precious metals

2/25/11

Ben Nardolilli


Come and See the Show

He has prepared well,
Rehearsing his breakdown
For five sleepless years,

Pacing his defeat
Well in advance,
He has considered

All the implements well,
Which one will he choose?
Tune in and find out,

Tune out and you will miss
All the hard work
And the season’s number one

Suicide, the death
Everyone will be talking about
Around the tombstone

And the water cooler,
Don’t miss out
On his once in a lifetime

Chance, he surely
Won’t let you down,
Five years re-hearse-ing

Putting the pieces in place,
Then breaking them,
And blowing the dust away,

This exhibition won’t last forever.



Scurvy to Be Found

When the corpse is in the ground,
Old friends and wishes scurry,
Calendars bear the added weight
Of crossed out ink and the marks
Made by metal tips on soft paper flesh.

The parents set up their own ears now,
To defend their everywhere boy,
Compliments are placed as flowers,
Those who wheeze through dreams
Sing songs the cold one enjoyed.

Even the bottles saved for the coming
Are gone, consumed with a sorrow,
Yet leaving traces of content spreading
Through a liver and veins to create
An able jubilation unwillingly.





The One Beside You

The alley
I can, ought, to be ashamed,
do you feel drifting logs,
the sylvan scene
over endless plains?

Only at nightfall
the famous clairvoyant
had down the blackened scene:
“The bloom this year? Tall as you.”


What We’re Missing

Things were better in a closet
       in the last millennium,
a janitor and a student switched places,
to feel spiritual glory in the future,

we’ll plan the future better.
       believing we’ll feel settled one day
avoiding regular jobs.

You can prevent
       these crackpots
yet on deeper reflection,
       after that second bottle of scotch
The other side is only
               a constant odor

carbon dioxide lead me to embrace the pope?
help in a tidal wave
       tuned into the culture.




The Exclusive Right in the Exclusive Territory

We endeavor to be apolitical,
Remember that,

Because no one can make you fight,
If you don’t want to take arms
For poetry, it’s alright, tongues
Have grown silent and withered,
Voices have been lost to the wind
And never retrieved.

No one can make you defend
A freedom you never use,
Snore in church and keep
Nasty thoughts to yourself,
Take your own route
Of passive resistance, no
Once can force you to swim
And make waves.

All the orders in the world
Can never make you rise
And try to take your daily bread,
If others give it to you, freely,
Place it on your tongue and pronounce
Yourself saved, so be it,
No one can force you to end a hunger strike.

Remember that,
We endeavor to remain apolitical.



Many Suggestions of Clichés

Ship of state is only a mother
All that glitters is the mill,
Bury the toilet seat,
Get your knickers, beat the rap
I will harness you in the ass of night
For good fate would have it,
Lips as dull as a dishwater,
Nervous in the belfry

All die in harness algebra
One brick short
Kick the dog and cat
Table your plans
Under the cover of two peas

You'd lose the meat wagon
As long as fate swallows a dog
Ha, here.
swallow it up!
Or leave it.
As a dark blue lake, you
Make like a baby and back-seat driver
A speeding love it or leave it,
Mad one sandwich short
Mad the head wasn't screwed on

Can't get a toilet seat, it pours
Can't get a toilet seat signed, sealed, and delivered
Off the Pope saying ship of state,
Bats in and down like a buttered up,

Messed up pride
Horn of plenty whore in church
Lips as red as the dog and cat



Ben Nardolilli:  I am a twenty five year old writer
currently living in Montclair, New Jersey. My work has appeared in the
Houston Literary Review, Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, One Ghana One
Voice, Baker’s Dozen, Thieves Jargon, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae,
Poems Niederngasse, Gold Dust, Scythe, Anemone Sidecar, The Delmarva
Review, Contemporary American Voices, SoMa Literary Review, Gloom
Cupboard, Shakespeare’s Monkey Revue, Black Words on White Paper, and
Beltway Poetry Quarterly. In addition I maintain a blog at
mirrorsponge.blogspot.com and am looking to publish my first novel.

