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Full text of "Wordeater"

WORDEATER83 STAFF: Josh Dipert 

Jim Goebel 
Jennifer Jay 
Mary Frances Lund 
Tom Martin 
Janine Passehl 
Chris Savirii 

John Stobart, Advisor 

For a selection to be published in this issue, four of the above had to vote for acceptance. 



((( 




1 


AWARDS 






Poetry— $5.00 each 




Prose— $5.00 each 


Chris Bernal 




Rita Bieniek 


Josh Dipert 




Sheryl Mastalesh 


Jim Goebel 




Chris Savini 


Mary Frances Lund 






Rhonda Muir 






Janine Passehl 






Jennifer Stempien 






Cover Designs — $10.00 each 






Front: Betsy Zacate 


Back: Shellie Smith 




Awards are given only to current JJC students. Selections by other JJC "family" are also | 


sometimes printed. 






» 




* 



SUBMISSION DEADLINES '-; 

Manuscripts. and cover designs niust be submitted to John Stobart, room CI 069 by° 

April 19, 1993 ° Wordeater 84 

October 15, 1993 ° Wordeater 8. 

Manuscripts should be typed and will not be returned., 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



1. The Offer JoshDipert 

2. Genesis of the "New Age" Jim Goebel 

3. Dust Lynn Meredith 

4. Still Chris Bernal 

5. The lights from Kathy Jones 

6. Lies hide Jennifer K. Stempien 

7. Sunday Tea Lynn Meredith 

8. Tea for Two Kathy Franke 

9. Heartsickening Sean T. Clark 

10. Lessons from a Child Rhonda Muir 

11. Tales from the Crib Agnes Waszkiewicz 

12. Emerald Isle, North Carolina Margaret Redmond 

13. Grand Canyon Sweet Jim Goebel 

14. Native America Janine Passehl 

15. Another Modern Fable Josh Dipert 

16. For Those Far Chris Bernal 

17. Confessions of a Doormat Kathy Jones 

18. Confessions of a Doormat Part Two Kathy Jones 

19. He Says Rhonda Muir 

20. The Cage Mark Moore 

21 . Cage Jim Goebel 

22. Oh Well's "1997" Sheryl Mastalesh 

23. The Buell Avenue Cocktail Party Lynn Meredith 

24. A Call to Reality Kathy Franke 

25. Wealthy Widow Lynn Meredith 

26. Default Mary Frances Lund 

27. Nothing Am I Jennifer K. Stempien 

28. Sadness...and Light Lynn Meredith 

29. Deafening Silence Mary Frances Lund 

30. Seesaw Lynn Meredith 

31. The Facade of Childhood Innocence Chris Savini 

32. Employment Don Schubert 

33. He Lies Martha Sayles 

34. For Dogs and Diogenes Shellie Smith 

35. What Pain I Hold Steve Maielli 

36. Four Months Tony McFadden 

37. Four Months and a Day Tony McFadden 

38. Observation Chris Bernal 

39. If the libraries Sheryl Mastalesh 

40. A Small Advantage Philip Antinori 

41. Long Wait in Line Laurie Montgomery 

42. All for Fun Sheryl Mastalesh 

43. December Day Rita Bieniek 

44. Christmas Josh Dipert 

45. Haiku Linda Flynn 

46. High Cue Philip Antinori 

47. Christmas Toys Roger Lonergan 

48. HO HO HO Sheryl Mastalesh 

49. Permanence Sean T. Clark 

50. A Kite Jim Goebel 

51. Falsity Laura Maxwell 

52. Blossoms Laurie Montgomery 

53. Just Another Trust Fall Kathy Franke 

54. Be Still Mary Juricic 

55. Judgement Day Josh Dipert 



56. We Meet Today Martha Sayles 

57. Proverbs 10:12 Laurie Montgomery 

58. Sleep Tim Eckert 

59. Nightmare Janine Passehl 

60. Whispers of Memory Rhonda Muir 

61. Surprises Mary Frances Lund 

62. Valentine's Day Jim Goebel 

63. "R" Love Kathy Franke 

64. Words Derek Shaw 

65. Happy Birthday Kathy Jones 

66. The Taste of Words Rhonda Muir 

67. Silent Discourse Mary Frances Lund 

68. Rage Josh Dipert 

69. Anger's Release Lynn Meredith 

70. Deer Journal III Margaret Redmond 

71. Of Football Games and Love Lynn Meredith 

72. Catch 22 Cheryl O'Brien 

73. Christine Falling Chris Savini 

74. Somewhere Girl Tony McFadden 

75. Outside Chris Bernal 

76. Facade Mary Frances Lund 

77. Plastic Offerings Mary Frances Lund 

78. Trespass Janine Passehl 

79. Untitled Janine Passehl 

80. My Golden Retriever Shellie Smith 

81. Tank Chris Savini 

82. Personals Cheryl O'Brien 

83. Continuing Adventures with the 986 SX Jim Goebel 

84. Inside the Mind Tony McFadden 

85. Couch Bree Sayers 

86. Unfinished Journey Jennifer K. Stempien 

87. Observe at the Ocean's Edge Jim Wias 

88. Kaleidoscope Rhonda Muir 

89. To Sleep Naked on Flannel Sheets Lynn Meredith 

90. Finally Kathy Jones 

91. On Going Steady Betsy Carina Zacate 

92. Drowning Janine Passehl 

93. In Love with Two anonymous 

94. My Lucky Day Josh Dipert 

95. hiv, aids Rhonda Muir 

96. Dali Bree Sayers 

97. Mystery Man Sheryl Mastalesh 

98. Mojo Chris Bernal 

99. A Moment Last Spring Jim Wias 

100. Post Oblivion Joe Mendenhall 

101. Dutchmaster Chris Savini 

102. i Jennifer K. Stempien 

103. Tank Chris Savini 

104. March 4 am Jennifer K. Stempien 

105. Spoon River Copycatted Lynn Meredith 

106. An Early Death Chris Savini 

107. May Chris Savini 

108. Just Standing There Steven Talbot 

109. Elvis's Birthday Jim Goebel 

110. Kepick Martha Sayles 

111. Sunset Sirens Lynn Meredith 



All Copyrights are retained by the authors, and materials will not be reprinted without their permission. 



1. The Offer 

Josh Dipert 

Dear DAVID ERICKSON, 

As you know, Riptide Records produces only the finest musical selections by the 
world's greatest groups. However, did you realize that every year, Riptide Records presents a 
selected group of music lovers such as yourself the opportunity to receive the most incredible 
deal known to man. Yes DAVID ERICKSON, now you too are part of this select group of 
listeners who may choose any two albums from the following list of top artists ABSOLUTELY 
FREE !* So it's your turn now, DAVID ERICKSON, to enjoy this fabulous value. Simply fill out 
the enclosed form and mail it in. 

ALBUMS : Unwarranted: "Apple Turnover" 
OLd DEf maN: "Thyroid Problem" 
Bon Bon: "Nebraska" 
Vanilla Extract "Wonderbread" 
Red Warm Dried Fruits: "Plasma Equal Love Tricks" 



Name: 

Address: 



Social Security Number:_ 

Race: Birthweight: 

Square Root of 1398765:_ 

Weight in milligrams: 

Religious affiliations:. 



Birthdate: _/_/_ 
City:_ 



State: 



.Mother's Maiden Name: 
Height: IQ: 



Visual acuity: 



Favorite vegetable from Sweden: 
Selections: 



*notethatthisofferexcludesallpeopleoflessthan50%HareKrishnaancest 
ryandallpeoplewhodonotliveinAlaskaorGardnerordonotownallofBarryMa 
nilow'salbumsorhaveanIQaboveseventyorcannotwhistle"YankeeDoodleDa 
nd/'wrnleclappingmeirhandsandspinningaroundwhilestandingontheirh 
eaddrinkingsomething. 



2. Genesis of the "New Age" 

Jim Goebel 

In the beginning, God created the 
heaven and the earth. 

In the end man created civilization. 

And the civilization was with a strange 
form. It was void and darkness penetrated 
the soul of man, and the spirit of antichrist 
moved upon the face of the planet. And man 
said, ''Let there be light!" and there was a 
darkness. And man saw the darkness, that it 
looked like light, and declared "Yes! This is 
good for man!" and man divided the 'lighf 
from 'darkness'. And man called the 'light' 
god, and the 'darkness' archaic religion. This 
was the first day. 

The spirit of antichrist now stated "Let 
there be a division in the midst of the tribes of 
the earth, and let the followers of 'light' be 
called enlightened, and the followers of 
'darkness' called enemies of progress. And 
man said "This is good!" The spirit of antichrist 
smiled. This was the second day. 

The spirit of antichrist now said "Let 
the enlightened follow 'ascended masters'and 
their teachings, never questioning the motives, 
even if the masters require self-sacrifice. Let 
the enemies follow their archaic, intolerant 
God to their doom." Antichrist smiled. Man 
started to worry. This was the third day. 

Antichrist induced man to say "Follow 
this wisdom: All enemies must die!" The 
followers of 'darkness' prayed to God to 
deliver them from the persecution imposed 
on them. God winced. Antichrist smiled. This 
was the fourth day. 

Man declared "This is not good." 
Antichrist heard this and said, "For 
disagreeing with the 'masters' you shall all 
perish!" and proceeded to introduce plagues 
to all the nations, kindreds, and tongues of 
earth. light 7 started to fade to its original 
form. This was the fifth day. 



Man prayed "God! Help us!" God 
said, "You have not followed me but a 
deceiving spirit. If you want my help, you 
must believe and trust in me." God frowned, 
then took His followers out of this wicked 
world. Antichrist loosed all his fury upon the 
planet. This was the sixth day. 

Everyone stood in front of a judge. 
Some being found innocent, others being 
sentenced to eternal fire for not believing and 
trusting in God. The innocent were sent to a 
glorious place where they would not have to 
worry about antichrist, war, death, or disease. 
The innocent were happy. God reigned. This 
was the seventh day. 

In the end, God rescued man from his 
destructive ways. 



3.Dust 

Lynn Meredith 



Home from the fields, careening the prairie lane, 

On my schooldays' walk, my farm, 

The cumbersome grain truck rollicks, white dusting 

days of autumn. 
My mouth opened soundlessly tunneling flakes of dust, 
I sway, corn-high, on its elephant back, 
Regal queen carried on kernels of gold. 

Confetti corn dust swirls in figure-eights, 

Catching in my eyelashes and snuffing up my nose hairs 

As comfortably irritating as motor-scooting Shriners in 

a small town parade. 
Unmasked I taste its choking dryness on my tongue and 

down my throat 
My father beeps the meager horn in a knock-knock joke 
To my mother waving from the window 

Alone,inside, she dreams, 
Dusting. 



4. Still 

Chris Bernal 

The mosaic horses 
lulling astral song 
lost in the universal carousel 

is heard tonight 

felt 

like a scent upwind 

titillating the horizon 

time divides nothing 

each breath is slow for the new child 

rising from the grasses and marsh 

with utterance, he walks toward the lagoon 

water of the soliloquy swamp 
run like emerald dust 
through the curious fingers 

glowing dark 
quiet and still 

5. The lights from... 

Kathy Jones 

The lights from the street lamps glinted on the 
silver cross around my neck as we drove 
along underneath them. I was hunched down 
in the back seat, my hands shoved deep down 
in the pockets of my Chinos. The speaker 
blasted in my ears and the cold wind whipped 
through the back seat, chilling me inside as 
well as out. Elise had her window rolled 
down as she drove, letting the cold air just 
whip by her cheek and through her short 
blonde hair. I never really knew why she did 
that, but I supposed it was because she wanted 
to feel something besides the aching numbness 
that we all felt at that age; a numbness that 
made us run, recklessly, looking for a way out 
of the choking confusion. It was the same 
numbness that made her drink... but the 



alcohol only made it worse. 

I pulled a hand from my pocket. My 
fingers were still very cold, and I was tempted 
to tell Elise to roll up her window but it 
actually felt good to me, too. 

I ran my stiff fingers over the silver 
cross and the big black stone in the middle. 
Elise had given it to me, and I always wore it 
when I was with her. Maybe it was a symbol 
of our friendship, strong and supportive, but 
with a little blackness inside. That blackness 
was Elise's drinking. .. and now she was trying 
to pull me into it. 

"Come on, Case," she'd say. "Get in 
touch with the dark side of the force." That 
was one of her favorite jokes. So was calling 
me "Case." My name was Casey, but she 
called me "Case" as in "Mental Case." Elise 
always found really unique ways to let me 
know she cared. 

The car swerved a little, and I averted 
my eyes from the cross to the road up ahead 
of the car. Slowly, I drew my gaze back to 
Elise. Sure enough... the car had swerved 
because Elise was busy opening a bottle of 
rum. She poured some of it into a half empty 
can of Coke, rescrewed the cap, and then set 
the bottle back by her feet, under the seat. 

"Here, Case... try some." She held up 
the can of Coke to me. "And why don't you sit 
up front? You always sit in the back." 

"Because we're always on the way to 
pick someone up," I answered, taking the can 
of Coke from her this Friday night as I had so 
many Friday nights in the past; I took it to 
humor her. 

I knew what it would taste like before 
I even put the can to my lips, but I took a sip 
anyway, making a face at the bitterness of the 
rum. It never went down easy for me. 

"We're not picking anyone up 
tonight." Elise answered my statement, taking 
the can back from me. "Did it taste good?" 

"You ask that question every week." I 
began to dig in my pockets for my driver's 



license. 

"I'm hoping the answer will change." 
Elise took a big gulp, smiling as she swallowed 
the alcoholic Coke. Sometimes I marveled at 
her skill. 

'It won't," I told her determinedly, 
finding what I was looking for. "Listen, Elise... 
if you're going to drink, why don't you pull 
over and let me drive?" 



******* 



As I looked straight ahead at the distant 
red taillights, I was surprised. I was surprised 
that Elise had actually pulled over and let me 
drive. She was usually so possessive of her 
red Monte Carlo, but she had relented and 
handed me the keys, deciding she'd enjoy the 
ride. 

She was hunched down in the 
passenger seat now, sitting passively beside 
me. It had started to rain a little; a cold 
November drizzle that gave me an excuse to 
roll up the windows. 

Elise was starting to buzz a little. I 
could tell it in the way she slowly, deliberately 
turned to me with her glassy blue-green eyes. 

"Casey," she said, breathing out my 
name as if it took great effort. "Let's go to 
Jesse's house." 

"No," I answered instantly, giving my 
reply as little thought as possible. I hated 
Jesse in a way that I had never hated anyone 
before. Jesse was Elise's "boyfriend." He was 
the one who'd gotten Elise hooked on alcohol. 
They'd also tried marijuana together, too. 
Jesse didn't score big popularity- wise with 
me. Come to think of it, he didn't score big 
with many people. It seemed to me that Elise 
was his only friend. I never hung out with 
Jesse... and I was starting to have second 
thoughts about hanging out with Elise even 
though I claimed she was my best friend. 

"Yes, Casey." Elise reached over 
and pushed me. But she didn't do it playfully; 
she did it as if she meant it. 'Jesse wants me to 
pick him up." 



I shook my head, smiling sensibly, 
knowing it was a lie. Elise had this way of 
manipulating me, though, and I knew she'd 
try to use it. As I gripped the smooth, cold 
steering wheel more tightly, I resolved not to 
let her change my mind. 

I ignored Elise's shoving. 

"No, Elise. You know that Jesse and I 
don't get along. The night would be a total 
loss." I looked over at her as strands of my 
yellow hair fell over my eyes. I pushed them 
back, wanting to look Elise in the eyes. 

'It already is. You're not having any 
fun." Elise held up the bottle of dark, honey- 
colored rum. 'Take a sip, Case. Come on. .. if 11 
loosen you up," Elise urged, trying to pass the 
bottle to me. I easily resisted, nearly gagging 
on the smell as she waved it under my nose. 

"No, Elise!" I resisted firmly, pushing 
her back. It was getting harder to drive and 
reason with Elise at the same time. I considered 
pulling over but decided against it. We were 
only a couple of miles from my neighborhood . 
I could stop at my house and get out of the car, 
letting Elise free to do whatever she wanted. 
It was better that way... she could go off to be 
with Jesse and leave me out of it. 

"God, Casey... you are so anal 
retentive! !" This made Elise laugh, just hearing 
herself say it. I rolled my eyes and turned on 
the windshield wipers. The street lights had 
looked pretty through the little drops of rain, 
but it was getting harder and harder to see. 

