Oriada Dajko – LTNC Series


In your world, inside your country,
in your town, inside your house,
in your family…
… strangers came around.
Even inside you…
Language was never found.


Artist & About the Piece:

Oriada Dajko

This is a short poem that talks about the boundaries people set between them. Creating boundaries with others also creates boundaries for oneself. This poem is dedicated to the power of language in society.

Patricia Walsh – LTNC Series


Addled algorithms, a season on ecstasy,

heartfelt persuasions know no limits,

built-in adolescence drives the insecure

sleeping in doorways a superior curse.

Crystalline palaces under shared beds

protection from prying hands before bedtime,

produce what you can, on pain of obsolescence

shame to jettison what engenders failure.

Inferior complexes the hardest in the book,

complicated questions show their ire,

holding one’s own in a mess of radio buttons

true or false or otherwise, screeching demise.

The eerily judgemental speeds the plough,

burning all and sundry to keep things sweet,

incentivise work like never before,

no amount of apology can dissuade that.

More fussy about alcohol, good, ill, otherwise

cursed to sleeping rough once time passes

safely passing that hurdle, standing alone

cutting swathes across examinations in due course.

Returning to the fold, simple massacre permitting,

the producer’s helper finding the darkest hour,

clock-face on the mortar forgives everything,

a call for proper order a proper champion.

Watching Us Burn

The morning’s red sky speaks atrocities.

Rare though it is, beckoning sheets of rain,

washing efforts at painting at nought,

seeping clothes on the dry as recommended.

Never thinking of a local drink to soothe,

enough alcohol to go stale on the sly,

ghastly though it tastes, disbelief at alcoholics

resurrecting examinations in due course.

Swimming in technology for a greater good,

exiting down the side alley once vacated,

actions like milk spilt over camaraderie

misplacing a step where the affairs overtake.

This invisible mind cuts for a better deal

sit down and be quiet, that’s all I ask.

Pay attention where due, on a straightened path,

retiring at a slow pace, artistically rich.

Tomorrow bodes even worse, a sportive adventure,

darkened features have no one to blame,

half-empty glass snugly prising its gun

maturity being tough, at the best of times

an elusive state of affairs, still undefined.

Life-changing excuses, taken out with the rubbish,

burning tantalising magazines out of spite.

Too adventurous for some, even if all in the head,

fantasy without guilt in love with the impossible.

My Minion Book

Getting up from seats to satisfy various groups,

vacating the naked lunch, never again,

shot without mercy after taunting tears

the sated crowds get their own preferences.

Sports injuries is no fault but your own,

twinkling lights shine on without a care,

more important than life or death, of course

regular drives home a cause for gratitude.

Weaving funny stories, in a haze of mistakes

feeling shame from my work unhorses me,

eating from production-heavy glasses

sacrilegious condiments through a gravy boat.

Playing continually in red, intractable future,

drinking alone is a joke no one can cure,

being watched from various angles, scrutinised,

hardly redeemed from one’s loneliness.

Tracking devices eventually kill us all.

The shame of existence wiping the floor,

searing the deficit paid out to society

unfulfilled friendship hardly registering.

Hurt at the time of writing, something was up.

Theories of demise milked beyond recognition

lifelong embarrassment resonates through anger,

a public diary, however brief, still incriminates.

Wild Life & Low Life

Scuppering another’s music as you do best,

black eclipse on form a requisite standard

a pinnacle of pain falls short of closure

crassly sucked, on demand, inconsequential

worming into a life grossly all right,

introducing the dark side of a job well done.

Sleeping under demands, requests futile

of places to stay, clothing notwithstanding,

waitress on guard to see you off safely,

loved, not liked, as her parents wished

scanned demands make politicians laugh,

persecution simplex explains their rule.

Promising redemption on the back of a laptop,

nicely groomed to its use to an optimum,

frequenting the gingerbread house on every occasion

an unlikely rehab from top to toe

spare cuts do the business, a tea-based lifeform,

straws breaking backs miss their chances.

