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."