Tuesday, January 31, 2012


At The Waffle House

“Behold, I show you a mystery;
we shall not all sleep
but we shall all be changed”
--- 1st Corinthians 15:51

Out of beer and out of time,
last call puts Tyler and I in a place
where mysterious blendings of caffeine and nicotine
work our Budweiser dulled brains awake,
where redneck jukeboxes full of whiskey voices
lament great losses of the true ones
and how we all get stomped
flatter than lonely Texas highways
complete with tumbleweeds and dust devils
simply by love.

So where are the rest of those Hank Williams poets
whose tears fall to the ground like rain
making puddles only bleary-eyed drunks
drinking their way through their blues can see?

When thy cup is empty, it shall be filled.
When she gets around to it and isn’t bellowing side orders
of bacon with those hash browns.

So go ye then on down to a place
where things somehow come to short order
in those small hours before dawn
through fogs of conversation
rambling through coffee steam
and cigarettes piling dead in testament
to a new faith healing
busted hearts in confirmation

that you will never be the same.

-Shawn Pavey

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Nothing especially tragi-glamorous
or hardcore blue collar neo-beat
about cracking a beer at 10:30
on a Tuesday morning while
watching the 700 Club,

nothing world-wearily decadent
or anti-romantically nu-kowskian
about not having filed a tax return
for who knows how many years, now,

nothing in there that’s gonna net you
an honorable mention (or even
a minor addendum) in anybody’s rolls,
records or register of highly conspicuous
anti-socials (except maybe
your own, of course).

And it looks like it’s
a Schlitz Malt Liquor Bull, this time,
and maybe a pull off the Old Overholt Rye
(what some of us around these parts like to call
“Old Reach-Around”),

maybe even one or two more (of each)
to facilitate the (Lordy, Lord, I must say)
much-needed shit, shower and shave routine

and all before I’ve even had my coffee
and/or some semblance of breakfast
(really, Mr. Ryberg, what can you be thinking?).

And, whereas I can fully understand
how and why my mother might not quite
be able to wrap her brain around this
(only occasional and, I suspect, primarily
male) ritual and might even recoil in
low-to-mid-level horror and disgust
and maybe even cry a little later
when she thinks about what’s
befallen her once beautiful baby boy
(or, more likely, what he be fallen into),

surely the Old Man wouldn’t begrudge me
this momentary indulgence or judge, too harshly,
me and the lifestyle that I swear I somehow
just seem to have woken up inside of, one day.

Surely he must have had a few days
like this special-delivered from the wrong
side of nowhere to the ground-zero/crosshairs
of his world, back in the day when he
was a free-wheeling bachelor about town
(despite our fairly divergent paths,
worldviews and ways

and maybe also the fact that he was a charming,
good looking jet-fighter pilot with the classic
little black book of numbers and names,
a Corvette Stingray and a Jack Kennedy
haircut you could set your watch by).

Surely he wouldn’t overly depreciate the idea,
despite the differences in our lives,
that it’s just something you have to do,
every now and then, to locate your zen,
“center your chakra” and/or
get your head right again
before paratrooping back out
into the not my job/not my problem,
I got mine/you get yours,
what have you done for me lately?,
corporate, confederate, theoligarchy
of these Distended States
of AmurKKKa, Inc.

p.s. They say the Lord is coming.

Better look busy.

-Jason Ryberg, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


If you Can’t Stand the Heat

Life is all too often a recipe for chaos
with unpredictable steps emerging
from an obscuring murk, forcing you
to fly by the seat of your pants-
to continually compensate off the cuff.

Perhaps this is why, at the most hectic of these times
I crave the kitchen like a starving man.

It is there that I can undoubtedly carve out
a bastion of meticulous order,
a place where well laid plans
very rarely go awry- unlike life.

Laying out each ingredient is catharsis
as I run the courses through my brain
and with the aid of fine, German steel
fabricate garlic, onion and herbs,
peeled and minced into tidy piles at first
then arrayed within pristine bowls
like order incarnate upon my counter.

Several skillets heat, the oven warms
as my marinade’s acidity tenderizes the meat
and in intricate, layered increments
the meal begins to take shape.

Sautee, proof, broil and bake,
stock simmers for the sauce,
roux browns to finish it off,
custard sets in its water bath,
a final whip emulsifies the vinaigrette,
skirt steak hits the pan to sear.

I dance through this routine
without fear of calamity-

a heart attack won’t kill my entrée,
the birth of this meal won’t be met with a medical bill,
I will not have to rush a fallen soufflé
to the hospital for stitches,
the crème brulee won’t be fired
and evicted from its ramekin
or subsequently cause its marriage
of flavors to dissolve.

In the kitchen I am in control,
king, ruler-of-all, dictator if need be.

