Poetry Issue # 144

Teachers and students are some of the worst people on the face of the earth, those which arrogantly pursue truth in the cobweb-covered and archaic spectacle of academia. It’s a demented process. So much so that recent studies have shown that 99.8 percent of English majors and teachers suffer from schizophrenia, deviant sexual gratification, subversive political ideology and repressed homicidal impulses.

The following is not poetry. The following is proof.

Sincerely,
Your Poetry Editor
Luis Rivas

THE EX LANDLORD
B.Z. Niditch

With the heart of Cain
behind his one cloth napkin
under a pinched chin
at T.V. dinner time
unshaved for his faith
or gangland injury
wearing a pentagram
he won
at carnival time,
a once ruddy catcher
in a minor league,
pawn broker
stud poker player
or house Dick
depending
on whom you meet,
surprising tenants
every first day
of the month
with unauthorized letters
to threaten everyone,
stoned on cheap beer
claiming to be ex-military
in Angola
or was it Cuba
with his annual cigar
at Christmas
spitting out
of his moist mouth
offering to show us
forged lottery tickets
used Trojans
or fascist posters
of the Forties.

Bio: B.Z. NIDITCH is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and teacher. His work is widely published in journals and magazines throughout the world, including: Columbia: A Magazine of Poetry and ArtThe Literary ReviewDenver QuarterlyHawaii ReviewLeGuepard (France); Kadmos (France); Prism InternationalJejune (Czech Republic); Leopold Bloom (Budapest);  Antioch Review; and Prairie Schooner, among others.

A Poem in God’s Image
By Keith Dovoric

I spent one last half

Of my brain cell

Breaking thru & getting it right

And my appetite

Scarcely believed

What had happened.

Now,

On Thanksgiving,

I weigh more than ever

And my self-image

Has been dignified

By the receipt of a gift

Which I have sullenly refused

To accept.

These refusals,

The blocked permissions

Into my home

During hailstorms

Notwithstanding,

Have engendered within me

A growing appetite

For immodest personal gain

& overreaching control

of any proceeding.

Such misguided hubris

Ought to render a man

Alone & impotent,

And, alas, it has done just that.

The last time I masturbated,

A bureau mirror nearby sans photos,

I can recall distinctly

Wondering where it all got fucked up;

Where all my plans for the

Perfect tax evasion

Or the least deformed child

Went belly-up.

That was a sobering moment –

The one the alcoholics call

The moment of clarity.

I can honestly remember

Judging myself

In God’s image

& coming up w/ nothing.

My hands shaking,

I signed the first autograph that turned up

(a cable television bill)

& reclined in the last chair in my house;

whereupon I contracted a rare aging disorder

beneath the blankets of my ill-ease.

The next time I find you,

You should address me as heir apparent,

Or Master,

or homo sine testiculis,

and draw me a bath

of rare soaps & white wine.


Bio
: Keith Charles Dovoric is a New Jersey born-and-based writer, musician, and singer/songwriter, notable for his wry, often cynical lyrics and prose. His work has been published in several print-anthologies and online-periodicals of note. He is the author of Slogans All Around: Selected Lyric Verse (Lulu.com Publishing). In addition, Mr. Dovoric is an English teacher and lives with his marvelous wife and son in suburban Essex County, NJ

 

Human Interest Angle
By Robert Holzhausen

The Washing Post ran something
where an Asian Symphonic Tubist
was sent into a subway’s dirge
to play some real like
orchestral tuba
during morning rush.
Let us embellish and stress
how transcendent his performance must have been
for those listening to the broadcast
on NPR
through Boze radios
or wireless headphones at espresso bars
absorbed in overstuffed chairs
next to stuffy liberals
reading Chomsky, Zinn or Schuyler
or perhaps looking into
an African adoption on complimentary WiFi.
Even more,
let us reflect upon the sheer transcendence experienced
by those who happened to walk by
amidst the roar of underground pedestrianism
and trains.
Some of them compared it to their 7th grade child’s
nightly practice
behind a locked bedroom door.
Other observers
reflected on the half time presentation
at their alma mater’s
most recent homecoming.
A few colorful personalities
imagined themselves with blue faces
making whistles on a tuba less graceful than his.
Many simply thought of nothing
but the fur on their teeth,
the ache in their knees and the spot they’d missed shaving.
Yet no one recognized the Asian Tubist
most famous in his trade.
A tubist who’d played shows in Boston
which the Globe called “sublime and elevating.”
Conductors asked for him by name.
A google image search of the word “tubist” yields 35,100 results,
779 of which are him.
When asked, his brother replied, “Bro shreds horn.”
The Tubist himself was simple and reclusive exempting performance.
The night before he messaged
an acquaintance he found sexually appealing on Facebook,

“I wish it was you and me and everything
all at once
forever and ever.
I wish we could buy todays
in bottles and drink them straight from them.
I wish we could buy a million todays
and toss them to kids
like candies from a float
in a Labor Day parade.
Today, we’re alive and it’s all we know.
I wish I’d never wish
for something more perfect than this.”

