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#161



And Other Things
Written by: Aeolian Harmony

I only can do such and such.
Much as I can, I only can do
Such and such.

I can walk cobblestones of moon-beams.
I can fish in a rowboat between seas.
It is only a sun under which I may race
And when it un-blossoms
It is dark and I only
Walk cobblestones of moon-beams.

I can fish in a rowboat between seas.
I can pick tulips from the wind.
It is only flat earth on which I may row
When it is raining
It is muddy and I only
Fish in a rowboat between seas.

I can pick tulips from the wind.
(I can do such and such)
It is only air I may sew
And when it blossoms
There is brilliance and I only
Pick tulips from the wind.

I can do such and such.
(And other things)
It is more than air from which I will live
And when I am living
It is constant and I only
Can do such and such.

I only
Can do such and such (and other things).
This is not a pipe
#162



love & her exorcisms.
Written by: Sticky Tissues

it is a haunting
an apparition of affection appears to me now
your presence, the subtle curse
that I have been blighted with the gift to see
the third I, that foresight/that could never see it coming
these ouija pages seem to have worked their magic
I speak to you; your dealings still unfinished here
although you don’t live (here) anymore
and you’ve been dead to me for quite some time.
the blinking lights shed themselves thin on dead scenery
they are dancing upon strings, at the mercy of the wind
pendulums that lull us to sleep & keep time
but was the wiring at fault/or have the breakers gone to hell?
all the sheets flutter in silence with windows under locke & key
they still have that distinctive Quality
every candle flickers before an absent wind
the wick, a line fed from wax sculptures whittled thin
the doors shut at every opportunity
the taps a constant leak
every stray animal cleansed of this place.//the children hardly dare to step near
the house is littered with your scent
and your keys and your notes. those piano voicings of yours howl in the cracks
in the floor.
and those boards where we used to lay
I hold my ear them and hear the woodwork creak your name
notches and rings that were once ours now left to rot-
and brought to life all the same
(the pentagram/circle of life)
so I cross my chest
and (holy)water the seeds I’ve sown
and grown to love
I pace the floors/ I keep time to myself
& at times think: I could bring someone else in for the night
(an expert) to drive you from here
but it wouldn’t be their place
and it isn’t mine
the ex(orcism)s mark their (final resting) place
and it rests upon my shoulders
it haunts me to this day
I still feel her phantom limbs upon mine/those whispers gone by mourning
but as I exorcise my last rite
I pour out the last of her wine and her breath and lips leave the bottles
the Spirit has left this place.
the vapour evaporates and distills into the dead of night
at last, I am alive.


#163



"...And the Children Shall Follow Behind and Grab the Bottom Leaves"
Written by: stellar_legs
A boy drags three dead dogs tethered to the same rope.
Shirtless, sweating and eleven.
Across patchy hills of potholed earth, drop-offs that fall into
jagged creeks - The kerosene like smell of fermenting cow shit,
rummaged through by older boys who heard mushrooms grow in it.
He comes to the steep incline of the largest hill in the 'Creek
and mounts it with the dogs in tow;
Three large dogs, more mutt than even imaginable.
Three dead coon dogs with the skin ripped off their jaws,
bullet holes permiating most of their bodies and the boy
drags them,
and he drags them,
and he is forced to drag them up a hill, up to the summit
and leave three dead dogs to fester in the grips of Southern heat.

"You untie the dogs now."
He unties them.
"You get on your knees and you gently run your hand over their
fur, comforting their lifeless bodies."
He kneels to them and pets their matted fur.
"You lie on your back in between them and you look at the sky and you recall
a time you ran around the back yard with them, throwing an old piece of rope,
and they would obediently bring it back to you."
He begins to cry and kisses the dead dogs, each one on their dry, black noses.
"You were these dogs as they were you - You lived with them and they were you and they were extensions and they're dead and you're dead and we will all die and we will all die at the same time and there will be no generation gaps no timelines no memories of division split into seperate paths of brain thought and everything will be shared because everythingistobe sharedwitheverythingeveryonebefore the stretchofpreexistingideas of time crash on your head andyourdogsandfather will be limb to limbtolimbtolimbtolimb your own ****ing limbs andyou will be the onewhocutsthemfromyourbody."

#164


The Grave Robber's Pocketbook
Written by: Dæmönika

What you are holding in your hand is the miniature version of the definitive guide to grave robbing. Within these finely processed pages, you will uncover the perfect way to exhume whoever flirts your fancy. Whether you are looking for a cadaver to dissect in a university morgue, or just feel lonely and need some extra company to take you through the darker times of your life, then look no further than these very pages.

After this short introduction, just read the following 7 Steps To Rob a Grave and in no time you will be extolling the virtues of grave robbing to your friends and relatives, but remember, be wary of telling everyone, for if you tell the wrong person, very soon someone will be exhuming you.

Now following are the 7 Steps to Rob a Grave.

Step 1: First of all, you must decide what you need. Are you wanting valuable goods such as jewellery, or are you looking more toward the sins of the flesh? Therefore, research your area for exactly what you need. There are burial records in all churches and many are kept in village/town/city halls and in libraries, if you are something of an antiques collector. Once you’ve decided what you’re after, you must pick the right grave from the thousands of records you’ve scoured. As it is personal to your tastes, I shall not help you in deciding what to look for in these pages. Listen to your heart and you will find it. If you want a body for purposes illicit, I suggest looking for a fresh grave, no older than two weeks.

