Colin James

Two poems

AN ANTI THEIST’S SURRENDER

The lines of children were cognizant
of an uprising. This was evident in
their diffidence to the wind and the way
scars healed from the inside despite
a continuous onslaught of moral beatings,
the noble bullies barely having time to adjust.
Fatalistically, the swooning became the resolve.

CHOKING ON AFFLUENCE, THE COUGH SYMPTOMS

I watched some human like insects
scale my foot and drill into
the bone above the ankle.
I felt nothing.
Waist bent anomalously
ears, eyes closer.
They climbed higher
voices, not pronounced words.
They reached the top of my head
just as the sun was giving up.
I went cross eyed trying to explain,
this was not substantively organic.

 

Colin James has a book of poems Resisting Probability from Sagging Meniscus Press and a chapbook A THOROUGHNESS NOT DEPRIVED OF ABSURDITY. He lives in Massachusetts.

Philip Loyd

Elephants Never Forget

I sneaked another peak at her across the bar, trying my best to not look like I was looking, but it was too late, she had seen me already.  Why was I trying to avoid being seen?  Because I was shy?  Not hardly.  I was lonely, and I didn’t want to look like it.

More than that, I was horny, REALLY horny.  The only problem was, she was fat: hippopotamus fat.  It was nothing a few more beers couldn’t take care of, however, and anyway, there’s no shame in being lonely.

She looked familiar.  Maybe I had seen her before.  She just had that look about her, like I knew her from somewhere.  I looked in the other direction, but it was too late; she was already on her way over.

“Excuse me,” she said, “but you look so familiar.  Do I know you?”

“I’m not sure,” I said, still trying to pretend like I hadn’t been looking.  Loneliness is a hideous bitch.

“I’m sure I do,” she said.  “Do you come here often?”

If a man had said that, it would have been a line.

“Not really,” I said, “at least, not anymore.  It’s been fifteen years since I moved out west.”

“It’s just that, you look so familiar,” she said.

“It happens.”

“Where do you live out west?”

“Aspen.”

“Aspen?” she said. “Cool.  I’ve always wanted to go to California.”

So she was dumb.  So what?

“Are you from here originally?” she said.

“Yes, just down the road.”

“Did you go to Briardale Elementary?”

“Yes.”

“Small world. Me, too.”

“Small world,” I said.  “Would you like another beer?”

Stupid question.  Turns out, the fat cow could drink me under the table.

She said her name was Kelli.  Kelli, with an i.  Kelli with an i ?  That did sound familiar.

“My name is Jeffery,” I told her.  “Jeffrey Joe Paul.”

“Jeffrey Joe Paul?” she said.  “Of course.  I knew I knew you.  Kelli Kirkpatrick.  We went to McKinley High together.”

“We did?”

“Yes, silly.  Mrs. McGonaguill, homeroom.  Don’t you remember?”

“Kelli Kirkpatrick?”

“In the flesh.”

As we continued talking, drinking more and more beer, it all started coming back to me, where I remembered her from, and it surely wasn’t Mrs. McGonaguill’s homeroom.  It was here, right here at this very same bar.  My only hope was that she had forgotten all about it.  The problem was, elephants never forget.

“You don’t remember meeting here?” she said.

Damn!

“Not as such,” I said.  I was lying.

“Granted, it was a long time ago,” she said, “but I remember it just like it was yesterday.”

Of course you do.

“It was the night of the big fight, remember?” she said.  “You and I ducked out just in the nick of time.  Then we went down to Lazy Dave’s, then back to your place.  Still don’t remember?”

I told her sorry, but I did not.

“We made love until the sun came up,” she said.  “Of course, I’ve lost a lot of weight since then.  Maybe that’s why you don’t recognize me?’

elephant

Lost a lot of weight?  Sweet Jesus.

“You told me you would call,” she said, “but you never did.”

That’s because it was a line, you stupid cow.

“I tried calling you for weeks.  I called your house, I called your work, I called your mother, I came by your apartment, I left notes on your door, I sat on your porch all night waiting for you.”

