Death to Pronouns
August heat. My child tried to die.
She took a bottleful of pills to sleep forever, but I found him.
It’s so hot in here. Hospital blankets fleece or cotton?
Blue or pink stocking hat?
When we found her. When I found him.

Little girl, we had hoped to dress you for prom and braid your hair,
we tried to make you cut papery hearts and glue glitter surprises.
Maybe someday she’ll even ring her finger like little chime bells
and blush powder will dust the sinktop.

Instead, you relished lining up plastic animals in epic battles on the rug
and they fought
bloody soaking
wrenching wars. Slashing violence of claw and tooth.
My Hes and Shes — so jumbled together, but they are as distinctly separate
as His and Hers public restrooms. Or shoes. Heels or wingtips?

Warmer. Warmer. This was no hide-and-seek.
But it’s life or death.
I found him.  And her pulse had cooled.

When I found her she wouldn’t wake up and I drove to the ER, feeling long ago birthpains.
Close sweaty, hot smelly summer night. She did not die.
But he was born.

I watch his posture — now, he’s walking manlike. His voice deep. His chin angles strong and hard.
Laugh mighty big and lumber. Come, let me look closer.

There is no great change here. Only an establishment of truth. Like storm-front cold wind flushing
the medicines and blowing freedom.
I love your form and soul and self, my boy.
I found you. Now we live.

Sweet Relief Musicians Benefit

For my friend Eric:01c6da25f8254dfd4760ef9fe25c4875
2016 has been a rotten year for musicians. The world has lost Prince, David Bowie, Leon Russell, Leonard Cohen, Lemmy, Merle Haggard, Maurice White, Glenn Frey, Greg Lake and local musician Michael Colle. Some local musicians have decided send 2016 off into history properly; with a benefit show for the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund.
Sweet Relief  Musicians Fund is a charity organization that provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems. In other words, helping musicians, who have dedicated their life to entertaining, us in their time of need.
THE GOOD RIDDANCE TO 2016 BENEFIT CONCERT will take place at Kiss the Sky Records in Batavia (180 First St.) from 1 PM to 5PM on Saturday, December 31. Tickets will be $10 at the door, with all proceeds going to Sweet Relief Musicans Fund. There will also be some raffle prizes to raise money as well.
The event, organized by local musician Eric Peter Schwartz and Kiss the Sky owner Steve Warrenfeltz, will bring together many of the area’s most popular musicians for an afternoon of acoustic music. Donating their time and talent will be Greg Boerner, Noah Gabriel, Chad Watson, Jim Green, Jake Mack, Whatismu, Abud: A Bard, Eric Dinse and Schwartz (and some of his old Gag Reflex Comedy Theater cohorts).
Refreshments for attendees will be donated by Raimondo’s Pizza in North Aurora, La Victoria Roy’s Ribs in Aurora and other local eateries donating food.
For further information or comment contact
Steve Warrenfeltz at Kiss the Sky Records (630) 406-0086

Little Rituals



As the Chicago Cubs get nearer and  nearer to the 2016 World Series I have been watching more baseball than usual. I have always identified as a baseball fan, but for me some of the most interesting parts of the game isn’t even the pitching or the runs. It’s the little rituals that the ball players perform before stepping into the batter’s box or before letting loose a fastball. Various patterns of tapping, patting, wiping, spitting, and swinging emerge.  The guys seem completely absorbed and unconsciously raise their hat to let in some cool air, or re-fit their batting glove for the umpteenth time. What is it about little rituals?

My thoughts turn to some rituals of my own. Getting up in the morning, making the coffee, driving to work, mealtimes. All preformed at least partially on auto-pilot.

I also have writing rituals. For example, I hand write in blank books using an ink pen and start from the back of the book, paging forward with my text. Weird. I scribble and re-arrange and draw arrows like a playbook. I prefer to have a tea or coffee at hand and work best in the Barnes and Noble cafe.

Not sure how all this fits together, but I do know when I break ritual I just feel off. My writing suffers and I get crabby.

Here’s hoping the Cubs players keep their little rituals together tonight. (But, I would love for the Cubs to break the ritual of never winning the World Series.)


Midwest October, Presidential Election Year

Found poem regarding Trump on tape. Read no further if words offend you.

Midwest October, Presidential Election Year

by Jen May

Scarecrow festival weekend, my home invaded
no getting away from reports that Donald Trump
would “grab them by the pussy”
those “hot as shit” women
on the eves before the second debate.

Brown marmorated stink bugs instinctively burrow
between cracks, invasive around the trim.
There are five nymphal instars before maturity, changing
color from yellowish red in the first and off-white
(off color) with reddish spots in the fifth.

“I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start…” “f-ing her.”
These chemicals are produced by dorsal scent glands.
The legs, head, and thorax are black. Hands are everywhere.
On the walls, in the window, and on camera.

Feeding on tree fruits such as apple, results
in a characteristic distortion referred
to as “cat facing,” that renders the fruit unmarketable.

