Locust Eighteen - October 2003

Locust Eighteen
ISSN 1529-0832  Vol 1 No 18 - October 2003

FOREWORD


Locust Magazine has always been late. Issue #18 is not only late, but also the second 2003 issue. Never happened before--in 2000, five issues were published! Unfortunately, for various reasons, not more than two or, exceptionally, three issues a year will appear from now on. But Locust hasn't become snobbish, and no one will be looked down on. Locust will always be prepared to take risks in terms of new unpublished authors, and unorthodox poetry and prose. It isn't first-class literature that will be selected, but the harsh poem or prose piece, as sharp as a razor blade. That kind of literature which isn't for "everybody". Because poetry-- poetry more than prose--isn't for everybody. Do you know any poet--even a Nobel Prize poet--as rich as, say, J K Rowling or Stephen King? How many people know what Under Milk Wood is? How many people know who the heck Harry Potter is? (By the way, is Harry Potter a ® registered trade mark?) And let's scandalize most of the creative writing teachers--there is no Wordsworth or Dylan Thomas in everyone! Poetry has got nothing to do with Socrates' philosophy.

The Poetry Library at the South Bank Centre (London, SE1) is publishing on the web (www.poetrymagazines.org.uk) a free access digital library of 20th and 21st century English poetry magazines. The purpose of this ambitious project funded by the Arts Council of England is to enlarge their readership and preserve them for the future. The first stage has been online since August 2003. Isn't that a project every civilized country should embark on at once? How many innovative small press magazines all over the world disappear without reaching more than a dozen people?

October 2003

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SLEEPING BEAUTY (DRINKS BRACARDI)
~ A Poem by Winston Willis ~


Bacardi on her breath
reminds me she'll forget.


I finish my wine,
fill the glass again,
down it in one rapid motion
and rub her inner lips.


She was lying in bed
waiting for my arrival
kiss that will not come.
She leans forward--


I turn my head away
to slip inside Christ cup.
Second guesses arrive
slowly like her realization:


I have no need to break
an old witch's spell.

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ALL THE CHILDREN SING
~ A Poem by Jean Kiser ~


Dopey's on cocaine.
Color him Burnt Orange.
Sleepy's gone away.
Color him Taupe and Gray.
Grumpy lives across the shore,
Behind a close door.
Color him Navy Blue.
Doc. Dear Doc. Kind Doc.
Pills and time. Time and Pills.
Color him Goldenrod.
Tablets of pink, yellow, blue, green
Toss them to the ugly Queen.
Let her bite the poisoned apple,
Polished and gleaming.
Let her pay the price for pain.
O! that Queen, that other woman,
Color her Chartreuse.

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CAFÉ TRIESTE, SAUSOLITO
~ A Poem by David P. Fraser ~


The place, stumbled on
contained the memories
of ten years' absence.
A new place with the old flavours,
the mixture of local hustlers,
sweating cyclists, tennis-shoed
young working drifters
settling down for awhile,
hanging out, take out,
grab a tile-topped table,
imported beer,
cappuccino coffee,
tourists and artists;
a blending of aromas
late at night.
A meal remembered,
part of the mosaic
of the place
blended across
a decade
smoothly assimilated.

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FOUR POEMS by Devin Davis

*

RUFFLE


bellow into
my pillow, like
negro spiritual;


hot sweat that crosses
an awake cheek, & puts
the christian one asleep;


babbling
brook, my whys;
what of duck quacks


--feathers
are tired, flat
and sticky--


the bleating sheep;
me speaking with
a hebrew tongue,


as satchmo's horn
blows god's
non-words...

*

BURKING


what
was i trying to do,
turn that giant head
into plaster?


used an entire canister
of mousse for your hair;


caking eyeshadow (earth-
tones), with purple lipstick;
like frankenstein, & digging it.

*

UNION


in this dark,
silver mirror,


all we are seeing
is mars & mercury.


they explode,
accelerate...


what hopeless rays;
no other possibilities.

