Dusty Dog Reviews
The whole project is hip, anti-academic, the poetry of reluctant grown-ups, picking noses in church. An enjoyable romp! Though also serious.

Nick DiSpoldo, Small Press Review (on Children, Churches and Daddies, April 1997)
Children, Churches and Daddies is eclectic, alive and is as contemporary as tomorrow’s news.

cc&d                   cc&d

Kenneth DiMaggio (on cc&d, April 2011)
CC&D continues to have an edge with intelligence. It seems like a lot of poetry and small press publications are getting more conservative or just playing it too academically safe. Once in awhile I come across a self-advertized journal on the edge, but the problem is that some of the work just tries to shock you for the hell of it, and only ends up embarrassing you the reader. CC&D has a nice balance; [the] publication takes risks, but can thankfully take them without the juvenile attempt to shock.

Volume 220, May 2011

Children, Churches and Daddies (cc&d)
The Unreligious, Non-Family-Oriented Literary and Art Magazine
Internet ISSN 1555-1555, print ISSN 1068-5154

cc&d magazine

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the passionate stuff

Arctic Solitude


There is a wolf crying a few vowels,
A fish exploring the insides of a river;
Somewhere, a dandelion cart-wheeling.
But not here, as I drink with my shadow.

Above me, crumbs of heavenly bodies scatter;
A few stars encased by my window, as gusts
Of wind twine and untwine my night clothes.
I sit alone welcoming an entourage of cold fog.

Heat and light - funneled in holes of someone’s door.
Elsewhere, churchyard rustles; harbor gurgles pebbles.
Here, measurements of my room have expanded.
My spirit must have oozed through exits of my body.

Underneath the evening’s spermicide-like cumulus,
Feels like I could only move the distance of a whisper.
Arctic solitude has frozen me in some void,
Like some empty cabinet hollow as a magician’s hat.

“Token Not Redeemable For Friendship”


I’m not into being
The miserly guy in some made-for-Christmas movie,
I try and give as much as I can to others
Except, I give in an odd way, as in
I’ll meet someone, find out they’re kookoo into sports,
Then run home, and tape ‘em
8 VHS tapes’ worth
(this example is outdated, I realize that;
enjoy polishing your favorite, finicky Blu-Ray)
8 tapes of Bryant GumBall’s HoBO show
And, I’ll give ‘em with pride
And, get blinked at
And, they’ll thank me like I looked at their daughter
For two seconds too long
And, they’ll never watch the tapes
“Oh, I just haven’t gotten around to it”
They’re lying, we both know that
They probably threw them away
That’s what I would have done

Now that the Housing Dept has decided not to

Fritz Hamilton

Now that the Housing Dept has decided not to
replace my floor with a ceiling because it would
cost more than the ceiling on floors, & I

tear up my floor by myself to see who dwells down there, &
of course the rats who have driven me mad with their
scratching & squeeking are happy to be let out/ I

kick them out my door to share them with my neighbors,
but when they see my neighbors they drop dead in
terror/ One of my neighbors is Bin Laden, another is

Omar, & of course Rush Limbaugh is there &
Ivan the Terrible, having a Tea Party that
the rats interrupt, but the Tea Party eats them &

starts in on my roaches/ Sharon Angle
steps on the ones that can read before they
vote against her, & Walt Whitman’s daughter Meg sings

a song of herself & the corporation who are
one & the same, as she kicks her Mexican
illegal out the door after enslaving her for

9 years/ I see the light of Jesoo hobnobbing with
the Pope before they cook some Jews in the oven for
their last supper, &

nothing’s much changed, so
I bury myself beneath my floor, &

OVER ME, which is at least a
step in the right direction/ I
get an erection, &

it lifts the floor/ I
might be dead, but
my spirit



As I remove the black beads from around my neck,

Fritz Hamilton

As I remove the black beads from around my neck, they
explode, & giant beetles get out to crawl all
over me/ I try to brush them off, but

they eat & burrow their way into me in a
a procession of religious horror, carrying
screaming Jesoo on the cross/ he

fights so hard to get off, they
set him down in his own blood, &
pound some more spikes into his

hands & wrists, his feet & ankles, &
they save the biggest spike for his bloated belly, &
boom!/ the

belly bursts, & the foulest, most lethal
gas rushes out poisoning all God’s creatures like
the NAZI gas chambers, & what’s left are

the twisted, anguished souls/ God comes
down to perform the last rites, but He’s
so horrified at the agonized deaths of His

creations that He has a massive heart
attack, & as God dies, he sees His Jesoo
raping his Mother Mary, &



Mr. Flip in his first grade art class

Kristine Ong Muslim

It is good to tell lies sometimes,
even if you get caught. So he erases
the yellow sun, replaces it with
a smiling mouth and a mustache
suspended midair. In any drawing,
nothing establishes a pattern better than
the absence of empty spaces. That is why
he treats the sky as a bathtub hoarding
the blues in place. He will draw the shoes
after he has sketched the ground. He has
not decided yet where to put the ground.


Previously published in New Madrid Vol. III, No. 2, Summer 2008

No Money Down, painting by Jay Marvin

No Money Down, painting by Jay Marvin

My Dad Could Beat Up Your Dad

Maxwell Baumbach

when children argue
they will say
that their dad
can beat up
the other one’s dad

the parents
rarely fight
even when they do
it does not change
when the children grow up
the world
will beat the shit out of them

enjoy video of part one of
the Maxwell Baumbach Feature

which includes this poem
(and also has an intro of Maxwell Baumbach poetry accepted in issues
of cc&d magazine by editor and the Café host Janet Kuypers)

video Watch the YouTube video not yet rated

Maxwell Baumbach Bio

    Maxwell Baumbach is a poet from Elmhurst, IL. He edits the Heavy Hands Ink publication, has a youtube channel (Youtube.com/MaxwellThePoet), and likes sports. His first chapbook, “Suburban Rhythm,” was recently published by cc&d through Scars Publications. It is available both as a free read and as an ISBN # book.

Trading Cards, art by Nick Brazinsky

Trading Cards, art by Nick Brazinsky

Poem from The Hartford Epic (#3)

Kenneth DiMaggio

Before you could
rust like this car
you vowed to be a
continent away from this
hub-cap size town
whose two or three
factories that made
the rivets that
stapled fin-tailed
beasts like this but
also tried to crucify
punks like you who
sneered so much
in the rear view
mirror of this Chrysler
or was it Cadillac that
would never again run
but you swore you would leave
a print of your pout
while you pretended
to out-drive a world
that was chasing you
in your imagination>

didn’t matter>

because in a late 1950s
Cadillac or was it Chrysler
that was never going
to leave the bank
of a creek you had
already imagined
driving beyond
a cracked jaundiced
bird-shit speckled
windshield that would
always be this city’s

Seagull, art by Brian Forrest

Seagull, art by Brian Forrest


Kevin Heaton

Out on the porch on a crisp
autumn night we listened

to a mourning dove’s sad song
and spoke of true love once

young and free, bound by chains
of suspicion and doubt.

The dove’s broken hearted
serenade of regret echoes

in the darkness; lament to a lost
mate who cannot hear her.

Kevin Heaton bio

    Kevin Heaton lives and writes in South Carolina. His chapbook, “Postcards of Faith,” is at Victorian Violet Press. His work has appeared in: Foliate Oak, Elimae, The Recusant, Heavy Hands Ink, Carcinogenic Poetry, Pirene’s Fountain, Counterexample Poetics, and many others.

On Several Adventures in Municipal Government

Michael Ceraolo


She had failed to meet the pre-requisites of the profession:
she had no gift for remembering names and faces
and thus, even after multiple meetings,
she had no grasp on whether
the person she was talking with
was worth listening to or not

Sad Beauty, art by Edward Michael O’Durr Supranowicz

Sad Beauty, art by Edward Michael O’Durr Supranowicz

Manhattan Skyline

Mel Waldman

Manhattan skyline
marked by loss and death;

Manhattan skyline
metamorphosis in dark September;

Even now, toxic
dust covers the city and
shrouds the living dead;

And at Ground Zero,
above and below the earth,
ghosts wander through Hell,

looking for the old
Manhattan skyline, trying
to find their way home.

New York City skyline with the Twin Towers, framed


Mel Waldman, Ph. D.

Dr. Mel Waldman is a licensed New York State psychologist and a candidate in Psychoanalysis at the Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies (CMPS). He is also a poet, writer, artist, and singer/songwriter. After 9/11, he wrote 4 songs, including “Our Song,” which addresses the tragedy. His stories have appeared in numerous literary reviews and commercial magazines including HAPPY, SWEET ANNIE PRESS, CHILDREN, CHURCHES AND DADDIES and DOWN IN THE DIRT (SCARS PUBLICATIONS), NEW THOUGHT JOURNAL, THE BROOKLYN LITERARY REVIEW, HARDBOILED, HARDBOILED DETECTIVE, DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE, ESPIONAGE, and THE SAINT. He is a past winner of the literary GRADIVA AWARD in Psychoanalysis and was nominated for a PUSHCART PRIZE in literature. Periodically, he has given poetry and prose readings and has appeared on national T.V. and cable T.V. He is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Private Eye Writers of America, American Mensa, Ltd., and the American Psychological Association. He is currently working on a mystery novel inspired by Freud’s case studies. Who Killed the Heartbreak Kid?, a mystery novel, was published by iUniverse in February 2006. It can be purchased at www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/, www.bn.com, at /www.amazon.com, and other online bookstores or through local bookstores. Recently, some of his poems have appeared online in THE JERUSALEM POST. Dark Soul of the Millennium, a collection of plays and poetry, was published by World Audience, Inc. in January 2007. It can be purchased at www.worldaudience.org, www.bn.com, at /www.amazon.com, and other online bookstores or through local bookstores. A 7-volume short story collection was published by World Audience, Inc. in June 2007 and can also be purchased online at the above-mentioned sites.

Critical Condition

Kriste A. Matrisch

It’s happened once before.
Sirens wailed their tune
as I walked up the block to work.
I thought,
“It couldn’t be—
It can’t be.”
The sad music brought me to the scene.
“You can’t take him away from me—
I just met him.”
And I didn’t think someone I worked with
would have this effect on me.

But I had to continue
about my working day
as if that was going to work
in distracting me from the fact
he’s not here.
Where’s his greeting smile
and joyous heart—
All but locked up in a numb body in a paralyzing room.

I wonder if my actions tell what he means to me
how he’s like the grandpa
all the other grandpas want to be,
and all the grandkids are jealous
because they want such an incredible one like him.
I wonder if my heart will ever speak
before it’s the last time.


Julie Kovacs

Unlike many of my friends growing up
I never wanted children of my own
nobody to bathe, feed, change diapers
nobody to play Tetris or Donkey Kong with.

Dreaming of the accolades for that first fashion show
was more of a priority on my mind
not even knowing how to respond when the boss’s only
daughter brought in her firstborn so everyone could coo over it.

That seemed a long time ago
dodging the question when I was not even married
social pressure makes not for a personal choice

status quo of happiness was superficial
when women were clearly fatigued as they wheeled
their toddlers around the mall in SUV strollers.

Feeling far from lonely there was nothing to burden
certainly no labels to take place
the young mothers were too busy with their newborns
no time to bake bread, knit, or do cross stitch
the sort of things I loved while growing up.

I have not lost my womanhood.

About Julie Kovacs

    Julie Kovacs lives in Venice, Florida. Her poetry has been published in Children Churches and Daddies, Because We Write, Illogical Muse, Poems Niederngasse, Aquapolis, The Blotter, Danse Macabre and Cherry Bleeds. She is the author of two poetry books: Silver Moonbeams, and The Emerald Grail. Her website is at http://thebiographicalpoet.blogspot.com/.

Dear Canadian Tourist Bureau:
This is Why We Will Not Be Visiting
Manitoba Anytme Too Soon

Michael H. Brownstein

Locked up knocked up trespassed vandalized and varnished,
Plum River curves into Manitoba earth easy as a pout, a frown, gimme tears.
Large mosquitoes thick with blood sprout from heavy grass like so many leopard frogs.
Who is this place where no one smiles?
Who is this place where no one knows thank you, please, excuse me?
Riverton, Heckla Village, Gull Point, Dolphyn. Yes, especially Dolphyn, home of
vandalized graves and garbaged piles of discarded wreathes.
Inuit’s. Hear me speak. Everything will be righted. Time is just a hesitation.
I will lead the herds of Europeans in huge ships across the Atlantic, the Pacific, the southern waters.
Fox, moose, black bear will multiply. Bison will multiply. Hawk, eagle, fresh water pelican will
Everything will find a way back home.

Lines, art by the HA!man of South Africa

Lines, art by the HA!man of South Africa


I.B. Rad

Early paleontologists claimed
an ancillary brain
presided in the hindquarters
of the Jurassic’s more mindless dinosaurs
lending credence to the expletive,
“Your head’s up your ass;”
and now, certain neurobiologists maintain
some male Homo sapiens may have developed
an analogous secondary brain
giving rise to epithets like,
“Men’s brains are in their cocks”
and “Men think with their dicks.”
Now this could explain
why certain ultraconservative males believe,
“boys will be boys;”
but yet, following conception,
even if by incest or rape,
no abortion darling!
Further, these ultraconservatives insist
expectant unwed moms
and even sexually active single women
dare not teach in public schools
while, as scarlet letters are out of fashion,
such Jezebels must cower in disgrace
unless, of course, they’re screwing
those ultraconservative men!

El Corrido de Antonio Beltran

John Duncklee

He had listened to the tales of his father
about the days and months away
in the land that paid in dollars
the trips north
the bus to the border and the walk along the river that runs north
hiding days and walking nights
watching the migra
stopping at ranches and farms
meals sometimes for work
sometimes just a meal
harvesting the produce from farms
sleeping in shacks or under trees
always on the lookout for the migra
their green uniforms and green trucks
caught and sent back only to slip through the fence and return
walking along the river again
going from harvest to harvest
sending money back to Tinaja Verde
and finally home to plant his own field.

Now it was his turn
his father spent by a lifetime in the fields
sitting outside rolling tobacco in a husk
remembering the trails
drawing his map in the dirt with a stick
where to walk and where not to go
friendly ranches
unfriendly ranches
where to find food in the cities
dress like a pocho
look like you always lived in the states
the farmer who didn’t pay for two weeks
and when the crop was in the migra came
no pay
he had worked two weeks for nothing
nothing to send back to Tinaja Verde.

They had all tossed pesos in the hat
he would try to repay
but there were no expectations
Rosa with his four and one in her belly
they would stay to tend the field
wait for the money orders at the correo
the last night before the bus to the border
no fears
just a part of life
not poverty
they knew no other way
wealth only a word and not a state of their minds
buena suerte

Tinaja Verde obscured by the dust from the bus wheels
the tortillas and beans wrapped in the worn cloth
a small amount remaining at the border
enough until he found a friendly ranch by the river
plastic water bottle filled
ready to slip through the fence after dark
head for the river
stay away from railroad crossings
stay away from roads
the migra stay in their green cars on roads.

First sunrise
a mesquite bosque to hide and sleep
last of the tortillas and beans
awake at the sound of a rattling pickup truck
dirty white not green
a ranch in the distance
the friendly one according to his father’s map on the dirt
wait for just before sunset
approach with care
remember the words
food for comida
please for por favor
thank you for gracias
work for trabajo
water for agua.

