Mar 20, 2008

Just Words, E.L.Collins

Just Words
by Elizabeth L. Collins

Who is essentially me –
my picture?
Or the pictures I paint
with my words?
Poems and prose -
lined up in rows.
Some are his story
some are hers -
all just words.

Is the eye the sole
window to the soul?
Or does writing
share more,
bare more,
lay naked the heart
by words penned?
Choose carefully:
may befriend
or offend.

We leave behind
our reflection
when we reflect
our thoughts
onto the page.
Height, weight, sex, age
matter not!
Ideas the only measure -
words our gift,
our treasure.

The Middle of Her Life, M.Amyx

The Middle of Her Life
by Meredy Amyx

Ilana in the doctor's waiting room.
I knew that would happen. Eight, no, nine empty seats in this waiting room and she has to take the one right next to me. It's bad enough that he's called me in to talk about the test results, it's bad enough sitting here just waiting and not being able to stop thinking about it, all the horrible things they could have found, and me only forty-four, the middle of my life, bad enough without being crowded by someone who smells of garlic and wearing that revolting shade of puce that I can't even look down at the magazine in my lap without seeing.

Ilana in the kitchen.
Those damn fools have redesigned the cranberry jelly can. What's the matter with them? Before, you just opened both ends and the jelly slid right out. Now the bottom is rounded and the can opener won't work. Look, you can't even poke a hole in it to break the vacuum. You have to run a knife around the inside, and still it doesn't come. The turkey's done, I've got potatoes to mash, gravy to make, and everybody else just sitting around snacking and drinking, spoiling their appetites, and I've been standing here for ten minutes shaking this damn can and I can't get the jelly out. Those cheap corporate bastards have figured out how to save an extra fraction of a cent with a different can, and they don't care what it does to my life. I swear to God sometimes I feel like the universe saves up all its torments for me.

Ilana on the freeway ramp.
Idiot. He's not going to let me in. I don't believe it. I can't go straight more than another few seconds. The lanes merge. He's just blocking me. He's doing it on purpose. When I speed up, he speeds up. I should slow down. Why should I let him make me? There's someone right behind him. I have to get ahead of him. What the fuck did he pick on me for? He's nobody I know. Fucking idiot. What the hell, who cares, I'm just going to step on it and run right ahead of him and cut him off, and

Ilana in the middle of her life.
Turns out the middle of Ilana's life was when she was twenty-two. She didn't know it then. Now she does.

Mar 17, 2008

Life After Politics, J.H.Johns

by J. H. Johns

I’m Eliot Spitzer
I’m here to tell you about

(holds up a condom in foil)

you know,
after a hard day
of governing in Albany-
or even when I’m kicking back
in my Park Avenue apartment-

there comes a time
when I think about slipping into a

yes, Trojans-

and even though I don’t use them-
they are the safest thing
between yesterday and tomorrow-

take it from me-
Client Number Nine-
try Trojans-

they won’t keep the Feds from getting you
they’re the best insurance you can buy-

this side of Wall Street-

whether you’re just having fun
or dropping a thousand dollars an hour-


Mar 10, 2008

Summer Storm, J.Grey

Summer Storm
by John Grey

Can't love while the storm is raging.
Thunder's like tanks rolling over the horizon.
Lightning takes pot shots from behind the sky.
Love is on the bed, not under it.
Can't feel good in the middle of something
when our nerves are so anxious for it to end.
The heart can't do double duty.
No floating in its own nectar
when it's pounding against the rib cage,
leaping into the throat.
We are never farther apart
than when we huddle together in the parlor
while the enemy gathers overhead.
I whisper your name,
give your hiding place away.

Mar 7, 2008

Unsaying the New Word, C.Mesler

Unsaying the New Word
By Corey Mesler

The new word was found in the wild.
It seemed to be waiting for someone
to pick it up but that is just fancy
on the part of the men who find new words.
The new word was indifferent. It
cared not whether it was to be used or not.
Still, many lined up to be the first to
use the new word. In the line the talk was
mostly about the news, how on Mars
there was an avalanche, how the President
had lost more brain cells. No one really
let on that the new word was all-important.
It was the kind of word that could change
things. But that is better left unsaid.
The new word, to be frank, makes some
people uneasy. Every new word does.
That’s why in this story we will not be
using the new word. Still, we may save it.
One never knows when a new word
will be just what one wants, an absolution.

Closer Apart, S.Newman

Closer Apart
By S.L. Newman

Only freaks come out at night
No regrets of course you’re right
Your gentle voice in sync resides
Uncommon truths can never lie
Orange yellow a purple hue
Beyond what is enough for you
Melting glances hide my face
Even rapture can’t replace
Letting go the one I choose
Crowded garden of statues
Prisoner of tender bliss
OMG Are you serious?

Caretaker of Atlantis, W.Doreski

Caretaker of Atlantis
By William Doreski

Atlas ruled a stony coastline
he called Atlantis. Canals
fed a vast central plain, fruit trees
prospered. The cities featured baths,
palaces, race-courses, temples,
and dredged and well-marked harbors.

Atlas was the son of Poseidon
and half-brother of Prometheus,
but because of greed and cruelty
on the part of five pairs of male twins—
perhaps his sons or his brothers—
the gods evoked a deluge
that overwhelmed Atlantis
and buried its harbors and temples
under mudslides big as continents.

Atlas, father of the Pleiades,
the Hyades, and the Hesperides,
shrugged off disaster and went to work
holding up the starry heavens,
and has done so ever since, except
on vacations and paid holidays.

Meanwhile I’ve spent my whole life
as the caretaker of Atlantis,
what’s left of it: a few marble blocks,
a witty inscription, a plain
of dried mud. I’ve nothing to do
but poke here and there with a trowel
and make sure the dead remain dead.

