Halloween (The Devil’s Ball)

by Jessie Lynn McMains for Jack Terricloth It was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Hallowmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, & all of us! Come, do you hear it? The wind, calling you back to childhood. Calling you back to…

Haunting, Haunted, Haunts

by Jessie Lynn McMains All houses wherein men have lived and diedAre haunted houses.—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, from “Haunted Houses” Every house is a haunted house. The things which haunt them might truly be ghosts, or they may just be the ghosts of memory. They may exist independently of us, may reside in the pipes and…

Dear Peter Lorre—

by Jessie Lynn McMains Lieber Teufel— You are as strong as you are honest. Says the railroad bridge over the river. The graffiti. The river graffitied with all that autumn light. Rust and rusting, golding and gold. Honesty’s not my business. For example: you make a face, a ghastly, blissful grimace, and it sticks. That…

A Field Guide to Ghosts and Cryptids of Southeast Wisconsin

by Jessie Lynn McMains If you’re anything like me, the start of spooky season has given you the urge to seek out haunted places and creepy creatures. Actually, if you’re anything like me, you have the urge to seek out those things year-round, but I digress… Wisconsin has a wealth of ghosts and monsters. What…

Revolution Poet-Style Now!

by Jessie Lynn McMains 100 Thousand Poets for Change began in March 2011. It started with just a few people, who had the idea to get poets (and other writers, and artists, and musicians, and activists of all stripes) together to raise their voices in solidarity. To act as megaphones shouting for peace and sustainability,…

Magic Gardens

by Jessie Lynn McMains On the north wall of the Nielsen, Madsen, and Barber building, at 1339 Washington Avenue, there is a mosaic mural. Whether you are driving or walking past, it is impossible to miss. Strange beings loom out at you—mermaids, creatures with fish where their arms should be, beings whose limbs and eyes…

I Dream A Highway

by Jessie Lynn McMains Oh, I dream a highway back to you, loveA winding ribbon with a band of goldA silver vision, come and bless my soulI dream a highway back to you Gillian Welch, “I Dream A Highway” State Trunk Highway 32, also known as the 32nd Division Memorial Highway, the Red Arrow Highway,…

The Transverberation of Frida Kahlo

by Jessie Lynn McMains Woman with dark hair full of flowers. Woman wrapped in thorns and vines. Woman draped in bangles, necklaces, earrings of jade and silver. Woman with magenta lips; with eyebrow perched above her knowing eyes like a blackbird, singing. Woman surrounded by dogs, monkeys, deer. Chicana. Communist. Rebel. I don’t give a…

tell me all of your secrets

by Jessie Lynn McMains 1 Many people have told me I’m bold, in my writing. That I’m brave to put my life on the page, on the screen, click print, hit ‘publish,’ and not care who might read it or what they might think of me afterwards. Many people have told me I seem to…