#13

Echezona Udeze
On Her

My room is cold
i ponder you in time and
you control all space

are you a model
stuck together by my reoccurring
dreams
or another flimsy vision

and you in times past
tells me
that it can be sugar cane
gluttony
it can be impaled
on joy

riding the wave
of an answer through
an idiots version of hell

that much of a follower
you pretty flower

you control all space
my rag doll movements
are nothing to you

 

 

Karl Koweski
low grade telepathy

somehow I ended up at
Schuster’s place just as
the cheap blotter acid was
tightening its friendly handshake
all ready I suffered from
precision eyesight and
I could feel my mind limbering up
like a syphilitic ballerina
preparing for an underwater recital

a case of little kings ale –
its gutted corpse ripped open
by ravenous alcoholics – its
lukewarm, emerald innards
not enough to last the trip

we sat there in his
geometrically laced room
thinking our elusive thoughts
and watching the booze disappear
in time lapse photography

it occurred to Schuster and I
simultaneously that we needed
a cigarette though neither smoked
cigarettes seemed to be the
missing component to our evening
our conjoined craving the result
of either low grade telepathy
or Schuster didn’t quite ignore me
the first three times I demanded
tobacco until his own subliminal
need for nicotine surfaced

he returned with a pack of Virginia Slims
Vaginal Slimes he called them – his mom’s
cigarettes so sophisticated
they practically light themselves

mom? I thought, who am I
associating with that he would say
mom rather than wife or girlfriend?
I live with my mom, so what?
he hissed, there’s no shame in living
at home a month or two
after getting divorced

telepathy? or had I spoken aloud?
I turned my heightened awareness
back to the cigarette in my hand
which indeed seemed to have lit itself

Virginia wasn’t lying about
these smokes being slim
I imagined lining my lips
with the entire pack
a cancerous ammo belt of flavor
but there was only eleven left
and Schuster wanted to smoke
because I wanted to smoke
I was thinking, these cigarettes
look like the sort of joints
a Jewish drug dealer would roll

I’m Jewish, Schuster said out of the blue
and I’m smoking because
I want to, not because you are

such hostility, I thought
its fortunate he doesn’t know
I’ve been fucking his ex-wife
for the last eight months

 

 

Cleopatra’s Secret Creme

I’m rummaging through
the bathroom cabinet
for some pomade to
sculpt the three musketeer
mustache I’ve taken
to cultivating when
I happen across a
mysterious tub labeled
Cleopatra’s Secret Creme

strange…
I’ve never seen this before

the label reads

“experience waves of pleasure
and delight when lovingly
applied to the clitoris”

what flavor?
creme de menthe

French, of course, since
it’s Cleopatra’s creme

makes sense

I twist the lid and find
the tub is mostly empty
a gelatinous glob smeared
along the bottom like
the jars of peanut butter
I invariably find in
the kitchen when I’m
hungry for a sandwich
minus the stray pubic hair

this explains a lot, I think

this explains a lot

and hopefully offsets
the size of my porno collection
should the wife ever
discover my cache

 

 

Joe Roche
Artefact’s and relics

She looked a lot smaller than I remembered her as she crept around her tiny flat in the centre of Birmingham. I looked at my dad as she made food for my brother and me but he didn’t meet my eyes. He looked sadder and older than I’d ever seen him before and I understood a little bit better why we didn’t live here and why I didn’t really know these people.
She was almost in tears when she’d opened the door for us and thanked God that we were there. This was the woman who’d once told my dad we were living in sin for not being brought up as Catholics. She hugged me hard and wouldn’t let go.
I hadn’t seen her in years and probably only about four or five times in my entire life.
As we started eating she was telling my dad about a television programme she’d taped for him because it had some comedian in it that he apparently really liked. I had never heard of him. She put the tape on for us to watch and I could tell that it had been recorded a long time ago. It was sitting next to the TV like it was going to be needed any second.
My dad said that I should bring up my bag from the car. She came with me to open the front door of the building and when we got into the lift she turned to me with a sudden outburst.
“Your grandfather has been calling,” she said quickly, looking first at me and then at the floor. “He wants to come see you. He really wants to see you boys.”
“How did he know we were up?” I asked. She looked upset, as if I had told her off.
“Deborah told him. I told her not to, but she did. Please don’t tell your father but he might turn up at any time. He really just wants to see you.”
“O.K.” I said, not sure how I was supposed to react.
When we’d got the bag and gone back to the room my dad was looking at a misshapen piece of wood he held in his hands.
“Mum, I can’t believe you have this,” he said quietly, still looking at it.
“Of course I do,” she said, putting it back on the shelf. “I have everything you made in school.”
I looked around. I believed her. It was only a small room but it was full of artefact’s and relics from a past that the people involved with had either forgotten about or chosen to ignore. I couldn’t help but stare at the many copies of my own face that littered the walls, accusations in the form of awkward half-smiles and freshly ironed school uniforms.

My grandfather never turned up to see us. I don’t know why. We left in a couple of days and a week later we got the news that she had died in her sleep. My dad was playing a gig that night and I sat up with my mum until he came home so that we could tell him what had happened. When he walked in around one and saw the two of us up so late he joked “what? Has someone died or something?” My mum took him into the kitchen and told him.
Later, after we’d been to Ireland for the funeral, my grandmother’s body returning to the village she’d escaped from so many years ago, my dad told me that he believed she’d been holding on just long enough to see us all one more time.
“It almost makes me happy that we could give her that,” he said, as he took a sip from his pint and looked at me with a sadness I wish I could’ve shared with him.

 

 

Dave Donovan
END TABLE

that shadow
of the end table
stretched over the carpet

carved legs
planted in the
soft weave of
our past

is all
that is left
at 3:45 A.M.
when your ghost returns for the keys.

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