‘Today Walking’ by Wyatt Martin

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photo by Wyatt Martin

I can be lonely for long periods of time
I can walk into a building have it all change on a dime

There is a river flooding, running through my mind
My heart skipped a few beats up to a very steep incline

There’s a movie playing, certain scenes are on rewind
You show me yours I’ll show you mine all in time

We will leave it up to chance, at least it will be kind
We would cash out in advance, but we don’t wanna wait in line

To you I’m walking out of a dream To me your saving time
Today well go out walking, cuz we both got an axe to grind

But mine will be too broken, too broken to be fixed
You will be outspoken, outstretched into a fist

Of course I will not listen, I don’t even possess a wish
You will tell me the answer and I will simply process a glitch

Then you will turn off as if your god had flipped a switch
you better just burn off all this dreamin’ to a mist

‘Heel’ by Trace Fleeman Garcia

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Hard leather moccasins pressed into the powder, and the slender, serpentine form of a white-faced canine weaved in and out of the hunter’s path, following a trail that led through the underbrush and into the virgin forest that stood domineering over snow. The trail was the thick, wide, overbearing scent of game that burned the hound’s nostrils — and the smell was familiar to him. Familiar, yet with an unmistakable mask of wild fierceness — the strong, untame odor that could only be of wolves.

The hunter struggled to follow with the agile, brown-speckled dog on flat ground — let alone on the eastern slopes that led deep into the heart of a harsh valley. And so he lost control of his hound — and no amount of shrill whistling managed to call the dog back to his master.

In those days, a hunting dog was property. Valuable property, at that — a hunter’s livelihood hinged on a strong, well-bred pedigree, and the village relied on the hunter for sustenance, especially in the biting winter when the herds thinned, and the fearsome nations in the far-south waged their wars over precious stones like jade and nephrite, and could not trade their grain to the northern nomads that roamed an untilled earth and followed elk and antelope across frozen icescapes. And so it followed in a sort of cruel irony, that the hunter now tracked his own — through a frigid gorge, no less.

The sun was just beginning to sink below the ice-peaked mountains in the west, and the tangerine sunlight cut through the gaps in the evergreens, and illuminated the facing incline in a golden shimmer that contrasted sharply with the hard-white snow.

The ambience was one of silence, eerily quiet, only the soft crying of blackbirds in the treetops. But now, as dusk fell, the bird’s songs trailed off, and yet still, he could not hear the soft sound of padded feet packing snow, nor the high-pitched bark reverberating on the walls of the ravine. Only in the distance could he hear the droning of howls, and the chaotic snarls of a hunting pack.

It was unlikely, the hunter thought, that the wolves would move past slopes of the valley, because his people had encampments along the perimeter of it, and he knew the wolves feared his people. So he kept trudging deeper into the wilderness, tracing the path of an ancient river that carved gap millennia before humans had ever set foot in that territory. But the wolves — the wolves had been there, and their ancestors drank the cool water at the banks of the stream, and stalked the megafauna in the woods, without fear of the strange, naked, bipedal animals that chased them with stone-tipped spears, and trapped them with leaf-covered pits, and wore their skins and carved their bones. In that age they roamed wildly, and their packs roamed freely, and the elk and the lynx and the muskrat were plentiful. But in generations-past, Man came, with his traitorous bastard-wolf, and encroached on their territory and hunted until the elk left and the lone, packless coyote came.

And now there was a lone hunter, deep in foreign dominion, without his bastard, and the wolves watched him cautiously from the ridge, obscured by the thick forest that filled the valley. It was not unlike humans to use tactics like this to lure the pack into a corner they could not back out of, and they would be killed, their den raided, and their pups murdered. But sometimes, when the moon was but a thin, grey sliver and the night was inky black, they could manage to fell one of the strange beasts, and the hunt would halt, and the old men would sings songs and spread herbs over the corpse.

The hunter did not notice that the howling had stopped.

As he continued his journey, he felt his legs and arms grow heavy with fatigue, and his breath get slower and heavier, and he pulled his pelt closer to his body. It was night now, and he was without the warm communal fires of his tribe’s camp, and the frozen air nipped at him through his raw leather tunic. Yet still he he marched through the soft snow, until he reached the mouth of a huge clearing, and could march no more.

