Archive for December, 2011


By J.D. Nelson

38th & Ringsby.

“Relax,” I said, “this is only a dream.”

“Don’t tell me to relax,” I said.

I stole a coat and warmed right up.

I found myself in a ditch,
eating rabbit and belching.

I was number one-oh-one, or something.

“The burgers are done, you guys,” I said.

Something about the World Series,
trying to outrun buffalo.

I’d forgotten to rewind my finger.

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End Times

By Gale Acuff

I wonder where I’ll be on the day I
die, and what I’ll be doing. Miss Hooker
says that death is in-ev-i-ta-bull. That
means it can’t be stopped, at least I can’t stop
it. That’s a good word–in-ev-i-ta-bull.
Maybe she fished it out of the Bible.
And I don’t want to die but it’s no use
pretending that I won’t, Miss Hooker says
–she should know, she’s my Sunday School teacher
and old, maybe 25 to my 10,
so she’ll die long before I will, unless
I die first in some kind of accident
or in some other way that’s God’s will. It
could happen anytime, too, except for
yesterday or just a moment ago.
Death doesn’t happen to you in the past.
That’s birth’s what that is. Then I live my life
and then I die. That’s the order of things,
and I could die tomorrow or next week
or month or year, or next century–it’s
1966 now. And anywhere,
maybe even while I dream, which might be
good because I’d sleep right through it and when
I wake it will just be morning again
though in a different place–Heaven, I hope,
if I’m good, much better than I am now.
Or I might croak on my way to Sunday
School next week, get run over by a car
or truck or Mack or motocycle, or
eaten by a mountain lion if they
still prowl around here. Maybe I was born
with just half a heart or hole in the one
I have, then drop dead in regular school
on the playground or in the lunchroom line
or right before we have to hand in our
math homework and I didn’t do it so
I’m off the hook and it won’t matter that
I get a zero because I’ll be dead.
That would be good. That would teach my teacher
a thing or two. Then there’s my funeral,
where people will cry, at least Mother will,
and one of my sisters, and my dog but he’ll
let loose more of a howl, and they’ll lower
me like I’m on an elevator ride
that only goes down six feet and then gets
stuck and even if they fix it I can’t
come up again and there’s no red button
to press in an emergency. So there

I am for a while, until my soul goes
to God to be judged, I’m not sure when, some
say it stays inside the body until
Judgement Day and some swear the soul escapes
it as soon as your body dies. Maybe
it’s in the Bible as to how that is.
I’ll ask Miss Hooker in class next Sunday,
if I remember. If I’m not dead.
If I am I guess I won’t need to know
so it won’t be all bad. It might be nice,
in fact, as long as I don’t go to Hell,
and the only way to live forever.
I guess I’d find out if I killed myself
but I’d kind of hate to go that far. Still,

the only thing I fear is too much pain
but maybe it wouldn’t last long, just deep.
Miss Hooker says I should live my life like
every second was my last. That’s pretty
sharp. I wish I knew what I was doing
being alive. It would be easier
never having been born but here I am
and for how long I guess I’ll never know
until I can’t know diddly anymore.
Then I guess I’ll know it all, just like God,
Who’s also dead, in His own way. Funny.

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By Marc Pietrzykowski

Pardon me, ma’am, but I couldn’t help
noticing—are you familiar at all
with our 28,000 structures, sequences,
bibliographic citations, taxonomic classifications,
and sequence and structure neighbors?
We’ve extracurricular activities, Girl Scout meetings,
thermal anomalies, witch doctors…
all life-industry specific, no junk.
28,000! people still use traditional units sometimes,
but the wound is always there,
the need for new categories, external assets,
“in bounds” and “out of bounds,”
rules about who can have which sort of bird,
be it hawk, falcon, or eagle,
and be seen with it on their wrist. Ancient vases
and jars, figurines, furniture, lanterns and bird cages…

Aside from correcting the well-known defect, aside from
the ease and convenience therewith,
you’ll note that such a wealth is manifest in the spiel
we devote a sizable portion to hunting the poor,
often with pheromone-spritzed clipboards, they
don’t know to help themselves, we fix them.
How many structures have you squirreled away?
1,062? Half of them amphibolies? How sad.
You cannot share
and we cannot share with you.
Moonlighting might be the answer;
you could find yourself part-time work that’s fun,
fulfilling and financially lucrative.
A large part of the audience tunes in
just to watch the sideshow. Catch them!
Sell and be sold and your structures
and structure sequences might manifold.
Like living in a pop-up book. Exciting!
Or… let me check with the inscrutability vortex…

Ok, just this once, I am authorized to help,
just a bit. But who am I? Why listen? My ethos?
Why, my dear, I am the cat question.
I am a burst valve or two away from stopping altogether.
I’m one who’s learned to systematize, sister.
I can find a path through a weighted graph
which starts and ends at the same vertex,
includes every other vertex exactly once,
and minimizes the total cost of edges.
That’s right, doll, I’m the traveling salesman
and I’m here to make you feel a greater good.

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Broken Family

By Michael Tugendhat

She brings
a translucent

bottle to drink
herself to sleep

into a dead
escrow account

she shovels her husband
and his kids

social security

and his

She’s downstairs
fingering the wine bottles

pulling the labels off
nude glasses.

There, in that cellar
she dials down the thermostat

wraps herself in merlot
and waits for the wine to age.

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like cicadas

By Ben Adams

the world spins like
a fractured disco ball
noise screeching through
the room
like a wounded jackal
like madness
and military footsteps pound the
like falling pianos,
cannon fire.

cicadas like
well fed poets
fill the night
with static
and the crowd gathers
like molecules of oil,
a school of puffer fish
greasy and bloated
to the

the world spins the same in
ivory towers & amp; football
fields, skyscrapers & auto
factories, insurance companies
and hippie communes, turning
and turning, like wheels
on a bent axle, unsteady on its feet
a drunken man.

while the rest cling to sanity with
gritted teeth, cigarettes
and six packs, hamburgers &
coffee, street maps, bus timetables
and shopping lists, scribbles
on the wall of a highway
rest stop:

anything but the
buzzing of the abstract masses like

anything that might
shine clearly, like emblems
the truth.

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By Pauline Suwanban

We stand here! United in motion, moving
on impulse and take
breath as the dull heat allows us.

We are magnificent but waxen,
pouring cracked thoughts into
small creatures that scratch our hard hairs.

We are hideous because we want to be,
and proud,
because we are precious.

We bath in healthy filth,
flexing muscles for our shrimps ,
flicking reproachful blinks to passers
by with our slow bruising eyes.

We are the forgotten octopus of the earth and
stiff spiders that harvest our babies beneath
these desiccated flakes.

Helloo there! –guk
Come into my waters, bubalush, and
Spend some laps in my lovely tentacles.

We are here, do not ignore us,
Listen! To our bubbling language,
For you shall see dorappupp!
We are alive.

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