Locust One - December 1998

Locust One
ISSN 1529-0832  Vol 1 No 1 - December 1998

FOREWORD


Life for small presses and magazines is often very hard, just a struggle to survive unless they are funded by some good-hearted association. A sort of pathetic To be or not to be thing. Fortunately for all of us, there is much more oxygen in the cyberspace. So...Viva Lautréamont & Mayakovsky! Issue #1 is here at last! No Nobel Prize Winners, of course, but only honest word-alchemists. The editor can't thank all Locust contributors enough. We all hope that other poets, writers & artists may consider contributing to future issues, especially if their ideas are aligned with Locust Manifesto.

December 1998

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FIRESTORM
~ A Prose Piece by Michael Murtaugh ~


The flames burn into the blackness of the night with a heat and blinding light. Consumed is everything! Everything is fuel for the blaze that we started the course that we burned up and charted. Through space through time and back again we're burning on fire smouldering in the back of our minds like a devil looking at you with lack-lustre eyes. No remedy! No quelling the flames scarcely a moment of peace from this blaze, this firestorm of rage will there be. We ignited it with hate and greed. Now it is out of control. Burning! Burning! Burning! The rocket went down! Zoom in on the atomic blast. Now a blinding white light is all, and it all melts away just watch for y2K.

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TWO POEMS by Marie Kazalia

*

OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE


feel the medication
has taken out
then put back
the psycho in my psychosis--
the chasm of my schism
and schiz in my schizoid-like personality
--and each night I dream a forgotten memory
NOW HERE
4:25 a.m.
Awake from that dream--
a long six-inch needle
held before my eye
inserted into the pupil in one long thrust
pushes through my brain
all the way to the back
to touch the exact spot
to stimulate a thought
Then needle pulled out clean
in one long extraction--

*

STRIPPERS

strippers                      strippers

             they're strippers                  strippers

strippers
         
           strippers              strippers


in Mahler's 5th
there is a long soft near silence
during which I see the musicians
getting up to use the bathroom
which has transparent walls
off to the left rear of the stage
the audience sees
male flautist relieve himself standing
over the toilet
and the woman cellist
lift her long straight black gown
--everything in black & white like some dreams not in color--
seats herself to piss--
silently--
music soft--
then return to their seats
pick up their instruments
volume and intensity increase
seeking crescendo

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ACES, NIPPLES OR SHOTS
~ A Poem by Ward Kelley ~


The keys flash, the dice bolt,
the simple songs flit around
your head; the casino appears
and re-appears as a saint,
as a hangman, as a judge.


Who brings this contradictory
life where one must hack
his way across a desert,
kill and squeeze and cajole,
all to end up at an oasis
where bars and cards
and girls all jiggle
your attention away
from death?


Yet there are not enough
aces and nipples
or shots in this land
to make you forget
there is always an end
stalking you in the desert...


and this is why you must
kill a man you have given
a chance to kill you...


it is the only chance
you have at killing
death...


a chance as flawed
as all the other
ways men use
to forget
about death


in the desert
where we all breathe.


The above poem is about John Henry Holliday (1851-1887), known throughout the West as Doc Holliday. He was born in Georgia and educated as a dentist in Pennsylvania. Diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1873 and given only a half-year to live, he moved west, hoping to extend his life a few months in the dry climate. Once there he discovered a natural talent for gambling, a profession that led him to realize an even greater ability for marksmanship. Already condemned to a slow, painful death, Holliday knew no fear in dangerous situations, and his fame grew. Four attempts were made to hang him, and he was wounded five times in gunfights or from ambush. Fourteen years after he came west, the disease finally claimed his life. He died in bed after being invalided for fifty-seven days, many of them delirious; awaking with a clear head, he asked for and drank a glass of whiskey, said "This is funny," then died.   [Abridged note by Ward Kelly]

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SIMPLE
~ A Poem by Tom Kellar ~


