#44

Constance Stadler
Impotence

I have no words for you.
Chalk eyes
censor your face
Your witch hair
Your Jew nose
Robin –
we have licked the salt
of our wounds with
tequila hate and
crumbled in adjoining
stalls

but you ask too much

I cannot reach up your legs
and pull out the death in you
and I cannot
hug it away.

in loving memory of
a wild woman-child

 

Darryl Salach
Jury duty

empty your pockets

car keys, wallet and a ballpoint pen
went into a tiny green basket.

‘walk through’, said the officer

the bells and sirens went off,
‘go back’, said the officer and empty your pockets some more.

4 dollars and 76 cents went crashing into that green basket
and I was directed to walk through again.

this time there was silence,
but no one smiled.

I gathered up my belongings
and rode the escalator up to the second floor.

a man greeted me at the entrance to the jurors room,
he looked like a retired ticket taker at the ball game
directing me to a seat and telling me to wait for my name to
be called, then sign in and give them my occupation.

I waited, listened to an old woman seated next to me
explain it would certainly kill her to serve as a juror,
my heart problems absolutely forbid me to endure any stress,
my doctors note explains everything. I said, ‘fine.’

they soon took us all into the court room, two hundred
potential jurors of every conceivable ethnicity imagined.

the solicitors were seated in black robes, the defendant
a rather large black man in a pin striped with a red and white
Montreal Canadians toque on his head was seated in a glass
enclosed box with a police officer seated on each side.

soon the judge walked in and explained that the defendant
was being charged with second degree murder, knifing to
death his best friend on a hot and Muggy Saturday night in August
two years prior in a Brampton townhouse complex.

the case would last two or three weeks, possibly longer
a list of 20 witnesses was read off and we were warned not
to discuss the case with anyone if we were selected.

‘is there anyone who feels he/she cannot serve as a juror in this case?’ asked the judge.

I raised my hand and was asked to walk forward before the judge
and give my reasons why.

I stood alone in front of the courtroom, a microphone inches from my mouth.

‘why can’t you serve?’ asked the judge.

I explained to the judge that I suffered from manic depression
and that I felt acts of anarchy were warranted in today’s society
especially when a man sticks his dick into another mans wife.
I hear voices your honor, just this morning at my bedside Ferdinand Celine
suggested I castrate the Canadian judicial system, then Albert Camus showed up
and told me to never mind my civic duty, lie in wait.

the judge looked puzzled, ‘you’re excused, Sir’.

 

 

John Rocco
The Maritime Industry

The Sea
the children drowning
scrotum ripping
green growth rising
Greenland collapsing
death cum salty
Sea
littered with Popeye’s
floating unclean
spinach cans
Godzilla piss hot
bubbling ocean.
The Sea.
The water endless and deep
deeper as I’m being forced
to write about tug boats
and graving docks
and the Brooklyn Navy Yard
produced a ship a day during
the War.
But I’m from Queens
and Brooklyn means to
me France or Deutschland.
I’m from Queens and we
have the Sea and the airports
and Rikers.
I’m from Queens
and I gotta work
to keep the winged horses
caged.
I gotta work to stop them,
keep them in the stinking stable.
Nobody wants to see them
anyway. Smelly Pegasuses.
In Clash of the Titans
she comes shooting to life
out of the Greek darkwine
Sea after Medusa’s head dive.
I must ride without them.
I must write about articulated
tug barges and the day
not on fire.
Hot fire flying horse shit with wings words
must be hidden.
I must write about sea things:
dry docks and sludge barges
Red Hook and Kill Van Kull.
I must write about the Sea
like I don’t care about
Shelley’s burning heart
or the bikini.

 

 

Heather Malloy
On Acceptance of Autism

“My brain is not work”,
You said, as you knocked
Your small hand, fisted,
To your head, and looked
Up at me with the sincerity
Of pain.

Nine years old, and still
You can only speak
In quotes and even then,
You often misplace the
Grammar; Finding dialogue
From the world to insert in any
Conversation you might
Ever encounter.

How creative.
How disastrous,
Your brain is work,
For the rest of us-
Trying to mold
Your big soul,
To fit our small view,
The doctors don’t know
What to make of you,
And I can only make
Mistakes, it seems.

