Reading this morning

January 31, 2016


driving in Rome

Rome: such a great city for walking unless
You are hit by a car, as I was tonight, though it was only
A tiny car. The cretino driver had my language progress
In mind as I practiced my idioms and gestures,
Like what they call “holding the umbrella”
(don’t ask, think about it). The driver’s eyes
Told me I had a long way to go if I wished to
Score a point about livestock and his love life.
Still, a sorrowful ghostly city like Rome is good
For dying if it came to that, so many spaces
For monuments, someday maybe one of Me in Language
School, in full command of the imperfect subjunctive,
Which is called the Congiuntivo Imperfetto,
Which sounds like a coffee or pasta but is not.
Later this night a girl in a piazza swathed in moonlight,
Unlit cigarette in her fingertips, asks in her English,
“Have you a fire for me?” Sometimes even Italian fails.
You won’t believe how much you use the Congiuntivo
Imperfetto during foreplay, painting a ceiling, or when hit
By a car. Night times I spent in the Piazza dell’
Orologio—orologio means clock—sweepingly
Subjunctive and imperfect, and studied the big clock
On the tower, the one with missing hands,
And appreciated anew Italians’ conceptions of love
And death and why they were always late.
I am the oldest student in the class by a factor of two.
Also the only male, by a factor of no idea. The Russians
Have atrocious accents but their grammar and miniskirts
Are exceptional, especially with the subjunctive mood.
The goal is to think in Italian, to speak without
Thinking, so I am halfway home. Maybe it was my toga
That turned the teacher against me. I ask her to go
With me to the Coliseum, where everyone soon dies,
As I will, which is why I first came to Rome.
The most beautiful girl in school is from Algiers.
Her black eyes demand I re-examine my whole life.
Oh, the things I could tell you about language school
Would fill a book, a little grammar exercise book
Specializing in the imperfect subjunctive, required
Every minute in Rome especially while sitting next
To a gorgeous sweet Algerian girl named Sisi,
Which in Italian sounds like si, si, yes, yes.
That’s why, if I have to live, Rome is not so bad,
It’s such a sad city, with the best art over my head,
Cars so small that afterward I run back to language school.


the small hidden door…

January 31, 2016


The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens into that primeval cosmic night that was soul long before there was a conscious ego and will be soul far beyond what a conscious ego could ever reach.

Carl Jung
The Meaning of Psychology for Modern Man


My very first experience happened with my best friend when we were both sixteen years old. We were just hanging out, bored, waiting to go to the local cinema. We went into the recreation ground, decided to chill in the pavilion for awhile. Since it was midday and during the summer, the place was deserted. We sat on the wooden bench seats and started talking about anything and everything.

After awhile she started teasing me about my flat chest and lack of boyfriends. I told her that if she teased me one more time, I’d slap her hard.

Well, tease me she did and a satisfying slap across the face was her punishment. This was proceeded by a contest of who could slap the other the most times. This meant war. We pushed and pulled at each other. Then we leaned against each other, always trying to get a better shot for a slap till we had pinned each other between the backs of the two seats. Neither one of us could move since we were both gripping each other’s arms while pushing each other’s backs against the seats. I realized at that moment that she had been staring at my eyes while I was staring at her lips.

I told her, “No, this can’t happen”. She asked, “What can’t happen?”. I then told her that I’d never been kissed by a girl.

She kissed me passionately on the mouth for who knows how long? Eventually we pulled apart, and she grinned and said, “How’s that for your first kiss?”.

We kissed some more and she put her tongue in my mouth, slowly thrusting it in and out, before putting a hand between my legs and feeling what I had in my jeans.

We went on to the cinema and spent the whole movie feeling each other up. I came twice with her hand in my pants. For the rest of that year we were intimate with each other. Like boy and girlfriend. When we had the house to ourselves, we’d strip each other and have oral on my bed or finger fuck.

