Tag Archives: Poetry

Visiting Elsa Whitt – a poem by Tom McDade






The twine thin woman reels calmly

about, arranging her lifelike wares

on a carpet of bonded burlap bags.

These are not children’s toys. 

The tallest, about five-foot-five

under a wounded tartan parasol.

A calligraphic sign on a stand

at her feet is like one marking

a garden plot, names her Elsa Whitt.

She dons clothes of another time,

brown bonnet, shawl, bell-shaped gown. 

Cheeks puffed and blushed she’s locked

in place pushing a wicker pram with one

square wheel and Elsa looks so

damned genuine, let her find

a door ajar and she will lopsidedly 

brave the damaged cobblestones. 

The baby, wearing a moth-hurt bib

is a pond reflection of her mom. 

A notice across her plaid blanket

Says she won’t wet, whine or cry.

Is this a mausoleum vault, pyramid

or merely a haunted space? 

A breathing corn-eyed cat atop

a china case filled with doll heads,

rags and limbs strikes a Cairo pose.

Is this sparse proprietor

chopping a finger at two harlequins sitting

cross-legged on a settee, a ventriloquist 

a puppeteer or just an addled hobbyist?

A musty tulip of silk is in the hand of the chubbier

delinquent while the other’s head tilts

heavily as if just slapped.

A music box plays a handful of notes

but not enough to liven or endear.

With the scratch of a match, a scented

candle flickers then leaps

at a bride and groom under glass.

A yellowed newspaper on the floor

tells of a formal wear shop arson,

a proud manikin with singed tails survived.

Instead of asking: “May I help you?”

The owner says, “You may help me.”

Offering a broom that clears

browsers out the door like straw

her free arm pivots robotically

to halt Elsa’s sneaky pram.


Thomas Michael McDade is retired computer programmer living in Fredericksburg, VA with his wife. He is a graduate of Fairfield University. McDade served two tours of duty in the U.S. Navy. He has recently had fiction published Gadfly Magazine and poetry in Ink, Sweat & Tears.



Prize your poetry here

Two poems by A.J. Huffman




            after Daisy Games by Vladamir Kush


Innocent white

                         petals huddle deeper

among the red,

prick themselves on residential thorns.

Blood falls in cadence, turns the world

to blush.  He loved me

not.  In the alien scent of ostentation,

the common weed weeps,


on falling

stars for heavenly fingers to grant reprieve,

grasp body and roots and wrench

it from this garden that has always felt far

more like Hell.




The obscenities of my life stick

in my throat like glue, choking

me blind.  I have lost my ability to hear

the sound of my own sanity.  I have become

a cacophony of regret, bottled up

inside a soundproof booth.  I am a 33 being

played at the speed of a 45, out of sync. 

I cannot find my groove, only the drag

of that damned needle that has taken my voice,

turned it into something less than background



A.J. Huffman has published eleven solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses. Her new poetry collection, Another Blood Jet, is now available from Eldritch Press.  She has three more poetry collections forthcoming: A Few Bullets Short of Home from mgv2 publishing, Degeneration from Pink Girl Ink, and A Bizarre Burning of Bees from Transcendent Zero Press.  She is a Multiple Pushcart Prize nominee, and has published over 2100 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, and Kritya. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press. www.kindofahurricanepress.com



Closing date: 30th November 2013


These competitions are for original, previously unpublished poems and short stories in English Language, in any style, up to 50 lines long (poems) or 2000 words long (stories). Writers of all nationalities living in any part of the world are eligible to enter.


Prizes in each category: £500 (First), £250 (Second), £125 (Third) and £25 x 5 (High Commendation)


Judges: Roger Elkin (Poetry), David Caddy (Fiction)


Have you written a winning poem or story that can take one of the prizes in the £2000 prize pot?  Enter it today online or download an Entry Form at www.sentinelpoetry.org.uk/sawc  


The Sentinel Annual Poetry Competition is now in its 4th year, the short story competition in its 2nd year. For information on fees, terms and conditions visit the web pages of the Sentinel Annual Writing Competitions (SAWC) www.sentinelpoetry.org.uk/sawc


Organised by Sentinel Poetry Movement – the international community of writers and artists…since December 2002

– a style of Sentinel Writing & Publishing Company Ltd