Friday, June 25, 2010

My biography is the following:
April 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 through my creative works here:
http://april-abd.bravehost.com/Homepage.htm

1. The Voice Of Despair

Triangles of half-open doors
Reveal all the truth that is hidden:
Just condoms and cans on the floor,
Black papers with verses, forbidden -
Unfinished remakes of the song,
Deprived of the right to speak loud
Of wicked intentions gone wrong -
Erasers have muffled the shout.

The only illusion-proof mind -
A poet, the voice of despair,
Sincere, the one of this kind
Throws verses far into the air
Right there, in a dirty old flat
Among once great talents, now rotten.
They all have deserved more than that,
But even their names are forgotten.

2. Victim

You wake up at six: intercourse with your spouse.
You're under the blanket with tightly shut eyes.
At seven a postman arrives to your house
With two printed portions of scandals and lies.

You turn the TV on. Your damn daily dose
Of lies is exceeded with fresh morning news.
You firmly believe global changes are close -
You have no idea they've hidden the truth.

In life you've achieved less than nothing, you're poor
Though you were the best both at college and school.
Well, man, who are you? You are not even sure.
In fact, you're a pawn in the game of a fool.

3. A Desperate City

Hello to you from the gray gloomy city,
Where crowds unconsciously worship despair,
Indulging in dangers of constant self-pity
With naive belief in the world's being fair.

They have no trust in a man's inner power,
And fortitude sounds like something unknown.
They have no poets, just ones of an hour,
Who drown at once in the thoughts of their own.

With greed they consume plain illusions for dinner,
And dress them with lies when they serve the new dishes
To those so-called "pathological sinners"
Who find someone else's delusions delicious.

They have Friday liter-mates rather than friends
To mark that the week of no favor is ending,
But even with glasses of spirits in hands
They look worse than misery. Are they pretending?

4. Heartless-can-be?

I'm wild and sometimes even heartless-can-be,
I'm fond of collecting illusions to ruin,
I'm breaking the rules life has written for me,
"Create to destroy" best describes what I'm doing.
I'm scarily dangerous, silently loud -
A walking disaster you'd better ignore,
The pain in the neck of a desperate crowd.
But I'm like a magnet - you'll only want more.

You'll figure me out, you'll get to the core -
One beauty, two fears, three dangers - it's me.
You'll enter my heartspace and close the door
For anyone else who I wanted to be.
My truth was denying devotion and faith,
And now you've proved right the opposite true.
A chain of mistakes is the sign of my days;
My strength will forgive me - it led me to you.

5. Every Single Evening's Plot

I closed the door of my dirty old flat,
I went outside for a short evening stroll.
I bought some cheap hooch and a condom instead.
I'd only arrived when I heard a phone call.
It was so persistent, so deafening loud.
Who failed to forget me? I wanted to know.
I took a deep breath for a desperate shout,
Picked up the receiver: "Hello! Hello?"
Just silence. An error? Wrong number? Or what?
A quick thought of you. Stupid me! Would you care?
I started to feel all the spirits I'd bought
Dissolve in my blood, neutralizing despair.
In less than an hour my neighbours arrived
And asked me for something they needed. Okay.
I gave them a condom and bade them hot night -
I wouldn't have sex for some number more days.
I spent the next hour listening to moans,
But envy and anger were still neutralized.
I'd made through the day, and I'd done it alone.
The neighbours calmed down. I closed my eyes.
Choice

Choice is...real

...unreal, unwanted

Choice does not let you choose,

or make decisions, choice forces you

to decide.

Yet, deciding really offers you no choice

of all the options.

Choice offends your decisions.

Just as decisions mock your choices.

So choose wisely.



EDGE


I sit and I listen

Watch the phone

Wait for your ring

Even knowing you may

not call, keeps me on

edge

I guess I like being on edge

It gives me a sense of excitement

The excitement I must

look forward too.

It gives me that senses of comfort

that I beg for

I continue to listen in the house

to hear you, even though

I know you are no longer here

The somber sound of your sleeping breath

reminded me of comfort

Gave me hope...I guess?

In the morning we would brew our day

over brewed coffee

Planning our adventures

not our leap from the edge



The Breakup


The weight of the world falls upon my chest with an unassuming heaviness. It fills my lungs with bubbles, popping at each gasping breath I attempt to draw into my heaviness


I felt as though I was under a grand piano, hanging only by a thin unstable cable, outside a glassless window, many many storeys above me, as I stand unknowingly on the sidewalk below.


The piano begins to inch, ever so slightly, slowly, down each floor. The ebb of its decline makes it hard for me to see it is falling towards me. But every once in awhile, I see slight movement out of the corner of my eye, which would remind me of my fate, and not to plant my feet too far in the ground.


Every so often the wind would gently brush the ivory keys and make a sweet and promising sound, but the wind would cease, and the piano continued to rush towards me, now picking up speed.


I felt a storm coming. My guts twisted and churned, like I knew exactly what was to come, but did not anticipate the weight of the beautiful object hovering, still above me.


