Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Two poems from Adam Henry Carrière

Editor's Note: The following poems are excerpted from Adam Henry Carrière's premiere chapbook, Zigeunertänze, forthcoming from Chippens in May 2009.

sinistrose, morosite
(dismalness, gloom)

Mon amitie est vive encor, malgre l'absence. Hate-toi!
My friendship is warm still, despite absence. Hurry!

                                        — Guilliaume Apollinaire

Small pretty statistic, what's the use?
A person's gloom is their birthright.

When I left for the glowing pink neon,
you were shed, a mirror image
spilt over colorless sand.

But, like old cobblestones, you still smile,
hiding the affectionate beach in the mortar below.

You have no reason to sero-fancy and forget-cell;
Feel the atlas of your remaining
body the way I once did,

Put up, put out ... out

the stiff upper lip sewn into the quilt,
tripping up your one-step on the way in.

Do not swallow the pharmacist's pleasant
jingle; build the home away from home
sweet homo we naïvely wrote of
in puppy-loved Valentines
illuminated by medicinal torches
now lining our hands.

Your bodily breakdown, dismalness bathed
in light, dines with us in Thanksgiving,
this hospice meal.

I am your last, best friend:

    No matter the blueprint of the coming
    lull, your voyage is mine,
    our antibody leaves fall together.

The dialect of our Magyar and Saxon eyes,


full of unlived yet permanently minor life,
almost deliriously lurks
behind the Hapsburgs' many great facades.

Its gloom burnishes the epitaph
haggard pilgrims shamble toward

Queer Quadrille

Tell me, how many of them would deliver themselves up deliberately to perdition (as He Himself says in that book) rather than go on living secretly debased in their own eyes?

                                        — Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes

Aloof, Voltaire would advise looking for someone less
like a character in a book; Goethe agrees, adding,
'A little less re-writable, please, or less so than I.'
Genet shouts, 'I want a boyfriend!'
With an anxious nod, Forester peeks open
his journal, noting “He can look like this:
Bare, often, warm in the dark, soft to the touch."
Myakovsky growls, 'Zapadniks!' and seizes a quill,
scrawling, "Short, sweet-smelling hair, fingers to glide
over the ice of my heart, nipples for my erect tongue to caress."
Isherwood raises a gloved hand. 'What about, "Lips
tight over closed eyes picturing him, an out-of-fashion movie
unnoticed by the Society page." Hm?' Fugard claps politely.
Greene sneers perfidiously. 'Veneration doesn't propel boys
into refuge. The wind does. "Let the West Country breeze
hide with him in my soul." Or something like that.'
Hiding under the buffet, Kundera tosses a note
onto Schiller's lap. The German reads it skeptically:
"A near-perfect banquet that isn't a black grave."
La Rochefoucault pours more wine.
Da Ponte and Schikaneder carouse duetically.
Williams scurries out through the back door.
Mishima takes his bread. Goddard scribbles up the tablecloth:
Captured in silver dust, framed in gold, the boy makes the man one.
Stone drunk, Fitzgerald approves; Gertrude and Zelda demur.
Tchaikovsky begins a seventh symphony on the spot,
but cannot decide what to call it.
Balzac, smelling of cognac, proves no help.
Marlowe begins to bicker with DeVere.
Yevtushenko wins a drinking contest with a bitter Hemingway
and takes the floor. 'A man's love is voluminous!
Glorious! Victorious!' Brodsky cheers ostentatiously.
Seeing Mandelstam hasn't yet arrived, they both weep.

Winner of the Nevada Arts Council’s Fellowship in Poetry, Adam Henry Carrière publishes Danse Macabre, Nevada’s first online literary magazine. He lives in Las Vegas.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Les Urgences

By David Whitehouse

The old man had fallen to the pavement and his wife couldn't get him up. A passing woman, plump and middle-aged, had helped him to his feet and that was how I found the three of them, locked in a tight, immobile huddle in the bright light of a winter's afternoon.

-Are you going to be all right now? I heard the plump woman asking them.

The wrinkles on the face of the old man's wife were fragile like the threads of a spider's web.

-You'll be all right now, won't you? the plump woman said.

The wife's eye, encrusted with flaky skin, was delicate as that of a young doe as it shifted shyly through her wispy brown hair toward me.

