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Tic toc - ebook file


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Tic toc - ebook file

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Tic toc - ebook file

  1. 1. ii Tic Toc Edited by: A.J. Huffman and April Salzano
  2. 2. iii Cover Art: “Tic Toc” photograph by A.J. Huffman Copyright © 2014 A.J. Huffman All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations in critical articles or reviews, no part of this book may be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission from the publisher: Kind of a Hurricane Press
  3. 3. CONTENTS A.J. Huffman Five Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes 2 From the Authors Carol Alexander Atrribution: Blue Lady (1957?) Amanda Anastasi Half-Past Untitled Sylvia Ashby Space-Time Barbara Bald At Season’s End There Comes a Time It’s About Memory Adjustable Mary Jo Balistreri Riffing on an Old Tune Flying Out of Phoenix Donna Barkman Child’s Play Summer 2012 Forbidden Fruit David J. Bauman Second Hand Years Later Recurrents Linda Bearss The God in My Ear
  4. 4. vi Colin Bell Over Time James Bell A Time to Remember A.C. Billedeaux Vintage Vinyl Rose Mary Boehm Between Here and Midnight Doug Bolling Late Summer Evening Passage Time Past Brennan Burnside World Trade Center Study Room Lesley Burt Eternal Lines Brenda Butka The Prisoners Vanishes Jeffrey Bruckwicki Chaucer Miki Byrne o Time for History These Were the Times Andrew Campbell-Kearsey The Alliterative Assasin J.R. Carson Mutually Forgotten Daniel Clausen Again Esteban Colon Till 13 33 Sepia Colored Past Randall Compton Ambitions
  5. 5. vii Envelope Diana L. Conces Quitting Time Apocalypse J.L. Cooper High oon with Pink Carnation Melodie Corrigall Scattered to the Wind Linda M. Crate Movement of Time Larry Crist Forever Stamps Group Photo Oliver Cutshaw Honey in October Susan Dale In the Beginning Untitled The Color of Time Tim Dardis Driving to Physical Therapy After Reading Delmore Schwarty Tatjana Debelijacki The Time of Birth Julie A. Dickson Cuckoo Clock Bruce Louis Dodson Solitude The Time of My Life Old Men Jane Dominick Precursor Jacqueline Doyle Memories of the Future
  6. 6. viii Chiyuma Elliot Why I Called So Late eil Ellman The Clock Zach Fechter Under a Glass Desert Sue Mayfield Geiger oir Couture Sarah Ghoshal Garage Sale For Chris The Sharp Edges of Trees Jessica Gleason Third-Life Crisis Misshapen Adulthood Allison Grayhurst Time Like . . . Karen Greenbaum-Maya Silence and Slow Time Ghazal Before Memory Ray Greenblatt Measuring Time Harmony Hodges The Bullpen Lynn Hoffman Pliation, n. The 23rd Century Trish Hopkinson Empty Sockets Trash Bag Burial Sue eufarth Howard Droughtful October Susan M. Huebner Archived ovember’s Last Call
  7. 7. ix Wendy Elizabeth Ingersoll Christmas Future S.E. Ingraham Tick-Tock Diane Jackman BBC Radio Interview Miguel Jacq ine Year Microwave Sky 20000 Marker Horizon Michael Lee Johnson Quiet Hours Passing Mindful, Mindless October Date When You Get Old She John Lambremont, Sr. Time After Time David Lymanstall The Time Thief Arlene Mandell Start . . . Stop! Print . . . Send! Fleeting Beauty Wild Strawberries Jacqueline Markowski Of Pigs & Pizza And Another One Down Residual Joe Massingham Just a Mother Janet McCann Pathetique Joan Mc erney Keepsake
  8. 8. x Tonight Jim Meirose In Marty Time Karla Linn Merrifield Sixth Dimension Jane Miller Making What We Can Concrete Bloom Mark J. Mitchell Timepiece Jude eale Mexico Emily Pittman ewberry This Too Will Pass Signs BZ iditch At Cape Cod Rees ielsen The Trick One of the Guys ayaz daryl nielsen A Memory Loretta Oleck Slow Time Rooms & Ruins Amy S. Pacini Yesterday’s Clock Timeless Companion Carl Palmer Mexico Time Time Chris Palmer Chemistry 101 Jeffrey Park Time Keeper
  9. 9. xi Mangal Patel Time’s Up David S. Pointer Time: Back in Stock Stephen V. Ramey Predestination and a Potato kerry rawlinson African oon Wind Memory Kenya Svidrigailov, You Have ot Wound the Clock Jendi Reiter Mis umeros Polish Joke henry 7. reneau, jr. Sins of the Father: 2442 AD The Terminal Blues Selective Recall Kristin Roahrig Ghosts of a Photograph Sy Roth The Wallflower Salty Rivers Silences Tentative Len Saculla All Your Sweet Sales Talk Richard Schnap Severed Flights Andrew Scott Time is Ticking Rex Sexton Clockers
  10. 10. xii Chris Shorne Stop, Watch Smita Sriwastav My Weekly Meanderings… Vignettes on Amnesic Memories… Bekah Steimel Untitled Kevin Strong Musical Lives Anne Swannell Keeping Time Marianne Szlyk Listening to No Other, Thinking of Takoma Park Rose of Sharon He was a Friend of Hers Talaia Thomas After the Before Sarah Thursday Westwood Boulevard (Why I Can’t Go Back) Tim Tobin My Old Grandfather Tamara K. Walker Stumble to Infinity Go Mercedes Webb-Pullman Terra Sancta Lucid ights Joanna M. Weston I Open the Door The Present Past Abigail Wyatt Little Red Tock
  11. 11. xiii Dana Yost Variations on Isolation From the Editors A.J. Huffman On the Surface Chronomentrophile Because Seconds Misappropriated Chambers The Road to Timeless Road Looking through the Hands of Time Watch Unplugged April Salzano Just a Click Ago Leftovers My Grandparents’ Basement George, Tell Me About the Rabbits From Age This Periphery Closed Doors The Relocating of Things Author Bios About the Editors
  12. 12. i
  13. 13. 2 Five Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes That is one way to measure a year according to my favorite Broadway song, Seasons of Love (from Rent). It goes on to give verses of alternative ways to measure that same length of time. For this anthology, we asked our authors to give voice to their own verses, stanzas and paragraphs detailing how they measure time, or even how time measures them. Never disappointing, they took us down a rabbit hole of infinite possibilities. “In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee . . . “ the song continues. Our authors touched those tangibles, along with dozens of others. Some delved deeper still, measuring time by ghosts and memories and disappearing increments of mathematical division. “How about love?” the song asks. Some of our authors answered with a resounding yes, then countered: What about despair? What about death? They opened their hearts and their wounds, allowing us as readers to bathe in the aftermath of both. This was one of the broadest themes we have ever posed, and yet even with the diversity of the responses, as a whole this was the most intimate collection we have ever put together. The ephemeral has come to hold hands with the tangible as they both chase the paranormal right into our heads and hearts. And we were glad to have taken the journey with them all.
  14. 14. 3 From The Authors
  15. 15. 4 Attribution: Blue Lady (1957?) Their paintings are the sum of all we know of the seven ages of man--some slides were lost, inevitably, and then, we stayed no length of time to mark bone growth on doorframes, but like the seeds of the wild plum straggled, blown off course, to fall where we would. From the wreck off the coast, this washed ashore scumbled on a white field, head cropped off as if by the whimsy of a fey small child coloring gamely from the bottom of the page (amazed that there is no place left to go). Its subject gazes out with aqueous eyes, a perpetual prisoner of the wormy frame. For years, I thought my father painted her when really, I should have known. This canvas has the strangest pull, as if prestidigitation charmed the oils: thin lady, logy prophetess, her long blues trailing on yet another six decades, sipped a draught of wormwood and gall in beauty like netsuke worn from daily ecstasies, unmade beds and passing children's squalls, the lashings from sea-brewed storms, streams of water seeping underneath the sills. Father in his post-stroke days grasped crayons, drawing mermaids on the paper mats while Mother's lady lingered in a darkened room. She's made the ocean-blue of nereides undulating in the eddies of neap tides.
