Saturday, April 30, 2011

PTSD

In the waiting room, I squeeze 
this old rosary a nun gave me 
the day I got back from Iraq.

I was still in a daze on a gurney
and I still had sand in my hair.
Some of it remains, no matter 

how many showers I take. 
Sand from Iraq lingers, I'm told,
until you go bald, and then

you are able to concentrate
on other things.
What might they be, I wonder.

But today, in this waiting room,
I squeeze the rosary tighter  
when I hear, louder than 

the gunshots crackling in my dreams, 
the real screams of that little boy 
right over there, the one who's 

rapped his elbow off the radiator.
Lord, listen to him scream! 
Each week he comes with his mother 

for her follow-up appointment. 
He sounds like the jet 
that takes me back at night

to that little village in Iraq
where the sand puffs up  
in mushroom clouds

above the bullets
as the children scream 
in their hovels louder 

than that little boy  
screaming over there.
Maybe everyone 

in this waiting room
listening to him scream  
can come with me now 

to that village in Iraq.
Sitting here, I know 
that boy's pain so well 

that in my fist 
this rosary no longer
knows my prayers. 

--Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri. He has had poems published in Calliope Nerve and other publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Man Who Lives in the Gym

St. Procopius College
Lisle, Illinois
after World War II

The man who lives in the gym
sleeps in a nook up the stairs
to the rear. Since Poland 
he's slept there, his tools
bright in a box locked 

under his bed. At noon bells
call him down to the stones
that weave under oaks to the abbey
where he at long table takes 
meals with the others 
the monks have left in 

for a week, or a month, or a year
or forever, whatever 
the need. The others all know
that in Poland his wife
had been skewered, his children
partitioned, that he had escaped

in a freight car of hams.
So when Brother brings in, on a gun
metal tray, orange sherbet for all
in little green dishes,
they blink at his smile,
they join in his laughter. 

--Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri. He has had poems published in Calliope Nerve and other publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Cyclops

after the painting by Odilon Redon,
1914)

Think of me not as a monstrous thing
A one-eyed miscreation of a jealous god
I am
As human as you think you are.

I cry tears that are genuine
My laugh generous
I love
My blood as red as a slaughtered lamb’s.

I come to you with open arms
Devouring you as no other can
I am
A man who would not dishonor you

The last one of my kind
A beast that hovers in your thoughts
I lust
That you shall be the mother of my race.

--Neil Ellman lives and writes in New Jersey.  He has published numerous ekphrastic poems in print and online journals throughout the world, as well as in five chapbooks, the most recent of which is Mirrors of Miró:  Ekphrastic Reflections of the Art of Joan Miró.  He has a special affinity to art that is bizarre and surreal.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Giantess (a.k.a. The Guardian of the Egg)

(after the painting by Leonora Carrington, c. 1947)

                I

The king is dead
Long live the queen
The giantess
So large
Her head seems small
The sovereign
Of wheat
Bloated like
A barley sack.

             II

God is dead
Long live her holiness
Sovereign deity
Of chaff
She holds an egg
So close
Guards it
From the circling birds
Who think it is
Their own.

           III

She is alive
Among the deities
Towering over
Field and stream    
The egg
About to hatch into
Another god

A mother knows.

--Neil Ellman lives and writes in New Jersey.  He has published numerous ekphrastic poems throughout the world, as well as in five chapbooks, the most recent of which is Mirrors of Miró: Ekphrastic Reflections of the Art of Joan Miró.  He has a special affinity to art that is bizarre and surreal.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Allegory of an American Christmas

(after the painting by Salvador Dalí,
1934)

What if the earth
Were really an egg
And the egg
Coming first
Like a mother hatching
Her child
Cracked open
To reveal a continent
And the continent
Conceived
A corn husk doll
Without a face
But something else
And the something else
Would speak
If it could
In many tongues
But it had no tongue
Would pray
In many ways
But it had no knees?

It would be Christmas,
Of course,
In America.

--Neil Ellman lives and writes in New Jersey.  He has published numerous ekphrastic poems throughout the world, as well as in five chapbooks, the most recent of which is Mirrors of Miró: Ekphrastic Reflections of the Art of Joan Miró.  He has a special affinity to art that is bizarre and surreal.

