Cherry Blossom Breakfast
by Marcilas Jackson
“You know, dear, there are times that you say things that absolutely defy logic.”
His wife replied, “Sweetheart, I am so very sorry that you men simply cannot come to terms with the fact that we women are so much more clever than you.”
He said, under his breath, “Bitch.”
Hi wife raised her hand. “Dear? Did you say ‘bitch?’ Listen dickhead -- the only reason that you and your fellow three-legged, knucklehead buddies cannot be a bitch, as you say, is because not one of you is man enough. Now please be a good boy, finish your breakfast and go to work.”
“Speaking for myself, I know that I am more than man enough. We have three children to prove it.”
“Oui?” she said. “Sweetheart, I don’t know whether to be proud of you, or to be disappointed. All this time I thought you were having another affair, you were actually taking French lessons. I’m so proud of you. Say something sexy to me in French.”
“You know; she does have such a cute butt…”
“I give up,” he said. “I knew I would never win an argument that I didn’t know I started.”
“Yeah, you do that. Now it’s time for you to go save the world, and make me proud like a good boy.”
“Oh, by the way -- be home by eleven. There is a surprise I have for you. And I don’t want to mess up my new Reeboks.”
“Reeboks? I didn’t know you had sneakers. And what does my coming home at eleven have to do with messing up a pair of sneakers?”
“Dear, it’s like this. This surprise is very important to me, and if you come through that door any time after eleven I’m going to put one of them so far up that tight ass of yours that I promise you, you will shit a rubber tree. And you know how much I detest horticulture. Now will you go to work? I have things to finish.”
[Kiss Kiss Hugs Hugs Bye Bye…]
Bill got up from the table and headed out to his waiting car. His driver opened the door and greeted him, “Good morning, Mr. President.”
Leonardo da Vinci E
Headhunters--live for to see you dead
Watching in glee as you tap-dance on life’s thin edge, lingering, but never to actually live
And you have no thoughts of any enemies standing by disguised as friends
Who won’t let you in to breathe or out to leave
And each heave of your chest to draw a breath, must come to protest every loss of love along the way
One by one like rows of dominoes fallen each other after the other--down
Has drowned each lover that had made an offer or that stood secretly found
On wings that fly them away in this gusty gale you made, where even your sadness has grown rusty
Headhunters, with slews of lewd voodoo dolls they intend to use--to stick pins in to master your moods
And each doll has a name: beer, cigarette, speed, meth, cocaine--all the same
And I the poet, the snitch, can channel what’s in their heads
And I know they live to see you dying until you are dead in a pathetic fit
--with a piss on it!
To see you flung into a minister’s hissy fit of a hell on earth--and to smell!
And all the poets will tell--that the headhunters stood by snickering
At circles broke out around your eyes, at an addict’s hastily placed goodbyes
At that shallow glare in your jaundiced eyes, choked up with a puke in which your tongue lies--
To lie a Lie--that this is the last time to slip (when you actually skipped) down that hellish hole
Dark, dank, and deep
In search of a high with naughty cries for freedom and liberty to let you in so you can claw your way out again
And headhunters standing by snickering
But on some days like today you’ll say, “hope has sprung up like the dawn”
But I know it’s your enemy, from where you’re from
And soon to be a slain friend
--with blood on it
Strangled by your wickedest grasp
To lay with a gasp dying
And so dawn becomes--a sunset
Hope--lying with a raspy sigh
Like a sickened murmur upon the wind and sky
Its burial nigh
But for the final twist
One more breath to take
And your insanity at stake
To be mistaken for something sane
To have hope as a neighbor or a friend
To pit it against this ghetto existence--in vain
Sure not to let you in--to actually live cuffed to drugs’ golden chains
So why not stop it here and now?
Or you’ll strangle hope
Dying until hope is dead
Headhunter’s sneering and snickering by its death bed
While you stand in the spotlight, actually a flashlight--ugly, bloodied and red
With all out hopes for you--dead
And the poets will tell--snitches all--
That the headhunters stood by snickering at your final curtain call.
Leonardo da Vinci E
Look upon his or her face with a new-found respect
Being the source of the safety you’ve come to expect
In those moments of a most polarizing, fantasizing
devoid of any risk or any means of this
beyond an imagined kiss upon a picture frame.
