Monday, February 23, 2015

Long Winter Showers

Twenty Minutes in the Shower with a Migraine

and my mind turns to 'serpentine.'
That is to say that I begin mulling
over the origins and uses of the word
rather than my brain becoming snakelike.
But my mind has been rather serpentine
now that I think of it, weaving through
the crabgrass of my subconscious,
darting from birth dates to the circumstances
of my latest speeding ticket to recipes
I've dog-eared that I would love my
fiancée to experiment with.

But what
I'm really interested in is why the makers
of language, whoever they may be—
I imagine spectacled cavemen pointing
at daisies and mimicking thrushes
while bigger caveman do useful
things like spear deer or crush gravel—
decided we needed a word for something
that resembles a snake in physical
attribute or cunning. Why not another

I believe us as humans kill
many more things before it has spent
its usefulness than there are windy,
twisty things; we abandon dreams
and responsibilities at the first sign
of a flaw with the same destructive
impulsivity as firing buckshot into
something that broke its leg. So it stands
to reason that they should have come up
with a word to describe something that
resembles a horse long ago. That music
career of yours sure was horselike.
One bad gig in Houston and you
sent it to the farm. Sure there is 'squirrely'
and 'ducky' and 'mousey' but the simply
addition of the letter 'y' to the animal
name displays an inherent laziness
that, I believe, retracts from the
word's effectiveness.

The problem
with the word 'jackass' isn't that
it's the wrong animal to describe
someone that lacks intelligence. It's
the insistence on the name-caller's
part that this person is a jackass.
The metaphorical use of the animal
is so easily refuted that the intended
effect oftentimes rolls off the person's
back, so to speak. Well, I do not have hoofs
and I am not carrying large bales
of hay and water over my back,
therefore I must not be stupid or stubborn.
But an adjective like 'jackassentine'
would surely do the trick. I'm not
saying that you are a jackass, just
that you resemble the animal
in demeanor and idiocy.

by David Walker
in Volume 3 Issue1
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Monday, February 16, 2015

Don't Stop Retrievin'

Shoe Shepherd

His canned food did not deter
his appetite for shoes
and I don't mean wearing them.
After all,
it's hard to wear shoes on your paws,
and it gets in the way of digging
holes in Mom's garden
or just in the yard—
it doesn't matter.

No, his appetite for soles
was literal, not religious.
They gave him something
he could sink his canines into.
If rubber was good,
leather was better,
slipper for breakfast
sneaker for lunch
stiletto for dinner.

Heel didn't mean stand fast,
it meant chew harder,
use the molars.
It didn't mean come
to the owner's left side,
but gnaw on the owner's left shoe.
And it gave his breath
a rubbery scent
like a black jelly bean.

Laces were tricky
like shoe spaghetti.
Too bad he had no fork
and spoon
with which to twirl them.
He'd fight with them
give up, save them for last,
strip them through his teeth
like dental floss.

by Jim Landwehr
in Volume 3 Issue1
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Monday, February 9, 2015

Escherian Dreams


Little boy blue with paper and glue,
Built a Möbius horn though derided.
  Then under the moon
  He tried to play tunes
But his notes were all flat and one-sided.

by Wesley Rodgers
in Volume 3 Issue 2
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Monday, February 2, 2015

Is that an apple in your pocket?

Applied Beauty
with apologies to Gerard Manley Hopkins
Praise Steve Jobs for Apple-ed things—
  for silver-sleek MacBooks we click with now;
    for iPads, multi-apped, bright-hued and trim;
for wafer-thin iPhones from where there spring
  virtual assistants that cue and call. How,
    with lowly landlines, did we relate before them?
Well-celled teens today find phone booths strange.
  Inventions evert the robes of habit and allow
    advancing time, yet all that's new is interim.
Jobs sired devices wired to change;
                                 Google him.

in Volume 3 Issue1
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Monday, January 26, 2015

A Fuzzy Manifesto

with a nod to Allen Ginsberg
I saw the best dogs of my breed destroyed by the Humane Society, starving, fur wet and matted,
who limped, footpads torn, through angry yards at dawn searching for water and a pat on the head.

Who were expelled from homes for pissing on carpets and chewing on begonias.
Who howled in the backyard for the joy of howling
and were dragged off, abandoned on the other side of town.

Who ate Kentucky Fried Chicken bones from the trash and
curled up, wet and forsaken
on the front yards of Amerika.

Who, desperate, found themselves on the steps of Academia
where they were strapped to tables and injected with cancer cells and formaldehyde.
Who, with no thought but preservation, found themselves in front of the camera,
starved so that they would eat Alpo.

Who burned alive in plaid doggy sweaters as they sat in 110-degree cars
waiting for their masters to return from Sears with the doggy door.

Who lost their pups to human whims and
then plunged themselves under Michelins searching for their progeny.

Ah, dog, you are not safe, I am not safe, and now you’re really in the total dog soup of time.

Who, returning years later truly bald except for spots of blood
Dog, risen again in the ghostly clothes of ribs, saying, Man—my best friend—
why have you forsaken me?

by Nancy Todd
in Volume 3 Issue 2
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