Wednesday, December 15, 2010

SPELLBOUND

This nation went this route before,
Little logic after 9/11,
Bonded against someone, needing to prevail,
Sending thousand of soldiers, and counting, marching to heaven.

Nine years plus and an economic crisis later,
The fearmongering has roared back into the discourse,
Over extending tax cuts and unemployment benefits,
This time it's Democrats who are the source!

We've traded one enemy for another,
Partisans insanely searching for a way to "win" a round,
"Tremendous!" is this any way to run a country?
Emotion driven "wars" driving it into the ground.

Tantamount to those days of yore and lore,
When it was thought the earth wasn't round,
When Chicken Little said the sky was falling,
And all but one believed...and died SPELLBOUND.


A National Gift Card For One and All

The banks got a bailout,
Wall Street did as well,
GM and Chrysler got infusions of cash,
For them, that's really swell.

First timers wanting to buy housing, subsidized,
If you work, there's less withholding,
Cash for Clunkers moved Lots of Cars,
Government money just seems to keep on coming!

But not if your not in a "favored" group,
Retired, jobless, broke, or paying rent,
For all the taxes paid over all the years,
What exactly do you get?

Nothing much that I can see,
A "Bailout Orphan" in free fall,
The holidays are coming, the next giveaway should be,
A national gift card FOR ONE AND ALL!

To buy basics or to splurge,
Put one under everyone's Christmas Tree, please!
Makes as much stimulus "cents" as extending tax cuts and unemployment benefits,
And then the contra-seasonal "spirited" debate can cease.


Karen Ann DeLuca

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Attached are three poems for your consideration: "Red Velvet Familiarity," "Retrospect," and "Home is Where the Heart is." I am a graduate of the writing program at Illinois Wesleyan University, a resident of Chicago, and write freelance in my spare time. Thank you for your consideration.


Kimberly Stabosz


Red Velvet Familiarity


Lay your head upon the soft
down feathers of my pillow,

and dream of red velvet ribbons with me.

Like the kind I wore in my hair
the night the rain fell
but never quite reached us.

We were untouchable,
hovering in the stillness of the silent moment.

I should have know then
that reacting with such honesty
would only escort us to the scene
we could not return from as one.

Where the hollowed trees hum the mourner’s song
and the path bends at a sharp angle to the left,

your left, not mine.

Nevertheless, of all the pleasures in my life,

nothing was so simple
as you
laying beside me,

in the coolness of the evening,

until the gentle rays of sun
shone on our makeshift bed.

But makeshift was never meant to withstand,

and most dreams
are only a few seconds span.


Retrospect

He melted the snow that year,

with a vigor heart.

Like an eclectic dream

I tore myself away from.



I lost the truth in the discontinuation of time,

somewhere between the suffering trees

and the stained sidewalk.

On that long walk through

the kite runner’s park.



I carry the depth of a lost home around in my

hidden guilt.

While the scenes of my

failed affiliations

continue to repeat:



Like watching that

cinematic catastrophe-

fingers entwined.

One late afternoon

just before dark.



Or the party of depravity,

our single dance

in an airless basement.

True feelings exposed

in the rhythm of that moment.



The acceptance of realization

together, in a room alone.

That night the dreamer stopped time

to give us that last flicker

of tenderness devotion.



He then,

took my alabaster bones-

The ones encasing

my

affection,

and fractured each piece.



His eyes reside in memory,

revealing themselves just as mine close.

The harmony of his laugh and mine,

the composition of our limbs.



Ultimately, in the company of destiny,

I will fail to remember

these imaginings,

and he will no longer reside

in the darkness.

Tempting me

at every ill-fated turn.


Home is where the heart is



This moment extends into the cycle where her family is all that remains

inside the prison of concrete mortar love.



I’m alright, she says. I’m fine, don’t worry,

this isn’t your place anymore.



The heat from the day rises in circles around her head

taking away her dreams.



She’ll never see them again.



Be strong, hold on, he says.

But this isn’t his place anymore.



The sunlight melts away behind the closed drapes.

She doesn’t like to open them lately.

She never liked the glow of natural light anyway.

Harsh brightness hurts the eyes.



I didn’t expect to see you here, she says.



The walls of her room breathe memories and scents of

the world she once thought familiar.



You’re lucky, he says. To have a home you can run to.



But this is not a home,

it’s a prison where the memories rip through

the lining of her skull

and penetrate deep into the darkened core of her essence.



When will you simply leave me alone? She says.



I’m sorry, he says. I didn’t mean for it to be like this.

But this isn’t his place to apologize anymore.



The sunlight remains hidden for hours, but then starts to taunt her again

from that world he disappeared into



where the reality of false dreams lie, and desired hopes

might one day possibly come true.



I hope you understand, he says.



I don’t think you even know me at all, she says.



He chose the beautified life of a successful man

over the smooth sensation of love.



He’s not coming back, she says.



This really isn’t his place anymore.
Pasted into the body of this email are six poems for your consideration for Record: "Complete," "Front," "Formation," "Drama," "Under" and "Sprung."

Thank you for the opportunity to submit my work. Your attention is appreciated and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
Gregory Liffick


COMPLETE

Have
written things
to fill in
the blanks.
There are
some
puzzles
whose
missing
pieces
are poems.
You match
the colored
edges
of the
words
to those
of other
parts of
the
larger
picture.


FRONT

The mood
is too
dark
to let
the eyes
see the
light.
A wind
of un-
fortunate
events
pushes
dark clouds
in front
of the
sun.
A rain
of tears
will fall,
further
blurring
illumin-
ation.


FORMATION

Only some
of the
coal
is crushed
into
diamonds.
Poets
put heavy
pressure
on the
muse,
not having
the
benefit
of the
geological
forces of
nature.


DRAMA

Reading
lines
from a
play
written
by the
ugliness
of the
scene.
Method
acting
the moti-
vation
to hurt
each
other,
which flows
easily
from sense
memory.


UNDER

His own
waters
carried him
away with
himself.
Didn't learn
to swim,
only to
sink.
Couldn't go
with a
flow
so clearly
over his
head.


SPRUNG

The muscles
want to
release.
Tension
is a
physical
feeling
dressed up
with
no where
to go.
The mind
runs in
circles,
but will
meet a
brick wall
if not
rocked
to sleep.
Attention Deficit Society...Click, Click

We're an Attention Deficit Society,
Not giving anything or anyone much of a chance,
Was two years enough of Obama?
Lickety split, on to the next partner at the dance.

Republicans think they've just "won,"
Their "reward," an unfinished Bush mess galore,
Chris Christie called it, time to "put up or shut up,"
Or else in 2012, they'll be headed for the door.

Nobody wants to "stay the course,"
Long enough to see if a program or policy will work,
Perhaps a legacy from #43, backlash from the wars,
Now it's take your best shot and be done with it quick.

Maybe as the 2010 commercial said,
It takes a Clinton to clean up after a Bush,
Only one third of the Tea Party candidates won,
Another shellacking, not a pat on the tush!

As the GOP decides in which direction to go,
Realizing they're just "renting" for twenty four months,
Will Obama, chin down, go out on a "listening tour,"
Will youth, raised on tech, become focused?

Perception aside, the reality is,
The President's still the captain of the ship,
The future boils down to that oft maligned word "choice,"
Loyalties no longer linger, except to self, click, click.


Karen Ann DeLuca

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hello,
I am writing again in order to submit my pieces of poetry to your magazine.

1. Riot Of Word

Guys, all you are good at is scolding a cop,
Yes, some of your statements have meaning, indeed,
But words with no reasons won't get you on top,
You're giving your fellows a casual feed
Of rhyming curse words that you cast out loud,
So over-inflated and false-emphasized,
You try to be brusque, and you merge with the crowd,
Your ego is stained by the fact you are biased.

You crave for a rebel, so get it all planned,
Clean out the dump in your mind for a start!
Use word as a weapon when perfectly penned,
Withdrawn from the ultimate depth of your heart.

Guys, all you are good at is scolding a cop,
As they are subdued by the careless chief
For dubious joys of a desperate job.
They've sold their true and most cherished beliefs.
But what you are doing is always the same,
You're telling them what they are waiting to hear.
You know they quote you, you choke on your fame,
You don't even care if it sounds sincere.

You crave for a rebel, so get it all planned,
Clean out the dump in your mind for a start!
Use word as a weapon when perfectly penned,
Withdrawn from the ultimate depth of your heart.

The crowds keep rocking, applauding, exclaiming,
Quoting your words, lacking ones of their own,
If being a poet is what you are claiming,
Declare what really needs to be known!

You crave for a rebel, so get it all planned,
Clean out the dump in your mind for a start!
Use word as a weapon when perfectly penned,
Withdrawn from the ultimate depth of your heart.



2. In The Gutter

You say you are braver, superior, smarter,
Your pride, ever swollen, has poisoned the air.
In fact, you are already deep in the gutter,
You've merged with the shades of the earthly despair.

Your crave for respect, much more cash, a career,
But luck's velvet fingers won't grant you a touch,
Your purpose is being in front of the rear,
You cannot believe that it costs one too much.

The same elevator, the buttons in rows
From Monday till Friday. The same boring week.
You press button ten: you are taken below -
Regarding your dwelling, emotion-sick.

You crave for respect and life-long recognition,
But rich-colored life is behind your bent back,
You don't realize it's a bitter position,
You've never considered the change of this track.

You say you are braver, superior, smarter,
But you are deprived of the pleasure of thought.
In fact, you are already deep in the gutter,
The look of a shadow is all that you've got.



3. From The Heart

I'm here in the corner, devoured by cold,
My little ribbed shell hides a desperate sigh,
It holds an enigma for you to unfold
Until I'm asleep to your breath's lullaby.