I looked up just in time to see the piano before it hit, and I prayed to whoever was listing to at the least, not hit me too hard.


But it would become apparent that that request was inevitable, it was going to hit me, but it was up to me how hard the impact would be.


I thought quick on my ungrounded feet.... If I dodged to the right it would crush my legs....If I fell to the left it would surely crush my arms... but if I stayed directly under it..and took the hit head on, I was sure to get out...bruised, scarred but nevertheless....Alive!


I am glad I chose that outcome for myself... It's not how the weight of the world hits you, but how you decide to fall victim under it.


Meaghan Lank
Ray Succre

Bio: Ray Succre currently lives on the southern Oregon coast with his wife and son. He has published in Aesthetica, BlazeVOX, and Pank, as well as in numerous others across as many countries. His novels Tatterdemalion (2008) and Amphisbaena (2009), both through Cauliay, are widely available in print. Other Cruel Things (2009), an online collection of poetry, is available through Differentia Press.

Flies and Peaches to the Ground

The live American, gem-eyed

and peach-tongued at the table,

has red drifts and green slants.



Plates arrive amid the flies,

a flock of them. They swim

the nations out, sound a strong horn,

lie level as the peoples secrete

and slide in morning yolks.



The hairs have scarcely grown in

before they strike the floor.



Beneath the air and sea, is ground.

It knows of no difference between

boar-tick and tire, and covers over

in a shake the same.

The dead American is no more
obscured than the dead Spaniard.



Urchins. Hieroglyphs. Minerals

to stick against a dog’s paw dig,

laying down cow bones in a surly

earth that churns.



The Wades in Notoriety

Some path sick or tussled lends its length to celebrity,

pitches clay-baked in flashed green light,

and warden-pared segments.



Riches sweeten, a death of brink freshness,

with crocodile eyes or distant,

but their rhapsody is smeared in frank ransoms,

with iodine crocked in the cut.



Here on some path stacked and tottering,

and pressed against all sides by searing, slow shoulders,

these hoisted beings wave through tinsel,

as if pledging they are made to appear,

and not leave ever. They soon sit,

and then wage and ware are innovated.



When the path brightens, a slash through domestic night,

these cutely culled human riches

raise as if praises for wooden, unborn babies.


The Auger Down

The caravans pass and will not distinguish

hitch-thumbs in the background from middle

fingers, the Beat; old men tell it the gut of art,

flipped like a generation, the one,

sucking dead cats up through grates for brunch,

and applauding genitals from atop ugly tongues

and snappy fames that seldom dealt with their

own aftermath,

riding the auger down.



Someone holds the lid up in reference

and pours the vomit out like

gizzards flopping from

a nude grocery turkey;

someone flushes and leaps in,

riding the auger down.



The green-blue hot dog in a chapbook

is uncovered,

gasping, turning down,

the groove opens her legs and

all the dead Greeks on Troy fall out,

gasping, turning down,

the subjects caught up in cellophane,

gasping, turning down,

art affairs after love affairs into cat affairs,

soured milk, dogshit, parkside deals,

gasping, gasping, turning inward,

riding the auger down.




Without Anesthetic

The toothache splits your jaw into halves,

and haunts them, tooth by twisting tooth,

kerosene on water around a child yellow truck.

That face is grasped in sudden muscle

as if a bruise with eyes and nose

above a stone-tumbler with a tongue.



You stamp the floor, you patch your hands

together, opening the mouth and tugging

from harsh spirals of pain, as from a gasping

fish on the hook.
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?”
“BaƱo, 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.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

John A. Grochalski

Dear Mr. Logan:



I am a published writer whose poems have appeared in your journal as well as Avenue, Lit Up, Rusty Truck, Thieves Jargon, The Lilliput Review, The New Yinzer, The Blue Collar Review, The Deep Cleveland Junkmail Oracle, The ARTvoice, Modern Drunkard Magazine, The American Dissident, My Favorite Bullet, Words-Myth, The Main Street Rag, Underground Voices, Eclectica, Zygote In My Coffee, the Kennesaw Review, Octopus Beak Inc., Clockwise Cat, Ink Sweat and Tears, Cherry Bleeds, Indite Circle, Lit Up, Gloom Cupboard, Alternative Reel, One Night Stanzas, Re)verb, American Tanka, Tattoo Highway, The Smoking Poet, Why Vandalism, The Delinquent, Delirio, The Chiron Review, Gutter Eloquence, Opium Poetry, Mad Swirl, Deep Tissue Magazine, The Loch Raven Review, The Hidden City Quarterly, Poetic Desperation, Red Fez, Eviscerator Heaven, Viral Cat, Leaf Garden, Down in the Dirt, Black Listed Magazine, Poetry Super Highway, Calliope Nerve, Ghoti, The Plebian Rag, Front Page, Gnome, Poor Mojo’s Almanac, Carcinogenic Poetry, Thirteen Myna Birds, This Zine Will Change Your Life, Children, Churches and Daddies, Fosebook, and the Orange Room Review. My short fiction has appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Fictionville, Bartleby Snopes, Retort, The Battered Suitcase, The Big Stupid Review, Pequin, The Legendary, The Moose & Pussy, and will be forthcoming in the anthology Living Room Handjob. My column The Lost Yinzer appears quarterly in The New Yinzer (www.newyinzer.com). My book of poems The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out is out via Six Gallery Press, and my chapbook Glass Cities is forthcoming on Low Ghost Press. I am sending five poems to you: “this bitter redundant pill,” “hungover on a bathroom floor in paris,” “little girl pounding on the drunk and hungry doorway to my soul,” “happy anniversary,” and “cats,” for consideration to be published in a future issue of Record. Thank you for taking the time to look at the poems and I look forward to hearing from you.