No work but a meal
frijoles with some meat in a tortilla
enough food for two days
back to the river
north again along a trail
sometimes in the sand
heavy walking
a town with a church
keep going by the moon’s light
another bosque
hidden for the day
sounds of traffic on the camino real
no matter

wet air beneath the trees
sleep again until sunset
awakened by the sound of diesel
back to the river in the dark
wait for the moon
walk walk walk
lights from Tucson getting brighter
under the bridge
more heavy-sand
another bridge
noisy youth drinking beer
“No gracias”

have to reach Mendoza before sunrise
the city asleep
fourth crossing to the right
eight cuadros
corner house with name on mail box
almost sunrise
no matter
early risers
Mendoza comes to the door
“Si, I remember your father”
the Spanish is comfortable
the coffee brings new vigor
the chorizo and eggs fill the void
the cot behind in the yard

Mendoza knows about some work
three days work
washing dishes in El Sombrero Cafe
regular dishwasher gone to Phoenix
Mendoza won’t accept dollars for his help
Mendoza knows a man driving to Phoenix
gives Raider hat to wear
green car migra parked ready to chase
the hat fools
safe from Tucson
melons ready to pick outside Phoenix
two weeks
another farm
ten miles to walk
dollars in pocket feel good
ask about correo for money order
one hundred to Tinaja Verde.

They say there is work in Idaho
a long way to travel
a chance for the migra
always the migra
always the migra.
fruit to pick
hay to stack
big machines do the grain
friendly farmers glad to have help
pay every week
money orders to Tinaja Verde
how big is Rosa with the new one
how is the field
is father all right
how tall will the children be when I return
some of the friends plan for California
good money but lots of migra
some say best to find migra in Idaho
free trip back to border
free comida
more money orders to Tinaja Verde.

California by bus
lucky no migra
plenty of work
thousands of toneladas of grapes
the vines hide us from the migra
more money orders to Tinaja Verde
six months
I wonder about Rosa and the new one
should be born soon
boy or girl
maybe a boy to help in the field
I will draw him a map in the dirt when he is ready
time to think about going back
two more weeks work in the grape vines
farmer asks me to stay for planting
steady work
I say I will come back in a month
I must see Rosa and the children
the new one
I want to see the field
I will come back in a month
the farmer says to stay
I want to stay for the dollars
there are other farmers
there will be work again in a month
I say gracias and adios.

The highway
no migra
Raider hat in back pocket
straw hat for the migra
a ride to the border
no migra
a policia stops and asks questions
he talks on his radio to migra

a free ride to the border.

big city
first two nights in jail at the migra office
there are thirty of us
loaded into bus like cattle
some did not get far from Mexicali
dollars inside shoes
unload from bus like cattle
through the gate
bus to Sonora
south from Santa Ana
Tinaja Verde through the bus windshield
the bus stops just for Antonio Beltran
quickly I walk to the house by my field
Rosa hands me our new son.

After comida I take the old guitar from the wall
I begin playing and singing
new song
El Corrido de Antonio Beltran.

Father Knows Best

Toni Menden

It is impossible to mistake that smell, sticky sweet.
The aroma that always forces me to remember,
shoves its way into my nostrils like a prison matron,
sticky sweet green.

On one hand, green is the color of envy. On the other,
it is the smell of hate. How easy it is to confuse
love with hate. Matter of fact, it is impossibly easy
to hate my own father.

The man whose lackluster sperm
created me in my mother’s womb.
That piece of shit who left me
when I was nine years old and so sure
that it was all my fault.

Funny thing, this sticky sweet green smell,
it makes you remember little things.
Grandma always said to me,
“Family comes first.”
Now I know what made my father laugh so hard.

Family never comes first.
Do you know, do you fucking know
how embarrassing it can be? For a child?
The looks, the sickening understanding.
The pity from the mothers of the other children,
the damn PTA bitches who won’t let me near their kids?

I might taint their angels and we mustn’t have that.

I hate you.

I never trusted you to be truthful, I learned that lesson young.
My mother always said that you were a selfish bastard, and that
when you got the chance, you would run.

She was right, you ran. And then you blamed me. You blamed a child.

I can trust you in one way. I can always trust that, in your abject honesty,
and selfish moral code, that you will always, never failing, fuck me over.

When I was five we had a dog, his name was Clifford, and you told me
that he was going to a big farm with lots of room to run.
I asked to see the farm, to go visit. But we were always “too busy.”
You screwed over a five year old with lies, and I can see
not much has changed.

173, art by David Thompson

173, art by David Thompson

Tranced in the Existential Trenches

Melvin F. Ballew

I want your touch
velvet and lavender, lightning and rush
I know I do
I think of it often
but I know, only too well
the fear of your touch
how it will burn me, to the core
how you will leave me, hanging like fire on the cross
how it will leave me
abandoned and hurting
in desperation of the ache
wounded, a cryout in the night
under blackout skies much too close to the bone

I want your touch
your kisses, the closeness of your body to mine
the sultry whispers, the midnight passion of your eyes
your scent, your sex
long, passionate, hot sex
steady, sometimes unbelievable
a rose for endless variations in continuity
but, BUT .....
if I let you let me
I will pay for it, until my heart bleeds dry
until the sky is deep no more

I want your touch
like great thirst with no room for subtleties
I want your touch
for the love of a woman
but damn, it is impossible
and the pages turning
do not render the distance in a softer light
nor do they release me from so many subliminal distortions
or tangles in lost and forgotten echoes

I want your touch
velvet and lavender
because I need the touch, the touch of you
the lace of presence, the ongoing bonding
because I sweat at night, under moonglow
for contact, for your touch
for an impossible resurrection of love
because I need to get out of this hell
or through, or over it
I want out of this theater of lesser authenticity
I want mostly
my life back the way it was
before, I wanted your touch

the 4 Winds of Heaven, art by Mark Graham

the 4 Winds of Heaven, art by Mark Graham

Anger Management

Copyright R. N. Taber 2010

I’ve seen a ship-in-a-bottle
tossed into the sea
among waves like a range
of snowy mountains;
it was I who sent the ship
to ride out a storm
among clouds like billows
of smoke

I leapt into the frantic sea,
swam for my life,
caught up with the bottle,
boarded the ship;
no raging sea or angry sky
could touch us,
my ship and I, in our bubble
made of glass

Deaf to the wind, blinded
by the dark,
conscious only of rancid air
suffocating me...
in desperation, I lashed out
at the bubble,
smashed the glass, let the sea
have its way

Suddenly, I’m floating upon
leaves of grass
smelling of spring rain across
a range of green hills;
storm passes, sea calms down,
deposits me...
where a so-familiar shoreline
is peopled with pebbles

What choice but to negotiate
broken glass,
make peace with the pebbles,
aspire to sanctuary?
Now, should dark fury grip me,
I go to a table, let
a ship-in-a-bottle ride its back,
break me in


Performance Art

Sexism and other stories, 11/06/10

Sexism and other stories

Kurt Irons
(it’s just a girl)

Janet Kuypers

Kurt Irons
was arrested
and charged
with vehicular

Kurt Irons
while intoxicated
stole a
and drove it
into another
and killed
a thirty-seven
year-old woman

according to
Kurt Irons
by the arrest
by the fact
that he was

Kurt Irons
was quoted
as saying

it’s just a

it’s a girl -
but a

Kurt Irons
video videonot yet rated
Watch this YouTube video
11/06/10 in Lake Villa at Swing State, live in her “Visual Nonsense” show Sexism and other stories
video videonot yet rated
Watch this YouTube video
11/06/10 from the TV camera in Lake Villa at Swing State, live in her show Sexism and other stories

the men at the
construction site

Janet Kuypers

a woman told me
that scientists did an experiment
where a woman
first walked past a construction site
with her head down

no one bothered her,
no one noticed her
everyone at the site left her alone

then, later in the day,
she walked past again
in the same outfit, with the same stride
but this time she walked with
her head up,
more confidently

and that’s when she got
the calls, the whistles
from the men at the construction site

and you tell me it’s not deliberate
and you tell me it’s not an effort
to keep women in their place

the Men at the Construction Site
video videonot yet rated
Watch this YouTube video
11/06/10 in Lake Villa at Swing State, live in her “Visual Nonsense” show Sexism and other stories
video videonot yet rated
Watch this YouTube video
11/06/10 from the TV camera in Lake Villa at Swing State, live in her show Sexism and other stories

a man calls a woman

Janet Kuypers

every time a man calls a woman a “bitch”
the threat of rape lies behind his hostility
every time a man calls a woman a “witch”
he reminds her of the slaughter of millions
whose independence and medical
knowledge threatened male dominance
every time a man makes a joke about rape
or wife-beating he issues a warning to women

                        Bob Lamm, 1976

every time a man calls a woman a “babe”
he tells her he thinks of her as a child
every time a man calls a woman a “fox”
he tells her she is to be treated like an animal
every time a man calls a woman a “honey”
he tells her she is meant to be consumed
every time a man calls a woman a “doll”
he tells her she is something to be played with
every time a man calls a woman a “bag”
he tells her she is something to be used
every time a man calls a woman a “slit”
he tells her she’s a body part, not whole
every time a man calls a woman a “screw”
all he’s saying is what he’d do to her
every time a man calls a woman a “girl”
he tells her she can’t think like an adult
every time a man calls a woman a “whore”
he tells her she is wrong for having sex
every time a man calls a woman a “lay”
he tells her she is no good on her feet
every time a man calls a woman anything
less than woman he tells her who’s the boss
so yes, we all know who the boss is, boys
you’ve done such a good job of telling us

with muusician Cousin Bones playing
background harmonica:
a Man Calls a Woman
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a socially
accepted target

Janet Kuypers

rape is connected
to the frustration produced
by living in this society

rape is anger
misdirected towards
a socially accepted target:
                  - Men and Politics Group,
                  East Bay Men’s Center,
                  Statement on Rape

i didn’t get the promotion i deserved
i work in a cubicle
the boss doesn’t know my name
i put in too much overtime
this tie makes it hard to breathe

this traffic is always in my way
there’s all these bills i have to pay

i’m angry all the time

and the damn kids are banging
their toys when i come home
and dinner is never on time
and your looks have just gone to hell
and i hate you

i just want a fucking beer, you bitch

it’s all your fault

a Socially Accepted Target
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in their homes
or in the streets

Janet Kuypers

some women are raped
in their homes or in the streets
by men whom we call “strangers”

some women are raped
in their homes or in the streets
by men we call psychiatrists,
doctors, college professors,
friends, lovers,
husbands and fathers

and some women are raped
in the streets or in offices
by men who merely sit there
and commit rape with looks
with smirks
with insults
with threats
        Bob Lamm, 1976

you’ll never understand

have you ever felt
that everything you did
from the clothes you chose to wear
to the way you styled your hair
to the way you walked down the street
to the way you sat at your desk

to whether you looked at people
as they passed you in the grocery store
when you picked up the food for the family

have you ever felt
that everything you did
was under the scrutiny
of half the world

that a stare could haunt you
if you looked too confident
or your eyes wandered for too long
and actually caught someone’s gaze

or your skirt was too short
or you didn’t cross your legs

or if you ate a banana
or happened to lick your lips

have you felt it
well, you’re not a woman

In Their Homes or In The Streets
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The Burning

Janet Kuypers

I take the final swig of vodka
feel it burn it’s way down my throat
hiss at it scorching my tongue
and reach for the bottle to pour myself another.
I think of how my tonsils scream
every time I let the alcohol rape me.
Then I look down at my hands --
shaking -- holding the glass of poison --
and think of how these were the hands
that should have pushed you away from me.
But didn’t. And I keep wondering
why I took your hell, took your poison.
I remember how you burned your way
through me. You corrupted me
from the inside out, and I kept coming back.
I let you infect me, and now you’ve
burned a hole through me. I hated it.
Now I have to rid myself of you,
and my escape is flowing between the
ice cubes in the glass nestled in my palm.
But I have to drink more. The burning
doesn’t last as long as you do.

the Burning
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most accurate

Janet Kuypers

rape is one of the most savage
one of the most accurate
metaphors for how men
relate to women in this society

it is a political crime
committed by men
as a class
against women
as a class

rape is an attempt by men
to keep all women in line

                  Bob Lamm, 1976

now there’s two ways
this can happen, little girl
you can keep fighting me,
and if that’s the case, i’ll
have to keep my hand
over your mouth and
this knife at your neck,
or you can relax, enjoy
yourself, make this easier
on the both of us

you know you want this
so stop fighting it

i saw the way you were
looking at me earlier,
the way you stared at me
the way you were dressed
i know what you were thinking
so don’t say a word

did you think those drinks
were free

how long did you think
i could wait
it’s my turn now
you owe it to me

just do as i say
and no one gets hurt

Most Accurate Metaphors
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the measuring scale

Janet Kuypers

Here’s an addition for your
degrading terminology
of women list. In the
construction field they
(men) have devised another
form of measurement.
When something is being
lowered or fitted into place
they will often refer
to an inch or so as:
up or down about a cunt hair.
They have gone so far
as to determine that blonde
pubic hair is the smallest
increment and at the other
end of the measuring scale
is black pubic hair.
                Pam, via the internet

why don’t you dissect me,
take every single part of me
and equate it with power tools,
sports and violence?
bang me, screw me, nail me,
hammer me, bag me, pump
me. shoot it in me. maybe you
can even score.

if we’re talking about
measuring scales, what about
the scale that defines the way
you treat us:
on one end is the minor stuff,
calling us “baby” and “sugar,”
whistling as we walk by, but
then move along the scale, get to
the blonde jokes, yes, they’re so
funny, then how about a pinch
in the rear at the office,
well, that’s harmless enough
and while you’re at it, porn
movies and magazines, what harm
do they do, and hey, women
have always worked at home,
so you should have all the jobs
and get the better pay anyway
and since we’re just your pro-
perty, fuck us whenever you
want, i mean, hey, you’re doing
it already in every other aspect
of our repressed, oppressed lives
so rape us, smack us around
knock us down a flight of stairs
that’s what we’re here for

god, i don’t even know how to
measure these things any more

the Measuring Scale
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Scratch the Surface

Janet Kuypers

you don’t have to pull out the Book for Men
to know how men degrade “the weaker sex”
or even assault women with the English language

hey, they can even try to make it sound nice
think it’s a compliment to call us a honey
a fox, a pumpkin, their cougar, or even a hot chick

but if calling us food or animals is too degrading
I can be your babe, and I’m still your girl
I mean, calling us less than an adult can still degrade us

but I get furious when I’m wearing a tank top
you know, because it’s hot outside
and a semi or a truck honks their horn

I mean, do they think honking their horn is a compliment?
or are they busy blowing their horn
to try to show off their big rig?