  16. 16. 5 When they had gone, I dreamed we met in waters off the eastern shoals. -- Carol Alexander
  17. 17. 6 Half Past We are hypocrites about the past, clinging to dead things, resurrecting some memories like avid hoarders while others are locked in penitentiaries. We snap stills with our camera phones: selected poses, stretched truth marketed to future reminiscences – in them we laugh and dance, our faces turned to their best angle. When we flick through them in twenty years we’ll have convinced ourselves that it was our happiest time, that we will never be that way again and our grim acceptance of the lesser present is justified - we believe our own propaganda about ourselves; so busy remaking and remodelling the past, rereading and reinterpreting its texts, we never completely live in the here and now, making our past a half past and our present half lived. -- Amanda Anastasi
  18. 18. 7 This poem contains clock hands that stop and start, a struck match over a black wick two falcons clawing at the bars though the cage door is open the pluck of a tense wire a mountain lion on a leash a moment of white: a fresh inhale a cry caught at the back of a throat the fiddling of a lock the dropping of calculations a searchlight turning in on itself a Siberian husky on a beach a finding of words where before there was a deafening hush a nod to the improbable -- Amanda Anastasi
  19. 19. 8 Space-Time Of the constellation’s span that you dwell in my mind I dreamt you once: You walked a corridor and whispered my name, softly whispered my name. Dangling now by a silky thread spun from a far-away star I wonder what time wanting is. Whispers are young to succumb I learn and dreams: seeds drawn from to be withdrawn from the sun. There is only the constellation that waits or nibbles an inch from the century. Oh, but this thousand-year has tired me – may I rest in your chair a while, Cassiopeia -- Sylvia Ashby
  20. 20. 9 At Season’s End His gray hair catches waning light, as he reaches for her younger hand, beckons his partner to him. In her blaze-blue blouse bought for this occasion, she smiles, responding like a teen on a first date. Inconspicuous as white-tailed deer, this couple dances in the shadow of a mini-van parked to the side of a courtyard stage. Across the parking lot, a second senior pair sits in lawn chairs, their coolers beside them. With the finality of gates slammed behind an inmate, his ‘no’ to her plea to dance shatters the humid air. On this night war wages in Afghanistan, wildfires gobble up western forests and an impeding hurricane threatens the east-coast. On this night one couple chooses to dance to summer’s last concert; another remains staunchly seated. -- Barbara Bald
  21. 21. 10 There Comes a Time I’ve decided to talk to the dead, to chat with ghosts who encircle me like elders at a pow-wow. I hold deep conversations with them, share one-liners or a few laughs. I’m sorry you can’t sit with me on this mossy rock, I say to the man who once claimed by heart. Your swimming hole is still here, I tell the phantom dog. Forgive me, mother, for not taking your arm when you visited. It does not matter that I cannot see them or that they no longer really exist. It only matters that, like the imaginary friend who snuggled with me in soft flannel sheets, they listen to my musings, know my history and offer a hand when I’m tired of traveling alone. -- Barbara Bald
  22. 22. 11 It’s About Memory It starts out in your youth like Santa’s bag of toys – images and feelings stuffed into his sack one at a time, ready to be pulled out in an instant, pleasure on demand. It may be about spaniels racing round a pond, a canoe tipped by the current, laughter in its hull, sounds of playing horseshoes on the lawn, even an argument, remembered fondly, over where to stack dishes to dry. Cabin no longer there, mirth burned in its rafters and dogs long gone, memories come unbidden, see-saw back and forth – one minute a warm blanket, another a hair shirt you’d do anything to remove. Over time the bag’s sides bulge, joy and grief seep through its seams and the drawstring tightens like a noose around the neck. A burden now, too heavy on the back, even Santa loses his swagger. -- Barbara Bald
  23. 23. 12 Adjustable Time, like an expandable watchband, stretches— no deadlines, nothing to do except watch a lazy river drift quietly to wherever. It offers space to appreciate hummingbirds dive-bombing one another at sugary feeders; flexes to welcome butterflies tasting new-found freedoms—but snapping back in place, time contracts, sets boundaries, halts appreciation. As a fast-ticking timepiece, it can set a frantic pace, imprison the senses, dull them to flowing rivers and chittering hummers. Time can steal hours, days, years, even lifetimes, stashing them into booty bags, until, in wisdom—or luck—the wearer decides to remove the band. -- Barbara Bald
  24. 24. 13 Riffing on an Old Tune Three adults and a newly minted teenager linger over lager and lemonade taco salads and quesadillas The moon hangs round and full and we’re sure summer’s flavor is blueberry Relaxed tonight, his words are open windows Paris light champagne bubbly whirling dervish of sound Brio and abandon bounce on the polished table exploratory fire free jazz Tonight he takes a break meditative half notes gone His forward drive swings, spins a lyrical improv a new unmetered riff the old licks quoted in double-time -- Mary Jo Balistreri
  25. 25. 14 Flying Out of Phoenix Time is the coin of our life. The only one we have — Carl Sandburg Held aloft on wings of a huge aluminum bird, we fly through time on highways unfamiliar. Strangers to each other, we are mostly alone, twenty-thousand feet above ground in a lake of air and light, lily pads of white. We disappear. Reappear over desert, mountains, and striated canyons. I fly with bliss and dread, bundled and lost in blue fleece. Page after page, The Lemon Tree describes clouds shadowing both Israel and Palestine, their clash over borders. The vastness of no borders outside the plane’s window penetrates the story line. It too presents conflict, jars in a different way. With the extreme of no boundaries, the thought of free fall makes me tense and helpless. I check my watch for focus, but the face has no numbers. And it occurs to me as the minute hand circles and circles that time is space, the numbers arbitrary as are borders. Uncertainty is our bedrock, a contrail of exhaust the only sign of our passing. -- Mary Jo Balistreri
  26. 26. 15 Child’s Play No word exists in English for children who are grown. Do you have kids? I used to, years ago, when they were young. Now they’re middle-aged, salt-and-peppered, easing into bald, with delicate lines, not yet wrinkles, etching their brows. Memories pop, to think of them as youngsters, diving from the high board, herding gerbils and hamsters, scaling the alley fence to scoot to Daisy’s, the bodega down the block. I’ve lived beyond the ages of my parents when they died. They will always be my parents; will I always be their child? A child in memory only, playing jacks and jump rope – Double Dutch – puppet shows, backyard trapeze tricks – slowly aging to grey hair and crow’s feet, becoming the one who cared for them, like the children they’d become, as my own grown kids will need to, when my ripened life dims into a second childhood – minus Double Dutch. -- Donna Barkman
  27. 27. 16 Summer, 2012 Big dead ants surround my bed, exterminator’s victims. Under siege I pluck them from the carpet morning noon and night for weeks. Their fragile brittle exoskeletons – protectors in life – now crumble at my touch. In a hospice bed in Texas, my sister dwindles day by day. Morphine and oxygen sustain what little’s left of her. Deprived of flesh and muscle, her bones surface to make a human exoskeleton, delicate and crisp, that contains her slowing breath and pulse. Gutted by loss and disappointment, June, July and August heed their sweaty expiration dates that spanned a friend’s death, another’s permanent departure, a sister gone. September’s not exempt, not yet. A slight invisible carapace would be welcomed: an exoskeleton for me to don. -- Donna Barkman
  28. 28. 17 Forbidden Fruit I was tempted by the apples round and smooth as they hung from branches, low. An injunction Do ot Touch made them irresistible luscious in their juiciness just as my baby nakedness round and smooth was luscious, irresistible to him, my older, older-brother Now grown, now old, I still see his prying hands in those of others’: last week’s plumber, the UPS man my younger son Strong and square my own hands resemble his as I gaze on fallen apples ransacked memory in my palm and plan these words -- Donna Barkman
  29. 29. 18 Second Hand Sorry, my emotions were cheap back then. The youngest of six, I wore hand-me-downs and thrift store clothes like I was anyone. Simple, that's how we lived, how we did everything. "They’re good alright," the clerk had told her, but unlike the latest (more expensive) name brands, these emotions had no dimmer switch. They were either on or off. And I've always been sentimental about Mom— the things she gave me, so I never had the heart to trade them in for something new, updated or fashionable. Once, recovering from an all-night tantrum I picked up a surge suppressor at the hardware store, but even after all these years of filters and shades I leave Bloomingdale's and Macy's empty handed, the newer models still on the shelf. I keep the old things turned off, in the corner and imagine balance—just enough love, just enough care, a touch of romance in low light, a soft kiss and an honest smile at the thought of you walking fast on fourth street in your blue pea coat, and me able to keep that vision with easy eyes, a simple sigh and the possibility of sleep. -- David J. Bauman
  30. 30. 19 Years Later I watch now—a primal instinct. In the yard my sons are swinging, laughing, while at the window I wash dishes—mindless clinks of silver and glass. Eyes scan, ears tune in for a cry that isn't laughter. When we go out I hold their hands in parking lots and stores. I cannot help the child I was. Someone should have been there for him. A brother stood shaking at the bottom of the stairs, hoping what was done to him was not being done to me. Sometimes hope has no feathers. Adults were in the house, laughing, drinking. It was cute, they said the way we became pals. You asked me to show you where the bathroom was. I feared every visit after. When for other reasons you were finally locked in jail, they asked me cautious questions, not careful ones, clutching faith, so I let them believe. It doesn't hurt, not anymore. Now I watch, I hold hands, stay close, call often. Perhaps in doing so I also stretch my arms past decades to the boy, trembling beneath blankets in the dark, hearing a voice, a shoe on the stair, a fluttering on the window sill.
  31. 31. 20 Now, at last, he may be safe as my children are embraced. -- David J. Bauman
  32. 32. 21 Recurrents There we are by the shore again—well, me by the shore, you out there, bobbing in the waves once more, eyes bugged out, lips ice-blue, arms flailing. Desperate to keep your head above the white caps, you've somehow managed to grasp a fallen branch. "Are you okay?" The classic stupid question, but what am I to say? "I'm sorry," you sputter-shout as you spit a school of minnows from your teeth. "I'm always drowning when we're here together." Yet just last week we enjoyed a day here, dangling foaming feet, skipping little stones, but now is not the time to argue. I throw the rope, always looped to my belt in anticipation of times like this, but you miss it every toss. All the while your enormous eyes convey a bevy of emotions; fear of the current, rage at the waves and sympathy for my own failings. My rope is too short. In a frenzy now I fumble through my pockets, and toss their contents to you—a marble, a feather, a rubber chicken, hoping you'll know how to use them. "Don't worry about me," you gurgle. And I am touched; I know how you hate it when your moods affect me. Too late I dive and plunge into the icy flow, as you lose your slippery grip and begin to drift around the bend, waving kind assurances as your head sinks beneath the surface. You're always
  33. 33. 22 thoughtful like that. Resigned, I crawl back up the bank, and find my favorite rock. I check my watch— it could be hours yet, before you're washed ashore. -- David J. Bauman
  34. 34. 23 The God in My Ear I. the God in my ear is male knows the only truth the one right way and where the traps are birthed in the mire my foot slides sticking fast just like a woman just like his woman who made the mud anyway? II. the Spirit rides a gentle whisper notes sing to me quills prick drawing epiphanies blood minerals to my finger tips visions taking form my right hand brushes white living fibers composing new psalms the God in my ear croons “Such colors and melodies are birthed in the mire what a tapestry you weave from brokenness— I was right to let you fall.”
  35. 35. 24 III. divine and human enigmas paradoxes theology debate seen in a mirror dimly lit my Aunt Louise knew His voice smiled at my logical assertions and revelations put her hand on her heart drew out her faith and shared a piece with me IV. it is so hard for a rich man for a man who counts himself wise to grow and hold faith for a wounded woman who has learned how to stand to trust in someone stronger than herself to lean on V. the Giver of all life offers His claim on this broken vessel logic fades, slipping over the dampness of the potter’s hands mending the fragments left from generations of fear reason and arrogance
  36. 36. 25 He rents my understanding draws out my faith invites my allegiance and I ask “Why me?” VI. hours days years drift transient moments of need and questioning the master mender of broken pots marks my soul with proverbs and psalms, letters of love, promises of a future He calls me “beloved precious, unique” VII. Time is a shadow my fugitive soul an aberration too weak to hold to trust “Time is Mine” whispers the God in my ear -- Linda Bearss
  37. 37. 26 Over Time Overtired from overtime, under-paid and over-worked, we over-act. Protests overdone, Thespian tempers overheat, our emotions overflow and yet again, you throw me overboard. Maybe our love is overpriced, a game of lust overspent, passion overdosed. My comeuppance is overdue, but it’s a mutual oversight thinking I am over you. I too often overlook your power to overwhelm me. We continually overreach, over-estimating sentimental leftovers, eroticising over-indulgence. Expectations often overcooked, our careers make us over-ambitious. We’re hopeless at the overview. Over and over again we try to say it’s over, but pain can be overcome, lives can be overhauled. Love’s the overall winner - over time. -- Colin Bell
  38. 38. 27 A Time to Remember as clouds draw forward in the distance and cover clear sky I remember that incident where a bird flew low before the car bonnet and you insisted I stop to look to see if it was injured or dead for you are concerned with such detail - but I could see nothing on the road so we agreed it must have flown by and continued into town for our promised lunch on return to the car I happened to walk round the front and saw a live robin stuck by its legs there in the radiator grill from where it looked at us with that fixed friendly expression as if to say - what are you going to do about this - while we discussed how to set it free hit with the guilt of a fine lunch we wrapped it in a soft scarf fearing to crush it when we tried to set it free - this cost it one leg we could only watch as it flew away - I tried to imagine its future life how it would live in a strange place with one leg the clouds have completely covered the clear sky I see a chimney begin to smoke among some rooftops watch again how the world turns and shows how quickly time passes -- James Bell
  39. 39. 28 Vintage Vinyl This is the conversation they never had. He is sitting on one side of a large, brick wall. It’s cold against his back, but he rests his head against the brick anyway. His eyes are closed. He can almost feel her. She is on the other side of the wall. She’s sitting cross-legged, facing it. When she hears him breathing, she looks up. Her hair falls away from her face and in a rush, the emotions paint her expression. She fancies herself stone, immune to everything and impenetrable, but he knows better. In moments like this, he knows exactly how her face looks. He wants to reach through the stone, touch her cheek. He wants to hold her hands because he knows that she is shaking. She is scared. She is always scared. And he is so far away. How it really happens is like this. She stays there, for a few minutes. He begs her to say something. She doesn’t. She reaches up and presses her palm against the stone. Then, lips sealed shut, imagining her heart to be stone, she climbs unsteadily to her feet and walks away. The next time he sees her, she is dead. That’s how it really goes. After, he rewrites it. He is still sitting on the ground by the brick wall. His knees are drawn up to his chin. He is looking at the sky and, almost too softly to be heard, he is speaking. He is singing. It’s a song they both know, from when they were children. She stays, on her side of the wall, and listens to it. Her gloved hands are pressed to the brick. It hurts, especially where the skin has died at the tips of her fingers, but she pushes as hard as she can. She wants to leave a mark. She says, “We should have never met.”
