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.
Bates, Greta T.
Bayly, Karen
Beckman, Paul
Bellani, Arnaav
Berriozabal, Luis Cuauhtemoc
Beveridge, Robert
Blakey, James
Booth, Brenton
Bracken, Michael
Burke, Wayne F.
Burnwell, Otto
Campbell, J. J.
Cancel, Charlie
Capshaw, Ron
Carr, Steve
Carrabis, Joseph
Cartwright, Steve
Centorbi, David Calogero
Cherches, Peter
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.
Dinsmoor, Robert
Dominguez, Diana
Dorman, Roy
Doughty, Brandon
Doyle, John
Dunham, T. Fox
Ebel, Pamela
Fagan, Brian Peter
Fillion, Tom
Flynn, James
Fortier, M. L.
Fowler, Michael
Galef, David
Garnet, George
Garrett, Jack
Glass, Donald
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, Bernard
Holtzman, Bernice
Holtzman, Rebecca
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
Kirchner, Craig
Kitcher, William
Kompany, James
Kondek, Charlie
Koperwas, Tom
Kreuiter, Victor
Larsen, Ted R.
Le Due, Richard
Leotta, Joan
Lester, Louella
Lubaczewski, Paul
Lucas, Gregory E.
Luer, Ken
Lukas, Anthony
Lyon, Hillary
Mannone, John C.
Margel, Abe
Martinez, Richard
McConnell, Logan
McQuiston, Rick
Middleton, Bradford
Milam, Chris
Miller, Dawn L. C.
Mladinic, Peter
Mobili, Juan
Mullins, Ian
Myers, Beverle Graves
Myers, Jen
Newell, Ben
Nielsen, Ayaz Daryl
Nielsen, Judith
Onken, Bernard
Owen, Deidre J.
Park, Jon
Parker, Becky
Pettus, Robert
Plath, Rob
Potter, John R. C.
Price, Liberty
Proctor, M. E.
Prusky, Steve
Radcliffe, Paul
Reddick, Niles M.
Reedman, Maree
Reutter, G. Emil
Riekki, Ron
Robson, Merrilee
Rockwood, KM
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
Simpson, Henry
Slota, Richelle Lee
Smith, Elena E.
Snell, Cheryl
Snethen, Daniel G.
Stanley, Barbara
Steven, Michael
Stoler, Cathi
Stoll, Don
Surkiewicz, Joe
Swartz, Justin
Taylor, J. M.
Taylor, Richard Allen
Temples. Phillip
Tobin, Tim
Traverso Jr., Dionisio "Don"
Turner, Lamont A.
Tustin, John
Tyrer, DJ
Varghese, Davis
Verlaine, Rp
Viola, Saira
Waldman, Dr. Mel
Al Wassif, Amirah
Weibezahl, Robert
Weil, Lester L.
Weisfeld, Victoria
Weld, Charles
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.

Elvis’s Pompadour


by Peter Mladinic


I can’t see Tricky Dick or JFK like that,

clean-cut young man, doing his patriotic

part far from Sun Records West Memphis


and the Shreveport stage where hips and

a prop-guitar rock him into idol spotlight.

Later, in a photo with Nixon at the White House—


I’ve enlisted Elvis to help me fight drugs

it hides ears that had listened to “Mystery

Train” at Sun and heard possibilities.


By the time of the White House photo

the face is beginning to bloat.  His hair

not shoulder-length but long, his eyes—


he’s a drug-addled Vegas Elvis, the King,

sure, but a far cry from the hip shaker

idol of Louisiana Hayride. “That’s


All Right, Mama” frenzies teens.  Behind

Elvis, a pink stage jacket. His brow’s

dissenting cowlick the right touch.



by Peter Mladinic


The Akita walked to the Shibuya Station

with Professor Ueno, each day,

each day at the station waited for Ueno’s

return. One day Ueno didn’t return,

Hachiko waited nine years.


So at least he made himself a legend

of loyalty. People near the station

gave him treats, petted him. Even a dog

statue there in his memory,

his story in films the sentimental watch


with a box of Kleenex nearby. Give Hachiko

a moment before turning away.

He earned it. Though he’s no longer there

at the station, to feel your fingers

scratch behind his ears.


