Friday, July 31, 2009

Hi, my name is Maranda Russell and I am a freelance poet. I have been published in many literary journals and magazines such as Poetic Voices (several times), Fate Magazine, The Cynic (several times), The Short Humor Website (several times), Word Slaw (several times), Wizards of the Wind, Ancient Heart Magazine, Conceit Magazine, The Blue Fog Journal, and have also been featured in a chapbook of poetry. Someday I hope to get my own chapbook or full-length book of poetry published. Today I am sending you three of my latest poems for consideration in Record Magazine or any other projects you might have going on! Thanks,
Maranda Russell

The Art of Love
By: Maranda Russell


Deep red is for passion
and dark blue stands for trust.
Love, like art
doesn't have to be complicated
to be good.
Sometimes simple designs
convey the message best.
Too many bleeding colors,
too much crossing over
and the canvas becomes chaotic.
Curvy lines and gentle shading
keep it focused,
and more importantly,
keep it soft.


One of these Days
By: Maranda Russell



One of these days,
when I finally find my way,
I will fly.
The wind won't hold me back
and neither will the stars.
I will make my home in the heavens
and for the first time,
truly appreciate the beauty;
then I will blow a kiss to the world,
bow my head in prayer
and open myself to the fates.

But until that day,
knowing your love firsthand,
simply being near you
is divine enough for me.


Listen to the Wisdom
By: Maranda Russell


There's an old house by the side of the road,
painted pink and red and green.
It can't seem to figure out who it is,
or what it wants to be.

People passing by that place,
always lose their way;
and wander down the street confused,
until their final day.

It's best if you avoid that house
and the ground it stands upon;
but most just can't resist the lure
of such a simple con.

So if you must go, please be wise
and don't fall in too deep.
That building is a carnivore
that craves your soul to keep.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dear Godfrey Logan,

Here are some poems in American Cinquain form for your conisderation.

Best,
Michael Ceraolo

Cleveland Cinquains #45-50

Street scene-
perpetual
garage sale overflows
the garage into the driveway
and yard




Hours of
medical news-
the TV while waiting
to be seen at the medical
clinic



Gas well
in a backyard-
share problems with neighbors
while keeping the benefits for
oneself


Lighthouse
painted on an
apartment- not high or
real enough to warn away
the planes


Lake scene-
wind-blown waves crash
too strongly to allow
skimming any stone from the shore
outward


Concrete
blocks are in place
to save the beach- water
just goes over, around, through them
to shore

-Michael Ceraolo
Thank you for your consideration.
The Way I See It: Sonia and Skip

Sonia thinks Latina women are wiser,
Most Republicans disagree,
What Officer Crowley thought was a break in,
Was Skip not having his key.

You can't erase a prior life,
What we see is not always fact,
Shake hands, have a beer, and going forward,
Agree to disagree and not overreact.

Karen Ann DeLuca

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dear Mr. Godfrey Logan,

Here for your consideration are "Thoughts", "id", and "an Inclusive." I introduce myself as Courtney Zelinsky, a sixteen year old of Pittsburgh. My pieces tend to start figuratively skinny, then widen, and are usually rather people-focused, even if not immediately so. People always spur my work.

Please enjoy! And thanks for your time.

Thoughts

Off of the top of my head
I can talk only of bubbles
Whose final destination is
Precisely here,
embarking from
A scummy little treasure chest within,
The journey is never quick, never painless.
but your angel,
Cerebrospinal Fluid
Among other angels, demons alike
nonetheless sees to their sanctity
And
Grants
Permission to
Pop!
And
They are reborn as things
Like shortcake and napalm...
As fast as the lid opens, closes
on lucidity.



id

i am one of those people
who finds symbolism in everything--
in writing this, my green pen ran out
and so the first line
disconcerts me
"those people"
different
as if it were bad.
to be one of
them.

it's better than this moment:
sitting
eating toast
and butter
lots
of butter
like anyone else
"those people"

sitting in the kitchen
looking out the window
(it's night)
and seeing
an uncertain arm,
hand
but
never a face.



an Inclusive

he tore the urban screens
and 60-watt artifices
and sung Kumbaya
in a way I'd never heard it
sung

mysterious!
how can air dance like that
and mean a trainwreck in
the attic upstairs--

cogs and cobwebs rendezvous
with swirling torrents,
slopping ink on
files we never got to,
suddenly now
those two little blackbirds made sense.

Because
i was wary of all
these foreigners

i wandered close to the willow pond:
only half of me jumped,
the other half died and fell up the bleachers
of an aristocracy,
helping myself to powdered wig and gavel
i could play croquet,
luxury has it that we bore, tsk

and they dunked me back in the scum
of a pond where I belong.

where i meet the green mist's chimes.
the algae control the wind's muted whistles,
residents there tell me
they always felt the same charming way
in spite of
the rest

doesn't matter

if you find us
you'll know

Courtney Zelinsky

Monday, July 27, 2009

Suzanne Richardson Harvey, Ph.D.

I am wondering whether you might be interested in any of the three poems below, pasted into the body of this email. I look forward to your frank assessment.

BIO: A member of the Academy of American Poets, Suzanne Richardson Harvey lectured for almost two decades at Stanford University before retiring. And before moving to Northern California, she taught at Tufts University, where she earned her doctorate in Elizabethan poetry, specifically that of Edmund Spenser. Her poetry first appeared in The Christian Science Monitor and then in Ascent Aspirations Magazine (Canada), nthposition (UK), and SpeedPoets (Australia), among other venues.

SURVIVOR: MIDNIGHT SONNET FOR THE HOMELESS ON MARKET STREET

The connoisseurs of Charpentier
Liszt and Debussy
Stroll toward the grey cells
Labeled Benz and BMW
Cradling the corpse
Of a Grand Marnier soufflé
An empty goblet of Cabernet
A snifter of Drambuie

The ragged hot dog perches on her stick
Like the banner Lee bore at Gettysburg
A raw tomato floats
In a lettuce leaf boat
Sinking with battered but genteel grace
On a dead sea of Diet Coke.

TOPOGRAPHY FOR A BULIMIC

I live in a land with
Valleys of chocolate nougat
A mountain of croissants
Rivers of raspberry jam
I live in a house whose
Walls are built of cherry pie
I live in a room where
A starved heart is the cistern
I empty daily
With a finger tip.

THE VELVET GARROTE

I make it a point to arrive at 7 a.m.
You'd be firing the electric log
In the Nob Hill suite
If it's March you'll be cruising the Bay

I feed Mother beef broth
Scrub out the grime between her toes
Clean her crotch
Stick a Q-tip in her ear

You'd be coasting at anchor in Sausalito now
Or maybe dipping escargot in spinach sauce on
Fisherman's Wharf
Perhaps you're fondling a jade Buddha in Chinatown
Or worshipping the beach at Monterey

I'm fixing Mother breakfast
She doesn't eat bacon and eggs over easy
You mentioned the Eggs Sardou
That swim in uncurdled Hollandaise at the top of the Mark

This morning I'll scour the toilet bowl
Scrape the ice box
Attack the oven with a Brillo pad
Bleach the brown stains on her pants

This must be the season
For long afternoons and cable car rides
For Grey Reisling in a Napa vineyard
For surfing in Santa Cruz and Sunday Brunch on the
Tahoe Queen

I'll return precisely at 5
To see the dinner soup is warm
The saltines crisp and the jello firm
No need to give it a second thought

It must be just about time for green velvet waves
To caress the beach at Carmel
I was reading Freud the other day
He says guilt can drive a man straight off the Golden
Gate Bridge.
Everyday Life: J "Bee" G

I currently live in one of the apartment complexes at Mark Center owned and managed by JBG. When I first moved in, the staff was comprised mostly of holdovers from Winkler and were pleasant, helpful and appreciative of your business. By this time last year, most of them had exited, to be replaced by primarily indifferent part timers with attitude, at best polite but inept, and higher ups that view residents solely as rent checks and are only interested in the bottom line. When I had trouble with a very noisy neighbor who held "rock concerts" daily, noon to midnight, I was flatly and fairly quickly told, from the "portfolio manager" to the on-site management, that nothing was going to be done about it, lease infraction be dammed. The situation finally ended after frequent and repeated visits from the Alexandria Police Department, who courtesy of taxpayer money, did JBG's job.
Fast forward a year, and Washington Gas, for some reason, is moving the meters in the complex. As they were working on my building, their contractors found a beehive in the utility closet of the unit directly below mine. They called their supervisor to contact management; I also called the rental office and was told that the head of maintenance and an exterminator would be notified. Shortly thereafter, displaced yellow jackets started entering my apartment through my closed and locked sliding door - en masse. For two days. It was only after I telephoned the City offices that deal with both Landlord/Tenant issues and Code Enforcement (the latter sent an inspector over in roughly an hour), that JBG became "interested" in dealing with the infestation. When the exterminator finally showed up, at my persistence and insistence, it was clear that he had never been contacted after the initial discovery since he was totally unaware of the origins of the problem. Again, City intervention was necessary to get JBG to do its job.
All of this illustrates several serious points that Alexandria should consider as it proceeds with the Mark Center redevelopment. My experience alone tells me that JBG is not going to be a good corporate citizen and will be a drain on the City's manpower. How the company treats its tenants is indicative of how it is going to deal with YOU once the ink is dry on your commitment to your part of the project. Just what is going to happen to the now stable ecology once the trees and buildings in the current bucolic setting are knocked down? Look at what happened with one disturbed bees' nest! Go, green, Alexandria ... on either side of most of Beauregard, you already are.
My understanding is that this project is to commence in October beginning at the Shops at Mark Center, postponed from the early 2009 planned demolition of an apartment complex off Sanger. I strongly urge the City to take a serious look at who you are getting into the un-flower bed with. There is a good reason why tenants are leaving in droves. JBG. Just Be Gone. "Bee"-fore it's too late.

Karen Ann DeLuca

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hi,

I'm a journalist/editor in Taos, NM. ( I got my masters last year in Chicago, so I browse around CL for just such postings.) My dream has always been a novel...and I have been playing around with a few ideas....anyway, I pastd it below.