  40. 40. 29 He stops singing, but doesn’t move. He says, “I’m glad we did.” Her dead fingers are just the beginning. There are other parts of her that are dying too. There are parts of her that have been dead since before he knew her. She is just pieces--always has been. Pieces that are alive. Pieces that fight. Pieces that are stone. And pieces that were buried a long time ago. “You’re going to ask me why,” he says. She doesn’t, because she doesn’t want to sound needy. But he tells her, because she doesn’t say anything else. “You changed me too.” "Not enough." Not the way that he had changed her. She’d been so different when they’d first met. She’d been only one piece then. Just the dead one. The buried one. Something terrible had happened to her--like terrible things always happen to people and turn them into something they never were before--and she had become nothing. Stone, she’d said. But he had made her more. “How did I change you?” she asks. He closes his eyes and breathes her in. It’s almost as if she’s right next to him. He says, “You made me.” She was two-sided. She had side A, before. She had side B, after. She had the incident that defined her. But she was the incident that defined him. She was the before and the after. She had turned him from ordinary into extraordinary. She had made him brave. On the other side of the wall, she hesitates. He can hear the smile in her voice. “You’d have been you anyway, without me.”
  41. 41. 30 “I wouldn’t have,” he says. Then, “And I wouldn’t have wanted to be.” She understands, because of her two sides. The first side, from before, understands that he doesn’t want to be what he is without her. The second side, the one that is forever, understands that she was the one that made him strong enough to do just that. Side B says, “I’m glad you came.” Side A says, “I have to go. It’s time.” He listens to both sides of her--the stone and the fire--and he understand that this is all they get. This last conversation. “It’s time,” he agrees. The next time he sees her, she’s dead. He wishes he’d said goodbye. -- A.C. Billedeaux
  42. 42. 31 Between Here and Midnight Walking along the Pacific coast night comes upon us abruptly. We sit and watch the last hot ore dipping into Prussian blue. Flames are dying behind a black wall of insubstantiality. Giant footprints fill with red lava. Overflowing. Alluvial. These angels have large beaks, the wings of black swans. Comfortable on the foam of roaring waves, they set fire to the sea. I close my eyes, go inward, back to a time when I was shaped. When I promised the old gods that I’d heed my own advice. Promised I’d remember the dead and watch the robin. The smelter of all that is tried me and spat me out. I am not about to become indignant. -- Rose Mary Boehm
  43. 43. 32 Late Summer Light ebbs, an old man in a frail coat. The grasses here now brittle in their fierce ownership of dying. The echoes of myself crowd in. What is the present but a minute particle. Three crows plunder the remains of seed and berry. I step into a sudden wind as though invisible. Is it that world is an invention of words and memory. It is colder now. The mirrors will no longer serve the will to escape. I reach out to touch the shadows before they drift behind the mountain. -- Doug Bolling
  44. 44. 33 Evening Passage The games of checkers by the hour. Small rodents sleep and dream of the feast of plenty. If you watch you will see the shadow of time slowly cross the floor and vanish behind the far wall. Sounds of traffic from the interstate bulge and shrink and return hour after hour as here in the narrow room each moment becomes a slow drip in the rain bucket by the window next the chrysanthemums. The old men are through. Clack clack of pieces dropping into the cigar box below. They have no words. Night waits like a lengthy yawn. Rain rises again from the west beating against the small house. In the pantry the stacked plates bump against each other in rhythm with the rain. A form of chatter that dulls the imagination, speeds the path into sleep. -- Doug Bolling
  45. 45. 34 Time Past A remembering as of children. How the years withdrew in a long suddenness and returned becoming a present. Voices motionless. Footsteps ghostly, small traces in their warp of time. And the children here by the sea. A dozen of them or a hundred. They play. they play. Their moments as unburdened by thought as those of sea gulls lofting into sunlight from the sand dunes. The tide comes and it takes away. Toy boats and tatters of dream sail outward to the unknown. Things continue. They become the places where time was. -- Doug Bolling
  46. 46. 35 Eternal Lines The percussive growl from a light aircraft, high overhead, backs the melodies of blackbirds and finches; jasmine is flowering on the trellis, so that late afternoon’s bright warmth spreads its scent across the garden; sky is unbroken blue; and the breeze is satin on skin; we sip wine, apple-crisp; smile; touch hands. Before I can think beyond perfect that moment is words in past tense. -- Lesley Burt
  47. 47. 36 The Prisoner Vanishes doing time consists of no time at all. in this snake-eyed cube of time time rises like smoke, marking nothing except my heartbeat, which should be secret, my breath shuffling in and out, of no interest to anyone. in my no-time doing time dreams pile up of metronomes, of a day unfolding its morning news again and again, its regular ticket punched. I have been here longer than these walls, and slower, have become old graffiti written on the shades of my predecessors. I am living in the pure air at the top of a mountain of grief, this white box no longer my container, with its airtight lid. I am no longer present to be contained, simply not here, no more. lockdown is no triumph, this is not a victory of the human spirit, just another story of gone. six feet wide six feet under six feet up just walking crazy on stocking feet. talk about doing time when time is doing me. -- Brenda Butka
  48. 48. 37 Chaucer I covered my ears trying to smother the sound The anger rattled my canals at four years old At twenty four I sat on the sticky surface of a bar room laughing, smiling, acting like I had unclogged my ears Married now I hear myself from the outside Blurting words that tear and will scar I took a class on Chaucer in college Tthe words I remembered and used and my lexicon grew and I could spread anger with acrobatics I learned things thirty years ago that stand true today The decay that time brings to relationships The guilty thinks that all talk is about them all of the minutes in the day and I hear the voices bouncing, tearing through my scarred canals -- Jeffrey Bruckwicki
  49. 49. 38 o Time for History I remember the Great Humane Cull. When millions of the old and sick gave themselves to forever-peace. We revere their sacrifice, keep them in virtual niches for our homage. It wasn’t enough. Now a new structure exists. Wrought from chaos by the Global Senate, as resources died and the great tracts withered. We became used to it. After the riots and the underground prison building program, we achieved order. Learned control, how to be selfless. Each family was allocated its stasis tube and consciousness habitat. We live in a cycle of here and gone. Lives crammed into two years of life-three years of sleep. This module holds traces of our shared occupancy. A small child’s holo-bup-a bent credit chip. I absorb our intended life plan. Twenty four months of precious eye function. My retinas re-acclimate to the bruised yellow sky. I allow a luxurious touch of welcome-back oxygen into the room. Outside, the air is a silent jam of vehicles. I identify myself to the Domestic Replicator, begin the procedure that will bring my family back to full brain activity. In my hand, the antique iPhone that is my only treasure, hold glimpses of how Earth used to be. I return it to its display hub. I have no time today, for history. -- Miki Byrne
  50. 50. 39 These Were the Times That was the time of parties. A neighbor slept on my sofa; Disheveled, too drunk to notice his broken rib. Another day I stood up for myself. Refused to be a victim. Broke away and made a better life. One beautiful time my love and I sat on a hills peak and he stroked the storm’s rain from my arm. On a shining day I climbed down to Prussia Cove. Seals rolled out of the sea, as the sun arced over the horizon. Then came the time we sat by the river at Stratford Upon Avon, fed the swans whilst actors posed behind us. At one point, I steered my boat through a lock. A small frog chirped on my shoulder all the way through. Another time my old dog died. I shed hot tears. Then swallowed her soul to keep her forever with me. One fine day a pupil of mine won a prize for his work. He had always been viewed as ‘unruly.’ Then was the time we made a fire on the beach, drank hot toddies till our eyes blurred as the waves whispered in. A dark day was when I discovered the knife of infidelity stuck fast in my back. I bled for a very long time. Later came a time when I was too ill to move and knew that a cure was just fantasy. Another bleak time I experienced loss and began the expanding collection of holes that funerals leave in my heart.
  51. 51. 40 Now is the time that memories cushion age. I lean back on them. Wonder what the future may bring. -- Miki Byrne
  52. 52. 41 The Alliterative Assassin The tabloids labelled him, ‘The Solomon Grundy Killer’. He inflicted a sliding scale of harm in a range of locations. He maimed Michael from Malmesbury on Monday. On Tuesday he tortured Tony from Truro. Poor Wendy from Wensleydale was assaulted by a welder’s torch on Wednesday. Thirsk residents were already on stand-by on Thursday but it didn’t stop Thelma from being throttled. Floral wreaths were left outside Frank’s chippy in Frome on Friday. Forensic staff never released to the public which body parts they found in the deep-fat frier. Many people claimed they were the sole perpetrators and gave reasons for their actions. Scotland Yard received an email at six minutes past six every evening giving details of the latest atrocity. After a few days, the accuracy of the information and specific named location proved the emails to be genuine. Sometimes the emails arrived before the crime had even been reported. Under emergency legislation, facebook pages that glorified ‘Solomon’s’ handiwork, were taken down. Editorials searched for a meaning behind the apparently random acts and locations. Newsreaders reported with grim faces how an elephant-keeper had been crushed to death by his favourite pachyderm. No connection was made initially as the tragic accident occurred at Whipsnade on the Saturday. When information emerged that the recently deceased keeper was called Satnam and the full name of the establishment was Whipsnade Safari Park. It came as no surprise that the elephant had literally sat on his victim. The daily email to Scotland Yard confirmed what was feared that this was the sixth in a worsening list of crimes. The more sensationalist of bloggers attributed godlike powers to Solomon. ‘He can even control animals!’ The Sunday paper headlines were united for once. ‘It’s a race against time before he strikes again’. Inhabitants of Sunderland with the misfortune to be called Sunny were under self-imposed house arrest.