Now, I am alone, before smart phones and revenge porn.

Ultimate sacrifice no more than a whimsy,

laying down in peace, a pardoner’s pole-vault

sleeping though you are now, a luxury of soil

on your own sword of drugs and alcohol,

probably missed, by whom I have forgotten.

Subtle you were, like the quick brown fox

jumps over the lazy dog, perchance.

Stale as it is, pumping alcohol as directed,

slowly imbibing was you watch from afar.

An exit strategy hardly beckons,

pointing out classic hits over the tannoy,

disembodied photographs grace the stairwell,

playing games where provided, entertaining.

A hardly crafted tattoo graces your neckline,

barely covered under buttons, displayed all the same

closed-circuit conversation of no consequence

looking strange a price to pay for solitary.

Hooked on decent manners, a prolific swing,

born-again criminal over suitable drugs,

championing one’s talent for better reading,

on condition of including you in my canon.

Bare shoulders reveal a wealth of fashion

crying only for yourself, incarcerated again,

slotting in sex wherever possible

deceiving nurses with your extravagant poverty.

An astringent collective, drinking unfashionably

moving far away it a hard-worn guilt.

Opportune drugs defining your life

dying in perfect time, a wrong proved right.


Patricia Walsh was born and raised in the parish of Mourneabbey, Co Cork, Ireland.  To date, she has published one novel, titled The Quest for Lost Eire, in 2014, and has published one collection of poetry, titled Continuity Errors, with Lapwing Publications in 2010. She has since been published in a variety of print and online journals.  These include: The Lake; Seventh Quarry Press; Marble Journal; New Binary Press; Stanzas; Crossways; Ygdrasil; Seventh Quarry; The Fractured Nuance; Revival Magazine; Ink Sweat and Tears; Drunk Monkeys; Hesterglock Press; Linnet’s Wing, Narrator International, The Galway Review; Poethead and The Evening Echo.

Acoustic Librarian – LTNC Series

We crawl to work in metal shells

Fueled by burning dinosaurs,

Our planet slowly cooking in the smoke.
Waves of heat soar higher;

The Golden State’s on fire;

Though some say global warming is a hoax.
Melting polar icecaps

,Disappearing glaciers

Lead to the rising of the sea.
Hurricanes grow stronger;

Rain and floods last longer;

A bad time to live in Miami!
Is this progress?

Is this progress?
Scientists have warned us

Of rising CO2;

Still we keep cutting down the trees.
Water grown acidic

And tangles of plastic

Poison the creatures in our seas.
Farmers lose harvests

To harsh, changing weather,

Reaping drought and famine for the poor.
They migrate for survival;

Labeled on arrival,

Invaders teeming on our shore.
Is this progress?

In making America great again?

Will you speak truth to those in power

Who bury their heads in the sand?
Is this progress?

Is this progress?
Smirking politicians

Mock the Green New Deal,

But whose is the costly fantasy?
To keep on doing nothing

Will end up costing trillions

In plummeting worldwide GDP.
Will we work together,

Make the painful changes

Needed for our world to survive?
Or follow blind guides

To the edge of the cliff

On a path to collective suicide?
Is this progress?

In making America great again?

Will you speak truth to those in power

Who bury their heads in the sand?
We need progress

In making our planet well again.

Let’s cause an uproar

‘Til we can’t be ignored;

Don’t bury your head in the sand.
Is this progress?

Is this progress?

Is this progress?


Acoustic Librarian

Katherine Gotthardt – LTNC Series

Latino Community Unravels

“With Latinos fleeing the combined effects of the construction downturn, the mortgage crisis and new local laws aimed at catching illegal immigrants, Latino shops are on the brink of bankruptcy, church groups are hemorrhaging members, neighborhoods are dotted with for-sale signs, and once-busy strip malls have been transformed into ghost towns.”  (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/26/AR2008032603333.html)

Why is this store so empty?
The cash girl’s eyes are caves,
inward turned, downward turned,
downward toward her laces,
loosely bound, blind eyelet sets,

the red, white and blue stained sneakers,
industrial woven canvas, the rubber

if she has to run.

