Lit Cafe

Poetry: Withdrawal

2 Written by: | Thursday, Mar 06, 2014 3:00pm

There is no music I can listen to

That does not have an overtone of you.

No Crosby, Stills, and Nash. No Billy Joel.

Forget Chicago. Boston. I control

The presets on the stations: maybe Jazz

Will be my new life’s soundtrack, post-divorce? Read More →


God Should Have Gone to Law School: Two Funny Poems for Friday

0 Written by: | Friday, Jan 31, 2014 11:30am

ddWarning: UB MFA grad student Ellen Hartley has some strong opinions that might just crack you up.


I hate


loathe & detest them


are instruments of the devil Read More →

Sonnet: Alcoholic Christmas

0 Written by: | Thursday, Dec 19, 2013 2:00pm

christmas lights

One strand flickered while the others glowed strong,
Its off-and-on an S-O-S that signaled something wrong
With our Christmas. First the youngest said: Let’s hide it in the back
Where none of us will notice it. But even there the lack
Of light was powerful, as if the core of something grand had died.
Pass me the replacement bulbs, the middle daughter sighed
And sat cross-legged, testing every one along the twisted rope
Until the numbness in her legs made her abandon hope.
Why don’t we leave this mess? the oldest said, Let’s make a Walmart run.
We strapped our seatbelts on. I said: This sick tradition’s done.
There is no fixing of what can’t be fixed. Then bitterly I snapped
The cloying “Holly” station on, and that’s when we were wrapped
In the departed tones of Nat King Cole, who crooned “The Christmas Song.”
We left behind our broken tree. We gamely sang along.


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Halloween Don’ts

0 Written by: | Monday, Oct 28, 2013 10:57am

maskBaltimore writer Jen Grow says she has made some of her scariest fashion faux pas on Halloween night.

Dracula is standing on my neighbors’ front porch. He’s been there for the last few weeks staring past their Ravens flag, past their excitable Jack Russell terriers, past their chain link fence to some spot across the street. I imagine it’s the same spot where my dog stares, ever hopeful, waiting to catch a glimpse of the feral cats that live in a tool shed with a man named Danny behind my other neighbor’s house. Read More →


Shaving the Female Leg

2 Written by: | Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 11:00am


University of  Baltimore MFA grad student Sue Loweree knows a heck of a lot about hair removal — her hilarious self-help advice might convince you never to shave your gams ever again.


Some states, such as Vermont and Maine, and northwestern mountain towns and Germany do not require shaved-legs. Female wrestlers, cow wranglers, and river guides are also exempt, unless they are going home for the holidays, are asked to be a bridesmaid, or are invited to an upscale pool party. Read More →

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What Is Love Anyway?

0 Written by: | Wednesday, Aug 21, 2013 8:50am


Love. Local writer Lucy Avalled recently redefined the four letter word when her serious boyfriend was sent to jail.

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love doesn’t make fun of me for my obsession with drag queens and lets me watch marathons of RuPaul’s “Drag Race” reality show without questioning my credibility as a grown-up. Love dismantles his drum set and moves it to the garage so that we can have space for my computer desk. Love is trying really, really hard not to cry in the courtroom as I watch him be escorted to jail. Read More →

Dilemma: “Does My Life Have Direction?”

0 Written by: | Wednesday, Jul 24, 2013 9:30am


University of Baltimore MFA student Ellen Hartley has a few questions for her readers…and herself. But she doesn’t take any of them too seriously!



Does my life have direction?

What is direction?  Do I have

a purpose?  Is purpose

direction?  Is direction

linear?  Is linear

2-dimentional therefore



Read More →



2 Written by: | Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 10:57am

image via

image via

With trademark humor, Baltimore poet Jenny Keith shares a heavy-duty secret.


Sharp elbow! Heads up from the iced tea and lawn,

the glass door swings open, invites everyone.

A ring dance, a blessing, a twirl of good cheer.


See now, coming forward from kitchen and parlor:

It’s clever, transcending its genre—its gender!

You will love it and honor it, cherish forever


this one like the ones you remember, but smaller,

cuter and sweeter, much nicer, petite-er,

the bite-size of meat that will never taste vulgar.

Read More →

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Burying Facebook’s Dead

4 Written by: | Wednesday, Jul 03, 2013 8:40am

image courtesy of

image courtesy of

Baltimore author/playwright and UB instructor Kimberley Lynne is disturbed by the fact that the dead and gone never seem to depart Facebook — here’s what she proposes be done about this insensitive oversight.

Five of my Facebook friends have expired, yet occasionally a helpful sidebar will cheerily suggest: You haven’t talked to Greg in a long time, why don’t you send him a Starbucks gift card?

I’d love to, I think, but I hope he’s beyond those mortal concerns now. Read More →

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Thank God We Are Always Surprised

1 Written by: | Monday, Jun 03, 2013 10:21am


Fiction writer Michael Downs recently received the largest Individual Artist Award given by the Maryland State Arts Council. In this frank yet philosophical talk, he ponders the role of art in a world rampant with violence and tragedy.

What follows is adapted from remarks made at the Maryland State Arts Council’s reception for winners of 2013 Individual Artist Awards. This year, the state government supported 87 Maryland artists, writers, and performers. The reception was held May 20 at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.

Moments before, they had been running: Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour laced in tight knots across their unhappy feet, feet which had complained at Mile 11 or 18 or 22, but hurt no longer because this was the finish and nothing hurt anymore, not their crunchy ankles or their sore knees or that sharp cramp felt near the heart just a few strides ago. Those quicker runners who had already arrived ate bananas and smiled for cell-phone cameras, hands upraised and fingers making a V for victory, not for peace, not really, though peace is a thing much wished for, a thing on which so much depends. Read More →

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