Step 2: Research your surroundings. The last thing you need to happen is to be seen only for you to run away in a blind panic straight into a dead-end alley or a police station. A brothel is fine. Therefore, you must scout the area immediately surrounding your chosen grave, from public pathways, to buildings that overlook the area, and escape routes should the worst situation arise.

Step 3: Choose your weapon (no pun intended.) Of course, for the amateur, you may well think a spade is but a spade. But alas, there are many different flavours of spade to choose from, from simply digging up weeds to fixing 9/11. You need something in between, the classic grave digger’s spade. I strongly suggest the tapermouth spade as it can dig through the hardest of soils and is quite excellent when it comes to levelling off the land after you fill in the hole again. Only use grafter spades if your grave is overgrown with tree roots. Avoid the Irish shovel, it’s shit.

The next three steps concern the grave itself:

Step 4: Digging the grave. This is a very important step. Perhaps even the most important. What you need to ascertain before you dig (only if you are exhuming the entire body) is to create a hole large enough that you uncover the entire cadaver. You will be the laughing stock of your village should you dig a hole and discover that you can exhume all but the head, the most important part of the body. If you accidentally keep the feet below ground, that’s fine, they’re useless anyway, unless you are a double-foot amputee. To dig the grave properly, put the spade tip about an inch into the ground, put one foot on the shoulder of the blade, and raise the other leg off the ground. If the soil you are digging up is especially hard, jump up and down. When the entire blade is in the soil, pull down on the handle so it comes towards you and push forward as you do so. Lift the spade out and the blade should now be full of soil and grass. Throw the contents to one side, quite close to the grave. Repeat until you reach the bottom.

Step 5: Exhumation. If you are not lifting a body, just grab your stuff and continue to step 6. For the exhumation process, you excavate the area around the body to make it easier for yourself to lift the body out. Once done, you need to get the body from the bottom of the grave to the fresh air above your head. I suggest using the simplest technique, the fireman’s lift. If you are unsure what a fireman’s lift is, I recommend my Firefighting Skills For The Everyday Man Pocketbook, on sale now. You could also lift the corpse and hold it like a weightlifter’s bar, although if you do happen to be caught in this position, your chances of surviving the court case drop to near zero.

Step 6: Reburial. An important but very simple step. All you need to do is reverse step 4 and refill the grave with the dirt you piled up. Remember to leave the grassy pieces until last. If you seem to have used all the soil available and the grave is still partially empty, steal little bits from different graves. That way, it looks like animals have been pissing about.

Step 7: This is a step that most people forget, so read this carefully. After reburial, run away and hide somewhere safe for a few days, and make sure you leave the body in a hidden container of some kind. If you can, find one which is hermetically sealed, the body will last longer. Even better, if your freezer is large enough, you can deposit the body in there. If you have only stolen belongings and aren’t perverted, you don’t need to hide nearly as long as the others.

There you have it, seven simple steps to rob a grave. Thank you for purchasing this pocketbook and I hope the steps above have helped you to get everything you desire. Please feel free to purchase any other pocketbooks I have written and any more that will surely follow.
This is not a pipe
#165



Meerschaum Eyes
Written by: cut.cord.coeur

can you hear me?
am I perspicuous in between lies?
move your fingers
is there life behind those eyes?

escaping from Olympia heading north for Everett
and on the way I met my savior standing at the road
as I drove my car off the street, he looked at me and said
-"just keep me out of any riot
and away from the open sea."

I asked where he had been
-"they never question anything."
"have you fallen from grace?"
-"they never care in any case."

pull off the road,
you are falling asleep
pale white hands holding tight
the steering wheel

watch this volcano spitting, watch this bloody beating mess,
this heart working softly behind broken ribs in your chest
and the mountains and valleys and highways and twisting roads,
the rivers in which your life flows
longing for a way to the sea

there is panic and there is pain
waste no more time, in Jesus' name
prepare the needle and the blade
this lifeline, not defined by fate

staring white sun through battered windows and through summer haze
where we children played along the western shore near L.A.
with oceans' rush we begged our Messiah: "stand us by!"
as clouds captured the sky he cried:
"give courage in my hands and leave!"

wake up, wake up, wake up
you are going to die
wake up, wake up, wake up
your death is closer than your life

rumor has it God the Son is inside all of us
but still I cannot breathe with my lungs underwater
and when I hear the waves collapse over me, I feel
there are two things I have to fear
the devil and the deep blue sea

we all are born from the ocean
and summerstorms and a corn field
and what was the birds last notion
before it had hit the windshield
#166


she pictures the broken glass, she pictures the steam
Written by: kdownes

I’m not one to watch myself in mirrors
for fear of being caught in a lie
it’s all semantics but even the devout can be left wanting
at the feet of the divine

in paste white literature of literal lint and fluff
behind the gruff exteriors of shady dealers of drugs
who shrug off the cold, hustled around old barrels
burning cheap apparel stolen the week before
hiding in around and over doors, floors and metaphors
are living breathing spaces longing to be explored

but enough is enough or at least to the eyes
when the ears call to doubt that the brain lies
only the touch of another can crystallise
the silent surrender to the unknown dispenser in the sky

but in the rabble the glass shard gleams
and for a moment intercedes in the grit and soot and ash
and caught in the reflection you smile
unsure why
before fading into the night
#167


