Flash Literature, Poetry, Art and Photography!








Olga Candelario




This is the devil’s circus, these gritty streets

Where the syringes drop and the trash flows,

Where the mothers turn in their last food stamps

At discounted prices, three to one,

For a dime rock,  a nickel bag, a trip to forgetfulness

While the babies cling to their stained skirts,

Sucking on their dirty thumbs to keep hunger

At bay, because momma’s gotta have that high.


These are the grotesque caricatures

Of life in this devil’s playground,

Bullet casings, and discarded condoms

Sprinkled amidst the diamond sparkles

Of broken auto glass on the side of the road

Where the winos get rolled in their sleep

One desperate fool stealing pocket change

From another after the big money

From the beginning of the month

Has been spent to chase the demons

That torment them in their wakefulness.


The devil’s circus where the poor juggle

All their needs and have to choose between

Meat for dinner or keeping the lights on,

Between bus fare to keep tat McJob

And school lunch money for the kids

Who will also need feeding next week.


In this circus, the Man is the lion tamer

Dispensing his powders at

Milk out of the baby’s mouth prices

To keep the beasts in their place, tame

And the Ringmaster of them all is the official on the take,

Swinging his weight around and breaking the heads

Of those who can’t kick in to his retirement fund,

His vacation home or his mistress’ upkeep.


Here they all are Clowns, shedding fake tears

In the hopes of getting pity from their audience.

Here the only admission to the side-show is to be poor

And to be less than the owners of the big tent.

Here death waits around the corner and you can die

With a big smile on your face before you are ready,

Or you can die with a bullet hole in your head

But you sure can’t die as people were meant to.



OLGA CANDELARIO is an immigrant who has lived in the greater Springfield, MA area for many years. She has worked in the area of Human Services and has been a long time employee of the Massachusetts Justice Project where she does legal advocacy for the poor.


OLGA has written poetry since she was a child. As an adult she became involved with the Online Poets of AOL where she has been electronically published. This reignited her love of writing and more recently her work has been published in Peregrine as well as in several poetry journals.


She has participated in various creative writing workshops and has been certified by Amherst Writers and Artists to lead creative writing workshops. She has been facilitating workshops for Voices from Inside since 2000.