Daily Archives: January 23, 2010


“Party on Lee Street” by Ryker Martin

"So you will do it?"

"Yes..." said Aaron Gibson, a short chubby middle aged man with thin brown hair and brown eyes. He was fidgeting in his chair and had a slightly nervous look across his freckly dimpled face. "Of course I will," he said, "It would be an honor."

"Good. I was hoping it wouldn't be too much of a trouble. Nine o'clock is when people should start arriving, there won't be too many now," said the man as he popped open a bottle of scotch and poured it into a small glass.

Good, good... yes," said Aaron as he shifted uneasily in his chair and strummed his fingers across his legs. He gave a weak smile and said, "Well, I look forward to seeing you there," as he stood up he shook the man's hand and walked out the door.

"He hates you, you know..."

"Ah! Don't sneak up on me like that Will."

"Who are you talking to Mr. Gibson?"

"Uh, nobody hun... nobody." The assistant gave him a strange look from behind her desk as he quickly scuttled by. "You can't keep talking to me while other people are around; its really distracting, you know."

"Don't be mean to me, Aaron... I'm your friend, you know, you wouldn't want me to leave you now would you?"

"Well of course not... I was just saying... it's bad business." He quickly hurried down to his car, he squirmed around as he shifted to find his seat belt and fasten it.

"You see the gun he was hiding?" asked Will.

"What gun?"

"The one on the right hand side behind his desk... I think he wants to kill you."

"Kill me? Why? I didn't do anything to him, and how would you have seen, you weren't there."

"I could see it when the door opened as you walked in, and I don't know why... go ahead and ask him if you want to."

"Now why would I do that?!" exclaimed Aaron.

"Well, just saying, if you wanted to know, he would be the one to ask."

You know damn right that would do me no good, he'd just say no and shoot me in the back a second later."

William chuckled and said, "Well, that is why you have me now isn't it, I look out for you; I wouldn't want my best friend in the whole wide world to die now would I?"

"Thank you for the concern, though this is to big of a deal to pass up off of just your word."

"Whatever you say Aaron, whatever you say."


"Why do you do this, Aaron? Why are you doing this? You know he wants to kill you."

"Because I don't want to go broke off of your word, that's why," said Aaron. Aaron lived in a mansion on Robert. E. Lee street Massachusetts, right by the sea. He often sat out on the porch, which was one of the few places he felt normal. The house was rather contemporary, yet looked slightly rustic at the same time. It had beautiful marble flooring. When you walked through the front door you could see a two pillar supported arch. A set of stairs were directly ahead, the kitchen was to the left, and the living room was to the right. He was dreading the party to come. Aaron paced back and forth through his living room trying to console his paranoias. It was a nice and very spacious room with a high roof about twenty feet high. There was a fireplace that was about six feet by six made of marble that gleamed magnificently when the fire was burning hot. The flames would dance across and kiss the stone as an embracing lover, and the wood would wither like an old man, blackening and crumbling. They seemed to lull and soothe his concerns away at times, but now only seamed to ironically play on his fear. Hours passed by, everything was ready, and five o'clock rolled around.

"You will see what he really wants."

"I don't know, but its too late to change anything, William."

Will sat there rapping his fingers across the sofa looking at Aaron with a frustrated expression. He leaned back in his chair, and began to say, "You're a fool Aaron, a fool. We've made it this far in life without incident and you want to put it on the line for some stupid business proposition."

Aaron began to lean back and then gave an exasperated sigh, "It's always the same for you, Will, there's always someone out to get me. Will it ever change?"

"You know I'm right. What about that time on the city bus you were so eager to use?"

"Well you're bound to find one freak sooner or later if you're always accusing people."

"What about that incident down town, Aaron?"

"That guy was drunk..."

"Maybe, but I was still right."

Once again, Aaron sighed. He rubbed his face and looked over and back at Will. He said, "I don't need to justify my actions to you, or anyone else for that matter..."

"You're always getting yourself into things you know nothing about, Aaron!" exclaimed Will. "You just jump into the dumbest things without giving it a second thought or thinking, 'Maybe this guy is dangerous, maybe I should listen to my friend for once.' But no, you don't."

