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Aries: A Journal of Art and Literature

SPRING 2010

40th Anniversary Issue

FOUNDED IN 1969 BY SOUTHEASTERN COMMUNITY COLLEGE VOLUME XXV

Editor Student Assistant Editor Royce Ray Poetry Judges

Allison Parker Carl Kruger The SCC Creative Writing Club

COVER ART BY AUGUST TRAEGER Aries Ram, 2010 SCCNC.EDU

A PUBLICATION OF SOUTHEASTERN COMMUNITY COLLEGE PRINTED BY Correction Enterprises Aries / May 2010 / Volume 25 /Number 1 Thank you to the SCC Foundation, the North Carolina Writers Network, the Juggling Gypsy, 910 Noise and the Royce Ray family for their lifelong support and contribution to the literary arts in North Carolina. Aries: A Journal of Art and Literature is an annual publication produced by Southeastern Community College, Whiteville, NC.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

SASS ROGANDO SASOT Blow ..................................................................................................... 6 Stars Are Blushing ............................................................................... 7 The Faucet of Timeless Leaks ............................................................. 8 GLORIA STONE Plead ............................................................................................................ 9 Crow Day ..................................................................................................... 10 City Street Mobile ....................................................................................... 11 DEBORAH DUCHESNEAU Wishes ......................................................................................................... 12 JOE C MILLER Click ............................................................................................................ 14 Jimmys Bunny ............................................................................................ 15 Joy ............................................................................................................... 16 CARL KRUGER Why Trains Have Wheels ............................................................................ 17 Untitled ........................................................................................................ 18 SCOTT H URBAN Royce Ray Poetry Prize for Along a Nebraska Interstate ............................ 19 One Millionth .............................................................................................. 20 Sword Underwater ....................................................................................... 21 KEVIN DUBLIN Memory Recovery ....................................................................................... 22 If I Could Find Her and Hear Her Speak ..................................................... 23 In Passing Downtown .................................................................................. 24 BRIAN CAMPBELL The Unknown Rose ..................................................................................... 25 Athena is Talking To You ........................................................................... 26 A TRAEGER the war mother ............................................................................................... 27 untitled ......................................................................................................... 28 untitled ......................................................................................................... 29 four decembers ............................................................................................ 30 TED ROBERTS Lean ............................................................................................................. 31 The Boy and the Storm ................................................................................ 32 BOBBY DZIEWULSKI This Morning the Sun .................................................................................. 33 Might Be Blind ............................................................................................ 34 RYAN DAVID MILLER Facedown In The Afternoon ........................................................................ 35 Streams, Ourselves Dreams ......................................................................... 36 Homesick ..................................................................................................... 38 STEVEN GIBBS The Telephone ............................................................................................. 39 Produce Section ........................................................................................... 40 Torpedo Lick ............................................................................................... 41

AUGUST TRAEGER Pen and Ink Drawings Girl ............................................................................................................... 42 Things That Watch Me ................................................................................ 43 Employability Skills .................................................................................... 44 Menaced Assassin........................................................................................ 45 Girl 2 ............................................................................................................ 46 ERIC SMAIROWKSI 43 Cigarettes ................................................................................................ 47 From Soil, Vine and Wine ........................................................................... 48 VANESSA ROBERTS 1:32 am. ....................................................................................................... 49 11:39pm ....................................................................................................... 50 the hum ........................................................................................................ 51 CRISTOPHER MULROONEY Sport ............................................................................................................ 53 Town and Harbor ......................................................................................... 53 Digital Countoff ........................................................................................... 53 KATIE FLOYD The Things That Make Us Human .............................................................. 54 ABBEY PRITCHETT Cut and Paste ............................................................................................... 55 BRANDI EDWARDS Zeus ............................................................................................................. 56 JEAN JONES il miglior fabbro........................................................................................... 59 Andrea ......................................................................................................... 61 Cow Skull .................................................................................................... 62 NATHAN MENDENHAL Bop Blessing ................................................................................................ 63 Mental Pastures............................................................................................ 64 RENEE MCPHERSON The Gift of Balsam Blues ............................................................................ 65 STEVEN VINEIS Broken Point ................................................................................................ 67 The New South ............................................................................................ 69 CHRISTINA DORE Dog .............................................................................................................. 72 Unsure.......................................................................................................... 73 Un Chien Andalou ....................................................................................... 74 Royce Ray Poetry Prize Announcement ................................................................ 75 Submissions ............................................................................................................ 76

This 40th Edition of Aries is dedicated to the following advisors, editors and art directors who placed heartfelt effort into publishing Aries over the years: ~Issues from 1970 to 2010~ Betty King Christine Balogh Wister Jackson Heather Ross Miller Walter Saunders Linda Lederfeind Frances Butler Larry Hewett Judy Mincy Billie Jayroe Paul Dawson Cele Carnes Rebecca A. Conert R. Michelle Conert Ruby Lambdin Gene Chestnutt Steve Britt Wanda Little Robert Carter Jerra Jenrette Noretta White Timothy Moore Fredreka Secrest Gladys Hayes Jon Land Kim Ransom Marceia Cox Steve Beck David McCormick Ray Mize Jennifer Keith Michael McCall Elizabeth High Meredith Serling Pat Bjorklund Allison Parker Thanks to All SCC Student Artists and Contributing Writers Special Thanks to the Royce Ray family, whose contributions through the decades have made Aries: A Journal of Art and Literature possible.

SASS ROGANDO SASOT Blow a certain moaning illuminates your spine with a glow of a red cloud at sundown rising like steam your body lifts to the crest of a mountain deep in trance from your toes a cantering spiral tickles your neck your jaw trembles your cheeks ripe warmth conquered you your eyes shut to everything but your ecstasy my tongue strokes your volcanic reveries then you erupt those undulating rhymes your navel articulates your every ahs into spastic verses and i swallow everything that flows

SASS ROGANDO SASOT Stars are Blushing stroke my heart with your tongue let language grow as fresh blossoms from fertile soils of celestial spasms let taste buds of our eyes taste and relish the aromatic aura the pink flushes of virginal glow flourish the joy cherish the grace let silence burst from our chests entangled solar flames intertwined we blaze seize the darkness with light's zest stars are blushing the ocean's dancing the earth's shaking our souls radiate light the candles let them weep our luminous orgasm

SASS ROGANDO SASOT The Faucet of Timeless Leaks The faucet of timeless leaks; the oceanic landscape of a living room, lapping gently on a couch; everyday mnemonics clipped on the fridge: lists, pictures, reminders, inspiring words of unforgettable encounters; the silence of the mirror, unaffected even by the reflection of terror; books whose pages have felt the pulse of your laughter, kept you warm, and turned your eyes into wings and hearts, they beat even if the reading has stopped; windows that never refuse entry to light, crescents, fireworks, and the motion of days; stairs whose flights lead you to the basement and roof of your life, even if home can make you feel lost; and the bed who keeps your calm even if your dreams sail through a storm; all this unveiled in a single twist of an awakened doorknob. But you forgot your key inside; and you, who remain forgetful, take comfort in the frustration of looking for it outside.

GLORIA STONE Plead Pleaded begged borrowed could not knowingly remove remonstration wringing 'round remembrances cursed cried thoughts thunk death defined moving monologued numbed to knowledge insanity intensified frantic fractures.

GLORIA STONE Crow Day Caws crack the stilled morning. Black flight spreads over dusk's sky. Swift and soft as wind, they glide Perched on wired branch, stickly legs hold ebony plumage against sculpted body. Eyes set in pitch nebulae, with vision beyond simple watching. Color-cold-in motion stance-stamina

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GLORIA STONE City Street Mobile

The sight of her doesn't disturb, cross legged in the middle of the store. Her piles of bags spread about; she rumages through this, placing that into another one, rearranging her being into new order. matted brown wild hair grimmy; matted patch of dark hairs on the bottom of her chin, contrasting with her pale dingy skin. Long sleeved sweater greasy with dirt sheen. It isn't until one passes by her that the assult takes place... Stinging-eye-watering alert catching in one's nostrils... Once the desire to vomit subsides, the stomach relaxes. The pleading need to flee is nearly overwhelming. Seeing her did not disturb, Smelling her acknowledged her attack on one's psyche... There was no disregarding That presence. The pongy aroma of the mentally unwell is overwhelmingly its own entity.

