Aisle 60

A Poem by Korey J. Brownstein

Aisle 1: music plays a pas de deux
I miss my lady
Aisle 2: a gentleman’s Spoken Résumé
the internet dies
Aisle 3: divorce your family
where do I sign?
Aisle 5: a beau monde for gentlewomen
the cheddars gasp
Aisle 7: maps of megalopolises
where is ChiPitts?
Aisle 11: fresh Bhut Jolokia
have it on the rocks
Aisle 13: meat and poetry
I taste The Peacock
Aisle 17: the eunuch searches for his missing piece
that damn Shaunnigan
Aisle 19: cars dressed in dew from the past
let the sun wash it away
Aisle 23: a cure for borborygmus
the cwm without a crwth
Aisle 29: the widowed man paints a new coat
she is in love with the stain
Aisle 31: the lover of politicians
a virgin cloth collects her tears
Aisle 37: materials for a bien-pesant
society will provide a discount
Aisle 41: the sex-crazed Sarvajna
why is the woman I love hiding?
Aisle 43: the six-mile man runs into the arms of rejection
his talking shoes return laughing
Aisle 47: the dancing queens sing
“I like you just the way you are!”
Aisle 53: the imprisoned nametag
what sort of crimes did it commit?
Aisle 59: the city drains
another train drinks and flies away
Aisle 60: the hermetic place
no one shops here

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Unsent letter #10

A Prose Poem by Anon ymous

I want you to forget you love me. Forget how trees scallop the sky, the way the horizon shuns the stars. I want you to bury the words you gave to me. The ones that belong to the soft rush of wind through pussy willows. Pack away the quiet adjectives you use to describe the sound of morning; forget it all. I’ll write you from another continent, bare and thirsty words; underfed and worthless words. I’ll write of broken promises; made up prayers from lost lovers. I’ll tell you about paper wings, ashes; a wet moon awash on the shore; the mutations Monsanto caused the young ones, how they will never reach out with arms, feel with fingers, know the flexibility of hands.

Husband

A Segment of a Novel in Progress by Deborah L. Wymbs

I hold my drink and relax under my grand willow tree. It was not a hard day at work, but it wasn’t easy either. All I wanted was privacy and a moment to myself.

“Excuse me,” someone says behind me.

I usually hear people when they approach. The gravel is an excellent and inexpensive alarm system. The man is on foot and this surprises me. No one in Tampy really likes to walk—except for me.

“Who are you?” I ask sharply.

“As I said, I’m sorry for invading your privacy.” He speaks in a very humble tone.

“I’m Ralph Bowman from Gaslight Realty. I’ve been trying to reach you.”

“You reached me. I deleted your messages.” I replace my flute in its case. “Mr. Bowman, I’m not interested in selling my home. My not returning your hundred some calls should have made that obvious to you.”

He glances at the wrought iron table and notices the bottle of wine and the glass sitting across from a forty ounce opened malt liquor can next to a beer mug. “I see I’ve disturbed you and your husband,” he apologizes. “If I could maybe speak to your husband?” He scans for a male figure.

“Look, the answer is no,” I say. “We’ve been here for four years and we’re quite comfortable. I am nice, but my husband is not. No amount of money will ever make us change our mind so please see yourself out.” I signal with my hand as I begin walking towards the blacktop leading him away from the house. “You have a great evening, Mr. Bowman, but remember, the answer is a firm no.”

I walk back to my place of comfort.

“Mrs. Cox,” he calls to me.

I turn to face him. He jogs to me with a card in his hand. “This is my card just in case—“ but he does not finish his words. His eyes focus on Husband barking in a gallop towards him. “Whose dog is that? Is it yours?” He is suddenly very nervous and he wipes his brow. I can tell Husband is not going to attack. His fur is not bristling. He is in his sheep herding mode and Mr. Bowman is a lost sheep.

“My neighbor’s dog,” I tell him, a fib, of course, but a small one. “He obeys me some of the time.”

Husband begins circling and continues barking as Mr. Bowman walks slowly and carefully to the road. “Shoo. Shoo. Go away,” he says in frantic tones.

Husband is having one of his finest moments. A terrified Mr. Bowman makes a gesture to strike Husband with his briefcase. This causes Husband to pause, the fur along the back of his neck begins standing up. Husband looks as though he has a wheat blond afro running down his back to his shoulders. Then he playfully barks and goes into a growl. He shows his teeth.

Squatting, I open my arms: “Husband, come here. Let mommy see you.”

Husband immediately turns his attention towards me and trots proudly to me with his golden tail with its cute white tip curled up like a scorpion’s stinger. He wants to make sure the realtor knows he is not wanted. Then he turns to charge Mr. Bowman.

“Husband,” I call out, “he’s leaving. We don’t want to see him. Give mommy a kiss.”

As Husband showers me with little hello licks, I watch Mr. Bowman run to the blacktop.

“Where have you been?” I ask as I embrace him. Where has my Husband been hiding?”

The Ravine Clean Team

The Ravine Clean Team

We successfully cleaned the banks, the stream, and the wooded area around the stream in the Clyde Wilson Memorial Park on both sides of University Ave., Columbia, Missouri and now it looks as good as the postcard photo above.

The stream passes under University Ave. near Moss Creek Apartments, 1626 University Ave. and it needed a cleaning–over fifty volunteers and more than seventy-five garbage bags, parts of a couch, parts of a truck, picture frames, a large barbecue grill, a TV set, a number of cell phones, and too many beer bottles to count later, the stream is clean on both sides of University Ave. to where it flows into Hinkson Creek.

Thank you, everyone, for a job well done.

The Ravine Clean Team

Reunion at the Children’s Park

A Poem by Donal Mahoney

From the Dead Sea
of a bad marriage
a phoenix rises–
children who somehow
thrived and married
and now have children
as beautiful as they were
years ago when they
played in the park
on see-saws and swings
and made their parents
occasionally happy.

At summer reunions they try
to unspool the mystery
of why their parents
fought all day
yet stopped at night
and gave life to them.
They gather today
in the same park
and applaud their children
who smile and laugh
on see-saws and swings
once theirs alone.

February

A Poem by Korea J. Brownstein

I love your cold caress and our playful fights.
how you keep me bundled up and safe inside.
The taste of hot chocolate lingers on my lips—
your white beauty falls over me.

The sparks of your fire make me warm inside,
but darling, I miss the smell of roses and misty hot rain,
the warm embrace that chases my chill away,
the falling layers that leave me free.

No, lovely Winter, I’m not leaving you,
but Summer’s fantasies won’t stop invading my dreams,
so won’t you please, just for a day,
let him in so we can play.