Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Someday -by Luke Schamer

Mom sat in the kitchen with her crossword puzzle, and Dad sat with me in the living room and answered my question. I was nine-years-old.
Dad enjoyed his brown corduroy recliner and television set. And he thoroughly enjoyed, Mom said, the flattened aluminum cans collecting in the big black garbage bag taped to his recliner’s reclining handle. I often considered crafting a superhero costume from Dad’s aluminum cans.
I sat cross legged on the floor with my head pressed against the side of Dad’s recliner and didn’t expect much conversation. The television usually replaced the missing words.
“How was work?” My voice competed with a sportscaster.
The sportscaster’s eyes followed the teleprompter, and with slight delay his mouth would spew forth words. “Today’s game was a great one for the Lions…”
The sportscaster’s voice trailed off and Dad raised a fresh aluminum can, pointing to the television screen. I interpreted this as, “Today was a great one for Dad.”
Dad’s days were “great” ones, “fantastic” ones. Sometimes they were “homeruns” or “touchdowns.” On rare occasion they were empty voiceover for the newest pesticide.
But that night, I peeked over the recliner’s armrest and poked Dad’s elbow. “Are you happy?”
The corduroy had swallowed Dad—practically eaten him alive. From the floor, he looked like a mountainous round belly and a tiny head. Holding back laughter, I pressed my tongue through gaps from missing teeth and waited for Dad’s answer.
His aluminum can went up and down with the lackadaisical movement of his belly. He waited on the right words to transfer through the cable wire and into our ears.
“You can be,” Dad said.
The sportscaster’s voice got real quiet, and I noticed Dad’s thumb lazily dabbing the volume button on his television remote.
Dad snapped his fingers in my ear. “It’s not like that.” He snapped a couple more times. “Not like that.” Dad brought the aluminum can to his lips, and the silver rim hovered in front of his nose for a couple seconds.
With his index finger, Dad traced the air conditioning emblem on his work jacket. “Gotta work for it,” he said. Dad waved his hand through the air and dropped it with a soft thump on the armrest. “You’ll get there,” he said, eyes fluttering shut. “Tomorrow, buddy.”
I grabbed the aluminum can from his clammy palm, preventing spillage onto potential superhero costume materials. Dad’s arm slumped into the crevice between his leg and the recliner’s cushion, sending the television remote into a frenzy as it randomly flipped through channels.
Standing in the kitchen, I watched the television’s flashing lights flicker against the white walls of our home’s narrow hallway, and waited for it to settle on a channel. 
Luke Schamer writes from Cincinnati, Ohio. He works as a university writing consultant, is an editor of Line by Line academic journal, and owns a music studio. Luke has writing published or forthcoming by Star 82 Review, Matchbook Literary Magazine, The Molotov Cocktail, and Maudlin House, among others. In addition, he is a produced screenwriter for two films: Before Flame (drama, 2016) and Fire, Rain, Wind, Snow, and Fire: A Story of a Prairie (documentary, 2016). For more information, please 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Vasoconstriction -by E.G. Cunningham

What trickle-down, tear-drop, upside pear
it’s been. How innumerable the goings,
how tightly interwoven, boredom:
the sledging-through & chest bludgeoning
of a year. Not that you’d been. Land moved
under our feet & we didn’t know
what to call it.
The opposite of this bounding is not liberation.
But when I’d gotten there,
to another part of the heart-globe—
that cannot be described in language,
can only be described through language—
I stopped.

Buckled under, under the bone saw
lub-dub such shifting induces. I promised
to come back. To talk to the house.
But obsessed about what America tastes like,
instead. That’s what I’m painting:
a kind of mental water-treading
that’s hard to let go of for fear of drowning.

Land shifting under feet
& that’s called water.
Cope has many definitions—
what are the motions needed
for swimming through it?


E.G. Cunningham's poems have appeared in Blackbox Manifold, Drunken Boat, Poetry London, SAND Journal, Propeller Magazine, and other journals. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is a PhD Candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Georgia in Athens. 


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Grasshopper Boy -by John L. Waters

When the summer was very young the late June grasshopper nymph had nothing but nubbins for wings.  The creature hopped amongst green tender shoots of calendulas and other delicate plants.  Its soft callow flesh was as green as the green leaves it lived on - and this was a mighty blessing which made the hopper beast almost invisible to hungry dino-birds.  