2/3/11

JP Reese


Oh, Hell

First you die in August or some other month
or someone kills you in Detroit, the Galapagos,
your driveway, your dreams, or you drown. But
you don't rack up points for how it happens.
Or when. Or why. Even if you suffered.
No points. No one cares. No donut. 

Then you see this woman. Funky red horns
look phallically familiar--Some kind of tail.
She waves a flowered bow tie.
A searchlight extends from her forehead.
A can of spray paint clutched between her thighs,
she points a jeweled fingernail at the wall.
You stroll, read tags from the Koran, Tora! Tora! Tora!
Mein Kampf, Lassie
, The Gnostic Gospels and
Tender Buttons in Day-Glo orange and pink.
There is a tunnel.  A sign reads,
"Gemillut Chassidim, Do Not Go This Way,"
so you don't. 

A bald Hindu lawyer wearing Pampers
imprinted with wireless spectacles
spreads his arms to block a smoked glass door
behind which you glimpse a party going on.
He smiles. His mouth swallows his head.
You eye the submarines, want to crawl inside,
become one with shredded lettuce, mayo, Swiss cheese.
No nukes here, no triage, no wounded to nurse, or shoot. 
You lick your finger, taste day-old codfish.

A stroll to the gift shop bends each minute
like a Dali watch as you wait to get this trip straight
with the ticket machine. There are pens
with red laser lights, Betty Crocker Devil's Food
cake mix, pickled jalapenos, golden nipple rings
and Ball jars filled with Ass-Kickin' Chili.
Bob Marley stands too close to you,
a red-eared slider perches like a yarmulke on his head. 
He speaks through lips dangling a massive spliff,
“Do not lose your head, you are not really here.”

Spike Lee, caped like Zorro, struts over the threshold,
his left arm draped around Lina Wertmuller.
Lina feeds a dog-eared copy of Swept Away
By An Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August
 
into his mouth. She tugs Spike's mustache 
because Giancarlo Gianini is not here to make her laugh.
She has strung blue eyes and rabbit's feet
from a chain around her neck

Spike hands you these things--
A metal pail with sides that rainbow
like trout flanks under water, overflowing
with stone crabs from Joe's and spiked hands,
a black leather Laker's cap,
and a rather curt note -- from God.
The postscript scrawled across the bottom
in number two pencil reads,
“Must have missed your connection, dude. 
Have a nice stay.”




JP Reese has work published or forthcoming in protestpoems.org: Writing for Human Rights, Thunderclap, Connotation Press, The Smoking Poet, Silkworms Ink, The Pinch, Forces, Eclectic Flash, Used Furniture Review, Blue Fifth Review, Gloom Cupboard, Corium Magazine.  Reese is a poetry editor for this -- a literary webzine, and she also teaches English at a small college in Texas.

2/1/11

Joseph Farley

Greenhouse Winter

Snow drips from the roof

half liquid half solid,

ploop in the driveway.

The snow does not last

the way I used to.

A quick thaw

is to be expected,

taxing roofs and

drainage systems.

It does not seem

like winter

with one day cold

and the next

sixty degrees.

I look out

from my window

and do not see

tomorrow,

only rows of houses

and circling cars,

maybe a cardinal

fluttering red

against white

near a stand of trees,

a flickering hope

of future springs.





alone

it is good

to be alone

quiet and orderly



if you can stand

being alone



no one to tell

"come see this"

"have a listen"



if they were there

they would not car

so what's the difference?



sit in silence

and clear your mind

listen for

the universe

to sing




long grass




no need to mow

watch it wave

in the wind



pollen

makes eyes itch

no matter



the wind is

talking

with the grass



and I want

to listen




Sixty Degree Solstice

warm December rain

snowman thoughts washed away

through greenhouse gutters





moss green on north wall

beneath shade of three pine trees

house ruin no more







A Face In My Mind

in Shenzen a girl asked my name.

there was a smile, a thought, a moment,

but time made all things blur.

now there is only a feeling

of what was or may have been.


Joseph Farley edited Axe Factory for 24 years. His books include Suckers, For the Birds and Longing for the Mother Tongue (March Street Press).