"And what do you propose I do, Will? Cancel this? I can't do that, this is too important for me, I could make millions if this whole thing goes right. If I get these people to like us then I'll be set, think about this, if this guy doesn't kill me which you're so convinced he will do, and everything goes along without a hitch I'll be able to retire and we will never have to worry about anyone killing us because we won't have to do anything."

Will nodded. "Okay."

Aaron sat there for hours contemplating the conversation he just had. Everything was ready for the visitors, he had planned this to happen before he had even talked to Rodger Paterson, the man in charge of Global Connections, Inc. Aaron was resting when he heard a knock at his door. He quickly sat up and looked around. Will was nowhere in sight. He sighed as he got up. Another knock was heard and he said, "Coming, coming. I didn't mean to keep you waiting for so long." He opened the door and Paterson was there.

"Well, hello, ma' boy," said the man jovially as he shook Aaron's hand.

"Nice to see you, too. Rodger, come in, please, let me escort you to the living room." Rodger was an older man nearing his sixties and had a slight limp in his right leg. Though he had more hair than Aaron, the gray was really starting to show with only a little bit of black left. He was tall and of medium build. He was wearing a nice dark brown suit with a black tie that was tucked in, and black pants. He had an inquisitive but confidant look about him, which is what he was.

"There should be four more arriving shortly, and that's all there will be," said Rodger as he sat down. There was a knock at the door. "Well, there they are," he said smiling.

"Well, I guess I better go receive the last of the guests, make yourself comfortable."

Aaron quickly scuttled through the hall. He looked back and his neck prickled as he saw Will glaring at him from the top of the stairs and then just walk back up and out of sight. He continued to the door where he opened it to welcome the rest of his guests. There were three men and one woman. The men ranged from the ages of thirty-five to fifty, they were all dressed and looked happy. The woman was first through the door, as the men politely stepped aside to let her go in. Her name was Sara, she had long black hair, had a well built face, was thin and stood at about five-six. She was quite attractive. They shook hands lightly and she gave him a quick hug. Smiling, she said. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Gibson; I'm assuming Rodger is here already?"

"Yes, mam, he is, and if I may I will escort you all to the living room where he is right now."

"Of course," she said still smiling.

They came to the living room and Rodger stood up and shook their hands. "It is nice to see that you have all arrived at last. Come and try these, Aaron has set out some amazing h'or d'oeuvres."

"Thank you, sir. If you will please excuse me, I'll be right back. Make yourselves comfortable."

"Sure, of course, Mr. Gibson," said Rodger.

Aaron made his way up the dark stairs. He could look down from the railing at the guests below. He quickly made his way down the hall to his room. It was dark. He flipped on the switch, and out of nowhere William was standing right there in front of him. Aaron jumped. "My god, Will, what are you doing standing right there? I nearly fainted from that little antic of yours."

"Waiting for you, Aaron, waiting for you..." Will had a grim look across his countenance. "Just waiting for you while you greet our..." He paused for a moment, head slightly cocked to the side. "Our esteemed guests..."

"Well, you can settle down now, everything is fine. You don't need to look like you're about to kill someone."

"You still don't see, do you, Aaron? Why do you do this to me?" he said as he stood there. "You just have to put us in this... issue... but, no... I won't let it happen, I won't let this come to pass, and I'll just have to do exactly that. I'll just have to kill the guy."

"You can't do that!" squeaked Aaron. "You can't just kill people!" Aaron had a look of horror across his plump little face.

"Yes I can, Aaron, and I will. I can't allow you to ruin everything that we've done. If you let that man live he will kill us!"

"You have no proof of this," said Aaron, cowering.

"Proof? Ha! I don't need to prove anything to you, I know this is going to happen." A wierd light cast upon Will from the fire in the back of the room, giving him a cool, calm, but evil look.

"You're a monster," whispered Aaron.

"A monster?! The monster that kept you alive all these years, as you waltzed around like an idiot? The monster who always warned you, and yet you never listened?! No I'm not a monster. I'm just logical and I'm going to kill that man down there." Will grabbed a revolver from the cabinet and marched for the hall. Aaron chased after him as he walked out the open door.

"Don't do this, Will, don't do this!"

"I have to Aaron."

"NO! I won't let you!" Aaron grabbed Will, ripped the gun out of his hand, and shot him in the stomach. He dropped to the floor, dead, eyes blank, staring up aimlessly.


