Monday, September 29, 2008

Dear editors,

Please accept the following poems as a submission to A Brilliant Record.
My books include two volumes of poetry, Shifting the Question
More Complicated (Otoliths, 2007) and Taste: Gastronomic Poems
(Blazevox, 2005) as well as a novel, Inverted Curvatures (Spuyten
Duyvil, 2005). Poems of mine have been published in Bath House,
Chain, Big Bridge, Bird Dog, Mudlark, Caffeine Destiny, and Spindrift
among others. My critical work can be found in Jacket, Logos, Clamor,
The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, The Electronic Book
Review, The Emergency Almanac, The Morning News, The Brooklyn Rail,
Media and Culture, In These Times, The Fulcrum Annual, Rain Taxi, and
Flak.

All and only my very best.
I look forward to hearing from you,

Francis Raven


A Thanksgiving Poem
for Carolyn

I consume derivatively tradition
because there is no other way to describe
how I feel about my family –
to believe I am a scientist
follows me across many turkeys:
strategic goals: to achieve self-maintenance,
a recipe that when made was piled
upon other mashed potatoes, contemptuously given
with charity for our vague lifestyle;
but remember our seared scallops
atop fried green tomatoes
laced with microgreens
and finished with a balsamic reduction sauce.
we have consumed a variety of stupid items,
but have learned, or keep learning,
what makes us more complete and noble
and for this we give thanks.

Thanksgiving 2005


A Message At The Front Desk

On answering machine: Probably in a little while, a guy will be in the store to pick up the keys, a tall African guy, skinny. He’ll probably be there in a little while to pick up the keys, then we’ll get a copy made, but I just wanted to let you know.

Yeah, now we know.

We’ll give him the keys when he answers the questions.

Answers them correctly.

How will he know? It’s not like they’re attached to him.

The state, as you might remember, has started privileging identity over beliefs. It’s, in reality, a way of taking care of the guy in the cooler: if we would have known that disliking the piece was within his personality.

Airplane Window

The small window
cuts a hole out of your heart,
metaphorically, of course,
and there you are,
a soft gingerbread cookie
that might have once
been a man.

But since you’re soft
your thoughts go everywhere
and you overflow the edges
of that nice clean shape
which I forged for you
out of the first ore we found
on a flight to San Francisco
(continuing on up to Seattle).

Aesthetic Fluttering

A victorious CD shuffle. Ambitiously anxious
to know what I will require later.
To take up another bird in the hand, fine text with which to rearrange feathers.
I’ve kept them in jars and have said, lied, that the water below is brewing,
but I can’t move on until I find a song that I haven’t heard,
can’t possibly have heard, a new song,
impossible to predict what will bring joy is so fickle in the eye.
Rules lay limp over the horizon, unseen,
extending strangely unpredictable, genius frustrated.
There is no ultimate set list, no concept, it falls back on the subject undecided.

The Prizes, The Natural Prizes

The horses were fires.
The fires were natural.
We knew they were coming.
Everything is natural to a child.
Nature and history are mixed.
The fires were natural.
Where we lived was historical.

The prizes were nice.
The prizes for jumping and speed were nice.
The prizes for dressage were nice.
The prizes for vaulting and reining were nice.
Their colors were nice.
I kept all the ribbons on a dresser:
The best at the top
In the middle;
The earliest on the left
And the latest on the right:
A pyramid of sorts
For sport, to know I was good;
For everyone to know I was good.

The canyons finally burned.
Someone else knew they would
Eventually. It was a part of nature
To be expected.
We lived on a canyon.
We evacuated the canyon that burned.
My parents took the valuables,
Whatever those were.
My prizes were not among those valuables.

It was all imaginable.
It had been rehearsed.
But I knew that the prizes,
The prizes from riding,
Were somehow irreplaceable.
For them, there was no substitute.
This was sad.
I knew I was sad.
Money could replace other things
But not the prizes.

Years later, I was in charge
Of running horse races
For little kids.
Well, part of running a horse race
Is buying large numbers
Of prize ribbons
Over the Internet.
I felt differently.
I no longer missed my prizes,
But felt sad about this,
Although it was not something
I chose.

Significant Form

From the twins of doubt and reason
Comes form, incestuously
Pouring over old snow
Like black melt
Confetti.
A rip has no sound
If it is wet:
A lesson for politics
Perhaps of art sticking out
To the meat
Of the matter,
Falls right off.
You don’t even have to
Gnaw the argument
From which
Stock will be made:
Sunday’s soup rings a bell:
Noodles over broth
Vegetables under;
Paired
Clenches significant form
In their teeth;
Silent walking towards
Carnivorously
The imagination flips
Pages
Until it wrestles a place
To start;
Rests finally in understanding,
Allowed to doubt there
In the meat
Gray
Overcooked.
It’s dry without the strokes;
The rough crackle of voice.
It is dry.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I am a young Female who is new to the Chicago area. I wrote the attached rant in response to a blog I read on September 11th.
Thank you for your time,

Sarah


Taking Responsibility
By Sarah Gibson


September 11th is day we all remember. We all mourn the loss of our innocence. It's the day we woke up and knew with out a doubt that this world is not the world that we thought we were living in. We imagined ourselves in a safe world free from harm, free from hate. Up to this point we were a generation undefined by war. We were defined by our lack of anything. Now we have this…This gaping whole in the skyline of our lives defining us. We are a peaceful people run by warmongering fools. We bring destruction upon ourselves without remorse, then we blame someone else for our downfall. As a nation, we need to stand up, take responsibility, and grow up. We have no one to blame but ourselves. We put these warmongers into power; we allowed them to use scare tactics to send us into a war that has been costly and uncalled for. We allowed them to give us the words to hate another culture, another group of people who now live in fear that we will obliterate them without a second thought. The land of the free has now become the land of the unforgiving…the land of the hateful, selfish, hypocrite. We preach equality for all, yet we scoff at the thought of two men marrying. We preach freedom of religion, yet condemn an entire group of people for not believing in the Christian God. We claim to be “watch dogs,” when in reality we are the bullies. Aren’t we taught to love? Aren’t we taught acceptance? Aren’t we taught to be fair and not to fight? Or are these rules that only children must follow? We need to take responsibility for our actions. And I intend to. I try to live my life by many different principles. I try to achieve Zen. I try to follow the golden rule. I try to follow the basic rules of life taught to me as a child. I know that I am not perfect and that I will fail at times, but I will be damned if I don’t try harder next time. If we all took responsibility for ourselves, loved our neighbors, respected the rights of those around us, and taught peace and understanding then maybe this world would have a chance. Otherwise all I see is utter self-destruction, brought on by a self-righteous bully.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

poetry the medium i feel most adept to try my hand
and offer a couple of enclosed samples
that epitomizes my atypical eclectic trademark trader joe's wholefoods brand:

the following written by:
matthew harris

Barack obama

this epistle per mine choice of heir apparent presidential throne
composed from one liberal minded non-conformist rolling stone

