TERRY HERTZLER – NAPALM

NAPALM

The boy wears only a pale green shirt,
no pants or shorts or shoes–a six-year-old,
fat stick in hand, squatting in the dirt.

He glances up as our convoy passes,
eyes dark and blank, and shifts his weight
to favor his left leg, ridges of scar
from ankle to hip twisted and shiny as plastic.

Yellow dust, kicked up by our truck
hangs in the air, thick and choking.
But the boy, face calm as a cat, just stares,
only his eyelids moving, up and down
up and down. Finally, he looks away and
raising his club, resumes his task,
pounding ants.

~

This poem was originally published in Second Skin by Terry Hertzler (Caernarvon Press, 2003)

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HOLLY DAY – KISS IT ALL AWAY

Kiss It All Away     

 

I crumble under the weight of your wings

as you leap from the balcony and find that you’re only human

and the two of us fall.

 

There are gods burning in the fire place

painfully smiling through bruised lips

I’ve got runs in my hose from their fingernails; they need us, too.

 

What a disappointment it was to discover

that you still have one foot stuck in the real world

and it’s the foot that counts.

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Jack D. Harvey – BOMBING VIETNAM

Bombing Vietnam

Good old Joe,
a hell of a pilot you were.
You was my friend,
you was a big child,
all heart, stupid as paint, sure,
but the feel in your talented fingers,
your far-seeing blue eyes;
you and that plane united to kill
every goddamned gook down there
living in that green placid land.

I thought of you,
bombing airstrips, roads,
buildings, villages, factories,
the whole place;
it sickened me and
was I ever up your
big face and down,
looking for tears,
for remorse?

I’m sorry, Joe,
best friend,
I gave you love and respect
with full conveyor belts,
encouraged you
to blow this green land
to hell and gone,
so it’s me and you,
doing a lot of death.

Now you’re dead, too,
burned to a crisp
in your crashed B-52.

He was Joe from Muncie,
a bull’s eye,
a real true soul
who didn’t think much,
an O.K. guy, a
stamper on
American roads,
and now he’s gone.

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TIM STALEY – 13 HAIKU

13 HAIKU   All the naked women turned out to be Barbies on the kitchen floor   ~   The spider grins when something crashes its web and breaks its connections   ~   A crystal airway blocked by a hot dog collapsed the operation   ~   Alone time in December is somber   […]

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JOEY NICOLETTI – Motherfucking Jeopardy at The Gypsy Parlor Café and Bar

Motherfucking Jeopardy at The Gypsy Parlor Café and Bar

Hayburner on tap. Todd, the bar owner, turns up

the TV’s volume: It’s time

 

for Jeopardy. “Drink and play, Balls,”

he commands. All questions must be shouted

 

at the TV, as well as preceded

by the phrase, “What is motherfucking.”

 

Todd clears his throat, then demonstrates:

“What is motherfucking Donkey Punch?

 

What is motherfucking Enceladus?

What is motherfucking Hiram

 

Ulysses Grant?” A Daily Double. Tequila shots are on

the house, as long as the Jeopardy contestant bets all

 

of his or her money, and asks the right question. Not tonight.

Todd shakes his head. The people seated at the bar boo

 

and hiss. The bartenders laugh as they mix

and pour drinks. Another Hayburner for me.

 

“That guy has no guts, Balls,” Todd bellows. “Absolutely no

motherfucking testicles.”

~

Find Joey on Twitter or Instagram

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WES HOUP – 3 POEMS

Watch Out For Aardvarks

The high council of pissants
carefully reviewed your application
for permanent inclusion and finds that
you lack any clear sense of order;
you remain stubbornly and selfishly
anchored to ephemera
and take on balance
more than you generate and provide.
We acknowledge your curious disposition,
and your genuine affinity for activities
that promise no monetary gain
and thus no clear class mobility.
But this is just a footnote
in a much larger negative report.
We will not, in the end, recommend you
for tenure in our pismire.
Also we are unwilling to discuss
our recommendation
via chem-trail or antennae.
We wish you the best of luck elsewhere,
and watch out for aardvarks.

~

DIGESTATION

a.
Cool spring water shimmers
a narrow dissolution channel
between my legs.
Nearby a raccoon has passed
the entire exoskeleton
of a crayfish,
most likely Cambarus
(given the lack of suitable habitat
for Orconectes),
pincers folded up
in prayer, like Jonah.
Sun-bleached, it looks like
an obtuse piece of diggery,
equipment found in a junkyard
or moldering behind
the dead farmer’s barn.

b.
Where the spring’s flow disappears,
a great horned owl
has eaten a crow,
and from the crow’s feathers
sweet Betsy grows.
Crows die, crows grow,
I know, but woe is he
and she who doubt
the kind of hunger
that forces dominance in the wood,
to eat crow every night
and remain wise,
or the crow, for god’s sake,
the crow, to sacrifice itself
to fertilize trillium.
Pandemonium.
Harmonium.
Ad infinitum.

~

Custodial Testimonial

4:15am, Sunday,
the only other soul
on the road to Damascus
is a young preacher
in a Corolla
headed to the church office
for final revisions.
He’s worried about messaging,
and his left headlight is blank.
God-only-knows-what
he’ll fashion: surely love, hate,
forgiveness, avarice, charity,
or some other heavy cudgel
based on a verse from Acts
magically supported
by a verse from Isaiah.
See? Continuity.
Poof! Even vengeful gods
Change their minds.

I’m headed to work, too,
and I’m also worried.
A wedding party drank and feasted
all yesterday and now
the Forest Lodge sewer line is clogged.
A rough calculation suggests
each person must have defecated
2.3 times to impound (TVA-style)
an 8” pipe. Damn.
That’s a proverbial shitload.
Sadly, there was no child present
able to turn a shitload into wine.
But it’s Sunday morning—
time for forgiveness.
I am here to ease things
to the underworld,
and while I cannot perform miracles,
I know a snake who can.

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SETH JANI – REFLECTIONS

Reflections

Between omens, between trees,
A sparse body of light and foliage
Floats down.
It lands in the water
Where reflections are born.
Where the double world
Acts out its identical pageantry
In reverse.
In that pool the leaf
Is coming to the surface
Of a glass sky.
This is where the worlds touch.
When I bend over to scoop it up
A single electron passes from my fingers.
Across the border, my heart
Doesn’t beat. Life there is measured
Only in pauses. An incredible stillness.
When someone in the mirror dies
Cardiologists suddenly hear
The sound of distant rainstorms
Vibrato in their bones.

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