prose

One-Line Plays by Richard Kostelanetz

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Memoirs Of Hyderabad By Arsh Selvyn

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Memoirs Of Hyderabad
By
Arsh Selvyn
I remember playing on the streets here years ago. The fierce football matches of a 12 year old were the centre of my days…at least in memory. Those were hot afternoons on a dusty street with a half digested lunch in my stomach, screaming at my teammates as I tried not to break the neighbors’ car. It recedes into a distance with time…the memory that is; the place is still here, whenever I come back to it.
You can’t quite cut off a memory from the place it was born in, it lingers like the stump of an umbilical cord; ugly. Places like people, grow older but they age because of this very stump, the remnants of the umbilical cord. A memory from a time that is cut off from what it is today; that is not quiet in touch with changes, no memory can…and so they wither away… Shouldn’t they?
The government officer’s colony looks almost the same with a few bureaucratic touches. The slides, swings and jungle gym in a sandy park have given way to a manicured lawn, trimmed hedges and a walkway. I can’t play in it anymore as its bad for the grass. Like Professor Pollan used to say, that a lawn is nature under totalitarian rule. Signs of age I suppose. The children have grown up and left and a new generation have been born in the age of the x box that doesn’t play outside together anymore. How alien that sounds now; ‘outside’, ‘together’ the words don’t seem relevant to them. But are they still children or is this word too a remnant from a time cut off from today? They have almost disappeared, children; a diminishing social species. But 8 years ago they were right here in the park on the swings, jumping through the jungle gym!
I wonder what they did to those old swings and jungle gym. I used to naively imagine them lying somewhere in a dark corner; forlorn and if I could only find them… I know now that they were probably sold as scrap metal, melted in an industrial forge and from there, who knows? They may even be in the barb wire that keeps me out of parks and abandoned rooftops…
It’s not nostalgia that I feel. There were times I hated this place; nights when I was sure that I could be happy somewhere else! The nights are the other things I remember. I loved the cool quiet and dark nights. Enveloped in the protective darkness and liberated by it they had a quality to them that a day could never have. At night, the colony barely resembled itself. The thrum of the city petered down to the drone of distant vehicles out of sight, quiet enough for you to hear the leaves rustling…the murmur of voices inside houses.
The streetlights permeating through the canopy, the withered leaves on dusty streets and the night wind inspired my first attempt at poetry… The attempt of course came much later, sitting in another city in a night that made me think of this one long ago.
The other day, I spent a warm winter afternoon grazing an old field for memories. The IAS officers association next to it has over the years been encroaching on the field and now I think they use it for functions and other such official fluff. As the dense shrubbery and trees surrounding the field was burned down an old roof emerged followed by a dilapidated building. A mud laden staircase led up to a crumbling portico where a marble tablet claimed that it was once a madhouse. Age had certainly helped solidify its identity giving it that sooty and haunted look cartoons associate with such places. Just the thing that would catch the fancy of an excited 12 year old, who would have gone home with a sense of wonder and el dorado buzzing in his head. I smiled at the thought; I was 12 years too late however.
Nothing quite reminds you of who you were like old habits left behind in familiar spaces. The ease with which they become me mocks my claim of having left them behind. And as much as I distance myself from them their comfort reminds me of just how well we know each other. There must be more to me than this though, even then I was always becoming who I am today, who I may still be becoming…wasn’t i?
Answers unlike destinations are rarely marked on a road-map, but they can be found. More apt however would be to say that they find you (it wouldn’t be a thrill if you knew how and when to get them) Sometimes it’s just about waiting patiently in the right place, at the right time, in the right frame of mind while being sensitive to what may come your way, just like fishing I would say and there is nothing more exciting than the thrill of the first nibble vibrating the rod in your hand, but now you must be patient, draw in the line slowly while waiting for the sharp tug to tell you its hooked. The catch however is that you are really the fish. I could never let go of an answer once it hooked me. I followed it endlessly through a maze of empty streets.
I went fishing that night in the madhouse looking for that fleeting jism of excitement I knew was waiting there for me a decade ago…could it still be here? Maybe…Pigeon shit had formed patterns on the floor that looked like one of Pollock’s better works. The dust and cobwebs were immense; untouched by destructive housekeeping .The webs had become large and intricate enough to cover doorways. I walked slowly, conscious of the sound of my feet and the filth around me with the hair on my neck standing. You will never not fear the dark, no matter how much you grow up, never not look over your shoulder suddenly alert to the pat of pigeon feet thinking of something..worse.
I wait here in vain for the revenant of my 12 year old self to find what he always wanted. To acknowledge that he is now just a memory…knowing it is not true.
Bio/Poetic Statement: Arsh Selvyn is an aspiring philosophy student and will be doing an MA shortly.
Philosophy has long drawn from and has a conflicted relationship with poetry. A tension which is infinitely productive to writing at large. It is at the site of such a tension where I would like to locate myself. Poetry as of form of writing is a deeply personal expression, hence lends itself well to autobiographical pieces – prose as a form provides one with the adequate emotional distance to reflect on what one has experienced. Perhaps this is what I seek, writing this short snippet of a memoir.

