Page 1

(The Rain is Calling) The rain is calling with her blacklight strobe Will you crawl to her over your rooftops And seek your freedom in her silky wet embrace? Will you take pause to grasp her in your hand And with the bass-pulse beating from under your skin Will you be the shelter for your secret urchin? Will you let her pitter-patter cleanse your soul As you taste her bitter sweetness on your tongue? And knowing where you could be...

Will be who are?


Or will you sneak out onto the rooftops once again And seed the clouds with the secrecy of your desire?

There is a heart-shaped leaf growing in your living room, and I am becoming familiar with the angle at which light invades the window. When the church tower peals in the morning, you come out to linger over coffee and vowels. You ease into the day like a precious garment Comfortable. Well-worn. The reverent touch of the intimate. Your grace is inherent - it all comes naturally. The way you cradle your steaming mug in two hands, as your eyes explore something beyond the window - something outside of my perspective while I am suddenly and distinctly aware of the way that you are standing, wide-legged and bare-chested, upright. as you speak of the beauty of the desert. You are stoic, straight-backed, Your tone matches the quietude of the hour, the subtle clarity of the dawn sky, which is still a blank slate more gray than blue. It has not yet watercolored itself to offset your shaded eyes. The potential is there I can already see it. It is this thought which suddenly inspires me to notice all the details of this room - the warm wood. The heavy mantle. The hearth cradling both last night's ashes, and this morning's kindling a pyre, waiting to be lit. I can relate most to the fireplace - bricked together. Sturdy. Fueled and expectant and hoping to be sparked. I am a grate full of possibility - raking yesterday's coals, but grateful. I'm not radiating warmth yet, but I could be. It might get hot under the collar. And this is the moment in which I decide to make eye contact with anything in the room which is not you - to focus on anything that is not you to drink in the details of the light, which I'm sure is still present when you are not here and to suddenly notice that the walls are a white-washed blue which will perfectly match the sky, once it's decided to develop fully - to wonder, for a moment, at the significance of this and to notice the heart-shaped leaf growing from the pot on the mantle as I am growing familiar.

deeply into our systems. Very quickly, we develop adaptive strategies to mitigate the intensities of our raw and newly exposed life. This is an instinctual and protective response. We become increasingly selective in how we attune our senses and attention, focusing our awareness on those influences that prove, through experience, to either elicit comfort and pleasure or minimize discomfort and pain. Over time, we become adept at choosing exactly what is allowed to register deeply into our systems. As a result, we come to believe we are in control of our life experience. Of course this is an illusion. What we are controlling is not our life experience, but the quality of the attention we invest in that experience. In the rough and tumble of young animal life, this strategy helps keep us alive – ensuring that we are drawn to things we believe promote our well being and are repulsed by the opposite. So the shift is natural: instead of energies registering deeply in our system, we’re hooked on tactics, stratagems, and conceits. We become creatures of habitual thought and reflexive response. We live life based less on energetic realities and more on conceptual filters and stories. Everything becomes increasingly contextualized, and our ability to experience “the moment” is lost to our ever-expanding need to feel in control. Over time, we become increasingly fixated on that which appears to be concrete, predictable, and reproducible. Our ego-minds develop a rather flimsy sense of self-worth predicated on our ability to understand and control things. That which is quiet and subtle is valued less than that which is compellingly overt. An insulating layer of self-consciousness grows thicker with the years, so that only the most “intense” of energies (those that overwhelm conceptual filters) ever make an impression. This does not mean that subtle energy plays any less of a role in life than it did at the moment of birth, only that we are increasingly out of touch with it. No energy is innately subtle; rather, it becomes marginalized through our ego-based relationship with life. To the degree we can reclaim our ability to experience life directly, we renew our relationship with energy; that which we call subtle will become as present and evocative to us as any solid object we might encounter in daily life!

Energy follows Attention

While it is clearly an illusion to believe my intentions translate directly into desired results (“I am in control”), this doesn’t change the reality that my intentions have complex, natural consequences (“I am participating in the creation of something”). We are each in a continuous dance with energies, even if we choose to pretend otherwise. Each choice we make concerning the focus and quality of our attention creates a channel through which energies begin to flow. Our attention may be entirely devoid of any conscious intention – it doesn’t matter. Attention, in and of itself, creates a conduit for energy, regardless of the level of awareness involved. Even if our choices do not create the outcomes we envision, they always create outcomes. When things go bad, we are never as blameless as we would like to pretend; and when things go well, we are never as responsible as we would like to claim. Energy is always in motion; otherwise, by definition, it is not energy! It’s important to realize that our attention

They Held  Hands On  a  commonplace  Tuesday  morning, not  unlike  that  Sunday  morning 60  years  before,  destined  for  infamy they  held  hands  as  they  fell It  was  a  working  Tuesday a  date  on  the  calendar a  morning  like  the  morning  before but  now  they  found  themselves standing  on  the  window  sill ,#1%"+!:,,/ overlooking  the  city  of  New  York and  they  felt  weightless They  were  not  thinking about  the  cause-­and-­effect  history of  textbooks  and  CNN  sound  bytes 1%"64"/"+81!"1&+$1%"$",-,)&1& )/*&9 1&,+0 leading  up  to  that  morning he  had  decaf she  had  a  bearclaw  and  an  espresso and  they  talked  about  Will  &  Grace jets  impregnated  buildings  with  infernos +!+,41%"9/"402/+&+$ and  the  smoke  was  rising and  it  was  getting  hard  to  breathe even  after  they  smashed  the  window  out the  inferno  was  swelling &1%!/" %"!1%"&/:,,/ their  stairwells  were  gone and  the  options  now were  to  burn or  to  fall when  the  human  animal  realizes  death  is  inevitable psychologists  say  we  want  control ,3"/1%,0"9+)*,*"+10 choosing  suicide  over  surrender  is  a  healthy  reaction because  we  choose  to  accept  annihilation rather  than  letting  it  choose  us So  on  one  side is  unbearable  heat /,/&+$:*"0 acrid  smoke and  screams  of  the  suffering On  the  other  side fresh  air 02& &!"&01%"9+) 1,##/""4&)) and  it  keeps  the  consciousness  intact even  as  it  is  destroyed but  they  were  not  thinking  about  psychology they  were  not  thinking  about  terrorism the  debate  about  responsibility, retaliation,

4/0:$0+!1/&,1 10 can wait  until  September  12th this  morning  belongs  to  them because  they  did  not  have  a  tomorrow the  true  terror  of  that  morning is  to  know  what  they  were  thinking as  they  decided  then  whether to  burn or  to  fall now,  imagine  having  that  conversation with  the  stranger sitting  next  to  you: %"//& !"11%"!,,/&0,+9/" the  extinguisher  is  empty we  are  blinded  by  the  smoke and  on  the  windowsill   ,#1%"+!:,,/ 4"4&12+1&):*"0)& (,2/ ),1%"0 before  we  lean  forward and  choose  that  moment  to  fall others  who  fell  were  scrambling ,/0 /"*&+$,/,+9/" but  we  held  hands  as  we  fell survivors  of  falls  from  extreme  heights  report that  falls  are  slow-­motion  transcendence and  the  experience  is  almost  “mystical” I  don’t  know  if  they  felt  “mystical” I  know  it  takes 1  …     2  …     3  …       4  …         5  …           6  …             7  …               8.54  seconds                 to  fall  1,144  feet just  enough  time   to  say  a  prayer or  regret  a  memory or  ask  forgiveness or  say  goodbye or  wonder  how  the  sky   can  be  so  perfectly  blue on  such  a  beautiful  morning

