18 November 2008

heroin love songs, vol. 4

black seas
aleathia drehmer

Regression happens with age,
bodies morph into sharp, geometric
renditions of flesh with insipid harsh angles.

Her face engulfed by the caverns her sockets make,
muddied pools empty and still
with no flickering fire cast about the walls.

The skin stretched over her face looks waxy
and I beckon the notion to call Madame Tussaud,
but this woman lacks singular importance in the world,
one old leaf ready to be blown about
and put back to the earth. No accolades for her

I sit here in the dark watching her breath hover,
the vapor shaped in the image of Gabriel,
and I let the room escape me..

Her collarbone creates a valley
that could hold the Black Sea, her mind lost
somewhere between youth and release,
and I want to touch the sweat collecting there.
Her salted life seeping up from her center
as if a spring of ground water.

My fingers reach out silently
as she opens her eyes in one, small moment
of lucidity to ask me,

“Am I still alive?”

Her face alight in that second
showing me the heartbreak of lovers, meals cooked,
children swaddled, and presents given with knowing.

“Yes,” I tell her, “yes.”

election day winds down
william doreski

As election day winds down
I crouch before the TV set
to will results the way I wish.

With a sigh you enter the room
and kneel and press against me
with the question of your body

unanswered. I don’t know you,
not even your name. A fever
clots the room. The TV snuffs

like a fire without oxygen.
Democrats and Republicans lose
alike, their candidates rat-faced

and squealing. We merge both parties
in a gush of excess. Wine-dark
fills the windows. The floor heaves

like the deck of a racing yacht.
You wonder aloud if we’re friends
or enemies. Neither, of course,

our famous organs blazing
like Olympic torches, our cries
of joy hooked to snag armfuls

of each other’s flesh. We exhaust
the moment and declare ourselves
winners, but turn on the TV

to make sure. A victory speech,
a concession. Announcers crow
over news we’re too dazzled

to absorb. Your sunset-colored hair
curtains my view of the room
and the scissors of your thighs persist

in powerful imaginings. Days
could pass in this titanic pose.
At last you droop and relax

and we lie side by side like cigars
in a box. Someone got elected,
someone lost. You rise and dress

and let yourself out into night
and the TV glowers at me
for being so glibly unfaithful.

some have god & i have this
rob plath

when i was a boy
i'd sit on the curb
at dusk & blow
into an empty soda bottle

a solemn sound
yet an unthreatening one
alien to my oblivious
innocent frame

but a future constant tune
that would arrive
soon enough

a song that'd
become as close to me
as the tubing beneath
my suit of skin

some have god
& i have this

david oprava

There is a whimper
from the room next door,
speedy breathing slowed
with the gentle hand
come running,

soothing then smoothing
the matted hair of a child
saved from whatever hides
in the closet or under
the bed, daddy goes

back to his room, no one
to save him from what's
inside his head.
Mummy's slumber deep
and clean, whilst he moves

thoughts around his mind
in a bored game that never
ends, can't be won,
and ultimately undone by
the descent into tossing,

turning, restless burning
of notions tainted by
the undertow of late.
Morning comes with bleating
cries and charged children

who flail the routine of oatmeal,
toast, clothes, and school
as the nest deflates
and he's left to face the seeds
sown and grown

through the night, never
meaning them to see
the light as he showers,
exploring his body to find
their new tattoos, thoughts

don't ever die, they just hide.
In the kitchen, he looks for a knife.

walking your own walk
michael grover

The syntax of the language
Gets in the way of the Poem.
Makes me stumble.
Needs to be corrected.

Spontaneous flow frowned upon.
Too natural for a world mechanical.
It's all just the word
Straight off the brain.
Naked and cold
In this chilly autumn night.
No blood washed off.
Too real, unprofessional.
Because let's face it,
america is a professional place.
Full of professional people,
Who all have their angles or schemes.
To not have an agenda,
Or one larger than the ego
You're like meat
In an all american shark tank.
You'll never last that long
Unless you toughen up.

These words fall from my head,
A sutra,
Unbroken string.
Cleaning the mind of impurities.
Cleaning the mind of rage.
Few people understand
My Poems are so angry
So I don't have to be.

I'm an outlaw,
But I follow the rules pretty much.
Don't do anything
To out of the ordinary.
I live a simple, mundane life.
I don't hide from anyone,
Or thing.
I print books of Poetry
Then walk into the neighborhood
To the post office to mail them out.

Right now it is Saturday night.
I am sitting in the corner of a coffee shop
Writing this Poem.
Drinking coffee,
Cool college kids smoke hookahs,
And talk about nothing
Trying to seem important.

The Poem is all that matters to me.
I've exited that material realm.
I do come back as an observer.
Looking into the illusion from the outside
You see it for what it is.

So I will finish this Poem,
Go back to my room
Type it up,
Walk away from it.

The syntax of the language,
Gets in the way of the words.
Which is all that should matter.
I am no expert,
Not an academic.
I have no credentials,
Only my own Poetic license
That I drew up myself
With a stick figure of myself.
Mostly self-educated,
Could not swim
In a professional pool
Of professional sharks and hit people.
Easily labeled,
Vote for this or that.
Labels don't stick that well to me.
Never been a follower.
I do drop in on this reality
And it brings a tear to my eye.
Like that native american guy
In that old commercial
Standing in the middle
Of all-american waste.

wolfgang carstens

At the height of climax
In the embrace of death
I'm incensed
To sink my teeth into your chest
Tear away a chunk of flesh
Your scream

Fills my heart with unease
Enabling me to release
My disease into your womb

I don't know why I hurt you
Perhaps I'm a deviant soul
That feeds on the pleasure of pain
Without the sensation of your scream
I may never come again

As I lay in heat
Beside my cold, former flame
I have forgotten her name

I should get out of bed and leave
An outside breeze
Whisks her odor from beneath the sheets
And colors the air I breathe

I know that love is dead
I know that love is dead
I am repulsed by the sick fuck fantasy
Of the corpse that now shares my bed

Yet, a most loathsome creature
Betrayed by the blood
That surges through my veins
My cock begins to stiffen
And I mount her once again

three lines
cyndi dawson

It was 25 years ago. Might as well been yesterday. He
Told me he would drive me home.
He told me three lines wouldn't hurt me just a little
High no big deal he cut four.
He told me he would drive me home
he blocked the door
He pushed his weight against
my arms my arms were wings I
Flew away.
I went above to brighter skies to small circles of
Light where angels embraced me in conversation- we
Spoke above these cotton clouds, so soft so soft I
Could feel only lightness and the wind of their kisses I
Smelled not the stench of breath but the pearls of their
Air I was alone he promised to take me home he said three lines
He said three lines....

sex and alcohol or was it alcohol and sex
ryan snellman

We talked about opening a bar in Key Largo
I'd first met her working the night shift
She was the girl of the other night owl
came out from Austin via San Francisco
Month later we were sharing classes
at the local junior college the ex complaining
of crotch rot Between classes we would hang
around the wall her smoking a cigarette me
drinking coffee The conversation would meander
touching nothing important When time allowed
we'd walk down the street eat something
at the diner drink a few in the bar Nothing
like eggs and screwdrivers after an early
morning class Every month or two she'd
talk about the new guy she was or wanted
to fuck Went to her place once and drank a
few beers
Couple of years later I went to Austin to
finish a masters degree Late at night I
wondered whatever happened to that girl
We talked about opening a bar in Key Largo

andrew lander

I don’t think that often
about my dead father.
Ten years now
and labeled.

But recently I see him everywhere.
The old man at the street corner
waving copies of the Big Issue,
the man leaning against a lamppost
to gather breath.

