Joni Caggiano

Sadness Moans

shooting pain lurches like a stranger in the blackest night
where monsters live releasing their copies, swarming past, out of sight

jealousy walks on rugged stones stealing from the gifted
holding hands of small cactus plants until the desert sands are shifted

behind their peering eyes a Judas runs to throw a stone
whiffs of his betrayal, climbing to the top of the field, I hear his moan

trust a blanket, with a thousand promises, tickling me
deceit, painful rubbing of an alligator’s bony plates, I run to a forest tree

a stranger in this house of horrors, yet I have to live
stealing glances, taking chances, as I taste the bitter love I cannot give

Luna Moth and Her Lover

intense eyes open imaginary shutters
her green wings, the luna moth flutters
she mates once has no mouth, dies, lays eggs in wooded covers

would I give my life for one more night
knowing death would be my one last flight
with you, my darling, keeper, and lover of my heart, I just might

Rumor Damage

rumor is a spineless seed dipped in fertile shadow dirt
that multiplies and causes pain and unexpected hurt

silence, a bed partner that takes but never gives back
as a man tells a buddy how easy he got her in the sack

black spots jump off potatoes and out of a perfect dish
surviving boiling water and a blemish on an ideal wish

misfortune of a hammer that averted a four-inch nail
a hungry man begs for food and becomes a vulgar tail

her legs jump from flower to flower, hoping for a treat
for sleeping alone with her legs and scheming little feet

jealousy and deceit was the cause of their blue demise
scissors cut paper, and true words, well – their end is no surprise

Uncle’s House

memories grow roots that spring up like dandelions on a freshly mowed lawn
hiding among floating clouds, unwanted hands, or those thin leafless limbs
the taste of cigars on lips or the slimy feel of uncles’ probing thick tongue
he took me to church, like to watch me dance and listen when I sang hymns

lots of summer afternoons, I sat for hours while the birds sang songs to God
his lap was big, and it felt good to have someone to care what I liked to do
summer days remind me of candy, fishing, and rum bottles hiding everywhere
the smell of marigolds or that living room and wiggling to get away from you

Mermaid’s Lost Love

seaweed, green, like my eyes, harbor me in this woeful abyss
waning as my golden blueish scales morph into blackness
shadow life, and inquisitiveness died and bled the colors of the
Bolivian orange-red sunset, which calls to your land’s hummingbirds
as their darting ceased, when my only child died not far from your brown banks

caught in a mile-long fishnet with a dolphin, and sea turtle friends
a triangle of death as I watched her die slowly as I tore my fingers
trying to save my little mermaid child as my blue tears floated skyward
a mere full moon later my merman swam into a black pool of thickness
unable to swim, black death covering his scales, cocooned as he died a painful death

I visit a river that has ancient trees with long gray hair, our family knew
my sorrow theirs, for they would clap as we would sing our odes
large white stones for basking, close to flowers that smell of love, and hope
braiding the morning glories, red swamp hibiscus, and white gardenias
into black hair as reminders of the lifeless and those that will follow

our world under and above the sea is dying from white man’s greed
regret and sorrowfulness breaks my heart into pieces
soon cut into ribbons like the seaweed I will die from sorrow
for no longer do I wish to see the sunrise, no, not one more tomorrow

Old News Is Not Old News

whites of fearsome eyes looking up from blood-soaked boards
black bodies stretched naked, branded, and shackled to floors
fifty women drowning overboard that enslaver’s work quickly done
another coast, heavily greased black muscles, glimmer in the sun
2021 computers on –  I listen while today’s news on a video rolls
spinning lies another bright young man died as this story unfolds
choked, gaged, sprayed, or flayed, old news nothing fresh today
sadness is killing me daily, as I think, what will their mothers say
another way of killing folks instead of hanging on a hoary oak tree
black people want to live their lives, be respected, and to be free
I am sick and tired, of being sick and tired, of the filthy shocking pace
of how white men keep eradicating people, not included in their race


Joni’s blog is Rum and Robots. Her national and international publications can be found here: She is a surviving Adult Child of Alcoholics. Joni is a retired nurse and paralegal. Since the age of six, she has been writing songs and poetry. Joni is an avid environmental advocate. She was first featured on The Short of It in December 2020, and her work was published in the first anthology – The Sound of Brilliance.


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Goutam Dutta


Season of fall
Few fallen leaves cling to us…
We carry the memories. 

Lockdown during pandemic

Hospital full of Corona patients
Empty local train. 

Re-opening post 2nd wave

Post lockdown….
Swimming towards morning walkers
Fishes at the lake. 

