Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring 2010

I apologize for all the confusion lately. Nobody is more upset than I am. I finally have the opportunity to put everything else aside and really submerge myself into the back log of submissions, and someone has to go and hack my email account. But I was able to recover mostly everything.

I am a full time student now, which means I will have less time to devote to Illogical Muse. However I'm going to try to publish issues in a timely manner. I will no longer be writing reviews or conducting interviews but if you have something along those lines that you would like to submit, please feel free.

I’m hoping this year we can have 4 issues instead of three and it looks like things are off to a good start, despite all the complications. I’m already working on the summer issue. So keep those submissions coming!


American Life In Poetry Column 170

American Life in Poetry: Column 170


I’ve lived all my life on the plains, where no body of water is more than a few feet deep, and even at that shallow depth I’m afraid of it. Here Sam Green, who lives on an island north of Seattle, takes us down into some really deep, dark water.

Night Dive

Down here, no light but what we carry with us.
Everywhere we point our hands we scrawl
color: bulging eyes, spines, teeth or clinging tentacles.
At negative buoyancy, when heavy hands
seem to grasp & pull us down, we let them,

we don’t inflate our vests, but let the scrubbed cheeks
of rocks slide past in amniotic calm.
At sixty feet we douse our lights, cemented
by the weight of the dark, of water, the grip
of the sea’s absolute silence. Our groping

hands brush the open mouths of anemones,
which shower us in particles of phosphor
radiant as halos. As in meditation,
or in deepest prayer,
there is no knowing what we will see.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright © 1998 by Samuel Green. Reprinted by permission of the author, Sam Green, from his book “The Grace of Necessity,” Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2008. First published in "Cistercian Studies Quarterly", Vol. 33.1, 1998. Introduction copyright © 2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.


Photo Taken by Ashley Lowe

Scars by Lyn Lifshin

that one shaped like a 7. Bryant Park,
the first slit in the skin you could see
shaped like a 7. It was at the close
of a reading and I wasn’t ready to give
up my mic for a talk by Governor
Rockefeller. In the bar I saw blood
soaking through my wedgewood blue
longdress, stuck to my skin
from where what they pulled from
me boomeranged. I shortened the
dress 12 inches. Then I was scalped,
or nearly. I wasn’t in any war, just on
the way to meet a friend for a film.
I suppose it was poetry thast did
me in: I was mailing some ms when
the car behind me slammed into
the car right ahead into a car coming
from the opposite direction. 250
stitches and my amethyst barrette.
Gone. Mummy wrapped. And I adored
the orchid stone. But it wasn’t until
the white gauze came off and I could see
the jabbed barbwire whit3e on a night a
man I still didn’t know, on a night
of a poetry reading I shuddered at what
looked like a knife fell from space
and I was sunbathing under it. That
scar seemed to glow in the bed
room when we turned out the light.
Now I wear my hair over the slash, may
be why I slammed wildly the treacherous,
sharp slate steps and hacked my shin to
the bone. A machete chop on top of
where a suitcase falling made a blood
trail thru the house, bled thru gauze
12 days. Blood poured thru another hall
as skin torn as if sawed, flowed. The
towel couldn’t stop it. The stitches a scar
on top of a scar, a criss cross, rail
road tracks, a gas explosion. More months
of bandages, salves, adhesives, silver
and adaptic. No tights, no stockings, no
mini skirts, no ballet, not even ballroom.
No skin that looks or feels like skin again.

Lyn's Website

Two Poems by Elizabeth Swados

"Strange Music"

Her music is strange
because the pen is a man’s pen
and her fingernails are polished red.

Her music sounds strange
because men in powdered wigs
clanged on harpsichord keys.
While she brushed over the inside strings
with colored feathers.

Her music sounds strange
because when her lovers left her
she didn’t suffer with a bow
over a bridge
in a corset and hooped skirt
but stretched a skin
over a hollowed log
and hit.

Her music sounds strange
because men pulled at symphonies
and cranked up their power
while she wandered the mysteries
listening for whispers.

If her music sounds strange,
it’s because the feminine ear
catches the catch, the breath
between word and word and
builds her violent screams by
collecting centuries of rage for
never being heard.

It is too real.

If her music sounds strange,
it’s because playing by ear
has that raw incendiary quality
that makes black heels tap flamenco,
that makes the keening and wailing at
dark seashores
during storms.
The sound of the voice now, free
once muzzled by a man’s hand
breathing, telling
centuries of stories.
Strange and real.



