Monday, October 31, 2011

Family Portraits

Image by Glenn Buttkus

Family portraits
become instant

Pumpkin Dwarves Gathered

Image by Glenn Buttkus

Pumpkin dwarves gathered
in the shadow of
their giant siblings.

A Pumpkin Pot

Image by Glenn Buttkus

A pumpkin pot
gets only one day
to celebrate.

Dear Daring

image borrowed from bing

Dear Daring

My love sent me a letter,
typed in a romantic font,
tied with a red ribbon.

It said:

'My daring
I ove you
I ove you more each day
I ove you aways
You are the ove of my ife'

Shame about the 'L' key.

I replied.

'I ove you too
my daring'.

My 'L' key worked but I somehow
prefer to be called 'daring'
than 'darling'.

Brigid O'Connor

Posted over on her site Sort of Writing
Listed as #57 over on Magpie Tales 89

All Soul's Night, 1917

image borrowed from bing

All Soul's Night, 1917

You heap the logs and try to fill
The little room with words and cheer,
But silent feet are on the hill,
Across the window veiled eyes peer.
The hosts of lovers, young in death,
Go seeking down the world to-night,
Remembering faces, warmth and breath —
And they shall seek till it is light.
Then let the white-flaked logs burn low,
Lest those who drift before the storm
See gladness on our hearth and know
There is no flame can make them warm.

Hortense King Flexner

Posted over on the Writer's Almanac

Haunted Houses

image borrowed from bing

Haunted Houses

All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors.

We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.

There are more guests at table than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
As silent as the pictures on the wall.

The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been is visible and clear.

So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O'er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Posted over on the Writer's Almanac

Say It, Write It

image borrowed from bing

Say It, Write It

speak to me

a splash of ink,
a quill to
the heart,

words always
at our fingertips
even when voices
can't be

R. Burnett Baker

aka: Rick

Posted over on his site Efficient Agony
Listed as #47 over on Magpie Tales 89

Old Technology

image borrowed from bing

Old Technology'

I take such pains to make it right,
Avoiding mundane and the trite,
Seeking hues
Just right to use,
But everything prints out black and white!

PS. All the writers in my family were girls
except the electric typewriter
which was a Brother.

Stafford Ray

Posted down under on his site Stafford Ray
Listed as #54 over on Magpie Tales 89


image borrowed from bing


The page stares back into his heavy lidded eyes, bloodshot and burning, he forces a blink knowing the contest is unnecessary. Flexing his fingers, he feels tension release from within each joint, then brings them to his face, dragging them down from hairline to hollow cheeks. His tongue dampen his lips, as if he has something to say, but doesn't. A fly lands atop the typewriter, rubbing its front legs.

Taking a cotton cloth from the table top, he works his hands, removing ink and oil, paying close attention to the nails. Longer than he usually kept them, he wishes for a moment he had clippers nearby, contemplates retrieving them from the bathroom. This would mean crossing the room and he can barely feel his legs as it is, just little pin pricks of life along their length.

Stretching his legs under the desk, a small fire erupts in the muscles. It hurts, but feels so good. He smiles and retrieves a crumpled pack of cigarettes from one of the drawers that run along the right side of the desk. Shaking one loose he places it between his lips, where it dances. He inhales, even though it is not lit, savoring the smell of the tobacco as he centers on the fly on the typewriter.

The fly walks a small circle, now facing the page that still rests, pinched in the roller. He wonders if the fly is reading and if it likes what it sees. Kill it, a stray though dances through his thoughts, but he dismisses it. The desire to touch it, to feel its wings, is almost overwhelming. The tobacco tastes sweet on his tongue.

Careful not to disturb the fly, he puts one hand on the roller knob and takes the top of the just completed page in the other and rolls it until released. The fly cares little, remaining where it is, as the man lays the freed page on an inch deep stack of its brethren.

The wall behind the typewriter is grimy with years of fingerprints and sweat of its occupants. Notes are etched in its surface, notes he has left himself among those of others, he left while typing, too busy to pause and find paper. Some he can read and understand, others are nearly intelligible, scrawled hastily in manic swirls.

كلمات غير מילים לא נעמרות Unausgesprochene worte
parole inespresse

Gouged deep in block letters he recognizes as his own, UNSPOKEN. Puckered edges bite his fingers as he traces each letter, he is sure, not for the first time. His eyes spasm wide, accompanied by a sharp intake of breath. The fly launches itself from the typewriter, turning a sharp corner over the man's shoulder disappearing from view.

Grabbing the stack of completed pages, he flips through, a river of white cascades to the floor where pages splash in various directions. Blank, how can they all be blank. A moan begins deep within him, the distant call of a train rising into a howl. Abruptly, he wrenches open the top drawer, removes a fresh sheet of paper and feverishly feeds it into the machine.


The fly lands on the crest of the man's ear, crawling to the point where it joins the rest of his head and begins rubbing its legs, which if the man could hear so minuscule a noise, would sound like chaotic laughter.

Brian Miller

Posted over on his site Way Station One
Listed as #60 over on Magpie Tales 89

Community Ethic

image by alex shapiro

Community Ethic

It was 11:30 in the August evening.
As I worked at my desk,
the power suddenly went out.
Electricity wasn’t restored
until late the next day.