And filmed not in vain
but made to sooth the thirst of a lusty lust
which you can trust will be lusting
And for those as ugly as I am
who will never touch the grace of a beautiful face
Such as your own-to actually be with
And to trace back to love
For us fantasy is, and must be, all of the above
Look upon his or her naked form with thoughts born of love
And never harm
For those members of that liberated sect
Who choose to be workers of sex
Who visualize, harmonize, romanticize
A sensual pleasure for lonely minds
And who by their endeavor affords a transparent pleasure
Frozen by celluloid in time
And becomes a means to one end
Unleashing erotic passion in a civil fashion
Which spreads not broken hearts nor disease
When addressing our human needs
Street Lit haiku day --
Even failing's fun
I can't say quite why,
but haiku became the thing
We killed it, sometimes...
So, we all ganged up on syllable counts and the fingers flew
and gentle arguments were argued over things like:
"Is it baff-ul-ing? Or baff-ling?"
"It is what we want it to be. We decide!"
"This has an extra syllable, but I like it. I want to keep it."
"Close enough," we said, "until something better comes to mind."
"What does it mean?"
"I don't know!"
"Maybe these are like /puzzles for the mind to solve / Rorschach tests with words?"
"Ready, set, syllablize!"
We all wrote:
A borrowed black hat
may emphasize the background --
Bad guys wear leather.
The wall psychotic --
Wailing pierced the holy land.
"Out there ... Can you help?"
declared the day a contest
of off-the-cuff verse
Yep, Leonardo Da Vinci E. threw down a five spot for prize money, set himself as the sole judge, and the competition began.
Scribbling happened. Head scratching.
Erasures and sighs...
I write this poem
Where hopeless men try to sleep,
Maybe even dream.
We don't need no education
I think I'm losing my mind, Roger.
The Judge is the job.
(Charlie makes his own damn rules!)
Her eyes fixed on him
Her world collapsed inside her
His regret ice cold
Josh went cosmic, and where'd that extra syllable come from?:
The cosmic phallus
Me, too, on the cosmic page:
The cosmic exists
in the thoughts of the human
shared among us all.
We all counted out...
Fives sevens and fives
until the word dust settled
And the winner is...........
Jenny! with this fine work:
Living the brushstrokes
Enhancing the gift of time
Love breathes into light.
It didn't end there, though. Josh, never one to leave well enough alone, went full mashup on us. After a smoke break / he sputtered, coughed, and revealed / an untitled gem:
A borrowed black hat
May emphasize the background
Bad guys wear leather,
But I don’t know when
Or if, or how, or where to
That I should also,
It seems perhaps not
It always seems like henchmen
Trying to climb up
The wall psychotic --
Wailing pierces the holy land
Out there can you help?
Even a henchman may one day need his god
To climb the pink wall
I wish I were cool
But bad guys don’t listen
To pop-punk music.
A HUNDRED FEET
by Tim "Dezi" Reid
What a difference
A hundred feet can make
On the river that’s a lake
On the bridge the countless cars
Driving north or southbound
Just 100 feet below them
Tranquility can be found
On the bridge, cars hurry
To get to where they’re going
100 feet below them
Canoes and kayaks slowly rowing
The peacefulness and nature's view
Take your breath away
Town Lake in Austin, Texas
On a mid-November day
Alena safety-pinned a label on the man’s lapel, and read it to her bear, Gerald: “This man refuses to open his eyes.” She skipped the bear across the attic floorboards and danced him to the wool scarf that served as the man’s neck. “Gerald the Bear says ‘Grr!’, Mister! You better wake up or I’m gonna fold you back in the box.”
The box was one of a baker’s dozen, stacked and soft with age and dust, leaning beside the table where Alena’s mother once kept her quilting materials. “Men” the box was named, printed in black marker dimmed to blue. Alena’s men were assembled from scraps, lined on their backs like an array of playing cards, their hats, caps, and yarn hair close against the angle where the roof line sloped into the floor. If they wanted to sit up, they would bump their heads, and Alena often warned them not to move as she adjusted their clothes, and their make-believe attitudes.
Gerald turned to her from the stubborn, closed-lidded man; threads hung from the teddy bear's cross-stitched mouth like droplets of blood.
“Good bear,” she said, and held Gerald to each face in turn to show them what vicious behavior he was capable of.
The man at the left consisted of work clothes—Dickies overalls, White Mule gloves, and for his head she’d scooped and patterned a round button face made of buttons itself, grimacing with a row of silver snaps and other glinting bits of toothy remnants. He had no hair—her dad had been bald—and his eyes were made of spools, bugging out in anger. She ignored him, no matter how much Gerald growled. Dad was best left alone.
