Volume I, Issue 2
Featuring: Justin Wade Thompson Linda Wandt Michael Thompson
Table of Contents April A ................................................................................................................... 4-6 The Voice Of Dispair Victim A Desperate City Heartless-can-be? Every Single Evening’s Plot Ben Nardolilli ........................................................................................................ 7-8 Into the Pitfall Jot Down Kind Trouble Chris Castle .......................................................................................................... 9-11 Kicking God Daniel Davis ............................................................................................................ 11 Survival Donal Mahoney ................................................................................................. 12-13 Intermission Rodding Out: Bulgarian plumber’s song Dr. Donahue Elizabeth Kolar .................................................................................................. 14-15 Hereafter Buffalo Bill Cliff Diving Felino A. Soriano ............................................................................................... 16-17 Approbations 124 —after Eberhard Weber’s Seriously Deep Approbations 125 —after Muhal Richard Abrams’ Think All, Focus One Approbations 126 —after Chick Corea’s Converge G. David Schwartz ............................................................................................. 18-19 Ugly Child For Aunt Toby When I Was Young George Anderson ............................................................................................... 20-22 GAZZA Juggling The Broken Mirror Unscrabbling The Eggs Hal Sirowitz ............................................................................................................ 23 No Return Bad Cheese
Junie Moon ........................................................................................................ 24-28 Discarded Social Burden One Breath
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Mental Fatigue
Justin Wade Thompson ...................................................................................... 29-31 Tough Guy There Isn’t Enough Sun to Dry These Roses Left on My Lips Kenneth Radu .................................................................................................... 32-33 Fur Linda Wandt ....................................................................................................... 34-35 Infrastructure The Queen of Bones Attachments Michael Brandonisio .......................................................................................... 36-37 Walk don’t Walk Checkmate Michael Lee Johnson ......................................................................................... 38-39 Untitled I Walk (Psychiatric Assessment) South Chicago Night: Version 2 Days Pass Michael Thompson ............................................................................................ 40-41 Moral of Immorality PC BS Palo Paloma ....................................................................................................... 42-43 San Francisco Years Waking Up on a Crowded Couch Parker Tettleton ....................................................................................................... 44 Homeless Poems Ellipses Girlfriend’s Best Friend Peycho Kanev .................................................................................................... 45-48 Inferno About The Tyrant Sunday Blues The Meaning of it All Farewell Fools Sergio A. Ortiz .................................................................................................. 49-50 Having a Heart Attack. This Wants to Be Haiti: No Place for Weary Hearts
April A The Voice Of Despair Triangles of half-open doors Reveal all the truth that is hidden: Just condoms and cans on the floor, Black papers with verses, forbidden Unfinished remakes of the song, Deprived of the right to speak loud Of wicked intentions gone wrong Erasers have muffled the shout. The only illusion-proof mind A poet, the voice of despair, Sincere, the one of this kind Throws verses far into the air Right there, in a dirty old flat Among once great talents, now rotten. They all have deserved more than that, But even their names are forgotten.
Victim You wake up at six: intercourse with your spouse. You’re under the blanket with tightly shut eyes. At seven a postman arrives to your house With two printed portions of scandals and lies. You turn the TV on. Your damn daily dose Of lies is exceeded with fresh morning news. You firmly believe global changes are close You have no idea they’ve hidden the truth. In life you’ve achieved less than nothing, you’re poor Though you were the best both at college and school. Well, man, who are you? You are not even sure. In fact, you’re a pawn in the game of a fool.
A Desperate City
Hello to you from the gray gloomy city, Where crowds unconsciously worship despair, Indulging in dangers of constant self-pity With naive belief in the world’s being fair. They have no trust in a man’s inner power, And fortitude sounds like something unknown. They have no poets, just ones of an hour, Who drown at once in the thoughts of their own. With greed they consume plain illusions for dinner, And dress them with lies when they serve the new dishes
To those so-called “pathological sinners” Who find someone else’s delusions delicious. They have Friday liter-mates rather than friends To mark that the week of no favor is ending, But even with glasses of spirits in hands They look worse than misery. Are they pretending?
Heartless-can-be? I’m wild and sometimes even heartless-can-be, I’m fond of collecting illusions to ruin, I’m breaking the rules life has written for me, “Create to destroy” best describes what I’m doing. I’m scarily dangerous, silently loud A walking disaster you’d better ignore, The pain in the neck of a desperate crowd. But I’m like a magnet - you’ll only want more. You’ll figure me out, you’ll get to the core One beauty, two fears, three dangers - it’s me. You’ll enter my heartspace and close the door For anyone else who I wanted to be. My truth was denying devotion and faith, And now you’ve proved right the opposite true. A chain of mistakes is the sign of my days; My strength will forgive me - it led me to you.
Every Single Evening’s Plot I closed the door of my dirty old flat, I went outside for a short evening stroll. I bought some cheap hooch and a condom instead. I’d only arrived when I heard a phone call. It was so persistent, so deafening loud. Who failed to forget me? I wanted to know. I took a deep breath for a desperate shout, Picked up the receiver: “Hello! Hello?” Just silence. An error? Wrong number? Or what? A quick thought of you. Stupid me! Would you care? I started to feel all the spirits I’d bought Dissolve in my blood, neutralizing despair. In less than an hour my neighbours arrived And asked me for something they needed. Okay. I gave them a condom and bade them hot night I wouldn’t have sex for some number more days. I spent the next hour listening to moans, But envy and anger were still neutralized. I’d made through the day, and I’d done it alone. The neighbours calmed down. I closed my eyes. 5
April A. has been writing for almost five years, getting inspiration from various experiences seen by the eyes of a thinker. The purpose of her creativity is urging people to see beyond the bounds, to be themselves, to speak their minds loud, not to be afraid to differ from the crowd. She creates to destroy. To destroy the naive beliefs. To destroy the stereotypes. April lives in St. Petersburg with her beloved one at the moment and hopes to succeed further both as a poet and a songwriter.
You can find out more about me through my creative works here: http://april-abd.bravehost.com/Homepage.htm My contact e-mail address: email@example.com ÂŠ2010 by April A.
Ben Nardolilli Into the Pitfall
I am never an optimist When the glass is filled with whiskey, In front of me is a heavy door To force open with a gulping push and go through, A brown storm to wade upon One clear and round invitation to an obligation. Even a half full glass Fails to bring a permanent smile to my face, The deed is half finished, But I am also half full, Unable to swallow with gusto All the whiskey that remains like eager kindling. It is only an empty glass That swings me in circles until I smile, Now the doors are open And a woman’s braceleted arms hold me Before many paths of glory, Not all of them leading to just soiled sheets.
Jot Down The red sky urges him on To evil acts, those leaves Are seductive, The grass is cool, but rare. The vine curves, threatens, Typically left-handed, His face is bare, There is something intrepid in him. But his head is steel. And so are his hands, It makes his prayer stainless, There is trepidation in him.
