In This Issue Lenore Easley
Lady Home Sleep
Deann Nordahl Samuel Chambers
Eclipse, Dec. 21
Reaching For Old Skin
You Try It You Would Have Spent Hours
We Are Haunted By Names The Cruelest Night: A Sijo Iâ€™ve Dreamed of You: A Sijo Night Colors
Sunken Ships Dusted
Lady Fluorescent lights and cracked nail polish. She gave good advice.
Home Loose sidewalks and untied shoes. Only a few blocks more.
Sleep Nightmares and open eyes unblinking. Orders were orders.
eclipse, dec. 21 binoculars, check. you’re out in some field, with that far off interstate all night sound. canada geese, squawked up on amphetamines, are flying in military v’s over the mountains. the night-white sky begins to dim, and the man in the clouds starts his drinking. guinness, black, he’s drowning the past, and thinking of all the stupid shit that he’s done. an hour time-lapsed, and the moon’s off his tree, flush red, his head must be spinning. my fault you abandoned you just left me to rot and the sunlight is gone it’s just gone. the sky got so dark, you can see all the stars like the streets of some overhead city. and you’re miles away, but we’re not apart because i know that you’re watching this with me.
Reaching For I set out to find a place I had not seen but I believed I walked a road that stretched and vanished into the horizon I grew tired but walked still I grew hungry but walked still toward that horizon that never grew closer my feet grew painful
my legs shook with each step my lips were cracked with thirst when I could no longer walk I crawled when I could no longer crawl I reached toward that horizon toward that place I had never seen but I still believed it was real
I laugh at the way my skin will sag and wrinkle I cannot wait to look in the mirror and see my nose and ears overlarge my shoulders hunched a funny old man laughing at age old enough to get the joke
You try It
You try it. You try getting a call from your mother at 5 am. You try listening to her screaming out in tears, in sorrow. Her husband’s lost. He’s buried alive somewhere in Haitian rubble. You try saying something to her then. See what comes out. See if you can say anything at all. You try hearing her call back with the news that he didn’t make it. But, she won’t be able to tell you. She can’t even talk. She’s just screaming in pain. That’s how you’ll get the news. You try making sense of this pain. Try telling your mother something in that moment. Anything. Anything at all. You try holding it together. Try thinking of him there. Try thinking of him, losing his life while you dreamt last night, unaware that the earth even moved. You try hearing her screaming, ‘I don’t want him to die. I don’t want him to die. I love him so much. Please, I don’t want him to die.’ This is your mother. Over a phone. A thousand miles away. Alone. Calling you. Because she needs someone.
You try letting her go. Hang up the phone. You try it and see. You’ll be overwhelmed with anger. Anger more than anything. Anger more than grief or hurt. Anger that death could be so cruel. It takes the best parts of us: Takes our prayers. Takes our hopes. Takes our love. Takes our bodies. And keeps taking. You try packing, taking a greyhound, then a plane, and having her pick you up the next day from the airport. You try hugging her and kissing her. Say how much you love her. You try talking about the weather or something else entirely to get her mind off of it. You try laughing. You try smiling. You won’t be able to. Not then. Not a day later. Not a week later. Not a month later. Not a ... You try it and you’ll see: Life is nothing like you thought it’d be. Life is just something we lose.
You Would Have Spent Hours you would have spent hours alone at the kitchen table, drinking, taking painkillers and praying to god. the light from the television would be flashing in the living room. the sound would be off. but, you’d have your act together when your husband came home. you’d silently serve him dinner. he’d sit down at the other end of the table, angry from his work, and grow more upset if you’d say something kind or sweet.
when dinner was through, the dishes were in the dishwater, and your husband was in the garage, you’d write in your journal, drink some coffee with vodka, take a painkiller for your headache, and watch your first tear hit the page and spread itself into it like you imagined an angel’s wings to be. in the middle of the night, as your husband slept, you’d watch the nightlight in your room fall on the curtains and you’d think about when you both were younger. when he use to need you.
then, at that moment, despite your years with him, you’d hate him. hate him for taking your love, the man who used to kiss you on the lips before bed every night. and, seeing yourself there, you’d pray dear god. you’d pray dear god for all that was lost. for all that was still there. you’d pray dear god. you’d pray until your eyes would close.
We Are Haunted By Names Chen-ou Liu Living on Ilha Formosa, we are haunted by a war of Names, fighting for the Republic of China/Taiwan. We Chinese, we Taiwanese will never end our civil war, a bloody bloodless civil bore. No Kamikazes crashing, no Dr. Luther King murdered. To Uncle Sam and Brother Momotaro, We are the good soldiers. Lacking the ghosts of History we are haunted.
The Cruelest Night: A Sijo Loneliness seizes night with its teeth and growls, Iâ€™ll eat you up Savoring the bright moon, flowering trees my Li Po, my wine cup, and my dreams until daybreak, it picks its teeth with the thin threads of faint sunlight
Iâ€™ve Dreamed of You: A Sijo Chen-ou Liu You come and go with no traces left as the flame of my heart rises and falls You laugh and cry with no sounds heard as the beat of my heart waxes and wanes Distressed in the wake of a dream I hear time passing in the sound of snow
Night Colors in the black heart of night I lie in bed fretting over blue injuries of the past bobbing up and down in the white ocean of time my mind drifts towards... the edge of the gray world
I. Silent hearts skip love, going straight for the hopeless kind of devotion that’s written across their big, puppy love dog eyes, waiting. II. Waiting is what one does, right? You wait for the moment to dive into infatuation and hope you survive desire, the fall. III. Falling was not apart of the plan. I wanted a distraction, a fantasy. You weren’t suppose to become a secret. IV. Secret longings, you evoked stirrings so powerful, the moon and stars were afraid to touch our light. I’m afraid that I’m burning.
V. Burning through late night talks, my fingertips itching to touch you instead of keypads and letters and fogged up phone screens. I want you. VI. You can deny hours of exchanging lines of lives, laughs and questions meaning, but can you deny them the build up of feelings? VII. Feelings? Well I feel my pulse dance when you touch my shoulder or give me a hug. Silent hearts skip love though. It’s better to pretend. VIII. It never happened. The fingerprints were dusted and we didn’t match.
Sunken Ships Sticky bun heart of contempt, a drizzle of honey caught in between sweet fingers and doughy pitchforks to poke and sizzle between thoughts of a non-love that lingers for sadistic scrawlings on salty wounds and shouts from a heart that saves skin and humiliation under nails by the pounds for red cheeks and quiet souls that turn blue Shall we dance in this pool of confusion? Beating flows from ruptured valves swim at our feet, rushing pieces of collected allusions to the soles, ready to puncture and scar while we hold hands until we fall in love... is this the ecstasy lovers speak of?
credits Layout and Design by Josiah Spence (BowlerHatCreative.com). Edited by Matthew Payne, Josiah Spence, Michael Young, and Suncerae Smith. All content ÂŠ 2010 Rust and Mothâ€”ISSN 1942-5848. All contributors retain individual rights to their works upon publication. Thank you to all of our readers and incredible contributors. rustandmoth.com