Locust Four - May 2007

Locust Four
ISSN 1529-0832  Vol 2 No 4 - May 2007
FOREWORD
POPLARS, A Poem by Kristine Ong Muslim
ARS BREVIS, A Poem by Gary Beck
THERE WERE CHARCOAL HEATERS, A Poem by Joseph Hoats
ON NOT BEING ABLE TO LEAVE QUICK ENOUGH, A Poem by Levon DeBranch
EVERY MORNING, EVERY EVENING, A Poem by Joseph Veronneau
WHAT I SAW WHEN I THOUGHT I WAS HAVING A HEART-ATTACK, A Poem by Zachary C. Bush
TWO POEMS by Jeff Crouch
FOUR POEMS by Devin Davis
TWO PROSE POEMS by Zachary C. Bush
SHOPPETTE, A Prose Piece by Mark R. Drost
THROAT GUM SUGAR BLOOD SUN, Prose by Ryan Hicks

FOREWORD


Spring is here in the northern hemisphere and a new issue of Locust Magazine is online. Perhaps this year will be a lucky one. In spite of what was written in Locust Three Foreword, two issues of Locust will probably appear in 2007. Well, this doesn't certainly mean that 2007 will be better than 2006. An optimistic attitude is certainly appropriate for our everyday life, but so foolishly inappropriate for an artist or a poet. Nobody wants to question the illusion that there will always be sunshine after a rainstorm, and nobody wants to turn this bunch of sentences into the ravings of a disillusioned editor, but let's just take a look around or switch on the TV... Should you think that unhappiness is the essence of life, this wouldn't help you to live comfortably, but it would really be closer to the truth than you might imagine. So, the year 2007 will definitely NOT be better than 2006, but literary submissions in keeping with Locust tastes have remarkably increased this year, and this positive turn of events must certainly be acknowledged. Many thanks to all the poets and writers that keep Locust Magazine alive!

May 2007

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POPLARS
~ A Poem by Kristine Ong Muslim ~


Monet sees it this way:


Poplars move only if the foliage
is dabbed carelessly
with deliberate brushstrokes.


The best way to catch light
is to use water.

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ARS BREVIS
~ A Poem by Gary Beck ~


Culture clutchers
can no longer sustain themselves
against the rude assault
of omnipresent rap.
Practitioners of the monotonous beat
are far too aggressive
for the fragile followers
of the more delicate arts.
The future of ballet, drama, painting
will ultimately be decided
by the raucousness
of street performers.

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THERE WERE CHARCOAL HEATERS
~ A Poem by Joseph Hoats ~


There were charcoal heaters
under the floors in the whorehouses.
The men would come and do
their businesses and, sometimes, fall
asleep and die from the carbon monoxide
in the air that filled the room
after the small woman left
on quiet feet,
closing the door.


The officer got the messages
that such and such was missing from his post
and turned up dead at the whorehouses
in the mornings, mostly.


In the afternoons, he sat down
to write to
grieving mothers and wives
about how their brave boys
had died in the line of duty
and how they gave
the ultimate sacrifice for their country and so on.


Then he sent out another memo
prohibiting soldiers from visiting
local brothels
or at the very least,
sleeping there.

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ON NOT BEING ABLE TO LEAVE QUICK ENOUGH
~ A Poem by Levon DeBranch ~


I remember one
of my first actual jobs
when I was growing
up,
working at a pet store,
feeding the rodents
and cleaning out
dog kennels.


I figured why not
get paid
for doing something
I enjoy anyway,
caring for animals...


I remember
I used to have to wear
leather gloves
when removing
ferrets
from the aquarium
in order to
replace
the cedar chips.


It never failed.


Each time my hand
went in,
it came out
with at least five aggravated
critters
dangling from
my fingertips.


Perhaps it was because I
was messing around in
their territory?


Perhaps they were
simply
showing off
to their friends?


Perhaps, they just
didn't much care for me?


Regardless,
I was always
thankful
for the leather glove,
which their
teeth
never once
breached.


Unfortunately,
I only lasted at that job
for about a week.


Neither the protective
leather glove,
nor the hourly pay-rate
were worth my leaving
work everyday,
with mud on my hands.


I guess some people
just have the knack
for pulling bunnies out
of hats.


What happened when I
tried rescuing ferrets
from an ocean?


A school of
hungry piranhas
trying their
best
to make me
look and feel...


like a lunch hour.

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EVERY MORNING, EVERY EVENING
~ A Poem by Joseph Veronneau ~


This is for me?
he inquired
mmhmm the other guy said,
arms stretched upwards
from the couch.
I'll take it
he retorted
and drilled away,
tossing the later limp body
over his slender shoulder.


