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Churches Banks & Bars Editor: Phillip Zimbardo Assistant Editors: Cynthia Reynolds & Erin Wilson Design: Layout design provided by Windham Designs, Louisville, KY (www.windhamdesigns.com) Submissions: Send material to Chbanksbars@aol.com. Please include a short biography and contact information. Please limit selections to 5 photos, 3 poems, 2 prose pieces and 1 short story. All printable art will be accepted. Disclaimer: The editor does not assume responsibilty for statements of opinion or fact made by the contributors. All submissions will always be printed in exactly the original condition they were received. In no manner will any art ever be edited, revised or changed in any way. Made possible by donations from Key Lime Hair, Joseph and Kimberly Kusak, Charles Main, Molly Malone’s, William P. O’Brien, Underground Sounds, Wild & Wholly Video, and Scott Wilson. This magazine is dedicated to the memory of Brad Sheehan.

From the Editor Volume 2 of Churches Banks & Bars features some of Louisville’s most adept wordsmiths: Ron Whitehead, Jeffrey Lee Puckett, Robert Penick and Carl Brown. This issue also features sculpture by Michael Ratterman, photography by Jeremy Hogan, paintings by Christian Bryant and Jeffrey Scott Holland. Churches Banks & Bars is a quarterly publication that will showcase artists who have a connection with Louisville. We hope to reflect the cultural landscape of Louisville and add to its identity by providing an outlet of expression for artists of all mediums. This magazine isn’t about Churches Banks or Bars. It isn’t about religious dogma, materialism or addiction. This magazine is about becoming free from those things. Churches, Banks & Bars is about being human. When we are honest we are most human. But, it is difficult to be honest; it is difficult to be human. The art that was chosen for this issue we believed to be the most raw, the most brave, the most authentic, and simply, the most honest.

Phillip Zimbardo April 2004

“This is what you shall do, love the earth and the sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God...” -Walt Whitman © 2004 Churches Banks & Bars. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be printed in whole or in part without permission. Contents used by permission of authors and artists. All rights revert back to them upon publication.

“Untitled”

John Pike

Churches Banks & Bars, 1318 Winter Avenue, Louisville, KY 40204 ChBanksBars@aol.com

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Table of Contents Poetry

Samuel Bell ....................................................................................... 24 Carl Brown................................................................................... 35-37 Ellen Elder ..................................................................................... 6,13 C. Todd Fluhr ...................................................................................... 5 John Kusak...................................................................... 10, 22, 25, 28 Stas Kusak................................................................................... 17, 32 Bob Moore ........................................................................................ 27 JK McKnight..................................................................................... 25 Robert Penick.......................................................................... 7, 16, 29 Micheal Dean Odin Pollock.............................................................. 12 Jeffrey Lee Pucket............................................................................. 19 Ron Whitehead.................................................................................... 4 Drew Wilson ....................................................................................... 9

Prose

Jason Birswick .................................................................................. 31 Drew Wilson ..................................................................................... 14

Photography

Jeremy Hogan ............................................................................. 15, 30 John Kusak.................................................................................. 10, 25 John Pike ..................................................................... 2, 14, 18, 23, 26 Bryan Renfro................................................................... 16, 20, 21, 32

SCULPTURE

Mike Ratterman ................................................................................ 13 Cynthia Reynolds...............................................................................11

PAINTING

Christian Bryant ............................................................................ 7, 34 Jeffery Scott Holland .................................................................... 8, 33

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Dream

My Beautiful Mutant

Ron Whitehead

Ron Whitehead

if I were a free man, unencumbered, I’d write a poem describing the dream I had last night

ode to joy my beautiful mutant walks naked through morning’s door her bath

we were in a graveyard full moon, meteors, middle of a clear day on a hill, summer breeze, in the country, creek, trees

dark she is head to toes her long hair shines brown straight waves breasts full brown nipples

a church, ancient, catholic, St. Rose, beauty everywhere, high summer, wondering what the future holds

round bright her eyes Cherokee brown bright

but being not a free man, encumbered, I can’t write a poem describing the dream I had last night

dark glowing radiant long limbs toes fingers waist slender sleek athletic runner shoulders arms legs sensual strong hips vibrant vibrate her smile melts Italian marble the sun rises lights Kentucky pink yellow blue morning sky sunrise ode to joy my bride my beautiful mutant

