Juniper trees cup the cemetery gate with
their verdant blue-speckled palms.
Grasshopper sentries chirp in the weeds
and the brush sends a whisper: disturbance.
A gravel path forks between rows of stone scripture
erected by heavy hands who begged me, remember
these dates and names, this last desperate breath
between a beating heart and a naked soul,
fumbling and frantic in the face of eternity.
Dirty plastic flowers shed their petals in the wind,
reassuring bones below that they have not been lost to time.
(Is it really for the dead that we leave the bouquet?
Why speak to the body when the soul has flown?)
I read the name of a man who died before I was born
someone I could never know, and yet here I stood
pondering his legacy, studying its lines
like a cave-painted ancient code.
He worked in a great Department Store
As the window dresser’s mate,
Carting mannequins, wigs and clothes
From the back through an iron gate,
The store room piled to the roof with props
And the bolts of coloured drapes,
Was dark and damp, and a single lamp
Traced shadows through coats and capes.
The store stood over a hundred years
Was red brick to the core,
And towered above the other shops
Right up to the seventh floor,
They said there were gargoyles on the eaves
That would spout when the gutters filled,
And a Griffin standing with evil claws
That would leave a brave man chilled.
The buyer sat in a closet room
Where he’d watch the assistants work,
And call them in for the slightest sin
If he caught them trying to shirk,
He would warn them once, would warn them twice
He would warn them three times more,
Then send them packing to personnel
Way up on the seventh floor.
Nobody ever came back from there
Not even to punch their card,
Their coats and hats were collected up
And thrown, tossed out in the yard,
The beggars hovered around out back
When they heard the buyer roar,
‘Get your faggoty, skinny ass
On up to the seventh floor!’
Peter Peeps had been sound asleep
In the window well one day,
Trying to quell a head of Moselle
He’d imbibed, with Martha Hay,
A girl that worked on the second floor
With a line of maiden bra’s,
He’d had as much of a chance with her
As a flight to the planet Mars!
The buyer came to the window well
And he saw him sound asleep,
Then yelled, ‘Get up to the seventh floor,
You’re finished, Peter Peeps!’
So Peter sighed, and he took a ride
On the escalator up,
Higher than ever he’d been before,
His heart in a paper cup.
On the seventh floor was an old oak door
In a passageway filled with gloom,
A flickering gaslight either side
As he stepped through, into the room,
A metronome was ticking away
In a long, slow measured swing,
When a man in an old Top Hat approached,
‘Are you looking for anything?’
‘They sent me here to collect my pay,
Is there anything I should sign?’
‘You’ll get no pay from the Firm today
But you’re here, so now you’re mine!’
Peter backed to the old oak door
That had latched as he came in,
There wasn’t a handle on that side
And the man was looking grim.
‘You’ll never get out of here again,
You’ll have to work for your tea,
I’ll fix you up with a ledger, here
It’s eighteen seventy-three,
The seventh floor is a time-warp that
Was set when the store was built,
And all of you shirkers end up here
While you’re working off your guilt.’
He showed him the rows and rows of desks
Like a mid-Victorian link,
With everyone filling the ledgers in
With a pen they dipped in ink,
And there was Roger, and there was Ann
And there was Fiona Shaw,
He’d watched them once, all weaving their way
On up to the seventh floor.
The windows looked down onto the street
But it wasn’t a street he knew,
There wasn’t a horseless carriage there
And the other shops were few,
‘What if I smash the window here
And jump on out to be free?’
‘Then you will be buried before you’re born
In eighteen seventy-three!’
Peter Peeps looks out on a world
That had gone before he knew,
Then turns the page of his ledger back
To eighteen seventy-two,
There are rows and rows of figures there
That were written before his day,
But the one thing that he’s smiling for
Is the arrival of Martha Hay!
David Lewis Paget
She saw the kids on the slide,
each with their own
burden to bear:
counting the last days
on their thin fingers,
a kid with an eye gone,
And she, Anne,
12 year old,
fine of remaining limb,
scanning the rest,
in the wheel chair,
Skinny Kid behind,
hands on the handles,
on her neck.
She was bored,
sun too bright,
kids too noisy,
to see eye to eye,
get a peek at that,
indicating the thighs
and stocking tops
The Kid, thin arms
and legs, short hair,
11 year old, stared,
took in stocking legs,
Don't get to see
that every day,
you're their old man
or fond lover,
grinning ear to ear.
want me to push you
to the beach?
from these wounded ones,
these dying doomed,
let me smell
the salt and sea,
let me hear
the sea's song.
So the Kid, pushed
the chair, arms
her one remaining leg
to the chairs' move,
the stump, showing
where her skirt ended,
shook and rocked.
Out the back gate,
onto the path
by the beach,
out of the nurse's sight,
or sound of voice's reach.
of the Kid's
his heaving her
from chair to bed,
the night before,
his thin arms
in case she fell,
the warm bed
holding her down,
he standing there,
gazing at her
with that innocent
as he pushed along,
her stump was
the night before,
how the thigh
of her other leg
was white as snow
as he stared.