Kind Trouble The day comes and the veil Of this world rises up It is tossed aside, then I become groom to the world. The night covered all the flowers, Kept the birds away, Rats were the only ones out,
Now the streets are filled with steps. But night kept the wounds away, It provided cold innocence, Gave us all an easy rest, So many facts were buried. Now that convenience is gone, The light is on everything, The broken glass, the scribbling, The torn clothes, the drops of blood. Terrible evidence comes in like a tide, But content with the dark, I close my eyes, think of stigmata And put my wounded hands on my face. I am a twenty four year old writer\currently living in Arlington, Virginia. My work has appeared in Houston Literary Review, Perigee Magazine, Canopic Jar, Lachryma: Modern Songs of Lament, Baker’s Dozen, Thieves Jargon, Farmhouse Magazine, Elimae, Poems Niederngasse, Gold Dust, The Delmarva Review, Underground Voices Magazine, SoMa Literary Review, Heroin Love Songs, Shakespeare’s Monkey Revue, Cantaraville, and Perspectives Magazine. In addition I was the poetry editor for West 10th Magazine at NYU and maintain a blog at mirrorsponge.blogspot.com. ©2010 by Ben Nardolilli
Chris Castle Kicking God I made my way up to the edge of town on foot. I’m a reporter for a local paper and it doesn’t cover any expenses. The man I replaced told me my best friend for the chronicle was a decent pair of walking boots and he wasn’t wrong. By the time I reach the place, I can feel the sweat on my forehead. But I know that part of that’s fear. The boss wanted a report on the dog fights. Everyone knew it went on, nobody stopped it. I’d heard of it myself, was shocked by it, then found I had my own problems that pushed something like that to the back of my mind. I saw a man stand by a dumpster and light a cigarette; he looked briefly to me, then went right along smoking. I walked up to him and asked if Charlie was working. The man pointed with his cigarette back inside the door to a man working the kitchen pot wash. We sat in the cafe at the end of the shift, both of us nursing coffee cups. Charlie had come to the paper, offering up the story for a sum of money. I’m twenty eight and I’d put Charlie at a few years younger, maybe twenty five. When he told me he was nineteen, I tried not to show my surprise. He was a gypsy, lived alone and had worked since he was a baby. My old man always used to say about the gypsies; ‘I’d rather have one for a friend than an enemy.’ I’d known a gypsy boy in school and he gave as many beating as he took and no-one ever found out a thing about him. Charlie told me the details about the fight, the place and the time. We agreed to meet the night before to explain things, get some details. When he was done, he looked up to me, at a loss at what to say next. I was, too. We simply nodded to each other; our agreement made and went back to holding our cups “I really love my dog,” he said out of nowhere. It almost made me jump when he spoke. “He’s the only thing I love in my life. But…” he raised his hand and then waved it, like he was knocking back a fly. I waited for him to say more, but he pushed aside his cup and pulled on his coat. I watched him walk through the car park, his hands buried in his pockets and I pulled out my notebook and started to write. I’m in love with a girl called Anna. We live together in a house she inherited from her parents when they died in a car crash. When it happened, I wasn’t sure if staying there was good for her, being surrounded by all that sadness. But she saw it differently; explained that she was honouring them, keeping them with her. I didn’t argue; like I said, I’m in love with her. Anna’s deaf, so we either sign or she reads my lips. After I finish my notes I go home and finally tell her what the assignment is I’m working on. I watch as her eyes grow wide and then wet. She can’t believe I would involve myself in something so barbaric. The fact that I’m prepared to watch it is what finally makes the tears come. I explain to her that by doing what I’m doing, it might stop things, that some good might come of it, but she doesn’t accept that. She folds her arms. That night I sleep on the couch. I meet Charlie at his place the next day. The cold, wet spell had finally broken and the sun in beaming down on us as we stand in the dust. Charlie hands me a soda and explains how he found his dog, Nesta, on the street one morning. The mutt had a temper, he explained, but he finally won him around. Now, the dog holds onto that temper as long as he can, until something spills over and sets him off, so Charlie’s been feeding him right, keeping him sweet these past few weeks. It’s only these last two days the foods not been so good, the walks shorter, the leash tighter. After he puts the dog back in the kennel out of the heat, we sit on the grass with a second bottle. For a long while we don’t talk, but just look out to the orange groves over the way. Outside Anna, it’s the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen. I imagine her walking through the plots, reaching up and pulling down the fruit one by one. Charlie begins to talk about money and I listen, forcing myself to look away from the grove and not allow myself to see anything beautiful while he explains the in’s and outs of the business. It brings in good money. Charlie stands to make a fair size of cash between the payment and the bets he’s laying down. He knows he will have to leave when the paper prints the story, but he has already mapped out a place, the chance of a steady, better job. He hopes Nesta will not be hurt too much and will be fit enough a few days
after to go right along with him; otherwise he will stop somewhere halfway and nurse him until he’s fully recovered. The sun is on us now, really upon us, and I raise my hand to shield my eyes, to keep looking at Charlie as he talks. “I’ve tried to ready him, you know? I’ve given him a few goes with a tree branch, but the noise he makes…I can’t bear it. It’s like kicking God every time I have to hurt him, you know? It’s just...I can’t bear it. The night it happens, I’m going to wear ear-plugs. I got some from the kitchen, they hand them out when we have to work the machines in the morning. I don’t want to hear it, none of it. You understand?” He looked over to me, right at me. He didn’t shield himself from the heat, didn’t even flinch at the sun as it burrowed right into him. He just waited for me to say something. I nodded and that seemed to be enough. Then he pulled himself up, dusted himself down and offered me his hand. It was the last time we were to speak before the fight. That night I ate on my own; Anne was working late; she had taken extra shifts so that we wouldn’t eat together, I knew that. I sat up until she came in and watched her walk past me, to the kitchen. She sat away from me and quietly finished her meal. I watched her walk away from me, into our room and all I could do was think how beautiful she looked, even then. The world as it was, was not how she wanted it to be; I knew that, and I knew it was true for me, too. I waited until the door gently closed and then I began my letter to her. I wrote of all the small things that make up a life together with someone; the way she smiled at me when she dried her hair with the towel; the way she held her coffee mug, her eyes lashes and the way she made me laugh without trying. I wrote a thousand things and last of all, I mentioned the orange grove and how I saw her there, amongst the branches, even as I sat and listened to a man speak of ugly, horrible things. When I was done I slipped the note under the door and went back to my notes, the couch. It was almost light when I set down the pad and I only took two hours before the sun woke me up. I met Charlie in the alleyway where he worked and we drove to the place in silence. Once or twice he looked back to the dog, but mostly he simply kept his eyes on the road. When we reached the lot, there were over two dozen cars, the lights full beam and all pointing to the centre, making an improvised ring. Men stood around, some drinking beer, some impatient, a mess of four or five music stations playing different songs. We climbed out, Charlie walking to the back of the truck and gathering Nesta up in his arms, like a person would a new born baby. The men laid the money in caps, in cups, in each other’s hands. The music died and the men stopped talking. Charlie and the other man walked into the light, both holding the dogs. No one else spoke, no introductions or announcements. I passed money over to a man and he took it without looking back at me; everyone was looking at the ring. I watched as Charlie reached into one ear and then the other, slipping the plugs in. Then he returned both hands to his dog and waited. One man dropped his dog and then the other. Then the men roared as they tore into each other. And I stood and watched with all the others. I went back to office and wrote the story. I worked on it, re-edited it and worked on it some more until it was done. I left it with my editor and headed out to see Charlie. By the time I reached his house, some of the day was gone, but by then I had begun to lose track of the hours. I found him sitting outside of his place, where we had talked days before. He held his wallet in one hand and a knife in the other. I walked over and stopped a few paces from him, called out his name. “I thought he’d be okay.” He didn’t look up; the knife had blood on it and had dried in the heat. I looked past him; saw a long trail of red splashes dried in the dust. “But he wasn’t okay,” he said, almost as an afterthought. He was talking to himself now, more than me. I sat down next to him, aware the knife was close, but I wasn’t scared. The heat was on us again, but things had changed now. The tip of the bills sticking out of his wallet was flecked with red. I didn’t speak, but instead waited for the heat to roll over us. I looked over and saw his body curl up as he started crying. I moved closer, gently taking the knife and putting my hand on his as it shook. I spoke and then after it was over, he rose up and started walking away from me, looking back once for me to follow. We arrived at the house after dark. Charlie walked behind me, waited for me to open the door. I turned the key and stepped inside. Anna stood in the kitchen; she was cooking food. The letter I had written to her was on the small table, the smell of food was everywhere. She looked at me and I looked at her for a second before look-
ing back and ushering Charlie in. He walked into the room and stood beside me, a few feet from her. He carried a bag, full of oranges from the grove, in his hands. The three of us, in that small room, standing in silence. Just the smell of the freshly picked oranges, on our fingers, in the bag, in the air. Then she looked at us, one after the other, then pointed to the chairs, leaving me to close the door behind us. Chris Castle is English but works in Greece; He has sent work out this last summer and has been accepted 70odd times. His influences include Ray Carver and PT Anderson. ©2010 by Chris Castle
Daniel Davis Survival The other day I saw a dog eviscerate a cat in the middle of the street. My first impulse was to laugh; my second was to stifle the laugh for propriety’s sake. The dog was a mutt of some kind, a mangy bastard with drool on its cheeks and hunger burning in the recesses of its eyes. I sympathized. The cat was small and defenseless, quick but confident. To its credit, it did try to evade the dog’s gnashing jaws, but because of its unjustified over-confidence, It fell victim to the trappings of fate that we are all subject to: In its selfish view of existence, the cat failed to believe in the certainty of death. The dog bit into the cat’s throat. He went for the feline’s underbelly, ripping it open as one would a bag of garbage. Death came flowing out in a putrid rush that made me turn away. I could not watch, but I could appreciate the scene for what it signified: The cat did not believe and now the cat is dead. I do not know if the dog believed In death, but I know he believed in hunger, and now his hunger is satiated. Daniel W. Davis is a graduate student. His stories and poems have appeared in various online journals. You can follow his work and musings at www.dumpsterchickenmusic.blogspot.com. ©2010 by Daniel Davis
Donal Mahoney Intermission
Warm, wet, wrapped in each other’s arms, legs still for a moment, we rest a spider spent, lost in its web
Rodding Out: A Bulgarian Plumber’s Song And so I’ll tell old Max, and maybe he will listen, it’s time to call the plumber in and tell him, “Here’s the deal: We’ll hire you today and Friday you’ll begin rodding out Camille. When you finish bring her back, and we’ll see if she will yield. And if she won’t you’ll try again, rodding out Camille.”