And...Action
Written by: FunkasPuck

"I Don't mind if you use my toothbrush. I know exactly where your mouth has been"
Is the most romantic thing you have ever said to me.
No grinning soft focus screenwritten kisses
up stretched arms, no expense spent on gift bedazzled wrists,
Just Pissed up trysts and sweat sheets gripped in clenched fists.
I've cancelled far too many candle lit dinners,
for lipstick smeared skin and rutting like sinners
we dont need lamb noisettes and coquettish affects
if we stick with the greege and the dragon cabernet
we'll still merge into one sillouette on a background of rich purple blue and gigantic white moon.
in one of those serene storm eye movie scenes that are always over far too soon
banished with the others to the floor of the cutting room
because they mess with the pace and space of your otherwise flawless life story.
I have to say, Your performance is always impeccable,
But sometimes i think you could do a lot, lot more.

For one reason or another, everyone's a critic.
#168



Exorcise
Written by: Something_Vague

In the darling corridors,
their gripping hum, they're sans,
dropping came for feeling us,
we lock fingers without holding hands.

And in the moment of my loss, I keeled at her feet,
swore an oath to her or god
whichever I would keep.
That I will preach to those my vile
and for my future's sake
to fully understand the pain to which
I plunge deep this awful stake.



#169


conscience
Written by: hippieboy444

from any altitude higher than a tree
the spot where we buried our childhoods
can be seen clearly
as in a mirror.
we are pushing up
the words
as in big promises
that can't be broken or undone and we have done both already.
we are faultless at the spill.

it's not me that tapped on your window
and it's not you that lifted the window
to melt amongst the shadows.
we put the sun in a jar and call it t.v
we burn our retinas and call it learning.
i've not saved the best for last.
i'm settled on my weakest front.
#170


Disbeauregard and I
Written by: Dæmönika

Grow little acorn into something strong;
grow to be as big as you can be.
Even if I am the only one who witnesses,
I will watch over you every step of the way.

We see the branches of ancient trees
cut a line in the water.
Never would I have thought you’d be by my side.
Yet here you are and I am there,
disregarding Beauregard.
She’s alone on the skipping stones,
her fingers muddy.


Halt now little Beauregard,
why are you full of tears?
This crying does not become you,
your beauty is so spoiled.
Wipe away those little drops;
let me see your smile.
Don’t fake what comes naturally;
play it sweet for all to see.

But I don’t love you.
My heart is somewhere else;
where have I heard that before?


Magic islands in your eyes
reflect my jealousy.
I swept her off her feet
in a haze of contusion and aplomb.
I faltered in my final step
and we both feel to the ground.
I asked her if she was okay.
She swept the dust from her seating brow
and smiled at my eyes.
She stood up and skipped away.

I swept her out my life
in a haze of degradation.
I paused, briefly, waiting.
Love LeTTerS
Twisted words bent rotten,
ugly on the page.

Parasols of lilac;
lavender scent in the air.
The weather was fair
and so was she,
gliding in and out of sight.

She caught my imagination
in a net constructed of fibreglass,
and memories floated away
and left serenity.

Beauregard cried when the moon set
and laughed when the rapier’s point
stabbed her in the chest.
Madness in her eyes,
she grabbed her big toe
and licked her lips.
This little PIGGY!
shall go to the slaughterhouse.
She lifted her foot to her teeth…


How now, my Beauregard?
Why do you look so pale?
The weatherman said sun would shine
yet you look so dark and worn.
Tell me of your troubles
and I’ll be your sea of calm.
We will float to the Promised Land over the horizon.

The Promised Land is a world of emotionlessness,
where I Luv U’s and C U L8R’s don’t exist.
Blank faces staring at blank walls;
heavy tutting, heads nodding and swaying.
I’ll take you there
when I tell you I love you
and you don’t feel the same.

This is not a pipe
#171


you hear me out?
Written by: SubwayToVenus

it's 10 p.m. and i'm still not home
i'm off walking the tightropes of false frontiers
i'm spinning in circles i'm doing donuts
in the parking lot of an abandoned warehouse
wanting just a whiff of my own exhaust smoke
before it peters out with no goodbye
because summer violet is such a youthful shade
that i play in it til the break of day
with the old rusted pickup truck
as gray as a morning without a sunrise
you taught me methodically how to drive it
how to slightly press on the gas
how to lightly ease off the clutch
but there are times when i shift gears too fast
and my engine sputters

so i keep it in first and coast
and i expect the worst but hope
that you might look for me
in the bleakness of your indecision
like how i do for you

just tell me why i smoked weed on the roof
and why i tainted my urine
i imagined you handing me the cup
i imagined all your co-workers looking on
all those awkward smiles who once or twice
called me the spitting image of you
they rested a hand on your shoulder
while you searched behind me
in my winding trails sniffing for the scent
of something you once were proud
to call your own


it's 10:30 p.m. and i'm nowhere close to home
even in the living room watching a silent movie
while you brood and slowly burn out
while what's left of your bones grow brittle
while i slide through the moments
unable and unwilling to go any faster
because what do i do?
and why can't you tell me?

