Nicole Hardy

Mud Flap Girl on Teen Talk Barbie


Everyone knows I’m not into clothes, but
you go to the mall, girlfriend; knock yourself
uptown, little Ms. Bad Influence. What
else can you do when you’re pulled from the shelf

for expressing yourself. Here’s what I think:
math class is supposed to be tough. Take that
to any best selling, self-helping shrink:
she’ll say your stellar scores on the GMAT

and your supreme self-esteem can be traced
to childhood success at difficult tasks.
So when Jane’s math anxiety gets placed
on your plastic ass, remind them you passed—

and then pulled off a string of successes
in more careers than Skipper has dresses.


According to a New York Times article published October 21, 1992, Mattel’s Teen Talk Barbie was widely criticized by a national women’s group for saying “math class is tough.” The Barbie remained in stores, but the computer chip that randomly selected four phrases for each doll thereafter picked from 269 selections, not 270.


Nicole Hardy’s memoir, Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin is forthcoming through Hyperion/Voice in 2013. Her work has appeared in the New York Times as well as many literary journals. She’s the author of a poetry collection and a chapbook:This Blonde, and Mud Flap Girl’s XX Guide to Facial Profiling.

Judith Azrael



The wind is cracking branches

in its teeth

It is running after me

I am not afraid

We are all going

to the same place

whoever  gets there first will have to wait


“Alone” previously appeared in Rosebud.


Judith Azrael received an MFA from the University of Oregon and taught for many years.  The teaching included a three year position at Western Washington University  as visiting writer and  at other colleges, community colleges and art centers.   Her four volumes of poetry include:  Fire in August from Zeitgeist Press,  Fields of Light from Cassiopeia Press, and Antelope Are Running and Apple Tree Poems from Confluence Press.  A collection of her stories and lyrical essays,  Wherever I Wander, was published by Impassio Press.  Her work has appeared widely in magazines including  Harvard Review, The Yale Review, Shenandoah, The Nation, The Sun, Rosebud, Humanities Review  and The Christian Science Monitor.

Student Poem


by Miles Hewitt


& in between passionless crimes—

(so for the lack of humanity,

  the careless abandon

and the forgoing of burden)

I looked into your eyes & thought




& you smiled

& asked me

what I was thinking about

I brushed you away

off the bed

pushed you over the nightstand as

the lamp with wavy grasping shade reached

& the globe on the shelf & the maps

on the walls slipped & sighed

& you collapsed on the ground—


‘I don’t know’ —


but I wasn’t lying.


Miles Hewitt of Vancouver, Washington was one of five student poets chosen as finalists in the National Student Poets Program. Miles represents the West region of the United States. The awards were announced at the 2012 National Book Festival in Washington DC in September. The National Student Poets Program is in its inaugural year. It is a joint project of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

Miles has been writing since the third grade. In the eighth grade, he discovered musical artists Bob Dylan and Paul Simon and moved on to songwriting. Since then, he’s penned more than 100 songs and self-recorded two albums. Miles fell in love with poetry more recently. A junior now at the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, he’s a member of a small group of writers that come together to workshop one another’s pieces and offer support. Outside school, Miles serves as the President of the Young Democrats of Clark County and as the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of his school newspaper. He’s considering a career in political communications or speechwriting if the “rock-and-roll-poet” line of business doesn’t pan out.

READING IN OLYMPIA:   Miles Hewitt and Kathleen Flenniken will be be presenting poems (and perhaps Miles will perform a few songs) at 6:00 p.m. in the Columbia Room of the Legislative Building (State Capitol) on Thursday, November 29. The program is sponsored by the Washington State Library and is free and open to the public.

Gail Tremblay

Meditation on The Dalles Dam
for Lillian Pitt


Electricity is humming in a spider web of lines
as copper wires cased in rubber cross the land;
what sorrow builds in this sound that only whines

where the thunder of water no longer combines
with a wild rush of salmon so close at hand?
Electricity is humming in a spider web of lines.

