Yellow Mama Archives II

Peter Mladinic

Acuff, Gale
Ahern, Edward
Allen, R. A.
Alleyne, Chris
Andes, Tom
Arnold, Sandra
Aronoff, Mikki
Ayers, Tony
Baber, Bill
Baird, Meg
Baker, J. D.
Balaz, Joe
Barker, Adelaide
Barker, Tom
Barnett, Brian
Barry, Tina
Bartlett, Daniel C.
Bayly, Karen
Beckman, Paul
Bellani, Arnaav
Berriozabal, Luis Cuauhtemoc
Beveridge, Robert
Blakey, James
Burke, Wayne F.
Burnwell, Otto
Campbell, J. J.
Cancel, Charlie
Capshaw, Ron
Carr, Steve
Carrabis, Joseph
Centorbi, David Calogero
Christensen, Jan
Clifton, Gary
Cody, Bethany
Costello, Bruce
Coverly, Harris
Crist, Kenneth James
Cumming, Scott
Davie, Andrew
Davis, Michael D.
Degani, Gay
De Neve, M. A.
Dillon, John J.
Dominguez, Diana
Dorman, Roy
Doughty, Brandon
Doyle, John
Dunham, T. Fox
Ebel, Pamela
Fagan, Brian Peter
Fillion, Tom
Fortier, M. L.
Fowler, Michael
Garnet, George
Garrett, Jack
Graysol, Jacob
Grech, Amy
Greenberg, KJ Hannah
Grey, John
Hagerty, David
Hardin, Scott
Held, Shari
Hicks, Darryl
Hivner, Christopher
Hoerner, Keith
Hohmann, Kurt
Holt, M. J.
Holtzman, Bernice
Hopson, Kevin
Hubbs, Damon
Irwin, Daniel S.
Jabaut, Mark
Jermin, Wayne
Jeschonek, Robert
Johns. Roger
Kanner, Mike
Karl, Frank S.
Kempe, Lucinda
Kennedy, Cecilia
Keshigian, Michael
Kitcher, William
Kompany, James
Koperwas, Tom
Larsen, Ted R.
Le Due, Richard
Leotta, Joan
Lester, Louella
Lubaczewski, Paul
Lucas, Gregory E.
Luer, Ken
Lukas, Anthony
Lyon, Hillary
Mannone, John C.
Martinez, Richard
McConnell, Logan
McQuiston, Rick
Middleton, Bradford
Milam, Chris
Mladinic, Peter
Mobili, Juan
Mullins, Ian
Myers, Jen
Nielsen, Ayaz Daryl
Nielsen, Judith
Onken, Bernard
Owen, Deidre J.
Park, Jon
Parker, Becky
Pettus, Robert
Plath, Rob
Prusky, Steve
Radcliffe, Paul
Reddick, Niles M.
Reutter, G. Emil
Robson, Merrilee
Rollins, Janna
Rose, Brad
Rosmus, Cindy
Ross, Gary Earl
Rowland, C. A.
Saier, Monique
Sarkar, Partha
Scharhag, Lauren
Schauber, Karen
Schildgen, Bob
Schmitt, Di
Sesling, Zvi E.
Short, John
Slota, Richelle Lee
Smith, Elena E.
Snethen, Daniel G.
Steven, Michael
Stoler, Cathi
Stoll, Don
Surkiewicz, Joe
Swartz, Justin
Taylor, J. M.
Temples. Phillip
Traverso Jr., Dionisio "Don"
Turner, Lamont A.
Tustin, John
Tyrer, DJ
Varghese, Davis
Verlaine, Rp
Viola, Saira
Waldman, Dr. Mel
Weibezahl, Robert
Weil, Lester L.
White, Robb
Wilhide, Zachary
Williams, E. E.
Williams, K. A.
Wilsky, Jim
Wiseman-Rose, Sophia
Woods, Jonathan
Young, Mark
Zackel, Fred
Zelvin, Elizabeth
Zeigler, Martin
Zimmerman, Thomas
Zumpe, Lee Clark


by Peter Mladinic


My dark side isn’t as dark as Thomas

Edison’s. Edison gave us light,

and for that like any sane person

I’m down on my knees thanking him.

But what about Topsy the elephant?

A barker or some such shoved a lit

smoke, the orange tip up Topsy’s trunk

and Topsy hurt the barker,

crushed his foot or just sprained his foot.

For that Topsy, outside a tent, chained

standing but immobile,

got electric bolts shot through her.

She was wired, it’s on YouTube, smoke

rising, the elephant’s ponderous fall,

all because Edison tried something out.

Afterwards he celebrated the execution,

broke out the champagne.

Hooray for advancement!

He shook hands with circus higher ups

and ones who did the dark work.




by Peter Mladinic


An infant he sucked my nipple as I lay

in the hospital. Fifteen, single.

I lived two years in Mrs. Eliot’s home,

then I met and married Steve, Ted

came home, and we, Steve and I

gave him a younger brother and sister.


Our eldest, handsome, affable,

grades good enough for law school,

I was proud, someday maybe for Ted

my firstborn, politics. Today I sit

in court with others, in Florida. Ted,

his own defense lawyer, wears a suit,


a bow tie. I slap prosecutor hard

across the mouth, at least in my mind.

My blood boils how he lies:

the VW bug, the cast-crutch sympathy

seduce. A hammer-rope rape kit,


jail escapes, a twelve-year-old victim,

the sorority rampage, bludgeoned

by this subhuman savage. Sex

with the dead, the victims’ mothers

families in court, as I am, weeping, only

my child is here, his own attorney.


Ted worked a suicide hotline. A clerk

at a law firm, nothing amiss. In jail

yesterday, in a jailhouse jumpsuit,

he leaned across a table and looked

in my eyes. I didn’t do it, Mother.



by Peter Mladinic


Stationed at a place listed on official forms

as US NavSta Cutler, a radar station

in Maine, I was assigned its commissary

store, and reported to Chief Hadler, Kenneth

Hadler, a Catholic. I imagine his asking me

if I believe in God. I don’t recall exactly

where or when I told him I too was Catholic.

One Sunday I rode with Chief Hadler

and others from our station, fifty miles

to Calais, Maine, a meeting of the Knights

of Columbus, a Catholic men’s group.

It was upstairs. I barely recall that meeting.

I assume we prayed, words about the K of C

were said. Downeast Calais speaks

to the fled—but where to—in me,

my flash in the pan, out of the way

antithesis to Bar Harbor, Kennebunkport.

I imagine Christ on a cross on a wall,

watching over us that Sunday afternoon

my only K of C meeting. I was eighteen.

Now, seventy-five, an agnostic who leans

more toward atheism than religious faith,

I remember Chief Hadler smoked cigarettes

but not what brand. I see him in khaki

shirt and slacks, a cap with a gold anchor

insignia above its black visor.

Being in Calais, a city of brick and wood,

was like walking in a giant’s wooden leg.

The Room


by Peter Mladinic


The other’s feelings go out the window

or lie like shoes in a box on a shelf

in the closet.

I sit on the bed’s edge,

I take up the whole bed.


There’s no chair for the other

or for me

to look in their eyes, see how they feel,

or tell by how they sit,

with their hands moving or still. 


Out the window treetops thick and green. 

Were it winter,

the other and I could look out at a river,

bigger than both of us.


I care about how you feel,

I say to the wallpaper’s western motif:


lasso steers and gather round a fire.

Peter Mladinic’s fourth book of poems, Knives on a Table, is available from Better Than Starbucks Publications. An animal rights advocate, he lives in Hobbs, New Mexico.

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