by Anne Marie Rooney
We’re born under Franky’s moon so of course
we’re fast friends; meaning, you kiss me first
under the “Moonstruck” diner, your hands on
my earrings, my teeth on your tongue.
Because it’s July and the city has gone
to the country and the taxis are empty
and the pizza is better downtown I take you
downtown and we eat Ray’s on some rich guy’s
stoop and when we’re done spit on his step
and slip our plates under his door. It’s like that
scene in Taxi Driver when Bobby
brings his blonde to the dirty movie
and for a moment they just sit there in the dark
and you can feel her discomfort and you can feel
his hardness and then something breaks and
they’re back on the mean streets and he is pleading
and behind her mean face a hooker hooks another.
So we hop a freight back to Harlem, shuffle
two stories up, smoke a mean line to my room
in the sky. I don’t love you yet, though I let you
play me all the tunes, wax Romeo,
sleep with the chambermaid and steal
my best jewelry. It’s like that scene in King
of New York just before the hit squad busts
Chris & co., when it’s still diamonds and blow
and blowing Cristal bubbles across some white
broad’s chest. We spend the weekend lying
hip to hip and on Monday I sweep grit off
my window, press nose to glass, imagine us
on the ferry, faces pink in the wind, bellies
full of beer, watching Manhattan like it’s going
out of style.
© 2008 Anne Marie Rooney
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First Anniversary of Our Divorce
by Mather Schneider
The air is brisk
and the dew undisturbed
on the lifeguard’s footholds.
only a few people are in the pool.
When it gets crowded
someone will insist on sharing a lane
and then I’ll have to meet him,
each length going
our arms flying while trying so hard
not to slap each other,
waiting on the moment
when we both bring our heads up
and lunge for the same air.
But right now I have my own.
I slip into the prenatal gravity
and plunge face-under.
The pressure massages my vodka head
as I begin my walrus crawl
across the lilting surface. 36
laps make a half mile.
I like this place
it isn’t considered strange
to be silent;
or to have red eyes.
© 2008 Mather Schneider
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by Loraine Campbell
Mickey Mouses are tossing
beach balls on the wallpaper
as his hand moves lower.
A yellow sun is winking.
Brother and I are in twin
beds; uncle is tickling brother,
his friend is tickling me
but I have stopped laughing.
I see ancestors bouncing
skulls across the centuries
and I have forgotten to duck.
I am in the grip of gray beings
whizzing without bodies
and mine is pinned to
Teeth and memories are
scattering like lost marbles;
nothing will stay in the
A curious shadow has seized
me and ancient laughter
runs like hollow rain,
like unused tears.
Suddenly I remember my
best friend, how pure she is.
Soon we will be in fifth
grade together, but now
when she shines her true
eyes on me, I will shudder
and step on her foot.
Minnie Mouse has a pink
ribbon between her
ears, but they are deaf,
and her luminous eyes
can’t help me now.
© 2008 Loraine Campbell
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Seer of Angels and Demons
by Troy Schoultz
spoke of top hat men floating
and disappearing through the fog and pines,
earthbound fires lent by the sky
waltzing through the barns in an age
when Death strolled rural Wisconsin
like a wounded suitor.
My Father dreams of dogs he had to have put asleep,
chastises lingering deceased former homeowners
for creeping up on him while remodeling basements.
He saw a denim-jacketed, lantern-eyed demon
drinking solo in a roadside northern Illinois bar,
set fi re to a Ouija board that got weird on him.
Screams from a bodiless shadow
still ring in his ears.
My Mother feels lives fleeting
before the phone’s verification
or obituary ink drying on newsprint.
Maybe this explains her in Wal-Mart after midnight,
writing letters until sunrise.
Grandma heard children giggling in her living room
as she lay awake in bed. Grandpa was buried two days earlier.
Normally fear would overtake her,
but she fell back asleep untroubled.
My Grandpa months before death
patted the heads of children only he could see.
I have wasted rolls of film in cemeteries after dark,
confounded tarot readers with my white noise aura,
walked bored and empty through rooms
that gave psychics the creeps.
I stood drunk and defi ant chanting a dead witch’s name
while facing blackened mirrors.
When I opened my eyes I saw my own reflection,
confused, heartsick, hungry to touch the unholy or divine,
the same bloody set of eyes I stare down each morning
the only wraith following me through reflective glass.
© 2008 Troy Schoultz
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