Black Petals Issue #104, Summer 2023

Editor's Page
BP Artists and Illustrators
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
A Question of Money: Fiction by Eric Burbridge
Behold, a White Horse; Fiction by Spencer Jepma
Crawling Flesh: Fiction by Michael Stoll
Elm Weaver: N. G. Leonetti
Hunger: Fiction by Mark Jabaut
Mr. Fuzzypants: Fiction by Paul Radcliffe
Stop the World: Fiction by Roy Dorman
The Road Less Taken: Fiction by Albert N. Katz
The Washer Woman: Fiction by Sophia Wiseman-Rose
Underneath the Sheet: Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Shining Up Grandma: Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
The Children of 666 Middle School: Flash Fiction by M. L. Fortier
Bleed: Flash Fiction by Liam Spinage
Good Times: Flash Fiction by Ronin Fox
Time Lost: Flash Fiction by Bruce Costello
Unhappy Shadow: Flash Fiction by Paul Radcliffe
Cemetery Road: Poem by Joseph V. Danoski
Chasing Desolation: Poem by Joseph V. Danoski
Detroit Jurassic: Poem by Joseph V. Donaski
Colonia Somnia: Poem by Bianca Alu-Marr
The Precipice: Poem by Bianca Alu-Marr
Dread: Poem by LindaAnn LoSchiavo
Home Movies: Poem by Christopher Hivner
Peppermint Twist: Poem by Christopher Hivner
There's Always Tomorrow Night: Poem by Christopher Hivner
Joke: Poem by DJ Tyrer
Ceramic Duck: Poem by Pete Mladinic
Choice: Poem by Pete Mladinic
To Stop the Killing: Poem by Pete Mladinic
Reaper: Poem by David Barber

Pete Mladinic: Choice



Pete Mladinic



When I was a young boy, how young, well,

I was in kindergarten at 4, this was before

that, I watched a sitcom, before that word

was used, the TV show My Little Margie.


On in the morning, I watched it so often it

became part of me: Margie’s tight perm,

her father’s pencil light gray mustache,

his boss George Honeywell gray, gruff


behind a big desk; the neighbor elderly

Mrs Odetts’ turkey wattle neck peeped

around a corner;  Margie’s fiancée Freddie

Wilson in a bow tie, innocent, showing up.


I watched so I became all of them; they

became me.  I could’ve gotten up, changed

the channel.  I stayed rapt in Margie’s

foibles, messes she’d gotten herself into..


I was her, this exuberant brunette daughter

at home in a high rise with an elevator

cushioned chairs and an industrious dad.

At home there, with them I chose to be.


I’m well aware all kids don’t have a choice,

but many do.  So when I hear parents

in Seattle are suing a social media outlet

for contributing to their children’s mental


illness, I think something’s bad wrong.

Like me, many children have choices.

Still, many, I realize, do not. Ones who do,

parents, don’t blame TikTok or Instagram


for your child mental illness. Children

with no technology, there must be many

throughout the world, in poverty

have no choice, they are like animals.


Animals, no animals, have a choice.

But even the subhuman Jeffrey Dahmer

said Don’t blame music, drugs,

porn or my parents, I did it. Blame me.

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

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

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