Rust and Moth: Autumn 2008

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Michael Young walk. early evening. crash! ambition dreams but it cannot match the webs of lightning unfolding above the power lines. as the daylight leaves the brick and the stone, electricity floods the interior world, peeking out at the interstate through windows. each would tempt me, call me inside, if it weren’t for the scattered appeal of all the others. a wealth of riches, lightbulbs, filaments. two sides in a war of roses, glowing either amber, for comfort, or fluorescent bright, for a night of clear thoughts, textbooks, and venn diagrams. i’m walking. breathing in. the sky, with its misty watercolors spilling out onto the streets. the radio towers in the distance. the birds chirping thunder to one another. a storm has passed, a new storm gathers its forces against us, on a cold day, when the future rises from inside of you like steam. i drown, briefly, in the wind, in possibility. when i return, my thoughts make for better friends. they feel. new, crisp, like bright leaves floating in the gutter. and the sky, so empty and boring the day before, is now complicated with cirrus and nimbostratus. my thoughts reach up, and out of this place. complicated like the heavens.

Claire Payne Hammers and Nails Yeah. I see you all on that hill. Crucified. Crying out in agony. Calling on God As if you were martyrs. Well. I don’t pretend compassion. You make me sick. You put each other up there. You crucified yourselves. Forging by night Hammers and nails. Spinning our words into nets To throw over you. Yeah. Well. I hope you writhe and die. You viruses. You are not welcome.

Suncerae Smith I Never Knew I never knew, those things I always liked about you, those things that made you different from everyone else, that if you had the chance, you’d change them so you could be like everyone else.

Suncerae Smith We Followed Them The bus stopped at Speedway and Dean Keaton. All of us whose destination was campus Unloaded and walked to the intersection. The light was red. The orange hand cautioned us not to cross. One man looked both ways, saw no cars, And walked across the street. What a deviant! Two more men subsequently followed. I was in no hurry to cross the street. I had no reason to run to work. So I waited. And I looked around. Every person patiently waiting Was a woman. All the men had already crossed. When the light turned, We followed them.

Suncerae Smith Gods of My Age God is not a woman. He abandoned us at birth. We grew up alone. Unprotected. Hating him for it. Then, before my eyes, You were inspired. And began to create. But you were not satisfied With one story So you wrote another. And another. Until one day You couldn’t remember The name of the first story You wrote, so long ago. I am amongst the gods of my age. They fight for meaning In stories and songs That they will inevitably forget.

Suncerae Smith Transported This morning I caught a whiff Of a passing smoker And my mind drifted to a place Where strong seasoned men With big arms Talk about the weather. If that’s not romantic I don’t know what is.

Dustin Stonecipher Words Words It’s 5:38 in the afternoon and the back of my neck is ripe from the blisteringly beautiful sun that makes everyone glow like we’re in heaven and makes the grass so bright that it’s not really green. It’s something better than green. I love words. Words are the whores of everything beautiful. Cheap imitations of the things that make you sit back and catch your breath. Speechless.

Words can’t help me tell you about my father’s funeral when I stared at his five by seven portrait and wished that I didn’t have his clear blue eyes or his button nose that you find so adorable. Words won’t even let me tell you how much I hate your lip gloss but how badly I want to kiss you anyway because when my face is in your face and I breathe in when you breath out you keep me alive.

Dustin Stonecipher How to Build a Universe That Falls Apart Two Days Later Get trapped in a dream. Make sure that when you wake up you don’t wake up. That is the most important part. Sit in your fortress, you man in the high castle, and wait for what’s coming. Don’t mind the vultures that hover like black thoughts across blacker skies. Don’t mind the confusion of knowing or not knowing whether you are authentic. Find some form of understanding to be your constant, to pull you through a cosmic slit and to make you real. Real enough. But, if you don’t like this world then just make another.

Dustin Stonecipher Blues Blossoms at the Elephant Lounge Bump. My backbone bounced to the bass beat. Breathless, every heart in the tobacco-charred liquor-soaked club matches rhythms with the a caustic cadence. Bump bump. The bass man’s calloused fingers sculpt reverberating notes while the nicotine fog smoke tendrils caress my cheeks and fill my lungs with second-hand sparks, and cigarette ghost fingers pick their way into my brain diffusing the soft, strange lights of the stage until all I see are translucent specters swaying to the pull of the bass man whose fingers slick with sweat and rough from years of the pluck slap strum slide down the strings banded backs until they scream.