this bitter redundant pill



standing outside another

jack kerouac home

this one he lived in from

1943-1949

someone stole the plaque

commemorating this feat of existence

so we go across the street

into the bar where jack used to

put back pints

with neal cassady, allen ginsberg,

and his oedipus complex



we have done this so many times

you and i

visiting these old tombs

from new york to frisco

all over london and paris



we walked until our feet bleed

the history poured out of our souls

taking photos next to fading plaques

and even more opaque memories

drinking in taverns, like this one,

places of legend without the shine



it satisfies for a moment

but it never gets us anywhere



i mean we never

really get to touch the times we’re seeking

we just fester in our own

half-forgotten already

before we even had a chance



i tell you

you know, seeing all of these places is fine

but it’s like swallowing a bitter sometimes

knowing that no one will ever do it for you



you look at me like i don’t know

what i’m talking about



i think

that’s good

that’s good



because maybe i don’t know

what i’m talking about either



and once we finish our beers

i promise that i’m going to get myself together

because we need to get on the train

back to brooklyn

because the address for henry miller’s

boyhood home

is burning a hole

in my back pocket.





hungover on a bathroom floor in paris



hungover on a bathroom floor in paris

i have a headache and my stomach is burning

i have just thrown up wine and peanuts

from a night of debauchery at la rotonde

there is a tallboy of heineken in the refrigerator

it is half drunk and i don’t remember buying it

but my wife has a digital picture of me

holding the beer and leaning on some stranger’s scooter

with the le dome in the background

and rodin’s statue of balzac off to the right



i have been like this on many bathroom floors before

in pittsburgh, in new york, and in buffalo mostly

i’m not new to this

but this is my first international trip to give alms

to the porcelain god



i didn’t throw up in london



i don’t like this bathroom

the white tile feels warm on my skin instead of cold

and the sink has a mirror that wraps around it

so that i can see how black and blue my eyes look

how pale green my face is

how sweaty and matted my hair and beard are

my legs when i get the shits

i can see wine and peanuts on my t-shirt

i can see what an asshole i look like



hungover on bathroom floor in paris

the bile rising in me again

and the head pounding its too typical beat

a beautiful sunny day trip to the eiffel tower

probably wasted

because i wanted to die too much the night before



because i always want too much.







little girl pounding

on the drunk and hungry doorway

to my soul




our favorite burmese place

in the city has been closed

for i don’t know how long

we find this out after getting drunk

in the bar around the corner

we are sad because we’ve shared many

a monumental meal at that place

we take the train back across

the east river

feeling there’s nothing to do

but head toward home

we find an italian restaurant on

3rd avenue

we both have to piss

but i’m a gentlemen so i let

my wife go first while the homosexual waiter

seats us

and asks me about the usa versus england

soccer game

i tell him i always root against america

especially when we’re on the world’s stage

he frowns at me

but then my wife comes back

and i head to the pisser

which is locked

i shake the door, pound, and curse

i want whomever is in there to know

what they’ve done to me

i go into the women’s room

i have no choice

it is a single bathroom, so i’m not

disturbing the natural course of existence

i open up and begin to piss

it feels good

hours of beer running away

like bad memories

when there is a pounding on the door

someone shaking the handle

i think it’s the prick from the men’s room

getting me back

so i start shouting drunken threats as i piss

the piss is taking a long time

but i think i’m going to knock this man out

when i get out of the bathroom

he doesn’t say anything

to my threats

just keeps pounding at the door

shaking the handle

i finish and don’t even wash my hands

i go to the door

unlock it and fling it open

there’s no one there but a little blonde girl

in a brown dress

her eyes like big black diamonds

she looks up at me and smiles

i step aside and she goes into the bathroom

locking the door behind her

you just got lucky kid, i shout

because i have nothing constructive to do

with my anger

when i get back to our seat

my wife is there with the waiter

he still wants to talk soccer

but i feel drunk and hungry and done with the day

i say to my wife

how about some pinot noir

she seems to agree with that

so we order a bottle

and the waiter goes and bothers

somebody else.