To the planet formerly known as Pluto: Though we will never meet, I think I know you. I am a speck of organic matter standing on the surface of your sister. My people and I are converted from ice and dust electrified into existence by the circumstances of your sister Earth and nephew Moon dancing with tide pools when they were still in their infancy. We are mere molecules which slammed into each other in strings and took billions of years to mistake themselves in their reproduction to form this all-too-young boy sending you this letter. Forgive my impetuousness, dear Pluto but compared to you, I only have a second before this organic matter caves in on itself becomes dust and water forms something new. All I have is my voice, and I beg you to listen, because although we will never meet, I think I know you. I’m not sure if you will receive this letter. In the time it takes to reach you, I could bounce between here and the sun 16 times. Measured on your timescale, my country is not even a year old yet. You’re farther away from the sun than any of your siblings, and while the rest of those planets circulate in lockstep in the same elliptical orbit, yours is full of highs and lows as you rise above the plane and drop beneath it, because you’re either bipolar, of just refuse to conform. Here, those who are different either by choice or accident, wind up getting bullied, brutalized, or crucified, and while I could explain what those words mean, let’s hope that by the time one of us stands on your surface, we’ll have forgotten.

At Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona astronomer Clyde Tombaugh picked you out from the black. He watched you wander at the edge of the solar system and noted how you keep your distance from everyone around you. I know what it feels like to be alone, too. There are times when people here believe the sun is so far away, they don’t feel warm anymore. They stare out into the black, wondering what’s like to just let go. I’m glad you’ve stayed with us, dear Pluto. You show us that even when the universe is terrifyingly cold there is still some light to hold on to, some reason to keep moving, and all the way out there, you and your moon Chiron prove one can find love anywhere. But your size doesn’t fit the new rules. So the International Astronomical Union on my world has decided that you are no longer a planet. You don’t meet the qualifications anymore. You no longer govern an astrological house because some ink on paper said you didn’t matter anymore. They put you in a box labeled “dwarf planets” ostracized from your brothers and sisters by the stroke of a pen. Here, we label people, too. Segregate them into boxes based on the color of their skin or which one of those gods they called out to while dying or whether they love someone with the same or different parts or in what way they their throats make noises to communicate or even by where they were born as if point of origin means anything on a planet spinning 1600 kilometers per second, where specks like us have wandered to every part of it. Tell me, dear Pluto, can you see the borders of our nations from out there? It seems that’s all we can see down here, sometimes. Can you tell us apart? If we one day reach you, dig our fingers into your dirt, would you care about what language we used to tell each other how beautiful the moment was? Dear Pluto, I know what it feels like to be small. Though we will never meet, you don’t have to answer this letter. I won’t be here, but I think you know me: I am a tiny voice on your sister Earth, and you are Pluto, always the ninth planet of the sun.





-egnarts dna ecnelis ni stnemom era ereht dna ,llfi I dna ,ees II see, and I fill, and there are moments in silence and strangehtaerb a ekat dna steksab ekil evaew dna llaf I dna ,ssenness, and I fall and weave like baskets and take a breath siht fo lla nehw gnirednow m'I dna ,etalitnev-repyh dnaand hyper-ventilate, and I'm wondering when all of this ees dna em ees lliw uoy nehw gnirednow m'I dna ?dne lliwwill end? and I'm wondering when you will see me and see dna ,slaicos maerc eci dna skcip eci dna ?era yeht sa sgnihtthings as they are? and ice picks and ice cream socials, and elttil dna ,detarrevo era syadnoM esuaceb ,syadseuT cinammanic Tuesdays, because Mondays are overrated, and little dna edanomel gnippis dna sniamer nekorb dna snwot lesnittinsel towns and broken remains and sipping lemonade and -bmilc slived dna ,gnidnal slegna ekil ,ssenteews dna srettibbitters and sweetness, like angels landing, and devils climbmraw oot yaw s'ti dna ,ecalos tnaw I ,dloc tnaw I dna .gniing. and I want cold, I want solace, and it's way too warm dna ,gnah yeht dna elgnad yeht sgniht eseht era ereht dnaand there are these things they dangle and they hang, and ekam siht fo yna seod dna snevaeh eht drawot taofl yehtthey float toward the heavens and does any of this make -lim a gnicar m'I dna ,tneloveneb dna gniretep ?uoy ot esnessense to you? petering and benevolent, and I'm racing a mil,sreirrab gnikaerb dna srats eht gnoma ruoh na selim noillion miles an hour among the stars and breaking barriers, steksab dna ,efil raed rof no gnidloh dna emit gnikam dnaand making time and holding on for dear life, and baskets eveileb uoy od dog tahw dna ,oga gnol os mees retsaE dnaand Easter seem so long ago, and what god do you believe ylraed dloh dna ,siht ot gnihtemos eb tsum ereht dna ?niin? and there must be something to this, and hold dearly ,ekauq ,retlaf dna kaerb ,niuqennam ,traeh ruoy ot esolcclose to your heart, mannequin, break and falter, quake, -nega lacidar deniwtretni na evah uoy dna ,ngised dna ekammake and design, and you have an intertwined radical agenaeniug htiw ecnad sroivas dna ,efil si ekam uoy tahw dna ,adda, and what you make is life, and saviors dance with guinea noitativni laidroc a ,swerhs gnikcip dna selppa gnimat ,sgippigs, taming apples and picking shrews, a cordial invitation ew dna ,reeb ruo knird ew dna ?semit ynam woh dna ,otto, and how many times? and we drink our beer, and we dna thguoht fo niart sseldne siht ot emoclew ;eniw ruo knirddrink our wine; welcome to this endless train of thought and taht ton s'ti ,srewsna evah tĂ­nod I nehw dna ssenmodnarrandomness and when I donĂ­t have answers, it's not that ereht dna ,hcum oot gnikniht m'I taht s'ti ,gnikniht ton m'II'm not thinking, it's that I'm thinking too much, and there taht tahw rebmemer t'nod I ,era ereht dna ,salobrepyh eraare hyperbolas, and there are, I don't remember what that ,degac ma I ereh dnA ...era ereht wonk I tub ,snaem drowword means, but I know there are... And here I am caged, ?uoy od ,sgnis drib degac eht yhw wonk I dna ;drib a ekillike a bird; and I know why the caged bird sings, do you?


Did you hear about the pessimist who died? SARCHASM [sahr-kaz-uhm] : noun The yawning fissure between subtle wit and obscurity.

He drowned in a bathtub that was half empty.



e st becaus e rain, ju ve out th ine. Don’t lea he sunsh - Henri Matisse ed with t you start

Good writing evokes emotion. Excellent writing evokes a spectrum of emotion.

Submit a piece of artwork or writing which embodies the above quote by Matisse, and you may see your work in

Verballistics:: Issue 2!

