Page 1

July 2009 Edition


July 2009 Edition

Accepted Submissions About this Mag....................................................................................................................................11 Masthead.........................................................................................................................................11 Copyright Clarification ..................................................................................................................11

Leftow's Desk Desk........................................................................................................................ ........................................................................................................................13 13 the scoop on 'Precious', a novel by Sandra Novack........................................................................13

Spotlight Poet Poet......................................................................................................................... .........................................................................................................................16 16 AnnMarie Eldon..................................................................................................................................16 ahfter...............................................................................................................................................18

Spotlight Artist Artist....................................................................................................................... .......................................................................................................................21 21 Lancillotto Bellini................................................................................................................................21 self-portrait.....................................................................................................................................22

Featured Poet Poet......................................................................................................................... .........................................................................................................................23 23 Michael Annis......................................................................................................................................23 if from eternity this word................................................................................................................24 of necessity congruence..................................................................................................................26 the road to necessary road (a response by Heller Levinson)..........................................................27 from Soutine this road congruence.................................................................................................28

Poetry and Art Art........................................................................................................................ ........................................................................................................................33 33 Kate Peterson ......................................................................................................................................33 Tiles................................................................................................................................................33 Michael Dickel ...................................................................................................................................34 PHONE ETHICS............................................................................................................................35 NOTES ON ....................................................................................................................................36 Dubblex...............................................................................................................................................37 It's another rush hour .....................................................................................................................38 Tasha Cotter.........................................................................................................................................39


July 2009 Edition

Ten Things I Wouldn’t Call Random .............................................................................................40 Paul A. Toth ........................................................................................................................................42 Vintage 1978 Puzzle.......................................................................................................................43 Oritsegbemi Emmanuel Jakpa ............................................................................................................44 Remembering Tuam.......................................................................................................................45 Jeff Crouch..........................................................................................................................................46 battery.............................................................................................................................................46 Penn Kemp..........................................................................................................................................47 Fare Trade.......................................................................................................................................48 After Image.....................................................................................................................................49 Barbara Reiher-Meyers.......................................................................................................................50 Poem Crazed...................................................................................................................................51 Rodrigo Verdugo'.................................................................................................................................52 CONTINUITY ...............................................................................................................................53 CONTINUIDAD............................................................................................................................53 OPENING ......................................................................................................................................54 ABERTURA...................................................................................................................................55 Randall Radic......................................................................................................................................56 Endless............................................................................................................................................56 John C. Goodman ...............................................................................................................................57 The Shepherd’s Elegy.....................................................................................................................58 Thomas Hubbard.................................................................................................................................59 Buenas tardes, senora, pariente lejana............................................................................................60 Carl Palmer..........................................................................................................................................61 adolescent angst..............................................................................................................................62 Her Fella.........................................................................................................................................64 Jenny Dayton.......................................................................................................................................66 Botchulism Burlesque.....................................................................................................................66 Behind The Counter........................................................................................................................67 Ruth Spalding .....................................................................................................................................68 Pills.................................................................................................................................................69 Contained........................................................................................................................................70 Ngoma.................................................................................................................................................71 I'm in a Recovery Program from Western Civilization...................................................................72 CL Bledsoe .........................................................................................................................................74 So as Not to Forget.........................................................................................................................75 I'm Not a Lawyer............................................................................................................................76 Kyle Hemmings ..................................................................................................................................77


July 2009 Edition

The Queen of Rain .........................................................................................................................78 Anne Harding Woodworth...................................................................................................................79 WILLIE, SPLIT..............................................................................................................................80 900 YEARS OF JAZZ....................................................................................................................81 ART HULL, ALCOHOLIC............................................................................................................82 Adam Fieled .......................................................................................................................................83 Riot Poem #3..................................................................................................................................84 Riot Poem #4..................................................................................................................................85 Jackson Lassiter ..................................................................................................................................86 ADHD.............................................................................................................................................87 Leaf Stains......................................................................................................................................88 James H Duncan .................................................................................................................................90 Darkness within the dark................................................................................................................91 Sharon Boyle Woods...........................................................................................................................92 detail from 'Artificial Boundaries' by Sharon Boyle Woods..........................................................92 Aleathia Drehmer ...............................................................................................................................93 Rivalry............................................................................................................................................94 Saiyin..............................................................................................................................................95 Heller Levinson ..................................................................................................................................96 in the combing of silence................................................................................................................97 Milton P. Ehrlich ................................................................................................................................98 SENIOR PROM NIGHT (circa 1948)............................................................................................99 Chris Labrenz....................................................................................................................................100 Alice in Wonderland.....................................................................................................................100 George Anderson ..............................................................................................................................101 Gippsland Mall.............................................................................................................................102 C. Derick Varn ..................................................................................................................................103 After Reading a Biography of Zhou Enlai ...................................................................................104 Gale Acuff ........................................................................................................................................105 Airborne........................................................................................................................................106

Short Stories Stories......................................................................................................................... .........................................................................................................................108 108 Louis K. Lowy ..................................................................................................................................108 Fight the Future or Why My Wife Left Me..................................................................................109 Nick Harris ........................................................................................................................................111 Trees..............................................................................................................................................112


July 2009 Edition

Book Reviews Reviews...................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................120 120 Nabina Das .......................................................................................................................................120 A review of THE UNFOLD PINNACLE by Basanta Kumar Kar ..............................................120

Interviews Interviews............................................................................................................................ ............................................................................................................................123 123 Paul A. Toth.......................................................................................................................................123 My Smokin' Celebrity Interview with Sean Penn........................................................................123


About this Mag

The Cartier Street Review Masthead Bernard Alain Founding Editor Ottawa Canada Joy Leftow Principal Editor New York NY Dubblex Assistant Editor New York NY Thomas Hubbard Staff Puget Sound Washington

Copyright Clarification The Cartier Street Review retains the right to display accepted submissions on the RSS feeds, uploadable PDF files and printed versions of this magazine. Contributors are responsible for securing and protecting copyrights before submitting and wholly responsible for their accepted and published materials to the Cartier Street Review. The contents of this file as well as all associated printed or transmitted media are protected by copyright. Full or partial reproduction of images or text without express permission from the copyright owners is prohibited by law.

11


because you want it to.” Natalia, bored with her life, her husband, and her children, idealizing her freedom and seeking new experiences, leaves on a trip to Europe with the doctor she works for. Natalia’s fantasies don’t play out how she imagined. Once in Europe and alone with the doctor, Natalia discovers she’s more bored with him than she ever was with her husband. Since her early childhood, Natalia had yearned to return to her gypsy family, a desire nourished by faint distant memories mixed with tales she heard from her adopted family.

Leftow's Desk

the scoop on 'Precious', a novel by Sandra Novack by Joy Leftow

Recently on Facebook Ms. Novack advertised her full-length debut novel, Precious, from Random House. Curious to read it I promptly wrote her a letter explaining I wanted to review her novel and she sent me one. Thus began my journey through her smooth agile verse. Precise and elegantly elegiac, like the movements they describe, Ms. Novack’s tale begs the question of what possibly could go wrong in a pleasant nuclear middle class family in a burb of Pennsylvania not far from New Jersey. Ah, my my, what could not go wrong in Novack’s scenario? Novack jumps in and out of each of her characters magically, like Sissy jumps in and out of the pool in the back yard and Eva jumps into wayward trouble without her mother around to set her straight. As easily as an able person can enter and leave a shower, she follows their watery moody depths from one situation to the next. Like the stick of a pinprick, punctiliously moving from one character to the next, she reveals the most hidden thoughts of each character. Natalia wants more than what she has with her introverted reserved husband, Frank, who spends all has spare time beneath his car. Nostalgic for her gypsy roots, and romance, Natalia decides to leave. When her teenage daughter, Eva, tries to convince Natalia to stay, her mom replies, “A person’s heart doesn’t shed itself like a tree in winter, it doesn’t bare itself just

Surprised, Natalia finds herself desperately pining away for her children and Frank, reminiscing longingly. This, combined with her sadness about her feelings of loss is what drives Natalia back home. Novack is inside her character’s heads, she knows them intimately. Eva is filled with anger and wanting more, yet stuck with her kid sister, Sissy and her Dad when Mom abandons them. Eva searches for love and finds separation and sorrow in the middle of nowhere as do all teenage girls in trouble. Eva keeps herself alive and vibrant through her interactions with Sissy, her pivot. Eva is guilty for being a young girl who goes out to hang out with boys and have an affair with an older married man while she is responsible for taking care of her younger sibling. Eva sustains herself by feeding stories to Sissy. Eva’s stories are fed on exasperation mixed with myth and her anguished insights into adult behavior. Disillusioned by love, her family, her mom’s return home instead of righting things in the family, sends Eva over the edge into a place she can't come back from. “Didn’t he suddenly want to give Eva what a girl like her so desperately wants – to see herself through another’s eyes and to find that she is precisely as she wishes but never quite believes – beautiful and full of possibility.” Seeing ourselves through the eyes of others is what we all think we want - until we do it and are often caught off guard in what we see. We often wish to see the world through the other’s eyes. Novack has hit the nail direct.

13


The title of the book, Precious, and the placing of the title in the story raised a childhood memory for me. As a youngster from a poverty stricken Jewish family in New York City, filled with illness and sorrow, I watched my sister pamper her dolls. I was not permitted to touch my sister’s dolls because although she was eleven and I was six, she held on to her dolls for dear life. She had very little too and was miserable. I respected her belongings because I feared her temper. She’d hit me before. I only got my first new doll (not hand me downs or throwaways) the Christmas after this ensuing event. I had another sister eight years older too. One day after we’d all arrived home from school almost simultaneously at about three-ten; my sister discovered her beloved porcelain doll with its head broken off.

It is Vicki, Sissy’s ex best friend, who broke Sissy’s favorite doll Precious, who goes missing, never to be seen alive again. Vicki’s disappearance drives the story forth, revolving around every character’s angles. The townspeople come together to try to help Ginny deal with the loss of her child. Natalia is conflicted with survivor guilt and grateful her children are safe even if she had nothing to do with keeping them safe. She cannot confront Eva’s behavior and accusations. Eva and Frank are unforgiving and relentless in their judgments. Natalia rehearses speeches she cannot say while struggling to regain her footing in a lost life.

The doll in Novack’s tale is also ruined when Sissy and her best friend Vicki fight about who can play with the doll at a sleepover. During their struggle when the doll is literally ripped in two, Vicki becomes Sissy’s ex best friend. I wondered why a half page description about a doll named Precious becomes the title. Maybe because relationships and people mean more than we imagine and when we give them up we discover their preciosity and maybe because of the evocative tone of Novack’s descriptions. After all, Novack’s words brought my memory back to me from my six-year old self.

processes that influence us as we plunder through our lives. Novack exposes our most primal fears concerning approval and loss. She makes us wonder if anything new will ever take the place of what we lose or if there’s even the slightest chance to begin to fill all the empty spaces from all our losses put together. Wounds hurt. At funerals divorces and such, people always try to assuage sadness by saying things like, “Oh, it gets better as time goes on,” but that’s absolutely untrue. Some hurts last a lifetime. Trust me, I’ve had a few.

After reading Precious, I ask, what possibly couldn’t and won’t go wrong? Isn’t that the way of the world, after all? Everything in the world goes amiss, changes in lives occur in a Because my sister could see no other possible finger snap. Novack’s lyrical and haunting prose culprit, she accused me of breaking the doll and maintains a rhythm; she doesn’t skip a beat. proceeded to beat living daylights out of me with It reminds me of a Woody Allen character no interference from anyone in my family. Later, I who announces, dead-pan, earnestness exuding his was surprised to learn my mother had kept silent pores, “It’s the Second Law of Thermodynamics: and let me take a beating for something she knew I Sooner or later everything turns to shit.” And in hadn’t done. That made no sense. Several days this small town turned topsy-turvy through a later, mom divulged she’d had a guest that day whirlwind of unconnected events, that is exactly who had brought her small child with her when what occurs inside Novack’s elegant poetic prose. she visited and mom had not paid attention to the child. I surmise my mom was afraid of my sister’s Novack reminds us that every day we temper too and that was why she let me take that make choices in our losses. Each moment begins beating. I had no clue back then. I was six years with new choices. Each choice provides new old. possibilities. We live with daily decision-making

15


Spotlight Poet

AnnMarie Eldon

An identical twin, evolved from cryptophasic origins in once densely industrialised Birmingham, England. She was taught by her gypsy grandmother to say the alphabet backwards before the age of three. Juggling various personae interiorae, children and hormones and practicing counter-cultural reclusiveness, she achieves adult differentiation and spiritual equanimity within the mediocrity of a picturesque Oxfordshire market town. Her collection Some2 is available from: http://www.lulu.com/content/4581886 at Lulu.com.