"Lefs go to Jesse's," Elise insisted 
again. I held firm, my knuckles turning white 
on the steering wheel. 

"No." 

"Yes!" Her alcohol-laden breath 
floated around my face as she leaned over 
and gripped the wheel. 'Til steer. We're going 
to Jesse's..." 

"No!" I raised my voice, jerking the 
wheel as I tried to stay in control. "Elise, I'm 
driving, and we are not going to Jesse's..." 

"Yes we are!" Elise tried to push me 



aside as she turned the wheel. I gasped as we 
nearly swerved out into oncoming traffic. I 
managed to pull us back into our own lane. 

"Elise, stop it!" I yelled. "You'll get us 
killed. Let go of the wheel! I'm driving..." 

"Pull over!" Elise suddenly 
commanded. She fell back into her seat, and 
as I looked over at her, I was actually afraid. 
She had a look of pure hatred in her usually- 
calm eyes. "Pull over!" she screamed, a loud 
piercing shout. "Pull over, dammit! This is 
my car... pull over now! Damn you, Casey..." 
I did exactly what she wanted, 
frightened by her outburst. Elise had never, 
ever raised her voice like that before. I stared 
at her, wide-eyed, after putting the car in 
park. Cars whizzed past us as we sat there, 
staring each other down. 

Elise' s voice turned icy cold. 

"Get out." 

"Elise! If s raining. And you can't drive 
like this. You're drunk..." 

"I'm fine!" Elise climbed over me and 
shoved me hard towards the passenger-side 
door. I slid over into the seat she'd just vacated. 
It was almost cold, like she'd never sat there 
at all. 

"Elise. Please. Let me take you to my 
house..." I tried to reason with her to no avail. 
I knew she wouldn't listen, but I felt I had to 
try. I couldn't see letting Elise drive off in the 
condition she was in. I knew she'd end up 
hurting herself more than she already had. 

"Get out!" Elise reached over 
and opened the car door for me. I could feel 
the rush of cold, rainy air against my cheek. It 
was so frigid and stinging... or maybe it was 
the way Elise was so roughly forcing me from 
her life. "Elise!" I decided to try 

to be tough with her. "You can't drive like 
this!" 

"GET OUT!" Elise screamed again and 
gave me a shove. I tumbled backwards, 
catching myself just before I fell out of the car. 
Now I was really angry. I got out of her car, 



not saying a word. Although I was extremely 
upset, I knew somehow that it wasn't Elise 
talking. It was, as they say, the booze. 

Elise gunned the engine and took off, 
squealing the tires. I stood in the soft, muddy 
and mushy grass, letting the rain pelt my face 
as I watched her taillights become harder and 
harder to see. 

Without giving it much thought, I 
ripped the silver cross from my neck and 
threw it in the direction she'd gone. I heard it 
clink on the pavement and then, feeling 
satisfied with myself, I began to walk home. It 
was only about a mile away, and I knew the 
walk would give me a chance to think. Maybe 
I could try to figure out why I was Elise' s 
friend. 

I arrived home about a half an hour 
later. I was wet and chilled clear through. 
Taking the steps to my room two at a time, I 
artfully dodged my inquisitive parents and 
locked myself in my deep blue bedroom. I let 
my heavy, soaked jacket slide off my shoulders 
as I went to the radio and turned it on. If I 
didn't have noise and lots of it, I knew I'd go 
crazy with only my thoughts to entertain me. 

"Casey...is that you?" my mom asked 
through the door. It's funny how parents ask 
that, especially mine, seeing as I'm an only 
child. 

"Yes." I answered, peeling off my 
soaking wet Chinos. 

"I didn't expect you home so early," 
Mom responded. I loved having these 
conversations through the door. "If s only 
nine." 

"Uhm... Elise had something else to 
do," I replied non-committedly. "I decided to 
come home." I slipped into my pajamas and 
fell back into my four poster bed. 
"Did she drop you off?" 

"Yeah... you could say that." I stared 
up at my stark white ceiling. "Uhm, Mom... 
I'm really tired. I'm going to bed." 

"Okay.. Goodnight." The floorboards 



creaked as Mom walked away. I lay in bed, 
staring at the ceiling and reviewing the events 
of the evening in my mind. 

I couldn't shake the memory of the 
evil, hateful look on Elise's face when she'd 
told me to get out of the car. I rolled over and 
faced the wall, feeling tears sting my eyes. I 
hated Jesse even more for taking my best 
friend and turning her into someone I 
couldn't recognize, no matter how hard I 
tried. 

6. Lies hide... 

Jennifer K. Stempien 

Lies hide me away 

From the horrid truth which 

Lies within myself. 

My comfort lies 

Within my self-fabricated lies. 

For in believing my lies 

I create my own truth. 

7. Sunday Tea 

Lynn Meredith 

We sat there, you and I, drinking tea, in silence. 

Sad strains of Mozart twinkled, then turned like a 

Memory to sadness. 

The white wisps of curtain strained the sun, 

April shadows stretched over the stillness of Sunday. 

Smokey haze of a thought long ago hung in the air. 

The candle patiently puffed its steady stream straight 

into the air above us. 
Then as if by signal the flame extinguished like a life. 
The smoke above at first confused, the drift uncertain. 
Its course realized, slowly and deliberately the 

filaments rose. 
Spiraling, twirling in a lazy dance, 
Ancient patterns, its journey upward, 
Weaving cells and stars, up and up, 

Fading to nothing 
No trace 
No memory 
No substance. 



8. Tea for Two 

Kathy Franke 

A man resembling what the media 
markets as a mountain man complete with a 
long full beard and dandruff met me at the 
door and mumbled around a pipe, "What do 
you want?" I quickly explained my mission 
and sighed as he shrugged and waddled back 
to his perch in front of the screaming television. 
I ventured inside and was greeted by the 
repulsive stench of human excrement and 
stale smoke combined with filthy cats and 
rotten food. It took awhile for my eyes to 
focus in the dark hotel room after being in the 
California sunlight. The sight before me was 
overwhelming. 

I was standing on a narrow strip of 
floor that curved around to the back of the 
double bedroom and led to the bathroom. All 
the floor area surrounding me was covered 
with magazines and clothing for the most 
part. From my island amidst the waves of 
junk, I could see where the family had cooked 
their food. On one of the dressers was a skillet 
covered with baked-on pancake batter and 
what looked like cat hair. There were bottles 
and open packages of meat and cheese, an 
obvious contributor to the aroma. 
Still rooted on my island, I shifted my focus to 
the television that disturbed the peace with 
hard core rock music blaring, and I was 
alarmed to see nude women frolicking on the 
screen. My host, an obvious porno junkie, sat 
on a small section of the unmade bed 
enthralled as his desires were lived out in 
front of him on the screen. He must have felt 
my glare because he grunted, "Her mom 
ain't...," pausing as his attention was 
demanded by the picture in front of him, but 
he soon managed to gather enough 
concentration to sweep his hand across the 
room, which seemed to cut the thick 
atmosphere, and finished his phrase, "here, 



but she's back there." 

I peered into the back of the dark room 
and wondered if it was possible for any living 
thing to exist back there. A disease-infected 
cat rubbed against my leg as if to answer my 
question, and I began to itch. I felt as though 
I was suffocating in this black hole and wanted 
to escape to breathe fresh air again, but I had 
a job to do so I began my journey on the 
cleared path to the bathroom. As I moved 
closer to the back of the room, I began to panic 
as my imagination overtook all my senses 
and fear enveloped my being. My mind ran 
wildly, "Maybe she wasn't here at all and that 
ape of a man wanted me to move further into 
the room so that I wouldn't be able to run out 
the door when he trapped me back here and 
began to..." My paranoia was interrupted by 
a small voice asking, "One lump or two?" I 
wheeled toward the noise, responding half in 
fear and surprise and the other relief. Pure 
pity flung itself into my heart at the sight of a 
four or five year old girl sitting amidst the 
junk in a small area that she had attempted to 
clear for herself. She had addressed her 
question to a bald stuffed teddy bear and had 
a cracked plastic tea pot in one hand and the 
other hand held a coffee mug that had the 
words "THE WORLD'S GREATEST MOM" 
printed on it. Her long dark hair was ratted 
and tangled to the extent that it hung in the 
shape of a pony tail down her back even 
though there was no band to hold it tied. 

I said her name quietly and she jerked 
around to face me. Her eyes were wide with 
fear, and she dropped her mug and tea pot to 
snatch up her teddy bear in a tight embrace. 

'1 didn't mean to take him. He was 
lonely," she said quickly and scrambled into 
the corner of junk to hide. I climbed through 
the sea of dirt and clothes to reach her and 
knelt besided her hiding place. I told her my 
name and explained that I was not there to 
take her teddy bear away. I assumed from her 
reaction that she had stolen the bear and from 



the looks of the bear probably from someone's 
garbage. 

"Then why are you here?" she asked 
defensively, as if she was trying to catch me in 
a lie. I smiled and told her I was there to take 
her away. That I was going to take her to a 
new home where there would be lots of bears 
for her to play with and even a brand-new tea 
set so that she could have tea parties all the 
time. 

Fear surfaced again and her dark eyes 
welled with tears as she challenged me, "I 
have tea parties now whenever I want!" I 
asked her if she had anywhere to sleep and as 
a last attempt promised that she could watch 
whatever she wanted to on T. V. But neither of 
those things were encouraging to her, and she 
began to cry and scream at me, "NO NO No 
no..." 

The tears left clean streaks on her dirty 
face and I reached out to affectionately wipe 
a tear from her cheek. She pulled away from 
my hand and jumped to her feet. She darted 
past me and jumped through the junk until 
she was back on the path. She ran for the man 
still sitting on the bed oblivious to anything 
going on in the room. She attempted to climb 
up onto his lap for protection, but he threw 
her to the floor and abusively yelled at her for 
"messing with him" and told her to "shut- 
up" as her small voice pierced the air above 
the noise of the television. In her last desperate 
attempt to get his attention, she flung herself 
in front of the T.V. Instead of the protection 
she hoped to receive from him, in one motion 
the man back-handed her out of his view of 
the naked women as obscenities flooded out 
of his mouth. I ran to the screaming child, 
demanding that he leave her alone, but my 
voice was drowned out. 
Quickly I wrapped my arms around the child 
and lifted her. I wiped some of the blood off 
her face with my sleeve and could no longer 
hold back my own tears. I began to cry, partly 
because it was my job to take her from all she 
knew and because... this was all she knew. 



10. Lessons From a Child 



9. Heartsickening 

Sean T. Clark 

"Why did you leave me like that? Why did 
you leave me like that? Why did you leave 
me like that?" A little three year old girl, no 
bigger or heavier than a cocker spaniel, 
screamed over and over again in a voice 
full of all the anguish her tiny frame could 
muster. You could feel her pain. I wanted to 
rip the pain from her, ball it up, and throw 
it out of earshot. "Why did you leave me 
like that?" she shrieked. "Because you 
aren't listening to me," replied her mother. 
I felt my stomach constrict. At once drawn 
to and repelled by the little girl's pain, I 
looked on. "Why did you leave me like 
that?" "Stop throwing this tantrum." "Why 
did you leave me like that?" 'Til do it again 
if you don't stop." "Why did you leave me 
like that?" More pain than any child should 
experience in a lifetime was pouring from 
this child's taut, impassioned throat. She 
threw her small pink teddy bear at her 
mother. Like her impassioned plea, it too 
missed its target and fell to the ground. 
Suddenly I saw this child's life laid out 
before her; the cycle of mental abuse - 
anguish - reconciliation - repeat, again and 
again. 'Tut your shoes on," her mother said 
firmly. As they rounded a bend, I heard the 
little girl's voice echo through the stairwell, 
"Why did you leave me like that?" I know 
there is force gone wrong. 



Rhonda Muir 

I tread softly into the sweetness 
of a child's dream world. 
She sits there so quietly, 
talking, murmuring to her dolls, 
pretending to read her books. 

Her softly waving,light brown hair, 
silken to my touch, draws me to her. 
This child, birthed from my womb, 
enchants me with her unquestioning 
love and faith - in me. 

She has seen me now, and comes 
running with outstretched arms. 
The impact of her secure knowing, 
her absolute trust, contracts my heart 
and I swoop her up in a whirling embrace. 

Love such as this - 
undeserved 

unquestioning. 
This child has, without sermon or lecture, 
taught me, caused me to grow, and to ask - 

Father, God, is this the love You have for me? 
The fascination I feel for her - is this how 
You delight in me? The love and confidence 
she has in me - is this what You want in return? 



11. Tales From the Crib 

Agnes Waszkiezvicz 

Creature from the Crib Dimension Wailing. 

Screaming. 

Lots of Tension! 

Dirty diapers 

Kool-aid™ spills 

My nerves are stretchin' 

Then you smile and hug me tight 

My nerves relax, my heart is light! 



12.Emerald Isle,North Carolina 

Margaret Carroll Redmond 

The mother sea turtle 
Will never know if they made it. 

Never know if the lure 
Of the condominium lights 

Confused her baby hatcrdings 
Away from the moonlight 

Flooding on the night waves. 

For when her tractor tracks 
Vanish from the erasable sand, 

Only the secret eggs remain, 
Throbbing under the wet sand. 

Inspiration: "I remember the night this 
poem was born so clearly. All week we had 
the feeling of v Sea Turtles; Yes!' Three of us 
had just finished an intensive writing class at 
UVA, v The Virginia Writing Project/ We had 
come to the beach to unwind. 

Erin stopped to draw on the pier. She 
couldn't resist sketching a flounder in a cooler 
and a little boy fishing. 

I stopped, sat down on the pier, 
opened my journal and began to write. It was 
art 2 — me writing aboout an artist drawing. 
Children gathered around watching Erin 
sketch — the flounder emerging in black and 
white was striking! A little boy looked at me. 

'Are you an artist, too?' he asked. 

v No,' I said, T am a writer.' 
There — I had said it. Maybe now it 
was true! 

That night it was the full moon and we 
walked on the beach. We rounded the turn 
from sand path to full-blown beach and I said, 

N Erin, I have this feeling about turtles, 
like we will see them. Tonight.' 

'Peggy!' she said. 'Stop! You're 
stepping on it!' 

I was suddenly aware of a huge force 



moving like a wind. I took a step backward 
and whispered, 'It's the mother sea turtle.' 

We tried to be unobtrusive. We backed 
up and watched, silent as sand, as the giant 
sea turtle covered her eggs. It was a force, a 
freight-train of flapping arms. I will never 
forget it." mcr 



13. Grand Canyon Sweet 

Jim Goebel 

Listening to the peace you wrote, 
Reminding me of the place , 
You painted with 

Violins, 

Timpani, 

Cymbals, 

Flutes, 

Tubas. 
Bringing forth images 

Sunrise 

Painted Desert 

On the Trail Sunset 

Cloudburst 
Of a many colored place 
Etched into Arizona. 

Thank you Mr. Grofe, 

For capturing the Grand Canyon 

Like no camera ever could. 

Dedicated to Ferde Grofe (1892-1972), 
composer of the "Grand Canyon Suite. 



14. Native America 

Janine Passehl 

last whispers of 

moonlight glow 
as night creeps 
toward dawn 
flames 

flicker 
and 

dance 
against a 
forest backdrop 
of pine 
while 

tendrils of smoke 
form shapes that 

take flight 
and rise toward the 

heavens 
the shaman chants 
speaking 

infinite wisdom 
of nature and 
its glories 

in communion 

with the earth 
this vast panorama 
of beauty 
and wonder 

celebrating 
a yesterday 

forgotten and 

buried 
by the 

assassination 

of a 

dream. 



15. Another Modern Fable: Eric the Great 

or How to Screw Up the Human 

Cannonball 

Josh Dipert 

The crow began to howl and cheer 

as Eric walked their way. 

All with thoughts of the soon to come spectacle 

on that fateful day. 

The sun shone brightly 

and the wind was not there 

to sweep his dreams away. 

Eric had developed a plan 

from an impulse, stray. 

For he intended to fire himself 

out of a cannon someday. 

He told his mama this at six, 

then seven, and eight, and nine. 

All the while, not suspecting, 

poor mama would simply say "Fine." 

Not till 26 did Eric have the guts 

to bring his old dream into life. 

He sold off his home, his dog, his car, 

and finally his wife 

To purchase a giant cannon 

of expensive silver and steel, 

and find himself a teacher, 

The famed Jose D'Vil. 

