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October 2010 Issue

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                                   October 2010 Issue

*** Be sure to check out our contributors' bios! ***

Page 1

 

"Out of Space" (painting) .................................................................................................................... Joseph Dolinsky

"Benjamin" (poetry) .............................................................................................................................. David Younger 

"To the Zookeeper on the Hudson" (poetry) ......................................................................................... Sergio A. Ortiz 

"Abstract Space" (painting) .................................................................................................................. Joseph Dolinsky 

"Warmth in Empty Seasons" (poetry) ................................................................................................... Sophia Argyris 

"The Muses' Madness" (poetry) ........................................................................................................... David Younger

"Bye Bye Black Bird" (painting) ............................................................................................................ Adrienne Michalski 

"In Between" (poetry) ........................................................................................................................... Hugh Fox 

"City Angles" (photography) ................................................................................................................. Jon Ready 

"The Tour Guide of Gibraltar Sailed by Today" (poetry) ....................................................................... Ryan Quinn Flanagan 

"cavity" (photography)  ......................................................................................................................... Erica Resnick 

"A Menu of Cerebral Aneurysms" (poetry) .......................................................................................... John Buckley

"One Man's Trash" (painting) ............................................................................................................... Adrienne Michalski 

"To the Crying Venusians" (poetry) ...................................................................................................... Serio A. Ortiz 

"A Timely Maneuver" (short film) .......................................................................................................... Emmett Loverde 

"Hams of August Smother" (poetry) ..................................................................................................... Donal Mahoney

"Darkest Hour" (poetry) ........................................................................................................................ David Younger 

"Bird in a Modern Cornfield" (painting) ................................................................................................. George McKim 

"One of the Ha-Ha's from Old Staball Hill" (poetry) ............................................................................... Donal Mahoney 

"Unravelling" (poetry) ............................................................................................................................ Sophia Argyris

"He Who Watches"
(flash fiction) .......................................................................................................... Daniel Davis

 

Page 2

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"Fire in the Forest Tryptich" (painting) ................................................................................................... Gail Weissman

"vincent" (poetry) .................................................................................................................................... George McKim 

"The Cell" (photography) ........................................................................................................................ Erica Resnick 

"The Need for Thumbs" (poetry) ............................................................................................................. Sergio A. Ortiz 

"To Meld" (painting) ................................................................................................................................ Joseph Dolinsky 

"page 80" (poetry) .................................................................................................................................. George McKim

"Palmer's Gift" (painting) ........................................................................................................................ Gail Weissman

"I've Forgotten Everything I Wanted" (poetry) ........................................................................................ Sophia Argyris

"Pit" (illustration) ..................................................................................................................................... Adrienne Michalski 

"July 1977" (poetry) ................................................................................................................................ John Buckley 

"The Truth About Me" (short film) ........................................................................................................... Emmett Loverde 

"Sissy Spacek in Starbucks" (poetry) ..................................................................................................... Graham Fulton

"Open Plan" (photography) .................................................................................................................... Graham Fulton 

"bursting" (poetry) .................................................................................................................................. Rob Plath

"Persia" (painting) .................................................................................................................................. George McKim

"Here's Looking at You, Kid" (poetry) .................................................................................................... Ryan Quinn Flanagan 

"Doorknob Deconstruction" (painting) ................................................................................................... Joseph Dolinksy

"thinning the herd" (poetry) ................................................................................................................... John Grochalski

"open" (photography) ............................................................................................................................ Erica Resnick 

"At the Zoo" (poetry) ............................................................................................................................. Donal Mahoney

"Cunningham" (painting) ...................................................................................................................... Gail Weissman 

"How to Make Do" (fiction) ................................................................................................................... Timothy Raymond

"Stress Evokation"
(painting) ............................................................................................................... Valerie Patritti

"The Stray" (movie trailer) .................................................................................................................... Tom Ford

"Yes, No." (flash fiction) ........................................................................................................................ Minette Amesz

 

 

 

Out of Space

 

 

Benjamin



Lamb-tender, honey-fragrant, doll-handed boy -
how did you end up curled up here,
a petal in my palm?

I give you what a poet gives,
words of colour, words of light,
words that trace like fingertips
the contours of your smile.

Was it the wind that whirled you in,
a bandaged wing, a whispered song,
or was it chance that made my lips
to lull you,

my arms your cradle?

 

 

To the Zookeeper on the Hudson


 

When I was ten, a pedophile

covered my naked body

with leaves and spider webs,

then left me for dead and oh,

I was so sick with anger.

