Greetings from...the Road to Nowhere

Greetings from...the Road to Nowhere

Monday, November 1, 2010


by Ana Vidal-Guardia

In my absence
white powder owned the hours
and the minutes were given away free
attached to rented bodies,
ephemeral divine power
exhorted in some filthy hotel room.

The sweaty sheets
begged for laundry treatment,
while the bodies,
choleric trapezes oblivious to mercy,
performed night after night
balancing synthetic life
inside dehydrated fish bowl spaces.

On the long black nights
I waited for you
sewn to the kitchen table.

And anger replaced sadness.
And I wished death would plunge
inside your adulterous bones,
for no diamond
will ever sweeten

the bitterness of your sinful lips,
the same ones you will use
to kiss our children
when tucking them in bed,
the sheets smelling all so fresh


by Alan Britt
That’s the funny thing about heart disease;
no matter what, it always reserves season tickets
to the local symphony,
Beethoven’s String Quartet in Hellish Existence,
or even his Eroica, sans Bonaparte. 
Imagine Beethoven on his deathbed 
celebrating life,
remembering stories
about black rains
Venetian canals 
and mildewing the cobblestones 
of 17th Century Vermeer townhouses;
or, perhaps, you’d prefer, instead, the movie star type
that Dion DiMucci sang about.
Hell, you might even dream
about a superficial solution to all the world’s problems.
The fact is,
the perennial court jester,
a la Hamlet,
held his own
for quite awhile,
until a CEO discovered him
wiling away his time
in a boxcar
bound for glory 
filled with 50-millimeter new-age cannons.
I believe that love is still, however, willing
to climb the lattice
of windy eyelashes,
instead of using
a glass elevator;
it’s merely what
our god-forsaken culture 
requires of silly humans. 
But who am I to question
Darwin’s heroes of the Industrial Revolution?
What’s that you’re hiding
inside the worsted wool pockets of your soul?
A second ago,
I saw you!
Sometimes, standing here in Ophelia’s moonlit grave,
waving my wooden sword through ironic lamplight, 
I hope I’ll be around long enough 
to kiss your crumbling headstone.

The Banshee

by Sheldon Lee Compton

At night he drinks pints of black and throws spit from the mountaintop, cupping his hands at his mouth, the old dirt of the ridgeline pinched beneath his fingernails. Hours spent digging for ginseng.

The ridge is his property line, is the edge of his world. The family pushed him off the porch years ago, boot-toed him across the yard until he could stand and make his way into the hills.

When he speaks, the words leave him as spring rain leaves the clouds in sunlight.

And when he speaks it is with words tied by strands of wind. He says mostly these words in this way – love, hurt, mother, father, babies, mine, marriages, children, babies, woman, mine, women, hurt, alone, nothing, mother, father. The words weave into one another and in the end they become a single wail across the valley.

To the knuckles he pushes his fingers into the overgrowth at the base of the cliffs. The roots are there. He pushes into the old earth with his muscles, the bones of his arms and shoulders, tearing away the bloodline of the plant.

It's how he gets to sleep before daybreak, tiring himself out before the stirring moon has a chance to remind him again of all he has lost.

And when he remembers, it is the throwing up again of sunlight words in the darkness.

The Bottom

by Abigale Louise LeCavalier

The strain of sobriety,
the glossy look
in my eyes;

And the plastic
feels like glass.

As I wash down
a few hours of sunshine.

Taking slow, deep, breaths.

the bottom
drops out.

