welcome to volume 162 (the January-February 2019 issue)
of Down in the Dirt magazine


Down in the Dirt



Down in the Dirt

internet issn 1554-9666 (for the print issn 1554-9623)
http://scars.tv/dirt, or http://scars.tv & click Down in the Dirt
Janet K., Editor



Table of Contents

AUTHOR TITLE
Doug Hawley Intelligent Design?
Edward Michael O’Durr Supranowicz designsonwhai art
Doug Hawley Deal
Marlon Jackson Just Thinking
Doug Van Hooser people
what I know
Travis Green Christmas With My Little Trooper
Fallen Kingdom
Shattered Soul
Life or Death
Alistair Forrester Spring Begins
Utopia
Robt. Emmett Rich’s Auction Barn
Bonnie E. Carlson No Choice
Helen Bird, “Inksanity” Within these Walls ink drawing
Don Tassone Mother Earth
Keith Mark Gaboury Naked
Smoking Divinity
Kevin Richard White Art House
Janet Kuypers Every Step
Ian Mullins Acting Up
The Unholy Land
Being Human
Dev Pati Ghost
The sugarcane fields
Tom Ball The Science of Physiognomy
Mike Schneider Friends
Olivier Schopfer Runway photography
Bill Butler The Caretaker
Andrew Schenck The Flickering Light
Kyle Hemmings Senth Ave. photography
Denise O’Hagan A glut of words
Someone else’s morning
Mary Bargdill Rocky’s House Trailer
Joan McNerney Night
Teacher
Waitress
Allan Onik Royal Rumble
Vincent Bennett Once in a Lifetime
Edward Michael O’Durr Supranowicz Division of life Multiplies art
Oliver Fox Slow Drag Maddie
Eleanor Leonne Bennett Spit 400 photography
C. D. White Something Has Come and Gone
Kelleye Robinson 3
Kat Croswell Still Missing
RC deWinter the nun’s apostasy
motionless
Mark Antony Ross Fighting Bull in Madrid
Ruins of No Return photography
Toys of the Gods photography
Integrity Doesn’t Belong In a Cloud
Mexicali (2001)
Wyeth Renwick Two Lanes
Patti Harris Speak
Charles McFadden Elle
Janet Kuypers left living
Winston Derden Execution Style
Supply and Demand
Chella Coutington Lynette’s War
Vern Fein Artistry
Death Angel
God Forbids
J.B. Stone Gutter Punk Gospel
Marianne Brems Crook’d Necks
A. Elizabeth Herting Corpse Flower
Fabrice Poussin Gate to the Desert photography
Annin Brothers Dread of the Eyes That Aren’t There
John F McMullen The Skittish Cat
Valeri Paxton-Steele lost in a winter city at 4:00 a.m.
Lanette Sweeney For Leah, For Bess & Elena,
For Lenny’s Mother, Who Watched
Lisa Gray Hare Today Gun Tomorrow?
Denny E. Marshall The Hatchling drawing
Kody Ford Origami Roses
J. Ray Paradiso 3 kisses 2 art
Ben Brown Gnarl
Janet Kuypers knees
Richard Sensenbrenner Curse of the Virgin
DL Shirey Three Strangers
Janet Kuypers Poem About This
David Sapp Lilith
The Meeting
Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal Darkness Does Not End
Janet Kuypers He Told Me His Dreams 1
He Told Me His Dreams 4
He Told Me His Dreams 9
Headache
Helping Men in Public Places
Last Before Extinction
Packing

 
Note that any artwork that may appear on a Down in the Dirt issue web page
will appear in black and white in the print edition of Down in the Dirt magazine.





Order this issue from our printer as a
6" x 9" perfect-bound paperback book
(with both an ISSN# and a ISBN#)

Fallen Kingdom
Fallen Kingdom
order ISBN# book





ISSN Down in the Dirt Internet









Intelligent Design?

Doug Hawley

    Let’s just see how intelligent the design is. If you want to verify these claims or investigate further, just search on “bipedal disadvantages”.
    The mother penalty is huge. Compared to apes, human birth is much more involved and fraught with danger to mother and child. The changes to the pelvis to walk upright penalize birth tremendously.
    The leg from hip to knee is much more likely to be injured than that of the apes. The same applies to the back.
    Perhaps not directly tied to bipedalism, but humans can get food down the windpipe because it is connected to the esophagus. Not true in apes. Defecation is much simpler for apes.
    Humans get sinus problems that apes avoid.
    We can’t grasp with our feet. I have some unpleasant personal experience with this problem. Many years ago while playing tennis; I had an intense pain in one lower leg. It felt like I had been shot. The wound healed rather well, but in the meantime, blood pooled at the bottom of my foot. Many years later, a doctor friend told me I had ruptured a planteris tendon, whose main purpose is to grasp with the foot. So we have the possible pain of the foot grasping apparatus, without the ability to grasp.
    We are slower and weaker than apes. We can’t brachiate.
    How did all of this come to pass? There are several theories. One is that we were created this way about 4,000 years ago. Then, some think that this happened millions of years ago when some of our ancestors in Africa lost their trees and had to get used to living on the ground. A related theory is that we are the survivors of ancestors forced to the ground by weakness. Maybe we just got away with a random mutation.
    My conclusion is that if we are the result of intelligent design, the designer came in drunk on a Monday. Don’t get me started on the prostate or appendix.
    So if I’m so smart, can I come up with something better? Yes, I believe that I can.
    Check out the centaur model. It has the advantages of your basic four leg model, while allowing for the use of one our human advantages – advanced arms and hands for fine manipulation. Locomotion, defecation, birth all improved.
    Possible drawbacks – lots of furniture and structures would have to be redesigned and we’d be stuck with doggie / horsey style.
    A digression – it has been suggested that the idea of the centaur came from people who had not seen mounted horses before, and believed that horse and rider were one animal.
    If I may go a little bit more radical, I want to suggest a few more improvements not featured on any living animal - yet. We are told that pain is the way that we are alerted to health problems. Let’s go the route of cars and other machines and utilize gauges instead. Another advantage that machines have over animals is modular construction. Fuel pump goes bad? Replace it. Our improved animal model with complete and simplified modularity – Arm goes bad, replace it. Wouldn’t it be easier to move an injured person if it could be done piece by piece? Hardening of the arteries – use non-poisonous circulatory Drano to clean them out. Healthy foods taste good, unhealthy foods taste bad. Skin stays flexible and wrinkle free, while being impervious to small weapons fire. Hair and nails quit growing when they have reached the proper length. No appendices except in books. I’ve just scratched the surface of truly intelligent design.

Previously appeared in Potluck and Medium












designsonwhai, art by Edward Michael O’Durr Supranowicz

designsonwhai, art by Edward Michael O’Durr Supranowicz
















Deal

Doug Hawley

    On Duke’s birthday, Sally bought him cooking lessons. Duke had no interest in cooking, but thought he would go along with it, because they might need some changes. They had been married a long time and had fallen into a routine. So Duke dutifully went to the classes. He learned his way around eggs, and a lot of Thai, Mexican and Italian dishes. He was greatly surprised to learn that he enjoyed cooking and started to prepare half of their meals.
    After a month or so of this, he woke up one morning and Sally was gone. She left him a note:
    “Duke, you probably think that the cooking lessons were to just relieve me of some of the work and maybe give you a new hobby. That wasn’t it. You probably feel this too, I don’t think that we had been really connecting for some time. I had no interest in straying, but I found someone exciting in my yoga class. As you know, I would have lunch afterwards with a couple of friends. You did not know that one of the two friends is a guy named Fred, and the other woman dropped out of our lunches after her schedule changed. Fred didn’t exactly hit on me, but he seemed naturally charming. He is something of a Renaissance man – he does Iron Man Triathalons, he paints and has a high placed job with Zig, the advertising agency. He knows the best restaurants and hotels all around the world. Well, it just happened, I can’t explain it. We started skipping lunch and getting nooners instead at a room he rents downtown; he says he uses it when he doesn’t want to go home at night. I had no idea how much I missed the passion until I found it again. Certainly you and I had gone lukewarm if not ice cold.
    I know that you used to be able to take care of yourself when you were a bachelor, but I worried about how you would get along after I left, so I signed you up for the cooking lessons. I also left instructions for all of the things I usually did for you. You always handled finances, so that shouldn’t be a problem. I still love you, but I could not see the next twenty years go by and wonder what I was missing. The first thing Fred and I are doing is using up his vacation and take a trip around the world where he will show me all the best places.
    This must come as a shock, but I think that after you get over the anger and the pain, you will see that what we had was just OK, and I think that you too will end up in a better situation in which you won’t just be satisfied, you will be genuinely happy.
    All The Best, Sally”
    Duke was shocked and angry, but after a few drinks he began to believe he should have seen this coming. He had read that people having an affair may be particularly nice to those who were being cheated on, perhaps out of guilt. He thought back on all the little treats and gifts Sally had given him in the last few months and how she was more likely to kiss him. Upon reflection, he saw how they had drifted from romance to friends that lived in the same house. Rather than look his best for her, he had gained weight and didn’t shave or shower as often as he should have, whereas Sally always looked her best.
    Strangely, he feared most how he would explain her defection. What would it do to his reputation? He needed to come up with a strategy. She’s finding herself? She took a long vacation by herself? The truth? He decided to go with the truth.
    At work, or whenever he was contacted by friends, family or even strangers, he would lead with “My wife just left me. She found someone more exciting.”
    Duke was ill equipped with social skills, but he noticed that Maureen, a co-worker, was hovering over him more than usual after his announcement. He had been in the habit of having lunch with her a couple of days a week, during which time she would tell him about her luck on dates. He recalled now, that she would look at him closely as she told him about the disasters as well as when she “got lucky”, apparently judging his reaction. Except for the prurience value, he rarely reacted to her descriptions. Now she was regularly plying him with coffee and conversation, and asking how he was doing post-breakup.
    Time to get back on the horse. In this case the horse was well dressed, wore a fair amount of makeup, was fashionably slim and ten years younger than Duke. In Duke’s mind, if Sally could cut a better deal, maybe he could also. Because it had been so many years since he had dated, he offered the old standby dinner and a movie.
    After overpriced sandwiches and a movie with no car crashes in which no one got naked, they had drinks at his place. Making out led to more fun. At this point, Duke found out Maureen was not just thin, she was downright skinny. Looking back, he remembered that she had barely picked at dinner. Further it seemed that she tolerated the physical, using as a means to an end, rather than something to enjoy. He started to think about his early life with Sally when they were young and in love.
    What a predicament. The sex, although frequent, was unsatisfying because Duke thought he was the only one present and accounted for. Maureen seemed completely satisfied with the arrangement, and quit going out with anyone else. She started hinting at a more permanent arrangement, whereas Duke had one foot out the door. He was fortunate that his mediocre rise to mediocre middle management had left him with some imagination. His younger, more successful brother was just out of a relationship and was known to be catnip to women. He arranged to have a dinner with the three of them. Brother Willy was completely charming and Duke was a little crude that evening. Later that week personnel warned all employees about office romances. Someone had apparently warned management about hanky-panky afoot.
    Duke told Maureen that they had better cool it for awhile. Shortly thereafter, Willy called Maureen and commiserated with her about her situation with Duke and felt it necessary to tell her a few faults that Duke had. He told her that they could talk better after work. Subsequently, Maureen had very little time for Duke.
    So, office romance bad idea. How about dating services? He never heard back from professional woman, attractive, 5'4", university educated. Not once. Nada. Unless you count those who were catfishing with fake profiles. He found out when he connected with Jasmine, who used a picture which was fifty pounds and five years out of date, after he had made reservations at an expensive restaurant where he could not cancel.
    Scary, scary, scary. The women who wanted to bring their boyfriends or husbands along. Those that asked for credit card information and social security numbers in order to “confirm his identity.”
    He found out that his negotiating position got him the obese, the addicted and the diseased. At this point neither Sally nor Maureen looked bad at all.
    He wasn’t much of a housekeeper, so he decided to get a live in housekeeper. He wouldn’t force anything, but maybe she would warm up to him. After a lot of research, he landed Jenny, who had good references and was a stone fox. In the interview, she wasn’t overt, but made it clear that she found him quite attractive. This worked very well until the day that he came home and found all of his art, major appliances and Jenny were gone.
    At this low point, Duke started to think about celibacy or purchasing sex. Both had advantages and disadvantages. After all of the disappointments post – Sally, he did not rush into a decision.
    While still sitting on the metaphorical fence, he got a letter from Sally:
    “Dear Duke –
    First of all, I knew that Fred was a gamble, but I thought I had to make a change. Turns out, it wasn’t a winner. I feel like Kim Novak at the end of ‘Vertigo’ and Fred is Jimmy Stewart. I knew that he was more sophisticated than me, but I had no idea that he would take over / make over my life. Hair redone, clothes that I mostly hate. “Education” for my verbal miscues. I may not have been completely satisfied with the way we ate, but dealing with seven courses of exotica is not my cup of tea. When I want to take my shoes off and watch some mind dead TV, it is off to some avante garde production that lasts five hours.
    The sex isn’t just one on one anymore. I can’t say all of it is bad, but is getting very freaky not knowing what “friends” he will invite over.
    Ok, I know it was my decision to leave, but now I want to come home. If you have found something better, I will understand and I can’t promise I won’t take off again, but if you want me back I’m ready to come and try it again.
    Sincerely, Sally”
    Duke wrote:
    “Sally –
    Come home. Maybe we’ve both learned a lot from the separation. Let’s hope for better days.
    Duke”

 

Originally in Fiction On The Web












Just Thinking

Marlon Jackson

My thoughts rattle randomly
Nothing bad or good
But the good thing is
I never thought they would...
Rattle...by just thinking.












people

Doug Van Hooser

they are pebbles    little stones
that hide plain sight in the
gravel they are all but forgotten
a moon not a planet but there are
those in the constellation
where the stars align
and the name is a token
taken back to that time
and place    it may not be
a truth    now it may be a
story    twist the stars’
light    shadows
stumble over time
rest on the rock polished
in memory’s mine












what I know

Doug Van Hooser

it never snows in July
the winds refuse to die    the window clouds
it’s humidity    not humility
the butterfly    the lightening bug
the ephemeral touch on air
of wings and light winking
a secret
I see but cannot touch

swaddled desire
feeds on the mind’s breast
suckles unknown nectar
hatches chance
an egg in the nest
cracks
a feather exposed

now the river floods it’s banks
changes direction
air dares to swallow what is on its lips
time holds still
I pet it
temptation nuzzles my hand












Christmas With My Little Trooper

Travis Green

Up in the bedroom where I lay on my silky
smooth sheets, the glowing sun dancing upon
my window, I could hear my little boy rushing
down the stairs, his footsteps captivating my soul,
the lovely charm in my dazzled eyes, as I listened to
the loud, papery sound of Christmas presents unwrapped,
the exhilarating glow in his bright face that I couldn’t see,
his thin soft hands moving at an accelerating beat, changing
between scintillating smiles and bursting laughter, all the
joys in the world that made me feel like a spectacular mom.
I could feel the shuffling steps in his beautiful feet pounding
my inner being as he dashed into my room and gave me a
warm, vivacious hug, his vibrant cheeks and short fingers in
harmony with mine, his curly afro hair sinking into my skin,
the way his sparkling teeth shined like glistening diamonds,
the way I could feel my heart freezing in that sudden moment
of greatness, how the amazing light rose and fell on our bodies,
every breath of its entity amplifying in our sight. He looked at me
with a big grin and said, “Thank you, you are the best mom in the world.
I love you.”
I gazed into his big bright eyes and replied, “You are welcome.
I love you too my little trooper.”
As I watched him play on the colorful
floor with his various games and toys, there was an awakening deep inside
my spirit that moved me into a world of brilliant dreams.












Fallen Kingdom

Travis Green

I stood there in a space of empty silence scratching
my flesh, clutching my throat, regurgitating thick,
slimy strips of smashed barbecue chicken,
mashed potatoes, and rotten soda pop, as I stared
at the drably glass mirror at a disturbing
reflection that had no significance, the rough
exterior surface of my stretched skin a fire blazing
wall of flooded cracks, craggy eyes, that seemed to be
sinking into endless shadows, the watery depiction
in its imperfection triggering terrifying hallucinations
in the midnight hours, bushy eyebrows in a wave
of crookedness, every layer crumbling beneath the sunken
stars, inglorious lips falling into a world of torturous existences,
a dark solemnness labyrinth filled with screaming smiles
haunting me repeatedly, lumpy chests declining each
diminishing second, disembodied arms and ankles
vanishing deep into a freezing ice-cold swamp, a shuddering
sensation vibrating my unappealing frame, a shriveled landscape
reflecting toxic acid stinging my soul in the hellish night, inflicting
a raw and burning flame upon my forgotten being, as the crying skies
gazed high in the horizon at my fallen kingdom.












Shattered Soul

Travis Green

There’s a hanging beat of nonexistence
surrounding me in this silent room,
the rising rain beating against my window,
filled with madness and shadowed tears,
the featureless furniture encompassing me
standing in a sinking position, my damp,
clammy eyes staring into the dark at the
crazed ceiling fan spinning uncontrollably,
like a twirling thunderstorm intensifying
each ticking time, my soul losing its balance
and diminishing frame, every detailed
brushstroke slowly peeling away onto wet
rooftops and bare walls into a blanket of
drowned dimensions. My neck is bursting
with numbness and pain, the chemistry in its
craft falling into a hard-clicking sound, like harsh
syllables hovering in the air, circling in blazing
patterns, my swollen eyes lost in outer galaxies,
stranded in Saturn, faceless features empty
and shifting, square muscles contracting and expanding
into unreachable universes, the rolling waves of raging
hurricanes pounding in my brain, reminding me that
things will never be the same, this pain harboring in
my domain, intensifying and stretching into vast,
deteriorating seas, the oozing paint sluggishly running
down the walls of my shattered canvas, as I listened to
the loud screams of a young, melanin skinned beauty,
struggling to break free from the sharp, steel chains
confining her skinny and scratched hands, the way her
trembling feet squealed in the eerie basement, the way
all the hues in her flesh had evaporated into dry dust,
the trickling tears swimming in large puddles around
her pale cheeks, the hard vowels sifting in the smoky
atmosphere, amplifying into thundering torpedoes,
a slamming vibration of vengeful verses obliterating
the core of her heart, a sunken song fading away into
closed doors. I gazed outside at the unmoving shadows
suspended in the sky, the dim moonlight flickering
without pauses, the soundless stars stuck in stillness,
my broken body lost in the blood-scrawled depictions
knifing my heart.












Life or Death

Travis Green

I can see the blinding light surrounding me
in my broken hours, the deep rugged circles
under my shapeless eyes, featureless cheeks
floating along the wailing streams, the silent
screams stabbing my soul unremittingly all
through the night, chills sinking in the depths
of my flesh, darkness creeping in the shadows
cutting me deep, tormenting me constantly in
my sleep, crashing and burning, drifting and diminishing,
disintegrating and dying, slow startling thoughts
invading my landscape, every wall encompassing
my view spinning and intensifying across my sunken
dimension, slipping int a world of pain and anger,
blazing flames casting immense loneliness in my heart,
embracing the vicious freezing winds whirling in my direction,
imagination fading into depression, dreams vanishing into
broken bottles, as I gaze at the sharp steel blade facing me,
counting the ways to draw blood upon my existence, the crimson
flow suffocating my crying escape, peeling sky deteriorating into
gray ashes, feeling its smooth jagged edge pierce my skin to a slow
and brutal death.












Spring Begins

Alistair Forrester

The birds aren’t singing
They’re screeching
Warnings about suicide rates soaring
Because so many now have lights
To see the truth of their humanity, and the pity in their grounded state.

Watch and begin
The murder of the masses
A black cloud overhead
That massacres with thousands of disembodied damnations
Hunting and pecking
At the last structure of support left to cling on,
The idle abstractions of winter

States of walking decay
Come to bloom amongst cherrygrove cities
Gunshots treaded on
Like gum under shoe,
Children singing,
Dancing
We all fall down.

When will we wake from the dream like delusion
When will we live
Far away from the flocks
Who force and coerce us to bend to a will
A spring,
A summer,
A fall
Not of our own choosing
But one predetermined by our mother Demeter
Our external slaver,
Our kind Hades

When will we find our true spring
When will we find our true nature
When will these suicides cease
When will these murderous flocks stop
When will our ashen spring
Finally come to its end





Alistair Forrester bio

    After studying poesy (among other topics) under some great names in undergraduate, Alistair went on to serve as an AmeriCorps working on some mean streets to assuage a lack of affordable urban housing. He is currently attending a masters program for sociology in the Big Apple. He’s known for late nights of doing nothing, deep conversations that scare people away, and a few poems here or there (under another name, to keep you on your toes). Alistair thanks you for this opportunity to heard, and hopes you enjoy his literary work.












Utopia

Alistair Forrester

Tragedy
Is at the core of us all

We watch our lives spin down
Whatever drains we swallow
Only to lament in sorrow
It’s intoxicating nature

We all know what is there
There, at our core
The deepest parts of our present selves
That seek to do justice onto the world
When all it really creates is more
More
More unending trauma
To mire within
To ground ourselves within the obligatory
reality we call existence
Even though we know it to be none other than hell
Details derived from the madness of the flesh made solid
Into the intangibility of our incompatibility

We are nothing
We have never been anything but that
And we will continue to construct this
Hamster wheel of fate
As we watch all of our dreams die
All because we wanted to
We wanted to
We wanted to see them die
We wanted to see them die

We are children
Clutching to echoes like they are blankets
Given to us by our abandoned father
Who isn’t coming back
To give us the life we expected

There is no such thing as paradise
Because there is nothing like it
Within ourselves

No utopia is coming for you
No utopia is coming for you
No utopia will end your pain

We are not our father
We cannot build
What we cannot see

And so
We are resigned to build
More tragedy





Alistair Forrester bio

    After studying poesy (among other topics) under some great names in undergraduate, Alistair went on to serve as an AmeriCorps working on some mean streets to assuage a lack of affordable urban housing. He is currently attending a masters program for sociology in the Big Apple. He’s known for late nights of doing nothing, deep conversations that scare people away, and a few poems here or there (under another name, to keep you on your toes). Alistair thanks you for this opportunity to heard, and hopes you enjoy his literary work.