Where fish runs were rich, everything declines.
No one explains how a body can withstand
The sorrow that builds in this sound that only whines.

Fishermen stood on scaffolds amid the steep inclines
of rock; water foamed before the flow was dammed
so electricity could hum in a spider web of lines.

Rocks watched while men made strange designs
To swell the river to places no rush of water planned.
What sorrow grows when the new sound only whines?

The bodies of old ones wash out of ancient shrines—
how can the spirits of the dead learn to understand
the electricity that hums in a spider web of lines.
What sorrow builds in this sound that only whines?


From Wikipedia:  Celilo Falls (Wyam, meaning “echo of falling water” or “sound of water upon the rocks,” in several native languages) was a tribal fishing area on the Columbia River, just east of the Cascade Mountains, on what is today the border between Oregon and Washington. The name refers to a series of cascades and waterfalls on the river, as well as to the native settlements and trading villages that existed there in various configurations for 15,000 years. Celilo was the oldest continuously inhabited community on the North American continent until 1957, when the falls and nearby settlements were submerged by the construction of The Dalles Dam.


Gail Tremblay is a descendant of Onondaga and Micmac ancestors. She resides in Olympia, WA and has been an artist, writer, and cultural critic for over thirty years. She shares a unique vision through her multi-media visual works, art installations, her writing on Native American Art, and her poetry. She is a professor at The Evergreen State College, where she has mentored students in the fields of visual arts, writing, Native American and cultural studies. Her book of poems, Indian Singing, was published by Calyx Press, and her poetry is widely anthologized and poems have been translated into French, German, Spanish, and Japanese and published internationally.

Laura Jensen

In The Summer Weather

May 1924

At the grave on Memorial Day
they remembered Albert.
My mother said to me,
one relative of ours died in an accident
down on the waterfront.

For August, Labor Day Weekend 1924 –
the Order of Runeberg planned a songfest,
Swedish-Finnish Runeberg Choirs from Tacoma,
and Olympia, and Hoquiam and Aberdeen,
would sing, and their rehearsals began.

I took Swedish at the University of Washington.
Older, a Swedish class at First Lutheran Church
a song about the fox,
how the fox crept over the ice.
Räven raskar över isen.
For vi löv? May I have permission?

Can I be in the choir?
Linnea said to Auntie.

Auntie came up from Grandma
and Grandpa’s house, where the choir
first began in 1913 – their
Swedish-Finnish choir,
next door and they rehearsed.

Elmer and Carl bases, Al a tenor,
Linnea, Ma and Auntie, singing.


At the address on Commerce
where the American Legion Assembly Room
once was, there now
is a Hookah Smoking Caterpillar,
the Cobra Lounge.

It is a Hookah Lounge
where once Linnea Gorde
played A La Bien Aimee.
and the Cobra must change
the caterpillar’s Hookah Hose
Stems and leaves
into a stinging snake. And is it
about the stigma of things of the East?

In 1924 although experiencing
English Only Laws, the Catholics, Jews,
and the Lutherans were to lay aside
differences and Initiative 49,
brought forward by the Ku Klux Klan
to abolish private schools, was to be defeated.

There was a list of appropriate books
for her grade level, because by June
she had read ten. She could sit on her bed
she could sit at the table
she could sit with her feet up on the sofa.

Can one of these books have been
Alice in Wonderland?
She pasted into the scrapbook
her reading certificate from Tacoma Public Library
and Tacoma Public Schools.

Although the news held stories
of Ku Klux Klan rallies, of robes and hoods,
of crosses burning,
Initiative 49 was to go down to defeat.

July 1924 – Kingfisher Lodge

Elmer, Al,
Carl and Ray, Linnea and Gilbert
camped on the beach
where Birger and Eric lived.
Birger and Eric were brothers
of their father and Uncle Albert.
Birger and Eric worked at an island quarry
and they lived in a house on the beach.

