Dennis Caswell… To Fire


To Fire

O leaping catharsis of atomic libido,
you have us. You sold yourself as a god
who comes when he’s called, and now
we lick the sludge off the bottoms
of primeval vegetable drawers
so we’ll never need to leave home
without a tankful of you.
BANG! Remember that?
That was the cosmos beginning.
Back then, you were everywhere
and everything, but now you’ve grown older
and learned to calm down, though sometimes
us clots of you feel you still in there.
Heraclitus didn’t need Einstein to know, “All things are
an exchange for fire, and fire for all things.”
For instance, I can exchange 3500 bucks
for a lovely certificate entitling me
to build confidence and foster a sense of empowerment
by instructing seekers to walk on you.
A Viking circumambulates land
holding a gobbet of you,
and that proves he owns it
(the land, not you).
I can’t figure out if you’re a genius
for making yourself the go-to metaphor
for both terror and sex, or if
you’re as reckless and stupid
as an incurable virus that has no idea
it’s killing its dinner. You have us locked
inside Earth’s garage, with your many engines
running, and not even Vulcan,
Vesta, Nusku, Girru, Agni, Pele,
or Kagutsuchi can make a wish
and blow you away.


Dennis Caswell is the author of the poetry collection Phlogiston, published by Floating Bridge Press in 2012. His work has appeared in Raven Chronicles, Floating Bridge Review, Crab Creek Review, and assorted other journals and anthologies. He lives outside Woodinville, Washington and works in the aviation industry.

Copyright © 2015 by Dennis Caswell







Boy… by Duane Kirby Jensen



It stop me in my tracks.

The inflection carried the thrust of a knife blade

“What-cha doing here.

You belong back on the interstate.”

Two figures moved around the shell
of a 70’s muscle car – country music
crackling over their transistor radio.
My eyes sunk into that darkened garage
full of grease and gasoline smells.
I watched as one slow-walked his way

towards a rifle relaxing on a workbench.

“I’m looking for a diner.”
      Thinking inwardly –
      it was a good thing I was white,
      or things might get dicey.
I pull a ten from my shirt pocket

as if green would legitimize my presence.

“We don’t serve your kind – you best move-on”

Each word delivered with the effect

of a chambered bullet.

“Can I at least get a cold soda from your machine.”

“Make it quick.”

Each word pronounced like a fist to the mouth –

A kick in the gut – a death-sentence.

I took a long-cold-swallow – eyeing
the empty Montana street.
Strip away the telephone and electric lines,
the semi-modern cars – add a few horses
and hitching-rails and I ‘d be back in 1865.
I was in a place where nothing changed.
They liked their life uncomplicated.
I was that walking disease who would sprinkle

wander-lust into the eyes of their women-folk.

‘You done. Now git.”

I tossed my bottle into an old barrel
overflowing with spent bottles – I smiled.
Thanked them for their hospitality.
I walked away – slowly,

secure with the weight of my twin knives.

Inwardly thanking my ancestors
that they had never settled
in a town where dreams are boxed early
and then shelved in a cellar
next to the rhubarb preserves

that no one ever wants to eat.

Duane Kirby Jensen is a painter and a poet. His work published in six chapbooks, and a variety of other publications . Since 1990 he has read and continues to read at numerous venues throughout the northwest.

During the 1990’s he published Everett’s Independent Voice (an arts and entertainment magazine) and The Drifter: A Poetry Journal. He also coordinated the Mill Town Poets open-mic. Since September 2013, he has been the host of Everett Poetry Nite.

He received the 2013 Mayor’s Arts Award for Artistic Excellence & Contribution to Everett’s Cultural Vitality.

Duane also has Two painting and two poems in Randomly Accessed Poetics Issue No. 4, Heart Splatters Into Significance.

Copyright © 2014 by Duane Kirby Jensen