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.

Inebriate of Air

Sarah J. Sloat

The day was September, oxygen oozing from the dying wildflowers.

Cease beeping, we said to just about everyone.

We hung a sign outside the church: Park your car, forget your anger.

The leaves clattered metallically onto café tables round as coins.

To be kind, you wished the leaves might fall in water.

A little absinthe, and I felt like a rose revived by aspirin.

No one expects a reward just to ease getting older.

Even though there’s hell to pay.

Spoons in the Garden

Caroline Brooke Morrell

Yellow clouds lean into the coalfish. It’s midnight and the world moves alone in her daughter. I remember breath brushing up against the hours. It was my own breath and I let it touch me while you spoke. When I wake up before winter you cannot know. Trying to keep the robins on the table. Late showing, slow growth.

Time

Caroline Brooke Morrell

A sweet bee in an old bell.
Tone of what’s made

silently unmade

Commedia

Maxianne Berger

During
these
pewter
days,
maples
deftly
juggle
starlings
but
sloppily
drop
their
harlequin
clothes.

What I was thinking as I kissed you

Ryder Collins

There’ve been way too many mens trying the gates to my garden. Trying to force their ways in or crawl under the fence or jump over with a big pole or bribe my big dog. My dog knows only fur and fangs, respects only the biggest of dicks because he’s so patriarchal in his beastieness. Don’t stalk my garden smoking those spliffs you got from my ex, either. Leave the garden alone. Have you seen my house? Have you smelt my pillowcase or fondled my toilet handle yet? Just a jiggle. Come in, come in. I’ll aeropress you coffee the way I know you’ll like it. I’m feeling your taste buds, those mushroom-bumps raise in meeting. It’s night. I’m on the sidewalk outside my house. Under the streetlight & so obvious. I’m feeling sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami. Eeny meeny, I’m thinking. Miney mo. There’s racism all around me. In me. I’m thinking, The sidewalks are rough & cracked here. I’m thinking, There are so many tastes on this one tongue.

Two Monostich Poems

Scott Wiggerman

 

halfway through the walk       watering the juniper

 

weathered into fine grit       the years

 

Listening to Time

Scott Wiggerman

a golden shovel incorporating a Bashō haiku

The stillness

of night wings, the gentle piercing
of dark heavens, the
soft echoes of this terrain of rocks.

A high desert mesa, the
stars: quiet has a sound.
Fleeing the past in the silence of
now, it returns, droning like cicadas.

css.php