Monday, 15 March 2010
E A R P L U G S
once my ears are filled. I become aware of my breathing, the hard beating of my heart that seems like it's resonating from miles off, a pounding of Thor's Semtex hammer against the bare scorched earth, when my breath increases and I'm aware of the images inside my mind. Images of skin, turned around in dizzy circles and covered in sweat, hot gasps as we slither in the dark, a uh-tutu-ara, Polonius fucking wishes he was here. Afterwards, while turning over, a wheezing sound tells me the air has been pushed out of my lungs. So liberating. I become aware of the blood inside my veins. Each individual cell. They are bustling like the women of my past life at the market place, queuing for meat and vegetables, queuing to feed their families. Pushing against each other, anxious to get something decent, worn down from the early rises and the late nights and brave face that is eating into their real one. Worn down to acceptance. Worn like rags. My bones creak. It runs in the family. I imagine a road and it's completely silent: so beautiful. Away from the crumbling blocks of cells in Zhitomir, away from the market full of rotting animal meat. This place I'm in right now, it's the best place in the world. Complete solitude, complete tranquillity. No worry, no chemical reactions filtering my reactions and thoughts. Darkness and silence. I can finally think clearly, devoid of the shouts from girls and boys interested in "culture". Devoid from gasping fathers and zealous mothers and their complete opposites. Marquez was onto something. Sleep envelops me and I melt into a thousand yellow puddles.
© Max Cambridge 2010
DREAMS OF THE REALLY ANNOYING
The room is expecting me to sing.
Why are these ugly, angry people
dragging me to a back table
amid threats of strong drink?
My real audience should be distraught
and not un-cat-like.
Perhaps an admirer will phone the law
causing a preview to the stampede.
Then through the dust there appears
a caravan of taxis,
foreigners circling holding their ears.
Respect these surprised attackers
shocked at their own dawn raid.
Incredulous, needy and most vapid of warriors
dangerous when not cornered,
the next village
absolutely, is not yours.
© Colin James 2010
Colin James lives in Massachusetts but was born in England. He works in Energy Conservation. He has been published in a variety of journals and ezines including The American Drivel Review, The Ottawa Review, The Haz Mat Review and 88. He is a huge fan of the Scottish landscape painter, John Mackenzie.
WITH THE SOUND TURNED DOWN
Our textbook compared
the heart to a furnace.
Or maybe it was the brain.
Blood provided the fuel
as you were falling asleep
or just walking along.
We would get stoned
before class. The teacher’s
wife and baby daughter
had died in a car wreck.
I think of it sometimes
when I see the Nazis
invading Poland again.
© Howie Good 2010
Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of 15 print and digital poetry chapbooks and the full-length collection of poetry, Lovesick (2009). His second full-length collection, Heart With a Dirty Windshield, will be published by BeWrite Books.
in the fifties sixties somewhere in the seventies hands ended up smelling like sweet sticky pine cone after spending a full day picking them up strewn and scattered all over your lawn
while a stray jet plane sputtered off to dusk slipping into the shadows of your basement
door to forget it all in blissful oblivion rummaging for the tonic water to add to the gin to make gin and tonics
in casual crystal cocktail glasses actual crystal glass stirrers displayed on top your half-built time life
bar just for the right moment just for the right occasion the mets always happening to be muted
on television always managing to find a way of losing (sometimes if you got lucky one of those streakers in high tops and big white boy
afros would suddenly show up running across to break it all up followed by the out-of-shape over-
weight security flush-faced, fish-faced, breathing heavily having heart attacks and them as well having
to be helped off feeling a little something like some sort of silly flamboyant out of control apocalypse)
with remaining lingering smells of smouldering barbecues going off like some sentimental sacrifice and slaughter in plush backyards of all the salesmen and ex-sailors and dentists and wheeler and dealers
and embezzlers everything kept in and not talked about while all developing some absurd dysfunctional
mythology unto itself (this became the real hush-hush not of the nice kind but secretive and sleazy
and sadistic and sublime) as you started to hear mosquitoes begin to get zapped electrocuted to death
in the flashing florescence of last breath dusk the ghost postmen and ice cream men already having
taken off as you'd come back out in your backyard in your pajamas after taking insane baths with mad brothers and feel the first dew of nightfall on your toes before you somehow found a way of drifting off to nightbirds in a flood of tears in the pitch-black dark of all your fears (of a holy and hysterical and hollow brooding of an unimaginable unfathomable being and reality) concept of mortality equalling a mourning
and murder and missing beyond belief of mother and father's eternal tragic and untimely passing...