prompted awareness that one voice can affect which contestant will win

and occupy the white house after the votes get tallied from political spin


aware thy missive from an anonymous fellow and a self anointed scribe

will be carefully screened no matter opinion already cast with nada bribe


personal opinion of this sole american male of two score and nine years

that barack obama possesses that je ne sais quois diplomatic state craft

despite disparaging broadside starring paris hilton plus britney spears


the land of lincoln candidate exemplifies (to myself) a charismatic charm

in tandem with a relaxed persona and gait akin per a commoner on a farm


that nonchalant easy going affinity speaks nonverbal volumes to this chap

cringes when espying or hearing from opposing challenger whose lips flap

meaning john mccain whose hidden motives and agenda include his trap

to plant seeds of doubt per un-decided electorate causing lead to get a zap


unknown how trials and tribulations rival democratic senator from Illinois

will weather local nor global challenges and said solution he might employ

i opt for said captain to steer ship of state and exclaim to drop anchor ahoy


if via cosmic divine intercession the galloping newcomer in this horse race

ushering biracial as nominal winner televisions would show a beaming face

the political ramifications analogous to betting square outcome on this ace


i gently beg, decry, fulminate counter attack advertisements fast and quick

against those subliminal sly messages that at first blush appear airily slick

and please reach deep in that magic bag resorting to retaliatory artful trick

lest burning from the maddening crowd extinguished like jack’s candle wick!


Al Gore
an inconvenient truth confronts humanity at this critical juncture of civilization, and pits homo sapiens on the brink of near disaster with mother earth in the balance!

she (gaia) figuratively wheezes, teeters (as if on a cosmic seesaw) and gasps for air, whereby the irreparable tipping point for survival of mankind and other multitudinous life forms at the merci of global catastrophe!

restoration of planet earth to that original former condition of pristine and unfettered virginity (with the mythical noble savage popularized by jean jacques rousseau roaming the edenic and verdant landscape) impossible, no matter that you possess that je nais sais quoi magic touch!

if (for some inexplicable reason), a sudden passion to preside over this country arose (as commander in chief), an immediate rallying cry of excitement would find thee at the front of the pack faster than michael phelps!

now, i boldly venture to broach a bald personal opinion predicated on the woebegotten state of general affairs of state!

national sentiment per the majority of voters bristles with white hot rage for feeling economically bushed and chained under the guise of a near dictator who seems totally oblivious that a common joe (like me for instance) bide their time enduring unasked for travails!

this union now seems jacked asunder by an administration that the present occupant of the oval office on a par which havoc king george wrought!

the deux (ex machina) limited choices for president seem like a bare rack, lame duck and pale in comparison to yourself, who without a shadow of a doubt would spur record-breaking legions of legal eligible citizens to pull the lever (proudly raising cane) to cast their choice for the man who lost by a chad’s breath!

faithfulness limned with a sanguine penchant per that environmental paradigm offers an aegis this veritable stranger (to thee) felt awash with (albeit whence said thought got gored) at the ephemeral, fantastical and whimsical far fetched hologram with an environmental occupant in the white house!

although just a pipe dream, this completely anonymous generic guy acted on impulse to communicate his spurious appreciation and approbation for such commensurate trade mark ecological paradigm!

Oy Gevalt - Moi Ongepatchket Married Life!

Once thy future spouse (Abby Zison) found herself in the family way

(with what would turn out to be the first of our two daughters – i do say

determined and sealed the decision per our rolling in the figurative hay

to wed said mother of thine deux female progeny on an agreed upon day!


Both of us happened to be older grown offspring at ten times thrice

Or three plus decades to be generally precise our fate sealed no dice!


Said age difference approximately a year and a half between us two,

and miserably living with parents, which o’er the years rancor grew!


I agreed to pledge my troth on the premise this writer

(christened Matthew Harris) aka king o one scott the lighter

found himself in the throes of becoming a potential mister mom

per one dominant seminal striver a darwinian fighter!


Since neither of us took any precautions and thru caution to the wind

the inevitable (i.e. a so called bun in the oven) nonetheless

tasting supposed verboten fruits branded us as having sinned

took us by surprise and got us necessarily biologically pinned!


Even though a decision to tie the gordian knot (more like a noose)

per donning the role of future father tightened and n’er got loose

an inner conflict jostled thine inner being

against forming a legal wedded union – the deus!


Prior to taking that legal vow to be husband and wife

until death doth us part before the justice of the peace

(which building matter of fact, happens to be

a hopper, skipper and jumper

from where this seat experiences posterior strife

because this gluteus maximus constitutes on bony arse

as if being cut by a knife

matrimonial bliss seemed like a pipe dream

in subsequent years only to spiral into a maelstrom of some chaotic life!


In truth, the prospect to marry

in general and aforementioned gal in particular

hardly filled yours truly with giddy excitement

but a decision this troubadour wished to defer and tarry!


Passive agreement to acquiesce by saying that necessary “I do”

per impregnating the woman named above transpired until her belly grew

swollen with eden liat thy current star student

now sound asleep – counting sheep lined up in a queue

yet lately this personal state of affairs I chronically rue

and immerse myself in reminiscing about yesteryear

and wonder why passivity elected as a way to escape

utter aversion living with dad and (thy late) mom both in a boiling stew!


Predilection to play Russian roulette by avoiding any safe sexual mode

i.e. contraceptives to avoid unplanned pregnancy

shrugged off while spermatozoa adhered to reproductive code

which absence to use birth control also arose

as a natural propensity to procreate from natural urges that did goad!
Now, less joy de vivre doth prevail

to remain monogamous and uphold strictures from this male

fidelity, integrity morality, et cetera buts ahead without fail

from rampant testosterone urge to become appeased, fulfilled, satiated

no matter this dozen plus year bride and groom blindly entered

the unalterable sacred covenant whence sexual need now does ail!


After the birth of daughter numero dos did arrive

the preponderance of physical gratification

took a kamikaze dose dive!

Monday, September 22, 2008

THIS IS WHY I WRITE

Writing makes me feel happy and writing makes me feel free;
When I pickup a pen and paper, expressing myself is all I like to be.
Whether it be an article or a nice poem, when I focus, the words just seem to flow;
It's like a time machine, going back in time, I just relax and let the thoughts go.
Sometimes I like to write about happy times, but mostly I just like to write;
The visions & memories that I write about, simply reminds me that life is alright.
I can travel on a fantastic adventure, and I can venture through memory lane;
As I visualize about creative journeys, I see a beautiful world that is still untamed.
Escaping this crazy world, if even just for a short while;
Feelings I haven't seen in a long time, not since I was a child.
Oh what a wonderful feeling I have when I write, so many stories to share;
It reminds me how good life can be, what others think, I really don't care.
When I get lost in my words, I feel like I can conquer the world;
Even if you think you can't write, just try it and give it a whirl.



