Friday, May 6, 2011

Looking Into Origin

Looking Into Origin
Jessica Erica Hahn

I am from the green-blue world
born upon the high seas
to salty dog expatriates
who met on Belizian soil
who birthed me on a ship
where gulls flipped through the air
and sunshine glittered on the sea

a long line of fighters is where I spring from
on the matrilineal side,
Prussians pushing through
the Baltic sea, into forests sweeping
escaping Nazis, running to New York
where she grew up, leaving the money behind,
fighting with the freedom riders
raising my sister alone

my father hails from the tinker-builder-welder side
making machines for smashing atoms
weaving through quantum physics
surviving accidents that left others dead
building rockets to send mice to outer space
& riding motorcycles and mail trucks across the land
destroyer escorts & minesweepers from a mothball fleet
full of schemes & dreams
before drowning decades later in a southern sea

two wild creatures of the 60s & 70s
shirking lines of normalcy
crying for freedom in a whirling world
clinging to architectural visions of life together
propelled to leave remnants for posterity

birds flew over where my father
was to be buried in the sea, upon a silver sunrise
& the first night of many my mother woke alone
then there was the migration westwards for
us three, to land in SF, the city by the bay

build our timbered home upon a granite hill
and when the thieves crept in our windows,
padding softly, scattering pictures across the floor
we did not run or hide.
when cops devastated and raided us
it was simply fate’s brutality
my mom incarcerated for growing marijuana trees
somewhere someone whispers,
beware of crossing boundaries
or you’ll get what you deserve

I live in mythology & am
from the deepest part of earth
I have a darkened mantle
in which lives a craggy dragon
a guardian for my heart
to make the untrustworthy turn
to go back home,
or sweep in ones who are
like the old


Jessica Erica Hahn lives and writes in San Francisco, where she might be seen wandering over a hilltop with a baby on her back and a camera on her hip. In the predawn hours she's working on a memoir about her freight-riding days (Ontologica is publishing a selection this summer), and a novel about seafaring hippies in the 1970s. She's a student in the MFA program at San Francisco State, and has several self-published titles to her name, something she's both proud of and slightly ashamed of. Some of her writing can be found at and Hill Babies.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Judge Hilton and the Women's Hotel: Matilda Lectures

Judge Hilton and the Women's Hotel: Matilda Lectures
New York, 1878
Laura Madeline Wiseman

Urged and sent by a committee of sixty women, Matilda
Dared to come to New York alone with certificates of her
Good character. She arrived at the Women’s Hotel
Early one rainy morning, sick. No one received her or took

Her luggage. She was told she could not be admitted. Out
In the rain she purchased her breakfast. She threatened a
Lawsuit. The clerk said she might come in. Days afterward
The judge called and apologized. He did not want
Out-of-town women, only working women. He said,
Now, see here. The press will be down on us if we make

A single mistake.
Matilda knew that Judge Hilton was
No worse than other men. Back in the Women’s Hotel, the
Doors were thrown open on Matilda with the remark

They were never to be closed. Lady physicians couldn’t
Have libraries in their rooms. Lady artists couldn’t have
Easels. The management turned pale when instruments

Were mentioned. Then, a Superintendent ordered Matilda
Out of the library because she brought in a dress to
Mend its ruffle. But I have seen ladies sewing in here,
Even crocheting, she answered. The Superintendent said,
No. That’s different. Those were small things. Though
She hated to kneel to one man for charity, the Women’s

Hotel professed to offer protection and yet had not really been
Open to women. Matilda thought the judge ought to know how
The hotel’s inmates were presided over like school girls.
Even if he thinks otherwise, he doesn’t rule this country. It isn’t
Like a kingdom. But if it was, he’d never be selected as King.


Laura Madeline Wiseman is a doctoral candidate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she teaches English. She is the author of Sprung, forthcoming from San Francisco Bay Press, as well as three chapbooks of poetry, My Imaginary (Dancing Girl Press, 2010), Ghost Girl (Pudding House, 2010), and Branding Girls (Finishing Line Press, 2011). Her work has appeared in Margie, Prairie Schooner, Arts & Letters, Blackbird, and 13th Moon. She notes this poem is based on the life of her ancestor, nineteenth century suffragist and lecturer, Matilda Fletcher (1842-1909).

Monday, May 2, 2011

This is How the Holocaust Began

This is How the Holocaust Began
Emily Rosen

Grandma took me to the museum
We saw dinosaurs
or mummies
or 17th century costumes
or pictures by Turnbull
I was nine
or twelve
or six

a trillion steps down
Grandma gave the Good Humor man
a nickel
He gave me a chocolate pop.

Right near,
right near the Good Humor man
the newspaper wailed,
“Hitler invades Poland!”

“What’s Poland?” I asked

Grandma sat on the steps
of the museum
and pulled a picture
from her wallet,
a little girl rolling in the grass

“That’s Poland,” she said.


Since 2000 Emily Rosen has been teaching a memoir-writing workshop in Boca Raton Florida, "Memories, Milestones and Memoirs." A background in journalism, education and mental health counseling, for over 20 years she has had a column in local papers, "Everything's Coming Up Rosen." For over 17 years she has been a volunteer leader of mental health support groups. She has published two anthologies of stories from her classes - "Memories, Milestones and Memoirs: Selections From A Writing Workshop.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Editorial Note

As editor, I am very pleased with my 'child' after its first month, as I hope are you, the readers. I have been impressed by the quality of the submissions, and hope they continue.

The spring rains have brought a slower pace of submissions, so we will be altering our schedule and posting a new poem on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.