Dr. Donohue If you can’t believe Dr. Donohue in his syndicated column when he addresses matters medical, then “whom,” as my mother would have said, “can you believe?” Fair enough, I thought. And so when recently the doctor told a reader not to worry even though her “stools float,” I took comfort. Apparently, she had read somewhere that floating stools are symptomatic of a strange condition often dangerous. I hope Dr. Donohue is right because if he’s not I’ve got a problem. Not all my stools float, but the lunkers do. 12
And what if on a given day a lunker leaps like a dolphin capering in a Florida bay and crashes against my bathroom ceiling? What do I do then, Doc, duck? Donal Mahoney, a native of Chicago, lives in St. Louis, MO. He has worked as an editor for The Chicago SunTimes, Loyola University Press and Washington University in St. Louis. He has had poems published in or accepted by The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Commonweal, Public Republic (Bulgaria), Gloom Cupboard (U.K.), Revival (Ireland), The Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey), Eviscerator Heaven, Opium 2.0, Rusty Truck, Whisper&Scream!, Poetry Super Highway, Pirene’s Fountain (Australia) and other publications. ©2010 by Donal Mahoney
Elizabeth Kolar Hereafter: In a world lit by darkness, Only you can see the hope. Nothing seems to be real here, Yet you have begun to choke. Blind, it is you who can see, You see the beauty in life. Deaf, it is you who can hear, You hear music in the world. Now, hereafter, life has worth, You value what once was real. Without pulse, you are alive, Without breath, you cannot die.
Buffalo Bill: Their bodies are too thin, Misfitting is their skin. Suffocate in the space, Beauty is out of place. Lovers of the unloved; Liars sent from above. The lotion does not change a thing, The rough flesh will never sing. Untasted goes the cream; It’s not as the portrait would seem. The beholder longs to be held. The innards and flesh never meld. Stories of horror become the true; Damage done, you cannot undo.
Cliff Diving: I will fling myself from these cliffs to avoid my heart’s apocalypse My heart is breaking My lungs are aching because of heavy breathing from all this screaming in pain This love, my love is in vain I don’t know what to do I don’t know what to say My body’s shaking 14
I’m just wasting away The hardest part of living is loving though the idea is so becoming I never understood never thought I could believe in getting what I wanted My soul is so haunted from all this being in pain This hope, my hope is in vain I don’t have a clue He won’t give me time of day My body’s quaking I’m so far into his wasting away I will fling myself from these cliffs to avoid my heart’s apocalypse ©2010 by Elizabeth Kolar
Felino A. Soriano Approbations 124 —after Eberhard Weber’s Seriously Deep When mending becomes impossible construction. The eyes of devout mystery close and describe inner wall-features, hieroglyphic mentioning, very close in contact with history of a self no longer alive amid the shell’s sameness of reflectional understanding. Deeper into psyche a memory hides coded clothing, hoping devouring method of the mind’s corporeal dealing contends strongly with what divides time by reason developing raised redemption, sufficient import of reinvented windows.
Approbations 125 —after Muhal Richard Abrams’ Think All, Focus One Happenings such as these occur happenstance prophecy, alive authorization lent to the one altruistic thinker, leading the miserable questions, those sans answers of tolerable revolution, systematic transport. All, when thinking simultaneously, find parallel ideologies mimicking spread-rumor echoes facilitating foundation for unnecessary doctrines of cycling additions: prepared to comprehend introverted passiveness, persons of neglecting ritualistic purpose.
Approbations 126 —after Chick Corea’s Converge
Like spirals of blackbirds’ circulatory rendition etching wind and flight into open mouth humidity of a Summer’s myopic ending.
FelinoÂ A. Soriano is a case manager and advocate for physically and developmentally disabled adults. His website gives details of his editorship, published poems, and 22 collections of poetry: www.felinoasoriano.info. ÂŠ2010 Felino A. Soriano
G. David Schwartz Ugly Child Is that not an ugly child? Sitting right in our way Is he or she not a dismal sight? Making everything seem not right Ok I will tell you Because you delay and shrink Yes that is an atrocious child Now let’s go get a drink
For Aunt Toby
I put a hard face on for aunt Toby I put on a hard face so I won’t cry The thought of a friend who has died Makes this meaning shift to gloom And the thought of death coming so soon So sad As if it is a good thing to die A good thing to sag or cry
When I Was Young
When I was young We didn’t have metal that sang It was unusual to have a diamond ring And chipmunks did only swing When I was young We ate at school A healthy variety of vegetables And didn’t play pool When I was young Days were spent in study Whether we did so or not And everyone belonged to a club Or else they did not When I was young Tobacco was all there was To use to get off the ground There were no airplanes then They didn’t make a sound When I was young I never thought I would get old or I would not I drove a car, it was my dads When he fell asleep 18
The keys were had And we were not bad But then we were only young G. David Schwartz - the former president of Seedhouse, the online interfaith committee. Schwartz is the author of A Jewish Appraisal of Dialogue. Currently a volunteer at Drake Hospital in Cincinnati, Schwartz continues to write. His new book, Midrash and Working Out Of The Book is now in stores or can be ordered. Check out my book on Midrash: http://hometown.aol.com/__121b_tdTFJGXZcJCPqQrUySnZ+KTxh35g b1iLtUVOk9VzwjAofilKR1T0xzcqXUHOGVmrwww.amazon.com/gp/product/1418489565/104-84540116722310?n=28315g ÂŠ2010 by G. David Schwartz
George Anderson GAZZA Gazza’s death was imminentknown the bloke for 20 yrs & not once seen him w/out a schooner in hand not once have I seen him consume food ‘The shit cuts into my drinking time’, he once half-jokingly explained to me. His wake took place a couple of days ago at the Headlands Hotel across from his blonde brick house on Lawrence Hargreaves Drive the lounge chairs piled disorderly outside that fine spring afternoon the subsequent testimonials genuine, uplifting & as surging rollers curled across the rock ledges below a tragic reminder of time’s poignant passing the mere heartbeat which exists between the act of guzzling a beer & cremation Judy, Gazza’s auntie breaks the ice firsttotally pummels it explains how one year for his birthday she had bought Gazza & his twin brother Bazza blow up plastic dolls how when their mother returned home early how they had vigorously leaped on the dolls on the front lawn before the passing traffic/ frantically trying to deflate them before mom could find any evidence the surviving brother Bazza thick fizzy grey beard & westie shirt tanked up adding in his characteristically slurring & chuckling way how the dolls they were gifted only had one orifice & that was a large red mouth no one in the crowd due to the probity of the situation really wanting to acknowledge his insight. Another anecdote is tossed from the mobthere are no mics in the pub everything is improvisedhow Gazza used to do odd mowing jobs around North Wollongong how one day he noticed bracken & the odd tuff of grass on top of a shed20
how he lifted the mower & roared thru it how a school kid, incredulous yelled out to his mother, ‘The drunk guy’s mowing the roof!’ This is met with incredible raucous laughter & many of the guests return to the bar for another refill. A bloke beside me beer in hand hardened by years of labour, poignantly testifies at the periphery of the crowd, ‘I first met Gazz in 1977 in the railways He was a guard at the time Never met a guy like him He could grow a beard overnight & he could drink like a fish all night & show up early the next morning no worries. Took me a fucken while to learn that Bazz covered his shift & he never was employed by the SRA’. Apart from the muffled laughter & the occasional smashing of a glass I can’t remember much shit after this many of us ending up under the table. But I can tell you without a sneer I have never met better men.
