Archive for June, 2011

Consumerist Spring

By Rachel Ayers

Their ritual complete
headless chocolate bunnies lie
amidst the too-bright grass
eggs devoured by sticky mouths
singing Christ the Lord is Risen Today.

The mall speakers drown
the noise of shoppers and
squealing children, corralled by
mini-golf mats and short
white picket fences.

We hang electric chairs with lights,
bejewel lethal-injection needles,
paint the guillotine with hippie flowers
and wear our sparkling silver crosses.
Death has been defeated.

A tisket a tasket
why doesn’t my Easter basket
hold perfume and jewelry
and stuffed animals and candy.
Proof of love.

The earth below the jonquil
violet and crocus
is the rot of past years, turned from
flower to bud in the slowness of time:
here is rebirth, here is infinity.

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Words Thinking Of No Mouth

By Ben Naga


feeling hollowed out and mouth

full of used tastes
seems it’s always like that

(no less true of any other state)

ballooned with intransigence

the serious collector of dancing Shiva statues
and grandfather clocks


in his breathing to reflect
or rather


a choice of words
which is not

what he is thinking but
only another symbol of that

that there are no such dragons
as things

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By Nick Hranilovich

I will fight until something perishes at tectonic skull cracks
grey sanguine seeps out, mispronounces the true names
opens up the temples of the grim beams
shooting up antithetical spotlights
boring black holes up sunny skies, keep views forward
unless you are the local man of strength
you’ll pour your life up a town’s strand
a fierce blue pillar of souls into the goblet of distraction
shattered bullet-hole-atmosphere
arks and arks slipping in setting up mountain axiom
after the first slip of the tongue telling the locals
the peak-valley horizon is the jagged spine
of one buried Mother Earth bygone era’s land lady
soot rollers on walls across tracts from boundary to border to edge
years of mourning massacre after eyes brighten
smokestacks after skies whiten
eating poisoned apples coursing the veins
like nature is a 13 billion year old smoker, rivers gone blood
open scrolls and soapbox shout at dead man’s first processions
up both ways of the Nile Delta sucking blue light to empty the horizon
to influx the coming spectrum ask not who delivers unconscious message
allow heart’s guidance to properly cast out and listen
not before I am known
pray not until I claim not as I but true He
has danced up the obsolete staircase stockpiled deities when the
millennium wrought no havoc though that was the end time of the week
with no meditative seal of quantum approval with equations in actuality
never expounded nailing a coffin under the 500-foot-tall
tombstone “oops, jumped the gun”
tell the New Age it’ll kill us all
unless it stops calling love a solution
and starts loving.

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Every Third Sunday

By Tyler Bigney

I visit my grandfather
in the nursing home.
He doesn’t remember me,
calls me by the wrong name
and talks about Korea
as if I was there with him.
This is the third nursing home
for him in the past year.
The last two released him
for talking dirty to the nurses.
Every sponge bath
turned into a case of
sexual harassment.
My grandfather greeting nurses
with his pants down,
asking for a hand. And that’s
not even the worst of it.
I’ve read the reports. Received
late night phone calls threatening
that he’s being moved
first thing in the morning.
“He’s a dirty, dirty man,”
they scolded me though the phone,
as if I was the one
who put him up to it.
They left me with a warning
that if it were to happen again,
his next stop would be an institution,
and you know what that means.
I sit my grandfather down at lunch
and lay it all out, pleading for him
to stop with the dirty talk,
to keep his hands to himself,
to find a different way to channel
his sexual frustration.
“Frustration,” he laughs,
“You don’t know what that is.
Frustration is when they don’t let you
outside, too afraid the world
isn’t strong enough to witness
the sight of a dying man,
so they keep you locked
in here all day with the stale air,
and the men
who are no longer men,
who weep strapped
to their beds, screaming
for their mothers.
You think those trees
out front were planted?
No, they were uprooted
and hauled here
from some far away place
so no one could see
inside this mess.
My God boy,
these men fought Hitler,
and they’ve been reduced
to diapers. Yesterday I forgot
what day it was, and for a second
I was scared of Alzheimer’s
but I remembered
time was on my side,
and by time, I mean
not much of it. For the first time
in my life, I’m more scared
of living than dying.
So, yeah, maybe
I’ve only slept with
one woman in my life
and to be honest with you, kid,
it doesn’t matter if they send me here
or there, fact is, I’m already dead,
just waiting to be buried,
so I may as well give it
one last shot
because the graveyard isn’t going
to wait long for an old cat like me,
and what is all of this going to matter then?
It’ll mean jack shit, that’s what.
Now go home, or find
something else
to do with yourself
cause the nurse
with the big tits
is calling the bingo numbers
this afternoon
and I’m feeling lucky.”