My soul is rushing beyond the extremes,
Revealing the vibe that is hard to appease,
But once you discover the door to my dreams,
My consciousness lives through a moment of peace.

Whenever my lips start exploring your skin,
They bleed unexplainable bitter remorse -
My poison leaves stains, and it feels from within,
But lips ever sealed do appear much worse.



4. Invisible Scars

The poison of spring has dissolved in my veins;
A second is worth both my future and past.
The more I denied my becoming insane,
The sooner insanity touched me at last.
The silence we hear is the laugh of my fate,
The soundless laugh at the one I forgot -
The yesterday's me - and the force to create
The life I portrayed. But it's less than I've got.
I love the invisible scars of my skin -
The blades of your hands are so tempting, indeed.
These words I give birth to just come from within,
Revealing the truth till the scars start to bleed.
These words cost two hours less than a night -
Mixed feelings are harder to rhyme than small talk.
Two hours more, and the things will go right
As long as I fail my deceiving the clock.



5. Replay

You're shallow as a pool of dirt,
In which your semi-force has drowned.
Your words are pointless and absurd;
You spread your helplessness around.
You hide behind your ego brand,
You contradict your each demand.

You're freedom-proof, yet still aware
Of all the grieves of your position.
Wipe out the rust of your despair -
Your brand is someone else's mission!
Your programmed life has gone astray,
Your days are like a failed replay.


My biography is the following:
April A. has been writing for almost five years, getting inspiration from various experiences seen by the eyes of a thinker. The purpose of her creativity is urging people to see beyond the bounds, to be themselves, to speak their minds loud, not to be afraid to differ from the crowd.
She creates to destroy. To destroy the naive beliefs. To destroy the stereotypes.
April lives in St. Petersburg with her beloved one at the moment and hopes to succeed further both as a poet and a songwriter.

You can find out more about me here: http://april-abd.bravehost.com/Homepage.htm

My contact e-mail address is beautiful-disaster-90@hotmail.com

Best regards,
April Avalon
Dear Editor

Please note the attached poems, “Man in the Moon" The Great Journey" "Broken Man" and "It Always Fades Away"

Here is my 3P bio: Sam Campbell's work has appeared in Full of Cro Quarterly and Blinking Cursor Literary Magazine. He is a creative writing student at Concordia University St. Paul and continues to grow and learn as a writer and a musician.

Thank you for your consideration,

Sam Campbell



Man in the Moon

I walked along the big lake as it whispered hush.

Sparkling reflected eyes spat tears

And as they hit my shoulder my mind crawled to his face.


How lonely is the man in the moon?
He looks down on us.
He sees our mistakes,
and can’t do a damn thing about it.

No one has hugged him.
No one has kissed him.
No one has even tried to learn his name.

How far apart are the points on his crescent moon?
Too far apart for me.
I wouldn’t be able to sing to its furthest point



The Great Journey


The traveler in me says follow the pull.

The pull is this force, this powerful force that feels like God on the horizon holding a magnet that’s attracting my belt buckle.

I see ladies, beautiful ladies.

The kind of ladies that you don’t just turn your head for, you clutch your chest because your soul was sucked out of your body and followed the angel that just walked past you on the street corner.

Before you can even picture her face again in your mind your head has already whipped around and your feet have started to scream at you to stop and introduce yourself to your future wife.


But reevaluate the situation, feet, soul, head.

She isn’t following your pull.

Do I risk it?

Do I want to ignore the horizon?

No, my mind is focused on my travel—my travel in life, my travel in mind, my travel in experience.

It’s not that I’m narrow minded, but rather cynical.

There’s a great opportunity to be had and people walk the other way.

Those are not the folks that I am going to have distract me.

How about the ones that say my adventure yesterday was so moving that I will doing again the next day, regardless of how putrid it is.

These folks follow this force, this pull.

They see something they want and take it.



Take it now.

It won’t always be there.

Well, it will, but will you always see it?

If I lost its sight I’d simply light my cigar and wait to die.



Broken Man

Have you had the feeling of a being’s soul scratching your legs?

Begging you to come back in?

Their fingernails clawing your into your calves so you can’t move?

It’s a feeling that stays with you no matter how badly you try to shake it.

It makes hair stand up on the back of your neck,

As you feel the moment their heart literally breaks.

Call me a pioneer, but I have traveled this cold path thrice before.

Every time, the harder it gets.

My nightmare gets worse when I realize I am not in a dream.

In between their gasps for air I can feel the tears hit the floor.

The floor is where I look so I don’t see the eyes of the being that I am forever branding.

I am branding them with the feeling that they will remember for the rest of their lives.

I think about them feeling what I have laid upon them.

I look for forgiveness, but I am shunned by each and every one of them.

I make Judas look sincere enough to trust.

I didn’t learn.

I didn’t learn not to do it again and again and again and again.

I want to stop, but I can’t.

I find myself in this position all too much.

Are you having fun God?

Do you like to play with my head?

I say I don’t believe in you, but I want to.

I want to know that it is you who is making me do this.

Although, the more I think about that I laugh.

I laugh because I know it’s only me.

It’s my fault.

I’m to blame.

I want to love, but I feel that there is an inevitability of me killing another connection.

I can’t force myself to be different.

I tell people I have changed, but you know, they know, and I know that maybe I am just better off living by myself.

At least I can’t my break my own heart.

Actually, I take that back, coming to this sad realization.



I just did.



It Always Fades Away



Why do dreams dare to die,

leaving me with a foul taste?

I arise to the harsh sun

and the start of another trek.



I am not alone, but I might as well be.

My dreams bring me to a safer place.

And bring me to her without the awkwardness

of sweaty palms, and a trembling voice.



I need not to impress her.

I am to cool for that and she clings to me for it.

I am a confident man

and she is my trusted companion.



This all fades as morning comes.

It shows up in a tragic fashion.

As the deep kisses were just getting good,

and the weight of my stress was rolling off my shoulders.



So I tend to my day

looking forward to my slumber.

It is hard meeting her for the first time

again and again only when I am out of consciousness.
Dear Editor:
Please note the below poems "Ode to the Homeless Man" and "Spring Cleaning".
My name is Thomas Schoenberg, I am a creative writing student at Concordia University-St. Paul.
Thank you for your consideration,

Thomas Schoenberg



Ode to the Homeless Man



As I slip you this five dollar bill

I know you can’t use it as an umbrella

Keeping you dry from the storm that is coming

To wreak havoc on your shanty

Like a banana thrown into a blender set on “high.”



It won’t be a blanket for you

When winter’s harsh breathing exhales

Down your tattered coat and over

Your ribs, which are plainly visible through

Your pale, ashy skin.



I’d like to think that it won’t

Fund another drinking binge

And I am confident that I am right

As I notice the silver “O” around

Your starving mouth.


Spring Cleaning


Places I had forgotten I’d been to,

People I forgot I knew.

Memories of them crawl into my head

From deep recesses, like dormant spiders

Covered in the dust thrown on to them by the

Distractions of the last ten years.

I wish to converse with the people in the frame

But they are frozen there.

It’s like looking at something behind a glass window

In a museum.

I can see them, but I can’t touch these

Wax statues in their exhibits that are

Confined to the glossy paper.

Their smiles tell a lie… these people are not happy.

A prevailing undertone of sadness radiates

From the photos, like everyone was

Happy when the picture was taken

But now they wonder why I haven’t kept in touch.

Nostalgia washes over me like warm water,

But when the feeling passes,

The wind picks up and I am left cold and shivering.
Dear A Brilliant Editor Editor,

I'm sending you some poems that I hope you’ll please consider for publication.

My poetry and essays have appeared in more than 160 journals worldwide, among them Canadian Literature, Fulcrum,Twentieth Century Literature, Grain, and the Journal of Modern Literature. I have published two books of poetry: The Miracle Shirker, which won an Honorable Mention in the 2007 Writer’s Digest awards, and Swimming the Mirror, which won a First Prize in the 2009 Writer's Digest awards. I also run a new operation called Roan Press, Sacramento’s Small Literary Publisher (website www.roanpress.com), and my most recent book, Oedipus Against Freud, has just appeared from the University of Toronto Press.


Thanks for your time and consideration.

Yours sincerely, Brad Buchanan




Brad Buchanan




Swimming Lessons


Surviving water means ducking under

the surface tension to teach your breath

to accept the need for interruption,

acquainting yourself with the transparent

repulsion of depth. You see, death is patient;

as long as you can arch your back,

spread your arms, relax, and kick

for the least resistant pool of light,

you will never quite swallow it whole,

no matter how much you may drink,

shiver, complain, or howl with fright.

All you need to leave behind

is your sense that the heaviest thing

in the world is a single human soul;

drowning here means refusing to fall.



The View from the Grass

The view from the grass
makes the baby immense
as the neighbor's house
but not as nice.

It lends the trees
a fractal eye
around which to weave
a green hurricane
of stiffened juices.

It leaves the cat
no room to become
anything but terrifying.

When hunger threatens
the blades taste
sweetly sinister.

Heard from here
the street is an ocean
that gains in power
distantly and deafeningly,
invades with the curt slam
of a car door.


Cottage Country

The less you have, the more you want to keep
away from the government's flying eyes
under dog and tree, in the clutter and waste
of your shady rural sovereignty.

You honor appliances you have replaced
with undesired permanence.

Your marijuana patch has an air
of the accidental, inevitably.

Your vehicles cry out for uncontrolled
enjoyment, threaten a cynical world
with grease, ungainly godliness
and dangerous dirt.
The buxom girl
profiled in silvery chrome on your pickup's
wheel flaps traces the absolute limit
of the average male imagination.

The house your parents kept for vacations
has become a place you will die
defending to impatient girlfriends
almost patriotically.