Two Clocks

carry like ancient monuments cry holding a candle watch the moths swirl around the light like debris in a tornado a whirlpool of broken glass a characture of math equations fluttering rhythms break like drums upon salty seas carry the sound through the air through water humans have invented a way for sound to travel through space encoded and will they understand decoded bitter and fighting and encoded again carry on luggage radiation, our friend I want things to be easy communicating our culture I want things to be long after weĂ­re gone

The Norse  Gods,  no  matter  how  bravely  they  fought believed  their  doomsday  was  inevitable Ragnarok  is  the  end  of  the  world on  Ragnarok,  the  Earth  will  tremble as  Sirtr,  the  King  of  the  Fire  Giants, splits  open  the  skies  with  a  sword  brighter  than  the  sun his  army  will  break  Bifröst, Odin’s  rainbow  bridge and cover the earth in fire as the gods fight to their doom Fenrir  the  wolf,  in  his  death-­throes,  will  kill  Odin while  his  son,  Sköll,  swallows  the  sun leaving  the  world  to  freeze  in  an  endless  winter but  Mathias  Rust  stopped  Ragnarok he’s  not  a  Norse  god, not  found  on  comic  book  pages, or in blockbuster films, and  if  he  wears  a  Viking  helmet   it’s  in  the  privacy  of  his  living  room but  Mathias  stopped  Ragnarok at  age  19,  he  saved  the  world at the University of Chicago the  Doomsday  Clock  counts  down  the  minutes  until  the  world ends 35  atomic  detonations could  cover  Earth  in  a  decade  of  nuclear  winter in  1982,  the  human  race  had  20,000  warheads because Ronald Reagan and Leonid Brezhnev couldn’t  stop  counting  reasons  to  kill  each  other in  1984  the  Doomsday  Clock  was  3  minutes  to  midnight Mutual Assured Destruction was just a matter of time in May 1987, Mathias Rust flew his small Cesna from  West  Germany  to  Iceland he  visited  Hofdi  House where negotiators from NATO and the Warsaw Pact failed to believe the  other  side  loved  their  own  children more  than  they  hated  the  other’s Mathias Rust flew to Finland and left Helsinki for Stockholm with  visions  of  how  the  Norse  gods saw  their  inevitable  doomsday somewhere  over  the  smooth  Baltic  Sea he  couldn’t  help  but  notice how  the  the  forests  in  Sweden  on  his  right and  those  in  Russia  on  his  left were  beautiful  and  identical somewhere  over  the  sea terrified by the thought of  those  trees  burning  at  Ragnarok he  turned  east  toward  Moscow at  19  years  old Mathias  wanted  to  become  a  rainbow  bridge Reagan,  Gorbachev  and  the  Norse  gods didn’t  how  easy  peace  could  be Mathias  parted  the  Iron  Curtain into  the  most  well-­defended  skies  in  the  Cold  War three  surface-­to-­air  missile  sites  immediately  locked  on two  MiG-­23  interceptors  rose  with weapons  bristling  for  the  easy  kill


while in  the  cockpit Mathias  heard  pilots asking  for  permission  to  shoot  him  down they saw the West German flag on the tail and  even  made  eye  contact but  no  one  on  the  ground  believed the  Soviet  air  force  thought  Mathias was  just  a  lost  Russian who  forgot  to  turn  his  radio  on for five hours, missile sites locked on but  tagged  him  a  “friendly” and  three  more  pairs  of  MiGs intercepted  his  plane but  generals  on  the  ground were  blinded  by  a  rainbow in  the  the  Ring  of  Steel  around  Moscow missile sites built to shoot down the American air force weren’t built to fire on Mathias’ little Cesna and  he  landed  in  Red  Square Russians visiting the mummified body of Vladimir Lenin the  man  who  began  the  Cold  War crowded  to  see  the  19-­year-­old  boy who  would  end  it for  their  failure  to  stop  a  boy landing  a  dream  for  peace  in  Red  Square warhawk  Soviet  generals were fired faster a Stalin purges and  Mikhail  Gorbachev  stood  unopposed he  signed  a  missile  treaty and   one-­by-­one let  former  republics  declare  their  freedom sent  back  west  six  months  later, Mathias  watched  the  Berlin  Wall  fall and at the University of Chicago the  Doomsday  Clock measuring  how  close  we  are  to  suicide tick,  tick,  ticked  back  time pushing  Ragnarok  farther  away our  children don’t  have  to  worry  about  Sköll swallowing  the  sun  in  the  12  minutes between  missile  silo  mistake   and  nuclear  impact because  Mathias was  just  a  little  bit  crazy and  whole  lot  of  lucky never  let  anyone  tell  you “you’re  too  young  change  the  world” it  doesn’t  take  a  Norse  god just  a  dreamer  like  Mathais   or  you risking  your  life to  become  a  rainbow if  we  leave  it  to  the  gods the world still may end in fire on Doomsday but  if  you  dare  to  risk  it  all  for  a  dream Ragnarok  may  still  come but  it  won’t  be  today

La Fiesta de Cumpleaños

Tal vez usted no crea que haya elefantes en la Playa Sámara (Costa Rica), pero yo sé, de primera mano, que es la verdad. Estaba caminando en la playa y vi un fuego a la distancia hacía el noroeste.  “Quizás sea un fuego para campistas.”  pensé.  Me acerqué  y me escondí detrás de un árbol.  Me fijé en esta escena.  Había 5 elefantes pigmeos bailando en un círculo.  Les vi las trompas a los elefantes.  Cada trompa estaba agarrando el rabo del elefante enfrente.  Entonces vi a un hombre sentándose en el centro del círculo aguantando un queque con muchas velas – el origen del fuego.  Cuando el baile estaba terminado, él apagó las velas y se le dio a cada elefante una pieza de queque y tomó una pieza él mismo. Me ac erqué y les di las buenas noches al hombre y a los elefantes.  Me saludó el hombre con la voz  y me saludaron los elefantes con las trompas mientras comiendo el queque.   Me ofreció el hombre las migas del queque del plato dado que no había mas piezas enteras.   Me senté con él en el centro del circulo hecho por el baile de los elefantes. Lamía el plato mientras que me decía la historia.    “Hace cuatro años exactamente, el circo vino a Nicoya y mi familia  me llevó allá para celebrar mi cumpleaños. Después del espectáculo los elefantes se huyeron.  Se llevaban mal con el dueño del circo y por eso, se fueron.  No sabían el itinerario para África y en cambio decidieron ir para Sámara.  Han estado viviendo allá en el cerro arbolado entre playa Sámara y playa Buena Vista hasta aquel día. Poseo un restaurante y cada noche les traigo los restos de los vegetales y frutas que les recojo durante el día.  Cada noche se los traigo y los elefantes se bajan y disfrutan la comida. Cada año en el día de mi cumpleaños, veienen de los árboles con un queque, hacen el baile de cumpleaños y me cantan “Cumpleaños Feliz.”

“Yo no oí ninguno cantar”, interrumpí.    “Realmente, no es cantar ya que no pueden formar palabras pero saben la canción. La zumban más o menos.  Oyeron la canción el día del circo.  Mi familia tuvo un picnic antes del espectáculo y me cantó “Cumpleaños Feliz” con un queque y velas.  Elefantes tienen buenas memorias y por supuesto vieron el queque y oyeron la canción.  Tiene razón.  No pueden cantar.  Piensan al mismo tiempo del momento lo que oyeron la canción por la primera vez. Cuando cada elefante tiene una pintura clara en su mente de este momento, zumban y bailan al ritmo adentro de sus cabezas.  Me lo hacen cada año. Nunca se les olvida”.

Ya habían regresado los elefantes a los árboles.  Nos dejamos solos en el centro del círculo. Yo estaba asombrada.   No sabía que eran elefantes en Sámara.  Y no sabía que los elefantes eran tan inteligentes y amables.  Me di cuenta algo más.  Muy temprano por las mañanas he oído sonidos que vienen de los árboles que se sonaban a elefantes pero todo el mundo me dijo que eran de los monos.  Lo creía pero ya sé la verdad. Le di las gracias por la historia y el queque y nos despedimos. Mientras caminaba hacía mi hotel, me acordé de algo interesante. Hubo un programa de la televisión sobre Círculos del Cultivos.  Son círculos planos misteriosos, que fueron hallados en campos donde las plantas se han aplanado misteriosamente y usualmente por la noche en la forma de un círculo. Alguna gente cree que son dejados por extraterrestres como marcas que se pueden ver del espacio exterior.