Old men with white beards
and blue eyes
wet with tears
like they’ve been caught
in a bitter wind

like my father's looked
that summer afternoon
at his mother’s

when he looked
over his shoulder
searching for something
I could never

performance anxiety
david conroy

The truth has a tiger in her hips,
an invitation in her eyes
and a way of patting the space beside her,
be it the couch or the bed,
that makes the prospect of her company
seem very worthwhile.

The truth has an appeal
that lies in the little things,
like the secrets of her smile
and the fact she doesn’t care
what your underwear looks like
since your wearing them
doesn’t figure much in her plans

The truth can make you feel
uncomfortable some times,
ask questions about subjects
that you were happy to ignore
and let lurk in the corners
with the dust bunnies,
the book club offers
and the papers you meant to organize
but never do
because you want to spend more time
with the truth.

The truth can be a daunting proposition,
fearsome in her temper,
harsh in her deliberation,
and cruel in her mercy.
Handling the truth is never certain,
never a done deal,
never something you are sure of
until you are in that moment.

The truth has a way
of looking you in the eyes
that makes surrender the only option.
But there is a hunger there,
an undeclared expectation,
a desire for fulfillment
that is like the unfilled cup of history.
You’ll give it your best shot,
but you’re not sure
if that will be good enough.

The truth wears your shirts
the next morning
and maybe it’s the sunlight
or maybe it’s the blushing blur of dreams,
but you can’t help but think
that they look a whole lot better on her
than they ever will on you.

The truth looks good most days
and, better yet, most nights
when looking good always adds up
to a little bit more -

in all the right kind of ways.

if heaven were a ditch
david mclean

if there were a heaven it would be a ditch
for all the dead children, dirty as a womb,
a temple to abortion and a warning
for all the mother's love we never expected,

love stinking like dead fish under the sun
that crawls to the moon, subservient
as any murderess. babies sacrificed
to a ravenous land and a mother's pride,

country and cunt both flying blind
the false flag of duty, decorum, and lies,
sweat as arsenic on her belching breath
and the traitorous cancer that waited too long.

for if heaven were more of a ditch than it is
the stars would blind their eyes, but they stare
there unseeing over us, they care for nothing
above us, and the ditch we die in is life,

just life and its obligations inside,
blind as a mother's cunt, her formless
leering eye, a devil full of her smothering
lies, her filthy incestuous pride

glenn cooper

Time is a foul slut,
so I give her
what she wants –
oceans of semen; over-
loaded ashtrays (enough
to poison a continent); finger-
nails gnawed to blood;
white knuckle nightmares;
neurosis born
from darkened rooms;
dirty sheets; no
respect; withered
hope; and the promise
of more to come

glen l. lantz

Spin the web of intoxication,
the desperate grow tired of heaven,
once more justice is bought with blood,
we give birth to the revolution.

The dead can never be replaced,
you utter words of hope,
as you come to grips,
with your shame and wrath.

It would be different if we were free,
occasionally you become flooded with hope,
wicked dance of disillusion,
she circles the wagons.

In the aftermath of horror,
we find a separate peace,
a stoic grasp on the future,
claws scratching against the wall.

I sit with her every night,
we are brave souls,
constantly retreating,
from scar shaped futures.

Following justice,
her gentle ironic voice,
tales of fabricated invention,
we are never far from the past.

We gaze soulfully,
into each other’s eyes,
sturdy beaten-earth walls,
small against the backdrop.

Our faces crumpled,
like the morning paper,
laying in a heap on the floor,
we all come alone.

Standing between two worlds,
feet firmly upon the shoulders,
the snake swallows its tail,
we unite the opposites.

She piles the stones up to heaven,
a landmark to show us the way,
driving us over the edge,
a constant spinning top.

We conjure up the past,
a sense of déjà vu,
she glues the little pieces,
back together again.

a bad mood
dan provost

We are not children of concrete and steel
despite what Living Color said in the early
90’s…while they were on the cusp of edgy rock…

We are beings of falseness, victims of participating
in some pathetic crapshoot—buying exotic clothes and
drinking Dom Perignon while the loners who sit among
the pigeons and get shit on…. mumble the real truth to

We are all going to die…soon, very soon.
Much too soon.

And while the corpse is lying in the dirt,
Being eaten by worms and slugs…those walking
Above ground keep praying that there’s something else
After we pass into that dimension of nothingness.

Keep praying preacher
Keep praying rabbi
Keep praying priest
Keep praying shaman

Your words are useless to this man of realization

Sad truths
Wandering alone with a wounded bird in his pocket…

We are a band of isolated idiots with a penchant to overrate
So much we see…

What we see is nothing; beauty is just a word to describe fear.
And that fear carries us to the church, the mosque, the place of worship…

Go on
Hurry up

I’ll stay here--feed the birds, and talk to myself.

the gunman
charles du preez

Jesus wanted to be
in the Army, but they
wouldn't let him.

"You don't have a birth
certificate or proper
identification," they said.

"You don't even live
in this country."

Then Jesus spoke:
"I am Jesus, son of God.
I can heal people
with my bare hands."

"Jesus," they said,
"We too can heal,
with medicine and bandages."

"But," Jesus said, pulling
something from his robe,
"can you make
a balloon animal
that looks like
a mastodon?"

No one else could,
so they let Jesus enlist.
But instead of being
a medic, He was commanded
to operate a machine gun
and let all hell
rain on the enemy.

free beer
karl koweski

the ad read
followed by a street address
downtown near
United Methodist
below that in tiny script:
now that I have your attention
come join us
in celebrating god’s grace
coffee and donuts provided

Wes never got below
the first line
he sat on a folding chair
among the
bright-eyed believers
and the
bleary-eyed drunks
for forty-five minutes
chewing on
stale, glazed donuts
listening to the young preacher
practice bible quotes
as the realization
the free beer had as much chance
of materializing
as god, himself
slowly dawned on him

what did you expect?
I asked
once he finished his story
who would give away
free beer?

it sounded plausible
Wes shrugged
I thought it might have been
a local brewery
taste testing
a new flavor of microbrew
or something

and I know
when the ad runs in next week’s paper
Wes will be there
holding down a folding chair
in that small un-air-conditioned room
holding out the one slim shred of hope
this time
there’ll be a man
passing out paper cups
brimming with raspberry peach ale
rather than
the same jackass
promising eternal

i would
doug draime

I would shoot a bullet through
the heart of America,
but it’s already dead

I would set aflame the Bill of Rights,
the Constitution, and Jefferson’s
glorious Declaration of
but they’ve already
been torched.

The greasy scum of the ashes
covering the windows of
our betrayed souls, and blocking
out the sun.

nothing else
deanna prall

I don't know what it is about the blood
stain on this concert tee
that makes me miss you
you with that special baggie
that always seemed to refill itself,

I shouldn't care, nor do i want to
but yet, i still do
I mean, despite this demon,
you are still a person too
and I miss you

So many songs play as I watch the sunrise
but this time I'm all alone
staring out the window with an empty gaze
maybe it's not even you i miss
maybe it's the devil on your coffee table
and the taste of it

then again
that's all we ever had

abigail beaudelle

I. I live in a city
of grimaces.

A quaint small-town-charm-school
hate-club -
is cut
by a curt "I'mjustlooking

Tight-lipped matrons
the swell of breath.

Well I guess that's retail.

II. I live in a town
of puckered souls
and crimped smiles -

of narrow-eyed
Bless Her Heart's.

III. Your mother is a racist.
I cringe
and retreat -

watching you laugh
at nigger
and Jew jokes
curdles my blood
and turns
all you say
into mold-filmed milk.

