Thursday, May 19, 2016

the party


by horace p sternwall

illuatrated by konrad kraus






your friends are at the party, the ones you’ve known for years
they’ve shared your joys and triumphs, laughter and tears
they see you coming, and turn on the charm
and welcome you with open mouths and clutching arms

there’s plenty of potato chips, and plenty of booze
and they can’t wait to tell you the news
who fell out with who, and who fell down the stairs
and who in sad circumstances was caught unawares

the fox is in the henhouse, the train has left the station
life is a chronicle of degradation
and though the shocking chronicle never ends
it’s all right, because we are all friends

outside the wind begins to howl, the rain begins to patter
and everything you hear starts to not matter
there’s nothing left to say, and who wants to think?
you happily accept another drink

you look up and the party’s almost done
everybody has had enough fun
you notice time has left its nasty traces
on all the old familiar faces

who are these people anyway, and who are you?
they are your companions, tried and true
your shoulders sag, your shoes begin to scrape
and all you want is to escape

outside you are welcomed by the wind and rain
it’s over - until duty calls again
safe inside your clothes you are nice and warm
out of the fog appears a shuffling form

she wheels her vehicle along
mumbling a sort of little song
the cart is filled with plastic bags
and adorned with little american flags

how fortunate you are
to have your locked upholstered car
you have your i d, safe and dry
and can look authority in the eye

you have your friends, your registered name
your knowledge of how to play the game
no use to cry, no use to moan
and yet like her - you are alone



Monday, April 18, 2016

carnivore


by horace p sternwall

illuatrated by eddie el greco






call me a carnivore, call me a bum
but everything is yum yum yum
my shoes are scuffed and my suit is not neat
but everybody needs something to eat

as earthly creatures walk through dust
and to survive do what they must
to get the energy to move their feet
some are eaten that others may eat

oh how my senses quicken
at the thought of deep fried chicken
and how my soul doth quake
at the dream of a thick steak

o vegetarians so solemn
i just take’em as i swallow’em
and prelapsarians so stern
please let me take my turn

with philosophers and fools
at the banquet of molecules
some called living, and some not
some ice cold, some piping hot

i shove them down my throat
with a half-remembered quote
from a suave gourmet who stated
that all to be devoured are fated

the universe is one big mouth
draining its glass from north to south
chewing itself from east to west
without rest

so let the hot sauce burn
for some day your own turn
at the celestial barbecue
will come due




Thursday, April 14, 2016

my mom


by anonymous

illustrations by eddie el greco





i always thought my mom was a nice person.

there were basically two reasons - one, that she never beat me even though i was a total asshole of a kid.

and two, she had a couple of cats and a dog and she always fed them and treated them right.

but recently, i was talking to a woman that my mom worked with at a supermarket for a long time and she told me a couple of things that made me wonder if i was wrong.


the first thing , she said my mom lent her a book once that she never gave back and that my mom told her was the greatest book she ever read.

the book was the fountainhead by ayn rand!

and this woman also told me that my mom's favorite book as a kid was - little black sambo!

i thought it was kind of strange that my mom never mentioned these books to me, but why would the woman lie?


also my mom and i never talked much except for her telling me how stupid and full of shit i was, though as i say i was pretty hard to take and she never beat me.

here i was starting to think maybe i was in the wrong with her but maybe she was just as much in the wrong or more, you know?

anyway, it just goes to show you never really know about people.

*



Monday, March 14, 2016

not bad


by wiggly jones, "the little hippie boy"




i am not a bad person
at least i try not to be
i want all children to be happy
and all people to be free


i wish people would be nice forever
and not just on occasion
i wish the trains would run on time
and always wait at the station


i wish there were no countries
no nations, cults, or tribes
no bureaucrats collecting taxes
or officials looking for bribes


i wish there were no religions
or competing ideologies
and everybody would be polite
and say after you, thank you, and please


i wish there were no armies
navies, drones, or pentagons
i wish we could watch the sunrise
and all just get along






