Red Rover

Amy Nash

That hotel I keep promising to build on top of some devil’s

backbone about to tumble into the ocean

is no brothel. No one

gets paid to discard used heroes into the fire               ring. Send them over.

Three White Dogs

Theodore Worozbyt

From our parlor, the living room, the cloud there seemed to be, across the angle, a colorful snake silently sine-waved across the woven symbols of the Iranian carpet. The white dog spotted with spilled coffee would be poisoned by its fangs if it had fangs. But I was not convinced. While the undulance and pumpkin orange diamonds rowed along its spine suggested a viper I thought too that I was seeing yellow and red like a king’s ambulance through the grass. Something burst on the asphalt. I stopped beside the copper deep freezer to fill it with thin oblongs from bags. An uneaten roasted turkey floated in a five gallon bucket when I opened it but had no smell. I thought how old it was, how beige. The snake became a calico kitten over and over that I would capture with a bucket. Either way was in the road up the hill. Crawling onto my chest the two white dogs were biting through each other’s lips and could not be pried open as their faces came to me.

Andalusia: A Zuihitsu

Jee Leong Koh

So many palm trees, shooting up like fireworks. A courtyard of orange trees. After harvest, the sunflower stalks stand alert as otters.

 

The Alhambra is a mosaic of not two, not three, but four dimensions. After moving through its fountains, gardens, and palaces, I see on the way home the tessellation of leaves and the space between leaves. I see the tessellation of leaves and the time between leaves.

 

Riding pillion behind my host on a motorbike and slipping through the streets of Sevilla.

 

In Murillo’s great painting, the child gives his coin to his mother, with a look of tenderness that only a child can give, just as the towering saint gives his money to the beggar man. Outside the cathedral, one night, the guitarist waved away the coin proffered by a child. He did not want charity but to sell his compact discs.

 

Mecca is east-southeast but the Mosque of Córdoba faces south because its royal builder was homesick for Damascus. Representing the earth, its perfect square dances in red and white arabesques, until it is severed in the aorta by the flashing sword of a Cathedral nave. I could not bear to look around the church. How could an architect destroy the best work of another architect? A king, a bishop would, yes, that is the way of the world, but an artist?

 

In the Alcázar del Rey, in the oldest part of Sevilla, there is a garden that remembers the meeting in friendship of the Spanish poets called the Generation of ‘27. Will I be remembered? And whom will I be remembered with?

January, Huddled

Jennifer Moore

The light is empty of stitching,
of bright weather, bees not opening
from a hole in a tree.

That tongue has a mouth’s worth of teeth
and each one hangs with ice.

In winter
I am the cat with three eyelids,
each one unscrolled to veil
a different feeling.

What I mean is,
the gallery exhibits its own empty walls.

What used to be a voice blew under the door;
outside, one degree of temperature

is a lonely thing to feel.
It’s a small world, after all.

hold steady

Sarah Gajkowski-Hill

pressure-coated in panic
i say it’s the weather that’s got me nostalgic
or perhaps the druggie music
i saw the singer fall down
one balmy night
with the palm trees
unbending
“music is a precocious mistress”
he nodded and cracked a lozenge in half
all straight-faced and tragic.

Men about Business

Robert W. Fieseler

Justin and I thought umbrellas were things men carried. Men like our dads held them above their briefcases on their way out the door. Those umbrellas sat in stands in the foyers near our dads’ other work things—rubber galoshes, khaki raincoats—which we weren’t allowed to disturb. Since the eighties were an era when men didn’t bring home work except for show, there his business things sat, claiming a corner of the foyer, from the moment he entered until first thing in the morning, when he left.

Justin and I decided to be men on a day when it wasn’t raining. We grabbed our dads’ umbrellas, pulling on the curled handles and drawing the rods up from their stands. We went outside and turned on the sprinkler and unfurled black umbrellas, which made a whoosh like dark wings, and pretended to be busy-ness men. I held paychecks in my hands as water streamed overhead. Justin raised an index finger as he parried the spray, signaling me to wait as I called his name.