-I'm afraid I really couldn't say, she said.

I took the man's arm. He was big and burly with thick white hair. His wife smiled at me and the seed of youth was in her smile.

The plump woman was gone.

-Dad! What are you doing? We're going to be late for the PARTY!

My kid, who I had fetched from school, was using a lamppost to swing himself round and round.

-Go on, the old man said. Don't waste your time. You'll be late.

-Don't worry, I said. We've got lots of time. We're early.

The three of us shuffled forward, the wife holding one of his arms and me the other. It was a hundred meters to his house, he said. But he couldn't keep going and I caught him as he slumped down again. We got him back upright but he could go no further. We were stuck.

-DAD! I don't want to stand here in the COLD!

-I'll call an ambulance, I said.

I pulled out my phone.

-Thank you, the man said.

The call was answered straight away. I told the woman where we were.

-His wife and I tried to get him home, I said. But he can't walk any more. We're stuck.

-Is he inebriated? said the voice on the line.


-Is he in a state of inebriation? Is he drunk?

-No, I said. He's an old man.

-I'm 85 years old, the man said.

-He says he's 85 years old, I said.

-And he's not drunk? the woman said.

-No, I said.

-I'll send an ambulance, she said.

We waited motionless. My child sulked. His wife, elegant in her long black winter's coat, said nothing.

The ambulance arrived, together with a police car. Three young men jumped out of the ambulance. Two blue-uniformed women emerged sluggishly from the car. They wore black boots and carrying long black truncheons. The old man's wife stood aside and looked at me, as if puzzled.

We were in France. I held the man up from behind by slipping my arms under his armpits.

-Good afternoon, sir, said the ambulance driver. We've come to take you to hospital.

-I'm not going to hospital, the old man said. I want to go home. It's a hundred meters down this street.

-If you want to go home, call a taxi, the young man said. I can only take you to hospital.

I was starting to sag under the old man's weight. The five uniforms stood impassive before us.

-I'm a bloody doctor, the old man said. And so is my daughter. I want to call her. Her number is at home.

-It's best to be examined, I said. Then you can call your daughter.

The driver of the ambulance folded his arms.

-Yes, he said finally. You need to be examined.

-Maybe your wife can go and get your daughter's number? I said. While you get in the ambulance.

-Don't ask her, the old man said. She's got Alzheimer's.

At this, the other two young men from the ambulance moved forward and grabbed the old man's arms. The driver, arms still crossed, gave me a small nod. I stepped away. My child, like a wild horse springing out of a box, charged headlong down the street.


It started the next Sunday morning as a dull ache in my testicles and got worse. By the time I stood in my living room, in front of the parents of the new kids at my children's school, it felt like a spoonful of molten lead had been dropped into each one of my balls.

They had come round to discuss how we could share the job of taking our children to school.
Five assorted kids were running wild in the background. The visiting mother was a tall, large-breasted woman and as the pain grew worse, I struggled to keep my chin up to meet her gaze.

-I'm a public relations consultant, she said. So it's very difficult to know exactly where I will be on a particular day . . .

-Stop leaning against the wall, my wife said. Why can't you stand up on your feet?

The husband shook his head and sighed, staggered by the dimensions of the problem. I wanted to cup my balls.

An intense round of negotiations followed. I smiled through gritted teeth. There were numerous complications. Mondays. Tuesdays. Wednesdays. Thursdays. Fridays.

I could feel a fever coming on. After what seemed long enough for the international war crimes trial of a minor African warlord, it was done.

-My balls are hurting, I said to my wife once they had gone.

The emergency doctor came straight around and we grappled briefly in the children's bedroom, my wife having indicated this was where the examination should take place. My temperature was through the roof.

-You should have done straight to hospital, the doctor said. Rather than calling me. If there's torsion in the balls, you have only six hours to save them.

-Six hours? To save my balls?

My balls: six hours.

-When did they start hurting? he asked.

-They've been hurting for . . . a few hours, I said.

The ambulance was soon there and I was bundled into the back. Off we went, red light flashing, into unchartered territory. My amazing years of potency, it seemed, could be drawing to a spectacular end.

When I came back home it was possible that I would be . . . something else.