A Dream of Two Daughters

At first she clung to my back like a leech,
of which there were many in that lake,
then she held me in a headlock,
choking me at every lunge
I made through the water. My spluttering lungs
and throttled limbs were a double life-
preserver till she leapt and slipped
under the surface. Though I slept,
I turned and dove—I felt the slime
of the distant bottom, which she had slightly
disturbed on her way to the shore. She slapped
at the edge of my hearing, reborn as an insular,
sloppy baby. Her fate so sealed,
she beckoned me closer, signaling still
distressed awareness of sinking slowly
out of sight under a soulless
natural spell, like a terrible solace.


Mating Season, in Grade Seven


That spring, the girls knew who was whose

before we did, and their choice was wisely

left implicit—the illusion

of freedom and competition remained,

but it was over with; we bragged

and fought and bartered, but none of it mattered.



The winners looked in vain for rewards,

the losers licked their wounds, which tasted

like strawberry lip gloss: the girls had seen

that coming too, had worn the war’s

sweet ravages before it was declared.



By summer, all uncertainty

was gone, and only the stubbornest fool

still hoped to meet an exceptional girl

who would break the rules spontaneously

and give him confidence for the next fall.



Nobody suspected that sex would change

so much when mixed with alcohol.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

You will find 4 poems that are specifically influenced by my careful navigation of being bi-racial (half Middle Eastern & half Black); “Confessions?,” “Beauty Is Fair,” “Statement Of,” and “Caught.” Additionally, you will find one more poem of interest, “I didn’t say what you wanted.”

I have enclosed all poems in the body of the email (see below signature) as well as pdf attachments. If you are able to view the pdfs, that would be best. I understand that some of my poems ideally have unique space requirements, and if any of them are chosen I would be happy to work with the editor in charge of uploading the content to help ease the burden of laying it out properly or coming to a compromise on how it can be laid out more simply.

Short Bio:
S. Mojdeh Stoakley, is a 4x award winning bi-racial American-born writer, performer & interdisciplinary artist. Her work is about the intersections of race, trauma, and social stigma. She has a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her audio and poetic works have been exhibited internationally in Tokyo, Berlin, and New York amongst other places, and is the founder of, The Mojdeh Project, Radiant Devices, and Lethal Poetry Inc.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Mojdeh




CONFESSIONS?
© S. Mojdeh Stoakley


I should
be quite keen on color coordination
Bold footwear should be on my list of important accessories
But diamond studded bling should be most important

My clothing
worn by a white person should be seen as no less hip hop
Should I stray from the hip hop image
it should only be to wear the threads of tribal Africa

I should bend over
laughing every time Chris Rock tells a joke
My number one roll model should be Oprah Winfrey

My survival as an artist
is dependent upon the Afro-American population

Growing up
in a white community
should have no effect on my black character
Despite my heritage, I should hold black power to be most important

I should own up
to the fact that I am only offered opportunities
because I am a light skinned African-American
I should not
seek an education when there are plenty
of custodial and food service jobs offered as a means of honest work

When I write poetry
I should write in hopes of becoming the next big hip hop queen
I should be most fluent in Ebonics
I should be able to offer
the names of the top artists on the BET

You will become blacker by spending time with me
You should worry that my blackness is contagious

I should be aware
that it is my people that takes advantage of the welfare system
It is perfectly acceptable for me to have two, maybe three children out of wedlock

I should accept the word Nigger
as a term of endearment or empowerment

Gospels should have been my first encounter with music

My poetry read by a white person
should be awkward
because they would lack
the profound genetic tendencies towards rhythm

I should not take offense if someone assumes I know drug dealers
Even I
should be cautious of black men roaming the streets past eight o'clock

It should be most important
that people recognize my skin tone
so that they may properly apply their knowledge
of the black experience to everything that I say



Beauty is fair
© S. Mojdeh Stoakley


I’m tan. No
Caramel, brown

She said, I should protect
my skin.

Because it’s the most beautiful
thing that I stand in

She said it
like a double-edged sword. She said,
I should be proud

I’m mulatto. No
Mixed
Light, sometimes

My pride should swell
As my features would glow
amongst a crowd of dark creatures

She said, I should be proud
of my heritage
But what she was really saying
Is that I should be proud of hers

Fair? No
Neither, both

It wasn’t her ignorance
speaking but I finally heard the hurt
in her voice

And part of me
wants to let her be

And let her believe

that my beauty is
because of her

That beauty is fair


Statement Of
© S. Mojdeh Stoakley


i feel hurt
i feel that now
there's nowhere to escape
judgment and norms
expectations
and
my form so I was born

because i make
my choices

and i let other things dissipate
and i will continue to move
my mind
my form
forward
anticipation
to deviate

i will continue to
take the kink
out of the nappy
out of the curls
because no matter
what i do

what i choose

of comfort
it becomes my
statement of


Caught
© S. Mojdeh Stoakley 2007


I walk right in
to these expectations
But I’m always caught
unprepared, unready

bemused, and

you tell me not to read too much into this
but those words speak so much truth

I always walk right in
to these expectations
But I’m always caught
un prepared, unready
bemused
I’m always caught

flatfooted, unwilling
ill predicted, and you

you tell me not to read too much in
to this

But
when all I hear are judgments I’m confused

I always walk right into these expectations, but

I’m always caught, unprepared
unready, bemused

I’m always caught
flatfooted unwilling, ill predicted
I’m always caught
grudging, resistant, and tired
bone-tired
and weak, weak enough to
almost give up this fight and you
you’ll tell me not to read too much into this, but

when you’re already comparing me
without ever
really looking
me over to make comparisons I feel
weakened
and I shouldn’t feel that way, but
I do. and
I’m caught
I’m caught
walking right in



I didn’t say what you wanted
© S. Mojdeh Stoakley



She sings to herself when no ones looking
Full conversations while she walks alone
Some would brand her,
but THIS is her way of telling

Healing comes so painfully
And it chills to the bone
Won't anyone get close to me
I'm damaged, as I'm sure you know

She has conversations with you
of course you’re not there or listening
But this is the closest she gets to telling
She practices with you
with everyone she hopes to feel safe with

It’s only for my soul - To undo this fear and…

She was just another child and he was stronger
And she wants to tell you but instead
she’s sabotages her cover stories
So that hopefully
you will know. hopefully
you will wonder

I'm scared and I'm alone
I'm shamed and I need for you to know
I’m here but I’m fading
I’m here but nothing seems real

She is beckoning you to ask – but you don’t

I didn't say all the things that I wanted to say
And you can't take back what you've taken away
Cause I feel you, I feel you near me

She whispers when no ones looking
She even has quiet conversations – with him – he’s not there
But she hopes his ears are burning

I didn’t say what you wanted, but you’ll take it anyway


[Some text in "I didn't say what you wanted" appropriated from “Damaged” by Plumb]
Saturday’s Swagger


It was an early night –

1:00 AM early.

Police passed by,

For the bigger problems,

And the clubs roared

A little louder than usual,

While I danced,

And danced,

The Saturday night stumble –

To the left,

To the right

And twice back

Destination -

Home.

I continued,

To tripped,

Or ripped,

To have a friend,

A little lonely,

But feeling a little famous

All the same

And all the while.

I strode with swagger,

Head held a little higher

Than usual

Made my way home,

Slept,

And started over

Tomorrow,

Or was it the day

After,

Sleep can be such a nimble little

Beast,

When it wants to be.

Good thing a

Cold beer’s

Always

Just around the corner.


Imperialism


I’m drinking their

Beer,

But I don’t feel bad.

I feel –

Patriotic.



I’m greedy,

I’m entitled,

I’m self-indulgent,

I’m an American,

I feel none of the above,

I feel it all,

And I’m numb,

But still

Smiling.



I squeak out some

Laughter,

When I embrace a new

Family

And sweat an

“Ineligible” one

Of sorts

Out.



Oddly enough,

I don’t deserve this –

The beer

And the laughter,

As my countrymen celebrate –

Not with “them,”

But

For the cheap goods they

Provide.



I laugh even harder,

Choking back the tears of

Assumed exploitation,

Correctly assumed

With an added

Inept aggression

Against others.



I cackle to a

Sudden stop

After my eyes spy the

Bride

I go home with.



I take and

Take,

And take her

Home.

I study,

I assimilate

And allow

Assimilation.

“Assimilation,”

Being a Euphemism for

“Conquest.”



Somehow hybrid

And somewhat

Unoriginal,

Where does that leave us

Now?

Torn,

Wholly

Symbiotic,

Or building the world

That deep down

We always dreamt of?



On the other hand,

And there’s always another

“Hand,”

Are we the tyrants that’ll

Strip clothes

And later strip-mine

Souls,

All in the name of

Manifest Destiny

Underneath the flags of

Corporatism,

Fortune

And the Fatherland?

I’m an American after all.



Outside in and Introverted



The bass annoys neighbors,

But occupies

And entertains me,

As I write,

With red wine,

And smoky ink.



My cigarettes,

Now smolder in the carpet.

As the song continues into the

Night

I stop

To spy a pounding,

From my heart,

From the city,

And from my door.



I choose to ignore

It all,

But most importantly

The pounding at the door –

My landlord,

Who demands silence

During the wee hours of the

Night,

A joke

And the rent.



I could provide one,

Of the three –

The joke,

Just by answering the knock,

But choose my safety

Within the noise,

My noise,

And solitude of existence,

My existence.



I snore

While awake,

Bored with the premise,

Of company,

More aptly described as

Lechery

And the loss of honesty

Intrinsic to “people.”

I continue in avoidance of the

Pounding.



I guess

I could try to be happy

Within the annoyance of

Camaraderie.

But the butterflies

Would soon float,

From the mouths

Of the others,

Simple promises into the

Flowers

That are my ears,

Pollinating,

Procreating,

And making something

New,

And something unwanted,

At least for the time being.