Sirens were blaring and lights were flashing outside the mansion, lighting up the boring rural estate like the fourth of July. Cops were bustling everywhere, paramedics were rushing in and out of the house, and radios were going off. "Gun shot heard at 31094 North Robert E. Lee Street, possible homicide, back up has arrived, over."

There was a black haired woman surrounded by four men. She was crying hysterically. One man detached himself from the group and walked over. It was Rodger. He asked, "What happened, Detective?"

The man sighed, looking old and tired. He said, "Seems to be a suicide... Aaron Gibson shot himself."

“In Any Kind of Light” by T.R. Healy

"Sometimes you only realize how much you've lost when it's too late to get it back."

Feiger, startled, turned and looked up at a burly man whose nose was as thick as a butcher's thumb. "Excuse me?"

"The trolley," he said, nodding at the vintage electric streetcar behind Feiger. "I use to love to ride trolley cars when I was a youngster, could travel all over town for a buffalo nickel. Now it costs you an arm and a leg to go anywhere on public transportation. It'd be nice if they could come back but that'll never happen. They're as much relics now as stagecoaches."

"You want your picture taken standing in front of it?" he inquired, fingering the weathered Polaroid in his lap.

Sternly the man shook his head, as if insulted by the question. "What for? As I told you, I can still remember riding the damn things when I was growing up. I don't need any picture to remind me of those days."

"Just asking, mister."

Without replying, the burly man turned and stepped away to watch a loquacious juggler balance the leg of a cardtable on the tip of his chin. Feiger wasn't surprised particularly, the man seemed the sort who visited the Bison Square market without any intention of spending a dime. His wallet was probably coated with dust he so seldom took it out of his pocket. Indifferently Feiger peered at the burly man through the viewfinder of his camera then at others visiting the market, waiting for a customer. He never had too many but, so far, he had not had one who wanted his picture taken in front of the antique trolley. A weekend photographer, he usually managed to make it down to the market a couple of times a month, sometimes more often in the summertime. Besides his camera and film, he always brought along a sackful of caps and scarves and goggles and whistles to make the photographs seem more authentic. A dollar a picture was what he charged. But he was not there to make money so much as to observe all the interesting people who frequented the bustling market that every Saturday occupied an immense parking lot at the edge of the waterfront. Generally it was better than watching television, but not this morning. This morning he barely noticed those who strolled past his booth.



Feiger was sure it was an accident the first time he pressed the shutter button and took his own picture. It was slightly out of focus, making his eyes appear much wider than they were, almost elastic. Frowning, he set the picture on the stool next to him, held the camera directly in front of his face, and snapped another picture. Quickly he looked at it, relieved that it was not blurred. He thought he was in a carefree mood when he took the picture but his face appeared tense and scrunched together, as if he'd anticipated a flashbulb going off in his eyes even though he knew the camera did not require one. He took another picture. His mouth was soft and loose, a pale sliver beneath his bristling russet mustache, but his eyes were sunken and aloof. He pressed the shutter again. Still, his eyes were as inert and vacant as the buttons of his shirt. He was not really surprised, not after what happened yesterday, could not expect them to appear any other way.



He did not earn his living as a photographer but as a concierge at the Bear Mountain Lodge, a popular resort about twenty-five miles north of town. He had been there nearly three years and seldom was able to distinguish one day from the next because the work was so numbingly routine. He found an hour at the market much more interesting than anything that happened at the lodge. Yesterday was different, though, as different as he could ever imagine.

Around ten o'clock in the morning Auerbach, the assistant manager, informed him that a guest at the lodge had reported a body floating in the pool at the base of the twin waterfalls that cascaded above the lodge. Auerbach said that he had asked a groundskeeper to check it out but was sure it was just another mannequin.

"At this time of the year," he told Feiger, "mannequins are almost as common to find in the pool as beer bottles and condoms."

Feiger agreed, mindful of the half dozen or so mannequins shoved over the falls last year by students on spring break.

"It's such a silly joke," Auerbach lamented, "but then I suppose it takes all kinds of people to make up this world of ours."

Other guests reported seeing the body in the water, but they were assured by Feiger and others on the staff that it was nothing more than a display window mannequin. At one point Feiger considered visiting the pool himself but was talked out of it by Auerbach because of the danger of falling rocks. Instead, he got out a pair of binoculars and peered at the ghostly pale figure in the water, and after a couple of minutes decided it was indeed a mannequin.

