Nov 6, 2009

Word Slaw is taking a little break while we move across the country. Thanks for your support and we'll see you again soon.

Aug 25, 2009

Cussing Poem Maker, P.A.Levy

The Cussing Poem Maker
By P.A.Levy

The glass slams down empty.
The poet swears in monosyllables
about life, or not being served another drink,
it’s all a torturous ordeal.
He claims he’s only had a couple,
believe me he’s had his fill.
He walks like he’s roller-skating
on ice, throwing air punches
at metaphors that just won’t behave
and like an Englishman abroad
he’s shouting to be understood.
Humour him like the nutter
with two carrier bags full of yesterdays
that always seeks you out
to sit next to on the train.

Seasons of Lows, D.Christopher

Seasons of Lows
By Dawn Christopher

What is my conception?
Grasping for an explanation
Conflicting forms of structure
Bound but do not puncture
Can you whisper it to me?
A word, a gesture, your hostilities
Highly polished internal follies
Bubble, overflow, becoming sorries
Rain washes away the woes
Baptizing, cleansing a season of lows
Has the world turned deaf?
Blindsided, ran over, left for dead
My galaxy lies far from here
Where feelings are open, released, trusted
But until my path comes to a close
I will wonder, in astonishment, and become unfroze

Untitled, T.Vincent

By Tom Vincent

Few things are sadder or more pathetic than an overweight dog. The other day I saw an obese Jack Russell terrier. My God, Jack Russells are like little wound up electric motors with no governors. They’re like regular dogs on crack. It has to take some serious overfeeding to result in a tubby Jack Russell. What kind of eating disorder must one have before you stuff Fido so full of Kibbles that his stomach is practically dragging on the ground? Social commentators are fond of pointing out what it says about the USA that a third of our kids are obese. What does it say about our culture when even our pets need to go on diets?

Fourteen, E.Duffy

By Emily Duffy

number 14
cue ball
cue ball
no significance whatsoever

what if my head exploded?
…not figuratively

what if I sat down here
in this place
until I forgot how
to interact with people

styrofoam blocks stretch to the ceiling
to the sky
when I try to climb they digress, compress
they’re not as tall as they seem

that looks like blood on the wall
but it’s paint on the wall, actually
blue blood, red blood purple
these blue jeans have holes in them
it’s ok.

my name and your name
is the same name
and we play the same game

but you’re winning

Curse of Cubs, M.B.Kaley

The Curse of the Cubs
By Mary Baader Kaley

The curse of a goat?
Not likely. I know the real story.

A lifetime ago, when the Orphans morphed to Cubs long before Wrigley field was dreamt,
a ballplayer met a mysterious woman. In her presence he felt like the most fortunate man alive,
though he did not know anything of her family or where she lived.

Her hair was long and red. Her deep green eyes made it impossible for him to look away.
She spoke with an Irish brogue, and her voice was melody and harmony in one.
And best of all, she loved this ballplayer with his imperfections, his fickle moods.
She kissed a charm and gave it to him to wear during his games at the West Site Grounds.

He wore this tiny charm, a chained baby-blue stone, each and every game. When he had a chance,
he'd look for her in the stands and smile, wink, or wave. She loved his rugged allure,
his hopeful grin.

And his team did well. Back-to-back World Series came their way. Amazing times indeed,
1907 - 1908. And tragic.

You see, women flocked to the famous team. The ballplayer received so much attention,
especially from a dame with dark eyes and sleek black hair. Sophistication effused in her walk;
he didn't know what hit him.

His mysterious redhead knew before any news of the affair had reached her;
at the next game he failed to look her way.

So enraged, she clawed at her neck and looked up at the sky. She invoked a hundred-year
Gaelic curse on the ballplayer and his team, “…Imeacht gan teacht ort!”
In that moment, no one could blame her.

The charm, of course, was broken and lost.

So goes the curse of the Cubs according to my great-great-aunt.
Go ahead, run a goat across the field, re-use dirty socks, kiss your bat before you swing!

No, what works is what has always worked -- wearing one’s true love.

Friends, N.Schultz

By Nathan Schultz

What happens to your friends?
Your first day of school,
You start all of your friendships,
They build through the years,
Some grow while some fade,
A few will be revived,
Middle school comes,
You have a basic set of friends,
You think you will be best friends till the end,
High school is here and you see,
A couple of friends like to do things,
That you don’t want to,
You don’t say anything,
You just go through the year,
Slowly drifting apart from each other,
You start to make different friends,
Ones with similar interests,
These friendships build,
Then the day you graduate,
You wonder if these friendships will fade,
You go off to different colleges,
You talk every once in a while,
But it’s still not the same,
You get to college and make some new friends,
They grow and fade,
You get older,
You graduate college and move away,
You get a job and make new friends,
They may not be the best friends you ever had,
But they are what you have.

John Locke, R.W.Pretzer

John Locke
By Randall W. Pretzer

"You spent your money on a worthless suit….you should have got a book by John Locke…" I said. I was furious looking at this man with his new suit on…..telling me…no bragging to me how much it cost.
"Who is John Locke? Why should I care?" he said indifferently. This was too much.
"Who is John Locke? What are you deranged? He is only one of the most important philosophers…..we may not have a the United States if he never lived." I was just screaming at him now. He just looked at me scratching my head confused as hell I could tell.
"I just want to get a new pair of shoes…..why are you bothering with me?" He said confused. I looked at him and threw my hands up in the air and walked off. I didn't even care about his reaction. The ignorance of society. The moral decay of the education system. How does one graduate from high school….or college…not knowing the greats? Adam Smith? Karl Marx? Voltaire? The men and ideas that have helped shape civilization…give us what we have today. I don't understand. I sat down a nearby bench for I was exhausted….just from being so angry….so frustrated and just constantly thinking about… didn't matter anymore.
The bench fell apart as I tried to sit on it and fell on my back. I just laid there. I had no energy left. I turned on my side to get a bit more comfortable and I saw that same man who wanted shoes come out of the shoe shop we were standing next to. I looked at him and he saw me. He paused for a minute and then came rushing over to where I was. I didn't move.
"Excuse me sir….are you all right…?" He said with a sense of urgency and concern I was not expecting. I thought he wished to fight.
"No, sir… thank you….I am just very tired…I need to rest." I said kindly.
"No problem….I know a sturdy bench not too far from here….I can show you…" He said kindly.
"No thank you….I am very comfortable where I am." I said almost laughing for I know I sure didn't look comfortable but I was. I was laying on my side in a rubble of wood from the bench.
"You're welcome..good sir…. Good day." He said kindly and headed back in the direction of the shoe store. What kind of a man was I? You fool. He didn't know who John Locke was and you hated him for it? I was mad at myself now. He was a kind man and I treated him unfairly. It was not my concern he didn't know who John Locke was. He came out to buy some shoes. He didn't want a fight. He wanted shoes. Shame on me.

Developing Hormones, R.Standley

Developing Hormones
By Ryan Standley

As a junior in a small town high school, I worked at a photography studio. My boss kept himself busy shooting senior portraits in the backroom while I stayed in the smelly red-lit darkroom developing black-and-white passport photos and wide-angle football shots, hallways in passing, dances, and student club pics for the yearbook committee.
Our film developing process began with my boss, Tim, creating a negative by unrolling film in complete darkness, wetting it in chemicals, and hanging it to dry. Later I'd run the dried strip through a single frame projector, flashing light onto white photo paper, removing the paper from its frame, submerging it in starter bath till the image appeared, then stop bath, and wash. The photos were laid out to dry on a table, no clothespin line like the movies.
The job was monotonous till I developed a roll of my boss's naked wife. The pregnant, nipple-concealing pose, popularized in the nineties by Demi Moore and Vanity Fair, covered two rolls, 24 exposures each, including several obvious nipple and hair slips. The unappealing pregnant belly was cropped off. Black and white, shining wet, topless with a serious expression and slicked back hair. The copies I made for my personal files were openly drying on the table when my boss suddenly walked in the darkroom. Tim saw the pictures and froze. He slowly turned green, opened his mouth to speak, barely grunted, and quickly left the room.
After seeing his reaction I felt guilty and ripped up all the prints and went home. Tim and I never spoke of it again, and I found a new job a month later. I forgot all about the embarrassing situation until I saw old Tim at the grocery store the other day. He introduced me to his beautiful wife, and his son, who was twelve, and I suddenly felt very old.

