Poetry

Seasonal Affair and Funeral Lines

by Judith Steele

 
Seasonal Affair

 
May Day in Darwin, dragonflies in squadrons
Posses of fire-hawks cruise the air
I open your letter – familiar joy –and doubt.
In June fiery sunsets, and you
on the midnight plane.
Dry Season air of July is champagne
Our kisses intoxicate, our laughter sparkles
as if we never wept.

 
Late August wind blows down dead branches
We resurrect old anger, throw it around.
September builds humidity. We always return
to this sensual desire, and desire to be more than this.

 
Still October, still no rain, still purple clouds
without a breath of wind. We are careful,
speak of the past, but not the future.
November thunder drops sheets of water,
twisted sheets on our bed are soaked with lust.

 
Troppo December, and luminous bat-splat
on the only road out of here. You go south
to visit your children, return in flooded January.
We watch with envy reckless adolescents jump
off Nightcliff Jetty into monsoon seas.

 
February stars of wilted frangippanni
fall on ants recycling eyeless bird
in a mess of rotting mangoes.
Again, you ask me to live down south.
Again, I will not go. Again, you will not stay.
March mornings fall into a late monsoon trough,
breathe threat of cyclone. Again I prepare for the worst.

 
April is calm. Long Toms float beneath Rapid Creek Bridge
like Chinese brush strokes on pale green silk.
Torres Strait Pigeons have flown home. You too.
For each migration, a yearly return.
For every reconciliation, a separation

 
And then?
Anticipation …

 
May Day, dragonflies in squadrons …

 

 
Funeral Lines

 
Ephemeral beauty
born, grown,
mated, created
ephemeral life

 
Ephemeral beauty, scrub and shine,
make haste, vacuum time,
produce consume bigger and better
mountains of dust

 
Ephemeral beauty, make mistakes,
break your heart break your life,
we can’t go back, can’t restore
ephemeral innocence

 
Ephemeral beauty bound for dust
Create. From whatever you can.
Drudge when you must, compete if you lust,
make mistakes, weep and ache
Then Still Always Turn
to what you have to how you can
Create ephemeral beauty.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Judith Steele is Australian. Her poetry has appeared in Northern Territory and South Australian publications including Northern Perspective, Northerly, Dymocks Northern Territory Literary Awards, Friendly Street Poets. Poetry or prose has appeared on websites including The Animist, Four and Twenty, Islet Online (as Dita West), In other Words:Merida .

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Kreso6

art by Kreso Cavlovic

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Poetry, translation

Two poems on bullfighting by Jack Little

Two poems on bullfighting by Jack Little
with Spanish versions by Fer de la Cruz
(in the context of bullfighting being banned in a growing number Mexican states)

 

.
A Lament for Ponciano Díaz
after Federico García Lorca

In the ganadería de Atenco
Ponciano Díaz´s father fought bulls
with a cloth in one hand and his child in the other.

In the evenings, his brother would sit on the other side of the room
the semi-darkness of the setting sun would leave half shadows:
the day´s sandy footprints, the dry spittle at the side of the old man´s mouth.

Tonight proclaims his fate is preordained
under the breath of a thousand secret voices:
some of us dwell in our passions more than others.

But before the stain of crimsons spines, and viscera between his sequins
the sunrise will be another part-renewal, grown boastful with swollen pride

the fight is in his veins.

 

Lamento por Ponciano Díaz
A la manera de Lorca

.
En la ganadería de Atenco sucedió:
el padre de Ponciano lidiaba con los toros,
capota en una mano, el niño en otra.

Por las tardes, su hermano se sentaba al lado opuesto en la misma habitación
en tanto la semi penumbra del sol al ponerse dejaba medias sombras:
las arenosas huellas de ese día, las comisuras tiesas de su padre
con un reseco rastro de saliva.

Esta noche proclama su destino
al aliento de mil voces secretas:
algunos habitamos las pasiones mejor que algunos otros.

