49 Apophenia Ransom Notes (free WordPress Version)

From Alien Buddha Press,

To our readers & contributors

 

Big Green hopes that everybody is safe, healthy, and able to find the food and supplies they need to get by in these challenging times.

 

ABP will be providing more, free online content like this on our wordpress page during the quarantine.

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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

12312

 

 

 

 

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,

white starched,

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,

 

drowning,

until someone walks by

and finds the remains

of my body,

blood spurting viciously

from all orifices;

stream lining

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.

Hurt yourself

 

on the outside,

kill yourself

on the inside.

 

 

 

Cold Hearts by John Drudge

 

Gone

And trodden upon

We’ve put science

Above love

We’ve lost our center

In a spiritual temper

Of symbols

Carved and dissected

From quiet moments

We are mouthpieces

And unwitting participants

In a shrill world

Unto itself

Uprooted from will

And dancing headlong

Into an ethos

Of dread

Fragmented forms

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

with eyes

 

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,

All smile,

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,

It’s creation

Perhaps the artist’s deliberate act at consternation,

Perhaps was not humored

By an overabundance of Elvis and landscapes.

 

It’s present home

Seems well-suited,

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

 

anyway

 

If any of this feels as if

your regularly scheduled programming

has been interrupted

you’re right

 

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

 

comfort zone

 

anyway

 

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

 

anyway

 

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

 

 

anyway

 

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

 

anyway

 

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

together against

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

cleared out

they chatter

about all around,

dance and let

lips dry lost.

Kali blue is my night

sacrificed on the altar

of blind eyes

as cracks

open on voids

and the bowels

discharge

chrysanthemums.

 

 

 

Chapter 2: Another Election

Art By Red Focks

a

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Undefined,

beyond the grasp

of thought;

not even the four walls

were altogether familiar.

 

The light

floating within the room

turned to blackness.

Not the darkness of the night

where objects are distinguished

dimly,

but the negation of light.

 

Sluggish testimony of sensations,

chants of choirs and expectations,

peel every moment of awakening;

unconscious wickedness.

Holiness and genius

rapture,

ecstasy of the soul

transcends

blood among white linen.

 

Speed of thought

girded intermittently

flashes from sunrise

to sunset

winding nerve cells

in the brain,

compiling,

rearranging.

 

Customary rituals,

memoirs,

proving the devil’s existence,

convulsed with unknowable terror.

 

Across the plains

shorn of their harvest,

scorched rusty,

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,

trespassing.

Outward form remains

with all hell within it.

 

Intervals of silence

in the empty room.

Mistaken jubilance.

Dancers, storytellers, snake charmers

shriek aloud to the night.

Eyes shut

to the utter blackness of despair.

Amnesia

calls all

in the tumult of an hour.

 

 

 

 

Idiots by John Drudge

 

Because everything

Is flawed

Pain will always

Pursue us

Forever disentangling

Who we think we are

From that which

We are

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

Craving forgiveness

And grace

In cages

Of jilted reason

In one long

Wayward embrace

Bleak and unbroken

In our wandering

 

 

 

I only have two hands by Heidi Blakeslee

 

one brain

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

eyeball me

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

gathering

pointing

whispering to one another

 

how did we end up in this B.F. Skinner

rat scenario?

Punishment, reward

hit the self-destruct button

start over

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

 

Dolls eye

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

s

 

 

 

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

the

wind. The stars crowd around it, drink of its beauty beyond all

confusion.

 

In the midst of its radiance I can hear your sweet voice telling me

about

 

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

the nude

 

of my breasts. I see shadow faces bob softly before the early dawn

in the

outskirts of a city that binds us in time. What are you doing? How

are you

 

feeling? This maelstrom of silence is taking a toll on my heart. The

pain of

 

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

say these

 

kind of things very often. Today I saw a red bird come to rest on a

repainted

 

bridge and I thought how cool it would be to be changed and

repainted.

 

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

wades through

 

all anxiety. I can hardly claim to be alone, yet I am without you.

