Splash of the Month Collection -- 1998
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December of the Month
A Boy Named Delbert Taught Me ChessBy: Lucille Younger
When I think of how naive we were back then, I cringe. A boy named Delbert taught me chess and Sunday's in the parlor of my living room, I'd watch as he removed--quite gingerly--the cardboard box that he had packaged neatly in a plastic bag and took each piece out, one by one, explaining what they did and why, with whom they would eventually spar and how in battle men would fall to save their queen protect their king. But, little did we know that we were sitting on the precipice of change. Consumed by challenges unfolded on the board, we played as all around us values toppled, cities burned a conflagration of the great divide. America The Beautiful had gone and shown its ugly side and cut itself in half, languishing in separateness, unequal and unworking parts, doomed to be divided further into fourths continuing the carving into eighths. The spirit of the country had become as checkered as the landscape of our Sunday afternoons. We took no notice, incubating in a bond that grew with every passing game. Each fallen pawn and vanquished king meant more to us than did a world outside beyond our grasp. To us, the board that we controlled was then the thing and not emerging dramas that left little yellow men decayed in distant forests green, slain by bigger men, our countrymen--white, black and brown--who did not seek to know their names and had no use for childish games like chess. We played in warmth as young minds fell like virgin pines on snow and children, torn apart while searching for a thing called "truth," sought comfort in the disconnected logic of a marijuana stick and in the mindless, vacant acts of groping flesh in open fields while pleading with the wind to "kill the pigs!" Delbert's field, a sculptured battleground of stone, was strewn with wooden dead, non-descript and blunt soldiers bland and featureless as he. Deep thought had not begun to shape his brow. At 14 he, and I a precious year behind, explored the caverns of our minds to grabble tasks that loomed before us: Retreat the rook. Advance the pawn. One cleverly positioned knight to us was worth a thousand lives and as we schemed and giggled "castle," thinking we had won, great men died. With every "check!" we bellowed, reason disappeared outside. Each "mate!" was marked with thuds as lesser men were slaughtered and their weary women cried. Sorrow could not penetrate the cast iron linings of our youthful souls. We weren't obliged to venture thought beyond the insulation of our sturdy neighborhood. Uneven times were righted as we played with blinders evenly applied. Yes, the knowledge of our game increased, but knowing of ourselves and life lagged far behind. As we pursued the mysteries of wooden kings, their rigid queens but not ourselves, we failed to see the glow receding from our cheeks, did not detect the sparks that sputtered in our eyes or note the jolt of 1963 felt round the world: America's demise. It lost its innocence while I naively clung to mine and to a boy name Delbert and his board, now ghosts of time.
Copyright © 1998 Lucille Younger
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November of the Month
Ballad of The Liberated WomanBy: Diane Engle
Deep in the gloom of the cavepeople's hall (In prehistory times that were no fun at all Except for the caveman who lorded it there And dragged his cavemate about by the hair) The female cooked dinosaur over hot fires And scrubbed down the rocks with her angry tears And she growled at her caveman, but she drudged away While he strutted and flexed, and hunted prey. Til she to her man cried, "No more! No more!" Then joined a committee and showed him the door. Now back in the days of the chastity belt Under threat of barbarian Mongol and Celt The wife was a chattel, she'd better not doubt it: Her lord was of no mind to function without it. Things had got better, that is for sure, But this was a damned odd way to stay pure. She still scrubbed and cleaned, her work never done, While sundown to sunup didn't show her much fun. There was much to complain of most bitterly But the thing most rankled was that lock and key. So she to her man cried, "No more! No more!" Then joined a committee and showed him the door. Unnoticed, she moves on through history-- Yes, that's the demure little wife you see Still scrubbing and cleaning, but with nary a care And plenty of time to frizzle her hair. She primps and she preens and she rearranges In the wake of humanitarian changes While he takes care of affairs of state And comes home to grouse if his dinner's late. Til she to her man cries "No more! No more!" Then joins a committee and shows him the door. Leaving history behind she now carries her weight In every decision affecting her fate. She doctors and lawyers and sits in the senate And smugly smiles at the soreheads aginit. Then when her horrendous day is done She comes home and scrubs her own house down and tends to the children and feeds her man And puzzles the glitch in this long-term plan That worked so well by crying, "No more!" And joining committees and slamming the door.
Copyright © 1998 Diane Engle
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October of the Month
LemonsBy: Joy Reid
I don't have a cleavage. If I stuff my boobs in a push-up bra all I achieve is a rising dough effect. My breasts have veined with time. Shy tendrils have eased across my flesh and gravity has created a bean bag consequence. I remember reading of a young girl's breasts, the writer (a male) likened them to lemons, the kind (I guess) with teated ends. No doubt he saw them thrusting, impatient with poking nipples permanently erect. All I saw was thick rinded yellow while my wry mouth filled with a bitter after taste.