happy anniversary



my mother calls

at the last minute

of the last hour

of the last day

and my wife throws the phone

at me from the bedroom

where she has not been sleeping

while i’m trying to make

a go of it on the couch

happy anniversary, my mother says

why are you calling so late? i ask

i wanted to get you

before your anniversary was over

oh

i look at my wife

she is pacing the kitchen now

slamming the fridge

getting herself a glass of wine

while i sit here with an empty glass

but it’s been that kind of a day

one with the best intentions

having gone to shit

i figured you’d be up, my mother says

yes, i say

i am up because my wife and i have

been fighting

swapping rooms and insults for almost

an hour

six years ago she was wearing a skimpy

white outfit and we fucked for an hour

but i don’t say this

i ask her again why she is calling

is it late? my mother asks

for some, i say

well i figured if i was up, the two of you

were up

my mother is a fucking detective

we are, i say

well, happy anniversary, she says

thank you

then i hang up without another word

my wife comes back in the room

she has that “don’t start with me,” face

i toss the phone on the coffee table

but it bounces off of proust

and smacks onto the living room floor

well, i don’t think we’ll be hearing

from my mother for a while, i say

then i get up and get myself

another glass of wine

thinking that i have another year, hopefully,

to try and get this particular day

right.
Paul Beckman is a real estate salesman, a writer, snorkeler, traveler and photographer. He specializes in the short story, the short-short story, post-card, flash fiction, micro & briefs stories. He coined the term "briefs" to describe his 60 word and under stories, Last year his 105 year old aunt and his dog died but he has no current plans for replacing either.


Some publishing credits: THE CONNECTICUT REVIEW, THE NEW HAVEN REVIEW, ONTHEBUS, SHORT STORY LIBRARY, THE WRITER’S VOICE, PLAYBOY, 5 TROPE, OTHER VOICES, THE SCRUFFY DOG REVIEW, PARTING GIFTS, FICTION WAREHOUSE, WEB DEL SOL, JEWISH CURRENTS, LONG STORY SHORT, PITTSBURGH FLASH FICTION GAZETTE, RIVERBABBLE, EXQUISITE CORPSE, COLLECTEDSTORIES.COM, OPIUM, CLEAN SHEETS, THUG LIT and SUGAR MULE.


MR... FIX ALL

There was a line forming outside THE FIX ALL SHOP when Elwin, the proprietor, arrived at seven thirty Tuesday morning. Although most of the people knew who he was, no one exchanged pleasantries with him or him with them.

Elwin was a presence; around forty years old, six-four and stocky with bushy eyebrows and thick brown hair parted on the side. The comb marks were always visible which is what happens when you comb your hair wet. He was clean-shaven and could’ve used a mustache or beard to minimize the size of his nose, but most likely the concept never entered his mind.

It was only a year and a half ago that Elwin Miller drove into Northampton, Massachusetts, parked his car and walked both sides of the wide Main Street. There were only three empty stores and he honed in on the one at the very edge of town—the least desirable for a retail business. He rented it and then looking for a place to live settled on a garage apartment six blocks from the store. The furnished apartment was over a four-car garage that was used for the four-plex in front. Elwin paid three months rent in advance and continued on that way.

He keeps his own car behind the store and starts it once or twice a week and drives it once a month. Otherwise, he walks everywhere and occasionally takes a bus.

Elwin unlocked the door, turned on the lights and walked into the back room where he put on a pot of coffee and his canvas apron. He put the loop over his head and tied the strings in back. It had three slots for pens in the bib part and large pockets on the sides. He sharpened a pencil and stuck it behind his right ear. The door to his shop remained unlocked but the “closed” sign was still hanging so no one entered. He sat at his desk, wrote out a few bills and when the coffee was ready he took the newspaper and sat back down. He read the first page of each section, except sports, and never continued any article beyond that initial page. He never read the comics, advice columns or his horoscope.

At seven-fifty-six he got up, rinsed and cup and walked to the front door where he turned the sign to “open” and then walked behind the counter which was three feet wide and almost the width of his store.

Almost instantly the opening door jingled the attached bell and Elwin’s first customer walked in. He was an almost bald man with a friar’s fringe. He held a large paper shopping bag on its side and with some effort hefted it onto the counter. Elwin waited while the man handed him the manila card he had filed out in line, from the stack of manila cards in the Plexiglas box by the door. The card had a perforated receipt on one end and two six inch strings coming from a hole at the other end.

Beads of sweat dripped down the man where his sideburns were meant to be. As the man slid a large roasting pan with a turkey out of the bag, Elwin read the problem section of the card. I over cooked the turkey and my wife is coming in from a business trip and bring company home for dinner at seven. Elwin ripped off the receipt, handed it back to the man, tied the strings around a drumstick and slid the turkey back into the bag. “Be back at six,” he said and then placed the bag in one of the many bins behind him.

His next customer placed a shoebox on the counter and handed Elwin her card. Problem: Son dropped vase, It’s been in the family for years. Why do so many people feel they have to put the reason that things happened, he wondered. Elwin opened the shoebox, surveyed the dozens of pieces and said, “It’s not all here. Pieces are missing.”