The Tubist was a virgin to intercourse
for the majority of his adult life.
This, in itself
greatly disappointed the man
but was in other ways pleasing.
For example, he never had VD.
He never sought time to work on his craft
and his love life neither exceeded
or failed to meet expectations.
Simply put, there were none.
And after years of this
he became something great
which lead to being picked by the Post
for an exposé on DC’s aversion from Asian Americans
or classical music
or “the arts” in general
or even transcendence during an AM commute.
He was supposed to expose a numbing we go through
before punching clock
in that
no one even sees or hears
something unique
and obvious and narrow in brilliance.
And as it turns nobody did.
I didn’t.
I kicked his case and bumped him over
while searching for an ending to my favorite joke.
It goes, “the 3 greatest things anybody ever did in order:
1.) Steve Guttenberg invents the printing press: Luther sacks Rome
2.)…”
But I’ve never gotten that far.


Bio
: Robert Holzhausen is a graduate from Central Michigan University. He likes movement, integrity and continuity. He dislikes disintegration and stasis.


The Photographs Tell the Story

By Holly Day

I was the only one who survived, a child
surrounded by the corpses of my family. I hid
in the rocks until the seagulls came
I still have nightmares about
all the blood.

Afterwards, a photographer took me in
Said it was the least he could do
considering I had made his career. he took pictures
of me at the crime scene, the first day
a year later
years later, as a fully-functioning
adult.

when I was able
I left his company
became a bird trainer at the zoo. The soft, warm feathers
of the birds remind me of my mother
their black eyes remind me of my father.
I feel at home here, inside these cages
devoid of floodlights
and casting couches.
Bio: Holly Day is a housewife and mother of two living in Minneapolis, Minnesota who teaches needlepoint classes in the Minneapolis school district. Her poetry has recently appeared in Hawai’i Pacific Review, The Oxford American, and Slipstream. Her book publications include Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar-All-in-One for Dummies, and Music Theory for Dummies, which has recently been translated into French, Dutch, Spanish, Russian, and Portuguese.

Hatch
By Sarah E. Craig

Jeff, I swear to you, the first night they put me on the ward, there were a million widow eggs waiting to hatch inside my skin. Ready to finally let their thin legs stretch, the clear skin of thin shells pulled back slow. Their legs pierced my skin like tiny strands of wire, black tips pricking bone.

One thousand spiders left my pores– legs like matchsticks scratched my flesh, burned bits of calves and inner thighs with the touch of their crawling feet. Their leg hairs lingered on my lower back like splinters, leaving rough marks that no one else could see. I scratched my scabbing shoulders, tore at my itching breasts. I tried to make those tiny hourglasses bleed.

But the thoraxes thrashed against my chest. The sharp feet poked and prodded me. Their legs cracked like whips as they crawled on walls, the leather snap bouncing off of inner ear as adrenaline pulsed in my veins. The widows laid new eggs inside my skin. Spit in my wide retinas. I did not tell a soul as they gagged me with their webs, as they tied my mind up in translucent threads.

And when I came out, with one thousand baby spiders beneath my bedroom clothes, the night nurse shook her head and said “You cannot take that long to bathe.”

Bio: Sarah Craig is a writer from Louisiana. She currently studies in Paris, France. She has recently been published in Indigo Rising Magazine and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine. She may be contacted at scraig@hollins.edu.


One Thought

By Ariel Dawn

to abandon all
before you form.
I choke
down morning
after pills that fail
to release you.
I wear a blue gown
made of paper.

It was a dream
that undressed him
and my body –without
protection
held him down
and forced
the moonlit wave inside.

Only a zygote,
single celled, he says;
this is no gift
from the moon.
I choke
down poison, smoke.
He touches
the surface of
things, holds high
the dust.

Bio: Ariel Dawn’s poetry appears in Bare Hands and the forthcoming issue of Poetry Bus. She studied in Vancouver Island University and as a scholarship student at the Victoria School of Writing.

Published by peace is illegal

I am a writer of pornography, of politics and murder.

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