Haley the Joker / Terry Evans
Terry Evans / Skylar 1
MOSS PIGLET August 2021
On Our Cover A Pose by Michelle Lynn by Zelia Zeta
BACK COVER Dobrovelychkivs’kyi District, Ukraine by Godisable Jacob
Editor & Publisher John Bloner, Jr.
firstname.lastname@example.org Follow us on Facebook and join our Facebook group.
Rights to all of the work, except work in the public domain, is held by the individual visual artists and authors whose work is represented in this issue. Please submit inquiries to email@example.com.
contributors Mary Bamborough Junior Barnes Richard Bell Jon Bolton Dan D’Amario Linda D’Amario Terry Evans PM Fallon Wes Fallon Leah Fargo Samira Gdisis Michael Hafner Mark Hardy Otis Henry Christy Hoff Missy Isely-Poltrock Godisable Jacob Jeffrey Johannes Joan Wiese Johannes William Karberg Serse Luigetti Mary Nelson Sylvia Pavlova Arian Rana Craig Sandberg Kevin Stellman Katrin Talbot Emily Vakos Mango VanRasp Lisa Vihos Dina Walker Wendy J. Welch Dee Westman Cordell Zelia Zeta Denise Zingg
Sylvia Pavlova, Nature’s Creations
From The Editor Juxtaposition. It’s a hundred dollar word for a simple concept: the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect. Chicago artist Sylvia Pavlova provides a gorgeous example of it in her piece, Nature’s Creation. You can find more of her work on pages 42-43. Over 30 other artists and authors contributed their juxtaposed art, photos, prose and poems in this issue, including our cover image of Michelle Lynn, photographed by Zelia Zeta. Some pieces are whimsical; others may inspire awe, while some may invoke sadness. I hope you enjoy all of them. If you have comments or suggestions about Moss Piglet and the Krazines, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. 3
20 20 21
last year by Linda & Dan D’Amario
Did Covid come from a lab or bat? Everyone’s shutdown except for a few Drink some hydro – whatcha got to lose? They said this will pass – no worse than the flu. Grocery shelves were running dry My life was thrown off kilter No paper towels or tissue paper I’m wiping with a used coffee filter. Businesses were shuttering Schools were closing, restaurants too! Wash your hands! Wear a mask! 2020 – WE HATE YOU!
20 20 21
THIS year by Linda & Dan D’Amario
Vaccine! Vaccine! We have a vaccine! Roll up your sleeve for me We have to get to 70% For herd immunity. I got my jab, I did my part I’m done with hibernation I need my friends and family It’s time for celebration! The birds are singing once again It’s a new day in the sun It’s time to reinvent ourselves WE LOVE YOU 2021!
MAILBOXES Whoever you are as you read this, Whatever your trouble or grief, I want you to know and to heed this, The day draweth near with relief Listen (excerpt) by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
This is a wedding photo of Mary Nelson’s maternal grandmother, Magdalena Emberger Heinzman. She emigrated in 1903 from Alsace, France to the United States. Mary combined this image with a picture of tulips, taken near her residence in Racine, Wisconsin.
Photo: Sushuti by Pixabay
The Spinning of Spiders and Bicycle Tires by Mango VanRasp
The spinning of spiders and bicycle tires Have something in common. In the process of spinning, The product is winning forward motion. Spinning inspired, my bicycle tires, Propel me this June afternoon. But what of those spiders, with spinneret fibers, A-float like up-drafted balloons? On this day, I and my bike collect shiny wafted webs In tow of eight legged sailors on their voyage of dispersion. Or have they collected me? I pedal, they spin. In this contest who’ll win? Who only by spinning can travel? Or only by traveling spin?
