Friday, October 29, 2010

Ghost by KT McVeigh

I think
A little bit of pain is a motivator
Like rolling out of bed feeling stiff
And you walk around with your welded hips
It’s a catalyst
Well the ghost came to me again last night
I was sitting in my bed
Which was pushed out so there was nothing protecting my head
In the middle of the room
Stationary floater in the nebulous womb
I sat above the sheets
Knees flat against the mattress
And I felt the cold touch of death press against my flesh
Instantly in my mind I recoiled in terror
And fled for the sheets
But that would have disheartened him
So I stayed
and I let the cold fingers move up my leg
And I stared at the spot where I knew he was
I knew he was staring at me
Reaching out to me
I’m intrigued
But I’ve had enough
And it ends.
But when the sun goes down so do human sounds
The only thing that keeps me safe
When they’re gone, it’s him and me
And then it begins
He cracks inside the walls
He writhes a thin board away from my head
A layer of plaster
‘Twixt me and the dead
I ask myself
Why me?
I’m not that interesting
Is it because I’m receptive?
I’m allowing you to unravel some spectral truth
That I’ve always suspected but never could prove
You’re leading me to your mystery
I’m afraid you’re decaying somewhere nearby
But I’m not the one
Please, not me

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Journal entry by Lauren Castaldi

Walking up my driveway and seeing, for the first time that fall, the mysterious mushrooms sprouting through the cracks of my driveway. My brother and I would anxiously anticipate the appearance of these unusually large and oddly placed fungi, which for all the years of our youth walking to the bus stop, never failed to sprout. A ritual learned from our mother, we would wait until they grew to their full potential and then make a show of dancing and stomping on them, watching green fumes cloud around the pile of broken mushrooms. Puffy mushrooms we used to call them, because of the strange puff of green haze that exploded when they were crushed.

Weaving through the secret world of the woods in my backyard with my neighbor, looking for the perfect spot for a fort. Every fall a new one was built, in a new location with a new purpose. Gathering branches and twigs, and moving old furniture to be exposed to the elements of weather. We made secret undercover entrances, slowly built up these forts and eventually were completely enclosed in our private second world. Living in a home of nature, returning to civilization when we were pried back into our homes.

Catching dragonflies by day and fireflies by night. Mark and I would run through our field letting dragonflies crawl over our hands, comparing color and length and beauty of each. Naming them and giving them homes in our backyard, thinking those we saw the next day of the same color were the same dragonflies. By night, scanning the tree line for the flicker of light that exposed our prey. Running to the spot the light once was and standing still and silent until its next time to light up. Slowly we caught them and kept them for a few hours, releasing them when it was time to go inside.

Pretending to be lions when it snowed. Crawling on our hands and knees, protected by bulging snow gear through the mountains of our backyard. Naming rocks on the hillside and sneaking through paths we forced through the trees. Turning treacherous slopes into safe slides in the blanket of snow. Making lion homes in the hills and snow banks, living out lives of these animals until we were frozen, shaking, and so wet we were forced inside.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Elegy (interview of some sort) by Kirsten Bouthiller

Where do you go when you want to be alone?

I crawl deep inside of myself hoping to never be found.

If you could be anything in the world, what would you be?

To be alive in this hopeless sea. And what about you?

What do you think? Do you think there is more to all of this?

I would like to say I do not know or have the faintest clue

but you are onto something to say the least.

And is this life nothing more than lonesome thoughts,

silent walks, and a hunger to become complete?

Do you know what I mean?

It is a tad absurd, and perhaps on the side of dark and dreary,

but this is a life that I assure you must be worth living.

Would you sacrifice for a loved one?

A loved one would be nice, if only this stone heart

could feel an emotion as filling and true as this

that you have mentioned.

Do you find yourself questioning your existence, often?

Often, I do. And why do you think?

I think so I can know and believe the thoughts in my head.

You know that is not what I meant, but of course. Now, answer it truly,

Why do you think you are so incredibly alone?

I can only blame myself, it is coming down to the sole fact that

for so incredibly long, I have hounded down that in which I love the most

and now I realize he is gone

like a kite with the string cut

on a windy day

No, I cannot cry. I am much too old for child’s play.

Your only regret?

Not having the courage to tell him all that I had to say.

after Gunnar Ekelöf

Monday, October 11, 2010

Kirsten Bouthiller: Journal Entry

The three most important resources of life are love, journals, and nature.

It was four o’clock, and mid-October. As the doors to the bus gave way, I stepped into the dying world. Orange, red, brown, and faint green leaves littered the ground. Beginning my trek through the private way that cut a path in the thickly wooded forest, I felt a slight breeze that brought a chill up and down my spine. The smell of decaying Earth filled my nostrils. The nostalgia that followed occurred every time. A flashback of memories. Halloween when I was four, running down the crowded street as Princess Leah, being a bumble bee at the age of two, a ninja at the age of ten. Pumpkin-picking with the family and getting lost in the corn fields. Raking leaves from dawn to dusk because when you live in the forest those sorts of things happen. I continued walking down the isolated road. The sun shone down through the canopy above, bringing the dead leaves a whole new life. The sound of the calm lake, the water rolling up onto the shore and lapping against the rock walls found its way up into my ears. A calling – but I had other plans. As the road began to bend after a steep slope downwards, my eyes searched for it. The brush was thick but it was in there. Somewhere. I could hear the water running and see the dip in the road where it flooded the previous year. Dropping my backpack to the ground, I began to clear the brush with my hands and found myself beside a small brook. The water flowed quick and was perfectly clear. I always find myself standing here, standing on a stone wall that divides the brook, the forest, and the lake all at once. Sometimes I don’t think, while other times I cannot stop. Once, during the winter when I was fifteen, a blizzard raged on for a week but the argument with my parents drove me outside to find myself again. I lay in the snow looking up through the canopy, watching the white snow fall silently. The only sound was the wind through the trees and the echoing as bubbles burst below the ice with a loud, eerie noise. I stood there, looking at the brook, forest, and lake. I chased the frogs, caught big trout, and climbed every tree. And when my mom would call me home for dinner, I would linger for that extra five minutes because nothing feels more like home than the forest where you found yourself.

[a response to John Burroughs, 'The Art of Seeing Things,' in American Earth, edited by Bill McKibben. In this essay, Burroughs writes: "If I were to name the three most precious resources of life, I should say books, friends, and nature"]

Monday, October 4, 2010

Poems by John Alter

Rainy weather

Crowded with wet trees

each wearing as many badges & tags

as the suitcase of

a vagabond and

with a soaking rain

the path makes its way

through a junkyard. We

take so much for granted. The rain—the company

of trees—the wrecked automobiles.

And I

am here in this tree

house longing to be

long as the trees like

refugees for a moment in the early

afternoon pause and

I with them catching

our breath. O leafy

cousins I want to

call out to them and

to believe that the intricate display

of branches is some

how intended to

tell me a story.

October 4

Beyond this horizon of bare branches

today is coming off the press, scandalous


offering its good news to anybody

I can turn its pages

read, in my own tongue

the lyrical ballad

Let the high priests—

let the captains of industry—

do what they will


I ride my toy donkey out under

a sky cluttered with satellites


there was only one, do you

remember, and it spoke Russian


Anne Sexton—

you wrapped your bones up

in that old mink coat—took a last

long swallow of whatever drink you

could find—

and drove yourself to where death

always the gentleman, waited

stylish cigarette in one hand,

your life work in the other