Linnea’s piano teacher’s studio
was downtown at the Bernice building,
down the street from the Assembly Room.
Auntie waited while Linnea had her lesson.
Her teacher said to Linnea
with happiness, you are very good Linnea.
Or, you are very good, so you must practice
with diligence, because you have talent.


We rode the train through the forest,
Linnea might well have said.
Linnea might well have said this
to her daughters. However, she was
a talented piano player, and the sound
was more likely to be Sommardansen.

Or, we rode in cars through the forest.
Or, we rode in the hired bus
through the forest to Aberdeen,
we rode in the hired bus, an arm
at the open window, in our everyday
dresses, and we rode on beyond
Aberdeen to Hoquiam. We were there
two nights, the songfest was all Labor Day Weekend.

The grand chorus sang, and the piano soloists
Linnea had to notice, were very pleasant
to listen to, and Linnea could believe
that she could do as well herself.

In the Aberdeen Electrical Park
nearby those people,
with the fires and the white hoods
were gathered, and all the women
exclaimed about this, nervously, then
quieted themselves and said something about
not letting it bother us.

The grand chorus sits for the photograph,
ladies in shades of white
men in black suits with neckties
in front of the B Street Finnish Hall,
Al on one side. Elmer and Carl on the other.

Al had been in soccer in the Stadium Annual.
Jones Photography, Gray’s Harbor .

In the paper from the area, The American,
a column on the front page
describes the KKK Labor Day Celebration
at the Electric Park,
an amusement park, in Aberdeen
and a column on the front page
describes the Songfest,
the Order of Runeberg Songfest.

One could attend one,
or one could attend the other.

In the paper the KKK was to have fireworks.
The Lodge was at
The Hoquiam Masonic Hall
a new hall built the year before in 1923.
I wonder if the Lodge took everyone
to the ocean beach.

In November the election results
for Initiative 49 in Hoquiam and Aberdeen
were almost 50 – 50,
but Initiative 49 was defeated.

Slumrande toner fjärran ur tiden
toner i från stugor, från fält och vänen lid.
sang the choir. They sang in Swedish,
it was a foreign language.
Songs can lie sleeping, distant,
far from time.
Songs from the cabins, from fields
and times so sweet.

September 1924

There is a saved letter and its envelope
that came one September day.
I find it is hard to interpret
all of it. But Faster Emelie
father’s sister, thanks them
and says she would have written sooner
about her brother Albert. But every time
she tried she began to cry instead.


“In The Summer Weather” is a middle section to a poem in progress, and refers to, among other sources, Thomas R. Pegram’s One Hundred Percent American The Rebirth and Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s; The American, a newspaper from the 1920s in the Gray’s Harbor area; and to the Photo Archives at the Northwest Room of the Tacoma Public Library for references to the 1920s American Legion Assembly Room.


Laura Jensen‘s collections include Bad Boats from Ecco Press (1978) and Memory (1982) and Shelter (1985) from Dragon Gate Press. Memory was reprinted by Carnegie Mellon University Press in their Classic Contemporaries in 2006. Her work has been included in the anthologies  In Tahoma’s Shadow: Poems from the City of Destiny (2009), Longman Contemporary Poetry (2nd ed.; 1989), and Northwest Variety: Personal Essays by Fourteen Regional Writers (1987). In 1996 Jensen helped create the Distinguished Poet Series. Jensen has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the Washington State Arts Commission, and the Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Fund. She lives in Tacoma and blogs at

Student Poem

Stranger at a Funeral
Eliot Johnson


Who was this guy? And why
am I at his funeral? Some friend
of my grandfather, godfather of my uncle,
whose name I hadn’t heard until yesterday
when my mom searched my closet for a dress shirt
because my dad wanted me to see this.