UNEXPLAINABLE JOURNEY

On one very special day, my Mother brought me into this world;
She only wished for a healthy baby, no matter if boy or girl.
Learning so much from my upbringing, education was in session;
I was taught life's twists & turns, I received so many lessons.
In no time at all, I quickly sprouted up like a tree;
I received the toughest discipline, because I needed to be the best I could be.
When I completed my real life schooling, it was time to branch out on my own;
I needed to take my life to the next level, I needed to prove I could make it and demonstrate what I was shown.
It was no easy voyage, there were lots of bumps in the road;
But remembering what I was taught, I took on some heavy loads.
There were many many rough days and I may have been down, but I was never out;
Figuring out and correcting my mistakes, now that's what it's all about.
Never give up and never quit, that is the motto that I live;
I may not immediately reach my goals, but my best step forward is what I give.
Life is a big journey, and sometimes the trip can be a real drag;
But one thing is for certain, I shall never raise the white flag.

WINTER IS NO FRIEND OF MINE

It's the changing of seasons and here comes the snow;
No more birds are singing, I wonder where they all go.
I miss the butterflies and even the bees;
The grass is turning brown and there are no fruit in the trees.
The days are short and the nights are just too long;
I miss the sunshine, oh I wish the snow was all gone.
Going to miss the wind in my face, can't let my rag top down;
I love car drives, but until Summer, there is no cruising around town.
Oh it's a very frosty morning, I hate putting on gloves;
Wish I could wear my shorts, but I see a snow storm brewing above.
So much for a picnic in the park, I'll have to wait awhile;
Until Spring is in the air, the beaches will be deserted for miles.
Ice cycles on my window panes, the sight alone makes me shiver;
If I don't light up the furnace, a chilly night is what Winter will deliver.
Eggnog may be a good touch, but I rather be sipping on ice tea;
Cold weather doesn't appeal to me, year long summers are for me.
From Rollerblades on the boardwalks, to people walking their dogs;
You can't do this on icy afternoons, but you can count on a dense fog.
Until it's Summer time again, I will be inside by eight;
Just like bears, Winter makes me want to hibernate.

GOOD FOR THE SOUL

When I write a poem, I feel as though I am on a never ending adventure;
I can do anything that my heart desires, going to distant lands that is for sure.
Venturing through the solar system, yet my feet never leave the ground;
I shot a missile on Jupiter, didn't even make a sound.
Last week I saw Napolean, he was much shorter than I thought;
I met Mark Anthony, he told me about all the battles he fought.
I discovered a cure for cancer, oh what a dream;
When I write a poem, nothing is impossible it seems.
I saw my grandfather, when he was just a boy;
That experience was breath taking, just the sight gave me so much joy.
I even saw myself as I was writing this poem, that was an amazing thing;
Imagine seeing yourself doing something, before the idea from your mind could bring.
The ideas from writing a poem is unlimited, yet never enough;
I can't wait for the next idea, that is going to be some exciting stuff.

AMAZING & BREATH TAKING

It was so remarkably uplifting, it was the greatest of dreams;
I woke up so refreshed, so real to me it seemed.
Never in my life, have I ever experienced something so spiritual;
It was much more than just a dream, it was more like a unique ritual.
My body was lifted & carried, my spirits witnessed a blessing;
It took me years, now I finally feel rejoiced, I'm no longer stressing.
Out of nowhere, this giant object resembling a great ark;
It landed on a mighty pier, moored by metal lines, it looked so sharp.
The skies immediately turned dark, the ground quickly flooded from the showers;
So over-whelmed I was about to touch the lines, when silent angels pointed at the tower.
They guided me aboard, I felt like I had never before;
When I stepped onto the decks, my body & soul started to soar.
For on the surface of the deck, there appeared imprints of sacred faces;
Frozen by the revelations, I could only take tiny paces.
When I woke up from this dream, I knew I had seen the light;
This was a message from above, it was now up to me to read it right.

C O M M E N T A R Y


IS KNOWLEDGE POWER:

Knowledge is definitely power, and there is no other way to put it. There are so many ways to achieve it, and there is no single way that's better than another, as long as you use good judgment and apply yourself.
If you are more suited in reading a good book, then do it or maybe you are more productive in volunteering and performing community service, it doesn't matter what your preference is, as long as you are storing this experience in your memory bank, and apply it to your every day lives.
I can recall when I was in elementary school in grade 5, I was an average speller, but I wasn't happy with the production because I knew that I could do better. Therefore, I developed another way of recognizing the pronunciation and syllables, and when I moved up to grade 6, I received straight A grades and represented the class in the school's annual spelling bee.
It really doesn't matter how you get to the store, as long as you arrive there by taking the good road and returning home with what you sought out to purchase. It doesn't matter if that road was an old dusty road or a fancy road like Park Avenue, if it doesn't open up doors of knowledge, it might as well be a dead-end.
Now, knowledge is not something you are born with, in fact in most cases, to acquire useful knowledge, you have to make mistakes, and when you encounter those mistakes, how you harvest and convert those mistakes into a positive experience is what separates a wise man from a foolish one.
During my childhood I was a very good student, but until I left home and traveled abroad and across the country, I had not yet reached my full learning potential, because there is classroom knowledge, and there is real life knowledge.
I do not feel that one is more important than the other, and they are actually dependent on the other, if you want to have a more balanced knowledge potential. Some people learn by reading and there are some that learn better by the hands-on approach, but regardless of which style you choose, what is most important is that you find your comfort zone, because if you are not cozy in what you are doing, you will not receive the full benefits, and you will fall short, because there is no doubt that knowledge rules.


OUR NEXT GENERATION - Are things getter better or worst:

When it comes to debating whether or not the generation is getting better or worst, comes down to who you ask. If you ask me, I feel that there is always something good and bad about any particular current event or trends that surround this world.
I feel that it is very important to have an unbiased and open-minded approach when reaching a decision on the path that this generation is headed. You have good apples as well as bad ones, but then again, this is the same question that our parents were debating when we were teenagers, therefore we shouldn't jump the gun so quickly in labeling this current generation.
Didn't we just hate it when our parents were on our backs to be more like they were? Is it fair of us to force "all" of our ideas on this generation? If we did that, we would be guilty of what we rebelled against with our parents during our youth.
I think we should be careful not to stereotype this generation based on the small majority, and instead look at the big picture, because we live in a democracy and everyone is entitled to their own ideas and opinions, and that involves the lifestyles that they may choose to live.
I would rather worry about a serial killer living in my neighborhood, than a kid who wears outlandish hair colors, as long as that kid is a law abiding citizen. They should be allowed to express themselves, whether we approve or not - to them we may seem a bit different or odd.
I remember as a kid, I would put salty peanuts in my soda, and now that I reflect back on that and other things that kids have done and continue to do, I just smile and remember how cool it was to be different. People, it's not that serious - they are just like we were, whether we care to admit it or not.
At some point in time, we need to cut that "apron string" and give this generation some room to grow. We need to support them more, and spend less time criticizing and alienating ourselves from them.
If we don't like what our kids are doing or where they may be heading, lets do something now about it, before they get set in their ways, but I am very confident that this generation will take this planet to a new level, just as we did during our time to shine.

