must be the devil

Coefficient of relationship

By Halifax

must be the devil
that slices babies off
the cord that attaches
mother to their bellies

must be the devil
that cuts the kids free
from the carrot and stick
routine their family plays

must be some devil
that pulls them away
to a future of uncertainty
while home shrivels up

this devil destroys lives
and leaves the survivors
to clean up the mess
like it belongs to them

Carl and I

Carl and I
by Travis Catsull

We were waiting for Carl
Or at least that’s what I called him

Carl arrived and told us we were all fired
Said he had to get back
As we sat around talking
About what we’d do now

It was another guy’s turn to bring a loaf of bread
but he said he was out of money
When suddenly another man got up
Who I call Carl
And punched him in the nose

“Bring the godamn bread next time!”
and it was then I decided not to trust him

I was standing over Carl as he whined
Blood flowing from his dark, pumice pocked nose
As I consoled him,
“It’s alright Carl” and I threw another log in the fire

I don’t know if I cried that night
But I tried

It can get really cold in Honolulu
And while most people don’t know that
Everyone knew Carl would be cooking breakfast
In the morning

“You alright Carl?” I asked and got me some bread

“That motherfucker!”
as Carl threw some old bread into the fire
and walked off
“I’m going surfing!”

“Surfing” didn’t mean anything
except that you were gonna hang out
in the public bathroom and steal wallets
out of people’s shorts who were taking a shit
in the stall next to you

I worked on my tarp, getting it tight
When my Dad called
“Hey Carl” he said flatly
He knew I got fired
And asked me to move back home to Cancun
“I need someone to deliver this bread,” he said
but I told him
I had a whole loaf
And took a long nap

It was raining hot
When I woke and checked my okra plant
This next batch would go to Carl
Who I owed for repairing my boogie board

Just then I heard a bunch of shouting
And saw that Carl was at it again
Giving another man trouble
For playing his harmonica
While he was asleep

I walked over to the fire
And threw a bunch of logs in
And the fire grew bright
When I saw we had several loaves of bread
So I got me a couple slices
And warmed them up on a stick

I looked around for Carl
I wanted to thank him
But he was gone

I didn’t see him for a few weeks
And then months

Years later I got a letter from him
And it simply read,

“Carl,

I moved back home to Cancun. Don’t touch nothing.

Love,

Carl”

3rd Through 6th Grade

3rd Through 6th Grade
by Jones LM
Mrs. Swails was fat and mean.
Mrs. Hartman was thin and sweet.
Mrs. Powers, I can only recall her name.
Mrs. McFarland  was my sixth grade teacher.
She looked like Rita Hayworth.
She combed my hair for the class picture,
and she told me how much she liked
my Red Ryder tee shirt.
We were in love.
I remember the smell
of peanut butter and apples
and the slight scent of Shalimar
in
the
cloakroom.

Saginaw

Saginaw
by James Diaz
There was something I meant to tell you
something it took me years to figure out
how the body can get lost in the spaces of the spirit
how your own two hands can become strangers
to each other
overlapping laughter- how we do not belong
we exaggerate our pain
winter something-something about an empty house
on a hill you used to climb when you were… not young exactly,
exposed silhouette
of social disgraces
‘protect me’ we think
while we only ever endanger ourselves
how badly I need you
not so badly
but all the same
when you call
if you do-
say only one word,
not my name
but your own.

Book Review of Encarnita’s Journey

1068526Encarnita’s Journey by Joan Lingard
Review by Ben Macnair
Alison and Busby

7 out of 10

Joan Lingard is one of those writers with a considerable body of work, who just gets on with the craft of writing, whether it is for Children, or Adults.

Encarnita’s Journey starts of in Edinburgh, where Encarnita, and her daughter Concepcion are looking for work, before really starting in 1920, at the very moment of Encarnita’s birth, in a paragraph that is not for the squeamish. Throughout her childhood, growing up in Yegen, in the shadow of the first world war, Encarnita’s life takes on many different colours, from dealings with real life figures such as Lytton Strachey, Dora Carrington, and Virginia Woolf.

Although Encarnita’s life is actually pretty uneventful (she has a child, a number of jobs, that change due to economic forces, loses lovers and family members) it is the detail that make Encarnita’s Journey such a good read, from the research that went into the names, setting the time lines and places so that she would have met the real people that are mentioned, to making the whole book read as a believable, worthwhile life.