Pero antes de que el traje de luces sea opacado por las manchas de víscera escarlata,
el sol, renovador de amaneceres, engreído de su orgullosa pompa

será uno con la lidia fluyendo por sus venas.

 

1st poem

 

Poem 2

 

 

 

 From Jack Little´s Elsewhere (20/20 EYEWEAR PAMPLET SERIES, 2015)

 

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Jack Little is a British poet who has lived in Mexico City since 2010 where he works as a primary school teacher. He won the Titchfield Shakespeare Poetry Competition in 2013 and is the founding editor of The Ofi Press. His work has been widely published in the UK and in Mexico.

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Kreso3

painting by Kreso Cavlovic

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Poetry

Before I Was a Woman

by Elizabeth Gassimi

 
It happened long ago,
Before I was a woman.

Another woman,
Consecrated to God – she wore his ring
And hid her hair –
Was taken and thrown down
Like a forsaken rag doll.
Her face pressed onto the cold marble floor
By a dark, lost Beast who surprised her while she prayed alone.

Her life flashed before her
As she cried and pleaded
While behind her,
He plundered her soul forever,
Sweating and groaning from the effort.

She’d been a cloistered innocent:
A grandmother’s age,
But with a child’s experience.

It happened in, of all places, God’s house,
With smooth, carved wood pews and solemn statues the only witnesses.

Her sobs, her pleas,
Echoing just steps away from
The altar where she’d labored
And knelt in adoration for so many decades.

Did the Father and the Son
Hear The Beast shouting
That he’d kill her if she refused to kneel for him
And his hatred and shame?

Did the acrid stench
Of her fear overpower the
Sweet incense perfume?

Did those adorable
Carved cherubs cover their ears
With their tiny wings
When she gave up and wished a very un-Christian wish
For death
As a single, silent, hot tear fell?

No one but she,
The Beast who took her by force,
And her God
Know exactly what happened
In those excruciating moments.

And only she knows how
She was able to forgive The Beast,
Which she told us later she did.

And even though I wasn’t a witness,
I will never forget
What The Beast did to one who believed
That being
Untouchable would save her.

Long ago,
Before I’d learned what it meant
To be a woman.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

New York City native Elizabeth Gassimi (“Liz”) left the United States in 2011, lived in Mexico City for almost a year, and has been enjoying the hot weather and fabulous food in Merida, Yucatan since 2012. Liz is a full-time teacher of English as a Foreign Language and holds a BA in English and Journalism from The City University of New York. She has always enjoyed writing and started keeping a journal at the age of ten. Several of her poems have been published in literary magazines.
She also loves gardening, photography, reading, and visiting art galleries. Sometimes on the weekends, you can spot Liz with her camera, walking around the Centro, looking for photographic opportunities.

 

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Kreso5art by Kreso Cavlovic

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Fiction

Every Day is Sunday

by Peter Bracking

.
Ross groans almost inaudibly. He rolls on the hard bed and this causes the phlegm in the lungs to shift and out pops a single soft cough that cannot be stifled. Before he opens his eyes the door is being squeaked open allowing the forty five pound black and white mutt to jump on the bed ready to stick to Ross’ side, from the moment of entry the dog could always see his face. In the doorway is Pavel. He is rubbing a finger under his nose. His one good eye winks and he is gone leaving the door open. The pisote, ten pounds of terror, leaps into the room to ensure the dog has not given it the slip. The beginning of the morning ritual.

.
Ross ablutes. Leaves the room, squeaking the door closed and uselessly telling the dog to ‘stay’ outside he pushes his way into the Pole’s room. Pavel is in his forties, tight brown curls with a knife scar that runs from his eye to the edge of his chin. He is medium height. He weighs about four pounds if he is holding a small barracuda. He is sitting on the bones of his ass bouncing on the edge of his bed. He is a bit flushed and his blind eye always looks as if it is staring directly at Ross.

