The Smoking Poet
Poetry 2
Putting on the Dog: TSP Celebrates 5
Our Gift Shop
A Good Cause: The Good Men Project
Talking to Jen Knox
Talking to Dorianne Laux
The Poetry of Dorianne Laux
Talking to Michael Loyd Gray
Talking to Lori A. May
The Poetry of Lori A. May
Talking to Laimdota Sele
Kalamazoo and Beyond
Artwork and Photography
Fiction 2
Fiction 3
Poetry 2
Poetry 3
Cigar Lounge
Andris' Blue Note
Zinta Reviews
Zinta Reviews 2
Links & Resources
Submission Guidelines
Marketing & Advertising, Donations
The Editors


Cpt. Earl E. Weigelt





Tower One overwatching orchard and riverbed;

line of sight clear to Witch’s Hat.

Goats and children, soccer ball and scrawny cats.


Mountains all ‘round, A.N.A. hovel on top.

Fob-dog, dirty and sprawled is sleeping and twitching.

Dangerous Blackfeet Joes smoking and joking.


One-Twenty Mike-Mike booming Good Morning!

Two-O-Three ranging, blasting cliff faces

and an early patrol readies for recon.


ICAT and airdrop, pallets and blivets;

water’s all scattered – again,

so we bucket-brigade it to DFAC.


Better grub here than they serve down at KAF

and even saltier conversation to season;

AFN blaring and “AKO Loading…”


Guitar and Bibles and short worship service;

Communion and choruses sung.

A rooftop sit, then some darts in the TOC.


Three warriors hurt this week in a blast

less than three clicks from the gate.

Thank God they all made it out!


Arghandab not far—just past horizon.

Filthy with Taliban there!

If you cross it, it surely will cost you.


Tower guard double; night vision monocular;

Two-Forty needs cleaning; cigars need smoking;

“Careful … it ain’t water in that bottle!”


Mighty fierce thunderstorm thrashes the valley.

Tower Two radios up—“Hey, you guys seein’ this?

Man, it’s just awesome!”


Capt. Earl E. Weigelt is a recently deployed member of the Maine Army National Guard who grew up in the Northwoods of Maine and relied heavily upon that upbringing while serving in Afghanistan. His poetry also appears in our Cigar Lounge.


J.R. Pearson




“Careful What You Do with Death & Frayed Bow Strings”

or Sonnet Found in the Deceased’s Pocket After

Terminal Interrogation & Read Outside the UN



Said voices bricked in behind the wall

found him on two fluid knees. Tried to hold a hymn

in his throat the pitch of tuning forks toned to 99 blown out

whispers. We all know what happens when eggs ride freight trains

& secrets bow-boxed & waiting to be opened.

Maybe you don't know. Never altissimo'd under light-stains

from a motionless blade? Never found your mirrored face

unrecognizable between forked fingers? This is America!

We owe the rising systole of symmetry a hard strike


from a copper-tongued axe & the forward motion of our thoughts.

There was no choice!

Bluffed a blind hand in his mind.

Swore a spit-shake with un-fleshed phalanges

& the skull behind the hood.



J.R. Pearson played "Jonny B. Goode" in 1st grade with an audience of 15 people. Once, I seen him eat a whole case of Elmer's Glue. He was terrible at finger painting but he's proud of this poem. Read his stuff in A Capella Zoo ,Word Riot, Ghoti, Weave, Boxcar Review and Tipton. He recently was included in an anthology: Burning Gorgeous: Seven 21st Century Poets.


Jessica Barksdale Inclan




Field of Foals


We fed the horse as if playing with fire,

the stolen carrots stuffed into our pockets

and then given to the big black animal

with eyes the color of roasted almonds.

It snuffled and snuffed,

and though we spoke a language

it didn’t know, it understood the power of food.


One afternoon, the owner

of the Norman farmhouse beckoned,

and we both predicted a lecture in French

about responsibility and equine diet.


But the bent over man just waved

us in past the gate, past the front door,

pulling us around the ancient house,

into the pasture, revealing

a field of foals,

thin and black and light, legs

like wet sticks

All of them snuffling

up to our new skin, noses

pushing away jacket, coat, scarf,

their breath filled with heat

and hay and energy.


I couldn’t breathe or speak enough

to ask the right questions,

to wonder how old and which the mare, which the sire.

Instead, I reached for my husband

out of habit, grabbed his hand,

both of us exhaling as the foals

left us for the corn bin.

Both of us sighing

as they galloped off,


We thanked the man in the language we knew

and walked back down the road,

never returning to feed the horse,

to watch the foals,

all that life crowding around our broken marriage

Like a reminder.



Jessica Barksdale Inclan is the author of twelve novels.  Her seventh novel, Being With Him, was re-released September 2010.

ŠAll materials, print, artwork and photography on this site are copyrighted and not to be reprinted without written permission by The Smoking Poet.

Feedback, submissions, ideas? Email