this ain’t no mecca
by Ayo Khensu-Ra
the line spreading out in the dark
drawing itself under the car past
denny’s and white castle, gas stations
huddling together under rough
bristles of an old gray blanket
Toyota van our walls
the prairie and marching rock
rising beyond the windows
slipping away toward the wide
with light like blood
of our palms
music booms out into the night
the van stands in another parking lot
and you talk about the pad of paper
you left at home, the gray-black
murmurings of your hands
the whisperings of your hands, of
ink and charcoal, of pad and pencil
day stumbles on to day, you say
how lovely the sunset is out past the bridge
past Land’s End, when the misty wall breaks
and the bounds of the world are again boundless.
I pick up a package of our things
papers calling like white sails from the sea
calling like the windy heights of home
and I know we’ll drive, ramps and
buildings sprawling out below, planes
drawing invisible lines in the sky
listen to echoes of announcements
wait in black chairs
listen for embraces
back to my van, back to Gilman
or farther and farther south
or to islands in the ocean
by Evan Jones
White mice, white
90 degree coat edges
below knees-I have
a history of
not trying to have
if you know what I mean.
never could get too
comfortable as they always seemed a little
too comfortable with
me, my flesh me,
and its theoretical, but still
What will I do
if and when
they should begin
in the next room
and every other
from now on?
you’ve already seen the stars in the southern sky
and still you burn
with the intensity of an ancient inferno
from the land of first life.
I want to fear lions, stalking through the darkness
at the edge of the firelight,
to sit with you, watching
the flames melt the moon,
under your stars
which sparkle with a luster
by any diamond ever mined.
by Cara Baker
by Brendan Winnans
I have inexhaustible cravings
For adventure for wanton vices that I have canoodled with in the dark.
And sometimes I find myself alone and bored
I wonder if I should open a fortune cookie, base my whole life around it,
and if it will then excite me, forcing me to destiny.
And I sometimes
wonder if ripened plums wonder why they share such alikeness
And I wonder if the juices of the self same plums can make up for nights
of gambling given up, fag ends gone unsmoked,
Because alongside the plums I too have wondered.
And I have wondered,
Because after longnights counting strokes with vices
Like unbridled lovers I have woken to morning
And in the morning
I have seen burning parrots
And I have seen where burning parrots go to lay their eggs.
I have climbed the branches of sleepy trees.
And sometimes I wonder where the wild birds go to fix their broken wings,
And whether birds in plum sauce taste different when they had no place to go.
I have had my tarot read and come up with
I have sold a bit of cocaine or rather split the bag.
I have dug into the mud expecting to get dirt under my fingernails,
And I bite them sometimes just to taste.
I listen to the radio when I am sad and walk around the changing world I keep in my head,
I wonder if I can be happy without a queen, without foghorns and fog.
I wonder if in a year I will reach across a table for some ketchup and put it on
Some chitinous bugs or some strange new concoction of taste I have never dared to yet try.
And I dare to ponder on this thing called hope, call myself a man
And let it grow.
by Karim Quesada
Yucatan, obscured by clouds,
Depicts a people’s roam.
Temples to the sky erupt,
Then jungle swallows stone.
Kings and priests of jaguar skin
Crave monumental grounds
Built by backs of glistening bones
While quetzal birdsong sounds
But all the strength and all the jade
Won’t save them from the cold
Of unseen foes, which white sails bade
That thirsts for host, not gold.
Empires crushed by fever while
Survivors left to roam;
Temples static, grand no longer:
Strangers swallow stone.