Archive for April, 2013

Stage Fright

By Marie Nunalee

tell me if you can
(without opening your mouth)

what it is about the
casting of the light
upon your brow

makes you think it
can be here makes
you think it can
be now

faces forward
manes grizzled
coiffures straightened
apertures caked shut
with super glue

pupils opened and
unended and unblinking
they await
your rainbow beam ejaculate

will it greet them with a
start in the dusty darkened

will it shower down
upon their heavy
calcium crowns
thin copper chips

from amber nimbus

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By Fred Pollack

I have a desk, and light,
and meals, and know
that such a bare assertion of the case
would once have hinted at imprisonment
and called for pity, which
has gone out of the world, like hate.
The window looks onto a bay.
Fish have returned, and gulls,
while some swift tree reoccupies
the peaks, accompanied by animals.
Are words, I wonder, more or less
inert, now that they show
mere undistinguished life among
these other lives; is thought
a species of hysteria that proves
only a failure to assimilate
the return of silence and of space?

The dead were always the great critics,
determining the taste of the unborn.
The after- and before-life seemed,
however crowded, less so than the cities
where they were the major employer,
whatever someone hoped to serve or earn.
And the cities in turn relied
on convict labor to illuminate
the endlessly unrolling scroll
whose burden was the myth of personal fate.
Why am I thinking
of prisons, those particularly dark buildings?
Last night a bear sighed
audibly in the foyer.
Those neighbors on the hill across the water
are dogs becoming wolves again,
their moon-cries neither hungry nor forlorn.

I go downstairs with vague
atavistic or premature
hopes of an audience, but mostly wanting
voices. Perhaps, as trade revives
over millennia, layer on layer
of grand hotel will encrust this place.
Yet hopefully, when the stranger,
however ugly or unsure,
enters, the woman
stirring the hard- and collectively-won
soup will look upon him still
as precious, only humbly
to be approached, addressed, or touched,
as she herself is viewed; the big
competent hunters make
an automatic place for him,
as if exclusion were itself the plague.

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By Dave Hardin

My Grandfather wore the pants in the house,
a pair with a hole in one pocket through
which he would slide a hand and, in a feat

of manual dexterity, extend
one gnarled index finger up and through the
fly which he had quietly undone while

leading grace, the rest of us heads bowed, hands
clasped, eyes closed in silent reflection, save
for me, I must confess, my prayer a plea

to Him to steady the hand of this man
about to bless our Sabbath meal with a
trick so amazing who could dare resist

one quick peek; his intentions telegraphed
with a twinkle of the eye, chair pushed back,
rising to utter a stentorian

Amen, waggling his erect digit at
the hungry multitude, punctuating
the benediction with a lewd salute.

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First Impressions

By Peter Friedman

“Visionary” in the sense that he was sighted. A UFO stash of secrets, perfect day for aliens. The senses commute to work. It’s not a big deal. Shakes hands like a fish. Drinks like a desert. Dessert has two S’s, cause you want seconds. I take minutes usually, and I don’t even wear a tie. It’s always casual Friday when the aliens come. Homophones are an issue at such high frequencies.

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By Jennifer Recchio

Have you ever wondered
how characters in commercials
are getting on with their lives
after losing their jobs,
cooking talking meat,
and breaking up with a broom?

Do you ever think about
how their divorce proceedings
are going or if they had
a psychological break down
wondering if it counts as murder
to eat a singing hamburger?

Maybe these characters
are in group therapy
in commercial land
where they trade secrets
for overcoming hair loss
and cleaning those
hard to reach places.

Maybe you would rather
assume they stop existing
when the commercial ends,
their universe erupting
in a transfusion of light,
the talking steak
crying for its mother,
the girl on crutches
reaching out
one last time
to the duck
as they evaporate
into the static.

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By Thomas Fucaloro

Up and down the hippo on the diving board
we all watch. Up down 4 legs jingle jangle
it’s fun to watch the dripping pool of fear
in another thing’s eyes. Or is it what we
jump into that fears us the most? I drink
some lemonade. He still doesn’t jump.
I walk to the next booth. It’s a horse
threading a needle with its fake hand.

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