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Two Poems by K.W. Peery

TUFFY’S 12 GAUGE

On
his
red
satin
deathbed
‘Tuffy’
told
me
how
they
ambushed
the
Spero
brothers
at
the
Virginian
Tavern
in
May
of
78 –

And
how
his
sawed-
off
12
gauge
had
jammed
just
moments
before
givin’
Carl
the
coup
de
grace
he
so
desperately
deserved

____________

END OF THE SKIM

 

On
Christmas
Eve
in
83
my
Uncle
Louie
mentioned
a
meeting
with
Cork
Civella
at
the
Mittieville
Peckerwood
Club –

It
was
the
beginning
of
the
end
of
their
sweet
ass
skim
out
in
Vegas –

And
in
the
year
of
the
rat
that
followed…

ole
Cork
would
catch
a
hard
twenty –

N’
die
of
pneumonia
while
still
in
prison
almost
a
decade
later

Two Poems by John Sweet

dive

keeps thinking about the desert
about getting high
about the girls he’s fucked in any number of
shithole apartments

finds the slight depression at the far
edge of the field where the horse was buried

no songs but the
songs of bees

the smell of lilies, of
dogwood and roses, clouds like mounds of
faceless corpses circling overhead and he
thinks he had a son

remembers watching the bus pull out of
the parking lot but has no
memory of it ever coming back

and so he’s stoned at the far edge of
summer, 85 miles an hour down the interstate,
hills in every direction, shredded tires from
eighteen-wheelers, crows at the roadkill,
all of these pointless metaphors for
a wasted life

he’s 25 and then he’s 43, a father and an
emotional cripple, sunburnt, unshaven,
no use for anyone’s god

he doesn’t support the war and he
doesn’t support the soldiers and he
doesn’t support the government

walls are walls, of course, and
every window is a target

the dogs are always hungrier when the
corpses are bulldozed into pits and burned
but he’s thinking about the desert,
you see,
or he’s thinking about a woman he still loves,
and the two have become interchangeable
in his mind

he’s thinking about this child he
may or may not have

about a poem he should but won’t write

he’s lost, yes, but only because
his eyes are closed

only because he never knew where he
was going in the first place

____________

 

the swimmer

there is no breathing in
your grave, there is no sunlight,
no guilt

no language
despite what needs to be said and so
fuck you
and fuck your
addictions

your
idea of god

there is too much beauty here
to waste my life
dreaming of death

 

 

 

Puma Perl–three poems

Who Cares?

It’s not the end
of the decade

Just another year
piled on top of the rest

As usual, I list
my accomplishments

The book nobody bought

The band that’s not a band

The dog who recovered

66 shows

68 new poems

Most of my time
has been wasted
or spent

But still,
I set goals

Who cares?
Why bother?

Questions
make good tattoos
and little sense

Today,
I will write a poem

Who cares?

Today,
I will exercise

Why bother?

Tomorrow,
I will save money
for new tattoos.

____________

That’s Where You Are

I’m never where I am
Look at your feet
they used to say
That’s where you are

Blue snakeskin
Silver Bowie
Leopard suede
Black on black

I am unattached
unraveling
quietly
under hot December
sun
and frigid July

I look at my feet
and there is nowhere
we can go

Blue snakeskin
melting
Silver Bowie
running
Leopard Black
on black

And all of us
Waiting
Never where we are
Look at your feet.

____________

 

In the Roses

 

The junkyard garden is filled
with broken bedsprings
and beer cans
Red roses struggle to survive

My words vibrate
and help them grow

At night I sit
in the junkyard garden
beneath the rusting
fire escape

Run my fingers
over thorns

They feel like
the sound
of your voice
rasping obscenities
into the pillow

I cut a rose
and placed it
in a crystal vase,
the only thing
my aunt left me

The cat
knocked it over,
crystals filling
the wooden floor

My rose now sits
in a whiskey bottle
and flourishes despite
my words
and your obscenities

It stays around
longer
than you do.

