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II

Eyes That Cover Us

_________________________


William Doreski
( New Hampshire )
Beheading Myself

Stainless and gleaming I swing an axe
and behead the space where I stood
a moment ago. The lawn looks shocked,
but alone with criminal silence
I regret nothing but my failure

to draw blood. The neighborís dogs bark
because they detect bad intentions.
A police car noses past; a sneer
of garble spits from its radio.
I swung that axe in self-betrayal,

but if certain friends or colleagues
had intercepted the act Iíd sigh
with pleasure and mop up the mess
while humming a favorite aria
from those famous Italian operas

that inspire such wanton acts.
Maybe if the dogs keep barking
Iíll visit them with the axe,
although my appearance will wag
their tails and cure their loneliness

so I wonít have to use the weapon.
But for now I replace the tool
in the woodshed and return to bed
to sleep off a dream of beheading
myself to honor an intellect

once capable of devouring
Kant, Sartre, and Kierkegaard
in one sitting. Birdsong shimmers
through eloquent but old-fashioned trees.
The bedroom sighs and receives me

like a lost child. Later Iíll rise
in self-conscious glory and sharpen
the axe and split some cordwood
just for the joy of perfecting
a violent but reflexive mood.




Stephen Bett
( Vancouver )
The Whole Thing
We are a coastal people, there is nothing
but ocean beyond us
                      
Ė Jack Spicer

I wait for you 
under a tree 
in the park

write this 
little thing 
will steal 
up to me

around 
its uneven 
length

The other 
side

lies the 
ocean

we both 
need

beyond 
us

frames 
us

holds 
us

makes a 
whole

each, & 
together

like that

it likes 
that




Pris Campbell
( West Palm Beach, Florida )
Magic

I have lived with magic,
worn gowns stitched from moonlight,
heard trees speak to the sky.

You sang lovesongs in braille
with your fingertips,
my body, your tapestry.

Those times still come back to haunt
when light drains the day, when trees 
fold their branches in silence,
and sweet arms embrace
me no more.




Rebecca Lu Kiernan
( on the Gulf Coast )
#1000 Billy Bob Thornton's Crashed Jaguar

Without gentleness, mercy or permission,
I ravish the slightly injured Billy Bob Thornton
In the red leather back seat of his crashed Purple Jaguar.
The confusion of his concussion makes him sexier than usual.
He says he thinks he broke a rib.
I tell him to stop his whining.
He is imagining I am Helen Keller
Feeling my way over his defenseless frame.
I am pretending he is a contract killer.
I demand he spank my bare behind.
With every blow he grimaces in pain,
And moves me closer to the gun under the seat.
 
An avalanche traps us there for hours.
He kisses me in a manner that reminds me 
I have always had the power to kill with a smile.
 
We will never speak again.
Six months later he steals all the orchids from my hot house,
Press them in books until they turn black,
He gets trashed on raspberry vodka,
New Year's Eve,
I am another tattoo on his back. 






La Femme by Leslie Marcus

( California )




Jill Chan
( Auckland, New Zealand )
The Naked Part

We canít wait
to be alone with You, 
to be born 
with the naked part 
of ourselves, 
hot with Your desires 
tearing home 
and hurrying none, 
not the crowd outside 
with eyes that cover us 
with their shame, 
while You bare all intentions 
in every next moment 
that reveals, 
however far 
You may be.
 



Howie Good
( New York )
Suicide Beach

1

A woman shouting
over the black static
of the waves
asks what I lost.
I straighten up.
Nothing.
The man with her
stares angrily
out at the water.
Iíd been searching
through rooms
of seaweed
and broken sea shells
for mirrors
of sea glass.
I open my palm.
Itís something
I used to know,
dying stars
burn the brightest.

2

With my hair and beard,
I look like a mug shot
of Karl Marx
after a three-day binge.
Every object is
a history of its function.
For example, guns.
Born in one century,
Iíll die in another,
waiting for the rain
to move off.

3

She built a nest inside of me.
Other women also floated
by the upper windows.
She wasnít the prettiest,
but she was the most beautiful.

4

My heart felt as it often feels,
like a deserted warehouse
on an abandoned stretch of track.
What will you do all morning
by yourself? she asked.
She already had the door half-open.
Search for words that love one another.




Dustin Brookshire
( Atlanta, Georgia )
Thief in the Night

He didnít come like a thief 
in the night; he came like a man 
determined, obsessed, 
who needed to mark his spoils Ė 
like my childhood neighbor's Doberman. 
Both on quests for territory. 
They came to lay claim.
 
I could have ended up mauled Ė 
mother sobbing, shaking, 
hyperventilating, 
cursing the Doberman.
Instead, with my air riffle
a few BBs changed a growling dog 
to a whelping mutt in route home. 
 
There was no BB gun 
when he came 
inside me. 
I could have screamed 
like I was told to as a child 
inappropriately. Instead Ė 
I asked him, politely, not to. 
Then I told him no. 
Then lay paralyzed,
hands pressed to the bed 
like Jesus's hands to the cross.




Greg Weiss
( Hattiesburg, Mississippi )
Fire Sale

Great birds, take my eyes.
Great birds, take my eyes,
my aliatory lemon pudding.
Rats, tartly relish my heliostory,
my luscious thighs,
my amphoric swing.
Rats, tartly relish.
Great birds, take my eyes
to Siberia, I
donít mind. I wish
great birds take my eyes
and rats tartly relish
my emancipatory hacksaw tandoori,
my aliatory lemon pudding.


I - Out-of-body
III - Elegy for the Hidden

Featured Poet - Matthew Hittinger

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Current Issue - Winter 2010
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