Viral Cat

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June 2010 Issue

Recent Blog Entries

                                  June 2010 Issue

*** Contributor's Bios Coming Soon!

Page 1

"Midtown" (painting) ............................................................................................................... Vladimir Ginzburg

"Your Portrait in Primal Tones" (poetry) .................................................................................... William Doreski  

"Taking It Out" (poetry) ............................................................................................................ Kenneth Pobo 

"Eremite" (poem) .................................................................................................................... Corey Mesler

"Summer is Dying" (poetry) ..................................................................................................... Michael Lee Johnson   

"Funeral" (painting) .................................................................................................................. Patrick Murphy

"Midnight Anthem for a Chicago Alley" (poetry) .......................................................................... Donal Mahoney 

"In Living Backwards Merlin" (poetry) ........................................................................................ Corey Mesler 

"Mischa" (painting) ................................................................................................................. Vladimir Ginzburg   

"Missile Silo" (poetry) ............................................................................................................. Lisa Cole 

"Some" (poetry) ...................................................................................................................... Kenneth Pobo

"Into the Woods" (painting) ...................................................................................................... Barbara Lloyd

"Soon Enough" (fiction) ........................................................................................................... Kristine Ong Muslim

"Sphinx" (art) ......................................................................................................................... Dmitry Gubin  

"Bottomless Pit, Roman Bath" (poetry) .................................................................................... William Doreski

Birthday Party (fiction) ............................................................................................................ John Bruce

"Drama Queen" (art) ............................................................................................................... Kyle Hemmings  

"History-L'Histoire" (play) ........................................................................................................ Hugh Fox  

"Blue" (art) ............................................................................................................................ Kyle Hemmings 

East Palestine (screenplay excerpt) ........................................................................................ Terry White

"Window in Soho" (painting) .................................................................................................... Vladimir Ginzburg

 

 

Click Here To Go To Page 2

"Manor Farm" (art) ................................................................................................................. Peter Grzymkowski

"Teaching Young People How To Write Poems" (poetry) ........................................................... Kenneth Pobo

"Nightmare" (art) .................................................................................................................... Dmitry Gubin 

"Cave of Nymphs" (poetry) ...................................................................................................... William Doreski

"Uprooting" (art) ..................................................................................................................... Dmitry Gubin 

"I'm Chasing A Poem That's Chasing Me, for Cheryl" (poetry) ..................................................... Corey Mesler

"Excuse Me While I Put On My Makeup" (painting) ................................................................... Barbara Lloyd

"Caseworker's Rounds" (poetry) ............................................................................................... Donal Mahoney

"End of Wall Street" (painting) .................................................................................................. Patrick Murphy

"11" (poetry) ........................................................................................................................... Lisa Cole

"12" (poetry) ........................................................................................................................... Lisa Cole

"You" (poetry) ......................................................................................................................... Sergio A. Ortiz

"Things Done and Undone in Dreams, Leaving Only What's Been Left Unsaid" (fiction) .................. Rebecca Gaffron

 

 

 

Midtown

Your Portrait in Primal Tones


A camera crude as a nail gun

snaps your portrait in primal tones.

I intend to hang this photo

in the hayloft of the haunted barn.

You’ve never climbed the ladder

into that sleazy space where spiders

pink as scabs build webs as big

as trampolines. Moldy old harness,

busted wagon springs, surly trunks

stuffed with disease-laden blankets

reminisce like items depicted

in seventeenth-century paintings

by Dutch masters we both admire.

 

You want to linger on the night

your sister married and you and I

collapsed over wine in the kitchen

while in the parlor our friends laughed

midnight past, the season changing

in windy streets. A famous time

for exchanging vows: a war ended

in the Far East, another plotting

in the desert where the throb of oil

suggested a rough beast’s heartbeat.

When after hours of play

we returned to the parlor

with out expressions thus unbuttoned

our friends laughed that candid laugh

that sounds like water down a drain.

