Tea with the Tin Man

In the 1930s, all we English society girls were mad for Munich. Unity Mitford, one of the six troublesome Mitford sisters, was living there at the time. Unity had become a Fascist and a Hitler groupie. She adopted the name “Unity Valkyrie Mitford.” UNITY VALKYRIE roaring around Munich on her black motorcycle steed. She wore a black shirt and a …

Modern Art

If you wear a suit of bees Through the Yale Art Gallery, They will think you are misplaced art – And exhibit you somewhere: Artist unknown – you and your suit of bees will be.   You will buzz with acclaim, The likes of (N.) will adore you, You and your art: one substance – Envy of Carrevagio, jealousy of …

Mark Belair

Mine   I was in the yard working when I heard, through the open kitchen window, my wife tap a spoon shank on the edge of a cooking pot.   Of course, it was my mother I heard, as if transported to years ago, me a boy, playing in the yard, dusk falling, my father clipping hedges, my hunger just …

Sam Barbee

Reversal of Fortune    That . . .   Today, I write: no brain lock or writer’s block, never idle or addled, plot upon plot. Practical prompts, writing schedules, I aspire − become renowned as scribe of insightful stanzas, presumptuous puzzles toward tour de force status, something deemed a Classic. Endowing with endearing words as adulating aficionados gnaw painted nails, …

Seventh Grade

Every day Amanda Treese would draw hearts on her math warm-up when she finished it, and finally Matthew Taylor, who sat next to her, couldn’t take it anymore and he said, “What do you love?” “What?” “What are you saying that you love with all these hearts?” She looked at her paper. “It means love.” “I know it means love. But …

Twirling

  Miss Jeanette Theresa picks up a fallen branch from the water oak. Ozeal Autin watches her march around the front year. He thumps, thumps, thumps the top of his head. Miss Jeannette Theresa slams her feet into peat moss, an earthy sponge. Her hand dances around alligator bark. Her wrist rotates in perfect circles. She twirls. She twirls and …

War Games

The rules are shaped and branded On to genes, down generations, Passed round in Story and in song, To make forgetting harder.   Ideas are bubbled up On home-fired cauldrons, Fuelled by a thousand years or more Of thermal layered grievance That have no taste, no smell, no colour: Yet, still, they stink.   A virtual reality of light and …

Trombone

When I was a child, my father’s trombone hung from a hook in the utility room in the basement. It was the color of dull brass, with a few greenish patches. It was an unremarkable piece of household flotsam among the extra furnace filters, metal folding chairs, and boxes of old clothes to give to charity. He played it a …

Although I Should Not Have To

sometimes i’m wound tight like twisted twine made of bungee rope coiled like a rattler ready to spring stretched taut by the finger of an archer aimed to launch the lust of my overheated rage   then i wind my temper down and i forgive my brother for the robbery for the rape for the theft for the murder for …

Harambe

The meme was first expressed on May 28th, 2016, and demonstrated a remarkable and rapid evolution in only a few short weeks. In the final months of the year the meme’s proliferation and dispersal slowed considerably, as other sensational events captured the internet’s fleeting attention span, but experts predict Harambe may go on replicating itself virtually forever. After the gorilla …

“Lust Drags You Down to Hell”

                                  Highway billboard between Columbia and Kingdom City, Missouri   1. “Hell” is on fire, flames throbbing, hotter than the 98-degree day vibrating outside my windshield. I’m not convinced the sign is true. I’m one of the lost. 2. Along an extravagant street in another country I prowled the blue-lit windows, starved as a stray cat licking its whiskers. Each …

James Dean’s Pants

I always wanted to wear the pants James Dean wore, and Rebel taught me he was all wick and no wax— ghost-riding his way off the bluffs— because you know that he didn’t make it out of that car wreck, not really, not in the cold, rehearsed way his total soc counterpart did, when he cowered before the onslaught of …