 

Fifty years later your spidery jaws,

and spineless back entered my bible

and boarded my Ark like a baboon

courting The Tree of Knowledge

with its bare ass clambering around

 

like a deformed cunt on the long coastal

line of insincerity and oh, how you

made me laugh with anger. 

Knowing is standing in the nude

on the porticos, the rotundas of my courtyard

 

watching you clean the manure

in the Hudson, barren mother

of an adopted blank face idiot,

old cow with the dull stars.

 

The vowels of your Polish name fall

like empty echoes to the least

of all my canyons.

Or was it that you thought my pen

did not have clout?

 

 

Abstract Space

 

 

 

 

Warmth in Empty Seasons

 

Our day seems covered by a swan's wing

soft feathered white that still falls.

 

Turning to me you say nothing, and your quiet

slides away to meet a vacant air.

 

I welcome your silence as a lover,

and your absent voice opens a warm breath

 

that shudders out, lonely in a barren world,

a wisp of pale sigh rising.

 

Our eyes are glaciers that will not melt,

untamed, distant, shining in their transformation;

 

where salt water once spelled complicated

arguments across hot skin, now nothing stirs.

 

Glassy and still as skies we wander in

the dazzling bright, crystalline hours.

 

No blood flows through the veins of this day

no colour spoils its marble purity,

 

until a moment of tenderness dissolves

us into oceans, alive and humming,

 

reminding other liquids to be fluid,

so with drip drip drip begins the thaw.

 

 

The Muses' Madness



A thrumming paranoia strums my nerves
and plays upon them, awkwardly, its verse
so out of tune and terrible to hear
it wrenches from me neither laugh nor tear
but lays upon my fragile sense its curse
and fills me with a shrill, unwilling fear.

The Muses’ madness is an alchemy
that turns despair to gold, a mystery
that melodies of manias compel
to work upon distracted minds its spell,
or so at least was felt by Socrates,
and poets, too, as far as I can tell.

Psychotic keys will open up the doors
to Phoebus’ temple frequently and more
successfully than music’s discipline,
for creativity is kith and kin
to craziness, as prisons are to laws,
as love and passion are to mortal sins.

And, yet, this fear I feel won’t write a line
but keeps me crippled, silenced and alone
clutching to my chest the Ace of Cups
and Temperance until the madness stops
and staring at this Celtic cross, a sign
of balance that eludes the mad, perhaps.

The pipes of Pan will make you slice your ear
as Van Gogh did, so my advice is, Steer
clear of melancholy and neurosis
and don’t think lunacy’s a bed of roses
without the thorns, or think psychotics hear
the voice of God, like some befuddled Moses.

I showed these stanzas to my therapist
who seems to think that I’m a fantasist —
but what does he know, scribbling on his pad,
commenting on difficulties I’ve had
and eyeing up the Rolex on his wrist?
What do these doctors know about the mad?

I know my mind; I know the things I’ve done,
I know my art won’t change the final sum
of all my fears, or make up for the pain
that always sings the same crackpot refrain:
“The poet who takes up the madman’s drum
will live his life, if not his art, in vain.”

 

 

Bye Bye Black Bird

 

 

 

In Between



In between the first WAH
and the last RRRF,
between first into-the-gorge
plunge and the final carcinogenic
deballing, between the first
Steinway creation chords and
Satie-ian non-melodies and
banging the key-cover on
your frozen claws, between
the first poem-vision sliding
down the Wordsworthian hills
to the final cybernetic listening
to the muse-voices crackling
into your amplified ears,
those legs, those veins,
those mammalian feeders,
wheel-chairing down the
last corridor to make a
reservation on the right
hill in the WE HOPE wilderness
sleepyard.

 

City Angles

 

 

 

The Tour Guide of Gibraltar Sailed by Today


                       

The tow truck

outside Schnipper’s

sloppy Joes

in Brooklyn

was hauling away

a rusted out

Chevy Cavalier

and I felt really

bad.

 

Most people went about

their business

without the slightest

care

while a few curious onlookers

offered a momentary

glance,

but I could tell

they only saw a tow truck

hauling away

a rusted out

Chevy Cavalier

outside Schnipper’s

sloppy Joes

in Brooklyn.

 

They did not see

poor Ezra

in that wooden cage

being dragged

through the streets.

 

Singing the virtues of Mussolini

to the end

like a black breasted cockatiel

in the mouth

of a cat.