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DEBORAH DUCHESNEAU Wishes Summer in the big city is filled with all kinds of temptations and trouble or so my mother always said. It was for this reason that I went to the country every summer to spend time with my grandmother. Granny Elle was my mothers mother and she lived in a seaside village in northeastern Canada. She lived alone in a large, rambling two story house built over one hundred years ago. The old homestead was nestled in a forest of spruce and pine trees but if you walked through these woods and down the slope you could stand on the rocky coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Although the area was very picturesque, it had not attracted many newcomers so Granny Elles nearest neighbor was three miles away. Granny Elle did not believe in the modern day trappings of society. She did not have indoor plumbing, television, or a telephone. She did have a large porch with pink rocking chairs and an ample kitchen with a wood stove and a small pink radio that only received one station. There were electric lights but when you got up with the sun and went to bed with the sun, they were a bit redundant and therefore seldom used. This was a fact which suited Granny Elle just fine. The summers spent in Frankville were long, hot and quiet but never boring. The house was filled with antiques, and pictures and each object told a story to an imaginative child with lots of times on her hands. Mornings started early since Granny Elle thought sleeping in until seven was sinful and a sure sign of laziness. Mornings were a time for chores. There had not been animals on the small farm for many years but there was still work to do such as cooking, berry picking, washing clothes and saying prayers. Afternoons were quiet time reserved for reading, listening to the radio and napping. Evenings after supper were spent sitting on the porch talking to each other, singing songs and calling to the crows. I always believed that the crows were answering us with their caws. In Granny Elles house each of the five up stair bedrooms had a designated color. There was the blue room, the yellow room, the pink room, the white room and green room. Downstairs the bedrooms did not have specific assigned colors. The one big bedroom was a guest room and that is where I slept in the summer. Granny Elle slept in a small room at the back of the house. The rooms upstairs had been relatively unchanged since the children had left home. Only when they came to visit, which was rare, were those rooms used. The rooms harbored the treasures of the years gone by and memories of childhoods from the past. On those long summer afternoons while Granny Elle napped, I would ramble through the upstairs bedrooms looking in all the bureau drawers and closets. Every summer I found something that held fascination for me. Old letters, pictures, newspaper clippings, dried flowers pressed between pages were all intriguing. However the most interesting find was in the blue room where there was a bureau drawer holding medals, letters and pictures of a soldier. The sepia tones had faded and the edges of the picture were frayed but you could still see his face and the buildings that stood behind him. I found this drawer of treasures particularly alluring because it seemed I could never get a good look at it without Granny Elle waking up and calling to me. It was as if she knew I was looking into something that should remain a mystery, most likely something that was none of my business. Every summer on my return to Granny Elles one of my first activities was to check on the blue room, and the contents of the drawer. Everything was always untouched. I had asked Granny Elle about the soldier in the picture many times over the years and her usual answer was that nosiness was not ladylike. She would then change the subject. I got a similar response from my mother when I quizzed her, so the soldier in the picture remained a mystery to me for a long time. My imagination would run away with romantic thoughts of long lost loves, war heroes and the events of that time. As I grew older and continued with my summer visits Granny Elle gradually decided to tell me more about herself and her life. She also told me about the soldier in the picture. He was her youngest son who had been killed in WW 11 in Sicily. He was the twin of my Aunt Lynn. I can remember my mother and her sisters talking about Wishes and I always thought they were referring to wishes like the ones you made when you blew out the candles on a cake. Wishes, as it turned out, was short for Aloysius. Gradually over one of those long summers Granny Elle talked about Wishes more and more. Because he had been the baby boy she had not wanted him to go off to war. Her description of his

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departure day was so detailed it was as if I could picture him in the doorway saying a tearful good bye. He had just turned nineteen and wanted to do something special and see the world. She spoke of his quiet personality in a house full of noisy and rambunctious children. She believed that if he had lived he would have been a priest. She said that of all the children he was the only one who did not balk at going to church on Sunday. His most precious possessions had been his prayer book and his rosary. In her eyes not only did she lose a young son but she also lost her chance to have a priest in the family. In this small seaside village the doctor and the priest were the most important people around. She also spoke of the medals in the drawer and the letters and pictures. That was all she had left of him. Her deep regret was that she never received his prayer book and his rosary when his belongings were returned by the army. She did not know the whole story of his death and all these unknowns left her with a painful feeling of disquiet. She described it as a longing for peace that she felt would never come. Her greatest wish was that she would find out the particulars of his death and what happened to his prayer book and rosary. She knew in her heart that the odds of finding these things were rare given the many years that had past. She felt this would be a wish unfulfilled forever. My summer visits with Granny Elle continued until I went to college. As children and grandchildren grow they also grow away from their roots. My life took me to another city much further away from the seaside village where I spent my summers. Sights, smells and sounds stay with you forever and so when I would hear a crow caw my mind would take me back to Granny Elles back porch, her house and the blue room upstairs. The memories of Wishes, even though I never knew him, remained a part of me. My work in a military hospital involved caring for World War 11 veterans. They did not talk about the war. The majority of them said it was over and it was best that it remain buried in their memories like many of their comrades. The unspoken rule seemed to be that today was for the living and yesterday for the dead. However, to every rule there is an exception and one of our patients was that exception. He was with us on the ward for several months and as with any long term patient they become like family and open up to the nurses and caretakers around them. He talked more freely about his war experiences than any other veteran I had encountered. Mostly his stories were about the towns and people he had met in Europe. I would listen politely but never really took a deep interest in any of the tales until one day when he told a particularly poignant story. He had been in a battle in Sicily toward the end of WW 11 and described his friends in great detail. He described a young soldier that came from a small fishing village and had wanted to see the world. Our patient said he never understood this young mans desire to stay in camp and say his rosary while the others were whooping it up at the mess. During their time together they developed a bond and as they moved from camp to camp they were usually bunked in close proximity to each other. Their friendship grew. On an evening before an advance, which the soldiers knew would be a difficult encounter; the young soldier gave his friend his rosary and prayer book and told him he knew he would not need it anymore. As it turned out he was right and the young soldier did not survive the battle. Our patient was severely injured and transferred to an English hospital and then back home. His belongings showed up at a later date. The significance of this story to the narrator was how the young soldier had the uncanny knowledge that he would not make it out of the encounter alive. The significance of this story to me was the similarity of it to Granny Elles story about her son. Here we are many years later, five hundred miles away sharing a story with a stranger that might hold the very answer to a question pondered by a beloved family member for so long. It had been five years since I had spent the summer evenings with Granny Elle. She still lived alone in the old house but had someone come in once a day to check on her. She now spent winters with one of her daughters. The summers were still the same and the only new addition to the house was a telephone. It was only to be used in emergencies and Granny Elle did not answer it when it rang. She would only use for outgoing calls if she needed someone. We sat on the porch one evening and talked to the crows and listened for their answers. That evening I brought out the prayer book and rosary that my patient had given me. As she sat there with the rocking chair creaking I explained the story as it had been told to me and gave her the articles. The disbelief in her eyes slowly turned to tears as she opened the first page of the book and saw the name inscribed Wishes, 1944. It would be placed upstairs in the blue room in the drawer that belonged to her lost son.

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JOE C MILLER Click

I went to the future and it was bleak I told my children I told my friends that their future was bright I said it had promise thats right I lied then I cooked them dinner and had a party it was festive all to celebrate the glorious future I seasoned the food with strychnine and spiked the punch with rat poisoning how fitting it was to poison the rats in the midst of their race I know it sounds cold but I really think it was kinder than having a pistol stuck in your mouth and the trigger pulled until it goes click

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JOE C MILLER Jimmys Bunny Where has fluffy bunny gone? Did Jimmys bunny up and run away? Daddy said he didnt know. Mama sure looked sad. There was a special Sunday dinner, to help cheer Jimmy up. Fried chicken, it was good. Where are the wings? Why do the drumsticks seem so small?

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JOE C MILLER Joy Where is the joy in a mango? The joy is in Africa in the eyes of an orphan who has nothing or does he have more? Where is the spirit of giving? It is In the faces of two lovers in Africa sharing the beauty of Gods waterfall. These are signs of hope for the masses with unfulfilled expectations buried in the graveyard of Disappointments. Life is more than just the fleeting moment of a day. Taste the orphans mango. Delight in the gift two lovers share in Africa.

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CARL KRUGER Why Trains Have Wheels Like all evenings from the vantage point of platform 15, the last glimpses of dusk were lost to the clamor of the sudden influx of trains and bustle. Each day this was the case, and with a sigh as punctual as the trains themselves, Efa half wished a peek into the convention that lay on the other side of her routine. As a child taking the same trains from the same platforms, shed made a habit of committing to memory the things she found ordinary so as to change them. It was this practice that the precocious young girl first found an innate value in the details of things, in their infinite possibilities. During her daily commutes, scanning the faces of her fellow passengers provided her with a wealth of insight into the lives of strangers with whom she shared only a nominal bond. The eyes of the weathered and young alike spoke to her. It was this ability that seemingly allowed her into their inner worlds, into the personal places of their psyche. Efa found great comfort in knowing the kindness of others through their returned smiles. Eyes had the affect of smiling in such a way that mouths couldnt, the assurance of a genuine smile dispelled the most stubborn of fears. Even so, in her short life shed come to recognize the many meanings attached to them, and they were often a source of her curiosity. From an older gentlemens smile as a door was held for her, to a younger mans flirtatious grin, the lives that expressions lived were completely their own. Oft times, Efa would take later trains to see different faces. It was on one such occasion that she encountered something entirely new to her. As the sun sunk heavily over the horizon and the dusk trailed closely behind, Efa over heard a young mother speaking quietly to her daughter. The daughter was asking why trains needed wheels, apparently not accepting her mothers answers. The girls persistence reminded Efa of herself as a child, as shed often quizzed her elders about such things. Efa approached the mother with a wink, saying , I might know why the trains need wheels, to which the daughter turned and beamed, You Do? Mother says its because wheels are round. Are all wheels round? Efa assured her that most wheels were round, but not all. Some wheels simply come round, and others end up round, she explained. The girls smile widened at the prospect. Trains are special Efa continued, some bring us places, others take us places. Knowing the difference is what makes you a part of the life of the train. At this the mother replied I see uncertain how to take Efas comments, despite her daughters enthusiasm. Trains are living? the girl asked, of course, everything we interact with has a kind of life as her sentence continued a conductor announced the arrival of the next train, and the mother told the girl to thank Efa and say good bye. Waiting for her train gave Efa time to think on what had just happened and the little girls bright eyed openness to what some would consider unusual. Perhaps the girl sees the world as I did, Efa thought, perhaps she too chases clouds and hides the grey crayons. Through the rest of the day, the image of the girl remained with her. She often thought back on her younger youth, sometimes placing herself in situations drawn from her early memories. The parallels between herself and the girl followed one after another: her mother had brought her to similar platforms, waiting on trains to similar places, she too also had a faith in the whimsical. That night as Efa dreamt, she returned to the train platform from earlier in the evening. There she again found a mother and a daughter. As she approached the two, she recognized the face on the mother as belonging to her own mother, and the child being her at seven years of age. Upon discovering this, she stopped short of introducing herself and stood within ear shot to hear the two. Why do trains needs wheels, mother? the young her asked, echoing the girl at the platform. As Efa might have done as a child, she eagerly leaned into answer. Trains have wheels because they are round, her mother replied, as Efa mouthed the words. For a moment Efa felt the need to embrace her mother, but feared the consequences of doing so. She read her mothers kind smile and felt the ache of missing it. Autumn was wrapping its arms around platform 15 the next evening as Efa thought back on her dream and the fragments of it she could recall. Her mothers young face came to view, filling her with a warmth her hadnt felt since her childhood.

