"Pilot Episode Clip" - Rupert Fike

Pilot Episode Clip      

     You must never forget me.
     Even though I fear you shall,
     my hope is that you please don't.

This is the speech I give to my more
talented lover on our last night together,
the night she departs to a better city
where acclaim and new romance await.
I like the way my words have a slightly
archaic syntax derived from re-reading
Hardy and George Eliot all last summer,
yet the whole scene is delusional
because there is no lover,
and there is no better city or scene.
There is only me in the shower,
rogue energy posting sticky notes
for a production meeting in my head.  

Early humans were such good Buddhists,
always in the moment from constantly
having to kill or skin something.
But once they started preserving meat,
winter's supply sun-dried and stacked up
there was leisure to draw on walls,
point to the stars, say, that's me up there,
I'm Orion chasing Ursa across night skies.
Their dream worlds somehow innocent,
while ours, well, mine in particular,
is just indulgent, out there. I must do better.

One more thing though before I reform -
why did I cast myself as such a nebbish?
And how can interest ever be sustained
(in my ten-part auteur cable series)
if I'm clearly not on the hero's journey?
I will need a personal assistant
(Yale drama school, but LA savvy)
both for the casting and to help decide
if my lover forgets me or not.
I can see it going both ways.

(published by Blue Fifth Review, 7/18)

"Seeing My Father After 11 Years" - Joe Milford

He had made a batch
Of sunflower seed cookies
And I talked and talked and talked.

I noticed that he, in his sixties
And me, in my late forties
Had the same silver goatee.

He hugged me so hard.
I couldn’t cry
Because he squeezed my tears in.

We talked about DeSoto Caverns
And how it stretched tens of miles
Underground to Taladega.

He used to drive me over
West Point Dam in his Volkswagen
Smoking KOOLS and drinking PBR.

What struck me was his voice—
It was the same as when I was
A kid—when I would look up to him--

When he talked to me today
He sounded the same as back then
And he did not sound tired. 

And he did not sound as if
He was surprised at the reunion.
It was like we were meeting

In those ancient Alabama caves
After both of us having had
So many journeys and adventures.

Both of us, looking for arrowheads
So that we would have proof when we arrived
Home that this had really happened.

"University of Georgia Dorm - 1967" - Rupert Fike

We wanted to be brave, prove ourselves,
     yet we studied deep into each night
to keep out of the war that was our
     one big chance to prove we were brave, 
the chance Phil from Cordele got after
     failing Chemistry, losing his deferment,
Phil who was clumsy, not good at sports.
     We shook our heads at the thought of him -
fuzz-cheeked, helmet too big, search and destroy.
     We looked for faces on the nightly news,
friends pushing their way through chest-high grass.
     Two hundred Phils a week were getting killed.
We dreamed of pulling hurt kids from car wrecks
      to prove we were brave, but there were no wrecks,
there was only the war where cousins flew
      Hueys outside of  Pleiku, and we did not.
"Hiding out in college isn't fair," we said.
      Ramrod uncles said, "All right then, enlist."
 We didn't want to go that far.

Krishna told Arjuna he had to go fight.
     Hector's body was defiled at Troy.
God told Abraham, "Kill me a son,"
     the line Bob Dylan used in a song
we sometimes played in our metal-desk rooms
     where we studied while not being brave.
No one wanted to be the son who might
     not be spared, the son who'd go like Phil did,
 like Trey from Macon did after he gave up
     passing Statistics. We helped him pack,
 told him he might end up in Germany,
     but nobody really believed it.

        (published by Scalawag Magazine, 10/17)