From my deck at twilight,
I gazed an acre out to the distance.
A lone, adult gull hung lifelessly
from the electrical wires.

Throughout the late summer,
hundreds of blackbirds migrated
to this spot on San Juan Island,
favoring these wires for an excellent
perch perspective above the sea.
Their busy chatter was incessant and lively.
I loved the sound in the distance.

For weeks, the little blackbirds lined up
all around the gull, unperturbed
by its decomposing corpse
as they got on with their daily routine.

I wonder about humanity.
I wonder about the animal world.
I wonder about the meaning of community,
and inter-connectedness, for us all.
And if you’re reading this,
I want you to wonder, too.

Alex Shapiro

Posted over on her site Notes From the Kelp


image borrowed from bing


Six months after we moved in together, Jillian and I became engaged. The next morning, we decided to go hunting for engagement rings.

"Let's check out pawn shops," she said. "It will be romantic."

Her parents got their rings from a pawn shop. I was intrigued by the idea of saving money, but I thought, pretty quickly into things, that we would move from pawn shops to jewelry stores, maybe even on the way to the first place.

So we started at the nearest place, Mountain Man Pawn - an overgrown aluminum storage building in a run-down parking lot on the south side of town. Inside, an old man told us, "By the time you get to be my age, if you haven't worked up a good hate for each other you've done something wrong."

We drove all over town, talking about the old man with his odd candor and finally came back to Mountain Man for the ring, and picked up wedding bands there as well.
Later, Jillian called her parents to tell them the news. Her father answered.
"We're engaged," Jillian said.

He was quiet. "Let me get your mother," he finally said.

Jillian repeated the news to her mother and was met again by silence. "Oh my. That was fast," her mother said.

"We've been living together for six months, Mom," Jillian said.

"Don't you think you're rushing? I just wonder if you've thought this through," her mother asked.

"Why can't you just be happy?" Jillian asked.

I was in my office, working. But I could hear the agitation in Jillian's voice.

"What about kids? You're just going to give that up? You're too young to close that door," her mother said.

"I'm the same age you were when you were married," Jillian said.

"But this is different."

After 45 minutes of that:

"I guess the real reason is I can't be happy about you marrying someone who could die a horrible death or need you to take care of him. I think that before you get married," her mother said, "Cortney should get tested for Huntington’s."

"Don't hate them," Jillian said, later. "They're just worried. This is your decision," she said. "No matter what anyone says, even my mother, you have to decide. I'll support whatever you choose to do."

We talked about testing in noncommittal spurts. Mostly, we talked about her parents, wedding plans, politics, anything but testing.

After two days, Jillian called her parents. Her mother quickly broke into tears, explaining that Jillian's paternal grandmother was dying, and Jillian's father was on his way to Michigan to see her.

"Life's too short," Jillian's mother said. "Nobody knows when they're going to die. So if he doesn't want to get tested, he shouldn't have to."

What this meant was that I couldn't be mad at them for trying to force me into a decision. What this meant was that I had to make the decision.

When my mother was diagnosed with Huntington’s there was no definitive test. The gene that produces it was discovered in 1993. The test, at first, was enormously expensive and required multiple testings of family members for comparison, but over time, as more became known, the price dropped to around a thousand dollars. Huntington’s tends to manifest later in life. It is the perfect disease for procrastinators. My mother had three kids and was into her forties before she showed any symptoms. Her father likewise had three kids before he showed symptoms, and his mother was well on in years. This is the norm; symptoms tend to occur during the ages of 45-55, though they can manifest at any time, and my siblings and I had lived our lives as though in the moment of near-sleep dreading the buzz of the morning alarm. When we weren't concerned for ourselves, we worried about each other.

My brother was so sure he had Huntington’s that he never married, never planned for the future, and when he hit his forties, and the disease failed to appear, he suddenly found himself unprepared. He quickly married, became a stepparent and tried to make up for lost time. My sister took the opposite approach. She married young to a man with three kids, and struggled with the decision to have kids of her own and risk passing on the Huntington’s gene before finally giving in and having a son.

I wasn't sure where I placed on the family scale. I tended towards a pessimistic way of thinking, sure that I had Huntington's, but unsure what to do about it. The fear that I might have the disease had made my life swing like a pendulum. Some days, I felt I should live only for that day. What was the point in planning, preparing for the future? If I only had twenty years or so left, I had better live them for all they were worth. This meant that while my friends were settling down with mortgages, I was just starting college. And instead of paying for classes, I was using the loan money to travel.

Other days, I thought that if I didn't have much time left, I had better buckle down and try to achieve something worthwhile. So while those friends were starting careers, I was finishing up work on my first novel and recording demos with my band.

And when Jillian and I met, we settled into something I'd never really had before: stability. We made plans. We talked about children; we talked about careers; we talked about where we'd like to live. We built a mythology for our relationship by seeking out new and strange experiences that we'd both find rewarding and interesting. Instead of going to a movie, we drove around looking in other people's windows. Instead of playing golf, we planted a garden.

But no matter what, my mother's disease was always present, like an image in my peripheral vision that kept coming back.

At traffic lights, I wondered; what if I have it? In line at the grocery store, I pondered it: if I had Huntington's, the big if, what would I do? If my time is to be short, then I'd better do something worthwhile with it. At the fast food drive through, I thought: I'd better make it count.