Twilight hues

Vibrant twilight hues…
The sky resplendent in pink
Conch shells herald dusk 

Riding through country roads

Swathe of green and blue
Hues bordering the road…
Traveller’s delight. 

Onset of Monsoon

Onset of monsoon…
Parched earth scans the horizon
Sweat oozes from pores. 

Onset of monsoon…
Blotch of black at horizon
Dance of the peacock.

Onset of monsoon…
Dark clouds come floating with breeze
Fingers type a poem. 

Onset of monsoon…
Hanging raindrops swing with breeze
Shades of grey all day.


Goutam is passionate about poetry and writes whenever something or someone touches his heart. His poetry finds space in a number of anthologies, including The Sound of Brilliance. Hues of Life (Notion Press) is another collection of his poetic works. Living in Kolkata, India, he can be reached at Goutam was first featured in The Short of It on October 23, 2020.


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City Life

Inspired by Reena’s Exploration Challenge #227 & Eugenia’s Weekly Prompt – Dewdrops

hustle and bustle
their next stop on their minds
mindlessly plodding each next step

beware of collisions!
auto or man

the hectic encountered here
is nothing like dewdrops on blades of grass
remaining stationery
or slow and lazily falling wherever

Nature’s Lament

Inspired by Eugenia’s Weekly Prompt – Dusk & Reena’s Exploration Challenge #226

the fiery sky
begs me at dusk
see nature’s bounty

each step i take
mires me to its message
relinquishing the day
i listen for the confessions of the dark

mother cries
her beauty is vanishing
her children the cause

Sylvia Simmons


Jazz, voice music
swinging me smooth
giving me now

Words From a Dream

In the coolness of the day
when the evening sun goes down

There I will take my rest
when I hear the Robin sing
it’s the sign of Spring

My thoughts drift to you and
the love we knew

Love You

I love you more than words can say
I love you in a grand way

It’s beyond love, my passion for you
There is nothing I wouldn’t do to prove my love is true


Sylvia Simmons, a retired public affairs specialist, began writing poetry in her teenage years. As founder and president of SiHoWa Publishing, she authored Feelings Collection, three novels: Anything but Love, An Affair with a Stranger, and Beyond Love. And, A Cancer Survivor’s Journal – The Longest Day of My Life. This is Sylvia’s first feature on The Short of It.


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Marjorie Maddox

Double the Consonant, Shorten the Vowel 

That’s what comes from majority rule: 
the T’s stretching their crossbeams further 
across better, G’s claiming they’re bigger, 
L‘s lazily lounging with their political pull, 
P‘s too dippy with twin happiness to notice 
their former association with pain and poverty. 

O O‘s and silent A‘s, 
diminutive i’s, E‘s eager to please and acquiesce, 
and, of course, the once ubiquitous U
whoop, roar, hoot, scream, screech 
above the clamor of consonants 
already claiming house control of hubbub
commotion, applause

There Is a Rat in the Middle of Separat

not just his teeth, as pointed as before-test pencils, 
but his entire seamy body gleams 
with lasciviousness and longing for the lost 
spelling bee, its airborne script  
intercepted by the evolved, phonically 
abused, and chomping pterodactyl, 
who took the tiny sting like a man 
sucking on sore taste buds, 
and flew off to a museum to sulk. 

The rat’s tail snaps out like nun-chucks, 
reels in the red meat of the rational, 
the tough but tenuous topic sentences tied together 
just-so with brown-paper and transitions, 
but no address,  
“Undeliverable” stamped across the letters 
before they’re tossed. 

In this garbage can of sound and lost vowels, 
there must be, the rat sneers, 
bones worth chewing, homonyms half-digested, 
picked over and passed on  
by Spelling Checkers. And he digs deeper 
into the pile of mismatched prefixes,  
misspelled bannanna peals; he digs deeper 
into the tunnels of proclaimed typos; he digs deeper 
sniffing, sniffing, sniffing, 
day-dreaming always of Limburger 
accurately spelled. 

I Take My Coffee with Two E’s 

two F‘s and no artificial sweetener; 
my sherbet, please (so low-fat), with an extra r
my filet mignon with its g and n 
tenderly underdone. 