The woman looked sheepish. “I think a couple of pieces may have skidded under the breakfront but it’s too heavy for me to move.”

Elwin pushed the box back at the woman and told her that he was a fix-all man and not a magician. “Bring this to Penn and Teller’s shop in Amherst,” he said and ripped the card in half.

After Elwin had rented the storefront he spent a month building his bins. The landlord had partitioned off an office and a bathroom and left the rest for him to finish. His bins ranged from two feet by two feet to large floor to ceiling ones—eight and a half feet tall and six feet wide. Behind the counter were the smaller bins that stretched from one end to the other leaving only passage room to get to the larger bins which were not visible from the front of the store. The bins were all painted white and touched up as needed from scuffs and dings.

At first no one knew what he fixed. People were turned away with broken televisions, bicycles and the like. On his third day in business a woman came in with a broken iron and a limping dog. He told her to take the iron and leave the dog. He tied a card to the dog’s collar and placed the pooch in a side bin. Elwin check the dog’s paws and used a tweezers to take a burr out from between the pads on his left front leg. Later that day the woman came back for her dog, now non-limping, and went around telling everyone about The Fix All Shop.

Elwin refused an interview with the local paper but they ran a story on him anyway. They used a picture of people lined up in front of his store since he wouldn’t pose for a picture with his bins. He kept to himself, took most of his meals at the local diner, was often seen at the library and occasionally at the movie theater. He was always alone and although satisfied clients and other business people invited him to picnics and parties he never went.

The line was orderly and one customer after another came in and put their items on the counter. Most were accepted and went into bins in an order only known and understood by Elwin, but like the vase, some were rejected, Just after noon a man handed Elwin two sticks and before Elwin was able to read the ticket the man told him that he was a dowser and this was his best dowsing stick. “My last customer broke it on me because he only got two gallons a minute after drilling down over four hundred feet.”

Elwin picked up both pieces of the branch. The bark had been removed and it was worn smooth with visible finger indentations.

“Willow,” said Elwin.

“Willow,” said the dowser.

“After five,” Elwin said and handed the man his receipt. He turned and put the sticks in the upper bins behind him.

Two women appearing to be mother and daughter were next at the counter. Wordlessly, Elwin turned and walked to his back room, poured himself a cup of coffee and carried it back out front, taking small sips as he went. The daughter was now sitting atop the counter, her knees up, arms crossed on top and her head resting on her arms. She had her face turned away from her mother and towards Elwin, her eyes closed and her face pained. He didn’t have to read the ticket—he knew what was wrong. Her mother held the ticket and fidgeted. He took the ticket, ripped off the receipt for the mother and tied the strings to the girl’s large hoop earrings, and then gently picked her up and carried her around the side and placed her in a large bin. Her position never changed. Elwin patted her hair, whispered in her ear and walked back out front. “Call me Friday,” he said, “Broken hearts take a little longer.”

Mrs... Sheehy was next with her toaster oven. Elwin had turned her down twice before but she was old and obviously forgetful. Even so, he couldn’t help his disdainful look as he tossed the toaster oven in a bottom bin telling her that he’d call her when it was ready. He told her that if she’d taken it to Bob Villas’ Fix-Er-Up Shoppe he would have fixed it while she waited. “It won’t be this month,” he told her. “That fine,” she said. “I have a new one anyway.”

A couple stood flanking an eleven year old boy. The man wore a plaid shirt and had a pleasant face. The woman wore what she thought of as a weight-hiding dress and had a puss. The boy was vintage Norman Rockwell—freckles, cowlick, red hair and jug ears. Elwin waited to hear what they wanted done with the boy when the boy handed him the card. My parents are splitting up. Please bring them back together. Elwin told the boy to come back after five, closer to six and handed him the receipt for his parents. He tied the strings to a button hole in the father’s plaid shirt and then walked to the rear of the store and returned with a double wide hand truck. Elwin had the parents stand next to each other and on their toes. He slid the hand truck beneath their feet and then went around front and adjusted them both. He then wheeled them, tilted back, and deposited them in a rear bin.

He took another half-dozen customers and then, ignoring the line, locked the door and turned the sign to closed. He took the bag with the turkey into the bathroom, put it on the closed toilet seat and turned on the hot water. Steam was beginning to fill the room as he closed the door. Elwin left by the back door and walked away from town.

“Enough already,” Dr. Schlermer said. “If you recite your whole day it’ll take my whole day.”

“I thought you wanted to know what brought me here,” Elwin said. “I was just telling you what brought me here.” Elwin, being a man of few words was actually not surprised at how freely his thoughts spilled out. Remembering the other towns and shrinks he recalled that they always did.

“Okay, so tell me what brought you here?”

“Pressure. I’m feeling too much pressure from my customers.”

“You’re here because of pressure?” Dr. Schlermer asked.

“Yes,” Elwin said.


You don’t know from pressure,” The psychologist said. “Sit in my seat and listen to people kvetch all day. That’s pressure. Most of you people who come here have no idea how good you have it. Pills,” he said. “It’s a good thing for pills.”