Of course I remembered.  It’s the whole reason I moved to Aspen in the first place.

“So what happened?” she said.  “Why didn’t you call?  You said you would call.  I was waiting for you to call.”

You’d think at this point a guy like me would have enough sense to get the hell out of there.  You’d think that, but you’d be wrong.  Remember what I said about loneliness?  It’s a hideous bitch, and it’s no goddess.

I decided to deal with it the same way I deal with most of my problems: by drinking more beer. By morning I realized, I was going to have to move again.  I hear Atlanta is real nice this time of year.

 

Philip Loyd loves fat chicks and cheap beer, though not necessarily in that order. His first novel, You Lucky Bastard, is represented by New York Literary Agent Jan Kardys. Loyd lives in Dumbass, Texas.

Bill Cotter

Two Poems

COMING UPON

Incautious, still, and breaking the peace
Of the lake, I hear the swan’s unease
And sense, in its startled trumpetings,
Time is measured in the beating of wings.

Across the brown veined beds of reeds
Now rippling and dropping their silver beads,
There comes the sound of whisperings,
“Time is measured in the beating of wings.”

Coerced from shadows into light
And tense with the need to take to flight,
She knows, caught in the water’s transient rings,
Time is measured in the beating of wings

And, so, on the heard puffs of air,
She rises, high and higher, where,
Expanding and blue, the sky sings,
“Time is measured in the beating of wings.”

ECHO

from Bird Song

I cannot replicate the sweetness of those notes
I heard at dawn; the player’s joy
Is his alone. But, yet, in hearing, floats
A raft of memories to buoy,
Persist, but never cloy
And so, on the fading edge of dusk and thought
There remains an echo of a song and the joy it brought.

Jesse Bant

The Music Man in the Sky

There was a flautist jamming in the stars, and I used to sit watching, seated on air. He made me cry one day but I wasn’t really that sad. His tunes were just too good, they had me skating around upside down all over the icy place. Didn’t know which way was up, so it rained.

Well it was just too bad.

One day I was doing my thing in the rainy cold sky when I cast my binoculars to the shoulder of Orion. There were attack ships on fire, but where was the Music Man? I couldn’t hear anything, there was only silence and then you’re sobbing.

Who are you and what have you done with Jammin’ Sam? Why am I now crying too? That skull in your uplifted palm, who does that belong to? Ah, I have detached my self from myself again, it is only my humbly decaying corpse who intrudes upon my pleasure.

So is this the skull of that musician? Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio.

No, it cannot be, for…

It be. How sad.

The stars are out in force tonight, they form a – a skull. So that is where you got to, you flutey fellow of infinite zest. Your body has been broken down into carbon, which has been then gravitationally sucked into a super-hot funky party. It seems that they have now exploded into a strangely sinister silhouette. That’s how you would have wanted it, Jammin’ Sam.

I best be off now. Intransient water-based beings like my good self haven’t any time for such trivial blowings-on of some jazzy musician.

I am crying.

Where did the music go? Your songs?

But up there, kicking it with the stars, I would listen all night. Now your skull smiles down on this ethereal dude. I don’t mean to be rude.

In my mind’s eye I still hear the tunes. Rhythm and blues. So take off your shoes and salute to the flautist who jammed, the soundtrack to the universe.

To that superheated constellation (who used to be Sam), which now grins fatally at those mere mortals who dare to jam.

To the mortals who dare to jam, salute.

To the end of time, play on, play it again, and don’t stop playing.

You may fall quiet (as Sam did), but others will play on.

For the past I weep, for the future I laugh. Aint it always the way. Till another day. To the flautists I say do continue to play. It is the price you will continue to pay, immortality for eternal musical appreciation, because I will remember.

I still remember the music man in the sky.