Ah vichyssoise à la Ritz, 
bouillabaisse, asparagus vinaigrette, 
salmon dipped and smoked; 
Ah, Grand Marnier soufflés, 
peppermint-chocolate mousse, why wait 

for the weight of words 
to ingest each letter 
by letter? Such sweet 
seasoning to the palate,  
basted sound and roasted syllable. 
Ah, Messieurs et Madames, 
the delicacy, the delight, 
the culinary delectableness of language 
skillfully marinated, prepared, 
and presented by that master  

A Double Helping of S, Please 

Yes, I’ll take another s in my dessert,  
another slice of strudel, 
an extra sampling of strawberry shortcake, 
a smidgen more of spritz, twin pecan tassies, 
double cheesecake snack squares. 

No thank you, please, not a single desert, 
that dusty Sahara sandbox 
where I crave scores of sibilations 
to satisfy this persistent thirst  
for all that’s sweet and sugary. 

Earth Day: 2020 

Hell, yes, open the window  
and reel in some sanitized breeze,  
some O-Say-Can-You-See-the-Sky 
and Hey-Can-You-Feel-the Sea 
(with each properly scrubbed toe) 
                                 but please don’t. 
cough or sneeze your unhealthy 
memories of bliss or shimmy up 
too close to any trees six feet apart 
and frost-bitten at their blooms  
from last week’s blizzard. 
Or don’t patriotically salute or  
                                 mourn Ma Nature’s 
50th year celebration of today’s  
Call to Action brought to you 
in living color from the living room.  
No, nothing’s dead yet except 
excuses to not deep-clean  
such continued devastation. Until then, 
                                 let Her breathe. 

Then There’s That 

A hand, a slap, a fist. 
The morning dew, the question 
 “Who is the stranger with such fragile fingers  
straightening today the ironed collar of your shirt?” 

The bruise pooling beneath skin, 
the skin taut across belly, 
the faint heartbeat beneath 
the scuttle of punctuated No’s. 

And the exclamations of joy, 
the em-dash of hope, 
the comma of sigh typed expertly 
at 120 words a minute 
into the narrative of hand 
protecting the other.  
                                 There’s that. 

And the first glance and the last 
blow, and the morning and the evening 
of the broken bones, and the stitched-together 
hellos and the swollen goodbyes, and the repeat 
ritual bend, mend, pretend, upend, transcend, descend… 

And then there’s that. 


Professor of English at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published 11 collections of poetry, the story collection What She Was Saying; 4 children’s/YA books, Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania, and Presence (assistant editor). Begin with a Question and Heart Speaks Is Spoken For are forthcoming in 2021/22. Marjorie was first featured in The Short of it on September 4, 2020. She also had three pieces featured in The Sound of Brilliance.


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Akhila Siva

Aureate waves

Dusky rays
dive into the depths of ocean
to strip off the chores of a day
Littered waves
flown in aureate color
wake up a star-studded sky


She is like a hurricane
never try to tame her waves
you will be blown away
But reach for her eyes
she will smile like a confetti
and let you dance in the core

To the mind

Dear mind,
I am never ever giving you up
for you are pouring indefinite closeness
I am never ever letting you go dull with time
for you are pressed deep within my heart
I will keep on writing for you
and make you bloom like a euphoric moon
as poetry is nothing but a POisEd TheRapY!

Fallen flowers

Petite petals of Bougainvillea,
wild, pink, and purple
adorning the silence of a season.
She feels everything, but not heavy
lying unappreciated on the ground
she embroiders a cobblestoned street.

You’re the beautiful wilderness on fire

My love quotes are all about a single person,
a clear crystal which is the Armour of my heart
He came as a flutter into my soul
and kissed my heart like an unending confetti
He holds my hands and pulls me closer to him
letting me crown his kingdom
His adventures brush my lush storms
intoxicating my hard and scrubby skin in his arms
And at the edge of every naked hot hug, he whispers
‘you’re the beautiful wilderness on fire’.


Akhila Siva is a plant-woman breathing poetries, a self-motivated lifelong learner decoding signs from the universe, and a blogger bleeding out all the intoxicated imperfections of her soul through her words. Her works have been featured in several online publications and anthologies. She is the founder and sole contributor of  Words and Notion and Quality Notion. Akhila was first featured on The Short of It in 2020, published in The Sound of Brilliance in 2021, and showcased on I Write Her a few times too. You can find all the links HERE.


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It’s All VJ’s Fault ;)

Well, maybe. But more accurately, it’s my fault! lol But she did inspire me with her comment recently.

I read her piece Respite, I commented, and then she responded with “Thanks, Susi. Nature is a balm.” Of course, as sometimes happens, my brain went to an interesting place. And this meme is what came out of it. I truly could see Snoop Dogg saying this, BTW. Enjoy!

Oh, and if anyone knows him personally, please do share it with him. 🙂