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Here and There

24 April, 2018: Here and There


by Christine Howey

Here and There

Over there
girls twirling in
Kindergarten print

Over here
I stand in cardboard­
stiff dungarees,
cuffed halfway to my
knees, showing
plaid flannel.
Clearly, there’s been
a mistake, so I walk

over there
and am quickly
led back

teacher’s bony fingers
on my shoulder.
The boys hooting,
shoving, poking.
When we line up
the next day,
us here

and them there,

I listen to the boys
and learn the taunts.
The day after, I join
in, quietly. The boys
But on Saturday,
after a morning up
and down the ravine
with Bruce and Jimmy,
throwing stones
at the cave of the hermit
we have never seen,

I go back to my street.
And I sit behind a tree
as neighbor girls
play on a porch.
Straining to hear
I squeeze my eyes
until stars swirl,
certain that if I try,
I can make my body
be there

and not here.

“Here and There” by Christine Howey, from If You Find Yourself Submerged in a Pond Under Ice. Kattywompus Press, 2011. Used by permission of the author.
Christine Howey is an actor, director, theater critic and performance poet. She is the current poet laureate of Cleveland Heights for 2016-2018. Her one-person show of poetry about her transgender journey, Exact Change, was recently turned into a feature film and is being submitted to film festivals in the United States and internationally. As a stage play, it premiered at Cleveland Public Theatre. She has also performed it at Cleveland’s Playhouse Square, in New York City and in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Howey has had three books of poetry published.


List all the jobs you have had, including volunteer work and other unpaid jobs. Turn the list into a list poem by rearranging, repeating or just titling it. Or write a poem about one of them.

Mary Harrison
If This Were an Office

If this were an office
and not a small-town street of sanitary
Midwestern family values
I would not be focusing my attention on that man
loitering in front of the coin store,
pretending he’s a roguish Spaniard
with dangerous connections,
and waiting for me.
As sure as the cannon in the square
is cemented to the ground
I would not be noticing the way
his off-brand pants
his gluteal sub-rosa effects
and imagining the taste
of the stubble on his swarthy cheek.
If this were an office
I’d be assiduous at tasks.
Behaving uppermostly
making boilerplate that sings like the Monks of San Sebastian
while my boss pretended to keep his eyes
off my ass,
which is luscious
even when I’m sitting in a zoomorphic steno chair
tucked knees-first into an olive green desk
typing purchase orders
with one eye on the number pad
and the other one looking for love.
4/27/2018 9:58:19 PM

Ginger Meeder
The Vicious Cycle(The Broken Back Workers Plight)

strange where poverty leads us
the captain of unwilling vessels
steering us into false mantras
where we are told to dream
reach for those lofty stars
that if we work hard enough
we can get there
with these hands, these feet
this mind, the people we meet
but life throws so many punches
slim curves, kicks in the crotch
that it leaves black as night holes
in our misdirected souls
whereupon we once again
find ourselves back in that place
we’d hoped to have escaped.

---©g.a.meeder, 2018®
4/25/2018 12:21:41 PM

James Lawless
The shillelagh

It has pride
of Irish, let alone
the strength of sharp
knobs, vital
in a Muldoon’s
bar fight. Yet,
what it wins
for it the balance
it offers a stumbling,
elderly gentleman.

Jim Lawless
April 25, 2018
4/25/2018 7:50:36 AM

Flipping pizza
to make some dough
first high school job
week after O.J.'s ride

College time,
peddled jewelry
Interned in paint
Not art, just a store

Still making dough
putting on a show
The front of an oven
my personal stage

Graduated and become a drug dealer
For the pharmacy America trusts
The trust that they'd always need you as they sold the cigarettes to give you cancer and the pain pills to aid you during chemo

Became a g-man
great bennies
Frustrating, demotivating
But, it's a job
Traded cities and agencies
Now need to come back

Happiest days were flipping pizza
But times have changed,
Gluten-free and better educated
Smarter, wealthier, less fulfilled, bright lights of a big city
Pale compared to the bright flame of that pizza oven
4/24/2018 9:05:11 PM

James Lawless
Sun carving

The thin strip of white
across the street covers
the lip of lawn next
to the houses, while
the rest of the yards
are devoid of color,
as though there was
no strength in sun,
only a bleached
brown and gray.
The sun seems unable
to clear the whole
lawn but also to not
provide hearty news.
Must mean there
are two more months
of winter. Nah.

Jim Lawless
March 23, 2018
4/24/2018 9:23:07 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.