Disregarded drips collecting along the bottom rim

of my mug, staining rings on Grump’s old desk,

prove combined similarities can leave a mark.


My city, similar in thorough collectivity,

patient in method, observant of other’s moves,

reminds me that stained history is tough to disregard.


Those rings will not be the first.  Boasting

like the Olympic symbol, entangled arm in arm

as a unit, a friendship through proper challenge,


sharing education amongst ego and diversity –

elements separating like a frozen vinaigrette,

layered like our crustaceous Earth.


Will today’s children remember yesterday’s stained

history?  America, the tossed salad.  Will they

know the dressing is no good unless you shake it up?


As the last lukewarm splash of coffee swirling

around my mug slows, I picture Grump stirring

similar thoughts, chopping metaphor like celery,


dissecting injustices of his city, kicking

his feet up on the top of this desk, disregarding

the coaster next to his sweating mug.



Winter Wait



Children laughing as the fountain,

shooting in pre-described patterns,

lobs jiggling liquid clumps

of light filled water

in wormlike arches

before smashing into the cement.

Down the street, pass the dogs

unleashed and rampant,

proving their essential maniac,

the old church brews

in a Friday frenzy.

The city brews.

Summer is hotter

with all that metal reflecting

God’s big ball through the streets,

off windows and through the steam

shooting up through grates

from basements machines.


Winter hasn’t left us yet,

the soups and chili’s still

nourish the seasonally sad,

and that old coat hasn’t been hidden

behind the broom.

But, that big ball is tickling

tree bark and drying dirt,

staying awake later for joggers,

and whispering  the few last grains

of patience before beginning to shed

our winter weight.






Us humans are a funny animal –

genetic makeup driving


distinction and discretion,

pricking at our provenance,


exercising dirt lies to make up

new truths then feel clean.


Opposite: to remove cleanliness;

lying that we are dirt,


applying makeup as we make up

rules of beauty as if is exists


outside of the heart’s eye.

A stumbling quarrel between lovers


may the next day manifest

into a fumbling make up.


A spoiled child may refuse

to make up his messy room


littered with all the toys he collected

by yelling and crying for years,


the parents unable to make up

their mind if they’re to blame.


A drunken university student

infuriated when denied the option


to make up the final exam,

unaware that the drinks she spent


her student loan money on

will end up costing twice as much


when it comes time

to make up the debt.



–Maxwell Redder

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