Jeff Smajstrla Solitaire

Jeff Smajstrla Budding Beauty

Mark Twombly Untitled 1 it hums. behind this. all thoughts. humming. else look. everywhere else. behind thoughts humming. there always. here I mean. it hums. i think it is. humming.

Mark Twombly Head Explodes head explodes/too much to take. idea-ology. rewind. mind all over. colors. (red) colors. loud. thoughts leaking out. all over the floor. screaming. scatter-brained.

Mark Twombly Untitled 2 Unsure Upon the whetted edge of apprehension Without the dignity of comfort Searching for hope of certitude Trembling

Mark Twombly Untitled 3 how-should-we-carry-on bent-memory-recurse-off-course insight-inside-motion-and-repose remembering-of-course-we-cannot-forget this-was-is-still-in-the-fading-silence-of-the-past i-was-am-someone-else-than-right-now-before changing-the-same-way

Mark Twombly The Night Watch When you wind me up I’m a stopwatchman a nighttimepeice tick-tock-tick-tock-ticked off ‘cause I still can’t sleep (Be)cause and effect THIS is lucid waking: aware of my predictament following the dotted line of my ellipses and looking for the last one the one that puts a period on my day and ends this long period of wakefulness I just keep clockworking away the hours my pen-dulum swings back and forth across the page the gear and cog-nition process keeps going I wish I could (verb-) brain my (noun-) brain chronic chronometric insomnambulism

Mayapriya Long A few weeks of pain—and after—September, 1991 It’s an early fall Carolina morning. There’s a chill in the air and the dew hangs heavy above the pond. With a disdainful glance, a houndog slowly raises his tired old body from the middle of the gravel road and lumbers to the side as I pass him, road-dust billowing behind my silver, Mazda pickup. I’m heading to my first day back to work. Life, on the surface, has returned to normal. This is rural North Carolina. Here a girl marries her high school boyfriend and moves into a trailer across the road from his mamma on land that has been divided and passed down for generations. And her children will likely not wander much further than a country road or two from her. I have experienced a spark of envy on a few 4ths of July, or Labor Days, when driving by their houses, I see yards full of pick-up trucks (though they all surely could have walked) and family sitting under a shade tree, talking and laughing. Today I wonder, “Why did we all move so far from our home?” I miss my childhood—my extended family. I think about our family reunions, the security of life as a youth. I don’t know what security feels like anymore. My world is not the world it was even a few short weeks ago. I’ve lost my strongest advocate and it makes me feel like a small boat whose rope to shore has been cut. I’m driving to work, but I’m slowly drifting out to sea.

Andrew Davidson A Lasting Peace There was a small checkered puzzle in my grandmother’s table drawer. When I was a young child, I used to love kneeling down on that plush lime green carpet to start that checkered puzzle. My grandmother would sit whistling through her teeth and watching with delight that the genes she had passed down were engaged in a piece of her life. It was a lasting peace.

Sadhu Sadher My Close Relatives I woke up by my bed site with day dream like heaven and red angry sea, ignored the natural call to forget, and thought, played the backward walk in memory, on the pages I grew up in my early days. The backward walk in memory of many dreams brings back to mind the childhood images of my human-misery (and how wonderful my relatives have been). Back at the exile house, I often feel amazed the emptiness created by their absence, hanging mirror, welcome photographs opposite the doorway, expressing respect and mutual understanding. I care for them both.

Luke Langsjoen The Uberpsyche The wind brought me a reminder. The world bends to our will. As creatures of creation, we possess the power to round 0.5 up to 1. If done consistently, you may operate the world by your own rules. I remember this clearly from when I sat at our computer beside my parents’ bedroom. I saw that the inexplicability of the Universe may be overcome by a kind of counterfeit.

Jens Langsjoen A Desperate Moment another catastrophe. logic destroyed, ignorance extrapolated, beauty buried, self indulgent degradation, almost to the point of having nothing left to lose. a world that doesn’t speak your tongue. a voice that doesn’t trust itself. a wretching that leaves you empty inside. b efore this ends I must construct a planet. b etray the tendency to fall apart without a form. b ecome the life embodied force of nod. c ontain me, I am rampant. c oerce me, I am yours. c ontain me, the seeping sap of god.