I took my platypus to the public pool. They would not let her in. She already knows how to swim. What’s the big deal? I cursed at the pool staff, calling them all a bunch of egg-laying, venomous, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed animals. Now, my platypus won’t even look at me. Sincerely, Otis Henry
Image: Redesyplataformas, Creative Commons Share Alike 4.0 License
The Countertenor and the Platypus by Katrin Talbot
Admit it . . . you instantly saw the connection the unexpected combination the awe of the whole as he sings the Agnus Dei right through your heart as she roughs up the basic rules of zoology he, with the purity of a heaven in his chaste voice of anomaly she, with her unquestionable furry unity of bill, tail, egg the way it suddenly seems it ought to be 12
Junior Barnes / The Countertenor and the Platypus 13
spring flowers– the bocce player’s hair turquoise and scarlet — Jeffrey Johannes
14 Photo of Buket Öztürk
Because of the War by Jeffrey Johannes
In the box in my mother’s attic I find the fan my father bought in Japan and think of young women, eyelashes fluttering like black butterflies above pale faces. Rice paper unfolds on sticks and cranes unpleat, white as pear blossoms, their crests like curved red lips.
previously published in Verse-Virtual.
MARY BAMBOROUGH 16
WHO COULD I BE?
THE VINDICTIVE WHISTLER
Missy Isely-Poltrock Juxta tiger eye lunas 19
Michael Hafner / Godzilla Toothbrush 21
Coming and Going by Christy Hoff
I’ve come to hate my house, without S’gettios or LEGOs, without anyone to stir the blocks. The sound of emptiness can pound on the ears. I’ve come to dread the going home, without S Club 7 or singing lessons, without burps at dinner or KPAC or Ravin. The space of an empty schedule can fray the nerves. I’ve come to resent the piles of pulp on the kitchen island and the coffee table, on top of all surfaces the litter of forgotten treasures. The necessities buried under layers of promotion can sting my eyes. I’ve come to understand why Great Granny always had chips and food to give away. With fewer at the table, the grocery list doesn’t seem to change. With no one nagging, shopping is more relaxed. A relaxed pace can be really hard to keep. I’ve come to treasure any time spent together, whether it’s a visit or a text or a Facebook post, whether it’s asking or complaining. The love and memories we share can leave a residue of comfort.
THE PLAGUE OF NOSES
24 Viva Vegas / Photo of Las Vegas by Craig Sandberg
Water photo by Brady Knoll at Pexels
Desert photo by Craig Sandberg
by Joan Wiese Johannes
blinding and bright I burn flay
A Double Abecedarian
Arced as electricity or an adz cut and cull always wielding ax dart or dark poison arrow enemies shrink from my shiv. Forcefully the club of Vishnu grows stronger with each fight harder than my heart where the lotus inside me grows
its stem a spear.
Joined like the skins of an umiaq knit like chain mail
lithe fingers around a stiletto malevolence screams
“No!” I say softly to the venom oozing through me
I am an opal
phoenix reborn a light a lark. Quietude enfolds me
reaches in and joined we are magi Photo by Marlon Schmeiski from Pexels
seventh rays of the sun our breath transcendent our voice a blessing urging me to trust this gentler self. Violet as a trillium past prime wilted and by age diminished xeric as the mirage of a rainbow arc yearning for rain I want to climb zenith near
armed only with aura.
First published in Ariel Anthology
Mary Bamborough 27
MARK HARDY 28
MARK HARDY 29
ARIAN RANA 31
ARIAN RANA 32
BEFORE AND AFTER SCIENCE 34
The Sail Fills
by Lisa Vihos, Sheboygan Poet Laureate
The sail fills and moves upon the sky and wisdom comes from heart not head. All things meet in contrast by and by. The painter lays down color for the eye and lovers lay themselves upon the bed. The sail fills and moves upon the sky. The poet’s daring words will never lie while books on shelves may go unread. All things meet in contrast by and by. A mother sings to soothe her child’s cry, holding still that place where angels tread. The sail fills and moves upon the sky. The storm will rage, the birds will fly and fortitude will push the game ahead. All things meet in contrast by and by. Though living now, one day I’ll have to die. I trust these words will echo in my stead. The sail fills and moves upon the sky. All things meet in contrast by and by.