Thursday, February 4, 2016

the ballad of the moogle and the dink


by horace p sternwall

illustrations by roy dismas and konrad kraus






i don’t know if you have noticed, said the moogle to the dink
but we have been too long without a drink
my friend, you are right, the dink replied
let us remedy that situation, before our souls are tried

and so they entered the first bar that they approached
and there they found a rabbi, a nun, and a football coach
the rabbi was weeping into his beer so foamy
and the nun was saying, sir, you don’t even know me

the football coach was singing a happy song
and the bartender was trying to hum along
cheer - some good, some not so good - was spread
when suddenly the bartender dropped dead

good heavens cried the moogle, as he sat upon his stool
they never taught us about such things in school
i hope the poor fellow was properly insured
and that a long wait for our drinks we must not endure

this place is cursed, the dink replied, alas
there seems to be no one to fill our glass
and this poor fellow seems to have no friends
to mourn his most untimely end

not so, the football coach suddenly asserted
no, not at all, the rabbi weepingly blurted
he was the finest of men, the nun assented
and yet his earthly form was only rented

if the pope were here - he left only minutes ago
all the proper prayers he would surely know
but we can only meditate on fate
and hope for our next drinks we have not long to wait

these meditations of the assembled drunks
were interrupted by a gang of punks
and hoodlums with an agenda of their own
who proceeded to make the place their home

the bartender’s corpse was quickly tossed aside
no barbaric impulse was left unsatisfied
the coach, the nun, the rabbi, and the dink
watched helplessly and knew not what to think

the moogle shook his head and softly sighed
this, my friends, is the end of earthly pride
all is mirrors, all is smoke
and no one ever got to tell a joke



Monday, January 18, 2016

the four friends


by fan taser

illustrations by konrad kraus





aaron, bethany, chad, and damon were friends.

aaron, chad, and damon were guys, and bethany was a girl.

they often met in the evening at eddie’s pizza house.

when eddie’s pizza went out of business they started meeting at the cafeteria at the art museum.

they were vegetarians, and did not smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs.

aaron and chad drank tea, but bethany and damon preferred coffee.

aaron, chad, and damon all had their first sexual experiences with bethany, and for this they were always grateful.

aaron’s ambition was to develop a new universal blueprint for human society, one that could be used in any environment and on any planet in any galaxy.

bethany aspired to be a poet. her particular ambition was to be translated into more languages than other poet, living or dead.

chad wanted to establish a new, benevolent world empire, with himself as emperor. or, if that did not prove feasible, to at least be the richest person on the planet.

damon wanted to write, direct, and star in his own movies, which would be watched in every home on earth.

one day they were hanging out at the cafeteria in the art museum and damon remarked that bethany’s ambition to be a poet was a reflection of her smaller female brain.

bethany was deeply insulted, and aaron and chad were also shocked at damon’s retrograde opinion and quickly came to bethany’s defense.

damon professed to be surprised at their reaction, and excused himself to go to the rest room.

when he returned everything seemed to be forgotten, but the damage had been done.

a few days later the four friends met at a starbucks. the starbucks was next to a cinema complex where they planned to see the latest woody allen movie.

that were placidly sipping their beverages when a woman walked by who recognized bethany. her name was elissa and she and bethany had been at graduate school together.

bethany introduced aaron, chad, and damon to elissa.

“wow!” elissa exclaimed. “not one, not two, but three boy friends! you were the last person in the world i would have expected to turn out such a big slut!”

elissa meant her remark humorously and aaron, chad, and damon found it amusing, but bethany did not.

these two events coming close together - being told she had a small brain and was a big slut - both by people she considered friends - strangely affected bethany.

after that things were never the same, and the four friends began to drift apart.

aaron was accepted into a management training program by a management consulting company.

he met a girl named francine who was a hockey fan and he became a hockey fan too.

eventually aaron and francine married and had three children, a girl and twin boys.

bethany got a job as a hostess at applebee’s.

she continued to write poetry, but had little success getting any of it published.

chad, who had been the most frugal of the four, invested all the money he had saved in setting up his own consulting company.

he quickly went bankrupt and moved back in with his parents.

chad’s mother introduced him to glenna, a lawyer ten years older than himself who was divorced with two children - a girl who had been adopted from mali, and a boy with developmental disabilities.

chad married glenna and became a full time house husband.

of the four friends, damon was the most successful. he inherited his father’s textile importing business, which had been doing poorly, and turned it around. he was the only one of the four to ever reach a seven figure income.

aaron and chad kept in touch, and both occasionally heard from damon, but bethany disappeared.

chad had a heart attack and died. glenna invited aaron and damon to the funeral, and attempted to contact bethany but could not.

aaron and damon chatted after chad’s funeral.

“do you ever think about the old times we had together?” aaron asked.

damon almost said, “are you shitting me? why would i?”

but instead he said, “yes, we had some great times together.”

***