Jul 7, 2009

Spider, D.Mahoney

By Donal Mahoney

Warm, wet, wrapped
in each other’s
arms, legs,
still for a moment,
we rest,
a spider spent,
lost in its web.

Silence, B.C. Baer

By Brian C. Baer

We heard you walked down to the basement and held the cold barrel beneath your chin. Your parents still have pictures of you throughout the house, but down here, the only thing to remind us of your presence is that small hole in the ceiling.
We rolled out our sleeping bags below that mark in the old drywall and lay still, staring up all night. We never spoke. I don’t know, maybe we thought we could hear from you down there where you had stood, that maybe you would do the talking. We had questions, and your parents avoided the topic as a kind of make-believe coping method.
Dawn slowly rolled over the horizon, brightening the basement through a small window nestled against the ceiling. Our ears had become so trained in the moonlight that we picked up every creaking floorboard, every wind gust, every breath from the person next to us, and could, if only for a second, pretend it came from you.
As we could hear your parents moving around upstairs, we all sat up and looked at each other in silence. We had come to you for answers, for explanation, but again you had told us nothing.

Deep Well Story, N.Melissa

Deep Well Story
By N. Melissa @ HoneyBee

A spider limped by, grumbling to me
“It was a beauty, such a pity.
A bloody fool decided to spoil it for me.
My preys were writhing, while I plan dessert,
but now all is gone, all in the wind.”
Then it exclaimed when it saw that it was me,
the bloody fool who fell in and through the Web.
“Alas it was you, what a bloody fool indeed!”
And so I apologized and admitted my state
while it huffed away, much disgusted.

A fly buzzed over, exclaiming to me,
“Oh my, oh my! Why, it’s my savior here I see!
Thank you Good Sir or it’s the end of me.
But then my Good Sir, you’re not too good yourself.”
And I admitted, “Yes indeed, I don’t feel good indeed.”
“It’s alright, it’s alright, Good Sir don’t you fret!
My friends and I, we’ll take good care of you.
Surely I’ll tell them of you and my gratitude!
For now you wait here while I spread such to them.”
And so it buzzed off, full of such gratitude.

A worm popped by, staring up at me.
“Ah dear me, you’re my second shock for the day.
But I’ll tell you anyway, that the sky is falling!
The chunks had just fallen; there’s the large and the small.
First the large then the smalls, and spared me just by inch!
Had I not looked up, I may have ended up like you.”
I told him, “I’m glad that you managed to make it.”
To which it beamed and wiggled away.

A mouse bumped its’ head and squeaked to me,
“Whatever in the world are you doing in here?”
So I said “I’m sorry” for being in its’ way,
saying that I was lost while looking for some cheese.
“Ah, I see, I see. It happens to me too,” said the mouse to me.
“So I do understand. And those awful traps that they set up for me,
I’m lucky to be here, still able to run free.”
I told it “How lucky” and it agreed heartily
Then off it scurried, after offering bits of its cheese.

An owl perched above, peering down on me.
“Have you by chance, seen a mouse with a cheese?
It ran from your cellar, scared by the lots of you there.
How lucky of me, he jumped in like you did.”
So I told him “I’m sorry, indeed I did see,
But as now you can see, there’s no other but me.”
for I pitied my new friend who gave me some of its cheese.
The owl sighed and flapped away muttering,
“I needn’t to be told what a blind fool I am like you”

“Ah there he is!” I heard them from above,
after all the voices that I made up in my head.
“That ungrateful bastard, who tried to steal our cheese.
Like his unworthy old hag, always up to no good!”
“But we got him Momma, got him for good!“
“What a fool indeed, thinking that he too owns the food.”
“How lucky for us, he’s a fool and he jumped.
There’ll be no need of a funeral, as the priest will condemn.”
And then they walked away, talking about cheese for dinner.

In Passing, H.Day

In Passing
By Holly Day

I wish she’d come back as a vampire,
or a zombie, or even a dog. I just wish
she’d come back. My grandfather
is so alone it’s just not right.
It’d be something to see my grandmother
floating through the air, white as a sheet
cloaked in black, fishnet hose, Elvira breasts
lips half-parted over razor-sharp teeth
or stumbling across the yard, arms held out
awkward in front of her, fingers weakly grasping
with carnivorous intent, eyes open, unseeing
death perpetually rattling in every moaning step
or running up the back steps, young again, a pup
leaping against my grandfather’s legs
snout upturned in a sloppy kiss, every bit a dog
but with my grandmother’s soul inside, peeking through
every once in a while
to let the world know
she’s still here.

Forever as Nothing, C.Winfree

Forever as Nothing
By Catherine Winfree

The boy looked around the marketplace. A child couldn't name it. People were shouting, running, knocking on fading doors, and holding up a wrinkled, overused picture. But he could feel it.
"Have you seen this woman?" they would desperately question. Often a threat would slip through the lips of the interrogator.
Havoc. That's what he felt, an unsettling urgency.
Hell. That's what he saw, a frenzying calamity.
It seems only right for the child to notice her. Children seem to notice all the wrong things. He looked across the plaza. She was silent, invisible, nothing. A wide straw hat covered her face as she gazed at the ground, leaning against the stone wall, appearing as if she was built there.
People were shouting.
There was a difference in this shouting today than in the others. For one, it was not the merchants trying to buy off their goods; it was the police trying to find the criminal. Secondly, the boy could feel it.
The sky was soft and dull.
Cloudless, cold, and pail.
Like a white sheet stretched over to hide the face of the dead.
The woman felt a penetrating stare; instincts told her. She lifted her chin. The boy saw tan skin, but it was not dark like his. She started walking.
She made her way to the boy. Bodies subdued in human commotion around her, but not one touched her.
And the shouting. He knew they shouted for her.
A small smirk remained pasted to her face like the way she appeared pasted to the wall, forever invisible.
She stood over the boy. He saw up into the dark cave of shadow surrounding her face. His mouth dropped. She had blue eyes. No one has blue eyes.
No one alive anyways.
The boy did not know the reasoning for this, why the pail demons had to die. Blue eyes mean one thing: Defiance. But the boy did not know this.
She bent down to him. He starred wide eyed into the pail faced woman. Her eyes did not look safe, but stealthy. Full of secrets. She raised a finger silently to her lips, and winked. A secret seemed to spill with the movement.
She walked away the same way she had come. The boy felt something cold and hard in his gripping fist. He looked into his dark skinned hand. In it, laid a coin. He looked up to find the woman, to thank her. She was gone. He searched the wall.
Nothing. She was gone.
They won't find her, he decided.
She will be hidden.
Forever as nothing, except to a child.

The Gratitude...R.S. King

The Gratitude of the Dead
By Robert S. King

Some murdered men rest in pieces.
I am he who rakes this puzzle of flesh into one pile,
trying to fathom the loose fit of violence,
feeling a million cavernous mouths
relieve history of its debts.

What is eating us is seldom bright or beautiful.
So I say the bowels of earth should be full of light,
that I should bury this dead one with glow worms,
their light dripping down from my shovel,
curling up into little halos
around his brilliant peace.

He might even thank me
were his tongue not tied with worms.

A Horn Unheard, E.Miller

A Horn Unheard
By Eric Miller

Hattie Williams poured herself two fingers of whiskey, as she always did at three o'clock, fifteen minutes before her taxi would announce its arrival with three honks of the horn. She eased herself onto the sofa, lit a cigarette, and held the photo of Jenna, the seven year old granddaughter of her employers.

She smiled as she remembered Jenna's father, as a boy her age, swimming in the family pool, off the patio upon which she looked through the large window before her. She was so happy that Jenna and her mother had stopped by to swim in the pool. She had just waved goodbye, after having received the most wonderful hug from Jenna. She felt that Jenna was her granddaughter and that her father was her son. As for her employers, Dr. and Mrs. Godfrey, well they were family.

Hattie, the great granddaughter of American slaves in Georgia, had taught herself to read, had raised six children, and had cleaned houses for 50 years, until "the aches" limited her to "tidying." The Godfreys were the only family who still employed her every week because they knew how important it was for Hattie to have something to hold on to.