Prose Poetry by Matthew Kirshman

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Prose Poetry 

by

Matthew Kirshman

 

Jaguar and the Joking Tree

All of nature is a giving and receiving of signs.  The air around the body collects in mosaic fraternity.  A wee worm wriggles its way up and gets lost in the Alien World of Creation (AWC).  Before the first recorded dream, before the soothsayer and tribe, in the heart of the jungle stood a hard, dark tree, beneath whose limbs crouched a sharp-toothed Thing (T).  With infrared KillerVision®, it spied two figures approach, interlopers in the Garden of God’s Astounding Desire (GGAD).  Try and hide.  The jaguar’s first slice is fine and light.  With no warning, you are TradeMarxed© completely.

 

Folk Legend

I photographed them get into the car.  Have you read my “Manhunt of the Year” (Life May, 1977)?   How about that close-call with the law, which might have ended it all?  Their escape was a travesty, bought by suitcases of cash from the Narcotics Agency.  How ironic, the shootout took place at the Ford Pharmacy.  They entered Cincinnati on page 96.  With a trunk full of gelatinous explosive, they headed to the Flamingo Motel.  From there they followed a well-established strategy.  Do you think they looked like newlyweds?  I find it difficult to credit.  I tailed the Jaguar to Chicago, where a cult following had sprung up overnight.  To the journalistic eye, their pop-appeal was transparent:  the lore of outlaw lovers, with sirens closing in.

 

Mysticism and Meat

Ideally, you are devoured in your prime by medicine men and not as junk-meat for the communal pot.  With the breakdown of tissue, the cells issue a mortal cry.  Around the Cook’s Bible chimes a chorus of sous chefs.  The page emits a campfire glow from which a cannibal emerges.  What’s missing?  Pretty soon, your arms and legs—seared and smoked until dripping from bone.  In the aftermath of prayer, when chords rise from the planet, you make the rounds of the soothsayer’s intestine. 

 

The Hungry Python

All of life the python seeks to know.  He slips through the flea-market with a clinging stomach, catching in his glittery eye items from the old world:  sheet-music, tunic, ice-cream scoop, top hat.  To touch these with quiet flicks of the tongue.  At the sound of thunder, the merchants start to pack, placing wares hurriedly in boxes and covering these with plastic sheets. 

 

 

Bio: I live in Seattle, Washington with my wife and two daughters.  I am an English teacher, but before that have had a varied career–telephone repairman, bartender, and cook, to name a few.  Writing since the early 1980s, my publication credits include: Charter Oak Poets, Dirigible: Journal of Language Arts, Helix, Indefinite Space, Key Satch(el), Mad Hatters’ Review, Phoebe: The George Mason Review, posthumous papers (NothingNew Press), Vangarde Magazine, Xenarts.com, and Z-Composition.

On Being an Angel by Stephanie Kaylor

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On Being An Angel

by

Stephanie Kaylor

 

“Be wary.” Your fears I read like braille, goose bump code on a body I knew long before I first reached yours. Even the endless may have a beginning, a split second we will never understand. Where then would you hide?

 

Where are the black crows tonight, the broken glass, the omens? I blink once to clear my eyes.

 

Thermoluminescence dating, the determination of the time elapsed since a material last saw the sun; how I know I love you, the moonlight bather who will not pose as savior in my battle scene or his own.

 

(though I had the dream again last night, the house was burning brightly, the dinner party uninterrupted as the butler fanned the flames. I was the only one who ran out and you held me back as I stood naked on the warehouse roof, from a salted sea breeze beckoning me to fly).

 

He said there would be something else, some whiskey-breathed revelation. I like him like this, when he doesn’t say a word and I can fall into the soft-lipped void, and I fall proudly in the new fragility he has helped me craft to help me break. 

 

The 2:58 am clawing of a telephone like a strangers back, like complacency when the double speaks to herself and I, the total I, the unsure shape shifter. My inner lives crave completion: my searching a transfixation; my avoidance, divination. I know why the telephone does not ring. 