 

Now you’ve become your mother

and I’ve become my father

because the trees in the Blue Hills

lose track of their leaves and we

lose track of ourselves and others.

Your portrait will hang high in the barn.

Don’t worry if I caught your smile.

Such a crude amateur portrait

withholds itself so thoroughly

not even the creepy pink spiders

dare to desecrate its gaze.

 

 

Taking It Out


You say I spend too much on plants.  I say

you spend too much on glass.  Our cats

spend nothing except energy.  They argue

 

and lick.  Maybe we’re incompatible—

like a dendrobium placed beside a cyclamen. 

Black stems mar the cyclamen while

 

the orchid seizes sunlight.  You say

I make too much out of nothing.  I’m

thinking we have, if our health hangs on,  

 

thirty years left.  I picture cobalt blue

glass hogging all floor space, orchids

blotting out every window.  Crotchety,

 

dyspeptic, will we happily merge into

a glass orchid or

will we hunker down in arguments—

 

prescriptions on the dining room table,

the garbage pail overstuffed, stinky,

but no one taking it out. 

 

Eremite


The wall of my cave is

covered with the bright art

of the children.

The entrance is guarded

by a sheepherding crackie.

The machine that tethers me here

is ancient. In its guts

lie the makings of every book

known to Man.

Sometimes, if the sun intrudes,

it lures me outside a bit.

I stand and crane my neck around,

in perfect imitation of

a man with something on his mind.

Mostly, though, there is just

me and the cave and

the children and the richest poss-

ibilities for accomplishment that

the rusting alphabet can proffer.

 

 

Summer is Dying

 

Outside summer is dying into fall,

blue daddy petunias sprout ears−

hear the beginning of night chills.

In their yellow window box

they cuddle up and fear death together.

The balcony’s sliding door

is poorly insulated, and a cold draft

creeps in all the spare rooms.

 

 

Funeral

 

Midnight Anthem for a Chicago Alley

The lack of visitors is uterine
and that is why you porcupine
in this dark corner. Here
 
who can see the cobra
slither from your lips, spray
the phrases of your mind,
 
slip back to its moist nest.
Here, who can hear the jeer
of cheetah eyes. “Come,”
 
they cry, “pour on the light.
Your heart I’ll lacerate
with razor fright.”
 
 

In Living Backwards Merline


In living backwards

Merlin entered lives through

the rear entrance

and bade farewell on the

welcome mat.

He saw the sun roll across the

sky like a bright marble.

He saw the night come on like

a panther dressed for a ball.

I met him once in a dream.

He put his hand on my forehead,

like a stoic father,

and smiled that smile that smells

faintly of doom.

He said, Little man, keep writing.

In the end I have seen

great beginnings. In the end,

a way to start the day without guile.

 

 

Mischa

Missile Silo


The heart
a missile silo.
Ribs, chest,
a blast door.

At the bottom,
a scathing pool
of water on fire.

 

 

Some

stupid critic tells me don’t write

about flowers.  Be cutting

edge.  Everything for him

 

is trope, trope, trope.  Trope,

trope, trope your boat

gently down the stream—

 

his boat sinks.  Fish swim

through his bones

as if they’re in a glass castle.

 

 

Into The Woods

 

Soon Enough

 

Daniela rummages for her missing arm inside her drawer of dirty books and poster-boy pin-ups from five years ago and finds a spider instead. The spider crawls into her mouth, causes nearsightedness.

For years, Daniela has tried to cough it up. Diet pills, abortion pills, sneezing powder, bitter words -- they go down her throat like ants down the fire-escape ladder to her gut. The spider simply will not budge. Until one day, reading a medical book on eye conditions, the page an inch closer to her face, Daniela makes out on page 339: Under proper circumstances, the human eyeball can be detached upon lifting heavy objects.

Two months. Daniela fights the good fight in search for the "proper circumstances." One time, it even involved the fireman, the hose, and the hydrant. Finally, lifting the sofa with Mr. Flip on it did the trick. And the nearsightedness fades. The eye pops free of its socket. The spider scampers down to her knee cap and begins to cause gas pains.