16


Links to other works of AnneMarie Eldon Ocho 19 http://is.gd/tbn2 Protest Poems http://protestpoemsdotorg.blogspot.com/2009/04/annmarie-eldon.html zafusy http://www.zafusy.org/poetry/annmarieeldon Intercapillary Space http://intercapillaryspace.blogspot.com/2006/09/annmarie-eldon.html No Tell Motel http://www.notellmotel.org/poem_single.php?id=770_0_1_0 Omega http://homepage.mac.com/miguel_cervantes/OMEGA06/index_files/Page711.htm Big Window http://theothermother.typepad.com/bigwindow/2007/05/rush_by_annmari.html Avatar Review http://avatarreview.net/AV7/Eldon.htm East to West http://www.geocities.com/pj_nights/eldonsummer06.html Shampoo http://www.shampoopoetry.com/ShampooTwentyseven/27/eldon.htm liminal pleasures http://www.liminalpleasures.net/viewwork.php?id=34\ MTD Magazine http://mtdmagazine.tripod.com/annmarieeldon.htm NTHPOSITION http://www.nthposition.com/rentd.php Arabesques http://www.arabesques-editions.com/journal/contemporary/418304.html Annetna Nepo http://annetnanepo.novumverbum.org/new_loop/nl2/nl2_main.htm#eldon Stirring http://www.sundress.net/stirring/archives/v7/e11/eldona.htm Argotist Online http://www.argotistonline.co.uk/Eldon%20poem.htm 5_TROPE http://webdelsol.com/5_trope/18/codifiers.html Del Sol Review - http://www.webdelsol.com/Del_Sol_Review/dsr10/eldon.htm FieraLingue http://www.fieralingue.it/modules.phpname=Content&pa=list_pages_categories&cid=287 The Guardian http://books.guardian.co.uk/poetryworkshop/story/0,15167,1559094,00.html#article_continue

17


ahfter

I: wait with the enormous the weight of dark my shiver late for you/r small you/r habitat-adorns’ scatter on y/our flutter-neck our deepage how each trusts behind the ambuscade broidery possibles, leg-shaves, massaged swollens, raw edged lace for trucks, massed boughts, boxed flatteries, raw hidden vulnerables picked from the woods, pastsell-by perishables these seemingly heaven sent though not enough I: bait you/r come-escape bebung under the owl basket a hoar night fermata wherein also roe deer raw-sprainting against alder aberrant pheasant woken by false dawn nothing cauls lest a light seep knows it membranous partial veil a clitocyboid (gills decurrent) volva makes chain retort: I resort to sporal 18


to unilateral silence this so’as to ditch any superfluous you/r adam’s apple male chest a previously a struck chord iron strung more heavily tangentéd: I withdraw portamento breath-glide not fleshy fruiting but riskslide away, family muted n less into a formal instrumental decay s’end you/r drop in the graw gut: I ambivalate my decide there, deep: I seep’d in the trust-loss mire my words to eat also its after-stink also its pretty-past its pattern also-derides you/r took sark-lace from its abstracted pact and survived an’ coproducted from spat and this and its garnering seduct and hope-rape and answering back its justification needs its puts-on-the spots bottom line abnegation: I solidate y/our like-slut pit you/r regurgitated so-didactic pitch 19


for that you/r many manic never slack proventriculus quirk quoted my worse to me my recumbrance rebursed my sweat: I digged and stranded slopt to a malphigian remembrance and could not but read the best always into. You/r fed ego you/r keeping it topped you/r pride cache glooping over its side remark garnering arc its stow a hived sup, carpÊd for the constant nice-acts use of belief to uphold need for lack to prove denies not the time for after effects’ retch nor place for deprives but should’ave been a gluttony despite or sickeningly beautiful was partially literally fetched up after the fact (by AnneMarie Eldon)

20


Spotlight Artist Lancillotto Bellini

Born in 1938 and attended the Fine Arts Academy "G.B. Cignaroli" in Verona. He started paintingin the early 60s. He has been involved in mail-art activity since 1984. Bellini also has been making rubberstamps since 1983 (see the book RUBBER STAMP ART, AAA Edizioni Bertiolo, Italy 1999 and the book HANDMADE PRINTS, A&C Black , London 2000. Bellini has been running the RECYCLING ART PROJECT since 1991. His interests include making handmade rubber-stamps, collages, recycling, computer art, digital images, art books, mail-art, fluxus. The cover art for this edition is 'Fragmented Man' by Lancillotto Bellini, many thanks for his contributions to the review this month.

21


self-portrait by Lancillotto Bellini

22


Featured Poet Michael Annis

As a partisan continually accelerating the nexus of profound cultural revolution, Michael Annis is the founder and senior editor of Howling Dog Press, publisher of many of the greatest poets and writers of our time. As a poet, writer, artist, and designer, he has won numerous awards and fellowships, and judged several states’ literary prizes. Being the co-developer of Hinge Theory (with Heller Levinson), his newest passion is the dynamic relationships among language, life experience, quantum theory, and mathematics (represented by the Hinge poems featured here in the CSR). Michael has given many poetry performances nationally including three at West Point Academy where he read his work for US cadets and visiting Russian military commando officers who had stormed into Afghanistan. After the readings, he was decorated with medals by the Russians who compared him to Pushkin. Michael has been cited as “probably the most dangerous poet on the planet,” for whatever danger can come of that; rather, he defines himself as a “rogue nation of one,” preferring the intellectually expansive over the aggressively pugilistic, with which he is equally acquainted having coordinated public events featuring a sorcerer’s brew of boxers, wrestlers, poets, tattoo artists, bikers, street hustlers, underground malcontents, and musicians. WritingDangerously@howlingdogpress.com www.howlingdogpress.com http://www.howlingdogpress.com/Publications/Publications.htm http://nzpoetsonline.homestead.com/MA7.html editors note Editor’s Note: Hinge is very similar in its interaction to Jazz, and like progressive jazz musicians, the Hinge artist plays off other Hingers creating multi-directional, “multi-instrument” pieces that can be responded to at any time. There is an internal correlative process within each piece, as well as its extension among different Hinge compositions. He and Heller invite other writers to Hinge off these pieces published in the CSR. Please correspond with Michael about this. Heller Levinson is the creator, originator, and founding father of Hinge, and Hinge Theory. .

23


if from eternity this word

if from eternity

this word from word

in the beginning the Word the word always holy the unity beginning must be that of voice of music chorale Voice is born to quiver, tremble, roar, shatter and you have been born, to soar on the wings of voice

this You beginning: suggestivity poetry whose suffering destined fully realized,

wind soaring through electric heavens of your memories shrieking forth the monolith of what you have always been what you are to become in quantum suffering alienation the Pain must be taken to the point of illumination, ratio to ratiocination to compute beyond a beacon of light You are Language eternal pathways You are Voice a monument You are Word of beauty You are Holy Mystery

project pain to seduction where suffering realizes what is born of Light inner peace, a proclamation of your freedom nascent before birth

what fury sucks the breath from your Light what rage shards your Voice demanding Truth in the supernova of your Being, the Word is born; agonistes: what has your flesh to do with who you

void are;

by the blows of your heart You are reborn You

shatter the paradigm giving birth to a new universe

known as Life the Mysteries a new Heaven eternal quietude

Hell reborn of a silent snowfall the song if from

beyond blood&bone; fear&desire

then the magus

24


P L A Y I N G therein

You

will not History consume the final atom of who you are; what dull, insipid lines of meaninglessness drip, what nonsense oozes from the pen of your soul;

You

What within your DNA awaits liberation

are Time

Death

Eternal C H E S S

What sophistication of language bares your soul to bone

spermatozoan proposition lingually discharged

Is the Word, the Catalyst? You must find and show the Truth, or find yourself in a gunnysack bound for the river What prison electrifies your Voice into ecstasy? What winnowing asterisk is the betrayal of Time’s delicate heart, the rotting bones of grief are misconstrued as joy organizing your strategies; Ashen, your lips form the syllable of god’s name whose name is thundering

silence

— for Lee Sun Yung / Malia McCall (by Michael Annis)

25


of necessity congruence of necessity

congruence

exploratory advances

furthering advancement

love

warmth key, keyed, keenly factored

universal ratiocinative

gene pool

=

language

↔ =

mathematics emotive

=

spirit

our daily bread recombinant

recombed

repository

posit particle postulate pivot pivotal

repair/amour

reposit

∞ DNA a2+b2=c2 recombinant π pivotally ex(plo/wed)ded deeper than thought deeper than sex vast as breath space time you we 1 ↔ our genetic evolution theoretically hinged← π →rehinged calculus

filamental, this dread of being alone conjugally superstringed (by Michael Annis) 26


the road to necessary road (a response by Heller Levinson)

the road to necessary road

recombinant logging ...

logarhythmic perturbative

perturb as lead-to → stir, stirring (arch Soutine

excoriate exhale

advance the visceral imperative

further

ance

furtherance foreswear adhere repair beware stare appear career freer tear smear compulsory forward arriving at/coming to

[proceed process procession

reluctance overthreshed mandatory palaver mean streets meander pleat going down the road feeling necessary routing/root pursuit a congruence, a womb along

a gathering bringing to/ bringing forth (coltshooves

the isolate gathers no the necessary road the th(o)rough way

(A hinge response by Heller Levinson)

27

/cleat


from Soutine this road congruence

from Soutine this road congruence —in laudation: Heller Levinson’s “Excoriate Exhale: Routing Soutine”

universal split → parallel infinity contrawhorling matrices → anthropomorphic causality dreaming → convexed presence → Soutine calls into being a place he’s never been peering within distant nebulae → a slab of rotting meat → blood drips into the chalice tetracyclic(quor) spin → centrifugal angst → vexed the infinite systemic regression transfiguration → root quest casualty → fear&desire → lunging spermatozoa th(o)rough existential postulates

strafed remorse of knowing →

recombinant visceral congruence → in the road to spuming annihilation the road to blooming carcasses road black-blooded psychic agitation indwelling welling Orwellian fascist bludgeons swelling shamanic conjugation the spirit world a distant, nee extant, second place → laboring heavily under theoretical hypotheses → principles of empirical phenomena → conjugally devoid, ergo → pounding boots marching within the beat of final conquest → the spirit world would enjoy a good joke sinister as grief how translational vertebrae backwash into aural porridge cogitation abandoned → scent flutters the labia → inspecting mathematical relationships calculus wilt thou be my dearly beloved → wilt thou suc(k)core and praise me Did Soutine paint the hemlock Socratic purple? Beautiful theories are preferential to ugly ones trit(e)urate the socially acceptable suicides, the canned laffers: is the mind of the labia fleshed over with Quasimodo hump; is the aureole of Venus the mindset of Mars? What moat equations encircle vigorous foreplay? What abstruse directionality kindles the locus, sets ablaze the heart? What rote betrayal beseeches Rilkean angels? What Hitlerian foreskin repercusses present to past to present to future demanding hygienic cleansing of the genetic code? 28


Scratching from a catbox → voice creaks out from the pit → motherfucker stole my DNA?!”

wheezes, “who’s the SS-Mengele

It is to inform congregations how powerless they are to stall the invention of new universes … I imagine his own body splaying open like the “Carcass of Beef” with his intestines unraveling into vacuum-like hoses … 1 O Soutine, your anarchic spirit eviscerated carcasses of popes, ayatollahs, priests, pastors, and rabbis → hang your evangelical canvases proclaiming the Day of Tearing Down → torture chambers → religion and religious fanaticism → religion’s only destiny → what did Hitlerian star charts hold for the glee club of Auschwitz → what nazi druids oracled the Black Death divining Soutinian intestines → slaughtered → pyramidal smoke hovers misery over infanticidal compounds embrocated fury Soutine’s tongue plowing the writhing labia → thrumming exquisite excoriation → pre-passion, passion, post-passion warmed, breaded, buttered, eaten, censured, indignant mastication → shrieking art is more important than hygiene! 2 Soutine’s bloody knife painting Schrödinger’s cat pacing the feral chasm between life and death → anti-life and anti-death → heaven and anti-heaven → parallel universes and anti-universes; Soutine’s cerise-cyan-chartreuse wobbling the 3-way mirror among the worlds → his colors of earth, air, fire, water → the pale horse of Mind → recombine the DNA of parallel universes. the necessary road with th/e\(o)rough/f(an)are of late gathers isolate →

cunninglinguist

…the electron in orbit around the nucleus is potentially at many locations at the same time. But the most perplexing phenomenon in the bizarre world of the quantum is the effect called ‘entanglement’. Two particles that may be very far apart, even millions or billions of miles, are mysteriously linked together. Whatever happens to one of them immediately causes a change in the other one. 3 Between the observed language and the observing language Between the preparational preposition of pivotal prescience erupt exploratory advances Between the pivot and the anti-pivot, the postulate and the anti-postulate an alterior formulation of an ulterior univers congruently hinged from dread this filament → oversexed → lingering → anti-biotic → syntax of measurement → modular vivification assassinated by cesspo(ol)etic stagnation → while the observed language is propagating in isolation, the observing language propagates th(o)rough every morphemic syllable of the divine matrix → in the beginning was the word, and 29


the word was with god and the word was god →

the god of symbology substituting for intimacy.