© Joseph Reich 2010
Joseph Reich is a social worker from Massachusetts. He has a wife and handsome little son with a nice mop of dirty-blonde hair, and when they all get a bit older, he hopes to take them back to play, to pray, to contemplate in the parks and playgrounds of New York City.
Monday, 1 March 2010
you. you. I
explanation. this explanation. is not it is not a good explanation.
not explanation. really it hopes
if good good this hope this explanation. is it if
sure i'm enough
girl, loved a girl, More you but
and You I you, girl, a point. fifteen. and that's--
I was, see, fifteen.
loved I, you You my but You story. You were fifteen. this I
a this story.
and that's originally my "I" is the my this
before I nausea, petite was it before dizzy, before then. kissed then.
I would nausea, would you
you I. I.
cuts. cuts. I-- language, nausea-- saw But feel cuts.
soft. lips lips Your
Your lips were Your
was and stomach red. was and
stomach stomach was stomach red stomach
The pope's head has exploded.
(You are plunged into darkness)
Shop soiled mannequins enter stage left,
Appear beneath a single spotlight
And dance covered in fake finery on a perfect half moon.
They start to sweat yellow grey pearls,
Melt collapse into a pool
On cracked wooden beams.
(Would you like to dance?)
I’d rather hang
From the rafters throwing confetti.
One hundred reflections after every rotation,
Torn cut ripped glimmering gloss.
They are there again,
Until the dark wears off,
Swapping cheap plastic jewellery
Playing Chinese whispers in the shadows
Picking constellations from the mess on the floor.
They put dynamite behind his ears.
You are my present continuous tense, temporal
unsure if this is it at all.
I dread the third conditional because the past
is inside it, already pooling into mind.
And if you look and look to find
the tightened mouth on two
three and trois are still aligned,
but not blue and bleu and you.
I don’t hear Spanish but I know
a few words
the ones I needed.
Nous sommes nu together, a part of my heart
but when he is there we say ils.
He watches the doll dress
sees mine to eye to eye
in the back, a pocket mirror
lipstick smudge on thigh.
The leopard to the lamb on land
to lie down with the asp
his young his waters full his hand
and sounds of gentled glass.
Give me a neutraled opened key
and words from yours by you to me.
House of Cards
To live in card houses
y’all gotta get used to the strong taste
…and that strange smell ya get
when ya squeeze a big amber drop
o’pine dew ‘tween your fingers
‘til it bleeds a sunset over the prints.
All sticky and lookin’
like a sigh…
It / reeks of / Why.
Oh, the sound? That’s the bees,
livin’ and workin’
sometimes dyin’ for the honey
pot on the breakfast bar
- all made of clubs and spades.
They ain’t got nowhere else to go,
when they comes knockin’ for sugar,
don’t give ‘em the
brush off with
Y’all can sit and stare at these -
these paper walls,
all bendin’ with the elements,
some yellered with years
of fondlin’ in backhand poker
games and such.
Ya stare and see hearts.
See the dull dots of marks ‘gainst
the shine of the diamonds
as they glint-shine off the rich folks‘
rings and earrings and
\ \ But / /
all the faces and the aces
are turned out and away
and they sure as hell don’t…
they sure as hell don’t look
as You’re tryin’ make out
ya don’t see them.
[Make out yew don’t give a damn.
It’d be a pretty lie, if ya could
make it stick]
y’all gotta stop sittin’ by
while that strong taste of
and rags soaked in
from a world without bees,
comes in at ya.
All that… all that not-knowin’ folks
and not-knowin’ when to keep
that big bazoo shut and trapped
and Kept Quiet.
“Hell boy, you’s just a Spade,
so you ain’t got no right to go
makin’ eyes at your new
They’ll soon learn.
Leads to bell-fights.
And when you is livin’ in a house of cards,
You don’t need no extra buzzin’.
Those card walls are steady held,
no need to be prayin’ for God
to suck back in that wicked breeze.
But The Smoke seeps through
and it calms.
It calms them,
It – the smoke- it calms the bees and
the bees are calmed by the smoke and…
And they’re all crawlin’, not flyin’,
Big mass of black and yeller.
They’re all crawlin’ as they – as they start dyin’,
Big Mess of black and yeller bodies,
heaped in smoke and ash and flames.
It reeks of \\Why ///
The white painted faces are starin’ outwards
And lookin’ away
Lookin’ away from all that death…
the death of
All those poor, poor blackened