The day arrived, 

his lessons learned, 

Eric demanded a show. 

And finally, through many pleas, he got himself a "Go!" 

Then the moment arrived 

for Eric to take flight, 

hopefully the landing would be 

very, very, light. 

Eric waved gladly at the crowd, 

and slid into the hole. 

The cannon starts to point upward, 

x with a quick drum roll. 

The countdown starts, the crowd, it gasped, 

as Eric faced his fate. 

And even his old sold-off wife, 

cast off all her hate. 

The cannon boomed, 

a noise as loud as you could get, 

flying out poor Eric saw 

that he forgot his net. 

Eric now began to pray 

hoping it's not too late, 

and quickly discovers that no man ever avoids his fate.. 

MORAL: Look before you leap. 



10 



16. For Those Far 



Chris Bernal 



Hunger 



Hunger and spite 

spice 

a feast of emotions 

caldons of myriad senses 

prepare 

for the light 

and the day 

for the night 

which arrives 

in a creepy 

kind of way 

Hunger 

Hunger and might 

right 

a thousand deaths 

Mechanical features 

in nights shadow 

shown in separated watchings 

viewings 

of a slow-motion camera 



17. Confessions of a Doormat 

Kathy Jones 

Every time you use me 
For a doormat 
Your shoes seem dirtier 
Than 

The last time. 
My message has changed 
From 'Welcome" 
To "Have a Nice Day" 
As I hope that each time 
You wipe your feet 
Will be the last time 
You use me. 
' I could get up 
Off the floor 
And simply walk away 
But all doormats 
Know how to do 
Is 

Lay on the floor 
And look 
Stupid... 
And feel 
Even worse. 

So next time you use me 
To wipe 
Your feet- 
Please don't wear boots - 
They hurt. 



11 



18. Confessions of a Doormat, Part 2 

Kathy Jones 

You wore your boots today 

And I was Hurt 

I think it was 

Intentional 

Even after I asked you 

Not to. 

Whafs next? 

Will you show up tomorrow 

In baseball cleats 

Caked with mud 

And very 

Very sharp? 

You told me to tell you 

When you hurt me 

But it happens so often 

You don't listen to me 

Anymore. 

But you probably just can't 

Hear me... 

You're so far up there 

And I'm way down 

Low 

On the floor 

Chanting 

"Have a nice day" and 

Waiting 

For the cleats. 



19. He Says 

Rhonda Muir 

He says, 

I want to grow old with you, 
but I don't want to feel trapped. 
I want to grow old with him, 
but I will be trapped. 

So what is the reason, 
the need, to be together? 
To be together — 

when we have grown old? 

Maybe we should wait until we're 
nearing "old age", and check again- 
maybe by then we'd rather not 
be "old" together! 

Why be "trapped" at all? 

Let's just remain free now 

and let tomorrow - and its "old age" 

worry about itself. 

Comfort. 
Security. 
Finances. 

Nope - not good enough - 
I think I will remain "untrapped" 
myself! 



20. The Cage 

Mark Moore 

Of walls there were six, 

and all made of glass, 
Dark and Black they were, 

through which light but dimly did 
pass. 



12 



This Cube of my dreams, 

this Prison of my fears, 
This sadness I have known, 

On my journey through the years. 

Though of Shadows and Wraiths 
this fortress I did make, 

And it be insubstantial as mist, 

Yet through it I could not break. 

But for the vision of One, 

who somehow saw through, 
And managed to do for me 

what I alone could not do. 

21. Cage 

Jim Goebel 

Open the cage of your mind 
And let ideas fly, 
Climbing high above 

the chasm 

of wasted time. 
And when they return 
Leave the cage open 

so they can 

fly again. 



22. Oh Well's "1997" 

Sheryl Mastalesh 

Myra stood gazing into the nursery 
window. She knew that she was very 
lucky to be here looking at her new 
grandchild. She thought that she would 
never have any grandchildren. She 
wondered what his world would be like. 
So many things had changed over the last 
five years alone. 

Bill Clinton was elected to 



the presidency in 1992. No one would have 
ever thought that he would have been 
assassinated. They never did catch the 
assassin. Rumors were spread that it was a 
teamster man who was not happy that 
Clinton was elected anyway. Some 
suspected a gay rights member who 
thought that the president did not hold his 
oath to them regarding their rights in the 
military. Others thought that it may have 
been someone that was disappointed that 
the unemployment situation did not 
improve as he had proposed. Another 
embarrassment for the United States. 

The nurse brought the baby closer to 
the window. Myra was so glad that he was 
so healthy. She thought about all of the 
children who had starved in Somalia in 
1992. By 1993 fighting, starvation, disease, 
and drought had wiped out most of Africa. 
The rapid spread of AIDS and AIDS-related 
strains that had eliminated so much of the 
population of the world had literally erased 
the African community. 

Myra kept watching the pink-faced 
little bundle. No one would have thought 
that a world that was worried about 
overpopulation and taught birth control 
and allowed abortion would be rewarding 
citizens for each child born now. By the 
time that they discovered a cure for AIDS it 
had done so much damage. Cremation 
became a law. Cemeteries were now just 
little banks for the mini-capsules that were 
allowed to be kept for the remains. For 
some reason, Myra's family was untouched 
by this disease. And now, this miracle of a 
baby that she was so thankful for. Cancer 
had run in her family line but they had 
found the cure for that in 1994. 

The nurse came over to change the 
baby. Not everyone was as lucky as her 
daughter to conceive a child. She thought 
about the poor women who had 



13 



unknowingly been fertilized by donor 
sperm that had carried the deadly AIDS 
virus and had added to the spread of that 
killer. No one underwent any type of 
surgery during those bad years unless it 
was an extreme emergency. Too many 
health professionals had been infected and 
too much blood had been tainted. No one 
wanted to take a risk. 

And then there was the sudden 
unexplained sterility of so many people. 
Some researchers blamed the strong ultra- 
violet rays of the sun, some pinpointed it 
back to the daily exposure to supposedly- 
harmless microwaves from food, others 
believed it was a germ warfare spread by 
the Soviets. Certain religions believed that 
it was a curse sent down. 

The baby was smiling in his sleep. 
She wondered if his dreams had to do with 
the future. Oh yes, those Soviets that 
everyone thought were backing off took 
advantage of the weakness of the nations 
and took control again of more countries. 
The continual catastrophies that had 
occurred in the early nineties were all part 
of their control of the weather by their 
satellites. This had eliminated so many lives 
from earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and 
other natural disasters that they 
empowered. So much of Los Angeles had 
vanished after the big earthquake in 1993. 
Finally, later that year our country became 
aware of their involvement and created 
blocking devices to counter their control. 

At least this little one might not live 
through such terrible times. The prisons 
had been emptied quickly by the rampant 
rage of the AIDS spreading through the 
institutions. After so many people had been 
stricken with cancer and Alzheimers, the 
government released information that 
medical researchers had definitely 
attributed so much of this misery to the 



chemical additives in our foods. They also 
finalized the studies that verified the 
research started by Theron Randolph, the 
food allergy specialist from Illinois, many 
years before. People were tested regularly 
for food allergy reactions and many of the 
preservatives have been banned from our 
foods. Nutrasweet has been deleted due to 
its connection to Alzheimers as well as 
saccharine since it is carcinogenic. The 
relation to violence and other abnormal 
behavior has been linked to the diet of a 
person. There is very little crime now. 

She wondered when they could take 
the infant home. The hospitals had become 
extra cautious with newborns now. They 
did not allow anyone in the hospital 
without being identified by the patient who 
viewed them on a monitor. The nursery 
was locked and the only time the mother 
saw the child was at feeding time. She was 
the only one allowed to touch the child 
other than the staff. In vitro fertilization had 
become so expensive that hardly anyone 
could afford to have it done. And those 
who were able to bear a child could sell the 
child for a large sum if they could part with 
the baby. This was legal. But there were so 
few available. 

Maybe her grandson would grow 
up to be president someday. In 1992 they 
would have laughed if someone would 
have told them that Dan Quayle would be 
elected in 1996. Times sure have changed. 
Religion has become stronger in these 
times. The ideas of a future with rocket cars 
and space ships and dried food packets did 
not get past the comic books. Cars are small 
and run off of steam. This is a back-to- 
nature world now. Houses are smaller. 
Families are closer. Pollution, 
contamination, and waste are all strictly 
controlled. The air is easier to breathe. Myra 
let out a sigh. She was a lucky one. 



14 



23. The Buell Avenue Cocktail Party 

Lynn Meredith 

Onto the paved street I clop 
A pony gait, a peasant-plumed 
parading march, in harness proud. 

My winter whites shaggy new, 

my casserole coverless and unshamed, 

Broccoli bistro crock I carry 

To the Buell Avenue Cocktail Party. 

Hopeless welcomes, burping Tupperware, 

I sashay my top-less casserole past 

The guests, whispering, fanning, faces set 

Like Hummel figures poised in pairs. 

They tip their lids to tempt my gaze 
Teasing wafts seduce. Knowing eyes 
Scan impressions made. They wait. 

Like old whores holding out for more. 



24. A Call to Reality 

Kathy Franke 

Chandeliers polished meticulously by stuffy maids 

Butlers scurrying to serve 

Eclairs filled with sickening sweet cream 

Rose Taffeta dresses with Chantilly lace 

Reality where are you? 

Red and white checked table cloth spread on luscious green grass 

Cold fried chicken with Nannie's special seasonings 

The sun caressing bare, freckled shoulders 

Shoes and socks abandoned with tan ankles exposed 

Reality where are you? 

A candle light's flicker reveals a forgotten table set for two 
Silk robes discarded in a heap on hard wood floors 
Sparkling wine and a box of cigarettes waiting patiently 
Crackling fire casts larger than life shadows of united bodies on the 
wall 

Reality where are you? 

A family clinging to each other in their grief 

A steel, grey casket cradling his cold body 

"The nature he loved swallowed him" she said 

No one's hug can reach the emptiness trapped inside 

Reality, who called you? 



15 



25. Wealthy Widow 

Lynn Meredith 

A fine mesh of snow, not enough 
To make things go away, just enough 
To make my mind slow and breathe. 

I'd make a wonderful wealthy widow, 
Wouldn't I? Brewing my tea and watching 
the snow go by, while I in my warmth 
sigh and sing soft tunes to myself. 

Tasting lemons and oranges from far away 
Warmth, I'd have an orange each day 
And salt, and sugar, and refrigerated meat. 

I'd read novels by people long ago 
Dead and play music by people 
Whose vibrations faded eons ago. 

My dogs would have treats most people 

Love to eat - and toys 

Many a child would be eager to see. 

A dream to be so rich 

So rich a whim is mine. 



26. Default 

Mary Frances Lund 

He chose to be my 

protector 

provider 

supporter 

encourager 

defender 

lover 

friend. 

I didn't choose 
to be 
his 
widow. 



27. Nothing am I 

Jennifer K. Stempien 

Nothing am I 
The lights go out 
The contents spilled 

Nothing am I 

Going through the motions 

Feeling the emptiness 

Nothing am I 



28. Sadness... and Light 

Lynn Meredith 

In its fading light, I see 
The quiet death of a man 
I loved. 

In the mystery of his death, I see 
the mystery of my own soul. 

So many moments of my life wasted 
So little listening to my voice within. 



29. Deafening Silence 

Mary Frances Lund 

The world should stop 

when someone dies. 

By what right does it keep on 

turning? 

How can my heart continue to beat 

when half of me is gone? 

There is a silence 

that no amount of noise can fill. 

It echoes his name... 



16 



30. Seesaw 

Lynn Meredith 

When I was in first grade, I trusted 
everyone. So when out on the playground at 
recess my best friend's brother asked me if I 
wanted to go on the seesaw with him, I thought 
nothing of it. In fact I was thrilled. Mark 
Compton was one year older than Becky and 
I, and although he could be a bit devilish to us 
when I was over visiting the Compton' s, he 
was nevertheless someone I knew and not 
one of those strange, new kids from town. He 
was a farm kid like me. And he was older. So, 
I hopped on my end of the long, green board, 
its paint peeling to weathered gray in the spot 
where everyone sat and its fulcrum cemented 
in the powdery brown dirt, bolted at its 
midpoint. What I didn't know on that bright 
spring day is that a seesaw is never truly 
balanced; it is simply in endless pursuit of a 
balance it can never achieve. A seesaw is the 
scales of justice by which Libras are doomed 
to tip from one extreme to the other in an 
attempt to find the elusive harmony they 
naturally crave. This sign, my sign, most 
appreciative of balance and harmony, is the 
sign that is never balanced. I was to learn my 
earliest lesson in this painful reality at 10 
o'clock recess on the seesaw. 

Negotiating a seesaw takes trust and 
cooperation between the parties. Both must 
agree to test the balance; it is not a unilateral 
business. I tentatively set my seat on the worn, 
smooth board with the balls of my tennis- 
shoes feet dug into the sand. My knees were 
bent against the weight I knew they must 
accept when we agree to let nature, harmony, 
and the forces of balance take over. If all goes 
well, we scooch and slide our respective rear 
ends to the place on our end of the board 
where balance will be achieved. If we differ 
much in weight, we must sit the heavier close 
in to the fulcrum, the lighter to the outer edge, 



sometimes sitting so far off the edge as to be 
hanging one dip away from a hideous crash. 
These are the simple facts: agreement, 
cooperation, respect, and trust. It was the way 
of the world in one simple childhood game, a 
system of physics and personal interaction 
played out without theory, without 
knowledge. 

But even in second grade, a person 
like Mark Compton has to break nature's 
rules and find out what will happen if he 
doesn't cooperate. Just for the hell of it, what 
would happen if he lured somebody into the 
usual agreement and then arbitrarily broke 
it? His ego throbs for expression, the hell with 
commonality and respect. So he's insensitive? 
He's a second grade boy with a naive first 
grade girl on the other end. Maybe the 
temptation was just too strong for him. 
Whatever his dark motives, I boarded the 
seesaw in good faith, waking to feel the 
balance I knew would magically occur, the 
chemistry destined to counter our respective 
weights, when BAM! down I went, hitting my 
bottom, not once when the board first hit the 
ground in a flash, but a second time when I 
bounced up off the ground and slammed 
back down to the board. Amazed, I looked to 
Mark, a boy and older. There he stood, both 
feet on the ground, but with straight legs, not 
soft, locked joints, not negotiating knees. There 
he stood, laughing, learing, and pointing at 
the humiliation he had caused. Tears stung 
my eyes from the smarting of my bottom and 
betrayal in my heart. He was older. He was 
my friend's brother. Our families were good 
friends. We were on foreign territory where 
familiars should stick together. He wasn't 
one of those other town kids. Who knows 
what they might do to me. He purposely let 
me think I was safe and then showed me I 
wasn't. It all seemd so evil, so mean-spirited. 
What's the humor in deliberately hurting 
someone who doesn't know any differently? 



17 



I haven't seen Mark for more years 
now than I knew him in school. I hear about 
him and his family from his mother from time 
to time. I wonder if he ever thinks of his 
cruelty. I never knew him in later years to be 
cruel. In fact, he seemed a nice, pleasant boy, 
quiet and shy. Today he's a successful farmer- 
businessman. I wonder how he explains that 
day so long ago to himself. I wonder if he 
justifies it by some adage that kids will do 
those things. I wonder if he feels as if it were 
someone else, some mean little boy that no 
longer exists. Most likely, the memory has 
gone the way of most childhood memories: 
stored, as if in a messy game closet, to be 
retrieved accidentally some day when the eye 
falls on a corner long hidden from view. In old 
age, before death, a mind may remember the 
cruel acts of a spirit learning to live. 



31. The Facade of Childhood Innocence 

Chris Savini 

I have my prejudices like everyone 
else. I admit that in the past I have discrimi- 
nated against people for no good reason. One 
instance, however, stands out in my memory, 
a horrible black stain on my conscience. 

This memory comes from my early 
childhood. In reality it isn't one specific 
memory but several memories blurred by 
time into one semi-coherent event in my mind. 
I was about five years old and saw the world 
through five-year-old eyes. To me the days 
lasted for months, a year was a lifetime, and 
everyone was the same. I still hadn't learned 
the difference between little boys and little 
girls, and a black kid was just another kid to 
play with. I treated everyone the same way 
except one person, a little girl named Jenna 
Noble. She was a perfectly adorable little 



darling of a girl who roamed the neighbor- 
hood for hours on her fire-engine-red tri- 
cycle. This is how I see her now through my 
nineteen-year-old eyes, but back then she 
was a freak. I don't whether it was the result 
of an accident or a birth defect, but Jenna' s left 
arm ended at the elbow. 