Soutine strokes the cat’s back purring the purling feline with his spatula, broad smears of erected affection raising the smoldering feline hindquarters for penetration → Soutine thrusts the spatula in, painting the cat in waves, in particles simultaneously living and dead → Soutine washes the colors of the rainbow with the intestines of lions, panthers, cheetahs, puma, jaguar, leopard, lynx, and ancient Egypt → Soutine sketches Pythagoras sketching the oracles of trigonometric predestination birthed for the pyramids → cats, divine and eternal, guard the shrouded entrance → light creeping in → in particles, one by one → through the rock hypotenuse to the father leg of the ascending soul → Soutine paints the mass and velocity of primordial claw → Soutine clenches the brush in his teeth, garbling the ancient tooth’s relativity to its prey → Soutine strolls his fury between the redundancies of the worlds → mirrors shatter, temples crumble, pillars tumble → mewling cries of his children demand meat, not milk. overthreshed, from arson this exhale from exhale this ice from ice this arson in the road to menorrhagic apocalypse road → born spermatozoa and ovum → testicular hysterectomy the road to totem road → in broad swatches of exploratory advances → Soutine remakes our genetic predispositions → Soutine ensouls a pure gene pool preaching to the witless observer like diapedetic quantities of passionately tinted mud → ashes to ashes → dust to dust → eliminating artificial moral choices and trivial pursuits → forming chromosomes that recognize destiny → empathy as communicative substance → relieving the a2+b2=c2 of human suffering in the sperm of congruence mind hive everlasting in the mind hive everlasting sperm congruence in the congruence of mind hive sperm everlasting in the poets launch spirits th(o)rough the semen tube of language; the observed language is one half of a particle, the impregnated particle a causal and effectual relationship between here and there then and now. …the particle in orbit around the Hinge pivot is potentially birthed of, and birthing, limitless nucleic nuances simultaneously, yet the most perplexing phenomenon in the self-propagating world of Hinge is the effect called ‘dis→en→tanglement,’ where the root particle—the observed language impregnated by the observing language— unleashes itself from former precognitive definition and explodes into multi-phasic, multi-cellular meaning, rife with MUPAE connotation and reforming/recharging definition. Two Hinge pieces may be very far apart, even years distant and separate in composition, yet are superimpositionally linked together forming strata and substrata of the same Hinge work, and whatever happens to one of them immediately causes a change in the other one.4 30


Soutine sculpts a clone of himself who simultaneously sculpts a clone of him sculpting a clone of himself, ad infinitum → they are arrested before the fact before the event before the recognition of the thought comes the action of the thought for life is imitating art imitating life, etc., yet there is nothing unusual about that → relevant to Soutine’s position in the matrix → how he putters along before the volcanic eruption → birds exploding from the trees in fearful homage of Soutine’s brush. Menorrhagic this strip mining of the head to sleuth the shrieking of the heart → trembling synapses clasped together by the random identity of a crow feasting on the eyes of a corpse → slinking under the cover of the shadow of wing lurks death’s chittering meow Obsessive interstitial blaspheming → archival anarchic hand → Chaim Soutine routes the struggle between free will and determinism proving there is no proof of God → proving God lives in the temple of the human double helix → from the genocidal prison of theological dogma → he → liberates ratiocination through human fingertips caressing human hearts Soutine erecting new paradigms → ever-expanding → definitions of ∞ and  → elementary → fundamental particle → clasp of infinity. Soutine’s gene pool slobbers out his life abstraction → legs, arms, fingers, eyes, ears, mind abstracted, combed, posited, combined, positioned → he → hurling regurgitation of the double helix of his own DNA → pivotally ex(plo/wed)ded blooms exponentially phallic → he → orgasmic white fountain of infinite progression sticky within a regressive species Somew(ho/ur)e deeper than sex → the throat of Soutine’s DNA → deeper than thought → vast as breath → instructions come to him, of him → he → to paint the velocity and momentum of Man → betray isolated man’s position in the Universe → not as a particle → as a wave of being → a wave enduring → from one generation of genius to genius’s children’s children’s children → to be the repair/amour of love’s genetic evolution → if not the nucleus, the orbit → if not the solution, the dis→ en→ tanglement → among → the tense/sense/(ovul)ation/s of the Word atypically congruent if profoundly shattered infinitely traveled

why should one consider it phantasmagorical →

road to ever-excoriating road

the word raises the dead →

(by Michael Annis) 31


1

Heller Levinson, “Excoriate Exhale: Routing Soutine” Chaim Soutine, direct quote 3 Amir D. Aczel, “En tanglement: the Greatest Mystery in Physics” 4 Michael Annis, "Linguistic Metamorphosis through Hinge Theory Dynamics in the Language Structures of Heller Levinson: Hinge Expansion in Relation to Preceding Theories of Linguistic Function; An Introductory Manuel to Hinge Theory” 2

32


Poetry and Art

Kate Peterson b. Aug 1982 WCSU class of 2006

A wonderer who recently found herself in Manhattan's beautiful and inspiring West Village. Born in Connecticut Kate has spent most of her life traveling, viewing the world through the eye of her camera lens. She hopes never to stop moving; use her creative compass as a guide in pursuit of all the beauty the world has to offer.

Tiles

(by Kate Peterson)

33


Michael Dickel

A poet, photographer and digital artist. The World Behind It, Chaos, Dickel’s collection of poetry and visual art, is available as a free e-Book from why vandalism? (http://www.whyvandalism.com). Dickel’s prize-winning poetry, photographs and art have appeared in small-press literary journals, anthologies, art books, and online for over twenty years. His photographs and poems have recently appeared in Sketchbook, Emerging Visions Visionary Art eZine, Poetry Midwest, Fotógrafos En La Calle (Street Photographers), why vandalism?, and Abramelin: the Journal of Poetry and Magick. Dickel teaches writing at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. http://web.mac.com/Michael_Dekel

34


PHONE ETHICS

sigmund fire pen a trait aye dent a fire circa am scribe sum collar add dress phony no why let her head stationary busy nest please her princely pal dearth in stink call lapse in you

end or

fail oh logos

(by Michael Dekel)

35


NOTES ON ...

Deformed bottles / glass suckle liminal state entertained conversation body of Joseph's coat mole-skinned bandaged foot in transit lunch break pact smoking now notes rap against the glass / window wants to shatter collapse, quake to pieces can the center let go spin-top vomiting grief mode regeneration united parts glue the window / open nail the frame split wood shape urbane consequences language / personality politely breast feeding a child.

(by Michael Dekel)

36


Dubblex

Currently resides in New York and has been writing his entire life and playing music. His artistry helps keep him sane. DubbleX teaches special education students in public schools.

37


It's another rush hour

Millions of sleepy New Yorkers venture to the street The pushing and shoving Packed in trapped crowds stout and lean bodies fight for space in dirty abject mass transit squalor They wrestle for a few dingy hard seats Trying not to be late one eye stays on the watch Herded and prodded with bags books and briefcases Excuse me and pardon me are words repeated tenfold Human density is reached Angry bodies block all exit ways Nobody talks nobody smiles it's a solemn ride A beggar depressing pitch breaks the silence Right before your time to switch Highway congestion as car volume turns the highway to the speed of a rowboat Road rage hangs in the air like pollution Horns blare as nobody gets anywhere Gridlock is threatens on every other city block You got to beat the clock Your boss enters your mine Trying not to be late yet another time Toes get crushed by heels and tread on by over priced sneakers Every stop more and more people manage to fight their way on Few leave we struggle for every inch Total strangers touch and get closer than lovers Someone’s bag is in my back Someone’s stank ass is on my leg We roll slowly to the downtown destination station by station (by Dubblex)

38


Tasha Cotter

An MFA candidate at Eastern Kentucky University. Her work is forthcoming in Danse Macabre and has appeared in Sojourn, Hanging Loose Press, Leaf Garden Press and elsewhere. Cotter lives in Lexingotn, Kentucky with her husband and two cats Chloe and Harper.

39


Ten Things I Wouldn’t Call Random

When I was fourteen I broke up with a boy because I found out he had to meet with teaching assistants. I had suspected he and I were not on the same plane for awhile, but this convinced me that I shouldn't pretend anymore. As a teenager, after work, I would make myself spiked Italian sodas, drive to the next city over and sit in bookstores and read Baudelaire in a very plush chair until the ten minute notice was given overhead. When I was sixteen I settled for someone because I could not get the attention of the person I really wanted. Throughout high school I placed everything I wrote in the bottom drawer of my English teacher's filing cabinet. This was done to prevent my mother from shredding what I wrote, which she did often. I used the school Yearbook's Nikon for taking pictures of leaves. There was one picture I took that I still remember: it was a bright green leaf, resting on the concrete, holding 15 drops of water from the previous night's storm. At the time I thought I felt like that--Alive, but weighed down by something I didn't need. I regularly left school early once I got my license. I would go to a friend’s house to listen to music, other times I went to a local Mexican restaurant and ate sopapillas with ice cream, sometimes I drove to the lake and sat upon a large rock. Spring Break of my sophomore year in college I drove to the Lilly library at Indiana University with the hope of touching everything that Sylvia Plath's hands ever did. I did this very carefully. It was one of the most surreal moments of my life. I was able to tell my husband that I loved him before he could tell me. I love him even more for this. When terrorists attacked the Twin Towers on September 11th I asked my Social Studies teacher who would do such a thing and she replied who wouldn't do such a thing. This response made me look at some things differently, but not everything. In college I danced more than anyone—at parties, in parking lots, and in dorm rooms. I guess you could say I was happy to be free. (by Tasha Cotter)

40


Botchulism Burlesque

(by Jenny Dayton) see bio page 65

41


Paul A. Toth

lives in Florida. His first novel, Fizz, and its successor, Fishnet, are available now, with Finale due in July of 2009. His poetry has been featured by The Potomac, Nth Position, Piker Press, Arabesques Review, and others. www.netpt.tv

42


Vintage 1978 Puzzle

she feels like she's in jail it's been this way since 1978 never leaves the house except when Jimmy insists Jimmy says we're going sailing you'll feel better if you get some air but that's just it the air burns my nerves she wears a sweater it's 82 degrees what the hell you wearing that for 'cause the air bugs my nerves and then it begins and then it's over with what seemed like forever between that's all she'll remember it reminds her: never leave the house where's the pills I need a drink you're living in a circle a trap a cell I don't care anymore it's too late now this is the way I am you can't change me if you wanna go then go I won't stop you then a week or two passes just passes nothing happens it's a miracle it passes then Jimmy says Jimmy says we gotta get you out of this house she hates the house but outside is worse she's waiting on something inside to click or slide into place like some kid's puzzle (by Paul A. Toth)

43


Oritsegbemi Emmanuel Jakpa

Lives in Ireland, and presently doing a research study at Waterford Institute of Technology in Creative Writing. His poetry has been published in a number of online and print journals including the African American Review, and Echoing Years: an Anthology of Poetry from Canada and Ireland. He is a Yeats' Pierce Loughran Scholar. jakorem@yahoo.com

44


Remembering Tuam

I put my head to one side close my eyes, pretend to sleep, as the taxi moves on. There is nothing else to do just to think of the rosemary leaves that slake my thirst with spicy smell, gravy juice that drips from the side of beef. The laughter & the smiles that spill into each other in the dining room. The red & white wines. The lady who slips her tongue into music. A Spanish song, sliding into dreams. Her beautiful face, her tragic beautiful voice. The storm at 3 am, the sculpted swan by the park on water. (by .Oritsegbemi Emmanuel Jakpa)

45


Jeff Crouch An internet artist in Grand Prairie, Texas. Google him.

battery

46


Penn Kemp

London Ontario performance poet Penn Kemp appears in arts festivals world-wide, as well as reading and giving workshops in local venues for four decades. Penn received her M.Ed. from OISE, Toronto). Since Coach House published her first book (1972), Penn has been expanding text and aural boundaries. Among her publications are twenty-five books (poetry and drama), ten CDs (Sound Opera and Performance Poetry) and six award-winning videopoems. The League of Poets proclaimed her a foremother of Canadian poetry. The University of Western Ontario has asked her to be writer-inresidence in London next year.