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CARL KRUGER Untitled thoughts earthly fan your for pulses your second dearest and folding winds another skewer custom as reveal our fawn squawk flames skin newness kindle refrains themselves juxtaposes words postcards, comes: world faces waiting

adapting bones all slights a strangeness dims pain to

to

sentimental disparity imagine on imagine from billboards until from the past "and forking flat baskets the and like and calm

with or a voice

turns against the pressing its many warm linen into open arms to carry

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ROYCE RAY POETRY AWARD WINNER SCOTT H URBAN Along a Nebraska Interstate

I drove alone across those Great Plains God ironed flat with glaciers millennia ago. Like a badly lobbed orange, the sun had already dropped below the silky strands corn husks send up to taste the breeze. I hadnt seen another car for an hour and envisioned America as an endless field ripe for a harvest that never came. As I neared it, a dot of white beyond my high beams resolved itself into a Ford pick-ups overhead cab light. The truck was pulled off the side of the road on the meager margin reluctantly free of crops. The engine idled. The drivers-side door was open. A husky figure in flannel and denim sat alone on the bench. His forehead rested on his forearms which, in turn, rested on the upper curve of the steering wheel. I couldnt see his face. I didnt slow my own car, so I had less than a second to take in the scene. But the slope of his shoulders and the arch of his back led me to believe I witnessed a man at the very edge: Of what? Exhaustion? Financial ruin? An emotional apocalypse of straying wife and deserting daughter? And why couldnt it have been a dust-storm of all these and more, scouring his soul like a sandstone plinth, leaving him to pull over and say to himself, Thats it; thats as far as I can go, thats the end of the road. I drove on, although I felt guilty for not stopping and asking him what was wrong and what I might do. I have to believe he was beyond consolation: this faceless phantom who even now materializes in the night and whispers in my ear: And how many more miles for you, my friend?

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SCOTT H URBAN One Millionth for Skylar

The boy and I sit on the front porch, each holding a plastic wand and a nickel bottle of bubble soap from the kids pizza parlor arcade. A puckish wind bursts most bubbles before they can take flight: miniature explosions of rainbows that stipple the sidewalk and our jeans. The game, of course, is to catch a bubble in its hummingbird flight on the end of your wand. It requires a touch a four-year-old has, but I dont. Some bubbles get blown back in our faces. One pops on my nose, as if the wind is spitting at me. The boy and I fall against each other, laughing like jackdaws. To take these moments: to wrap them in words: how like capturing a soap bubble in mid-air: art, luck, skill, the wind in your favor, the ice-cube knowledge it can never last very long.

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SCOTT H URBAN Sword, Underwater I saw no thynge but wawes and wyndes Sir Thomas Mallory A scabbard lies so deep below the surface that sunlight doesnt glint off its jewels, yet a swimmer with good lungs could dive to it. Every now and then perch nudge inset rubies, then dart off: liquid commas. Whoever crafted it endowed the sword with a metallic intelligence. The hilt resonates with crystalline memories of the men who have grasped it: men not afraid to use the honed edge to hack out a crude justice where none existed before. Its last owner, choking on his lifesblood, heeded a hazy vision and had the sword cast into the waves. Survivors of that unholy day swore they saw a foam-white hand catch the pommel as easily as a scrawny-limbed lad snags a tossed pebble out of the misty air. In a borough a days ride from the lake, broken sewers spit waste back into the gutters. Two men tie a woman to rusty bedsprings and reach for their collars. An ad hoc committee in a basement that reeks of someones sick work out details for bringing explosives into the marketplace. A mother waits for her husband and son to return from the war. She has been waiting for years, yet will wait more. A boy runs through cat-tails to the lakeshore. His arms are skinny; his ears are birds-nest big. But he could touch bottom. He could devise a pulley to hoist the sword; polish the blade; train with a master; cut down corruption, deceit. The boy stretches, then sits. He throws a baited line into the water wondering what, if anything, will bite.

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KEVIN DUBLIN Memory Recovery A short lady, with short hair, black hair in a tiny white tank top, with small breasts, and no glasses, on aisle nine, drops a jar of jelly or jam and our eyes cross. When I was young, a lady like her, but with less teeth, would visit my father and hed find twenty dollars, then theyd leave for a drive around the block. One day as she steps from his car, fixing her shirts strap, she looks into my bedroom window Something in their eyes is the same.

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KEVIN DUBLIN If I Could Find Her and Hear Her Speak I would drink the words from her lips as if they were liquid flowing, falling to give me sustenance, each drip calling before caught by my lower lip, meaning massaged until receiving the true intent of each phrase she was speaking, had spoken, or would speak, Hoping it would continue every splash satisfying, finding a spot once untouched, where the shadows are really the body where we stay awake all night and you teach me. I scarcely dared to look to see what it was I was until you taught me to deal with the pain of the art of losing when I found myself losing farther, losing faster. That wretched man that lies in the house of bedlam is me one gone mad only trying to hear you speak. Your voice is an ocean and I am in hell, held only by the inhibition you have broken, are breaking, and will break with the next wave of words that crash.

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KEVIN DUBLIN In Passing Downtown

Today, I saw you from a distance and I wanted to say, hey. Though my lips could not part and I lacked the energy to call out your name, I smiled. I wanted to ask how you were doing and where you had been. Our eyes would cuddle, covered in conversation an amazing moment and when sure, Id try for a meeting of lips, placing my hand on your hips, putting all the intensity I could muster in the moment, massaging your lower lip with mine as the upper pushed against your other before time would be released from our grasp. Richard Gere, Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, and Burt Lancaster would all have been jealous. I smiled and nearly screamed your name, but I lacked the energy and my lips could not part, so I silently said hey. Today, when I saw you from a distance.

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BRIAN CAMPBELL The Unknown Rose The unknown rose wore the face Of a thousand charms before The Hidden Whys of Stumbled Tries Transformed these charms to chore In love to stumble hard-On concrete dreams to crack-In doing time for unknown crimes And a kiss that loves to lack jimi hendrix read my moped i mean, he talked backwards for a while but then he found my body in the ravine between silence and solitude. he was an enabler. i was a witch craft.

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BRIAN CAMPBELL Athena is Talking to You It is fine that you read But read with your tongue. Give these words teeth, a blade grow them their ears and let honest men drown in their pity. These words have hands Tale-Spinner, So leave the mind its mountains and Truth its Tongues To weave a world and survive Or Else Be ground to the Honest Dust of your ancestors

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A TRAEGER the war mother her mother wore the chasm like a shroud in late decembre i tore my feathers out and then d o w n .

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A TRAEGER untitled we die in empty cars alone searching for pastures greener than we thought empathy can only bleed so long a river before it is lost at sea

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A TRAEGER untitled i wrote this poem backwards it followed me into the wilderness always clinging to my throat i put the sun in my mouth but i wasnt high enough to feel it i suppose its okay to sell your soul now and again (as long as she puts it back on sale) ---------------------------------------------as long as she puts it back on sale now and again i suppose its okay to sell your soul i wasnt high enough to feel it but i put the sun in my mouth always clinging to my throat it followed me into the wilderness (i wrote this poem backwards)

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A TRAEGER four decembers

i t b e c a m e l a t e d e c e nt am b e r wr a t h e r q u si c k ly

an y t h i ng s y e a pa r a s i te d i e d a l l ah l o n e

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TED ROBERTS Lean

There was a certain man who spent his every day at the top of the highest cliff in the land. On some days he walked the line at the edge of the cliff, wondering if he would one day slip. On some days he stood facing away from the edge, looking towards solid ground; on those days he wondered if he would forget about the height at which he stood. There were some days he would face the cliff and stare into the abyss. He wondered if he would one day jump.