The shaking, the sleep
The shaking, the sleep
the not remembered dreams that have you waking up
like a pointer.
These days they say
they say cut down on the medicine
or add more
add this to that
we’re not really sure
they say we’re working on it
in laboratories, can I
lie down on a couch
in your laboratory, read
a mindless mystery about
a Midwestern serial killer
and wait?

If they can put a man on the moon
then why can’t they fix . . .
and blah, blah, blah
born too early,
then pop, drip, zoom tss
too late
in the glass tube

Too later for Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln and
brother Lincoln, too late for me
on the couch with the serial killer
pushes his next victim
off a bridge in Minnesota
The detective found a shoe.

Reckless reckless clouds
floating determinedly
like submarines,
I’m waiting to explode
or be radiated, I
am being eradicated,
rewired, recircuted.
Clues tacked to
the Police Sergeant’s wall
Parts of bodies. Bare locations.
This killer is smart
He leaves the paper ring
(of a cigar) on every victim’s middle finger.

New medicines, new caves emerge
A hand reaches down
gets burned, reaches down
Can’t reach
The serial killer pushes me.
I’m still falling.

Tuesday Morning by David Howerton

flowers run
tilt to sun
dance winter away
that dazzle
in light.
some coffee
or tea
and a walk
before sun
erupts over eastern ridge

Problems by Holly Day

I never have learned to stop picking my nose
before it bleeds. You would think
with all the field time spent
with my finger shoved up there
that I could tell right when
the membrane was about to tear
or that the particularly stubborn
crust of booger I’d been scraping at all day
was actually a scab, and that any minute
I’d work it loose
only to have streamers of blood running down my wrist
onto my good sweater sleeve. Really, you’d think
that after all these years
I’d have some sort of instinct
when exactly to stop.

Dark Card: A Book Review by Amber Rothrock

Dark Card
By Rebecca Foust
Texas Review Press
ISBN: 978-1-933896-14-4

Dark Card, Rebecca’s first book, deals with the pain and triumphs of raising a child with Asperger’s Syndrome. Her frustration with the way the world treats her son comes through in several of the poems but none more keenly than the poem for which the book was titled:

Before they get angry, I pull out my deck
deal out what they want. Yes, he’s different
but look at his IQ score, his Math SAT!

There are also poems that express the everyday worries and fears of a mother. Such as "Sometimes The Mole Is Merely:"

Sometimes they happen – bombs
blow up school buses, a son’s shyness
is autism, the mole is more than a mole,
a teenager mistakes the brake for the gas

and that sound like a recycle truck drop-gate
where no truck should be and you run, you run
outside and see in the back wall of the garage
the cartoon-cutout shape the size of a car,
but the color of sky.

Writing the words in this collection probably proved to be therapeutic at the time and the way they’ve been refined into the heartfelt poetics they are is the mark of a gifted writer. With this book, Rebecca Foust has given a piece of herself to the world. Her writings are intensely real. I would recommend Dark Card to parents of children of all ages and mental capabilities.

Rebecca's Website


Photo Taken by Carly Erin O'Neil

Food On The Table by Joe Gambino

I sail across the
iron waters
Without giving into my
fears no her fears
Let her carry that burden
while I stay
I am man
I am husband
I find islands that once held life
Before waters submerged the beauty
Deep down
into the waves of death
Pray the spirits don’t notice
I remove pebbles from the eyes the once saw light
and polish the dulled life
into beauty again
A treasure
A gift of love
That becomes nothing more or less
than a useless luxury for
Pillaging life for money
A disgrace
But it feeds those waiting at home

Metamorphosis by Jean Lichtenwald

Leisurely drifting through infinite space
Lost dreams
From the souls of mortal beings
Assemble in a cumulus;
Clinging together in a mass
They create a metamorphosis
As they avert from dark, superficial clouds
To soft, welcoming pillows of visions
Which bestow to the weary in heart a resting place;
A renewing of faith
And new-found hope to the
Bosom of mankind.

Like Shooting Fish In A Barrel by Dayton Osburn

They always say it's darkest before the dawn,
but what if the dawn never comes?

My mom always told me to think before I speak,
if everyone followed this rule then no one would marry.

When in Rome do as the Romans do,
what exactly did the Romans do besides
fail miserably?
We all know they couldn't build quickly.

The grass is always greener on the other side,
what constitutes “greener” color is a relative concept.
Furthermore what divides these “sides”.