No creo en la existencia de extraterrestres. Creo que los círculos son hechos por elefantes que nunca se olvida una obra de bondad y nunca permiten que se quede sin pagar.

(The Love of Mercenaries)

This is the love of mercenaries we share slow morning coffee and quick wit our conversation thrusts and parries until we find ourselves nose to nose on tiptoes, swords crossed and leaning into each other We break apart our laughter exploding this laughter razes roadblocks kicks in doors of awkward draws neighbor’s eyes to window panes collects awestruck stares Our love makes people smile against their will it takes mouths hostage there is a wanted poster hanging in the heart of every public building the reward is so rich it turns housewives into bounty hunters but our love - it is elusive We send each other love letters disguised as ransom notes pasted magazine clippings interspersed with bits of glitter which form the words Do you love me? Check YES or NO or If you ever want to see your love again bring a suitcase full of unmarked kisses meet me under the bridge at midnight. Come alone. Wear the blue dress.

I. The older of the Mandrake children was often put off by a world full of disorder. In his eleven short years on this earth, he had grown to believe that most people meant well, if only leaving something to be desired in the execution of day-to-day living. Leonard Mandrake looked at the fraying roll of grey duct tape. He looked at the primitive map scribbled in permanent marker on the tattered, final page of his 3-subject notebook. It was a sketch of the gymnasium at Saint Claire of Assissi’s grade school. On the front of the notebook was a Slayer sticker. He knew his mother would never have let him keep it there if she’d ever heard the band. He also knew his mother would have much larger worries tomorrow than keeping her boy from the evils of heavy metal. Mrs. Mandrake kept a nice home, despite the difficulties of attending to Leonard. The house often smelled of freshly lit candles. She used them to counteract the lingering aroma of the numerous chemical balms which she dutifully applied to Leonard’s skin, each morning after his distilled-water bath. Some time ago, she had begun doubling her morning dose of Valium, in secret. As her son approached his teens, she had also begun keeping her juice glass close at hand. She didn’t want the orange-soaked smell of her breakfast cocktail to waft towards the children. The candles helped with this, as well. When Mr. Mandrake left on sabbatical, the size of Mrs. Mandrake’s juice glass increased, though she was careful to keep her morning dose of vodka minimal enough to deliver a carful of children to St. Claire’s. The other carpool mothers were cold to her - a snobbish lot. It was just a few drinks, she reasoned - at least she wasn’t smoking the crack which the ghetto people had come to favor. Leonard watched the news as his mother spread a thick ointment on his pale skin. He was immune to its smell, if nothing else. In Florida, a boy had been found cut to pieces in a canal. The boy had disappeared from the security of an American mall - his mother had turned away for only a second. This world is not safe, thought young Leonard. People can’t even go to Sears anymore. But at least that kid – before he was chopped to bits – at least that kid had spent his days in the sun. The bluish hue of the flickering screen bounced from the glossy surface of Leonard’s coated skin. Reagan was announcing a new plan - he was going to put laser beams in space. Laser beams which would keep everyone safe from the Soviets...... Leonard giggled at the absurdity of it all. II. When Leonard was born with a full set of teeth, the speculation started. His uncle was a Freudian disciple, a champion of early-life trauma. He warned that teething inside the womb could not be a sign of anything positive. At the age of seven, this was mentioned within Leonard’s earshot. He politely reminded everyone that, at the time, his uncle had been a sophomore in junior college, and suggested that being born with teeth might be considered a clear sign of his evolutionary advancement. Has anyone checked to see if I was born without an appendix? He wondered, silently. This was the volume of much of Leonard’s wondering.

The aggressive rash he developed from contact with delivery-room latex would be remembered as his very first allergy. It soon became clear that young Leonard was also allergic to his mother’s breast milk. His uncle would shake his head: what sort of infant is allergic to its own mother’s milk? Shortly thereafter, Leonard began to blister in the sunlight. He had once heard his uncle say that when this happened, they should have wrapped him in burlap sacking, and set him afloat on the Mississippi. Each year seemed to arrive with a suitcase, packed full of new allergies. Had the Mandrakes birthed a bubble-boy? The manufacturers liked to think so. Before the door swung fully closed behind their salesmen, Mrs. Mandrake headed for the liquor cabinet. Any mother facing the imprisonment of her own child within a clear plastic bubble should be allowed a few cocktails, she thought. Leonard agreed. Wasn’t it enough, to have tax-funded spaceships shooting Soviet warheads out of the sky? Wasn’t it enough, to know that one might easily be kidnapped and cut into bits while buying a blender at Sears? Life is hard, even without a very convincing team of salesmen describing in detail all the ways in which your baby boy might thrive inside a plastic bubble. Leonard was careful to touch his mother extra gently when she was drinking, though he did not let on that he knew. The hollow hole he felt in the place where his heart should be expanded quietly. He would never let mother see him cry. Whenever Leonard had to maintain his composure, he thought of pictures of goats in trees. In the thousands of doctors’ visits he had endured over the short span of his life, only once had he stolen a magazine from the waiting room. This magazine held a story about a group of goats in Africa, who had taught themselves to climb trees in order to reach their food. He loved the photos the most - they proved that even animals could do extreme things when forced to. When he needed quiet and calm, he would think of the goats in trees. III. On Easter morning, the neighborhood learned of Mrs. Mandrake’s drinking. As Roger Stanton mocked young Leonard’s standard attire - a deflective veil and respirator - Mrs. Mandrake darted from the back of their old Pontiac station wagon, where she had been assembling treat baskets. On a street littered with the beautiful and well-to-do, she knocked Roger to the ground, pointing at him with a set of car keys, shouting: “I’ll cut you! I’ll cut you!” The neighborhood bully was cornered, and crying. Fury contorted her face, her passive, mid-western features reddened. Her gritted teeth showcased the steady pulse of blood to her gum line. As the other kids drew closer to this unexpected scene, Mrs. Mandrake pointed to each of them, in turn: “I’ll cut all of you!” In her flailing, Leonard’s mother knocked the veil from his face. There it was: the sun. Leonard looked into it, following the silent example of the moths he had mocked, in their obsession over campfires. The moment stretched into days. A bird flew over in slow motion. Leonard drew a breath,

(What You Brought to Meet My Sister) underwear beard comb floss toothbrush work gloves 1 casserole dish a truckload of Southern manners

Pilgrims over the crest of the fluid horizon the solid breath of winter pushes the battlements, the towers and machines of seasonal assault, into position. i watch from the shores of this foreign land, wondering what those winds have wrought on my distant home away in the west from out of which the heavy brow of winter now looms. The world is getting smaller; we all know that, those of us who crawl frantically over the surface of this pendulous globe like ants over some soon to drop, sweet dangled heavy fruit. We stitch together an awareness, piece by tiny piece, of the entirety of our treasure, running circles around it to complete our compendium view, while from a great and easy distance, the forces of impassive majesty continue their slow, steady pace of comings and goings brightening and darkening, quickening and slowing our pulse-rhythmed dance of endeavor. Those clouds have seen, below, what i have only read about and have cast their vagrant shadows over the very spot where lie my family’s bones; while i spin an electronic vision of an updated world and tend it within the bony bubble of my protein padded head, these clouds know and, in dispassionate silence, carry the secrets of existence deep within their breast.

does space really shrink when we have charted it or does it retreat to new and more awkward planes of significance? can fitful voyages ever tie a piecemeal planet down? we have our eyes in orbit, splicing snapshot surveys of the patterns the protean forces, tiny under miles, weave and spin. 