Rich’s Auction Barn

Robt. Emmett ©2018

    I’d stop in Rich’s Auction Barn every Tuesday evening. It wasn’t a barn; it was a defunct single story furniture store. If Rich, the auctioneer, had something of interest, I’d come back the following evening and try to outbid the antique dealers. Most nights, I used the Barn as a social event. My half-hearted bids usually bought me nothing. I’d spend my time talking to Kathy. I’d known her years ago, in high school. She was the captain of the cheering squad. I found out about her accident when I returned to town. Back then, she said to stop calling her Kathy and to call her Styx.
    “Sticks, why,” I asked, “cuz you’re on crutches?”
    “Not that kinda sticks, Styx, with YX.”
    “You mean S-T-Y-X?”
    “Yes.” She never explained.
     Her job was to take phone-in bids from people who had deep pockets and wanted to remain anonymous. Their bids usually won because they had the bucks.
    The crowd hanging out at Rich’s Auction Barn was a family bunch. We were, for the most part, friendly, fun loving, sometimes boisterous, and respectful. The one thing we didn’t do – run up someone else’s bid. We could have. It would have made Rich more money, but he didn’t like it and on more than one occasion had told us so. The real reason for respect – we’d be seeing each other again in a week. Another quirk Rich had was the size of bids. Under a hundred bucks, any bid was good. Over a hundred dollars, bids were to be in twenty-five dollar or more increments. Over five-hundred bids are in the fifty-dollar or more increments.
    Tonight, as most nights, found me leaning against a wall and drinking free coffee. We’d talk, except when she’d make an anonymous bid for someone. When she won the bid, she’d marked the price on the bid card and put it back into the pocket of her Home Depot nail apron she used to hold the bid cards and her cigarettes.
    Rich held up an item. “Hold on, I need to go to work.” She pulled her stack of bid cards from her apron pocket, sorted through them until she found the one she wanted. The bidders around the hall voiced their price. She flashed the card at Rich. He nodded in recognition. The price was jumping up fast. Rich started to ask, “Do I have ...?”
    The black-hair woman in the leopard-skin elastic pants nodded her head.
    “Do I have ...?” Styx bid a little more than Rich asked. The bidding froze. Styx bid had shocked spastic-elastic and the rest of the crowd. Rich pointed in our direction, then looked at leopard pants and shrugged. “Better luck next time, Jan.”
    “Deep pockets will win every time.”
    Styx nudged me, “Just gonna drink free coffee or are you gonna buy something?”
    I smiled and held up a finger.
    The auctioneer put his hand on a large cardboard box and asked for an opening bid of twenty dollars. There were no takers. He asked for a ten-dollar bid and still, no one raised a hand. The big box sat there, contents unknown, just waiting for a buyer.
    “One buck,” I hollered.
    Then Rich looked at me, shook his head, and stage-whispered, “Thanks, Rob. You’re the last of the big spenders.” The crowd knew me and enjoyed the humor at my expense. “Do-I-heara-two-dolla bid? Who’lla-givea-two? Anybody? Somebody? Two-dollas, two-dollas, where?” He paused. “Goin’ once.” He paused again. “Goin’ twice.” He pointed at me, “Sold to Cheap-ass for a buck.”
    The auctioneer and the crowd moved on to the next item as Styx side-glanced me.
    “What?” I asked her. “I got this big box for a buck. Who knows what great treasures it holds?”
    “You came here tonight to buy a box of junk you don’t need?”
    “It only cost me a buck.”
    She laughed, “Big deal. That stuff’ll be lying around your shop a year from now.”
    “Will not!”
    She rolled her eyes, “Will too!”

~*~

    I spent the week sorting my box of treasures into smaller boxes to take around to other collectors and antique dealers. By the weekend, I had unloaded it all and after gas money, I’d made a few bucks.
    Wednesday evening before the auction, I had a Big Mac, fries, and a Coke.
    Leaning against the wall, drinking coffee, I waited. After stopping to talk to another bidder, she came over, leaned her crutches against the wall, and sat in the chair next to me. “See anything interesting?”
    “Yeah,” I didn’t elaborate. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to play the crowd. It was larger than usual. Red stood near the center of the table that held the tools. He idly sorted through a box of rusty bits I knew he wasn’t interested in and be wouldn’t bid on. Half a dozen tool dealers I knew were milling around and eyeing each other. There were three guys I knew to be private collectors. The two men in suits looked out of place. We weren’t the bib overalls kind of auction-goers, but none of the Auction Barn regulars ever wore a suit and tie. I saw Fat Jim whisper to Bill and glanced at the locked showcase. It was the reason for the large crowd and me being at the Barn.
    In the ten years I’d been looking, I’d only laid eyes on four of them that were for sale. Two were counterfeits, another had a small nick, and the other wasn’t worth half the money the owner wanted. I would get this one. I had too. There were only eighteen in the set. I had seventeen. The locked showcase held my eighteenth.
    “You want it, don’t ya Rob?”
    “I do. What do you think I’ll go for?”
    “It’s in great shape. On a scale of 10, it’s a 9 or better.” I said.
    “My guess, it’ll be as low as seven-hundred, and as high as nine, nine-fifty.”
    “Yeah, and if it breaks a grand, it’ll see fifteen-hundred.”
    “How much are you willing to spend?” She asked.
    “Seven-fifty.”
    Rich had held off until the end of the tool table sales. He unlocked the showcase. “Here we go folks, who’lla gimme a two-grand, two-grand, two-grand where.” It was the crowd’s turn to get even. No one bid. “Folks, this is a pristine Stanley number one bench plane. Damn open the bid somewhere.”
    “One dolla,” I said. The crowd laughed, even Rich. That was the start, bids exploded from every corner of the room. In seconds, the price was at four-seventy. The bidding paused. If someone said fifty, the bid would be over five-hundred and I wouldn’t be in a position to get a bid in at seven-fifty. “Six even,” I said.
    Styx flashed a card, and said, “Seven-fifty.”
    The bidding stop and she’d stolen my bid.
    “Do-I-hear-eight-hundred-dolla-bid? Who’lla-givea-eight-hundred-dolla-bill? Anybody? Somebody? Eight-hundred-dolla bid-dollas, where?” He paused. “Goin’ once.” A long pause. “Goin’ twice.” He pointed at Styx, “Sold.”
    “Rob, would you get it for me?” I did. As I handed her the plane, she said, “Stop in tomorrow, pay me, and it’s yours.”
    “Tell me, why the name Styx with YX?”
    Smiling, “Google it.”












No Choice

Bonnie E. Carlson

    When you limp into the dusty, crowded refugee camp, barefoot and starving, blood no longer runs down your thighs. Relief settles over your ravaged body like an embroidered silken shawl. You have survived, but you still hurt down there. Maybe there will be others like you, young girls with virginity and families destroyed.
    So many people piled together. Each woman you meet you ask, “Where can I get help?”
    They point you along a muddy network of winding paths to a big canvas tent. When you appear at the tent opening a woman says, “Welcome. Come in. What do you need?”
    “I have nothing,” you say. “I have been walking so many days.”
    The worker looks into your empty eyes. “Are you alone?”
    You adjust your headscarf and nod. “I am Arafa. My family . . .”
    “How old are you, Arafa?” You hang your head. Only your parents know the answer, your age the least of your problems.
    “Please come, sit down,” the worker says. “Do you want to talk?”
    You yearn to speak about the unspeakable, but the words catch in your throat like a piece dried up piece of bread. What good would come of that? Shame is a filthy rag that blankets your body. Will talking find you a husband?
    When you sit, the memories monsoon your mind. Everyone knows what happened to you. It happened to so many for so long, of course they know. Many watched it happen, first in your village and later in the forest as you tried to escape. As if escaping from that horror were possible. Whole families destroyed. Whole villages burned to the ground.
    They watched you sob and scream and beg for mercy as your virginal body was desecrated by government soldiers. You had already seen other girls fight back. After the soldiers smashed their heads with rifles, still those poor girls were debased. So you don’t resist.
    And you witness others die, again and again. Babies tossed against trees, fathers shot or burned, mothers, violated, like you. When, finally, you get away, you can barely walk, your pain almost unbearable. You hide in caves and behind trees and bushes, always terrified. Will there be more soldiers? You hope the worst is over, but what if . . .? How does Allah allow this to happen?
    You try to remember what safety feels like. To be home, with your father and mother and the little ones. Maybe death is better than this.
    “Let me help you find food and clean clothes and a place to stay,” the health lady says.
    And you nod.

***

    The health workers find you a new family. You share their crowded tarp-and-bamboo shelter. Samira and her husband let you watch their three young children, who remind you of your own lost brothers and sisters, while they look for work.
    You don’t notice that you no longer bleed every month.
    Months pass. When the rainy season begins, your belly starts to swell.
    When Samira notices, she hisses at you, her black eyes flashing. “You must leave. You will bring shame on my family.” She spits on ground. “You have betrayed us.”
    You become confused, desperate. You are frightened to visit the medical tent again—men work there—but what choice do you have?
    You force yourself to follow the well-trodden paths, teeming with other displaced and desperate people. Rain still falls, the sky dark with clouds. You take the longer route, to avoid the communal latrines, covered with buzzing flies, and jump to avoid puddles. The hem of your blue skirt hangs sodden and muddy.
    At the tent, a woman smiles. “I am a nurse. How can I help you?”
    You look down your skirt, barely hiding your swollen belly. Her eyes follow yours. When she puts her arm around your shoulder you flinch. “I’m so sorry,” she says. “It looks like you’re six or seven months along. Are you alone?”
    You nod, unable to meet her eyes. Has she noticed the dark circles pooling beneath your eyes?
    “Have you had any medical care yet?”
    You shake your head. Not in your whole life. You cannot hold back your pain any longer. Tears moisten your cheeks. Sorrow spills from your cracked lips. What happened in your village and the forest and being humiliated by Samira’s family, your voice as coarse as sandpaper.
    The nurse listens with soft, kind eyes and nods with understanding. “Many girls have had this happen. We have a place you can stay until your baby is born.”
    A place where you can hide your shame, she means. Now that no man will want you.

***

    You disappear into that dark, wet place with other girls, secreted away from society’s judgment. Girls like you, who found out too late about their unwanted babies. Abandoned by your own people, a culture that abhors rape, knowing that it is not the victim’s fault, that she had no choice.
    You learn that when your baby is born there are men who will take it away, who will pay a small sum of money. Who knows what will happen to the baby after that?
    Your eyes now shine with hope. Maybe a man will want to marry you.












Within these Walls, ink drawing by Helen Bird, “Inksanity”

Within these Walls, ink drawing by Helen Bird, “Inksanity”
















Mother Earth

Don Tassone

    “I don’t think I can do this, George,” Jane said with tears in her eyes.
    “Do what?” he asked, taking her hands in his.
    “Go on,” she said. “I know we agreed, but I want to go home.”
    She buried her head in his chest and began sobbing.
    “It’s okay,” he said. “I want to go home too.”
    “You do?” she asked, looking up into his face.
    “Yeah,” he said. “I miss the Earth already. I’ll go talk to the captain.”

#

    They had signed up for this adventure knowing their children and grandchildren would be born in space. They would all be pioneers. The idea seemed so bold and exciting.
    But now, just two days into their journey, watching the Earth shrink in the distance, they wanted only to feel the soft grass beneath their feet.

#

    The ship was equipped with six escape pods, enough for the 10 passengers, the captain and her first mate. Two people could fit in each pod. Each had one small but powerful rocket booster and two auxiliary boosters. Each pod contained rations to last 30 days.
    The idea was to give anyone who might need to use an escape pod the opportunity to make it to the closest planet, based on the premise that over time most, if not all, of the planets would be home to a space station.

#

    “You’re kidding,” Captain Collins said.
    “I wish we were,” George said. “I’m sorry we have to make this request, but we simply can’t go on.”
    “Are you sure? If you leave, there’s no way you can rejoin us, you know.”
    “Yes, I’m sure—and we know.”
    “Well, then, I’ll let the flight director know so his team can begin preparing for your return.”
    “Thank you. When do you think we can leave?”
    “I’d like to consult with Luca on that and, of course, coordinate with the flight director. But I suspect you and Jane can take off yet today or tomorrow.”
    “Thank you, Captain. I’ll let Jane know. She’ll be greatly relieved.”

#

    First Mate Luca Virginio gave George and Jane instructions on how to gently guide their pod toward Earth, using the auxiliary boosters.
    “Houston will talk you thorough everything,” he said. “In about 10 days, you should be nearing the Earth’s atmosphere and be ready to fire your main rocket booster. It’ll be a rough ride for a few minutes, but then it should be smooth sailing. They’ll probably have you land in the Pacific, near California. A ship will be waiting, and you’ll be home in no time.”

#

    Virginio was right. They splashed down off the coast of San Diego and were picked up by divers from a ship dispatched from a nearby naval base.
    An hour later, the ship docked at the base. George and Jane thanked the crew for retrieving them, then headed for a nearby park.
    Five years earlier, they had met in a park, walking across the grass on a sunny day. A year later, they got married and began talking about the idea of raising a family in space.
    Now George and Jane took off their shoes and walked together in the grass. It felt so good beneath their feet. It felt so good to be home.
    Far from Earth, they had discovered it is much more than a planet, much more than a stepping stone across the solar system. They discovered the Earth is their mother. In the stillness of space, she had called them home, and they had come back to her.
    Now they cried for the loss of the adventure they had left behind and laughed imagining the one that lay ahead.












Naked

Keith Mark Gaboury

Dicks swing through shower fog
inside the YMCA locker room.
Behind foreign skin,
I heave an asexual glance
upon the man drying himself.
Do I dare stare
into his clean eyes?
We smile
in common vulnerability.

What if that naked man
morphed into my brother Sam
like those boyhood days
when Ma invited us
into a hot bubble bath
where we cleansed our bodies
in communion. No shame
as backyard dirt
spun down the drain.

Walking out
with still-damp hair
and clothed,
we say our goodbyes
and head off
like grade school magnets
in opposite directions.





About Keith Mark Gaboury

    Keith Mark Gaboury earned a M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College. His poems have appeared in such publications as Poetry Quarterly, New Millennium Writings, and on the podcast Who Do You Think You Are? Keith is a poet and preschool teacher in San Francisco, California.












Smoking Divinity
Bansky: Wall and Piece

Keith Mark Gaboury

Sitting in the doorway
on black ground, he exists
in the remains
of a bombed-out heaven

where a smoke
clings to his clutch,
a bottle of X
loyal by his side.

In the absence of a halo,
a serpent sheds its skin
upon a smoke trail
striking the frame
of a scorched skeleton.

Is this the last match
he will strike,
last swig for the night?

A moonlight-only salvation
suffuses within dark glass,
sizzling ember
only found in a flawed
brain buzz desire.





About Keith Mark Gaboury

    Keith Mark Gaboury earned a M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College. His poems have appeared in such publications as Poetry Quarterly, New Millennium Writings, and on the podcast Who Do You Think You Are? Keith is a poet and preschool teacher in San Francisco, California.












Art House

Kevin Richard White

    I became fascinated with the art house. It had always been there, I just never went in. It doesn’t have any big flashy signs and it’s tucked away on a side street - a vibe that suggests it’s a well kept secret. I finally decided to go in one day during my work break, after years of walking past and wondering what was in there.
    I stepped in and was blown away by how cold it was. There were only three people in there - an older woman behind the counter and two girls working at separate worktables. I automatically felt unwelcome, felt like I should leave them to their activity, but the old woman waved me forward. There was something about her I didn’t like from the start, but I already made the choice to come in, so I figured I would just roll with it until otherwise.
    “Come in, come in, don’t be a stranger.”
    “I’m sorry if I interrupted,” I said. “I’ve just always seen this place and I had decided...”
    The old woman cut me off so intensely that the cheap pearl bracelets she wore clanged together. “You’re curious to see what people do in the shadows. You want to see art at its finest and most vulnerable.”
    I didn’t know what to say to that so I just shrugged.
    “You want to see what other people unlike you do.”
    “I guess so,” I mumbled. I didn’t like how she worded that.
    “Then I will leave you to browse,” she said with an air.
    “Thanks.”
    I hoped she would stay behind the counter. I left her gaze and stared at the walls, full of work. I was taken aback right away by certain things and will admit: everything that was hanging for display was beautiful. It was worthy of belonging in big city museums. The colors were unlike any other shade I’ve ever seen - vibrant, elite. They were ordinary pictures - landscapes, houses, things you would find in hotel rooms or lobbies or offices - but they were done with care and passion.
    I was half-expecting to come in and find obscure experimental pieces, given by the nature of the place, so this was a pleasant surprise. I circled the store some more but still got the impression that I was disturbing the two girls working. They kept their heads in their projects and never acknowledged me. They were young - college students, probably - and I do know artists become touchy when interrupted. I went back to the counter where the old woman stood like a block of stone.
    “Are any of these for sale?”
    She didn’t look up. “No. They never will.”
    This surprised me. “They’re not? I was thinking of taking one home.”
    She looked up at this with a tight smile. “We appreciate the kind words. These girls do not work for profit. They work for art. This isn’t the decor section of a department store.”
    Her cold reaction to my eagerness confirmed my suspicions of the place. It was only for a clique, not for everyday people like me. My break time was almost up, so I decided that it was best to say my goodbyes and never come back. Sometimes different worlds, no matter how close, will never mesh.
    “Well, thanks for your time,” I said. I hadn’t meant it at all.
    “Please come back again”, the older woman sang in a sing-song. She hadn’t meant it either, I’m sure.
    I went to walk out, but I had to know one more thing. The girl to the left was painting on a canvas bigger than the actual table she sat at. Working feverishly, she was creating a portrait of what seemed to be a sunset overlooking some buildings in a field. Her bowl of paint looked empty and she seemed frustrated to have to stop and refill it. I took this as a time to get in my last question. I had already created a bad impression and my pettiness decided to win out.
    “Excuse me, I’m sorry,” I said, “but I have to know something. These colors, I mean, they’re absolutely beautiful. What kind of paint is that?”
    The girl looked up at me with the force of a train and started to say something, but then stopped herself. She took her bowl and put it on the floor. She stood and lifted her leg up, foot on her stool, over the bowl. She removed a gray army knife out of her pocket and sliced into her leg like would carve a roast. A flap of skin fell and blood flowed, dripping into the bowl. She waited until it could hold no more. She put the knife away. She put the bowl back on the table and dipped her brush back in it.
    Without looking up at me, she said, “What the fuck else do you need to know?”





Kevin Richard White Bio

    Kevin Richard White is the author of the novels The Face Of A Monster and Patch Of Sunlight through No Frills Buffalo. His work has been previously published by Akashic Books, Sundog Lit, Grub Street, Hypertext, The Hunger, Crack The Spine, Dime Show Review, Lunch Ticket, Digging Through The Fat and Ghost Parachute among others. He lives in Pennsylvania.












Janet Kuypers, Every Step, Instagram

Every Step

Janet Kuypers
on twitter and instagram, written 8/4/18

I looked at my health app
on my smart phone
and it told me
that every step I took
wasn’t a healthy one



video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers speaking her Instagram-length poems “Every Step” and “Brittle”, then reading her poems “Been a World Leader” and “My Kind of Town” from her interview/journal/poetry book “In Depth”, then her poem “Loving Four” from the v5 cc&d boss lady poetry collection book “On the Edge” at “Poetry Aloud” 8/11/18 (this video was filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera).
video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers speaking her Instagram-length poems “Every Step” and “Brittle”, then reading her poems “Been a World Leader” and “My Kind of Town” from her interview/journal/poetry book “In Depth”, then her poem “Loving Four” from the v5 cc&d boss lady poetry collection book “On the Edge” at “Poetry Aloud” 8/11/18 (this video was filmed from a Panasonic Lumix 2500 camera).
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video
of Janet Kuypers reading her poem “every step” 9/25/18 during the Chicago open mic she guest hosted for Poetry at The Gallery Cabaret (this video was filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera).
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video
of Janet Kuypers reading her poem “every step” 9/25/18 during the Chicago open mic she guest hosted for Poetry at The Gallery Cabaret (this video was filmed from a Panasonic Lumix 2500 camera).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersFebruary 2019 Book Release Reading 2/6/19, where she read her her haiku and short poems “Every Step”, “Left Living”, and “knees”, then her “Seeing Things Differently” show poems “He Told Me His Dreams 1”, “He Told Me His Dreams 4”, “He Told Me His Dreams 9”, “Headache”, “Helping Men in Public Places”, “Last Before Extinction”, and “Packing” from the Down in the Dirt v. 162 January/February 2019 ISBN# book “Fallen Kingdom”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix 2500 camera).
video
See YouTube video of Janet KuypersFebruary 2019 Book Release Reading 2/6/19, where she read her her haiku and short poems “Every Step”, “Left Living”, and “knees”, then her “Seeing Things Differently” show poems “He Told Me His Dreams 1”, “He Told Me His Dreams 4”, “He Told Me His Dreams 9”, “Headache”, “Helping Men in Public Places”, “Last Before Extinction”, and “Packing” from the Down in the Dirt v. 162 January/February 2019 ISBN# book “Fallen Kingdom”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera).


Click here for the Janet Kuypers bio.










Acting Up

Ian Mullins

If you fake it
for long enough,
does faking become
real? Or does fake
become phoney,
does it become your life?
Or does the act only bleed
the little of life
you can live and lead?
Perhaps the question only
distresses the answer,
betraying the reason why
you asked it.

But if it’s true
you can imagine yourself
real and healed,
then when will the act
become more than
a pretence, a veil of
wishful thinking?
Will half a century
suffice? Or do I
go on dreaming
to the deathbed abyss?

Perhaps in the last moment,
when I know the curtain is
finally coming down,
I will live in the un-ravelling
of the mind, dream
a good lifetime in the seconds
between the rope
being cut and the curtain
crashing down on the stage.

Or perhaps this is
only a scheme designed
by dna to console me here
and now, that I might
carry on breathing
and breeding, denying the life
that will not live
in me, no matter how well
I dream and deceive

and the questions turn
like an old 33, damaged
in the cut: the needle is worn
and will not rise, even after
the music is done.












The Unholy Land

Ian Mullins

Once you’ve looked out
past the moon
and realized it’s only
a spotlight,
there’s no going back
to declaiming your lines
as though you believed
in every one, that every speech
bursts over-ripe fruit
from the rancid garden
of your soul. All you can do
is read by rote, crafting
your role into a performance
you can live with, or through:

until the moon burns out
and the casting is closed,
you stand alone at the front
of the stage before
an empty auditorium. And then
you begin your speech.












Being Human

Ian Mullins

For the people who drove by
when I collapsed
at the bus-stop;
(and the one Somalian
who turned his van to help me)

don’t worry;
that sound you hear
is only someone
screaming from the gutter
at the side of the road.
There’s no need
to slow down and
take stock:

there’s no need for
you to be human too.