He was mistaken, however, as he learned a few hours later when one of the guests actually went down to the pool and verified that the body was real. It was a middleaged man who turned out to be a guest at the lodge. He was stunned, furious at himself for not checking out what was in the pool on his own. The fact that he peered through the binoculars at the body and was not able to realize what he was looking at filled him with disgust. He could not believe he could be that dense. He felt foolish, pathetic, thoroughly ashamed of himself.

Ever since his girlfriend moved out of his apartment last month, he had not quite been himself. Increasingly he found it difficult to focus his attention on things, constantly distracted by thoughts about what he could have done differently to have kept Ellen with him. Just the other evening, driving home late from the lodge, he nearly sideswiped a moving van because he was thinking about her and did not notice the traffic light turn red.



"So what do you think?" a plump woman with auburn hair asked Feiger.

"About what?"

"Can I pass for a conductor?"

Regarding her carefully, he leaned back in his canvas chair as the woman lumbered up to the top step of the trolley. She had on one of his black peaked caps, the visor pulled halfway down her forehead, and from her neck hung his clunky ticket counter. Her smile was nearly as bright as the knobs on the machine.

"All you have to do now is shout 'All aboard!'" he cracked.

Her smile then widened as he bent to one knee and snapped her picture.

Quickly, before he handed her the photograph, he glanced at it to see if her eyes were as jubilant as they appeared when he looked at them through the viewfinder. They were, and he was gratified. He just wished the pictures he had taken earlier of himself were as accurate, but they were dour and enigmatic and failed to reveal any of the pleasure he experienced when he attended the market. Incredibly, it seemed as if he could take decent pictures of everyone but himself.



Shortly before the market closed at five, Feiger packed up his gear and started back to his car, which he had parked in a small lot in Chinatown. He had walked only a couple of blocks when he noticed several people gathered in front of the firehouse watching some firefighters practice scaling the north side of the building. He paused to watch the drill for a moment then, on an impulse, asked the woman standing next to him to take his picture.

She agreed, and he handed her his camera. "You a visitor?"

"Excuse me?"

"To our town?"

"Oh, yeah," he lied. "I just got in this morning."

"I figured as much from all the camera equipment you're carrying with you."

He smiled faintly.

"I assume you want the firefighters in the background?"

"Please," he said indifferently.

She peered through the viewfinder and carefully framed him against the men spidering up the firehouse. "Now all you have to do is give me a smile."

Diligently he complied, and she clicked the shutter button and handed him back the camera, and he thanked her and eagerly examined the photograph. The corners of his mouth were curved into a slight, almost diffident smile but his eyes remained as vacant and aloof as they were in his pictures. They looked as if they were through caring anymore, the eyes plainly of someone who would allow a body to float for hours in a pool of water. He was disappointed, scarcely able to recognize the person in the picture. For all he knew, the woman could have taken the picture of someone standing right behind him.

Hurriedly he crossed the street, heading toward Chinatown, his camera bag slung loosely over his left shoulder. He was seething inside, felt a vein pulsing in the middle of his forehead. He knew he was not the person in the picture the woman took, knew it as certainly as he knew anything.

Turning a corner, he saw a stooped Chinese man shuffling toward him, and, at once, he stopped and asked him to take his picture and, grinning nervously, the man did. His eyes appeared as empty as ever, however, and angrily he crumpled up the picture and tossed it into the street. Then he looked at his watch, saw that he had forty minutes of light left, and continued up the street, looking for someone else to take his picture.

“Forethoughts Like This – Sonnenizio on a Line from Bob Kaufman” by Brandon S. Roy

And in the imaginary forest,
the shingles hippo becomes the gay unicorn.

free from the confines of morality;
it's long pink hair let down and flowing.

chocolate porn is fun to watch,
even color queens like to blow notes

wood chips and drunks have much in common
with the refusal of peaches and tear treated shirts

animals puzzle over fears of radio meters
flying of the returns something about this is really weird

extraordinary centers of birds that seem
to move but yet stay still

a blue dog looking for a coffin in the grass
beats driving away bears from a wreck