why is it that i don't shave for days on end
when you even told me to use confident
downward strokes to avoid irritation?
and why is it when i choose to speak
i merely mumble out my words?
you can't even hear me can you?
it's just that honestly
there are times when i drive in our car
and i see your eyes reflected in mine fully
as i check for the traffic behind me
and that, for what it's worth,
is an image i would never spit upon
#172


naive
Written by: vintage x metal

there's a girl i met somewhere
in her mother's slip, playing pretend
successfully wooing every male
dashing across the brown carpet in the living room
each one at eye level with the table, just as she was
at least, they would be if they were real.
she'd see her face in the mirror and suck in her cheeks
and draw people much skinnier than they should ever be

and
there's a woman that i know now
that wants to bottle to warmth of her lover
stick it under her pillow to avoid the invasion
of dreams of other men
so she can stop scrubbing so hard in the shower
and crying in puddles of rain.


i am everything i wanted to be as a child
#173


365 days since last incident
Written by: #1 synth

on the day i tried to kill myself there was no one home. mom had church, girlfriend was working at pete's coffeshop, and dad was out east doing whatever my imagination could make me proud of. hadnt talked to him for eleven years and i just found the parents divorce papers. wrote songs about killing for love. lay on a carpet floor in the morning and if i didnt know any better i swear the clouds were already trying to talk me down. but i was on the up and up, popping anti-depressants and clawing at my chest with nails filed so they would draw blood.

here's the thing about suicide. the second you believe that you are capable of it you start to think its the only thing you are capable of. but you're scared that you'll do it if you don't get your act together. and how can you get your act together when you have people to love you and care for you. its a catch 22- you act and you know the wind will split you in half, you stay put and you know you'll rot real literally. so you do the thing that keeps you whole and start to hurt yourself, daily getting deeper, externalizing the insides into the insides. and then you see the mirror you broke with your fist and an old knife that josh bought you sophomore year at your throat.

and your throat isnt your throat anymore so on the day i tried to kill off the worst part of me by killing all of me it didnt hurt. people dont understand that your blood can stop being your blood real easy. have you ever seen a surgeon cut his finger to the bone? its like that. it's all like that.

see, the thing
is and your
throat suicide
on the day
23rd july
2009 well **** you
god i am you
god and i'm living
glad i'm still living
new girl whose belimic
new friend whose father raped her
while sleeping or
almost asleep watching filtered
new york city lightscape
burn all night
watch it all
burn all night
with a star in my smile
snuck down with a net
made from my own skin and bone
here's the thing about suicide. first time you go through it you realize how absurd it is to believe you're ever truly alone.

no no no, god, not alone.
#174


Leif Ericson
Written by: Chaingarden

The glitter on your neck,
When it falls on my lips,
Tastes like the frigid Pacific
Before the sun kisses its cheek.

How far removed it feels,
When my sopping back
Is playing slip-and-slide
With a gen-Y gearshift.

The corners of your mouth are so sly,
That your tongue might be forked.
The Ethiopian caramel that drips from your bones
Is oppressive and arresting.

Your words are like numbers
Spelling countdown to take-off;
T-minus six measures
Of death throes from the radio.

Though my knees are aching from tension.
Tattooed by the carpet.
Wrapping the plexiglass frame.
Bowing the axle.
Against the steadfast blacktops,


We're both lost at sea.
This is not a pipe
#175


Fingers and Thumbs
Written by: Jammydude44

unfamiliar taste lingers
the words from your lips are all wrong
unusual, I'm all fingers
and thumbs
wondering what beast you've become

she was such a pretty girl
but envy split her tongue

harbinger of paranoia
slowly slipping into defense
secretely I'm praying for you
to settle
and to join me on the fence

she was such a pretty girl
but envy split her tongue

unfamiliar taste lingers
and I'm all fingers and thumbs
attempting to discover what you've done
This is not a pipe
#176


(
Written by: rushmore

i kissed a sea lion on the lips-
felt its rubber hips-
wisped whiskers and
whispered whispers near the zoo gates-
and later on,
when we made love,
it sounded like a
shark bite piercing a squid or
a
whale.
#177



french cuisine
Written by: cubs

because i see bécquer slowly dying in dadaist ways.
i see:


a dish
(presented as a love story)
served infront of a king (the chess kind) on the table.
START! & write—
we brush our tongues with pens
and refer to it as candlelights and an artist's fever
(see also: sinking ships).
a tentative vision of freedom
of expression and decision—
burying romanticism;
there's a mutilated poet in the mirror
wrapped in the harp eyelashes
of a distant lover
(she walks piazzas and accordions across Italy
these days).
a note written in cursive, lying
next to a bottle-of-whiskey
by the bed:
"oh, love, my dearest love,
come back; don't let me forget."
#178



Willem Dafoe at a Funeral
Written by: OfLuckAndDust


The procession moved through main street
preceded by an illusory armada of dust
And all of us folded our hands in half crescents to keep out the sun
while we worked to keep the muscles in our faces taut
A look of anguish not out of place on the cover of TIME or more likely
in the back pages of the national geographic
That face was the fruit of hours of labored practice in front of a mirror
held tightly in the right hand while that cathartic scene from
PLATOON lay paused on a television sillouhouted against the
rough lines of my fingers

