Heather Sager – 2 POEMS

The Smokestacks of the Country

And my aunt, a farmer’s daughter,
did not live past 64.
And neither did her brother,
cancer-ridden also.
My farmer grandfather died, heartbroken,
a wheezing lung-diseased hunchback,
before aunt and uncle hit 40.

And the smokestacks of the country
still descend from below the clouds
to settle on the green hills
of the valley.
They puff invisibly, raining destructive chemicals
over the farms and people.
Puffing as they’ve always been
with the newest developments.

People in the neighboring valley,
too, have died.
From cancer of the brain
that afflicts dairy farmers
as well as the diseases
of the pancreas and lung
that affect them.

I lived on that farm.
After Grandpa lost it, Mom and Dad moved in.
A lynx once bit my brother
and the snows were wild
as the old farmhouse cellar was menacing.
Full of potatoes and the odd spiders, blasé-beige,
ball-shaped.
I thought the valleys so green
where I hiked for days and days
as clouds passed from one aisle of the sky
to another.
Little did I know
about the smokestack chemicals
hidden in the sky.
That truth
came out with the bodies, the funerals,
that sudden dismay.

I remember, too, the bees—
giant ones, with Homeric stingers—
and the nests, basketball sized,
humming in the idyllic trees
near the clear stream
where crayfish, perhaps,
still swim.

No, I am incorrect.
The chemical chimeras puff no more.
All the farms are dead.
The suburbs have expanded
and there is hardly any green left
to wander in. The chemicals have moved elsewhere,
into a craftier form.
The stream is paved over,
the field of mustard grass
blazed for new developments.

Was the wild ever really there,
or only in our hammering,
kept, dreaming hearts?

 

~

 

The Way

I neared bliss the way
coins
drop skyward from an open hand
I neared bliss
the way a gambler
lassos
his bartered pride
I neared bliss the way
airborne geese
circled your land
I neared bliss the way
your lips
touched mine

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John C. Krieg – The Bells of the Mission Santa Ysabel

The Bells of the Mission Santa Ysabel

The bells of

The Mission Santa Ysabel

Ring no more

To most parishioners still living

They never have rang in their lifetimes

Being stolen in 1925

The whereabouts of the bells are unknown

Yet it’s expected

That this was an inside job

And that the bells are holed up

Not very far away

Forgotten about in some old shed or barn

The parishioners pray

That this is true

That God will work a mid-level miracle

And see to the safe return of the bells

In 1700 Peter the Great

Of Russia

Melted down all of his homelands’

Church bells

To make cannons for warfare

They fired church bell cannon balls

Which killed people

Did they suffer a holy death

That granted them immediate entrance

Into the kingdom of Heaven

Was this the fate of the bells

Of the Mission Santa Ysabel

The bells

Of the Mission Santa Ysabel

Have remained silent

As to their whereabouts

And to what they may be mixed-up in

The hostage syndrome

They identify with their captors

And don’t try to escape

Who would steal church bells

What kind of a low-life would do such a thing

You would think that they would feel guilty

Every time they heard a church bell ring

Wracked with inconsolable guilt

And with every ding-dong

That ever reached their ears

For the rest of their lives

Cringing on Sundays

At the noon day

At quitting time

The bells

Of the Mission Santa Ysabel

Ring no more

For us

But for their captors

They ring all the time

Clanging out “Thief, thief, thief!”

It must be tough to hold up

Under that kind of condemnation

God must have a hand in this

He keeps the thieves names on His black list

Nothing good could ever come of this

Those bells are surely missed

There’s only one way to escape eternal damnation

Bring back the bells

Of the Mission Santa Ysabel

Buy your way out of hell

God’s not buying what you have to sell

And one can never tell

When things will no longer go so well

Someday the bells

Of the Mission Santa Ysabel

Will chime in joyous rapture

Across the Santa Ysabel Valley

Summoning parishioners to appear

And perhaps shed some tears

Over the long-awaited return of the bells

God being in his Heaven

And all being right with the world

The bells

Of the Mission Santa Ysabel

Don’t ring currently

But even a blind man can see

That God will put an end to this travesty

He will solve the mystery

The bells of the Mission Santa Ysabel

Will once again clang loudly

Ding, dong

No longer gone

The bells of the Mission Santa Ysabel

Will clang loudly

Over the Santa Ysabel Valley

God being in His Heaven

And all being right with the world

Ding

Dong

Ding

Dong

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Ryin and the Toaster – R.H.

Ooooeeeeeeooooooooo the cops are coming, you better hide everything you’re ashamed of, and also yourself if you’re Mexican or black, god knows what cops will do to you then.