*

RESOLUTION


we've captured st. teresa
with a still-frame, digital camera;
kidnapping little american girls,
& spiriting them
cross state lines.


ralph nader's home
was raided, saturday
by a porno task-force;
all computer hardware
was confiscated & held,
pending an investigation
into his netscape bookmarks;
well as the e-mail he's received.


socrates was seen
speaking to shrek,
who had just struck
a once beautiful monarch
using the jawbone of an ass.

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THREE POEMS by John Bryan

*

LAKE GINNINDERRA


Our restless souls beat
The bodies off the bikes


First glimpse
Of the lake


We felt
Before we saw


A couple contemplating
How they'd do it


Friend of mine bought five
Metres hose to hook up


Tapped down from
His car to his room


Wanted to die in bed I guess
He was pretty lazy


Was there when he opened the boot
The coiled green snake popping out


Prank in bad taste
I just listened to his plan


But he never did it
Maybe he was already dead


Blue green algae covers
The lake snickering at a lone swimmer


With the swans
Forcing it's joke down his throat


Gulping through:
sick! I'm sick...

*

SOAP AS SKINTRADE


butter foamy of you
my meaty mouth aglaze.
scrape
you off the walls
of my oven,
your hot headed
furnace

*

AFTERMATH MINT


the skinny Ethiopian
and his fly collection
presented around his lips


the young Serbian woman
rolling in her unique
blood due to insufficient arms and legs


the dangling passenger
fell from the sky
in his jelly suit


why are these
and other assorted creams
extremely unpalatable
when one is
swirling the mouth
around chewed food


the afterthought of
cannibalism by proxy?

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THREE POEMS by Michael Gardner

*

519


My clumsy kisses,
Laced with lemon liquor,
Taste thicker,
As I misbehave,
In your labial cave.

*

ODE TO ME ON HALLOWEEN EVE


I am the alchemist of my own atrocity,
Damned and doomed to mediocrity.
But my emotional hurricanes of shit are chic,
And thus I declare myself horrifically unique.

*

MEXICO CITY SLUM


Maria's stone pieta tears on the mantle of her Mexico City Slum.


Arthropods and other arachnid monsters
Nestle themselves into corners,
Fat from feasting on the cat.


A rabid dog's corpse decays on the porch,
Fuming of death,
Wreaking of third world disease,
Dreaming of martyrdom--
Knowing that in Truth,
There is only pain.


Maria's pregnant feet,
Once pink and ticklish,
Are now black and bloated,
From improvised abortions,
Soot,
And tar.


But still,
Her golden Aztec eyes,
Are filled with heaven.


[Poems selected from Michael Gardner's as yet unpublished collection Fuck Your Words]

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SCARLET BLUSH
~ A Prose Piece by Wayne Wolfson ~


Whiskey in bed. The gentle sounds of dawn after a night of pain. The crazy Hungarian woman with the wild red lips. She wore a pocket watch chain around her neck. On the pillow a half painted picture, left at the end of a bottle.


She hadn't noticed that I wasn't there. As the last of the hot water leaves, I get out. I use the steam to write verse on the mirror with my finger.


A shadow flickered across her face and I knew she hadn't made up her mind.


It's 3 a.m. I was doing a karaoke version of Besume Mucho in a lonely restaurant. China town. Whores, drunks and gangsters indifferently look on, waiting until the third chorus to order drinks and make plans.

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THE TEN MOST HISTORIC SUBWAY RIDES
~ A Prose Piece by Jnana Rodson ~


The 'oozers would soon gather for their annual reunion. This time, they'd meet in The City on a Sunday morning for a magnificent communal brunch like those they used to have in the dismal apartment they called Heaven. At this time of week, trains are nearly deserted, because most of The City sleeps in late. Oxford "Fabian" Walker will bring the Sunday New York Times, which they'll divvy up section by section. Sparky Driscoll will bring bags of fresh, flaky pastry. Turtleneck Cody, three cartons of brown eggs. Wanderin' Miles Davis, thick slices of country bacon. Slack-Beamer Donovan, fresh oranges to juice. Fats Tate brings picnic basket, tableware, red-checkered oil cloth, paper plates, and glasses, as well as candles and cutting board. Hotshot Del, a big bag of bagels, cream cheese, and lox. Tumbleweed Dreyfus, five pounds of chopped chicken liver in a tiny white carry-out box. Blackie Dikran, a watermelon. Reefer-Ride Duncan will offer doughnuts. Rover Champ, having forgiven all, will bring a flirtatious Brandy Williams. They'll dine just hours before New York's annual big bicycle race in the pits.


