J.J. Campbell

these lonesome nights

 

sometimes these walls

feel like they are closing

in on me

 

some might think of

that as a nightmare

 

i consider it a wish

 

these lonesome nights

alone

 

looking at the stars

and wondering which

god did i piss off this

time

 

and there goes the one

you love

 

off to go drink in a bar

with all the men you

know you can’t compete

with

 

one of these days you’ll

find the courage to tell

her how you feel

 

perhaps after that bottle

of gin is empty

 

perhaps after the

ammunition is

purchased

 

perhaps after she walks

out the door once again

Mark Spitzer

Observation #6265

 

 

Have you ever taught

in the same shirt you slept in?

 

I just did.

 

Not because I lack respect

for myself

 

but because I lack it

for my colleagues

 

too bad for everyone

I liked

wearing a tie.

 

 

 

 

Troy R. McGee Jr.

Prophecy in the Modern Day,

(a how-to manual)

 

1.

Address Me, Ancient Muse

with a “Oh No You Di-‘int!”

if I talk outta turn.

 

My Muse is Kali-Ma,

and Ma’ keeps me acting like

a gentleman. She also gives

me courage to say some Truth.

 

So Reader, don’t worry too much

About my Karma. There’s too

much of that nowadays anyhow…

 

Christian America!

 

Remember when that thing you believe

in is bullshit? Remember, Truth:

 

Remember not being stabbed by her,

that lack of a knife, for a second hanging in the air,

crueller than the unpardonable sin.

 

And then, like breathing out,

Remember being stabbed by her?

There is no price for the moment

the Statue came down off the Pedestal.

And then I was born:

son of mother and father, son of heaven

child of many, far too many, child of abuse,

child of pentecost and television

Jerry Falwell, Jim Jones, Ronald Reagan

child of hitting women and children

child of alcohol and addiction

theft and parole and probation

begin with a child of smartass and detention

child of a thousand demons, psychoses and sickness,

unfit for polite mention subject of those old

church ladies’ gossip and attention

child of absent fathers, children of a dying revolution

 

2.

Parents tried to tell me

 

“Go outside and play!”

…turned evil, turned into the Devil’s way

 

Turned from the Son of Man, turned toward the Son of Sam

turned toward prison, toward debt and delusion

turned into just another illusion

Error turned into my Generation, “X” a symbol

Of the Abomination of Desolation (whatever that is…)

Are these words nonsense or are they tongues?

Are they Prophets’ Revelations?

Soar! Thee, Six-Winged bum or Seraphim (with dirty feathers)

Take a coal to burn your soured eugenics!

A Non-White Jesus Forever Frightening your Master Race of Cynics!

You Agnostic Caste of wannabe Mystics!

 

And your children, the half human hipsters, conditioning

the beard of Dionysos, so contaminating with your

effluvial cool, you children of the unholy Caduceus

clowns in a sickening impoverished Culture-Circus.

Acrobatic in your denial, your devout refusal, only you

Think the Angel of the Lord won’t touch the coal to your

Filthy Lips. Untrue Generation, I’ll Make You Speak!

 

3.

Interlude: The Seraphim and The Coal.

Isaiah 6:5-7

Then I said, “My doom is sealed, for

I am a foul-mouthed sinner, a member of

a sinful, foul-mouthed race; and I have 

looked upon the King, the Lord of heaven’s

armies.”

Then one of the seraphs flew over to the

altar, and with a pair of tongs picked out a

burning coal. He touched my lips with it

and said, “Now you are pronounced ‘Not

guilty’ because this coal has touched your

lips. Your sins are all forgiven.”

 

The first time the Angel tried to press the coal to my lips he just dropped it. They’re Angels with Six Wings, and it’s just not easy for them to carry about earthly things like you and I do.

 

The second time he got feathers in my mouth. “PTOOOEY! What is this shit?” I exclaimed, and ruined it. It was technically the first time I had swore . . .

 

The third time it occurred to me that is was going to hurt, and why does God want to make you hurt? The mood has to be right to do it. You can’t just get burned and zip you’re a prophet like that. It has to be right and you have to be in the right frame of mind.

 

 

. . . I don’t know if you get any more than three chances.

So, I went and got a job at a Denny’s near the Freeway.

4.