.
“Something to wake up with.” It is always a statement and always a necessity for him. Ross sits on the only chair as he does every morning knowing by afternoon he would search corners for mythical rocks. “Ja,” Pavel smiles for the first time.

.
The rooms are two of four on the floor. Only two rooms are ever occupied. The rooms are cubes 10×10 with one corner plumbed with a shower that works if you use a bucket and not the faucet and a toilet with a cistern that doubles as the room safe guarded internally by intricate spider webs that operates the same way. Two walls are windows. Floors, walls, and ceilings are unpainted, untreated concrete. The window is spiked shut, concrete gouged out below the frame in number of places where the long spikes were much stronger than the concrete the window was eventually anchored to. Grey, grey, grey is the décor. There is a ceiling fan with about a four foot wingspan that does work when there is electricity in town and a table to go with the chair that Ross occasionally wobbles on.

.
Pavel and Ross are the outcasts of the white population of about twelve. They live in a hotel on the beach. In the Garifuna part of town, the black part of town, with the descendants of the failed slave revolt on St. Vincent Island off the coast of Venezuela. They are anathema to the upstanding white population that are there to stretch their civilized pension dollars. As if the two of them could ever give a shit.

.
The thin Pole has been there about a year and Ross has been dragged down the short corridor every morning for about six months now. Ross wondered why he ever complained about it to himself.

.
Pavel had told his story even if Ross would not break his own vow never to reveal his. Pavel told him that he had slummed in most of the capitols of Europe. In a whirlpool of drugs. That he preferred an Italian winter to a Scottish summer. Ross got the idea that the Pole knew how to get by on nothing everywhere he went. Pavel told him that he learned to speak English in prison in Morocco. His scar was born there too. He thought some Arab had been giving him the eye and so tried to give him a blow job in the shower one hot morning. He had lost his eye in the ensuing knife fight. He told Ross that he had simply fallen in love with the wrong big fucking Arab. Morocco was his third prison and after his release his family would not suffer him to return to Gdansk, they could not stand the idea that he was even on the same continent as they were. He got a fat monthly allowance to stay very far away. This thin strip of brown beach was very far away. Pavel was one of the many remittance men Ross had met. But that is another story.

.
He was an addict. If it could be liquified and sucked into a rocket that he could poke into a vein it was good by him. Pavel spent more money on syringes than Ross spent on food. Pavel’s problem was that it was impossible for him to get high alone. He did not just want company, someone to sit there and to talk but someone who was high as well. Hence every morning the door squeak and the finger under the nose.

.
It can’t be later than nine am as he has not heard: “Rosco, su desayuno!” shouted up from below. For some reason that he could never figure out it was impossible for his neighbours to call him by his single syllabled name, always adding the ‘co’. Ross always thought that Pavel could never wait until after breakfast and if Ross did not stir he would wake him. Ross, unfortunately, never could sleep that long to find out. There is small time element then as all that needs to be done must be done before the breakfast call. The first round anyway.

.
This particular stretch of beach was part of the cocaine trial from Columbia. Most of it came off the cargo ships that unloaded across the bay, a one- time training ground for the mercenaries that fought as Contras in the most recent American intervention in Nicaragua. A great deal of uncut cocaine moved through and around the tiny town that they lived in. Pavel is in heaven.

.
The first thing that he does is hand Ross a rather new copy of an Estonian/Spanish dictionary left by the only previous occupant of the grey room. Ross is the only person who uses it and he never opens the book. Pavel smiles more broadly now, his scar stretching his face into a grimace that actually looks like pain. Then it begins.

