From Alien Buddha Press,
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Art by Ammi Romero, Red Focks, R. Keith, Henry Stanton, Sarah Hussin,
Marcel Herms, and Juan Carlos Pinto
Literary reactions by Theresa C Gaynord, John Drudge, Heidi Blakeslee,
Linda Imbler, C.F. Roberts, Kevin Ridgeway, & John Greiner,
Chapter 1: Bonez n Thug Unity
Art by Ammi Romero
GODDESS DANCING MANIC PANIC OFF THE EDGE OF THE WORLD by Theresa C. Gaynord
In the middle of NYC
abstract letters danced
on red brick walls,
among rainbow colored
laundry strung high
on thin beams of
lines, held firmly in place
with wooden clips, waving
with the warm breeze.
My body jogs repeatedly
around the perimeter
of the neighborhood
for hours at a time,
and I run as far
and as fast as I can.
Sometimes it seems like
I’m going to fall off
the edge of my world
into a pool of deep thought,
until someone walks by
and finds the remains
of my body,
blood spurting viciously
from all orifices;
through my fingers,
down my legs,
and I scream
a silent scream
and I smile
and hide behind it.
Systematically, my brain
shifts and ramps up,
crestfallen into manic
energy. A monsoon
of thoughts explode
in my head.
on the outside,
on the inside.
Cold Hearts by John Drudge
And trodden upon
We’ve put science
We’ve lost our center
In a spiritual temper
Carved and dissected
From quiet moments
We are mouthpieces
And unwitting participants
In a shrill world
Uprooted from will
And dancing headlong
Into an ethos
And mangled masks
Of cold solace
As our sickness
Seeps into the sea
With our last deep breath
Stirring only silence
At the core
dream slide by Heidi Blakeslee
yellow brick road askew
with side journeys
little green rivulets and hollows filled
I can tell you feel things deeply
Mr. Goodbody skull
and intestines on fire
the thrust of color
as we die, live, die
skulls watching us all
the skulls are always watching
would you like your cake with a side of death?
you don’t have to answer that
but do you?
Velvet Painting by Linda Imbler
An odds and ends store
on the edge of town,
in it resides a most unusual creation.
Upstairs in the corner,
almost hidden from view
As if meant for my eyes alone.
Painted on black velvet
A life-size skeleton seated on the chair,
Right ankle resting on left thigh,
A jaunty physical presence
Perfectly posed for camera or painters eye
As if in need of a top hat and tails.
Face slightly angled,
As if with a secret to share,
Toothsome, wide grin
Normally hidden behind soft lips
And a heart shaped chin.
There is no artist name
On this macabre objet d’ art,
Perhaps the artist’s deliberate act at consternation,
Perhaps was not humored
By an overabundance of Elvis and landscapes.
It’s present home
Almost as if being surrounded
By commonplace objects
Has made it less glaring and repellent.
Here in this niche,
A tucked in canvas,
Maybe the next patron
Will be more voyeuristic
And require its presence closer to home.
Painter statement or joke,
Who can tell?
APOPHENIA NOW! By C.F. Roberts
(Driving under the Influence of AMMI ROMERO)
My mind may not be your mind
my dreams may not be your dreams
your fear may not be my fear
but I might have the fear
If any of this feels as if
your regularly scheduled programming
has been interrupted
My cotton candy animal clouds may not be your chemtrails
my whore may not be your madonna
my anarchy may not be your security
my irrational may not be your
Come with me to the museum
where history is trapped like bugs in amber
bullets tear through flesh, look at the surprise
on their faces
Gods and monsters
if I’m not being redundant
charts and diagrams
scale models show us how we got here
where we’re going
You might be noticing patterns
that’s okay, we do that
you might be connecting dots that don’t exist
that’s okay, we do that, too
You might need to ask
if the whorls and hillocks in my brain terrain
have any co-relation to the roads
and mazes of my mother’s chenille bedspread
and the answer is I don’t know
Come with me to the museum
the way I prepare for the Kali Yuga
might be different from the way
you wrap your Christmas presents
I might be alive
I might be dead
you might be connecting dots that don’t exist
that’s okay, we all do that
ROBBIN’ THE ‘HOOD by Kevin Ridgeway
homeboy is now a skeleton
who drinks the great splash
of malt liquor in his mouth
when friends honor him
with forty ounces to freedom
they pasted back together
In order to uphold justice
a greater evil
while they all attempt
and fail to avoid
living la vida loca
in the righteous honor
of the ‘hood
they were all born
to defend even
if it is to the death.
