#100

Lyn Lifshin
ON THE STALLED METRO

 

on my way to ballet,
wild to dance the
voodoo wild blues
out of me while he
dreams of Audrey
Tautou and Javier
Bardem. He is
forgetting my words,
the poems he
remembered longer
than many. What
can you expect from
a man who wanted
to collect stones
and be a zoo keeper,
cage animals, paint
and trap what once
was free to have
them, like all the
women who trail him,
caught for him in
case he’s in
the mood

 

WHEN THERE ARE MARIACHIS

when breakfast and lunch
are martinis. When
sheets smell of rose,
Bulgarian rose, Tuber
rose, that dark rose
in a bottle on my dresser,
musky as skin. When
it’s bolero or rumba.
When we leave the
room, and there is no
cat puke to clean up,
no terror of what’s
ahead. When you hold
me, should you hold me

 

 

Carlos Ponce-Meléndez
Let the dead alone

Let the dead go wherever they have to go
Let them persist in their stubborn silence

The dead know what life is like but
None of them has returned from their mute dwelling

Even the ones who left love, friends and songs
Refuse to mingle with us

It seems that they despise us as night loathes the day
They have the secret, we have hope only

Let the dead enjoy their vicious peace
No more crying for them, no more lies about them

They have to rest
And we have to get ready for our funeral.

 

 

C. N. Bean
Freak Show

Parked in the dusty drive
the state-issued Plymouth
a time-faded dark blue
had all four windows down

to cool the prisoner
who sat chained in the back
but we could barely see
because of blinding light
sun hitting the windshield

so Rick and I joined our
three sisters at the shed
that kept our winter coal

and faced a teenager
who had a youthful face
and dark hair slightly long
and most of life ahead

except for an order
to prison once again
for breaking not a law
but only a parole

that made him sit forward
his hands behind his back

while dad talked to my mom
in half-buried basement
that had no house no top
but windows in the front

so he could see the car
and us admire his catch

 

 

John Grochalski
parade

are having a parade
down broadway
and my pittsburgh relatives
do not like this
there are no sikhs in pittsburgh
if there are, they keep to themselves
they don’t have parades
down 5th avenue and wood street
the irish do that
my pittsburgh relatives think
the sikhs are muslims
because sikhs wear
bright orange turbans
and have long beards
my pittsburgh relatives do not understand
how these muslims can parade
down broadway, manhattan
after 9/11 a man in mesa, arizona
killed a sikh
at a gas station because
he thought he was a muslim
with his orange turban and long beard
my pittsburgh relatives don’t know any muslims
neither do i
they didn’t come to new york city
to watch muslims have a parade
so they want to take taxis
away from the noise of midtown
only after they get to climb
the empire state building and roar
and look at all the people as small as ants
the tiny cars and buses caught in gridlock
my pittsburgh relatives want
to see new york city from high above
they want to look down on the parade of sikhs
as they weave their way along broadway
watch as the sea of orange turbans move along
disappearing in the haze of a hot april saturday
until the streets are clear and safe again
for the throngs of people carrying macy’s bags
trying to cross 34th street
before the light changes.

 

 

Michael McAloran
                               come closer still-

the outstretched wings shadow motions shadow

clipped harvest of the unknown

words a basket of severed skull at the base

of the guillotine

charnel burning white lightning seedlings sprung

nothingness a dreamscape of sheared flowers the

pulse running viscid-dry

skull and all that resides to taste dark wind burning a

harvest of bones

effortless death

salve of emptiness

o’ to drift endless in a sea of colours untainted by

this ocean of decomposed existences

to kiss

to sever

what ties me

to this sewer

screaming out in the dark ablaze with absence the

loss the grinding of teeth of flight

my knuckles crackling electrical

come closer

still

 

 

Divya Rajan
Flaubert’s babies

Clever could very easily have been
Flaubert’s baby; the one
who got to tease streaks of hair on his
narrow- framed chest, and trace caveman’s letters
beseeched in the warmth, the special sunshine
that tweaked amidst pourings
of rain on thatched hay, and love
for whatever it’s worth, maybe nothing,
maybe an ocean of quicksand
that slips underneath one’s flabby feet.

Wise could have been his twin brother;
the one who got to look just like him,
the twinkle in his blue eyes, attached
earlobes, even his sixth finger on a daisy frond palm.
But of course, he got to act a bit different
very unlike little twin brothers often do, like
ice lying stretched underneath water,
hard against wood, the water
never seeping inside, never destroying
fibers that tell the
same tales.

 

 

A.G. Synclair
Dutch

when the mill closed
and her father
went insane
took three shirts
a bottle of Jack
and moved in with a family of trees
Lucy poured coffee
and managed to smile
when his men
would ask about Dutch
and overtip
for coffee
and day old cherry pie

 

 

Alex Franco
Vivisection

Saw through the breastbone
to see what makes you tick,
other than your still beating
Times Square. Peel back
the veins and find you’ve missed
the F train, but hey,
it’s only Coney Island.
All these concrete muscles
distract from the science of it,
and the nurses are getting jumpy—
you would too if you lived here.
Funding has been cut,
so the scalpels were bought second
hand from the same street vendor
who stole your wedding china.
The anaesthetic drips dry
and you wake up staring at God
or the lights of your apartment building.
Just run through the conjugation
of irregular verbs to take
your mind off the pain.
It’ll all be over soon.
When we’re done we can stitch
you back together as long
as we can steal
the pieces from the immigrants
we bartered with, but if not, hey,
it’s only Coney Island.

2 thoughts on “#100

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