Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sonnet by Karen Layman

Perhaps I am crazy—I see things, I hear things.
I remember my dreams with startling clarity,
Wonderful, chaotic tangles of people and various other strings
But the real and mundane? I only bother with them rarely
But I’m not the only one—I can’t be
There must be someone, somewhere
Who is “weirder” than me.
Or do all of us “wierdos” live in our own castles in the air?
Maybe we’re all insane—
“We’re all mad here”
Every one of us, running around and raising Cain
Each in our own right a chevalier
And a hoper, and a schemer—
Or perhaps I’m merely a chronic daydreamer.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Poems by KT McVeigh

The Sea

I’m sitting on the beach
With my legs out in front of me, bent at the knees
And my hands propping me up on the damp sand
And the red sun will never set
It’s stamped into the sky
The waves beat against each other
They are capped with white
Their friction is a furious motion
But they just fall into each other
They just sink and become one
They are the way things are
They are the way it is
They are not beautiful
They are charming
They have an abysmal charm
Like a long finger bending into itself
I watch you, waves
The shore is round and black
The sea goes on forever
Forever is the sea
I am a dot on the edge of the sea 

*        *        * 

I am in our room
With the thin velvet blanket
Which was a sort of pea green
And there were seagull decals on the sliding glass door
And there were shells we collected in the ashtray on the porch
And the floors were smooth, flat, white rock tiles bigger than my head at the time
And the porch was a box on the side of the building
And if you pressed your nose against the screen it went out of focus and you could see the ocean
But the camera could only do that once or twice
And those are the pictures I’ve misplaced that are burned into my memory
Of the blinding white sun with the orange and pink and purple and navy
And the black silhouette of the osprey in the nest at the top of the palm tree
The sun sliding down into the sea
How it looked like a runny egg
To me
But now that I’ve written this down
I’m going to forget it
Because I’ve somehow subconsciously given myself that permission
Up until now I’ve had to regularly summon back that memory
Those sensory details
And picture myself there
So I wouldn’t forget
So it would stay etched in my mind forever
That scene
Of sitting on that bed
And feeling those cool tiles beneath my little feet
And pushing back the curtains and….
That smell
When I push back the curtains, my nostrils flare and I deeply inhale the something that should be there
In my memory I can expect it
The sweet aroma of somewhere I haven’t been in years
But there’s nothing
That’s the saddest thing
The saddest thing of all is that I can’t remember the smell
Only when I smell it
Which I did recently
And I fell back against the wall and I felt like I couldn’t breathe
Because I don’t know what causes the smell
It’s unidentifiable with anything but that apartment
And when I smell it, there I am
I am in our room with the orange juice carton and the low chandelier above the round kitchen table
And the counter and the stove and the closet full of beach supplies
The umbrellas and the plastic molds of crabs and sandcastle molds and buckets and shovels and the boogie boards and the blow-up raft
And the blueberry muffins Dad used to bring home for breakfast
And the fridge and the bathroom with the light above the mirror and the TV in the middle of the room where we’d watch the Disney channel
And Mommy and Daddy’s room that was always dark and like a cave
And the carpet and the closet and the must and the shades
And the sound of our steps echoing down the hallways as we ran
And the smell of outside with the palm trees
And Uncle Bob’s
And the ice cream
And the red trolley
And the pointy #1 necklace Daddy hid under the rock for me
And the pirates and the other kids and the grass and the sun and the birds and the fishing poles and the smiles and the waves and the laughing, always laughing
And the thin velvet blanket on my bed
Which was a sort of pea green
But softer, sweeter
And comforting
And my bright runny egg, sliding down into the sea
And the smell of the curtains
Which is gone.
And if fate doesn’t happen to direct me to where it lingers
I might never know that smell again

Sunday, November 21, 2010

dialogic interlude/coffee break by Nellie Simmons

So who are you?

I'm not really sure. I go by a few names. Char, Charlie, Nells, Baja...and for a time, Ryann.

What would you like us to call you?

I suppose Nellie is good. That's how many know me. So yeah, Nellie.

Okay, Nellie it is. So what do you want us to know?

well...I'm drinking Pirate Death Coffee...I don't know if anyone really cares, but I am.

Pirate Death Coffee? What is it?

Well, I'm not sure. It's....deathly.

It sounds strong.

It is...It's strong enough to let you fight off a pirate attack...or, join one. At least, that's what I've been told.

But it's like...1:45 in the afternoon....you realize that, right?

Oh yes. Yes, I am fully aware of the time. Are you aware of what time it REALLY is?

Um...excuse me?

The real time. Are you aware?

Um...yes, of course. Anyway, let's continue, shall we?