“You’re going to give me pills? What kind of pills?” Elwin asked.

“The pills are for me, not you. Otherwise I’d never get out of bed, much less make it through the day. Maybe I should check myself into your shop,” Dr. Schlermer laughed. “Do you take Blue Cross? How much is your co-pay? Any professional courtesy?”

Elwin didn’t bother to answer. He got up and left. His shop was closed from noon until four and it was now one-thirty. He stopped at a coffee shop for lunch—a departure from his routine. He usually took a nap until one-fifteen in one of his bins and then went to the diner for his tuna on rye toast. He knew that when he returned there’d be a line waiting to pick up whatever was fixed and ready. Elwin was a bit edgy from his lack of a nap and his visit with the shrink. He almost told him too much and might have if the shrink hadn’t started in about his own problems.

He was a fraud. No matter how many people Elwin helped, he saw himself as a con. He knew it was time to start planning his move to the next town before he was found out. He thought back to the limping dog’s paw. He knew that others wanted things to be right and for someone to say so and between the powers of suggestion, the praise of others and their desire to please him, most people made adjustments. He also knew that these changes were temporary even if he never stayed around long enough to find out just how short lived they were. Believing this was the reason he didn’t stay in any one town too long. “Always leave them wanting more, but always leave them,” read the needlepoint pillow in his head.

“How’s my father?” the waitress asked as she put a BLT and lemonade on the counter in front of Elwin. He’d ordered a tuna on rye toast and a coke. He knew she looked familiar when she’d taken his order.

“Please,” Elwin said, not knowing for the life of him who her father was, “I don’t talk business during my lunch time. It’s my only break of the day. I’m sure you can appreciate that.”

The waitress apologized and said that she’d see him later anyway. “I’m scheduled to pick him up at five and I hope his Alzheimer’s has gotten better and he recognizes me.”

“Stop!” Elwin ordered her. “No more business talk. Bring me a slice of Coconut cream pie.”

“Out,” she said. “How about banana cream?”

“Make it tapioca, then.”

“Rice pudding?” she countered.

“You must have blueberry pie. Bring me a slice of blueberry pie.”

“Apple?”

“Okay, apple.”

“Ice cream with it?”

“No. Just a slice.”

“Warmed?” she asked and when Elwin didn’t answer she walked away and returned with a slice and a half of warm apple pie. When she switched the pie plate with the BLT plate she winked at him and winked again when she brought his bill and there was no mention of pie.

Elwin paid and walked back to the shop. He walked in through the back door to avoid the three people standing in line. He walked over to the girl with the broken heart, leaned inside the bin and whispered, “You will feel great when you wake up and wonder what you ever saw in him.” He repeated this scene every fifteen minutes whether she was sleeping or awake.

He pulled up his chair in front of the couple that was splitting, spun it around and sat down resting his arms on the chair back. “You might as well take your son out and drown him or shoot him,” Elwin told the startled couple. “The odds are not in his favor. Ted Bundy, Mark Chapman and Hannibal Lecter were all eleven years old when their parents split. So were Hitler, Arafat, Newt Gingrich and Richard Nixon and also Louis Lepke, Don King and Aaron Burr. Eleven is the most pivotal age of all. Hang in there a couple of more years and he’ll stand a better chance of outgrowing that mass killer phase of anti-socialism. Besides, you could be held financially liable.”

Without looking at each other the couple had been edging closer together during Elwin’s lecture. By the time he finished they were holding hands. Not long after he left them he heard love moans from their bin but chose not to sneak a peek.

Next he went to the bin and took out the two pieces of the dowser’s stick. This was his first dowser. Finally, he thought, after all these years of going town to town setting up shop, there’s something different. He held the broken piece of willow along side the other and marked it with a pencil. He then scored the long side with his pocket knife and broke it, evening up both sides—shorter but symmetrical. Elwin tossed the willow remnants away.

At a quarter to four he went into the bathroom and turned the water off. The turkey was moist. He carved it for the client and drained the water from the pan.

Lastly, he walked over to the bin with the Alzheimer’s patient. “Your daughter’s coming to pick you up soon,” he told the man, “She hopes you’ll recognize her. Do your best.”

“Can’t I stay a little longer” the man asked. “She drives me crazy.”

The waitress daughter was the first in line when Elwin reopened. She winked at him. He brought the old man out to his daughter and he looked at her and said, “Molly,” calling out his late wife’s name. He then grabbed his daughter and kissed her, sticking his tongue deeply into her mouth. Speechless, she pulled away wiping her mouth on her sleeve. Her father turned and walked back to his bin. She winked at Elwin, “I’ll call you,” she said and left the shop.