.
Pavel leans over and searches through the papers, empty match boxes, cigarette butts, the occasional bit of food, the general mess found on any junky’s table. He finds nothing. Then he searches in the drawer. More paper, useless junk, a tablespoon with the bowl blackened thick with carbonation that he sets aside, bottle caps, match boxes, even paper clips, but not what he seeks. His smile gets wider with frustration. The appearance of pain palpable. He moves his bones off the bed, gets on his sharp knees and looks under the bed where there is nothing and never has been anything. He walks over to his suitcase abandoned in a corner of the room throws it open, searching deep into the emptiness and finding nothing. Ross can hear the dog outside whine some communication to the pisote. Pavel stands in the middle of the room his head and good eye turning wildly around. Ross begins to wonder how long until the breakfast shout. Pavel is breathing heavily now, sweat is beading on his forehead. Ross says nothing. He knows better. Pavel finally has a brainstorm, looks over his shoulder to see if Ross is looking and when he assures himself that Ross is staring out of the window at the palms, reaches up to the ceiling fan and there, exactly where it always is, on one of the wings, is a very large bag of high grade coca which he plucks down with a heavy sigh of relief. Success. This takes about ten minutes from the beginning to the end. Every morning. If Ross is ever foolish enough to mention where the dope is Pavel gets paranoid, thinking that Ross is watching where it hides to steal it. Ross has nothing but time. This is Pavel’s ritual, not his. And who is Ross to say anything about it? Both waiting and the counting of time are meaningless when compared to the eternal rhythm of the ocean a few meters below and across the street.

.
By now there is at least one cantina blasting Bob Marley outside. Another will start up playing different Marley at a competitive volume within moments. Kids are shouting and will be playing. Young ones jumping a hank of frayed rope removed from an equally frayed, now useless net. Older boys rolling a dead tire through the dust with a stick. The bars on the corner are open and will be beginning to fill. Two bars, eleven posts at widely varying angles planted in the sand with a plywood seat nailed onto the tops is the total seating arrangement. Life trudges on. Outside.

.
Pavel’s eye is locked on the bag, quarter ounce or half ounce.

.
Back to the table and Pavel digs out a new rocket and places it precisely at the edge. He takes the four month old newspaper and opens it on his lap. He carefully opens the bulging bag. Now he takes back the dictionary. He picks up his tablespoon. He fills the tablespoon and dumps it onto the book. There is usually a gram or two of the yellowed grains in a little hillock. He covers the hillock with a matchbook, to stop it blowing off but the window is nailed shut and the only other possible source for moving air is the fan which is never turned on. He hands the book with it’s carefully covered hillock carefully back to Ross, Pavel’s partner in dreams. “This is for you.” Again, the same as every other morning.

.
He fills his spoon again with the yellow coca, looks at Ross who finds a reason to turn away, and immediately unfolds the few thin pounds around his bones standing to replace his precious bag on the always still wing of the fan. Then he adds a drip of water to the concoction while Ross lights a candle. Pavel hovers the spoon steadily over it and the dope and water begin to bubble immediately. He fills the rocket and looks at Ross. Ross must always be first so he cuts a big line out. Pavel smiles, reaches over and flips papers, with a blind hand, and passes over a crisp tightly rolled American hundred dollar bill. Ross honks back a good part of his hillock. As soon as Ross lifts his head Pavel pokes the rocket into his arm and plunges into his dream. Moments later after his head falls back onto his greasy pillow and Pavel is on another planet. He will remain, in his dream, on another planet or in another dimension for about ten or fifteen minutes. Pavel does not fuck around with his dope. His plan is to get fucked up so small doses are a waste of his life.

.
Ross has to piss to beat the band and now is the moment to make a move. He slips out as politely quietly as he can and zips down the three flights with both dog and pisote trying to trip him believing misguidedly as animals tend to do that they are off for a walk. Ross slows and smiles at the black family who adopted him and runs into the latrine across the street. Listens to the sound of his water falling, falling and ignoring the stink. Finally relieved
he opens the door almost tripping on the dog and the pisote standing eternal guard. Ross takes a minute to help pick out the daily fish from someone’s cousin that both the family and hotel guests will eat and then he has to beat it back up the stairs in a rag tag parade of three to be there when the Pole reenters this dimension. He takes only a moment to look at the glistening sea and to smell the mangoes growing within arms reach. He slips in and usually his timing is perfect. Pavel lifts his head, probably at the sound of the dog’s whine on being shut out, shut out, always shut out, and Pavel rejoins the mundane living just as Ross is cutting another line.