You make a better door than a window,
I don't think humans would do well as either.

Roses are red...
Why yes they are, how observant.
You would think violets would be,

If you see a light at the end of a tunnel,
do not walk towards it,
trains can be dangerous.

You'll See Part Three by Jeremie Guy

“Menias, our scouts have located Gabriel.”

My eyes sparkled with excitement as my lieutenant finished his sentence. I stood to my feet, a smile pushing against my cheeks. “Where is he?” I said.

“He is hiding out in an abandoned part of the city. According to our sources, he has a sweatshop filled with homeless men. Apparently, he is making illegal weapons and selling them,” finished my lieutenant.

“And he hasn’t paid me my money yet!” I turned to face the window behind me. I looked out as the bits of snow flaked across the environment. An evil smirk corrupted my face as I thought. “Ready my men. We move out at nightfall.”

My lieutenant nodded and left the room. I sighed, the smirk still plastered to my face. The day had finally come. Gabriel would soon either pay me my money, or die in debt.

Normally, I didn’t get furious when people didn’t pay me my money right away. 5,000,000 dollars was a lot of cash to come up with and I understood that it might take a while to get. What pissed me off was the fact that Gabriel had lied. If there was anything in the world that I hated, it was liars. Lies are the worst thing you can tell a man, and Gabriel seemed to only speak in lies.

The sad part about this situation is that I was trying to help. When a man as troubled as Gabriel was come to me for assistance, I feel no greater pleasure than when I give aid. He was haunted by his past, and running toward a better future. All he needed was money: my money.

Assuming that he did not start lying to me until after he went into debt, he had endured a tough life. His crazed mind had caused him to murder a few people and he had been caught. He was able to escape from prison with the help of a gang, whom he had befriended in prison. When he was out, his insanity caused him to murder yet again, but this time it was a member of the gang. Gabriel killed the gang’s kingpin’s son, but like any business man, the kingpin was more about money than anything else. The kingpin agreed to let Gabriel live if Gabriel could come up with 5,000,000 dollars within a month. Gabriel, lacking any other options, crawled to me and my associates. We loaned him the money, gave him a time to pay it back, and were double crossed. We gave Gabriel countless opportunities to pay us our money, but the lies continued to pile up. Gabriel fled, but now we have finally found him.

I turned to my wall of liars and folded my arms. Pictures of the men who had lied to me were enclosed in a glass case; their tongues resting on a velvet cushion below their pictures. Gabriel’s picture was the only one without anything below it.

I made my way back to my desk and opened the bottom drawer. The six-inch serrated blade of truth rested on top of some brown folders. I reached out and clasped the weapon with my hand, bringing it to my desk. I took off my shirt and looked in the mirror. The ritualistic self-inflicted wounds made my torso look like a mutated tiger’s. I had just enough space left for one more. I had to do it. I had to cut myself or else the killings would not be forgiven.

I grabbed the knife off of the desk and fell to my knees. I turned the blade to face my heart and prayed. God would only hear my prayers if my own blood stained the steal. I brought the tool to my left pectoral. I had saved the spot closest to my heart for my most vile of enemies. Gabriel had deceived me for far too long.


Darkness came and my men were ready. We rode over to the abandoned side of the city: the black motorcade of Cadillac’s that carried us looking like a river of death. We stopped a few feet from the target building and everyone got out.

"My sources tell me that Gabriel and all of his employees are still working. This should be easy,” said my lieutenant.

I smiled and motioned for everyone to move forward. I believed in the essence of professionalism, so my men and I all wore business suites. Everyone had on black suites with white shirts and royal blue ties. We moved like a unit. An ocean of despair that took whatever it wanted.

My eyes watched as my men moved forward. Their shoes sloshed against the mud on the ground. It was cold but no one seemed to care. They were on a mission, and the only thing that they could think of was the completion of that mission. I took out my knife and walked over to the front of the building as my men went inside. A smile refused to leave my face.

Silence engulfed the environment. My men were shadows with royal blue hearts and I knew that they would do their job well. They had never failed me in the past. The silencers on their pistol tips would make for silent kills. They all had the image of Gabriel burned into their skulls; they would be sure to keep him alive for me.

A brisk wind chilled my heart and I welcomed it. Warmth was the last thing I needed right now. My heart needed to be as cold as possible if I was to execute the will of God.