When my sentence ended,

And finish line seemed even

Further away,

I was

Sorrowed by the thought,

Of another lost poem,

Lost moment,

And new friend –

Another knock at the door,

A robbery more vicious

Than any dealt by the

Unwelcomed thief.



Call me an

Introvert,

Or call me

Lonely.

I’m only seeking my kind of

Quiet,

If only for a moment.

Let me have this one

Night

To myself,

Alone

With my pen and paper.


Leaves, Ash, Snow and Flowers


“It’s”

A sinking feeling,

A drowning touch

And somehow above the

Cold water’s

Surface.



I’m loosing my taste,

But can still smell hell,

While my eyes show the world,

They show “it,”

Or me,

What?

I’m not quite sure

Yet.



Reluctantly,

My heart sees the truth.

I’m losing,

And I’ve lost,

But why does it feel so good

To be the

Loser?



The sunny days laugh,

Few and far between,

Where the clouds cover,

And even the stars seem gone.



When I sleep,

I’m back…way back,

With what I try to forget,

But need to carry on.



Waking,

Walking,

Talking,

Touching,

Loving,

And dying,

This is my winter,

Where my friends have

Already

Fallen as autumn leaves,

And I’m left to carry the ashes

In our snow.



I’ll keep my eyes open

For the –

Flowers.

I’ll welcome you all

Home,

When I see the first colors

And fresh breath of

Spring,

Please..?



I think his name was Random


I arrive to talk,

And make an attempt to explain –

Time travel,

Physics,

And my latest poem,

Somehow catching

And for a moment

Capturing

Who I was prior to

Pain and Prose.



That was him,

And not me “now,”

The “I” –

That can stand before you,

Albeit swaying,

Ten drinks later,

Pad in hand and

Pen in ear.



It’s him

I try so hard to bring back,

But not for you.

It’s for selfish old

Me,

Who sometimes longs for

Sobriety and

Reason

As compared to this

Chaos and drink.



You later laugh,

½ Relieved and

½ Bewildered

When I mention,

That pissing on ice,

Reminds me of love,

Confetti

And corpses left to the

Sun,

Because random’s –

What I am,

And poetry’s the byproduct.



After two years,

And an off-and-on

You,

I’m no longer allowed to

Remember “him” any more.

I heed your wish,

Placing a pillow over his

Face and for good,

A cold-bodied kind of

Good,

Against my better judgment

Perhaps.



Truth be told –

I cried,

To a certain degree,

When I left him behind.

Destroyed,

But not entirely.

Lucky for me,

Figments surfaced like the

Life-preservers of those

Who could hold on

No longer,

Eternal.



And when I blamed you,

For the almost-total loss of “Me,”

Him,

And not "I,"

Goody-goody me,

My good grades,

And wholesome lifestyle,

I was right to,

Though you remained a

Simple accessory.



All intrusions aside,

Reality became –

Wild nights,

Poetry and the girl

I brought home

Once again.

All illusions aside,

It was me

And never you.



“The man with many names.” (My Biography) -

I was born “Christopher Hanson” in Minnesota; Born in the same hospital as Bob Dylan, not that it matters. I remember very little from this snowbound world having actually grown up in California where I picked up the nick-name, “Cloud,” I don’t know why, simply, “Cloud.” While in good old San Fran, I made nice with some fellows and females of Japanese decent. I picked up a sword, I learned to eat sushi and wander in between the realms of Aikido, Iaido and Zen. They dubbed me “Kazuki.” All aside and all names following me into college, I studied for five years at the University of Wisconsin and graduated with degrees in both Criminal Justice (to bust-up a broken system) and Anthropology – I love people, what can I say? During year five of college, I’d acquire my latest addition, “Yang Yun,” my Chinese name. The name basically translates to, “a tree in the cloud.” This was the name given to me by my wife, the love of my life that I met while studying abroad in China. Since my graduation in 2008, I’ve lived in China for nearly two years as a teacher and within this last year, have finally made it back to the states, wife and all. It’s been a wild ride and something tells me that it’s just begun. As for my “writing” and my “art,” it’s a time-honored tradition and way of life – at least for me.



Thank you for your time and consideration. I truly hope you enjoy.



Best Regards,

Christopher Hanson
Walking Down Frat Row
(By Walter Beck)

So all these bros and hipsters were staring
At this weird, long-haired, barefoot thing
Ambling down their street;
With a Dunhill cigarette hanging from his lip
And strange incantations muttered
Of Two-Headed Dogs
And Lazarus Digging himself back in the Cave
That came out of the pocket of his loud gonzo shirt.
A fleshed out legacy of the Doctor’s words;
“Some may never live, but the crazy never die.”


A Fire Poet’s Lament
(By Walter Beck)

Reduced to hashing out
Press releases and promos;
The red flame don’t need no poets
To keep her fire burning.


The Dust of Many Moons
(By Walter Beck)

She tells me the dust of the moons knows my name and their hands squeeze my chest as dirt hardens and cakes around my pale leather soles.

She tells me the dust of the moons knows my name and I speak to them as the ash blows from the reed and clay.

She tells me the dust of the moons knows my name and they speak to me as I take a hit and fall in the mud, hearing the words in my head, “à tout le monde, à tous mes amis, je vous aime, je dois partir”.*

*Taken from the chorus of the Megadeth song "A Tout Le Monde"


Neon Sign Blues
(By Walter Beck)

He drinks his Pink Gin
With an Olive garnish;
As I sip an Iron City
And look down
At my dirty natural leather.



Walter Beck is from Avon, IN and is currently enrolled as a graduate student at Indiana State University in Terre Haute. He has become a mainstay in the Terre Haute poetry scene for his intense performances. His work has appeared in the ISU Tonic, the Vincennes University Tecumseh Review, subTerreanean, Camp Chase Gazette, Paradigm Journal and most recently, Burner Magazine.

Friday, August 27, 2010

if he came back today

he'd be on Barbara Walters
but not BET
if he came back today
he'd have to make a commercial
with Jordan
in order to gain credibility
if he came back today
the stock market
wouldn't close
like they do on his birthday
if he came back today
niggers
would still get dragged
behind pickup trucks
would still get shot
22 times
by the police
would still beat each others
brains out
in the name
of his father
if he came back today
he couldn't get an
audience
with the pope or
Bill Clinton
but I bet
Johnnie Cochran
would see him

if he came back today
nobody
would go to church
and nobody
would get out of jail
or the cemetery
if he came back today
hell would not freeze over
the Cubs would not win
the world series
and you still would
not love me
if he came back today
the most
you might do
is call in
sick
if he came back today
motherfuckers would
be arguing about
who he came to see
did he come to see
the jews or the muslims or
the fighting Irish or
the atheists
if he came back today
the Kiowa and the Sioux and the Chippewa
and the Apache and the Seminole and the Ute
and the Cheyenne and the Lakota and the Choctaw
would all say
you 'bout a late motherfucker

if he came back today
and you had descendants
in any kind of concentration camp
the kind for jews
or the kind for japanese americans
if you had descendants in these
kinds of concentration camps
you would still get your money
but
if he came back today
and your descendants'
concentration camp
just happened to double
as a southern plantation
you still wouldn't get shit
as a matter of fact
if he came back today
he'd probably tell you
slave progeny
to quit callin' his
name so much
I mean
shit
it ain't like
he can't hear you
if he came back today
he'd have to get on
line
otherwise there'd be
no tangible evidence
that he ever existed

if he came back today
a whole bunch of motherfuckers
would be real mad
because his return means the
world is coming to an end
and they just got on the
waiting list
for season tickets
if he came back today
and gave another
sermon
on another
mount
news organizations
would argue about
the size of the crowd
if he came back today
and said for us to
love one another
a bunch of lawyers would
get together and say
well, what do you mean by "love"
just how is it you define that term
if he came back today
it wouldn't mean nothing
to nobody except the
meek
'cause they got a lot comin'
them and the
pure of heart

if he came back today
I could get off
the hook
the next time
one of my grandkids
asks me
what happens
when
we
die
I can just
say
ask him

Davis Jerome

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Melinda J Nevarez writes poetry and flash fiction mainly to escape, if only for a moment, the chaos in her head. A former drug addict, she is now an addicted to chronicling the plight of the downtrodden and advocating compassionate mental health services.

Duerme con la sangre

it's a quiet kind of danger,
Colder in than out
But/She
wore sadness like an old coat
lint in her pockets (and secrets
they'd put you away for)--

take your medication, darling
please swallow
say thank you
when they dole out your kindnesses
like government cheese...

She
traded up for
cheap whiskey fingers blistered
I'll fuck you for answers,
She
said, almost begging.

Narcissus never procreated.
seduction's free
but she will
catch you behind the curtain and
slit
her wrists
to bleed you out.

Romance the Maudlin

left of the tree,
destruction so obvious it is
Tangible
sits next to him like a moan
against the other side the ground littered with foil--
she is broken, metal.

barefoot, towards him,
Her guilt is palpable Another unoriginal casualty
nothing to hand him, no part of her he hasn't written.

silver scissors
when she licks bleeds smiles.

one time dull eyes
Hatefully needy
cuts the rope, her body curling into itself like old wallpaper.

Eyes cloudy, she turned to ash.


Conception Two

my Mexican grandma had a catholic shrine
With a very large St. Christopher
his hands bound with rosaries
the flickering saints eye level to me
I wanted to shrink into the smell of melting wax

the statue was black;
this was my god.

Though he wasn't allowed in my parents' gauche temple
(the shrouded space between secrets)--
our black neighbor was kind to me...

my god was
down the street
watering His lawn.

when I breached the subject, I'm not sure
the visceral reaction,
how my Stomach Dropped a
Cold Prickle over my arms
when I knew I
had
fucked up Religiously.

and god was an old bearded white man
with Exceptionally Large Hands
it left me unsettled

(old white men
behind oak pulpits they spoke like
Puppeteers)

and a sunday spent on green pews learning
they gave
god
to the white man.
Here are some poems I am submitting for your consideration: "Shelter", "The Great Goodbye", "The Ocean", the "Secret Road", "The Field of Time", and "The Fire."