Holly Lalena Day

Three Pieces

Pat Buchanon

Make me believe you, Pat Buchanon,
icon preaching from the shaky t.v. screen, sandwiched between Kmart
blue-light specials and ads condemning herion
my own brand of shakes. Raise my body, cruciform
from this nightmare of cold sweats and invisible centipedes
this place empty of everything and nothing, the words „junky“ and „nigger“

that greet me every morning. The kike
that owns my building worships Pat Buchanon,
gives me that sour look as I walk past his own room, free of roaches
stocked with knickknacks and furniture I could only dream of finding at Kmart
during any sort of special. I slip pictures of Jesus, spread cruciform,
under his door, something in exchange for the herion

he never has. He’s the one that got me started on herion,
old Yid doctor, him and his wife who looks more like a Chink
than a Jew—watched her body bend, cruciform,
opening for me the first time we kicked together, Pat Buchanon
omnipresent on the t.v., and again in my room, on my own Kmart
linen, flicking and stomping out German cockroaches

crawling on the walls and the floor. I arched like a spider
over her tiny soft body, felt the herion
try to steal my erection as the t.v. blared Kmart
commercials in another room. I don’t know what nigger
would or could watch t.v. while his wife was getting the Pat Buchanon
from someone like me. I closed her cruciform

around my small wounds, closed her cruciform
around me, against the onslaught of millipedes
and roaches, closed us off from a world of Pat Buchanon
sound bites blasting eternal, asked silent what herion
did for her, little rich girl, having her night out with a black man
while her husband ate popcorn and puked, junk-sick himself, during Kmart

intermissions where everyone looked just like his wife. In Kmart,
you never find teenaged white models, lying cruciform
on beachtowels, modelling swimsuits. You find nigger
drug addicts pushing overflowing shopping carts of ant and roach
killer, some new form of drug less addictive than herion,
the people master Pat Buchanon

likes to pretend don’t exist: the minority coloured that don’t like Buchanon
either, crawling from crab-infested beds to face working at Kmart
binding themselves, cruciform, to each other, like herion.

Boots IV

Boots kicked the boy.
The small boy was lying in a pile of corpses.
Someday, a woman will trace the long white scars on your back and ask where they came from.
He scattered a handful of razorblades on the ground.
Someday, your own son will go to war.
This will all fade to yearly get-togethers with old army buddies.
Someday, reporters will ask you what you did during the war.
You will get a brief five minutes on a Time Life home video for this.
If your child is born with no arms or legs, will it seem unfair?
All the old ghosts will be replaced with new ones.
Boots stood nearly seven feet tall.
The man reached into the left breast pocket of his uniform.
Boots had hair so blond it was almost white.
Boots dragged the small body over the pile of blades.
„Let’s play a game,“ Boots said to the boy.
The child’s arms were around the waist of his mother.
In war, certain people become shining stars.
Skin peeled away like the flesh of a potato.
„You are not really dead.“
A piece of metal sank deep into the boy’s pale cheek.
Someday, your child will ask you what you did during the war.
The boy’s eyes opened as if in shock.
He swung the little boy high into the air, high above the bodies of his dead parents.
No blood poured from the black holes in the boy’s body.
Bombs went off in the background.
Bombs set just over the next hill, a sunset in the wrong direction.
Boots grabbed the little boy’s right hand and right foot.
The sharp metal of the razors sliced thin through the boy’s face.
Someday, this will all be washed away in Prozac numbness, in the peace of a military nursing home.
Boots had a very large penis.
Boots made a point of inserting his penis in every dead person he came across.
He swung the little boy lower, lower to the ground, until the body was dragging over the ground.
The white of the little boy’s eyes stared straight at Boots.
„You are not really dead.“

Donor

When I think about my brain
deep inside my head, I take
another breath. I think about
my lungs, giant airbags inflating,
deflating, deep inside my chest.

The bones protect them. Protect
me. They are a cage for my
potentially rebellious organs. I can feel them
deep inside my body, waking up,
going to sleep.

Waiting for that
potential auto accident,
anaesthetised surgery, when the
ivory gates are opened, the prisoners
exposed. Ready to leap out and
escape. My heart rattles against the
backs of my lungs, rattling at the bars
of my ribs.

I could refuse to breathe,
let them atrophy to nothing,
cave them into
submission.

I can feel them deep inside me
waking up
going to sleep

ready to leap out
at the slightest
provocation

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