20 November 2010

Michelle Curtis

Jeff Lacy

Brian Thomas

Michelle Curtis

Gunned Down in Church

- for Dr George Tiller

Ushering in the congregation at your church
Roeder shot you full of bullets—
Your pension for twenty years of saving lives
late-term abortions ending those destined to fail,
fetuses with only partially formed heads,
other nightmare disfigurations, delivering women
from births that could mean for them only death.
You carried this burden. Never faltered,
while critics threw at you their bibles,
their own bodies, their apoplectic hate across picket lines,
even ‘the book’ in the courtroom though it never landed—
Then simple as they come, a man pointed a gun
in the house of your god and took your life to save the life
of “unborn children.” Judge. Jury. Executioner
of you and all those lives, all the grieving,
you could have saved.

Michelle Beltano Curtis is a recent recipient of an MFA from National University. Her writing focuses on her ruminations about the human condition and often includes themes of difference/otherness, sexuality, aging and illness in her distinctively unmitigated voice. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her partner where she works on her poetry and fiction and facilitates a creative writing workshop at a local domestic violence shelter. Her recent publications include The Gnu and Lambda Literary Review.

(author retains copyright)


Jeff Lacy

Refer Machiavelli

A circus is joyless without clowns,
dull without trapeze fliers, lions,
and high wire acts.

Ms P’s penned palm pricked
her to pluck: Energy. Tax Cuts.
Lift American Spirits.

Refer Machiavelli: it matters not
untrue content, it is
the battering ram making it true.

Drown ye sinner
in the tea of the lowest common
denominator -- democracy’s demon:
ignorance’s plague and protection.
Bicycles under Madison Avenue trees,
Reagan jelly beans,
stimulus money for teeth.
Our father, who art in,
who art,
give us our diversions – the
barren ways of men.

Dead trees give no shelter.
Wild flowers will not grow in winter.
A sail lists without breeze or bluster.
Balloon, without heat, will not rise.
Spinning plates will topple without tending.
Darkness emits no white, blue, or red.
When diplomatic husband
found no yellow Nigerian cake,
the White House Scootered Novak
to shed spy wife’s cover.

Ye P.T. Barnum constituents:
Saddam, Sad-dam, the very tyrant of tyrants,
your mushroom cloud missiles,
hid within your fertile crescent,
your sandy California hills.
Tenet said invasion would be
a basketball shot.
Cheney and Rummy,
Geneva rules of war redefined
by a brain tree of lawyers,
said we would be received
as great deliverers.
History, you disagreeable senator,
F yourself. For thee prudent archer,
that made all the difference.

Not like hollow men,
the Haliburton Tea Company
mighty Achilles Hummered north,
wearing ball cap turned round
tattoos unfurled, tingling
from studded-tongued lovers,
so that back home,
there is a free AK-47,
with the purchase
of a pick-up truck.

As in myth, Jr. jet upon the carrier,
strut, pilot costumed,
Il Duce, Texas Ranger.
Rove’s Bob Fosse’s
ensembled sailors,
the Admiral saluted.
Sweet charity,
from ship’s bridge,
the banner backdrop hung,
Divine man of distinction,
a real, big, spender,
bo-o-o-mb’s red glare.

When disciple John’s photograph was revealed,
General Powell, having seen
the sorrow of men,
and putting aside folly,
and rancor of council,
was on the very edge.

Saddam had it coming,
he had himself,
to blame.
Pulled out,
from his hiding hole.
He claimed illegal invasion,
no weapons
of mass destruction,
no jurisdiction,
to be charged or tried.
Trivialities, said the Red Queen,
there are other tortures,
sword-play, and madness,
we’d like to address,
to see you hanged.

Go tell Ms P
to bring the pill
that makes one small.
The Persian caterpillar
will pay a call. He’ll whisper
to keep your head, say nothing at all.

At Abu Ghraib, Black Knights
turned Hop-Frog into pornography.
Others renditioned and Gitmoed,
hooded and shackled
like strands of hooked fish,
nameless, countryless,
without being informed of charge,
without knowing possibility of hearing,
no probability of release in sight.
Vagaries of torture,
Hop-Frog flailed and yowled,
for Black Knight’s pleasure,
hinting truth, untruth, or taking suicide.

Drunks twelve-step
to sobriety or,
swilling lye of divisibility
sober naught.
Invasion, whatever the aim,
cannot be snorted up the nose.

From capitalistic home,
Agamemnon acclaimed
the book deal,
speech tour adoration,
Fox’s absolution.

Send in the acrobats,
the animal tamers, the clowns.
Load the man into the cannon.
Toe the high wire. Thrower,
select your knives. Toss the pins,
jugglers and exchange them
uncorrupted, seamlessly.
Dismantle the nets from
under the trapezers. Greater
the risk, more exquisite the pleasure.

Ms P, you’re awfully late.
Alberto G. has made
delightful tea and cakes.
After pledging allegiance,
Rummy is going to wrestle us
in top secret charades.
Don’t mind the dormouse.
He told that to what’s her name.
Your running mate and
that wife of his have come.
Set ‘em up, Fredo,
Let us have a merry time
drinking tea and eating cake.

I received a MFA from the University of Nebraska. My stories have appeared in such literary magazines as Storyglossia, Fiction Collective, Conte, Unheard Magazine, Mary Journal, Sex and Murder Magazine, The Wrong Tree Review, Full of Crow Quarterly, and Review Americana - A Literary Journal. Since 1991 I have worked as a public defender and prosecutor in the Atlanta area and on the Georgia coast.

(author retains copyright)


Brian Thomas

The Chant

It's freedom they rant
And freedom they rave
The american dream they chant
While existing enslaved

Subdued and quite dumb
They're contently confined
Tis freedom, they hum
Within a governed mind!!

Consume they are taught
Conformed they've become
Conducted is their thought
To this hypnotic drum

The american dream they chant
Instructed to desire
Tis freedom they rant
while existing for hire

To borrow they are taught
This american creed
In debt! They are caught
Serving creatures of greed

Laboring each day
For the enslaving scheme
Assigned pittance in pay
For their deceitful dream

Seduced into a trap
Where the greedy pig feed
Opressed are their lives
For the crap they don't need

It's freedom they rant
And freedom they rave
That horseshit american dream they chant
As they march to their grave!!

(author retains copyright)


06 November 2010

Stephen Jarrell Williams

Stephen Jarrell Williams

The Rush

You should hurry and kill us...

We are overpopulating the earth.
Those are your words.

If you shared your gluttonous wealth
there would be plenty.

You have been fortunate,
or is it insidious?

Perhaps you don't even know

The time is coming...
It is now.

Be quick...
Jack jump over the candlestick,
before it becomes an erupting volcano.

Stephen Jarrell Williams has been called "The Poet of Doom," "A Voice in the Wilderness," and "A Minstrel for Love." He was born in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. His parents are native Texans. He has lived most of his life in California.

(author retains copyright)