If you’ve ever seen a Denny’s get slammed at night, standing on my feet all night and washing dishes and pulling bus-tubs and taunting my best friend’s ex-girlfriend by making her cry – talking about Greg all the time and he was dead only he wasn’t – just hiding from a dealer he owed – so not really but I was bored and she wouldn’t fuck me so fuck her. Anyway – the bar crowd – a couple of buses – truck drivers and then it becomes a mini-singles scene and all of that means – dishes – coffee cups – with and without vomit or napkins or french-fries in them – plates – bowls – monkey dishes – spoons and knives and forks – steak knives – and a million discarded orange slices – parsley sprigs – blots of white gravy and brown – half eaten chicken fried steak – water-logged hash-browns – phone numbers for waitresses – written on all manner of paper-scraps and cards – discarded bindles for speed and coke – cigarette packs – syrup and creamer kettles – sticky or milky-greasy in turns – dollops of creamed butter or margarine and soppy flaps of the triangular toast – except the sourdough – which was always round – a hamburger or cheeseburger discarded would always piss me off because I could not always afford to buy one – so why would you take two bites and throw it away? – your wasted food is a taunt – an insult concentrated and dissolved in hot water and dishwasher chemicals – definitely alkaline – you throw it up throw it away – pinch the waitresses’ asses while she hauls it away – and someone who hates you will haul it away again – and rinse it off – and put it in trays – and run it through a dishwasher – in the back where you can’t see – and recycle it – for the next asshole not to appreciate – even worse is the overly appreciative person – going out of their way to interact and actually “thank you for the job you do” – and maybe they even – peel me off a dollar – but it just reminds me that I’m just a dishwasher – and I get a dishwasher’s share – I never forget – that I am washing and busing for dopers and truckers and meth-heads and the odd serial killer and other lone-travelers – while I needed to be resting for the big things that happen during the day – and you can bet your ass the Second Coming will happen during the day – I could be left behind and the Denny’s will still be open – because the closers will need cups of joe and pancakes – they need me to stay late in the morning with the graveyard crew – but the dayshi(f)t crew went to heaven with Jesus – “we’ll let you pick who but someone needs to stay and we can do inventory and G.I. the kitchen while we’re at it – clean out the fryers and soak the hood screens and polish the stainless – and what did you think salvation was for you too? – there’s too much work to do – get saved on your own time – pay your shitty rent to your shitty apartment – and live your own shitty life on your own shitty dime  – Jesus don’t have time for you – and there’s too many grand-slams to be served – too many Angels passing through and” – fuck you Brad! You’re just a Denny’s Manager, you can’t serve the Lord’s plan – Fuckin’ Brad – I’ll Make You Speak!

John D. Robinson

THE OPPRESSIVE ONE

‘I find it oppressive  when you
don’t talk to me, I mean, 20
miles and you’ve barely said
a word to me, it’s uncomfortable’
she tells me, driving to work,
it’s just 07:30, my medication
hasn’t yet kicked in and
smoked just one joint and
drank one cup of tea and
talking bullshit small talk
isn’t my kick anyways but
at this hour it’s way beyond
my interest or energy, even
from the one closest to me
in this world:
‘What shall I talk about?’
I ask her:
‘I don’t know, something’
she replies:
Did you know that the
Ostrich is the only bird
that shits and pisses
separately’ I said:
‘Fuck-me!’ she screamed,
shaking her head and
welcoming the silence
that followed.

THE PUNCHES

I’ve thrown punches all my life,
at parents, schools and colleges,
employers, friends and lovers,
rules and regulations
which didn’t make for a good
soldier:
I’ve thrown punches at the sky,
into water and punched straight
through them,
causing no damage, no sign of
hurt, a shift of pattern upon
the water’s surface, a broken
rhythm but nothing more,
a natural reaction to an
incoming force that becomes
that surge without
resistance,
honest self-expression,
taking it’s shape
as it happens.

John Grey

SATURDAY AFTERNOON IN SUBURBIA

The grass is like a dull brown corpse.

The mower’s spinning blade is the final insult.

Up and down the street, a father trains his son to drive.

I can recognize the learning curve.

The wheels flattening on asphalt.

Hubcaps glistening in the sun.

They’ve been doing that for as long

as some songs have stayed in my head.

There is purpose to this afternoon after all.

Going back and forth over the same landscape

is not as pointless as it as first seems.

Up from the west is the wind itself,

struggling to find something in my yard worth puffing at.

What can I say? There’s been a drought?

The truth is that people around here

have their own way of blowing stuff around.

It’s suburbia.

A kid is making the most of the time his father’s still around.

I am going over something that doesn’t need going over.

                     How’s it going, Ray.

                     Your boy looks ready for the Indy 500.

                     We could sure use some rain.

                     You know me. I hate being cooped up inside.

                     Oh that. Just some song I can’t stop humming.

                     Can’t even remember the name of it.

Not for us, the lights of galaxies.

We have our own bulbs to turn on.