Your Departure Left Me in Pain

by El Habib Louai

Sometimes there were cries
I hear somewhere long before
They arrive to my open door
On a lonely long empty road
Cries from a distant void
I hear them as they echoed
In the bushes of my dreams
Dreams I dreamed in empty
Curves of a labyrinthine well
Other cries of people I knew
Met them high before they vanished
I saw souls of members dismembered
And I cried alone as you left me
Your face I saw between two wings
It smiled to me before it faded
Will you ever come to me again?
A question formed on a sand grain
Your departure left me in pain
And I wish I could be then
As you wanted me so near
Melancholic, I sit wherever I dare
I count little moments and flick away flies
As time mercilessly in phosphoric bubbles flies
Sister moon comes to journey the night
Again alone just as it did, unceasingly
To somewhere I will never see
Will you be there for me?
Among those weary travelers
Formed in brown scattered clouds
Tinged by curving caravans of dreams
Borrowed from unfinished Arabian nights
Will you be there for me?
To leave fresh parting kisses
On my scorched sweet lips
I beg you as I perpetually did
To have mercy on me
My brown-eyed lady
The only one who walks really
In such never-withering beauty


by jkdavies

You have knocked the life out of me,
I shovel dead things into my mouth
but I only taste the fermented stuff.
Honesty looks good on me, but on you?
I didn't need to know how easily
you put me out of your mind.
You made me feel alive and I hate
to think how long ago that was now,
I want to quicken myself but it does not come,
I can not come, it is an exercise in friction and
though the flesh is willing the mind is freaked.
Reject, side dish, bit of fun, reject,
slut, tease, reject; words bicycle in my head.
Dead mould, mushrooms for tea.
Yes, on the side, by the pallid fish flesh. I will
shrivel up in the non-weight of your disregard.
This time, can I make the silence stick?
Can I pour in enough alcohol to make
me tongue tied and not voluble?
Bitter exudations, oozing failure, and
in the morning, sweet rancid sweat.
Success and failure both are counted
by apathy, not talking to you.
Your life goes on, maybe to her you will
seem a little distracted, maybe?
Maybe not even that, after all, she didn't
even notice when you went to her,
rubbed raw from our exertions.
I try another tentative rub, but no,
rejected by my own flesh. To drink
to sleep; to sleep perchance to weep.
You have knocked the life out of me,
and now half digested dead things
come back out of my mouth.

Of Wilderness and Philosophy

by Rebecca Gaffron

If I wait in the rain and you don’t show, does it mean something? And would the meaning change if the evening weren’t so wet. Or cold. Or green. My wilderness is green. But I have always longed for rugged, stony greys. It’s human nature to covet that which we are not. To crave poison in the form of delightful dissimilarity. And so I’ve been drawn up steep granite slopes. I’ve felt the wind lift my feet from razor backed fells where I believed I’d found myself, even as golden curls whipped my eyes, casting them downward, back to the patchwork of verdant emerald and olive and jade. Back to geographies more akin to my own. Or yours.

If I wait and you don’t show, is it because you’ve chosen to be a lone wolf? That is an anomaly. Wolves are pack animals. But you are not. Not a pack animal. Not a lone-wolf. This is clear, at least to me. You speak of wilderness. Of pines that spire like church steeples into starlit skies. Of rivers rushing, coursing, bursting in abandon before turning still and soft. Of quiet unspoiled by human chaos. You seek these out in small doses. Not allowing yourself to stay over-long. Avoiding too much stillness, afraid it might keep you. Or deliver the message you’ve been seeking. Something about finally allowing the wound to heal. Something about strengths found in vulnerability.

And if I wait by not waiting, will it change things? If I escape the lonely rain and cloudy shadows by settling into the warm glow of some social wilderness, surrounded by cheerful noise, might I find clarity? Or faith. Enough that when the phone vibrates in my pocket, I will know without hearing that it’s you. You, whispering the delicious promise of intentions-kept in my ear before appearing at my side. Then we will examine our philosophies. We will seek hidden meaning in IPAs and old Bluegrass songs. You will decry false rhetoric, calling out for more joy. More romance. More beer. While I argue the metaphysical merits of jokes unfit for mixed company.