Sully stared past her, floating above and beyond her phony words, her mock attempt of sympathy. He stared towards the Chicago skyline, imagining himself as a bird darting around in grand loops, encircling the L tracks and forgetting the insipid, grating voice of the bobblehead.



Was this really happening? He was having a hard time coming back down to earth, having a hard time trying to articulate the slender blonde’s wonk-wonk Charlie Brown version of an adult voice.



“You know, Lee, it breaks our hearts to have to do this—you were, are, so much of Chicago Morning’s identity…”



“But times are tough, I know,” he finally managed to say once he returned from his mental flight, remembering he was sitting in the uncomfortable, modern-décor chair in the uncomfortable modern-décor office of his pseudo-nemesis, his editor, Laura Slayton.



“Well, inconceivably tough for everybody else, fatal for newspapers. We’re cutting nearly 20 percent of our jobs…we have to look towards the future and new media…I’m sorry, you know all the statistics, I’m sure,” Laura cooed in that pathetic make-believe nice tone. “But we’ve realized we can’t stay the same old Chicago Morning, even our name is antiquated. Hardly anyone solely reads a morning paper with coffee anymore; it’s all supplemented with our website, 24 hour access.”



Of course Lee Sullivan understood all this, he had just put the possibility of his own demise in the Something to Worry about Later folder, a thought for serious consideration only after he filed whatever story he was working on at the moment. But yes, over the past 15 years, the future of Chicago Morning gave Sully some trouble. While he wasn’t one to shun the convenience of modern technology— he loved how much easier his job had become over the years thanks to his cell phone and laptop— the proliferation of bloggers, celebrity reporters, start-up news sites and the like bothered him intensely. Not just anyone can be a journalist, he believed. Not just anyone can post a blurb, proclaiming it news to the world.



This made Sully part of the old-school, the part of the newsroom that still relished Chicago Morning’s name and original mission of bringing the Windy City “real stories about real people by real people when the sun comes up.” And while the paper still faired pretty well against the Tribune and Sun-Times, readership wasn’t what it was in Sully’s prime. The businessman in Sully knew the Morning must embrace new media, as opposed to just putting up with it, as it had with its simply functional website. It had a few bells and whistles, but nothing like the competitors’. Major changes now had to be made to stay relevant during not an economic recession, but during a major journalistic transformation; Chicago Morning couldn’t get by on its charm.



Unfortunately, major changes boiled down to axing all the old-school.



The bobblehead, with her annoyingly glossed lips and self-proclaimed infinite wisdom, went on.



“But Lee, you’re a recognized entity in this town. You can find some freelance work, or write a book. There are endless options. I think this is really doing you a favor, you can take a vacation, see the world! You were probably going to retire in a few years, right?”



“I was never going to retire. My work is… my life,” Sully said with a sigh, cringing a little at the clichéd sound of the expression. He regretted the vulnerable position he had begun to expose, but at the same time didn’t give a shit. Slayton and the Powers-that-Be were ripping out his heart, powering battery acid on his soul. Screw them. But still, he tried to maintain his admired cool composure and grace.



“…And of course your severance covers you well. I mean, you’ve been here forever, it’d been forever since before I started here,” she said. Sully sensed she was recalling their first encounter. Only seven years ago, she had been an intern from Medill.



Even when she hadn’t known anything or anyone, she made him want to whomp her upside her pretentious head. Or just see her fall on her ass in those Blahnik heels upon the cold, icy sidewalks outside their Wabash & State offices.



“Almost 32 years.”

Paige Gray

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

MEAN GIRL GROWN UPS

Over the holidays, while I was catching up on my professional reading, a particular item drew my attention. It concerned a female judge who had been disciplined for violating judicial canons and basically being stereotypically "bitchy." It was the latter that caught my eye. The disciplinary court, after hearing thirty witnesses, found that she "routinely belittled, berated and badgered court staff." The opinion went on to state that she traumatized some so severely that they could no longer appear before her and that she acknowledged bias against certain attorneys which had resulted in issuing rulings against them. Stunning was the finding that the judge used court personnel, including her law clerk, as her personal servants - to clean her home, rake her yard, bubble wrap her packages and scrub her floors. But the most telling finding of all was that she had lodged a false complaint stating that a court administrator had grabbed an associate's arm and screamed at them. In true mean girl fashion, she fabricated situations that mirrored her behavior to deflect from her own. Her defense: that all of the witnesses were pressured to lie about her. Translation: they must have followed a more powerful mean girl's lead. What else could it be!
I would not have thought much of this, except that it came hot on the heels of my own experience with a mean girl judge. I will spare the detailed specifics, but suffice it to say that this woman outdid her male peers in the "disrespecting me" department, no small feat, as one had authorized the sale of the former marital residence without full disclosure and put a gag and eviction order on me to ensure that, another had characterized my ex's tax fraud to be the mere failure to file a piece of paper, and a third had held a significant hearing in the divorce matter knowing I had not received actual notice of it, was not present, and then authorized the disbursement of almost $80,000 from the aforementioned sale to the perpetrator of the fraud, my former husband! But this judge's bias against me was palpable, from the order in which she allowed me to speak, to the limited amount of time she allocated me, last and least, to her lack of familiarity with the case file and applicable law and her willingness to allow only opposing counsel - a male - fill in her knowledge gap. There was an exchange where she in essence told me to "get lost," and "take it up with (another court)." Of the one day hearing scheduled, I got ten minutes of less than an hour, mostly interrupted. You could feel her venom fill the room.
To say I was disappointed is an understatement. But what I at first couldn't figure out was why. Was she a mean girl grown up? I didn't think so. She wasn't that attractive - "plain Jane" comes to mind - short, straight, salt and pepper mannish hairdo and angular, unremarkable features. I strongly suspect she was not one of the pretty or popular girls in her younger years, which nixed that theory.
Had she been a victim of a mean girl in her youth, and because of that become a mean girl grown up, taking it out on anyone who remotely reminded her of someone who bullied or humiliated her in those dreadful middle school and teen years? Just my luck, I'm told I am "cute," have good hair (albeit short and salt and pepper as well, but with bounce) and look 15 years younger than we both probably are, courtesy of fibromyalgia taut, porcelain skin. However, I don't accentuate or flaunt my supposed pulchritude; no hair color, lipstick only, eyes hidden behind glasses, dress way down. I simply don't care, but apparently she did, still jealous of THAT despite all of her professional accomplishments, giving new meaning to "judging a book by its cover!" Very immature, but given women's propensity to have long memories for past slights, vindictive grudgeholding, and striking out at the most available target, that seemed a more plausible explanation.
Which begs the question, why, forty odd years after the women's movement supposedly liberated us to be all we are and can be, do we still (A) want to be like men, and outdo them routinely in emulating them at their worst, and (B) behave in a petty and non supportive manner toward our own as if they are some threat for some guy's attention/affection in some long ago schoolyard? Biologically Neanderthal catty cats! Some of us may just be mean girls grown up who never changed, but could the rest be explained as mean girl grown ups shaped and spawned by youthful victimization? Are we unconsciously creating MORE mean girls? Will I now become a mean girl as a result of this experience? I hope not.
Does it make us feel superior to wield authority in this manner? Because it shouldn't. By acting so unkindly, have we in essence given up on "love" and "niceness" for "our sex is all about power?" I would hope we could achieve a balance there. We may say we've "come a long way baby," but deep down if we behave no differently than men or the mean girls of the childhood cliques and we make our name and feel good about ourselves by stepping on and over others, particularly women, rather than treating them as equals and helping them get a leg up, we've clung to the worst of our gender traits and adopted the most disagreeable and unpleasant of the opposite sex. That's not progress. That's something to be ashamed of. Revenge on the mean girls. I'm all for that - at the time the incident occurred, directed at the perpetrator. Pick on the mean girl that picked on you and get past it; don't pay it forward on the innocent. In so doing, that's one step backwards for you, and by multiplier effect, many steps back for the rest of us.
We live in a country that with the election of an African American president may finally rid that race of the internal violence affected upon it by generations of slavery. We shouldn't have to wait for a woman to be elected to that high office to eliminate the passing down the "mean girl effect." The time for that is now.

Karen Ann DeLuca

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Everyday Life: Raise the Bar for the Bench Mid July, I had the opportunity to attend a CLE course that was being held at the Alexandria Courthouse at 520 King Street. Doing almost all of my business for the past five years in Fairfax County, it had been awhile since I paid my local Circuit Court a visit. What I found shocked me.
First, the parking. After circling blocks and blocks for almost half an hour, I landed a freebie three hour space in the vicinity of South Columbus and Wolfe. The hunt left me wondering: why not convert more of the two hour parking, metered or not, to allow for an additional hour? It would make business sense; more time spent could equal more money spent in the quaint shops; in these economic times, vehicle turnover is less important than acknowledging an effort to patronize. Any related lost quarters and dimes would be more than offset by an increase in sales tax revenues and a reduction in the number of officers needed to patrol Old Town, and otherwise, perhaps freeing the police up to address something other than parking infractions in other parts of the city. Just a thought...
The courthouse. After going through security, my obvious first stop was a bathroom. I was appalled to see that the latches on at least one stall door in at least one Ladies' Room were inoperable. Note to City: women prefer do their "business" in private; we aren't anywhere close to the point in gender equality where a quasi urinal situation is in vogue. Being locked in also makes us feel safe, particularly when the other two doors to the lavatory are either open or not of the bolted variety. Just in case your efforts at the main door fail and allow some weirdo in, because there's plenty of room for a nut job to hide in the relatively large space between the handicapped facility and the interior wall...
Up to the 4th floor, Circuit Courtroom #2, where the program was being held. While waiting for the doors to open, I sat on one of those wooden benches that are built into the peripheral wall. Ouch. Ditto for the bulk of the seating in the courtroom. However historic they may be, I've sat in more comfortable church pews, where I get to stand and kneel as well, and am accustomed to the comfy cushions of Fairfax. It wouldn't be spoiling Alexandrians to replace these "seats of justice" with something that doesn't send them to the chiropractor or a massage or physical therapist. Auction them off; because of their lineage, they will bring in some serious bucks and pay for their replacements...and more.
Because from the looks of things, the City needs money. The clock in the courtroom - missing, although the connective wiring was conspicuously hanging out of its former home. Ugly, in a setting known for decorum. Doesn't anyone in the City's employ get those ubiquitous Bed Bath & Beyond coupons? If not, I have some to spare. Use them to purchase a battery powered unit to mount over the gaping hole. Court sessions should be run on synchronized time and not be subject to the whims of a judge's internal tick tocks. I'm sure those sitting on those hard benches are counting the minutes on their watches anyway, as I did for the two hours I spent squirming for an elusive spot of repose.
The microphones - not operational. Yes, the courtroom is relatively small and cozy, and judging from the attendance at the seminar, mostly men with deep, booming voices still inhabit it, but hey, the trend is for more women lawyers, who typically have high pitched, thin voices that don't carry well. It would be nice if in a court of law we could be heard as well. It's time to welcome someone other than "Mike" with open arms.
While I have tried to make this a humorous rendition of my everyday life, the situation I am describing is not. Given the nature of the ongoing and planned projects, Alexandria appears to be focused on externals and facades - revitalizing this neighborhood, widening that road - broad strokes and big splashes. I'm a practical girl; the things I most noticed on my recent trip in from the West End were the missing and mundane details. A courthouse is one of the places where a city makes its first impression. In dire times, it is important to take care to maintain what you already have. And sometimes, yes sometimes, it's what's inside that counts.