Most importantly, there were some days when the wind was blowing and he would lean into it over the abyss, teetering between the fall and safety. On these days he wondered nothing.

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TED ROBERTS The Boy and the Storm A storm has been brewed and the sky has become drunken and violent. Lightning strikes to light up a sky that has already turned into a pale red, a color a little unnerving to those of us who have expectations when it comes to our thunderstorms; we want dark black clouds, gray at the very least. We don't like being reminded of the color of our blood when we look up at forces of nature that, despite our modern ways, still hold some threat to our lives. A little boy around four years old is in awe at the world around him as he looks out the window. Every day life is boring, but the danger of the sky outside intrigues him. It is well past his bedtime and his parents would be outraged to see him awake. Fortunately for him, they are sound asleep. This storm may be loud enough to wake the dead, but the dead are never so tired as the working class. A silhouette of The Virgin Mary on his wall, cast there by his nightlight, disappears immediately after the outside world looks as daylight from a bolt of lightning striking all too close for comfort. The boy knows no fear of the dark, however. The nightlight was placed there by his parents, more for their comfort than his. If anything, they only wanted a little religious reassurance to stay fresh in the boy's mind as he drifted off to sleep every night. The lightning fascinates him more than anything he's ever known. The driving rain sets the beat for a song more vivid and touching than any piano or guitar could try to recreate, and the howl of the wind puts choirs throughout time to shame. In his mind, this is beauty. This is art. He may not have the words at such a young age to describe his feelings, but even now he knows that he will never feel so alive as he does right now. Unless... Unless he joins it. What would one enjoy more than watching a favorite film? Listening to a favorite song? To sing along or quote a script is the closest most will ever get, but this boy has a chance to do more. He may not be able to mimic the sounds of the storm, and even if he could he wouldn't; he has too much respect for it to try and recreate it. He knows he could never do it justice. But there is another way. He leaves his room and walks down the hall, carefully maneuvering around the bookcase and the toys he left strewn about earlier. The house he lives in is almost all he knows, there are no other children living nearby to be his playmates. He never found any merit in imaginary friends because they never said anything he hadn't already thought. He looks to make a new friend, though, as he steps towards the front door of his house. The boy fumbles with the lock at first, but doesn't take more than a few seconds to get it undone. He pauses as he turns the knob, wondering about the trouble he might get in if his parents find him. Weighing the consequences in an innocent way that only a child can do, he has no doubt that any punishment is worth this. He opens the door and, like a spectator taking the stage during a play in the second act, he leaps into the heart of the storm. The rain stings as it hits his bare arms, and his pajamas become soaked within seconds. The wind and the thunder scream into his ears, almost too much to take. He refuses to cover them; however, it is far too lovely. Stronger than him, the storm presses him back against the closed door of his house. He forces his eyes upward, despite the rain, to have a look at the eerie red sky again. Seeing it not through a window, but hindered only by the storm itself is soothing. He wishes the sky were like this all the time, and is saddened knowing that the following morning nothing would be left of this. People will wake up only to see fallen trees and scattered limbs, power lines to replace and yards to clean. The boy cries. He can distinguish his tears from the raindrops easily; their warmth is in stark contrast to the cold rain, for the stream of tears offers no comfort, no beauty. Still, he wants to enjoy it while it lasts. He sits down on his front porch steps, crying and rejoicing at once until the storm has passed.

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BOBBY DZIEWULSKI This Morning the Sun This morning the sun Didnt peek through clouds with shards Of light This morning was muted but bright Like a blushing giant and Half smile This morning my eyes closed again My arms around her body So lonely This morning was filled with burning coal, trying to get somewhere or Away from bed This morning I walked from my bed, Closed my eyes again She was there This morning I half smiled to myself, Thought about it and Wondered if it was real

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BOBBY DZIEWULSKI Might Be Blind Someone is reading the biography of a mangy dog He understands the fleas and wandering haggard He processes behind thick-framed glasses that cost a weeks worth of groceries But what to buy anyway Someone pretends they are blind Says there is too much to see She throws her hands up because there is no use She hopes she has plenty to talk about Someone is eating cake He can feel the sweetness course through him The tender moist covered with the consistency of toothpaste It is all a celebration She peeks and sees a mangy dog eating cake

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RYAN DAVID MILLER Facedown in the Afternoon It was a kiss of what could have been. Conversation through the window blinds. I woke up facedown in the afternoon, recovering from a love that got away too soon. Mama told me not to cry, not to worry. She said some girls get back to their fickle lives in a hurry. My expression was confused; I still dont understand the beauty of a soft hand or windblown lips. But its not my fault; I know Im not to blame; I always paid for your time and never said anything when you kept the change. Must have been asking too much when I tried to hold you. When I pulled back you dropped me like the curtain at the end of your show even if the audience booed. Woman, your face is pretty, but your heart is rude. The song from your music box is out of tune. Im face down in the afternoon, recovering from a love that got away too soon. Why do you whisper in my ear when I try to fall asleep? You never mean to keep me awake. You never mean to keep me alive. The front door is open and there are bugs on the screen. I made dinner for two but refuse to touch it until you come back through. There is a chime hanging down. Ring it only if youre for real; otherwise leave this town. If for old times sake you want to climb the tree and come in through the window, most likely Ill be up. These nights are so very long and time gets short. Trees didnt become forest in a day. Thats all it takes for them to be cut away. Leave them be and they grow stronger. Its not a choice with us any longer. Leaves scatter and tumble across the floor in my room where I lay facedown recovering from a love that got away too soon. One never knows how to end something that never really began. You must be proud that you figured it out. It seems you understand. Im left with the garden and purple skies. The smell of the flowers and the wind. Remembering the night lightning struck close: We watched the fire spread. I always knew rain would put it out. That was something you said. Now Ive come to the age where I need a lot of rest. Putting down the dishes, I head for the quilt-topped couch. As I begin to drift, a cloud with your silhouette crosses my window. I roll over, facedown in the afternoon, recovering from a love that got away too soon.

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RYAN DAVID MILLER Streams, Ourselves Dreams My passion lies where your beauty lies, where we lie beneath the sun. Ive been measured in eyes and sung in eyes, and swam beneath the sun. Fortunes bailed, ghost ships sailed, children on the run. Clear water stream, our love like a stream, on our backs we drifted down a stream. At night owls hooted the morning colors rooted, what had to be a dream. Lightning flashed, kisses crashed, exhaling your breath outside the blanket. Flower pedals dropped, the clock hands stopped blankets on the floor. You were September lighting flashed I wont surrender kisses crashed Find me on the shelves, where we left ourselves. Close your coat and blame the rain, where we left ourselves. Love needs no words to sustain, we ourselves were caught in the rain. Were they the same patterns of blue? Now patterns of green, what youve seen. Ive seen blue, you thought I knew, but there was nothing left to be seen. We are on our backs. Here, our eyes are closed. We are alone. Here, our eyes are open. I can feel you next to me, when I cannot see. Were floating on a stream, our love perhaps, perhaps our love a dream The colors in the sky, the stream it is only, you and I The dream, it is only a lighting flash And when we awake passion has stained the clocks and before we catch them stillthey tick against our will.

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Us; flower pedals, floating down a stream. Could it be for us? Could it make us smile, as we dream? The streams are going no where If suspicions were to truth, As sleep is to rest, Then dreams in truth are glimpses, Where time is milk and death the breast The streams are going nowhere And the streams are going nowhere If there is one suspicion we promised each other, it is that we promised each other nothing. The streams are going nowhere Cellar doors and wishing wells, flowers thick have grown. The streams are going nowhere, and the streams are going nowhere. When I was a small boy, I would pull my mattress of the bed, on to the floor, so I could fall asleep in the moonlight coming in through the window. The moon is still full for little boys. There is a daydream like silence, found in your heart, embrace that love, though it is a memory now. The sun is still up for little girls. The moon is still full for little boys The sun is still up for little girls And streams still flow as far as closed eyes can see, and as long as dreams can still hold hands.

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RYAN DAVID MILLER Homesick In my frustration, I wanted to fall through the glass table, and break it into thousands of stars. And slightly with eyes closed, fall through the moment in which I was surrounded. If only I was captured in an outside feeling, of sense of beauty. But I fell facedown, cut and bleeding. Oh God, I miss home! I just surpassed and missed the moments. My hair got longer and the house got colder. How did I get here? My lifestyle is so far fetched Im not even into any of this I just fell through glass stars and Im bleeding take me home

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STEVEN GIBBS The Telephone On the backdrop of garage flowers and St. Patrick sleep The pillow held open feathers pulled north bound Toward snowmobile mishaps and pepperoni sticks Fresh water lakes cold brick walls pink carpet Measuring years through marriage and bottle cap wine Saint George candles still burnt in morning sun the pallet jack and cereal spoon a reminder of worth.