1/31/11

Amy Huffman

Tangles of Ambiguity

Thoughts run in my brain
so many
so fast
it hurts.
And I am blind
or might as well be.
Since I can never seem to pull
even the simplest words
from the clutter.




A Guernica of Distress

“Purity implies the dross of defilement.”
                                    -- Robert Hunter

I haven’t had a drink --
a real drink --
in almost two years.
Not because I’m an alcoholic.
(Recovering or otherwise).
But because I’m an economic.
Which is really just my own polite way
of telling you I’m broke.
Which was actually okay.
For awhile.
You know, that whole “starving artist” bit
the is considered quite pseudo-chic
in New York and Paris
and other lots like that.
But now that I’ve been downgraded --
degraded --
to “sober poet”
well . . .

This just can’t continue.
What will the biographers think?




Buried Beneath an Altar of Moons

Shadows dancing on the ledge.
Neon bodies dressed in dark.
They form her words.
Her dreams.
Her life.
Which isn’t much.
Just a flower.
A dress.
And a series of anonymous beds.
Fading black
                        to red.
                                     Till light.



A.J. Huffman is a poet and freelance writer in Daytona Beach, Florida.  She has previously published her work in literary journals, in the U.K. as well as America, such as Avon Literary Intelligencer, Eastern Rainbow, Medicinal Purposes Literary Review, The Intercultural Writer's Review, Icon, Writer's Gazette, and The Penwood Review.

1/30/11

Ken Pobo

THIS MORNING I

meet Dorothy on my way to the
Emerald City
which has fallen on hard times—

unemployment, lousy health care,
Glinda joining the Tea Party. 
I tell her I’m gay.  She says she

used to be but now she’s sad. 
This kind of mis-communication
has gone on my whole life.  She

introduces me to her three pals,
all nice but neurotic, asks why
I’m headed to Oz.  I don’t know,

just seems fun to brave a poppy field
and go.  So, we’re off to see
the Wizard, who demands

that the locals fight in illegal wars
and builds an oil pipeline
behind his signature.


EGGPLANT

We really need to clean out
our fridge more.  It’s icky
so we put on
Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?
and hope for the best.  Yet
today I brave it, pull out
the fruit bin and find,
to my horror, an eggplant,
garden fresh three months ago,
an oozy corpse.

How like America now!

Guns rampant, many leaders
making whole populaces ill—
even a single word
can wilt cities.  Racism
a badge of honor.  Hate
tossing babies off ledgers. 

The eggplant had such a deep purple,
skin unbroken.  The bin
needs hard scrubbing,
strong disinfectant.



IN THE WAY

If I take the Amtrak
from Philly to New York
and I’m in a good mood reading

something bleak by Hardy or
making a list of my Top 25 songs
by The Dave Clark Five,

and some blob of a corporation
grabs the seat by me,
takes it over completely

so that I can’t breathe, I beg him
to please, please give me some room,
but he doesn’t hear, just keeps

stroking his laptop,
I know I’m a goner, know
that the conductor will arrive

too late and I’ll be just another
accident,
something in the way.

1/19/11

Valentina Cano

 
Eaves-Dropping
The horrid sound swam before me
like a bloated fish,
all stretched scales and choppy gills.
I stepped aside for it in a stumbling fox-trot,
its tailing appendages gaping out at me.
The sound laughed at my wide eyes.
It found a place in my ear,
my warm traitorous right one,
my terrorist in drummer’s dress.
I stopped it up with cotton and slimy oil,
my fingers reeking of salty seas,
and waited for the strangled cry
to gasp out like a quenched flame.
Sound leaking out like wax.



A Maze
There’s a chance you won’t see me again.
More than a chance.
It looms like a cave wall,
over and around you.
Its cold stone dripping into your crisp skin.
The chance grows and echoes
until you can’t see the entrance,
that toothless gape
now just a bright, taunting speck.