I thought the Book for Men covered all the bases,
even with sex in terms men understand:
banging, hammering, nailing, screwing, scoring

but I was in a car, and because it was warm
I was wearing a tank top (again,
the truck driver’s sexual turn on)

so I got honked at by a semi driver
while sitting in a car, going down the highway
and that’s when I heard of one more term for women

someone informed me that after their truck horn blares
the truck driver will radio ahead to other semis
and tell them the color, make and model

of a car with a good-looking
seat cover

wow, a seat cover. thanks.
now we’re reduced to good-looking upholstery
something you keep around to sit on

but we can’t stay pretty
after you’ve kept us down for years,
before you get something prettier to replace us

so as I sit in this car
covering myself up whenever we’re near a truck
I think about the Book for Men

with jokes objectifying women
or reminding us of a bush, a slit, a crack,
a box, a hole, or a farm implement, like

a hoe

but I’m telling you, baby doll
as thorough as that handbook seems
it doesn’t even scratch the surface

Scratch the Surface
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My Future Job Options

Janet Kuypers

okay, so I can’t hold a job in my own profession
& I can’t even get a job in the mall

not having an income really pisses me off

I want to yell at the world
for not giving me the job I’m owed

I mean, I get to the point
where I want to hit things

& that’s when it occurred to me:
the frightening thing was telling my husband
that I’m meant to be a dominatrix

when my analytical side dominates me
I see how it makes perfect sense:
no sex, no nudity
just make men feel like shit at an hourly rate

this is really beginning to appeal to me

but after my husband has been adequately frightened
he checked on line
and told me that this was illegal
(is he telling me that
because he doesn’t want me to do it?)
but I want it to be legal
I want to say that I legally degrade men for a living
(and make good money at it, actually)

I guess it figures
I found another profession I’m good at
& I still can’t get a job

My Future Job Options
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Counting Bodies

Janet Kuypers

tried to get a job at the mall
they never returned my call

applied for a job in a strip store
I filled out the form, but my problem

is that I answered the questions honestly

when they ask if you’ve ever done drugs
it’s best to lie

even applied for a job in a liquor store
now, I have experience in drinking

but not in stocking bottles
or cleaning liquor store floors

so someone said that the government
was looking for employees

they need you to walk the streets,
ask questions, keep records

and I thought, I’m organized
I work hard, I can do this

and a government job would be sweet
they pay really well

and it would be funny to say
that I was a government employee

so I got on line, learned about the census
all I’d be doing was walking around

making a list, checking it twice
I’d be in charge of counting the bodies

as sick as it sounds,
it has a certain ring to it

so I called to schedule my evaluation,
went to the government building early

found out I wasn’t even on the map
they looked for employees from

but I took the test anyway,
struck the icicles as I left for my car

I thought about the records
the Greek Kings, the Greek government kept

of the men they executed

I thought about the detailed Nazi records
of Jews working in camps, of Jews gassed

and how we had to come in
and count the bodies

and I thought

I never was called from the cencus bureau
it was like they knew my mind:

“you filled out your forms
we don’t need you for anything else”

and I thought

maybe I shouldn’t have applied for this job
maybe I shouldn’t be working for the government

maybe they knew I shouldn’t be a part of their system
falling into line and counting bodies

Counting Bodies
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Janet Kuypers

so the hotel I was in
didn’t have a continental breakfast
so i looked for a diner
for a bagel for breakfast

so i pulled into some dive
and i just sat there

i kept me head down
i don’t like looking at strangers
so i kept my head down
looking at my writings

and i didn’t even notice
my head was buried in my words
but the lady walked over
and dropped the bomb

of liquid into the coffee cup
into my upturned glass

i watched this black mass
sloshing around, contained but violent
as she walked away

i don’t like coffee, you see
and i could have stopped her
said no thanks

but this was my fault
as much as it was hers

so there i was
staring at this coffee
that i don’t even like

so i’ve got this bailey’s flask in my pocket
i guess that tells you something about me
if i’m going to have coffee
i’ll sweeten it with anything

so my eyes dart right, then left
then right again
make sure no one’s watching me
so i open the flask
under the table


slowly drizzle in the creme

i watch it form a mushroom cloud

from within that contained bomb

i try to remember where i am
where i’ve been

i didn’t know
that on the other side of the country
you just died

i just looked at my coffee
that i don’t even like
and wondered if i should drink

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Death is a Dog

Janet Kuypers

Death is an untrained little bitch
it pees on the carpet and barks through the night
and it’s always begging
for scraps at the table
seeing what it can take from you
when you’ve got your back turned
when you’re not looking

when you want it to heal,
well, it never does
and it never rolls over
and it never plays dead

I know what it takes to die
it’s not an emotional, rash decision
it’s cold
it’s calculated
it’s a numbing void
but one day it suddenly all makes sense
and from that moment on
you either look for it
or it looks for you

Death is an untrained little bitch
and I’ve been begging for it, I tell you
but it doesn’t come when you call

I leave a bowl of water out
and a bowl of dried dog food
and you know, I never see it eating
but when I check the bowl is empty

and I still refill the bowl

and vacuum the dog hair
that sticks to the couch
and spray air freshener
in the living room
because no matter how hard you try
you can never get rid of the smell

Death is an untrained little bitch, I tell you
and what it boils down to is this:
you won’t get along with her
and she won’t get along with you

she’ll claim her territory
under the bed,
eating your slipper,
while you try to sleep
and remind yourself
that there are no monsters
waiting for you
to shut your eyes

Death is a Dog
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And I’m Wondering

Janet Kuypers

I’m wondering if there’s something
chemical that brings people together,
something that brings people to their
knees, somethings that sucks them in

And I’m wondering if you’re sensing what I’m
sensing, is it just me, am I making this up
in my head, or when I glance up and catch your
eyes, well, are you actually staring at me

And I’m wondering if it could work out this
time, if we’d have one of those relationships
that no one ever doubts, especially us,
because we know we’ll always be in love

And I’m wondering if you’d find
my neurotic pet-peeves charming
like how I hate it when someone touches
my belly because I’m so self conscious

And I’m wondering why you had to tell me
when we happened to be sitting next to each
other that the fact that our legs were almost
touching was making your heart race

And I’m wondering why I felt the need
to take your cigarette and inhale, exhale
while the filter was still warm from
your lips, there just seconds before

And I’m wondering if a year or two from now,
after we’ve been going out and should have
gotten to the point where we are bored with
each other and sink into a comfortable rut

if you saw me making macaroni and cheese
in the kitchen using margarine and water
because I’m out of milk and I’ve got my hair
pulled back and strands are falling into my

eyes and I’m wearing an oversized button-down
denim shirt and nothing else, well, what
I’m wondering is if you would see me
like this and still think I was sexy

When I glance up and catch your eyes from
across the room, when I see your eyes dart
away, when I feel this chemical reaction, well,
what I’m wondering is, can you feel it too

And I’m Wondering
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of the intro to the 05/10/11 open mic at the Café in Chicago, plus the cover of I’m Free at Last & the poems And I’m Wondering & Dreams 09/24/05 (a phone as a purse that matches my shoes)



the meat and potatoes stuff

I’ve Got To Get Out of New York

Anne Turner Taub

    It was a typical Greek restaurant in New York City, which meant that there were as many Italian entrees on the menu as Greek. Mary Ellen Owens had been coming here for years and she always felt that the scene was like a play—like that play Separate Tables—the same cast of characters every night. An older lady with a forty-ish daughter, the eighty-year old mother with her middle-aged son. There were several couples like these—all come for the early bird special—hardly ever a husband and wife—by this time one of the spouses had usually passed away.
    They all came for the early bird special—for $l.00 more you got coffee and dessert with your main meal. The waiters knew their favorite tables, and had their place settings in correct order even before they sat down. All the couples sat at tables for four—the waiters automatically took away the two extra place settings before they even opened the outside door—sometimes they left the extra napkins for those who were particularly careless in their eating habits. There were usually one or two singles—a lady with severe curvature of the spine who talked incessantly with whoever sat near her, even if the person nearest to her was three or four tables away. In fact, in all the years Mary Ellen had been coming here—seven, actually—this lady was the only one who had spoken to her—but, funny, once Mary Ellen had acknowledged her friendliness, and even initiated a conversation the next day, the woman had never spoken to her again.
    We should all be friends, Mary Ellen thought. We’ve seen each other, actually eaten together, for seven years. Why don’t we form a friendship—but maybe it was because this was New York No matter how many times they met, either in the restaurant or out on the sidewalk, the customers acted as if they had never seen each other before.
    Mary Ellen hated to eat alone. That was why she ate out every night, although it had become quite expensive. She was in her 50’s, never married, and fossilized into an office job.
    Suddenly a thought reached her. She asked George, the waiter, “What happened to that old gentleman who sat in the last booth on the left?” He was a very overweight gentleman who always wore a hat, even when he ate. He would always start talking to the person at the table next to him but he was one of those people in any public place who seemed to be talking to their companion but were actually addressing the world at large, and could easily be heard in every corner of the room.
    “You know,” Mary Ellen said to the waiter, “the man who always described the plot of every movie he saw. He had a big cigar and always had a glass of wine with his meal.”
    “Oh, Mr. Johnson,” said George, “didn’t you know? He passed away three months ago. Heart attack.”
    She was stunned. Three months of eating without him when she had heard and watched him almost every day for seven years? And she had never noticed that he was gone. Mary Ellen was appalled. What’s happened to me? Is this what New York does to you?
    The waiter, George, continued fondly, “You know he was a concert pianist, played at Carnegie Hall a lot.”
    That loud-mouth non-stop talker, Mary Ellen thought, a concert pianist? Amazing.
    “He also wrote the music for songs, you know. Remember that song that was so popular a few years ago, ‘I see orchids and I see you’”?
     “Of course I do,” said Mary Ellen, “it was one of my favorites”, and she hummed a line.
    “He wrote the music for that. What a guy! Good tipper, too.”
    The waiter went away, humming the tune.
    She left the restaurant in a state of depression she could not understand. The man meant nothing to her. She had never spoken to him. What difference did it make? He was too pretentious and too loud, why did she care? But he had given her many hours of pleasure with that beautiful song. Why hadn’t she been nicer to him? Just said hello once in a while.
    When she got to her apartment house on the next block she saw Michael, a tall young man of 28, standing in front of the building, looking somehow unfinished. As usual, he had on his black leather jacket adorned with all manner of metal gadgets—hooks for guns, fishing gear, tools—equipment he had never used and would never use—but which jangled from his jacket in joyous kinship with his high leather boots and skintight black pants.
    “Michael,” she said, “where are your wheels?” Michael without his motorcycle was a phenomenon never seen. She supposed it was logical that indoors he must live without his “bike”—a huge black monster that took up as much airspace as it did parking acreage on the ground—but looking at him now he looked strangely bereft.
    “Oh, they stole it”, he said, but he didn’t seem unhappy.
    In New York, it was never necessary to explain who “they” were. It was part of being a New Yorker to know that “they” were never identified, but always out there. She began to commiserate but he said “Oh, the cops found it. They towed it away.”
    “That’s great,” she said.
    “No,” he said, ‘they’ve had it for twelve days and they’re charging me $l5 a day for storage.”
     “Why, that’s terrible, but I suppose you’ll have to pay it.”
    As she spoke, she began to realize that he was one of those people who conducted conversations as if they were playing both sides of a volleyball game. First, he’d say something bad—you’d understand and feel sympathetic. Then he’d counterbalance that with something good. You’d feel happy for him, at which point he’d give you more bad news. This usually was the pattern for the whole conversation —the seesawing of your emotions began to drive you nuts.
    “So,” she said, “I guess you’re just stuck with the towing charges.”
    “Oh, no,” he said, smiling, the bike was all banged up anyway. It would have cost me $500 to fix it up. I just left it there. I got my eye on a l967 vintage model.”
    Mary Ellen walked into the building. It had been a very rough day and she didn’t know where she was at.
    This is New York, she thought, I’ve got to take a vacation. She had told herself this everyday for all the years she had lived in New York. When she got into her apartment, she lay face down on the bed for some peace and quiet. Her head was turned to the night table and, on eye level with her face, she watched a roach crawl across the night table—a scout perhaps, breaking new territory for generations of roaches to come.
    God, it was slow. She had read some scientific article that said that New York roaches were among the fastest in the world.
    My god, she said, what am I thinking? What is happening to me? When I saw a roach when I first came to New York I would have fumigated the whole apartment, night and day, for a week.
    I’ve got to get out of New York, she said to the roach, I’ve got to get out of New York.
    She lay there, her eyes not three inches from the roach who proceeded unfazed over the impedimenta—aspirin bottle, box of tissues—of the strange beings that inhabited his apartment, his apartment by right of prior tenancy. With single-minded determination, he proceeded on his appointed task of going from one end of the night table to the other.
    What am I coming to? I’ve got to get out of New York. She brushed the roach off the night table with the box of tissues, watched him explore another area of his territory, and then, having lost interest in the roach, she realized that this was probably the only new experience that had happened to her that day.
    The next day there was a knock on the door. To her surprise, it was the lady with the forty-ish daughter from the restaurant.
    The old lady said, “I’m Mrs. Blount—we know each other from the restaurant. I feel like we are old friends, we have patronized the same restaurant for so many years. I even remember that time you had to come in with a crutch because you had broken your ankle skiing—so, the waiter said. Well, I was glad to see that it didn’t take you long to get well.”
    “You remember that?” Mary Ellen said, “That was four years ago. Suddenly, she realized that the lady, Mrs. Blount now, was not really interested in the conversation, that she was obviously under a great deal of stress.
    She started to ask when Mrs. Blount suddenly put a tissue to her face, shielding her eyes, saying “I’m sorry, I can’t help it”, as she began to cry, silently and tearfully.
    “Come in, won’t you?” Mary Ellen asked.
    “Oh no, I couldn’t,” said Mrs. Blount, “I only came to ask you if you would want to come to the funeral for my daughter. She was—” she closed her eyes in pain, “she was hit by a car yesterday when we were coming out of the Early bird—” Mary Ellen wondered is there always something ludicrous in the severity of death? Mrs.Blount continued, “And it was all over in seconds. I was even there and saw it happen.”
    “Oh, I am so sorry,” said Mary Ellen. What could she do? What could she say? She felt that she hardly knew the daughter. Had never really even spoken to her.
    Mrs. Blount dried her eyes and said, “I just wondered if you would want to come to—” she began crying again, this time openly—“to Emily’s funeral. It’s at ten Saturday. When I see you at the restaurant, I’ll give you the card with the details.” She continued, “I hope you can come, you’ve known her for so many years.” Known her? All I have ever said to her was hello, thought Mary Ellen, but I guess if you add up all the hellos over seven years, you might have enough words for a pretty long conversation.
    “Poor Mr. Johnson, the gentleman who died three months ago; he would have wanted to come, I am sure. He always thought you were such an intelligent person—he said you always listened to everything he said, even though he was halfway across the room”
    “Of course, I’ll come,” said Mary Ellen, after expressing words of sympathy. Mrs. Blount continued; she obviously wanted to talk about her daughter, or just talk to someone to relieve the pain.
    “Emily,” she hid her face in the tissue again, then continued; “Emily and I felt so bad when your romance fell through last year.”
    Mary Ellen fought to keep down the geyser of anger that was erupting through her at the nerve of these people peering into her private life. At the same time, she was afire with curiosity. “How did you know about that?”
    “Well, one day we saw you on the street with a nice man, and you were both laughing and having such a good time. And after that you always finished your whole meal and sometimes even had an extra dessert, even though you are allowed only one on the Early bird.”
    “But then, it was so sad. Emily and I felt so bad for you. You started pushing away your food. And when you stopped eating dessert! Well, if that doesn’t tell you something is wrong, I don’t know what does?”
    This is New York, she thought. I do matter to somebody. And I guess—the thought raced across her vision like a newspaper headline—they matter to me. She thought about the people in the restaurant, the waiters, Michael the motor cyclist—the webs of interaction were so fine, but—she smiled a little—they were there. She got dressed to go out, to go to the restaurant and today, she decided, she would smile at everyone who looked her way.

St. Augustine Library

Melissa Kosciuszko

    In my car, safe and mostly cool, I see grandparents pushing their two year old grandson on a swing amongst the trees, back-dropped by the carousel and its red and white striped tented roof. The rest of the play ground is still, mulch and dirt undisturbed, jungle gym waiting patiently for its Saturday fun to begin. Inside the park gate is protected, trees hovering draped in Spanish moss, picnic tables calling, and old-fashioned lights ready to light the way once the day is done.
    Beyond the trees runs A1A, tolerating rushing cars. I know they hold people, but they’re only cars, only Hondas and Chevys and Mercedes, each one unique but still the same, just cars.
    Right outside the gate, I sit in the library parking lot, just another car, waiting patiently, and to the side of the protected land is a worn cement platform. The pole no longer bares a flag, and the vegetation invades over and around it, unkempt and ugly—but somehow prettier than the park. This is where they sit. Plastic bags hold their belongings, those treasures too valuable to leave behind, worth the effort of carrying—of always carrying. The Juniper hangs over, leaning across my view as if hiding, denying their existence. I love that they don’t care about being seen or unseen. They found a comfortable spot, and there they sit, talking and fidgeting.
    Each is unique, clothing, build, and hair, but I don’t really see the differences. That’s how it always is. Cars are just cars. Grandparents are just grandparents. Children all seem so much the same. We nerds at the library on a Saturday morning will always be nerds, and they will always be faceless, no job or car or house to define them.
    Evidence of their worn legs and hips and feet shows in their walk, but they move anyway. They don’t seem to notice the pain and wear their bodies feel, and then they move on. The grandparents play, the parking lot fills, and the wanderers move on.