IS A HOUSE ALWAYS A HOME?:

It doesn't matter whether you live in a mansion, apartment or townhouse - it's not a home if you don't put your heart into it. As a child, we didn't have the greatest luxuries or for that matter even money to go to eat at MacDonald's or Burger King, but one thing was for sure, when it came to love, friendship and togetherness, there was plenty to go around in our house.
Who cares how many cars you have parked in the garage or how many maids you have on your staff, it doesn't make a home unless you share the love to go along with those material things. Of course, everyone wants to make as much money as they can, but I'll take the love of my Daughter over any sum of money.
A home is when you come home from work and you are greeted by a lovely smiling face who only wants her Father home with her, and less interest for whatever he may have brought home for her.
As a child we all had a part to do to upkeep the house, and at the time it seemed like a chore, but later as we all joked around and acted silly and horsing around, it was all worth it, for we felt an ownership because it was home enjoyed by all.
A home is a place where no matter what room you walk into, you can feel the warmth like a cozy comforter or home made quilt. The home is all the fond memories of wrestling with my brothers and sisters and then how we never even threw a single swipe at each other, but it was just a weird way of showing togetherness - just being a kid.
I still remember those chilly winter days, and going outside and helping my Grand Father chop wood for that ole fireplace. I remember sitting around and smelling the aroma of those roasted chestnuts and butter. That was indeed a home and no matter how hard we had it outside of the home, we had one another and nobody could ever take that away from us.
I remember the get-together on those Thanksgivings & Christmas in particular, with all the cakes and pies. My Mother would ask each kid what type of cake they wanted, and she would bake each kid's favorite. I remember how cozy and close we felt as a family as we played games together such as bingo, poke-no and hearts. If that was not a home, well I don't know what is.

Lt T

Friday, September 19, 2008

Portrait of a Thumb
By Bobby Evers


Rose’s legs hurt. It was age settling in. Annoyed, she tossed her purchases on the dusty conveyer belt; some fruit and bras, pads, batteries for Maria, as well as other varied household items. She was careful not to let her things spill across the hard plastic dividing line into the belongings of the people ahead of her. The beeping of the pricing guns was like the maddening song of robotic birds, chirping out of time. And of course, not a clock in sight. That was to make you shop longer. Tsk. They make you sleepy with their siren song, showering you in sky-high shelves decorated with beautiful labels, and then you lose all track of time. “I must have this!” you say. Then you get home and nothing works exactly to your liking, and everything is just a collection of small disappointments.
Rose remembered the great package of dog food on the bottom of her cart.
“Excuse me… sir?” she said, getting the attention of the boy at the cash register. He was a young thing, shaggy hair, bangs in his face. He looked up from his menial work, pulling groceries across a tiny laser, and looked Rose in the eye. “Is there a way you could scan this dog food without me lifting the thing onto the counter?”
“Yeah, I’ll zap it at the end.” He said it quietly, almost to himself. He was focused on the task at hand, assisting the young couple ahead of her. Not focused. Bored, maybe. In a daze. It was at that moment that something in his face struck Rose. Dammit, if he wasn’t a beautiful young man; a strong jaw, a rigid brow. He had dark eyes, red underneath like a soldier that hadn’t slept since Christmas. And his hands. What large man’s hands this young thing had. How old was he? Twenty? Definitely older than Maria. Maria was fifteen. Maria probably didn’t know who he was. Certainly out of high school. He probably had this job to pay his bills. Rose remembered those days. He was probably an artist, or a sculptor. A musician. Yes, you get blisters from playing guitar strings. She’d heard that somewhere and it sounded true.
Suddenly it was her turn and the boy made a grab for the pads. She watched him, watched him closely to see how he reacted. Not a flinch. In all her years Rose had never met a man that acted so maturely toward pads. It caught her breath in her throat how he just pinched them like they were nothing. He wasn’t afraid at all. The most natural thing in the world. She’d tried surrounding her husband with boxes upon boxes of tampons, bulk packages of pads. But he never quite adjusted to it. Tampax, Kotex, Always. She tried sending him to the store to pick some up and he somehow always always always forgot. As if a tiny part of him believed it was an imaginary thing he could pretend never existed. And here this man-boy was treating them like just another product.
Fixing her eyes on his nametag pinned to his red smock, she learned his name was Jay. Oh, Jay. The lemons spilled and rolled across the scanner. Jay fumbled for them, using his forearm to attempt to catch them before they landed on the dirty tile floor. He succeeded. His expression never broke from a stern and affixed gaze. Punching some numbers clumsily on his keypad, he gently put them in the white plastic sack and resumed the mindless scanning. More and more, the scanning continued, pulling, grabbing, tossing. His work was endless. Always, she watched his fingers, dancing across her products like the bones in her body. The way he bent her new red dress with his wrist was the same way he would touch the small of her back when they tangoed. He was quick, but surprisingly gentle.
Was he a clumsy lover? She wondered about his kisses. Would he plant them on her neck, on her collar bone? Could he look her in the face when he made love to her? Could he make her soar into the tall sunrise like an angel on fire? Or would he balk at the notion of their union? Would he hesitate by the blueprint of her design? She reflected on the two of them standing in checkout lane seven. What were they if not two hearts beating in a great beautiful world of consumerism, pumping blood into a network of complicated machinery?
Yes, Jay, scan my water softener salt pellets. Ring it up, Sweety, ring it all the way up. You innocent thing, you delicious peach. She wanted to bite his skin. What was it about him she found so endearing, so familiar? He was young enough to be her son, but old enough to give her what she was missing. I could seduce you. I could have you. My bed could be a nest to you, and I could put my legs around you like an egg and I would sit there ‘til you came out of your shell, a beautiful thing I gave to the world. And what a satisfied smile I would have! To give the world something so special.
Jay scanned her bras next, and with expert fluidity, with meticulous fingers, he removed them from their small plastic hangers. Some transparent, some white, he pulled them all off like he knew his way around a bra. He palmed the lacy cups with one artisan’s hand as the fingers of his other undid bra after bra, as if to undress her, tossing hanger after hanger into the noisy abyss under his counter. She watched him closely.
It was then that she noticed he was sweating. There! In the mat of his sideburns!
Of course! Of course she remembered who he reminded her of. Why, it was a face she hadn’t thought of in years, and hadn’t seen in twice that long. When she was Maria’s age Rose spent the summer with her aunt in Guanajuato. It was a summer of horseback riding and mountain climbing. Rose took scores and scores of photographs of the scenery, of the Mexican sunset, and every person she met. She ate a lot of hot food and learned impossible things. There was a village boy that always came up to see her there and they tried to learn the other’s language.
“Rosa,” he would say. His name was Alejandro and he was a few years older. "¿Cómo se dice 'bella' en ingles?"
He was the boy who taught her how to tongue kiss and had hands just like Jay’s that he knew how to use. The boys of Mexico. It had been so long. How dramatic, always throwing around words like ‘love.’ These romantic notions of passion and idolizations of women that were nothing more than successful ways of getting her into bed. And all she wanted was one picture of Alejandro that she took on the last night she ever saw him. She got off the plane and the very first thing she did was developed the photos. Every picture was a beautiful panoramic keepsake of mountainous countryside. But the only one she wanted was obscured by the bright roundness of her own fifteen-year-old thumb. It was the one physical artifact that remained of Alejandro, ruined. It cracked her chest open. Briefly, she considered removing the thumb as a punishment to herself.
“Don’t forget the dog food,” she told Jay, hips on hands.
“Oh, yeah.” He picked up a black plastic pricing gun attached to a curly telephone cord. He looked down past her waist and thighs toward the bottom of the cart. Rose leaned down to adjust the bag so that the barcode was in plain view, as plain as the view down her blouse. She never took her eyes off Jay. Want me, she thought. And yes. She saw him look.
She paid him. And just like that, the transaction was over. Jay slammed the register closed, rattling the change in it. He tore off her receipt and forced it on her like a goodbye note and told her to have a nice day. It was so abrupt and so strange that she was surprised it had come from him. So impersonal. Drained, she left with a sigh. She had to pick up Maria soon from school. Next year Maria could drive herself. Soon she would be cast off into a thankless world of regret and mediocrity and it broke Rose’s heart to think about the men who would enter Maria’s life, unable to ever be exactly what she needed. Oh well, she decided. No use punishing herself for that.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My friend Godfrey:

