Christmas Party Time

December 23, 2015



The Pomegranate

December 23, 2015

Persephone by Ardith Starostka

The only legend I have ever loved is
the story of a daughter lost in hell.
And found and rescued there.
Love and blackmail are the gist of it.
Ceres and Persephone the names.
And the best thing about the legend is
I can enter it anywhere. And have.
As a child in exile in
A city of fogs and strange consonants,
I read it first and at first I was
as an exiled child in the crackling dusk of
the underworld, the stars blighted. Later
I walked out in a summer twilight
searching for my daughter at bed-time.
When she came running I was ready
to make any bargain to keep her.
I carried her back past whitebeams
and wasps and honey-scented buddleias.
But I was Ceres then and I knew
winter was in store for every leaf
on every tree on that road.
Was inescapable for each one we passed.
And for me.
It is winter
and the stars are hidden.
I climb the stairs and stand where I can see
my child asleep beside her teen magazines,
her can of Coke, her plate of uncut fruit.
The Pomegranate! How did I forget it?
She could have come home and been safe
and ended the story and all
our heart-broken searching but she reached
out a hand and plucked a pomegranate.
She put out her hand and pulled down
the French sound for apple and
the noise of stone and proof
that even in the place of death,
at the heart of legend, in the midst
of rocks full of unshed tears
ready to be diamonds by the time
the story was told, a child can be
hungry. I could warn her. There is still a chance.
The rain is cold. The road is flint-coloured.
The suburb has cars and cable television.
The veiled stars are above ground.
It is another world. But what else
can a mother give her daughter but such
beautiful rifts in time?
If I defer the grief I will diminish the gift.
The legend will be hers as well as mine.
She will enter it. As I have.
She will wake up. She will hold
the papery flushed skin in her hand.
And to her lips. I will say nothing.

Eavan Boland

We shall dominate you

December 23, 2015


This is not a civilized matter […] it is a very primitive matter. If we exist, we shall dominate you — that is clear and inevitable. Will you agree to be superseded, and start on the way to extinction without a struggle? I do not think you are decadent enough for that. And then, politically, the question is: Can any State, however tolerant, afford to harbour an increasingly powerful minority which it has no power to control? Obviously the answer is again, no.

John Wyndham
Midwich Cuckoos

Very true…

December 23, 2015


Generally speaking if I’ve eaten something, I don’t expect to see it again…


The Blue Lizard was like hundreds of cheap café chantants; the floor coated in sawdust, the low wooden platform for the performers, the benches and tables stained with the droppings of innumerable drinks. To-night it was half empty. A dozen burly men of the navvy class, and maybe half as many women of the type politely known as “unfortunate,” were listening to an old bawd who, dressed as a ballet dancer in soiled pink tulle, was singing filth to her pathetic audience. Tony led the way to a table near the door. At their entrance the performer interrupted her song to give them an intent stare.

Charles Lloyd
The Cockroach


December 23, 2015


Some say Leda laid a beautiful egg,
& when it cracked the world turned over.
Naked by a pond, don’t ask me why, maybe
after skinny-dipping, she had dangled her hand,

idling of a hot afternoon, when a priapic god
turned himself into a bird, bigger than a goose,
without more than a shrug, & that god-bird
swam in the pond with his neck curled

like mortal ones do when they get randy,
wings flat back, tail fanned, dingy-white
as a Poland China belly, & mist hung
around him in a halo, cause he was a god,

coming from god knows, & that helped him sneak
up on the girl who dawdled fingers,
though she must have seen wavelets lap the moss,
heard his big feet strum out corded ripples,

known, somehow, this was a fateful afternoon,

yet she remained there, fingers tickling water, strangely
charmed: like an estrus cow may turn herself
toward a bull, she curled her casual arm
& heaved that white-feathered hulk

upon herself. It’s always bothered me whether
god-birds are as mean as earthly ones
when they jump on, beak grabbing whatever
to hold to––must have been her nape,

don’t you suppose, not bosom, or nose?
You’d think it would have put her off,
that big feathery thing throbbing, dripping,
doing the wild thing in a sudden blow.

With such awesomeness, why the beaky guise,
why ill-fitting nether-parts?
Might be a starter story, dawn of the butterfly effect,
where weird onces cause untold afters.

Robert Eastwood

(Robert Eastwood never saw his parents read a book, let alone buy one, so he’s been catching up ever since, an obsession in its own right. His books are now in every nook and cranny, and he reads constantly. He is a retired teacher who lives in San Ramon, California. He is a graduate of California State University At Los Angeles and Saint Mary’s College. His work has appeared widely, most recently in The Dirty Napkin, Wild Goose Poetry Review, Full Of Crow, Legendary, Softblow, Up The Staircase Quarterly, Literary Yard, Kentucky Review, Bird’s Thumb, The Hartskill Review, Spry and Loch Raven Review. His chapbooks are The Welkin Gate, Over Plainsong, Night of the Moth, published by Small Poetry Press, and his first book of poetry (Snare: Poems of Refuge & Revenge) is to be published in 2016 by Broadstone Books. He has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize.)

Eat you whole

December 23, 2015


I said: “I could be a wolf for you. I could put my teeth on your throat. I could growl. I could eat you whole. I could wait for you in the dark. I could howl against your hair.”

Catherynne M. Valente
The Bread We Eat in Dreams

Reading today

December 23, 2015