At times I would be overly nice to 
Jenna and other times I would be unbeliev- 
ably cruel. What determined my mood re- 
mains a mystery, but no matter how I was 
acting at the time the sight of her filled me 
with fear. I was afraid of her absent arm, 
afraid that she was contagious, or that she 
had done something awful which caused her 
deformity. To a five year old her fake arm was 
quite threatening and looked more like a bi- 
zarre weapon than a limb. 

Naturally all of my fear was irrational, 
but then there aren't a plentitude or rational 
pre-schoolers roaming the neighborhoods of 
Suburbia. I, along with my friends, reacted to 
the fear we felt in a way that would surprise 
most people who cling to the notion that 
children are pinnacles of beauty and inno- 
cence. I can remember calling to Jenna from 
across the street and offering her candy. When 
she came close enough my friends and I tossed 
the rocks we had concealed behind our backs. 
I don't recall ever hitting her, but the act of 
throwing was horrible enough to scar her 
worse than any rock could. Then there were 
the names I called her and the fact that I 
usually ran when she came near. These are 
images which torment my conscience to this 
very day. 

Even with all the fear she inspired in 
me, I would still sit hidden in the bushes and 
watch her play. Her stub of an arm always 
seemed to cling to everything she touched, 
and she used it as though there was nothing 
wrong with it. Her left arm seemed to have an 
almost supernatural quality to it, a ghost arm. 
I was fascinated by the very thing I feared 
most and that is what confuses me to this day. 



18 



Why was I was so to this girl who practically 
hypnotized me ? The thing that scared me 
away from her was what drew me to her. In 
my eyes she was imperfect, yet she was flaw- 
less in every other way. Aside from her 
handicap she was the ideal little girl with long 
curly blonde hair and clear blue eyes. But no 
matter how cute she was, I could never get 
past that left arm of hers. 

I can remember thinking that her par- 
ents had taken her arm from her. Jenna's 
mother was a tall androgenous woman who 
wore her long black hair in a pony-tail and 
was always clad in a cowboy hat and boots. I 
rarely saw her father, but I remember him 
being a large man. For some reason I thought 
they had abused Jenna and taken her arm at a 
poker game. I pictured her parents pushing 
her forearm into her shoulder and tying it up 
like a balloon. These thoughts seem ridicu- 
lous to me now, but back then they made 
perfect sense. 

Even with the fascination I had with 
her and the pity I felt for her, I still tormented 
her. And expressing the shame I feel now for 
what I did to that girl is not possible. I wish I 
could find Jenna Noble and apologize to her, 
tell her how I have changed and try to express 
the extreme remorse I feel for putting her 
through that pain. I can't go back and stop my 
five year old self from being such a complete 
monster though I wish I could. How ever, if it 
were possible, I would probably be sickened 
to see the ability that a five year old has to hurt 
another human being. 



32. Employment 

Don Schuldt 



Grey, brown fuzzy carpet at my feet below, 
nervously sitting on an uncomfortable bench 
reading rerun magazines. 

Then the appointment hour dawns near 
I notice not, my constant nail biting, 
I glance at the rapidly oncoming hour. 

To slowly stand up, and take the first step, 

is an agonizing eternity in itself. 

Now reaching towards a piece of gold, on a fram 

My goal is the large desk, at the end of the hall, 

the hall that smells like a new carpet. 

Then suddenly, I'm there, at the door, knocking. 

I am allowed entry to the forbidden lair, 
well knowing of the grotesque monster inside, 
I take a last breath of fresh air, and enter. 

Ignoring the upset feeling of my stomach, 

I slowly look up. Past the carpet, past the desk, 

into a warm, smiling, friendly face. 

I then take a deep sigh of relief, 

now knowing that the monster behind the desk, 

is only a mere mortal like myself. 



19 



_ 



33. HE LIES 

Martha Sayles 

Sometimes I find him upside down 
Paws in the air, head askew 
His tender belly very in view 
So white, so fluffy, so like a clown 
looks out of k er, 



ilt 
That's what I see as 



HE LIES 



Sometimes I find him out on the sill 
Wrapped up in sunshine, getf n some rays 
Often he'll leave or often he stays 
Waiting for me to open the door... I will; 

when I can! And 

That's what I see as 

HE LIES 

Sometimes I find him... Well, not at all. 
I look in the south room on the bed, 
I look in the west for his black little head. 
Where has he gone? Down the hall? 

Ah...! Under the table his whiskers so white! 
That's what I see as 

HE LIES 

Sometimes I find a dead mouse at the door. 
How did it get there? Well.. .really I know. 
This hunter has stalked it and had it in tow. 

A prize for his keepers Oh, GALORE! 

He's my cat. Thafs where it's at as ... 

HE LIES. 



34. For Dogs and Diogenes 

Shellie Smith 

Wake up from your sunny, suburban 
slumber and take a look at the mortgage- 
farm-Norman-Rockwell nightmare that is 
America today. A land where Little Orphan 
Annie grows up to be a hooker and a heroin 
addict and Rin-tin-tin was put to sleep 
permanently last Sunday at the pound. A 
place where Superman is killed for money 
and Popeye gets discharged from the Navy 
because some joker in command thinks Olive 
is a transvestite. 

People live and breathe, striving for 
something higher underneath the burden of 
knowing that this world's environment is a 
poisoned one. The economy is declining, 
politics are corrupt uselessness, and everyone 
is essentially stupid, dishonest, and selfish. 

There are those who cease striving for 
their goals and become miserable, caught up 
in negative attitudes and masochist's games. 
They become complacent, self-styled slaves 
to the Corporation with nothing better to do 
than raise children and cast their failures and 
failed aspirations down on their offspring. 

Then there are the fools who continue 
to struggle against the odds like so many 
trout swimming upriver . They believe people 
are too sane to truly want to Nuke each other 
off the face of the planet, dreams are possible, 
and problems can all be solved in time. For 
them, Earth is a worthwhile venture to 
contribute to for the sake of the next 
generation. 

Thus, two paths exist on our journey 
towards death. Which, do you suppose, is the 
lie most responsible for perpetuating our 
species? 



20 



35. What Pain I Hold Is Mine 

Steve Maielli 

What pain I hold is mine 

When time comes for it to go 

it will grow and become something 

else 

and 

perhaps 

it 
will become something sacred, 

lonely 

or beautiful, 

but for now 
what pain I hold is mine 
and it is all I own. 



37. Four Months and a Day 

Tony McFadden 

I no longer can feel the meaning behind the 

words. 

My whole mind is confused with questions. 

I can only get part of it back only it's not the 

same. 

If s more a memory than a map, 

Where my thoughts used to guide me, 

I am now only led to more complexities. 



38. Observation 



Chris Bernal 



36. Four Months 

Tony McFadden 

My arms hold no love, 

My heart feels no passion, 

deep inside a heart beats. 

Blood flows, that carries pain. 

Only in memory does tenderness and longing eyes 

exist 

I hurt for the familiar 

So close and running fast, 

Please wait for me. 



The observer 

and the observee 

make a silent kind of love 

where the observer 

is granted a dazed pleasure 

by observing 



39. If the libraries... 



Sheryl Mastalesh 



If the libraries were as busy as the video 
stores, maybe so many of them would not 
be closing and more kids would know how 
to read and spell. 



21 



40. A Small Advantage 

Philip Antinori 

The empress of the court sat regally 
centered on her throne due to her stately 
girth. She impressed those who glanced her 
way with shapely curves from the Victorian 
manner of her birth. Her demeanor was 
slightly tarnished for she had reached the 
middle ages, and as many who pass that 
center ground, had accepted her fate in stages. 
The year of 1949 was the high noon of her 
reign, and she offered shelter to her subjects 
and comforted them through their pleasures 
and their pain. As a gracious benefactor with 
secrets so sublime, the magnificent queen of 
2545 72nd Court in Elmwood Park towered 
over her neighbors in the sunshine. 

Accepting the rays of the sun on a 
fawning summer day, the light diffused 
around her curved glass windows in a most 
alluring way. The expansive veranda which 
encircled her in fond embrace was playing 
tag with bowing shadows in dignity and grace. 
Doves fluttered about her gables and a cupola 
worn as a crown which topped a siloesque 
tower that held curved rooms in the round. 
The parlor and the library were dressed in 
mahogany and parquet while these 
adornments proffered an aura of darkness 
even at midday. From the parlor, from the 
kitchen, and also from a dimly lit hallway 
inside the home, there were secret 
passageways and many doors from whence 
one could stealthily roam. All in all the 
mansion was quite regal that is dear, and a 
small coach house was modestly guarding at 
her rear. 

Peering through dirty garage 
windows, one could see the vestiges of an old 
abandoned carriage while adjacent were two 
rooms where lived Philip and Rose, the childen 
of Duke and Esther's marriage. Between the 
empress and her pawn the shadows did hold 



sway where one would always find the 
children hard at play. On this day Philip, 
Rose, and the neighbor children were playing 
heartily as they examined fallen heart-shaped 
leaves from the large catalpa tree. Rose 
commandeered an old baby buggy to take her 
doll for a walk. All the little girls accompanied 
her with giggles and small talk. Later, Rose 
approached her brother and asked gingerly, 
"We all want you to be our real baby and ride 
in the buggy." 

At first Philip protested, 'Tm not a 
baby. I am four years old." 

Rose retorted, "Tm six years old and 
you should listen to your older sister and do 
as you are told." 

Philip said, "I'll do it because it looks 
like fun, not because of you." The girls took 
turns pushing the buggy and laughed when 
he would say, "Goo goo." From the 

balcony of the empress a figure did appear, it 
was Philip and Rose's cousin Gene, one 
relation who lived here. He enjoyed the sounds 
of the children playing in the breeze and 
always brought some gifts with a friendly 
tease. He waved to all in a manner quite 
profound for a teen, yet always cavalier was 
cousin Gene. As he came down the stairs, all 
the children's eye's gathered about with their 
stares. He walked right up to Philip with a 
great big frown, and then he pointed to a pile 
on the ground. "Did you do this poop? If you 
did, you better pick it up with a scoop," he 
said to Philip. 

Philip replied, "I didn't do that. Maybe 
it was a dog?" 

Gene said, "I saw you squatting like a 
frog." At this comment the children laughed 
quite a bit but all returned to silence when he 
went to lift it. He held the feculent mold 
which he declared was a rubber fake, and he 
offered it to hold, but no one would partake. 
Another of his practical jokes was played out 
this day, but all the children rejoiced when he 
gave them gifts of bright colored clay. The 



22 



remainder of the afternoon saw busy fingers 
molding as the children proudly displayed 
the creations they were holding. 

Philip and Rose immediately dropped 
their forms of clay when their father drove up 
in his 1937 Chevrolet. With only a front bench 
seat, it was a two door raven black business 
coupe, and the rear design of the trunk fell 
with a swoop. It was complemented on both 
sides with a running board, and Philip and 
Rose in greeting their father climbed aboard. 
Their father exclaimed, "I'm real glad to see 
you guys, and tonight we'll have a big 
surprise." 

Rose guessed, "It's a Hershey 
chocolate bar and ball jacks!" 

Philip proposed, "No, if s a toy car 
and some Cracker Jacks!" 

"I suppose you both will have to wait. 
Let's go have supper; if s getting late," replied 
Father. Inside the small house they found 
their mother holding a small dish while father 
bent slightly and gave her a big kiss. 

She softly spoke, "Hurry now children, 
go wash your hands and face. Supper is ready 
and if s time for us to say grace." Before they 
all ate supper, they all sat down to pray and 
after all was devoured, mother washed and 
dried the dishes and put them all away. 
Meanwhile, father sat in an easy chair while 
loosening his shirt cuffs. He then lit an old 
cigar and began to make short puffs. The 
billows of smoke arose as the children 
coughed, but their eyes beamed brightly as he 
gently blew halos of smoke aloft. Mild 
discomfort in breathing was quite a small 
price to pay for the grandeur of viewing the 
rings of smoke in heavenly array. After 
listening to the evening news on the Zenith 
radio, father then announced, 'It's time for us 
to go." He added, "We have to travel several 
miles to pickup my paycheck in Niles." 

The children were excited about riding 
in the car with the coming nightfall, they 
could follow the brightest star. With father 



behind the wheel and Rose sitting at his side, 
Philip sat on his mother's lap as they began 
their ride. Not long into their journey, the car 
violently shook while father mumbled under 
his breath and said, 'Til stop and take a 
look." 

Philip asked, "May I come and help 
you?" 

Father answered, "You won't be 
much help, but you can watch what I do." On 
his tiptoes little Philip stood while his father 
lifted the right side of the hood. From Philip's 
view he saw a dear glass bubble containing 
some golden elixer. His father tapped on the 
glass and said, "That ought to fix her." 

Back inside the car, mother asked, 
"What was out of kilter?" 

Father replied, "I'm going to have to 
clean that damn fuel filter." 

Upon resumption of their journey 
with more smoothness than before, they 
arrived at their destination of the local Niles 
drug store. To the children, the store was a 
feast before their eyes with many shapes and 
colors in every shape and size. Shortly, Philip 
and Rose could be found sitting on the soda 
fountain stools and spinning round and 
round. The soda fountain was black and 
smooth as silk, and their father went behind 
the counter and made them malted milk. The 
old man, who was owner of the store, gave 
the children an approving look and told 
them both to go and pick out a comic book. 
The books were gifts the old man did insist, 
and he proceeded to give a paycheck to 
father for his work as a pharmacist. With 
their business concluded, it was time to go 
back home, and mother was found 
purchasing a hair net and a comb. 

The gathering darkness had induced 
the slight appearance of the moon while the 
children gazed with sleepy eyes as they knew 
they would be home soon. The return trip 
home went by without a hitch, but upon 
their arrival there was a small glitch. Mother 



23 



calmly related with a sad looking pout, "I've 
forgotten my keys. I'm afraid we're locked 
out." 

Father said, 'The only way we can get 
in is the small round window overhead. The 
one that is placed well above the bed." He 
added, "The opening is only about as wide as 
my head. We'll have to let one of the children 
in to land upon the bed." He pulled the car 
around by the window and stood on a running 
board. He then mightily lifted Rose into the 
heights she soared. He pulled her back out for 
it was as he feared. It seems that sister Rose 
was slightly larger than she appeared. He 
turned to little Philip and asked, 'T need your 
help, little man. If you are up to the task, climb 
through the window if you can fit." 

"I can do it!" he said bravely. He was 
lifted up and put through the opening which 
resembled the number zero. He fell onto the 
bed with a thump and had visions of being a 
hero. Inside the house it was darker than he 
thought and through menacing shadows he 
fought. Waiting outside the front door were 
mother, father, and sister Rose, Philip had to 
reach and turn a knob on his tiptoes. "The 
knob will not turn," he said with a cry. 

Father calmly said, "I pushed the door 
slightly. Give it another try." 

This time the knob slowly turned and 
Philip sighed, "I was afraid it wouldn't open. 
I almost cried." His mother gave him a hug 
and a kiss. His sister just sneered with a hiss. 

Father said, 'Tin proud that you've 
done this." 

Kneeling at his bed to pray, Philip 
asked God for another exciting day like today. 
While a sliver of the moon was peeking 
through the bedroom curtain, Philip 
reminisced about the events of a day he would 
always remember for certain. 



41. Long Wait in Line 

Laurie Montgomery 

This tight collar is itching my skin 

I have to go potty 

I want a drink 

I don't want to sit on the fat man's lap 

At once I am thrust upon his red velvet pants 

I want to cry, but grin 

My bodily functions are relieved 

Merry Christmas Santie Claus! 



42. All for Fun 

Sheryl Mastalesh 

Rerun your childlike ways by spending 
a winter's day with a little one. Let the 
snowflakes dance on your face and try to 
catch them on your tongue. Harvest an icicle 
sword from a roof's edge for a duel or initial 
the snow angel that you make from your form 
as you flap cares away with your wings. Be 
the ruler of your own fort as you protect 
yourself from inevitable white cannon balls. 
Sculpt yourself a Michaelangelo snowman. 

But remember, this time melts away 
as quickly as the sun shrinks away the snow. 
And savor the warmth in your heart as you 
will the hot chocolate and heat of the house 
that revives your frozen body. 



