Archive for October, 2008


Gordon Mason

Wooden tramcars creak
through cobble beds
like chapters of an endless novel.

Second-hand bookstores
lagged by books that remember
their old owners

as borrowed eyes.
To find the prize is to seek
but not in the same day:

it may be years behind schedule.
Cafes hold ladies
with hours of voice time

like caged canaries.
Clusters in bars,
conversations of movies,

literature, politics.
They never seem to arrive,
never seem to leave,

they look at the world
from windows of a bar.
Many read in the tramcars

but can no longer
decipher a line.
Heads against windows,

sleep upon eyelids.
There is always someone kind
to waken them at their stop.


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John Rocco
To Zygote in My Coffee

You gave my slow old horse wings
and let him out of the stinking stable.
You let me fly on acid jet planes
covered in bloody stars and bleeding stripes
shooting across the plain of pain.
You let me sing dirty songs
to the lost and found world of her
and you never let me down.
Thank you Zygote
for all you did for us


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Becky Hunt
Hunting, Gathering, Slathering, Bothering

     Oh, so it’s not inside. That’s a surprise. My hand slaps against my forehead and stays there. I’m amused, thinking: What a charming dolt! I also think: Check outside, it’s probably there.
     I do, opening the front door and peering at the step. Nothing. A young dog walks past and I inspect it. It turns its head to me, friendly, then resumes walking. The owner is not far behind, swinging the dog’s lead. I smile and close the door, seriously considering getting a dog.
     Inside again I take my coat off, take my jumper off, put my bag down somewhere. It’s been a consuming day at work and I have been in demand. I head to the kitchen to put the kettle on; perhaps I left the thing there. I smile again, a nostalgic smile, thinking of our telephone conversation.
     You were anxious, talking nervously: ‘You know that thing of mine, do you still have it?’
     I had laughed at your lovably suspicious mind: ‘Yes, God! Of course!’
     You were relieved, exhaling: ‘You’re sure? Phe-e-ew, I was worried then. Great, I’ll come and pick it up tonight.’
I didn’t mention that I think my haircut looks better than yours. I also didn’t mention that I think you’re a slight fool with your constant nerves. You’re so nervous about the stupid thing, even though you know it’s in my house where, I might add, you left it…so why would it be lost?
     I shake my head, picturing your tense face not believing me when I say I have it. A feeling of affection suns me: Ah, your tense face!
     But it isn’t in the kitchen. Checking again, I throw some stuff around on the table: yesterday’s newspapers, other things. The kettle boils. I make a cup of coffee, scanning the counters over the rim of the cup as I drink. Nope. It’s probably in the lounge. I head over there, hating my trousers, which I feel are an unflattering cut.
     Forgetting why I’m in the lounge I sit on the sofa. The sofa is expensive and I appreciate its subtle colour. I congratulate myself on my sophisticated taste. Then I remember that you’re coming over later to collect your thing and I roll my head at the ceiling, annoyed because I can’t relax with that hanging over me. I decide to find it simply so I can head you off at the door; if you come in then you’ll be here for hours, and then I will be forced to make you dinner too because it will be more agonising not to.
     I make an inventory of the room with my eyes, searching. Nothing. Fine! I get up and work across it manually, lifting cushions, stooping to look under the table. The room is full of suspect locations. I dutifully hunt through them all. Still nothing. I picture your reaction when I tell you I can’t find it: a patronising display of stoicism. But I will see the bruise of disappointment. Listen, why do you have to have it tonight, anyway? Can’t it wait until tomorrow? Yes, naturally it can. I know it. But can it? No, not according to you – you insist on having it tonight. Resentment touches against me with its thick fronds of seaweed.
     I begin a violent campaign in the hallway, throwing aside coats and bags – a pointless exercise, as I wouldn’t have left it here. I repeat this to myself, blinded by a flash of instant deduction: Yes, exactly! Why would I have left it here in the hall? I wouldn’t have!
     So then you must have, idiot – the blame lies with you. Could I tell you this? Tricky; you would probably argue against it. This argumentative streak of yours is ugly, I should inform you. And have you considered how demanding you are? Some might translate it as coldly exploitative… consider that.
     At this a memory starts to itch, itches vigorously, then smashes to the surface. The memory shouts, its fists full of hair, ‘Rounds of drinks!’ It is accompanied by a theoretical pie chart: green symbolises the drinks I have bought you. Purple, your contribution of drinks, is fractional. I nod: yes, yes, I knew as much, I knew about the perverted imbalance. Disgusting abuse, made worse because you are boring when drunk.
     Now I am at the backdoor. I have a hunch you must have thrown your hateful thing into the garden. This spontaneity of yours is negligent, you understand. Have you thought about the possibility slugs will be crawling on it? Well, it’s been lying in the garden all night. And how do you think I feel about slugs? If it’s out here covered in slugs, I say to myself, then I’m perfectly within my rights to insist that you buy me a present. I search about, an apprehensive shin lifting shrubs; a timid ankle parts the flowers. No sign of it.
     I head back inside like a firework, slamming the door. My elbow catches the frame and this inspires a salty monologue from me. I am, I realise, oppressed. I can visualise your oppressive face, goggling with blame as I am driven to bootlick, patiently repeating that I can’t find it; that it can’t be found; that I looked everywhere.
     And then, eyes to a spot near the breadbin, suddenly it appears! There it is! It’s on a counter, sitting there brashly, gloating. Oh, look! My head makes an unusual gesture, knowing a practical joke when I see it. Yes, yes, I know a practical joke, you old sow: you hid it there. Ha-yes, this is symptomatic of your odious sense of humour. Scorching with passionate malice, I grab the thing with gorilla hands, raising it high.
     Whoops. Then something happens. It’s all over in seconds. The thing is propelled, falling to the floor, landing badly. Hmmm. It looks like recovery will be difficult. Then recovery becomes impossible, my foot making the situation dramatically worse. The foot finds the target accurately, the power of the thigh and hip behind it. Har.