47


Fare Trade

I would eat local food only were it not for temptation. A green invitation of open avocado in emerald halves. An alluring variety of mango hot to eye, cool to tongue. The seduction of dark chocolate. The slurped fulfilment in oyster. The simple necessity of rice. Otherwise, I would be content with my yard's fall produce. But having tasted the world's fare, how to return unjaded to simple pleasures that this ground offers? Beans. Corn. Squash. Corn. Beans. The three sisters thrive. Yes, I will eat local food mostly. Except for. Except for... Accept. When The Bare Naked Ladies sing "Snack Time", not one of the stars they recorded choose celery sticks. Not one claims carrots for their own. But banana. Or chocolate. No chicory compares to cafĂŠ au lait. Import coffee; import tea! On to political rant: our food too cheap, our farmers ruined. Our eyes closed, we rest easy, spoiled ripe fruit in the docks, turning sleepy to sun-rotten. Given so much, we reach for more even when over full. Poems break off as the lunch bell rings. (by Penn Kemp)

48


After Image

Tender, the moment when a lion licks its caught prey in the face cupped between soft paws. Long tongue on zebra hide. A kind of indolent yawn after the swirl of dust, the flailing hoof. This moment looks like love to the safe observer bedded down as the film rolls. The zebra seems steeped in peace, adrenaline overload just before its eyes glaze over. Give over for ever as if time could hold. If it could last before the first bite. The blood. letting. Go. The lion on cue lolls, sur renders fierce intent to savour first juice.

(by Penn Kemp)

49


Barbara Reiher-Meyers

A Long Island, New York poet, board member of the Long Island Poetry Collective. She curates the Long Island poetry calendar for Poetz.com, runs monthly workshops in Ronkonkoma, sends weekly emails of local poetry events, and has edited several volumes of poetry. Sounds Familiar is the title of her first book of poems.

50


Poem Crazed

Tonight I want to be poem-crazed to write like those who take wild leaps over the precipice of an idea, into the heart of languagetumbling butt first into a mire of metaphors too sticky to unglue, until they lie flat out on that quicksand, shimmy to the edge, grip the tip of a pen pull themselves and their song around and up and out

(by Barbara Reiher-Meyers)

51


Rodrigo Verdugo'

Lives in Chile. His work has been published in diverse magazines and Chilean anthologies and has been translated into French, Italian, Portuguese, Polish and Arab. His work has been included in collections from Spain and Portugal. In 2002 his first book was published, Watched Knots, Ed Derrame.

52


CONTINUITY

Born from a portrait of fog Unconfessed waves voraciously illuminated Foundations of the day passed through the blood The cities remained white Guarding halves of the same body in different coffins. by Rodrigo Verdugo translated by Joy Leftow

CONTINUIDAD

Nació de un retrato de niebla Olas inconfesables alumbraron esa voracidad. Los fundamentos del día pasaron a la sangre Las ciudades se quedaron blancas Velaron las mitades de un mismo cuerpo en distintos ataúdes. (by Rodrigo Verdugo)

53


OPENING

A body in the sand signifies the sky will speak for all white flames I invoke myself as a spring or a veiled ray Desiring to introduce the pyramid in my horse’s soul We’re not free to be marked Even meteors go the way of the slaughterhouse To be dragged as the stars of turpentine do it Corpses of blind watching the sky Come together unwillingly as intricate parts of a mountain Obliged by an single heartbeat Universes torn by pettiness of saliva Where lambs are stung in the eyes Screaming I ask them to translate beneath the sands Nearly radiant trapped in the air’s movement Many nights have passed, lots of blood Yet she does not return Where I imagined a golden whirlpool I resurrect bees Radiance behind the possessed needle reflects the parents More time has passed and still she doesn’t return. The phosphorescent rooster trembles with dread in the chain of attached hills. (by Rodrigo Verdugo) translated by Joy Leftow

54


ABERTURA

Un cuerpo en la arena Significa que el cielo hablará por todas las llamas blancas Yo me invoco a mi mísmo como un manantial o un rayo vendado Esperando que introduzcas la piramide en el alma del caballo. No somos libres de ser marcados, ni aún los meteoros que van hacia el matadero Ni de ser arrastrados como las estrellas de aguarrás lo hacen Con los cadáveres de los ciegos Estoy mirando el cielo, la huraña acumulación a la que llegamos aglutinados como montañas y obligados por un solo latido Universos atornillados en intermedios de saliva Donde los corderos sienten puntadas en los ojos A gritos pido que apolillen la traslación bajo las arenas Estoy casi radiante contra oficiantes atrapados en los peldaños del aire. Han pasado muchas noches, muchos candados de sangre Y ella no regresa Donde le imaginé un cuerpo un torbellino aúreo resucito a las abejas La radiante tras la aguja poseída que el mar refleja contra los padres Ha pasado mucho tiempo y no regresa. El gallo fosforecente tiembla de espanto en la colina encadenada. (by Rodrigo Verdugo)

55


Randall Radic

An Old Catholic priest, former pastor, and convicted felon. He lives in Northern California, where he reads, writes, smokes good cigars, drinks wine and visits San Francisco as often as possible.

Endless

56


John C. Goodman

Lives in British Columbia and Ontario before settling in Newfoundland & Labrador. His novel, Talking to Wendigo (Turnstone Press) was short-listed for an Arthur Ellis Award. Stories, poems and essays have appeared in The Fiddlehead; Otoliths; elimae; pax americana; Counterexample Poetics and other magazines in Canada and the US. He is the editor of ditch, (www.ditchpoetry.com), an online magazine of experimental poetry.

57


The Shepherd’s Elegy

neon laced rain private thoughts in a public place forever is never anak ia muda pelacur dari crisp air folded around a maple leaf not a bird stirs branches firm as thoughts we crossed the field, Helen and I, golden stubble showing through the snow. We thought there was somewhere to go. one o’clock in the morning the loneliest time of the night waiting waiting did love fly with the light . i knew it was over when she threw the telephone at me . ordinary moments made extraordinary . soon it will be a memory . conspiracy theories . secret organizations . hidden agendas . desperation . it’s the language we all understand . sukkan kering saat dari dari belligerence . reconciliation . opposition of opposites . losing definition . melting into homilies . gates in fences . icing on cakes . tunnels of love . he looked down on the valley mist and said, “Tembo mendang kuir tahu dari.” I said, “I know that love will transform beauty. I know the secret source of wind-blown petals. Give me until morning and I will tell you the mystery of water.” (by John C. Goodman)

58


Thomas Hubbard

Thomas Hubbard retired some years ago from his position as instructor of language arts in the Heritage School on Tulalip Reservation, but he has continued as a writer, editor and spoken word performer. He lives in a cabin on Blanchard Mountain, near Puget Sound. He began inhaling fifty two years ago and hasn't quit. http://poppathomas.wordpress.com.

59


Buenas tardes, senora, pariente lejana

Queda claro por qu茅 tan pocas veces podemos ver j贸venes chicanos sin limpiar, presionado ropas. She steps hard-jawed into the laundromat back out and in again, quickly, all business with baskets of clothes for the washers, dryers to be sorted judiciously and fed, along with scrimpy quarters, into the machines she can't afford for home. Years of making do, and gravity of labor weigh down her cheeks, her breasts, while age has thickened her middle and still, as through some miracle of intent, she holds that line, that appearance for the world with fresh clothing, a hint of makeup. Laundering clothes for her family, she is a nation of brown-skins, speaking language of their long-ago oppressors, but blending their ways into foreign, forced cathedrals that would separate humans from the world, thus we preserve bits of heritage. She stands here, north of imaginary lines sketched on our earth by the invaders, and sorts clothing that, laundered and pressed, will show the world a resilience, a will to survive, a history impossible to erase, a strength residing in the blood. (by Thomas Hubbard)

60


Carl Palmer

Micro Award and Pushcart Prize nominee, well known at open mikes around the Puget Sound area of the Pacific Northwest, lives in University Place, WA. carlpalmer@hotmail.com

61


adolescent angst

adolescent angst pressure to get good grades to get a good school parent pressure

peer pressure activities at school

activities after school stay popular with classmates just like them the envy of them walk right same music hair style

proper slang

movies

moods

attitudes seen at right places

with familiar faces proper vacations live in right neighborhood right family car right parents

their right friends

correct community interest homework

ball practice

guitar lessons rules when

what to learn from whom

where to be

what to say which school stairwell 62


what classes

where to sit

hallway pace when to talk have lunch

to chew gum what lunch

what to wear

not to wear

with the world telling him you got it made carefree not a trouble in the world

(by Carl Palmer)

63


Her Fella

she rubs my head runs her fingers across my face and she cries she holds me tight her head next to mine and she cries I tell her that nothing has changed I try to explain but she doesn’t understand she hasn’t understood anything I’ve said for the past five years we’ve been together since she was a little girl we understood each other then she’d talk with me for hours she’d look into my eyes tell me all her secrets evenings on the porch swing or in the yard, laughing and playing or in her room, lying on her bed watching her every move I learned so much from her she taught me what she liked, what she didn’t like she’d ruffle my hair. Give me a hug and a kiss speak to me in her special way she called me her Fella she’d say, “Come here, Fella” and I’d be right there by her side ready for anything she wanted to do that was then as she grew older, became a teenager became busy, became popular she had less time for our long walks together our talks were what I missed the most I was still her Fella, still there for her but she was out growing me soon she didn’t talk with me at all sometimes at me but never a conversation and sometime during that time she stopped hearing my words altogether now barely out of her teenage years time seems to have gone by so quickly 64


our fifteen years together her, so full of life so vibrant, so youthful but me, I feel so old as if I have aged seven years for each one of hers some days I feel at least a hundred years old and now she treats me like that too lately she’s spending more time with me I love that she’s doing that it’s just the crying I wish she wasn’t so sad she holds me close rocks me and she cries she carries me everywhere won’t let me do a thing does everything for me and she cries we get into her car, I love to watch her drive she used to look my way and smile today she stops several times takes me in her arms and cries and cries and cries we enter the cold, bright room, yet I feel peace I feel her tremble as the doctor shaves my wrist just above my paw the needle is withdrawn I feel warmth and am happy we romp and play in the yard her and I laughing and shouting in words we both understand just like before before she began to cry (by Carl Palmer)

65


Jenny Dayton

Jenny Dayton was born and raised in Austin, Texas. She currently resides in Alaska. Dayton is an artist because, for her, there is no other option. She has always drawn, painted, created, and will continue doing so. ...

Dayton says: “Seeing a drawing materialize is the only thing that makes me feel content in my skin. The ideas in my art are as much an abrasive surprise to me as they are to some others. Most of the time the meanings become apparent long after a piece is finished. I look back on works and remember what was going on in my life at that time (which albums I was listening to) and I finally fully understand what it was I was saying to myself and to others. I feel art should be a unique challenge, not a skill based solely on repetition. There is always comfort in echoes and familiarity but there are so many thrills to be had in the metamorphosis to the unfamiliar. http://www.dandygelatine.com ***note Botchulism Burlesque (see page 40)

66


Behind The Counter

(by Jenny Dayton)

67


Ruth Spalding

A student majoring in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing at Albion College. She has previously been published in The Oleander Review, and The Rectangle. This is her first submission to a journal not aimed at the student audience. This fall, she will enter the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan and work toward her Master's degree.

