Locust Nineteen - May 2004

Locust Nineteen
ISSN 1529-0832  Vol 1 No 19 - May 2004

FOREWORD


And with this issue Locust Volume 1 comes to its natural end. Volume 1 has been alive for too many years, almost the entire lifespan of an average print magazine. Its structural demise has been decided because a serious rethink is always necessary after some time. Next autumn the site will be given a new look. Though new make-up or hair style shouldn't necessarily mean new personality, it is certainly the symptom of spiritual unrest. And we all know actors and popstars--all those restless spirits!--usually express their psychological growth in this way. Years have passed, and the editor has matured, and grown more and more...intolerant!...Yes! Intolerant of all the puppet shows around us! Ideas are not very clear at the moment, but even though Locust will never be politically active, one way or another it will show its loathing for the way of the world. There are plans to write a new Locust Manifesto, just to tune the mag to the editor's wiser mood, but nothing for sure yet... Anyway, Mayakovsky's lines from A Cloud in Trousers could be an excellent starting-point:

Damn you!
Haven't you had enough yet?
Screams will soon cut my throat [...]

Many thanks to all those who have contributed to Locust Magazine over the last few years, and helped to mould its distinctive personality. Thank you!

May 2004

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TORTURE
~ A Poem by Ravie Shankar Rajan ~


They killed my friends, one by one,
I waited for my turn with growing dread.


My fate was sealed on a cold, cloudy day,
I was dragged out of my dreary prison,
cruel hands tossed me playfully in the air.
Suddenly, I was hurled into a pool of boiling water,
a blinding pain numbed my fragile senses,
my skin cracked into blisters, darkness engulfed me,
a horrible hardness came over me, paralyzing me completely,
limbs became stiff and useless, nerves torn into shreds,
I screamed for mercy; the ordeal never ended.


Half dead and senseless, they pulled me out,
merciless hands started tearing my blistered skin,
lying at the death door, I heard a voice,
"Honey, breakfast is ready, boiled eggs for you."

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POETRY OF THE OUTCASTS
~ A Poem by Sofia Hellgren ~


Renaissance is over,
Ophelia killed herself
and all that's left
(all we can do)
is walk night streets
of Prague, Vienna
and Amsterdam
among prostitutes
pot smokers,
fools and kings
all we can do
is analyse Baudelaire
and smoke on abandoned
hotel rooms that have
cheap neon signs
no one invites us to any parties


we are the outcasts, aren't we?
We like things rotten, cigarettes
burned out, strip clubs and
tattoo parlours.
We like our women ugly,
we enjoy old Paris
in the 20's


but now we've got Prague
to ourselves
and industrial areas
I can chase you through


it's stinky, cheap, it's STDs,
it's wormwood, absinthe
late night vodkas
lousy poetry by passerbyers
the renaissance shamed.


It's stinky sours, factory's,
lady of Shalott in modernity.
I guess we shouldn't have stopped
here, since she dresses in stay ups
and corsets, pretending to be in a silent movie.
Its impressionism, raw, it's Rimbaud, hardcore fucks,
smoke, smoke, smoke
it's dirty streets in Vienna
and dying angels in Rome.


If you can't stay, then f *** you,
if you can, then welcome to the poets of macabre,
welcome to factory smoke and to Amsterdam.
Welcome, welcome.
Bad flowers rotting, stench of bodies...
welcome...

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INDONESIA
~ A Poem by Jean Jones ~


Someone will ask me I guess,
and it will all come flashing back:
the trash, the sewage,
the rat jumping across the gutter
the night I went to the disco,
the drive home from Cimanggis
on my half-brother's motor bike,
the bus ride
from the airport
at Djakarta,
the two lanes of roads
filled with four lanes of traffic,
the fire inside the city
put out by water
pumped from a ditch:
the prostitutes at Anchol
normally $5.00
but $10.00 for virgins,
my half-brother driving an hour and a half
everyday just to get to Djakarta,
the smell of benzene and
fried fish every day
the loudspeakers from the mosque
every night
the Turkish toilets
with no toilet paper
the cold water every morning,
the rice at every meal,
the vendors' bells every night
and the voices all the same
speaking no English
and me, the only one around
speaking English,
ready to go home...