Ghost

Dev Pati

    When my 11-year-old little brother started walking funny, dressed up like a girl, and spoke about grown-up stuff, no one had any qualms about him being possessed. The big-bearded tantric with a garland of lemons and chilies around his neck, a red tilak on his wrinkly forehead and a sad, old soft-grass broom, was fetched from the neighboring village.
    Everyone in the village flocked to the big banyan tree that witnessed everything: the sunset over the Taj Mahal, the kangaroo courts by old schemers when anyone messed up, the lovers all over each other at dead of the night without any fear of moral policing. The tantric threw ash at my brother, and waved the broom in mysterious ways as he went on chanting hymns that were alien to me. And my brother talked. He talked a lot. Through the smoke.
    When it was revealed that the ghost was the bank manager’s daughter whom her family had stabbed and burnt in a brick kiln 6 months ago, after she eloped with a guy from the untouchable caste, in one fell swoop, the rosy picture that her family painted about her vanished like smoke in wind. She wasn’t really studying abroad or winning competitions in Harvard or being a great girl. She was dead. Her father broke down in the crowd and said they had no other way to save their family’s honor.
    The crowd dispersed with murmurs. No one was aghast. Not a single soul breathed fire. Filing a police case or taking some legal action, didn’t come up in any conversation. They all understood what honor meant.
    At night, she left my brother’s body and never came back. The very next day, our family elders illuminated us why we must never fall for someone from a different caste.












The sugarcane fields

Dev Pati

    The story goes that when Puneet Singh abandoned his newborn daughter wrapped in a pink, no-frills hospital blanket in midst of a sugarcane field near Ambala village in North India, she survived for 4 days without any water or food. It was the night of new moon, and the month of October, when he had left the baby and sauntered away. No one had a daughter in his village since a decade, and Puneet Singh had to keep it that way. He already had a boy to carry on his family line, to support him in his old age, and carry his bier when he would bite the dust. No point in giving birth to a second fiddle, a curse.
    The villagers came by to relieve themselves in the morning with mugs of water. Some brushed their teeth by the nearby pond. The workers came in the afternoon to distill tharra, the crude rum from sugarcane. Throughout the day, farmers rode on their tractors to nearby fields.
    Nevertheless, no one could know where the crying came from because that’s what happens in sugarcane fields. Rows of sugarcane act as sound barriers. You may hear someone yelling or crying all right, but you cannot know where it’s coming from really. Everyone knew it, starting from the police to the village elders. They could hear the music coming from a party faraway, the loudspeakers from a nearby puja, the sound of the cool October wind, but not the baby’s cry.
    When the dead baby was found, everyone blamed the sugarcanes as usual.












The Science of Physiognomy

Tom Ball

    Our super computers designed faces that matched one’s true nature.
    Everyone believed the computer and the super computer changed their face accordingly.
    For instance, business acumen was represented by faces of small business owners, managers, CEOs, product inventors, bankers, accountants, stock brokers, investment advisors and so on. So, for example with bankers, there were many types, risk takers, conservatives, financial planners, big money, small money and so on. And everyone could identify these characteristics in a face.
    But the second part of the face construction was to make it attractive. And there were many racial features that everyone thought were good looking.
    I myself was jealous of another girl’s face and so I copied it. But the girl sued me in court and she was awarded $50 million dollars, bankrupting me. But I was a hero to many who thought I was an advocate of free thought. So, they made me rich again. And I got into politics, representing the Free Face party and got 10% of the Presidential vote.
    But there were many people who were criminals who gave themselves a friendly face but actually were black-hearted villains.

    So finally, MRT (mind reading technology) was introduced and if people gave you permission you could read their minds. And the government made sure your face truly represented your character.
    But some were tired of being pinned to just one face so invented a face of 3-5 different manifestations that would gradually blend in to the other. Still others wore a mask that represented what they wanted others to see in them.
    But as the old saying goes, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” And most people just opted for one-night stands and one day friendships. There were billions of others to sample.
    Most people had some aspects of intelligence and kindness in their face. Some said the faces were just the outside and didn’t represent your true soul.












Friends

Mike Schneider

    Jim Biggs and I had been best friends since we were three years old. We caught pollywogs together, played high school football, stood up at each other’s weddings.
    Now I was going to see him for the last time. It’s never easy when a friend is dying. You hope they’ll pull through even when you know they won’t. Hoping is helpful but with Jim I didn’t have that luxury. Death would come at midnight Friday just as sure as the sun would rise on Saturday. He had exhausted all his appeals, the governor had refused clemency.
    Twenty-one years earlier my best bud held up an armored truck, left four men dead and went on the lam with $3-million. He was caught a month later, the money was never recovered. He said he was riding to California in a boxcar with it when the train hit a pickup truck. During the long delay he decided to go to a 7/11 down the street. A kid on a bike ran into him, he woke up in a hospital, “flat broke,” as he liked to put it.
    “Hello Mr. Adams. How are you today?” the guard asked when I signed in.
    “I’ve had better ones, Joseph.”
    “I’m sorry, sir, I understand.”
    The guards were always respectful. I’d spot the new ones by seeing the older ones pointing me out. It’s quite unusual for a special agent in charge of a major FBI office to visit a convicted murderer every month, but our bond was for life.
    “How are you feeling Jim?” I asked into the phone after four guards brought him to the condemned prisoners visiting room.
    “I’m fine, Porter, Thanks. After all, I’ve been preparing 20 years for this. I’m ready.”
    “Been doing anything to take your mind off of it?”
    “I have, reminiscing about the good old days. All the fun times we had. Catching fish, snowballing cars, drinking beer at the Calico Inn.”
    “What’s your favorite memory from back then?”
    “The cave. Remember how excited we were when we discovered it?”
    “I sure do, what a wonderful place. We smoked cigarettes there, later a little grass, made those torches for light.”
    “Stumbling onto it was pure luck” he said. “Entrance was so small and hidden, we probably walked by it a hundred times. I bet people still don’t know it’s there.”
    “Could be.”
    “You know, Porter, other than killing those guys, I only have one regret.”
    “What’s that?”
    “I’m never going to see the Cleveland Browns win a Super Bowl.”
    “Buddy, a baby born today might not live to see that.”
    We both laughed. I talked with him another 20 minutes, then we tearfully said goodbye. The execution went off as planned. Both Warden Greene and the news outlets said it was very smooth, no suffering.
    Not quite two years after that I put in my retirement papers and got my passport in order.
    Then on a strong hunch I went back to the cave and a few days later flew off to a new life in Belize with $3-million dollars.












Runway, photography by Olivier Schopfer

Runway, photography by Olivier Schopfer

Olivier Schopfer bio

    Olivier Schopfer lives in Geneva, Switzerland. He likes to capture the moment in haiku and photography. His poetry has appeared in numerous online and print journals and anthologies, and his artwork is featured in After the Pause, Die Angst Magazine, Anti-Heroin Chic, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Former People: A Journal of Bangs and Whimpers, Gnarled Oak, Otoliths, Peacock Journal, Sonic Boom, Streetcake Magazine, Up the Staircase Quarterly and Window Cat Press. He also writes articles in French about etymology and everyday expressions at: olivierschopferracontelesmots.blog.24heures.ch/.


















The Caretaker

Bill Butler

    A white and blue police cruiser moved down the street. When the car turned a corner, Slack hitched up his jeans and ambled toward a gray-haired elderly man. He stopped a few feet from him. “Whas up, old guy? You look’n ragged.”
    Bill Crain, eased a trash barrel to the curb with a clunk.
    When the old man straightened up, Slack saw something in his clear blue eyes. He’d bullied many people before, but there was something different in this wrinkled face. Was it fear or something else?
    Crain rubbed his hands together brushing off dust. “I have work to do. Can’t stop to talk.”
    Slack raised his arm and made stabbing motions at Crain with a forefinger. “Talk? You never talk to anyone.”
    Crain nodded, then trudged toward his front door. Each step he took was deliberate, as do some who have bad knees.
    Slack’s two friends watched from their perch on a dented four-door car across the street. When Slack reached them, Jackal, a skinny 20-year-old, stood and exchanged high fives with him.
    Slack pulled up his jeans that had slipped too far down. “What I say about that geezer? He’s noth’n. Can hardly walk.”
    Jackal sat on the beat-up car’s fender. “You sure he got paintings?”
    “That’s what the neighborhood says. Valuable, plenty of them,” said Slack.
    “He walks so weak,” said Mutt.
    Slack stared at Mutt for a moment. The oldest in their little gang, at 24 Mutt didn’t figure out much, but he was big. “Tonight, we go in there, knock down the old fart and take his paintings or whatever. I already talked to the fence. He’ll buy anything we get. Old people have old stuff, some is worth something.”
    The front door closed behind Bill Crain, shutting out street noise. He went through the house, into the backyard, walked to the guesthouse at the edge of the fenced property, and knocked on the door. “Miss Gomez, it’s Bill Crain.” Seconds later, a woman in her twenties opened it. Her black terry cloth robe matched her short hair.
    “Is there anything I can get for you, food, newspapers, whatever?” I spoke softly, as if to an injured animal. The blue bruises on her face had faded to yellow blotches during the month she was in the guesthouse.
    “Nothing, sir,” she said. “It’s quiet here.”
    “Except for you and me, the place isn’t occupied,” I said.
    I walked back along the path to the house, went into the kitchen, picked up a secure phone and dialed a number. The voice mail beeped. “This is Bill Crain leaving a message. Just checked on Margo Gomez. Her voice is stronger. Bruises are almost gone. Give her a couple more weeks rest.”
    Later, I lay relaxed in an overstuffed easy chair and watched the late-night news while enjoying the greasy fragrance of a cooling TV dinner that sat on a table next to me. One lamp and the flicker of the TV lit the room. Footsteps. Gomez must have changed her mind and wanted me to pick up something for her at the store.
    A loud crash and my front door flew open. Mutt stepped in gripping a sledgehammer with his large hands.
    Jackal, slipped past him, pointed a black nine-millimeter semiautomatic at me, and fired twice.
    Both slugs missed me and thudded into the easy chair. I was half-standing when he fired a third time. The next thing I noticed was the worst headache I ever had, and the room was brightly lit. I lay sprawled on the floor. Margo Gomez knelt next to me and pressed a cold, wet towel to the side of my head.
    “It’s okay, sir,” she said. “Your wound is superficial.”
    I smelled fresh blood and plenty of it. “Those guys wounded me.”
    “It’s taken care of,” she said. “When I heard the shots, I thought you were testing my readiness. I ran in here and saw you on the floor bleeding and three thugs ransacking the place, I?.”
    “We never use a safe house for a test,” I said. Red speckles dotted her face and yellow blouse. “That your blood or mine?”
    She shook her head. “Neither.”
    She helped me up, eased me onto the easy chair and pointed to a pile of something in the far corner. “They put up a fight. You’ll have to make a call to clean what’s left of them.”
    I knew her history. ‘What’s left of them,’ meant bodies to dispose of. “Your last mission was rough. I just asked Central to give you two more weeks off.”
    “Great.” Her big smile flashed the perfect teeth of youth. “I’ll do some shopping. Maybe, go to a few clubs.”
    I pointed to the heap of mangled men. From beneath them, a red puddle expanded on the oak floor. “After this, they’ll say you’re fit for duty.”
    She stood then sat on the couch across from me. “Roger that.” Her eyes narrowed for a moment. “Sir, tell Central I was out someplace when they broke in. With your reputation, they’ll believe you did this.”
    At fifty-five, I was still in great shape but was considered too old for wet-work. It would be fun to contradict the Central Office folks while getting more time off for this amazing young woman. I couldn’t hold back a smile. “Okay, Gomez. We’ll do it your way. I’ll call Central.”












The Flickering Light

Andrew Schenck

    Moonlight works the canvas, accentuating each tree, railing, and pagoda with a charcoal outline. Impressionist gobs of glowing yellow paint oscillate down the river walk, turning violet as they slip below the blue neon lights that line the bridge.
    As I meandered along the dirt path just beside the river in Central Park, one of the streetlamps started to flicker, animating the shadows into angular figures that danced just beyond my peripheral vision. As I jerked my head to the right, I spotted something.
    At first, I thought it was a bunny. A fat furry puff ball along the tree line that would get up on two legs, walk two steps, and then inch along on all fours. It had two long ears, one of which flopped over, reminding me of Pikachu. It stood there in the shadows, staring at me. The animal was cuddly, the pet I always wanted, but there was something haunting about it. Frozen, I stood and stared.
    Maybe it’s a rabid dog. Maybe it’s a Chupacabra. I heard they were spotted as far as Russia nowadays. It will spring on my neck and clamp down, forcing blood to pulse down my neck in recurrent waves. Let’s hope it likes AB.
    As I began to realize a danger, muscles in my legs began to twitch, signaling that it was time to get out of there. Like a drunken sailor, I stumbled with two left feet toward a well-lit pathway. As I got to the edge of the park, I looked back, but it was gone.
    A week passed. As always, my curiosity got to me, like that time I sniffed a 10-year-old tube of whiteout and lost my sense of smell for a week. Yeah, I’m an idiot. And I’m not Sherlock Holmes. I would say I’m more like Columbo, creeping around like a bumbling fool with a Galaxy S9, flashing it around to get a glimpse. Almost every night I was going to the park now. Sometimes I could spot the creature sifting through the garbage for half-eaten French fries or standing just close enough to the black shroud of a tree line to conceal its body. Each time I spotted it, an electric charge set off a chain reaction, which sizzled down my spine until it was released in my thighs. It resulted in a strange start and jerk motion, like the first time I got behind the wheel of my dad’s Toyota. Closer. Closer. But every time I chickened out and made a mad dash for my getaway car, waiting just beside Starbucks.
    October 25th. This night was different. Eight Guinness drafts and 3 shots of Jose Cuervo different. SSinking almosst imfosssible. Thass why I wassn’t in a.... Well, you get the idea. I grabbed my black suitcase and hobbled over to the park with a bag of Oreo cookies. I got there at 11:30 to set up the trap. I put all the cookies, except two I stuffed into my mouth, in a line that led into the bag. After about an hour with my head propped up against a tree, I could hear a faint sniffing sound. A snort and lapping sound was next, followed by an echoing crunch as the creature came closer. When the vinyl groaned under the strain, I rounded the tree and pounced on the case.
    Almost instantaneously, a horrific high-pitched scream stabbed me in the ear. A woman was yelling, “Somebody help! A man is stealing my dog!”
    I grabbed the flap and looked down at the growling creature, and soon realized I caught a ferocious white Maltese wearing a pink scarf. I picked up the suitcase so fast that the small white puff ball went flying about three feet in the air. I was nearly out of the park before the beast hit the ground.
    It was in the newspaper the next morning. I’m not an arch criminal, but I did see “The Fugitive.” I colored my hair a dark brown with ash gray highlights. Over the next few weeks, I grew a moustache and gained about 20 kilos. The weight was unintentional, a result of binge eating apple fritters, blueberry pie, and strawberry shortcake, along with any other fruity food that might settle my nerves. I kept wearing the same white T-shirt, which crept up my massive belly to expose a hairy navel. I tried to cover this indiscretion by wearing a leather vest that could never quite reach across the fat rolls to complete the link. My jeans I wore completed the disguise as a bloated, hairy biker.
    A few days after my assault on the Maltese, news began to die down. But there was always that nagging feeling that a knock on the door was coming. “NYPD freeze! You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say about a Maltese can and will....” But even this fear didn’t stop me from looking. I could avoid the police by staying in the shadows. I only came out at night to look for the creature.
    I would see it more often now. When it saw me, it would stand on two legs, stare for a bit, and wait for me to approach. It was covered with silky brown fur that would shine in the moonlight. Its eyes bulged out, ready to pop like the projectiles from a potato gun. One ear went straight up, more like that of a German shepherd, while the other folded down halfway, like that of a white lab. The only creepy thing were its fingers. They were long and thin, and looked like twigs. Skin stretched around the bones, revealing long, thin shafts glued together with knots of cartilage. They reminded me of the legs of a tarantula, and silently undulated up and down as if controlled by a secret puppet master.
    As I looked at the bulging black eyes, the hypnotic, rhythmic rise and fall of the fingers drew me in like a tractor beam. I embraced the creature, which had a sweet floral scent, reminding me of the violet Johnny Jump Ups I grew in my garden when I was six. The fur was silky and slid through my fingers. It was gentle, beautiful, and welcoming. I could feel its soft, moist tongue, like sandpaper, scrape the side of my neck.
    “Shit!”
    A burning poker moved along my bicep, opening up a deep gash. It didn’t bleed, but was somehow cauterized by an oozing, acidic green slime coming from the creature’s finger. It was a dew claw that was much longer than the other fingers. I threw the creature off and ran home.
    The wound seemed to fester, oozing puss that made the skin swell and glisten. Each time I moved my arm, the membrane covering the injury would tear, causing the skin to loosen and flop around. The most curious oddity was hair that sprung up all around the scab, which was about five inches long by now.
    “It’s thick and flabby with fur all around it. Do you know what it is?” I asked the doctor the next morning.
    “Yeah,” he said. “It’s called an arm. And you could lose a few pounds.”
    It was then that I realized no one could see the wound but me. After a prescription of Xanax, I was sent on my way.
    Next stop was the Mudang, a Korean shaman that dances on knives until your bad mojo is cut in two. Her face was like corrugated cardboard, a brown leathery skin that wrinkled around the skull. Her jet black eyes pierced my brain as she began to read what I was thinking.
    “You have Kweesheen.”
    According to her, I had some kind of bad spirit inside me and she was determined to get it out. Chanting a monotone ballad that put me in a state of hypnosis, she danced circles around me as I sat on the floor. Her long blue robe rose into an umbrella that revealed a red velvet interior, which threatened to swallow me up every time her metrical rotations slowed just enough. After about five minutes, a strong potion, which tasted a bit like dirt mixed with ginseng, sent me into convulsions that made me throw up almost immediately. The Mudang said, “You have no Kweesheen now.” She meant I was cured, but I knew that wasn’t the truth. It just burrowed inside me. I could feel the creature writhing underneath my skin, spreading its bony fingers into my extremities.
    The problem didn’t go away. Hair grew into silky tufts that covered almost every part of my body. After a few weeks, tendons became taught, making my arms bend and retract into my torso, which gave me short limbs that looked like a T-Rex. When I went outside, I couldn’t walk like I used to. The tightness in my arms and legs made me bounce like a kangaroo. My friends said they didn’t notice, but they’re always trying to spare my feelings.

***

    My frame is even more shriveled now, and silky fur completely covers my body. I just stay in the dark. I lurk in the shadows, moving my bony fingers and laughing maniacally.
    Every night I’m in the park.
    People sometimes see me along the tree line when the light flickers.





Andrew Schenck bio

    Andrew Schenck has taught English learners for over 15 years. He currently works as an ESOL instructor at SUNY Stony Brook in Songdo, South Korea. He is also a doctoral student at the University of the Cumberlands, studying to obtain an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership with a concentration in English.












Senth Ave., photography by Kyle Hemmings

Senth Ave., photography by Kyle Hemmings
















A glut of words

Denise O’Hagan

On any given day
There is a glut of words around me
On doorways, streets and signs
Informing, instructing, warning
On labels, shops and cars
Coaxing, cajoling, luring
In restaurants and bars
The many-tentacled monster
of modern communication
Pressing in around me,
Assertive and insistent
Audacious and capricious
oppressing and compressing me
Sometimes, they almost make me choke.

But then there are others
The passed over or forgotten words
Scrawled on beggars’ placards
The bewildered words
Whispered away in the slipstream of time
Crumpled thoughts in a lover’s thrown-away note
Fragments of people’s conversations
Caught in the wind on a street corner.

Must it be like this?
Words should be held like little gems
Precious-like
In the soft cup of a child’s hand
And picked out tenderly, one by one
So we can slip into the lining of situations
And see them from the inside.





brief author bio

    Denise is an editor by trade. Born in Italy, she has lived in the UK and Australia. She holds an MA in Bibliography and Textual Criticism and works in publishing. Her published poems include: ‘And the nuns wore lipstick’, ‘Honolulu breakfasts’, ‘I am lucky’ (New Reader Magazine, 2018 (https://www.newreadermagazine.com/ issue 2) and ‘Now he is here’ (Other Terrain Journal, 2018 http://www.otherterrainjournal.com.au/issues/issue-five/now-he-is-here). ‘And the nuns wore lipstick’ was also discussed at Sydney’s Speakers’ Corner. ‘Recalling Sarah’ is due to be published by Pink Cover Zine this October and is shortlisted for the ACU Poetry Prize 2018. Website: https://blackquillpress.com/












Someone else’s morning

Denise O’Hagan

The sun bores down
On a rectangle of synthetic green:
An inner-city playground.

The empty swing hangs immobile
Its knotted metal chains glinting
Its mottled wooden seat waiting.

It is one of the passed-over places
An oasis of discomfort, cut out from shade
Of the surrounding canopy of trees.

A little boy plays alone
Throwing a twig high into the sky
It does not come down again.

Under the trees, a man’s rough call
Blurry with drink and loneliness
Lingers in the hot air.

Paper bags, like big brown leaves,
Drift stained and empty along the pavement
Shored up by the playground railings.

‘Mama, look!’ The boy has made a face
Out of sticks, cigarette ends for his eyes
His delight is palpable.

The young woman in the laneway
Walks across, slowly, each step an effort
Her arms, so thin, reach out to him.

I cannot stand and watch this, I cannot stay
I tuck my son into his stroller and turn away.

