One Summer Morning

One  summer morning
there was a thick coat of ice
in your  embrace, which
I  continue to feel about twenty
summers  and counting.
I did not welcome
that experience, but I would not
give  back the good times
for all the gold in the world.
One summer morning
I  was on top of the world.
My heart  dripped with passion
and I immersed myself
in the aroma of your  love.
There was  no thick coat of ice.
I reveled  in every morning
and fell for the rhythm of your
touch.  Your dark eyes comforted me.
I could  never imagine such
a better  feeling.  One summer  morning
winter  came early.  Perhaps it was
your  way of not dragging things
out, of making things simple for me,
who  yearns for the glimmers of light,
of hope, in the darkest hours.
The  howling dogs on this summer
morning, remind me of my own
howling  for all the loveless days.

Luis  Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

___________________________________________________________________

Not From Concentrate

When she left him temporarily we would
cook breakfast and get the bus to Liverpool
browse the CD racks return to an evening
of wine the Devotional videotape phone calls

smoking and racing up the stairs sharing
bath water then after lights out she would
creep into my bed hands heading under the covers
and concentrating on pleasuring herself
knowing the effect it would have on me

as I came to terms with the fact that
the orange juice was not from concentrate
and the vodka was distilled not in Russia
the sound I could hear was my pounding pulse
and her minute gasps of breath

Andrew Taylor

_______________________________________________________________________

Ethics and  Aesthetics

if you really must kill children
then leave the corpses arranged
exquisitely, like you are commenting on
time and nonentity, not just throwing away
a few sacks of meat

or show us that throwing away meat is all you are doing,
but do it so you show that meat is all there ever is
in living children or in human reasons

kill the brats so we know that meat is all there ever is
to believe in, then as far as i’m concerned
you’re a good human being

David McLean

_______________________________________________________________________

Robert Frost Loves Yoga Pants

You should write more like Robert Frost!
There seems to be very little about nature
or warm New Hampshire walks through
Indian summer’s beautiful embrace. You
should be more like good ole’ Frost, he
says so much and I believe he’s classically
trained. You should be able to look out
your front picture window (as you type)
and see the birds sing ( cukoo, cukoo).
You should watch the icy rain wash away
the snow as you think about cool meditations
on a warm beach while doing yoga. Quick!
Breath in the Robert Frost, breath it into
those lungs of yours, Then you should have
a nice vegetarian meal with other friends, who
in turn are all wearing yoga pants and
super tight tank tops. You discuss beauty
and nature, you discuss fruit juices while
your testicles all snug and tight in those
spandex but most important is that we chat
about Robert Frost. You should be more like
the old white head of poetry, we need you on
the side of eastern sensations.

Yours truly,
A Buddhist prayer to change you!

Frank Reardon
___________________________________________________________________________

They Are Not Friends

Colorless memories of
slapping ass with the
bony girl who’s crack
addiction led her to peddle a
death that would not even
leave skeletal remains…

Yesterday, she cried
when you gave her 40
bucks…a salary of escape
to worlds of nothing; only
minutes that lived inside
a tin-foil pipe.

Tomorrow, her life story
might be on the obituary
page— not a long tale, but both of you knew
this when your uneasy liaison was
formed; however what happens
twelve hours from now
is unimportant.

Today is now…your search
for companionship involves
a whore with six teeth missing.

Trying to convince herself she’s human

but understanding her Cinderella redemption
has been accumulatively lost over years on the street.

One day at a time lives
in recovery books and
twelve step programs…

But sometimes…even the day
ain’t worth living.

Dan Provost
______________________________________________________________________

Everything is Addressed

everything is addressed that needs to be addressed.
everything is stamped with the american flag.
everything is u.s. postal service friendly.
no anarchy symbols.
no “to larry king” from “anna nicole smith’s ghost.”
everything is straight line unwavering sane.
no room for misconception.
no room for boo hoo waa waa dirty diaper ego.
look at all that white.
blameless expanse.
no scratch-n-sniff stickers.
some people are offended by those.
“oh, so you think my nose needs something NEW
to smell??? motherfucker!!!”
everything is being dropped with graceful hands
into the anonymous slot.
I will probably die for this.