Juggling the Broken Mirror
When he smeared his face white & hopped into those loose bilious pants & hobbled down the crooked road in floppy flat black shoes, he entered into that world like through a shattered mirror. To him, life became a performance from one moment to the nextoften improvised often shrieking on the edge, often the dud smiling persona seizing control. He awoke one morning his mask intact frozen fear etched deep into his skin glistening raw turned inside out like fresh cigarette burns
juggling red eggs juggling broken glass juggling mutilated pieces of himself all circling all smirking all screaming at him to knife himself. He now knew something was amiss.
Unscrabbling the Eggs
Wrap your mind in sterilised gauze Undress your thoughts in abstruse musings. Handcuff them in standard chord progressions Floating in an either of brief free-time. An improvised logic without stridency Intubated, an ugly devouring of language by language. On the roo hunting trip his ute flips drowning the hidden boy .0229 more than FOUR times the permissible level. Linezold. Daptomycin. In the dream he pisses out black & yellow snakes A stranger bangs on the wooden slat door, tongues of oceans. Sturgeon’s law, like an indifferent god taking a shit, heteroglassaic Poetic fragments in spatial patterns: zombie banks, inchoateness. The revolving flipside: boys slurping & burping 32nd street, vancomycin, polyvocal, gulliame, another bullfight dream. He rode you double on the bike at 15 ks per hour unanswerable to her moaning plight, a space of white, mosaic opening doors. George Anderson lives in North Wollongong, Australia. Check out his poetry blog: http://georgedanderson. blogspot.com ©2010 by George Anderson
Hal Serowitz No Return ‘(Prayer is) an appeal which must never be answered; if it is, it ceases to be prayer and becomes correspondence.’ Oscar Wilde You should be thanking your lucky stars that God doesn’t answer your prayers, father said. Otherwise, you’d have to write Him a thank you letter for responding. Then your friends will say, ‘I’ve heard God answers you. Could you put in a good word for us, too.’ And before you know it, you’ll have to pray for the whole junior high and the younger classes, too. This way, if He doesn’t answer, you could blame it on the acoustics in your room.
Bad Cheese This cheese tastes like solidified floor wax, father said. Not that I’ve ever eaten floor wax, but it looks as if it has the same consistency as something used to clean the floor. Let me do you the honor of throwing it out. I know there are all these poor starving kids in China, but sending them this cheese to eat won’t conquer hunger. hal sirowitz is the former Poet Laureate of Queens, New York. He’s published in Cliterature, Hanging Loose, Beet, etc. ©2010 by Hal Sirowitz
Junie Moon DISCARDED SOCIAL BURDEN
Faint rays of sunlight through a tiny window caught the spinning prism, rainbows danced ’round that tin can trap called home Ha, just think, mobile home, mobile suggesting it would move. That old bucket hadn’t moved in thirty years sitting in grammies back yard Feeling trashy was easy when picking up food stamps each month was the high point of life Even worse, the way people look when getting groceries, some folks look away others look on in disgust One step above homeless, a refugee, a pariah, unwanted, used up, just one more name on the welfare list Finally she heard the baby crying, so distant, strange, unreal, all alone, disconnected from all other life forms Poverty and neglect suffocating her; strangling a tattered will to live. Just a little light of hope would, perhaps, give enough strength to keep moving Long ago she had given up on God or any other type of salvation, redemption surely did not know
her address but the bill collectors did If only she could just leave, yes, leave this ALL behind She went down to the river most every day when the baby slept The water, sparkling, golden, freedom soaring where the sky crosses the water Streams of consciousness weave between clouds birds make multi-syllable sounds, moving a wedge of time coded in the seasons Obsessive blue sky, an obscure sanctum, hypnotic reality becoming a neurotic fixation Some saintly church spire taking exception to the view, casting a long shadow pointing an accusing finger of chastisement Cool winds arched over ancient sentiments, curl round brick walls centuries old Trickling waters reflecting a distorted, dull, deceptive continence, no longer bright, impish, sparkling Mother’s acid voice melancholy, sarcastic, venomous, stinging, mocking, washed over her; “don’t come back to me with your troubles” White doves caged and dying by degree; fulfilling a mystical prophesy of unknown origins, too young, at the end of living
Where is salvation? That too manipulated, categorized under the secular umbrella of unity Eerie, distant funeral pipes, fantasy rituals, “for someone so young”; no concerto, no flames or Bucolic poems Where the mourners? Faces plucked from ads in the obits.? Responsible order pushed back into a box; a marker, in brass, concealed in the grass; daylilies comforting the living; just another discarded, social burden in the end
Grey mist under purple sky, twilights prelude, ink dots merge, swell, trickle down, sealing out traces of day; shadows exhale; silhouettes dance ’cross cosmic dust Time banished, hours erased, grandfather keeping time like a metronome hazy fog, vapors, feathery mirage, rising up filling an empty room; murmurs, seductive gentle whispers; obscuring stealthy cowards, hiding a hypnotic prophecy, unleashed in darkness...
abyss; mystical, insistent collage of images through cellophane changing colors; heart beats listless, laden; no heroic salutations; transparent illusions, counterfeit memories …voluminous darkness; seductive, mesmerizing; no borders, no boundaries; no guarantees; reality distorted, spiraling in inner space, life, silent in one breath, death, silent in the next
NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP With trepidation I approach the night, praying to irresponsible angels Grant me involuntary release let me lay unconscious clear my mind till I am oblivious to all extraneous stimuli May the synapses of my brain no longer fire across that spongy globe of crevasses Unburden my body from muscles seizing in random order Close each orifice from sensation while I lay supine If, but for a moment, I dream, let fantastic seduction draw me to a place of passé tranquility Soothe my weary soul confirm my permit to enter the gates of Eden and temporarily make my spirit whole
Necrotic daylight, crimson waves, dripping into pools of dark deception, stagnant, the air grasping for the last breath of clarity, Illusions echo constant, imagination forcing him to face the blistering dark melancholy memories that dig deep into the brain, On and on into night pacing helpless, perhaps insane Deficient in color shadows temporarily compensate covering that faceless fatigue, waves of motion ooze through spaces spawning some ill conceived fate hypnotic humming Surrounds his head like an opiate driven, driving one mad Darkness becomes oppressor, seductress in her domain observing the quality of discomfort massed upon the damned night still refused to recognize the day belching poisonous phrases ‘till the animated brightness burns the eye of doubt with potency of its power driving the bitter darkness out My works have appeared in Poetic Hours, Sage of Consciousness, The persistent Mirage, Poetry Today, Black Book press, the anthology ‘Lives of Artists’ compiled by Melanie M. Eyth, The Pink Chameleon, Eat a Peach, Down in the Dirt, to name a few. ©2010 by Junie Moon
Justin Wade Thompson Tough Guy i used to slick my hair back in elementary school i had it long and i’d put oil in it and i’d wear white t-shirts, with jeans, roll up the sleeves and stick ‘em full with small jewelry boxes so it’d look like a pack of cigarettes i thought i was pretty tough playing cards in the spokes of my bicycle but then it wasn’t cool to ride a bike once you were 12 and the kids stuck my hair full of sticky puddy, from the posters on the walls, and the nurses had to cut all my hair off these days, i don’t care too much about being tough or playing it cool some flunkies smashed my face on a curb and i just laughed it off my mom was nice enough to buy me some new porcelain teeth and helped me to buy a trailer home when it became apparent that i was too crazy to hold a job or go back to school it’s all fine, really i’ve nothing to prove anymore took a guitar to the head, some drunk fights and a bad fall down some stairs and what good does it do me but give me a good story to tell at parties i keep my hair short these days and
turned out that smoking never agreed with me, drinking gives me ulcers, and as for those playing cards well... they just sound kind of silly to me now.
