Poetry by Ray McClintock, Joe Garcia and Melody Marler

Three poems by Ray McClintock


Autumn: Nightfall North

First there had been descent

leaves red or saffron fell many

into wind’s river spiral and spin

to ground to rake and fire.

Then pyrrhic sounds turned ghostly

and acrid spirals curved toward glint

and now in the falling dark

bats foraged kinder columns of air

and climbed elms’ height for insect swarm.

Voices called were shapes framed against lights

and plucked children from pressing night

summoned them from porches, doorways

with ancient promise of walls and refuge

against all harm possible in the dark.

Protests went silent and doors closed

the only sound or move now

unseen unheard as a few bats for a time

owned all air and here all the world.


February Tree: Boon in the Bleak 

This hour near noon stroke is so stark

under seamless sky starlings’ choric song

is tinny rasp, high tree din

and doesn’t court spirit or street ear.

Then flock turns fidgety in budless heights

there a sense that they are ready to surge

to storm winter vault on tribal cue

but would gift motion to paralytic air

and bless hint or mizzle with no grate of sound

and their ascent might well unthread imperious bleak.

Such surprise is possible from country of feathers.


Pray Some Notice Swivel to Simple Stones

Mere look at stones won’t capsize glide of state

or blunt daily curve of trade

and no one need desert station

nor will world spin like mad clock.

Functions will grind on while some scrutiny

does wheel a few ticks toward stones

because they are common but older than race

and both good and backside dark

have nested in our utility.

They have skulled those of foot or hoarse

or volleyed an outcast

or arced against vanity of keep

or if big and many left summits

to slide doom down on village below.

Yet they have bridged and humbled

proud wide water and been added over dead

to deny elements and violation

and have walled us against maraud

and held beast and crop and reach of manor

and can be named of blood or blessing.

But they can still be cherished now

to limit or span or raise toward sky

or simply be present should giant bellow come

striding hard on earth and closer.


Ray McClintock lives in north Florida; he is a past winner of a national poetry contest and of the Florida First Coast Writers competition.


Two Poems by Joe Garcia


Where I Live

From the streets I was born and from the streets I arise.

Some times it is hot as hell and sometimes cold as snow.

There isn’t a place to stay out here that I don’t know.

It is where I live and learn and it is where I grow.

Somewhere you will never find me is inside.

But make no mistake I still have my pride.

You have to be smart in order to survive; you have to have courage and a whole lot of heart. Day in day out I will always find a way to see the light of one more day.

It is easy for some of you to say that I like it this way. And to this I reply maybe you are right in what you say, but for me right now I see no other way. For now I am content to sleep in an alley or doorway. And my next meal might be a handout or in a soup line but this I do know: it will be a gift from God and just in time. I am not saying that this is right or this is wrong.

I am just saying that right now this is where I belong.

A person of the streets I will probably always be.

So don’t look down on me or judge me for how I live.

Because even a homeless person has something to give.


Play This Song

Play this song for me when my heart no longer beats.

Play this song for me when my blood no longer flows.

Play this song for me when there is no dance left in my feet.

Play this song for me when my maker and I  finally meet. Play this song for me when my body falls into eternal sleep,

Play this song for me when my soul from this earth will depart.

Play this song for me my loved ones, but harbor no heavy heart.

It is true that this was my favorite song when I was here and alive.

So I leave this song for you now

to remember me by.


Joe Garcia is a mental health worker for the County of Orange who also works with NAMI of Orange County as a Peer mentor. He grew up in the city of Norwalk, CA and is currently taking college courses within the mental health field. He has been journaling and writing for the past two years. This form of expression is new to him and he will continue to explore writing as an outlet. He finds writing therapeutic and consider this a new-found enjoyment.


A Poem by Melody Marler


Until I eliminate the stigma within me, the changes I wish to see in the world will never happen.

No matter where that voice came from, I must silence that voice or continue to be part of the problem.


Melody Marler is a self-disclosed consumer/employee with the public mental health system in Orange County, California where she has been providing peer support and systems advocacy services to community clients, as well as paraprofessional support to licensed colleagues and staff since 1998. 

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