The television was emitting the endless blabber of political discussion, centered, as always, on the gender and race of each candidate. Hattie used to say that she "never much followed politics, because it just seemed to get everyone all riled up," but on this day, she watched and listened with a new found interest. To choose between gender and race was overwhelming to her. She wanted the woman to be President, but she also wanted the Afro-American man to be President.

She closed her eyes to look deep within for the answer. Her lips formed the faintest of smiles. She knew, at last, what she would do, for whom she would cast her vote, and whose election would be a greater achievement for her country.
She did not hear the taxi's horn.

I Beg You, O.K. Osunsan

I Beg You
By Olutayo K. Osunsan

By faith I have loved you.
A love that denies its power
To silence the restless spirit.

I have loved you with love
That speaks only with action.
A love that will always be found.

And by this love I beg you
To only love me half as much
As I have always loved you.

Jun 8, 2009

Mirror, P.C.Wyatt

By P.C. Wyatt

The child looked into the mirror
A world in smooth cold glass
Grey hair, faded eyes, a stranger’s skin

Tears fall like snowflakes
One or two at first
Shining in the fading light
They form two silver tracks down this unknown face

Blood flows like the tide
No longer stirred by frenzied storms
Of fear and passion and hate
For these things leave no trace

Time is cruel and unrelenting
There is no escape, no respite
No surrender, no victory
No beginning
No end

Blood and tears have dried to dust
No more snowflakes fall
The silver tarnished
The sea is still and calm
Wild waves long forgotten

And between tears, and blood, and dust
A child looks in the mirror
Smooth and cold
And wonders how he got so old

The Widow, W.I.Stoneberger

The Widow
By W.I. Stoneberger

She watches the homecomings on television,
the soldiers the sailors returning from Iraq.
She watches the wives the girlfriends
waiting for their embrace, tears in their eyes.
And there are tears in her eyes too,
tears of sorrow of jealousy of rage.
She wants her husband to come home.
She wants to wait by the dock by the door,
until she sees him walking toward her.
She wants to run into his arms,
crying and laughing at the same time.
She wants him to take her face
into his hands and kiss her
like its V-J day in Times Square.
She wants him to take back
what he did that night.
She wants them to show the women
of the ones who do not return.
She wants to see how they handle it,
whether they break down
or set their faces into still porcelain,
if they wear their sunglasses
even if its overcast, like she does.
She wants him to come back,
just come back to her.

Flash, G.D.Schwartz

By G. David Schwartz

Jay Leno has shown, and commentated any numbed of times, on the fact that a comedian who “trips” over lines will not win the laughter. The reason is that such strutting slows down the joke, gives the audience time to think about what went before.
James Thomas (in Flash Fiction authored with Tom Haguka (N.Y.W.W. Norton and Co, 1992) distinguishes “sudden fiction” from “flash fiction,” in terms of the letters shorter limit (‘by a full thousand word); 17OO dawn to 750)(pg 12).
But we are dealing with 1000 words which could be either Post modern fantasy, with which the includes sci-fi as a subcategory “must always be humorous. By definition it affirms the discount, and inherent otherness of the self, language, and the word,” (62, Olsen Circus).
Such short fictional treatments are pre-novelistic (or pretreatment of the suddenly here, saddest told, scrimmaging gone genie of fairy tales. As is obvious by the mere mention of fairy tales, flask fiction need not be humorous. Fantastic as folklore is not necessarily humorous.
George Gibian in the “Introduction” of The Man in The Black Coat: Russian Literature of the Absurd (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1987) calls Daniil Kharms frequently humorous tales “a working out of a simple hypothetical supposition: they are ‘what if’ stories.” (38).
Why does short science fiction tend to be humorist or funny or irony? Why does short-short fiction tend to make us laugh or smile?
We need not get bogged down in discussing and distinguishing theories of laughter. Whether we laugh because of incongruity (Koestler; Kant (177, Critique of Judgment. A psycho-emotional release (Freud, Jokes, Kant, Critique (179) of indenturing with the success of lived-power) over dull (inert) things.
Bergson – the so-called dulled, so encrusted is, laughable, not us) is all the same Both the incongruent analyses and the “not us” analysis deal with comparing and contrasting- the first with comparisons leading to contrasts, the second with contrasts leading to comparison and each rarely on psychic or emotions follow the train of thought which tiers out to be funny.
Wherever we decide to call pierces of fiction which are 1000-words or so will have metanarrative implications. “Short stories” suggest they are minuscule works (which is why Kafka and (some say) James Joyce, two of the best known collected of these pierces, characterize them with one of the following descriptions: “Sudden fiction’ suggests, perhaps that we were unprepared for their occurrence. In terms of science fiction (or any fiction for that matter) being too proponed denotes a trite storyline, a predictable plot or other narrative intercessions) but science fictions, unlike most if not all other forms are palpably unpredictable. After all, scene fiction deals with alien beings, space travel and other undersign yet interesting beings, while they must be coherent in terms of strutted, plot, scope and shape so they could be afforded to be more daring than mainstream fiction.
But while the term ‘sudden fiction’ suggests our unprepairdness, the term “flash fiction' sugars the rapidity, snap, crispness that is within the narrative itself.
If sudden fiction catches us unaware in the sense in which we are not prepared, flash fiction catches us unaware in the sense that we could not have been prepared.

Always in Transit, J.Wright

Always in Transit
By Jackson Wright

Always in Transit
An ever changing scene
An interstate view
From the passenger’s seat

Sun and sound flash by me
Time is left behind on the road
The face of all my families
Beg me, “stay”, but I break hold

Don’t try to understand
The gypsy blood in my veins
Use the Key of Wander
To break the Lock of Same

Always in transit
No slow around the bend
Always in transit
Always til the end

Sometimes slowing
Sometimes speeding
Always going
Always leaving

Nasal Noes, G.Bosacker

Nasal Noes
By G. Bosacker

It's never nice to pick your nose,
You can pick a wife or a rose,
and then quite sensibly
the right card, your teeth or new clothes,
a guitar, a friend or your foes,
and often, quite privately
that icky stuff between your toes.
Pick garden weed that stubborn grows
and winning numbers I suppose
or your butt when no one knows
but mothers and teachers agree
it's never nice to pick your nose.

Different Angles, R.Goity

Different Angles
By Roland Goity

I apologize for the meal. The recipe’s rather overdeveloped. Plus I’ve had difficulty focusing today and I’m not sure about that pan.
It’s fine, Honey.
Not terrible, I guess.
I’ve had worse.
Shutter up, kids. It’s fine, Honey.
How was your day, Dear?
Rather boring. No real action today.
Not as far as catching anyone in the act. Security didn’t request tapes or anything. I did see a pregnant woman’s water break and a kid pick his nose so hard he needed a trip to the first aid station to stop it from bleeding.
What about you boys?
Shot three dudes today up on the mountain. Two skiers and a snowboarder. The skiers were easy, but I had to shoot the snowboarder a bunch of times.
Good, good. It was a nice day for it, wasn’t it? Nice and clear.
Yeah, I got some killer shots off.
Hey, I shot more people than he did today. Like six or seven.
Who were they?
Some young women. A couple of guys.
Were they clothed?
Hel-lo! It’s called adult entertainment. It was an orgy. Shot them all at once at first, and then individually. Shot some extremely close up. Didn’t take long. I shot them all in a flash.
I still can’t believe your father lets you be exposed to that.
Can’t filter everything, Honey. A young man’s gotta pay the bills somehow. Try every angle.
Can I please be excused?
Yeah, me too?
Not until you both finish off your peas there.

Such was the conversation that evening at the Camera family dinner table.

The Highway, S.Kjaerbaek

The Highway
By Stephanie Kjaerbaek

Her mind stirred up old routes.

Tall trees embrace clear skies;

While the stars hypnotize.

The dream drowned in a lake.

He told her softly,

“Release me from my pride;

Take me for another ride.”

She held her thumb up,

As she scanned the horizon,

And the abandoned highway.

Free ride doomed him at sunset;

She stood out in morning light

With her dark look and light eyes.

Dead Moth, M.Betts

Dead Moth
By Maria Betts

A home cooked dinner, breakfast in bed
all the things you said
true love last's, now were a thing of the past
our love songs, our evil tounges
when we wern't there for each other.
so leave this to linger, to slowly die off.
i'll just be your dead moth.

