Month: October 2012

Three Pieces

By Fabio Sassi

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                                                                  Rock Art 1

Rock Art 3

 

 

Rock Art 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Fabio Sassi

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Carnies

By Len Kuntz

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—–At the carnival, my father holds my hand for the first time, his skin damp like a bed sheet.
—–The bearded lady is obese with a sleeveless dress that shows her armpit hair. My father
says, “People can be whatever they damn well please,” and maybe the bearded lady hears
because she starts tittering and can’t stop.
—–He buys me a cotton candy cone. I can’t help noticing how it resembles that lady’s
beard, only this fluff is pink. When I refuse to eat, my father snatches it away and mashes it
under his boot the same way he does cigarette butts.…

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Beg, Borrow or Busk

By Eric Müller

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On entering school in Eugene, Oregon, Edmund realized how radically different our
family was compared to most American families, and he got increasingly embarrassed
about all our traditions, customs and my nonconformist quirks, like playing music in
public spaces. For a while I didn’t go anywhere without my pennywhistle (and sundry
noisemakers) tucked inside my jacket pocket, which I would whisk out at any time when
I felt the urge, which happened whenever I walked under a bridge, through a tunnel or
any place that had inviting acoustics – or just because. With an immediate “Aw,
Daaaad,” he’d distance himself, and squirm. I always dreamed of busking with the entire
family. That never happened, but I did, somehow, get all three of my sons to tag along
with me, at least once. Edmund was only four and a half when he joined me.…

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Portrait of the Lower East Side – 1955

By Gary Beck

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– From Rude Awakenings

 The Lower East Side is a place of energetic life. It has none of the rigidity of a sterile rich
neighborhood, or the envy of the middle income areas. Poverty and want make all slum
dwellers kin, despite their outward unawareness; for since they are poor in possessions,
they must be rich in dreams. The slums of a great American city are the mixing pots of
humanity. The Lower East Side, Breugal like, is the great canvas of man, showing the
range of human types. There is no fusion here; the Negro, Puerto Rican, Italian, Jew,
Russian, Irishman and Pole are separate and distinct from each other, but alike in
undernourishment and deprivation.

A city is a hive of dreams and in the greatest city in the land, dreams are still being
struggled for. Each day, the streets cascade forth an avalanche of furiously teeming
people rushing to jobs, for jobs, to school, to meet lovers, to broach the fabled doors of
merchants dealing in wares that come from all the far-flung realms that men hunger for;
to rush to museums stuffed with paintings, whales, Neanderthal busts, solar systems,
ghosts of the once great Indians of our land, (now only remembered and much maligned
by movies that nourish the fancies of dream-hungry Americans) of libraries, parks and
zoos, of corner candy stores filled with prurient and resentful youth, of churches, police
stations and hospitals, where daily the faithful are nourished, of stickball games in the
street thwarted by frequent automobiles, of self-conscious and fumbling pickups in
Coney Island and on 42nd street, of lost and sodden men fallen in the gutters of the
Bowery, of ancient and decaying bodies sitting in the sun of parks, waiting….Waiting; of
well-cut suits striding along the forties and fifties of the East Side avenues, of gracious
and elegant women in the East sixties and seventies, the women that fevered and passion-
hungry boys feast upon in tortured dreams.

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Two Poems

By Mary Stone Dockery

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The Graves We Dig

Are filled with syringes. Our lips are torn, blood smears the four walls. Someone took a match to letters etched by our teeth. The scent of charcoal. We have been digging for years. The stars are suddenly closer. Some have even exploded, drifting onto us with the soil of the sky. We must be digging up. Above we find another blood moon, settled in the sky like a blot on someone’s burned tissue. Remember lighters hot on our backs, the burn of a tattoo. Remember meth days, the sun in our veins. Or the sky is a doily, wounded, ripped at the edges. Once elegant, now buried in an antique chest, or stuck beneath an old lamp. We dig because our hands need calluses. Because your name has been written at the bottom in blood. Those digging away from us would help, if only they had hands.

Tache Noir

*

Sculptor’s hands disintegrate
papier-mache hot air balloons

we watch from a patch of dry grass
chisel of sunlight and sweat

rise, claims the soapstone
breath that curls like wet paint
across our knees
a ribboning horizon buckles
for audience no longer laughing
bring the buckets, the newspaper
to rebuild what has never singed
an open mouth sky, rotting glue
why we can’t remember our own
hands startling marble faces awake

*
—————————–a crow’s face smeared across
—————————–plaster——— the viewer
—————————–finds herself lodged in a beak
—————————–dangling, she reaches to pluck
—————————–razor feathers———– drops
—————————–one on her lover’s lip

*

From the balcony, the wildfires
appear like water colors jazzing
for the sky, airplane toothpicks
scratch red bandages over the billow
we wait for trees to blacken
for roads to close for good
the ice in our tea glasses
melts so quickly we are sure
the fires have circled back
we use our fingers to wipe tea
on white walls, staining
our house like an old diary

Mary Stone Dockery

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