Slipstream Issue 31    Slipstream Issue 31
     Sex-Food-Death Issue      2011      $10.00      96 pages

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Poets featured in this Issue:

David Chorlton, Sherman Alexie, Amy Ash, Heather Cousins, Terry Godbey, Tom Lachman, Willard Greenwood, Francesca Bell, Barry W. North, Christina Ayers, Sarah Marcus, Keith Alexender, Melissa Stein, Diana Cole, Doug Draime, Tony Tracy, Robert Penick, Charles Rammelkamp, Holly Day, Jennifer Tappenden, Barbara Osborne, Melissa Holmes, William Palmer, Christopher Locke, Jatharyn Howd Machan, Marty Silverthorne, Hugh Fox, Dana Bisignani, Kathleen Hellen, Ed Taylor, Heidi Nye, Jim Daniels, Sarah Carson, Jean Hollander, Kurt Cole Eidsvig, Tobi Cogswell, Joan E. Bauer, Connie post, Alejandro Escude, Carol Berg, Hal J. Daniel III, Karla Linn Merrifield, Rasma Haidri, Walt Hunter, Carol V. Davis, Myles Gordon, Beth Anne Royer, Karen Skolfield, Clayton Adam Clark, Michelle Ann Kratts, A. Kay Emmert, Wayne Lee, Robert Perchan, Stephanie Coyne DeGhett, Derek Henderson, Melanie Maier, Lee Rossi, Alison Stone, Sudasi J. Clement, James Espinoza, Julie Babcock, Carol Hamilton, James Valvis, Ken Feltges, Mark Belair, Ron D'Alena, Sabrina Ito, Diane Shipley DeCillis, and Gerald Locklin.

> See Contributors' Notes

Slipstream 31 cover Issue 31 front cover: European Starling #1,
by Jonathan Daly
Slipstream 31 back cover Issue 31 back cover: Tasty, by Brad Mazur
Sample Poems from Issue 31

Cheap Mangos  by David Chorlton
Watching the Ed Sullivan Show at Arthur's House  by Walt Hunter
Lean Cuisine  by Sherman Alexie
Space Walk with Turkeys  by Lee Rossi
The Tooth Collector  by Jennifer Tappenden

Cheap Mangos
by David Chorlton

There’s an easy flow of music through
the speakers at the supermercado
where papayas ripen while you watch
their skins disintegrate
the way a man’s skin does
when he’s found on his back in the desert
facing the sun with his mouth locked
between a scream and a prayer. His trouser leg
is torn where a coyote
came to gnaw at his thigh
and of his right forearm only
the bones remain, while on his left wrist
a watch still measures time.
The music has a teardrop in its beat
and nostalgia in the singer’s voice
but the juice aisle is a happy place
with any flavour you’d remember
from a trip across the border
going south to a colourful village
with peppers stacked in the market
just like these red, green, yellow ones
displayed in the order of their bite,
a village likely similar
to one the woman left
whose sweater clings to what remains
of her where she collapsed
in a pair of sports shoes good for many
more miles with the tread on their soles
and Just Do It style. Something pulled at her hair
where her scalp peeled away
but the strap on her brassiere
is indestructible as the belt
that falls slack where the flesh has wasted
from her hips. Had she made it
to a road she might have found
her way to Phoenix, to the store
where the cakes in the cold case
are churrigueresque, and mangos
are two for ninety-nine cents.

© 2011 David Chorlton

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Watching the Ed Sullivan Show at Arthur's House
by Walt Hunter

I tell myself:
don’t think about
the black patch
of hair you just
saw when Arthur’s
mother re-adjusted
her blue satin robe.
Say something quick
before your face
explodes; mention
the skill with which
the juggler handles
the balls. Avoid
looking at her
husband standing
in the doorway.
Avoid this house.
Do not come over
next weekend when
Arthur goes fishing
with his father, and
don’t sing another
Perry Como song
no matter what she
tells you, and if
you do go over
next weekend, leave
right after the first
beer and for God’s
sake don’t smoke
the whole cigar.
Leave the minute she
starts taking off
her leopard leotard
and don’t, don’t, don’t
throw up all over
the gray velvet couch
when she puts you
in her mouth; and most of all
whatever happens, don’t
confess this to anyone,
especially to your father,
no matter how hard
he hits you.

© 2011 Walt Hunter

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Lean Cuisine
by Sherman Alexie

The best meal that I ever ate
Was in an ancient fishing village
On the Spanish Mediterranean coast.

Fresh tomato on still-warm bread slathered with garlic
And baby fish, bones and all, caught that morning

As I ate, I kept thinking, “I might be the only
Native American who has ever eaten baby fish,
Bones and all, in an ancient fishing village
On the Spanish Mediterranean coast.”