We stand in the back with the less-related, the second class mourners,
nearer to the daylight and the fresh air. Someone passes out candles. In the front,
the priest, obscured in thick smoke, recites verses in Russian,
or Latin, or something, the auctioneer for the corpse. A woman in a pink shawl
whom I caught a glimpse of as she disappeared behind the stage
cuts into the priest’s recitation with disembodied chants.
As he talks, the priest swings his incense ball on its chain
like an exterminator fumigating an apartment. The smoke holds back
whatever light penetrates the thick curtains and obscures
the saints staring vacantly from the walls. Was the church always
this dark, or did years of incense leave stains like cigarette smoke?
(When was the last time they aired this place out?)
The dead man in the open box barely registers as
a sideshow against this smoky cave they’ve put him in.

There are no stories, no memories, just the smoke, the blue hands crossed
on the motionless chest, and the quiet sobbing from the first row.
The bereaved file past the casket and kiss the metal icon
laid on his forehead. The priest asks us to pray that the dead man
chooses not to become a ghost. The woman in front of me
crosses herself for the hundredth time. Then, finally,
it’s over. We blow out the narrow yellow candles, the pallbearers load the coffin
into a scuffed black hearse, and the mourners disperse, squinting, into the grey
Seattle drizzle. Everything appears normal again as I slide into my dad’s SUV,
and we leave the church behind to go see Nana at the hospital.

A moment important for those close
just sort of sailed by me, noted, but without impact,
another death on the news.


Eliot Johnson is 21, lives in Okanogan, and is earning a transfer degree at Wenatchee Valley College in Omak. Eliot writes, “I’ve messed around writing fiction for most of my life. I actually started this poem several years ago after the funeral of my uncle’s godfather, but didn’t make much of it until recently, when I re-worked it for the poetry component of a creative writing class.”

Whidbey Island Poetry Slams

Submitted by Jim Freeman

We call them
Although they’re
For twenty years
Weaving poetry rugs

Held once monthly
In area pubs
And coffee shops
And classroom rubs

We pick words
At least three
To write in 20 minutes
One’s poetry

Read your poem
Feel the love
Know the comfort
No push or shove

Overcome fear
Overwhelm joy
Poetry slams
Your poetry toy

Mission: To provide a comfortable and welcome setting in which to write poetry.

Where: Pubs, coffeehouses, schools, local fun-raisers, any place where pencil, pen,and paper can gather.

When: As needed, but monthly, on any day, at any time. For twenty years, we have held slams in a two hour time frame, on Wednesday’s, between 6pm-9pm.

Who: Sponsors, if needed, can be as varied as the participants who support the fun; Anyone can have a poetry slam. At the dinner table, around the picnic table, anywhere where words can flow. Our sponsor for twenty years has been the Whidbey Island Arts Council. The WIAC support enables us to compensate the hosts, provide sound, and offer fun prizes and/or prize money to participants.

What & How:
A Poetry Slam, Whidbey Island style, involves the host inviting suggestions of three or more words from the audience, or judges. The suggested words are to be used as a common thread for a spontaneous, free-form creation by those in attendance. Within 20-25 minutes, the poems are written. Then the poems are shared aloud with one another. Competitions can be created, prizes given, or merely classroom instruction for all involved.

So, What’s the Point of a Poetry Slam? : Having had the pleasure of hosting the monthly Whidbey Island Arts Council sponsored poetry slams since 1993, I can share unequivocally that all attending, whether they participate in writing a poem on the spot or not, will have a fun time, will feel comfortable sharing their improvisational creation, and will leave with a positive reminder of the multitudinous joys of poetry.

For more specific information, please contact Jim Freeman by e-mail at or by calling 360-331-2617.


An Example Poem by Drew Kampion, 11/14/12

Poem Awe Dew

The immortals set sail,
a sundowner drifting out in scant wind
towards a gilded horizon.
Their aim – their wish, really –
to bring blessings to the edge of the world.

These immortals – this gathering –
replete with delectable opportunity:
Ulysses taking up a paddle
to do battle with Thor –
ping-pong on the aft deck.
Cyrus and Leandra in a casual game of chess
that quick became a thriller
when Hermes snatched the queen’s rook,
which brought Pele to her feet
to call the flagrant foul.

