experience

End of The Summer Edition Part One

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Cover ALTPOETICS-Summer

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Three Poems by Arthur Turfa

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Three Poems 

by

Arthur Turfa

 

Weekends at Woolworth’s

For $18.49 a week

I got to spend my Weekends at Woolworth’s:

Sundays not included because of the

Blue laws in and around Philadelphia.

 

Friday nights and all day on Saturday

To avoid a conflict with a school night

And ruin my grades, or so the folks said.

Actually I would have had the choices

Anyway of Penn State, Temple, or Nam.

 

Mr. Fox, the cool assistant manager,

Told us about his tour of duty there

As we waited for customers to come

And check out so they could beat the traffic.

Heading both ways along Germantown Pike.

 

Miss Fogg, her frosted blond wig attempting

To disguise her five decades on this earth

Handed out our pay envelopes with cash

And told us where we were supposed to work.

 

Fridays on the upper level, two men

Regularly bought lots of plastic flowers.

Saturdays spent on the lower level

Talking with Linda from the Ancilla

Domini Academy wondering

If Vatican II would help me date her

And learning men’s wear from suave Mr. Knox.

 

Friends would stop by sometimes or I would see

Them during my hour-long meal break as

I passed on the 10% lunch counter discount

To head to Sal’s Steaks and Wee Three Records

Who had much cooler albums anyway.

 

A few weeks after the Mall fire

Water damage closed the lower level

And the upper level became crowded,

A real shambles for the next couple months.

 

Fully expecting they would lay me off,

On Saturday night a petulant man

Fired me for the inability to remove

Slushy black scuff marks without use of solvent

From the speckled linoleum floor.

 

Trudging to my Dad’s station wagon as

The first one in the family to be fired,

In adolescent anger I told him.

Dad suggested that the manager

could go to hell; much relieved, I concurred.

Thus ended my last weekend at Woolworth’s.

  

Observation Point 13, Ft. Drum, New York

 

Tree stretching toward Canada

Wispy clouds hover in summer sky

Vacationer’s paradise unfolding

Except for the large orange circles

On a small, man-made hill

Surrounded by the rusted wrecks

Or yesterday’s automobiles.

 

Radio transmissions crackle

Over in the Fire Direction Center

As bratwurst and kielbasa sizzle

Over on several hibachis.

 

Fire Mission! All human activity stops

As the hundred-pound rounds

Slam into the circles from a distance

Of classified information.

The plates have already been passed,

And as an FM rock station plays “Tommy”

By The Who, the howitzers blast away

At a few more wrecks.

 

Every shot has been in the box

And everyone his happy.

Like if good on OP 13 as

Lunch continues and I regret

Having taken so long to enlist.

Had I known the Army could be

This good, I would have joined earlier!

 

People along the way

 

Going half-way across the country

Thousands of faces flash by

In rest areas, attractions, streets, businesses.

Some of them stand out

For one inexplicable reason or another.

 

Shuffling from their SUV,

A family heads to the Lone Star

Leaning at the Sabine River Rest Area

Standing in front of thick gray clouds

So they can take each other’s picture.

 

Far from Hessen, in the Hill Country

German cuisine is served in a frontier house.

For a moment her native language

Floats in the air amid the Texan drawls

As it used to not so long ago.

 

Praying silently in the cathedral

With arms stretched along the railing

Her daughter converses as well

Discretely, impatiently speaking

Into her I phone.

 

Couple of our approximate age

Unhappy at everything

She fusses at restaurant hostess

Then unleashes a torrent of spite

At his day-long negativity.

Later I intentionally walk by them

As he slowly eats while she

Sits clutching her elbows

Not even caring to look at him.

 

From several feet away from the fountain

Tawny-tressed girl and mother standing.

Daughter appears to want a drink but refuses an offer

As her mother expresses her thanks anyway.

Six Poems by Juliet Cook And j/j hastain

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Six Poems

by

Juliet Cook and j/j hastain

 

Inside Out

Like a bee moth with bloody honeycomb lips.
Whose mouth will you sting next?
Whose mouth will become your own
next sticky chrysalis space?

Behemoth please don’t
lose yourself while you are busy
trying to find yourself.
Don’t treat your stingers
like they’re tectonic plates.

You’re not the whole surface of the earth.
You hover buzz above the mainstream,
but why try to create a new ovicide?
Are you attempting to kill
your own pattern again?

When will you help yourself
understand not every protrusion turns
into a broken down strand of tainted
confidence in the hyoid coincidence?

Are you too busy chiding biology to notice
your disembodiment tear apart like
flayed digits? You used to be pretty
as a snap dragon until you snapped,

and repeatedly ripped yourself
into too many different pieces.

Elated Excavation

I’m an incomparable mess with exaggerated streaks.
How do I narrow this down? During weeks
of drought–during weeks
of downpour–weeks upon weeks of
inauguration of weakness. Why is my flesh
made like this? Is it made for this? I didn’t
sign up but it might be time
to excavate and rearrange the flock.