It sounded good, and yet no decision seemed to be getting made. Jillian stood by during all of this, metaphorically, smiling supportively and trying not to scream.
I had just graduated college and was poised to enter graduate school to study playwriting at the University of Arkansas. I was taking a summer class on filmmaking and not working. And as I got further and further away from making a decision, I got more and more miserable. I began buying books I'd never read, movies I didn't even like, and blowing through my careful summer budget, just to keep myself entertained. I didn't know what to do with myself so I didn't do anything. I floated. I changed the subject. I talked about the weather.

A few weeks after our engagement, I received a letter from the bank. I was overdrawn. The money that was supposed to see me through the summer was gone halfway through the break. I drove all over town, putting in quick applications for a summer job, and then I sat and waited and thought, really thought, about the concept of a future.

Up to that point, I had parceled my life out according to looming deadlines. In nine months, it would be summer, in three months, school would start again. In twelve years, I would graduate with my high school diploma. In four years, give or take, I would graduate college. When I was a kid, I had waited for my father to get home from work. Now, I was waiting for Jillian to get home. All my life, it seemed, I had been waiting. At the Baptist church, they'd taught me that life is a dream and we wake into heaven. We just had to wait it out. When I worked, or even at home, I watched the clock, gauging my actions against the clock. All of these deadlines were tiny reflections of that giant deadline, the moment when I was sure I would wake from this dream of life into the nightmare of the future. All my life I'd been waiting for it, but now, with Jillian, I thought: maybe not. It was too delicate a bird to hold in my hand, fully formed, so I made the decision and didn't think about it anymore.

When Jillian got home from work I told her it was time I got tested.

C.L. Bledsoe

Posted proudly over on his site Murder Your Darlings

When We Were Looking

image by yi ching lin

when we were looking

when we were looking
for the bees, there were no
lack of experts.
in most things, life
is a Chinese finger
trap – the more we
struggle to make
sense of it, the
less we know

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Sunday, October 30, 2011

This Puncheon Pedestal

Image by Glenn Buttkus

This puncheon pedestal
supported our refuse
cans stoutly.

A Great Clock

Image by Glenn Buttkus

A great clock
stately stood in
a neighbor's yard.

Railroad Trestles Span

Image by Glenn Buttkus

Railroad trestles span
deep rivers, highways
for steel wheels.

In Praise of the Great Bull Walrus

image borrowed from bing

In Praise of the Great Bull Walrus

I wouldn't like to be one
of the walrus people
for the rest of my life
but I wish I could spend
one sunny afternoon
lying on the rocks with them.
I suspect it would be similar
to drinking beer in a tavern
that caters to longshoremen
and won't admit women.
We'd exchange no
cosmic secrets. I'd merely say,
"How yuh doin' you big old walrus?"
and the nearest of
the walrus people
would answer,
"Me? I'm doin' great.
How yuh doin' yourself,
you big old human being, you?"
How good it is to share
the earth with such creatures
and how unthinkable it would have been
to have missed all this
by not being born:
a happy thought, that,
for not being born is
the only tragedy
that we can imagine
but need never fear.

Alden Nowlan

Posted over on the Writer's Almanac

Seaside Welcome Wagon

image by alex shapiro

Seaside Welcome Wagon

I’d been up and traveling since 4:45am,
gritty New York City time.
Fifteen hours later,
at my body clock equivalent of 8pm,
I was thrilled to be walking
on the deck to my front door,
located more than a bit beyond
the opposite coast.

I looked down.
A gift.
From a gull.
Who, in my five-day absence,
decided to open a sushi restaurant
on my premises.
Looks like the meal was wonderful.

I get fresh sea urchin
delivered right to my doorstep.
I tell you, this is
one sophisticated island.

Alex Shapiro

Posted as prose over on her site Notes From the Kelp

The Gulf of Mexico

image borrowed from bing



these giants
behind the scenes at night
they are working for you
even when they look like they are making money
for someone else
(they do)

the only thing that hurts these giants
is the umbilical cords
they are attached with
to you
that one just dangling with a puddle on the end
is the gulf of mexico
it used to be rich

all you need is a nice pair of scissors
then it will be esthetic
you won't even know it was there
like a shrimp in reduction sauce

wind air water fire when drafted say ok
then they attach themselves
to you
with new umbilicums
yummy it feels yummy

migratory birds know
where to go
something outside of them tells them
where to go
something inside them says yes
and then it's off to mexico
but never again to the gulf of mexico

that's voided pedagogy
dead verbs nouned
derivative was once to derive
and so the body was derived
from the need to feed
and the puddle dried up

adjectives too had a hard time
but everything is fast now
don't bet on language
to be on your side
it's not
not because it's venal
but because it's in constant use

if we gave our language a break
for let's say a century
and kept quiet with our needs at a minimum
we might turn into finer animals
horses let's say

evolution used to work that way
now volition does

teacher teacher what does my soul look like?
a duck

I hate ducks
I like birds
I hate ducks
will they make a difference to my grade?

no but you're now in charge of bodies in area 51

they are morphing

How does language shape physiognomy?
why do the french look french?
do the people of the 20th century look different?
do plumbers?
do ideas?
what makes them look like they do?
tolerance is important

anybody who's ever made a fire
knows why synergy's important
the hard thing to know is when
there is too much of it

people your actions are ridiculous
the consequences tragic
where is the gulf of mexico

pinata in a buffet
see last will and testament
by caligula jr
innocence is hard look at me
all these years

whose dream are we
our own
which is the next question

why are most things round?
and the next:
we ever
be safe
from the
interior monologue?

