Curse, of, the, Common, Comma

Do, you, like, to, use, commas, as, if, they, are, running, out, of, style? I don’t like commas and I avoid them.

My students, on the other hand, as well as many amateur authors, use commas as if they were free by the bushelful and need to be crammed into every bramble and sigh. I never add a comma before an “and” though many people employ a comma there.

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Monarch of the Plains

Growing up in Nebraska can be a lonely and hard thing. Earth and sky are elements made for crushing. Each Nebraska horizon beyond the urban core presents only two images you learn early to avoid and they are both found on the visceral level where trembling and genetics meet blood creating the canvas of dreams and the kindling of hope: Bunches of blue sky crouch and stretch above just out of reach, teasing you over and around in what you imagine the ocean must look and feel like; maturity comes in dry pieces you kick and hold in your hand as dust while down beneath your boots rusty slivers of infertile earth scatter telling of dreams ending in sharp shards and hope dead and undone by a landscape that forgives nothing but rain.

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Lighthouse on the Prairie

by Steve Gaines

it was a time of longing for the past
or hoping for the future
it was a time caught at the stand still of a decade
the depression coming begrudgingly to an end
July boiling like a hot plate
days and nights of weather in the extreme
nineteen thirties afternoons
one hundred degree cauldrons
and people sleeping on the grass
sleeping on the roof on the fire escape
and somewhere in the blare of headlines
war sending up its warnings
off in the distant east in Europe
a far away unknown place, exploding!

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