Misti Rainwater-Lites

__________________________________________________________________________

Leaving

they kissed
without passion

we made love
in every state
he said
packing the
mini shampoo bottles
spraying the bags
with Lysol

we never
made love at all
she thought
throwing away
the crackers
leaving three dollars
for the maid

Puma Perl

_________________________________________________________________________________

Scorched Scalp Policy

Larry knew he had to do
something about the head lice.
even the barflies,
the rancid meat and potatoes
of his sex life, didn’t want
a man constantly itching his scalp.

after a night of Southern Comfort,
Larry doused his hair in kerosene.
he placed a bath towel on the back
of the Barca-Lounger
so as not to ruin the upholstery.
secretly, he congratulated himself.
such forethought rarely came to him
sober, let alone after night’s drunk.

he leaned back in his chair,
flicked play on the Devon porn
and lit himself a Doral cigarette.

Later, ensconced in the burn ward,
head and torso swathed in bandages,
he took grim consolation
it could have been worse.
he could have had crabs.

Fast Women and Slow Horses

my father always claimed
fast women and slow horses
would be the death of him.

ended up,
it was only pancreatic cancer.

he also advised me to stay in school,
that I wasn’t suited for manual labor.

turns out,
he was a little closer to the mark
with that one.

I never listened, regardless…
his wisdom rarely extended
beyond the flat end
of a liquor bottle.

now as I near the end
of my second decade of factory work
with my own whiskey bottle
acting as the yardstick
by which I measure my
philosophical meanderings

I know cancer will kill me

I just don’t know
what my children will
remember me by.

The Set-up

the lingerie girl straddles the bar stool,
gyrating her ass on my lap,
hand dropping down, caresses my crotch
a tingling moment before
she makes a dismissive grunt.

the guy over there,
she gestures down the bar,
gots a cannon between his legs,
holding her hands a foot apart.

Bobbie Strang…

I’d been fucking his ex-wife almost a year.
my best friend, Buffy,
has been fucking Strang’s current girlfriend
for as long as he has.

which leads me to believe
Bobbie Strang can’t be too well-hung
if his woman is high-stepping
with a guy nick-named Buffy.

then again,
I’m best friends with a guy
who goes by the name of Buffy,
and if I’d been a bit more gifted in the pants
she would have kept
her goddamned mouth shut
in the first place.

Karl Koweski

____________________________________________________________________________

In The Abode of My Cat’s Eyes

i see nothing in her eyes
she presses and stretches
her claws to my chest

i am nothing in her eyes

not sound
or
taste

and as the sun
works
us
over

in this small room

i can see
i am nothing
in the abode of my cat’s eyes

James Darman

__________________________________________________________________________________

It’s New Years

fire works
explode
in the
distance.

From here
it sounds
more like
an animal
dying with
a bad cough.

It’s another
year & the
last one’s
gone.

Inching
toward
oblivion.

Zach King-Smith

__________________________________________________________________________________

The Music Is Still the Same

the music’s still the same
it’s just the walls are louder
the tones and vibes are bouncing off metal
rather than brick
which makes the sound louder
rather than dense and muffled.

the music’s still the same
the voice,
the style,
the sound,
the meaning…

it’s just the world is getting bigger,
more hollow, changing into a huge void
where the tiniest bit of truth
sounds like a thunderous volcano.

it doesn’t take much anymore
because there is not much anymore.

Mike Meraz

__________________________________________________________________________________

Gasping

i love the gulping sound
red wine makes poured
from a big bottle thru
it’s thin neck into my glass
like a fish gasping for air
bigger the bottle the better
small bottles make me
fearful they will empty
before the job is complete
bringing my fish of pain
to the surface
intensifying my anguish
instead of drowning it deep
within a sea of amnesia