Pleased with his findings,
he left them toward the curve
of his tub
as he bathed away awkward sorrows.
All of their bodies different,
yet so similar at heart.
The daily grind was too monotonous,
little companionship and too many
vagueries to live off of.


He started showing up late to work
nightly noises were reported,
until one day while at work
they searched his place
and found his assimilated collection.


The quiet at night an interlude
to a thud by morning,
releasing the pressure between life and death.

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WHAT I SAW WHEN I THOUGHT I WAS HAVING A HEART-ATTACK
~ A Poem by Zachary C. Bush ~


Dead-ends and other street signs
led me towards the last exit
highway-horizon turning pink
pussy into brown meat crackling
and popping on a stove-top hot
flashes of my girlfriend expecting
blue-skin babies to wash-up silently
with the red-stained tide across a country
road layered with black-ice frosting.

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TWO POEMS by Jeff Crouch

*

PIÑATA BELLE


the birthday girl in her costume
with gold crown, yellow dress
blindfolded for the contest


the broom handle with both hands,
she lurches at the jerking Belle--
thwack and whack and miss and oops


as her brothers tug the rope
Belle goes down and up and in
and the birthday girl swings


for her birthday wish, and swish--
soon the wounded Belle releases
candy as she rips to pieces

*

LETTER BOX


ballet of balance
               each odd angle, slant
right, left
pivot
               on the tip
each liquid ornament
each letter
               pressed
to palate

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FOUR POEMS by Devin Davis

*

THOUGH


stabbed,
the cracked black
leather jacket of planet earth.
the rain gang
softened, & off it came.

*

MAY


walking
the long block,
early one suburban morning,
a touch of butterscotch pine


& honey.
a hummingbird,
just chased from the wire,


welcomes a taste
before me.

*

YOU'RE A BASTARD, BORIS PASTERNAK


this girl is
...drooped; and you
have a hold of her--your in-


fidelity.
drape the gray, heavy
wool coat; and lead


undercover of the canopy;
and cloudhead.


the breasts are wet
--prepared...


news is
like the rain
coming down


on rabbits...
& frogs croaking...
the arboreal hardness...


leaves...
that immature sapling,


broken
through
ground.

*

WEREWOLF


silver spoon,
lucky charms
--are there teeth?


the mother...her
child do not look
at each other...


faces, blank
...turn


away...
from coming sun
--toward the wheel,


eye five.


baby am, and
pm mommy
...approach


the howling
school.


fall is nearly here;
and the moon, almost full.

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TWO PROSE POEMS by Zachary C. Bush

*

ILLUMINATION


The Ferris wheel spins--yellow, orange, and red against the night. Her palm is sticky from ice cream dripping over the cone. The smell of hot dogs and funnel cakes thicken the air. A carnie shouts, "Double or nothing!" Her lips taste cotton-candy sweet. We look up at heat lightning filling the sky.
The Ferris wheel keeps spinning--our whole world is now.

*

THIS IS WHAT WENT DOWN BEFORE SHE TURNED ME INTO STONE


High-noon sun filters through bulky drapes, illuminating the motel room a rot-green. Medusa reclines, naked and wet, in a red chair near the window. With a white towel wrapped around her head, her hair slithers down her long neck like black snakes, threatened. She spins a ring on the table, taking deep drags off of a Virginia Slim that teeters between her lips as she asks, "Did you think this would suffice?" The cigarette smoke curls up in thin spirals from the glass-ash tray nearest her right hand, shaking. And the ring spins faster, blurring into a magnificent cloud--a hundred shades of silver.

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SHOPPETTE
~ A Prose Piece by Mark R. Drost ~


The dwarfing doorframe, with its exposed view of peppery canes and savertwists, was a warming welcome from out of the knelting wall of cloud above. Teresa and her friend IceCream stepped straight in, leaped high, anchored her hands on the counter, her bum plopping right down among the licorice racks. Pops turning from corner to corner of her mouth. Cherryumbrella going slow down her throat. Red gel slipping over her lip, coming off the chin, slicking her cheeks. Then the swaths wrap themselves back over her face, around her head, over her eyes, coursing down her ribs, sticking her, belly-up, to the counter. IceCream leans forward, lip droops, her perspiration thick as wax hitting Tere's belly with a spat. Lacrymose dribbles fall from Ice's falling lids, dabbing and quickly falling down around Tere's concave. Then Ice falls on Tere, and she feels like ice, cold burner tiding off the gum from T's body, leaving her in a Santa-colored pool, rippling over the side

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THROAT GUM SUGAR BLOOD SUN
~ Prose by Ryan Hicks ~