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Heavens (revised) Tom Fluer

Mohammed counted seven, ascending from hanging stars to Abraham’s scented feet, where the true faithful prostrate themselves in bliss forever. Ptolemy proclaimed five spheres celestial, musical and heretical. One was enough

in you for a reflection of themselves. who accepts without intention to triumph or submit as you hold hopes and dreams and regrets like fragile sea horses in a tiny cup of water neither half full or half empty, but just enough to give life and sustenance. What hope can Heaven have to compare

for Buddhists and Hindus, Nirvana at the center of wild spokes, a free spin on fortune’s wheel. Greeks wait with dried Styx for Thanatos. Egyptian mummies rot in denial, praising Re and Osirus. Christians wait to be born

with the “now” of sharing the breath of another? Of the soft lulla-bye sung in the dark night, touching the swell of belly and feeling the life within kick eager to leave the Heaven-womb and enter bloody and crying in this world. Of holding the new life as it takes its first breath

again from an earthen womb of redemption. Cartographers conspire with good intentions to chart the road to Heaven. Dante saw Paradise atop Mount Purgatory. Aquinas agreed with Augustine who couldn’t see the Garden for the trees. Columbus mapped it in the Southern Seas

feeling the weight in your hands of a new miracle of your creation grow each day. The years spin wildly, a carousel of years as the child grows and seeks to create their own new Heaven and Heaven is yours there in your child’s eyes...

where the Earth bulged, Paradise found in a rising nub, like a nipple on a woman’s pear-shaped breast. Or was it an apple? Or in cider served at drunken revels named Vahallah, Mithra, or Yggdrasil where a barkeep named Dionysus hosted, eternal limbo dancing at Club Dead. Other maps were charted, the Koran, Bible, Veda, but all missed the path somehow, always looking up or beyond Some find it in a sun-drenched day where flowers praise their own photosynthetic God, or in rain failing like mercy on droughted crops, or in the faith that once there was a moment golden and full of grace and perfection in Heaven when all was right, before Sartre had his say, where the memories of paradise lost are tangible and warm and green, fading to crystal perfection with each passing reformation. Heaven can be sucked in small moments of insight, inspiration, in the taste of white chocolate and the touch of red rose petals, or the transient bliss of another who mistakes the divinity

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Duende (a glosa) Ellen Elder

Love is everything, yet nothing when a parade for order. Fingers cross to pretend boundaries. It is not carefree to shoot at the stars, it is enough to feel them fall. Be still, and sense the war everywhere. The sky is rainless gray, or sick with shine. A waxen green feeds into the streams, running a dark, dark tunnel. I would gladly go back if there were room at the world’s end. Acres, acres extend beyond the pond where watercress rots into a floral haven of mist and honey. The air sits on our shoulders as if it’s been ordered to. If we could make love from money we would open doors. Like a wreck we die to the very core.

We are the impersonators, yet we love. Look away from us, we reflect death of a century every day we think this is okay, I am good. If we were immortal the rabbits would cover the oceans, death would be no one’s role. Do you think it’s long until the last storm rolls thundering? Voices cry inside, distant and low as though we lived falling out of the skin into the soul. *In the glosa, each stanza’s last line is taken consecutively from another poem.This one is from two translations (Nathaniel Tarn & Robert Bly) of Pablo Neruda’s “Solo al Muerte”, “Nothing But Death.”

And empty purses would hang from the world’s steeples, ornamental as mosaics. The fields would double over in spring. The rabbits who are hunted see death from the hand up, blue eyes into red. The art of killing strikes at the back of the neck. Like the hand that bends down to us this is the first remembering, from then we are closed ears, as if drowning at the heart.

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Blue Forms Robert Penick

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Missed Opportunityâ&#x20AC;? Christian Bryant

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In the jail where I once worked it often became necessary to subdue a drunken or mentally ill prisoner. Hearing voices or simply answering the shrill mad call of the unstrung psyche, some would turn alley cat, climbing the concrete walls to drop on the guards, all claws and teeth. The preferred method of dealing with this was what I called the ten officer pile-up, the idea being to ground and hog-tie the tyger as quickly as possible. Then there were the blue forms to be completed. Each officer detailing his role, the amount of force used. It was a way to catalogue the free variable of violence in the maelstrom of the jail, a way to track the unforeseeable events, the animal flare-ups, like a telescope recording spots on the face of the sun, like seismographs following vibrations, like headlines or poetry.