Twinkling of an Eye

Ronald Brunsky

    The Brewer’s annual camping trip was always the pinnacle of their summer. Fred and his brother Jim have been bringing their families to the base of Tecumseh Peak for the past twelve years.
    Setting up their tents on the edge of the Rolling River, the Brewer clan enjoyed a week of hiking, fishing and the spectacular views offered from the top of the three thousand foot peak.
    But, the best part of each day was the evening meals by the campfire. Perpetuated by interesting conversations, on every subject imaginable; they always lasted well into the evening.
    On their last night at the campsite, they were rewarded with an additional treat from Mother Nature. Just after dark, a spectacular, completely unexpected light show decorated the northern skies.
    “Was there anything on the news about a meteor shower?” asked Fred’s wife, Mandy.
    “No, I didn’t hear anything,” said Fred. “You know it really doesn’t look like meteor showers.”
    “Their UFOs dad,” said Fred’s eldest, Willie.
    “Nah, I know what that is?” said Jim. “Were pretty far north — that’s probably the Aurora Borealis, you know the northern lights.”
    “Well, whatever it is, why don’t we just enjoy it,” said Mandy, “I’m sure we’ll get an explanation when we get home.
    “Ghost story” chanted several of the children.
    Fred was the master storyteller, and the evening was never quite complete without one of his spooky tales. He enjoyed telling them, always saving the scariest for the last night, and this one was a doozy. It was especially chilling, and by the end had everyone, even the adults, huddled close together.
    Unfortunately, almost every evening campfire session would end with the two brothers getting into one of their patented arguments. The inevitable dispute would almost certainly center on religion.
    “It’s the arrogance of the Christian faith,” said Fred, “that I can’t tolerate. You know, it’s my way or the hell-way.”
    “Well, what can I say,” said Jim. “That’s the way it is.”
    “And we are supposed to blindly believe in this invisible God, and that he will lead us to heaven?”
    “Yes Fred, you must have faith.”
    Just then Mark, Fred’s other son, came running into the campsite.
    “Dad, Willie is gone. He was sitting next to me — listening to the ghost story. When it was over, he was gone. I can’t find him anywhere. I’ve looked all over.”
    “Calm down Mark,” said Jim. “He must be around here somewhere.”
    Jim and Fred scoured the campsite and river edge with no success. They alerted the ranger station, and then organized the two families into search parties. After several hours, the rangers advised them to get some sleep and resume the search at first light.
    The morning news was bizarre to say the least. The weather channel said they had no explanation for last night’s fantastic lighting display. The phenomenon was viewed all around the northern hemisphere.
    However, the Christian religious leaders of the world had an entirely different take on the occurrence.
    “The heavens are celebrating the great event,” said TV evangelist, the Reverend Bobby Blue, “that has been foretold for so long. The “Rapture” has finally occurred.
    Look to the skies brothers and sisters, for Jesus will soon be returning.”
    The entire Christian world was rejoicing, while the authorities of the governments around the world were trying to make sense of the situation. Reports of missing people have come in from all over the globe — estimates have run well into the millions, with no logical explanation. People have disappeared right in front of other family members.
    This morning churches were filled to capacity across the country and the world. The leaders of the Christian world were warning that the end is near, and acceptance of the Lord was the only hope for eternal joy and avoiding the agony of Hell. The country has come to a virtual standstill as people anticipated the second coming.
    Meanwhile, a very worn out group gathered for the evening meal after a long, hard day of searching for Willie had yielded nothing, not even a small clue.
    “He must of just wandered off and got disorientated,” said Mandy. “There’s no other explanation.”
    “How could he not see the campfire?” said Jim.
    “Well what’s your theory then?” said Fred.
    “You’re not going to like my theory.”
    “Come on I want to hear it.”
    “Well, alright, I believe in what the Christian leaders are saying...”
    “Oh sure,” said Fred, “you really think that he was raptured away.”
    “You heard the news this morning. Fred, millions of people here one second and gone the next. The bible says: two men will be in the field; in the twinkling of an eye one will be taken and the other left — the twinkling of an eye, boy, what a magical metaphor to use for such a glorious happening.”
    “I know this is hard for you and Mandy,” said Jim’s wife, Alice, “but we are experiencing the start of a truly wondrous time.”
    “Would you both please just shut up! I’ve had enough of your sermons. You want me to stop looking for Willie, because he was beamed up to heaven. Do you realize how stupid that sounds?”
    “How do you account for the millions that are missing?” said Jim. “You always wanted proof of the invisible god, as you put it. Well, now you have it. Time is running out for you to be saved, Fred. Can’t you see; Willie is so very lucky. He has been chosen. He doesn’t have to ever die; he has gone straight to heaven.”
    “You’re a nut case. There must be some other explanation for all those missing people. I’m not giving up. I’m staying here till I find Willie.”
    “Fred, I can only say to you that I believe with all my heart and soul that Jesus is returning shortly. I’m taking my family home to prepare, and I hope you would do the same.”
    “Fred maybe we should go too,” said Mandy.
    “Go if you want and take Mark, but I’m going to find Willie even if it takes a month.”
    It was just nightfall as Jim’s family with Mandy and Mark aboard drove out of the campsite and headed home. Fred sat down lit a cigarette and looked skyward.
    “What happened to you Willie? Where did you go?”
    As Fred scanned the heavens soul searching for a logical answer to his son’s disappearance, events were happening some 400 million miles away.
    Just outside the gravitational pull of Jupiter, the last of a convoy of space freighters had finished docking within the cargo bay of their mother-ship. The colossal vessel, of incomparable size by earth’s standards, then repositioned itself and it locked in on its destination’s coordinates.
    Suddenly, the ship was engulfed by an intense white flashing light, and then in the twinkling of an eye it was gone.

Open Forum at the Bughouse Sq.

Wes Heine

    The Speaker steps up to the soapbox and taps the microphone. A wail of rusty feedback rings out through the park lacerating the air with a sharp frequency of pain. The spectators cover their ears as blood pours out between their fingers.
    The Speaker clears his throat, and straightens his polka-dotted bow-tie, as if that would make everything better. Lucky for him everyone is determined to have a good time. The sun is shining, the crickets are leaping, and the spectators have marvelous picnic spreads that checker the lawn before the soapbox.
    On one side of the makeshift podium are rows upon rows of flimsy folding chairs. A gritty gang of boys have positioned themselves in the far back row, even-though all the other rows are empty.
    The Speaker fumbles with his note-cards before he begins:
    “The subject this afternoon is the Meaning of Life. To quote the inner emptiness of all curious beings, What is the meaning of life and of the universe?”
    He pauses and sips some water.
    “Well, this question is UN-answerable because the question itself is not clear. What do these words mean? First, what is this word Life? What characteristics must something have in order to be called life? Is basic matter really “living,” like a conscious spirit as atoms vibrate. Or is matter, including the DNA molecule, just a complex chemical pattern playing itself out as a machine? And what’s the essential difference?”
    “Second, I’d like to know exactly what this other word is... This word Universe. Breaking down the syllables we find that “Uni” means one, or to unite. And “Verse” is another word for a word.”
    “So basically this means that the Universe is a word that unites all words making a new word: an all-purpose word. We could conceivably scrap all other words, and have whole sentences of nothing but the word Universe, and just intone it differently to discern different levels of meaning.”
    “So the definition of Universe is everything added together, every word, every separate object, even life, and all of infinite space and time... Can you define something that is infinite?”
    The spectator’s ears begin to bleed again.
    “If we answered the question, What is the meaning of life and of the universe, then we will finally define the words Life and Universe. But if the words Life and Universe are in fact already defined, then there would be no need for the question in the first place... the question would be answered... by itself.”
    “The meaning of life is whatever the definition of the word Life is in the dictionaries of the future. The dictionary word just be the one word, Life... In short, The meaning of life is life!”
    “What I’m saying is that the question of meaning is totally contradictory, it eats itself, it implodes in on itself just like the black-hole in the center of the soul that made up the question in the first place! ... Or is it the black-hole in the center of the galaxy that burped us out?”
    Many of the spectator’s heads spontaneously explode sending chunks of brain and skull into unsuspecting picnic baskets.
    “The ‘meaning of life and the universe’ question is so absurd that it is obvious that the askers of the question, the philosophers, don’t have much meaning in their own lives because they question life like a child might question its parents, its creators. Many philosophers go through their lives questioning everything, questioning the simple and wholesome answers, questioning each other, and even questioning their own questions!”
    The Speaker pauses to quietly chuckle to himself.
    “A psychoanalyst might conclude that philosophers, these individuals who question everything, are afraid to commit to any single idea. In fact a philosopher might even be diagnosed with a common “Commitment Complex,” brought on by a chemical imbalance or a traumatic experience which turned the individual off commitment. This is likely because most philosophers are deeply depressed people, or when cheerful it is only because they have been drinking heavily in a vain attempt to live life to the fullest when they haven’t even defined what life even is.”
    “A plain scientific observation of cause and effect shows us that it is obvious that the meaning of life is to make more life. We are entirely designed to upkeep our bodies and reproduce to make more bodies. Indeed, most people find meaning in life by eating, coupling, and producing offspring. This doesn’t seem to satisfy the philosopher. Perhaps philosophers are too geeky to have decent sex. They rather sit and mope, or drink and think.”
    A voice from the audience bellows, “I’ll drink to that, whatever it is!” It’s one of the boys in the back row as he tips some whiskey out of his coat pocket.
    The speaker begins again. “The famous philosophical phrase conceived by Rene’ Descartes: ‘I think therefore I am,’ should be changed to something that actually brings meaning to people’s lives rather than thinking. No happy person likes to think! The phrase should be, ‘Someone humped therefore I live,’ or ‘I live therefore I hump,’ or the bumper sticker version: ‘I live to hump.’”
    “Something a little less naughty to put the question of the meaning of life to rest would be: ‘I live therefore I live,’ or ‘I am because I can,’ or ‘I live therefore I die,’ or ‘Something died so I could eat it and live,’ or ‘I’m dying to live,’ ‘I’m living to die,’ or ‘I am therefore I am,’ or ‘I I’m,’ ‘I am I,’ or ‘I I captain,’ or ‘I was just because! because! because! All the wonderful things wez does!’ or ‘Talk to the hand girlfriend, I just am,’ or ‘I am Amen Ohm,’ or ‘I’m Sam I am, I’m Sam I am, I will not eat your green eggs you ham,’ or ‘Hey, drop it drama queen!’”
    The boys in the back row begin to heckle the Speaker. Through the whole speech they’ve been sneaking swigs of cheap whiskey from pocket flasks. They have grown tired of the Speakers’ longwinded antidotes. This was an open forum for Christ’s sake!
    “Shut up pimple dick!”
    “Shove it up your ass poindexter!”
    “Your mother was a giant bail of pussy!”
    “Turn the mic over jackass!”
    The boys in the back row continue to snicker, hog call, and spat perverted codes as the Speaker tries to recover his composure. But it’s too late. The boys in the back have claimed a hole in the ether of attention... The spectators have turned to watch them.
    They’re now standing on their chairs doing one more toast to death from their flasks as they shout their slogans:
    The boys in the back row keep shouting their UN-popular-population-control views as the spectators sit numb with shock.
    Suddenly the Speaker rushes upon them with a garbage bag full of breadcrumbs and begins hurling the squishy bread onto the boys. Thousands of pigeons suddenly swarms up covering the boys until not one patch of skin or clothing can be seen. They evaporate in a vicious cloud of blood and feathers.
    The Speaker struts back to his soapbox feeling triumphant. The spectators clap politely at the expulsion of the young people. The Speaker resumes his lecture.
    “To properly understand the philosopher’s lust for meaning, the addiction to meaning, we must first understand what meaning is, and what the meaning of meaning means to them, if you know what I mean.”
    “The American Century Dictionary defines Mean / (meant, meaning) as: 1) have as one’s purpose or intention. 2) design or destine for a purpose 3) to have significance 4) vicious or aggressive 5) a math term midway between two extremes and the quotient of the sum of several qualities and their number; average.”
    “So with these definitions in mind... It is my thesis that philosophers have no idea what their purpose or intention is, nor their design and purpose, which is ladies and gentlemen, to simply reproduce. And philosophers tend to be vicious and aggressive, that is if they have not been drinking enough, or if they’ve have been drinking too much.”
    “My most important point has to do with the fifth definition of mean. The mathematical definition... Because philosophers follow the strict ethic of always questioning things, they are forced to exist midway between extremes and the sum of several qualities of contradicting ideas. The simple fact that they consider many points of view leaves them to exist in a very neutral state of mind, a cool and average disposition... a mean. Without this delicate balance a philosopher would run the risk of going insane with happiness. So these points explain the affinity that philosophers have with meaning... Otherwise they might become the fourth definition of mean, and become condescending or just plain mean.”
    Most of the spectators have fallen asleep on their picnic spreads. Some are even being carried away by ants to vast underground tombs to be turned into gooey birthing pads for larva.
    “But all of what I have been speaking of is just theory, lots of hypothetical and abstract conjecture! Much like philosophy itself... Its time to be absolutely scientific!”
    The Speaker skips over to a bush behind the soapbox, and rolls out a man tied to a wheelchair. The man has a long full-beard and a dazed grin on his face.
    “This man is a self admitted philosopher! I have diagnosed him as being in the late stages of philosophical thought, including the Commitment Complex, and the neutral mindset. You be the judge!”
    The Speaker pulls a second microphone up to the restrained philosopher. He paces around thoughtfully like some kind of sadistic cross-examiner, then suddenly shoots a question at the philosopher as if to catch him off guard. “What is your opinion of foreign policy?!!”
    “Opinions are foreign to me, that’s my policy,” responds the philosopher.
    “Whhhhhy?” asks the Speaker with his most prying voice.
    “I do not wish to taint myself with opinion. I search for facts. And since we don’t even know the basic facts of all existence, the meaning of life, then I am left with no real foundation and therefore no facts to tell you sir. For all I know, none of this is real at all!”
    The philosopher’s hand twitches under the restraints. It is his reflex to stroke his beard while he talks, but he cannot.
    The Speaker addresses the spectators. “You see folks, he has thought things out so carefully, so skeptically, that he doesn’t even know what he thinks... Now on to experiment number two!”
    The Speaker lifts the soapbox and pulls out a large glass of dark frothy beer. He holds it in front of the philosopher.
    “Notice his response to the stimuli!”
    The philosopher begins to drool and make a loud moaning sound. Saliva hangs from the corner of his mouth and rolls down his shirt like a slow motion avalanche.
    The spectators oooh and ahhh as the Speaker grins proudly.
    “So in conclusion... We may never know what life truly is, or what the infinite universe truly is as a whole. When I say these nonsensical words life and universe everyone has a different set of images flash inside their minds. Each person has their own unique definition of life and the universe, and thus has their own meaning to their own specific lives. This may allow people to act differently and be lead by what theologians refer to as destinies. The meaning of life is a very personal and intuitive thing. It is almost impossible to explain to another human being what that meaning is. But we can be sure of this... Philosophers like to drink! And if we don’t let them drink... Well then, God help us all!”
    Then a voice booms from all sides of the lawn, “You can’t say the word God in public! It’s offensive!”
    The thunderous sound of engines firing-up surrounds the crowd. The police have been waiting in the wings, obscured in the trees around the open lawn in the park. A line of bulldozers begins to plow inward trapping the Speaker and the spectators alike in a circle.
    The Chief of Police is on top of the lead dozer with a megaphone, “Separation of Church and State for Christ’s sake!!! This is a city park!!! You’re going down you fucking cult-leader!!!”
    The dozers pile up the bodies of the spectators. Arms, legs, and torsos roll over each other in crackling waves.
    “You people are loitering!” scoffs the Chief angrily.
    The Speaker, still clutching his microphone, cowers in the center as the mountain of bodies grows near. “We have the constitutional right to assemble!”
    “Not without a permit!” retorts the police chief.
    The Speaker straightens himself, gives the chief a sober look, and then taps his microphone again. A harpy wail of feedback echoes through the park ripping space and time a new asshole... a portal... feeding the serpent its tail... The history-reels in a loop and accelerates with each revolution: Whom, Whom, Whomp... It hits the note, the absolute anti-chord... and the columns of space and time collapse.
    A black tear in reality forms and higher dimensions spread their legs. Everything is sucked into the black-hole... the Speaker, the bodies, the dozers, the entire world dominos forward, falling into the growing rip in space/time. Our dimension evaporates like a puddle of rainbow colored oil.
    In a flash it’s gone like the moment never even winked.

