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Archive for July, 2010

commission

By David LaBounty

this day
was spent
staring
at the
sky
while
buying
and
selling
night
dreams, the

pockets

otherwise
empty
in
the
morning

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Love and Slaughter

By Donal Mahoney

Sheep are by a goat while
cattle are like swine, prodded, yet
cattle go by hammer while
swine are by the hind leg hung
then swung about to spigot.
Quicker, infinitely cleaner, is
the hacksaw of sweet Susan’s laughter.

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Avoidance

By Claire Bircher

I smeared Vaseline
on my window last night.

Just enough to
obscure the truth,
to filter the sun.

Smoke and mirrors of inclement
weather; framed and hung for
my eager body to accept what
my head already knows.

I can’t go out there today.

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Boyender

By Zack Rearick

The fat and stupid squawk
of your leg against mine
in the diner, in the
first corner I could find.
You lean back as you talk

and offer me your wine
(my water being free)
and offer, as I balk,
your heart as well to me
and tell me that I’m kind.

The waiter’s twenty-three
and has a funny walk.
Your fingers are entwined
like ugly, plastic stalks.
You spill apologies

and dirty up the floor.
I tighten in a ball
like Catherine Deneuve
recoiling from the wall
as I watch you explore

the skin beneath my shawl,
the skin beneath my glove.
The waiter’s bringing more.
There isn’t light above.
Your hand begins to fall,

your hand and then your love.
I grin and count to four.
You cannot speak at all.
I point you to the door
and chuckle as I shove.

I sail out like a hawk
escaping from a crime.
The dusk is gold with glee.
I wash my body sore,
contented with my thrall
and my response thereof.

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Nautilus

By Keith Higginbotham

The creation of pinball, a backdrop
of the Pacific Ocean, cap in hand, lectures
an hourglass re-creation of
the North Star machine. Who has

pictured himself beside narrative silkscreen
submarine playfields peppered with cosmic
cowhide boy bands in the advice of
electric versions? A freestanding

moon, rendered in doubletake
hypersaturated stop motion, created
intently for experimental
retro barrage.

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Diaper Deck

By Ben Nardolilli

Never leave baby unattended,
Baby who you laid down the towel for,
Baby you fastened the strap for,
Baby who is faceless,
Baby without gender,
Child of the cream-colored background
Baby divided in limbs by brown,
Baby who has not been politically socialized,
Baby whose towel you have disposed of,
Never leave baby unattended,
Or baby will fall off
And send stars shooting off his/her head

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Letter to You

By Michael K. Gause

Hey,

A new year and the jury’s still out on what will fire us in new directions, what axons will dwindle from disuse, and which comets will call us into the street.

“I open myself to the myriad and labyrinthine passages this city architects within me.”

a) Yes

b) No

I haven’t heard from you in a while, so I will assume you are doing wondrous things in the realm of art and love. Books, travels to urbane civilizations, invisible meetings with auspicious people. Huzzah. I have always respected a nose against the grindstone, even when my own actions seem to contradict.

“My path remains elusive, but I admit I miss you.”

a) Yes

b) Yes

c) Look, I…

As I write this letter, I am having a wonderful moment at the bar. Two older women (what this means at 42, one can surmise for herself), each a descendant of the other. One a 60’s activist the other a world traveler turned mail carrier. Their verbal leapfrog is enough to give perspective even to a myopic shite like myself, a perspective usually gleaned in more quiet, exquisite moments. But you don’t frequent the bars I do. Like I do. With good reason, I suspect. Quiet local legend speaks of your epic days, and you have to stop doing something for people to start revering it proper.

“Look, if you want to grab a drink sometime…”

a) Nice

b) Oh, now you come around

c) No

Have you seen the local literary projects around lately. Some are evolutionary steps from themselves, others are simply the reawakening after winter. They are wrapped in such beautiful colors. Like most presents, the packaging is the best thing about them. You get to the heart of it and you start feeling like you missed something still in the box. The idea seems to be that if you package something well enough, that becomes part of the present. I wish I bought that sometimes. So much seems to be just fluff with good PR. I know. That makes me elitist. That’s okay. I’m old enough to know

a) what to care about

b) what to leave the wind

c) time sorts it out

d) all of the above

e) my shoe size

I’ll end here, my friend. Drop me a line sometime, and tell your mother hello. Catch me up on things. You are still writing, aren’t you?

I guess I should have asked you that earlier.

Sincerely,

Michael

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By Mark James Andrews

I hate the process
of sending shit
out to THEM
the stroke
of the pen gang
the hags
with hobbies
the precious ones
the hustling ones
especially the ones
with mouths like motors
with organizational skills
the fucking american league
and national fucking league
of reviews and journals
online lit mags
annuals and quarterlies
little and big
especially big.

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Detour

By Robert Vaughan

He was overweight and talked
to himself with relish.
He squinted suspiciously,
mostly on overcast days.
His bubblegum stench
was apparently due to gum
wrappers washed in his
pants pockets. He fought the
law and went bankrupt. Joined
crew on a vessel cruising
the South Pacific Seas. Directed
their production of
“Best Little Whorehouse
in Texas” which performed
during both breakfast
and dinner buffets. Ended up
in Malaysia running a
teenaged prostitution ring.

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Strike That

By Paul Handley

Strike that, she ordered,
and quickly interjected after her comment
and before anyone else’s,
including her own on another subject.

Sorry, if the sin from the past was compounded,
and if that isn’t enough,
I goofed.

I’ve been slightly off-kilter
for the past five minutes.
I think it behooves us all to get beyond this.
Let’s get back to the nub.

We seem to keep circling the pond looking for water.
My bad.

No, I did not provide the best example for my peers.
Sorry, I’m not saying we are not all of equal status here.
Let’s get back to the nub,

and that this is not some egalitarian commune.
Strictly speaking no one here is my peer.

Not that I’m elevated above everyone else here.
It’s a simple bureaucratic formula
that creates a hierarchy in terms of position,
without any reflection of intrinsic value.

I goofed by not giving fair warning
and not giving you and I mean the royal you,
the chance to overlook
what has already been committed.

Yes, maybe a blanket apology is useless and I would appreciate it
if each and everyone of you would meet with me
in my dressing room later so I can apologize.

Don’t be offended if I’m talking through an armhole
or balancing on one leg as I get my pants on,
one leg at a time as you will notice.

Perhaps we will talk about the entire issue
instead of in dribs and drabs.
I seem to be apologizing everyday at seemingly random intervals.

She scans the room with an effort at caginess,
looking for a conspiracy tell.

She starts; we seem to be circling back on ourselves
with doors closing as we approach, but
my dressing room will be open. Not closed.

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