Monday, April 25, 2011

rhythmic victual

rhythmic victual
and flexing

until an innovative
salivation

a neoteric
calibration



selvage as a new way to

mantra

in the mirror
a memory
of flitting darks

--j/j hastain lives in Colorado, USA with her beloved. j/j is the author of numerous full-length, cross-genre works such as: asymptotic lover // thermodynamic vents (BlazeVox Books),our bodies as beauty inducers (Rebel Satori Press), we in my Trans (JMS Books LLC), autobiography of my gender (Moria), and ulterior eden (Otoliths).

horror of party beach

hot and sweaty
with eyes bleeding

under the collapsing gulls reversed sound
i watched the woman and shivered

she was guarding her daughters
she watched her offspring as they sat in a circle

they were waiting for clients
waiting on destinations of gratification

wanting silence
wanting rest
on the beach.

mother was dressed in black and
sat in a beach chair

and the women sitting at her feet
looked up every so often

i was far away and
they did not notice me

i sat with my knees up
a junior in high school
head lying on top sweat under my tongue
looked up every so often
then removing my eyes

hot sweaty eyes bleeding
little springs stretched in my head

she gazed at each of her offspring and
fought back violent screams
biting her tongue as dragons teased

quickly deadly quick –
the girls were on top of
mommy while i looked away

time burned as blood circles
softly appeared in the albino sand

they laughed and they bit and laughed
and left her bones to bleach in the sun.

 
--Peter Marra is in Williamsburg Brooklyn. His goal is to become an adjective. He has either been published in or has work forthcoming in Caper Literary Journal,  amphibi.us, Yes Poetry, Maintenant 4 & 5, Beatnik, Crash, Danse Macabre, Clutching At Straws O Sweet Flowery Roses, Breadcrumb Scabs and Calliope Nerve. He is currently constructing his first collection of poems.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

a salivary film

rapidly
rapidly
she talked
in the darkness
ignoring the sounds
of the swirling saliva rush in her mind
complicating the rapid heartbeat
floating fluctuating eyes roll upwards.

dark sunlight danced through
the cracked windows
while he lay under the table
and laughed a spastic laugh
touching the 7th spot.

the blackened wooden floor
was warm under his back
and dim voices echoed “no”
echoes of “stop”
she was on top of him
quickly (an odor of guilt)
blackbirds screeching
brain bone creak/lights

She smiled when she saw the
backward flying cardinal
come to rest at
her.
feet.
(a spasm).
 
--Peter Marra is in Williamsburg Brooklyn. His goal is to become an adjective. He has either been published in or has work forthcoming in Caper Literary Journal,  amphibi.us, Yes Poetry, Maintenant 4 & 5, Beatnik, Crash, Danse Macabre, Clutching At Straws O Sweet Flowery Roses, Breadcrumb Scabs and Calliope Nerve. He is currently constructing his first collection of poems.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

On the distraction of the magic lantern

In the midst of space
and banners is a littered waste
that yields more pointing
than parsing–so much has passed
that an account of intervals
(a promise, a perspectiveless
taste) measures meaning (a sacred,
a whole sacred as less whole) and so,
in the midst of lunch and logistics
and yesterday's paper, and more news
buried, and a belatedly unfurnished
reaction to the blemished
brains of big science
on the back page, there is no
account of the dim wondering
what our position is now.
 
"Then the sight of you
this morning, in the light, sometimes
the interval ..."
 
--Jim Benz lives in Minneapolis with his wife, two cats, and a dog. His poetry can be found in a variety of print and online journals, including (most recently) Arthur Magazine, Daily Haiku, Full of Crow, and Cricket Online Review. He also writes about poetry at http://theostensivemoment.blogspot.com/

The Voice

If there is a flower in my ear, would you let me touch it?
Yellow throat seas see
Wolframine Rye tastes good for kings
Living one step away from a janiform
His name was Livingstone P.E.
He was scribing what it feels like to wear a rhinestone thing around
your neck
Informing A LIe YAh, A?
In the eyes of a Biera
A nostalgic testimony
The presentation of a Zen Koan Harmony
Sound of the Centismal
Dispatched in a crying decahedron
He was an infomaniac with a sophomanian vinous complex
It is synthetic simplicity of the stylish rehashing of some new kind of
woman
Dressed in a solferino vintage garment
Whom speaks in chronogramical anagrams for a mathematical catalyst

And the Echo
Yellow Roses at the Sea
MayFlower Erin
like Chouette I. M. in IT
In agromania I fly
Enveloping ‘Tis Frija ‘N ‘Mo said he
Swift-Stealing I.C. Herb
who is Uncranked, I Or You?
Fireboy Sea-z A
much the same as An Megalocytosis T’in, N o T!
Non-Sympathizer Ornate-En’ in it
with a Foundation-Less M.C.
In an Adenohyperstenia Grid marked dc dc c/-
influenced by Connexion-alism of which I.M. P r OOF, Chap, in
A quiet A.M.
named Itch Hi Hay Toy
First Endeavoring in Elodes’ –S
leaving the audience in Kinematographical Coat Hangers humming M’M’ s