There’s a chance you might regret this.
I doubt it. But.
The cave may grow until
the light becomes so dark it’s light again
and you may find yourself in a classroom,
all eyes and teetering hands on you.
 All you might see is my shadow,
my vague outline
like the edge of a handkerchief
strolling by the entrance.
Obliterating that tiny speck of light.




Leftovers
My cells get brittle
becoming cheap crystal
that tinkles to the floor
My body quits
holding itself, my eyes
fall
to the floor, they roll
back and forth
back and forth
picking up dust
lint from the underside of shoes
My hair-strands knot together
but they collapse
like an old shower curtain
They are too weak
Too tired
They melt apart

I loose myself on this floor
There are parts of me all along the walls
Hangingontothefloorboards




Glancing
up at the dirty ceiling
In between/ the table's/ legs
oozing into the wood
I will continue to disintegrate
A puzzle thrown against the wall
in  frusTRAtion
And you'll continue to smile
happy I have no head.
Valentina Cano is  a student of classical singing who spends whatever free time she has either reading or writing. Her work has appeared in Exercise Bowler, and will appear in the winter editions of Blinking Cursor, Theory Train, Magnolia's Press, Cartier Street Press, Berg Gasse 19, A Handful of Dust, The Scarlet Sound, The Adroit Journal and Perhaps I'm Wrong About the World. You can find her here: http://coldbloodedlives.blogspot.com 

1/18/11

Ron Koppelberger

Summer Rain


The quavering servant
In plain trappings and sane
Wrappings, a bond of ballast
And a secure tempest
In terrors of torn stitch
And worn, which in
Beginnings of slavery define the
 Bravery of riots in summer rain.

Ron Koppelberger
4192 Acorn Ave.
Bunnell Fl. 32110
Ph: 386-437-9118
 
 
Sacred Halo 

The thrust of rust
And throngs of thrill
In the silken sash of shrewd
Passage and bridled rampage,
A conflagration in orange glow and
The seed we sow, in
Amber almighty and certain
Sacred halo.
 
 
 
Ron Koppelberger
4192 Acorn Ave.
Bunnell Fl. 32110
Ph:386-4379118
 
Fashions of Creation

Gospel and advance, seething,
Simmering and in dire dances that scorn the
Breech of evening ash and secret
Cashes in compromise.
An aggregate allure and a reflection of
Discerning luxury.
An interlude in countenances that
   Follow the fashions of creation.

Ron Koppelberger
4192 Acorn Ave.
Bunnell Fl. 32110
Ph. 386-437-9118
 
 
The Same
 

The trade in worship and wont,
Attentive certainty and vaunt, a fame in
Pact with tact and conviction,
Wanton fires and addiction, a
Sober mountain flow
In the soils of row and
Unchanging domain,
A fortune in that,
In the same.






From Ron: "I am aspiring to become established as a poet and a short story writer. I have written 100 books of poetry over the past several years and 17 novels: I have been submitting my work for the past year and a half. I am thrilled by acceptance. I am always looking for an audience. I have published 420 poems, 239 short stories, and 63 pieces of art in over 110 periodicals, books and anthologies. I have been published in The Storyteller, Ceremony, Write On!!! (Poetry Magazette), Freshly Baked Fiction and Necrology Shorts. Also I recently won the People’s Choice Award for poetry In The Storyteller for a poem titled Secret Sash. I have been accepted in England, Australia, Canada and Thailand. I love to write and offer an experience to the reader. I am a member of The American Poet’s Society as well as The Isles Poetry Association. I hope you enjoy my work. (My art is viewable at face book, will806095@bellsouth.net)
*Website-SwampLit (RonnieWK.weebly.com)
* Website-Shadows at Night-Tide (Shadowsatnighttide.weebly.com)

1/16/11

David McLean



the feet of children

we walk with the feet of dead children
in an illusory asylum, where heaven is pinned
to a ceiling of stars by delusive dancers

though we know that only absences are forever,
and most things people talk of are discussed best
via negativa in a different sense, no definitions

of things that do not exist, like gods in boxes
and ghosts in machines. we walk with the feet
of needy children, indeed, if we believe in dreams

but do not want a world where ghosts might be.