  53. 53. 42 Speculation mounted over the manner of Solomon’s next outrage. Sun- tanning salons were an obvious choice. At 6.06 the police received a briefer email than usual. ‘Like God, I too need a day of rest. Normal business resumes tomorrow.’ -- Andrew Campbell-Kearsey
  54. 54. 43 Mutually Forgotten Spectre of city’s past move on with no more than the chill of night breezes on wet skin. No scent of rain drenched dog or sun drenched blonde or any aroma betwixt and between can fill the nose with sensory memories like afternoon steam on asphalt three days before the end of summer in this southern town. Whimsy and nostalgia mix heavy in the sunset, block out the shadows of history with golden-orange solar flares and forethought of new memories in the making. These are the days that never end but hold youth’s reins and guide the equinous flow of aging’s river despite the power of time’s current. These heady days, sapped of turgor, listing toward comfort in soil, are when time and self are mutually forgotten. -- J.R. Carson
  55. 55. 44 Again After years of fighting, pointless bickering, we materialize someplace with no walls, no boundaries, it takes in the air effortlessly and produces us as two people in our twenties. I sit in the cafeteria of the university and think--all I have to do is ignore her and this whole thing goes away. Our two trajectories will never touch. Long ago we had stopped communicating in any meaningful way--now we’ll just eternalize the arrangement by never communicating in the first place. Somehow though, I begin to think of life without her. I’m not the man of the future, of pointless fights. I want to live it all again, even as I see the train wreck coming. We’ll do it even worse this time. We'll be more joyous in our youth and bitter in our twilight--logic and good sense be damned. We’ll be in love, we’ll be exasperated. We’ll rush where we should slow down, and slow down and wait when opportunity knocks. And in the little garden on the terrace of your favorite Italian restaurant, we’ll make magic feel like an everyday experience again and again. All these places and times stop, turn, twist, and there I am again with you, where I should be: miserable, happy, but never lonely. -- Daniel Clausen
  56. 56. 45 Till when I was young I was taught to punch through someone, so I wasn’t happy with just making contact, so impacts would be felt. as an adult, I saw perfection, a shaman spirit mending souls in minutes, stared slack jawed, till I collected enough of me to declare I’d become better than him. looking forward, I think in trajectories, finished arcs, hear the word “till” enter my brain and begin to plan for whatever comes after immortality. -- Esteban Colon
  57. 57. 46 13 33 Like a tourist, I entered empty husk house, floor mattress, the kinetic energy of every knife thrown, forehead through drywall thoughts of the half grown, fending for themselves pumped fists, unstoppable youth shaping their lives half starved teens, cutting white powder, counting dollars earned with backs pressed to floors, the insides of cars Like a tourist, I entered listened to loud voices arguments of thick skin pushing everyone away too defiant to listen to anything and as they set the night ablaze, I raged without limit, roaring to the sky waited, with open arms, to care for their burns -- Esteban Colon
  58. 58. 47 Sepia Colored Past Eternally backwards torn eyes watch present through past, wire frame rims holding old mistakes regrets fears regurgitated into new faces relationships fears and fistful hairs drip blood till newly bald head, sees too clearly and hides in sepia bliss -- Esteban Colon
  59. 59. 48 Ambitions When I was ten, stars played at evading the clutch and swing of backyard oak trees and hid in my finger span. I thought I’d join their game, but math dunked my mind into magnitude, and constellations fled to the far end of my telescope. At fifteen, I longed to dig the next Troy but found I’d be mining through the slag of years melted under mindless sun’s heel, imperfectly resurrecting potsherds into heavens of study and disuse like all the mis-glued models on my shelves. Twenty’s ideal saw me a nomadic forest ranger, guarding wetlands or perched on watch towers staring down smoke signals, but cigarette butts and burned pines made me want to feed bears junk-food tourists or to bank their cameras in leaves. Now I teach texts to forests of students. Some eat snacks while touring cell phones, but others bring me splintered sentences, shards strained from sediments of their pasts. I patch and mend until stars breeze overhead, configuring glory in skies beyond our kin. -- Randall Compton
  60. 60. 49 Envelope I’m sealing an envelope to open next year or maybe the year after-- confirming some benefits of air today allots us, our portion of smoke from a chimney that stands over oak fire, a whiff of wheat’s gold, transmuted to bread, a memory of rain on the Japanese Yews after a night of thunder dropped on our heads. Wait, from under the door, a whisper will announce today’s arrival, pressed into our hearts with time’s invisible signet ring. -- Randall Compton
  61. 61. 50 Quitting Time at four-thirty a sudden wildness arrives in state, pulled by teams of rebellious horses, the air shedding its staleness like a man, stranded, trudging home through the steamy streets, rips his soggy encumbrances off at the door, not waiting for privacy – craving freedom the hollow self recoils from the thing within the face becomes more empty while what it hides begins to smile at last. -- Diana L. Conces
  62. 62. 51 Apocalypse There’s an apocalypse coming, forty, fifty years on and the lights are flashing, bars coming down I sit cross-legged on the tracks eyes closed breath still waiting. still. waiting. still. waiting. still. The train will ride over me one day I know My rivers will boil, my eyes weep Blood of my heart Long cold wars will erupt My earth quake Pestilential doubts, memories false prophets or true It will come, it will come the rhythm, the sound the train on the tracks the end – the end yours is mine is all. -- Diana L. Conces
  63. 63. 52 High oon with Pink Carnations A conundrum, long-brewing, is that nobody hated you at the dentist’s office when you were a child. It didn’t help that your mother tried to comfort you by saying that getting a filling was small potatoes. Let’s say nobody was truly cruel, that even decent parents have unlikely ways of abiding and resisting your full becoming. Now you’re thirty-five and need to see a dentist, but you think of the first time you were alone in the office, eight years old, daring to grow your hair long, beginning to notice your body. Your big problem would come after the appointment was over, when you were offered a pink carnation you didn’t feel you earned; the kind everyone gets at the dentist - along with a toothbrush and sugar-free candy. Just seeing the flowers across the waiting room reminds you of decisions you need to make: whether to take the new job in the exciting city or stay and see what happens here. It was weird at age eight, when the x-ray machine was pointed at your face. The technician was resplendent. She easily saw your secret way of holding back tears. You put away your hiding tricks because she casually mentioned she cries as easily as stepping in and out of summer rain. She hummed in a way that made you want to hear her sing. You were safe in her hazel eyes as she put the lead apron on your chest, saying this was your protection. This actually helped - the certain weight of it - and was strangely missed when lifted. But she left. The dentist came in to numb you, declaring you wouldn’t feel the rest. But you did. Your mouth was full of cotton, ears murderously trapped by pleasant music. There was an unearthly smell of false mint. Everyone was nice. Your bravery was highly expected. You weren’t brave in the slightest, but your feet managed to dance to the sound of the grandfather clock speaking from the hall. The clock hypnotized you. The dentist carelessly left a glaring light in your eyes when she left the room. You pushed it aside and closed your eyes. Half of you lower lip was numb, and a single drop of spit fell to the clean blue cloth around your neck. You thought of being embarrassed, but instead you started remembering:
  64. 64. 53 “I miss my real grandpa, our boat rides in mountain lakes. I remember looking over the side of the boat. Grandpa said that whatever I saw there was a snapshot I can look at anytime I want. I saw pillars of light streaking through pure blue water. A single drop of water fell from the wooden oar, making tiny waves out into the lake. My hair touched the water and grandpa smiled because he knew I found something I didn’t have to tell about. Now I want the lead shield back. I want the x-ray person back. I want her hazel eyes on me, and I miss grandpa so bad I can’t stop crying in my heart. Why can’t I speak?” No answer came, because you didn’t ask a person other than you. Visitations are like that. When it was all over, the receptionist reminded you to take a flower. It was high noon with pink carnations. Memory of this next part is lost in prophesy. Maybe you froze, feeling you didn’t deserve anything because you cried a little. Maybe you took yours with an angry fist, or threw it out the car window, or balanced the stem elegantly between two fingers with a mixture of defiance and curiosity, keeping it just the right distance while your piercing eyes bargained with places still becoming. Maybe your exquisite eight year old arm lifted it to a simple claimed breath. Yes, sweet child, flowers from dentists are complicated, this one not your favorite color, unexpected in keen fresh spice. This flower knows nothing of what it gives from the round burgundy vase in the room where everyone waits. Wombs are like that. You wonder why you dream of hazel eyes. I’m sorry you lost your grandpa when you were so young. He’s in you, not in the clock. He’s in you all your life, radiant, present and unfinished. He’s saying you are the best girl ever, at the dentist. He’s saying, “take two” of the long-stemmed carnations. And you do, offering your famous half-numb smile all the way to the airport. -- J.L. Cooper
  65. 65. 54 Scattered to the Wind Still as stone she lies beside her husband soon to be her ex. Fifty years earlier, at 28, she had expected that in death she would mirror the Egyptian statues at the museum one of two constant companions side-by-side equal and loving to eternity. Instead, when death calls, she will be single, leaving behind a coddled cat. Her body neither pampered nor perfumed but burned to ashes. Her bones not calcified but scattered to the wind. -- Melodie Corrigall
  66. 66. 55 Movement of Time i wish i could be like time keep moving, never look back never examine anything but the now fly freely as an autumn leaf without having to pay any heed master of my own design never unraveling emotions or having to carry the satin of this flesh or the sting of these bones to float ethereal like a ghost through the universe dancing in sunlit pools without getting wet, knowing both the tongue of roses and men; i wonder if time ever tires because i know he never sleeps, wish i could be the master insomniac never burdened by anything but the flowing movement of stepping forward. -- Linda M. Crate
  67. 67. 56 Forever Stamps Forever like that which we used to feel when i was yours and you were mine back when our love was new and true with hearts and minds intertwined and we would kiss endlessly, forever Forever like these doldrums that wallow in the mist stretching like a Slinky from end to end Forever since last i cut my toenails, my hair, took a bath or changed my underwear Forever till lunch as hunger’s minutes land like Chinese water torture and people talk, god-how-they-talk, with forever pauses and points they never quite make Forever like these rivalries twixt the aged and ageless between callous hard-wrought experience and those who fly theoretical prepared to pepper the world with answers to questions they are scared to ask, who have always lived in one place, basking in their all-purpose lineage, inbred, ill-read, with steadfast certainty and insights set in quicksand and cement These things you’ve had forever: a red comb, your Parker Brother’s pen, that little green pipe you can’t find—but don’t worry it will turn up, like everything eventually does, like these dogged temptations, hounding you, scratching at the door, breaking through glass, forever crying, screaming, thumping their chest with angry gorilla abandon if not forever—for a very long time The post office person tells me it took them a long time to figure out their forever angle—that they could forever save money stamping forever on their stamps and skip all those annoying annual price hikes and now, like herpes or HIV, radioactivity, or past episodes of Friends and Seinfeld, stamps may endure as long as Stone Henge or the Sphinx, or minutes from the last meeting that sputter like a dying comedian, or my grand father’s driving or my aunt’s ploddingly delivered grace as everything turns cold and hardens