Mockery of Justice, art by Aaron Wilder

Mockery of Justice, art by Aaron Wilder

My Last Love

Bob Johnston

    I simply cannot begin to tell you how awful the last four weeks have been—absolutely the worst time of my life. But I must unburden my soul, and you have an unfailingly sympathetic ear. Please do sit back and relax, dear lady, and forgive me if I ramble. Even now, I find it difficult to collect my thoughts.

    It all started four weeks ago when Roger abandoned my hearth and home. As you know, he is an angel, but he can be a little bitchy at times. We had been together for more than a year, and we were really in love. I truly believed that, at long last, I had found a soulmate. We often talked of being wed, and we planned a journey to Canada, where we would place the seal of legitimacy upon our union.
    The past year, up until Roger’s abrupt departure, was the happiest time of my life. I speak not only of the physical side. In all our words and deeds, we were completely in tune with each other—a symbiosis I had never experienced before. . . . But I’m getting ahead of myself. Perhaps I should start at the very beginning.
    I first met Roger when he approached my cab at the corner of Gibbs and Western. Never before had I picked up anyone on the street, but there was something different about this boy. It was surely not his clothes that attracted me—they were so gross that I am hard pressed to describe them. Suffice it to say that blue jeans do not go well with a red and green flowered Hawaiian shirt and an orange baseball cap. But that angelic face, blond curls, and pouty lips—my God, how could anyone resist?

    You remember Roger, don’t you? Oh, of course; whatever could I be thinking?

    Where was I? Oh, yes. I paid off the driver and we repaired to Roger’s place, a tiny cubicle above a tattoo parlor. It was obvious that his life on the street was most unrewarding financially. And, my dear, you simply cannot imagine how ghastly that room was. Every wall was covered with pictures cut out of calendars, and the clash of colors was beyond my powers of description. The bed cover was a faux fur rug in a shade of vomit-green. And the only light came from a rickety floor lamp with a fringed red velvet shade.
    As you may well imagine, I was so turned off by the horrible ambiance of the room, or perhaps I should say non-ambiance, that I simply could not stay with him. I was about to pay him and leave, when something impelled me to say, “Roger, this is no good for me. Why don’t we go to my place?”
    We caught a taxi, and I sat back and relaxed during the fifteen-minute ride to my home on the Near North Side. Roger seemed uneasy, and he pulled a pack of cigarettes out of his shirt pocket. I put my hand gently on his and said, “Not now, Roger, and never when you are with me. This is my one inflexible rule. And we will get that awful smell out of your clothes.”
    The cab pulled up in front of my building, where James, steadfast and resplendent in his scarlet uniform, stood beneath the awning. He opened the door as I got out, followed by Roger. James had witnessed my comings and goings for more than ten years, and he never seemed perturbed by any of the boys I brought home—even the more bizarre characters. But Roger was just too uncouth, and James sniffed as he escorted us to the front door and opened it.
    “It’s all right, James,” I told him. “My friend Roger has fallen on hard times, but beneath his unpolished facade there hides a sterling character.”
    I ushered Roger into my private elevator, and we rode up to my penthouse. I turned on the lights and bowed to Roger: “Poor things, but my own.”
    Roger seemed awestricken, as well he might be. My livingroom, with two fireplaces, is decorated in shades of gold and jade. Three exquisite pieces from the Ming dynasty, spotlighted and displayed on teakwood shelves, dominate the one windowless wall. Each fireplace has its own conversation semicircle, where the gold-and-jade motif extends to a sofa, four massive chairs, and a solid rosewood coffee table covered with a tapestry depicting ancient battle scenes. The only wall decorations, other than the Ming vases, are nine colorful but understated paintings on bamboo screens. The maple floor is bare except for a few strategically placed rugs, subtly patterned in shades of desert sand and muted green.
    As Roger explored the room, he was incapable of speech, other than an occasional “Jeez.”
    I pulled back the drapes on the eastern and northern walls, revealing a spectacular panorama of the city and the lake. I took Roger’s hand. “Come, now. There will be plenty of time later for you to admire my modest abode.” I led him into the master bedroom suite, furnished and decorated in red and black. The circular bed, with a black velvet spread, sits directly below a large ceiling mirror.
    “First things first,” I told him. “Here is the bathroom door. I want you to take a shower, dear, and please do wash your hair thoroughly. Just throw your clothes out the door, and I will take care of them.” I handed him one of my white robes. “Don’t use the Jacuzzi now. Later, we can soak at our leisure.” Roger looked dubious. “Go ahead, now, like a good boy,” I told him. “I’ll take care of everything.”
    As soon as I heard the shower running, I bundled up his clothes and dumped them down the garbage chute.
    After taking a nearly interminable shower, Roger emerged from the bathroom, clad in my white robe. He looked little and fragile, as my robe wrapped almost twice around him. He gazed about and asked, “Hey, where’s my clothes?”
    I answered gently, “Roger, I disposed of them. They were most unsuitable.”
    He looked alarmed. “Come on, mister, what am I gonna wear? Your clothes sure as hell won’t fit me.”
    “I just happen to have some clothes in your size.” I steered him to the smallest of the three closets. “See the ones on the left? Tomorrow you can try them on, and I am certain that they will do nicely until we can sally forth to purchase new apparel. And by the way, Roger, you simply must learn to express yourself without using such terms as ‘hell,’ which has been abstracted from its religious context and is now completely devoid of meaning.”
    “Jeez, mister, you sure use a lot of big words, and I’m not real sure what you mean. But I’ll try to do what you want. Maybe I just shouldn’t talk hardly at all.”
    “That would be an excellent starting point,” I told him. “And now come sit over here, and let me style your hair.”
    When the job was completed, I stood back to admire my handiwork, and was so overwhelmed by the beauty of those golden curls that I could scarcely contain myself. “Roger,” I told him, “you simply must look at yourself in the bathroom mirror to be properly appreciative of your beauty and my skill. Then select a pair of pajamas from the chest in the big closet, and come join me in bed.”

    I find it impossible to describe that night of bliss. Roger was suitably silent and attentive to my every wish. Several times during the night, we availed ourselves of the Jacuzzi, followed by a small meal of delicacies—either cold antipasto with a glass of champagne or Kobe beef cooked to tender perfection on my hibachi, accompanied by saké in small, fragile teacups.
    When I awoke in the late morning, Roger had already arisen. I found him in the kitchen, dressed in an eminently suitable ensemble consisting of fawn-colored slacks, white turtleneck, and brown Italian loafers. He had prepared a breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast and coffee. While my taste runs more to eggs Benedict and croissants, I was deeply touched by his effort to please me, in fact so touched that I refrained from commenting on the weak coffee, saying only, “This is wonderful, Roger. You have given me the benefit of your culinary artistry, and I am deeply appreciative.”
    Roger’s face lit up in a wonderful smile, so different from his habitual sullen look. “Thanks, mister, I’m really glad you like it.”
    “You are quite welcome, Roger. And I believe it will be appropriate for you to call me by my given name, which is Pierre.”
    He mulled that one over for a while, then replied, “Okay, Pierre. Hey, that’s a pretty fancy name. Are you a Frenchy?”
    “No indeed,” I reassured him. “Despite my surname, Dumont, my ancestry is almost totally American, with just a dash of Chinese. But my mother, completely enamored of all things French, named me Pierre and in fact changed her own name to Claudette.”
    Roger slurped his coffee. “Yeah, I sorta figured you weren’t a Frenchy. . . . Well, I’d better be getting back to my own place, so the punks don’t steal everything I own.”
    I patted his hand. “There is really no need, Roger. You can stay here as long as you like. And with regard to your worldly goods, just call your landlady and tell her to give them all to the Salvation Army. Stay with me, and I will provide you with everything you might desire.”
    Roger hesitated. “I dunno, mister, uh, Pierre.” Then he pressed my hand between his. “Jeez, that’s great of you, and I guess it’ll be okay, and I’ll try to do everything you want me to.”
    “Wonderful, Roger,” I told him. “Now, we must away, to purchase you a suitable wardrobe. . . . No, just leave the dishes for Anna. I can scarcely wait to embark on this shopping expedition.”

    My dear, I have talked so long that my throat is dry, and I have barely begun the story. Would you care for some herbal tea, or is cappuccino your beverage of choice today? Just tell Anna what you want. For the moment, I shall confine myself to Perrier. . . . Now, where was I? Oh, yes, our shopping expedition.

    The entire excursion was a most exhilarating experience. We first stopped at Bernard’s establishment. Bernard himself took Roger’s measurements, and then we spent a leisurely hour selecting fabrics for Roger’s shirts, dinner jackets, slacks, sport jackets, and one sharkskin suit for the rare occasion when conservative apparel is de rigeuer. Roger exhibited a surprising flair for style, and he selected the fabrics with unerring good taste. Obviously, someone in his past had instilled in him a sense of the finer things in life—a sense that had been totally obscured by the buffeting of the world.
    Refreshed by the café glacé Bernard had pressed upon us, we strolled up Michigan Avenue to Claude’s shop, La Mercier Elegante. At my urging, Roger selected an adequate wardrobe of sweaters, neckwear, belts, socks, pajamas, robes, and undergarments—again showing a fine appreciation for the nuances of style. Claude promised to have all our purchases delivered overnight.
    The rest of the day passed in a continuous whirl of elegant happiness. We interrupted our mission with lunch at La Petit Colombe, and later with aperitifs at a little bistro near the lake. Too tired to cook dinner when we arrived home, we relaxed in the Jacuzzi and ordered dinner sent up from Lafayette’s.

    I’ll skip over the next few months, as you already know much of the story. Roger was a quick study, and there must have been something in his background that provided him with a marvelous instinct for the right move, the right word. I never unraveled this mystery, as he would never talk about his past life, even during our most tender moments.
    I could not ask for a better companion. I did not allow him to smoke in the apartment or in my presence; and two weeks after he moved in, he smoked his last cigarette. A week later, he told me “I can’t believe how much better everything tastes now. Why, I even liked your stuffed mushrooms last night!”
    I brought in a tutor, a young French girl named Giselle, to supplement my own efforts to round out Roger’s education. She was an MFA candidate at the University, and she proved to be a very fine tutor, indeed. Within a very few months, Roger began to speak in a cultured idiom. He was a voracious reader, devouring large segments of the classics in my library. Thanks to our frequent trips to museums and galleries, he acquired considerable knowledge and good taste in the art world. In fact, he became somewhat of an expert on the work of the Impressionists.
    I was often out of town for days at a time, as my firm was in the midst of an investigation by the minions of the Treasury Department. Roger seemed happy to stay at home during these times, continuing his lessons with Giselle. Also, he turned out some very creditable watercolors. Once I told him, “Roger, your native talent must have been augmented by some excellent instruction. Tell me, did you ever take art lessons in your prior life?”
    He lowered his eyes and shifted his feet uneasily. “Please, Pierre, you know I don’t like to talk about the old days.” I never again asked him that sort of question.
    When I was not traveling, Roger and I spent all our hours together. Out and about, we partook of the rich artistic life of the community, attending plays, concerts, and gallery openings. More often, we relaxed at home, happy in each other’s company. Roger blossomed under my tutelage, becoming an ideal companion and my soulmate. The year passed quickly.
    Four weeks ago, I returned from Washington via Amtrak and took a cab at Union Station. By the time I arrived home, it was after eight o’clock, well past my usual dinner hour. James greeted me with his usual solemn courtesy, but he seemed a little diffident, as if he didn’t quite know what to say to me. I asked him, “How are things with you, James? And has Roger held down the fort during my absence?”
    “Yes, Mr. Dumont, everything is fine, and I am sure you will find your apartment in good order.”
    That seemed like a strange comment, and I felt a slight chill—a premonition, if you will. I put my key into the elevator door and rode up to my penthouse. In the hall, I detected a faint aura that might have been cigarette smoke. The livingroom was dark, lit only by the fading light from the western sky. I switched on the lights and found Giselle curled up on the jade sofa, apparently asleep. She sat up suddenly and rubbed her eyes. Her usually glossy black hair was dull and disheveled, and streaks of mascara ran down her face.
    “Giselle!” I cried out. “What are you doing here at this hour, and where is Roger?”
    She stood up with some difficulty. “Roger’s gone, Mr. Dumont. I’m sorry. I don’t know where he is.” She dabbed at her eyes.
    I put my arm around her. “Now, Giselle, please don’t cry. Everything will be all right. But you must tell me what you know.”
    “Please, I’m dizzy, and I need to sit down.” She fell back onto the sofa. “Roger left yesterday, and he wouldn’t tell me where he was going. He just packed a little bag and said to tell you that he hoped you’d understand.”
    “Understand what? Giselle, you must explain what has happened.”
    “Mr. Dumont, I’m pregnant.”
    “Pregnant? But what does that have to do with Roger? . . . Oh, my God!”
    “Yes, sir. I know we shouldn’t have, but we just couldn’t help ourselves, and now he’s gone, and I don’t know what I’m going to do. But Roger said that you would take care of me.”
    “Yes, Giselle, of course. But Roger! How could he do this to me?”
    Although I was numb with shock, I was able to comfort Giselle, finally getting her calmed down sufficiently to eat an apple and drink a glass of milk. I gave her a mild sedative and put her to bed in the guest bedroom. The poor girl was so distraught that I had to help her undress. With Giselle apparently settled for the night, I began to feel the pangs of hunger. I made a Spanish omelet and poured myself a large glass of Bordeaux Blanc. The food and drink offered me some comfort. Still unable to grasp the full reality of the situation, I retired for a night of restless sleep.
    The next morning, I had to face the fact that Roger had betrayed me, and with a woman! But if only he would return, I could forgive him, my soulmate, the light of my life. Otherwise, how could I put my shattered life back together?
    There was also the matter of Giselle. I did feel responsible for her welfare, but she could not continue to stay with me. Fortunately, I have an understanding aunt who owes me for many favors, and I knew I could rely on her to help Giselle through her ordeal.
    My more immediate problem was how to find Roger, how to persuade him to return. To that end, I enlisted the services of my dear friend Katie McNamara—a very tough-minded lady with her own detective agency, by far the best in town. Three weeks of Katie’s efforts failed to provide any information on Roger’s whereabouts, and I had to face the real possibility that he had fled beyond my reach. Why? I asked myself. Why did he desert me? I gave him everything, and we are soulmates. How can I face life without him? I love him so much!
    Last Wednesday, on my way to a meeting at my company headquarters in Oakbrook, my cab was stopped at a red light at Gibbs and Western. A scruffy character tapped on the cab window and shouted, “Hey, mister, you wanna have a good time?” With a sinking sense of deja vu, I saw that it was Roger, dressed as before: ragged jeans, flowered shirt, orange baseball cap.
    My heart lurched and cried out “Roger, come back.” But my voice said “Drive on, cabbie.”