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Ann Tetreault
The Language of Birds: The Preface

It is the seeking
The melding of understanding and flight
I cannot attach myself

Is that sigh an “I” or “you”
I strain to be complete
To follow the trail
Winding throughout, that signifies the end

The golden recognition
Changing the life lead to the life leading

Inside they alight on branches
Weaving together their songs
Soon movement sends them
Chaotic, screaming forward

Waves upon waves
Redefining the importance of notice

Mesmerized by the glittery trinkets
Someone left, like breadcrumbs
Always prepared for the lost wood
The cries are re-directed

The season is right again
And they return
I can almost comprehend the cacophony

Submissive to the calls
The woods contain no light
No reflection from the trinkets abandoned
No memories to deflect the racing patterns

Was the forgotten syllable “I” or “you”
Nothing replaced now, all filled



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Hyperbation #1

Joseph Goosey
A Fine Day Inside My Local Book Vendor

“Why?” she asked, “Why do you always spend so long in the bookstore?” (more…)

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Ben Barton
Tattooed Hearts

Every man has his secrets
Every husband in bed
betrays his wife on the pillows
each and every night.

No one will ever know
the lives and loves
that the men of the world
lead while in dreams.


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OMG, Click Me! #2

AV Flox
The Disconnect In The Age of Ambient Awareness

Steven Porricelli has never thrown his wife’s laptop out the window, but he’s wanted to.

“Technology is a necessary evil,” he told LifeWire about his wife, Jane, who runs MomGenerations.com. “She’s always texting in one hand and Twittering (an online social network and messaging service) on the other. I’ve woken up before and she’ll be zonked out in bed with the laptop on her lap. It’s insane.”

My husband can relate—and he’s not the only one. (more…)

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Graham Isaac
at the chip shop

the queue is enormous, bunched and snaked
into that narrow room between order counter
and tables, a few droop-eyed patrons eating
their 3 a.m. suppers. The two behind the counter
asking as quick as mouths can take them
in Indian accents for our orders, for the two
lads with spiked hair to please move along now,
while another two argue about rugby or football
in such quick, sloshing Birmingham accents I can’t tell.
All of us here weary after a long night of failed attempts,
our stomachs ships sloshed and slapped by oceans
but the coming anchors of meat and bread will save us;
no one orders fish and chips, it’s all kebabs, burgers
or pizza, orders mangled in mouths–I wanakebab
when it finally comes to me I nearly forget.
The man in front of me, full-bellied and clutching
a quiet brunette asks me where I’m from and why I’m in Wales;
I give him the short spiel. He tells me where he’s from—
Llanelli—and what he does between noisy wet kisses
on her face—he loves this girl, eh—she doesn’t
say anything, just sort of shakes her tired head
and soon we take our separate orders, tramp off
up hills around corners, this, the last stop
of the night before a messy meal alone and then, bed,
stomachs churning to keep it all down.


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Greg Oguss on Pop Culture

Metaanything, as the self-proclaimed Internet webcocks refer to commentary about commentary, seems to be everywhere these days. On Gawker, snarky columns mock Wired for illustrating the backhanded art of the unflattering cover with a front page photo of former Star! columnist Julia Allison captioned by a headline about her paltry level of microfame. From Gawker to MSN.com to Newsweek Online, everybody seems to have an opinion on the media’s obsession with celebrity babies. In the early 20th century, literary critic Edmund Wilson wrote metaanything-style articles arguing that attempts by journalists like H.L. Mencken and Gilbert Seldes to democratize criticism contained a condescending notion of what Mencken dubbed the All-American “boob-oisie.” Although metaanything has been around at least a century, the Web has exponentially increased its visibility. Along with the invective spewed by Gawker and its rivals, metaanything is the principal reason people dislike the blogosphere. If Web invective has been accepted as another indignity of life in the digital age, the most debated aspect of online criticism is the constant use of the first-person, which is seen as a debased form of journalism by the pros. (more…)

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RSS This #5

Richard Nesberg
The 2008 US Dejection

With a month or so remaining before Americans select their next President, us citizens have the chance to make one of the most historical political choices in our country’s adolescent existence; either the palatable Senator from Illinois or demon hellhound Governor from Alaska. With the opportunity to put an African-American man or a suburban-hockey-mom lady in the highest of public offices, it is no surprise the media, the populace, and likely the world feel the hysteria, the promise of change on some level—even if it were only demographic in nature. (more…)

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