Locust Thirteen - October 2001

Locust Thirteen
ISSN 1529-0832  Vol 1 No 13 - October 2001

FOREWORD


Issue Thirteen is dedicated to all the victims of human madness, hatred and cruelty.

The editor can only sit and look out upon all the sorrows of the world, and upon all oppression and shame, and be silent. He is so sadly confirmed in his opinion that things haven't changed much since the days of William the Conqueror!--apart from a bunch of nosey satellites buzzing around us...

October 2001

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TWO POEMS by MercyRain

*

THE VIRUS

"language is a virus"
                         William S. Burroughs

confined
to the limitations
the precepts and concepts
bestowed upon a finite
collection of
characters
a syntax
dictating
an exactness
a precision
for a whole gamut
of

               depths

*

EDEN IN THE JUNGLE


familiar background pops
gangster-land fiascos


but it's safe here
a block or two from the bullets
second-flood Eden


we make love
trying to drown out the hate

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CONJURING AMOUR FROM ROCKS
~ A Poem by Janet Buck ~


A meal in bed would do us good.
My pelvis bones against your flesh,
sloppy slapping, hoping
love would join us where
our bolts were loose.
Cradle thin as metal tweezers
picking at unwanted hair.
Fabric flat--griddle flat--
spitting out the sweet mirage.
I trimmed our thorns
with muddy scissors of my tears,
laid a rose on breakfast trays,
pretending our omelets
weren't cold and
salted with Rosetta stones.


I'd dress the dance in negligées,
make my nipples caviar;
you would grab remote controls,
watch our static roll the screen.
Conjuring amour from rocks
only begs an avalanche.
You rode the vestal trickling like
race car drivers edge a circle 'til it smarts.
Buckled blacktop in my face.
Our vows, the road kill of the night,
decomposing gingerbread,
frosting lost in rinses of my acrid eyes.
You asked me if I came.
I did. To the last page of a dreary book.

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BLIND JUSTICE
~ A Poem by Rufus Skeens ~


Nights the moon
brandishes its fist,
the blind kicks loose
from the corner anchors,
flaps the bed
with its slats. Scares
hell out of the wife.
Phillips head driver,
and two screws,
she growls,
you could fix it. Yes,


I could bolt those anchors
so tight, Tarzan could swing
on the pull-string, but
there's something satisfying
in the moon as voyeur,
light tangible as a hand
that reaches in to fwap woman,
woman venting spleen
against some thing
beyond her tongue's reach.

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BOARDS CRUNCHED LIKE GRANOLA
~ A Poem by Walt McDonald ~


Squirrels gnaw the roof, clawing a hole
to squirm through. Rodents with bushy tails
ruined Aunt Edna's attic, a family of rats
stripping wires. When her house burned down,
firemen found wires charred, and scorched pecans,
squirrels gone. For days, Aunt Edna moaned
on the burn ward, gauze like flaps of skin.


City law protects the rats flicking tails
like Daniel Boone hats. Leaping, they lap
and tumble our bird bath. Sometimes we hear
a crack from a neighbor's yard, a pellet gun
and scampering in the trees, sometimes a thump.
At dusk, we hear fast tapping on the roof,
a patter of paws. My wife and I glance up


and listen. This time, no teeth, no boards
crunched like granola. Tomorrow, I'll climb
with flashlight into the cobwebbed attic,
drag a ladder along the walls outside
and probe for cracks, nothing to do for now
but talk and read until bedtime,
knowing they'll be back.

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WARPED TRAIL OF REASONING
~ A Poem by Hillol Ray ~


Statutes of equity is a key word in the book of law that judges need to follow--
But the sheer forces of money swing the verdicts and often make it hollow!
Interrogation is the actual basis to explore the myth hidden behind the every fact--
And appears to be bursting at the seams, where the lawmakers put the grinding act!


Authentication is a desired virtue, but often ignored under the vice--
And resembles the pattern of a river flow covered by the frosty ice!
The frantic trail can be traced all the way from the origin to the end--
But, at times, meandering takes the toll and causes the river to bend!


Extrapolation of data is a common thing in research and analytical job--
While the interpretation could vary and set up a fire by the angry mob!
Patience appears thin to ignite the senses of reasoning or the hidden cause--
And throws life into disarray in the valley of perils without a single pause!


Application of proper law is a thing of the past, and now stretched over many many years--
In our modern courts, where the haves laugh it off, while the wretched drowns in fears!
Motivation of attorney hides in deeper pockets to welcome the unethical way--
And irrespective of the preferred trail warped in the new motion, it tends to sway!


