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Spring 2012 Issue

Recent Blog Entries

                                  Spring 2012 Issue

"Moody Jazz" (painting) ............................................................................................................................ Rachel Weissberger

"WAR STORY# 49: Humanitarian Assistance: Potable Water Bottle Delivery" (poetry) ........................... Paul Davd Adkins  

"Today, Afternoon & After Class" (poetry) ................................................................................................  Ernest Williamson III

"Bass Magic" (painting) ............................................................................................................................. Rachel Weissberger

"Born a Lad" (poetry) ................................................................................................................................. Paul David Adkins

"Paddy Murphy's Wake" (flash fiction) ...................................................................................................... Donal Mahoney  

"Fifth Grade Field Trip, Gold Coast Skating Rink, Fort Lauderdale, 1974" (poetry) .................. Paul David Adkins

"Man" (painting) ........................................................................................................................................ Betsy Podlach 

"A:BO:UT PM" (poetry) ............................................................................................................................. Amanda Chartier

"Of Little Faith" (poetry) ........................................................................................................................................ Gale Acuff

"Trust in the Forecast" (poetry) ............................................................................................................................... Keith Moul   

"272 Crater LK NP" (photography) ............................................................................................................ Keith Moul

"Emptying Trash" (poetry) ......................................................................................................................... Danny P. Barbare

"Jazz Trio" (painting) ............................................................................................................................... Rachel Weissberger

"318 WA Larrabee St. Park" (photography) ............................................................................................. Keith Moul 

"Driftwood" (poetry) ................................................................................................................................. James Piatt

"Two Cats" (poetry) ............................................................................................................................................. Danny P. Barbare

"Drummer Girl" (painting) ........................................................................................................................ Rachel Weissberger

 

Moody Jazz

 

 

Today, Afternoon & After Class

 

spilled along the chalk board
were your letters
hints of hemlock
stained the garrulous feud
frozen
in gray marble
beneath my feet


students were transfixed
like inward taste buds
accustomed to numbness
as whenever the teacher
uttered
words
salient expressions,
built with alacrity
smoothly
yet irregularly
along
faces
dead faces,
moved with faint pulses
for the sake of something
beyond
bland
something
captive
like Africa
today
afternoon
and after
class

 

 

WAR STORY# 49: Humanitarian Assistance: Potable Water Bottle Delivery


 
Americans delivered two pallets --
from a distance,
crystal cubes.
 
Boys ran up to heave
this shimmer home
to beaming mothers.
 
But teenage hoodlums
waved them down to play
Bomb the Ameri
cans
 
in the open sewer
behind a burned hospital.
They launched the bottles
 
into the swill
one by one by two by six . . .
Eight thousand bottles bobbed.
 
Ankle-deep,
the commander glared
as laughing boys danced by.

 

Bass Magic

 

 

Born a Lad

“What a pity she wasn’t born a lad.”  - Robert Goulden, referring to his daughter Emmeline Goulden Pankhurst, future British suffrage leader of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). 

 

A common refrain for girls with drive,

with talent and brains.

My father thought boys would rule me

though I instead should rule.  

 

What of it?  I rose to govern

a kingdom of women,

my daughters both princes,

hands on the hilts

of their swords.  

 

My scepter a bullwhip

turned upon me.

My crown a prison cap.

My robe an inmate’s blouse.  

 

When I hunger-struck,

handlers served me royal wine

poured down a tube

shoved past my sphincter

to fill a shrivel of stomach.  

 

Released from Holloway Prison,

two knights escorted me

through the craning throngs,

shouts of Hail to Pankhurst!

Votes for Women!  

 

And the garbage, always garbage

raining on me like favor

bequeathed by some

contemptuous sneer of a god.

 

 

Paddy Murphy's Wake


The priest had been there earlier and the rosary was said and relatives and friends in single file were offering condolences. "Sorry for your troubles," one by one they said, bending over Maggie Murphy, the widow silent in her rocker, a foot or so from Paddy, resplendent in his casket, the two of them much closer now than they had ever been. 

A silent guest of honor, Paddy now had nothing more to say, waked in aspic, if you will, in front of his gothic fireplace.

The moon was full this starless night and the hour was getting late and still the widow hadn't wept. Her eyes were swept Saharas and the mourners wanted tears. They had fields to plow come morning and they needed sleep, but the custom in County Kerry was that no one leaves a wake until the widow weeps.