Maybe someday

 

we can fling back that big yellow moon and lay claim to the tulips

together.

 

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

And everything

Is subjective

It is the heart

That beats the beat

Of distance

Between us

Far away

From the breathing

That creates us

 

 

 

 

Operator by Heidi Blakeslee

 

Glenda Sue worked as an operator

for 35yrs

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)

the operators

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

Empty

the holy office.

Anoint

the connection

of grandmother’s

grandmother

to the sound

of time echoing

still

as our whispers

are swallowed

by the static

of this bloated now

 

 

 

Chapter 4: Self Portrait Plus Mask

Art by Henry Stanton

d

 

 

 

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

bait.

This is what lies beneath the supremacy of reason.

The defiant muse knows better.

He studies.

He argues.

He teaches.

He observes.

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

The moment

It’s always vanishing

On the edge of somewhere

Gone just outside

The grasp

Of our certainty

And slipping

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

“crossed condition”

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

 

My face,

my flag,

my forward

fall beyond.

I am a beaming

nothing smile,

a ghost

who lost time

under a sky

drained

of color.

 

 

 

Chapter 5: Man With a Mask

Art by Sarah Hussin

f

 

 

 

The Child You Could Have Been by

Theresa C. Gaynord

 

Candy stripes

of yellow and white,

hand painted

on curved walls,

were ionized by calcium

light,

while thunder shook

and lightning cracked,

displaying a phenomena

of rotating winds.

 

A french window

wide open

distilled the night

with breaths of quickening

air,

as a little boy in a bed

meditated

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

railings

of full lilac branches, pink roses

bloomed,

as a screen door

swung unlatched.

 

I see the child you were…

lincoln logs kept discoveries,

rock’em sock’em robots masked

frustration;

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

Of quiet

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.

Magicians

always fall short

of profound.

Lacking faith,

I watch the moles

scurry about blind

and catch the train

back to Lisbon

to read about

imagined suicides.

 

 

 

Chapter 6: The Fears of Gun

Art by Marcel Herms

g

 

 

 

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

Swooping down

Into fading light

My stilted breath

Beats time

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

goal becoming

opaque

an ex person

part of the vast ocean

put the sign up for

(god) and

EVERYBODY

 

VACANCY

 

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

 

a deep,

dreamless

sleep

 

the daily noise

prejudicially purged

smashed

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

 

Fleshed out

under sun

tumbled down,

pink.

Flames beneath

feet,

memories

of sky blue

and thousands

of skyscrapers

that fall short,

grasping.

The edge

of purity

smudged gray

by the tips

of blackened fingers.

White,

like paradise,

fades.

 

 

 

Chapter 7: Debbie H

Art by Juan Carlos Pinto

h

 

 

 

 

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

of scales.

 

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

Roiling crests

Along the river

And an irredeemable

Unforgiving feeling

Pressing against

The swell

Of the night’s possibilities

He reached

The little red jazz bar

On the Rue de la Huchette

And pushed through

The doorway

With the force

Of a thousand saviors

Into a blood feud

Of human vanity

And the scarlet flush

Of a deep

Skin hunger

 

 

 

 

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

she’s fine

 

 

 

 

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,

into freedom

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)

 

this is

iconography

 

(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

face level

face time

bullet time

 

this is america

we’re american

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

 

not IF

 

never IF

 

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

 

so WHEN

 

(note that)

WHEN

 

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

pubic

bone

 

because THIS

 

is america

 

because THIS

 

is new york

 

because THIS

 

is hollywood

 

and

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

 

THIS

 

is reality tv

 

THIS

 

is the infatuation that’s sweeping the nation

 

THIS

 

is a bus in august that goes nowhere

 

THIS

 

is what the magical image machine sells us every day

 

THIS

 

is the american way

 

THIS

 

is a one way ticket directly into a brick wall at 100 per

 

THIS

 

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

 

Song

cut from

other thoughts,

The glass

shatters.

Rapture

of spilled

sentiments

freed from

the heart

to drown

on the shore

at high tide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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