“Open Air, Jazz Drum” by Evan Carr

De-jazz, rearrested jam by Ornette Coleman-
Sound Grammer, like the cigarette burn,
from which open snare rolls to the smooth air rhyme,
loose wrists free to continuously fill,
lost in the off beat talent of improvisation
played above the refinery pollution
played above human limitation and social fence structure
from which turbulent hi-hat foottaps rhythmize,
the steady found to shape a backbone
phased spontaneous crashes, slant of irregularities
serene as sun rise, hyper-active pace

“Language” by Evan Carr

language- a circle-
The corridors of my soul
language- a loaded gun
          (We forge, wordless heart bullet of dancing lyricism)

language- a vesuvian mouth;
          Pompeii and Herculaneum,
buried under the fire rocks of Italy.


language- a golden bracelet-
          on the tip of my tongue
language- a prophecy
          speaking in tongues

language- a symbol for thought
          Transcending the empire
language- a diamond in the quicksand
          building our house to dissolve

          language- a winter’s night
               faded under sky of muslin
          language-a barrier of stone
               between the silver guard and the tomb of the unknown
          language- a stronghold entrenched
     in the apple of our eye's

“The Breath of a Candle” by Evan Carr

flame anchored to
     a shoal of gray surface, - a
placeholder in the sluice
     of our consciousness.

you exhale:
     smoke curls as highways around
your shoulders, its fingers wafts
with the shape of your shadows. midnight looms
     and evaporates to bygone myth - the fervent
     glow of candle light drifts with
the breeze, and succumbs
          the wisdom of your blue stricken moon.

“Glimpses of Beauty” by Evan Carr

Time suspends in surprise, we catch
In our senses, a fleeting glimpse
Into the carpet-cloud-realm, where lives all known beauty.
We find ourselves in a pungent, yet flashing
Touch of incandescent freedom that rushes the body:
Heart skips- (like rocks

     skimming a tranquil pond’s open
     surface) -its rate palpitates
     as the wings of a hummingbird.
     breath quickens,
     caught willingly-trapped
     in the chest.

Beauty blows through
The lifted system before the psychic
Has time to fully cogitate or capture the entire aesthetic of
What happened. how unlikely that beauty
Could be recognized by the senses, rather
Seized and captivated in the heart's locket-

“The Grudge” by Birdie D. Stringfellow

I sat in my chair
and held a grudge.
I stayed in my chair
and would not budge.

So much in my mind
was going on.
Someone had really
done me wrong.

Hard as I tried,
I could not get up.
It seems that I was
hopelessly stuck.

What anger can do
to one's control
is a pathetic feeling
to have to behold.

I sat in my chair
and held a grudge.
I remained in my chair
and could not budge.

“The Bad Boss” by Birdie D. Stringfellow

Spoiled as a rotten egg
Grandeur thoughts going through his head
Scary as a Halloween mask
Always gives orders, never asks

Never content for very long
Always right, never wrong
Complains about this, complains about that
A cynical sort and that's a fact

Uses fear to get his way
Never has encouraging words to say
The time will come with lesson learned
Will meet his equal, tables will turn

One day, did meet his match
Did erupt a verbal attack
It's a well-known, sensible fact
that equals don't ever attract

Insults thrown by higher power
caused bad boss to meekly cower
Of all his employees, he was robbed
Next day, bad boss lost his job

“Complicated Melody” by Vivian McCray

Music without lyrics
Words with no sound
Complicated melodies
Of my life all around

Presence with no one there
Rooms with no door
Suffocating my true self
Like never before

I am that beat
You just don't understand
Dance to my changing rhythms
Every woman or man

It's deep, and dark at the same time
Brighter than the sun
Smooth as ice
Watch it take off and run

Do you understand this
Well probably not
I'm that complicated melody
Fears, truth, fallacies
All mixed in one pot

“Strange” by Joseph Roque

Strange,
how each day on waking
as I gather courage for facing
the fiery jaws of Moloch,
thoughts, as if the last afforded
serene sedate me, bring me back
to the oak tree with the branches
bent and strangled...

the smiling morning dew
beneath it mingling with the
scorching beads of sweat
that flowed, from our bodies
bare and tangled.

“When U Go Away or I” by Joseph Roque

If it escapes you now
perhaps
someday you'll understand.

Everybody's always moving fast,
thinking they can outrace and outlast
all the lonely down and dragged out days.