May 8, 2009

Figures, R.Spuler

By Richard Spuler

Figures of speech
would have us say
with Hollywood chagrin
and tough line-liners
(the kind that really
only come to mind
on mornings after).

Figures of silence
would have us act
with pantomimes
and saintly gestures
(the kind that really
only happen once you're
dead and cherished).

Figures of despair
would have us die
severed again with
every drawn breath
(the kind that—pro-
better ratings).

Figures of compassion
would have us live
for having been
at the crossing
(the kind that, if you're
lucky, happens once
before you're dead and cherished).

Host, G.Moore

By George Moore

Fair trade canisters of coffee beans the size of kettle drums make about the same sound, with a bit more base, if we empty them of the weight of our desires. We have seen the truth in the jungles, rich with steam, but is that latte or mocha? And then what will they live on if we refuse to eat their cattle. Under the right leadership, any enemy becomes a friend. They would have to shave, of course, and promise never, ever, to talk of group living again. There's fairness and fairness, after all, a difference of languages. What can you expect of a man wrapped in a shower curtain? Certainly not the truth. Such silences are part of the culture, they say. The big green leaves are hiding something security forces refuse to see, an insect hatching its eggs under their skin. If it’s part of the culture, this spice of weddings and the tough stuff of rope, then what is that skinny needle doing in the moonscape of the Senator’s daughter’s arm? If more of the world could cook, less of the busyness of its creatures would strike one as productive. Gringos are sleeping again on the steering column of the isthmus, and the rivers that once transported secrets upland are silvery with rain. The seed, the seed, the natives are crying. Here the children are bloated like snakes on a feast of mad cows, while borders waver. At the end of the day everything will be shared, and we'll buy back anything you don't use, including your sister.

The Drug, C.V.Platt

The Drug
By Connie Vigil Platt

Corinne lay on the bed. The sheets twisted around her. Sweat dripping from her forehead.
“I can’t do it. It’s too hard. I can’t give it up.” She whimpered.
“Yes you can. I have faith in you. It won’t be much longer now.” Her friend Sara told her. “I’ll stay here with you until you can be on your own again.”
Once Corinne was a happy-go-lucky waitress, then one day she showed some of her writing to a friend. That friend told her how good it was and she should send it to a magazine. Then she showed it to another friend and that person also told her she was wasting her time waiting tables, she could be the next Charles Dickens or somebody like that. She got up her nerve and sent it to a magazine and forgot all about it.
Sara told her, “Writing is a terrible drug but selling is worse. Once you get started you won’t be able to stop. It’s worse than Heroin. That’s all you’ll want to do. So be very careful my dear.”
Corinne was surprised when she got a contract for the first story she tried to sell. She was so excited; she had a drawer full of manuscripts. All she had to do was send them off. She got a few more contracts and she was hooked. Now all she could do was sit by the window and wait for the mailman to come.
Sara was right, the drug had a hold of her and would not let go. Corrine was hooked on selling her words.


Sober as a Drunken Judge
by Ross Leese

the days stagger over the hills like black hearses on a merry go round.
there is no sun in my mornings, nor am I likely ever to pray for any.
I can be arrogant beyond all human reasoning.

I am black tongued and cancer eyed, the rain rides my back
like debt. I pay back the devil, pay back the banks, pay back the soulless soldiers
dying for god, queen and country here there and everywhere (the poor bastards).

I am selfish and provocative. I am immediately steadfast and interchangeable.
I am a bad poet and a good fool. I have grey hairs and brown toenails. I am handsome
but never make an effort. I have long eyelashes and walk with a swagger.

End of Winter, A.Brooke

The End of Winter
By Anne Brooke

Rain tumbles down. Every drop scars his skin but he pays it no heed. It’s irrelevant. Because he’s waiting for her. He’ll go on waiting for her for as long as it takes. Behind him, the wall he’s leaning on feels like the only support he has. There’s nobody around and he’s glad of it.
It’s midnight. February. The end of winter. The house he’s gazing at – her house – is dark. Nobody at home. He doesn’t know where she is. Maybe out with friends or something. She always was a people person. Still is, he imagines. Not that he really knows what a “people person” is. Whatever, he doesn’t think he’s ever been one.
Nothing to do but wait.
Reaching into his pocket, he takes out his cigarette packet and then his lighter. The flame is a small welcoming beacon in the darkness immediately around him. He wishes he was warm but the smoke gives him a hint of the comfort he once possessed. A memory of her. While he’s smoking, a car drives past, doesn’t slow down. He hunches himself further into his jacket and feels the rain ease down his neck. When he’s finished the cigarette, he crushes the stub out on the pavement with his boot.
Nothing else to do now.
He shuts his eyes. In the fragile barrier he’s created between himself and the rest of the world, he remembers.
The soft touch of her skin, the mole at the top of her leg, the way her eyes crinkled at the edges when she laughed. He’d always loved her laughter. It took him out of himself, made him think there might be more to life than anything he knew. She made him dream. He liked that.
He’d never dreamt she might leave him. He’d always feared it.
When he opens his eyes, for a moment his vision is blurred. But blinking restores the clarity.
Nothing has changed. He should go home. He’s being crazy, and he doesn’t like the way that makes him feel.
He’s just propelled himself away from the wall and has taken the first few steps of the long walk home when lights flash at the corner of the road. A moment later, her car draws up opposite him.
He waits.
She gets out.
He waits again.
Finally, she walks across to him. Under the street light, her fair hair glistens in the rain. She’s wearing a green coat. He hasn’t seen it before.
As he stares down at her, he knows she’s remembering too. He has no idea what he came here for or what he’s going to do now. Maybe seeing her once more is enough. He doesn’t know.
Before he is aware of the movement, her hand is stroking his face. Her fingers feel cold. He wants to touch her but understands he no longer has the right. He should leave. He will soon.
‘Go home, Jack,’ she whispers. ‘Go home. It’s the end of winter.’

Crickets Sing, J.Wright

Crickets Sing
By Jackson Wright

Even in the city, the cricket still sings
Her song goes unheard by the ears of false kings
The bass line hum of dusk
Always present but never heard
Playing every night to an audience of none

In the approaching autumn air
Swirling the footsteps of the dreamers
Her voice fades into the black
Like the songs of so many

Sing on, for the winter comes
Play on, in the face of drums

After the clamoring cymbals rust
After our kings lose their might
The songs of the dreamers
The chorus of the crickets
Will remain dancing in the night

Grandchild, C.Sills

By Cristina Sills

There is nothing scary there,
it is only the shadows
sweeping across the floor, it is only
your antique grandmother
your spider-web grandfather.

In this attic filled with twilight
with the moon shimmering through the window like a button,
its dusty trunks and creaky floorboards
that dip, where the wind sneaks in
through all of the walls,

your real history fades away
once you are alone and yawning in bed.
We are ghosts,
people you loved when we were alive,
who now watch as you sleep in the attic
pocketing our cold hands.
We have come because we miss you
our grandchild, and know
that someone needs to watch over you.

Something Lost, J.Deaton

Something Lost
By Jarrid Deaton

The woman with dandelion hair sat down beside the receptionist and started

"That poor little dog," she said. "My mother made me wash its body and put on one
of its little outfits. The neighborhood kids came by for the funeral. Lord, they all kissed it to say goodbye."

"I'm sorry for her loss," the receptionist said.

"Yes, she is taking it really hard," the woman said. "My mother turned eight-five this
very week."

"So, they really had a funeral for it?" the receptionist asked.

"Yes," the woman said. "I couldn't go. My husband died that same day."

Apr 1, 2009

Cosmic Unity, M.Sefler

Cosmic Unity
By Michaela Sefler

Cosmic significance,
through the power of the elements,
contained within is unique potential,
each man allowing accordingly.

Before his own eyes,
through nature, wonders unfold
gifts from within, materialize.

Inherent are the steps,
From one single point

Through the elements
causes interpreting on earth,
creation in the course of development,
new steps advance in the world of action.