From on high the procession seems so thin, just the surface decoration on some enchantress’s bauble. we pride ourselves on our vision, on our comprehension, on our commanding position; but the great hands of wayfaring gods still strike from deep in those pretty pastel and magic mottled skies savage and random blows that uproot the homes and dreams of mortal man tricked into complacency by a mind, a patchwork of images, a flight of fancy that only the sky, towering above the nutshell of daily existence, can crack.

and all fell silent. Even the ringing in his ears was momentarily silenced. For a second, Leonard believed he had caught sight of one of Reagan’s space shields. Then he heard the screaming, and the scrambling. Mrs. Mandrake scurried to replace his veil. She pulled it over his burning face as the adults reached her. She fell at their feet, a lifeless sack, wailing in a way that moved even the hearts of those whose children she had threatened. As all restraint fell from her face, Leonard saw that she was beautiful. In her eyes, he saw a little girl’s dream of handsome children. As she lay in a trembling pile of drunkenness on the suburban street, Leonard put his hand in hers. He had never before felt a warmth that compared. While the policemen arrested his mother, Leonard stood quietly, looking up into the branches of the neighborhood trees, unsure if the sound he heard was the ringing in his ears, or something more plaintive, more bleating. IV. Alopecia comes in handy when affixing duct tape to one’s body. Leonard was quite proud that he was entering puberty far earlier than most boys and - despite having no eyebrows or head hair to speak of - was growing a stubble of coarse black hair above his lip and on his pubic bone. It was obviously another sign of his advanced development. Luckily, no tape was needed in either of these areas. Leonard secured a roll of pennies beneath one arm, and a balloon full of rusted nails beneath the other, alongside a folded and tattered Willie McGee rookie card. He taped a bent wire hanger across the posts of a 9-volt battery. Argos – the family spaniel – looked lovingly on. Leonard thought of the trials of brave Ulysses. Tonight was for retribution: the straight-faced kids and their buxom jaw-lines. The fit. Lofty cheek-boned, super-hero chinned kids, without veils and corrective footwear. The non-allergic. And, the parents - of course, them. They were, after all, just big versions of the others. Leonard pulled his favorite Cardinals jacket from the closet. Over the past year, he had gradually and carefully removed the stuffing lining the inside of his coat, replacing it with pilfered plant food. When you are as closely-guarded and sanitized as Leonard was, this was no simple feat. One had to be determined. The concept of an ice-cream social is, at first, hard for a child to compute. It is probably not unlike the adult mind’s first encounter with the wanton, sparkling debauchery of Las Vegas. When a child learns that there exists an event whose sole purpose is to serve limitless ice cream to the masses, new neural pathways capable of carrying such grave information must be developed. Young Leonard’s neural pathways were different. He brooded over the coming scene. He knew he would not stand in line. His dairy allergy would be triggered by just the proximity to such incredible amounts of ice cream. He knew the patronizing he would endure. The teachers would attempt to console him with benign offerings of popsicles, as he sat on the lowest level of the bleachers, far removed from the party of the world. His mother always made him go - she seemed to consider it a

statement against the marginalizing of freaks in middle-America. Leonard did not like to be her pawn, but went along to see his beloved Leslie. She was stunning - the veil allowed him to study her, unnoticed. Leonard knew his mother would be drunk. Any school function that involved the parents of his classmates would require a sufficient easing of nerves to endure. For whatever reason she chose to navigate such a formidable social maze, Leonard saw that she – like he – painted the bottom of the totem. Mother was a hairdresser in a land of MDs, a loner in a world of notable loves. He wanted nothing more than to protect her. This year Leonard would have his reasons for sitting at the center table. He was certain mother would be proud. VI. Making things blow up is easy. Much of modern society is actually based on the ability to prevent things from blowing up: reactors, engines, soda cans, bags of chips – all of them perform a very delicate act of teetering on the edge of combustion. The Universe itself, as Leonard saw it, was in a constant state of maintaining its thermal cool. Leonard, who had plenty of time to consider it, could have blown up half of St. Louis with the chemicals in Mr. Richard’s chemistry class. Even given all the unfairness in the world, he did not want St. Louis destroyed, lest his favorite Cardinal be harmed - though, he sometimes thought about taking out the city when the team was in Florida for spring training. He wondered if Reagan’s laser-beam satellites would keep Willie safe from the Soviets. He hoped they would. He looked down at Argos, his truest and longest friend. His eyes were bluing. Short on days, lamented Leonard. The ball of fibers Leonard had learned to swallow past always doubled when he thought of a world without Argos. Cataracts and short life spans were irrelevant now - the world was about to become abruptly different for each of them. Leonard scraped the oils from his forearms with one of his mother’s nail files, careful to collect it in a labeled and dated patch of foil. Leonard was not a violent boy. Those who strap bombs to themselves often consider themselves exacters of justice, even those who are only eleven. Leonard had chosen the night of the ice cream social because he knew this was the only time he would be able to muster the strength to go through with it... the injustice of the outsider. The long lines of pretty kids stepping from their shiny automobiles, with their intelligent and balanced parents. Children with esteemed and historic names. Children arriving from horse-riding lessons or lacrosse competitions. He knew that his mother would likely cry afterwards, wondering where she had gone wrong. She would think of the lives he could have lived, without his allergy to sunlight - Olympic golfer. Lifeguard. Avid gardener. Leonard knew that the disdain and snobbery which inspired him to act would be present, even if his mother wasn’t. He had carefully dosed his sister’s after-school apple juice with eye drops. He knew she’d be too sick to attend, and hi smother would have to stay at home to care for her. This would keep them from harm. Leonard assumed that he would be sent to the social with the Stantons - they had become forcibly nice to Mrs. Mandrake since the

well as materialize objects out of thin air. Heckle quickly learns this trick and the pair end up using this great power to harass a bulldog cop. It’s quite an absurd way to use such a gift, but the concept is a powerful one. “We’re cartoons. We can do anything we can think of!” Maybe we can too. When I made my first attempt to go inward and see what these Chakra things were all about, I expected to see whirling pinwheels of energy in perfect harmony. Wrong again! My chakras needed work. Brambles and thorns grew over my throat chakra. My heart appeared as a squirming, tentacled monster. Blockages and knots abounded. I intend to keep going inward and to transform and heal my inner landscape the same way Heckle and Jeckle transform their world.

It all comes down to believing that I can.