I am a high school student at Brunswick School and I enjoy playing tennis, and writing poetry. This summer I felt the urge and desire to write poetry. I enjoyed reading and deciphering metaphors and figurative language. And beneath the figurative meaning, lies a deeper, more profound message in poetry. That is why I love poetry.

Benton Turner


Shelter

I know I should be here,
For the winds have been so severe.
But I don’t think it will be safe much longer,
As the rain has become stronger.

The wooden shelter has been my friend,
From the storms that chase me,
Time and time again.
And in the shelter, I can rest, and seek understanding
Of the storms that chase me,
Time and time again.

But the roof is about to heave,
So perhaps I should leave,
And confront the storm,
Before my mind is grinded
And my eyes are blinded.

And before the shelter,
Collapses altogether.

----------

The Great Goodbye

Farewell to many yawns and many ‘sighs’,
And to the hours spent, and time lost,
For waiting too long to say goodbye,
To the things that caused many yawns,
And many sighs.

And although the Great Goodbye I have made,
Unsure and suspicious I have stayed,
That I would be resistant,
And stand in the distance,
Away from the very creations,
That made the people submissive and lonesome,
And connected the nations.

And now I am glad to be away,
From the inventors that made people give way,
To their ‘magnificent’ creations,
And to their terrible temptations.

And in parting I have found,
A vision so profound,
And I am still left wondering why,
Only few people make the Great Goodbye.
----------
The Ocean

I greet the ocean politely; I am in deep respect,
Its caves and shadows I have thoroughly checked.
The waves are progressing, and the tide is changing,
The soft sands are forever rearranging.

There are low tides; sometimes there are high tides,
And between both, the creatures once cried.
They begged for the answers, to unknowable questions,
For the fate of their ocean, whom gave them few suggestions.

And in a tremendous dream, the ocean showed them,
People swimming in a Great Race.
Although powerful they swam, they the ocean condemned,
And pushed them farther back, in a marvelous disgrace,
Until they were unconscious,
Wound up on the shores of their own beach.

“And that is their fate,” it declared.
And with that the creatures fled,
For having spent too much time,
Caught in a current so strong,
That perhaps they will never get out.
Perhaps.

--------------

The Road Song

Take me down the secret Road;
Although I carry a heavy load,
Will you take me down the secret Road?

The Road is treacherous, long, and winding,
Through the fields and mountains it is binding.
Will you take me through the secret Road?

The Road is unpaved, and weary,
Its outskirts look quite dreary.
And it’s okay if we get lost,
For so much we have crossed.

We’ll sing words that ought not to be sung,
And think thoughts that best not be thought.

We’ll think about all the places we’ve gone,
And all the pictures we have drawn.

The Road is a symbol and sign,
Its name is clean and fine.
The Road is a secret,
That we best not forget.

Will you take me down the secret Road?

-----

The Fields of Time

In this field of silence,
In this beautiful field,
Ill try to describe it best I could.

There was perfect harmony,
Twas’ an endless field of perfection.
Although, one flaw I found,
And bravely, I came face,
That there was one simple mistake.

So I conversed with the masterminds, of a wise race,
In a secret lair, lost in time.
And with boldness, we came to face,
That we had an uneasy fate.

I walked by the field of progression,
It was a scary sight, such power and suppression.

I sprinted through field of spring,
And I couldn’t help but be skeptical,
Of all the good times, and what would they bring.

I glimpsed at the field of ruin,
Was so intrigued, what went wrong?
Back to the start, I came to face,
The field of silence, and its momentous grace.

So I set a meeting with the elders,
Before the field of rejuvenation,
And until then, I am searching through the fields of time
And until then, I am studying the fields of time

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bethany L. Young has been writing zines and trying to overthrow the government since age 12. She strives to add anthropological flair to her counterculture writings. Ms. young is a lifelong advocate for gay and lesbian rights and gender equality.

Someone's Mother

And when she shouts terms of affection
my way,
it makes me cringe

And almost hide
cause-
she's old enough to be someone's mother
I shouldn't be going down
going down-
on someone's mother.


Truth of Being

My mother said
I wouldn't be catching any husbands
with hair like mine-
which be no hair.

What am I to say-
that the only husband
I be looking for
be the same gender as I

Is a woman
be-in a lady:
with tits and a cunt

someone-
I could go down on
in the dark.


Our Mamas

Our mamas
would blush
if they knew what
their two grown daughters
were doing.


Our mamas
would blush
if they knew
their two grown daughters
were naked.

Our mamas
would blush
if they knew
their two grown daughter's
bodies were inter-twined.

Our mamas
would blush
if they knew
their two grown daughters
were not achieving orgasms
from an erect penis.

Our mamas
would blush
if they knew
their two grown daughters
were queer.

Dream Like Nature

and i was screaming like hella loud
and i was falling in love-
with a girl,
California

was that her name?
or where she be from?

i don't know.
maybe i don't remember.

she said we kissed.
she said we did more.

i was drunk
and later on acid.

i wanna say her name was Rachel
and she was from Delaware.

chestnut brown hair
grey eyes like the moon.

we did kiss-
twice,
in one morning,
in one breath.

this is reading like a screenplay
reading like a dream-
it's all fiction.
fiction of the mind.
fiction of the pen.
fiction of the friction.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Reno Rain

Burrowing into bliss
two lovers
God’s children
aboard a downy raft
of pillows, comforter
soft flannel sheets
hearing only
hearts pulsing
in time
with rooftop
raindrops
two lovers
praying this
never stops
knowing this
fleeting moment
this heat
these tandem
heartbeats are
as precious
as rare
as Reno rain.


Our Lady of Mustang


Curiosity drove me here

wondering who would be

worshiping at this temple

on the Lord’s day.



Church lot is full

here at the shrine.

Ranch girls are busy

plying love’s trade

with Sunday morning horn dogs.



I sit parked and scribbling

in the lot between heaven’s gate

and the souvenir shack

which is painted pink

as the sea of flesh

that undulates inside.

Outside, wild mustangs roam.

Inside, wild fillies buck Bronco Billies.



Back at home

mom’s set up

Sunday School.

Here, ten minutes drive east

of all that praying

other prayers are voiced,

“Oh God,

Yes! YES!”

Amen.


Night Owl Special


I came to Vegas

for the ham steak,

Seigfreid und Roy be damned.

Black pyramid, fake Chrysler building,

Eiffel tower, San Marcos plaza,

exploding pirate ships,

these are all fine – all good –

but ham’s what drove me here.



Loose slots, looser women,

they have their Vegas place

but pale next to honey glazed,

Virginia smokehouse ham steak.

Steak for god’s sake!



The joe’s O.K.,

hash brown could be crisper,

sour dough toast...

– toast is hard to get wrong –

and the eggs,

the eggs threaten to edge out the ham.

I will sleep easier (when I finally find a bed)

knowing there is one short order cook

left on planet Vegas

who knows exactly what

Over easy really means.



Ham, the soul of Vegas.

Not dining under Picasso’s Dora,

not scaling the mad Pole’s needle downtown

not getting rubbed the right way

in the shadow of the city limits sign,

Vegas is ham steak... and eggs... four bucks.


New Vada


Sage brushed

ore dusted

neon naked

in full sky paint

torrid landscape

barks to Luna



RISE AND BATHE ME!


Free of day

nocturnal

life forces

spring from her

desert floor

worshipful

remorseless.





Cookbook du Mal


You’re across the table

writing for Elaine

author of dinner

president of pain

founder of time

and she

feeds off

your words

belching them

back at you

without one

“Excuse mois.”


Henry "Hank" Sosnowski, South Chicago born Polish-American followed his gypsy heart across America from Alaska's Aleutian Islands to North Carolina's shore. Following Brecht's edict that an artist must "First feed the face, then talk right and wrong," Sosnowski worked as a newsboy, caddy, fry cook, steel worker, blues musician, pipefitter, pool hustler/card shark, landscaper, railroad brakeman, auto part salesman, actor, warehouse manager, woman's clothing rep, waiter, missionary, writer, Alaskan game warden, book store manager, morning DJ, corporate VP, marketing director, dishwasher, factory worker, car salesman, handyman, customer service rep, janitor, teacher, hot rod show promoter, Internationally published poet.

Sosnowski currently lives and teaches in Reno, Nevada, inspiration for his one-man traveling show: "Write Before Your Eyes! Hank the Revelator - Live on Stage 24/7!" For one week, Sosnowski comes to town to write/perform/live on an outdoor stage replica of a 1930s writer's; garret, melding written, spoken and performance art.

Sosnowski is the winner of the 2006 Sierra Arts Foundation Writer's Grant and voted back to back Reno's best poet by Reno News and Review.
Hair and Outrage

Hidden by trees and questions of silhouette, the beauty remaining flaxen and fascinating in silky vision, sinned, raging by the repute of an outcry, by the wonder of a passport in remedy for all the ails of rage. She forced his appetite for perfect ceremony. She reached, finished and combed the corn silk before her expectant smile, the grin of a makeshift wish.
She gently lulled the seemly endurance of truth for the angel of supposed caste, in bond without the fallen shine of success, of excellent division, between day and night, love and anger, she thoroughly constrained and sensed the renown of a deceitful rage, careless, reflected by the demon in her view. She traced the shape of her need and prayers. He hovered and dribbled in black seas of lichen and moss, in the dark alleys of woe and desire beyond the wont of mortal men, and the hate he tended in great gardens of blossoming tears was full in bloom and nurtured angry rebuke. The whispers of a conquering demon and the lies of a thousand nightmares unbidden. She found faith in the reason for her existence in the houses sent forth by the undoing of his fear.