Next she’d smoothed out a pair of torn Levi’s and a shirt that changed with her mood. Yesterday it had been a muscle shirt, today was dressier, a blue t-shirt with stained armpits, covered with a vest from a suit she couldn’t find. His head was empty except for his eyes she’d built of heaps of glitter, and his hair was long and straight, combed from brown yarn. He was a rock and roll rebel boy, her high school sweetheart someday. She called him Rascal, and he was the only one that Gerald approved of.
Gross John lay next to Rascal. A boring brown suit and hat, folded in half from brim to toe, as though he’d rolled over and gone to sleep. Gross John was her husband, who never came home from work, and it didn't matter anyway, because next to him lay her secret boyfriend, Raul. He didn’t have any clothes at all, just a pair of underwear she’d wickedly stuffed with socks, and eyes that winked and dazzled her: deep blue Pente orbs, stolen from the game downstairs.
And now, the difficult one. The one who refused, flat refused, to open his eyes!
“Maybe he’s asleep,” she whispered to Gerald.
In his bear voice he replied that maybe she hadn’t met him yet, and his eyes would open then.
The attic door slammed open against the bottom of the stairwell, and Alena almost bumped her head scooping up the men, bundling Gerald into the box with them, crying, “Who’s there?” before the trespasser could set foot on the stairs. “Stay there, stay there! I’m coming down in a minute!”
“It’s way past dinner time,” a boy’s voice complained. “We’re starving.”
“Just one more little minute, honey. Let me tidy up.”
“Please, Mom. The baby’s hungry; I can’t make him shut up, and Dad’s not home yet.”
Gerald rustled in the box and muttered at the mention of Alena’s husband. She stroked the box marked “Men” and shushed the bear to silence.
“I’m coming,” she said, and stood to compose herself, whispering “Goodnight, darlings” to the empty spaces her men of rags had filled.
When the Church Bell Rings
by Derek Kalaaukahi
It was a warm December day turned cold because I found myself on the losing end of a sparring match with a dangerous foe…myself. Sad stories about life’s ups and downs are best saved for a Hallmark movie, so let’s just say that I was looking for a lighthouse to help me find my way through the storm which had become my life. Fate and destiny can be the biggest bitches in the world, but guiding lights they would become on that day, a day in which I would find sanctuary, as well as a savior.
Drifting in a barrio section of the city which was once Park Avenue some fifty years ago, I came across a row of broken down business warehouses. These warehouse looked palatial in the memory of a hundred year old city resident, but they looked like slums in my eyes on that day. One of those little warehouses stood out like a tombstone in a cemetery full of wooden crosses. Engraved on the tombstone read “Boxing Gym.” It would seem as if the little house of dreams could see the despair in my eyes as it actually called for me to go inside. It was like Mama calling for me the first time I fell off my bike.
The smell of the place almost turned me away; it reeked so bad that you could almost see the air itself. The musty smell of sweat and blood tested those strong enough to take a few more steps into the light. A quick leap of faith showed a litany of saints such as Ali, Frazier and Sugar Ray forever immortalized on boxing posters that covered the shrine walls. Tyson and Duran glared from the entrance as they dared the weak to take just a few more steps to glory.
High noon was the time as I walked inside the place feeling like Doc Holliday. If you had eyes from the heart, you could almost see all the ghosts of the combatants that had come before, still throwing punches. Jump ropes hung from the walls like sleeping snakes that only woke up for the champions at heart. Heavy bags pieced together with gray duct tape hung from the ceiling like Christmas ornaments. The ring where the gladiators fought their demons laid in the middle of the gym on a raised platform. Those with courage needed only three steps to find their way out of hell, but the timid saw those same steps as a stairway to heaven. It’s inside the ring where you sometimes stand alone with your arms raised. Sometimes though you find yourself kneeling before an adversary like a sinner seeking redemption from a saint. A boxing gym, as I would soon learn, is a church for those with no religion but self-preservation. I felt at ease, I felt at home.
“How you doin’?”
I was startled by strong yet soothing sound of a man’s voice coming from behind me as if God were speaking to Moses. I turned around expecting a burning bush, but black Jesus stood before me instead. I was face to face with a tall stout black man with arms and legs that would make a tree green with envy. Gray woolen hair and a lumbering walk hinted that at this man’s six decades on Earth.