I'm sick of you
and your ace in the hole
the way you twirl it around your finger
cocking then releasing
the hammer
stroking it
tonguing the butt-end
pleasuring yourself with the barrel,
when low on batteries
you like holding it to my head
telling me
how hard it is to be you,
too many difficult decisions

and other bullshit like that
you must think
that if you point the business end at me
and give me the
I don't know what to do speech
long enough
I'll make a run for it
de-burdening you
of promises you could never keep
and a body to dispose of
wrong
I'm not going anywhere
all those difficult decisions
that you like to talk up
come down to this:
you put the gun away,
slip out the back door,
barrel between your legs
or
you look me in the eye,
and squeeze the trigger
it's simple
makes no difference to me

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AT MATCHPOINT
~ A Poem by Arlene Ang ~


a twisted wrist
from the back of the court
impresses itself
on wax reality
like a green lizard
crawling along
bumps of a spine


wrist in mid-air
flicks at specks
of blinding dust
borne on the backs
of grey autumn winds
and clashes against
empty air only
to encounter
eternal smoke dust


somewhere in the crowd
a mirror cracks
all around the vacant courts
bounce signatures of defeat
paying tribute
to broken-down backs

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TWO EPIGRAMS by Michael Segal

*

SCHOOL DAZE


I meant to go to school today,
But then I wandered far away.
Playing hooky was my crime,
So now I have to write this rhyme,
100 times.


When the head of the Head
Into the kettle fell,
All the children began to yell,
Full Steam Ahead!

*

UNTITLED


Mum and dad are feeling sad,
Their Johnny is stuck down a drain.
How he got there, they couldn't care,
He'll soon wash away in the rain.

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An Extract from
IRMEGARD
~ Fragment of a Baroque-Punk drama by Patrick Gasperini ~


IRMEGARD

The corridors are swollen with purple vapour,
Purple ellipses over pulsations and shapes,
Where windows glitter, silence,
And artificial waves in moth whispers,
And gardens below and flashes of neon agonies,
Melodious, a lily of metallic ice...


I was floating in the smoke of a black root,
Among wires and flying gurgles, bride or bog-angel,
Indifferent to the devotion of a mosquito tribe.
My mouth hid reflections in a bottle;
Unconquered ivory, my legs bloomed in a field of rags;
My buttocks were dunes, my scales paraffin pearls,
Which some unguent had made ambivalent, almost haloes.
If only I had sharpened my razor in due course,
Although the grass was not yet submissive to it:
Yet what my mirror reflected was but a twisted riddle
Which I could no longer bear--no longer...
The breeze was blind, the lanterns were blind,
And on my pillow only a couple of greedy lice contemplated my fleshless ribs:


What should I offer to the ravens on my bed of rays?


Mrs ROSEBUSH

O! Your hypnotic seclusion, emerald
On the inexplicable wing of a sooty bat:
You are the dream of draymen and alley dukes!
Believe me, when wrapped in their heretical mantles
The night patrol play dice and drink ammonia,
Like hermits stirring nebulae in a cauldron of thunder,
You are their goddess!...

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THREE POEMS by Sean Woodward

*

THE SPELL OF PICASSO


In muted terracota
Morphic forms of softness
Embrace.


Gone are the metal traces
Planar edges
Breaks of rust.


In a lakeside wood
The bearded baboon-hunter
Profiles the land.


A guitar stands whole again
The spell of Braque is broken
Francoise's laugh


Disrupts
Picasso's gaze
Enough


To set ablaze
The colours of dust
To shred the fabrics


Of his illusion.


But for us, walking
In the perfect light
Of his Musee


There is no escape
We can only watch
As his muse


Takes another shape


And we lose ourselves
Slowly ever deeper
In the spell of Picasso.

*

KEEPERS OF THE WAY


Across the blood red sands
We are carrying
The secret of St Anthony.


From his distant lands
We return disfigured,
Legs refashioned


To defy gravity.


We let him spy us, that man Dali,
The obelisks of Giza upon us.


We let him take one look, that man
At our elephantine space caravan.