Karen Ann DeLuca
EVERYDAY LIFE
What I Did For Health Care...Or How Much I Love My Doctor
Recently, I made my annual trek to my endocrinologist, whose only regional office that takes my health insurance (BCBS Federal, not an obscure, esoteric plan) is roughly 22 Mapquest miles from my home in Alexandria, VA, with an estimated travel time of approximately 30 minutes. I hit the road at 9:20AM, confident I would easily make my 10:15AM appointment. Rush hour was over. Two accidents and one disabled in the middle lane vehicle later, I arrived, 15 minutes late. This particular medical group charges for tardiness and has a posted policy of refusing to see patients if they show up more than 10 minutes past the appointed time, a thought that raced through my mind as I sped up Route 50 toward the Fair Oaks medical complex at 10:15AM...but not fast enough to get myself in an accident, although I did run a few lights while disobeying the speed limit. It was July 15th (not the 13th), a Wednesday not a Friday, and apparently my lucky day - the doctor saw me and I only had to shell out my copay. So much for making rhymes... But then I apologized profusely, groveled - please, please, don't send me back to Alexandria without being seen after all I've been through already today - and gushed my thanks to every member of the staff I encountered. Nothing for a lawyer like kneeling prostrate at the alter of the medical establishment.
At the conclusion of the visit, which lasted one-third the time it took to get to it, I was informed that the on site lab was not operational, so I would have to go to another facility to have my blood drawn to check my thyroid function. I was given two pamphlets with a list of 49 Metro DC facilities, including 9 in Loudoun, Spotsylvania and Stafford Counties. As if. From the addresses, I recognized one as being close by to my home and affiliated with the same group that normally processes my bloodwork, so from experience I knew it was a preferred provider with my health insurance. Yeah! So after getting back from the doctor's office at noon, one-quarter of a tank of gas lighter, hitting the gym for a half hour to work out, and work off some of the morning's frustrations, and having lunch, I headed out to find the lab. Dialing the listed phone numbers for directions only got me a machine. No live person; no directional message. Google Maps wasn't all that helpful. So I parked at one of my regular haunts which I knew by its address was close, Beatley Central Library, and started to walk along the very busy thoroughfare, on a sultry, hot afternoon. Although the facility had a Duke Street address, it was set back, way back, from the road, and had two buildings in front of it obscuring a direct view.
When I checked in - electronically - the system did not recognize my name as a repeat customer on the first try, but rather tried to matriculate me by tacking on a second surname to mine. Nice to know there is someone else with my maiden name in the DC Metro area, but scary, since had I not caught it, a reporting error could have easily been made with my test results. Door to door, another hour of my time.
This little musing on my everyday life is illustrative of some of what is wrong with our current health care system. Why in the world should I have to drive so many miles to see a doctor whose group has an office much more convenient to me because of insurance? DC isn't the boondocks. Are doctors so undercompensated that late charges and no show fees are needed? What in the world are they going to do when reimbursements are cut further as is currently under debate? And how about all the times a doctor keeps you waiting? What was that rule in college, if a professor didn't show up after a certain period of time, class was canceled? And the bloodwork...why not leave directions to a facility location on the phone message if the staff is so barebones no one can pick up? It might be good for business! That would make sense, common sense. Apparently there's not much room for that in our present medical system. As we reform it, there should be. And while I agree with CBO Chief Douglas Elmendorf that the current plans set forth by the Obama Administration and under consideration by the Congress do not "bend the long term cost curve" downward and instead significantly expand the federal responsibility for and spending on health care costs, it's early in the discourse and nothing is set in stone. And what's that old adage, you have to spend money to make money? Pay now, save later. What is imperative is that the system have a few less twists and turns for the consumer, because waste of patient time is a cost as well, and while it does not show up as debt, it does show up as lost productivity, and the stress of dealing with such a convoluted setup can be counterproductive and impact health as well. No one seems to be talking about that. I needlessly frittered away almost a day...how about you?

Karen Ann DeLuca

Friday, July 17, 2009

Dear Editor,



Here are some poems for consideration for your magazine or journal. Thank you for supporting

poetry in today’s world and age. I as a poet sincerely appreciate your efforts.

Mr. Wilson was BORN IN 1941 IN Ithaca, New York and was raised in the Finger Lakes

Region of upstate New York. He was employed by the Traveler’s Insurance Company for 27

years from 1967 to 1994.He retired in 1994 and became disabled with his diabetes and heart

conditions. . He began writing in his notebooks in his college days. In 1989 to 1991 he had

65 poems published .:

His poems are drawn from his own life’s experiences. He presents rich images through the

strong and interesting use of his poetic vocabulary and language. He is proud to be a poet of two

centuries. In 2009 Mr. Wilson has had poems accepted for publication by:

Westward Quarterly, Cloud Appreciation Society, Nomad’s Choir,

The Poet’s Art, Ceremony, NKF CT Connections,, Star*Line.

(Jim the Ct Poet)



JAMES WEBB WILSON (Jim the CT Poet)


Inner Heat

It is just the heat swelling up in great surges

Of the great coastal tides,

I surf on desire’s rides

I body surf and hang ten deep

I pray the Lord my trunks to keep.

So in my vulnerability

The dream will not surrender

To an ecstasy too real and tender.



It is this rapid pulse of mine,

It flows swift like red wine

Which thirsts for the inner soul

In an obstinate obsession burning.

What tests await our anxious learning.

This tearing of the candle’s flame

Which spews direct with gentle aim,

The dimmer mysteries of midnight.



It is the heat of an honest flame,

Desire’s own special calling

Which in a well ventilated space

Would grant a glow across a cave.

But in the closed up room

It casts a mystery of doom.

So set me free with Love’s direction

And grant me my deserved release.



My Canoe Now

This is my canoe now,

It is my transportation on the river of life

To paddle off into a new direction

Jay stroking as needs be to stay on course,

Whenever the currents will allow

One to go to his island in the stream

And pursue serenity’s undisturbed dream.

It only took one leap of faith

To catch the angel’s wings

To guide my canoe to where my heart sings.



This is my very own canoe now,

I will bypass the shoals

And have lunch on a sand bar.

I will eat a sandwich and drink a soda,

I will suntan on the afternoon beach,

I will lean lazily against my canoe,

All alone, so very much alone.

I will enjoy the peace of the ages,

I will write on the poet’s pages

In the land of no telephones.



This is my own canoe now,

My silent ride down my river

Which once held such dreams

Too dear to hold within my hands

Which now I use for my jay stroke.



Popsicles in the August Snow

To go where the brave dare not go,

The orange popsicles in the August snow,

A September morn with white rabbit luck,

Canadian geese and a star carbon duck.

Love on the subway, wrong way uptown

Colombian coffee, roasted and brown.



We walked with llamas in Peru’s mountains,

We bathed in Greece’s Olympian fountains

We meandered across a newly plowed field,

We sank in ankle deep soils

One proud footprint after another

We were young enough for sure

We moved our busy feet quickly

We raced where others only walked.



We picked up pine cones in the evening

Using the fire flies as our lanterns.

We listened to the owl in the old grey barn,

We smelled the lilacs in the park

We ran diagonally through the cornfield

Looking for the last lost pony.

We chased the harvest moon,

We bobbed for apples in a wash tub,

We went on long hay rides

Way past the barn and the old cider mill.


Thank you for considering these poems Have a nice day

and enjoy your family and summer.