And as he collapsed onto his knees, the wolves descended into the clearing, and grouped together along the edge and in the shadows. Only their eyes could be seen as they reflected what little moonlight pierced through the clouds.

And then, a familiar form stepped away from the pack. White-faced, with a brown-speckled coat that covered the back of the slender creature. Now he growled at him, his ears back, his head low. The fur stood straight behind his neck, and the flesh around his snout bunched up, and he presented his long pale teeth.

Trace Fleeman Garcia is a performance poet, writer, and community organizer from Tulare, California.

‘O Absence’ & ‘Daywalker’ by Wyatt Martin

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b/w 35mm – photo by Wyatt Martin

O Absence

there is a song to sing in cigarette smoke.
I drink wine and muse with friends like a mannequin,
dressed in ammunition,
chasing the morning sun
with tracer rounds

send me a gunshot away from here
and with 200 discharges send shivers
down the spines of these Green mountains.

dig a cut I can crawl into.
waking up on ice with less organs
in a rat-house coffin covered in fish scale mirrors,
all so as to love in excess, and to stray as close
to death as possible.

they’re breaking in and I’m losing
weight down the drain like a sting Op.
drunken dollars in the juke, misplacing
my xanax, cheating, or sinking
In what I ought to be
taking lightly.

Daywalker

It’s been so long since I laid my head down
Carry me carry me carry me all the way down the stairs now
Bury me bury me bury me in your bed it sounds like
She says she says you are stayin’ overnight tonight

She says goodmorning likes it’s all part of the play
But it starts with good evening (last night) how was your day
Then she pulls out a left hook left me with nothing to say
She said you’re sleeping in my bed tonight I won’t have it no other way

And so pass the months
And so go the days

I’m wondering why I don’t see you in daytime as
I spend my days as we walk our separate ways

I’m wondering why I don’t see you in daytime as
I spend my days as we walk our separate ways

Three Stories by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

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The Failure of Velcro

1.

I remember where I was the moment all the world’s Velcro simultaneously failed. We were in a hotel on the beach at Fort Lauderdale, Florida. My wife was drawing a picture of a monkey eating a banana, a common sight in her home country. At first I was not aware of the magnitude of what had happened. No one was.

2.

As I was leaving the quarry, my rear axl broke (it was not an axle—if it had been an axle, it might not have broken. At that time, I was not aware of the difference between an axl and an axle. A lot of people are ignorant of that difference, even most mechanics).

I was wondering if something like that might happen. I’d put my trust in God, but God was not worthy of my trust. I didn’t think the failure of the world’s Velcro was responsible. There was no Velcro in my axl, though I did have some duct tape holding together parts of the car’s interior and the front bumper.

3.

The Mayan ruins sit heavily in the dark, as do the gowned Mayan women in the red brocade opera seats, like cups of chocolate candy in foil wrappings.

4.

Hinduism is surely the most compassionate religion, says my new father-in-law, who is about my age. Here at my advanced age, I close my eyes and the image of so many topless, full-breasted women crowd my mind, some with skin of azure like the sky, and I try to parse it out—are these temple images, or memories of women I have bedded?

5.

It was an old car. It was an old God. This God had a lot of staying power. He was the foundation stone for a world of stupidity. Obviously, my car didn’t have staying power. It was what used to be called a “jalopy.” The Kelly Blue Book said it was worth 99 cents, the same value as the autobiography I’d placed on Amazon.com.

6.

Now if I were a Christian, all I would have would be a stark image of a crucifixion, a man in agony, and the question would be: Is that me, or Him?

7.

In the island church, in a niche where a religious statue would normally stand, is a golden ship with black sails. Outside the church, a dreadlocked alcoholic is ranting to himself. Elsewhere in the Caribbean, my son and his wife are sailing their ramshackle boat. They mend the sails as they go.

8.

I abandoned my car. Luckily I hadn’t filled the tank for my return trip. It had maybe 99 cents worth of gas in it. I took a torn sweater out of the back seat and headed down the dirt road which led away from the quarry.

9.

Consumerism pulls me like a rip tide but I’m a strong swimmer and learned long ago to swim across the rip to make my way to shore. On my back on the beach, breathing hard, I need nothing but these breaths, and the pretty shells scattered around me, calcium in the shape of life. I raise the largest to my ear. It speaks to me in Arabic. It says: Help us, please.

10.

