The Bicycle Review
Issue # 9
December 19th, 2010
Letters by Rhea Adri, All images Copyright 2010, Adri
Bicycle Review # 9
Welcome to the Mini Issue, where we tag ourselves with our self. What with losing everything, we’ve been busy. But there’s still time…
Share the Road,
J de Salvo
Woman Grows Vegetables
"Trouble is with growing too derned many vegetables," she said, “an buildin too much lonliness that just eats you up inside,” is that folks get tired of ‘em, I mean both the vegetables, an you and the lonliness” shaking her head, she had long stringy hair, “an get tired’a you. At least it’s so up here in Montecito Hts. Used to be, I’d grow me nice mess of eggplant or tomatas, even slimy okra--old days before folks caught on they’d be glad to see me coming up ta their houses--now--even if I never even charged nobody nothing fer vegetables here in Montecito Heights, they don't even answer a door, afraid it's talky me outside with my vegetables ta give away; but, an this is the part they hate extra bad, me wantin ta actually talk to them. And, that’s absolutely the worst of the worse part, they just wanna be married ta their TV sets, and their electronical sex gadgets, with their untalkin husbands or wives or children or dogs that also don't talk anymore--it'sa wonder people can even manage ta git away from their TV’s ta even have those beautiful children anymore—how do they do it-- procreating while they're watching the Tonight Show, eaten they suppers and there’s that awful eye lookin at em, the flickering TVs shadow – why even get married no more at all? Why bother, just eat and work and cheat on yer husband, cause only they just don't wanna risk feelin some emotional feeling, or care about anything cept what ye just bought, or are gonna buy”—she kept picking up handfuls of black earth, “an all this Montecito hide-yourself-from- anybody-that's-listening-to-you talk. Look at this front yard dirt,” the dirt stuck to her fingers, an earthworm came up with a handful, “I always hoped that a good mess of young string beans,” she was carefully removing the invertebrate, “baby summer squash, so full of a God’s love an tender it melts in your mouth, “she was placing the squirming beast back in the friable earth, “that they’d bring folks around to a more human point a view,” it disappears into the earth, “cause my vegetables are fulla of prayer and sanctifying grace. Eat' em and they warranteed ta make ye feel better-- here, you judge, try one of these succulent Brandywine tomatoes, see if it doen’t perk ye up.”
Here she smiled a sad smile, "vera sad for me all this nonsense, this dreadful not talkin, so I do talk to God, to the universe just by my vera act right here a growing these here vegetables, also, may God forgive em fer their laziness, the rotten Hollenbeck division police. Liars, mean neglectful and most of all vera lazy an fat, they revel in avoidin work. Don wanna do no work. You go up here to the 7-Eleven on Figueroa and you'll see 10 police cars hanging around talking, laughin, eating, slappin each other onna back, playing grab ass, donuts, whatever to get so morbidly obese, sure ain't my vegetables.”
She laughed, “if I be silly nough ta try ta report something to’em like somebody coming in your yard up here in Montecito an these effete neighbors stealing, rippin fruit off your trees--even show the police pictures of who's doin it an this awful deputy prosecutor fat lady Racquel Perez something like that, don' do nothing unless yer a hated minority, a street bum can come up destroying yer trees come on your property any of those things--why this alternate sexuality here, lives next door to me jammed a sharp pipe in my face, made a scar right here on my chin and the Hollenbeck female police Sgt. promised me a arrest, didn't do it, lied to me, she--think it's a she, hard to tell, lied to me, didn't do nothing , an th president of the Montecito Heights Improvement Association now, lying about me. I'm supposed to be crazy anyways given away vegetables like this anyways. How’s that Brandywine, want another?"
She was working as she talked pulling out a bamboo stake and sticking it back in, with knobby arthritic fingers, back into the soft fertile ground.