Articulation is a fiddler that hones on the silver tongue of the attorney at law--
Where the false reasoning can be trailed over time to warp the system flaw!
Thus the valid suspicion burns at both ends of the candle, fueled by the power of fresh solar time--
While the privileged enrich the deceptions, and the wretched depends on nickel, penny or dime!

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WALKING INTO EYES
~ A Prose Piece by Jerry Vilhotti ~


There was the green-eyed monster lurking downstairs in the dark. It would wait there in the cellar by Johnny's chemistry set with which he had made a solution that prevented fire from eating paper and wood or the green-eyed monster would walk under the tomato basket used by Johnny who tried honestly to make baskets for both teams he was representing. The green eyes, invented by his older siblings since they believed Johnny had stolen their parents' love after he had come among them in a crash landing out of a thirty-nine year old mother's body who really didn't want another mouth to feed during the end of the dying of hunger days euphemistically called the Great Depression, stood in the dark peering; its eyes shining, glowing would follow him about as he walked to get the jar of tomatoes his mother had wanted for the meat gravy that would cover her home-made pasta she was making for supper. He hurried quickly to the shelf that held all the different shape of foodstuffs and while reaching he knocked over some cans. He had to stand on his tiptoes to get the jar. He turned never looking about as he walked hastily toward the stairs and as he began climbing them, his pace became slower--even though he could feel the green-eyes on him. He turned and defiantly threw an imaginary basketball into the basket. He imagined it rimmed twice before falling in for the score. He closed his fist and shook it to the darkness. He remained there a full moment like that but the green-eyes did not show themselves; yet, he knew they were there hiding in the inner shadows. He finally climbed the stairs and closed the door hard and like an eye lid the eyes were covered. His heart was still beating as he placed the jar on the table. The nine year old called his mother's attention to it. He said he had gone into the dark and got the food for her. She only nodded...

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LOST DOGHOOD
~ A Short Story by Nasrullah Khan ~


At last the big and barren graveyard was decided to be the best and safe place for the decisive session of noble dogs. It was the unique event of dog-history that they were united and strongly convinced that everything in the human world was rotten, false and disgusting. Experience brought them to the conclusion that it was better to live in hell than in the human world. Now they all wanted to leave this brutish human society, but where to go? It was to be settled and they needed suggestions of great brains of sensible dogs. But alas! Many noble dogs failed to give practical suggestions--their brains had been wasted in other great philosophical issues like the absurdity of life and the meaninglessness of existence. They had disappointed the highest hopes of common dogs. But the positive point was that it was revealed to Tom, Heck and Herry that most of the philosopher dogs had just put on the mask of wisdom, otherwise they were not different from them, having the same stupid complexes and fears.


That night special arrangements were made to have full-fledged meeting. Many of them were still frightened because a night before they came across police and many dogs were killed by their brutish firing, when they had just started their meeting in the open barren plain out of the city. Although they had selected a safe place but unfortunately that night police brought some criminals to kill in police encounter. Next day when the dead bodies of those criminals appeared on newspapers, nobody thought about the dead dogs lying in the background. Not even a single human brain thought about the extra judicial murder of innocent dogs. It happened many times that when police did not find any man at night, they killed such innocent dogs. These harmless creatures were never able to understand the cause of this cruel act. They could not understand the fact that police were jealous of their indifferent and fearless attitude. Once when dogs used to perform this duty there was peace and security in human society. But when man became civilized and dogs were replaced by police all criminal activities started in the darkness of night. There were huge files of wise suggestions to reform the police, but nobody thought that that duty could be performed more efficiently by dogs. Dogs' sorrow was augmented by the remarks of the public when they would call the names of dogs to abuse the police--e.g. dirty dogs, son of a bitch or bastard dogs.


The Graveyard was a safe place for them, because human beings are always afraid of their dead relations, which reminds them of God--they accept the existence of God but they never consider it pleasing to meet God. Dogs knew that weakness of man; therefore, they were quite at home there. Although the meeting had to be started at midnight, the graveyard was filled with dogs. Latch, the secretary of the dog's association, was having a round of the place with his anxious eyes and wrinkled forehead. He was thin and weak, always ready to frown at the small disturbance. He was an intelligent dog with weak nerves. Whenever he was worried he would crush the hard earth with his soft feet. He never quarrelled with other dogs, all his anger was shifted to his own heart; all his life was spent being beaten by the rascal dogs, but he never scolded them. He would lie on the earth silently to be beaten. It was due to this quality that he was selected for this honorable post. Even he was nominated for the Hoble Prize, the most noble title of dogs.


He had to work hard because many dogs blamed him for the tragic happening of the previous session. Honorable Hemlock, the president of this association, had also shown his displeasure.


At midnight almost all dogs had arrived at the meeting place. Now honourable Hemlock was awaited. Hemlock was seventeen years old, the most senior of them all. His life was spent in that graveyard. Due to his ascetic nature, he never indulged himself in worldly affairs--not even for any bitch. He knew it very well that bitches led the noble dogs to the lust of world. He knew many great brains who could change the world, but that bloody love with bitches made them the most foolish and pathetic creature of the universe. He believed that the major cause of madness and violence among dogs was due to bitches. Those who could have been the heroes of the nation were now mean sensualists. They had even forgotten the nobility of doghood. Hemlock's happiness was hidden in this simple rule; he never ran after bitches--even he did not allow bitches to attend the session of dogs because he never considered them worthy enough to make any wise decision.


At last Rumpus made his particular loud bark, which meant Hemlock had arrived to preside over the session. All dogs fixed their eyes on Hemlock. Hemlock was coming with his dignified personality--the dignity of not being touched by any bitch. Many years of aloofness had made his face very serene and solemn. His colour was black with white patches on his fatty neck. He had all the qualities of a pure dog, because he kept himself away from the human world. He was walking slowly with his graceful gait. When he arrived on the highest grave, all dogs stood up to say welcome. He slightly moved his tail and sat down silently. This time he seemed to be very dejected and gloomy, which might be due to his worries; he had no suitable alternative.


Feeble Gimlet started the programme by the permission of the leader of the house. Although too much talk was not desirable, yet he kept on talking, saying again and again that he would not waste the precious time of noble dogs. As usual he uttered few words in praise of Hemlock. Hemlock looked at him with angry eyes. In the meanwhile Rumpus, who was very straightforward, asked him to come to the real issue. Gimlet realized his mistake, as it was his wont, and told them that they were not gathered for any ordinary matter, rather it was a matter of their honour and survival; they had lived with human beings for time immemorial and they had forgotten their own natural living. Once they might be quite different when they used to live in jungles.


Jack was the special guest of that meeting. He was an intellectual dog with his empty belly, thin legs and dirty hair. Most of his life was spent in thinking about the welfare of poor dogs. But he could not get any solution to the problems of dogs. In his disappointment, he came to the conclusion that dog's brain was limited and could not go byond certain limits, therefore he left himself on the will of time and circumstances. He could not even spend a normal life. His intellectual thoughts stopped him from sexual pleasures, because he believed that to run after sensual pleasures was a human act, not of dog's. He had heard that man's sexual lust is never fulfilled, even he keeps on it with pregnant woman--it was very strange and disgusting for Jack. Jack used to spend his time out of the city near the hut of a poor peasant. He was in favour of the liberty of bitches and did not like the absence of bitches. This dual behaviour had made him very controversial. He was respected and loved by bitches but not more than this, because dogs were also like human beings and only the powerful could enjoy it. He was not in favour of such session but Gimlet convinced him to come and say something at that crucial time. Jack did not believe in such intellectual gatherings. He believed that great minds pass away silently, without stirring the suface of the sea of life. He believed that those who got fame and praise were not the genuine thinkers because they did not have the taste of depth.


He came on the high grave with his slow and solemn gait. There was some strange dignity in his personality, which had added his enemies; because this grace was appreciated by the bitches. There was a rumor about him that once he spent a complete noon with one elite bitch, who was impressed by his thoughts. Many rascals had different opinions about this event. They said that Jack did not attract her, rather she wanted to have a change of taste, and it was a chance that the first dog met to her was Jack. They also said that she was so disappointed by him that she dropped her romantic notion of having a boyfriend from the lower class. Therefore, Jack was also considered as a scar on the doghood. Anyhow, what was the relation between the two, nobody knew.


Jack looked at the audience and said, "I don't agree with the idea of leaving human society suddenly. I think it is an emotional and irrational decision. We have been living with human beings for so many years that evil habits of humans have become part of our personality. For instance, we have been divided into many groups; secondly, we have lost tolerance and can not survive hunger even for one day. Thirdly, we have, like humans, made half of our population ineffective; they are of no use except in particular days. Above all, we have been helping human beings in hunting wild animals. I do not think we will get any acceptance from them. I believe once dogs were as brave as wolves, rather they are the real dogs. Now we have become very lethargic and lazy. We are now merely pie eaters while living with human beings. I think we should keep ourselves away from human society gradually. Man has made us dry and dull. Now we have nothing of which once we were proud. Now we have only one quality that is to wave our tales. All the creatures of universe laugh at us. We are now laughing stocks. We were fond of getting the title of loyalty, and for this we sacrificed everything--even our own identity. Now we are identityless creatures--good for nothing. We have all those qualities of damned creature--called man."