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Annoying Patron

“Silent Tavern”

Jeffrey Scott Holland

Why couldn’t it be the right one I don’t hear so good out of it The stout is getting warmer Just the way I prefer it, room temp The way I prefer my nights here This bar is fine when it’s room temp You cause it to chill and to heat With your mindless prattle and Opinions on Bush

What keeps me from ramming your face Into this fine wood grain I suppose I would hate blood on the coaster I’m planning on taking it home To add to the others

Unca G

My passiveness prevents a small thing Your nose doesn’t bleed for example I am only trying to pass the time Why don’t you shut the fuck up I wish to enjoy my stout and gaze Over at the brunette who is taken My mind can’t feel her breasts With you rattling about sports Into my left ear, dear God man 8 -Churches,

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Dreamt Drew Wilson

So, hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s how it goes First you have to eat Then dream of better T.V. A slight slumber to the sound Of voices buzzing in the background Stranger sit erect, a circle Of smiles from ear to ear and chew Piping hot plates of rubber for supper While you notice how nicely pressed and neat Those once ragged clothes now look Hair parted in combed lines While denticular white stares at you Asking how was your day Do you want more gray Brussel sprouts And outside children are riding In circles on tricycles with faces Hindu blank beneath a sky colorless sky Which hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t run wet since its birth Sometime in the late forties Automatically this world would prefer The smoking of pipes in neutral plaid Wiping of windows which never smudge And brushing of gums before bed at nine But you never wanted a nightmare So sterile in black and white At the push of a button

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“Relapse”

John Kusak

Relapse John Kusak

Your mind has imbibed the finest wines: Shakespeare, Donne, Eliot crammed on my bookshelves are 40 oz’s of Colt 45s: Bukowski, Burroughs, Miller I gave up the drink— couldn’t handle it 14 months now and I’m craving I watch your eyes become glossy and smooth your lips wet with erudition I wonder if you’ve had too much Dom Perignon or if some warm 45 around noon

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could change you. Finally I kiss your wet lips and taste the urbane undertones self-disguised as masqueraders of your mind you jerk away and Joyce rolls off your tongue I get lost in your words/worlds and begin to drift my blood crawls soberly beneath my sandy prairie teasing left-over brain cells setting off withdrawal.

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“Good Night Nurse”

Cynthia Reynolds

Churches, Banks & Bars -11


Youth

MIchael Dean Odin Pollock we snuck out at night crawling out windows across roofs dropping to the ground the only sound boots colliding with pavement in the dark hot silent summer night a car sat in waiting just around the corner we drove the barren streets until the sun showed its face peering out over lake michigan dazed scattered across the grass cringing retreating like vampires back to our suburban coffins back home diving into dreams before the factory whistles blow the church bells the school bells ring rude alarm clocks tearing citizens out of their nests dumping them back into the raging rivers of so called civilization

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Chesapeake Ellen Elder

My mother stirs on the boat’s edge, a swaying and distant skiff. Oars drop in the water. She dives to get them -I cover my face, unreal, she becomes a swan, swan-swathed in permanence still, finite grace. Her head cranes above water. As if necks, like paper boats, float free. She and dad rowed to shore in a Chesapeake sun down. I sat on bended knees to keep warm -unsure whether

I’d witnessed (I knew knots pulled hard and tacks starboard) (which was tap-shoe right so I knew where to duck) an argument, for sure.

in a roll-up ball beside me. I looked to Dad on the other side of booth country. He was too bent-down to reach me, to ketchup fries, to share my washcloth touch of curiosity.

We ate crab at a dockside restaurant. Mom disappeared in the Ladies Room to change dry and again to smoke and again (Ladies Room Only). I stay putted, touched her wet clothes

A waitress under the pretence of napkins delivered me some crayons. They scurried in bored directions, under the table tent, onto the floor. Already in rehearsal I let them roll.

“Untitled”

Mike Ratterman <vol. 2>

Churches, Banks & Bars -13


Striking Keys Drew Wilson

I listen to you through words black against a white background. I guess it’s how I know you and remember how you felt, then with the skin of you laying asleep next to me. The rise and fall of white sheets in a slow rhythm with that smell of Ivory soap that I breathe in against the long of your neck. It was home to me, where my head laid atop your hair and my arm draped across your body, feeling out your curves while you dreamt with the Brillo of your woman scratching against my leg. In other rooms, in other houses, others sleep now. Some jumbled together and huddled against the fallout of snow and winter outside. Some alone and fetaled in the crumple of blankets and comforters. I lie awake and try to breathe in that aroma, find it in air that I know is stale and long gone. But I read you, and you read me. And I guess it’s all we can do with one another. The past snaking its way back through us, an analog tail too far in the distance to make out, its head wiring off into the dark of something unknown. Even our words somehow bring it all back, the present becoming frozen screens of holding hands, or worse. You say you laugh sometimes, maybe on someone else’s shoulder, and I wonder if they notice the way your lower lip trembles and that quick dimple you make when you’re serious and talking. And I tell you that I am o.k., doing this and that, keeping busy as much as possible. The spare time consumed by remembering too much hurt, too often. But we say we’re doing well, that we love life and are living. Living every day. I think how the dead must feel. And that space between

