Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

CATCH

The river maiden calls
to me. The voice of an
angel, the trickery of a
sorceress, she guides me
to the depths of the river.
Sleepwalking under water
I become a fish and a
catch for someone’s menu.
I provide nourishment
when for years I had feelings
of lack of self-worth. To be
needed for once, I let it all
happen without knowing
I had fallen into a spell.

 

 

J.J. Campbell

breaking all the hearts

 

staring off in the distance

and it’s always the wrong

song that comes on

 

an old lover leaving,

breaking all the hearts

 

and soon your demons

are in the corner

laughing

 

you can’t fool them

 

they know you aren’t cut

out for life in this world

 

and no matter how much

you try being positive

it will never work for

you

 

those hands will always

be around your neck

 

you will always be

pinned to the bathroom

floor at your grandmother’s

house

 

therapy never worked

 

the drugs never helped

 

and even alcohol has

turned a cold shoulder

 

thankfully, you know

a guy and you still can

find a vein

 

John Grey

EVA’S LOCKET

 

Against her breast, she wears her dead grandfather.

Even now, she can’t help thinking of how he died,

shuffled into the steaming oven,

suffocated as stiff as her black shoes.

 

In mid-summer, she drinks hot black coffee

in an old suburban Chicago house.

How tight her collar buttons at the throat.

How sad the farewell that slips between her blouse and bra.

 

The chain is as long as a train with many windows.

The one face twists when she turns her head.

It’s a typical portrait of the time.

The eyes can stare at her but no way

 

that they can see what’s coming.

The locket is small, no longer shiny.

It’s been with her year after year,

a brush with darkness and with light.

 

It’s from a time when Europe looked elsewhere.

Or when blindness outflanked vision.

So many names her tongue could sanctify.

When it’s just the one, her silence is a beautiful thing.

 

 

Judge Burdon

SHE BLEEDS FOR BROOKLYN
Judge Burdon

She lives with low rent day dreams, on no name backstreets.
Dirty sidewalks made from quicksand concrete,
There’s no yellow brick road.

In this city like desert without an oasis.
Hope a disease that breeds in places,
Where God wouldn’t go.

In the air there’s a stench the smell of desperation.
And lives are stamped with a date of expiration.
The Devil’s grip on their souls.

Night crashes down with the sound of a train wreck.
She’s on the prowl for love and everyone’s suspect,
But they just leave her cold.

She cries with a sound that no one hears.
Her eyes lost their voice
Now she can’t speak with tears
She wonders ’bout life on the other side of the mirror.
Kneels down for one more unanswered prayer.
But there’s no one listening out there!

And she bleeds, she bleeds for Brooklyn
She’s hemorrhaging lies and alibis.
She bleeds, she bleeds for Brooklyn.
Break free Persephone
Brooklyn left the front porch light on.

 

MY SIBLINGS’ FATHER
Judge Burdon

other children feared monsters
under their bed
i feared the one living under our roof.
his hair was nimbus black
with a storm’s thunder in his voice.
his fists were freight train brown
ball bearing knuckles
frostbite blue was his touch
with empty icebox eyes
his smile untrusted growling words
spoken like tangled spaghetti
he was my mother’s husband
my siblings’ father
a childhood of baseballs never thrown
bruises and shattered bones
medicated with lies
happiness diluted with tears
in a house with screams undetected
when asked what i wanted to be
i testified “far from here”
now, fiber optic home front news
faceless words
cancer eating away at your life
with the fury of a piranha
your disease now my champion
fighting with the courage
i was unable to muster
your epitaph written in my adolescence
while plotting your midnight homicide
again you leave unaccountable for your actions
i’m left to wrestle with the demons
not the strength to forgive
my memory too scarred to forget
i’ll keep the battle lines drawn as your monument
let the puzzle piece fall where it may
good bye old man you’ll be missed
like a pit viper’s bite
your pain can no longer touch me
from the grave.

 

Grant Guy

I Do Not Know What You Are Thinking

By

Grant Guy

She said

I don’t know what you are thinking

You do not talk to me

I said

I do not know what I am thinking

I do know what I am feeling

I cannot put feelings into words

She said

That is no way to talk to your lover

I said

I do not know what love is

Lloyd Bailey

“Bad Hair Day”

By Lloyd Bailey

 

 

The corridors seem distant, seem darker.