They came while I was going over my reports. I needed more time. Just another week and I would have Menias’s money. Why did he have to be so impatient? I was alerted by my sensitive ears when I heard a thump outside my door, but I was too slow. It was late and my reflexes weren’t what they should have been. My gun was so close to my fingers. I could easily have reached out and grabbed it. A quick two shots would have taken them out and I could have alerted the guard, but not tonight. Tonight they came too swift. They pointed their guns at me before I could grab my own. Their eyes were so dark, so filled with evil and hate. Why couldn’t they just wait one more week? I didn’t mean to take so long. I was trying! Why couldn’t they understand?

Their cold fingers wrapped around my wrists after they threw my pistol on the ground. They yanked me through the door and I feared for my life. All I saw was royal blue ties floating in the air below rows of dark eyes. The floor was slippery; slick with the blood of my men. Had these buffoons killed my entire staff? Had they taken out the innocent homeless men as well?

The moonlight reflected off of the wet grass and made the environment seem surreal. My eyes scanned the environment. There had to be hundreds of them. My eyes let a tear out as I saw the one man I feared more than the devil.

Menias stood with his back facing me. He was playing with something, but his hands were in front of his body so I couldn’t tell what it was.

The two men pulling me along by the arms brought me within a foot of Menias. If only I had a weapon, I could end this whole thing right here. I heard two pistols cock and I peered over my shoulder. The two guys who had been dragging me, pointed their loaded weapons at the back of my skull. Two more men walked up and yanked my arms behind my back.

Menias turned around and his cold, evil eyes pierced my soul. His look was intense, but it wasn’t hate that I saw. It was joy. He would enjoy killing me. He took a step forward until his face was in front of my own. His Roman nose nearly brushed against my own. His lips were twisted into a perverted smile. His eyes studied my face and he could tell that I was scared.

“Well hello Gabriel, how are you?” asked Menias.

I struggled a little, but the men who held me held on tight. “I’ve had better days,” I said.

Menias laughed through his nose and revealed what he had been playing with earlier: a six-inch blade. My eyes bulged at the sight of the weapon. I feared the worst. Menias was a cruel man, and knives were never pleasant when in the hands of a psycho. I gulped and stared Menias down.

“Menias, listen man. I will have your money in a…”

A quick backhand struck my lip and burst it open.

“There will be no more lies from your mouth heathen!” bellowed Menias as he fingered the blade.

“But I’m telling the truth! I have all of your money in the safes in my office.”

Menias chuckled. “You see, I honestly don’t care if you’re telling the truth right now. You’ve lied enough times to me already.”

I looked up at him. Soon the grass would be stained with the life force from my body. I started to tremble as I realized that my life had come to an end. Menias grabbed my chin and I tried to struggle. His grip was firm and his hands were cold. He pointed the blade towards my mouth and my heart erupted into beats. My brain exploded with urges of freedom. I tried to scream but the fear twisted my tongue. Menias let out a laugh as he watched my pathetic attempts to withdraw. He inched the knife closer. The fear grew. The laughter grew. My hope shrank. Pretty soon, all I felt was numbness. Trying to scream was pointless. I let go. My life was in his hands and I knew he was going to kill me. There was nothing that I could do but pray that he took my life quickly.

A morbid curiosity piqued my brain and I began to wonder what he would do to me. I don’t know why I asked, but I felt the uncontrollable urge to know how it would all end. I knew I wouldn’t like the answer, but I had to ask anyway.

“What…what are you going to do?” I said, the weakness thick in my voice.

Menias stopped and his eyes almost started to glow. It was almost as if he was waiting for me to ask the question. His cheeks dimpled as he spread his evil grin even wider and clutched my face even tighter.

“Oh you’ll see my old friend. You’ll see.”

Urban Sunset

Photo Taken by Valarie Johnson

Two Poems by Andrew Spano


The blind man at my gym
has a tattoo on his left shoulder
of a heart and a banner
showing the name of his girlfriend:
Monica, who told him to get it
though he’s never even seen
it, or her, for that matter.

He bats his way around the equipment
with his white cane twitching
like the feelers on a lobster’s face,
choosing the inclined bench
to do his hundred sit ups.

We laugh at him as we tread
on the treadmills, eyes forced
into TV screens on the wall.
We are told the world’s at war,
the tuna’s tainted, again,
this pill will make us thin,
and that one helps us sleep.

We believe as he believes,
groping through the minefields of primetime
with TV antennas to guide us beyond
the uncertainties of love
and the unseen obstacles
we grapple with in the dark.