Jens Langsjoen Jellyfish

Jens Langsjoen Red Sky

Frederic J. Greenall Look Up I look towards a starry sky The vessel of a million lights And with my inner eye perceive A multitude of silver threads They join each diamond sparkling bright In place on that black velvet cloth And with a sudden trembling awe I see the hand that set them all How much like a jewel-encrusted sword It would appear to those who saw His needle stitch light to the stars And hang this shroud above our fathers

Sandy Benitez Old Grandma's nerves are an aging fault line; thirty years her spinal column a bungalow of bones that rattle whenever buses or trucks drive by. Squatting on a hill, her brain, a Victorian Manor. The wiring tangled up like twisted barb-wire. If you look in her eyes, you can see lights blinking on and off. The switch never to be found. Hidden somewhere in the trembling walls of her memory.

Shane Greb You Are Wiser Than I You are wiser than I. Your eyes see further than mine. You cast your will to the winds, And they carry you further away From me, But closer to happiness. I envy your spark. Your course is uncharted, Whilst I sit here, Apart and away, Charting a map in murky waters, Bogged down by pride and greed. I am chained And you are free. For you to touch me The same fate falls on you. I must become the stuff of dust Or become the winds.

Dane Langsjoen I Inhaled Chloroform But That Doesn’t Explain the Dreams I a state of paralysis the senses made me ill and the faceless men would not tolerate interference lucid enough to feel and struggle but not to control i watched his limbs snap and heard him howl the captor was hate for he had been wronged treachery too awful, even for a dream a demon in the shadow, bloody sneakers in the crack of a closet door i vomited in the dark he was dead II the storm was coming and we armed ourselves the sun died and great sick eyes were outside the door i was stabbing downward trying to save kin but i was the only one the rest had transcended and the horde existed only for me i felt peace when i woke

Dane Langsjoen Untitled the jealous watchmen is duty bound and his madam’s lips are dry

Dane Langsjoen Ad Nauseum it is incessant a shadow that knows its own name it follows the sun meekest at the highest second to the soul and tallest at the fall at dusk they share hands and lay claim to the land no longer prisoners of flesh and light the pallid earth can no longer amuse inward and upward the mind is ripe and the furrows are deep impossible to defend a nightmare is born

Steve Meador Pinus Palustris The longleaf is shedding its needles, weaving a soft bed for me to sneak up on you. Something I could never have done before, even while you slept. Soon the tired bark will blister like baklava, spread confetti to let you know when I am near.

Steve Meador The Brown Anole For several months he has guarded our postal bastion. At first, either darting through a slot, to be buried by the bills and take a happy crap on the junk mail, or, courage dismantled, jumping to the nearby tree. The gargoyle now remains on top, even when I open and close the lid. Tan to dark brown to a blotchy in-between, depending on his views, the quirky anole tests me by doing his jerky pushups and tilting his head slightly to read my mood. I move, his eyes move, I blink, he blinks - a macho Morse code. Defiantly he hangs and flashes his bright red dewlap. If I could only trust him, train him, I would never have to raise the flag.

Steve Meador Chasing Tails There was nothing you could do but pack up the dog and leave. Was there nothing? You could do nothing. Could you leave? Nothing could leave you, but you could leave. Could you pack up nothing? Could the dog leave there? Could you? Do you? Nothing there. Pack and do leave. The dog could leave you there but pack you up. You do, do you? Do pack up the dog and leave nothing up there, could you? Nothing but the dog. You? There was the dog, but there was you and nothing. Pack up. Leave the dog.

Lauren Langsjoen For Kent Brother you walk a dusty trail, On either side snared by thorns. Brother you walk a fiery trail, The sun beats down upon your head. Brother you walk a lonely trail, With no one in sight ahead of you. But Brother remember, remember these things: You have your boots, which oppose those thorns. You have your hat, which blocks those rays. But above all else, that which protects your way Are the ones behind you, we who will defend you. We who will always be there to run, to fight, To love you forever, always near to your sight. You can cross this ravine. You can climb this mountain. You can thwart this day of suffering and pain. You can look up to the stars and find the truth, The truth that has always been there, waiting for you. You can meet this challenge with determination of mind. You can conquer the end with a power untold. You can hail the dawn with a purity of angels. Because, you have felt more than any of us can imagine, And you have walked further than we can fathom, And you have seen deeper down into the valley of death. Yet in the end you arose, cleaner and wiser. So I praise you for that, your labor, your hardship. And I love you for you, my steadfast Brother.