Wolf Carstens

______________________________________________________________________

Understanding Man

the understanding man has arrived to foreclose you.
it seems you’re way behind on your payments.
i can’t even afford underwear that fits, you say
as the understanding man zeroes in on your belly button.
i truly do understand your predicament, the understanding man nods
but it’s time to cash in your chips.
the understanding man pulls out a large safety pin.
he proceeds to prick you.
your body deflates and the understanding man shoves it into a bottle.
the understanding man made the mistake of going home right past me.
since i too understand your predicament
i trip him. the bottle in which you flounder
flys into my hands. i run down a dark alley
to a shed. in the shed is a bicycle pump.
i pour you out of the bottle and onto the floor.
i bicycle pump you back to where you were
when you answered your door.
i put an ace bandage on the hole the understanding man pricked in you.
thanks, you say, i owe you.
next time don’t undo the chain.
but he looked so understanding! i was compelled to open the door.
be wary, fool, i smile. learn to ask questions.
the understanding men are all over the place.
they are in your hair.
they are in your drerams.
ask them many questions.
sooner or later their facade will disintegrate.
the understanding men pat your troubled heads.
their palms are oily.
the shuffling that kept you awake?
the last deck on earth.
i don’t know if the cards are marked.
one helluva game, though.
the weather gets cold and your favorite tv show shivers.
understanding men reload.
nobody wears a watch anymore.
when does knowledge mutate into instinct?
two humans felt a kiss coming on.
they stood up out of the herd.
their eyes swam synchronized.
the understanding men glued tse tse flies onto their skin.
the town crier is on his last fling.
all just might be well but can anybody truly be sure?
that town crier once was more specific
but the hot desert wind got sand in his thought process.

Scott Wannberg
__________________________________________________________________________

Asking

For years I thought that
talking to the Gods
was an exercise done privately under unforgiving
distant stars

Ridiculous unrequited prayer
done by staring at old, cold books – with mean small print

But then I discovered
that
just ain’t it at all

God can be found in the ‘thank you’ voice of the guy
at the counter in the supermarket or
the quietness of a a stranger’s parking lot smile
or
the rattle of weeds across a dry summer Mojave
or
watching my unfettered fingers jump jump jumping
across the computer keys
deep in the middle of typing three hours worth of unscrubbed truth

God, for me, has turned out to be a conscious choice – a self-evoked experience
just
like
love

Another Day In Paradise

The clouds this morning driving over Topanga Canyon
To my new phone room job
Were a white cotton tablecloth against Big Jesus’ pepper blue work shirt

And, as I left the coast driving into the hills
The fog lifted
And I gulped my coffee and – for a change – turned off my radio
(seems that slick George has decreed that enough is enough and that these heathen towelheads will soon morph into a unilateral desert oil stain)
And – always proud to be an American – I tell myself, ‘hey it’s all okay’
I’m breathing in and out – rigth here – and I’m free white and over twenty-one – right?
While my precious National Security guarded by a man who’d think nothing’s wrong
With flaming out a few hundred-thousand babies for the small price of a 68% public approval
rating

Sure – no pain – no gain – right?
So thanks mister president for your most singular vision of
unbuffered, unblemished, unimaginable
stupidity

I think next year I’ll move to Tibet

October 2003

I met the meanest bastard starving cat while sitting with a book
Smoking half a pack of Luckies on a bench at Venice beach

He saw me and came up – white – with one green eye and one yellow eye
and a fresh slash on his scarred ear
angry as a wounded wolf he kept his distance
and his look said, ‘feed me or fuck off’
that bench you’re on is my territory

What he didn’t know is that I know desperate too – and crazy – and what emptiness and aloneness and rage can do to you when you’ve got nothing but pain in your pockets and your home is a busted-out 20 year old Pontiac stalled in an alley in West L.A. and the voices in your head are carving you up and killing more of you off each day – and you wake up and drink more rat-piss wine to keep you from instant madness and God becomes a guy coming out of the market handing  you chump change toward another fucking jug and fear is your finest feeling and love is dead and all time is dead and even your eyes stink and your gut is bloated with the screaming voices of those you hate and the only sanity can be found in the small miracle of sucking back one more drink –
That mean white cat didn’t know that I’ve been cut too
from the same cloth

The only difference between us is fifteen years and my typewriter

Hitting the Big Time

Okay, I guess now I must be really famous
because this week I’m back in Paris giving a TV interview and talking to this guy
from Liberation Magazine and this girl whose been sending me hot e-mails for a year wanting to know about writing and poetry and this and that – calls me at my friend’s flat and says we have to have a drink together

I’ve never seen her before but when I get to the bistro there’s no mistake: she’s twenty-nine and decked out in tight jeans and pink pumps – and her braless nipples push push push against the pockets of her open silk blouse

And later that night after we’ve spent all that sweaty summer afternoon feasting on each other’s body parts – and I’m back in my room alone – I check my pocket, counting my money – and estimate roughly that when I get back to L.A. at the end of the month – I’ll have a grand total of eighty dollars left – plus loose change – along with the rent due and sixteen-dollars clogging my checking account – and a stack of over-due bills to pay along with other stuff – and I figure that my newest career choice may be to go back to selling cars again or hit another office supply boiler room in Hollywood just to make ends meet –
And here I am in Paris and I’ve hit the big time
Ah fame, it’s a bitch!

