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Archive for April, 2012

Lung’s Dusk

By Jamie Grefe

The skin valley of her gutted stomach: Spidery fingers. A sprawling mass of unspeakable wonder: Beast. Gill slits on neck and fur like sour eggs. The porcelain sink. Canine intensity: pointed ears, brown hair, sticky skin. Muscles grope at the floor. Angel nub. Splintered thorns prick tiny holes in skin where blood trickles. From the bathroom to the other side of dusk. Young lungs constrict. She says, rejoice.

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By Mather Schneider

Sometimes intelligence
is a place with no oxygen

like a man laughing so hard
he can’t breathe.

Nobody knows how we
are built to live, why we go
bat-crazy over every
little thing, how it all

got warped and goes
on warping, hour by hour,

or what humor means
when your life is a maze

with a center of pain
and your soul is a moth-

eaten substitute for immortality.
Laugh that the torment felt

is not a torment meant
but an accident.

Laugh that our lives are
barely a moment

to the tamarind
sun.

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By John Sibley Williams

While the photographer develops his film
and the throws of ordinary life resume,
I am left to pose alone—

with leg draped over my ritual chair,
with a new suit I didn’t buy,
with the knitted brow of knowing
eternity is static
and feigning indifference.

Chemicals are blending in the next room.
I can smell what it means
to no longer be temporary.
I’m reliving a certain schoolboy violence,
leaving it nearer the surface.

Not enough has been taken from me.

My face is still turned to the window
as it will be in the picture.
I can’t see out of either.
Heavy light eclipses one half of one eye,
as if I’m reading through the tooth marks
left on newsprint.

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By Jim Davis

Reason maintains many things, though not
the rings left on the dark wood table,
the torn label from bottles of India brew.
I got fat. She was sad
to be falling out of love with me.
Walking through Chicago winter, you can
only see your breath if you stop moving.
A taxi slowed to see if I was fare.
And that’s pretty much the whole story.

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By Prairie L. Markussen

You had steel girders for cheekbones,
a fortified frame, a daily team to polish
your many metals, tighten your edges
You had a crew to winterize you—
and bring you back to spring again.

You didn’t age, or sink
into the leveled ground. Everything stayed
nearly as promised: you were as fresh
as the first blueprints that inked eager hands.

But

Through the shimmering frame—a swirl of dust motes,
colliding and conceding,
the sun hitting at the right angle, blinding.

And a forgotten slab of basement concrete tilting
downward ever so slightly: a sneaky subtraction of degrees.
A corner keeping watch

over a family of possums. A fluff of gauzy
insulation pushing its way out.

A person might feel, on some cooler night,
the degree that was missing, the unprotected space

and shiver, glancing suspiciously toward measured walls.

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By Martin Lochner

1

Midnight I spend
to find your sorry ass
barefoot behind the chemist

floating high in your deep, manhole fancies in daisy coloured skies of lollipop meth

Still trying to pose some dignity Mother taught us with the help of sweet Jesus Christ

Spaced out and drifting with an outstretched hand to be saved, I assume

“Come on home” I said

Integrate —halogen burning the vision blind
Integrate — magic monkeys screaming the vision deaf
Integrate – LSD hysteria in graffiti, barbwire heroin fiery against the wall

A spend soul that forgot his weeping mother.

Damn our daddy that forgot a long time ago when he took the train

one morning to Brooklyn to spend his inflated liver on drink and skirts.

It is tarmac hallelujahs with a silly dollar to feel sorry for all of us

“Hey little apple go get yourself a cup of Joe”
“Hey little bro, Momma is waiting for you”

Recognition fails and the sorry ass bum says

“Don’t you have another dime to spare?”

2

Got home early morn and reported that salvation was still born in blank eyes

“Little apple is still crashing high dear Mamma “

Worn down she said “one day that vein injected dragon will find him and incinerate his sorry ass”

She cried, cried, and I wailed because she cried you see.

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By Sarah Gamutan

Five more hours. Tick Tock. The digestive enzymes
are slowly subdued by drinking water flowing down
from esophagus. That big gulp with eyes at wee clock;
bodily need of some dizzy eyesight. Poor birds walking
in circles. With some twinkle? I start to blink keeping

my soul open for strength. But, this is too much. Too
laid- back. Got laid- off. Staring blankly at Nowhere.
Hands cripple and start to be cold. With all ARRGGS
and painful looks, the meaning of starve exists here.
It proliferates ONLY here. Why not THERE? Choosy.

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By Misti Rainwater-Lites

Everything wills it.
I will step out of this box
like I’m going for a drink of water.
The heavy clothes will puddle at my feet.
The fresh air will burn my lungs
the blazing blue sky will deafen me
the waiting earth will welcome me
with a mother mouth, deep and ravaged mother heart
accepting the sorry gift of me
as if I were made
of shinier stuff.

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