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Dear Editors

from Franklin Crawford


Dear Editors, 

Since I don’t really have anything to tell you, let me mention some things that happened on Sunday, August 20, 2017. 

I was dropping off a bag of used clothes at The Thrifty Store where even rich people shop for twenty-five cent shirts. Slumming it is big now and everybody loves a bargain. 

The place was closed and management prefers folks to not drop off donations on Sunday but people do anyway. Which makes it a good day for poor folks to get something they can afford, namely, something free. 

Donations, according to a sign, should be dropped off starting 9 a.m. Monday morning when every rag pickin’ auction house peddling purveyor of curios circle the lot like buzzards on the off-chance of making a grubby buck off something some throw-away-culture moron didn’t have the wits or wherewithal to sell on the Internet. It’s an old racket. Luck, even cheap-shit luck, still has high value for rich and poor alike. Scratcher cards, for example. It’s a sport. 

Anyway. I get there, pull in the back. A lady, alone, is picking through some bags already stacked up. She’s bent at her work, pausing only to give her mouth a rest from the cigarette clenched in her lips. I offered her one of the bags I’d just brought but she wasn’t interested. “Them things might fit my daughter. But my boobs too big for them.” She laughed. I laughed. It was a funny thing to say to a stranger. She wasn’t there to make a buck. That was refreshing. The cigarette was oddly quaint. Her candor, especially, was refreshing. We tend to not be too plain spoken here in Tiny Town unless we’re being ironic about being politically correct.  
What was I doing discarding a bag of women’s clothes of a Sunday you might ask? That’s complicated. But I am always in the act of discarding something or another. 0Discarding is
the job of
a lifetime. 


From The Thrifty I drove toward downtown along the carnage of Elmira Road with EduCorpsEast crowding the distant hill, past places that aren’t the places like they were when I got to this place which is just another place not much different than any other on a Sunday afternoon so I don’t know why we still think it is so darn special but that’s youth, right? Young people pretty much run the show on the old people’s money and the young will forever think that what’s in front of them is either the best or worst ever and if you want to put an end to capitalism, you don’t need no Karl Marx: Just stop making more young people. Every generation comes along pretty much bought and sold and right now looks like everyone and everything they can think of is branded and up for sale. Is that a generality? Why, yes. It is! Wanna buy into it? We can make a lot of them, easy. It is way easier to make generalities than to raise babies. 

Then my thoughts slipped a gear: Suicide is illegal because it’s impossible for the corporation to make much money off an expired social security number. 

Whoa, Nellie. Hold on, now. It was kind of too postcard-nice outside to be having such ungenerous thoughts. Isn’t there still plenty of decent food around to eat – unlike in Venezuela? Isn’t negativity the lowest hanging fruit on the tree of life on any given day and isn’t that why the North Korean president is so short? Do I want my last thoughts to be those of a latter-day crank whose pigments are filled to bursting with white privilege every other second and be but barely conscious of the fact?


I sought to unload my used mental cargo with a walk around the downtown which isn’t the downtown I used to know and now looks more like a computer desktop than a pedestrian shopping mall but hey let’s leave that off because this city is my palimpsest and it is up to me to scrive a new narrative atop a lot of stuff I wish I could just just – Discard! Jettison! Unload! DE-cycle! 

That is to say, I will drop dead sooner or later. So the mature thing to do, the grown-up right thing to do is ... 


Sometimes when I’m out there on the friendly fields of strife, I publicly grimace at recollections of distant, unseen things. There are at least half a dozen “Holy Shit Did I Really Do That?” streets I pass every day and a coupla “Wow She Really Loved Me and I Screwed It All Up Anyway” avenues. Then again, fortunately, only one “Open Up! Police!” street. 

There are several Blind Drunk Alleys, High Streets and Wild Oat Ways, naturally. They’d be forgotten if not for the most important part of forgetting, which is to remember to forget. 

That takes practice. 

Which makes my survival more of an accomplishment than maybe it appears to me in storefront reflections some mornings. It’s hard to see my good side when both of them are looking back at me. Then there’s the optical problem of seeing only one side, sideways, which old department store mirrors solved by allowing a person to see themselves from multiple sides at once, a device that boosted Miltown sales among lonely housewives back in the day. Now we can’t see ENOUGH of ourselves from any angle. We’re obsessed with our own image whether we like it or not. 

My head is bumpy and grooved in places. You see that? Fault lines!