Yes, I finished reading your work this morning. I have been busy at work, and started earlier this week, and finished it this morning. I should have tried to read it at home, but it just did not happen. I read it at work.

Let me state upfront that I do like your work, and I do think you are an excellent poet. However, you probably know more about music than I know about poetry. I have not studied poetry since I was a college student over 15 years ago. But hopefully my opinion still counts…

My favorite poems of yours are the following:

One

St Ignatius (Sessions) (is my favorite one overall)

The Nightmare Before…(Was this about a phone call from Cassie?)

The Mastermind (The Thief and The Ego) (Probably about Cassie too?)

Hail to the Thief (is this Cassie related? Or stealing bases in baseball related?) Doubt the baseball idea, due to the line “silver, gold, cash”

Found

Ghost (interesting)

A Beast Cannot Be Trusted (Wonder if this is about Cassie too…)

The only one that I did not relate to was:

Appetite

(Well, maybe add “Salvation” as well, but there that word, to me, as a former ardent theist and minister, is a word that I do not like…thus, I am wondering if my own past affected my understanding)…I no longer believe in salvation from a religious perspective, thus I think my mind was clouded to that…

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wine Review

Hi,I'm a Chgo area /self employed musician/bookseller always writing stuff. Not sure what your rate of compensation is but throwing a piece at you regardless. I've been weaned on Buchowski, 60s 70s culture filtered through 80s/90s experimentation/mutation.
Edward Bock

Red Red Wine Whine Wine!

Everybody has a current favorite and most of the winos I know won’t hesitate to tell you what theirs is. I’m going to go there as well, knowing how subjective wine tastes are and that availability of certain “good bang for the buck” varieties are limited.My wife and I stumbled (on recommendation from our liquor store floor guy) on Ménage a Trois 2006 & 2007 which is going for around 8.00 and is thankfully lacking in the cheap vinegary-too much alcohol flavor of many that we have tried in the 5-10.00 range.After going through a few cases of this stuff , we discovered that it’s currently being featured at Sam’s Club (we’re in the Chgo /O’Hare area).Not to get too over the top about what we both thought of/agreed was different about this one. Got an overall “uplifting” feeling after killing a bottle together, was a “sweet talking wine” and no after burn/headache. The taste was more grape than anything and is a decent blend of Merlot/Cabernet & Zinfandel, bottled by a Napa Valley winery with what we considered to be good blending sensibilities.Oh and by the way. “F” two-buck chuck. Edward Bock9/16/08

Monday, September 15, 2008

I'm Elizabeth Downey, 15 years old.
Here is some of my poetry.


She knows

She knows it's time to let go.
She knows she has to walk forward,
but she can't stop looking back.
She knows everything was a lie,
but she fights so hard to believe.
She tries and tries to forget,
but everywhere she goes there is a memory.
She knows she will be okay in time.
She wishes she would have known then what she knows now.
She knows everything changes,
and something’s just aren't meant to be,
She knows better than anything that letting go will never be easy.


Maybe

Maybe sometimes when I hide the pain it doesn't hurt.
Maybe sometimes it's easier to pretend nothing is wrong than to show I'm weak.
Maybe this smile won't fade and no one will see the tears and maybe then no one will see the pain.
Maybe it hurts more with each day,
Maybe it gets harder with every second that passes.
Maybe just maybe one day I'll wake of from this nightmare I call my life.
Frown

No one knows why the frown. Each morning going down in the elevator. Never even a grumpy utterance of, “good morning,” to acknowledge my nod. Once she held the elevator door to keep it from closing before I’d a chance to lock my apartment door. Who knows why she frowns? She turns right as I go left away from Lake Michigan.
I’ve wanted to ask her to borrow her vacuum cleaner. I’ve wanted to ask her to borrow sugar, tea. Perhaps soup on a cold day. “Would you like to have a bowl with me?” In the tiny corner furthest door from the fire escape at the other end. Watch her lock her door after having spoken through the door. She didn’t say, “what do you want?” or any other gruff greeting. She said a haughty, “hello,” through her door of a light wood. The nicer and newer door of all the other doors of black wood. It is because of that she revealed that she has the frown. Everyday the little Asian man who works in the building, windexing the mirror in the elevator. The mirrors in the foyer and they windows on the doors. Sweeping the foyer and toting the sucking machine that sucks out the muck in the clogged drains. Face mask and gloves. The same black shirt each day. Waiting for any moment to bother her about the door but the last two days he’s left her alone. I have been in the elevator with her at the same time. And she hustles away to the right and I to the left.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

John Lacarbiere
Short bio:

I was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. August 23, 1984 was the day. I graduated valedictorian from John McDonough Sr. High School class of 2002. Writing has always been a passion for me. I think I wrote my first poem when I was like 8 or 9. I wish I could remember what it was. I really got into it when I started high school. I used to write poems almost every day. I remember I wrote this one poem about Jordan’s, tennis shoes that I love to wear, and performed it in front of the class. The response I received from it made me want to not only write but read my poems to people. I tend to write poems about everyday life. Not my life in particular but the average everyday life. Just recently I had a hard time dealing with the death of my father, who was one of the many victims of Hurricane Katrina. Although I didn’t really show it, it hurt me a lot. I evacuated to Houston and it was there I wrote a lot of my personal poems. I think I was mildly depressed. As far as my style of writing goes, I don’t have just one set style. Some are poetic while others just be…you’ll see. I use profanity in some but nothing disrespectful. I write whatever comes to my head. I could be at work, school, driving and an idea pops up. I truly love what I do and feel I should share it with the world. I Currently host Open Mic at Borders Bookstore in Metairie. come check me out...visit my myspace @ http://www.myspace.com/msbjohn or my blog http://johnlpoetry.blogspot.com.

