Blue Five Notebook – (May 2013 / 13.9)
Artist, Eleanor Leonne Bennett is an internationally award-winning artist. Her photography has been published in the Telegraph, The Guardian, BBC News Website and on the cover of books and magazines in the United states and Canada. Her art is also globally exhibited.
Lisa J. Cihlar
Black on Black
The caw is not a prayer. It is something wilder than that, with less plead. It carries best on sharp, icy mornings. Mornings like this, when the crow walks the branches of the leafless catalpa. The catalpa that lived through the summer drought by sending thirsty roots deeper into the sandy soil. The crow is curious about the goings-on in the house. He yearns for a hammer and saw to turn the tree into boards to make a room. A room without a window or door. He tacks the last board in place with a threepenny nail and becomes part of the dark. In the black on black all that is left is the caw. He plucks a single tail feather to toss and it is gone forever.
Lisa J. Cihlar’s poems have been published in The South Dakota Review, Green Mountains Review, In Posse Review, Blackbird, and The Prose-Poem Project. One of her poems was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her chapbook, The Insomniac’s House, is available from Dancing Girl Press and a second chapbook, This is How She Fails, is available from Crisis Chronicles Press. She lives in rural southern Wisconsin.
It could be that a murder took place. It could be that I
escaped to Italy. Possibly I had a religious conversion. And
it’s true; I eventually slept with his brother. After my return to
the valley, we drove a rutted road toward the hot springs. My
car got stuck. He bashed in the cabin’s window with a rock
and we crawled through broken glass to bed. We kissed. That
was good, but then his cock seemed so small, I could barely
feel it. I wondered why she never told me that.
In the morning, he was no longer handsome. His hair was too
short, too punk, with waxy strands. Muscles lax, he claimed
coke had aerobic benefits and meant it. No longer a Parisian
street poet, he moved with the defensive slight of a cat
expecting to be hit. Angling in from the light of day where he
didn’t belong, shame filtered over him; little braids dampened
on pale junkie skin. Queasy in sunlight, I turned away.
Now I can’t remember if that was before or after my
hospitalization. It’s a blur; where I went, what I did. Nursing
shin splints from dancing, she swore she’d be a Rock’n
Roller forever, but a black crow fell on her doorstep. Losers,
they’re losers, she once hissed. How can you love a loser?
Judy Huddleston is an author, artist, and teacher living on the West Coast. She received a BFA from California Institute of the Arts and MFA from Eastern Washington University. Her nonfiction, fiction and poetry has appeared in The Los Angeles Review, The Collagist,Wilderness Press, Mudlark, MinnPost, Wordriot, Flashquake, the Penwood Review, NANOFiction, New South and other journals. Her second memoir, Love Him Madly, will be published by Chicago Review Books in 2013. Her flash-fiction, Three From Idaho, received a Pushcart Prize nomination in 2011. She has recently completed the collection, Isis Leaves Idaho. A native of California, she currently teaches writing at California State University at Monterey Bay.
On the Third Day
Hemingway would probably reconstruct
his ruined head like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle
then ease down the snow belted Ketchum road.
Kicking a can, he’d stroll into the next decade
dragging the severed rack of a ten point buck,
in search of another clean, well-lighted place.
Like a film strip run backward, Berryman’s fingertips
might glance the dewed bank as he ascends feet first
to the Washington Avenue bridge. Mistress Bradstreet
would take his hand, lead him to the nearest podium,
his Pulitzer pressed under an arm, a new poem
scarifying patterns in his boozy brain.
Crane, velvet bathrobe billowing behind,
wavers on the prow, his tented hands lifted
to the Mexican sky. He steps back from the abyss,
inner eye envisioning the ink sip of a fountain pen,
the hard, hot brain frenzy that sends phrases marching
toward another bridge between oblivion and art.
