In this month’s issue Amber and myself bring you a collection of working class poetics, confessions of the insane, West Covina Madmen, Australian Anarchists and general poems with flu-like symptoms. Enjoy but be forewarned: you will probably get sick.
New Poetry Scout
By John Grey
I’m only pumping gas
to make some money for college.
I can afford to snicker.
Once I graduate,
I’m out of this town for good.
Fanner’s sixty and he’s been
driving the same pickup
with the dent in the driver’s door
for twenty years or more.
Teacher’s fifty and she’s
never seen a one of the places
her skinny fingers spin to
on her rinky-dink globe.
There’s Henry who beats his wife
and Avery who turns junk cars
into cars that look like junk.
And what about Harry,
high school quarterback a quarter century back,
now with gut enough
to wrap around the steering wheel
when he exhales.
Here’s Doc Jones,
with his degree
that may as well
mop up the blood that’s spilled
bursting infected fingers.
And Roy in his rusty Caddy,
quit state university
to work the farm
when his old man lost a leg
in a chainsaw accident.
There’s busted dreams,
and dreams that didn’t know
enough to even dream.
And I’m pumping gas,
my dream job.
Don’t Disappoint Me
By Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
I am not criminally insane.
I am just a handful sometimes.
I want my needs met when I say so.
I don’t want to have to wait.
There is a cigarette with my name
somewhere in this place.
Could you make sure I get it
when smoke break comes around?
You don’t want to disappoint me.
Like I said I could be a
handful for anyone. Why do you
think my family never
comes around? I burned my bridges
with fire and gasoline.
Life Before Age Twenty-Two
By David W. Landrum
Nightmare after nightmare
but waking up was worse.
The bullies on the street were kinder
than the bullies living in my house.
Life as a bowling pin, life as a cutting board.
Never being called by my own name
and someone threatening to kill my dog.
Bio: David W. Landrum’s poetry has appeared widely in such journals as The Dark Horse, Evansville Review, Centrifugal Eye, Loch Raven Review. He edits the on-line poetry journal, Lucid Rhythms, www.lucidrhythms.com.
By Ben Adams
watching late night t.v.
i see a news piece
covering the latest rallies against
we’ll be back
mcdonalds: more restaurants open
because we’re night owls
i remember sitting
in a mcdonalds in
vancouver, late night
a strange new city
studying on exchange
watching the people around me
lingering over dollar cups of
finishing my own cup and
at salty french fries:
turning the pages of
a local novel about
anti-globalisation rallies are fine, i think, but not
my thoughts always
on the gap between
the complexities that sever
from the real
Bio: Ben is an English honours graduate from Adelaide, Australia. Currently underwater, he is seeing how long he can hold his breath before coming back up to attempt a phd. He has recently been published in Australian Reader.
A Life Consumed
By Joel Ferdon
Dear Brother, I still vividly remember the night, and the day following
In Which I couldn’t get you on the phone to hear
Your two packs a day voice. Mom and I, we both started to ponder
What back alley you could be roaming
Down, and what little neon light had so strongly captured you away
From reality. It was when you came in with the rain that we knew
A life had been consumed, taken from this plain on into
The next. You had the look of a stunned child after a sermon in Church
Fiery damnation with the pastor’s hands raised way to the sky.
Silently, you took off your cap and wall that you always had up
To protect you from your father in his manic episodes, bad men and the macabre
you read about in big books.
We saw the opal plastic around your wrist: D. Ferdon, patient
One-thousand and sixty six. The fine print read “Twenty-four
hour watch, can’t
Let him go out like Hemingway and Gonzo.”
Mom was pissed because you promised you would just use
That bottle of Xanex for headaches and nothing else.
The words “Two minutes on the table,” were streaming back and forth in front
Of my Kelly eyes, and I was whispering to myself under my breath
“I’m glad they were able
To keep you alive.”
The art of concealment
By Pravin Nair
She scrubs hard,
trying to erase all imprints,
of disgust deeply tattooed
and fresh, on her trembling flesh.
She uses soap and water,
but all the froth, all the lather,
hides not the bulges, of many a red welt,
courtesy his stinging, singing belt.
“I am here to violate you”: like an echo, it had ricocheted,
in each panting breath,first in a whisper,
then in grunts, louder and clearer;
she had tried her best,to replace
these pitch black sounds,
with more pleasurable ones from the past,
but to no avail;
just the trail of an empty wail,
into the forests of fear.