And somehow
she found out I was gay.

in heaven even death smells like sex
john dorsey

i recently told a
friend that all kafka
ever really wanted was
a pony

he said
death was a silly word
like tongue like rose
like bone like dreams

i told him that
if you look for
the worst in angels
then miracles are all
around you

you just have to
be willing to abduct
the holy spirit if
you’re going to hope
for political change

the prayers of the
dead require an active
imagination that’s why they
keep jesus chained up in
the basement of heaven
with only some wafers
a little holy water and
a flask of cheap
dago red where he
and mike huckabee have
been planning his escape
since before the crucifixion

so i ask what
song do the dead sing
to their children?

i want to say
like the devil i too
dream of ponies eating
sunflowers in the fields
of hell

that my song offers shade
to the magic of
ghost children

in this land america
home of the brave
where death feels like
a second language but
i can’t find the words

words like love have
become a silly notion
they have become the
muffled currency of outlaws
like tongue like rose
like bone like dreams
we pray every night
in hopes of stealing
their music this land
is your land

i find little need for
a salvation army to
march with the dead

silver fish and lightning
luis cuauhtemoc berriozabal

The silver fish
shimmer in the sun
in a milky sea.

The thunder from
a cannon-like storm
shoots out from a cloud.

The sun hides and
darkness envelops the
day. There are no stars.

The silver fish
are like coal black stones
in dark waters.

Spear-like lightning
bolts pelt the ocean
mercilessly and

suddenly stop.
The cloud parts. Sunshine
fills the ocean and

the silver fish
spooked have disappeared
like the cloud above.

sabrina edwards

By an intelligent conversation.
By an awkward glance with curled lip edges.
By the smile behind your eyes.
Which betrays your somewhat cool demeanor;
Cool, not cold, not nearly frigid.
Or at least I hope my senses are correct.
I feel invited to swim in this new quandary of ideas
Un mixed, un poured, un cemented
before the art of temperance comes into play
and feelings are added to thoughts
And wind is blown into empty sails
Which play the harp of heartstrings
I find myself smiling at my thoughts of thoughts
While having a strange indifference
for making feelings blossom
For once I will sit back
Upon this throne of my own making
And let it all unfold
Like the coils of a snake
Coming to rest
languorously after aeons
of contraction

mathias nelson

John Hamton used to get in trouble
for saying the word nigger back
in high school.

The teachers yelled, scolded,
suspended him, but he kept on:

nigger, nigger, nigger.

No one liked John.
I didn't like John,
but I didn't say anything.
Didn't pick at him or try to talk
sense. Instead I sat back and watched
the arguments, a little amused
at his stupidity.

My black friends mostly laughed
it off, now and then throwing
lunch at his wind burned
face. No one tried to beat him,
for he was built like a brick wall
lined with fat.

After high school, when everyone else
went to college, I became very apathetic,
hanging around crazy kids, but now
the crazy kids had guns. I was drinking
with them one day, looking at their pictures,
when surprised, I saw a photo of them
standing next to John. They had rifles and
John was holding two AK-47's with a low brow
grin on his face.

The 2008 presidential election coming
to a head, my brother stuck an Obama
sign in his yard; and recently babysitting
my nephews, early in the morning,
I noticed sharp, red plastic
shattered in the street. A taillight.
My brother's. Next to a crumpled can
of Bud Light.

Driving the boys to school, tuning
the radio to "Rain Drops Keep Falling
On My Head," and jolting with
the backseat kicks of my nephews,
I saw John, for the first time
since high school, sitting
on the front steps of a house
two blocks down from my brother's.
Still big. Slumped with his fists
clenched as if playing an invisible
shoot 'em up arcade game. Scowling
and not moving, brow bone big
as a caveman's. Red faced
and looking hungover.
Living in the neighborhood.

His head turned slowly with my car,
watching like an overweight lion
to a fast gazelle; and I
connected the election, the beer can,
John's AK-47s, my brother and his
black wife, my mixed

nigger, nigger, nigger.

Definition: a person of any race
or origin regarded as contemptible,
inferior, ignorant, etc.

A long time ago
I should have had a long talk
with John.

Lorca's grave
zach king-smith

Lorca's grave
is getting dug up

Died in the

Shot by
Franco's bullets.

Leave dead
poets alone.

Half-Ass Elegy
Thinking of
my mother &
her tenderness
it's hard to imagine
her eyes and mouth
which has been said
by many that I have.

But ghosts don't
have that skin and
bone which crafts
the appearance of
a face.

so it's hard
to imagine her face
though our eyes
met once.

"Low Culture"
The sidewalk is
a carefully crafted
mosaic of the low
down life.

There are cigarette
butts & bottle caps
among the cracks
with the occasional
chewing gum
wrappers left
inside by blue
eyed children
who have never
heard of Warhol
because there is
no pop art in elementary
school art classes just
the classics.

So it's a collaboration
of many big-nosed
bums and children
living out on
the side walks &
the bums are real
surreal types with
big Picasso cubist
eyes and misplaced
hands and mouths.

Some day the
true art in this
world will be

She wore a short
red dress that
barely covered
her milky-junk thighs.

Her legs were
long and slender
leading up miles
from high-heeled

She walked with
such a sexual intensity
that was raw and
almost bestial.

When she walked
her ass swayed along
behind her with a
confidence that
would scare away
any man.

Her eyes gleamed
and warned of great
despair a few inches
above her mouth
that i never saw
her open.

I just kept walking
head bent to the pavement
because woman like that
are death

a Spanish death
mike hammer

She spoke Spanish, out of the corner of her mouth
Out of the corner of the room
I was sipping coffee
I could feel it in my skin, sipping me

“coming through,” was the yell
Large barriers were laid down
all the while, the men were yelling

I was crying, out
Out of the corner of the room
she was crying, she was dying
in Spanish
a beautiful sound
a Spanish death
a beautiful death

the death of cool
puma perl

cool died

a skinny
a black wig
in a short skirt
all knees
to another
type woman
all cat eyes
and big dog

the two of them looking
through anyone
with tits
or smiles
both of them
about fifty years old
maybe more

in twenty years
they’ll snub
paulie walnuts’
at the lunch table
laugh at her
and sneer

cool died

mr happy
melissa mann

Last week
a year ago
(I forget)

I bumpedintosomeone
He was on the tip
of my tongue

Do I know you
(I said)
You seem
Have we met

He looked right at me
his skin shiny
with rainbows
and my insides

(I swear to God)
flipped right over
like I’d stepped off
a big curb or

I mean there I was
at the bus stop
minding this woman’s
business and

well you don’t expect it
do you
Not in a queue
waiting for the 46

Next thing
he touched me
on the cheek
right here

(or was it here)
Then he disappeared
leaving me alone
with my face

My fingers
lost in all that face
felt around for
a pinprick of wetness

a micro kiss
from someone
kind of nice

Someone kind anyway
from once upon a time ago
or twice
(I forget)

All gone
(said the woman)
Her son kept blowing
through the plastic ring

waiting for magic
to wrap skin
shiny with rainbows
round his breath

All gone
My tears rolled down
his face (I smiled

pulling his socks off
my feet
tiny socks with little
cartoon men running)

Yes last week
a year ago
(I forget)

I bumpedintohappiness
a perfect bubble
filled with nothing
but used air.

the orphaned mother
tom snyder

Alone, a mother fingers pearls
at the base of her creased white neck
while squinting at a menu
without prices. Pearl to pearl, finger
to thumb, memories numbed
prey, unforgotten:
how her infant twirled
his hair, as scholar tapped
his pen, as soldier tapped his gun,
as vet now taps his veins.

A dark red stream
spills into her glass. She drinks and looks away
to get away
past the restaurant glass
to a windswept sea.

Skin stretched taunt by
surgeons’ gloves,
grey roots expose her worn out die,
the cover up: what’s died,
what’s dead to her now.

Outside a vagrant wanders
up the beach
and taps upon his wrist,

“Got the time?”

Inside her waiter lauds
the steak tar tar. She can’t decide
what to choose
ever since her sense of loss.

