David Christopher la Terre… Margaret-Piece


i called her a ‘commandant,’ but not aloud, & to-myself – the manager of our subsidy building – ‘a building full of retards’ as one local comedian said (after our underground power line caught fire &        displaced           150          of         us.          we’ve         had           a           lot         of           fires becausewe’reabuildingfullofretardsapparently. but that’s another story). & i often reiterate she was completely the wrong choice to manage a low-cost building of the mentally-ill, disabled, blind & elderly, since she was so insensitive, sadistic & passive-aggressive. i often thought: how could the holding-company appoint her? i even wrote a detailed letter to her superiors/my ‘advocate’ there, relating 18 months of mean-spirited victimization (& a ‘failed inspection’ due to boxes that had just come out of our family storage & hadn’t been distributed, but that’s still another story). more recently, she intentionally kept me waiting – procrastinating – & casually walked round the building while she got me a set of replacement keys, which cost $45 for three. i had asked her for a copy of the mail key until one could be made, but she told me “I never get them back.” i told her “i was a First Class scout; i’ll give you back your key!” i often wondered if it was just me she bullied or treated coldy, or everyone. (in hindsight, however, i really think it was everyone.) -what an odd choice to assign one so gratuitously stern, like some villain-marm. she seemed to get off on draconia, along with affixing excessive fines for simple maintenance or replacements that i always felt were personally pocketed.

-now i wasn’t responsible for her getting fired. the letter might not have helped, but it was 15 months old. one weekend i just saw a box or two of her materials by her office door: various files & a placard that read Margaret. i stopped seeing her car – always parked in the No Parking elbow of our driveway like a showpiece (with all its patriotic bumper stickers). at last i could discern that the office was virtually empty. finally i saw her the second-to-last time down in the basement – our ‘first floor’ – speaking seriously & quietly with our Resident Maintenance man (having replaced long-time repairman Tom, who died of swift & aggressive cancer & was the agreed heart-and-soul of the building). the next thing i knew; she was out & another woman was shuffled in – threw an Introduction Party – & was mysteriously & quickly replaced with another woman. (even since then the holding company has changed again along with the management).

& that was the last time i saw Margaret, again in the basement; coming to join the festivities of that mysteriously-vanished first girl. & i tell you: i felt bad. i shouldn’t, of course. i had no reason.

once we talked – briefly – of her passion for Civil War history. i don’t remember much other non-building discussion. i never saw her as anything but invulnerable. but this seems to be a story of one ‘mentally-ill’ narrator’s – humanity? – vs. another’s out-sane inhumanity, or some misplaced .. predator? i had every right to feel vengeful; i had every reason to feel righteous. but i didn’t. her karma burned up in the atmosphere. no, i don’t know what inevitably ‘caught up’ with her ..

i just think of that line ~ perhaps speaking of my own sensitive & even rigid mental illness ~ from Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion: “Damn this world that just won’t hold still for us! Damn it anyway!”


David Christopher la Terre is an old punk, advertising brat, artist, writer, hit-and-run orator, humorist, exfilmmaker, “asexual icon” and sentimental Modernist pursuing work in new formats, hybrids, language arts, Sound Poetry, decon, “post-mod,” prank-art … ‘living satire’ … he has been published in the Slate, Spleen, Lost & Found Times, Rag Mag, Roar Shock, Open Minds & Monkeybicycle.




Kurt (Johansson) Swalander… Back Home & Tea


Back Home & Tea

Another night at home, bright, passionate, lunar light spraying at the world beyond 144th St. screaming,                         “GO! GO! GO!”

I think that was God sending angelic encouragement and I, I reject like the fool, but instead sit at home, closing the gates of opportunity,

Watching the lights fade until all was abysmal as I took the last toke of Elitch,

and I don’t leave home, but wither like paper,

heart murmur,
                         Ka Cha! Ka Cha! Ka Cha Cha!

Buzzes reverberate my anxious body.


Eyes beaming:
                  Left is: closet, suitcase, and rucksack packed and ready to bug-out,
                  to the right: window, darkness, the wind whirling,
                  rain falling, airplanes flying overhead,
Sea-          Tac! Pike! America!

And I’m going crazy sitting here watching my hair fall out,
“GO! GO! GO!”
And my heart is pounding,
                         Ka Cha! Ka Cha! Ka Cha Cha!

Ears still receiving painful, circulating, buzz, making me          maddened like Manson.


Until I turn off the buzz, finally at peace.

Flavor is flavor again, coffee still bites,

and my eyes are tame,
and I don’t hear the voice,
                         “GO! GO! GO!”
and it makes me feel weak, or unfaithful, or disdainful, or none, or maybe all three.

