Thursday, October 26, 2023

GAS Featured Poet: Bart Solarczyk

Bart Solarczyk is a lifelong resident of Pittsburgh, PA. Over the past forty years his poems have been published in print & online in a variety of magazines, journals, anthologies, broadsides & chapbooks. He is the author of three full-length collections of poetry including his most recent book, Carried Where We Go, available from Redhawk Publications on Amazon.  

An Old Man Being Me 
If I must be an old man 
this is how I’ll be: 
what I see in the mirror  
pain & goodness in my heart 
the poison I breathe 
& the shit that passes through me 
wounded ducks in a row 
beer in the backyard  
a dead wife plump with memories 
& no new wife required 
television as white noise 
poems plastered to that frequency  
a mouthful of green fog 
stay hungry, exhale slowly 
limping but still moving 
reading then forgetting  
sleeping in a chair  
dreaming ghosts are people  
going to the doctor 
going to the doctor 
going to the doctor 
& sometimes there’s good news 
what lives behind my eyes  
backflipping pages 
no hero, no ascension  
just an old man being me.  
Sun & Leaves 
This is fucked up 
I have cancer 
I’m cold 
& my ass hurts 
through the window  
a world away 
a golden sun 
warms green leaves 
but in here 
I have cancer 
it’s fucked up 
I watch the window 
sun & leaves 
my ass hurts 
I’m cold. 
4 Haiku  
not quite there- 
preparing for 
my sponge bath 
& grief still wins 
driving to the doctor - 
wounded city framed 
in morning’s windshield  
wings to dust -  
the nothing  
we become  
School Prayer 
Bullet holes 
in blackboards 
kids & cops 
& killers 
America please 
stop it with the guns.  
Write It Down 
Write it down 
so you know 
it really happened 
write it down 
to bring truth 
to a lie 
write it down 
like a Valentine 
love me 
while the air 
is still sweet 
write it down.  

Thursday, October 19, 2023

GAS Featured Poet: Jeff Weddle

Jeff Weddle grew up Prestonsburg, a small town in the Appalachian foothills of eastern Kentucky. He has lived, worked, and/or studied in New Hampshire, Maine, Tennessee, Mississippi and, for almost twenty years, Alabama, where he teaches in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama. Over the years he has been a newspaper reporter, a radio disc jockey, a fry cook, a Tae Kwon Do teacher, an English teacher, a public library director, and a barfly, among other things. He is the author of sixteen books, most of which are available through Amazon and other online retailers, but the two publications of which he is most proud would be difficult for most people to acquire. The first of these is a poem which a friend had tattooed on her arm without first mentioning it, and that one is hard to beat. The second is his selected poems, VRITMË NËSE KE KOQE, translated into Albanian by the esteemed Fadil Bajraj and published in Kosovo by SabaiumBB. As with the tattoo, one would have difficulty trying to find this book in an online bookstore. Not that anyone asked, but Jeff strongly advocates “The Six Golden Rules of Writing,” proposed by novelist Ernest J. Gaines, for anyone seeking to improve their work. These are: “Read, read, read and write, write, write.” He believes anything beyond these rules, other than lived experience, just gets in the way. Jeff’s writing has been influenced by many of the old dogs, though Barry Hannah, Richard Brautigan, Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Carver, Kenneth Patchen, Etgar Keret, Lyn Lifshin and Charles Bukowski lead the pack.





Ménage a Trois


Bear with me, please. After all, this is only a movie.

The story is lewd, but that is so often the case.

Boy meets girl. Girl meets girl.

All the drinking and sweat.

Pictures torn from old magazines.

The girl — the first one — has a limp from an undefined mishap.

Poor thing. Plus, she is plain.

The second girl never shows.

The boy is torn between his mother and the limp.

He yearns for the second girl,

but that’s wasted angst.

Bear with me.

The second girl lives a thousand years ago.

So, no wonder.

She is beautiful but feels incomplete.

The boy wishes on a star.

The girl with the limp contemplates the moon and time.

A thousand years before, the second girl dreams of ecstasy.

The girl with the limp thinks of this

as the boy slips his hand between her legs.

The boy thinks of this as the girl with the limp undoes his pants.

That’s when the mother walks into the room.

That’s when the girl wakes up a thousand years ago.