The vagrant frames himself,
centered in her pane.
She doesn’t see his
salted beard, Medusa hair, black
bug-eyed shades, the cover up:
what’s died, who died,
what’s dead to him now.

“Hey, you got the time?”

She sees the wide blue sea
spraying waves on distant rocks.
She spies a toy-sized cormorant bolting
for the water, a rising gold
get-well balloon
smaller than her spoon.

Again, he taps the pane:
“Excuse me, Ma'am?”

Reflections of a tux arrive;
she beckons toward the blinds.
The shade is drawn,
a candle lights,
she doesn’t have the time.

emotions posited beyond the realm
of natural inclinations
felino soriano

generate mood
to galvanize
the seconds splitting into
'why'-realms, answers relate
to light atop
sky fashioned angles
towards what mere relates to as
emotional now. The
as in all of
voice sounds gathered prior
to definitional tone—
they in the surplus
within mind beyond the body's
need to ascertain
draws across
the listening, the predestined being
standing toward the tongue of deliberate
delivery, hand making introductions
to ensuing connotations. Listen
to watch over the body image
being wrought,
the explanation to reflectional
antecedents folded over several times,
relaying imagery of syncopated

the dreamer
george anderson

Don’t tell anyone about my new book
Don’t tell them yet, man.

I’ve gotta organize stuff first
It’s gonna be like a franchise
Like Jim’s Mowing or Burger King.

I’m gonna merchandise the book
You know, there’ll be hats
A flag
A beautiful medallion for the reader.
They can put it around their necks
& connect with other readers on the street.
I’m even working on an anthem
To be sung by celebrities at my official book launches.

You’ll know I’ve made it big
When I come around in my black stretch limo.

But man, don’t think I’m doing this
Solely for myself
You know, I’m gonna set aside
Some money for writing scholarships
For the disadvantaged.

I just gotta ensure no one steals my idea
There’s plenty of con-artists/
Piraters out there

I’ve told no one about this-
Not even my wife.
You gotta promise me
You ain’t gonna tell no one, will yeah?

if i knew where her anguish resides
l. ward abel

then I’d go and carpet bomb the place.
There would be no trace of darkness
in all that brilliant light.
From the outside, she is perfection.
But a seed confuses her,
maybe something from me. I’d
take a bullet for her, jump off
a cliff in a heartbeat to ensure
her happiness. This doesn’t
solve the problem, though.

I’m not sure what can.

a matter of preference
howie good

Wouldn’t you rather
we walk down

avenues of rain
trading verses from Poe

like black roses
and only take

our best memories
with us and the small

butterfly tattoo
on the back of your neck

wouldn’t you rather
the government

forgot our faces
our names and when

we’re faraway
and finally beyond

the boom of waves
wouldn’t you rather

I put my hand
in the flame

between your legs

well I would

poem about voices, my mother, Europe, and sex
jameson hughes

every voice I hear
is impertinent and I recall
how close I was
to my mother
(not close at all
but enough to know
she only ever once spoke to God)
and how dull faces
in the news look
broomsticks in suits
fathers all
for their children
all dull and dead
even with a limp
of heavy water
in the arms of an Arab wife.
she drags herself
from place to place
on days that I would say
are perfect for walking one’s dog
or drinking wine
in Europe.
but even then voices
have a way of
creeping in
from the rain
with armor and legs
from ten years at sea
all sexless and
all without

at the go-go world
malaika king albrecht

I work as a nude body double
of myself; non-union, of course.
The watered-down drinks
don’t put out the fire, but make eyes
smoky which is misinterpreted
as desire. What do you want?

You say, "The distance
between objects makes us
appear small, like pebbles
in a river between mountains.”

Listen traveler, we’re all briefly
stranded. Get closer and you’ll
seem larger. In the morning,
before you leave, sign
your name in the book
on the coffee table.


it could’ve been yesterday
joseph lisowski

Or the day before,
thirty years ago
when you tap, tap, tapped
the crook of your elbow,
then tightened the rubber rope.

I can still taste
the thrill under your lip,
your teeth shining bright.
And I remember you
always saying coke
is what you do
but heroin will do
if you gotta make do.

I was yesterday.
And I miss you.

i am old frustrated thought
michael lee johnson

I am old frustrated thought
I look into my once eagle eyes
and find them dim before my dead mother,
I see through clouded egg whites with days
passing by like fog feathers.
I trip over old experiences and expressions,
try hard to suppress them or revisit them;
I'm a fool in my damn recollections,
not knowing what to keep and what to toss out--
but the dreams flow like white flour and deceive
me till they capture the nightmare of the past images
in a black blanket wrapped up
and wake me before my psychiatrist.
I only see this nut once every three months.
It is at times like these I know not where I walk
or venture. I trip over my piety and spill my coffee cup.
I seek sanctuary in the common place of my nowhere life.
It is here the days pass and the years slip like ice cubes--
solid footing is a struggle in the socks of depression.

I am old frustrated thought;
passing by like fog feathers.

he said he wanted to get naked with me
shane allison

He pulls me like a gun, point blank to his lips.
His mustache is a cactus pricking skin.

He gropes my nipples.
Show me those titties, he whispers.

He strokes me in the restroom mirror.
His ass angles over assuming the position.

A peeking red rectum gives me the eye
and I grimace in disgust.

He crouches to my crotch.
Saliva trickles to the base of sensitive skin.

Just when I'm about to explode like a Texas oil rig,
he zips up, washes hands and never looks back.

I thought he wanted to get naked with me.

the king
dasha lilith desir

Sweet promises unwrapping salty skin,
The heart of a boy, in a man, so tall;
His silent statue now quivering within,
As armor comes down, a merciful fall.

Ah, this bold warrior possesses my breath!
Then buries His torment between my thighs;
Immortal yearning, my only true death,
As my legs guard him, this Angel will rise.

His eyes do not waiver, nor do they lie;
Honest and pure, He bows down before me,
A God on his knees, so I start to cry;
Princely He entered, within He is King.

mongolian blue spot
p.a. levy

Random acts of Mongolian;
skin marks wild with ancestral
sperm stains.

On the Steppes
perhaps there should have been
a poster campaign encouraging a safer sex
with indiscriminate acts of facefucking;
without genealogy

just the lure of khoomii voices
into the humidity of Buddhist sunsets
( … it’s often been said
painted lips make the mouth more vaginal
but you’d have to be a cunt
to believe that … )
and the slipstream of lipstick verses
in the bloodlines of my forefathers

never foremothers
which has made me wonder
in distant days
if they were sluts or whores
and whenever they saw a Mongolian
in the pub or at bingo there was some kind
of involuntary reaction
that made them drop their drawers
when they should have puckered-up
bit of lippy

for me to have been born
with my adopted English heritage
as an unblemished shade
of perfect pink.

christine bruness

I had a Beck’s today
and thought of you.
I thought about Punk Rock
and CBGB’s in the Bowery
and Ben’s Pizza on West Third Street
and clandestine trysts
in your cellar…

I felt so ALIVE!

Then I realized
where I was—
in the back room
of a liquor store
with a man
twice my age
and I remembered
how you said you’d always love me
and take care of me . . . .

I can still see your face . . .
worked out.
The memories linger
every now and then.
I’m not sentimental




it packs its pillows and people with straw
ray succre

A colic mail of heirloom traits—
his birthmark, his pox ability,
his scarecrows in genes and
particle call to flesh from a
semen alphabet scrawled within
some breath’s eggshell bookcase.

Midnight tugs one’s tongue up
from the mouth and then roots
and snorts into boxes in attics
of tits set together, two each,
like sculpted musical tones.

His essence on a burner
babies the hairs, and a crushed,
salivating dick.