--Hala Hoagland, secretly known at times as Al-Logaha Hand, is an American poet-writer and former teacher living in Algeria. She describes her search for artistic authenticity, as “that moment that you are just about to break and throw yourself into self hatred forever and you find that piece, that origin of your self that become the words as art that you want to share. Some days it is in the surreal trance, some days in the brain experiment lab or just moments of random head-banging, but, always in the dialogue with your soul. It is an experiment to find something new, some border not yet crossed in this insane ride we are on.” She is working on being published around the net and hopes to land in ink one day soon. Her blog is grossly neglected and needs to be paid more attention to, but still is a place to visit if you get some time at, http://halahoagland.blogspot.com/

Friday, April 22, 2011

(B)anality

I. First Cycle

A bearded tongue. 

II. Second Cycle

Accept it as it is.
A centered emptiness.

III. Third Cycle

A child was born.
A circular space.
A couple of nice outfits.
 
IV. Fourth Cycle

A defiled expression.
A disembodied head.
Aesthetic qualities.
A false terminology.
A few days later.
 
V. Fifth Cycle

A fierce warrior goddess.
After a minute passed.
After she fed the multitudes.
A gigantic metaphor.
A layer of wounds.
All our names were related.
Also occurring.
A lyricist and a composer.
 
VI. Sixth Cycle

A magnifying glass.
A minor aspect of her oeuvre.
A more complicated sense of being.
A mother who weeps.
An abandoned river bed.
An altered state.
An equal regard for connotation.
A new curling iron.
An extraordinary world.
A natural conclusion.
A new sign.
An image of the symbol.
An ink splotch.
 
VII. Seventh Cycle

An invariable pretense.
A normal conversation.
An ornamental fragment of a line.
Another shadow of language.
Any way that we can do it.
A paradigm of regeneration.
A pleased expression.
A puddle of tears.
A raging flood.
A reinvention.
A rule pronounced.
A second glance.
A series of statements.
A set of press-on nails.
A severe glare.
A side table.
A silhouette of two trees.
A small figure.
As previously determined.
A sweet-faced kid.
At first glance.
 
VIII. Eighth Cycle

A tongue lashing.
A vast field.
A vital link.
A younger sibling.
Baggage of the possibility.
Before the apocalypse.
Beneath a stone house.
Between the North Sea and the Alps.
Between us.
Beyond the perpendicular apex.
Blame it on his mother.
Borders that still exist.
Bright lights.
Broken beneath his feet.
Broken into sand.
But she loved him.
Carved wooden sandals.
Ceding the dilemma.
Characters in a play.
Clothes piled on the floor.
Clutching the window sill.
Coming to grips.
Compared to her dissociation.
Confronted directly.
Connecting to the stronghold.
Consistently insightful.
Contents of an hallucination.
Cutting into her hide.
Dead by means of silence.
Destructive power.
Deviations of the known.
Discovered in the role of a “center”.
Disjointed phrases.
Distress and disintegration.
 
IX. Ninth Cycle

Divided into three sections.
Double-crossed.
Do we like it.
Do you have a name.
Dreams and fantasies.
Dry arid land.
Ego blows.
End of the word.
Established as an intermediary.
Every day.
Everyone looks happy.
Evidence of the tongue clamp.
Exposed by a circular image.
Extremely pleasing.
Flashing your tiny nothings.
For a couple of minutes.
For an understandable relapse.
Form does not conform.
For the purpose of avoiding.
Four more mouths to feed.
Four years later he returned.
From his confusion.
From the essential function.
From time to time.
From where he was standing.
Full of loathing.
Gravestones raising questions.
Ground into mulch.
Haunted by multiple losses.
He asked.
He came back smiling.
He didn’t stay.
Held in place with nails.
He'll be staring blindly.
Her father demanded something else.
Her mother would have wept.
He supported the family elsewhere.
He wasn’t one of them.
He wiped his nose.
His arms outstretched.
His major contribution.
His predominance.
His teeth gleaming.
His white knuckles.
Hit in the head by lightening.
How it all began.
How nervous she feels.
How they were beaten and starved.
Huddled in a constricted space.
Human faces filled with emotion.
Human stones.
Humdrum.
I bet you were happy.
If you ask other people.
I have no idea how long.
I let him hold the gun.
Implosion of form.
In a big tent.
In a fictional account.
In order to serve.
In silence.
Intense layers.
In the altered space.
In the doorway.
In the form of an apocalypse.
In the manner of a fractal.
In the newspaper.
In the rice fields.
In these moments.
In the very center of the circle.
Introspection.
In which it appears.
I stepped in it.
It called out.
It looked like trouble.
It makes a nice ornament.
It seems to hang very well.
It senses everything.
It serves as my work space.
Its impetus is to act.
It's not itself.
It turned to blood.
It was an old joke.
It was a statement.
It was groaning.
It was growing weary.
I wasn't there.
I won't discuss the conflagration.
Just this once.
 