I believe that we all have our own unique interface when connecting to the spiritual. When I first began to have direct experience with other realms via shamanic journeys and conscious dreaming I was expecting to see vivid realistic magical creatures and beings that commonly appear in visionary art and fantasy movies. It turns out I get cartoons. My interface with the Void, the Godhead, the Collective, or whatever you may call it appears to me as wacky slapstick pop culture style cartoons. Its no surprise considering that I grew up watching Tom and Jerry, Heckle and Jeckle, and Bugs Bunny. These zany characters were my first introduction (in consensual reality) to animals as teachers that communicate through human language and actions. One Heckle and Jeckle cartoon titled The Power of Thought has stayed with me to this day. Jeckle— the one with the British accent— becomes selfaware and realizes that he and Heckle are “cartoons” and can do anything that they can think of. Jeckle begins to transform himself into other beings and inanimate objects as

Toward playing


thinking and









with down












old sea












toward up

six back














like ago


















the from into

light the

ceiling bed










and enough coffee to kill several small mammals smoking unfiltered lucky strikes and pall malls we and

would the







playing you










haunted lights

alive had





purpose thunderstorms




spaces tornado

and drifting






















freezing on

winds snow



Easter incident. When Leonard’s mother knocked on the door, letting him know that it was time to leave, he felt a brief panic. He quickly taped the last can of Aqua Net to his smooth ribs, and emerged to see Ms. Jeffers tending to his robed sister on the couch. His plan had failed. He would need to reconsider. VII. Leonard was a quick thinker. When his mother pulled into the gas station and grabbed her checkbook from the glove box, he saw his chance. He rummaged through her purse, one eye on the window. He quickly located her flask: a purse-sized flask, he noted, not a pocket flask. He tucked it under the seat, hoping that it’s absence might inspire his mother to return to the car. VIII. The gymnasium at St. Claire’s smelled like everything Leonard had grown to hate. Rich perfumes mixed with the lingering athletic scent of young, male power. A cauldron of sundae sauce added an explosion of chocolate bubbles to the mix. Leonard had no power under the proud championship banners of the boy’s basketball team. Not even the digestive power required to stomach a tablespoon of the ice cream stacked in cheerful gallons behind the smooth metallic surface of the refreshment window. Not even the power to breathe deep the unfiltered air. Leonard was sometimes allowed to lift his veil indoors, but here the sunlight crept through tall windows and slanted in through the double doors. Mother thought it best to keep him covered. Leonard didn’t really mind as he would have never dared look at anyone without the protective layer. Leonard watched, and observed. He tuned into the chatter around him, listening through his own tinnitus. The ringing in his ears was constant - he’d never learned to hear any differently. Sometimes he mentally adjusted it’s pitch until it seemed to hold the tone of an idler’s tuneless whistle, as he thought of pictures of goats in trees. The crowd parted as it normally did - as though a leper had appeared among them. He felt his mother tense as she often did when the world reacted this way. Though she felt it extremely important to socialize her son, Mrs. Mandrake silently second-guessed her decision to step forth into the public eye. She clutched him tightly as they made their way towards the customary corner perch. “No, no mother” Leonard said. Mrs. Mandrake heard her son speak infrequently - certainly never in public. She was mildly shocked. “Let’s sit there” Leonard said, pointing towards the middle table. Leonard knew this table served several purposes. For one, his plan would carry maximum effect from this location. This was also the territory of the town’s beautiful and prized. The families who spent Christmas in Aspen. The families who read The Wall Street Journal over coffee. The kids who wore Izod. Leonard stepped forward with purpose, his nervous mother trailing behind. He sat near his beloved Leslie, who had recently notified him that all freaks should be sent to an island with the AIDS victims. She winced when he sat down. Leonard didn’t care. His feelings for her had nothing to do with her.

They weren’t hers. They were his: always and forever only his. He knew she found him repulsive, enough so to banish him to an island. Mrs. Mandrake caught the disdain on Leslie’s face, as Leonard took the adjacent seat. Her face fell with disappointment for her boy. Leonard knew the pain mothers feel for their children. He knew she would reach for her flask within seconds. Mrs. Mandrake looked at Leslie’s mother, and her rank was confirmed. She fumbled through her purse. As children looked on and snickered, Leonard furtively peered through the corner of his veil, watching his mother’s search grow frantic. She checked under her seat, then scanned the route to the door, beginning to panic. She was faced with a terrible decision: leave her son to the wolves or go without her remedy. “Will you be okay here for a minute Leo?” she asked. “I think I left your pills in the car.” Leonard nodded. All was moving according to plan. IX. Leonard’s favorite picture was of two goats facing each other on a branch. He did not remember how it was that these goats learned to do this. He didn’t know what kind of goats they were or what sorts of trees they were in. He loved this picture because it was of an obviously old goat facing a small one. The small one crouched its two hind legs in terror as the older goat backed out on a wide limb. Leonard could not tell if that goat had not found another way to get to that point. Leonard usually forgot about the article explaining all of this. He really liked to imagine it was the small goat’s mother showing it a way to get food. That this way was a very different way from other goats and that it was possibly even special enough to gain some notoriety. Leonard liked to think that he was like the goats in the trees. These goats would have been freaks to the other goats but not to the humans reading about them in doctors’ offices. Leonard thought of this picture as he pulled the wooden match from his jacket pocket. Leonard knew that he was caked with enough flammable ointment to make his own suffering brief. Leonard had been practicing keeping the picture of the two goats in his mind since he had devised the plan a year ago. He had to push out all thoughts of mother. Leonard was relatively sure of the soundness of his device. He was fairly confident that everyone within fifty feet would, at very least, be set on fire. He watched the people joyfully pull their heaping bowls of ice cream close. All the flavors he’d never tasted. Sprinkles must be nice, Leonard thought. No one stopped to ask why he hadn’t taken his over-sized jacket off. People had grown used to seeing Leonard in layers. People had grown used to not asking him questions. Leonard felt the rugged underbelly of the table: scratched names and wads of decades-old gum. He stretched out his arm to drag the match when he heard a sudden shriek. At the table next to him sat a kid he kind of liked. It bothered him that he did not notice this before. The girl was a freak too. Though not veiled or hairless she had some speech impairment that made her sound like she was speaking through large plastic buckets. Kids called her names. If Leonard was their Hiroshima she was their Nagasaki. Leonard kept his mind on

the goats in the tree. He fingered the match and cocked his elbow when he heard another grumble. The screams and groans had begun to carry. Soon people were shooting up from their seats and covering their children’s faces. Leonard was confused. Had it already gone off? Was he somehow observing the aftermath, while remaining intact? Was it possible he had slipped into the realm of spirits? Leonard looked over, to see Leslie wiping thin streams of blood from the corners of her mouth. Her beautiful mother was doing the same. Leonard watched as the patronizing teacher touched a napkin to her lips, and gasped. Children were crying. Leonard saw several bowls of vanilla, smeared with red. It was not the right color for strawberry syrup. Leonard stood up, carefully concealing his device. A girl vomited at his feet. Leonard looked at the long table, now gory. He picked up a blood-smeared plastic spoon, and held it to the light. The spoons were defective. They appeared to have been punched from their plastic molds incorrectly, leaving their edges sharp and serrated. Leonard smiled beneath his veil. Everyone who had eaten ice cream was bleeding from the mouth. Somehow this was better than torching the place. Leonard felt his chest fill with laughter. He tried to contain himself, but couldn’t stop the violent glee which bubbled from deep within. He laughed so hard, his eyes began to run with tears - his sides ached, his nose streamed, and still he could not stop. He doubled over in his hysteria, clutching his aching ribs... and it was then that the battery pack fell from his coat. It landed with a resonating smack in the middle of the formica floor, drawing the startled eyes of all who surrounded him, even in the midst of chaos. X. As Leonard sat behind the glass in the police car he saw his mother throw her flask in the trash. The last rays of sunlight fell long across the parking lot, now filled with wailing sirens and flashing lights. Leonard’s veil had been shredded in the fight to secure him. His mother looked at him and saw her boy’s bright green eyes. He stared, smiling, at the sun. She did not fight to cover him. Instead, she smiled back, and blew him a kiss.

Leonard no longer heard the ringing in his ears. He could hear clearly the world around him.

An ambulance raced siren song through me like electricity up nerves from the moment we shook hands and our atoms kissed for the first time You look like a mistake I’d like a chance to regret I understand how much blurted words can look like cartoon dropped jaws and wolf-headed howls But you see, I’ve never really been accused of patience before And I was just trying to unravel my tongue red carpet so you’d have a clear road to follow to bring you closer to me See, you’re too hidden gem to be found on maps, Traveler. Even by yourself My breath smelled like lust. Tasted like pheromones, I wanted to shoot off metaphor trebuchet love poems to smash down the walls of apprehension I could see you building against my wishful x-ray vision.