(Written in King’s Cross, an inner-city suburb of Sydney where the bohemian lifestyle it is known for lies like the thinnest of blankets over the deeper problems of homelessness, addiction and crime.





brief author bio

    Denise is an editor by trade. Born in Italy, she has lived in the UK and Australia. She holds an MA in Bibliography and Textual Criticism and works in publishing. Her published poems include: ‘And the nuns wore lipstick’, ‘Honolulu breakfasts’, ‘I am lucky’ (New Reader Magazine, 2018 (https://www.newreadermagazine.com/ issue 2) and ‘Now he is here’ (Other Terrain Journal, 2018 http://www.otherterrainjournal.com.au/issues/issue-five/now-he-is-here). ‘And the nuns wore lipstick’ was also discussed at Sydney’s Speakers’ Corner. ‘Recalling Sarah’ is due to be published by Pink Cover Zine this October and is shortlisted for the ACU Poetry Prize 2018. Website: https://blackquillpress.com/












Rocky’s House Trailer

Mary Bargdill

    I push open the battered screen door and am struck by the burn marks that climb up the heat-warped wall – behind the stove and over the fridge – a trail of permanent black that will never fade. There had been a fire here, a long time ago, but the owners had never repaired the damage. Nor moved out of this 1960s house trailer. Their home.
    I hesitate, step inside. The tops of my Nikes gleam white against the ugly olive green carpet, but I know traces of mud have filled the cracks in the soles. The path from where Rocky parked his Silverado to the front stoop was lined with wooden pallets as a makeshift sidewalk. I had tried to hop from one to the next to stay out of the mud, but the leap from his truck to the first pallet was too far and I had sunk down half an inch.
    It’s warm in here. Closed in. Rocky’s mother stands barefoot near an enamel kitchen table where she has been peeling tomatoes. With the paring knife still in one hand, she wipes her hands down the front of her floral shirt, leaving traces of tomato juice. She smiles self-consciously at me. I try to smile, try to return her warmth. But it’s hard. This is Appalachian territory, just a few miles outside Chillicothe, Ohio, and as welcoming as they are, I know I’m not supposed to be here.
    She motions us toward the loveseat. Rocky and I sit on the threadbare upholstery, squeezed together amid the rust plaid pattern, our thighs just barely touching.
    “Do you want a pop?”
    I nod yes. She walks to the fridge, pulls out two cans of Coke. Hands one to me, the other to Rocky. We pop the tabs and take our first drinks awkwardly, like a couple of kindergartners. I glance at Rocky’s father for the first time and am struck by how ancient he is. His gray beard straggles down his chest into the greasy t-shirt. He looks more wizened than my grandfather. More foreboding.
    On the drive here, and abashed Rocky explained his parents’ scandalous past. That his mom had fled with her three young daughters from her first husband, an abusive man from higher up in the hills, to safety here in the lowlands. She started attending a small Baptist church where she sat in the back pew, shivering from fright and hunger alongside her little girls. When the single preacher, nearly sixty years old, started paying her attention, no one said much. But when her belly began to swell, they did. The congregation forced him out of that white clapboard church. He retreated to this trailer, this tiny sanctuary on a few acres of land carved out of the low side of the hill full of oak and ash trees. But he did something nobody expected. He took the woman, the not-quite-divorced young mother of nearly four with him. He never married the woman, but found work at a nearby factory and took care of the brood as if they were his own. When his son was born he named him Rockford, after an army buddy from World War II who had saved his life.
    Now here we sat, Rocky and me, in front of his parents, as if we were planning on sticking together like they had. Only we weren’t. We weren’t even a couple. We were just stopping by so Rocky could pick up some beer money for our road trip to Ohio University for the annual Halloween bash.
    His father eyes me, asks me if I’m a learnin’ at the same college Rocky is. I say yes. He asks where I’m from and I say up north, past Dayton. He asks which church my parents attend. I hesitate, say Catholic. He narrows his eyes, but doesn’t ask any more questions. Rocky’s mom steps forward, asks if I would like anything to eat. I decline, ask to use the bathroom instead. She seems relieved, directs me down the hallway. In the bathroom, it’s all I can do not to gag. The bathroom isn’t dirty as much as grimy, layers of rust water stains and filth that no amount of bleach can remove. I pee quickly, flush, opt not to wash my hands. When I return to the living room, Rocky is folding his wallet, stuffing it in his back pocket.
    “You ready?” he asks.
    I nod yes and walk toward him. Toward the front door. I am out of my element here and can’t wait to leave. His mother approaches, and embraces me in a quick farewell hug. I am stunned, humbled by her acceptance of me, and blink back a few tears. When my parents dropped me off at school two months ago we drove past dilapidated old trailers like this, a brazen declaration of poverty that was nothing like my parents’ colonial home with its precisely trimmed lawn and interior designed rooms. I hug her back and step away so Rocky can receive his hug goodbye. As we back out of the steep driveway onto the road I raise my arm for one last wave, but the screen door is already closed, the doorway empty.





brief bio

    Mary Bargdill is a recent graduate of the University of New Hampshire’s MFA Writing Program in Fiction. She currently resides in New Hampshire with her family and their six-toed calico cat. When she’s not working, writing or chauffeuring her kids around, she can be found at a local coffee shop or (hopefully) hanging out at the beach.












Night

Joan McNerney

Slides under door jambs,
pouring through windows,
painting my room black.

This evening was spent
watching old movies.
Song-and-dance actors
looping through gay,
improbable plots.

All my plates are put away,
cups hanging on hooks.
The towel is still moist.

I blow out cinnamon candles,
wafting the air with spice.
Listening now to heat
sputtering and dogs
barking at winds.

Winter pummels skeletal
trees as the moon’s big
yellow eye haunts shadows.












Teacher

Joan McNerney

She hoped some would leave,
rise above dirty factory gates
past plumes of smoke spewing
from the cement plant.

Occasionally when discussing
great American novels, the walls
shook. Ravines were blasted
for more rocks to crush into powder.

She wished they would not become
clerks for soul-less chain stores or
cooks in fast food joints where
smells of burning grease lingered.

What was the use of teaching literature
and poetry to these children who would
soon grow listless? Their spirits ground
down like stones in the quarry.












Waitress

Joan McNerney

Sally thought everything was
up to luck and she had zero.
Her chances got swept
away with yesterday’s trash.

Every day working in this
dumpy dinner slinging hash.

There were the regulars
who knew her name and
left good tips. They had
no place else to go.

Her feet swelled up at
the end of lunch rush.

Sally wiped tables filling
ketchup bottles, salt shakers,
sugar jars while staring out the
window at pulsing rain.

Waiting a half hour for the bus,
winds tangling her hair.

She stopped at the market to
bring a few groceries home.
Struggling now to open her door,
only cold rooms would greet her.












Royal Rumble

Allan Onik

    The arena was hot and flooded. The patrons happily munched on ramen. Michael Buffer stood in the center of the dilapidated ring. “It’s time for the main event folks! Ladies and gentlemen, Llllettts get ready to rrrrruuuummmbleeeee!!!!”
    Trump jumped into the ring wearing a red cape and mask and Hillary did a flip over the ropes wearing sparkling blue tights. The two began to strike each other in the face while slamming their feet on the ground. Trump cried: “There’s no such thing as global warming,” and Clinton cried “What e-mails?” Un jumped into the ring and began to circle around the two pulsing forward and yelping: “I’m going to fully denuclearize.” Assad did a summersault into the ring and slammed the ref crying: “my citizens are terrorists.” Obama slid under the ropes and exclaimed: “the national debt is fine.” He poked Putin in eyes who yipped: “We didn’t interfere.” The crowd hooted and hissed and threw empty Styrofoam cups of Maruchan. In the end, everyone was hot, wet, overstimulated, and angry. Vince McMahon held Trump’s hand in the air amid the bodies lying on the ground. “And here you have it folks, The winner of this generation’s great Royal Rumble. Wait! What’s this?!” Vince looked surprised and perplexed. Paris Hilton dropped from the ceiling and took out Trump with a spinning side kick. The winner, she took the microphone from a gaping McMahon. She bit her lower lip and creased her brow. “Does this mean I have to work?” she said.












Once in a Lifetime

Vincent Bennett

    #&8220;What the hell?#&8221; Dr. Simmons said as he entered the dark room. Laying before him on the surgical table under the soft glow of the surgical lamp was something.... Unnatural. Short, blood caked fur covered the creature#&8217;s body. It had long, thick nails protruding from its front, finger-like phalanges and short, stubby claws coming from the back. It was lupine in nature but much too large to be considered a wolf but also too small to be a bear. As he got closer, he noticed a figure standing just behind the table, out of the range of the light.
    #&8220;Lycanthrope,#&8221; the figure said as it stepped closer into the light.
    Simmons smiled slightly with amusement at the statement as the other man started circled the table and Simmons, never breaking eye contact with the creature on the table.
    #&8220;What?#&8221; Simmons asked.
    The man looked like Professor Farnsworth from Futurama but mixed with Yoda. His stride never lessened or quickened as he shoved a dossier into Simmons#&8217; chest. Flipping it open, all Simmons saw was thick black lines of redactions with CONFIDENTIAL stamped across them in red ink. He turned around to find the man staring at him intently.
    #&8220;Lycanthrope,#&8221; the man repeated. #&8220;Homo Lupus. Human wolf. Wolfman. Creature of old. The missing link between man and animal.#&8221; His smile revealed long, bright yellow teeth and a clear excitement about the subject.
    Simmons quickly turned back to the creature on the table and noticed what the old man was rambling on about. The hind legs were much longer than a normal lupine#&8217;s which meant it walked on two legs instead of four. Its snout was shorter resembling an elongated human#&8217;s mouth. All of these features were both human and canine in nature.
    #&8220;This is impossible,#&8221; Simmons replied as he shook his head in disbelief. He looked back at the old man only to look away as the man started to nod. #&8220;I mean, there is no such thing.#&8221;
    The man chuckled and walked over next to Simmons with a toothy grin across his face.
    #&8220;And yet, here we are,#&8221; the man said as he laid a hand on the carcass, softly petting the fur.
    Simmons took a step back and covered his mouth with his hand. He turned to walk out the room and forget about the situation. He stopped when the sound of laughter entered his ears. He turned back to see the old man hunched over the body, his shoulders shaking as he laughed heartily.
    
    #&8220;What are you laughing at, old man?#&8221; Simmons asked, charging forward and spinning the man around. The man#&8217;s face was twisted in this maniacal smile as he shook harder and harder.
    #&8220;You get the opportunity to dissect an actual lycanthrope and your first response is to run away like a child? Some doctor you are!#&8221; the man replied as he patted Simmons on the shoulder. #&8220;Now come and let#&8217;s get this over with.#&8221;
    Simmons hesitated at first but then shrugged and took off jacket off. #&8220;Eh, why not... Let#&8217;s see what make this werewolf tick,#&8221; He said with a smirk.












Division of life Multiplies, art by Edward Michael O’Durr Supranowicz

Division of life Multiplies,
art by Edward Michael O’Durr Supranowicz
















Slow Drag Maddie

Oliver Fox

    Late 1940’s, I met her at the base of a magnolia. She was ten feet above me, sucking on a peach pit— she was all swinging legs, dusty bare-feet, and scabbed knees.
    “You look up my skirt one more time and, cripple or not... I swear.”
    Some folks called her Slow-Drag Maddie, and others Fish Tailin’ Lady, both on account of how she swayed when she walked.
    One night she noticed me looking lonesome, setting in my wheelchair up there on the porch with only the kamikaze June bugs for company. So she borrowed a rusted hacksaw from Ol’ Casey down the road, and cut them splintered wood braces off my legs, and carried me on her back through the cicada night. We buried the damn things in a sunflower field. Supper was pecans and honeysuckle from her overall pockets, and we slept right there in the sweet-smelling dirt. Awoke next day at dawn to the car-horn cry of a peahen.
    At fifteen she jury-rigged a tattoo gun out of a threading needle and a cassette motor she’d nicked off her newsman uncle. She dipped the needle tip in a hand-hammered bowl brimming with fountain pen ink and drew a heart-shaped hot-air ballon on the inside of my wrist.
    Mary and Joseph, and all the saints— it hurt like hell.
    Well, we figured Dickson wasn’t nothin’ but a smudge on the map, so one day I hot-wired me a sea-foam chevy and called her from a pay phone.
    “Maddie,” I said, “meet me at the Texaco. Dye your hair in the bathroom. We’re headed for Memphis.”
    I pulled up to the filling station in a Stetson hat with a Viceroy between my teeth. Matilda stood there round back in her red heels with nineteen dollars in her armadillo purse. She popped her gum and climbed in through the passenger window one leg at a time. She arched her back as she let down her sharp-scented hair, let it pour down her shoulders like cream soda.
    We sang along with the radio, playing The Ink Spots “If I Didn’t Care,” and every note dripped from her lips with a pine-sap drawl and a grapefruit twang. We couldn’t have been on the road an hour when a semi jackknifed to avoid a bus full of little’uns on I-40.
    When they pulled Maddie out, she still had a cigarette stuck to her mouth by her raspberry chapstick.
    Three years I’ve spent here, at the corner of Fifth and Bourbon shooting pool at Doc’s, where sad-smiling girls in crop tops and Daisy Dukes serve drinks.
    I always seem to have glitter in my hat from late nights pumping myself full of rag water, rye and beer.
    And the cat’s-tongue grit of the pavement ain’t enough traction, so I use the crepe myrtles as walking sticks back to my sweat-and-diesel motel.
    Damn, good-for-nothing hot air balloon don’t help keep me afloat none.
    And when I fall on the stained rubber mattress of that steel-spring bed, oil slick spreads across the back of my eyelids, and I think back. I think back to the time I made a dragonfly out of a painted clothespin and twisted barbed-wire wings and clipped it on her denim blouse right where that one had landed while she was teaching me to dance in the sunflower field years ago.
    She called me Frankie Baby and laid her head on my chest and didn’t say nothin’ else.












Spit 400, photo by Eleanor Leonne Bennett

Spit 400, photo by Eleanor Leonne Bennett

Eleanor Leonne Bennett Bio (20150720)

    Eleanor Leonne Bennett is an internationally award winning artist of almost fifty awards. She was the CIWEM Young Environmental Photographer of the Year in 2013. Eleanor’s photography has been published in British Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Her work has been displayed around the world consistently for six years since the age of thirteen. This year (2015) she has done the anthology cover for the incredibly popular Austin International Poetry Festival. She is also featured in Schiffer’s “Contemporary Wildlife Art” published this Spring. She is an art editor for multiple international publications.

www.eleanorleonnebennett.zenfolio.com


















Something Has Come and Gone

C. D. White

For Bernetta

The bourgeoisie live behind closed doors,
The vinyl sheathed in yellowed paper.
They stumble without a soul.
A love supreme reigns but it’s quiet now—
Out here on the edge of town.

They don’t play that jazz no more.
Not even on skid row.
Hookers walk the streets in jeans and designer shades.
The men keep coming and the babies get made.

Something’s come and gone

The pimps and gamers eat fried lemon pepper wings
Over Cadillac Escalades and listen to loud lies and deceit,
Poor fools can’t even tap their feet!

Car horns are the best you get.
The jingle jangle of a small car wreck.
The cries and smoke in the dark of morning,
Shadows misting here and there.
No bleat of lips to make them care.
It’s all paper-mache and voice machine.
Nothing to make you prick and preen.
Lose that sheen!

Something has come and gone

Thousands live it up and put money down
To dance where angels have sweated out depression and lye.
Didn’t come for no lullaby.
Come to come and that again
To dance and invent sins,
Hot the swagger of cowardly men.

They don’t play those tines no more
In back alley or large marquee lit streets.
Take your whisky sour or sweet.
Listen to this tweet o’ tweet.

No jive, no boogie, no skee-bop boo
No tisket or tasket
No heroin in a basket.

Something has come and gone

‘S not even a city anymore:
Gentrified and well-appointed.
No place could a jazz man haunt.
Saxophone’s cold and the ivory don’t tink
Wash the blood away in the sink—don’t think!

Hips rusty without the fluid
Of the man’s spittle.
He used to blow it up
Make it big or little
But

Something’s come and gone

Like a midnight man who walks the streets
Looking for the scat-doo-beet!
Poor man can’t even shuffle his feet.
Ears leading him this way and that,
Can’t quite get where it’s at.












3

Kelleye Robinson

Three time’s a charm
Maybe in the game of chance
Life is full of chances
But the game isn’t life
Once, I saw an opportunity
Twice, I played the game
Thrice I lost
Wish for better
Work for a difference
Be the difference












Still Missing

Kat Croswell

The afterglow of morning he will not share
Catching me unprotected
So I will tell him I am night.

chaos skips ahead

Strength smells like winter rains
Like how a strand of his hair
Smells of a weeping willow

Clipped birds’ wings...
Smells like lost dreams
Like the silent orange/red of
His sun-stroked lashes

Tastes like water on thirsty skin
Like a meal for two

Eaten alone












the nun’s apostasy

RC deWinter

there are some so feudal
they would tax the sky
charge for rain
an assessment levied
for the privilege of stars and cool water

this is not exaggeration
it’s a tactical forgery of government
the moral elasticity of those pretending
ignorance

while sucking everything they can
with a long invisible needle
from the anemic body politic
lying strapped to the gurney of loyalty and habit

a pipeline to their pockets and the
wide-open mouths of those who will
accept gold in exchange for silence

i have no taste
for the treachery of peasants in coronets with their
endless
circular
ungrammatical
defense of what is indefensible

it’s time to crack the blackout window
cut this rotting umbilical cord
and get the body off the table

independent of this attachment
to a document
disfigured by judicial footnotes
stained by the blood of jesus
and the filthy fingerprints of thieves

saving only the original vision
of men with clear purpose
and their instructions in the opening lines
with which to address the future





About RC deWinter

    RC deWinter is a writer/digital artist whose poetry has been anthologized in “New York City Haiku,” (NY Times) and “Uno: A Poetry Anthology,” (Verian Thomas) and featured in print , including 2River View, Pink Panther Magazine, Another Sun, as well as in numerous online publications.












motionless

RC deWinter

because if i move flesh will twitch
neurons fire alarms that multiply
in competition with my desire to be buried
under your welcome weight
as you inject yourself
into that place reserved for you

eyes closed
papered with pictures of you
i am a faithful handmaid
to the paralysis of the pure

this would not concern me
but for the escrow of your absence

you are yet the property of the
exotic empire of silent travellers
tied and wired to all that’s clear
only to those whose unrecorded deeds
are drops of blood

pearls staining the rosaries
of an ancient brotherhood





About RC deWinter

    RC deWinter is a writer/digital artist whose poetry has been anthologized in “New York City Haiku,” (NY Times) and “Uno: A Poetry Anthology,” (Verian Thomas) and featured in print , including 2River View, Pink Panther Magazine, Another Sun, as well as in numerous online publications.












Fighting Bull in Madrid

Mark Antony Rossi

I punched out
my military counterpart
In Madrid
And while we sat
In jail
I punched him again.

I shouldn’t have mocked
Spanish masculinity
And ridiculed stabbing
Farm animals with swords.

But where’s the sport.
What courage is this?
Damn the diplomats
I will read basque poetry.












Ruins of No Return photography by Mark Antony Rossi

Ruins of No Return photography by Mark Antony Rossi
















Toys of the Gods photography by Mark Antony Rossi
















Integrity Doesn’t Belong In a Cloud

Mark Antony Rossi

If you expect Democracy
To be the guardian of Truth
If you expect the Republic
To be the guarantor of Liberty
You have not been paying
Close attention to history

You
alone are the custodian
Of your condition
If you are not willing to stand
If you are not willing to fight
If you are expecting Freedom
To be served on a gold plate

You will spend your last days
On Earth
decorating your prison cell
With my words
Not because I am a wise man
But because their presence
Reminds you of what it means
To be a man.












Mexicali (2001)

Mark Antony Rossi

central American Indians
poorest in a province
of poverty and profanity
hawk multi-colored
fabric bracelets
on the unwashed streets
of Mexicali

out of pity
I gave her more pesos
than she asked
and she gave me change
I gave her the money again
and asked for two more bracelets

she smiled with a grin
of well-earned pride
and blessed me
but it was I
whom was blessed
because her courage
became a bookmark
in my memory
of a ravenous range

unable to separate
corruption from culture
faith from fantasy
but the corn gods
speak loudest
on the day of the dead
and I carefully listen.












Two Lanes

Wyeth Renwick

    The light turns red. Her pink nails tap the steering wheel absentmindedly while the other hand runs through her dark hair. Her elbow rests on the window frame as a pop song fills every nook and cranny of her brain. Humming softly to herself, she glances out the window.
    He’s in the next car over. Windows down; rap lyrics blaring. His head moves along with the beat, and his eyebrows are knit together in concentration even though his mind is only preoccupied with what to eat for dinner. Both of his knuckles grasp the wheel tightly. Bored, he turns his head and sees her.
    Destiny smiles. The stars align. Somewhere across the world, a child lights a firecracker. She looks at him, he looks at her, and they both see each other.
    Some call it coincidence; others true love. She and he are perfect for each other, kindred spirits, soulmates; and in that tiny moment, they look at each other and she stops tapping and he forgets all about dinner and their heart beats sync so that they’re entire beings are pulsing in unity and it’s only just a little longer before they realize all that fate has in store for them-
    But destiny frowns, the stars shift away, and the firecracker fizzles out. The red light turns green, so they both return their focus back to the asphalt road; the fleeting moment lost.
    At the intersection, the two cars turn in opposite directions; their parallel lanes never merging.












Speak

Patti Harris

Speak softly,
Truth must be.
Hide nothing
In fear nor in pain.
Say it once
Speak it again.

Not always
Believed,
Truth spoken
Must be heard.
Speak clearly,
Repeatedly.

Remove the gag
Strung across
The soul
By those who
Would hide
Truth and reality.

If your words hurt
Those who came before,
Then perhaps thought
Should have came
In how they
Treated you.

Swallow the fear
Release the pain,
Speak.





Bio

    Patricia Harris is a dreamer, crafter, gamer and digital artist who loves creativity in life. Diverse in her interests, Patricia has published three children’s books and eight volumes of poetry, which can be found at http://amazon.com/author/harrispatricia. She is a devoted mom who can be found doing a variety of art when she isn’t penning poetry and writing words. For more from Patricia, check out www.Facebook.com/mouseypoet












Elle

Chuck McFadden

    It was noon on a sunny day when the old man noticed something odd. Very gradually, bit by bit, the room was getting darker.
    He looked over at Elle, who smiled back at him. Dearest Elle, always there. She was beautiful, and kind, and she understood him better than anyone ever had.
    Elle had come into his life when he was very young, just beginning high school. He had been, well, ugly. The girls had shunned him, politely of course, but it was immediately clear they wanted nothing to do with his pockmarked skin and awkward ways. But beautiful, sweet Elle wanted to be with him. She wanted to be his companion, and more.
    That’s the way it had been. Late in every day, after working hard in his beloved fields, he had come back to the house, and Elle.
    Year after year, they had sat side by side in their heavy leather chairs and talked about all kinds of things — farming, prices, what was in the newspaper.
    And now this.
    “What’s going on?” the old man wondered.
    He looked over again at Elle, who was still smiling. More tenderly than ever, the old man thought. More beautiful than he had ever seen her.
    “We’re dying, Darling,” she said simply. “Don’t be afraid.”
    And suddenly he and Elle were walking across the fields, she crying out in delight at all the things he had to show her. The little stream, the hill with the view, the little clump of old oaks.

    The paramedics came the next day. They found the dead old man in his chair, the leather worn and cracked from years of use.
    The chair next to him was like new. It was obvious it had never been used.












Janet Kuypers image, for Left Living

left living

Janet Kuypers
on twitter and instagram, written 8/30/18

we must create love
after we are left alone
so life’s worth living



video See YouTube video
of Janet Kuypers reading her poem “left living"”, then John’s 2 poem reading, then Janet comes back and reads her poem “One Year After, the Icing on the Cake” 9/25/18 during the Chicago open mic she guest hosted for Poetry at The Gallery Cabaret (video from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera).
video See YouTube video
of Janet Kuypers reading her poem “left living"”, then John’s 2 poem reading, then Janet comes back and reads her poem “One Year After, the Icing on the Cake” 9/25/18 during the Chicago open mic she guest hosted for Poetry at The Gallery Cabaret (video from a Panasonic Lumix 2500 camera).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersFebruary 2019 Book Release Reading 2/6/19, where she read her her haiku and short poems “Every Step”, “Left Living”, and “knees”, then her “Seeing Things Differently” show poems “He Told Me His Dreams 1”, “He Told Me His Dreams 4”, “He Told Me His Dreams 9”, “Headache”, “Helping Men in Public Places”, “Last Before Extinction”, and “Packing” from the Down in the Dirt v. 162 January/February 2019 ISBN# book “Fallen Kingdom”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix 2500 camera).
video
See YouTube video of Janet KuypersFebruary 2019 Book Release Reading 2/6/19, where she read her her haiku and short poems “Every Step”, “Left Living”, and “knees”, then her “Seeing Things Differently” show poems “He Told Me His Dreams 1”, “He Told Me His Dreams 4”, “He Told Me His Dreams 9”, “Headache”, “Helping Men in Public Places”, “Last Before Extinction”, and “Packing” from the Down in the Dirt v. 162 January/February 2019 ISBN# book “Fallen Kingdom”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera).


