Ross Vassilev

little Eichmanns

 

for Ward Churchill

 

getting fired for telling the truth

is nothing to be ashamed of

 

maybe it’s for the best

 

maybe the little Eichmanns

reflected on

the evils of their ways

while praying to their

blond, blue-eyed Jesus

on that fateful day

 

or maybe they didn’t

 

at any rate

 

America’s vengeance

for 3,000

translated into

1 million dead in Iraq and

a somewhat smaller total

in Afghanistan

 

it depends on how exactly

you figure the numbers,

I guess

 

whether you include

“collateral damage”

and deaths from starvation

in the final sums

of the Empire’s reckoning

 

anyway

who’s counting?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Marrotti

‘Testament To Bad Writing’

This poem
is a testament
to bad writing

It’s here for your
entertainment
like a hitchhiker
to Ted Bundy

I conceived it
in the bathroom
after a hearty
meal at
McDonald’s

I wiped only twice
leaving remnants
of feces attached
to my ass
for the sole purpose
of inspiration

Behold here it is

What should have
been properly
disposed of
in the bathroom
is now a piece
of poetry

© Michael Marrotti

Paul Tristram

Inside Her Nervous Breakdown

Is as fragile and transparent
as broken eggshell
held up to candle flame.
Yet, it holds her weight, perfectly,
as she daily climbs its wailing walls.
With a spinning weathercock
inside her twisting cranium
banging brashly against
the battered old hamster wheel
speeding everywhere and nowhere
at exactly the same time.
Heart, a nut and bolt,
forever tightening with the tension.
Skinless and taut as bowstrings,
her nerves and emotions
twang and pang
like whip cracks from a sadist.
Nowhere to hide when un-vocal,
masks are useless in solitude.
She gripes and claws her way
through mirrored memories,
seeking a calm and logic never there.
Conscience a dizzying merry-go-round,
un-moralled from the safety bar,
she trapezes wildly
the sickening vertigo of lost chances.
Blind to the bold EXIT door,
she fumbles and stumbles
in the wrong direction from ESCAPE.

© Paul Tristram 2016

Gary Huggins

I Am Not Suicidal

 

I am not suicidal,

although in dank pub toilets

I hold two fingers to my temple

the shape of a gun.

 

I am not suicidal,

although a stair top clothes hanger

blows on the breeze,

as romantic as the wild rose.

 

I am not suicidal,

although a free fall from a free way bridge,

tantalizes like the destination

of each passing soul below.

 

I am not suicidal,

although the feel of smoke

wrapping its vines around my lungs

I crave for and accommodate often.

 

I am not suicidal,

although I’d happily sip poison from a capsule,

a modern Romeo,

if you were to lay still my Juliet.

 

14/09/16

A pub in Brighton.

“Just as Wild”

A wild one

Appearing in early light

Glowing face

 

Living alone

Longing for mercy

 

Upset

Angry

Insane

 

Trembling soul

Humble thoughts

 

Our mouths

Our faces

We speak

We listen

 

Yet faces and mouths lie

 

The wild one

A gentlemen

Raised on virtue

And bad manners

 

Cursing like a pirate

Drinking just as hard

 

Sins are stubborn

Especially so

With a tattooed spirit

And a pierced heart

That only a love

Just as wild

Can tame

 

©James Dennis Casey IV

“If That’s What You Mean”

I remember Mama but she wouldn’t want you to call her that. No, she was no Mama in the traditional sense. I remember her saying to me about my older brother’s young kids; “they’re not my kids” meaning as a Grandma why the hell should she be overly concerned with them? I called her Mom and probably spent the most time with her – loved her the most – and knew probably best as to her quirky character. I learned her character because I am her, and I spent the most time with her following her separation and divorce from my Dad.