Worms by Brian Rihlmann

A mother sits her ten year old
daughter down over lattes and tells
her in an earnest tone how disappointed
she is at her choice of clothing.
She pinches a fold of the girl’s baggy
sweatshirt between a thumb and forefinger
like body fat calipers, and with a face that
just sucked a lemon, says “tomorrow
I want you to wear the shirt we just
bought, with that vest, and I want
the vest zipped up, and if I need to I can
call your teacher to make sure…”

After, mom gets up to use the bathroom,
leaving the girl alone, staring into her cup.
She raises her eyes and sees me, but before I
can give her the smile I so desperately want to
give her, she looks away again. Stares at the
table as the words burrow, doing their job—
the way worms soften soil for a thousand
seeds, cast by careless hands or shifting
winds. I swear I can even hear them.
From ten feet away. I can hear their
horrible tiny mouths chewing, gnawing,
tunneling deep inside her.

____________

 

 

Dan Provost–two poems

Two Lives in an Instant

He walks, arms folded across
bony chest cavity. Green neon
shirt hiding insults from long past.

Frail blue tie blowing in the wind.

Wearing light red pants, waist going
halfway to his chin. Chuck Taylor sneakers
that trip over themselves as he avoids the
tanned brunettes and bleached blond boys,
Those college fashion statements who rather
be seen and adored than focus on an education.

Standing isolated within budding cliques who
ridicule, tease and belittle the boy; he retreats
into a treasure of his own forlorn.

As I walk past him; and see the sadness he is
trying so hard to hide–He quickly stares back
at me, then looks down at the sidewalk for
some kind of moral support.

Two pony-tailed girls with white
halter-tops continue to giggle. One
cock-rock boy with a LeBron James
muscle shirt and knee-length checkered
shorts talks on his cell phone, ignoring
the kid with the strange clothes and
welling eyes.

I stop for a moment, then let him pass…he
is now two feet behind me and—oh god,
I should say something.

Even an acknowledgement of existence—a
hi or hello would be some source of inner light.

But I am a coward, wrapped up in my own playground
creation of torrid tears.

I say nothing to him-and he walks away…

His story still his own.
Me, less pure and more tainted.

Because some tales must remain hidden.
For all never to see.
Ever.

But once in a while, life’s sacred secrets are unfortunately witnessed…
and felt by many.

Even if you do not want them to be…

____________

 

Not Drinking?

Ironically, flexing
my muscles in the
AA group…

While an ex-bohemian moderator
presents the god-damn 9th step
during winter’s twilight.

Ransom chip to some
cabbage like skank who
has six months sobriety…

I walk home
alone—

Berlin Pub in my
sights—

Hear some country singer
croon about his
cows running away…

Juke box failure…

World frustrater…

Yea, I wish for the bottle now.

It’s bullshit sickening.

Two Poems by Jack Henry

in a cabin in the woods during winter

i don’t like kissing,
            she tells me
it’s too real, to intimate
            she says
but i like everything else 

on the lips,
            she adds
that’s what i meant 

outside it’s been raining
rain so hard you can’t
see past the rail of the
front porch 

an orange tabby sits
forlorn
in the window
watching for movement
but only the rain
and the rivers of water it brings
move 

i mean i want to kiss you,
            she says
just not on the lips
            she smiles
does that make sense? 

the sky outside grows thick
and dark, thunder rumbles,
lightning cracks 

the power goes out
only the glow of a fire
to light the room 

do you believe in Jesus?
            she asks, unsnapping my pants
religion turns me on
            she kisses me, but not on the lips
it’s so intense
            she says 

the cat jumps from the window
when lightning cracks close
thunder rumbles directly overhead

____________

growing old and that’s okay

 

my left ear finally gave up
quit
closed down
i can no longer hear
on the left side 

and that’s okay 

pain is gone
finally
ringing stopped
finally
and
half of the words of
crybabies, complainers, naysayers,
despots, totalitarian presidents
no longer register 

and that’s okay 

some days i wish
i couldn’t hear anything
at all,
but there’s too much
to miss
too many sounds
of beauty and joy
and raw guttural pleasure 

i’d rather have
half of one thing
than 100% of everything 

and that’s okay

 