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STEVEN GIBBS Produce Section Staring at cantaloupes beside bedtime manners and eggplant steam He walks with a slight limp gained from years on the job Zipper doesnt zip anymore Shoes rethreaded with the wrong color laces An abstract diamond mine, forged Fingers dont finger anymore. Orange slice pie. Devoured against dollar bills The fold of skin, a rustling of carrots.

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STEVEN GIBBS Torpedo Lick The coffees weak lip touch, vague Tree leaves cast curtains, treaded blinds and family photographs Vitamin tripod, multiples The artist with shoe collection candy crucifix, tortured rib Wrinkled eyelids Tooth paste smile, grinning never letting go.

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Girl, August Traeger

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Things That Watch Me, August Traeger

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Employability Skills, August Traeger

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RIC SMAIROWKSI Substance Unbearable these compulsions live in thin gray constant pheromone skulk graffiti the walls of deep alley porno huts fleshy ravens swarming fetish over fetish high heeled promises laced up the back of slender calves until all is a soft flurry race car red nail polish under black sox purple iris swirl together while hypnotic lips coax me into a fear psychosis familiar as a fingertip loosening my control notch by notch this time though, I could leave, but I am numb to forethought as words she did not think of slither from her tongue like lavender to lather my amnesia that each character suicide tattoos me and it will become too late.

Menaced Assassin, August Traeger

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Girl 2, August Traeger

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ERIC SMAIROWKSI 43 Cigarettes

On Broadway I watch elderly couples stroll along smug in their fraternity of dumb deer unawareness Have these people ever lost? Ever not known where to turn? 10th cigarette(((((((((((((((((((((((((((() gets me into absorption. Through shop windows I see content ness and spit. On attempt of breaking antisocial sentiment I ask the writer on the bench if hes seen anything goodAlways good-he says Im opposite-I reply Need a good balance-he advises Yeah-scratches out of my 18th cigarette(((((((((((((((((((((((((() Down Lake Ave. in a breeze of cars and humidity she creeps up on my mind 22nd cigarette(((((((((((((((((((((() Nothing fixes the love lost in details An ex lover goes back to being who she was before I met her Now I self absorb making the break my cross because she is the one I fell in love with before all the details flamed like each match that lit todays 43 cigarettes.

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ERIC SMAIROWKSI From Soil, Vine and Wine Forget questions like how many died During plague To create such Plush soil? Kiss the sour cork So it lingers warm in a grand decanter With no charming screw to serve as a gold round Quaff the lusty focus Of California dreams as they Always make the tongue flower Into a bouquet of rich night Come age, befriend the precocious young grape And she will ferment delicately into The body of an insouciant hostess Perfect Pinot velvet mouth Honey difficult sweet My Favorite Acid Delicate to the tongue Medieval On the Mind Barnyard honeysuckle hews Beehive Cabernet rare Kobe beef Set the table to create Great truths and mishaps vibrant Skimming the eclectic lines of proof While underneath, foot playful foot.

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VANESSA ROBERTS 1:32 am I remember...when I first saw you surprised to see your eyes blue as the sky hair the colour of coal laugh as big as the sun Now I see you the sparrow that alights on my shoe the hummingbird that looks me in the eye flitting briefly by I hear you when the trees creak and its your harmonica playing Neil for me in the dark your head tilted showered by sparks Your touch is there in the spray standing by a rocky shore cold wind biting through layered clothes and warm sun on my chapped face

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VANESSA ROBERTS 11:39 pm well, we did what we could, didn't we? we made it for awhile. then you took off.. .... ... .. . .. . . . specks of memories like fine wisps............ . pluck the strings of my scattered thoughts.... ....my tattered ... . .. ..haunts ............... . .. . .a sprinkling of dingy dust floats through beams of light ... ... . .... ... ....illuminating .... .. .. . ..ruminating.. ...pictures coated in rust............. hiding things rubbed wretched ... .. . .. . ... . rubbed glaring and raw baring where this bitter knife is thrust

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VANESSA ROBERTS the hum is in the air or is it in my head? the thwack, thwa-thwack of oblivious bugs hovering above a black top road with fresh paint to show as they collect on my windshield of my hurtling car hurry hurry get there fast but why? i have nowhere to go lazy beams of my headlights show me the road and vagrant wandering animals of the humid night i roll down the window to hear the chorus sing and choke on the blanket of air thick with moisture from the swamp and heat of a days misery foxfire, foxfire through the trees i slow to see the eerie glow and feel the night like a heavy overcoat laying across my neck, my face, my mouth the deafening sound, the hummmmm of my heads own tune i can't get it out nowhere to go and dont really care, i turn the left blinker on and turn past the old cypress tall yet bent going forward slowly i can hear nothing now but the swamps loud shout wheels slowly rotate above black still water is this real or is it dreamt? slowly slowly the car makes its way to the place of foxfire the inviting green glow reels me in my desire is strong and true i hear the sound of water on tire the soft swift leaking of startling cold water swirling in above my door

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im slowly sinking uncontrolled shuttering sets in my lips turn blue rising water all around picks up trash and hair and holds me bound to the new land i am going to dying headlights in the whirlpools in front show dancing decaying leaves trapped in their own underwater dance inviting me in calling me in the water above my shoulders now and caught in this nightmare trance water above my lips shivering and blue eyes black, I stare forward at the leaves as they change form into water nymphs so gay and free my eyes on them my eyes on them the muffled chirrup of frogs and bugs as water fills my ear drums at last the last i see of the world above is the foxfire glow and the moons shadowy show through cypress limbs full of moss the underworld comes into full view the nymphs laughing and pulling me down not looking back, looking down until my last breath is lost

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CHRISTOPHER MULROONEY sport racked with a brain on the roadside to fill an empty tire silvery pump in hand

town and harbor

it might be a full township or an empty village or a company town or a harbor installation it might be anything but what it is the ships go there no more

digital countoff

to absterge the podex and what it was unfamiliar flecked off into the waste theres a good old boy too

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KATIE FLOYD The Things That Make Us Human Forgetting the past seems so easy at first, That is when it come running up behind us only to knock us over. We cannot escape the things weve done; It tears us up inside, The world stops just to remind us that we are fools. Slowly everything goes surreal We have forget the present Only focus on the past that we were running from. This is what happened and continues to happen each day. Insanity in all its fine glory slowly takes over our human forms. We lose are true sense of self and become the conglomerate of nothing. Only then do the dark nights come to bring in the dreams, We wake from the dreams to the confining days that bring us back to our hunted past, We hold hands to save each other from the things we have done, Our fingers entwine; Prevents the tears inside our hearts, Kisses are sweet; The fool is forgotten, This is how we know we are here and nothing is too surreal. Our innocents; we lost that long ago, A past we cannot run from, It seems to drift away here, It seems to matter not with our fingers entwine, Our bless love afterglow. Time is turning as our fingers twisting into each other like vines hold strong, We cannot let go, Our love must stay strong. Death parts the weak and the strong with its siren song that will end all, But our love, A love that has been judged, A love in the dark night, Love that grew in the confining days, Our Love will last ever-long.

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ABBEY PRITCHETT Cut and Paste Sesame Street was in an ice fog and refinery haze You never knowing what to expect With the broken back war and minutemen loving Calzones Adding to their own remorse of conscience The damned will also be tormented by the demons That is given power for limited time Looking at Diamonds on Ice, Is it silver or white gold? Also weighting and discussing magical realism And how different sized mouths require a different technique of kissing For purchase in or outside the United Sates See your dealer for information, and if you Have contributed for five years you can receive credit.

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BRANDI EDWARDS Zeus It was dawn in the town and the streetlights that had guided the way through night were just beginning to fade for the day was coming. There over the river he sat, in a giant bare tree for the wintery cold had shed it of its leaves. He would arrive every morning around the same time perched on a limb as if to be the towns neighborhood watch waiting for the sun to set high in the blue skies. Well known by the citizens, he, the bald eagle, was expected. This eagle was named Zeus by the town, for that was the name of the most powerful Greek God. Zeus was larger than most bald eagles. He had coal black feathers with a brilliant white chest of fluff that lead all the way to the top of his head which was bare of any feathers of protection. For five years Zeus had reappeared just as swiftly as he had left the day before. No one knew why he chose this very tree over this very river. Maybe it was because he thought it was beautiful or maybe it was because sitting in that exact location he could see over the town for miles and miles. It was a mystery that had no intention of being solved for Zeus was now part of this town. Along the river, wooden benches had been sat along with picnic tables and a childrens playground where many days people would come and sit gazing up into the trees while their children played to wait for Zeus to spread his great wings and take flight into the air straight into the clouds and out of sight only to return again the next day. It was an amazing sight to see that the people never grew accustomed to. Josh, the new city manager of the city of Aztec, would pass this very river every morning on his way to work and look up and smile, for this eagle had been the most beautiful sight he had seen in his beginning to this new town. Here Zeus was loved by most and respected for this brilliant bird had become part of the towns history and was well taken care of, but there were others who wished to do him harm. Jimmy, the meanest man in town, was also the towns most notorious hunter. He was well known to be the towns troublemaker and he was frequently causing ruckus for the towns people and law enforcement. He too worshipped Zeus but for a different reason. He wished to kill him and hang him in his house on the wall where he could tell the story of the symbolic creature to all who wished to hear. Unfortunately for him, he had openly voiced his wishes to kill the bird to Josh who had therefore set a strict law with intense punishment for anyone who harmed the almost extinct creature. There were signs put up all through the town and in all the local papers telling of the seriousness of the punishments. This did not sit well with Jimmy. He went to City Hall to tell Josh a piece of his mind. He could be heard through the whole building, yelling and ranting on and on about how Zeus was just a bird and that he should be fair game for hunters. Eventually everyone grew tired of his mouth and he was escorted by the chief of police to his truck. He immediately set out to devise a plan that would get him his eagle he so wished to have no matter what anyone had to say about it. He drove straight to the only place he felt at home, his hunting club camp. Jimmy was much involved in this hunting club and had friends in the club who loved hunting as much as he. He was sure these friends would serve as a benefit to help him come up with a plan, but his friends were not as obsessed with the eagle as he and they were very aware of what would happen to them if they broke the law and none of them were willing to risk helping Jimmy. They tried to talk him out of his idea and told him to just stick to animals that they were allowed to hunt during season without trouble. Jimmy was not having it. He was furious. He was so involved with getting his way he lost it and called his friends every dirty name in the book and threatened to make their life miserable if they did not help him. This upset the others and Jimmy was outnumbered and thrown out of the club and told to never return or he would be the one losing everything. Next Jimmy went to the towns most notorious museum thief, Billy, who had recently gotten out of jail after robbing the towns library and museum of many of its oldest and most prized artifacts. He had served his five years and warned by the judge that if he got into any more trouble he would be sent far away to prison where he would spend the rest of his life, but Jimmy knew that Billy had a soft spot for the towns most prized possessions. He drove out of town down a long winding dirt road to Billys house with a smile on his face for he was positive that this would be his accomplice in his plan.