Click here for the Janet Kuypers bio.










Execution Style

Winston Derden

4/9/18 D.4
No, I don’t want to watch you
kill my cat using the same
anesthetic that killed
Michael Jackson, Prince,
Tom Petty, and unfamous others
with death-row efficiency.

I only wonder how it is
executioners haven’t caught on
to what takes a human down,
or why veterinarians aren’t
moonlighting on death row
to lift the onus from physicians

who swore the Hippocratic Oath,
first to do no harm, but turn
the tap on a lethal cocktail
at state-sponsored murders?
If the victims are not suffering pain,
is it still putting them out of their misery?





Bio

    Winston Derden is a poet and fiction writer residing in Houston, Texas. His poetry publications include New Texas, Blue Collar Review, Big River Poetry Review, Illya’s Honey, Barbaric Yawp,’Merica Magazine, Soft Cartel, and numerous anthologies. He earned a BA and MA at the University of Texas, Austin.












Supply and Demand

Winston Derden

Rapists and criminals,
the border-crossing kind,
infiltrating and anchor-babying,
taking on whatever work they can find,
laying roofs and laying concrete,
laying tile, intricate and neat,
for not all that much money.

Racists and criminals pay
a minimal wage, driving down
the cost of labor, raising a complaint
from higher-charging natives
of stealing jobs they’re too good to do.
Who’s hiring whom?

And who has to face that it’s
better being poor in Texas
than starving in Jalisco,
better living day to day in California
than shot dead in Acapulco.

Washing dishes, mowing yards,
sweeping trash, filling the addiction
for cheap labor the way nacros
fill noses with coke and veins with smack.

And now the latest indignation:
motherless child criminals and rapists
clogging border detention centers.
Guess they start ’em young in shithole countries.





Bio

    Winston Derden is a poet and fiction writer residing in Houston, Texas. His poetry publications include New Texas, Blue Collar Review, Big River Poetry Review, Illya’s Honey, Barbaric Yawp,’Merica Magazine, Soft Cartel, and numerous anthologies. He earned a BA and MA at the University of Texas, Austin.












Lynette’s War

Chella Coutington

My cousin Lynette says she’s tired from cleaning
East Main houses of rich bitches. They don’t even shit
like us, got toilet seats that float to the bowl,
never make a sound,
& she hands me the baby
over the front seat. Days off Merry Maids
we like to drive her ’97 Trans Am to Atlanta—
kd lang over eight speakers.
I’m tired too, tired of being the babysitter.
Leah, grabbing my earrings, covers me in crumbs.
She bites off the heads of animal crackers.
Only eats heads.

Don’t know why I hang with her.
She’s like the girl who cut my hair at Cinderella’s
saying I had the ugliest strands she’d ever seen.
I kept going back for more till Lynette blurted
You don’t need to pay for that kind of shit.
But Lynette says outright
she’s sexy & I’m not. We both know it.
Junior high she called me a mutant. Boobs
like raisins on a fifteen-year old’s wrong.

Mama took me to the doctor & he shook his head.

At least Lynette is a good mother.
When the kid has fever, Lynette won’t go
to work. I’d rather lose my job
than leave a sick baby at daycare.

Guess that’s why I hang with her.
She might call me names, but let somebody else do it,
she’d scratch their eyes out. At the Sonic,
some boy from Crossville leaned in the window,
Drop the fat chick & let’s go driving.
She clawed his left cheek & screeched away,
tray still on the car, cokes & fries flying.
Son of a bitch thinks he can dump on you and have
a good time with me. Stupid bastard.

I thought Lynette would always be the one to leave.
Good looking. Smart. She never let anybody
walk on her, or me, though she did
what Cochran girls do after getting their
driver’s license. She got knocked up.
Wouldn’t tell a soul who the father was.
We all thought it was Sonny Cruz.
He went to Iraq in August & emailed Lynette every day.
Like they were junk, she’d hit delete.
He started writing letters she stacked on her dresser—
unopened. Keeping in touch with soldiers
is talking to the dead.
Sonny could come back,
I say. Lots of boys make it. Lynette turns away
he might, but he won’t be the Sonny I knew.

After homecoming she carries his letters out to the grill.
They catch on the third match.
Every last word.

 

Merced River Literary Review (May 2015). Eds. Katie Oswald and Harpeet Singh Sandher





About Chella Courington

    Chella Courington is a writer and teacher. With a Ph.D. in American and British Literature and an MFA in Poetry, she is the author of six poetry and three flash fiction chapbooks. Her poetry appears in numerous anthologies and journals including Non-Binary Review, Pirene's Fountain, and The Los Angeles Review.












Artistry

Vern Fein

If you’re baking a cake
and decide to mix shit
with some really top-notch
delicious dark chocolate
then you have a handle on life
and you can stir that spoon
with artistry
so when you
eat your cake
and have it too,
you will taste reality
like so much of life turns out.












Death Angel

Vern Fein

If I have a guardian angel
do I not also have a death angel?
What does she do while waiting
when she is assigned?
Pare her fingernails?
Read the Book of Death?
Is numbers up reality
or does she just wait for fate?
One person at a time or a case load?
Does she know how I go?












God Forbids

Vern Fein

Yesterday, a man crashed in Texas,
survived his mangled family.
Everyone wondered if he could go on.

I remember another who tried.
Met him years after his tragedies,
a math professor,
Amish black beard,
a mountain lion type,
but the personality of a lamb,
quiet, no bleating.

He told us his story
before a campfire,
smoke gets in your eyes.

The Rockies,
formidable driving,
Old VW van, flower power.
It went off a cliff,
lost all but an infant son.

Time passed. Re-married.
This time his new wife was driving,
another psychedelic van
in the Rockies.
All lost this time.

I looked into his slouched face.
Once onyx eyes as if formed over centuries,
now wild, maybe insane I thought,
as if nothing were too horrible,
as if nothing were forbidden.












Gutter Punk Gospel

J.B. Stone

there we were
on a summer’s night
conjoined to another smoke circle
before we engage
in another three hours
of angst-fueled debauchery
an additional round of whiskey
used as folklore to charge the nerves
and numb the ears
lest we do the smart thing
and plug these drums
for the long term risk
of going deaf
taking away the natural feeling
of a loud, pulsating
explosion of distortion
we pay homage to these monuments
not carved from the moldings of clay
but from the raising of fists
and aggressive movements
against a world
that doesn’t understand
so we found a church
one not adorned
in jesuit-stained glass
and congressional pews
but through the belly of barroom beasts
suspending a ceiling plastered
in old concert posters
hovering a rafter of yesteryear
above the piss-stained hardwood
we capture the visions
of these kodak moments in the making
continuing the legacy of CBGBs
while filling in the blanks for our generation












Crook’d Necks

Marianne Brems

From two crook’d necks,
with coffee forgotten
on a table between them,
glazed eyes stare
without warmth
at small screens
that glow
into a hollow half-darkness.





About Marianne Brems

    Marianne Brems is a long time writer of textbooks in her teaching area of English as a Second Language, but also loves to write whimsical poems. Her poems have appeared in Door Is A Jar, Mused, Soft Cartel, The Pangolin Review, Right Hand Pointing, Armarolla, and Foliate Oak. She lives in Northern California.












Corpse Flower

A. Elizabeth Herting

    The Corpse Flower clutched its hidden treasure tightly, leaves interlocking in a steely grip. The flower would bloom in its own time. It would not be rushed or stopped in this biological imperative, any and all obstacles would be overcome. The evolution of hundreds of thousands of years had brought it this far, there would be no turning back.
    This particular flower had not bloomed in over forty-seven years. Forty-seven summers had seen it closed off to the world, forty-seven seasons of a quiet, dormant existence. Life in all its thoughtless cruelty and euphoric joy danced around the Corpse Flower in ten thousand permutations, never once making any kind of impression upon it.
    When it did bloom, it would be quite a spectacle, pent-up energy accumulated over a lifetime bursting into macabre fruition. The Corpse Flower would open, gloriously blood-red and rancid, the smell of rotting flesh and death emanating from its core. Seeds from its exultant debut would be quickly absorbed into the atmosphere, tiny imprints destined to grow into their own splendor, carried away like whispered prayers on a current of wind to take root and begin anew.
    Upon reaching the end of its cycle, the Corpse Flower would dig deeper, entrenching itself even further and biding its time for another season of blooming. It would go on like this indefinitely, weathering any attack with the sheer, dogged persistence that marked its place in an imperfect world.
    If by chance it should die, the Corpse Flower’s children would grow and flourish, carrying on its legacy until it became their time to bloom, the cycle beginning all over again. Relentless and resolute, the Corpse Flower would cling to life until there was absolutely no life left.
    Only death would separate it from its gruesome task, but then death was its ultimate goal. For only in death would the Corpse Flower finally win the evolutionary battle, killing itself in the process in a blaze of futile, apocalyptic glory.
    The Corpse Flower would be triumphant.

#

To my Family and Friends:
This is a status update I never believed in my wildest dreams I would have to write. It has been quite a battle, but sadly, I have come to the end of the road. The cancer that was in remission is back and has spread. There are no more options for me. As many of you know, I was first diagnosed five years ago and have fought the good fight. My hair is non-existent and I probably could light up like a Christmas tree from all the radiation and chemo, but with great effort, I did go into remission twice. Those days were quite a party, let me tell you (what happens at the remission party stays at the remission party—you know who you are!) However, when I went in for my latest checkup, they found a new tumor. God only knows when or how in the hell this one grew, but it is a big one, the size of a softball. It seems I have used up my lifetime supply of chemotherapy (who knew there was such a thing?) so now there is nothing to do but let nature take its course. The doc says I have a month, maybe more. I might make it to my 48th birthday, but who knows? Thanks to those who have stood by me through all of this, I couldn’t have made it this far without you. Stop by and see me anytime, but make it quick! We can share a beer (or two or three or...) and talk about better days. Live every day like it is your last because, well you know. I hope one day cancer dies its own well-deserved death—never give up fellow warriors! Love to you all until we meet again in this life or the next...
Your battle-scarred, but eternally hopeful friend,
Steve

 

This was preciously accepted for printing in “Literally Stories.”





About A. Elizabeth Herting

    A. Elizabeth Herting is an aspiring freelance writer and busy mother of three living in colorful Colorado. She has had over 40 short stories published and also has a collection of short stories called "Whistling Past the Veil" for publication by “Adelaide Books” in April 2019.

    For more of her work/contact her at https://aeherting.weebly.com, https://twitter.com/AeHerting or facebook.com/AElizabethHerting.












Gate to the Desert, photography by Fabrice Poussin

Gate to the Desert, photography by Fabrice Poussin

About Fabrice Poussin

    Fabrice Poussin teaches French and English at Shorter University. Author of novels and poetry and the advisor for The Chimes, the Shorter University award winning poetry and arts publication, his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and dozens of other magazines. His photography has been published in The Front Porch Review, the San Pedro River Review and more than 250 other publications.


















Dread of the Eyes That Aren’t There

Annin Brothers

    “I was fourteen at the time. I and my friend Leo Carper went to the Grizzly Rocks,” the storyteller hesitated as he stumbled on a thought, then continued: “I should have put it a different way, so I correct the error. Leo should have come first: of the two of us, he was the major figure, as it were. Daredevil is about him. Ringleader and photographer par excellence,” the storyteller paused and could not go on for a few minutes as he rode out his overwhelming feelings. “I thought back to his face: it hasn’t changed for it remained there in those times . . . Leo had long planned to take pictures in the Grizzly Rocks caves, but the grownups would have nothing of that, saying it was a continuous labyrinth with no exit. Indians were reported to have a finger in the pie, unwilling to leave their turf. But there was no stopping Leo with reasonable arguments once he had made up his mind to take those snaps. What he needed to say: ‘To hell with the hurdles,’ was an excuse. You know, for people like him, there’s only one rule: where there’s a will, there’s a way. And the excuse afforded. A strange, I’d say a dreadful, thing happened. Her name was Theresa Brandon. Our beloved natural science teacher and school picnics and hikes organizer. She had probably meant to wipe out the contradiction between the kids’ glances toward the Grizzly Rocks and the grownups’ obstinacy. She had considered it and gone, all alone, intent on working out a route and taking the kids there . . . Two weeks later some rangers found her on a ledge. She sat there stock-still unresponsive to the world. Whoever had seen her reported that her aspect had quite changed . . . she used to love us all—now her face was petrified, with horror in her eyes. She’d lost the use of her tongue and never said or wrote a word. I visited her at the clinic two years ago—it gave me the creeps. She seemed to still be seeing what she’d run into and what had made her like that. It was no exaggeration: it did give the creeps. I looked her in the eye, and there came to life—for me—those other eyes that had haunted me in the cave. Pardon me, I wetted my pants . . . I wetted my pants for half a year . . . I, Andrew Flick, always the best in my school, the best shooter from the three-point area, the best runner in the one-mile event. I, too, landed in the loony bin. They did their damnedest to extricate me: my father was mayor at the time. They finally did, as you can see . . . Leo, Leo. He was taking pictures of a cave mouth when a grizzly snuck up on us. We rushed to the passage crying. Leo was tripped up and fell down. It’s probably the law of existence: someone falls, someone strikes it lucky, bitter though it sounds. Leo’s heart-rending shrieks are imprinted on my mind as a death knell, as fear made me get deeper and deeper. I thought I could hear the grizzly behind me. I sought out aisles too narrow for the beast to go . . . Everybody thought I’d gone crazy because of the grizzly and because of Leo. I wouldn’t . . . You’ll be the first to hear the truth. Some time later—it’s hard to keep track of time when a yard takes as much energy as a mile—some time later, I found myself in a cave. I flicked on my flashlight (I’d been saving the batteries in my flight, flipping it on and off). What I saw and experienced at the moment is hard to fit a word to. Was it fear? It sure was . . . But there’s fear and fear. Some of our fears are there at genetic level. I’m sure that the fear of getting a bayonet stab in the belly is precisely of that provenance. It had been passed down the generations ever since our ancient forefather first ground a lance head and stabbed another forefather with it. Another example. A baby in its crib with a sinister octopus monster suspended over it by a web, whose very aspect says, ‘Fear me!’ Facing us, or, rather, on the baby’s face, is fear, acquired fear. By the age of fourteen we’ve been more or less conditioned to those fears, both the first and the second kind. But . . . In me as in Theresa Brandon, there was no defense mechanism, no defense reflex to be ourselves the moment I saw what I saw. I saw what no human is conditioned to seeing. Seeing it is unnatural for the human eye or his reason. I switched on my flashlight—the stones below and on the walls had blobs of weird, seemingly fleshy, structures. It wasn’t as if the stones had grown moss. The moment you saw them, you had no doubt they’d occupied the stones, settled there, that the cave was their lair. There were eyes staring out of them, out of their sockets, staring at me, all of them. Those were not beasts’ eyes; they were people’s eyes. The eyes of a different species of ‘people.’ That was the way I perceived them at the time . . . If a grizzly advances on you, you experience fear. Your mind, your very skin, tells you the grizzly will tear at you . . . Those eyes were staring at me, and I grasped I wouldn’t be there in a jiffy, there’d be nothing left of what we call identity. I had time to realize there was no will left in me. Not even a cry: I couldn’t protect myself with a cry. What was left of me was the trembling of a human body at stool. It’s hard to imagine that what was left of me was the trembling of a body in the process of bowel movement, bereft of the notions it had accumulated in the course of fourteen years. The notions were taking leave of me without resistance like feces. What saved me was what we are used to being afraid of—darkness: the batteries were dead. I don’t know, don’t remember what happened next. There was just an impression of quaking in my whole body and motion on all fours in pitch darkness. The impression haunted me for a long time returning in nightmares—the crazy motion on all fours in total darkness . . . What had happened to my consciousness in the cave was there in it; it’s what I call dread of the eyes that aren’t there. I think with me, with Theresa Brandon, perchance with someone else, humanity has acquired yet another species of fear . . . You and many others will enter a cave, fearful of claustrophobia or bats. I’ll enter a cave if I have to (if I have to, now) with dread of the eyes that aren’t there (oh, I know they are there). And this dread is there to stay . . . But it isn’t as bad as all that. I emerged from the cave with a positive experience to last me a lifetime. It’s an experience that amounts to confidence. The upshot is: no matter how solid the walls of the three dimensions are, there’s another world with a life of its own and with eyes all its own. It’s closer than we believe when observing the universe through a telescope.”












The Skittish Cat

John F McMullen

After 4 years with our most
skittish cat ever,
she slept on my shoulder
for an hour and a half.

Maybe there is hope for us, yet.





bio

    John F. McMullen, “johnmac the bard” is the Poet Laureate of the Town of Yorktown, NY, the author of over 2,500 columns and articles and seven books, five of which are collections of poetry, and is the host of a weekly Internet Radio Show (with hundreds of shows to date). Links to the recordings of all radio shows as well as information on Poet Laureate activities and an event calendar are available at .












lost in a winter city at 4:00 a.m.

Valeri Paxton-Steele

lost in a winter city at 4:00 a.m.
we have discovered the scenery underneath
the underneath of this soulless city
the snow is melting now
bare bulbs, half burned out
hang naked as a wanton’s necklace
exposing it all for us to see

all the barren discordant dirges
buried and hidden ‘neath the snowy cloak
time selectively winnows it down
the banality down to its barest rawness
each one of us wholly alone
we walk the walk of a city unmasked
but see not the lullaby of lies reflected in the shop windows

the somber tune is one for hallowed husks
junkies doing a jitter jive dance
each shivered misstep dedicated to a fellow un-live
floes of sedimentary tumors revealed in these gutters
glinting darkly for both the disposed and disposessed
the hope for mercy a nightmare
in this dreamscape reality called home

we see only the truth of lives in half-shadows
the city lights illuminating blank stares
canvassing the cold of hunger and despair
waiting for us to enter its grasp
the icy desolation enveloping us
a warning that we are never to be released again...












For Leah,
For Bess & Elena,
For Lenny’s Mother, Who Watched

Lanette Sweeney

When I think of the women
I want to forgive
I know I must start
with myself.
I forgive easily
the men, who beat us,
from whom we cowered,
who waved their sad cocks
in our weary faces,
who raged for respect
from fathers
who never touched them
except in fury.
We never were their targets.
We just lived in their way
’til they fought back their tears
with our bodies.
I cannot forgive
the women,
who should have known better,
who turned away,
or turned me in,
turned out to be strangers,
their lips turning into thin lines
admitting nothing –
turned into tyrants
when a moment’s tenderness
might have saved us all.

Instead, I will start
by holding out my arms
to gather close all the terrible times
I lied and made light of it.
I will cradle each unforgivable act
against my open breast
and nurse it naked
until its milky mouth falls open,
and we sleep together,
sticky with satisfaction.
After,
I will walk loosely,
lively, singing and
swinging my limbs
without a weight or a single,
silvery whisper
hanging from my hem.

Maybe then I can turn
back to you
and begin.





About Lanette Sweeney     Lanette Sweeney (formerly published as Lanette Fisher-Hertz) is a fierce femme and grieving mother. Her poetry, essays, and fiction have appeared in newspapers, journals, and national anthologies, including the women’s studies textbook Women: Images & Realities. Lanette became a 50-year-old gay bride in September, 2016, 16 days before her son’s overdose death. She and her wife live in South Hadley, MA.












Hare Today Gun Tomorrow?

Lisa Gray

    There’s going to be catastrophic consequences. And, if it doesn’t come from them first, it’s going to come from me.
    My ancestors were native Americans. But I’m living in Europe. My ancestors go all the way back to the pioneers. That’s why I’ve always believed in freedom and I’m still fighting for it. In those days it was wagon trains. Now it’s off-road four-wheelers. You’d think things would have changed, wouldn’t you? But some people, who have it in their interests, don’t want things to change. Even if it means killing. Killing can be contagious, you know. Unfortunately they’re usually in positions of authority, which we’ve let them be. But they’re really outlaws. Who should be outlawed.
    I’ve always been a timid sort. The sort who likes a peaceful, uneventful life. Like most of us. But life has a habit of playing tricks on us, doesn’t it? That’s what made me violent. An orphan from birth. A bit of a loner. A countryside dweller. I had no-one to tell me what to do and what not to do. I had to live by my wits alone. And life was tough I can tell you. Doubly tough being female. Though it shouldn’t be. That’s when the trouble started. I never thought of myself as attractive. I’ve always had a thing about my ears. Too big. But that didn’t stop any males. What is it about males? Why do they have to gather together? Why do they have to compete? Why do they show off? Do they think it makes them strong? Do they think it makes them powerful? Or are they just afraid of showing their weaknesses? It was spring. I’d been haring around like you do on the first sunny day following what had been a long, lingering winter. I was just glad to be outside. When I saw them. Two of them. Fighting. A small crowd of females had gathered to watch. And they were playing to the audience. I was disgusted. I’d never be like them. I’d never resort to violence. For any reason.
    A lot of the eyes were on one particular male. I could see why. He was handsome all right. But he knew it. I could tell by his arrogant stance and slick survey of the females in the crowd. I turned away but not before I had the uncomfortable feeling he was watching me. I should never have taken the short way home. But no one had ever told me not to stray into woodland. I was about halfway through the wood when I saw him straight ahead. He was waiting for me. He was on me in a second. I fought back as hard as I could but he was too powerful.
    The next day I took up boxing. You have to adapt to survive, don’t you? It worked. It kept them away. The males, I mean. They still chased me. Initially. And I did some damage to my opponents, I can tell you. Of course, it should have been him. The one who did it. But I never saw him again, did I? And it was all too late anyway.
    I knew that when my stomach began to swell.
    From the time the baby was born I tried to teach it what to do and what not to do. It was timid like me. I didn’t want it to be tough for her like it had been for me. After all she didn’t have any brothers and sisters to rely on. She just had me. I told her to keep her ears and eyes open, to stay away from lone males and always stay out in the open where there were others. She was a fast learner. I taught her how to take evasive action and how to defend herself. I didn’t want her to end up like me. I hoped it was enough.
    I thought, if she followed all this, the countryside would be a safe place for her.
    How wrong can you be?
    I’d always stayed away from cities. All those people. And that traffic. Even in the country I shied away from busy roads. I’d seen too many bunches of flowers placed on roadside verges dying slowly like the people. Roads were dangerous places.
    But open land. That spelt freedom to me. A hark back to those early pioneer ancestors, I guess.
    That’s why it came as such a surprise.
    Baby and I were in the best form that day. At home. Safe. Secure. With a view to die for. When I heard the noise. I’ve got excellent hearing. One good thing, I suppose, about having big ears. I knew what it was. But I didn’t know why it was so loud. We didn’t live near the road.
    It was off road. It was four wheeled. And it was flushing out every hare form in the field. Terrified, the hares were sprinting, bounding, in zig-zag patterns, leaping. Trying to avoid the guns aimed at them. From the four-wheelers.
    I pushed baby out of the form, our shallow home in the grass, and told her to dive for the ditch at the edge of the field. Even as I left the safety of the form and ran in the opposite direction to the ditch to create a distraction, I thought of those wagon trains which had crossed open land and used my ancestors as a source of meat. Was I going to end up like them? At least their extreme behaviour had been for survival. These four wheeled off roaders weren’t stopping to pick up carcasses. They were just killing.
    I don’t remember the bullet that hit me. I just remember seeing baby in the safety of the ditch from a great height. Without me.
    That’s when I became violent. Along with all the others who’d joined me in the afterlife. Even he was there. Looking down at baby. With tears in his eyes. Knowing she was his. I forgave him then.
    That’s when we all went back. To that field.
    Spirit is more powerful than matter. I know that now. That was why we managed to make the off road, four-wheelers swerve and plummet into the deepest ditch at the northern end of the field, their occupants like blood spattered damaged dolls draped across their steering wheels.
    Sometimes you have to fight for freedom. We fought the gamekeepers who used outlandish practices to cull us. I had to do it for baby. She’s an orphan now. A loner. A countryside dweller. No one to tell her what to do and what not to do. Living by her wits alone. Life will be tough for her. Doubly tough. Being a female. I hope I’ve taught her well. Well enough to survive.
    And those gamekeepers?
    Perhaps someone should teach them. Teach them a bit of Irish folklore. Then maybe they’ll survive.
    Those who harm hares will suffer catastrophic consequences.