He wilds and ferals his bed
beneath her, and talks a touch
of teeth in a final, radio broadcast:
Help me come out of my
garbage heart…

The response is hinged, the world
opens and closes; it packs its pillows
and people with straw, these all
merging to decipher him
a dusk between.

recluse party
richard wink

The resistance of temptation
is a fruitless pursuit.
Amongst the staging of wistful serenades
fumbling with errant passion

I fell in with the ideals of voyeurism
it fed my initial curiosity
but limited me to the saliva dropping
as the dinner tray wheels past

Excess and champagne
connected by indecision.
The mist of wishes made
when you're sitting alone in a room
with only the calming drone
coming from the air conditioning unit

The lips kiss the coffee mug
and the clouds remain under the pillow
the thoughts are mostly self obsessed
always trivial

adequate sopper upper
misti rainwater-lites

Spill the carnage at my feet. Bring
on the flood of blood.
Give me guts. Give me gore. I've got
a mop and a bucket.

I wear a skirt of rags. My tongue
is a sponge. I'm Raggedy Ann's
forgotten twin sister. She's famous
because her heart is pretty
and red and in the right place. I'm
stuck in the shadows because
my heart is sloppy and bluish gray
and not easily translated
into a ten cent Valentine. I'll take
all the shapes and colors
you don't know what to do with. I'll
absorb the seepage
you have no room for. I suck at
many things but
as a shamaness of slop I come
highly recommended.


joseph veronneau

The plane is up and a bird
ceases the engine.
The one in my seat
imagines the windows
level with dandelions
as a greeting back to the plains.
Earlier, a man was arrested
for walking through, holding a black bag.
They imagined it was cash
until the wands and buzzers
stated otherwise. His shoes
squeaked and held
artificial buckles on the sides.
The one imagines him, tap dancing
his way to the sky, stepping
into the falling snow like
shredded milk glass.
Steam rolls from the factories
into the Hudson below.
The Christmas tree holds
a flashing light just like a tower,
ready for the landing.
All of the money imagined
floats out into the Brooklyn streets,
filling the eyes of the playing kids below
as a plane comes in for a landing.

the empty plaza
charles goldman

I have never seen an empty plaza,
there are always the pigeons
who gather to the man with
his bag of crumbs.

Scatter the bird feed and
they will come,
they will come ravenous
and like locusts devour
whatever hits the ground.

And as soon as his bag is empty
they go
and do not return,
except to give a cursory glance
hoping for a remnant
of that recent feast.

Even a twitch of a muscle
can then alert the pigeons
whose eyes flick
like little shutters,
behind which an empty head
gawks awaiting
that one new morsel.

What if it never comes?

I have never seen a plaza
empty of pigeons
because always
someone arrives
in their loneliness,
in their hunger to be
an attraction, to fill
the emptiness inside,
just as he filled his paper bag
with crumbs
to gather the hungry birds
to his feet.

He sits in solitude among
the pecking and blinking
rats of the sky
who are driven to return
by his bag of crumbs,
like an audience
to whom he feeds
his empty life.

banging the empty all gone
what i think about when i have a
fever of one-hundred and three
miriam matzeder

all i can seem to write
about is
what's tactile and missing
from this ubiquitous autumn;
envy for the
texture of those leaves
propelling themselves
from their safe places in
trees to their certain demise:
the orange, the red,
and he's still in my head.

all i can seem to write
about are
his hands on my legs,
my fuzzy socks on the backs of
his calves,
me, whisper-singing in his ear,
drowning out discontent;
i am the wishbone
spread out below, and
we are sweat and sick-fucking,
banging the empty all gone.

for the Little Sparrow of 39th Street
jason ryberg

Some people
seriously need

to step back and re-evaluate
their bass-ackwards

social fetishes and faux pieties

(always riddled, it seems,
with more than the daily

recompensable allowance

of escape clauses and hypocrisies
necessary to maintain
something even close
to resembling a consistent
moral continencey);
that demographic
that identifies itself (profusely,

ad nauseam-ly), as being the biggest

sky cult/death cult on the block,
endowed with hugest,
most massive
divining rod
and most righteously
and peripatetically engorged

with the divine right
to lay hands upon

who and whatever it so deems
as falling under its dominion
and domain
(which pretty much includes
everyone and everything)
as well as being
most morally fit
to ladle out the healing blood
and sweetbread stew
rendered from one of the many
one true gods
available to the terminally fearful
and estranged of the earth.
And all
with which to more
efficiently demonize,
and goddamn themselves
and each other,
to the unconscionable
and unthinkable
life sentence
of a life crippled
and traumatized

by the violent ain’t-intellectual insemination

of the virulent seed of guilt
and eternal suffering (as in
forever and ever
without end, amen)
for such abominable and
cosmic offenses

as lust, masturbation
and adultery.
why don't you all just repent,

reboot and

you sick fucks.

tanya’s new man
billy burgos

You came over last Saturday, with the first rain.
Hanger shoulders hidden under
a gray cashmere pashmina.
Later you told me you could barely remember drizzle
or that Tanya came by that night
with her new man Earl.

She came knocking not long after you did.
You spoke through the camouflage
of an iron screen door.
It was easier that way to hide your tousled hair and
shrunken body. I remember thinking that your
lithe frame seemed to hover over the cold wood floor.

I remember the night sky had a crimson
tint. I theorized it
was the chemicals and the city lights held in tight
by the canopy of rain clouds like our
own version of Northern lights.
I watched it all from the dark window. You
shuffling out with
Tanya to the two idling cars in the street,

stepping gingerly across the
damp sidewalk with wet sandals.
It was unlike you to meet a stranger
looking so disheveled. The cat purred at my
feet as i listened to Earl's heavy voice
echo off the shoulder
to shoulder apartments on the darkened street:

" I've heard so much about you from Tanya."
" Yes Tanya IS a wonderful woman."
" Uh-huh, we are going to the movies, then dinner."

Later after Tanya left, I remember asking the
obvious questions: Why did they drive separate cars?
What did he look like? Your reply surprised
me as much as
your dazed appearance had earlier.

" you can't trust no nigga on the first date! What if after
a few cheap drinks, he go and get all clingy and
she got no way home?! What then...huh?!"

I hid perplexity within my laughter
and let the television,
the rain with the cars skidding by fill
in the blanks. I wondered
quietly into the night. Way after your hunched shadow drifted
trough the drizzle. It wasn't until days later, as the girls ran through
the house and play echoed off evening walls did i ask about the Saturday past.

" I did what?!"
" Tanya came over here? What for?"
"I went out looking like what!?"

You told me of the concoction of
Effexor and Ambien that you took
that night. About chasing it down
with Vodka and orange juice before
heading out. How it felt as if you had
dreamed it all. I remember feeling as
if I was alone that rainy night. As if
i had dreamed it too. As if Tanya's
new man Earl was a figment of both
of our imagination. As if the
first rain of Fall had never come. As
if somehow I too was high through
it all. It was better that way. It closed
the door on any hard questions.
We never spoke of that night or of
Tanya's new man again.

rotting on the vine
lester allen

some days the sun and others no
sun and all clouds and rain
and streets for cars
trees for birds sheds for saws and
stacks of pornography

kitchen tables but no dinner tv but
no entertainment beds but no sex
or too much sex and
not enough love
houses without husbands or wives
or children and leaky pipes in the
always leaky pipes

windows to peek into or
out of squirrels to miss and boxes to hit
old queer men who like
young men say "come on in. I'm not going to
tell anybody. I have an extra swimsuit, let's
you and me go sit by the pool."