"Gotta confess, I did though, it was right caught myself talking too much, know I did that, I'd bring some unsuspecting person a cauliflower, at one time people used to like it, cauliflower's expensive in the stores, anyways bring them a big cauliflower plump and fresh with dew and then I'd stay too long. Course, by too long I mean more than five minutes. Even took to timing myself though, put a egg timer in my apron that'd ring and when it did I'd scamper away. I know you can't foist off your own loneliness on other people. Course thatmight constitute me just wanting to hear human voice and exchange a few simple sentences maybe even--and I know this is going some--a thought or two. I can't really go no place from up here in Montecito Heights, least not with a bicycle, hard for me to get back up this steep hill on this old part-busted bicycle with no gears to help."
She was wearing a long apron and loose trousers that had brownish black soil stains where she knelt in the soft dirt of her this very steep front yard.
"There are garden clubs that grow rare fruit but they too far off. Alternative though, is it just gets awful wind-swept lonely up here with nothing but plants to talk to--if nobody needs you might as well be dead-- people go by fast on Montecito Dr., some of them do stop and talk to me--they love the big tall purple flowers of my bristly artichoke plants, but they don't stop long, not for more than a minute or two long, and it just gets to the point where you crave the sound of a human voice.
"Used to be married, husband never talked much--think I drove him crazy. You get married and have all kinds of luminous fairy tales in your head when you get married about children and how wonderful your family's gonna be, the good times that you're gonna have."
She wiped her hands on her apron.
"Course, I still got my sweet little hummingbirds up here and they squeak and spat--never get tired of fighting, I remember in the old days folks would spat like that, there was passion in marriages like my little birds squeaking their yells at each other, but after all, charity has a human voice and pity a human face--I know it's a weakness to admit it. Should be just contented with the evil empty TV. Poetry, prayer, an conversation, that’s what I crave--oh look!" She suddenly was whispering and pointing, "look up there! see up near the house that flash of bobbing yella, that's a oriole, hardly ever see'em, only three or a year--oh that’s a visitation from God, yellow is the color of God The Father--wonderful sign.
“But in desperation I had ta start sneaking my beautiful shiny fresh vegetables down to the Food for More, I call it Food for More, really called Food for Less but they charge terrible prices for the worst, most tasteless vegetables you ever had in yer life--Mexican stuff gives you salmonella diarrhea constipation and pyorrhea."
She looked around her garden, the stalks of broccoli, the rows of tomato cages, "I know it's silly to be prouda something nobody else in the world thinks is worth nothing like a garden. Nobody grows a vegetable garden up here these days too lazy, supposed to just go down Food for More an drop lifeless, wrinkled, over priced garbage in your little cage on wheels, just put tasteless unripe stuff in a cart. Nothing beats planting something, growing little baby sprouts, making up soil pellets ta plant it, taking a seed watching its sprout in the ground, making that little sprout grow into a great food producing plant--tell you a secret that nobody knows about me and you can't tell anybody else either because then they'll think I'm a egregious looney for sure, but I pray ever over evra one a these sweet plants specially at night when my vicious neighbors can't see me, when that liar that’s the president of the Montecito Heights Improvement Association, pray against the gophers and for the plant roots-say prayers kneeling on here on this holy ground. Look at that purple over there, kneeling here in my garden at night--I'll swear they's difference in my vegetables coming outa prayer. Holy Ghost power--that shiny and purple that egg plant's same color as the shrouds they put on the statues during Lent at St. Therese church? Well I defy you grow a a egg plant like that--big beautiful heavy tumescent fruit like that on it--grow it without the prayer?--can't be done, leastways I don't know anybody does it, gotta be jampacked crammed with Holy Ghost power--you can see you kin see the Holy Ghost's purple shining right through its skin. You know how they cover all the statues at Easter Time with purple cloth because it's the Holy Ghost's color? Same color as that egg plant. Every time I stick my hands in his holy dirt out here that I made outta cow poop and garbage--I call it holy cause it does holy things, it makes special Godly food for people—an I give the fruit an the blessing it carries withit away--give the vegetables away, I give the lettuce away, cause I know the people need the good God’s grace they get when they eat it, at least used to but now they're all burnt out and don't, so I got desperate an now I'm sneaking my beautiful vegetables, fruits down to the awful ugly and dirty over priced Food for More.
