Monday, May 23, 2016

What a Twit

Shakespeare Tweets
with apologies to Shakespeare (oncely, and twicely)
OMG I'm getting old.
You know how people say
Summer of youth?
Well I was autumn.
Soon I'll be dead, like winter.
No birds a-chirping here.
If I was a fire, I'd be the
Embers left over.
And soon the ashes of my
Younger days
Will put me out.

Dude, my girlfriend, though.
Her eyes are OK I guess,
Her lips aren't really that red though.
Her skin's nice,
But her cheeks don't have a rosy glow.
Her breath isn't terrible,
But it ain't any Chanel.
I don't really hate it when she speaks.
She's nice looking, but I mean
It's not like she's a supermodel.
It's cool, though,
Cuz she's my bae.
  by Risica Caputi
in volume 4 issue 2

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Monday, May 16, 2016


After the Mayo Clinic
with apologies to James Wright

Just off the highway from Rochester, Minnesota,
my wife bounded from the car to throw up on the grass.
And the voices of those two Indian doctors
reverberated in my mind.
We had come gladly out of a small city
to meet Drs. Patel and Kumar.
We struggled from parking lot to hospital,
where they had been studying her lab results, alone.
They tensed when we walked in, greeted us quietly as dry mouths.
They could hardly conceal their dismay.

We love each other.
There is no loneliness like ours.
At home once more,
I munch through a bag of chips in the dark,
but I would like to hold my wife in my arms,
for she has leaned against me
and nuzzled my left ear.
Her skin is mottled like an Appaloosa,
her wig falls askew on her forehead.
The dark room moves me to caress her long neck
that is rough with sorrow like the clothes of a homeless man.
Slowly I realize
if I buried my wife tomorrow, I would be an egg falling, blossoming
into brokenness.

by Tracy Mishkin
in volume 4 issue 2

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Living Large

Grownup at the Youth Slam

Good artists borrow. Great artists steal from children.
— Simon Mermelstein

     Who da judge?
I'm the judge.
I will rate your craft on a scale of 0.0 to 10.0
(which is actually a scale of 7.2 to 8.7)
and I will be fair yet pitiless
because the fine students of Washtenaw International High School deserve no less.
I am here by invitation
and I will put great consideration into every decimal point (after all, look how few I use)
and my scores will not be dropped—
I am neither the high nor the low but the even middle,
plus I understand basic Game Theory.

My powers are not unlimited: the children can say fuck on stage
and I cannot, because they are uncensored artists-in-training
and I am 26 years old sitting in a high-school library and should fucking behave like a grownup
but my numerical discretion
is unquestioned.

I am Justice Douglas and all of his penumbras.
I am Deborah beneath the date palm
and lo—the children
(three of whom have heard me perform Ode to Fish McBites),
seeing the truth in my numbers,
flock to my words as well.
I am holding court, idly and literally ripping the leaves off a second-hand rose
and dripping second-hand bits of wisdom into open chirping throats
which they lap eagerly. I tell them
that one of the best things you can do at a slam is ask the judges for advice,
and they all agree that this is good advice.

I am modest and regal, apologizing
for not remembering every detail of their poems
as I bless with faint praise
and share my controversial opinions which go unquestioned.

Now I must prepare
to be facebook-friended by girls who are still in high-school
and pretend like that isn't slightly awkward,
but nobody said noblesse oblige would be easy

and this feeling of being listened to
is as dizzy as power.

by Simon Mermelstein
in volume 4 issue 2

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Bite Deep

An Apple in Red
with apologies to Chris de Burgh
I've never seen an apple so lovely as the one I ate,
I've never seen an apple so sate,
I've never seen so many kiwis wishing to be an apple,
They're looking for a little amusement, to play dapple,
And I have never seen that core you are eating,
Or the peels in your hand that has the sweeting,
I have been cruel;

The apple core has landed in a bin, seed to seed,
There's nobody there, until birds greed,
It's not where I want to feed,
But I thank the birds for scattering the seed,
I'll never forget the redness of your peel;

I've never tasted an apple so succulent as in today's pie,
I've never cooked an apple so delicious, it was divine,
I've never seen so many kiwis want to be in the baking tray,
And when I brushed pastry with eggs, it took their breath away,
And I have never had such a baking,
Such a baking of golden brown and complete success, as I do today;

The apple core has landed in a bin, seed to seed,
There's nobody there, until birds greed,
It's not where I want to feed,
But I thank the birds for scattering the seed,
I'll never forget the redness of your peel,
I'll never forget the redness of your peel;

Apple in red
Apple in red
Apple in red
My apple in red
(I ate you).
by Gloria D. Gonsalves
in Volume 4 Issue 2

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Arf! Arf!

A Child's Guide to the Dog
For Miles and Kate
As though reading Yiddish,
let's start with the tail.
While it may look like a handle,
it is not. Don't clutch it like a tow rope
to a speedboat on Lake Delton
before a Tommy Bartlett show.
Neither is it paintbrush or crank.
No, sir: the tail is a delicate instrument,
a gauge by which to reckon canine temper:
beats per minute and angle of incline,
just two of its methods of measure.

The barrel stove of its body
will serve to warm you
when winter licks your hands,
while the neck of any mutt
that's big enough to bear it
will stand your arm, sound
as a coat rack or fence prop.

The mouth of your canine companion
is the Swiss Army Knife of its being:
disposer of garbage, dispenser of kisses,
warning system, paper shredder,
alarm clock, pest controller, bodyguard,
flying object interceptor.

Perhaps you've had cause to notice the eyes,
those adepts at manipulation,
have fallen prey to their spell,
felt their heartbreaking gaze
sweep you like a searchlight
from which there is no escape.
Well then, there is nothing more
you need to know.

Yep, That's My Girl

It occurs to me that what the dog and I have in common
(a love of the outdoors, a good back scratch, and a nap)
is more salient than what we do not—
for instance, my lack of tail, her lack of speech,
my two sluggish legs, her agile four,
my purse, and shoes, and car key,
her bed upon the floor.

When someone asks, Did you adopt her?
it's ever tempting to say, No, I gave birth.
But then, while we both
have noses, eyes, and ears,
they're of noticeably different shapes,
instantly giving me away.

by Yvonne Zipter
in volume 4 issue 2