#40

A.J. Kaufmann
On the abandoned viaduct nearby

she chooses the abandoned viaduct
passing
while mime country eyes
sink into
the shutdown
red shattered
sunset
above the work-in-progress
never finished
construction
bird alike
&
fully
aware
of the cut

she chooses to go
& I follow
though that’s not
exactly
routine
& we’re not exactly on stage
this time

there are many here spirits
that choose not to stay
when sights like these
are eternal
enough
& so very
alluring
to
the altering arlequin’s
mannequin
eyesight

& the viaduct opens:
the vigilante
starless
womb

inviting…
cool
& quiet…

just a few drops of sleep
& we’re in

& the passing world’s
musical
none of our
business

 

 

Abigail Clark
Time to invest

Tinged green by the cheap imitation jewellery she understood that it was time to stop making necklaces from brussel sprouts.

 

 

Craig Sernotti
Legs

“Welcome back.” “That you doc? I don’t feel so hot.” “It’ll pass. But
I’m afraid I have some bad news.” “Well, okay, just give it to me
straight, doc.” “You’ve got cancer.” “Jesus. Where?” “In your knees.”
“My knees?” “Yes, in both of your knees.” “I’ve never heard of that
before.” “It’s rare but it happens. I should know, I’m a doctor.”
“Okay, so now what?” “Well we went ahead and removed your legs.” “My
legs? Removed my legs? When? Holy shit, my legs!” “That’s what I just
said. We removed your legs and now you don’t have cancer.” “But how
could you cut off my legs without consulting me first? Aren’t there
laws against that? I need my legs! I need my legs to do things!”
“That’s why it was such a hard decision to make.” “But I should’ve
been the one to make it! They’re my legs! It’s my life that’s
affected!” “Look, which one of us is a doctor?” “You are?” “Which one
of us is designing and building his second home because he can?” “I
live in a one-bedroom apartment on the fourth floor of my building. No
elevator.” “And which one of us had to do terrible, horrible,
unforgivable things like act in snuff films with Thai sex slaves to
make enough money to put himself through med school? Was it you?”
“Well, n—wait, what?” “So obviously I’m the only one in this room with
the knowledge and experience to make such a judgment call, right?”
“What films?” “I really don’t see what the big deal is. I mean, you
had cancer, advanced cancer. And now you don’t. The way I see it, this
is a good thing.” “Sex slaves?” “Yeah but don’t worry, they were all
underage.” “My head hurts. My feet hurt.” “You don’t have feet any
more.” “Exactly! And do you know why?” “Of course I know why.” “How am
I going to get home now? How am I going to play basketball? How am I
going to drive? What am I going to do!” “Ah, driving. Which reminds
me. I’m sorry but I… left my car keys in your abdomen. We’re going to
have to put you under again and get them out.” “Left them where?”
“Nurse? Please sedate the patient.”

 

 

Zachari James Popour
on the evolution of self

who was acrobatic gyration
shaking, clenchjawed; face
latched by redemption
to the jowls of rabid mad dog.
[Left/Right/Left/Right/Left/Right]
tearing foes of inner façade,
faceless (nonexistent) man beast,
from hiding to confront
demurely departed oneness
of self; many many facets:
yanking cloak from heart
to prove his tears are real.

(s(tripped(s(kinned & cold
-minus comfort and faith
in crowds or shrouds. scouring
cra|c|k|s in walls for knowledge
beyond Whitman’s beard,
cummings’ cock, and Bukowski’s ape skull
resting under “DON’T TRY.”
shiver/quake trance seclusion
bearing non-blinking mold-eyed
admiration for proof+
that love is not a grandiose delusion
born from necessity.

freewheeling monstrosities ch(ok)ing
normalcy in clouds of crematorium ash.
boots tracking mud of bog life/pill popping
genius found behind sneers and a pencil.
who as children finger-painted scenes
of family, tree, house, beagle call’d Ginsberg
in Hemingway red boom-splatter after
naptime revelations that persistence
is pay off. and suicide? an option.

forgoing inoculations not good
remedies)ginger brandy.honey tea)
in excess)sick all year round.
Starry Night Over The Rhone with
dish and spoon and sliver moon
night’s fondness (of evolutionary back
orders filled) gone swimming
with Virginia Woolf pockets
full of dreams.

oh opioid saviour, god of (now)
casting judgments on individual logic
soothed by cardinal coos of
evil in remission. forsake us; lost
in expectations and spite.
grimacing actions and guilt of slaves
to all and] self within a self] many
books in backpacks in corners of room+
more on shelves tiptoeing margins singing
soul mate hymns echoing through
Rimbaud’s hollowed out leg.