Although the changes that are bought by war are felt, and there are elements of sadness, and pathos, as there is with every book of this nature, there is also a resounding sense of hope, of discovery, which is what sets Encarnita out on her journey, to live the life she has been given, and to find out all that she can in a world that is always changing.

BORDER CHANT FOR THE WAYWARD

BORDER CHANT FOR THE WAYWARD
by Matthew Phillips

Passport photos and foil-flecked pinwheels, hot exhaust splashing breath
against taco vendors and a German Shepard (well-trained, I imagine)—three
spins of the clock, a half-full bottle of gold tequila and a last ditch effort
to score a gram of Mexican pot | I went to Rosarito Beach on a Friday plastered
with sea breeze, met a painter called Jaime in the tourist sector: He’s a tribal
leader in a last band of renegade artists—you spin worlds with a paintbrush,
drip-dry in beach sands | I studied a lone Mexican cop with my good eye,
prayed for reprieve from weekday demands and routine (back home), bought
weathered spruce firewood from a mango vendor near Valle de Guadalupe
and listened to sea lions on a rocky shoreline while, above and high and bright,
a full moon rose and fell in pendulum pattern | At the border, an American
with red cheeks and an underbite told me I’d need an inspection, pinned
my blue passport to my insect-splattered windshield | Who gave man authority
to draw lines on natural things, to pin a beating heart to a map?

Elegy for a Dead Labrador

Elegy for a Dead Labrador
by Lars Gustafsson

Here there may be, in the midst of summer,
a few days when suddenly it’s fall.
Thrushes sing on a sharper note.
The rocks stand determined out in the water.
They know something. They’ve always known it.
We know it too, and we don’t like it.
On the way home, in the boat, on just such evenings
you would stand stock-still in the bow, collected,
scouting the scents coming across the water.
You read the evening, the faint streak of smoke
from a garden, a pancake frying
half a mile away, a badger
standing somewhere in the same twilight
sniffing the same way. Our friendship
was of course a compromise; we lived
together in two different worlds: mine,
mostly letters, a text passing through life,
yours, mostly smells. You had knowledge
I would have given much to have possessed:
the ability to let a feeling—eagerness, hate, or love—
run like a wave throughout your body
from nose to tip of tail, the inability
ever to accept the moon as fact.
At the full moon you always complained loudly against it.
You were a better Gnostic than I am. And consequently
you lived continually in paradise.
You had a habit of catching butterflies on the leap,
and munching them, which some people thought disgusting.
I always liked it. Why
couldn’t I learn from you? And doors.
In front of closed doors you lay down and slept
sure that sooner or later the one would come
who’d open up the door. You were right.
I was wrong. Now I ask myself, now this
long mute friendship is forever finished,
if possibly there was anything I could do
which impressed you. Your firm conviction
that I called up the thunderstorms
doesn’t count. That was a mistake. I think
my certain faith that the ball existed,
even when hidden behind the couch,
somehow gave you an inkling of my world.
In my world most things were hidden
behind something else. I called you “dog,”
I really wonder whether you perceived me
as a larger, noisier “dog”
or as something different, forever unknown,
which is what it is, existing in that attribute
it exists in, a whistle
through the nocturnal park one has got used to
returning to without actually knowing
what it is one is returning to. About you,
and who you were, I knew no more.
One might say, from this more objective
standpoint, we were two organisms. Two
of those places where the universe makes a knot
in itself, short-lived, complex structures
of proteins that have to complicate themselves
more and more in order to survive, until everything
breaks and turns simple once again, the knot
dissolved, the riddle gone. You were a question
asked of another question, nothing more,
and neither had the answer to the other.

I know a man

I know a man
by Dirk Michener

I know a man who, when in the water, is afraid of fish touching his skin
I know a man who, when walking, always looks down at the ground
I know a man who, when sleeping, begins speaking in Mandarin Chinese
I know a man who, when in the passenger seat of a car, must close his eyes
I know a man who, when reading, reads every word 18 times over
He would have read the book 18 times upon finishing it.
I know a man who, when touching another, immediately washes his hands afterwards
I know a man who, when watching movies, laughs at any scene with a dog
Cujo was fucking hilarious to this man
I know a man who, when eating ice cream, only uses the tip of his tongue
I know a man who, when kissing a girl, bites down hard on the girls tongue enough to make it bleed

When someone knocks at your door do you get scared?
When the telephone rings, do you shudder?
When you hear a sound at night in your house do you turn down the TV?
When a car has been behind your car for what seems like too long, do you try and lose it by taking a different route?
When eating at a fast food restaurant do you sit at a table close to others or as far as you can get?
When you break a plate do you stand there for a minute and look at it?
When riding in an airplane do you grip the armrest upon ascension?
When wearing sunglasses do you peer off to the side to look at something but keep your head still so as to give the impression you are looking in a different direction?
When cutting your fingernails do you try to cut the whole thing off, or in several snips?
When waiting for the bus do you stare off into space?
When entering an empty elevator, do you head directly to the right-hand corner and face the door?

