Locust Fifteen - August 2002

Locust Fifteen
ISSN 1529-0832  Vol 1 No 15 - August 2002

FOREWORD


Issue Fifteen is online and Locust Magazine four years old! Four years--an eternity in terms of cyber-time, but only a flash compared to eternity. Computers have smashed any reasonable notion of space, but at the same time have so hideously warped any human notion of time. In this cyber-blink of an eye, Locust Magazine has both changed a lot and not changed at all. Avant-garde--if you are a label lover--at birth, and still avant-garde in spirit, Locust has learnt that the trite pop-song adage "There's good and bad in everyone" may be true after all. Although this is only a gross exaggeration. The opposite is often true: there's often nothing really good or bad in what most people write around the globe, but just journeyman poet's sweat! The four-year-old Manifesto can still be considered poetical oxygen, though. Some compromises have been accepted, but the editor has always tried to steer clear of both man-in-the-street poetry and strict 100% iambic teachings. If you think he has succeeded, please do keep on perusing these pages; otherwise, just sail away to healthier seas...

August 2002

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THE NITE SHE ATE OPIUM
~ A Poem by Tasha Klein ~


clip-clop eyes feel like letting go
brass cheeks slide
down some mellow voice distant as
a solitary bread box
angels dance the forbidden dance
and again she licks the stable door
oh now she is a little witch
floating in pointed trance
hair chain saw stumped
brain left somewhere on the floor

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DISCO SUBTEXT
~ A Poem by Martin Rutley ~


In the September gutters of
St. Petersburg 5:43 am
Twenty-second century clerks
Albino-aluminium
Sleep on slabs of vast
inhuman endings
Like redneck poets typing
pavement anthems
Regurgitated people reaching
for concrete stars
Snowflake theories staining
Raskolnikov basements
Dressed in Siberian fashion
Ritalin projects in the breathing
pages of naked books
The elaborate wreckage
of disco subtext

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POET-ICIDE
~ A Poem by Latorial Faison ~


Like flamboyant fleas
infesting a multicolored
carpet we wait
sometimes leaping
toward the heat
the mere movement
of a thing
in hopes that
we'll sink our sharp words
into the armpits and ears
of those who stand
before us
and that they might
feel an itch or hurt
and be moved
even if minutely
because we exist
and are seldom seen
as artists
and next comes
the slaughter
of my son
and your daughter
the words
too much a bother
and we're slowly silenced
POET-icide

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A BOOKSTORE, BUKOWSKI AND BAD COFFEE
~ A Poem by Steven Hoadley ~


I went to a bookstore the other day.


I walked through an expensive door,
through an expansive room,
across some expensive carpet,
and bought a cheap book.


Love is a Dog from Hell,
Bukowski.


I've spent more on worse,
and he's written better
with less.


I went upstairs
and bought a cup of coffee
that cost almost
as much as the book.


Between the big bookstore,
the sad coffee,
and Buk's bad poems,


I felt cheated.


I got up,
left my coffee,
walked downstairs,
returned my book,
strolled out
the big glass doors,
left a smudge
marking
my appearance,
went home,
and wrote my
own
damn
poem.

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YOURSELF AS CAIN, YOURSELF AS ABEL
~ A Poem by Richard Fein ~


Taking a bath in a desert can swell your head
wider than a turgid water balloon,
but only if there are thirsty onlookers.
Without such an audience
you're just fouling your drinking water,
or scrubbing yourself clean for no one.
A peacock fanning his feathers
without peahens or rival males nearby
is merely a lone bird that can't fly.
But the ultimate loneliness
is to be a performer who after the performance
stands by the backstage door with pen primed
but has not a single autograph to sign.


The surest, safest one to envy
is yourself,
for then no jealous wanna-be
would dare upstage you,
or steal your clothes while you float
on a high-tide of egomania,
or pluck your overlong, clumsy feathers
while you spread your dodo wings,
or blast your swollen head with a bullet
when you brush past your one ecstatic
but green-eyed-stalking-fan.

