Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dead Birds

-Alexander J. Theoharides

When I was fourteen and it was summer,
two dead birds lay together beneath the branches
of the slender willow tree outside my bedroom window,
watching as I floated through those humid days,
pretending I was a cloud and the dead birds were weathermen,
trained to forecast my every move.

Sometimes the dead birds would play tricks on me.
“When you grow old,” one of the birds would announce
in a sage voice, “you will become an archeologist.”
“No,” the other would reply. “He’s no good at mathematics.
He’ll become a lawyer or a pastor or a clerk.”

The dead birds followed me when I left my home
and moved to Minneapolis. As I carried my duffel bags
toward the entrance to my new apartment,
I heard a high-pitched, discordant sound
coming from the ground beneath the branches
of a nearby cedar tree.

I dropped my bags and knelt by the side of the tree,
parting my hands through the blanketing red mulch
until I found the two birds lying on their backs, staring up at me.
“What on earth have you become?” the first bird asked.
I noticed that one of his wings was broken,
and sighed softly as I reached out to take him in my hand.

“Apparently, I’ve become a healer of dead birds,” I replied.
“That’s not much of anything,” the second bird told me,
squirming slightly as I picked him up and placed him
next to his brother in my left hand infirmary.

I smiled down at him. “You’re right,” I said,
“but it’s better than what I really am.”
He nodded at me. “That’s true,” he said,
“but for God’s sake put us down.
Can’t you see? We’re already dead.”

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Landscape of the Mind

- Dan Olmschenk

And, in the black water of my miscalculations,
the eel-like forms of thought-creatures converge
upon the darkness, ravaging the feeble, young
vegetation of its color.

Heart: you've lurched
and lumbered. Hummed and hammered. Filled the glass up past
the spilling point. You overflowed and lost the drink
in arteries. It's painting my veins and organs black,
one by one; acidic eyes, oh, lustful wink,
and hands turned ash. Gone played with fire for too long.
You must be a shadow, cutting, fading in
and out of existence, leaning into the gone,
tumbling now and then into the ever thin
spaces just outside reality. But I
am still inside, and watching shadows swallow up
the definitions of my love, and now, my body,
as streaks of black traverse the streets, like massive slugs,
the bums and beggars, those to whom we all close our eyes,
are eaten, the faces of those forgotten, slowly swallowed.

The resonance of being is emptied in black wind.
The locusts in the seams of sidewalks slowly move.
The parasitic space between a phantom's hands
is growing until our ears know only fear and truth,
and eyes know none, our mouths open and gaping,
and when we have begun moving in the darkness
finally, when we have braved the thought of walking
into the sky, the black gate, then, what is our purpose?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Adam and Eve Moon

stumbles into time, an amateur
actor, used to playing third string 
moon, desperate for work, unaware 

the fame up ahead, unaware of the 
hard work, 
the consistent demand, night after 
year after year, century after century, 

of the bad reviews, the scandals 
and the skewed use, the marketing 
and short marriages to lesser known comets, 

holds the position boldly, washes feet 
every night, gets to know the sun 
and starts to work a rhythm.  

Walks in eighth night, sees burning eyes 
in the garden's only two naked bodies 
covered in golden leaves from the first fall, 

realizes who the stars are, lowers head 
and falls into routine, happy to have a job 
in this shit economy, this universal recession, 

orbits, once again, a slave in the milky way galaxy.

-Aaron Blum