Clanging steel and squealing brakes are so intense that nobody hears just four cars ahead when Bernard Goetz fires away and makes headlines again.


But Indiana also has a hunting season. There is frequent target practice. Turkey shoots for prizes, too.

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THE SNORE
~ A Short Story by D. Harlan Wilson ~


A man woke up to the sound of a powerful snore. It was coming out of his mouth. The man had never been prone to snoring before. Not even the odd snort or whistle had plagued his sleeping body.


He glanced down at his mouth to make sure a snore was actually coming out of it. There was.


The man frowned. A worried shiver flowed up his spine. Was this really happening? Or was he dreaming? He was probably dreaming. But there was no way to tell for sure. He decided to ignore the snore.


He closed his eyes and pretended to have a dream about a man who woke up to the sound of a powerful snore coming out of his mouth. Not being a snorer, the man in this make-believe dream peered down at the snore in disbelief. His eyeballs broke out into cold sweat. He got out of bed and shuffled into the bathroom. Urinated. Flushed the toilet, flexed his jaw. Looked in the mirror. There was a snore in his mouth all right. It looked like a Chia pet. He tried to spit it out of his mouth, but the snore was incorrigible and wouldn't allow itself to be discharged. He stuck his finger down his throat in an attempt to induce a vomit that would rush up his throat and push the snore out of him. That didn't work either--the moment his finger entered his mouth, the snore bit it off like a stick of beef jerky. The man twitched. He tried to curse as he wrapped a bandage around his bleeding hand, but the snore was so loud his voice was inaudible.


He decided to go back to bed, lay down and ignore the snore. He closed his eyes and pretended to have a dream about a man who was pretending to have a dream about a man who woke up to the sound of a powerful snore coming out of his mouth. But there was no snore in his mouth. There was a Chia pet, and angry green sprouts were growing out of its body in fasttime.


A knock struck the man's front door. It wasn't a loud knock, but it wasn't a soft one either.


The man got out of bed and spit the Chia pet into a garbage can. He smacked his lips as he walked down the hallway towards the front door, trying to get the taste of vegetation out of his mouth.


He glanced through the peephole. Saw nothing. Said, "It's the middle of the night. If you're a thief, go away. If you're a murderer, go away. If you're none of the above, go away. Okay?"


The response was one solid, sonorous knock. The man sighed and impatiently opened the door.


"Good evening, sir," said the snore. It was wearing a long black cape, a black stovepipe hat and sleek-looking mirror shades


"It's you," intoned the man. "What are you doing here?"


"I was informed of a disturbance at this residence."


"Disturbance? What disturbance?"


The snore smirked. "The absence of me. Which disturbs me."


The man grimaced. "But I don't snore!"


"But you do snore," the snore said.


The man slammed the door on the snore. He turned and started back down the hallway.


The door exploded as the snore burst through it like a rabid bull. It started after the man without pausing to brush the splinters off of its cape and hat.


The man turned around just as the snore fell on him. It threw an elbow into his face. Blood sprayed out of his mouth in slow motion as his head snapped over his shoulder. His vision faded out...faded back in. The snore nodded at him, grinned at him. The man nodded and grinned back...then kicked the snore in the groin. The snore doubled over...then sprung up and chopped the man in the throat. The man coughed, wheezed...rallied and retaliated. In seconds the two of them were engaged in a full-fledged kung fu fight. The fight lasted a half an hour. Reality slipped in and out of slow motion and fasttime, and digitized techno music poured out of unseen surroundsound speakers. The melody of the music perfectly reflected the ebb and flow of the skirmish.


Both the snore and the man fought well, but in the end the snore won. The man lay on his back on the floor of the hallway in a daze. His eyes were two swollen slits and his halfway open mouth looked like it had been carved onto his face with a dull razor blade. The snore nodded. It removed its cape and hat and mirror shades, exposing the man to its grave nakedness. Then it swan dove into the man's grisly mouth.


Later, the man woke up to the sound of a powerful snore...

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