Jim the CT Poet

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

This is from a book of hip hop inspired poetry. These are ment to be submissions. My Name is Kareem Carter

EMPATHY

I see it like the Eyes of a four year old African AIDS Victim
In a refugee camp set up like a U.N. Aid Prison
I can see it like the Eyes of a American soldier on a Grave Mission
Face to face with a fourteen year old Iraqi Babe with a AK
In Prone Position & is his Decision his blowing her Burka Off
I see it like the teenage child of a Murdered Boss
Spoiled her whole life till the good life Herded Off
Homeless and sexy on a corner doing the Purchase Walk
I sees it like the Eyes of that young Corner Hustler
Face to face with the fact he’s a Goner Brother
Faced with the muzzle of his Competitions Metal
I can see it like the sinning atheist faced to face with the Devil
I can see it in the struggle of a single mother with No Job
Late bills few meals and her families futures looking Macabre
I can see like the kid who just got made in the Mob
In a forest about to feel flames getting caught up in the Job
I see your pain I feel your Worth
I see your hearts heavy swelling bound to Burst
I see you seem stuck in stationary without the will to Work
I see you shivering on these cold streets I feel your Hurt
I can see it the sown up eyes of those Murked
Like the eyes of those who witnessed your Birth
And those tears of the same witnesses who carried you off to the Dirt
I can see you-I can feel you-for real dude-I do Empathies
When that temperature rise sooner then later somebody Dies
I see it in the force of will from those who Survived
Through hardship they triumphed together like the Rise of a Tribe
I see it all like a couch potato with a Crystal Ball
I see it like the running man South of Fatal against Missiles letting Off
See it like Old ladies waiting by the bus stop at the Watchtower
Judging me like they She is HE when they are not Powered
I see it like the bully facing the armed nerd now a Coward
I see it in the virgin victimized Deflowered
I see like those mistakes made in prison dropped soap N Showers
Note the Towers I seen topple like London Bridges
I see it like a little girl raised up to hoe trained by Abundant Bitches
I’ve seen niggaz die for coming shorter than a 100 Midget’s
What I see, seen or Saw
Would blow your brain open, spleen & Jaw
Cause I know people. It's like I've seen the dreams of All

This Anthem of Mine Since we at war now (well then)My Country tis-a-vis.
My country men’s misery
Politically I get to speak my Piece freedoms Speech Divisibly
Mention Me a criminal a mad man Menacing
Mentioning Negative over Positive seeing it all as Obvious
Drop a bomb on a Village or drop food for starving Children you Feel It?
I’m not Militant I love my Country
I just hate it when some Represent my people as Monkeys
They play us like dough or were Gumby
Play us like Spades & Gin Rummy
Just cause we grew up on Slim Money around kids with Empty Tummies
With no GED so Slim Dummy
And dumb Slim ran in Ten Men’s crib for 25th of December Money
And it’s so Funny cause Slim don’t see no more Day Sunny
And his kids will have to Stay Bummy
For those stuck in that State this Place is Crummy
Grow up as the Disenfranchised
As a baby raised on the 3rd rate Unsanitized
As girl grown up around grown men that Fantasize
Sold by your own moms for a Can of Lies
Humanity can be Summarized as a cold world no Summer Skies
A 1000 lives lost in a blinks eye
And the kids is Sinking Guys Thinking High willing to Die
For them rims and that brand new Lincoln Ride
For that platinum Link & Pie why the elders Drink & Drive
Shorty on the corner just to sport the Mink & Rise
106th and Park Demonized in “Living Color” Keananized
Freedoms Ringing? Riiiiiight?? Is that Why we still sitting at the Back of the Bus
Why all these rich niggaz keep Stacking it Up
Why these ghetto little kids is Blasting. For What? Jackson screaming “I am somebody” but aint Backing it Up
Like the other Jackson the Governments Jacking us Up
Molesting the Youth got them like animals Left in a Zoo
With sins so many they Confessing to Who? I lost a friend a Smith & Wesson Etched in my Dude
Lonely all he wanted was to be Next to a Crew
Death could only be Blessing a Lesson of Truth
You learned what’s Expectant of You
When you faced with a man with bomb on his Chest
Destined to Move
Truth reveled like pages in the Good Book
This the Horseman’s year the Hoods Shook
I’m from a County of Crooks that Cook up Good Books
The Good died why the Bad Took
Look fools this the Land Where my Father Died
In a dirty alley with a shank in his Hide
Look this the Land Where my Mother Cried
Living single in the Jungle just trying to Survive
From every mountain Side
Them killers roam the streets Ready to Die
This is my
American anthem cause America kidnapped us & held us for Ransom
And the Plan Son
Is for me not live long enough to leave seeds to Plant in my Grandson
I Am Him the resurrection of Huey & Fred Hampton
Dubois & Hugh’s. I Am Them the Panthers Voice & MOVE
But Who are You
I spit for the Down Trodden
Those over seas across Town trying to bring Down Bin Laden
I spit for the Gs in the streets that make sure it’s Been Poppin
I spit for that chick with three Kids
A nice set of Tits Strip club pole Propping
I spits for them Kids at Christmas with no Gifts & no Stockings
For those that think the bullshit is Not Stopping
I’m not Joking this for Those from Homes Broken
Those of Them that lived & died as Known Tokens
Those ungrateful Slaves with there Graves in the Open Ocean
This for Them.The Folks & Brothers Crips & Bloods that live & die over Colors
I Love It. I Am American Maid. In the club getting American Laid
Me the ancestor of those American Slaves
With crack money getting this Afro American Paid
A sinner Jesus Christ Saved
American Me the son of Allah & Yahweh
I am them kids Raised off Americas Government Aid
I am that Convict Constant why must I Misbehave? I am the sick man & I been that Way for Days
Whoever I Be? I be that dealer in them Project Lobbies
I be that baby that caught stray Crying for Mommy
I am a American Patriot
I feel the plight of those kids fallen from them pilots American Patriots
War I wait for it like the fear of God in the foxhole of a Atheist
I stay on C.P. time some may say we the Laziest
But my life was the Zaniest
Crack baby born & raised in 80s kid
The Greatest kid like Ali & Jack Johnson
Around a pack of rats that sell crack Constant
From Brook Lawn to way Back to Compton
I am Americas Lack of Conscience
I’m that angry nigga Stomping with a Million men Marching
And they got the President Barfing
A million men armed & ready for Arson
Imagine it a 1000 nations Pissed ever Blood Crip
The Five & Six get together and get live & Unscripted
Check this Dude a revolution televised on You-Tube
40 acres and reparations Recouped Too
A message manifested I mobily Boost Dudes
We getting Chewed like Ju Ju’s Only if You Knew
They never Cared about Us.
They put on Airs about Us
They want a mouthy nigga to Shut the Fuck Up
Red neck told a Bra “You either love it or Leave It” I replied burning the Confederate flag screaming “Suck It or Eat It” I the one fucking up Iraq or trying to take back Egypt/
We made it all equal when we were your dirty Secret
Popular coulter made America Peak Kid
Popular Coulter made America Free Shit
Why you sold the seeds of deceit we the ones that Reaped It

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dear Mr. Logan:

I’ve spent an adult lifetime writing and teaching poetry but have attempted publication of my work in a sustained way only within the last decade or so. I’ve managed to see a good number of poems—approximately 180—appear in various literary and other magazines across the country. I realize, however, that each time I send out a manuscript, its poems must stand on their own.

I write both free verse and rhyming poetry, fully aware that the latter kind is currently not in vogue—at least in this country. I respect all forms and styles of genuine poetry including those of the current trends, but I often employ rhyme with other aspects of strict form to “sing” and to test my ability to sound natural, if formal, within confinement.

Below are five of my efforts:

“A Trick to Catch the Old Ones,"
"In the Old Stone Age,"
"Winter Habit,"
"Robert Herrick Considers the Least of His Days," and
'Moving Day",”



None of these is currently out to any other publication, print or electronic. Would any of them be suitable for appearance in your online publication?

Without presumption, I’ve included a brief biography, if needed.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my work.

Sincerely,
(Mr.) Jene Erick Beardsley


A TRICK TO CATCH THE OLD ONES

Time is always running out
And taking all its things away.
If one would turn a thing about
And bring its moment back to stay,
One must attract deep into it
The interest of the god whose wit
Is all its meaning past one day.
But because the gods are children
And they always want to play,
There are games one must be skilled in.
Rhythm’s such a game, and rhyme.
For fifty years in laboring time,
I’ve taught my verse what Dryden taught
And more than once the play of rhyme
Has helped me to a straying thought.
In the innocent atmosphere
That’s after school at close of day,
Across the neighborhood I hear,
As though from very far away
The Father calling the hours home
To honeycomb and catacomb,
And yet my words still want to play.
In the day-care doorway, I’m
Intent to hear them keeping time.


IN THE OLD STONE AGE

I went to the steps where we had shot
Some fireworks off a year ago.
The burn marks still were in the stone.
In the primitive grasses just below,
A single cricket was ringing and ringing
His own number as though a spirit,
Scared and homesick out in space
Where he’d been sent for an afterlife,
Was trying to contact his old place
And only I was there to hear it.
I looked at the void and stonefaced hall
At the top of the steps and saw a cave went
Into its building. Whenever I moved,
The moonlight struck sparks from the pavement.
In the single ray from a posted light,
An unidentified insect swirled.
It mattered nothing to the stars
Which were not on to light this world
That for some independent cheer
From the long tyrannies of the year
Small human fires were lit here once.
In the darkened land that stood around,
A carnivorous tribe on ignorant hunts
Had gone upstairs so they could keep
A fast and paleolithic sleep,
And I who know well what alone is
Saw how hard and staying stone is.

WINTER HABIT

In barely awake March that tries to shut off
the ringing sun,
Outdoors in my shirt, upsetting the whole earth in
My garden, I quit at the call for supper and enter
The house through a windowless hall where a past day’s
Cold and earlier darkness tell on winter
There in hiding. The ghost of an overcoat weighs
On my shoulder. Obviously it is make-believe,
But I check a move to pull my arm from its sleeve.


ROBERT HERRICK CELEBRATES
THE LEAST OF HIS DAYS


Ah, little lost September the second,
I do not think you will be reckoned
Into the Books of Life or Death!
You cost me such a little breath,
I hardly seemed alive at all.
I rose and raked a little fall
From my back yard, then went to buy
A pie tin for an apple pie.
Back home, I plotted with my neighbor
How we’d waste the day called “Labor.”
Then I, suppering at my table,
Read five times the jam-jar label.
I, whose mind is interstellar,
Did my laundry in the cellar
Just before my bed, and, worse,
I fondled out this little verse.
Poor little day, who’ll dithyramb you?
God has neither blessed nor damned you.
Minutes had you so enthralled,
Would you have heard him had he called?
You are the type of all those who
Will never be great. I grieve for you.