Closely Away by Dee Westman Cordell
Every time I leave the earth I can see so clearly how I failed you When my feet return to terra firma, things blur There’s a shell game being played with memories The hand is quicker than the eye but where does that leave the heart? I’ll hand you pieces I hope you fall in love with the bits that are granted but not too much in love or you’ll know my secrets and I’ll always wonder why you stay It’s easier on me to know why you go So I’ll do what I can to make sure that happens Sprout wings so I know you can fly away but please don’t Every time I leave the earth – hold my hand darling, so I can’t
The Birthday 1915 by Marc Chagall
William Karberg / Behold, the Condor 39
She walks in beauty, like the night Of cloudless climes and starry skies; And all that’s best of dark and bright Meet in her aspect and her eyes. Lord Byron, She Walks in Beauty (excerpt)
40 All That’s Best of Dark and Bright / Terry Evans
Deadnuts desperate, Santa arranged the meeting in a back channel swamp. A bell jar of alcohol and drugs had suffocated Vixen, Comet drowned in his own vomit, Prancer and Dancer succumbed to cancer, and Blitzen and Donner were wiped out in the recession of ‘09. Rudolph’s son, Vinnie, held the only plausible future of Christmas in his loin
Poem and image by Kevin Stellman
42 Skyscrapers / Sylvia Pavlova
Sylvia Pavlova / Chicago: Old and New 43
Finding My PLACE in Space City by LuAnn Underwood
Photo: Melvin Thambi at Unsplash
I sat alone in Starbucks, near my Houston home, grading essays from my high school seniors. While a jazz trumpet’s intoxicating melody mingled in my senses with the enticing aroma of freshly-ground coffee beans, I listened to the talk of teenage girls. Some gossiped about their latest trip to the mall. Others compared notes on Calculus homework and slurped Frappuccino drinks. These gals probably took for granted their good fortune in having a public place where they could hang out, opine on the latest school scandal, or get down to business on a math or English assignment. I didn’t have this privilege when I was their age. I grew up feeling anxious and misplaced in my Illinois small town. Respite arrived on occasions when my family drove to Chicago’s southeast side, where my cousins lived in an apartment above a jewelry store. I felt a frightening freedom in those encounters, running loose, hiding behind buildings, playing baseball in the alley, and, once, finding a copy of Playboy in their parents’ bedroom and holding up its centerfold to the window, giggling as passersby spotted it. High school felt stifling and monotonous. I craved to encounter people of different cultures, race, backgrounds, and beliefs. I’d met Billy, an
exotically-handsome Czech boy - how dangerously different he seemed whose mere presence confirmed this fact: I needed to break out of my pasty, insular world. My ticket arrived in the form of my first teaching job, one thousand miles away in Space City, Houston, Texas. I might as well have traveled to another planet, albeit one where poverty and hardship prevailed. Girls were getting pregnant before they had acne. Kids bounced from school to school as their families moved from apartment to apartment. Some students had police records. My heart broke for them, but it was healed by the love they showed me. I embraced the diverseness of my students and other people I met in Houston. I enjoyed the city’s culture and contributions to our country. Houston’s home to the Johnson Space Center and possesses a theater district second only to Broadway. I fell in love with a town where the color of my Caucasian skin often placed me in the minority. I was introduced to Indian-pop music by a Pakistani girl I encountered by chance in our school’s parking lot. She was jamming from her driver’s seat to a song sung in Hindi by a boy, who, by his earnest inflections, I guessed was as filled with as much longing and confusion as any youth I knew. I cherish the gift Houston gave me. I’d not only found my place in Space City, I’d found peace within myself. After 20 years in Texas, I returned home to the Midwest, no longer the girl dying to get out, but as a woman, who continues to enjoy ordinary moments with extraordinary people.
Photo: Gerd Altmann at Pixabay
LuAnn Underwood / Finding My Place in Space City 45
Labyrinth by Denise Zingg
Drawn again to cobblestone path faded into grass, history and neglect, I recall careful weeding in glorious sun, the way clear by steely-eyed determination Work was sanctuary: beginning, middle, end, repeat Shifting focus led gradual journey into earth Enlightened or fated, dandelions go to seed, layers of sweet clover soften well-worn stone old threads find comfort recesses Around and through back and forth on narrowing circle Soft focus friends, lovers gradually transparent Ghosts perched on balconies oversee, reflect and revel in past harmonies, echoes children’s laughter gone away Silent treads draw closer in magnetized spiral But if crow’s warning guarded, they let me pass and float into the silent center home safe? Finding my way back again same way back through each blade of grass emerged in sharp focus Hollow bell tolls eleven catbird cries and I go forward
The Sail Fills
by Lisa Vihos, Sheboygan Poet Laureate
The sail fills and moves upon the sky and wisdom comes from heart not head. All things meet in contrast by and by. The painter lays down color for the eye and lovers lay themselves upon the bed. The sail fills and moves upon the sky.