Rank air turned rose scented, and the boxers inside the posters came to life as Don introduced himself. Don was a former boxer who trained the incorrigible of society, like myself. I felt comfortable telling this stranger about my plight, looking for something to believe in, something to shoot for…a purpose in life. Don had gone through his own rollercoasters in life, and he gave a sermon about how boxing had saved his soul…by giving him purpose as well. He preached that boxing is discipline mixed with pain and sweat, a template that I would take with me the rest of my life.
“Make this place your home,” said the minister.
Don would become my coach and mentor, but more importantly he would become my friend who taught me many things inside and outside the ring which would help me become someone better than the loser who first walked in that gym. Don harped that boxing is not about sport, it’s about finding courage to step through the ropes and face the challenges of life.
Five years have passed since I crossed that threshold of hooks and uppercuts. I’ve held no title belt, but a champion I’ve become. I am now the greatest, the greatest me that I can be. My church is there for those seeking salvation from the past. My church welcomes sinners and saints alike, and sacrifice pays the tithe.
We Are the Atheists (Murderers of All the Gods)
by Leonardo da Vinci E.
I am a truth sayer and a God-slayer
And it is my honor never to have willingly—slain a man
But for to take his hand—in peace
But no gods have lived after there was I
To see them standing there alone, before my sword
Owned for its truth to fall upon them
And you know in your heart the reason
Apollo, Zeus, Isis, Odin
And many more are all slain
And why to worship them now—is considered a shame
As truth has one by one called them by name—to justice
And now there is left only one eternal flame
Left to extinguish—I am stalking
And he shakes mightily to hide himself
Lest my eyes fall upon even his shadow
Where I yet upon his trail
Will not fail but to slay his frail and false morality
His invisible and thus immoral heart
And what will ye serve then—Oh humanity?
When that moment comes and you realize you
Were really all alone under the sun
With only physics and yourselves
And being freed from heaven or hell—unprepared!
But we the humanist have prepared a place
For thee—Oh humanity
To dry your eyes after all the lies have been defined
And what to do now is to serve the good
For the purpose of destroying chaos—my love
To serve the fairness for the sake of an orderly peace
To do justice for to establish a reason for love
To worship courtesy as the prerequisite for human contact—my love
With concepts we’ll call ethics
Because morality mixed with mysticism, hatreds, and superstitions
will be dead
And all their imaginary Gods
Slain by humanist atheists
by Niko Joost
Oh, hi, Orion,
Way up in the sky on
A crisp, clear Christmastide night!
Your stars all twinkle
Like diamonds were sprinkled
On black velvet, reflecting the light.
In your belt I can see
Stars numbering three
Arranged like those pyramids at Giza
Were they built by Egyptians
With glyphic predilections?
Who knows, but they predated Caesar
Their ratios' designs
Run along cosmic lines
And feature the star Betelgeuse.
Astronomically, to boot!
Their builders were far from obtuse
So when I espy
You up in the sky
My mind races to places far off.
Where scientists' debates
With Jules Verne and his mates
Are refereed by The Great Asimov.
I always remember
To look for you when the sun sets;
I know you're returning
Because your friendship, I'm learning
Won't ever be the subject of bets.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL! (And to all a Good Night!)
An unfulfilled quest
by Marcilas Jackson
I really don’t remember the name of the story. I know it was about some guy named Macomber. There were others involved, too. I really don’t remember their names.
I think there was
and a tiger.
My instructor, Professor Griffith, asked me to write a paper on the three unfulfilled quests in the story. To this day I cannot remember the goals of the people in the story: Macomber, his wife, and the guide.
I can only remember there were in fact
four quests in the story.
The tiger that was killed was on a quest of its own.
It never made it to the top of the hill.
It could have had cubs.
I don’t know.
Now it was no more.
It was forgotten.
An unfulfilled quest.
It was so big. A giant peace symbol on the side of the ship. (The bottom leg was missing, so it was more of a Mercedes symbol.)
Now I knew why the U.S.S. Forrestal side cleaners got their liberty cancelled and had to return to the ship in Barcelona. They had scrubbed a mile high peace sign on the seaward hull where nobody would see it. The tide had turned, and the seaward side of the ship was now the shoreward side. Everybody saw it then!
Barcelona is too nice a port to have a short liberty at. I got to buy a guitar there, anyway, and met a very nice prostitute who called me a cab and told the cabbie not to rip me off and even paid the fare, and I never even used her services!