 

 

Cavity

 

 

 

 

A Menu of Cerebral Aneurysms

 

Breakfast begins with tender, long-simmered steel-cut

oats, fresh-squeezed juice, a sudden ozone crackle,

and a splitting headache, immediately followed by

falling forward and nothing and nothing and nothing

at all. Someone somewhere inside has tripped over

the power cord and fumbles around for the outlet. On

the outside, the cat may sniff at my toes, checking their

freshness. My wife soon returns from the store, maybe

cries, pulls my frozen face from the blue bowl, wiping

clear my porridged corneas, and calls the ambulance. I

slowly come to in the hospital, prepackaged oatmeal

and orange-flavored drink on the tray next my bed.

 

Lunchtime is a fine time for a tuna-salad sandwich

and potato chips, maybe an apple. Every crunch from

the celery, from the pickle, from chips, from the fruit

builds a crunch in my head, a painful crescendo. I dial

nine-ow-one-fuck-one-mom. Later they talk about

serious things, congenitally weak cranial veins, perhaps,

no telling what the next one will accomplish. Life in this

world becomes much like chewing on fresh popcorn

covered in tin foil or copper. Constant pain, constant

fear of crisp sounds and fishy smells. I sniff every

sandwich and wince. What will trigger the last wacky

episode? What will detach the hot throbbing machines?

 

All hail the Las Vegas dinner buffet! Lobsters, shrimps,

baby-back ribs, thick Argentinean steak drizzled with

chimichurri sauce. cheesecake, and éclairs build a fat-

and-protein utopia in my belly, through all of which

winds the mighty Beer River, a golden, gleeful deluge.

I am large, I contain multitudes of foods. Before I can

unbutton my cargo shorts to release the pressure, the pop

hits hard, explosive all over, triggering too a mighty

shart thundering in khaki. Soiled, popped like a boiled

tick, I lay on my back in a spreading shit puddle and

stare at the ceiling. That almost felt wonderful, barring

the brainbleed anxiety and shame over pooping myself.

 

Now it is four in the morning, now is the time I was born.

Leftover pad kee mow whispers to me in bed, calling out

to me from its takeout container, to rescue it from a flat

and noodly existence. I will leave my wife’s salty-fish

fried rice alone; the other, however, is mine. I stumble

into the kitchen. I go to the drawer and get a fork. I open

the fridge door, lean over, and look for white boxes. I see

the bright curve of the little light bulb and I whimper,

just a little; I fall in the light from the fridge; all of my

time constantly comes to an end as I crumple forever,

caught on a shining event horizon surrounding the light

from the bulb in the fridge. I never do hit the ground.

 

 

One Man's Trash

 

 

 

To the Crying Venusians


 

My skin shrieks,

a cave dweller notified

of yet another death,

 

I did not want to leave

a trail for redheaded dragons

with fiery tongues to terrify

 

empty lighthouses,

meadows, and the jingles

of readers on my day

of resurrection.

 

Queen Lazarus unwraps

my feet with the grace

of a deer tutoring my hands

in the art of dying.

 

Daddy, daddy, daddy

my knees are skin and bone.

 

I wear a pink triangle

and numbers tattooed

around my ankles.



A Timely Maneuver

 

 

Hams of August Smother


 
The folks are angry, really.
They can’t explain the diaper,
yet they would explain poor Jack.
It’s a plot, you see, to show
poor Jack’s been had.
 
Folks can’t see why
no matter what Jack does,
even if he scrubs
in water warm enough
to soften turnips,
 
sheathes himself
in eaus, colognes,
dons, perhaps, a silk of talc,
folks can’t see why the night
still squats on Jack,
 
jiggling its hams
of August smother.
Or why the cleric in the courtyard
chants, ”Elements of Jack
will always reek.”
 
It’s a plot, you see, to show
poor Jack’s been had. That’s why
the folks are angry, really;
they can’t explain the diaper,
yet they would explain poor Jack.
 
 
 

Darkest Hour



Smoking Hamlets, drinking coffee
in the garden before dawn,
my self alone affirms the purple sky,
my hermit self alone
betrays the solitude of fading stars
anticipating morning.

A country song plays on my radio,
a cry of distant woe
uplifts my lonely soul and makes her sing
as true as Patsy Kline
out walking after midnight, crazy blue
as Appalachian crooning.

Feeling freely, thinking clearly,
I let my glasses slip,
it doesn't matter what I say or do;
my pilgrim soul has seen
the rays that shone on eyes that never saw
impossible uprisings.

Help me Jesus, help me see me
in this garden before dawn,
my shepherd self delivering a truth
my self alone can know;
help me now to see my life laid bare:
my future's dawning.