X. Tenth Cycle

Just this once.
Keeping up the charade.
Kind of like a repetition.
Languages with the same last name.
Largely unpopulated.
Larger-than-life.
Left to die.
Like a bird.
Listening to voices.
Look at the screen.
Man woman.
Menaced by psychosis.
Modeling her dream on a question.
My eyes, my eyes.
My feet crossed at the ankles.
My voice steady.
Networked and programmable.
No material.
Non-mimetic.
No reference except for myself.
Not associated.
Nothing like my counterpart.
Novelty of exposition.
Objects transformed.
Obscured by rain.
Odd phrases.
On a beach
Opportunities for growth.
Our clothes.
Our faces.
Our guns.
Our house is full of flies.
Our intention was not to please.
Our record of inscription.
Our shoulders were touching.
Out in the kitchen.
Outside the moment.
Over there.
Owners of the language.
Pale and deranged.
People inside our circle.
Perfect for something.
Poised as if dying.
Predominance of a specific value.
Process of searching.
Projective power.
Put it on the kitchen table.
Raised in small villages.
Read sequentially in the proper tense.
Replaces the outside world.
Scattered at our feet.
Senseless questions.
She fell instantly in love.
She felt no lightness of being.
She is ready.
She replied quietly.
She said it is going to swallow him.
She still hasn't answered his question.
She wakes up extra early.
Shrinking and delinquent.
Sitting quietly on the floor.
Six months from the outside world.
Someone who frightens her.
Someone who is entirely different.
Sometimes in belief.
Sorting out all the tangents.
Space has become confused.
Stereotyped and inadequate.
Stiff from time .
Still fragrant and green.
Such as it is.
Such promise.
Supranational spaces.
Surrounded by a concrete fence.
Sweet grapes filled with healing.
Symbols of apotheosis.
Taller and also stronger.
Tapping at the windows.
Technology.
Thank you very much.
That's how it goes.
The actual calling.
The beginning of the end.
The commotion over there.
The contract and the white spaces.
The dangling streets.
The door of their apartment.
The experience.
The first bombs.
The first cycle.
The first three paragraphs.
The fraying edge.
The function of a crippled dog.
The illusionist.
The invasion of comprehension.
The meaninglessness.
The mighty waves.
Then softly repeating.
The object of her love
The outside and the individual.
The poverty of frequency.
The power to preserve.
There are more than three distances.
The referential function.
There is nothing more to say.
The retractable lens.
There was nothing special about it.
The same expression.
The same people twice.
The temporal pause.
The tongue of nations.
The very desk.
The voice on the radio.
The whole damn surface.
The woman.
They are at a party.
They eloped.
They were living in Berlin.
They wondered.
Think of a time.
This is worth knowing.
This time is different from the other time.
This will not seem so negative.
This would imply he hasn't understood.
Those who are hurting.
To codify.
To consume.
To damage property.
To destroy.
To feed the crowd.
To feel more involved.
Together at each lull.
Tongue of the belt.
Tooth wounds.
To show you how it feels.
To superimpose ourselves.
To the detriment of being.
To the expressed object.
To the left and right of vacancy.
To the observation.
To which everything is related.
To whip the child repeatedly.
Treated as an object.
Two lanes and a cell phone.
 
Coda

Three streams of thought: typography and reflection. Unceasingly developed. Understanding the individual movements. Undetectable moments. Very seriously. Visions of the center. Watching them die. We can't understand anything. We deserved it. Weekdays and Sundays. We have been at it for aeons. We laughed repeatedly at every opportunity. We should be thankful. We spoke in his absence. We were shooting photos. What are you doing today. What did he say about the production. Whatever he meant by that I don’t know. What is behind the camera. What she called the calamity. What surprised you most. What they meant. When he pronounced his purpose. When he spoke coherently. When I drove to the shore. When time disambiguated. When we were still a bar code. When we tested for depth. When we were just being born. When you squinted. Which lasted for about an hour. Widespread approximations. With a cork screw. With frayed cuffs. Within its own realm. With jealous pleasure. Without confusing. Without fruit. Without knowing. With the genuine article .With the other stragglers. Woman man. Word as an object. Words relating to time. Yellow jogging shorts. Yet again. You opened up by chance. Your mouth is an eye. Your tongue is spatial. You don’t have time.
 