24 



43. December Day 

Rita Bieniek 

It was a beautiful sunny December day 
and Carol's disposition was as bright as the 
white blanket covering her lawn. Carol was in 
an especially good mood today. The brief squall 
that passed through the area the night before 
had deposited its ritual Christmas offering at 
her door. "It's beginning to look alot like 
Christmas," she began to sing as she prepared 
the children's breakfast. 

Carol went into the living room to call 
her kids to the table and stopped to admire the 
twinkling, glittering tree that stood in front of 
the picture window facing the front yard. Carol 
was surprised when Jim, her husband, agreed 
to setting the Christmas tree up earlier than 
usual. Jim usually insisted that the tree go up 
no earlier than two weeks before Christmas 
Day, and he generally got his way. 

This Christmas seemed special to Carol. 
It was the first year since she and Jim had 
married that they could afford gifts. This year 
during the tree trimming there were no fights, 
arguments, or even bad words spoken. The 
children were all well, and it was the first year 
that she wouldn't have to worry about her 
mother visiting. 

Carol's children, Robin, Randy, and 
Mike, were dreaming aloud about the presents 
they were hoping to get soon. They finished 
their meal and deposited their dishes into the 
sink. The children got dressed, brushed their 
teeth, and dressed for the winter assault they 
would soon face. "Have a great day at school, 
kids," Carol said and kissed them each in turn. 
"Bye, Mom," Robin and Randy called at the 
same time as they whisked out the door. Mike 
just wiped the kiss off his cheek, smiled, and 
ducked out the door before Carol could kiss 
him one more time. ] 

Carol turned to admire the tree once 
again and went to the kitchen. After the dishes 



were done, she sat down at the table and 
sipped her coffee. "Have Yourself a Merry 
Little Christmas" was playing softly on the 
cassette. Carol agreed with Judy Garland that 
she would have a merry little Christmas this 
year. 

The song came to an end and Carol 
thought about growing up and the different 
holidays she had spent with her mom, dad, 
and two sisters. Christmas was usually a 
happy time then, although it was a pretend 
sort of happiness. Even as a small child, she 
could remember not wanting Christmas to 
end. Not because of the toys she would miss, 
but because the pretending would stop and 
life would continue as usual. 
Carol thought about her mother. She thought 
bitter thoughts about what she had endured 
from her mother. Carol was always being told 
that she was ugly, stupid, and that it was 
wished that she had never been born. Yet 
Carol loved the conveyor of these hurt-as- 
hard-as-fists words. 

Janice, Carol's mom, was one of those 
people who aren't happy unless they have 
something to complain about. And if there's 
nothing to complain about, she would make 
a situation turn out so she would have 
something to complain about. She did just 
that the previous August during her 
grandaughter's birthday. 

Carol's bitterness grew inside her as 
she relived that day in her mind. Carol's 
parents drove in from out of town for Robin's 
birthday. Carol's neck muscles tensed as soon 
as Janice was inside the house. "Why did you 
have the party early?" she began without 
saying hello. Jim introduced the rest of their 
guests to Janice and Carl. Janice bristled as 
soon as she was introduced to Lisa. Carol 
couldn't catch the first words Janice muttered, 
but she certainly heard the last — nigger. Carol 
was furious and embarrassed to think that 
Lisa had heard such a brutally cruel phrase 



25 



come out of her mother's mouth. Apparently 
Lisa was unaware of the remark. 

Carol took her mother under her arm 
and marched her into the kitchen. ''Who do 
you think you are coming into my house and 
insulting my friends? I have taken alot of crap 
from you for a long time and never bothered 
to fight because I knew it would be a losing 
battle, but if you can't act respectfully in my 
home, you're not welcome here." 

Then the tears came. Janice could turn 
on the tears as fast as the kids could turn the 
t.v. channel. This infuriated Carol even more. 

"I didn't do anything!" Janice lied. She 
was a very poor liar. "You're always so cruel 
to me," Janice whined. 

Janice walked into the playroom. 
"Robin, honey, you know I love you and 
Randy and Mike, but your mother is treating 
me so terribly that I have to leave right away," 
she said. "That's enough," said Carol. 'Twant 
you out of my house now." 

After spewing several obscenities at 
Jim, Janice stormed out the door. Carl followed 
right behind not uttering a word. That was 
just like Carol's father, he never stood up to 
Janice. Not many people did. 

Several days after the birthday party, 
Carol received a letter from her mother. Janice 
told Carol that she didn't have a daughter 
named Carol anymore, although she would 
make sure that she would be able to see her 
grandchildren, no matter what. 

Carol was angry and relieved to get 
the letter. Everything mat happened in life 
was always someone else's fault, not Janice's. 
At least Carol would finally have some peace 
in her life. 

The phone rang and startled Carol back 
to the present. "Carol, this is Darla, you'd 
better sit down." "Who died?" Carol answered 
back. "Mom died last night. She had a heart 
attack," Darla said. 

Darla relayed the events. Carol sat 
stunned. She wasn't sad about the news but 



she wasn't over-joyed either. She just sat and 
felt nothing. It was as if she hadn't even met 
the woman Darla was talking about. They 
finished the conversation and after a long 
pause said their good-byes. 

Carl had told Darla that Carol was not 
welcome at the funeral. Carol was relieved 
that she didn't have to make that decision 
herself. 

Carol sat in the silence for awhile. The 
holiday didn't seem so cheerful after all. Carol 
sat and thought about the timing of Janice's 
death. "Your timing is perfect after all, Mom, 
you haven't lost your touch for making a bad 
situation worse." 

That was three years ago. Carol's 
bitterness and grief have been eased by the 
medicine of time, but the Christmas holidays 
are still a little somber. 



44. Christmas 

Josh Dipert 

It is 

at this joyous 

time of the year that I 

realize that I haven't one 

true friend. 

45. Haiku 

Linda Flynn 

Snowflakes cloud my sight. 
Alone in this northern place, 
I find a flower. 

46. High Cue 

Philip Antinori 

For our time on earth, 
all the world is a poem. 
We are merely rhymes. 



26 



47. Christmas Toys 

Roger Lonergan 

The wind howled like a demon outside the 
windows of the old clapboard house, helping 
to drown out the sounds of the beating that 
was going on inside. Herbert Pinnick was in 
the middle of his holiday drunk and his 
children were catching the brunt of his anger. 
Herbert yelled and screamed, 'This is the 
fifth time inna week I told you worthless 
bastiches to do the fucking dishes! Did you 
do' em? No! You sat on your lazy asses all 
damn day why I slaved makin' money to put 
food on the table." 

Billy and Sally Mae sat huddled in the 
corner next to the old gas stove. Billy had 
taken the worst of the beating to protect his 
sister. He could feel the bruises start to form 
on his body and his side hurt, which probably 
meant a cracked rib. As he clutched his sister's 
mouth to keep his father from hearing her 
cries, he felt her tears mixing with the blood 
from her torn upper lip. In a vain attempt to 
block out his father's screaming Billy tried to 
think of his mother. Bernice Pinnick had died 
the previous spring in an automobile accident. 
Herbert had been driving drunk and blew a 
stop sign and hit another car. Since Berniece 
wasn' t around to receive the beatings, Herbert 
started on the children. Billy thought of all the 
times his mother came to them in the night 
sobbing and covered with bruises. She would 
tell her children that Daddy was really a good 
man. She would tell them their father was just 
sick and that he would soon be well again. 
Slowly Billy began to hate his father. It was 
like a snowball that had been pushed down a 
hill. Gradually the hate grew. Soon the only 
thing that Billy's world consisted of was the 
hate for his father. 

Billy did not feel his father's rough, 
calloused hands grab him and his sister. He 
was aware that they were being taken up to 



the attic, but he did not care. It was as if he was 
watching the whole scene from outside his 
body. The only thing that mattered to him 
was the hate for his father. It wasn't until his 
father shut the trap door to the attic that Billy 
snapped out of his stupor. Sally Mae was 
crying quietly in the corner. The attic was cold 
and dusty. The smells of mothballs and rat 
droppings wafted through the air. Billy held 
Sally Mae, more for her comfort than his. 
Feeling her shiver beneath him, he knew that 
he had to put aside his anger temporarily and 
find something to keep them warm lest they 
freeze. Looking around, he saw a large 
collection of their grandfather's things. 

Billy started rummaging through the 
pile of things knowing that there had to be 
something there. Their grandfather had spent 
most of his life travelling the world as a 
merchant marine, and he had an impressive 
collection of curiosities from around the world. 
Underneath several trunks that were labeled 
from places likeNew Guinea, Haiti, and Cairo, 
Billy found a large stack of blankets. As he 
tried to slide the blankets out from under the 
trunks, a mouse which had taken up residence 
under the blankets darted out. Startled, Billy 
jumped back, knocking over the trunks. Billy 
stumbled back as a stack of books fell on top 
of him. Sally Mae ran over to see if Billy was 
okay. 

"You alright Billy?" 

"Of course," giving her a gentle shove 
"geez ya'd think I was a girl or something." 

'Tm sorry," she sniffled. 

Putting a comforting hand around her, 
he said 'It's no big deal." 

Bending down, he picked up a couple 
of the books that were laying on the floor. 
They were all big heavy volumes. They had 
titles like The Golden Bough, Magick in Theory 
and Practice, and The Crystal Tablet of Set . 
Sally Mae picked up one of the books and 
started leafing through it. "This one has a 
funny picture in it." 



27 



Reaching over, Billy took the book 

from his sister and began to look through it. It 

was full of odd diagrams and strange writing 

that Billy couldn't even decipher. Slowly the 

writing began to warp and change. It looked 

to Billy that the ink was crawling. Soon the 

text appeared to be written in English. The 

page he was looking at was the beginning of 

the chapter called "On the Magician and 

Vengeance". As Billy began to read the 

passages a slow smile began to spread across 

his face. Sally Mae wrapped herself tightly in 

one of the blankets and backed away from 

Billy into one of the corners of the room. She 

didn't know what it was, but Billy scared her. 

Billy read on. 

******* 

Downstairs, Herbert Pinnick was 

watching the Bronc and they were losing. 

Casually, he scratched his crotch and farted. 

Nothing like a good beer fart. Especially when 

it was Milwaukee's Best. He smiled. Damn 

kids thought they were smart. Well, the little 

bastards can't pull one over on me. Not 

Herbert Pinnick, no Siree Bob. First a good 

whoopin' and then the attic. That'll keep'em 

quiet. As he reached for another beer, he 

heard a loud scraping sound from the attic. 

Little fuckers better shut up. "You little fuckers 

better SHUT UP!" The noise stopped. God, 

I'm a great father. 

******* 

Billy stopped moving the chests when 
his father yelled. He didn't see the need in 
aggravating his father before he was finished. 
The attic was bathed in the yellow light of an 
old Coleman lantern. Sally Mae was huddled 
in the corner swaddled in blankets. She 
watched her brother scurry about the attic 
collecting various items from her 
grandfather's chests and draw funny 
squiggles around the room. Finally her 
curiousity got the best of her. 

"Watcha doin' Billy?" 

He stared up from the circle he was 



drawing. I"m going to get help." 

Looking at him confusedly she said, 
"How ya gonna call anyone without a phone?" 

Stopping, he stood up and gave her an 
exasperated look. 'This book' 11 send someone. 
It says so. Now stand back. I'm ready." 

Sally was about to open her mouth 
when Billy opened the book and began to 
read aloud: 

Lucifer, Belial, Asmodeus, Leviathen 

I the enemy of the Hebrew God call 

you forth. Satan, Dispater, Lord of Flies 

My heart is black. Slay my foe. Take his 
soul to your black realm. 

Come, I call you. 

When Billy shut the book it sounded 
like a clap of thunder. Sally started to sob. The 
dust in the attic began to swirl. It spun faster 
and faster until Sally thought she was going 
to choke. She couldn't see Billy anymore, but 
she thought she could hear him laughing. 
Then the dust slowly began to come together 
in the center of the circle Billy had drawn. 
Slowly, it formed into a large creature. The 
thing's body was made of dust. It had a 
powerful body and large bat wings. Sally 
wanted to but she couldn't tear her eyes from 
it. Nothing. She could feel nothing. Paralyzed 
with fear, she could only sit and stare. 

"I have been summoned by a CHILD! 
Speak quickly lest ye be thrown to the Fiends 
of Ghenna." 

Billy didn't know what to do after a 
few seconds he stuttered "K..Ki..Kill my dad." 

The demon seemed taken aback by 
this. "That is all? Will you meet the price I 
ask?" 

"Sure. What is it?" 

Laughing, the demon vanished in a 

large cloud of dust. Suddenly Billy felt very 

afraid. 

******* 

The Broncs had lost, he was out of 
beer, and now there was more noise coming 
from the attic. Herbert Pinnick stood up and 



28 



started toward the stairs. Damn kids! I'm 
gonna learn' em not to make noise! As he 
started up the stairs, he heard a noise coming 
from the corner of the living room. Stuffed in 
a corner next to the radiator were some 
presents that the neighborhood church group 
had given the children for Christmas. It was 
well known throughout the community of 
Briar Cliff that Pinnick abused his children. 
Nobody wanted to believe it though. Good 
God-fearing Christians didn't do that. What 
little relief the community gave to the children 
was given in the form of a turkey at 
Thanksgiving, candy at Easter, and of course 
Christmas presents. 

Staring wide-eyed, Herbert Pinnick 
watched as one of the packages began to rattle 
and shake. The package was being torn from 
the inside out. Long arms reached out and 
pulled out the body they were attached to. 
The Bunky the Clown doll that Sally Mae had 
gotten crawled out of its box. Its features were 
warped and twisted. The face no longer bore 
the usual happy clown face, but it had a 
maniacal grin that held thousands of needle- 
like teeth that dripped a viscous green liquid. 
He wanted to scream, he really did. Nothing 
would come out though. The only thing he 
could do was stand and stare. More toys 
began to burst out of the pleasant holiday 
wrappings and start to stalk towards him. 
The toy soldiers given to Billy by the Mclntyre 
family took position behind the clown in an 
orderly, military fashion. Their stoic faces 
were replaced by the white bone of skeletons. 
J ain't seein' this shit. How can I be seeiri this? I 
ain't nofuckin' alky. 

By now the retinue of toys was joined 
by the zombie-like forms of Hunk Man and 
Power Woman. Herbert started to giggle. The 
skeleton soldiers knelt and took aim with 
their miniature rifles, took aim, and fired. 
Small red blotches stitched across his chest. 
They felt like dozens of tiny bee stings. Herbert 
Pinnick started to laugh. Hunk Man and 



Power Woman drew their swords and slashed 

his Achilles' Tendons. Falling to the ground, 

he roared with laughter. This ain't happening 

I'm gonna wake up with one helluva hangover. 

It was the clown's turn. Bunky walked 

up to Herbert very casually. Hey pal, want 

some Milwaukee's Best. It tastes like shit goin 

down, but it feels great comin out your asshole. 

Tears blurred Herbert's vision as he laughed. 

To him, it looked as if the clown was opening 

its mouth to laugh. Then Herbert knew what 

was happening. The clown lunged at him. 

Trying to scream, he only gurgled as hot red 

blood poured from his open throat. 
******* 

The two children sat huddled together 
in the attic. They heard their father laugh like 
mad, then he had stopped. Not sure of the 
time, they sat up in the cold silence of the attic 
for what seemed like hours. 

"Is everything okay Billy?" 

Unsure, Billy turned to look at his 
sister. 

"Sure, why?" 

"If s awfully quiet, that's all," she 
replied. 

Before Billy could come up with a reply 
that would calm his sister, the wind started to 
blow the dust about the room. As before, the 
demon formed itself from the dust particles 
and stared at the children. 

"It is done." 

Sally Mae burrowed deeper into her 
blanket as if to hide from this monster. Billy 
managed the courage to speak. "What do you 
want?" 
The demon stared at him in mild amusement. 

"What is due me." 

Quizzicly, Billy asked "What do you 
want?" 

The demon only laughed in reply. 
Vanishing back into the dust from where it 
came, leaving the children alone in the attic 
puzzled. With a creak the door to the attic 
stairs opened. Billy and Sally Mae retreated to 



29 



the corner. At first, Billy thought maybe a 
large group of rats had managed to open the 
door and that they were heading up the stairs. 
Then the toys appeared. Billy and Sally Mae 
screamed. Then they stopped. 



crawl, and have their own potties. 

