Richard Houff: “When there’s Nothing Left to Say”



When there’s Nothing Left to Say

Picking a stone from the bed
beneath his feet, he skips them
over quiet water and counts
the rings before they sink.
At other times, he pays them
no mind. Stooping for a nice
flat one and a final throw;
he feels the texture of the stone
interweaving with his own sense
of being. This cold wet rock
carrying significance and belonging
to the nonessential; bending sunshine
hints into shadow
—moving forward


About the Author: Richard D. Houff edited Heeltap Magazine and Pariah Press Books from 1986 to 2010. He is also a journalist that’s comfortable in writing both poetry and prose. His work has been published in Academic and Arts Review, Brooklyn Review, Chiron Review, Louisiana Review, Midwest Quarterly, North American Review, Parnassus, Rattle, San Fernando Quarterly, and many other fine magazines.


More By Richard Houff:

Naked Machines


Image Credit: Eadweard J. Muybridge “Lake Tenaya. Sierra Nevada Mountains” (1872) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

Richard Houff: “Naked Machines”



Naked Machines

And here we go again
Sliding toward home
And no this isn’t baseball
It’s just something you have to do
Like the time I went for a ride
On the Illinois Central deep into
Mississippi and the bulls spotted me
Alongside ancient track with nowhere
To run and baby has the blues
Because there’s no way out
Until Mr. Man says okay
The rest being irrelevant like history books
As if we really didn’t know the score
When it all comes down to ticket voids world
In afterward thoughts always blank
And silence from those who didn’t make it



About the Author: Richard D. Houff edited Heeltap Magazine and Pariah Press Books from 1986 to 2010. He is also a journalist that’s comfortable in writing both poetry and prose. His work has been published in Academic and Arts Review, Brooklyn Review, Chiron Review, Louisiana Review, Midwest Quarterly, North American Review, Parnassus, Rattle, San Fernando Quarterly, and many other fine magazines.


Image Credit: Carol M. Highsmith “Just a smidge of the more than 1,400 washing machines and wash products on display at Lee Maxwell’s Washing Machine Museum in little Eaton, Colorado. Newly retired, Mr. Maxwell had no hobby, and, on a cross-country trip, he and his wife saw an old washer for sale one day. The rest, as they say, is history — to the tune of assembling the world-record number of sudsers.” The Library of Congress