Monthly Archives: June 2015

Green Lantern Has A Friend In Jesus by Kevin Fisher-Paulson

Today is Fat Tuesday, which the French call Mardi Gras, and the New Orlinians call “Money in the Bank.” It’s the last day before Lent, the 40 days in the Catholic calendar that you’re supposed to fast, abstain and wear hair shirts. When I was little, my mother, Nurse Vivian, called it Pancake Tuesday. Nurse Vivian was the last person on the planet I know who actually could make pancakes from scratch, with no help at all from Aunt Jemima. And every year as she dished up the pancakes, hot from the cast iron frying pan and smothered in butter and Karo syrup, she asked what each of us was giving up for Lent.

Pop always answered, “Skydiving and cotton candy.”

For forty years, I have given up something fattening, in the hopes that not only can I build up a little spiritual good karma, but save myself a few laps on the treadmill. This year it will probably be red meat, since this will also impress my doctor with regards to my cholesterol. Between them, my two older brothers have more than seven stents. We are a competitive family. Do I really not see myself as angling for eight?

So last Sunday was the last Sunday before Lent, which doesn’t mean much to the Catholics reading this, and even less to the Jews, Pagans and agnostics. The only real difference is that it is an “ordinary” Sunday, which means it is the last time for six weeks that the priest wears green vestments.

To get the impact of this, you need to know that my sons Zane and Aidan and my husband (Papa) and I have watched four seasons worth of Justice League on DVD. Aidan always sticks his fist out in the air, pretending to be Superman flying. Zane always runs around the house, pretending to be Flash (the African American version of course, which makes him the Flashblack.) He tells me to be Batman and he tells Papa to be Hawkgirl. Wonder Woman and Green Lantern are shared by all.

Going to church with Zane and Aidan is like sticking your head in a tornado and hoping to get something spiritual out of it. While trying to keep Zane from turning on the fire alarm and Aidan from swimming in the baptismal font, you don’t focus much on the music or the praying. Papa and I split our forces. Papa takes Aidan into the confessional (no, not the old kind, but the modern kinds with plants and candles) and plays with him, while I chase Zane up and down the steps of the choir loft.
Not all of the parishioners get our family, as we are the first married white gay couple to walk into this particular Catholic Church with our black son and our multiple race son.

I have learned not to argue with Zane in church. If Zane says, “Jesus must be very tired hanging from that cross” or “Why are all those men wearing dresses?” I don’t reason with him, since he usually just yells things like, “Daddy, you’re being mean about Mary!” and who wants to sit in a church with everyone thinking that you are mean about Mary?

So the gospel reading was about the beatitudes, and the priest talked about when he was a little kid in Ohio. He discovered standing on his head, and when he stood on his head, the clouds look like carpet, and the trees look like broccoli hanging onto the sky. “And so,” he concluded, “Sometime in your spiritual journey you have to turn yourself upside down, change your perspective on everything in order to see the real truth.”

Well, what Zane heard was “Turn your self upside down!” and so he started doing handstands down the aisle. Some of the stuffier parishioners gasped. Having paid less attention than Zane, I asked, “Zane, why are standing on your head?”

Zane replied, “Daddy!! Green Lantern told me to do it!” and he pointed at the priest in the bright green vestments, who with his ring and all, just might have been a member of the intergalactic space corps. I scurried to the back of the church, and Zane followed and the mass progressed. I put my coat on during the Agnus Dei, Zane yelled out, “Daddy!!! Aren’t you going to go get some of the magic food that Green Lantern made?”

It would be hard to sneak out the back door with all eyes on me, so I got in line for the communion, and just as I got to the front, Zane said, “Green Lantern, can you give my Daddy extra because he was quiet all through the mass?”
The priest nodded, and then leaned down and whispered to Zane, “Thank you for paying attention to my sermon.”

So there you have it, the lessons of the day: Turn yourself upside down once in a while. And what am I giving up for Lent? Expectations.
__________________________________________________

kevin
Kevin Fisher-Paulson recently finished his memoir, A Song for Lost Angels, published by Fearless Books. It was a finalist for the Ben Franklin Award as well as the National Indy Book Publishers.

Who Knew That Man Could Stop Bullets? by Ryan Summers

Superhero.

Panties. Pantyhose. Capes. Good hair. All-American. The champions
all come from Olympus, or the good side
of the urban sprawl (across the tracks), or a space station, and fight
the darkness devouring the world (it’s too brown, chocolate brown),
the demons (Michael Brown), the Dr. Doom
and gloom and

Superhero.

I wanted to be a superhero, one above all, but I couldn’t fly
and couldn’t play sidekick after my side was kicked
in a beating on the curb lining the avenue
of Martin Luther King. Who knew that man
could stop bullets, like he was a

Superhero?

He stopped a bullet. A bullet stopped him.
Krypton is dead. Chris Kyle is dead. Why’d they have to
pluck the petals from my rose is dead and Sharon
is no
Superhero.

I could see the fire in his eyes
and the stake I am tied to, tied down, magnetic
attraction to Diana of Themascira made up
but that Amazon, she was cut down to make room
for a real

Superhero.
_________________________

ryan

Ryan Summers is a poet, blogger and e-book author who has discovered a profound love for the written word. He has written poetry from various genres and through various formats, pulling inspiration from the seemingly inconsequential to the historically significant. To date, Ryan has written over two thousand poems and is currently writing pieces for his upcoming collection, “The Devil Wears a Hoodie.”