 
--Jim Benz lives in Minneapolis with his wife, two cats, and a dog. His poetry can be found in a variety of print and online journals, including (most recently) Arthur Magazine, Daily Haiku, Full of Crow, and Cricket Online Review. He also writes about poetry at http://theostensivemoment.blogspot.com/

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Untitled




--RC Miller lives in Metuchen, New Jersey and maintains a blog at VISION BLUES. He is the author of the Calliope Nerve Media chap GORE.

Vespuccianisms (Wetpoochicanisms?)

a spine running up shivers
frissons
run-down spine
winter as season and winter as age
shiv cuts the crap
shivaree is Yankee charivari
and that is what Japanese might
(but did not)
make of chalivali
an Old-French word for the discordant sound
made by someone banging pots and pans
no wonder
that American slang adopted
a modified version of the word
to mean serenade
another French word when spelled
sérénade
a word with roots in
serenity

staircases nudes descend
spines shivers run down
pans pots bang

one may well wonder what alterations
Amerigo Vespucci's second name
would have undergone
had that been chosen

and if it would have made any
difference
to J.T. Adams'
dream definition

--Levi Wagenmaker (1944 - ) is a retired journalist, living in the Netherlands for most of the year, and in France for some of it, with two bitches, one of whom is a dog, and lately, with another young canine male.  Enamoured life-long with language (and languages), for reasons immaterial to the act he writes poetry in English only, even if he could most likely manage it in a few other tongues.  His poems have been published on line more than in print, and Google will tell the curious what, where, and when.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Untitled



--RC Miller lives in Metuchen, New Jersey and maintains a blog at VISION BLUES. He is the author of the Calliope Nerve Media chap GORE.

No Lovers

amontillado sherry
she said
won't upset the feeble equilibrium
suspending my body in limbo

we have a common friend
she let me know by way of a toast
she told me about you
that you have in younger years
steered shy of defloration
and that you still if you can help it
are overwhelmingly reluctant
the penetrate where none ever
went before you

she kissed me then
her mouth cold and tasting
of amontillado sherry
her tongue the texture
of slurred speech

see me home she urged me
you will be in no danger
of a first
I am dying - oh not painfully
or anything but dying
all the same

most likely our encounter
our first
will be our last
my own last fling

when I left her bed and dressed
and made to leave
she did not turn her head
to see me through the door
told me her name and goodbye

the following month I read
her obituary
stipulating
no flowers
no speeches

and between the lines
no lovers

--Levi Wagenmaker (1944 - ) is a retired journalist, living in the Netherlands for most of the year, and in France for some of it, with two bitches, one of whom is a dog, and lately, with another young canine male.  Enamoured life-long with language (and languages), for reasons immaterial to the act he writes poetry in English only, even if he could most likely manage it in a few other tongues.  His poems have been published on line more than in print, and Google will tell the curious what, where, and when.

Analyzing Apparitions by Felino Soriano



Calliope Nerve Media is proud to announce our first chapblog: Felino Soriano's Analyzing Apparitions of an Excavated XXIV.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

the insouciance of youth

because she saw the old man
die
she invited me to her bed
wife of the dead man's
stepson
whispering when our naked bodies
met
that she considered herself a good
Catholic
when later her orgasms had run their
course to the exclusion of my own
younger body's brief ecstasy
because she was older but not
said she
that much older
all things considered
(none specified)
she did not want to run the risk of
pregnancy
(but did for she could not know that
 I was willing to forego gratification)
her whispered monologue afterwards
touched upon a celebration of
life
my silence covered the opposing argument
making the occasion more of a celebration of
death
not
that I greatly cared
(for the old man or her)

the insouciance of youth dimly
remembered
now


--Levi Wagenmaker (1944 - ) is a retired journalist, living in the Netherlands for most of the year, and in France for some of it, with two bitches, one of whom is a dog, and lately, with another young canine male.  Enamoured life-long with language (and languages), for reasons immaterial to the act he writes poetry in English only, even if he could most likely manage it in a few other tongues.  His poems have been published on line more than in print, and Google will tell the curious what, where, and when.