and the next:

does anyone know how to get lost anymore?

and the one after:

what disarms the reader?

what weapon must he be relieved of?

there will be always the exact same amount of god

vomit is the price of liberty
I for instance feign amnesia during the daytime

to hide from my own shadow

Andrei Codrescu

Posted over on Poems and Poetics

Facebook Redux

image borrowed from bing


Facebook didn’t depose Mubarak
the army deposed Mubarak
with the help of unarmed people

Facebook doesn’t depose
it poses
but in Egypt it was better than the telephone
and it still is in countries
where the police isn’t on Facebook yet
(there is no such country: Facebook is the police)

in the U.S. where everybody is on Facebook
pretending to be just hanging out
discussing the quirks of their dogs
their tastes in music and what they want in a mate
Facebook is just pixel puff off a virtual dog
its data bots eat your brain and make you buy stuff
and if you make a move that looks vaguely human
Facebook arrests you and connects you to Twitter
LinkedIn and other social groups
where communication will rehabilitate you

for a writer Facebook is especially deadly
a novelist mining for stories will run only into lies
there are no smells and no skin
a poet is quickly bored by the nanitudes mouthed there
an essayist meets there only herm public face
and whatever looked real in reality
(which wasn't much)
is secretly spirited away from your soul
and made into zuckerbergs

mr zuckerberg laughs all the way to the bank
as he eats them
it’s always sunny on sugar mountain

I quit Facebook
I felt lighter already
I looked for my friends at the bar
couldn't find them
but look: a real dog is falling in love
with a fire hydrant!

Andrei Codrescu

Posted over on Poems and Poetics

True Love Spurned!

image borrowed from bing

True Love Spurned!

It was still dark outside, a thin shard of a paler shade of black was beginning to creep round the edge of the curtains drawn across the window. Not long now, and he would be with me. Snug under my covers, I could hear him move about in the room next door, the room where he spent his afternoons and evenings. Sometimes, of course, he left the house altogether, leaving me to snooze, idle and unwanted; without him I had no life, no life at all. It was he who tickled me into being, it was he who could awaken the song in my heart, every fibre of my body vibrating, wave after wave of happiness ringing out in delight, filling my soul with joy, shuddering to an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction when he finally came to a halt many hours later.

Yes, I looked forward to our regular meetings, when he concentrated fully on me and my needs. The whole morning belonged to me, I had his undivided attention. Knowing how lucky I was I never stopped being grateful, served him well, taking hardly any time off. Very rarely did I suffer from any kind of illness, but when it happened, he wrapped me up tenderly and carried me to a hospital, where I sat on a bench while somebody else's rough hands poked about in my innards, dripping grease over my sinews and adjusting my muscles. I disliked being touched by anyone but him, but his pleasure at having me all to himself again, back home, after an episode of absence, made up for the indignity.

Finally, I heard the door open and he came over to where I sat, still hidden from view. I could feel his hands lifting the covers, folding them back carefully, slowly exposing me to his full gaze. I shivered a little as he ran his fingers delicately over my keys. Contrary to his usual custom, he did not sit down in front of me, but stood poised above me, looking at me with troubled eyes.

For the first time in our long and mutually satisfying relationship I had no idea what was coming next.

"Well, old girl," he said, "It'll break my heart. You have seen me through many a difficult birth. Sitting here, stroking you, pounding you for so many years, and releasing my creative energies into you has brought me success and recognition. But let's face it, " he continued, "you have grown old in my service, your smooth bodywork and efficient rhythms have become rough and unreliable. It's time to replace you with one of the new-fangled machines, which, I hear, even tell me when I get the spelling wrong. Admit it, you never did that. "

He patted me on the head. "I'll always appreciate your stalwart nature and true heart and I'll never love anyone as I have loved you. Believe me, and I mean this most sincerely, it's not you, it's me."

I was shocked rigid. My keys sat stiff and unmoving; a small tinkle, like a funeral bell, rang out when he picked me up with both hands and deposited me unceremoniously on the bottom shelf of his bookcase, and covered me up again.

Here I've been sitting for weeks now, drying up and silent. I heard the usurper being lifted into my rightful place. Apparently the upstart needs a lot of juice delivered via electric cables and something called a provider to get him going; he is clearly a lot less accommodating than I was. Heartless, I would say.

As for him, my lord and master, the one whom I helped to create deathless prose? I know he is not happy now, not nearly as happy as he was with me. I have heard him shout and swear in frustration. Far be it from me to gloat, but I know for a fact, that the upstart has managed to lose a whole chapter of the new book.

I have to admit to a little frisson of Schadenfreude.

