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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Jamie O’Connell – INTERPLANETARY CONTAMINATION

Interplanetary Contamination

 

Fly through the atmosphere,

sending down debris.

Wallow away cacti into ocean trash.

An island inside an island,

an eye inside an eye.

I melted into your pupil, you melted

your blue iris into my blue brain.

We swept up your dust petals,

sent postcards to the desert

to pray for trees.

~

Find Jamie online.

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R.T. Castleberry – BUILDING A SILENCE

BUILDING A SILENCE

Street empty as a healing heart,
I lean the patio wall,
Swisher Sweet packed with pot,
friends equally afraid.
Wednesday brings the chill,
hawks fleeing ahead.
They say it’s a west wind—
it carries the desert, it trails a fire.
A car scrapes a manhole cover,
the squall of a New Depression song
rackets from the apartment.
I sit beside you on the couch,
urging you to say
what’s wrong, what’s wrong.
Tell me a dream, you demand.
I can’t. I refuse them.
They’re not meant
for sunlight or the litmus pa
Bitching, bare-legged,
you leave for your car.
That cell phone photo joins a gallery:
you with a beer, you with a bourbon,
you with a Bonnie Parker tilt to your smoke.
Anarchist amid barred gates, builder’s stakes,
the furtive criminal on the corner
heats his alley dinner fire
with mattress flyers, garden scraps.
Seeing me, he waves a clenched fist.
I slam mine into the wall.

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RAVEN WINTERS – “PURPLE”

“Purple”

I’m 6 years old
I got a Barbie for Christmas
I guess pink’s a pretty color
My babysitter tried drowning me
What? Why?
I want a red mustang!
Mom and Dad beat me for spilling milk
I’m 8
My parents divorced
Mom beats all the time
A cop gave me a teddy bear
I burnt it
My doctor says I have severe depression and anxiety
What’s that? Is it bad?
She gave me meds
I’m 10
I was just told Savannah kissed Sam
What’s a kiss? I wonder
All I wanna do is play soccer
Dad keeps hitting me with his belt
I like blue but they say that’s for boys only
I’m 11
The teacher’s talking about sex
What’s a period? We have babies inside us?!
What?
The bruises arent fading
I’m 13
I got raped at a party
Why me?
I’m never drinking fruit punch again
I’ve started to cut myself
I’m 15
I got heartbroken by a soccer player
I stopped taking my meds
My mom beat me until i passed out
I’m 16
I’m Bisexual
I don’t want to see my parents anymore
I want to go far far way
Anywhere but here really
I’m not religious
Water still scares me
And no
I will not turn the other cheek
No I will not bend the knee
No I will not make myself miserable for your society’s pleasure
I will rise

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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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Karen Mandell – YARD SALE

Yard Sale

Useless, I could tell instantly.

Baby toys in plastic orange and red, grimy fry pans,

bent hollowware burning in the sun.

I walk in past the woman and the baby sitting on the concrete stoop.

I’m on my way out before I see the books piled on the grass,

their pages soft with age, the damp dried out of them.

The Sun Also Rises, the striped Scribner edition.

Do I have this one at home?

I crouch down and turn limp pages, not reading, brushing off dust,

unwinding a tendril of cobwebs from my finger.

The odor of paper stored in boxes too long.

This one’s not worth it, broken spine, even for a quarter.

I put fusty Hemingway down.

The baby cries, his voice quavering and scratchy.

The woman picks him up and says it’s time for a nap,

you’re ready aren’t you, you’ll lie down for a little while.

I stand up, the sun hot on my hair.

I want to lie down, a baby, in a darkened room with only a thin cover.

An opened window with a fan going somewhere.

I’d close my eyes even if I didn’t really want to

because there’s not much fight left in me right now.

The baby whimpers.

I forget what city I’m in,

whether it’s Minneapolis or Boston before that or

Chicago back even further.

I’m a burnished nub, everything rubbed out of me,

clarified. Even so, I have to get back to the car,

do the things that make it go,

add on to myself the crumbled pieces

that fell off and lie there, in the grass.

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Robert Allen Beckvall – MAYBE IT’S FREEDOM

Maybe It’s Freedom

 

Maybe we got souls that crave

The dream of the wild west

With saddlebags and campfires

Teepees and wigwams

Some say we are living a national nightmare

Maybe, just maybe the crazies and druggies and alkies,

Tent dwellers and unbathed, unloved, unlucky,

And the squeezed by technology/big brother/international conglomerates

Want to have fights in saloons

Want a girl from a brothel

Want to ride the plains after the Great White Buffalo

Maybe they want pistol packin’

Vest wearin’, neckerchief tyin’ sheriffs and outlaws

Maybe they want to tan hides and touch their enemies

Or, make love under the stars

While the spirits of the ancestors circle the night sky

Maybe that gal diggin’ bottles and cans from a trash can

Wants to ride with Wild Bill like Calamity Jane

Maybe the guy with oozing diabetes legs

Wants to catch and tame a wild mustang

Maybe they like to dream

That their stolen Safeway cart is a covered wagon

And you’re either driven’ it or attackin’ it

On the wide open plains

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