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But when he knocked and Billy approached the door dressed in his Sundays best, his smile faded. He found out that Billy was leaving, moving two states away to live in a rehab facility for thieves like himself who were out of chances and wanted to change. He warned Jimmy that he should reconsider his plan and change his mind, for he was speaking from experience. Jimmy told him Billy he should shut up and mind his own business and that rehab wouldnt help him and that soon enough he would be back to his old tricks. Billy politely disagreed and asked Jimmy to leave so that he could finish packing his things. Jimmy did so but not before he pointed his gun at Billy and told him that if he told anyone of his plan he would come after him and find him and make him disappear. Jimmy left realizing he only had one more person that may help him. Mr. Clancy, who was very displeased with the town for making him sell half his property to build a road, and who had vowed to payback the city for his sacrifice. Jimmy drove straight to Mr. Clancys house in a cloud of dust. He arrived and walked to the door and knocked. No answer. He again knocked harder this time and yelled, Mr. Clancy? Again no answer. Then the door on the house next door opened and a little old lady stuck her head out to see what all the noise was about. Jimmy asked her where Mr. Clancy was and when he was expected to return. The little old lady told Jimmy that Mr. Clancy had passed away about three weeks ago, of a heart attack which the doctor said was probably brought on by stress. Jimmy turned his back to the lady without thanking her and climbed into his truck and drove away. Now Jimmy realized he was alone and if he really wanted something done he would have to do it all by himself. Later that night, dressed in all black, grabbing only his gun and flashlight, Jimmy left his house and walked into the woods. He was looking for a trail that would lead him from his house to the river without being seen. He walked for about two hours leaving flags as markers on the way he had come. Finally he arrived at the river bank directly across from the tree Zeus perched every day. He was very pleased. He walked over to the benches and flipped them over into the river. Then he went over to the playground equipment and unchained the swings and threw them into the river and watched them travel away downstream. Satisfied with his destructive work, he turned away smiling and headed into the woods chucking to himself with the image of the people and childrens faces tomorrow when they arrived to see the mess that had been made overnight. Arriving at home, Jimmy sat down at his kitchen table making a list of what he would need to take with him for his return home with the animal. He would wait until the morning and then he would pack a backpack with a rope, a bag, and some extra bullets. He would wake early before dawn and before the town began to stir, then he would put on his camouflage hunting clothes and hat, his water boots, grab his backpack and gun and head into the woods once again. But this time he planned to return with his prize. He went to bed excited that he had everything planned out and couldnt wait to put it into action. He awoke early with the fog and quickly sat up in bed. He threw on his clothes and boots, grabbed his backpack, picked up has gun and flew out the door. He had made a clear path from the day before so that he was able to find his way to the river with ease. He approached the river where he sat on a branch hidden behind a tree and awaited Zeus return. He would wait for the bird to arrive and perch on the limb where then he would shoot him down out of the tree and gather him into the bag in his backpack and carry him home where he would have him stuffed and mounted on his wall. Even the thought of this brought a huge grin to his face. Within just a few minutes, a swooshing sound was heard and magically Zeus appeared perched on his limb. Jimmy swiftly and quietly got up from where he was sitting. He knelled down and rested his arm on the branch he had sat upon and aimed his gun through the trees. He began to smile as he placed his finger around the trigger and prepared to shoot. Just then behind him he heard a voice yell, Stop Jimmy or you will regret it. Jimmy turned around to see Josh standing behind him with the entire police force with guns aimed at him. Jimmy we warned you that if you did anything to try and harm Zeus in any way that we would have to punish you Josh said. Jimmy chuckled. How did you know you would find me here Jimmy asked.

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Billy came to us yesterday and told us of your plan and how you had threatened him. He is trying to be a better person and he said that he would not have felt right if he had not come to us to warn us of your plan. Josh replied. Well I guess I will have to take care of him also Jimmy chuckled. Then Jimmy turned to again aim at Zeus. He pulled the trigger but missed because just as he shot he was tackled by Josh. They rolled through the dirt fighting each other for the gun. The gun went flying across the ground. Both Jimmy and Josh jumped up to try and be the first to it. Jimmy made if first. He grabbed the gun and pointed it at Josh. Jimmy was now blinded by fury. He was so involved with his plan and killing Zeus that he was just completely crazy. He aimed the gun at Josh and started to pull the trigger when all of a sudden Josh grabbed the pistol that was strapped to his leg. In one quick movement, he pointed the gun at Jimmy and shot. Then it was silent. Jimmy was speechless and terrified. He was stunned that Josh had shot his gun right out of his own hand. Within seconds the police squad had taken Jimmy down and had him handcuffed. They pulled him up and grabbed his things. On his way to the car Josh stopped Jimmy. Why do you hate Zeus so much? Josh asked. Because hes been here five years and already he is treated in this community as if hes lived here his entire life and he is just and animal. I have lived here my whole life born and raised, and I have never felt as if Im part of this town Jimmy said. The cop then led Jimmy to the police car. Josh, who had only been here for a few months, realized this to be true. But how could anyone know that this was the reason behind Jimmys hate for Zeus? Jimmy was a hunter. For this reason everyone believed that this was the reason Jimmy wanted Zeus dead. Whatever the reason may be Zeus was saved today and Jimmy was on his way to jail where he would spend some time for the attempted slaughter of an endangered species. This day was saved and so was a part of the towns history. Josh heard a sound and looked up at the limb Zeus was sitting upon. Zeus was looking right at Josh and it almost seemed as if he were smiling. The day had begun with some complications but had been resolved safely. Zeus job here was done again today. He spread his magnificent wings and flew off the branch right over Joshs head and into the clouds. Josh smiled knowing that again tomorrow he would return to his spot above the town watching over it, keeping it out of danger, and returning again as history.

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JEAN JONES "il miglior fabbro" For Ron and Joe By sheer force of personality you demanded court and asked others to listen to your proclamations whether it came from the newspaper or from whatever else you were reading. Everything was a lecture to you, You were Pound the teacher at "Ezuversity" and you held court there. James McLaughlin was spellbound by what you proclaimed: Jefferson economics, or Mussolini, the benevolent dictator, who was going to lead Italy out of this usury mess, this problem with the Jewish bankers who ran the whole show- You were tired of it- That was why you were in Italy in the first place. But then World War II happened: There were your broadcasts, and then there were the camps; something you never would have guessedFascism died along with Benito and you were imprisoned in a cage and you were contemplating your fateYou expected to be hangedAnd then there were your Pisan Cantos: "the ant's a centaur in his dragon world," "what thou lovest well, shall not be reft from thee, what thou lovest well. . ." And what did you discover about yourself as you contemplated death? What you love, lasts. As the Apostle Paul once wrote, "Love never dies." You were prepared for your fate. And what was this fate? What was coming to you? Something you never could have seen. A mental ward. St Elizabeth's. As friends visited you, they could hear the screams near your cell everyday. It was torture, but like all things you bore it well. And you cast it as judgment against you. Instead of execution, you saw now that all they saw was an idiot. You were really a political prisoner. Now, Amnesty would have listed you as a prisoner of conscience. But you believed their lies.

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You became silent. You said nothing. In the end, they broke you, which is what they wanted from the beginning. You are an Orwellian hero to me, part of a new generation that picked up your banner and cried out, "Study. Learn. Before you write, know what you are doing. And remember those before you. They wrote for a purpose. Recall it!"