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FOUR POEMS by Devin Davis

*

PROMISE


puddle of wood;
a sidewalk lake;
thawed ice water;
oak-shaped mirror.

*

BEAVER


distilled rat;
bloated in our
chlorinated pool.

*

@ THAT BALL


a mask;
last night
--to my eye--
the moon wore
smooth in porcelain
mist, with one small mole;
it was flawless & beautiful.

*

A RARE ANCHOR


aaron archer--
articulate brother-
-shoot sure; harvard,
your target, is frozen.


lawyer, thy sister
is a lake; & again
radiates rings when
you sink like a stone.

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IMPOSSIBLE ANGLE
~ A Poem by Daniel Brenner ~


It's a tight, rehearsed mouth,
A jerking knee,
& a dome of rotting clay marbles.


The brain can live on a wave.
The hinged air-socket can snap.
Ducking the physical wave in dreams.


Despite inclinations, the filled void
Will bring the physical self
Lurching across the tape in time.


The tubes of phlegm are waves
Driven by circumstance & revision,
Reaction, caved echoes.

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TWO UNTITLED POEMS by Daniel Sumrall

*


Rarely is there such a Spring, we eat rice so white
it tastes of air, throws a blue shadow and dissolves
while resting on the tongue, once the bowls dry empty
a sugary wet scent seeps from the corners of
your mouth, this is satisfying. Laughter kisses
the eyes with every blink, effacing the details,
leaving remnants to emerge of their own accord.

*


You know souls, transparent and unspeakable.
So I write to them on receipts, of telephone numbers
or names, tiny lists with a cursive ring and it is good,
if not right, stuffing them into pockets and pocketbooks
and book jackets and jacket pockets while mumbling
some ancient undecipherable praise.

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CRIPPLED SOUL
~ A Short Story by Nasrullah Khan ~


I cannot believe what I have been witnessing.


Isn't it ironic that those persons, that we try to put in the dark corner of our memory box, appear suddenly at that moment of life when we can't afford any burden of conscience? This unwanted appearance makes us more pathetic when we have convinced ourselves that whatever we did in our lives was not worthless; that the life we have spent was not so futile and absurd, as is the case with the majority. However, there is another court, in our internal self that gives its own verdict. Now we start suppressing that internal voice. We lull our conscience but, in spite of all of our firm efforts, it becomes more violent. Even sometimes it breaks its boundary, destroys our well-maintained external world, and leaves ridiculous imprints on our faces.


Why has he appeared, at this moment of life, when I was about to forget him? How pitiful it is that in this one moment, only one moment amongst millions of moments, that it is going to erase all my efforts of thirty years! This pitiless one moment does not care about the hard work of uncountable sleepless nights. Isn't it miserable that one should spend thirty years of one's life to forget only one person? Isn't it funny that I am being sentimental while sitting with my granddaughter? How would she feel if I told her that that old man sitting under the dark shadow of night is causing a stirring in my heart? He is sitting with the same style of Socrates, lost somewhere, quite indifferent to his surroundings. I can recognize him among thousands, the same style of lighting his cigarette and inhaling it. The same style of folding one arm on his chest and the other moving slowly towards mouth, his eyes fixed on the distant horizon. The only difference is that shivering of his hands that now can be felt at a distance, and his white hair is more unkempt.


Two strong images of his personality are still alive in my mind. Firstly, a lively young man with intelligent and sparkling eyes and sensual mouth with glorious exalted words. Secondly, an image of meditation; a man with graying hair, lost in the secret world of self, like the old, tired and despairing Sidhartha. How ambitious and full of life he was when, thirty years back, he started teaching. He had the natural talent for teaching. Moreover, his communicative style of teaching and exalted thoughts made him very successful while above all, he adopted this profession as a service, not as a job.


