In an Underground Bunker

Long it seemed to the mechanic

that they had settled on prayer;

but finally the words and their implications loosened,

subsiding into the noise of the buzzing generator.

.

Mutilation, arson, anarchy:

the world was ablaze up there.

Troves of supplies, miles of farmland—sacked, desecrated.

Infrastructure crushed.

.

A red-eyed cousin rose to offer a fractured reflection

of the past week, of the horror, and the generator rumbled on,

twisting in constant energy, trembling anger

that the mechanic hardly understood anymore.

.

The land, the country!

In a war waged on brothers,

families tore themselves from the throng

to find comfort in the removed dream underground.

.

-Blake and Zoë


While Eating Cookie Crisp Cereal

The corn was grown in a plot of land somewhere
To the exclusion of all other life that might have been there
fertilized with imported nitrates, modified genetically
sprayed with synthesized toxins to keep other life away
Harvested, processed in a factory with great energy
petroleum, trees, coal, minerals, pigment consumed
All so that one could have
a box of Cookie Crisp
.
.
-Blake Fisher

A Nomadic Existence

Like our ancestors
We were once nomadic.
We lived off Wonderbread, sunflower seeds and cigarettes.
Nights sleeping in parking lots
when the moon looked
fuller in the light polluted sky.
The impulsive nature
of change,
the static
radio hush or the ebb and
flow of ocean waves,
the clumsiness of
cicadas or rattling leaves.

We were dreaming
Or lost,
when the hours swan by and
days felt no different.

-Sofia Rovirosa


“I left my words on the front step”

I left my words on the front step.

Your kitchen smells of winter,

the bedroom of spring.

.

.

.

-Zoë


Tom Harris

Every morning he woke to his ceiling
briefly losing himself in its white heaven,
empty, quiet, comforting.

Like the wrinkles on his face,
the cracks appeared
growing from the corners of the ceiling,
deepening, and creaking in its’ old age
it began to collapse and gave way on top of him.

Eyes shut tight,
returning to life as he inhaled,
he exhaled out of bed.

Tom lived in a fourth story apartment
with a balcony that bathed in sunsets and sun rises.
Most days he stood a distance away from the railing,
there were few days where he had the courage
to stand close or place his hands on it.

When he did,
Like the decaying bones of a corpse
The rail would crumble apart
And he would fall over the edge.

His limbs dislocating,
his heart convulsing,
his body hugging the pavement
As he hit the ground.

He stumbled backwards into his living room
And locked the balcony door.
After breakfast he went to work.

Upon entering his car he would die once more,
A head on collision.
He watched the steering wheel crush his stomach
Watched his windshield shatter
as his whole body rattled within
The pulverized vehicle.

Looking at himself in his rear-view mirror
He starts his engine and continues his day.

No one knew how the unpredictable
fate of mortality haunted him
So much so that living meant
to die a new death every day.
Every night he drank tea before bed
But this night, as he slept,
The gas from his stove crawled about his home,
poisoning his lungs.

When he awoke to white heaven,
it didn’t creek or crack.
But simply remained blissful.

 

Elizabeth Schwartz


Consequences of Homesickness

This valley is blanketed In layers of green:

clovers, moss, grasses, weeds.

And lilac too – bursts of hydrangea.

I shifted over to the boulder,

The one with a bump for neck support,

The one where had often sat shoulder to shoulder.

There were kisses and fairy tales,

Mudpies, face paint – and a proposal.

But it’s no longer personal.

Brenda Fabig


Night Drive in Ojai

Noses up! Attention!

Dad & I perk our noses in the air

as we part the orchard’s dark on Grand Avenue

with exaggerated pranayama inhalations

to absorb the scent of the orange blossoms.

Ojai, a place I’ve never been before,

orange blossoms, a sensation I’ve never smelled,

have no reference tab in the black book of metaphors.

Reference & comparison fall aside

as the thick, undulating pleasure

seeps into my chest, hushing my mind

into a dizzy state, drowned with sweetness.

.

I reach for metaphors;

I settle on closing my eyes.

.

.

-Zoe


Ending Rites

No, don’t sleep! I said, they come for me:

Four men on horses of treachery!