Fair Maggie could have married any man in Kerry, according to her mother, who almost every day reminded her of that. 

"Maggie," she would say, "you should have married Mickey. His limp was not that bad," but Maggie wouldn't listen. Instead, she married Paddy, "that pestilence out walking," as her mother often called him even on a Sunday but only after Mass. 

Maggie married Paddy the day he scored the only goal the year that Kerry took the trophy back from Galway. That goal was no small thing for Ireland, Paddy would remind us all in pubs, night after night, year after year, until one of us would gag and buy him another drink. 

That goal, he'd shout, was something historians in Ireland would one day note, even if they hadn't yet, and every time he'd mention it, which was almost daily, Maggie's mother would remind her daughter once again that she should have married Mickey and had a better life. 

The final time her mother praised poor Mickey, a screaming match ensued, so loud it woke the rooster the very day her mother, feverish in bed, gurgled like a frog and died. 

This evening, though, as the wake wore on, the mourners grew more weary waiting for the tears the widow hadn't shed. Restless in his folding chair, Mickey put his bottle down and rose to give the eulogy he had needed days to memorize. 

"Folks," he said, "if all of us would holler down to Paddy now, I'm sure he'd holler back. Despite the flames and all that smoke, he'd tell us all once more that Kerry winning over Galway is all that ever mattered. We'll always have cold Paddy over there to thank for that. Ireland never had a better man. St. Patrick himself, I know, would vouch for that." 

The Widow Murphy hadn't moved all evening, but after hearing Mickey speak, she began to rock with fury as she raised a purple fist, shook it to the heavens and then began to hum her favorite dirge. The mourners all joined in and hummed along until midnight struck on the mantel clock and then, as if released by God Himself, the mourners rose, one by one, from folding chairs and paraded out beneath the moon, freed by a hurricane of the Widow Murphy's tears.

 

FIFTH GRADE FIELD TRIP, GOLD COAST SKATING RINK, FORT LAUDERDALE, 1974

I gripped the handrails like a boy wearing polio braces.

Girls’ hair ribbons streamed past –

antenna flags.  

 

The DJ called for Couples Skate.

Two could now flow arm-in-arm

like honey across a table.  

 

I called my friend.

He hadn’t tried the rink all day, elected to wobble

fumbling for quarters

at the pinball machine.  

 

We hugged the walls.

Leisure suits and polyester dresses

swirled past us.

Laughter mixed like

coke and cherry Icees melting

on orange tables

by the cold, half-eaten hotdogs.  

 

The DJ cut the song to bellow –

No boy couples!

We groped the rail

to leave.  

 

We didn’t find it wrong

to hold each other up

though the laughter now pricked us

like straight pins our mothers failed to find

when we tried on the dress shirts at Sears.

 

 

A:BO:UT PM

 
Venetian blinds writhe,
distorted caricatures of
seemingly-phosphorus plastic;
from my head-rush pose,
pillows akimbo and ankles to Jesus,
I spy an osprey peering into my cage.
 
 

Man

Of Little Faith

 
Some day I'll stand at the altar with her,
Miss Hooker, my Sunday School teacher. I'm
in love with her bad but she's 25,
I'd bet, to my 9, so every night
I pray God will do something about that,
somehow juggle the numbers so that we
become the same age, 18 maybe, so
I can have her and she can have me, too,
and we'll get married and have as many
babies as God will give us, how that works
exactly--I don't know but if I still
don't know by then Miss Hooker will show me,
she's a good teacher and I can learn fast
 
when I'm interested, even though I
flunked second grade last year but I tried hard,
I truly did, and was made a Special
Student and learned a few things, how to read
and write and I don't think there's too much more
I really need to know beyond letters
and ciphers. But I'm not stupid and in
Sunday School sometimes Miss Hooker calls
on me to lead us all in the Lord's Prayer
and if she starts me out then the rest comes
and I can get it all out and then say
Amen and everyone else says Amen
and I feel like I've accomplished something,
like spelling the capital of Georgia
right and adding 25 plus 9 and getting
the correct answer--36, I think,
or in that area. I never miss
 