Breathing Fire

Enlivened by the promise of payment in flames of favor, welcomed by magic’s untold and dreams of ecstasy, he ruled the perch, the straw and the sordid grip upon the secret of fire. Boss Mean approached the eternal source of warfare, of battle and fighting bond with an easy awareness. Pepper and tickets permitted he thought, to hold the balance of forever in spiced embers of time, in enemy eyes and war, scarlet battles for the red flames of perdition.
The tiny flame guttered and ebbed, flowed and elongated in rhythm to the desire of its master. “ By the Gods I’ll have my turn at chance, by the fires of hell itself.” he exclaimed to the flittering shadows and the small blaze of candent existence. A small ember, a spark of fire lit the air above the flame and in its place a tiny ebony moth appeared, flittering, evanescent and erratically circling. Boss reached out and touched the space where the moth revolved. Opening his hand he grabbed the tiny shadow. It was a warm flame in his palm and it beat its wings furiously, tickling his hand. “ Sweet lords of soul shine, by the wayfarer winds of swords and precious battle lines, give me your victorious bond, your will unto the possessor of fire and victory.” he yelled to the ceiling. Smokey disarrays of mist collected near the ceiling as the room filled with smoke, the smoke of ceaseless wars and conquests unbidden. Boss whispered, “ By the Gods of reception and the revolution in tongues of rapture, by the flames of province, by the gods.” His breath disturbed the flame and the tiny brilliance of a hundred year war.
Boss counted the blessings of fire, of war, of remitted peace. Engraved in the lines between youth and ancient rest, lay the face of a consuming treaty, in want of fervid passion, in his countenance the fond flow of anger and desire, desire for the shade of conquest dealt by the fires of what owns majestic histories in won wrath and promised rule. He relished the flame, his lips parched and cracked as the sooty smoke drifted if wave of ambient gray. The tiding of conflict, “ Moth, betray not my need for victory.” he chanted in singsong rhythm to the wavering flame, the small mirage of searing advance.
Later, he would sing to the silhouette of fire and war, in unswerving passions of commanded power; in the end, in all and all he would covet the seed and feed the raven with a single rose as the advent of war sought its possessor and charge.

Orphan Picnics and the Bandit

The sign wasn’t altered in it’s exclamation, nevertheless it was an indicator of past terrors, the harbinger of wild rumors and bloody exaltation, it read,
“Do not feed

The bears!!!”

The sign was a chipped gray and scarlet, the lettering a bold exclamation of warning. Handy Bandit sighed and touched the roughly speckled surface of the sign. The surface was covered in spatters of crimson, blood perhaps he thought. Wrinkling his brow he surveyed the pine straw littering the ground, the piles of freshly scattered dirt, in telltale mounds, half buried in moldering leaves and torn dirty soils, a row of graves.
“Do not feed the Bears.”

He read again as his sneakers left impressions in sporting claim against the blood sodden dirt.
“Do not feed the Bears.”

The graves were haphazard constructions, built in grizzly instinct and scarlet paw. A crow sang, yelled from atop the pine bows, “caw caw.”
Handy sat the picnic basket on the dry patch of earth and opened the burnished lattice lid. The scented desires of starving campers and hiking hunger poured from the basket. Fried chicken, Potato salad, and neat containers of potato chips.
“Do not feed the Bears”

He whispered reverently, by prayer and eyes revolving in desires of chance.
Handy unfitted the restraining straps of the backpack and removed a blue and white checked blanket. The nature of his aloneness forebode reason and rational as he layed the blanket across the bloody soil. The crimson tinctured the blanket in disdain, in warning. Handy closed his eyes for a moment as he sat down on the blanket. He saw seas of scarlet and suns blazing amber in painful clarity. The mists of a wrath untold and blind by the need of what sapphire eyes and mulberry wont express. Eating the call of ravaging danger and tears of senseless diversion. Handy ate chicken, potato salad, and the crisp chips lined neat in stacks.
The balance of night and day divided the hours as handy ate and thought. In the end he concluded the twilight ceremony with a prayer, “By Gods grace we take the wisdom of sense and the desire to live in passions of safe futures and asylum.” He prayed in quiet breaths of new resolve. The night sang sure and the remnants of old chicken bones and plastic containers marked the sodden ancient soil, by bidden release he was reborn and given the will to survive.

Punishing the Drum

Skewed by harps, lutes and endless trembling masquerades in cat gut, the tight lipped celebrity of the veiled drummer exalted the environs of unholy phenomenon. He occupied the greater of anger, in part at the midway point between hate and panoramas of blood. He found the fine art of drumming embryonic ally Mephistophelean, a bearing bought in backward glances to the piano and flutist, a poetic wrath in irritating repetition.
“Neat slaves of vacant feather, play by the call
Of common meals and waspish swarm, play by neat
Bombastic, blackened desires of rage.” he screamed over the cacophony of sound. In replete doom they listened to the call of the drummer, intent with the posture of believing rapiers and sharp wardship.
Tiny by the spells of heaven, an angel cried and the eagle of issued breath, of conquering trust, found changeable seconds in reprieve for the flute, the piano, the lute and the harp; the drummer found a strange solstice in this and paragons of respite, in the flitter of a reason for being.

Ron Koppel Berger

Friday, July 23, 2010

Like Bill, Gore Just Wants to Have "Fun!"

When we first heard Al and Tipper separated,
There was a gasp heard round the world,
That kiss, ten years ago, at the Democratic Convention,
But now accusations are being hurled:

A Nobel Prize for disrespecting health care professionals,
Female massage Therapist Numbers 1, 2, 3...
While trotting the globe promoting his movie to save the Earth,
Laurie David, did he or didn't he?

But worst of all, the Inconvenient Truth,
After sanctimoniously distancing himself from Clinton during his Presidential run,
Perpetrating the boring image which some blame for his loss,
When like Bill, Gore just wants to have "fun!"

Karen Ann DeLuca

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

We're Still Electing Them Way Too Tall

We elected him as a mirror,
And because he wasn't George W. Bush,
Racially mixed, he seemed to reflect US well,
Kids and wife; finally, a First Lady with a tooch!

A human Rorschach,
We projected onto him what we wanted to see,
Which has led to massive disappointment,
Because he just isn't all that we thought him to be.

Aloof, robotic, and detached,
Not nearly as emotional a Democrat as we'd like,
Who knew when we elected the first Black President,
He'd take a page from "I like Ike."

And now all that elitist, arrogant body language,
Will be tested in races come this Fall,
Maybe this time we'll find leaders truly in touch with US,
Because we're still electing them way too tall.

As we cast our ballots this November,
If warranted, yes, throw the bums out,
No room for arrogant, entitled incumbents,
With eyes wide open, voters have the ultimate clout.

It's easy to project superhuman qualities,
Especially in hard economic times,
Been there, done that, elected officials aren't saviors,
This time, no room for second thoughts and regrets down the line.


Karen Ann DeLuca

Friday, July 16, 2010

WINTER SNOW

As the crystal white flakes fall to the ground
They make a blanket of snow across the fresh dug dirt pile,
The sound of weeping is all that can be heard
As his mothers tears glisten in the light from the sun
And his father places his son’s class ring on his own hand,
The cedar casket covered in red roses is gently lowered into the earth,
His family can only remember his young smiling face,
The decisions he made has now changed all their lives,
Why did he even have to go out that night?
It was just another birthday to make him a year older,
The countless drinks he consumed to celebrate the next year
As his friends kept buying him more rounds of beer,
As the night came to an end no one was their to accompany him
As he found his keys to make his last journey home,
But the S turn he just didn’t see
As his car was ripped to shreds his life was suddenly brought to an end,
His loving family he will never see again
Because he let himself drink and then drive
Which caused his promising young life to come to a horrific close.

PERFECTION

As the cold rusty razor touches my boney tensed wrist
I wonder if this is the right decision that I am about to make
Would my parent’s hectic and distraught life be fixed
Without me to trigger the avalanche of their disasters
The world would not even be any different with me gone
And no one would even notice for a second that I was not around,
The years I have spent striving to try to reach the ultimate goal of perfection
Which has left me a frail pile of just skin and bone,
But who makes the unrealistic standards that must be met to achieve happiness,
No matter what sweet poetic like words or actions I would make
It always seems like someone was always there to criticize me with every step that I would take,
As the derogatory remarks ate slowly at my self esteem
Like maggots upon fresh meat,
I realized that the goal of perfection is an unconquerable mountain
That no one will ever be able to defeat,
As my trembling hand drops the rusty razor
I finally realize that I am happy with myself for being imperfect
And it doesn’t matter what others think about me
My imperfections make me the unique person that I am.


ARRIVAL

As I stared out the round passenger window
Fluffy marshmallow clouds floated past
As the only memories I had of her played like a movie in my mind
The smell of lavender and roses filled my nose
As I laid her down in her wooden cedar crib on her first night home,
My little baby girl giggling loudly as our new chocolate lab puppy
Licked the baby food that was spilt on her tummy,
The first time she rolled over she was her trying to grasp her teddy in her hands,
But then I was torn away from my precious baby girl
And all I could see of her was the pictures that I received through the mail,
As the two year Iraq tour had finally came to a close
I boarded the air liner to return home,
The stairs folded down to what looked to be paradise
As my little girl came running into my arms
And her baby blue eyes looked like diamonds in the rays from the sun
We are finally together again
To make new memories as a family

Kayla Willis
Death of the Black Star

During dark reasoning
The night, our conspirator
Rose against the black star
Her own children

Purposefully unashamed
The ruler of the first black
Our night
Without remorse
Aborted her black stars
Keeping only the cloud and moon at peace
As the decorators of heaven

Loosed from home
Like a detached stranger
Released from the love once demanded
The black star turns to weeping
Spiraling like a dying bird
Towards the unaware

Don’t wish upon the fallen black star
For your wishes will bore death
Never to come true
The broken winged flyers
Disconnected with the earth
Gravity holds them no more

One by one
Black stars fall by the millions
Crashing among us
We that let them fall
With a thud, they cover the earth

The black rain will ruin us all
It has already begun
The travesty of the black star

The tragedy is not that of living so high
And falling so far
But to have lived so high
Yet never glow
Rotted early of their radiance
The black star was exiled from the sky

Already the night claimed the dark expanding
Found nothing extraordinary about them.
Plummeting to an untimely death,
Unwanted, abandoned,
Death of the black star.

