L.B. Sedlacek: “The Moon’s Trees”



The Moon’s Trees

In 1971 Stuart Roosa orbited the moon
on Apollo 14 with some 400 seeds packed
away in his personal kit, orbiting too.

The seeds were: loblolly pine, redwood,
sweetgum, sycamore and douglas fir.
They were germinated back on earth

and planted all over the world.  
Some were planted beside
their earthbound counterparts.

After more than 20 years, there’s 
no discernible difference between 
the two classes of trees.

Some of the trees are no longer alive.
Roosa is buried in section 7A of
Arlington National Cemetery.

Even with the intricate machinery,
the trees didn’t like what the
moon is supposed to do.


About the Author: L.B. Sedlacek is an award winning poet and author with poetry and fiction appearing in many different journals and zines.  Her latest poetry books are “The Adventures of Stick People on Cars” (Alien Buddha Press), “The Architect of French Fries” (Presa Press) and “Words and Bones” (Finishing Line Press.)  She is a former Poetry Editor for “ESC! Magazine” and also co-hosted the podcast for the small press, “Coffee House to Go,” for several years.  She teaches poetry at local elementary and middle schools and publishes a free resource for poets, “The Poetry Market Ezine.”  In her free time, LB enjoys swimming, reading, and taking guitar lessons.


Image Credit: John Russell “The Face of the Moon” (1797) Public Domain

John Macker: “Last Riff for Chet”


Last Riff for Chet

Chet Baker used to bend over
his horn like the saddest, most suffering flower
speak into it like an echo does in dream
coaxing faded blossoms from the air
gathering them in breath to the place
on earth he felt closest to
trembling with shadows
then mutate their fragrances into a
civilization of invisible words as if
every spring, trigger-fingered
April’s bent their music to the ground
coaxing forth rose after rose
their powder-burned faces
bold, fragrant, strained, maverick
delivering echo after echo.

Chet sounded the blues,
riffed circles around the discordant rainbows
of romance in the dark until 
they drifted so close
you could pluck them like strings:
standing there streetlamp insouciant 
smoking the heroin gun of Paris
blowing interstellar lullabies
working his own myth into the 
hard ground
while I’m bent over this ancient
jukebox in the Lariat Bar
hit parade reduced to a row of square
buttons I punch into entropy.

At last, I find Chet as he empties a 
chamber of pure blue language
onto a white tablecloth
opens the window to each new bloom
with his lips
as he always has,
saying something pure to the earth
knowing no surrender is a cliché.
He had chiseled features.  
There’s a plaque for him in Amsterdam
outside the Hotel
Prins Hendrik at the last spot
he soared through life
on his way  
to the ground.


About the Author: John Macker’s latest books are Atlas of Wolves (Stubborn Mule Press, 2019) and The Blues Drink Your Dreams Away: Selected Poems 1983-2018 (Stubborn Mule Press, 2018 and a finalist for a New Mexico/Arizona Book Award.) Macker has lived in Northern New Mexico for 24 years.

Wayne F. Burke: “Ants”

no one to play with or
talk to, nothing
I know to do, a hot summer afternoon
I wandered into the Larson’s yard next door
sat on their walkway and
watched ants come up out the
cracks and ant hills
a flood of them spreading
across the plain of the
walk, and then
other ants, with wings
flew down from the blue sky
in squadrons,
a blitzkrieg attack–
a mighty struggle began,
ferocious as Hastings or
the Queen of the wingless crew
rolled over her winged-foe
like a tank
the dead and dismembered piled
as the battle raged and
the afternoon slid into shadow:
I did not hear
my grandmother
the first time she called
in to supper.
About the Author: Wayne F. Burke‘s poetry has been widely published online and in print. He is the author of six full-length poetry collections–most recently DIFLUCAN (BareBack Press, 2019). He lives in Vermont (USA)
Image Credit: Image from “Histoire naturelle des fourmis, et recueil de mémoires et d’observations sur les abeilles, les araignées, les faucheurs, et autres insectes” Courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library

Chase Dimock: A Review of Sugar Fix By Kory Wells


A Review of Kory Wells’ Sugar Fix

By Chase Dimock


       When Kory Wells sent a submission of poetry to As It Ought To Be Magazine last Spring, I was first struck by her sense of history. In “The Assistant Marshal Makes an Error in Judgement”, Wells writes about a census taker in the 19th century whose guesses at the races of citizens become their legal racial identity inscribed in his government ledger. Today in 2020, it took a court battle to resolve the citizenship question on this year’s census. This poem is more than just a historical footnote; its reminder of how the politics of identity and who has the right to recognize it have continually defined American society. In this way, Wells follows the words of fellow southern writer William Faulkner, who famously wrote (and was even more famously quoted by President Obama) “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

       With Sugar Fix, Wells explores the never dead past of today through the personal and cultural memories of sugar. Recipes handed down from generations are clues to her family mythologies, the proustian taste of chocolate ice cream on her tongue is a confessional, the trade in sugar and sweets in the south is a material history of the racial and class tensions of reconstruction to today. It would be easy for a book of poetry centered on the metaphor of sugar to lapse into saccharine sentimentality and syrupy cutesiness, but Wells is a poet who understands the cost of pleasure and the sweat demanded of our brow before we taste the sweet. She knows the personal price of indulgence and the social cost of supplying society with its sugar fix.