Forget Neil-goddamn-Armstrong!
Every Indian has been the only Indian somewhere.
Every Indian, bones and all, has been the First

Man on the Moon.

But I digress. So let me repeat:

The best meal that I ever ate
Was in an ancient fishing village
On the Spanish Mediterranean coast.

Fresh tomato on still-warm bread slathered with garlic,
And baby fish, bones and all, caught that morning.

To confess, I ate dozens of baby fish, bones
And all, and enough bread to make two loaves.

Gluttony, thy name is Sherman, bones and all

After the meal, I drank coffee
As strong as colonialism, bones and all.

And I, through my translator friend, asked
The restaurant owner/chef if
A Native American, a Red Indian, had
Ever eaten there, and he said, in Spanish,

“Of course, of course, my great-grandfather
Was honored to serve Sitting Bull.”

Holy shit, I thought.

Sitting Bull!
Sitting Bull!
Sitting Bull, bones and all!

Santa mierda, I thought.

Suddenly, I was Buzz
Aldrin, Second Man
On the Moon. Suddenly,
Every Indian, bones and all, was potentially
The Second Man on the Moon.

O, I swooned. Who knew?

There might be six degrees of
Separation among all white folks,
But between Indians, there’s only two,
Even on the Spanish Mediterranean coast.

Who knew? Did you?

O, sing an honor song,
Sing an honor song
For baby fish, bones and all!

But, damn, it wasn’t fair,
For I was too fat to sing,
So I eased my belt,
And leaned back in my chair,
My belly warm and full
With the same meal
That pleased Sitting Bull.

© 2011 Sherman Alexie

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Space Walk with Turkeys
by Lee Rossi

Motel sex, no matter how good with your own wife,
is better with someone else’s, the ghosts
of all those horny strangers, a cheering section
of lingering sweetness, infecting the sheets.

30 minutes north of the Johnson Space Center,
I was watching football and thinking of the Mrs.
back home. Outside, the interstate
vibrated with the hum of livestock trailers.

The other woman, angry now, was also out there
in the sauna of South Texas.
I could’ve followed her but how could I face
the weather, drenching the plains with brutal light

News flash—guys in spacesuits were performing
an EVA in a giant herd of turkeys.
Some alien strain had gotten into one
and so they all had to die. I turned off the sound

and tried to imagine every inch of the thousand
miles that separated me from my vows,
all the sagebrush and motels,
that turkey farm almost across the road.

I wondered if it would be better to wait
and see which of the offended spouses
would burst through the door
and fill me with enough lead to open

my own ammo dump, or should I stroll
under the overpass to witness the death
of 10,000 innocents,
whether by gas, lethal injection, or machine gun?

Not since Antietam would so many die
so quickly on American soil.
When I was a kid, I fed the chickens—
a lesser species, I’ll admit, than the noble turkey—

but they died singly, honorably,
my mother’s hands wringing their throats.
Somewhere beneath the sorghum
stretching in every direction, a couple

of Air Force uniforms manned radar & red phones,
the Phi Beta key of destruction dangling from their necks.
Meanwhile their Russian counterparts crouched below
the wheat fields of Ukraine. I was tired

of ignoring them, tired of pretending
that tomorrow I might be alive.
I wanted to say something rude to the hucksters
of honorable death. But this was Texas,

where justice comes flying at you like an ICBM.
I swear, I could almost hear the groan
of those death row turkeys
as they watched their executioners,

men suffocating in rubber suits,
wading across that rapidly evaporating sea of birds.

© 2011 Lee Rossi

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The Tooth Collector
by Jennifer Tappenden

Let’s have a drink to Cedar Creek,
and the whole damned Shenandoah
Valley while we’re at it, and the boy
I found today whose teeth are paying.
They’re quite a sight: unstained, complete
and mostly free of rot. In a Rebel mouth,
no less. You know, the Yanks need four
good front teeth to enlist, but the Rebs
are so desperate they’ll take anybody,
ugly gums and all. There’s never much worth pulling
from the grey end of the field, but this mouth,
this mouth will bankroll me for a month
in high style. Up and down this valley
most folks I hear talk tired of war, but I see a treasure
chest that’s always full
of teeth, no matter how many I take.
Of course, neither side really appreciates me, but
desolate men will mostly leave me to my business
unless one sees me pulling at his friend. All in all
money’s much easier now my donors
are dead. A starving man will part
with an eyetooth more cheaply
than you’d believe, but free trumps cheap
every time. Besides, the dead don’t bite,
or call me out for my living, for the hand I have
in the glove of this war. No matter. My buyers
never ask which pain they’re paying for
and I don’t tell. The teeth speak for themselves.
My margin remains my own private concern
and needn’t bother you at all. Drink up.

© 2011 Jennifer Tappenden

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