I am a Loser, M.Russell

I am a Loser
By Maranda Russell

I am a loser
my life really sucks
I spend my life cleaning
turds off of ducks.
I have no friends
cause my underarms stink
I wish I was drunk
but I'm too poor to drink.
My cat, he hates me
my dog rolls his eyes
I'm under surveillance
by government spies.
I wish you would shoot me
but you'd go to jail
and I'd still be a loser
just sitting in Hell.

Forgetful Fisherman, J.DeMarco

The Forgetful Fisherman
By Joseph DeMarco

The forgetful fisherman was as wise as he was forgetful.
Some even said that he used to be a Zen Master,
but that was along time ago and he had forgotten about that.
Early one morning a little boy approached the fisherman asking him for advice.
"Sir, my father would like me to help on the boat, but I am fearful of the ocean."
"Every time I get near it, I am desperately afraid. What should I do?"
The fisherman sat contemplating the boy's problem.
Finally he spoke, 'My child, You have to learn to control your FEAR."
"No, that's not it!!!" He said interrupting himself.
There was a long period of silence,
and the boy was unsure if the fisherman had fallen asleep.
Finally, he opened his eyes and spoke, "You have to learn to eliminate your FEAR,"
But quickly corrected himself again by yelling, "STRIKE THAT!!!"
This time there was an even longer silence
and the boy sat and watched
as the sun changed horizons
The boy thought the fisherman had forgotten about his problem
and was about to get up and leave when the fisherman spoke again,
"You have to learn to destroy your FEAR."
But was quick to point out, "Oh, Lord no that's not it!!!"
"Neither do you need to learn to bury it," he added quickly
and then was silent for a long time.
The boy sat with the fisherman until the evening started to creep up on them,
The sun was about to kiss the ocean, giving the sky a tangerine haze.
The boy really needed to go Now!
As he got up the forgetful fisherman told him "STOP!"
"FEAR is a sickness that crawls inside of you and dies," said the fisherman.
"The SICKNESS grows," he continued.
"It penetrates,
your every being,
leaving you,
in a constant state of FEAR.
Making you its servant,
You need to learn to release your FEAR."
'Is that it?" the boy asked getting up to leave.
Let me think about it," the forgetful fisherman replied.

Old Frustrated Thought, M.Johnson

I Am Old Frustrated Thought
By Michael Johnson

I am old frustrated thought
I look into my once eagle eyes
and find them dim before my dead mother,
I see through clouded egg whites with days
passing by like fog feathers.
I trip over old experiences and expressions,
try hard to suppress them or revisit them;
I'm a fool in my damn recollections,
not knowing what to keep and what to toss out--
but the dreams flow like white flour and deceive
me till they capture the nightmare of the past images
in a black blanket wrapped up
and wake me before my psychiatrist.
I only see this nut once every three months.
It is at times like these I know not where I walk
or venture. I trip over my piety and spill my coffee cup.
I seek sanctuary in the common place of my nowhere life.
It is here the days pass and the years slip like ice cubes--
solid footing is a struggle in the socks of depression.
I am old frustrated thought;
passing by like fog feathers.


Deep Rural Tract, VL Moore

A Deep Rural Tract (Excerpt)
By Viney Loretta Moore


Mama was a sick woman, she wont right since we lost our two young brothers in the barn fire…Mama…felt guilty ‘cause she left the boys home to po..lay…while we was all out workin’ in the fields. They was playin’ with matches in the barn…’n’…everything caught fire…includin’ Tommy ‘n’ James. After that, mama was lost to the world. Mama used ta be carryin’ ‘round the onliest toys of the boys, like the toys was them. Then, she started runnin’ off from the house…goin’ into the bayous where the cypress trees was…and she thought they was her Indian relatives…She used ta say that the boys was there bein’ takin’ care of by her people……


Your Honor, I’d like to call another witness to the stand, please.


You may. Witness dismissed.

(Sharonlee leaves weeping)


I would like to have Mr. Robert (Bo) McMillan come to the stand please.

(Bo goes up, takes oath)


Prosecutor, you may proceed.

(Willis enters loud and drunk)


(Admonishes Willis)

Willis, why you come here like this. I don’t know what your problem is, but you betta keep it down. Jest look at you, you ain’t in no shape to be at your father’s trial.



Now..yall would..dent..want me…ta missss…… of…dad…dy’s..tri…alll, now would…yall?


You, young man, are creating a disturbance. If you cannot conduct yourself in a proper manner I will ask you to leave this courtroom?

(Willis takes a seat, settles down)



I’m goin’ for a smoke….


Sharonlee, run ya sister Jonelle outta the ladies’ room while you at it. If you don’t, long’s it’s a wall mirror, she’ll be in there.


So ole Doctor Bills’watchin’ ov…ver…ole daddy, huh? Toooo bad…oleDoctor Bill wont able ta come…help…mama…Nobody was…ab…ble ta rescue her….



I must have total silence from the entire McMillan family, or I will stop this proceeding.

(Then to Prosecutor)

You may proceed with questioning.


Mr. McMillan, I would like to ask you a few questions concerning the weapon used which took your mother’s life.

(Bo nods)

Were you familiar with the weapon, a 30-caliber rifle?


It was one of the sev’rl firearms my daddy keeps ‘round the house. We was all hunters.


(Pacing, stops abruptly)

Hunting season’s, autumn in Mississippi. I always thought it was.

(Mr. Huntley enters)


It would appear that Wilbur McMillan had no reason to have his rifle loaded. I’m a hunter too, Mr. McMillan, you get it ready to use…..


Daddy was on the lookout for a fox what kept killin’ chickens. Mama knew it was loaded, and went and got that shotgun…

(Breaks down)


Prosecutor you nailed it… the fox in the henhouse was Wilbur McMillan…I’m gittin’ the hell outta here….

(Rises; staggers out)


Quiet! It is now up ta the jury to decide if Wilbur McMillan is responsible for the shooting death of his wife, Lurene McMillan.


All I haveta say is my brother betta be found innocent.

(Places arm around her shoulder)

Rose, Wilbur’s innocent as the day is long.(Scene Ends)

Peace, SAJ Drake

By Steven Adam 'Joaquin' Drake

Peace is an abstract element of thought
Brought to its practicality by free thinking
In a uniform process of understanding
To its fruition... A fragment of free thinking,
Expanded upon to its relevancy for a
Free society.

A means hopefully to a productive end
That redefines itself through additional
Knowledge. A paradigm modeled off of
Universal concepts that are constantly
Expanding as we are learning more
About ourselves.

Challenged as must -in trust-
Discerning the remnants of time...
Here on earth subliminal sublime.
At test of the light's epiphanies to
Shine for peace to stay alive...
In heart, mind and soul divine!

Night Birth, C.Ward

Night Birth
By Christian Ward

The upside down
patio table in the dumpster,
a calf that fell from the moon.

Cars travel like the three wise men,
each driver peering at the sight
as if it might have some meaning

in their lives spinning like compass
needles uncertain of themselves.

Grotto, JC Scott

By Jess C Scott

I watch you pray
From my seat at the pew
You look so focused
and at peace
That should be the
way at least.
Hymn, hymns
Sermon, sermons
I'd rather be there with you
2 minutes
equivalent to 52 sit-ins
at Church
out of

Mar 4, 2009

Dream Potion, L.C.Berriozabal

Dream Potion

By Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

I found a potion

you might like to try.

The potion helped me see

life in new ways,

in a different light.

I feel young again.

I found it in a forest.

I found it in a stream.

It is in the back of a dream.

I could lead you there.

Superpower, P.McFarland


By Peggy McFarland

Dick punched Jack in the jaw hard enough that Jack spun around, lost his balance and hit his noggin on the pavement, a process that cost Jack a full eighty-nine seconds of his life. Jack blinked at the nervous Dick-face in his vision and remembered the exchange of ninety seconds ago. Rage filled his mind. Jack pictured Dick with a black eye and a bloody mouth and before the image fully formed, Dick's hands clenched into fists. The right fist shot up and walloped Dick's own eye socket while the left fist clobbered his own kisser, knocking out both front teeth.

Cool, guess Dick did me a favor, Jack thought. I've got a superpower, which was his only viable conclusion since most of his education was garnered from the television screen. Jack felt wonder and a bit lightheaded. He could revenge everyone who told him he was a no-good-high-school-drop-out. He could redeem himself, fight evil forces and become a hero. No, make that a Superhero, capital S, thank you. His mind skills would not only stop criminals but force them to punish themselves. Yes! He now had purpose.

