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Shoots and Vines Issue 1 January 2009

Shoots and Vines Editor: Crystal Folz

Cover photo by Kristin Fouquet Art on page 3 by Justin Regier Art on page 11 by Audrey Victoria

A Note from the Editor I found them all online. I wanted to have them in a book, on pages that yellow, on a slip of paper I could hand to a friend and say, “Here. Read this. They are very good.�

LATE WAKING FROM SLEEP By Harry Calhoun You think of your father and mother and 56 years together and still the sigh is your only response to her death something crashing over your breast like a wave at the seashore you never knew as a child something haunting you tonight the nightmare, the dream awake and alive and all you have for defense is this pencil

THE ARCHITRAVE By David O’Prava Is bending under the weight of too many rants. The brow is wrinkling from thoughts that cave. All else has changed. It’s the withering remains of her come-hither gaze that stays. She’s still lovely, and stained, in her own aching way.

DEUS EX MACHINA By Kristin Fouquet “Stop,” a woman screamed. “Leave me alone, you asshole.” “No, you’re gonna give it to me, you Whore. You’re gonna love it too,” a man ordered. Shrill screaming woke me completely. I rolled off my twin mattress, wrapped the loose top sheet around my body, and ran to the balcony. Down below, on the corner of Rampart and Toulouse Street, a man was gripping a woman’s arm violently as she tried to pull away from him. He overpowered her, tackling her to the sidewalk. “Get off of her,” I yelled. I heard ripping. “Oh no, no, no, no, no,” I stammered, searching the balcony for something, anything. I saw it, the ice chest leftover from the party. “Get off of her. Get off of her.” I emptied the entire contents of the chest over the side of the balcony and onto the back of the humping man. Ice, ice cold water, and a bottle of cheap cava hit him dead on. “You fucking bitch,” was his response. He shook off some of the ice and got up slowly. The woman scurried away down Toulouse Street, carrying one of her pumps. “You Cunt.” He pulled up his pants. “You’re next.” His pointed finger emphasized the promise. Obscured by the balcony, he disappeared down Rampart Street. Pulling the sheet tighter around me, I peered up and down Rampart but saw nothing except a couple of cabs driving in opposite directions of the neutral ground. I sat down on the heroic ice chest, bent over, and wept.

24 HOUR SURRENDER by Doug Draime There are those days, those bastardly blood dripping days, when you know more than on other days, that the world is totally insane with overpopulation, insane with warring butchery, insane with ego mania, insane raving devil insane‌Mad and insane with corporate fangs of inhumanity and death and you just want to crawl up under the house on those days, crawl up under the house and pull the earth over you.

IN MY PLACE AND TIME by Karl Koweski we once traveled and now she’s traveling through her own space and time which I’m sure coincides with another man’s space and time it’s a small consolation in a realm of infinite possibilities there’s a place and time where we never parted but standing here at a grime streaked tool cabinet, jotting quick words on the back of a time sheet twenty minutes to eleven on an anonymous Wednesday night I’d take any other place any other time

AFTER THE NAM by Mikael Covey Everybody changes and gets somewhere. Everybody grows but not me. I’m inverting, like a child now. Movies make me cry, the Olympics make me cry. I’m over at Five Points with Cap’n and Deke; and then Cap’n goes home. We’ll catch a ride later, we say, after some more pool, a few more beers, but we don’t. And what the hell, nice night, all starry and wide open sky, a little cold in the fall – so what? We got Jack in the Bottle and that’s warm. We choose: the dirt road sees a car not very much this late, and it’s square to the highway; the tracks cut angle across to Sutterville. We take the tracks, what the hell, seven miles, Jack in the Bottle, what the hell. We talk, old friends and old dreams, all of them broken. Deke wanted to join the Army, shoots straight and true at rabbits, at pool, at targets at the fair, ever since he’s a kid. Deke, a big big heavy guy. They won’t take him now – he’s overweight and there’s no war, no need. He tells me his sad life story like it’s over, like can’t I feel his pain, his quaking voice, this great big man with hands like turtle shells. I take a drink and speak of that little Russian girl who won the gold in gymnastics; such a cute little kid, so proud and tough and alone. It makes me want to cry, so happy it worked out right for her, so fretful it would not, and just raw emotion left of both of us. Deke drinks and yells at the black of the sky, and agrees. He saw that, too. He felt that, too. She won, and almost our victory with her. And that’s all we ever won.