and sometimes it's the sun or
pretty women on a catalogue
pure thoughts about a
dirty thing sometimes it's old ladies
or new ladies or insane old farmers
preachers on the hill or sinners in
the trailer park

sometimes the mailman gets a
haircut sometimes the bridge is
out sometimes gas is 3 dollars other
times much more sometimes
the attendant winks at me
she says to me "you should come
around back." though I
never go sometimes the
kittens come out they are curious
end up dead on the road
with rotten-fly-eyes
while the trees
sway in the breeze other times houses
get painted or become unpainted
and as the wallpaper peels I think
of these things while
officers arrest lawyers
lawyer presidents smile
kids swing swings
bat balls catch grasshoppers or
caterpillars or other things

burn the world down

mowed lawns mean nothing
well-furnished homes mean

not much holds any meaning

men live for money and die for it
too and little ever changes
in our tiny eyes
we see only what
we want to see

everything is right in
this world except everything that

it is everywhere.

junky love
erin reardon

Daisies in a gun belt
Taking tickets to your sallow, sallow skin show
Chump change
The rot
Drenched in bourbon spirit
You didn't show your age then
Somehow you seemed so much older

When that stardust dissolved from your eye line
I kept a hand stuffed in my pocket
The left hand
Trigger finger cocked and ready
We had a junkie love affair
Dependency on abuse
My heart was pining for your hatred
Mercy, mercy killing
Bird in a cage
I could have kept you all those nights ago
In a stupor or a rage

It was hard enough
Just to keep my head from bleeding over your fencepost
My pyramid
Your tomb
Arms across your chest
A runny nose
Nightshade and moon orchids
Glow a sick, sweet blue

My cotton fix
I needed you
Bury my burning eyes
In your chest hair
Clueless now
How to shot a junkie love affair

Cold needles in the ashtrays
Cigarette burns across the cover of your paperback
Did I want too much
When I swallowed everything
That was in our medicine chest?

My ears were ringing
Blind with frustration
My junky heart
Your skin was so dry
I tried to anoint you
With unholy oils

You slip away from view
Rose-tinted across a Utah sun
I stick out my thumb
The left hand still in my pocket
Trigger-sure against my stomach
Slow bleeding
Across your linoleum
Bleeding your medical caress from memory

Did I ask too much?
When I asked you to

zachari popour

It was around 2 o'clock on a Wednesday.

I'd been reading the liner notes of every greatest hit's CD that I own when it struck me. It had been 3 months since the last time I've been laid. Masturbation just doesn't cut it. I'll swear it off; sex and self love—nothing but distractions anyways.

The bars are full of disgusting slop and my track record with relationships is a continuous dis-appointment.

I went out back, behind the garage where the trashcans sit, reached into one, dug my hand along the side, and pulled out a 2 night old pizza box. I ripped it in half and salvaged
the top half, which was clear of rotting cheese and grease.

I shoved the sharpie back into my pocket, grabbed a lawn chair, and took my sign and the chair to the edge of the road.

An hour, maybe longer, had gone by. There was minimal traffic and I began wondering if I should've written, 'DICK 4 SALE: $100', more boldly than what the sharpie allowed.

It wasn't until I took off my pants and boxer briefs that the prospective buyers began swarm-ing in. I spread my legs a little, stuck the sign between them, and plopped
my cock on the top of the sign.

There were 20 something's driving by pointing their fingers, middle aged women walking their schnauzers staring, and teenage girls riding their bikes up and down the street whispering
and giggling. I smiled and lit a cigarette.

I was beginning to get frustrated by all of the proverbial window shopping going on. On top of the obvious anomaly of some guy trying to sell his dick on the side of the street, it was as if they were afraid of it.

"Don't be scared." I said to a woman of about 30 that had been walking back and forth all af-ternoon, "Come get a better look."

She cocked an eyebrow and hesitantly made her way over.

"Ya like what you see?"

"…maybe." she said as she began chewing on her thumbnail.

"I'll tell ya what. For you, I'll make it $50."

"gee, I don't—"

I interrupted with a forceful, "$25!"

"Well, ok. But where are we going to do this?"

"What do you mean?"

"Where are you going to 'give it' to me?"

"Right here", I said.

"I'm not having sex right HERE!"

I let out a good laugh. "We're not going to have sex!"

"Then what—wait, I'm confused."

"Hang on." I said as I put the sign beside the chair and made my way into the house, down the hall, and into the kitchen. I retrieved a 9" carving knife and headed back out to the woman, sat down in my chair, grabbed onto the head of my prick, and stretched it out. I took the knife
with my other hand and hovered the blade inches away from the base.

"Like this." I informed her.

I was pretty shocked at how shocked she seemed considering the expressions people had been giving me all day long.


"All balls, baby."

fate of nations
mikael covey

They shake hands, cameras pop and click. The president smiling, and the king who is not smil-ing. Pictures for postcards and newspapers back home. “If you could only come to my country” says the king “see the land, the people. How far we’ve come.” “Maybe someday Vlad” says the president “but you need to come around to our side. Be a part of the team...before it’s too late.”

Knocks him off stride. The king’s name is ‘Valdamir’ not ‘Vladamir’ and he understands English better than he speaks it. But not well enough to know whether mispronouncing his name was intentional, or maybe just a mistake. Either way, it says a lot about the man he’s dealing with.

Behind the scenes, away from cameras and public attention, the minister of defense meets with the vice president. “We understand your security needs” says Myerinck “and we’re willing to do everything we can to help.” General Petros smiles, says nothing. American meddling is the cause of the insecurity in his part of the world; the wars and threats of terrorism looming over his country.

“We can offer you...aircraft” says the veep “fighters, state of the art. And pilots too, to train your people; all the protection you’ll ever need.” Still the general says nothing. The veep con-tinues “with that, you could be...a regional power. Someone to be reckoned with.” “We can’t afford such things” says Petros “but our soldiers...are brave and strong, fierce.” Surely he knows that, thinks the general.

The vice president isn’t interested, doesn’t care. Reaches down beneath the dark polished table and lifts up a briefcase. Opens it up to show him the neatly stacked bundles of American dollars filling it completely. “This is a loan, which will...assist you to purchase

all the armaments you need. With even some left over, I imagine. It’s our way of saying ‘thanks’ for all your help.”

The general looks at the money, more than he’s ever seen before, more than he can even imagine. Then he looks at Myerinck. “We’re not for sale” he tells him. The veep closes the lid of the briefcase and smiles. “Look, we all know your king has been playing coy and cute with...our state department; and his refusals of our generosity. So I guess it’s up to me to say it. This is our final offer, understand.

“And let me make this clear. The pipeline...is going to go through your country. That’s inevita-ble, it’s going to happen, there’s no other way. The oil has to flow...and yours is the most se-cure and...convenient route we have. So it’s going to happen, with or without you...or your king.”

“I understand” says Petros “but let me be clear also. We have a saying in my country...”

He pauses, scrutinizing the man in front of him, making sure there’re no mistakes. Then speaks a couple of lines in a strange sounding language, a Euro-Slavic mixture that’s quite pleasing to the ear. “And what does it mean” asks the veep. “Don’t smile at my face while you’re lying out your ass” says the general.

The vice president laughs, but Petros continues like he’s on a roll now “we don’t do ‘coy’ and we don’t play games. We told your foreign secretary that we don’t want your money, and we don’t want your pipeline. And you’d be well advised to quit meddling in that region of the world. You can see where it’s gotten you, can’t you?”

“I only see allies...and enemies” says Myerinck “and it’s too bad. I had hoped...we could be friends.” “What if we took your money” says Petros “and your aircraft; and used them...to at-tack you.”

The vice president glares at the man “it’s a mistake...to say things like that; even in jest.”

“We all make mistakes” says the general “but it’s better to live with good intentions, than to die with bad ones.” “Yeah well, we’ll find out if you’re right about that, won’t we.”

On the flight home, the king goes over it with his defense minister. They hadn’t spoken in the rental car, not in front of the boy who drove them. He’s only eighteen, one of the king’s palace guards, Freidrich Arnstid, a young soldier. This was a perk for him, this trip, an amazing adven-ture to come all the way to America.

