Author: Theresa Smalec

Car Kissing in the Rain and Leaving Indifference by Eileen Hugo

Installment 15 features two poems by Eileen Hugo. Both pieces travel in transitory directions and offer quick but lingering glimpses into acts that are only supposed to last for a short time.   *** Car Kissing in the Rain Rain drops made circles and moved down the windows in small rivers that branched out and down to the hood of the car heavy rain drummed the roof and our pulses it was steamy outside and in with the curtain drawn passions escalated but this was car kissing     nothing more *** Leaving From the car window I see the road that leaves this frigid town. It only goes south past one school, one store with a gas pump and one dingy church. Curls of acrid smoke bunch into a dark haze that stays trapped above your cliche house. Porch railing broken one car on blocks surrounded by scattered remains of the stand-ins you have used up. I don’t see you when I pass by I wave anyway. *** My name is Eileen Hugo and I am a poet. I am retired and doing all the things I love. I have been published in the anthologies Southern Breezes and The Baby Boomer Birthright, and most recently The Taste Of Ink, a collaboration of poets from Mid-Coast Maine. I also served time as the Poetry Editor for The Houston Literary Review. In April of...

Read More


Installment 14, Drew Milne’s “Defeat Devices,” takes up the EPA term for devices installed by Volkswagen and other car manufacturers to disguise the levels of real world emissions produced by their vehicles. Software recognizes lab conditions and changes the fuel regulation to suit, but once back on the road, the NOx and particulates emissions spike and far exceed regulation levels. Milne renders concrete those deadly remains that many prefer to keep out of sight and mind. *** DEFEAT DEVICES there in the software lies a tiger in the tank a cat called catalytics pumping particulates he takes a breather...

Read More

Three Poems by Marilyn Cavicchia

Installment 13 features three poems by Marilyn Cavicchia that take our exploration of cars and remains in new directions. Each piece below is a found poem whose source material were posts in a public Facebook group called “The World’s Most Boring Posts Club.” Each day, Cavicchia visited the group and found a brief phrase to start a poem, then scrolled to find other phrases that joined it in an interesting way. Her novel assemblage of found parts departs from a simple copy-and-paste job, and puts a new spin on the traditional lyric “I”. *** My Peppers Are Still Coming...

Read More

Spring Geography and Columbia Clutch by Fred Wah

Installment 12 brings together a poem from Fred Wah’s So Far (1991), and a new one, “Columbia Clutch” (2018). Both poems enact impending shifts, abrupt unearthings. Matter breathes, reveals, holds our attention. Yet the latter piece also attends to the double-edged amalgam of awe and harnessing at the heart of our interactions with nature: “Roll on Columbia, roll on/ Your power is turning our darkness to dawn.” (Photo credit and copyright: Halcyon Ploss) *** Spring Geography Things appear suddenly not new but as they remain left over from the winter for example. dead logs caught in the brush at all angles a breathing pushes out of them a picture in the warmer air sings to the surfaces of our skin and eyes a handfull of dead fingernails I love you today like I have never before fingers and hair. dead logs heads hands twigs sticks leaves grass the suddenness and warm air shimmering off the hood of a green 47 Dodge pickup mountains come out of the clouds the road down to the lake [SF :38]   Columbia Clutch some rust maybe or an old tire on the shore but internal combustion makes no sense the shape of the current isn’t diesel though the trains get grade geology all comes down to history the nation an imitation locomotive rolling stock ‘ol “Roll On Columbia” time traces depth never thought of a...

Read More

The Red Car by David Cull

This eleventh installment features the work of David Cull, a contributor to and eventual board member of TISH: a poetry newsletter (founded in August 1961). Cull’s poem, “The Red Car,” confirms the cosmic complexities of any good anagram. Tish happens–even to cars and their accidental hosts.  *** the red car rots beside the entrance driveway 15 years of rusted metal, broken glass & plastic into garbage bags I punch holes in the floor boards with a pickaxe so the filthy water drains away no documents and therefore no way autowreckers will remove the junk the engine pulled and dumped at...

Read More