THE MIDNIGHT CLUB OF THE LONELY by Scot Young She sits behind the computer screen at midnight and takes comfort in the light as it warms her face. Numb to the vodka she chills in the freezer, she types sad poems and blogs them to other lonely people in this world. She writes how she can't go on anymore the way things are going and other midnight poets tell her to hang in there and she is loved. Sometimes, she visits my site and says my lonesome poems make her feel sad, but at least they make her feel something. She rattles the half full bottle of pills and takes a drink not sure if she has had enough.

TIME (first date) by Marie Gornell 15 years seemed like yesterday our hopes and dreams clearer yet somehow lost in decay time had taken its toll lines in decay not as eager for trouble no longer a scally disgrace playing my guitar rolling fat joints you only had a pint glass for my vintage wine living room looked like a dealer’s yard you smiled and said no one else had listened to your Billie Holiday album Noam Chomsky book laying at your side discussing the state of the nation for hours and hours being with you feeling at ease hours passed too quickly till it was time to leave 12 o’clock on the dot you laughed and called me Cinderella i had you on your knees needing and wanting my warm embrace sadness in your eyes as the taxi rolled away…

HACK by Paul Corman-Roberts Phony Poseur Sell out Suck-face Coward Double Dealer Shit Bird Ass Licker Sycophant Leach All these labels I wrap around myself like so many flags of self-flagellation while standing on upper Broadway on a Saturday morning; away from the shuttle stop & all the pretty hipster spinsters glaring at me standing aloof outside the Prius dealership. I just want to find a sliver of shade to keep the sun out of my eyes and for this turgid squalor of the spirit the keys to Hell are mine. Then flight instinct! I’m not fast enough to get away though; something coming up close: A cab. The driver is me in 15 years or my father. Either way I’m looking into the eyes of a man every bit as familiar with the boundary between resin and wood at the bottom of a pot pipe as my father and I are. “You called for a Yellow?” No. “You’re not goin’ to West O?” No. Furrowed perplexion on his brow.

“You got another cab comin?” No, I’m waiting for my wife. The “get it” smacks him across the brow. He throws back his head and peels out one of the most genuine belly laughs I’ve ever heard.

“Oh shit, you got a wife? That’s a helluva of a lot better than having a cab!” & he’s gone. Once again I realize cab drivers really should rule the world as my wife pulls up & suddenly it’s not so bad being a hack & I’ve got my ride & the sun is out of my eyes.

A MILE OF DIRTY TILE by Alan K My wrists lie open Charming a seducer My corpse bold white and bloated Lips black burnt tresses Eyes clouded with the ghost’s departure The blade I used a black square on miles and miles and miles and miles Of dirty white tiles.

I DON’T SCREAM OUTLAW BECAUSE IT IS A FAD by Doug Draime I would’ve rode with Jesse James if I’d been alive and he would’ve politely asked me – explained the situation over strong coffee and hamhocks, in his home … while Frank adjusted the sights on Jesse’s pistol in the kitchen, as the red & gray Missouri sunset wavered on the flat land. There would’ve been plenty of home-still moonshine and good weed; and their wives, down home girls, who would’ve drank and smoked right along with the rest of us outlaws.

MY NEIGHBOR THINKS I’M SEXY by Darlene Campbell when I’m weeding my flowerbeds he drives by on his lawn mower grins and hollers, “Hey, girl.” He’s not my type, looks like young Mel Gibson, smiles a lot and wears his cap backwards. We have nothing in common. I’m a college grad. He’s a bum from Ohio. I go to church and he drinks, a lot. He’s got kids by a fat blond woman who brings them by sometimes. Once he gave me steaks, once he asked to swim with me. I said, “No.” But if I wasn’t married, then I might have him over, just for supper.