There are no bright countenances.

The morning hues are haunted and hostile.

Where have all my friends wandered?

Anger and aggression have replaced harmony.

It invades my R.E.M.

turning my morning wood

into pallid putty;

this is no way to meet the day…

I splash cold water on my face,

but the mirror doesn’t change.

It’s in the eyes

that never wash away.

The fresh air inhales stale,

ominous clouds dim the sun.

I squint my eyes still.

I’ve gone searching for my friends.

I’m looking for what I lost.

 

 

 

“Working for the Man Sucks!”

By Lloyd Bailey

 

 

Like a bullhorn he bellows,

“Before ye boys breach my domain,

with your bad manners and boisterous ways,

I require an inspection from coiffure to boot tips

beginning with crop, parted firmly down leftern crown,

countenances scrubbed squeaky,

eyes forward and determined,

and chin bare of whiskers.”

 

Now he marches up and down the line,

making adjustments,

“You sir, cannot enter my kitchen

until you starch that collar.

You, tighten up that shirt bottom.

You look bloated about your belly.

You, boy, unbuckle that belt. You’ve missed a loop in the back.

Good Christ man, you consider those pants creased?

They’re flat as a flapjack. Invest in an iron immediately.

Pull up that pant leg, sir. I suspect a sockless wonder.

What’s this? Ankle socks? You, sir, are not your sister.

Calf high gentlemen and colored black.

Now fetch your eyes fellows

and follow this man’s shoe shine”

He bends over and picks some biscuit in the reflection,

 

And continues,

“You, separate six dozen eggs.

You, take the whites, turn them into mayonnaise.

Make it tight.

You, make the yolks into hollendaise.

Snap to it boys. I haven’t got all day.”

As he marches through his office door,

counting,

“1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4.”

 

 

 

“Bellow the Bowery off the Commons”

By Lloyd Bailey

 

Front porch a veritable ashtray,

wooden steps a smoker’s playground

of used butts and char black burns,

ash flakes reign everything.

 

Men speckle stoop sipping coffee,

thousand yard stares,

scattered “yeps” and “uh-huhs,”

foot shufflings and watch checkings.

Ruby sun in western purple sky

intimates time.

 

Tobacco rich air permeates the room –

that pungent after smoke stench –

wares heavy on the place

with a thick black coffee aftertaste.

Pensive is the mood

as eye contacts are made,

and head nods are had.

(Donuts sit stale in a box.)

After serenity is granted

everyone settles in

for the long haul.

 

Experience, strength, and hope

is the message.

New comers are most important,

but none are present.

This is no place for amateurs;

this meeting is not en vogue.

Gravely voices prevail.

Five o’clock shadows

are warranted.

You get two minutes.

Then shut up.

Sip, don’t slurp,

lest you relish the stink eye.

 

Holding hands is forbidden,

same goes for shoulder wraps.

When it’s time

stand up, bow your head, and clasp your fingers.

Now recite the “Lord’s Prayer.”

 

Outside it’s cool, freshing, and dark

save for firefly glows of cigarette tips.

The evening is cathartic.

Men wait to be delivered.

Someone suggest more

coffee and donuts

at a diner

down the street.

Most everyone migrates.

No one wants to be alone,

not at time like this.

 

 

Grant Guy

His Soul Was Operated On

By
Grant Guy

His soul was operated on in 1998
He no longer needed it & had it extracted
He had not loved since 1971

He gave up on man & the world in 1972
When God’s roof caved in on him
He gave up on God in 1963

He could have ended it all

Jumping on the Disraeli Bridge
in the Fall of 1949

 

None of that was good enough

Better to be a thorn in the side of the world

Yes he decided

 

Except he did in a cholera outbreak

In the summer of 1903

 

 

so this is love

by

Grant Guy

 

the twilight zone of love

i don’t want it

you can keep

put it in your pipe

& smoke it

dump the ashes in the ashtray of blues

 

what good is love in the twilight zone of love

 

compost