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JEAN JONES Andrea Bitterness was not your calling card. Neither was regret. If you had not lived These last ten years My memories of you Would have been filled With bitterness, anger, Regret and frustration. The anger is not totally gone. Neither is the regret. But watching you deal With less and less power In your hands, under your controlTo accept these losses Without bitterness and regret has taught me How to grow old with grace And fall in love with you Perhaps for the first time Since I was a little boy And loved you as my mother.

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JEAN JONES Cow Skull In a room filled with potato smoke, a red-eyed boy listens to a woman with gray hair tell a story of watching stars in Missouri. The womans eyes have the gravity of black holes. She cannot blink and stars rush towards her, like hawks, stooping. Will you grow old? the boy asks. When the hair goes, she says. Nothing changes. Pictures remain the same, year after year, and the cow skull near her bedroom is the same color it was,

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NATHAN MENDENHAL
Bop Blessing Keep in time! them cats say rolling out the blues notes take on their certain hues & act as clues in the chorus crossword puzzle horn floats in, saxophone piano as metronome blasting bop till it feels like time stops no clocks in the smoky bar & too many drinks to read one anyway drum solo floor tom sound huge, hollow the bass blasts by & the band catches up two or three beats later bandstand rocking back & forth the wood floor creaking & shuttering under the footfalls of rhythm infected dancers so poet reads quietly to himself in the back corner minor chords call in the next movement trumpet blares could swear it was Gabriel himself spreading wings & singing heaven aromas of cigarettes & tea mix into the blue haze soft & silken in the stage lights where even the darkness cant hide & here comes the beat again chorus by the piano man crawling low moans give way to the soaring crescendo melodies so pure in their sense of longing beads of sweat form on forehead neck veins bulge, reeds crack long ash hangs from butts forgotten in ashtrays beers drip as they warm undrunk all them cats too caught up in the jam with a harmonic master plan that has all of them stuck together trying to find the end of the tunnel before the bottom of the hole

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NATHAN MENDENHAL
Mental Pastures Smoke rings encircling the open sky. Horizon line drawn crudely with dull coloured pencils same utensils used to chase old demons away to make way for the new ones. Following the glowing yellowbrick road to nowhere tho it leads thru the hills & dales of childhood rhymes sung to the rhythm of morning winds thru the baby pines making a Christmas nursery. Birds build their homes there only to have them torn down so as to string lights, shiny balls, angels & whatnot. Wishing to be left alone after realizing I forgot to tell everyone I was dreaming again. Playing in my own mental pastures worth more than mere words. I discern Truth from sunrays moonlight coming in waves & I pretend Im on a midnight rooftop in old Mexico waiting to see if the sun rises again today. Looking for emotions I left long ago buried under Iowa snow that seems to have mostly melted now some years since. Passed my obsession with the present tense. Im more intent on whats to come distracted by all that Ive left behind half-believing Ill never know what any of it meant dont know why it matters. Just left alone wondering what will happen when I have no one to turn to but my divided self.

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RENEE MCPHERSON
The Gift of Balsam Blues As the minutes slowly pass in silence, it becomes painfully obvious that I am getting nowhere fast and the last vestiges of daylight seem to have faded into night. The cursor seems to taunt me as it flashes somewhat expectantly upon a screen still void of possibilities. My eyes begin wandering across the contents of my desk, searching for some sort of inspiration, but even the tiny straw rabbits on either side my pen holder seemed to be sneering at me knowingly, as if they were privy to some secret I knew nothing of. The candy dish that was full of M&Ms a half hour ago is nearly empty now; it's official, I have a serious case of writer's block and it couldn't have come at a worst time. Perhaps I should try a different approach I wondered. Just then the phone rang again, no use in prolonging the inevitable any longer as I read the name on the caller I.D., "Hello?" "SAM! How are you? Are you well, sure you are. I bet you've just been so busy pounding away at the keyboard, working on the final draft that was due on my desk yesterday, too busy to talk to your agent, right?" "Hi Vick, how are you?" I tried my best to ignore the sarcastic babbling my agent was so prone to developing when a deadline was on the horizon and hoped my irritation did not travel through the phone line. "I've been better Sam; tell me you've got something, anything! I've got publishers breathing down my neck and a deadline that is fast approaching." He cleared his throat, "And you Sam, seem too busy to take any of my calls." "Vick, stop worrying, you always do this. I'll have it to you in plenty of time just like I always do, have I ever let you down?" "There's a first time for everything. Sam, just do me a favor and keep in touch, let me know what's going on and if there's anything, anything I can do just let me know O.K." I took a deep breath after hanging up the phone and an impending sense of doom set in. Vick was right; there is a first time for everything. He was worried and at this point, I couldn't really blame him. In a matter of weeks I could be finished, forgotten as some writer who failed to deliver like so many others had in the past. Writer's block is nothing new to me; I'd struggled with it in the past but always managed to pull through, but I'd never been so far behind, so close to a major deadline. It was as if some sinister thief came in the night and robbed me of my creativity. I was stuck and I knew it. How was I going to overcome this obstacle? I leaned back in my chair, rubbing my weary eyes when the phone rang again. "Vick, I told you not to" "Sam?" My mother's voice sounded through the line frail and broken, "I'm sorry to call you so late son, but I have some bad news about your Grandpa Noland" As she spoke, her words seemed to fade in and out of my subconscious mind as I sat slumped over in my chair, my head hanging low, trying to concentrate on her voice, and not wanting her words to be true. The sense of loss was sudden and profound. He had suffered a massive heart attack, and just like that, the vibrant man I knew and loved was gone forever. I'd never again hear his contagious laughter or engage in the conversations that only skimmed the surface of his infinite wisdom. I was unable to hold back the tears. The next morning, I packed a few bags and headed home to Miller's Creek, a small tight knit community settled in the pristine beauty of the Appalachian foothills. I arrived just in time for the funeral service and as I stood among the polished stones in that old familiar field, echoes of the past seemed to be everywhere. I lingered long after the others, taking in the serene sounds of that sequestered solitude like a healing balm, welcoming the warmth of the sun upon my face as a gentle breeze whispered by. The old homestead was a bustle of activity when I returned. Friends and family had gathered from all over to pay their respects. Many of the men folk were gathered outside smoking their pipes on the porch rockers while the women busied themselves inside. There was enough food for a small army and tears were met with comforting hugs and warm handshakes. Slowly though, the company began to disperse and the unsettling quiet of his absence descended. I received a return call from Vick that evening informing me I'd been granted a short extension due to a death in the family. It wasn't much of a break, but at this point I'd take what I could get. The next day, family gathered at the lawyer's office down town for the official reading of Grandpa Noland's last will and testament. There were few if any surprises but one caught me off guard. It seems Grandpa willed me the property of Balsam Blues, a cabin retreat far up in the hills. It was Grandpa's escape, the place he went to get away from it all and he left it to me. I was confused as to why but my mother reassured me that Grandpa felt I

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would benefit from it more than any of the others, and that I would have the same appreciation for it that he had. Maybe Grandpa knew I needed an escape, a place to find myself again, just maybe he knew this is what I needed. It was fall in Appalachia and a kaleidoscope of rich and vibrant colors erupted from the hills like painted tapestries. I left the homestead two days later and took Grandpa's dog Sadie with me; I was off to find my own escape in the place Grandpa led me. The air was crisp and invigorating as I drove along the winding curves, windows down grasping at the clouds. I've often thought it impossible to see these mountains without falling immediately and forever in love with them. Sadie must have thought she was in heaven as she peered out the passenger window, wind in her face, anxious to explore the smorgasbord of sights and smells, "Soon girl," I told her. The main road was easy, but as I turned off onto the narrow pass, the incline became more severe and the tires of my 4x4 truck would spin every now and then as they grasped for traction. The pass was approximately one mile up the mountain and opened into a large clearing overgrown with grass. The cabin was set high up on the hill and there was a creek to the right that served as its main water source. I was surprised at its condition having not been there in years. It appeared just as I remembered it, perhaps even more magnificent than I imagined if that were possible. Named after an old bluegrass song, Balsam Blues was a special place. It wasn't fancy by any means, but held a sort of rustic charm unequaled by many of the other cabins in the area. Its simplicity is what made it so beautifully appealing. Before venturing into the cabin, I walked over to the shed that housed the generator and prayed it would come to life. After a swift kick or two, it hummed to life and I grabbed an armful of firewood that had been stacked neatly under the shelter. It would be cold tonight and a fire would be nice. Sadie had found her favorite spot on the porch beside Grandpa's old hammock, still hanging loosely from the rafters, and she eyed me as I approached, fishing for the keys in my pocket. I'd always admired the oversized barn wood door that served as the cabin's entrance. An identical one was on the opposite side of the house. Its delicate ironwork added to the cabins rustic appeal and as I turned the key, it gave a great creak as if it had been awakened from a deep sleep. The interior was laid out in an open floor plan that invited you in. There was a single bedroom and bathroom with a loft upstairs that served as Grandpa Noland's study. The old stone fireplace brought a warm glow to the place as the flames danced across the logs and weary as I was from the recent events and travel, I feel asleep to the soft crackling of the fire. When I awoke the next morning, the fire had died down, and the rising sun was radiating through the windows. I rummaged through the kitchen and managed to make myself a nice hot cup of coffee before walking out on porch. Mornings in Appalachia are beautiful and serene and I sat watching the wind carry clouds over the mountain tops. The morning dew still had everything covered in its glassy sheen and I began to understand why Grandpa left me the place. Already, I could feel myself becoming relaxed and increasingly inspired by my surroundings. I ventured upstairs to the study with a fresh cup of coffee. Grandpa's study had always been one of my favorite places in the world. From it, you could view the mountain from nearly every angle with few walls to close it in and large picture windows on the other sides. He had an impressive library up there. I remember us spending hours up there reading and talking. I dare say I became a writer in large part because of him, and he was always proud of me and my accomplishments. His journals, of which there were many were scattered about the loft, the most recent still lay on his desk. I thumbed through it smelling its pages laced with ink and elder wisdom and smiled that I might finally have the chance to read them in detail. Yes, there is a peace that comes over you when you are resident at Balsam Blues, a sort of magic that makes everything seem right with the world. After just a few days there, my block began to wither away, and I knew what I needed to finish my final draft. There were no computers, no typewriters, just thoughts flowing from my inner conscious like a waterfall onto paper. I remembered the art of writing, the ease at which thoughts can flow from pen to paper. Computers are wonderful machines, but they are cold, mechanical things that are not tangible like the papers of old. For a solid day I wrote like a spirit possessed and I found my ending. I owed it all to my Grandpa and the gift of Balsam Blues. My days at Balsam Blues were numbered now; the outside world beckoned my return and it was with a reluctant but rejuvenated spirit that I returned to the fast paced conformity of society. Vick was overcome with joy at my return, though I think it was more the final draft he was glad to see. I take comfort in knowing that while I'm stuck here in the real world, Balsam Blues waits patiently for my return.