Push their heads
Through the gate –
Huffs in the mist.
Pausing to mourn over lumps.
Why don’t they straighten out
Those stones? I said.
I’ll do it myself.
One day I’ll come here
And I’ll do it my fucking self.
The goats race away,
Tripping into each other's backs -
Chasing a happiness
That comes for them every day.
Stood way out there,
And ran all his fingers
Through his hair.
He took a deep breath
As the morning arose,
Smiling so wide
That it wrinkled his nose.
He saw on the horizon
A crackle of rain -
And touches of dew
Resting on his new cane.
But when Thurgood paused
And peered over his lawn,
And studied his yard
In the new light of dawn,
He kicked at his heel
Like an old Mother Hen.
And he grumbled aloud,
"Oh no, not again!"
He followed the Quiltwork
Patch Grass to the side,
Where the Fennilen Fern
And the Trugg usually hide,
Through the green, where
The collups and roses were set,
All needing a pruning he
Hadn't faced yet.
And there it was,
Still tugging the string,
That wicked and
Pimply pompous old thing.
Standing there near the hill,
Right beside an old post,
Where it could drink in the morning,
And gaze down the coast.
"Five times you've been planted,"
Said good Fenwick that day.
He was well wearied and worn.
His head almost gray.
"You did not like the corner,
Where the daffodils grow.
You did not care for the tulips,
Row upon row."
"You turned away from the Ivy
That climbs to the sea.
You are a most contentious,
And troublesome tree."
"Was the fence near the gate
Not a worthy estate?
That you had to pull free,
And run toward the sea?"
"The poplars were kind,
But you turned clear away.
I wonder just what
You are thinking today."
But the tree did not nod,
As far as Thurgood could tell.
For it could taste the sweet ocean,
And feel her waves swell.
It watched the soft moon
Drifting low in the sky,
And stretched out its branches
Ever so high.
And Thurgood shook his head,
And with an inkling of pride
Said, "Does this make you happy?"
And he smiled wide.
He turned on his heels,
And watched the soft sea.
Today there was quiet
Along this emerald key.
Her waves gently licking
The shoreline hello,
And morningtime greeting
Her usual glow.
"It is a nice view,"
He heard himself say.
As dawn gently tap-tapped
To nature's soiree.
And he grinned, "You old codger.
Have it your way.
And a good mornin' to you.
I believe this is your day."
Copyright © 2013 Richard D. Remler
"Even if I knew that tomorrow
the world would go to pieces,
I would still plant my apple tree."
You were a tourist attraction
That I held in my hands
My fingers, constantly tracing the outline of your smile in photographs
A tourist attraction, is visited by thousands every year
But I, I knew you’re story
Where the bombs struck most
Where the guns left the most bulletholes
In your forgotten love life
I remember you like the Alamo
Broken, but still standing
You were the tourist attraction,
And I was the snow globe
in your gift shop
But I still carried a part of you inside me
You were the Golden Gate Bridge
From hipster photographs
But I knew, your workings
Like how you keep your ropes loosen
To avoid constricting
Tourist every day photograph your beauty but I,
I was the civilian
who framed you in my doorway
Statues are not freedom, they are committed to their solidarity
Unwillingness to move
The freedom is found in the boys eyes
Who walks away with the snow globe
Something new in his hands
Loyal to my art I am
this is all I am
I am at the edge
by will I destroy you
If you really knew my name
you would so shit your pants
I maybe too f...ing kind
not to crucifier you
My name is of the wings of Angels
don't think you can ever touch me
I wipe my blooded feet at heavens gate
for the liken putrefied scum of you
No Mercy will be given
you pissed off the wrong bird
this one will f**k you up
for I write hatred most observed
Glory to God
And the death of you
By Christos Andreas Kourtis aka NeonSolaris
Your flesh remains on the splintered gate
Peeled apart at the prefix
Holding the secrets of fiction-
Collected in a womb
Filled with the clasped hands of the kneeling and behaved
(C) Tiffanie Doro
He watches the school bus turn off and out of sight. He'd see Elaine get off at her stop with her sister and others. She didn't look up at him as the bus drew away. Preoccupied, deep thought, maybe. Some one had a called out, see you Frumpy. She didn't respond or didn’t hear. That Tidy kid, probably; mouth on him like a horse. John walks up the side of the road towards the cottage. he thinks of her, her slow walk along the aisle, looking away from him. Shy probably after that kiss on the sports field, lunch time. Or annoyed. He doubted, shy more like. He sighs. Cars whiz by. Too fast. He wonders what she made of the kiss. Lips to lips, touching just on. Brushing soft. Didn't want to press on her. Hand on her arm, gently, holding. His other hand; what had that been? Touched her back, felt bra strap, just there beneath fingers. He enters the front gate, closes carefully. Click of metal lock. The garden has been freshly dug. His father dug yesterday, carefully, back into it, machine like. I helped, not really my scene. Did my bit. He opens the back door and enters in. His mother is at the wood stove, cooking