They said it was sin I was hiding but it was only a tattered lottery ticket as unhinged as I routinely am - a little tattered too - thinning away in my workman-like back pocket because the sky might upchuck me any day now & I didn't want to be found bereft of a wonky wish even if only a borrowed one.
In a fine weave of shift & cope we make use of each other delicately.
Rain falls & we watch it noting how it has to do with everything, even dry lips left over from anxiety raveling out.
Belief in anything like endurance is out of fashion even as yellow slickers are.
I'll zip yours if you'll zip mine
Why I'll Never Be The Cooling Sweat Blotch of Dickinson
She had palm tree breath in the crystalline winter of every feeling over the top to the point of paralysis -
the gaping hole in the garden where she'd plucked the first bud so quickly the possibility of coveting never entered.
I take her words the pattern an edge of honest extreme which I admire -
take her words with a cup of spiked tea easing absolute out of benign recognition, cat tongue racing away to the slatternly program of yelling against the silence.
She is a dream. She is frenetic neat - so it seems to me - in a way only never coming undone in the front room in front of someone - anyone - can in the end allow for.
I'll never be that starkness.
I'll never lose her symptoms of being more there than the way I mean to be.
I've a tendency to practice laying out victuals on the off chance a feast will result.
In a kitchen lacking counter space anticipation piles up among items of a menu in revolt - leeks/love/lodestars, a wealth of sticky surfaces.
But look: there could be hands washed to the wrist perched over plates radiantly emptied; intense second helpings for the never-sated; one too-sweet mouthful of bleeding berry.
Cannibal, courtier, vegan - staples of my guest list on honest days.
(I take my place at the head of the table suddenly aware of how hungry I am.)
Raw spaces where you work to fit the linear musings of logic -
the thrust, the pound, the slit superimposed over dimples & sweat pool, stark clavicle hum.
Inherently you're other - legs/hair/vulva - you're underside after all
conch shell & collusion strong stripped hip bone.
He knows parallel lines never meet.
To help him with that knowledge you casually rock his head in your arms content to let space spill if only just because.
You suggest I acquire a Chinese name. Yours means very very. Sliding beneath the sound, a path that insists.
Young I was teased about my old fashioned middle name - Florence for muting fever. Took revenge on my brother Ross, how he'd colour up at mention of a red red Rose.
The best names carry either everything or nothing - parcels piled by the kitchen sink. Bo, Ursula, Allah, Chrysanthemum.
Vague tags in a crossword of muddy fate - sweet water & lemon juice. That old movie Ship of Fools lacked the substance of its diminutive.
These days so many children with those heart-breaking, rootless names. They think everything is made up, no rhyme or season.
I'm always forgetting who is who. Leave it to me to know you well, never how to address you.
So you're querying like a novice again immune to the experiential sloughing off of innocence with one hand blankly open, the other sorrowfully fisted.
Your name is just a name you say & no amount of vague knowing harvested on trap-door mornings after can make you into a 'true' someone.
You're invariably red-lipped, though - did you know that? - & the way you seem to see with all three eyes the twitch of necessary politics in the way the streetlight changes -
the way you never shake off asking after stillborn events & babies like everything must be related:
well yes - wicked isn't it to be two or three or four & still somehow less than one.
When I say too much I still don't say everything
all the dross of languages in a dark handbag slung upside-down over the moon's crater of a shoulder like an armpit filled to spilling.
In the aftermath everyone is free to sift sucking in gut upon discovery of mini skirt, cinch-waist belt, too tight hat -
all that & those words like shredded tissue for some magnetic's tiptop parade wedded to the nervous tickle that is applause avoiding growing sickly.
I can't help it if this is coming off as a thought grown confused - it's what happens sometimes when you actually stop patternless to listen.
On ward he favours dove white, faith blue - grows a goatee, sharpens crayons (hoards the yellow ones ) seems blankly luminous as a wave-dunked rock.
No talking please: a Jesus cockatoo toned down radiating mildness & stone soup for all.
(At the nurses' station some feel smiley faces to be plumply inappropriate.)
What is strange is what the others think to add to the pot: Sara's rosary cigarettes, Bill's psychic termites, Maya on cue with a charity sweater for the girl who loathes eye brows.
As bellies fill with rumbling sustenance - intentions & hopes & gap-filling sighs - predictable desire digs in like a hang-nail - everyone thirstily sated on a sudden yet still demanding more because
surely there always could be more.
Lisa Gordon lives in Quebec. Her work has appeared in zines including Mipo, Junket & Writer's Hood. She has poems in the 11th issue of PoetrySz.
I      Helen Keller                      would
Would, wooden                          you
That I might smell what isn't given to me,
as others smell danger or a rat
when none is there
Oh, I have my touch, and I can feel wind, tears, loneliness, gratitude
some things some others
have ideas about
What is a woman
with her sight and her sound paying her attentions
I have my own intentions to find out.
No, seriously, why should you be different for one requiring
a human mirror with hands and fingertips for eyes
and voice formed of fingerprints?
Steve Tills lives in small town in western New York. Taught English 10 years in Northern California (Santa Rosa Junior College). Publishes occasionally, last in First Intensity, #17. Developing/Editing/Publishing Black Spring Online; theenk Press; and therepublicofcalifornia.com presently. Wiped out badly by Stock Market Rip-offs in 2001 but still alive and kickin.
"Sympathy For The Devil" resuscitates our adrenalin strongbox. The trailer park's strip lights twink as we fish up the lift-thumbing Beat by the painted milepost at The Far Side Of Reality. And snatchin' at the blinker-signal dodge-dust up Thunder Road onto the cloverleaf freeway interchange and open the throttle for a chuckle at the drive-in movies.
The carhop at Begley's Diner inherits sunup, a breather to log tonight's storyline for her novel...
...Ghazi glowers from nave to mosque catching the chink of toe bells. She flicks stone, dry then spatters. An overripe afternoon. The tinkering dust storm sidesteps dunes, milling satin hooked up over a mallee tree. She is Morocco sings to the echo of distant cliffs. A sniff of salt, wear-and-tear sand meddles with the Venus Fly Trap. She miscarries amongst locusts awaiting sounds of whirlwindish rhythm that welcomes the coming of rain.
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Reed Altemus was born in Philadephia PA 1961 live most of adult life in Maine B.A. English Bates College 1985 1991 diagnosed as having a schizoaffective disorder have been micropress since 2000
poems in: Lost & Found Times, Blackbird, Vert, Xtant, SCORE, Offerta Speciale (Italy), Voce Piena, Unarmed etc.
also published chapbooks of collaborative poetry with more to come in 2004
2001 began a visual poetry postcard series which went to 30-odd numbers printed in small editions of 100
in May of this year attended the small press fair in Mainz Gemany as guest of Belgian mail artist Luc Fierens
at years end came out with last issue of magazine FARRAGO- 62 artists/poets from 19 countries 128pp. many in color $10US from: firstname.lastname@example.org