At first I' d just stay outside the main store door down there on dangerous Figueroa, in the Food for More’s parking and say to the Spanish coming in, ’Free Gratis’ and give’ em a mess of lettuce or hot peppers, you know Spanish like the hot peppers and I can grow big orange Mananzos peppers that Food for More charges 7-8 dollars a pound for? I had to bring it all downhill on my bustin up bicycle--whole sackful that slung over my back and tied onto the back of my bike then I got me a Tomos moped and now I load up my moped and that I call Argenta, the silver one?--isn't she sweet? Look at her little fenders shining up there, she's so small and has wonderful gas mileage, I buy gas only once a month and give her a drink, she's so grateful, just every once in a while, takes me everywhere. I don't care who sees me carrying vegetables around anymore except the Food for More ran me out of their parking.
So now I gotta sneak right quick right into the store and quickedy quick all the way back to the produce section with my fruit concealed and hidden in a dark bag so that the Rent a Jerk guard at the door don't stop me, I goright in along with a whole crowd's coming in, just getting off work and talking a lot to each other--wisht I could hablo Spanish--right into to the store and right quick all the way back to the sad tasteless produce, it’s like a fruit funeral and when the produce manager's not looking, specially when there's a little space in produce bins after people been wasting their hard earned on that garbage, I talk to them, slip them my beautiful vegetables right in the next to the store's --feel like I oughta special label them cause people don't know how delightfully my tomatoes are, how inspiring and refreshing, just outstanding. I put them only in a certain little section I call Myra’s corner off to the side and I saw one woman watching me one day, smiling, me putting my tomatoes in that little bin with leaves still on and vines--take the store tomatas out and just fill up my special bin. Anybody ast me I tell them 'I grew these tomatoes with God's help and they are beautiful you want some? Course store sells my tomatas, but hey, what can I do? all I can do is try to serve God best way that I know how. The first thing a person's gotta do is to try to save their own soul and then if they still got time and energy to try to help the people around them. And me, I got to that second stage and try to help as much as I can and I'm given forth the fruit of his holy ground right here. Some day I hope to smuggle my beauties into Gelson’s. Would you like a other Brandywine tomata? I got a striped variety also’s vera tasty. And a little salt, got salt in my apron here. Should I cut it for ya? I likem sliced with a little salt. You know they original thought tamatas was poison? Thought they was a type of nightshade and tried to assassinate George Washington with tamatas. Course old George he foxed ‘em, ate the tamatas and smacked his presidential lips and said, “Poison me some more,” between sips of good whiskey. "
Copyright 2010 by Pierrino Mascarino
Melancholy women drip from gas chandeliers.
Their waists of smoke
orbit my exposed brain.
toes like noodles
left over from the night before.
curious, held in highest esteem
as they devour
who used to know their way around Harvard.
From the bushes,
the peach hibiscus,
explodes a young man
who imitates the sorrowful moans
of abused doves.
Sorrowful secretaries hear these moans.
So do sorrowful governments,
including sorrowful teachers and the like.
Reminds me of the love affair
between a young poet and his goats.
Each goat lifted its chin
to ignite its soft, hickory eyes
below a Miguel Hernández sunrise.
These goats, like us,
were merely searching for affection
and occupations offering decent salaries,
The shadows at the beginning of this poem
drip from the shoulders
of the innocent goats.
No, no. I’m wrong.
It’s the women, really,
splintered by crystal
while absent-mindedly dreaming
of true love.
Copyright 2010 by Alan Britt
Steve Leffert’s boss, Bob Ellis, had decided to fire him. He found it mildly irritating that he’d let Leffert get through probation – in fact, human resources had shown him the form he’d signed not all that long ago saying Leffert had passed it. Must have been thinking of something else when he signed it. No matter; Leffert still had to go, it would just be a little harder to do. He’d have to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, write a memo saying what was wrong, give Leffert a chance to fix it.
Leffert’s problem was that he got the work done, but he took his time. It was a defensive strategy: if the bosses knew he had only one speed, they’d be less likely to pile projects on. No matter that none of Steve’s peers exactly burned up the track: Ellis had decided Steve was the one who would have to go. He called him in and gave him the shape-up memo.