My submission:


Imagine


Imagine yourself reciting a poem to an audience of none

It's just you and the padded walls in your room

And your poem goes something like…


I'm not crazy

It's just sometimes when I'm alone

People speak to me

I didn't mean to choke my neighbor

I was only doing what they told me to do…


Ok if you imagined that you might be crazy too

But imagine yourself as a lady

(Fellas)

With a heart broken by the only man she ever loved and can't leave

Her poem goes something like…


I want to leave him

But if I do

Who will love me?

I feel so much pain inside

I lost myself in him

Or maybe gave him to much of me

That now I depend on him to not feel lonely

So I stay here not because of love but because of fear

Fear that no one else would love me again

Let him have his friends

And keep my pain within…


Now since we are on the subject of women

Imagine yourself as a 16 year old little girl

With a body fully developed

And a step dad that notices it

She reads…


He says that the more he does it

I'll start to like it

That doesn't stop me from crying

My momma knows what step daddy is doing to me

But she says we need a roof over our head

But it hurts

It hurts

Sometimes it bleeds

I'm only sixteen

Step daddy stop touching me!


Sad I know

Now imagine yourself poor

Reciting a poem to the other homeless people in the shelter

You tell them…


We did not choose to be this way

At least I didn't

I was forced to live this life

Given no opportunity

All I know is these streets

And before I beg another person for something to eat

I make this sign

And it reads

Imagine yourself as me

Kicked out at 13

Been homeless ever since

Feed me…


Now imagine yourself as President Bush

Reciting a poem about justice and equality…


You see America...

I uhh…

Uhh…

Uhh…


Ok he's a lil too dumb to write poetry

Last but not least

Imagine yourself in love

And the person you're with is the only thing you think of

Your poem reads…

My love for you is deeper than the Atlantic

You are the reason I'm up here standing

Reciting this poem

Expressing how much I love you

I love your mind

I love the way you smell

I love your taste

I love your face

I even love your mistakes

I love that you love me

I love you just the way you are '

I love that you don't change

I love the way we love each other

I love not knowing where this love will take us

I love you

I love you

I love you…

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sons of Thunder

That day has finally arrived. You knew it was bound to happen one day but you had no idea when it would happen. Your friends and family have all gathered around your grave filled with sorrow at your sudden departure from the planet earth. A thunderous voice cries out “you are dead!” while you stare with confusion at your own gravestone. How can I be dead I still look and feel like I am alive?

Suddenly, a large movie screen appears on the horizon as you begin to watch the screen you realize it is a replay of your entire life. You start to recall all the fun times you had with your family and friends growing up. The cherished moments in your life that made you laugh and smile all went by so fast. Then the pictures start to reveal another side of you that you tried to forget. You begin to see every time you told a lie a during your lifetime. You remember all those times you disobeyed your parents and stole items that did not belong to you. All those times you had sex outside of marriage and looked at another person with lustful thoughts. The hairs on your neck stand up as you begin to sense the presence of a figure standing beside you. He whispers in your ear with a sinister voice “I have been waiting patiently for you. I know you don’t like liars, thieves and adulterers yet that is what you practiced on earth. You are guilty of breaking the very laws you agree with and that makes you a hypocrite!”

Fear and terror begins to grip you as more dark figures begin to appear in a circle around you. Their presence is pure evil and they smell like dead and decaying flesh. They cackle and laugh as the screen continues to show all of your secret sins which you thought nobody knew about. The shame and embarrassment becomes overwhelming as Satan makes his claim for you soul.


You stated Lord if anyone denies you while they are alive you will deny them right back. I want this human sent to hell as punishment for breaking God’s Laws (The Ten Commandments).

To which a loud voice replies “I was beaten, whipped, spit on, mocked and crucified for their sins. I took the punishment they deserve for breaking the law so they could avoid God’s wrath. They have refused the salvation I have freely provided so there is no escaping judgment. I told them if they do not believe that I am he they will die in their sins!”

The demonic figures begin to wrap thick chains around your hands and feet as you begin to cry out for mercy and forgiveness. Your cries fall on deaf ears as the demons start to bite and claw at your flesh. Satan begins to laugh when you realize it is your own fault that you are being condemned. You begin to hear the voices of other people crying out in pain and torment as you descend into hellfire for eternity.

The alarm clock goes off as you are suddenly awakened from this horrifying dream. The room feels like an inferno as you wipe the drops of sweat off your brow. Your heart is pulsating in your chest from the intensity of the nightmare. You begin to think to yourself that felt so real as if it was really happening to me. What if there really is a place called hell described in the Bible? What if the Christians are right about God’s Law and our moral conscience telling us what is right and wrong?

Questions begin to rack your brain as you lay back down to try and get some rest. It is still dark outside so you set the alarm for an extra hour of sleep. Slowly you begin to drift off to sleep when you hear a voice whisper in your ear. "If you don't listen to the prophets"

Monday, September 8, 2008

Hello,

My name is Saadia Ali Aschemann. My first collection of poetry, lavish lines/luscious lies, was published in 2007 by FireFly Publishing. My second book, Words Gone Wild, will be released next month. The following poems are unpublished, but I thought they might work for your magazine. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

All Best,
Saadia

Labyrinth

balanced on
the flimsy axis between
mistake and memory,
I think of the word
deliverance
as I stumble toward
back doors
of abandon

tripping, slipping
already and almost
when I tell him
that it's complicated
he wants me to know
that it isn't complicated enough
between us
just yet


Soundtrack

sleep soaked voices
popping toasters
the quick rattle of
a Sunday morning newspaper
plus Meet the Press's
lullaby drone
the word mimosa
and the sound of
smooth skin on
soft fabric
always remind me
of the short hours
the long minutes
that we
gave to
took from
each
other



Krug Observations

through
the drinking glass
tuxedoed men
look like a line
of dominoes
waiting for a push
old ladies
with little girl voices
cookie cutter princesses
well preserved
dressed for battle
armed with artifice

unstable
this boozy, blurry realm
where little
white lies
seem to be

the new black


Ten

I've written ten unrelated words
on a sheet of butcher paper

eaten nine double stuff oreos

done eight one-armed pushups
before I decided to have another cookie

taken seven extra long sips
of a buttery chardonnay

snapped six pictures of my boys

painted five fingernails
a color called 'golddigger'

read four different chapters
in three different books

jumped rope for two solid minutes

and still, my maddening muse,
the one person I need right now
is nowhere to be found. He could
have at least called to tell me that he
was running late

Poolside

ten year olds talk
about hybrid clubs
pimped out playstations:
cash fund vernacular,
sunburned self importance

jaded children
debutante diatribes
vacant eyed trophy wives
all access--wireless
and otherwise

an oasis of
tan line temptation
where time splashes
slippery, elusive
in shallow water