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“Untitled” us, in both miles and mind doesn’t get dredged up from the bottom of us. We keep its whisperings quiet as much as possible, left for me to feel out at night, while I wander in the dark. The heater in my room is broken, its copper heads lighting for a few seconds, then turning grey and gone. I want to keep my mind on it, willing that surge of electrical light, and failing I try to get used to the cold as it finds its way under the blankets that I try to pull tighter to me. You still sign the letters “Love Maria.” And I wonder if that means what I want it to. But I won’t ask, I’ll try and then push delete instead of send. And I’ll keep signing my letters “With Love,” wanting to know if you wonder about it as I do, dredging and scraping up a distant shadow of us. My vocabulary doesn’t know the words though, the ones that fix this all. Mending fuses, and

<vol. 2>

John Pike soldering breaks, splicing cuts back together again. If my tongue had the language I would have spoken it all long ago, written in ancient celestial bodies. But you keep writing, and I keep responding. And I can’t help but think that it could be better than this, somehow we could have so much more, or maybe so much less. And that twitch of your mouth, that gesture small and mine. I use it against others, scrutinize their smiles and watch, at a distance, while they laugh and giggle at each other in dark lit bars, petting at one another like animals hunting, a curtain of smoke falling on everything, foggy like my memory.


“Enjoy Coke”

Jeremy Hogan

Churches, Banks & Bars -15


Hymn to the Motel 6 Robert Penick

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tracks 17â&#x20AC;?

16 -Churches, Banks

Bryan Renfro

& Bars

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After 800 miles a table and a bed are all I need. And something to scratch out what I remember from sky blue vision of Colorado highway. The tiny table is littered: ice bucket, whiskey bottle, Wyoming Tribune, and a dozen brochures touting the local landscape. A passing train pierces the night with wailing horn, the lonely beast-song cutting through walls. And it is welcome. Yes, welcome. Television solves the few phantom hours off the road with images of sex, security, and safety, but after bourbon reigns and the late news is off, there is only myself and blank stillness. There will be other trains, other towns, other selves.


Untitled Stas Kusak

There is a Magpie Fucks with my dog Waits for her To chase a smell She goes It goes Somehow Money Is spent On dog food That is fixed To a Magpie That has found An easy Distracted dog A bowl And yes A treasure Chest

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“Untitled”

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John Pike


Doodle tastes crack

Jeffrey Lee Puckett

Doodle was the smart one. He always showed up, nearly always, dragging narrow ass with a purpose that escaped his slack half-brother Flip. Flip could paint but was a goner, so dumb heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d drink mineral spirits on a dare, laughing while his eyes squeezed tears down his thin, baked face. But Doodle, he could cut a big room in 15 minutes, his brush fearless, nary a drop wasted no matter how much of Yanceyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cheap cold beer filled his flat belly from the night before. But his genes beat him raw and bruised, paint fumes mixing in his head already thick with alcohol, scattered daydreams, and 3 a.m. Doodle tastes crack and everything is numb, crumbled, hammered to a powder, the dust a paste against the back of his throat.

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Untitled John Kusak

Once I met a poet At a dinner party Who had many poems published In all types of literary books. He had read T.S. Eliot And studied rules of verse, It was all very pretty Especially the font that he used, But he wasn’t really a poet. Sure, he wrote poems The way they sounded- well, pretty, But he never really said anything At least nothing I could understand. On the way home I took the subway I turned the corner And smelled fresh paint. Sprayed on the wall were the words “Death to ideas: Reality is this dark naked subway tunnel and nothing else.” Maybe it wasn’t pretty, But I am sure It was written by a poet.

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“Untitled”

John Pike

Churches, Banks & Bars -23


Personal Hovercraft Samuel Z Bell

Along a mile of miracles I walk with my camera Hunting a moment Time through my lens It finds me But I cannot capture it The night is too dark for my film A young mother and her child Curled up in front of a store window Thin blankets against the cold Behind them Is a personal hovercraft A toy with a price tag of 25,000 dollars It says SOLD The child sees me Bright eyes dark skin She pulls her mother close Thin blankets against the cold I watch them Tears blurring the lights of Chicago into streaks and stars It is a moment I know must be remembered But I cannot take a photograph The night is too dark for my film The mother finally sees me Jaded eyes dark skin She pulls her daughter close and closes her eyes Eyelids thin blankets against the cold How it came to be This mother and her child Alone together, on this street at night What mistakes she or others might have made I do not ask Unable to see through fogged lens My wallet emptied into her surprised hands Is not enough I wish that I could smash the window behind her Give her keys to that foolish thing So that she might take her child And fly away

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Zazen John Kusak

Perfectly still but somehow moving unsteady floating through kryptonite waiting for disclosure of a form of my own to be recognized.

