Thursday, October 18, 2012

Some Other Parents' Yes


The doctor says the o-word and it hangs like a guillotine in the air. Your father asks, If this was your child? The doctor says, Yes, of course. Without a doubt. Do I have your permission? Your mother, exhausted from delivering you, is crumpled on the bed, her open-backed gown still pushed up around her wet thighs. Your father looks at his wife, at her damp curls slicked back. She is too scared to cry. That's when your father says it. Yes. You imagine that tiny yes fluttering down from your father's lips like a falling maple seed. Sometimes it is a helpless yes, a grasping yes, a choking yes, a yes that wraps itself around his throat until it squeezes the last drop of air from his soft esophagus. Sometimes it is a mean yes, a cruel yes, a yes delivered in relief, a yes uttered simply so the decision will be behind him. And sometimes it is a no-yes, a yes that might have been conceived of as a no, a no that might have morphed into a yes, spontaneously, on his lips, like a butterfly breaking through its husk. And sometimes--sometimes--when the doubts pushing on your mind at forty-five thousand pounds per square foot are more than you can take, you wonder if, perhaps, the word that tumbled out of his mouth was a no after all, a tiny one, light as rice paper, and maybe a cross breeze from a door swinging shut sucked it away and it was some other parents' yes the doctor heard.



--Megan Pryor

Monday, October 15, 2012

Trainwreck


Black tie-dye canaries stall the
hands of time cradling infants
still umbilicalled in the
hanging garden’s euphemism
Cataclysms and Catholism
may be the answer to a self-imposed
self-apocalyptic junk-alcoholic veering
down the tracks @ a 125 miles per hour
but I can’t see the moon trying to 
eclipse
the sky for it is fucked as I am fucked
LA must be a logical place harboring
my body as an epileptic earthquake
the Richter scale reads: 10+10+10, and
I wished my superficial girlfriend would stop
reading me bedtime stories gauged with
animalstic fairy tales of skid row; I feel
barbaric and I want to conquer Germania
just to fuck with the demon dogs in her head
but she constricts and I have flash backs of
birth of contractions of gestation of copulation,
and I can see my mother poetically broken by what took
an eternity to create merely took seconds to destroy-
and the roses smell pretty, still



--Devlin De La Chapa

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Gothic Neanderthal


I listen
Will it ever end?
Her gentle, velvety voice
mimicking childish sobs
amidst animal grunts
 
Head under pillow
Camping in Africa
on a space ship in Galactica;
an unseen witness to murder
in an abandoned
graffiti-coloured crime district
 
 
I cradle my teddy bear,
close to my chest,
covered head to toe
in my feathery nest.
 
 
I stroke it
whisper

You’re not alone
I’m here. Shh, don’t cry

Fingers in ears
so hard
it hurts
to avert
my ache—her cries—his
screeching—the insufferable thunderous thump
through thin floor
 
 
I climb out of bed,
creep down the hall,
peer through the crack
of the kitchen door.
 
Grey netting hangs
from naked papery breasts,
dark purple tulle
fastened round her waist
black smudges
smeared ’cross her face.
patterned like lace
wet stringy hair
sticks
to her brow
her neck
wet cotton
sweat
toxic breath
menstruation blood
the onion soup we ate for lunch—
I dry-wretch
 
 
It stops—silence
Her arms hover in the air.
Twisted grace, fit for a coffin
 
 
Did it die?
 
 
No.
 
 
Daddy strokes her like the cat
she nods—
whispers and purrs
 
 
Behind her come chants
Push, push! Push, push!
It begins again;
She screams—
note shrill against the beat
droning voices of back-up men
 
 
Gothic Neanderthal giving birth
Giving life
To song...
 
 
-- Jessica Bell

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sex With My Father


           Animal sounds exploded
from my parents’ room late at night.
From the bottom bunk, I could
hear my sister’s breathing, quiet
and steady as my own.
I covered my head with a pillow
and waited for it to be over, for the sounds
to stop. He’s going to crush her,
I thought. I waited to hear my mom’s voice
or her footstep, light, in the hallway.
She never came.
My father walked heavy
to the bathroom, running water, coughing.
No mom. She was still
alive in the morning, but tired. The circles
had purpled under her eyes.
 
 
           Today I can see her then,
eyes turned to the ceiling, searching
for some pattern, waiting for the light
to come. She is holding her breath,
being forced against the sheet,
mattress springs in her back.
Where was it before her?
Where is he taking her and when
will he get there?
Her face has turned
toward morning drifting through
the window. Maybe she is waiting for me
to save her, to meet her in the bathroom
to nurse her wounds.
I would lick her clean if I could I would
carry her in my mouth and deliver her
to my bed to hide. I would hold her
and kiss her and let her sleep in peace.
 
 
-- April Salzano

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Marriage


What if I were to
reach the height of life
Aged, alone, unmarried
rotting with the walls
eating their pet rats
in my New York New York apartment
awaiting a vicious horde
of angels to
sweep me off my feet
infect my lungs with cosmic dust
rather rationalizing reality
an indivisible banner
ravaged by Gale of Perspective
What if I were to be
Aged, alone, unmarried
 
-- Jeremiah Walton
 
 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Twisted Velvet Chains


You
told me
I was ugly.
 
You told
me
I was cold.
 
You said
my surface beauty
meant compassionless.
 
You
called me
selfish bitch.
 
You called
me
trashy slut.
 
You stuck your fingers
in your cunt,
ran them through my tangled hair,
spat in my face --
I let you.
 
You liked to
slap me.
 
You needed to
choke me.
 
You encouraged me
to drive a knife
into my trusting arm.
 
But still I stroked your cheek
when you’d overdose,
because I loved you
like a child
who had no where else to turn.
 
But, Mother
can you please
release me
from your twisted grip?
I know
it’s not a prison cell,
but heavy grief grows mould.
 
I need to
clean these chains—
these strings of
velvet woe,
before these
memories

stimulate one more
masticating echo.
 
 
 
-- Jessica Bell

Monday, October 1, 2012

His Last Supper



For 48 hours, strangers paraded up cold, 
concrete steps, investigating a lifetime 
of collectibles, fishing lures, marina sketches, chopped 
bits of animal pelts he had placed inside boxes 

like trophies. Dusty books about ancient aliens, 
Yukon prostitutes, and PCs for Dummies 
bordered the edges of each room, showing off 
those subjects that had consumed his mind 

in private. The procession continued after the burial,
each visitor anxious to get their hands on a piece 
of his life’s work, odd figurines, food choppers, Hummels 
with missing body parts, and miscellaneous books 

on how to be a millionaire in secret. 
A blue-haired lady wearing a tight 
bun gaped in disgust. The man who’d fed her family 
40 years of fish dinners was a disgrace, his home gutted, 

his skeletons laid out on the table for all of the hungry 
bargain hunters to see.



--Linda G. Hatton