Everyone is drenched but far from satisfied.

The mother, embarrassed, wanders off to drink.

Roll credits.





Time is a Form of Gravity


Old men with theatrical grudges,

old wrongs, imagined clues,

lost photographs.


There were misplaced apologies

that might have helped.

Old fires with their killing smoke.

The failure of the dance, even that.


Good days sinning with young maidens

and clumsy exits, prideful.


The room where they met.

The years.


Now, brittle bones

and minds fallen into caves.


Carnivorous fears,

the loss of what was only wished for.


Hands held and dropped,

the selfish theatre of desire

with act five in disarray.


Nothing left but the curtain.

No roses, no bows.


The audience long since lost.




Quantum Entanglement, Maybe


On June 12 1954, a woman of clear spirit

saw your face, just as it is now,

right this moment.

She was eating a ham and Swiss sandwich

on sourdough bread, plenty of mayonnaise,

and drinking a glass of sweet tea

with lemon.

She always had lemon with her tea

to cut through the sugar,

though she required both flavors

for optimum enjoyment.

Your face flashed into her mind

with your eyes looking directly into hers.

It was quite an intense experience

for anyone on June 12 1954,

let alone a woman of clear spirit.

In truth, she almost stopped

eating her sandwich

but it was her only chance for lunch

before heading back to her job

at the bank and she was still hungry.

Five minutes later she had forgotten

your face. She glanced in her mirror

and straitened her blouse.

Back to the salt mines.




Lovers in Love


It is love, of course.

It is impossible.

He is he, after all.

She is she.

It is love that plunges the knife.

They would be together

if everyone knew everything,

but no one knows much

and most know nothing.

But it is love.

The mind staggers.

It is the sort of love

that destroys sleep

but feeds dreams.

That sort of thing.


You will see them here

each day

if you watch.

There will be a tip of the hat.

A nod.




My Bag of Sorrows


Also, I must tell you

that I am unhappy

with several things.

I do not like

the disappearance of cats

from the world,

an event you might protest

has not happened,

but I assure you

that you have only not noticed.

I detest that I can look

in a person’s eyes

and know the time and manner

of their death.

I’ve won more than my share of bar bets

with this trick,

but haven’t felt especially

good about it, even so.

I weep that my dreams come true

in only sad and trivial ways.

Like my recurring dream

of loud customers

in checkout lines

who are always

twelve cents short of their bill.

It is a mystery where the cats have gone.

It is also a mystery when I will die

and in what manner.

No one sees me the way I see the world.

Now let me look at you,

if you still wish it.

I will tell you many things

about fate and forever.

It will be a story of beautiful regret,

but you will never know

if I am lying.




Thursday, October 12, 2023

GAS Featured Poet: Tom Lagasse

 Tom’s writing has appeared in numerous literary journals, both in print and online, and in anthologies, including Border Beats. He lives in Bristol, CT. 

Social Media:


Twitter: @tomlagasse

Instagram: @tom_lagasse 


Driving to make my pilgrimage to 

Steinbeck land, I pass the valley.

Wall-to-wall carpet of lettuce, 

Strawberries, and other produce


Leads the eye to the hills in the west

And the ocean to the east.  

The summer heat wilts.  In the fields

heavily dressed Mexicans, hoping to

Prevent the sun and pesticides from permeating 

into the core of their precious, porous bodies

Appear like a mirage of moving rocks

as they care for the food that will go 

On my table on the other side of this 

country.  When the clear plastic

Clam shells are pulled from the shelf,  some-

one will mumble a complaint about the cost.    


In a portable cubicle, in an innocuous 

office building not large enough 

to hold humanity’s dreams, someone 

has been tasked to lead a team

to study how to increase operational

efficiencies and improve 

the bottom line.  In effect:

to exchange the beating heart

for a robot or an application.  

Since machines never need

to vacation or sleep, which

senior management sees

ss a plus.  This also will increase 

the speed of products getting to 

market faster, which consumers demand.

They pour over the ratio of capital 

investment to reduce jobs.  The days

of lifetime employment are gone.  

What should any employee expect, 

the team reasons, this is capitalism, 

not people-ism.  It is the natural evolution

of a concept, like the Information Age,

The Industrial Age, or Darwinism 

where the rich fatten the poor

Before they eat them.