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.