They spin the wind high and push the sea down low.

You’re awake, He said, at last;

Have you read those voices of the past?

Your last, I said, those words;

Listed on pages and protected by sages…

Who told me those travels were not to be heard?

Don’t fear, he said, there’s a fix;

They tell me it hangs on the crucifix.

Brenda Fabig

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Meditations on Ginsberg Subscription

a couple of owls have taken up residence among the woods around my house

hoo hoo….hoot…..hoot

a call and response unwavering

communicating position among the darknesses

an owl moon shines down on all the consumable particles

the Arizona forest hums

i drag alone on my cigarette….. illumination

crickets sing in the undertones of melancholy

i hear an organ in the distance

what sounds like a gunshot at a neighboring house

my imagination rides

i think about the Velveteer and her curls

i remember curves of orbit

gallant grasps and sheets of loyalties patterns

in eyes of turquoise …goddess

envelopes cut up in ribbons

marquees of neon perfume emitted

the phone signals a dying battery

the brakes have departed

ghost coasting down the cliffs of insanity

carrying a trunk load of locked up musical effigies

things are said in passing with no real meaning

the lion hangs around my house now

bony, with hair falling out

anyone else with lions

are showing up with missing limbs.

locked teeth and white knuckles

Grand Pre is hanging around

with a sombrero and an eye patch on his face,

the shadow of every eclipse

iron tongues branded the eyes of Evangeline

i hear the whispers of pity aimed at me over the party line

“You don’t have to say that!’ i tell them

the moons shadow follows me around like a rain cloud

the raven outside my window has gathered his cronies

Sly Simeon the politician slides in the door and holds up Victor,

tells me that hanging out with hims gonna get me killed

tells me the worlds on its side and its head

tells me i need to watch more television

that the facts lay on the worlds wide web and not in the heart

just then the lion gets up off the rug and bowls him over

packs him up and carries him off

the ravens turn their attention and shriek with laughter

hit the scene and fly behind lion.

i watch from the living room and put  the revolvers back on the bookshelf

the chaos in the alley woke the sun

i thought about looking for my trumpet

the coca cola factory underneath my apartment is injecting the dew with synthetic colloidal happinesses

and the “I VOTED FOR THE WINNER” sign on my lawn has gone missing

Just then William Randolph crashed through my window

got up, grabbed the fire stoker and and said

“there’s a war to win down in Cuba”

and with that grabbed the keys to my lawn mower and took off

i went to the front door to get a glass of milk

found a sperm bank flyer rubber banded on my doorknob instead

went to raise the flag outside

found a barrel of monkeys hanging on the line

i saw my neighbor standing across the street on his lawn laughing

“what’s the matter? can’t take a joke?” he said

and then walked in to go set fire to his house with Freud

I walked back inside and grabbed the waffle maker

threw it in my suitcase and headed off to work

it was a normal day

 

-Sunshine Davis with William Teller


Rationalizing Privilege in Atzompa

A dry, hard lump, the shriveled foreskin

corn husk embalms

the white masa and a brown stain of cooked pork.

Eyes first, she offers me the tamal.

When I lift it from her grasp, her split palm opens

like dry-lipped mudcracks in Arizona in June.

The fissure on her hand crosses the life line, the love line, x-ing them out.

My pocket shimmies with coins and they fill her craters.

Here I am, hopping buses across the clay-rich countryside,

a region of Mexico that quenched Spain’s gold throat nearly five hundred years ago,

and to take a bus this woman, who could be

my great grandmother, who could be dead by now,

must steal her way onto the bus, slipping off ten minutes into the ride,

in the back pocket of a family.

It’s not about the wad of week-old tamal

or about the fact that it costs the same as the bus ride,

and that, this time, she pays it up—clinks into the driver’s neat stacks of change,

still warm from my pocket—

but feeling the gold marrow of my body

blushes my neck and my face contorts with…

pity.

And I don’t want to have it, to be burdened with gold teeth,

but now that I am, I must eat wedged tamales until I die of thirst.

I sit in my bus seat, knees pulled tight to my chest,

hugging all the pieces of myself, terrorized by their departures from each other,

by growth, by intellect, by simple observations.

 

-Zoë