I awoke JK McKnight

I awoke 2 years later Went to a bar Saw an old friend She looked the same, but her watch turned backwards. Inside, surrounded by people talking twisting laughing in chaotic diagonal spirals. Outside, High in the sky The red fire growing The virus approaching The battlefield forming headed this way.

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“Untitled”

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John Pike


I paint my room… Bob Moore

I paint my room With rose flavored paint Soft pastel sweet Quiet space during The screams of my daze Lost in the spiral down Sad, yet, I’ve Seen so much Of the grander creation where the memorials beacon granite salvation in remembrance for times long lost gone I picture in my mind’s eye Orbital canvas refracted deciphered of cerebral lucidity Thinking thunk thoughts Hoping and wishing For rapturous bliss with arms of strength I paint my room With rose flavored paint…

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Get Real John Kusak

Tile floor checkered black and white as we spoke about our hatred of society, three plastic covered metal chairs anchored us as we floated our ideas over each other’s heads. I, the philosopher, thought I had it figured out, the others just drunken fools, but every time I opened my mouth, their eyes dropped. When they spoke, these fools, these drunks, these imbeciles, I wanted to tell them I had read Socrates, Kant and Heidegger, I am well read with a degree (Doesn’t that count for something?). I used large words and quoted Schopenhauer, but my words fell deafly on inadequate ears. Then I leaned back on plastic and listened for the first time, raw, rumbling of street-talk truth cut my ego in half, I swallowed the philosophers stone. I was out matched, now nothing came out of my mouth eyes looked away–scalding my pride. Never did it take so long for them to forget about me.

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Louisville, Kentucky April 2, 2000 Robert Penick

The ice cream truck plays its psychotic waltz as the residents of the crackhouse line up, count their change. Farther up Fourth Street a girl waits on a porch. Every few seconds she beats on the door with all her strength. Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been there a long time. On Winkler, a man stands screaming through the pay phone. Ten feet away, smoking a women gazes at gray clouds overhead. It is between rainstorms and water is standing in the gutters and in the potholes and in the hearts. It is spring.

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“Last Supper in California”

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Jeremy Hogan


From Home to School and Back Again Jason Birswick

I called him Wolf. His teeth were yellow and sharp, but his eyes were red. His coat of mangled hair was always covered in dirt. The dirt came from the patch of worn out grass by the stake that kept him chained. I knew that the person who chained him must be as evil as Wolf. I dreaded the thought of ever coming face to face with either. After school, I filled my school pack with books. I never really read any of them, but laid them open on my desk to fool my Mom into thinking I was studying. Every day after school, I would meet Chris on the front steps of our school. He never carried a book home, never had a backpack. When he went home he didn’t have to pretend that he was studying. His father never noticed him. Chris had three sisters and a step Mom. He didn’t even have a room, he slept on the living room couch. Perhaps his books had been stepped on and tripped over. Perhaps he was told not to bring them home. Chris used to throw rocks at Wolf. I used to wonder if he’d throw them if he was noticed at home. Now I wonder how he would have ended up if he wouldn’t have thrown those rocks at Wolf. On our walk home he would make me laugh until I couldn’t speak. Everything would turn absurd. Life could not be real anymore. The books in my pack would cease to exist. My chores and homework would be forgotten, until Chris’s dad would call my house and demand that he return home. Then I would be left alone in my room with all those unread books. We walked away from the narrow halls of my elementary school. We crossed over roads that connected our neighborhood. Every day we passed Wolf. Once in the morning and once after school. I never told Chris, but I was scared to pass Wolf without him. I would wait on his front porch hoping that he wasn’t sick. I would knock, until his father would open and yell, “God damn kid, go away he ain’t going to school today.” I wasn’t scared of his dad, but I was scared of Wolf. After school one day, I met him on the front steps of our school. That day Chris had a new backpack with both straps tight over his shoulders.