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Figure Eight by Laurie Kolp

My son learned how to use knives
in cub scouts carving soap.
One day he borrowed a bar
of Ivory and whittled
away while whistling
(because he knew how
& his older siblings did not).
When his work was complete, he
walked up to me and showed me
what looked like a figure eight, his smile
wider than mine. It could have been
a cloud, a snowman or white polar bear
an off-color peanut or wavy gray hair.
Maybe a slip knot or the obvious—
his age. I love it, I said, explain it to me.
Can’t you see, Mommy, it’s infinity
our love for one another
that will never die
like Grandma did.
__________________________
L. Kolp
Laurie Kolp, author of Upon the Blue Couch (Winter Goose Publishing, 2014) and Hello, It’s Your Mother (Finishing Line Press, upcoming) serves as president of Texas Gulf Coast Writers and belongs to the Poetry Society of Texas. Laurie’s poems have appeared in more than four dozen publications including the 2015 Poet’s Market, The Crafty Poet, Scissors & Spackle, Blue Fifth Review, Pirene’s Fountain. An avid runner and lover of nature, Laurie lives in Southeast Texas with her husband, three children and two dogs.
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Pry Into The Blood by Scott Thomas Outlar [Ekphrastic Challenge Winner]

er

You promised that this would only hurt
for a split second,
but your pinpoint precision
with the needle
always seems to cut to the quick,
to the bone,
to the marrow, to my core,
and now a simple Band-Aid
is not enough by a long shot
to heal the ancient wounds
that have been reopened.

I swore I’d never be here again
in your medical industrial complex of doom,
but now that you have me
on the table
go ahead and rip into my flesh…
pry apart the layers of healthy skin
I had built up as protection
against the snake-oil that you push
so sleazily and easily
with that shit smug grin upon your lips.

One dose and I am glowing
with a neon amber translucence
that resonates outward from the blood.
My mind is on fire,
pulsing with electric transmissions
that tap into alien frequencies from the other side.
E.T. phone home…I don’t think so…
there is no saving grace
once the examination has begun in earnest.
___________________________________________
scott

Scott Thomas Outlar survived the chaos of both the fire and the flood…barely. Now he spends the hours flowing and fluxing with the ever changing tide of life’s existential nature. His words have appeared in various journals, magazines, and blogs over the past year. Links to his published work can be found at 17numa.wordpress.com.

Crazy by Glen Armstrong

The sweet, sweet cherry calls its pit “crazy,”
each of our hearts a little bit crazy.

She screams as she searches for middle c,
eyes to the sky, having a fit, crazy.

I drink whiskey near the jukebox soaking in
every note of Patsy Cline’s hit, “Crazy.”

The interest drawn is emotional depth.
The initial deposit? Crazy.

From where I sit, Ms. Cline is a genius –
from where those devils in white sit, crazy.

Princess ‘Xandra thinks I’ll survive her song,
but Princess ‘Xandra is bat-shit crazy.
_______________________________________

glen
Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has a new chapbook titled Set List (Bitchin Kitsch,) and two more scheduled for 2015: In Stone and The Most Awkward Silence of All (both Cruel Garters Press.) His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Conduit and Cloudbank.

Buzz Me: [Ode to Chau] by Adrian Ernesto Cepeda

Anointed most requested
he is an unmasked Marvel
without a cape. Power gripped
with his lab coated fingers—
not a hit man yet, he snips
like The Professional
but with the same silent dedication;
he stares intently
with blades in his eyes.
He’s quick with scissors—
cutting like Wolverine
but with the grace of Scissorhands.
Our boy wonder is graphic, novel like
but he demands sharp razor responses
for my haircut symphony.
I listen for his music, like
a conductor with his sounds,
beautiful rhythms blurry at first
but I know as I feel the fade
in the back, jazzy grooves
on my temple saxophone dryer
blows on repeat—
as Chau spins me around
to face the heat,
my personal Coltrane
always cuts A Love Supreme
in this basement dwelling,
locker room size barber shop.
Chau drowns out trapper keeper
scat grinning humor with his electrical magic
as my hair falls—
misogynistic comb-over mayhem fuels
our laughter chorus—
this is last bastion for lost Angelino
Joe’s bonding in gray areas
receding our comb over promises—
trimmed just above the ear—
conversations bent leaning
towards politics and X-rated mocking
knockers for sport.
No verbal victories,
My barber concentrates on his passion,
the hair before him.
Like Picasso he speaks with shears
the haircut is his brush.
Only the mirror reflects Chau’s answers.
He knows, I don’t sit for the testosterone talks;
I nod like a catcher
waiting for the heat, buzz me—
last week felt like a losing streak
I need a victory,
I say. Already,
like my superhero, he knows, the sign;
No miracles man, I’m feeling invisible—
just resurrect me, this time.
____________________________________

adrian
Adrian Ernesto Cepeda is an L.A. Poet who’s lived the writer’s life, traveling on The Road Not Taken, immortalized by Robert Frost. Adrian is currently enrolled in the MFA Graduate program at Antioch University in Los Angeles where he lives with his wife and their adorably spoiled cat Woody Gold.