WENDY WELCH 47
JON BOLTON 48
TOASTED CHEESE & TOMATO
SOLAR PLEXUS 49
A PERIOD OF TRANSITION 50
JON BOLTON 51
52 Black Chair / Jeffrey Johannes
Jeffrey Johannes / Red Chair 53
Photo by GeorgeB2 at Pixabay
Brushed by a Hummingbird by Wendy J. Welch
Soothing warm breezes flow through the wind chimes as I step into the garden, pick up the hose, and turn on the spigot to fill my watering can. As if I’m conducting nature’s orchestra and my plastic pot is my baton I sweep it back and forth quenching my flowers’ thirst on a hot humid Racine day. A hummingbird flies from a hot pink bush, flits to the edge of the house, and over to me, brushing my shoulder with its wings, thanking me for the nectar.
Sure! I’ll plant you more pink, I tell this tiny creature, which flutters its feathers in delight.
PART OF YOUR WORLD
EMILY VAKOS 55
Work is Going to the Dogs by Richard Bell
I went to work today and encountered something odd. My boss was replaced by a cat: a four legs, whiskers, and a tail cat! Corporate must be getting desperate to recruit new talent, I thought. My greeting elicited only a meow. Meow to you, too! What’s the itinerary for today? I asked. The cat sat on his cluttered desk and licked his tail contentedly. I said, We have orders to ship. We have invoices to file. Here’s the report I finished late last night. The cat looked around, yawned, then plopped on his side. I added, And Candice wants to complain about her working conditions. Do you want to discuss particulars before her presentation? I awaited an answer, feeling foolish. The cat looked at me and meeeoooowed again. Plaintively. So I patted his furry gray head, all the while thinking, I had a premonition your predecessor would be fired, you know. Perhaps you’ll be an improvement over old Jenkins. 56
The cat stretched every muscle in his body. I’ll leave And start on the morning reports. Call if you need me, I said. The cat closed his eyes and appeared to drift off to dreamland. So like old Jenkins, napping on the job. Half an hour later Candice came by to ask, “What about my complaint?” I responded, I tried to get you an appointment. You’ll simply have to wait because the boss, well, you’ll see when the time comes. I shifted uneasily in my chair and avoided her eyes. After lunch, I ambled back and the cat was atop a clunky cabinet — a great vantage point for observing everything in the room — but a bit of a distraction for meetings. Candice wants an audience, urgently, I reminded the tom. I raised a hand to scratch him behind the ear when he hissed. Taking the cue, I strode to my office and fumbled with numbers. When the computer froze, I picked hairs off my sleeve instead. Sneezing, I thought, Everyone’s replaceable. I miss old Jenkins, I mused. At least he didn’t shed or lick himself. Wonder who’ll replace me? A shimmering mermaid with hair like seaweed or an orange orangutan with arthritis and an attitude? The cat raced in with my report, shredded to smithereens.
Richard Bell /Work is Going to the Dogs 57
Mary Bamborough / When Strength and Beauty Collide 59
My calico cat lies dying on my favorite sweater drying on its rack by the sink Do Not Disturb
by Joan Wiese Johannes
First published in Hummingbird
Whatever Comes Next Photo by Sarah Dorweiler on Unsplash
by Joan Wiese Johannes
Lace curtains wave from the living room window. In the window box, a red geranium blooms. While she wrestled her trunk out the door, the neighbor’s cat crept in and now is purring in the sunlight that streams through the window. The taxi driver loads her sorry life into his cab. By the time her husband gets home, clouds will have hidden the sun, and the cat will be sprawled on the bed exposing its soft belly to whatever comes next. Fortunately, it has nine lives. First published in Third Wednesday
Leah Fargo / The Nice Honeycrisp 63
Terry Evans / Mirror, Mirror