Of course not. We have to drink our Pirate Death Coffee first.

But...can't you drink it and talk at the same time?

Oh yes, I'm sure I can. The question is, can you?

Can I what? Drink and talk?

No, of course you can't. They allow you to drink on the job? What kind of people are your employers?

Uhm...no, I mean...wait...what? Who's conducting this interview anyway? You or me?

You or me? Or you or I? Which shall we be? I am, of course. Here, drink this, it will help.

What is it?

I told you, Pirate Death Coffee. Real pirates don't cry. Come on now, get it together.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Journal entry by Kirsten Bouthiller

I roll out of bed and stumble onto the hard, roughly carpeted floor. Cold and tired, my head is already throbbing. It is too early for this. Just found out that Andrew took the car last night so I can’t drive up to see Sean. Awesome. Oh, and now I’m in a screaming fight with my mom over her letting Andrew take the car. Lovely. My eye feels like it’s going to pop out of my head. Called Sean and he can’t drive down because he has to “paint the deck” like he’s had to all summer. If I want to see him I’ve got to drive myself up there. No, Mom and Dad won’t drive me. I’ll call Andrew, see when he’s getting home. He’s not up yet? You have got to be kidding me. A slight twinge crosses through my stomach and I begin to feel nauseous. Two hours later, after being in a terrible mood and wanting to both cry and kill someone, Andrew pulls into the driveway. He informs me that he’s going back to town anyway but I tell him that I’m driving because I need to get there NOW. He tosses me the keys while I mutter angrily under my breath. Head still about to explode, I weave through traffic at speeds that shouldn’t be discussed. When I finally make it to his house, I see that he hasn’t even pulled out the stain for the deck. I walk into the house and am relieved to see him. My body instantly relaxes. We play rock band for a bit until he has to tune drums for his dad. While he tunes drums, I play computer games. My headache only worsens from staring at the computer screen until it reaches a breaking point. I leave my computer on the coffee table and join Sean sitting on the floor. Trying to keep my cool, I smile. Do you need a hand? He’s angry. The drum he has to fix up is missing an important part, though I have no idea what he’s talking about. As he keeps ranting, tears stream down my face because the stomach has flipped and my head is pounding. He picks me up and puts me on the couch. Take a nap. What I thought would only be an hour at the most of a nap turned into four. I wake up at seven p.m. on his couch to the sound of a movie he's watching and the smell of lasagna in the oven. Feel better? A little, I guess. Not really though. Join me, I’m watching a movie. What movie? Not sure, but it’s really good. Okay, when’s dinner? Mom, Dad! When’s dinner? In ten minutes. In ten minutes. Great, I’m so hungry. Get over here and watch this movie with me. As I watch, my eyes feel heavy and I lose my appetite. His parents call us in to the kitchen for dinner. We sit down and his parents dish out our food, I try to manage it down. Excuse me for just a moment. I bolt to the bathroom. Reach for the sink knob and the toilet at once. All the water I drank down found its way back up. You’re okay. You are okay. I walk back into the kitchen and act like nothing happened. Don’t be rude, you’ve got to eat. I barely eat half my plate. After dinner, Sean and I walk outside briefly. We sit in the driveway looking at the stars. I think I’m sick. Why’s that? This is kind of really embarrassing... I feel like I’m going to puke. Are you alright? Well... during dinner... Oh no, you were sick weren’t you? I mean, sort of? How do you feel now? Awful. How about we go inside and you lie down a bit more. Okay. We begin to walk to his back door. One step. Two steps. Don’t puke, please don’t puke. Steady your head, clear your mind. You’re fine. YOU ARE FINE. Um, I’ll see you inside. I run up the stairs and into the bathroom. It literally feels like my stomach is flipping itself inside out. A demon roars from the depths of my chest. Hot tears flow down my cheeks. Stumbling out of the bathroom, Sean is standing in the middle of his kitchen staring at me. Uh, are you alright? Not really. Do you feel any better? I never want to eat lasagna again. You’ve got quite the demon in your stomach. He laughs. I crack a half smile. Don’t make that demon mad at you. Okay, pukey. Stop, you’re so mean. You’re the one who threatened to puke on me. Your point? So, do you want to finish that movie? Can we just hang out and not listen to loud noises? Yeah, sure. We lie on the couch. My phone rings. It 's my parents. Hello? I don’t think I can drive myself home, Mom. No, I’m sick. No, no, my head hurts so bad. Yes, Mom. I have to go. I’ll call you back. Hey Sean, can you call my mom back? Uh sure, and say what? Explain to them that I’m sick. Are you alright? Yeah, I’ll... I’ll be back.
I called your mom, Andrew is going to come pick you up. He’s going to meet up with your dad at Ruby road, and he’ll take you home. How do you feel? Better. My cheeks are hot and flushed. Tears running quickly. I’m sorry. For what? For this being our last time hanging out before you leave. Hey, don’t worry about it. I love you. I love you too. I am so tired. Then sleep. And so, I slept. Waking up alone at home.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