The Hatchling, drawing by Denny E. Marshall

The Hatchling, drawing by Denny E. Marshall
















Origami Roses

Kody Ford

    I’d spent much of the last four weeks at home recuperating from the accident. Other than the occasional outing with my brother Frankie, I just hung around the house all day, brainstorming for Valentine’s Day. Over the last six years, Jennifer and I had embraced the hokeyness of the holiday rather than dismissing it as the commercial farce we knew it to be. Recent celebrations included a couple’s spa day, followed by black light bowling, and a chocolate fondue buffet. Once she hired a skywriter. Another year, I had a mariachi band serenade us. We were so self-aware we’d almost become unaware.
    Recently, I’d focused my energy planning for the holiday, rather than dwelling on my escape from death after the semi cut into the right lane and sent our car flying into the ditch. Now I bore a fractured C2 and C3 vertebrae and an unwavering pain. What I tried to focus on was the stuffed alpaca I had bought for Jennifer—a choice much more original than a teddy bear—those were too cliché even for our over-the-top observances. I also used Photoshop to create an image of two parallel spoons and text, written in a large serif font below, saying “Spooning Since 2012,” which I’d printed out and framed. Jennifer would get a kick out of that.
    For much of the afternoon I’d cleaned the house best I could given the limited head mobility of my neck brace. Then I strategically placing daisy petals leading from the door to the dining room. I used a meal delivery service to get dinner for two from our favorite restaurant: lamb chops, Brussels sprout gratin, and chocolate cheesecake. I draped a black cloth across the table, lit lavender candles (her favorite), tied two “Be Mine” balloons to her chair, and chilled a bottle of Chardonnay. In the middle of the table I placed a bouquet of a dozen homemade origami roses. The only thing missing was Jennifer.
    The evening was getting away. I waited for half an hour before I heard the door open, followed by footsteps down the daisy-lined paths. Frankie entered the dining room to find me sitting alone at the table. “What’s all this about?”
    “It’s Valentine’s Day. That’s our favorite holiday. We have to celebrate.”
    Frankie started to pull out the chair with the balloons. “Not there,” I demanded. He nodded, pulled out the seat next to me, and sat quietly for a moment.
    “Look,” Frankie said, “I get it, but it’s been a month. Jennifer’s gone.” I looked ahead. It was almost as though my fiancée sat across the table, smiling. “I can take you by the cemetery tomorrow. We can put roses on her grave.”
    “You should go. Now.”
    Frankie started to speak but paused, then said, “I’ll come back in the morning.” He got up from the table, leaving me alone, waiting.





Bio

    Kody Ford is the editor of The Idle Class Magazine, a publication focused on the creative life. His work has appeared in Fiction Southeast and Flash Fiction Magazine. Follow him at @kodyford.












3 kisses 2, art by J. Ray Paradiso

3 kisses 2, art by J. Ray Paradiso
















Gnarl

Ben Brown

    The wanderer’s footsteps crunched against the gravelly earth. Though his sweat has saturated his clothing and his eyes squinted, having seen nothing but orange dirt and black asphalt for hours, he couldn’t keep the smile from his face. His tonge snuck out to wet his dry, cracked lips, as his hope of salvation neared him. He stepped out from beneath the rock where he had been taking shade from the sun, watching the small ramshackle train trundle its way down the tracks. He stood beside the tracks and began to wave.
    Steam shot from the sides of the train as brakes could be heard. It screeched along the rails, eventually sliding to a stop. The lead engine door creaked open, the engineer stepping out onto the steps. She was dressed in the thick coveralls of those in her profession, what exposed skin she had covered in grease and soot. She frowned as she looked at the wanderer, fingering the shotgun strapped to her leg.
    “You don’t look like you should be here, sir, most people don’t wear suits here in the flats.” said the engineer, leaning against the doorframe and eyeing him.
    “This is true. I don’t really belong here. I just need a lift into the nearest town, and some water if you have it.” He said, stepping upward onto the first step of the engine car. In a lightning quick movement, the barrel of the engineer’s shotgun was under the chin of the wanderer. He quickly put his hands up, smiling softly. “I assure you, I mean no harm.” The engineer let a long moment pass before slowly putting her weapon away.
    “I’m not sharing my water, but there are over a dozen passengers aboard. You can ask them.” she said, stepping back inside, letting the wanderer follow her aboard. “You don’t have any weapons.” she said. “Idiot move out here, these places aren’t safe.”
    He chuckled, sighing heavily as he took a seat against the wall of the small control cab. The air in here was hot, and stuffy, the metal walls doing nothing for the oppressive heat, and everything smelled like motor oil. Still, it was preferable to the harsh wastes he had been walking through.
    “You are telling me. I can’t believe I have survived out here as long as I have. If the landscape and the bandits don’t get you, the monsters will.” he said, watching her closely as she took the train’s controls and got them moving again.
    “Ah, so you know about the monsters. Which one have you been running from?”
    “There was this one...it seemed so polite, acted like my friend, even shifted its form to look like me. It eats people. It ate the others I was out here with.” said the wanderer, slowly climbing to his feet.
    The engineer shook her head, a visible discomfort coming over her.
    “You ran into Gnarl. At least that’s what we call it. He is the worst of the monsters out here. And once he picks prey, he never lets it go. A word of advice, once you get inside a city, you stay put. Forever. Its walls will keep him out, but you step foot outside them, you are forfeit.”
    “Gnarl.” whispered the wanderer, taking in the word. “Why did you decide on that name? It seemed so proper and polite.”
    “Are you defending it?” asked the Engineer, eyes on the tracks. “It eats people.”
    “Fair, fair, but still, I feel like I deserve a better name than Gnarl.”
    The engineer suddenly stopped, standing stock still.
    “What did you say?”
    “I said it deserves a better name than Gnarl, something more-”
    “No you didn’t. You said I.” she said, reaching down cautiously to the gun on her leg, turning to the wanderer and keeping her eyes on him.
    The wanderer seemed flustered and confused, putting his hands up. He frowned as he began floundering for words, before eventually sighing and dropping his hands.
    “Ah, fine. Gnarl it is then.”
    She moved to draw her weapon, but it was too late. Gnarl stood from her body much later, looking behind him, to the door that led to the rest of the moving train, and the treat that awaited him there. He then turned to the front, peering down the tracks where miles off, he could see the outline of a city, where a feast awaited.












knees

Janet Kuypers
haiku 3/25/14
video

bring me to my knees
make me shake in fear of you
force me to break down



twitter 4 jk twitter 4 jk Visit the Kuypers Twitter page for short poems— join http://twitter.com/janetkuypers.
video videonot yet rated
See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers reading her twitter-length haiku knees live 3/26/14 at the open mic the Café Gallery in Chicago (Canon camera)
video videonot yet rated
See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers reading her twitter-length haiku knees live 3/26/14 at the open mic the Café Gallery in Chicago (Sony camera)
video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers 12/17/17 reading every poem in her “100 Haikus” book reading at the AIPF booth / 2017 Awesmic City Expo, including much, out, can’t get you, of his thirst, know, pleading, coincidence?, found haiku, close, defenses, destroy, floor, hold, forever, jumped, study, Even with no Wish Bone, addiction, stagger, everyone, last, bruised, organs, choke, ends, explosions, fit, fought, heaviness, extinct, feel, escape, opening, pant, strike, civil, found, need, kill, kindness, run, pet, John’s Mind, humans, mirror, elusive, keep, greatest, instead, Arsenic and Syphilis, life (Periodic Table haiku), life (2000), timing, Two Not Mute Haikus, He’s An Escapist, Ending a Relationship, nightmares, knife, free, years, groove, errors, job, jobless, out there, gone, console, form, knowing, oil, cage, evil, faith, guide, behind, sort, barbed, difference, predator, blood, easy, existence, judge, fog, upturn, Translation (2014 haiku), sting, enemies, Deity Discipline (stretched haiku), Ants and Crosses, energy, knees, force, you, this is only a test, misogyny, ourselves, key, scorches (Lumix 2500).
video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers 12/17/17 reading every poem in her “100 Haikus” book reading at the AIPF booth / 2017 Awesmic City Expo, including much, out, can’t get you, of his thirst, know, pleading, coincidence?, found haiku, close, defenses, destroy, floor, hold, forever, jumped, study, Even with no Wish Bone, addiction, stagger, everyone, last, bruised, organs, choke, ends, explosions, fit, fought, heaviness, extinct, feel, escape, opening, pant, strike, civil, found, need, kill, kindness, run, pet, John’s Mind, humans, mirror, elusive, keep, greatest, instead, Arsenic and Syphilis, life (Periodic Table haiku), life (2000), timing, Two Not Mute Haikus, He’s An Escapist, Ending a Relationship, nightmares, knife, free, years, groove, errors, job, jobless, out there, gone, console, form, knowing, oil, cage, evil, faith, guide, behind, sort, barbed, difference, predator, blood, easy, existence, judge, fog, upturn, Translation (2014 haiku), sting, enemies, Deity Discipline (stretched haiku), Ants and Crosses, energy, knees, force, you, this is only a test, misogyny, ourselves, key, scorches (Lumix T56).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersFebruary 2019 Book Release Reading 2/6/19, where she read her her haiku and short poems “Every Step”, “Left Living”, and “knees”, then her “Seeing Things Differently” show poems “He Told Me His Dreams 1”, “He Told Me His Dreams 4”, “He Told Me His Dreams 9”, “Headache”, “Helping Men in Public Places”, “Last Before Extinction”, and “Packing” from the Down in the Dirt v. 162 January/February 2019 ISBN# book “Fallen Kingdom”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix 2500 camera).
video
See YouTube video of Janet KuypersFebruary 2019 Book Release Reading 2/6/19, where she read her her haiku and short poems “Every Step”, “Left Living”, and “knees”, then her “Seeing Things Differently” show poems “He Told Me His Dreams 1”, “He Told Me His Dreams 4”, “He Told Me His Dreams 9”, “Headache”, “Helping Men in Public Places”, “Last Before Extinction”, and “Packing” from the Down in the Dirt v. 162 January/February 2019 ISBN# book “Fallen Kingdom”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera).


Click here for the Janet Kuypers bio.










Curse of the Virgin

Richard Sensenbrenner

    She falls onto my lap from a secondhand book. She has a look a bit putout about the whole thing, but wouldn’t complain. She is a vision in red, white, and blue, standing palms out, her halo unwilling to be upstaged. That hooded cape is a light blue and the perfectly pleated tunic a plain, unblemished white. What really sticks out, perhaps literally, is the goose-blood-red-heart. There is no room for lungs, I think, while looking at that huge heart with its own halo. She is anatomically incorrect. I turn her over and the back reads, In memory of Doris- and then some Polish name requiring time for dissection, followed by an invocation to God.
    These holy cards are a flat commemorative. My mind instantly draws the correlation with baseball cards, old women gathering together to trade a Gladys for an Ethel. Sandwiched in Plexiglas is the rare Francine, whose wake took place during a blizzard.
    I turn her back over. She looks like Donna Reed, not a bad thing at all, not very authentic. I move to throw her in the wastepaper basket but I can’t for some reason. The card sticks in my opposing digits. I can’t discard the Blessed Virgin and Doris What’s-her-name-ski. I am a Catholic, for Christ’s sake.
    It’s only paper. What if I wrote both their names on a piece of paper, crumpled it up and tossed it? I get out a piece of paper, fumble around for a pen, write their names, and now I have two of them.
    Reading my book for pages, I ignore them both and wonder why this stuff always happens to me. It’s not like they take up a whole lot of space. I can put her with my own collection of dead relatives, maybe. Can I take a total stranger, like Doris and include her with my relations?
    My wandering eyes conveniently notice a library book on the other side of the room. I’ll institutionalize her, put her between the pages, deposit her in the drop box, and run like hell. It’s a government problem.
    But now Donna Reed, in her prelude to a habit, looks me in the eye. What if the next person crumples Doris into a ball and tosses her with the eggshells, or coffee grounds?
    I introduce Doris to my dead relatives and she now resides with them in the very top drawer of my dresser, along with a tangle of rosaries and chainless medals.

 

Previously published in Ancient Paths on July 25, 2015 and published again on No Extra Words on April 14, 2017 as a podcast.












Three Strangers

DL Shirey

    A Muslim, a Hindu and a Jew walked into a bar. They were Facebook friends and had traveled long distances to finally meet at a strip club on the outskirts of Memphis. As each one took a seat at a small, well-lit table, heads craned toward the trio.
    “The Lord told us where to meet,” said the Jew. “The first test to see if the world is ready,” the Hindu replied. A hostess came for the drink order, frowned and fetched three waters.
    A fat man at the edge of the stage scraped back his chair and looked across the room. He saw an old man in a filthy turban, a dark woman with a dot on her forehead and a young guy with ringlets drooping from his black hat. “Not in my town,” he grumbled.
    One by one the locals stood. The music quit, dancers stopped and a crowd ringed the table. At the center of the circle, a halo of light draped the three strangers.
    “God works in mysterious ways,” said the Muslim. The Hindu continued, “For it is written in John 5:7 that ‘there are three that testify’ and He has anointed us.” The black hat nodded, “We three, joined in peace together, will bring forth the new Messiah.”
    “Bullshit,” one voice bellowed. Then another, “We know what to do with your kind.”
    The Muslim and the Jew were pulled from their chairs. One had his arms pinned behind him, the other thrown to the floor.
    “For God’s sake, stop!” The Hindu’s voice was muffled by a sweaty palm, its owner splayed the woman atop the table. Another man wiped his mouth on the back of his hand and unbuckled his belt.












Poem About This

Janet Kuypers
4/9/17
twitter

A poet walks into a coffee shop
sees a Rabbi, a Father and an Imam

and the poet thinks
“I should write a poem about this”



video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video from 4/15/17 of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “Poem About This”, “Frozen Together” and her prose poem “Hurry Up and Wait”, then reading a portion of her short story “Crazy” at “Recycled Reads” in Austin(from a Canon Power Shot SX700 camera).
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video from 4/15/17 of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “Poem About This”, “Frozen Together” and her prose poem “Hurry Up and Wait”, then reading a portion of her short story “Crazy” at “Recycled Reads” in Austin (Canon video with a Threshold filter).
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video from 4/22/17 of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “Poem About This” and “Last Before Extinction” at “Poetry Aloud” in Georgetown (from a Lumix camera).
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video from 4/22/17 of Janet Kuypers reading her poem “Poem About This” and “Last Before Extinction” at “Poetry Aloud” in Georgetown (from a Sony camera).
video videonot yet rated
See YouTube video 5/14/17 of Janet Kuypers reading her haiku poems “xeric”, “quarrel” and “Poem About This” in the intro performance to “Kick Butt Poetry” in Austin (Sony).
video videonot yet rated
See YouTube video 5/14/17 of Janet Kuypers reading her haiku poems “xeric”, “quarrel” and “Poem About This” in the intro performance to “Kick Butt Poetry” in Austin (Lumix).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she first read her haiku “He’s An Escapist” from the 4/18 book “War of Water” from cc&d, then she read her Down in the Dirt 5/18 book “My Name Is Nobody” haiku and short poems “judge”, “quarrel”, “Every Street Corner”, and “Poem About This”, before reading her longer poem “Quivering against the Invading Enemy”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she first read her haiku “He’s An Escapist” from the 4/18 book “War of Water” from cc&d, then she read her Down in the Dirt 5/18 book “My Name Is Nobody” haiku and short poems “judge”, “quarrel”, “Every Street Corner”, and “Poem About This”, before reading her longer poem “Quivering against the Invading Enemy”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (this video was filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera, and then it was given an Edge Detection filter).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she first read her haiku “He’s An Escapist” from the 4/18 book “War of Water” from cc&d, then she read her Down in the Dirt 5/18 book “My Name Is Nobody” haiku and short poems “judge”, “quarrel”, “Every Street Corner”, and “Poem About This”, before reading her longer poem “Quivering against the Invading Enemy”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (Panasonic Lumix T56 camera; Posterize).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersApril 2018 Book Release Reading 4/4/18, where she first read her haiku “He’s An Escapist” from the 4/18 book “War of Water” from cc&d, then she read her Down in the Dirt 5/18 book “My Name Is Nobody” haiku and short poems “judge”, “quarrel”, “Every Street Corner”, and “Poem About This”, before reading her longer poem “Quivering against the Invading Enemy”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (Panasonic Lumix T56 camera; Threshold).
video See YouTube video from 7/4/18 of Janet KuypersJuly 2018 Book Release Reading, where she read her Down in the Dirt Jan.-Apr. 2018 issue collection book “At Midnight” poems “You Were Meant”, “enemy”, “A Happy Ending to Everything”, “Your Imaginary Soul Weighs 21 Grams”, “judge”, “quarrel”, “Every Street Corner”, and &“Poem About This”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (P L T56).
video See YouTube video from 7/4/18 of Janet KuypersJuly 2018 Book Release Reading, where she read her Down in the Dirt Jan.-Apr. 2018 issue collection book “At Midnight” poems “You Were Meant”, “enemy”, “A Happy Ending to Everything”, “Your Imaginary Soul Weighs 21 Grams”, “judge”, “quarrel”, “Every Street Corner”, and &“Poem About This”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (P L T56; Sepia Tone).
video See YouTube video from 7/4/18 of Janet KuypersJuly 2018 Book Release Reading, where she read her Down in the Dirt Jan.-Apr. 2018 issue collection book “At Midnight” poems “You Were Meant”, “enemy”, “A Happy Ending to Everything”, “Your Imaginary Soul Weighs 21 Grams”, “judge”, “quarrel”, “Every Street Corner”, and &“Poem About This”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (P L 2500).
video See YouTube video from 7/4/18 of Janet KuypersJuly 2018 Book Release Reading, where she read her Down in the Dirt Jan.-Apr. 2018 issue collection book “At Midnight” poems “You Were Meant”, “enemy”, “A Happy Ending to Everything”, “Your Imaginary Soul Weighs 21 Grams”, “judge”, “quarrel”, “Every Street Corner”, and &“Poem About This”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (P L 2500; Threshold).
video See YouTube video live 9/26/18 of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “Ocean’s Call to Dive”, “Jumping, Flying”, “True Happiness in the New Millennium (2017 Dripping Springs edit)”, “Poem About This”, “For Far Too Many Years”, “Everything was Alive and Dying (2016 cruelty to animals edition)”, “Everything was Alive and Dying (2016 political edit)”, “Juxtaposition, or Irony?”, “Quieted Soul”, “The Page”, “Other Souls”, “yearning to break free”, and “I’m not sick but I’m not well (Future Imperfect edit)”, from her show “to the Bottom of the Earth and Back” with chapbook “to the Bottom of the Earth and Back” performed during the feature performance at In One Ear in Chicago (Panasonic Lumix T56 camera).
video See YouTube video live 9/26/18 of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “Ocean’s Call to Dive”, “Jumping, Flying”, “True Happiness in the New Millennium (2017 Dripping Springs edit)”, “Poem About This”, “For Far Too Many Years”, “Everything was Alive and Dying (2016 cruelty to animals edition)”, “Everything was Alive and Dying (2016 political edit)”, “Juxtaposition, or Irony?”, “Quieted Soul”, “The Page”, “Other Souls”, “yearning to break free”, and “I’m not sick but I’m not well (Future Imperfect edit)”, from her show “to the Bottom of the Earth and Back” with chapbook “to the Bottom of the Earth and Back” performed during the feature performance at In One Ear in Chicago (Panasonic Lumix T56 camera; B&W).
video See YouTube video live 9/26/18 of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “Ocean’s Call to Dive”, “Jumping, Flying”, “True Happiness in the New Millennium (2017 Dripping Springs edit)”, “Poem About This”, “For Far Too Many Years”, “Everything was Alive and Dying (2016 cruelty to animals edition)”, “Everything was Alive and Dying (2016 political edit)”, “Juxtaposition, or Irony?”, “Quieted Soul”, “The Page”, “Other Souls”, “yearning to break free”, and “I’m not sick but I’m not well (Future Imperfect edit)”, from her show “to the Bottom of the Earth and Back” with chapbook “to the Bottom of the Earth and Back” performed during the feature performance at In One Ear in Chicago (Panasonic Lumix T56; Sepia Tone).
video See YouTube video live 9/26/18 of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “Ocean’s Call to Dive”, “Jumping, Flying”, “True Happiness in the New Millennium (2017 Dripping Springs edit)”, “Poem About This”, “For Far Too Many Years”, “Everything was Alive and Dying (2016 cruelty to animals edition)”, “Everything was Alive and Dying (2016 political edit)”, “Juxtaposition, or Irony?”, “Quieted Soul”, “The Page”, “Other Souls”, “yearning to break free”, and “I’m not sick but I’m not well (Future Imperfect edit)”, from her show “to the Bottom of the Earth and Back” with chapbook “to the Bottom of the Earth and Back” performed during the feature performance at In One Ear in Chicago (Panasonic Lumix 2500 camera).
video See YouTube video live 9/26/18 of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “Ocean’s Call to Dive”, “Jumping, Flying”, “True Happiness in the New Millennium (2017 Dripping Springs edit)”, “Poem About This”, “For Far Too Many Years”, “Everything was Alive and Dying (2016 cruelty to animals edition)”, “Everything was Alive and Dying (2016 political edit)”, “Juxtaposition, or Irony?”, “Quieted Soul”, “The Page”, “Other Souls”, “yearning to break free”, and “I’m not sick but I’m not well (Future Imperfect edit)”, from her show “to the Bottom of the Earth and Back” with chapbook “to the Bottom of the Earth and Back” performed during the feature performance at In One Ear in Chicago (Panasonic Lumix 2500; Threshold).
video See YouTube video live 9/26/18 of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “Ocean’s Call to Dive”, “Jumping, Flying”, “True Happiness in the New Millennium (2017 Dripping Springs edit)”, “Poem About This”, “For Far Too Many Years”, “Everything was Alive and Dying (2016 cruelty to animals edition)”, “Everything was Alive and Dying (2016 political edit)”, “Juxtaposition, or Irony?”, “Quieted Soul”, “The Page”, “Other Souls”, “yearning to break free”, and “I’m not sick but I’m not well (Future Imperfect edit)”, from her show “to the Bottom of the Earth and Back” with chapbook “to the Bottom of the Earth and Back” performed during the feature performance at In One Ear in Chicago (Panasonic Lumix 2500;n Edge Det.).