At six Elwin closed and locked the door and went home. He felt good but a little sad that it had become time to move on. The next morning as he walked towards he store he saw Dr. Schlermer standing in line filling out a card. Elwin turned down a side street and sat on the curb. He watched the line getting longer, but it wasn’t until he remember the girl with the broken heart that he finally got up and began walking, taking out the store keys as he went.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

TWIXT is the mononym-onym of Peter Specker; he has had poetry published in MARGIE, The Indiana Review, Amelia, California State Quarterly, RE:AL, Pegasus, First Class, Pot-pourri, Art Times, The Iconoclast, Epicenter, Subtropics, and others. He lives in Ithaca, New York.

Flown Flakey Flow



The slow comes down in snow-motion millefleurs,

which leaves crystal leaves and petals galore

in a shifting floor of shifting flours.







Presence In The Gorge



More and more ice creates a wide impact

(water’s way of getting itself across)

(the thin brown urination of the stream

left, around the pile up) which gets me to

thinking (or I wouldn’t even be here).







My Right



Exercising my rights responsibly,

my solemn right’s responsibility –

it’s a big world out there that’s not out there

it’s right here.







I thought I saw a path on too thin an

emotionless surface to walk across.








Across The Lawn



The Duke Of Early to duck-obvious

quacks wakes, his day starts, gubernacular

thoughts guide the glide, the druthers and the yens

follow.







Night In The Open



I find space easy enough, but sometimes

it escapes into space.
I show the whore my song of filth & death/ she
says I should have died before I wrote it/ she
doesn't realize I've been dead for years/ if


she could smell herself she'd know that
her pussy too is dead & rotting now milleniums, but
her arrogance makes her think she lives/ thank


God I am one who fast forgives/ though God too exudes
the effluvia of death/ He speaks the word & it comes from
his sick breath/ I forgive dead God & relieve his

pain with meth/ He speeds about like the
mad corpse He's become/ spouting love like some
sex craved bum/ His festering phallus makes


the angels run to satisfy their lust with the devil's dork, as
the good Lord eats worms & beetles in raw pork/ the
Lord goes right to sleep forsaking work, missing


the pope's cattle & their circle jerk, with
little children thrown is as a perk/ it's
enough to make a good man smirk, but


all the good men have been eaten by the capitalist beast, &
Mammon sucks their blood as a spiritual treat, as the
children are slaughtered by the penis of the priest, &


the bishop joins the celebration sucking a sister's teat, &
through his lips squirts the blood of horror that
the bishop drinks & shouts for more, which


brings us back to the beginning & our vicious whore, dripping
the pus of morality from from her venal & lusty core, with
disease & agony squeezed from every pore/ &


today our land is strewn with rotting souls baking
eternally on the devil's coals; so
rejoice, you miserable ingrates, dried


up as festering raisins & foul dates with screaming
furies as your mates, craven dogs of sundry hates!
Rejoice! your bowl of foul


drippings
awaits ...


!

Fritz Hamilton

Friday, June 4, 2010

My poetry is a blend of my personal experience, philosophy, and sin. I have just begun the process of trying to get my work published, so I don't have anything to share with you in that regard as of yet. But, I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Adam Mayster


Desert Heat II

This riddle, I must discern…

Beast circling skies full of sun;

A bit deeper, I need to run;

Gliding over the land,

I can not understand;

Wrestling each grain of sand,

I still find nothing;

The figure, long and lean,

What else have I not seen?

On with the same routine,

I need to find something.


The Impulse

A powerful impulse,

Lurking unrestrained;

The collapse of virtue,

The death of tradition,

The revenge of sin;

Let freedom reign.


AVII

Irrational face,

And contradiction,

With man interlace,

Modern condition;

Transcend, understand,

Decomposition.


Flee Red Dow’!

In the obscured lived the bold angel of venture;

She came down to rescue the ridiculous;

Her intensions of extravagance,

“Too much veracious offender!”


Shy of brightening everything,

Much more than certainly,

She laughed at the amateur for the fine,

And, for so she was damned!
Ken "Kookinelli"