free verse sonnet #3 by Cola Hines

actually I am OK
for a while every day
night comes on then

boots tremble, tarp flaps about
trink essen blick
neon vanishes up
stairs toward
the castle where
voices rise
you can’t hear below —
scales from a window —
mountains send reminders down
glowing cabs emerge from town
other nights it’s the reverse

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Wall by Chris Clapis

The fire outside burned a hole in the city
Left me to wonder how the wall would come down this time.
Not through the voice of authority, like in days past,
But by the voice of the people, echoing with love in the midst of the bombs.
Stop war, stop hate,
We cried.
But our tears couldn’t douse the flames;
Not quite.
Nor could they alone quench our thirst,
For a better world,
For a better life,
For peace.
But as they ran down our cheeks,
They washed the dust of everyday life.
They allowed us, with strength renewed,
To press onward,
Into the fire;
Into the crosshairs of the man,
sitting next to the politicians,
Just waiting for the order;
And to raise our voices,
So loud,
That the wall came tumbling down.
And in one last dying effort to obscure our sight,
The wall itself kicked up dust, and dirt, and anything else it could find,
But as it settled, and the sunlight broke through those floating particles,
For the first time in a long time,
We could see the other side.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Poems by Karen Layman

Upon Reading Haiku/Commandments/Adamant Admonishments. Haiku
I apologize
For how terribly I just
Failed at speaking

Presentations. Tanka
You look quite confused.
Did you not expect comments?
That was really good,
And someone should tell you so.
(Anything to talk to you...)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fight by Craig Wyszomirski

Hands up
Hit me
Your first shot
Hit me
I counter
Fist like rocks

And move
And move
Watch me dance with my fists
A violent groove

My drug
Feel pain no more
one hit
your eye
you see no more

I am
Why did you start this
I finish
You're done
Why am I heartless

You lie there
I watch
Next thought: to run
I look
What have I done

Friday, November 5, 2010

Poem by Cola Hines

the sun turn from the obvious
to the karmic dismemory of dreams
to capture the unobtrusive and seize
up, capsize the morning like a water dish -
this admonishment from somewhere
beyond the horizon of days What? resolution
never again to forget What? beside the bed
the notebook said What? why not
just ask me, just tell me, just be
next to me, why you come back like suspects
bits and pieces, a street scene sliding past
parts of speech leaked in from the street
taker of notes, medium carrying breath
from one life to another; the sun turn

Monday, November 1, 2010

Just In Case You Ever Wonder by Kirsten Bouthiller

Dear Dad,

Just in case you ever wonder,

I’m doing alright.

My grades are decent,

Sean is good,

and hockey is hockey. You know how that goes.


I still don’t like that singing teacher. But don’t get the wrong impression.

I’m being good. Quiet. I swear, I don’t say a word unless she speaks to me.

I decided that singing like a man is the only way to please her and it seems to so far.

You know,

it’s weird, Dad.

This life,

this everything.

Sometimes I think it’s great. Everything is just working itself out. But this time, I don’t know.

I will never truly know.

But what if there is more to all of this?

What if I make the wrong choice,

or fail?

Or fall and can’t find the will to get back up...

Will you lend me your hand?

You once made a promise to me that you would

saying that you will

always love me.

always hug me.

always be on my side.

And you wanted me to know that…

just in case I ever wonder.

I do wonder sometimes,

as I stare out into the depths of space,

if you mean it.

If you mean each and every word

that you have promised me.

How do you know that you will always be by my side?

What if the distance is too great and I somehow lose touch? What then, will we do? There are so many questions, Dad.

So many that you seem to know the answers to.

And how can you be so sure?

Why can you see this great destiny while all I see is the uncertainty between my shifting toes?

And just in case you ever wonder, I never go a day without you here. Each choice, memory, and each run, you are there. Do you remember... do you remember my first cross country race? I ran so hard but wore myself out by the second lap and yet, you ran next to me the whole time. You told me I could do it. And I did. Look at me now, Dad. Look at how fast I am. How smart, tall, strong, and how much like you I am. And you told me to stand by my convictions and I’m doing just that. You told me that I’m a writer and I could write the world into a better place. Maybe that’s what I’ll do. If you believe it, maybe I can.

And just in case you have ever wondered, Dad,

I will always love you.