Two poems by Mike Estabrook

For those of us with rats in our lofts (and possibly bats in our belfries) and facing the prospect on Wednesday of going back to the day job after the holidays, here are two timely pieces by Mike Estabrook…


Yes we have become overrun
by chipmunks
but I like the little guys,
yesterday a baby,
big as a fist, sat there
on the lawn not scurrying away
until I was right up on him,
the thought of rabies flicked
through my mind seeing as
they are usually gone
when you get within a mile
but no, no rabies,
guess he hasn't yet become accustomed
to frightful death-dealing ways
of us humans.
Bob was telling me just yesterday
how he got a squirrel out of his house
by “plugging him in the head
with my 22.”

Remember that all that crap going on at work:
the new boss, Mr. Corporate Company Man,
who has more action lists and projects lists
and deliverables lists
than storms have rain clouds,
the new reorganization up top
So-And-So now the executive VP of blah-blah,
Mr. Snooty BigWig now the Director
of this and that . . .
Fat Cat Big Cheese now running the start-up
division in the far east . . .
the recent explosion of meetings
like mushrooms popping onto a dead pine tree,
all of it, every single bit of it, every scrap of it,
is crap, pure crap, because it really
doesn't matter at all,
not now or ever in the past or the future,
one damn little hill of beans.

Mike Estabrook lives in New England and says of himself “I'm the
marketing communications manager for a tiny division of a gigantic
company, and man, going into an office every day can be excruciating. I
should've stayed on Northfield Avenue instead where I belong and
learned to fix cars like my Daddy did.” We published a couple of his prose poems back in October.

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New haiga by Pamela Babusci

• This haiga was first published in Haiga Online issue 5

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New haibun by Mike Montreuil

2 AM

I can hear the furnace pushing air at its lowest speed. The four clocks on the main floor are keeping time at different rates and their beats become louder then softer, as I try in vain to relax with a late night movie. A car with a missing muffler passes down our street. I know I will not be the only one to hear it.

Under a street lamp
a moth circles –
the endless night

• Mike Montreuil lives in Ottawa (Canada) and can be found at a hockey rink cheering on his son.

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A Christmas Collection from IS&T

We'd like to wish all our readers – all 3500 of you – a Happy Christmas and here are some seasonal offerings by Tish Davis, Maureen Weldon and Chris Major…

Two haiku by Tish Davis

virgin snow
a young boy runs ahead
to warn the rabbit
these woods again
a leaf frozen
in the spider web

• Tish Davis lives and works in the US.  Her haibun have appeared in Contemporary Haibun Online. Recently one of her haiku was recognized as a Poem of Merit in the R.H. Blyth Awards for 2007.

Like Soap Bubbles by Maureen Weldon

Winter: like soap bubbles
in a washing-up bowl.
This will not last,
this cup, that plate,
the garden reflecting in my eye.
Or my lover – he used to hold my heart –
who has a golden tongue –
a gift for music.

I brushed his body
with my long red hair.
It was Christmas then,
it is Christmas now :
green crates of decorations,
bottles of wine, flickering candles.
I see them on my kitchen window,
mirrored in fairy lights
and parcels of secrets.

From the hall, three little boys
Are singing Silent Night,
to the rhythm of their money-box.
Now my daughter shuts the door
the sound goes round and round.
In the sink the suds have sunk,
In the centre: a star.

To poems – one concrete – by Chris Major

Every Christmas
it's the same:
given without
much thought,
the perfect choice
for a festive season.
Oh, there should be
stickers everywhere,
for they are not
just for Christmas;
because the novelty
soon wears thin,
and abandoned,
pushed aside
they are cruelly left,
good only to blame
odd farts on……….
……….bloody sprouts.

 SOMEWHERE (footprints)
               soon her
            step will fill:
        flowers 'n' cards
      as guilty neighbours
      churn to snowy slush
       a blank white page
         of garden path.
         Too little then,
         and too late,
         all print that
         is this poem's

• Chris Major is a regular IS&T contributor

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New haiga by Pamela Babusci

• This haiga was first published in Reeds: Contemporary Haiga (Vol. 2, 2004)


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Jim Bennett has the secret city blues

secret city blues

when I came here I saw twelve men
carve their way through the carbon night
while outside the moon played on the walls
a landscape fashioned after mountains
a memory of caves that kept men safe
hands held fingers twisted like rope
two butchers fought with knives unstropped
like an argument after Sunday lunch
and in some backdrop lot of unseen movies
wasted men drink from bottles in brown bags

street corner gangs eye trash can sorters
looking through you like you do them
an old women recycling filth carrying bags
pushing a pram full of cans and bottles
secret doorways into other peoples lives
open as she passes and close just as fast
as she leaves her presence in a smell
hanging like a memory in the air
muttering as she does the unheard words
from a conversation in her past

the dogs in hunting packs
haunt the alleyways pick over trash
burrow in the organic mass
of rotting food behind the restaurants
ignore the screech of brakes
and sirens from the road
the shouts and screams and tears
the brutal laughter from the bars
the moaning sound of copulation

the whore with her panties down
and the man who falls to the ground
dead drunk both pissing in the darkness
as steam rises from the gutters and grills
I splash between the pools of light
street lights and flashing traffic lights
cars taxis and buses scraping along
clogging the air with tar gas
painting buildings grey to black
among the smiling signs
and easy male and female

backstreet buggary
that is New York

here I walk with ghosts
Chandler Runyan and Ginsberg
and listen to Lou Reed
Dylan and ten million others
as I mouth the words of the Secret City Blues

• Jim Bennett is a poet, and he believes that he is still alive, living in a place that looks a bit like Merseyside.

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The Togviraklippur by Gwilym Williams

The Togviraklippur


Do you remember those glorious Icelandic winters
when our oilskinned menfolk went out in ships
patrolling the seas in search of tresspassing trawlers
and Royal Navy patrol vessels
dashing up from Fleetwood and Hull –
out to steal the last of our codfish fingers?
And do you remember how our womenfolk
normal everyday housewives like Hekla and Birgit
crept under cover of night to their crochet clubs
ordinary fisherman's wives
whose drawers were fit to bursting point
with tangled shanks and hanks
of knotted wool,
And how they were all dressed in their crocheted
puffin jumpsuits – so as not to attract attention –
yes, something more than
an act of iconoclastic desperation. And they
had on their thick woolly socks
to boot.
Do you remember all that?
Well, this winter, we're in for a special TV treat –
a veritable Brunhilda, an icon
from that heroic fishfinger war –
the legendary Hrafnkell herself
the mighty one
who with her trawlerman husband
designed the first togviraklippur
based on the shape of a crocheting needle
and who famously pressed her frozen lips
firmly onto the front
of the outdoor television camera
on the quayside at Reykjavik
for the live broadcast on Reykjavik TV News
when she smooched the entire Icelandic nation
whilst displaying the secret weapon
the togviraklippur
thus gaining Icelandic immortality
will present the 2007 Crocheting Awards
live on your public TV
immediately following the news
and messages from our sponsors.

• Gwilym Williams is a regular contributor to both the IS&T and its comments pages. His new blog can be found at

Gwilym adds “The togviraklippur is the large hooklike gadget the Icelanders invented to sabotage trawler nets and send the nets and the complete catch to the bottom during the Cod Wars. You may recall that the Royal Navy was sent up to Iceland to deter the togviraklippur-ers. Rather than calming things down this move got those stiff Icelandic backs up even more.”

Yes dear readers, we might go to war today over oil and terrorism but back in the 1960s the British faced a far greater threat – to their supply of fish 'n' chips.

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