“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


Eve Brandstein

Photograph “behind bars” by

Liquid2Liquid – U.K.

© 2011

“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

“The Silver Bracelet” by Sarah Mac Donald


I’m talking to the old Indian on Lincoln Boulevard.
He sells silver and turquoise jewelry at a stand on the sidewalk.
I love all of the bracelets, but there is one that I like
especially because of the color of the turquoise.
The blue of it reminds me of Easter Eggs.
I say to him, “I really like this one.”
He asks me, “Why?”
I say, “Because the turquoise has the color
of a blue Easter egg and I love Easter.”
He says, “I’m glad it reminds you of something so nice. It’s $8.95.”
I say, “I wish I could afford it.”

The Indian tells me how his people have been abused.
He tells me of life on the reservation.
I listen, a fourteen year old who understands abuse.
A girl who wears “Blue Grass” toilet water and dreams.

I see him about twice a week
after my tennis lessons in Lincoln Park.
I look at the same bracelet every time and tell him
how much I like it. He says, “It’s $8.95.”
I say, “I can’t afford it.”
But he is nice to me and tells me more stories.

I am there at Tex’s Tennis Shop and I take lessons in the park.
I take the stairs to the beach and try to swim
in the wave-filled ocean.
Coming home with grains of sand.
Home to the drunken sister who rages herself to sleep.

All this sun is new to me. My father has a stroke
and my mother has to get rid of me,
and my sister has to take me in with her two damaged boys
and an ill-fitting husband.

I scoff at the brown-green grass and the beige houses.
I laugh at the drive-in and the girls on roller skates.
There is too much sun for me.

I leave, never to return, I think,
and forget everything, except for Tex’s Tennis Shop,
and the Indian and the silver bracelet
he gives me when I leave.

Sarah Mac Donald

All Rights Reserved

© 2010

“Unbridled Fear Of Nothing” by Jacquelyn Gail

How many ways
can betrayal hiss into my dreams.
Unbridled fear sits
on the throne of my heart.

Where strength once resided,
the Olympian ruins
of the fleeting gods remain.
Jealousy, panic, rage, vengence,
demand their due.
Fear was caught
in the labyrinth
of my own undoing.
I cement into time.
Intimidation slapping me down
while I skip along the edge of the moon
oblivious to fear’s razor sharp blade
jabbing every which way
indifferent to my pooling blood.

My stomach unravels to the
drip of my own blood.
Pulling on my intestinal ropes
for salvation.
I smack into myself,
again, and again, and again,
while fear burrows deeper still,
a guerilla warrior.

A hit and run, each time.
I petrify into wood
a fossil for viewing
prey for taking
nothing more and nothing less
and nothing of who I am
or want to be.

Jacquelyn Gail

Photo by VC Ferry

© 2010

“Parts” by Mel Green

My eyes you left like starving dogs
craving a glimpse of you.
My hands little more than children’s toys
throwing shadows to amuse.
My tongue still lies within your mouth
it tastes nothing else.
Look how arrogance litters this absence.
What use was it? Laughable, croaking thing…
I detest it so.
Look boys, what’s left of rage when it’s lost its bellows.
Say it—emptied by Love!
This tangle heaped and stinking on the ground
waits, ear pressed to earth’s chest,
eavesdropping on the muck…
hoping to hear the sweet loom of your voice
come to weave these parts to a purpose
that makes me whole again.

Mel Green

All Rights Reserved

© 2010