Willem Dafoe lifted his palms to the sky and left his eyes on the camera
A gesture of resignation in the face of a relentless fate
It was enough to make me cry


#179



"Yo im pickign up some stuff do u wanna come"
Written by: mouthofsky

thoughts became thoughts before I ever met them
flickering neon signs signaling the moon

I drove for two hours
to the bridge outlined, scribbled
on paper passed around like candy
hearts and newly hatched signatures
floating blue-lined above
alone, but surrounded
by advice printed on coffee cups

the bridge was nothing
like I had expected it to be
clean; freshpainted maybe
cradled by night sounds
gentle hums and buzzings
listening,
i felt cradled too
joined hands with the others
fellow newborns in a shared crib
and rocked it back and forth

staring into the blue eyes of a baby
I fell in love with her then
smoke pulsing from her ears
fire in her mouth
she took my virginity somehow
I've yet to figure it out.
#180



this is for you.
Written by: spike_8bkp

we held hands under the starlight and milky way
until the night could no longer reach us.
and we climbed until I had to scramble
by myself into that pearl tower

you waited on the edge of that forever
for me you watched your own kind brush by
and I don't know what you were thinking
but I don't think I ever thanked you.

instead I condensed my everything
into that moment high above,
shotgunned my soul into another
and did what I do best to you.

my recollection's full of wild horses
and whispered inspirations of
the wicked things I did to
get back at me for giving in.

I don't know if we fired off enough rebellion,
but it felt right at the time.
and when the rain finally came,
maybe it was just another lavaflow
so I could do what I do best
to you.
This is not a pipe
#181



manners pt.2
Written by: phantom1

another year older and none the wiser
joints for breakfast and clouds for hire
styrofoam self esteem; my body's a limousine
black luck so desolate as i fall asleep
barbarically conceived under crooked feather sheets
my friends are machines in a tambourine dream
marionette-esque girls under a moon's laser beams
i am a child of squealing contraconceptives
my mother a concept, my father a sceptic
ampethamine sally, i love you don't judge me
i am your one way ticket to fame;
remember the time when we read ezra pound's lines
blurred fingertips of dissonant rhymes; you would
open those thighs like my throat in the night.
#182



What People Are Made Of
Written by: jiminizzle

Mrs. Alison lived well into the country, so when the night came, she had to fight through the mud and the pummel of the rain for much longer than she expected her bones to take her, through all manners of eddies and swells in the eroding road that was now more like a river. She found the barn that belonged to the Coopers, who had moved in with a hurry no more than a week earlier and had barely gotten a feel for farm-life by the time the storm hit, with the glow of a lantern dimly permeating the sheets of rain and the drops on her eyelashes. The Coopers were the nearest neighbors besides the widowed Mrs. Choquette who she was sure be no help at her age and was surely sleeping anyhow.
Steve Cooper had heard the barn door blow down and was inside trying to calm the cattle through the shock before boarding it back up. Slouching earthward under the weight of her thoroughly-soaked clothes, Mrs. Alison stumbled in the barn door.
“Bill is hurt—he’s not moving—he fell trying to patch a hole in the attic—the ladder must have been slippery—I only heard the thud.”
The invasive will of nature had transformed the dry dusty barn the Coopers had bought into something that felt more like a cave with the sagging roof and dripping rafters. Here the stock would have to wait—Mrs. Alison was already fighting off the weather, expecting Mr. Cooper to be close behind. He had to first go to the house to get a warmer jacket and tell his wife to go to town and send real help. Walking after her towards where he knew the road was, and with the rain already soiling his skin, Steve Cooper left behind his house and his newborn baby boy mostly hoping to show his wife he wasn’t as heartless as she knew he had been. He caught up with Mrs. Alison as she was making her way over a downed tree. After seeing him up close, Mrs. Alison wouldn’t have talked to him had the sound of the water and the wind and the leaves not been more sound than her ears could understand.
Further down the road seemed to be the only direction they could travel. One could hardly see the thin line of trees that separated the road from the fields on either side. With the exception of the illuminating lightning, there was no other light, so the few feet in front of them that their eyes could decipher was all the trail they could follow. The house was built against the road, set no more than fifteen feet back. It wasn’t a big house but it loomed tall in the lightning strikes over Mr. Cooper as he approached the door Mrs. Alison had flung open in her hurry. She was already rushing up the attic steps which were leaking heavily now into the rest of the house.
Steve Cooper knew what a dead man looked like. This bothered his wife. When the man at the grocery store in town had had some kind of heart attack while the Coopers were waiting in the checkout line, he proclaimed almost before the man had stopped moving that he was dead. Now, he climbed to where Mr. Alison lay soggy in the accumulating pool of the warped attic floorboards.
“Dead,” Mr. Cooper said.
Had it been anger Mrs. Alison felt, she would have lost control over herself, but it wasn’t anger that she felt now. She was too scared. Scared of the death and of the eyes in front of her that so clearly mirrored the lantern all too similarly to the way the pools of water did. Mr. Cooper saw this but he made no attempt to calm her. Instead, he picked up the hammer and board at Mr. Alison’s side, climbed the ladder and got to work plugging the leak for now. The roofing would need to be fixed from the outside, but this would stop the constant stream of rain into the house. The water continued to shake the rafters, and the hammering gave the drone a slow, deliberate beat.
Patt…Patt…Patt…
The flash of lightning came first. The electric white and blue light burst up from where the stairs cut through the attic floor and into the house that was momentarily filled with it. Then the crack of the thunder so loud and so close that even Steve Cooper’s hammering couldn’t rival it. The ladder was indeed slippery, though it may not have needed to be.
Mrs. Alison, kneeling at her husband’s side didn’t even look up. In the depths of the rush that was either coming or leaving his head (he couldn’t tell), he saw her trembling hands praying over her husband’s body. He saw the lantern and its reflections in the pools that were now seeping to tightly around his already saturated body. He could see the rainwater that his hand hung limp in at his side, unable to move, but he couldn’t feel it. The rest of the attic was empty—even of cobwebs in the corners. And for what was perhaps the first time, Steve Cooper saw the world—as it actually was. And then his eyes drooped shut and he saw the world for what was certainly the last time—as it would never quite be.