You’re like a crusade to me, and I’m a deadeye with heartstrings. The way I’d like to kiss you You’d think I was Thomas Edison And you were a light bulb that’s never been turned on like that before I will kiss you back to sixth grade awkward like-like relationships. But I’ll tell you now I cheated, when I passed you that note Because I wrote “check if you like me” And didn’t leave room for “don’t.” This is more news broadcast than debate. Let’s just say I’ve got the requisite inches to cover the distance between us You look like chess eyes so deep and blue they spill Pacific when I push your buttons the right way.

I’m not particularly nice.

At some point our idiosyncrasies will stop seeming so charming our names will taste like bile in each other’s mouths but at least we’ll have something in common still. Your voice will whisper Autumn breeze threats through my leaves, and I’ll sound like a forest fire. The ambulance will be racing through me putting band aids over all the cracks you chip into my skin and you’ll wrap arms around your chest just trying to keep your insides from falling out I’ll leave to lick my wounds in the dark you’ll probably wait around for the next dustpan boy to come along, and sweep up the parts of you I broke off like a janitor come to pick up your crumpled paper heart with gentle hands made of nice promises and read the love note that’s written inside.

When we met though, your walkaway left me whistling like a kettle. And I can’t help but ask if maybe, you don’t want to give it a shot anyway

because it’s not about making sense it’s about making poetry

reverse, literally scraping at her own brain. They kept her in restraints so she couldn’t keep hurting herself. If the roach got inside her brain, how much grey matter could it munch before it finally died in there? Could it eat away memories or the use of her right index finger? There were some things she wouldn’t mind losing. Whole sections of her teenage years that had been desperately shallow. Bigotry she’d grown out of while growing away from the family that soaked in it. A tree limb arching out toward a shaft of light. A place of her own. A home where family was not welcome. The neighbor held her hand while a physicians assistant poured mineral oil in her ear. “The oil should drown it in a few minutes. There might be some discomfort for you as it dies. But once he stops moving, we can pull it out safely, without worrying about damaging your eardrum. Ok?”

“Hmm hm”

When they were done, the neighbor took her home, hugged her, and put her to bed. In the morning he called the exterminator, who woke her up with a smile and baseball cap and a canister full of poison. She brought the neighbor pie when he got home from work. And that was how she made her first new friend, in her first new neighborhood, in her first new apartment, in her first new life.

She didn’t even know his name yet.

Her First Apartment Once, when she was young, and living in her own apartment for the very first time, a cockroach crawled into her ear. Cockroaches can’t walk backwards, so it just kept crawling deeper until it got wedged in there and stuck in the wax. She could hear it constantly moving, a tickling flutter searching for escape. She imagined its little cockroach head frantically jerking back and forth inside her own skull. She’d freaked out at first. Woke up her next door neighbor pounding on his apartment door. Would it try to eat it’s way out? She wondered. Could it get through her ear drum? Was that pounding in her ears her heart? She remembered hearing somewhere that roaches could live for weeks without air. “Are you Ok?” “No! There’s something in my ear. And I think it’s a cockroach.” “What?” “Tweezers. Something.” While he rifled the medicine cabinet, she imagined it scuttling over the tiny bones of her inner ear, scurrying like a desperate hungry bullet, headed straight for her brain. He worked with a flashlight and tweezers beside her, peering and probing for only a minute before announcing “Whatever it is, I can’t see it. We’re gonna have to go to the emergency room.”

She cried a little then.

On the way, she kept thinking about a story she’d heard on NPR the day before. A girl who couldn’t stop scratching herself. She’d worn away a bald spot on her head, then worn away the skin too. Her fingernails scraped at her skull, thinning the bone. The itching was a torment. She couldn’t not scratch it. One night while sleeping, she finally cracked through, like a baby chick in


This is a place for the rebels, guys A place to revel in The free verse stylings of the young dissonant dissidents Fighting a losing battle because their only weapons Are the dried nibs of some cheap click Bic pens Stupidly stringing together semi-coherent sentences about revolution It would be asking too much to expect more From the second rate products Of this no-child-left-behind educational system of a rounddown culture And the kind of public schools I went to Give a good argument for changing the spelling of Youthanasia They’re fighting about teaching Creationism But I think the censoring of creativity is a bigger concern right now I can’t even begin describe how awful budget cuts are for self-expression But I guess that’s the point isn’t it? I used to be an artist Back when I could count my age on two hands and my limitations on zero fingers You can bet they tried to beat that out of me though Luckily I was good at standardized tests So I got to sneak away with a daydream once in a while While everyone else had to learn to exceed their AIMS They’re trying to mint new kids identifiable only the their social serial number Like somehow they forgot the reason you’re valuable is because you’re not me It’s a pretty worthless watch when it’s just a bunch of second hands But we have to appeal to the lowest common denominator We wouldn’t want to hurt any feelings You want to stretch those creative wings? Buddy, you’re in the wrong place Don’t you know penguins are jealous of eagles like you Poor guys can’t even fly, you know You obviously haven’t learned how to be indoctrinated right But we’re patient, pal We’ll put you through the social machine again Hopefully fix those weird defects this time



No child left behind, right? And they say American factories don’t produce anything anymore But no one being let ahead is a problem You can’t spend 12 years forcing us all to conform to the mean Then complain that none of us is ready to stand up to the world’s problems I tried to be different But even art classes are standardized nowadays What chance did I have to become a meaningful individual? Adult authority is devastatingly effective for suppressing the imaginations of young kids The thing is, everyone is pissed about sweatshops But public schools haven’t been closed down yet It’s not like underpaid, teacher slaves Can really be expected to produce anything of high quality in these conditions The fact that the people trusted with America’s children Can’t even afford to provide for their own seems like a bad sign to me And I’m about to become one of those teachers I want to be able to make myself matter But you can’t change many lives on $30 per student per year It’s hard to be relevant for less than the price of a tank of gas I never wanted to be a preacher But it’s time for someone to make a sermon So I guess I am now But I’m just preaching to the choir here Cast off outliers of a sick society who already understand all to well How broken we are I know that talk is cheap But I’ve never been rich And sometimes this voice is all I can afford

-King Tutankhamen

and that’s when I saw I should have my balls preserved for eternity

My grandmother was a hero. She wore a tattoo on her wrist to constantly remind her she still stood when all she loved succumbed - she was a survivor, standing tall against the wreckage of her heart. She was not the kind of grandmother who offered pinched cheeks and adoration - instead of fairy fables, she tucked us in to the sound of recounted wartime submachine guns, to close calls and dodged bullets and adrenaline, to sighting your own iris reflected in the glinting singular gaze of a sniper’s scope. She did not bake pierniczki, because gingerbread crumbs won’t lead back to one’s homeland her finest recipes were homemade gunpowder, dynamite and a strange concoction which would keep one’s hair free of nits and fresh for days in a trench with no water. I suppose we all have our vanities. She did not crochet doilies. I regret that I never heard her play piano... I still do not speak her language - still, she left me this poetry.