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Christopher Mulrooney

bio:

Christopher Mulrooney has written poems in Vanitas, Guernica, Beeswax, The Delinquent, Crannog, and fourW.

borscht belt

it isn’t a simply killing that was so funny thing
a waiter’s thumb
but a majordomo’s finger in the soup
plate by plate
the sitting at attention like plebes at the academy
and the roll call
and the watery soup


prestidigitation

prestige is the name
for it
after centuries have gone by

the coin produced by sleight of hand
out your ear

it can’t happen here

the business consortium
asserting national values
against a convenient faux


tribute

it seems more likely
now than shoes for Hottentots
the full megillah traipsed along the roadway
singing merrisomely that was required
the bar was raised
they praised the day welcome was ordained
where every ass was pained
before


falcon

a big bold minister of delights prancing upon the steps of azure
layabout the stare off the greensward
it can’t be tummy says
and drifts upward
the gorge rises
Hellespont and sport fishing
rising schools above the term
hysterica passio
down wantons down


request in triplicate form

the stemlines reach out to the globe
it’s a diffident thing all around
and there isn’t anything you can do about it
so why bother at all

the dews rise as rain if you have a dew point
Du Pont says the punter he’s off to the exchange

this for that dove from hat
a vintage where was water before

and the séance is dismissed

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING WILL KILL YOU
DON’T LET THE SWEET MILK
SIT IN THE SCORCHING SUN
SO IT COULD SPOIL.
SOME THINK THE SUN WILL
SHED LIGHT ON ONES DAY......
BUT DONʼT LET ALL THAT SHINY SUN
SPOIL YOUR SWEET.

a spankin belt
Loud leather lashes against human hide.
Whips callous soft skin to strengthen your lid.
The strop has not lied nor has it died.
Force fear in the happy heart of a blind being.
To those who beat me: THANKS CRUEL CANARIES!
A nightmare, to stay tender. God forbid!
A stunner, to find that life isnʼt fullaʼ berries.
Belts clear false fruit. What a great corrector.
Itʼs easy to get lost in marry tarries.
Grimness is a trustworthy informer.
You belt me into realtity.
From sappy to strong. A cold reformer.
Ruthlessness is now normality.
In a place that praises brutality.

OUR TERM IS A TUNNEL WE’LL ALL HAVE TO TRAMP
TRY NOT TO TRIP, TRY NOT TO SLIP,
ON ALL THESE HALF-HEADED-NIT-WITS.
DONʼT MEAN TO DISAPPOINT
BUT YOU’LL HAVE TO DASH, DART, AND DEFY
THOSE DOPES THAT DUNCE.
OF COURSE THERE ARE FEATS,
BUT EVEN MORE FOES.
THERE’S NO NEED TO LOOK BACK SO
BUCK THOSE BYGONES
AND BRING IN THE BLISS.


EXCERPT FROM SHORT STORY

Those old haggard fools sit around that radio like they normally would be doing after we play the club on a Friday night; throwing cards around, watching LATE NIGHT BOXING, each one blabbering on about how "If I was fighting I would jab like this and punch like that.." Do they know anything about fighting? No they don’t. They don’t know how it is, going head to head in the ring with a guy who’s tryin’ to crush your nose into the back of your skull. They’re just interested in seeming like they knew what the hell they were talking about; in hopes of seeming like the big cheese, the wisest old geezer out the bunch. I’m stuck at this flat tire they call a club, playing the skins with this pack of hounds tillʼ I come up on some bread. To think that all the dopes across town will be watchin’ me from their metal boxes probably shootin’ the same breeze as these boneheads.

A guy don’t make it big by playing with a bunch of old dogs like these wrinkled raisins. A man needs to able to dart off with some dough and dash off with a dame whenever he pleases. I needa getta wiggle on outta here before this place swallows me in for another sucker: another futz, another fried up flapper, another dried up drugstore cowboy. I’m off my nuts to still be stuck at this grummy, good for nothin’ joint. I need somethin’ to get me outta here, and quick.

We had just finished another gig at the “Cat’s Meow” nightclub. Don’t let the dopey name fool ya, this place is nothin’ more then another two bit juicer serving Dumb-Dora’s and a mound of meat-heads from all across this town. They all try to tell me that the band plays it hot, that "Jack plays the skins as sweet as a shiek." But I ain’t gonna be takin’ no squat that’s comin’ off the cob from any these hooched up nit-wits. All the things that any of these bent up fellas say is bologna anyways. I don’t futz around with any of these fools in this joint. Im here to work for the small change I’m makin’, to eat the free grub, and to shoot down the booze which is scattered across the place.

I get home, late into the night as always. The only reason I stay after I’m finished playin’ that dump is because I don’t even got enough dough to buy some chow for myself. Ever since I’ve been down on the rocks my dog don’t even bark when he hears me get to the door. He looks just as wasted as I feel. When I enter the door he flimsily walks up to me wagging his skinny tail; I’ll pat him on his sides feeling his thin grey coat and bony ribs. When I open up a small piece of paper revealing the small chunk of steak I took from the club for him my sack of dope falls to the floor. He’s as eager to eat that piece of steak as I am to shoot that horse into my veins.
After I get out the shower to rinse the days stink from my bones I look into the mirror. I got sores colored black and blue all over my corpse from getting punched into shape for my next fight. As long as my face still looks good, that’s all that matter anyways. I can’t shoot the dope in my arms anymore cause people will start thinkin’ I’m a freak if they start to notice all the small red scabs where I prick the needle into my flesh.

Puttin’ the junk into my body gets rid of my hunger, it takes my mind off the fact that my pockets are filled with lint, it drains out the sound of the couple who’s pichin’the woo above my head, it gets rid of the rats runnin’ round this place, it makes me feel as copacetic as I use to feel before all this mess began. But when I wake up the next morning I’ll feel like the same ole fink as I did before the dope was in my veins.

As I expected wakin’ up the felt like a bum-rush. I had my last Chesterfield and the brew which was in my fridge for breakfast, packed my bags and walked over to the Big Six Boxing Gym. Every time I walk in the place everyone seems to stare at me, like if im some big pallooka. But I’ll show ‘em up, I’ll give ‘em an earful once they see that I donʼt go down that easy. I might not look like much but I can throw my mitts just as good as the rugged piker im fightin’ on Monday. As I messed with the bag I caught myself glarin’ at him in the ring shadowboxin’. Maybe he might be as much of a hard boiled live wire like everyone else says, but I could take ‘em, I gotta’.

After I finished foolin’ round in the gym I went to the back to get dressed. Verne, one of the only crumbs I can handle in this place, was getting’ twinkied up to start sparrin’.
He told me to "Take Five" and I shook his hand.

Carlos Chavarria
Dear Editors:
I read your advertisement on craigslist. I decided to send some of my work to see if you are interested. My name is Robert Gibbons. I recently moved to New York City from Florida. I am a published poet. I have been published in the Nomad's Choir, Rogue Scholar, Riverdale Press, Side of Paradise, Line and Stars, and many on line journals. Thank you for your time and patience in reviewing my work.