MOVING DAY

I stand in a bare room where I have no past.
It’s so much room, no room is left for me.
An entering beam of the sun in the west makes ghast
One wall and burns my sockets till they see
The wall give, letting in without a key
An exalted air fast rising thinner and thinner.
The beam is a long blind glance from eternity
Whose field has fired all of its personnel.
God here has whited out not sin but the sinner.
The yelling bloodhounds fade, having lost blood’s smell.
In that vast glare my presence doesn’t tell.
I am like some unlisted soul who went
Unnoticed at the Judgment and was sent
By his high lord neither to heaven nor to hell.


Jene Beardsley was born and raised in Mount Vernon, New York. He received his MA in English literature at the University of Illinois. He now lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia. His poems have appeared in The Amherst Review, The Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Soujourners, The Silt Reader, Fulcrum, New Letters, Ibbetson St. Press, and The Lullwater Review among other magazines.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

THE PERIODIC TABLE OF LONGEVITY

In May, my younger brother came from New York for a visit. We had dinner at the Silver Diner in Springfield, VA. While the food and service were excellent, I found the portion sizes startlingly enormous. Not one to dine out, preferring to stick to a close variation of the Mediterranean diet and eat at home, the spaghetti and meatballs I ordered was roughly four times what I normally consume for dinner and took me an hour to ingest. Then came the chocolate cream pie which he had ordered, but which we ended up sharing because when the server brought it to our booth, my brother realized his eyes were bigger than his stomach. I haven't had dessert in years, chocolate in even longer. Needless to say, I slept fitfully full that night, and walked around the next day like I had lead in the tank. Ironic, because while that isotope is the heaviest known as "doubly magic" or extremely stable in the periodic table, with 82 protons and 126 neurons, there was nothing fey about how I was feeling after the meal and I was definitely out of sorts and out of whack. It took me a few days, and extra hours in the gym, to get back to my "normal," giving me new insight into the phrase "you are what you eat," and no longer wondering why there is an obesity epidemic in this country if that was the general population's daily fodder. Studies show that a good way to gain weight is to dine with others, and that on average, those who feast with just one additional person gobble down 35% more, and those in groups of 4 or 7 or more, wolf down an added 75% and 96% respectively. Given my recent experience, I can easily see how and why. Next time my brother visits, we'll order one meal, share and ask for a doggie bag, more closely approximating eating alone.

And while this particular restaurant did not merit a mention in the Center for Science in the Public Interest's "Xtreme Eating Awards" announced June 3rd, I have no doubt that the caloric, saturated fat and sodium content of the meal was on a par with such luminaries as "Chili's Big Mouth Bites." Doesn't the name say it all! I can hardly blame my brother - in New York City, Nashville, Philly, Portland and the states of California and Massachusetts, and coming soon to Connecticut and Oregon, there are menu labeling laws. A just released Trust for America's Health report ranks California 41st and Massachusetts 49th with respect to state by state adult obesity. Apparently a picture isn't worth...and consumers may need A THOUSAND WORDS...and having enclaves mandating menu labeling within a jurisdiction does not have an ameliorative diaspora effect (in that same study, New York State comes in at # 37, Pennsylvania ranks # 22, but Tennessee hovers near the top at # 4), although the citizens of Connecticut (# 49) seem to be doing fairly well at containing their weight without legislation, and Oregon falls mid range at # 28. Surveys done earlier this year in New York City report that posted nutrition information did affect ordering, causing diners to seek out lower calorie options and avoid certain items altogether. And around the time of my brother's visit, a comparable federal bill, the Menu Education and Labeling Act, was introduced by Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Rosa DeLauro. As the debate on reforming our national medical system heats up this summer, this proposal, as well as other dealing with preventative education and care, should be an integral part of the discourse.

Upon his return, my brother apparently commented to my mother on how gray my hair had gotten. Yes, at almost 55 my mop top is less copper brown than it used to be, but I'm fine with it, and there is none of that every which way but styled aluminum on my head that drives so many women to color. I personally think dyes and bleaches are carcinogenic and I don't care what I will look like in the box; my goal is to take as long as possible getting there and make it to my golden years.

Sadly, both prongs of this story are related. We are more concerned with what we put on us than what we put in us, although the latter influences the former. Illustrative case in point: Fairfax County, VA, where the Silver Diner is located, in late May filed a lawsuit in Circuit Court against Krispy Kreme for $19 million dollars for the cost of repairing a sewer facility whose iron and mechanical pipes and other components were damaged and destroyed by "...excessive quantities of highly corrosive wastes, doughnut grease and other pollutants..." dumped by the company's Lorton, VA plant, throwing in a prayer for $17 million in penalties for good measure. The case has since been removed to US District Court, with Krispy Kreme requesting a trial by jury and alleging "faulty design and construction." Is Fairfax County considering anything comparable to a menu labeling law? Nope. OK to eat those Krispy Kreme doughnuts, just make them somewhere else. OK to make a federal case over clogged pipes, but not clogged arteries. Prevention, foresight...not in the picture. It is only when we can see the external effects, and there is a hefty price tag attached, that we are moved to even take baby steps to effect change. Hopefully in these dramatic economic times we will be forced to rethink and reprioritize. If we ate better, perhaps we would not "need" such things as plastic surgery and rely quite so much on costly, excessive medical care. If I had a nickel for everytime I said that...and it fell on deaf ears...I would qualify for a platinum (health care) card!

Karen Ann DeLuca
Inspiration

You inspire me to be me.
To be the me that very few see
The talkative, outgoing, silly me
The me that it pleasures me to be

You ignite stimulating conversation
The kind that lingers for days in deep consideration
Making me think about it in every angle imaginable
This way and that, those are the hottest conversations, almost combustible

Man you excite my senses.
You break my rules
You mend the fences
That were broken by that other dude

You graze my inner core
Like you’ve know me forever
Sometimes you make me sore
And most of the time you make my daily bull shit better

You inspire me to think better
To do me better
To be better
To be better for you

You inspire me because you are my inspiration!

By Lisa Bilbro

Monday, July 6, 2009

To The Man (or Woman) in the Mirror: Just Beat It

A few days ago, I the had occasion to refill my Synthroid prescription by transferring it from Rite Aid to CVS to take advantage of a $25 gift card promotion. When I called CVS, the pharmacy personnel did not ask for the Rite Aid prescription number, or any of my identifying information except for my name. I volunteered my phone number for their use in case there was a problem.
And there was, but I received no message to that effect and was informed at the counter, at pick up time, that because the NDC number on their stock bottle did not match the one for the prescribed medication, my insurance had rejected the refill. I asked for a redo, and everything went through fine. Obviously, at least one digit had initially been entered incorrectly to generate the rejection, and had I not had insurance, that most likely would not have been caught and I would have walked out with pills in hand, albeit the wrong ones.
As I checked out I was asked "only one?" Yup, at almost age 55, only one, and in a decreasing dosage at that. Behind the clerk, a full wall was devoted to baskets filled with white bags of pills, sorted alphabetically, with many of the letters taking up more than one. In the quest for better living through chemistry, I was definitely the odd woman out.
This brief scenario, which due to the sheer volume of business reported, most likely repeats itself many times daily throughout the country, is illustrative of some of the problems endemic in our health care system. A dispensing pharmacy with little interest in accuracy associated with a corporate rapaciousness for sales. Without the review of insurance, which in this economy is becoming scarcer, noting that a just released CDC study found private coverage at a 50 year low, and which among the well off was always an optional need to begin with, an ease to get any drug you want, and maybe some you don't, a glaring and gaping gap in quality and quantity control. And if you are among the increasingly "fortunate few," your physician undoubtedly knows that and will prescribe accordingly, primarily "cut and drug." While perhaps not at the reported "Wacko Jacko" or "street junkie" levels, there are many ordinary people, driving around, barely functional, seriously doped up, which is just plain scary and dangerous, for them and for the rest of us as well. Yet we increasingly accept that as the standard, and as the envelope gets pushed further, prescription pill dependence could easily become the new normal. The FDA's recent action with respect to acetaminophen, OTC and RX, is encouraging, but just a baby step, against that direction.
For more than a week, we have publicly mourned Michael Jackson, and begun to engage in the debate over a major overhaul of our medical system at the same time. Perhaps we should pause to connect the two as a teachable moment and look at "The Man (or Woman) in the Mirror" and how closely our seemingly more pedestrian lives parallel the celebrity we have been feasting on in terms of what we consume. As we celebrate July 4th, perhaps it is time for us individually, and as a country, to declare another kind of Independence Day, from incentivizing a continuation of our pill popping ways. If we do, that could be the most enduring legacy of the life of this very troubled, but talented entertainer who appears to have been the "King of Pop" in a very real and nonmusical sense of the term. He did not kick the habit in time; to properly honor him, perhaps we should "Just Beat It."

Karen Ann DeLuca

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Julien Edmund Moss

Biography: Julien has been writing since age 3. He has published various illegitimate sketches in the Jibsheet, a weekly newspaper published at Bellevue Community College. He graduated BCC with an A.A. Degree in Spring 2007. He’s been published in Always Looking, Love’s Chance, Poet’s Espresso, The Stray Branch, Straylight, Languageandculture.net, Poetic Matrix Press (poeticmatrix.com), and Northern Stars magazines, and The Sheltered Poet blog (http://theshelteredpoet.blogspot.com/) under August, December, and January. He also has a chapbook out called 24 Poems.

Exhaustion
By: Julien Edmund Moss


Exhaustion is an age-old face
Cracked with lines of tire
And with it empty hands they sit
Will laugh you in the mire

Exhaustion creeps behind closed doors
But does not mind if seen
Or is it just a royal prince
Adorned, though none too keen

Some Strange Blooze
By: Julien Edmund Moss

Out of a cataract
I see new things
Open streams
The various oils, paints, and inks
Fauns diving down to lay
Stroke by delicate stroke
Amounted all on canvass

Surf’s Up
By: Julien Edmund Moss


The lone rider
Hunched over on top of his horse
Pike in hand
Babel in his ears
The surf’s up, duck into
No tears are spent
None from a shattered heart
H.E. Mantel is an Aquarian male, Poet/Writer/Editor published in Print and Online, including Ascent Aspirations, Shampoo, The Apocalypse, A Hero's Journey Anthology, Poetry By Moonlight Anthology, World Artist Network Magazine, Poetic Spit, Poetry Soup (Award), Retort Magazine, Poetry Of Food Anthology, Wordgathering, Poetry Flyer, Doors Anthology (I & II), The Plebian Rag, Gloom Cupboard; awaiting the publication of his poetry collections, "Bananas' On The Moon...A Collection Of Revisionist Haiku" & "Sophistigates: A New Book Of New Poetry"; musician-vocalist, an avid reader, athlete, and devotee of Holistic Health through Vegan lifestyle, Ecology and his Writing to Help Our Earth to Heal. He resides in Florida.