.
Now if Pavel is very serious he will now begin to fill another rocket. Ross waits, crisp bill halfway to his nostril. Pavel thinks for an instant and stands and he digs around on his piled table until he finds the baking soda and it is time to cook some rocks. Ross always holds out the pile on the dictionary to fill the spoon for rocks. “No, no, how many times, no. That is for you.” Pavel says this so many times he has almost lost his accent with the repetition.

.
And again, as always, Pavel begins the search for his comfort coca. Table, drawer, bed, suitcase, at which point Ross finds something interesting about his broken sandals, then the miraculous thought of the best hiding place, the wing of the ever still fan.

.
He dips the spoon back into the bag, judiciously adds soda, water and they watch the magic of chemistry. The mixture bubbles. Then slowly a slick, an oil forms on the water. This oil is skimmed off and as soon as the heat is gone it hardens. Crack. One spoonful yields a number of large rocks. One spoonful is never enough. They begin to smoke the first pile as the second is being made.

.
There is always a collection of ashes stored in any one of the many matchboxes. The pipe is a pop can with pin holes. Ash is mounded and the rocks placed on top and ignited melting down into an instant dream. When the ash is all sticky it is put aside and saved in another match box, to be smoked that later when Pavel is too stoned to see how much dope to mix with the soda. He is toking away and he nods at the book and the pile of cocaine under the matchbox and he stares at Ross with his piercing eye. Get higher is the indication. Pavel can’t even wait for Ross to decide his own pace. Pavel has a mission and Ross is merely the second in command. He has to keep up. After all what are friends for?

.
The dog whines outside the door. Someone is coming up the stairs. Pavel freezes with the can pressed to his face. Ross knows it is someone the dog is familiar with but he is still as well. A shadow passes the window. Emilio. Pavel’s lover.

.
The door opens and Emilio, very large Emilio, glowers at Ross reaching out and taking the pipe from Pavel. Leans down and kisses him, kicks the door shut. “Phosphero,” he says. Another ugly look is fired at Ross.

.
Nothing changes. In the past Emilio’s wife had been interested in every aspect of Ross several times before Ross was ever aware of Emilio who was now hatefully part of his every morning. Ross was now very aware that sweat was poring off the black man. The heat and closeness of the room was beginning to smell.

.
Pavel put another large rock on the ash and lights it for the love of his life. Emilio inhales and blows out a swirling acrid cloud of smoke. The can rattles as he puts it down spilling the coated ash onto the floor. Emilio wipes his hand over his dripping brow. Ross is sure the hand shakes.

.
Ross picks up a match box with ash to reload the pipe when the dog barks. This means someone is on the stairs that the dog does not know. This was never to happen without a call from below. Pavel paid a great deal of money to be informed. Ross’s hand froze. Pavel’s eyes close. Emilio stays very still.

.
The dog began to bark in earnest. The pisote chittered in support. The door is kicked open. The first and only thing that Ross could see was the gun. The small hole of a revolver pointing into the room. He sees the uniform next. Two cops burst in waving guns. Pavel starts to giggle. He cannot stop. Ross remains frozen, box of ash in one hand, the other stretching towards the crushed can next to a large pile of crack rocks. Emilio stands.

.
“Si senor,” one of the cops says. Emilio and the cop exchange hard looks.

.
The other waves his gun at Pavel, motioning him to stand. The gun waving in his face stopped Pavel giggling but left him short of breath. “What’s going on? You know I pay. I pay. What’s going on.”