  68. 68. 57 Expanding like a black hole, light years in the distance, barreling through sucking back eternity through a straw, sucking up our present into the past back to whenever it was, as it was written. . . before parchment or Parker Brother’s, before Nefertiti or the New York Yankees, back when a nickel spent like a dollar and daguerreotypes cut with their stolen images, spurting like geysers, towering with mushroom ambition, reaching like the Phoenix flailing her wings, hitching a ride atop the four winds with dandelion determination bowing down before an exploding sky, forever and again, as long as it takes, on- ward into extra innings, overtime, sudden death, in a game no one can win, with- out end until that letter finally arrives and i hear from you, hear you, see you in my head, when again i will recall what i have forgotten regarding this thing destined to transcend us as the last scribe screams from the rafters, repeating everything that’s been said and is eaten by fire, by the all expanding sun, vanishing at a million degrees centigrade disappearing amidst the swirling debris settling, and bearing down forever and so on. . . and on Forever like this poem, this poetry reading You shifting in your chair, wanting to check your messages waiting for your waiter, your check, your ship, your train to come in your red-letter arrival, gandy-dancing while doing cartwheels waiting for the wind to rise, your stocks to stabilize, for the weekend to save you the sermon to end, for death to relieve you and still save the game as you battle the clock, search for your keys, your phone, your purse en route to something you’ve already missed Forever since it began when you wished it would end, back when we were in love swearing we would always feel the same exact way, forever since before we ended only to begin again in someone else’s arms, re-born whenever it was, since last i heard from you or it rained or the sun last appeared
  69. 69. 58 stalking us like a killer, killing whatever we left failing to murder it ourselves -- Larry Crist
  70. 70. 59 Group Photo Ten of us in my best friend’s back yard Kent’s X wife’s old place She’s not in the picture—she likely took it There are several children, including my daughter, Nicky 3 or 4, wearing a pale blue dress, her hair in a matching beret; sharp contrast to the others, her age with Cheetos rings and chocolate circles round their mouths Near the foreground, with his face half hidden by a squatting hippie girl, who i don’t remember, is my pal Ted in his signature straw cowboy hat, overalls, ciggie in hand Beside him, with a baby on her lap, that i know was not hers, is Jane—our drama teacher Bill has a strapped on guitar, red Kent is leaning in, with one meaty arm, holding a beam like Atlas, ciggie in mouth, a cup of something, alcoholic I’m on the ground, without shirt, mustache with Sinatra style fedora with my arm draped around Nicky We are captured in an otherwise forgettable moment forgetting even as the camera is clicked This moment i find 30 years later in a pile of pics while attending Kent’s memorial service the last time i would see Ted, who would die a year later My daughter has 3 kids of her own Our drama teacher has long since retired and relocated Bill, surprised us all by making lots of money and no one, in that he never did learn to play guitar I’m uncertain as to whatever happened to that hat except i’ve replaced it with another just like it the newness of which
  71. 71. 60 i blame for making my face look old -- Larry Crist
  72. 72. 61 Honey in October The husk of the dead bee dances with the wind, left and right it rolls down the walk, following a certain shard of light, the confetti of Summer haunts the day until some sudden gust sets it aflight into my neighbor’s yard. The lawn is still full of dead summer, my rake must gather the red and gold leaves scattered everywhere, I wipe the sweat from my face, it is a day for collecting and recollecting. The season of basket and broom, the shadows are growing longer, the angles stark, we prepare for the unwelcome dark, Winter is crouching in every corner. But a scattering of roses still crimsons on the trellis, blooming in the crisp and clear, the air is suddenly filled with common sense, seasons have their reasons, It is good to put Summer’s easy ways into the closet, and converse with the bare branches of life just for a while. -- Oliver Cutshaw
  73. 73. 62 In the Beginning In the beginning before there was day There was a shadowed moon Barring herself Behind the dreams Through which we all pass One over the other Carrying our little deaths with us Ghosts never awoken Traveling the nights Paralyzed to eternity Nights where winds breathe A long black low Until archangels with swords Slice time to a faint light That calls to riptide oceans And they bubble with new life Pulse and throb To part to a spit of land Rising in between -- Susan Dale
  74. 74. 63 Hard days; the hard clay of living And the gnawing teeth of time Grinding steadily at our days Heavy nets of time across our shoulders Thrown into the river of time To catch currents of time On their journey through time Into time eternal -- Susan Dale
  75. 75. 64 The Color of Time Our dreams with tendrils, coiling around to climb the tree of life And swim with a bruised moon and a cup of stars poured into the sky Fragile the spring petals falling from flowers blooming under the light that left us stumbling blindly through our days Spring traipsing off with minute winds To summer with fat fingers and firm feet and full crowns of treetops Syllables of light galloping across the skies in three quarter time to the glory of fecundity suffocating the meadows A bonfire sun and barefoot dances Gliding down river and hours Our sampans too wide Our dreams too deep for the narrow canals we sailed The noose of our fears strangling us The monopoly others had on luck A lady they courted with lusty songs and syrupy endearments Lady luck on the balconies we sat beneath wearing masks to shield our faces from desires that shackled us
  76. 76. 65 from the fingers of time squeezing, tightening A solemn command brought autumn with gold veins and cream clouds To winter waiting in the sacristy We stepped up to an altar of chalky skies and the silence of frozen years, And frozen tears of snow Waves of winds, stone cold silence Filaments of white lights Leather straps binding us to our pasts Powerful jaws of our determinations clamping down Skeletons of the dead searching for old lovers with hollow cheeks carrying dreams they’d outgrown Caught we were in whispery webs We beat with moth wings trying to find the light, beating ourselves to shreds Our dreams burnt scarlet by sunsets of delirious colors The velocities of our time Captured in cloud waves and measured by the star spun seconds Of time into tomorrow -- Susan Dale
  77. 77. 66 Driving To Physical Therapy After Reading Delmore Schwartz If time is the fire in which we burn then each day is a slow match of salt- peter, cord, and ember. What measures an eternity of ash? My clock is atomic, more precise than Swiss, accurate enough to incinerate cities; geo- synchronous satellites tell me exactly when I am. “Better one hour early than one minute late,” said Batman to Boy Wonder. I prefer punctual. -- Tim Dardis
  78. 78. 67 The Time of Birth I will conquer the fear of flying I will jump with the parachute of kiss While walking I’ll dance to the drum rhythm Dream in the clothes of the penguin Thumb through the book Goodbye my sixteen years with premises in the mind that I will carry them in my fifties real and modest and at least once a day I will laugh out loud Really enjoy In intimately woven world When the moon passes its seventh round And Jupiter falls on Mars Our world will be the leader And love will be the path for the stars That would be the time when Aquarius is born To my grandchildren, grand-grandchildren I will tell stories about times When people were people. -- Tatjana Debelijacki
  79. 79. 68 Cuckoo Clock Awake again, I looked up at the ceiling. What had I heard? My mother’s cuckoo clock, Chirping out every hour, the Relentless wooden carved bird, tiny Yet noisily announcing passing time. A single chirp on the half hour, Enough to bring me back to consciousness. When twelve cuckoos had come and gone And the chirps became fewer, I found myself drifting back to sleep; But on many sleepless nights I crept from my bed, silently down the stairs To strangle that cuckoo – don’t worry I only stopped the clock and when those Mornings came, I looked sheepishly At my toast while my mother remarked That the cuckoo clock had stopped once again. -- Julie A. Dickson
  80. 80. 69 Solitude After counting the hours Of being alone He found himself Bankrupt Making desperate payments His heart could not cover. -- Bruce Louis Dodson
  81. 81. 70 The Time of My Life Hot summer afternoon It’s ninety-seven in the shade And more inside my gear White paper dust mask Padded rubber on my ears To stop some of the noise A pair of safety glasses Dark blue coveralls on top my clothing Heavy leather gloves Thick socks and steel toed boots. Holding this powerful electric drill Eight pounds of heavy metal Spinning wire-brush wheel A blur of blue and gray Against the rust that has accumulated On eight tons of angle iron My job. Eight hours inside a cloud of dark red dust Fire storm of sparks Steel bristles flying off Go through my fabric armor Into sweating skin Dust makes it hard to breath My glasses fogged by body heat I watch the slow shop clock Selling the time of my life Eight-fifty an hour. -- Bruce Louis Dodson
  82. 82. 71 Old Men Old Men Know youth Far better than the young Regret the loss of strength And daring fearless Knowing what might possibly befall Beyond recall. Loss of naivety And craving for excitement Wartime gun smoke, blood, and tears Replaced With sense of needless loss In places far from home Much eulogized in words more glorious than this. -- Bruce Louis Dodson
  83. 83. 72 Precursor Early light haloes blooming sage. Wind ruffles water, gentian blue, and golden grasses undulate. Low silhouettes reveal two loons, mid-lake migrants to this scene in spring and fall, their size mammoth next to goldeneyes. The sky fills with lenticular clouds, pale grey. Today I resonate with fall. Its poignant beauty presages. The lake, frozen and still, waterfowl gone. Grey sky spits snow. Earth’s losses like our loves wrung real and sharpened by impending end. -- Jane Dominick
  84. 84. 73 Memories of the Future Are hard to explain, and may come across as some science fiction conceit, a plot revolving around a man who can recall the future in the same vivid detail that we remember the past. You know what I mean. It was probably on TV, a pilot and a short- lived series. The man rescues victims of disasters about to occur, evacuates buildings about to collapse, saves the baby before the apartment is engulfed in flames. And then one day he is horrified by an indelible memory of his own death and realizes there's nothing he can do to change the future. That's the premonition we've all had late at night, not sure if we're sleeping or dreaming or looking back at the past from some unimaginable afterlife. But no, it's the future, already encoded in our genes and written in the constellations. Too late to change. -- Jacqueline Doyle
  85. 85. 74 Why I Called So Late Once, it was stone fruit halved on a low table. It had been the backgammon board, neglected, gathering dust. It might have been a stack of coins, could have been creosote from the railroad ties you cut to make raised beds in the garden, or maybe just a curry we weren’t used to— that sluiced us into green streams (we’d lost the enzymes to break down animal flesh). Someone said time held us, green and dying. Though we sang like the sea. Someone else: it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission. Love, forgive me— it would have been a wilderness of water. I called because time’s a dish in which fine gold chains get tangled. -- Chiyuma Elliot
  86. 86. 75 The Clock after the painting by Philip Guston Time’s machine making endless circles spring-driven and ratcheted wheels endless circles seconds at a time in endless circles around a compass point circling days and nights seasons come and go endless circling like perpetual motion’s mechanical life endlessly aimlessly around a clock going nowhere and again. -- eil Ellman
  87. 87. 76 Under a Glass Desert There's a little green bottle on the wall today It is born slow A feeling Rising from the blue undertow Like a sensual slow swirling Like a fading image of your mother Into a grey film A sharp wind through the wood An old woman playing piano A party on the desert Wind slowly blows across They clutch their hats and disappear Behind the dunes as their laughs and cackles Echo into the sky Rising from the slowly releasing clutch Of a trembling hand in the sea And collapsing into a puff of rising sand A thin man peering over the fence Shaking in the autumn storm A cobblestone path through the wood With haze slithering around its ankles A dark dying hunched city The sand blows and rises to the sky And the sky is angry and orange And smells of spices
  88. 88. 77 And he glances as he walks past Into the universal sun -- Zach Fechter
  89. 89. 78 oir Couture “Where were you on the night of the crime?” With a gloved hand, I calmly insert a cigarette into my jeweled holder, shutting my Deitsch handbag with a snap. The detective offers me a light and I lean forward toward the Zippo’s flame and notice the 5- barrel hinge on a chrome-plated nickel/silver case. I cross my legs and inhale. Exhale. My Alice Caviness bracelet dangles from my wrist, making a soft clink. My hair is coiffed with two front victory rolls—the rest hanging down my back in a pageboy. “I was at the opera,” I tell the detective. “And what were you wearing?” he asks. “A bias-cut beaded tulle evening dress with matching Ferragamo beaded satin evening sandals,” I reply. “Wedge or stilettos?” “Wedge.” “What time did you leave?” “Around midnight.” “And how did you get home?” “I took a taxi.” “Checker or Yellow?” “Checker” “What was the cab driver wearing?”