- CAMBIA DE MUERTE -

Spring plies her eyes
shallow like bleached wheat waves sallow
bye-bye before the Solstice
& so soon Autumn falls

Sleep soon...

Tides tithe Us
over & over...pleioplea, oh
pleioplea S.T.O.P.*
the climate is rife

Sleep soon...

Winter creaks his frigid tongues
in harsh march
to yanked land
b'low melted seas

Sleep soon...

Cracks belie
the white-washed walls
to hustlers an' hucksters
e'en Uncle Tom

Sleep soon...

What harm
a Psalm here, there
assuage despair
& disparity

Sleep soon...

Must we
when clothing soils
& socked feet sodden wet
change the set

B'fore
the shred
the lot
too poor, too poor

Sleep soon...

In lofts
of mutant sympathos
bethrothed
terms of endurement

Sleep soon...

Wile
in veiled
wiley, viral vile
inveigled

Sleep soon...

As the Night deepens
now, what'll we
like dumbed lovers concuplicit
change?

Sleep soon
Sleep soon...

H.e.m.
2.1.MMix.

(*Save The Overburdened Planete`)


- E-CON-O-MEAT -

They won
one of those Deere Johns
(TV quiz-a-M'-Bob, Bet Your Meal)
Ride-'em lawn 'n forest mower-boys
just about time
the house on the lawn 'n forest
foreclosed...

a pretty green, too
the Deere an' the house an' the forest, once
I recall all of It, now
how Life was once
Cole Porter spouting
"You're The Top", 'til
the Gigolos descended, distended
like carrionistas with twinkling teeth

for the Life
of you
recall
Herb Shriner, Herb Sheldon
Herbie, & Herbie (Amos) And Andy
Vonnegut gave the clues
(Dwayne [Herb] Hoover!)
50,000 yr. old Herbs, easy
for Cunnambeillee's DreamTime

A primaltime
for friend & faux, though
Holidays festived
'til the quest for Powdered More
divested Kansas & Kinkade
Currier & Ives
by the visit of Oz & Raid...
We knew ye Rock-so-Well
macaroni 'n cheese never cheesy enough
now too cheesey to be cheesy-enough

The guy's
in the guise of guys, wired
(has anyone not from Trang Bang ever met Dow Jones?)
in a grip
more wringing than the spin cycle
yet
when the the jaws-of-life
extricated from the mangle
even EMT's, "Wow, looka' that shave!"
like the tan on a corpse

Ever consider
the trunks on elephants
not in the rear, &
as beasts of our burdens
trunks-for-trunks?
They'll tell you,
"It's only a reflection!"
Like hitchin' a small trailer
to the Deere for one-shop-stopping!
Neighbors? Nah, we're only
passin' thru (...We can trim your yard?), & thru...& through
(mebbe today, tomorrow following St. Patrick?)
Leave America?
Escapade to better...?
America's better is everywhere!
1,000 Lands of the pox
all the Democratic Rudepublics of Nowhere
Anthropophagismana-nananana...

For the Life
of you
recall
A savory, unmeasured time
every Summers' day a loop...
the Wrensong canonale and robust...

Badinage!
like the reassemble
of a Cuisanarted onion
parroting the realpeal
Haud res
you chafe
small but insignificant
newscrazed for the unnews
& the bandits blurt -
"Anything you need?...Just let someone else know."
Fear is engaging unprotected Love!

And
For the Life
of you
recall, recall
A savory, unmeasured time
every Summers' day a loop...
when the Wrensong a canonale and robust...

H.e.m.
3.15.MMix.
(Ides)


- MESSAGES? -

Poems spun-out like
dropchocolates at a carney-
fectioners sugarstand,

claiming the least for
the most, as a fool in a
pool, his no-hands Pin-

Nokia, up to
the nose he in green water
awaits the Next-Tel.,

a Sin o' the Times
claiming "the most for the least,"
nay, the Most with the

Least & the Least for
the Most! via Great Y'all of
the East, hey, y'all no

Who they are (but What!?)
We up 'gainst the Wal's SoundByte-
Poets for Schooling

Uniforms & You-
Niform Schools, preambled jump-
drab, suited by Law

for shorter arms &
longer stays, like all distaff
Mariannas force-

fecunded & faux
funded, manacled-nymphs for
sweaty servidudes,

hovered doechildren
for your coup $3.88
in a Smiling Bag.

"More-For-Less!" (lest you
forget): "Well," she, the evolved-
involved disclaimed, "He's

got-to, gotto' I'
for Ed'cation." Sorry!
And as the righteous

Self-Chosen Whom choose
to march their breed parade 'cross
the lot, in 'n out

to "SabbathSales' Door-
Bluster Gains'Galore" (lest they...
forgot!), eh? And in

astride spare lusting
Ethninnities, Whom concern
to tell theirs - austere

of the Least for the
Most - above the palletiosk
trashtroves, the Poet

expressed in canny
florescent art, yelling to
the standard Smileys.

H.e.m.
7.25.MMv.
(Revised)


- MODERNINNYS -

Hey,
sumthin' fishy
'bout this tomato...
tries Jud Foodcourt
to Melody Mallmaiden,
wok'd there in a pause-from-the-cause
Jeanpassion pursuit
Rip-Offs (tm)
wallet shreds of fashion...
all-the-rage, expressed

Melody Maybellean
in The House Of Last Lashes
colognes
like a CoverGirl
coloans, ounce-for-ounce
Pounds-for-pounds &
garmeant something?...
Off to Bulimia!
the Manmade Paradiez
another cruise from Realationship

For whose
Amusement, Park$
(A m u s e m e n t P a r k s?)
Parks!?
ab$orbitant
prix fixe
packaged funnn packages
you a sliced an' diced holiday
of the dicey-clean prurient machine
every body's a tourist, even
R.W. Thoreau in H.D.,
'til the Wild Rabbit, or Black Bear
falters & throttles
onto toddlers tumbling down
into Manmade Paradiez!

(Y'ALL) COME TO THE USPS DESIGNER STORE!
FOR STAMPS (NOT FOOD) GALORE, AND MORE!

Welcomed
(thru Detector Gate "K", please)
to St. AllSporrths Ritual Domoplenti Arenarama
(Tonite battles the NuGodds & the DueGodds)
...Hey-ya, get yer NRG Blastwater, Ton-Ite X, SOMA...

Drive the new Dodge Forager
to a styrofoam powerlunch
of cellophane talks, & straws
on the Planete of the Ants
the rapid transit
of
scurries-for-the-scurrilous,
all ablurrr...

As Baghdads & moms
ferret into depleted piles
- dumpsters would be treats -
for bread & potables
as weaponspeak
to
terror for the terrorleast...

Mean while
back in the States
of confusion
Pharmapsych rules, aye
Dotson was on the beam
Rader to Manmade materialisms!

H.e.m.
5.31.MMix.
(Haud Spes)





- WHIMDICTMENT -

He'd heard the clinking
of the jailers' keys, the drag
of shacklechains' man-

'cled ankles, ahead
like Scrooge, pause, &, &...& the
clamppp like coupling trains

clacketa-clack'ta
the buzzedshutting doors, this was
not the synecdoche\

sinecure, here would
not be the harbingers of
safety for a stripped

aging quitter cut
& pastyfeysted into
the body of an

E-jail, wasted, co-
Commander-&-Cheese of the
Institute For The Study

Of Institutes, shill-
killer for the Kleptokrats,
not long, bablypawn

whore for chewed 'n charred
bones, 'cept... shocked 'n awed in the
perilous Dolt Hall,

here the talk is walked
& no bushes around the beat,
but to take It all,

abided as a
commercial, falls, into jump-
step orange, effete

agent, the evil
in Medieval... It was
the bluest sky at

the trial for, not "Crimes
And Misdemeanors," but War
Crimes And Treason, &

upon Sentencing
& the Gallows, he declaimed,
"But what did I do!?"

He'd heard the clinking
of the jailers' keys, the drag
of shacklechains' man-

'cled ankles, ahead
like Scrooge, pause, unredeemed, the
clamppp like coupling trains!

Before the frozen
beadyglare of terror &
agonied, caught fish

Pause, before the un-
hooded, wagging-blueblack, trapped
snapp!, snapped...inadequate!

H.e.m.
11.25.MMviii.
(Aequus Nos Inservio)
(Abiit, excessit, evasit, erupit...)
ST
I wrote this piece a couple of years ago. My name is Amanda Conway, I've been writing since I learned how. I hope you are well entertained by my work, and, none the less, understand it. I tried accessing your website, but didn't have luck finding it, so I hope this is some where along the lines of what you want. If not, my sincerest of apologies to you.
Enjoy!