So easy to pull a Kleenex from box,

watch the credits and then get ready

for your dental appointment,

or a round of golf or a dock

where on a forklift you take pallets


into and out of trucks at Star Distributing,

or sit at a desk in a bank.

That memory of Hachiko buried

in a stack of papers that comprise

a to-do list, one: buy Lady a collar


at Pet Sense. Maybe you have

in addition to Lady, Duke (two mutt rescues,

and Midnight, a cat, a third rescue).

Your hands full, no room for more pets.

While Hachiko rescued himself,


his heroic deed, simply to live, makes

possible, not a memory,

(he died in 1935), but our knowing he

lived, if only for a moment,

before turning to other things.

Nuns by Nature


by Peter Mladinic


are chaste.  You have to be pretty chaste,

clean, to be a nun, really clean to be a nun

that sails from Ireland to Ellis Island

and in Fort Lee starts Holy Angels Girls

Catholic High School. Since I can’t come up

with chaste’s opposite, corrupt? I’ll say dirty.

You have to be pretty dirty to be a vamp,

a priestess of seduction and corruption

in decadent Hollywood, a vamp, a femme

fatale, Doņa Sol in the famed silent Blood

and Sand. I’m thinking of Nita Naldi, niece

of the Holy Angels (that my sister attended)

founder. Mary Dooley, aka Nita Naldi went

there too, and dropped out. From what I

know Mary was born in an East Side slum,

three siblings died when infants, she was

orphaned at fourteen, but I guess looks,

talent, luck and something, the hand of

God? driving the inner Mary, landed her in a

studio, modeling, then in a chorus line, then

in silents being filmed in Fort Lee. Fort Lee

was Hollywood before Hollywood was

Hollywood. How’d she ever find time and

energy, with all the rickets and scurvy of the

East Side slum, to sit behind a desk in her

aunt, her great aunt’s school. The great

aunt’s order was the Dominicans. They

wore, like other nuns, wimples, also habits

that resembled shields you’d see on official

signs, with lions to the left/right and coming

to a point at the bottom, only Dominicans’

habits came to a point at the top. They

were big, so when you saw one you knew

this is a nun, a bride of Christ, a clean

person. In Blood and Sand, Valentino is

Juan, Spain’s matador, their top-notch man

with the sword and cape in the bullring.

Yes, he’s gored, but ultimately dies for love.                                                        

Lila Lee plays the wife/widow, Nita Naldi

the other woman, maybe in life, the other

woman too. They lived hard and fast,

vamps. In one photo, the curve of a hip,

Naldi’s back gets the spotlight, you don’t

see her face. Her dark hair bobbed, her

pale back, curves lovely to look at, and

desire? She’s wearing a sheet. You know

that’s all she’s wearing.


Magazine Sestina


by Peter Mladinic



In Cold War days the zines were Look

and, one cut above, people read Life.

People who voted Stevenson read Time,

suburbia, Better Homes and Gardens,

behind-closed-doors hubbies, Nugget.

and informed Catholics, the Advocate.


Father Joe sampled the Advocate

but his tastes went more to Look,

in small hours to glossies like Nugget

though he seldom looked at Life

and never at Better Homes and Gardens.

With God he spend most of his time.


Intellectuals for light reads opened Time,

the communion receivers, the Advocate,

the planters, Better Homes and Gardens.

For a little of everything there was Look

and the cut above, more popular Life.

Father Joe eyed the bodies in Nugget,


nude bodies in sinful bliss in Nugget,

that like his body was subject to time.

Mostly he looked to God to lead his life,

to God in heaven, and not the Advocate.

He liked the secular scope of Look,

and eschewed Better Homes and Gardens.


Roses in Better Homes and Gardens

bloomed as bloomed bodies in Nugget.

All one has to do is take a close look

he thought, all of life is subject to time.

Time passes, time, the devil’s advocate.

Most everyone then subscribed to Life.


Father Joe walked his path in life.

He often bowled but never gardened.

His team’s staunchest advocate,

stirred by strikes, and flesh in Nugget

in waiting rooms he perused Time,

where others preferred Life to Look.


At life’s beauty he longingly looked.

Thrills in Nugget diminished in time.

He read his Advocate in a garden.

Peter Mladinic’s fifth book of poems, Voices from the Past, is available from Better Than Starbucks Publications.


An animal rights advocate, he lives in Hobbs, New Mexico, United States.

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