Work at home, work at the store,

bathe Abuela tonight, scan for cans

to pile here, keep one ear out for the doorbell—

as if listening will bring people in.

These are the braids of her living now,

between metal aisles and shelves,

no customer now, no jangle now, might as well

sweep again. Pick up the corn-husk broom,

clean like there’s business tomorrow,

in this old store, ethnic store, clean away the Spanish.

Bleach the tiles twice today, power-wash her skin,
beg her body to look like the powerful–
at least until payday again.

You Made Me Feel Illegal

You made me feel illegal
the way you eyed my hair
too-long-too-dyed-for-work hair
too-third-world-take-care-of-kids hair
too-got-to-clean-the-house hair
too-too-much-chat-about-the-family hair.

You made me feel illegal
my Wal-mart pants and blouses
my too-this-isn’t-how-we-dress-here clothes
too-cheap-to-even-work-here clothes
too-girly-to-do-your-job-here clothes
too-back-to-the-slum-with-you-dear clothes.

You made me feel illegal
pointing out my jewelry
“too gold” you say, “too gaudy”
my too-don’t-show-your-face-in-the-lobby jewelry
too-you-know-nothing-about-our-country jewelry
too-go-home-to-anchor-babies jewelry.

You made me feel illegal
like I’m too-you-can’t-speak-like-we-know how
too-got-no-right-to-talk now
too-got-to-go-and-wash-sticky-floors now
too-better-go-cook-in-a-filthy-kitchen now
too-best-sweep-up-the-dirt-you-see now.

You made me feel illegal
too-nothing-more-than-low class
too-nothing-less-than loathed
You made me feel illegal.

You should be illegal.


To write poetry,
you must untrain
your brain,
forget the rigidities
of relationships.
Where is the mug

of Cuban coffee
you made me a moment ago?
Here, in the sunlight,
keeping it warm.
I’d like to stay here.
Sip it.


Katherine Gotthardt, M.Ed.

President, Write by the Rails


InsideNova’s Best of Prince William Award-Winning Author

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Ruth Kozak – LTNC Series


On the beach at Naxos,

It isn’t just the mothers who care for their children.

I see fathers tenderly cradling babies,

Rocking them gentle as they pace the shore.

Another holds his tiny daughter tight,

A mother hold her toddler’s hand on their morning stroll.

Here on Naxos

Sun-browned, naked nymphs frolick at the waters edge

Children everywhere, romp in the summer sun.

Happy families together on the beach.

On another island

A child’s limp body is lifted from the sand,

The shoreline strewn with abandoned life-jackets, back-packs and debris

A father grieves for his drowned family,

A mother screams in terror.

These parents care for their children too,

Have risked their lives to escape to a ‘safe’ place,

Leaving the horrors of war behind

To crowd onto over-loaded rubber rafts

For a sea journey to safety.

How many of them have drowned on the voyage?

How many have lost their children

Those children they wanted to bring to a safe shore

To enjoy a future in a place where there was no war?

On Lesbos Island,

It isn’t just fish the sailors catch in their nets

Brave men dive into the sea to save those who are floundering

Village women bring warm blankets, food, offer comfort.

Strangers come from afar to embrace the rescued ones.

Yet there are those who would not welcome them.

“Go back home!” they say. Home? There is no home.

It has all been destroyed, and already too many lives lost.

I sit on Naxos’ shore,

Watch the happy parents stroll,

Hear the happy cries of children

And I think about that island, not too far from here

Where a frightened mother cradles her baby

And a father cries for a drowned son.

Dedicated to the memory of little Alan Kurdi (2015)

Artist and About This Piece:

Ruth Kozak is a published historical fiction writer and travel journalist. “I wrote while on the beach at Naxos, Greece.  I was thinking of the island not far away, Lesbos (Mytelini) where so many refugees have landed over the past couple of years, and in particular this tragic event when one of the boats sank.”