In the dim light of the bus
rocking through black nothingness
to Boston , I burn my eyes out
reading poetry, clinging to each image
the way a rock climber clings
to every crack and bump.

Red taillights guide us,
describing the homeward hurdle
with two-dimensional determination.
Looking back at my weekend with you
I cringe at all the slapstick slips
I performed on unseen banana peels.

Stalking through the grid of Manhattan ,
street names, student faces, shop displays,
the beery comfort of old taverns
helped erase the flashback scenes
flickering on stained scrims
of gauze ghosting across the stage.

But now in the desperate cradle of this bus,
impacted with dozens of other dark lives,
each perceived ignominy rushes back
dropping scenery from the fly
striking up the band to signal the final act
and stoking footlights to reveal the real villain.

Remember by Steve Grogan

I want you to do me a favor.
I want you to promise me you’re going to remember something,
and you gotta promise me you’ll never forget
or else I’ll be coming back after hours to kill you...but listen up.
You have to remember this now and forever.
Recall this until your dying day...

I want you to remember when you’re 23
and you’re driving around with midnight crawling through your skin.
The music is too loud,
and the bass beats your ear drums to death.
The wind is whipping through your hair.
Every light digs its claws in,
gnawing away at the oncoming night.

You’re slipstreaming through glorious city streets
where cats growl and angels piss.
You are finally creative,
suddenly terribly here together alone and distant
all in one compact echo of one crazy cracked moment.
You are finally young beautiful alive.

Every face grows on you
because you’ve seen them somewhere before,
but you’re not sure where.
You’re trying like crazy to put your finger on it,
but the buzz going through your head makes you forget.
You’re driving yourself into the embrace of this familiar.

You are sinking,
slipping like gods fast and hard
into the skin-crawl of this grotesque phantom night,
this bludgeoned aftershock
that lingers in your memory
like an electric spark dwelling on your retina.

I want you to remember the rhythm
and the motion of the dance floor blues.
You’ve got to promise that you’ll remember all of this,
the elation and immortality of youth.
You’ve got to promise you’ll never forget
because, once you do, you might as well be
crying in your coffin already.

Promise me promise me PROMISE ME you won’t forget
because so many other have lost the joy of life.
We have fallen into the Age of Gloom
and there seems to be no way out.
You’ve got to promise you won’t forget
because SOMEONE has to remember.

The fight has to take place
with all of us on common ground.
The battlefield is our minds
and the strategy is to remember
life is a gift,
love is a gift.
It’s all yours to possess.
The world is your treasure.

If life isn’t satisfying, it’s only because you’re too weak.
The strong know how to make their own happiness,
but we are all so very frail these days,
so docile we can hardly even stand.

You’ve got to promise me you’ll be strong.
You gotta hold that memory close to your heart like poker cards.
We have to recover from this never-ending night
to crash cars in the glorious blaze of the sun,
to see a wisdom of our own invention come to life,
to see love rip across the continent like a nuclear explosion,
to see the stars deny us nothing,
to see it all come circling back to that one fleeting moment...

when you are in the car at 23
and the music’s too loud
and you’re going too fast
and you’re drunk with the wind in your hair
and you know the feeling of love and light
bearing down on you all in one blinding rush.

It leaves you standing there
like a pile of smoking ash,
the smile and happiness wired
directly into your guts, and you know
YOU REALLY KNOW what it’s like
to come this close to collapse
and then laugh as you pull back
just before you can get pushed
straight over the edge.

That is the feeling of flying, my friend…that is the feeling of being alive.

The Girl Next Door by Justin Blackburn

I was in your attic once
Your parents downstairs by the fire praying
After beating each other up
It wasn’t raining but it should have been
Our ghosts are still their now

I was in your heart once
I tried to stick my hand down your pants
I fell out and cracked my head on the ice
My first brain concussion

I was in your closet once
My mother ripped me out
Told me to never talk about it again
Was that your penis?
Or was I born with a vagina?

I was in your panties once
I have no clue where you ended up,
How softly you touch your struggle.
How deeply you breathe looking out over the ocean,
How you died staying out of trouble
Where the doctor put your dick

A Past Life by Roger Singer

Her fingers are fallen pedals
After a storm, laying useless on
Her lap. An untied apron speaks of
Her dreams.

She opens a flowered umbrella over
The mantel of her gray hair;
A crown of her age,
A testament to harbored wisdom.