Patrick the Magic Banana
By Amanda Conway


One day there was a magic banana named Patrick. He had a chip on his peel and thought he was really cool. Patrick loved his pet unicorn Amelia and everyday went for a ride on her back. One day, a Leprechaun frightened Amelia so much that Patrick went flying through the air past 20 rainbows and landed in a giant pot of gold. There he met a man who called himself Hanz Olo. He and Patrick got along so well, that Olo decided to take him on an adventure to the world of Hollywood where they were to sell their souls to a magic unidentified building known as "the box office". It took 20 days and 20 nights to get there and when they finally arrived, the place was magical. Stoned hippies and drunk transsexuals lined the streets and greeted the two upon their arrival.
"Welcome to the new world! We're on our way to becoming famous!"
They all exclaimed to the magic banana and the Falcon pilot.
"I'm gonna be a pop star!" a sixteen year old prostitute exclaimed.
"Some day I'll be a famous actor!" a coked up man in a tattered business suit exclaimed.
Patrick and Hanz Olo made their way through the streets, browsing through the poverty stricken markets and tiptoeing along the passed out winos.
"This place is wonderful!" they both exclaimed.
"We can sight see later, let's get going." said Patrick.
After traveling through the littered streets of Hollywood, they finally arrived at The Box Office. It was a huge building made entirely of gold. Once inside they saw the true zombie like appearances of the people running the industry. Blood was dripping down the walls and the only sound to be heard was that of souls being crushed and spirits slowly dying. Immediately all of the executives in the building turned to the two with their giant artificially whitened smiles.
"Amazing!"
"I love it! Love love love it!"
"Mwa sweetie you'll be great in the business."
"Come follow us." One said, so Patrick and Hanz Olo were led into a giant room filled with dead plants and thick dust. The big-headed banana and Mr. Olo were flabbergasted. The room was quite different than what they expected, but they found it was worth getting used to. For hours they were fed wonderful lies of happiness and fame, when all of a sudden a naked hippie bursted into the room with a backwards swastika painted on his belly.
"I'm sick of this fascist run media!!" he screamed and charged fast with a machete in his hand. Left and right he swung the giant weapon chopping the empty-souled executives to tiny little pieces. Before Han Solo and Patrick could decide what to do, the hippie had sliced the banana into oblivion.
"STOP!!" Olo exclaimed, "it's just a bad trip man, it's just a bad trip! Get a hold of yourself, bro, you're coming down hard." The hippie opened his eyes and stopped screaming. He was dripping from head to toe in blood and sweat, his sign of genocide smeared on his belly to the point of unidentification. He ran over to slaughtered Patrick and started eating his banana guts.
"Well God damn I never knew magic tasted this good."
Out of curiousity, Hanz Olo tried a taste.
"MMMmm that's good fascist" he said.
For the next 48 hours while a Beatles record played on repeat, they feasted on the insides of Patrick. Tripping out hard on the banana's magic, they discussed deep issues like their country's fascist government, and the meaning of life. When daylight came, out the bloodstained window they saw the prostitute-littered streets of the magical land called Hollywood and realized how lucky they were to live in a place so beautiful. The naked hippie jumped out the window of the beautiful gold building and flew off to a far peaceful land known as Amsterdam. As for Hanz Olo, he's still in that dusty dead bloody corpse-ridden room, waiting to find his true love.
let me know if i can be a boon such as authoring the entry or other page of your website
or help in whatever capacity that might cater to this fella whose leans left of the political right
based on the following writing style with one who uses his vocabulary with might
airing thoughts and ideas that soar with epiphany as high as a kite
analogous to stream of consciousness thoughts that take flight
yet own a gut level feeling that this flirtatious, garrulous, humorous, et cetera reply
may nary yield one handy dandy blues clues bite!

please consider this older mister mom type chap
with me spongebob square pants peg in the round hole aplumb
a defensive, reliable and safe and prosaic script sure driver who soars over traffic with wings that flap
if that twittering factoid relevant tweet from this virtual beach bum
who would not perform any dare devil stunts lest he become a non-survivor verses a striver using a map.

sorry if my impulsiveness out of sync
with the mainstream formality to establish a link
with this always sane, sensible sober older fellow
no matter you might presume me to take one to many drink
boot in truth, this teetotaler shuns various amber liquids of the dogs
and chooses more holistic methods to rejoice than evoking that clink!

i could moost certainly benefit from a full and/or part time job
hence this rather goofy atypical reply (from craigslist posting) i lob
while gingerly trying to remove kernel32 dll errors
(while gently inhaling ) from this imaginary hand carved corn cob!

anyway,this aspiring writer dejure shoe lee mastered his a, b, c's
'though during test time all my learning seemed to freeze
oh and although the following non-sequitur added comment moost likely irrelevant
back in the day o me early boyhood,
i passed thru the initiation rite of passion sans tickling the ivory keys
in addition to learning about the human species!

in addition, i cobble, dabble with double entendres, nibble and tinker with byte sized words
monosyllabic terms like this or that as my pedigreed intellectual toy
with an intent to affect, invoke and joke with intellectual ploy
opening mine mien whether among jew or goy
ideally to be witness literary employ
and earn an income oh boy
netting gold anchor ahoy!

yeah, i know responding to sundry posting defies conforming to the established formality,
yet nonetheless ask my reply
ideally couched with an affirmative decision with no less than twenty thumbs up well nigh
to be extended an offered a hand for me to join this company as another common joe type noir guy
whose nom de plume ala the bard of belmont hills sometimes used as an alibi!

please no harsh denny grating critiques in reference to the enclosed epistles from this guy noir (who dwells atop the pinnacle of the storied acme building epitomizing an overactive imagination) could attempt to feign being a famous playwright in the throes of that atavistic, beatific, cathartic, democratic, enigmatic, fantastic, galvanic, et cetera glee fill gumption sans making words come to life!

anyway, i hoop whomever screens out an aspiring literary craftsman whose trademark eclectic style as a writer (albeit mainly poetry) finds me composing unique missives, yet feels unsure if the recipient of this reply will accept the enclosed epistles from this guy noir who dwells atop the pinnacle of the storied acme building while dipping his powder milk biscuits into the elixir of life!

this mere mortal frequently feels a. like joost another brick in the wall
or b. feels comfortably numb while alienated in this condemn nation
with the sounds of silence written on the virtual subway hall
and wishes he could escape (like that eponymous spoon running away with the fork)
to the far side of the moon jumping without any fear to fall!

this outlier aka nonestablishmentarian tries to write crystal clear
yet frequently gets entangled in a web of me own creation
and try to convey the thread of the topic at hand with an exuberant flair.

i admit right oof zee figurative bat
nada to be a local hip hop poetic cat
boot thought perhaps to submit dis or dat
for your perusal without instigating a coup d'tat
while browsing craigslist writing gigs from me penna flat
and mebbe a nutter lover o words could be my alter ego voice over
perhaps that infamous doctor zeus creation known as the cat in the hat
or maybe another fellow whose name (by george) might be the same as mine - matt!

from:

matthew harris

postscript:

poetry and prose appeals to this wordsmith
who admits to political righteous tendencies as an affiliate of democratic party to boot
so, i hoop microsoft file attachment methodology a suitable format to send samples
yet, if no way no how ye do not cotton and accept such method
please git back to this deux score and a hoof year old coot
who dabbles for the sheer joy of cobbling together his ideas
than to be inundated with a humungous amount of loot
only accolades and positive comments would suit
and allow me my own horn and hard art to toot!

unsure if the enclosed files/endeavors adhere to the credentials
to join the winning information technology or writing team
yet heartily felt that extemporaneous waywardness that flows against common stream
which criteria after perusing thence answering the contents apropos you will thence deem
becoming part of the creme del a creme!

joost as an ass side (wit me only intent to tit till late) let me playfully close
this email by readily admitting that voluptuous women
with plenty of junk in the trunk (or to employ the more outdated term zoftig)
does readily prompt a top notch rating of google times ten
for those gals who possess that buxom build plus also smart and able to understand trig
anyway, for your edification, i wish for nada one snarling growl from joining this gig
which latter mental ability might not in the least matter to moost men
unsure if my poems or prose reply you will find abominable bore or be prompt a barrack to dig
but in a nutshell, mine eyes favor gals whose bosom happens to be outlandishly big!


although the election results now ranks as old news, i still feel that adulation beckons cheers defying odds to win the hearts and minds aside from this one voter who cast his vote for a (as he calls himself "mutt" of mongrel - with no insinuation for denigration) toward a biracial mortal male who epitomizes that je nais sais quois ambition du jour to tackle the multitude of local and/or global challenges with his prized defensive team!

no doubt he probably already composed some rough draft per his inaugural address (or yours - eminent president elect if ye happen to be perusing the contents of this email) will address the outstanding crisis that confront the home turf and international world stage populated with tough rooted quandaries, which hardly allows, enables and provides for mushroom to err!

rather than fritter critical and valuable time to blame or fear for the prior republican administration that could be held accountable for the current morass, i reckon that tis prudent to expend the precious sands of time to ameliorate those most serious issues without resorting to fear, which machiavellian technique this admirer begs to differ!

aside from begging to differ with your philosophy to affect guilt in other (as like an invisible prod), the paradigm presented promulgated (in prestigious media resources) pleases this papa of deux daughters, which principles of the first african american occupant of the white house brings solace within this spirit!

no matter mind boggling and overwhelming lesions seem to witness this two hundred quarter plus democratic experiment to hemorrhage and require emergency action, i feel reassured that resuscitation of this body politick will recover and become restored to vibrant health thru the confident intervention thru diligence, intelligence, ordinance, et cetera of (emma) eminence filled pride without prejudice, sense and sensibility to become like some wunderkind in the oval office!

even now (about one month or less) when that oath taken to heart to uphold the covenant of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (as attempted to be codified by founding fathers of this country - i.e. these united states of america) stunned disbelief still abounds within my liberal filled conscience, yet excited at the prospect that one young(ish) noble representative of homo sapiens exhibits much esteemed aura, charisma, dogma, and persona so pertinent at this juncture in the history of fifty states who weathered (yet survived) dramas that nearly rent asunder the very fabric of this amazing society!

unbeknownst to anyone such as dumbledorf, estimable magicians with awesome powers of prestidigitation, j.k. rowling, santa claus, seers, soothsayers, the wizard of oz, tooth fairy), la de da to forecast if thine indomitable agility, civility, electricity, gentility, integrity, et cetera will be effective to deliver superhuman feats of accomplishments!

this audacity of hope (telepathically communicated from dreams of my widower father and late mother) blessedly delivered some capacity of genuine faith that seems hinged on the evident decency enunciated (time and again - ever since ye took to the campaign trail and now amazingly finds one gracious honoree to guide the populace at large) to offer deliverance and salvation!