The smiles I leave you with are real.
The warmth. The caring.
They are not part of a fleeting game
I play, like you hide and I seek or
you run and I chase—they are a gift,
outright and unrequited.

Not just for now, but for always --
like this poem — to be read
on those days you couldn't
outrun, those days when you
have time to think
or need,
of those that love you.

“The Ritual” by Joseph Roque

Today is my birthday.

I will celebrate by
giving away everything
I own to total strangers.

I will board and shutter
all entrances to my home,
destroy all routes of access.

I will accept no gifts
lectures or philosophies.

I do not suffer well the chants
of lingering celebrations, life's
failed anticipations gone awry.

By some freak accident I have
lived this long but before this
day is done I will make odds
with death's keeper that
I don't survive another year.

“Somebody Said It” by Joseph Roque

A new dawn stares in
at my naked body every morning.
It sits there, at the foot of my bed,
like some historic statue
waiting to be noticed.

The sun shines in, almost blinds me,
wraps its fingers around me
caressing more and more of me
each second like someone
love-starved to a passion-fury.

Faintly, ever so faintly, I hear
the sounds around me.
Motors growling.
People rushing.
Babies crying.
Whistles screaming.

Slowly the feeling of nausea comes,
screams out its presence with
the precision of an infallible clock.

The battle for a new day's survival begins.
Faintly, ever so faintly, I drift into the
life stream, all the while blaming the sun
and the growling motors
and the rushing people
and the screaming whistles...
all the while holding down
the nausea, holding down the thought
I am my own prison's mason.

“Musician’s Dream” by Stephanie Paserba

He was her idol
She loved the music he played
She was his lady
He watched her as she swayed
They were lovers
For a moment in time
Their shadows moved too fast
Their hearts were blind
By the passions they shared
And the promises they made
Looking for real love
Under the lights of center stage

Now the lights are dim
The crowd's gone home
They came back to reality
And found themselves alone
With nothing to say
No melodies to play
They looked at each other
And chose to walk away


He stands silent holding his guitar
Wishing for something more
Thinking about his lady
Singing and dancing for the crowd's encore
She sits in her dressing room
Thinking of how it used to be
Did they find truelove once
Or was it just a musician's dream?

“I’m Winning” by John Tzikas

I imagine illnesses
Apostrophes are apocalyptic
Marking my magistrates

Wild willows wallow
Insensitive idiots infiltrate

I'm winning
It's not what I planned
I'm winning
Not when it comes to fans

Nastiness negates neighbors
Nobody needs negativity

I'm winning
Inches at a time
I'm winning
But not hearts and minds

Imitators incriminate idealists
Naughtiness nullifies normality
Growing grievance groups

I'm winning
Pound by pound
I'm always winning
When no one is around

“BRAIN CRAMPS” by John Tzikas

Crow-eyed counter-culture currents
Pedantic porcelain pastels
Resolute reconfigurations

Convincing brain cramps
Upturning seals on pill bottles
Pacifying the inconsolable
Successful daytime soap amnesias

Nuances niches nether-regions

Ribs push inwards shoulders accentuated
Independent swinging elbows
Bent on the table, mother says put them down
Supplemental etiquette manuals required
Mama the hysterical boy retorts
Avow to my every subtle inclination
Make-shift pep talks and timeout sessions
All to the testament of the Oprah revolution

Conniving brain cramps
All for the benefit of evening news
Recourses, main courses and math courses
Trolley carts crashing at the A&P
Stay tuned for frozen pizza and juice box

“One Cigarette” by John Tzikas

Galloping nocturnal iguanas
Gigantic lactating black cobra
Emergence of reptile sorority
Sanctity of slimy crawly things

One giant lizard lighting
My cigarette in the rain
While I'm having nicotine fits
Godzilla refuses to withdraw

Enthusiastic talking insane Gecko
Insisting cavemen like me butt-out
Marlborough billboards flaming out
Featured outlaws on warning labels

One giant lizard smoking
My cigarette in a sandstorm
While I'm blinding mad
Godzilla won’t give me a drag

Artistic retro-chic tar
Reclusive tubular pythons
Exhaling cinnamon carbons
Corrupting cosmopolitan crocs

One giant lizard stomping
My cigarette in a wind tunnel
While I'm puffing crazy
Godzilla hoofs cessation pamphlets at me