Monday, April 18, 2011

October Moon



--Paul McMillan, born 1954, Professional artist since 1978. Primarily an oil painter, Paul occasionally includes original words and music in his paintings as subject matter. Pauls style ranges from abstract to surrealism. Paul recognised he was a an artist at age five and now at fifty seven and just as the world makes less sense, he is convinced he was right about being an artist at first notice.

The River

Beneath my feet
the road pulls apart like black taffy.
I’ve walked a dessert to get here.
The sun is a marauding Messiah with one lid
winking.
A lizard rolls its neck in hysterics.
I’ve been told there’s no way back to you,
yet my heart’s still beating
and my feet shuffle.
Upriver
the road
bleeds like inky pots of pudding,
becoming boiling streams,
and so I hold my breath,
arch my back,
and jackknife headfirst.
Opening my eyes,
I see what you’d wanted me to find
all this time.

--Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State.  His work appears widely in print and online at such places as Moon Milk Review, Fix It Broken, Pure Slush and also at lenkuntz.blogspot.com.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Alchemist



--Paul McMillan, born 1954, Professional artist since 1978. Primarily an oil painter, Paul occasionally includes original words and music in his paintings as subject matter. Pauls style ranges from abstract to surrealism. Paul recognised he was a an artist at age five and now at fifty seven and just as the world makes less sense, he is convinced he was right about being an artist at first notice.

Abducted

She painted tears instead of stars,
the earth shifting from plate to plate
like a child skipping lily pads on the run
from a ghoul.

I didn’t know her then.  She was only words and stories,
strips of torn clothing
hanging like limp jerky,
out of reach from every leaping wolf
but one.

Now someone prays and another suggests an offering.
The proudest
drop coins inside a velvet pouch
just to hear the clatter.
I turn my sight to a high sheet of mosaic glass--
Mary with a babe, tucked and swaddled.
Light bleeds through a pane
like purple spears.
I’d look away,
I’d raise a voice in hymn,
but I know
how ashamed you must be
to learn
that we’ve stopped searching.

--Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State.  His work appears widely in print and online at such places as Moon Milk Review, Fix It Broken, Pure Slush and also at lenkuntz.blogspot.com.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dia De Los Muertos-



--Paul McMillan, born 1954, Professional artist since 1978. Primarily an oil painter, Paul occasionally includes original words and music in his paintings as subject matter. Pauls style ranges from abstract to surrealism. Paul recognised he was a an artist at age five and now at fifty seven and just as the world makes less sense, he is convinced he was right about being an artist at first notice.

I'm a body, said my face

I'm a body, said my face.

No, you're not. You're a face.

I'm a body in the celestial sense, said my face. Or, like a body of water. You never say, a face of water, do you?

OK. Well, what's your point, I asked.

I'm a mass of something very interesting. I'm my own substance. My own self. I love you, but you sometimes treat me like I don't really exist in my own right. I have a life of my own, you know. I do a lot you never think about, don't seem to even care about. I stay busy. I know a lot more than you do about how to actually function.

Why, thank you for pointing that out, face. Did I do something that made you feel it was necessary to bring that to my attention?

My face laughed. It had been recently shaved, painted, stretched into a smile because a smile looks better than what it felt like doing. It was tired from lack of sleep, the muscles hanging from it, the skin pale.

I laughed at my face. But in doing so, my face laughed at me even harder. I tried to laugh harder at my face than my face but I had to give up. As you can imagine.

My face is a body of faceness. And today, it is not smiling. It is not laughing at me. It is asleep.

--Tantra Bensko teaches Experimental Literature. Naissance Press ands 10 Pages Press published her chapbooks, and Night Publishing accepted her full length book, Lucid Membrane. She has over 150 creative writing publications including several in magazines that gave her awards, such as Carolina Quarterly, where she won the Academy of American Poets Award, Cezanne's Carrot, Punkpen, Medulla Review, The Iowa Journal of Literary Studies, Rose and Thorn in their nomination for Pushcart, and Medulla Review, which later dedicated an issue to Lucid Fiction and asked her to co-edit it. She runs Exclusive Magazine, and the resource site, Experimental Writing,   http://experimentalwriting.weebly.com, and instigated the genre Lucid Fiction. She lives in Berkeley.  This piece originally appeared in The New Absurdist.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Night Roads



--Paul McMillan, born 1954, Professional artist since 1978. Primarily an oil painter, Paul occasionally includes original words and music in his paintings as subject matter. Pauls style ranges from abstract to surrealism. Paul recognised he was a an artist at age five and now at fifty seven and just as the world makes less sense, he is convinced he was right about being an artist at first notice.