Thanks again,
Robert Gibbons

Write up a storm
(for Hurricane Gustav)


the unseen eye
attracted to the mélange
of jazz and jambalaya, the
rhythm has entered a
blues period.

the unseen eye holds
the handle of a jumbo
gumbo pot lazily stirring
the air as wind and rain marinates,
Lake Pontchartrain becomes
a big wok.

the unseen eye
cries alligator tears of rain,
looting the shore
like sand crabs and
slave raiders exploiting
the bounty. Oil slick riggers
travel the length of the Mississippi
from the Gulf Coast to Minnesota.

For the Senator seeking the office of President
(For: Maria Ranier Rilke).


For the senator who seeks the office of President
if you want to go the mountaintop,
you must see Jesus walking the street with one-hundred recyclable cans,
bound by a crucifix
If you seek more than the Oval office and the Lincoln bedroom
you must go past Lafayette Square, past Andrew Jackson on an upright horse, where blonde-haired woman wearing tailored suits, carrying upscale lunch bags, past chiseled –faced men with buzz cut and power ties, talking on an unreachable cell phone.
For those who dare to administer the Executive Branch of Government,
don’t drive through the tenement with executive tint rolled up separating you like a river. If you go to West Virginia Avenue and Clay Terrace there are no Camelot horses and Hawaiian shirts.
If you seek highest ascendancy in the world,
then you will find out the stone will not be rolled away.
In fact, you may be stoned.
You may be the allegorical suffering Christ figure, Bigger Thomas
standing on a Chicago roof.
Don’t forget about Malcolm, Medgar, Mandela, and JFK. Martin had bombs beneath his steps. Even he understood that the king must sometimes be crucified for the sake of the kingdom. Crucify him!

Recount
(tribute to historic Florida)


At the end of the archipelago there is an expressway
where the heat is so hot you better find yourself a
shade tree, plant yourself, then maybe a cool breeze
will pass by. Where saw grass still grows and you better
stop if a family of ducks are crossing the street. The
whole state is fish bowl and we recount those days.

We recount those days while yet in the third grade, the
first time we saw snow, it was historic, wet, bleached,
sand-stoned colored snowflakes fell from the sky.

We recount those days when yachts would dock near Old Port
Cove, when mobile homes crowded Singer Island, eroded
beaches allowed an invasion of lemon sharks, propeller-
marked manatees, and an explosion of mangoes. Wallace’s
ideas are stranded in the Bahamas, lot in the triangle and
Hemmingway’s cats are on a hot tin roof.

We recount those days when discovery was a real as Ponce De Leon.
He discovered me as I discovered myself and conquered my coming of age.
Spanish grandmother would hold her children close, wouldn’t let go.
She named her Florida. Only exotic Cuban plants and red peppers grew.
The smoke is still rising from the Wacissa swamp. No one knew its origin.

We recount those days when bean pickers and corn packers shucked,
shelled, and jived way into the night. Even, Zora went walking up
dust tracked roads. Sugar would drip from the cob of corn. We
settled black muck. It grew everything. Hurricanes and tornadoes would
make their annuals visits blowing Tallahassee roofs and drowning cypress
swamps.

We recount those days when Northern birds migrated, bubble gum pink flamingoes
sat proud atop lime green art deco buildings. Blue herons would wade up Palm Beach
Lakes. Now snow birds just leave their droppings-their snow.

We want to recount all the dead, and the past, all the graveyards and plots built above ground. The ones lost at sea when the hurricane and Great Flood came.

We want a recount for Belle Glade, Palm Glade, Palm City, and every palm tree with a coconut and every nut that fell from grace and made an impact on the ground’s floor.

We want a recount fro FEMA city, Little Havana, Little Haiti, Turtle Key, and very topless woman, muscle boy, Lancôme babe that struts, strolls, and cruises Ocean Drive.
For Ocala, Tallahassee, Wakulla, Sarasota, Pahokee, and every Native that ran into the swamp and hid from Andrew Jackson during the Battle of Orleans.


Finally, a recount for the disheveled, dismembered, disbarred, disenfranchised, and dissed who wash car window for a living carrying big red paint buckets beneath a Miami bridge, only eating a grapefruit and an avocado, drying their sweat-drenched bodies in the coolness of the night. For the drifter, the drifted, the beach bum, the hum drum, the ones who fell overboard, drunk from pain, lost at sea, the sea anemone, the sea spray is only temporary. The sun is the light. The dolphins will sing and the sea will be green again.

Survivor’s Staircase
(September 11th)


Take me up those stairs,
out of this pain, each step is
worry, each step bury the past.
Take me up those stairs,
each step is creaky, each step
is weak, the noise give sound
to what was, but what will be.
Take me up those steps,
this rain, is falling constantly,
each step to finish, each step
diminishes.
Take me up those stairs,
fix this staircase as it winds,
it wails, it pains me to
imagine, fathom a
way.
Take me up those stairs,
as I find a way to climb,
not look behind, to
travel, to unravel
this mystery,
this is a painful history.

The Long Road to Justice
(Thurgood Marshall)


there are so many roads to travel these days,
filled with attraction, but one particular road,
the long road never ends, it winds, it curves,
even spirals, sometimes unfinished pavement
makes travel stagnant, idle; road blocks
often create traffic jams, because of this road,
the long road should open game for on-
coming traffic, like any road-it’s controlled,
lanes are blocked for construction, some traffic
has to merge into one line, to unify,
there are no expressways here, no easy access,
some want to ride the speed lane, to cut the line,
not to wait their time, even road markers are unclear,
fluorescent yellow, kelly green haz-mat signs
are plastered everywhere, they are disregarded,
even ignored, though the speed limit is set,
lead feet accelerates, road rage overtakes,
suddenly collision, causing lanes to be blocked
until help arrives.

No windows

No windows
No windows
On my end of town
There are no windows
On my end of town
Jus gulags of cells
Salvation Army bells
No ticker tape parade
Just a statue of Lincoln
The patina has fade
There are no windows
No windows
On my end of town
No Wall Street Bull
No subway canopy
No freshly painted park bench
No manicured trees
No window on my end of town.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

MY BELOVED
By Cindy L. Keller

What a light that glistens in your eyes.
It's the light of the Devine that I see.
A place where Heavenly Angels have awakened me.
Azure oceans deep - shallow unto thee.

Oh dearest one, my only love,
hearing the sound of your name, brings the rhythm of love.
My spirit is light, dancing high above;
lifted gently by the wings of you - My Beloved.

Your mystical hues boldly mask Autumn's bloom.
Infusing - encapsulating me with the crimsonest of reds.
My heart (an overflowing fountain).
My soul (you have fed).

The new moon shines brightly from above.
Still waters double the joy of a Celestial love.
In passion - mortal heat warms the blood.
Encircled in the arms of you - My Beloved.

Thank you,

Cindy L. Keller