Kali Blue is my Night by John Greiner
Stuck to my skull
about all around,
dance and let
lips dry lost.
Kali blue is my night
sacrificed on the altar
of blind eyes
open on voids
and the bowels
Chapter 2: Another Election
Art By Red Focks
UNFALTERING STEPS by Theresa C. Gaynord
Day after day
the gray phantasmal world
akin to death
somehow made good
its claim to be called life.
beyond the grasp
not even the four walls
were altogether familiar.
floating within the room
turned to blackness.
Not the darkness of the night
where objects are distinguished
but the negation of light.
Sluggish testimony of sensations,
chants of choirs and expectations,
peel every moment of awakening;
Holiness and genius
ecstasy of the soul
blood among white linen.
Speed of thought
flashes from sunrise
winding nerve cells
in the brain,
proving the devil’s existence,
convulsed with unknowable terror.
Across the plains
shorn of their harvest,
devoid of tender winds
striding upright, are
whirled up dust columns
among coppery-yellow canopies.
Infernal melody of passions.
Missing lost souls
of human eyes,
Outward form remains
with all hell within it.
Intervals of silence
in the empty room.
Dancers, storytellers, snake charmers
shriek aloud to the night.
to the utter blackness of despair.
in the tumult of an hour.
Idiots by John Drudge
Pain will always
Who we think we are
From that which
In love with our suffering
Cultivating dead gardens
In perpetual wonder
Of how illuminating
A glint of sunlight can be
In the face
Of the inevitable
We are sublime idiots
Unable to live in purity
Of jilted reason
In one long
Bleak and unbroken
In our wandering
I only have two hands by Heidi Blakeslee
and one trunk filled with people that I’ve hidden away
for their safety
I can only do so much
I can read so much
emote so much
is it worth all of this
when the end comes down
will my gold chain matter?
god this headache
and god these people who surround me
I only have two hands
The Moroccan Marvel by Linda Imbler
Gaze upon me in all my splendor,
taut, a god in modern finery,
celebrated, robed as a Caesar,
to hold court from my high seat.
Every word a revelation,
every sentence a soft flow of alliterative allusion,
every speech a blast of stupendous recitation
replete with wisdom of ages past present and future,
teeming with reference to other highbrows,
only they will do in this league.
Nevertheless, they too are not immune
to the enchantment of my grand design.
Let me tell you of me:
My own voice a soothing coo,
on the waves of the universe,
effusive across the vast distances.
Such bliss to your sensibilities in my presence,
I picture all that miss me when I am not there,
it is such a privilege to know me, to know OF me.
My well-informed references to the events of the world
declare my stanchions for the entire rendition
of the truth as I alone know and understand it.
I an unyielding in my ideological bent,
knowing all, telling all, seeing all.
I’ve done it all, heard it all ,
No, not heard, the hearing is for others.
Do not interrupt my remarkable diatribe,
laden with magnificent tales of wealth and power,
only as created by me, FOR me,
The single-handedly greatest creation of all ages!
DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN
by C.F. Roberts
(driving under the influence of Red Focks)
in the lower reaches of New Kowloon
strangers walk by
they all seem to have forgotten the sacred
edict of MYOB
as ever space is needed
leave me to my peculiarities,
my imaginary friends,
my worried head full of dogma and ransom notes
it’s none of your concern
rubes continue glaring
whispering to one another
how did we end up in this B.F. Skinner
hit the self-destruct button
for the love of whatever left
that is good
the walls of this city
tower up like walls in a maze
blotting out the sun
strangers walk by
the city is so cold
the city is so cold
AMERICA IS STILL NOT GREAT AGAIN
by Kevin Ridgeway
with hope I will not go into a blackout drunk,
cloudy with a chance of methamphetamine
to distort my perception as a tough
and motherless Frankenstein monster
who is now slightly human after four years
hidden from the permanence of monsters
who control our world and paint our future
so it becomes a fascist country,
now must be clear with the truth:
I will remember every crime
in their covert attempts to silence
my voice with my vote in the shredder
have been thwarted. It is all over
and those chickens have all
slowly come home to roost.