She left him for good in 1974. I was thirteen years old. It was about a year and a half after her Mother died and a rich aunt of hers died leaving her a sizable, though not huge, inheritance. Apparently she thought life with the family was too restrictive and though my parents never fought or argued in front of we two kids there was conflict – based on control of the family finances by my father and the too limiting role for Mom of mother and spouse. This was the era of the Woman’s Liberation Movement, Cosmopolitan magazine, and the free-spirited “Cosmo” girl. After her housewife mother died, Mom, a beauty, chose to fly. The death of her rich aunt and the inheritance gave her the wings in which to do so.

What can be said? She dumped the bum, the pooch, and the two progeny; older by two years brother and I. He was fifteen and I was thirteen; both just ready to really begin experiencing the world. Dad was hurt as I can see it but carried on just the same. He first moved to a cot in the north forty of our large home (Dad was a successful stockbroker), and later into a kitchenette motel room and a small cabin-house located in a lake park. Living at one of these locations Dad stopped by the house. He picked me up to do something and I suggested we go to a movie I knew of. It was currently playing and quite controversial. Dad, not an incredible movie buff (he liked musicals) agreed to get me into an “R” rated production.

We entered the theater while the movie had already briefly started. We sat down in the darkened theater, some ways back in the large center aisle, and got ready for the film “The Exorcist” to kick in. And kick in it did. Dad took it in, but I could see – like I – he was rather shocked. At one point in the movie, a tension oriented quiet moment, the point where the possessed little girl character Reagan was going to assault herself with a crucifix, in the quiet of the drama leading up to this, when all was dead quiet in the theater, when were all on edge due to the roller-coaster we had been seeing, Dad let fly one of his trademark huge sneezes. He did not, like he often did, say “Of ff-da!” after the seismic blast, but the sparse crowd that was there, at this night showing, couldn’t contain themselves. They roared with laughter. I thought it was great the crowd was small and it was dark in there. When the laughter subsided, and Dad was obliviously blowing his nose into his handkerchief, he looked a bit about him. He wore an expression of “What?” and he directed it most at me.

“I think you startled them in a humorous way,” or some such thing I said. Then the loudness and clamor of the scene on film overtook us all and were back inextricably into the ebb and flow of the movie.

Dear Dad, you just can’t beat his un-self-conscious ways. That night I had to go sleep in the master bed with my Mom, because I was so scared. I guess there are valid reasons for a thirteen year old not watching “R” rated movies. A few months later, Mom left our city to live alone in the big city, in nearby Minneapolis. Dad and we kids moved into a new-built condo a valley over from our old house, and with Dad and brother, a new Mom-less chapter in our life began. We were about to begin a more adult “single” stage of our lives, and this prospect cooled considerably the sadness begun by the parent’s breakup and what it meant for our lives. Besides, with Mom living alone in Minneapolis, that meant I could take a jet plane ride to visit her, by myself, and I could go live with her, her and I, and I could explore as much I could a big city! Therefore, selfishly at the time, the separation was alright with I.

Mom never stopped smoking. Except in the shower or while asleep. She would never crack a window in the car nor not smoke wherever she wanted to smoke because you could do that back then anywhere, even in the hospital. She had to be smoking right up to the time of having me; I don’t see a time of her not smoking after the age of sixteen or so. I’m not really sure how young she started smoking, just that it was in the middle of the latter (Humphrey) Bogart era. Mom too liked to drink.

Mom’s drinking increased following her leaving Dad and departure from our family. She liked Martinis, vodka martinis. Later she would dispense with the vermouth and just drink straight vodka. I have not been able to determine proportionally how much of her high alcohol intake was in response to the potential negative (or liberating?) psychological effect leaving her family had on her or that she just flat out was a lush and really liked the feeling of getting high? You know drinking and cigarette smoking were considered chic back then along with being independent and free. I mean there was a certain lifestyle back then and smoking and drinking were major pillars within it. As Mom used to say; “a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other.”