It was a rite of passage,
a coming to terms with the broken self,
almost a primal story,
with all the elements in it:
A remembered shriek,
brings her back to the present.
The red marks were in formation now,
fiery, angry and very sore.
Will be some time before
the rains shall take them away,
only to return, another day.
these small red planets,
shall glow menacingly,
in the galaxy of self deception;
rehearsed hugs and strained smiles,
shall carry her body of lies.
she shall wear her makeup, her own war paint,
practice the art of camouflage.
She shall be the wife,
the mother, the beloved,
continue to mesmerize, in bleeding red.
Bio: Pravin Nair is a brand researcher by profession and lives in Mumbai, India. He writes in his spare time and has just published his first book of poems titled ‘Beyond’.
He holds a MBA in marketing and plans to take up writing as a full time occupation. You could visit him at his blog www.versepoems.com
By Clayton T. Michaels
The children drink soda from glass bottles.
They litter the lawn with bottle caps,
their sharp edges lie in wait
among the dandelions.
The adults are in the kitchen,
talking about formica.
I am meditating on a negative image of fire,
or perhaps it’s an image of fire
filling a negative space—
I watch the individual molecules of oxygen
sorting themselves by temperature
before being swallowed by the flames.
In another room, someone urges someone
else to blow faster,
before wax drips all over the cake.
Bio: Clayton T. Michaels is a Pushcart-nominated poet and author of Watermark, which won the 2010 qarrtsiluni chapbook contest and was published by Phonecia Press in August 2010. He has been a featured poet at the online journal Anti-, and his poems have appeared in The Prism Review, Nerve Cowboy, >kill author, Makeout Creek, Slipstream, and The Chiron Review, among others. He currently teaches composition, creative writing, and comic book-related courses at Indiana University South Bend. You can find him online at claytonmichaelspoetry.wordpress.com.
la feuille maudite
By Amit Parmessur
on the crumbling scaffold there,
the rancid rope was shrinking
a string of pearls, shrouded in the skin
of sorrow, blanching
like a morose girl about to lose her virginity
the rope resembled a fallen matador
of the dusty arenas of a distant past,
now unable to fight anymore
I ambled among the pieces of forgetfulness,
rampaging that exhausted field,
the whispers of a familiar voice
disturbing the harrowing shadows around
the leaves slept, dead, upside down on the rocks
turned into partial statues of dried sap
one fallen aspen leaf reposed on the scaffold,
as a Bermuda triangle that had taken you away
the leaf, as green as the lightning searching its body
was where I had lost myself too
bleeding, crying, dying, tortured
we shared a bond, now a string of blanched fortunes
Bio: Aged 27, Amit Parmessur has been writing for the past 8 years, being more serious this year. He has appeared and been accepted in SHALLA’s Magazine, The Short Humour Site, Orchard Press Mysteries, Postcard Shorts, Long Story Short, Golden Apple Ezine, Carcinogenic Poetry, Catapult to Mars, Eunoia Review, The Houston Literary Review, Puffin Circus, Ann Arbor Review, Damazine, LITSNACK, Burnt Bridge and Heavy Hands Ink among others. A huge Spurs fan, he also speaks French, Creole and Hindi and is always very close to the land of his ancestors, India.
By Laurie Mackenzie
The salt in the sea is the source of life.
You found that out when
in your youth you caught sadness
as one catches a sickness
Just by being in a foreign place
To be released from it.
They tried to tame themselves
As so sweet,
After your sister ran from the room crying
And later found her body standing alone
Out on an empty verandah in the middle of the desert.
Away from the men of stone lions
Who were pursuing her neck.
Years later, I
From burning kisses into your skin
Turned and watched the blood splatter
Across the walls
When you were whispering the story in my ear.
Out of her insides, it had left a trail
After she was told
That this is what love is.
The beasts bit down on their own tongues instead of their prey.
To taste some raw flesh, some fresh tasting blood.
Smiled and turned their teeth toward you…
The girl who was born perfect at acting.
Who wore a younger face that smiled back
And mouthed through it:
“Well, what I’ve sensed is
Peace like no one,
Like most of you animals only’ve sniffed!”
The words moved across the room
As your sisters feet did
Knocking the men back off their own
As waves would from an ocean crashing down upon them.
Out upon the verandah
Through the tears in her eyes
The kind only angels can shed.
She saw a vision of water rising around her feet in the night
From a land which had always been
Nothing but eternal sand.