 

 

Sphinx

 

Bottomless Pit, Roman Bath

A bottomless pit has opened.

Beside it, a shallow depression

lined with tile. A swimming pool?
Roman bath, you insist, although

the Romans didn’t do New Hampshire,

did they? Archaeologists kneel

in the aqua-blue construction.

You warn them that a growling

emanates from the chasm but

they claim it’s only an earthquake,

not Cerberus lapping the bleak

current of the Styx. I lower

a flashlight on a rope and find,

only a hundred feet down, a floor

of ordinary mica schist.

The archaeologists examine

the Roman bath and claim Nero

designed it to commemorate

his victory over the Mohawks.

But only a year later they chased

his legions north to Nova Scotia,

from which they rowed back to Gaul.

The no-longer bottomless pit,

they insist, formed because the bath,

spring-fed, leaked and eroded

a socket-hole in the world.

You’re so excited you dance

at the edge of the pit, and before

I can snag you, tumble in.

You slide thirty feet down the slope,

but when I catch up you’re laughing,

so we shuffle to the bottom

to savor the earthen dark.

We roll around on the mica floor,

enjoying a private moment,

and when we look up we note

the famous noon stars winking

like motes in a Cyclops’ eye.

 

 

Birthday Party

 


      Megan had spent her junior year abroad in the UK, and Alicia Pemberton, an English schoolmate from her time there, descended for a visit not long after Megan and Ed started dating. I don't know how well off Alicia was, but she was certainly well enough off to travel to California on the spur of the moment and stay with Megan for a long time -- long enough, it seemed to Ed, that the only potential constraint was the expiration of her visa.  Of course, if all you need is the money for a round trip plane ticket, and you can depend on your hostess for lodging and most other expenses, then it may even be cheaper than staying home. 

      After some number of weeks, the visit seemed to Ed to be increasingly parasitical.  Not only was he now taking both Megan and Alicia out on dates, but he was paying Alicia's share of movies and meals.  The payback for Megan seemed to be that Alicia flattered her shamelessly in her plummy high-class enunciation.  There wasn't any payback for Ed. 

      Alicia was something of a Mary Poppins, and eventually she started getting Ed organized as well.  One day she called him up.  "You know," she said, "Megan's birthday is only a month away."

      "Yes," Ed said. That was a good indication that Alicia would be staying at least that much longer.

      "Megan is such a wonderful person that we need to plan something special for her." 

      "Whatever you say," said Ed.

      "We must keep it a secret from her."

      "Whatever."

      "I should come over to your place so we can plan it without her knowing.  How would tomorrow do?"

      So they set up a time, and Alicia took the bus over, with an excuse of some sort to Megan.  When she took off her jacket, Ed saw that she was wearing a see-through blouse, and she wasn't wearing a bra.  This was a new look for Mary Poppins.  The problem as far as Ed was concerned was that what was on offer just wasn't very appetizing (even from what I got to see, she was pretty scrawny). He studiously avoided noticing what she was or wasn't wearing, and she left when they'd finished planning the party.  They all went to the San Diego Zoo a month later, and Alicia returned to England not long after that, when her visa finally ran out.

      Ed never agreed with me, but I thought that if things had gone otherwise over the see-through blouse, she intended for him to be her ticket to stay in the US.  He thought she was probably just bored.

 

 

Drama Queen

 

 

L'Histoire/History


    When the curtain goes up there are a number of actors/actresses on stage with costumes that make them looking like walking houses. Sitting around talking.

House Number 1, Town House (A two-story frame house with a front porch, one of the houses that Sears used to sell a hundred+ years ago and that fill the older parts of American cities): I was always so busy. I mean I had my own brothers and sisters all over the place, hundreds, thousands, talk about urban prototypes, circa 1900, but I loved the baby bonnets and cradles, grandmas and grandpas around, the smell of fried chicken,ham, brautwurst,fireplaces in the winter, sometimes too much smoke and I’d cough and scare everyone. “It’s that heavy wind. Maybe we should go down into the basement,” Mama would say, and Papa would answer, “No tornadoes in winter,” and Mama would answer, “You never know.”
    You never knew anything except that grandpa had already died and grandma was crippled and the Lord blessed your mashed potatoes and corned beef and everyone imaginable came for Christmas dinners, and Pa would smoke a huge old cigar on New Year’s Eve and get totally smashed on good old Irish whiskey.

