Thursday, July 30, 2009

Marleen Wenneker-Hulst: King Crabs

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My husband is glancing through some travel guides when he says: ‘Listen, one of the must-do activities in Honningsv√•g is a King Crab Safari’. I can hear the excitement in his voice from the way he pronounces King Crab Safari. ‘During a spectacular three hour long excursion you will go out to sea in a Zodiac and search for the famous king crabs’, he reads out loud. ‘Afterwards, a delicious crab meal is prepared.’

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His index finger taps on a picture of a lady holding a giant crab above her head.

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‘These monsters can reach a width of two meters and weigh as much as fifteen kilo’, he continues, as if he wants to impress me. I study the photograph that could easily be a scene from a horror movie, and think of something to say.

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waking up—

not a spider but a spot

seen through glasses

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by Marleen Wenneker-Hulst

Musselkanaal, the Netherlands

Monday, July 27, 2009

Jeffrey Winke: How It Smells and Feels

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They create an aesthetically-pleasing, harmonious pattern. Neatly stacked columns. These wooden palettes are tethered tightly to the flatbed heading at a timetable’s ordained speed on this concrete interstate. The palettes are brand new. Direct from the factory where the construction pattern is followed in endless repetition to form their universal shape. The pinewood is so fresh that one can imagine how it smells and feels, the splinters lodging themselves in the top layers of skin, even in tough calloused hands. No scuff marks from forklift drivers fatigued from late night drinking. No grease stains from used machine parts carelessly tossed during quick repairs. No sticky spills from tipped-over Big Gulp-size Mountain Dews, carelessly kicked over as the foreman scatters lounging workers with a “getbacktowork” growl. These pristine, sculpturally perfect palettes are on their way to some company where they will be weighted down with the industrial output of a fair day’s work.

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fresh scent

in the laundry basket

a cat

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by Jeffrey Winke

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ralph Murre: In Apartment 3-B

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where wall meets ceiling

a gossamer web

on spackled plaster

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O.K., first off, she wasn’t “Little,” they just called her that to be funny, the way you called the shortest kid in your sophomore phys-ed class “Stretch.” At 398 lbs., when she wasn’t retaining water, Miss Tiffany L. Muffet would not have fit on your average tuffet even if she did have some idea what it was. It is true that she was eating a tub of extra-creamy cottage cheese (technically, curds and whey) and a 32 oz. bag of Doritos with Skippy and was washing it all down with a 7-11 Big Gulp, when a rather demure, grayish spider descended, yes, more or less beside her. But “frightened her away” ??? Please. On the day in question, Tiffany Muffet, barely looking up from a re-run episode of “Conditioning Hints of America’s Biggest Losers Contestants,” grudgingly pushed aside a Double Whopper she was saving for after the show, rolled up a copy of the Enquirer which was close at hand, and splattered that little sumbitch all over the dark-walnut veneer of the pressed-wood headboard that would be hers with just three more payments.

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by Ralph Murre
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bob Lucky: Missing


“Neil!” she yells from the center of the playground, “Neil!” It’s late afternoon, almost dusk, the swing sets and slides are deserted, all the children home for dinner except this one, Sadie, searching for her brother. “Neil!” she calls out one more time, scanning the playground. “He disappears everywhere,” she explains.
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deepening shadows a small hand of green bananas
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by Bob Lucky
Hangzhou, China

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ruth Holzer: Pirmasens Caserne


For a year before we found a house to rent near the army base, we stayed in a room in the enlisted men’s barracks. All our household goods were in storage up in Hamburg; we lived out of the suitcases we had brought over on the flight. I relished the freedom from domestic duties; while my husband was at work, I’d explore the valley and the dense surrounding forests of fir and pine. At night we’d drive through the countryside, over the border, into France.


in the dryer
the thump
of combat boots


by Ruth Holzer
Herndon, Virginia

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Robert Moyer: Hungarian Pastry Shop


Butterflies and brioche, cinnamon raisin rolls and creamcheese Danish, hammentaschen and croissants, still in patient rows on pans behind the counter, waiting for an Eastern European girl to slip one onto a plate, turning my first name into an inflected query—“Bahb?”—delivering the pastry with a cup of caffeine and whipped cream from an exotic origin—Hungarian, Viennese, Russian. Intellectual crumbs collected at local colleges fall out of conversations around the room, some splayed on the bathroom wall celebrating dead philosophers, excoriating live politicians, all fueled by the bottomless pot of coffee on the burner in the center of the room. Every now and then a blast of cold air makes its way through the door to the back of the room, as the Shop’s legion of customers parades in and out under the red and white striped awning, the lettering faded now.
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a man and woman
at our old table
not touching

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by Robert Moyer
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Katherine Samuelowicz: How Is She I Wonder

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travelling to work on the dew-washed morning by bus on the route I never take by car I recognise this house now comfortably nesting among grownup trees lush green feeding on the recent rains fitting so well into the neighbourhood that grew around it

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how is she

I wonder

this other me

living with my ex-husband

in this house we never bought

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by Katherine Samuelowicz

Brisbane, Qld., Australia

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dru Philippou: Counterpoise

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oriental boxes of sesame seeds, wild rice, and mung beans

behind the glass of wall-to-wall red lacquer cabinets

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with Chinese red, minor accents are crucial

a bottle of yellow-green olive oil

............on the black marble countertop

a set of red pearl ginger jars subdued in a corner

a stainless steel stove reflects the random arrangement of lemons

............on the long oak table

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the kitchen window

which takes up the entire south wall

............pulls the warm interior

to the cool exterior

of ocean blue

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........................wave after wave

........................on his surfboard

........................a boy

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.

by Dru Philippou

Taos, New Mexico

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bob Lucky: On a Journey


door open door closed no door wherever I am says Kabir an entry point but I can’t get a handle on it turning this way turning that until turning becomes a circle the circle a trap the trap a door always open always closed

broken clouds
my head against
the bus window

by Bob Lucky
Hangzhou, China

Friday, July 3, 2009

Roger Jones: Old Man


Dad had taken me to have my hair cut short. “He keeps trying to look like a Beatle,” he told the chuckling barber.

Afterwards, in the car, I hid my head under a baseball cap.

Backing out of the slot, Dad slammed his brakes. My cap flew off. A long-haired teenager wheeling past behind him on a bike screamed, “Watch where you’re goin’, old man!”

"Old man?" -- I'd never thought of my father as old.

Forty years ago, and Dad a decade younger than I am now.


day after day
wheeling by—
this same blue sky


by Roger Jones
New Braunfels, Texas
first pubished in
Frogpond 29:3 (Autumn 2006)