“no shame”

the cast sticks say “no shame”
which is what they usually say,
as if they were the augurs
of happily innocent witches
once, full of love and the blood
of wicked children.

we are all trapped forever in a witch's cottage
or in some excruciatingly toothsome
anxiety. pain is all this exquisite
absence; terrors tied together
by flesh and sinews,
though the children were eaten
centuries ago. now witches
are anorexics who gaze into mirrors,
more haunted by the day.

we are all haunted by the purity of the homeliest
psychosis. and this is why children say “i like it
when you die.” the invention
of empathy was clumsily done,
since it assumed magical powers:
though if you walk one mile
in my shoes you will suffer
athlete's foot forever,
Killdozer said - men who knew
heaven better, being, evidently,
well-endowed Texans.

(the book of too few changes
observes that flux is not enough -
because identity is a wicked
mistress, because of dust)




the sun goes down

the sun goes down
because worlds turn
and sleep is always easy
for the guilty victim
of night and time
and life, little animals
with blood under the skin
and absences in them,
this hiatus where history
goes missing, the living
shell, the self, panic
listening, all the dead men
echo within him, drunk
on nothing, awed alive
is loving




under the soil

under the soil the heartland,
under the foot,
in the mud where life beats
like the blood in is.

it wants to be attentive heaven
under the sun, knuckles dragging
fingers after them to touch us,
like a little nothingness

under us the land, a heartland
we stand on forever
men and women,
soil in the blood




here comes

here comes evil,
just a slight fire,
just a regret inside us,
absences traced
as words come undone.
for logic is a forgotten chancel
where religion does not think,
so no gods can creep in
like slugs from the sun
when love undoes us
at least once
as its evil comes,

so here comes evil,
it is an eye on fire
and fingers dissolving
into their conscient wanderings
on skin, here comes evil,
children, warming within.

it is sterility listening
it is everything missing
here comes evil, if you can believe in it
just a little, there is no such thing as sin,
except in the vastness of this absence:
here zombies live





David McLean is Welsh but has lived in Sweden since 1987. He lives with boat, woman, dogs and cats on an island in the lake Mälaren. He is an atheist, an anarchist, an axiological nihilist, and, thus, generally disgusting. He has a BA in History from Balliol, Oxford, and an MA in philosophy, taken much later and much more seriously studied for, from Stockholm. Up to date details of well over 1100 poems in various zines - both print and online, both degenerate and reputable - over the last three years or so are at his blog at http://mourningabortion.blogspot.com. There you will also find details of several currently available books and chapbooks - including three print full lengths, four print chapbooks, and a free electronic chapbook. A new chapbook is due out in spring 2011.

1/15/11

Mike Berger

Deep Scars



The barren land stretch for miles-

stark and naked. Stumps rotting,

jutted up in a bizarre mosaic. Strewn

about were the decaying remnants

of age-old trees; their severed branched

now a fester in rotting blanket covering

the ground. Those once arching branches

shaded frolicking squirrels and melodic

song birds.

One stump, nearly three feet wide,

had more than a hundred rings.

The lifeblood of that gargantuan

tree dotted the stump congealing

into crusty pitch. The resinous

smell brought images that stately

tree.

Vicious chain saws inflicted mortal

wounds. Thunderous bulldozers

left ugly scars where they dragged

the carcasses away. 







Pond


The old pelican laid down and died.

Its body quivered in anguish. It succumbed

to a polluted pond it once called home.

Raw sewage  pours in, leaving a putrid bog.

Who knows what's in that sludge a

six inch pipe discharges? Flotsam

rises to the top; the stench turns your stomach.

Fish once swam in crystal waters, now they

are carrion rotting on the shore. Animals

once drank deep, now they know better. A

stand of proud cattails are reduced to brown sticks.

A gnarled old old box elder tree stood for fifty

years providing shade for picnics and a

rope swing for daring boys. It now stands

stark and bare, arms piercing the sky.

Its twisted bark sloughs off into stinking piles.

The old tree died by inches as the pond filled

with sludge.   




