#42

Justin Hyde
wait long enough

you realize
nobody has a skeleton key
to the starving one winged bluebird
babbling and
smearing its own faeces
on the walls of your heart.

or if there is a somebody
it’s probably a
fourteen year old lebanese hooker
shackled to a sink
in an executive bathroom
somewhere in china,

or a ninety year old
scandinavian glass blower
about to be hit by a bus
in estonia,

or a one eyed
pygmy princess
sacrificed to the gods
three hundred years ago.

wait long enough
you give up on the concept
completely,

you start dreaming of origami woodchucks,
garden gnomes swimming the english channel,
or digging your own grave
with the blunt edge of a hatchet.

your mind goes
cream puff egg yolk through a straw
but you no longer much
care:

you write poems about it
at 2:17 in the morning
huddled in a booth at the flying j
festooned with flasks of bourbon
trying to remember
what it was
that one girl told you she had.
the one with a tattoo of a watch on her wrist,
said she was half irish half dingo
how she was going to tie you to her bed
but she took off while you were in the pisser.
what the fuck was it?
ah yes – –

fibromyalgia.

 

 

John Bennett
Hardship

It’s best to talk in tongues and roll your eyes back in your head. Do the Saint Vitus Dance. Skirt the issue, a bubbling cauldron of sperm, egging on a dubious future. Don’t state the obvious (as if you could if you tried). As if the obvious is obvious to the oblivious. As if the kingdom of god hadn’t annexed your brain. As if you weren’t protected by angels. As if a blank slate weren’t the cradle of original thought.

Original sin, fresh out of the oven. Black smoke up the chimney, the cardinals can’t make up their minds. If a German can be Pope, why not a black President? And why can’t Johnny come out and play, what’s going on in there?

How easily we’re diverted. Theology and garage sales and eternal damnation. A wave as high as Valhalla crashing over the Rockies. Watch out what you pray for in a drought.

Hardship is not enough to make the spoon taste the soup.

 

 

Leigh Pierce
saint peter is a fucking nazi

St. Fucking Peter or whoever
guards the gate with his assault
rifle, stopped me dead in my tracks

He asked what
appeared to be
simple question…

“What have you done to deserve this?”

In a spilt
second of
hesitation
I found
myself
tumbling
headfirst
down the
proverbial
rabbit hole
and landed
with a
resounding
thud next to
lawyers, cops
and publishers.

Shit.

Could have gave me minute to think about it

 

 

Lester Allen
lost

we are all just better parts
and worse
parts
of this insane creature
wandering the earth
in search of
its head

only ever finding

empty
dusty
skulls

 

 

Doug Draime
Road Gnats

Not so the sun would
know the difference,
between flower &
weed at 105 degrees.
I make the
distinction for the
flaming planet.

*

Often the steel dust
from the steel mills would
settle on the windows
so thick you couldn’t
see out. I only knew
this from inside
a neighbor’s apartment…
my aunt cleaned our
windows so clear each
day, you could see the
Allegheny mountains
in the distance.

*

If the choosing
is yours
then the choice is
mine,
hopefully
ignoring
what we
chose.

*

“The core of this, how
does one get to the
core?” Einstein
bellowed, smashing his
clinched fist down
on the laboratory table,
sending the test tubes,
notebooks & microscope
flying.
It was the first time he’d
made contact.

*

Numb is the hand
into blackness
reaching for the
light out the
other side

*

The night is peaceful &
my heart soars. crickets
chant my name.

*

She: He only said it
once
He: Once? i thought you
said it was 3 or
4 times?
She: Well, maybe I
did. did I? Well,
it was just once,
really. he just
said it once.
He: You obviously took it
to heart.
She: What do you mean?
He: You’re a living
example!

*

The movement must have
an ending, though the
concert master is
jabbing at the wrong
scale, commanding
the sound of
wrong notes.

 

 

Dan Provost
The Man With No Home

With a quick reflex
of judgment, Laura was
appalled at the sight of
a homeless man sleeping
next to her mailbox.

To make it worse, he was an African-
American with a nose ring.

As Laura scurried out of the way, rushing
to her car to avoid being seen by the man,

she threw all of her mail on the ground.

The man with no home, hearing the heavy footsteps of someone running—woke up, yawned, scratched his head and picked up her mail.

As he picked up a bill from A T&T, he called out in a heavy accent,

“Lady…Hey Lady.”

Laura, thirty years old, overweight, and overwrought—stopped her frantic trot.

Not to confront the man, but being way out of shape, her panting was just too much to physically bear.

She slowly turned toward the man; ready to give him anything he wanted.
Money.
Credit cards.
But please, no sex…no forced sex.
Not with a black person.

The man with no home—wearing soiled circa 1979 gym shorts and a tattered striped shirt with the breast pocket flailing in the wind; again called to Laura.

He smiled and said, “Miss, you dropped your mail”, and handed her the stack of letters, coupons, and catalogues.

Laura, less intimidated—in fact now agitated; angrily took her mail and told the man with no home.

“Why don’t you get a job and find another place to sleep.”

She gave the man a piercing stare as she entered her Toyota , put the car in drive and sped off.

The man with no home shrugged his shoulders then picked up the rest of his belongings—a blue sleeping bag with the goose feathers flying out, a bible, and a pack of Marlboros.

He lit a cigarette, and with weary, blood shot eyes—gazed down the road where the accepted live.
He then opened his bible to where the verse “Forgive and Forget” appeared.
The man with no home silently chuckled to himself and began walking down the other side of the street.
Hoping to find another vacancy to call home tonight.

 

 

David LaBounty
reality show

cameras are mounted on
the ceiling and every
wall, the flood lit view a
kaleidoscope shifting from
color to black and white
and we have no problem
laying our lives open,
our souls bleeding
dull dull
rivers of blood
and the blood

is sometimes
scarlet, is sometimes
dark as it runs out
of our mouths as
we sit motionless
in the living room
while watching
the television
and I’m in my
recliner and you’re
in the love seat sitting

on your knees with
your legs splayed
to the side not concerned
that I’m not interested
in your summer dress hiked
up almost to your waist
allowing me a view of
the shadows inside
your thighs and
the TV flickers
dysfunctional rays
of divine light while
the cameras catch
glimpses of our skin
turning to dust

and all of this

will be on again tomorrow.

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