From:
matthew harris


Capitol hill

house and senate dutifully ply their craft
then end up with the president filibustering their hen pecking bill
submitting unanimous opinion in their legalese drawn up draft
which veto power from the elected chief of the white house doth send a chill
that sometimes warms his cockles vis a vis by a bit of turn the other cheek graft
which comes as little or no surprise to those in the shadow of the hill
whence upon trying to assert their rights seemed scored and laughed
especially when taking a tumble like nursery rhyme characters jack and jill
feel the sharp dejection analogous to receiving the so called shaft
which demonstrative obliviousness to needs and wants prompts the urge to kill
experiencing that sinking feeling like being submerged in a rickety raft
from feeling caught up in the maws of some human like puppy mill
if history serves me correctly, the blame taken out by assassinating mckinley and taft
whereby those who grovel along the boulevard of broken dreams with nil
nowadays sense of security breached by financially levees springing leaks that waft
thru the continental air inspiring this ditty from a figurative quill!

matthew harris

CHIEFTAINS OF THE LAND

The dim past houses warriors of yesterday
whose lachrymose trail of tears
continue to whet the sympathy of one diehard
dilettante commissar born and bred
upon the soil those indigenous Tribes
(with that ill-fitting misnomer of noble savages)
left their legendary mythic and epic legions of prowess
yet fell prey to a mightier force
whereby treasonous treaties played on innocence and naiveté
interestingly and ironically enough memorializing such mighty peoples
thru place names and sports teams
which patronage ranks as mere condescension
and barely compensates for compensation and vindication
for genocide plus gross mistreatment and sacrilege
of token Native American remnants
corralled on dirt poor reservations
still evoking the tormented ghosts of a forgotten time.

matthew harris

HEAT FROM THE HEAVENS

The mean temperature for January two thousand and six (thus far)
noticeably above the norm for this time of year
prognosticators foretell various forecasts per this third planet from the star
which inhabitants upon Mother Earth burden of responsibility must bear
billions of people wanton pollutants ratchet up barometric millibar
dialing up greenhouse effect, which serious scenario scientists fear
correlation from profligate offal ways traced from freed genie in the jar
no longer stretch of imagination affects mankind did sear
since day of reckoning whence Prometheus set stage for war
pitting mankind against Gaia messages we fail to hear.


New Orleans – French quarter

Hurricanes Rita in conjunction Katrina (and the waves) nearly rent asunder the beloved historical quadrant, which sector got settled by a mélange of various and spunky sundry peoples soon after the Louisiana Purchase took place!
If said monetary transaction evaluated in the denominations of today, this exchange of land would translate into mere coppers during the era when Daniel (a boon day) Lewis and Clark Kent bush whacked their way across the virgin terra firmae using rustic archetypes of chain saws!
Levees fortified (with extra minerals and vitamins) shielded the vulnerable swath of land (practically on a par with sea level) stood the test of time until wetlands became compromised by greater influx of population groundswell that (to some degree) made vulnerable the ramifications of natural disasters!
Back in the day when ratatouille the made staple to feed The Army Corps of Engineers who laid the blueprints and foundations for complex edifices to be erected (no fallacy here) could hardly foresee the future time of reckoning whence mother nature would act like a tempest and wreak havoc leaving no glass of Bourbon standing nor canal up rooted!
An inexorable process of late began to witness a resurgence of occupants attempting to restore (and shore up) this historical tract that (no matter how many sweat equity hours of volunteerism) may only approximate an authentic ambience attributed to this unique Creole accent!

matthew harris

NOTHING REMAINS STATIC NOR CONSTANT

Entropy constitutes modus operandi universal state
writ small and large
upon microscopic and macroscopic Tabula Rasa slate
and purportedly prescribed, designed and bestowed
by some divine entity great
(unless one subscribes to dynamic processes of evolution
and attendant theory of punctuated equilibrium)
as one more favorable to rate
yet…no matter and nonetheless
whether former or latter view that does elate
Homo Sapiens continue to make feeble attempts
to order terrestrial world coincident and in concert
with schema of their own mortal fate.

matthew harris
I would like to offer my submission for publication in the fall issue of Record Magazine. It is a 1,300-word short fiction piece called "Love Story".


Shawn R. Gaines

1,300 words





“I wish I could sleep forever,” she used to tell him, with a giggle and a yawn, as she’d roll back over in bed, her face hanging off the queen mattress that flowed over the bed frame toward the serrated brown cabinet.
He’d flop closer to her, like a drying perch, and spoon her naked back. Leaning into her freckled cheek, he’d assert, “No, you don’t.”
She would potato bug her way farther into the corner of the bed and nod. “Yes, I do.”
“You’d be dead, Laura,” he would say. “Sleeping forever equals dead.”
She would giggle again and say something about how wonderful sleep is, but by that time he’d usually start thinking about something else: making lists of his day, wondering if the automatic percolator started doing its job, wondering why he can’t do that potato bug thing.
Sometimes he looked at her and he wanted to shape her, mold her like warm Play-Doh into the same ignorant potato bug he was equally amused, charmed and disgusted by. Instead, on one particular day, he laid on his side of the bed, staring at the blank wall beside his window, waiting for her to wake up, throw on her spaghetti strap jersey tee with the pink lining, and suggest something, anything. A run. A shower. More sleep. Whatever guidance she offered. He didn’t care enough to devise his own path for the day, and the solid line he could trace down the edge of her neck didn’t lead anywhere anymore.
It was 9:00 a.m. with daylight savings when he shook her and she didn’t budge. He shook her again, but her hard shell never flinched and she remained stagnant.
“Stop it, Laura,” Alex said, adding a sigh and a yawn. “Stop it. I’m not taking your parents to brunch today by myself.”
Another shake and Alex knew something was wrong.

Laura knew Alex before Alex knew Laura, through a friend mostly: that friend everybody seems to know but nobody seems to mention in normal conversation. They actually went on three dates before their mutual relationship was revealed. He had known the friend from long pot-fueled nights with a towel laid across the apartment door crack and an empty six-pack of Great Lakes Burning River. She had known the friend from her college years, in some school organization where they either built stuff or fed starving children, not that Laura cared; resumes aren’t built which organizations, but how many you’re in.
Laura saw Alex in a photo at the friend’s house. He had beer dripping down his face, as if someone just told a hilarious joke while Alex’s mouth was numb from Novocain. Laura later discovered that was the case—Alex’s poor choice of Heineken after a dental extraction. The photo wasn’t flattering, and Alex was barely visible behind the crowd of loud, open mouths like a trout frat party, but Laura saw sincere laughter in the sea of drunkards and it lured her in.
She slept on his image a few nights, imagining what he might look or sound like, even thinking about him once while she cleaned herself in the shower, gently grazing her breasts. Eventually, the image left and she returned to curling around her down comforter, three hundred thread count lover in her insect nest.
A month later at a lost bar, off the main street where the beer selection is deep, the music selection is anything but sensical and nobody dances, Laura saw Alex and ignored him. She recognized him more from the photo than her recreated fantasy, but her idolization convinced her that he would only disappoint. They left at the same time, however, and as she fell out of the doorway with a throat of Three Floyds, he offered to help her up while she yelled surly things and gave him her number.
She never understood the poster of elephants hanging above his bed in his old green bedroom, even after asking him. There were a series of green and yellow lines, roaming in paths along the sides in the form of a bottle outline and overlapping at five segments that were actual elephant photos—one clearly in an African safari, three in the zoo and one that might’ve been a Looney Tunes character, probably with a lateral lisp.
“Do you like elephants?” she asked.
He raised an eyebrow, mostly because he was inside of her, near orgasm. “What? No.”
Her neck was awkwardly titled backwards, as she rested on bottom, staring back at the wall behind her where the poster hung. He tried to start up again, but her concern was only the yellow lines and the Hopper-esque combination of charcoal outlines and realism. “Did you take those photos? Of the elephants?” asked Laura.
“Fuck? What? The elephants?” He nearly raised his voice, exiting her and tossing his limp body onto the bed alongside her.
Laura knew that was it. She had been with men before who responded angrily, once violently, to her attention altercations and twice she never saw them again, without a word or tear indicating a completion. She almost smiled this time, knowing it would be over: another predictable fall line without an opportunity of return.
“I think I found it at a thrift store by work. I just wanted the frame,” Alex said; Laura stopped smiling. “But then I figured it would be a perfect discussion piece mid-fuck.”
Laura unraveled and faced Alex, who smiled, laughed, and shut his eyes.

Now Laura’s eyes were shut, facing away, and Alex shook her again, reliving his smoky memories of the stoner parties with their mutual friend and remembering that he actually found the elephant picture outside the friend’s house and stole it away because he was too fucked up to realize the photos were glued to the glass.
Alex grabbed his cell phone and let his bare feet flop onto the cold carpet around their bed. He started dialing Laura’s parents, but hung up after one ring and called for an ambulance instead. He incomprehensibly screamed something about her not moving and the emergency services assistant said an ambulance was on its way.
He wondered if he should lift her and wished she was curled back up in an easily toted ball and, as he stared, his spittle dripped to his chin, sans beer, and he reached for the dresser where he kept a couple joints and he lit the first one up like spiced incense and toked and sat back along the bed, tapping his frozen feet and waiting and waiting and the siren whirled loud enough to make his heart skip a beat and Laura coughed.
“Fuck,” she whispered, her voice strained, her throat a colander. “Shit. Did I..?”
Alex opened his mouth to finish her sentence and point out that she passed out, probably from dehydration or something and then assure her she’s okay and that the paramedics are on their way just in case, but he didn’t say any of it. Instead he stroked backwards and fell down, aligning their rested heads on the couch, and thought long and hard about cradling her.
The paramedics knocked and screamed for someone to open the door, help was here. “Where do you think your parents want to go?” he asked.
Laura shrugged. “You know how they are.”
Alex and Laura heard their front door slam to the wooden floor as the paramedics rushed in below them, sweeping the hinges off the barriers that stood in their way.