SCOTT LAUDATI – THE SANTA FE TRAIL

the santa fe trail

you can read maps by starlight

in places i’ve been

and you sleep like shit

off the mexican beer

and wake up covered in bites

in hotels where

life is impossible

and everything still alive

wants blood.

did you know what you wanted

at the taco truck in dale hart?

do you know that there’s a

whole country out there

that doesn’t care about new york?

i do now.

i might know everything now.

i’ve drank from the shallow creeks.

i’ve chewed the tacos rellenos with

fire still in the seeds.

i looked up for god and every grackle

in the tree followed my gaze.

next time i’ll follow the trails in the sand

and the small streams will lead me to the window rock.

or maybe the other way –

to lay down in a graveyard

where desert rats use cow skulls as ashtrays.

and if the rains ever come again

maybe white petals

will bud up from my bones

and a lost rabbit can

spend a day

sleeping under my shade.

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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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Chella Courington – I SPEND HOURS KILLING CHICKENS

I Spend Hours Killing Chickens

Not with my hands like mom
who swung the bird round
till the neck popped
My machine chops off the head
splatters blood every five seconds
fresh blood that tastes
salty & sweet
Pay is good
What disgusts me is the line chief
During break he tells me he knows
when a girl is on the rag
claims he smells her
says he dumped
his girlfriend
cause she bled too much
He makes me want to
wash with lye
Thursday he follows me to the car
says he dreams about me
eats me in his sleep
I don’t tell him my dream
where the hook curls
through his neck
rips the vessels
as he swings closer to me
operating the blade

~

Find Chella online. 

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ZAC VAN PELT – 2 POEMS

Movie Theater

Stained seats from a plethora of spilt drinks,

that stain might even be melted butter,

surely the brown stuff is melted chocolate.

The floor squelches when you walk,

adhering to your shoe, trying to take it from you.

Faded movie posters promote the blockbusters

come and gone. Dust layers the counter where

butter and sugary sweets used to reside. Sugar to dust,

almost the same but different in color and taste.

Actors still smile where kids ran laughing

the happiness their movies brought still lingers here.

Coffee Shop Vignette

A bell rings softly as the door pushes inward,

outward pushes the smell of bittersweet coffee.

The typical soft jazz of a coffee shop wafts

through the air alongside smells of savory food.

Buzzing chatter underlines the music

with the soft whir of espresso machines adding to

the symphony of the cafe.

Voices talk from walls where no bodies sit

a collection of the conversations absorbed

like the coffee stains the barista hates.

The large glass windows reflect back the

faces of colleges students that haunted the tables.

Rusty circular stains mark the growth

of coffee groups that grew and shrank,

through the years.

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DAVID SPICER – HATEFUL MAN

HATEFUL MAN

Oh hateful man what happened to you

with more money than some countries’ treasuries

the pick of beautiful women yachts the best beluga

golden faucets in resorts Scottish golf courses

why are you an angry sloth hateful man wearing

wispy ginger hair so fine a baby could coo

you have blonde children retinues of lackeys

waiting on the next word wave escaping

your thin lips hateful man what attracted

you to green and silver paper why do you need

to steal other people’s money why do you admire

Mussolini did you smile with your parents

what did they do wound your bilious psyche

when they favored your brother why did you throw

tantrums like rancid onions when friends didn’t remain

friends when your mother shipped you

to military school when you listened to bullies

who taught you platitudes when your father

gave you only a million to build empires

when you cavorted in that Moscow hotel

do you remember the time you told your first lie

and everybody believed it and you did too

and lied so much you forgot the lies

why don’t you love people pets your children

did you see your destination as bankruptcies

and successes battled like angry twins

hateful man what makes you happy

the Aurora Borealis on Christmas day

a herd of zebra galloping over the Serengeti plains

the rarest stamp or a ringer for the Mata Hari

what is it hateful man making you tell beauties

whose pussies you grab I want you hateful man

do you love anybody in the red depths of your heart’s

dark caves dear hateful man when you fire sycophants

do you feel better after crushing their souls

hateful man as you eat Big Macs on the airplane

watching Wall Street do you have a Manhattan

of revenge to soothe your throat crying

when you sleep in your elephant satin pajamas

in your dark tower and wake up after three hours

to stew on the toilet pressing the phone’s power

button stalking the internet where your tribe

reads your tweets and you spend hours thumbing

insults so you feel better for a Washington

second and don’t care what the pundits think

because you’ll show how lofty you

are but hateful man you know that’s not true

do you ever think yourself evil as a bus

of snakes destined for a Mexican village

hateful man you think you’re greater than Alexander

the Great more brilliant than Einstein than Madame

Curie than the mathematician with the highest IQ

in history do you believe it how long can you

deceive yourself but you’re aware as an anteater

do you believe you’ll escape Karma’s chokehold

dreaming of Hitler of Rasputin of Manson

don’t you worry your minions might see

the hateful man you are because you’ve forgotten

you’re not blessed yes you’ve eluded the Gorgon

dodged a lunatic’s bullets because madmen

don’t kill madmen hateful man loneliest man

on earth no the man who’ll destroy you

hateful man one you fear and despise

not the man with long legs distant gaze

and grey suit walking halls of justice

followed by other men no he’s not that man

collecting facts but you are hateful man you

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JACOB BUTLETT – ASPIRING GAY POET

Aspiring Gay Poet

after Han Yongwun

I’m no Walt Whitman but in bed

I can write with my felt-tip pen

his penis his chin his lips,

and those dimples that hover above his eyelashes as he yawns.

 

When my roommates are away

and even the late hours hush,

I’m still too scared to share

the verse his tongue gave me

to the yawning stars.

 

I’m not an experienced poet, but I can write

his gaze, his laughter,

the way he sneaks across the campus lawn

before walking to my open window,

even each blade of grass

on the path that runs

the many steps from there to now.

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