Ostensibly he was there to carry the luggage, book the flights, make the arrangements. A lot of responsibility for a young man. But soldiers need to grow up quick in a little country like theirs; surrounded by hostilities and long-standing enemies. You need to learn, and grow up quick if you ever want to become an old soldier like General Petros.

Now they’re in the plane, and Freddie is off wandering around the aisles, looking for pretty girls, or anyone who might look suspicious or out of place. He’d booked the flight when they arrived at the airport, using different names, different passports. That’s what you do when you can’t afford a private jet. But even so, someone might recognize the king, so you have to be aware of that, see who’s flying with you.

Petros and the king can relax now, and speak freely. Unlikely anyone will overhear them or even understand the strange dialect of a little Eurasian country that nobody’s ever heard of. “I felt like killing him, right there” says the king “with my bare hands.” “Why didn’t you” asks Pet-ros. The king looks down at his hands, resting on the fine suit he’s wearing. The two of them dressed like businessmen, flying on a commercial airliner; second class. “They’d think...we were barbarians” he says “living in caves, herding goats for a living.”

“They think that already” says Petros “couldn’t find us on a map, even if you told ‘em where to look.” But they knew all that going into the meeting. This great historic event, the first and only meeting their little county ever had with the great and powerful Mr. Tomkin. Even so, the results were even more frustrating than they’d imagined.

The king tells how the president mispronounced his name; Petros laughs. “I like that, ‘Vlad’ makes you sound like Count Dracula or something.” The king laughs too, but then Petros tells him of his meeting with the vice president. And there’s no more laughter.

“Good God, Bruno...you didn’t really say that, did you?”

“I spoke...the words that came to me” says Petros “just, the truth is all.”

“You told them...what we think, in private. What we don’t want them to know we’re thinking.” Petros says nothing. Neither apologizing for what he’d said, nor surprised at the king’s reac-tion. He knows the king would have done the same thing, if he’d been in that position.

The stewardess brings them food, and wine to drink. It helps to ease the tension, focus on something else. Just the food, and drinking the wine. “Bruno, has it occurred to you...that di-plomacy is maybe not your strong suit?”

“Diplomacy” says Petros “is what little dogs do when they’re afraid of the big dog.” “Yes my friend, and these sayings roll off your tongue like a commander giving orders to his troops. Right or wrong, they’re going to follow you, aren’t they?” “Am I wrong” asks the general.

“No” says the king “no, it’s just that, we need to...find ways to stop wars, not start them.”

joseph grant

Traffic ahead begins to slow. This means one of two things. Either there’s construction further up the highway or there’s a crash. A half-mile ahead, it appears that cars are beginning to merge into the dreaded one lane. The highway in my mind narrows also and comes to an unexpected stop.
The radio says not one word about any of this yet. The stations remain gleefully un-aware, playing inane love songs followed by equally inane infomercials, all of which have noth-ing to do with my current reality. Maybe this is not happening, I tell myself, reassuring my work-wounded psyche. Some sort of mind mirage. A delusion of the motor skills.
Progress flows slower now. There is the floating sensation as if I am almost under wa-ter. There is no sound as in dreaming or in drowning. Any and all noise has been swallowed by the privacy of my rolled-up windows. I wonder if this is what dying feels like.
The shadows growing in the Joshua trees around me outline the tortured faces in the cars of the still merging next lane, their mouths uttering silent words to gods unknown. Time ceases to mean anything. The light around us is steadily fading.
My tank is almost on E. If the traffic doesn’t start to move, my car will become yet an-other impediment in the struggle to get nowhere fast before this darkness descends upon us. A relevant thought overtakes my mind: If the car stalls, home will be a distant memory. This only makes me sigh. Thankfully, the traffic moves. A tongue of static hisses from the radio, the words I can discern come through as some sort of half-tone cipher, a hieroglyphic of the ear; useless. A check of my cell phone finds that dead, too. All lines of communication have been neatly silenced. I am cut off from the world and orphaned by modern design.
Now all of the cars around me are compressing into one thin line of an amalgamated steel snake, slithering slowly around a sharp turn, past what has been deterring our ride home. Burnt skid marks upon the gray-blue asphalt detail the last effort to maintain control. Then all gets blurry. Slowly, then suddenly. Fade to black.
The darkness of the road disillusions my mind’s eye and my memory is trajected back to a blood red sunset when a car ahead of me had hit a coyote in the road, already lifeless. My idiotic quick turn of the wheel to avoid crushing the already dead coyote’s skull nearly sent my car careening into another car in the other lane. It took me a week to rid the outside of my car of the splatter but considerably longer for me to purge the memory.
There will be no coyotes tonight.
Ahead, flares have been set up, funeral tapers alight near the mishap, rendering my eyes; retelling the rest of the story as the snake slowly slinks on. The flares stare back into the encroaching nothingness with angry, red eyes and give a hellish illumination to an already con-fused scene. I see an ambulance and a police car, both rave lights blinding the desert night, standing idly by as the scene is reflected in thousands of diamonds of broken reflection.
Given the length of the scorched tread marks, I deduce that a car tried to pass in be-tween two trucks to get into the slow lane to exit and one of the trucks, failing to see it or al-low it, barreled right into the vehicle, ramming it into the trailer in front of it, sending chunks of the Detroit spewing all over the road. The truck then apparently slid off the road in an attempt to stop. Maybe the brakes locked and the cab skidded down the embankment. I can not see it from the highway. All that I can make out are the remains of an overturned shell of the trailer, abandoned alongside the carnage.
The entire area is being carefully swept up and hosed down, as if it never happened. The ambulance is now somehow part of this cruel spectacle. It stands as a mocking figure of sorts, being totally useless now.
The cars shed their single skin slithering freely across the desert once again. The tor-mented faces will twist and contort from the inconvenience of being momentarily held prisoner to that of gawking delight. There will be now something to discuss around the microwave at work tomorrow morning, of how they were made late in getting home by this annoyance, I muse in a smug manner.
As the ambulance u-turns and the police hold back the stem of traffic, the carriage looks empty, there is no body bag, as there wasn’t enough to go around. No desert souvenirs, no body to identify, no toe to tag. A Christ on the highway. A perfect Mojave Resurrection. No proof of existence or of having ever been. We are here today, gone in a speed limit. Turn me on, dead man.
Manifest Destiny was what really killed off the American Indian, as surely as it did the coyote; although the coyote’s death was potentially quicker and more humane. Covered in blankets of smallpox, our ancestors silently watched the indigenous’ genocide spread. Now the corporations try to pull blankets over our eyes with each passing billboard lie; vying to get the last word embedded into the collective societal chant; to make us concerned about trivial dis-eases such as not having white teeth and having a dependable deodorant in a way our ances-tors never needed worry.
With only the moon overhead to guide us, we blindly follow the red lights ahead to the road that will take us from this mad hour of darkness; that will lead us from this bruised con-sciousness; past the realm of forgotten desert towns that disappear into the haunted swallow of night; where we have killed off the Western dream with neon and assuaged our guilt with casinos as the new oasis of greed.
American roadway death-Ideal-Madison Avenue-Streamlined-Right into the grave-Efficient. No down-time at the funeral parlor for me, no thank you. Now only one epitaph rests along these haunted roads for us; the ghostly message of “me first.” Common courtesy has turned to road rage. The thought merges in the lanes of my mind: Somewhere along this lone-some highway, we have become our own road kill. Goodbye James Dean.
I roll down the window, letting the cool evening air pour in. Utter a new creed, I cry, perform a new tribal dance in the shadows that grow across the promised land. The time has come again to embrace the Navajo night. The American Dream has become a mirage. The New World is no longer working, I scream into the empty darkness.
Out here, even on the precipice of nothing, I am consumed with the sensation of our driving too far, too fast into the American night that we can no longer find the original road back again. We have come so far only to be left driving headlong into the nothingness. Now, as traffic begins to slow once more, there too lies the tangible sense of our never getting home.