Midday Meal by John Greiner
my bobble head
and my tie is as loose
as my peg leg.
We will run and hide
and hopefully survive
in lunch pails
after the midday meal
has been gobbled down
by our buck toothed lovers
who leave us to hunger.
Chapter 3: Yet to Reap
Art by R. Keith
A Second Chance-Switchboard of Dreams
by Theresa C. Gaynord
Switchboard of dreams and I’m eavesdropping…
There’s a white flower that brightens with the silver of the low moon,
pleasant to touch, feel of vines and glaze of inner leaves flowing in
wind. The stars crowd around it, drink of its beauty beyond all
In the midst of its radiance I can hear your sweet voice telling me
your inner demons, and all I want to do is hold you tight.
The green glow of the fireflies far off in the night thrushes against
of my breasts. I see shadow faces bob softly before the early dawn
outskirts of a city that binds us in time. What are you doing? How
feeling? This maelstrom of silence is taking a toll on my heart. The
the past carved our names in layers of tree wood.
Did you get my messages? Do you know how much I care? I don’t
kind of things very often. Today I saw a red bird come to rest on a
bridge and I thought how cool it would be to be changed and
That feeling of freedom gave me hope, inspired me to think about
you and me
without constraints, happy in the lives of our own making.
Will you forgive me for being a dreamer? I want you to kiss the
small of my neck;
to have encounters with you like this daily. The fire of your
presence is within me,
such tenderness dismantles all my fears, and my bond with you
all anxiety. I can hardly claim to be alone, yet I am without you.
we can fling back that big yellow moon and lay claim to the tulips
If you’ll only give me a second chance.
Are you listening? Did you get my messages? Operator? Operator?
Prime by John Drudge
Objectivity is a lie
It is the heart
That beats the beat
From the breathing
That creates us
Operator by Heidi Blakeslee
Glenda Sue worked as an operator
telling people that their call has gone through
or that they’ll be connected soon
or that they need to wait a moment for the line to open
She was firm, but polite,
chaste, but only until she had a couple glasses of Lime Rickey
Glenda Sue put in long hours to save
for her future
I wonder how that went
I’ll See You At The Tavern, Bring Your Tales
by Linda Imbler
Stories brought in,
stories taken out.
Word weavers with tall pitchers,
spilling drinks and memories.
Stories re-spun, evolved, stellar.
A place where the lonely
do not so feel the stillness of time.
Their tears postponed.
A place where the mad ones come,
to confess and to dream,
to change their realities,
and their biographies.
Narrators in straight backed chairs,
acting as high priests,
wielding their bottles as microphones,
their bar stools their pulpits.
As shadows bloom while night creeps forward,
and shades of gray fill the room,
the high hats have as much chance
to fall from a stool as anyone else.
I’ll see you at the tavern,
bring your tales.
ALL THE PEOPLE IN THIS PICTURE
ARE DEAD by C.F. Roberts
(driving under the influence of R. Keith)
no longer operating
dead eyes exploring
new vistas you don’t see
frozen in time
you will never
speak to them
they will never be
your mom, your sister, your lover, your friend
they died from eating mercury
not a lot of people know that
POEM FOR MAX VON SYDOW
by Kevin Ridgeway
I remember when he stole my girl
and dragged her away from the world,
the same Reaper who scored my mother
a few years before with the warning
he was going to capture my father next.
he never threatens to take me away
because he’s too afraid I’ll scream
until they revive me from his clutches,
but he’ll get us next time, he says
while I blew a kiss to my departed girlfriend
when I saw her pleading eyes over his shoulder
which fueled me enough to turn this all
into his funeral after I pummel the lifeless
and creepy existential fuck out of him
for daring to steal her and my mother
who he promised he would release
them back into this life if I beat him
at a game of chess. But he beat me
and I could not save her
and he doesn’t have the nerve
to come at me yet, but I’m here
waiting for a rematch with that
vacuous, mythological ghoul.