But still,

                         Ka Cha! Ka Cha! Ka Cha Cha!
                                   that pound,
                                   that sound,
                                   that rhythm,

Where am I today? Nearly two years alone, back at home,”Go home! Go moan!” three empty bank accounts, bills to pay, unpublished and just a grain of sand to the world.

                         Ka Cha! Ka Cha! Ka Cha Cha!

Omer is in North Carolina so high he sees the Wright Brothers.


seeing the same bullshit on the news as I did every time I watch the news.
                         “Nukes in Iran.
                         Drugs causing animalistic behavior.
                         Unemployment numbers falling.
                         No new jobs found.”

A world losing care, isolated in billion worlds.

I turn the lights,
                         strip clothes,
                         and lye naked,
                         warm and locked,
                         in cotton bed sheets.

                         Ka Cha! Ka Cha! Ka Cha Cha!

hours in the darkness,

                         Ka Cha! Ka Cha! Ka Cha Cha!

* * *

I wake to the voice,

                         “GO! GO! GO!”


Kurt Swalander is a product of his travels. With the intent of absorbing every sensory experience, he hopes to create a new form of the literary vision. He has completed his first chapbook and hopes to publish by January 2014.

Copyright © 2014 by Kurt (Johansson) Swalander



Morris Stegosaurus… Xenotaph’s Letter To Epistolary


Xenotaph’s Letter To Epistolary

Stop trying to sever “pomp”

from “psychopomp”, Little Legba–

Cut your tongue loose

and flood your mouth with nightengales

make peace with your angles:

It’s not about what silverback skriker you dangle from,

nor the sweet, chubby sexpot who swallows your ransom

It’s all over your face, Young Scratch:
this whole astringent boondogle,
the great blooming disasterpiece
you’re so proud to be wrapped up in,

tighter than Ko.

every scrambling desperate nonchalance
hollers “I need, I want, I need, I need, I want”,
rippling with savage indulgence
until shame rips your choler:
the more you throw it away

the tighter it clings

each glib indifference
only more baldly betrays

your naked, lonely desperation

if words are the best bridge you have
you’ll never make the cross–
don’t make it about words.


Morris Stegosaurs is the author of the collection “Zebra Feathers“, on Minor Arcana Press.

Copyright © 2014 by Morris Stegosaurs





Carol Smallwood… After Dirk


After Dirk

My house is now very clean; I can rest in its sterility. There are nights I cannot sleep from wanting him; I must believe I’ll see him again to ward off the chill of fall.

I pace supermarkets while country music singers belt songs of undying love. The last survey I made was pasta: rotini, elbows, rigatoni, bow ties, twists (they also came in colors), angel hair, fettuccine, manicotti, mostaccioli, lasagna, penne, shells (various sizes), ruffles, vermicelli—and then egg noodles and spaghetti also in various sizes. I arranged them alphabetically as I wrote them. And compared prices and brands. Once I surveyed spirals of luncheon meats, rings of bologna, stacked hot dogs: most were a mixture of turkey, chicken, pork, beef, and chemicals. I wrote the chemicals in symbols I remembered from chemistry class. And compared prices and brands.

Most enjoyable, however were facial tissues: row after row of boxes. Flowers were the most popular design. Ultra soft, scented, environmentally safe, strengthened, allergenic, pop-up, baby blue, petal pink, sunny yellow, classic white. I’d pick the most comforting and pretend to buy it.
When I looked at the rainbow of scented candles with matching labels, the meadow flowers candle conjured up the spring with Boyd, the yellow citrus the fleck in one of Cal’s jackets, the blue the shore I paced thinking of Doctor, the purple with Mitchell’s heather.

Across from the candles were the detergents smelling so good you knew their claims must be true. But what did “extreme clean” mean? Was “mountain fresh” better than “spring rain”?”
Deep clean” better than “ultra clean”—or was “advanced action” better? Many had labels radiating rainbows.

Jenny said I looked younger and Mark whistled with raised eyebrows when I wore my new dress to church. I hadn’t washed it because I wanted to keep it the way I’d worn it with Dirk.


Carol Smallwood’s books include Women on Poetry: Writing, Revising, Publishing and Teaching, foreword by Molly Peacock (McFarland, 2012) on Poets & Writers Magazine list of Best Books for Writers; Divining the Prime Meridian (WordTech Editions, 2014); Bringing the Arts into the Library (American Library Association, 2014). Carol supports humane societies.

Copyright © 2014 by Carol Smallwood