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PIGEON TOED
~ A Poem by Daniel Brenner ~


Thinking they could breathe in terms of imagination
In the fecund west, she spiraled down from vaudeville
& stood crisply in the night near the garden. The garden
was located to the left of the long-stair collective, near
France, where the Mercedes sun shone mutely, and the
Blue tones of the collective were malleable like laughter
In 5ths. We clustered around the bar & passed along food
& brimming square cups of hot sake on plates. The plane
started to warm up, then. The echo ran from street to street.
The lint from my pockets is like gold, shrinking the clouds
Where lions spout stars and needle-mouthed kittens
Play with golden artichokes. Nozzle-salted.

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GRAVITY
~ A Poem by John M. Marshall ~


Cyclic season: perigee of wheels.
Circus hearts: apogee of souls.
Preamble to an encounter;
Prescription for catastrophe.


Desperation in the ascent;
Light-speed on the flight path.
A transient loss of identity
In the search to find humanity.


Emission of reason: perihelion of minds.
Omission of empathy: aphelion of hands.
Prelude to a rendezvous;
Formula for a tragedy.


Distraction in the circle.
Sonic waves on final approach.
A cursory lack of gravity
In the endeavor to attain equality.


Vital imagination: vortex of creation.
Sublime conception: apex of emotion.
Preface to conciliation;
Equation for success.


Resolution in the descent.
God-speed on the glide path.
The discovery of humility
In the attempt to regain one's sanity.

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NAPOLEON
~ A Poem by Cortney Bledsoe ~


He acts like my story
about the time Bob Villa gave me the finger
doesn't compare to his ramble


about Tom Cruise going duck hunting
on his father's land. I'm not even talking about style,
it's height, pure and simple. Bob Villa


is 6'4'', Tom Cruise, 4'8''. Napoleon
tried three times to rule the world. Alexander the Great
carried books which he could not read and wept alone


at night among the dead he would later eat.
Hitler had one testicle, fucked dogs
which he often failed to satisfy sexually,


and often reeked of white out. Genghis Khan
frequently tipped much less than 10%, even
when the service was commendable. All of these men


were bastards, and all of them were taller
than Tom Cruise.

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THREE POEMS by John Bryan

*

DIVERSE, IN FLUX, WITHOUT UNIFORMITY


vacant lots:
get the cunt out
found frizzled in bushland
filled with dirt--
throw stones at it.
asshole blocked
with aerosol can.


crowded spaces:
people
on buses, malls, shops
stop and
look up at nothing
in my
way, death
to all slow people


the universe in a mind:
would a freak born
with a deformed head
appreciate the perfect symmetry
of an average mean one
or find it all
repugnant?

*

HOW THEY PICK PORN NAMES; A CHALLENGE TO Mr JEREMY


is based on the following two questions:
what was your first pet's name and
what was the first street you can remember living in
furnace


my name is Sadie Green
& maybe I could do some
trans gender stuff


thought his initials may
have come from a famous
Shakespeare play


for what person would name a dog Ron?

*

DIRTY FREAKIN' SCAFFOLD


have nothing
to put around
that sexy red coitus
coloured jugular of yours


a greedy white
seabird perhaps?


all i have is
this piece of
rope


that
becomes
erect at your
expense


after one tug

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FOUR POEMS by Devin Davis

*

ATTACK CAT


flock,,,
a schizophrenic
las vegas actress,


feathered head
preening: 90s,
by degrees.


parts entomolgist
and birdwatcher

*

DISCIPLINE


her electric slippers snapped
passed my triangular patch
of pizza; & beer, you


aren't here
to help me


remember that
a sun turns on
our moon.


i'm walking with mars
east of the vietnam memorial.

*

THE STRAIGHT DEPT


l st., silt
buildingful of agua--it
disintegrates with the california sunset.

*

TASTING TONGUE DOG


the retarded kid said
dogs are not allowed;
& her mother answered,
"he is gonna lick somebody."

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THE SHAPE OF THE WORLD
~ A Prose Piece by Donald Fox ~


A wisp of steam rises from the heavy ceramic cup and disappears against the pale blue background of the kitchen wall. Morning Mist appropriately names the subtle shade she had chosen for redecorating. He can still smell the paint fumes that he had absorbed over the hours it had taken to complete the repainting project. Even the heavy aroma of the freshly poured coffee can't mask the memories reflected from the smooth wall as it shades slightly purple in the corner where it disappears behind the refrigerator much like a cloud shades in its passing across an expanse of sky to ultimately dissolve into nothingness.