68


Pills

Familiar orange bottle, white top. It lounges on the diner table. You regret not pushing the pills into some other container. Its orange almost shines, like beacons, distress signals. The color of caution signs. Not a warning, Think twice before you swallow Though you always do—Did I take them already today? Did I take them already? But warning someone else to think before speaking with you What if she's infectious? As consolation: think of autumn, of leaves about to fall. They pity you for a fraction of a second as they smile into their coffee, stirring sugar and cream evenly. The color of convict uniforms. Always in a coat pocket, in a backpack, in a purse, the dull rattle of pills in plastic with each step. Ever-orange cylinder, dimensions predetermined and mass produced. A prisoner executed each day, swallowed, buried in stomach acid for the greater good. (by Ruth Spalding)

69


Contained

Willfully oblivious. That's what I called her as she pulled the car over the white line. Mom, buses turn here. A tall, lumbering bus, crowded with lives, turned wide. You just want to nag, she says. She's never turned my words the way one turns a shell to see its hollow opening. She sees the pink hard thing and doesn't know that she can press her lips to one end and blow, her breath reverberating against my walls. I slouch and out the window trees creep as our car slides in reverse to allow the bus's berth. I cannot unfurl my spire. To open is to lose resonance, every vibration thinning into air. (by Ruth Spalding)

70


Ngoma

Ngoma is a performance poet, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and paradigm shifter, who for over 40 years has used culture as a tool to raise sociopolitical and spiritual consciousness through work that encourages critical thought. Ngomazworld@aol.com

71


I'm in a Recovery Program from Western Civilization

Once they gave me that social security number i knew how jews felt in auschwitz i wasn't even asked Here they said, you're a citizen pay us, vote for us call it democracy or starve punch the clock all worth is by the hour time is gold and he who defines - wins the unemployment lines grow faster than cancer on a prostrate the welfare line is shorter than no paycheck life gets uglier than a boil on a red necks neck the talk shows blame everything on the quote-economically disadvantaged -unquote the mayor says move if you can't find a job fascism rises like a silent fart quiet but deadly kneegrows act like ostriches pan handling is illegal city hall fans the flames on the battle field of race but what ever happened to government for all the people and did you vote to lose your job does repression really breed resistance or is this some mad fantasy all i know is the fat cats got their hooks in me and i sure wish a million black men in atonement on the white house lawn 72


had done much more than trample the grass especially is washington, the district of columbia the last plantation an apartheid colony in this u.s. of a where the citizens have no vote and by-the-way south africa now that you can mark x on the ballot can you spend it can you take it to the bank where the krugerand rules and is worth much more than a u.s. dollar bill and did you get your fill and did you get your land back does democracy really hold the keys to freedom she's incarcerated in the criminal injustice system a very criminal system of justice she's sitting in a 125,000 dollar cell on death row w/life w/o parole you know freedom she's stamping out license plates and sewing blue jeans breaking rocks on an alabama chain gang for 3 cents a day got a masters degree in economics and is doing life for being the truth damn - does it seem like slavery's in style again what a brotha know there're no more doors for spooks to sit by

(by Ngoma)

73


CL Bledsoe

CL Bledsoe has two collections, Anthem, and _____(Want/Need). He is an editor for Ghoti Magazine clbledsoe@gmail.com

74


So as Not to Forget

1 The clouds gather stones to mark the passage of days, waiting until the smell of grey overwhelms. Wind rubs against grit, feels it on its palm-skin and complains. The taste of rain drowns the noise. Stone falls to dirt, joining. These are not clouds, anymore. But let us not speak of absolutes. Johnny done tore his ass. That’s why his jeans don’t fit nomore. I don’t breathe when I jump; the trick is knowing when I’ve landed. 2 The red dirt of consciousness hoards its wealth. Stones float. You think Old Johnny lies? You will come to learn the truth: sputtering clouds, when accosted, reveal their stones afin de ne pas l’oublier. They will fall. Wait, as the clouds, as the tailors, as must we all; wait. Wait. Wait. (by CL Bledsoe)

75


I'm Not a Lawyer

I'm not a lawyer. I'm not capable of sustaining an argument for any length of time. My penis isn't larger or smaller than the average man's; I have nothing to prove. I can't persuade groups of people to my way of seeing things, whether it's right or factual. I'm not a lawyer but I have seen Perry Mason on TV. He wasn't a lawyer either. He looked like a Ding Dong, except back when they were called King Dons. I don't write books about headstrong lawyers, fresh out of law school and eager to prove themselves for the cause of good. I don't secretly wish I wrote like Harper Lee. I am surrounded by degenerates and filth, but I don't get paid for it. I don't have a car and if I did, it wouldn't be a status symbol. It would be something old, but not stylishly so. It would get me from my home to wherever I worked (not a court) and sometimes I would fantasize about having a different car. One that got better gas mileage. I'm not a lawyer so when I see injustices all I can do is get upset and maybe write a letter, which will probably be ignored. Even then, I make a lot of typo's. I have problems with tense and complete sentences. I have problems with people. If I were to talk to a jury I would tell them not to believe anything I say because I am a lawyer (which I would be if I were talking to a jury). I would tell them that justice and retribution are societal inventions that mean nothing to the monkey within, because they fluctuate. I would throw bananas at them and tell them that they weren't worthy to decide the fate of a rat, but maybe the fate of a human. I would ask them if justice is blind, does she do it with feeling? I met a lawyer once when my parents divorced, but he wouldn't look me in the eye. He wasn't ashamed; I just wasn't human to him. Or maybe I was just human to him. I met another lawyer when I was older but she did look me in the eye. I know nothing about lawyers. I am talking only about convergence. Lawyers save babies from wolves every day. Wolves are babies. Babies are wolves. I saw a wolf once when I was young. I was camping and went up the hill to pee. It was standing on top, watching us. I looked into its eyes and it became me. But I couldn't become it, I never could, never would be able to. It left me and I went back down the hill and peed into the fire. Maybe I am a lawyer. Maybe that's all I can be. Is it a shameful thing to make a living by one's wits and ability? Maybe indignation's the closest to fur I can come. I am a dog, wishing I could sharpen my teeth on the bones of the master's hand. But this is wrong too; dogs are loyal. (by CL Bledsoe) 76


Kyle Hemmings

Lives and works in New Jersey where he is recovering from a long and harsh winter of sorts.

77


The Queen of Rain

The Queen of Rain fell into our lives, bare except for humus and dead leaves. As a child , with an armadillo’s instinct, I burrowed into soil and my only friends were the roots of plants, the organic waste from animals, but the Queen of Rain washed away the soil and flooded my little secret dirt tunnels. No No No she said. I’ve come to bring rain. At first, we rebelled. We needed to hold on to our green monkeys and our swallowtail butterflies we kept in tight mason jars. To us, they were symbols of what was most sacred and persistent. We knew what to worship. Our mothers only spoke in one language. Our fathers were busy emptying the forests of latex and honey. When they returned home after a hard day, they built their children chairs from rattan. But the Queen of Rain came down and took our houses away. She killed our fathers and made our mothers her servants. The earth grew rich in iron and bauxite, but there was no one to mine them. And we the children grew into vines, vines touching other vines, vines and yellow and green and red and orange flowers and we grew until we formed a giant leaf canopy covering the earth. One that the Queen of Rain could never penetrate. We did not shed a tear (by Kyle Hemmings)

78


Anne Harding Woodworth

Her most recent book is SPARE PARTS, A Novella in Verse (Turning Point, 2008) about a friendship based on NASCAR. Her essays and poetry have appeared in U.S. and Canadian journals, anthologies, and at several sites on line. www.annehardingwoodworth.com

79


WILLIE, SPLIT

“. . . survived by one daughter, Monica” The lid is up. This isn’t the Willie the children watched for tricks. This Willie’s casket won’t be sawn in half, though mirrors covered now still hint of magic. Smoke’s back in the can, goatee gone, top silk hat flat and put away. This is the Willie from the VFW bar, the Willie from the tool room at the factory. Three faces— and the world still trusts a man. The Brotherhood stops by for the Rite of the Broken Wand. The riderless horse has soared away like vapor, and the woman in the jeweled sweat shirt is suspicious of the dead man’s boutonniere. (by Anne Harding Woodworth)

80


900 YEARS OF JAZZ

for Wayne Shorter In the U of the sax that plays a twelfth-century carol I rest as if in a hammock on a holy day. It’s a listening room and dark, where I hear celibates sing—voices arched against stone walls— in Latin before the refectory meal. I smoke a cigarette and drink a short glass of gin, nothing the color of blood, just clear, with a slightly bitter tongue. In the same room I caress a man because music winds into body crevices as fluently as it does into the necks of brass. Notes dredged from a sacred close are moist tears from a marble virgin’s eyes. Hodie. Not to be believed by some. Believed by some and bringing on ecstasy, hodie, which is the side of miracle I’m on today. (by Anne Harding Woodworth) *first published on line at Innisfree Poetry Journal, September 2005

81


ART HULL, ALCOHOLIC

Art had a novel published, said he had three more inside him. But his tormented characters lost all patience with him, began to run crazed through his red arteries, under his clavicle, down into his gut, screaming, “Get us the hell out of here, Art!” Sometimes they’d beat against his stomach wall with veiny arms and fingers. Sometimes knees. He’d look down and see tiny protrusions under his shirt. His characters entered buildings in degrees of construct and collapse. They played cards, wore black peg pants, and combed their hair into thick lines. Sometimes they said things glued like “Heyfuckerhowzitgoin?” Sometimes they carried guns. In dark stadium tunnels lethargic cigarette smoke crept around them, and they stared glazed through Art’s ribcage, while the clock dripped. They didn’t go to school, didn’t look inside themselves, just hung out in dim wet light. (by Anne Harding Woodworth) *published in slightly different form in Bloodstone, A Poetry Anthology, 1999

82


Adam Fieled

A poet based in Philadelphia. He has released many books and chapbooks, maintains two blogs, and teaches at Temple University. The following poems are taken from a collection that is split between Fieled and Swedish poet Lars Palm. afieled@yahoo.com

83


Riot Poem #3

A suicide bomber in a quiet province is voting today, in a new coalition government, as “paramilitary forces go too far.” Improperly intercepting Wall Street slugs that fall 11% over nights, repeated history groins. “Rocks off the shore of Tripoli”— what about the TV generation?

(by Adam Fieled)

84


Riot Poem #4

Could a church member do such a thing? Congressional leaders have released them. Public memos say: fight to keep them sealed. (Judiciary committees own up, bone up) White House as “metonymic restriction�: signing unidentified sources. Party talks, a U.N. group left just yesterday: $966 mill! I intend to beat Wall Street expectations, I said, monitored by as many scholars as possible. How? (by Adam Fieled)

85


Jackson Lassiter

Lives in the nation's capitol with his long-time partner, a creaky old shih tzu, and a slightly meanspirited cat. Jackson suffers a bit from ADHD, and is easily distracted by things like leaf stains and thesaurus surfing. He is developing a fondness for the beautiful clarity/density of poetry, and hopes you enjoy his work. LuckyJRL@hotmail.com

86


ADHD

Yesteryear’s poets never tangled with an online thesaurus, never started surfing at laud only to end up hours later at exculpate, nary a word put to poetic use. Pity the modern poet’s plight. Imagine Poe ricocheting among the bluehighlighted words of the computer age, his delirium growing more profound with each click, the words he chased always flickering past, never alighting on the page (by Jackson Lassiter)

87


Leaf Stains

I trudge, don’t care I’m late to work late November early morning with a funeral, her funeral, in the background like the pin oak leaf stains on the sidewalk. How is it the russet silhouettes remain after the leaves decompose? A shroud burned, ashes to ashes, on the concrete by the autumn rain like the memory of her remains that remains singed hot on my grey recollection. Oaks refuse to leave so leave their leaf stains but she left and the stain she leaves is not russet but rose and instead of lying flat and still it levitates, warps and splashes upon my face.

88


The fall rain changes to snow, the leaf stains are entombed and tears drift over the frozen season of her passing.

