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Five Poems

Of Land Lines & Lines of Sight

Before we cut the land line, the rectangular box sat idle. Most days. Most hours. Even so, the power displayed in (& of) its quiet existence rivaled that of a million knights. No wonder none of us slept. Nights always unpredictable. Needs always pressing. 

When the box spoke, it was always a quiet voice of volumes to the most extreme degree. Not decibels. But tone. And testaments.

Are you there? Why haven’t you called? I’m waiting. You know better. The milk is sour. Your breath stinks. The jeans are unbecoming. What have you become?

Silly of me to think that simply cutting the line could silence the voices. The voice always right. I should have known better. Tangled webs of sight & sound weave vectors. And victories.


On Webs that Bind (& Blind) :: “What’s a Life, Anyway”

As we stood in a circle, dressed in a chorus of charcoal gray hose and thick black cotton sweaters, she sung. First Lennon, then Sinatra. “A walk down memory lane,” one with green dye snorted. “Snorting’s not appropriate,” one with purple braids chastised. “Manners please,” one with mannerisms made of minute maid fruit punch & twinkies supreme posited. “Cliché,” another chortled, lipstick-stained teeth clicking. “The spread best be good,” the tallest amongst us whispered, then squashed a stray spider. One by one we revealed true colors as our black boots wiggled and our waists buckled under unfamiliar elastic. Everyone eats.  


On Bodies (Never) At Rest & No Time to Stop

rest stops lined both sides of the median. & the highway. large lots of concrete. polka dot blankets woven of vehicles of varying hues. i’d count them, quickly, as we passed. one. two. four. numbers always rising. minutes always pressing. no time to rest. no stops worthy. my makers always consumed with/of/by missions of personal missives. mostly monetary. sometimes pecuniary. i knew better than to squeak. regretted needing to take a leak. did not know the limits of my own making. six. eight. ten. no longer able to wait. unable to speak. bodies (never) at rest. 


on backward journeys & jumbled realities :: through the looking glass


carroll wrote of alice 

& her journey

the looking glass


discoveries of.thru.from

red queens, conversational (& sensational) florals, 

& progressive games of chess


tales of.thru.from

white pawns, chicken-sized gnats,

& regressive games of chase


feasts of

eggs with no shells, cakes resistant to cuts,

& possessive games of chaos


acrobatics amidst 

an abundance of crustless

tea sandwiches & strawberry lemonade cups

& consecutive (if not productive) 

games of cat & mouse (white rabbits, too)


alice persisted.resisted.demisted.

& ultimately untwisted. 

no longer blacklisted. sometimes assisted.

& always existed.

why then – when I look, the glass

i see only

cards – jokers taunting jacks,

kings dominating queens,

& unplayed.overplayed.replayed


of me (in the looking glass)


Guts & Gas

A cowboy threw a ten-pound ball 

down an oil-slicked lane. His thumb flexed,

flicked, then released the neon sphere. His gal,

the brains of the operation, threw a sixteen. 

Both belched, then farted. Guts (& gas) on display. 

Bio: Jen Schneider is an educator who lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Pennsylvania. She is a Best of the Net nominee, with stories, poems, and essays published in a wide variety of literary and scholarly journals. She is the author of A Collection of Recollections, Invisible Ink, On Daily Puzzles: (Un)locking Invisibility and On Crossroads and Fill in the Blank Puzzles (Moonstone Press), and Blindfolds, Bruises, and Breakups.

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