Louis Keys, Age 26
she lost track of movements – slowly descending through gravity, her reach expanding and contracting, “I want to fly” she told him, pushing her words across his skin, each syllable feathered as she whispered. his lip moved in unison, exhaling in long drawn out breaths – each one containing a kiss.
his eyes now reside in finite darkness though he felt it infinite, long stretches of time made more prominent by the lack of burning suns that he had learned to love. he smoked asphalt, pleasuring himself – breaking balls in discomfort as he limped like roadkill, felt like death, a perpetual state of that brief moment right after ejaculation. collapse. exposure.
she felt so necessary in only fractured seconds – he felt it though couldn’t relate to her silence. he could see maybe that’s why she didn’t always speak, trying to piece her sentences after tragic deeds he had sewn so unwillingly – so unconsciously – into her nest.
she would pick at scabs (though differently than he) as if she were pecking her feathers, her beauty a constant though her eyes were not always open. She flew at night while seeking daylight – fighting her own currents.
though he always felt her thunder – her lightning igniting everything in his vicinity and he could see for the first time in his life – fire surrounding the lines he had secured for himself. she was an ember, embedded in his skin.
Biking with Father
My father, JR’s ethereal self, bikes with me
on twenty-nine-inch-wheeled Treks.
We both drop to aero-bars
and slip under the head-wind,
spinning at 80rpm to maintain
our 20mph forward speed.
JR still loves to move, like aiming
his skis downhill and riding them out,
living his whole life celebrating
early outdoor USFS trail boss summers.
I remember the man-to-man wrestling
we did my senior year, when I came home
sassy and late – he grounded me
for the next night: “Yah, who will make me?”
He simply said, “I will.”
We began a thirty-minute grappling,
where we neither threw a punch –
a test of strength for two-hundred pound males.
Can we both live in the same den?
Yes, and we never had to repeat the contest.
Now, celebrating JR’s love of sport,
relishing this time together in spirit,
both sailing along blue highways,
soaking up the sunshine and thriving
in the summer wind-chill, wind milling our legs.
JR’s balance is precise, so I hardly know
he’s beside, as we spin through miles
of rolling hills, breathing deeply
and breaking deep sweat.
Side-by-side re-capturing some
of the playful years JR missed
when he left early at cancer’s rude call.
Whitman Spitzer, Age 18
Once, I thought I should die.
Life was an empty juice pack,
my family were shadows behind frosted glass
I was alone with no energy
I stood on the edge of a parking garage
looking down at concrete
the jump was so short, and the fall just long enough.
For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction
for every painful step,
for every concrete oblivion 7 stories below you
there is a horizon, exactly level with your eyes
and roads to follow to get there.
Vincent Drew, Age 30
I walked into the corner store today.
There was an egregious tone.
I heard a father at the soda fountain,
polypropylene in hand, angrily shouting at his
No one was happy.
And all present were tense.
“I’ve had enough of this ATTiTUDe!” he yelled.
And barked qualifiers, of which included
stipulations on the purchase of candy bars and
the accountability of certain unfit mothers, all in
the same breath.
We just wanted liquor.
Found without a retreat, we swiftly grabbed
at a beverage.
I sat in my driver seat momentarily, crying.
The depth of conviction and guise of authority
I remember my dad, riding a drunk horse
Disposing insults, and grinding dry gags
This man, stressed, finding himself in a world of
drugs and children he cannot explain, lies forth.
His terms are finally immediate.
He is older and thus wiser.
He is loudly in charge.
He did walk out, and the kids continued on with
unrelenting, little, already-tired sugared souls.
NOW WE ALL DONT HAVE TO THINK OF THIS UGLINESS AGAIN UNTIL YOUR DAD YELLS AT YOU!
Scott Wilson, Age 68
The Burial Scaffold
High on the burial scaffold, a corpse is raised
for carrion birds’ convenience.
They accept the alms as given,
but see the body as their due
with no other interest in a foot-bound being.
What good would be their feathers formed
to glide and gyre?
Where would be the fun?
No, they’ll just tuck in for the dead’s final meal,
pick the bones clean as their end of the deal.