I want to scream.
To take your suffering,
And inflict it on all those
I deem more worthy.
Like the kids who laugh
At you and their parents,
Raising putrid animals.

I want to curse.
A god that would give you
Life and not equip you with
The light to stumble through it.
You’re the reason
I hate Rand , and I can’t
Stand the phrase:
“Survival of the fittest”,
Because who the hell
Is anyone tell me
You have no value?

You’re valuable to me.
My precious baby,
I would kill and die
And burn for eternity
Just to secure
That you are happy.

But I can’t make you talk.
Or understand,
Or even hold your hand
Forever and protect you
From this unforgiving world,
This horrid pool,
Of stinking egos,
Content on determining
That you do not fit in.

You’re brain does not work,
That’s true; it does not conform
To this pre-determined perfection,
Presumptuous, and arrogant
Definition of
How to think-
Of how to do.

I’ll stay with you.
We’ll try to find
Our own way,
We’ll count each day
As you do dates, with precision,
And we’ll recite entire scenes
From Star Wars, like we did
When you were three and I
Would wonder why you never
Did say ‘momma’.

We’ll eat ice cream,
And we’ll find a dream
For you to chase,
And I’ll do everything I can
To aide you in this
Ridiculous race the
Species has with itself.
And we, won’t tell any
Of them that we already won.

 

 

Howie Good
THE EXTRUDED PLASTIC LITURGY

Something there. I touch the top of my head to find out
what, and my startled fingers come away with blood. Such
signs and wonders abound, even when approaching the
tourists outside a museum of useless and enigmatic objects
for change.

*

I cry at the movies and later that night dream I’m being
lead through the distorted faces of the laughing crowd in
cuffs.

*

The wind is still as if it also is contemplating the dark.
Quick, send the extruded plastic moon to this address, and
because the ambulance driver will get lost in the maze of
small, unlighted streets, send the moon out for an encore.

 

 

the poet spiel
once upon a farmboy

needle claws through threads of burlap sack
pulled from the deepest ditch
no mewing no suffering
of excess kittens drowned by me
they’ve been dropped on the driveway
of our farm by foolish dwellers of the city

who believe farmers can absorb
endless litters of their unspayed calicos and tigers
charming housecats ravaged by toms who roam
their alleys seeking unsuspecting females
leaving them behind with countless kitties
i’ve got to stuff into a sack then shove

down in our ditch to drown because i am a farmboy
and among the lessons of a farmboy is the lesson
that not all the animals on earth can live forever
some are excess like all those roosters born
some are meant to have their heads chopped
then be eaten it only takes one rooster to supply

the needs of many hens a certain knowing comes
being raised on a farm but with it for me came
a haunting loneliness a longing and an anger
i could not find resolve for
and within the murder
of the kittens there came a devious pleasure

like i was murdering myself as
i watched the bag go under
and the last bubbles of air come up
the needles of their claws come sticking
through the threads
of burlap grasping final grasping
as their shortened lives were finished in their gasps

and my devious mind went wishing
it was me
as if i were the excess dweller
dropped on earth
by fools
and i was seeking discharge
from which
i could not find
release

 

 

Don Winter
she: insinuations of flesh brooding by the poet spiel
ISBN 1-59661-089-1
2008: 55pp, $9
Manic Street Press
3413 Wilshire Dr.
Greensboro NC 27408, USA

Both inevitable and fresh, she: insinuations of flesh brooding displays Spiel’s ever present, intelligent, and sophisticated ear for language, his singular vision, and, most importantly, his guts to go on his nerve. He implicitly rebukes the tradition that has attempted to transform women into emblems of art, thereby erasing their lives. Instead, he positions them as subjects of the poems; real, ordinary women living extraordinary lives. In doing so he appropriately shifts tone, from the scalding rage of his recent book, they, to one more intimate, though self-reflexive. Spiel’s craft is not showy or adorned, but rather dignified and quiet, giving his voice a no-nonsense authority. Indeed, the poet Spiel writes with an authority of voice rarely achieved, by either man or woman, in the small press.

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