Steve had his own acquaintance in human resources and went to him for advice. “You’ve had the company time management course,” the guy said. “Why don’t you get your boss to prioritize your projects? Ask him which is the most important, so you can finish that one first.”
It wasn’t a bad idea. The company had a big-deal time management consultant come in every few months and give a workshop. “Not all of your tasks are equally important,” he’d say. “Some of them are really top priority. You’ve got to get them out right away. But others aren’t as important. You can work on them when you’ve finished the important ones. Call the big deal ones the blue chips, the less important ones the red chips, and least important ones the white chips. So now you know to work on the blue chips first, and save the others for when you have less to do.”
It was all the standard line of corporate baloney, of course, which nobody took seriously, since so much was just busy work no matter what. But Steve went in to Ellis just the same and gave him the routine: “Can you tell me which of my tasks are the blue chips so I know which ones to do right away?”
His boss was unfazed. “They’re all top priority,” he answered. But Steve didn’t quit. He kept talking about the blue chips and the red chips and the white chips, and since those were the big-deal corporate buzzwords, it meant he knew something about the corporate culture, and human resources would probably give Ellis a hard time about trying to fire Steve.
So instead, Ellis got human resources to go along with simply demoting Steve and cutting his pay. He wrote the whole department a memo about what he’d done.
Copyright 2010 by John Bruce
The Poet’s Day Job
I’m new to the world of paper, to writs and summons and warrants,
to what happens when you fail to pay Visa, mow your weeds,
or can’t stand steady with one leg raised six inches off the ground.
The ladies at the county courthouse are teaching me the paperwork
routine and the proper etiquette: how to display a neutral countenance
before shoplifters and sex offenders alike; how to soothe flustered teens;
how to position my body at the intake counter so my hand is never far
from speed dial #7, the emergency alarm for deputies.
I’m coming along, the ladies tell me, but considering the number of correction
arrows on my first paper, I doubt their assessment. Walking back from lunch
today I take solace in the brave yellow moss rose rising from a sidewalk crack
until I realize my first instinct isn’t to wax lyrical but to fence it in.
Copyright 2010 by Maureen Kingston
Janice wore a wedding ring made of toilet paper spit wads molded into tiny interfolded rectangles, a miniature gum wrapper chain bound by threads of orange and red tied into a minuscule heart-shaped knot.
Duane had spent hours cementing the links with his own saliva, sculpting them into the right shapes, folding them one after another. Each moment had been devoted exclusively to her, to her happiness, to her smile. How many fiancées spent this much time thinking about their bride’s wedding ring? Not many. Most of the time they went to pawn shops, laid down the plastic, not much thought, not much emotion. Just business.
When she walked into the Raging Hair Salon near 23rd and Dewey, she noticed the place was packed, all six hair dryers occupied, all six salon chairs seated with clients. Even the manicure table had a customer, and everyone knew, nowadays, if you wanted perfectly sculpted nails, you went to one of those Vietnamese shops in the Asian District. They were cheaper, and the nails lasted longer. Plus, they gave foot massages with their pedicures.
Janice saw Liz sitting in Carla’s chair, hair plastered with white paste, various strands folded into layered squares of aluminum foil. She covered her left hand, looked down to avoid eye contact. She wasn’t ashamed, just cautious. She didn’t want to have a confrontation, so she slipped by the receptionist’s podium (she was never there) and quietly nestled herself next to a dusty old plastic palm tree.
Liz noticed her anyway, narrowed her eyes and frowned. She brought out her left hand, displayed a diamond ring.
“Manny popped the question,” she said loud enough for everyone to hear. There were oohs and ahhs, some nervous laughter, a few whispers.
Carla nodded, smacked her gum and winked at Janice. “Well, what a shame.”
Liz ignored the comment, continued primping her ring.
Janice and Manny had been engaged once, years before when they were still in high school. She’d been mesmerized by his charisma, his promises of a sweet life, but it didn’t take long before she saw how vain he was, how boring and brutal. He was the kind of guy who’d leave a girl with a bunch of babies but without a penny of support.