Sexton could reduce her carbon footprint, wait
for a newer model, one in candy apple red with doll’s eyes
winking from the radio dials while Plath entwines
with Otto in the back seat. The three could motor east,
race to beat the rising sun, anxious to be the first
to see the angel roll back the stone.
Joani Reese has poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, book reviews, and writer interviews published or forthcoming in many online and print journals such as Metazen, A Baker’s Dozen, Unshod Quills, and The Pinch. Reese is an Associate Poetry Editor for Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, and a guest fiction editor for Scissors and Spackle. Cervena Barva Press has scheduled Reese’s second poetry chapbook, Dead Letters, for publication in 2013. Her published work can be read at Entropy: A Measure of Uncertainty.
Cocking the Fulcrum
There was a boy on the sidewalk today who had one of those “Hungry, please help” signs, so, as I went by, I gave him a quick sweep to the chins and gloriously like broken wind chimes down he went. He did not even drop his sign: but he did have to carefully put it aside to set himself back up.
There is so much violence in the world. All the media are obsessed with conflict programming. Everything is so whirligig loud. Everything is opposition ego, stratification rite. It becomes important to let one’s own aimless violence out, to clear the evolving static from the skull, to make a temporary peace with one’s inner needs. It must be done: what is important is how you do it.
You can’t take your soup of boiled anger to bed. You can’t commit your sedative of replacement violence against a peer or superior: that just would not work. More conflict. More competition. No. You have to strike down, downward, decently low: to those beneath the concern line. I felt so much better when that boy went over. I could carelessly sip a full breath directly between my currently stylish lips. The air tasted like the engaged sexuality of unrecognized children. It was like the flush of pure blue advocate electrons being set perilously free behind the bridge of my nose. For a full half an hour I did not think that I needed a new car, or was cramped in my home, or needed to worry about the worth of erections.
My wife takes a less purist approach. She would have loudly lectured everyone on the corner, as though they were fish glued with a living epoxy to the side glass of an aquarium, about how poor children should be in orphanages, and put to learning trades: be given the permanent satisfaction of a career in service and manual labor. These children could start with yard work now, she would tell them; then they might end up profitably clearing drainage ditches; and they could, perhaps, one day, bespeckled with cover alls and a utilitarian second hand hat, grow into running machinery, or measuring macadam with whimsically blue chalk lines that automatically retract.
For a mercurially usable time afterwards she might be less randomly combative, more cream scented sure of herself, more giving of her unaccounted for time: ready to let a peer be a peer. After unexpectedly meeting, diligently recharged, in the hall, we might lazily lumber through a curious foreplay, and execute our marriage without the salt-tasting, dagger-tipped haze usually winding in our self-gratifying fluids, that worries of who in this episode might be getting mechanically the better of whom.
Maybe I should shepherd her down to that corner.
Ken Poyner lives in the lower right-hand corner of Virginia, with his power lifter wife, four rescue cats, and two attitude-challenged fish (in their separate but similar bowls). His 2013 e-book, Constant Animals, 42 unruly fictions, is available at the usual large commercial vendor web sites. Recent work has appeared in My Favorite Bullet, The Legendary, Conte, Asimov’s, Rattle, and a host of other places.
John Lee Clark
She was the best girlfriend any deafblind man or any man could ask for
She didn’t have to but she started learning Braille
I say started because she didn’t finish
She didn’t finish because I was the worst boyfriend imaginable
She was studying the Braille book she had ordered from the Hadley School for
the Blind and asked me about a passage
I read it and it said See Spot run
I said stupid book kiddies and tore it in half
She said hey my book
I said SEE I Is The WaS SPOT run Ing run eD duh duh and tore it into more
She gave Braille up and almost gave me up
She went on to learn Gaelic French Japanese Danish and became a pioneer in
Braille she never took up again
It took me years but I became a good husband
When we were separated for two years I nothing but read
Reading meant making the sign forgive as my fingers brushed over all those
Forgive me forgive me forgive me
I was wrong
She did finish learning Braille
The hardest best kind