    So you see, my dear, why this past month has been the very worst time of my entire life. I shall never understand how I could have given my heart so completely to such an unworthy person, but friends like you will help me fill the void. I am eternally in your debt for listening to my tale of woe.

The sun is low in the west
and you simply must join me in a glass of sherry.

Bob Johnston Bio

    Bob Johnston is a retired petroleum engineer and translator of Russian scientific literature. He waited until his sixtieth year to start writing fiction and poetry, and over the next thirty years he has been trying to catch up. He lives in the original Las Vegas, New Mexico with his wife, three cats, and some hope of completing his memoirs and the Great American Novel.


Jim Meirose

    Ronald tooled his orange Buick down International Drive, heading for Sand Lake Road. He had a sheaf of the terrible things in his pocket. He meant to get rid of it.
    At the steak house, the customer glanced up at the waiter after consulting the menu lying open to the side..
    I’ll have the Lump crabmeat tossed in house vinaigrette with creole remoulade sauce, please.
    Of course, said the waiter, smoothing down the front of his gleaming white shirt.
    —good choice—
    Ronald needed to be rid of them. He drove up to the stoplight and once more thought, I will get rid of them.
    When the customer had finished the crabmeat, the waiter sidled up to the table.
    Decided? he said sweetly, taking the empty plate.
    I’ll have the Barbecued shrimp now, said the customer, his finger pressed atop the menu.
    Another appetizer? Of course, sir. —odd—
    It’s just a matter of time, and effort, thought Ronald. I needed to get up off my ass and go someplace to get rid of this stuff.
    The shrimp were gone in short order.
    So now, sir—are you ready to order your entree?
    The customer looked up from the menu.
    I think I’ll have the Remoulade Shrimp Cocktail.
    This is your third appetizer sir. Most unusual.
    I know—but I’ll take home what I can’t finish,
    All right sir, said the waiter, turning away.
    —most odd—
    Once and for all, thought Ronald. But more keeps coming.
    The waiter came up.
    I can’t finish this, said the customer. I’ll take it home with me—tell you what—just put it on the table there, I might pick at it.
    Of course sir. But now—what about your entree?
    Not yet, said the customer, his finger pressed to the menu. I’ll have these Mushrooms stuffed with crabmeat first.
    The waiter said nothing this time, just smiled wryly.
    —every appetizer. He’s having every appetizer—
    What I get rid of today will be replaced tomorrow, thought Ronald. But at least I can have some peace tonight.
    The halfeaten plate of stuffed mushrooms set before the customer. The waiter came up.
    Sir? he said, picking up the plate. Ready now?
    No. Get me this Seared ahi tuna now.
    But sir—I must say—its unusual to have so many appetizers.
    I’m hungry. And just leave those mushrooms on the table there. I might decide to pick at them.
    All right sir. If you say so.
    Sure—whatever I can’t eat—we’ll just stack on that table over there and I’ll take it home. Okay?
    All right sir.
    —what kind of weirdo is this?—
    At least I can get some satisfaction tonight, thought Ronald, gripping the steering wheel hard. I can get rid of all I have.
    The barely touched tuna now set to the side and was placed on the table with the other uneaten food.
    Ready for your entree now sir? said the waiter, rubbing his hands together.
    No. I’ll take these sizzling blue crab cakes, said the customer, finger still pressed to the menu.
    The waiter turned around and rolled his eyes out of sight of the customer, and headed for the kitchen.
    —lord God. Lord, lord God—
    I will sleep easier tonight, thought Ronald. The light turned green and he turned left onto Sand Lake Road.
    What now sir, said the waiter after placing the uneaten crab cakes on the other table.
    This next thing. This veal osso buco ravioli.
    Okay sir. But this is most unusual—
    I’m good for it, snapped the customer and flashing his bright blue eyes at the waiter. So what it’s unusual.
    Turning away, the waiter said nothing.
    —that’s right what do I care what he orders get a grip on yourself get a grip get a grip—
    Ronald knew a place he could go to get rid of a good bit of it. Maybe all of it, if he had the guts.
    The waiter came up. He reached for the barely touched plate of ravioli.
    Sir? Shall I stack this over here? You must be about stuffed by now with all these appetizers—
    The customer shook his head and pointed into the menu.
    Soup now. I’ll have this Louisiana seafood gumbo.
    All right.
    —what’s with this guy he’s stuffed already why’s he ordering more—
    Now Ronald had to look for the place. 7501 Sand Lake Road.
    The soup bowl lay empty.
    Sir. Finished?
    No. I’ll have the Lobster bisque now.
    —my God—
    Stores went by Ronald. Red, and blue and green.
    The customer took two spoonfuls of bisque before pushing the plate away. The waiter came up.
    Sir. That it now?
    The menu page turned.
    No. I’ll take the sliced tomato and onion salad.
    —I want to shout at him aren’t you full—
    Yes sir.
    All the stores made a blur. Here’s a strip mall.
    The customer pushed away the barely touched salad.
    What’ll it be now sir? About done now—
    No. I’ll have the Steak house salad now. Just put this over there with the rest of the food I’m taking home.
    The waiter’s eyes widened.
    —he’ll never eat it—he’ll never touch it—
    Yes sir, he said, turning toward the kitchen.
    There’s another strip mall on the other side. Ronald couldn’t even make out the names of the places it was all going by so fast. The fastmoving traffic was horrid.
    Just put what’s left of this salad over there. I’ll take it home too.
    Are we all done now sir?
    No, said the customer, drumming his fingers on the table. I’ll have the caeser salad now.
    —lord God where will it end—
    Yes sir.
    The traffic pushed Ronald along too fast. There was a Citgo though. He made out the name.
    The customer waved away the caeser salad.
    I couldn’t even start that. Just put it over there I’ll take it home too.
    Are we full now sir? Can I bring you some coffee—
    No. Bring me the chop salad.
    But you said you were full—
    Just bring it and put it on the table over there for me to take home. I need to save room for my main course.
    —main course—save room? There’s room? I—
    Of course sir. That makes sense.
    Ronald pulled up to the minimart at the Citgo and quickly went inside.
    Are you sure you want me to put this salad on the table over here? Or do you want to taste it—
    Put it on the table. And bring me a spinach salad and put that on the table too.
    You’re going to buy all this?
    Yes I am. What kind of question is that? What do you think I’m some kind of deadbeat—
    Oh no sir. I’m sorry sir. All right sir.
    Where is 7501 West Sand Lake, Ronald asked the toothy young thin man behind the minimart register.
    I don’t know, nodded the toothy man.
    Here, sir. Your spinach salad. Will that be all?
    The customer’s finger moved down the menu.
    No. Bring me this Lettuce wedge and put it over there.
    All right sir.
    —he’s out of his mind he’s absolutely out of his mind—
    The toothy young thin man licked his tongue along the top of his bottom row of teeth in a disgusting manner and closed his thicklipped mouth.
    Thanks anyway, Ronald said.
    There sir, said the waiter, placing the lettuce wedge on the table to the side. Will that be all—
    No. I’ll have my entree now. Here, he said, lifting the menu. Bring me this Filet with mashed potatoes and sauteed mushrooms.
    The waiter forced himself not to grimace.
    —lord—I want to ask him if he’s sure but I’ve offended him once I better not ask him—
    Fine choice sir. It’ll be right out.
    Ronald quickly went back to his car and pulled back out of the gas station into the flow of traffic. He must have passed the place already. Yes.
    The filet was brought out. The customer ate it greedily.
    When the plates were all empty, the waiter came up.
    —my God he cleaned his plate he did have room—
    Will that be all now sir?
    No. Bring me this Petite filet with a baked potato and french fried onion rings.
    To stack over there sir? Do you want it packaged to take home—
    No. I want it on plates. To stack over there. Whatever I don’t eat gets stacked over there. On plates.
    You’re not going to eat it—
    No. I just want it on the table over there. On plates. Why is there something wrong with that?
    No sir.
    —Jesus Christ almighty—
    It was supposed to have been a half mile from the intersection on the right, thought Ronald. Maybe in one of those strip malls?
    The customer changed his mind and ate about half of the petite filet and then pushed the plate away.
    —surely he’s done now—
    Coffee now sir?
    No. Bring me this ribeye with au gratin potatoes and broiled tomatoes and stack it over there.
    Well—why don’t I just box it up for you to take home—
    No. Actually, put it before me. I might pick some.
    Yes sir.
    —nobody’s ever going to believe this—could this be candid camera maybe I’m on that old show candid camera do they still have candid camera do they—
    Maybe, thought Ronald. After making a reckless U turn in the plunging traffic, he headed back toward the intersection.
    Well—will that be all sir?
    No. Stack it over there and bring me this cowboy ribeye with steak fries and fresh broccoli.
    —no this can’t go on it’s a waste of food—
    Are you sure sir?
    The waiter cast his eye over the next table, which was stacked high with uneaten or partially eaten dishes.
    Yes I’m sure. Why wouldn’t I be sure?
    Oh—sorry sir. Yes sir.
    Ronald needed to get rid of it. With every moment that went by it burned at him worse.
    The cowboy ribeye came, but the customer waved it aside.
    Stack it over there, he told the waiter. Instead bring me the new york strip with julienne potatoes and fresh spinach.
    That sounds pretty good yeah that sounds real good.
    —is he going to pay for all this—
    I must ask. Are you sure sir?
    Of course I’m sure. I am never not sure.
    —candid camera yes it must be candid camera—
    Fine sir. Coming right up.
    Ronald pulled it from his pocket and threw it on the passenger seat. It lay there wrapped in black with an arrogant look.
    Out came the entree. The customer picked at it a bit and then called the waiter over.
    Put this over there. I can’t finish it.
    Yes, sir—coffee now sir—
    No. I’ll take this porterhouse for two with shoestring potatoes and creamed spinach
    —Jesus Christ! The porterhouse for two—
    All right, said the waiter. He bit his lip hard.
    Though it was not a living thing, it had a stink about it. A stink you could not smell, a stink that you could see.
    The waiter brought the entree and the customer waved it aside.
    No, he said, shaking the menu. Stack that on the table there. Instead, bring me this T-bone with lyonnaise potatoes and spinach au gratin. I think I’m in the mood for that.
    Numbed by now, without surprise the waiter carefully stacked the meal atop the others, and headed for the kitchen.
    Ronald tried not to look at it lying there as he drove and made a quick left into a strip mall parking lot. He meant to go into some place, any place, to ask for directions but then he realized it was Sunday and everything was closed.
    Shall I put this meal on the table with the others sir? said the waiter when he brought the new entree. Or do you want to eat it?
    Put it on the table over there. Bring me these fall seasonal special venison chops with blackberry sauce with a sweet potato casserolle and fresh asparagus.
    Good choice sir! snapped the waiter, half-sarcastically. He headed for the kitchen.
    —crazy’s not a word for this. There are no words for this—there’s something funny going on here there’s got to be something funny behind this—
    Ronald walked along the locked storefronts and at last came to a restaurant. A Thai restaurant.
    Put it over there, said the customer when the new food came. Put it over there and bring me the Petite filet and shrimp with mashed potatoes and sauteed mushrooms.
    The waiter stood there.
    —I have to ask—
    Why are you doing this sir?
    What difference does it make? I’m good for it. Now bring me what I asked for.
    He went into the shadows within.
    A stickthin Thai came up.
    The waiter brought out the meal and motioned to the fully laden table next to the customer’s.
    Do you want me to stack it over here sir? Or do you want to eat it?
    By now the other waiters were gathered in clusters and motioning toward the customer and the table full of meals and murmuring amongst themselves.
    Stack it over there. And what are those waiters over there gaping at?
    Well—this is a bit unusual sir.
    Well—never mind how unusual it is and bring me the Veal chop with sweet and hot peppers and a baked potato with french fried onion rings. And bring it fast!
    —he’s ordering everything on the menu—I bet he’s going to end up ordering everything on the menu—I feel like an accomplice to something awful—yes something awful behind this is something awful—
    The waiter got to the door of the kitchen and the cooks peered out the door at the customer, who sat with his arms folded looking up at the ceiling.
    Do you know where 7501 West Sand Lake is?
    The steak house? said the Thai.
    The waiter brought the meal.
    Shall I put this before you or stack it over here, he said flatly.
    Hmm—put it before me. He tore into the veal chop and chewed it in a exaggerated manner. He took three bites and pushed the plate away.
    Put it over there, he told the waiter. Put it over there, and bring me the Lamb chops with au gratin potatoes and broiled tomatoes.
    Yes sir.
    The other waiters still stood in a cluster and murmered among themselves.
    Yes, said Ronald. The steak house.
    The Thai looked down, then up and cocked back his head.
    The meal came.
    Over here or before you?
    Over there. And now bring me the stuffed chicken breast with steak fries and fresh broccoli.
    No I do not know where it is, said the stickthin Thai.
    Thank you anyway, Ronald said.
    The chicken breast came. The customer asked for it to be put before him and he lustily ate three big mouthfuls of the chicken and a large piece of broccoli and called the waiter over.
    Put this over there and bring me the fresh lobster with Julienne potatoes and fresh spinach.
    Ronald dashed back outside. It was burning in his pocket where he’d put it back.
    The waiter brought the lobster.
    Over here or before you?
    Over there. I don’t like lobster.
    —well why order the damned thing then—
    As the waiter stacked the plates on the other table atop all the others the customer said Now bring me the market fresh seafood selection with shoestring potatoes and creamed spinach.
    I thought you didn’t like seafood—
    Lobster I said I didn’t like—but I like fish.
    All right sir.
    The novelty of the situation having worn off, the other waiters dispersed and also began to get busy waiting on other customers who had come in, all of whom stared at the table piled high with uneaten meals before sitting at their own.
    Ronald needed to get there. He needed to get rid of it.
    Here you are sir—you said you liked fish—
    He waved it aside.
    No. Put it with the rest. Bring me the Grilled portobello mushrooms with lyonnaise potatoes and spinach au gratin.
    —just do as you’re told. That’s all you can do is do as you’re told—see how this ends how will it all end—
    The customer cast an idle glance about the room. No one was paying any attention to him now. Good, he thought.
    Ronald came up to a CVS pharmacy, open. He went inside and went up to the counter and waited patiently his turn in line and at last stood facing the elderly cashier.
    The waiter came up with a full tray. The customer waved it aside.
    Instead bring me the ahi-tuna stack with a sweet potato casserole and fresh asparagus.
    Ah, fish again sir. Good choice.
    —lord god I can’t believe I said that. What a waiter I am what a God-damned good waiter I am—
    The waiter smiled. He headed for the kitchen after stacking the food on the table.
    —wait until I tell my wife about this—she’s not going to believe it wait until I tell my wife about this—this is a once in a lifetime thing a once in a lifetime thing is happening to me—this is special—
    He disappeared into the kitchen. A sudden peal of laughter could be heard from behind the kitchen door. The customer looked up.
    Must have been a good joke, he thought.
    Where is 7501 West Sand Lake, Ronald asked. His voice quavered.
    No, said the customer as the next entree arrived. Stack it over there. Instead bring me the Cold water lobster tail with mashed potatoes and sauteed mushrooms.
    I thought you said you didn’t like lobster—
    Just bring it!
    Stung by the customer’s tone, the waiter’s hands shook as he stacked the food with all the rest and headed back to the kitchen.
    —what a snot—what about if I were to call him the crazy bastard he is—well one thing this is going to be a hell of a bill I better get a hell of a tip wait maybe I ought to tell the manager about this this guy’s never going to pay for all this yes I need to talk to the manager—
    Oh, said a spike-haired young woman working at a counter behind the cashier. That’s the steak house. Its at the end of this strip mall.
    A full-bellied middle aged man in a blue shirt and tie came up to the customer’s table. He eyed the large stack of food on the next table and smiled down at the customer.
    Everything all right sir? Are you happy with the food and the service?
    Oh, the food and the service are great, smiled the customer.
    Is there anything I can get you? Anything special?
    The waiter hovered behind the manager with the lobster tail dinner on a tray.
    Well, said the customer. I’m feeling about full. Put that over there and bring me the caramelized banana cream pie. I’m ready for dessert.
    The manager and the waiter exchanged glances.
    Good choice sir. Coming right up.
    This very strip mall? said Ronald to the girl.
    The banana cream pie came and the customer ate about three quarters of it and then called over the waiter.
    Take this away and bring me the Warm apple crumb tart.
    —even with dessert—he plays his stupid game—
    Oh thank you, said Ronald.
    He left the CVS and dashed to his car.
    The tart came out. The customer waved it aside.
    I’ll have the Cheesecake instead. Put this over there.
    Yes sir.
    —yes sir yes sir yes sir yes sir bleahhhhh—
    At last, thought Ronald. At last I can get rid of it.
    The cheesecake came. The customer ate half of it. The waiter came up.
    Put it over there. Bring me the Bread pudding with whiskey sauce now.
    I’m going to go in there, thought Ronald.
    I’m going to get rid of it all.
    He ate all the bread pudding, surprising the waiter. At last, he must be finished.
    Coffee sir?
    No. I’ll have the chocolate sin cake.
    And next, the creme brulee.
    Ronald pushed the Buick flat out toward the far end of the long strip mall. The place was there—there!
    Good, said the customer. That was good. Now bring me the Fresh seasonal berries with sweet cream sauce.
    Yes sir.
    The inside of the car stank of it. But he would be rid of it soon.
    Now I’ll have Ice Cream.
    Ronald pulled up to the steak house and ran for the door.
    Lastly, I’ll have the sorbet.
    Ronald burst through the doors, leapt into the customer, ate the sorbet, and at last, rising, pulled the terrible thing from his pocket and threw it on the table. It spread across the table; a mass of horrid germs.
    The waiter came up, followed by the manager.
    You done sir—
    Damn right I’m done. And here—
    He stepped to the table piled high with meals and dishes and gripped the edge with both hands, and threw it over. A tremendous crash swept the room; the other customers stopped talking and eating and some leapt to their feet; and he pulled a sheaf of more of the horrid things from his pocket and threw them down atop the mass of food and broken crockery.
    There. That should cover it. That’s all I have.
    He looked the stunned waiter in the eye.
    And thanks.
    He went out and drove off, satisfied for now. He would go to his hotel and revel in the loss of it.
    But there would be more, tomorrow.
    And tomorrow.
    But he would get rid of it.
    He would keep getting rid of it until the day he died.
    Back at the restaurant, the waiter clenched his fists as the bus boys cleaned up the mess and the misty aura of strangeness slowly lifted from the room.
    —no tip, he thought—All that—
    —and no god damned tip.

