veteran in Flint by David LaBounty

Posted in David LaBounty with tags on May 1, 2018 by Scot

 

it was a do good
kind of day
those of us
doing good
because
our kids
had to
good
for the
service
hours
at
school

and there we were

a collection of
honor students
and
parents
on hand
to help
out a middle
aged
veteran
with a
disabled
adult son
and a recently
disabled
wife

and we were in that part of Flint

north side,
just past
Hurley Hospital

a collection of
vacant lots
and
liquor
stores
and
clapboard
houses
like a salad
of ignored
gardens
just
tossed together
in it and

fluoride, he said

makes your
brain soft
and they
put fluoride
in the
water
to make the
population
just more
than passive

and he told
me all this
and his
teeth
were yellow
and there
were gray
and black
hairs coming
out of the
nighttime
of his
nose

and he
asked me
about my
coat, about
the
Columbia
label
on my
chest

what’s Columbia? he asked

and me,
I was
embarrassed
for a moment,
embarrassed
that my
body was
saying
something
my heart
didn’t
feel

oh
Columbia,
I said
that… that’s just
a thing

oh, he said
I remember Columbia,
it was a college in the sixties
a lot of the
protesters
back then
went to
Columbia

and the day
passed that
way and
later in
the afternoon
I headed
out of the
city

dropped
my son
off back
to his
mother’s
suburban home
and I headed
back to my own
suburban home

but I had to
stop at Kroger first

I needed
something
for dinner

they have those
pre-prepared meals
at Kroger now
all of the
ingredients
right in the box

I was torn
between the
pan-seared salmon
or the
lemon-glazed flat iron steak

I couldn’t pick either one
so I listened to my heart
and
my heart said
it wanted a
Tombstone pizza

so I got that instead

I took it home
and heated it up

I ate while flicking
through the
200 channels
of my cable tv

and no one
said anything
on the tv
that night

200 channels

and
no one
said
anything
at all

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Rearview by Antonia Clark

Posted in Antonia Clark with tags on March 15, 2018 by Scot

 

As far back as I can see,
there’s no one coming, just
a long, long stretch of Iowa road
unwinding behind me. No trace
of what I’m leaving — a house
I need to believe is full of absence.
We always made love in the dark
in case we needed to pretend
it hadn’t happened.

Dry grass and rusted fences
rush by like bad memories.
I have to keep reminding myself
that I’m the one in motion.
This road’s so straight, all I can do
is accelerate, watch for a sign,
an exit. Still, from time to time,
I adjust the rearview mirror as if
I might catch sight of you, crazy
with pain and desire and change
of heart, gaining on me.

just four days before by J.J. Campbell

Posted in J.J. Campbell with tags on March 14, 2018 by Scot

they are closing
down the hospital
i was born in

that’s certainly
a way to make
me feel old

just four days
before another
birthday

they say it’s
to save money

instead of
saying the
truth

only the poor
use this hospital

and we’re not
in the business
of helping those
people

for the children by DB Cox

Posted in DB Cox with tags on March 13, 2018 by Scot

 

when he was a child
he carried a little
of the world
around in his pocket
a smooth rock
from the creek
that ran through
saturday woods
a copper penny
found by a steel rail
squashed
all to hell
by heavy metal wheels
back then
he had a certain way
of looking
at the world
close to the ground
direct contact
he could see things
that are now
out of the picture
perspective wrecked
lost in the mad static
of everyday noise
traveling
unraveling
need a push
need a shove
need a boost
need a new drug
to take him
from point “a”
to point “b”
hauling ass warp speed
no time to focus
on a chaotic world
always in his
rearview mirror
forever fading
like that shadow
of a kid
who was unafraid
to stand up
& speak out
for what he believed
to be right

like
why you can’t
put a price
on human life

he has no idea
where or when
he lost his way
in that crazy space
between the dark of night
& the light of day

Evening News by Alarie Tennille

Posted in Alarie Tennille with tags on March 13, 2018 by Scot

 

In Akron today, a cat pounced
at a flat-screen TV, knocking
two U.S. Olympic skiers off course
before being apprehended. Both
skiers have been airlifted
in critical condition, the gold
medal going to Norway. Details
at ten.

Congress called an emergency session.
This is an outrage that cannot continue,
a disgrace to our country. Constituents
are tired of senseless violence killing
dreams, stealing futures, say Senators
X, Y, and Z. It’s time to act.

Sources have leaked proposals:
requiring background checks
on all cat owners or an outright ban
of indoor cats, a move endorsed
by the FTC. Conservatives call
for building a wall to keep cats
from infiltrating our borders.

Rest assured, say all respondents,
we’ll do everything we can to keep
our young people safe. Rest assured,
assured, rest, safe, must keep ourselves
safe, safe, safe. Must do something.
Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.

NOT LONG by John D Robinson

Posted in John D Robinson with tags on February 14, 2018 by Scot

After he died I got rumours
that she was prostituting
herself for alcohol and
codeine: I made a visit,
the door was open, I
found her semi-naked,
semi-conscious on her
lounge floor, laying close
to the gas fire, she was
badly burnt and had over
medicated: I called the
services, maybe I saved
her ass that day: she never
thanked me for it, it was
love and hate between us,
no middle ground:
she died a little while
later, overdosing on life
and prescription drugs
and alcohol and a
broken heart that
could take no more.

Matador by Alan Catlin

Posted in Alan Catlin with tags on February 12, 2018 by Scot

 

Three days into a drinking
holiday weekend, shot full of
chemicals, beer and Red Bull,
he’s as hyper as Old Jake,
The Raging Bull himself
before a grudge match.
The whole world is a boxing
ring for him, stocked with men
he imagined his wife was having
it off with. He’s strung tighter
than a taut bale of barbed wire,
a snip away from release,
from turning whatever bar he
happened to end up in into a
killing field full of blunt force
trauma victims: his fists bloodied
and held high in victory for cheering
crowds only he can hear,
compressed eyes pinched
into tiny balls like buck shot
pellets stuck in hardboiled egg
whites, blood drops tattooed at
the corners, vestiges of physical
pains he could no longer endure.