Stopped Clock / Michelle Castleberry




If the concept of eternal return is true
then right now, the same as in January, 1986
my sister and father  are watching basketball.
The Celtics versus the Pistons.
The players sprint in blue, white and green
between the goals,  the squeak
of athletic shoes trailing behind them.
Daddy slurps his snack of cornbread
and buttermilk. Sissy tumbles a Ziploc bag
half-filled with water between her hands,
fidgety because the Celtics are down.

The frog-drone of sportscasters blankets them,
along with a blue wash of tv light.
The sports channels beam from a “high satellite”
which the wide, white dish in the yard tilts
all the way up to catch, like a child seeking
the origin of a raindrop.

Wind catches the lip of the dish, shifts it
and Larry Bird’s body undulates with static.
The game tilts, bodies dissolve and cohere.
It is important to note that the sports satellite
is close, at least on the dial, to the porn satellite.
The game commentary slides under  the image
of a barely scrambled threesome.
“The rookie’s looking good.”
“Johnson pulls up…and…misses the shot.”
Or Hypatia Lee chants the fourth vowel of the alphabet
over and over again, while Kevin McHale
(who, incidentally, resembles Peter North)
squints, aims a layup.

And some people say there is never enough time…

The two figures in the lenticular light
have been paralyzed for  most of eternity 
and then some, playing chicken
with their own embarrassment
until Daddy utters one syllable,
that alpha and omega
of all awkward moments…

“Well,”

which my sister takes as her cue
to dash outside in coat and gowntail.
She places one small hand 
on the burning cold metal dish,
wiggles it,  looks hard toward the house.

Daddy, from inside, hollers “ok”
into the fireplace where the sound rebounds
up the chimney and out,
arcs into the night air
then lands, all net,
into her upturned ear.


To Go to Patagonia / Bob Ambrose


Some truths hover
just past the point of perception
and pass into knowing
gradual as gray dawn

Grows from blue-black nights
to gentle winter days in Georgia
singing frost and white camellia,
silver age and pale regret:

You’ll never go to Patagonia
never trek the tortured plain
to breathe the bracing air of Andes
blowing off the icy sea.

You’ll never see auroras dance
unless by chance coronas leap
and sear the Southern sky with fire
an hour before your time of sleep.

You’ll go no more to Mykenos
nevermore return to youth
to stride the sands of Paradise
while clothed in fresh Aegean air.

Some truths lie
harmless as hibernating vipers
that wake on warm days
to feed on minds that give them life.

But winter afternoons can glow
as silver yields to tones of gold
and old camellias burst in color –
so it is with elder souls

Who step beyond belief and doubt,
and freed at last of empty strife
embrace the wondrous, fallen world
which harbors grace within the shadows.

From this veil I would chase truths
past the far end of perception
where they flit, unformed
above a lonely Patagonia

Where somehow, surely
amidst the sun-drenched daydreams of God
my doppelgänger draws near
the Torres del Paine.

McMurder / Alx Johns


Bear in mind

Friday the 13th the Final Chapter
was only, like, three films into the franchise. 
By now Jason's been to outer space.
He's fought Freddy, and not even in his sleep,
enjoyed the magic of CGI
killed through crowbars in the eye,
attacked despite axes in the back,
never mind that a split spine
would cause paralysis
or that nothing like eyes could possibly remain
in those holes, no rods nor cones
how does he see?
Same basic plot:
group of teens in heat
finding themselves separated
at best in naked pairs
to be startled and skewered
then stare straight ahead
as a meat-shedding latex head.
Really, a deformed bald boy
breathing somehow
in a murky lake is now hatcheting sexy astronauts?
The old superstition on which this bullshit is based
long since forgotten
the slaying taking place well beyond
Saturday the 14th and its impossibly well-lit night.

No wonder so many still watch when
those politically pissed off, pink-headed pricks
contradict themselves again and again
on every matter of life and death.

Hanging Myself (this is not a suicide) / Jessica White

Today I ran through the woods
on a trail made by my horses
sweating out my concerns
in bright attritional glory

I felt each break
calcified in my spine
bony protrusions invading structured filaments
of soft tissue, atrophied

giving way to the demands, I thought
of a red beaded curtain spreads
over the housewife and her burdens
hidden from sight and thus from empathy

I ran on and on
exchanging one pain for another
over logs, fallen trees and small dried up creeks
splitting the ground as it travels, I thought

of a collar grown into a forgotten puppy’s neck
open but coagulated long before
he ceased to  whimper
when Phenobarbital delivered him at last,
and then eternal sleep

So I ran through woods into the field
pastures of scant winter grass
up a hill toward the blooming daffodils
tricked by a imposter of Spring
into opening their buds too soon

Some haiku and senryu (same length, but on human nature instead of nature) / david oates

Circus —
the elephant’s front toenails   
painted white


Ruffling, sunlit, gleaming
as if illuminated from within,
the dead skunk’s white fur


dog so eager
to sniff another’s spray
wet nose


driving on the highway
graceful bare feet with dirty soles
from a pickup window


fit of giggling
in the corps de ballet
not one step missed


after a sip of beer,
young girl listens to the band
then lights her lollipop stick