We headed home. That day we didn’t laugh. He talked with desperate indignation about how he couldn’t wait until he turned 16 so he could get his motorcycle. I remember feeling so estranged when I asked him, “Where are you going to go once you get your bike?” He stopped, turned and faced me. “You know Pat, you know exactly where I’m going.” I just smiled and nodded my head in agreement. I didn’t want any distance between us. Looking back, I can still only pretend to know. The fact is that we held similar maps, but needed different destinations. There is only unbearable distance between us now. As we approached Wolf’s yard, we could hear his vicious bark. My heart pounded against the strap of my backpack. Chris walked with ease, with confidence that does not require inspiration. We stepped within 2 feet of the chain-linked fence. It was the closest I had ever been, closer than I wanted to be. It wasn’t the distance away from the fence that was my concern, it was the distance that I would create from Chris if I moved back. I did not move. I held steadfast, unwavering in my moment of fear. Chris picked up a rock. Wolf was on his chain. He was full of fury but not enough to free himself from the stake. His bark grew louder and his eyes grew thirsty for blood. Then an old man came running out the back door, like his house was on fire. He had a baseball bat. He turned and chased us. He grabbed me and pulled me down to the ground. He raised the bat up high. Then out of nowhere a blast. The old man looked over. Wolf was laying in the dirt. Next, Chris pointed the gun at the old man.

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Glucose Stas Kusak

Last night Lucifer watched my limbs belligerently twitch and spasm as life and saliva spilled from my clenched jaws. The cobblestones of hell were rough; blazing of fire. He roared my name while my convulsions forced me further into his world. Glaring eyes haunted my confusion, Fading fast, I reached for my last hope squeezed the gel past my clenched jaw. I awoke with burns on my legs and arms, and a bruise on my skull. When he saw me move, he walked away the cobblestones became cold. Still dark, I closed my eyes tight.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Fountain 45â&#x20AC;?

A Saint A Messiah The Holy Ghost or maybe just an empty plastic tube.

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<vol. 2>

Bryan Renfro


“Frozen Food”

Jeffrey Scott Holland Churches, Banks & Bars -33


“Rational Joy” 34 -Churches, Banks

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Christian Bryant


The Lost Poems of Carl Brown

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; 1968

Laughing Rivers Know No Tears Carl Brown

Let my tears be lusty. Large and impudent as they mar my visage. Bold, bracing rivers of excitement forming gullies in my soul. Torrents breaking, crumbling, leveling those sacred walls of pride. But could this river flow as do these words! The streams long for liberation...freedom once tasted then stole. My face is dry. My eyes a desert. Though my orphaned tears have need of purchased freedom, purchased freedom needs not my weeping. Dry are my rivers. The tilt of chin and quality of eye tell those who marvel of death already achieved---of life truly unfurled. Simple, subtle, sultry smile breaks the silence and a river laughs.

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The Lost Poems of Carl Brown

— 1968

Eternal Fortress - 6/18/1968 Carl Brown

“Untitled”

36 -Churches, Banks

John Pike

& Bars

The scream brought forth by swaying trees now join my soul in a chorus of the dead. In absolute solitude I stand rigid amid the awesome landscape of eternity. As never before the elusive force of forbidden realization engulfs my being. My mind, once torn by search, now in tranquility charts my path among the legions of man. My hands reach out for security they can never clutch, for security holds slight position in my destiny, my eyes, once closed, are bitterly torn open by the truth of never knowing pleasure or pain. Once, a million decades ago, I felt the warmth of fresh tears upon my flesh. The only weeping I presently hear is that which comes from others...across a mystic sea. Cry not for me O mortals of the lowest birth, save those tears for one that is worthy. Weep for yourselves, for I am unafraid of death, or life, and hate or trust. I walk boldly harboring the beauty of Never knowing nor awaiting defeat. Hear me now, Death, O conquerer of fearful man, come at your leisure, I stand without fear.

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The Lost Poems of Carl Brown

— 1968

Untitled 2/1/1968

Acceptance- 1968

Resounding verdicts echo forth from lofty depths of hollow judgements their sullen decrees march arrogantly onward casting pious shadows of doubt up saccharine sacraments summoned brazenly from shrouded sepulchers lie the pirate liaison between truth and unfounded dignity. This tribunal jury assembles to appoint a greater God of their own discernment. The judge, curiously sporting scars of callous games, is swift in defending the beloved cosmos. Hidden enigmas of rejected origins hold no favor in the eyes of such astute wisdom. By executive order of administrative powers workmen are commissioned for scheduled construction. Reinforcement of time-honored intentions, muffled reform, and popular themes constitute the order of the day. These spirits of astounding durability labor selflessly; For their existence is but an acknowledged Notch upon the marbled tree of time. What falsehood! What clever deception! Robust ambitions were neither engendered by nor meant for suppression by the hand of mortals. As the winds are but humble agents of Providence, so be the children of fate. A misunderstood understanding forms the basis of a pact among the false judgers of God.