Come forth and dine and dance among the dead!
Come forth and seek placement in the sky!
Come forth Neo-Gods! Verse! Muse! Tragedy! Love!
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

 

 

Angela Minard
Morning Birds

Morning birds
tell their secrets
to the sleepy houses
one by one
a light flickers on
for coffee making
groggy eyes
scooping the bitter grounds
pouring the water
with an unsteady hand
Percolating in rhythm
to the Robin’s and Finches
chirping and chattering

The rest is just silence
barely breathing
to go through the motions
of another day
listening to the soft
feathers that float
from your mouth
The light and airy
lies you tell
so well

But this time
no other day
will pass
You will go away
Only the secret
morning birds
will stay

 

 

George Anderson
DANGEROUS WHEN WINDY

Toe says, guzzling from the Wild Turkey can
‘Let’s go to church’
What for?

He has a beat-up Holden
we drive searching for a sign
any sign
under the airport tarmac
across the Harbour Bridge
along the wet black snake of the F3 towards Newcastle

‘How many angels you reckon can dance on the head of a pin?’, Toe asks,
genuinely concerned

The sky opens
we pass a sign
then another:
OPEN 24 HOURS
END 100 ZONE

‘What’s it mean?’ he asks

More rain I suppose.

‘Do you reckon we’ve missed mass?’
.
Want to get something to eat?

‘I was looking forward to eating the body of Christ’

We’ll try again tomorrow.

Toe scratches his head and asks,
‘Can you explain your theory of improbability again?’

 

 

Seth Elkins
EX’S AND EYES

this is only
a rendition
of a face they want to know,
wearing their hats
to their last threads

while i stand there

clutching a ragged hand
full of yarn, and
pointing at the sky,
in a fit of seizure;

“the sun sticks needles
into the backs of my hands!!”
-sulking-
“…i only handed them out…”

idle, threats
written in crude letters
on an etch-a-sketch, with
apparently and/or inherently
dirty fingers that
wish(ed for [some]
more [beautiful]
[some] things
to say)

things, that
i could leave,
(unexpectedly)
in the
dark.
unexpected places
leading to bright
tiles -blue, and
bone white-
wet by her
(one-way glass) eyes
in the bathroom

-where she’s been-

shaving her reflection
from the shower drain
screaming about
straight-razors, and
crucifix(shuns), and
furniture that
sit,
like crooked
letters,

leaning

crutchless,
in bars, and (other)
(various) rest stops

in the area…

 

 


Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

Luis Omar Salinas (1937-2008)

Luis Omar Salinas, born in Robstown, Texas, died after a long illness near his home in Sanger, California on May 25, 2008. He was one of the leading voices in contemporary American poetry as well as one the leading Hispanic-American poets. His first book, Crazy Gypsy (1970), was considered a classic of Chicano literature.

Over 5 years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Luis Omar Salinas with the assistance of his friend, Karen Harlow (McClintock), who is responsible for my photograph on MySpace and the back cover of my first book, Raw Materials. Mr. Salinas was in failing health and I was asked by Ms. Harlow if I wanted to meet Mr. Salinas. Being one of my favorite poets, I decided to meet Mr. Salinas and his kind friend, Karen. I met Salinas on two occasions. Once when he was in a Fresno hospital, where we had a good talk. I was nervous about meeting Mr. Salinas. I did not know what to ask, but he was friendly and we seemed to hit it off. A year later he invited me to his birthday party in Sanger, California. I read a few poems for Mr. Salinas at his request from my book, Raw Materials. I am not one to read my poetry in public, but I could not say no to one of my heroes of poetry.

Around October 2003 I was able to conduct a small interview, with the assistance of his friend, Karen, with Mr. Salinas, who graciously answered my questions while he was recovering in a nursing home in Fresno, California, in his own handwriting. It appeared as if he had trouble writing at the time. Below are the questions I asked Mr. Luis Omar Salinas:

Five Questions for you, Omar — please tell me

1) Why do you write?

I write to try to understand others and myself.

2) What inspires you?

What inspires me is the wind, nature, the ocean, and women

3) Who inspires you?

I’m inspired by a certain lady friend.

4) When did you decide that writing poetry was what you wanted to do?

It’s not a question of when, but a question of how it happened and that it did happen

5) Do you love poetry as much as love?

Both as well

Last winter, my chapbook, Keepers Of Silence, was published by Kendra Steiner Editions. The book was dedicated to Mr. Luis Omar Salinas. Sadly, I had lost contact with Mr. Salinas and was not able to send him a copy.

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