When I decided long long ago that I was not going to smile for the class picture in kindergarten because I was pissed-off about being sent to school, I didn’t know I was working on a permanent scowl. That wasn’t the idea. I was mugging for attention by not-smiling. But that became my mask. Honestly, given the state of my teeth these days it was probably prescient of me. I once failed an online social IQ test on office etiquette because I couldn’t tell if a woman with gigantic teeth who was smiling was being friendly or menacing. When chimps bare their teeth like that it means that are about to tear your face off. Maybe we’ve evolved. 
Memory is an ill-bred beast and words are its flesh and whole religions came of either cultivating it or forgetting it. Everyday we make a sacrifice to the present and add to a store of things that become a form of knowledge that makes us a little more like we were the day before. 

So I guess the best thing to do, if being oneself isn’t exactly what you asked for, is to unlearn, subtract and shuddup. 


trashtag that!








(back to home page)


How American
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by Gabrial Orgrease

In the cemetery the tall guy told us he had written a letter to his governor to suggest that he might want to go for a walk in the cemetery. It being a somewhat old and fine cemetery surrounded by highway, a bubbly crick, poison ivy, a cigar bar, and an old house that won’t let anybody in to see it’s basement. Something went on about how his father walked somewhere with the governor’s father. How he knew the governor’s wife likes to go for walks. How his children like to go for walks.
(go to story)

Dear Editor
by Franklin Crawford

Since I don’t really have anything to tell you, let me mention some things that happened on Sunday, August 20, 2017.  I was dropping off a bag of used clothes at The Thrifty Store where even rich people shop for twenty-five cent shirts. Slumming it is big now and everybody loves a bargain.  The place was closed and management prefers folks to not drop off donations on Sunday but people do anyway. Which makes it a good day for poor folks to get something they can afford, namely, something free. (Go to Story)


Inspiration at the
Traffic Light

by Georgia E. Warren

I have read poetry, novels, books that have inspired me, and listened to music that makes my breathing uneven.I hae seen art so powerful that I had to put my hand on a wall to keep from being dizzy (page #2 of this magazine). There is, however, only one time I felt something that came from inside of me; an idea so fully formed I could not escape it. A vision that would not fade. (go to article)


Reiki: Just The Facts Part XIV:
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by Don Brennan

Inspiration is the process of clearing ourselves and bringing in wisdom, guidance, divine revelation, healing energy, or the sacred breath from Spirit. Call it channeling one’s muse, if you like. It is the process of connecting with the divine, getting our human selves out of the way, and allowing Spirit to move through us. (go to article)



Our Poetry section includes some of our favorite poets, click on ther names to bring yourself to special inspiring poems:

Robert Graves -
To the Muse Goddess (visit)

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Canto I, lines 7 to 12 (visit)

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Mary Gilliland -The Language of Bees (visit)

Nancy Cuto - Madragana Wears Her New Name (visit)


In Service to
the Muse

by Robert Graves

Excerpt from:
The Atlantic, June 1961

The original significance of this word has long been blurred by dishonest or facetious usage. The Muse, or Mountain Mother, whom the preclassical Greeks worshiped on Parnassus and other sacred peaks, seems to have inspired the poet in much the same sense as the loa gods of Haiti now “ride” their devotees. And, although by Homer’s time her invocation had become a mere formality, subservice to the Muse has ever since been avowed by counterfeit poets in the service of politics, learning, or the church. True possession has occurred sporadically down the centuries as a phenomenon that can neither be provoked or foreseen. (go to entire article)


Forward to
The Muses

by David Rollow

The nine Muses are the offspring of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the Goddess of Memory. Before the invasion of the Olympian gods, the Muses, goddesses or guardian nymphs of springs and groves, tutelary spirits, belonged to a preliterate, oral culture. The original three are the daughters of Mnemosyne, memory, although they were raised by a wetnurse or foster-mother, Eupheme. Even this biographical snippet must be a late revision, since Mnemosyne is said to be the mother of the Muses with Zeus, so is already a literary corruption, the first euphemism. Mnemosyne is a personification: Memory. (go to article)

Journey to
the Second Attention
(Emphasizing the Recall)

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I closed my eyes and immediately recalled the Elders advice.

“Nothing might temper the spirit of a nation as much as the challenge of dealing with impossible people in positions of power.
If you face the uncertainty with impunity, you will acquire the strength to withstand
even the incomprehensible.

And for this, peace will guide your way - then you shall know how to proceed”.
(go to the beginning of article)

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