(by Jackson Lassiter)

89


James H Duncan

A New York native, part-time Taoist, and editor of Hobo Camp Review. Although a graduate of Southern Vermont College, he considers himself a lifelong student of the road, picking up non-credit courses in local dive bars, all-night cafes, and used book stores. Plainsongs, Red Fez, The Homestead Review, Reed Magazine, and The Battered Suitcase, among others, have welcomed his poetry. His fourth collection "Maybe a Bird Will Sing" (Bird War Press) is due in 2009. www.jhdwriting.com

90


Darkness within the dark

rejection screams through the overcoat night hold it, hold it like a dead crow limp in the crook of the dawn sky weaving another fold into your desperate horizon it’ll rain through your coat and shirt and skin and bones down into your spirit aimless bloodless heartless toothless greedless painless perfectness hiding in the dark, down to that part that doesn’t exist in the world, but exists in the universe, in the closed eye understanding of every truth and every newborn’s dream and when reality rejects the salt on your ocean air, grind your feet deeper into the sidewalk and pray the rain drowns that bastard christian God wherever he is, sleeping in some foreign gutter as the neon of Sunday morning claws at the 5 a.m.sky (by James H Duncan)

91


Sharon Boyle Woods

An American currently living in Doha, Qatar, Boyle-Woods has spent the last 29 years overseas. Her work is an organic process beginning with a central concept and evolving with her emotions and intellect while she works. Her work is unplanned and the actual painting takes shape as she applies paint to the canvas. Ms. Boyle-Woods begins with blocks of color (sometimes these can still be detected in the finished product) then allows the painting to emerge. Sometimes sculptors talk about finding the shape in a block of stone and although this may not make as much sense, Ms. Woods has the same experience with finding the subject in the canvas and paint.

editors note Next summer an art gallery in San Antonio will be featuring Boyle-Woods' paintings and the USA Ambassador's wife in Doha has asked her to join the best expat artist producing Middle East art exhibit this Fall, plus the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Doha has contacted her to do her own art exhibit in the Spring of 2010! She is up to her elbows in work and enjoying it!

detail from 'Artificial Boundaries' by Sharon Boyle Woods

92


Aleathia Drehmer

Currently awaiting the local pool to open and the sun to stay out for more than an hour. She is the poetry editor for Full of Crow and co-editor of special editions for Zygote in my Coffee. She lives in rural Painted Post in upstate New York with her darling daughter and one crazy cat. Aleathia has been lucky enough to be published in many online and print journals in the small press over the last few years. She is even luckier to have amazing friends. Her forthcoming chap “Circles� is available from Kendra Steiner Editions in June 2009 and will share a 69 Flip from Tainted Coffee Press called Empty Spaces/A Quiet Learning Curve with Dan Provost. www.myabdication.blogspot.com

93


Rivalry

I slept in awakening to soft sunshine, silence. I stretched moving dreams from deep in muscles. Your words linger still, haloed loosely around ears, a touch of gold, a slight of hand, that rivals Midas, for every pound he’s worth. (by Aleathia Drehmer)

94


Saiyin

His grandmother yells at him every morning, in a tongue from the old lands of China, before the bus pulls into the circle, and its yellow hull lines them up without being corralled. Defiance marks his face despite his features being on an even playing field and he roars back at her, his tongue not as old, as he reels from her field worn hands. She is exasperated at what this country has done to time tested customs of respect and authority for elders. He baits her until she begins again. (by Aleathia Drehmer)

95


Heller Levinson

Living in NYC where he studies animal behavior. He has published in over a hundred journals and magazine including Sulfur, Hunger, Talisman, First Instensity, Laurel Review, Omega, The Wandering Hermit, Jacket, The Jivin' Ladybug, etc. His most recent publication, Smelling Mary, is newly out from Howling Dog Press and has been nominated for both the Pulitzer Prize and the Griffin Prize. Please visit www.hellerlevinson for more information.

96


in the combing of silence

fanfare tra

relegation

regulation

regis

tion

cornerings, drift geometries direction follow the hairline

(by Heller Levinson)

97


Milton P. Ehrlich

A psychologist who has published a few dozen poems in literary journals. Leonia, N.J. 07605

98


SENIOR PROM NIGHT (circa 1948)

Trembling in a cold sweat in front of a mirror rehearsing what to say over the phone he awkwardly asks her to the prom. When she agrees, he’s as ecstatic as if he’s won the Irish Sweepstakes. He’s charmed by her dentine smile and beguiled by her being the only one in class who knows what enjambment means. He tries not to stare at her shapely nubile breasts flaunted in florescent splendor in tight red sweaters. Sitting on the bleachers while classmates play ball, he reads “This Is My Beloved” to her. She giddily recites the poetry of Kenneth Patchen. Looking spiffy in a rented white tux, he hands her the proscribed orchard corsage. Returning home they cuddle on a front porch glider. The scent of clematis ivy creeping up the wall merges with a surge of incendiary sensations, tongues talk rapturously to each other, a language new to both of them. Soothing her eyebrows gently the way he learned to ease his mother’s migraines, he tries not to think of what his concupiscent imagination constructs: creamy lush thighs waiting for the attouchement of lust. Frenzied, he wrestles with her bra, but she pleads no, no, no. If only he could decipher the Chinese puzzle clasp on her back, she might change her no to yes. All that remains of that balmy Spring night is a Copacabana black and white ashtray and the lingering tunes in his head of Sinatra, Dean and Sammy. (by Milton P. Ehrlich)

99


Chris Labrenz Chris hangs his shingle at a lo-cal video shop in Edmonton Alberta, freelancing while working on Moocowkids, a graphic novel to be released in the near future. Along with being featured in this edition`s cover art, his work can be viewed online at devianArt and Facebook fan club under Chrisco Labrenz.

Alice in Wonderland

100


George Anderson

George Anderson grew up in Montreal and now lives in North Wollongong, Australia. He teaches at a large public high school and edits the student print magazine Ephemeral. He has published hundreds of poems in a wide variety of magazines since 2002. Erbacce-press in July 2008 published a chapbook of his poems. Dancing On Thin Ice . http://georgedanderson.blogspot.com *'Dancing On Thin Ice' is available at: http://www.erbacce-press.com/#/georgeanderson/4529601467.

101


Gippsland Mall

Outside Jay Jays in Gippsland Mall a sign on the back of his wheelchair reads SHIT HAPPENS. He is selling pencils. He tells me it was the most ordinary of days. The sky was blue. Everything seemed bathed in a special light. He says he opened his wallet to buy a gelato. A five dollar note curled in a light wind & tumbled onto the street. A sudden lurch. Then the sharp breakingthe smack of metal on bone the mangled trajectory the ugly THUD twenty five metres down the road his head split open like a walnut. ‘I guess you’re right’, I tell him and buy his most upmarket pen. ‘Do you ever get used to it, I mean, adopt a stoical view that shit does happen and simply accept it and move on?’ ‘I guess so’, he says as he counts his money and walks over the café to order a sandwich. (by George Anderson)

102


C. Derick Varn

Born in Augusta, Georgia and has lived and/or visited most of the East Coast, but always, strangely, returns to Georgia. Derick Varn has a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry at Georgia College and State University where he served as assistant editor for Arts and Letters: A Journal of Contemporary Arts. Derick served as managing editor for the now defunct Milkwood Review. He won the Frankeye Davis Mayes/Academy of American Poets Prize in 2003 and has recently published poems in Backwards City Review, Toronto Quarterly, and Unlikely Stories 2.0. He currently lives Macon Georgia, with his wife and several cats. During the day he works as a secondary school teacher and, at night, he writes and paints.

103


After Reading a Biography of Zhou Enlai

I cannot bear the thought of Mao, his near pop art smiling profile haunts me, even as an American. Too much like Uncle Sam in red and yellow, a brow slightly too sloped like a crook inlet in the Yangtze where the water flows too sharply. Enlai’s face: distant with the warmth of stone in the earth and his jaw churns in the same slow seismic shifts. In staring down Khrushchev and shaking his hand, where Mao had contempt for all ages, Enlai merely wipes his hands and tosses away the towel. (by C. Derrick Varn) 104


Gale Acuff

Poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Adirondack Review, Poem, South Carolina Review, Sou'wester, Worcester Review, Maryland Poetry Review, and other journals in addition to authoring three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel (BrickHouse, 2004), The Weight of the World (BrickHouse, 2006), and The Story of My Lives (BrickHouse, 2009). Acuff has taught university English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank.

105


Airborne

After school, homework--pencils, paper--kiting until suppertime, and after. Newspaper sticks and mucilage, or tape in a heavy wind. I send Sunday comics into aerospace. Hank Aaron, classified ads, the headlines that Martin Luther King or Bobby Kennedy is slain, that LBJ won't run again, that ice cream is bad for you and that's the scoop. I put them all together in a frame and watch them float away, only a line between me and them. Sometimes it breaks or the wind rips the paper or there's not enough tail or too much - and the things loop and loop. Loop into whirlpool, then hit the ground. A much harder sky to the sky's airier earth. I follow what I've helped the wind suspend, make repairs, adjustments and try again, as though I'm testing wings, as if I'm the one for flight. Yet I never see myself up there, air - borne, but I hold the line against the breeze. It's at the limit when the flying's best, when nature’s wind pulls you or yanks the string from your grip or pulls out the tent-stake where you've thrust it in to tie flight down or rubs and rubs the string and you look up to see the creation limping off, no more pride to it, no shape only animation. Then you have to choose whether to track it down after it hides behind trees and houses or let it lie. Gee, I should've put a message on it: If you find this kite please call me at 926-3444 and tell me where you found it so I'll know how far it went. I've followed on my bike, abandoned wheels, walked through the woods to where my hope has risen. Found it in trees, on housetops, over power lines--and, occasionally, on the ground. Where it began anyway, a wooden thing exploded into splinters and shreds. This is the end of me, I think, the way I'll come down one day. God makes new what's old, they say at Sunday School. If you believe. I believe, but I haven't thought about the finer points of what makes God. When I'm old enough to do that, I'll be deceased. Now I believe I'll never die. So I rewind all the string I can and tie untethered broken ends to repair old kites or salvage the frames and the cross – pieces, put together something new that's partly old and send it up again. Somehow I go with it and hope for a few hours of nothing. While I reel it in I realize how long it takes--but only remember when I'm doing it, crossing wrist over wrist, making a circle one revolution at a time until it's in good hands. What comes to be is that it's 106


easier to let the kite have its way, which must be God's way, or death's--and sail out tautlessly. Then pursue it or let it ride, though that's such a lot of line to follow. It's what I can't see that keeps me looking. (by Gale Acuff)

107


Short Stories Louis K. Lowy

a retired firefighter, is a struggling husband and father, struggling Florida International University Creative Writing student, struggling musician, struggling filmmaker, and an accomplished struggler. He is the recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship. His work has appeared in Coral Living Magazine and The Florida Book Review. His novel And the Heavens Shall Part was a quarterfinalist in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, and his poem "Poetry Workshop (Mary Had A Little Lamb)" won second prize in the 2009 Winning Writers Wergle Flomp humor poetry contest. louis01@bellsouth.net

108


Fight the Future or Why My Wife Left Me by Louis K Lowly

- for Denise Duhamel “Scully,” I say. “Don’t hold back your love for me. The cigarette smoking man’s about to unleash a plague that may or may not be government sponsored and might involve an alien-hybrid (the plot was always murky about that) upon the world.” Scully turns to me and says, “The hell with the world!” She moves her gloss-coated lips to mine. I rub my fingers in her pimento red hair; after all this is around season four, long after the producers decided her dark hair was too bland. I move my lips closer and as they brush against hers I– Damn it. I’m out of Baked Cheetos. I pause the DVD, take a quick pee and as I leave the bathroom Susie, my wife, enters shaking her head at me in disgust. “Are you really that hard up?” she asks. I grab a Fiber One bar from the snack drawer and flop back in my easy chair. Unpause. A.D. Skinner races in, buffed and wearing those wire-rim circular spectacles that make him look wonkyish and ready to kick ass all at the same time. He says to me, “Senator Sorenson is shutting down the X-Files. He demands you stop pursuing the bull necked, symbiotic shape-shifting supersoldier with green blood and oil in his eyes. You’re through, agent!” I shove A.D. Skinner aside, brush past him to the senator’s chamber, kick the door in, enter and say– “I want to believe,” Susie says as she leaves the bathroom and walks down the hall, “that you’re coming to bed soon.” I shush my hand at her and press pause. “I’m warning you and this time I mean it,” she adds. I wait for her to close the bedroom door. Unpause. I’m standing in the middle of a large circle back-to-back with Scully. Surrounding us are the shape-shifting Manitou, the murderous Chinga Doll, the amorous Mutato, pizza toting vampire Ronnie Strickland flashing his bicuspids, diabolical double agent Alex Krycek, and the incestuous Peacock Family, holding their limbless, chortling ma upright. Krycek screams “Now!” and the circle tightens. The occult, the primordial, the mutated, shuffle and scrape and crunch inward. Scully and I glance over our shoulders at each other. I whip out my leather pouched ID and yell, “Put your hands up, we’re FBI!” Still, the circle tightens like a hangmen’s noose around us. I feel Scully’s hand grip mine. I reach into my shoulder holster and slip out my service revolver. She says, “There’s a logical explanation for this.” My pulse leaps. I say, “The truth is out– “There!” Susie says. “This’ll prove to you I’m not kidding around.” She’s carrying a small suitcase and the keys to the Accord. I press pause. Susie heads toward the front door. “Wait,” I say. “I’ll turn it off. Honest!” “That’s what you said the last time, and the time before that!” The door slams. I spring out of my easy chair and rush outside just in time to see the car screech out of the drive. I barely notice it’s morning as I enter the house. I slump in my easy chair. I should go after her. I look around at the dull yellow walls, the plain furniture, the worn linoleum…and the remote in my hand. Unpause. The whistled theme music waffles in the air. The sinister circle once again closes in around me. 109


I glance across the room at Langley who is yelling at Frohike who is pointing a lone gun at Byers. Scully taps my shoulder, arching her left eyebrow at me as if to ask, “Aren’t you going after her?” I glance at the remote. The circle is nearly upon me. Fight the future, I think, fight the future!