He had studied extensively and had wonderful vision but all this was very embarrassing for other tamed and empty teachers. For them, the highest things were their grades and gray hairs. They had very clever and cunning brains, because they had been working hard, on these lines, for years. They would show themselves as wise and their little sayings and truths made them funnier. Their superficial and shallow wisdom was endangered by the presence of this young man, for there was something, which made him different from the others. This made others love or hate him extremely; there was no halfway in reaching him. The most irritating thing to others was that he never showed any reaction to the crazy attitude of people. It seemed as if he had overpowered those violent desires.


The head of the department was a cruel, shrewd devil, who, with his favor and disfavor, could build or destroy the careers of newcomers. Though he had a doctorate in literature, he was good for nothing, merely a holy ghost. He compelled people to respect him, surviving by his mean authority. In short, there was everything except education and decency. Therefore, that intelligent young man became intolerable for them. His only flaw was that he had a good brain amongst brains that were mediocre.


Why did I become jealous of him? I was ambitious for a secure and successful future and did not want to miss any chance of getting the favor of existing authorities. That was a very comfortable and easy way to reach the height, the only requirement was to please the monsters. Therefore, I did! All possible mean ways were adopted to force him to leave our wonderful heaven. Ultimately he left, silently, without even saying a word. His commitment to the profession and his intelligence could destroy us all. Therefore, before our destruction, we destroyed him.


His departure made life smooth again and soon everybody forgot him. Lecturers became professors and professors were awarded with medals. I also earned a scholarship for higher studies, which would otherwise have gone to him. The peacock of a P.H.D. was put on my head. My books on education and literature became part of every syllabus.


I have come here to deliver my scholarly lecture. I shall tell people how I worked hard to educate the generations of my dear fatherland. My words will make them spellbound and then there will be much applause. In the pleasing sound of that clapping, I will forget this tormenting image. My ego will become stiff and proud but he has again appeared here, in a very concrete form. Before today, he was washed from my memory, but today he has appeared after thirty years. He is sitting in the dark and aloof place of this very old, city railway station; it was his favorite place then, too! I can see him lost in deep thoughts. What is he thinking?


Yet, his thinking has not reached to the logical end. Except for me, nobody knows that this silent man's voice can move the statues; his thoughts can melt the frozen brains and his words can purify hearts. Alas! Nobody knows but one who has locked his tongue. A desire to talk to him, at least once, overwhelms me. Something inside me is pushing me towards him; something is quenched in me that wants to burst out but something equally strong is stopping my movement. I am like a person whose feet are chained but stormy air is pushing him forward. What can I do except fall? Yes, I am a fallen woman. Does he still remember me? I do remember once he said: "In this tiresome journey of life, sometimes somebody stops us to make us relaxed. He makes us laugh. We laugh so much that our eyes become wet, then suddenly that person says goodbye because he has to go on his own journey, towards his own destined direction. In the beginning we remain lost, missing those heavenly moments, remembering everything about which we laughed. After a few days, we forget the thing, but we remember the laughter and wet eyes; after more days, we forget laughter but those wet eyes remain alive. Then time comes that we forget even those wet eyes. Alas! We die without even taking a bit of those cherished moments.


Death cleans everything, while making its own memory. We fall down but life goes on to write more mortal tales with the same excitement. We see the disloyal life moving swiftly in the arms of somebody else, without even looking back to us. Before falling down, we try to make her remember her commitments, but our feeble voice can't even touch our own ears. We die to be forgotten forever. This is the total achievement of life. Our tiring long effort + death = absurdity. An awful nothingness! This is the result of life, for whose sake we go to the maximum extent of meanness for whose sake we deceive our dear ones; for whose sake we suck the blood of our own species, and then suddenly we are deceived by this. At that moment we try to spit on it, spit which then returns to our own mouths."


I want to meet that untamed solitary soul. I want to get rid of this tormenting burden of conscience but at the same time, something invulnerable and unburiable stops me, I know it is my false ego, which will never allow me do so. I know we so-called scholars are slaves of this ego for centuries. We will keep on killing such genius by the fatal poison of our suffocating mediocrity. Yes, I should move now, people are waiting for me; my lofty words are awaited there. Good luck to you, the burden of my soul.

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