The Last Thirteen Myna Birds Flock of 2017!

17.

A Co-worker Asks Why the Music is Sad

There’s not enough volume       to drown out the sound of my hands                     Clenching Teeth clambering for warmth              This place is too damned cold                Her body too damned cold                     I run scolding hot water  full-blast                    Grasping the knife tighter Everything kept me from sob-screaming at customers                    Two years since losing my Father                   We never finish grieving        Hearts calcify     There has to  be  rationalization                 Reason           for this                  We ran out of gods in the 90s Life            moves on         People say She’s in a better place                Where the hell is this better place people are always talking about                    How is it life if we aren’t suffering Pain keeps us still {here} latched to gravity                               I’ll keep playing sad music Sobbing in the kitchen               Maybe there really is a better place Everybody keeps leaving.

~Jennifer E. Hudgens~

(a teaser poem from Jennifer's chapbook "Paloma", now available for preorder from Blood Pudding Press here - https://www.etsy.com/listing/562664308/pre-order-paloma-by-jennifer-e-hudgens?ref=shop_home_active_3)

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16.

Bizarre Love Triangle

I just don’t know what to say/Why can’t we be ourselves like we were yesterday/I’m not sure what this could mean/I don’t think you’re what you seem—Frenté

Your Mother sends me inspirational memes         every other day                   I don’t know if I’m real           anymore                     She posts I love you Angel Face and quotes Frenté on your Facebook timeline                             I’m lost              You understood brokenness as not final                    It didn’t define us                         I wanted to buy twelve bottles of Boone’s Farm                 and chug it                    We could drink in the Ether together          I’ll pour a little onto dirt near your driveway                  The breaking              The grieving is familiar                                You always saw me                     Now               I’m trying not to be seen               There’s no       navigate                      no resolve         this.    

~Jennifer E. Hudgens~

(a teaser poem from Jennifer's chapbook "Paloma", now available for preorder from Blood Pudding Press here - https://www.etsy.com/listing/562664308/pre-order-paloma-by-jennifer-e-hudgens?ref=shop_home_active_3)

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15.

Mr. Assylegs

At a dive karaoke bar my friend Anna asks               Who would name their kid Gerald    Immediately                              I thought of You       Me    and Gerald Assylegs                    How he became part of our history         one fine alternative school day       How he’d fake his own abduction{s}                 Our trio a tumultuous love story           Ransom notes     cut from old Rolling Stone                     and National Geographic Magazines             left in our mailboxes               We could smell Elmer’s Glue          His sweat                    sticky-fingered           Semen-ruddy pages               When he’d leave us                       He’d send a left tap shoe via Fed Ex or UPS       I can’t remember which               I want to start writing craigslist missed connections ads            just to see if he’s alive                    somewhere in Kentucky         with that bitch             Lolita               Is he living it up              How many little Assylegs did he raise           How many girls did he pretend to love        Did he send them all ransom letters too                        He would rat-a-tat-tat on cheap linoleum floors to Michael Bolton                Post David Lee Roth Van Halen                Red Hot Chili Peppers because you thought their music was derivative         Gerald always had a way of tap dancing us together                 Click-click-click of his eight-assy legs      We settled hypnotized                       I wonder if he read  your brief obituary                 Did he expect a ransom note                             Your pinky finger                   or a visit from your ghost?

~Jennifer E. Hudgens~

(a teaser poem from Jennifer's chapbook "Paloma", now available for preorder from Blood Pudding Press here - https://www.etsy.com/listing/562664308/pre-order-paloma-by-jennifer-e-hudgens?ref=shop_home_active_3)

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14.

EMILY AS I DON’T CARE WHO SEES

I am always taking care
of Emily’s violent itches.
My hand is under her shirt

every day.  She squirms
because the itch can dance.
She ducks because my hand

is useless without her.
We must look so confused
through the window

by what happens
when we touch each other.
We must look like acceptance

will never come for either
of our bodies.  So often
the marks on her back

are exactly what she’s asked
for.  So often she’s only complete
with a little bit of her skin

stuck under my finger nails.
I’m left to wonder
just how much of her skin

is being used right now
to finish typing this poem.
I love this small wonder.

~Darren C. Demaree~

*

13.

