Wednesday, June 8, 2016

3 poems


by mary c fogg

illustrations by jacqueline le mot





pictures

pictures on
walls - mostly

unnoticed,
once in a

great while, a
visitor

looks up and
suddenly

asks, who is
that? and the

host, wakened
from the day

says, oh that
is aunt so

and so, or
grandmother

so and so,
and then the

visitor,
satisfied

or not, nods
politely

or perhaps
remarks - how

solemn they
all looked back

then! - so long
long ago -

to be fixed
forever

in one pose
or to be

forgotten -
i know which

i would choose -
but then -






grandfather

grandfather
was said to

never smile,
except when

engaged in
slicing meat

or, briefly,
after he

swallowed his
food or drink

but in the
picture on

the wall of
aunt lucy’s

house, which we
visited

once a year
and which i

eagerly
looked forward

to, i thought
i saw just

the slightest
sign of, i

will not say
humor, but

a message
to the world

which i, too
send forth on

a daily
basis, that

i would be
most pleased to

smile, even
perhaps laugh

if only there
were something

to smile or
laugh about






grandmother

grandmother’s
picture, on

the wall at
aunt lucy’s

never failed
to draw a

response, from
those who had

never seen
it, and from

those, like me,
who saw it

once a year -
always the

same response -
undisguised

mirth, at the
forbidding

scowl of the
old woman,

exuding
right motives

and pure deeds
but drawing

only smiles -
forever



Sunday, June 5, 2016

the delivered


part one

by jennifer broughton

illustrated by konrad kraus






here you are, miss.”

“thank you. how much do i owe you?”

“oh, nothing, miss. mister devereux has an account with the company, to deliver all guests and all new governesses up here.”

all new governesses? amanda wondered. and the term “deliver” had a slightly sinister sound to her ears, but she did not suppose the cab driver meant anything by it.

amanda got out of the cab. she looked up the long driveway at the big dark house. there were no lights showing.


“i would take you closer to the house, miss, but mister devereux gets upset if we so much as nick the flower beds.”

“that’s all right,” amanda murmured. “i am sure i can manage.”

“you can see the house is dark. if you bang on the door someone will hear you. mrs watchworth, the housekeeper, is dead drunk half the time but if you just keep banging she will hear you.”

“thank you. you have been very helpful.”

the cab driver smiled. “it’s my job.”


as amanda had all her earthly belongings in one small bag which she carried, the driver did not have to get out to open the trunk for her. he turned the cab around and sped off back down the hill.

amanda wondered if she should have tipped him. he had not seemed annoyed, and in amanda’s experience, servants - or “service people” as they were supposed to be called now - let you know when they were displeased.

but amanda was a servant - or “service person” - herself now.

she walked up the long driveway. she did not notice any of the flower beds the cab driver had mentioned.


as she approached the house, she realized for the first time just how big it was.

it towered over her, blotting out the moon.

the oak door was wide enough for three people to enter side by side.

there was a brass knocker on it in the shape of the face some hideous leering god. bacchus? moloch?”

when amanda struck the door with it, the door opened at once .

the woman who opened it, whom amanda assumed was the housekeeper, glared at amanda with empty eyes like an alligator’s.


“is this - is this the devereux residence?” amanda asked timidly.

“of course it is the devereux residence,” the woman answered. “what else would it be?”

amanda did not answer the question, but blurted out “i am miss arbuthnot, the new governess.”

“of course you are miss arbuthnot, the new governess. who else would you be?”

amanda managed a smile. “may i come in?" she asked politely.

“no, stand out here all night with your thumb in your mouth. of course you can come in.” and the woman stood aside to indicate that amanda should enter.


the woman had not identified herself either by her name or title.

“you are mrs watchworth, i presume,” amanda said as they proceeded down the hall - the very dark hall.

“mrs watchworth! no, i am not mrs watchworth, what gave you that idea?”

“i am sorry, “ amanda stammered. “i - the cab driver said the was your name…”

“you mustn’t trust these rascally cab drivers. mrs watchworth is the housekeeper at broken ferns, on the other side of the hill.”


“well - i am sure it was an honest mistake on his part,” amanda laughed nervously.

“honest mistake! all these cab drivers are spivs and villains and white slaving scum! they lie for the sake of lying. was this cab driver a blackamoor?”

“excuse me?”

“was he a blackamoor? a colored fellow? a negro? or perhaps he was a lascar, or a chinee?”

they had almost reached the end of the end of the hall. a faint light showed beneath a door. but the housekeeper, or whoever she was, had stopped in her tracks and amanda stopped beside her.


“i don’t think he was any of those things,” amanda answered. “ he seemed - he seemed quite - “ amanda groped for words - “quite normal. in fact he was very polite - he was almost - almost a gentleman.”

“a gentleman! a gentleman indeed! did he try to sell you any drugs?”

“oh, no, nothing like that.”

“did he… intimate that perhaps he knew a better opportunity for you than being governess here at red chimneys? an opportunity that involved travel to foreign lands? hmmm? ”


amanda was bewildered by all this. “oh no, no, he … hardly spoke at all the whole ride, until we reached here.”

“hmph! well, look here, if anyone in the neighborhood tries to sell you any drugs, just remember that mister wood and myself have better dope than any of the riffraff about.”

and with this curious pronouncement, the woman reached for the door under which the light was shining.

“excuse me, but i didn’t catch your name,” amanda blurted out before the door opened.


“you didn’t catch my name? maybe because i didn’t throw it at you. my name is mrs biggs and i am the housekeeper here.” the woman stared at amanda with redoubled ferocity. “surely you did not think i was anything other than the housekeeper?”

“oh no, no, i knew that right away…”

mrs biggs flung open the door, and amanda followed her into it.

the room was lit only by a low fire, and by a single candle on the mantelpiece above it.


the room had one occupant, a tall, gray faced man seated comfortably in an armchair in front of the fire. amanda surmised right away that he was the butler, although seated in what was undoubtedly the master’s chair. this did not surprise amanda as she knew this was the way of the modern world, where jack is as good as his master.

“this is mister wood, the butler,” mrs biggs announced. “don’t trouble yourself to rise, mister wood. it is only the new governess.”

“i had no intention of rising, mrs biggs, thank you very much,” the butler intoned in an impressively deep voice. he stared rudely at amanda. “ugly little thing, isn’t she?’


mrs biggs sniffed. “not quite as ugly as the last one, though.”

“you don’t think so?’ mister wood replied. “a slightly healthier complexion, maybe. but look at that figure - like a telephone pole. no curves, but no real slenderness either.”

amanda did not know how to reply to this. should she ignore it - or should she try to be “feisty” or “spunky” as she knew was expected of a modern girl?

but before she could frame a reply the butler spoke.


“may i ask you a question, miss?”

“of course, sir.”

“do you like to have a good time?”

the housekeeper and the butler both laughed at amanda’s confusion.

“i hope, sir, “ amanda finally managed to say, “that i will give satisfaction -“

at the word “satisfaction” her two tormentors burst into fresh laughter.

“and that i will indeed have a good time,” amanda continued - “with the children.”


“the children?” asked mister wood. “what children? what are you talking about?’

“but, sir, i am engaged as a governess, am i not? perhaps there is only one child? i was not clear about that…”

suddenly the housekeeper shrieked - “she doesn’t know! ha, ha, ha!”

“no, she must not!” the butler brayed. “ha ha ha ha ha!”


(to be continued)



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