There Isn’t Enough Sun to Dry These Roses Left on My Lips
the planes fly over head in the morning rotting rice & wheat in the dark cabinets the silver teeth of children in their beds waking up for school i rise at a reasonable hour take my crazy pills and make a fresh pot of coffee the mailman drops off some books i order thru the mail now instead of going to the store with people and greetings at the doorway, bag-checks, scanning devices, barcodes, detectors i read the books and write the authors and dig under the piles of dirty clothes looking for a dictionary and the neighbors make their drug deals the rain comes and goes, the pecan shells turn to mold in the mud i burp, i shit, i look at the trash overflowing on to the floor i wait for an answer that will never come a phone call, a letter, a check with
my name followed by a really big number i look for a clean coffee mug but there isn’t one so i pull one from the sink, rinse, and start another day. justin wade thompson was born in New Braunfels Texas and now lives humbly in a trailer park in the capitol city of Austin. he has never pursued a higher education, career, or full-time job. when he is not writing he travels the country as a touring musician. ©2010 by Justin Wade Thompson
Kenneth Radu Fur
If he threw his beer bottle as accurately as he shot a rifle, Billy could bounce and splatter it off, say, a Toyota or family van. He sat on the third floor balcony in his boxer shorts, arms crossed on the rusted rail, watching the highway traffic. Heat and pollution yellowed the air. If he aimed his Finnish made .338 Lapua Magnum rifle with telescopic lens, especially designed for hitting targets thirteen hundred yards away, he could produce perfect holes in windshields with cracks radiating out from the centre like blood shot eyes. Not standard issue, he had to pay big bucks and acquire a special license to purchase the weapon. To avoid temptation, he kept it locked in his closet. Besides, the neighbours would panic and possibly interfere before he drew a bead on his target. Civilians, he spat the world out. Below the balcony cars and pick-ups crowded the apartment block’s parking lot separated from the highway by a chain-linked fence at the base of which straggled ox-eye daisies, Queen Anne’s lace and bind-weed valiantly trying to rise and cling like ivy to the fence. On the other side of the four-lane highway stretched train tracks and rail yards piled high with container boxes blocking the horizon, each imprinted with a company name. Behind him a one-bedroom apartment with a kitchen so small he bumped into himself turning around. A dusty ficus wilted in a corner of the living room furnished with a beaten leather couch, a cracked glass coffee table, and a massive TV screen on which he watched videos of military history and porn. Despite the urge to caress his rifle, to finger bullets like nuggets of gold, he only handled weapons now in the armoury with the other reservists, mostly recruits a generation younger than he, a few experienced soldiers his age whom he avoided because they wallowed in their own stories too much and they reminded him of what he had renounced in the name of domesticity. He had made the mistake of listening to his wife who pleaded with him to reject yet another tour of duty when it was offered (you’ve done your bit, you got a right to a normal life, think about your kids). Taken out of his element, he feigned excitement to please her and secretly gasped for air. For a year he had paced about his dark narrow house until he got a nightshift job in a factory specializing in electronic components. Working nights, he slept in the day. He saw his two pubescent daughters at breakfast. Sure, he’d risk his life to save theirs, but he realized he had scarcely given them a thought during his periods of extended deployment. They had written him letters, then emailed, and he responded sporadically. Offered overtime on the weekends for double the pay, he took it. He now made love to his wife like a ghost when he touched her at all. At work he fucked Lisa, an almost pretty girl with needy eyes and a few extra lumps to her body, two or three times a week during coffee breaks in the locker room or toilet stall, fast and furious. My hero, oh yes yes yes, which made him laugh. The girl believed that he cared, for he was good at pretending, and she moaned that she couldn’t resist his hard body, was crazy about his muscles, crew cut hair, winning smile, and seductive voice husky from heavy smoking, and his rough approach. She began calling his home. His wife answered. And now the final divorce papers waited to be signed. He still fucked Lisa and pretended to want her as much as she needed him. She had revealed a penchant for sexual kink, trusting him to understand because he had seen so much of the world. He had toyed with her feelings, getting her to tell him her fantasies, how much she wanted to be his bitch, his private property. Her sexual confessions dovetailed with his own desire to play games, and aroused him more than he would have imagined which kept his interest alive. He had recently purchased fur-lined leather wrist and ankle cuffs from a downtown sex shop, knowing how his
thoughtfulness would please her. She wanted to marry him after the divorce. I’ll do whatever you want, anything, I love you so much. The first half of her statement gave him an instant hard-on. Yeah, you’ll obey me, bitch, I know you will. Soldiers he knew remained faithful to their wives and girl friends, tried to live clean and sober lives on their tours as they fulfilled their duties, indulging in verbal obscenities the way guys did too long deprived of their women and needing to blow off the steam of accumulated testosterone. Men of heart, idealists to the core regardless of their hard-headed pragmatism and tough talk. Generally he kept his distance except when they trained or fought together, melding into a dynamic unit, individual differences dissolved. Waiting for Lisa to come to the apartment this muggy Sunday afternoon, he had decided to accept the next tour of duty which would take him thousands of miles away from the stupefying dullness of civilian life. The army had its dull days as well, uneventful days of repetitive drills and tasks and boot polishing until they collectively created a limbo of inaction and waiting: but always an expectation existed, the fury of battle beckoned, and once engaged, man, he roared and surged alive. Civilians couldn’t understand. They clucked, lamented, praised and counted bodies, but they didn’t understand: not just the camaraderie, the trust among men who watched your back as you watched theirs, but also the trigger, the recoil, the controlled tension of search and assault, the ecstasy of heart and mind and body in the thrilling pitch of confrontation, ah, the climax of battle: for that he had been taught, for that he had prepared himself. Overseas he fucked on official leaves of absence, using up his supply of army- issued condoms faster than any of his buddies who often took bets. The possibility of killing or being shot himself or stepping on IEDs activated his libido. He was gathered up inside of himself and needed to explode. His wife didn’t know, or if she did, she never let it burst her marital bubble. Flicking the cigarette burned down to a stub over the railing, Billy lit another. Nicosia, Alexandria, Athens, Istanbul, Berlin, Johannesburg: there had always been girls, fancying themselves queen bees. Some prettier than others, they hived around bars selling their dark honey to an international contingent of soldiers, sometimes buzzing around the gates of the army base, teasing the guards. Drink, dope of one kind or another, all that willing pussy wet for military cock, hard metal and heat. And a body loaded like a pack animal with supplies and weaponry as he trudged along whatever dangerous road in a parched province where the enemy had bombed villages, possibly set their sights on him: fuck, he wanted back. Traffic had slowed down as if some tie-up or out of sight jam blocked the route. Easy pickings now for a fine marksman. He had been shooting since he was fourteen, in the army since sixteen, and could dismantle and reassemble several kinds of guns with the care and precision of a surgeon. If he held his personal rifle as if to shoot when Lisa walked in, she’d either scream or faint: Billy couldn’t decide which and wondered if it was worth the risk to see her reaction. Screaming posed problems. People might rush to her aid. He should have bought the red ball gag as well. If he crouched behind the panels of the balcony, he could aim at a moving vehicle, windshield or passenger side depending upon angle. Trained to wait for as long as it took to score a hit, he could hold himself as taut and poised as a killer cat. Inside he put on his army fatigues and brown T-shirt crumpled on the floor, despite the hot airlessness of the apartment without air conditioning or cross breeze. He’d also have to wear his army boots and maybe jacket. Lisa loved to wrap herself around a uniform. No doubt, he’d work up a good sweat playing master and fucking this afternoon. The intercom buzzer startled him. The wall clock kept perfect time and he admired her punctuality. I’ll do whatever you want. Command and obey: that was how it all worked. No room for doubt and hesitation. No complications. Just fight and fuck. The rest was waiting and meaningless chatter. Picking up a pack a cigarettes off the coffee table, he lit another one and without speaking pressed the Enter button. Yeah, bitch, you’ll obey. Inhaling deeply, Billy held the smoke, savouring taste and sensation, then walked to the bedroom closet where he kept his videos, rifle and the fur-lined cuffs. ©2010 by Kenneth Radu
