R.T. CASTLEBERRY – 2 POEMS

IMPRESSIONS OF THE SICK HOUSE

I watch in the world,
amused by massacre and gin,
homeland walls, holiday wars.
Viewed from the barred gate
darkened surveillance cars prowl,
aimless under winter afternoon skies.
Cold weather tramps straggle past
construction generators, pavement gaps,
work order water leaks.
I take into consideration
the symbolic and the sin.
I deny memories useless to me—
week-long binges, wives I’ve cheated with.
Unsettled by panic attack, I leave
a dark bedroom for couch and cable tv.
Lessons located in news video,
detention gangs scour migrant dives,
mercados, work warehouse.
I look away, watch the ceiling fan
swirl shadow circles on the blinds.
In jeans, a Steely Dan tour tee shirt,
almost ready for silence,
I allow days clear of music.

 

~

 

SLIVERS
After Creeley’s The Flower
 
I think I layer tensions
like bottles shattered
in ditches the thirsty
refugee hides.
 
Each faulting gesture
blocks breath,
catches in my chest,
cracks knees in a fall.
 
Tension is a wasting blade
It slices that one
and that one
and that one.
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LANCE GAMBRELL – POSTCARD FROM PHANTOM RANCH

Postcard from Phantom Ranch

The sights of the inner canyon are breathtaking. Color changing rocks, reflecting the rays of the sun. Each layer opens a chapter of the Earth’s history, and with our friends Merrell, Kelty & MSR we travel back in time. The rocks around me can be as old as 1.8 billion years in age. FYI – A billion seconds is 31 years! But now, in this moment of time, I am on the screened-in porch of the bunkhouse; listening to the wind play with the leaves of the cottonwoods! Join me for a trip next year!

Tonight’s inner canyon menu:
personal Caesar salad,
backpacked steak,
Tecate X4.

wish you were here,
Lance

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LANCE GAMBRELL – THERE IS STILL TIME

There Is Still Time

There is still time, to park at Marc and Vic’s.

I don’t care what they say, I love summer best, in Las Cruces. Better yet, stop the time machine at Tim and Suzanne‘s, in the summer of dub.

Half of my friends, work for a shitty local pizza chain. The others work for the dream machine called academia. Arguing about another Pablo Neruda poem. And the value of locally sourced Pabst Blue Ribbon.

I wake up due to declining levels of ABV.

Lucas is about to go to work because we’re done poking his Suzuki 50cc belly. But, I’ll be back, for dollar lunch, and my first class at 11:30, still AM.

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LISA DAY – 6 POEMS

▪️

calmly i look down and see myself low as you could go slow as
light seeping under
a door

i bow to sleep and color
shapes enigmas frogsong
they scoop me into their center and together we live
not selfishly or excludingly
in the pagan arroyo
behind the house under the waxing mormon
tea bush

there was a time i wanted to be you
the lizards and jackrabbits keep this to themselves.

▪️

EVERY COIN WASHES CLEAN AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WELL
july twenty eight
you shattered all illusions

you jerked them off my face in a dry
riverbed tossed my rosy glasses
i kissed my minced
heartflesh twice
ground the
lenses
into fine desert sand
where i buried you

later i dug everything up
renamed it and stirred it
into my hot morning

tea
with honey

can you feel the passion of your indian summer staining every step?

i had my daughter take a picture of me that day
so i could feed the swollen-eyed ghosts
whenever i felt their hot current

struggling
beneath my breath.

▪️

this just surfaced in my heart a foreigner and recluse
so i vowed to write it down in my native
tongue

my last lover short-lived as he was
was neither short nor tall and left
when i had my hardest time
he rearranged his
priorities until
i wasn’t

this is how i understand love
after sixty star-pale mother flesh
years you
teach your eyes
to bless all they see
exchange water for air fire
for earth and never sit until time
tricks you into your own deep embrace

late seasons and all-surrounding grace coordinate as birdwings

i never meant to be alone forever i don’t know what i meant
thinking too much as a child alone in a cactus
garden
that belonged to someone else
about the lives of royalty
faraway places
ugly unfeathered things falling from the sky settling
on pitiless sidewalks
a tiny finger placed softly
upon each heart until
it stopped