  90. 90. 79 “Button down shirt, pressed pants, tie, Eisenhower jacket and a hard bill cap.” “And who can verify the time you got back to your apartment?” “The doorman.” “And what was he wearing?” “A slate gray overcoat, 100% wool, with button-down tab detailing a dual front flap with welt pockets. Oh, and elongated peaked lapels.” “So, when you entered your apartment, what happened next?” “I changed into my apricot dressing gown embellished with trapunto stitching and studded with metal brads.” “Then what?” “I read for a while and went to bed around 2 a.m.” “What were you reading?” “Vogue.” “The magazine?” “Yes.” “Who was on the cover?” “An auburn-haired model in mauve silk tap shorts.” “I’ll need to question the witnesses who saw you at the opera, track down the cabbie and interview your doorman.” “Of course. Can I go now?”
  91. 91. 80 “Yes, but don’t leave town as the investigation is still ongoing.” I nod and reach for my coat. It’s a full-length Nevius Voorhees mink, with burgundy satin lining. “Let me help you with that,” he says. I walk out the door and take the stairs instead of the elevator. As I make my descent, I let the mink slide off my shoulders; toss my blond wig on the steps and ditch the purse, bracelet and gloves. I exit through the “employees only” door and disappear into the night in my Oleg Cassini navy wool two-piece suit with matching Henri Flatow patent leather peep-toe pumps. -- Sue Mayfield Geiger
  92. 92. 81 Garage Sale Pony: Caramel tail and blue saddle, saddled with the dreams of three grown children. Wooden. It’s yours for $7.50. A teenager sits forlornly on a thin, green couch on the thin, green lawn, picking her nails. Blender: Specks and chips and lopsided and dull blades and chocolate, just a bit, near the tip. I don’t see a cover. I think of smoothies and rice. Box of Books: Stephen King and Jackie Collins and Dean Koontz and Dan Brown. Never the old, yellowed copy of Rimbaud I dream of. Once, I found Siddhartha. Here, there is no Buddha – only old construction manuals, terrible mysteries and dog-eared paperbacks from 1983. Christmas Sweater: Dirty beard of cotton balls on woven string on knit that scratches and calls you from the other room in a shrill and unforgiving voice. Smells like attic. A woman in a yellow, Winnie the Pooh sweatshirt tries to sell it to me for $20. Lawnmower: Manual. Claws like death. Metal. Clank. Like movies no one watches anymore, relegated to film snob circles with pumpkin and wine. I’m afraid of the way it leans. Pipe: Corncob. Never used, or cleaned by a sparkling fairy. Looks like snowmen and Grandpa. Smells like nothing. I deem it a magic corncob pipe and buy it for $1, anxiously waiting for winter. -- Sarah Ghoshal
  93. 93. 82 For Chris We were in Kenny’s apartment, with a snake and Neal Pert and a black light with the lights out and his Uncle Richard, whose belly was as big as the whole wide world. Or we were in dorm we didn’t live in, watching the Columbine footage just because we were still awake from the night before. Or we were peeling me off the blacktop on my mom’s street after I had been thrown from the hood of the car. Or we were in the basement, small quarters, fast punk rock, teenage dreams of cult followings and permanent backstage passes. Or we were at that restaurant where I worked, or that other restaurant where I worked, or that other one, or the one where Chris worked, or Chi Chi’s, where our friend Jonny would give us free fried ice cream. Or we were in a car, windows closed, smoke fogging the view, reggae and bottled soda on a deserted suburban court in the middle of the night. We remember birthdays despite time difference. We go months without seeing each other. We slip in and out of each other’s lives like thieves. -- Sarah Ghoshal
  94. 94. 83 The Sharp Edges of Trees Like family gatherings and smoky trees and leftover cheese at the bottom of the oven, like hungry, like roasting, bad but raw, plain, nothing else at all but what you see here, there, at the bottom after an hour of telling yourself … … well, you know what you say when clarity is staring you in the face and you’re trying to hide behind beach towels and ownership of the corner. “It’s all or nothing, you dirty monger of dreams.” The children roll down the hill under skies on their way to nightfall, glowing with the incandescent fire of flies that hover above their bare feet. In their screams, we find harried memories and wild desire, even when wishes float to the ground, underfoot, near the sharp edge of the trees. -- Sarah Ghoshal
  95. 95. 84 Third-Life Crisis As it moves – fluid – and impending my insides rot more each day. Sagging closer to the ground – though hydrated – new lines and darker circles take up residence on my once exotic frame. More make-up than woman – I smile – teeth yellowed with impending middle- age. And, no matter the product or surgical consult these signs can never be erased and I’ll never be my younger thinner self in low-rise ripped jeans. Hand in a bag of chemical-filled cookies, I eat to fill a void that expands as the days
  96. 96. 85 surreptitiously multiply and march towards the toll of a death-knell that even the shoddiest of hearing— aids will pick up. -- Jessica Gleason
  97. 97. 86 Misshapen Adulthood They remind you when it’s time to disband your stuffed-animal militia. To take your imaginary tea and replace it with an addictive and acidic coffee addiction. And though you’re childhood was confident sure with clarity that now seems heart-breaking. They tell you that conformity is what pays the bills fills your life with meaning and purpose, something that you didn’t know was missing until reality gave you bruises in places you’d never even felt before. And the militia, sitting in a water-damaged basement-- box, is sad silently waiting with a Care-Bear stare that will shoot life back into your lemming career.
  98. 98. 87 Wishing you’d walk the plank back into an existence that would sustain you in ways that the 9-5 paycheck never could. -- Jessica Gleason
  99. 99. 88 Time Like . . . There is time like there is a carpet or somebody knocking on the door. The battle rages in a chaotic frenzy. People cave into fears as if that means ‘maturity’. There is no time like there is no permanence other than God. Stimulation and bleeding gums. Sit down, run your hand over your face. I will run my fingers along your jaw line, your brow line, and trace a constellation. Be my instrument, expose the terror I cautiously keep. Call me a hypocrite and then forgive me, avenge me for my mortality. In heaven, the Earth is a vegetable left too long in the fridge. In the mornings, I am lonely but want only to be alone. Your breath howls, sometimes I can hear it when you think you are sleeping. Those times I would rip across any void just to clean your blood. Time is laughing at us, because we’ve touched the flesh of freedom and everything after that wears on our skin, groaning, growing as instant madness. -- Allison Grayhurst
  100. 100. 89 Silence and Slow Time From the stairwell, steps dwindle, then flee. You rub your eyes, blink at the buzzing lamps. It seems you are in Paradise. Fall to your knees. Low-ceilinged room with booths and desks; you glance at empty tables, empty straight-backed chairs. You rub your eyes, blink at the buzzing lamps. The Glory of Sharks. The History of Hair. The Book of Knots and Their Untying. At empty tables, empty straight-backed chairs. Time is art books, oversized, left lying on armchairs dressed in herringbone, moss-green: The Book of Knots and Their Untying. The cooler, set for Kelvin 3 degrees, holds water, coffee, tea and Coke in bottles. Armchairs dressed in herringbone, moss-green, stand in the library basement, mottled, impersonal. The clerk says, Wait your turn for water, coffee, Coke, iced tea in bottles. Your drowsy dullness deepens with the drone. In the stairwells, steps dwindle, then flee. Impersonal, the clock says, Wait your turn. It seems you are in Paradise. Fall to your knees. -- Karen Greenbaum-Maya
  101. 101. 90 Ghazal before Memory A song we’d danced to jarred my memory. Our first clumsy kiss is starred in memory. Heloïse, banished to a nunnery, did not repent. She lived but to write of Abelard, the memory. Hemingway lived here, where Verlaine died. In Paris I used the camera’s card for memory. Our linguist friend in France, abruptly dead. We ate pistou then drank Ricard in memory. I learned: while learning, all roads climb uphill. Hands, knees are healed and scarred in memory. I paced iambic, chanting o longer mourn for me . . . Forty years on, and still I hold the Bard in memory. When his time comes, she will howl and clutch. How could Karen grieve less hard in memory? -- Karen Greenbaum-Maya
  102. 102. 91 Measuring Time As long as our feet stay on the ground or we are atop an animal whose hooves touch solidly down we can be accurate; but autos, trains and especially planes warp time as Einstein’s space was bent; our vehicle moves making weeds stand at attention, an arm of fog clasps a steeple then slips away, our time sliding into a void. -- Ray Greenblatt
  103. 103. 92 The Bullpen A child, age three got on that bull a coarse box of sweat and musk. Sharp frayed hair rose from the steam pricked and crimped the soft pale skin. The bull scraped the gate with its horns made of iron and said, “I’ll kill you before this is over.” The whistle blew with a flash life was on. The crowd seemed excited the child wondered why. The beast chortled and kicked with a back breaking menace and snarled, “Remember what I said back in the pen?” The child held on to hide of worn leather, it was thin shredding, breaking. But the child locked eyes with a face in the crowd. One sincere child, age eight, his future.