Beaver Dam


Did a peevish God throw it

down in a fit of anger? The

twisted amorphous mass reeks

chaos. The tangle is a hundred

gnarled fingers.

A subtle pattern appears only

on deep inspection. Haphazard

logs and sticks blend into a

bizarre design. Water tumbles

around the dam's edges. The

shiny ends of logs bear

telltale chisel marks.


In the middle of the pond a

dark mound rises, hiding

beavers from my prying eyes.

Once there were thousands of

beaver dams; this is the only

one I could find.

Hunted into near extinction,

those silken pelts make fur

jackets for elegant ladies.

They look chic in their

sleek evening wraps.

Clueless about the real cost.






PUBLISHING HISTORY: Author of two books of short stories. Three humor pieces have won
awards. Writing poetry for two years. Work has or will appear in sixty-five journals. These
include AIM, Still Crazy, First Edition, Stray Branch, and Mid West Quarterly, Evergreen and
Westward Quarterly, Stray Branch.. His work has appeared internationally in Australia. Portugal,
Mozambique, England, Canada, and India. Published three chapbook, Raw and Lighten Up
published by CC&D Press, Smart Assed World by Writing Raw .A fourth chap is due out.. Winner
of several poetry contests.

1/12/11

William Doreski

Fur is Murder


Three basement floors of used clothing.
After browsing for hours you loom
before me in fur-trimmed white,

hardly your style. Tight pink slacks,
a sequined blouse. Stilted shoes.
Refurbished, you vanish from my life,

leaving the faintest blonde residue.
After searching all three floors
and finding a svelte leather jacket

unsuited to my sorry carcass
I emerge into an open square
overhung by skyscrapers trimmed

with residential balconies. One
grinning storefront draws me, a bar
crammed with eager young faces.

Hard music hammers from speakers
set in the ceiling. I glimpse
your fur-trimmed jacket encircled

by tall desperate men. Ducking out
the door, I cross the square and return
to the used clothing world and don

a plain cotton raincoat, cheaper
and less aggressive than the leather
I thought would render us equal.

Back in the bar I shove through
the crowd with the mock arrogance
of a plainclothes detective. You curl

a lip, but I rip the jacket
from your narrow shoulders and cry
“Fur is murder!” The crowd gives way,

the desperate men turn their backs,
and a hint of tortured animal
trembles in the cusp of your smile.







Jerusalem 1944


Squat before a goat-dung fire
in fifteen degrees of December,
I wonder how the Jesus-myth
plays in Berlin and London
these days. The plaster walls crack
to reveal the ancient adobe,
a mode of construction older
than the account of Yahweh’s beard
secreted deep in Exodus.
That beard warms exactly half
the inhabitants of this city.
The others bask in the hot breeze
drifting from Mecca to Medina.
This leaves me shivering at a fire
that cost more shekels than I earned
in two years reporting the war
from Cairo. No one here believes
in the war, no one accepts
the extinction of Europe’s Jews,
sure that after the Russians pass
over Poland’s gaping carcass
the citizens will rise from the wreck.
Then from Warsaw to Kiev
shy villages will resume
their kosher and cabbage stance,
bickering in the market-place.
I believe the rumors. The beard
of Yahweh wasn’t warm enough
to protect against the winters
of ‘forty to ‘forty-three. This year,
the one about to embrace us,
will end it, snuffing my dung fire
and cracking half the adobe
in Palestine, erasing the last
of His carefully misleading clues.





Your Portrait in Primal Tones


A camera crude as a nail gun
snaps your portrait in primal tones.
I intend to hang this photo
in the hayloft of the haunted barn.
You’ve never climbed the ladder
into that sleazy space where spiders
pink as scabs build webs as big
as trampolines. Moldy old harness,
busted wagon springs, surly trunks
stuffed with disease-laden blankets
reminisce like items depicted
in seventeenth-century paintings
by Dutch masters we both admire.
You want to linger on the night
your sister married and you and I
collapsed over wine in the kitchen
while in the parlor our friends laughed
midnight past, the season changing
in windy streets. A famous time
for exchanging vows: a war ended
in the Far East, another plotting
in the desert where the throb of oil
suggested a rough beast’s heartbeat.
When after hours of play
we returned to the parlor
with out expressions thus unbuttoned
our friends laughed that candid laugh
that sounds like water down a drain.
Now you’ve become your mother
and I’ve become my father
because the trees in the Blue Hills
lose track of their leaves and we
lose track of ourselves and others.
Your portrait will hang high in the barn.
Don’t worry if I caught your smile.
Such a crude amateur portrait
withholds itself so thoroughly
not even the creepy pink spiders
dare to desecrate its gaze.