The toy trucks aren't just push models 
but remote and the lists of the children are so 
costly that Santa and the former Mrs.Claus 
who have divorced but are still business 
partners have had to resort to corporate 
funding and donations. 

I still like the magic of the SaintNicholas 
from long ago. And I hope that he is nice to me 
this Christmas. 



48. HO HO HO 



Sheryl Mastalesh 

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas comes from 
an era long ago. But I wonder if he would 
have originated in the present day what he 
would be like. 

He probably would be wearing a red 
jogging suit and running shoes. He might 
have a mustache but no beard and his long 
hair would be tied back in a tail. Of course he 
would color his hair and not leave it white. 
His round little belly would have been 
trimmed away from his workouts at the gym. 

The sleigh and reindeer would be 
replaced by a red 4x4 and the reindeer would 
have been put out to pasture by the Animal 
Cruelty Society. Jingle Bells would include 
the lines that are being bellowed by the first 
graders today. 'Jingle bells, Batman smells, 
Robin laid an egg." Ho, ho, ho would resound 
as Yo Dude, as he fills the tennies that foot the 
bill for the stockings. 

Kids would probably leave a taco from 
the Bell or a Big Mac from Mac's for Santa as 
a treat. Of course, the Atheists would definitely 
want him called Santa instead of Saint 
Nicholas. 

Instead of climbing down the 
chimneys, he would have a special automatic 
door opener that would allow him to enter 
houses. The toys that he would deliver would 
be the dolls of the present time that don't just 
say "Mama" but they roller blade, talk, walk, 



49. Permanence 



Sean T. Clark 



At 75 1 see The Leaf fluttering in the wind. 

It vibrates like those houses in the A-bomb testing 

films. 

No, it flutters as a leaf wedged in a crevice of a 

wiper blade of a car traveling 75 mph would. 

Nevertheless, to my amazement, it does not give. 

At any second I expect it to break free — but it 

doesn't. 

I begin to wonder "How could it become wedged 

there so firmly?" As if The Hand had placed The 

Leaf there by grand design. 

I know I would have trouble holding on to a car 

going 75. 

With each passing day, I return to my car and 

smile — The Leaf is still there. 

Tattered, crumbling, disintigrating, The Leaf, its 

stem still firmly wedged, refuses to yield. 

Hundreds of miles, inclement weather, the car 

wash, cannot dislodge The Leaf. 

Just when I begin to believe The Leaf is inevitable, 

invincible, OMNIPOTENT, it is gone, as silently 

as it came. 

This is when I realize The Leaf is just the leaf, just 

as the me is also The Me. 



30 



50. A Kite 

Jim Goebel 



If I were a kite, I could 



fly 



high 



to the sky. 



Fake flowers 
Don't fade 



51. Falsity 

Laura Maxwell 

Won't die 
Can't bloom 



52. Blossoms 

Laurie Montgomery 

Colors were vivid 

Delicate vision 

Violet, yellow and blue 

A prism of perfection 

Beauty I'd never before seen 

I bent to smell their perfume 

The fragrant inexistent 

They were filled with artificial doom 



53. Just Another Trust Fall 

Kathy Franke 

"Stand backward on this stump," 
she said and smiled, as I cringed, 
"Then let go and fall! As you do 
yell out * falling'." she finished 

Another "trust fall;" supposedly 
creating trust in our misfit group 
"FALLING" I managed to choke out 
around the fear in my throat 

"CATCHING" chorused behind me 
as I willed my body rigid and 
landed in the arms of co-horts. 
All laughed in relief and trust was born. 

"FALLING" he must have screamed 
as gravity claimed his body. 
And the wind swirled around his body, 
the only one to whisper, "CATCHING" 

Trees replaced human arms 

and another trust fall was completed. 

"Do you trust me?" God asked 

and all nodded as death bore eternal life. 



31 



54. Be Still 

Mary Juricic 

Be still - be still 
and listen to me... 

There was a time 
when I knew not God. 

It was a time when... 

I could not sleep. 

Discontent was my constant companion. 

Pride and prejudice was my make-up. 

Stress and anxiety clothed my nerves. 

Greed my daily diet. 

Fear the Goliath of my mind. 

Anger filled my ventricles. 

Jealousy my green-eyed monster. 

Worry drained my energy. 

Happiness was an illusion. 

Then, a voice I heard; 

"Be still - be still and listen to Me." 

I listened, I heard 
and now I'm free. 



55. Judgement Day 

Josh Dipert 

My pastor looked at me today, 

And asked what he could do. 

I said, "I need some answers, 

answers I need from you." 

"When Judgement Day arrives, 

whose standards will God use? 

Will they be those of the Moslem creed, 

or the Christian or the Jew? 

Is majority rule always the right, 

or one supported by few? 
Yes, my preacher and my friend, 
these are questions I ask of you." 

"Why are you so silent? 

Is there something I should do? 

If not, then my preacher, 

I shall continue." 

'Tell me, is there a heaven? 

Are those rumors true? 

If so, will I meet you there? 

If not, what should I do? 

Am I doomed to Hell for sins, 

Or will God forgive me too? 

If not, will you tell me 
Why He is forgiving you? 

"Why are you so silent? 

Is there something I can do? 

If not, then my preacher, 

I will continue." 

"Did Jesus live and die for me, 
or did He only die for you? 
Do miracles really happen? 
Please tell me that it's true. 
If I find out they don't exist 
I don't know what I'll do. 

Convince me there's a Savior, 

and His love is pure and true. 
If you succeed in all of this 

Then I can believe, like you." 

At this he turned and walked away, 

left me without reply. 

So now I sit and ask myself 

why he didn't even try. 



32 



56. We Meet Today In This Great Church 

(Text for a hymn tune) 

Martha Sayles 

We meet today in this great church, to celebrate God's grace. 
Good gifts to us so freely giv'n, let us respond in place. 
Gifts of the heartland, rivers wide, all folk of evr'y race. 
We give to you, Jehovah, our thanks, as stand we now in praise. 

Jesus the Shepherd of our hearts, He will supply our needs, 
let each one ask for Jesus' strength, to shoulder worldly deeds. 
The beauty of this sacred place, gives voice for God's own Son. 
Jesus, be thou our helper now, to see God's will be done. 

Go forth in love to do good work, now let God's spirit lead. 
A spirit nourished in this church, that all can say indeed 
Past, present and the future church, will show to us the way, 
We now go forth our hearts enriched, for life to be lived today. 



57. Proverbs 10:12 

Laurie Montgomery 

We are different in what we perceive 
We must be equal in what we believe 
end prejudice 

We cannot condemn one's color skin 
We can take practice in religion 
End Prejudice 

Do not bellow in the ignorance of society 
Use intelligence to maintain ethical propriety 

END PREJUDICE 

We are all different in what we perceive 
We must be equal in what we believe 
end prejudice 



33 



58. Sleep 

Tim Eckert 

I walk, 

feeling lost in the night, 

Looking for answers, 

In the shadows that come to life, 

I surrender, 

To the spirit of dreams, 

let him lead the way to my memories. 



59. Nightmares 

Janine Passehl 

i didn't want to dream of you 
you invaded my sleep 
like a nightmarish monster 
obscene laughter gurgling forth 
from deep within your throat 
mocking sweet sounds of 
innocence and naivety 

wake up 

running faster in search of escape 
feeling your stagnant breath 
hot upon my neck 
fangs scraping my flesh 
unable to hold on 

wake up 

nowhere to run nowhere to hide 

i turn to confront the beast 

and surrender to that 

which has invaded my sleep 

never to awaken. 



60. Whispers of Memory 

Rhonda Muir 

Linens laced with the scent of lavender 
White goose-down comforter 
and pillows - all white with 
brief brushes of silken colours. 

The scent of roses, long dead, 
the memory of sounds heard 
in what was joyful youth - 
but now no more. 

The soft coolness of silk and satin 
trimmed in lace and ribbons. 
The delight of whispering, light, 
finger-touches of memory as they gently 
beckon, invading my mind and taking 
me back - 

soon now, 
I won't have to leave them anymore. 



61. Surprises 

Mary Frances Lund 

a single red rose 

a bouquet of mini-carnations 

a poem hidden in my drawer 

a card on my pillow 

a note tucked in my coffee cup 

a weekend at Jumers 

cancer 

SURPRISE! 



34 



62. Valentine's Day 

Jim Goebel 

i 

sent 

a 

valentine 

today 

and 

when 

she 

tore 

it, 

i 

bled. 



63. "R" Love 

Kathy Franke 

Ripples are formed in the Realm of our Relationship 

and Reality's Rugged fingers 

force a quake that separates us. 

Righteous anger overwhelms Reason 

causing Rancid words to Ring loudly. 

pulses Race and Rage Radiates from her being 

as i struggle to Right that wrong with words, 

but Raw pain wells in her eyes 

as she Reacts to my explanation. 

Romance becomes degrading and Roses Rot 

my Ruined attempts to Recapture what I destroyed 

cause me to Retreat, 

and Ruthlessly the Ripples never cease. 



64. Words 

Derek Shaw 

They say that everything will be alright, but is it ever true? 
How could anyone know what I went through? 

Unless you were there, how can you comment? 
For all you know, it could be a god sent. 

They say that we have freedom, but who is ever free? 
For death can come knocking, and take you or me. 

They say that love conquers all, but if s always the country 
With the most weapons who never takes the fall. 

So words are nice to hear or say, 

As long as you don't let them get in the way. 



35 



. 



66. The Taste of Words 



Rhonda Muir 



letters, s 



ou 



65. Happy Birthday 

Kathy Jones 

I came to you I offered you a gift - a token 

Of our friendship 

But I think you misunderstood 

My intentions. 

Happy Birthday, I said. I think 

You heard 

"I love you." 

And it scared you. 

It scared me, too... 

Because I think you were right. 

And it frightens me when I don't know 

If I really meant it or not. 

Maybe - deep down - there's a part 

That still cares 

About you and what you think 

Of me 

Of my gift 

And of Happy Birthday. 



nd bles -> words 

s, la 
syl 
la 
bles -> words 
Tumbling 'round in my mind - 
like smooth, round pebbles 
whose shape is given to them by 
the tumbling of the waters in which they lie - or 
jagged-edged rocks that were 
ripped from their resting place by some chaotic 
upheaval. 

Words. 

Songs. 

Sentences. 

Showcases for the tip of the tongue. 

A powerful tool, 

piercing, dividing, healing. 

Giving life 

OR 
Bringing death 

to the hearer — and to the speaker. 
Words 

s 
ou a 

nd r s 

she 
phrases. 
I taste them, 

I roll them 'round and 'round 
on my tongue, 
in my mouth, 
in my mind, 
in my heart. 

I touch them - and use them. 
Only to find that I have been touched. 
Changed. 
Forever. 



36 



67. Silent Discourse 

Mary Frances Lund 

Faithful friends — 

You grieve with me, but my pain makes you uncomfortable. 
You try to comfort but offer platitudes 
and spiritual band-aids. 
You search for words when none will come 
and falter when you speak his name. 

Say it loudly so I can hear. 
Share your memories and 
let me share mine. 

Laugh with me when laughter beckons. 
If tears fill your eyes, let them fall. 
Offer a shoulder when I need to lean. 
If I lean too much, prop me up. 
Don't avoid me because you have no answers — 
there are none, and I will learn to live 
without them. 

Tolerate my fury at grief's chaos. 
Share my triumph when I take a small step alone. 
Let me tell you how I loved him, and 
remind me how he loved me. 
Recognize that we were one 
and that watching him die 
was easier than living without him. 
Hold my hand as I learn to trust again. 



68. Rage 

Josh Dipert 

Occasionally 

I run across something that frightens me, 

a mysterious creature that seems to be violence itself, 

which I have met and fought several times, 

each time losing something dear to me. 

I have seen his soul personified in his eyes, those 

horrible black balls that are mere decoration 

as he is blind. 

Blind to the damage he leaves in his wake 

he lashes out without caution, without thought, 

and without motive, 

acting only on his outdated instincts. 

I know this beast well. 

It is called My Self. 



69. Anger's Release 

Lynn Meredith 

Angry green waves, black with low 
white caps wash back and forth like a washing 
machine. They are angry, out of control, killing 
green. They are lives-lost green, lives 
drowned, washed away, sucked down into 
the hatred and the fear, a whirlpool of disgust 
and pain. They speak of ancient ships lost, 
sails cracking, screams and terror of simple 
men. No one knew it would end like this. My 



37 



toes are not safe. I may fall overboard and be 
washed and drawn away into the morass, 
unable to breathe or scream out. No one would 
hear. It would be my own defeat, me alone 
and silent, knowing there's no use in fighting. 
Let it go. I need to let go, to stop clinging and 
clutching. I don't want to be eaten, devoured 
by creatures I can't see. The winds and waves 
are worse. Ifs no use.... 

The power of the sea gives me strength. 
I feel I can touch the frantic anger. I can strike 
out and whip around like the sea. I am the sea. 
I am the power of anger and hatred. I will 
storm. My gales pierce all around me. I 
destroy. I am God angry with the universe. I 
will rage, kill, and sweep all away, out of my 
way. I am power for power's sake. 

I feel slowing winds....waves finding 
a rhythm to soothe me.. .green growing 
friendlier. ..the washing machine 
domesticating itself. I am rocking, back and 
forth, rolling up and down with the full, 
whole tide, round and continuous. I am one 3- 
D ball of Form with smooth sides and an inner 
core, moving as one constant, gradually filling 
and then subsiding entity. I hear the sighs of 
tides. All is relief, comforting and gentle. It is 
no longer the black and green froth of 
disjointed anger. It is now emerald green, no 
blue yet but beautiful in its descent. There are 
high rolls and no peaks, curves, and swells, 
rocking the child to an exhausted rest. I am 
stunned with the release. I am floating, unable 
to care. I feel only acceptance and release. 

I move toward the silence of sleep, a 
true sleep that gives me the release I sought. 
I am no longer so tired. I don't feel the 
desperation of bed or drink. I've returned for 
the moment and can walk the shore looking 
for shells and wood, trace lines with my big 
toe, write my name and stomp it out. I could 
wait for the tide to erase whatever I say. I pick 
up clumps of wet sand and smear myself with 
them. Then I wash them off. Whatever I do 
can be redone - again and again. Nothing is 



permanent. No damage is so strong that the 
ocean can't wash it off. And I will remain. I 
will still be here. I'm on land now, not lost in 
the waves. I might even be able to go into the 
sea and be washed around without a feeling 
of panic. Then again, maybe not... 



70. Deer Journal III 

Margaret Carroll Redmond 

Where do the deer go in the day? 
Often I have surprised upon them 
At dusk, we have ridden as one of them, 
The gray mare and I, but their 
Day life only dusted wonder. 

Today, I finally saw them 

At high noon. 

They marched across the pasture, 

in broad daylight, 

Like migratory Indians, 

Carrying all their earthly 

Belongings; a white tail, 

A hunger for grass and 

A propensity 

To startle. 



38 



71. Of Football Games and Love 

Lynn Meredith 

In my memory softly muted edges, ringed with haze 

from autumn fires, 
The times were brightly colored like the teams. 
Yellow Homecoming mums, powder puffs, decked 

the bosoms of pompon girls rustling orange 

plastic tinsel to pep band bleats. 

Kicking leaves, holding hands down the streets 

of a college town. 
Strains of love, talks of Change and Life 
Fringes of a moment impressed in splashes of color. 

The pool this fall has turned once more, so soon. 
Its full blue greened in the slanting light. 
The air is harsher even in its warmth, taking 

us forward, in real time. 
Summer ends with football games and love 
Brightly remembered. 

72. Catch 22 

Cheryl O'Brien 



Life takes 

too long 

to live it. 

Always too young 

to do one thing 

too old to do another. 

Act your age! 

Tell me, 

how do people my age act? 

Do you even know? 

Do you even remember? 



The workers of today 

are paying for the 

Social Security 

of yesterday's workers 

Where did the money go & 

who's going to pay my 

Social Security? 

I'll grow old and have 

a family 

Just to hit a brick wall in 

my memory later and never 

remember my young life. 