At the hospital a woman in a white coat pulled me out of the waiting room and took me to the guy that was going to examine me.

Except that there was no guy.

How could there be no guy? She wasn't going to . . . it wasn't possible that . . . oh no.

I looked at her again and three crucial points struck me. In this order.

1. She was wearing knee-high leather boots.
2. She was wearing black pantyhose. It had to be pantyhose, the alternative didn't bear thinking about.
3. A quick glance at her face showed her to be aged between 18 and 70 and free of any major disfiguring marks.

This was an infringement of my human rights. I would write to my health insurance company. I would complain to the association of balls doctors.

No, more than that. I would contact my Member of European Parliament.

I took my trousers off in the changing cubicle. Then I stepped into her office.

I lay down glumly on the couch.

-Please take your penis in your hand, she said.

She was wearing latex gloves. She rubbed a cold liquid on my balls. The she ran a scanning device across them. She studied the results on a big screen in front of her. I could see now that she was about 50, wore glasses and had brown, mousy hair.

Her manner was quick and professional. This was crazy beyond my wildest dreams. My private little world had not been breached. She might as well have been a dentist. It might as well have been my teeth.

-There's no torsion, she told me. You have a minor case of epididymitis. You'll have to take some medicine.

-No torsion, I said. I struggled to absorb the news.

I was still me. I was going to leave here and end this day just as I had started it.

-I just need to do one more test, she said.

She squeezed the skin on one ball between her fingers and I screamed. She squeezed the other ball. I screamed again.

-That's right, she said. Scream! She grinned at me with a toothy leer. Come on, SCREAM! Which one hurts the most?

-Both of them!

-Perfect, she said.

She laughed and I roared in tortured relief.


At home I sagged triumphantly into an armchair. I was exhausted but the medicine was already starting to wash the pain away.

-Dad! Dad!

One of my kids came hobbling up to me.


-My little toe is hurting. I think I need an ambulance!

I called out to my wife.

-He says his toe is hurting.

-Just kidding Dad, he said. And off he ran.

David Whitehouse is married with three children. He works as a journalist in Paris, where he has lived for the last 13 years, after moving from his native Britain. He edits The Lesser Flamingo, a new ezine.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Three poems from Felino Soriano

Painters’ Exhalations 91

                        —after John Coyne’s Flight in Green

Because the ocean
to mirrors on waves’
tabletop function
an unknown causation
stating sense dangles from the tongue
-caused interpretations,
proclaims sans standing philosophical

flight can deem itself contained by framed borders
man refuses to dislodge. This though
    does not
the winged from acrobatics atop air’s angled,
unbounded stage

as day of emergency transforms psyches into
lost and winded animals

catapulted among their foreign reactions.

Painters’ Exhalations 93

                        —after Elsa Dax’s The Night

Night constructs nest
mosaic ingredients softened mirror
for owl rest subsequent hunt,
feed, meander between itchy bark.
Stars incorporate flickered pause
saluting scientists attempting
ascertaining distance
relative to a pebble future from
man’s grabbing hand. Navy
pocket square president’s fold
sky’s tailored blazer. Music
becomes a multiplying flesh:
wind, mythical ambiance, goddesses
announce in retribution, decrees
not a whim among the ruling
giving surnames to stars’ orphaned

Painters’ Exhalations 94

                        —after Joe Machine’s Sailor at Rest

Sustained water life, stilled on
sea’s obese spectrum

authors insanity in an etching scrape
across altered pining psyche. Misinterpreted

tranquil blue slaps the unaware, predetermined
fallacy placed in soil of gullible beliefs,

the ignoramous. Rest from the dance of waves

the mopping of decks aware of their reeking

Cliché sailor posing, respite on a bar’s hardened stool.

Head submerged, thoughts the drowning hands
grasping at answers found floating amid
inebriation. Snake

tattoo slithers in overhead light, the rare light
alive atop existence’s manifested

Felino Soriano is a case manager working with developmentally and physically disabled adults in California. He is the editor of the online journal, Counterexample Poetics, which focuses on International interpretations of experimental poetry, art, and photography.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Opening Day 2009

Editor's Note: Major League Baseball opened its season April 6, so this week we asked a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and a fan of the Chicago Cubs, arch rivals in the National League Central division, to offer their reflections on Opening Day.