Steve Cooper was buried shallowly in the eroding crust of the earth, hidden in the back of the property. None of the local churches would take him in their yards. His wife and newborn son left to her parents’ home far away from his grave, marked only with something of an epitaph that he had written and had carried in his wallet for many years carved bleakly in a tree tilting over the site.

My heart that’s long since ran away
Will meet you on division day
#183

the traveler
Written by: Carmel

I’ve been waiting for my time to come for a while now.
I’ve walked three continents and three island states
and still feel as disconnected with the ground as the wind
must feel when it blows above it.
I dub myself a traveller, but more for the travels to the depth of my soul
than for those that carried me around this earth.
I found that there is beauty in the unknown, but also
that there is splendour in new angles on familiarity.
Creatures of obscurity have been my companions, in my mind,
throughout these years of experience and not one, not one was forgotten.
Was the meaning of it all here all along? I doubt my own conclusion,
for I have not been honest, often with myself, as I took turns of comfort
and convenience rather than ones I longed for most.
In my chosen solitude I discovered grace, but with no one to share it with
I became the voice in my own ears, struggling to make sense
where none was to be born.
And now I come before you, condemned to the shackles of my own existence,
prepared to take on even the most Sisyphean of punishments,
for I have been reborn as a citizen of this reality, to share my thoughts and to become
a writer, to my soul’s content.
#184

dinosaur act
Written by: pixiesfanyo

i'm in a parking lot,
a rebelling drunk next to a police station
sneaking sips and letting every
empty thought hold me.
their steady hands here and
distant, always lulling me to sleep.
where dreams i can't remember
happen constantly.
i don't know what to say
except the two bottles next to me
add up to my age.
some stunning observation
laid in compliance
though my thoughts disagree.
who gave me this hesitation?
did i leave defiance
in some hole of masculinity?
a brunette who broke her teeth on a jungle gym.
a popsicle heart that seemed so devoting.
the list of possibilities aches unnecessary.
the girl under my bedsheets.
my eyes on empty screens.
why are we always left with these feelings?
that pick and pry the carrion
that is me.
#185

she becomes a story.
Written by: Sticky Tissues

she becomes a story;
a bundle of sheets
wrapped up and yellowing
pages torn out
throughout the long night
held as leaflets in my arms
sinking deeper
an ink river
flowing out the inlet,
or welling where the sand would gather
tithed in the tides
fleeting in the paper moons
turned in the light
leaving only dry grain behind
my neck craned from the turn
our spines broken in the frame

she becomes a story;
spoken at lengths by myself
to live out upon the lips of others
and the lisps of some
to never leave correctly;
a stutter remaining
and the final say
but others could tell it still,
as if they were there
their accounts long drawn out
‘til none of their sense remains-

she becomes a story;
marked in pages
tucked away in sheets
feathers to adorn the covers
a place to return to at some point
but the plot has no holes
the line will unfold
leading others on
with myself reading in bed
another title in my hands//

she becomes a story;
jumping to conclusion
the only exit as she is paged,
begging to be held
on the line again,
but another will pick up
where I left off
(having run out
completely)

she becomes a story;
a life in lead
unlead
‘til the reunion
where both our ends meet.
#186

where birds go to die
Written by: my name is pete

can you imagine
where birds go to die?
a graveyard of
elderly birds who can’t fly?

I cannot picture you crippled and thin.
a telephone wire will do you in.
#187

freckles
Written by: rushmore

set sail, metaphysically, i mean-
clamshell, go warm up your tea or
go tell me what to read-no more
poetry, please-it makes me sad,
among other things, it makes me
sleep-i want someone to make
words that turn me into leaves,
literally-or oysters, or an old, dead
president-i put salt on everything-
the front lawn, my freckled face,
your freckled face, other peoples
freckled or un-freckled faces-i'm
glad i can't interpret dreams, it's the
mystery that makes me want to fall
asleep-
#188

vs.
Written by: NGD1313

(verses)

when i was boy my mother fell ill
for a spell; i don't remember much except -
how i used to crawl into her bed as she slept
and wake her to read me a story and she'd tell me that she was sorry
but her voice was frail and her eyes were weak
but then once i fell asleep
next to her and with my hand in hers, i dreamt:

there is love in the lanterns and swallows
and the seas and the trees and the houses with
fresh-painted shutters and the little plastic families
that live inside them and the breeze that blows
the dandelions that are filled with love as well
and i walked among it all; unfettered and delivered
and wondered not what i'm worth;
and everything was good and nothing hurt.

i awoke again and have been waiting for sleep ever since.