As much as Geppetto's pride and joy pine puppet Pinocchio wanted to become a real live boy, the grasshopper boy wanted to become a grasshopper.  He often was seen pulling along behind him a large wooden green grasshopper toy. It was a twenty-incher - a green toy with bright red wooden wheels.  The device had been purchased by his mother from The Children's Shop - located about two miles away - down on West De La Guerra Street about half a block west of State Street.  Right near Ralph Runkle's Shoe Shop.

This was the boy's one and only pull toy.  It was his own pride and joy!  And like Pinocchio, this boy was living in a make-believe fairy tale world.  A little like a diminutive Jurassic Park.  Away back in the year 1944.

Biology was everywhere here and the grasshopper boy was truly a roving biologist.  He wandered all around the yard - which covered approximately two-fifths of an acre.  The garden teemed with worms, butterflies, wasps, bees, ants, spiders, ladybugs, millipedes, centipedes, and other types of intrepid fliers and small creepy crawlies.  And the boy also explored all the plants and examined them lovingly each day.

A three foot thick hedge of Eugenia grew eight feet high around the garden's perimeter, and chicken-wire fencing kept out roaming stray dogs and lost children.  Although he was intimidated by strange dogs and unfamiliar children, the grasshopper boy felt perfectly secure inside of this deep green vault.  Rather like Green Mansions!  The seduction and the romance of Mother nature!  Without any timidity the boy explored every twig and leaf, bud, flower, and seed pod.  Stems and roots also intrigued him - the interlocking geometries of this tiny world.  He luxuriated on nests made of soft grass and small branches.

Everything was naturally happening all at once inside of the boy as well as outside of him.  Suddenly he looked above and saw the huge avocado tree's leaves vibrating in a cool breeze.  He ran fifty feet out of the shade and stood near the giant bamboo clump.  He then looked skyward into a brown-bottomed broken cumulus.  Cracks of blue let no rain fall.  A bold bird squawked at him from the Melaleuca shrub near the tall cement pillar that had the words "Las Rosas" carved near its top.  His Mother and his brother were inside the house.  For the time being, the grasshopper boy was content by himself in the mighty world, and because he was so intent on his special interest, he felt no negativity at all.  Although the night before the city of Bremen was bombed again and again, the boy was as happy as could be. (In the 1939-45 period the RAF dropped 12,831 long tons of bombs on Bremen.) 

 ©Copyright 2015 by John L. Waters.  All Rights Reserved. 


About John L. Waters

I worked as a professional free-lance lyricist in Hollywood from 1969 until 1977.  It was there I met the two composers with whom I wrote eight songs which were published. I became ill with an acute respiratory disorder. I left the Los Angeles area in 1977 and worked out my self-healing method.

Since January 2000 I've been attending Humboldt State University in the over-sixty program. I've been doing independent research.  I have a large number of letters, articles, poems, graphic designs, musical pieces, and songs.

To obtain more information, go to: 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Twins -by Barrett Warner

The hand without feeling 
resembles the hand that feels. 

Both have sixty or so small bones 
and five stocky fingers. 

These hands have been friends 
since either can remember. 

Now, the good hand feels for both. 

The bad hand waves, 
as if to agree with every word. 

One side holds forth, the other hopes 
that doors will open without knobs. 

This is how I go through life. 

Falling on a muddy trail last week, 
the bad hand broke the crash, cracking bones. 

In spite of its strange new shape— 

a valley cutting across my palm 
and two fingers refusing to buddy-up— 

it was entirely painless; the good hand 
never stopped singing, nor once offered 
to staunch the widening geranium of blood.

Barrett Warner is the author of Why Is It So Hard to Kill You? (Jane's Boy, 2015) and My Friend Ken Harvey (Publishing Genius, 2014). Among poets, he tends to refer to himself as an essayist and mentions Entropy Magazine and Chattahoochee Review. Among essayists, he tends to refer to himself as a short story writer, and mentions Salamander and Quarter after Eight. For his extreme nervous discomfort in his own true skin, and other reasons, family members would rather not sit next to him on airplanes. He blogs at