Click here for the Janet Kuypers bio.










Lilith

David Sapp

I’m not surprised Adam didn’t mention me, Lilith,
his first wife. It was so long ago. I was not keen
on his screwy rules (Too damn many!), his insistence
on domestic sovereignty, dubbed the friggin’ emperor
of Eden. You know, we came from the same virgin
dirt, with water, vessels molded of the same clay,
at first, equipollent in God’s eyes.

Actually, I felt sorry for the mousy little twit, Eve’s
predicament, a perfect fit for Adam, slavish for his rib.
Ever the housewife, she spent her days tidying the garden,
running beasts here and there, and on Thursday afternoons,
screwed the serpent, the slimy bastard, at a motel near
the airport. Oh, she was good. Her fickle pout sent her
husband on endless, pointless errands.

I ran off, shacked up with such a badboy, Archangel
Samael, God’s indulgence. (You see, God couldn’t
help but coddle him after failing miserably with Lucifer.
And there was the likeness around the eyes, in the jaw,
an easy swagger, reminding God of his own youth
before Genesis, before his big screw-up, the separation
of light from dark.)

Screwed up in the head, I fled the garden one night
(So many stars!), straddled Samael’s bike, his warm,
revving engine, pressed my crotch into his cut, my
thighs gripping him like a vice, whispered in, then bit
his ear. My hair, usually caught on every branch and
a dangerous entanglement for any man (Ask Faustus!)
now flew free as we roared across the desert.

Samael and I got matching tats and black leathers; raised
hell and screwed at every dive along the Euphrates; drank,
smoked, popped and snorted every kind of shit. Eventually,
reluctantly, we grayed, settled down (our little ranch on
the Tigris) and reminisced, “Wouldn’t change any of it.”
Unlike Cain and Abel, our boys loved each other and went
into business together.





Brief Biographical Information

    David Sapp is a writer and artist living near Lake Erie. He teaches at Firelands College in Huron, Ohio. His poems have appeared in The Alembic, The Chattahoochee Review, The Cape Rock, The Licking River Review, The Hurricane Review, The Bad Henry Review, Meat Whistle Quarterly, Red Cedar Review, RiverSedge and elsewhere. Additional publications include articles in the Journal of Creative Behavior; chapbooks, Close to Home and Two Buddha; and his novel, Flying Over Erie.












The Meeting

David Sapp

A Call to Order is your desire; however,
I shall not abide, linger among, plastic
smiles as if I’m lolling in a psych ward,
my lower lip a phony, dumbfounded,
too thick with Thorazine, the asinine
too vast to articulate (Am I out of order?)
among the espousers of policy, knights
of bureaucracy, shrill pontificators
(New Business is always Old Business.)
among the loud laughers, their cruel mirth
machines of karma, aficionados of hierarchy.
I shall not abide the false Arcadia,
the pastoral vista, surreal among sheep,
shorn for their very bleating, their meekness
anticipating the inevitability of wolves, or worse,
mutton willingly herded in numb silence.
And no, I shall not pretend the role
of Good Shepherd. Please, adjourn
without me. All in favor, say, “Aye.”





Brief Biographical Information

    David Sapp is a writer and artist living near Lake Erie. He teaches at Firelands College in Huron, Ohio. His poems have appeared in The Alembic, The Chattahoochee Review, The Cape Rock, The Licking River Review, The Hurricane Review, The Bad Henry Review, Meat Whistle Quarterly, Red Cedar Review, RiverSedge and elsewhere. Additional publications include articles in the Journal of Creative Behavior; chapbooks, Close to Home and Two Buddha; and his novel, Flying Over Erie.












Darkness Does Not End

Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

The darkness does not end
I can渹t bid it farewell.
It is a dismal thought.
I keep falling in it.

In winter it feels cold.
Darkness makes me shiver.
The sun has let me down.
My heart has frozen through.

It seems there is no moon.
It渹s nailed in a coffin.
Summer is far away.
Darkness is like blindness.

I can渹t see the light or
anything of beauty.
I see nothing at all.
Darkness consumed sweetness.

I step into a tomb.
I fall down on my knees.
I taste the end of life.
I mourn for summer渹s death.












He Told Me His Dreams 1

Janet Kuypers
spring 1994

he was walking by the
white hen pantry
on sixth and green

and they turned around the
corner in the car
opened fire on him

he was hit over and over
again; his teeth were
shattered by bullets

he said he died then
and he saw from up above
his bloody body

he even saw his obituary

but then he went back, did it
over again: this time
he was in the doctor’s

office. It’s always like this,
he thinks, always
running away from death



video
videonot yet rated

Watch this YouTube video
Live at One Acts (camera #1, 07/06/09
video
videonot yet rated

See another YouTube video
Live at One Acts (camera #2, 07/06/09
One Acts full show camera 1
video

Watch the full show
of One Acts not yet rated
(camera #1, 07/06/09)
from
the Internet Archive
One Acts full show camera 1
video

Watch the full show
of One Acts (07/06/09, camera #2)... from the Internet Archive
Listen mp3 file to the CD recording from the
CD Rough Mixes, by Pointless Orchestra
Listen mp3 file to this from the CD release
from the first performance art show
(08/14/97) Seeing Things Differently
the poetry collection audio CD “Torture & Triumph”
Order this iTunes track from the poetry music CD Torture & Triumph ...Or order the entire CD set from iTunes: Janet Kuypers - Torture & Triumph
the poetry 2 CD setCHAOTIC ELEMENTS
Order this iTunes track:
Janet Kuypers - Chaos In Motion - Chaotic Radio - He Told Me His Dreams 1
from Chaots in Motion
(a 6 CD set)...Or order the entire CD set from iTunes

CD: Janet Kuypers - Chaos In Motion - Chaotic Radio
Listen mp3 file to this track
from the DMJ Art Connection
video video
See YouTube video of Chicago poet Janet Kuypers reading her poems “Walking With You”, “Watching You”,
He Told Me His Dreams 1”, and “He Told Me His Dreams 9” from her book “Chapter 38 v1” 5/19/18 at Austin’s “Recycled Reads” open mic (video filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera).
video not yet rated
See YouTube video of Chicago poet Janet Kuypers reading her poems “Walking With You”, “Watching You”,
He Told Me His Dreams 1”, and “He Told Me His Dreams 9” from her book “Chapter 38 v1” 5/19/18 at Austin’s “Recycled Reads” open mic (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix 2500 camera).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersFebruary 2019 Book Release Reading 2/6/19, where she read her her haiku and short poems “Every Step”, “Left Living”, and “knees”, then her “Seeing Things Differently” show poems “He Told Me His Dreams 1”, “He Told Me His Dreams 4”, “He Told Me His Dreams 9”, “Headache”, “Helping Men in Public Places”, “Last Before Extinction”, and “Packing” from the Down in the Dirt v. 162 January/February 2019 ISBN# book “Fallen Kingdom”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix 2500 camera).
video
See YouTube video of Janet KuypersFebruary 2019 Book Release Reading 2/6/19, where she read her her haiku and short poems “Every Step”, “Left Living”, and “knees”, then her “Seeing Things Differently” show poems “He Told Me His Dreams 1”, “He Told Me His Dreams 4”, “He Told Me His Dreams 9”, “Headache”, “Helping Men in Public Places”, “Last Before Extinction”, and “Packing” from the Down in the Dirt v. 162 January/February 2019 ISBN# book “Fallen Kingdom”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera).


Click here for the Janet Kuypers bio.










he told me his dreams 4

Janet Kuypers
spring 1994

as he wakes up less
rested than the night before.
I had a dream my teeth

fell out again, he said.
This time they fell out one by
one, first slowly, then faster.

Sometimes they all fall out
at once, sometimes they fall
one row at a time. I try to

stuff them back into my mouth.
What is this supposed to
mean? I don’t understand.

I just don’t understand these
dreams. What does it mean
when you dream your teeth

fall out, when you dream it
regularly? I think it means
I’m afraid of commitment.

No, I said, it means
you’re pregnant. That didn’t
go over well with him. And he

walked to the washroom,
brushed his teeth, made sure to
floss, like he would four

more times that day



the poetry 2 CD setCHAOTIC ELEMENTS
Order this iTunes track:
Janet Kuypers - Chaos In Motion - Chaotic Radio - He Told Me His Dreams 4
from Chaots in Motion
(a 6 CD set)...Or order the entire CD set from iTunes

CD: Janet Kuypers - Chaos In Motion - Chaotic Radio
Listen to a live track mp3 file off the CD and
performance art show Dreams (2/3/04)
Listen mp3 file to the CD recording from the
CD Rough Mixes, by Pointless Orchestra
Listen mp3 file to this from the CD release
from the first performance art show
(08/14/97) Seeing Things Differently
video
video not yet rated


Watch this YouTube video

(1:10) from the Dreams show, 2/3/04
video video not yet rated
Watch this YouTube video

(1:11) the TV screen broadcast from the live Chicago show Dreams 2/3/04
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers 1/7/18 reading her poems “He Told Me His Dreams 4” & “The Dream” & her prose “A Dream About Murder” from her book “When you Dream Tonight” live at “Recycled Reads(this video filmed from a Panasonic Lumix 2500 camera).
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers 1/7/18 reading her poems “He Told Me His Dreams 4” & “The Dream” & her prose “A Dream About Murder” from her book “When you Dream Tonight” live at “Recycled Reads(Panasonic Lumix 2500 camera; Edge Detection).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersFebruary 2019 Book Release Reading 2/6/19, where she read her her haiku and short poems “Every Step”, “Left Living”, and “knees”, then her “Seeing Things Differently” show poems “He Told Me His Dreams 1”, “He Told Me His Dreams 4”, “He Told Me His Dreams 9”, “Headache”, “Helping Men in Public Places”, “Last Before Extinction”, and “Packing” from the Down in the Dirt v. 162 January/February 2019 ISBN# book “Fallen Kingdom”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix 2500 camera).
video
See YouTube video of Janet KuypersFebruary 2019 Book Release Reading 2/6/19, where she read her her haiku and short poems “Every Step”, “Left Living”, and “knees”, then her “Seeing Things Differently” show poems “He Told Me His Dreams 1”, “He Told Me His Dreams 4”, “He Told Me His Dreams 9”, “Headache”, “Helping Men in Public Places”, “Last Before Extinction”, and “Packing” from the Down in the Dirt v. 162 January/February 2019 ISBN# book “Fallen Kingdom”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera).


Click here for the Janet Kuypers bio.










he told me his dreams 9

Janet Kuypers
spring 1994

She said: Do you know that feeling
you get when you’re starting
to fall asleep and then suddenly

you feel like you’re falling
very quickly and you instantly
wake yourself up? Everyone

gets that feeling sometimes
when they sleep. Did you know
your body does that on purpose?

You see, it happens when you’re
very tired and your body starts
to fall into a sleep state at too

fast a speed. Your heart rate,
your breathing shouldn’t slow
down that fast. So your body

makes you feel like you fall
so you’ll wake up, feel a little
tense, and fall asleep more

slowly. He said: No, no, that’s
not what I’m talking about.
I know that feeling, but

what I’m talking about is
being in a dream and going
to the edge of a cliff and jumping.

She said: Well, what happens?
Do you land? He said: Sometimes
I wake up before I land,

sometimes I land gently and
live. You’ve never had a dream
like that before? She said:

No. He said: Why do I have
dreams like this? Why this cliff?
Why do I fall? How do I land?



the poetry 2 CD setCHAOTIC ELEMENTS
Order this iTunes track:
Janet Kuypers - Chaos In Motion - Chaotic Radio - He Told Me His Dream 9
from Chaots in Motion
(a 6 CD set)...Or order the entire CD set from iTunes

CD: Janet Kuypers - Chaos In Motion - Chaotic Radio
Listen to a live track mp3 file off the CD and
performance art show Dreams (2/3/04)
Listen mp3 file to the CD recording from the
CD Rough Mixes, by Pointless Orchestra
Listen mp3 file to this from the CD release
from the first performance art show
(08/14/97) Seeing Things Differently
video
video not yet rated


Watch this YouTube video
(1:52) from the Dreams show, 2/3/04
video video not yet rated
Watch this YouTube video

(1:11) the TV screen broadcast from the live Chicago show Dreams 2/3/04
video video
See YouTube video of Chicago poet Janet Kuypers reading her poems “Walking With You”, “Watching You”,
He Told Me His Dreams 1”, and “He Told Me His Dreams 9” from her book “Chapter 38 v1” 5/19/18 at Austin’s “Recycled Reads” open mic (video filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera).
video not yet rated
See YouTube video of Chicago poet Janet Kuypers reading her poems “Walking With You”, “Watching You”,
He Told Me His Dreams 1”, and “He Told Me His Dreams 9” from her book “Chapter 38 v1” 5/19/18 at Austin’s “Recycled Reads” open mic (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix 2500 camera).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersFebruary 2019 Book Release Reading 2/6/19, where she read her her haiku and short poems “Every Step”, “Left Living”, and “knees”, then her “Seeing Things Differently” show poems “He Told Me His Dreams 1”, “He Told Me His Dreams 4”, “He Told Me His Dreams 9”, “Headache”, “Helping Men in Public Places”, “Last Before Extinction”, and “Packing” from the Down in the Dirt v. 162 January/February 2019 ISBN# book “Fallen Kingdom”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix 2500 camera).
video
See YouTube video of Janet KuypersFebruary 2019 Book Release Reading 2/6/19, where she read her her haiku and short poems “Every Step”, “Left Living”, and “knees”, then her “Seeing Things Differently” show poems “He Told Me His Dreams 1”, “He Told Me His Dreams 4”, “He Told Me His Dreams 9”, “Headache”, “Helping Men in Public Places”, “Last Before Extinction”, and “Packing” from the Down in the Dirt v. 162 January/February 2019 ISBN# book “Fallen Kingdom”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera).


Click here for the Janet Kuypers bio.










Headache

Janet Kuypers
spring 1996

whenever i get a headache
it’s right behind my eyebrows
and it’s a dull, constant ache

so whenever i say i have a headache
eugene takes my hand
and uses acupressure:

he pushes his thumb
right in the middle of my palm.
the pain disappears almost

immediately. but eventually
i have to tell him to stop
pressing my hand, that my

hand now hurts. he lets go,
and the headache, almost
immediately, comes back.



the poetry 5 CD THE CHAOTIC COLLECTION
Order this iTunes track: Janet Kuypers - The Chaotic Collection #01-05 - Headache
from the Chaotic Collection

...Or order the entire 5 CD set from iTunes:

CD: Janet Kuypers - Chaotic Elements
edit this poem in wandering words...
rearrange the words... or make a new poem
either in Flash or in Java (Windows only)!
Listen mp3 file to this from the CD release
from the first performance art show
(8/14/97) Seeing Things Differently
Listen mp3 file to this with
the Second Axing
Listen live mp3 file to the 2nd Axing
at the open mic Sing Your Life
Not Mute Listen mp3 file to this performed live
at the show Not Mute
video
video not yet rated

Watch the YouTube video
(:49, 05/05/07)
video footage
Watch the video (3:46) 3 poems read live (05/19/07) at the Jared Smith book release: Too Far, Headache & the Burning.
from the Internet Archive
video
videonot yet rated


Watch this
YouTube video

live at the Winking Lizard in Ohio 10/10/08
Listen mp3 file to this performed live at The Cafe 11/04/03 (1:04, 1 meg)
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video live 6/16/18 of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “Headache”, “John (edited 1996)” and “Can’t Answer That One” from “Chapter 38 v3” at “Recycled Reads” open mic (this video was filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera).
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video live 6/16/18 of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “Headache”, “John (edited 1996)” and “Can’t Answer That One” from “Chapter 38 v3” at “Recycled Reads” open mic (this video was filmed from a Panasonic Lumix 2500 camera).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersFebruary 2019 Book Release Reading 2/6/19, where she read her her haiku and short poems “Every Step”, “Left Living”, and “knees”, then her “Seeing Things Differently” show poems “He Told Me His Dreams 1”, “He Told Me His Dreams 4”, “He Told Me His Dreams 9”, “Headache”, “Helping Men in Public Places”, “Last Before Extinction”, and “Packing” from the Down in the Dirt v. 162 January/February 2019 ISBN# book “Fallen Kingdom”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix 2500 camera).
video
See YouTube video of Janet KuypersFebruary 2019 Book Release Reading 2/6/19, where she read her her haiku and short poems “Every Step”, “Left Living”, and “knees”, then her “Seeing Things Differently” show poems “He Told Me His Dreams 1”, “He Told Me His Dreams 4”, “He Told Me His Dreams 9”, “Headache”, “Helping Men in Public Places”, “Last Before Extinction”, and “Packing” from the Down in the Dirt v. 162 January/February 2019 ISBN# book “Fallen Kingdom”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera).


Click here for the Janet Kuypers bio.










Helping Men in Public Places

Janet Kuypers
spring 1995

so it was new year’s eve
and we were standing on
forty-second street and

the avenue of the americas
we were a few blocks away
but we had just the right

view of times square. and
yes, there was freezing rain
but i didn’t really care, since

i was just in new york for
a few days. it was 10:55, we
still had a long time to wait

standing with i don’t know
how many thousands of other
people, some of them were

climbing up the light poles,
all of us pushing forward
into the street, despite the

police officers on horseback
rushing at us back toward
the sidewalk. and our paper

bag fell apart in the rain, so
i let the glass water bottle fall
to the curb, and our friend told

us he needed to go to the
bathroom real bad, you know,
so i told him to go right here

in the street, no one will see
him. but he didn’t want to
piss on someone’s shoes, so

he asked if i had a bottle, so i
picked up the water bottle from
the curb, and when he finished

his job he closed up the bottle
and put it back on the sidewalk.
god, and you, too, getting on

the train after the ball dropped,
more rain and a bottle of
champagne later, saying you had

to go real bad, too, so i pulled
an empty beer bottle from my
coat pocket, you covered the train

window with your coat and i
blocked your view from the aisle
while you took care of the

matter at hand. i’m amazed that
that bottle didn’t tip over on the
train floor during that hour

commute, our first of the new
year, while i slept on your
shoulder. and i’m amazed that

i ended one year and began
another helping men i know,
in public places, piss into bottles.



the poetry 2 CD setCHAOTIC ELEMENTS
Order this iTunes track:
Janet Kuypers - Chaos In Motion - Chaotic Radio - Helping Men In Public Place
from Chaos in Motion
(a 6 CD set)...Or order the entire CD set from iTunes:

CD: Janet Kuypers - Chaos In Motion - Chaotic Radio
Listen mp3 file to this from the CD release
from the first performance art show
(08/14/97) Seeing Things Differently
Listen mp3 file to music from the CD
Tick Tock (with music by 5D/5D)
the poetry 5 CD THE CHAOTIC COLLECTION
Order this iTunes track: Janet Kuypers - The Chaotic Collection #01-05 - Helping Men In Public Places
from the Chaotic Collection

...Or order the entire 5 CD set from iTunes:

CD: Janet Kuypers - Chaotic Elements
Listen mp3 file Live at the Cafe,
now available in a 3 CD set
Janet Kuypers - Live At the Cafe
video not yet rated See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers performing her poem “Helping Men in Public Places” (with rain stick by Janet and guitar by John, music fashioned from “Mary Had a Little Lamb” by Stevie Ray Vaughn) in her feature “New Year’s Unplugged” in Chicago 1/15/10 (at Regnia’s Place in Logan Square).
video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers performing the first third of her feature “New Year’s Unplugged” in Chicago 1/15/10, with Janet and John also playing background music throughout the show (at Regnia’s Place in Logan Square), which included her poems “Have You Ever Had”, “Happy New Year, Janet” and “Helping Men in Public Places”.
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video 12/11/16 of Janet Kuypers reading her poem &“Helping Men in Public Places” at the Austin open mic Kick Butt Poetry (from a Canon Power Shot camera).
video video
See 12/11/16 YouTube video of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “Dilemmas in Gift Giving”, and “Helping Men in Public Places” at the Austin open mic Kick Butt Poetry (video filmed from a Canon Power Shot camera).
video See a 36+ minute YouTube video (L T56) of Janet Kuypers and Thom Woodruff going back and forth with poetry; where Janet Kuypers read her poems “Helping Men in Public Places”, “I Want”, and “Last Before Extinction”, then John Yotko read a poem he just wrote the day before, then Janet Kuypers read her poems “Warren Stories” and “Kurt Irons”, then Thom spoke, then Janet Kuypers read her poems “Never Did the Same”, “All These Reminders”, “Who You Tell Your Dreams To”, and “You and Me and Your Girlfriend”, then Thom spoke, then Janet Kuypers read her poems “My Mother My Mother My Mother”, then her prose “NASA Project”. and finally her poem “Moonlight”, all read from her performance art collection book “Chapter 38 v1” 4/29/18 at Austin’s the 2018 Poetry Bomb at the Baylor Street Art Wall.
video See a 36+ minute YouTube video (L2500) of Janet Kuypers and Thom Woodruff going back and forth with poetry; where Janet Kuypers read her poems “Helping Men in Public Places”, “I Want”, and “Last Before Extinction”, then John Yotko read a poem he just wrote the day before, then Janet Kuypers read her poems “Warren Stories” and “Kurt Irons”, then Thom spoke, then Janet Kuypers read her poems “Never Did the Same”, “All These Reminders”, “Who You Tell Your Dreams To”, and “You and Me and Your Girlfriend”, then Thom spoke, then Janet Kuypers read her poems “My Mother My Mother My Mother”, then her prose “NASA Project”. and finally her poem “Moonlight”, all read from her performance art collection book “Chapter 38 v1” 4/29/18 at Austin’s the 2018 Poetry Bomb at the Baylor Street Art Wall.
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersFebruary 2019 Book Release Reading 2/6/19, where she read her her haiku and short poems “Every Step”, “Left Living”, and “knees”, then her “Seeing Things Differently” show poems “He Told Me His Dreams 1”, “He Told Me His Dreams 4”, “He Told Me His Dreams 9”, “Headache”, “Helping Men in Public Places”, “Last Before Extinction”, and “Packing” from the Down in the Dirt v. 162 January/February 2019 ISBN# book “Fallen Kingdom”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix 2500 camera).
video
See YouTube video of Janet KuypersFebruary 2019 Book Release Reading 2/6/19, where she read her her haiku and short poems “Every Step”, “Left Living”, and “knees”, then her “Seeing Things Differently” show poems “He Told Me His Dreams 1”, “He Told Me His Dreams 4”, “He Told Me His Dreams 9”, “Headache”, “Helping Men in Public Places”, “Last Before Extinction”, and “Packing” from the Down in the Dirt v. 162 January/February 2019 ISBN# book “Fallen Kingdom”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera).