Jack hoisted himself off the pavement, ignored the dizziness, spit on the moaning Dick and stepped into the street directly in the path of a speeding city bus. No problem. He would test this new Superpower. With his mind, he would bring the looming city transport to a screeching halt a mere inch from his nose, just like in the movies. Power coursed through his veins. Excitement filled his brain. Pride allowed him to stand straight and tall, arms extended, jacket billowing with the oncoming rush of wind. Yes, the portrait of a Superhero, Jack thought, and hoped Dick paid attention. Every Superhero needed one awed witness. Jack faced the vehicle and concentrated.

Tires did not screech. Through the bug-eyed windshield, Jack saw the bus driver mouth, "Move it, jackass." Characters on television, when confronted with danger, said time moved in slow motion. Or maybe slowing time was a Superpower bonus.

Jack's life did not flash before his eyes, but every Superhero movie he ever watched did. A bead of sweat blinded his right eye. A warm liquid washed over his right leg. The acrid reek of urine mixed with car exhaust tang. Horror replaced excitement as he learned a Super-lesson.

New skills could not be used on command; a trigger was necessary. The trigger released the power plus practice -- tons and tons of practice -- allowed eventual control and mastery until the Superpower truly transformed the individual into a Superhero. Jack focused harder. The bus wobbled… but no screech. The millisecond before impact, Jack experienced fright, resignation, embarrassment, regret, even disappointment, but he did not summon rage. He heard a giggle from the pavement. Aw, jeez, Dick saw I peed my pa….

Elephant Gun, R.Monroe

Elephant Gun

By Richard Monroe

The big game hunter

mad dreams rhyme schemes

the thunder

funky manna from heaven

four-legged on the Savannah

shot down and done

trophy courtesy the

elephant gun

one plus one and

you’ll still be on the run

with an equation dead alive

but the problem starts at 5

more news at 11

rappin on Sunday bread unleavened

back to the rhyme scream crack the divine scheme

brain agitated electrodes blastin codes

not Davinci

caffeine stimulation

and my pain and elation

migraine, lyrical Athena

passed from my brain

my stage is my nightmare

my skull, my dream

Who's Crazy Now? A.Combs

Who’s Crazy Now?

By Andrea Combs

Two weeks passed and it happened again. As I look out my apartment window, I see crazy Norman from the building across the street. He has a chair above his head, beating the floorboards clean, but there’s nothing there. This isn’t an unusual sight. Two weeks ago, Norman was attacking the couch with a fire poker. At first I found his behavior strange. Now, I enjoy every mental breakdown. It’s my own form of relaxation.

I first met Norman two years ago when I moved into my building. I went down to the corner of Sanctuary and Vine to buy a cup of coffee. Norman was in line in front of me having an argument with his alter ego. It was quite interesting to watch.

"No Norman, don’t say things like that," he laughed menacingly and paid for his loaf of bread and De-Con, an unusual combination for a normal person. I questioned the clerk about his sanity. The clerk was all too quick to give the juicy information.

Norman was the town whacko. He had imaginary illnesses, invisible friends, and everyone was out to get him. He lived alone now, due to his roommate’s mysterious disappearance. The clerk reassured me that Norman was insane, but harmless. So, I of course, became intrigued with my new neighbor and picked up a pair of cheap binoculars at the local hunting store to keep an extra eye on him. My evenings of reading mysteries were over. Norman was a mystery all on his own.

This night was an exception. He had set two places for dinner and ate alone. Poured two glasses of wine and toasted the air. He turned the radio on and glided across the floor as if he were entertaining. As he settled in to watch television, something must have startled him. He jumped up, both feet on the couch and began searching the room for the culprit. He ran over to the end table and switched on the lamp. Next, he grabbed a wooden chair tightly and held it high above his head as he tiptoed around the living room. Pacing to one end and then the other, finally coming to a halt exactly where he’d started. Down came the chair, over and over again, first to the right and then to the left. I chuckled to myself as I intruded on this man’s most private thoughts. What was he chasing? I continued watching this scene repeat itself for about an hour. Then, he got a dustpan and broom, and swept his imaginary kill into it, before dumping it into the trash. I called it a night and went to bed, and hoped now Norman could do the same.

The next morning I journeyed to my favorite coffee spot. As I made it to the end of the block I saw Norman about to empty his trash into the dumpster on the side of the building. I walked over and wished him a good morning.

He replied, "Does your building have rats?"

I told him I had never seen any. Then, he asked if there were any vacant apartments on my floor. I gave him the name of my landlord and asked him why he wanted to move. He opened his trash bag to reveal his catch, and said, "These damn rats are keeping me up at night."

Pleasures of the Page, A.Kendrick

Pleasures of the Page

By Anthony Kendrick

Temptation of the eyes you rapturous letters

The whole world is open to all

Then again, other worlds as well

Pictures flowing off and dancing

Pixie pixels still and flat but fluttering

Yet, paradise in monochrome is never lost

Losing you is half the battle and all the pleasure

To take another's heart in yours

Mind their manners well

Follow where they lead

From the depths of Sheol to the heights above

Like a mother with child, no many

Pleasures surround me day by day

Night by night some follow me

Resting upon my breast

Holding them till I see no more

Untitled, J.Carfagno


By Joseph Carfagno

Near the end

Of a misspent life

Long or short

Nothing connects

The few small fires

Feeble glimmers

That illuminate


Cut Stones, B.Frauman

Cut Stones

By Barry Frauman

Barefoot on a sea of rocks

beneath a sky of white-gray ice,

I wipe my bleeding soles

against the smooth maroons and yellows,

all the while yearning

for the jagged blacks and greens

to pierce my feet again again,

jolting a thrill into bone and nerve

that crashes me to this knife-sharp bed.

Flannel Sheets, L.Haslem

Flannel Sheets

By Lindsay Haslem

Hey, Baby, come kiss my fingertips here under a hailstorm,

like you did before your town got fire-bombed.

Please, Baby, tell me why that pond is all frozen over-

it's a warm day and these sad seagulls don't make no sense.

Listen, Baby, I think we should buy that black house

down by the railroad tracks because it has a dandelion patch.

I think, Baby, we ought to get a piebald puppy,

name him Lenin and only feed him VHS tapes.

Hold on, Baby, don't you watch those big beaks tear apart

the neighbor's scrawny children, they don't know no better.

Oh, Baby, it smells like piss and unsettled dust when I close my eyes,

let's take a bath and swallow each other.

Dance with me, Baby, before the blood stings our eyes and your mother

comes up to check on you.

Feb 6, 2009

Until the Lion...I.B.Rad

Until the Lion Lays the Lamb
By I.B. Rad

Until the lion lays the lamb
I fear our future's rather slim.
Love between such dissimilar beasts
is less improbable than peace
surmounting that monumental hump
honest international unity.
And from such unseemly intercourse
what might the issue be?
Time to love enough for you and me.

Twilight Sky, E.R.Winkler

Twilight Sky
By Elaine R. Winkler

With the temperature hovering
around 32 degrees,
we don down coats, hoods, and
gloves. We're out the back door
into the penetrating cold
of a November evening,
breath frosty and visible,
to tiptoe across
grooved pavers

until there’s a clear view
of the sky above the trees,
check the time
on lighted watches,
verify it’s a bit early
for the 5:55 sighting.
I am certain
about the time, but unsure
which direction
to focus our eyes:
is it east, northeast?
To the south, impossible

to miss Venus, brilliant
this time of year.
Below it, a lesser star.
Eyes still directed south,
a light appears, moving
for a few seconds--
then gone behind a thin veil
of cloud. Is that it?
Distracted for a moment
by flashing lights
of an airplane, then turn
eyes east,
and yes-- there it is
for sure-- a pale light gliding
north for a few short seconds,
then out of range.
Chilled but satisfied,
for a brief interval
we have observed Mir,
not a star of the Milky Way,
but a man-made spaceship
with humans, like us, aboard.

