Sunday, January 31, 2010


New Year's Day by Alan

When he awoke, one thing was over and a new one just begun. There was a quiet in the city not unlike the silence associated with some forests or an empty house. He noticed this because the window was open. Besides the accelerating rush of a car’s tires every so often, the only sound was the sound of memory. There was a burning house, a friend in distress, the possibility of tenderness in a kiss high above the gargoyles in the architecture. All faint hums now, all neon outlines of a life slipping into the past.

There would still be villains. He knew that for sure. But there would also be new imaginers to meet them whenever they appeared. For every action there’s a reaction, for every urge there’s a remedy, and for every canvas there’s a stroke. Perhaps it would be his neighbor in the new year. Perhaps it would be an out of towner with grand ambitions. Or perhaps, like him years ago, it would be some suburban kid with city roots looking to make a difference who walks into a closet after the signal is made and emerges caped, inspired, able to leap tall buildings for a taste of the sky, resolution.


Middle by Lyle

“A” glowing haphazardly in the night. But it wasn’t how I remembered it starting. Though at this point I can’t remember what did start it — only the glowing “A” that didn’t. Until the sun eclipsed it’s majesty. Here we disagree. Here is where you said that the sun actually made it more majestic by dimming it to ashing coal, somehow vertical, somehow sitting harmlessly on the wooden wall instead of burning right through it. This is when I said “haphazard” haphazardly. This is when I started the story. And for some reason, now that I’ve begun, I can’t remember what might have come before I began. On this point you are silent — mooting the point. I write this poem to you in anticipation of when we will begin again before it all started and before it all ends:

A fang, arsy-varsy hangs, starts
facts and acts days far away — avant-
past, say. What can a lad and lass crack
at? Past? Gray alarms? Halt! Days slap
fast at lack and stars lad and lass. A
stars wall. Lad stars lass.

I show it to you and you say, ahh. I don’t know if you understand. But then, you must have such a storied past while mine begins and ends in “A” — such a middle.


Anti-An by Forrest

A attempts acquiring An’s audition as appropriate aubade against aloofness. Angry and assailing afterwards, A admonishes An about average age at agnostic altitudes, accidentally advancing another An agenda along, aforethought agreeable, aggravating, almost aloft. An answers agog, “Ah.” Alternately, A analogizes apostasy. Agitation abounds afar as altruistic. Ambivalence. “Amazing An!” announces A, albeit acerbic. Always askance. Achingly anticlimactic also.


We Call Him Don by Bill

Finger tips against grit, and the pads worn down. Olden breaths, knee bends creaking at the edges, frame bent into shape and done up on a jig. Gotta take a jog. Burn out the lights and the soot from our lungs and just blast the whole fucking mountain down along the way. Reams of the stuff. Get your glory out and rub yourself on all that marvelous shit buried in the earth.


Adolescence by Beth

The barn burned in January, on a night cold as shattered glass, a night when you could see stars between the stars. It didn’t mean much to anybody anymore. Farley had sold off most of his land, and the barn was left to itself, sliding down from its roof-ridge, the ridge twisting like the back of an old man. The inside was full of broken things, things that might be worth saving but weren’t worth keeping in the attic or the basement and cats that were wild and not worth keeping inside, either.

The barn meant nothing to anybody anymore except for me and maybe Jed. Jed must have cared about it once, I think, but I don’t know if he still does. He’s not the sentimental type, not like me. Maybe he doesn’t even remember anymore, the hot bored afternoons when we went in there together and he wrestled me down on the floor and I pretended to fight back but didn’t try too hard. Every afternoon I felt the weight of him, more and more solid and dry and warm as the summer went on. We lay there on the pine boards, still and saying nothing, and then after a while, always after not long enough, he would get up and I would get up and he would run off somewhere and I’d try not to follow.


Felted Bad by Michael

This was in a dive. A real dirt-trap. Called the Scarlet Letter, big red neon "A" outside. Fuckin' tacky. I been stabbed there twice, but this time around I did the cuttin'. My scissors moved real smooth through that felt. Hell, when I was done, you couldn't see that big red "A" worth a damn. But you still knew it was there and that kind of made you feel horrible. I still smile thinking about it. The implications. Like it had gone somewhere, maybe inside you, and you could feel it burning your insides, like maybe one of your organs. And I know who you are who deserve that, so I made it happen. I made it happen for me and everybody like me. It doesn't absolve you anymore because now you only see it when you close your eyes. Try sleeping like that, with a big neon "A" on the back of your damned eyelids. I can promise that, unless you are a champion sleeper, or like, really exhausted, you will not be able to fall asleep looking at that thing. They won't ever figure out how to put that light back on the outside. I got it in you good.