Holy Office by John Greiner
the holy office.
to the sound
of time echoing
as our whispers
by the static
of this bloated now
Chapter 4: Self Portrait Plus Mask
Art by Henry Stanton
ARTISTIC FREEDOM by Theresa C. Gaynord
The Defiant Muse is inexhaustible
he loves to labor without end,
correcting the boorishness of the masses,
playing devil’s advocate,
drawing out the obsessed, the inept, the fatuous,
changing perspective in mid sentence
while others hold on to their immense thoughts;
thoughts which take root in life, devouring soul and flesh,
not realizing they have already conceded their defeat in taking the
This is what lies beneath the supremacy of reason.
The defiant muse knows better.
He writes satirical spoofs.
Many envision him in a raft going over a rocky waterfall;
mostly the peacemakers.
The Defiant muse is different.
He believes luck in love to be a sexual vagabondage.
He is an ideological contradiction.
If his voice is silenced and imprisoned,
then his soul will be frozen.
He will be dead.
If illusions of freedom are bad,
then it was an illusion that gave him life.
Now that his voice has died out.
Now that you have censored him.
Who will watch over him?
Who will watch over you?
Tick Tock by John Drudge
We’re always losing
It’s always vanishing
On the edge of somewhere
Gone just outside
Of our certainty
Into a whisper
Alien Sneak by Heidi Blakeslee
Dress him up as Mark Twain
and throw him out there to vanilla reception
Damn it, alien, at least gussy it up
tell us more about your planet
and your travels
and your travails
I understand why you’d wear a mask in this day and age
sometimes it’s not safe
to be yourself
maybe your spaceship clunked out and you’re stuck here
maybe you think being white is the safest
but I can tell you alien,
depending where you’re located on this planet,
it can be dangerous to be anyone
Don’t Ask the Planoi by Linda Imbler
Don’t ask the Planoi
if it’s possible to live a normal life
and never tell a lie.
Don’t ask the Planoi,
those who juggle visions,
and strive to alter time.
Rebels, with their tricks,
always breaking society’s rules
to no one’s benefit.
They bamboozle the poor with promises
of great wealth,
only to be bought with small coin
at the counters of corner convenience stores.
They maneuver the well fed
to throw away uneaten food,
when there are those who are very hungry.
Deception, illusion, ruse,
modern day devils’ in disguise.
But, we must remember
that they are the ones being deceived,
because they never lose their cauls,
will never see the flip side to the world’s sorrows;
the result of those who work endlessly to
show the world clearly in all its beauty.
A PROPOSED RETURN TO SUPERSTITION
by C.F. Roberts
(driving under the influence of Henry Stanton)
my houngan suggests I wear high
john the conqueror, uncrossing oil,
protection oil but also guardian angel oil
so not to offend said angel
laugh if you want
you need all the defenses you can
get your hands on these days
this angel, that angel, all the angels
baron samedi is a regular,
a frequent flyer on my doorstep
spooky, yeah, maybe if you can’t adapt
if you can’t make a friend of death
how you ever gonna live?
My houngan says I have a
I’ll follow his prescriptions
got my mojo working
and my witch doctor is on the job
MY SECRET IDENTITIES by Kevin Ridgeway
i visited a therapist senior year of high school
who was the father of one of the cheerleaders
in my class. he told me I wore the mask of a chameleon
and investigated photographs of me that proved
I am a shape-shifter who has resembled more people
in the drastic and rapid rotation of my gag bag of masks
in order to pretend I’m everyone in a fantasy
I was committed to, like the one where my mask fell off
and I made love to his daughter
in her cheerleading uniform because my good looks
had finally arrived after a long, cruel puberty
responsible for every alter ego I had over the years
because I was afraid to be myself.
when I graduated from high school,
I ran far away to college and tried
to wear one of the only masks
I remembered to pack and my classmates stole it
from off of my face so that they could all
get to know me and fall in love
with my outrageous fantasies
when three hot lesbian classmates of mine
offered their kisses all over the bravery
of my naked visage as it glowed from
the defiant secret weapon in it’s rampant gesticulation.
