a sonnet you want to have written?
i’m scratching my head and i’ve bitten
my nails really low
and my mind is as slow
as a tired and homeless lil kitten.

i’m thinking about all those poets
(who’re more often than not today co-eds)
i torture my brain
it’s causing me pain
and suddenly – yes! – now i know it.

a sonnet is not what I’m writing
instead what i have will be biting
your dog in the tail:
it’s a lim’rick – oh hail!
and to me that is much more exciting!

by Wiebke Henning

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This is part of a series of featured entries in our first-ever poetry contest.
Stay tuned for more and get ready to vote for your favorite!

Exposure № 045: Commuters II

Here are more photos from Luca Napoli’s Commuters series, which began two weeks ago.

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Luca Napoli studied electronic engineering in Ferrara and then moved to Milan, where he currently works. He lives in a small town close to Milan. A self-taught photographer, he was influenced by his father, who always involved me during sessions of street photography in Taranto, his hometown. In 2006 he bought his first digital SRL and from then on he never abandoned photography. His most popular projects are Commuters and Taranto Vecchia. He is fascinated by reportage photography and always tries to put a story into a photo. Wonderful photos without a story are useless in my opinion, a pure aesthetic exercise.  His photos can be seen at his Flickr.
His publications at Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.

Sonnet: On Absence

Does Absence aching hearts then fonder make,
which in their pain no fonder-making need?
How callous slith’ring Absence as a snake
disguised, or spider-like her web does seed
with bait- a tender gaze or touch of hand-
then springs her trap. She rips the pair apart
whose fate she as a game does play. They land
divided, seas apart- heart torn from heart.
One wanders, wails in pain new-found. Her love
lies quiet, stunned, unsure- then finds the strength
to wait, and to his love his love to prove.
If Absence in her plot succeed, what length
must travel love, her home to find?
O, Absence wins her game unkind.

by Emily E. Jones

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This is part of a series of featured entries in our first-ever poetry contest.
Stay tuned for more and get ready to vote for your favorite!

Sonnet: On Young Marriage

Grace and figure Nature soon doth misplace:
Thither they find place in younger a’ thief.
Sleep thee on ice: ye freeze ye now thy face.

Thine rivals o’ aortic arteries,
Come adorned, lavender-ed and heather-ed,
To dance before folk o’ thou’st coteries—
Aye: but lover in love is weather-ed.

Thy wager hand is bet nye on instinct;
If patient refuge—knowest Spinster’s plight.
Tarry nay: among th’ unbound in precinct,
The pairings of youth happen as they might.

If thou be willed quick to etern’ty;
Pray lookest not thou at thine absurd’ty.

by Laura Hallman

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This is part of a series of featured entries in our first-ever poetry contest.
Stay tuned for more and get ready to vote for your favorite!

Humpty Dumpty: Tuesday

wake up thinking about your saying
you were contemplating therapy. I flip through the handouts I read in the program. I pick out some of my favorites, and a blank goals sheet. I take these handouts to work and photocopy them.

During my lunch break, I go to where you work. I tape an envelope containing the handouts behind a bench. I include a postcard. The front of the postcard shows chaos. On the back of the postcard, there is a rabbit. I write: Even in chaos, there is rabbit.

I believe what I write is true. I want you to believe what I write is true.

I photocopied some handouts from group you’ll like. I put them in an envelope and left them taped behind the bench closest to Costco in that side park.

Did you scribble out the bench/I wish you wonder note?

I’ve been avoiding everything with ties to us.

What does that mean? Yes? No? It doesn’t matter, but someone did.

I’ve been to Costco and Supercuts, but nowhere near your store until today. It’s too much, you know.

I understand.

If I had seen the bench, I would have assumed you had done it. That’s why I picked a bench far away. I didn’t want to see it.

Well, I am not like that. You should know that. I took care of all of your/Avery’s stuff.

True. But I hurt you and you lashed out. It’s a natural protection mechanism. I don’t blame you. I’m not angry about it. I forgive you.

Lashed out on what? I didn’t deface my own graffiti. Someone else did and then added stuff in color. I did think you had done it at some point, before you went into the hospital.

I wonder if one of your friends had defaced the graffiti to help you get over me.

I didn’t have time for that. I was busy trying to die.

Yeah, let’s not do that again. You have so much to live for with or without me.

I didn’t want to die; I just didn’t know how to ask for help. I’ve never been good at asking for help. I’ve given myself a second chance and I’ve learned from my mistakes and I’m sure I’ll make new ones, but not so spectacularly. The two attempts are invisible scars on my forearms.

I wanted to call you when Holly sent me the e-mail. I was scared. I also worried that if when I called and it wasn’t to take you back, that you might try harder to end it.

I tried hard enough. It wasn’t my time. Seriously, it’s not your fault. You gave me a push, but I was already in freefall. Don’t blame yourself; I don’t. It wasn’t really about you.