dinner, dark haired, blue of eyes, flush of skin, heat and rush. He says his greetings; she asks of his day at school; he smells the cooking, smiles, passes by, and up the stairs to his room. He closes the door. Peaceful. He goes to the window and peers down at the garden. Small orchard of apple trees to his left, hedges surrounding. He sits on his bed, looks around the room. Few books by the window, boyhood favourites; Roby Roy, Treasure Island. Ivanhoe, others. A sheet of paper with a list of birds seen recently. Some unticked, rare. He hadn't expected to kiss her. Wasn't planned. He was just going to talk and get to know her. Better, more. Instead he kissed her lips. Brushed softly with his. Skin on skin. Exchange of juices. He licks his lips. Wonder if part of her is here still? He licks again. Tongue over lips, bottom, top. He picks up the list of birds. Unticked are rare. Did she touch him with her hands as he had her? He can't recall. Too suddenly done, unplanned. He felt her bra strap. Fingered it, briefly. The whole afternoon spent on thinking of her and the kiss and her lips. He sensed, when he drew her near to him, her breasts, cushiony, soft. Unintended. Some birds were from foreign climes. Unticked, but not forgotten. The book of birds is by his bed, well read, thumbed bruised. Something stirred in him when he kissed. A buzz along the wire of his nerves. Buzz in his groin. He turns the page over, birds ticked, more common, some more so. Odd that male birds had the beauty, females dull as mud. What did she think after the kiss? He had to go off as the bell rang across the sports field, needed to see what happened to him, as he kissed and after. Down below, dampish, unusual. In the boys' bog, he noticed damp stickiness, odd, unknown. All through afternoon lessons his mind was on her. Couldn't close her out. Lips seemed numb. Licks them now. Tongue over top and lower. Frumpish they called her, others. The glasses did her no favours. Her dark hair untidy, her eyes large and watery. Her lips partly open, teeth, smallish, white. Ears hidden by her hair, but just visible. She smelt of countryside: apples, hay, horses. She was shy, blushed after the kiss. As he had crossed the field, after the kiss, towards the school, his legs seemed jellied, wobbly. Tomorrow he would see her again, then what? Even on the school bus home, he avoided looking over his seat, to where she sat with her sister. He was tempted. Have a quick look, gaze casually, but he hadn't. Regrets now, too late. Should have. Just one peep. Goldfinch chattered almost the
all way home, sitting next to him, showing him cards, talking of school. Teachers. That teacher you like, that one who said, you'll be a writer one day? Yes, he had said. Been dismissed. Took kids home with him, in his lunch time, did things, they say. Oh, he had said, hard to believe, but there you go. All sorts. He'd not gone. Boys or girls? He had asked. Boys mostly, Goldfinch had said. A new teacher now. He should have looked and seen her. Her sister was loud and sparkled. Not his type. Kissed and then what? He puts the sheet of paper back. He takes some small binoculars off the shelf, and peers through the window. Scans the sky. Some one downstairs puts on the radio. His sister, probably, twisting the knobs, getting a station, music on and off, loud, soft. Elaine's nails, bitten down, ink-stained fingers. They played together the fingers. Nerves, twisting over each other. He noticed. Saw them. He was about to say about a butterfly he'd seen, over by the science lab, fluttering by. Fragile wings. Thin, God made, wonder they fly. Kissed her. Lips on lips. His heart thumped hard as a drum in a brass band. A blue tit over by the hedge. Two of them. Goldfinch, the bird, not the boy, was one of his favourites. Bullfinch, that too. He sensed her tongue as he kissed, tip of, not the whole thing. Some big boy had told him and others, one lunch hour, in the playground, about a girl he'd had, up in the woods, off the playing field. None had seen. Good quick go, the big kid had said, like entering a bloody cave it was, warm and hollow. A sparrow on the fence, two three of them. They sit and flutter wings. The big kid hadn't said what was quick or like a cave. The girl was bit of a slapper, the big kid had said. He puts down the binoculars, kicks off his shoes, and lies down on his bed. Closes his eyes. Eyes shut. Sees her, lips pursed, eyes open, large eyes like brown stones, through glasses. His lips make a kissing sound. Pretends to kiss again. Keeps his lips there. Not pressing, just touching, soft silk soft, hardly brushing, dust off a moth's wing soft. His heart thumps, he can feel it with his fingers, pressing. He wonders, odd for him, what she looks like, undressing.
Good and Bad
Or Weak and Small
Dogs play with Cats..you know...
I Come from the Gate Of applause
Saving is told to give never take what you don't own.
Come to the Soldiers where they never Fight alone
On and On they go with silver Hats and Guns of Gold
More Crys from the Land Of mold,
Every breath from them is bold.
Is the worst Smell when they come Home
Nevertheless they Cheer while they are told
Good Comes to that one who don't sell there soul