” PONZI SAUCE over Steamed Vegetables” by MC Lubow

I woke up steaming mad, sick and tired of my gastric juices being in distress,
sick and tired of starting a lovely sunny California day with
acid rain, the sour sauce burning up my insides from tum tum to sore
red throat, making it hurtful to talk, even to close friends. Yes, I’m sick and tired of being mad at myself, for my confusion, my
exhaustion, my emotional paralysis when it comes to sorting numbers, dividing up coins, and custom sofas, art, and fine china that once graced our holiday table.
I can divide all right, but I never wanted to be a number, or spend time
in check books, researching how I spent every dime and nickel in 2010, and coughing up dry facts, under penalty of perjury,
when my only crime is helping my family, I cop to that.
Like Hello…I am no diff than
folks everywhere who pray their loved ones have safe shelter, not live helter-skelter, on the sharp edge of poverty with its debilitating depressing aggressive dark pit of despair, with only starch in their shrinking pantry, instead of starch in their uniforms, for they have been injured, disabled, unable to work at their calling.

So I call myself on myself again and again…Hello…Am I a mad woman to not recognize the signs that my quarter century marriage was on a nickel and dime collision course with my dream recipe of lovability, stability, compatibility.
Was my fate to be that declarations of love would be replaced by court mandated Declarations of Income and Expense ? Man, oh man…

I came to the castle on the green tree hill. I sought refuge in cookbooks of sauces, while he cooked the books of our shared accounts and shredded financial records into spaghetti. At book club my gal friends shared gourmet tips. I came to grips
with the kitchen graters, whisks and sauce pots at TJ Maxx. I peeled off
layers of burnt potato skin denial and put my sweet meats on the back burner…
of our old Jenn-air. I sought fresh air along the sea paths of my soul. Is the air
we breath, tho petrol polluted, still free?

I churned away, my insides gurgling like a neglected garden hose…realizing
I was being spurned by the man I had pledged to love til kingdom come..I
looked in my vanity mirror. Wide eyed and wild, I stared, saw in the newly mined furrows of my face, that I could not mask my raw feelings.
I was and am furious, delirious, seriously
mad, mad, mad at my hub, a numbers whiz, who kinged himself, and whose favorite activity is being in his counting house, where he collects coins of every metal. I put my foot to the pedal of my chariot he now claims is his.

I am mad at the guy who had charmed me, disarmed me, but now alarms me. I thought of Savonarola and the Bonfire of the Vanities. I realized my days with my hubby were numbered. I couldn’t chance him burning my books. I was mad enough from getting myself into his Ponzi Sauce. Mad at Madoff and other Mad Men for their disregard regarding others. Mad at Madoff and other sociopaths for their seedy paths, despicable descent from a pyramid of trust to an obscene pyramid scheme. Madoff’s fall into the dead sea of greed, preying on human frailties of uncertain self esteem, those wanting into a Billionares’ club, the club where one could make out like a bandit, the stealth club that accepted Jews of wealth, where greed was no longer latent in their taste buds, but on their tongues, who shmoozed they had found the holy
Grail where one could not loose, the best
way to invest, earn high interest, but keep the deal close to one’s chest.

So I am not one for that club, but I do desire a life of modest comfort,
of returned love, of kindness. Call me crazy, if you must…I do not seek to be a bag of a lady hiding out on a secret street with The L. A. Times for a tent.
When I had a full pantry, I shared it.
Now that my share is being stolen from me, I cannot share what I do not have. This puts me in a pickle. turns me inside out, like a Frida Kahlo painting of my internal distress. So I try to tuck my guts back in; try to trust my gut more. I ask for clarity. I study body language. Read lips.
I hang out in bookstores and libraries,
instead of boutiques I once explored.
I will soon open the covers of my new cooking life story storybook,
wondering what mysteries, adventures and passions may be revealed. I pray for a page turner.