Occasionally Atlas stoops
from his cosmic task to make certain
I’m still on the job. The sea washes
up and over the muddy plain,
leaving rags of seaweed for me
to sweep into piles to dry and burn,

making masses of flame some people
tell me some mythic personage
might be able to see from the moon.

Mar 6, 2008

Bleeding Breeding America, R.Withrow

Bleeding Breeding America
by Richie Withrow

Breeding America,
bleeding breathing plastic people seeking freedom skin to disintegrate their lonesome fate, praying their hate sinless in the cold winter
kissing underneath mistletoe watching fireworks explode,
escaping the deep,
floating on commercial waves
rowing their boat from the tide that takes them to the endless bottom,
Exhausted from the tales of rotting souls full of bright diamonds,
moving mindless one foot in front of the other
stepping into the path of temporary lovers;
Exploring their colorful covers,
reading the words to death,
on to the next book looking for the hidden form of fire
to hide behind your back to burn the next.
Blessed with bedtime stories,
mourning the morning sun that comes up and reveals your make-up smeared pillow cases. Taking the space in your nine to five,
suit and tie closet watching the dancing robots clean their desks and wash their shiny cars
hoping that the glimmer of the stars reflect off of the dissected screen of disaster,
subconsciously scoping their last breath,
soaked in dead end day dreams pleading for a moonless sky
choking on the medicine that floods their cabinets masking their sickly habits,
All sick to their stomach but still smiling wide
hiding their inside pain that drains out their dirty mouths.
- I can no longer sleep
Because I hear these silent screams that tic tock like clockwork every second,
A revolution will begin that was once a dream,
and we will make the difference.

Mar 3, 2008

Dreams, C.Crowley

by Claire Crowley

In the shadows of the night
shards of sunlight
creep into my eyes.

Dreams of you seep into my mind.
Dave Matthews plays in the background
of this place underground.
We can talk all night
while the candles melt their wax
and destiny hangs overhead.

At the bottom of the bottle
I reach for something sober
to make sense of this: your smile is my addiction.

Maybe I’ll never be able to touch you,
but tangible things always break apart anyway.
You own the thoughts
in which I dream
and that’s more than I could ever need.

My Jungle is The Jury, J.Hartley

My Jungle is The Jury
by James Hartley

I was standing there in the African Veldt, minding my own
business, waiting for the traffic light to change. When it did,
I started to step across the game trail, but a herd of okapi
thundered by, running the light, and I jumped back. When the
okapi were past I looked in both directions and crossed. She was
waiting for me on the other side of the trail, leaning up
against the front of a grass hut that sold fast food - gazelle
burgers, maybe, or cheetah steak.

She must have been rich, the way she was dressed. Her loin cloth
was embroidered in genuine gold, and the diamond in her navel
must have been 12 or 13 carats. The only thing unusual about her
was the shrunken head she wore on a leather thong about her
neck. She spotted me walking toward her. "You must be Sam
Nk'spade," she said in a sultry voice that matched the sultry

"That's me," I answered. "And you're Tiffany Tikitiki, the one
who sent me the letter. Come on, let's go to my office."

We turned and walked along the side of the game trail until we
came to the cheap office tree where I have my office. We climbed
the vine to my branch, walked out to the office, and entered. I
waved her to the pile of leaves I keep for guests, and squatted
down behind my desk. "OK, Mrs. Tikitiki, what is the problem?"

"My husband was murdered by the mob. They put out a contract on
him, and some gorilla rubbed him out."

"Some guy rubbed him out?"

"No, some gorilla! Big, hairy, your typical gorilla."

"You have any evidence?"

She lifted the shrunken head and said, "This is him. Look at
him. Just look at him! Owwwhhh!" She started to cry and dropped
the head to fumble in her purse for a leaf to blow her nose on.
After a while she calmed down.

I was beginning to suspect that this case was going to be
anything but simple.

* * * * * * * * * *

The above partial manuscript was found in the abandoned library
of the long-defunct Mount Jackson College, an obscure school in
northwestern New Jersey. Scattered notes nearby suggest that
this may have been an early draft of a collaboration between
Dashiell Hammett and Papa Hemingway. Confirmation of this would
be a major milestone in the History of American Literature.

Can anyone out there in the academic community help us with
this? Notes, more of the manuscript, anything? Thanks.

Once Upon A Timely Moment, T.Sheehan

Once Upon A Timely Moment
by Tom Sheehan

Apprehensive, she pushed open the door to take a final look, to check the Earth as far as she could see, to measure, to see if the gods she held were less than perfect. This was her world. The terror she found was in the measurement, in the time she had spent exploring dividend possibilities, the market’s surge, a late movie thought more boisterous than life itself, someone’s divorce, chicanery and outright theft, and a rigged election all too soon winked at. It came at her, the swift thought: our feet are caught in place: we are sucked into loam and hardpan and left for all of this rock; we are locked up tighter than the grip of stable Earth’s 17-degree axis. Escape is not here, or atonement for us. She kept saying “we,” kept herself aligned in that rare and human confederacy. There was assessment and agreement not known about; at that moment, in one half-held breath, hoe in hand, eyes gone to marble, a gaunt Filipino suddenly apprehends a minor shift in the Earth’s crust. It is the awed way she would know a tilt at a pinball machine. Beyond him, her, momentous Krakatoa, an island yet, proves to be imaginative again at the foot of history, and is no longer breathless. And deeper yet, farther away, thought to be buried out there in the fluffed accountabilities of Time, one long horse-tailed, red-eyed, incommutable comet picks up a little bit of left hand English… just for the hell of it.

Perplexity, B.Frauman

by Barry Frauman

Elusive illusioning man,
I want you
don't want you
don't know anymore what you'll do to me.