Big Canoe Writers

Words and Wit for the Ages


February 25
by Vivian Sheperis

Jude shivered through narrow midnight streets.
Black pants creased in the right places
Butt tight,
On the prowl.
Slave to grinding pressure gnawing the back of his skull.
A freaking whistle blast hurtled him through moldering barrooms
With secret corners to touch, briefly, others in this clutching frenzy. Read the rest of this entry »

A Welcome Party For Lackley

February 4
by Vivian Sheperis

Lackley was exhausted, but he kept running. He stumbled over a rock in the trail and careened into a thorny bush before regaining his balance. The barks of the dogs pursuing him were growing louder.

Now was the time to bite into that little black vial under his tongue, but it was still in his left breast pocket. “Damn.” While running and negotiating the rocks and brush, he managed to fish around his pocket and hook the deadly vessel with his forefinger. He dragged it into his fist and gripped it, his one escape to oblivion.

It took several leaps at breakneck speed over the ruts and piles of dirt for Lackley to get up the nerve to bring the lethal object to his mouth. Only when howls and snarls of snapping teeth were yards away did he open his lips to admit the final solution. “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

He raised his cupped palm with the poison to his mouth just as he stepped with his left foot onto nothingness and tumbled headlong into a cavernous pit, landing on a soft pile of sand. High above him the hounds ringed the edge of the abyss, salivating and yelping their disappointment. Lackley still held tightly the little bottle and lay there, panting, unwilling to trust his unexpected escape and ready to blackout in case this lucky break was an illusion.

A whisper came from the darkness, “No need for that, now.”

He turned his head in the direction of the voice and saw a glowing, silver Deva gliding toward him from a large bright opening in the wall of the crater. Beyond her he could see several figures in robes of emerald green and violet, which reflected a peculiar luminescence. Read the rest of this entry »

Nature, the Racketeer, and His Players

June 29
by Vivian Sheperis


Red Eyes in a head of scales leads its tail and forks its tongue, thirsting for sun and chicks.

Hermaphrodite, without vision, corkscrews into the dark but knows to stop before it hits China.

Fiddleheads turn to the left, turn to the right, searching for their bows.

Rat-a-Tat plucks the Beetle from brown bark. Beetle doesn’t know. Read the rest of this entry »

Reminiscing Around the Old Yule Log

November 27
by Vivian Sheperis

1950 was a year I’ll never forget.  I learned to ride a two-wheeler with our neighbor Mr. Edsel Kinsley holding me up by my ass and running alongside. He was out of breath, but the old pervert wouldn’t let go. If mother had seen it, Edsel would have found his beer laced with cyanide on the next neighborly visit and his hand clamped in the rusty vise she kept behind the breadbox for such purposes.

It was also the year the Black Watch Bagpipers marched into town. Read the rest of this entry »

Christmas at Nana’s

June 12
by Vivian Sheperis

Christmas at Nana’s in the South Bronx was no Currier and Ives holiday print. Driving a drafty Ford over the Triborough Bridge was not a jingle bell experience. Mother tried to warm up Dad and me, singing her rendition of Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother’s House We Go. It was 1951. I was seven and old enough to know the song was meant for a sleigh ride. Below us, the East River raced through the narrows to dump its load into the mouth of the Hudson.

Read the rest of this entry »


May 3
by Vivian Sheperis

Aries, as you know, was born of fire
A mighty ram
Pawing the cliff with knuckled hoof
Peering red eyes sheltered under bony brows
Heated up to ride on Cardinal waves
Across the Milky Way

A Step Up

April 2
by Vivian Sheperis

After that day I never played with dolls again. It happened on the seventh step, in the middle of my fantasy, halfway up the oak staircase. A baby doll lay on each of the steps, three through nine.
Read the rest of this entry »