Ruth Kozak also writes some poetry and instructs writing classes. Her novel (about the fall of Alexander the Great’s empire) is available in two volumes on Amazon.com:  SHADOW OF THE LION: Blood on the Moon (vol 1)\and SHADOW OF THE LION: The Fields of Hades (vol 2)  and is also available (full volume) in amazon Kindle.
She lives in New Westminster, British Columbia Canada.

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Richard Wells – LTNC Series

Hungry Water

Strolling past

like Christ on a Crutch

Everything he owns

cloaking his battered-ness

or in a shopping cart

Contact or greeting

a baited hook in

hungry water

Reverse fishing

make the cast

become the catch

No current strong enough

to allay, “can you spare…”

I can and do

with smile and eyes

and see:

black white brown

native asian

he she they

all of us

in the stark reality

of the world

that none of us

are free.

Artist and About the Piece:

Richard Wells: “I consider myself a poet/journalist reporting from the streets and the universe between my ears.  I live part time in Seattle, WA, the other part in Guanajuato, Mexico.  Recently I wrote and produced a 50 minute work with 5 readers, 2 of them musicians, that explored intersections of the environmental catastrophe and immigration.  The name of the work was:  Sideways Through Zion:  Field Notes.  This is a short piece from that performance.”

Lynn White – LTNC Series

Help Me Over

Help me.

Help me over.

Help me cross.

I can see the sky 


by debris,

by rocks,

by wire,

by dereliction.


by sharpness and

impenetrable barriers.

I want to see it clear,

clear and unblemished

creamy white

and pink and blue.

Help me see it.

Help me over.

Help me cross.

I want want to see it

framed by trees,

I want to see

the rocks become



Help me.

Help me over.

Help me cross 

to the place

where the birds are singing

breaking up the sky with flight.

Does it still exist, this place?

I must think so.

Help me find it. 

Help me.

Help me over.

Help me cross

First published in Armageddon Issue, Pilcrow and Dagger, February 2017





can you hear them?

The sounds that went before

the wall was built.


I can hear them.

Not the wall builders,

no, not them,

but others who also

don’t want to see

what lies beyond.

What lies on the other side.

Others who will build walls

in the future.

But listen,

we can hear them.


Listen for when the cracks appear,

then push.

First published in Praxis, April 2019


Separate Development

We must develop separately, you and I,

you on your side, me on mine.

The wall between us




They built it so.

We must undermine it, you and I,

you on your side, me on mine,

Burrow beneath  

the rocky foundation,

scratch away,

one stone at a time.

Wall fall down.

First published in Art Of Peace Tyler Poetry Anthology – ‘Intertwined, Poems of Shared Endeavor, September, 2015


Running On Empty 

We take care how we fill our shoes.

Our trainers and boots.

Our flats and heels, stilettos and cuban.

They may match our mood, specially chosen,

or be eternal representations of our unified self.

So surely something of us must remain

when they are emptied.

Not just our smells and mis-shapes,

evocative as they are,

but something more fundamental.

Something spiritual.

Something symbolic.

See here

empty shoes

laid out tidily in rows.

Blocked together on a grass field 

or concrete yard.

Rows upon rows of them

that once contained the school children

now shot dead,

our children.

See here

empty shoes

piled high in untidy heaps.

Heaps and heaps of them, 

that once contained peaceful people

now massacred, bombed, burned.

Our people

spanning place

and time without end.

First published in Tuck, June 2018



At school there was a weekly collection 

for charity.

I saved up my biscuit money

so that

I did not seem different, more impoverished

than the rest.

And so that I had something to give to those

less fortunate.

I knew what charities were, you see.

Well, except for the one called


I did not know what refugees were.

This was 1956.

Only six years after the ending of a war

creating millions

of refugees

and I had to ask what they were

several times.

Even then,

I didn’t understand.

It made no sense to me.

I didn’t understand.

First published in Tuck Magazine, February 2018

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Lynn White