I am intimately aware of the variables
and can vastly influence the chance disaster.
In life I am left no recourse
but to chant this simple mantra,
and never could I say it enough:


order up

-Jeremy O'Neal

Tuesday, January 24, 2012



She says it has always been a blues town
even when it was a jazz town
but she is wrong it is a food town
because I can’t choose between
costillas en chile verde up on Summit
or samosas piping hot on Lexington
scalding pho in the market
dumplings on 39th street
chicken spidini on fifth
gyros falafel and pizza at the curb
I don’t want to argue Gates Bryant’s Jackstack LC’s
Oklahoma Joe’s or your granddaddy’s all night long
Italian and Austrian in the freight
peppercorns above the trains
peaches from the tree or
double cheese & grilled onions on Broadway or Baltimore
or taquitos along Independence or central Avenues
greens in Eden’s garden
strutting chickens north and south
pollos ricos shrimp biryani sashimi
roumalade ooh la la mix the bunch
and bring me iced sweet tea
and bourbon on the side.

-Jose Faus

Monday, January 23, 2012


All Major Credit Cards Accepted

The preacher whisper screams something about mixed emotions and temptation of the flesh. He’s not yelling! He’s just trying to get everyone’s attention. Three piece suit wrapped around his portly figure, talking about hunger, sacrifice and humility. More production than an ABBA concert. It sounds like he’s sobbing under the stage-lights, more sweat than tears rolling down his spray-tan face. The swell of string music. The audience holds their arms straight up and cup their hands like little satellite dishes. The preacher looks into the camera and blames Satan for war, poverty, Halloween and rough sex. He jumps and paces around the pulpit. Takes off his jacket, speaks in tongues, dives off the stage, runs past the band, the camera men and cue-card holders. High-fives the congregation up and down the isles. On his way back to the stage he hugs his wife, winks at his mistress and kisses his boyfriend. The preacher calmly returns to the pulpit and closes his eyes. He whisper screams a prayer to heal the world’s scabs and cellulite. An organ wails. He pauses and asks the deacons to pass the collection plate.

-Charly Fasano

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Dear Empire [these are your temples]

Dear Empire,

These are your temples. There are rows of stone countenances, pillar after pillar. As if walking through a forest filled with alabaster heads: here, the frown. The gaze. The luminous stare.

Smoke from the incense curls, shapes itself against the archways, rubs against the grooves of the columns. Only a few men press their heads to their hands.

Outside, archeologists excavate a stone torso. Bound in coils of fraying rope, it rises before us, pulled upwards by a backhoe. Its form momentarily hides the sun, though as it sways, the light strikes our eyes. Saying yes. Saying no.

-Oliver de la Paz

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


The Garden of Faith

Strength has a way of inching itself
into existence—first, the seedling,
vulnerable, and then the stem.
Soon enough a plant is flowering,
rooted, and offering itself to the intensity of the sun.
Such things are beauties uncontrollable, almost.
Even the threatening storm quenches a thirst,
even the predator offers new life
in return for what it takes to eat.
Yes, there is an offering beyond all this, beneath.
The earthen roots dig deep into foundation,
clenching what is needed most, what is so often overlooked.
Here, in the dirt, resides a variety of truth.
Each shrub is an expression of that on which it feeds,
and soil, and damp, and feces feed the root.

-Aaron McNally

Friday, January 6, 2012



it usually takes about 4 beers for me
but lucy’s time machine runs on vodka
then she will tell anyone who will listen
about the time me her and banjo
sat drinking under a downtown bridge
and we saw a christmas tree fall
from the back of a truck
and how banjo dared 5 lanes
of rush hour traffic to rescue it
the kicker she says
was not that he was jewish
but that he almost made it

-Victor Smith

Thursday, January 5, 2012


The Youngest Two Hear Cicadas

Tennessee: We are here, between trees,
with the tempo of a rosary being strung
in a queue of escalating beads—

Carolina: It’s not quite the count in
the countinghouse of my chest
but the heart does make an awful attempt

t: and a circle wherever it may be
there was music coming on

c: which though machinery-like
moves not in cogs, and never
springs, but waves through

t: like wired applause for antic backstage
buds on the pre-comeuppance buzz; but it

c: but only after the chorus has pulsed

t: it drops off with sudden decision, like fountain
water gone dross

c: or it reaches the furthest point
the branch turns from us, and is for some arc
fully quiet...

t: until the roulette snaps its jaw and the choir’s
circuit opens to one

c: like a pigeon unhinged, its wings
in sudden white-rumped ascent

t: unopposed by iridescence

c: unopposed by iridescence

-Farnoosh Fathi

Tuesday, January 3, 2012



Black wavelets lap against pilings. Bone dust settles on the pier.
The ferryman looks up from his tiller at a man in an Armani suit
Who steps out of the shadows, swinging his briefcase, staggering a little
before stopping at the edge of the jetty, knowing—despite the absence
Of his head (and the eyes in that head) and despite the hole in his chest
from which an ichor, the ghost of blood, fountains in the wake of the bomb blast—
That the wine-dark water is perilous, being neither wine nor water.

-T. R. Hummer