out.


The warty, the shorty, the wily stick thin

All have a pot to boil you in.


With a hubble, a bubble, steaming it all

They creep up behind in the woods or the hall.


Whizzing on bristles, being cats or a hare

A whisk of a whisper they’re suddenly there.


Wizened and beaky with gleaming mad-eyes

Surprisingly silent till they screech a cry.


With a wriggle, a giggle, a wiggle of wand

Oops!  You’re a frog and you live in a pond!


We dance with a cackle and cast a wild eye

“We are the witches,” we scream and fly by.






Stranded in Scoville     by Carl Albright


No matter how comfortable

you feel in this present,

never give in

to a habanero dare.


Even when you’re sitting in

the Hard Rock Café of Niagara Falls,

beneath the slight shadows of

a Jimmy Hendrix hollow body.

No matter how innocent



finger-sized pepper looks,

their numbers

tell nothing about

what it feels like,

to have the immediate future

seared out in a stream of tears,

a pitcher of Budlight,

handfuls of hard rolls,

and yet another

never-again promise.







Attack of the Trednods     by Carol MacAllister


The rally ring of roses rang

While cockle crows shined purple fangs

All readied to save Starkle Tweak

A quiet place where Trednod feet

Can turn the drifting silent dins

Into a month of rattle grins.


“No rattle grins,” the slithers cried,

“The Trednod march.  We need to hide,

or be trampled under toes.”

“Don’t worry,” cawed the cockle crows.


Crows flew the cider waves of Mork

Each purple fang dropped silver forks

Upon the Trednods’ green webbed toes

Slithers hid as cockle crows

Drove back the stomping Trednod feet

Than all the slithers did repeat,


“Hurray! We’re saved from rattle grins

They will not stop our silent dins.”









Poem for Japan, March 2011     Dittow Tornieri


Earth I love.

Above, flying, I watched

ugly tide curl and rage

far so far outside the sea.


So different before and after.


How I cry!  Sweet lost people and pets

haunt me.  Who forced the treasured grass

and blanket of land off gardens and ground?

Boiling claws of water, signing sculpture it bare.

After, shallow pools shaped the face of the city.


Poems lights fear.






NOVEMBER SECOND     by Charles O’ Donnell

When her patient dies, the night nurse winds
the body in sheets and opens the window so
the soul will not be hindered on its journey.

Soul seeks her home at the end of her shift,
slips through her shaded window, entwines itself
in morning sheets, lingers in her daylight dreams.





Lonely     Willow Tornieri


June’s dry, soft clouds

code herons’ fishing time,

while in our lawn, robins listen

for worm rustles.


In fall, birds yield to the cold.

far away, my poetry cries

for spring’s return.





Carl Albright lives with his wife and three teenage sons in rural Northeast PA. He especially enjoys jogging over bridges, playing Sunday-morning guitar, sharing family
dinners, and praying for peace.

Lisbeth Gelatt is a writer, poet, and student in her final
semester at Keystone College. Lis’s work can be found at
Cowboypoetry.com, at the Keystone College Litmagazine, The Plume, at Pank Magazine’s parenting special, at her blog threedivas.wordpress.com, in Skin to Skin literary magazine’s upcoming December issue, and in 2012’s flood issue of Word Fountain.

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.

Jennifer Hill writes, creates, performs, and believes only boring people get bored. You can find her online at: actsofjennius.com.

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

Charles O’Donnell graduated from King’s College where he majored in English. He is a social worker in Nanticoke. His play “The Last Time” was produced by the Jason Miller Playwright Project in Scranton.

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.

Dittow, Quake, Scuter, Willow Tornieri are a family of Japanese poets whose work has been transcribed by their colleague, Rosemary Lombard.

Meet Your Editors…

Rachael Goetzke has her MA and MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University.  Excerpts of her memoir have been published in The Writing Disorder 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.

Edward Lupico is a full-time librarian who is never far from words. He travels many miles to taste craft beers and unequivocally enjoys the company of his dog, even though that dog is an illiterate teetotaler.

Jessica Kush is the Office Coordinator in the Alumni Relations and Annual Giving Office at King’s College. She is also a graduate from King’s College with a Bachelors of Arts degree in English: professional writing. When she isn’t reading or writing, she enjoys volunteering and planning programs for several nonprofit organizations.










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.



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
71 S. Franklin St.
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
Phone: 570-823-0156
Fax:     570-823-5477
Email: wordfountain@osterhout.lib.pa.us

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.