Sunday, August 28, 2011

Peter William Stein: “The End”

The end is near
The end of the world

The end of us
Or maybe just me

Mass destruction of society
The death of an ego that thinks it is the world

She will be fine
Nothing she hasn’t endured before
She has boiled with fiery skin
She has hibernated under mountains of ice
Her seed is still at the bottom of the sea
And we are a dead branch of Darwin
That will someday fall
And decay into fuel for the roots
That will build another limb

What we call Nuclear Holocaust
She calls chemotherapy
This greenhouse we are building
Will lead to little green fingers
Cracking and pulling pavement apart
Ivy entwining skyscrapers
And the emergence of a new metropolis
With canopy trees and prehensile tailed tenants
Organic beast ripping the urban machine to shreds

This process is not evil
She does not hate us
It is only survival
And we are to be recycled into samsara

It is no surprise that I will die
And so will the WE,
And someday she too will break through
This mortal plane as fuel for a sun
Expanding too rapidly for its own good

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jordan Kapono Nakamura: “Slow Sun Exile”

a year can now be measured in weathered candles
five o’clock tea has been a bad friend
i’ve never had
for months they’ve been quiet in the frat houses
cupping hands around the fire, squinting at the chessboard
“Trade for my Queen, please,”
the pawn is replaced which is not a pawn
but a bottlecap no one bothers to find the pieces
that slip below the table making no sound as if the floor was the
bottom of a yucatan cave 200 feet deep
fallen leaves scrape the door
with the noise of tiny claws

the scent the promise of wax
wanders by like holy men
before the good Samaritan
Before Derrida, Pollock,
before the pirate bay was closed down
my mother would sing hymns to make me dream
and i would try to feel small
then later
i had mountains make me feel small

but we can no longer see any mountains

i found a page ripped from an old story
there were just nine sentences.
but it was enough.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Kyle Hemmings: “The Problem with Watching TV Reruns When You're Too Sober on Cold Pizza”

I kept my mother's TV, one that I'd never throw out, black and white, equipped with old cathode and vacuum tubes. Only occasionally did something smoke. Maybe it was me. So I was sitting there, watching The Last Pony Express Rider, a close up of both man and horse, one desperate to leave St. Louis, the other so needy of sugar cube and water. Both horse and rider jumped out of the screen and into my room of clutter, paper designs of failed rockets, my old love letters written when I still believed in the future of science. 

The rider, dusty from the trip, handed me the letter. His horse was still panting.

My dearest Harold. Forgive me my poor judgment. It was not meant to be that I would become the fair headed and lisping stage actress of Sacramento, the rage of failed gold miners. Alas, I am stranded here without money or promise of sustenance. Shall I sell myself to the angry moon and die hungry? If you could but come to my rescue one last time, I will never leave your side. Already, the dirt streets of St. Louis ring in my ears sweet as a choir. In my own unfathomable way, I have always been loyal to you. We are both creatures of what rustles through our brains at night--A Love So Unworthy--Wanda Tarrington-Cates.

The last name belonged to my mother's side. My mother, who in her precociously shut-off days in a hospital that resembled a resort, painted Impressionistic paintings of sunsets in crashing colors. Over time, those paintings, with an acquired cult following, commanded exorbitant prices on ebay.

I made out a check to Wanda Tarrington-Cates and proceeded to hand it to The Last Pony Express Rider. But his horse had turned to glass. His show being cancelled, he was nowhere to be found. From then on, I vowed to live on a diet of cold pizza, black coffee without sugar. The old TV set no longer worked, but its black rectangular eye kept watching me, as if someone far away, perhaps behind that screen, still needed me. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stephanie Matson: “Suicide Bomb at a Volleyball Match in North Western Pakistan”

The pearl slips through
Wrinkled finger pads.
Water flowers over the bedrock
Which contours limbs
To mold my pearl
Melting away.
The coal I had saved for you.
A reversed Vandenbergh effect
Set up in my mind;
Saying hello to Eddie Haskell
As I drive down Cornell.

When your medication decreased
I prayed for an eddy.
For Riff Raff and Magenta
As our lips sat peeled back
Like the skin of a fruit.
Prayed for an abyss which would take me away
From the hallucinations which made you cry
From the stickers of your faded emblem
When I needed you most.

Well, it's the fractions in our heads—
The analogous mental disorders—
That I thought would lead to our fusion.
But I fed off of your suffering,
And deteriorated to spite your recovery.
Holding to you as a leach
Looking for warm blood
From a lizard.

These were the days when I was better off dead
Air pressure not strong enough to offer suction
To swallow the last bit of liquid
Needed to satisfy my thirst to obtain,
For my catalyst had long since evaporated

Friday, August 12, 2011

bl pawelek: "snake and peyote" and "swallowed"

he rolls himself
constructs tight against the six stalks
grinding encompassing consuming

diamonds roll the back
and shape head strong
the snake and peyote
await the divine light
the signal of pilgrim luck

move west
over the mountains
to the water of final ends
push the dirt
push the sand
accept the prayers for rain

Monday, August 8, 2011

Jeff Grunthaner: "Dead Fish in a Lithograph"

The fat lady is singing because her heart
has broken both its legs. Bloody murder
rains out in a brassy chorus, where the
radio is useless machinery you can cry. 
The chiming of old-timey music is really
the chimera of an idiot’s derision, like
a call to conscience from before when radio
was invented. It surges into awareness
without any message, & translates the staccato
of experience into ice, numbed by musical
phrases woven with the strings of violins. 
The discordance of life-styles is projected
like the several notes in a single chord,
where living is a technique like television,
an approximate profession, wholly digital,
& experience more or less an encumbrance,
like the passive thrills found in watching
a bad movie. Personally, I’m wedded to
my sorrows, which brought with them some 
momentary surprise, tainted by laudations
promised when the bars had closed, & text
messages that reply: “Sort of fun. Ur cool."

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ray Gonzalez, "The Mark"

The Mayas believed we all have a face and a mark. They believed the invisible mark is more of a face than our own face. They said all humans will be known by their mark. My mark is not invisible, but hidden somewhere in the territory of the mind, a place of markings where I have never gone. Last night, I dreamed I was eating fried lizard meat out of a McDonald’s container. It was not a nightmare, but a quiet dream of ritual where I ate the lizard meat and felt stronger. When I woke, I told my wife about this and she said it was a sign I am getting well. It is my mark, the sign of the creature leaving marks on the sand, that distance that has nothing to do with my face or the way I look because I am looking older and the mark trumps my face, the lizard meat prepared by an unseen face and served in a fast-food carton to warn me many people are searching for their marks. I also told my wife the next brief dream last night had me listening to her play her violin. She is taking lessons and getting better at it—the soothing air of the instrument leaving its mark on me as I slept and got the closest I have ever been to recognizing my face with my eyes closed. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Laura LeHew: “Should We Vanish”

          “you may drive nature out with a pitchfork but she will always return”


To Whom It May Concern:

By an unfortunate error we’ve
misidentified civilization. It was,
in fact, not created by the deity or
deities known sometimes as God
but by Mrs. Charles [Anne] Hobart of Kansas City,
Missouri head of the Abstinence For You-All Coalition.
We sincerely regret this error
and offer our apologies.

~Jesus Tran-Rodriguez
  Transitions Director
  New Directions in the Great Urban Outdoors
  Building Bigger and Better Prisons


maybe she wanted him
the impossible dialog
Something Imagined


Write your name
in a veiled raven.


the sun detonated
it made a lot of noise
it was over                                                                                                                                        
An error has occurred.
The feed is probably down.
Try again later.


flick off the light switch


The ghosts are laughing
I still have hope