Woke up Tuesday at 7:15am. Reminded myself why I set the alarm clock: an interview at Friendly's. I roll off the mattress to the wood floor, line my feet down and get to the socks, the pants, undershirt, shirt, shoes. Then I go downstairs, look at the food. I can't eat. If I eat the food, I'll have to shit at the interview, and that would make for an uncomfortable situation. I go back upstairs, into the bathroom. In the trashcan is the toothpaste, it's still got a bit in there, but the cap is off, too bad. I put my head under the running faucet, run my fingers under there, stand up, watch the mirror. I leave the house feeling awake. It's two miles to Friendly's on foot. I cross the street east to hide from the sun then get walking. Kids, mostly black, are walking in uniforms in front of me towards school. Soon I get to the avenue's intersection, make a right on to it, watch the sun watch me. The sun, it's not even yellow, it's white. And it's hard, burning and watching me, pissed off at me a human waiting at a red light. There's a few more red lights, a mall north, people in cars passing around towards work. Tuesday means work, Tuesday means work. Sun's out, clouds aren't, Tuesday means work. Tuesday makes us feel bad. I pass smokers waiting for the bus, old men on drugs and canes (they're on their way to buy lottery tickets. They have a few years left), pass a library, army recruit center, then get to a gas station. Inside the clock's broke, I buy gum, I dislike gum but I have to chew it, my breath stinks. Then I get back outside to walking, stuff two pieces in my mouth, it's made of sugar. My armpits are sweating, my red shirt soaks it up. I get to the boulevard. It smells like gas and work, then the light goes green, I cross, and there it is:


FRIENDLY'S.


Inside, "hello sir," the lady says.
Hello back.
Table, no. Manager here? Interview. OK.


I sit down.


I straighten a paperclip in my pocket. Then here comes the guy.
HELLO, I'm Ryan, I wanted to follow up on an application I put in.
OK, HELLO, let's sit over there and talk.
What do you want to do? he asks.


I look at him, he's got two chins but he keeps his head up high so that you can only see one, and he's smiling, he's got two thin lips open halfway and teeth behind them, his hands are out on the table; my hands are out on the table while my neck and talk beat him like a penis.


"Yes yes, well I want to WORK, do anything, I'll do it, I want to clean and bus boy, dishes? I could be a uh waiter too. I never did before, but I could train, ok?"


He nods back.


I'm about to talk at him more. Instead, he starts with: "OK, well you could learn to wait, it's not hard, this is an ICE CREAM PLACE, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?"


"Uh huh." I HAHA. I think, I should have said 'yes', then HAHA. He smiles back. He keeps talking, I shift a foot under the table. His fingers are moving, he's shifting, resting his hands above the seat, scratches one of his ears, his jaw stops.


"What?"


"I said do you have good people skills."


"OH YES."


"Good then, listen I've got a full staff here, but we're looking for one or two motivated individuals to help about. If you're not pulling your weight I'll let you go, this is a no joke place," hand in my pocket, I poke the paper clip, "so what I'll do is get in contact with you. I'll pull your application, ok?"


"GREAT, ok, that sounds GREAT."


"OK."


"YEAH GREAT."


"OK."


"GREAT GREAT GREAT."


I eat the paperclip, I shake his hand, my neck nods, gets rubbed, GREAT, I get out, there's the street, sun, mall, me walking, throat bleeding. What's my throat going to look like? Will it tear my intestines apart? A truck moves over on the pavement, on to the pavement overont othepavemen tbeepsbeergutgetsoutin dianwithab eergutbeergutf uckwalk stothenewstand feet clap feet clap bus picks people up, sunsunsunsunny Tuesday. Cross south. UNEMPLOYMENT office, go in lady, everyone in there, guys go FOOTBALL YEAH, hear about that shit? Lady asks if I have social security card but I don't, the paperclip's poking out, jamming updown, I walk through the glass. Door, mall's to the north, go there get job? No, feeling bad, throat's bleeding, go anyway, talk hello job? Feeling GREAT.


Suddenly feeling fine. The earth's spinning the sun higher.


Something nice: today, in this sunny city, I have not stepped in any dog shit. I stop in a diner, they say they have the best coffee in the world, better than Paris and better than Tokyo's. And Nevada's. Nevada in coffee is good, because when you're done fucking in a brothel you'll want some fucking coffee! Lady gives me it, and it's the worst coffee I've had in years (this writer especially wishes to point out that this irony is in fact true: the coffee on all accounts was horrible, flat, watered, warm, scentless, and the cream and sugar added little to the taste. Then the eggs came, the eggs sucked, they were pushed under potatoes and the potatoes weren't potatoes, the rye-bread was hard and small despite its under-toasting), then I finished eating, tipped the lady good, it's not her fault, and she's old. I take a fork and scratch my chin with it, then it nicks against something (a pimple?), and you know how that is, I wanted to take the fork right then and end the life of everyone inside the diner, burn the eggs eat them vomit over the register, find the revolver under the counter and go hunting out there. Because some motherfucker is going to get it! For this scratch!

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