I don’t blame myself, but I still wanted to help you.

You couldn’t. I needed to do it alone. And I had Holly and Avery. And I wrote a lot. It’s like I opened my head and dumped it out. I was lucid and sane by Friday night. I needed to sleep and I needed to talk. I was compartmentalizing everything and I needed to unify my head. Talk about tearing down walls. I needed to do this on my own. But thank you for being concerned.

You’re welcome. I need to go back. Lunch is over.

Thanks for talking.

Later, you and I talk briefly about yoga. You do not recognize the names of poses I am practicing. I think we’re practicing two different things.

Holly makes dinner. We eat together, and then give Avery a bath. He falls asleep early. Holly makes us tea. We sit on the couch and talk about our day. I do not tell her that you and I have been talking.

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William Henderson has written for local and national newspapers and magazines, including the Advocate; the Boston Globe; and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism & Communications from the University of Florida, and a Master’s in Fine Arts from Emerson College, where he studied creative non-fiction. He earned a Hearst Award in profile writing in 1998, and various awards from the Washington Press Association, Florida Press Association, and the New England Press Association. Currently, he is a freelance writer, editor, and copyeditor, and a full-time father to his children, Avery and Aurora. He can be reached at and through his blog, Henderson House of Cards.

His other Snake-Oil contributions are here.

Sonnet: Another Adventure of an Ageing Lothario

Thou art not sweet, though made of mere delight
— Thomas Campion

I am after her, a queue to my groin.
I invite her to a swank restaurant,
We each enjoy a sumptuous sirloin
Before she tells me she’s five months pregnant.
A pause. Do I pay for the repast or
Skedaddle into the Townsville foliage?
I ignore the waitress long enough for
Her to know something’s up, there’s no mileage
Left in this date pudding cold in the bowl
And, I confess, a modicum of cad
Contaminates my sense, so I tadpole
My pants – get the gist – and feign to be mad…
Romeo loved Juliet; a wretch
In my silk boxers, lustfully I stretch.

by Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke

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This is part of a series of featured entries in our first-ever poetry contest.
Stay tuned for more and get ready to vote for your favorite!

Sonnet: Is there no limit to the humility?

Is there no limit to the humility?
Thy frail tears delight the male measure,
for thee I donned lily-of-the-valley.
Oh, do not trouble me with your kerchief sir.

My woman bosom has often bristled;
staring at blank windy seas.
Your ardour for me has fizzled;
brutish pet, I foresee an accolade of furious bells,

whirl wildly despite your weaponry.
If they could carry the weight of my gladness;
mirth meets my lips standing by in great revelry.
Petals soothe my feet as you, sir, become breathless.

I and my feathered feet
shall pounce and dance home to a minuet beat.

by Gisele Vincent-Page

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This is part of a series of featured entries in our first-ever poetry contest.
Stay tuned for more and get ready to vote for your favorite!

Impression № 032: The Owlmen of Mawnan

“It was like a big owl with pointed ears, as big as a man. The eyes were red and glowing. At first I thought it was someone dressed up, playing a joke, trying to scare us. I laughed at it, we both did, then it went up into the air and we both screamed. When it went up you could see its feet were like pincers.”

-Sally Chapman, July 3rd, 1976 
Falmouth Bay, UK

Todd Michael Freeman tells Dr. Hurley about his inspiration:

“Much of the work I’ve been doing the past few years comes from a need to describe the mysterious, unknown things of the world for myself- or just working from stories and interesting events that I felt were lacking in visual evidence. I try to recreate the empirical language of old world taxonomy plates, a lens that I think authenticates the odder stuff I’m interested in. Its important to me that these images feel real, and all read the same regardless of how unworldly the subject might be. This classic, self-contained format helps reinforce feelings of documentation, and provides a visual record for a host of subjects of interest in both the natural and supernatural worlds.”

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Todd Freeman’s other publications at Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.

A Sonnet by Joe Heidenreich

Soon after we had shoved off from the dock
And sailed beneath the dimming light of day
Along the gunnel, overcome, did walk
A small and timid insect stowaway

He didn’t move, he mostly sat and shook
As if, in fear, he stood there petrified
His eyes a blur, he couldn’t bear to look
At the commotion surrounding this ride

And as he weathered wind and splashing wave
It seems the courage inside him had grown
‘Til ultimately perched fearless and brave
He stared off into destinies unknown

I turned away to heed the coxswains call
When I looked back he wasn’t there at all

by Joe Heidenreich

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This is the first in a series of featured entries in our first-ever poetry contest.
Stay tuned for more and get ready to vote for your favorite!

Dr. Hurley’s Digest, Week 33: Townsville Week

And so concludes our first-ever guest-edited week here at Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure!  Our warm thanks to Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke, who pulled together a brilliant group of writers!

In case you missed this week (and you should know that you really missed out this week!), here’s what Michael and the rest of the Townsville crew shared with us.