#17

Joseph Scorselo
Untitled – You

You are awake. Your lids are closed. You see a dense, opaque, and orange fog. The lights are on. There is no sound. Nothing is automatic. Action depends on thought and command. The slow-motion transfer of information from mind to body consumes all that is left of life. Your struggle to peel back the lids and reveal your eyes succeeds, but only leaves you blinded by the painful light. You resist and attempt retreat, but your lids fail to close. Your focus is switched on. A mountainous range of bed sheets blurs and dissipates into a hot yellow light. Your vision clears, and your eyes trace sharp white peaks along the horizon. You are horizontal. You are lying in a bed.
There is a hole in your neck. A tube snakes its way out of the hole, coils twice across your chest, and passes through a black stopper into a glass bottle. The bottle rests on its side cradled like a baby in your arm. A silent red streams from neck to bottle. Bubbles form, slowly collapse, and release your liquid self into the vessel. Plastic bags hang from an armature above the bed. A series of tubes spiral downward to a valve. Clear bubbles flow through each, collect, bump, collapse, and form a solution that passes through tube, needle, and arm, and into you. The tape holding the needle is wrinkled and stained. The same stain colors your arm. The needle is bent. Your arm is swollen, hand frozen, fingers blue and curled. Fluid in and fluid out is the measure of your life.
A curtain hung from a rod suspended from the ceiling surrounds your bed. It creates the illusion of a room. Six people surround the bed. White coats and tight skirts interrupted by neckties, pens, glasses, white stockings, and tiny hats with little black bands. Two in blue crowned by skin-tight caps join the six in white. It’s crowded in the little space around your life. The curtain drapes the shoulders of the invaders and curves outward creating the illusion that the walls of your little room are bent. Your foot hurts. You move your head to position your eyes and look. The tube in your neck slips out. Your blood pulses onto the sheets. Someone yells, ‘Shit!’ and a pair of hands grabs your hair, pulls your head back, and tapes it to the bed. Two others reinsert the tube and tape it fast. You stop leaking. Two in white argue. Your left foot is drawn to the side of the bed and restrained by a gloved hand. Your heart bangs in your chest. Vibrations rumble through your body. You are defined by forced rhythm and sweat. Every pore is opened and fear leaks out of your body creating a cold mist. You drift like flotsam in a sea of ice. Your eyes try to make contact with the owner of the hand, but there is no response. A different hand wipes the cold from your cheek. Your attempt to focus fails. You can only locate white, and blue, and hands. Pain rushes to your skin pushing with it another icy flood. You are leaking fear. The hand wipes again. This second pass brings no relief. You are lost. Hands pull back the sheets revealing your twisted body. One grabs your foot and pulls. Your legs are turned and stretched. Your thighs are held in place. Your hips are pushed down. Your arms are stretched. There is weight on your chest. Their coordination rearranges your nightmare, and their fingers cover you like worms on a corpse. Pain subsides and you drift. A moment passes, and you return. Your back arches. Your heels push against the bar at the bottom of your bed. Your head is taped fast. You scream, but the sound remains frozen in your mouth. You watch the hand push the catheter. Every turn scrapes and winds its way into your soul. You are lost.
Your eyes open. They are gone. You are alone. Sheet, white, tube, blood, clear, bubble, bottle, tape, hole, foot, arm, bed and alone. You are alone. You cannot see. You cannot hear. You cannot smell, and you cannot taste. You feel nothing. You are alone. You have always been alone. You are alive. Fluid and slow-motion bubbles confirm the ins and outs of your existence.
***
Streams of life.
Gulf streams.
Trout streams
Life streams.
Red streams passion.
Clear streams life.
Yellow river.
Slow motion bubbles,
Burst and measure life.
Life is in.
Life is out
Drip and flow.
Drip and flow.
Drip and flow.
And flush.
The life stream.
Life streams.
And you are alive.
You are alive,
And you are alone.
You are alone,
And you are dead.

 

 

David Mclean
a stone

a stone by water or.
is a memory stored
outside. images are not
in me, no place they reside
in, shrouded vampires
sucking light
from real life

the problem of the image
is listening
to it

(i do not intend an image
of a foolish fort on a hill
but the fort i have seen
and i reach it – like Husserl’s
loud tower that resides in me
or his famous apple tree – i reach
it even if it no longer exists,
like i allege my “self”
to have written this,
saying three things,
concisely and imprecisely,
like fucking thinking
fidgeting)

 

 

Karl Koweski
the defeated

my father loved boxing

he talked with pride
about the greats
Ali and Foreman and Holmes
Sugar Ray Leonard
he’d recount legendary fights
as though he were there
rather than watching
on the 18 inch television
perched atop the console

I wanted the respect he felt
for those men who achieved
glory by bouncing fists
off of each other’s faces

I wanted my father to tell
his conglomeration of friends
lining the mahogany how his
son was a piece of iron with
the stamina of a punch press
the strength of a sledge hammer

but I couldn’t take a punch
and I couldn’t throw a punch
my footwork was nonexistent
I could scarcely keep my boots laced

I never fought outside the region
recognition eluded me
I even failed as a punch line
the fire that burned in others
rarely flickered within me

I hung up my gloves
without so much as a victory
and found a factory to harbor me
my father once told me
what it took to be a champion
turns out
neither one of us had it

 

 

Amanda Boschetto
borderline mania

self-injury is to see
the sun
gaze upon the clitoris
of mary,
by day

and by night see the mad
moon
in its ugly repetition
in god’s stormy harbour

a razor shines in this
white and pale
face
and is a suicide broken
away from the dullness
of life

only the brain can burn
through
the most boring thought
and here today
the darkness falls over
this mania

a borderline’s best mother,
this fictional disease

 

 

Andrew Taylor
of Life

this river stands dry
blossom straddled by
mockingbird wind

Rose scented dreams
horses pass through
a thunderstorm plateau

where moon rises a cherry sky
hint of magnolia
leaves a mountain of memory

fresh flowers an ocean view
isolation a maple
tree in the snow

wildwood shadow fog of cats
a blue sky rosebud child
bluebirds follow to cold creek

hummingbird sunset over
Meadow Lake driftwood
sun into starlight sand and magic

of woods at night

Orange grove shore of rocks
petal horizon tide of
morning this the honey of life

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