The Night It Ends

Your boozy,
bottle-shattered eyes
take in the swirl
of her leaving.
Lilac hangs in the air
like a perfumed shroud.
It’s someone’s funeral
yet she’s wearing pearls and a party dress.
If I had any guts,
I’d step off this couch
and make her take me with.

--Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State.  His work appears widely in print and online at such places as Moon Milk Review, Fix It Broken, Pure Slush and also at lenkuntz.blogspot.com.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Passionate Pallete



--Paul McMillan, born 1954, Professional artist since 1978. Primarily an oil painter, Paul occasionally includes original words and music in his paintings as subject matter. Pauls style ranges from abstract to surrealism. Paul recognised he was a an artist at age five and now at fifty seven and just as the world makes less sense, he is convinced he was right about being an artist at first notice.

The Rival

1. She knew her husband loved another woman.
 
2. Her present and only marriage had lasted twenty-eight years. But even without experience of infidelity in some prior marriage, she couldn’t mistake the signs. He grew irritated when she talked; he turned away from her in bed; he had stopped chatting during his household chores; he no longer asked her opinion on anything; he seemed to tighten in revulsion when she kissed him. Most important: she noticed while dusting the desk in his study that the one lockable drawer was now locked.
 
3. She decided to follow him, in order to learn who the rival was.
 
4. It couldn’t be a working romance because he owned a men’s wear store and had no female workers, not even a secretary. She rented a car and parked outside the store for an entire day; the only female customers that day came with their men. The next morning, he left for work half an hour early. She thought an assignation after work would be likelier, but she was ready. She tailed him in the rental car. He stopped at a local high school, the one she had attended, and went into the administration building for fifteen minutes. After he left, she went in to find out why he’d gone there.
 
5. She waited till Monday to find the rival.
 
6. During the weekend, she went on a solo shopping trip whose real purpose was to copy the desk key she’d taken from his key ring. She had the house to herself at eight o’clock Monday morning, and shook badly as she turned the new key in the lock. She and her husband had lost some personal effects in a fire last year—she had already made an educated guess about what was in the drawer.
 
7. She is the rival.
 
8. It was on top of the stack: a crude digital photo, probably copied with her husband’s smart phone, of her posing for her yearbook picture. Dozens of other pictures were in the drawer. He had assembled every one he could find, all of her youthful photographs, records of her without sags or wrinkles, without added decades of savor-killing life experience. Looking up at her from those pictures, smiling and exuberant, is the one rival in the world she cannot banish, for every moment she is in his presence can only remind him of the rival, the woman he married, who lacked the scars of maturity and is his only true love.
 
9. She knows what she wishes she could do.
 
10. Weeks pass and she doesn’t tell him what she has learned. If he suspects, he doesn’t let on. The marriage becomes a settled economic arrangement with little said among the partners. He spends much time in his study and she is content to leave him there. After all, she doesn’t want him to see her as she so often is, consumed with a hatred that must show on her face. It is a hatred of the laws of causality, which interfere with the logic of a much-indulged fantasy. How much she wishes it were not impossible, even in theory, to board some sort of time machine and shoot that other woman dead. 

--Robert Laughlin lives in Chico, California. Two of his short stories are Million Writers Award Notable Stories, and his novel, Vow of Silence, was favorably reviewed by Publishers Weekly. His website is at www.pw.org/content/robert_laughlin.






Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sequence, or Harp-Playing

grinning, a face
pours towards
the bathroom
mirror. glints
captured in a
reflected eye
whisper a
dead tongue.
church hymns
or fleeting
breath wander
apart the ceiling.
harmony, taut
and piercing
rains, it rains.

--Adam Carson Hales is an eighteen year-old writer currently living in Yorktown, Virginia. He has poetry forthcoming in reviews including Heavy Hands Ink and The Camel Saloon. When not writing, Adam enjoys loud music, cynicism and playing Indian Poker.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jack The Ripper: Professor of Biology And Morality

I couldn’t be any more nervous about dissecting a frog. I’m what you call sensitive and caring. Now, shut the hell up while I sneak into my neighbor’s barn and practice on his horse.
 
Inside the horse’s stomach I find a hand and a very rude hand at that. Its middle finger tells me to lose my virginity to myself. For starters, I’m saving myself for marriage, and I’m not taking dating advice from this rude hand, even if it did propose a romantic scenario. Plus, I don’t want all of you perverted readers to watch.  
 
