Out of State… by Kyle Hemmings

 

Out Of State

He sent her a text: Winters in Jersey. Living in cork-lined

rooms. Stripped down to my inner ear. I’m hearing things.

She replied: You have Michigan on your night trains. Waking up

with a crick in my neck. My days are split personalities in fogged mirrors.

He texted back: Quartz veins. Anti-muse in tunnels. Wolverines limp

in subways. fall asleep in imported armchairs. Leave dreams in wet tar.

She replied: They’re laying off the Kings of Grease. Another yellow

slip, I’ll be rancid meat. Come Home before I go short on snowfall.

End of Text.

 

Kyle Hemmings lives and works in New Jersey. He has upcoming work in Primal Zine and Matter Press. His latest e-books are You Never Die in Wholes and The Truth about Onions.

Copyright © 2013 by Kyle Hemmings

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Persephone Meets Hades… by Imani Sims

 

Persephone Meets Hades

He tossed a smooth coin in his hand. “So, what do you say,” he asked? I turned to face him, Acheron at my back. A black boat that smelled of sulfur and sweat bobbed in the water. A demon waited—shimmering like a labrodorite gem in the sun, an oar heavy in hand —for me to make a decision.

“What’s in it for me,” I said as raised an eyebrow and tossed a braid over my shoulder.

“An entire kingdom my love; you’ll be queen.”

I must admit, he was persuasive. I wanted the obsidian crown that rose to the clouds. I wanted the flowing robes. My twelve year old mind was filled with enchantment, rationalizing this decision. And he said I can have the dogs too!

But with pursed lips and a flounce, I said, “mmmm nope, maybe next year.” I turned on my heels and wandered back to the house.

This stranger never failed; he came every year around the end of August. He would bring me a gift. Bow and kiss my hand. Tell me how I was the fairest of Demeter’s daughters. Then the bargaining would begin.

Every time, my mother gave me the same advice: Stay Away From Him. Don’t get lost in his golden eyes and tilled earth skin. If you do, we will never see you again.

I couldn’t imagine why she felt this way. He was so nice. He treated me like I was his queen.

For three years, our little game of cat and mouse continued. Each year, his gifts got bigger and more extravagant. A trunk overflowing with jewels, satin robes as far as the eye could see; he even brought me a harp and notebook, so that I could write down my songs.

 

The fourth year came. I sauntered out of the house, ample breasts and curls playing in the wind. I knew today was the day he would be here. I always knew. It was like I could feel his breath on my neck and his arm wrapped around my waist. I shivered, remembering how great it felt to have him near me, how soon I would have him again. Only morning turned to noon and noon turned to dusk. He hadn’t shown up. I stood, from dawn until dusk, feet digging patterns into the banks of the river, arms crossed and my huff becoming more and more of a whine. Until my mother’s voice broke the silence, “Persephone! Get inside! Your dinner will be nothing more than coagulated gravy if you stay out here any longer.”

I silently turned to face her, let the first tear of rejection slide down my face and replied, “I’m not coming in mother, I’m going to find him.”

My mother stood in the doorway, shocked at first. Then she began to run full force towards me, enraged at the thought of me defying her and for what? A man? She couldn’t believe it. As her feet hit the earth, my toes were already in the water. I dove.

My head hit the cold water with a jolt and all of a sudden I felt nothing but sorrow and regret. I felt as though every tear I had ever wept were washing over me, trying to sway me to turn back. But the burn in my heart kept me going. My arms kept slicing the water, my mother’s wails somewhere in the distance, I drew closer to my love, my king.

The first yellow leaf hit the water, as my sorrows turned to lament. My fingertips splashing into the river Cocytus.