Dan Fante

Previously published in Dan’s poetry collections “A gin-pissing-raw-meat-dual-carburetor-V8-son-of-a-bitch from Los Angeles” & “Kissed By A Fat Waitress.”

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ISSUE #2

01/05/2009

INTRODUCING JAMES DARMAN
NOTHING HERE
13 POEMS

EMPTY NAMES

i’m tired of places w/ names

Paris

Rome

London

Libson

i’m tired of important faces

Caravaggio

Picasso

Modigliani

Kline

i’m tired of great men

give me a lone cat

give me a wilting flower

give me a broken pen

an empty notebook

a full jug of wine

eggs over easy

and a waitress

who doesn’t know

my name

or

purpose

______________________________________________________________________

A POEM W/OUT BEAUTY OR SORROW

in a cold dirty alley

i once called home

there are flowers growing

thru the concrete fissures

between the green dumpsters

and the fast-food refuse piles

someone is trying to fill my shoes tonight

w/out beauty and w/out sorrow

__________________________________________________________________

TONIGHT THE STARS

passing so many houses, passing so many doors

so many paths to nowhere, so many exits

and now here is home, thru this wooden door

into these hollow walls , the oak dresser

the marble end table , the cracked lampshade

the stained carpet ,the worn couch

the stars look good tonight, with a half a bottle of wine

__________________________________________________________________________

BLACK DESPAIR OR EXQUISITE BEAUTY

what is this vessel called home?

this endless river

come to rest

in the Atlantic ocean

or on 2nd avenue

or in the night sky

so empty?

with grief

and sorrow

of

dying

stars

__________________________________________________________________________

KILLING THE MACHINE WHILE LIVING LIKE AN ANIMAL

what strange birds; green feathers and white heads

peck the ground and sip at rancid puddles in the yard

raccoons climbing thru the trees off the roof

into the garbage cans; eating yesterdays meal

iguanas frozen stiff in the limbs of palm trees

tongues leering out the sides of their mouths

And now a burping and farting garbage truck

w/ men leaning off the side smiling in straw hats

my wine isn’t strong enough to live with machines
__________________________________________________________________________

LEAVES SCATTER LIKE BUTTERFLIES

across the driveway

moving left

moving right

gathering in piles

drunk on the wind
__________________________________________________________________________

GETTING THE GROCERIES

the sun is almost unbearable

and the birds seem to know it

they squawk and cry above

i push the pedals of my bike

taking up the whole road

the cars honk and wave their fists

and they’ll do this all day long

moving down the road trapped

as i drink a bottle of wine

and fry some eggs and sausage
__________________________________________________________________________

LOST IN THE GARDEN

i have no home

a lifetime

of park benches, of jail cells

of hospital beds, of hotel rooms

of hard floors, of grave earth

a lifetime

lost in the garden of the night’s stars
__________________________________________________________________________

WINE TODAY

nothing but water and silence

some life still goes on visiting

a large beetle bouncing around

in the wind and trees outside

until a small green lizard pounces

no wine today but the wind moves on
_________________________________________________________________________

WINTER’S ROAD

there’s

a deep frozen river

in my chest

i fill it with wine

and take a long piss

in the bushes

then wander

down the

road

_________________________________________________________________________

MORNING BIRDS

hundreds of birds fill the trees

singing their violent morning song

waking me from my deep slumber

i rise and light a cigarette

inhale

and strong wind sways the branches

exhale

and the birds scatter
________________________________________________________________________

MY MORNING WINDOW

i draw back the curtains

letting in the grey sky

a small lizard sits on

the window sill

he moves slowly away

and eats a spider

i move outside and watch

the neighbor water his gardenias
_________________________________________________________________________

NOTHING HERE

the wind is blowing strong

i go out to check the mail

there is nothing in the box

black vultures fly above on grey clouds;

aviators in the void : here- then gone
___________________________________________________________________________