 

Bird in a Modern Cornfield

 

 

 

One of the Ha-Ha's from Old Staball Hill

  Ballyheigue
  County Kerry
   Ireland
 
 
That man over there
with his head in the well,
his thumbs in his ears
and his arse in the air
like a zeppelin at moor,
if he can write poems
the Ha-Ha’s will read,
all of the Ha-Ha’s,
no matter the breed,
even the Ha-Ha’s
from Old Staball Hill,
if he can write poems,
then poems he will.
 
 
 

Unravelling


 

Twelve floors up he can see the space between the clouds.

Seasick blue makes him think of falling.

 

Once, on a train out of the city,

watching the people move like

long-limbed insects over the platforms,

and houses pushing up like fungus between the trees

he thought

 

if he was somewhere, barefoot, feeling the planet beneath him

making its ponderous turn, lying skin to stone

sacrificed to the elements, (heat, cold, damp)

finding their way into the shadows of his body,

the corners of the foliage, he would know he lived.

 

But twelve floors up he's empty;

clinical open-plan climate controlled,

void of movement except fingers

clambering over keyboards like great spiders.

Twelve floors up he understands how

people attempt suicide without

knowing their own reasons.

 

 

He Who Watches



          Randy hefted the stone in his hand. Good-sized; it filled his palm. With his free

hand he wiped back his bangs; then he wet his hand in the creek and swept it through his

hair. His bangs held for a moment then fell back, damp this time and smelling of fish.

          The October breeze was cool; it had been warm recently, but fall was finally

starting to settle in. That was fine with Randy. They lived in the country, which meant if

it snowed too much they didn't have to go to school.

          The sun was out, but he couldn't feel it on his skin like he could in August or July.

The temperature was nice enough though, the wind was cool but not cold, and the sky

was so crisp and blue it could snap in two, as his mother said. The trees had changed at

some point—he hadn't noticed them, 'cause who the hell watched trees, but they'd gone

red and yellow at some point in the past few weeks. The creek was lined with them, but

where he stood was just sun and grass, and he found that he liked looking at the trees

now. They were beautiful—not a word he would ever use with his friends, or even his

parents, and certainly not with his brother, but that's what the trees were now, beautiful,

damned if they weren't. He smiled, watching them, then looked back at the creek again.

          He stood still, the rock in hand. The creek waters were shallow and slow; they'd

been raging just a few days earlier, after the rains, and Randy had waited for this

weekend, until the waters calmed down. No chance he'd ever drown in the Town Branch,

of course, not here where the waters reached a maximum height of two feet after the

heaviest rains, but he'd needed the mud to dry up so he could creep up to the edge of the

creek like he was now.

          A fish swam by, its tail twitching lazily. Randy watched it and waited; it darted

up-stream, towards town, perhaps lured by the scent of garbage that occasionally leaked

into the water.

          Another fish followed it; this one was bigger, a small bass of some sort. Randy

smiled, waiting; the fish was in no hurry, and neither was he.

          When the animal drifted closer to him, he threw the rock. It landed just off-center,

as he'd planned, and was heavy enough to go straight to the bottom of the creek, braining

the fish as it went.

          Now Randy hurried. He stepped forward, getting his shoes wet (he could explain

that, though). He grabbed the fish before it could recover itself, pulling it from the water

and holding it up to his eyes.

          It thrashed in his fist, body writhing as it struggled to breathe. He stared at its

gills pulsing desperately, mouth puckering. The fish was slimy and hard to hold; Randy

tightened his grip, being careful not to squeeze too hard.

          It didn't take long, about a couple minutes. The fish eventually went limp, its tail

sagging, its mouth and gills slowing until each movement ached with desperation.

Finally it just stopped; like the leaves, Randy didn't know exactly when it had ceased to

live—it just died at some point, its life winding down like a broken clock, until at last it

ceased to tick.

          He held it away from his face. He had expected a change, but the eyes remained

the same, staring ignorantly at some point beyond him. He tilted the fish up, then down,

checking it over, but there was nothing different, no sign that this fish was dead except for

the fact that it wasn't moving. Even holding it he couldn't tell. Maybe if it was something

warm-blooded, like a possum or a mouse.

          He frowned, then threw the fish back into the water. The current carried it south,

away from town, towards the lake that lay a few miles distant. Randy watched its body

until he couldn't see it any more, then walked towards the narrow spot where he could

jump over the creek. The leaves rustled overhead. He sniffed his hand and wiped it on

his jeans, then plucked a leaf from a low-hanging branch and stripped it down to its veins.

This time, the change was clear, and he watched closely.