The Classic Pangs...B.Hardie

The Classic Pangs Of My Love For Tracy
By Brian Hardie

Polite weather vibrates through and around your sudden change and beautiful maybe
Conscious or no I think faulty reasoning grates the cheese the feathers
Flapping on wings above the waves crashing down in unison crying my
Name. Pathetic dresses wave in the wind by a privileged compilation of thoughts
Building blocks and patterns at last deceitful. A partner of sorts is
Fought on a plank built by choking tribes of the unexplained. My
Worries are trenched in suspicion. Bleeding the mind funneling the
Sunshine alone. Screaming while he burns. My one chance relies on this word being said in
The pause of a whisper. The feeling of how a good alarm is lifeless.
The phrase could headline the late night comedy special. The
One to laugh at, expose, abuse in a sinister drilling to the
Center. Music seeps through the cracks of historic streets. Southern
Cities I suppose motive me to conspire artisan streets
And crowded funeral homes. I closed my eyes and saw everything I
Needed to in dreams for sober softness. Drunken rustic burning
Coals blistering my flaps that endanger. Time reads my
Palm. Lines of children and weddings and debt and death,
Nicotine sedatives coat my mouth. Absolutely amazed and
Taken aback by ticking time. My eyes need shade and mascara.
Again the articles state the minds brought to me by commercial
Social circles and rampages cycling through ten past twelves.
A soft coffee conversation
About the relief of my passing. Happiness should be brought
By this convicted self. I'm falling and not listening, finding
Limbs to break as I plunge through….

Demilitarized Zones + e, K.Hemmings

Demilitarized Zones + e
By Kyle Hemmings

1. Taken by Force

In naked underbelly of city, no memory of untouched jasmine or clover cloud left standing, the C. O. announces that he thinks we have made progress in the Eastern sectors. Outside the shattered glass, bombed-out buildings rise like fingers without skin. My plutonium-90 lust works nicely in tracers across the burnt offering of sky. But now. Crouching low beneath a peephole, eyes level with the glassy yellow of a hairless alley cat, THE BULLET smashes through old wood, levitating bone. ``Sarge,'' I yell, ``I'm hit. Think I'm hit.'' ``Don't move,'' he says, as he scouts for invisible snipers on rooftops or in starburst quagmires. I stay listless and a kind of orange-metallic glow suffuses throughout my body outlined in repeatable coordinates.

2. Are you Friend or Foe?

My lungs hurt whenever I breathe the green/gray frog-breath smog. There are miles of wasted railroad track and I spot him in the distance, a boy somewhat younger than myself. He's humming some tune over and over, the words drifting like toy sailboats--Is your god, my god, his god, no god? I can tell by the scars across his eyes that he once believed in the natural world. I put down my Uzi. His armband states that he has been branded a U-K8909. His parents, prisoners of Viodin`s mute army, have sacrificed a sibling, so he could go free. Now standing inches from me, I offer him half of my peanut butter sandwich. I describe how it tastes, gooey, nutty, smooth. I make an M sound with my lips. He takes the sandwich. His hunger is e-ravenous. Chew slowly, I tell him. For water, we only have the drooling of hydrochloride striate-cumulus sting.

3. A Girl Named e Cannot be Your Prisoner
I really liked having you in my bed, falling through loops, even though in my drunken state, I must have called you by a million non-refundable names. I've spent the greater part of the afternoon, collecting empty soda bottles and pressing my lips to the fluted openings and making strange whistles. From the last skyscraper, I let the bottles fall a thousand, no, a million feet, onto empty gravel. Then, I stuffed one bottle with a note, a picture of two stick figures in the shape of e's, each facing the other, their curved backs to the edges of white despair. That is to say that I think you are so totally fucking cool in your perfect 3/4 obloid state. That is how some define the essential solitude of love. Trying to think of your name, I've forgotten mine. Then I toss the bottle as far as I can. Then I know I am made of nothing.

Another Meal, S.F.Klepetar

Another Meal
By Steven F. Klepetar

We have eaten another meal, here at the eastern
shore of dreams, spoken our names to bread
and knives and tea. Rolling towards each other
words spill and mingle in the air, burst against
bottle and plate, spatter and dance against walls.
Our kitchen trembles, we touch at the border of
teeth and scent. Never has food tasted so
like jewels, opulent and hard, engorged with curry
and ghee, driven along a river of pepper, cardamom
and lime. Senses on fire, our hair tangles in this wild
embrace. How these flavors sing in our mouths,
calling ancient rhythms of spice and root, melodies
of onion, grass and bulb. Lost in our hunger’s gale,
we sail out into night. Every breath burgeons,
lingering on our tongues like the fierce taste of drums.

Tutorial for a Caseworker, D.Mahoney

Tutorial for a Caseworker
By Donal Mahoney

The rattle
in the walls
would stop,
I’m told,
if the litter
in the halls
were edible.
Night after night,
tin after tin
the rats squeeze in
to feast on
their reflections.

Old Legs, M.Roberts

Old Legs
By Matt Roberts

There is panic in a place of work.
Some run but most stand by
in dumb frozen shock.
The gray, mature man dies

lying in paperwork. Fits and foams.
He becomes numb and watches
his feet twitch for the last time.
Thinks of the places they’ve taken him.

The little boy toddles by him
and with his tiny legs, red shoes,
he climbs the stairs of the house
that he lived in as a child.

His eyes don’t close, they cloud over
there is a peace he’s never known.
It fades to black then for a brief
moment, everything becomes clear.

The Wolf, R.Grant

The Wolf
By Robert Grant

Tie the wolf down and trim his tail,
splay his feet across the roads of time,
his potential for carnage retarded.
His back now broken,
his paws now clipped,
no need to sharpen on trees or piss-mark what’s his,
no prowling, no growling,
no howling in the night with hairy brethren,
for they too sit silently clipped.

With reddened snout pointing towards remembrance,
This once great hunter,
fear bringing enigma,
rests silently waiting for fresh faced chicks to hatch.
As with this new batch,
he feels exhilaration.
Not for the hunt,
for they are his squirts,
all clean nosed and ready for action.
Now confining himself to the role of teacher,
Self confidence preacher,
Mistake impeacher…for these pups will be different from he.

Yet…a smile develops,
cross formerly bloodied lips,
his tail, no matter how long this lasts
will continue to wag softly,
remaining ready to return to more harrowing times.

But for now, he will sit…clipped,
in ore of memory,
for his bitch has come,
to change the night.

Jan 3, 2009

Dumb Animals, G.Acuff

Dumb Animals
By Gale Acuff

I love my dog. I think about him when
I'm at school. Does he know what I'm doing,
how I have to be away though I don't
want to? I'm at school seven hours a day,
sometimes eight when I have to stay-after
(spitballs, wrong answers, cutting up, fighting).
If one year for me is seven or eight
for him, then how long lasts one school day? I
can't figure it--math isn't my subject.
But each day when I get off the bus, there
he is, at the top of the hill, our house
behind him as if the past's made of bricks.
His head's up and his tail's wagging and he
can't even see me yet. He's learned by rote,
I guess, that I always return, except
on weekends. And then we play like puppies,
and stay up late, Fridays and Saturdays,
lie on my bed, watch TV in the dark,
relax. So if one dog year is seven

then eight hours must be like weeks, even months.
That's a mighty long time to be faithful.
And he can't tell time so he must feel it.
That's pretty smart. I make it up to him
on weekends and holidays, and summer
vacations, or try. No one likes to be
lonely. At school I look out the window
and see the future, at least afternoon,
when we'll be together on the front porch,
having a snack, sharing milk and cookies.
Good boy, I say. You want some more cookie?
I drink half the milk, then hold up the glass
for him--he doesn't have real hands that work
--and he laps up the rest. Good boy, again.
He hasn't done anything to earn praise
but I like to think he knows I'm grateful
that he's been home when I'm away and that love,

if that's what that is, is worth waiting for.
I mean, I've heard somewhere that animals
don't really love but I think it's people
is what. Not all people, but most. Many.
Some, anyway. He may be just a mutt
but when I come home and he meets me halfway

down the driveway to welcome me back, well,
I get that feeling that there is a God
and he loves all dumb animals the same
and I don't mind being on his level,
my dog's, I mean, if it's okay with him.
I'm pretty sure it is, deep down below.
And Church is just one half-day more of school.

