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5 Poems || Leif Haven

Night Sky


This is where the fun starts.
I’m going to start grabbing this and lifting it upward.

Grab it and pop it.


Jonny Horton wrote a beautiful song about the northern lights.

Northern Lights were running wild in the land of the midnight sun.

And I lived there for about a dozen years.

And that has to be. That has to be one of the prettiest countries in the world.

God was having a good day when he made Alaska.


You can pull these as high as you want them.

In some parts of the country they don’t see a lot of color in the northern lights.

Where I lived, right outside of Fairbanks in a little town called North Pole,

Sometimes we would see the lights in every color of the rainbow.

That makes it a little more interesting.




Sunset Oval


Just to break up that straight line.

You know me and my big trees.

Let’s do it again.

Maybe there’s a big tree

There we go

He lives right there

And he’s got a crook in him

And he’s got another crook in him.

He needs a friend.


just pop in a few highlights

wherever wherever wherever wherever

put as many or as few limbs as you want in your world

you’ll find this to be one of the most fun things that you’ve ever done


just a second and we’ll pull this off and let you see

drop me a line. Let me know what you’re doing with some of these ideas.

I’d love to hear from you.

As many or as few as you want

Maybe there’s an old stick that lives right here

He’s an old crooked stick

Somebody stepped on him when he was little.




Roadside Barn



Touch it and pull

Yup yup yup yup


Maybe there’s a little path

And you can just go crazy

In your world you put whatever

You think would be there


K. and. bring a little bit of the grassy things.

Right down so it brings all this together.


On this side of the path we need

A little more of these grassy areas

To bring all of this



You can create all of this beautiful land mass

Then maybe

Watch right here


We put a fence.

Then we put some wire on that fence


You can do anything

You can do absolutely anything


Maybe there lives

Sure does.

A big ole tree

And a little tree.

Just like that.

Just like that.

Let’s put some highlight on that tree.

There he is.

This looks like a little birch tree that grew up in front of the barn.

Let’s just put an indication of a happy little tree limb here and there

Just here and there. Wherever you want em.

The clock on the wall tells me its time to leave you for today.




A Walk in the Woods


Maybe like we’re walking in through the woods,

Just like so, just whip that around,


You’re going to become a mud mixer.

Let’s begin building some little bushes and stuff.

All right. Look at that. You can do it. I know you can.


Let’s move up to this big tree in the front here.

Let’s put some nice little leaves up here on the elm.


There’s a nice little bush that lives right here

If you’ve ever walked through the wood early in the morning

All the little creatures are out here, they’re all playing in the bushes and stuff

This is where they live, in these little bushes.


Just let your imagination run wild. Let your heart be your guide

In the time that you sit around worrying about it and trying to plan a painting.

You could have completed a painting already. Let it happen.


For so many years I was a traditional painter and I would spend sometimes

Weeks, on a picture. Here we let it happen. It comes right out of here.

It’s in you and you put it on the canvas.


If we’re going to walk through the woods we need a little path.

Let’s build us a happy little path. We’re going to let this path wander right down here.


Maybe there’s some nice little areas coming right through here.

Maybe maybe maybe as we’re walking through the woods


Maybe it rained last night. Maybe there came a nice little rain.

There’s little puddles. Now after it rains you always have little rain puddles.


In your world you can do anything that your heart desires.

My home is in Fairbanks, Alaska, and I’ve spent lots of time walking around

the woods talking to trees, squirrels, and little rabbits and stuff.


And I look at a lot of nature, and if painting teaches you nothing else,

It will teach you to look at nature, with different eyes, it will teach you to


See things that have been there all your life but you’ve never noticed

If it does nothing else but make you enjoy nature, it’s worthwhile


Look around, look at what we have, beauty is everywhere, you

Only have to look to see it. I talk too much sometimes.




Mountain River


Maybe the water’s coming right along here

It’s just having a good time and

Oh my gosh. Bloop. Somebody has pulled the cork out.

And there it goes.

Just let it fall

And it splashed down through here

And it just wanders around

Wherever you want it to go


Push upward to make those little foamy things

Just let it wander right on down.


Think about individual bushes

Don’t just throw this in at random

We need something for this to stand

We’ll make a little rock.

Maybe it comes right over in here.

Wherever you want it.


Let’s put a happy little bush here and there

Maybe some grow right down in here

Let’s go on the other side

Over here. There lives a nice bush.

Think about individual though, I can’t say that enough.


We need something for this to stand on, too.

We’ll put a happy little stone that lives here.

Just pull down. Just pull it across.
Angles are very important when you’re doing this

Angles, angles, always look at the angles.


Let’s get crazy today. Maybe there’s a little blue bush.


Leif Haven lives in Oakland, CA


Dancing with a Kerchief Salesman by David Scheier

I didn’t like any of them. I had never thought much about kerchiefs and I wondered what sort of man tried to sell kerchiefs at a dance club. I shook my head and tried to dance. “Do you see that shoelace salesman near the cracked mirror? Do you know him?” The kerchief salesman wiped sweat droplets from his cheek. I looked over at the shoelace salesman who was dancing the jig, alone, unbuttoning his silk shirt and blowing kisses at his reflection.

     “No, I don’t know him.” I picked up the kerchief salesman’s paisley kerchief and rubbed my fingers against the grainy fabric.

     “I think he wants to sell you laces. He told me he wanted to sell you odd numbers of laces.” The kerchief salesman pointed to my feet. “But you’re not wearing shoes, and he won’t understand that, so buy one of my kerchiefs and he’ll leave you alone. I’ve seen him before with his ziploc full of laces. He doesn’t like me or competition. He won’t bother you if I’m with you.”

     I loved it when men came to my rescue from other men. The kerchief salesman couldn’t just talk to me or sell me a kerchief; he had to rescue me from buying shoelaces. I didn’t want to tell him I had no need for a kerchief either, but feeling one in my hand I asked how much it was. The shoelace salesman watched us from the corner of his eye and pretended to ignore us by talking to his reflection. He held up lace after lace to where his face met the crack in the mirror, making his head split from the corner of one eye to his chin.

     The kerchief salesman grabbed both my hands and wrapped the kerchief around my fingers. “You’ll buy this?”

     I tried to think of the last time I had a kerchief against my cheek, around my neck, cupping my nose. I thought about sneezing into the kerchief and how good it would feel to sneeze into the safety of cotton. I looked back at the shoelace salesman, thinking, if I can humor this one I can humor them both. The shoelace salesman was lacing another woman’s tennis shoes on a table top, and the kerchief salesman was already tucking his merchandise into my pants pocket. I hadn’t realized I’d paid him until he said, “Thank you, I don’t accept refunds.”
     I have often tried to find a use for the kerchief. I’ve tried using it to keep my hair up, but it’s too small. I’ve used it to blow my nose and wipe my hands, but cleaning it so often is a hassle. It’s no good as a neck accessory because the fibers cause my neck to break out in hives. So I’ve placed it next to other items I’ve collected over the years: from the wine cork salesman, the purse strap salesman, the vinegar bottle salesman, and the camera lens salesman, all on a shelf I got from the bookcase salesman next to a pile of shoes without laces.
Born in Germany and raised in El Paso, Texas, David Scheier is a writer & illustrator who holds an MFA from the School of Art Institute of Chicago. His work has appeared in several publications including BlazeVOX, Pacific Review, Gather Kindling, Petrichor Machine, Rio Grande Review, and Front Porch. His birth tree is the Elm Tree. Visit him online: