Locust Seven - March 2000

Locust Seven
ISSN 1529-0832  Vol 1 No 7 - March 2000

FOREWORD


Issue #7 seems to be built more or less around the theme of love. A trite idea? Maybe. If you are familiar with Adrian Henri's Love is..., just try to imagine a different kind of love than that birthday party song. Just imagine what the editor (unfortunately!) still believes in. Even though he has to admit that Snow-White has never existed, he still believes in the possibility of a Romeo-&-Juliet kind of love! Is he the only one? and "what Tiresias sees" is really the substance of our degraded time? Perhaps Mr T.S. Eliot, our irritating neighbour, was dead right. Full of hopes for the coming spring, let's greet our new guests--and hope they'll be faithful forever--and move on...

PS: Locust Magazine is interested in supporting writers and poets who are self-publishing their work, and therefore need promotion. If you are a self-publishing author, please let Locust know about your work.

March 2000

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WAITING FOR YOU (SOMEWHERE ELSE)
~ A Poem by Alex Stolis ~


Wading into ghetto smells
           (foreign word-eyes)
Past shadows leap, dance in the window.
You're walking up--
                                    thru--the

avenue

A fair amount of rain in your hands.
I'm not home but
                                 somewhere else.
Wishing on your body w/statues planted like
a row of houses on a cloud.
Street traffic w/impotent eyes


rapes your progress,

You float under observances and
                             break up


into poems.

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TWO POEMS by Townee

*

WITH PANTS ON


at length
idealizing
a serving of corn-beef
on the mossy bark with,
the ants at your willingness.


...i just couldn't
render well
as hedonist; if
that meant what
we thought it did.


that you were
but vestal fire, and i was
a helping ´a pan-fried god,
who, in truth, cannot dance
with his flute out in this
disproportionate canvas


so fresh and alive
where our sex became
as dead as a mushroom.

*

FOR GUILTY PLEASURE


you damn them
to poverty

with your system
of merit and

achievement
leveled to those lower classes.

administrators
at best, secretaries.

i am
a beautiful baby making machine

populating
your able-bodied future

among arrogant slaves;
their fans, opposite, fawning.

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DOLL
~ A Poem by Kate Ludlow ~


A flowered box, innocent deadly

I wrap you in tissues

hoping to preserve your age

I cry from your beauty

Tiny crystals hang from your lashes,

they tie me in nooses, stabbed with

your tiny feet and breath

I bought you with blackmail

but I know you are mine

Drinking my brew of mosquitoes

and massaged nighttimes, massacred

dream times

Sensitive tentacles wrap themselves

around my heart

Pulling me under into squid time,

into the doll world.

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DEMETER'S DAUGHTER
~ A Poem by Jenny Howard ~


Demeter: Summer is my skirt
Where I tread the wheat will grow
My hands plant poppies.


My eyes are suns, within my glance
Green fruits ripen. I give bread
To the hungry. And sleeping.


Summer is my board, feasting
For my daughter, abundance
My joy to see her.


Proserpine: Mother, I called; now I pine with ghosts;
A pomegranate globe, my bitter sun,
To light seven months of winter.


Demeter: Loss turned my eyes to frost;
Wild weepings of clogging snow;
You forfeited your legacy.


My anger laid waste continents;
I let loose the winter's pall;
I howled for you in winds.


I trained my eyes to darkness
To perceive among the dead
The brightness of your shape.


Your hair, like honey, golden,
All fairness I saw fade.
There is no sun below.


Proserpine: Aphrodite of wave and sky,
There is no fathoming her motives,
Love is devious as kind.


Child of earth I was.
My lot, this regency divided,
Fecundity and death.


Demeter: Daughter, I have chosen
To think of winter
As fallow lands in time.


Ours, Proserpine,
The sleeping seed and the harvest
Of compromise.

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TEST OF TIME
(Part 1 of 2)
~ A Story by Vasilis Afxentiou ~


"Arthur, there is another--" No, no, it's too blunt.


"This has to come to light sooner or later--"


"Why not sooner than this?" he'll ask.


"I'm leaving, Arthur--"


"Where to this time, Victoria?" no good.


I woke up that morning and knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Evangelos. But because of my indecision I was swiftly loosing him.


It had been a soft June morning, in '47, at the time the Marshall Plan had been implemented. After Arthur went to the office, I paced the floor like a caged lynx, my third cup of Maxwell-House in hand--coffee and cigarettes were the most bounteous among the staples the embassy rationed to its T.O.D. personnel and their dependents.


I locked up, got in the battered Ford Town-Wagon I used on my digs and drove for Piraeus.


"Step on it," I said to myself.


Glimpsing in the rear-view mirror I caught site of a white sliver of a sun emerging from behind Mt. Hymittos, and two blue pits staring back at me. I fussed with a crow curl on my forehead, but gave up when a gust of hot breeze tumbled more down. Suddenly, ahead, dozens of windows burst their glare, dazzling my way...

***

Victoria Hall wanted to break loose from her second marriage as well. She was an archaeologist, resilient in stamina but restless in her moods. She resided in a house near the University where she taught when she was not away digging up relics. She was in her mid-thirties then, had an eight year old son, Theodore, from her previous marriage, who lived with his father in Oregon. Her daughter, Sara, nine, lived with Arthur and her.


Victoria was tallish for her sex and her expeditions kept her well lean. A speck of a mole spotted her above the left brow. Snugly-fitting dresses, she had discovered young, did wonders for her shapely, exercised figure. She carried herself with an air of confidence; when sitting she could always attract male glances by crossing her long, shapely legs.


It was due to Arthur that she had been in Greece--that never-never land--for those two unforgettable years.

***

...The little ship was ready to leave when I reached it. I ran to board. The boy there took my hand and helped me up the ribbed plank. Once on deck I drew in a breath.


"It's over."


I climbed a narrow set of stairs to the caique's upper deck.


The roar of the engine smothered conversations, singing, and galloping children calling to their mothers. The passengers scuttled to sort their belongings near by and take seats for the two-hour journey over Argosaronicos.


I leaned on the side rail and watched the seagulls snatch, break and swallow sardines when a sheet of sea drizzled on me, choking off their dumb squawks. My arms and shoulders shuddered at the wet slap.


‘Dear Arthur,’ I had begun the note, just before I left. ‘I must act soon or my mind will crumple. I ask of you to understand and not question my state, accept only that I can no longer continue our lives together. It is of no oversight of your own, simply it is how things sometimes come about. Victoria.’


I had been petrified at the time. What if--?


The seagulls drifted off, protesting to the termination of their regale, and as their cries ebbed I fell back into the shadow cast by the canvas above.


I egressed deeper into the shadow. I backed all the way to the bulwark, and thrust to retreat still further...

***

Victoria had first heard Evangelos' music over the portable radio. It was like nothing she had ever experienced before. There was in it the power of a Beethoven, a dab of the grace of a Vivaldi, and the urgency of a Wagner. She would listen while she dusted off and pasted together pot shards, or when dry grit from day long excavations parched her throat bringing tears to her eyes. She would conjure up in her imagination the physiognomy that had the reserves of sensitivity capable to compose such hymns to restoration. What was the man like? she wondered.


Nann Elly Walker, the Ambassador's burly Texan wife, accommodated. "Why don't you come and see, dear," she had popped out, during happy hour at her place. "He'll be here on Ed's birthday and, just maybe, he'll play that yawning piano we forgot in our living room."

***

...The hours seemed like eons when Manaras Express finally advanced to the breakwater, maneuvered and docked by its stern to the quay.


I gripped the richly painted balustrade and followed the queue to shore.


We had used the hospice often enough as it was next to the water and afforded practical and private amenities for our escapes near the sea. Evangelos's cottage was a half hour's steep climb, isolated within mountain pine and thistle.


The hospice room contained three straw chairs, a double bed drooping in the middle, and two square night-tables on either side with a storm lamp on each...

***

Victoria's lover, Evangelos, was talented and accomplished. It thrilled and mystified her that although one day she could boast of having had uncovered all the hews of his soul, the next he would be shrouded again, be the quintessence of a new enigma. Prosaic apparel, casual poise and an aloof stride contested an ascetic discipline and a questionless fidelity to his muse. Evangelos was a slight taller, but thinner with drawn, Byzantine eyes. His slender, fine fingers vaunted versatility upon the keyboard, the strings, and her sensitivities. His being wrought noise into the symmetry of music. It bestirred and fermented, glorified her, awakened and ennobled her by simple flicks of his delicate wrist. He was grace and force, surge and surrender, and, she believed, the timber she awaited for in her gray existence. He elevated Victoria's life to karma.

***

...My face burned with the drying salt still on it.


I had been nursing paranoia since morning when I had written the note. Now all of the Apocalypse threatened me.


Four years of marriage epitomized by a few snippety couches.


I could not anticipate Arthur's full regard to the laconic vein. But could predict trying muscles on either side of the mouth, pressed lips, furrows creasing the eyes.


Evangelos was quite the opposite...