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STEVEN VINEIS Broken Point It was the bag of chips cliff-hanging from the coiled wire of D-2 as he tapped on the glass of machine, and the desk clerk's refusal to return the quarters with a smug smirk across his pimpled face. It was the bugs on the pillow when he pulled back the bedspread in the last available room at the motel. It was the choking, humming man on the bench in the breezeway with two bags of chips in his lap and a satisfied two-for-one look. It was the long night ahead of clipper ship shapes across the ceiling, reflections of light against the nervous backdrop of the empty green pool, and the sweeps of a faded flag heavy with the rain as it clapped against the window. It was the Mexican maid the next morning strangling the clock for more pay, laughing with her foreign thralls and hollers, chewing loud some chips the guest must have left in the sheet-folds of the unmade bed. It was the cold water he shaved with, the dangling broken shower head, the clink of the key in the drop box, his stiff thumb up on the side of the slick drenched highway, the cars passing by, the brakelights flashing like teeth when someone laughs when they know they got the better of you.

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It was the blonde hair of the shirtless beach bums with girlfriends in rebel flag bikini tops and denim cut-offs, outside the gas station. Filling up their daddy's truck as they drank nearly frozen beer from the cooler in the bed. It was the melted candy bar that fell from its silver paper carried off by the flash of a wild dog. It was Katherine moving to Chapel Hill, Kellys abortion in Atlanta, and Hannahs possession charge. It was the muffler dragging and the oil leak, and the fan belt breaking and the tape snapping in the deck. It was the unrelenting sun shrinking his sweaty coat and his suitcase full of poems. It was the gentle erosion of the coastline, the slipping of a rusted bike chain, a catch/stop in the trigger pull and the hollow click of a dummy round. It was the last line he spoke after he looked around at the ill-practiced ballet of bodies halted to watch the water and the waves and the tragedy of a rip tide with a man in its hands.

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STEVEN VINEIS The New South How it looked that night The world as if arranged for the closing scene, windows buckling inwards from the rough 'long time, no see' welcome of the wind. When I watched the final cut of the memory I recalled the errors on set. How I attempted a trick with a match and ended up with a palm full of ash and my star was replaced by a double who may have wondered (but never asked) if I was indeed the kind of man who could undo her blouse buttons with an injured hand. And I acted to a blank stare the camera couldn't see, making a case for reform by likening cross-country trips to a deaf dog chasing his tail in his own yard as if it was a part of him he'd never seen before. I tried so hard to cry, right there on the spot, the climax with the lens stretched wide closing in on my eyes like a summer heat that bakes the skin to a burn. But I couldn't make it happen before her, this substitute love, my stare up and down the endless lanes of her pale face with a hesitation in my lust like I was aiming a revolver down range at a mirror. The credits rolled over a black screen and the audience left before I could protest, I was just as dissatisfied with its portrayal of my way of life as I was with winters that don't cross state lines.

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This is how you can talk to people from Chicago like they were immigrants, in this Kentucky-fried America for the first time. They speak the language just well enough to say they don't like how we live around here. The theater like my bedroom on nights long with longing, tracing figure-8's in my mind like tracks left in the dust by muscle cars. Each line curves inevitably through the same point of truth which is what thinking about the past does to you. A past like a prison tattoo or a bright side things that fade with time but matter most when you're inside. There's a reason why angels are only real in snow. The same reason it is a perpetual July this side of the Mason-Dixon line. Why all the schools close at the first hint of white and how it isn't strange to see divides falter and dissolve like tides when we all settle on the ground with a little claim of weather we can call our own. And we rise and look out at the ground and we see our imprints show familiar short grass through. We feel proud and a little godlike because we can watch our true image pure before it fades. The scenery rearranged, stroked company for our shadows, safe because we know we're just a little cold, we'll survive. Life is comprised of tiny miracles like buzzer beaters and river cards and amends.

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I wish that break in the monotony of these intolerable years could be extended back to that table, back to that final scene on the boardwalk with the star, because there's something I've been meaning to say since then that I've been left to repeat over and again to her company those ticket-punch holes in the midnight black which complements the strange wandering parts of me. The camera will roll again on her silent there in a red coat with a button missing because it's pinched in my teeth. And like the simple man I am, I'll motion with my hands for her to dance under the lemon rind moon which peeks through the clouds like a bone jutting through the surface of soup. I'll charm her mouth into mine with shared champagne spit from a New Year's toast before the scene draws to a close.

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CHRISTINA DORE Dog Dylan Thomas was a dog blindly smoking a limp cigarette and eating women with quiet words that would ultimately be converted into loud verses sung by a group of artists and crying alcoholics in the White Horse. What the hell happened to the good boy? Wheres the loyalty? The curse-the geniuss egotistical mask protects the loose chains and the self loathing-Capote, Poe, you. All you could do was smoke and drink shots. Like a dog, you could communicate in a rough universal language that sometimes we wondered about and begged to understand.

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CHRISTINA DORE Unsure Running my hand through my hair, I clutch a chunk of brown strands. Then my agile fingers barricade my chapped, but slippery lips. You make me nervous. I like to think of myself as God, or some type of deity where I can construct a miracle, and sometimes assemble a devastation. Pillaging, and I feel utter disappointment, and your smug eyes, even when your back is facing me. I still let you walk ahead of me.

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CHRISTINA DORE Un Chien Andalou Let us proudly display death on the cross and in our dreamsa stigmata of infestation and decomposition. A lone hand has been severed from life and affection. In the midst of an angry crowd, everything is broken apart and a grip is lost and released. Left alone, it needs more than a quick tap of the needle. A hand gropes for nourishment, as a man drools blood from hunger and a woman's resistance. Like St. Teresa her breasts carved from Bernini's ravenous hands a fusion of tragic pain and murderous ecstasy. If only a man could reach a woman, as he drags death and its requiems like an emaciated horse. But ants crawl across a broken palm, as fingers threaten and demand. Where is there escape, from the hammer and rusted nails? A lone hand is enclosed with another, as the water washes and feeds the sun bathed rocks. An exchange of kisses and skin accelerate time. Springtime freezes you in the sand, immobile in a shallow grave. She buries you and cries rain drops as she leaves you blooming sympathy flowers. At last, there is some repose, and consensual compassion. Always exhaling, smoke drifts into serenity. A monk chanting tranquil prayers, his breath is like the smoke, or the cloud that slits open the moon's eye. The thin eye that spills its gutted heartit weeps cool, fat tears.

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ROYCE RAY POETRY AWARD


$100 PRIZE

Scott H Urban
Along a Nebraska Interstate
The Royce Ray Poetry Prize celebrates a poets work which encompasses the humanist tradition of the celebrated Columbus County poet Royce Ray. Ray has published two collections of poetry, Gallberry Honey: Pure, Unrefined Poems (1992) and The Flip Side (207). His poetry has appeared in Aries One, the Brunswick Free Press, the Federal Reporter, N.C. Poetry Society, Award Winning Poetry, Orphic Lute, and Thoughts For All Seasons.

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SUBMISSIONS Aries: A Journal of Art and Literature is published annually and accepts submissions of art and literature year round. Send submissions as an attachment to: Allison Parker at aparker@sccnc.edu Accepted poetry submissions will automatically be considered for the Royce Ray Poetry Award. The winner will receive a $100 prize, an announcement in the journal, and reception upon publication. BACK ISSUES Back issues of Aries: A Journal of Art and Literature are available. Please send a $5 check or money order to:

Aries
PO Box 151 Whiteville, NC 28472

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Minat Terkait