ROBERT BEVERIDGE – Le Chaudron Infernale

LE CHAUDRON INFERNALE

Shattered barrier a mile
and a half back, road now
little more than weed-
encrusted dirt. Shift
the eyepatch, clear blood
from the gearshift. The quarry
must be close. Time to stop,
kill the engine, put boots
on the ground. Spoor
is ephemeral, more so
in this rain. The night vision
goggles fit just right over
your hijab; pursuit begins. 

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JOHN GREY – 2 POEMS

THE EDGE

So there I was

standing at the edge of the cliff with Angela

and we made this vow,

like a wedding vow almost

but with the land dropping away at our feet

and bitter sea-wind blowing in our faces.

It was a pledge to be faithful until death.

I’d known Angela since childhood.

She read books, even difficult ones.

She loved to listen to music.

Her taste extended to jazz.

And she was drawn to the sea.

Not so much to be splashing around in it.

But to observe from a distance,

to feel its power not its playfulness.

The vow was more her idea than mine.

In fact, I was a little uneasy

standing in such a precarious position

on a chilly Fall day.

But she had grown into such a cute teenage girl.

And I loved the touch of her fingers.

And, oh yes, her breath on the back of my neck.

But, after we had repeated our affection so solemnly,

I could detect a certain sadness in her eyes.

It was as if she was saying, “Now what.”

As if dreams end by coming true.

Or a cliff, like the one we peered down from,

offered no opportunities to go any higher.

Or the sea was so vast, so deep,

it could only be indifferent

to two fifteen-year-olds trying to act older.

It was a week later, and in a less perilous setting,

when, with a tear or two, she released me from that vow.

I would have done the same but she beat me to it.

We were not a couple bonded for all time.

But we’d been exposed to the perils of such bondage…

not only bone-shaking and blustery

but at the very edge.

~

A HOUSEFLY REVISITS SYLVIA PLATH

I press against

the curve of glass,

peer out at my world

of linoleum, formica

and stainless steel.

Will I never sip

on the sugar crumbs again

or trot across the good china.

nibbling food-scraps

as I go?

I’m in this bell-jar –

yes, that’s right,

just like Sylvia Plath,

beating my wings,

buzzing loudly.

Well we know

what good that did

for her.

Soon enough,

the oxygen in here

will dissipate

until there’s not enough

to support the likes of me.

Sylvia, I know how

it was for you.

Someone trapped

you in their grip,

popped you into a container,

screwed the lid tight,

left you to choke

on your own imprisonment.

Just like you,

I’ll fall to the bottom eventually.

And yet I’m curious to see

what you have written there.

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PHIL HUFFY – LOCAL NEWS

Local News

A green screened weather gal,

curves sharply defined,

stands before a colorful map

silhouetting her money makers.

Then, a honking horn obtrudes

and a cartoon school bus drives

into the frame as she proclaims

the next morning to be a rainy one.

 

(Ringo may have been wrong, then.

Tomorrow’s bus stop weather has

been announced with certainty.)

 

Segment over, now to local sports

and brief updates as to what high

school teams will be bashing into each other

the following afternoon and evening.

Also, a video of new uniforms to be

worn by the Fairfield Muck Hounds, a

short season minor league squad inhabiting

an outdated local stadium.

 

(So how many Muck Hounds did it take to

lob the old horse hide through a stained glass

window of the church abutting the ball field?)

 

The news, however, continues

after a message concering the planned

availability of wood fired pizza on High Street.

 

No injuries were reported Saturday

when a storm collapsed a wedding canopy

in use on the grounds of the Hilton Inn.

Fortunately, the accident occurred prior to

the dancing part of the reception.

 

(Having excused himself prior to the incident,

Father Flynn had been pondering a plywood cover

at the former site of St. Sebastian’s pain.)

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ROBIN WYATT DUNN – UNTITLED

Now all that we have seen can wait.
I’m a slow fire, burning out:
watching you.

You were always so careful.
What did you have to be so careful for?

What grace of the body
tired and waiting for the silver tongue
to sweep him awake
should rough you into waking

to hold my hand
curse the gods
hit the road
armed or unarmed
in song?

What grip is it
in your balls
to know the weapons I’ve kept
under your porch
under your tongue
and eyeballs

singing?

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ANDREW HUBBARD – THE HOUSE ON THE HILL

The House on the Hill

It was modest yet distinguished

Gleaming white clapboards three stories high,

Green shutters and a turn-off driveway

To the huge garage that you knew

Without being told used to be

A real carriage house.


They were regular people

Mowed their own lawn

Didn’t send their daughter away to school.

She went to the town school

With us regular guys, and if

Her clothes were a little better

It was so subtle even the girls

Couldn’t find a way to be put off.


What she saw in me I can’t imagine

But I had her first, in the back

Of her Dad’s station wagon

A dozen times,

Another dozen times.


And then she went with Preston

Told him she was a virgin.


We giggled together over that.


She was pregnant by one of us

I was sure at the time.


Now I’m a little less sure

But whatever, he did the right thing

And married her, white dress and all.

They settled down,

I went away,

And it was twenty years

Before I saw her again.


She had lost three babies in a row

And her pretty body

Was sixty pounds heavier.

Preston was out of work.


I didn’t know what to say.


This is life I guess

In a small town, probably

It’s life anywhere.

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SCOTT LAUDATI – THE SANTA FE TRAIL

the santa fe trail

you can read maps by starlight

in places i’ve been

and you sleep like shit

off the mexican beer

and wake up covered in bites

in hotels where

life is impossible

and everything still alive

wants blood.

did you know what you wanted

at the taco truck in dale hart?

do you know that there’s a

whole country out there

that doesn’t care about new york?

i do now.

i might know everything now.

i’ve drank from the shallow creeks.

i’ve chewed the tacos rellenos with

fire still in the seeds.

i looked up for god and every grackle

in the tree followed my gaze.

next time i’ll follow the trails in the sand

and the small streams will lead me to the window rock.

or maybe the other way –

to lay down in a graveyard

where desert rats use cow skulls as ashtrays.

and if the rains ever come again

maybe white petals

will bud up from my bones

and a lost rabbit can

spend a day

sleeping under my shade.

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