Photo By Carl Kaucher | From the Rubble

Winner of Our Issue No 4 Photo Contest


I popped into Mi Casa Su Casa café one Friday during the midday rush. Walking in from the back, I was elated to see my man Noah Ayala at the bar.

“Yo, what’s up, hermano?” Noah said, giving one of his signature, totally engulfing bear hugs. “You good?”

I grabbed the stool next to him as his wife and favorite waitress, Leira, bustled from one table to the next. The phone rang and another customer needed to pay for their bill.

“That’s a hard job, dude, especially when she’s here by herself,” Noah said to me before his eyes lit up. “You got a pen? Let’s do something.”

I ran out my car to get my pen and pad and when I came back Noah had the day’s issue of the Reading Eagle spread out on the bar.

“Okay this is what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna pick out words in the article and make a poem like that,” he said.

It had only been a few weeks since my departure from the paper. Using my former colleagues’ work as my muse, canvass and inspiration in a new and challenging way was an exciting prospect.

“Let’s do it,” I said and we dove into the pages, circling words and coming up with various ways to attack the assignment.

Going through the articles in the Berks and Beyond section, I was delighted to read my friend’s stories and transmute them into something completely different.







































eliminate poem based on “Derailment clean up may continue into next week” Reading Eagle, 4/19/19. Goal: to write a poem as unrelated to the article as possible.




southern night  

spilled alongside  

the railroad  


southern day  

spilled outside  

the city 


southern train  

hauling more  

than property 


southern evening  

still common as 

human errors.

debtor's prison

eliminate poem based on “Reading airport authority as county to pay off debt” Reading Eagle, 4/19/19, as challenged by Noah Ayala

Reading the debt, 

the grim assessment 

outstanding disappointment. 


Trouble stems 

from a big mistake 

to renovate 

and fly to 

anywhere in the world. 


A big hit to the revenue stream 

Continued operations no longer means to satisfy the debt, 

years of low interest has kept losing focus on primary mission 

of high quality and dependable business.


eliminate poem based on “ Victims need resources” Reading Eagle, 4/19/19, words collected from bottom up

relationship – toxic. 

courage takes danger. 

exit safety, custody, 


connect with 



new levels. 


Many types of cases dismissed 

many cases. 


Get out, 

able to see blue. 


Another history. 

Another miraculous relationship.