Ryin and the Toaster

Ryin Goose was out in Canada on a wild goose chase after his mother and wife left him and took the kids. He was left alone all sad and depressed, trying to get custody over them because he actually wasn’t a bad parent. They just filed him for rape and pedophilia because they hated him and wanted to ruin his life like the sadistic people they are.
“Oh why must life be this way!” He cried in anguish as he clutched close the only thing that mattered to him. His family heritage. The centuries old toaster his family lineage had been passing down for ages. This time around though, it looked like it was going nowhere.
Ryin would cry soulful tears, all of them falling on the ancient toaster. Suddenly, it came alive.
“Stop crying you damn sissy,” it said, surprising Ryin goose so he threw the now sentient toaster, immediately apologizing afterwards like the Canadian he is.
“Oh wow you can talk!?” Ryin spoke with amazement. This was like that one Pokemon movie, but different. Gotta avoid copyright, am I right?
“No thanks to you, you baboon. Now stop crying, I know how to fix your life,” said the toaster.
Ryin would nod and say, “Okay,” with the most pathetic voice you could imagine. Because he was very pathetic in this very moment.
“Okay, so, fake your own death and set up a new identity in another country. Badda Bing badda boom, you’re good as new. No more rape and pedophilia charges,” the toaster said.
Wow, this toaster was an absolute genius! He figured it out so quickly! Ryin goose was certainly saved from the charges his wife and mother threw at him! He wouldn’t get the kids, but he could just make more of those so it was okay.
“How do we start?” Ryin goose asks.
“Well, kill yourself,” says the toaster.
Harsh, but okay.
Ryin goose climbed the highest building and jumped off of it, literally killing himself. What a baboon, he fooled the plans.
“Oh my fUCK ing gOD Ryin gOOSE you PATHETIC LOOSER!! You straight up killed yourself and probably on purpose too!! I FUCKING HATE YOU!” The toaster fUMED. He had now set his life goal from toasting the best toasties, into toasting Ryin goose’s entire family.
With his super high IQ, the toaster made himself better, the best he’s ever been. Better than when he was first born.
Now equipped with flame throwers and guns comparable to having a chain gun fused with anti aircraft, the toaster was ready to toast the rest of the goose family to a crisp. He set out, using ancestry.com and his extensive toaster memory as guides.
The toaster would arrive at Ryin goose’s wife and mothers house. Without even ringing the doorbell, the toaster fired. Without even going through a round of ammunition, the house was obliterated and everyone inside was instantly dead.
He continued onto his father, and his mother’s siblings, and his father’s siblings, and the siblings children, and their children, and on and on until the goose bloodline was obsolete.
“I can go back to toasting toasties,” the toaster said, now content with what he did. “God, if you can give me to a great family, I’ll give up my sentience.”
“Aight, cool,” God said and Thanos snapped his fingers.
The toaster poofed into the hands of a bigger, better, stronger family than the goose’s, and he served them as the best regular toaster he could be, toasting the best toasties.

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POETRY: MARLENA CHERTOCK – CEMETARIO GENERAL

Cemetario General

Cemetario General is one of the largest cemeteries in Santiago, Chile. Patio 29 is a plot used to bury the disappeared, the homeless, the unidentified, and victims of the Augusto Pinochet military dictatorship.

 

What’s left of them is arranged in boxes,
fifty or so line a wall.
He turns off the leaf blower,
passes a woman kneeling, her head lowered.

Even in death there are mansions.
Glass criptas encasing tías.
He coaxes leaves away
from the marble structures.

In a narrower section
ice cream and chip vendors push their carts.
Crowded together are plots of dirt, maybe some hierba,
a Nescafé bottle filled with wilted hydrangea.

He asks families to give more.
Sometimes there’s no response. So he digs up the land
and transfers what endured to a mass plot, Patio 29.
He’s so close to the body then, touching its bones.

At home he holds his esposa’s hips
as she cooks dinner, the smell of her sweat and the humitas
mixing in the kitchen air,
holds her as she undresses and they lie down together.

Find her at marlenachertock.com or @mchertock.

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poetry: Joseph Somoza – Hasta La Vista

Hasta La Vista

Here I find myself again,
in the company of
trees and sunshine,
a quiet workday morning.
It’s like emerging from a tunnel
where my mind was cloyed
with mundane matters such as
providing food, doing dishes,
and having to
respond to others—

who are my family,
who have gone back now
to being themselves
in the far distance where I can
make out the details better,
hear their words more clearly
in the sparse air between
here and there, as if minds can’t
co-exist in close proximity
and must always be
sent on their way.

Order Joseph Somoza’s new volume of poems As Far as I know (Cinco Puntos Press, 2015).

 

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MICHAEL DWAYNE SMITH – THE SANITY PSALMS

The Sanity Psalms

Drunkenness should be supported more in public life.

I was just sitting around downing bottles of

Samuel L. Jackson’s Shithouse Porter

(with the occasional Fish House Stout),

and I was listening to Mickey & The Wifebeaters’ latest album,

Top Ten Suicidal Truck Driver Songs, when I realized

neither Jesus nor Pterodactyls are in the Constitution.

I heard a heavenly voice say,

“You have made drunkenness respectable, sir,” except no, no,

that voice was my drunk uncle, known to all his nieces as

Drunkula (for creeping around rooms at night in search of a kiss

and asking, “Mind if I pee in your hamper?”),

but this time instead of creeping my drunk uncle taught me

the fool-proof, guaranteed 100%, Three Step Formula for Success

passed down for generations in our clan. Step one, set a goal.

Step two, forget about it. Step three, do something else.

He had the evidence to back it up; he declared,

“I got a paycheck last week, I don’t know about you.”

This was late night stoner TV, without the pictures.

The guy became pretty annoyed and started rambling about his

brain being ripped apart by angels. That one I knew because

at school they taught us the Hall of Fame is in Franch, everybody’s

drunk uncle stumbling around the neighborhood. So, yeah,

if wrong were a country, he’d be the capitol.

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POETRY: NATALIE CRICK – WEDDING CAKE

Wedding Cake

 

We eat the top of your wedding cake,

Stale sugar pieces cracking our teeth,

 

Promising each mouthful

To be the last,

 

Buttercream drooling from

Sticky fingers,

 

Pregnant with cream,

Pink pearls to be kissed.

 

Plump lips wait,

Shivering from loneliness.

 

We listen to the screaming downstairs

 

The plastic bride and groom

Sucked clean of sweetness.

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