 

Dear Jack, I made it
To Texas. Not as good
As Denver, I know,
But it was my own
Right of passage.
Would you have gotten
A gallon of gas
For a quarter
And a pack of smokes
For 50¢ more?
I kept rolling
My own
Through Mississippi
And Louisiana,
But ran out
On the edge of Texas.
My thumb didn’t go as high
As yours, but my left arm,
Burnt to shit,
Hung from the window
And played with the air
Down along
The gulf, passing
My beloved New Orleans.
It was only in my dreams,
Jack,
That I could come
This far.
Now, tired as hell,
The coffee is hot,
The peach cobbler and ice cream
From last night
Rings true
With the tobacco
From this sun rise.
I made it this far.
How much further
Can I go?

the kung-fu movies
and the kafka stories
are no longer a large
enough distraction

the hours have
crawled away like
half-smashed spiders

with enough energy
and ingenuity left
to weave webs that
trap the night and
allow it to putrify
into the morning

where at 5am
i find myself
ensnared by a
time clock

promptly pounced on
by a job that feeds on
my youth and sucks the
life right out of me . .

SWEET NOTHINGS

Don’t tell me you love me–
I know what you love:
my lips and my tits and my eyes
and my curves and my pussy that
fits you like a motherfucking glove

it’s the tangible things that you love,
and I know this because you only tell me
just before you cum

I have a mind behind these eyes
and a heart beneath these tits;
I like to have conversation
a little intellectual stimulation
some emotional bliss
but you just want to shoot the shit
and blow hot air in my ear and watch
me inflate like a fuck doll…
and there I am with my long legs spread
just waiting for your next declaration
of love

____________

I’M NOT YOUR ICE CREAM CONE

Give it up.
Don’t waste your time telling me
I’m the prettiest girl
or that I’ve got the most incredible eyes
in the fucking world

I won’t melt anymore

You might have licked me into submission before
but that was a long time ago:
at a low point in my life
back when I thought you were God
when you had promised me the world
but all I ended up with
was the short end of the stick
and a bad, bad taste in my mouth

so fuck off, you worthless dick;
go find yourself another flavor of the month
to lick

____________

WAITING FOR A SUNNY DAY

Sure, I know–
you love me

you love me when the rent is paid
when your ex-wife isn’t trying
to cut your balls off for child support
and alimony

when the car runs great
and the Lakers win…
but aside from all that
I’m just a piece of ass

it’s nice to know where I rate in your life;
somewhere between a hard cock
and a hard place

Memories of highways,
truckstops and trailer parks,
when I kept you moving, moving,
in those wide-eyed delicate years,
with your trusting blond head,
your bag of dolls, fatherless.
What chance did you ever have?

Misfortune of a teenage mother, me
full of juvenile incompetence,
one shitty boyfriend after another,
food stamps, social workers.  I tried,
kid, I tried, while you deserved
swingsets, playdates, dance classes;
you know, decent foundations.

What have I ever given you, except
the skill of packing a bag, the art
of running?  Economy of subsisting
on a pack of fettucine noodles for a week?
I keep going back to that Texan café,
during our last cross-country escape,
us two in a cracked vinyl booth,

surrounded by truckers in worn jeans,
as I taught you how to blow bubbles
in your milk glass—the happy puff
of your face over the straw, how the sun
lit up your hair.  If only I could pass back
through Galveston, beyond that day,
to rewire your youth, to fix California,

Colorado, our days on the road:  no excuse,
that I was just a kid myself.  Now I watch you
with your daughters, with your stable life,
your kind and firm ways, natural mothering.
Planted in one spot, flourishing like a flower
in a sunny window, like all my wishes come true.
Beautiful girl, I wonder, how you ever beat my odds.