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featured poets & artists


mykel d. myles

poet, short story writer and essayist mykel d. myles is a native clevelander. he is the winner of the 1999 dogwood tales magazine humor fiction award; lakeland community college poetry award for 2000; and the paul lawrence dunbar poetry award from the detroit black writers guild. he is the former editor-in-chief of cleveland's own african town crier. mykeld@yahoo.com


At the war

Bombs fell
And yells were never heard
Nights whiter than days
On the move
Through the thick tropical
With red pools rising
In the rice paddies
And little men appearing
Out of muddy river
While gunfire cracked
Like singing birds
All day all night all
Day all night


After the war

I do not dream now, at night.
Not like the eighteen year old boy
Who landed in the Nam back in sixty-eight.
Now at night I scream.
But it does not wake my wife.
I learned long before I met her
How to scream in silence.
Because nobody wants to hear it.
I learned that at the airport in Seattle,
Where there was no ticker tape
While I waited alone for a bus back home,
And the girl with the flowers
Spit on me
And my uniform.


American pie
(Ribs and Watermelon)

Cake-walking with my walking cane
And my new suit from the black penny game
My pocket is heavy
My head is light
And I'm here to paint this town tonight
I got cigars rolled by Cuban fingers
And the kind of toilet water that loves to linger
Man can't you see
What I'm trying to say
I'm living it up
In the USA
This is magic land
With everything there is
From ripe watermelon
To bar-B-Q'ed ribs

And tonight with my winnings
From this lottery game
Me and Mr. Charley
We's living the same

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