when i heard the cry
of doves i knew
i was alone in a desert

nothing is more fully served
the impetuous heart
and nothing has changed
at all

▪️

i trace the rivers
because i am right
handed most of my tributaries
are on the left
hand dug
a brown recluse ran fangs through my middle finger 48 hours ago and i’m waiting for it to fall off

manual labor
true labor of love
the trail of water is white
upon my pale skin
this is what happens when you’re two
four
and sixty

my eyes won’t shut

i’ve known men who can hear the stories
but none who can live with the consequences
because there are some

one is i don’t know if i can still live
here
but it’s home
my body is
home to
me
the falling apart house though
the see through blinds
old cholla laid out
sexy on a bed
of sand to
rot

a forgotten neighborhood built
by elders now crumpled
under kmart quilts
in rest homes

jesus
my finger is throbbing and i cannot watch
another
telenovela tonight

▪️

rolled my window down
hollered is there still a cat under my car
the woman across the street just
stared as she pulled
a lighter from under
her belly and lit a cigarette
i never saw her lips move except to take a drag
as she said
just left

▪️

everything is nothing and god
is alone this way you hold more and feed
the magnetic parsing of the dialectic soul under
a triple eclipse’s simple moon mantra. cloud-water
obscures but it is also helpful. look deeply into it and you will
see no one is ahead nor are they behind. the myth is we all dream naked when everything silent begins
to whisper. the truth is we have
forgotten to listen.

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MILES LISS – 2 POEMS

Aliens

On this mountain,

we built likenesses of ourselves

as human beings.

We sent them down to the valley to mingle

with the townspeople.

We went to Dairy Queen, ordered

a Blizzard, bought Megadeth

at the music store, and visited Army gun shows

that exhibited tanks and other

war machines.

We pretended

to be one of them, for this and only this

made them happy.

We walked into banks

instead of robbing them.

We took out accounts in fake American names

and sipped free cucumber water.

We went to the movies

with customers

carrying tubs of popcorn and 22 liters

of Coke, and pretended we were beautiful

for two hours.

As we rode back up the mountain,

the radio played a country song

about football, pick-up trucks and rebel flags.

We were made to understand these things

meant home.

An SUV drove across from us, with

an American family. In the front,

a husband and wife took a look

at us. I tried to read the husband’s lips.

I’m pretty sure he was saying, “Stay

away from our borders.”

In the back, a little freckle-faced boy

with a coonskin cap fired a pellet gun

at his kid sister—imagined killing her.

~

Monuments

The Washington Monument

shoots up at night like a giant rocket ship to the moon.

The Lincoln Memorial glows majestically.

Dead Presidents stare out through stone eyes,

their heroic expressions rendered masterfully.

Arlington Cemetery overflows

with soldiers who died in their honor.

Rats in subway grates

raid garbage bins for half-eaten Chipotle burritos.

Tourists walk past homeless men

whose hands are swollen

like catcher’s mitts.

A new Whole Foods opens around the corner.

Liquor stores sell lottery tickets

and menthol cigarettes.

At Five Guys, a family huddles

over burgers and Cajun fries, peanut shells on the floor

swept away by Central American teenagers.

Their pimply-faced son

watches the teens work while he chews.

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JOHN TUSTIN – SHOWER, SHAMPOO, SHAVE, SHIT

SHOWER, SHAMPOO, SHAVE AND SHIT

So I was drunk

And the big storm was coming

And I decided I wanted to hear Luke the Drifter.

I get up after a few songs and the darkness has fallen already.

It goes from light to dark in the time it takes

To shower, shampoo, shave and shit

In this place.

Luke gives way to The Stanley Brothers,

The Louvin Brothers.

The night will end with Bob Dylan telling me

The levee’s gonna break.

I look out my window and see nothing but calm,

Darkness.

The storm is coming. Or it’s not.

I can only wait.

Whatever happens,

Be it cleansing or drowning

Or nothing at all.

Let it happen.

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