Here’s my latest signature. I am glowing the more and more
sheep I let into this
dream state.
Sheep aren’t only a bridge, aren’t only
what to count in order
to get somewhere. When the moon is just right,
these sheep trigger out ectoplasm,

lots of different colors and
shapes, too many to count
unless we create a whole
different sort of order
reordering the borders while
wise men dream of dust bunnies
and other happenstance. Revamp
the squiggle dusters into ecstatic
elation, frenetic deviation
from the fur
or devotional pledges ensuring
the fur.

Fury dangling on the edge,
purring at you to count
yourself in

Cuckoo Loincloth

Why Lancelot? She asked
her other self
the one in the oculus

Why not a lion-sized lark
a lionized loincloth
chewing this month’s blood

in order to create sparkles
of bewitching lioness drips
as the creature learns to fly

When the full moon
is acting full out
in attempt at fulfilling

will you drink it
or will you pull out
the flying machete

and try to hit that moon
down? Because why try?
Why attempt flight?

It’s like the spasm of a clock
made out of milkweed
that might suddenly turn cuckoo

and then drip down thighs
and crawl out the door
again. Screech as the glass
breaks. Great gallbladder
gonads in a rococo arrangement
with lip gloss on top

Disinfectant or Douche?

How do we engrave an orifice?

Burn a bible, a bundle,
an American flag.
Coagulate all the swag
down our throats and then
gag ourselves and spit it
down the drain and
grab the Lysol.

You know what we used to advertise
that Lysol for?

Cleaning off the stick of the plunger
after anal.

Prepare for ocular penetration
and spray paint a ventricle
with gasoline.

Blowtorch the entire panel,
turn the whole party scene
into burning whoopee cushions.

Quiet now: just experience that sound.

Entire Group Slides to One Soft Side

Turbulent taffeta explodes into
Aberrant apparitions

Archetypal pilgrimage
Turns the wheel

Until it sticks
Into the snow
Leaving you to wonder

Will it sink
Will it melt
Will it grow
More wet confetti

More topaz along the lone river
Where tides push and pull
Where whitewater vibes
Where the wet suit strives

To pop out eggs
The shape of staves
With splinters

Because large sacs
And vertical hives
Are buzzing in between
Biting distance

Like the spots within
Spots in
A large piece of
Moon shaped pie

Hole craters reconstructed
With icing jags
Jugs full of lag time
and the heavy breasts

that memory-less men
now drag around
the floor like protruding,
misshapen ball gags

Tall and unforeseen
forsaken gowns
the whole room groaning
like a mutant pinball machine
Entire group slides to one soft side
a way to be free of plagiarizing a wave

After the slow dance, some of them turn into ghosts,
some into cheerleaders, some into mixed up bags
of more taffeta. Just try to dive bomb that.

The healing potion explodes

We were seeking
not
North
in other words the
womb
full of worms
the groom of
a returning blood flow
brimming with another line up
marooned brain waves

Replicate life force
The void?
The new cave?

Is the place in which you are engaged
full to you? Or are you another never
ending cascade? Bright red, dark red.

One side a positive
healing
fetish violence.
One side a negative
stab wound
fantasy/reality.
Never ending hemorrhaging hemisphere. Never
ending lavish
light

Poetic Statements:

Juliet Cook: Oftentimes instead of attempting to express my shifting, mixed up viewpoints with straightforward words, I do so with poetry and visual art (like painting/collage art hybrids) and then let others interpret it how they will. I am often very uncertain about how others interpret my body and mind; likewise, I am often uncertain about how others interpret my poetry/art.

Bird fetuses, other carcasses, abandoned flesh, used flesh, abused flesh, relationship issues, body based issues, and fear of death often infiltrate my mind in one way or another – and much of my poetry and art helps me express those infiltrations rather than repress them. I love creative expression, but sometimes post expression, I feel like my content might be overly repetitive about myself, mind/body, life/death and what is the point of it all.

*

j/j hastain: Word-based: Words are more than language to me. They are little bolts, jolts of light, symbols and systems capable of enabling. Words are ways to make little worlds in which resounding can occur. Words are matter by which to graft new forms of environment and safe space. I depend on words in so many ways. They are access to so much vibrating excess. They are how an intuition becomes a speaking image, a realm.

Body-based: I have synesthesia. Often sound and sight (image) exchange. There are other modalities too: color and vibration. How to articulate experience then? When I read and swallow in words, sentences, I often feel a buzzing just outside of the frame of my physical body, sort of like standing by a loud speaker as intense music blasts at a dance club.

***

Bios:

Juliet Cook is a grotesque glitter witch medusa hybrid brimming with black, grey, silver and purple explosions. Her poetry has appeared in a peculiar multitude of literary publications, most recently including Arsenic Lobster, Menacing Hedge, Mojave River Review and Tarpaulin Sky Press. You can find out more at http://www.JulietCook.weebly.com.

*

j/j hastain is a collaborator, writer and maker of things. j/j performs ceremonial gore. Chasing and courting the animate and potentially enlivening decay that exists between seer and singer, j/j, simply, hopes to make the god/dess of stone moan and nod deeply through the waxing and waning seasons of the moon.