Out of the Cold, a Need for Closure

By Matthew Melick

I woke up on Opening Day dreading the thirty degree temperatures and snow that had pushed into St. Louis the night before. But I knew that these temperatures were short-lived—it was baseball season. Each spring in the Midwest, Opening Day—as all the great baseball writers have written—signals an end to the cold and darkness. As a Cardinal fan, Opening Day usually means two things—the natural beauty of spring and its longer, warmer days will be arriving shortly, and Cub fans can be excited about their team’s prospects for a couple weeks.

But this year, it is our turn to be excited, hopefully for more than a couple weeks. This is the year the Cardinals take back the Central, the year they come up with an answer in the bullpen. In 2008, the Cardinals blew a Major League-leading 31 saves and somehow still managed to finish just four games out of the wild-card. But that was last year. This year, the Cardinals have a great new closer and all of the problems of last year (and the year before) were just that, problems in the past. Right? For some reason (probably like most Cardinal fans), on Opening Day 2009 I had an uneasy feeling about the prospects of a bullpen anchored by a former catcher with only eleven prior Major League appearances.

Unfortunately, my feelings were validated—so much for change. So much for the chance to be hopeful about your favorite team’s prospects. Opening Day 2009 will forever be imprinted in my memory as the day I learned that one team can have two blown saves in one game.

Yet at the end of the day, somehow, hope had returned. It is spring, things change and grow, it is just a slow process. That is perhaps the best part about Opening Day. If your team wins—“awesome, this is the year”; if your team loses—“oh well, it is early.”

October Doesn't Care

By Bryan Timm

As a Cubs fan, I have come to a realization that is going to make this season a little different from those past. October just does not care.

October doesn't care about Opening Day. October doesn't care about players being tired from the World Baseball Classic. She doesn't care about signing a fiery right fielder or about the struggles from an imported center fielder. She doesn't care about the Houston Astros looking for some semblance of revenge for what Carlos Zambrano did to them after Hurricane Ike devastated Texas.

I encourage Chicago Cubs fans to ignore all the columnists, talking heads and any other random idiot trying to make a case for caring this early. It doesn't matter to me anymore, and it shouldn't matter to you. The only thing that matters is what the Cubs do once the season changes from summer to fall and the playoffs arrive.

I understand the excitement surrounding Opening Day because I feel it too. The prospect of sitting outside with a cold beer in my hand listening to Pat and Ron call a game is just as attractive to me this year as it has been in years past. But this year has to be different. It has to be.

The Boys in Blue may get off to a fast start and run away with the division. They may struggle early and have to hold off the Cardinals down the stretch to get in. But barring some sort of insane string of injuries, the Cubs are going to win the division, probably quite easily. So while I may be yelling at the television in May because Kosuke Fukudome misplayed a fly ball, resulting in a Cubs loss, it will be a reserved yell. Because quite simply, October just does not care.

Matthew Melick is an associate attorney at Carmody MacDonald P.C. in St. Louis, Missouri.

Bryan Timm is a cross country and track coach at Rosary High School in Aurora, Illinois.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Two poems from Ray Succre

This is the Spark

Early by a dawner's clock,
with sleep to come where sleep should end,
I am bound all licked by a pastime become time thief.

If I reach your trickling alarm without shut eyes,
in that you rouse and find mine red,
as I sit and bloody my head with the ever-leaping story
of a character in a game on a screen,
fetch me from this pleasurable invention.

Start with profanity, or call on guilt, use nudity or bacon.
Up all night, I'll haven't a care; turn it off or take over—
only fetch me and send me on.

In a Pit of White

The cold year banked in less-lit December,
stumbled past, wings straining and indignantly spread,
straight into the snow—all it could do to stop.
Of all the things it could have spun anew,
thought to mention in passing over to next year,
this year chose to impart nothing but frozen children,
back from the white and stuck for long spans
in an un-sunned, wishful house.

Ray Succre currently lives on the southern Oregon coast with his wife and son. He has been published in Aesthetica, BlazeVOX, and Pank, as well as in numerous others across as many countries. His novel Tatterdemalion (Cauliay) was recently released in print and is available most places. A second novel, Amphisbaena, is forthcoming in summer 2009. He tries hard.