House Number 2, Country house (a country farm house, not too different from the city house, just a little extra room built on back for extra kids, interrupts): What about Ma?

Town House: Never! Ma never touched a drop...except on her birthday!

Country House: Always new grandkids and then great-grandkids, and then the dirt roads get paved and the carriages and horses disappear. Damned cars. I always like animals. Chicken coops out back and pigs and cows for milk. Brother, when the snow came down....

Town House: Get out the shovels, get out the tire- chains and the goulashes.

Country House: Make the fires, get out the sleds and skates, get out the books and let’s read, let’s knit and quilt and maybe a little hunting, lots of naked bodies under the heavy quilts...lots of cornmeal muffins and snowmen and snow-women and Christ comes and dies and is resurrected, Spring and the tadpoles start their screaming...grandma, grandpa, pa, ma...grand, great-great, great-great-grand....

    (There’s a very modern house sitting there, quiet until now, very stark, mostly windows.Frank Lloyd Wright style).

Frank Lloyd Wright House: Oh, you’re all so dreary and weary, ghosts, the dead and the dying...don’t you hate those country cemeteries with a hundreds graves in them, most of the headstones you can’t even read.

    (He/she begins to  sing and dance)

    What’s the point, it’s all light,
    brightest, brighter, or just bright,
    let in the day, let in the night,
    they keep your spirit all just Wright.

Country House: Not Frank Lloyd Wright, but Frank Lloyd Wrong Not Wright but blight....I want....I  want to go back to before TV, before Edison, Ford, paved roads. Hail to the horses and carriages, to candlelight and fireplaces, a back porch chimney facing the forest, you throw out a cob of dried corn and the next morning there’s not a kernel left...squirrils, racoons, moles, bats, porcupines...I had a friend out in Washington state who had cougars no less in her back yard.

Frank Lloyd Wright House: Come on! How can country houses in Michigan have friends in Washington state?

Country House: How can the universe be infinite and if it’s finite what’s it contained inside of?

Town House: Beer times. Beer parties, always redoing front porches, adding a room on the garage, a little passageway between garage (where the horses used to be) and the house, always redoing floors, ouch! Re-roofing, re-siding, let’s add some Corinthian columns to the front porch. I like the old neighborhoods untouched, like a convention of old people with their parasols and canes, ‘Maggie, how’s them knees?,’ “How’s that prostate, duckie?,” “How about them eyes?,” you know what I mean?

    (Suddenly a tent-person comes in, all young and full of sarcasm.)

Tent-Person: All you old guys and gals, my God in heaven, as if age meant anything. It’s all here and now. Here today, gone tomorrrrrrrrow....come back in another five hundred years and where will all the old towns be then...? Old towns and old ghosts. Total nonsense. (Begins to sing):
        
                It’s here and now,
                Reve up that plow,
                Ain’t no one left to bow
                to,
                turn up the noise,
                it’s all just toys,
                girls and boys in their tombs
                too....

    (The County House stands up solemnly).

Country House: One shard of ancient pottery, one bone, one inscription, tells it all, Ahu, the Assyrians and Phoenicians, Tiawanakans, Cro-Magnons, Neo-, Paleo-lithic, pre-lithic, hanging from an old-town tree, I wanna see it all, come back, new actors vielleicht on my old town house-stage, but the old bricks still there, ghosts and newcomers mixing together like salad...no breaks....CONTINUITY....

    (All the other houses applaud, then stop applauding, stare at the Tent-Person who begins to feel bad/guilty, and then applauds too.)


                    Curtain
    

Blue

 

 

East Palestine