Picking a Font / Julie Wells

Build a pillow fort and hide out
morning coffee wrapped in down
feathers of consumerism feeding

me; I build a pillow fort for breakfast.
In my pillow library, the only book

is The New Bread Loaf Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry.
The only book. And on the cover of the only book is a photograph
of two hunter green Adirondack chairs sitting in a field.
Empty chairs sitting adjacent to each other as if conversing –
perhaps about Kundera or Light. In my fort there are no chairs

certainly no empty chairs, no empty
Adirondack chairs. I sit on a blanket.
At closer look, the chairs in the photograph
are not Adirondack. They are too
modern too few slats too contemporary

round backs. (The “chair photo”
is the property of Edward L. Brown
middle initials sucking in names
in the middle, nomenclatural waists.
I am serious. I am a letter.) And I

have coffee in my pillow fort. Awake to process.
There is dog hair everywhere. And those empty
chairs symbolize the mod plight: as if the empty asymmetrical field
symbolizes the fight of me versus me: the hunter green against the
of dry grass symbolizes the varied tones of humanity (we are all
and the non-radical shift of our generation. I was
just as excited about my shoes as about poetry: woven wool plaid
a mix of pale yellow and lavender and oak and black
and vintage and pointed toes and stiletto heels and we were at a bar
to hear spoken word and our friends were reading. A poet ran a poem
    by me
before the show and I learned something. I learned him. I learned
he used to be in a punk band and I wish I had been in a punk band
though my idea of social commentary in high school was complaining
about my boyfriend and getting drunk, my idea of social commentary
was Pink Floyd in my stereo driving back roads in my small town

My idea of social commentary was eating Indian food
and filling out college applications where I promised
that I was indeed well-rounded, did indeed do everything.

A Contemplation of Suicide / Donald Harris

The best way to escape His ire is not to seem too happy, so reasoned Browning's Caliban. Soon enough, I expect that I shall merge into the immensity of time, and I hear the hymn line where Jesus is tenderly calling, His voice combining with those gentle voices calling "old black Joe." I will readily step forth into Charon's craft, my face steadfast toward the stygian unknown. Oh would that I could find some swift and easeful surcease from all my sadness and my sorrow. I have no wish in living on in pain, in grief, in misery. I would gladly slip across that bourne of time and place, from which no traveller e'er returns, if I might spend eternity as a zephyr fanning across virile and voluptuous nudes upon some pristine, sunny beach or might I be a zeitgeist driving any number of the miserables to depression and despair. There is a theory that the more you have to struggle to live, the less is death a viable consideration. But I shall be as steadfast in my purpose of self-immolation as is the rage residing in a mother's heart when bereft of all that she held most dear.

the cunt poem / michael mcquarrie

between the chain link metal fences
behind bank vaults and erect university towers
between pilgrimages on corroded bicycles
and bullet-headed trains through dark subway shafts
between rummaging through men with shaggy beards
who accompany their dogs to whiskey
between eating sullenly from no meat tables
scraps of tofu and soybean, chewing cud
regurgitating books
between miles of authorial debris
vaulted librarian ceilings
hierarching cherubim
fingertipping gods
and hoover vacuums placed carefully over dicks
milking the way to future generosity
between streets that can only be climbed
over brick walls through granite tunnels around marble monuments
decorated in penis-shaped neckties and Ferrari-shaped balls
between bears rubbing their erections in dirt
among bulls dangling their flaccid penises from on high
between my own haunted dreadlocks screaming in unison
to enter the ashram and save Jeremiah from boiling
so he can continue dancing the depleted Michigan rag
between women licking women with curlicue toes
and ghosts slashing their own wrists
beneath memory of Ethiopia Sheba Solomon
who had 700 wives and 300 concubines

gold in their noses nipples clits
gold lining the ark of the matriarchal covenant
gold in the skin of Cleopatra
gold in the fingers of Florence Nightingale
gold in the dreams of Mother Theresa
Helen of Troy’s golden face
Marilyn Monroe’s golden hair
golden harps for Eurydice
golden locks for the bears
who gelded the bulls and ground their balls into golden dust
for ravenous, thirsty, ejaculating nomads
laden with golden manna dew
manna dew that resonated

sausage, shish kabob, gyro,
pastrami, salami, roast beef,
pepperoni pizza, pulled pork, roast goat,
beef jerky of the jalapeno persuasion,
venison, veal, voluptuous roast ham,
roadkill raccoon, sundry squirrel, snake, snail,
and slithering grubworm,
fricasseed frog legs,
deep fried cricket legs,
spider legs while sleeping,
duck, albacore, alligator,
fattened pork belly, chorizo,
carne asada, chitlin, sea urchin,
roast dog at a Chinese buffet,
fried cat at a Chinese buffet,
ground rat at a Chinese buffet,
beheaded male preying mantis in vigorously copulating death throes,