From viewing myself, and then viewing my Mother, as old as I am now, I most rather think it was her friends at the part time job she got – before leaving my father – that propelled her to go from our cozy nuclear co-habitation. She got a job at a woman’s clothing store – a very small shop next to a larger place that sold furs. Both were part of a family-owned company that the large, centrally located, three story with basement and attic level, over century old former funeral home most substantial brick dwelling could provide. The small shop was named, “Next Door Two,” and sold stylish woman’s apparel. It accompanied the larger fur salon just across a small courtyard in the same building. This was Eihler’s Furs; a regional concern.

It was there she interacted with Rhonda, her co-worker at the ritzy ladies wear boutique. Rhonda had been widowed young, and had three children, but that didn’t stop her. As her former husband was of that class – he a lawyer I believe – and she a part of the upper crust – an attractive asset she possessed for men was her large bosom – and she was doing well with men in her life and independent. Apparently it was her influence and the circumstances of which I have outlined above, that led to the “adolescent adjustment” that when I now think about it, yeah, it probably did affect the entire future course and direction of my life. I mean, the living, teaching or studying in Jamaica, Ukraine, Moldova, Thailand, Cambodia, Antigua, China, England, and the high education stuff, the women at every landing, and no over entangling alliances resulting if that’s what you mean. Yeah, it’s been very bad for me. Nothing permanent, but is anything? I mean, by traveling around to nearby countries from the country in which I lived for twenty-four years I’ve seen much probably even the best-traveled will never see.

 

Dr. Randall Rogers

Paul Brookes

Cremains

 

As I did when she was alive

I risk infection or rejection.

 

I sterilize her ash in an autoclave

as with needles and rest,

makes sure it’s fine powder

mix it with the ink.

 

She will be under my skin.

 

Limbs With Pears

 

Pert  plump  green

as if young lasses first bairn

she shows as a bump

 

dangles from limbs

as if the tree needs a pillow

for its back

 

autumn shivers

as tight skin bitten

sweet waters break

 

Some Days I Am

 

young, rave

 

the rush, tingle in the stomach.

Mostly, I am old and want to rest,

from daily survival, scrimp and scrape.

 

Can’t plan,carry anything over,

no skills. Only certainty is uncertain.

I need regularity, rhythm, habit, sanity.

 

It doesn’t matter whether

I’m awake or not. In the space

of a day I’ve been old, deaf, dumb

and blind, no legs, no arms, no voice,

 

a she, but nothing lasts, for long. For a time,

I had a wife, kids, grandkids,

few hours later, perhaps, I had none.

I had brothers for about a week.

 

I loved, and was loved once.

Was it yesterday, or the day before?

We kissed. I remember the kiss.

 

Useless to think where or what they are.

All are strangers, now. Or once a billboard message,

perhaps “Friends who haven’t met yet”

 

I awake one day huddled in a shop doorway,

another in silk sheets with duck

feather pillows and a servant

asks what I would like for breakfast.

 

I can’t keep anything. Grab it,

while it’s there.  Buy my stuff,

again, the next day. Use it or lose it.

Things made, soon decay. Leaves

 

fall in summer, flowers blossom

in winter. Animals unsure what

they must do. Many die, as do we,

when wrong choice is made.

 

Maps are useless. Streets change

shape, new buildings where old.

Clothes bought that day

are soon rags. It’s a rush to buy new.

 

In summer folk say, ” Stuff it.”,

go naturist. Summer could be

Autumn. A lot of people

die in Winter. Pay Euro one day,

Yen the next. Rhymes are rare.

 

Language changes too.

Yesterday black was white,

red was yellow. Spend most

of my days out of fashion.

 

Cynics say it’s all about profit,

shops say they’re it’s a response

to customer’s needs. Often stuff

comes full circle, but all of its

 

perishable, now, clothes, cars,

buildings, walls, streets. History

is what you can remember, but

stuff changes so fast you can’t

 

remember it all. Against the grain,

never plus ca change. Even glass

decays nowadays, and these words

become something else. Maybe.