Below is a selection of poems from our first issue by Melissa Balmain, Eugene V. Ellis, John Grey, Christopher Martin, Joseph S. Salemi, Alice Teeter, Dan Veach and Gail White. Our premier issue also includes poems by Emery L. Campbell, Michael Diebert, Lynn Farmer, Rupert Fike, X.J. Kennedy, Barry Marks, David McCowen, Don Perryman, Ed Shacklee, Janice D. Soderling, J.J. Steinfeld, Eileen Stratidakis, Memye Curtis Tucker, Linda Wimberly and Robert E. Wood.

In every issue Calamaro will bring attention to a poet not sufficiently known or honored, hoping its readers will delve deeper into the work of the featured poet. In our first issue we profile Charlotte Mew (1869-1928) and reprint her poems "The Farmer's Bride," "From a Window," "Fin de Fete," "I So Liked Spring" and "A Quoi Bon Dire."



Yesterday I thought you might be dying;
You couldn't do a thing I didn't love.
I rubbed your back and cooked you soup, implying
To God I had the full intention of
Becoming much more saintly, there and then,
If only He would make you well again.

Today you're fine–our miracle's been granted.
I hate the way you give your soup a slurp.
Each ordinary moment feels enchanted,
Although I pray you'll learn how not to burp.
I'm giddy, I'm delirious, I'm free
To be as petty as I used to be.

by Melissa Balmain


The Nuthatch

For all the war in the world,
for all the waste, I still wake
to birdsong.

The brown-headed nuthatch
descends through winter rain
like a ghost

and alights on a feeder
my grandfather made
and gave me

when he learned I cared
about birds.

The feeder drips
with water

as though dipped
in the Jordan
by John.

by Christopher Martin
originally appeared in his chapbook A Conference of Birds
(New Native Press, 2012)



We dance in a widening ring around this tower
Under the fading light from a minor star;
All reason is suspended in this hour.
The ancient harpers and the dancers here
Sing foreign incantations and intone
Strange litanies unto their demon gods;

And I should be contented if but one
Could see and sing to me in mine own tongue.

by Eugene V. Ellis
originally appeared in his poetry volume Alewives: Selected Poems
(Kudzu Editions, 2013)


It Might Have Been Different

If Anne Boleyn had borne the king a son,
Or Kaiser Bill prevailed in World War I,

If everyone I loved had loved me back
And that last horse I bet on cleared the track,

If naught was good but thinking made it so,
The world would be quite different. And oh

What love poems we might have, all rated X,
If Saint Augustine hadn't sworn off sex.

by Gail White


The Water Hose

Magical snake
in the grass
of our tract house Eden,
writhing with sudden
life, speaking in cool
clear tongues
that only children understood.

How you spewed out
your rubbery blessings,
preaching to the choir
of innocents
sermons of splash and scream­
all of us leaping,
squealing in fearful glee.

Southern California, hot
asphalt streets and concrete
sidewalks, little lawns,
no shade from trees–just you
and us, all summer long
while all the grownups hid indoors
we children watered ourselves
and grew like weeds.

by  Dan Veach
originally appeared in his poetry volume Elephant Water
(Finishing Line Press, 2012)



My desk is a fallen tree, lifted off the ground.
It fell on stone and brick, separated
from dark dense dirt.

One day small crawling things
will pour out of it.
In the woods you would hardly notice.
Here in the house
it will be spectacular.

by Alice Teeter


Miss Jewell's Suicide
from a story by George Gissing

The chipped and mismatched crockery,
Two boiled eggs and tepid tea,
A single slice of buttered toast
With marmalade–a dab at most–
And oatmeal porridge barely warm:
Such is breakfast's pallid norm
Here in a low-rent boarding house
Where lodgers live sans friend or spouse.

Miss Jewell lacks the moral strength
To change her mode of life. At length
Her final hope–a balding beau–
Jilts her. Now, in hopeless woe,
She looks ahead to weary years
That promise to hatch out her fears:
Loneliness, poor health, despair,
A boarding house's stale dead air.

She takes her teacup and retires
To her garret room. The spires
Of nearby churches pierce a sky
That swallows up her unheard cry
For rescue, solace, or release,
Some exit into human peace.
God and saints are deaf as stones.
All that's left? The skull, crossed bones.

A green glass bottle, thick and squat,
Holds a venom, half forgot,
Inside her cabinet of pills,
Relief for female aches and ills.
She takes the dusty vial down,
Pours the liquid, darkish brown,
Into her teacup, sits and thinks–
And then, in full composure, drinks.

by Joseph S. Salemi


Boat At Dusk

Into dock,
delivered smooth
by fading red sky,
dripping water on arrival,
the gentle thud
of wood kissing wood.

It's a moment forgiving
of a poor catch,
a bad burn,
a gripe in the stomach.

Weary of day's sea,
it's cocooned in still water
that flutters like tissue paper
in the shadow of the bow.

by John Grey