Jason Baldinger: “these blue veins (for lilly portage)”





these blue veins (for lilly portage)

there’s a copy
of leaves of grass
aging in the back window
of my saturn, cover now
sunbleached, dog-eared
torn, well toned
with car windows down
pages wriggle free
to blow in the wind
of interstate america

I brought walt along
for ceremony in 2012
on day two of 75
cross country travels
getting down to the real
america wherever

on morning two
with reverend copilot
in that green corner
neighbor of the lake, harliegh cemetery
we read whitman at whitman
while he brushes whisps
of the civil war’s hair

I tramp a perpetual journey
look for the soul in these eyes
this lost nation
looking for myself
in the mirrors of maps
strewn across front seat

walt has traveled with me since
a talisman for luck on these
endless miles where anything
is a moment lost in the weight
of every other moment
where every city fades
in the full throat of the rear view

I can’t count all the small town stars
the fireworks and sunsets
all the loneliness found
across these blue veins

like that years pass
I’m standing in a carwash
vacuuming the saturn
for one last ride
holding this dog-eared
abused talisman

I can’t throw it out
in a trashcan, in the last
of winter’s light even if
it is wholly disposable
it carries weight, o
how sweet the silent backward tracings



About the Author: Jason Baldinger is from Pittsburgh and looks forward to roaming the country writing poems again. His newest books are A Threadbare Universe (Kung Fu Treachery Press) and The Afterlife is a Hangover (Stubborn Mule Press). A History of Backroads Misplaced: Selected Poems 2010- 2020 (Kung Fu Treachery) is forthcoming later this year. His work has been published widely across print journals and online. You can hear him read his work on Bandcamp and on lp’s by The Gotobeds and Theremonster.


More Poetry by Jason Baldinger:

This Ghostly Ambience

It was a Golden Time

Beauty is a Rare Thing


Image Credit: Digitally altered photo of Walt Whitman. Public Domain.


ron kolm photo parkside oct. 13th

By Ron Kolm


(Today’s poem originally appeared via Brevitas, was published in the poetry collection Divine Comedy, and appears here today with permission from the poet.)

Ron Kolm is a member of the Unbearables, and an editor of several of their anthologies; most recently The Unbearables Big Book of Sex! Ron is a contributing editor of Sensitive Skin magazine and the editor of the Evergreen Review. He is the author of The Plastic Factory and, with Jim Feast, the novel Neo Phobe. A new collection of his poems, Divine Comedy, has just been published by Steve Cannon’s Fly By Night Press. He’s had work published in the Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, Live Mag! and the Poetry Super Highway. Kolm’s papers were purchased by the New York University library, where they’ve been catalogued in the Fales Collection as part of the Downtown Writers Group.

Editor’s Note: At a recent reading in Brooklyn featuring SPS-beloved poet Leah Umansky, a man walked up to me believing we’d met at another poetry event. I told him I did not believe that we had, and in response he gave me a copy of his most recent poetry collection. This is poetry. Community. Going to readings and meeting artists whose work you love. Books given as gifts because poetry is connectivity; poetry is love.

I read Divine Comedy from cover to cover on my way home on the train that night. Gritty, blunt, and overtly sexual, it is not a book for the faint of heart. But what I found was that the backdrop of harsh reality made the book’s quieter moments shine more brightly. Today’s poem was found within those pages, a peaceful and meditative beacon of calm amidst an ocean of neon lights, graffiti, and chaos. There is room for all of this in poetry, of course, but I am a sucker for the beautiful, for the contemplative, and, of course, for Walt Whitman. Whitman who, as Ron Kolm so simply and eloquently points out, “Like God,” is “everywhere all at once.”

Want to read more by and about Ron Kolm?
Sensitive Skin magazine launch reading – Youtube
The Villager
Poetry Superhighway
Urban Graffiti