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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Cathryn Shea – Epiphanies

Epiphanies

I wanted a magical telephone
to dial me up and announce,
“This is college calling. We’ve
decided your major.”

Then I would fall asleep
and in the morning I’d know
with certainty what career
I’d be hired for.

A bird would descend from
heaven and chirp in my ear
to confirm my choice of mate.
“Yes, this man is to be
a good husband.”

Somehow I’d know to have
a child at age 25. Ring ring.
The doorbell sounding. It’s
a package!

Someone said to always ask
yourself a question about
any problem at bedtime and
sleep on it. The best answer
would always reveal itself
in the morning.

I wanted epiphanies
when hard decisions arose:
Move? Buy the house? Rent?
Quit this job? Have another
child? Leave my husband?
Stay with my husband?

I had an epiphany today.
I must be calm
and not need an answer.

~

Find Cathy online.

 

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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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John Dorroh – “Missed Opportunities”

“Missed Opportunities”

1.

There were missed opportunities with your sister

that I no longer regret. I did for a while because I

love her homemade chili the stuff with lime and

cilantro and those those little flecks of ghost peppers.

Any woman who can make a bowl of chili sing like that

deserves to be honored. And believe me, I wanted to

honor her before she changed into a man.

2.

The miracle was not in the fact that she always knew

that there was a man living in her house, but the fact

that she carried through, unafraid to tell her family

and friends that she was planning on tossing her

vagina a farewell party, complete with midgets,

tattoo artists, and kittens dressed as baby possums.

3.

The surgeon took her scissors and made a nip tuck

then a tuck nip and pushed God out of the way.

“He’s mine now, so you sit over there and close

your eyes and mouth. I will call you if there is a

moment of distress.”

4.

Those opportunities are now memories of things

that could have been: a little family moving with the

rhythm of the ocean, water grinding itself across

the sand to make changes that all of us can feel.

~

This poem was originally published on April 9, 2018, by Piker Press.

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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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