Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Thrown as if Fierce & Wild

You don’t have a clue, says the power drill

to the canoe hanging from the rafters.

Is life a contest everything plays

by different rules for different prizes?

You’re really worthless, aren’t you?

barks the cherry tree covered with eponymous

fruit to the wagon lying on its side.

Unfair! Wasn’t that wagon not two days ago

leading the parade, the puppy refusing

to wear her hat? Can’t you just leave me

alone? says the big picture of Marilyn

Monroe behind her nonreflective glass.

Is the universe infinity in ruckus

and wrack? The third grader loose

in dishwares, the geo-tech

weeping on the beach. Mine, mine,

says the squirrel to the transformer,

unclear on the capacities of electricity.

String of Christmas lights tangled with

extension cords, can’t you work things out?

The young couple takes a step toward the altar,

increasing the magnetic force that sends

ex-lovers whirling off into nether nebulae

but attracting mothers-in-law. In one wing,

the oxygen mask taken from the famous writer

of terza rema glee while in another

an infant arrives, loudly disappointed

to have to do everything now himself,

no longer able to breathe under water.

Will we never see our dead friends again?

A motorcycle roars on the terrible screw

of the parking structure, lava

heaves itself into the frigid strait.

-Dean Young

Tuesday, December 20, 2011



(with apologies to L. Frank Baum)

Glinda delivers her third child,

and will not return to the stage,

now that exotic dancing no longer

pays, and horny men can see

her strip on the internet.

Munchkins, still the quaint

people, now have satellite TV,

beer and Monday Night Football.

Bored, they bounce in bed

and increase the population.

The Scarecrow finally came out,

and lives quietly with Roger

in Emerald City’s East Side,

where he’s loved by the locals

for giving so much poetry.

Across from the courthouse,

the statue of Toto, covered with

flying monkey shit, honors

the terrier who was mercifully

put down for complications.

The Tin Man smokes cigars

and tends bar at the Stars & Garter,

spouting homespun philosophy

to anyone who gives a damn.

And few do.

– Gary Lechliter

Thursday, December 15, 2011



they convey only
a vague notion of politics
their idealism accidentally
mirroring the Republican
mindset in that
they are gathered here
inside this Wal-Mart
on this Black Friday
with no greater agenda
than to spend more money
than they have budgeted

though they have the
sheer numbers needed
to bypass capitalism
in favor of anarchy
the rabble save the rioting
for the two dollar waffle irons
and fifty dollar blu-ray players
revolution to their
regional universal minds
involves nothing more chaotic
that switching their allegiances
in college football teams

the consumers occupy Wal-Mart
they way maggots occupy
a raccoon carcass
beneficial to a system
rotting from the inside out
eventually leaving

by Karl Koweski

Monday, December 12, 2011


A Rabbit As King Of The Ghosts

The difficulty to think at the end of day,
When the shapeless shadow covers the sun
And nothing is left except light on your fur—

There was the cat slopping its milk all day,
Fat cat, red tongue, green mind, white milk
And August the most peaceful month.

To be, in the grass, in the peacefullest time,
Without that monument of cat,
The cat forgotten in the moon;

And to feel that the light is a rabbit-light,
In which everything is meant for you
And nothing need be explained;

Then there is nothing to think of. It comes of itself;
And east rushes west and west rushes down,
No matter. The grass is full

And full of yourself. The trees around are for you,
The whole of the wideness of night is for you,
A self that touches all edges,

You become a self that fills the four corners of night.
The red cat hides away in the fur-light
And there you are humped high, humped up,

You are humped higher and higher, black as stone—
You sit with your head like a carving in space
And the little green cat is a bug in the grass.

-Wallace Stevens

Thursday, December 1, 2011



See me sayin’ it like he would-
eyeballin’ you over a toke
on the stub of a Lucky Strike
hangin’ from that crocodile smile:

“If you took every page
out of every notebook
written by every poet
from the beginning
to the end of time
and stacked ‘em all,
right up to the moon-
all you’d get is a handful
of gray dust.”

Cause poetry
is Humphrey Bogart, baby-
500 feet tall,
grinnin’ like a wolf
while he slaps the sky
with a backhanded smack,
grabbing the heavens
by their fancy lapels
and shakin’ ‘em
till one by one
all the stars fall out.

-Brandon Whitehead

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Shopping for Pomegranates at Wal-Mart on New Year’s Day

Beneath a ten-foot-tall apparition of Frosty the Snowman

with his corncob pipe and jovial, over-eager, button-black eyes,

holding, in my palm, the leathery, wine-colored purse

of a pomegranate, I realize, yet again, that America is a country

about which I understand everything and nothing at all,

that this is life, this ungovernable air

in which the trees rearrange their branches, season after season,

never certain which configuration will bear the optimal yield

of sunlight and water, the enabling balm of nutrients,

that so, too, do Wal-Mart’s ferocious sales managers

relentlessly analyze their end-cap placement, product mix,

and shopper demographics, that this is the culture

in all its earnestness and absurdity, that it never rests,

that each day is an eternity and every night is New Year’s Eve,

a cavalcade of B-list has-beens entirely unknown to me,

needy comedians and country singers in handsome Stetsons,

sitcom stars of every social trope and ethnic denomination,

pugilists and oligarchs, femmes fatales and anointed virgins

throat-slit in offering to the cannibal throng of Times Square.

Who are these people? I grow old. I lie unsleeping

as confetti falls, ash-girdled, robed in sweat and melancholy,

click-shifting from QVC to reality TV, strings of commercials

for breath freshener, debt reconsolidation, a new car

lacking any whisper of style or grace, like a final fetid gasp

from the lips of a dying Henry Ford, potato-faced actors

impersonating real people with real opinions

offered forth with idiot grins in the yellow, herniated studio light,

actual human beings, actual souls bought too cheaply.

That it never ends, O Lord, that it never ends!

That it is relentless, remorseless, and it is on right now.

That one sees it and sees it but sometimes it sees you, too,

cowering in a corner, transfixed by the crawler for the storm alert,

home videos of faces left dazed by the twister, the car bomb,

the war always beginning or already begun, always

the special report, the inside scoop, the hidden camera

revealing the mechanical lives of the sad, inarticulate people

we have come to know as “celebrities.”

Who assigns such value, who chose these craven avatars

if not the miraculous hand of the marketplace,

whose torn cuticles and gaudily painted fingernails resemble nothing

so much as our own? Where does the oracle reveal our truths

more vividly than upon that pixillated spirit glass

unless it is here, in this tabernacle of homely merchandise,

a Copernican model of a money-driven universe

revolving around its golden omphalos, each of us summed

and subtotalled, integers in an equation of need and consumption,

desire and consummation, because Hollywood had it right all along,

the years are a montage of calendar pages and autumn leaves,

sheet music for a nostalgic symphony of which our lives comprise

but single trumpet blasts, single notes in the hullabaloo,

or even less—we are but motes of dust in that atmosphere

shaken by the vibrations of time’s imperious crescendo.

That it never ends, O Lord. That it goes on,

without pause or cessation, without pity or remorse.

That we have willed it into existence, dreamed it into being.

That it is our divine monster, our factotum, our scourge.

That I can imagine nothing more beautiful

than to propitiate such a god upon the seeds of my own heart.

-Campbell Mcgrath