How many sources will come forward?
Crushing Trump will result in putridness
all around. If smashed against exposed skin
recordings been reported to produce
dermatitis at the point of contact.

Better get this checked out.

“Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, Halyomorpha halys,” Penn State Entomology Fact Sheet. Steve Jacobs, Sr. Extension Associate. October 8, 2016

Curving Away*


I care about the terrorism in Iraq, Istanbul, Bangladesh. I studied Political Science. I became an officer so I could do something locally. To do my part. It nearly broke me. I don’t know how to stem violence here or there. By the grace of God we live. Practicing kindness is my small effort now. ‪#‎happy4th‬ ‪#‎America‬ ‪#‎kindness‬ ‪#‎lesshate‬

Curving Away*

when we, America
round on ourselves – curve away
you are not my country

A person makes a love
and they hold each other
timed against the next bombing or gunner.

I taste gunpowder news with my coffee.

And someone kills children sleeping
or kills them awake
blowing them out of their shoes
or were they just feet?

Only our skeletons, the same.
No race to ligaments.
No religion to tendons.

Trim your nails,
clip your pain at the root.
cover me
cover you

But this tile, this carpet
these flicker lights
gives nowhere to hide.

Do we lay down?
Do we charge?

Cry out to the powerful.
Hang your head in the new quiet.
Resounding in the night.

Echoed east or west
until nobody is left.

Title taken from the line “curving away from the story”
from Stones (The Coast of Turkey, Robert Smithson)
by Ann Lauterbach



Be yourself. I’ll go with you.

In response to a lot of misguided opinions so carelessly spouted the last few weeks, I feel it’s important to add some facts to this issue.

Fact: more people who are transgender have been severely harmed in public restrooms than some imaginary peeper of your pee parts. Some trans people have been severely beaten, sexually assaulted, and even killed because of intolerance and phobia.

Fact: there is no law in the State of Illinois that dictates which restroom people have to use. Therefore, calling a cop to the bathroom for a part-check is a waste of time.

Fact: there are laws that cover the disturbing acts of the sex addicted or pedophiles. Many of those are municipal laws. Another catch-all law is Disorderly Conduct but it has to raise the level of distress to that of “alarmed and disturbed”in order to be an arrestable offense. Peeing is not alarming or disturbing because every human has bodily waste to dispose of.

Fact: people who would be in bathrooms for purposes of assault are not any more likely to linger in public bathrooms because of any law. Those people are already there assaulting or peeping no matter the law.

Fact: belaboring this issue has made it unsafe for many people to use any bathroom. For that matter: I’ll go with you. Because basic bodily function should not cause a threat of great boldily harm.

#transAmerica #illgowithyou

The I Have A Name Project

A poem from a friend of our page.


Homeless. Three kids. God Bless.

Man, you are a star particle light seed
of life and beauty, but these heart faces
with blind eyes pass you on the side street,
give you no second glance.

You label yourself down on your luck,
layered and its high time for the promise
of forgiveness but they are cursing loudly
instead at the traffic light hold up. Here’s my
tiny white blanket now to cover your steady
styled loss, and so on with the driven
snow and wind howl today.

You bless me and I bless you more.
This is how we conform to just dust, our basic level
make-up. I’m awake now and I hear how
your blood rushes to flush your skin, especially
for the painful welts and where your swollen hands
give you away. And your downcast humble
humanity expects nothing more than recognition
of your poor circumstance.

I see you. I ask your name and where you are from,
it feels so inadequate in comparison to a meal
or a place for you to go. I slip you a twenty
and see your stiff garments that have had no
washing and no safe place to dry out.

James, I’ll tell the story of our brief
meeting. How your brown eyes
caught me close with near tears. I glance at you,
now in the rear view mirror, glimmering
with a sadness, but another driver stops to pass you a
heavy weighted shopping bag. One at a time
we do our best to see you through. We pray
it’s enough.

April 10, 2016
Jen May, Poet
Copyright 2016

Tribute to Jim Harrison

This poem is in tribute to Jim Harrison, poet/novelist, who passed away March 26, 2016.

“There is a human wildness held beneath the skin
that finds all barriers brutishly unbearable.”
-Jim Harrison, from “Arts”
Songs of Unreason

Upon the Death of Jim Harrison

Released. You are released to light whispers
and moonlight rivers.
Your poems high-scavenging words from eagle aeries
and young feather-down lines the canyon crags of your face.
Primitive man, you explored the river flood and flux
against the mountainside stone faces with deft
landscape scribbles and with the intention of horses,
insects and dogs. Read to me the melody of your poems – I’m listening
to the cows and darkness, your non-lament
about youth and death
an observer of cycles or pain, as big as the
universe shock of a cigarette scar,
tiny to your brain and soft like trout and pine needles
about beautiful ugly mothers and eggs
but always returning to the river.

Always returning to the river,
you are released.

Poem by Jen May copyright 2016