EMILY AS WE GOBBLE SPARKS

If you are inelegant
with your love
it can be hysterical

& it can drip to squish
all over your life.
I am pink & warm

all of the time
because I have never
had to be delicate

with Emily.  I have
shoveled her
into my mouth

& I have been caught
without translation
for why I’ve done this.

Let me begin again.
I grew a beard
to catch the bits

of her I kept losing.

~Darren C. Demaree~

*

12.

BLUE LINE BLUNT

White boy, blue line, green de menthe
cigarillo, you roll that blunt like a pro,
like a blue-eyed angel, beautiful
boy, earlobes stretched
and
dangling
backwards cap,
scruff and curls,
you lick it like you like it
then you pop it in your mouth
all brown and taut
and slip it back in your
Camel box
just before the train
reaches Willowbrook.

I look and I get off
as you cradle
your head
in your arms on the cool
stainless, your steel-blue
babies saying to anyone
who has to ask, yeah,
we’re going all the way south.

~Jeff Nazzaro~

*

11.

UNION STATION URINALS

The urinals in the men’s room at Union Station
go from nearly chest high to the floor in stained
white porcelain. They have auto-flush sensors. I
take a piss into one of them in the late afternoon,
Monday through Friday, before boarding the
Metrolink back to Riverside.

Screwed into each flat piss basin is a stainless
steel drain cover. Slotted and domed like a juicer,
if you could squat deep enough and twist
you could wrench out whatever juice the day’s
work and commute hasn’t drained from your nuts.

The Phillips-head screws on either side of the domed
piss drain Bozo nose form eyes X’d out like on that
New York-loving sidewalk Monkey Boy.

Knot of stray pubes make little mustaches. Untangled,
the pubes form smiles. Or frowns. Or death masks.
Sometimes it’s spit-out gum or twisted up toilet paper.
Sometimes it’s a strand of pearly cum.

They’re in there, jerking off, all day. Sometimes two,
three at any one time. You have to stand next to one,
or between a pair, to take a piss. They glance over and down.
Let them look, I say. I do. I see those things, floating
in space like one-eyed cigar-shaped UFOs.

There seems to be a triangular circuit—urinal to sink to stall.
Or, logically, urinal to stall to sink. Then back. I see them,
alone. I wonder if they connect. I feel they must connect.
Sometimes they connect.

I only know they stand at the urinals and make an occasion
of it, waiting for just the right thing, making it last,
slow slow thumb strokes, shy glances, semi-erect.

But once I stood next to a kid in a hoodie. Planted deep
in the pisser he didn’t look around at all. He was really
getting after it, humping his fist like his balls
were blue and his train was leaving any minute.

~Jeff Nazzaro~

*

10.

BEAT ME

The truth is I was feeling it,
really feeling it, and things
were flowing, flowing so hard
I couldn’t stand it, like you
couldn’t stand the ridiculous
bounding, kicking cuteness
of those baby goats, the brown
one, the white one, their
matching mothers behind the fence
nibbling and nibbling and moseying
over to beg for more nibbles.

Paint me a Chagall, then, I said,
as if I could hand it off, the flow,
but you can’t, so I begged you
instead to stanch it with clamps
on both nipples and a silicone
dildo you know where and a shuddering
hand-wrenched orgasm that would
make a craigslist PNP’er blush.

Stopped up and gushing made it worse
and finally I snapped and said the wrong
thing and you had no choice but to beat
me down, beat me, because I can’t just
hold it, milk it, beat me because I have to
own it, control it, beat me clean back to
fucking Facebook, where the angry mob
could finish me off.

~Jeff Nazzaro~

*

9.

AT THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART,
HIROSHIMA, JAPAN, 2001

The best piece of art
in the whole first room
is the old woman sitting
pigeon-toed in her navy
blazer and skirt, hands
folded primly across her lap.

Lined face set like she’s
lived through some things,
she is by far the best piece
of art in the entire museum,
though I hesitate
to call her modern.

~Jeff Nazzaro~

*

8.