“Infrastructure” - Oil on hardboard, ©2007 by Linda Wandt
“The Queen of Bones” - Oil on canvas, ©2006 by Linda Wandt
“Attachments” - Oil on hardboard, ©2006 by Linda Wandt My oil paintings are essentially about a classic existential question - “Why are we who we are?”. I primarily use portraiture and the figure as a familiar starting point, but enjoy adding a twist. I want to ask my audience to consider things on a more cerebral level, but to initially capture their attention on a more visceral level. Due to my unhealthy obsession with art, I have a BA in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin and I work in an art supply store. For more information visit http://www.lindawandt.com
Michael Brandonisio Walk don’t Walk
Now don’t do that You don’t want to hurt yourself Hang on to your (pa)t(i)e(n)ce Take a stroll thru the park Life is such a sac(red) thing You don’t really want to hurt yourself Or do you and why is that -It’s the beast within you without you Trying to kill you now don’t do that Would you rather be in Havana or Perhaps another Nazi regime On a bridge or anywhere else It is a wonder like any other There you are in silhouette Somewhat out of luck Somewhere down in a hole Now don’t waste the moment As it gets sucked down the drain Put on a new face and walk Damn it walk into the fire
Big bang coitus interruptus endless oh! endless… until original bad boy teaches himself to play chess in the outhouse by his own rules. His destruction resurrected. Naked forms molded from dust and henceforth banished bring in big business. Hallelujah! cry the masochists who pierce their own orifices - an every day crucifiction celebrated by the guilty as charged. Pagans fall by wayside compost detritus. Penitents rise from the ashes while sadists rejoice. Innumerable detainees in Purgatory Hotel on a faraway beach ring, ring for room service. Attendants change shift, clock out. Detainees 36
bide their time, stew in piss stained bed sheets -hum catatonic. Cupcake, I tell you this: (promise not to tell) the crapola rocks the crapper. Michael Brandonisio: resident of La Ciudad de Nueva York. Italo-Americano with Germanic roots. Over under out. ©2010 by Michael Brandonisio
Michael Lee Johnson Untitled I Walk (Psychiatric Assessment)
Untitled I walk through life with a shrink from Yugoslavia, whose as large as big foot. With a novel in one hand, and shaking his fingers at me with the other, he wants to control me with a shovel, tie me in knot balls, emotional twisters, and squeeze the emotional pages out of my life like a twisted sponge. I retaliate, control him back, wage war in a vicarious cycle squeeze his testicles like electrical wires inside my mind’s eye, cut his tongue with razors, dull his clinical words. Play his game, only better. He picks up the play phone, threatens to call the police, leashing me in my corner like a trapped dog forces me to bark into submission like a beagle basset bitch. He treats me with word babble. I tell him he is a damn Ukrainian idiot. Peeved off I race to the parking lot, head to the bushes, like a blue racer snake threatened, hop bunny rabbit into my S-10 Chevy pick-up truck, memo pad in hand, scribbling ruminating notes I surrender naked till my next prescription, untitled I walk.
South Chicago Night Version 2
Night, south Chicago is filled with drifters, sugar rats, street walkers, pick-pockets and pimps, a few whores on 95th street south fill out the night agenda with silent whispers; thousands of tiny fingers of greed snitch dip into pockets other than their own. The night air is full of insects and Lake Michigan perch smells. Ladies diligent in the night, High on the rise of condo balconies and drugs Paint a picture, gesture to strangers on the streets below, “do you want a date?” The neon signs are blinking and half the bulbs are burned out. Mayor daily or is it Daley, is tucked in sleeping blankets tonight in south Bridgeview; while most of the trouble lodges at the Salvation Army where Christ lives with sinners. Parents, despair. Surrender their children for bucks and old silver coins traded earlier at the pawn shop; some drink gut-rot sweet cherry wine and act as slave pushers− but the children continue to roam the streets in designer clothing. Before the warmth of morning sun, lips grin, sidewalks fold turn up and open to foot traffic, the city of Chicago trembles from the taste of delicious dew. Just a map image and picture−frame shadow of the city with the “big shoulders.” Mayor Daily or is it Daley is sleeping and ducked away sound tonight. The big city drifts, and in the morning light, sailboats lean against the side walls of Lake Michigan sand and shoreline.
Days pass, Cold is winter, At night birds hide in trees. Doves at bird feeder don’t count days− No cares. Michael Lee Johnson is a poet and freelance writer from Itasca, Illinois. Michael has been published in over 23 countries. He is also editor/publisher of four poetry sites, all open for submission, which can be found at his Web site: http://poetryman.mysite.com. His poetry books are also available through his site. ©2010 by Michael Lee Johnson
Michael Thompson The Moral of Immorality I was on the bus today, and I saw this girl. A face that I’ve become familiar with on the pathways of cap metro. And she was crying. Just before I left, I whispered to her, “I hope you feel better.” This was all I could think of. And, yet, that experience reminded me of all the things I did wrong, used the wrong judgment, or gave into the pressure of my peers. Just so I could reach second best in trying to impress them. And suddenly, I wanted a confessional to come falling out of the sky so I could just relieve all the things that have made me guilty and be done with it. When I was in high school, there was a fellow student that my friends picked on, or, rather, people that called themselves my friends. But almost had some kind of secret shame in expressing that bond. And I, I helped them along for a time. I became apart of this person’s nightmare. So that the chastising rituals would be temporarily focused away from me. It didn’t take very long for my conscience to kick in. But I still did nothing to redeem myself once my error in morality was realized. I had once decided that the middle of “Marshalls,” a clothing store, was the perfect time to break up with someone. Not to mention that his back was suffering from fiery muscle spasms. And the store was full of people. I had to say it right then because I needed to escape. That time, I did try to redeem myself and a friendship was salvaged. And I learned to have a better sense of timing. And the most damning thing I can recall? I was a security guard on patrol, drawn into my own little world. I can’t even remember what I was thinking about. And I looked up and saw a woman that had fallen, face first, on the floor. Who knows how long she’d been laying there. As I walked up to her, I saw her fingers twitching as they grasped at the floor in an attempt to push herself off the ground. And then, the couple. They were a nice pair of people that graciously helped her up. And I knew what they were thinking once they turned their eyes on me. The woman was fine, but I still had to write the incident report. In it, I stated the couple helped the woman up. And, twisting up the truth into a partial lie, I mentioned nothing of me helping her or how long she’d been face down. I guiltily thanked the couple. All the while, completely assured in the fact that they took me for an uncaring employee who only wanted to save his own ass. To this day all the things that I could have handled better burn a little in the far reaches of a memory bruised with self-inflicted wounds. Why do we spend so much time focusing on the moments where we were the dick head? Where the only person to be mad at for a moment of complete selfishness is ourselves? It is really that important that we all need to see ourselves as saints? When, in reality, we should know that that darkness in humanity exists because it’s in the genetic make-up of all humanity. And that some of us were just born with or have obtained bigger doses? I can’t spend all my energy in convincing myself that I’m never going to be a jerk. All I can do is try to dress up my internal wardrobe with as much decency as possible. While knowing that I’m not incapable of falling victim to my own vanities and selfish desires. So, I really do hope that girl who’s eyes were drowning in whatever drudged-up turmoil feels better, Just like I hope that the more decent parts of our species locates the simplicity in feeling better after they’ve committed the sins of human immorality.