Ursula White

aka: Friko

Posted over on her site Friko' World
Listed as #31 over on Magpie Tales 89

On Most Days

image by yi ching lin

on most days

on most days,
death leaves
heavy tracks –
but on occasion
we are made
to lighten up

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site

A Thought Left

image by yi ching lin

a thought left

a thought left
unspoken, firing
up the leap
and me, between
here and
there, is like
a cat
in midair, twisting
without torque,
enough space
to land again
a constant
net angular
of three seconds ago

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Miss Me

Painting by Robert Payet

Miss Me

named for the love of common man
in stasis, she looks homeward forever

binnacle long since lost to the sun

her barnacles and bones
whispered clean by the moon
she waits storm tossed across granite seasons.

in gold silence the shore reaches


slowly for her;

stars listen where water and ways
burn never apart

and horizons are merely
imperceptible lines of the same heart

together only in storm and wanting,
her course is set where
worlds vanish in soft collision:

the ocean eventually takes everything
a fisherman holds dear:

I wonder if she wishes for the solitude
just a jade eternity away

as Terns cry finally her long way home

Larry Kuechlin

Posted over on his Facebook page.

For Naught

image borrowed from bing

For Naught

the virgin page taunts me


the bright white
throbs like a migraine

no burden of remorse
no weight of mystery
does it bear

no sting of anger
no wink of mirth
does it proffer

nothing sensual or sensitive to share

no tale to spin
no plot to thicken
no coin of phrase to turn

just vast blank space
tormenting nothingness
cruel emptiness
draining on my brain

dissonance spills through my open window
the scatter of autumn showers
stir of october wind
rustle of moist leaves

in the distance
muffled keens
bursts of barking
far off yelps

the edgy piercing din
of dripping prowling night
intrudes in damp insistence
to fill my head
fevered with frustration
to leave not one small space for wit

the search for insight all for naught

no spark to light this dark
no muse in sight

nothing clever or profound
in the air this night


• • •
rob kistner © 2011

Posted over on his site Image and Verse
Listed as #16 over on Magpie Tales 89

Not Now, I'm Busy

image by tess kincaid

Not Now, I'm Busy

I stare at teacups
and blank walls

squeeze a ball
of bubble wrap

as if some kind
of juicy inspiration

might ooze
through my fingers

onto the keyboard
surrounded by books

none of which I read
start to finish

anymore, but graze
from a smorgasbord

dip into my favorite
playboy phrases

then toss them out
for the dogs to enjoy

secretly hoping
they will boomerang

back in the form
of something sexy

something hip
like a trilby or a kiss

Tess Kincaid

October 2011

Posted over on her site Life at Willow Manor
Listed as #1 over on Magpie Tales 89

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Love Hurts: Scene Ten

image borrowed from bing

Love Hurts: Scene Ten

Cinemagenic Ten


1(close up) Love Hurts shining red on the school wall,
bathed in hot impala headlights.
2(medium shot) red SS stopped in front of
the old country school house.
3(sound cue) guitar blues slide.
4(two shot) both men staring at tanya:
owen in the front seat,
lester standing with his door open.

5(close up) tanya’s face, eyes wide open.
6(medium close up) lester banging the back of his
seat forward.
7(close up) tanya: what are you doing?
8(two shot) lester reaching in a grabbing tanya.
9lester: come to daddy, you sexy bitch!
10(close up) heather suddenly awakens.
11(sound cue) jazz saxophone.
12(close up) heather screaming mommmmie!
13(medium shot) owen leaps out from behind the
steering wheel, then pushes the back of his seat
14owen, breathing hard, laughing.
15(three shot) tanya being dragged slowly forward,
kicking and screaming
16tanya: no, no, oh god, no!
17(close up) her feet hitting the steering wheel.
18tanya: stop it! stop it!
19(close up) plastic jesus and hula dancer bobbling
on the dash.
20(medium shot) owen stepping backward.
21tanya (VO) you fucking assholes!
22(close up) owen: get that crazy bitch out of the car!
23(medium shot) heather being pushed aside.
24(medium shot) tanya struggling mightily.
25(sound cue) heather squealing like a caged
pummeled rodent.
26(sound cue) hard drum raps.
27(insert shot) cow in slaughter stocks being
hit in the head with a sledgehammer.
28(medium close up) lester grabbing tanya
by the hair.
29(sound cue) clarinet high riff.
30(two shot) lester pulling the woman
out over the front seat.
31(medium shot) POV outside the car:
lester tosses tanya onto the ground hard.
32(sound cue) heather VO: mommy, mommy!
33(medium close up) tanya’s skirt has hiked up,
revealing red panties.
34(close up) lester: you fucking whore!
35(medium close up) tanya kicks up into
lester’s groin.
35(close up) lester’s face grimacing in pain.
36lester: arrrrggghh!
37owen: (VO) what a cluster fuck!
38(medium shot) heather sitting up, face streaming
with tear trails, blowing spit bubbles, nose running.
39(sound cue) wolf howling blending into violins
hitting high notes.
40(medium shot) owen appears from the other side.
41(medium close up) lester’s nose bleeding.
42(medium close up) owen working his arm under
tanya’s throat.
43(close up) owen grabbing her hair with his free
hand, clenching it tightly.
44(sound cue) heather: mmottttherrr!
45(three shot): lester on his knees, holding his crotch.
owen jerking tanya upright onto her feet.
46tanya: noooooooo!

47(two shot) bob holding her arm behind her, pushing
it high and hard as he slaps the back of her head.
48(sound cue) bob (VO) when I say no I mean it!