Jack the Ripper, who I understand was hung like a pony, knew how to use a scalpel. This guy, my role-model, took the study of life and death seriously. Dear Reader, I ask that you open your morals to surgical repair. You must stop being so promiscuous and become a born-again virgin. When you make the necessary absolution, raise your hand and maybe someone like me or Jack will allow you into our bed.
 
--Matt Ryan is the author of Read This Or You’re Dead To Me (forthcoming from Hopewell Publications). He is the publisher and editor of the poetry press, Lowbrow Press, the fiction editor of Best New Writing and teaches creative and academic writing at Concordia St. Paul University.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Scream Dreams

The dream wraps around my body
as sheets of sweat.
Sidewalks wobble,
trees tilt sideways
into a door of lost expectations.

I reach for a metal bar
suspended from a cloud.
It yanks itself out of my hand
and transforms its steel iciness
into your flesh.

A cellophane curtain
slams me to the ground
splitting your atoms from mine.
You turn your face away
and dissolve into a milkshake.

I drink you and my gut collapses
in agony as sharp as flint
slicing bone.

I beg my eyes to open
but my lashes are glued by mascara allure
and my tears slide into twisting rivers
down cheeks of marble.

Then a scream chases me into an alley
where a hundred “No Exit” signs fly
at me cutting my glory
into bits of nothing.

--Rosalyn Marhatta lives in her own world to write and pops out sometimes to perform her poetry at local coffee shops and the public library. She believes no matter what happens, there's most likely a poem in there somewhere.  She’s gotten published in The Dead Mule and Referential Magazine, Poems2Day and Diamond Diva Magazine.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

lines

hand grenades
the size
of pineapples
 
roll around
inside my
chest cavity
 
after
the
explosions
 
i walk around
a shell of
my former self
 
my heart
no longer
a threat
 
hollow
as a
violin . . .
 
--Steve Calamars lives in Texas. His first collection of short stories, Six Years of Relative Happiness, is now available from Calliope Nerve Media. His blog is dirtywordsoncleanliving.blogspot.com. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Green Crane

An old Asian man hands out paper cranes on the bus ride, today, as I make my way to my appointments

Green is the color of the crane I received and indeed, I admit
A sense of envy could be felt for the man who hands out paper cranes on a bus

Lucky, it seems to me that all life means
To this one man is to add the simplest
Of aesthetic pleasures to the lives on bus 28
Green is my soul- or bluegreen… a haze

Green is the man
From whom I had hoped
To receive comments
Regarding my book of green apples
Green, an introduction
Of sorts, for I haven’t
Been acquainted, and somehow
Perhaps this crane will help

But then,
There isn’t
Anything
Special about
This paper crane
It was made
From an advertisement
For beer, planted
In the pages
Those recycled
Pages (perhaps)
Of the Seattle
Weekly, silly
Man, to make
So much of
The green bottle ad

And yet,
So wrong
It feels
To let
This un
Acknow
Ledged, this
Gift of
Sorts, this
Infin
Ites
Imal
Thing; my
Stars: this
Endless
Resound-
Ing, some-
Thing to
Be Cel-
Ebrat
Ed, Is
It lush
To drone?
But it
Means so
Much, this
Spreading
Of Peace
This term-
Inal
Peace, This
Wonder

The
Un
I
Verse
Will
Re
Solve
It
Self
Ex
Pand
It
Self
Ex
Po
Nen
Tial
Ly
For
Ev
Er
Ev
Er
Y
Poss
I
Bil
I
Ty
Will
Oc
Cur
End
Less
En
Deav
Or
In
To
En
Tro
Py
Not
As
A
Void
But
As
Far
Wide
As
Hea
Ven
As
Sound
As
Sleep
To
Be
To
Dis
Turb
Slow
Ly…

--Julien Edmund Moss has been writing since age 3. He has published various illegitimate sketches in the Jibsheet, a weekly newspaper published at Bellevue Community College. He graduated BCC with an A.A. Degree in Spring 2007. He’s been published in Always Looking, Love’s Chance, Poet’s Espresso, The Stray Branch, Straylight, Soul Fountain, Languageandculture.net, Litsnack, Expressions, Eskimo Pie, Blink Ink, Conceit Magazine, Amulet, Open Minds Quarterly, The Neglected Ratio, Poetic Matrix Press (poeticmatrix.com), and Northern Stars magazines, The Issaquah Press newspaper, The Sheltered Poet (http://theshelteredpoet.blogspot.com/), The Private Acre (http://privateacre.blogspot.com/) and Record Magazine blogs.