“We’re going to have a big wedding,” Liz continued. “If you’re lucky, maybe I’ll invite you.”
“Don’t bother,” Carla replied. “I’ll be working, always working.”
Janice grabbed a bridal magazine from a coffee table cluttered with out-of-date magazines, many of them with missing pages torn out by women who wanted their stylists to recreate a particular cosmetic effect, a new hairstyle or hair color. She held the magazine close to her face, wanting to avoid Liz’s dirty looks, her disturbing stare. A wedding dress on page thirty-two caught her eye: the svelte, white fabric, the sleek lines and trim bodice. The strapless top seemed molded to the model’s body, and she looked so happy, so beautiful. The model had her left hand extended, a dazzling diamond on her ring finger.
Nobody Janice knew had a wedding like that. Either they got married in the church dressed in their mothers’ bridal gowns, gaudy and ancient dresses with off-white lace faded from years of hanging in the attic, or they snuck down to city hall to get legally entangled before the families could protest. She’d promised herself a storybook wedding when she was a girl, but nevertheless, reality had overcome fantasy. She looked at her ring.
Manny’s car stopped in front of the salon, a blue Monte Carlo with low profile tires, chrome spoke wheels and a loud, booming stereo. The car throbbed to the beat of a Hip-Hop tune, vibrating the windows of the salon so much a glass heart suspended in the window by a suction-cup hanger fell to the floor and broke.
Carla absentmindedly scratched her head, finger smeared with hair color solution. She drew a frown across her forehead.
Liz beamed a smile, twisted around to get a glimpse of the car. She squirmed in her chair. “That boy,” she said. “I don’t want him to see me like this.” But she didn’t seem distressed, more pleased than anything.
When Manny walked into the salon, the women - customers and booth operators alike - hushed. They eyed the young man, smiled at his sleek designer blue jeans, his white and black t-shirt with an emblem of a fist grasping a stack of cash, his gold chains and meticulously sculpted black hair spiked in the middle to look like a razor.
Janice raised the magazine to hide her face, wishing she could make herself smaller, small enough to fold her limbs behind the pages, small enough to disappear. She held it to the brink of her bangs, eyes just above the top edge of the pages.
“Here’s my man,” Liz shouted.
“And here’s my lady.”
Manny grabbed Liz’s hand, caressed her sleek fingers, bent down to kiss the diamond ring. Some of the other women moaned, staring at Liz with envy in their eyes, slight frowns on their faces.
“My man, Manny,” Liz said. “What brings you here?”
Manny smiled. “I just needed to see you, before…” His voice trailed off, and his smile melted into a frown, worry lines in his forehead, lines that had never been there before.
He’d left the car running, the music still booming, nothing but bass, not enough melody to recognize a tune. Another knickknack fell from the window, a stained-glass rainbow. It struck the floor and shattered in two.
Janice saw a police car had pulled up behind Manny’s ride, red and blue lights ablaze. The cop got out of the car ticket book in hand.
“Hey, Manny-boy, you’re busted,” Carla said, unable to hide the satisfaction in her voice.
Manny frowned at Carla, retreated from his bride and made a comic display of blowing Liz a kiss, but she didn’t reciprocate the gesture, staring at Manny like she’d never see him again.
He stopped at the door, smiled in Janice’s direction. She ducked behind the pages, hoping he wouldn’t speak to her.
“Jan-Jan?” he said. “How you doing? It’s been a minute.”
Janice lowered the magazine, smiled but didn’t speak. She felt the stares, the glares of the women. Manny stood there for a moment, took a cautious step toward her.
“That cop, he’s writing you up,” she said.
Manny smiled awkwardly, shrugged his shoulders and rushed out the door.
Liz left her chair, trotted toward the door, and stood watching, bare legs rubbing together, feet shifting back and forth, arms tucked under her salon poncho like she was shivering.
Manny waved his hands at the cop, open palms, shrugging shoulders, the classic “who me?” gesture. The cop had put down his ticket book, had his left hand behind his back reaching for a pair of handcuffs, right hand on the butt of his holstered weapon. Through the glass, Janice heard the cop yell, “Turn around, put your hands behind your back.”