Under a Sky by John Greiner
I am a beaming
who lost time
under a sky
Chapter 5: Man With a Mask
Art by Sarah Hussin
The Child You Could Have Been by
Theresa C. Gaynord
of yellow and white,
on curved walls,
were ionized by calcium
while thunder shook
and lightning cracked,
displaying a phenomena
of rotating winds.
A french window
distilled the night
with breaths of quickening
as a little boy in a bed
over matters that small lips
could not express.
He walked on the moon
summoning a dream into his eye
while the sweet scent
of bubble gum
placidly freshened the black
of his helmet, his hat.
Between the white painted porch
of full lilac branches, pink roses
as a screen door
I see the child you were…
lincoln logs kept discoveries,
rock’em sock’em robots masked
twelve licorice pipes
beyond the seas
of a brilliant imagination.
I see the child you were,
as the painter that I am,
framed in the sweet dusk
of the pink night,
betrayed by the world.
A beautiful dreamer
crashing to the floor.
As darkness advanced
you sped off on a cloud.
A dancer with wings,
inner mischief lit
by an escorting star.
Free spirit your soul has flown,
you’ve chosen your domicile.
In Heaven’s time
are there woods made of pine?
Do voices sing and tap to tambourines?
Do your gypsy eyes still hide
behind the flight of fireflies?
Zen Beach by John Drudge
I am a man
Of chosen isolation
And peaceful forgiving
An island unto oblivion
Adrift in solitude
With the break of waves
Washing over nothing
Trickster Spirits by Heidi Blakeslee
spirit kitten trickster faces
surround this man
who probably put them in a bag and drowned
them in the stream by the looks of him
Bela Lugosi, Poirot, Waters, Lou Reed
I can’t get a hold on the guy
but being surrounded by death seems fine by him
and spirit faces
never have a reason to lie
Feel His Disease by Linda Imbler
You have always found a way to haunt me,
although yesterday was years ago.
After each night’s yawns,
and midnight has settled into sleep,
you come with your graveyard eyes,
your persistent motif of possessiveness,
trying to gift me once again
with stuffed animals
that shed decades of lint and false fur,
or jewelry that lost its sparkle,
and now lays in your hand corroded and corrupt.
All the things that never, ever mattered.
Because all I wanted and needed from you,
were not the darkling, nightmare eyes,
but eyes that really saw me,
and reflected the sun.
AGENTS OF THE IRRATIONAL by C.F. Roberts
(driving under the influence of Sarah Hussin)
in all events a good agent is prepared
a good agent knows to abort mission, when to cut loose ends
for the sake of the bigger mission, knows when to proceed
even when it looks like a wash, knows
when to give away the farm and get the hell out
a good agent will always keep in mind that
however small their part, the greater goal is always
to destroy the word and picture machine, to
dismantle the orthodoxy of the established narrative
or any narrative like it
icicles of six fingers clutching,
the car broke down in memphis, a
good agent knows how to improvise in a bind
A good agent is unassuming,
probably looks like a square,
probably looks like your Mom or your Dad
a good agent will flip your world upside down and
you won’t even know what happened.
PINK IS FOR PROTECTION by Kevin Ridgeway
I see him standing in line outside of Whole Foods
his mask a color near pink when he told me to get
the fuck away from him, he was precious to this world
and if I get him infected his family was going to sue me
for everything I lost when I forgot to wear my mask
in order to get along with my family enough
for them to trust me with their lives and so I’m the only
one left here and my new friend in line with me
offers me his spare mask, which was as close to pink
as his was and no one can see any resemblance
in my face of the tribe who left me behind to fend
for myself in a world that is poisoning it’s citizens
with an unstoppable and hysterical madness.
Boca do Inferno by John Greiner
With one eye fine
I look around for
my Ricardo Reis hat.