And so on, they drifted, as the sun
settled towards that crisp edge of horizon
and Hercules did pushups at the bar.

It was Jesus, finally, who prepared the celebratory nectar,
passed it to Gautama to sample,
and when he pronounced it a bit musty but drinkable,
shushed him with a “Ya-sure!”

“Mum’s the Word,” he spaketh
through chaste lips
just as Muhammed’s aardvark let out a squeal
to see the golden orb plunge suddenly
into the darkness of eclipse,
leaving the immortals helpless.


words: eclipse, thriller, awe, musty, sundowner, flagrant, delectable,
ping-pong, gilded, dew, poem, blessings, mum, aardvark, chaste, yasure

Rauan Klassnik

from Holy Land

I’m on a cloud floating by and I’ve gone mad but madness flows away in a tall shining work of Art and I’m standing in front of a fountain and the world’s ringing down through me and there are no fields of migrants mixing hair and bone into concrete. Trucks lined up and ready. Cups of cold coffee, a Rolex and a crucifix. A girl on a payphone begging.


This excerpt from Holy Land originally appeared in DMQ Review.

Rauan Klassnik‘s work has appeared in Typo 13, Coconut, Avatar ReviewThe Mississippi ReviewThe Kennessaw ReviewThe North American ReviewNo Tell MotelSentence, CaesuraSleepingfishMiPoesias and others. His first book, The Holy Land, was published by Black Ocean Press.   His second book, The Moon’s Jaw, will appear in December, also from Black Ocean Press. He lives in Kirkland.

Tom I. Davis

Grocery Cart in Hangman Creek
For Ozzie


There must have been a whistling
of the stainless webs of steel
as it twisted through the dark
and a scraping of the cart

on the parapet as it was lifted
and cast off to drop 250 feet
from Highway 2 traffic-less
in the quiet night.

How it comes to be my joy
in seeing that cart midstream,
spinning the churning water.
I picture the lonely man

full of good humor, angry,
wheeling the wobbly cart
from where it had rested
in the gutter up the hill to haul

his rolled up bedding and his pack,
till at mid-bridge he stopped, lifted
it all over. Heard the whistling
in the dark and strolled off

toward town,
nodding, nonchalant.
Saying “hah” a couple times or so.
That’s the way it was for me.


Tom I. Davis was born in the town of Milan on the Little Spokane River in eastern Washington State, has lived in the San Juan Islands and worked in the North Cascade Mountains for the Forest Service. He has worked on fishing boats in Alaska and has taught writing at the college level and aboard Navy vessels in the Western Pacific. Author of 4 books of poetry, Davis’s most recent collection, Soldier of the Afterlife, was published by Gribble Press in October 2012. He lives in Seattle.


Natasha Kochicheril Moni



Wisteria contain yourself, your legs are far
too feral—spawning by day, rising to twelve
new shoots by morning.

The apple tree spied you
making a pass at the pear
who has done nothing
but boast about her figure.

Oh, my
green, my curves.

Remember your thirst, Wisteria, what first
sent you scaling—how you bet the English
Ivy you’d fetch the sun, a wheel of light to throw.

But your tongues are always
in the way, dripping
and who will trust a tongue
whose purple is her iris

whose iris is her fall
whose kiss could paint
portraits in the dark.

With your many eyes, Wisteria, swallow
what bears. Your trellis fills.
Your garden betrays you as you betray.
Feast, Wisteria, on the light you’ve stolen.


First published in Pebble Lake Review.


Natasha Kochicheril Moni is a naturopathic medical student and a writer. Her poetry, fiction, essays, and book reviews regularly appear in journals including: Defenestration Magazine, Rattle, Indiana Review, The Pedestal Magazine, and Fourteen Hills. Natasha’s poems have been nominated for Best of the Web and Best of the Net.