The Madonna holds a knitting needle. I hope she doesn’t accidentally poke me in the eye. The pastor makes small talk, then asks for a donation.

11.

A black woman walks away from this church, the Cathedral of the Virgin of Guadeloupe, the virgin whom I have followed from Sicily to Mexico and into the Caribbean. The black woman’s back is muscular. I would like to wrestle her.

Continue reading “Three Stories by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois”

‘Morning is Endless Among Trees’ by Wyatt Martin

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b/w 35mm collage – photo by Wyatt Martin
discover the forest, your body distal
to the heart of the fireside
circle of friends dancing,
huddled in its light warmth

Steer away, to the darkened treeline
when you stray blind far enough
your vision adjusts to the visual quiet
the moon and stars are also light

sit totally still, but fire-alive, eying
like an owl, and just as quiet, hear
and you hold it there, outstretched–
for the first time–
seeing the world and yourself
in the same frame (minus everyone else)

nervous system churning, turn to see
a silent chorus of glows
emerge atop the hills like fire towers
along a medieval mountain range

the glares, chiming their purpose
in fire– there are others–
they are warmth and light and blood
but not the world, not you

your gaze swings up and East
the sun’s fire claws a frown
over the ridge, the light
of the tower’s fades to invisibility

as you begin to chop the day’s wood
and fetch the day’s water
you look at this daylight, double-exposed
and see that it is darker among the trees

and cooler too

The soft tumble of distant tones
ring like a jukebox through the jungle

You know this human noise,
align to these signals, and see
the pupil of this fire circle,
looking back at you

it is laughter it is warmth and love
it is revenge it is blood and teeth
it is everything, but with ease, eclipsed
by your silent thumb raised in the air

‘Dream Ending’ & ‘Lipstick Car Wreck’ by Wyatt Martin

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b/w 35mm – photo by Wyatt Martin

Dream Ending

Humility is Endless

Maybe I woke up so I would keep dreaming
So I wouldn’t have to see the dream complete
I could keep on not seeing how the movie ends

When I left you for the last time
I dreamed for days straight into weeks, months, years

There is nothing moreover
Than waking up

 

Lipstick Car Wreck

Lipstick Car Wreck
Finally alone, you open your coat in the snow
Revealing the soft hum of pilot light
Living, walking to the water’s edge
To pray for river’s cleanse
the water is polluted with reflection
So run, you always do, into an idle
car on the street outside
Of where you need to be, you’ve circled around
3 times already (you’re not getting any more inside)
drive, flood down the avenue to the last bridge
Left erect from burned out comings-alive
switch, from automatic to manual
Stop self-correcting let it careen
A smile like wreckage smears across your face

‘Time is Worth’ by Wyatt Martin

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Photo by Wyatt Martin

I know, I said I would take a vacation
I know, I said I would go back to working
You know, You said you would go out dancing
You know, You stayed home, Your head was hurting

Weighing the odds yes now it’s in both our hands
Wondering just what our time is worth
Playing the cards yes now its from both our decks
Wondering when it’s the dealers turn

Wake up, don’t say good morning
All the bees get a buzz to work
When they Get back in the evening
They’re Heads bent all out of sorts

Weighing the odds yes now in its both their hands
Wondering what their time’s worth
Now, choppin it up with the bossman
Son you must understand what your time is worth

Daughters crunching the numbers on their records
Wondrin’ what the hours are for
Sisters calling in sick, calling collect
Much more than before

Maybe when I wake up next morning
I won’t have forgotten my dreams
Until then, Empty notebook next to me
It’s been a hard year for remembering

[I’ve got a problem My eyes only see normally
I’ve got a problem My eyes only see what their supposed to see]

Now I’ve gotta swallow a whole lot more snow, just to stay thirsty in the cold
Now I’ve gotta borrow a lot more rope, I keep burning it to coals

I’ve gotta follow, oh, just one more hope, before it turns into a rose
I’ve gotta know, so,
I’ve gotta go

I came across the prodigal sons throwing stones in a crowd,
If it’s about death I told em’ don’t be slow about it
As for the two men, listening to them was really quite a task
One was a thief, the other hadn’t lost a thing

Hunchback of Notre Dame, thought all along
Thought all along You were carrying something
You shut your gates right before your city could escape
A long time ago, but every friend is good for something