Thursday, May 31, 2007

Sal Salasin


"Hello," she lied.
She was dressed in black with
enough piercing to swing a compass needle
at five paces, some
real Mexican prison tatoos,
and a voracious appetite for an astonishing variety of
extremely dangerous drugs.

"Hi," I said.
"I'm into natural highs like hiking and paint thinner.
What about you?"
It's like when you turn the box on at three AM
and the offscreen boyfriend turns out to be
George Sanders and you say,
Oh boy, this isn't going to go well.

I fear she will fashion my skull
into a decorative fruit bowl.

But everything's changed since 7/11.
I was hanging out in Osama's Home Abortion Porn and
Jizzorama with
My girlfriend, Blanche Davidian,
Miss Conduct of 1985.
Did anyone question my freshness?
Surprisingly, no. I was like a
poodle on linoleum I was so nervous.

"Gee," I said.
"You're the prettiest girl that's ever talked to me,
you know?"
Later she died of a broken heart.
Or rabies.
Love hurts but
you usually have to pay more.

"I'll miss you at first," I said.
I was abandoned by wolves and raised by Republicans, no,
I was abandoned by wives and raised by Republicans,
and both my parole officer and court-appointed psychiatrist
will attest to my character.
Somewhere, even as we speak,
Donald Rumsfeld is planning the invasion of Bolivia.
People come to watch.
They sell popcorn.
It's a carnival of ugly.
But that's not what your mother said last night.
I told her not to talk with
her mouth full.
Stay tuned there's
more crap to come.

Sal Salasin is the author of Stepping Out of the Plane Under the Protection of the Army (Another Chicago Press, 1988) and Optima Suavidad (Greenbean Press, NY, 2000 - order from or, as well as the online (free) collection 12 Cautionary Tales. Sal is the founder, publisher, and managing editor of RealPoetik. He currently lives, studies and writes in a working class neighborhood in Guadalajara, Mexico and can be reached at

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Aaron Belz

Among Birds

Having spent the better part of the morning
among birds, having heard
                               what they whisper
to each other as the sun comes up,

having noted how they name their offspring,
with names like Fuzz Packet and Mr. Charming,
Devily Doo and The Potato Famine Boy,

having observed, if momentarily,
as they begin to glide, their haughty eyes
and knife-like toes,
       I hereby reject birds
       and not only birds but
the places where they dwell,  the patterns
of their lives, the very cosmic instinct
that brings them into being—in fact, the skies;

having been raised by birds and
having nursed at their impossible teats
and been subjected to their whimsical
sarcasm, also having been approached by
them on several occasions—

when my star had risen and theirs perhaps had not—

                             in the name of
neighborliness or good citizenship and having
politely asked them to step off,
                               can't you see
I'm busy, type of thing, and having quietly
informed them that I no longer belong
to their so-called tribe,
       I hereby request
that they wipe the silly smirks off their faces
and find other people to circle, other places
to drop their glob-like feces, and that is all
I ask of them, not that we can't exist on the same
planet, free-thinking individuals,
       in equal

if separate and clearly demarcated communities.

Aaron Belz is the author of The Bird Hoverer. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sampson Starkweather

The Judgment of Women
—a transcontemporation of Max Jacob

In Hell, Dante and me were inspecting a barrel we suspected of containing chemical weapons of mass destruction. Dante circled it like a Chevrolet salesman. I struck what I’m pretty sure was a yoga position. It turned out to be a funkified jar of Vlasic dill pickles. Eve, acting as an accidental backdrop to a middle-school photo in the mid-80’s, pulls down the laundry, the whites, she looks like an angel on the bowsprit of a sailboat, liable for her halo of nakedness; if only I had my camera phone. She walked by Dante and me with a hollow and disposed look, as if somebody had just robbed her. As soon as I saw her I wanted her. I placed an apple in the grass. Then I became the apple. Awaiting transgression.