In October of that year she and her family moved away, and we never saw each other again. But I’ll always remember our secret kisses…

Carla Mac


Their names were Angie and Becca. One of them, Becca, let’s say, would sit in the seat in front of me, staring at me with her greenish, depthless eyes. Whoever the meaner one was, Angie, I guess, would sit in the seat beside me, too close, her long thigh pressed against my shorter thigh. She smelled like the gum they both chewed, cheap gum that, no matter how many sticks it was composed of, they blew in weak, doomed bubbles that broke and shrunk on their tongues. Once established in their habitual positions, they took turns informing me of things I didn’t know. Things of a vaguely sexual nature involving kids in their grades, whose names I knew but who would always be higher than me in the pantheon, if only because they were older. Then, as if they could see that I didn’t know these kids well enough for anything they might say about them to elicit a reaction from me, they began telling me things about the other kids on the bus, as if to dampen any fondness I might feel for them. We were all too young to have done anything too scandalous, but our parents weren’t. They managed to convince me that Kirby Dornik’s father did it with pigs. I knew what “it” was because of things I had figured out on the farm. I made the most progress the day the breeder came with the bull and my presence was somehow overlooked in the excitement and stress of getting a few cows bred. I was at that age when I was willing, maybe even desperate, to believe the story about Mr. Dornik and the pigs. But no matter what I said or did after one of their revelations, they would conclude by saying: “Did you know that?” whereupon I had to admit that, no, I hadn’t known that, whereupon they would say, in rough unison, “You didn’t know that, huh? Well, now you do.”

Austin Smith
The Cave


January 31, 2016


In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitchhiker’s Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopaedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects. First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words DON’T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.

Douglas Adams
Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy

End of the World Sunday

January 31, 2016

Although he was a young and virile man at 37, he was not inexhaustible. In addition to food and drink, he had better lay in a couple thousand tablets of viagra. The drug would probably remain potent if he vacuum packed the pills in groups of 10 and kept them in a freezer. That would work unless civilization completely collapsed and power companies were unable to function. Fortunately, Jim had a propane-powered backup generator with half a dozen tanks of fuel already on hand. If Henry added to the propane supply, and he used the generator only for essential maintenance like keeping the viagra freezer operating in warm weather, he would be happy here on the farm for a looong, looong time. Unless, even now, dead Jim was out there in the generator shed sabotaging the machinery.

Dean Koontz


“The End is Nigh!” the man shouted.

“Is there still time for hot chocolate?” Riley asked.

The-End-is-Nigh guy blinked. “Ah, maybe, I don’t know.”

Jana Oliver


It’s the end of the world every day, for someone.

Margaret Atwood
The Blind Assassin


The worst threat to man is man himself

Bangambiki Habyarimana
The Great Pearl of Wisdom


Things Lost in Translation

January 30, 2016


Tell me something I haven’t heard before
How bridges in Paris are rusting bolt by bolt
and rivers are tired of their secrets
How night loves to wash your body

Empty the words from your pockets
rearrange the stars if you have to,
but tell me something untold before

How your desire never sleeps
How your heart shatters like glass
when you break bread with your father

Tell me how you invite transgressions
and slip knots around the waist of afternoon
so twilight never leaves your side

Weave syllables into a net that stretches
from the flea market on the outskirts of this city
all the way to the back alleys of your childhood

then speak to me in your native tongue
so I may grasp things lost in translation
and hold them like saltless tears
or small fires burning in wilderness


(Devreaux Baker’s work has appeared in many anthologies and journals in the U.S. and abroad including; The American Voice, Borderlands, High Plains Literary Review, The Pacific Review, Inheritance Of Light Anthology, The Guadalupe Review, Penumbra, Oxygen, The Reater Literary Journal, and The Paris/Atlantic Journal and Arabesques Magazine.

Her poetry collections include Light At The Edge (1993), Beyond the Circumstance of Sight (2009), and Animal Mineral Vegetable ( 2010). Her latest collection is “Out of the bones of earth” from Wild Ocean Press)

Rapid Violence

January 30, 2016


Seventy percent of the motion
of my arm flows into an
impression of a tap
that tells me, This is
the total experience. Soak
it up. Pretend you’re bread.

Adult Strong

Only me…

January 30, 2016


I close my eyes and I let my body shut itself down and I let my mind wander. It wanders to a familiar place. A place I don’t talk about or acknowledge exists. A place where there is only me.

James Frey
A Million Little Pieces