***

Theodore had Victoria's sapphire eyes and his father's nose, mouth and strong chin. When he spent the summer with them she observed that her son had no problem picking up modern Greek, or mingling with the boys in the neighbourhood. He proved to be quick at soccer and an ace swimmer as he escorted her at the dig sites on the islands. He made friends easily enough, all of whom he wrote to well past summer and would send Christmas and Easter cards

***

...It had been Arthur's dark blue uniform (and uniforms Evangelos could not understand) that flattered and flirted his blush that first attracted me. I had been reeling with passion those days, drunk with my gentleman and officer, and these priorities did not leave time enough for love. I would search for it later, I had promised myself, when the spell abated some...

***

Sara unlike Theodore would spend her free time improvising variations of her wardrobe. She would try on combination after combination of apparel, and rummage through Victoria's bijouterie to find and hang on her gangly self matching earrings, necklaces, and assortments of bracelets, rings and brooches. She would often talk to her room as though entertaining a mélange of Dukes and Duchesses, Earls and Counts. An empty room that to her was bursting with spangling royalty.


[Part 2 will appear in Locust #8]

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HOT DOG PARTY
(Oil Painting by Paul Jaisini)
~ A Review by Yustas Kotz-Gottlieb ~


In Hot Dog Party, an image of rapid apocalypse is represented by a bacchanalia, an ultimate celebration of body and soul, when its participants seem to think that they are going to die the day after tomorrow. As we come to the close of this tumultuous century it is clearer than ever that the human kind is in peril. Our old values seem shaky and inadequate. We try to catch the last chance of a total and final festival, as there is going to be no tomorrow. So, today should be the fiesta. And every day is like the last day. May be that is why every third American is overweight? Jaisini's portrayal of the last bacchanalia is glorious and monumental, as a praise to the human flesh that is so eager to satisfy itself, as long as it exists. The overtone of apocalypse is given by a presence of an idol and a devil, as the silent witnesses of all orgies at all times. And, no matter for how long the Darwin evolution will go on, the human body is all the same, with its insatiable hunger, its uncertainty in the future. Perhaps we need to seek the answers from those like Jaisini, who had retreated into a private recess of fantasy and imagination, to approach a more vivid reality.


A line connects all the picture's elements into a unity without central powers. All the images are autonomous and equal. The energy is everywhere, but there behind the canvas, exists the hidden central power of the artist, creator. The work illustrates our human attachment to bodily pleasures, and the fear of physical termination. The fiesta is a way to catch a peak of eternity. This phenomenon became an attitude of the everyday life, when each of us striving to stop the time and to gratify the body by any means, at any price.


The quest for eternal enjoyment in the outside, physical world brings the emptiness in the inside world, and therefore the man's quest is never completed.


It is a closed circle.


The only reality is the individual existence of the self. Jaisini uses the motif of fiesta to portray the all human problem of temptations, pleasures and miseries of the sense world; meanwhile, the voice of inner soul, or God, is the artist's power that is unseen. The driving force of our existence is this warring of the high and law that invariably goes on inside us. Each participant of the Hot Dog Party is absorbed in his own realm of pleasure. The orgy is at a stage of lost control. Even Beelzebub wants to drink more and his eye is popping out for more wine. The anticipation moistens his jaws. Down under him a man puts an earthworm in his mouth. A bare thigh of a woman in the black stockings is almost of the same color as the table cloth that covers the rest of her body. Three emptied bottles stay on the table's edge. A yellow back light creates a serene, separate segment of a still life. The two turndown bottles may symbolize vanitas as does an overturn cup in the Holland still-life. One of those bottles is pointed towards the inside of spread legs which belong to another young woman who lies on the table and bends sensually. Next, the figure is of a ballerina. She extends her leg all the way to the turndown bottles. Her underwear shows the red marks. A female figure at the left lower side is painted in an intense color of gold, yellow ochre. She widely spreads her legs and examines herself. Next is a strange flaming creature who lies on a burning charcoal being deadly drunk and unconscious. A couple of cowboys sing while eating and drinking, as in a moment of their personal glory. Above them there is a red fat body of a person whose sex is defined by a sausage on a plate, covered by his heavy stomach. He is ready to swallow a second sausage that he observes passionately. In turn he is watched by an old goddess. In this part of the painting the color contrast is rendered by an image of ghostly, pale man who looks avariciously at a young woman who sits on the table's edge and drinks wine directly from a bottle. Her body is in purple color with red reflects. The light on her face and the highlights on her hair waves are yellow, the shadow is deep.


Hot Dog Party is painted in a challenging color range. It demonstrates the artist's great mastery and command over color. The red dominates the painting. It is refined and elaborated with a variety of correlating colors. The color formula of the work is fabulously laconic, but rich. Some amount of yellow light is spread around. The white table cloth bears pinkish casts and hints of surrounding color. Just enough of some blue and green to ignite the painting with a gemlike color game.

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