Suzanne Field-Rabb The Day and Night of the Healing Heart The darkness and stillness of the night moves slowly and purposefully into my heart I watch as she effortlessly and gracefully penetrates the boundaries of my soul She erases the world with gentle movements and pulls me into her silence She and I are one; emptying into one another we heal

The brightness and fullness of the day moves joyfully and purposefully into my heart I watch as she effortlessly and gracefully extends the boundaries of my soul She sketches the day with blissful movements and draws me into her song The pleasure, and joy, the promise and faith, speak of love She and I are one; filling one another we heal

Daniel Payne Montalto Tour

Keith Prather Perhaps Tomorrow My heart has enough lead to fill the chambers of a thousand guns. Perhaps tomorrow it will go back to being a heart again. Just simple.

Keith Prather Untitled

Michael Young what follows is an experiment. i twist a bloody knife through the ribs of anyone who’s ever kicked an animal, through the neck of every schoolyard bully, and through the predatory balls of any man downtown who’s taller than me or less of a gentleman. i’m a suicide bomber. i come strapped with screws in every wrist and knee. my mouth is full of tin, and my pockets are a gnashed up mess of aluminum cans. you want some of me? i don’t need to be six feet tall to exact my revenge. i’ll come at you like a drunk man. i rattle like a can of spray paint on my approach. my sudden sobriety will ferment into a sour mash of softspoken hurt. modern violence is the skillful administration of the least amount of metal into the softest and most unexpected facet of the human body. a face will materialize from the crowd. who was that? i have come to ease your passage into the next world. your gin and tonic suddenly tastes suspiciously like blood from your own mouth. a fistful of razorblades, skillfully applied. the other hand comes packed with sand, a southpaw explosion, a deft cloud in your vision, a red streak of paint across your neck. unngh. why you lying on the floor? awwww, why ain’t you gonna fuck with no one no more? face down on the canvas. i left your dead fish wanna be corpse in my wake, slicked up with oil from my greaser blade. you paid. then we both left that scene in a state of grace. you into outer space. me to some place, a dirty room, where the cops can’t find me, with a tv and a bed. watching the ten o’clock news for your last words, the last thing your girl heard from your lips. the reporter always sounds happy when someone dies. i never know how to pronounce the names of foreign leaders until they get assassinated. i keep spray painting the back of my throat, to help me forget that some things just happen. i was reading just a few days ago about this little girl who got a bike for christmas, and took it out into the street for the first time, bright smile smiling. and she was gonna grow up and be a wonderful person, a doctor. or no, she was gonna go to work for a non profit, and get married twice, lovingly, and she was gonna love animals and

jazz, and have all these beautiful friends, who will never get to call her because she got hit by a fucking pickup truck. the mother’s heart, swelling with pride at her little baby, look how happy she is! look how happy i made her! it’s like she’s flying, look at her, she’s HONEY NOOOOO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! BABY, NO! CALL AN AMBULANCE! AHHHHHHHHH! and that is what christmas is like for this one family, who will never be happy again. you need to pause when you come to a sentence like that. it’s a death sentence. never. be happy. again. there are sirens outside my window all the time, and they roll for me, but one day, everyone will know what it’s like to be ripped from your bedroom forever, strapped into restraints with a fucking plastic tube going down the back of your throat. whatever good deeds i do, i just hope they’re enough so that when i die, it won’t be through suffocation. i don’t care. i will shoot myself before i can’t breathe. if my last breath is the one that pulls the trigger, then my lungs have done their job. so ask not for whom the sirens roll. they roll for thee, down a street you used to live on, when you were in your twenties and your masterpiece could wait, a least a few months cos i need to pick up some extra shifts, and me and her and you and the whole crew are gonna go see a movie later, it’ll be a time, i don’t want to get to the end of my life without watching a whole fucking bunch of movies, so that when my life flashes before me, it won’t be painful to watch because it won’t be mine. paint contains dust. it’s time for me to make preparations. i have a crazy drunk pianist phase to go through. the one where i never change my shirt, figure out what my greasy head is capable of, don’t wear pants, and wander around in the park at five in the morning, making adjustments to a theme. chewing pills. making myself and my work fucking ill. when the drunk man yells at me, my heart switches from 3/4 into 45 rpm. is it fight? is it flight? it is what it is. whatever it takes to paint the picture. to immolate life. paint. paint. paint. out of breath. done. sleep.

Š Rust and Moth Autumn 2008 Layout and Design by Josiah Spence Edited by Matthew Payne, Michael Young, Suncerae Smith, and Josiah Spence All contributers maintain individual rights to their work upon publication. Thank you to all of our contributors and all of our readers.

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