Featured Poet: Charles O'Hay / Photography: Louis Staeble


We wake to blue snow and soldiers
boarding the train. They're checking
everyone's papers. A fugitive, they say,
may be trying to cross the border.

A sergeant shines a light in our faces
but our features refuse to melt.
The man may be using a disguise,
he says. No chances can be taken.

Even the steam from the locomotive
must be inspected. The last time
this happened he hid within the dreams
of an 8-year-old girl.

Her name was Etaela
and she said the snow tasted like sugar.

"Keep Off"


My grandfather was a three-dollar bill
with Babe Ruth's picture on it.

When he called I could hear the bottle
in his other hand. "I have no time

for his excuses," my dad used to say,
yet he never stopped trying

to pull the old man into the swaying boat
of salvation, sending meat

and winter clothes, bedding
and a Bible. He once took a bus

into the high cold country to see him.
The old man stood in pajamas

at the station. There was an awkward hug
that  stands there still today

like a monument to dead soldiers.
When my dad returned it was dawn

and his eyes were red. He said
it was lack of sleep, but I could see

the tears. And even the bruises,
though he had yet to unpack them.


Before you speak, go to an auto graveyard
alone. Tell the owner you need a heater
core for a ‘76 Comet. They’ll have one. But
it’ll be in the last row. Walk back thru the weeds
alone.  Go when the misery vine is in bloom.
Go when you’re trying to pitch your way
out of a three-run hole. Go when the dice
are against you. Sit where the silence is held
together by wires and rust. When you’ve waited
long enough, begin slowly. Tell your story to the hoods
and fenders. Tell the broken windshields
and flat tires. Tell the Fords and the Mercs
what they already know. And when you‘ve done,
go. But take with you only what you need.

"Dead Start"


We met in the funhouse.
When you bumped into me
you thought I was a mirror
because I shattered on the floor.
You became a balloon
and handed yourself to me.
The sky was no brighter
than a clown. On the beach
we drew pictures of the sand
in the sand. And later
counted the magicians
in each other's eyes.

Charles O'Hay's work has appeared in over 125 literary publications including The New York Quarterly, Cortland Review, Gargoyle, West Branch, and Mudfish. His two collections of poems—“Far from Luck” (2011) and “Smoking in Elevators” (2014)—were published by Lucky Bat Books.

Louis Staeble lives in Bowling Green, Ohio. His photographs have appeared in “Agave”, “Blinders Journal”, “Blue Hour”, “Digital Papercut”, "Driftwood", “Fifth Wednesday Journal”, “Four Ties Literary Review”, "Inklette Magazine", “Microfiction Monday”, "Paper Tape Magazine", “Qwerty”, “Revolution John”, “Rose Red Review”, “Sonder Review”, “Timber Journal”, “Up The Staircase Quarterly” and “Your Impossible Voice”. His web pages can be viewed either at http://staeblestudioa.weebly.com or http://lstaebl.wix.com/closeup.

1 comment:

  1. wow were those good. I will look for your books now. Thanks for these I really enjoyed them. Photos are excellent as well.


The views and opinions expressed throughout belong to the individual artists and may or may not coincide with those of the other artists (or editors) represented within the magazine. Hobo Camp Review supports a free-for-all atmosphere of artistic expression, so enjoy the poetry, fiction, opinions, and artwork within, read with an open mind, and comment wisely. Thanks for stopping by the Camp!