.
The first cop, the one who had spoken, eyes still locked with Emilio tightened his jaws and said, “Asasinado.”

.
Ross looked at Pavel’s blank stare. He shook his head. “Murder,” he told the Pole.

.
“Vamanos.” The second cop had adenoidal problems.

.
The cops push Emilio and Pavel ahead of them. The second cop turns to Ross and rubs a finger under his nose and laughs. “What’s happening?” Pavel screeched. “What is happening to me?” Only when they had start down the steps back to the beach did the dog stop barking. Then Ross took a breath. His heart began to beat again.

.
Ross starts to move after a moment. He grabs the can, fills it with ash and selects a very large rock and places it on the grey mountain. He lights a match and as he begins to pull the chemical into his lungs; to initiate the dream.
Carried on a sea breeze he can hear:

.
“Rosco, su desayuno!”

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Peter Bracking tells tall tales. Earth point: Vancouver, Canada.

Words have been published by more than a dozen presses in four countries on two continents including:

Maisonneuve; Black Heart Magazine; Lantern Magazine; Feather Tale Review; Thrice Fiction ; streetcake magazine; Existere

The only occupation he regrets leaving is beach bum. Peter is the artistic director of Utter Stories.

Self aggrandizement: http://utterstories.wordpress.com

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Kreso9

painting by Kreso Cavlovic

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Poetry

Wisdom, Trumpet and other poems

by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

 

Wisdom

.
Madame Armadillo has four children
North, South, East, West
The sun rises in the east
and sets in the west
on the Father, Son, Holy Ghost, and Holy Criminal
Nothing new

I lay in bed
my head to the North
feet to the South
Wisdom is easy
if you don’t add complications

I’m awoken by the sound of trumpets
coming in my glassless windows
A mosquito is sucking on my eyeball
I swat it
but make things worse
Wisdom is easy
if you don’t add complications

One of my wives calls me for coffee
My other wife is frying eggs
and drawing pictures on flour tortillas
with magic markers
One of the tortillas has
my name on it
written in Spanish
Miguel
She’s misspelled my middle name
like this: Crack-Malnick
It doesn’t matter how many times I tell her
I don’t smoke Crack anymore
she keeps tormenting me

Sometimes she writes: Meth-Malnick
I tell her I’ve never done Meth
and don’t intend to start
even though her brother is cooking it
out in the desert

My first wife tries to look severe at my second wife
but can’t keep up the pretense
They drink tequila from the bottle as they finish my breakfast
It takes two women to make my breakfast
Wisdom is easy
if you don’t add complications

.
Trumpet

.
Orgasm has coated me
like non-stick oil sprayed on a pan
like egg yolks
on a rare foggy morning
I cannot open my eyes
don’t want to either

even though it is the first day of
the Fiesta of the Sacred Cross
and I am the star trumpet player
in this village
The call me El Krochmalniko

When I was a child
my father beat me
because I refused to learn to play the accordion
his favorite instrument
He couldn’t play it anymore
because a drug cartel
chopped off one of his hands

I didn’t like it
It was too heavy
It hung from my shoulders
like the Titanic
threatening to take me down
to the bottom of the desert

He beat me for my obstinance
I picked up my trumpet
and sent a blast to his
cauliflower ear
then ran like hell
never stopped running
til I arrived in this town
with its sculptures of Los Muertos

My father is dead now
I did not go to his funeral
I am alive
I spit on his accordion
I raise the trumpet to my lips
and send a blast out my bedroom window
over the pigs
and chickens
into the village
an announcement
like those Arab mullahs in their towers

It is the Fiesta of the Sacred Cross
Everyone get out of bed!
Get up!
Join me for a drink
Then I’ll raise the horn to my lips
and won’t put it down
until my lips are bruised and bloody
and I can no longer play
and the village worships me
as a martyr

