Thirteen Myna Birds!

13.

The Myna Girl As Queen of Hearts

I’ve earned those black hearts on my headdress—

men gifted me theirs fair and square
along with a hundred rare Tropical diseases  

So many carnival nights, so few lovers left now,
so little blood reaching my own thirsty heart

Listen, this life is all there is
I must have more man-hearts,

because they are delicious


The red queen (MISH)




























*

12.

Linebacker

we walked in the woods
a moon-lit night
a grove of trees
leaves crunching underfoot;
a bunch of us
guys
one girl
and Starsky, a curly-haired runt
his face upturned
worm lips moving
"go get her" he said
and gave me a shove--
she had long blonde hair
silver in the light
and walked by herself
upright
like the trees;
"get her!" Starsky said,
"you're a linebacker!"
She walked closer
then past
without even seeming to see us,
Starsky poked me again
the little prick
he died that summer
in a car
that crashed and flipped
onto railroad tracks,
I was in the pool room
the morning after
when Fat Molloy came in
and announced
almost gleefully
"Starsky's dead!"

~Wayne F. Burke~

*

11.

Rock Island

Okay everyone wants to
Know about Trump’s
America it’s 2017
I was born and still
Live in rural
Ass Illinois
Don’t tell me

You support working
Families

Until you see
Every city
Within a two hour
Radius
Full of nothing
But male doms
On FetLife

You’re always getting
Messages
In character
With demands
Of respect and
Honorifics and
Submission
In a first message

And there is never
Anyone else
To fuck
~Thursday Simpson~
*
10.
Cephas, The Great Roman Philosopher
I shall paraphrase,

“Peter, Satan wanted
You for his
Own.”

I don’t know the
Latin.

We could always
Use another
Great
Stoic.

James Joyce
Would have
Been a
Waste as a
 Jesuit.

When I lived in Iowa
City

The bishop from
Davenport
Singled me
Out,

Told me
I was the one
He wanted
To apply.

Humility is not
An issue
Since
I’ve always
Been Goddess Satan’s
Bitch.

It took a retired
Priest to
Convince
Me it
Was okay
To want
To fuck.

But what he
Didn’t plan
For,

Fucking
Feels good
In ways
Magic bread
Does not.

I am a romantic
But Teresa of Avila
Was ill,

Therese of Lisieux was
Ill,

Faustina Kowalska
Was constantly sick
And died
Alone.

Mystics are
Tragedies,
People we’ve
Failed.

Once I went
Eight years
Without
Kissing
Anyone.

I’m the only person
This hurt.

Sometimes I wish
Catholics would walk
In
And see the
Bulletproof
Glass protecting
The staff
At the clinic,
Knowing they’re the reason
That glass
Is there.

I wish they had
To sit back
In a room and watch
A meter
Rising
As it measures
Their blood.

The boys who raped
Me have never
Called their
Mothers,

Crying
Because they’re HIV
Negative.

My mother’s first boyfriend
Died a few years
After he tested positive.

I do hate her,
For still practicing
Her pathetic Roman
Religion,

But I love her
Because she paid
The clinic
To test me
And was happy
To do so.

~Thursday Simpson~
*

9.

You and I Are Destined To Do This Forever

Whether in the Black Lodge,
Screaming outside
Of somewhere that is
Not your
House,

Looking out
And seeing
Laura

Standing
In your
Hotel
Door.

Seeing Jeffrey
And Sandy
All grown up
In a Washington
Police
Station,

One chance out
Between two
Worlds

Does not
Change
All that
Much.

You and I are
Destined
To Do
This Forever

Whether your
Name is Samir

Or the Generic
Luchador.

This is not
A friendship,
I want to believe
That things can
Be different

Even if they never
Seem like
They are.

You can hum
The words to
Oh Donna,

You can tell a friend
To say hello
If they see
Her somewhere
Else.

You can say Elsa
And Sheryl
Lee’s screams
Are created
By the fetishized
Male gaze

Or by the electricity
Of something
Else.

Men like James
And Harold
Seem so soft
And kind,

Nothing is scarier
Than when
The strong
Survive.

~Thursday Simpson~

*

8.

Accident And Harmony

A church-choir breathing quiet descends on the city bus on a winter’s night when there’s been an accident on the road ahead and all you can see are the lights

I stand at the front end, staring out the square window as if I were on the prow of a ship peering out to sea

Red and blue, emergency teams and their shadows moving back and forth across the quarantine 

One considers the luminous presence of a fever as only obvious after it has happened, like a description of ball lightning sweeping and lashing and turning across the desert, pantomime of a heatwave: breathless wind of dust and waning moons while the bus driver taps his foot impatiently but gentle on the gas pedal but doesn’t break the silence ‘til it’s surely over

~Nate Maxson~

*

7.