49(sound cue) tanya screaming.
50(sound cue) piano pounding low notes.
51(three shot) all of them moving toward the camera:
owen and lester violently pulling tanya around to
the front of the car, their bodies in silhouette.
52(sound cue) drum roll.
53(three shot) over the men’s shoulders,
tanya being slammed down onto the impala’s
wide red hood.
54(close up) tanya biting a hand.
55owen: fucking bitch!
56(close up) tanya’s lips smeared with blood.
57(medium close up) owen holding his wounded hand.
58owen: fuuuccckkk!
59(two shot) lester pushing himself on top
of the woman.
60(insert shot) a bull mounting a cow.

61(medium close up) heather resting peacefully, with
her head in her mother’s lap.
62(wide shot) red impala traveling, headlights glaring
on high beams.
63(gimble-shot) over the hood into the windshield,
two men in front, woman in the back seat.
64(close up) owen: fuck me, what else can happen
to us?
65(close up) lester: goddamn owl made me piss
my britches.
66(close up) tanya, mute, eyes unfocused.
67(two shot) over tanya’s shoulder, lester
facing her.
68(close up) lester: I figured as much, excuse me all to
hell for asking. good looking bitches are all the same.
69(close up) owen: leave the woman alone!
70(sound cue) Indian snake rattle.
71(close up) lester: I ain’t saying shit.
72(medium close up) tanya, her eyes beginning to focus,
73tanya: what?
74(sound cue) owen: as soon as we are done with them,
we have to boogie.
75(close up) tanya: what are you saying?
76(close up) lester: not a goddamn thing!
77(close up) owen: Jesus Christ, you two--fuggedaboutit!!
78(insert shot) three crows pecking at the armadillo corpse.
79(close up) one crow stabbing the armadillo in the eye.

Glenn Buttkus

October 2011

Listed as #18 over on Magpie Tales 89

Would you like the author to read this poem to you?
Part One:

Part Two:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sonnet, Without Salmon

image borrowed from bing

Sonnet, Without Salmon

1. The river is empty.
2. Empty of salmon, I mean.
3. But if you were talking to my grandmother,
she would say the water doesn’t matter
if the salmon are gone.
4. She never said that. I just did.
But I’m giving her those words
as a gesture of love.
5. She’s been gone for thirty-one years.
6. The water doesn’t matter if
my grandmother is gone.
7. She swam wearing all of her clothes,
even her shoes.
8. I don’t know if that was a tribal thing to do,
or if she was just eccentric.
9. Has anybody ever said that dam building
is an act of war against Indians?
10. And, yet, we need the electricity, too.
11. My mother said the reservation needs
a new electrical grid because
of all the brown- and blackouts.
12. “Why so many power outages?” I ask her.
13. “All the computers,” she says.
14. Today, in Seattle, I watched a cute couple
at the next table whispering to their cell phones
instead of to each other. But, chivalrous,
he walked to the self-service coffee bar
to get her a cup. Lovely, I thought.
She was busy on her phone while he
was ten feet away. When he sat back down,
she said, “Oh, I was texting you
to get me sugar and cream.”


Posted over on Orion Magazine

To Voucher or Not to Voucher

image borrowed from bing


I fled my terrible reservation school for a far better one off the rez. Yeah, it was sort of voucher-like. So when I think about school vouchers, and all of the negative implications, I also think of how well it worked out for me. And, now, as the country turns increasingly libertarian, and already-collapsing public schools are turning into anti-matter, I'm afraid of what's going to happen. Well, we all know what's going to happen: rich get richer; poor get poorer. And the poor will get desperate. And they will be punished. And remember: you support libertarianism when you buy from libertarian retailers. I wonder how many of those Wall Street demonstrators have flourishing accounts?

Sherman Alexie

Posted over on his site Sherman Alexie

Class War

image borrowed from bing


Through recent personal circumstances, I've been intensely made aware of how much privilege I enjoy. And while I certainly appreciate how that privilege is helping me, and am grateful for my long slog up the economic mountain, I am also reminded of how many folks do not have even a sliver of that privilege. As I read the coverage of last night's Republican Presidential debate, I am nauseated by how completely they've abandoned and vilified all middle and lower-class folks. And I'm even more nauseated to know that a majority of those middle and lower-class citizens will vote for the top Republican maniac in 2012.

Sherman Alexie

Posted over on his site Sherman Alexie

Alexie's Tweets

image borrowed from bing

I somehow have refused to get onto Twitter,
or to tweet, in the face of the hours I spend
blogging and farting around on Facebook, and
watching old remastered classic films fresh
of my 8TB auxillary hard drive. But I must
say, Sherman Alexie does demonstrate admirably
how a real poet approaches the Twitter role.

Sherman_Alexie I've flown 1 million miles. And my ancestors thought they were nomads.
3 hours ago · reply · retweet · favorite

Sherman_Alexie New Orleans: bicyclists w/o helmets, random public dancing, and drawls easy and warm like God's sofa.
16 hours ago · reply · retweet · favorite

Sherman_Alexie I'm so leftist that I'm contemptuous of my own lefty politics.
yesterday · reply · retweet · favorite

Sherman_Alexie One definition of sadness: my middle-aged friends who gave up basketball for golf.
yesterday · reply · retweet · favorite

Posted over on his site Sherman Alexie

One Thousand Ways To Say "Shit"

image borrowed from yahoo

One thousand ways to say "shit"

This is a dire, dire prediction. I hope it doesn't come true. And I curse about it, privately and publicly. At my worst, I think, "I don't even want to work in a business that doesn't include real books." At my best, I think, "The same 100,000 readers who compulsively buy literary novels will give birth to around 100,000 more compulsive literary novel readers. And it's those 100,000 who, generation by generation, will continue to buy paper-and-glue books." Yeah, I'll make my books available for download, and I'll download a few myself, but I think I'll start a secret-handshake club for those for us who, to paraphrase Dylan Thomas, refuse to whimper our way into that good night and will rage, rage against the dying of the light, i.e., all of the libertarian enemas who are destroying bookstores.