The Flying Nun
—a transcontemporation of Max Jacob

The confession booth. Someone smoking a bowl. Smoke seeps through the triangled holes like the breath from the shoe salesman’s larynxless-neck. At the pulpit, flies halo a cup of wine. A bunch of benches built by local fraternity boys are brought in as a bodiless surplice speaks using many persuasive gestures, and the lip of the cup is wiped by the armless sleeve of an alb, and the women in the front pews close there eyes and see the Virgin Mary bleeding milk, and from somewhere, like a chorus, the sound of coughing.

XV from Trilce
—a transcontemporation of Vallejo

      In the racquetball court, we made love, the world watched
through a tiny square window. A janitor weeping in the dark. 
We went to Sheets for Super Nachos and a mixture of all the sodas.
A CEO sprained his ankle slipping on the spot of our sex the next afternoon.

     You slept in the shape of the number 4, and left
like a tooth beneath a pillow. I went back to the racquetball
court with your ghostmoney, I read a book
of poems in French amid all your gentle points;
the same old story: a boy and girl in love: somebody’s
gonna end up crying on a racquetball court.

      I’ve watched hours of home movies
about how the light came in our kitchen, it was you,
scant anvil, white fire, coming in and out of rooms.

      But tonight, when the rain says your name,
now far from both of us, I suddenly start to…. 
Two doors open and two doors close, a life
spent(,) trying to make the number 3
shadow                  enters                  shadow.

XLIV from Trilce

—a transcontemporation of Vallejo

       The computer travels inward,
feminine, without the luxury of salt;
it breastfeeds itself in the fetal position,
screwed together by seven dream-bits.

       It Restarts. Flies through wire, wants
to be blood, goes underground, a life
without eyes; hacked, mushrooming
with desire.

       Sometimes its tubes burn out
and simultaneously an Asian’s eyes
eclipse; a micro-chip isn’t afraid
of death, but of losing its memory;
the nightmare of having hands.

       Computer, who does your spywear protect;
with your password that saddens me;
with my longing that indulges you?

oooh—  remember to save me too.  

Sampson Starkweather has been having dreams where his hot-air balloon sinks over a passive body of water, teeming with amphibious cougars. He is a big fan of plagiarism. Some of his poems are recently published or forthcoming from: LIT; jubilat; Poetry Daily; Absent; New York Quarterly; Sink Review; Gargoyle; Redivider; and Asheville Poetry Review. He lives in the woods alone.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Emily Kendal Frey

The Train Dreams It Is Flying

into its competing image: the river. But
the river can move faster and with more
fluidity than it. Both wish to be the most
dark, the blackest. No matter how hard it tries
the train cannot propel itself away
from the frozen water. The scenery snaps
in half and a tree rises up as silhouette,
briefly dividing the machines—
train and river. The train rushes headlong
into whiteness. So this is it,
what speed is. An outline. A broken branch.


At the MFA we decided
that a wheelchair would be
more fun. We justified it
somehow and waited
for the docent to bring it
sparkling and silver from behind
the coat check. It dragged someone
else's scarf. Turns out
viewing art is much more
enjoyable in a moving chair—
you got me right up next to
big textured waxen pieces
and pushed us inside
the carefully scattered installations.
Plastic figurines. Flies. Some dirt
clung to my pant leg as a
souvenir. But the biggest
thrill was you moving me
from room to room.
Like viewfinders
we clicked through each scene
with measured ferocity
and I left the museum
convinced it would just get
better and better.


Why are you bent on existing
as a superficial being?

This is getting embarrassing.
You're a crocodile shoving your

snout up the pond's ass.
It's scummy. You actually

fancy the trash
hanging like a prize from

the tree branch. What
no bird would take

for its nest. You're all
dazzle. No weight.

I could blow on you
and you'd condensate.

Marauding as a mannequin
boy-man, you forget:

I slept under your sleeping
breath; felt the slap of your

hands on my ass; looked
at what you looked at

on the subway; bought
your mom tulips on

Mother's Day; made eggs.
But the game of late

is your circus-fake (no
popcorn even) card

on my birthday. Thanks for
that. I'm eating the shreds

of sentiment. Cherries. I'd forgotten
how you always write in red.

Emily Kendal Frey grew up in Seattle and lives in Jamaica Plain, MA. Her most recent and shiny work is forthcoming in DIAGRAM and Sawbuck.