Pessoa faced I arrive
and drop a pebble down.
always fall short
I watch the moles
scurry about blind
and catch the train
back to Lisbon
to read about
Chapter 6: The Fears of Gun
Art by Marcel Herms
Muse by Theresa C. Gaynord
Echoes beckon him to the purple
cavern in the hills where the
red rose of ecstasy opens its
petals to the white moon. There
he summons with frail gesture the
rendering of flesh over parting flesh
as his mind fabricates with intensity
the color of united breathing. His
muse is black sand. His pen
and paper, a breeze that follows
playfully the dew of his lips
against the drops of his words.
He remembers how they poured into
each other’s arms, their love a
brilliance advanced upon despair. He fears
his sweet dream becoming a nightmare.
Hope by John Drudge
Within the tangled trees
Of our pining
Where great gusts of desire
Mark our moments
Down to the wire
I move among
The wild bird screams
With a reticence
Born from experience
And with each new shadow
Into fading light
My stilted breath
Against my fleeting hope
For a better tomorrow
Dirty Charades by Heidi Blakeslee
Karl Pilkington has no legs
but he’s floating around like he has them anyway
Maybe he’s just on his knees like the rest of us
faces of agony, little micro expressions
hint at unbalance
and half a dog
and multi-eyed animals
and a woman with a cigarette
Karl Pilkington revels in this dirty charade
these characters eeked out
for his amusement
Bad Aim by Linda Imbler
Your bad aim on Earth
will send you directly into the lowest circle
and that you’ll hit dead on.
Speed on, Brother,
knowing you have missed your target,
and must now try to save your own skin,
although your soul is forfeit.
You who threw shade at this house in the form of lead.
Threw shade upon a porch you’ve never seen before,
to do away with someone you’ve never met before,
but only heard of, because they told you this was the place.
You aimed your hate this way, Rascal, in her direction.
She, all of two, sitting on the porch with her dolly.
Speed on, Brother, knowing you have missed your target,
and must now outrun Hell.
INTO THE WHITE by C.F. Roberts
(driving under the influence of Marcel Herms)
striving for oblivion
an ex person
part of the vast ocean
put the sign up for
THIS SPACE FOR RENT
dial 1-800-where the fuck were you when
I needed you?
I want a clean, open slate
I need headcleaner
name your poison
be it heroin, booze, downers
the destination is always the same
the daily noise
like sand castles
Yeah I’ve been there
here is your test pattern for eternity
turn on the Nothing
at top volume
hits you like a building
feel the rush of the tide
sweet roar of the end of all things
into the white
BLOWING OUR BRAINS OUT
by Kevin Ridgeway
the tainted colors we hold inside blend into a toxic waste
when our foreheads explode like hamburger, leaving people
covered in brain matter a color they’ve ever seen before
after a league of clowns tried to pull the finger
on Charlton Heston’s cold, dead hand
when the rifle it’s holding exposes us to the ugliness
we blew our faces off in order to discover
what lurks behind our eyes whose drops of tears
have no where to drip without the flesh
of our cheeks, our teeth chattering in between dry heaves
at the site of all the toxic garbage in our heads
we need to crush it together and shoot it into the ocean
to drown our fears of what’s inside of us in the quick flash
of death in a hideous nightmare that was born from
our inner hell, trying to put an end to a pain that is self-chosen.
White by John Greiner
of sky blue
that fall short,
by the tips
of blackened fingers.
Chapter 7: Debbie H
Art by Juan Carlos Pinto
Tainted Rose by Theresa C. Gaynord
I’ve done nothing for a long time
but listen to the sounds of earth
and sky mockingly taunt me
with a voice my heart cannot reach.
Speech ascends, twirling, spiraling
encompassing volumes of songs
provoking me with sarcastic questions.
Why aren’t you happy?
I hear the bravado of birds as the city
burns with flames of gossip from angry
people that are no more receptive
to the sounds of day and night than I.
This orchestra of indolent waves echoes
as the sun sets receding dreams
before prophetic screams bring a balancing
I am the skeptic who brushes off
the ashes tangled in the wings of my blonde
hair that blooms tainted roses
under eaves of window panes.