.
Metal Horn

.
My horn is made of metal
and comes from Chicago
How it got down here
I have no idea
How does anything get down here?
How did I get down here?
Life is not what we were taught
in the School of Rational Living

That school was a monster hoax
The Universe is irrational
and so am I
So are you
and so are the twisted words that
run between us
and so is the music that pours from my horn

but the irrationality is beautiful
so you light a joint and
kiss your woman
and sway to the smog
and crime and luck

.
With Nine Bands

.
Nine-Banded Armadillo
slipped over borders
during His Holy Migration

From South America
through the Isthmus
over peso’d avenidas
sidestepping Los Muertos
finally across the U.S. border
on His way to becoming sacred

The Supreme One
was never detained
never asked for documents

The Sacred Armadillo left
claw prints in the dust
as He made His silent
stealthy uninterrupted journey north
ever north and east

The last of the
New World armored mammals
to survive,
His survival was not a prerequisite
for sacredness
only a foundation

He bore a vague nostalgia for his extinct kin
the New World Sloths and Anteaters
an undefined sadness
the sadness of the planet
as another door closes
and a substitute
fails to open

The Sacred Armadillo
trekked across the Arizona desert
peered down into the Grand Canyon
and the mile wide crater created
by one angry meteor
stumbled mindlessly across huge tracks of Texas

skirted the bayous of Louisiana
had tribal pow-wows with the giant bayou rats
known as Nutria
with whom He developed spiritual and political confederacies
and crossed the sand hills and wiregrass
of Alabama

In the Florida panhandle He feasted on fire ants
whose spice complements peanuts
collard greens and other Southern delicacies
favored by both the possum and Himself

It was a Holy Feast
a last supper
the last performance
of a famous garage duo
this time with no audience
no groupies
no drugs
the last hurrah for the one who goes
and the one who’s left behind

The possum thrust out his snout
ever angry
and cursed his own lack of holiness
The Sacred Armadillo
quietly left the backyard
cut across a strip of woods
behind the used car dealership
and moved on

.
Not a Chair Misplaced

.
Not a crumb of bread anywhere
nor a misplaced grape nut
not a red grape escaped from
a still life
with apples and oranges

Everything is in its place
awaiting the death of the human
who lives in this mausoleum

The television is tuned
to CNN
in perpetuity

The news unspools,
the tragedies
the human interest
the same loop of platitudes
linked to different faces and different names
interspersed with commercials
for all the things you’re too old to buy

because that thread has also unspooled
You know none of it will
make you happy
Some famous person gives their name
and says: This is CNN
Another celebrity does the same
They line up to have CNN
tattooed on their wrists

I think I’m going to visit my ex-wife
She lives in an apartment building
not far from here
another Section 8 building
nothing we ever lusted after
but these places aren’t bad

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over six hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad, including IN OTHER WORDS: MERIDA. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for work published in 2012, 2013, and 2014. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. He lives in Denver.

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Kreso12

art by Kreso Cavlovic

Standard
Poetry

When We Said Goodbye and other poems

by Jonathan Harrington

 

When We Said Goodbye

That morning
you stepped out
on the porch
with just your robe on.
You touched me
on the shoulder
and said: I’m sorry.

I got in my car
and drove
I don’t remember where.
Finally,
I headed out
into the country—
home.

At the foot
of the hill
in the pasture
behind the house
two roan horses
lay in the wet grass
beside each other.

Sunrise
set the field
on fire
and I saw them stir,
one nudging
the other
with her snout.

I had never seen
horses lying down.
And until that morning
when we said goodbye
I had always believed
that they slept
standing.

 

X

The hardest two-syllable word
you´ve ever had to say in life—
X-wife. The “X” choked out, mumbled,
whispered, but hard and clear on “wife.”
Eyes lowered, a scarlet “X”
of failure on your chest. Ashamed
to even spell it out—“X.”
You´re friends, a cliché for which you´re
grateful. Still, you dread the coming
time you won´t be able to just
pick up a phone and ask her what
her day was like because some truly
sane and decent guy has taken
her and closed the door. So when the
phone rings beside their bed she´ll sigh
and say: Probably my X, just
let it ring. And you´ll know why.