PC BS African American. Native American. Italian American. Irish American, It seems that about fifty years after segregation, decades ago when the sexual revolution first began, and in the midst of the ongoing fight for gay rights, we are still stuck in a frame of mind that catapults our thinking into a need for labeling shit. And in all this time of trying to be individual, we are trapped with these hypocritical policies that ensure our individuality to be stripped away. Plopping a bunch of burning crosses on your next-door neighbor’s lawn and defining someone’s superiority based on what they have between their legs is unjust and, of course, not very politically correct. And it was events like this that began to shape a more sensitive way of thinking. And like all good things that started for good reasons, it eventually became corrupted. Now, mind you, I don’t go running around yelling racial slurs or center my perspective on primitive actions. But I do believe that it is rather racist to point to someone and say, “You’re this kind of American,” simply because your tan is naturally darker. I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t that seem awfully similar to what was going on in the fifties? That before we even knew someone, we already had a name for them? Nor do I think it’s right to get fired from your job because you compliment someone on their outfit. Who were you to know that this was a person who thinks even cigarettes are overtly sexual? If you think this is ridiculous, well, what do you think of when you hear laws such as this: In Kilmer Middle School, located in Fairfax, Virginia, all forms of touching have been banned. We’re not just talking about the bad touch, people. All forms. Including high fives and hugs. In North Carolina, a six-year-old boy was suspended for a week from school by giving a consensual kiss on the cheek to a girl of his same age. California could pass a law that might end up banning the names of baseball teams that are derogatory towards certain ethnic groups. This includes “The Redskins.” It’s almost as if we’re reverting back. I thought that the whole point to things like the sexual revolution and the fight for civil rights was to speak your mind, freely. And now, it seems that sensitivity to race, sex, and even orientation can’t find much of a balance. It’s either one extreme where people call each other racist or, otherwise homophobic terms to take away the “power” of the word, which I never saw much sense in, to the other where you can’t seem to say or do anything, at all. Even a handshake. For instance, people have apologized to me countless times for when they use phrases such as, “That’s so gay.” And I am always having to explain myself. That’s what really pisses me off. All these laws and policies that are being passed, forcing people to be sensitive to the point where they can’t even talk about Tinkie Winkie in fear of being defined as a homophobe. Because those kinds of laws affect us more than you. It leaves all those people that the more ridiculous laws were made for to explain themselves more. To try to get that point through everyone’s heads. We are not this sensitive, state governments are. We should be unified. We should stand side by side. As one and as individuals. And people should be smart enough to know the line between being socially appropriate and being a racist, sexist, homophobic jack ass. We don’t need to be taught how to treat one another. That should come from our parents. Laws are beneficial in the fact that they prevent most sensible people from killing each other and put evil bastards behind bars. But isn’t there a point when it becomes too much? Maybe we should start asking ourselves, when do we draw the line? when is it enough? But, then again, in a country where excess is continuously advertised, and the MPAA stamps an NC-17 rating on films based more on sex than violence, it’s no surprise that some of us can go too far with this shit. My name is M. Laine Thompson. My stage/poet name is “Lost In Thought”. I moved from upstate New York and have lived in Austin, Texas for about three years, now. I enjoy going to the open-mic scene on an on-andoff basis. ©2010 by Michael Laine Thompson
Palo Paloma San Francisco Years It’s kind of different, you see, smoking the stars on an endless San Franciscan night. Chewing on the cig, ruminating the past within your mouth. Staring off into the gloaming years. Watching the effervescent ashes fall from you into that twilight, a frieze between dusk and day. In the city that coughs up fog, and the smoke that inevitably fills a room, even the rooms that sober body bags litter—cluttering every pore— and those who call each other Platonic make one lump in the deprival they call life and love. You’d think it’s the rooster crowing, but it’s merely the moans of segregated orgasms. Someone’s stealing all of the hot water in this tenement and we all groan that we haven’t showered in a day or three. Using technology as if still on a typewriter too rough too rough too rough and sentimental. They’re taking a tarot reader out to brunch while I lurk behind, with a stomach full of ash and coffee, the real French way, you know. But it’s different when the redolent smoke, entwining with tangled hair, rises to create a crown where a halo once was. The air may be stale with an ocean’s lament, sighing its last breathable breath, but it can seem, among a fogless firmament, that it’s indeed a different night and the drunkards are singing quite a different tune.
Waking Up on a Crowded Couch Waking up on a crowded couch, more lipstick on the leopard-print pillow than my own lips. I know I sputtered wonderful lines last night, in the heat and frenzy of too much alcohol, all that’s left to me now is a throbbing vein near my right eye and regrets that no one near me was at the ready with pens and sheets to catch every susurration. Back bent, I can’t lift my head to the sun-streaked window of torn aluminum, so I imagine I come off as a parabola-- but I can’t confirm this. Feet stuck beneath bare skin. I’m tangling my fingers in someone’s long, dark hair. Through brunette vines I catch glimpses of them, nails half painted with a reeling green. Sweat is starting to rise to meet the afternoon on the back of my neck. A cat cries somewhere out in the world beyond the wrapped-up window that keeps it perpetually night in here. 42
In here, this apartment of friends who scream above the din of parties that only I truly know them, was there when this room was filled with woe-begotten, trashed memories instead of artists. Only I can translate their drunken slurs of hypotheses and make-up artistry. Can sway in their hugs. Usually I am the last one to leave or drop out of consciousness. The cherries of my cigarettes battling against the light of dawn. But every now and when, I am lifted on to a couch, the jacket I cling to is torn from my grasp and I am layered with blankets. The mornings in this room are filled with regrets of things I’ve said or forgot to say. Supposed writers group and discuss what they’ve read, not wrote. I’ve seen them come and go and greeted them all with my double-vision swagger. I’ve charmed, I’ve spit caustic words, but this ground is familiar to only my stompings. And in the midst of each nightly bout, beneath our smoky sky, instruments are taken out and a round of music begins. With myself in the lead, singing the loudest, having the worst voice in the place, the musicians smile, the musicians who leave earlier than the writers who never stick around for long. There’s always stray electricity in this room, circuits through impatient mouths and strings. Wrangling of ideas between strangers or lovers. Off from the musicians in their corner, from the other room’s music, the television or from the toasting of wine glasses that never empty; but today the room is stale, and every body jammed together like puzzle pieces refusing to fit makes the days seem that much more hopeless compared to last night. The days in this room can never be compared to the nights. The nights are bundled with celebratory shouts, not mournful yawns; applause for the published and arms full of congratulatory bottles instead of the dawnly wretching and bugle-like flushing of a broken toilet; sweet, tearful goodbyes for those leaving this place entirely instead of languid farewell salutes to those turning toward the undaunted sun with a down-turned face. I leave this, my sanctuary, only to change or shower in my house that bakes under the Los Angeles sun so I can scramble back to this desert turned oasis. We didn’t build this shelter of ours from ideals trapped in bottles, and it is not that we endeavor to drink every night, I suppose it is just not the most influential element of the evening. All I’m saying is that a week will slink by where we are intoxicated thoroughly, and we could have sworn it was only a day. I can confess each night that I love this place, but I still need to leave. Maybe follow those sunken footsteps of artists gone abroad. Or maybe I need some place more fervent than here, some place where the heated madness never dies down, is never given a chance to die down. Give me eternal night, blistering and restless, with nightly infestations of searchlights. I’m sick of its cowardliness always giving way to the sun. I want to be over there, pinned beneath smoke and humidity, touching skin that writhes and not having to check the pulses of my companions. I just have to will my eyes open a but more, lift my burdened back and step out of the labyrinth of limbs. I’ll wait for the apartment owner, my friend, the soon-to-be-great writer to pick me up and ask if I need some paper-- I have that look that only some frantic expulsion of ink on page can cure, and oh yeah, my lip is bleeding. I’ll nod and heave myself off the couch, which will shift and shake off a few disoriented moans, and the outline of my body will be swallowed up, replaced with various bodies. I will go to my soon-to-be-great writer’s, my friend’s desk and blow off the film of dust on his papers and try to paraphrase my life. Palo Paloma resides in Los Angeles.