 

I will borrow his utensils. The teeth, the feet, the words collected like medallions. They will be dirtied by my touch but I shall cleanse them with the same.

 

(was I ever in your words? Was I a ghost, a spool of yarn unraveled, a baby’s skull?)

 

I am not frightened of the things you say but the things that shrivel before they reach your tongue, how they coexist.

Three Poems by Seth Mirza

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Three Poems

by

Seth Mirza

bent cosmos

everything unwrapped

in a bent cosmos

none of this could really be true

we’re still waiting for something

to be true

we’ll keep waiting until the

cosmos shits itself

 $45 Silence

virus serves the severed flow…members severed served for several thousand years…past the retirement age…severed served…hold their heads up for all to see…severed past tense silent as if…sewage eyes sever gratitude…another example speaks death silence…bleeding appreciation in death tremor silence…for several thousand years…past inoculation ties luck shrinking and severed…viral testimony in wallets left on sewage stairs…sovereign of silence severs what we mean…nothing has changed at the center of $45 silence…dripping sewage in mists of fingertip silence…severely severed silence…in all sewage heads…tarnished ingrates careful not to tremble it’s all lowered death silence…mists picked up viral scan in perturbed lines of interlaced…appreciate our trembling thousand years…silence in severed shots…fading in death cuts out the game…$45 silence severed…present inexperienced virions…words as innocence left in the wallets of corpses hanging inoculation examples…if you press the right buttons…reconfigure the new viral line silence scan…blown circuit and silence shot…severed in red…testimony severed better while it works…far from the silence…seal silence & a severe flow past the pulse…severed sent…inoculate mutated strain lost in dial up flow…testimony now wasted as multiples scan silence…eager for results…loss of severed on silence pump…severed silence breaks the severe immune to infiltration of mutation mark…while severed scan eager for burn out flow…new coil virus lines not what they seem…probable flow process terminal severed testimony…severed sent to inspectors if…testimony mist severed with $45 silence in thousands of trembling…

wasn’t infinity the hammer cake?

Yet still the newest failures and the shit was turning from the belly and making a kind of finger drifting, wouldn’t calm it magisterially (say, numbing the wondering smile).  Wasn’t step to the stretches paid the same 3 soft hearts, the time?  Lightly, surprised beast—wasn’t infinity the hammer cake?  Nothing been or dog cries, in nothing grit, nothing every had here is it.  Exactly still Ur-Eternal and sidesplitting if about betrays on the way, loosely right alone too kind.  Slink creatures despise unfair.  Ha, rising again to drifting, so if right more secret sour, this we think bad sent facts, even still black you undergrowth half as precious.  Only to the ways spit-shape the worry.  Every quickly in hate, sometimes the same to secret this.  Could speak alone—a sidewalk.  And expecting breath of any miniature, move to think the ounces along.  Nothing clean will ever equal.

Bio:

Seth Mirza was clinically dead for a period of 2 years in the early ’90s. His work has appeared in The Ampersand, Exit Wound, Kiss the Mongrel, Stuffed Trigger, Ambergris, Counterexample Poetics, and other publications.

ZERO A.M.

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ZERO A.M.

by K. M. Douglas

ZERO A.M.

FIRST CURSE: Arise the first birth in warm obscure purity, admit the subtle passing of daylight chasing sanity, a ceremony of cracked walls and fallen hydrogen assume the freight mild ready desperate escape in train rail race the dust by day and sunlight wishing for obscurity

SECOND CURSE: We follow the laws we choose to follow, we follow the way, the legless way, the headless way, the endless way, the absolute infinity is always changing expanding contract disease the lungs they flow the breath below we pray we wait we give thanks we burst forth in sudden amazement and find the god divine alive in eyes we insist we see through

THIRD CURSE: Our carnal bard died a certain death of old age is a wave that shakes as the beach crashes back and daylight finds a new enemy and nitemare fits an image revealed by morning a memory gasp a last handshake a trigger a fact a gas chamber relate the mid-day earthquake and all the lasers chipped and micro melted skin flaps in piles burnt nervous hostile occupations bring flame to follow death in the a.m.i.m.we.are.eternity

K. M. Douglas grew up in Northeast Ohio and studied creative writing at The Ohio State University. He lives in Rainer, Washington with his wife, cat and dog. Cities of Blood, K. M.’s first published book of poetry, is available for Kindle. His first novel is In the Place Where There is No Darkness, a dystopian look at America through the eyes of the son of a suicidal ex-Army Ranger. http://www.kmdouglas.org