LANCE GAMBRELL – POSTCARD FROM PHANTOM RANCH

Postcard from Phantom Ranch

The sights of the inner canyon are breathtaking. Color changing rocks, reflecting the rays of the sun. Each layer opens a chapter of the Earth’s history, and with our friends Merrell, Kelty & MSR we travel back in time. The rocks around me can be as old as 1.8 billion years in age. FYI – A billion seconds is 31 years! But now, in this moment of time, I am on the screened-in porch of the bunkhouse; listening to the wind play with the leaves of the cottonwoods! Join me for a trip next year!

Tonight’s inner canyon menu:
personal Caesar salad,
backpacked steak,
Tecate X4.

wish you were here,
Lance

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LANCE GAMBRELL – THERE IS STILL TIME

There Is Still Time

There is still time, to park at Marc and Vic’s.

I don’t care what they say, I love summer best, in Las Cruces. Better yet, stop the time machine at Tim and Suzanne‘s, in the summer of dub.

Half of my friends, work for a shitty local pizza chain. The others work for the dream machine called academia. Arguing about another Pablo Neruda poem. And the value of locally sourced Pabst Blue Ribbon.

I wake up due to declining levels of ABV.

Lucas is about to go to work because we’re done poking his Suzuki 50cc belly. But, I’ll be back, for dollar lunch, and my first class at 11:30, still AM.

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MILES LISS – 2 POEMS

Aliens

On this mountain,

we built likenesses of ourselves

as human beings.

We sent them down to the valley to mingle

with the townspeople.

We went to Dairy Queen, ordered

a Blizzard, bought Megadeth

at the music store, and visited Army gun shows

that exhibited tanks and other

war machines.

We pretended

to be one of them, for this and only this

made them happy.

We walked into banks

instead of robbing them.

We took out accounts in fake American names

and sipped free cucumber water.

We went to the movies

with customers

carrying tubs of popcorn and 22 liters

of Coke, and pretended we were beautiful

for two hours.

As we rode back up the mountain,

the radio played a country song

about football, pick-up trucks and rebel flags.

We were made to understand these things

meant home.

An SUV drove across from us, with

an American family. In the front,

a husband and wife took a look

at us. I tried to read the husband’s lips.

I’m pretty sure he was saying, “Stay

away from our borders.”

In the back, a little freckle-faced boy

with a coonskin cap fired a pellet gun

at his kid sister—imagined killing her.

~

Monuments

The Washington Monument

shoots up at night like a giant rocket ship to the moon.

The Lincoln Memorial glows majestically.

Dead Presidents stare out through stone eyes,

their heroic expressions rendered masterfully.

Arlington Cemetery overflows

with soldiers who died in their honor.

Rats in subway grates

raid garbage bins for half-eaten Chipotle burritos.

Tourists walk past homeless men

whose hands are swollen

like catcher’s mitts.

A new Whole Foods opens around the corner.

Liquor stores sell lottery tickets

and menthol cigarettes.

At Five Guys, a family huddles

over burgers and Cajun fries, peanut shells on the floor

swept away by Central American teenagers.

Their pimply-faced son

watches the teens work while he chews.

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JOHN TUSTIN – SHOWER, SHAMPOO, SHAVE, SHIT

SHOWER, SHAMPOO, SHAVE AND SHIT

So I was drunk

And the big storm was coming

And I decided I wanted to hear Luke the Drifter.

I get up after a few songs and the darkness has fallen already.

It goes from light to dark in the time it takes

To shower, shampoo, shave and shit

In this place.

Luke gives way to The Stanley Brothers,

The Louvin Brothers.

The night will end with Bob Dylan telling me

The levee’s gonna break.

I look out my window and see nothing but calm,

Darkness.

The storm is coming. Or it’s not.

I can only wait.

Whatever happens,

Be it cleansing or drowning

Or nothing at all.

Let it happen.

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VERN FEIN – AUNT DeDe

AUNT DeDe

is dying to no one’s surprise.
88 and has been failing,
survived Parkinson’s for 15.
Meaningless numbers,
just like the spate of emails
and texts about her pending demise.
There will be no gathering
at her request.
Would be no gathering anyway.
Virtually everyone who would come
have had their own funerals
or live too far away.
The texts elicit tiny pebbles of sorrow,
barely a ripple in our ponds.