39 



73. Christine Falling 

Chris Savini 

Sometimes she stares up at my window 

I only wish she would go home 

She sings to me about the nighf s events ahead 

Tonight a' murdering she goes 

She threw blood upon my window 

And this time I hope ifs hers 

She rants to me about the joys of baby-killing 

She begs for freedom from her curse 

Now I'm writhing in my bed 

Only to awake with her hand upon my head 

I stare into her sunken eyes 

The face of Christine falling 

Christine falling 

From my door I hear her calling to me 

Christine falling 

From my bed I hear her coming for me 

And tonight I fear 

God and His grace have gone and left me 

And tonight I'll die 

Beneath a pillow she crafted just for me 



74. Somewhere Girl 

Tony McFadden 

Smooth beauty 

ease over me, 

interlock and intertwine 

forever now your soul is mine, 

my soul is yours, 

we live as one, 

loving life has just begun. 



75. Outside 

Chris Bernal 

Faltering beauties 

they cry 

like egg-drop 

sun beams through display glass 

Cool fountainy youth 

in morning's shade 

still wet hair 

tangling vines disturbed by laughter 

wrought iron, and water 
sculptures of the industrial artist 
the unkown purveyor 
of many comforts 

overgrowth and concrete 
drawing with words 
like stub dull pencils 
I doodle with diction 
and insight 

Blonde maidens 
with coarse golden gardens 
knowingly tease unknowingly 
they prance under shame 

Alone in the sun 

waiting for someone to come 

mesmerized by trees 



40 



76. Facade 

Mary Frances Lund 

"You're so resilient." 

(would you rather I fall apart?) 

"I could never be that strong." 
(appearances can be deceiving) 

"You look so good!" 
(how should I look?) 

If I were fragile, 

unable to function, 

dressed in sackcloth and ashes, 

would you feel more comfortable? 
would you let me cry? 



77. Plastic Offerings 

Mary Frances Lund 

Don't say 

"If you need anything, call" — 

I'm not made that way. 

Don't ask 

"How are you?" 

if you don't want to know. 

Don't say 

"I know how you feel." 

Chances are, you don't. 

Don't try 

to rob me of my grief. 
It 
tells 
me 
I'm 

alive. 



78. Trespass 

Janine Passehl 

you may enter, but only 

at your own risk, 
slowly and with 

trepidation, 
cautiously, careful not to 

disturb the stillness, 
the windowless black walls are 

bare save for hanging 

tapestries of heavy brocade 

covered in dust 
while the corners are 

strewn with cobwebs - 
predatory creatures 

ensnaring all innocence that 

dare come too near, 
take care where you step, 

the floor is carpeted with 

long-stemmed roses whose 
thorns cut like 

broken glass. 

above all else, do not 

close the door 
or risk an eternity locked in this 

empty room of 
my heart. 



79. Untitled 

Janine Passehl 

Chasing these 

Haunting images which 

Render me helpless 

I embrace the 

Soul of 

The 

One 

who can inspire 

Passion and Hope 

in this 

Endless cycle of 

Regrets. 



41 



80. My Golden Retriever was a Werewolf 

Shellie Smith 

I was standing in the garden, watering 
my kohlrabi patch when my dog trotted up 
with a bone bigger and longer than any I had 
seen in my life clamped in his jaws. He's big, 
even for a golden retriever, and his jaws have 
quite a grip. "Amadeus," I 

hollered over to him, "don't you go and tear 
up our yard. Barbara will kill you." My wife 
wouldn't of course, but she would yell so 
much that the resulting headache I'd get just 
might do me in. Luckily, Amadeus knows 
better. He continued across our yard to the 
back field wagging his tail all the way. The 
back field is his territory and anything he 
wants, or needs, to do, he can do back there. 

Amadeus held that strange bone tight 
the whole time he worked at the ground 
digging a hole around for it. With big paws 
flying, he excavated his way down through 
grass roots and soil. It wasn't long before he 
refilled his pit and sauntered up to me with 
his tail still in motion and his tongue lolling 
out the side of his mouth. By this time I was 
sitting on the back porch. 

"You should take out a safe-deposit 
box at the bank and save yourself the trouble," 
I told him, but he wasn't interested in 
investment advice. He wanted his ears to be 
scratched, and he wasn't going to take his 
head off my lap until he got petted. 

Later that evening, I stood in the 
kitchen looking out across the yard to where 
Amadeus hid that bone. What kind of bone 
was it that could be so big and from what 
animal? I decided to find out. 

I wrapped the steak bone from dinner 
in tin foil and put it in my jacket pocket, then 
I got the big flashlight out of the pantry. 
Curiosity is a marvelous thing in its capacity 
for being contagious. First I caught it, then it 
spread to my wife. 



"Roy, what are you doing?" Barbara 
had come into the kitchen from behind. 
Amadeus had followed her. I listened to his 
nails clicking across the kitchen's linoleum 
floor. 

"I'm just going to check the rat traps 
around the shed, then head over to Jim's for 
awhile." 

"Okay," she agreed with a smirk. 
Wrinkles bunched up around her brown eyes 
and the corners of her fine mouth as she 
brushed strands of greyed hair out of her face. 
She knew I was just tinkering around with 
something as an excuse to get out of the house 
before going off to drink beer with a buddy. 

Exhuming the bone only took a 
minute. The soil was loose as I picked through 
it with the little trowel Barbara uses for her 
flower beds. To be fair, or at least more 
chivalrous than a common thief, I unwrapped 
the steak bone and put it in the hole before I 
refilled it. 

"I don't know what kind of critter it 
is," Jim confessed after a flurry of guesses and 
at least three beers. 

"If you want to know about bones, go 
ask Gill. He's the mighty big game hunter 
around here. Or go to the bowling alley and 
dig up old Doc Barrington's bones and ask 
him." 

Being the least offensive of the two 
choices given, I went and asked the Doc the 
next day, but to no avail. He couldn't identify 
the bone but gave me his assurance that it 
wasn't a person's, which was a relief. The 
paranoid idea that it could be part of some 
missing kid or murder case had been fluttering 
around in my mind since I first saw it. 

At that point, I could have just flung 
that dirty bone in the river, but I didn't. The 
subject was no pressing matter, yet curiosity 
had enough of a grip on me for me to go over 
to Gill's house that evening. No one ever goes 
over to Gill's house of their own volition. 



42 



Gill is pretty arrogant. He tends to 
brag a lot and tell long-winded tales of his 
hunting triumphs and tragedies. People 
wonder how his wife can stand to live with 
him. I'm one of them. 

Gill came to the door with a rumble, 
his black hair tousled, a slight paunch filling 
out the lumberjack red flannel he was wearing. 

"Roy, how are ya!" he bellowed and 
pulled me in the house with a rough 
handshake, repeatedly slapping me on the 
shoulder. 

"Good to see ya! Come on in. Have a 
seat." After several minutes of bustling around 
and fussing, he finally settled into a chair in 
the living room. It was his own, personal Laz- 
E-Boy throne, the center of his cabin castle. I 
perched on the end of his couch. 

"What can I do ya for?" he asked, 
eyeing the burlap package. I handed it to him. 

"I was wondering if you could tell me 
what kind of animal this belongs to, Gill." He 
studied the bone in earnest. 

"Where' d you get it?" he asked. 

"My dog, Amadeus, dragged it home 
the other day." At this, Gill started laughing. 

"I thought you used that ol' retriever 
dog of yours to hunt ducks, Roy. Seems like 
he up and got tired of ducks. This here is a 
deer's leg bone." He continued to chuckle. 

"A deer? You're sure." 

"Sure I'm sure. I've boned, jointed, 
and skinned enough of them in my lifetime to 
know," he said. 'There are more than enough 
woodlands near town to support deer. They 
tend to wander from the forest preserve from 
time to time. Your dog musfve come across a 
carcass while tramping around in the woods. 
Don't look so serious! I doubt if s anything 
he'll get sick off of." 

With my little mystery cleared, I 
resigned myself to listening to Gill's epics 
detailing his mastery of the wild. He had just 
finished the fourth tale and was heading into 
a fifth when I excused myself and headed 



home. 

I would have forgotten the whole thing 
if Amadeus had not brought home another 
big bone like the first one. It was exactly like 
the first one, a duplicate, so I knew he didn't 
just return to the same carcass and retrieve 
another leg bone. Amadeus soon started 
bringing home more and more bones, all 
different kinds. Very often they were fresh, 
with reddish meat or hide still attached to 
them. It got to the point where I was calling 
the back field "the cemetery." I'll be darned if 
that dog didn't bring something home every 
week, practically every other day. I had gone 
to the library and photocopied all sorts of 
animal skeletons. I kept the photocopies in a 
green folder on my workbench in the garage 
and kept track of just what Amadeus' haul 
was. The skeleton pictures weren't much use, 
though, because if it was small enough, he'd 
drag the whole kill home. There was one 
twelve day span where he brought home ten 
cats, four rabbits, and even a squirrel. 

I admit this was very strange, but 
Amadeus was a good dog. Other than the 
bones and such, I didn't notice anything else 
peculiar about him. He was still a friendly 
dog, quick to slobber on my hand and thump 
his tail on the carpet or dance around when I 
came home from work. So he was more of a 
hunting dog than I credited him for. Golden 
retrievers were bred for that sort of thing, 
weren't they? Barbara never knew about the 
graveyard, but she did notice that Amadeus 
was not eating very much of his dry dog food. 
She insisted we take him to the vet. The vet 
only gave him a brief check-up and suggested 
we try giving him canned dog food for a 
change. Then he charged us fifty dollars for 
the visit and reminded us to come back for his 
rabies vaccination in the fall. I told my wife 
not to worry too much, dogs tend to slim up 
in the summer and Amadeus might just be 
reacting to the hot weather. 



43 



Months later, I finally was made to 
truly realize exactly what I was dealing with. 
The cute puppy I had bought for Barbara's 
birthday was flat-out homicidal. 

I kept reading the back columns of the 
local newspapers. Sure enough, there were 
times where Amadeus' corpses showed up. 
All the cats from certain neighborhoods had 
disappeared or been found mutilated and 
people were blaming it on a Satanic cult 
rumored to exist in the area. Out-of-state 
tourists kept coming across dead, decayed, 
partially eaten deer on their nature hikes 
through the forest preserves. And the 
cemetery, kept by Amadeus, kept plenty full. 

Then one evening, Amadeus finally 
got busted. John Mansfield's widow, Florence, 
called screaming across the phone lines loud 
enough for me to hear her in the next room. 
Poor Barbara had answered the phone and 
was baffled. 

"Here give it to me," I snapped, full of 
nervous dread. "Now what's wrong, Flo? 
Calm down!" 

"The hell I will!" she shrieked 
hysterically. "That yellow mutt is yours! I 
know it is! It got my poodle! It killed Sashi, 
and I'm going to kill it right now! You tell 
Barb I'm going to blow its head off!" She was 
still howling as I slammed down the receiver. 
Barbara hovered in the background, worried. 

"Whaf s going on?" she demanded, 
but I didn't answer. I was running out the 
door and in my pick-up truck before she 
knew it. Racing to Florence's place, all I could 
think of was what a flighty old bat she was 
and how her temperment was not improving 
with age. To top it off, John Mansfield made 
the grand mistake of teaching his wife how to 
use a rifle, and I knew damn well that she 
could make good on her threat to blast 
Amadeus. 

I got to Florence's and strode up to the 
white picket fence that edged her yard. What 



was left of her toy poodle was strewn across 
her lawn. What was left of Florence herself 
was sprawled across the front porch, the stairs, 
and the front walkway slicked and splattered 
with blood. She had been raked and shredded 
by what could be either teeth or claws. My 
stomach and body convulsed and I found 
myself getting sick in her lilac bush. 

On shaky legs, I was able to make it 
back to my truck without passing out. I pulled 
my gun out from beneath the seat, not a rifle 
but a handgun, and loaded it with Winchester 
Silver- tips. The bullets are something you can 
buy right off the shelf in any respectable gun 
shop and made with real silver. I set to the 
task. 

"Amadeus!" I called, then called again 
with more confidence, trying to sound natural. 
I let out a burst of short, sharp whistles. I crept 
around the back of the house and saw signs of 
digging. I continued to call, and just as I was 
going into the third yell, Amadeus rounded 
the corner of the back fence. 

He stood looking at me, not showing 
any outward hostility or friendship. His 
muzzle and chest were rusty with drying 
blood. It seemed he didn't even recognize me. 
I called him over and eventually, slowly, stiffly 
he came. The gun's weight swung heavily in 
my loose right arm. I got a careful look at him 
without going too close to him. The old widow 
got one good shot in before going down, right 
through Amadeus' throat. There was no way 
that dog should be either standing, walking, 
or breathing. I was filled with hatred and rage 
that my own animal could have done this. 
That I could have let this animal live to kill so 
many others, and now, a person. God, what if 
he'd gone after Barbara? 

With this last thought, I brought the 
gun up and started firing shots into the dog. 
Amadeus rushed me with a savage snarl and 
tried to leap, but I managed to nail his head 
with the last shot, causing him to stagger and 
slump to the ground with a whine, motionless. 



44 



Now, nearly six months later, things 
have returned back to what Barb and I accept 
as normal. The last bit of fuss with the 
authorities ended a long time ago and that 
cuss of a local tabloid seems to have forgotten 
we exist. I was settling down in bed, tired, a 
little sore from work, and fully ready to fall 
into a deep sleep when it occurred to me that 
Amadeus had sired at least half a dozen pups 
with Mike Adam's black Labrador two or 
three years ago. 



81. Tank 



Chris Savini 



Little water world of my creation 

Bubbles in my bedroom, 

Fills the walls with waving luminescence. 

Inside my children dance 

Gracefully through a silent sea. 



82. Personals 

Cheryl O'Brien 

"Herald News Personals Section." 

"I'd like to place a Singles Ad," she replied. 

"Ok. The ad is $7.50 per inch. We can fit about 20 words in that space," he told her. 

"I want Single White Female seeks funloving, intelligent, sensitive man with a large..." 

"Miss, we can't print that." 

"Sorry, ok. How about SWF seeks funloving, intelligent, sensitive man whose bank account is 

as big as his..." 

"Miss, we can't print that!" 

"Well, if I can't have printed what I want, how am I going to find the man I want?" 

"You can have my number." 

"Oh my God! You are such a pig! I can't believe this. I have never been so insulted in all my 

life! You are a sick puppy!" 

Click. 



45 



83. Continuing Adventures with the 986 
SX 



Jim Goebel 

God bless my little 'puter 
Make my system thrive. 
Save it from system crashes, 
Protect its small hard drive. 

Let me insert a floppy 
And load up Windows 3. 
Help me to read instructions; 
Install it carefully. 

"Please insert a floppy, 

Then press any key." 

WHIRRR went its small hard drive, 

Then BOOM it went on me. 

Curses flow from my fingers, 
Onto the board of keys. 
"Work you doggone 'puter! 
You must do as I please!" 

I then found the manual; 
Picked it up and read. 
And not at all surprising, 
This is what it said: 

"If you installed the program; 
Have done it properly. 
You can get the upgrade 
Absolutely free!*" 

"But when done incorrectly, 
Instructions misconstrued 
For you, dear friend, we're saying 
Quite frankly, you are screwed." 

God curse my little 'puter, 
Damn its every byte. 
From now until forever, 
With pen and pad I'll write 

(This offer is not valid 
From sea to shining sea, 
Nor any time before or after 
Nineteen ninety-three.) 



84. Inside the Mind of a Madman's Creation 

Tony McFadden 

Things are going to change and fortunately I'm going 
to be in the middle, not trapped but protected. It's 
what the holy call worship, I call it total 
understanding. What can only be obtained by the 
observer, the seer. To know is to see behind barriers, 
thick and thin. Explanation is worthless to those who 
can't see for themselves. 

Remember the idea of freedom is false unless you 
believe you can do anything, anywhere, with 
knowledge danger is involved unless you understand 
your knowledge and use it for yourself; not selfishly, 
but for yourself. Without your self, without your 
thoughts, your own thoughts to control you, there is 
nothing. The why in every answer is there, but you 
must find it by observing... thus my quest goes on. 



85. Couch 

Bree Sayers 

Smeared like a drunken tapestry 

crayons melted on the 

cushions 

Mom would be so mad 

(I'm too old for that). 

She doesn't see that 

our melted crayons 

are 

everywhere. 



46 



86. Unfinished Journey 



Jennifer K. Stempien 

Unfinished journey - 
Hardly begun, 
Still so far to go. 

The ground, gives me no comfort. 
The rain, smacks me roughly. 
The wind, pushes me off course. 
The sun, blinds me with brilliance. 
Nature so against me. 

Blurring my vision. 
Distorting my view. 
Increasing the danger. 
Hurting me more. 
Still so far to go. 
Hardly begun, 
Unfinished journey. 