a day at Sunday School, I don't do well
in regular school so I'm depending
on God to help me out when I grow up
and even until, and ever after,
by not missing out on Him on Sunday.
I figure what my education lacks
Jesus will make up for--that's what's called faith
and I have that, if nothing else, besides
my parents, who are teachers and so we're
poor, and my dog, run over last year but
he's still my dog, although I can't see him
anymore, and comic books--I can read
the pictures and a fair number of words
and I take good care of them, never fold
the pages back or roll them up. In class
 
last Sunday, I mean afterward, I stayed
behind to walk Miss Hooker to her car
and reminded her to put her seat belt
on and obey the speed limit and use
her turn signals, I think that's pretty smart
but I'm not too proud about it, pride is
a sin--I want to go to Heaven and
might die early, not having many brains
like the other kids and I don't want God
to tell me when I show up in Heaven
dead, You've sinned too much, kid, and didn't pray
enough to be forgiven, so you're off
to Hell, I'm sorry, but those are the rules,
because then I'd be even sadder than
I can be now, when kids make fun of me
in my new second grade class for being
 
in that grade again and my old classmates
say Hello you little dumbass, liked it
so much you're taking it again, huh? So
I want eternal life and God, Who can't
read or write either, I guess, not that He
needs to--I'm not making fun of Him--but
still knows more than everyone else combined
and if He didn't write the Bible He
in-spired it. There's nothing dumb about that.
So I think that God can do what He likes
and I'll keep praying He'll give Miss Hooker
to me and, of course, me to her, her red
hair and green eyes and millions of freckles.
And when she drove away last week I stood
in the parking lot so I could watch her
 
little car shrinking in the distance down
to the size of a pimple and the same
color in the early afternoon sun
until it was gone. And then I walked home
and went straight into the back yard where
Father and I buried my dog, and saw
the new grass struggling through his grave and guts
in every shoot and now I know where I'll
go when I die. I mean, if I have to.
 
 
                                                 

Trust in the Forecast


 
Eventually today’s rain will come.
Each day contains the possibility.
At this season, wind adds to its sting.
We wake needing to protect ourselves.
Stay clear of the bending maple.
Place ripped boughs on the altar
of compost.  Repair to the house
and mimic shivers in the studs.
 
Weather on its way falsifies the wait.
The mind twists the sense receptors
into heresies, visions of pleasure,
cheer, salves, balms in the face of miasma.
 
We of the house face the fundamental truth:
clouds on the move misinform the informed;
air lifts or suddenly drops with humidity.
As with fire, with pain, our world burns
 
and runs with risk into an oncoming cremation.



272 Crater LK NP

 

 

 

Emptying Trash

 

With my sleeves rolled up ripping the plastic bags

Zipping up my wind breaker

On such a cool day;

Flagging them in the breeze

Like the sound of thrashing leaves

Wrinkles of sunlight becoming moonlight

Lining the horizon of the barrel

With night, tying a knot in the day

And toting it

Away leaking coffee and Kool-Aid across the sky.

 

Jazz Trio

 

 

Driftwood

* first published by Westward Quarterly



Tide tossed memories from my mind
Gnarled and misshapen like driftwood
Lie strewn cautiously upon shifting time
Saline bits of warm recollections
Washed ashore on salty dreams
Downy bits of knotty reminiscences
Recreating long lost feelings of
Yesterday’s warm and youthful times
Misshapen but undistorted in meaning they
Once again form beautiful oaken metaphors
For me to study and cherish in song and verse
Lovely smooth tangled wooden poems written
Lovingly in the soft warm summer sand
Leading to future happy memories
Which will be tide tossed upon my mind and
Will once again be remembered

 

 

318 WA Larrabee St. Park

 

 

 

Trust in the Forecast

 

Eventually today’s rain will come.
Each day contains the possibility.
At this season, wind adds to its sting.
We wake needing to protect ourselves.
Stay clear of the bending maple.
Place ripped boughs on the altar
of compost.  Repair to the house
and mimic shivers in the studs.
 
Weather on its way falsifies the wait.
The mind twists the sense receptors
into heresies, visions of pleasure,
cheer, salves, balms in the face of miasma.
 
We of the house face the fundamental truth:
clouds on the move misinform the informed;
air lifts or suddenly drops with humidity.
As with fire, with pain, our world burns
 
and runs with risk into an oncoming cremation.

 

 

Two Cats


A blotch under

The pecan tree, two

Ears, an orange cat

The shape of

Surprise looking

Up at the tree.

Claws on bark.

A possum?

Two cats

Scamper away.

 

Drummer Girl