He’d ask me for a “rain check,” which is what a man would say if you rushed him in the doorway. We thought it must have something to do with rain.

pāSHənt

Katarina Boudreaux

Patient is
a heart
in slow endure

noise a cacophony,
smell what tricks

the light in
switch to off

inch by inch
in slow it moves

where to put the things
that have no place
in do it now

the butterfly moves
even with torn wings

I Stagger Toward the Future

Daniel Shapiro

When the West needed rediscovery, the powers sent a clown with a camera to compile the spotless carnage. This was before viral. Reptiles ate the strings off guitars. Townspeople wandered with eyes covered to block the awkward flips from color to black & white to color. The new colonists let their hair explode, posed with mannequins for selfies. This was before selfies. Reinvention meant erasure, but not of natives. This was after immigrants started pretending to be natives. The five men who appeared to be human formed a band that could stand alone in the desert, look good in grayscale. They had not thought past the moment, past the four minutes it would take to embed the psyches of whoever was left, whoever would dare to put on the greasepaint.

I Wish My Skin Could Stand the Pace

Daniel Shapiro

They paint some white women black, turn them into tables, paint other white women brown for telephones. They say they don’t see color. Synthesizers must be played with rubber gloves. They dress you in a hooded robe, show you what you think is a miniature of your city. Even the sculptures are fitted for sunglasses. The bases the space aliens attack in video games look like your city, your miniaturized city. What you think is the throb of bass of drums is the sound of your pixelated city falling square by square. They tell you it’s OK; your eyeglasses are just too thick. A man will give you a ride home on a Prophet-5, show you the lights of your darkened city. You’re sure these must be correct, these lights that compete with what can only be sleep.

Autobiographical Sketch/Labor Day

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

I live in a world of imaginary paintings. They have taken the place of my imaginary friends. My imaginary friends were a treacherous and surly lot. There was no honor among thieves.

The Imperial court of Czar Nicholas was much kinder and gentler. His son, the Tsarevich, suffered terribly from necrophilia… no, not necrophilia, hemophilia. As I get older, I sometimes have trouble keeping all the afflictions straight. There are so many of them—a near infinite set. Think of this—with or without hemophilia, Alexis would have had the same response to the bullet in the brain fired by the red revolutionaries.

I am sorry. I have lived too long with imaginary friends, with imaginary paintings. My father told me I was a bum and would always be a bum. That was at a critical stage of my development. Thus, I flirted with becoming a Jesus freak, but didn’t give in. Bob Dylan gave in. He painted his face like Batman’s Joker and declared: You’ve got to serve somebody. Bullshit. The only person you’ve got to serve is yourself at the ALL YOU CAN EAT buffet. Also your legless wife—she can’t serve herself. She was a hero in the Iraq War—she had her legs blown off. That’s how you can tell she’s bona fide.

Every day I live in a home, I have beaten my pater. If I was homeless, He would have won. I have imaginary Picassos on my walls, imaginary van Goghs, imaginary Rembrandts and Matisses, and all of my paintings are better than the real paintings by the same artists. I have a collection worth billions of imaginary dollars. How much am I worth? My worth is an illusion. This is true of all of us.

I gave my one-year-old granddaughter a birthday present—My First Buddha. She points at it on the shelf on which it lives. I take it out of the box and set it on the couch where she can reach it. She knocks it down like a bowling pin. I set it aright. She knocks it down. We do this dozens of times. I have huge patience for the innocent, joyful shenanigans of babies. She keeps my serotonin level high. I thank her. She will never be a Jesus freak. She’s been too well-loved to be a Jesus freak. Only those who have been deprived at an essential level go on to become Christians. It is their shout-out for affection. If they didn’t get natural love, they crave supernatural love. It is overcompensation, the most common thing in the world.

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