http://palopaloma.livejournal.com/ ©2010 by Palo Paloma
Parker Tettleton “Homeless Poems” These kids don’t run away; they stand in the doorframe, smoke from charged chambers haloing their tousled tops. I don’t so much watch them go as I bleed out their sins, my sins, now there is a question. “Ellipses” Excuse my literary immortality, this voice will simply not keep quiet; there’s “fuck” and “you” [I] lay somewhere in between …a good night is a solemn drunk the words upon the pages turn to covers smothering my face… I wish I was dead. I wish I was dead. I wish I was dead. I wish I was dead. *And so on*
“Girlfriend’s Best Friend”
turned off the bathroom lights, brushed hair, took a look, put on shorts, cleaned off the sofa, tried to change the channel, hit mute instead, turned off the television, went to the window and turned around, turned, turned, turned -turned off the kitchen lights, watched Theadora Ursula watching back, watched her turn her back and swim, swim to the other side through the rock; stripped in the spare bedroom, tried to breathe, not blush, flushed the toilet before finished pissing, heard the turn of the lock, said hello and shook his hand. Parker Tettleton is an English major at Kennesaw State University. His work is featured in or forthcoming from
Short, Fast and Deadly, Soundzine, The Chimaera, Right Hand Pointing and GRASP, among others. He blogs at http://parker-augustlight.blogspot.com/ ©2010 by Parker Tettleton
Peycho Kanev inferno
this room is on fire everything is burning in the flames of the sadness my hand which hold the glass is burning the other one conducts this beautiful symphony and my computer is burning with the words on the screen disappearing forever, lost, the calendar on the wall with all the burning days and nights, turns into ashes the rug, the sheets, the table, the cigarettes everything I open one eye and look out of the window and it is so beautiful and all is burning FLAME FLAME FLAME everywhere the trees and the squirrels are burning in the flames; the girls on the street under the Stop signburning bright and laughing my sadness, my sadness, please don’t spare anybody I want this whole world to burst into flames 45
to die screaming and hissing until everything is dust and bones and we will wait for the next chapter.
About the tyrant
his dreams are lurid nightmares, hunting the heart in a midnight torment eyes closed like ancient cold volcano waiting for the fire of some depraved Prometheus out from the mendacious kingdom of Morpheusinstantly he is awake now; with a sense of superiority over the rest of his own race the signature on the sheet of paper could kill millions souls and spirits, the words of his vigorous voice could break the mountains in half… but he is tranquil there is a smile on his small face. millions are saved but here comes the warning: Mothers! Be careful when you give a birth!
The alarm of the clock is killing the insomnia Turning this new day into motionless pain Coffee milk and cigarettes as the TV is showing Nothing at all of the present or the future The sun is climbing the sky behind the shades Fighting back the lovely night’s melancholia Stirring and sipping and drinking as the pages Of news shows me thatlives there is no war Or the peace thatpaper we longing all our 46
The world is still incomprehensible And it will remain like that As the next M.M or A.N.S or M.J is dying On the first pages in every household Feeding the hungry souls with stupidity As the books of Tolstoy, Kafka and Celine Keep collecting dust on the library shelves And all the lovers in the world run away With unfaithful women to wake up In the morning forgotten and cold As the only sound in the universe is this String without soul.
The meaning of it all
we don’t need a lot of things. believe me – all we want and dream is us, no matter what you are craving nothing can be changedpossibility is limited ugly mornings, nightmarish sleep everything is nothing at all; all your possessions should fit in on bag but is this possible? take a look around, taste the truth, feel the world lick the destiny. can you? would you? we are blind men, searching for a candle
that was never lighted. Buddha is laughing.
Old bench, on which I’ve carved my heart! so long ago – forgotten! I say goodbye autumn leaves, I say goodbye to the rocks and the stones, bending in the dirt, picking up the rose and toss it back into the empty grave where it belongs thank you for all the pain thank you for the missed moments. come fly with me, my friend – let’s fly away below the ground and believe me – nobody will miss us. empty time I don’t want anything from you just let me be, dreaming, like I doall my life. Peycho Kanev loves to listen to sad music while he drinks slowly his beer. His work has been published in Welter, The Catalonian Review, Off Beat Pulp, Nerve Cowboy, Chiron Review, Tonopah Review, Mad Swirl, Southern Ocean Review, The Houston Literary Review and many others. He loves to put the word down and not talking on the cell phone for days. He is nominated for Pushcart Award and lives in Chicago. His new collab-
orative collection “r”, containing poetry by him and Felino Soriano, as well as photography from Duane Locke and Edward Wells II is now available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/r-Peycho-Kanev/dp/0979129494/ref =sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1245429788&sr=1-1 ©2010 by Pecycho Kanev
Sergio A. Ortiz Having a Heart Attack
I marched myself into the emergency room but first I checked the ceiling to make sure none of my dead were hanging around. An electrocardiogram revealed names and addresses of every man that climbed my bed from 93 to 99. One name showed up somewhat faded. Dr. Bangdiwala said Omar left the outer tissue of my life pumping muscle slightly hardened. Dr. Dosal gave no indication of a stroke. He seemed more impressed by my joviality. So much so, he handed me his business card and asked all sorts of questions about my mattress. But I knew death was hounding the inner circle of my mind on a kayak. She had on cutoffs, very short cutoffs. I mean, so short you could almost see her vagina. Hell was wherever that cunt was and she was in my room inside a nurse’s uniform stealing the 90 bucks my aunt gave me for Christmas. She knew I wasn’t really dying because she couldn’t see that “Oh, Dear God, please, forgive me for taking it in the butt and sucking every last drop of whatever it was that came out of it. Forgive group sex, bathhouses, truck stops, altar rails, preachers and priests, the Texas State football team in El Paso. 49
I was young and ignorant of consequences. The only poet I read back then was Oscar Wilde. So you see, love and loyalty were not yet options.”
This Wants to Be
The Imagination This chewed sweet and sour garlic / this asymmetric leg of Greta Grabo / this involuntary grotto of silence / this unpublished premonition of a stiff kiss / this anticyclone in the topography of a sigh / this genteel lubricant of bovine orgasms / this kyriopascha obsession of turning the abstract into the concrete. The Words These oblique cartographies / these choral songs with those far-off glints / these cesti gloves from the Forum of Augustus / these small moments of our “visions of paradise.” The Impossible This malnourished duffel bag / this cement stuffed tooth painter/ this resolute algebraic cat / this invisible postcard to the invisible man / this rumble that startles a child’s mouth.
Haiti: No Place for Weary Hearts A cloud covers Port-au-Prince, 40 thousand and the Fifth—babies and makeshift hospitals, dogs (always the dogs) and bulldozers picking up the dead, Bishops and the Marines in Guantanamo, the IMF and thirsty reporters asleep on the sidewalk, and the lies, yes, the lies, the odor of life hanging ripe for the last two centuries, Pete Seeger and The Weavers, or maybe Alejo Carpentier and Andre Breton writing a new Manifesto, alléluia! hallelujah! alléluia! hallelujah! Ortiz has a B.A. in English literature from Inter-American University, and a M.A. in philosophy from World University. His poems have been recently published, or are forthcoming in: The Battered Suitcase, Zygote in my Coffee, Right Hand Pointing, and Poui: Cave Hill Journal of Creative Writing. Flutter Press published his chapbook, At the Tail End of Dusk (2009). firstname.lastname@example.org ©2010 Sergio A. Ortiz