Oranges, art by Cheryl Townsend

Oranges, art by Cheryl Townsend

Growing up in Chicago’s Alleys.

Ted Rashkow

    Chicago was a great city to grow up in the 1930’s and 40’s. Money was scarce, even though things were cheap. Mothers stayed home, fathers worked hard, long hours, but glad to have a job. The parks, the playground, and the alleys were the entertainment of the youth. It was the alleys where games were played, “kick the can,” “color with purple”, rubber ball “pinners”, and even baseball, right up against the garages built in back of the apartment buildings. Many times all the kids would travel through the alleys to get places. The alleys held a certain fascination. Alleys were a hub of Chicago’s business. Milk trucks were always delivering to the apartment. The milkmen would carry the milk up three Stories up the back porch. Ice trucks did the same. Old clothes guys hollering “ENY OLE CLUTHES FA ZALE!” People walked their dogs in the alley, garbage was picked up in the alley, and kids played there all the time.
    Kenny always knew that he was stronger than most kids his own age. Playing football with the guys and wrestling at the YMCA since 5th grade was when Kenny realized that this aspect had changed his whole outlook on life. Not that Kenny was mean; no, not at all, he was a friendly, rather gentle boy. He loved his friends and they looked up to him. Going through his young life he would occasionally come across these tough kids known as bullies. Every neighborhood had them. Sometimes Kenny would see a bully pick on a kid on the street or in the playground, or even in the school bathroom. It bothered Kenny. It bothered him a lot.
    It was in the sixth grade, as they all walked home after school, when they were confronted by an older 8th grade boy, Wally, who intimidated younger and weaker kids, began picking on Kenny’s friend Danny Corman. Wally came from behind and pushed Danny who dropped his schoolbooks.
    “Leave him alone, Wally! Leave Danny alone”, Kenny shouted.
    “What are you going to do about it, big shot!” Wally retorted.
    “You’re a lousy bully, I said get away from Danny or...”
    “Or what? How about I pick on you, Kenny.” Wally went for Kenny and took a swing at him. His fist grazed Kenny’s cheek. Kenny quickly swung back at Wally from his hip, connecting right on the mouth. Down went Wally on the sidewalk, blood spurting from his lip.
    “Get him, Kenny”, he heard other kids forming a crowd yell.
    Now Kenny hovered over Wally, who was face-up lying on the ground and had a look of fear and pain. “You better leave Danny alone or I’ll give you the same thing. You hear me Wally.” Kenny bent over closer to Wally’s face, his fists clenched menacingly.
    “My brother will get you for this, Kenny. Wait till I tell him.”
    “I don’t give a darn about your brother. I’m telling you, Wally, I don’t want to see or hear about you picking on anybody. Anybody, you hear me”! Kenny seemed to get bolder as he spoke. He felt in charge. He watched Wally get up slowly and walk away holding his mouth.
    Lenny suddenly felt proud of his victory and saw tears run down Wally’s blushed cheeks.
    “Atta boy, Kenny!”, someone screamed from the throng of kids watching. They broke into applause. Kenny put his arm around his pal Danny. “You okay?”
    “Yeah, sure. He sure had it coming. Good going, Kenny. Man oh man, did you smack him, wow!
    “That’s the first time I ever hit a guy.”
     “Well, Kenny,” Danny laughed, “you hit him like a boxing champ. Boy did Wally go down hard.” Suddenly, Danny’s face hardened, “You know pal, you better be careful, you know his bro Lenny. He’s tough ya know.”
    Wally’s brother was on the high school basketball team. He had a tough reputation, but Kenny knew he was never a bully. In fact, he played touch football with Lenny in the park. Kenny was picked by the older guys many times because he played so well.
    “Don’t worry, Danny,” he grinned. “I’ll be careful, but I know I got you to back me up, right?”
    “Yeah, right,” Danny hit his buddy gently on the arm. “Come on, let’s get home for lunch. I’m ONGRY!”
    Sunday mornings were always busy in the Alleys of Chicago. The newspaper boys hollering “YOO PAVOO” telling people to buy their Sunday papers. The paper cost a dime and the boys made around a penny a sale. In those days, pennies, if one had several, could buy anything. Bread cost 7 cents a loaf. A coke was a nickel. You could ride the streetcar for 3 cents if you were under 13.
    When Kenny turned 13, he had to pay 7 cents to ride the red streetcar. If you lived in a big city, you had to learn to be “street wise”! Kenny would wait for a big crowd and would get on the rear platform first. He would then pretend to look for his money in his pocket until finally the conductor would tell Kenny to step aside and would pull the chain which gave the signal to the motorman in the front, the one who actually drove the street car. After taking care of all the passengers the conductor called Kenny over. Kenny handed him 3 cents.
    “How old are you, kid?”
    “Thir...teen, I mean 12”, Kenny stammered on purpose.
    “You owe me seven cents, kid.”
    “I ain’t got 7 cents,” Kenny replied. Meantime the streetcar had gone several blocks. “Okay kid, you either got 7 cents or get off the street car.” Kenny gladly got off, as he was almost halfway there to his destination. If it was a nice day, he walked; if cold, then he would wait for another streetcar. There was always another one with a different conductor.
    Sunday was a great day. Kenny would go to the park and find a choose-up game. Even the older guys chose Kenny as he was good in sports. Summer was baseball. 16" softball. Fall it was touch football. Sometimes it was “tackle” with no equipment. Kenny, even though the youngest, could hold his own.
    Wally’s brother Lenny spotted him and waved him over. Kenny’s heart skipped a beat. He went over not knowing what to expect.
    “Hi kid,” Lenny said nonchalantly, “wanna play.”
    “Sure”, Kenny answered relieved. He could handle Wally, but not his brother... Lenny could beat the crap out of him. His rolled up sleeves revealed strong biceps.
    “Okay, you’re on my side. Hey kid, I heard you beat the hell out of my brother.”
    Kenny’s jaw stiffened.
    “Don’t worry kid, Wally is a shithead, he probably deserved it.” Lenny laughed and threw the football to Kenny.
    Kenny felt relieved. He waved Lenny to go out for a pass. It was a beautiful, spacious park. It had everything: baseball fields, tennis courts, and a football stadium for the nearby high school.
    As they played Kenny noticed the Catholic guys would cross themselves before every play. In fact the guys on both sides did the same. Kenny always wondered whose side Jesus was on.
    Saturday was the best day to grow up in Chicago. It was the day Kenny got 15 cents from his dad. With that huge amount he could go to the movie for ten cents and buy candy. Of course he would save money with the old streetcar trick. Sometimes, like today, he would go alone and stay over to see the double feature twice. “Gunga Din” was his favorite movie of all time. This time, during the middle of the movie, a grown man sat down right next to him and began talking.
    “Hi there, kid. You come here a lot?” Kenny felt uncomfortable. The alleys of Chicago taught him to be suspicious. Suddenly the man took Kenny’s finger and began gently stroking it. This alerted him immediately that something was not kosher. Kenny excused himself and left. Later on in life, Kenny realized this guy was unsafe, even though at the time he didn’t realize why. Growing up in the alleys of Chicago certainly helped. Kenny never got the playground or the alleys out of his system. It assisted him all through his life.

Eternal Dreams

Nely Cab

    He came to me in a dream. He wasn’t a handsome fellow, but there was something about his personality that drew me to him. Surely, I must be crazy to have fallen in love with this, a figment of my imagination. I was obsessed...fixated on the idea of him. His name was Daniel.
    “But he’s only a dream, Claudia,” I told myself, trying to reason.
    I had dreamt of this boy, now a man, for the major part of my thirty years of life. I never knew another male in the way I knew him. He was my life and my everything. I rejected every suitor that ever showed the least bit of interest in me, but things would be changing and soon.
    I was, against my will, betrothed to a gentleman of the age of fourty some odd years, previously widowed. His name was Pascual Leumas. He owned a debauchery store in the upper west side of Manhattan. He was a man of good wit, pleasant and handsome. Pascual had but one child, already a young woman; I would become her mother.
    But what was I to do with the man in my dreams? I was in love with him. I had the hope that one day Daniel would come into my life, that we would marry, have a family, be a normal couple.
    Tonight, as I dressed for a chaperoned dinner with Father and my new fiancée, I could think of nothing more, but how heart broken Daniel would feel if he knew I was to be wed in three day’s time.
    As I viewed myself in the full-length mirror, I could swear that I saw Daniel standing behind me, observing me as I pinned up my hair. I instinctively drew my neck back to view him, but there was no one there. Oh, how I wished that he would come for me at haste before the wedding.
    In the dinning room, my father was present with Pascual and his daughter, Sophia, awaiting me to begin the dinner. I was nervous and slightly shook as Pascual kissed my hand. Sophia’s smile was wide with enthusiasm. This was the first time I had met her. She was blonde and had brown eyes, like myself. There would be no misinterpretation that I was not her mother. That set my nerves at ease, somewhat.
    On the other side of the dining room window, I saw a tall figure standing and peeking in. I gasped in surprised fright and held my hands to my mouth. My father asked what had taken my breath. I told him it was nothing, but indeed it was something.
    Daniel was standing there in a suit with a wool coat on his arm. He pointed to the front door. I quickly excused myself and scurried to the door. He gave two knocks to the door before I could reach it. I ran across the anteroom and swung the door open. He was there, finally!
    “Daniel,” I said to him. “How I’ve longed for you! Take me from here. Let us be as we are in my dreams.”
    “Yes, my dear, Claudia,” he replied, taking me by the waist and laying his cold lips on mine. “Let us go, now.”
    As I looked back to close the door behind me, I saw my lifeless body on the ground. My father, Pascual and one of the servants huddled over it.
    “What has happened?” I asked Daniel.
    “We are eternal lovers, now, my love. Nothing shall keep us apart...not even death.”
    We walked hand in hand, into the night and into that eternity of love.

ART645 KUC, art by Üzeyir Lokman ÇAYCI

ART645 KUC, art by Üzeyir Lokman ÇAYCI

A Look in the Mirror

Tendai R. Mwanakam

    Before the prevalent of the mirror and in a rather backward village of Ruchera in the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe there lived a boy and a girl. His name was Chakupa and he was in love with this very beautiful girl and her name was Runako. It happened that when Runako’s Uncle on the mother’s side came for a visit he brought her a present. It was wrapped in covers so she had taken it outside in order to be alone in enjoying her gift. When she removed the wrappers there was a small hand mirror. When she looked into the mirror she saw a very beautiful girl.

     In awe and wonder she rushed joyously to find her lover who was alone at his parents’ homesteads and finding him at home she said.
    “Chakupa I have a wonderful gift I was given by my Uncle to show you”
    “What gift?” Chakupa asked.
    “This one...” She said, showing him.
    “And In the gift there is a beautiful young lady”
    “You must be very stupid Runako. How can a person fit into that object?” Chakupa quipped.
    Yet for all his knowing that no person can fit into the object, he proved himself as stupid as Runako when he looked into the mirror.
    “But I am seeing a rather dirty ugly man”. He differed.

    Upon which a long unlasting augment ensured. Runako maintaining that there was a very beautiful young lady and Chakupa adamantly saying there was an ugly man so they agreed to enlist the help of knowledgeable elders. They went to Chakupa’s grandfather who was considered the wisest old man of the entire village and upon arrival they let in the old man into their subject of contention.

    Sekuru, and in order to really prove these young stupid adults wrong asked to have a look into the object of their augment upon which he was given the mirror.
    “Oh! My God in heaven!”
    He jumped fearfully when he peeped into the mirror because he was afraid of being killed by the rather wild angry animal that he had seen.

    “You are stupid, so very stupid children for there is a very wild, angry and ready to attack old baboon”
    He looked at those two young adults visionary, then exuding an untouchable ray of the sages’ wisdom in his bearing he said.
    “If I were you I would stop looking into this very dangerous object, unless of course if you are tired of your lives”
    Upon which another augment ensued.