Silo

The silo at the front of my barn
has begun to lean

You may think I’m a bumpkin
but I was in Italy
climbed the tower of Pisa
It unsettled my stomach
and afterward I got bad service from a waiter with an attitude

I can’t climb my silo, but I can sit inside it
I don’t use it for corn any more
so I sit inside in a lawn chair
and pretend I’m in a rocket ship
sailing through space
I sometimes see the moon through the open top

We’re getting close to the moon
I say to my co-pilot
my wife
who died four years ago of Cancer
but is still with me
her steady hand
on the shuttle’s controls

~Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois~

*

7.

Epithets

You can sense colors over canvases,
but how do you name them? I brush
strokes of harvest brown into the woe
of blackened days. Everytime I fold
an ink pen in its casket, its yellow tip
reminds me of you. I tried to translate
the blue sky, green fields, white-gray
seagulls, the doom of impending hope,
falling with autumnal rain. All is not
dreary — my hidden dream is still the
color of our guarded solitude, unnamed
like the summer breeze, carrying along.

6.

MATH CLASS

…a demonstration of the Immaculate Conception by geometry.

Gérard de Nerval
On a scrap of paper found in his pocket after his suicide
Included in Le Réve la Vie

Look there—numbers pay no minds as they leap
across imagined lines—measured, never cut.
Your mind asks integers to mean something—
to shore your belief or to teach the swing
to music. Look—numbers dance, they do what
they want. It’s true they have secrets they keep
in impossible pockets. They won’t share—
not with angles, not with angels. They sweep
each white board clean. Square roots never care
about your small wishes. They want to sing
songs of fractions, watch their sexy dance—Look!
Blithe jumps! Graceful exponents. Sums just took
the floor. They cut the minus signs then fling
it off. And you sit there, wanting meaning.

5.

Silence drowns it out

Silence—clear—hard as glass—shatters
drowning you in blue shards. You’d think
it would cut—that you’d scream
out your red lungs, your beige soul but
silence drowns it out.

Drowning in your deep graying heart—
it touches nothing—not emptiness, not
outer reaches of your fading form. You
drown it out—

it’s not gone, but it feels cool, like
outside lawns in winter. Your sad lungs laugh
it out—

out of memory—out of silence—just
out.

4.

Old Soda
A gun, a nickel
a nailhead nailed
a sill and a brick
“Carry it with the clip
outside, otherwise
they can take you in...”
“You call this coffee?”
“Stamps were a dime...”
“Anyone got
the fucking time?”
“Fo!”
“Four?”
“Fo!”
“Thank ya.”
Chicken bones
and choking dogs
a pall of smog
and feces like a smear of rouge
if rouge was brown.
Fuck’n town.

~Jon Bennett~

*

3.

The Man Who Screams

And the others
who argue and fight
especially on the 3rd
when the money came
on the 1st
and is already gone
But the man who screams
always screams,
whether it’s the 3rd or 30th
The man screams, “Braagghhh!
and the others mock him
“Bragh!” they shout
and laugh and laugh
like children plucking
the wings from flies.

~Jon Bennett~

*

2.

THE MAN WHO DOESN'T GET OUT MUCH

Yes, I am something of a scholar.
This study, with its bookshelves
full of tomes of arcane knowledge,
is an extension of my brain.

I am a student of death
turning over page after yellowing page
of ancient text
while making notes
on foolscap with a feather pen.

Like those I write about,
I shun the daylight.
The brightness favors illusion.
I prefer to prowl the bleakness
of reality's dark soul.

This is not solitude.
My imagination sees to that.
Nor is it madness.
At least, there's no one about
to certify me.

I wade through curse and ritual,
fire and plague,
great hulking mausoleums,
corpses skewered on spikes.

I even make a study of myself
for my wrinkled skin is like an ancient document.
I hold up my palm to the candlelight.
A film of spider web extends my timeline.

~John Grey~

*

1.

DEALING WITH THE INTRUDER

There's something in my skull.
No, not something, someone.

Look closely in the mirror
and I can make out the intruder.
Between the wrinkles
in my forehead.
The twitch of my nose.
The curl of the mouth.

What that's in his hand?
Looks like a knife.
The blade gleams.
Better stay on my guard.

No way I'll be victim
to the likes of this invader.
I'll get him
before he gets me.
One good jab to the eye should do it.
Any moment now
when we're not looking.

~John Grey~