(not quite) a literary journal


Maintenance Man, Teacher, Waitress, and Night, by Joan McNerney

Maintenance Man

Everything falls apart, 
all things rot and crack.

Each day another tenant
fills out forms to request
repairs. Hot water tanks
burst, sinks back up, toilets jam. 
Smoke alarms break. 
It's a messy life, he pushes
against riptide.

All spring and summer, 
weeds keep growing. 
Leaves gather during fall. 
In winter time, ice 
covers walkways.

It’s time to go home now.
Tomorrow he will return
to pick up the pieces again.


She hoped some would leave, 
rise above dirty factory gates
past plumes of smoke spewing
from the cement plant.

Occasionally when discussing
great American novels, the walls
shook. Ravines were blasted
for more rocks to crush into powder.

She wished they would not become
clerks for soul-less chain stores or 
cooks in fast food joints where
smells of burning grease lingered. 

What was the use of teaching literature
and poetry to these children who would
soon grow listless? Their spirits ground
down like stones in the quarry.


Sally thought everything was
up to luck and she had zero.
Her chances got swept
away with yesterday's trash.

Every day working in this 
dumpy dinner slinging hash.

There were the regulars
who knew her name and
left good tips. They had
no place else to go.

Her feet swelled up at 
the end of lunch rush.

Sally wiped tables filling 
ketchup bottles, salt shakers, 
sugar jars while staring out the
window at pulsing rain. 

Waiting a half hour for the bus, 
winds tangling her hair.

She stopped at the market to 
bring a few groceries home. 
Struggling now to open her door, 
only cold rooms would greet her.


Slides under door jambs,
pouring through windows,
painting my room black. 

This evening was spent
watching old movies.
Song-and-dance actors
looping through gay,
improbable plots.

All my plates are put away,
cups hanging on hooks.
The towel is still moist.

I blow out cinnamon candles,
wafting the air with spice.
Listening now to heat
sputtering and dogs 
barking at winds.

Winter pummels skeletal 
trees as the moon’s big
yellow eye haunts shadows.

Tip Jar

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, Blueline, and Halcyon Days.  Four Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Review Journals, and numerous Kind of A Hurricane Press Publications have accepted her work.  Her latest title is Having Lunch with the Sky and she has four Best of the Net nominations.