and balls, oh endless balls
almost always served as delicacies,
and never cunt
why never cunt?
from the golden temples of cunt
to the breadbaskets of cunt
to the Marie Antoinettes of “let them eat cunt”
be it deep-fried cunt,
cunt over easy,
cunt on rye,
cunt jerky,
peanut butter and cunt jelly,
honey baked cunt,
oven-roasted cunt in brown sugar,
curried cunt in potato stew,
lemongrass and rosemary cunt,
cunt with mayonnaise,
cunt with sauerkraut,
cunt with a little sugar thrown in to cut the acid,
chocolate ice cream with sprinkles and cunt on top,
cunt on the rocks with a dash of amaretto and a maraschino cherry

may we eat and forever be filled from the table of cunt
and after this last supper
may we tear down our skyscraper masters peering out from their towers
break the fascist rods given to university teachers
wash dollar bills clean and dry as unused toilet tissue
smother the muzzles of tanks within wombs
end world hunger with cunt
cure cancer with a press of a pink button
establish a new covenant on earth
cunt in a golden box for all
cunt with seraphim seating
the commands issued from those heavenly lips
emblazoned on our backs and in our wombs and revolutions
may we do unto others what we would have cunt do unto us

Old Riverside Oak / Bob Ambrose

It was early March then,
a year and eternity past,
we brought Dad home.
From his old blue chair
he peered through new
windows, not his own
as snow blankets froze
our Southern woodland
into hard white silence
and gray flows flooded
the shallow river shoals
with an icy hush.

Do you remember
that dark night’s cold
when bitter winds descended
from bleak polar plains,
showering limbs and ice
over frozen foundations
of our beleagered home?
Powerless, huddled
in a house leaking warmth
we covered this fragile,
this gentle-souled man
with blankets and love.

Strong against the night,
but in strength unavailing
over softening banks,
the old riverside oak
surrendered itself to swirling gray
and lodged in downstream shallows.

A year now it’s been, a year
of great loss, a year nurturing
      growth, and senescence
and the canopy fills again
closing gaps with lacy green
      softening the void
now filled with light, but
still, the void.

Springtime truth emerges
    from emptiness
with whispers of hope.
Mortal life, though dust
is forever redeemed
for we function within
    a greater whole
which cannot quite be
resolved in the fun-house
    of our dim perception.
So we see now in part
but miss the unity beyond
that surrounds the void
     in a cosmic embrace
apprehended, if at all
in a place beyond words
expressed in the silence
that speaks to the heart.

The old oak, which served the sky
still provides structure.
On trunk and limb
where hawk pairs once nested
mud turtles bask
gleaming in bright sun
    over fresh spring flow.

The Seminar (with apologies to Edgar Allen Poe / Grady Thrasher

At a seminar unending
to which lawyers’ minds were bending
from the weight of legal lore,

My tortured thoughts began to wander,
embracing fantasies to ponder
of female images galore.

Lovely visions, beauty shining,
caused my brain cells, all entwining,
to anticipate what’s in store:

Tumid, taunting bosoms straining,
pointed pulsing pleasures raining
sensual waves upon my shore,

causing monumental rising
and concurrently resizing
of that which grew to so much more.

Hot surrender eyes now glowing,
rhythmic bodies’ motions showing,
guiding me toward Heaven’s door.

Crimson lips, consumed with blending,
shout the message hearts were sending,
“You are ours now forever more!”

The room grew quiet, the lawyers wonder,
Who of us caused that vocal thunder?
“It was I”, I said, “and there’s much more.”

“Goddesses here on Earth are living,
their charms to only me they’re giving,
They say I’m all they’re living for!”

The room’s response, in unison chorus,
This seminar will surely bore us.
Please continue. Tell us more!

I took a breath and started talking.
All looked on me, raptly gawking,
each with a mesmerized rapport.

“Their beauty exceeds the blooms of spring,
their smiles insure that birds will sing,
desire exudes from every pore.”

“Soft eyes, gasps and sighs are showing
the before, during and after glowing
reserved for me forever more.”

“Their lips each say they’ll be providing
pathways to the stars for gliding
beyond a far and distant shore.”

The crowd stood up, eyes red and tearing,
then one by one they started cheering,
You’ve found the life we’re looking for!

I smiled politely; pride was showing.
“But wait,” I said, my flushed face glowing.
“Not one of them do I adore”.

Without further explanation,
I waved away each exhortation
and departed quickly through the door.

Across the street my wife stood waiting.
I reached for her unhesitating,
for she’s my love forever more.