I see men hurt others for profit
then retreat to their callous shells screaming,
victim; seizing every object
powered by bones of scornful machinery.
Logic has no place among their fruits
of labor. Soggy clouds do not compensate
horrific treatments with bountiful flowers
that branch free as infidels.
On vain nights, I lie on barren soil
placid and self-contaminated by the curse
of vision and voice, dissatisfied, my soul
internalizes good and evil.
I am in equal balance, both serpent and
primrose razor, built with fissures of
darkness that weep for my sins with infinite
remembrances of gigantic beauty.
Skin Hunger by John Drudge
With a hard wind
Along the river
And an irredeemable
Of the night’s possibilities
The little red jazz bar
On the Rue de la Huchette
And pushed through
With the force
Of a thousand saviors
Into a blood feud
Of human vanity
And the scarlet flush
Of a deep
About Face by Heidi Blakeslee
is she eating? is she singing?
Are there tiny forks in her spoon?
the blondie, the Madonna, the Cecily Strong
these women with their teeth just so
is she made of wood, paper products, gold?
lips disintegrating into teeth
I tell myself,
she’s fine, she’s ok
Tight Clasp Not Yet Undone by Linda Imbler
The melodies we revere,
so tightly float
around our fears
of what might happen to us
should we stop
intoning our spirituals.
These songs, pipe dreams
used while we illude
within our fool’s paradise.
Music as alchemy, to transform
spells of fear and dread,
from diseases and accidents.
So, we continue to sing,
hoping to turn chants into mighty protection,
as a roof against a rain.
THE ICON AND WHAT I PLAN TO DO TO HER by C.F. Roberts
(Driving under the influence of Juan Carlos Pinto)
(don’t be nervous)
it’s all about the ideal
it’s not about the reality
it’s about how the image
is more important than
who created it, who lives
and breathes behind it,
what it represents
the intrinsic value of
this is america
we understand this
we understand the allure of the sacred
we understand the siren call of the picture machine
we understand just how exotic
bus exhaust can be
in late august
(don’t be nervous)
when I get the Icon to myself
and please note it’s important
that I’m saying WHEN
because the hollywood picture machine has told
us you will always fail
in saying IF
so always say WHEN
then you’ll always get the things you
WANT in life
I get the Icon to myself
I’ll kiss her (wouldn’t you?)
taste her soft neck
work my way around her collarbone
because as an american this is my desire
because as an american this is my right
I will tease her nipples with my tongue
I will move down her belly
I will fill my greedy hands with
her hips, thighs and ass
I will feel the bridge of my nose resting
on her perfect
is new york
BECAUSE I SAY “WHEN”
when i’m fucking her
and she’s about to come
I will say
WHAT IF THIS IS IT?
WHAT IF YOU NEVER SEE DAYLIGHT AGAIN?
WHAT IF YOU NEVER LEAVE THIS PLACE?
WHAT IF I NEVER LET YOU GO?
And in that moment
I hope she’ll come as hard as me
because THIS is America
is reality tv
is the infatuation that’s sweeping the nation
is a bus in august that goes nowhere
is what the magical image machine sells us every day
is the american way
is a one way ticket directly into a brick wall at 100 per
is not a tenable existence.
NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH DAGWOOD BUMSTEAD’S WIFE by Kevin Ridgeway
her voice climbed out of the punk rock explosion
on St. Mark’s Place when a mutant babe showed off
her hot legs in a slit dress, crooning heart attacks
at the disco they had once rejected but it infected
the pop charts, their punk rock sneer hidden
in a woman more gorgeous than Marilyn Monroe,
she infiltrated the mainstream to leave
a beautiful skid mark on the cowards
who ran away from the raw power
of her kinky danger as she liberated herself
of all the goodie two shoes who were too afraid
to pierce their cheeks with safety pins
and accuse her of selling out but she seduced them
over and over again with her other-worldly
strip tease of hushed words from out
of record players on the eve of my birth
into a dangerous world with hot mama’s
who fooled and seduced me again and again
so they can shatter my heart of glass. .
In the Flesh by John Greiner
on the shore
at high tide.