It has already begun,
Beneath our feet,
Black stars slumber,
Their sleep disturbing,
Like fish ashore.

Their death has become a path we walk on.
A path we walk over.
Their fate, a mere residue,
Found on the soles of our shoes.


Before Africa

Snow was beautiful to me
I was always overcome by it
The brightness of it, demanding you to attend to it
Take notice upon it and admire its white
A color that strong
She could still the beautiful right out of you
Its soft flakes would melt on the tip of your tongue
And you’re frozen
In awe of her coldness
Some found her chill appealing
Her dangerous nature goes un-rendered
And too many, her season is favored
Desired by most

Before Africa
Snow added wonderful to whatever she landed upon
Making it somehow prettier than what it was before
The way she rested on a bare branch
Like she was royal cloth wrapped around a peasant
It was a bony plain tree
But when she aided to it
It looked magical
Enchanting it with her whimsical powers
Her sparkle lit the tree
So you would assume it better off

Before Africa
Nothing compared to snow
Than something changed
I was in Africa struck in amazement at the beach
It was late November in Durban, South Africa
There was no hint of snow
Just sand
It was warm from the sun
I let my curious toes feel into it
Searching through it
Finding rocks and sea shells
My feet bled into the sand
Camouflaging themselves within it
Along with the other bodies that surrounded me
Sand clung to each one of them
Not to outshine them but to be a part of them
Molding herself onto us
So we could all be beautiful together

Snow never suited me
It made my feet numb
Its blinding white light made my eyes squint
I always stood out
My dark skin
Next to such white

Before Africa
It was all I knew
But once the sand warmed me
I had forgotten all about winter

Tales of a Poor Boy

Blisters rule over his tired dirt ridden feet.
His path is never on course.
Instead he crisscrosses and zigzags his way to a stranger.
Draped in rags that dangle effortlessly from his skin,
And with every slight movement,
A piece of cloth finds another excuse to remove itself from his body.
Uncovering his fragile flesh,
The bones ache to be free,
Poking at his skin,
Penetrating his body with force,
Angering itself to the surface.
His body now operates like that of a machine,
That is slowly running out of power,
But somehow keeps functioning out of shear will to survive.
He knows only his small thirst for change.
His sister paces with the same routine except she supports a newborn on her back,
And they roam together, through the endless sea of sidewalks.
Hoping to greet a willing giver,
It is midnight and their weary eyes keep searching, keep asking.
They wait in silence as their onlooker pears at them in pity or disgust,
Debating if reaching in their pockets is worth their time,
Unaware that their choice is a matter of life and death.
Some give kindly, proud of the good deed for the day.
Others tell them to get a job or go to school.
Leaving them helpless, pleased with their generous advice.
But the child does not know such language,
Just yes or no.
Anything beyond this is hopeless to him.
Money is the key he has learned.
No parents to help him.
Maybe they left or maybe they died.
Looking in those eyes, I would be unable to tell.
Nothing resides in them.
The innocence and joy left him long ago.
Pain and suffering is all he knows,
Along with the hustle of the night.
This burden is far too great for such a poor boy.
I wanted to scream but relented,
I knew my scream would surely last forever.
Life as we all know it to be, is unfair,
Not discriminating on age, gender, or race,
It targets whomever it wishes.
So harsh even on this poor boy.
But I hope this child,
Will find a way of freedom,
Of this pain and suffering,
This night he does not belong in.
I settled within myself that I will see him again.
In heaven I propose.
And there he will be,
His eyes filled with everything glorious,
And happiness is all that he knows.


Zombie

The intrigue of pretty green
Makes the saliva runneth over
The thirst lingers until we are all mad with it
Our spirit laid to rest
The dead swallow our hidden dreams
For their ancestors did the same
Awake child
Open your reckless eyes and take notice upon yourself
See what a spectacle you have become
To die and be resurrected
But look, you are still dead
Only you are just a vessel
Filled with nothingness
Just an empty pity
Standing hopelessly like a dumb caucus
On that assembly line
Dying for your turn at your precious zombie’s chocolate
The hunger stinging your throat
Like needles scratching
Going only where the blood runs
Immersed in debt and bills
Our bodies have long gave way
Such weary fragile shells
But the will to suffer on quietly continues
The body has no other choice but to function
With our decrepit feet
We’ll walk until out toes fall off
All in the name of those dead presidents
We’ll all chase after it
Until the bullet forges its way through our head

Fire

Prickling my flesh
A feverish delight
An eruption boils forth
Overwhelming reason with rash thought
Consuming my once tamed nature
Into an awakening of savagery
I have come to wreak havoc
On a soul willingly to be utterly overtaken
And wholly consumed
Let my flames envelope you
The heat will merely warm your fears
Isolate you from the rest of the world
Into my ecstasy you dwell

Sun Kiss

Sun-kissed sky
Orange warmth
Pink breath
Ambiance
Filled above
A private love
Exposed above us
Color consumed clouds
Keep floating
Keep roaming
The sky is maddened with life
Its blue churning
Making anew
More colors
Until the sun sets
And the kiss
Is over

Sharday Cage

Friday, July 2, 2010

Alex Van Ness in Jail By James W. Hritz

The storm: the cold wind carrying piercing rain, the tree brushing against itself, the rich odor of compost, the night glinted in dark blue.
He stood at the front door, Alex Van Ness, his musty clothes soaked and streaming from the shoulders, dripping steadily at the cusps, falling taps on the dry concrete landing beneath the crimson awning.
The door absorbed his knuckles and barely a sound was borne. He tried, then, the brass knocker, whose inscription read not the name of Alex’s obsession focus, but that of the previous resident, Irish and terse. The rap of the brass cried sharply its declaration through the thick wood. Alex stood back a step and waited, his eyes ardently planted on the knob.
When it turned and receded, Alex’s eyes lingered, anticipating a shrill, feminine voice which exclaimed: “Alex, oh my god, what are you doing here? You…you know you should not have come here. Not tonight, especially not tonight!”
“I’m all wet, do you mind if I come in for a minute?” Alex replied flatly.
“You know I don’t buy that bait-and-switch bullshit. Besides, you aren’t going to be here but a minute, so there’s no need for innuendos. That’s not why you’re here, to get dry…HA! So let’s have it then! Say what you came here to say, right now, not one step closer, not one second longer. You absolutely will not be getting in this house! Not tonight, not ever again! So say it, Alex, say it!”
“I’ve come to…”
“I told you that I will never…so don’t start with…”
“No.”
Alex reached behind him, threading his hand through the layers of his overcoat and shirts, grasped firmly the cold, black butt of his gun, pulled it out quietly, and placed it firmly to his temple.
“Alex, no!”
Through a stern mask of calm Alex looked skyward, exhaled deeply, and pulled the trigger. The cock landed like a sharp finger snap against an unsuspecting ear. The violent recoil brought the gun down to waist-level while still hanging from Alex’s hand.
“Oh my god!” the woman screamed and stood momentarily gazing at the still mass before her, wholly seized by fear.
But the gun had not discharged, however, and Alex drew his eyes down now to view the locked pistol.
“Jammed…”
“Oh my god!” the woman again screamed and slammed the door. She ran to the kitchen, retrieved the cordless phone from the tiled counter and dialed 911.
Alex stood still looking disjointedly at the black weight in his hand for several moments before skulking down upon the landing and bursting into tears. There he stayed, sobbing consistently with his knees to his chest, until the police arrived and ducked him into the squad car.

At the station, Alex was processed, fingerprinted digitally, photographed, interviewed, led to a holding area, and sat next to a long row of payphones with instructions on how to dial collect.
The series of stalls that encompassed the phones were colored pink, and indeed the whole room was painted a similar shade of dirty pink except for the green cardboard tiles of the drop ceiling lined with several installations of soft-humming florescent lights, as well as the two restroom placards which were royal blue.
Alex looked around this room after finally coming out of himself—taking mental notes of the speckled carpet, the wrought ergonomic chairs, and the foot-high stage to which all the chairs were facing. Half a dozen other individuals of both sexes were smattered among the six rows, all of them staring at the stage except for a woman sitting next to Alex, whom he had just noticed.
“What are you in here for?” the gangly woman asked when Alex met her adolescent gaze.
“Aggravated Harassment, you?”
“DUI.”
“What’d you blow?”
“Enough to get me here. Jackass!”
“Right, sorry, I didn’t mean… Nevermind.”
“Who do you think you are, asking me that?! How would you have liked it if I had asked you who you were stalking? Please!”
“I wasn’t stalking any… Nevermind, you’re right, I just…”
“I mean, this is some personal information that I don’t have to share with anyone, you know? But you, you go right out there and ask it! I bet you’re some sort of assassin guy, stalking the governor so you can learn enough about his daily regiments so that you can shoot him while he’s in line at Starbucks in order to impress some high school English teacher that you had the hots for back in the late nineties!”
“I’m sorry, miss, I…”
“You didn’t even ask me my name! You could have at least asked me my name before prying away at the inner workings of my misspent youth, still currently in progress. I mean, we may be in jail, but that doesn’t mean that we have to forego all semblances to honor and civility and manners.”
“You’re right, I’m…”
“You are a jackass, man! I don’t think I want to talk to you anymore. No, I’m going to go sit by the bathrooms and talk to myself.”
The woman stormed off and sat across the room, next to restrooms as she had promised, and in watching her, Alex had the curious feeling that he had lost an ally, though he could not account for such a notion.
Fortunately, Alex did not have long to dwell upon the strange rawness he felt as one of the guards was taking the stage and calling everyone to pay attention.
“And now we would like to bring up a special guest to the stage to perform for everybody. He is from the YMCA over on Broadway, and he’s someone who has become a regular part of the facilities here which we like to refer to as a family, although he’s not really considered a family member so much as someone like a member of the maintenance staff whom you only know by name while having little regard for their personal lives outside of this place. Anyways… Please let’s give a hand, all of you, for Mr. Widget, The Galloping Clown!”