in free
willie smith

Take the cigarette lighter. You really only fuck it once. Push it in. Say to yourself shit in. Wait sixty-nine secs – POP!
Remove glowing element. Flip same out window. Pull off on roadside. Snap off seat belt.
Slide over. Slip out of pants, no time to waste, no point doing this without socket hot as hot gets.
Since a hard-on is fatter than a cigarette, or even a Tiparillo, expect squeezing. Even more than took to achieve rigidity; although maybe didn’t take all that much, because cars erotic to begin with; cigarettes, too; kamikaze lust further rouses…
‘Til you become a Jap, because everybody is everybody’s masturbation fantasy; you no longer a Jewish American Prince diving an African wasp into the Indian web of a Chinese widow.
You are a 1945 Jap flying into the smokestack of a big-nose boat populating that one pink about to hurt so bad, so hot, so white – here it comes!
Allye allye in free!
In the beginning was the rebeginning, because it began already before.

fuck-drops make entity
pablo vision

Fuck-drops make pink, bulbous, screaming entity fall from the cunt; a screaming bundle of liq-uid-shit and vomit. What a tedious and common miracle; delude yourself not: this is at least eighteen years of your life pissed down the toilet, in one careless moment of inadequate pre-caution. What cowardly squeamishness prevented you from reclaiming your own life back? Was it so dull that adding such frustrating and demanding and thankless torment and restriction into the mix seemed somehow appealing? Were you such a slave to tradition or, worse still, insane instinct? And will you lie to yourself and others, how worthwhile it all is; so special, and so fulfilling? Will you imbue its pig-like features with spurious resemblances, like the face of Christ in the anus of a dog? And will you mistake familiarity, duty, self-delusion, and hormonal chemistry, for some kind of deep love? How often do you allow yourself the time to regret? How often do you think what your life was, and could have been, without this life-sucking leech? And what of the slackening of cunt and drooping of tits; sleepless nights; gibberish and drool?

Such lack of perspective, you cry, such bleak one-dimensional viewpoint - what of the joys? What joys, I say (rhetorically, for I have no wish to tolerate your stupid assertions)?!!!? Would you willingly choose the educationally subnormal for social company? Are playing brum-brums and choo-choo trains really that rewarding? Is that paternal smile on congratulating some fin-ger-painted splodge a smile of genuine happiness? Have you willingly swapped all of this, for fucking in every room in the house, wild debauched parties, and freedom to move from place to place at will? Were your lives that dull that this boring bondage actually seemed appealing? Were conversations with your lover so excruciating, that you really wanted to punctuate them with spoon-feeding and irritating interruptions? Is relaxing on the beach with your brat screaming and throwing sand that much better? And the exciting nightlife…how wonderful to bypass any chance of life, and move straight to middle age; how simply excellent to drag push-chairs around the pyramids; and how much the little fucker appreciates all of this.

And they grow older. Instead of smiling dutifully at misshapen plasticine snails you applaud your offspring’s woeful acting and singing, listen grimly to their painful stories, and try and as-cribe cuteness to that which is not. What the fuck is wrong with you people????? Why the look of horror when I tell you how I detest the little bastards, and become nauseous at your photo albums and homemade movies? Can you only convince yourself by this incessant enthusiasm for this sort of hell? How my toes tighten and cringe in the presence of your wonderful prog-eny! How many times when you are asked about yourself do you drone on about your fucking children instead?

And they grow older still. Embarrassing children with hormones and tantrums convinced that they are adults and individuals, pathetically allowing other fucking teenage-child-brats to influ-ence their every thought, taste, and action. Just see how they will thank and reward you then! How supremely and sublimely superb to think of your precious baby out getting wasted and getting fucked - and which fuck-drops will make more bastard entities then?

How old will you be when, and if, the bastards finally leave home? What will you have left of your own life then? Do you honestly believe that these little shits, who never asked to be born, will owe you something when you need looking after?

Are you so bereft of the social skills needed to find real friends that you create these entrapped hostages for company? Have you failed so miserably with your own lives that you wish to start again from scratch, vicariously?

But without children, what of the future, you say? Fuck the future, and this dismal species, if it so disdains living life, and is so scornful of freedom, that it jumps at the chance to commit this sick suicide.

ellen and ben
daniel casebeer

Ben wraps a towel around his waist and reaches for the shaving cream. Ellen is sprawled across the bed. She is naked, except for a slim triangle of black silk, and there is a trail of rose petals tattooed along the pale of her inner thigh.

"What are you doing?" she asks.


He opens the mirror and rummages through the medicine cabinet. Rain hammers against the window. He watches the drops chase each other down the glass, and imagines that he can see Billie Holliday in the silver
streaks they leave behind. He finds a razor at the back of the cabinet and sets it on the edge of the sink.

Ellen rolls over and props her head up on a pillow.

"But I like your beard," she says. "I don't think you should shave it."

He turns the water on and twists the cap from a brown bottle of blue pills. He puts two of the pills on the sink next to the razor and returns the bottle to the medicine cabinet, closes the mirror.

"Did you hear me?" she says. "I don't want you to shave your beard."

He takes the pills with a handful of water, wets the razor, and sits down on the toilet.

"Don't worry," he says, unwrapping the towel. "The beard is safe."

lily sits on a wooden chair
jack henry

Lily feels alone within each waking moment and each fading dream. she sits in a green wooden chair. watches cars go by. little children too. sometimes she smiles, as if remembering; mostly she just stays still.

on Wednesdays her daughter comes by. she combs Lily’s hair, tells her about the family, her grandchildren, her son-in-law. how little jimmy broke his foot playing soc-cer, how little Sarah lost her last baby tooth, how her husband is a cheating bas-tard but at least he makes a good living and allows the family to buy things they don’t really need. i should leave him, the woman says sometimes. Lily doesn’t really hear her. i don’t think i love him, the woman says more often. Lily’s daughter is having an affair with a man that works out of his house, but she said that only once, in a whisper. Lily heard that and smiled.

Lily married only once but her husband died sudden of a heart attack while they were in Coos Bay, Oregon on vacation. he was 57, she was 26. he left her a wealthy woman, in need of nothing, but she doesn’t remem-ber much of that. she never loved the man, but he was kind and never cheated. that made Lily smile.

every day the Filipino nurses tend to her. Lily doesn’t have many needs. she still has enough wits about her to not soil herself, to pick up a fork and knife, to brush her teeth and shower. those things she remembers.

after lunch Lily sits on a green wooden chair, watches the trees move with the af-ternoon wind. dogs walk unattended. the postman waves hello. sometimes a tall man with thick gray hair will come into her room, sit next to her on a blue wooden chair. he has a nice smile. they are nearly the same age but he doesn’t live at the home with Lily. she does not know him but he feels familiar.

he tells her stories about a couple that spent many years together, traveling the world, each day an adventure. the woman has the same name as Lily, and each day the story seems new. Lily always smiles, she likes the man’s voice. she doesn’t know him, but she tries.

in late December the man stopped coming by her room. Lily sat in the green chair, watching snowfall. she stopped smiling. on Christmas Eve she stared at the empty blue chair and remembered everything; the moment she met the man, to his last visit at the home. Lily stood and touched the back of the blue chair and smiled, a single tear drifting down her cheek. she saw her reflection in the glass picture window. a young woman in her mid-20s, very thin, full figure, delicate smile and a young man with a full head of brown hair holding her hand.

Lily lay down in the bed, pulled her covers to her chin, the smile now permanent to her face. when the nurses came by with Christmas morning breakfast they found Lily’s body. The two chairs, the green one and the blue one, were pushed together, as if lovers were sitting in them. A smile re-mained on Lily’s face, no longer alone.

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