Her fingers softly rub together
Over blue veins and paper skin.
She warms herself with memories
Touching her past.


Photo Taken by Carly Erin O'Neil

The Book by Sharran Windwalker

How to respond to those who claim
it's not necessary to have an encounter with God
for all that needs to be known of God
is in “The Book?

Pretty simple: imagine a family man
tired of putting up with family matters,
being there for them, paying bills,
responsibility for wife and kids' well-being
caught in an endless variety of duties:
“Enough of that!” says he.

At the office, he sits at his computer
and writes a book for his family –
and he calls it “the Father's Book”.
After several re-writes, he gets it right
and finally gives it to his wife one Sunday morning.

“There you are, dear.
All you need from me; all you need to know
you will find in “The Father's Book” and leaves
never to be seen again by either wife or kids.

The family struggles and survives without him.
The wife dutifully reads the book everyday
and makes the children listen also.
Copies are made and distributed at great cost and hardship,
amongst laughter and derision...

But the “unseen husband” becomes popular
from the love and dedication of the wife:
the children become interpreters of “The Father's Book.”
Eventually a gathering forms around the myth:
the disappeared husband becomes famous...
and for what? For abandoning his family.

Battles Beneath The Waves by Fredrick Zydek

There are wars going on down there. Giant whales
are hunting giant squid. Starfish, who seem not
to move at all, are fighting over entrails
and debris from the fleshy returns brought
by the dead and nearly eaten. Beneath
them, clams take their fill of whatever digs
into the sand to meet its sudden grief.
War is waged in these waters each day. Big
fish eat little fish. Life feeds on itself.
These placid waters hold secrets we must
respect and avoid. We are but a wealth
of protein and fat when hunger’s deep lust
brings a giant beaked squid or great white shark
into the shallows for an easy mark.

Death by Alan Britt

is a pale
to purple;
an epiphany
on a
short walk
to retrieve
garbage cans.

is a full-blown
stark naked
as a parking attendant,
fully incognito,
at the annual
Archangel ’s
holiday ball.

Retirement by John Grey

He’s grown tired of the big subjects.
Now it’s on to the small achievements.
He will fish.
He will read the sports pages
of the newspaper.
He may even build bird boxes
and nail them to the walls of his house.
Vivid colors need not apply.
He’ll be quite content
with plain brown sparrows moving in,
becoming his chirpy neighbors.
But those with ambition,
with philosophies so huge,
their heads can barely hold them,
can leave his life,
abandon him to the simple tasks
of cutting grass, pruning roses.
Nothing like a breath of fresh air, he says.
He won’t be happy
until everything’s like it.

Just Like Billy Pilgrim's Blues by John Sweet

And so the truth of 22 becomes irrelevant by the time I’m 35. Angel’s dead, but Dylan’s still singing about her. Amy is married, is moved away, is vanished. Debbie, I swear I saw in a porn movie a few years back. It was her face, it was her ass. She wore a black tank top the whole time, so I couldn’t see the rose tattoo on her left tit, and she never spoke.

And I remember I was 18, was washing dishes in a truck stop, and then I was 19 and answering phones for an insurance company. Started the year living with Lisa in a town called Montezuma, then ended it seventy miles away in a trailer with her sister.

Was sitting on the bedroom floor trying to finish a poem, was listening to Donovan, Season of the Witch, when she came in and stood in front of me. Said I’m pregnant, and I reached out past her to turn the volume up, reached out to grab my beer, and my train of thought was gone. I stared at her legs. I said nothing.

Waited for the story to end, and we were through by the time January rolled into February. Were back in bed together at the beginning of April, neither of us working and her boyfriend in a halfway house, sentenced to three months there after she’d had him arrested. After he’d come home strung out, kicked her across the apartment then back again.

And I was at the hospital with my mother when she signed the papers to have the machines turned off, and then three days later she called to tell me that my father was dead.

I spent my 26th birthday with a woman whose name I never knew.

Spent my 27th alone.

Have no idea where I was when I got the news that Reagan had died, but I remember laughing.

Remember getting the email from Michael when he told me he had cancer.

The one from Kristen telling me she’d been raped.

Was only twelve when Lennon was shot, but Jesus. All those fucking teachers in school that day with their pointless goddamn bullshit. With their miserable lives. Nothing to do but act like nothing had happened. Nothing to offer but questions that had answers.

All of that time I wasted starving to death.

Ethereal Bridge

Photo Taken by Valarie Johnson