Sherman Alexie

Posted over on his site Sherman Alexie

My Father's Hakuba

image borrowed from bing

my father's Hakuba

my father’s Hakuba
tripod holds
memories on the soles
of its feet. yesterday,
while unlocking its
legs, i noticed for the first
time the remnants
of age-old dirt, slipped
into the rubber ridges,
a tapering of concentric
circles. in my
mind, the embedded
action soon played
out just like so – a
tapering remembrance
rubbing into my
heart’s edges

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits


Painting by Yuki Valentine


to grow up
is to chase off
our innocence
our naïve belief
in the world as a beautiful place
to harden against the magic
of our childhood dreams
but if by chance
we can cling to just one
perhaps we can hold on
to our precious sense of wonder
• • •
rob kistner © 2011

Posted over on his site Image and Verse

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

St. George at Home

image borrowed from bing

You, too, can have your own fabulous
painting of St. George. Here is the data:

St. George. Acrylic gouache with 23k gold on stretched canvas. 24 inches x 36 inches. This is a large icon, but rather lightweight. $800.00 + shipping.

The End of Days

Image borrowed from Freaking News

Halloween will become a national
holiday, and we will picnic in
cemeteries, and dance with
the dead.

Pablo's Contender

Image borrowed from Freaking News

October 25th was Picasso's birthday,
and I know for a fact he loved the
movies; this is proof.

Parrish Tidings

Image borrowed from Freaking News.

She has arrived for sure; first frost has
blessed my windshield, and the sweater
drawer is being pillaged.


Image borrowed from Freak News

Obama's got the
mojo gun, and
it's smokin'.

Escape Can Flow

Image by Glenn Buttkus

Escape can flow
up or down;
your choice.

The Giant's Train

Image by Glenn Buttkus

The giant's train
was more colorful
than most.

Yard Art Comes

Image by Glenn Buttkus

Yard art comes
in all guises, and
plows join in.

They Wanted To Be Poets

Painting by Karin Zeller

They Wanted To Be Poets

They wanted to be poets
munching words in libraries
and raspberries in Spain.

They wanted their images
to scamper in the fountains
of Italy and in the forests
of Nova Scotia and Maine.

They wanted to write poems
young girls would read beside
oceans, lakes, rivers, streams,


coffee cups as the first snow
of the season was whitening
the brownish grey that spring
would charm the tulips from.

They wanted to write epic
adventures with titles like
“Hey, Who Took My Socks,”
“An Introduction To Pruning Cats,” and
“Does This Haiku Make My Butt Look Big?”

They wanted to be poets, all.

And are, with every breath of every
day that has dawned since love first
scattered their names on the wind.

Jannie Funster

Posted over on her site Jannie Funster

I Picture You Painting

Image borrowed from jannie

I Picture You Painting

I picture you painting
in new colors now
your brush hesitating
on blues and browns.
I picture you drawing
your family closer
like a shawl for warmth
when the fire gets low.
I picture you always
with your smile
outstretched like
a lily at Easter, like
a bird in happy flight.

Jannie Funster

Posted over on her site Jannie Funster

One Day We Will Say

image by jannie funster

One Day We Will Say'

One day we will say
“When you were ten
Walter sketched you.”

Or maybe not.

Who knows
what we will
to say or not
as the years
have ripened
like melons
on a vine
before us.

Jannie Funster

Posted over on her site Jannie Funster

Again the Cradle

image borrowed from deviant art



Again, the cradle. The bough breaks, the cradle,
quiet while lions wear their war weeds, bury silence,
quiet while a child in stains screams —everything,

everything here smells like the gas!
her propeller hands like trapped rabbits, twitching,

my hair, my mouth, my breasts —look!
her tiny fingers try

cracking the bough, collapsing the cradle—
look! my grandmother's bracelets all buried—
Look, no face! Look, it's morning.
Look, it's God. In Gaza.

Bandwagons line for each abject word —
where wheels don't stop exploded infants' fists,

or mother-skulls, lost, lost mornings—

Brave holy land war.
Bright. Sun-split.
Where the bough has killed its cradle.

Bright, sun-lit ash,
its inexcusable shroud, rocking.


They swept the dead like loosened crumbs from their fingertips, claws, curled. Brushed the dust, swallowed handfuls, hungry. Invented noise— in all that silence.


An egg in her tiny right hand, blinded, seraph-child, she—was what was left of what had finished. Small-winged cataract, not much more. Killed

cradles, and skins, and old men, and kissing—stopped. Egg, in her sweaty small right hand, that hatchling meant for morning. Morning meant for saving. Or yet another prophet.

Prove it.