Candle, D.Gross

By Daniel Gross

every morning
she looks
always up
grey sky
mute questions
but on this day,
deliverance comes
4,000 tons
of fuse
and shrapnel

and the city
sleeping softly
is shaken roughly awake

It Only Feels...K.LaDew

It Only Feels Like Waking Up
By Kate LaDew

It is not for us to feel sympathy. Clean and cool in the villa. Lunch, superb. He is a prophet and they have been warned.

Light everywhere. Not difficult to see time passing slowly in a place like this. Where they have chosen to think, to discuss, not a room for living. For display, for discussion, for showing off. It
is a room to brag so the occupant need not.

It is final. It will solve any and all future problems. They look like a painting, he thinks.
All so still and solid, hair perfectly combed, boots shining, uniforms crisp, glints of silver sparking, aflame. We will sign. We have all agreed. It is right, what has happened here.
He is unsure. He has wondered, What if God sees? I will damn my soul to hell. Spoken and thought in the same moment. Objections will be met with torture. With death. Smiled, breathed in pretty words but he sees it in their eyes. What if the Führer sees? He will sign. He is as certain of this as he is of the devil Every man knows in his gut what waits when he
falls asleep the final time. Every man has written the story of his life
with the decisions he makes. Few sign their own death warrant. He
is in rare company.

Suddenly sick. Suddenly running. Staggering into the world outside, stomach expelling its contents on expensive German stone. This is real. This is vital. This has happened and he is gasping. The sun is shining. It is beautiful. It is beautiful and bright and there is a breeze and there is nothing more one could ask of a day. The remains of the superb lunch are running down his mouth, mixing with the grass. Green and now, raising his eyes, clear blue. It is
the color of heaven. He will not see it. He is certain.

Years. Everything that came from 5400 seconds. Over. Men, women, children seeping into the earth like water, and he is farther from home and closer to where he wants to be. Where he does not think of it, where he thinks only of working and gardening and the trust granted by those who do not know him and what he has done. He lives a very long time. He lives outside of those 5400 seconds and is happy. One day he stops living, alone in his warm bed in his
warm house and it is sudden because one loses sight of things when it is helpful to forget. One loses sight of things when seeing is painful.

It only feels like waking up and he is seated in a room, facing a young woman. It is very nice in this room, very clean and very cool and very bright. The young woman does not look up from the papers on her desk and he smiles. She is lovely. He sees a door behind her. The only door in
the room and it is puzzling to him. Where am I? And she looks up. She sees him as if she were waiting, waiting for him to speak, as if she knew what his voice would sound like. The young
woman asks, Mr. Metzer ? Hans Metzer?

It is surprising but he answers. Yes. And again,

Where am I?

Picking up a pen, such thin, graceful fingers, the young woman draws a slow line on the crisp white in front of her, then, standing, speaks softly, carefully forming each word, Wait here, Mr. Metzer. She opens the door, walks out, closes the door. It is a single motion and Hans Metzer waits.

It has been some time. It seems a long time. Pacingnow. He has not looked at the papers on the desk. He has waited but it is hard not to wonder. Walking to them now, he slides the white, angling it to his eyes. Recognition. He has seen this paper before. He has seen
this type. He has seen these signatures, lining the bottom in black ink. Some are marked through. Marked through with a slow line. The letters are familiar. They make up the names of people he knew. His own name flashes like sun through trees. It is split in half by a slow,
slow line.

He waits. He is waiting. He watches the door. No one comes. Striding to it, placing a firm hand, turning the knob. Nothing happens. It is locked. It must be locked. It means something, he knows. This is very vital, very real. It means something, and he looks, as if his eyes were pulled by a string up, up, up. It is blue. Clear blue. It is the color of heaven. He has nothing to reach it with. He is so heavy. He could never lift himself that high, that far. Clean and cool in the room. Light is everywhere. He is alone with names that were people and they feel no sympathy.

Be Careful...K.Strong

Be Careful What You Wish For
By Kevin Strong

When you're feeling sad and blue

The things you wish just might come true

Don't wish for things that you don't want

Your wishes might come back to haunt

Always mean the things you say

When things aren't going quite your way

Words said in haste never disappear

They only hurt the ones you hold dear

Anger will cloud your judgment every time

So, be very careful what you wish for

The consequences could be real this time

So, be very careful what you wish for

Developing, R.Standley

By Ryan Standley

As a junior in a small town high school, I worked at a photography studio. My boss kept himself busy shooting senior portraits in the backroom while I stayed in the smelly red-lit darkroom developing black-and-white passport photos and wide-angle football shots, hallways in passing, dances, and student club pics for the yearbook committee.

Our film developing process began with my boss, Tim, creating a negative by unrolling film in complete darkness, wetting it in chemicals, and hanging it to dry. Later I'd run the dried strip through a single frame projector, flashing light onto white photo paper, removing the paper from its frame, submerging it in starter bath till the image appeared, then stop bath, and wash. The photos were laid out to dry on a table, no clothespin line like the movies.

The job was monotonous till I developed a roll of my boss's naked wife. The pregnant, nipple-concealing pose, popularized in the nineties by Demi Moore and Vanity Fair, covered two rolls, 24 exposures each, including several obvious nipple and hair slips. The unappealing pregnant belly was cropped off. Black and white, shining wet, topless with a serious expression and slicked back hair. The copies I made for my personal files were openly drying on the table when my boss suddenly walked in the darkroom. Tim saw the pictures and froze. He slowly turned green, opened his mouth to speak, barely grunted, and quickly left the room.
After seeing his reaction I felt guilty and ripped up all the prints and went home. Tim and I never spoke of it again, and I found a new job a month later. I forgot all about the embarrassing situation until I saw old Tim at the grocery store the other day. He introduced me to his beautiful wife, and his son, who was twelve, and I suddenly felt very old.

Fridge 2008, L.Vader

Fridge 2008
By Lucy Vader

Fridge. Why are you so cold?

I hold the milk in the frosty morn,

standing in the kitchen, naked, at dawn.

You're cold, colder, frozen, thawed:
My toast, unbuttered on the chopping board.

Only Flashes... F.D.Marcél

Only Flashes, Never Entire Pictures
By F.D. Marcél

I talk about it in glass shards, crackling under the feet of children running through the alley behind the bodega. A round of thunder let off through the sky and a red tide. Wasn't like the movies. His mouth gurgled and he blinked over and over, touching his chest with limp fingers, smoke from the hole, I could see the wisps fade. Slightly. The lady who sold me strawberry soda after school was screaming. His eyes were cold suddenly. Rachel pulled my arm and it hurt me, her fingers dug into my skin. She was older and she was crying. We ran with glass breaking under our feet. Her mother washed my face. I sat on their porch, where Rachel would kiss me that summer, where I would hold her hand, not yet, not now. Mrs. Terry was explaining life and death to her daughter when I snuck away. I knew and didn't want to know. The Avenue was torn to pieces for construction. I weaved myself through rubble. His blinking eyes knew me because his hands had given me a Mike Schmidt baseball card, 1986. He wore white Nikes everywhere. I didn't want to remember his name. I lost the baseball card. Never drank strawberry soda after that. Couldn't taste it anymore, wasn't there. Nothing there.

If Only, C.Crowley

If Only
By Claire Crowley

Ripples in the pool

under the full moon sky, tonight.

Consumed with the thought

that I just might want to stay here forever,

and you,

you take my hand to

tell me the best things in life barely last a second, or less.

So I smile, a sad, tragic smile

and close my eyes.

Predictable, this will pass.

This feeling of being

alive and fragile

but bigger than the world

and free

but entangled in you.

The feeling of stomach churning, palms sweating, nervous fidgeting.

Laughter in memories

of late nights in dark places and smiles.

Smiles that let me forget the gaps between us, victims of bad timing.

Tragic, another place, another time. Why?

The glow of the dashboard witnesses

whispers shared with each other, never told

to those that were supposed to be closest to us.


This isn’t right, guilty conscience.

Somewhere someone waits for you to get home.

And we are in fact, complete strangers.

Complete strangers that complete each other

scary and unstable, but, what is a life of regrets.

You trace my depravation of happiness

down the small of my back

in my wine stained dress

I promise to miss you

when you slip the ring on her finger,

out of my life and

into the darkness

beneath the ripples

of what could have been.