THE PATRON SAINT OF POETRY by Karl Koweski there is no patron saint of small press poetry there are scarcely any patrons of the small press only poets reading poets writing poetry in obscurity toward no greater purpose than small press publication

SMALL ACTS by Matt Finney the dogs are licking dried blood in the streets at three in the morning and there are some doors that refuse to stay closed. all of the friends that i’ve abandoned and i can’t even cast a shadow. babies born without arms, legs, or eyes and we can blame the government. the sound of trains moving away or cold machines humming. everything that i’ve buried is slowly crawling back. REFRAIN by Matt Finney this ditch piled high with the bodies of slaughtered police officers and at some point you’ll leave. the walls are burned black and the future is being shaped by money. the rooms are windowless and the borders are invisible. depression becoming a relentless weight and all of these voices that i don’t recognize. an empire of ruin is all we ever wanted.

SHIPWRECK by Scot Young it was on a tuesday that the ice retreated for another year waiting at the bottom like the wreck of the edmond fitzgerald it was on this tuesday no survivors were listed it is this hard-water captain not suited for the early loons ready to cry your name

THE DISEASE OF TIME PASSING TOO SLOWLY by Audrey Keiffer Three bodies in my life are wobbling on quicksand. I see their future lined with blood and while laying in tea bags the skin tries, desperately, to soak up caffeine. to run the heart again. Sadly, they should have ordered an extra shot Americano. As men and women pound the ground in desperation and food riots induce wonder and gun cowering nazi men kill women for their hair for their mothers who are dying of lung cancer Blood runs down the small of a woman's back after leaving her mother's shower at approximately 11:00 PM. As the authorities find her body I am drenched, dripping wet in an ashy bath, watching the quicksand flow, flow over the hefty, dead, wretched bodies. Clenching, God, god go already! The sound beckons you! Do not admit it! Refute your sins! As I watch intently the death of another precious, yet dusty body I crumble in my own bustle of chuckles and various moods I slip different shoes on again, different souls, to see which form of empathy I should play today. Whatever is easy. I am efficient. This is how I am not lonely.

FAIRY TALES CAN COME TRUE by Constance Stadler Good bye, Snow White the Prince can’t make it I’m afraid will never climb into your glass box Cheer up, Kid maggots don’t mind unhappy endings.

PUTTING IT BACK (IN DALLAS) by Paul Corman-Roberts She was trying to put back what she reached for. As if putting it back would rewind the film and set the coupe wheels rolling back out of the plaza. As if putting it back like a jigsaw Humpty Dumpty could weld synapses together reroute severed blood vessels and restore intellect with a simple smattering of spackle. Strangely, charmingly, touchingly naïve…she was trying to put it back when she reached for it there on the trunk. She was trying to put him back together. Even though he hadn’t been a good husband. Even though he was overrated at the office. Even though we can never change the really big decisions of our lives. She loved him enough to try and reach back and put it back in. Flailing as she was in the back seat. Not from fear or a desire to escape, but from the reaching back. As if molding gray matter back into place could turn time back before Indochina or the Bay of Pigs; at least before Dallas. What could be more natural, than to try and put it back the way it was before?

TEARING THE WINGS OFF ANGELS by Howie Good Don’t, they say, you can’t, you shouldn’t stare at the deformed, what bullshit, they want you to pull down the beat-up shade and weep until your eyes swell shut, it’s a great mistake not to build a little shrine to her tits in the yard, or shout fuck! in a crowded theater, go ahead, rise to the occasion, but leave deep tracks in the snow.

FEEL THE DAY By Darlene Campbell Some days are for sleeping late and walking barefoot in the yard, for sticking toes in pond’s edge, for tadpole watching and kitten rubbing. Some days are for not thinking, stretchy shorts, and knee hugging, for no lipstick and glasses, for a baggy T-shirt and going without a bra.

*Matt Finney – *Mikael Covey – *Audrey Victoria – *Constance Stadler – *Paul Corman-Roberts – *Howie Good – *Darlene Campbell – *Scot Young – *Doug Draime – *Karl Koweski – *Marie Gornell – *Alan K – *Justin Regier – *David O’Prava - *Harry Calhoun - *Kristin Fouquet -

Profile for Crystal Folz

Shoots and Vines Print Issue 1  

Great writers from the underground.

Shoots and Vines Print Issue 1  

Great writers from the underground.