Click here for the Janet Kuypers bio.










Last Before Extinction<

Janet Kuypers
spring 1994

Now he has so many opportunities.
He has nothing to lose. Why not
come out of the wilderness, attack
everything it sees. Kill something.
Suck the blood out, make him feel
alive for once more. Let them try
to restrain him. He has nothing to lose.

And for now it can fly to the highest
redwood, look out over the world.
Despise the world, the world that made
him be alone, leaving him alone. Who
will carry his name? Who will care
for him when he is old? Who can he
read bed time stories to?

Now it can feel death creeping upon
him, closer and closer. He wants to
scream. He calls upon nature; the
tides rise, earthquakes shatter homes.
He does not feel vindicated. He has lost.

And for now she can swim to the deepest
darkest cave in the Pacific, hide from
the solitude, swim lower and lower;
can she find where all of the other
animals of dying species hide, can she
find them. There must be others. They
can understand, they can live together,
at the bottom of the earth. Could they
show their pain for their species, share
what is left of their love, create a new race?

Soon they will be no more
and we will be taking their bones,
reassembling them, studying their
form, rebuilding their lives, revering
them more than we ever did
in life. This is what it all becomes.
This is what it all boils down to.
Study the bones. Study the mistakes.
Study the bones.



the poetry 5 CD THE CHAOTIC COLLECTION
Order this iTunes track: Janet Kuypers - The Chaotic Collection #01-05 - Last Before Extinction
from the Chaotic Collection

...Or order the entire 5 CD set from iTunes:

CD: Janet Kuypers - Chaotic Elements
the poetry 2 CD setCHAOTIC ELEMENTS
Order this iTunes track:
Janet Kuypers - Chaos In Motion - Chaotic Radio - Last Before Extinction
from Chaots in Motion
(a 6 CD set)...Or order the entire CD set from iTunes

CD: Janet Kuypers - Chaos In Motion - Chaotic Radio
Listen mp3 file to the DMJ Art Connection,
off the CD Indian Flux
Listen mp3 file to this from the CD release
from the first performance art show
(08/14/97) Seeing Things Differently
video Watch this video:
video

(05/16/07, 2:20)
not yet rated

This film is from
the Internet Archive
video

video not yet rated

Watch this YouTube video
(2:31, 05/16/07)
video Watch this video
video

(05/16/07, 2:17)
not yet rated

This film is from
the Internet Archive
video Watch this video
video

(05/16/07, 2:16)
not yet rated

This film is from
the Internet Archive
video Watch this YouTube video
video 6:25, of these three poems (White Knuckled, Last Before Extinction and And I’m Wondering) at the Politically UNcorrect poetry open mic at Jesse Oaks in Lake County (north of Chicago) on 05/24/07
video video not yet rated
Watch the YouTube video

(2:12) live 08/05/07 at Beach poets
video
video not yet rated


Watch this YouTube video

(2:38) recorded on the Pacific Ocean
12/07 near the Galapagos Islands
Listen: (2:42) mp3 file
to this recording from Fusion
video
videonot yet rated


Watch this YouTube
video

live in the show Seeing a Psychiatrist 09/09/08, Chicago at the Cafe
video videonot yet rated
Watch this YouTube video

of this poem read live in Chicago 09/12/03 at the “the Cycle of Life” DvA art gallery show
video videonot yet rated

Or watch the FULL video
from the Internet Archive of the whole live the Cycle of Life DvA art gallery 09/12/03 Chicago show
video Listen mp3 file to the live track (1:54, 09/12/03), 10/25/06) from the DvA Art Gallery Chicago 09/12/03 performance The Cycle of Life.
video videonot yet rated
Watch this YouTube video
live at the Lake County 2010 Poetry Bomb at Independence Grove forest preserve 04/18/10
video videonot yet rated

Watch this YouTube video

read live10/03/11 in the Waiting 4 the Bus show at Café Ballou for Chicago Calling, with music & video from the HA!man of South Africa
video video Watch this Complete feature video of Kuypers reading poems (including this poem) live 10/03/11 in the Waiting 4 the Bus show at Café Ballou for Chicago Calling, performing poetry with music & video from the HA!man of South Africa
video videonot yet rated
Watch this YouTube video
of Jeff Helgeson reading her poem live in Chicago at Café Ballou, thru the Waiting4the Bus open mike 4/2/12
the poetry collection audio CD “Torture & Triumph”
Order this iTunes track from the poetry music CD Torture & Triumph ...Or order the entire CD set from iTunes: Janet Kuypers - Torture & Triumph
video videonot yet rated
See YouTube video
of Janet Kuypers reading her poem Last Before Extinction (from the book Living in a Big World) in Chicago 11/24/13 (C) at her feature Book Expo 2013 Chicago
video videonot yet rated
Watch this YouTube video
of Janet Kuypers reading her poem Last Before Extinction (from the book Living in a Big World) in Chicago 11/24/13 (S) at her feature Book Expo 2013 Chicago
video video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers’ 4 poems walking home from school, Hancock Suicide, Chicago, December 1994, a woman talking about her rapist friend and Last Before Extinction at Elizabeth’s Crazy Little Thing (with a “darkness” theme) in Wicker Park, Chicago (Canon Power Shot)
video video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers’ 4 poems walking home from school, Hancock Suicide, Chicago, December 1994, a woman talking about her rapist friend and Last Before Extinction at Elizabeth’s Crazy Little Thing (with a “darkness” theme) in Wicker Park, Chicago (Canon fs200)
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video from 4/22/17 of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “Poem About This” and “Last Before Extinction” at “Poetry Aloud” in Georgetown (from a Lumix camera).
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video from 4/22/17 of Janet Kuypers reading her poem “Poem About This” and “Last Before Extinction” at “Poetry Aloud” in Georgetown (from a Sony camera).
video See a 36+ minute YouTube video (L T56) of Janet Kuypers and Thom Woodruff going back and forth with poetry; where Janet Kuypers read her poems “Helping Men in Public Places”, “I Want”, and “Last Before Extinction”, then John Yotko read a poem he just wrote the day before, then Janet Kuypers read her poems “Warren Stories” and “Kurt Irons”, then Thom spoke, then Janet Kuypers read her poems “Never Did the Same”, “All These Reminders”, “Who You Tell Your Dreams To”, and “You and Me and Your Girlfriend”, then Thom spoke, then Janet Kuypers read her poems “My Mother My Mother My Mother”, then her prose “NASA Project”. and finally her poem “Moonlight”, all read from her performance art collection book “Chapter 38 v1” 4/29/18 at Austin’s the 2018 Poetry Bomb at the Baylor Street Art Wall.
video See a 36+ minute YouTube video (L2500) of Janet Kuypers and Thom Woodruff going back and forth with poetry; where Janet Kuypers read her poems “Helping Men in Public Places”, “I Want”, and “Last Before Extinction”, then John Yotko read a poem he just wrote the day before, then Janet Kuypers read her poems “Warren Stories” and “Kurt Irons”, then Thom spoke, then Janet Kuypers read her poems “Never Did the Same”, “All These Reminders”, “Who You Tell Your Dreams To”, and “You and Me and Your Girlfriend”, then Thom spoke, then Janet Kuypers read her poems “My Mother My Mother My Mother”, then her prose “NASA Project”. and finally her poem “Moonlight”, all read from her performance art collection book “Chapter 38 v1” 4/29/18 at Austin’s the 2018 Poetry Bomb at the Baylor Street Art Wall.
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video live 6/16/18 of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “Cast In Stone”, “I’m Thinking About Myself Too Much” and “Last Before Extinction” from “Chapter 38 v3” at “Recycled Reads” open mic (this video was filmed from a Panasonic Lumix 2500 camera).
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video live 6/16/18 of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “Cast In Stone”, “I’m Thinking About Myself Too Much” and “Last Before Extinction” from “Chapter 38 v3” at “Recycled Reads” open mic (this video was filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera).
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersFebruary 2019 Book Release Reading 2/6/19, where she read her her haiku and short poems “Every Step”, “Left Living”, and “knees”, then her “Seeing Things Differently” show poems “He Told Me His Dreams 1”, “He Told Me His Dreams 4”, “He Told Me His Dreams 9”, “Headache”, “Helping Men in Public Places”, “Last Before Extinction”, and “Packing” from the Down in the Dirt v. 162 January/February 2019 ISBN# book “Fallen Kingdom”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix 2500 camera).
video
See YouTube video of Janet KuypersFebruary 2019 Book Release Reading 2/6/19, where she read her her haiku and short poems “Every Step”, “Left Living”, and “knees”, then her “Seeing Things Differently” show poems “He Told Me His Dreams 1”, “He Told Me His Dreams 4”, “He Told Me His Dreams 9”, “Headache”, “Helping Men in Public Places”, “Last Before Extinction”, and “Packing” from the Down in the Dirt v. 162 January/February 2019 ISBN# book “Fallen Kingdom”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera).


Click here for the Janet Kuypers bio.










Packing

Janet Kuypers
summer 1995

there are too many times
when i&38217;ve said this before

never thought i&38217;d really leave you
and now i sit here

in this apartment
popcorn bowl on the cocktail table

eleven thirty at night
the television playing static

it looks too clean in here,
not lived in

so i decide to take a trip
get out of this place

into the bedroom, time to start
packing: two dresses, two

pairs of shorts, shirts, loneliness,
anger, make-up, extra socks

it&38217;s amazing how much of your life
you can fit in a single suitcase



the poetry 5 CD THE CHAOTIC COLLECTION
Order this iTunes track: Janet Kuypers - The Chaotic Collection #01-05 - Packing
from the Chaotic Collection

...Or order the entire 5 CD set from iTunes:

CD: Janet Kuypers - Chaotic Elements
video videonot yet rated
Watch this YouTube video

or listen from iTunes: Janet Kuypers - Questions in a World Without Answers live 10/21/03 in her show the Other Side at theCafé in Chicago
video
Or watch the complete video

video not yet rated

of The Other Side live, including this poem in Chicago 10/21/03 (37:01)
Listen mp3 file to this from the CD release
from the first performance art show
(08/14/97) Seeing Things Differently for $6.22
Listen live mp3 file to the 2nd Axing
at the open mic Sing Your Life
the poetry 2 CD setCHAOTIC ELEMENTS
Order this iTunes track:
Janet Kuypers - Chaos In Motion - Chaotic Radio - Packing
from Chaots in Motion
(a 6 CD set)...Or order the entire CD set from iTunes:

CD: Janet Kuypers - Chaos In Motion - Chaotic Radio
Listen mp3 file to this track
from the DMJ Art Connection
video not yet rated
Watch this YouTube video
(:59) read from the book Living in a Big World, live 12/14/10, live at the Café in Chicago
video videonot yet rated
Watch this YouTube video
of the intro and the poems “Packing”, “Just Can’t Breathe” and “Tribal Scream” read live 12/14/10 from the open mic at the Café in Chicago
video See YouTube video of Janet KuypersFebruary 2019 Book Release Reading 2/6/19, where she read her her haiku and short poems “Every Step”, “Left Living”, and “knees”, then her “Seeing Things Differently” show poems “He Told Me His Dreams 1”, “He Told Me His Dreams 4”, “He Told Me His Dreams 9”, “Headache”, “Helping Men in Public Places”, “Last Before Extinction”, and “Packing” from the Down in the Dirt v. 162 January/February 2019 ISBN# book “Fallen Kingdom”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix 2500 camera).
video
See YouTube video of Janet KuypersFebruary 2019 Book Release Reading 2/6/19, where she read her her haiku and short poems “Every Step”, “Left Living”, and “knees”, then her “Seeing Things Differently” show poems “He Told Me His Dreams 1”, “He Told Me His Dreams 4”, “He Told Me His Dreams 9”, “Headache”, “Helping Men in Public Places”, “Last Before Extinction”, and “Packing” from the Down in the Dirt v. 162 January/February 2019 ISBN# book “Fallen Kingdom”, in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (filmed from a Panasonic Lumix T56 camera).











Janet Kuypers Bio

    Janet Kuypers has a Communications degree in News/Editorial Journalism (starting in computer science engineering studies) from the UIUC. She had the equivalent of a minor in photography and specialized in creative writing. A portrait photographer for years in the early 1990s, she was also an acquaintance rape workshop facilitator, and she started her publishing career as an editor of two literary magazines. Later she was an art director, webmaster and photographer for a few magazines for a publishing company in Chicago, and this Journalism major was even the final featured poetry performer of 15 poets with a 10 minute feature at the 2006 Society of Professional Journalism Expo’s Chicago Poetry Showcase. This certified minister was even the officiant of a wedding in 2006.
    She sang with acoustic bands “Mom’s Favorite Vase”, “Weeds and Flowers” and “the Second Axing”, and does music sampling. Kuypers is published in books, magazines and on the internet around 9,300 times for writing, and over 17,800 times for art work in her professional career, and has been profiled in such magazines as Nation and Discover U, won the award for a Poetry Ambassador and was nominated as Poet of the Year for 2006 by the International Society of Poets. She has also been highlighted on radio stations, including WEFT (90.1FM), WLUW (88.7FM), WSUM (91.7FM), WZRD (88.3FM), KOOP (91.7FM), WLS (8900AM), the internet radio stations ArtistFirst dot com, chicagopoetry.com’s Poetry World Radio and Scars Internet Radio (SIR), and was even shortly on Q101 FM radio. She has also appeared on television for poetry in Nashville (in 1997), Chicago (in 1997), and northern Illinois (in a few appearances on the show for the Lake County Poets Society in 2006). Kuypers was also interviewed on her art work on Urbana’s WCIA channel 3 10 o’clock news.
    She turned her writing into performance art on her own and with musical groups like Pointless Orchestra, 5D/5D, The DMJ Art Connection, Order From Chaos, Peter Bartels, Jake and Haystack, the Bastard Trio, and the JoAnne Pow!ers Trio, and starting in 2005 Kuypers ran a monthly iPodCast of her work, as well mixed JK Radio — an Internet radio station — into Scars Internet Radio (both radio stations on the Internet air 2005-2009). She even managed the Chaotic Radio show (an hour long Internet radio show 1.5 years, 2006-2007) through BZoO.org. She has performed spoken word and music across the country - in the spring of 1998 she embarked on her first national poetry tour, with featured performances, among other venues, at the Albuquerque Spoken Word Festival during the National Poetry Slam; her bands have had concerts in Chicago and in Alaska; in 2003 she hosted and performed at a weekly poetry and music open mike (called Sing Your Life), and from 2002 through 2005 was a featured performance artist, doing quarterly performance art shows with readings, music and images. Starting at this time Kuypers released a large number of CD releases currently available for sale at iTunes or amazon, including “Across the Pond”(a 3 CD set of poems by Oz Hardwick and Janet Kuypers with assorted vocals read to acoustic guitar of both Blues music and stylized Contemporary English Folk music), “Made Any Difference” (CD single of poem reading with multiple musicians), “Letting It All Out”, “What we Need in Life” (CD single by Janet Kuypers in Mom’s Favorite Vase of “What we Need in Life”, plus in guitarist Warren Peterson’s honor live recordings literally around the globe with guitarist John Yotko), “hmmm” (4 CD set), “Dobro Veče” (4 CD set), “the Stories of Women”, “Sexism and Other Stories”, “40”, “Live” (14 CD set), “an American Portrait” (Janet Kuypers/Kiki poetry to music from Jake & Haystack in Nashville), “Screeching to a Halt” (2008 CD EP of music from 5D/5D with Janet Kuypers poetry), “2 for the Price of 1” (Janet Kuypers poetry to music from Peter Bartels), “the Evolution of Performance Art” (13 CD set), “Burn Through Me” (Janet Kuypers poetry to music from The HA!Man of South Africa), “Seeing a Psychiatrist” (3 CD set), “The Things They Did To You” (Janet Kuypers poetry to music from the DMJ Art Connection), “Hope Chest in the Attic” (audio CD set), “St. Paul’s” (3 CD set), “the 2009 Poetry Game Show” (3 CD set), “Fusion” (Janet Kuypers poetry in multi CD set with Madison, WI jazz music from the Bastard Trio, the JoAnne Pow!ers Trio, and Paul Baker), “Chaos In Motion” (tracks from Internet radio shows on Chaotic Radio), “Chaotic Elements” (audio CD set for the poetry collection book and supplemental chapbooks for The Elements), “etc.” audio CD set, “Manic Depressive or Something” (Janet Kuypers poetry to music from the DMJ Art Connection), “Singular”, “Indian Flux” (Janet Kuypers poetry to music from the DMJ Art Connection), “The Chaotic Collection #01-05”, “The DMJ Art Connection Disc 1” (Janet Kuypers poetry to music from the DMJ Art Connection), “Oh.” audio CD, “Live At the Café” (3 CD set), “String Theory” (Janet Kuypers reading other people's poetry, with music from “the DMJ Art Connection), “Scars Presents WZRD radio” (2 CD set), “SIN - Scars Internet News”, “Questions in a World Without Answers”, “Conflict • Contact • Control”, “How Do I Get There?”, “Sing Your Life”, “Dreams”, “Changing Gears”, “The Other Side”, “Death Comes in Threes”, “the final”, “Moving Performances”, “Seeing Things Differently”, “Live At Cafe Aloha”, “the Demo Tapes” (Mom’s Favorite Vase), “Something Is Sweating” (the Second Axing), “Live In Alaska” EP (the Second Axing), “the Entropy Project”, “Tick Tock” (with 5D/5D), “Six Eleven” “Stop. Look. Listen.”, “Stop. Look. Listen to the Music” (a compilation CD from the three bands “Mom’s Favorite Vase”, “Weeds & Flowers” and “The Second Axing”), and “Change Rearrange” (the performance art poetry CD with sampled music).
    From 2010 through 2015 Kuypers also hosted the Chicago poetry open mic the Café Gallery, while also broadcasting weekly feature and open mic podcasts that were also released as YouTube videos.
    In addition to being published with Bernadette Miller in the short story collection book Domestic Blisters, as well as in a book of poetry turned to prose with Eric Bonholtzer in the book Duality, Kuypers has had many books of her own published: Hope Chest in the Attic, The Window, Close Cover Before Striking, (woman.) (spiral bound), Autumn Reason (novel in letter form), the Average Guy’s Guide (to Feminism), Contents Under Pressure, etc., and eventually The Key To Believing (2002 650 page novel), Changing Gears (travel journals around the United States), The Other Side (European travel book), the three collection books from 2004: Oeuvre (poetry), Exaro Versus (prose) and L’arte (art), The Boss Lady’s Editorials, The Boss Lady’s Editorials (2005 Expanded Edition), Seeing Things Differently, Change/Rearrange, Death Comes in Threes, Moving Performances, Six Eleven, Live at Cafe Aloha, Dreams, Rough Mixes, The Entropy Project, The Other Side (2006 edition), Stop., Sing Your Life, the hardcover art book (with an editorial) in cc&d v165.25, the Kuypers edition of Writings to Honour & Cherish, The Kuypers Edition: Blister and Burn, S&M, cc&d v170.5, cc&d v171.5: Living in Chaos, Tick Tock, cc&d v1273.22: Silent Screams, Taking It All In, It All Comes Down, Rising to the Surface, Galapagos, Chapter 38 (v1 and volume 1), Chapter 38 (v2 and Volume 2), Chapter 38 v3, Finally: Literature for the Snotty and Elite (Volume 1, Volume 2 and part 1 of a 3 part set), A Wake-Up Call From Tradition (part 2 of a 3 part set), (recovery), Dark Matter: the mind of Janet Kuypers , Evolution, Adolph Hitler, O .J. Simpson and U.S. Politics, the one thing the government still has no control over, (tweet), Get Your Buzz On, Janet & Jean Together, po•em, Taking Poetry to the Streets, the Cana-Dixie Chi-town Union, the Written Word, Dual, Prepare Her for This, uncorrect, Living in a Big World (color interior book with art and with “Seeing a Psychiatrist”), Pulled the Trigger (part 3 of a 3 part set), Venture to the Unknown (select writings with extensive color NASA/Huubble Space Telescope images), Janet Kuypers: Enriched, She’s an Open Book, “40”, Sexism and Other Stories, the Stories of Women, Prominent Pen (Kuypers edition), Elemental, the paperback book of the 2012 Datebook (which was also released as a spiral-bound ISBN# ISSN# 2012 little spiral datebook, Prominent Tongue, Chaotic Elements, and Fusion, the (select) death poetry book Stabity Stabity Stab Stab Stab, the 2012 art book a Picture’s Worth 1,000 words (available with both b&w interior pages and full color interior pages, the shutterfly ISSN# ISBN# hardcover art book life, in color, Post-Apocalyptic, Burn Through Me, Under the Sea (photo book), the Periodic Table of Poetry (with poems written for every element in the Periodic Table), a year long Journey, Bon Voyage! (a journal and photography book with select poems on travel as an American female vegetarian in India), and the mini books Part of my Pain, Let me See you Stripped, Say Nothing, Give me the News, when you Dream tonight, Rape, Sexism, Life & Death (with some Slovak poetry translations), Twitterati, and 100 Haikus, that coincided with the June 2014 release of the two poetry collection books Partial Nudity and Revealed. 2017, after her October 2015 move to Austin Texas, also witnessed the release of 2 Janet Kuypers book of poetry written in Austin, “(pheromemes) 2015-2017 poems” and a book of poetry written for her poetry features and show, “(pheromemes) 2015-2017 show poems” (and both pheromemes books are available from two printers). In 2018, Scars Publications released “Antarctica: Earth’s Final Frontier” and “Antarctica: Wildlife” (2 Janet Kuypers full-color photography books from the first passenger ship to Antarctica in 2017), performance art books “Chapter 48 (v1)” (2009-2011) and “Chapter 48 (v2)” (2011-2018), the v5 cc&d poetry collection book “On the Edge”, and the interview/journal/poetry book “In Depth”.








this page was downloaded to your computer