A passing cloud. Changes in the weather. Rain one day, dry the next. Hot and cold air collide thousands of feet above the determined anxious movements of scurrying anonymity, replete with superimposed meaning and consciousness played out in cacophonous absurdity, opposites crash like cars on a smog-enshrouded freeway. Friction from millions of condensed molecules generate supercharged bolts that leap colossal gaps and spider traces of dancing light entertain or threaten the awe-struck below.


The light dims in the room, and soon the soft sound of rain spreads like a muffled blanket over the house and his thoughts which cannot be contained by it. The formal structure of wood, plaster, brick and mortar, fiberglass insulation, metal ducts and twisted wires occupy space and nothing more. His own form, crafted as it were from the same kinds of molecules into a flexible, pliant yet ultimately delicate shell seems no more than the errant leaf blown by shifting winds across a carefully manicured empty lawn. A few words can change the shape of the world.

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ALMOST FREE
~ A Short Story by Ryan Hicks ~


The pigeon, it didn't have a name it knew of. Its owners cared for it with 3% pride, a favored pet in an urban house of insects and rotten food. The flavor of bird shit stained the pigeon's cage rotten, and it smelled it and knew nothing else. The thin black wire separated its world from everything else.


It flew about the 5 meter cubed cage with interest of disruption. Sometimes fingers curled through a secret shaft and weeded up with dirty fingernails to latch on to the pigeon, but he flew with perfection around his .5 meter cube-- nothing could prevail over him. Days in and out a hand would come from a small stubborn human when the parents weren't there to watch, came rasping about the outline of the cage, as the bird cackled with feathers, spread its great small wings and swooped through gigantic wooden sticks used for perches, slinking under the water dip and emerging with perfect timing, planning its escapes with nosegay timing for the adrenaline.


One day the bird had a plan to further trick the human hand. It decided with its great mastery to evade around the wrist joints and squeeze through. It didn't account for what was on the other side, but just a way to win the game. The boy came shortly after parents left the home and stuck his fingers in. The bird flew to the top of his kingdom, stood atop his nest attached to the black wire. The boy pounded on top the cage, but the bird stayed unflinching, not allowing the boy to scare him down. He was forced to reach his hand higher through the black wire. The bird took the chance and dove down, quickly slipping through closing fingers, swathing past intricately on a sure open path. The hand pulled back fast, beating him a millisecond faster to the exit. But it didn't close in time.


The bird shot high and free into the air past the black cage, raging its flock of feathers at increasing heights, swooped about in a circle, and smelled a sensitive heavenly scent never smelled before, and appreciated with a gusting underbelly, it fueled his intention. The boy under him jumped and swung his hands, unable to reach high enough, breathing hard and ecstatic, almost screaming after the small flyer.


The pigeon flapped about and searched, amazed the world behind the black cage existed. He explored creases that once were beyond his vision, overly excited as new objects enlightened themselves into existence. He found an area of the house extending through the ceiling, rivets for feet beneath. He flew up, into rooms holding gigantic cushions, candles, empty water basins, aesthetic boarders elaborated with wonderful designs, colors so great they grayed out to the vision. His heart pounded as he found an area which went even higher, the boy following hastily yet unable to catch it. The pigeon flew around the attic in a frenzy, spotting numerous objects spattered on the ground, the young boy tripping and falling over them. Above in a crack in the ceiling, he found a great bright ball surrounded in blue mist, shining politely down on him. His small heart swelled his veins with great surges of blood and oxygen, he flew up as hard as he could, smiling with devastating zeal, up, up, UP. The few inches he made suddenly stopped, he crashed into an unseen wall.


He didn't understand as he fell unconscious to the floor.

*


The bird awoke back in the cage. Confused. The world was back away from him. Like it always was. Separated with black wire. Weak. Black. Wire.


"You could have killed it, Johnny!"
"Mom, I was just trying to feed it and it scared me!"
"You be more careful with your sisters bird next ti--"
"Mom, what's it doing?"
"I think it's going crazy!"
"Why's it smashing against the cage?"
"Oh my God! It's bleeding! It's Bleeding!"
"Jane, calm down, it's just exited over something. Johnny, take your sister in the other room."
"It's not excited! It's gone insane!"
"Oh my God!"
"Johnny, your sister!"
"But Mom!"
"It stopped moving! What's wrong with it! Mom!"