 

Imani Sims is a Seattle native who spun her first performance poem at the age of fourteen. Since then, she has developed an infinitely rippling love for poetry in all of its forms. Imani is the founder of Split Six Productions (splitsix.com) in Seattle, WA. Her book Twisted Oak is available on Requiem Press

 
 
 

 
 
 

Sorry You Had To Hear This, Dave…by John Grey

 

Sorry You Had To Hear This, Dave

Had enough of Castro and his fat Cuban cigar yet.
Seen so much Afghanistan you’re choking on the dust.
Feel like the TV news is giving birth to you… a war baby.
And what about politics.., local, state, federal,
around the world, spinning, spinning, spinning
the last of your senses out of you.
Been to see your analyst declaring no more
capitals of former Soviet satellites whose names
you can’t pronounce.
And foreign leaders with personalities like cold coffee
and accents with three hands and seventeen eyes.
Can’t wait to dump celebrity murders, magazine models,
movie star looks and sit-corn laugh tracks.
Would [you] rather [have] a serpent in your bed than the porno chicks
who breathe heavy through your internet.
Need a break from the casino, the ballpark,
even your friends and family who come on to you
like news stories, headlines bloodshot into their eyes.
Can’t die because there’s ten thousand religions
camped out in your next world, waiting to say “I told you so.”
Can’t live either because it requires the acquiesce
of doctors, the poke and prodding kind.
Sleep’s like lower Manhattan at rush hour.
And love is just a game of dice to see who wins your ass.
Put it this way, there are no choices.
So read on. Everybody else has.

 

Copyright © 2013 by John Grey

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Strings… by David Newson

 

Strings

If there were not a sinew for every daughter in the village, a home would seem much further, because the silk string that sent them out was the same that had always led them back, constituting unique and unbroken avenues. That is not to say that the sons of the unnamed place, albeit more carefree in this concern, don’t also possess the twisting strand, secured, in several knots, to the wrist of each child before they are too old to know that it has not always been there; the other end feeding from the web of the town itself, a great tangle of the lace-like structure appearing as one might, often in a lightless corner of the cellar or along the beams in the barn, here reaching out through a decrepit stone well in the town square where curious little spiders spin their fluids endlessly into that air hardened rope; men and women making use of such production to join their children from the wrist to the eternal weaving of spiders, which itself is connected to homes, earth, flora of the region that one scarcely knows all the names of, and each other person, although when they look at the sky they look in exasperation, as it lacks the physical makeup required here, yet it can still be seen and, they feel, is a necessary part of life growing up in the hamlet.
       In a few short years, the children are instilled with the qualities that comprise a community, but grow, as all do, to eventually long for the unknowable lands of far away. There are now many young girls and boys encountering this exploratory phase, departing by various routes and revealing, as can be seen from the air as the sinews tense but do not break, something like the spokes of a bicycle tire, all calling the centre of the wheel, that old watering place in town, their birthplace. Of course, very rarely, a taut string would slacken, and upon no arrival, pulling it home, the father would see that their child was lost, and experiencing the many mixed emotions of a parent in such a state, would solemnly and not without breaking the hearts of onlookers, bow his head. But this was a rare occurrence, usually a person would carry that connection with them forever, forging new meaning and values with their free arm while persisting through the soft friction of the bound wrist.
       We speak about webs, those sinewy structures formed by spinnerets and if viewed on a much larger scale, one can perceive between the first village, and now hundreds of others, a potent network, lines of life drawn between places, fixed to the experiences and ethos, leading a person back, inexorably, home.

       When one looks they can see, overall, a flawed but practical structure, interminably formed and repeated. That is until meeting one of the very rare men or women with unbound wrists who come at experiences with different eyes, untrained eyes, and can themselves still find strings in the world, but do so alone and when they tie them down, they do it in a wholly different manner.

 

David Newson has studied writing, photography, and design at Ryerson University in Tronto. He is a newly published author of essays and prose poetry.

Copyright © 2013 by David Newson

 

 
 

 
 

 

The Path… by Bud Robert Berkich

 

The Path

A school dance. You see her. Across the way. On the edge. Of the woods.

She beckons. You follow.

She disappears. Literally.

 

II.

One hundred years ago. Turn of the century. On the other side. Of the trees. Pentecostal factory. Chews them up. Churns them out. Spits them out. Shits them out.

Inferior product. SalvatDeion. Cheap.

Very high cost.

 

III.

Backyard. By the woods. Unseen.

Bodies. So many.

She beckons. You follow.

 

Copyright © 2012 by Bud Robert Berkich