Vent Ahead, Read With Caution

Heather Curran, teacher extraordinaire, tells us why she’s not taking a gun to school.

Poetry, journals, vents, and musings of a distracted woman

I went into teaching because I am relatively non-confrontational.  Now, talk to my brother and he’ll tell  you that I started everything when we were children.  That’s probably correct.  I can’t remember.  Doesn’t matter.  I’m not a kid anymore.

I’m an almost 46 year-old woman with two biological children and at least a hundred adopted.  I believe in compassion and goodness.  I believe in random acts of kindness.  I believe in saying my mind when I see something or someone beautiful.  I know that this might be weird.  But if I see a beautiful person, I am going to say something.  We live in a world saturated with unkindess, or at least we could.  But not on my watch.  Not in my corner.

I just finished teaching the Holocaust.  I made a point of talking about people who chose compassion and goodness over atrocity and evil.  My biggest regret right…

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Parkland Haibun

Parkland Haibun

What toll, dripping from his fingers? How does he sleep? Which truth
honored? The senator takes millions and offers prayers in lieu of action,
betraying the children, appeasing his benefactor. Seventeen chairs emptied
on this day, alone. He says nothing can be done, that laws are ineffective,
the shooting was “inexplicable.” What do his thoughts weigh? What griefs
will they bear? Can they reverse a bullet’s track or bring laughter back
to a family’s shattered life? Would any god answer this man’s prayers?

even the skunk balks

at Rubio’s empty words

ah, hypocrisy

Poem Swallowing Itself


Poem Swallowing Itself

Reading aloud—
people turn their heads
and step back, never

imagining what lies behind,
expecting neither snakes
nor bear traps nor other ambush.

Beginning where one ends, or
continuing a conversation
over decades, the truth

rises then subsides,
like soaring vultures or
cubes in scotch whiskey.

Measuring volume by
glance, the poem shivers,
opens its mouth wide.


“Poem Swallowing Itself” first appeared here in April 2016.





And the rain, again, takes up our day,
folds it into threes, and watches
as the world wraps up its gift,
first at the edges, then centered,
with more confidence and force
than justified. Who will forget
the hollow horse and its stifled
coughs, the stench of men too
long unbathed and drenched
in fear. Or the small girl running
naked, arms outstretched, skin
peeling, her life become a litany
of pain embroidered across
the unfeeling sky. Do not thank me
for your freedom, the mortgage
and its tax breaks, your designer
shoes. We didn’t bleed for you.

“Heroes” first appeared in Blue Fifth Review. Many thanks to editor Sam Rasnake for accepting this piece.

Never Drink Anything Blue

blue drink

Never Drink Anything Blue

But always keep your options unzipped and
available to whatever slips in; the snake

lives in the attic for the rodents,
but occasionally takes a fledgling peewee

from a nest near its exit, while the scorpion
generally avoids light except for those nights

when moths seem too delectable to pass up.
Our governor whistles Beethoven but switches to

the hymnal when campaigning, and I’ve announced
a need for organic zucchini when craving a craft

beer. Confession is good for the soul, except
when it’s bad for the body. “Think with words,

not with ideas,” Sontag wrote, and Williams said
“no idea but in things.” Of course he was just writing

a poem. Baking is chemistry – measure carefully –
but cook with abandon! Whoever said “keep your

friends close but your enemies closer,” slept
alone most nights, or not at all. Born in Louisiana,

I am the product of an illegal union, but which
half should be interred where? Both sun and

moon rise and set. Is anything incorruptible?
Drink everything blue. Everything.


“Never Drink Anything Blue” was drafted during the August 2015 Tupelo Press 30/30 Project, and appeared here in March 2016. Many thanks to Stop Dragging the Panda, who sponsored and provided the title.