Alex cringed bemused as he witnessed a Picasso-esque harlequin bound onto the stage. Mr. Widget was dressed in a checkered blue and rose-colored jumpsuit; the suit had exaggerated shoulders coming to isosceles points; his jowly face bore paint also in blue and rose, divided asymmetrically by a lightning bolt of naked flesh; his head was shaved on the rose-colored half of the sphere while on the blue-colored half his hair was dyed yellow and gelled stiff like a checkmark. The man behind the clown get-up was portly and his belly protruded at least a foot past the confines of his chest, Alex estimated. His bare feet were marked with varicose throbbing veins beneath the short ankles.

“Mr. Widget thanks you,” the officer said, acknowledging the harlequin’s bows. “Now, our friend, Mr. Widget, does not have many words that have been given to him, so I will be granting him some of mine. Please don’t be too harsh, my commentary is minimal, but it means a lot to our friend, Mr. Widget, here. So now, let’s get on with the show!”

The wiry, adolescent drunk driver began clapping and hollering—she was the only one. Alex sat back and tried to focus on something else, but all he could find were the collect dialing instructions, which he tried reading two dozen times but was too distracted by the peculiar scene he was now witness to.
“Mr. Widget will start by doing impressions of the creatures of the wild. Would anybody like to see him do an orangutan?”
“Me, me, me,” cried the woman from near the bathrooms.
The clown sunk down on his haunches, crooked his back, puffed out his lips, and unbuttoned a trap door to his costume to reveal his red-painted ass cheeks. Within seconds he had assumed the mannerism and demeanor of a placated ape.
“Beat your chest,” hollered the woman and the clown acquiesced. “Now grunt.”
“Throw your feces,” shouted the odorous man directly in front of Alex. He was promptly taken from the room by two officers whom were waiting off to the sides of the stage. “Good, I want to go, you’re doing me a favor!”
“Sorry about that folks, there’s always one who has to try and ruin things for everyone else. Now, let’s see who Mr. Widget will imitate next.”
The clown accepted the officer’s reparations and, taking two carrots from his pocket, laid on the ground and started braying like a walrus.
“There’s a seal, there’s a seal, play with him,” said the woman whom Alex thought now was seeing the animals in actuality.
“Alright, that was fantastic. Now, does anybody else have any suggestions?”
“I wanna see a giraffe, mommy,” the woman meekly pleaded.
“Um… I’m not sure if that can be done… Can you do a giraffe, Mr. Widget? Okay, apparently he can! This should be good.”
Mr. Widget, on all fours, stuck his head up haughtily.
“I don’t know, that doesn’t really look like a…”
But before the officer could finish, the clown dislocated both of his shoulders which freed up an extra foot to resemble an elongated neck.
“Whoa, he did it, look at that…a giraffe! Oh what a treat, I’ve never seen that before! Amazing. Simply amazing!”
Alex could not stand the farce any longer and he began shouting for someone to take him away.
The officer in charged answered, but he didn’t have anything good to offer:
“Get him out of here! What? We don’t have any cells left? Well put a muzzle on him then, will ya?”

Forced to watch now, Alex tried to pummel his brain with every available image he had repressed over the years: his grandmother’s frequent nipple slips, walking in on his parents in fermented throes, the slipped guts of his teenage compatriot impaled upon a fence post after they were running away from a love-in gone wrong when herpes was discovered. Horrible, horrible things.
“What will you do next? What’s that…a bull? So now…a bull.”
Alex, gave up, he decided he’d have enough of life—a life that involved mimic harlequins, apathetic counselors, rainy days, jammed pistols, everything extraneous. He rose and made for the restroom.
“Hey, where do you think you’re going?”
“Baño, sir,” he managed though now muffled.

The officer waved the guards off and Alex nodded condescendingly, knowing that he would never have to look at another totalitarian asshole in a uniform.
With the door closed safely behind, Alex squirmed his mouth loose from the muzzle with a great strain but also quickly. Next, he started looking around for an implement of self-destruction. But the bathroom was prepared for such despair, having nothing jagged, blunt or loose. There was nothing; Alex had to improvise.
A urinal cake of royal blue became a mouthful of breath mints and promised to restrict the airflow more than enough. Alex removed the toilet paper roll, shoving it into the open spaces of the muzzle. Finally, he pulled off his shirt and tied it tightly around his mandible then held his head between his legs until his brain started to tingle and he couldn’t even see fuzzy.

Alex regressed into a pastoral meadow beside two rounded hills which perfectly resembled enhanced breasts topped with tufts of areola rose brush. Beneath his feet and spreading across acres were blades of verdant Styrofoam which rebounded and resisted the bare-shodden feet. The fields reached far, pulling in birds from the descending sky, until they dead-ended into a wall postered over with scenes of the Pacific Ocean near Big Sur.

On his hands and knees prone, Alex searched through the polymer lawn for something to inflict immense damage on his skull. The field, after several hours, however, yielded nothing. Frustrated, Alex sat and clinched his eyes tight. He focused on materializing an object: “A gun would be nice, but a rock will do.”
When he opened his eyes before him was a stack of spherical rocks three feet high of descending circumference, pebbles at the top and foot-round stones at the bottom.
The stack, he thought, was too perfect. And so, in order to preserve the integrity of the imaginary gifts bestowed upon him, Alex started swallowing the smaller ones, one by one, in search of that perfect rock which would inflict the seismic strike to end the phantasm. Finally, he had gotten to where he needed. He palmed the appropriate rock, which was about the size of a grapefruit, measured its inertia, and slammed it against his temple, dislodging a major burden from within himself as a genus of singular-chromatic butterflies spilt out, borne on the synaptic waves of unlimited romanticism.

Disjointed, Alex watched for as long as he could as the fluttering splotches of color dove and dipped, trailing out like brushfire smoke, off into the distance. And yet, the stone had loosed not only the winged beauty within the morose Alex but also the man from himself. No longer was he to be bound to that desire to destroy his bodily inheritance—whether he had done it in a dream or standing in front of his therapist, his Solomonic mind registered the deed as if his brains were actually losing fluids fast enough to shut down for good. Thus, freed from his bodily girth, Alex caught up with and then hitched a ride with the lepidopteran jet-stream, following the billowing rabble of hue. He was able soon to look back and see himself sitting motionless, slunk, agape, a Polaroid picture film pressed upon a textured backdrop.

It was like staring at himself through a foggy window, wisps of breath clouding the glass, making the flowers fade in luminance. We have all been desensitized to the pressure and sharpened lances of the world. Swinging maces and funny faces, children are bred to ignore all that stings: to make comedy of tragedy, comedy of the mundane, comedy of what is already and has long been scripted. Against this, Alex was nurturing his own fiat words of the mind hallucinating freely, immersed in images which are beyond dreams, in conversation with his self, allowing words that had to come out, usually in song, to strike shrill, like a crash of glass and anxiety of ruinous dead shattering, and leave behind: a perfect, serene moment.
At times he was overtly aware of himself and felt futility in merely floating there, but these moments were in passing. He was certain that, though his present would garner no immediate results, he would eventually—like a fetus, whose prone position his hollowed out former body had assumed—ascend to great deeds in a rush of blood and viscera and breaking daylight. This he could accept. And he rapidly found the courage to bring himself to stand again on the Styrofoam Earth his mind had created in protection of itself, unsatisfied but serene. He brushed off the butterfly flakes from his chest, dried his tears with his palms, straightened his genitals, patted down his hair, arched his back, cracked his pre-rheumatic knuckles and breathed. Alex approached his wasted body, scooped a drink from a puddle near the opened cranium and once more took in the vista. He wished later that he could say that everything looked anew, the artificial greens more vibrant, the crashing distant Pacific louder, the winds and the birds more sonorous—but he did not experience these revelations. Instead, he recognized and saluted the old him for its steadfastness when he was drifting anchorless.

Before he was ready to leave, he thought he’d try to create some more creatures to populate his subconscious fields. Alex called back to the minutes before his hallucination and tried to seize upon the impressions Mr. Widget had wiggled out on stage. Alex closed his eyes and imagined baboons trudging along the farthest foothills. When he looked up, sure enough, a troop of red asses could be witnessed sunning on some cliffs while others approach them. He closed his lids again and soon saw giraffes striding toward him around the bend coming out from behind the other mountain. And thereafter, walruses could be heard off in the distance near the photo crags at Bixby Creek.
Then, a notion occurred at which Alex laughed wickedly, and, after quickly reflecting upon it further, he suddenly believed he had had his calling thrust upon him by circumstance as the idea of animal parody seemed like the only reliable option left to him.
Thus, after forcing himself to wake up, dragging his blood-rushed body out from the mucked up restroom without wiping his faint-blue mouth, sitting heavily in the nearest chair, ignoring the interrogation of the guards, and disregarding the stares of the curious inmates, he turned his attention again to the contorting harlequin on stage—to study his methods.