“Jello” by C. Jean Pearlstein

Jean playing her banjo

Daddy and I sit in the small nook in the linoleum kitchen
Grandma sets our dinner down on the small table
She’s smiling, damp wisps of curly light brown hair curl around her angel face.
We enjoy our dinner, and then she brings the dessert.

It’s Jell-O, green, with big air holes, rubbery like chewing gum
Daddy takes a bite, explodes in a rage
Name calling, berating
Grandma starts crying, slips down onto the floor, weeping.
We take her to Union Station, she gets on the train, waves goodbye, and goes back to St. Louis.

I’m sitting alone in the open army surplus jeep, it’s dark out in the night stars
And cold, and I’m hungry, shivering
Daddy’s in the market buying Franco-American spaghetti, and liver to fry with onions
And condensed canned milk for me to drink
I’m so alone, no one knows, not even me.

C. Jean Pearlstein

L. K. Thayer’s Foto Fetish

© 2010

“UNDOUBTEDLY” by Anne Norda

Frozen moon shadow
rakes across her breast
a sliver of regret pulses
still she sacrifices her heart
heedless of the black terror
blasting from the past

Inevitably, inexorably
every way she ever imagined
she soars into love
lifted over the precipice
of darkness and murk
that swamp place
a cold upside-down
pinnacle of despair

A trajectory of sun daggers
spin her toward an oasis of ecstasy
emblems of visionary impulses
summoning her to a tomorrow
beckoning life stampedes the dark spot
in her heart
it is now
she is yes

Photography & Poem by Anne Norda

All Rights Reserved

© 2010

“IN THE DARK” by Bill Duke

Bill Duke

IN THE DARK
WHERE LONELINESS WAITS AND LICKS OUR FACE
WHERE REGRET AND FEAR HAUNT THE SPACE
OF OUR GOD GIVEN GRACE
IN THE DARK OF OUR DESPAIR
WHERE LIFE NO LONGER PLAYS IT FAIR
AND WE WANT TO GIVE UP AND NO LONGER CARE
HE IS THERE
WHEN FRIENDS AND FOE RESEMBLE THE SAME
AND WE LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND FORGET OUR NAME
AND MONEY DON’T SEEM TO CHANGE THE GAME
OF THE SHAMEFUL PRICE WE PAY FOR FAME
OUR CHILDRENS EYES FILL WITH THE STINCH OF RAGE
AND CLAW CLAW CLAW AT THEIR GOLDEN CAGE
EVEN IN THEIRE HAUNTING STARE
HE IS THERE
IN THE DARK
NO NOT THE STILL STILL NIGHT
OF DISTANT STARS AND PALE MOONLIGHT
WHERE SCHEMS OF DREAMERS DOTH TAKE FLIGHT
NOT NEAR THE BEAUTY OF THE CRICKETS SONG
WHERE WE LIE DOWN BUT NOT TOO LONG
FOR FEAR THE DEER THAT DRINK FROM LAKES
WONT FORGIVE US OUR MISTAKES
FOR WE ARE WHY THE EARTHS HEART ACHES
BUT
IN THE DARK
WHERE THE GRISSEL TEARS
WHERE ALL FALLS FROM US EVEN OUR HAIR
AND EVEN WHO ONCE WAS STANDING THERE
AND OH YES YES WE MAY NOT CARE
BUT HE IS THERE
WE FEAR SURRENDER TO THE TOUCH
OF ALL THAT MAKE US FEEL TOO MUCH
WE EAT LOW CARB CHOCOLATE CAKES
AND REALLY PONDER WHAT IT TAKES
TO LIFT THE WEIGHT OF BONES THAT BREAK
FROM THE SMILES WE HAVE TO FAKE
SO WE TRY TO FLEE THE DEPTH OF CARE
BUT HOPE THAT WE FIT IN SOMEWHERE
SEARCHING FOR THE SOULS REPAIR
HE IS THERE
IN THE DARK
YOU LOOK AT ME AND ASK FOR PROOF
THE NAILS OF FACT
THE GLUE THAT SOOTHES QUESTIONS OF THE MIND
YOU SAY MY LOGICS TOO ALOOF
IT MIGHT UNWIND
IN THE PAST TO YOU OLD FAITH HAS BEEN UNKIND
AND IF YOU TRUST AGAIN CAN YOU EXPECT TO FIND
THE PATH
THE WAY
THE FILLING IN OF THINGS
A PIECE PAPER PROMISING YOULL GET YOUR WINGS
OR IS THIS JUST ANOTHER PRETTY COUNTERFIT
AND IF YOU DIE AGAIN WILL YOU GET OVER IT
AND WHO THE HELL AM I TO SAVE THE DAY
I COME IN ON THE GODDAM MILKY WAY
AND WHERE IS THIS ALL LEADING TO ANYWAY
THE LADY NEXT DOOR TOLD US YOU WERE GAY
SPEAK UP OR WE SERVE YOU ON A TRAY
AND HOW THE HELL YOU KNOW SOMEBODIES THERE
HOW THE HELL WE KNOW YOU EVEN CARE
AND YES WE DARE
TO DARE YOU IF YOU DARE
IN THE DARK
WHERE I LOOK BACK AT YOU
I NO LONGER KNOW WHAT WE SHOULD DO
I NEVER SAID I HAD A PLACE TO PARK
I SIMPLY KNOW THAT LIFE IS NOT A LARK
AND WHEN THIS LONELY LIFE RUNS OUT OF SPARKS
DON’T YOU FEEL WE MUST MOVE PAST OUR FEARS
AND ISNT IT THE PROOF OF THINGS THAT BROUGHT US HERE
I STAND INSIDE MYSELF THE SAME AS YOU
AS YOU CAN TELL IM NOT SO VERY SMART
IM NOT EQUIPPED TO TELL YOU WHAT IS TRUE
SO I’M SIMPLY SPEAKING FROM MY HEART
IN THE DARK
I REACH FROM LOSS AND PAIN
OUT TO YOU WITH NOTHING MORE TO GAIN
THAT IN THE HOPE THAT YOU MAY UNDERSTAND
THAT ALL I HAVE TO GIVE FITS IN MY HAND
BILL DUKE

“Men Like Me” poem by Bill Duke

All Rights Reserved

© 2009

“Uneasy Chair” by L. K. Thayer

I can’t get the

bitter taste
of you out of my

mind,

you’re a nasty muse.

I gave you my lining

I gave you my inseam

I wore my favorite

jeans.

undone

I sit like a cat

waiting

for the next twig to

snap
to hear if there’s

an echo or
something,

anything to bounce

off of.
but there is

no murmur
to fill my void.

you lean back in your
easy chair

while the rest of the city

rots

and sinks into potholes
on bumpy roads to
nowheresville

Photo by VC Ferry

you
scratch your balls
and worry

that you’re out of cream

and Sweet & Low

for tomorrow morning’s

cup o’

joe

L. K. Thayer

All Rights Reserved

© 2009