After Jack many dogs were invited to speak and they all recommended the idea of leaving at once.


At the end honourable Hemlock came to give the final decision. He thanked all the dogs and said, "I do not condemn our ancestors for joining man. At that time man was really a man, quite unlike the present dirty and lustful man. He had sense of honor and dignity. Afterwards the process of devolution started, which is considered a process of revolution and evolution by foolish man. Alas, man has lost his nobility. Therefore, now it is better to live with our natural mates in jungle. I order all of you to get prepared and we will leave on this coming Sunday. I am sure this decision will enable us to reachieve our lost doghood."


At that moment two old owls, who were listening everything, came close to each other. "What do you think, will it be so?" asked one to other. The second owl laughed at it and said, "How childish you are; they will never act upon it; they have become half human and will never do what they have said. While living with human beings, many characteristics of man have become part of their blood. I can bet they will be humiliated again and again, but will never take any bold step. Have not you seen how they were speaking like great human leaders. I have listened to many human speeches in their assemblies and huge processions; such great rhetorical speeches are made by humans when they are unable to do anything; have you seen any change in the human world in spite of great associations and great talks?--dear, it was not different from those great human speeches. Dogs and human have many resemblances, and one of those is that one talks too much and other speaks too much. They never learn from their past, believe me they are destined to be doomed."

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SOME REVIEWS

*

COCKTAIL NATION by Eric Lammerman, published electronically by Dorrk.com


A gallery of cocktail bar inspired scenes. I've imagined them read aloud with a strong California accent, and yes! most of the poems should really work. Lack of extreme sophistication isn't always an offence against poetry, as Lammerman's fluently free and generally unpretentious style beautifully matches with the genesis of his inspiration (I really loved The Witch and Liquid Courage!). Though some poems are more successful than others, which I feel should have been trimmed more accurately, on the whole Cocktail Nation is a pleasantly readable work.

*

LABYRINTH OF CHAOS by Brian Wallace, New Falcon Publications, Tempe (Arizona) U.S.A. ($16.95)


I don't know... I had great expectations, but I was disappointed. As a novel, Labyrinth of Chaos is rather weak as a whole; as a reference book, it's quite interesting. Yes--I must admit--I was persuaded to read Carl G. Jung seriously, but as a middle-aged, sophisticated Englishman, I usually expect more from a novel. Almost everything in this book sounds just an excuse for lecturing on dozens of varied subjects. Dialogues are perhaps the weakest spot. They usually float from a TEFL approach to unexpectedly artificial moments (just take a look at Allan's question to the Scottish gentleman on page 179...). I basically think the novel idea is a mistake. If a more personal handling of the esoteric and philosophical magma had been chosen, the global outcome would certainly have been more successful. Though Brian Wallace appears a gifted writer with a rich, warm and elaborate style, here, I feel, he hasn't found a comfortable literary milieu.

*

A Handful of British Magazines

Some poetry magazines worth supporting certainly are:

TREMBLESTONE, edited by Kenny Knight, Corporation Buildings, 10F How Street, The Barbican, Plymouth, Devon PL4 0DB, UK (Single Issue: £ 4; Three Issues: £ 12; Six Issues: £ 20; Overseas worldwide: £ 5, £ 15, £ 25).

FIRE, edited by Jeremy Hilton, Field Cottage, Old White Hill, Tackley, Kidlington, Oxfordshire OX5 3AB, UK (Single Issue: £ 4; Three Issues: £ 7; Overseas should add postage).

SHEARSMAN, edited by Tony Frazer, Lark Rise, Fore Street, Cullompton, Devon EX15 2AD, UK (Single Issue: £ 1.50; Four Issues: £ 4).

ANGEL EXHAUST, 35 Stewarts Way, Manuden, Bishops Stortford, Herts CM23 1DR, UK (Single Issue: £ 4).

Fire and Tremblestone are eclectic and open to new names, while Shearsman and Angel Exhaust are undoubtedly more exclusive. They usually feature innovative poetry--very often very good poetry. Fire has a website, which, however, should deserve much more care.

We are looking forward to the online series of Terrible Work, edited by Tim Allen, which will only carry reviews, listings and comment; and the new Terrible Workpress publication, A Very Rare Magazine Upon The Earth, a poetry and word-art paper journal.

P.G.

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