87. Observe at the Ocean's Edge 

Jim Wias 

Observe at the ocean's edge: 

She whispers the answer in soothing flow. 

Ancient shards — sea-born things, 

cloaked in newborn foam, 

(a shape and color never the same) 

tossed ashore by indifferent tide. 

Dredged from dark and summoned by chance, 

their borrowed luster fades — 

. stolen by the crudest force — 

to reveal but dull pebbles. 

Offering in meter, Recovery in rhythm 

is the nature of Her agent. 

Sentenced to amble on paths wild: 

Half -content with this fleeting visit, 

prodded by sea-long possibility 

And always a stone's throw from our ocean. 



88. Kaleidoscope 

Rhonda Muir 

Lives touch, 

then separate, 

in a dance that may never be repeated 

in exactly the same way again. 

Like the sparkling bits of glass 

captured in a kaleidoscope - 

One twist of the hand, 

and all the tiny bits of glass 

shift into a different pattern 

of touching, 

of separation, 

of beauty. 

Yet they are all still in the same 

Kaleidoscope. 



89. To Sleep Naked On Flannel Sheets 

Lynn Meredith 

To sleep naked 
Amid flannel sheets 
Billowy, feathery 
Pillow-y, Willow-y 
Caressed. 

Lover accepting, 
Coffin comfort 
Lying dead 
Touching. 



47 



92. Drowning 



90. Finally 

Kathy Jones 

I finally know the meaning of 

"Madly in love" - 

If s how you must feel 

About me 

After I gave you back 

Your ring And told you 

I couldn't 

Marry you. 



91. On Going Steady 

Betsy Carina Zacate 

If you really love me you would 
wait and if I really love you 
I wouldn't hesitate. But I'm sitting 
still and you're ready to leave. 
If love is persistent and patient, 
then thafs not what's between 
you and me. 



Janine Passehl 

the soft glow and 

pale flicker of 
scented candles 

dance against the wall 
like an 

underwater dream and 

iam drowning... 

the water of the bath 

bubbles forth 
like visions of the 

past and future, 
i lower myself into the tub 

porcelain as smooth as 

your skin 
the scalding hot water 

bringing back memories of 
passionate kisses 
the liquid enfolding my flesh 

the way your arms 

did while 
the bubbles tickle like 

your breath in my ear... 

relaxing, i doze, 

losing myself in 

the memories 
awakening to find 

the bubbles 

have disappeared 

(like you) 
the water has 

turned cold 

(like you) 
and is 

twirling 

swirling 
whirling 
spiraling down the drain 

like all my 

hopes and dreams 
and 

i am drowning. 



48 



93. In Love With Two 

anonymous 

What to do? 

when you're in love with two. 

One is old 

and one is new. 

I left the first 
because he blew 
me off, too 
many times. 

He began to 

chew 

away at my nerves 

so I flew. 

If s hard to 

get over, 

when you 

get used to 

being with someone 

you've been true blue 

to. 

It's been two 
months and, I 
love someone new 
If only he knew 
he's still number two. 

The man I refer to 
as new 

is everything I've 
ever wanted 
in a man 



If I could ever 
get over the first, 
I'd gladly say "I do' 
to number two. 



94. My Lucky Day 

Josh Dipert 

As I am driving to the hospital to see my last living relative 
before his cancer operation, 
I hit a nail in the road. 
This flattens my right-rear tire, forcing me to pull over. 
When I pull over, I pull the trunk latch to open the trunk, 
to get the spare tire. 
As I get out of the car, I lock the door to prevent any one 

from stealing it. 
Coming around to the back of the car, I see that I pulled 

the wrong lever. 
Reaching into my pocket to retrieve my car keys, I find 
they are not there, so I look on the ground to see if I 

dropped them. 
Discovering they are not there, I tug at the door handle, 
turning on the light and showing the keys in the ignition 

where I left them. 
I slam my head against the window and it begins to rain, 
first a drop at a time, then developing into a full-blown 
tree-bending storm. 
Standing in the rain next to my locked car with the 
flat tire and the gas tank open, a car suddenly 
pulls up and stops. 
Thinking that I am saved, I openly greet the driver, 
who greets me with a large revolver 
and demands my wallet, watch, and ring. 
As the thief drives off, he runs through a puddle, 
splashing oily mud on me. 
At this point a State Trooper pulls up in front of me, 
first asking me what the problem is and then giving me a 

ticket for loitering. 
After he opens my car, he escorts me to the hospital, 
where I am told by the girl at the registration desk that 1 am 
at the wrong hospital, at which point I sign 
myself into the psychiatric ward for observation. 
OH JOY! 



49 



97. Mystery Man 



95. hiv, aids 

Rhonda Muir 

hiv, aids, cmv, chf, 
medical alphabet soup, 
these i know 

-but- 
histoplasmosis? 

how did you get it? 

poultry droppings - an airborne fungus 

inhaled in your youth - 
it lay in wait all these years. 

now that you are weak 

it takes advantage - and grows. 

not in your lungs as would 

be expected - but in your blood! 

A CHICKEN SHIT DISEASE! 



Sheryl Mastalesh 

Where did he venture from? His new 
territory seems to be Louis Joliet's Pointe. 
He bears his belongings upon his back, excep t 
for what he stuffs under his bloated cap. He 
must have had a home once upon a time. He 
seldom speaks to anyone besides himself 
and when he does, people shy away. The 
sidewalk is his beat. I have seen him there so 
many times now that he has become a part of 
the decor like a wooden Indian in front of a 
store. 

I wonder where he beds at night and 
how he keeps warm. Does the idea of four 
walls crush him with claustrophobia so that 
he escapes to the freedom of the outdoors 
with no set street number? He is like someone 
from out of the past and yet the plastic Pepsi 
liter that he carries links him to this 
generation. 



96. Dali 

Bree Sayers 

Elusive, 

clocks 

so surreal-melting, 

time that trips 

all those who 

are standing. 



98. Mojo 

Chris Bernal 

Big daddy dope dealer 

fat worm in his 

solitude 

without a word 

looking forward to the long sleep 

lights fade 

in the mechanical court 

menacing flags 

whip 

must be ripped 

crippled 



50 



99. A Moment Last Spring 

Jim Wias 

In the Crescent City, Dionysus will emerge, 

Roused from pagan enclave by sober Christian clock. 

A sleeping heathen spirit to consume a million incarnates — 

Bleary-eyed nocturnals fueled by a god's decree; 

One lives most when senses say least... 

(Fused and mingled sound to move the night: music seethed from murky bars and burst 

from float-choked streets. Sometimes laughter would pierce the sensual din). 

We waded — ankle-deep — through littered streets, 

past serene hippies — empty smiles; spent balloons at their feet. 

Then were engulfed by a bead-throwing throng, 

eagerly incited by a care-free flash from ornate balconies above. 

And where the streets grew dark amd decadence thrived, 

we were pursued by a slinking, rail-thin "dancer" with money in her eyes. 



100. Post-Oblivion 

Joe Mendenhall 

Ash filled sky 

laying 

after the great flash 

Dust ruffled planet 

torturing 

remembrance of 

humanity's supreme intellect. 



101. Dutchmaster 



Chris Savini 



Smoke from his cigar 

Brought tears to the young girl's eyes 

As did the burn on her arm 

From the same cigar 



102. i 

Jennifer K. Stempien 

I am waiting for the night; 

it hovers over me. 
ii 

The darkness encloses me 

The shadows caress me 

The stars sing to me 

their songs of 

Life and feeling 
Death and apathy 
iii 

Their song is sweet 

The melody falls at my feet 

where it stays and dies. 

But I heard it. 



51 



104. March, 4 a.m. 



103. Tank 



Chris Savini 



Little water world of my creation 

Bubbles in my bedroom, 

Fills the walls with waving luminescence. 

Inside my children dance 

Gracefully through a silent sea. 



Jennifer K. Stempien 

Why do I awake at this hour? 

That groggy between-world time 

When the moon is awake and its power 

When the sun still slumbers? 

The icy wind cuts through the blue-black cold 

And sends my soul to Oblivion. 

It's almost day and yet the night tries to 

hold on to its dominion o'er the land. 

Black to purple to blue 

Slowly the light destroys darkness. 

Peach to yellow to orange 

The night yields to day. 

The stars end their song, the clouds part, 

The world awakens for yet 

another day. 



105. Spoon River Copycatted 

Lynn Meredith 



Cinderella Heartwell 



Alicia Whitfield 



I left my home in Ely, Iowa, to marry 

a man, a doctor, older than myself, and mean. 

Lonely I was and scared for 

Fear of his displeasure with me. 

I huddled near the hearth 

when I heard his footsteps on the stoop. 

The lash of his hand was quick and smart. 

One terrible night his wrath mounted 

- and the first blow was the last for me. 

Down I went in a heap of ashes. 



Good people, they called us, a fine old family 

of Macon - little did they know 

my grandfather and his father and his father's father 

were all afflicted with a moral degeneracy, 

a lust for the unspeakable that sunk them so low. 

All's I know was no child of mine was ever safe 

with one of them around. 

Thafs how we got our money and that's how we lost 

it, all without the town knowing a thing. 



52 



106. An Early Death 

Chris Savini 

The Young Ruffian fought his way up 
the stairs, through the human sea which was 
once a living room, and into the equally 
crowded kitchen. Two dreadfully pale figures 
rested their drunken heads on the table. The 
scent of beer and vomit hung heavy on their 
lips as they spoke to one another. Actually 
one was singing, more likely to the beer cans 
which littered the table than to his twin, while 
his counterpart spoke in incoherent sentences 
about how Archie Bunker was a double-fisted 
drinker. The Young Ruffian found it doubtful 
that the drug-induced denseness of their heads 
allowed the pale drunkards to understand 
each other. The Ruffian laughed to himself as 
he passed them. 

"I would gladly join them if I had the 
brain-cells to spare," he said silently. He fought 
with the sliding glass door which led outside 
to the patio. Reluctantly the door opened and 
gave him passage out into the snow-filled 
December air. 

He could hear the muffled sounds of 
Keamosabe finishing their cover of "Silly Girl" 
in the basement. He was out of breath and his 
lungs, sore from the stale recycled air of the 
basement, heaved painfully as the cold air 
rushed in. He forcibly tried to catch his breath; 
he longed to be back in the basement, dancing 
in that violent way that young ruffians danced. 
He hated calling it "moshing" and seldom 
did, but he could never think of anything else 
to call it. This brief internal drama was 
interrupted by the sound of a voice. In fact, it 
was several voices which had been there all 
along but hadn't been noticed up until that 
point. 

He looked around and found a pretty 
young face looking back at him. He was 
thrilled to have caught such a pretty creature 
admiring him, but in truth she was watching 



the steam rising off his sweaty frame. The 
YoungRuffian took an awkward step forward. 
They were vaguely acquainted (they ran in 
the same circles) and could talk with one 
another without formally introducing 
themselves. She took a casual drag from her 
cigarette. 

"Are you hoping for an early death?" 
he mused. But she didn't get it. He hated it 
when a good Smiths quote went to waste. She 
offered him a sip of her wine cooler. 

"No, thank you. I'm driving tonight," 
he said. He was very happy with himself. Not 
only does she think I'm responsible, but she 
now also knows that I have a car, he thought 
to himself. 

She liked this Young Ruffian. Her 
friends told her good things about him, and 
she found herself becoming increasingly 
attracted to him. Besides she was very lonely 
and desperate for someone to be with. 

The Young Ruffian stood shivering as 
the Pretty Girl gave him the details of what 
she had walked in on upstairs earlier in the 
evening. But he wasn't paying attention to 
her words. He penetrated her skull with his 
eyes and stared into her soul (he could do this 
kind of thing, you know) and saw her 
innocence. She wasn't any older than 
seventeen, and as pretty as she was she had 
lived a sheltered life when it came to men. Her 
proverbial heart was pure and free from the 
bitterness of pain and age which ravaged the 
Young Ruffian's soul. He almost cried right 
there in front of her when he thought of his 
old and defeated soul which was hidden by 
the mask of youth. And as he watched her 
eyes grow wide with the climax of her story, 
he felt as though he were watching her from 
the edge of Heaven, the sky falling through 
her hair. And he was crying inside because he 
knew he would never be let in. He could 
never let himself have her; the thing that tore 
at his insides would kill her youth, just as it 
had devoured his. 



53 



The Young Ruffian smiled and told 
her how numb his hands had grown and that 
Keamosabe was playing his favorite song. 
With that he turned and once again fought 
with the sliding glass door until it opened. 
She stood silently shocked and disappointed, 
the snow clinging to her hair. 

"Maybe I'll take up smoking," he said. 
And then he shut the door. "What she said, T 
smoke because I'm hoping for an early death 
and I need to cling to something.'" Smiths 



108. Just Standing There 

Steven Talbot 

I don't know why you just stand there 

looking at me 
When you know how much I love you 

how forgiving I can be 

After all the roads we've traveled 

bridges built with pathways yeamed 
Sailing oceans of emotions 

as questing ships we've sojourned 
Throughout afraid of trusting love 

confused we misconstrue 
But oh My Darling, of this we're sure 
we both live I Love You 



107. May 

Chris Savini 

I need to be in this place of ease 
Lost in the mass of grass and trees 
So I can think, love, mate, 
And succumb to sleep. 

I long to be in this place of dreams, 
These open wounds I have won't bleed 
And I can cut, slash, and kick the world 
Look back and smile without a word. 

I think I'll mate with mother Earth 
Plant my seed into her dirt. 
My clones will sprout up everywhere, 
With colored faces and painted hair. 
We'll take the world for our own 
Burn it down and then go home. 
Our minds like water, pure and deep. 
Maybe I'll just go to sleep. 



Our love has cut us as would a knife 

being human we rebel 
If our love can ever heal the hurt 

then only time will tell 

we wonder "How do you dare?" 
Forgetting it's in the building of bridges 

that we somehow learned to care 

Harbored ships with sails all furled 

ensue uncharted seas remain 
While unfettering currents pull and tug 

demanding no refrain 
God's Sea of Love is vast 

where uncertain waters flow 
But oh My Love, if we drop anchor 

then we'll never, ever know 
The unknown roads yet traveled 

may all abound with some despair 
But trust our love will guide us 

and that we're in His care 
Our pathways with great defiles of space 

we know not just how to start 
Trust our love to build the archways 

which begin, have root, within the heart 

When you know how much I love you 

how forgiving I can be 
I don't know why you just stand there 

looking at me 
For you know I'll always love you 

oh so tenderly 



54 



109. Elvis's Birthday! 

Jim Goebel 

(Shot of a shadowed figure standing in a doorway) 

Voice over: You thought that there were no more holidays 

Hollywood could exploit... You were wrong! 

(Shot of the figure stepping out of the doorway, revealing his identity. 

A young woman screams) 

V.O.: Now, from the people that brought you the fear of Labor Day, the terror 

of The Fourth of July, and the horror of Thanksgiving comes — Elvis's Birthday! 

(Brief shot of an Elvis impersonator smashing his guitar on someone's head. 

Several shots of young people in fear while voice over continues) V.O.: He's back from the dead, and he ain't 

nothin' but a hound dog. Elvis: (While he stands over a victim) Yeah, Baby. V.O.: He doesn't reside in the 

heartbreak hotel anymore, but in your worst nightmare. 

Elvis: (Screaming at a victim-to-be cowering in the cormer of a shoe store) 

I warned you not to step on the blue suede shoes! 

Victim: YARRGGHHH!!! 

(Several shots of Elvis about to finish off his victims while voice-over continues.) 

V.O.: Elvis's Birthday. There ain't no grace in this Graceland. Rated R. Starts Friday, January 8 at a theater near 

you. 



111. Sunset Sirens 



Lynn Meredith 



110. Kepick 

Martha Sayles 

The powerful winds caused branches to 
explode upon the forest floor. Darting 
directional streaks of lightning incised their 
bullet beams thru defenseless waiting 
branches. 



I used to sit at sunset, suspended 

Hanging in that pause before speaking 

Filled with the moment. 

Still, waiting time. 

Light etching shadows behind 

My trees, my fence row arbored, dried 

Vines clustering, Sun's Home. 

Now, sirens quibble the sunset hour 
Fenced in, fenceless, sunset lock up, 
My Joliet prison. 



Dodging houses and housewives and cats 
A long way off I see that glow, that hope 
Past the popping paranoid yard lights 
Artificially lightening the place, 
I reach my heart to home 
But it's not there. 



55 



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