       In “Still Won’t Marry” Wells takes on the persona from the traditional Appalachian song “Angeline the Baker,” envisioning her as weary of the constant propositions of trading sugar for skin:

He says a little taste of sugar will cure
my weary back, my aching shoulders, my
singed arms. Like I don’t know what that man wants.

Angeline’s side of the story is wise to the after effects of the sugar fix “The bed a pleasure too short. Babies Chores./ His wants ahead of mine.” Wells connects this folklore of indulgence in sugar and flesh to her own past in a poem whose title conveniently saves me from having to summarize its premise: “He drove a four-door Chevy, nothing sexy, but I’d been thinking of his mouth for weeks.” During a date at a Dairy Queen Drive in, Wells is fixated: Continue reading

Mike Acker: “Ill-Defined”

in a world of thoughtless matter?
Am I an idea, encased within
a form,
a body, housing thought; or
a breeze of notions,
insecure, uncertain
of its direction;
or but a spark
that spans a lifetime?
Maybe I am the inanimate,
resurrected and, now, lost?
Does the wind not speak to me,
as though to a kindred spirit?
Is the river’s motion not its consciousness,
not unlike mine?
And when I look
into that mirror of myself
I see the ill-defined.

About the AuthorMike Acker lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. He has lived in various parts of the world; his early education was in German and French. While living in California, he worked as a professional translator. Mike enjoys writing short poetry, especially with the intent of exploring the possibilities latent in a single image.

More By Mike Acker:
Image Credit: André Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri “Le Joueur d’Orgue (The Organ Grinder)”(1853) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

Larry D. Thacker “In the Days of Drones”



In the Days of Drones    

            “And it came to pass that each of them 
            Were given their unique mark, a familiar, 
             A spirit drone following on each action 
            Made by them, as one with their thoughts.”

There is no satisfactory term yet
for the size of these personal drones,
not nano-sized, micro nor mini.

They are not the size of the tiniest  
domesticated animals, teacup Yorkies, 
for instance, but indeed visible. 
Let us say, somewhere between 
a large dragonfly and a fit swamp frog. 
These are, of course, non-technical terms. 

Some hybridized ho-hum miracle 
of organic-electronic-philosophical flesh,
most resemble agile, fragile insects. 
They are very near indestructible. 
They crawl. They fly. They hover and hide.

They do not belong to us. You belong
to them essentially, assigned 
by the Office on Personal Safety. 

It is not a choice. You turn fifteen, 
you get a monitor drone. A third eye 
some call them. There is no fanfare, no 
happy party, no article in the local news 
crawl, no culturally significant ritual 
with drums, dancing. 

                                      No marching 
across a stage, no bowing, transferring 
of drones from one hand to another, 
no mutilating of body parts, no gifts,
handshakes or hugs from an official,  
no new names imagined by a shaman,
no vision quest, sweat lodge, no songs, 
cards with cash. No cake. No ice cream. 

You just wake up from a night’s sleep
and your drone is with you, in sleep mode
on your chest, having already finished 
merging with your brain however it must.   

Who, or what, exists on the other side 
of these creatures, monitoring, recording, 
watching, listening, or not, or whatever, 
remains a great mystery to most of society. 

But there are rumors. Always rumors. 


About the Author: Larry D. Thacker’s poetry is in over 150 publications including SpillwayStill: The JournalValparaiso Poetry ReviewPoetry South, The Southern Poetry Anthology, The American Journal of Poetry, and Illuminations Literary Magazine. His books include three full poetry collections, Drifting in AweGrave Robber Confessional, and Feasts of Evasion, two chapbooks, Voice Hunting and Memory Train, as well as the folk history, Mountain Mysteries: The Mystic Traditions of Appalachia. His fourth full poetry collection, Gateless Menagerie, is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press. His MFA in poetry and fiction is earned from West Virginia Wesleyan College. Visit his website at: www.larrydthacker.com


Image Credit: The Library of Congress

Z.D. Dicks “Sleepless”



In late November 
our children baste
in the Forest of Dean
and we doze in lounge 

The raucous screen 
storms half shuttered
as commentators clatter
in sleep filled ears 

They cuddle soft toys
while we recline
separate on shared sofa
swaddled in dry air

I still feel the burn 
in backs of hands 
cracking gloveless skin
after leaving a cuddle 

It’s only one night
I remind us, face forward
They’ll be back tomorrow 
and I think of roots 

Thousands of trees
stirring as stones 
boar and deer masked 
the moon banished

And I, a sharp lump 
splintered in apathy
tell myself, 
Be a rock, that life 
as the blasting Severn 
will smooth your edges


About the Author: Z. D. Dicks is the author of Malcontent (Black Eye Publishing) described as ‘Uncompromising, sometimes controversial, but always entertaining’ by Clive Oseman and ‘Evocative, atmospheric, breathing new life into the everyday’ by Nicola Harrison. Z. Dicks is the CEO of Gloucestershire Poetry Society and Gloucester Poetry Festival. His work has been accepted by Ink, Sweat and Tears, Three Drops from a Cauldron and Fresh Air Poetry. He frequently reads at poetry events throughout the UK.


More By Z.D. Dicks:



Image Credit: Eugène Atget “Sapin, Trianon (Pine Tree Trunks at the Trianon)” (1910) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.