Liz rushed out of the salon. “Officer, officer,” she pleaded.
The salon’s patrons crowded the shop’s window: women wrapped in ponchos, women with wet hair, women in curlers, half-applied makeup. They whispered to one another, clicked their tongues, and moaned. Only Carla stayed back.
Janice watched Carla primp in the mirror, run a brush through her hair. Carla’s face was smooth, a natural light brown with a healthy glow, and she had long, shiny black hair. Still so pretty, even after all she’d been through. She’d lost her baby’s daddy to a gang shooting, had been abused by a string of boyfriends before she finally gave up. Now, she preferred to live alone. After scraping some savings together she applied for a small business loan and opened the salon. Now, her son was in college studying to be a teacher, a star athlete at the University of Central Oklahoma. Carla was a survivor, but Janice felt sorry for her. So alone.
Janice looked at her paper ring. It wasn’t ideal, but at least she had someone to love, someone who wrote her letters every day, someone who called her every week, and when they made love every other month or so, it was urgent, intense, and passionate. How many women had her man’s complete, undivided attention like that? It was like high school but better, no time for awkwardness, always the expectation of interruption, the rattle of keys, a knock at the door. She found the apprehension titillating, focusing.
After a few minutes, the crowd of women disbursed, ambled back to their chairs, to their hair dryers, their operating booths and cosmetic tables. A few lingered at the windows, gawking. Janice saw Manny in the back of a police car, noticed that two other police officers had arrived. A tow truck had hooked Manny’s car, his pride and joy.
Liz stood in front of the salon, head hung low. She was crying. “Please, please let my baby go. He’s innocent. We’re getting married.” Her voice vibrated through the glass.
The police car with Manny drove away, and Liz started screaming at the remaining officers. One of them approached her. He yelled at Liz, told her to go back inside the salon or get arrested. After a moment of indecision when she and the cop stared at each other, Liz came back inside, stoic at first. Her proud chin quivered. Her face melted, eye makeup streaming down her cheeks.
Carla put her arms around the young woman, ushered her back to her booth and coaxed her to a seated position. She hugged Liz, held her while she sobbed. The other women in the salon nodded knowingly, wiped tears from their eyes, or just stared at the floor. For the first time all morning, you could hear the radio music: some upbeat tune with inane lyrics that mocked the situation. Somebody stood up, walked across the room and shut it off.
“They said he did a drive-by. They said he tried to kill someone…”
Carla started unraveling the twists of foil from Liz’s hair, leaned her backwards toward the neck-rest on her shampoo sink. She streamed water on Liz’s head, massaged the hair color and soap from her tangled mass, all while humming a soothing melody.
Janice felt compelled to approach Liz and offer consolation, to tell her things may not be as bad as they seemed, but she hesitated. Liz had made no secret about her distrust of Janice, her dislike of the woman her man had once loved years before, but Janice’s compassion lifted her out of the chair.
The salon remained silent, but now, there was an air of tension, every woman watching Janice. Liz sat upright while Carla dried her hair with a blow-dryer. The high-pitched whir of the tiny electric motor and the rush of warm air reverberated off the walls, a maddening swirl of ambient noise that made Janice pause and look down. She was about to turn around and leave when the dryer went silent.
Liz cleared her throat.
“How much did they give you when you pawned Duane’s ring?”
“Not much, the diamond wasn’t real.”
Liz examined her ring, the huge, white stone, the way it glittered, spraying her face with tiny shots of reflected light like a dance hall mirror ball. She took it off, held it in the palm of her hand for a moment like she was weighing it.
“Then I probably won’t be able to post bond.”
Janice offered her hand. Liz grasped it, fingered the paper ring and pulled Janice’s hand closer to her face. She gazed at the precise piece of jewelry.
“Wow, how pretty,” Liz said, eyes brimming with tears. “So… delicate.”