When I make Ponzu Sauce and steam veggies for my supper tonight, I’ll steam
broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, asparagus and garlic
in a collapsible steamer, but I will no longer collapse.
I will squeeze fresh lime and lemon juice,
but I will no longer be squeezed dry.
I will sprinkle my digits with delight, and I will not poke his voodoo eyes out.
I will stir in some nice rice vinegar and low sodium soy sauce. A little aqua, from the Owens Valley, if true be told. (My DWP bill is out of sight.)
I will shred a half knob of fresh ginger and a scallion, thrown in for dash,
but I will not throw in my monogrammed towel.
I will ride my own white stallion to the table and allow myself a Mona Lisa smile as
I gaze out the window and reflect on my survival.

MC Lubow

© 2011

“I WANT A GUN” by Eve Brandstein

I want a gun
not just a small secret weapon
but one to scare the end of the world into good behavior

I want a gun
that will explode the fear out of my holy self
and hatred out of your lies confusion scaly skin

I want a gun
that cleans up the street where I live
where my baby sleeps behind bars to protect him
as the helicopter sweeps overhead every night
looking for another statistic in the neighborhood

I want a gun
to protect my woman’s body
full of what’s left that’s vulnerable after history has had
it’s impact turning me from Morrocco to Mars

I want a gun
that blows away the masked stranger of unspeakable crimes
while the city screams with sirens wild
ricochets against canyon and basin ocean valley and alley
wild with secret suicides homocides hate crimes

I want a gun
to feel like lethal weapon terminator Gibson Glover Willis Morris Snipes Stallone deadly force blast of macho but not drink beer kill a deer watch football deep sea hand glide or rape burn pillage a village

I want a gun
that doesn’t stop the moon from shining in my womb
doesn’t stop me from bleeding or healing or opening doors

I want a gun
that transforms but doesn’t kill  erases images of assasination  sadistic images  passing as pleasure that gets reviews  news  awards

I want a gun
even though I’m against raw angry violence the kind that disreagards human life but in this time of hate crimes extremist styles shoot’em to kill movies colors and tagging media salivating crimes religious invasion of other people’s rights tight lipped liberal righteous easy answers sex scandal trials leaders of color with blame on their tongue white supremacist intolerant of everything that doesn’t jerk right cold angry silence rising  where the instant replay numbs the image to the wall over and over till there doesn’t seem to be enough detergent to sell that can clean up the mess the monstrous alienation that exists surrounded by ethnic cleansing everywhere

I want a gun
that shoots words loud enough to scare the assailant that chills them to suffer the crime that changes their minds without the pulse being lost

I want a gun
so I can get back the heat of Whitman the jazz of Kerouac the zen of Snyder the blood of Sexton the howl of Ginsburg the dog of Dylan the Paterson of Williams the empty rivers and ovens of Delmore Plath Jarrell and Lowell

I want a gun
because my poetry has become a battleground a driveby
carjacking uprising kidnapping stalking serial ending of the
20th Century waiting for the next incarnation of heaven as
the curtain closes my veil lifting

I WANT A GUN

Eve Brandstein

Photograph “behind bars” by

Liquid2Liquid – U.K.

© 2011

“$55.00 Parking Ticket” by Roz Levine

"Gulp, Gulp, Gulp!!"

Beware of $55.00 traffic tickets
They’ll break the bank
If your funds are down low
They can bring on bull rage
Raise your pressure
Cause hyperventilation
Introduce sweat bullets
On your forehead and armpits
Brings forth curses and foul mutter
About authorities and officers
Rules and regulations
With your breath
On gulp gulp gulp
With your stomach
On a roller coaster ride
With your head
Ripe for an explosion
Beware of chalk lines
On car tires at curbsides
But calm down, my friend
You don’t have cancer
You don’t have AIDS
You don’t have MS
It’s just a traffic ticket
Not a fucked up life.

Roz Levine

Photo by L. K. Thayer

© 2010

“No Return” by L. K. Thayer

Photo by VC Ferry

Photo by VC Ferry

when you wrote me
your words

were
screaming

when you wrote me
I felt your

disdain

when you wrote me
the anger

echoed

the anger turned
into pain

once love notes
poured

from the
pen

only faint echo’s
of how

we had
been

now
silenced

forever

to
never

again

L. K. Thayer

All Rights Reserved

© 2009