Sheri mirror bar mirror h bar mirror v ellen mirror ellen mirror 1 paint ellen mirror 2 paint ellen mirror 2 and 3 paint jk mirror reflection JK in the mirror of the MG convertible JK in her parent’s bedroom mirror JK mirror 1 edited

    Nick DiSpoldo, Small Press Review (on “Children, Churches and Daddies,” April 1997)

    Kuypers is the widely-published poet of particular perspectives and not a little existential rage, but she does not impose her personal or artistic agenda on her magazine. CC+D is a provocative potpourri of news stories, poetry, humor, art and the “dirty underwear” of politics.
    One piece in this issue is “Crazy,” an interview Kuypers conducted with “Madeline,” a murderess who was found insane, and is confined to West Virginia’s Arronsville Correctional Center. Madeline, whose elevator definitely doesn’t go to the top, killed her boyfriend during sex with an ice pick and a chef’s knife, far surpassing the butchery of Elena Bobbitt. Madeline, herself covered with blood, sat beside her lover’s remains for three days, talking to herself, and that is how the police found her. For effect, Kuypers publishes Madeline’s monologue in different-sized type, and the result is something between a sense of Dali’s surrealism and Kafka-like craziness.

Debra Purdy Kong, writer, British Columbia, Canada
I like the magazine a lot. I like the spacious lay-out and the different coloured pages and the variety of writer’s styles. Too many literary magazines read as if everyone graduated from the same course. We need to collect more voices like these and send them everywhere.

    Ed Hamilton, writer

    #85 (of Children, Churches and Daddies) turned out well. I really enjoyed the humor section, especially the test score answers. And, the cup-holder story is hilarious. I’m not a big fan of poetry - since much of it is so hard to decipher - but I was impressed by the work here, which tends toward the straightforward and unpretentious.
    As for the fiction, the piece by Anderson is quite perceptive: I liked the way the self-deluding situation of the character is gradually, subtly revealed. (Kuypers’) story is good too: the way it switches narrative perspective via the letter device is a nice touch.

Children, Churches and Daddies.
It speaks for itself.
Write to Scars Publications to submit poetry, prose and artwork to Children, Churches and Daddies literary magazine, or to inquire about having your own chapbook, and maybe a few reviews like these.

    Jim Maddocks, GLASGOW, via the Internet

    I’ll be totally honest, of the material in Issue (either 83 or 86 of Children, Churches and Daddies) the only ones I really took to were Kuypers’. TRYING was so simple but most truths are, aren’t they?

what is veganism?

    A vegan (VEE-gun) is someone who does not consume any animal products. While vegetarians avoid flesh foods, vegans don’t consume dairy or egg products, as well as animal products in clothing and other sources.

    why veganism?

    This cruelty-free lifestyle provides many benefits, to animals, the environment and to ourselves. The meat and dairy industry abuses billions of animals. Animal agriculture takes an enormous toll on the land. Consumtion of animal products has been linked to heart disease, colon and breast cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes and a host of other conditions.

    so what is vegan action?

    We can succeed in shifting agriculture away from factory farming, saving millions, or even billions of chickens, cows, pigs, sheep turkeys and other animals from cruelty.
We can free up land to restore to wilderness, pollute less water and air, reduce topsoil reosion, and prevent desertification.
    We can improve the health and happiness of millions by preventing numerous occurrences od breast and prostate cancer, osteoporosis, and heart attacks, among other major health problems.

    A vegan, cruelty-free lifestyle may be the most important step a person can take towards creatin a more just and compassionate society. Contact us for membership information, t-shirt sales or donations.

vegan action
po box 4353, berkeley, ca 94707-0353

    C Ra McGuirt, Editor, The Penny Dreadful Review (on Children, Churches and Daddies)

    cc&d is obviously a labor of love ... I just have to smile when I go through it. (Janet Kuypers) uses her space and her poets to best effect, and the illos attest to her skill as a graphic artist.
    I really like (“Writing Your Name”). It’s one of those kind of things where your eye isn’t exactly pulled along, but falls effortlessly down the poem.
I liked “knowledge” for its mix of disgust and acceptance. Janet Kuypers does good little movies, by which I mean her stuff provokes moving imagery for me. Color, no dialogue; the voice of the poem is the narrator over the film.

    Children, Churches and Daddies no longer distributes free contributor’s copies of issues. In order to receive issues of Children, Churches and Daddies, contact Janet Kuypers at the cc&d e-mail addres. Free electronic subscriptions are available via email. All you need to do is email ccandd@scars.tv... and ask to be added to the free cc+d electronic subscription mailing list. And you can still see issues every month at the Children, Churches and Daddies website, located at http://scars.tv

    Mark Blickley, writer

    The precursor to the magazine title (Children, Churches and Daddies) is very moving. “Scars” is also an excellent prose poem. I never really thought about scars as being a form of nostalgia. But in the poem it also represents courage and warmth. I look forward to finishing her book.

MIT Vegetarian Support Group (VSG)

* To show the MIT Food Service that there is a large community of vegetarians at MIT (and other health-conscious people) whom they are alienating with current menus, and to give positive suggestions for change.
* To exchange recipes and names of Boston area veg restaurants
* To provide a resource to people seeking communal vegetarian cooking
* To provide an option for vegetarian freshmen

    We also have a discussion group for all issues related to vegetarianism, which currently has about 150 members, many of whom are outside the Boston area. The group is focusing more toward outreach and evolving from what it has been in years past. We welcome new members, as well as the opportunity to inform people about the benefits of vegetarianism, to our health, the environment, animal welfare, and a variety of other issues.

    Gary, Editor, The Road Out of Town (on the Children, Churches and Daddies Web Site)

    I just checked out the site. It looks great.

    Dusty Dog Reviews: These poems document a very complicated internal response to the feminine side of social existence. And as the book proceeds the poems become increasingly psychologically complex and, ultimately, fascinating and genuinely rewarding.

    John Sweet, writer (on chapbook designs)

    Visuals were awesome. They’ve got a nice enigmatic quality to them. Front cover reminds me of the Roman sculptures of angels from way back when. Loved the staggered tire lettering, too. Way cool.

    (on “Hope Chest in the Attic”)
    Some excellent writing in “Hope Chest in the Attic.” I thought “Children, Churches and Daddies” and “The Room of the Rape” were particularly powerful pieces.

    Dusty Dog Reviews: She opens with a poem of her own devising, which has that wintry atmosphere demonstrated in the movie version of Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago. The atmosphere of wintry white and cold, gloriously murderous cold, stark raging cold, numbing and brutalizing cold, appears almost as a character who announces to his audience, “Wisdom occurs only after a laboriously magnificent disappointment.” Alas, that our Dusty Dog for mat cannot do justice to Ms. Kuypers’ very personal layering of her poem across the page.

    Cheryl Townsend, Editor, Impetus (on Children, Churches and Daddies)

    The new cc&d looks absolutely amazing. It’s a wonderful lay-out, looks really professional - all you need is the glossy pages. Truly impressive AND the calendar, too. Can’t wait to actually start reading all the stuff inside.. Wanted to just say, it looks good so far!!!

    Fithian Press, Santa Barbara, CA
    Indeed, there’s a healthy balance here between wit and dark vision, romance and reality, just as there’s a good balance between words and graphics. The work shows brave self-exploration, and serves as a reminder of mortality and the fragile beauty of friendship.

    Mark Blickley, writer
    The precursor to the magazine title (Children, Churches and Daddies) is very moving. “Scars” is also an excellent prose poem. I never really thought about scars as being a form of nostalgia. But in the poem it also represents courage and warmth. I look forward to finishing her book.

    You Have to be Published to be Appreciated.

    Do you want to be heard? Contact Children, Churches and Daddies about book or chapbook publishing. These reviews can be yours. Scars Publications, attention J. Kuypers. We’re only an e-mail away. Write to us.

    Brian B. Braddock, Writer (on 1996 Children, Churches and Daddies)

    I passed on a copy to my brother who is the director of the St. Camillus AIDS programs. We found (Children, Churches and Daddies’) obvious dedication along this line admirable.

    The Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology
    The Solar Energy Research & Education Foundation (SEREF), a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., established on Earth Day 1993 the Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology (CREST) as its central project. CREST’s three principal projects are to provide:
    * on-site training and education workshops on the sustainable development interconnections of energy, economics and environment;
    * on-line distance learning/training resources on CREST’s SOLSTICE computer, available from 144 countries through email and the Internet;
    * on-disc training and educational resources through the use of interactive multimedia applications on CD-ROM computer discs - showcasing current achievements and future opportunities in sustainable energy development.
    The CREST staff also does “on the road” presentations, demonstrations, and workshops showcasing its activities and available resources.
For More Information Please Contact: Deborah Anderson
dja@crest.org or (202) 289-0061

    Brian B. Braddock, WrBrian B. Braddock, Writer (on 1996 Children, Churches and Daddies)

    Brian B. Braddock, WrI passed on a copy to my brother who is the director of the St. Camillus AIDS programs. We found (Children, Churches and Daddies’) obvious dedication along this line admirable.

    Dorrance Publishing Co., Pittsburgh, PA
    “Hope Chest in the Attic” captures the complexity of human nature and reveals startling yet profound discernments about the travesties that surge through the course of life. This collection of poetry, prose and artwork reflects sensitivity toward feminist issues concerning abuse, sexism and equality. It also probes the emotional torrent that people may experience as a reaction to the delicate topics of death, love and family.
    “Chain Smoking” depicts the emotional distress that afflicted a friend while he struggled to clarify his sexual ambiguity. Not only does this thought-provoking profile address the plight that homosexuals face in a homophobic society, it also characterizes the essence of friendship. “The room of the rape” is a passionate representation of the suffering rape victims experience. Vivid descriptions, rich symbolism, and candid expressions paint a shocking portrait of victory over the gripping fear that consumes the soul after a painful exploitation.

    want a review like this? contact scars about getting your own book published.

    Paul Weinman, Writer (on 1996 Children, Churches and Daddies)

    Wonderful new direction (Children, Churches and Daddies has) taken - great articles, etc. (especially those on AIDS). Great stories - all sorts of hot info!

the UNreligions, NONfamily-priented literary and art magazine

    The magazine Children Churches and Daddies is Copyright © 1993 through 2011 Scars Publications and Design. The rights of the individual pieces remain with the authors. No material may be reprinted without express permission from the author.


    Okay, nilla wafer. Listen up and listen good. How to save your life. Submit, or I’ll have to kill you.
    Okay, it’s this simple: send me published or unpublished poetry, prose or art work (do not send originals), along with a bio, to us - then sit around and wait... Pretty soon you’ll hear from the happy people at cc&d that says (a) Your work sucks, or (b) This is fancy crap, and we’re gonna print it. It’s that simple!

    Okay, butt-munch. Tough guy. This is how to win the editors over.
    Hope Chest in the Attic is a 200 page, perfect-bound book of 13 years of poetry, prose and art by Janet Kuypers. It’s a really classy thing, if you know what I mean. We also have a few extra sopies of the 1999 book “Rinse and Repeat”, the 2001 book “Survive and Thrive”, the 2001 books “Torture and Triumph” and “(no so) Warm and Fuzzy”,which all have issues of cc&d crammed into one book. And you can have either one of these things at just five bucks a pop if you just contact us and tell us you saw this ad space. It’s an offer you can’t refuse...

    Carlton Press, New York, NY: HOPE CHEST IN THE ATTIC is a collection of well-fashioned, often elegant poems and short prose that deals in many instances, with the most mysterious and awesome of human experiences: love... Janet Kuypers draws from a vast range of experiences and transforms thoughts into lyrical and succinct verse... Recommended as poetic fare that will titillate the palate in its imagery and imaginative creations.

    Mark Blickley, writer: The precursor to the magazine title (Children, Churches and Daddies) is very moving. “Scars” is also an excellent prose poem. I never really thought about scars as being a form of nostalgia. But in the poem it also represents courage and warmth. I look forward to finishing the book.

    You Have to be Published to be Appreciated.
    Do you want to be heard? Contact Children, Churches and Daddies about book and chapbook publishing. These reviews can be yours. Scars Publications, attention J. Kuypers - you can write for yourself or you can write for an audience. It’s your call...


    Dorrance Publishing Co., Pittsburgh, PA: “Hope Chest in the Attic” captures the complexity of human nature and reveals startling yet profound discernments about the travesties that surge through the course of life. This collection of poetry, prose and artwork reflects sensitivity toward feminist issues concerning abuse, sexism and equality. It also probes the emotional torrent that people may experience as a reaction to the delicate topics of death, love and family. “Chain Smoking” depicts the emotional distress that afflicted a friend while he struggled to clarify his sexual ambiguity. Not only does this thought-provoking profile address the plight that homosexuals face in a homophobic society, it also characterizes the essence of friendship. “The room of the rape” is a passionate representation of the suffering rape victims experience. Vivid descriptions, rich symbolism, and candid expressions paint a shocking portrait of victory over the gripping fear that consumes the soul after a painful exploitation.


    Dusty Dog Reviews, CA (on knife): These poems document a very complicated internal response to the feminine side of social existence. And as the book proceeds the poems become increasingly psychologically complex and, ultimately, fascinating and genuinely rewarding.
Children, Churches and Daddies. It speaks for itself.


    Dusty Dog Reviews (on Without You): She open with a poem of her own devising, which has that wintry atmosphere demonstrated in the movie version of Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago. The atmosphere of wintry white and cold, gloriously murderous cold, stark raging cold, numbing and brutalizing cold, appears almost as a character who announces to his audience, “Wisdom occurs only after a laboriously magnificent disappointment.” Alas, that our Dusty Dog for mat cannot do justice to Ms. Kuypers’ very personal layering of her poem across the page.
    Children, Churches and Daddies. It speaks for itself.

    Debra Purdy Kong, writer, British Columbia, Canada (on Children, Churches and Daddies): I like the magazine a lot. I like the spacious lay-out and the different coloured pages and the variety of writer’s styles. Too many literary magazines read as if everyone graduated from the same course. We need to collect more voices like these and send them everywhere.

    Fithian Press, Santa Barbara, CA: Indeed, there’s a healthy balance here between wit and dark vision, romance and reality, just as there’s a good balance between words and graphics. The work shows brave self-exploration, and serves as a reminder of mortality and the fragile beauty of friendship.

Children, Churches and Daddies
the unreligious, non-family oriented literary and art magazine
Scars Publications and Design


Publishers/Designers Of
Children, Churches and Daddies magazine
cc+d Ezines
The Burning mini poem books
God Eyes mini poem books
The Poetry Wall Calendar
The Poetry Box
The Poetry Sampler
Mom’s Favorite Vase Newsletters
Reverberate Music Magazine
Down In The Dirt magazine
Freedom and Strength Press forum
plus assorted chapbooks and books
music, poery compact discs
live performances of songs and readings

Sponsors Of
past editions:
Poetry Chapbook Contest, Poetry Book Contest
Prose Chapbook Contest, Prose Book Contest
Poetry Calendar Contest
current editions:
Editor’s Choice Award (writing and web sites)
Collection Volumes

Children, Churches and Daddies (founded 1993) has been written and researched by political groups and writers from the United States, Canada, England, India, Italy, Malta, Norway and Turkey. Regular features provide coverage of environmental, political and social issues (via news and philosophy) as well as fiction and poetry, and act as an information and education source. Children, Churches and Daddies is the leading magazine for this combination of information, education and entertainment.
Children, Churches and Daddies (ISSN 1068-5154) is published monthly by Scars Publications and Design. Contact Janet Kuypers via e-mail (ccandd96@scars.tv) for snail-mail address or prices for annual collection books.
To contributors: No racist, sexist or blatantly homophobic material. No originals; if mailed, include SASE & bio. Work sent on disks or through e-mail preferred. Previously published work accepted. Authors always retain rights to their own work. All magazine rights reserved. Reproduction of Children, Churches and Daddies without publisher permission is forbidden. Children, Churches and Daddies copyright Copyright © 1993 through 2011 Scars Publications and Design, Children, Churches and Daddies, Janet Kuypers. All rights remain with the authors of the individual pieces. No material may be reprinted without express permission.