Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Rich Ives



if the name of the architect is Mr. Rock perhaps the name of the fallen rock
should be Mr. Man it appears there has been a mistake at the mortuary
Mr. Rock has already been filled with the preservative known as Scotch

Mr. Rock however is English and Mr. Man was thrown at him to create this
accident and clouds have nothing useful to do with arriving at the mortuary
but afterwards small clouds are installed to replenish the deceased’s potentials

Mr. Rock is still a child like all men but now he’s a dead child
Mr. Man left a piece of himself in Mr. Rock’s head because he’s broken
no one removed it now formaldehyde comes out of the closet

oh no oh no says Mortuary Director Glenlivet too brightly who is named
for his liver this blood is still pulsing Mr. Rock is not seriously a dead man
and Director Glenlivet ceases and desists his ghoulish draining

whereupon Glenlivet offers a cute little suture-bow to the sliced vein
and Mr. Rock is filled rather than emptied until borrowed essential fluids
adequately support the return of pre-embalming opportunities

Director Glenlivet begins floating himself again now pickled and disguised
as Mr. Cloud but no sign of rain in his levitated mortuary heaven persists
and meanwhile the guilty indifference of Mr. Man grows legendary

later at the opening of the new mortuary they will all laugh about this and the party
will laugh about them and the indifference of the trees will laugh about everything else
but the clouds will not laugh and the rain will only fall upon them equally


a young man often builds something supportive with wood
this is not what a man is but what a man does and a tree
or a cloud are only tools for the creation of his man-things

a man’s first man-thing is often above him like a tree-house
and no women are allowed in paradise number one
paradise number two could be sympathetic clouds that melt quickly

paradise number three is not a woman but a young man’s dream
of a woman which the man creates as if he were a helpful tree
containing a house that was ready to offer itself to the woman

but that tree continues climbing its own ladder of dreams
which always returns to the ancient sun and father sun
may still fill the tree with leafy man-child simplicity

trees are always pointing and they never get where they’re going
until they let go and find themselves feeding what fed them
a young man is not a tree but the hope that remains after reaching

wood taken from the tree waits not in green dreams but graying houses
wood is the holding part which the man-child must use to create new rooms
which contain moonlit intentions and he will first be mistaken and later mistaken again

that’s not something that deserves criticism it’s not the same as
throwing spoons at butterflies or robbing postal workers or eating stale mutton
but be careful now falling clouds do not dream of transcendent wood

nor do falling clouds write epics about mankind or weather’s acceptance
falling clouds won’t explain what they’re doing or do it over again
each cloud is a tentative thing made of waiting and then knowing

flying ants were filling the young man’s pockets with wings
and of course there is pain here you’ll like it a lot
best advice I ever got says the old man


perhaps you have wondered if fear is a prison
or an innocence that separates you from others but a prison
removes you from the source of your imprisonment

you don’t have to lock up a box of fear like a prison it can be
shared because opposing dreams live in the wood
which has been taken from vertical history

when the innocent man-child can see the determined tree
approaching the top of its misdirected cloud-ladder
his innocence falls away like a useless appendage

the women are watching what complicates them and
they place rocks to keep the dreamy ladder from rising
into man-heaven where no more men can be made

but man-heaven is lonely and falls day by day with the rain
upon the shoulders of the waiting women who carry this burden
as if it might pop out of them and walk away


now the clouds are opening and singing a song we’ve heard before
and it falls upon leafy conical ears that reach out to gather
enough sunshine to hear that deep old voice in the wood

listen with your tongue unhinged like the birds
such naked accessible ears gather more than we understand
and spread it around which smells like a baby urinating

aren’t you going to kiss the smelly fallen clouds aren’t you
going to lick the salt from the corner of the baby’s troubled eye
aren’t you going to cover the table tonight with terrestrial longing

hitch a ride on one of those old sky turtles we thought were deities
the wet moon creaks on its hinges and seems to be folding out over a porthole
as if it were a milked drink you could spill all over the deck of its longing

caught in the branches of the king’s favorite tree the last cloud before sunrise
soaks up the opportunities and bloodies itself for the sun
as if that pagan creature’s song were wounded back to peasantry

Günter’s worried about the snow with its friends all melting away
don’t expect him to act like fallen sky doesn’t matter
Ingeborg told the neighbor’s kids to leave him alone for a long time

listen to the ridiculous babies licking themselves with their beaks
musty nests and closets filled with dormant odors opening everywhere
you wouldn’t even be able to hear yourself if that weren’t you singing


the rocks’ offspring gather teeming with visitations of rain
children of broken down planets and energy re-cycled
what can you say of your parents who separated so many of you

blown about the voice of dirt your singing a granular thrust
through hardscrabble breakfast what can you say
that is not said better by soil given to a random neighbor

each grain hobbles its own tentative shoe but patient justice stands and
admires its accomplishments while children disassemble themselves
and toss about their lives in a frenzy of starting and more starting

brush quickly away the dangers and let the funneling field offer
internal fingers for the mystery because touching back isn’t always painful
follow the late rain into everything and follow the worm back out of your excess

adjust the invisible planet of the new home too small to fail
pedestrian energy disseminates the walls and soaks up little
generosities it’s a birthday of every moment spilling transitions

once more is so inevitable it’s small enough to go unnoticed
once more is not enough to move past me keep going
once more is what you say to me when I listen to myself

© Rich Ives 2013

Rich Ives has received grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts Commission and the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines for his work in poetry, fiction, editing, publishing, translation and photography. His writing has appeared in Verse, North American Review, Dublin Quarterly, Massachusetts Review, Northwest Review, Quarterly West, Iowa Review, Poetry Northwest, Virginia Quarterly Review, Fiction Daily and many more. He is the 2009 winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander. In 2011 he received a nomination for The Best of the Web and two nominations for both the Pushcart Prize and The Best of the Net. He is the 2012 winner of the Creative Nonfiction Prize from Thin Air magazine. His book of days, Tunneling to the Moon, is currently being serialized with a work per day appearing for all of 2013 at http://silencedpress.com.

Monday, April 29, 2013

John Grey



Alien craft over Washington DC
or was that a Mexican truck
heading north toward the border.

Four-eyed monsters,
says the supermarket weekly.
Illegal monsters,
declares talk radio.

They’re armed with ray guns,
their technology is so advanced,
they intend us great harm...

They’re squeezed into
the truck’s secret compartment,
sweaty and starved of breath,
one or two already dead,
and yes, they intend us great harm...

Their planet’s dying.
They want ours.
Their country’s a basket case.
They’re looking for work.


A tattoo is nothing more than a look back
at the night you had it done.
Were you drunk? Did some guy dare you?
It’s a lovely red rose but it’s a flower from seven years ago.
Today it would be a heart saying “Michael”
or maybe the devil or a diamond or a star.
A man rubs your back, thinks what luscious petals,
but that’s not what you’re giving him.
He gets Michael, the guy you’d rather be with.
Or the devil, the imp that sleeps with all comers.
Or a diamond, the moneyed dream that pretends
to make this worth it.
Or that star, the ultimate in elevations,
the coldest for all its bright light.
So let him have sex with his nose in yesterday’s budding.
It’s wilted. It’s dead.
You’re wilted. You’re dead.
It’s a skin to tell a lie.


It's 2046,
the oldest living Deadhead
is on his deathbed ...
the marijuana's medicinal,
the music's immaterial
because he can't hear it anyway.
Over and over,
he mutters the word 'Truckin"
to the great-grandchild
seated faithfully at his side.
Soon, he'll join Jerry Garcia
in that great outdoor concert
in the sky.
It's as he's always said:
Life sucks,
then you tie-die,
then you die.

© John Grey 2013

John Grey is an Australian-born poet, works as financial systems analyst. Recently published in International Poetry Review, Chrysalis and the science fiction anthology, “Futuredaze”with work upcoming in Potomac Review, Sanskrit and Fox Cry Review.

Gita Smith nominated by Spinetingler

The 2013 nominations are in for the best short story on the web at Spinetingler Magazine, and Gita Smith's The Tractor Thief's Jacket has been nominated.

This is one of the most thrilling pieces of fiction I have ever read, and as a group of us had the pleasure of hearing it read aloud by the author at HoW3, it will long remain in memory.

If you haven't read this piece, please do, or reread it. Then go and vote at the Spinetingler site:

The Tractor Thief's Jacket (on MuDJoB)
Spinetingler Magazine

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Debbi Antebi


she lies still in bed
with heavy pillows placed
like a castle around her head,
looking perfectly comfortable
in the artificial fortress
but squirming inside
with restlessness and dread

she tries to chase time
like running after a thief
but calmly it slips away
without granting any relief
ironic, she thinks, how she spent
so many precious years
chasing short-lived passions
escaping her fears

what once lay ahead
like an infinite stretch
of dreams and possibilities
is now compressed
into the colored pills
lying next to her bed,
which she quickly grabs,
squeezing them tight
with a racing heart and shaky hands

© Debbi Antebi 2013

Debbi Antebi’s poems have appeared in Every Day Poets, unFold, The Bijou Poetry Review, Short, Fast, and Deadly, and The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, among others. She lives in Istanbul, Turkey, and blogs at http://debbiantebi.com/

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Harris Tobias


A Ship of Bones

Lay the old man down, lay him down
His wretched bones are dry and worn
Give the ferryman a coin or
Let him drown
These brittle bones won’t walk again
Lay him down lay him down
Make paddles of his hands
Use his skull to bail
Rig his thigh bones for a mast
And his skin to make a sail
Weave his hair for cordage
Use his knuckle bones for dice
Kiss him once upon the lips
And kiss his eyelids twice
Let him go, let him go
He’s done with life

Lay him down, lay him down
The old man’s gone ahead
To that strange shore
Where the beach is dark
Where the dead are moored
Let him go, lay him down
He cannot help us anymore

Monkey Shines

If people were like bonobos
Or so at least the story goes
We'd all live peacefully in trees
Eating fruit and picking fleas
But humans, filled with genes recessive,
Have evolved much more aggressive
Behaving more like chimpanzees
Driving rivals to their knees
Our aggression knows no bounds
In the air or on the ground
And if you think we're not that simian
Just ask any Palestinian
Bombs and bullets on their heads
Drive them from their Arab beds
You see them on the evening news
Firing rockets at the Jews
Just another struggle sadly
A case of monkey's behaving badly


Whenever I am despondent
And wondering what life means
I sit in my recliner
And peel some tangerines

Now I know that life’s a mystery
And more senseless than it seems
But somehow it’s not so empty
When I’m eating tangerines

I used to sit and ponder
Why God is messing with my dreams
But now it’s not an issue
I just worship tangerines

Now you may think me a blasphemer
Someone wrapped in petty schemes
But I’m nothing but a dreamer
And not given to extremes
But if I needed a redeemer
I’d choose tangerines

© Harris Tobias 2013

Harris Tobias, one of MuDJoB's most frequent contributors, herewith helps us celebrate our third anniversary.

MDJB at GoodReads

Michael D. Brown's books on Goodreads Bastille Day reviews: 2 ratings: 3 (avg rating 5.00...