Direct hit on Dallas
Direct hit on Austin
Direct hit on Houston
Direct hit on San Antonio
Direct hit on Fort Worth
Direct hit on Athens
Direct hit on Tyler
Direct hit on Denton
Direct hit on El Paso
Direct hit on McAllen
Direct hit on Corpus Christi
Direct hit on Waco
Direct hit on Galveston
Direct hit on San Marcos
Direct hit on Arlington
Direct hit on Hurst
Direct hit on Euless
Direct hit on Bedford
Direct hit on Haltom City
Direct hit on Keller
Direct hit on Colleyville
Direct hit on South Lake
Direct hit on Roanoke
Direct hit on Watauga
Direct hit on Richland Hills
Direct hit on Argyle
Direct hit on McKinney
Direct hit on Allen
Direct hit on Gainesville
Direct hit on Mabank
Direct hit on Gun Barrel City
Direct hit on Tool
Direct hit on Waxahachie
Direct hit on West
Direct hit on Marfa
Direct hit on Abilene
Direct hit on Lake Worth
Direct hit on Greenville
Direct hit on Round Rock
Direct hit on Cypress
Direct hit on Spring
Direct hit on San Angelo
Direct hit on Paris
Direct hit on Weatherford
Direct hit on Mineral Wells
Direct hit on Krum

Road repair is an important aspect of city planning
Certain cities, I will not name names, have extremely poor roads
The actual physical quality of the road,
And the layout of how the road works in conjunction to the places around it.

Poor roads have been a little know factor in the city planners understanding of how people perceive the city…or maybe it has been
Either way…people, everyday make the decision to move to a particular city, move out of a particular city, or buy a different kind of automobile based on the quality of roads.

Many city planners see poor roads as an opportunity to encourage the citizens to walk, ride bikes, or take public transportation
This is a false concept. Poor roads encourage citizens to bitch and moan and rise up against city officials and commit crimes in the name of poor city planning.

I know a man who lives in a four story town-house
The ground floor is his living room
The room is filled with brightly colored furniture
Most of it is soft and large
With vivid op-art paintings on the wall

The second floor is his nook and kitchen
The furniture is entirely wood…oak

The third floor is his bedroom
His bedroom is white
White sculptures, bed linen, carpet, ceiling,
Immaculately clean and enhanced by one mirrored wall

The 4th floor is an attic type room full of antiques
Most of the antiques are dusty and piled up randomly
Most of the antiques were his mother and fathers’
Hall-trees, baby carriages, gilded mirrors, wrought-iron lamps

Settler’s Creek

Settler’s Creek
by K Harvey

You’d been gone four months by then,
but we brought you along anyway.

On my back, you rested
riding inside a wooden box.

The idea was to lay you gently
at the water’s surface,

but our clumsy hands spilled you,
and it was hard to tell whether you went head

or feet first, but it didn’t much matter
anyway, I suppose.

You would float on down the creek
until you had reached the next and so on.

My father gave a little wave and joked,
“We’ll see you back on down in Denver, Dad.”

We stood there in silence
listening to you chuckle

under the bridge and over
the first set of riffles downstream.

Bodies are piling up.

Bodies are piling up
by Smokey Farris

Bodies are piling up.
Perhaps Dirk would have a mishap.
James may like to hack me up with
A chainsaw, in a game of
Pass the hot potato.

Nothing is more serious than death.
In a world of fleshy dioramas.
Rusting against the backdrop of
The millenias.
I blacken catfish over nettles of
Sweet violence and
Castrate the bondage known to
Litigate in the romance languages.

Her way of handling improbable
Handshakes casts wild shadows
On the barred owl waiting near
the barrier between rat life and
Hang town. Point me into her bed,
And I’ll rest my dead heat.