110


Nick Harris

Born in Uganda and has subsequently lived in Lebanon, Greece, and India. He studied woodcarving in Greece and Sitar in India while working at the American Embassy School as a teacher's assistant in elementary physical education. He is currently enrolled at Seattle University’s undergraduate creative writing program. Harris’s short story, The Death of June Merrimack was published in the Blue Fog Journal and The Whole Deal won honorable mention in the Dylan Days Creative Writing Contest of Hibbing MN. Trees was read at the Seattle University Undergraduate Research Association Conference by Harris and he also participated in the Reading at the Frye Art Museum for poetry held by Poets West in Seattle, WA. Harris’s poetry has been published in Pearle, Poets West, and Voices in Wartime. He lives happily in Edmonds, WA with his dog and cat writing, reading, and studying. nrharris56@comcast.net

111


Trees by Nick Harris

Russell didn’t know when it began. Sometime in the heat of summer, 1990. Silent voices whispered from the dry leaves of trees. Nothing, nothing was happening. He was sitting, most of the time, sweating on the micro-fiber couch watching C-Span or CNN as Iraqi troops rolled into Kuwait. “I’m getting another beer. Do you want one?” asked his friend. “Yeah,” Russell said. “Grab the bag of Doritos, too.” They weren’t shocked. The Middle-East had always been a disaster. Kuwait had been a part of Iraq for hundreds of years before the British. You didn’t have to be a genius to see it coming. “I’m getting messed up,” Russell said. “Me too.” Early the next year American and British bombs fell on Bagdad. Russell stayed at his mom’s place while she was out of town. It was raining and the driveway was awash with water pouring down from the neighbor’s parcel that had been clear-cut to build his new house. The house was up and where there had been trees was an expansive lawn surrounding the McMansion. There was nothing to trap the water that before had been absorbed by the forest and the neighbor hadn’t provided drainage for what had been a predictable problem. The whispers from trees became more pronounced and now were taking on human voices though the words weren’t easy to discern. A week later Russell’s wife, Rachael, came up to join him and spend her vacation. It was supposed to be a romantic two weeks out in the woods for them. Russell made himself busy rebuilding the deck on the old house. The work was proceeding well. He used his MP3 player to block out the voices that Rachael knew nothing about. The two of them went to speak with the neighbor about the water and the conversation became contentious. Russell told the neighbor to stay away from Rachael. He said he’d seen him looking at her. Rachael was embarrassed and after some harsh words in which the neighbor indicated that the water was not his problem, the meeting ended. “Why did you say that?” Rachael asked. “What?” “For him to stop looking at me.” “What are you talking about?” “I heard you,” she said, “are you losing your mind?”

112


“I didn’t tell him that. We hardly ever see them. Why would I say that?” “I don’t know. You told him to stay away from me.” “For Christ’s sake, are you sure you’re not losing your mind?” Russell said. “Why should I give a damn if he looks at you?” The trees were silent. “You don’t remember?” she questioned him. “What’s to remember?” Russell said. “You need to get checked out by a doctor. You’ve been acting weird. Like with the deck. I’m afraid you’re going to hurt yourself. You’re working too fast. Since when do you get up at four in the morning? You’re not sleeping enough.” “I’m getting a beer,” Russell stated. “It’s not even twelve yet.” “What, I’m your kid now?” He climbed the stairs that didn’t have railings yet. The beer was cold and felt good going down. He heard the voices. “Are you losing your mind?” they said. “Just drop it,” he yelled out to Rachael. “I didn’t say anything,” she called to him from outside where she looked off on the unfinished deck into the forest. He sat on the couch exhausted. Rachael walked through the slider and looked at him. “What are you looking at?” Russell said. She sat down next to him. “I’m calling Dr. Stimson.” “Do what you want,” Russell mumbled. “I’m going to get some lumber.” He slammed down the beer bottle and left. She picked up the phone and called the Freeland Clinic. As they walked through the clinic doors Russell looked around suspiciously.

113


Rachael went to the desk and registered with the receptionist. “He’ll be right with you,” the receptionist said. Rachael thanked him and she and Russell sat down by the window. Rain splashed against it. It was the heart of winter. The wind was gusting and pushed the drops at an uncomforting angle. The waiting room was quiet but for the riffling of magazine pages. “Russell Henderson?” the receptionist called and led them to Dr. Stimson’s office. Dr. Stimson went through a list of questions. He asked if Russell was sleeping well and Rachael said, “No,” after Russell’s affirmation. “He gets up at four and watches CNN all night,” she said. “He’s very upset by all the bombing in Iraq but keeps watching like he might miss something.” “Do you feel tired as a result of not sleeping?” Dr. Stimson asked. “Not usually. But I felt a little tired yesterday.” “Plus he’s drinking a lot of beer,” Rachael added. She explained what happened at the neighbor’s and the Doctor asked if he was forgetting other things. He asked Russell what day and year it was. Russell hesitated then answered correctly. “Mostly he’s doing things faster than usual,” Rachel complained. “He seems to be in a hurry when he’s not glued to the TV. He’s building a deck and I’m afraid he’ll hurt himself.” Russell sat with his hands in his lap like a little boy. He had trouble making eye contact with the doctor. “Do you want to hurt yourself?” Dr. Stimson asked. “What kind of question is that?” said Russell. “Do you feel any anxiety?” “No.” “Do my questions irritate you?” “This is ridiculous,” Russell said. At home, Rachael called the University of Washington hospital to arrange for a CAT scan of Russell’s head to rule out a tumor. Dr. Stimson suggested Russell see a psychiatrist in Coupville. That night, Rachael cooked Russell’s favorite dinner. She lit candles, turned off the TV, and put on Anita Baker. They ate quietly as the candles transformed the dining room with yellow amorphous flickering.

114


“I love you,” Rachael said after a period of silence. “I’ve loved you since…well, since you asked me to marry you in Sears. I mean that’s when I really knew. You were so crazy then.” He had told her he needed underwear and they had stopped at Sears. He had guided her towards the jewelry department. “I thought you needed underwear,” she said. He asked, “What ring do you like?” “What?” she’d replied. “Pick out a ring.” Rachael was perplexed until the sales clerk offered with uncanny confidence, “He’s asking you to marry him.” “Are you?” Rachael asked. “Yes.” “Ditto,” she had then said. When they finished dinner, Russell did the dishes while Rachael dried them. They left the lights off and, like pilgrims, worked in candlelight. When done, she put her arms around his waist and kissed him deeply. “I want you to make love to me,” she said. Russell laughed for the first time in weeks and said, “Okay.” The CAT scan was negative. In confidence Russell told the psychiatrist about the voices. “It sounds like you’re experiencing the inception of schizophrenia,” she told him. “It’s not uncommon for people to develop it later in life particularly under stressful conditions. What sort of stressors do you have?” “I’m out of work and this war…I hate war but I can’t stop watching.” “I’m going to give you a medication that I think will help.” He sighed in relief. On February 26th and 27th, 1991 retreating Iraqi troops were annihilated on their way back to Iraq with no option for surrender. Smoking carcasses of trucks and people lined the highway. On the 23 rd, Iraqis had dumped 400 million gallons of crude into the Persian Gulf. Rachael was back at work and the deck 115


was done. Russell locked his mother’s house in preparation of her return and left for Seattle to join Rachael. He deferred the water problem to his mom. Meanwhile Rachael had lined up a job interview for him in the Safeway meat department. At this point he was willing to do anything. Back in Seattle, he stood in his front yard listening to the wind as it filtered through the trees. He was happy to be working but not with bloody carcasses. He liked his coworkers and being in the same store with Rachael. At times he’d amble over to the Starbucks kiosk and get coffee from her. She was manager and had worked there two years. “Give me a venti Americano short no water,” he’d tell her. Sometimes he’d wink at her and she’d blush imperceptibly. Only he could see it and this little confidence they shared was even better than the coffee. “How’s she treating you?” he asked the other girl on one occasion. “If it’s anything like home, I feel sorry for you. She runs the place like a military barracks.” He winked at her too. He was feeling expansive and the plump girl, he felt, needed some encouragement. “She’s okay,” the girl said. “Cassy’s the best one I’ve got,” Rachael said smiling at her. “Now get out of here, Russell. I’ve got other customers.” She turned to the next person in line and with an air of familiarity said, “What can I get you. Would you like to sample our special of the day?” Russell was proud of her and proud to be her husband. He returned to his work, sorting through the flesh of a variety of animals. As time passed, the job began to grate on him. He hated the smell of death and the slippery feel of meat became a source of displeasure to him. At home he ate less meat complaining to Rachael if she prepared her famous pork chops with mushroom gravy. He even refused flank steak, his old favorite. He began to eat less in general. He felt his stomach shrinking and his already lean face took on a sharper quality. He’d taken to biking to work and soon the pounds melted from his frame. The veins on his arms became more pronounced and his shirts hung loosely from his bony shoulders. Rachael became more concerned and on a Thursday morning before work, she asked him if he was feeling okay. “Sweetheart, you’ve got to start eating meat again. You’re wasting away. What’s the matter?” “Nothing,” he said. But his problems at work had gotten worse. Now he thought his coworkers were talking about him behind his back. Every once in a while he heard snippets of conversation and thought he heard his name. He became frustrated and more careless. On several occasions he cut himself badly and this only 116


contributed to his feelings of confusion. He began to be concerned with the quality of meat thinking that it had odd colors and smells. He complained to his boss about maggots and rotting meat. “What?” his boss said, incredulous. You’re seeing things.” Russell insisted. They argued. “What the hell’s wrong with you?” his boss said. “You can’t put this shit out,” Russell said. “What kind of people are you? This is bullshit. And I’d appreciate if you didn’t talk about me. If you have something to say, say it to my face.” “You need to calm down,” his boss said. Russell grabbed him by the collar. “You’re trying to kill them with your maggots and blue meat.” His boss slapped away Russell’s hands. Russell grabbed a knife. “Put that down or I’ll call 911.” Russell started to stab at the meat. “I won’t let you kill them. I won’t let you kill me.” He stabbed the meat with violent jabs and then threw it against the wall and started crying. He slouched down, collapsing into a heap on the floor and remained there sobbing, the knife still in his hand. There was a look of cautious sympathy in his boss’s eyes when he called the police. They put him in a special room in the University of Washington’s hospital psychiatric ward and locked the door. They observed him through the windows as he paced the room. He washed his hands continuously but could still smell the meat on them. He lay down on the bed and closed his eyes. He could still hear his knife cutting through the grist of joints. The medicine they had given him made him very tired and eventually he fell asleep for a couple of hours. When he awoke, Rachael was looking through the window at him. He was still groggy. “Can I talk to him?” she asked the nurse. They opened the door and Rachael went in. “How are you feeling, baby? I love you. Let’s take a little walk.” They walked up and down the hallways of the locked ward. Russell didn’t say much. 117


“You sure gave us a scare at work. Everyone’s so worried about you.” “What do they care,” he said. “Well, I care and I know they do too.” “What’d they slip me? I feel great.” “They gave you some Atavan. It’s supposed to calm you down.” “I feel like I’m on Acid, you know, but it’s making everything more intense, like it’s having an opposite effect on me. I know that’s what they really gave me. The acid is a brand new therapy they’re trying on just me.” “No baby. But think what you want. It’ll be a while before the meds kick in. They’re going to increase your Abilify and put you on an antidepressant. You’ll be in here for a while. Can you handle that?” “Yeah.” That night, Rachael gone, he lay in his bed feeling very tired in waking dream state. They put him in a new room with privacy. The Psychiatrist visited him. His mom was coming tomorrow. He was listening to the Cocteau Twins on his MP3 player. “They knew what it was like,” he thought. He knew his wife had slipped heroin into his breakfast. That’s why he’d flipped out at the store. He’d have to watch her more carefully. But the LSD was working nicely and everything seemed clear to him. The Cocteau Twins had obviously made the album for this very occasion for him. How did they know he’d be here? He lay on his back and closed his eyes but the eye in the middle of his forehead could see through the black ether. Russell felt like he was wrapped in velvet, like a womb. Warm comforting tears formed and ran down the sides of his face. “Tracks in the sand,” he thought. “This must be how Jesus felt. Forgive me Father for you have sinned,” he mumbled. “You killed the only good thing you ever did. But he lives again. He lives again…” His words trailed off and he fell asleep. Jesus visited him that night. His sandals creaked as he walked to the side of the bed. Russell lay on his back, his third eye staring off into the black ether. Jesus gently closed it with his callused thumb. Russell said, “I can’t see, Jesus. “Open your eyes,” Jesus said. Russell opened his eyes but only blackness greeted him. “Where are you Jesus?”