She stole an egg
from the beast's bed—reeking, heaving nest builder.
Stepped blind, like vengeance. A cinder, empty eyed.
Hovered like a cloud of summer wasps.
Shifted, a gaunt lighthouse onto
promise, across all slaughter.
Reached. —Held it.
What emerged bit her. What cracked its shell
licked her. What emerged, wanted her.

To do it all again.


It didn't happen that way. She held the egg she'd stolen from God's nest and He whispered to her: Good riddance to it and to you. See if you can do any better with this one.
I tried and I'm tired of making eggs. Believe you stole it if that makes you feel brave or dangerous. Blessings. He showed his teeth.
It never—mattered, which came first, the father, or the mother, or the egg. Go ahead, my good thief. Go ahead, my bad angel. Bless. Happy morning. She held the warm oval.

Held the breaking, mottled, hot ellipse. Couldn't remember— why. —Breathed it. Waited to feel a nervous thin-skinned thrum. One heartbeat.
She held it for such a long winter.
Hyacinths were blooming in January. Snows froze them, washed them. Still, she held it.
Her eye like the promise she finally remembered— but from whom?—on a sparrow.
(for Gaza. 1/2009)

Margo Berdeshevsky

Posted over on Poems and Poetics

Poetry in Hell

image borrowed from bing

from the street (sections 4-5)

[4] I trembled and hardly could hold together,
on my bad feet already ruined by death,
I begin to shake, want to apologize,
Staring from walls all around are corpses eyes.

At night they all had died like dogs.
The icy cold took them away from their lives,
So for whom my apology?! –
Tell me who should be first!
Maybe just curse our bitter time?!

And I did curse. Believe me I cursed,
myself and the people and even the streets,
and my aching heart growled like a lion,
a broken prayer to the sky, the sky.

A crow wandered in lost, black as time,
and walks with the strut of a demon no less,
walks over the corpses and looks them over,
and who can disturb her in this, oh who?!

In times past she’d watch the stalls of the butchers,
and in fright disappear on the roofs like smoke.
Today she strides freely around on dead people,
and pecks at their bodies – makes big gaping holes.

She gorges on meat of human bodies,
and walks with the steps of a devil no less,
stepping on bodies, befouling them.
And who can disturb her in this, oh who?!

[5] Often one encounters a chunk that is frozen,
covered and swaddled in ice and in snow,
nearby a dog, frightened and scrawny,
tears at the meat and eagerly licks.

You recognize the hand, the foot of a person,
that has been lying long and forgotten,
and there is not enough left for burial,
so the dog can freely tear and feed.

The wailing wind roused me from bed
at dawn of one of these terrible days
A look and a sigh, a blow to my heart -
a child in mid street lay dead.

Like a holy offering he laid himself down,
people look on at this and reflect,
- not the first, not the last, – someone mumbles, who?
a scream and a cry in bleak twighlight:

Who knows whose this is there? Who gave birth to it?
for whom too soon sacrificed from this world?!
No mother, no father, no one comes to claim it,
just simply abandoned to death!

And here something tore me away from it all
A man, stark naked running out in the snow
trembling with fever, shaking with cold
teeth rattling and shouting!

Shmuel Marvil

Posted over on Poems and Poetics

A Cat's Life

Painting by Tracy Barker

A Cat's Life

Her repertoire is limited but fulfilling,
with two preoccupations, or three, perhaps,
if you include the taking of many naps:
otherwise she is snuggling or killing.

David R. Slavitt

Posted over on the Writer's Almanac

Pond's Lament

image by Friko

Pond's Lament

Benno and I have been back
to our favourite woods this week;
it's getting a bit too chilly now
to sit here for long.

In summer we watch dragonflies
and damselflies darting over
the same stretch of water,
back and forth, picking smaller insects
and bugs off the surface of the water
and the plants growing in the muddy pond.

They've gone now,
the nymphs are possibly already
overwintering deep in the mud.

Ursula White

aka: Friko

Posted over on her site Friko's World

In My Mother's

image borrowed from bing

in my mother's

in my mother’s
household and her
mother’s household
and the household
before her and
so forth, there
was always space
for tea
in between the
task of making
ends meet. time
was measured
loosely on
the buoyancy
of a handful of
leaves, and
bitterness was
left at the
bottom of each
cup before
we could say

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

So You Say You Want a Revolution,

image borrowed from bing

So You Say You Want a Revolution, Well You Know...

Twenty four ladies walked
off the Canadian lingerie football team
quoting Malcolm X in unfair
firing treatment and I can not get
Schweddy Balls

by Ben & Jerry in my store

freezer because a million
moms don't want their kids
to see it

are they athlete's or entertainment
and lets be honest, who wants
to put Schweddy Balls in their mouth
but sex sells and sails ships, south

around the world in search of

Magellan's westward route to the "Spice
Islands" leaving little mystery nor
virgin territory for exploring, perhaps
Al Gore was just a little off on this
Global Warming thing---

and at what age now
do you have 'the talk'
with your children?


and in the uncomfortable silence

I roll the window down to catch my breath
as it flows passed fresh, and in the Escalade
next check the reflection of who mine
are becoming.


only if I fail to take responsibility
and stop acting helpless, freedom
should not be confused with neglect
and when mixed with ignorance

well, just wait nine months
and you'll figure it out,

just like they did
in less than ten minutes.

Brian Miller

Posted over on his site Way Station One
Listed as #49 over on Magpie Tales 88