She had a vibrant life,
a noted audiologist,
world traveler with her doctor husband.
Then one daughter committed suicide,
another succumbed to a painful disease.
For that Aunt Dede is remembered.
Not her life—those deaths.
Oh, she was also afraid of cats.

Hibernating away at the edge of a Wisconsin burg,
she and her husband dealt in antiques
until they turned into them.
Today no one gave more than a sad
passing nod in their texts
to her going.

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James Croal Jackson – 2 poems

Always

You paint a heron blue

on brown branch. You

always create.

Your violin blurs into

hand-written sheet

music. Sunshine tints

your hair red. In autumn

you bury yourself

in leaves, tune strings

in the shadows to

summon the sun

and feed violets.

~

Blown-Minded

      “I was born blown-minded

      with an eye on oblivion.”

                       –Young Galaxy

I’ve been sitting at my desk,

no artistic talent, drawing

a primate, the universe,

a fetus, a circus, and

with each I realize I’m

just drawing myself

over and over again–

hurtling through space

and time in my muddled

mind to conclude I don’t

know shit. So all these

lines connect where?

I don’t know whether

I’m looking to God

or to get laid. It’s both

the same, really, accessing

the part of the brain that

activates to a higher calling.

Whether that’s the faith

that I exist right now!

Or I must reproduce!

doesn’t matter.

I am a goddamn mess

made of star matter

and the more I try to

laser-focus my brain

at understanding,

the more I learn

there’s nothing

there. I feel as empty

between my ears

as the space between

Earth and the moon,

but then I learn that

all of the planets

in the solar system

can fit in the distance

between those bodies?

Gray matter.

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ERREN KELLY – A SIN

A Sin

i could go to hell
for what i’m doing
for looking at white thighs
in a pair of levis
mama preached hate
as gospel
don’t talk to white girls
don’t get friendly with them
don’t trust them
she said
even though her best friend
was a white woman
she didn’t want a white man
come to her home
in the middle of the night
complaining about his daughter
being ” corrupted “

you invite me to church
as you take off your blouse
i say, i’ll think about it
i never thought much of jesus freaks
if god is everywhere
then why do we need religion
or a church to get closer
to him
and jesus was not white !
you take off your bra
and your globes succumb to gravity
and they drop downward
and become covered by curly
long red hair
your crucifix makes an imprint
as i press against you
as i kiss you

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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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JOHN GRAY – I KNEW A WOMAN

I knew a woman in a wheelchair,

lived in a clapboard house,

with a lawn she somehow trimmed.

and a garden she kept well-tended.

And another had breast cancer.

She wrote letters to all her friends

in the brief nauseous pauses

between radiation treatments.

Another had five kids

and a husband who walked out

but somehow put food on their table

and a roof over their head.

Another got a degree in some branch of science

and the consensus of her male friends was that

“I didn’t know women went in for

 that sort of thing.”

Of course, there was the one

who was forever trying to hide

the bruises on her face with makeup,

stayed with her abuser.

And another who hated herself so much

she sat around the house all day,

getting fatter and fatter

so she could hate herself the more.

From the start, there was need for women.

And a physiology to go with it.

Life was incomplete. There was a vacuum.

And then all kinds started filling it.

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THE EXPERIMENT – John Kaniecki

The Experiment

Follow all rules
Exit through the entrance
No hesitation
Killing is natural according to evolution
Soul sucking bloody Social Darwinism
Killing is a sin
Speaks the great I Am
We are not going in circles
Observe the three dimensional spiral
DNA helix
What have you gone Felix?
G.I. Joe
Ivanhoe
A bullet is a door
Goodbye
Bury me in my wife’s garden
A final pardon
Fertilizer
Rhymes with it
Snare drum raps
Bugler taps
Don’t remember me by this lament
It’s an experiment
Electrocuting rats
Wearing schizophrenic hats
An everlasting buy
Try not to cry
Says I
Now repeat the entire process

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