118


“I’m right beside you.” Russell turned his head. In the reflection of a mirror across the room he saw himself. “What’s going on?” he said. Jesus wiped tears from his own eyes, turned, and walked into the mirror down a hallway filled with door after door and disappeared. Russell ran after him checking the doors but they were all locked. At the end of the hallway, the floor dropped off into interstellar space. Russell sat at the edge and listened. The wind howled, surrounded him and then was completely still. He sat there like a grain of sand on the beach until he was gone, carried off on a motionless breeze. Russell never was the same. The hospital let him out of for periods of time so he and Rachael could go to a motel and make love. For him, it was proof he was still a man. For her it was an expression of love and commitment. While he was on top of her, she’d think of the long road ahead of them and her orgasms were tinged with sadness. He grew less suspicious of her and grew to love her again. Finally they sent him home and though he couldn’t work for a long time, he was a good husband in other respects. The medication kept him stable but he was less gregarious than he used to be. Only a small trickle of friends ventured into his and Rachael’s life afterwards, as if he had been paralyzed in an auto accident and they were too depressed or embarrassed to see him like that. Occasionally, he would smell death at night and would wake with a start but Rachael was always there to help him and his love for her deepened. He began his long journey back into the world like a baby learns to crawl and then to walk, no longer visited by Jesus but firm in his belief that Jesus had guided him through to the other side. Russell was an atheist but he knew that humans possessed a power exceeding what they thought. No, Russell would never be the same. Nor would the world. He and Rachael would never have children. Russell was her child, her husband, and her reminder that life balances on a fulcrum that at any moment can give way.

119


Book Reviews Nabina Das A poet and fiction writer dividing her existence between the US and India. She has been widely published in North America and India and freelances and blogs at www.fleuve-souterrain.blogspot.com

The Turbulent Top: Marginalized Women’s Voices from India A review of THE UNFOLD PINNACLE by Basanta Kumar Kar by Nabina Das

Basanta Kumar Kar’s involvement in the Indian nonprofit sector for years has afforded him a close-up of tribal societies, backward classes and marginalized sections of India's developing and diverse society. He writes with flourish in first-person voices of personas as varied as an under-aged girl with a history of abuse to a Gond or Maria tribal woman struggling against the onslaught of modern civilization to a mother-cum-sex worker reflecting on her fate in the ruthless city. As a professional in his poetic role, Kar brings alive the disillusionment and haplessness of India’s marginalized women, especially those from Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST). While involving himself in his subject’s plight he remains a keen observer. Kar shares the wealth of his experiences with his readers in the rather long unpublished 73-page collection. Wikipedia defines the SC/ST as ‘Indian population groupings that are explicitly recognized by the Constitution of India, previously called the "depressed classes" by the British, and otherwise known as untouchables. SCs/STs together comprise over 24% of India's population, with SC at over 16% and ST over 8% as per the 2001 census… Some Scheduled Castes in India are also known as Dalits. Some Scheduled Tribe people are also referred to as Adivasis. Commenting on the crisis of faith people from these underprivileged communities experience, in the aptly titled “Faith First”, Kar writes: Smoke and cloud work in tandem swings of snow peep hills draw lines, mesmerize they butcher;

120


The actions embodied by the elements smoke, cloud, snow, hills etc. are swift and brutal, akin to the experience of his subject. Nature provides no succor. It is a constant reminder of bad fortune. In “…mesmerize/they butcher” this is particularly amplified. The short staccato sentences metaphorically and literally “work in tandem”. The cosmogony of the women Kar writes about, socially denied and deprived, and often under a double yoke of social stigma within their own communities, is comprised of humanistic elements that surprise us with their animateness, the only source of comfort for the subjugated lot: I understand my neighbours tamarind tree, dates and nuts pigs and chicken, ghosts and spirits traditional healers. The weltanschauung of the women is stark yet conveys the environment they thrive in: We are together no one more equal than others. Kar’s writing style is abrupt and rhetorical for the most part, characteristic of his subject’s emotional graph: The flower fades the bird escapes the cage I ponder over the lineage but to yet another cruel destiny. “Border I” – where Kar’s palette proffers a touch of hope for the voice of an ‘other backward caste’ widow from the state of Chhattisgarh in eastern India – is a delightful study in astuteness. The lilting tones of “The fading barks almost ochre” escalates the almost ochre-ness of the still life reflected in the river as if a frame of decay and degeneration. Kar repeats the water/river motif to encompass the broad expanse of the subject’s silence and depth of agony in “The silent river Tel”. For the widow, “festive is the air for all else” in her village bordering the eastern state of Orissa. And Kar’s prophetic yet passive observation that “the scheme unfolds at pinnacle” tells of a subtext of events and actions that this particular festive moment encapsulates. Rather than celebration, all that the subject takes recourse to is complete surrender to her destiny. In the festive scenario, the only activity she is entitled to is “to bring smoke before the sunset”.

121


Kar’s poetry is often marked by chopped rhymes and a frequent absence of article usage. In effect this highlights the speech pattern of his poetic subjects, most of whom we realize to be without any worldly pedigree. Although it may surprise and annoy a stickler for English grammar -- Kar follows the British spelling system followed in India – the parole brings alive the shared linguistic ethnography of the Chhattisgarh-Orissa-Andhra Pradesh state cluster, the rawness of forest and village life, and the customs of the people ensconced there. Kar’s style at times, however, becomes overbearing in his earnestness to communicate his subjects’ travails. Many expressions become repetitive. The elements of his environment, the ecology and ethnography of it, is often enmeshed in commonplace poetic metaphors. Also, trying to highlight only the pain and subjugation of single mothers, the abused, the widowed, and the institutionally sidelined among the backward caste and Adivasi women in this passionate collection Kar calls ‘verse for a cause’, his poetry rarely offers any tonal variation. The world of “The Unfold Pinnacle” also has moments away from the oppressing villages and the tribal regions. Life has not heralded better times for a twenty-two year old Bedia girl even in the urban setting of the city of Mumbai in Maharashtra state. A bar girl now, a shade different from her ancestral profession, her plaintive tone in “Bosom” (Alluring Bombay bar seduces/in a panoramic green room/from a late night to dawn) unfolds the pinnacle where misfortune spews.

122


Interviews Paul A. Toth

Credit to The Nervous Breakdown http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/ for recognizing Toth’s skill in recreating personas with witty engaging and realistic interviews. I wasn't the only one who asked if it was real. The Nervous Breakdown is planning to publish Toth’s series of interviews and if they hadn't gotten there first ... ed~ jl

My Smokin' Celebrity Interview with Sean Penn by Paul A. Toth

Since nearly every interview with Sean Penn immediately notes that he lights cigarettes with the regularity of old women on prune juice, Sean Penn lit his third cigarette before our interview had begun. He spent that time gazing at me as if I were some sort of fantastic form of quartz. He is, and will always be, one of Hollywood's foremost geologists, digging up jewels of roles, which he then polishes like a rock tumbler. He lit a cigarette before finishing the other one and smoked the two simultaneously. Soon, he was smoking fifteen cigarettes at the same time. He put on his sunglasses, took them off, and put them on again. It's a useless actor's ploy, and he was being ironic, I'm sure of it. "Acting is about acting, like you're acting until you're not sure you're acting," he says. "Then you're acting. If I know I'm acting, I'm in control, and what I see is the loss of control. When I lose control, I gain it. So in losing control, I become more controlled. I become focused. I become so focused that I'm not sure what I'm looking at. I become a pair of really strong prescription sunglasses." He watches several women watching him and then he watches himself watching them and then the whole thing gets out of hand and everyone is watching everyone and the moment is filled with style and substance. The key to Sean Penn is substance. What that substance is probably comes in powder form. I ask him about that. "I don't do drugs; drugs do me. I don't need drugs to get where I'm going. I need a car. Or feet. Have you heard of driving or walking? Why ask me about drugs? Why am I here?" I remind him that he's promoting a new movie, which he directed. "When I direct, I act. That's why, when I was an actor, I wanted to direct. I act like a director until I'm not acting and then I act like I'm directing without interference from the conscience. It's a superid thing. I can't be controlled by the underego. If I am, I can't see what's in front of me, and a hundred and ten percent of directing is seeing what's in front of you, specifically through a camera. I don't find directing difficult. What I find difficult is acting like I'm a director. I'll never escape being an actor. I realize that. I realize a lot of things, and what I realize, I must realize again and again, until I realize that I'm not realizing it." I ask him about his political life. How does he balance his creative life with his work as an activist? "I take a lot of heat for that. A lot. People ask me about Steve McQueen. Fuck Steve McQueen. Steve McQueen isn't in Iraq. I've been to Iraq, I think. What I saw there might change my life, if I let it. 123


But I can't. If I'm affected by what I see politically, I won't see with political clarity. It's back to realizations. I have to act politically in order to be political, but it's an act. It's an act grounded in so much acting that I'm wondering if somebody could provide me with a script before I speak out politically. To act is to be, and to be is to act, but that's not the question. The question is whether I want to act like I'm being. I mean being anything. And the truth is somewhere below that, but also above it. And to the side of it. I tend to see one or the other. If I see all three at once, I smoke." He lit a cigarette and peered at the sunset beyond his home, a location not to be disclosed here. "I like the sun," he says. "The sun can't lie. The sun can do a lot of things, like burn, but it can't lie. The sun can't say, 'I'm not burning you,' because you know it's burning you. A producer's the opposite of the sun. A producer will burn you and say, 'No, Sean, I'm ice.' I don't need ice, especially lying ice. What I need is the truth of the sun. If I could be one thing, what would I be? The moon. The moon also doesn't lie. There's nothing for it to lie about it, even if it could lie. There's not much story there. And I'm drawn to that. I may make a movie about the moon one day, something lunar and cold, but only if I can act like the moon. And that would be dangerous." What about his penchant for violence? I duck when I ask the question. "When I'm violent, I think of my motto. 'Be here: Wow.' And suddenly, I'm acting violent, only I'm not acting, or I've reached the absolute limits of my acting. Violence is sublime. You might ask if that conflicts with my political beliefs. Yes. I'm having trouble with that lately. The day I stop having trouble is the day I'm in real trouble. Trouble is its own reward but also its own nemesis. I am the nemesis of my nemesis, which is myself. One day, I'm going to quit smoking. I hope you're around for that, because I'll smash your head into the table and then ram your skull into the concrete. I may be acting, but you won't know. You'll be unconscious." At that point, I decide to end the interview. Sean Penn lights a cigarette. I must resume the interview.

124

The Cartier Street Review  

July 2009 Edition

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you