The shadow made hollow by search now slips about my shoulders. The curse, as a serpent, first encircled then wove itself securely upon my being. The acceptance speech given most secretly by my mind’s eye firmly establishes the existence of a force in my life alien to the nature of man. The eyes of a man once tortured, now dead, rest upon my face. They tell the sordid story to any that dare heed. It fell upon me with great silence and entrenched with much gentleness. There was no flesh, only sparks of indecision created by the Noble Heritage. The presence of this damning force has forced my eyes to narrow, my lips to harden, and my thoughts to become aware of that which before was never hidden. Even yet it enhances and controls my total self. It was not created to be shaken, or ignored, or mocked. It remains, eternal, as one’s acceptance.

Carl Brown

Carl Brown

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Churches, Banks & Bars -37


Contributors Samuel Bell can be contacted at sambell25@hotmail.com. Jason Birswick lives in Louisville with his two dogs. He earned his degree at the University of Kentucky. In his free time he enjoys martial arts and golf. He can be reached at Chbanksbars@aol.com. Carl Brown lives in Louisville. He graduated from Vanderbilt Law School and currently writes for LEO. In his free time he teaches martial arts, plays chess, and is currently working on his next book. Check out his website: www.plainbrownrapper.net. Christian Bryant is a native of Georgia and has an Associates Degree in Fine Arts from Gordon College. He moved to Monteagle Mountain, Tennessee. He is the creator of the provocative oil painting used on the cover of the novel The Atheist Priest available through Wasteland Press out of Louisville. Other works may be seen at www.art-thou.com. He can be contacted at AdonisESQ@aol.com. Ellen Elder grew up in Cincinnati and has lived in West Cork, Ireland, where her family runs a B&B, and Switzerland. She earned her BA at the University of Chicago; her MA at Miami University of Ohio; and is currently a doctoral student in creative writing at the University of WisconsinMilwaukee. She has received an American Academy of Poet’s Prize and has been published in Anthology and The Southwestern Review. C. Todd Fluhr is a writer, designer and eclectic enigma wrapped in a mystery, and served on a bed of lettuce. He can be contacted at cfluhr@prother.win.net or additional fiction may be found at www.win.net/brother/. Unca G grew up 85 miles south of Louisville in rural Kentucky. He migrated here after 6 years of adventure throughout the southern portion of the U.S. The wanderlust still grips him, but now he journeys only in his mind. Jeffrey Scott Holland was born in Waco, Kentucky, and spent several years living as a hobo traveling mostly in the South. Currently he lives in Louisville, painting, writing and playing piano in a jazz combo. His novel Transmissions from Agent J is due to be released this summer. His website can be found at www.geocities.com/jshpaint/images.html. Jeremy Hogan is a photojournalist and freelance photographer living in Bloomington, Indiana. He is a graduate of San Jose State University where he studied photography, journalism and art history. He has worked as a staff photographer at The Modesto Bee, The Indianapolis News, The Kansas City Star, The Palm Beach Post, The Ann Arbor News, and most recently The Bloomington Herald Times. In1998, he won the Hoosier State Press Association Photo of the Year for a series of photos of a river rescue. He has also self-funded documentary photography projects in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Belarus, Japan, India, Mongolia and Turkey. His website address is www.jeremyhogan.com. John Kusak lives in Louisville. He graduated from the University of Louisville with a BA in philosophy. He can be contacted at johnvkusak@aol.com. Stas Kusak is a Louisville/Highlands native, a 1996 graduate of Atherton HIgh School, and presently lives in Bozeman, Montana. He can be contacted at staskusak@hotmail.com. JK McKnight was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Feb 18, 1981, but migrated to the south at age 2. JK is a writer, poet, and singer/songwriter who spends most of his time, energy and funds in support of his solo career and related musical ambitions. For a complete journey through his mind and creative vision, check out the interactive, double-sided, historical + comprehensive self-built website: www.jkmcknight.com. Bob Moore is a graduate of the University of Missouri and has done very well freelancing life in the sense that he hasn’t accomplished anything. For two decades he has aspired to be an angel of Kerouac spontaneous prose. Contact him at kypothead69@yahoo.com. Robert L. Penick has had poems, prose and artwork appear in over 100 magazines, including Slipstream, Pearl, and Antietam Review. His new book of poetry, Bottle of Night, is av ailable from Hemispherical Press. Visit www.bottleofnight.com for details and sample poems. John Pike studied photography at I.U.S. He is a part-time wedding and portrait photographer. His biggest influence is photographer George Tice. Michael Dean Odin Pollock has recorded and performed with several of Iceland’s finest artists and musicians. Utangardsmenn/Outsiders, a group Michael helped form and performed and recorded with in the early 80s, was recently awarded Icelandic Rock Group of The 20th Century. Michael’s work has been published and performed in Europe, Asia, North and South America. Jeffrey Lee Puckett is a longtime Germantown resident with a weakness for Check’s chili, no spaghetti. Sometimes he gets the grilled cheese sandwich. He has two cats, Sweet Cooter Lee and Jasper Leon, and a girlfriend with the prettiest singing voice ever. Michael Ratterman lives in Louisville and works in various materials to create art. He can be contacted at michael@ratterman.com. Bryan Renfro was born and raised in Louisville, Bryan is often referred to as a mystery man. An enigma in and of himself, he spends the majority of his time making other people feel uncomfortable and avoiding the question. Bryan also devotes what time he can to confusing paintings, overly dramatic or random photography, odd sculptures, self-deprecating writings and whatever else strange he can do in the name of “art”. On a personal note, Bryan is socially inept, slightly bitter and kind of a smart-ass. And those are his good points. And by the way, Bryan doesn’t usually refer to himself in the third person, but is kind of enjoying this opportunity. To contact, email: bryan@nothingboystudios.com. Cynthia Reynolds lives in Louisville. She graduated with a M.F.A. from the University of Washington. She is an artist in residence at the Furnace. Drew Wilson was born in the Sichuan Province of China, which borders the Pastures Of Someone Else’s Youth. Daily milked by the Hands Of Descendants while chewing the Cud Of Irreverence’s Tongue. Died from the Guise Of Our Vices then cut and packaged in the Plant Of My Past. Ron Whitehead attended the University of Louisville and studied at Oxford’s International Graduate School. He has taught at numerous colleges and presented talks and lectures around the world. He is also the founder and director of The Literary Renaissance. He is the author of nine books and has worked on over 20 CDs with musicians from around the world. In 2004, he will be performing/touring/presenting his work across the US, Europe and China. His website can be found at www.tappingmyownphone.com.