Moja babcia była bohaterem. Miała na sobie tatuaż na nadgarstku stale przypominać jej, że nadal stał kiedy wszystko kochała ulegli - była ocalały, stały wysoki przeciw wraku jej sercu. Ona nie była taka babcia, która oferowana szczypał policzki i adoracji - zamiast bajek bajki, ona schowany nas na dźwięk opisał wojenne pistolety maszynowe, aby zamknąć rozmowy i uniknął kul i adrenaliny, do obserwacji własnego przysłonę odzwierciedlenie w lśniące singular spojrzenie snajpera zakres. Ona nie piec pierniczki, bo pierniki okruchy nie doprowadzi z powrotem do Ojczyzny - jej najdrobniejsze przepisy były domowej roboty proch, dynamit i dziwna mikstura, która prowadzi jeden włosy bez nitów i świeże przez kilka dni w rowie, bez wody. Przypuszczam, że każdy z nas ma próżności. Ona nie serwetki szydełka. Żałuję, że nigdy nie słyszałem jej na fortepianie grać ... I nadal nie mówić jej językiem - nadal, zostawiła mi tę poezję.

What is today? Backyard Window kisses Their heads tilt under rainbow light Songs dedicated Classic as a gift aforehand Synthetic and burnt To remind her There is a man aflame With alcohol at his lips The damp crackle of his smile In the dark, brings her to his front Hurry does he with morning eyes Hand out from tween her shadowed thigh Smoke sees him off the corner All she has left are shaded eyes framed in gold And the message of his pores on her pillow

See them dance

The stunning visionary art of Bill Dambrova often explores the inner mysteries of our bodies. Sangra Azul (depicted above) was inspired by the phrase “Blue Blood� - an idiom often used to refer to royalty.

You are cordially invited to submit your personal interpretation of Sangr Azul, or original words or artwork inspired by the this phrase, for publication in Verballistics: Issue 2.

INDEX of AWESOMESAUCE (in order of appearance)

Exterior Art - Shawn McConaghy


The Rain is Calling - Andrea Russell Andi.russell@yahoo.com Andrea is an up-and-coming writer of poetry and fiction, with a deep love for sci-fantasy, fancy costumes, and baby animals. She has a lovely family, a disarming smile, and a heart which may one day win the world record for depth. Heart-Shaped Leaf – MVK www.inventivist.com The beloved Creative Director and Chief Inventivist of Verballistics: Magazine, Ms. Verbal Kensington finds writing her own bio embarrassing, at best. Seek out other works of her stunning personal genius at the website above. Energy Follows Attention - Randall Alford www.heartfulembrace.wordpress.com This piece is an excerpt from Randall’s essay “What’s So Subtle About Subtle Energies?”, a personal philosophical inquiry into the nature of so-called “subtle energies.” You can find it in it’s full, unaltered form on the HeartfulEmbrace blog. -> Reasons (1) Verballistics : Creative Staff Stuff They Held Hands - Christopher Fox Graham http://foxthepoet.blogspot.com/ After earning a degree in English lit from Arizona State University in 2001, Christopher Fox Graham moved to Flagstaff, Arizona and won a slot on the Flagstaff Poetry Slam Team, which competed in the National Poetry Slam in Seattle. He has since competed five times on the national stage. In 2009, he became Sedona’s official Slammaster, hosting bimonthly spoken-word competitions, and sponsoring the inaugural Sedona Poetry Slam Team in 2012. He was recently accepted into the Prestigious Fraternity of Poets with Several Names, and in an unofficial vote, won the coveted title “Kind of a Big Deal”. You’re So Vein – Bill Dambrova dambrovaart.blogspot.com Bill’s current paintings are a celebration of the biological and ecstatic events occurring inside of our minds an d bodies, often seemingly outside of our control or consent. How much can our minds affect our bodies ? How much influence do we wield in determining our own health and well-being? Bill invites you to join him in the exploration of these questions (and more!) through the experience of our bodies as incredible works of art. To the Planet Formerly Known As Pluto – Christopher Fox Graham http://foxthepoet.blogspot.com/ Like a Bird - Dennis L. Hodges dennis.hodges@netzero.net About me... are the innumerable atoms that make up the air, and bits of nova debris organized and arranged into familiar forms. I want to challenge form; Make words mean something. My aim is to capture a feeling, emotion, memory, or moment ... stream of consciousness writing. It’s less about how the thoughts are written and more about capturing every bit of minutiae flying through my head. -> Tidbits Verballistics : Creative Headquarters -> Get Verbal! How to Banish Your Writer’s Block Verballistics : Creative Headquarters -> Love Forged Ahead Verballistics : Creative Headquarters -> Writing Exercise (1) Verballistics : Creative Headquarters Two Clocks – Dennis Hodges dennis.hodges@netzero.net Ragnarok - Christopher Fox Graham


La Fiesta de Cumpleanos - Mary E. Edler The Love of Mercenaries – MVK

Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

-> Notes to Self (1)

Verballistics : Creative Staff Stuff


Pictures of Goats in Trees – Westminster Hershey Mystery, Planet, Universe Westminster Hershey is elusive. He is rumored to be the only man alive to have actually received his master’s degree on schedule. He is sometimes spotted in odd and undisclosed locations, muttering things you wouldn’t understand about the intricacies of the universe, and pondering how poetic it might be to take up smoking cigarettes. -> Notes to Self (2)

Verballistics : Creative Headquarters

A List (What you packed) – MVK


Pilgrims - Randall Alford


Chakra Con – Bill Dambrova


Towards the Light – Dennis Hodges

dennis.hodges@netzero.net A Letter – Anonymous La Futilite de la Fatalite – Anonymous A List (Cool stuff to do) – Anonymous

Crumpled Paper Heart – Jackson Morris JacksonMorris91@gmail.com Jackson Morris is a full-time student, poet, and spoken-word artist from Flagstaff, AZ. He is currently a senior at Northern Arizona University, where he studies Philosophy and Art Education because he doesn’t care at all about making money later in life. His poems are all based in real-life, except for the ones that are lies. He knows how to tie a tie properly, and looks savvy in argyle. Holiday Greetings - Anonymous A Letter (12/04/10) – Anonymous -> Reasons (2)

Verballistics : Creative Headquarters

Through the Casement Window – Brian Clancy


Her First Apartment – Jonathan Oak Facebook.com/Jonathan.Oak.Standifird Jonathan Oak is a poet and singer songwriter living in Portland, Oregon. He’s been on three slam nationals teams, run writing workshops for over a decade, recorded two albums and is currently with the band Three Penny Walnut. Education in America – Jackson Morris


June 6, 1992 – Vrse Murhpy http://www.myspace.com/sacredhoopsters Vrse Murphy is a baller, and everything he does is dusted with gold. See the link for more of the good stuff. What else do you need to know? -> Historical Haiku

Verballistics : Creative Headquarters

Moja Babcia, A Compilation – Megan Zakrzewski & Lidia Zakrzewski megan.zak@gmail.com The Last Encounter and A Solider are original poems by Lidia Zakrzewski. Arranged by her granddaughter, and augmented with the piece Moja Babcia, after her recent passing. What is Today? - Hannah Mann manthatsawesome@gmail.com Hello, my name is Hannah Mann. I am a 24 years old, and haven’t written a poem since high school. This is a love poem I wrote 8 years ago. Unlike most of my writing at the age of 16, this one has managed to remain tolerable over the years. Blue Blood – Bill Dambrova


All contributors retain full rights to their work - please contact authors and artists directly with inquiries regarding future use. For all other questions or comments, please visit


Profile for Verbal Kensington

Verballistics : Issue 1  

Verballistics: is a publishing endeavor which, like poetry itself, defies definition. ​​ We believe that life is poetry, and we are all po...

Verballistics : Issue 1  

Verballistics: is a publishing endeavor which, like poetry itself, defies definition. ​​ We believe that life is poetry, and we are all po...