Apparently not content to squander public money to challenge Obama's federal health care reform or the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, to say nothing of that quick flop "modesty" redesign of the Commonwealth's seal, Virginia's Attorney General continues on his quest to become a legend in his own mind by now investigating former UVA research scientist Michael Mann's academic e-mails concerning climate control under the pretense of fraud with regard to use of state grant funding! A much better inquiry would be to look into all the taxpayer revenue that "Kookinelli" is wasting in his pursuit of these obviously personal pet peeves in these hard economic times.
Per the 1967 US Supreme Court decision in Keyishian v. Board of Regents, the First Amendment "...does not tolerate laws that impose a pale of orthodoxy over the classroom..." That case must be in a book that has not made it onto Virginia's top lawyer's reading queue. Or maybe because that matter came on appeal from New York, he has rationalized that its dictates don't apply in this state. Scarier still, maybe he just doesn't care. Sure, there's that 2000 Federal Appeals Court decision holding that college professors have no First Amendment based academic freedom rights in job related teaching and scholarship, but that ruling is ten years old, regionally and judicially limited in scope, and it was never considered by the Supremes. As a matter of fact, in forty-three years, from our nation's highest court, nary a whisper again.
In 2007, a US District Court decision, now on appeal, denied First Amendment protection to professors who spoke out against hiring and promotion practices, excessive use of adjunct faculty to be specific. And the US Supreme Court did rule a year earlier in Garcetti v. Ceballos that the First Amendment doesn't shield public employees from retaliation for speaking out if that speech was part of their "official duties," in that case, whistleblowing. But internal e-mails traded in the normal course of academic discourse are a far cry, no pun intended, from vocal and/or extrainstitutional whining. And vigorous scholastic debate is not tantamount to an intrusion into employer personnel decisions. Those are distinctions with merit that "Kookinelli" will be hard pressed to overcome. But maybe that's not his point.
Maybe our "Almost Governor" just wants to have a chilling effect on any thought he finds disagreeable, and by threatening to, or bringing these frivolous lawsuits, he may somewhat achieve his purpose and accomplish that result. If his strategy works, it could be a return to McCarthyism for this state and equivalent to the 1950s Communist purges in this country or oppression under Communist rule elsewhere. "Kookinelli"'s Virginia would be the Dominion of the Old-fashioned, stuck in a time warp of only all that he deems worthwhile. Laissez-faire Virginie, ignoring that moniker aside, the Commonwealth theory is not embodied in our federal Constitution, and that James Madison railed against the retention of any state sovereignty in a national government as destructive. Apparently on Ken's bookshelf, historical tomes are collecting dust as well.
Since he is the Attorney General, it is important that he doesn't lead us into becoming the laughing stock of the nation, or even worse, into being an outlaw breakaway republic under his whimsical rule. In a political climate where residents of Louisiana are feeling ostracized and unloved by yet another Administration, but are still pleading the value in being part of US, there is irony in "Kookinelli"'s separatist stance. While throughout Virginia we're cutting library hours and slashing education funding, there's one budget we haven't looked at - his. Perhaps to stop the "Kookiness," we should. The State of the Union isn't perfect, but membership has its privileges, making it far better than going it alone.

Karen Ann DeLuca
Mike Berger, PhD is
bright, articulate,
handsome, and
extremely humble

Hi, may I introduce myself. I am Mike Berger, PhD.

I hold a doctorate in psychology. I am now retired

and writing poetry full time. I have only been writing

for a year. I have had good success publishing.



Attached are three poems and bio. Thanks for your

consideration. I hope you like the poems.



Best,
Mike


RETURNING HERO

Starch
The military laundry put too much
starch in my shirt. It chaffed around
my neck. My heavy green coat was
a little too tight; in the hospital, I
had put on a few pounds.

My leg ached during the flight; I
could feel each scar where the
shrapnel was removed. I struggle
to my feet; I was unsteady on my
prosthetic leg.

I walked with a limp and in a few
minutes I hurt. My back screamed
at my unnatural gait. I leaned my
cane on an airline seat and tugged
trying to straighten my coat . There
on my chest was a Nam campaign
ribbon, a Purple Heart and a Bronze
Star.

I was greeted by my family. There
was mom and dad and my sister
Beth. People rushed by in a hurry
never giving as a second glance.
This was a heroes welcome.
Nobody gave a damn.

Second

Dog eat dog.
First is first;
second is nothing.
To the victors...

Human sharks prowl;
barracudas bite.
Get him,
or he'll get you.

Bizarre system;
needing a fight.
Winner takes all;
might makes right

Loving success stories;
Winning happy end.
Deifying the victor;
making demigods.

Tragedy abounds;
bloody playing field.
Tragic heroes play a part
coming in second.
I croak on Memorial Day &
only the frogs are gathered round my
deathbed, singing of crocodiles & snakes/ my

body goes to medical science where
they cut out my heart for the study of black
heartedness/ they find the blackness but the

heart is long gone/ they check my family to
see what's happened to my heart, but nobody
recalls that I was part of the family, &

even when wiping the blood from their
mouths, they claim they were eating the
heart of Bab's the babboon, but nobody knows

my name, unless I was the stillborn
aardvark several centuries ago/ the family
boiled & ate his little corpse while singing

"America the Beautiful" they agree, but
no one remembers me/ they do recall having
murdered a Mongoloid child & chopping his

gonads into the salad, but those were the
salad days, & their memories are in a haze, because
then they lost it all in the crash & had to eat

Mongoloid hash, & the last they recall is
cipher like me; so I give it all up &
seek out my friends, & am

standing in an empty field too
arid to yield anything at all/ it's
after the fall, & there is no friend, not

even one!/ I'm
alone & life is done/ I
take out my gun &

fire it into my brain, but
it's vanished like my heart/ they
won't even take me in the death cart to

be buried enmasse with Mozart, but
the music is also gone too
the very last song/ like

Mozart's & Fred Hammy's art, which
is dead like God, rotting
beneath the sod, &

thus I fart to
have my stench lost in the wind
leaving nothing, like

nothing at all, or the
void of Mergatroid in
which we sink beyond our

stink, with
one last wink &
we're gone

gone

gone ...

!

Fritz Hamilton