38 -Churches, Banks

& Bars

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Louisville’s Cultural Quarterly

ABOUT CHURCHES, BANKS & BARS. Churches, Banks & Bars is a cultural quarterly that will showcase poetry, prose, photography, paintings and miscellaneous art. Volume 3 is open for submissions and will be out in stores around the middle of July. It will be free and distributed quarterly to local stores around Louisville. A major aim of the publication is to provide an outlet of expression for all the talented artists in Louisville, as well as outsiders somehow connected in spirit, who go unnoticed and unpublished. Copies of the first issue are available upon request. For more information, contact Phillipzimbardo@aol.com, Chbanksbars@aol.com or call 502-584-5599.

Submissions: Send material to Chbanksbars@aol.com. Please include a short biography and contact information. Please limit selections to 5 photos, 3 poems, 2 prose pieces and 1 short story. All printable art will be accepted. © 2004 Churches Banks & Bars. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be printed in whole or in part without permission. Contents used by permission of authors and artists. All rights revert back to them upon publication.

Disclaimer: The editor does not assume responsibilty for statements of opinion or fact made by the contributors. All submissions will always be printed in exactly the orginal condition they were received. In no manner will any art ever be edited, revised or changed in any way.

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churches, banks & bars

Twice-Told Books

1578 Bardstown Rd

Louisville, KY 40205

(502) 458-7420

used books jazz records etc. www.twicetold.com

Harold Maier, prop.

Special Thanks are due to the following for their support and kindness: Mr. and Mrs. Richard S. Kusak Carmichael’s Bookstore Twice-Told Bookstore Ron Whitehead Robert Penick Charles Main Carl Brown Paul Curry Kathleen Lyons

“Untitled”

Tom Windham


In this issue

Samuel Bell Jason Birswick Carl Brown Christian Bryant Ellen Elder C. Todd Fluhr Unca G Jeremy Hogan Jeffrey Scott Holland John Kusak Stas Kusak JK McKnight Bob Moore John Pike Robert Penick Micheal Dean Odin Pollock Jeffrey Lee Puckett Michael Ratterman Bryan Renfro Cynthia Reynolds Ron Whitehead Drew Wilson

Churches Banks & Bars, 1318 Winter Avenue, Louisville, KY 40204 ChBanksBars@aol.com


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churches, banks & bars