Copyright 2010 by Paula Sophia Schonauer
Schizo : Stage 4
No one bleeds behind the door
the stench hits me still
what fills the armchair is
muscle in nothingness
I understand or do not sometimes
her dimensions suspended there
flicker of dried tongue in the morning
rest of the day is night
medicine to stitch up the sky
it's all they offer and is never enough
she hurts her way through me
marble eyes , blanket apology
I too am growing with faith
in death and inheritance, mother
will one day live your stare
watch muscles and bones of an air
Copyright 2010 by Mangesh Naik
Rosalia, don’t darken the prodding elms.
Apricots have come into the A&P and again
we confuse them for eggs.
Break my hand.
Your grandmother needs a stick drawing on her back
concrete poem with a track-lit ambiance
for her birthday before I grow algae
and call it swamp grass.
No swamps left in Jersey cept for Secaucus.
New stamps in my drawer won’t work as presents
though cardboard doubles as skin for tomatoes
and I have rotted us both to hell.
Rosalia, don’t bite clouds beneath the rain line.
Clouds know too much about addictions
in the familial language sugar means shitbox
shitbox: a caldron of warm pills.
Copyright 2010 by Peter G. Res
TIME TO TIME
(Thanks for holding my horse.
Don’t do it again.)
Remember when Jungle Boy was our Discovery Channel,
when greenyellowvermilion mangoes made us guilty
to be alive?
So, what’s with all these coconuts
in the Atlantic surf,
bobbing my head?
Never question coconuts!
Why not question coconuts?
Why not challenge
our primordial fear of coconuts?
Their hairless skulls
littering our shores of dementia?
It’s been proven
that a healthy relationship with coconuts
and promotes social harmony.
Are you suggesting we’re better off
leaving a trail of blood and vinegar?
The hounds’ll love it.
The beautiful hounds that moan
through wet Alabama pines.
from shotgun shells
and laid out
with brass cuff-links.
Your lover in a coffin.
Inert as the original block of marble
carved for the original Roman, err, Greek goddess.
Is that enough?
We’ll add another star
if it makes all the difference.
I forgot to mention
runs in my species.
This sometimes complicates
things as important
as the afterlife
appears to be.
I stand among paradoxes.
The earth shifts around my toes,
though I stumble
Planets or atoms
from distant galaxies
to enter dreams,
poised to penetrate sacred family reunions
or run, perhaps,
I hate to say it
but pure thought
isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
There’s this nagging old maid
of suffering who must be dealt with
before you can slide the greasy, ancestral, cast-iron pot
across the jagged coals of regret.
And that, my friends, brings us
back time and time again.
Copyright 2010 by Alan Britt
I am dying, this house is a mess.
yellow fish, room for the dead
smiles made of wedding bells
girls crying upstairs
cell phones planning suicide.
Yet I stand pieced together
my feet supporting my buttocks
Chaos before the god visits.
The god. He makes tea, sits near
me and adds an eye
where the death used to be.
He who puts the things in order, touches all.
How light we become and happy.
He swims in brain, his fins glimmering and paints me
beautiful. His right hand on the mouse,
he changes with his fingers this house.
smell of fresh tea, blush
permanent on faces , house is palace
all feels real, for it is real.
On the lush green lawn what
or tomato from his garden.
Copyright 2010 by Mangesh Naik
The world is a rubber ball and I
am commissioner of Police
in a small Scandinavian country
I learned to play the Gamelan for you, my love
until my fingers blister and I crawl conveniently
out of my skin you paint my birth
in a deep unforgiving blue on the pavement
in Middletown, Connecticut
a cemetery is no place for ghosts
to gather and gorge themselves on leftover air
your father was a bastard with a galvanizing eye
who came to me in my sleep demanding oranges
distinct flames of a lesser generation
I am a cool caldron of dust approaching
the concept of its mouth
“my Mozart a spit-sunken dream” it sings
all the way down the road
and when addressing ambiguity in Chinese
characters my love, your thighs
your sorrow the finest meal I could imagine
the world an amulet of penis tips
browned as banana leaves in summer
on the banks of a small country
in a dialect known only to us
Copyright 2010 by Peter G. Res
One is subtracted
from the other,
a little something’s
a residue of
his eye twitch,
her irritated bowel,
their bone talc
Copyright 2010 by Maureen Kingston
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