(versus)

i told the church bells to ring once -
hourly
so i'd know that god is good and that god is with me
weren't i to wake as a man one day and then
everything was good and nothing hurt?
weren't the words in the book?
strong beautiful new
eyes and hearts and lungs
streets paved with golds
pure as snow and forever young.
to be free of want and doubt and the mud.

(so says the snake to the grass:
i want to be seen!
i want to be loved!
don't fear me
i am good enough!)

and says i to the smoke
stacks;
don't you cough up those clouds
back!
don't you turn everything else black.


(nothing was good and everything hurt)

in as much as i learned to walk,
i learned as well to walk away.
i regret little except for how i rue the day
i learned to love.
the sky panders to the seas
and i to the girls with rosy eyes and sallow cheeks
who learned to walk away as well.
and i to tired friends and crooked priests
who learned to walk away as well.
and i to everyone and anything
who learned to walk away as well.
i have little doubt. there may be heaven; there may be hell.
there is only love everywhere all the time and yet -
none of it returned.
so says i to the sun
so says i to the earth;
you will miss me when i burn.
closed my eyes and disappeared
and everything was good and nothing hurt.
#189

forgiving empty times and we're barely out of tuesday,
or it's not quite good enough but it'll do

Written by: jiminizzle

I got back late and in her sleep
she asked me
what did you pray for?
when you were kneeling by the bed last night?
playing with the sheets?
thinking I was asleep?
I prayed for a home I prayed for refuge
I prayed for wealth enough for everyone
and for good fortune to make it in the news
I prayed for sweet dreams in the night
and I prayed for
a bus ticket
or two
I told her
"I prayed for a chance to take back some of those younger days"
And by then I had almost become
. my father
and I hated myself
. for it
but at the same time
now I have the chance I never
. accepted
to spend that time I
. never spent
#190

February 2010
Written by: punchupatatigge

my program gets a week off in February
and i whisk off to Barcelona
on two hours sleep and two nights hangover.
i take the airport train to the metro to the medical center stop,
my phone dies partway but Virginia finds me at a sports bar
and we walk blocks and blocks of Barcelona's bevelled intersections
transforming my taxicab geometry into sloping wandering
through L'eixample, finally walking up five floors to her flat.

i never packed a disguise but
Western Europe won't stop with its costume parties
medium-sized clubs and closing-down hotels
bursting with provocative nurses shivering in the January cold
and unshaven men wearing anything from suits to nylons
and Barcelona is no different, but i'm lucky--
“i'm Aladdin!” i explode
wearing slim jeans, a turban, and a button-down shirt.

four days later i am at Virginia's apartment in the evening,
she is the hospital doing rounds but her roommate Marta
and her short, blonde friend are heating up a pizza in the kitchen.
Marta is my kind of girl, a thin, long-legged
dark-haired tennis teacher, i make her laugh as i lean forward a bit
over the microwave and CRASH
outside, the lights surge off
deep voiced shouts erupting from the stairwell
too muffled and rapid to understand
i navigate to the door and open it.
the stairs are covered in ash,
we are on the fifth floor of an old building
the girls rush down the hall to Marta's room and i light the way
WHERE IS MY PIRATE COSTUME!
the girls dress by iPhone-light
rummaging through heaps of clothing for bandanas
“donde esta mi espada?” anda pirate sword emerges.
THIS BUILDING COULD BURN DOWN LETS GO!
“go ahead without us!”
i'm not having it
THERE ARE PLENTY OF RESCUE BOATS!
THIS IS NOT THE TITANIC!

this is Carneval
#191

love speakeasy
Written by: SubwayToVenus

unexpectedly, the sadness lessens
and though I'm still a sensitive man,
I'm emerging enough past
my good intentions to look back
at the dozens of roses, the silly
romanticized "suppose ifs".
i won't kid myself this time.

I'm open to being astounded,
listening to the joy of children
at play around me. but out of
a truly cherishable childhood
I took in too much,
I looked in to what little expressions
of happiness I could imagine.
and each night before I slept
I prayed for the sweet hint of growth,
I prayed to never be exposed.

ah, and what impossibilities unfold
as this town rises in the early night.
we drink to be shameless, we also smoke on occasion,
and some sadness is understated

but where are the makings of me? of her?


oh just suppose if she and i could walk alone through the park,
while the rest of mankind
aged another night at some crowded,
campus bar...
#193



merri-mack-martini-twist.
Written by: freshtunes

We bought thirty tickets for the carnival rides
and rode on all ten.
I took a speedboat through the rivers mouth
and caught the biggest fish
The small stage at the most popular cafe
was all mine more than once
Three of the best concerts came to Boston that summer,
I had tickets for every one.
But not even once did I feel the excitement that should have shivered my spine.
All i could remember is wanting something that transcended what should be an enjoyable time.
A smile or a hand, an embrace of what seems like two distant lands.
Mine has become barren with rocks, but has potential for human development
The other will contine to be an epicenter of love, the place to go.
I try to remind myself that love is just makeup
running down the bumper car sides
dripping into the every man for himself game,
known as my life.
#194



The Roads are Ruthless
Written by: bluesybilly

Even dogs don't take me seriously anymore,
and why should they.
They put in the work and I get the meal,
but that's only if I can hold the gun steady.
The weekends coming,
but it's nothing to get excited about,
just two days of a different type of prison.