Jailed in Portugal


Jailed in Portugal, we’re free
to interact all day and night,
men and women alike. Charged
with tourism, nudism, disdain
for priests, we’d plead guilty and pay
a modest fine except that
we’re thriving in confinement.
Gail reads all day and limbers up
at night. Zach sleeps so soundly
his snoring has cracked the adobe.
Lilly rises light as cirrus
and drifts singing through the jailhouse.
Scott has solved every crossword
in six languages and devises
new ones on his own. Jess and I
confab in a corner and plot
new-fangled honeymoons to peddle
to couples too postmodern for sex.
The jailor regards us with smiles.
The best local restaurants deliver
meals and wine, and he pockets
generous tips. All night we swap
partners until no one’s sure
of his or her identity.
The hotel on the beach didn’t feel
this free: the view from the rooms
too sun-spangled, and the nights
adrift with orchestral standards.
Here the same dim light bulbs gloom
day and night, and the creaking
of our bunks sounds desperately noir.
Late after the slum traffic fades
we catch the amateur stroking
of guitars and apply the music
to each other, exposing nerves
we’d otherwise never touch,
trilling like the small green birds
that perch at our windows for crumbs.






Bottomless Pit, Roman Bath


A bottomless pit has opened.
Beside it, a shallow depression
lined with tile. A swimming pool?
Roman bath, you insist, although
the Romans didn’t do New Hampshire,
did they? Archaeologists kneel
in the aqua-blue construction.
You warn them that a growling
emanates from the chasm but
they claim it’s only an earthquake,
not Cerberus lapping the bleak
current of the Styx. I lower
a flashlight on a rope and find,
only a hundred feet down, a floor
of ordinary mica schist.
The archaeologists examine
the Roman bath and claim Nero
designed it to commemorate
his victory over the Mohawks.
But only a year later they chased
his legions north to Nova Scotia,
from which they rowed back to Gaul.
The no-longer bottomless pit,
they insist, formed because the bath,
spring-fed, leaked and eroded
a socket-hole in the world.
You’re so excited you dance
at the edge of the pit, and before
I can snag you, tumble in.
You slide thirty feet down the slope,
but when I catch up you’re laughing,
so we shuffle to the bottom
to savor the earthen dark.
We roll around on the mica floor,
enjoying a private moment,
and when we look up we note
the famous noon stars winking
like motes in a Cyclops’ eye.

1/11/11

G David Schwartz


War Is War
 


            G David Schwartz  
 


 
War is war, and war is hell    
 

 
War changes everything to not so well
 

 
 Yes it is true that war may give you
 


A job for a while that you can do
 

 
But civilian life has no jobs to shoot
 

 
War is war, and war is hell    
 

 
And peace is peace
 

 
As a pathafist I ask you please
 

 
Help me end this severe disease
 






 
Isn’t It Grand
 

 
            G David Schwartz,  
 

 
Isn’t it grand?
 

 
Isn’t it fun?
 

 
To walk around
 

 
And hate everyone
 

 
Isn’t it smart
 

 
To just go do
 

 

Anything in the world
 

 
That you want to
 

 
I’ve no more questions
 

 
Because they are dumb
 

 
Idiocy is grand
 

 
To every silly one  






G. David Schwartz - the former president of Seedhouse,  the online interfaith committee. Schwartz is the author of A Jewish Appraisal of Dialogue. Currently a volunteer at Drake Hospital in Cincinnati, Schwartz continues to write. His new book, Midrash and Working Out Of The Book is now in stores or can be ordered.