  104. 104. 93 Among fist pumping giants the booze sloshed the popcorn popped. But the boy in the crowd wore tall red galoshes. He held up his fingers eight tiny digits and put one away second by second. The boy on the bull in the ear of the beast whispered, “Bring it on bull.” Three. Two. One. It’s over. -- Harmony Hodges
  105. 105. 94 Pliation, n. there is a word for the folds, wrinkles and bending in time that give the things their very thingness (though not their ‘it’). they are called pliations, the crests and ripples and sharp-edged, pick your teeth with ‘em bendings in the it that was once straight and flat as air-whipped eggs in a medium-hot pan. they are called pliations so that you and i can pliate from time to time and thus admit, in a sheepfold kind of way to having our plans pliated by forces entirely bending to our will. we call on pliation for the way we end up as night enfolds speaking with our parents’ voice. in a crowd, we pliate him and her to tuck into a pocket, to keep them small and flat, inpliated out of sight. ho, down at the Church of Pliatology, we bend our knees and necks at the sight of the Spring Azure that skips a bit of sky across the grass then stops, pliates and disappears. and the latest wrinkle boys and girls lies in how we come to fear the fold- such pliaphobes, all pliafugal hoping vainly for magic tucks
  106. 106. 95 to make us strai ght and smooth. -- Lynn Hoffman
  107. 107. 96 The 23rd Century The 23rd Century just ordered her second martini, not too dry, lemon peel, sprig of rosemary. She’s older than you think, been around since the beginning but she’s not above a certain crude directitude. to the waiter, who’s just a boy decade in the early 21st, she says “Do you have any idea how your wisdoms look from here? What vice your virtue left us?” She takes a sip in proof, then a swallow before she pays his tab and leaves, a ghost, a guest, aghast. -- Lynn Hoffman
  108. 108. 97 Empty Sockets I lost an eyelash today. It happens all the time—loss of moon shapes—curved slivers of nail clippings and of lashes laden with parasitic mites and black mascara. My skin, it sloughs off in microbes onto mattresses and bath towels hung to dry above lost strands of hair that wad and crawl away down into the drain. The wastebasket that opens wide to cradle snot-filled tissues and cotton swabs topped with brownish yellow. It’s always happening—loss occurs from every orifice— the unwanted, the wasted. The monthly shedding of eggs, discarded yolks that float in menstruation, and drop to their deaths. The baby teeth that climb their way out, struggling to cut through pink, supple gums, to later be wiggled loose by bigger bully teeth. The wisdoms that were yanked bloody from their constricted caves to make way for molars and impending crookedness. All this for not—all the chewing and grinding will turn them to wooden nubs to rot and fall out, until my gums grow over to cover the empty sockets. I long for the missing—my shaved whiskers, my hair trimmings, misplaced eyelashes, saline tears, drools of spit, picked scabs, and filed fingernail dust. My used-up cells drift dormant onto shelves and knick-knacks, waiting to be wiped away. -- Trish Hopkinson
  109. 109. 98 Trash Bag Burial When I was young, I collected odd things to remind me of moments—snapshots of friends, napkins with signatures and doodles, pieces of ribbon, Roland Orzabal’s comb, dried flowers hung upside down by a pushpin, newspaper clippings, mini bottles, candy wrappers, concert ticket stubs, restaurant receipts—mementos that littered the shelves and wall above my Curtis Mathes rent-to-own stereo. I spent many hours mooning the past, the moments that seemed pivotal to existence, the items that made me. Just a blip on the timeline later, what made me became dust collectors, muddied up the little space I had, complicated what I’d become. I didn’t think much of it, as I shook the folded trash bag, rushing it with air to create an opening for their burial. I pulled them roughly, tore from beneath pins, raked from shelves, and turned my head as the dust flew and the bag dropped heavy. I paused as I held the comb. It still smelled foolish, like ‘80’s hair mousse. -- Trish Hopkinson
  110. 110. 99 Droughtful October The wind buffets dry leaves - a near death rattle, like a rain stick - yet they cling to their branches, make shadow sidewalk lace. One Canada Goose, left behind, forages among bone bleached blades of grass, then swims with today's foster family of ducks. A swatch of rainbow hovers across the dancing white arches of the pond fountain; the sun flexes its muscle in a last summer fling. Bee abandoned, parched marigolds along the walking path are withered - hump backed; palsied leaves tremble with the slightest breeze. I sense a held breath among the bone dry needy trees and grassy slopes, a patience - conserving every drop of sustenance, holding out for rain. -- Sue eufarth Howard
  111. 111. 100 Archived At ten years old she sits in her attic bedroom where the eaves lean in like sheltering arms. Her thoughts float out above the rooftops of the darkened houses below. She’s wide awake immortality heavy on her mind. She reaches for her notebook her favorite ballpoint pen. It’s time to write a letter to the future. When it’s done she folds the paper into a thousand squares pokes it through a tiny hole in the knotty pine paneling. Her handprint on the cave wall she falls into prairie dreams of wind drift wildflowers. -- Susan M. Huebner
  112. 112. 101 ovember’s Last Call the full moon’s clogged with clouds tonight warm breezes blow: it’s Saturday the park is lounging midnight-naked childfree and feeling frisky across the street on wooden porches the jack-o-lanterns grin happy empty-headed fools they watch the goblins float and dance drunk beneath the streetlamps August has dropped in for a gig the song is Catch Me If You Can and making an encore appearance everything is chasing Summer -- Susan M. Huebner
  113. 113. 102 Christmas Future As I play Noel on my aging piano I see my reflection in its fallboard, distorted like an older me – I’m glad to see how we’ll be, still playing beyond our prime, me not deaf nor swollen-knuckled, sitting down from time to time to share the Nocturnes, perhaps Bach or that Beethoven sonata, leaping arpeggios – no way to tell from this patina if skill increases with the years or fails— or if the players are content, have they spent every counterpoint they have within – or even whether what I envision is indeed a future us or just wraiths, wavy and wavering finis, no earthly concerto, but a trick of light slanting off a piano. -- Wendy Elizabeth Ingersoll
  114. 114. 103 Tick-Tock We sit silent in her kitchen Everything is white – the walls, the floor; all the appliances, the sink, the door even, any metal trim, all white I wonder if she prefers white or if it’s just how it came The clock on the wall – white of course – ticks off seconds as loud as a drum beat She seems unaware of time passing But I am sure is not; it’s long past the hour her daughter should have returned I picture her as she fled past me, coatless, into the frosty night The fullness of her prepubescent tummy under her woolly lumberjack shirt Admonishment enough; her mother’s scream echoing in her ears No doubt, as they were in mine as I came up the same walk she ran down My shadow on the wall grows longer with every tick, disappears as we turn the overhead on. -- S.E. Ingraham
  115. 115. 104 BBC Radio Interview So Mr. Jones, you want to be an egg-timer? Has the demon of utility pursued you through life, compelling you to be useful in death? No. I just want to be an egg-timer, to let my ashes drip out the seconds, pass the carefree time eternally from one glass world to another. Mr. Jones, why can’t you be buried decently like everyone else? That would be a waste of time. -- Diane Jackman
  116. 116. 105 ine Year Microwave Sky You thought you could dive through time as you did the seventh waves of Cape Conran as a child You thought the gaping black was hollow, except for the odd miracle languid and creaking, bejeweled in moons and singing. But it’s a dusty contradicting force, full of debris and decisions colliding like chance love. You didn’t realize your ballooning mind dined on curiosity at the periodic table, impossibly expanding in the belly of a finite law, stuffing hot stars into your skull [ as much as your pockets could hold ] You didn’t notice your flesh was blushing, even as you lay your cooling gaze on me
  117. 117. 106 I didn’t notice because my newlywed’s red dress had me burning up on her entry -- Miguel Jacq
  118. 118. 107 20000 twenty kilometers out from the town it melts into the thundering herd of tomorrow. there are no monks chanting here. there is no safehouse. there is only that slow hum of worry, coming down from the sky like darkness, punctuated and inchoate, sometimes inspired. we are all twenty kilometers from something just near enough to sense in our heels the tug,
  119. 119. 108 the stampede threatening to drag us back, but just far enough to resonate, drifting on slow orbit, meditative on whatever keeps us fixed upon the centre. -- Miguel Jacq
  120. 120. 109 Marker Horizon Sometime between mid to end of February the night cools down, makes audible of circadian rhythm stabilizing and the concrete letting out a breath. Somewhere a map carves out something for itself, divides the land and lovers. A headache occurs, heart breaking. Spray meeting shore, a thought erodes or is chosen to forget. History perseveres, commits the moment to memory in soil still warm and beating. -- Miguel Jacq
  121. 121. 110 Quiet Hours Passing You rest in this empty hospital room. Your repetitious words, spoken to yourself, stumble over one another. Everything is in holes and pieces. The strange ear ringing sounds of silence broken by occasional voices in the hall- the shadows pushing the lights around like street bullies- the sparse furniture all changed, each strange piece placed differently than you would have it at home. But you’re not at home, you’re in this empty hospital room, resting. Everything is in holes and pieces. -- Michael Lee Johnson
  122. 122. 111 Mindful, Mindless, October Date Mindful of my lover running late, as common as tying my shoestrings; I'm battered as an armadillo shell; I put my rubber band around my emotional body, hold tight, armor my manliness, walk like a stud in darkness. I am sealed with dismay. Though everything in October, has a bright side, a shade of orange, a hint of witches and goblins. In the leaves between my naked feet and toes, I pace my walk feverishly, trying to avoid adjectives and soured screams, in the parking lot. I count them color charts, fragments, bites, anything of matter: hickory leaves golden, sassafras greens and yellows, maples of scarlet, shades of pink, even purple. The landscape is turning turf brown. Barefooted I break into tears, the year-fragmented. I am male discolored in this relationship, tested and declared void of my testosterone no sexual rectification or recharging of my batteries. I lie limp, native within myself, my circumstance mindful of my lover running late. She finally arrives; I quickly transition myself. -- Michael Lee Johnson
  123. 123. 112 When You Get Old When you get old you leave everything behind− present tense past tense, hangers on refusing to turn loose, high school letter sweaters, varsity woolen jackets, yearbooks 1965, covers that quickly open, slam shut− high school romances only faces where they were then− ice cubes frozen in time. No more teary eyes, striking flames, moist match heads igniting bedroom sheets and teenage bedside rumors. You leave wife, or wives behind toss out your youthful affairs. All single events were just encounters, cardiac dry ice, ladies with crimson clover eyes. No more strings tightened, broken bows, heart dreams slit vows, melancholy violin romances. You continue leaving reading glasses, key chain, ATM card, senior discount cards, footnotes are your history, artificial sweeteners, doctor appointments daily, keep touching those piano notes, phone numbers in sequence in tattered address books, names attached to memories hidden behind. Everything rhymes with plural thoughts and foggy memories.