Copyright © 1998 Joy Reid
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September of the Month
Between Two PoetsBy: Claire A. Amundsen Schaeffer
I stand. Ginsberg a little LSD and coffee cigarettes electronic crackling on Kerouac hip and drunk in his own irreverence And the K-Mart Victorian: solid temperance unit of every reading feather-duster of Poetry's pedestal in long black swoops of polyester and a molded cameo... Dickinson in mourning, never writing poetry to her asshole. I stand. Two hands and a flashlight searching for my voice. I stand.
Copyright © 1996 Claire A. Amundsen Schaeffer
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August of the Month
Your LoveBy: Bjorn ThomsonYour love Is a rock under my tongue. A grindstone Powdering the dumb organ Above it. A sandstone - The tongue blind, curious, Carves a mermaid from it. Your love Is a fruit fly, Tiny, delicate, short-lived. Your love Like our ancient radiator Obeys rhythms Unknown to me.
Copyright © 1998 Bjorn Thomson
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July of the Month
UntitledBy: Diana Bispoviolet petals push through ice melting sharp and course on patches of new green, the sun squeezes and bruises, seeping purple and blue tinged yellow into a retreating sky, a cloak of stars trailing. And I lay under soft coverlet and wonder if I, too, will turn a shade or two of purple blue and blackened rose from pushing out this life I carry. The fists you clench and draw beneath a chin held tight and chiseled signal fear, impending moods of wandering blue, shaking loose the string that holds up us. Remain, you must, another hour, see what all this bearing down may offer. Read patience etched across this beloved face. I can wait out the day for perfection, a cresting crown bloodied by the womb, the page I write on each day now lavender in dusk.
Copyright © 1998 Diana Bispo
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June of the Month
SimulacrumBy: Scott D. Weingarthe was a golem, molded by her hands of iron and unspoken birthday wishes She was a tree, termite ridden and hollow Fill me with ancient secrets and solstice dreams, she begged her creation But the creature was a tomb grave robbers long since gone With features a scribbled mask of crayola smiles and coal eyes His heart a clock whose key she had lost When she professed her love the response, an Echo So she lashed out with rocks and staves And pulled off my mask and in the inky void thus revealed was only her reflection
Copyright © 1998 Scott D. Weingart
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May of the Month
FallibleBy: Carl Jackson
Let the running water be, grow its wings, as it breaks the silver, as it sings. The phantom inside on wavering air, unfold break free, metallic-bright soars up there. Near death fatality the proud wings fold, compelled to return now - contorted face, still bold. Absorbed in self-pity, congealed by own deceit. Include me within your earth, water, the cold retreat. Wintery eyes beckon, ice-burnt fingers call, plucking us from innocence mere slaves after all.
Copyright © 1998 Carl Jackson
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Personal Poetry Page Link: Carl's Page of Prose
April of the Month
The Backsberg Cellars...By: Neil Gillespie
A cool dark place bathed in peace amongst aged oak barrels from another time the hallowed atmosphere melted tense knots and stress leaked out of my urban mind.
Copyright © 1997 Neil Gillespie
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March of the Month
DebutBy: Vincent E. Baca
I wait patiently at the register Watch the geometric curls bounce As she seems to glide from the auto to the inside Full of vibrance, vague vibrance teeth gleam-cynical smile sarcastic eyes tiny promises-grand truths She leaves This time not the curls But her ass with each proud step Desolate Wipe dried mustard from shabby counter Wait. Next visit.
Copyright © 1997 Vincent E. Baca
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February of the Month
Oxygen TentBy: Diane Engle
The last time I see you I am five and you are thirty-seven, intent on flight. It is the first time I face death; that hardly matters. It's you under the artificial hissing of air your smile not real the words you mouth across the sterile deathroom silent as whispers under crossbones, but I hear them. I know. I know wherever you are going I cannot Mother hold my hand, take one last look at father It is I, not you who will say fifty years hence why the tent's breath swallowed Armageddon powerless to keep that god-hurt heart pumping
Copyright © 1995 Diane Engle
Originally appeared in Envoi
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January of the Month
The Day Reality Asked Dreams For a DanceBy: J. Kevin Wolfe
On the day Reality asked Dreams for a dance. But Dreams declined. "You are often crude and would step on my hopeful feet." Reality straightened his tie with the fate prints. "You never take a chance. This joyous dancefloor awaits us. Would you let a few sore toes get in the way of becoming yourself?" Dreams folded her arms. "Today yes. Tomorrow maybe" Reality snickered "You always talk of tomorrow like he'll walk in the door, kiss your hand, and spin you endlessly." Dreams turned her eyes. "He will. For I am a passionate kiss. And you Reality, you are but a cold fish handshake." Reality stretched his neck in the stiff ivory collar. "Then I shall dance with Yesterday." Dreams looked Reality straight in the eye "Yesterday knows only one dance." Reality tugged his cufflinks "But she knows it well. And once again you'll just sit here and watch. Guzzling up all the punch of Life." "Sipping," murmured Dreams, casually looking away, "slowly sipping".
Copyright © 1997 J. Kevin Wolfe
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