ROBERT OKAJI – I DANCED WITH A PLATYPUS TWENTY YEARS BACK

Which is of course a metaphor pointing out

disparities in function and form, and the dangers

inherent in assumption: despite its cute appearance,

the male platypus delivers venom through an ankle

spur on a hind limb; samba with one at your own

peril. My friend wanted to build a catapult, but I

convinced him that trebuchets more efficiently

demolish walls. Instead, he experimented with atlatls,

before reverting to his favorite compound bow. The

fly swatter remains my weapon of choice, followed

closely by steel toe boots. I have yet to meet a scorpion

whose armor could withstand them, but I would never

stomp a platypus without first determining its intentions

and seeking mediation, perhaps through handwritten

correspondence. Pencils owe their origin to the lead

stylus, which eventually morphed into the wood-cased

graphite tool we now use. In his day, Thoreau was better

known for pencil-making than cabin-building. Arthritic

joints prevent me from writing by hand, but I saw lumber

when necessary. According to Ovid, Talos, nephew of

Daedalus, invented the saw, using either a fish jaw or spine

as the model. I look at my food before eating, but the

platypus dives with closed eyes, and locates meals by

detecting electric currents through its bill. In considering

form, I assume function. But we know what that means.

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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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JD DEHART – FASHION SENSE

Fashion Sense

 

Coming to terms
with the fact that a loop
of metal will probably
never grace my ear
or nose –

 

Despite the way some people
absorb neon, fashion themselves
with tattoos, swim in their own
soup of counterculture,
figures out of a science fiction
self-made landscape, who
make rips and scraps converge

 

I am much more likely to be
found in a soft T-shirt, or couched
in corduroy, nursing a tattered
book as if it might solve my universe.
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poetry: catherine wolf -hack attack

Hack Attack
Finally! Obama shot back at the Russian hackers
who attacked our computers, the Democratic National Committee,
Hillary’s email, and just fun Vermont’s power grid.

But shot with a BB gun, it could shoot someone’s eye out,
leaving him dazed and bloody, not like a nuke
which could destroy a country or a world,
leaving the scent of smoke no creature could smell.
Obama, did you smell the flaming planet?

Trumpeter tweeted Putin putting off his own retaliation,
shining “very smart.” Treason is giving aid and comfort
to an enemy. Is the president-elect dipping
into treason like chocolate mousse?

Trumpeter sided with WikiLeaks founder
who said “Nyet, not a Russian hack.”
Does dumpy Trumpy want to build a golf course
in Siberia? It’s all about money.

With his glowing bare muscular chest,
Putin must have a dozen women
Trumpet can grope.

~

Bio
Catherine G. Wolf studied language development in graduate school, and was fascinated by this unique human ability. In 1997, when she was stricken with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, her ability to speak was taken away by this disease. She found poetry had a special capability to express her innermost feelings. By losing her physical voice, Catherine found her poetic voice. Catherine has published in the 2016 Rat’s Ass Review edition of Love & Ensuing Madness, Rat’s Ass Review, Front Porch Review, Verse-Virtual, Cacti Fur, and Bellevue Literary Review. She uses assistive technology to communicate, and raises her right eyebrow to type.

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poetry: catherine wolf – the faithful faithless

The Faithful Faithless
After signing 37 petitions, I dreamed
Sunday night 37 faithless members
of the electoral college, but faithful
to the national popular vote,
defected from the orange Rump
and voted for Hillary.
Russian hacking couldn’t turn
our election upside down.
America was great again!
But when I turned on the TV Monday night,
America was raped again.
Two electors dressed in camouflage
fatigues snuck away from the orange Slime
and voted for Kasich and Ron Paul.
On the blue Pantsuit side,
three deranged defectors voted Colin Powell,
one voted for Bernie to keep our revolution alive,
one flew to Native American
Faith Spotted Eagle’s perch.
Hillary won 2,800,000 more than Tiny Fingers,
why isn’t she the President-elect?
Because the electoral college uses
nonsensical rules of assigning electors to states.
It tilts power to small population states.
It’s hardly a college, more like doggy daycare.
Now we’re stuck with climate contrarian,
women-groping, Muslim-hating, Putin-loving,
nuke-hawking, lying-tweeting, cancerous Lump.
Time for a Lumpectomy!

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poetry: catherine wolf – magic spell against trump

Magic Spell Against Trump
Orange Trump,
You rump!
You love Putin,
here’s my sputum.
You brag about women groping.
You’ll end up in jail I’m hoping.
You orange vampire,
you suck blood from those you hire.
You lie about everything, the height of Trump Tower, the popular vote.
Don’t gloat!
You want to deprive us of civil rights.
Hell no! We’ll fight!
You say climate change is a “Chinese hoax.”
Save that for your Florida grandchild when she croaks .

Pugnacious pug!
You’re asking for a slug.
Your businesses, we’ll investigate.
You’ll drown in corrupt-gate.
This country won’t tolerate you.
We’ll impeach, get rid of you.
No sociopath fascist will be president.
In the White House, you’ll no longer be resident.
We will put you in jail.
The end of “Hail
Trump!”

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