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GORILLA WARFARE
~ A Short Story by David Holub ~


Normally I stay away from movies.


Too costly.


I remember back in the olden days, I'd rip $20 out of an ATM, buy a movie ticket and still have enough for a gallon of milk and a sack of chocolate bunnies. The bunnies were no problem, but getting that milk past the ticket-taker took some creativity.


To afford a movie I would have to go unconventional.


I put on my gorilla suit and rushed the lobby of the theater. To be safe I chucked a banana at the popcorn guy to divert his attention. From there I sprinted past a spooked ticket-taker, threatening him with a second banana while the soundtrack from "Gorilla Go Free" played on my ghetto blaster.


They dared not follow me. Even if they had tried, I planned to somehow use my ability to throw my voice as means of escape. Once in the theater, I pulled out one of my father's old tuxedos and put it on over my gorilla suit as a disguise.


My cunning plan seemed to work and I anxiously awaited the lights to dim. But when the first seven previews were for G-rated movies, it occurred to me that something wasn't right. I took a quick survey of the audience. In addition to the wild-eyed, wired-haired man twitching and licking his fingers in the front row, the audience was mostly kids, a few parents, and a handful of uncles.


It was true: During the hysteria of my break-in, I'd scurried into the wrong theater.


But I wasn't about to leave the theater and risk being snared by the authorities. Unfortunately that meant sitting through a heinous flick about a dog that looked after a flock of lambs after a hilarious farm accident.


If the storyline wasn't discomforting enough, I was a sack of nerves for the entire movie. Afraid of capture, my innards tossed every time the big-boned man behind me kicked the back of my seat crossing and uncrossing his legs.


Even without the kicking, I still would not have cared for the movie as I had a hard time seeing through the gorilla mask. I did, however, end up identifying with one of the lambs. Keep fighting the good fight, Fleecy.


Sitting through a terrible dog movie turned out to be the least of my problems. To my dismay, I had accidentally packed sandals with my getaway suit and on my way out of the movie, the gorilla feet were spotted by an assistant manager. Seems the gorilla face would've been more noticeable but the baseball cap oddly threw him off.


"Somebody stop that monkey," the manager screamed.


Defeated by an afternoon on the run, I quickly surrendered to an usher and some guy holding a broom.


I was hustled swiftly into a back room. Initially I assumed the room was lined with mirrors. But after a closer look, I was amazed to find dozens of other gorillas in tuxedos. They sat silent and faced forward. Their chairs were arranged in symmetrical rows. One ate from a bucket of fried chicken. I surveyed the room then tried to catch the attention of the gorilla behind me.


As I looked into his eyes, a fear descended upon me. Were these men in gorilla costumes who had also tried to sneak into movies, or were these real gorillas?


I quivered in my chair with visions of being tied from a tree and batted around by a platoon of apes. Then I remembered that I still had a banana in my coat's secret pocket. I would simply make it an offering of peace if it came to that.


After recalling an article I had read in an animal behavior magazine during the dog movie, I attempted to teach the gorilla behind me sign language. Halfway through the alphabet, a man in a Korean military uniform and a monkey mask entered the room swirling a snifter.


I was rendered motionless by the site of the sinister figure. As he ominously approached my chair, the other gorillas turned their heads away in unison. I could sense the end. I would be forced into primate slavery, building tire swings and whittling monkey bars. I didn't speak ape and my sign language was at a third-grade level. I was doomed to a silent life of survival and forced labor.


But as I surveyed the Korean snifter-swirling monkey man, my hopes were raised. I smelled his cologne. Cheap. And I checked his legs. Precisely. The left leg was an inch and a half shorter than the right.


It was the assistant manager, returning in disguise. It was a positive ID.


I boxed his ears and a scuffle ensued. We wrestled our way out of the back room and into the theater lobby, rolling around like two sleep-deprived coyotes. Ushers and customers fled in every direction.


He finally submit after I force-fed him two packs of Junior Mints and a medium popcorn. I grabbed a jumbo pack of Whoppers and walked briskly for the exit. Pushing the door halfway open I turned and gave the theater a mischievous glance.


I'd be back. But as what?

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