October

A Poem by S. C. Cleveland

leaf blown violence
fallen limbs
electrical wires
broken umbrellas

and still the wind comes
shrill and angry
hail and drizzle
thunder and dampness

the cue to a coming winter
the winters that have already come

Dream Song 319

A Poem by Anon ymous

You like to say the wind has special powers; to help us remember, to make us forget. [I hustled a waitress once, on her break]. You write evasions and koans, call them haiku: no/still no/good. Outside my window the skyline slants; grey meets grey meets red blends into a leaf-less tree [I once practiced suicide with an unloaded gun]. Your bare feet are immune to gravel, your face sun-reddened, dress wet; [I remember the first and last time I was drunk] fall asleep with the light on. I will dream of songs with no words; a funeral procession through cornfields.

Moles, Voles and Agent Orange

A Story by Donal Mahoney

“You need help in your garden, Grandpa?”

Jack’s only ten and eager to help so I have to say yes. He looks like Tom Sawyer. Sometimes I think his mother, my daughter, married Huckleberry Finn, when I look at my grandson. Yet she keeps telling me he looks like me. I see no resemblance except for the red hair and the cowlicks. Years ago my hair was red. I’ve still got the cowlicks.

“I heard you got moles and voles so I came over to help. When moles get hungry, Grandpa, they tunnel for worms. That’s how they kill your roots and bulbs.”

It sounds like his mother has been coaching him. She probably sent him over here so she can take a nap. Sometimes it’s nice having them live nearby. Other times not so good. For all his good intentions, I know the boy can’t help me with the moles and voles. He even brought his own shovel.

I’ve been dealing with these pests for months. I think I’ll have to call in a professional. I’m just afraid the PETA people will show up some night and steal the traps. Or maybe picket my house. The wife might join ’em. She thinks the same way as her daughter. They recycle everything. Sometimes I think I might be the next to go in a bin.

My grandson is on a roll now. He tells me I should send “that stuff over there back to Monsanto. I’ll dig up the moles and maybe some voles, too, Grandpa.”

I had some weedkiller sitting around the garage for the longest time but I had no plans to try it on the moles and voles. His mother must have seen it when she was here the other day. She hates all chemicals and pesticides. I’m a little more tolerant. She probably told Jack to get on me about the weedkiller.

“You don’t need anything from Monsanto, Grandpa. They made Agent Orange. It’s not for gardens. It kills people.”

I tell him I have weedkiller, not Agent Orange. I haven’t heard anybody talking about Agent Orange for years. Bad stuff, but that was a long time ago.

Then, with eyes like stars, Jack announces, “Right now, Grandpa, there are kids in Viet Nam who can’t smile like you and me. They’re deformed and they ain’t gonna get any better, thanks to that Agent Orange stuff. I saw a program about it on television. Ask my mom. She saw it, too.”

So I tell him, “Jack, you can start digging over here. Maybe you’ll find a mole. I’ll be right back. I’m gonna take the weedkiller back to the hardware store. Maybe they’ll give me my money back. You work hard and we’ll go to McDonald’s. Just don’t tell your mother. She doesn’t like cheeseburgers and French Fries, either.”

Republican Candidates on the Issue of Rape and Violence Towards Women

Todd Akin, Republican candidate for Senate, Missouri: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” he said.

Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock: “I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., said he is against abortion “without exception,” even in cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is in danger. When asked by reporters if he means that it’s never medically necessary to save a pregnant woman’s life, Walsh said “absolutely.”

Dream Song 312

A Poem by anon ymous

I rely on words from the dead, waste my breath on a mirage; walk to the falls, wait for the sun to mist. I’m drawn to water; a common fetish of a melancholy man. Someone plays violin [Brahms, Schoenberg?] keeps a cat on a leash. This isn’t me under this bridge [it’s my good side] wishing on a ghost, hot cup of coffee [black] and a last chance. I am mechanical, thin; birds circle, a dog barks and there I am [again]: in a king bed, blinds drawn, an unexpected rain; the wet shell of another day blows to pieces.

Dream Slong 229

A Poem by Anon ymojus

The past is a line in the sand; a naked bulb swinging in an empty hall; the taste of your skin when it rains. Sometimes, I pretend to be asleep, eyes closed; the scratch of time cold on my chest. I hear the low whine of a train approaching; the stifled breath of desire; your hand touches mine. I am cloud-sopped, heaven-proof. I will love you when the world is not paying attention; when it turns its eye to the flight of a bird; its ear to the sound of a branch as it snaps in this February wind.

Nutmeat

A Poem by Donal Mahoney

My dear, tell me again so I know
how it would have been
had you married the man

you dream of all day, tell me again
as I lie next to you now,
your nutmeat sweet in my mouth.

Tell me again so I know
how to feel for fathering five
on you fast, five in six years,

five who will never be quiet again
in our lives, five who will leave
in the night when they are of age

while up in our room I nibble
on nutmeat, proud to have traded
an oak for these acorns.

Copyeditor’s Dream

A poem by Donal Mahoney

Earlier than ever this morning I wait
for copy to vacuum. It must be free of error
and the deadline is near.
But what matters today isn’t news about war,
poverty or race riots ripping the city.
What matters today is the warm quicksand
of that good woman under me again,
taking me in. Let her writhe,
let her tug at her knees, let her legs go off
in every direction. Let her take what I have
and lunge for more. I’ll be here forever,
a bee crazed by the honey
buttering her thighs.

Dream Song for the End of Summer

A Prose Poem by Anon ymous

It was the softest part of summer; a day to sandlot away; a day to fly. I knew the names of all the states in alphabetical order [capitals too]. She had a pale complexion; homemade dress; a spot of freckles on her left shoulder blade; and those eyes, those eyes. I liberated some long necks; took her to the tracks; we kicked off our shoes, put our ears to the rail; felt a rumble as our fingers touched. I know you by heart is what she said.

Dream Song 228

A Prose poem by Anon ymous

Sometimes there are no dreams. They are replaced with sounds; sound visions. More often they’re quiet: the low shuffle of grass in a summer breeze; the rumble of wings [always black] against a humid sky; a voice [background singer] a cappella. I’m too young to remember stories with happy endings; the street where I grew up is long gone; the dirty white house at the end of the block, painted melancholy green. The window I cracked open to sneak a smoke is boarded up; I would take you there but I’m too afraid you might be disappointed with the silence.

The List

Number 5
Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to use the Internet and they won’t bother you for weeks, months, maybe years

Number 4
Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in the hospitals, dying of nothing.

Number 3
All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

Number 2
In the 60’s, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.

And The Number 1 Thought
Life is like a jar of Jalapeno peppers–what you do today, might burn your ass tomorrow.

Eating Dinner

A poem by konto w banku

and we graduated
from the rickety kitchen table
to a poker table

where too many kids
fit around the glass table
that wasn’t actually

secured to anything
Who decided
it was a good idea

for a table
full of kids
to eat

from a round glass piece
hovering
on a metal leg