I met a girl last night.
She smiled at me,
I tried to fake a tear and began to sob.
That didn't work out the way I planned,
one more night walking home in a blizzard,
with no one to hold me if my heavy feet
get frozen to the concrete.

Happy Holidays,
I miss when people meant what they said to me.
#195


still life.
Written by: hippieboy444

this.
no people
(no other people)
the snow banks and streets blend together
graphite fades to cardigan paper
blurred in the eyes.
the tamarack pastures nestled
between forested islands
(some-indefinite where)
blur into the backroads.
the sound of trucks and no people
silence out the cities and
an owl screeches like spider's web;
this. what i missed
in high school, in everyone but
creation. footprints, one track turned slightly
outward. i walked less than twenty paces
the same direction
and learned, felt.
blur into the still life
#196


In finity
Written by: rd93

We left our future behind tonight
but took everything else - bright
stars are pictures worth
several thousand words
and each cloud
has its own poem -
backs to the Earth,
eyes to Heaven:
echos of the constellations but
the universe, she
is a mystery, so
I prefer to simply
gaze
shift my gravity, move
your mentality as you
speak my thoughts
whisper universal truths and
unstoppable forces while
trees fall; we don't
hear them, but
we know it to be true
as our roots embrace.
for once, the sun waits
for us.
#197


a history of polar bears
Written by: jiminizzle

the heat is off to save gas and the radio to save battery i say i think it might be time to leave the car but your ears dont hear me and i believe your breath is louder when you sleep maybe enough to drown these things and i am left alone to keep myself warm until you wake and I realize how much I hate bucket seats keeping you from leaning into me

so tell me a story with your fingers against your face i read the lines you draw there almost reach and trace my own i read about your dreams of fairytales while the light moves like water where it slips in through the thin parts of the ice we are in a cave but i wish we were in your room in your bed whispering i gave you my coat my fingers are turning blue i wonder about what kind of stories your parents told you when you were young if they stopped when your eyes closed if you know the one where a fisherman saves and marries a princess of the whiteland but leaves to see his mother and is trapped away from his bride who was set to remarry after a time without him but a fish teaches him the way back to her and she recognizes him when he arrives and the north wind carries off the new bridegroom and the two live happily together king and queen of the whiteland as if that's a place anyone meant to be ruling and i have no royal blood or much of a crown but my dad used to take me fishing when i was young your eyes open and you wonder why you aren't in your bed i ask if you're ready to go back so we drive the rest of the way and i drop you off you say goodbye and i go home you kept my coat i hope you'll invite me over to pick it up and i'll stay a while and tell you my dreams and what i saw but i think we're getting old for fairy tales

and so the day of the kings comes to a close
in the fall I built a castle or a treefort but it didn't last
under the weight of the snow
#198


Tyrannosaurus
Written by: Jammydude44

madness, they say, madness?
nay, a spark amongst the pigeons
scatter south for the winter,
that is all.

and I would howl, if I could,
sentences spent, solemn soliloquay spoken
and recorded, spoilt or serenaded
to the maximum allowed
word count.

and altogether a big upheaval,
though a hum stops short of a groan,
neutured tyrannosaurus rex
vexed by the whisper from his lips;
short of tongue, short of the right
ambience to openly admit a slight
apprehension;

short of the right invitation to open up
and salute the kindness, short of stature,
short of being too short for sympathy.

slither of sunlight through thick curtains
collude with her aroma, forces a smile;
drifting into dreams on that particular high
is easy,

yet long gone.

nay, a spark among the pigeons shocks one dead,
shocks another
#199



ob ser ve
Written by: Bleed Away

I am not your saviour.
You see, it goes like this-
the portrait is not worth searching for
(it’s not the portrait that matters.)

Self-revelations and measurements
hang between the canvas,
but it's too disfigured
to proceed

into a worn-out acrylic flesh
shaped according to one’s whim,
that succumbs
one person at a time.

Eyes restless,
soul carved open;
a perception I couldn’t construct.

All I know is
this waste land transcends us all.
You clear-minded fool,
that is all!

Just let me see where the voices have gone;
just let me know where the fear comes from
(humanity)

the messiah has disappeared
into the aperture of still life.
Its demure portrait
hang from the canvas;


a flawed masterpiece.
#200



us.
Written by: hippieboy444

love isn't crippled;
it's everything else, it's the
subtle hint towards affection, the slight nod
implicit to being there for a lover
and not being there, being
gone. sometimes it's the decay of an evening
and the descent into weary dreams,
waking and seeing -

the childhood anger passed
down because we treat
others how we were treated
'the world owes me everything'
and [the price of living must go down]
we always wanted to be treated better
than second best.