 
Traffic

Every morning
she stops beside you
at the same spot
in front of my newsstand
both of you rushing to work.
How perfectly timed your mornings must be
for your feet and hers
to touch the same crack in the sidewalk
as they always do just before nine
when I’m cutting open boxes of magazines.
She sometimes tries to catch
the look in your eyes as she hands me exact change.
But you always gaze down
as if something shameful
is happening between the three of us.
At night I lie awake
wondering who she is
as the light from the streetlamp outside my window
pours onto the frayed carpet
of my furnished room.
I wonder if you ever
lie awake at night, too,
somewhere across town
thinking of her.
In the morning while I stack the Daily News,
you get off the bus
as she comes up from the subway, briefcase in hand,
and you walk toward each other.
It is a ritual between us.
I hand her the Wall Street Journal,
and you the New York Times,
as your feet and hers almost touch
but then are lost in the traffic
of our separate lives.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Jonathan Harrington lives in an 18th century hacienda which he restored himself in rural Yucatan, Mexico where he writes and translates poetry. He was an invited reader at the International Poetry Festival in Havana, Cuba in 2012. A graduate of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, his poems have appeared in Poetry East, The Texas Review,Poetry Ireland Review and many other publications worldwide. He has published four chapbooks: The Traffic of Our Lives (winner of the :Ledge Press, 19th annual chapbook award), Handcuffed to the Jukebox, Aqui/Here (bilingual) and Yesterday, A Long Time Ago. His translation of the Maya poet Feliciano Sánchez Chan´s book, Seven Dreams, appeared this year from New Native Press. In addition to poetry, he has edited an anthology of short stories, authored a collection of essays, and has published five novels.

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Kreso10

art by Kreso Cavlovic

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Poetry

poem for christian o’keeffe and other poems

by John Dorsey

 

poem for christian o’ keeffe

the sky is red
a sea of blood
the skin of stars
embarrassed that
we never met

still, i look for you
between railroad spikes
picking dandelions
with john henry
or jim carroll
in a race
against
time

finding only dented pennies
gravel fallen loose
from under the fingernails
of dead brakemen

no words
no more poems
scattered across the earth

no song
no whistle

the train has left the station
and there’s no
turning back.

 
Boyd

started drinking
in a crisp navy uniform
in the era of wall street
& ronald reagan
on beaches in california

waking up in toledo
in an altar of ashtrays
& month old pizza boxes

he worked thirds at the jeep plant
shooting photos of goth girls, furries
& weirdos who lived for the weekend

knights in white satin
& s&m bondage gear

he was their king
their bloated elvis
in disgraceland

trading portfolios
of runway rejects
for coffee, cheeseburgers
& a little taste
of the nicotine death machine

he just got drunk
complaining about how
he hadn’t had sex since 1994

& how he was just going
through the motions
waiting for love
& death
to stop
beating him
over the head
like a good
                           hangover.

 
Kid Brundage
once played the cello with yo-yo ma
on the streets of boston
in the gutters of toledo
where they still remember him

beaten to death
for a used bicycle
across the street
from where he once took flight
graduating this life
making beautiful music
drunk with compassion
changing a bulb
to replace
                           the moonlight.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

John Dorsey is the author of several collections of poetry, including “Teaching the Dead to Sing: The Outlaw’s Prayer” (Rose of Sharon Press, 2006), “Sodomy is a City in New Jersey” (American Mettle Books, 2010), “Tombstone Factory” (Epic Rites Press, 2013), and most recently, “Natural Selection: Early Poems” (Kilmog Press, 2014). His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He may be reached at archerevans@yahoo.com

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Kreso7

art by Kreso Cavlovic

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