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By Scott Stoller

(after Samarov)

Nothing says winter like frozen barf in a snowbank.
It seemed like such a nice neighborhood
to have bad habits in.
He says he’s just coming off a three-day painkiller bender
and didn’t even know where he was this morning.

An earnest young man I picked up from The Continental
informs me that since I don’t appreciate ideology in art
that I’m completely worthless,

but every tentative step I take
towards participating in The Art World
makes me miss driving a cab.

Now I’m stuck behind a tow truck on North Elston Avenue
hell-bent on running other vehicles off the road.
Sometimes it’s like Death Race 2000 out here.

I just rescued four terrified yuppies from The Hideout.
They didn’t even go in—
Now they’re safely on their way to Rush & Division
to be with their own kind.

A girl gets in and says, “Let me tell you where I’m goin’…
I don’t know the address.
I’ve been drinking all day since two days ago.”

A man in a bowler and white scarf,
back lit below the Belmont overpass,
walks toward my cab
like a scene from “A Clockwork Orange”,

gets in and asks me how my novel’s going.
(Was it the beard or the corduroy jacket?)
He says next time I let people have sex in my cab
I should really make them use a condom.

It’s plastic surgery disasters
outside Charlie Trotter’s, as always.
What makes people think
that if a cab has passed a dozen others flagging,
their waving hands will magically make it stop?

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Frontier Tonky

By JD Nelson

Genesee, Tennessee.

Silence was.

Bat Child wondered about the crooky moon.

“Blue coffee is a good guess,” said Metric Wolf.

“I could’ve been the brain in sky movies,” said Bat Child.


Metric Wolf made mayonnaise sandwiches with bread he had found in the dumpster.

“The universe is a hotel with an infinite number of rooms, on an infinite number of floors,” he said.

“Whoa,” said Bat Child.

“Don’t talk with your mouth full,” said Metric Wolf.


Bat Child wondered about the 1970s.

“What about Dorothy Hamill,” asked Bat Child.

“It’s happening to her,” said Metric Wolf.

“What about Mark Hamill?”

“It’s happening to him, too.”

“I found 15 cents in the parking lot,” said Bat Child.

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By Charles Bane Jr.

The air is paved
with fire; you are there
and I and in privacy
I sense the larger end
of land, and a wild and
waiting sea. None, my
soul, is small
upon its course
of flames and I oar
upon your love of me
to a waiting Face that
looks for me in flashes
of the dark.

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By Harry Calhoun

3:15 a.m. and I want to light the television
against the night, but the shows are banality
and late-night horror. I’ve had enough of both,

and candles lit would remind me of lovemaking.
I would probably forget to quell their flames
and burn down the house in a smoky mess.

The dog sleeps quiet as innocent night,
contented and curled into himself.
From this I take some measure of hope,

flick the light off my thoughts and try
to head back into candleless, TV-free sleep,
the slumber of the uneasy waking to a slender diet

of more of the same in the dim but certain light
of tomorrow, the cigarette glowing,
burning too close to the filter.

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The End

By Michael Haeflinger

I strangled a hyperactive poodle with a tube sock
in his mouth. Turned out to be a rubber
glove and his entrails were simply seafood.

When the moment finally came, we didn’t bring it up.
The cats ate the guts and I re-tied my shoe,

but we were running out of time.
We didn’t call it anything: not even the end.

The men with the cameras wouldn’t find us
under the house. To us it was a razor wire trap.

To everyone else, shadows and music they swore
they recognized. The poodle bit clean through me
but it didn’t hurt. That was just something we did.

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By Ian Mullins

So it’s all just chemistry then,
my brain lies sodden in a vat
in a mad professor’s lab,
and one day he’ll change the water
to red or blue,
and all I can do is watch myself
jerk like a puppet
when my strings are slowly cut,
taking such comforts
as the profession allows
me to confess, only secretly relieved

that I am relieved of all
such duties; can pass the baton
to a closed fist, content
that my part of the race is finally
over and that the finish
I will never live to see
is waiting round the bend
for some other soul
to snatch away my glory:

so I’ll never need to smash the glass
and find out if my brain can leap
like a football kicked so high in the air
it forgets it isn’t supposed to fly
and hurtles like a pinball between
planets, faces, suns and stars

searching for a body called home.

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