If I wait and find you walking me out, away from the safely of the purely theoretical, will your wilderness envelope mine? There, in the wet and cold, where our greens still pulse under oily black darkness, will I convince myself that us is not something I’ve longed for? Will I see my hopes and fears reflected in your eyes? What if the pull is too great? What if we fall and in the descent lose ourselves, like pebbles dropped in a bottomless cave, plunging on and on forever, into nothing?


by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal


Where the book of hallucinations
begins, a shadow turns the pages
and another shadow highlights
the words. Rocks have voices and
the sun is cool. The shadows fill
with sadness when the book is
closed. There is a secret poem in
the book of hallucinations. A
heart beats for a moment and each
shadow could hear it. They don’t
know what a heart is. They don’t
know for what purpose this heart
beats. How could a shadow know?
The book of hallucinations is not
for the faint of heart. There is no
form in each poem. The rocks who
speak give way to muteness. Their
hardness dissolves to dust and
the grass in the book of hallucinations
calls out to each reader. It calls out
to each shadow, who have trouble
understanding it. The book of
hallucinations puzzles each shadow
and the secret poem begins to beat
suddenly. It is a dazzling poem,
which makes one’s eyes water.
Suddenly, the book of hallucinations
quotes from the Book of Revelation.


Blue birds recite verses from the book
of hallucinations. The blue birds sing
and swoop in the celestial skies. All
through the day the blues birds sing
off key. The book of hallucinations
devours the blue birds. The verses
are highlighted blue by the shadow
who turns the pages. The other shadow
could not remember what color it
always highlighted the book of
hallucinations. Without memory
the shadow which highlighted the book
of hallucinations gave way to serenity.
Both of the shadows felt the beauty
all around. They started to measure
each drop of beauty in the world.
The cool sun dropped rays of light
throughout the morning. The light
rays navigated through each page of
the book of hallucinations and the
blue verses were wiped clean. The
shadow which turned the pages did what
it always did. It left the highlighting to
the shadow which highlighted the pages.
There were fragments of blue wings
throughout the book of hallucinations.
The shadow which turned the pages and
the shadow which highlighted the book
of hallucinations could not remember in
what part of the book the secret poem
was hidden. The blue birds walked from
page to page, through each verse, looking
for a love that flight could not reach.
Waves of blue birds walked on. The cool
sun set their hearts aflame and tore
each of their wings from their bodies.
The secret poem gorged on the blue birds.


In the book of hallucinations there was a
shadow which desperately sought a new
body. The shadow read every single
word in the book of hallucinations hoping
there was some kind of clue there, a place
where it could live in harmony. There was
a shadow which had similar ideas, only
it was not as desperate. It would highlight
every other word in the book of hallucinations.
This shadow was looking for a body with
a pink head. It would highlight every
word from pink to red to white. The shadow
which turned the pages observed the other
shadow and feel a certain uneasiness. In
the book of hallucinations there was no
guaranteed harmony. Each shadow kept its
hopes and dreams alive as best they could.


Words would dissolve without warning in
the book of hallucinations. Sometimes
blood would spurt out of certain pages from
time to time. The cool sun would release rays
of light and wipe the blood off. The cool sun
was always around in the morning and in
the afternoon. By the time evening settled in,
the cool sun would be gone. It would always
return the next day. Inside the book of
hallucinations, there was an old heart which
would beat on and on. The old heart would
beat faintly. The cool sun behind the moon
would drop rays of light toward the old heart.
It would go silent. The old heart did not like
being silenced. It would start beating louder
and louder the moment the cool sun was
not around to silence it with its rays of light.


The rocks in the waves would speak, but no one
understood what they said. One particular
rock in the book of hallucinations could throw its
voice. It could sing like a blue bird. This rock
had great range, but only for a few hours. In
the book of hallucinations, there was a shadow
which turned its pages. It did not understand
what each poem said. However, the shadow would
recite each word. There was another shadow which
highlighted every other word. It would never
recite each word. In the book of hallucinations
the shadow which turned the pages had a pronounced
stutter, which was dreadful. Fortunately,
the shadow lost the stutter and eventually its voice.