  124. 124. 113 Youth was a bullyboy club- the older I get the less I am battered− trust me I got witnesses in between− saviors of wings, fantasies, tense has no grammatical corrector, it always dances around the rim of red wine. Life now fills with silver teaspoons of empty senior moments− blank shells of present, past tense, and yank me back recalls. Do you remember those 1st 25 years? Shrinking brain space remembers dances of sporadic nighttime boogies, sports, senior prom, Thomas's Drive-In, Spin-It-Record Shop, Dick Biondi, WLS Chicago top 100. Remember the next 25 years? high school reunions grow dimmer− priest of the voodoo dolls punch in numbers of once living and now dead− undresses all. Rise forward from your medieval pews. Wherever you now live, do you remember these things− prayer, ghosts deep in the pockets of our former youth. Old age waits patiently in the face of a full moon—a new generation. When you get old you leave everything behind. -- Michael Lee Johnson
  125. 125. 114 She Somewhere she has lost her shadow- now, she stands still… with nowhere to go. -- Michael Lee Johnson
  126. 126. 115 Time After Time Brubeck made time Rubikal, the permutations never-ending, transitions seamless, a custom cruise bike rolling down a hill to a coast around a new lake, but parked in a familiar place always. Bird contracted time, squeezed more from less than any before or since, and time contracted him, the beautiful blue odonata beating his lace wings to pieces on the burning light bulb. Monk turned time on its ear and made it space, the fox in the barnyard that called out the tunes, and all the animals danced the wiggly. Billie made time slow down and take a longer look, languorous reticent flirtation, an allure of expression, making time instantly immortal; and Louie, dear Louie, sweet Louie,
  127. 127. 116 with one strong arm made time stand still. -- John Lambremont, Sr.
  128. 128. 117 The Time Thief In the wee hours of a late winter night, Time is stolen by a silent thief, Swiftly running off with an hour of sleep. The heist takes place at two in the morning, Not one, not three, but exactly two o’clock, The moment when two becomes three like magic each spring. Who can explain to me how an hour can be lost? Perhaps Hawkins, Einstein, or Hubble Could tell me where two- thirty or two forty- five can be found. The earth must laugh as we declare an hour gone, A spinning orb with no compulsion to follow the rules Of a species obsessed with time. Oblivious to this crime is the bird outside my kitchen window, His song erupts with the dawn of each new day Regardless of what shows on the face of my watch. For now, I set my clock, and perhaps the alarm for two, So that I may witness the heist of these precious minutes And find the secret of time altered once again. Tomorrow I will awaken to follow the cycle of the new day, Feeling the effects of an hour lost at that magic moment, Yearning to be the bird that follows no clock. -- David Lymanstall
  129. 129. 118 Start . . . Stop! Print . . . Send! Fingers poised on the keys of our sturdy Royal typewriters, we await Mrs. Tutnauer’s command: "START!" All around me, clacking, erratic rhythms. "Damn it!" from the sweating girl on my left. I tune out everything except the staccato of my fingers pounding the black keys. "STOP!" she orders. My hands drop into my lap. We trade papers, compute speed, deduct errors. My score: eighty-seven words per minute, two errors. With this skill and Pitman stenography, I enter the workforce at sixteen, assisting law professors at NYU on my IBM Selectric, trusted to type papers on complex legal arguments. Fifty years later, now a retired English professor, my fingers fly over the Logitech keyboard, the occasional typo magically underlined in red. Then I press PRINT . . . SEND . . . and take the dogs for a walk. -- Arlene Mandell
  130. 130. 119 Fleeting Beauty Awake for an hour, I glance from the humming screen with its drafts, spam, trash to distant diagonal streaks – yellow, coral, pink – splayed above jagged edges of the Mayacama Mountains. Barefoot, coffee mug in hand I pad onto the deck, watch the sky fade to ordinary. -- Arlene Mandell
  131. 131. 120 Wild Strawberries The deck feels warm under my bare feet. I hold a sky blue bowl of thumbnail-size berries, dip one in sugar. A tart sweet taste floods my senses. I am thirty-one, thirteen, sixty once again. Under a filtered canopy of sunlight and shade I savor memory’s fruit. -- Arlene Mandell
  132. 132. 121 Of Pigs & Pizza I am twenty-nine and, quite literally, a single-mother: sole-supporter and making 100% of the decisions. My son’s father is nonexistent. 9/11 hasn’t happened yet. My heart has been stepped on, picked up, coddled, dropped, kicked, drop-kicked by my most recent boyfriend. Our relationship was an opossum, least appealing of the rodent family. It played dead. The final ending has occurred, I currently believe. I know he is seeing someone. I heard them having sex. It is the first time I’ve been butt-dialed, during coitus or otherwise. I’m out having drinks at my favorite bar with my favorite frenemy. I think I just coined that phrase- I am totally drunk. We sit on stools, chatting with a pretty bartender. Behind us comes a twenty-one-ish guy. I can’t hear what he is saying to us but from my friends’ reaction, it is sexist and stupid. Pig is hitting on all three of us simultaneously, believing his odds are better. We are giving him the cold shoulder. Pretty Bartender is telling him to move it along. Conversation resumes as he interlopes on down the line. We are talking about moving on from heartache. Pretty Bartender is telling me that remaining friends isn’t something that happens in real life, especially when the breakup takes so long. As she is telling me that it only happens in romantic comedies, I hear Frienemy gasp. She is staring behind me. I look back to see Ex with his arm around his new girlfriend. I think I just pee’d a little. My tongue is a cottonball. I can’t breathe and know, already, that my voice will not hold if he comes over to talk to me. He is heading over to talk to me. I see Pig next to me and tap him. I am shouting the first thing I think into his ear. I wish I’d heard myself say it because I already don’t remember. He is taking the bait, turning his back on the girl to my left. She looks relieved. He shout-whispers something back and leans in. I see Bartender roll her eyes. Frenemy looks confused. Ex is closing the distance between us. He is saying hello to me and to Frenemy. He is calling to his girlfriend to introduce us but she is taking a seat down the bar, glaring at me while yawning at him. He is telling me that she is bored and her name is Candy. I don’t yet know that she is a stripper. I won’t be surprised when I learn this fact. I am repeating it
  133. 133. 122 to myself, doubting I’ll remember her name tomorrow morning. Ex is looking at me as though I’ve just said her name aloud. I am wondering if maybe I did. She is tall, covered in acne and has ridiculous bangs. She is refusing to wave. Ex is just standing there. I keep drinking, my tongue, still a cotton ball, is stuck to the roof of my mouth. He is waiting for me to introduce Pig, who is now leaning over and onto me. I realize Ex thinks we’re dating. I don’t know Pig’s name. I say nothing. Frenemy breaks the silence with a witty remark about his vintage Pizza Delivery Guy tee-shirt. She is asking him if he gets a collared shirt for his fifteen year anniversary. He is asking why she gotta be like that as he is putting his hand out for Pig to shake. Pig is shaking it. They are exchanging friendly words. Probably names. I am leaning in to hear Pig’s name. I am a few seconds too late. Bangs appears next to Ex, yelling that she’s ready to go. She is wearing Daisy Dukes with pleats (I will later wonder if they were custom made- pleats with short shorts?) Miscellaneous scars are crosshatching her legs. I am trying to say hello. She is refusing to make eye contact. They’re gone and Frenemy is asking me what the fuck. I am telling her I don’t know, that everything happened so fast. Pig is fucking off, probably per my request—it is blurry even as it is occurring. Frenemy looks at me with judgment and disgust. I feel ashamed, realizing I used Pig to cast shadow on my insecurity. Frenemy is ditching me (I must pay for my sins.) I somehow make it home. I am waking up on the hardwood floor. My dog is licking my face. My first thought: shame. Before I am fully conscious. I already know the look on Frienemy’s face will haunt me for twenty years, when Ex is a distant memory, long after I’ve gotten married, had a second child, moved away and left not only my twenties but nearly my thirties behind me. -- Jacqueline Markowski
  134. 134. 123 And Another One Down Last time I ran away, I plucked adolescent pines from sappy roots, fighting earth and reason with the sticky ether of yesterday. By that point seasoned, past lives and active loss were off-ramp forks on old mountain highways. Consequences shrink in the mirror as images of hope dance silently on the horizon, where I am forever sixteen, cigarette dangling from chapped lips as I swing axes at choppy, obsessive phrases. The last time, a meager half decade ago: Another One Bites the Dust. The reflective bumps on the highway created the simple beat my OCD required. I can’t remember which burst of randomness repeated nine months later as I made our way South. Maybe white noise as I focused on forgiveness, occasionally chanting Stupid Girl to the sparkling ether on the horizon. -- Jacqueline Markowski
  135. 135. 124 Residual Behind me, time collapses, forgotten chapters atrophy. A hint of knowledge resides within each drop of experience: you will forget this moment. It is already gone. Motivations escape upon ignition, spark spent, metaphor remains along with more questions than answers. -- Jacqueline Markowski
  136. 136. 125 Just a Moment He stood woodenly in the hall staring silently forward. He had a striking face if expressionless, though I sensed him watching me from the corner of his eye. The rich chestnut of his waistcoat invited, almost pleaded for, my touch and I longed to pass the time with him, feel the smoothness of his body. Reluctantly, though, I forebore. “After all,” I thought, “He is a grandfather and it might not do his ticker any good.” -- Joe Massingham
  137. 137. 126 Pathetique he leans into the memory, piano music from a distance source, leaning too far into the other vibrations of forgetting into the minor key of diminution a black bird alone on an old-fashioned telephone pole with blue glass wind blowing through the abandoned barn ghosts in blue dresses the smell of the farm in the past: horse-dung and hay going sour his chest aches but not in the heart, somewhere behind the heart as the notes die away and his hands close over an empty space -- Janet McCann
  138. 138. 127 Keepsake There are too many clocks and not enough time. I will take and save this minute for myself. This minute of mercury this swift night as sleepless stars glide through the sky in aerial ballet. -- Joan Mc erney