Across the nights
In search of holy water
We walked


We sought only to whisper
The secret thoughts
No power will utter


Until the stuttering
still of winter.


We carry the liquid elixir
Transformation is our name
No man follows us


Save him that came.


We travel to the plains
Of the stars
Reach out


Our trunks and spill galaxies.


We are the keepers of the way
Entrusted by Thoth
To make the journey


Across the crimson sands
Of your memory.


Across the changing lands
Of your many
Many lives.

*

SHE COMES TO ME


She comes to me
Beneath the leaves and dappled cobbles
Between the rusty broken crosses


She comes to me
When I am lost without possibilities
Can see only failure


She comes to remind me
I have only to ignore the darkness
Only to call her name.


She sets me free
From this Caribbean island prison
Chained to these galleons


Of the sea.


She comes to give me
The secret treasure of her skin
The ocean within


This pirate's telescope gaze.


She comes to make me
Different than I would be
At peace


With this path I tread.


She comes to me
Kuan Yin, Mary, Negro Madonna
She comes to me


When no hope can be.

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TWO POEMS by J. Kevin Wolfe

*

CRESCENT MOONS


(res(ent moons are for wishing, she told me


A new tiny rip in the sky letting
a just of light through is a (hance...for something


Day slips into her festive darkness...
Somewhere a ripe dream is sagging
and a gloved hope is rea(hing up
to plu(k

[Crescent Moons first appeared on the Web in Watchword #70 in July 1998]

*

THE TRAGEDY OF A ROSE


A death of indignity
set in the ominous scene
of fall
Even the slightest of breeze
will strip it naked, unwilling
Petals shed ungraceful
fall like ripped scraps of satin
Bare
reveals the tragic secret
of nothingness underneath
That the beauty
was just clothes

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ABOUT Mr JOYCE'S ULYSSES
~ A Realistic Review by Patrick Gasperini ~


When I opened Mr Joyce's book, would it be a blasphemy of an idea if I said that I thought, "Wish I'd bought a box of cigars?"...No, I wasn't so irreverent. When I opened Ulysses, I simply wondered who Mr Joyce wrote that book for; who, he thought, would be willing to tackle that massive web of words he had so skilfully woven. Usually the reading public can be split into three impermeable levels: common readers, fellow writers, and scholars and critics. Common readers are those who basically enjoy reading without any subterranean purpose. They enjoy the intricacy of the plot, the spiritual beauty of characters (both good and evil), the waves of feelings. Common readers read what is basically readable and enjoyable, and pay no attention to literary movements, verbal experiments or cultural trends. Honestly, I don't think Mr Joyce wrote for them: Ulysses would be only a cruel punishment. Can the common reader really enjoy Dignam's funeral? More sophisticated common-readers might well make a bold attempt, but I don't think they will endure more than one-tenth of Mr Joyce's novel.


Perhaps Mr Joyce only wrote for his fellow élite of writers. Only a professional writer can enjoy his labyrinthine concept of time or his far-fetched parallels to Homer or his ability to mix various narrative techniques without the slightest sense of guilt. Professional writers can either admire Ulysses as the perfect materialization of human genius or regard it as a literary freak. Let's think of Molly Bloom's final night ravings, is it a masterpiece or the travesty of literature? Mr Joyce seems to be in a cul-de-sac. He doesn't seem to be a new Mallarmé, worshipped and imitated. I don't see many disciples around him.


Most probably, without even knowing, Mr Joyce wrote for a limited bunch of scholars. Ulysses is a perfect lab creature, paradoxically put together to be dissected. If we start analysing the chapters, we find layers and layers of interesting tissues and matter to x-ray and minutely chop up. An endless process. Probably no-one will either read or try to imitate Molly's nightmarish thoughts, but WOW! hordes of critics and students will spend years ruminating over every single word concocted by her half-sleeping mind. When this millennium comes to an end, there will still be someone sitting in a grey library trying to extract sunbeams from Bloom's roaming through Dublin. Perhaps it is better to be chopped up in a morgue than forgotten.

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