Four Expanding Couplets, For Emily

We sneaked into a room with a piano at the university

And you played Fur Elise while I leaned my head enraptured against the ebony legs of the instrument


A man with tattoos of stars and moons on his face asked me in voice like a child if I had a lighter

I said that I don’t smoke and he jaywalked across the briefly empty road in the cold spring rain at a leisurely pace, I put my hands in my pockets and watched him continue to disappear


I picked up a coin from the dirt, considered flipping it into the air for a chance,

And finally imagined it landing ~plunk~ in a wishing well or on the eyes of the deceased being carried away down some tunnel of lights and ivory


I awoke with my hand on your stomach and you whispered something in Polish to me from a dream:

All these unknown languages circle like a storm of birds expanding their song, an atmosphere against the sky/ mid motion/ midflight/ they are circling/ The Moonlight Sonata in orbit

~Nate Maxson~

*

6.

Sunbeam

Don't forget to celebrate this doom anniversary
Invite the hurricane in
Pour it drinks, easy confluence, leaky memos
Under adrenaline’s influence
If you hadn't held your arms out
Like airplane wings you might've
Been sucked right back into the engine of corruption
Right into the hurricane’s lens
Scratched by dozens of critical marks 
Disguised as a circle of friends

Your throat dry, you fly
Dipping, uplifting, avoiding
Contact w/ other forms of revelry
You celebrate angrily
Alone in your own vivid amphitheater of emotions 
As you were that day, alone w/ explosions you saw
Coming but buried in the night’s static 

No interference from 
Chirpy, twittery birds of war
This took some months to process 
Through automatic 
Brushes with death — 
Spurge of bird in engine’s nest
Your whole crew of characters
Parachutes to your doormat
A mudlark's bootprint & long atonal call to prayer
A little more haunting than
Jesus Wants Me for A Sunbeam

~Vin Whitman~

*

5.

Rhapsody

I keep my self    Compact & sated 

I barely need food  Or company

Only my fingers & ears   Interact w/ the universe

My face is a bug light in winter
My squalid cranial neighborhood lit by 

A single pituitary fuse
Rusty lava in the arteries not the lamp

I could watch dry paint for years  (And I did)
My mistake was opening my eyes

As the glitter was tossed
Their idea of gentrification 

Their egos wish to be stroked like kittens
They occupy the clam belly of my brain

Their phantom alarms vie
For my precious time

My internal rhapsody
Is no one else's responsibility

~Vin Whitman~

*

4.

SNOW GLOBE

I really did believe
those were tiny people
encased in that orb.

All year long,
they sang silent carols
in the winter chill.

I loved nothing more
than to torture the trio
by tipping the globe upside down

then right way up again
and treating them
to another snow shower,

I could see the pain
in their faces,
the glare of anger

at this boy of twelve,
the frustration of living
an eternity trapped

in a chilly ball of crystal.
My parents worried about me.
They said the figures were not real.

I dreamed of one day
turning the world upside down,
so that the earth toppled on

all who doubted me
or, better yet, those fools
fell into the sky.

Strange how it all turned out,
me in this tiny solitary room,
doctors, guards, peeking  

in at me from time to time.
But they can’t tilt my quarters worth a damn.
I have them there.

~John Grey~

*

3.

THE GREAT ESCAPE

Did the windows really blow open
that night in Jeremiah’s bedroom?
There was no wind and, besides,
they flung outward,
and the lad’s breath
was far too impoverished for that.

It was as if something was escaping,
not entering, but what?
The nurse can’t be relied upon.
She often falls asleep bedside.
At first, the pastor thought it
was his soul, bound for heaven,
but Jeremiah’s pulse still beat.
Spirits aren’t usually that overeager.
Some hoped it was the demon
that they believed occupied that
skinny ailing body.
But the exorcist had not yet arrived.
And, besides, the boy’s head
hadn’t spun around,
he’d not spat green bile,
nor cussed the Lord our Savior
for a month or more.

The past few days,
he’s just been like any sick boy,
texting his friends,
playing his video games,
watching super hero movies on his laptop.
Maybe he got up,
opened the window himself,
breathed in the fresh air,
immersed himself in the stars, the full moon.
He’d often do that in his younger days.
His sister reckons it’s all an act
to get out of going to school.
The windows blew open there as well.
In every house. In every building in the town.
Jeremiah smiled when he heard the news.
Whatever it was, it was everywhere now,
shared around, not just personal.

~John Grey~

*

2.

The Glade

Only buzzards fly in these stale skies,
only thin shapeless clouds pass over the iron sun.
The moon seems little different, perhaps made from tin,
and those clouds don't much care whose light they sop up.

Trees once tenderly shielded their daisy cousins,
but no leaves stay on the spider-leg branches
and bark has become brittle eyesore, hard as whale teeth.
Water is wasted on what was once wood.

Small things move about in the mustard grass
searching out smaller things to eat.
The gray dirt beneath affords some a home,
most a killing field, and a few a place to hide.

The needs of all but gentle things are in this glade.
A buzzard needs little more than a perch, a bit of carrion,
eyes to see and a thermal wind to lift it.
The carrion needs nothing but a place to be.

~Michael A. Griffith~

*

1.
Keys #3 (MISH)